Hoard of the Cold Sun (ToD Storyline in Eberron)

Gradine

Archivist
I’ve decided to share session recaps of my bi-weekly D&D game, which I’ve dubbed Tyranny of the Overlords. As the name might apply, this is my attempt to adapt the Tyranny of Dragons storyline (Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat) to the Eberron campaign setting (as Hoard of the Cold Sun and Rise of… well, still Tiamat actually).

Why Eberron?
I’ve been DMing in Eberron for several years now and I cannot really see myself running in any other campaign setting, at least not for more than a quick one-shot or short campaign (I do enjoy Ravenloft and Dark Sun as well). There’s a lot of appeal in the setting to me, from the creation myth, to the ambiguity of the religions, to the general socio-economic-political commentary, to the things that are just cool (elemental airships & lightning rails, halflings riding dinosaurs, vulkoor, living spells, etc.), to the way it generally subverts common expectations about D&D settings, particularly regarding alignment. See also, this:
[Insert Image: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/8c/8e/9e/8c8e9e2abb3d5409fab1889fe1065155.jpg]

Why Tyranny of Dragons?
Hoard of the Dragon Queen was met with a lot of critiques when it first came out, some objectively valid, some… much more subjective. I feel like history is more kind to it in hindsight than the general perception back in the day, but not by that much. It has legitimate flaws: bad math/rules that should have been double-checked before launch, awful maps, just in general poor editing, and neither it nor its sequel ever really does a good job of handling the constant Forgotten Realms problem of “why are we leaving it to these random schmucks to save the world”? This last part thankfully isn’t a problem in Eberron, where a constant theme is that the PCs are generally the most important people during a given era. Many of the other complaints with HotDQ are a matter of playstyle and/or other subjective experiences, and everyone had a different complaint about different aspects of the scenario (with an equal number of voices seeming to counter that such and such encounter/session was their favorite part); especially regarding Chapters 1 and 4. I’ll get back to that point though.

Perhaps HotDQ’s biggest flaw was that it was a poor module for a beginner DM, especially when compared to the extremely well-regarded Lost Mines of Phandelver, and that’s not what you want to release as your first major adventure of a new edition. It expects the DM to fill in a lot of the gaps and blank spaces by themselves, and make a lot of adjustments on the fly as necessary. It is not intended to be run straight from the page. This, ironically, actually makes it great material for adaptation, as well as providing a lot of opportunities to make tweaks or insert homebrew or other material (older threads on this board and other sites/blogs are rife with examples for how to work Murder in Baldur’s Gate into it, for instance). I’ve got my own ideas about what to add or work in and where.

Ultimately, that earlier comment regarding playstyles & subjective experiences is why I chose to run HotDQ. Of the released 5e modules I’ve read (which is most of them), I can’t think of a single one that delivers such a vast range of experiences over such a short length of time. Roughly half of my players are new to D&D (and several more are either new to 5e, new to Eberron, or both). I wanted to run the gamut of experiences, from a combat-heavy, mission-based adventure, to infiltration, to dungeon-crawling, to social interaction, to investigation, to the smorgasbord of choices of all of the above that the adventure’s final chapters tend to provide. I’ve read blessed few APs that had a series of different very types of adventuring, then gives the players two major locations (Naerytar & Skyreach) and says “now that you’ve been shown, you can practice on your own.” This, I feel, is HotDQ’s greatest strength, and it often goes unsung in light all of its other failings (which are, admittedly, multiple).

How are you adapting it to Eberron?
I am mostly working off of an old adaption document I wrote when the adventure first came out here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ogwc1u2NvjINGBa44HEq3feXWwD7FTLSSUGPxWdwrhg/edit?usp=sharing
I’m making a few tweaks to that along the way, some which I’ve already edited into that document, and quite a few that I haven’t. The basic version goes like this: I’m leaning pretty heavily into the factions system (every PC chooses a faction) and the main cultist activity, at least early on, is from an offshoot of a cult dedicated to Masvirik, the Cold Sun (these are mostly being duped by the Talons of Tiamat, however). Thay has been replaced by the Venomous Demesne, (with Azbara and Rath and friends being exiles after a failed coup attempt). The adventure begins in Aundair, and will lead the party west through the Eldeen Reaches and into the Shadow Marches, with the teleporter taking them just outside Q’Barra for the final two chapters. I hope to work more exotic and iconic locales, such as Xen’drik or the Mournland, in to my adaptation of Rise of Tiamat (still very much a work in progress).
As for the PC factions:
Harpers => Flamewind Sorority (I made this up)
Emerald Enclave => Eldeen Enclave (an organization consisting of the main Eldeen Druid factions)
Lord’s Alliance => The Twelve
Order of the Gauntlet => Church of the Silver Flame
Zhentarim => Aurum

Half-dragons in Eberron?
Yeah, no. The last time somebody made a half-dragon in Eberron the Elves and Dragons set aside centuries (if not millennia) of conflict to wipe out not only the abomination in question but her entire clan as well. Cyanwrath and Rezmir have been changed into dragonborn.

