Warning: SPOILERS for the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist module.
This post doesn’t contain spoilers for the rest of this campaign.
Here is a summary of the first 5 episodes of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist for which we have not released recordings.
11/11/2018 – Chaunday 1 Marpenoth 1491 DR The Year of the Scarlet Witch
The party met in The Yawning Portal where Hal was working as a bar back/busboy. It was a very busy night at the adventurers’ inn and Bonnie, the friendly barmaid asked Hal if he could serve as greeter and seat the people at a large table next to the portal since the rest of the tables were filled up. Hal, being new to the hospitality industry and in fact new to both hospitality and industry was nervous about taking on this responsibility but he didn’t quite know how to tell Bonnie no. Soon, several patrons showed up at the front door of the rowdy tavern and Hal proceeded to forget he was supposed to be seating them, forget to take their drink orders, take their drink orders but forget what they had ordered and generally just demonstrate a level of incompetence that will be told of for many years to come by the friendly wait staff of the Yawning Portal.
But eventually, Pyrextallinost Drex, Kyva Briarfell and Icarus Wester were seated at the table and given drinks while Dalia Farwalker accompanied a rather out of tune bard named “Three Strings” on stage. Hal had been taken aback when he saw Drex. While in SIlverymoon, he had experienced a series of visions which led him to first Waterdeep and then to the Yawning Portal. The third vision he had seen was of the large dragonborn, Drex bleeding and unmoving in a dark place. It was unsettling to come face to face with the warrior from his visions. The party had excellent seats to witness a colorful local tradition as one of the rather inebriated patrons put his money on the bar and stripped down to his skivvies. To the chants of “Dip, dip, dip, dip…” He was lowered into the large pit at the center of the eponymously named Yawning Portal carrying only a large handbell. Slowly the cable paid out as the drunken thrill seeker descended 120 feet into the inky depths of Undermountain, while the bar erupted with activity as the patrons took bets on how long it would take for the poor young sot to start ringing that bell indicating that he had lost his nerve and needed to be brought back up.
Suddenly, closer to the bar a fight was breaking out. Yagra Stonefist, a large half orc was trading blows with a sinister looking thug with several eye tattoos covering his bald head. The bald man’s friends were all gathered around and it looked like they planned to turn the fight into a very lopsided beat down so Hal, a peace loving and a bit naive farm boy headed over to try and break up the fight. The towering dragonborn paladin, Drex moved over as well, asking Bahamut’s help in protecting the lone half orc from injustice. Finally, Kyva wandered over in that direction innocently interfering with the tattooed troublemakers by feigning drunkenness, getting in their way and delivering a few stealthy trips and slips. Icky and Dalia provided some magical support from further back. Hal proved to be a surprisingly effective grappler and Drex’s presence was too intimidating for several of the troublemakers while the others were prevented from helping out their boss by Kyva’s antics. The bald man was knocked unconscious by Yagra and his friends fled out the back with his body as fast as they could.
The tavern was abuzz as money from bets changed hands, the winner was bought drinks and everyone turned back to their tables and their private conversations. That’s when they heard the distant clank, clank, clank of the bell ringing frantically… It dawned on everyone all at once that they had left the hapless adventurer at the bottom of the ominous chasm. The burly half ogre manning the winch strained with all of his might and some nearby patrons even joined in. The cable hummed as the young man was hauled back up the portal. The party finally caught a glimpse of the half naked adventurer’s terror stricken face as he was hauled into the dim light near the top of the portal but their cheers quickly turned to gasps of horror as they saw the form of a large, green, fetid troll scrabbling up the stone walls of the shaft in hot pursuit. The troll caught the unlucky man just as he reached the lip of the portal and with a bloodcurdling roar grabbed his head in one spindly clawed hand and his ankles in the other and biting with needle sharp teeth in the middle of the man’s torso tore his frail body in half. Durnan jumped out from behind the bar, his greatsword in hand, pointed it at the terrible creature and instructed the party to take care of the flock of Stirges that were detaching themselves from the troll’s torso while he dispatched the hideous beast.
