I ask Volo, "We would be interested for the price you mentioned. Do you know where Floon was last seen for us to begin? Also, would you perhaps throw in a signed copy of one of your works as an additional payment?" Persuasion check: 10
I wonder why Volo hasn't approach Jalester with his request as he is law enforcement and a disappearance would be within his jurisdiction. I approach Jalester again and ask what he knows about what is causing the turmoil in Waterdeep, as Volo hinted. Persuasion check for honesty: 8
Volo is excited that the group accepted his terms so promptly. He quickly distributes a small pouch of 10gp to each of you (Go ahead and add the gold to your inventory. You can do so after clicking on the word "currency" above the "Manage Equipment" button within the "Equipment" tab.)
As he walks to each of you to deliver the pouches, he answers Adrasteia's question: "Of course, of course! I will do even better. I'll offer you a signed copy of my upcoming work, Volo's Guide to Spirits and Specters, tentative title, signed with a personalized flourish! You'll be the proud owner of one of the first copies, once published, of course." He then realizes that the other part of the question was probably more important: "Ah yes, Floon..." he clears his throat "Floon is a handsome human male in his early thirties with wavy red-blond hair. He was dressed in princely garb when I last saw him. Two nights ago, before Floon disappeared, the two of us were drinking and merrymaking at the Skewered Dragon, a dark, bawdy tavern in the Dock Ward. I recommend you start your search there." he nods affirmatively.
Meanwhile, Jalester informs Mokiakia: "The city is threatened by escalating tensions between two power groups. The confrontations have just begun flaring into violence. One of the factions involved are the Zhentarim, a shadowy network of mercenaries. The other, we can't quite be sure just yet, but I'd venture they are criminals, certainly. They are just street skirmishes right now, but they are keeping all of my men busy."He then gives Mokiakia a big smile: "But worry not my fair Lady Rosznar, we will see this through yet"
You also all know that being an adventurer is considered not only a prideful profession, but also a source of reverence. In a busy city like Waterdeep, the contracting of adventurers is quite normal, especially for tasks that might be considered too hard for simple City Watch guards or for those that can afford better services.
LORE BOX (DOCK WARD)
The Dock Ward was long considered the most dangerous district in the city, but the Field Ward has since taken that title. There is little doubt the residents of the Dock Ward are glad of it, for in some respects this area has never truly deserved its bad reputation.
Yes, aside from the Field Ward, this is the area where most of Waterdeep’s poor reside. Yes, it is home to some of the least literate people in the city. Yes, most of its taverns are inhabited by habitual drinkers, and far too many inns charge by the hour. But all must concede this: the residents of the Dock Ward often work the hardest while living under the harshest conditions.
Warehouses, poorhouses, and tenements dominate much of the area. Streets are steep throughout, and few have space alongside for pedestrians. Wandering through the ward can be a bewildering journey without a guide. Except in the immediate vicinity of the piers, shop signs and advertising of any kind are rare, and warehouses and other businesses often have no sign at all. You either know where you are going and have reason to be there — or you are lost, and a likely mark for pickpockets or worse.
Streetlamps don’t fare well in the Dock Ward. Their candles, oils, and glass are too regularly stolen or smashed. The Guild of Chandlers and Lamplighters makes a halfhearted attempt to repair the streetlamps at the start of each season, but for most of the year, locals are forced to carry their own light when traveling these streets at night.
Regarding the festive games, the colors of the Dock Ward are burgundy and orange, and its mascot is a swordfish that has always been depicted as green for reasons lost to time. The folk of the Dock Ward take competition seriously, and they frequently draft their champions from the rough-and-tumble sailors who come to the city. (Some say they draft pirates, but that is pure slander, Volo adds.) Frequent complaints arise that these women and men are more citizens of the sea than of the Dock Ward itself. But if they register with a magister and pay taxes, they are as welcome to compete as any long-term resident of Waterdeep.
Having grown up in the Dock Ward, I know the area well and think to myself that Volo and Floon may have been up to some mischief...or maybe they were just "slumming it." I keep my thoughts to myself, since Volo doesn't know about my upbringing. Instead, I give the storyteller my full attention, smiling warmly and encouragingly as he speaks.
(Luiz, now that we're out of combat, should we share backstories with one another? Have our characters known each other a long time, or are we new acquaintances?)
(@All: Your characters have been friends for sometime, but not necessarily for years and years, so they might not know everything about each other. You are welcome to share or not share however much you'd like. Also, there is no need to roll dice if all you are doing is talking to a willing character. That's where role-playing comes in. If you really need to convince them of something during that conversation, then sure, roll a persuasion or other charisma based ones but you shouldn't feel obliged to do so. If I think you need a roll that you haven't preemptively made, then I'll ask for it.)
The three of you sit around a table to discuss further details with Volo. He explains: "The Skewered Dragon is a favorite of Floon. He grew up in the Dock Ward and finds his way back there every so often. Although, I'll say his wardrobe choice that evening was quite peculiar, now that I think about it. There is precious little I can offer you, I'm afraid. We met, talked, drank, and gambled for a few hours, and then I left" Volo shrugs and hopes you can all go looking for Floon with a sigh. His eyes shifting from your faces and the gold he has already given you as to say 'you already said yes...'
Jalester waves his farewell, being too modest about his responsibilities: "Good night my fair ladies. The streets call for my patrol."
Durnan simply begins to clean the tavern, after a few patrons helped him push the Troll's body back down the well.
