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Thursday, September 6, 2018

A Guide to Waterdeep: Dragon Heist

Welcome! This will hopefully be a guide that will help you, the DM, prepare to run Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.

I'll be working on this over the course of a week or two, and I'll be adding to this post every day.

You can order the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Dice right here.

Levels: This adventure is for characters who are levels 1-5. Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage is a "companion" adventure, and it will bring these characters all the way to level 20. Mad Mage comes out in November 2018.

Short Version: 500,000 gold coins are hidden somewhere in Waterdeep. The Xanathar (a beholder crime lord) and the Zhentarim (a criminal syndicate) are at odds.

Synopsis: The synopsis in the book is great. Here it is in bullet point form:
  • Lord Neverember embezzled money while he was ruling Waterdeep, but he wasn't able to extract the money before he was ousted.
  • The location of the hoard is known only to the Stone of Golorr, an item that can alter memories.
  • The vault containing the treasure is guarded by a dragon.
  • The Xanathar had the stone, but it was stolen. Xanathar thinks that the Zhentarim stole it, but it was actually stolen by a rock gnome. 
Involving the Heroes:
  • Volo, author of Volo's Guide to Monsters, asks the group to find Floon Blagmaar, a friend who disappeared.
  • Once the group investigates, they find out that he was kidnapped. The Zhentarim took him, thinking he was Neverember's son.
  • Volo rewards the group with a deed to a building! 
  • Once the group settles in to their new home, a fireball goes off nearby. Investigating reveals that Neverember's spy is now dead and someone has the Stone of Golorr in their possession!
Pick a Villain: You, the DM, need to pick a villain. Each is linked to a season.
  • Spring: The Xanathar (beholder). 
  • Summer: The Cassalanters (devil-worshiping nobles).
  • Autumn: Jarlaxle (drow swashbuckler).
  • Winter: Manshoon (founder of the Zhentarim).
Backgrounds:

Noble: If you're a noble, you might be associated with one of these:
  • House Amcathra: horse-breeders/wine-makers. Motto: "We trample our troubles."
  • House Margaster: Shippers, bulk traders. Motto: "Nothing is beyond our grasp."
  • House Phylund: Capture and sell monsters. Motto: "What you fear, we master."
  • House Rosznar: Shady smugglers trying to rebuild their reputation. Motto: "We fly high and stoop swift."
Factions

I'm going to incorporate all of the information on pages 34-40 so that it is all in one place.

You can be part of a faction, either one of the usual ones (Emerald Enclave, Harpers, Lords' Alliance, Order of the Gauntlet, Zhentarim) or one of these:
  • Bregan D'aerthe: Must be a drow. Mercenaries who work for the swashbuckling drow, Jarlaxle.
  • Force Grey: You must swear an oath to defend Waterdeep.
  • Xanathar Guild: Criminals who serve a beholder called the Xanathar.
Recruiting and Missions (page 34): Once the heroes hit level 2, factions might try to recruit heroes and give them tasks. Here's how that goes down.

Bregan Daerthe: 3 drow gunslingers (page 201) follow the group and leave them a black eye patch. The next day, good ol' J.B. Nevercott pays them a visit.

Missions:
Level 2: Steal a handkerchief from a noble.
Level 3: Tip off a gossip rag about devil..uh.. orgies.
Level 4: Guard a captive for three nights. Tons of stats for this one.
  • Ott Steeltoes (page 214, cultist stats MM pg 345)
  • Iron bands of bilarro (DMG pg 177)
  • 6 bugbears (MM pg 33)
  • 4 commoners (MM pg 345), 4 intellect devourers (MM pg 191)
  • Beholder zombie (MM pg 316)
Level 5: Go to the Xanathar's lair (page 100) and kill Nar'l Xibrindas (page 211, drow mage MM pg 129). Nar'l is in room X18, page 107.

Emerald Enclave: A white cat approaches potential recruits and invites them to meet with Melannor Fellbranch (druid, MM pg 346) at Phaulkonmere. There, Jeryth will grant members a charm of restoration (DMG pg 228).

Missions:

Level 2: Deal with 3 scarecrows (MM pg 268) terrorizing a farm.
Level 3: Patrol a graveyard and deal with 6 skeletons (MM pg 272).
Level 4: Root out doppelgangers (MM pg 82) at the Yawning Portal.
Level 5: Find and kill 2 grells (MM pg 172) in the city. Reward: Charm of heroism (DMG pg 228).

Force Grey (Gray Hands): The blackstaff, Vajra (pg 217) uses a sending spell to invite recruits to come to Blackstaff Tower.

Missions:

Level 2: Climb a mountain and meet with Hlam (page 204).
Level 3: Confront a young bronze dragon (page 108) that has been swimming in the harbor.
Level 4: Figure out what Meloon's problem is.
  • Meloon Wardragon (page 210)
  • Azuredge (page 189)
  • Intellect devourer (MM pg 191)
  • Wand of secrets (DMG page 211)
Level 5: Kill a mind flayer (MM pg 222) get some potions of resistance (DMG pg 188)

Harpers: Recruits get a message via paper bird (page 191). Mirt (page 211) is their main contact. 

Missions:

Level 2: Meet up with a talking horse (draft horse, MM pg 321) and root out Zhent operatives.
Level 3: There is a gazer (page 203) trapped in an old lady's (commoner, MM pg 345) shop.
Level 4: Recruit a gang of doppelgangers (MM pg 82).
Level 5: Infiltrate a fancy party hosted by Remallia Haventree (page 214) and root out Jarlaxle (page 206).

Lords' Alliance: Recruited by Jalester Silvermane (page 205).

Missions:

Level 2: Protect dungsweepers for ten days. Commoners (MM pg 345), carrion crawler (MM pg 37), guards (MM pg 347).
Level 3: An evil adventurer (bandit captain, MM pg 344) is recruiting kenku (MM pg 194) for the Xanathar Guild.
Level 4: Stop the Zhentarim (thugs MM pg 350) from recruiting a red wizard of thay (MM pg 347).
Level 5: Take out a Zhentarim assassin (Ziraj the hunter, page 201).

Order of the Gauntlet: Savra Belabranta (knight, MM pg 347) invites recruits to the Halls of Justice.

Missions:

Level 2: Break up a fight between Zhents and Xanathar agents (thugs, MM pg 350).
Level 3: Figure out the identity of the Black Viper (stats on page 196).
Level 4: Stop a gang (wererats, MM pg 209) from harassing an inn.
Level 5: Deal with 5 spined devils (MM pg 78) who were summoned by Gysheer Omfreys (cult fanatic, MM pg 345).

Zhentarim: Yagra (thug, MM pg 350) sends a flying snake (MM pg 322) with a message to potential recruits. The agents will report to Davil Starsong (page 199) and, later, Tashlyn Yafeera (page 200).

Missions:

Level 2: Save a drunk sailor (bandit, MM pg 343) from a drow gunslinger (page 201).
Level 3: Deliver some potions from Skeemo (page 200) to the Black Viper (page 196)
Level 4: Track down a missing noble. Wererats, MM page 209.
Level 5: Chase down and capture Skeemo (page 200). He might get to Kolat Towers (page 148).

Allies

Each hero can choose one of the following people as an ally/friend/associate. All of them hang out in the Yawning Portal (pictures of each of them are on page 221):
  • Durnan (pages 202-203): He runs the Yawning Portal, a tavern that contains an entrance to the mega-dungeon Undermountain in it.
  • Bonnie (doppleganger, MM pg 82): A friendly barmaid
  • Mattrim (bard, pg 195): A bard who has a thing for Bonnie.
  • Jalester Silvermane (pg 205): A fellow haunted by the recent death of his boyfriend.
  • Meloon Wardragon (pg 210): A legendary hero, member of Force Grey.
  • Obaya Uday (priest, MM pg 348): A priest from Chult, she is hoping to find magical treasures in Undermountain for the merchant prince, Wakanga O'tamu.
  • Yagra Stonefist (thug, MM pg 350): A half-orc who likes to arm wrestle. 
Getting Arrested

The one thing that immediately sticks out to me are the notes on characters getting arrested (see page 10 and page 222). This adventure takes place in a city, which has laws. Often, especially among newer players, the heroes end up breaking many laws in broad daylight.

Handling this as a DM can be very tricky. The session can come to a screeching halt and things can get a little weird. How lenient should you be? Are you ready to run a jailbreak by the seat of your pants?

I would say that you should warn your group before you start. Remind them that this is a city with laws, and explain how you'd handle them getting arrested. Will you hand wave it or play it through?

Chapter 1: A Friend in Need

The whole thing starts off with a bar fight. It's Krentz and 4 flunkies (bandits, MM pg 343) vs. Yagra (thug, MM pg 350). As written, Yagra is beating up Krentz but his four cronies are about to step in.

Remember that unarmed strikes do 1 bludgeoning damage, plus strength.

Round 3: Something crawls out of the well! A troll (MM pg 291) and nine stirges (MM pg 294)! Durnan (stats on page 203) fights the troll, the group fights the stirges.

Once the Battle Ends: The group meets Volo (stats on page 218). The group is hired to find Floon, who was last seen at the Skewered Dragon.

