The Outer City Murders should take place directly following The Journey to Baldur’s Gate.
Descent into Avernus, by the book, starts now – at the entrance to Baldur’s Gate. Flame Zodge of Basilisk Gate forces the PCs to work for the Flaming Fist to stop a group of occult murders or be hunted and murdered themselves by his men.
That is really really stupid.
If you ‘agree’, you get sent to the Elfsong Tavern to speak with an NPC named Tarina who says “The murderers are hiding in a bathhouse”, you go there and you kill them all in the Dungeon of the Dead Three.
It is a straight line from Basilisk Gate > Elfsong Tavern > Dungeon of the Dead Three.
Justin’s Remix adds an actual investigation into the murders, leveraging the existing nodes and three extra nodes in Insight Park, Poisoned Poseidon, and Amrik’s Agents. He said that he thought the idea of a simultaneous series of murders happening in Outer City would be a good idea to increase the urgency and threat to refugees trapped outside the city… so that’s what this series of articles is about!
To include a set of Outer City Murders we only really need to add three more nodes (the Refugee Camp, the Smilin’ Boar Tavern and Hamhock Slaughterhouse itself) and add content to already existing nodes. We also add notes on who the victims are and additional victims if the investigation isn’t solved immediately.
Finally I’ve added two mini nodes, as sort of optional nodes, the Cliffside Cemetery and the Shrine of the Suffering in case your players head in those directions.
Baldur’s Gate is Closed
The city of Baldur’s Gate is inundated with refugees. As such, only citizens with the correct paperwork or who can prove their residency or employment inside the city can enter.
Firstly, this should not really prove too much of a deterrent for the PCs. They could easily bribe their way inside, or get fake paperwork, be smuggled in by Amrik’s Agents or The Guild, convince Flame Zodge to let them in to conduct their investigation and so forth.
The real barrier is that Dara’s Refugees will be trapped outside the city without some serious work. While the book expects the players to join the Flaming Fist (or die) we can imagine several different options.
- Join the Flaming Fist.
- Join the Guild and get forged paperwork.
- Be smuggled inside and given forged paperwork by Amrik and his agents.
- Sneak, bribe or otherwise get into the city and escape notice.
You don’t really need to come up with complicated scenarios for each option. Use whatever NPCs they end up leveraging.
The PCs should have either friends in Dara’s Refugees who could be at risk, or they themselves, if they don’t care about investigating the existing murders.
The Smilin’ Boar is in Norchapel
One of the rumours in the book is that cultists from Hamhock’s Slaughterhouse are murdering people and dumping their bodies outside the Smilin’ Boar Tavern. The problem is, the Smilin’ Boar is in the Bloomridge district on the west of Lower City… why would they smuggle bodies into the city to dump them behind a tavern?
As such I have moved the Smilin’ Boar Tavern to Norchapel in the Outer City. This positions it between Basilisk Gate and Hamhock Slaughterhouse.
You may however want to instead change it, so they are dumping bodies outside a newly created tavern, that way you do not disrupt the existing lore. As such just replace the name with whatever to use instead. I am going to use the Smilin’ Boar just for consistency sake though!
Player’s with Arachnophobia
One of Justin’s cool ideas was that Hamhock’s is the only place in the city that slaughters giant spiders. They have blue blood, so the blue blood could be a clue that leads the PCs there.
A player in my group suffers from arachnophobia however, so we remove all spider-stuff. As such I made the decision to have Hamhock’s be the only place that slaughters Ankhegs, and the clue is the effects of their acid on the victims instead.