LORE BOX (SEASONS)
Seasons are fairly unique in Waterdeep. Currently, it is Spring.
Spring: In Waterdeep, early spring tends to be cold and damp. Misty rain falls for days on end. It’s common for fog to settle at night and last through the day. As the weather improves, the city attracts more visitors, and the streets become increasingly crowded as summer approaches.
Summer: Summers in Waterdeep are quite comfortable, and it’s a great time for citizens and visitors to congregate outside. The markets are busier than at any other time of year. Sometimes, though, warm air pushes up from the south and settles in the valleys north and east of the city. This air gets trapped, creating a hot spell that might last days or weeks. Activity in the city slows to a crawl, since Waterdavians are unaccustomed to such heat.
Autumn: Throughout autumn, wagonloads of food arrive in Waterdeep from outlying farms. Without this bounty, city folk would starve during the winter. Cold, howling sea winds remind Waterdavians that winter is near.
Winter: Waterdavian winters are harsh. As snow piles up around the city and ice fills the harbor, trade grinds to a halt and the city seals its gates. Citizens willing to brave the cold still gather in local taverns and festhalls, but few venture outside the city walls.
"We'll do our best to return you friend," I smile reassuringly at Volo. "If we need to talk to you, where can we find you?"
To the group: "The Skewered Dragon sounds like our best starting point. Should we head to the Dock Ward now?"
After ascertaining that I can trust Mokiakia and Adrastei and swearing them to secrecy, I have shared with them that I have the ability to shape shift, though they haven't yet seen me in my other personas. I'm a bit nervous having them know such a deep secret, but know that I may need to use this ability in the course of our adventures together.
"Thank you," Volo nods at Sim. "If you wish, I can wait right here. Perhaps the danger of a monstrous Troll climbing the well is what I need as inspiration for my next work."
Sim would know the Dock Ward well, and can definitely take the group to the Skewered Dragon. She would know that the tavern is located between Net Street and Fillet Lane within the Dock Ward.
LORE BOX (CALENDAR)
The Faerûnian calendar has twelve months that roughly correspond to the months of the Gregorian calendar. Each month has thirty days divided into three ten-day weeks (each week is called a tenday). Scattered throughout the year are five holidays that aren’t considered part of any month. Once every four years, the holiday of Shieldmeet is added to the calendar as a leap day immediately following Midsummer night. Collectively, these days create a cycle similar to what we have on Earth: three 365-day years followed by a leap year.
Months. The Faerûnian months are Hammer, Alturiak, Ches, Tarsakh, Mirtul, Kythorn, Flamerule, Eleasis, Eleint, Marpenoth, Uktar, and Nightal.
Annual Holidays. The annual holidays are Midwinter (between Hammer and Alturiak), Greengrass (between Tarsakh and Mirtul), Midsummer (between Flamerule and Eleasis), Highharvestide (between Eleint and Marpenoth), and the Feast of the Moon (between Uktar and Nightal).
THE CALENDAR OF HARPTOS
The world of the Forgotten Realms uses the Calendar of Harptos, named after the long-dead wizard who invented it. Each year of 365 days is divided into twelve months of thirty days each, which roughly correspond to months in the real-world Gregorian calendar. Each month is divided into three tendays. Five special holidays fall between the months and mark the seasons. Another special holiday, Shieldmeet, is inserted into the calendar after Midsummer every four years, much like leap years in the modern Gregorian calendar.
This time, Durnan is more than happy to put whatever you owe him for meal and drinks on your respective tabs (using your Kept is Style background feature.)
As for resting you have two options:
-> Short rest: Takes one hour and allows each of your to heal naturally a bit. We'd roll dice to determine how much each of you would heal. The rolls are determined by your class, your level, and your CON modifier. These are called your hit dice (we used to call them bandages). Mokiakia would heal 1d6+2 HP; Sim would heal 1d8+1 HP, and Adrasteia would heal 1d8+3 HP. Used spell slots would not recover, and only features that specifically say they would recover during a short rest would do so.
-> Long rest: Takes eight hours and is akin to falling asleep for the night. All HP, spell slots, and used features are recovered. It also recovers up to half of your maximum number of hit dice (used in previous short rests). This is obviously mechanically better, but there are potentially story-related costs. It takes a much longer time to complete, during which the story continues to develop (there is no pause button). It is also more easily interrupted, in which case resting would fail until you manage to lay low for eight consecutive hours.
I have not used my spell slots, as I used only cantrips so I am fine with resting at least a short while. The DM seems to be hinting a long rest could have "story-related costs" and we may be interrupted. I am willing to take the risk, since I think Adastreia was the most damaged so I vote for a long rest so she gets fully topped, and the Dock Ward will likely have lots of fighting.
Wherever we rest, it needs to be far from the well of Trolls and Stirges. Maybe Durnan can hook us up since we just saved his business.
Alright, Durnan offers each of you a room on the tab (Kept in Style feature). Volo seems a bit disappointed that you are not going to his friend's rescue right away, but understands that you just had a hard fight.
You can each add 195 experience points to your characters. You can do that by clicking in your character's pictures and selecting "Manage Experience."
The long rest goes undisturbed and you all sleep a restful night at the third level of the Yawning Portal. Since you went to bed early, you wake up at dawn the next day. Make sure to click on "Long Rest" in your sheets and then confirm that you indeed want to take it.
Vole seems to be sleeping in a bit. Durnan is already awake and behind the bar counter.