Tyranny of Dragons

The Hunting Lodge
Session 15:

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From the Journal of Blake Starsong

My love of adventuring continues to soar; the wonders increase. It turns out the building that we landed in front of was a hunting lodge for the Dragon Cult of old. They would use it as a base to hunt dragons, and then with evil rituals turn them into Dracolichs. Ryndel tells me of a marvellous tapestry hung in the Lodge that depicts mighty scenes of dragon lore. I must get word to the College and have it preserved, before I burn the building to the ground (with Talis the White inside, of course).

Interestingly, the Cult is split into (at least) two sects: the Lich-lovers, of which Talis is one, and the Tiamat-resurectors led locally by Severin. In return for not unleashing her evil, frosty wizardly fury upon us, Talis spilt the beans on the whereabouts of the other sect, and encouraged us to disrupt the flow of treasure to them. While siding with evil is against our natures (the night in the castle where we slew so many still haunts me), it seems like an easy route to fame to stop the Tiamat-freaks, and come back later and finish off isolated Talis. And that is not an euphemism.

So it is off to Parnast to find the floating city controlled by a cloud giant. Amazing! What a wondrous sight it will be. It makes up for me losing my childhood friend to evil, my hot lover to the childhood friend, and disgracing myself in front of my new love, Miresella. I feel I am maturing: no more love-sick puppy for me. I am part of a mighty adventurering party, inspiring them to marvellous feats, throwing spells. Perhaps I love the party more than any woman. Have I mentioned Hitum’s new shield bashing skill – what a move!

We managed to free 3 prisoners from the Lodge: Miresella, Cragnor (???) and Brother Caemon, who was on a religious quest of some sort.

Notes for Parnast: “Tiamat our mother & strength” (pass phrase). Banner on castle is Black/White/Red/Yellow/Green (hmmm, need to confirm this with Ryndal the Wise – i was a bit distraught when clues were being dropped.)

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Not far from the Hunting Lodge....
Session 15:

From the Journal of Nutz:

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[A solitary squirrel is quietly collecting food near a set of white pillars]

These nuts look nice. I better collect them for the winter months.

[Blue sparks flash and 5 adventurers appear]

Holy crap! What the hell was that. OMG they have heard me, I better be quiet. Good they are distracted by judging the distance to the house. The last group though it was a stone throw away, I wonder what this group thinks.

Hitem: “That hunting lodge looks like it is an arrow shot away”.

What IS this group doing? Two of them are in the bushes, it looks like they are playing hide the squirrel, the others are making a lot of noise. I hope the trolls don’t hear them.

[The trolls hear them]

I wondered when they would work out the trolls needed to be put on fire. I heard from the last group of adventurers that a flask of oil is the most powerful item a hero can carry. Dispels darkness, kills rats, kills centipedes and destroys trolls. Oh and that poor owl! I tried to warn him about the Peryton. I am not sure why they would bother with a simple owl when there was larger pray about.

Hey one of those adventures just disappeared. The one with the lute is now muttering to himself. This group is weird! What is with that guy with the scars on his face. Looks like he has been mauled by a savage squirrel.

What are they doing now! Climbing onto the roof. WTF didn’t they see what the Peryton did to that owl!

[Pertyon fall off the roof and hit the ground]

Perhaps this group is better than I think. Let me climb up and get a closer look.

Oh! They are talking to that cold lady. She seems to be making a deal with them. DON’T DO IT! SHE IS EVIL! Oh dear, maybe they aren’t the smartest group after all.

Back to gathering nuts then. There is much work to do.

[Nutz feels an irresistible urge to enter the house]

Shadow: Hello my squirrel friend. You are now my familiar. What you see I see. What you hear I hear. I can even cast spells through you (although I cannot make critical strikes through you). I take good care of my familiars, you are very valuable to me. [Shadow look at the 10gp worth of charcoal he had to use].

Nutz: Ummmm… did your last familiar didn’t happen to be a white owl did it?

Shadow: Well yes it did.

Nutz: NUTZ!

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Not far from the Hunting Lodge....
Session15:

From the Journal of Feather Duster

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Oh, Crap!