What Happened to Floon:
  • Floon met Volo at the Skewered Dragon. Drank and gambled for a few hours.
  • Volo left, and Floon hung out with Renaer Neverember. 
  • They were walking to Floon's home, and 5 Zhentarim abducted them.
  • They were interrogated in a warehouse in the Dock Ward. 
  • Agents of the Xanathar came in and killed the Zhents. 
  • In the chaos, Renaer got free and hid. The Xanathar's people took Floon, thinking that he was Renaer.
  • Floon is being guarded by kenku agents of the Xanathar, held captive in the sewers.
Searching for Floon (page 23): The search will probably progress like this:
  1. The Docks: Poking around the Docks first reveals the cops arresting some Zhents. 12 guards (MM pg 347), 3 bandits (MM pg 343). 
  2. Xoblob's: The group will see Xoblob's shop. Inside, they can learn that Xoblob (deep gnome, MM pg 164) saw Floon get abducted. One of the bad guys had the tattoo of a winged snake, symbol of the Zhentarim.
  3. The Skewered Dragon: At the Skewered Dragon, the group can learn that the abductors have been seen in a warehouse on Candle Lane. The door has the symbol of a snake on it.
  4. Candle Lane: This is it! The Zhentarim Hideout on page 24.
The Zhentarim Hideout: Basically, the group busts in and will have to deal with some kenku agents of the Xanathar. They can find Renaer and do some looting. Then, the city watch busts in and tells the heroes to leave this stuff to the cops.

(page 24) Z1. Main Room:

Points of Entry: All of the entrances lead to the same big room. Locked. DC 12 Athletics or DC 10 Dex with thieves' tools opens it. Knocking alerts the 4 kenku (MM pg 194) in room z1.

The group will find 5 dead Zhents. These kenku are agents of the Xanathar.

Kenku Speech: Remember, kenku speak only through mimicry. On page 194 of the MM, it says: "When mimicking voices, they can only repeat words and phrases they have heard, not create new sentences."

(page 25) Z2. Storage Closet: Renaer is hiding in here (his entry is on page 215, his "swashbuckler" stat block is on page 216)

(page 26) Z3. Secret Room: I don't really understand how this room looks from the outside. Doesn't it stick out? If you're walking around the outside of the building, isn't it obvious? It probably won't come up. This room leads to the upstairs rooms.

(page 26) Z4. and Z5.: There's some stuff up here!
  • 4 paintings worth 75 gp each
  • 15 trade bars worth 50 gp each.
  • Junk: Moth-eaten bolts of cloth, spoiled olive oil, soiled sandals, etc.
  • Rats (MM pg 335)
  • A paper bird (pg 191). I get a kick out of this thing.
(page 27) The Watch Arrives: Hyustus Staget and 12 veterans (MM pg 350) show up. He doesn't give the group a hard time, especially if Renaer is with them. Hyustus gives the group a copy of the code legal (page 222).

Tracking Floon

The kenku can direct the group to a manhole cover in a back alley. You could also have citizens tip the group off, but that might be a little bothersome to some players. I mean, if the group had been asking around previously, in theory they should have found out this info and they could have skipped the warehouse entirely.

The Sewers
  1. The group can follow chalk markings, each bearing the symbol of the Xanathar.
  2. After an hour of travel, the group will have to deal with a gazer (page 203), a baseball-sized beholder.
  3. They find a ladder that leads up into The Spouting Fish, a tavern.
  4. Following the markings for another 5 minutes leads to Q1 (page 29). This is a Xanathar hideout.
(page 28) Xanathar Guild Hideout

Q2. Watch Posts: Two sleeping goblins (MM pg 166).

Q5. Sleeping Area: Zemk (duergar, MM pg 122) and, if he survived the bar fight at the Yawning Portal, Krentz (bandit, MM pg 343).They are barricading the door to area Q6 because there's a gray ooze all up in there.

Q6. Lavatory: So.. we got a gray ooze (MM pg 243) in the bathroom. All sorts of fun (?) stuff you can do with this!

Q7. Boss Fight: Apprentice wizard (page 194), mind flayer (MM pg 222), intellect devourer (MM pg 191). The mind flayer will leave. If the group tries to mess with the mind flayer, it will use dominate monster (PH pg 235) WIS save DC 15, concentration up to 1 hour.

Grum'shar AC 10 HP 9 +2 to hit, 2 (1d4) damage.
  • (cantrip) Fire Bolt (PH pg 242) rg 120, +4 to hit, 1d10 fire dmg.
Level 1 Spells (2 slots)
  • Burning Hands (PH pg 220) 15-foot cone, DEX save DC 12, 3d6 fire dmg, half on successful save.
  • (reaction) Shield (PH pg 275) +5 to AC until the start of your next turn. No dmg from magic missiles.
Once per Long Rest, when reduced to 0 hit points, he drops to 1 hit point instead.

Floon: He's got one hit point left. If the group saves Floon, he hugs them.

Treasure:
  • Spell book: Burning hands (PH pg 220), disguise self (PH pg 233), false life (PH pg 239), shield (PH pg 275), unseen servant (PH pg 284), witch bolt (PH pg 289).
  • 2 potions of healing (DMG pg 188)
  • 16 gp, 82 sp, 250 cp
Q11. Back Door (pages 29-30): If someone nabs the mind flayer's portal key and uses it, they end up in X22. (page 110) in Xanathar's lair! They'll be stuck between a bunch of kuo-toa and Ahmeargo.

Q12. Hostel Cellar: Wererat (MM pg 209) Roscoe will try to scare the group off.

Roscoe Underbough AC 12 HP 27 +4/+4 to hit, 5 (d6+2) dmg/4 (d4+2) dmg and CON sv DC 11 or be cursed with wererat lycanthropy.
  • Immune: Non-magic weapons except silver.
  • Advantage: on saves vs frightened.
  • Small: Can move through the space of a Medium or larger creature.
Rewards: Volo gives the group  the deed to a historic building. The group will have tomeet with Kylynne Silmerhelve at the courthouse. She makes it official and collects a transfer tax of 25gp, which Volo will pay if he has to.

The group hits level 2!

Chapter 2: Trollskull Alley

This chapter is very wide open. The group gets their home, and then they are recruited by factions. Each faction has some mini-adventures for the group to go on. There is also a rival who wants to put the group's business out of business.

A possible pattern would be for you to run one mini-adventure, and then one of Emmek's schemes, then another mini adventure, until you run out of stuff.

It seems like this chapter is meant to take weeks, and maybe months.

Foreshadowing: It seems like a good idea to, if possible, let the group get a look at a nimblewright (page 212) - perhaps at a temple of Gond. And maybe, maybe have Dalakhar be a customer of theirs. Dalakhar gets a look at the group and realizes that he should bring the Stone of Golorr to them.

This is potentially dangerous, because if he dies, it screws up the fireball at the start of chapter 3. Maybe it's a better idea to make up a close friend of Dalakhar's? And then that close friend also dies in the fireball in chapter 3?

Renaer and Dalakhar: On page 49, it is revealed that Dalakhar is spying on Renaer. So far, in this adventure, Renaer seems to be a good NPC to use to keep the heroes on track. He's also an opportunity to keep Dalakhar close. If Renaer is near the heroes, then Dalakhar might be, too. 

The map of their new home is on page 223.

Lif: He's a specter (MM pg 279) who, at first, won't be thrilled with the heroes. As a bartender, he can be won over.

The Neighbors:
  • T2. The Bent Nail: Tally (commoner, MM pg 345) Sells wooden weapons and shields.
  • T3. Steam and Steel: Embric (bandit captain, MM pg 344) and Avi (priest, MM pg 348). They sell metal weapons and armor (PH pages 145 and 149)
  • T4. Corellon's Crown: Fala (druid, MM pg 346). Runs a greenhouse and sells potions.
  • T5. Tiger's Eye: Vincent Trench (rakshasa, MM pg 257). Private detective! Usual fee: 50 gp.
  • T6. Book Wyrm's Treasure: Rishaal (mage, mm pg 347). Bookstore. You can copy spells from spellbooks for a fee (pg 33).
  • T7. Sewer Access: It's a manhole.
Factions: The group might be recruited by factions. I wrote about all this in the above "faction" section.

Open For Business: There's a snazzy little "tavern keeping expenses" sidebar on page 41. At the end of every tenday, roll a d100+10 and check out the chart in the DMG on page 129.

Guild Representatives: If the group opens a business, they might have to deal with some guild people:
  • Broxley Fairkettle (Innkeepers): Nice guy who just wants the group to follow regulations.
  • Hammond Kraddoc (Brewers): Tries to get the group to offer different guild-endorsed drinks each month, has a scribe sidekick, and doesn't like adventurers.
  • Justyn Rassk (Butchers): Delivers chopped meat, always demands extra money, not a nice guy.
  • Ulkoria Stonemarrow (Protectors): She can scribe glyphs of warding on the group's home for a price.
Rival: Emmek Frewn runs Frewn's Brews. Volo had outbid him on the building now owned by the heroes. Emmek wants to run them out of business.He took out a loan from Istrid Horn and he will actually pay off the wererats to ruin the group's business.

Emmek has a whole bunch of schemes outlined on page 42.

Events: There are events detailed further on in the book that look like they should be used in this chapter. Check out Trolltide Slaughter on page 100. Xanathar sends monsters loose during a celebration. 

The group hits level 3!

Chapter 3: Fireball

A fireball explodes near the group's home!

