DM’s Notes: Episode 9 – Loan Sharks

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.

Link to this episode’s podcast.

Luckily for me, Cami gave me the perfect backstory tie in for the Cassalanters. Her character, Kyva, is struggling to pay off exorbitant student loan debt. I modified that a little bit in that the money she “borrowed” to pay for Neverwinter Academy was originally offered as a grant by the philanthropist Cassalanter family, but when they fell on hard times a few years ago, they changed that into a loan. This gave clues to the Cassalanter’s backstory.

The party tried to use this grant/loan discrepancy to get the law on their side, but I kind of just crushed that idea by DMs fiat by having Mirt read the contract and declaring it rock solid. I’m OK, doing that to Cami in this case because she originally wanted the loans to be part of Kyva’s backstory, so I don’t feel like I am forcing that choice on her. Again, as with Hal’s fugue states, I don’t recommend forcing negative backstory elements on your players, but these wonderful people are glutton for punishment and asked for these things themselves.

The party really didn’t want to deal with the Cassalanters, so they turned to Mirt for a loan to fund the tavern and get Kyva out of debt. This didn’t play out at all how I wanted it to, as I was hoping to use the Cassalanter’s leverage to force Kyva to spy on the party for them. But not all your plans work out and when a plan falls through you have to adapt, rather than just trying to force the issue.

The good news though is that I managed to get the important backstory elements across to the party and they thoroughly hate the Cassalanters, so this sets up good story elements for the future.

The only information that the module provides about loans in Waterdeep is in the description of Istrid Horn. She offers loans up to 2500 gp at a rate of 10% per tenday. My players balked at these rates which are ridiculous in modern terms but probably not too crazy for medieval society. Ultimately, the terms don’t matter very much. They can earn enough from the faction quests to pay the interest and they should get their share of the Horde of Dragons within a few tenday.

I cut a very generous deal for them through Mirt giving him a silent stake in Trollskull, because of their renown with the Harpers and frankly because I’d rather see them deck Trollskull Manor out according to their wishes rather than let money be a limiting factor.

The following articles appeared in The High Road Herald this session:

Daring Jailbreak at Piergeiron’s Palace

The city’s justice was interrupted yesterday by a daring raid on Piergeiron’sPalace. The death sentence on the Elf Executioner was being carried out. The noose was around the dark elf’s neck. When suddenly a contingent of 6 drow swashbucklers bearing strange wands swung in and rescued the condemned elf. 

Several guards were injured in the ensuing battle but as quickly as they swept in, the dastardly party swept back out again. Anyone having information about the whereabouts of the Elf Executioner, Soluun Xibrindas is encouraged to let the City Watch know at once!

Reign of Misrule

On Marponeth the 10th comes the Reign of Misrule. This day honors Beshaba, goddess of misfortune. People of Waterdeep are expected to break trust, belie oaths, and disobey the normal order as long as no laws are actually broken and no rift is made that can’t be later bridged. 

During the Reign of Misrule, nobles serve meals to their servants, children take control of schools, priests give worship to their god’s foes, and any who wish to may participate in a guild’s trade. Pranks are played by and on many, from simple tricks to those requiring elaborate planning.

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