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From the Journal of Blake Starsong

Another legend have I encountered
Peryton by the pair.
Another familiar Shadow loses
Fickle and without care.
Little Squirrel aid us well
Be brave and true and strong.
We all know your master’s leanings:
You will not be with us long.

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The castle is theirs, huzzah
Session 14: Operation homeless bullywug

From the journal of Blake Starsong

A bitter-sweet day as I mourned the tragedy of Talis’ death, only to discover that Hitum can’t tell one elf from another. Come to think of it, he has never met Talis, and so how could he even know what she looks like. The weight on my soul of slaughtering all of those cultist in their sleep, combined with the fatigue of battle has dulled my wits.

Shadow seemed to get the Farseer working, and could see Waterdeep and Rezmir running across the castle courtyard. Meanwhile, Snapjaw and friends were winning the battle of the green-things. He and his personal guard accompanied us down in the caves under the castle in search of Rezmir. Ambush! Splattergoo and cronies were waiting, but my lovely Leda soon made short work of them. Her armour works much better on the floor.

The Lute of Doss allowed me to fly! Amazing. Shadow seems to be able to see in the dark now, and Hitum seems to like him more than usual: I guess it is the Belt of Dwarvish Friendship he is wearing. He’s also armed with a magical dagger that can produce poison – scary. Perhaps we should seek out a wizard to assist him with detecting and disarming acid traps: an obvious weakness! Ryndel’s staff head turns into a serpent – more wondrous adventuring treasure. Surprisingly, Hitum couldn’t wield the magical maul to effect – looks like we need to boost his strength somehow. Semi-naked Leda swung it like a raging pro.

But the most amazing treasure of all was the library in the castle tower. Such knowledge, which must be preserved at all costs. I’ve instructed SnapJaw to look after it, and will send word to the College about it’s existence.

Rezmir was nowhere to be found, but a note written in her hand talks of Skyreach as the ultimate destination of the horde, and that using the magic portal in the caves will cut off 700 miles of the journey. It seems clearer than ever that they are working towards rising Tiamat from wherever she is, and are enlisting dragons to help.

With the trail in the castle cold, we left it in SnapJaw’s hands and into the portal we jumped, to appear in front of a large house…

Reflections on Taste

Had beautiful siren attacked me,
Would woman’s form I not see?
Instincts would surely overcome,
Especially with the help of rum.
But rats, mushrooms, another critter,
Forever Shadow’s soup is bitter.

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Unlucky for bullywugs, guard drakes, sleeping cultists and Dralmorrer Borngray
Session 13: Eureka we have treasure

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by Hitum “Hard” Battlehammer

That was an epic adventure and we were finally rewarded, but what really happened you ask.

From where we left off last, we licked our wounds and healed up in the caves.

Some one turned on the steam and a large mist flowed throughout the cave.
Undeterred we pressed on and found a room with a magic circle – we believe it is some kind of summoning or teleporting circle. I don’t know, it’s all voodoo magic to me…give me something to kill or break…

We meet more of the Bullywugs and have a battle in their temple with their king – Pharblex Splattergoo, who surrenders just as we are about to kill him. We make a deal with him, where he will send one of his men (Zirbet) with us to act as a guide so the Bullywugs will not attack us. Shadow sneaks into his special chamber, finds a chest and managers to avoid the traps. Inside are some kind of huge spell books. It is too big for him to carry so he uncharacteristically leaves it there and resets the trap.

We had back to our room, and come up with a sinister plan.
We sneak into each of the guard levels, making good use of the Silence spell, and use special tactics to kill the guards whilst they sleep. It had to be done, this is war.

Next was a battle with the sneaky guard drakes, we are getting good at fighting these lizardy creatures. We finally have in our midst the treasure.
What is that we see hidden in some corner from a detect magic spell, no it can’t be…yes it is…there are 5 magic items. One is some kind of Lute that Shadow keeps telling me is some kind of cursed item that needs to be destroyed. I ignore him as I see two dwarves items – a belt and a huge hammer – I put on the belt and carry the hammer on my back. There are words on the hammer in ancient dwarf – it doesn’t seem to make sense, it says ‘The Bigg They Come…’ . The bard falls in love with his lute. Shadow finds a lovely pair of boots. Ryndel finds some kind of staff, and there is an unknown potion left over. We need time (a short rest) to atune or workout what these items are.

