Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No. 3 Pigeon Street

Those who live near the house at Number 3 Pigeon Street in Baldur’s Gate complain incessantly about the bats in the attic. Perhaps calling them bats is a bit of an understatement as the bats have a wingspan of nearly 6’ and weigh almost 30 pounds. The bats have carried off pets, assaulted those who find themselves out late at night, and have even been so bold as to claw at shuttered windows. The bats simply must go, but the owner of the home is deaf to the complaints of the beleaguered neighbors.
Carolita Johnson illustration

     The owner of the home is a quiet man named Thaddeus Blythe. Thaddeus is a wizard and like many of his kind, he is indifferent to anything that might distract from his work. The Watch has paid him a visit and warned him that it is his responsibility to rid his attic of dangerous vermin. He nodded as if he cared, then went right back to what he was doing.

     Thaddeus is a brewer of potions and poisons. His main client is the Thieves Guild. Thaddeus cares little about what the rogues and scoundrels who come by his house do with the various elixirs and brews he sells. That’s beyond his ability to care. He simply wishes to excel in his craft and damn anyone who points a moral finger at him or bangs on his door to complain about bats.

     Thaddeus owns the house in which he lives. He inherited it from his mother after she died. Thaddeus had left out one of his experiments and his mother drank it, thinking it was her tea. She died in a rather agonizing fashion. Thaddeus felt sad for a day or two then he continued with his work. Thaddeus has never been one for emotional attachments.

     The house is in terrible repair. The roof sags, none of the doors close properly due to a shifting frame and the paint and stucco is peeling and chipped. Besides the bats and Thaddeus, there are two other occupants of the house—Kayla and Farrine.

     Kayla is a rather rough young woman. She has had many sexual partners and often trades her body for food and shelter. She is foul-mouthed and although she is only 25 lines are already forming on her face. She drinks rather heavily and often smokes a powerful narcotic called White. She has slept with several members of the Thieves Guild who often loiter at the house while waiting for Thaddeus to finish a particular poison or potion. Thaddeus allows her to stay at the house provided he is allowed to share her bed on those rare occasions when the mood strikes him.

     Farrine is a bard of modest talent and limited motivation. He spends most of his time in his room playing a violin in front of an open window. He is often without pants, which gives Thaddeus’ neighbors yet another complaint. Neighbors often scream at Farrine to clothe himself, but he ignores their cries and continues to play. Thaddeus and Farrine grew up together and are on good terms with one another.  

The House
     Descriptions of the keyed areas appear below.

a) Entry
     Behind a set of seldom locked doors is a dim entry way. Once inside a visitor will hear the sounds of a violin coming from upstairs. There is a 20% chance that visitors might also hear the sounds of Kayla making love to someone in the room she shares with Thaddeus. There is a curious bouquet of aromas in the house; most are rather unpleasant.

b) Thaddeus’ Lab
     The lab is a chaotic mess of beakers, vials, powders, books, notes and bubbling cauldrons. Moving about the mess at a frenetic pace is Thaddeus himself. He’s clad in robes, an apron is wearing a pair of goggles to protect his eyes. Thaddeus looks to be about 30. He is tall, pale and quite thin. He has crisp, blue eyes that add a pleasant note to a rather awkward looking presence.

      Thaddeus talks rather quickly, and rarely looks up from his work unless he has to. Visitors will notice that he scratches his groin in a subtle, yet frequent, fashion. (Kayla has passed on a social disease to him.) Thaddeus is rather used to strangers in the house, and won’t put up a fuss regarding callers unless they interrupt him too much.

      Thaddeus worries about having too many potions on hand, so his immediate stock is limited. He is convinced that the magic will leach out of them, leaving him with useless stock. Therefore, he only has the following potions available for sale: Feather Fall (200 gp), Spider Climb (200 gp), Invisibility (300 gp), Blink (400 gp)

     Hidden among the stacks of papers, vials and beakers is an unlocked cash box containing 550 gp. The remainder of Thaddeus’ fortune is safely locked in a vault deep below the Temple of Gond. His spellbook is carefully hidden under a floorboard. His alchemy equipment is quite valuable. It is worth 2,000 gp, although it would be very difficult to get even half of that value from a fence.

