As the party awakes from a comfy night sleep, they all meet outside, where Jappa is quite literally coming out his shell. Jeff, eager for some kind of adventure, heads back to the barkeep to find out where they can get information on such an ordeal.
The hostility of the town gives extra little challenges, and I think it's really useful and fun to see how different characters overcome these challenges. Definitely helps to get into the mood of the town.
"Well, I dunno of any 'quests' as such. Best bet for quests is to ask the town master, not that I've heard of anything recently." She glances around the bar and leans into Jeff. "Cause you put on a good show for me last night, I did hear a rumour. Them folks at that Lionshield Coster place, The Lion Share, got robbed the other night hardly surprised though, not popular people around here," she whispers.
"Why is that? Are they bad people or something?" Jeff enquirers.
"They just turned up one day and set up shop!" her voice becoming more raised, "The farmers and smithies work so hard around here, just for the Lionshield to turn up and take all the business away from our local business!"
"Well, that seems strange. Could you direct us to their place?" She heads outside with Jeff and points the party in the right direction, east back towards the main town. Following Jeff, the group makes the short journey to the Lions Share. The outside of the building is unlike the others. The bricks are cleaned, the sign freshly painted and the door shiny and new. They step inside, giving their eyes a moment to adjust. The walls and shelves and stacked with a myriad of traveller's gear of all styles, and many pieces include the familiar adornment of the Golden Lion. Behind the counter is a smiling human man with dark hair and tanned skin.
"Hello!" he bellows at the party, "How can I help you this fine morning? Are you looking for some adventuring gear? You look like the adventuring types!".
"Erm, hi" Guts responds, "We're not here to buy, unfortunately, not yet at least! We have heard some rumours there was a break in here recently?". The energy of the flamboyant shopkeeper is instantly drained, and a look of remorse replaces the over-the-top enthusiasm momentarily, before the energy returns and he becomes animated once again.
I've been trying to get across the point that these are characters and not just plot and quest fodder, but my acting leaves something to be desired, so I find lots of description helps that without my poor acting ruining the flow.
"Hmmm yeah, a few days ago, but nothing was stolen from the store, so we are still running as normal!" A tinge of sadness can be heard in his voice.
"What happened then?" Cheddar pipes up.
"Someone broke into the upper floor, scaled the building. They stole some family heirlooms and coin. The coin we can make back but..." he trails off.
"We can get it back for you!" Jeff shouts, seemingly matching the energy of the shopkeeper. "We were looking for an adventure anyway. Do you have any more information?"
"We do have some gear, the stuff they used to break in, let me go get it for you" the shopkeeper runs out back to grab the items in question. Moments later he is back with a grappling hook and a harness. "Here you go," he says, handing over the items to Jeff. "They were left just on the inside of the window, if you think they'll help you find the culprit, please take them! I suggest maybe talking to the smithies and Orthovir, the harness maker, I would but..." he trails off.
"Don't you worry," Jeff says, handing off the hook and harness to Cheddar who ties them to his backpack, "we'll catch them for you", as he heads back out the door into the open street. Without even waiting for the others, he starts off again, seeming in a random direction. Guthra frowns and follows the directions of the shopkeeper, heading to the smithies, and Cheddar follows. The rest of the party follow Jeff, persuaded by his confidence.
Jeff has the WORST sense of direction, and to RP it the player rolls a d8 and follows the direction it takes him. I still don't think anyone else has realised yet.
The first place Guthra and Cheddar head too is Harriet, one of the two smithies of the town. They discover that the grappling hook wasn't made by her, and was most likely crafted by her competitor come friend Ghelryn, just across the way. Before parting ways with her she sells a rusty pair of handcuffs to Cheddar, discounted due to the missing key.
Meanwhile, Jeff and the rest of the group are headed in a seemingly random direction. When they reach their "intended" destination, they find themselves in a yard, where the stablemaster is tending to his horses. After a brief discussion, they discover they are in the completely wrong part of town, and Garrick takes over directing. As they're walking up the long road towards the harness maker Orthovir, they spot the other two, Cheddar and Guthra, crossing the road and heading into a shop.
As Cheddar and Guthra step into the building, they are met with the roaring hello of a boisterous dwarf.
"Hello, friends! My name is Ghelryn! Feel free to have a look at my wares, if there is anything I don't have I can make it for you!" he bellows.
Guthra frowns at the overzealous salesman. "Hi, we were wondering if you sell any..." Cheddar butts in mid-sentence.
"We are avid climbers you see, and we need some climbing gear, you have any grappling hooks?"
"Grappling hooks ya say? Let me have a look," as he starts moving across the room and inspecting the crates of metalwork. "Hmmm, I think I sold me last hook no long ago, I can make you some if you're staying in town for long?"
The Tabaxi and Human share a glance. "Well, we needed them today really, moving on," Cheddar says. "Don't suppose you could tell us who you sold it too, so we can see if we could hire it from them maybe?"
Ghelyrn takes a few steps back and leans against the counter, frowning. "I'm sorry, I'm not at liberty to disclose client information, you understand. Cheddar curses and mutters something under his breath, making a precise motion with his paw. The dwarf stands up from the counter and walks over to the pair and leans in. "I sold a grappling hook to Darz Helgar, caretaker of the campgrounds in town".
Guthra looks at Cheddar, who is motioning with his head to the door with urgency. "Thank you for the information, we shall head there now! We appreciate your time" Guthra says.
"No worries, catch you soon friends!" as the pair head out the door. As soon as the door closes behind them, Cheddar starts piling up dirt and gravel at the base of the door, before looking up at a confused Guthra. "Better safe than sorry" Cheddar smiles nervously, as the pair head down to where they saw their friends earlier.
I'm looking forward to the point where the party meet up with these NPCs again, and have an awquard/hostile encounter. It maybe helpful in the moment, but the playstyle wil lsoon catch up with them I fear.
As this is all happening, the rest of the party barrel into Orthivir's shop. They begin to inquire about the harness, before realising that they aren't able to show him the harness in question, seeing as it is strapped to the back of Cheddar. Heading out the shop with no new information, and with Guts convinced that Orthivir is the culprit, they see the other 2 walking down towards them.
Classic example of my party, knowing what they want and need to do, but forget about really important things like the harness they came to ask the shopkeeper about.
The group head back into the harness shop, now with the harness in hand. Orthivir tells them that he didn't make it, but it was probably made in Waterdeep, seeing as no one outside the city could rival his harness making skills. Guts, still weary that Orthivir could be the man in question, starts to question him more aggressively, before Jappa thanks Orthivir for his help and heads outside, rest of party in tow.
All agreeing that they should head to find Darz Helgar and question him, they begin to set off. Guts remember the letter they were tasked to deliver and pulls it out to see where it needs to go. The letter, however, has been replaced by a crude drawing of a cat defecating on a barbarian's face. Guts, getting more irate, tips everything out his bag and begins searching frantically for the letter, unaware that Cheddar took the letter and replaced it with some of his own artwork.
This was amazing. The swap was done in secret via Roll20 whispers, so no one had any idea except me and Cheddar. There was even an accompanying drawing, which was the perfect way to end a session. Guts was not happy, and overall extremely confused about where the letter had got too.