One-Shot Recap: “Joining the Circus” Part One

This is a recap of a one-shot I ran for three of my friends before we started a new campaign. I’ve recently bought the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica and I was fascinated with all the possibilities of an urban campaign with different factions, and was even considering merging Ravnica with Sigil from Planescape to a single city for a future campaign. For this session however, I just used one faction, and I’m sure you’ll figure it out, just from the title. Since one of my players mostly played Vampire (Chronicles of Darkness) games before, and there was a new player as well, I wanted to include all the pillars – exploration, roleplay and tactics. I’ve set the game in Faerûn, in the year 1372 DR, the campaign start for 3E, because we’ve all played Neverwinter Nights back in the day, and I’m most comfortable with the pre-spellplague Faerûn, since I’ve ran v3.5 before. The players were given a choice of pregenerated 3rd level characters to make it easier for them, and to focus on the game itself rather than character creation.

One player chose to play Captain Olora Tlintein, a Shadar-Kai elf rogue whose ship got stranded near Evernight, the dark mirror image of Neverwinter. She managed to slip through a shadow crossing that manifested, and came to the Material Plane, just in time to escape Neverwinter before the plague hit. The other player went for a Vampire Hunter D-ish character, name [of course] Dee, a dhampir eldritch knight fighter. Dee was born in the forgotten misty lands of Barovia, a place known for having only an entrance, but never an exit. A tyrant known as the Devil Strahd rules over this cursed land, keeping its citizens in constant fear. Most likely a child to the vampire Lord Strahd and an unfortunate Vistani girl, Dee has somehow been smuggled out of Barovia, out of his father’s reach. The last player chose Dalden “the Magnificent, short in stature, tall in power, narrow of purpose, and wide of vision” Redbrew, a gold dwarf Lore Bard. Dalden is, or rather wishes to be, a famous storyteller and poet. Hailing from the Great Rift in southern Faerûn, the ancestral home of Gold Dwarves, he seeks an audience wherever he can find. Since his “reputation” is well known in the South, he was exiledhe traveled to the Jewel of the North to prove once and for all that his songs are not “random scribblings without any meaning”. The opening read-out was something like this:

Usually, Midsummer night in Faerûn is a time of feasting, music, and of love. Acquaintances turn into courtships, courtships turn into betrothals, and the deities themselves take a part by ensuring good weather for feasting and frolicking in the woods. Usually, but this this year is an exception. The great city of Neverwinter, the Jewel of the North, has been swept by a plague for some time now, for which a cure cannot be found still. The city has been closed-off, its gates shut, and passage in and out of the city is controlled by the clergy of Tyr, the Blind God of Justice.  Lord Nasher Alagondar, the ruler of Neverwinter, has issued a call for adventurers willing to aid in these hard times. Soon, camps started popping in front of the city’s gates, attracting all sorts of mercenaries and sell-swords. 

You are such a group, gathered around a bonfire as you do almost every night for the past tenday. However, it seems the gods have favored you this night after all, as a slim half-elven female dressed in plate armor walks up to your group. You recognize her as Lady Aribeth de Tylmerande, the right-hand of Lord Nasher himself. She takes a good look at each you, crouches to join you by the fire.

Lady Aribeth gives them a quest to find Lord Nasher’s nephew, Gir-Von, who has gone missing and seen leaving towards Neverwinter Wood a couple of nights ago. Investigating the locals gathered in front of the gates, the party found a witness who spoke to Gir-Von the night he fled, telling that he wants to be a performer. They have also learned that a traveling circus named “The Flaming Twilight” will be performing in Longsaddle, to the east. Deducting that Gir-Von fled to the circus, the party decided to follow. After some questioning of the city guards in front of the gates they managed to obtain horses and continue at the break of dawn.

To be continued...

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