     Thaddeus can also brew poisons. If given 1d6+1 days, he can concoct the following poisons: Type K, Type O and Type P. (Please see page 73 of the Dungeon Master Guide for more details.) When a visitor calls, he will only have one vial of Type O poison on hand, which he creates from the venom sacks of a giant centipede. It costs 50 gp.

Thaddeus Blythe, Male Human, Mage 9; Armor Class: 8 (+2 ring of protection), Hit Dice: 5d4, Hit Points: 20, THAC0: 18, No. of Attacks: 1, Damage: 1d3 (dart), Alignment: Neutral, Move: 12

Spells: 1st: Armor, Charm Person, Magic Missile, Mending; 2nd: Blindness, Invisibility, Levitate; 3rd: Blink, Fly, Hold Person; 4th: Leomund's Secure Shelter, Polymorph Other; 5th: Teleport

Strength: 9, Dexterity: 11, Constitution: 11, Intelligence: 16, Wisdom: 14, Charisma: 11

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Brewing, Cooking, Herbalism, Reading/Writing, Spellcraft

Saving Throws: Parlayzation, Poison, Death Magic: 13, Rod, Staff, Wand: 9, Petrification or Polymorph: 11, Breath Weapons: 13, Spell 10

Equipment: Spellbook, +2 Ring of Protection, potions (see above), vial of poison, locked cash box with 550 gp, alchemy equipment worth 2,000 gp

c) Kitchen 
     The kitchen is a disgusting mess. There are pots lined with mold, cups full of stale beer, trash thrown onto the floor, and roaches on the walls. Thaddeus used to employ a housekeeper, but she quit in protest. She simply could not put up with the slovenly nature of Thaddeus and his boarders.

d) Parlor
     For décor, Thaddeus’ mother favored lace doilies and paintings of little girls with baskets full of flowers. Thaddeus has changed little in the house, so many of the paintings still remain. One of the little girls in a painting bears a striking resemblance to Thaddeus. Even if tortured, Thaddeus would never admit that his mother forced him to pose for a painting after she made him wear a lacy dress and bonnet. That humiliation might explain the lack of remorse he felt when she was poisoned.

     The Thieves Guild is jealous in regards to one of its favorite potion brewers and poison makers, so they usually have a rogue lounging about the place. Thaddeus doesn't mind, provided the bravo stays out of his way. The rogue will be wary of visitors and will eavesdrop upon all transactions. He will no doubt report back to the guild after trailing the visitors for a bit.

     The rogue hanging about most often is a sharp-tongued and rather rude scoundrel named Devlin. Devlin is a member of a gang of robbers, extortionists and loansharks who call themselves "The Murder Boys." The Murder Boys control one half of Pigeon Street, while Hargor's Men (a few members were met previously) control the other half. While he could assign this duty to one of his underlings, he is rather fond of Kayla and enjoys a daily tryst with her.

Devlin, Male Human, Thief 3; Armor Class: 7 (Dex bonus, leather armor), Hit Dice: 3d6, Hit Points: 11, THAC0: 19, No. of Attacks: 1, Damage: 1d6 (short sword) or 1d3 (knife), Alignment: Lawful Evil, Move: 12

Strength:11, Dexterity: 15, Constitution: 12, Intelligence: 10, Wisdom: 10, Charisma:10

Thief Skills: Pick Pockets: 60%, Open Locks: 25%, Find/Remove Traps: 5%, Move Silently: 55%, Hide in Shadows: 30%, Detect Noise: 15%, Climb Walls: 60%, Read Languages: 0%

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Appraising, Gaming, Local History

Saving Throws: Parlayzation, Poison, Death Magic: 13, Rod, Staff, Wand: 14, Petrification or Polymorph: 12, Breath Weapons: 16, Spell 15

Equipment: Thieves tools, leather armor, short sword, knife (x3),5 gp, holy symbol of Mask

