It is just another weeknight the Yawning Portal. The famous inn and tavern is located in the Castle Ward of Waterdeep. Adventurers can meet all sorts of colorful characters here. The place is a stone building with a slate roof and several chimneys. Most of the ground floor is taken up by the tavern’s common room, which contains a 40-foot-diameter open well. A rope-and-pulley mechanism is set up above the indoor well. The upper floors of the Yawning Portal contain comfortable, nicely appointed rooms for guests. The place is packed. The three of you are relaxing in the taproom, sitting at your usual table. Most patrons leave you alone to your food and drink, on account of recognizing you as young nobles.
You sit around a sturdy wooden table lit by a brightly burning candle and littered with plates cleared of food and half-drained tankards. The sounds of gamblers yelling and drunken adventurers singing bawdy songs nearly drown out the off-key strumming of a young bard three tables over.
THE YAWNING PORTAL:
(@All: Please go ahead and describe your character, as well as what they are doing while relaxing at their favorite tavern/inn.)
I am sitting at the table trying to read a tome about Mishakal, the goddess whom I worship devoutly. I am wondering--and so are the others around me--as to why I would come to a tavern to read. I am trying to memorize as much as I can from the book and mumbling incantations and prayers under my breath. In my frenzied turning of the pages I give myself a papercut and I put my slightly bleeding finger in my mouth.
I am walking slowly towards the bar area, trying to recognize people who may have something to share. I need a purpose or mission before I get impatient and make trouble myself. As I was passing by, I recognize Jalester Silvermane, don't make eye contact but walk slightly towards him.
With your meals finished, there is little reason to remain at the table. Mokiakia and Sim leave in pursuit of entertainment, while Adrasteia is left alone with her tome.
Sitting alone at a corner table and looking like he is lost in some fleeting dream, Jalester recognizes Mokiakia approaching and turns his attention to her: "Ah, Lady Mokiakia of House Rosznar. Enjoying yet another evening at the Yawning Portal, as I am?" A Badge of the Watch attached to his jacket reveals he is a captain of the City Watch, a high ranking position.
Before Jalester can start any kind of real conversation, all the ambient noise in the tavern is eclipsed by a shout: “Ya pig! Like killin’ me mates, does ya?” Then a seven-foot-tall half-orc is hit by a wild, swinging punch from a male human whose shaved head is covered with eye-shaped tattoos. Four other humans stand behind him, ready to jump into the fray. You recognize the half-orc as Yagra Strongfist, one of the familiar faces in the Yawning Portal. She cracks her knuckles, roars, and leaps at the tattooed figure — but before you can see if blood is drawn, a crowd of spectators clusters around the brawl. Adrasteia, who stayed at the table, is the closest to the conflict. What do you all do?
LORE BOX (MISHAKAL):
Mishakal is the goddess of healing and restoration within the Dragonlance pantheon. She heals both the body and the spirits of mortals. She is also patron of motherhood, and seeks to restore those things that were lost, also representing compassion and love. Not many residents of Waterdeep would be familiar with this deity however, or with the Dragonlance pantheon altogether. This group of deities is quite obscure, and usually only followed or studied by deep scholars on the matter. It is believed that the Dragonlance pantheon originated from a completely different plane and is worshiped by inhabitants of strange distant lands. Their worship likely sneaked into the Material Plane through the influence of powerful planeshifters. Nothing is left from that worship except a few tightly guarded tomes that scholars rarely allow out of impregnable libraries. Some nobles may use their influence to gain access to them from time to time.
Adrasteia would know the following information, but other characters probably wouldn't: Scholars have uncovered at least another twenty names they believe Mishakal has being referred as, including the Bearer of Light, the Healing Hand, and the Skymistress. Her symbol is a blue infinity sign. It is said that during the forging of the world, all the combined gods felt pure joy. Out of this joy was born a radiant being, but only a handful of gods witnessed such miracle. Mishakal was among these lucky spectators, being only one of three beings to ever be present at the birth of a young godling.
