Dragon Heist – Session 3 – Bait & Switch

You can find a complete list of all Dragon Heist recaps here.

When last we saw our intrepid adventurers, they had burst into a room where two Xanathar Guilders were working to block the entrance to a privy. One of the two men was Krentz, the thug that had started a fight with Yagra at the Yawning Portal. The other was a crazed looking duergar. The later was throwing as much furniture in front of the door as he could while Krentz was yelling that this approach won’t work, and that they needed to stuff blankets under the door. Then the party rolled in.

As they did, Krentz and the duergar he’d referred to as Zemk turned to face the party. Krentz, recognizing the party, realized now they had two problems. He tried unsuccessfully to convince the party to leave.

After a brief negotiation – during which Rylderin saw clearly that Zemk would not get talked down – a fight ensued. Before anyone else could close the distance, though, Renaer rushed in and stabbed the duergar badly. With one more attack from Rylderin, Zemk went down… with a thoroughly cowed Krentz then quickly surrendering.

The party cut a deal with Krentz – information for his life. Krentz told them that the door they’d been blocking led to a privy containing a grey ooze. They’d sent a couple goblins in to deal with it, and the ooze had eaten them. Krentz was also able to put two and two together and understand that the party was looking for Floon. He said they’d find him through the other door and down the hallway.

Rylderin could tell Krentz wasn’t telling the whole truth – but when they pressed him to find out what he wasn’t saying about the last room, Krentz balked. He said it was worse than they could do if he said anything more, but that bad things awaited in that next chamber. Zherxus proposed that he could go – but he would owe them big. Krentz accepted the offer and scurried.

The party gathered itself, made its way down the next hallway, and then burst in looking for Floon. They found him cowering on the floor, a half-orc standing on his chest and menacing him with a fist wreathed in flames. Behind Floon and his tormentor sat a horrific, tentacled humanoid – a mindflayer – carrying a small brain with feet.

The party immediately rushed to attack before the mage could cast a spell, and succeeded in downing him quickly. The mindflayer, unperturbed, released its intellect devourer at the party, floated over to a door, and exited the room. The intellect devourer attacked and badly wounded Clinks, but was then brought down by the combined attacks of the party.

As the combat ceased, Zherxus made sure Floon was going to be able to walk – and then staunched the bleeding of the downed mage… and made sure to grab his spell book. Quickly pulling themselves together, they then worked to exit the sewers as quickly as possible. After sneaking quietly past the still sleeping goblin sentries, they entered the sewer tunnels and made their way out.

On returning to the Yawning Portal, the party was treated to a rude surprise. After a warm reunion between Volo and Floon, the vibe was then completely harshed by Volo’s revelation that he didn’t actually have the one hundred gold per person reward he had promised. Instead, the party was presented with the deed to a haunted inn.

The party was, to put it mildly, extremely displeased. “You DO realize we ran into a mind flayer down there?” “A BUILDING? Hell, no.”

While Zherxus went to ask Durnan his opinion as a disinterested third party on buying a haunted inn, Rylderin put in some quality time intimidating the now very uncomfortable Volo. Durnan told Zherxus that it wasn’t a bad deal; that did not really sway the rest of the party, though. Somewhere in the middle of all this Renaer returned from the bar where he’d been getting food and drink for everyone. Upon realizing the issue, he offered to make good on Volo’s original offer, and said the party could also keep the inn as far as he was concerned. This turned out to be a much more amenable arrangement to our heroes; many of them wanted a place to live, and this could fill that need nicely. “I live in an abandoned manor right now, and could get evicted at any time,” noted Ermie.

The next day the party went to a courthouse in the Castle Ward to have the deed transferred. At the end of the signing, the magistrate asked for the required twenty-five gold fee. The party as one turned to look at Volo.

Wringing his hands, Volo muttered, “If I had money, I wouldn’t have had to give you an inn!”

Laughing, Renaer paid the fee, and they (minus Volo) went to go take a look at the party’s new property.

The party found their way to Trollskull Alley in the North Ward, and to their new property. It was definitely a fixer-upper.

On entering, the ghost they’d been warned about made itself known by picking up and throwing a bottle against the far wall – but otherwise was quiescent. The place had been brought low by time and neglect; much of the furniture and fixtures were smashed or in disrepair. It didn’t appear to have been looted, though, perhaps due to its spectral occupant.

As they were looking around, a couple of the party noticed some shadows at the windows near the door. Opening it, they met three street urchins – Nat, Jenks, and Squiddly. Jenks was a short, heavy Turami boy wearing a cloak, holding a toy wand, and carrying a stuffed owlbear. Jenks was an Illuskan girl with a wooden sword who, her friends said, was deaf. She communicated with them through sign language. And Squiddly was a red-skinned tiefling with an eyepatch over his left eye and a toy bow and quiver of toy arrows.

“Have you moved into the manor did you know it’s haunted are you adventurers can we come in?”

Clinks came over to talk to the children and allowed them in. Clinks, as a fledgling, had lived on the street much as these children were, and was drawn immediately to them. After fielding their questions for a while, Clinks gave each one a silver piece and the job of making sure he heard about whatever was going on in the neighborhood, especially anything weird or unusual.

The party quickly confirmed they had zero interest in running a tavern. Renaer offered the services of his business manager to run the place for the party, and they could split the profits – but there was no interest in that either. For the time being, they decided, they would focus on turning Trollskull manor into a proper home and base of operations for themselves.

At about this time the city watch showed up with “Lord Neverember’s belongings” – the crate of silver and three of the four paintings they had found in the Zhent warehouse. The party happily received them.

Soon after, various folks took care of some shopping. First, Clinks went off and spent some funds to find a set of lockpicking tools and, after meeting at his shop, , purchased a set of calligraphy tools… possibly to put their forgery skills to work in the future.

Rylderin was able to sell off the silver bars and paintings, and also took a side trip back to the warehouse to get the fourth painting, which they’d stashed as the city guard had showed up. Zherxus entrusted Rylderin to sell off the spellbook he’d gotten earlier, and they took it to ’s shop. After a brief discussion, Rylderin decided they trusted the dragonborn enough to leave the book with him overnight in order to assess it.

While out, Rylderin also talked to some of the neighbors about who else lived in the alley, and noted that nearby were the offices of a Mr. , the owner of the . The neighbors said he was a first-class private investigator, and Rylderin made a note to make sure they met him – he might be a handy friend to have.

And that’s where our adventures for the night ended.

DM’s Notes

  • Having Renaer with them as the book suggests completely trivialized the fights in the Xanathar Guild base. Not a huge deal, though – I wasn’t looking to challenge them as much as keep things moving. The real fun starts here with Trollskull.
  • I did NOT expect the crew to not want to run Trollskull as a tavern! That said, I should have! Knowing them in real-life as I do, there would have always been a high percentage chance they didn’t, as a group, want to engage with a tavern simulator. While this is totally 100% fine, it threw me for a bit of a loop. I had prepped a lot of stuff around the idea of them running a tavern, in part because I didn’t know if I’d need it mid-session or not. Ah, well. So it goes!

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