“Let’s see. You help when you can. When there is spoils you’ll get a share. And of course you’ll have exclusive rights to our story... hows that for a payday?”
He leans across the table making thorough eye contact.
"Exclusive Rites..." says Tyrus with one eyebrow raised. "Can't say that I've heard of that ritual."
His laughter is cut short when he realises that Griffdar is serious.
"You really mean this?" he asks. "You want me to witness... and tell of your story?"
He then looks questionably at the others at the table. "And what about you others? I'm more a camp follower than a fighter, unlike the rest of you. Heck, I use my axe more for cutting firewood than drawing blood."
"Sure Tyrus, sounds good! I'll try to take better care of my weapon, keeping things nice isn't my strong point, I tend to be better at breaking things, like it or not. 3 shards sounds fair. Shards... is that silver? Copper? Look, here's a gold piece, just give me whatever change is appropriate. And thanks." She gives him 1 gold piece.
Briga greets the man in the floppy hat and does a brief fist pump.
"Man, things move fast around here! We've been adventurers for like five minutes and we're getting a job! So glad I left the Rheged glacier. The pace of things there was so slow, it was like, well, glacial. We apparently are indeed adventurers, sir, probably known as the Abandoned Dragons, if that sticks, and how can we help you? You surely must be a wizard! Only wizards can pull of wearing hats like that."
"Well, my talents are quite the talk around town," the man says as he strokes his moustache, adjusts his floppy hat and tightens his scarf more around his neck. "Volothamp Geddarm, chronicler, wizard, and celebrity, at your service. I trust you've noted the violence in our fair city these past tendays. I haven't seen so much blood since my last visit to Baldur's Gate! But now I fear I have misplaced a friend amid this odious malevolence.
"My friend's name is Floon Blagmaar. He's got more beauty than brains, and I worry he took a bad way home a couple of nights ago and was kidnapped - or worse. If you agree to track him down with all due haste, I can offer you ten dragons apiece now, and I can give you each ten times that when you find Floon. May I prevail upon you in my hour of need?" Volo asks as if he's about to break into tears at any moment.
"Heya Volo, always nice to meet a celebrity! I'd ask for your signature, but I don't have any paper. Shame. Anyway, my name is Briga... Burningblood. Heh, well, not really. Just Briga for now. This is Griff, Arlon and Tyrus. Did you see your buddy Floon get kidnapped? Or just fearing the worst?"
Briga chuckles at his description. "More beauty than brains. I've heard that one before."
"Well, not exactly, but... well we were drinking and merrymaking two nights ago, the last time I saw him, a dark, bawdy tavern in the Dock Ward. It's a quieter place, and the peace of quiet helped," Volo replies. "I'm embarrassed to admit this might have been partially my fault..." he adds, with that shy voice he had when asking for your help.
Briga looks to the other three in her newly formed adventuring party, and says to them in a quieter voice, "Guys, any questions you think might help us find his special friend, ask him. It seems like a sensitive topic, so try to be, like, gentle. Maybe he's missing his, like, significant other, or just a close friend, but the hat dude is clearly shaken up."
She says in her louder conversational voice, "Volo, you can talk to us. Why would it be your fault?"
18 - Roll for insight to get a read on his emotional situation, maybe some insight as to his relationship with Floon
"Well, I've been working on my new book, Volo's Guide to Spirits and Specters, and I was having some trouble with writer's block. I met with Floon for drinks at the Skewered Dragon two nights ago. We drank, and gambled, for a few hours and then I left. That was the last time I saw Floon, and well... he wasn't doing too well... and the Skewered Dragon isn't exactly known for it's... reputation. I fear that distraction may have put him in danger," Volo responded, with shame.
For people from Waterdeep:
Waterdeep Lore your Character would know
Just a little bit about this, in spoiler windows I'm going to put things like this now and again which will give you a context of the city in a bit more detailed way for your benefit. They'll always start with the same title as this one, and it is optional lore content that your character would already know. It's completely optional content and not vital to the story, but just to give you a deeper flavour of the place you are from so you know best how to respond. Now, to the lore your characters would know.
The Skewered Dragon is a tavern located in the Dock Ward that faces an alley that runs between Net Street and Fillet Lane. It has a seedy reputation, and usually only attracts dock workers and people visiting via sea. In the winter, this is even less common and the place has long been suspected of being a front for something. Whatever the place is, the general public has been kept in the dark about if it is known. It's a pretty rough tavern, but the drinks are relatively cheap.
