Our party of would-be heroes ventured up the streets of the lower city of Baldur's Gate to spend some of their hard earned gold on magic items before staking out the Nymph's Delight bathhouse.
To those unfamiliar with D&D fourth edition, magic items are a staple of the game. Purchasing and using them is all but required in this edition, and an emphasis is placed on purchasing them between adventures and delves. This necessitated a trip to IVY SHADOWDUSK'S MAGICAL EMPORIUM!
Before you sits a crooked two-story wooden building with big bay windows covered in dust and grime. Within the store is a collection of dress forms clad in gleaming armour and clothing of various kinds. Racks of wands, staves, and swords line the walls. Open chests reveal pretty baubles and trinkets with auras of mystery. All of it clearly magical.
At the front counter is a willowy young human with snow-white hair. They're dressed in a formal black frock, and their hands and arms are covered in long silver silk gloves. "Welcome. I'm Ivy Shadowdusk. What manner of enchanted item do you seek?"
(This gave me a chance to pull out this old dusty tome)
Malachite and Saphi bought weapons and armour respectively. Anya bartered with Ivy to have her longsword 'sisterkisser' enchanted instead. She would need to go without the weapon for a day or two, but it'd be all +1'd up with luckblade powers.
Digging a little deeper with the History skill, the party learned over conversation that Ivy was from Waterdeep originally. Their family, the Shadowdusks, were once a prominent wizarding family that fell to madness and ruin over the generations, moving their ancestral manor to Undermountain. It all seemed very ominous and plot-hook heavy. Ivy also shared that their gloves were woven with residuum; allowing the wearer to instantly identify magical items upon touch.
With their new goodies in hand, the party headed to the bathhouse.
The party arrived at the Nymph's Delight, greeted by its employees: two human masseuses named Jabraz and Qurmilah. At midday, the baths were unoccupied save for one other person. I rolled on a random table to see which prominent Forgotten Realms NPC it could be:
1. Jeb Mortley, grave digger and Guild informant
2. Torimesh, emerald enclave human druid
3. Ettward Needle, halfling owner of Baldur's Mouth
4. Whispernus, secret cambion of Dispater
5. Drizzt Do'urden, famous drow ranger
6. Dreibus Beestinger, half-orc letch and rogue
7. Mackle Mauve, dwarf mason and singer
8. Omin Dran, CEO and cleric
I rolled, revealing a tired looking bald half-elf soaking in a tub. Cleric's garb was hung nearby.
Mal, Anya, Saphi, and Rose proceeded to get into a bath, order a ton of nibbles from a nearby cart, as well as a few bottles of good imported red wine. Their investigation into the Dead Three took a brief backseat to getting to know one another and trading gossip with the two massueses.
It turns out the bathhouse is owned by one Mortlock Vanthampur, the disfigured son of city duke Thalarma Vanthampur. She was apparently a rags to riches story of a lesser dignitary in charge of the city's sewers who rose up the ranks to being one of the four rulers of the whole city. All interesting stuff.
When Saphi went to get a massage, she took the time to investigate the room a little closer. She revealed a secret passage that lead to a dungeon below!
The party got ready to go explore, at which point the half-elf man was getting dressed. Conversation with him had been sparse, but before leaving the party noticed he had a tattoo in elven just above his ass that read 'Always Get Paid'.
Having overheard much of their conversation about adventuring, he offered them his business card saying "If you ever want some work, we have a great intern program. He then cast a spell and disappeared through a portal of golden light. The card read "Ominifis Hereward Dran, CEO of Acquisitions Incorporated".
Now, the party had a way down into the dungeon below.