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Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus

Dice System
D&D 5e
OOC
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WlfSamurai

Maelstrom Engineer
Supporter
Welcome to Baldur's Gate, a veritable nest of rats and vipers clinging to the rocky slopes overlooking the Chionthar River. From their high perches in the Upper City, the local nobles—known as patriars—gaze down with veiled contempt upon the common rabble in the grimy Lower City, which hugs the foggy harbor. The whole of Baidur's Gate reeks of blood. crime, and opportunity. One can easily fathom why pirates and traders are drawn to this place like flies to a carcass.

Following the river farther east would eventually lead you to Elturel, capital of the holy land of Elturgard—or at least that was the case until a few days ago. The flood of refugees from Elturel has gotten worse since news first arrived that the city has fallen. Everyone is saying Baldur's Gate is next, but no one truly knows who or what has claimed Elturel.

The patriars pay a mercenary army called the Flaming Fist to protect their interests in Baldur's Gate, and by extension, the city itself. The Flaming Fist has gained even more power since their charismatic leader, Ulder Ravengard, claimed the title of Grand Duke a few years ago. Apparently, Ravengard is missing. In his absence, the Flaming Fist has sealed the city's gates to staunch the flow of refugees. No one is allowed in or out.

All of this was brought to your attention shortly after you were drafted by the Flaming Fist to help defend the city. Your orders are to speak to Captain Zodge at the Basilisk Gate, which pierces the city's eastern wall and takes its name from the various statues that rest in its niches and perch atop its battlements. Unseen beyond the sealed Basilisk Gate, a dirt road stretches through the Outer City slums to the bridge known as Wyrm's Crossing, then to distant realms beyond.

Dozens of Flaming Fist soldiers are trying to control an angry mob of commoners eager to leave the city. Armed with only a vague description of Captain Zodge—a tall man with long black hair and a leather eye patch—it takes you a while to find him. A fight breaks out between soldiers and commoners, and you finally spot the one- eyed captain as he wades into the fray and begins throw- ing punches. Just another day in the City of Blood.

What do you do?

@sanduke, @DreamingBlackbird, @Ilikepie, @ValkyrieRose, @Felix, @Felis
 
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ValkyrieRose

Endless Witch
Melody will blink at all the commotion, wondering just how bad things have gotten here for a mob of civilians to be so desperate to leave- if it were people going in she could understand, but out?

Thinking of the solution that would cause the least amount of loss, she flicks her wand and casts prestidigitation, choosing three points in the area to create a terrible smell, in hopes of getting people to leave- or at least have some of them desperate plug their noses fand find it harder to strike
 

Felis

Meow?
Evendur shakes his head to himself. He can understand the commoners being nervous about the sealed gates and wanting to get out of the city to some degree, and wonders briefly whether that implies they don't put much faith into the Flaming Fist's ability or willingness to protect them. Still, what they are doing accomplishes nothing but injuries left and right, so Evendur holds up his shield in the hopes of blocking at least some punches with it and pushes into the crowd. He suddenly catches a whiff of something awful that makes him gag for a moment, but doesn't question where it comes from - the city itself can be a font of unpleasant smells at times, he has found out in the recent few days.

He breathes in through his mouth, then shouts at the commoners in an attempt to break the fight up, "Stand down! The gates are staying closed for your own good. Attacking these soldiers will only get you hurt in turn."
 

WlfSamurai

Maelstrom Engineer
Supporter
Melody and Evendur, your combined efforts are effective. You clear the streets. The mob dispersed along with the soldiers who were trying to contain it. Captain Zodge strides over to you all, his sleeved arm covering his nose and mouth.

“Was that you?” he asks in brusque tone.
 

Felis

Meow?
Evendur gives a low sigh and takes a step back when the crowd disperses, thankful that the situation didn't escalate to a point where someone was seriously hurt, though he wonders how often scenes like these occur lately. He tentatively breathes in through his nose, and immediately regrets it, the smell still lingers. That must be why Captain Zodge covers half his face with his arm, Evendur concludes.