You’re not starting them at first level, are you?
I am, but the players have a few things on their side. First, I did reduce the numbers on several of the chapter one encounters. Second, they’ll have numbers to their benefit: there’ll be anywhere from 5-7 PCs in chapter one (one player may or may not be there, another is debating joining the game or not). Third, being part of a faction has given them boons, though few of those will likely be significant in chapter 1. Finally, this being Eberron, the characters have Action Points (basically Hero Points from the DMG). They’ve got five which refresh after leveling up, and they can turn any failed death save into a success. They’ll be fine.
Edit: They were fine, though I did end up cutting the Dragon Attack and the Save the Mill missions.


Tell me you’re at least cutting out that stupid dragon attack.
I am, yes, but not for the reasons you might be thinking of. I know this thing caught a lot of flack from people whose playstyles don’t account for things like, say, not attacking everything you see. Which isn’t necessarily an invalid way to play the game, but it’s not the playstyle this AP was really written for to begin with. The actual dragon attacking the walls encounter is a little awkward but I never saw a problem with it. I’m cutting it out because the cult’s ability to corrupt dragons (in Eberron, the chromatic/metallic dichotomy doesn’t determine alignment, and in fact most dragons are aloof and refuse to interfere in the lives of lesser mortals) is something I want to built up to later in the adventure.
 
Last edited:

Gradine

Archivist
Dramatis Personae

Dramatis Personae

Player Characters

Merla Tealeaf
NG Female Lightfoot Halfling Bard
Bardic College: College of Glamour
Faction: The Twelve (House Jorasco)
Faction Boon: Least Mark of Healing
Origin: Breland
Merla is a healer by trade but an entertainer by passion. She’s been sent from rural Breland to Windshire in western Aundair to tend to the injured that have been piling up as a result of cultist raids in the region, as well as to investigate the activities of said cult, The Cold Sun. Merla has an exceptionally large vocabulary; unfortunately for herself and others around her, she doesn’t really understand what a lot of those bigger words actually mean.
Connections: One of Merla’s best friends growing up was a House Lyrandar scion named Jonas, who was torn between his duties to his family and his desire to join the clergy of the Sovereign Host. His first solo mission was a flight to Frostfell, from which neither he nor anyone else from his expedition ever returned. (Jonas will be replacing Talis the White in this adventure)

Rylorn d’Tharashk
CN Male Half-Orc Warlock
Pact: Celestial (HL, Imprisoned Angel)
Former Pact: The Undying (Larloch, Archlich of the Nightwood)
Pact Boon: Chain (Tressym)
Faction: The Twelve (House Tharashk)
Faction Boon: Least Mark of Finding
Origin: The Shadow Marches
Rylorn is a bounty hunter in House Tharashk who has long been troubled by his family’s ancestral worship of Khyber fiends. He enjoys his work and is good at it, so his family has agreed to give him some degree of autonomy in return for occasionally doing work for the House from time to time. He has recently returned from a mission in Karrnath with a new faith (Blood of Vol) and patron, a powerful lich named Larloch. He has been sent to Windshire by his House to investigate cult of the Cold Sun activity and, if possible, capture their leader.
Chapter 3: Rylorn was commanded by Larloch, through a dream, to kill everyone in the Cold Sun camp and raise them from the dead to begin building a new undead army. He wa also visited in his dreams by a vaguely angelic shape calling themself "HL" that offered him a new pact, which he chose to accept. "HL" claims to be trapped in a place called "The Forge of Fury".
Connections: Rylorn’s current contract is to capture Frulam Mondath.

