Waterdeep - Dragon Heist

Starting a New D&D Campaign – Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (RPG)

Gaming RPG

Overview

Generally, because I tend to write about politics more than anything else – yea I am that kinda person, I do not write about my geeky side much especially, my Role Playing Game (RPG) stuff, but I will try to do that a little more to give you all a little wider of a window into that aspect of my life. So, here is the run down of the next campaign we will play as well as my character.

On Sunday (23 Sep 2018), my gaming group of over 15 years which, in our more mature years now, meets every two-weeks and will be starting the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (levels 1-5) adventure path and then will eventually continue on with Dungeon of the Mad Mage (levels 5-20) adventure path. Here is the Obsidian Portal site for our campaign: Wisconsin Dragon Heist if you want to check it out.

Below is the character list for our game. We have a few more humans than we usually do (almost half), although my character, Durden the Changeling Monk, appears as a human and is presents himself more as a roguish character than a monkish one:

name race gender class background alignment significant skills (+5 or more)
Arathorn Human Male Fighter Folk Hero Lawful Neutral Athletics
Durden Multae Changeling Male Monk (Kensei) Faction Agent (Harpers) Chaotic Good Acrobatics, Deception, Perception, Persuasion, Stealth
Khelruun Gnoll Male Ranger (Hunter?) ?? Neutral Good Athletics, Stealth
Patrin Myastan Dragonborn Male Fighter (Purple Dragon) Soldier (Knight ) Lawful Good Acrobatics, Intimidation
Tearlach Elf Male Monk (Drunken Master) Far Traveler Lawful Neutral Acrobatics, Stealth
Udo Hellmouth Human Male Warlok (Hexblade) Haunted One ?? Deception, Intimidation
Valeriana Estelmer Human Female Wizard (Conjurer) Waterdhavian Noble Lawful Neutral Arcana, History, Persuasion
Venaress Human Female Cleric (Arcane Domain) Urchin Chaotic Neutral Medicine, Perception

My Character (Durden Multae)

My character is a Changeling Monk (Kensei) with the background of Faction Agent (Harpers). Here is my DND Beyond Full Character Sheet. Below are my full notes on the character that I used. You will note some Fate stuff in here, because the Fate Core System is awesome for storytelling! Really check it out! I am still not happy with the aspects yet, so I still have to iron that out.

His first name: comes from Tyler Durden from the movie Fight Club – ya know – a split personality sort of thing!

His last name: comes from the latin for many – multae! =)

Fate Based Aspects

High Concept Kensei Monk Gone Rogue for the Harpers
Trouble Low tolerance for those who do not respect the lives, value, and freedom of others
Unresolved Issue Has it in for the Guilds of Waterdeep due to squashing of independent gem cutters.
Unresolved Issue Having left his monastery and master after having dishonored them and went to work for the Harpers
Aspect Weakness for the underdog

Other Character Descriptors

Align ChG
motto The brush and the blade are equally powerful in the right hands
3 likes rubies, orcish soups, plays, Waterdeep’s many dive bars
3 dislikes quartz, the power of the guilds, elven wine
hobbies replicating arts and other works, painting, gemcutting, carousing
Changeling Tell dark green stripe or coloration in hair/head area
Changeling Profession Forgery (expertise when using the Torin personae)
Other Tools: gem cutting; painting (Kensei, 3rd lvl), longsword and longbow (Kensei, 3rd lvl)

Changeling Personaes

1 Dathana “Dathi” Kell chg female half-elf agent of the Harpers
long dark green hair pulled back into a fine elven braid)
pretty, but not beautiful, wants to blend in
(all the skills)
religion: Torm, Baravar Cloakshadow, Garl Glittergold, Leira
2 Desti Grenfauld ng male human
curly brown-haired, emerald-green eyes, tall and lanky (John Sadorf)
(gemcutter, insight, persuasion)
religion: Waukeen, Gond
3 Durden/Durin’daen/Duridae/Deedee Multae ng human/elf/half-elf male/female generic roguish adventurer
nondescript adventurer that blends in
hair/skin/eyes color and gender shifts to that which is most similar or
useful among the people in the area
emerald-green eyes or hair or …
looks like they could be brothers/sisters from another mother
“I know I have seen you somewhere”
(acrobatics, deception, insight, perception, persuasion, stealth, forgery)
religion: Tymora
4 Ked/Kaed/Kaeden/Kendra Galston n human/elf/half-elf male/female Generic Guard
nondescript guard that blends in
hair/skin/eye color and gender shifts to that which is most similar or
useful among the guards
Dark green tattoo of symbol on upper right chest
looks like they could be brothers/sisters from another mother
“I know I have seen you somewhere”
religion: Helm
5 Kestra Stormheart chg female half-elf
curvaceous, buxom, long wavy red hair
small strip of hair down left side is dark green
(persuasion, insight, perception)
religion: Sune
6 Rorn “Alleyson” Gelvis ng male human monk (ng)
shaved (short curly blonde hair), taut muscles
dark green shifting tattoo on back of head
small stomach
(monk, acrobatics, stealth)
religion: Jade Leopard
7 Semelie Dufont chg female human courtier
beautiful, medium, length sandy-blonde hair, jade-green eyes
as a cousin to on the the PC’s (Valeriana) see Intersectional History below
(acrobatics, deception, insight, persuasion)
religion: sune
8 Torvin “Torrid” Lilven * chn half-elven male
greasy black hair, sparse midnight green goatee
weaselly divebar carouser, sensate, painter, and forger (expertise)
paints popular divebar art
religion: Sune