This one is a bit complicated. Here it is, step-by-step.
  1. A dwarf named Dalakhar has decided to bring the Stone of Golorr to the adventurers.
  2. House Gralhund has teamed up with the Zhents.
  3. In exchange for a promised cut of the treasure hoard, they are giving shelter to some Zhent assassins, who are led by Urstul.
  4. The Gralhunds hired their own agent to keep an eye on the Zhents. 
  5. The Gralhund's agent is a nimblewright (page 212), a humanoid construct.
  6. The nimblewright used a necklace of fireballs to blow up Dalakhar just when he was nearing the group's home.
  7. The Zhents were also caught in the blast! Urstul survived, snatched the stone of Dolorr off of Dalakhar's corpse, and returned to the Gralhunds.
  8. Urstul is obviously furious, and he wants to talk to Manshoon before doing anything else. The Gralhunds are sensing that he is going to back out of their deal.
Clues: The crime scene has 11 dead bodies, one of which is Dalakhar. He's got sewer stuff on his boots, and a pouch with gems in it. Another corpse has a Zhent tattoo on it. Speaking with the witnesses is huge! The group can learn so much, and they can get their hands on a necklace of fireballs (DMG pg 182).

Speak With Dead: This spell gives the group tons of information, detailed on page 46.

Guards: After a few minutes, a whole bunch of cops show up. 12 guards (MM pg 347) and a griffon cavalry rider (page 197).

Officials: After 20 minutes, Saeth Cromley (pg 215, veteran MM pg 350) and Barnibus Blastwind (pg 195) arrive along with 20 veterans.

The House of Inspired Hands

After talking to Jezrynne Hornraven, the group might realize that the "puppet" she's talking about could be an invention from the church of Gond. At the church, the group quickly learns that a lonely nimblewright made another nimblewright, who took off into the city. The group is given a "nimblewright detector" to follow it.

Making the leap from puppet to Gond seems a little hard. I'd definitely trot out some clockwork Gond stuff in chapter 2 so that the players are up to speed and could theoretically connect these tings themselves.

Finding Nim's Creation: This could take days. If the group is affiliated with the Lords' Alliance, they could ride on a griffon (MM pg 174). They might end up finding the nimblewrights on Zardoz Zord's ships, but this is a false positive. Dinner with Zardoz is detailed on pages 48-49, and takes place in area J10. on page 134).

Zardoz: In case you're wondering, Zardoz the NPC is based on the character Sean Connery played in an old movie called Zardoz. He wears a very revealing outfit.

Renaer: Renaer can keep the group on track. It is revealed here on page 49 that Dalakhar has been spying on Renaer for months.

(page 50) Gralhund Villa

This is where the nimblewright is!

If the group goes in and makes noise, the neighbors alert the watch. A mage and 6 veterans show up.

The Nimblewright Detector: This will require a bit of finesse on your part. Make sure to keep the detections non-specific. The umbrella on the detector spins fastest at the villa, but it doesn't point to the exact location of the nimblewright. The nimblewright is meant to get away with the Stone of Golorr, so you might want to wait until the group gets involved in a crucial encounter. Before the encounter, the detector is spinning very fast. After, it's spinning slower. The nimblewright has left the premises.

G1. Locked Gates: Arcane lock PH pg 215.

G2. Yard: The balcony can get the group to G17. on page 55.
  • Hurv Taldred (cult fanatic, MM pg 345)
  • 2 mastiffs (MM pg 332)
  • 3 shadows (MM pg 269)
G3. Coach House:
  • 4 draft horses (MM pg 321)
  • Maladar, riding horse (MM pg 336)
  • Ike the stableboy (commoner, MM pg 345)
  • Horseshoes of speed (DMG pg 175) gives +30 feet to the horse's speed. That means that Malakar has a 90 speed!
G8. Great Hall: Two Zhents (thugs, MM pg 350) stand over dead bodies. The group can hear fighting upstairs, where three zhents are fighting four Gralhund guards in G13. (pages 53-54).

G10. Den and Trophy Room: Hawk (MM pg 330).

G12. Family Library: Opening the tome without Lady Gralhund's key summons 3 specters (MM pg 279) who vanish after 1 minute.

G13. Upstairs Foyer: 3 Zhents (thugs, MM pg 350) vs. 4 Gralhund guards (veterans, MM pg 350).

G15. Guest Suite: Urstul is trying to bash a door in to get at Lord Gralhund.
  • Urstul Floxin (page 216, assassin stats MM pg 343). Remember, he only has 50 hit points.
  • Orond Gralhund (pages 213-214, noble stats MM pg 348)
  • 3 Flying snakes (MM pg 322)
G16. Master Bedroom: These two are watching the battle at G13.
  • Yalah Gralhund (page 220, noble stats MM pg 348)
  • Hrabbaz (page 205)
G19. Servants' Wing: 9 commoners (MM pg 345)

Aftermath: Istrid, one of the Doom Raiders (pages 198-201), asks the group to hide her out for a while. The cops are cracking down on the Zhentarim in the wake of the deaths at Gralhund Villa.

Chapter 4: Dragon Season

Who did the nimblewright bring the Stone of Goloor to? Depends on which bad guy you want to use!

(page 57) Caught at Last: The group can resume searching for the nimblewright (stats on page 212). It is hanging out in a pile of garbage. It has given the stone away and immediately attacks the adventurers. 6 guards show up as the battle ends (veterans, MM pg 350). The guards don't make any connections here.

Encounter Chains by Villain: This chapter is a mix of encounters for different villains. I'm going to re-organize things by villain. That should make it easier for us to run without wading through all of the other stuff.

The Xanathar (Spring)

(pg 58) The Map: The name: "Grinda Garloth". The Dock Ward neighborhood of Mistshore.

(page 60) Weather: Heavy Rain: (disadvantage on Perception checks). Thick Fog: From midnight to noon, disadvantage on perception and visibility reduced to 30 feet.

A. Encounter 2 - Mistshore (page 65): The stone is brought to Grinda Garloth, who refuses to give it to the Xanathar Guild. Members of the Xanathar try to take it by force.
  • The Kraken's Folly: A beached pirate ship that is home to 4d6 bandits (MM pg 343).
  • Grinda's Residence: She's a mage MM pg 347. In a chest with a glyph of warding (PH pg 245) is a key to the Garloth family mausoleum.
  • The Apparatus: Grinda wants the group to use her apparatus of kwalish (DMG pg 151) to scour the bottom of the harbor. A giant shark (MM pg 328) might attack.
B. Encounter 4 - Mausoleum (page 69): The group learns that Grinda's rat familiar hid the stone in the City of the Dead.  The group is followed by a gazer (page 203). Before the heroes arrive, a halfling necromancer snatches the stone. At night, there's two guards (MM pg 347) guarding the gate and inside, Sir Ambrose (knight, MM pg 347) watches over things.
  • The Key: The heroes find a key made by Elaspra Ulmarr 
  • Ambush: As the group leaves the crypt, they are ambushed by 4 duergar.
  • The Key Maker: The group will need to go to Elaspra's shop and learn who she made the key for (Volkarr Kibbens, who lives in the windmill).
C. Encounter 10 - Converted Windmill (page 86): A clue leads the group to a windmill in the Southern Ward. The grave robbers here tell the group to check out a cellar complex. In W2. there are d6+1 squatters (commoners, MM pg 345).
  • Shovel-Wielding Flunkies: Volkarr and Urlaster are in W7 (commoners, MM pg 345).
  • The Necromancer: They'll surrender quickly. They say that a necromancer named Losser has the stone. Losser lives in a cellar complex...
D. Encounter 9 - Cellar Complex (page 83): The necromancer is being attacked by agents of the Xanathar. In B2., anyone immersed in sewage for a minute must make a CON save DC 11 (DMG pg 257). It takes d4 days to kick in, and the character gains a level of exhaustion and does not regain hit points from long rests. In B9b. there is a mimic (DMG pg 220).
  • Dandymops: Under a powdered wig shop called Dandymops is the lair of Losser. 
  • Break-In: Breaking in to the shop might attract the city watch (2 veterans, MM pg 350).
  • B6. has three beds.
  • B8. A kenku (MM pg 194) and the gazer (page 203) are standing over Losser's dead apprentices.
  • B10. 12 skeletons (MM pg 272) will attack the adventurers. 
  • B11. Piles of bones yet to be animated.
  • Losser Lost: When the heroes find Losser, 3 kenku (MM pg 194) are facing off with Losser and 2 skeletons (MM pg 272). 
  • The Stone Went Thataway: It turns out that Losser has already handed the stone off to two other kenku.

E. Encounter 3 - Street Chase (page 68): The adventurers chase the bad guys to the Old Tower. The kenku (MM pg 194) starts 60 feet away. This is one of those deals where the stone HAS to get away, so you might want to make the challenge here more about just keeping the kenku in view rather than catching up with it.

