Hand of Light, Episode 13 – Uncovering Skullport

My thanks to my player, Lyr, for writing up this campaign log! (I was busy preping D&D.)

Session Date: May 13, 2017

In-Game Dates: 12 Kythorn to 22 Kythorn

The party finished interrogations and released Etis Bright, confident that he was on their side. It was only moments later that Karn Mondel returned to the base to report that he had informed the Red Sashes of the capture of Etis. After exchanging anxious looks, the group informed Karn they had acquired valuable information from their interrogation. Unfortunately, when Karn inquired about the prisoner, the group had to come clean. It became apparent that Karn may not leave prisoners out of his sight in the future.

Knowing that Shandia Darkeyes would be at the Thirsty Throat Tavern for a meeting a ten day from now, the group decided to wait. The Scribe provided some valuable information about reaching Skullport. The remainder of the week was spent in preparation.

On the morning of the meet-up, Lyr and Dunkle disguised themselves and scouted the tavern. Since it was morning, the tavern was closed so they spent the day busking outside. Lyr intentionally allowed Dunkle to outperform him to keep their cover intact. As the evening grew closer the tavern grew busy and the two heroes headed inside with Dona and Karn keeping watch out back.

The tavern attracted a rough looking crowd. Lyr and Dunkle found an empty, and scanned the crowd. In one corner a cloaked figure revealed a swath of dark blue skin. Shandia? Before they could act further though, an obese man stopped by their table to say hello. His face shifted slightly and he admonished them for showing up. Etis?

After ordering drinks (and flirting), Dunkle pretended to drunkenly stumble to Shandia's table, angering some patrons but avoiding a fight. This resulted in a good many patrons watching Dunkle and Lyr with suspicion or interest.

Lyr decided to ruffle some feathers and made “winky kissy faces” at one patron. That unexpected resulted in the patron walking over and inviting Lyr upstairs. Lyr followed, still unsure what was happening. At the top of the stairs he cast Friends and told the man, “Go wait in the room and I will be there soon.” After the man disappeared into a room, Lyr sauntered back downstairs.

Dunkle sat down and questioned the figure he thought was Shandia. The mysterious cloaked figure was unreceptive and was rebuffed him. Lyr, seeing Dunkle leave Shandia's table decided to sit down. He pointed out her name, did some name dropping, and indicated he wanted to make some illicit trades. Shandia asked him to follower her upstairs and Lyr followed, confident that he had fooled her.

While Dunkle went outside, climbed up the wall, listened at the window, Lyr entered the upstairs room and sat carefully across the table from Shandia. Some rubbish was spewed, but eventually the pretense fell and Lyr realized that Shandia everything. Perhaps Etis sold them out. Moreover, she mentioned she had goons ready to fight downstairs. Surprise! In that moment, Shandia reached for her weapon, Lyr uttered an arcane phrase, and when the dust settled, Shandia was a little white rabbit. He reached down, grabbed the rabbit by the neck and stuffed it in his pack.

Dunkle dropped to the ground, shouted a warning to Karn and Dona, and entered the tavern. He grabbed a mug of ale and smashed it over a patron's head, precipitating a massive bar fight. Patrons fled the tavern amass, but some stayed and drew swords, circling around Dunkle. Dona dashed into the tavern, attempting to grapple Dunkle, claiming him as her drunken beau, but he resisted. And eventually Dona pulled out her sword as the thugs seemed intent on killing the heroes.

Meanwhile, a very quiet bard was trying to make a sneaky exit down the hallway of the tavern. At the same time, Karn had climbed an adjoined building, forced open the second story window, and spied a naked man in a room (Lyr's “friend” from earlier). The lovelorn man, obviously distressed, was confused to see Karn enter the window and move toward the door.

Downstairs, Dona and Dunkle had mopped up the thugs and rushed upstairs. Karn opened the door, with Lyr standing in front of it. Lyr looked at the naked man and all of his party members and said “Shandia is a rabbit, she's in my backpack”, and ran through the bedroom and jumped through the second story window onto the roof and dropped down to a nearby alley.

What happened next can only be described as next order comical. “Rabbit Shandia” managed to chew her way through Lyr's backpack and leap out. The rabbit then bolted down the alley and disappeared from view. Everyone inside the second story room jumped out the window, including Lyr's naked admirer who appeared to be going through magical withdraw.

Everyone chased after a rabbit fleeing through Waterdeep's alleys. Lyr managed to cut off the rabbit with a lucky Dimension Door, but fearing the bugger would get away again, stabbed it, breaking the polymorph. Unfortunately, Shandia sliced him up and instead of facing off, proceeded to flee, even faster. Dona and Lyr tried to give chase, Dona clearly the fastest, but Shandia still got away.