Notes: His backstab damage multiplier is xs.

e) Office 
     Thaddeus’ office is less of a place to do work and is more like a blizzard of papers, half-eaten meals, congealed potions and rat droppings. The window has been boarded up, making the room quite dark, even during the day. A door that leads down to the basement is ajar. A musty smell emanates from it.

f) Basement
     Water has seeped into the basement due to the city’s rather high water table. The water is heavy with algae, and stinks of mold and the bodies of dead rats. The posts that support the floor appear to be rotted and near the point of failing. It’s an entirely unpleasant place.

g) Thaddeus’ Room 
     Thaddeus has slept in this room since he was a child. It's also where Kayla spends a fair amount of time. He doesn’t care as he simply falls into bed after spending so many hours on his feet each day. Visitors to the room will most likely find Kayla sitting on the bed, half-naked with a pipe in her hands, a plume of smoke around her. Her eyes will be glassy and she will speak in a slow, languid pace, her words slurring into one another. It’s hard to have any sort of meaningful conversation with her when she is under the effects of White. Sadly, few men have any interest in doing so.

     Kayla is not an entirely lost cause. If someone were to take her in, provide solid meals, clothing and time to heal, she might someday rise above her current state. She simply needs a hand up instead of constantly being held down. A PC who tries to get to know her will be given the impression that there is potential within her.

     A silver ewer worth 55 gp sits on the desk. Next to it are five doses of White worth 5 sp each.

h) Kayla’s Room 
     Kayla used to sleep here before she moved next door. Dirty clothes are strewn about. Unless one is interested is soiled women’s clothing, there is nothing of value to be found. Visitors will note that the sagging ceiling is stained and that room has a terrible smell related to it.

     The bats’ guano in the attic is starting to pile up. Mixed with rain, the guano is beginning to liquefy and soak through the ceiling.

Kayla, Female Human, Lvl 0; Armor Class: 10, Hit Dice: 1d6, Hit Points: 3, THAC0: 20, No. of Attacks: 1, Damage: 1d2 (fist), Alignment: Neutral, Move: 12

Strength: 9, Dexterity: 10, Constitution: 12, Intelligence: 9, Wisdom: 9, Charisma:10

Saving Throws: Parlayzation, Poison, Death Magic: 16, Rod, Staff, Wand: 18, Petrification or Polymorph: 17, Breath Weapons: 20, Spell 19

Equipment: 5 doses of White, pipe

i) Empty Room
     Anyone desperate enough to live in the house may rent a room for 2 gp/month. Thaddeus needs a housekeeper, so he might be willing to forgive the rent in exchange for cleaning. The stench from the bats might make sleeping in this room unbearable, though. The sounds the bats make when they come and go is also unsettling.

j) Farrine’s Room
     Farrine loves to play his violin, so he spends most of his time here making music. Occasionally he lures a woman back to the house, but they generally flee in terror from the dilapidated state of affairs. That leaves Farrine with nothing but time on his hands. His room is a mess like the rest of the house, with bits of parchment scattered about with half-written songs on them.

     There is a small office (k) attached to his bedroom. In the office he has all of the tools and materials required to make violins. He’s actually rather gifted in this area, but suffers from a lack of motivation. Farrine imagines that adoration and fame will simply arrive on his doorstep. At the school where he studied bardic magic, his instructors implored him to apply himself, but he never did. So here he is in a ramshackle house with an attic full of bats above his head.

      Should a comely woman make her way into the house, he will invite her into his room for a private concert. Farrine means no harm; he just wants to play his music for an attractive woman. Perhaps as a reward for his concerto she will buy him dinner and a bottle of wine.