F. Encounter 7 - Old Tower (page 76): The heroes might be able to force the kenku to hand over the stone. In O3. this tower has treasure!
  1. Faulty wand of magic missiles (DMG pg 211).
  2. Potion of healing (DMG pg 188) mixed with a potion of flying (DMG pg 187). Potion miscibility table DMG pg 140.
  3. Cracked driftglobe (DMG pg 166)
  4. 2 paper birds (page 191).
The kenku runs inside this tower.
  • Hello, Children: The kids Nat, Jenks, and Squiddly (page 63) are here.
  • Taken: The kenku (MM pg 194) takes Squiddly hostage.
  • Avert Your Gaze: Once the group has the stone, three gazers (page 203) show up and try to snatch the stone.
G. Encounter 1 - Alley (page 61): Either the group has the stone, or the gazers snatched it. Either way, the heroes end up in an alley where more Xanathar agents have set up a final showdown.
  • Commoner MM pg 345
  • As the group avoids bear traps in the alley, they're ambushed.
  • 8 kobolds MM pg 195
  • Morga, a bugbear MM pg 33
  • 1 intellect devourer  MM pg 191
Once this is dealt with, the group has the stone! When someone attunes to it, they can sense that the entrance to the Vault of Dragons is in a theater called the Pink Flumph. 
H. Encounter 6 - Theater (page 73):The group uses the stone and finds that the entrance to the Vault of Dragons is in a theater in the Castle Ward. Lots of commoners (MM pg 345) here.
  • Harper: One actor, Yaliek Iltizmar, is a bard (page 195) and a Harper who might notice the group snooping around.
  • Crabby Owner: The owner, Iokaste (commoner, MM pg 345), has no time for the group's shenanigans.
  • Extortion: A faerie dragon (MM pg 133) named Wishes might catch on to what the group is doing here. It will demand some of the loot.
  • The Vault: The entrance is in P8. The group will probably need a knock spell (PH pg 254).
The Cassalanters (Summer)

(pg 58) The Map: The name: "Cassalanter". The City of the Dead.

(page 60) Weather: Heat Wave: During the day, heroes with no water must make a CON save DC 10 (disadvantage if wearing medium/heavy armor). Failure means they gain a level of exhaustion (PH pg 291).

A. Encounter 4 - Mausoleum (page 69): Two cultists were betrayed by their own. These traitors headed for the windmill. At night, there's two guards (MM pg 347) guarding the gate and inside, Sir Ambrose (knight, MM pg 347) watches over things.
  • Dead Cultists: Entering the Cassalanter Mausoleum, the group sees two dead cultists and another that is unconscious.
  • Betrayal: If they revive the unconscious cultist, they lear that her name is Vaelle, and that she was betrayed by her friends.
  • To The Windmill: Vaelle will tell the heroes that the traitors, Arn and Seffia, likely took the stone to the windmill.
B. Encounter 10 - Converted Windmill (page 86): The group comes here, tracking the cultists. Two spined devils snatch the stone away. In W2. there are d6+1 squatters (commoners, MM pg 345).
  • W7. Arn and Sefia are in W7. 
  • Devil May Carry: As the group explodes in, 3 spined devils (MM pg 78) come in through the window and are given the Stone of Golorr.
C. Encounter 5 - Rooftop Chase (page 72):The heroes chase the spined devils.
  • Fly Low: The devils are 100 feet away and they fly low to avoid getting the attention of the griffon riders.
  • Alley Swoop: After a quick rooftop chase (include jumping of gaps between buildings?), the devils swoop into an alley.
D. Encounter 1 - Alley (page 61): The stone is brought to a coach.
  • Carriage: The spined devils hand the stone to a bearded devil (MM pg 70), who is in a coach pulled by draft horses.
  • Imps: There are 3 invisible imps (MM pg 76) on the roof of the carriage. 
  • Doppel: Inside is Willifort Crowelle (doppelganger, MM pg 82).
  • Driver: It is driven by Haru Hamatori (commoner, MM pg 345).
  • Chase: The carriage takes off, and the group is meant to chase it.
E. Encounter 3 - Street Chase (page 68): The group chases the coach. Street urchins snatch the stone.
  • Roll Init: The hire-coach starts at 120 feet away and rolls initiative with a +0 modifier.
  • Round 3: The crowd in the street blocks the coach, so the doppelganger takes off on foot.
  • Stolen Stone: Nat, Jenks, and Squiddly steal the stone from the doppelganger and get lost in the crowd.
  • The Grate: Looking around (judging from the next section, this search should take an hour or so), the heroes realize that the kids went through an iron grate into a cellar complex...
F. Encounter 9 - Cellar Complex (page 83): The adventurers chase the kids to their hideout and get the stone. The city watch arrests the group for crimes. In B2., anyone immersed in sewage for a minute must make a CON save DC 11 (DMG pg 257). It takes d4 days to kick in, and the character gains a level of exhaustion and does not regain hit points from long rests.
  • Sewer Smell: The stench down here causes the group to be poisoned (PH pg 291) unless they have perfumed scarves.
  • B7. The stone is in hereunder a rocking chair (mimic, MM pg 220). Nat tried to attune to it and she freaked out. The kids ran to B4.
  • B4. Nat warns the adventurers that the stone is alive.
  • Busted: As the heroes emerge from the sewers, 12 watch veterans (MM pg 350) arrest the heroes.
G. Encounter 8 - Courthouse (page 80): The person in the coach tries to steal the stone back while the heroes are in court. This place has guards (MM pg 347), veterans (MM pg 350), and at least one knight (MM pg 347).
  • Habeas Corpse Us: The group is charged with disturbing the peace. If they resist arrest, they are also charged with hampering justice. 
  • Stone Stays: When arrested, the watch does not take the stone from the heroes.
  • Jail Break: The doppelganger replaces a member of the watch and tries to free the group, hoping to follow them and snatch the stone from them.
  • Judge: If the group sees through this and sticks around, they appear before the judge in d6 hours. 
  • Attunement: Once attuned to the stone, the adventurers sense that the entrance to the Vault of Dragons is in the Sea Ward.
H. Encounter 7 - Old Tower (page 76): The stone directs the group to a tower that is being renovated. O3. This tower has treasure!
  1. Faulty wand of magic missiles (DMG pg 211).
  2. Potion of healing (DMG pg 188) mixed with a potion of flying (DMG pg 187). Potion miscibility table DMG pg 140.
  3. Cracked driftglobe (DMG pg 166)
  4. 2 paper birds (page 191).
The tower is owned by Esvele Rosznar. She will want to split the money with the group. Her stats are on page 196.
  • O1. She has 4 guards (MM pg 345) in 01. 
  • O2. She's meeting with guild members to get the building up to code.
  • O5. The vault entrance is in here.
Jarlaxle (Autumn)

(pg 58) The Map: The name: "Fenerus Stormcastle". The Trades ward. Fenerus is a well-known lamplighter.

(page 61) Weather: Autumn Wind: Disadvantage on ranged attack rolls and Perception checks that require hearing. The wind extinguishes small fires.

A. Encounter 1 - Alley (page 61): The heroes look for Fenerus, whose home has been ransacked by the Xanathar guild. Laeral Silverhand herself steers the group toward the cellar complex.
  • An apple cart crashes toward the group. This is Squiddly's fault (page 63).
  • The house of Fenerus has been trashed. 
  • Laeral Silverhand herself is here. She tells the group that agents of the Xanathar have brought the stone to a cellar complex. 
  • She says that once the group has the stone, they should meet with her again at the Seven Masks theater.
B. Encounter 9 - Cellar Complex (page 83): The group finds a fake stone. In B2., anyone immersed in sewage for a minute must make a CON save DC 11 (DMG pg 257). It takes d4 days to kick in, and the character gains a level of exhaustion and does not regain hit points from long rests.
  • B5. 2 goblins
  • B6. 1 half-ogre (MM pg 238) that is poisoned (PH pg 291), disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.
  • B7. 3 duergar (MM pg 122), 1 gazer (pg 203). Thorvin Twinbeard (pg 216) works on a mechanical beholder.
  • B8. Duergar (MM pg 122), 3 kobolds (MM pg 195). Korgstrod has the stone - he doesn't know it is a fake replica. 
  • B10. Troglodytes (MM pg 290).
  • B11a.  Gibbering mouther (MM pg 157), spell scroll of darkvision (PH pg 230). 
Once the stone is obtained, it is assumed that the adventurers go to the theater to meet with Laeral Silverhand.
C. Encounter 6 - Theater (page 73): Here, Laeral meets the adventurers again. She asks them to interrogate Fenerus. Lots of commoners (MM pg 345) here.
  • Shiver Me Timbers: A theater where sailors are admitted for free!
  • Fake: Rongquan speaks to the group on behalf of Laeral. He can tell the stone is a fake and will urge the group to go talk to Fenerus and find out where he stashed the real stone.
  • Trouble: If the heroes give Rongquan trouble, 4 drow gunslingers (page 201) start gunslinging and they don't stop until someone is dead.

D. Encounter 8 - Courthouse (page 80): Fenerus wants immunity for his crimes. He knows where the stone is, and this information must be extracted from him one way or another. This place has guards (MM pg 347), veterans (MM pg 350), and at least one knight (MM pg 347).

Long Story Short: All of this section comes down to a pretty simple thing - convincing Magister Barch to help. She's got a wild talent - detect thoughts. Once she uses it on Fenerus, she can tell the group where the stone is. He hid it in a tower in the Dock Ward.