"The shouting? Yes, that was me," he replies. He can't tell whether Zodge disapproves of his intervention or is just gruff in general, but decides to gloss over it. "You must be Captain Zodge, ...sir? I was sent to speak to you. I'm Evendur Evenwood, recently drafted into the Flaming Fist." He salutes in the mercenaries' way he was shown when he was conscripted. It feels off to him after years of doing it differently, but doesn't want his thoughts going too far down that road right now.
 

sanduke

bad luck galore
Dodging around from a scattering civilian who disappeared into the alleys of the city, Feyris took a moment before finding Captain Zodge. A scowl broke out upon their face, hidden by the mask, at the foul smell reeking from the street. Their hand finally removed itself from their sword when Feyris was certain the crowd was gone. For now. From the glimpses of the city, they can see this will neither be the last nor the first of such uprisings. Such is the mortal realms...

Finally arriving in front of the man, they knelt down upon their knee formally with their head bowed, "Sir. I apologize for not doing more. I am Feyris Highwoods, recently conscripted under the Flaming Fist, and informed to seek your presence on arrival."
 

Ilikepie

One Thousand Club
Her green eyes glance at the fleeing citizens for a few moments while tries to ignore the terrible smell that was created. The lockdown situation is something Shadow dislikes greatly since it makes it much harder to have fun and it keeps her trapped in the city. She watches a couple of her allies make formal gestures of respect to the captain guy they were told to speak to. Instead of doing any formal gesture herself she just stares at the man wondering what this man wants them to do for him.
 
Prior to the crowd's dispersing, Cas had been asking around for a "Captain Zorg". Now, they were just glad it had been during the commotion where everything was heard as noise--because apparently it was a "Captain Zodge", not a Zorg. Just call him Captain, nothing else, and there wouldn't be a problem, right?

It took them a few minutes to find the Captain once the crowd calmed down. Finally. Cas breathed a sigh of relief, then regretted it soon after as a foul smell greeted them. Wrinkling their nose, Cas shifted into a rather lanky tiefling woman before they approached the Captain and the group forming around him. "Captain," she stops herself from saying his name, or more likely a wrong one. Giving a slightly-off mercenary salute, she continues. "My name is Saoirse. Like these people, I have been recently drafted into the Flaming Fist and told to speak to you."
 

ValkyrieRose

Endless Witch
Melody dismisses the smell with a simple wave of her hand. " Yes, that was me. Unpleasant though it was, loss of life is far more so. I too was recently asked to help out... As I gather these people were as well."

She gives a very quick glance over everyone, smiling "And what would you be requesting of us today?"
 

WlfSamurai

Maelstrom Engineer
Supporter
The Captain takes you all in, sizing you up individually. Then, he looks back to the fleeing commoners.

"Yes well, the refugee crisis," he says, "has stoked fears that Baldur's Gate might suffer the same fate as Elturel, of which nothing remains but a hole in the ground, apparently. Our grand duke, Ulder Ravengard, was visiting Elturel on a diplomatic mission when the city was destroyed. Coincidence? I think not.

"The knights of Elturgard call themselves Hellriders. A few of them escaped the destruction and think we're somehow to blame for Elturel's downfall. What a bunch
of self-righteous rabble-rousers! We're arresting them on sight, but that's left us shorthanded to deal with another problem. For that, I need your help."
 

Felix

Behind that Crazy Premise
As Dummy was walking towards the meeting point he had to plow through a horde of people to get there. They looked a little panicked, but nothing too serious. People made a wide arc around the slightly intimidating metal man. He would have liked to help them out, but he had a mission to do. After it was done he would be able to help all the refugees and people in the lower city. He made his way through the crowd and immediately saw his goal as the group were the only people still standing in front of the gate. He approached them.

"Good day, may Ilmater lessen your suffering today. I am Dummy, as you must have heard by now, and I am here to accompany you on your mission."
 

sanduke

bad luck galore
Standing up again, they listened intently to the captain's words. As a warforged approached the group, they nodded in acknowledgment. Though they did not follow Ilmatar any longer, Feyris still sees the god and his faith as worthy of respect. When the captain stopped, they replied, "Whatever this problem is, I am certain we will handle it. Are we to expect these... Hellriders to cause trouble in this problem we are handling?"
 
A problem? Saoirse tilts her head, eyebrows furrowed and arms crossed, a glint of slightly impatient curiosity in her eyes. Why the suspense? She resisted the urge to ask the Captain to cut to the chase, but she didn't want to make a terrible impression on Flaming Fist authorities just after getting drafted. Instead, she waited and watched the Captain, fingers tapping continuously on her elbows. Perhaps she can quench her wonderment a little earlier?

