This session was essentially a detour from the main plot of Hoard of the Dragon Queen. The module as written calls for the party to arrive in Baldur’s Gate several days ahead of the cultists with the assumption that they’ll simply pass time waiting for their targets to arrive. This seemed like a wasted opportunity for exploration in one of the most iconic cities of the Sword Coast. I’ve been enjoying the Tyranny of Dragons story line overall, but one of my few complaints is that there are large portions of it that lack supporting details. I would’ve preferred to see a bigger book at a higher price that included more information (or ANY information about the cities that the adventure passes through. For example, I believe that the journey from the Dragon Hatchery all of the way to Baldur’s Gate covers 2-3 pages of the book. As such, I came up with this week’s adventure largely using material from the recently published Murder in Baldur’s Gate sourcebook.
I used the city material as my setting but decided to pass on the whole “return of Bhaal” story line. One “evil god tries to return to the Realms” story line per campaign is plenty for me. Anyway, I took them through several of the more interesting areas of the city and tried to highlight some of the disparities between rich and poor in Baldur’s Gate. I also wanted to emphasize the influence of the Guild so they seemed like the perfect villains to use in this case. Who knows? Maybe they’ll show up later in the employ of the Cult of the Dragon. I’ve been mostly using published material since starting with this particular group, so it was slightly nerve-wracking to put together an investigation-based adventure of my own. It took me several revisions to get to the point where I felt like I had left enough bread crumbs to follow but in the end it came off as I had hoped.
Overall, this was an enjoyable romp through the city and a nice break from dealing with potentially world-shaking events. Next week: back to stalking the Cult of the Dragon as they carry their ill-gotten treasures northward.