Farrine, Male Human, Bard 2; Armor Class: 9 (Dex bonus), Hit Dice: 3d6, Hit Points: 10, THAC0: 19, No. of Attacks: 1, Damage: 1d4 (dagger), Alignment: Neutral, Move: 12

Spells: 1st: Audible Glamer

Strength: 10, Dexterity: 12, Constitution: 11, Intelligence: 13, Wisdom: 9, Charisma:15

Bard Abilities: Climb Walls: 50%, Detect Noise: 30%, Pick Pockets: 20%, Read Languages: 5%

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Artistic Ability, Local History, Musical Instrument (violin), Reading/Writing, Singing

Saving Throws: Parlayzation, Poison, Death Magic: 13, Rod, Staff, Wand: 14, Petrification or Polymorph: 12, Breath Weapons: 16, Spell 15

Equipment: Thieves tools, dagger, 8 gp, 3 doses of White, pipe

Notes: His backstab damage multiplier is x2.

l) Attic
     Access to the attic is via a ladder that descends to the floor when a door in the ceiling is opened. There is a cord that hangs down from the door to make opening it easier. The door is in the hallway ceiling between Farrine’s and Thaddeus’ rooms. The attic is rather large, and the air hangs heavy with the smell of bat guano.

     During the day, the 10 large bats (Page 15 of the Monstrous Manual) will be resting here. The ladder and door are in terrible repair, so the clamor that is made when it opens will be enough to alert them. In that instance, they will withdraw to a corner due to surprise, but will then rush any intruders who enter the attic. If they are unable to subdue any intruders after two rounds of melee, they will flee though the attic's windows.

        If combat erupts, Kayla will stumble out of her room and will begin babbling incoherently. Farrine will also exit his room and begin playing his violin to encourage the combatants. Devlin will want to watch the mayhem unfold, if only to have a good story the next time he's out drinking. Thaddeus will not get involved since he is happy that someone is finally dealing with the bats for him.

     A search of the attic will yield an ivory statuette of a sylvan beauty whose arms and legs end in rose blooms. It is worth 50 gp. The corpses of the bats can be presented to the City Watch for a 1 gp reward each.


  1. I really enjoyed this one, intriguing characters and lots of strong gameable ideas, I can see many hours of fun springing from this post. As usual your creativity is inspiring and I will be working Thaddeus and his ramshackle house into the campaign I’m working on.
    Nice to see the red headed stepchild of D&D getting a little love, I foolishly sold all my second edition stuff when 3rd came out, but I’ve been thinking of picking it back up, might even wait and spring for the re-issue from WoTC.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing these ideas man.

    1. Thank you so much! In play, oneguy referred to Thaddeus' house as a "kind of weird above ground dungeon." We spent quite a few hours in that place. Farrine was lured away by a PC who owned a tavern. Kayla was re-invigorated and re-purposed into a serving maiden. Devlin eventually got stabbed in an alley and Thaddeus just let all of the madness unfold around him in his usual, unfazed way.

      I really like 2e and played a ton of it from 1993 to 2000. I feel that it's flexible, has an experience point system that awards many different styles of play and is close enough to 1e to still satisfy the old school cravings.

      If you use the house, let me know how it goes. :)

    2. I've come to appreciate 2e in retrospect, for much the same reasons you mentioned, though back at the time I was put off on how much they'd sterilized the game and mostly moved off to Gurps and Hero until 3e came out.
      Thanks, for the play info, cool stuff.
      And I will let you know how the house works out, though it'll be a while as I'm not planning to kick this off until after the first of the year.

  2. Been really digging this series of posts. I've been C&Ping them into a GoogleDoc for my own eventual use.

    Also like the new blog template--nice, clean look.

    You know, I'm really enjoying your leave of absence from LOVIATAR. You are the hardest working man in the rpg blogosphere if you consider this a break!

  3. We destroyed the building when one member of the party, in combat with Blythe, himself polymorphed into a house, smashing 3 Pigeon Street into matchsticks and throwing most of the occupants across the street. Blythe himself survived, but only just.

    1. Oh dear! What did Thaddeus do to incite the wrath of your party? I hope the bats got away. I've been reading about bats in a book titled "The Moon by Whale Light" and I feel that I've maligned the poor things. At any rate, I'm glad you got some use out of the material. :)

    2. I'm afraid we were making a bit of a mess of the house while dealing with the bats, and Blythe wasn't too happy. So he sort of started it, but on the other hand, was only looking after his property.