WARNING: SPOILERS for both Waterdeep: Dragon Heist the module in general and the story arc for this campaign in particular. If you just want to follow along the campaign but don’t want to have the plot spoiled for you, read no further.
You see three urchins at the
entrance to an alley. They all appear between the ages of 9-11. There is
a pale, taller human girl with a toy sword at her side, a short, tubby
dark skinned human boy with a toy wand tucked into his belt and a
bedraggled stuffed owlbear under his arm and a red skinned tiefling boy
wearing a battered captain’s hat with a dirty once red plume sticking
out of it and a leather eyepatch over his left eye.
As the days are growing shorter and the cold Autumn winds begin to blow you ask yourself, “Do they have any safe place to go?”
This is an encounter that I wrote up to be inserted at a time when the party was in Candle Alley looking for the sewer grates, but it could be used at almost any time your party is on the streets.
As you look around Candle Lane for a portal to the sewers, you see three urchins at the entrance to the lane from The Way of the Dragon. They all appear between the ages of 9-11. There is a pale, taller human girl with a toy sword at her side, a short, tubby dark skinned human boy with a toy wand tucked into his belt and a bedraggled stuffed owlbear under his arm and a red skinned tiefling boy wearing a battered captain’s hat with a dirty once red plume sticking out of it and a leather eyepatch over his left eye.
There are two crates piled on top of each other in front of the tiefling with three playing cards set face down upon them. He is talking quickly and loudly, calling out to the crowd as he picks up the cards and tosses them from one side of the box to the other. “Follow the lady. Around she goes. Where she stops. Nobody knows! One thin shard, that’s all it takes. Follow the Lady and you could win a small fortune. You there. Yes you, sir. Would you like to try your luck?”
People are walking past, ignoring the young tiefling, when the short boy steps up to the crates opposite him and calls out loudly. “I’ll try my luck good sir. What an entertaining and potentially profitable game you have there.” He puts a nib down on the crate and the Tiefling scoops it up deftly.
“All right then. Here we go. Follow the lady.” The red boy flips each of the cards over in turn. You see a black Ace, another black Ace and the Lady. The he picks up the cards and begins throwing them from one side of the crate to the other almost juggling them. As he does he calls out. “Follow the lady. Around she goes. Where she stops. Nobody knows.” He stops. “Alright then, where’s the lady?”
The boy takes out his wand (and by wand, I really mean stick. it looks like a stick he just found somewhere) he takes out his wand and points it at the middle card.
“And winner, winner chicken dinner! We’ve got a winner over here.” The tiefling turns over the Lady and pulls out two nibs and hands them to the boy who is beaming with pride. “You see folks, it’s an easy game. Anybody could win. You’ve just got to keep your eyes open.”
A few people from the crowd begin to notice. They stop and watch from about 5-10 feet away. Then he calls out to Halvlys. “How about you. Would you like to give it a try friend?”
While the characters are focused on the game, Jenks will try to pick their pockets. Anyone not focused on the game can make a perception check (or use passive perception) against his Sleight of Hand check (at advantage because Squiddly is aiding him by distracting the party members) to see what he’s doing.
The player makes a perception check to see if they follow the Lady. If they succeed on a DC 13 then they are able to successfully follow the card where the Lady should be, but it’s not actually there. If they fail then they can’t even follow where the Lady should be and they can guess.
The way the trick works is Squiddly scoops up the the Lady card and another in his hand and then when it looks like he is throwing the Lady card, he actually throws the other card instead. A perception check competing with Squiddly’s Sleight of hand check can reveal what he is doing. If you wish a visual explanation of what he’s doing, check out this you-tube video.
If any of them are discovered, Squiddly will scoop up the cards, push the boxes in the direction of the party and run.
If caught The urchins will bargain with the players. “You look new to the city, you don’t know as much about these streets as we do. You tell us where you were headed and we’ll point you in the right direction.”