Here are the major events you may want to think about creating rumours about. Don’t forget to include anything specific to your game, such as things the PCs have done which might be causing rumours or news.
Elturel has been destroyed
What happened to Elturel?
Justin Alexander covers this in Rumours of Elturel. Simply pick and choose any of these, or build up from one:
- “It was a dragon!”
- “No, it was a group of dragons of each colour!”
- “Yeah, and they bore sorcerers in service to Tiamat!”
- “It was Tiamat herself, summoned by the Church of Tiamat to destroy their enemies!”
Have other cities suffered the same fate?
Some of the Rumours of Elturel mention this, but any of them could be rumoured to of occurred elsewhere instead of to Elturel.
Here are some cities you may wish to reference:
- Scornubel, city closest to Elturel and also part of Elturgard.
- Waterdeep, largest city in the Sword Coast.
- Calimport, capital of Calimshan. People in the Little Calimshan district of Baldur’s Gate might be especially worried about this.
- Neverwinter, near destroyed by the eruption of Mount Hotenow just over 50 years ago and only just recovering.
- Athkatla, capital of Amn to the south. Dara, Ghorin and Clyde are from here.
Will it happen again? Could Baldur’s Gate be next?
If people are talking about it happening to cities before Elturel, you can bet there is speculation it will happen to cities after Elturel.
People are mostly worried about their own concerns, as such you can bet that most of the people in Baldur’s Gate will naturally assume they are a probable next target… but maybe some lean the other direction, assuming Baldur’s Gate could never befall such a fate.
Refugees from Elturel
Where are the refugees going?
- Those who were north of Elturel would have headed up to Triel, while those on the eastern wide would have headed to Scornbul.
- Most small villages around Baldur’s Gate and Elturel would have been swarmed immediately and unlikely to take more than a few people.
- Camping outside Basilisk Gate in Baldur’s Gate.
- The city has denied them entry and most of the local residents’ distrust such a massive influx of refugees.
- Continuing onwards South.
- Beregost is the nearest city.
- Nashkel city slightly further south has extensive mines which might provide work.
- The distant region of Amn has many places to go but lies beyond the dangerous Cloud Peak Mountains.
- Continuing onwards North.
- Waterdeep is the most likely destination and reached by boat, passage likely secured in the Gray Harbour.
What do the Dukes plan to do about the crisis?
- Duke Dillard Portyr wants the city to open its arms to these poor refugees. Their homes were destroyed and Baldur’s Gate should take these people in.
- Duke Thalamra Vanthampur thinks the refugees are perhaps part of an invasion. Either covert agents part of a vanguard force designed to infiltrate the city, or an intentional drain on the cities resources and supplies before an attack.
- GM Note: She is trying to cause further bloodshed and corrupt the city into a long war with Elturgard to damn more souls to Avernus, under Gargauth’s instruction.
- Duke Belynne Stelmane is still recovering from a stroke she suffered recently, and hasn’t made any kind of statement about the refugees. Most expect her to step down from the position if she does not recover soon.
Grand Duke Ravengard was in Elturel in negotiations when the city fell
Could he still be alive?
- Most assume he died when Elturel fell, but some of the rumours suggest the city could still be saved.
- Perhaps Ravengard and his cadre are still trapped in the city, or managed to escape the destruction?
Why did only Ravengard go to Elturel?
- All four Dukes were invited to the negotiations with Thavius Kreeg, but only Duke Ravengard ended up attending.
- This was either very fortunate, or a conspiracy by one/all of the other dukes to have Ravengard killed, if you believe the craziest of theories.
If he is dead who will replace him as Duke and as Marshal of the Flaming Fists?
- Duke Thalamra Vanthampur is very clearly positioning herself to become the Grand Duke, but that would still leave a vacant ducal position for another patriar noble to fill.
- There are many patriar families who are likely all vying for the position. Some may even have backing from outside influences.
- Lutecia Hhune, widow whose family have powerful connections up and down the Sword Coast. Backed secretly by the Knights of the Shield who revere Gargauth. (DIA page
- Satiir Thione-Hhune, currently a prisoner in the Vantahmpur sewer complex. She also is secretly a member of the Knights of the Shield, but with strong political backing from the nation of Tethyr.
- Darius Bormul XII, related to the Dormul nobility of Amn, with interests in vineyards and silver mines. Backed secretly by the Shadow Thieves of Amn.
- Taraphael Eltan, his distant relative Grand Duke Eltan of the 14th century founded the Flaming Fists. Taraphael seek financial backing to return to politics. Duke Thalamra Vanthampur might finance this, in order to control him.
- Marley Redlocks, runs extensive shipping operations out of the Gray Harbour. Secretly backed by The Guild, as he has financed piracy and smuggling for decades.
- There is also the issue of who will lead the Flaming Fist, as Ravengard held the position of Marshal as well as Grand Duke.
- Justin Alexander already wrote a great list of potential candidates in his Elfsong Tavern article as rumours the patrons might discuss, see below.