When she hears metal footsteps approaching, Saoirse instinctively turns around and catches sight of the warforged. She jumps slightly in surprise, her face shifting features for but a brief moment before reverting back--she'd heard of these living metal constructs before but had never seen one up close. "A g-good day to you as well," she answers, offering a small smile.

(Insight Check: 12 + 3 = 15)
 

WlfSamurai

Maelstrom Engineer
Supporter
Melody, the Captain's black eyepatch is such a deep, deep black. Wouldn't you agree? He must wash it often to keep such a true color.

Evendur, Shadow, Cas, you pick up immediately on a few things. Yes, the Captain is gruff and crass. Yes, he can be terrible. But he cares for his men. You can tell as they form up around him again. And, while he's taken the mantle of command for himself, his rough exterior is a front for something deeper. Ultimately, it is true, though. He just wants the city to be in order. And to prove that he did it.

The Captain ignores the greetings, but does addresses Feyris' question. Sort of.

"Not exactly. Something else, for now. Baldur's Gate has long been plagued by followers of the Dead Three-the gods Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul. I thought we had wiped them out, but apparently not. These purveyors of fear and death are taking advantage of the current crisis to commit m urder sprees throughout the city. As my appointed deputies in this matter, you 'll have license to kill these wretches on sight. Find their lair, and wipe it out. Eliminate anyone who gets in your way, and don't worry about collateral damage.

"If you do what I say, I'll see that you each receive two hundred gold pieces in addition to my gratitude, which is worth considerably more.

"A few blocks from the Basilisk Gate is Elfsong Tavern. A spy named Tarina hangs out there, gathering rumors for the Guild. She owes me a favor, so tell her you work for me. Ask her what she knows about the Dead Three. And, for the love of Balduran, be nice. Tarina has dangerous friends."
 

ValkyrieRose

Endless Witch
After admiring the man's eyepatch- she really needed to find a dye that black- she took his words in, mulling them over. So it was cultists then. It was always cultists. She had written about more than a few in her time but they tended to make poor villains. Far too fanatical.

Still, if they were taking lives without care, that just wasn't permitted. "We will do just that then."

Turning to leave, she gives her new found compatriots a soft smile. "Quite the dangerous first task."
 

Felis

Meow?
Evendur glances at the newcomers and gives them a nod in greeting. It seems they vary in demeanor as much as appearance, from very formal Feyris Highwoods to the... Tabaxi, he thinks they are called, who only silently stared at the captain. And the final one to join them, a metal man. What was the proper term for their kind again? Evendur has only heard occasional tales of them and he can't remember.

Listening to Zodge, Evendur gets the feeling that while the captain might have a bit of a callous streak, he does feel responsible for his men and the city. Certainly not the worst person to work for. Evendur hopes he won't end caught up in the conflict the Hellriders have with the Flaming Fist, though. The way he knows Elturel's knights, he can't imagine they'd be making completely unfounded accusations, but... Well, he'll just have to focus on doing what he can for now.

"It's not a walkover, I'm sure," Evendur nods to the elf. "But that's how it is. And sorry, I don't think I caught your name...?"
 

Ilikepie

One Thousand Club
The task seems a little boring in Shadow's opinion, but at least she is getting paid to do it. Just to avoid a possible future problem she decides to actually something she thinks her allies might forget to ask. "So what dose this Tarina woman look like? It would be extremely awkward if we were to ask every random woman at the tavern if their name is Tarina until we find the correct woman." She resists the urge to poke the strange metal person but she still plans to start poking the metal person later after the leave the captain.
 

WlfSamurai

Maelstrom Engineer
Supporter
1585882456661.png“Ah!” Captain Zodge says. “So, you are paying attention. Good. If you know what to look for, she’s easy to spot. Raven black hair, usually pulled into a bun. Sun-brown skin. A scar runs through her right eyebrow down over the bridge of her nose. And she’s usually playing dice.

“Also, take these.” The Captain hands you all a copper badge with the Flaming Fist coat of arms in the center. “This lets people know you work for me.“
 
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ValkyrieRose

Endless Witch
Melody takes the badge, nodding and putting it over her forearm. "My name is Melody. I am just a humble writer, but I will be glad to be working with you. " She says with a soft nod..

