Normally I’d not post the following on this art site; however, given I created some original art assets for my group’s D&D sessions I thought it might be fun to share.
For some quick context, this post outlines the first half of a two-shot submodule I created for our ongoing, weekly D&D group. We are presently about to have opening night of our new inn, The Threshold, in the city of Waterdeep. My character, Erel, has gone out and bought some party favors, as it were, to help with said opening night.
Cast of Characters
Erel (me) – Aasimar paladin who was raised as First Fist of the Temple at Earsa. Suffice it to say, Erel is not city-slicker, and is often not entirely in sync with everything a large city has to offer. As explained in more detail below, Erel is a devote advocate for a martial art he calls shadow poetry, which establishes his motivations to create the most epic opening night for their new inn.
Oscar – Feywild ranger with a randy side to him. If it has a heartbeat and is attractive then expect Oscar to saddle up to become buddies with them. In two words, Oscar is a concupiscent trickster.
Sylvia – Goblin mage with a ferret, Thalum, as familiar. While a one-shot wonder of fire and ice, she is not amused by her natural feats in the magical arts. She appears to have an unhealthy relationship with Death.
Lucius “Leo” – human seafaring druid with a passion for ensuring all doors are closed. He also appears to be cursed. He is a granite anchor of the team.
Taryel – Triton fighter who loves shiny things and casually making friends with underwater dragons. She’s also good in fight, although we all know Erel is better at the long-game.
The new owners of The Threshold are just a few days away from a grand opening of their new eating experience establishment. They’ve hired some eclectic chefs and bartenders to concote food and libation wonderments for anyone bold and adventurous enough to walk through the door.
Erel, erstwhile First Fist of the Temple at Earsa and now fallen Aasimar paladin is a founding member of The Threshold. He is most excited by an opportunity to introduce shadow poetry to the denizens of Waterdeep, where he knows there is more than ample fertile ground for his martial and literary arts, especially from those who enjoy the operas of Waterdeep that Erel finds enjoyable in the way an adult might enjoy children’s theater.
Erel, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to surprise his fellow adventurers with a grand, elaborate opening debut of both their inn and shadow poetry. It’s both a ceremony and celebration, an opportunity for each member of the party to be more formally initiated into Erel’s arts and learn more deeply about themselves. For this is the truest expression and intent of his moving poetry: find the truths hidden behind the facades (masks) we all wear in daily life.
Day of Shopping
Notes to DM
This section is meant to be interspersed with other party activities. These are light vignettes that are largely setup for Opening Night (not included for now due to spoilers).
First Thing in Morning
Erel wakes before everyone else to gather supplies for the celebration.
For any member of the party, they easily spot a mug with a note underneath it. It reads:
I’m off to get opening night materials for The Threshold.
It’s going to be epic!
I’ll be back later tonight. Don’t wait up for me.
yo, erel”Erel, note to group
If they investigate (5 or better) they flip over the card and discover the poster-invitation on the other side. Regardless of this discovery or note, members will find larger versions of this side plastered throughout Waterdeep on poles and in the front of shops, et cetera. Erel has been busy.
Later That Same Day
Notes to DM
The party will not be able to find Erel, but throughout the day deliveries and packages start to arrive at The Threshold.
Feel free to embellish and create your own characters for the merchants, depending on party interaction.
The following items will be individually delivered by different merchants.
This will be a large, stone basin that can fit in the courtyard. There is a pedestal in the middle of it, large enough to hold a large humanoid.
- 5 or better: They will also see The Threshold carved in script on one side.
- 10 or better: anyone looking at it will ascertain that it could hold a reasonably sized statue.
- 15 or better: they will notice small doors carved all around the fountain near the base. Each door or gateway is different. Some are proper doors. Others are archways. You get the distinct impression a lot of thought has gone into each one. Each doorway can be connected back to a party member. Each doorway activates a glamor when examined closely by the person it’s related to, whereupon it comes alive and seems like reality in miniature.