The party lept into action, Icky weaved a magic spell to put several of the stirges to sleep. Dahlia called out to them in a mocking tone. Drex’s sword flashed in broad loping arcs. Hal had run to the back room to retrieve a mop to clean up the blood from the bar brawl, but as he returned and saw the Troll, his eyes glazed over, he put the mop head down on the floor and with a kick and a twist broke off the end, leaving himself with a perfect length staff which he began to twirl expertly. His face was a mask of cold, murderous precision as he dispatched the stirges.
The stirges were dealt with quickly and Durnan delivered a series of shattering blows to the Troll which dropped to the tavern floor as well but he called out for anyone nearby to douse it with fire. Drex stepped forward and shot a large fan of flames from his mouth finishing the troll for good.
Back at their table enjoying a free round on the house, the party (plus Hal who Bonnie had asked to take a seat and rest a spell) were approached by the famous author, Volothamp Geddarm. He was very impressed by their work with the stirges and the troll and he asked if they would help find his dear friend Floon Blagmar who had gone missing just a couple of days ago. He offered them a large sum of money and the group were only too happy to take him up on his offer. Hal had to ask Durnan for permission to take off of work first but based on his performance earlier in the evening, Bonnie and the gruff bartender were only too happy to let him go.
They headed towards the Skewered Dragon in the Dock Ward, the last known location of Floon.
Along the way they came across the City Watch and about a dozen watchers. There were 3 Zhentarim being held by the watch and 2 dead Zhents and 3 dead Xanathar’s Guild Members. They learned about the bloody gang war going on between the Xanathar’s Guild and the Zhentarim over a magical rock of some sort. They learned that the Xanathar’s Guild is a criminal organization with a top down structure much like the mafia. While the Zhentarim are mercenaries with a reputation for being shady and less structured in their chain of command. The Zhents are more like the Sons of Anarchy motorcycle gang, offering each other protection and opportunities but rarely requiring the members to take a certain job or follow orders.
They saw that a curious old curiosity shop called the Old Xoblob Shoppe was one of the few businesses open this late at night but they did not go in.
They went to the Skewered Dragon and met the Zhentarim bartender who was reluctant to give them any info. They bribed the bartender and he did tell them that Renaer Neverember, the estranged son of Lord Dagault Neverember and Floon were there two nights ago. When they asked who had followed them out of the bar, he clammed up. They noticed that the bartender had the typical flying snake tattoos that they had seen on other Zhentarim. From a non-Zhent patron at the Skewered Dragon they learned of the location of a local Zhentarim hideout in a warehouse on Candle Lane with a Flying Snake on the door.
They headed towards the Warehouse and found the outer gates unlocked. But the doors and window in the front were all locked. Icky sent Morrigan, his owl familiar flying around and he got into the offices around back through a stove pipe. He found a pad with 2 Paper Birds which Icky kept. The Paper Birds are marvelously useful minor magic items which allow one to write a message on a piece of paper and then speak the name of the recipient. Once activated the sheet of paper folds into the form of an origami bird and flies by the most direct route to the recipient delivering the intended message.
12/02/2018 – Selday 2 Marpenoth 1491 DR The Year of the Scarlet Witch
They decided to break in to the Zhentarim Hideout at the warehouse. Drex and the rest went in through the back door. There were 5 Kenku, agents of Xanathar in the warehouse. Once again, when the fighting started, Hal’s eyes glazed over and his movements became strangely precise compared to his normally shy and somewhat timid demeanor. After the battle was over it was apparent that Hal was not sure exactly what had happened as if he had blacked out at the start. They killed several of the kenku but left one unconscious. Drex healed the unconscious one so they could talk to it. In it’s own cryptic manner, it told them that the route to the Xanathar’s Guild Hideout was marked with yellow signs located in the sewer.
