What starts out as an evening of spectacle and wonder turns into a mission to uncover the motives of a traveling group of performers.
After finding a poster advertising an evening of wonder and spectacle, the adventurers — Benny, Chomp, Kados, Thrask and Viego — met at the Yawning Portal. Shortly after their arrival, a woman in blue robes entered the tavern, followed by two rough-looking men. Viego was visited by his cousin, Martine III, the heir to the Sun Spear Family of House Deocar.
While Viego attempted to hide his disabled arm from his cousin the other characters thought the blue-robed women and the two rough-looking folks were suspicious. Before the party could get a better idea of what they were up to, a dray — one of Waterdeep's double-decker carriages — crashed into the tavern. Luggage tumbled down from the dray and released a bundle of animated brooms that quickly brought havoc upon the tavern.
In the chaos the two rough-looking characters pushed the blue-robed woman down and stole something from her, a group of nobles almost fell into the cavernous well at the center of the tavern and a fire started caught the base of the curtains on the tavern's stage.
A dashing man sprung into action using his longbow to help the characters dispose of the wild, animated brooms.
The adventurers were able to defeat the two rough-looking men as the woman retrieved what was stolen from her, Kados and Benny saved the nobles from falling down the well and Chomp saved a cat named Marmaduke from the flaming curtains, the cat immediately took a liking to Chomp.
After the Crash
The City Watch arrived shortly after the brooms had been dealt with and questioned the patrons and arrested the two men the party fought with before allowing folks to leave. Everyone who helped quell the chaos of the situation was celebrated by the other patrons at the tavern. When the Watch officers questioned the driver of the crashed dray, he confessed that he lost control while speeding along his route to make up for traffic in another part of the city.
The patrons were ushered out of the tavern by the staff and its proprietor, Durnan. Shortly after everyone exited the tavern a man in red robes entered the tavern and, as if time itself rewound itself, the tavern's walls repaired themselves. The patrons were welcomed to return to see that the inside of the Yawning Portal was restored to what it looked like before the carriage crash.
When the adventurers returned to their table, the dashing man who lent his bow to the situation introduced himself as Trace. Viego introduced himself to the blue-robed women who introduced herself as Raleigh, he attempted to find out what the two men were after but Raleigh gave him the cold shoulder.
For their efforts, the party received their refreshments and food at the compliment of the nobles they saved during the chaos. To start the evening's performances, the tavern's resident bard Mattrim "Threestrings" Mereg took to the stage to tell the tale of Bravado and the Baron of Blood.
After her performance Threestrings approached the adventurers for work, as he confessed how impressed he was with their efforts after the dray crash. When the adventurers agreed to hear the bard out he invited her friend over, a plate-armored man approached the table introducing himself as Meloon Wardragon, a member of Force Grey.
Meloon informed the party of the factions searching for a fabled "vault of dragons" in Waterdeep. He suspected that Zardoz Zord, the captain of a traveling carnival known as the Sea Maidens Faire, was among those searching for the vault. Zord's performers were sent to the Yawning Portal for the event and Meloon needed help from the adventurers to uncover what ulterior motives the captain or his performers had.
Threestrings proposed that he could get the characters backstage and in close proximity to Zord's performers if the adventurers posed as a group of traveling performers. In exchange for their efforts, Meloon could put in a good word with Force Grey and Threestrings could let their allies know about the characters' efforts.
Threestrings led the party backstage to procure props for their act before speaking to the event's organizer, Rusty Bighat. The adventurers acquired a two-person centaur costume as well as a wobbly-wheeled unicycle for their performance dubbed Lady Serpentine and the Demon Centaur.
The party had very little time to prepare their performance and were put onto the stage before the billed performances. Thrask played the role of Lady Serpentine, Marmaduke played Sir Marmaduke, Chomp played Marmaduke's Squire, Benny played Lord Serpentine, Viego played Lord Tiego and in the two-person centaur costume Kados and Thrask played the Demon Centaur. The performance told the tale of Sir Marmaduke's quest to prove his love for Lady Serpentine. While their performance was unconventional, the party left half of the audience applauding, the other half nonplussed and everyone in the tavern dumbfounded.