E. Encounter 7 - Old Tower (page 76): Fenerus says to check out the old tower in the Dock Ward.Agents of Jarlaxle nab the stone first and make a run for it. O3. this tower has treasure!
  1. Faulty wand of magic missiles (DMG pg 211).
  2. Potion of healing (DMG pg 188) mixed with a potion of flying (DMG pg 187). Potion miscibility table DMG pg 140.
  3. Cracked driftglobe (DMG pg 166)
  4. 2 paper birds (page 191).
The tower is under some special effects:
  • Anti-Magic: The interior of the tower is under the effects of an anti-magic field (PH pg 213).
  • S-Words: There's a bunch of inanimate flying swords (MM pg 20) in here.
  • O3. The stone was in O3., but just as the group is getting there, 3 drow gunslingers (page 201) snatch it. We're gonna have us a rooftop chase. 
F. Encounter 5 - Rooftop Chase (page 72): Our heroes chase Jarlaxle's agents.They start 40 feet away and just double move their way to Mistshore.

G. Encounter 2 - Mistshore (page 65): The heroes chase the drow to the shore. Rising up out of the water comes  a clockwork dragon turtle! The drow climb on its back. The heroes need to snatch the stone away from them.
Big Belchy AC 18 HP 75
  • (One time only) Cloud of Steam: 30-foot cube, DEX save DC 14, 22 fire dmg, half on success. 
  • Immune: Poison and psychic dmg.
  • Reduce to 0: Sinks to the bottom of Deepwater Harbor.
Once a character attunes to the stone, they can learn that the vault entrance is in an old windmill.

H. Encounter 10 - Converted Windmill (page 86): The stone directs the group to the home of a famous painter. This is where the entrance to the Vault of Dragons is.
  • Khalain: This is the home of a very bitter painter named Kalain (bard, page 195). She has the power to make her paintings animate.
  • Vhaspar: This dude rents a room. He's a priest (MM pg 348).
  • Danger: Khalain thinks the group are assassins sent from Lord Neverember, and she summons a displacer beast to kill them.
  • W4A. The vault entrance is in W4A.
Manshoon (Winter)

(pg 58) The Map: The name: "Thrakkus". A butcher shop in the Field Ward.

(page 61) Weather: Blizzard: Disadvantage on Perception checks, visibility 60 feet, extinguish small fires. Snow on the ground is difficult terrain. Extreme Cold: Those exposed to the cold must make a CON save DC 10 at the end of each encounter or gain 1 level of exhaustion (PH pg 291).

A. Encounter 10: Converted Windmill (page 86): The butcher, Thrakkus, hides the stone in a meat delivery. In W2. there are d6+1 squatters (commoners, MM pg 345).
  • Butcher: The windmill is a butchery run by Thrakkus.
  • Berserker: Thrakkus is a berserker (MM pg 344).
  • The Stone is Gone: If the group questions Thrakkus, they learn that the stone was in a meat delivery sent to Cuttle's Meat Pies. Overseeing the delivery was a fellow named Justyn Rassk.
B. Encounter 1 - Alley (page 61): If they follow the delivery cart, the group witnesses a hand-off. The Zhentarim have the stone!
  • Attack: As the group follows the trail of the meat cart, they are ambushed by 5 bugbears (MM pg 33), agents of the Xanathar.
  • Zhentarim: As the attack is underway, Avareen (spy, MM pg 349) hands the stone of Golorr to Vevette (swashbuckler page 216). Inside, Zorbog (thug, MM pg 350) is watching, while Ott Steeltoes (page 214) is tied to a chair. 
  • Run: Vevette takes to the rooftops and the group gives chase.
  • Cuttle's Meat Pies: I'm not sure exactly when the heroes are supposed to talk to her, but the owner is not fond of her Zhentarim neighbors, who reside in L1.
C. Encounter 5 - Rooftop Chase (page 72): The adventurers chase the Zhentarim on icy rooftops.
  • Start: Vevette starts 60 feet away from the group. There is a blizzard in progress. 
  • She's Getting Away: She has advantage on all rolls and is meant to get to the theater...
D. Encounter 6 - Theater (page 73): The Zhent agent hands the stone to a bard who is attending a play.
  • Tickets: Vevette has a ticket.
  • Ghost Greeter: The theater has a ghost (MM pg 147) as a greeter. He's friendly.
  • Buy A Ticker: The group will be expected to buy a ticket.
  • Hand Off: Vevette takes a seat and quielty hands the stone over to Agorn (bard, page 195) and Amath (priest, MM pg 348). 
  • Harpers: Watching from the back row is the Harper, Remalia Haventree (page 214).
  • More Chase: When the heroes catch up, Vevette runs away and the group is meant to chase her.
E. Encounter 3 - Street Chase (page 68): The heroes continue to chase the stone.
  • Start: She starts 30 feet away.
  • Caught: The group can catch her now. She does not have the stone.
  • Pick up the Trail: The heroes can learn that Agorn has the stone and is likely in Mistshore from either Vevette or Remallia.
F. Encounter 2 - Mistshore (page 65): The group loses the trail, then hears that it is in Mistshore.
  • Whoa: So... Agorn has gone home to.. smother his mother to death with a pillow. The group walks right in on it.
  • Ambushery: On their way out of the building, 9 Zhentarim thugs (MM pg 350) attack. Two harper spies (MM pg 349) might jump in to help the adventurers.
  • Where is the Stone? Questioning the driver of the carriage that brought Agorn here, the group can learn that the stone is probably with Amath, who was dropped off at an old tower.
G. Encounter 7 - Old Tower (page 76): A simulacrum of Manshoon confronts the adventurers. O3. this tower has treasure!
  1. Faulty wand of magic missiles (DMG pg 211).
  2. Potion of healing (DMG pg 188) mixed with a potion of flying (DMG pg 187). Potion miscibility table DMG pg 140.
  3. Cracked driftglobe (DMG pg 166)
  4. 2 paper birds (page 191).
03. Amath (priest, MM pg 348), 4 acolytes (MM pg 342) and 3 flying serpents (MM pg 322) are in a prayer ceremony. They've formed a circle around their prisoner, Shan Chien (commoner, MM pg 345).
  • Shan: Shan writes a broadsheet called the Targe. It deals in politics. These priests of Bane want to use him to control the flow of information.
  • The Stone: Amath has the Stone of Golorr!
  • Manshoon: As the group defeats the priests, a simulacrum (PH pg 276) of Manshoon (page 209) shows up. The group should run - it is very powerful. It will continue to hunt them. 
  • Attunement: Once a character attunes to the stone, they will learn that the entrance to the vault is in the Brandath mausoleum in the city of the dead.
H. Encounter 4: Mausoleum (page 69): With the stone, the heroes discern that the entrance to the Vault of Dragons is in the City of the Dead. At night, there's two guards (MM pg 347) guarding the gate and inside, Sir Ambrose (knight, MM pg 347) watches over things.
  • Neverember: This crypt is linked to the deceased mother of Renaer Neverember. He can get the group safely past the treant.
  • Guardian: The mausoleum is guarded by a treant (MM pg 289). It will let the group go in if Renaer is with them.
  • Trap: The first step has a glyph of warding (PH pg 245) on it.  
  • Crypt: If the group disturbs Uld's crypt, 6 crawling claws (MM pg 44) attack. There's a headband of intellect (DMG pg 173) in there.
  • Vault: The vault entrance is beneath the illusion of a collapsed passage.
Vault Keys

The heroes have found the entrance to the vault! But wait, there's more. The heroes need to find three items that act as keys to open the vault. You can choose which three keys you want to use from a list on page 90.

Finding a Key: Spend 1 day, 5 gp, and make a DC 15 Investigation check. Failing one of these checks by 5 or more means that the bad guys sends flunkies out to attack the group and steal the stone of golorr.
  • Xanathar: 5 goblins (MM pg 166) and either a bugbear (MM pg 33) or 4 wererats (MM pg 209).
  • Cassalanters: 2 imps (MM pg 76), 3 cultists (MM pg 345), and either a cult fanatic (MM pg 345) or 4 spined devils (MM pg 78).
  • Jarlaxle: 2 drow gunslingers (Page 201) and 6 drow (MM pg 128).
  • Manshoon: 4 martial arts adepts (page 209) and there is a 50% chance that either Vevette (swashbuckler page 216) or Agorn (bard, page 195) is with them.
Keys: These keys are used in V1. on page 94, there's writing on the doors and everything. Here's some quick page references:
  • Bronze Dragon Scale: Young bronze dragon (MM pg 108), apparatus of kwalish (DMG pg 151).
  • Performance of "Your Beardy Face": The jar is in C3, page 120.
  • Unicorn: "T18" is a typo. The stuffed unicorn is in C18, on page 122
Vault of Dragons

V3. Stairs and Fresco: Getting enthralled by the fresco might seem like a surefire party-splitter. Just keep in mind that all the group has to do is damage it to break the effect.

V4. Hall of Moradin: Black pudding (MM pg 241)

V5. Secret Room: Ring of warmth (DMG pg 193).

V6. Hammer and Anvil: Arcane lock (PH pg 215).

V9. Main Vault: Adult gold dragon (MM pg 114), dragonstaff of Ahghairon (page 191)

The heroes are going to have to try to convince the dragon to hand over the gold. Options:

Convince the dragon that they came on Lord Neverember's behalf: Each character in the dragon's line of sight must make a Deception check vs the dragon's Insight check (the dragon has a +8 to the roll). If one character fails, the whole group fails.

Convince the dragon that this money was stolen and should be returned to the citizens of Waterdeep: Character must make a DC 18 Persuasion check.

Intimidate checks auto-fail. All checks after this have disadvantage.