Blaze Beldroth over in the western Lower City has reportedly promoted himself to Marshal and is issuing orders. It’s unclear how many Flames are actually following those orders.
Duke Portyr has recalled his niece, Liara Portyr, from Fort Beluarian in Chult. It’s assumed he’s planning to push her into the leadership position.
Blaze Mukar, commander of Wyrm’s Rock, is also in a powerful position.
This is all just a test by Grand Duke Ravengard to see who’s loyal and who’s not.
The Eltan family, heirs of the Eltan who originally founded the Flaming Fists but sold off their shares in order pay off debts, is preparing to buy back in, with Taraphael Eltan becoming the new Marshal.
Yvandre Rillyn, a Flaming Fist veteran, has been running the Rillyn School for Swordplay. The school is actually the front for a conspiracy to seize control of the Flaming Fist. Rumor has it that Rillyn “students” were seen in Elturel before its fall. (See Descent Into Avernus, p. 182.)Justin Alexander, Remixing Avernus – Part 2B: Elfsong Tavern
Murders in Outer City and Lower City
Who are committing the murders?
- The Sickle Man, a supernatural serial killer.
- A story that Baldurian’ s tell their children akin to the ‘Bogeyman‘.
- The stories tell of it being a humanoid creature with preternatural speed and deadliness which slices at vital arteries, before disappearing back into the thick fog of the city.
- The Guild, gang kingpins often feud and vie for territory.
- Diamond Urchin, elderly female human kingpin of Brampton. Perhaps she is dumping bodies in Stonyeyes behind a tavern in retaliation to bodies being dumped in Insight Park by Horseshoe.
- Horseshoe, dragonborn kingpin and smith of Stonyeyes. Famous for branding victims with a horseshoe. Believed to be dumping bodies branded with his mark in Insight Park.
- GM Note: The Insight Park bodies are branded but with Dead Three signs, so the rumour loosely fits. Horseshoe comes from this Reddit post.
- The Pale Patriar, a serial killer in Blackgate who appears from the thick fog to attack his victims.
- He wears a threadbare patriar’s cloak and has a deathly complexion.
- GM Note: See DiA page 178 ‘Bormul Manor’ for more information on this Background Rumour.
- Werewolves, who live in the caves under Dusthawk Hill.
- They have existed there for generations.
- GM Note: A couple of these werewolves will show up in 1.6 Assault on Stormshore Warehouse.
- Refugees from Elturel, the murders only started when they showed up!
- GM Note: Not true, the first few murders were the day Elturel fell, which is before any refugees would have arrived.
- Cultists of Bhaal, lord of murder.
- Some believe a secret temple exists in the sewers or carved into Dusthawk Hill.
- Rumours say that eleven red crystals on the temple walls grow brighter with every murder committed gathering power for Bhaal or his future Chosen.
- Some claim Bhaal himself regularly visits the temple, his presence contributing to the city’s high murder rate.
- Some believe a secret temple exists in the sewers or carved into Dusthawk Hill.
- GM Note: This is all from page 174 of Descent into Avernus, but it might be a bit too close to the truth… at least initially.
I’ve included witness names and locations for these in case you need them, but obviously you can ignore them if they don’t fit your context!
You’ll note that the people easily tracked down are presenting more truthful rumours, so if the PCs decide to follow up on these rumours they actually lead them into the investigation, rather than away from it.
Outer City Murder Rumours
- “These murders are the works of a supernatural killer known to locals as The Sickle Man. It strikes with preternatural accuracy, slicing vitals and disappearing into the fog from whence he came.” – Ayan, peacock handler.
- “It’s the refugees! They’re killing each other, likely bringing their feuds with them from Elturgard. The Flaming Fist should storm their camp and force them to go somewhere else!” – Tiffin Yondle, stable master.
- “I saw a hulking great brute of a dragonborn, he hefted a massive club even he could barely lift, bring it down upon a poor elf woman’s head!” – Kosmin, half-orc porter of Stonyeyes.
- “‘Twas a devil woman with purple skin and wicked blades of pure darkness! She can turn invisible, but I saw her I did! Dragging a man down out of the refugee camps.” – Mad Morgane, destitute halfling woman infamous in Outer City.
Inner City Murder Rumours
- “A group of men in robes chased a man down Yoke Street. Looked like Guild business to me. I did what any clear thinking Balduran would do… ran the other way!” – Nadya, server at the Elfsong Tavern.
- “It’s the work of sahuagin. Not content with just raiding boats leaving the harbour, they now come ashore to kill us!” – Jahanar, labourer at Grey Harbour.
- “Poor Neske, she and her boy were distraught after her husband was taken in the night, right from their home!” – Aruna Bowmaster, seamstress in The Steeps.
- GM Note: This refers to Edmao Eduarda, the first murder victim.
Edit: One of my patrons, Tosh Le, has created an amazing generator for these rumours, as well as adding some generators for who might be delivering them. Also check out their guides on scaling every 5e published module to different party sizes/strengths!