The players are still learning about the grand design of the holy wars that are planned for this campaign and I want to give the players pieces of this campaign tapestry a little at a time. The Mother Source Fragments are central and will drive many of the quests. An upcoming Carl quest will be to recover one of these fragments. I don’t have a set mechanic worked out for them yet, but I have time before the players actually interact with one, so I will work out the details as I go.
I need to introduce the primary antagonistic gods involved with the deific plan to kill the goddess Selune and will do that through missions that showcase the minions of these gods. Talos cultists act as the shock troops of this alliance. Assassin cells act as covert agents for the goddess Beshaba. And Umberlee commands the aquatic minions in the harbors and docks of the city.
Carl arrives to settle up for the Talos mission and tells the heroes the statue they previously discovered at the bottom of the sinkhole was an exact depiction of the infamous Hornet, a reputed leader of an assassins guild cell. She lived in the building that fell into the sinkhole and has not been seen since. This is a big clue for the players. This bit ties into the idea that certain gods are in Waterdeep. These gods are only physically manifest when they possess the body of a mortal. When this happens, a type of phylactery is created to store the mortal’s soul. In this case, it was a stone statue phylactery which caused a sinkhole beneath the house. If a phylactery is destroyed, it forces the deity out of the mortal’s body. The Hornet became the first body the god Beshaba possessed, and the statue they found and destroyed was her phylactery. I will be sure to make the players aware of this fact.
The players will get a new mission from Carl that involves Unger, the high priestess of Umberlee. Before his death, Targus, the deceased high priest of Talos, was invited by Unger to attend a consecration ceremony she was to perform at an undisclosed location. Carl believes there is an important item at this secret hideout and wants it recovered. His intelligence reveals the date the ceremony is being conducted and that Unger owns a private ship named the Wavewracker which is on call to her at all times.
I think the players should be able to hatch a workable plan using this information, but
I don’t know what that plan will be. I think there’s a good chance they will investigate Unger’s ship, so I find a map of a ship to use as the Wavewracker and create the crew and consider their typical routine. This is a pretty stealthful party of heroes and they probably will do surveillance of the Wavewracker, I figure the captain, officers and some crew will be drinking away their time in a nearby tavern, so I find a map that details a docks area and a nearby tavern. There is always a high probability of a fight, so I stat out the crew. This crew works for a priestess of Umberlee, a wrathful, evil goddess, so they won’t be ordinary scalawags. They’re gonna be badass. The captain will be a drowned maiden from the Tome of Beasts by Kobold Press, the first mate a deep scion, and several of the crew are sea spawn, both from Volos Guide. The rest are thugs with deck pins that can be used for melee or ranged combat. I like the idea of a deckpin having a chance to knock a victim stupid, and add in a chance of getting knocked prone from a hit if a Constitution saving throw is failed.
Now I’m ready. I’ll give the players enough information about their mission to make informed choices, but they need to figure out how to get this mission done. Preparing too much would be a waste of time because I can’t anticipate how the players will tackle this mission. Now let’s see what happens.