The Dock Ward was long considered the most dangerous district in the city, but that title now belongs to the Field Ward. In some respects, this reputation was never truly deserved.
It is the area that apart from the Field Ward, has the most of Waterdeep's poor population. It is home to some of the least literate people in the city. Most of its taverns are inhabited by habitual drunks, and far too many inns charge by the hour. They are also the hardest working while living in the harshest conditions in the city.
Warehouses, poorhouses, and tenements dominate much of the area in this ward. All the streets are steep, and only a few of them have space alongside for pedestrians. Wandering through the ward without a guide can be quite bewildering. Apart from the immediate vicinity to the peirs to the harbour, shop signs and advertising of any kind become less and less common the further away you get from there. Warehouses and other businesses often have no sign at all. You either know where your going and have a reason to be there - or you are lost, and a likely mark for pickpockets or worse.
Most of the streets are dark, as the lights are often smashed within a few days of repair. 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 while travelling those streets at night.
For the Waterdeep Sports leagues, the colours of the ward are burgundy and orange, and it has the mascot of 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. Frequent complaints arise that these women and men are more citizens of the sea than 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.
"Yikes, the Skewered Dragon, that's one of Waterdeep's shadiest drinking spots, for sure, and that's saying something since the Yawning Portal here has a pit where trolls and other monsters could climb out at any moment - no offense, Durnan."
Briga pushes aside the remnants of her meal, or meals based on one's perspective, does some stretches, and motions for Volo to continue.
"Griff's got a good point, Volo, is two days without contact unusual for Floon? I assume you've already stopped at his place to make sure he's not just at home sleeping it off?"
Briga seems to be turning some things over in her head, and she sidebars to ask her companions in a more subdued tone, "He did say writer's block, right? I'm not a big reader, you guys, but doesn't 'Guide to Spirits and Specters,' or really 'guide' to anything, kinda suggest more of a non-fiction type thing, talking about real things? And isn't writer's block more of a fiction thing, like when you're making stuff up? We still need to help this dude find his friend Floon because it's the right thing to do, but I'm thinking Volo's 'guides' might be full of baloney. Not good for anyone who's relying on those books, if that's the case."
Volo smiles nervously and says "Well, knowing the right words to use to describe something can be just as taxing as making up some poem or epic novel. The phrasing I use to describe what I see and deal with is important. I'm sure you've read my bestseller Volo's Guide to Monsters? I also wrote the Enchiridion on this city as well, available at all city gates as your personal guide through the streets of Waterdeep. I actually have some copies with me, how about that," he says smiling, handing you each a pamphlet.
"As to unusual, it is, we were meant to catch up again this morning but he never arrived here," he added.
The Enchiridion is basically the source I use for the Lore your character would know spoilers, at this point, anything that has been marked as "for people from Waterdeep" can now be read by anybody, and all of you will now have access to this. I'll still put the Lore segments in spoiler text so that if it's not something that interests you, you can just skip over it, but for those that want to be able to immerse themselves better, they come highly recommended.
Briga looks apologetic, as she admits, responding to Volo, "That is a really good point! I just say whatever pops into my head and hope people forget the bad stuff. As an author you have to find the right words, since people can read your stuff over and over! Your job is tough, I didn't mean to offend, Volo! And, I did not read your guide to monsters, but I'm sure it's great! Thank you for the En...En-chi-ri-di-on. Volo, I don't mean to be rude, but when I turn in bounties, well, one bounty so far, in to the city, they gave me a reward. Did you have something like that in mind? A reward?"
Briga also responds to the party: "Right, the dragon theme just keeps on going! Well, I'm in agreement also. We should help find Floon, you guys. Do you think we should check out his house, first? Or this shady bar he was last seen at?"
"As I mentioned before, just for accepting the job I'll give you ten gold each. Ten times that when Floon is back. That's all I ask" Volo answers Briga's question regarding payment. "I'll wait here for any news" Volo finished in response.
As your making your way to the Dock Ward, you turn around a corner and you find yourselves on a street that has been cordoned off by the City Watch. Lying on the cobblestones are a half-dozen corpses, seemingly the victims of some terrible skirmish of some kind. Watch officers have disarmed and arrested three humans drenched in blood and are in the midst of questioning witnesses. One of the officers sees the group. "Get on," she says "Nothing to see here."
Looking around, in addition to the three suspects under arrest, there is a contingent of a dozen guards questioning witnesses while waiting for the wagons to take the criminals and the corpses. As you pass, the three of them give you all a cold look.