“I’ve heard you’re trouble…”
The Siren Sisters reputation proceeds them in episode 4. They’ve lost their band manager, they’ve lost their friend Ghost, and most importantly—they’ve lost their street cred. All they have to show for their efforts in toppling the beauty product conspiracy, is becoming further entrenched in conspiracy on the streets of Waterdeep.
Video first. Spoilers After.
The Out-Of-Game recap:
The Sirens begin Episode 4 by continuing to hunt for clues about the connection of nobles, the Emerald Cabal, and their missing friends. Much of the episode is spent investigating the room and looking at journals. It’s a heavy roleplaying session with some combat (and lying to the city watch near the end). Every game session needs a good character development session and Episode 4 fits that bill wonderfully. The introduction of Elodie (Tiefling / Bard (Whisperers) 7) comes naturally to the group, we’ll get to her in the jump below.
Satine has been running a conspiracy focused campaign with this Waterdeep city arc, and Episode 4 serves as the perfect session to highlight tricks she’s been using to keep the content engaging. A mix of humor, voice acting, and player investment make the city seem alive, and ever evolving around the characters. By using festivals, events, and parties as setting backdrops for roleplaying; Satine is able to move time forward, and show NPCs in different lights. When a College of Swords teacher has to chaperone a bard college dance, it takes him out of his fighting element, which adds another layer. Now, if this NPC meets his demise in the future—it creates more impact.
Another trick that is used is the mystery tied to a day job (restoring the Yawning Portal). The Lords of Waterdeep are mysterious, and masked individuals with their web of influence spans the entire city and beyond. Any NPC met, could secretly be working as a foil, or turn against the party on a moments notice if a promise of platinum is involved. Information, and secrets are the true currency in this city. Since Waterdeep is a public, and canon setting, any player could go read some Wiki entries, and learn tons of lore about its history, and major players. Satine avoids this by focusing on interpersonal character drama, custom puzzles (like maps that only Tieflings can read), and home-brew mystery. Every time the characters return to the Yawning Portal and get working again, it grounds the adventure, and allows them to process a new clue each session at a time.
If you find yourself running a city campaign, and want to see some conspiracy in play, this fourth episode is a great reference…
The Story Thus Far:
Vlahnya has a very, very, busy conspiracy room. Resident Evil in design with candles that open doors, journals hidden under beds, and a spider web of ‘who is who’ that Orisha (Aasimar / Bard 2, Cleric 5) found herself stuck in, and totally lost. Fey Lore (the totally Human, Tiefling) finds her way back in and questions Orisha about why she’s got red strands in her hair… and about her stand-up comedy routine. Amidst the shenanigans, the party finally discovers actual clues in the forms of journals, and maps that they need assistance to decipher. Clearly, they need to hit the College of Bards dance party.
Fey Lore isn’t exactly the best at flirting for information, and each party member takes turns trying to impart some wisdom upon the young Tiefling—to varying degrees of success. In the end, after a few cold shutdowns, the group learns of a map maker who is a block away from the Yawning Portal who is the architect of the maps in Vlahnya’s office. Racing off to see her, the group is quickly chided for being so open with secrets, AND for trying to cast a spell of Suggestion on the shopkeeper.
Casting spells on innocent shopkeepers? The Sirens are clearly a group of travelling mind-controlling, trouble makers, and should be arrested. Unfortunately for the Emerald Cabal, Cadmael the Tabaxi is able to once-again talk his way out of trouble. The map maker reveals that Waterdeep is filled with many hidden locations and tunnels that lead to secrets-upon-secrets. The map she gave to Vlahnya could lead the party to further clues, but they might need a guide. Enter apprentice #2! (a.k.a. Elodie the Tiefling) who will guide the party to the secret guild hall, and return by dawn…
Will The Sirens make it through Season 3? Will The Emerald Cabal get the justice they deserve? Let us know what you think!
The entire Sirens Playlist: Youtube
Featured Images: Gilding Light
Image Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Rick Heinz is the author of The Seventh Age novel series, Dread Adventures, and a storyteller with a focus on D&D for Kids, Geek & Sundry’s GM Tips, Eclipse Phase and an overdose of LARPs. You can follow the game or urban fantasy related thingies on Twitter or reach out for writing at RickHeinzWrites@gmail.com