Kazimierz Thibideux (of the Menthis Thibideuxs)
LG Male Tiefling Warlock
Pact: Archfey (Dziwożona, Archfey of the Fluffy Confines, Spirit of Cuteness and Charm)
Pact Boon: Tome
Faction: The Flamewind Sorority
Faction Boon: Minor Magic Item (Bag of Holding)
Origin: Sharn
Kazimierz is an orphaned Tiefling whose only memories are of Sharn, when he arrived as a small child. His parents disappeared at an early age, and was raised collectively by a migrant community in Cliffside. At the age of 8 he was adopted by the wealthy Thibideux family, who has provided him the best education money can provide. Kazimierz (Kazik for short) is a researcher at heart, with a particular interest in the planes. His previous adventures with the Flamewind Sorority helped him procure a Bag of Holding, primarily to bring with him his copious manuscripts and notes. On a trip to Thelanis, he was badgered into forming a pact with Dziwożona (pronounced JI-vo-ZHO-na), an Archfey spirit of Cuteness and Charm, which appears primarily as a jackalope with a red top hat. The spirit found the image of a Tiefling in a tweed suit utterly adorable and cajoled him being as charming as possible to spread his cheer throughout Eberron. Kazik mostly only agreed because the creature offered to help him finish his research paper.
Connection: Kazik’s sponsor in the Flamewind Sorority was a Morgrave faculty member named Leosin Erlanthar. Kazik left as part of Leosin’s entourage to Windshire to investigate the Cold Sun but fell behind in Passage to conduct some additional research. Kazik has few memories of his biological parents, but what memories he has involve talk of a tiefling named Rath Modar, who seemed to be somehow responsible for his parents arriving as refugees in Sharn. He has not been able to find any more information about Rath Modar.

Norixious Anakendrick
CG Female Dragonborn Rogue
Draconic Heritage: Black Dragon
Roguish Archetype: Swashbuckler
Faction: The Flamewind Sorority
Faction Boon: Minor Magic Item (Sharn Feather Token)
Origin: Sharn
Anakendrick (Clan name Norixious) grew up on the streets of Sharn with a small litter of dragonborn hatchlings left to fend for themselves. Like many orphans, she turned to a life of crime to provide for herself and those in her care. She was eventually caught by a visiting professor of Theology named Quentin Stormcrow, who ended up helping Anakendrick reform and put her talents to use as an employee of Morgrave University and the Flamewind Sorority. Quentin has been studying Cult of the Cold Sun activity in the Shadow Marches, and has sent Anakendrick to investigate their increased activity in western Aundair.
Connection: Quentin replaces Amoffel in Chapter 4’s “Payback” mission, and is another party contact with the Flamewind Sorority. Anakendrick grew up with another black dragonborn hatchling named Rezmir (Clan name Norixious), who was a kind of big sister who cared for the other hatchlings, but whom she has not heard from in some time.

Brother Alwyn
NG Male Wood Elf Monk
Monastic Tradition: Way of the Open Hand
Faction: The Eldeen Enclave
Faction Boon: Feat (Magic Initiate - druidcraft, produce flame, goodberry)
Origin: Valenar
Brother Alwyn is a Tairnadal elf, who was chosen to honor the patron ancestor Astriana the Wayward. Millenia ago, Astriana turned away her back on the frivolous wars of her people, becoming an exile destined to be long forgotten by the Tairnadal. Centuries later, a Gatekeeper druid arrived in Aerenal with Astriana’s body, claiming that she had sacrificed herself to save the world. Alwyn has chosen to honor Astriana by turning his back on Tairnadal tradition, and make his way to the Eldeen Reaches or Shadow Marches to become a Gatekeeper himself. He spent 50 years wandering Khorvaire, eventually finding his way only very recently. A Gatekeeper by the name of Kaeli took him and trained him, then sent him to Windshire to investigate reports of nearby attacks by the Cult of the Cold Sun. Alwyn is helpful to a fault; he will always help out when asked, though he sometimes takes his requests a tad too literally.
Connections: Kaeli replaces Ackyn Selebon in Varna (which takes the role of Baldur’s Gate in this adventure), and is the party’s main contact with the Eldeen Enclave.

Herb Nepeta Cataria Sparklegem
CG Male Forest Gnome Druid
Druid Circle: Circle of the Shepherd
Faction: The Eldeen Enclave
Faction Boon: Feat (Linguist)
Origin: Zilargo
Herb spent much of his adult life as a member of The Trust, the spy network and secret police of the gnomes of Zilargo. A life-long love of animals and more recent run-in with fiends changed his life, however, and he turned his back on the Trust to become a Druid. He went to the Eldeen Reaches, where he quickly became drawn to the Greensingers and travel throughout Thelanis, the Faerie court. His unique skill set (including being a polyglot) has made him a valuable agent for the Enclave in international and extraplanar incidents. He’s been sent by his mentor, Kaeli, along with another pupil, Brother Alwyn, to investigate the activity of the Cult of the Cold Sun near the border with Aundair.
Connections: In addition to Kaeli (see above), Herb’s past with the Trust will give him passing knowledge of Jamna Gleamsilver, as well as Radacere Perethun, a retired legend, both of whom the party will meet in Chapter 4.