The dragon can't be charmed, as it uses its Legendary Resistance to block it. After one attempt, all future Charisma checks against the dragon have disadvantage.

Leaving the Vault: on the way out.. bad guys try to jump the adventurers.
  • Xanathar: 6 bugbears (MM pg 33) and a gazer (page 203) and either Noska (page 213, thug MM pg 350) or Nar'l (pg 211, stats drow mage MM pg 129) and his grell (MM pg 172).
  • Cassalanters: 3 cult fanatics (MM pg 345), 3 cultists (MM pg 345), and a doppelganger (MM pg 82).
  • Jarlaxle: Jarlaxle (page 206) shows up along with 3 drow gunslingers (page 201).
  • Manshoon: Manshoon's simulacrum (page 209), Agorn, Vevette, and 3 thugs (MM pg 350).
Reinforcements: If the heroes have joined factions, allies might show up to aid them in this battle:
  • Bregan D'aerthe: Jarlaxle (page 206) and 3 drow gunslingers (page 201).
  • Harpers: Mirt (page 211) and 2 swashbucklers (page 216).
  • Emerald Enclave: 3 swarms of rats (MM pg 339).
  • Force Grey: Meloon Wardragon (page 210). If the group's enemy is the Xanathar, Meloon (page 210) actually turns against the heroes.
  • Lords' Alliance: Laerel Silverhand (page 207), Jalester Silvermane (page 205), 6 veterans (MM pg 350).
  • Order of the Gauntlet: Hlam (page 204).
  • Zhentarim: The Doom Raiders (page 200). If Manshoon is the villain, Skeemo turns against the group.
Adventure Conclusion: So... what happens if the group gets the gold? It goes like this:
  1. The Harpers, Lords' Alliance and the Order of the Gauntlet ask the heroes to return the gold to Waterdeep.
  2. Laeral will let the group keep 50,000 gp.
  3. If the heroes don't return it, the group is charged with robbery. 
  4. If they try to flee the city, they are captured and imprisoned. The Happrpers and Lords' Alliance will pursue them "tirelessly". 
People will come asking for loans:
  • Emmek Frewn: He owes the Zhentarim money.
  • Davil Starsong: Actually asks to donate tot he Zhentarim.
  • Floon has gambling debt.
  • Volo wants them to fund an expedition.
  • A masked lord wants 10,000 gp and in exchange, the group will have political influence.
The heroes should be 5th level at the end of this!

Chapter 5: Spring Madness

Xanathar Lair Actions: In the beginning of this chapter, it says that we should review the "beholder's lair" section in the Monster Manual (MM pages 26-27). Xanathar has access to lair actions. It can:
  • Create difficult terrain.
  • Walls sprout grasping appendages that can grapple.
  • Form eyes on walls that shoot eye rays!
Xanathar's Stats: Xanathar is a beholder (MM pg 28). It wears three magic rings on its eyestalks:
  • Ring of Invisibility: (DMG pg 191) Xanathar becomes visible if it attacks someone.
  • Ring of Mind Shielding: (DMG pg 191) Xanathar is immune to having its mind read, alignment detected, or whether it is lying. A very cool note here is that if Xanathar dies, its soul enters the ring and can telepathically communicate with the new wearer. Maybe this Xanathar could communicate with the next Xanathar.
  • Ring of Resistance (Force): (DMG pg 192)The ring has a sapphire gem and Xanathar takes half damage from force.
X2. Watched Hall: If the group doesn't notice the scrying sensor in here, the 5 dwarves in X16 (page 106) see them and can warn the Xanathar of the intrusion.

X3. Beholder Zombie Guard: 1 beholder zombie (MM pg 316), 4 gas spores (MM pg 138).

X5. Horror's Alcove: It likely won't attack the heroes unless they damage it. Animated armor (MM pg 19).

X6. Pit of Blood and Fortune: If Xanathar is here, it is invisible.
  • Crowd: 10 bandits (MM pg 343), 5 bugbears (MM pg 33).
  • Ushers: 2 goblins (MM pg 166).
  • Fight: There is a battle going on. A minotaur (MM pg 223) is fighting Samara strongbones (spy, MM pg 349).
  • Interference: If the group jumps in, the arena spectators attack.
Blood and Fortune: On page 114, gladiatorial tournaments are described.
  • There are four teams of 3 creatures each.
  • There are 3 fights, each with a short rest between them.
  • Fights end when a team is disqualified, incapacitated, or dead.
X7. Cell Block: Prisoners:
  • Cell A: Groz (half-ogre, MM pg 238), Umpok (minotaur, MM pg 223), Charwohl (orog, MM pg 247)
  • Cell B: Xia Shung (bard, page 195), Claudio (noble, MM pg 348), Arthright (swashbuckler, page 216)
  • Cell C: Raelyn, (drow, MM pg 128), Zaibon is in X24. on page 110.
  • Cell D: Samara (spy, MM pg 349).
X8. Hall of Statues: Flutterfoot the jester (deep gnome, MM pg 164) blurps out a riddle. He has dust of disappearance (DMG pg 166).

X9. Guild Barracks: 10 extremely drunk bandits (MM pg 343).

X10. Noska's Quarters: Noska (page 213, thug MM pg 350) is either here or in the arena. His pet rust monster (MM pg 262) is in a wooden cage.

X11. Ahmaergo's Collection: So... this guy "fetishizes" minotaurs. He's got a mini maze in here that, if touched, triggers a maze spell (PH pg 258). If the stuffed minotaur is touched, a minotaur skeleton (MM pg 273) comes out of it and attacks.

X12. Ahmaergo's Quarters: It's a maze! there's a trap in it that might collapse the who thing on the heroes, doing 10 bludgeoning dmg. Treasure includes a potion of healing (DMG pg 188).

X13. Thorvin's Workshop: Thorvin Twinbeard (page 216, commoner MM pg 345) is in here building what is basically a trash compacter that can crush stone statues. He's got an albino gazer (page 203) sidekick.

X16. Panopticus Guard Station:These apprentice wizards (page 194) sleep with one eye open and their brains are half-on.. They can scry into some key rooms:
  • X2. (page 102)The entrance hall
  • X6. (pages 102-103) The arena
  • X23. (page 110) A slimy room with kuo-toa in it.
  • X28. (pages 111-112) Where the bandits are celebrating the capture of a watch captain.
  • X32.(page 112) Stairs.
X17. Promenade: Ahmaergo (page 193) is in here doing an inspection.

X18. Audience Chamber: The Xanathar (page 220) is in here giving a speech as a psychedilic light display fills the room. Listening to this are 12 bandits (MM pg 343), 2 duergar (MM pg 122), Nar'l Xibrindas (drow mage, MM pg 129) and his grell bodyguard (MM pg 172).

X19. Xanathar's Sanctum: This room is a big deal!
  • Spores: Cause short term madness (roll on the chart on DMG pg 259).
  • Ott Steeltoes: He's crazy. Stats page 214, cultist MM pg 345.
  • Chest: In the big fishbowl is a chest. among the gemstones is the stone of golorr (page 192).
  • Abduct or Kill Sylgar: If the group messes with the fish, it says on page 100 that Xanathar will become enraged. The beholder will start killing random minions.

X20. Dream Nullifier:This thing stops the Xanathar from dreaming another beholder into existence.

X23. Antechamber of Madness: The floor is difficult terrain, and there are kuo-toa servants of the mindflayer in here. 1 kuo-toa whip (MM pg 200), 6 kuo-toa (MM pg 199).

X24. Extraction Chamber: There's a drow (MM pg 128) prisoner in here. The mind flayer (MM pg 222) is getting to ready to use an intellect devourer (MM pg 191) on it.

X25. Food For Thought: There are 2 commoners (MM pg 345) in here. The mind flayer is planning on eating their brains. One is catatonic, the other is a raving lunatic.

X26. Devourer Spawning Pool: This is where the mind flayer (MM pg 222) turns brains into intellect devourers (MM pg 191). There ore four of them in here!

X27. Prison: The bad guys have captured Hyustus (veteran, MM pg 350), a member of the city watch. The kuo-toa have a statue to a god they made up named Garshoogah.

X28. Guild Recreation Hall: 10 bandits (MM pg 343), 2 goblins (MM pg 166). They are celebrating the capture of Hyustus, who is held in room x27.

X30. Xanathar's Gourmet Kitchen: 7 kobolds (MM pg 195) and 2 gazers (page 203) cook up fine gourmet meals for the beholder.

X31. The Other Kitchen: In this kitchen, Bepis Honeymaker (commoner, MM pg 345) is happy to see the group. He thinks they are here to relieve him of his duties.

X33. Crypt of Xanathars Past: What a great room. 1d4 gas spores (MM pg 138) might appear.

X34. Wizard Tombs: Eyes of charming (DMG pg 168).

X35. Nar'l Xibrindas's Office: In here, the group can grab Nar'l's spellbook and a bag of holding (DMG pg 153).

X36. Secret Room: 20 kegs of smokepowder (page 192). Only Thorvin Twinbeard (page 216) knows about this room.

Trolltide Slaughter: When are you supposed to run this? It seems like this fits in Chapter 2. Xanathar unleashes blind trolls during trolltide. The heroes help the guards fend them off. Veterans (MM pg 350), Troll (MM pg 291). Remember, blinded means attack rolls against the blind creature have advantage, and its attacks have disadvantage.