With a soft stretch, she turns and begins to move towards her next destination- a tavern probably, to ask around after this woman.
 
Saoirse continued her silence until the end of the Captain's orders, choosing to listen and take in as much as she can. Ah, cultists. They were everywhere nowadays--though the ones she had encountered performing as Daire weren't as dangerous as the ones the Captain mentioned. They didn't resort to murder sprees, at least. She'd heard of the Cult of the Dead Three before, but luckily hadn't ever had an encounter with them. Until now, apparently. She could only wonder how this would turn out.

Taking the badge from the Captain, Saoirse gives him another slightly-off salute, resisting the urge to make it look like a playful goodbye. That's a Daire thing, not a Saoirse thing--the inner Cas thinks as the salute turned out much more off and awkward than it had to. Afterwards, she turns to her new comrades and returns a nod of her own as greeting. She'd rarely worked in groups before, and even in the event that she did it usually comprised of only one or two other people. Still, there was always room for new things.

"It's uh, nice to meet you all," she says, offering a small smile. She wasn't exactly one for niceties, but this time it felt important. These were people she was going to be with while fighting dangerous cultists. "Anyways, erm...the Elfsong Tavern, right? I know a faster way there, if you guys are up for it?" She'd never entered that certain tavern before, but she'd passed through its sign numerous times in the past.
 

Felis

Meow?
"Likewise," Evendur replies twice, first to Melody, then after accepting and fastening his badge, to Saoirse. "And that would be helpful, thank you. I for one don't know my way around the city all that well yet." He shoots a glance towards Melody, who has already started walking, and wonders if her somewhat aloof (if friendly) attitude has more to do with her being and elf or her being a writer. He hasn't had close enough relations to either group so far to be able to tell.
 

WlfSamurai

Maelstrom Engineer
Supporter
1585925411778.pngYou all head for the Elfsong Tavern. Thanks to Saoirse’s directions, you are able to traverse several blocks to the tavern in a matter of minutes, deftly avoiding the crowds of refugees that clog the main streets. You move through a series of allies and back streets until you a two-story building that stands apart from the rest of the block. The sign hanging above the door clearly says, "Elfsong Tavern." A silhouette of an elf woman's profile sits just below the words.

As you enter, a half-ogre bouncer eyes you as she leans against the door frame. Opposite her on the other side of the door is a suit of animated armor.


1585927794559.pngThrough the entrance, the main taproom (E1) is quite busy. There are dozens of patrons. A half-elf stands behind the bar, serving drinks and taking coin. You can tell by the way he moves he owns the place. Though he looks aged, he moves with a quick step and a sharp wit.

Two young human men tend the tables, flitting back and forth serving orders and taking plates. From what you can see of the patrons, they are well armed. Most huddle around tables in the main room and in private booths.Three padded chairs are angled toward a fireplace on the east wall, underneath the creaky wooden staircase that climbs to the second floor.

From here in the entrance, you don't see anyone who fits the description of Tarina.

What do you do?

@sanduke, @DreamingBlackbird, @Ilikepie, @ValkyrieRose, @Felix, @Felis
 

ValkyrieRose

Endless Witch
"Excellent job indeed, friend." Melody said, following behind Saoirse as the weaved their way through to the tavern. She looked around, keeping an eye around to find her would be... Spy, right?

She goes over to the bar and sits down, putting a few coins down. "Looking for Tarina. Got a job for her."
 

sanduke

bad luck galore
"Understood." They kept note of Tarina, rather skeptical of the reliability of this supposed spy. There's no reason a traitor can't triple-cross- better find the nest of those scoundrels quickly then... Finally, an opportunity to further quell evil they've waited for so long. And their luck as well; the malice of the Dead Three and their followers were not unknown to the churches of Tyr or Ilamatar. Destined enemies, even. Feyris was glad to know arriving at a place such as Baldur's Gate was the right choice.

Handling the badge carefully, they hesitated to put it on. Declaring alliances can be dangerous. Holding onto it for now in an easily reachable pocket, they instead turned towards their companion and noticed the others heading towards this Elfsong Tavern, they'd assume. They bowed one last time before following suit with impatient steps. "We will not disappoint, sir."

Arriving at the place, they looked around in disappointment to see no woman of Tarina's description. "I'll check upstairs." Slipping past the crowd to go up their stairs, they looked around there as well.
 

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