Estra Stir and the Baldur’s Mouth Gazette
Speaking to Estra Stir, just south of the Basilisk Gate in the Lower City (X:122, Y:-66), reveals that the party is the subject of the Baldur’s Mouth Gazette’s next issue – the juiciest one to date.
Estra refuses to elaborate on what the piece intends to be about, nor hear any arguments about the party’s consent to be written about.
However, her statements start the quest, to investigate Baldur’s Mouth by speaking to the editor. The Baldur’s Mouth Gazette building (X:67, Y:-52) is south of the Elfsong Tavern. Enter to meet the editor, Ettvard.
The front entrance to Baldur’s Mouth Gazette
If Ettvard has been spoken to, he reveals that the article on the party is negative, and that they should have thought about the consequences before disgracing themselves in public.
The reason for Ettvard’s hatred can vary – if that party has undertaken Solve the Open Hand Temple Murders, then he blames them for getting involved in a murder investigation immediately after entering the city.
If they have not, then he states that Absolutionist activity has been up tenfold since the party arrived. After Ettvard has been spoken to, the party is kicked out of the Gazette and the door locked, making entry significantly harder. However, the party is free to roam about the public parts of the Gazette before speaking with him.
Stopping the Hit Piece
In order to stop the hit piece, the party must reach the printing press in the Baldur’s Mouth basement.
Baldur’s Mouth’s roof has a hole in it that can reach the elevator.
This can be reached by an elevator by the entrance or by metal doors downstairs near Ettvard. There are many ways to sneak into the area. One such way is to use Misty Step or Fly and jump to the roof of the Baldur’s Mouth.
Then, above the area where the elevator is, there are barricades. These barricades can be destroyed with blunt attacks or spells. After doing this, it is possible to jump down, and use the elevator’s lever to sneak into the basement.
The Gazette Basement.
Once inside, there are two Steel Watchers who are patrolling the halls. Using Invisibility or Hiding, enabling Turn-Based Mode, and the Dash action, you can sneak past them without initiating combat. In between the two halls is an iron gate, which can be lockpicked.
Otherwise, entering the side rooms to the north – there are barricades that can be destroyed to cross freely between the two rooms. After getting past the gate, move south to the printing press.
Once the party arrives in the printing room, they are able to interact with the printing press, Jelliwig, which starts a conversation.
If the fairy Dolly Dolly Dolly was freed from the Moonlantern in Chapter Two, the press recognizes the party, and offer to help immediately. Otherwise, it has to be persuaded through dialogue choices and skill checks.
- What ‘art’ would that be?
- Are you a talking printer?
- Take one step closer
Choosing the first two options has the printer speaking up, introducing itself as Jelliwig, the ‘artist’ in charge of putting ink on the broadsheets.
- What reputation?
- [Persuasion] I’d love to see an example of your work
- [Performance] I’m actually a great admirer of your work – may I see?
If “Maybe you could do me a favour and stop the presses? Change the article?” is chosen, then Jelliwig is reluctant to change the article, for fear of angering Ettvard.
- Then get out of my way. I need to clear my reputation.
- [Deception] Help me change the article or I’ll banish you from the printer.
- [Persuasion] Wouldn’t changing the article be delightfully naughty?
If the check is passed and Jelliwig agrees to help, then it states it needs a new printing block to replace the old one. Appropriate blocks can be found throughout the basement, as well as in baskets on the Baldur’s Mouth’s main floor.
Choosing ‘Take one step closer’ and ‘Take another step further’ results in different checks:
- [Athletics] Force the printing press open and clear the loaded headline.
- [Rogue][Sleight Of Hand] Reach inside and carefully remove the loaded headline.
If these checks are failed, then the press starts printing automatically, and is unable to be tampered with further.
Jelliwig is willing to be mischievous if properly motivated.
- Make Big Money by Trading with Adventurers (X:-1029, Y:1058) – in a wicker basket.
- Adventurers, Our Best Hope for the City (X:-1029, Y:1013) – in a wicker basket
- Celebrate the Brave Heroes Who Slew General Ketheric (X:53, Y:-50) – upstairs, in a wicker basket behind Ettvard
- Cutest Cat You’ve Ever Seen (X:-1022, Y:1066) – on a counter.
- Hear the Finest Shanties at the Blushing Mermaid (X:43, Y:-60) – upstairs, in a wicker basket
- Graverobbers Spree (X:58, Y:-42)- upstairs, in a wicker basket
- A Public Danger! (X:-1032, Y:1035) – on a shelf.
- Wolves in Sheeps’ Clothing (X:-1014, Y:1016) – on a counter.
- Curse-breakers or Curse-makers? (X:-1032, Y:1018) – on a desk.
As of patch 3, killing Ettvard changes the outcome of this quest. Previously, killing Ettvard did not change the outcome of this quest.
It is now possible to end the hit piece by killing Ettvard. This results in the paper covering his demise, rather than the hit piece.
- If the party uses a positive headline: Various people around town compliments the party or recognize them positively.
- If the party uses a neutral headline: Nothing of note changes.
- If the party does nothing, or uses a negative headline: People around town comment negatively towards the party, and their reputation is tarnished.
Notes: This quest is time sensitive after speaking to Ettvard Needle – if the quest has not been started or only Estra Stir has been spoken to, then no papers are printed about the party. After speaking to Ettvard, it occurs after the next long rest. The latter half of this quest is trivialized if Disable the Steel Watch has been completed, as the only guards in the Gazette’s basement are Steel Watchers, who would be disabled.