Tyranny of Dragons

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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On The Road - Part 3
Session 8: Careful what you wish for

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From the journal of Blake Starsong.

Wet and weary – so weary – we sought shelter in the Way Inn.

The Battle of Way Inn (Draft 1)
Blake Starsong

A crowded tavern was expected
But curiously not this day
Around one table but four drinkers
Inside the lonely Way.

And what demeanour, what repose
From their mouths came drivel
Our party is too good for that
We demanded that they be civil.

Their piggishness grew in size
Rather than demure
Transformed into most fearsome boars
Violence did ensure.

While big and beastly, they were quite stupid
Table tops dented their charges
Their women were hideously ugly
Arses as big as barges!

I fell to blows, but Ryndal healed me
Others bled as well
And when we finally triumphed
In blew Thorgrim’s swells.

They stole our limelight: all our tributes
We hadn’t had fun!
But karma struck that very night
Praise-thieves minus one.

While the Innkeeper was pleased to be rid of the boars that were frightening away customers, Thorgrim’s untimely appearance robbed us of any reward. Naturally Shadow was livid, but was suddenly taken by the other party’s brilliance. One never can guess at his motives, however. I am sure he had a plan. Ryndall most definitely did, and his cunning plan to spread the rumour that they (the troupe) had raided The Cults Greenest camp was brilliant, but had the unexpected side-effect of getting one of them (the halfling) killed. Not ideal, but at least it wasn’t us.

Finally the rain stopped and we continued on the Road to Waterdeep when who should we stumble across being attacked but our old friend Sedgepole, with the famous troupe as guards. They weren’t doing too well, and as we all expected, they were very good at talking the talk, but very bad at shooting the monsters. We are, though, and I am surprised at our abilities these days. Shadow is a sneaky death machine, Hitum stalwart and strong, and Ryndal often doesn’t run away. I finally managed to use some decent spells – maybe adventuring isn’t so bad after all. Spiders dead, but the Ettercaps had stolen two of Sechepol’s horses. Of course we gave chase, not like those useless actors, only to find ourselves in a sticky situation – webbed lair! Again we battled to near death, and Shadow’s incredulity at the lack of treasure was only surpassed by Ryndall’s. We rescued the horses, returned them to Sechepol, and got cuts and bruises for our efforts. Let’s hope the gods smile on us as a result.

Now we sit in Daggerford, a quaint little town full of hotties. I am getting nowhere with my green love – time to change color.

Mysteriously, the cultists have taken on a passenger – one with a thick wooden cap, which is surely hiding a chest full of treasure. I wonder if Shadow can lift it in the night. The caravan has also picked up a female gnome guard. Surely Hitum can poison her with some of his soup.

I am growing to like adventuring, and my companions. I feel we are destined for great things.

.

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On the road - Part 2
Session7: North to Waterdeep

Secret Journal of
Ryndel Stonecastle
Cleric of Bahamut,
Dragon Sage,
Hunter of Dragon cultists,
Unemployed caravan guard

The trail from Baulder’s Gate is longer than we thought, or this caravan is slower than it appears, if such a thing is possible. We are still nearly 40 days from Waterdeep.
An eventful time was had along the trail these last few days. First a golden stag was spotted, guards from the caravan gave chase and bagged the stag only for an angry mob of villagers to descend on the caravan and demand payment for their good luck animal. Samardag the Hoper gave the villagers a purse of 500 gold pieces to soothe their wounded feelings loosing their good luck stag. The pelt while golden was un-magical.

Next we ambled our way into a town in the Trollclaw region, a rest day for the caravan and a market day for the town. While there our short tenure as caravan guards ended after the other adventuring party appeared led by a dwarf fighter by the name of Thorgrim. We decided to continue with the caravan to continue our mission of finding the where and the why of the Dragon Cults looting of the towns around Greenest.

A few uneventful days past as we plodded north with the caravan inching our way to Waterdeep, when suddenly by the side of the road was a person buried to their neck by with the word “oathbreaker” painted on their forehead. We stopped to talk to the man who claimed his name was Carlon Amoffel a carpenter from a nearby village, lover of the local barmaid who’s family were bandits. When he refused to join they left him buried along the road, an unlikely tale if ever I have heard one. While removing him from his predicament took 2 hours of digging, Shadow noticed a harper tattoo on Carlon’s torso. Carlon then related another tale of being a harper following the trail of dragon cult treasure shipped north. After giving him my cleric vestments as the fellow was naked but for a loincloth he summoned a horse with a whistle and rode off north promising to meet in Waterdeep, an even unlikelier tale.

While catching up to the caravan after rescuing Carlon we came across a standard wagon under attack by Hobgoblins. Shadow lead the charge, sneaking around behind them and attempted a sleep spell to reduce their numbers. A solitary hobgoblin fell asleep to the spell. Hitem and I then charged into combat with the remaining 7 hobgoblins. Unfortunately I was felled after a mere two hits owing to the hobgoblins uncanny martial spirit which gives them a bonus to attacking as a group. Luckily Hitem and Shadow proved up to the task of killing the hobgoblins and their leader. The luckless merchant was so grateful he gave us a crate of silks for our trouble which when opened was found be arrow and worm ridden and completely useless. On the plus side the Hobgoblin did have a nice silvered 2 handed sword which Hitem is carrying. We escorted the merchant back to the main caravan where the damage to his good was discovered and Samadan the hoper gave him a horse to ride back to his wagon and rejoin the caravan. He has not been seen since.
While fighting Shadow searched to find a healing potion to get me back on my feet but it was not found until we re-united with Blake.

Where was Blake? He had fallen in with a delightful lady by the name of Green Imsa. Presumably the name comes from the fact that she is green, not with envy, but that is her natural? colouring. Blake was obviously quite smitten with the lass as he passed us the mighty task of digging out Carlon to stay and talk to the charming Green lady.
Later a storm blew up from the east and drenched the caravan with rain. While the rain fell mushrooms grew on the ground around the caravan. First only tiny they are easily squashed even though they apparently screamed and gave a puff of black spores into the air. Quickly they grew in size until they towered over the caravans. Believing that their rapid growth would lead to a rapid death we waiting the day huddled in our cloaks waiting for the day and rain to end. The next morning the oversized fungi show no signs or rapidly disappearing as fast as they had grown. Wanting to not lose any more time we removed the obstacles with spells and ranged abilities until we were able to break free of the circle of fungi. What did the other group of experienced adventures do while we did all the hard work and took all the risks? Nothing, useless.

It is now day 26 of our journey towards Waterdeep, I can only hope that town that lies somewhere ahead of us called Dragon Mount is in some way connected to these cultists and there we may leave this caravan behind us. If not we will continue on to Waterdeep to ensure that the cultists fail in whatever hideous plan they are concocting.

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