LORE BOX (CITY WATCH):
Waterdeep’s streets are policed by the City Watch. You can recognize any member of the City Watch by the uniform: a green-and-goldenrod doublet and a tall steel helmet. Each typically carries a long truncheon, a dagger, and a buckler. Because most citizens in Waterdeep don’t bear weapons, these tools prove a more than ample deterrent to criminal activity. Members of the Watch typically don’t carry crossbows or other weapons to attack at range, but running from the Watch — though it may be a time-honored tradition for local miscreants — rarely works out for newcomers to the city. All members of the Watch know the streets they patrol and that area’s residents better than anyone, even those who stay in Waterdeep for ten seasons or more.
The City Watch has watch posts throughout the city. These stations are often off the main thoroughfares, tucked away in small courtyards or at cross streets. A watch post can be recognized by the green-and-gold lantern outside it, lit even during the day with a continual flame spell. A watch post serves as an organizational headquarters and armory. Anyone who wishes to report a crime may do so at a watch post in the event a Watch constable can’t be found elsewhere. A watch post typically contains a few holding cells where people arrested for crimes can be detained until they’re marched to a courthouse jail before standing trial.
Small squads head out from the watch posts on daily and nightly rounds of the city streets, or on special assignments involving protection or investigation. A mere pair of Watch operatives might discreetly patrol in the Castle Ward; in contrast, squads of eight walk the Dock Ward, increasing to as many as a dozen at night. If Watch members spot trouble they can’t handle, they blow shrill tin whistles to summon more of their members — an act that alerts nearby citizens as well.
City Watch members follow a strict code of conduct that makes them one of the most trusted police forces in Faerûn. As long as you don’t engage in unlawful behavior, you can expect to be left untroubled by the Watch.
I reply to Jalester, unbothered by the brawl: "One more night, one more show...how about you? About to separate them or got something better to do?" I pull out a stool and take a sit. I send my Mage Hand to tap Adrasteia's shoulder to signal her I am half alert on what's happening.
(@All: Adrasteia and Sim need to roll perception checks. In the future, just go ahead and roll your skill checks if you know you will be doing so. No need to wait for me to formally request one. While we wait for those dice rolls, here's Jalester's response to Mokiakia and one more lore post.)
Jalester replies: "My dear Lady Mokiakia, I am afraid I have no choice", he taps at his Badge of the Watch. "Will you accompany me? Your skills could come in handy." With that, Jalester stands up and begins to walk toward the brawl.
Over at the impromptu fighting ring, Yagra has already knocked down one of her assailants but four others, including their head-tattooed leader, seem intent on bringing her down. The sounds of the cheering crowd and the fighters'grunts drown Adrasteia's plea for a calm resolution.
LORE BOX (CASTLE WARD)
The Castle Ward is the heart and mind of Waterdeep, if not its soul. It houses the city’s military forces, courts, government, and the Market — the largest market square of any city in the North. It encompasses the City Navy’s docks in the Great Harbor and all of Mount Waterdeep, and it is home to six walking statues, numerous temples, and many other landmarks. Many landmarks of interest are found in this ward aside from the six walking statues. You could hardly see them all in a day, but they are all highly recommended, especially the famous tavern named the Yawning Portal.
Many buildings in the ward are given over to city business, including several courts for magisters and the barracks of the City Guard. So many of the ward’s structures are offices and meeting halls for business owners, solicitors, publishers, and the like that the Castle Ward has the smallest resident population of all the wards.
The Castle Ward’s colors are blue and purple, and its mascot is a griffon, typically depicted in gold. These borrow colors from the city’s flag and reference the Griffon Cavalry, of course. Champions in the games for the ward often come from among the ranks of the Guard, the Navy, or the Cavalry. Although such competitors have often have the advantage in races and competitions, their crowds of rabidly cheering fans are naturally much smaller than those of other wards.
The stately, clean, and well-defended Castle Ward:
No one in your immediate surroundings seem to be carrying large weapons. A few patrons seem to have daggers hanging from their belts, but that is not surprising. You know that any blade more than one foot in length is subject to an extra tax whenever it is sold, which helps to explain why Waterdavians prefer to carry knives and knuckledusters for self-defense. From knowing them, however, you are well aware that both Jalester Silvermane and Meloon Wardragon carry longswords in their person. The brawl ahead of you looks to be a straight fistfight.
Most of the patrons in either the ground floor or the upper ones seem to be either enjoying the fisticuffs or ignoring it completely. No one has an incriminating guilty look in their face. Durnan, the proprietor and barkeep, does not look worried in the least.
