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NOTE: Due to technical difficulties with Roll20, skip to 44:10 when we switch to using Skype for audio.
Mannix, level 2 Human Rogue
Khaless, level 2 Half-Drow Rogue
Gillian, level 2 Triton Bard
George, level 2 Tortle Fighter
Therin, level 2 Hill Dwarf Druid of the Moon
After several sessions in Port Nyanzaru, this week provided a bit of a detour. The PCs accepted Rokah’s mission to travel to Fort Beluarian to try and uncover evidence of collusion between the Flaming Fist mercenaries and the pirates of Chult.
Rokah pulled some strings and got them all passage on the Brazen Pegasus for free, able to jump over to the Fort in about half a day. The Fort was open to the public, but the PCs ran into problems almost immediately.
The Castellan, Gruta, met them at the entrance. She explained that adventurers are welcome to shop and pick up supplies in the fort, but all explorers need to purchase a Charter of Exploration. The mercs worked for Baldur’s Gate and claimed the jungle and all its treasures in the name of the Lord’s Alliance.
Fascinatingly the PCs were immediately antagonistic toward Gruta. They picked up on the fact that Undril’s group, the Order of the Gauntlet, weren’t exactly recognizing the Lord’s Alliance’s claims when they set up Camp Righteous. The Flaming Fist’s reach was tenuous at best, enforced by sending out patrols in the jungle.
The PCs argued with her and poked holes in her authority, and were reticent to spending any money on a charter (at one point actually telling her they didn’t have the money).
I was shocked at this whole exchange as Gruta kicked them out, but I also learned some important quirks about my party – they’re not very nice! The main spokespeople – Mannix, Khaless, and Therin, don’t take crap from anyone, especially frosty guards. Gillian is the friendly diplomat, but she appears willing to defer to the others on when to step up.
Through Rokah I could bemoan what had just happened, but also offer a tiny sliver of hope – another entrance to the fort. A secondary gate on another side was less guarded but closed and barred.
The party formulated a dangerous plan. Using oil, candles, and a vial of alchemists fire, Khaless started a fire on the east wall of the fort. While guards rushed to investigate the smoke and fire licking up the walls, Therin wild shaped into a giant spider and stealthily climbed up the southern wall (Giant Spiders have a +7 to stealth!).
He webbed the lone guard that was left and shoved him off the wall. Mannix tied some rope around him and dragged him back toward some buildings outside the fort, and Rokah knocked him out.
I was impressed that my PCs were careful not to actually kill anyone at the fort.
Therin-spider was able to open the gate and everyone rushed inside. They needed another distraction to reach the keep, however. Instead of joining the party, Therin-spider chittered along the walls to wreck havoc on the west gate that the party had originally tried to enter. He used stealth to weave in and out of the outer buildings, webbing anyone who approached while taking a volley of crossbow bolts. He was effective at creating a distraction without putting the entire fort on high alert or lockdown.
The giant spider distraction allowed the others to make it inside the keep. Mannix had stolen the uniform off the guard they had taken out, and played the part of a Flaming Fist merc escorting the rest of the group. When they reached Commander Liara Portyr they had a brilliant idea – paint Gillian as a royal emissary of the Tritons (which actually isn’t far from the truth).
Since Gillian completely looks and acts the part of a royal emmisary, the ruse worked completely. She drank wine with Liara while her ‘servants’ were shown their rooms upstairs.
At this point my party was split into three different areas, a bit of a nightmare for a DM, but still a fun scenario to present.
Since Mannix was still dressed as a guard, the upstairs crew of George, Mannix, Khaless, and Rokah were soon left unattended, and it was easy for them to ransack the Commander’s quarters to find a locked strongbox. Khaless rolled 20 on the lockpick, granting them over 200 gold coins as well as a Sending Stone and a notebook full of ship details out of Port Nyanzaru.
The PCs recognized that this was the proof Rokah was looking for. Rokah was willing to let the PCs keep the 220 gold pot, but he wanted the Sending Stone and notebook as the proof to bring back to his superiors. The PCs were a bit reticent to give them up, but ultimately decided to table the conversation until they were safely away, which Rokah could agree to.
The egress proved a little dramatic as half the party exited through the second story window, climbing (or leaping) down onto the roof of a barracks full of sleeping guards. Gillian and Khaless went out the primary entrance, claiming that the diplomat wanted to do some shopping before retiring.
When some guards rushed out of the barracks, George set fire to a corner of the barracks as they added to the confusion of spider attack + fires. I believe cries of “Undead Fire Spiders” were spread throughout the fort!
The party was doing a decent job in not being bloodthirsty, instead trying to handle everything in a clever way to deflect and distract attention, and I was happy to reward their work. They were able to run to the southern door and escape, at some point meeting up with a wounded and tired Therin-spider.
For funzies I had that first guard, now naked and covered in strands of webbing, emerge from the outhouse at the same time. The players all tackled him, with Therin webbing him once again. Then they hauled ass out of the Fort without looking back.
If anything this session was a great example of salvaging a disastrous beginning into a fun session!
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