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.
I think the wild and rollicking combat in this episode provided a welcome respite from the dark and foreboding role play of the past couple of episodes. Dungeons and Dragons is good like that. When you get sick and tired of complex emotions and talking things out, you can always just let loose and beat up a few flying devils.
The anti-magic zone of the tower provided a nice challenge for the party but they managed to turn the tables once they got outside. Icky, especially tanked a lot of damage which was exemplary behavior for an abjuration wizard.
Once again, you’ll notice some key changes from the way the encounter chain was supposed to play out in the book. First of all, it wasn’t gunslingers they encountered at the tower why would Jarlaxle send his people to steal the stone when he believes the party is working for him. Instead it is devils sent by the Cassalanters. They have already established their interest in the stone and could have easily obtained the information as to its whereabouts via Willifort Crowelle.
Second, Icky was smart and sent Morrigan up into the tower to inspect it. At that point, I had to give some kind of benefit for this smart thinking. The benefit I gave was that instead of the devils starting out with the stone, they would start the encounter just having climbed into the tower themselves. Thus giving the party a chance to get the stone by rolling well on initiative. So this changed the encounter chain a bit but that’s fine. At this point the party had a hard fought battle to secure the stone and are ready to move on to the next phase, finding the keys!
I made some modifications to the Stone of Golorr as well. No longer simply a lone Aboleth the Stone is a member of the Abolethic Sovereignty. The Abolethic Sovereignty were written about in a series of Forgotten Realms Novels. I haven’t read those and have instead imagined them as a connected network of alien minds that span time and space and consciousness. I wanted to make the Stone and Hal’s Warlock Patron more neutral and like the Great Old Ones rather than simply making them evil. They sit quietly in the background (much of the time) patiently pulling the strings of time and space. The music that Hal hears when he enters his fugue states (terminator mode) is an echo of the Symphony of Madness generated by the Sovereignty.
No new article appeared in the High Road Herald this episode.