- Sylvia: a smaller door with what looks like smoke, fire and lightning coming from it. Icy wind escapes through the door. There are the markings of Death all around the door, and a hooded skull looking down upon any who might enter. The door is only slightly open.
- Oscar: a woodland scene with a door made of two intertwined. There is a sense of movement in the bushes, and there are thorns such that it is easy to imagine that getting through the entryway without getting pricked is hard.
- Taryel: This one is only discovered on the inside of the fountain near the bottom of the water. It’s an underwater cave entrance with gleaming eyes radiating from within.
- Lucius: This one is discovered on the fountain pedestal. There are stairs coming up out of the water that goes to a closed door. It appears locked. There is a small rodent entry to the side of the door.
- Erel: There is a round columned entry-way with carved columns toppled and shattered. Behind is a temple set up in the distance. It’s not entirely clear whether the temple is abandoned or not. The columns block further ingress. Next to the entrance is a single glaive resting against the remains of a standing column.
- 20 or better: They know Erel and while they do not entirely understand how Erel’s mind works, he is obviously up to something. They cannot quite put their finger on what or who, but they suspect it has something to do with a party member
A merchant will arrive and start to fill the fountain with water and koi fish. The fish will be of varying sizes and colors. The merchant will add some lily pads to the fountain for the fish to find some shade and protection from aviary sorts.
- 10 or better: the number of koi fish coincide with the number of party members and employees of The Threshold
- 15 or better: each koi fish actually resembles each party member in some way. Each member must roll independently to discover their own koi
- Sylvia: There are a pair of koi (one small, one tiny) that always travel together. The tiny one is constantly swimming around the small one while shuttling to other koi.
- Oscar: Medium-sized that appears to enjoy playing tricks on all the other koi. If anyone tries to interact with it, it will squirt water into their face.
- Taryel: medium- to large-sized koi with iridescent scales, its colors changing from greens to blues to even purples. Even for a fish, it seems even more comfortable in its surroundings than all the other koi. It will explore the entire fountain and interact with air-breathers by coming to the surface.
- Lucius: medium-sized koi that appears to change its color to camouflage itself. It tends to stay toward the bottom of the fountain wherever there are shadows.
- Erel: large-sized koi with golden scales that remind members of his eyes. The fins of the koi come off in long, sweeping strokes and seem to more fly than swim through the water.
An artisan brings masks, each individually wrapped and a note attached with their names written in eloquent script.
born and bournPoem on card attached to each member’s mask
into and by our ignorance
we our masks don and donnée
silent shadows we simper
moved till stumbling
we fall and fallen so arise
- Sylvia: ferret
- Thalum (ferret familiar): goblin with a golden star over one eye
- Oscar: Satyr
- Taryel: Sea Serpent, its color changing in a fashion similar to one of the koi in the pond
- Lucius: Rat with its mouth open
- Lizardfolk chef: lizardfolk (it looks just like them with it on)
- Magic chef: crystal facemask that refracts and reflects light. When you look toward her with it on, you can see your own reflection
- Death chef: skull mask that goes down to top of mouth. His lips and lower jaw are visible, but his skin takes on a pale luster with it donned
- Robot bartender: human face of nondescript features, it could be male or female, albeit slightly childlike features. The proverbial blank page for which a persona can emerge.
- Mute bartender: mouth mask of clasped closed hands. When donned, their eyes glow.
- 10 or better: these have no real magical properties other than some fey-like glimmers on them that help enhance some of their aspects
Crate of Figurines
A large wooden crate is delivered. Inside the crate are dozens and dozens of hand-sized figurines of a humanoid pirate in a dynamic pose.
- 10 or Better: They look like Lucius
- 10 or Better: On the bottom each figure is inscribed “Lucius, Doorman to Heals”
- 15 or Better: At the bottom of the crate they will discover a set of human-sized clothes that match what the figurines are wearing.
- 20 or Better: On top of finding the aforementioned wardrobe, they perfectly fit Lucius and Lucius alone.