They searched the many boxes laying around the warehouse and found several strange items. There were sandals that had been all the rage last summer but had quickly fallen out of fashion. Several copies of Volo’s Waterdeep Enchiridion (a tourist’s guide to Waterdeep) with the front cover ripped off. 5 cases (24 ea) of 2 in diameter wooden balls in pairs, connected by 18 in long pieces of cotton string. 4 boxes (12 ea) containing large fluffy blankets with holes cut in them for the head and arms. 7 boxes (10 ea) containing small clay figurines of rams with tiny paper packets of seeds attached to each one. Icky found a magical Candle of the Deep which is not extinguished even when submerged in water and put it in his pocket.
Kyva was searching one of the areas towards the back of the warehouse when her keen eyes spotted some boxes that seemed completely sealed and neatly stacked, however when she went to open the boxes she found that they were empty. She quickly moved them to the side and discovered a secret door. Inside the secret room they found 5 gold bars worth 750 gold dragons and 4 paintings worth 300 gd. They also found the bodies of 5 Zhentarim Agents and 7 Xanathars scattered throughout the warehouse. Finally, they found Renaer Neverember in a supply closet and he told them that the Xanathars had killed the Zhents and taken Floon to their hideout in the sewers because they mistook Floon for him. Before that the Zhents had questioned Renaer intensively about the whereabouts of the hoard of dragons, a large collection of gold coins that his father Dagault was rumoured to have embezzled from the city and hidden away somewhere in Waterdeep. But Renaer assured the party that he didn’t know the location of this cache of gold nor even for sure if the rumors were true. He begged them to save Floon.
Captain Hyustus Staget of the City Watch and 12 watchers showed up. Staget chewed out the party about fighting in the streets. Of course, they pointed out that they had kept the fighting mostly inside the warehouse out of view of the public eye but this argument didn’t seem to sway the stern captain. He warned the party members about running afoul of the law in Waterdeep and distributed copies of The Code Legal to each one. He pointedly told the party to “Keep the blood off of the streets.”
They went back to the Yawning Portal. Drex checked to see if there was anything evil about Halvlys’s scythe that would account for his strange behaviour in the fights but didn’t detect anything. He did however feel a faint echo of an evil aberration coming from Hal himself. Halvlys told the story of how he was attacked by Bullywugs and a Giant Toad which had been the first time he had blacked out and woken up in a pool of his enemies blood. They found out that Renaer is in love with Floon, but keeping their romance a secret from society and especially his family who would not approve of a noble pairing with a commoner. The party offered to help him find Floon in the morning for which he was grateful.
Kyva went to meet with one of her contacts, Skeemo Weirdbottle and fenced the paintings and the gold for 762gd and 5s.
1/13/2019 – Selday 2 Marpenoth 1491 DR The Year of the Scarlet Witch
That night, as they slept at the Yawning Portal Icky dreamt that he was a little girl in a foreign land that responded to her will in a strange way.
Halvlys had a vision of an oval stone with three eyes. It was sitting quietly in the dark with its eyes shut then suddenly all three eyes snapped open simultaneously. The stone was apparently the next thing that his patron wanted him to pursue.
Dalia had drank way too much the night before after their harrowing fight with the kenku and had a raging hangover the next morning but Drex healed her for 1 hp and she felt better. Kyva on the other hand after a fair amount of imbibing had wandered off and found herself asleep on the roof of a nearby building (the result of a natural 1 on 1 of her skill checks). But she shrugged off the incident with an apparent ease that revealed a history of hard drinking (from her days at Neverwinter Academy). In the morning, a young boy was the only one who saw her flip gracefully off the roof of the building and land quietly in the alley below, he was so impressed by her prowess that he resolved to someday grow up to be just like her.
The party saw the urchins Nat, Jenks and Squiddly playing follow the lady on Candle Lane. Hal played the game and was quickly cheated out of 1 shard. Dalia had a platinum sun pick pocketed from her by Jenks but didn’t notice. Icky gave the Urchins a gold dragon, figuring they could use the money. The others in the party knew that the game was a common scam used to fool rubes on the streets of the city but they didn’t hold it against the urchins who had no other visible means of support.
