So we’re in the giant port city of Baldur’s Gate, the four of us: Emil the Rogue, Serena the Battlemage/Archer, Darius the Necromancer, and Grommel the Gladiator. We’re on a long-running quest to pursue these cultists who may be up to something world-threatening, but mostly our journey has consisted of infighting and side-questing for the locals.
There were a lot of small, funny moments in this campaign, none of which could fill an entire article on their own. We were randomly ambushed on a forest trail by a nest of giant spiders in the middle of an argument. Emil, my character, was best known for disarming traps with his face, because he was technically a locksmith, not a thief. The party was invited to a soiree, where everyone had a great time but Emil, who was being tied to a bed, then gutted like a fish by a hooker who turned out to be his ex in disguise. Grommel was put on surveillance duty, which he had never done before, so his idea of tailing the girl who came out of the house he was watching was to blatantly follow her until he was nearly arrested as a suspected rapist. Serena barging into a high-class inn, covered head to toe in blood, waiting in the doorway til she had the patrons’ undivided attention before declaring, “You would not BELIEVE the day I’ve had.” Grommel acquiring a magic drum that gave instant migraines to whoever beat it, and the variety of idiotic experiments we conducted to determine how it worked.
Baldur’s Gate was host to the best event of the game, though. Once in Baldur’s Gate we started running errands for the three political factions, but that’s neither here nor there. Our investigations eventually lead us to the local fireworks maker, who has info regarding whichever faction we were working against that week.
While we talk with the shopkeeper, Grommel is perusing the wares, and his half-orc eyes fall upon a magnificent work of art: a bottle rocket the size of a barrel.
“What’s that?” he asks.
Shopkeeper replies, “That’s my masterpiece. I only make one every two years, ‘cos that’s how long it takes to make.”
Grommel ponders a moment, then says, “How much?”
“Three hundred gold.”
We’re rolling in loot at this point in our adventure, so he says, “Done deal.”
For the rest of the day, while we’re running errands and getting into trouble, Grommel has this flying powder keg tucked under one arm. Eventually we reach a brick wall in our investigations, and we’re not sure where to go next.
Grommel shrugs and says, “Well, I dunno about you chaps, but I’m gonna light this sucker up.”
It’s the middle of the afternoon, but we’re bored and frustrated, so we shrug and go with.
It quickly becomes apparent that Grommel is drawing a crowd as we make our way down to the pier with this giant bottle rocket: every person we pass drops what they’re doing, stares at our absurd firework, then eventually follows as their curiosity gets the better of them. By the time we reach the pier and load this rocket into a dinghy, we have a crowd of about a hundred people with us, watching with anticipation. The bottle rocket is sent out into the bay on its little boat about fifty yards, then Grommel signals Serena to light it with a flame arrow.
It ignites, and soars into the sky, where it bursts into a myriad of brilliant blue sparks in the life-sized shape of a dragon, dazzling everyone on the pier below.
The dragon then proceeds to animate and set fire to the pier and all the ships in port. Suddenly the harbor is a panicked mass of screaming pedestrians, sailors, and dock workers. Ships pulling into port desperately veer off-course to avoid getting caught in the fiery chaos. We look at each other, realize the city guard is only seconds away, and join the fleeing crowds.
As we run away, we happen to glance to our left. Three blocks up the shore stands the fireworks maker, sick with laughter and slapping his knee.
We avoided the piers of Baldur’s Gate for the rest of the week. So did everyone else, since they were still on fire.