Behind the curtain the adventurers met the other performers; Valas Trapp and his magical mouse orchestra; The Midnight Mummers led by a man named Caldwell and members of the Sea Maidens Faire led by a woman named Nula.
While the performers from the Sea Maidens Faire went on stage, Viego rummaged through their belongings to find a strange hand-sized casket, when the casket was opened a bright light emerged from the opening. Viego quickly covered up the light but heard a message in the elven tongue coming out from the casket:
"My dear Sh'Vis. This fool has acquired an item that is pertinent to our hunt for the Vault of Dragons. It may even be a lead to the object we seek. Be wary: other agents are trying to steal it, so you need to move fast. I've arranged for your dancers to perform tonight at the Yawning Portal. Steal the object and place it in this casket. I'll take it from there."
The party returned the casket to the Sea Maidens' belongings and relayed the message they heard back to Threestrings and Meloon. The two were impressed by the party's skills both on and off the stage and promised to share these impression with their allies.
The party was then set on finding out what item the Sea Maidens were after.
Confronting the Villains
While the other party members kept their eyes on the Sea Maidens, Viego caught a glimpse of Raleigh heading towards a back room in the tavern. As Viego followed her through the tavern's kitchen and down into the basement where Raleigh and consequently, Viego himself, were lured into an ambush led by Trace.
Viego was able to escape the basement and called out for his companions to help him. After a nearly fatal skirmish with Trace and his party, the adventurers came out alive. Raleigh said she was done with Waterdeep and fled the tavern, telling the adventurers that Trace had what was almost stolen from her earlier in the day.
In Trace's belongings the party found a casket similar to the one they found backstage, when they opened it a magical light radiated out and a foot-high image of a drow wearing an elegant outfit complete with a wide-brimmed hat with a large feather appeared and whispered a message:
"My loyal Trace. A big-eyed enemy of mine is sending his cohorts to the Yawning Portal tonight. I want you to offer your services to them — they may prove useful in my search for the Vault of Dragons. Be aware they have their own rivals inside the tavern, including other agents who are working for me. Watch out for them!"Inside the casket, the party found a sheet of parchment, on the front of which was a map of the Southern Ward and on the back was a sketch of a gnome with the name "Dalakhar" scribbled underneath.
Threestrings, Meloon and Martine III stormed into basement after the skirmish. Threestrings and Meloon were impressed even further by the characters' actions but Martine was more concerned with Viego's right arm which was obviously in a state of decay.
The adventurers provided the information they gained from Trace's casket which made Meloon worry, but Meloon insisted that he collect the sketch so that he could share with the others in Force Grey.
Fearing for the character's safety, Threestrings arranged for their escape from the Yawning Portal. After he led the party to a backdoor of the tavern, a corpse cart rolled by and the characters were instructed to climb in an remain perfectly still. The adventurers were able to reach the Troll Gate at the northern end of the city before the cart driver told them to get off the cart and lay low.
- Benny the human rogue
- Chomp the shifter druid
- Kados the tiefling sorcerer
- Thrask the lizardfolk ranger
- Viego the human kensei
- Caldwell the male halfling leader of the Midnight Mummers, a group of a cappella singers from the Southern Ward.
- Durnan, the male human owner and proprietor of the Yawning Portal.
- Marmaduke, a female tabby cat that had been living in the Yawning Portal. She has a collar with a chipped tag that reads "This cat belong to-".
- Martine III, the male human heir to the Sun Spear family of House Deocar.
- Meloon Wardragon, a male human member of Force Grey.
- Nula, the female human leader of the dancers of the Sea Maidens Faire.
- Raleigh, a female elf spellcaster who was in possession of the item that both Trace and Zardoz Zord's accomplices were after.
- Rusty Bighat, a male halfling event organizer who specializes in theatrical performances across Waterdeep.
- Threestrings, the male human resident bard of the Yawning Portal.
- Trace, a male half-elf ranger who leads his own party of adventurers.
- Valas Trapp, a male human spellcaster who uses his magic as a part of his mouse orchestra sideshow
Allies, Enemies & Organizations
- Force Grey, otherwise known as The Gray Hands, is a group of elite adventurers who worked directly for the government of the city of Waterdeep. Meloon Wardragon is a member of the organization.