The Battle at the Bar was a fight that broke out in the common room of the Whistling Wizard inn sometime around the Year of the Turret, 1360 DR. It involved two independent and uncoordinated Harper groups, members of a slavery and smuggling ring known as the Tarntar, an illithid, an ogre mage, at least two doppelgangers, various bodyguards, and eventually the local law enforcers.
Early in the winter of the Year of the Worm, 1356 DR, the owner of the Whistling Wizard, Ansilber Klauthaudra, was found hacked to pieces in the common room of his establishment. Within a tenday, the inn was then purchased by Ravvas Thurrpurtyn of Selgaunt who, Harper agents avowed, was killed and impersonated by an agent of the Red Wizards of Thay. Other reports deem it likely that the unnamed Red Wizard agent was soon assassinated and replaced by a malaugrym that played both roles, innkeeper and agent, for purposes unknown.
Over the next few years, the Wizard was a meeting place for many nefarious characters from a host of dangerous organizations. At any given time there might have been Zhentarim agents, members of the Cult of the Dragon, agents of Thay, agents from Hillsfar, informants, information brokers, smugglers, and members of Sembian power groups and players, such as the Tarntar, in residence.
During this time, some non-human sentient creatures also infiltrated the inn for unknown reasons. An ogre mage using the name Gathkatra decided to become the chatelaine of the Wizard and did so by causing an accident to remove the current lady of the house. Then, polymorphed into human female form, Gathkatra applied for the job and stepped into the role. An illithid archmage, also polymorphed into a tall, human male and calling itself Klondras Imdree, took up residence in the inn. And finally, at least two doppelgangers had begun working in the cookhouse as kitchen staff.
The Whistling Wizard was also home to the Wizard Well, a water-filled cistern in the basement that was known to talk to individuals who came in peace. The Well was actually haunted by a female spectral harpist named Zarracee Ambroanye that gathered information and passed messages to Harper agents that came through Voonlar. She became sufficiently alarmed at the presence of so many suspicious or evil characters visiting or living in the inn that she eventually decided to send a message through the Harper network to Elminster in Shadowdale and beg for intervention and removal if the numerous imposters lurking there.
The messenger Zarracee chose was one already on the way to Shadowdale to report to Storm Silverhand, and therefore the Bard of Shadowdale heard about the spectral harpist's concerns in passing, and decided to act. She called upon her sister, the Simbul for aid and the Simbul readily agreed and brought along six of her eager apprentices for the experience. When news of Zarracee's plea reached Elminster's ears, he allowed the Knights of Myth Drannor to handle the situation as they saw fit. Knights Sharantyr, Jhessail Silventree, and Illistyl Elventree organized a strike team of about twenty-five Harper agents and made their way to Voonlar. Unbeknownst to the Knights/Harper team, the Storm/Simbul team was doing the same, and got there first.
Among the guests in the common room of the Whistling Wizard that afternoon were members of a Sembian crime syndicate known as the Tarntar. Present were the evoker Alro "Five Flames" Randulkyn, the illusionist Skulto Mreth, the wizard and so-called Master-of-Moons Hastammer Orlim, a trader in cosmetics named Ghaurann Rhee, and a dealer in furs and leather clothing, Tharath Shemmer. There were also other minor peddlers, apprentices, familiars, bodyguards, wagon drivers, and attendants scattered throughout the common room, the inn, and the stableyard.
The Simbul apparently scried the room and recognized the Tarntar spellcasters, or divined their names and backgrounds, because she altered her appearance to mimic the Sage of Shadowdale (right down to the smoking pipe that floated beside his head) and walked straight into the den of thieves and began to tease, cajole, and advise them about their personal life, their religious affiliations, and their slavery business. The audience was speechless and the mages knew better than to trade spells against Elminster himself, but when he grinned, sat in Hastammer's lap, and changed into a woman, the battle was on.
If the mages who cast the first attack spells had recognized the Witch-Queen of Aglarond, the Battle at the Bar might never have begun. But this was not the case. Hastammer's associates immediately cast deadly spells at the Simbul even as she sat across his lap. She shrugged off the attacks, laughed out loud to signal her compatriots to join the fun, and then took up a defensive posture to protect the inn from major damage while her apprentices took on the Tarntar with the help of Storm.
As Storm and the apprentices rushed into the common room, merchants and attendants scattered to find or fetch their bodyguards. The Knights of Myth Drannor and two dozen Harper agents were approaching the inn when they observed people pouring out of windows and doors, running and shouting, and quickly joined the fray with the initial intent to quell the riot. The battle soon raged up and down the (mostly dark) halls and staircases of the inn and around the grounds. Zarracee flew from room to room, passing through walls and floors, with reports and warnings for the Harper troops.