For some reason we press on to go the observatory, and Shadow runs into the Red Wizard of Thay – Justbarra or something like that. They talk for awhile, like some kind of interview and before we can battle he disappears into some kind of mist.

Onto the next level we go, and find the Elf (Borngray) waiting for us. We throw everything at him straight away, and just when we thought we had him, just as Shadow says – he thunderstomped us badly and then also cast gaseous form (hmm 2 actions in 1 round). Anyhow all he had done was escape to the top level where there was the observatory dome, and out popped 4 gargoyles!
Borngray cast thunderstomp again and we were all on pretty low hps. Fortunately a sneaky rogue, snuck through the legs of the gargoyles and after a mighty crit. or 2 took out the evil elf. As he dies, he mentioned something about Eldreth will take revenge. The gargoyles had damage resistance so they took a while to take out and it was touch and go for a while. One of the gargoyles was different, after killing it, it transformed into some person name Talis or something like that. But she was still dead.

We ended the session looking through the “telescope”, saw twin black dragons in the swamp and then a black half dragon come walking through the castle towards the barracks. We need a long rest.
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Below Castle Naerytar
Session 12: Bullywug bashing.

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by Blake Starsong
Our boldness and skills grow, and I feel like our band is destined for greatness. There are no obstacles we cannot over come. Sure, some of us lie down during battle in great pain, bleeding, souls slipping to the netherlands, but Ryndal is always there to draw us back again. Shadow knows when rooms are empty, and can hide and shoot incredibly effectively. Only once, just yesterday, have I witnessed a monster spotting his stealthy form. Hitum’s new shield-bashing trick is amazing, bowling over foes, and then chopping them up. Invincible, unstoppable, a power in our own right. We shall crush the evil that is the Dragon Cult.

Leda, of course, has added beauty, grace, and a fearsome temper to our assets. While not as skilful as us, she holds her own, and I love fighting next to her. Her wild energy drives me on.

We are deep in enemy territory now, and finding our way through the maze of lizard men, bullywug and horde politics. After successfully bluffing our way into the castle, and being offered a room full of bed bugs, we located a cave complex below. Some acidic goo hid gems; real gems of the like I have never seen. I am beginning to see why Shadow craves treasure so much. There’s mud everywhere, and not the kind I enjoyed during my facials in Waterdeeep. We stumbled upon a Bullywug hatchery, and killed many of the long-tongued froggies as they tried to defend their young.

I think the die is cast, now. We should slaughter as many of the vile creatures as possible, and put Pharblex Splattergoo’s head on a pole. How dare they attack my lovely Leda while she was undressing? We must quickly finish exploring the caves, and return to the castle by dawn. The Cult may be suspicious if we are missing.

The tension is building. Soon our great ballad will reach a climax, and the castle will be ours. That should save Shadow some downtime.
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The Mere of Dead Men to Castle Neratar
Session 11: Lizardmen Ahoy.

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by Ryndel Stonecastle

Resting at the Lizardmen’s campsite we were attacked by two canoe loads of Lizardmen. All 8 but 1 were dispatched by Shadow’s bow fire, Hitem’s mighty Axe I mean Hammer, and Leeta’s wolf pack ability.

Forgetting that one of the Lizardmen was only sleeping, foolishly we allowed it to wake up. Where it then informs us of the Bullywugs and “Dragon Kneelers” in the castle. The Lizardman’s name is Snapjaw of the Scaly Death tribe. Poor lizard folk enslaved by the cruel Bullywugs and Dragon Kneelers. Snapjaw went off to find food and came back to find us standing over the corpse of the “Weed that walks” some kind of Shambling mound.
Snapjaw then led us to the Castle Neratar when move of his tribesmen joined us.

Now our questions appear to be what to do next and who to do it with.