* Notes on Torvin Personae: I have this setup as almost schizophrenic, created as coping mechanism developed during his time in monastery. A changeling, whose very psychology is bent on not only experiencing all that life can offer, but also living the many lives that they can; where changing their face, form, and personae is like normal people changing their clothes; and living with maybe two personaes is so psychologically limiting and suppressing of their natural tendencies that, for Zorn, his mind creating this personae was a way of coping with it. Torvin at least to start ends up being able to take control and not relinquish it like a schizophrenic personality might, whereas Zorn is able to freely shift between the other personaes without any issues.

In the short story I am attempting to plan, Torvin’s power to not relinquish control is important also because this personae is tied to his changeling’s ability Divergent Personality which gives him expertise in one tool set (Forgery Tools) when using this personae. 

Personae Photogallery

Here are some pictures to get your started on what the personaes may look like:

Lifestyle

  • Lifestyle: comfortable 2/day

Choosing a comfortable lifestyle means that you can afford nicer clothing and can easily maintain your equipment. You live in a small cottage in a middle-class neighborhood or in a private room at a fine inn. You associate with merchants, skilled tradespeople, and military officers.

He lives better than his monastic life mostly due to privacy, and having a clean and quiet space to practice and to store his many, many changes of clothes and equipment for his many faces. Discretion is appreciated. Plus, this gives him access to a more interesting strata of society for info gathering.

Other than that he can live the simple life of a monk since he has done it for many years. There is a quiet and contemplative simplicity to the austere life.

Equipment

I spent just shy of 200gp. You will see that most of this is spent on materials to support my various changeling personae.

  • short sword and hand axe
  • forgery kit, jewelers kit, painters supplies
  • monk’s pack (change alms box for Jade Leopard idol)
  • explorer’s pack
  • diplomat’s pack (includes fine clothes)
  • clothes common (7), clothes travelers (7), clothes fine
  • 100′ silk rope + grappling hook
  • steel mirror

Monastery

Most of this table is taken from tables and ideas from the wonderful Xanathar’s Guide to Everything:

Monastery: Brotherhood of the Jade Leopard
Monastic Icons: Jade Leopard
Faith: Jade Leopard
Master: especially merciless (almost lost an eye during practice)
Parents: did not know, was abandoned in an alley of Waterdeep
Childhood Home monastery

Base Character History

This character history is set just over 3 years prior to the beginning of the campaign, which is significant historically, because I am planning a short story which would take place within a few months of the end of this.

1. Monastic Salvation

Zorn and his ‘brother‘, Ket, were taken in by a monastery after having been found abandoned on the streets of Waterdeep by a traveling monk. Zorn welcomed his austere life as a monk, hell even to just have a home in any form, and trained to become member of the Brotherhood of the Jade Leopard taking on the personae of Rorn “Alleyson” Gelvis and Ket taking on the personae of Lorn “Alleyson” Gelvis. While there, Rorn picked up skills as jeweler and painting, as well as showing a skill for replicating the works of others (forgery) too. His childhood was limited to his time at the monastery.

Lorn was Rorn’s equal and yet his opposite. Where Rorn was dexterous and full of finesse, Lorn was strong and abrupt. Where Rorn was kind and concerned with others, Lorn was cruel and sometimes needlessly callous and brutal.

2. Fight Club:

In order to further his desire to brutalize others while at the monastery, Lorn started a secret fight club and some of their brothers joined either because they just wanted another outlet to practice their fighting skills in a less controlled environment or after being bullied and pressured into it. Rorn did not go, for such things were strictly forbidden, but also because he knew what was going to end up happening – Lorn was going to seriously hurt someone and he could not bear to watch his brother fall that far.

After weeks of their masters questioning his brothers about where they were getting their injuries and none would tell the truth. They said it was just during practice, but the masters knew better. Rorn knew better, but he also kept his mouth shut.

Eventually, his curiosity and fear got the better of him. In the shadows he watched several fights go down. His anxiety rose as he watched match after match. His heart pounded and he face went flesh when he saw his brother, Lorn, step into the ring. The fight was swiftly brought to a blood end when Lorn had his opponent, Suruu, on the ground and was ready to finish him, and then Lorn’s head snapped up and looked right at Rorn. A cruel snear spread over Lorn’s face as he unleashed a barrage of punches that Suruu’s body, bloodied, broken, limp and lifeless beneath him. Satisfied with the carnage, Lorn stood up and walked away as the rest of his brothers looked on in horror.

Heartbroken, Rorn ran to the masters and reported the Suruu’s murder and told the whole story of what happened. Following a quick trial with most of his brothers likewise speaking up, Lorn was exiled from the monastery never to return. Word would be spread to other brothers of the Jade Leopard to censure Lorn for his brutality.

