Tyranny of Dragons was the first full D&D 5e campaign I ran, starting back in 2015. Here’s the write up from the 10th session in which the party arrived in Waterdeep and took an impromptu trip into Undermountain. As with earlier sessions, my library of AD&D and 3rd edition Forgotten Realms boxed sets and supplements came in handy for fleshing out the City of Splendours.
Begin here with Session 1 – Greenest in Flames.
6th Eleasias, 1490 DR
The caravan arrives in Waterdeep and each merchant goes their separate ways. The cult wagons head north through the city on the High Road. Turin follows invisibly while the others find a place to store their wagon and trade goods and get rooms at the Galloping Minotaur Inn in the North Ward. Gwastdyn insists on seeing his room first to make sure it lives up to his high standards of cleanliness.
Meanwhile Turin has followed the cultist wagons to a compound in the Field Ward belonging to the High Road Charter Company. Jamna Gleamsilver appears, as if from nowhere. The gnome has also been following the wagons – she says she will keep an eye on them overnight, and suggests the characters meet her here in the morning.
Gwastdyn receives a message from Leosin Erlanthar delivered by a talking blue jay, asking for a meeting at the Shrines of Nature in the Sea Ward. He meets Leosin there, gives the Harper an update on the party’s progress since Elturel, and learns that Rezmir was seen heading north a tenday ago with an escort of a dozen mounted guards. Leosin gives the dwarf a Harper magic item – a wandering star.
Crake heads to the Yawning Portal in the Castle Ward where he meets Duromil “the Fearless”, a former member of Crozier’s gang. Duromil saw Talis a couple of months ago when she passed through Waterdeep. She was wearing fancy-looking white scale mail and boasted that the new group she was working with were “really going places”. She claimed to be a “Wearer of Purple” and would soon be able to join the “inner circle”. While the pair are talking a group of adventurers are lowered into Undermountain. Soon afterwards there are sounds of combat and screams. Durnan the Sixth offers Crake a free trip down the well, as well as food, drinks and rooms for the night, if he and his companions can deal with whomever or whatever is preying on expeditions entering the dungeon.
Rosie goes to the Thirsty Sailor, one of her old haunts in the Dock Ward and meets with the dwarven fence Stumpy Joe. Over several flagons of grog she learns that the Merman’s Cock was in Waterdeep a month ago and unloaded crates of plunder which were transported north through the city. Several of the ship’s crew went with them, including Maelgot and Sorvic, ring-leaders of the mutiny against Captain Anya Ogre-Teeth. They were sporting fancy new scabbards for their cutlasses. The ship left without them. Rosie sells Joe the gold candlestick she stole from the church in Greenest.
After talking to Jamna, Turin wanders back to the Dock Ward to meet the others at the Blushing Mermaid as planned. He takes a wrong turn following Rosie’s confusing directions and ends up in a dingy alley where two street thugs try to rob him. The elf makes short work of one with dissonant whispers; the other runs off. Turin heals his wounds and meets Ug outside the Mermaid. Deciding it’s not their kind of drinking establishment, they go back to the Galloping Minotaur to meet the others.
Reunited at the inn, the characters share what they’ve learned, then go to the Yawning Portal. They start placing bets on themselves to survive their trip into Undermountain at great odds with a halfling but Rosie’s notorious reputation scares the bookie when she tells him who she is, and all bets are off!
Durnan lowers the party down into the entry well where they find the bodies of three adventurers. Heading west, they battle a pack of gnolls in the Hall of Broken Pillars. Rosie’s new spell hunger of Hadar is very effective, and the characters are able to defeat the foul humanoids without too much trouble and rescue three survivors from the adventuring band. Gwastdyn spots Rosie trying to pocket some loot and calls her on it.
Despite Gwastdyn’s insistance that the party need to be up at 6am in the morning, Rosie decides to visit a Zhentarim address on Manysteps Alley and asks the others to come with her. Ug gives a blind fortune-teller in the alley a platinum piece to tell him his fortune. He is told to “Beware the Weed That Walks”. She speaks of “thieves in the night” for Gwastdyn, while Rosie is told “you will get your revenge soon”.
Rosie knocks on the blue door and gives the code phrase, “I’m here to join the expedition”. The door opens to a warehouse full of dangerous-looking armed men and crates of trade goods. Unfortunately, the warlock gets off on the wrong foot with the men inside, first disrespecting their swarthy leader, calling him “the doorman”, and then refusing to leave. Even two nasty stab wounds don’t shut her up – she is still shooting her mouth off as she backs away. She makes it out the door with a crossbow bolt sticking out of her thigh, her reputation with the Zhentarim in tatters. At this point, the party decide to call it a day and head back to the Galloping Minotaur to sleep.
Early in the morning the party meet Jamna close to the High Road Charter Company compound in the Field Ward. She tells them that the cultists will be leaving tomorrow morning for a works camp on the road to Neverwinter. The gnome advises the adventurers to hire on with Ardred Briferhew as guards.
Turin and Gwastdyn visit New Olamn College on Mount Waterdeep and meet the Harper and Magnus Alumnae Boondoor Evenmist. Turin finds out more information about the Mac-Fuirmidh school and his cittern. He purchases the sheet music to the fog cloud spell. Both spend time in the college’s library researching Naerytar. They learn it’s a ruined castle in the Mere of Dead Men, built by a half-elf wizard over 100 years ago. After it became cut off by the swamp, it was abandoned until it was claimed by a group of astrologers called the Academy of Stargazers. They built an observatory at the top of the keep before they vanished mysteriously. The Mere of Dead Men is home to Voaraghamanthar, a powerful black dragon.
Rosie and Crake visit Serpentil’s Books and Folios on Book Street. The warlock purchases a book called “On Liches and their Kynde” which contains information on Sekharet the Undying, her dark patron. Crake isn’t much of reader and buys nothing. Afterwards the pair sell the party’s trade goods at 100% profit in the market and pocket the difference.
Ug goes to the House of Wonder in the Sea Ward to find out about joining the Knights of Mystic Fire. He speaks to Dweomerkeeper Ilbrost Mythyl and the paladin Jelkar Feldspear – both are confused as to why a paladin of Ilmater wants to switch deities. Jelkar tells Ug he must swear devotion to the Mother of All Magic, and complete a quest to recover an item of ancient or lost magic for the temple. The half-orc says he doesn’t think it will take him long and he’ll be back “in an hour or two”.
With their business in Waterdeep complete, the characters hire on as guards with the High Road Charter Company and get ready to leave in the morning. That night Rosie visits the Blushing Mermaid, using disguise self to appear as the Zhent “door keeper”, hires the most indiscreet prostitute on their books, and confesses to a diaper fetish.
The party and Jamna join the supply convoy heading north. It’s fair to say the cultists aren’t pleased to see the adventurers again.
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Tiamat image by Michael Komarck