When someone fled or was chased into the cookhouse, their panic infected the doppelgangers into thinking they had been revealed. At this time, the Zhentarim was the major power in Voonlar, having control over the Bron (local sheriff) and his deputies and the backing of the local temple of Cyric, so the shapeshifters took on the form of what they believed was the most feared and respected beings in Voonlar: Zhentarim wizards. The sight of their arch-enemy put the Knights of Myth Drannor and the Harpers into full battle cry and escalated the fighting to a zealous fervor. These new developments also brought Gathkatra (the ogre-mage) and Klondras Imdree (the illithid archmage) into the widening conflict.
As the battle raged around the inn, the epicenter was still in the common room, and specifically, the bar. The wood of the counter was enchanted with firequench like most of the inn, but it also was the recipient of various magic mouth spells that laid dormant, each awaiting the specific trigger to deliver its message. It is believed that this overly-enchanted furniture was subject to many battle spells being thrown at or near it and this proved to be too much for maintaining arcane and structural integrity. In short, it exploded.
The explosion of the bar instantly killed the owner Ravvas, "Five Flames" Randulkyn, and Tharath Shemmer who were in close proximity, either backed up to the counter or using it as cover. The blast was so great that a good portion of the ceiling was destroyed. At the time, Gathkatra was engaged in battle in the manager's apartments just above the bar and was tossed into the air and fell through the hole to her death by impalement on the debris. Collaterally, the mind flayer Klondras was in mid-transformation to a different form when it was struck on the head by some explosively accelerated projectile and suffered major damage to its brain.
In the confusion immediately after the explosion, Hastammer Orlim cast a spell on himself and grew extra arms, each equipped with a dagger, that he proceeded to thrust into the Simbul. With no less than six hilts protruding from her torso, the Simbul turned her wrath on Hastammer, whose triumphant smile was quickly reduced to sniveling and grovelling for his life. Either he was a good actor or the Witch-Queen was feeling generous that day because she stayed her hand, but the dastard repaid her mercy by causing the daggers in her body to detonate. Storm Silverhand furiously decapitated him with a single stoke of her blade as contingency spells and effects brought a bubble of healing liquid into which the Simbul's torn body fell, close to death.
As Storm and the apprentices rallied around the queen to give aid and protection, some deputies of the local law enforcement in Voonlar showed up with weapons drawn and a gaggle of gawking commoners were not far behind. One of the deputies unwisely tried to disarm and direct an unknown spellcaster and she, being an apprentice of the Simbul, sent him flying back up the road to the Throat (the crossroads at the center of town), ricocheting painfully off of obstacles on the way. The Harpers present were still seeing red and launched an attack on the remaining deputies who quickly retreated before overwhelming numbers.
The healing sphere quickly mended the Simbul's body and restored her to full health, although she needed a change of clothes. After seeing two of their number get blown up and a third beheaded, the remaining Tarntar fled as the deputies arrived and distracted their opponents. The ogre-mage Gathkatra died in the fall onto sharply pointed wreckage in the common room. The illithid was unable to transform or cast spells and was last seen in a morphologically ambiguous form, screaming and running into the forest. The doppelgangers were believed to be vanquished, but history has not yet revealed any proof of this. At the very least, they fled in the face of so many enemies and the kitchen staff was cleansed. The common room and several second-story rooms were a shambles in need of major repair and refurnishing.
The Knights of Myth Drannor and the Harpers were somewhat chagrined at the amount of damage the battle had caused and their open confrontation with the Voonlarren authorities, perhaps worried that future dealings with Voonlar would be met with harsher treatment for Harpers. They deferred to Storm and the Simbul since they had arrived first and clearly knew more about the situation than the Knights were led to believe. As they all departed the scene, Storm gave Avlar, the elderly bartender who miraculously survived, a bag of gold and gems to easily cover the needed repairs.
- Harper group 1
- Harper group 2
- The Tarntar
- Local law enforcement
- A few of the six deputies that patrolled Voonlar.
- Residents of the Whistling Wizard
The Harpers suffered no deaths, although the Simbul received catastrophic damage and only her contingency magics saved her. The Tarntar lost Alro, Hastammer, and Tharath, the rest got away. Of the residents, the owner, Ravvas, the ogre-mage disguised as the chatelaine, Gathkatra, and the mind flayer disguised as Klondras all perished. The doppelgangers either fled or were destroyed. The deputies of Voonlar suffered mainly wounds to their pride as they retreated before overwhelming numbers.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. p. 34. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Ed Greenwood (2001-11-14). Part #28: The Recent and Colorful History of the Wizard. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2017-02-19.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. p. 36. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Ed Greenwood (2001-12-12). Part #30: Endgame at the Wizard. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2017-02-19.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. p. 29. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (2001-09-19). Part #24: An Inn For Adventurers. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-09-17.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. p. 33. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Ed Greenwood (2001-11-28). Part #29: The Battle at the Bar. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2017-02-19.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. p. 35. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (2001-12-26). Part #31: The Wizard Then to Now. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2016-09-20.