Betty “Coop” Cooper
LG Protector Aasimar Cleric
Divine Domain: Life
Faction: N/A
Origin: Karrnath
Coop grew up as a normal human living in what she thought was a normal Karrnathi town near the border of the Mror Holds, famed only for their maple syrup industry (dwarves love syrup, you know). However, it turned out that many members of this small community were actually hiding quite a few skeletons in their closets (in some cases literally, because, you know, Karrnath). A particularly traumatic incident led to Coop making contact with a Trumpet Archon from Shavarath named Forsythe Pendleton (or FP for short), instilling her with an even stronger moral compass and sense of what’s right and what’s wrong… for herself and for everybody else. The two formed a partnership that has led Coop to wander Khorvaire in search of injustices to correct. Her self-righteousness and the Archon’s influence may sometimes cause her to “go Dark Betty”, temporarily replacing her Protector Aasimar racial features with those of the Fallen Aasimar.
Connections: None.

Background

These NPCs are appear in the backgrounds of the PCs, but haven’t appeared in play yet.

Jonas d’Lyrandar
Male Half-Elf Cleric
Faction: The Twelve (House Lyrandar)
Origin: Stormhome, Aundair
Current Condition: Missing (Presumed Dead)
Jonas is the second and only other son of the house patriarch Netheril d’Lyrandar. He had confided in his close friend from the Twelve he had known since childhood, Merla Tealeaf (a minor scion of House Jorasco), that his dreams were to one day be free of the family business and join the clergy of the Sovereign Host. These dreams were unfortunately dashed when his brother, the oldest child and presumptive heir Thomas, disappeared and was promptly excoriated by their father. With his Mark of Storms he was immediately taught how to fly the mighty elemental airships, but his first solo mission, piloting an expedition to the Frostfell, ended in disaster, and not he, nor his ship, nor anyone else from the expedition ever returned. In the three years since, he has been presumed dead, and Netheril has instead turned towards grooming his daughters for leadership.

Larloch
Undying Patron - Archlich
Faction: Himself
Origin: The Nightwood, Karrnath
Current Condition: Scheming
Larloch is an archlich in Karrnath conducting studies on the nature of magic. A messy bounty hunt ended with Rylorn d’Tharashk stumbling into Larloch’s chambers, where he was granted the choice between service and power or a swift death. Rather liking being alive, Rylorn chose the former option, and Larloch indebted Rylorn to his service as a Warlock with the powers of the Undying. His reasons for doing so have so far been left uncovered.
Chapter 3: Larloch commanded Rylorn to kill the remaining Cold Sun cultists and raise them as undead creatures to begin building him an army. Rylorn refused, choosing to accept a path from the angel "HL" instead.


Dziwożona

Archfey Patron - Fey Prince of Cuteness and Charm
Faction: Himself
Origin: Thelanis
Current Condition: Adorable
Dziwożona is the Fey Prince of Cuteness and Charm, and appears as a jackalope in a red top hat and bowtie. He badgered his way into becoming a patron for Kazimierz Thibideux, while the latter was composing a research paper on Thelanis. Like the Archlich, Dziwożona’s motivations have so far been kept entirely to himself. Unlike the Archlich, however, they are much less likely to be sinister in nature. One would hope, anyway. Kazik’s only instructions so far have been to be as charming as possible in his travels throughout Khorvaire.

Quentin Stormcrow

Male Half-Elf Archivist
Faction: The Flamewind Sorority
Origin: Fairhaven, Aundair
Current Condition: Alive
Stormcrow is a member of the University of Wynarn’s Theology Faculty and considered their foremost expert on Sovereign Host Studies. During a stint as a visiting faculty at Morgrave University he became initiated into the Flamewind Sorority and also took under his tutelage a young Sharn pickpocket named Anakendrick Norixious. Quentin has recently taken an interest in the activities of the Cold Sun Cult in the Shadow Marches, and sent his protege to Windshire to investigate in Aundair (as Quentin would rather not return to Aundair anytime soon, for reasons he has been keeping to himself).

Kaeli
Female Half-Elf Druid
Faction: The Eldeen Enclave (Gatekeepers)
Origin: Eldeen Reaches
Current Condition: Alive
Kaeli is a tough-as-nails old druid living in the Eldeen Reaches and serving as a mentor and leader of new recruits to the Enclave, even those who do not become Gatekeepers. She’s dealt with more aberrant incursions that likely anyone currently living. Her two mentees, Brother Alwyn and Herb, have been sent across the border into Aundair to investigate Cold Sun Cult activity.