The party found an entrance to the sewers in an alley near Candle Lane, the manhole marked with the sign of the Xanathar (a circle with 10 lines radiating out from it) in yellow chalk. They followed the signs in the sewer for at least a half mile until they got to a 3 way intersection with 2 Gazers floating in it. 1 gazer only shot 1 eye beam instead of 2. Icky took massive cold damage as he was hit full square with 1 of the eye beams and was knocked unconscious. They killed the gazers and took a short rest despite the damp, dank and incredibly foul smelling sewers.
A little way past the gazers they came to a roundabout with a pillar in the middle. There were two sleeping goblin lookouts behind arrow slits on either side of the tunnel. Kyva snuck in through a door just past the guard posts and around to the room that one of the goblins was in and killed him before he had a chance to make any noise. She searched the goblin guard and found a Horn of Silent Alarm on him. It was lucky that she had dispatched the creature so quickly, had he woken up first, he could have blown the horn sending a silent signal to someone deeper inside the hideout. The rest of the party took out the other goblin by shooting it through the slit.
Dalia and Icky continued down the tunnel past the entrance to the hideout and encountered Roscoe Underbough the halfling wererat in the cellar of a halfling hostel. He told them about the Shard Shunners and seemed disappointed that they had not heard about them. Gathering that the strange, small creature had nothing to do with the Xanathar’s Guild, they wisely left him unmolested and headed back to the door that Kyva had used previously.
The party pushed further into the hideout and in the barracks they encountered a Duergar named Zemk and Krentz the very same ruffian who they had helped Yagra Stonefist defeat at The Yawning Portal. Those two were in the process of barricading the door to the lavatory. Halvlys again went into stone cold killer mode and murdered the enlarged Duergar. Krentz was killed soon after. A Gray Ooze pushed its way out of the barricaded lavatory. And started coming towards them. Drex stabbed it with his longsword which was damaged until it was less effective but the creature was eventually killed.
The party stealthily moved forward and saw in the distance down another hall, Floon Blagmaar and Grum’shar, the Half-Orc Guild boss who was questioning Floon with the help of another thug. There was also a strange creature with 4 legs like a puppy but a brain where the puppy’s body should be that they determined was an Intellect Devourer. They used Renaer as bait and he drew the villains into the hallway. Grum’shar went into the room where the entire party was waiting for him and got taken out quickly by the ambush. The brain puppy devoured Drex’s brain and he went unconscious and comatose. The party fell upon the strange beast hoping that killing it would release their brave paladin but even with the Intellect devourer smashed to a fine pink goo, Drex was still impossibly dumb. Seeing this carnage, the bandit retreated and went back to the room with an unconscious Floon where he held a knife to his throat. He demanded the party stand down or he would kill poor Floon.
1/20/2019 – Selday 2 Marpenoth 1491 DR The Year of the Scarlet Witch
Dalia was further back in the line of people and managed to cast healing word on Floon while concealing her actions. To the bandit it sounded like she was just calling out encouragingly to him. Thus, the threat that the bandit would kill Floon with a single strike was alleviated. Icky cast Sleep putting both the Xanathar Thug and Floon into a deep slumber. From there it was simple for the party to dispatch the bandit and rescue Floon. Renaer and Floon were reunited! Kyva nosed around the various rooms searching carefully until she found secret door exit and they left, scaring the hell out of the Peabodys, as they walked out of the halfling family’s cellar door into their living room.
After Rescuing Floon the party stopped on the way back to the Yawning Portal so that Icky could copy the identify spell at The Swerving Scroll on Quill Street. Kyva got bored and hung out in White Bull Alley, a mysterious location where a magical battle long ago has left a tear in the weave. She witnessed two familiars arguing over a wand which appeared to be a simple spell focus. She took the wand and a wild surge went off which granted her the ability to fly. She snuck back to the Yawning Portal flying along the rooftops of the city, crestfallen when the magical ability wore off within the hour.
They brought Floon back to the Yawning Portal where he was reunited with Volo. Volo explained that he didn’t have the 500 gold that he had promised them but he had something better, property! He offered to give them Trollskull Manor. The party also demanded that he would owe them a favor in the future, which he was only too happy to promise.
