So it turns out that Bishop-the-Human-Ranger has competition for biggest a-hole of the Sword Coast. Shao’s court-appointed defense attorney is an elf wizard named Sand who adheres to every stereotype of the more-intellectual-than-thou trope. And he refuses to stay behind while Shao goes out to collect evidence for his defense. Nope, Sand is smart-assing his way over hill and dale to Port Llast and beyond. I’m sure his ruthlessness and lack of sympathy will come in handy in the courtroom, but if I hear one more time about my plebeian dull-wittedness, Shao is going to introduce him to the Longsword of the Gods.
But having survived the assassins that interrupted Shao’s Squire’s Vigil, it was off to find out why the Luskans thought they could convict everyone’s favorite criminal cleric for murders that he hadn’t actually committed.
(Shao has murdered a metric ton of people, but not the ones in Ember.)
The Shadow Dragon Triad is now Shadow Dragon Private Investigators – with a client list of one. Basic intel-gathering techniques include a healthy dose of Neverwinter street diplomacy, which is like regular diplomacy except with more beating the shit out of people who don’t respond to polite questions. The menagerie of contacts reads like a zoo list from Abeir-Toril: a village girl, a vengeful dryad, two gnome werewolves, a tavern drunk, a solemn boy with creepy ESP, a tribe of underground goblins, and a magic spider. Well, the magic spider was more of a side-questy thing, but he’s hella cool.
But after acquiring a solid collection of conflicting testimony, Sand deigned to acquiesce that we’d gathered a decent defense and Shao trundled back to Neverwinter for the trial.
So the Luskans start their prosecution. Sand has a few choice dialogue comments – and it’s nice to see someone else as the focus of his excoriations – and Shao uses his influence to tip the scales and rip the Luskan arguments a new one. It looks like acquittal is in sight. Lord Nasher’s judgement is fair and true. Shao did not murder the people of Ember.
So the Luskans get all pissed off. And then they call for a rite of trial by combat – regardless of the fact that Shao has been found innocent.
SO WHY THE EVERLIVING FUCK DID WE EVEN HAVE THIS TRIAL?
Now we have to go mano a mano with a hulking barbarian shithead named Lorne. He’s apparently a Harborman like Shao and a rival of some paragon who came from the swamp-town too. This is a connection that was only tenuously expressed in the plot thus far, although maybe if Shao’d thrown in with the Neverwinter Watch instead of the criminal element it would have been more noted.
A bunch of the Shadow Dragon Triad volunteers to fight on Shao’s behalf, but he is a professional and decides not to step down. The masses gather. Will the Luskans triumph, weakening Neverwinter’s political position on the Sword Coast? Or will justice finally be served on the tip of a flaming, acidic longsword?
(Oh yeah, we figured out how to enchant weapons. +1d6 fire and +1d6 acid damage on hit. Eheheheheh.)
Battle commences. A few spells land and Lorne is hurting. He hits his Berserker Rage Button, though, and he’s immune to death until it wears off. Cue a massive human roaring and running full-tilt around the arena, swinging a two-handed falchion after a cackling dwarf. But then rage ends and Shao shoves two feet of dwarven steel through the asshat’s face.
EAT IT BITCH.
And that’s justice, Neverwinter style.