Chapter 6: Hell of a Summer






Thursday, August 23, 2018

Rivals of Waterdeep Episode 9

By Dylan Ramsey

You can watch this episode on Youtube.

Carlos Luna - Dungeon Master

(Surena Marie) Ashbourne - Half-Elf Ranger
(Cicero Holmes) Perrin - Halfling Bard
(Tanya DePass) Selise - Human Paladin of Tyr
(Shareef Jackson) Shaka - Tiefling Warlock
(Brandon Stennis) Rinn - High Elf Sorcerer

The party are headed to the Zhentarim safehouse. They can run the seawall, use a passage between the cliffs, or a tunnel under the city that is marked with the Xanathar’s emblem. Rinn asks Ziraj what he knows about the tunnel, and the half-orc admits that he and Levant never used them, since the Xanathar’s goons use the sewers to travel beneath Waterdeep--that’s why Ziraj haunted the rooftops. Duo the kobold says that he always used the tunnels, and they were pretty great in his opinion.

When Selise points out that she doesn’t have her armor, Ziraj notes that if they use the passage between the cliffs, they might have time to stop by the Jade Rose and grab the party’s stuff before the Watch confiscates it. They decide to go that way. Ashbourne drops some items and creates tracks around the entrance to the tunnel to make it look like they went down that way.

They navigate the passage between the cliffs. It looks like a place that locals who can’t afford or wouldn’t be allowed in the amphitheater would come so they could still hear any performances. Shaka peers through a crack to see guards setting up around the area to try and head the party off. Perrin starts talking through the mindworms with Ash, Nocnoc, and Shaka, planning to take a closer look. Rinn gets jealous and really wants a worm of his own. Selise tells him he’s made enough bad decisions for today.

Perrin sneaks into some bushes around the crack, and overhears two guards talking. One of them is complaining about the orders they have, because he knows about the passage between the cliffs and thinks they should be checking there, but the command is busy sending their men north. Perrin casts ‘Suggestion’ on the suspicious guard and convinces him that the passage wasn’t the escape route they used and to keep quiet about it. The guards form up and march away.

The party slip out of the crack and try their best to blend into a crowd of people exiting the amphitheater. Shaka goes up to a tiefling teacher named Robby Jellymint who is very excited because he snuck into the show and had the time of his life despite the insanity. They decide to get a drink together. Robby sounds exactly like Carlos’s tiefling sorcerer, Gilf, from the Dungeon Rats. GOOD. STUFF.


Ashbourne pays some beggars and gets them to start performing a song and dance very loudly, drawing some attention away from the party as they sneak through. Since Perrin is famous now, he rolls with disadvantage, but he makes it after using ‘Vicious Mockery’ to distract the guard he used ‘Suggestion’ on earlier, completely destroying his self-esteem. Rinn and Selise have Lavant’s blood on them, and are able to slip through by pretending to be performers. Really BAD performers, but performers all the same.

At the bar, Robby is coming over with beers to the table where Shaka is at when the rest of the party arrive outside. Ashbourne bursts in and shouts, “DAD! The chickens are loose!” at Shaka, who excuses himself to rejoin the rest of the party. Robby sadly drinks alone.

While headed through an alley, an intellect devourer leaps from the shadows and latches onto Shaka’s leg. He screams in pain as it assaults his body and mind, he uses ‘Hellish Rebuke’ and sets both it and his own leg on fire! His companions are able to yank the creature off. Perrin stabs it with his rapier, and Ash runs in to slice it in half. Shaka asks to be healed, and Perrin, Ash, and Nocnoc realize that the warlock’s mindworm was slain by the intellect devourer’s attack. Selise heals him.

Freaked out by that business, the party reach the Jade Rose. Duo scouts ahead, and tells them that there are guards inside. Mayor Melonie (I’ve been calling her ‘Melody’ all this time, and I feel like a dork--I thought for sure that was her name, I swear!) says through the mindworms that she moved their stuff out around back, but warns them to get out of here as soon as possible.

Ziraj says that the Zhentarim safehouse is about an hour south from here as they depart. That's where we end it.

Here's a clip of Shaka getting out of the bar with Ash's help:
https://clips.twitch.tv/DeliciousSpeedyMonkeyMcaT

Rivals of Waterdeep Episode 8

By Dylan Ramsey

Carlos is Dungeon Mastering today--awesome! Always love to see someone I haven’t watched run a game before. You can watch this episode on Youtube.

Carlos Luna - Dungeon Master

(Surena Marie) Ashbourne - Half-Elf Ranger
(Carlos Luna) Nocnoc - Half-Orc Fighter

(Cicero Holmes) Perrin - Halfling Bard
(Tanya DePass) Selise - Human Paladin of Tyr
(Shareef Jackson) Shaka - Tiefling Warlock
(Brandon Stennis) Rinn - High Elf Sorcerer

Time slows down as the arrow that Ziraj shot at Ashbourne last time flies to meet its mark. Nocnoc yells, “KILL SHOT!” But it’s too late, the arrow strikes home before anyone can stop it, and she thinks,

“Mother... mother, I’ve failed you.”

She closes her eyes and feels a pressure slam into her shoulder, but... it doesn’t feel painful. She wonders if this is what death is like. Rinn sees something else however, a red blur leap in front of Ashbourne--it’s a kobold... the middle one. The pressure was the kobold’s body crashing into her after leaping in front of the arrow so it hit him instead.

Ashbourne goes over and craddles the middle kobold. Perrin’s charm spell wore off and the other two kobolds left, but the middle kobold, Duo... he stayed. The arrow pierced straight through him, and he’s bleeding out. Duo says that he’s never been a hero before... Ash removes the arrow and casts ‘Cure Wounds’, saving him! Made me tear up there--great opening to an episode. Well done!


When everyone turns from this scene, they spot Ziraj and Lavant, the tiefling woman with the eyepatch, standing together. Shaka tries to reason with the half-orc, clarifying that they are not friends of the Xanathar whatsoever! Ziraj points his bow at Ashbourne again and says that he knows that they aren’t friends of the crime lord, but the Xanathar wants “the girl with the claw” (if you remember, Ash has an enormous golden claw in place of one of her arms), for what purpose, Ziraj does not know, but he WON’T let the beholder get what he wants. Selise steps in front of Ash to shield her, and Rinn stands beside her--”You’re not taking my sister.”

Ziraj reveals that he works for the Zhentarim, the rivals of the Xanathar’s Guild. Lavant the tiefling keeps leaning in and whispering into his ear. Shaka turns to question her, and Lavant explains that Ziraj wasn’t firing at her to try and kill her, this whole thing--Shaka spotting Ziraj on the rooftop and finding the flyer that led them to this auction--it was all a setup to get them here, to lure out Ashbourne. Her and the kaleidoscope were both bait. Shaka is impressed.

The party want to forge an alliance with Ziraj, and reveal to him that they came to Waterdeep to rescue the people of Nightstone who were trapped by Graz’zt. That’s why they can’t just leave. They NEED the hoard of golden dragons that supposedly lies below the city. Ziraj is convinced to introduce them to the Zhents for safety’s sake. Selise is concerned because she’s a paladin of Tyr, and asks if she can get black armor if she joins. The answer?YES!



The amphitheater has cleared out from the commotion, when they hear a clap coming from the stage. A man in a blue uniform steps out of the shadows. He points out that he’s fine with the gangs fighting and killing each other out in the backstreets--it’s when they bring their problem here, to the houses of good people like the Cassalanters that it becomes an issue. He starts insulting everyone in the party and Selise begins to march towards him angrily. Ziraj puts his hand on her shoulder and whispers that this man is the Captain of the Watch, and that they’re currently surrounded by over one hundred armed guards.

Making a run for it, the party are able to escape up a stairway and onto the roof. They scale the cliff to the sea far below. Lavant stays behind to hold off the guards if they break through before the party make it all the way down the rope. Some archers notice the very shiny Rinn as he loses his grip for a moment. Selise catches him, but the archers open fire. Ziraj fires back. Everyone reaches the bottom except for Selise and Rinn, who feel the rope get wet and begin to unwind in their hands. They slide the rest of the way down, and get rope-burn! Ash and Shaka see with their darkvision that their companions aren’t wet with water--but with blood. Lavant’s blood.

Ziraj is shell-shocked. Shaka gives him a comforting hug. Ziraj is staring at the seawall, which is covered in centuries worth of graffiti--the history of gangs come and gone, of forgotten loves and silly jokes, the history of Waterdeep and her people... even those who the leaders and lords would rather not be remembered. The party empathize with Ziraj’s loss, they’ve all lost people close to them--”it’s a pain that hurts, and will never stop hurting.”

They depart for the Zhentarim safehouse.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Rivals of Waterdeep Episode 7


By Dylan Ramsey

The whole group is back! You can watch this episode on Youtube.

Aram Vartian - Dungeon Master

(Surena Marie) Ashbourne - Half-Elf Ranger
(Carlos Luna) Nocnoc - Half-Orc Fighter
(Cicero Holmes) Perrin - Halfling Bard
(Tanya DePass) Selise - Human Paladin of Tyr
(Shareef Jackson) Shaka - Tiefling Warlock
(Brandon Stennis) Rinn - High Elf Sorcerer

After having broken-off to find Rinn, Selise stumbles across Kelm the urchin boy. Kelm says that his job is to make sure that everything on the street works, and the party keep messing things up, so the sooner he can help her and get her out of here, the better. She grabs him, and Kelm points her to an exclusive club where Rinn went on his date with Zayor.