The party asked him what they could do about Drex, who had been playing with toddler’s toys since they got back from the mission and Volo told them to go to The Hall of Justice in the Castle Ward. There they meet Daardendrien Cemruad a female dragonborn knight and cleric of Bahamut. She cast greater restoration on Drex and asked him to break up gang fighting in the Field Ward as payment for her help.
Then they went to magistrate Kylynne Silmerhelve with Volo to transfer the deed to the party. They learned from Volo that their new property was supposed to be haunted. Most of them were surprisingly OK with that and Kyva even seemed to look forward to it a bit. Hal seemed pretty nervous though. It was getting dark so they all headed back to the Yawning Portal to celebrate.
During their first meeting, Drex had asked Volo for information about his mother. At this time, Volo checked his notes and recalled meeting Drex’s mother, a Golden Dragonborn named Pyraxtallinost Savaran, about 5 years ago in the Yawning Portal. She was with a party sponsored by Obaya Uday to go down into the Yawning Portal. Obaya confirmed that she went down with a party of 3 others, an elven wizard, a gnomish explorer and a dwarven fighter. They never came back. This was several months to a year before Drex had seen his mother after being gravely injured in a battle outside Djered Thymar. It was then that she had urged him to forsake his clan and follow the Platinum Dragon, a pivotal point in his wife. Hearing the news, Drex gave up the hope that he had clung to that his meeting with his mother meant that she was still alive.
Dalia received a Letter from Brooke Underfoot one of her adoptive halfling mothers. She told her the news from Neverwinter and admonished her. Her other mother, Yesla had received a letter from her sister Belladonna saying that Dalia hadn’t been by to visit since she came to Waterdeep. She urged Dalia to correct this social snub at once.
3 Marpenoth 1491 DR The Year of the Scarlet Witch
The next morning, the party headed to Trollskull Alley to see their new property. They went first to Steam and Steel smithy so that Drex could purchase a new weapon and they met Embric and Avi, who jokingly flirted with Icky. His ego inflated, Icky vowed to come back to visit the rather attractive pair.
They approached Trollskull manor and were assaulted by 3 members of the Shard Shunners who seemed to be watching the building. They killed one and knocked another unconscious. The third ran away, but not before the leader viciously murdered Morrigan, Icky’s owl familiar. Kyva told the Shard Shunners that their party name is The Backdoor Bandits, but that is yet to be unanimously accepted by the rest of the party. Searching the body of one of the Shard Shunners, Icky found a map of the Sewers of Waterdeep. Confusing and incomplete as it was it still should be a help if the party needs to navigate the sewers again.
The party retreated to Trollskull Manor just before the watch saw them. Kyva who had stubbornly stayed to fight the wererats until the last possible moment, ran around the corner and managed to enter the manor through the door next to the pantry.
2/3/2019 – 3 Marpenoth 1491 DR The Year of the Scarlet Witch
They explored the first floor of Trollskull Manor getting lots of creepy vibes from Lif as the unfriendly ghost caused knocking sounds and footsteps and wrote threatening messages in the dust of the bar.
They went down into the cellar and Kyva found some very good booze. She also specifically searched very thoroughly for secret doors and found a hollow spot in the north wall of the cellar. They broke it open and found an ancient doorway leading to a tunnel and several giant spiders. They fought the giant spiders and Drex roasted several of them with his breath weapon (the webs burning adding to the damage). They went inside and found the passageway to an ancient room from the University of High Magics and Wizardry of the Eastern Netherese Empire. There was a crystal rod on a marble pedestal upon a stone dais and they approached it and found themselves face to face with Tanathras who announced that they were about to undergo a test. They would need to face the worst moment in their lives.
They each faced the worst moment of their lives and received a special magic item as a reward. This episode was recorded, but it is very unusual D&D content, so we are going to wait until we have a few more episodes in which listeners can get to know the party before jumping off into the stories of the worst things that ever happened to them. Our first broadcasted episode picks up with the adventurers as they leave the first floor of Trollskull Manor and venture up to the second floor to explore the rest of the haunted mansion.