  • Are the Lizard trustworthy allies, what assistance can they give against the Bullywugs and Dragon Kneelers?
  • How many Bullywugs and Dragon Kneelers are in the Castle?
  • Is there a dragon in the castle after hearing of a Black Dragon in the swamp?
  • What is the best strategy to defeat the cultists
    Rushing straight in with arrows flying?
    Whip the Lizardmen into a frenzy to take down their oppressors?
    Stealthily infiltrate the castle and steal the loots?
    Pack it all in and go back to Waterdeep and Undermountain.
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The Storming of Castle Naerytar Tactics

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by Hitum “Hard” Battlehammer

We have reached the Castle but what the #@$ are we to do next.

Let’s think…what’s our damn mission again…

1. Where is the treasure going to —> Tick, it’s here in the Castle
2. What is the treasure for —> for spending of course…

I’m sure we’ve completed our objectives, so why are we in this Castle again??

I see a few possible strategies and tactics for taking over this castle:

1. Use our new found allies the ‘lizard folk’
—> need to see how many more we can recruit and get them to give us as much intelligence as we can get (floor plan and possible targets)
2. Send Shadow to do a recon/scout to verify some of the targets
3. Plan an ambush on the isolated targets
4. Heal-up and repeat step 2 and 3
5. Once we are ready for the main target, get some of the Lizard folk to setup a diversion
6. Full frontal assault on main target
7. Sack the Castle

Alternatively, try to infiltrate the Cultist using disguises
—> We tried this once, we are useless at this, so forget it

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At the Carnath Roadhouse
Session 10: Foe or friend? Friend or Foe?

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By Shadow Catcher

The caravan path from Waterdeep is different from those before. The marshy surrounds punctured only by the newly build road of Lord Dagult Neverember. Whilst this road will not lead us to the Jewel of the North, Neverwinter, it will take us closer to our destination. The Carnath Roadhouse!

We arrive in the mid afternoon, to be greeted by a queue waiting to enter. Ryndel, never one for norms or protocol, barges in to see what is what. It is then I hear a familiar voice, one I will never forget from my childhood, a voice that fills me with fear and dread.

My suspicions are confirmed when we enter, there in front of me is the monster from my childhood, I remember his hulking form with blood soaked sword as I hid under my bed, it was indeed the half orc Bog-Luck. [ed… this is why Shadow is so good at hiding]

There are too many onlookers to take my revenge straight away, and my childhood fear holds me back. I will bide my time and take the opportunity when it arises.

We take our rooms and hatch plans. One involves me sneaking across the second story ledges and into Bog-Luck’s room. Surely my high agility should help in in such a climb, but my weakly limbs nearly sees me plummet to my death. To my surprise his room is not filled with torture equipment, but with learned books. Not surprisingly though there is no treasure to be found.

Blake suggests that maybe all the treasure is in the storeroom, perhaps we should investigate!

That night at dinner the cultist on the road who tried to frame me for a murder starts to hassle and taunt me. My high agility should provide me the chance to hit him in a vulnerable part, but again my weakly limbs fail me. He doesn’t back down and there is only one way this can end…. one of us lying bleeding on the ground. Perhaps this is also a chance to show Bog-Luck I am not a quivering child hiding under the bed anymore.

The arena is set in the middle of the roadhouse courtyard. The cultist pulls out TWO SWORDS! AND ATTACKS with one TWICE per round! Even my new dodgy skill is not enough and I am down to half my health in 1 round. My turn to counterattack.. OH CRAP, all my damage relies on my hiding behind Hitum! At last my crappy tricksters spells assist me. By forcing him prone with laughter I am able to get not 1, not 2 but 3 sneak attacks! His 3 attack onslaught is foiled by Ryndel’s sneaky pre-fight blessing. Blake is strangely quiet, not even an inspiring song. I assume he is composing the “Ballard of the Epic Fight at the Carnath Roadhouse”.

Having dispatched this sub-leader of the cultists, I tell the rest to stay clear of things they don’t understand and flash them the dragon cult sign. Hopefully this will be enough for us to not be bothered by them again. Over dinner my hopes that the skills I shown in the fight ingratiating me with Bog-Luck has not worked. He remains aloof and disinterested. I feel the strange need to impress him, rather than kill him.

Hitum finds out that the cook has been hearing rats in the basements. Maybe there is a sub-quest here for us afterall.