Mokiakia steps onto a chair a gets a clear view of the fight. She sees that Yagra has now pinned down the leader of the mob accosting her to the ground. The tattooed leader is trying to escape from underneath Yagra, but she clearly has the advantage. One of the attackers is unconscious on the floor, but the other three are poised to tackle the half-orc brawler.
LORE BOX (ARMS)
Individuals accustomed to the rough-and-tumble life in much of the North are often surprised by the fact that Waterdavians go about unarmed and unarmored. Yet Waterdeep doesn’t have any law that forbids carrying weapons or armor. Instead, it has a culture of civility that makes such behavior unnecessary.
Dueling has long been illegal in Waterdeep, as has any sort of act involving assault. Individuals caught brawling by the Watch will all be arrested and judged regardless of who started the fracas, or why. (The tavern brawls that typically break out under the influence of too much drink will often be overlooked by the Watch, as long as the proprietor doesn’t seek payment for damages and no one is significantly injured.) Sport fighting, such as boxing or wrestling, is legal only if it occurs in a location registered with the city for that purpose. Additionally, any blade more than one foot in length is subject to an extra tax whenever it is sold, which helps to explain why Waterdavians prefer to carry knives and knuckledusters for self-defense.
Businesses and individuals do employ armed guards, but except for nobles or foreign envoys, few people travel about the city with such protection. As such, the sight of armed and armored individuals walking the streets who aren’t in the livery of the city or one of its noble houses inspires caution in most Waterdavians. Folk assume that you wouldn’t bother lugging around such equipment unless you either intend violence or expect that it might soon be visited upon you. As in many other things, an exception apply to nobles. Nobility in Waterdeep are granted the right to bear arms. In the legal code of the city, this means not merely the ability to carry a weapon, but the right to retain up to seventy equipped soldiers.
Adrasteia, Sim, and Jalester manage to push through the rowdy spectators, and into the makeshift fighting circle. As they break through, they see that Yagra managed to put a second assailant down. The tattooed-head leader is unconscious underneath the female half-orc. Unfortunately for her, the three other assaulting men have also mange to reach her, beating her down in an attempt to make her release their leader. They fail to realize that Yagra herself is also unconscious.
Mokiakia watches from afar. Jalester draws his longsword and Sim accompanies the City Guard captain. Before he can utter a warning however, Adrasteia lets one of her own out. Aided by her deeper arcane voice, the cleric drowns out every other noise in the tavern. The attackers stop, finally noticing that their target is down for the count. Jalester adds: "Do as Lady Margaster said or I'll have to arrest you folk for the night."
Two of them drag their leader from beneath the half-orc. The third slaps their other companion awake. They all flee.
A loud cheer is heard across the entire tavern. "Now this is entertainment" a voice yelps from the crowd. "A drink for our saviors" another ironically surges. Jalester smiles, "I won't say no to that!"
LORE BOX (COINAGE)
As should be expected of any city of standing, Waterdeep mints its own coins. All taxes, fines, and guild fees must be paid either in Waterdavian coin or the currency of any member settlement of the Lords’ Alliance. Though no law requires you to pay for goods or services in Waterdavian coin, the drudgery of weighing foreign currency and checking its purity prompts many retailers and operators of swift-exchange businesses — including drays and hire-coaches — not to accept anything but coins minted in Waterdeep.
Though you can trade your coinage for Waterdeep currency with anyone willing to do so, the exchequers at the Palace of Waterdeep make exchanges with no associated fee. The queue there can be quite long, necessitating that you make an appointment — often a day or more in advance. For a swifter transaction, It is recommended to approach any member of the Guild of Trusted Pewterers and Casters, or of the Jewelers’ Guild. Both have the most reliable scales and abide by guild-wide rates of exchange.
Be sure to exchange taols and harbor moons before leaving the city, as their value greatly diminishes elsewhere!
(Clarifying: There were 5 guys attacking Yagra, the half-orc mercenary you are familiar with. She knocked out 2 of them before the other 3 knocked her out in response. Those same 3 woke one of their companions up and the 4 of them are now dragging their unconscious leader out of the tavern. Yagra is unconscious on the ground.)
Still standing on the stool and vowing taking credit for being part of the group that broke up the brawl, I run an investigation check on Yagra, she seems to have a necklace that may signify some alliance. 18