Meanwhile, Karn had a serious talk with Lyr's naked admirer and helped the man pull himself together (because Karn is such a good guy). Dunkle on the other hand hung around the Thirsty Throat Tavern, almost got caught by the City Watch, and ended up standing innocently next to the flirtatious waitress who covered for him.

After reconvening, the group chalked that up to a loss. However, Shandia had said something threatening regarding their gnomes. Realizing the residents staying at their base may be in peril, the group quickly returned home. Upon their return, they discovered their base ransacked, everyone missing, and the message “Katso was here”. Evidence of a bloody struggle and drag marks were found that led to the underground sewer entrance. Without hesitation, the group grit their teeth and immediately followed the tracks into the sewer, hoping they weren't too far behind.

After some extensive tracking and a couple secret doors, the group emerged into a sea cave with a skiff. There were some guesses that they were heading in the general direction of the southern sea caves that connect to Skullport. With that in mind, the group boarded the vessel and sailed to the hidden location they had gathered from The Scribe's intel. Indeed, they found a hidden sea cave, and inside was a dock with various humanoids (monstrous and not) attending to business. The group docked the boat, and were easily given directions to Skullport.

At the elevator down to Skullport, a group of hobgoblin guards re-iterated the importance of non-hostile action within Skullport. Dunkle spoke with one of the guards about the groups missing friends, and although the guard stated he had seen nothing, it was apparent he was lying. Confidence they were on the right trail, the heroes paid the elevator fee and boarded for the ride down.

On the ride down, Lyr brought up the importance of disguising themselves. Karn, ever the honest chap was against such deception. An argument about remaining inconspicuous took up most of the ride. Lyr, sidestepped the argument and cast Seeming on the group, making them look like a band of hobgoblins (albeit wearing their normal gear). Karn attempted the Charisma saving throw and failed, much to his chagrin. He did however maintain his Torm emblazoned breastplate and halberd. A very odd hobgoblin. It would have to do. As the elevator touched down, the group saw Skullport for the first time. A sprawling city with all manner of humanoids and creatures passing by. There were beholders, drow, mind flayers casually walking the street. More intimidating where the massive skull behemoths that patrolled and were rumored to enforce the “no fighting” rule. There were bizarre kiosks selling severed hands for who knows what, and massive slave blocks crowded with people. Dunkle bought a severed hand.

The group, disguised as hobgoblins, investigated the slave blocks and pens but did not spot any of their friends. They asked around and learned some various info. Some slaves, particularly gnomes, are very valuable, and sometimes go to private buyers. Minotaurs are generally considered poor slaves, but make for good pit fighters. Someone inquired after Shandia Darkeyes to a stranger, and the stranger went quiet and quickly retreated. A dwarf named Omergo (sp?) deals with specialty slave sales. He indicated he could provide us some more information to fit our needs if we wanted to meet him (I forgot the name of the tavern). Karn also talked with someone about the Xanathar. He learned where prospective recruits could apply to join. We ended up visiting the building to “audition”, thinking that if we joined we could gather more intelligence.

We were confronted by a leader named Slan. The names we provided him were Scarn (Karn), Jelsa (Dona), Grog (Dunkle), Rock (Lyr). He asked us why we didn't just join up with some hobgoblin outfit, and we told him we wanted to be part of an elite group. He decided to take us outside the city limits to “test” us.

Outside the city, we followed Slan and a few of his men to a recessed fight ring. Slan dueled each party member. Karn, unsurprisingly destroyed Slan in a single round of combat. Dunkle grudgingly surrendered, ego bruised after a difficult fight without the ability to hide, gain sneak attack, get range, or initiate surprise. Lyr took awhile but was luckily able to use magic to stay hidden to avoid most of the deadly attacks, slowly working his opponent down. Dona, much like Karn simply beat her opponent into submission in a couple rounds without noticing the attacks. In the end, the heroes were hired on as an elite squad of (what we think is) the Xanathar.

The heroes investigated a bit further, determining their next course of action. They learned that House Ouseran (sp?) led by the nearby Drow were notable slavers. There was also a group of mind flayers that made their home nearby (outside the city) and people generally tended to avoid them. The dwarf Omergo did not show up for the scheduled meeting, so the group figured they would meet up with him the next day. If information of gnomes being sold somewhere could be discovered, the group figured that might be worth pursuing further.

The group got a room in a nearby inn, letting Slan know their location. As Seeming was running short and it was late, they held up in the room for a long rest.

The Hand of Light

Below are the famed members of the Hand of Light adventuring party.

Dona Falone - Barbarian

Dunkle Fledermaus - Rogue

Dexter Ambrose - Wizard

Aelyrendar "Lyr" Fairsong

Karn Mondel - Paladin of Torm

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