3. Selected for Kensei

Their initial masters were understanding and appreciated their limited changeling antics even though they were strictly limited to male forms, but once he showed promise for the path of the kensei, to which he was proudly selected for, those antics had to stop for his new master, Master Goog (half orc male) would brook no tomfoolery while in his training – only training, practice, meditation, arts, and pain.

4. The Tournament of the Five Hands

The week long Tournament of the Five Hands, a tournament which happens only once a decade that brings together competitors from the 5 monasteries surrounding Waterdeep, finally returned. When the first one came he was still too young to participate, but now it was a very different story. Rorn, was an adult, with over 15 years of training, meditation, and endurance under his sash, having even been selected for specialized training as a Kensei.

He was looking forward to testing his skills against the monks of the other styles to see what they were like and how well he would fare against them. Before he and his brothers made their way from their mountainous monastery to Waterdeep they were told in no uncertain terms to not fraternize with the denizens of Waterdeep, to not get involved. You will walk with blinders on to-and-from the tournament grounds. Do not get distracted. Do not lose focus. Remember your training. Remember why you are here.

5. The Pull of His Changeling Nature

This was going to be Rorn’s first time outside of the monastery and into the ‘civilized world‘ and he looked forward to it. Arriving in Waterdeep with all the accompanying festivities was an explosion of sights and sounds unlike anything he had ever experienced. All of the vast differences in people, the races, the colors, the sounds, the smells, the laughter, so many faces and lives , so many different emotions, so many things to do and see – and be. It was overwhelming and intoxicating for him in ways he could not have ever imagined, his visceral changeling fascinations and desires burst into life, calling him to this world of experiences hidden from him for so many years! Yet, his duty and privilege of his Brotherhood called him back to reality, to control and repress those desires ad sensations, to call him back to the tournament and his need to honor his training and masters.

6. The Gem Cutters Revolution

Each day of the tournament he passed by a small protest of gem cutters who wanted to work independent of the Guild and were suffering from its oppressions. Counter-protesting Guild members were berating and threatening them while they protested. He found this rally interesting and he sympathized with the independents because he was a gem cutter too, and did find the strict life of the monastery somewhat stifling and limiting. If he were so free, he would not like to be prevented from doing his work. For the first few days he passed them by while listening and watching as best he could, so he could understand their plight.

7. Breaking Honor

On the fourth day of the tournament, the protesters ran afoul of some counter-protester roughians who started to accost them with clubs and chains. When the screams and cries rang out, Rorn couldn’t not act for he felt the cry of the oppressed and of his fellow gem cutters which drove him to leap into motion. Knowing that he would be punished for transgression of his masters’ commands, he began to defend the protesters with all his skill and drove the violent hooligans either into the ground and back into the side alleys running for safety.

Following this, bruised but yet victorious he returned to the tournament grounds and went to tell his master what he had done. Out of sheer anger at Rorn’s betrayal of his training for dishonoring him and his brothers Master Goog struck him and then banished him from the grounds for the duration of the tourament.

He still had at least 2 and and half days of his tournament banishment to fill, so he decided to act, to do more for the protesters. Since his actions have dishonored his master, he decided a different tactic. As he made his way to the protest grounds he changed his clothes from clothes he found lying around and transformed himself into Kestra Stormheart, a stunningly beautiful and heart spoken half-elven orator who spoke on the protesters behalf. She stood up on a large crate and allowed her beauty to attract the gatherers attention. when they all had quieted down she began to speak in support of the independent gem cutters.

Over the next few days he showed up as Kestra and spoke again and again. He also transformed into his personae Desti Grenfauld, the gem cutter, to gather information and to increase his understanding of the protesters plight. He transformed into Ked, a human guard, and inserted himself into the Guild of Gem Cutters to passively gather information as well as he could. No matter what he and the indepedents did, the protest was squashed and dispersed by the time he and his brothers had to leave, the Guild victorious.

8. Recruited by the Harpers

Having somehow figured out what was going on with Rorn’s attempts to assist the independent gem cutters Mattrim “Threestrings” Mereg, an agent of the Harpers, looked to recruit him to work for them within Waterdeep. With having dishonored his Master and brothers, realizing that there is a larger world is out there, and wanting to make a difference, Rorn accepted. He never returned to his master and brothers that day, and from that moment on he took on the personae of Dathana “Dathi” Kell, an agent of the Harpers.

Intersectional Character Histories

Our DM, in a manner similar to Fate’s character creation process, created a random diagram of our character’s names and had us create some sort of story, however small, to figure out how we know the characters adjacet to us in the diagram:

Intersectional Character History List for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (2018)
Intersectional Character History List for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (2018)

I had Kyle’s character whose name is Valeriana and Charles’ character whose name is Tearlach. Charles and I already had agreed upon something super basic: after I had my character history written, we agreed, at my suggestion, that in the Tournament of the Five Hands that I write about above that he defeated me at least once there.

However, Kyle and I chatted over Facebook Messenger and came up with a rather neat plan which I will detail in this post below, so take a look. It turned out rather well:

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