Murder in Baldur's Gate

Arrival at Baldur's Gate
Arrival

The adventure begins with the characters arriving in the northern reaches of Baldur’s Gate, the Outer City district of Blackgate. They’ve come to the city on Founder’s Day, the celebration in memory of Balduran, founder of the city. It’s also the only day of the year when no one has to pay the usual gate tolls for passage (merchants must still pay taxes on goods though), so people have flocked from the tiny communities strung north and south of the city for the celebration and the chance to visit the city for free.

You’ve come to Baldur’s Gate for a job working as caravan guards for goods heading south overland from the city. But you’ve arrived to meet the shipment of goods from Waterdeep a few days early. Now you have time to spare and a city to explore.

A few miles out from Baldur’s Gate, a squint-eyed herdsman tried to convince you to leave your horses with him instead of boarding them just outside the city. Now you’re wishing you had listened. You found a place for the horses, but the price you’re paying to keep them there is outrageous.

Because it’s Founders Day, you don’t have to pay the usual toll to enter the city, but that’s small consolation for the high boarding fees the crowds create.

You’ve been waiting in line for an hour when you finally leave behind some of the stink and noise of the Outer City and pass through the first part of the Black Dragon Gate. In the muddy courtyard between gates, the rattle of smithing, the stench of beasts, and the barking of dogs fades somewhat. Leering balefully down at you from above the second gate, mouth agape, is the sculpture that gives this gate its name: a stone carving of a black dragon’s head, said to be magically empowered with the ability to spew acid in times of siege.

As you at last pass under the dragon, guards in crisp black livery wearing black helms with bold red stripes look you over and point you toward a row of iron boot scrapers set into the cobbles by the wall. Once you’ve cleaned off the worst of the muck, another guard nods approval and waves you through to make room for the next group.

In the Upper City, you’re immediately struck by many contrasts. The wide, muddy ways of the tumbledown shan- tytown outside have been replaced by narrow, cobbled streets and regular buildings of solid yellow granite, deco- rated with doors and shutters of bold red, blue, and green. Blossoming plants tumble out of window boxes, making the air sweet. The hubbub of the Outer City is gone, and the excited chatter of the crowd has quieted to a respectful murmur as you move with everyone toward the Wide, the city’s grand market square.

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Transformation

The whole city is in a festive mood that even the continuous light drizzle can’t dampen. A sea of brightly hued awnings stretches out across the vast city square, and people from all strata of society and every realm of endeavor move about among the merchant’s stalls.
On the eastern side you spot a freshly erected stage with a curtain of brilliant white emblazoned with the city’s heraldry, a ship on calm seas. Guarded by members of the Watch, well dressed individuals and folk wearing sashes of city office mill around behind stage, apparently waiting for the High House of Wonders, the city’s famous temple of Gond, to ring the right hour.
It seems there’s time left before the festival officially starts, and all about you folk are selling exotic goods from every corner of Faerûn.

Suddenly, a shout breaks the happy mood. A bearded merchant grabs the barbarian’s shoulder. “That’s the second time you’ve stepped on my cloak, sir,” he yells. “You’re either doing it on purpose, or you’re the clumsiest oaf I’ve ever seen!"

The Barbarian doesn’t take this too kindly and strikes out at him with his fist. Catching the man unawares he steps back holding his cheek in shock. A tear forms in his eye as he says “This cloak is fine silk, and see how you’ve frayed it! I expect that you will compensate the cost.” with a whimper in his voice.
The spritely bard steps in and introduces herself to the man and tries to calm the situation. In the mean time the mans friend that no-one noticed is picking the pocket of the bard. All attention is on the man as he suddenly changes tune when the bard suggests that someone else might have done it. The man begins to make off into the crowd when the bard realises that she has been made lighter with her purse missing.

They make pursuit into the crowd with both the escapers and the pursuers being slowed by the bustle of the crowd. The barbarian then forces his way through the crowd as one of the thieves trip and the other tries to help…

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