I sneak into the store area, with the help of the gnome, Jamna Gleamsilver and Blake’s two way messaging system. I find boxes of treasure! Too heavy to carry! ARGGGGH! My eagle eye picks up that one of the boxes is hinged. Oh crap! My thoughts race back to the rats I met in the tunnel in Greenest that nearly cut short my adventuring career.

With all haste the rest of the party comes down to the store room (with Blake’s cone of silence). Just as they arrive 9 lizard men, push aside the crate, climb through the hole, pile into the room and attack, all before ANY of us can react! They throw javelins through melee like there is no disadvantage rule and quickly have the upper hand. Fortunately Blake latest bit of fluff is actually useful. She uses her barbarian rage and alpha wolf status to give us advantage. Unfortunately for me I cannot seem to get a clear shot, not because there are 15 bodies in the room, but because an open doorway seems to get in the way. Fortunately Hitum, Rhydl and Blake make quick work of the lizards, with some help from the gnome.

Blakes silence drops and we hear cries from the roadhouse. Time to press on. As I once hear the Paladin Enforcers of Waterdeep say “Follow the money..” So we head out down the secret tunnel towards where we assume the lizardmen have been taking the hoard.

The swamp is bleak, the fog is thick, the path is only known by a small sigil on the occasional tree. After several hours of travel we arrive at a camp-site. Probably where the lizard men came from. There are three canoes. Looks like we are heading out on the water to find the castle.

We take a short rest and regroup. Will our pursuers catch up? This is the second time a childhood foe has slipped from my grasp. Bog-Luck was not what I expected, the monster of my childhood was educated, well spoken and a leader of men. Perhaps there is a second side to every story.

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On the Road - Part 4
Session 9: Are we there yet - Yes!

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by Hitum “Hard” Battlehammer

My memory is like a sift as I try to recall our journey…pass on that jug of ale and I’m sure I’ll remember more…

We stayed at some inn where Blake sings his latest composition. Shadow works the crowd, whilst they cheer for Blake. The great hero of the Sword Coast, Sir Isteval himself is in attendance, and chats with us about the troubles – he fought an ancient Green Dragon and looks like he is still in recovery.
Blake has a stalker from the Cult watching him, or maybe he is just a fan.

The cultist have picked up a male human named Asbara Jos and is a Red Wizard of Thay. He looks extremely dangerous.

One night, an assassin tries to kill Blake, but only wounds him. Shadow shows the assassin how to do a real kill. We bury and hide the body. Shadow finds a new weapon and it has a scabbard with some dragon symbol.

One of the cultist lies dead on the road, and the cultist tries to frame us. Luckily the caravan favours us after all our help we’ve given them, we turn it around on the Cultist saying we’ll investigate the killing but will need to search all the caravans for clues. That shuts up the cultists and Jusbarra quickly intervenes to stop any investigation.

Blake keeps trying his luck with the ladies – Jamna the gnome guard, and Leda Widris a guard of Oyn Evenmor.

We finally reach Waterdeep, get paid our dues (but not without some threats on Lai Angesstun, the Oil merchant).

We follow the Cultist to a large warehouse owned by the High Road Charter Company.

Ryndel buys a map, and discovers that Castle Naerytar is at the Mere of Dead Men (swampy area) north west of Waterdeep.

Blake meets up with his family and we leave our horses with them.

We all later meet up with Carlon (the Harper) at The Yawning Portal, some Inn that has an entry to an underground dungeon. From the Portal emerges a stumpy dwarf and a red haired druid “Stuck down there for 22 years they says the dwarf”, “Indeed Stumpey we were, indeed”, says the warrior druid.

We are told that a tenday ago, a Black Halfdragon came into town and went North. He tells us to talk to Ardred Briferhew who will arrange for us to join a Building Convoy group to follow the Cultist towards the Mere of Dead Men.

Story ending 1:
We head to the Convoy and meet the leader, a half-orc called Bog-Luck….. Hey where had Shadow gone, and why was he drawing his daggers???

Story ending 2:

We start the next day on this journey and find ourselves stronger and more ready for the dangers ahead….but I need a refill…

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