Sword Coast Guard, Episode 1 – Hunting Ashton Sanguine

January 28, 2017

In-Game Dates: 23 to 29 Kythorn 1367 DR

After playing the Princes of the Apocalypse module for several months, my group has finally decided that we don’t like it. They don’t like the module, and I, the DM, hate running it. So, we’re going back to my homebrew stuff which we all enjoyed much more. The precipitating event was one of the players – who was habitually creating tension in the group – really upset another player. So, I “asked” him to leave the group. (There was no asking. He was removed from the group.) This is our first “reset” session. Two of the players decided to roll up new characters.

One of the players had his character exclaim “Gold, Glory, and Girls!” at the beginning when the group was talking about coming up with a group name. So, until they come up with a real name, that’s what I’m calling them: the Heroes of Gold, Glory, and Girls (GGG).

After retreating from Sacred Moon Hall, the companions camp for the night. A fight breaks out between Varic and Dalinor. Varic ends up attacking the paladin, and both the paladin and Serpico fight Varic. Outmatched, Varic flees on his hippogriff. Pissed off, Dalinor and Serpico give chase.

Rusty and Nigel wait around for the night and a couple days. Their companions never come back. Finally, they fly off on their lone hippogriff to Waterdeep, thinking, “Screw Red Larch. Screw Elemental Evil. This stuff sucks.”

They go to the Safehaven Inn in the Adventurer’s Quarter where they meet a Shump the Long, a barbarian; Guld the Tower, a monk; and Elodin, a wizard.

[Shump is an NPC for rounding the group out to 5 characters. And as we look for another player, that player could play Shump for his “trial” sessions. I don’t accept just anyone into my groups…]

The heroes head to Castle Waterdeep, seeking out Tzarrakyn the Younger who they’ve heard is a city Watch contact for adventurers looking for work. Tzarrakyn tells them that a criminal named Ashton Sanguine recently tried to discredit the leadership of the New Olamn bard college in the city. When that didn’t work, Ashton tried to poison Grand Harper Pharlonae Song-joy, the leader of New Olamn. The heroes are to hunt down Ashton, and bring him back, dead or alive.

Nigel has met Ashton Sanguine before. He is the same bard that discredited Nigel back at his bard college in Silverymoon.

The heroes head to Rassalantar where Ashton was last seen. On the way, some prehistoric creatures, Pteranodons, attack them. The heroes easily defeat them.

[Oh, this is rich. They were supposed to fight some other flying creatures called Perytons (CR 2 each) but I pulled out the Pteranodon (CR 1/4 each) card instead. I make special monster cards with photos for showing to players and stat blocks on the back. This saves me from flipping through the Monster Manual when I have multiple monsters in a fight, and gives the players cool visuals. Anyway, the group was supposed to fight much much more difficult creatures than they actually did. And I only just noticed just now as I’m writing this!]

Then the group runs into a patrol of White Knights from Gauntlet Hall. They are followers of Torm but also a bunch of self-righteous bastards. Rusty ends up challenging one of them to a duel. The leader claims that it is trial by combat and that Torm will decide if the heroes are guilty and to be arrested or innocent. Rusty wins the confrontation – though it was a close one at times – with some subtle help from his friends. The nearly dead knight leaves with his soldiers claiming that Torm has judged the group innocent.

When they arrive in Rassalantar, they speak with an outpost of Waterdeep soldiers there, but they don’t give any leads. They head to the Sleeping Dragon Inn, but likewise find no leads. They head to Lord Vendrick’s villa – he’s the ruler of Rassalantar – and speak with him. Unfortunately, the best Lord Vendrick can offer is that the heroes talk with an old lady who lives on the outskirts of town, Granny Tichwillow. She has a knack for divination magic and should be able to help find the criminal.

The group finds Granny Tichwillow a few hours from Rassalantar. She lives in a cottage surrounded by wheat fields full of scarecrows. Apparently, Granny Tichwillow has a fetish for making scarecrows. The heroes enter and converse with the kind old lady. She is more than willing to help, but asks a small favor first. Her sister, Agnes, was recently burned alive by the White Knights – they had claimed she was a witch – and Granny Tichwillow asks they retrieve Agnes’ body so she can be given a proper burial. The group agrees, and before they leave, Granny Tichwillow gives them a potion of invisibility – crafted before their eyes with water, granny spit, herbs, and scratched off granny skin – to aid them.

The heroes head to Gauntlet Hall, the fortification of the White Knights. Rusty, Shump, Guld, and Nigel go to the front entrance and begin to converse with the knights. Meanwhile, Elodin uses the invisibility potion and sneaks into the chapel within the fortification. In the chapel, he overhears talk of catacombs and heads down into them from the chapel.

The rest of the heroes talking with the knights claim to be recent converts to Torm and say they wish to learn more of his ways. The knights are convinced and take them to the chapel where a priestess of Torm, Elena, begins to give them discourses on the ways of Torm.

Down in the catacombs, Elodin trails a patrol of White Knights for half an hour, getting himself thoroughly lost, but finding a special chamber. The chamber has statues of knights lining the sides, two angelic statues at the end, and a massive stone statue of Torm himself. A long basin of water occupies the center of the room. In the basin are several caskets with arcane runes covering them.

Elodin casts detect magic. The water and caskets glow with magical energy, and the statue of Torm is practically blinding, so magical it is. Against better judgement [and the DM’s very overt “flavor” description meant to convey danger and “dude, this encounter might be beyond your abilities], Elodin begins to open one of the caskets.

The statue of Torm animates immediately, bellowing, “Thieves! Graverobbers!” As it moves to attack, Elodin drops his torch, which becomes visible, and moves away. The statue of Torm smites the ground where the torch is, shattering parts of the stone floor with its sword. Elodin casts hypnotic pattern on the statue of Torm, but it is completely unaffected. [Immune to charm effects.]

Knowing this is beyond him, Elodin flees the chamber and the catacombs. [We also forgot that casting a spell ends invisibility, so Elodin got a freebee effect to help him flee.] He finds a rusty iron gate that leads to a secret sally port from the fortification about a half mile away from Gauntlet Hall itself.

Elodin misty steps out of the tunnel, goes around, and meets up meets up with his comrades in the chapel. They had been listening to lectures of Torm’s greatness for about an hour. Siting a need to use the latrines, the heroes all get themselves dismissed.

The heroes then leave Gauntlet Hall and group up nearby to discuss their plans for retrieving the remains of Granny Tichwillow’s sister from the catacombs.

The Heroes of Gold, Glory, and Girls

This is the group's interim name until they come up with an official one...

Russel "Rusty" Striker - Human Fighter

Nigel Dyreus - Half-elven Bard

Guld the Tower - Half-elven Monk

Elodin - Human Wizard

Shump the Long - Half-orc Barbarian

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