Rinn and Zayor are inside, and are the only people sitting in the VIP section. Zayor says that their next stop is the Grand Showcase. The auction there (where the mysterious kaleidoscope the rest of the party heard about is being sold) is collecting funds to maintain and restore the giant statue guardians that defend Waterdeep. Their glass table suddenly glows green as they get a call from the bouncer outside--Selise is looking for Rinn. She is very disapproving mom about the whole thing when she overhears the waiter say that Rinn has gone through “two beers in ten minutes”.

Carlos and Tanya improv the small-talk between Selise and the bouncer as they’re waiting for Rinn and Zayor. The bouncer notices she hasn’t even tapped her foot to the music coming from inside.

“They trained the rhythm out of me.”

Back at the party, Nocnoc and Shaka. Shaka spots the host for this evening--a dark-haired woman in a white dress decorated in scales with a dragon mask. She tells them that the kaleidoscope is from the time before the city, when the dwarves were first digging under Mount Waterdeep.

Chips ruffles as he lays in Ashbourne’s bag as the two silvery-masked women turn and disappear into the crowd. The fox bounds after them, darting between legs and under dresses. Ash rolls a NAT 20! She finds the women and notices that they have armor, battle scars, and swords under their costumes--the scent that she catches is familiar... it reminds her of the young lord who attacked them after they left Nightstone. They are Melra & Larla, and she overhears that they are the mothers of the lord and his brother, here to exact revenge.

Perrin commands his charmed kobolds to follow after the women. Before they go, one of them acts as a taste-tester for a meal being brought to Perrin and keels over dead--poison! Melra & Larla wanted him to “Perish... Unfitly? I’m saving them for the show.”

While Nocnoc and Shaka freak out about the poison (having heard about it through the mindworm connection), they are approached by a disguised Devonia, Graz’zt’s cambion daughter. She evidently has some time off and is here to enjoy herself.

Selise and Rinn arrive alongside Zayor in a carriage themed half-black/half-white like a chessboard. Zayor gets caught-up in some “high-society bullshit” while the paladin and sorcerer head inside. They see Ash slapping food out of people’s hands, and reunite with the rest of the party. When Selise hears about everything that’s happened since she left, she is flabbergasted.

“I may be a paladin, but you people make me drink!”

Perrin’s performance is about to begin, and he really isn’t worried about an assassination attempt, because they already tried and failed. The three kobolds watching Melra & Larla are stacked up in a lady’s coat like kids trying to sneak into a movie theater, and Nocnoc sidles up next to them like they’re his date. He gives the Middle Kobold a pep-talk. When they turn back, the women are gone! Shaka tries to find them and sees a magical shimmer amid the crowd, and believes that they are using magic to move around the party invisibly.

Lady Amalia Cassalanter comes up onto the stage and introduces Nicholas Fernsberry and Perrin Underbough, noting that the auction will be wrapping up at the end of the performance. Perrin leaps from platform to platform up a staircase, each lighting up as he plays his drums like a lightning bolt. He tells a tale of rising above your station. Puppets act out his tale to the side, controlled by Nicholas using magical runesticks. A projection of the world appears behind Perrin as he gives a closing speech,

“The world is yours if you work for it. The world is yours if you go for it. The world is yours if you believe it.”

BA-BOOM! The crowd goes wild. The hairs on the back of Ash’s neck stand up. One of the ropes up above is cut and a sandbag comes flying towards Perrin! Nocnoc is able to fling his Humming Bird arrow and impale the bag RIGHT before it hits the bard. The bag is yanked to the side and brushes against Perrin’s face. There is a yell and a boom as one of the masked mothers leaps from the stage rigging, sword drawn, coming towards Perrin!

Perrin stomps on the ground as he casts ‘Shatter’ to try and blow the woman away, but the other mother appears with a magical shield in front of her, and they withstand the blast. Selise charges in from the front row and tries to cast ‘Hold Person’ on the shield-bearer, but she resists. People in the crowd start to realize what’s going on as weapons fly and blood spills, and they run, screaming.

Nocnoc asks the Middle Kobold if he wants to be a hero, and they start making their way towards the stage. Nocnoc’s arrow and the kobold’s throwing dagger both strike--thwoom, thwoom! Shaka fires off a pair of ‘Eldritch Blasts’ at the same woman, but only one hits. The shield-bearer furiously deflects the second, and the blast hits Nocnoc instead! She goes to her wounded wife and they both disappear.

In all the commotion, Ashbourne notices a woman with a package under her arm running from the building where the auction was being held as arrows are fired at her from the rooftops of this palatial compound by Ziraj!

Nocnoc action surges and goes for the running woman (who Aram calls “Lavant”) alongside Ashbourne. Shaka fires an ‘Eldritch Blast’ in front of her feet with a NAT 20 and knocks her onto the ground! Her mask tumbles off, and a sapphire eyepatch falls off from her face. Nocnoc brings down his Dragon Fang into her shoulder as she scrambles back to her feet. Ziraj fires his bow at Ashbourne...!

That’s where they call it!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Hell's Belles Episode 7



They are playing through a classic Planescape adventure, The Great Modron March, converted to 5th edition.

The Party

DM Mazz

(Shauna) Levity - Tiefling Monk linked to Glasya
(Chloe Christine) Lyra - Tiefling Paladin
(Hadeel) Miga - Tiefling Rogue an urchin who lives by the sea
(Lysa Chen) Mercy - Tiefling Shadow sorcerer from Ravenloft
(TK Johnson) Gille - Tiefling Paladin
(Holly Conrad) Durge - Tiefling Bard college of whispers, member of the Dustmen

The group is now level 6. They appear in Sylvania, a planar party town. There is a giant table of food and drinks that moves of its own accord. There's a tower of skulls, an inn shaped like a dragon head that dips in to water to "take a sip".

For Mercy, this is like a horror movie. The confetti, the popping.

The modrons begin marching through the town. The people of the town are painting and decorating them, including S3-4N.

Their friend Chastity spots them. She explains that this happens every time the modron march comes through.

Pentar is in rat form somewhere (Kayle was having internet issues and can't make the game).

Levity brings the group to the dragon inn. Mery spends the night sweeping confetti. Miga wants to jump in the pile.

There's a dwarf and a really drunk bauriar. An individual staggers into the bar. Instead of a hand, it has a modron claw. It's got metal plates on it.

Miga rolls a total of 28. She uses her scorpion tail flail and attacks the hybrid monstrosity.

Lyra realizes that this creature is chastity, with modron parts surgically added to her body.

Mercy summons a shadow wolf. During the casting, the group sees the marks of Tenebrous on her.

Miga hides in a pile of confetti. S3-4N helps out by adding more confetti to the pile.

The group subdues Chastity.

Mercy backs into a corner. The wolf walks up to her, and connects to her shadow. Mercy screams until it fades away.

S3-4N tells Miga that it's defeated. Miga pops out of the confetti pile. She takes several handfuls of confetti and adds it to her inventory. S3-4N is loaded up with confetti.

The group examines Chastity. She wakes up, and stares. She doesn't seem to recognize the group. Her memories have been removed, apparently.

Chastity has been restrained using the immovable rod. The group tells the barkeep not to press the button on the rod, or everyone will die.

The heroes do some exploring. They head into the woods, following Chastity's trail. They spot two individuals in black.

The thugs are actually pretty nice. They lead the group to a torture facility. The heroes explore it and come upon a room where they see a mad scientist. Mercy hangs back in the foyer. She sneaks around.

Mercy finds blueprints and a journal full of notes. She rushes to find the group.

Miga, Lyra and S3-4N stay outside, looking around, ready to act if they hear screams.

The mad scientist is always looking for people to use for experiments. Durge asks if he's looking for an apprentice. He says he had an apprentice but she left. Her name was Nyssa.

He's trying to fuse modrons and humans to make the perfect creature.

Mercy creeps around some more. She uses disguise self to look like one of the thugs. She checks some rooms. She hears clanking and whirring, and she smells modron blood. There are cages. In them are 5 modrons with parts missing. In another cage, there are tridrones missing hands and plates.

In another room are people, huddled in terror. They're afraid Mercy is going to take them. The captives are of many races - human, githzerai, and bariaur.

The group goes to another room where there are sensory stones, magic memory containers. Levity and Durge jump the mad scientist. Durge blinds the scientist and then she stabs him.

The scientist teleports away (or becomes invisible). Durge thunderwaves the place, cracking plinths and trashing the place.

Mercy breaks the cages open. She frees them and leads them out of the building. They immediately starts heading back to the march. Miga throws confetti and cheers the rescue.

Durge touches one of the sensory stones. She experiences the memories of someone's happy childhood. Gille touches one, and experiences what it's like to be a miserable drunk. Levity touches one, and she experiences the memories of... Chastity. Levity pockets it.

Gille sets fire to the place. Levity loots as many sensory stones as she can. Gille stands and stares. Then, once she leaves, he burns that room, too.

As the group watches the place burns, Lyra swears that she will destroy all of the knights of the tachyrym.

Miga worries that she started the fire with her wand and she tries to apologize. She gives the wand to Lyra. Lyra tells her it wasn't her fault and gives Miga the wand back.

Gille watches the fire and thinks it's beautiful. He weeps.