Allies

“FP” Forsythe Pendleton
Trumpet Archon
Faction: Celestial Army of Shavarath
Origin: Shavarath, the Endless Battle
Status: Possessing Betty Cooper
FP is a Trumpet Archon who has attached xemself to Betty “Coop” Cooper, transforming her into an Aasimar, and contributes to her even stronger sense of right and wrong and justice. Only Coop can appear to hear and speak to xem, and xe has a seemingly strong interest in seeing the righteous protected and the wicked punished.

Lady Cara of Aundair

Female Human Noble
Faction: Aundairian Nobility
Origin: Aundair
Status: Alive
Lady Cara is a minor noble who rules over Windshire and the surrounding countryside. She is a bit sheltered thanks to her comfortable and isolated lifestyle. She is, ultimately, deeply concerned for the people of her land and regularly asks the party to protect or rescue them from the clutches of the Cold Sun cult.

Escobert “Big Red” d’Kundarak

Male Mountain Dwarf Warrior
Faction: The Twelve (House Cannith); Aundair
Origin: Mror Holds
Status: Alive, Surprisingly
Originally from the Mror Holds, Escobert was sent from an early age to be a castellan at Windshire. He is ever weary of threats, and worries that neither Lady Cara nor the soldiers under his command are truly ready for any kind of danger. He presumably sacrificed himself tackling a kobold dragonshield off of the Windshire Keep’s sally port ledge, but was ultimately found and saved by Betty “Coop” Cooper and returned to the keep by the end of the Cold Sun Cult’s assault.

Sergeant Vasila Markguth
Female Human Soldier
Faction: Aundair
Origin: Karrnath
Status: Alive
Vasila’s family were Karrnathi refugees who fled as deeply west as they could go within Aundair in order to avoid the anti-Karrnathi sentiment found along the nation’s eastern borders. This landed them in Windshire, where Vasila’s parents eked out a pleasant living under the auspices of Lady Cara. Vasila has distinguished herself with her aptitude at coordination, training and defensive planning. Her combat skills, on the other hand, leave a lot to be desired. This ineptitude was in full force as the party rescued Lady Cara’s servants from her manor, and Merla and Herb convinced her not to go face Cyanwrath by herself in order to save her sister, niece and nephew.

Jerred d’Cannith
Male Human Magewright
Faction: The Twelve (House Cannith)
Origin: Sharn
Status: Alive
Jerred is a Cannith magewright and distant cousin to Merrix d’Cannith who is nearing the end of his contract in Windshire. He proved pivotal in helping repair the sally port gate at the Windshire Keep while it was under assault. He also serves the party as a magewright, attaching dragonshards they find to improve their equipment, and letting them know about the nature of other interesting items they find. While certainly courageous, he prefers to avoid combat wherever possible, and has little talent himself in that regard.
Chapter 2: Jerred is impressed with Anakendrick's new byeshk shortsword, an item that according to Jerred should not exist; the blade is too new, and has none of the typical qualities of Dhakaani craftsgoblinship. He is able to attune dragonshards to equipment to create magical equipment. Wants the party to bring him any more byeshk weapons they find.


Harley d’Ghallanda
Female Halfling Dragonmarked Scion
Faction: The Twelve (House Ghallanda)
Origin: Unknown
Status: Missing
Harley is a member of House Ghallanda with a unique ability to produce Heroes’ Feasts that allow weary adventurers to take a long rest in a much more compressed period of time. She was nowhere to be seen after the attack on Windshire. She has a habit of appearing in the strangest places...

Nasim Waladra
Female Half-Elf Graduate Student (Geography)
Faction: The Flamewind Sorority
Origin: Sharn
Status: Alive
Nasim is a student of Morgrave University who travelled with Professor Leosin Erlanthar to study the attacks of the Cult of the Cold Sun in western Aundair. She finds Kazik in the aftermath of the cult’s attack on Windshire to let him know that Professor Erlanthar was captured and taken hostage by the cult.

Leosin Erlanthar
Male Half-Elf Monk
Faction: The Flamewind Sorority
Origin: Sharn
Current Condition: Alive
Leosin Erlanthar is a professor of Field Research at Morgrave University, and is considered one of the foremost scholars on Khyber Cults. The recent uptick in activity by the Cult of the Cold Sun across Khorvaire (rather than centered in Q’Barra) has led him to organize a team of students (including Kazimierz as a research assistant) to investigate the activity. He’s organized his expedition to first arrive in Windshire to set up as a base of operations. He and his party arrived just prior to the assault, and he was taken as a captive by the Cult as they left the village.
Chapter 2: The party was able to rescue him from the Cold Sun camp.
Chapter 3: Leosin, still recovering from his wounds, asks the party to travel back to the Cold Sun camp to investigate a cave that seemed to be vitally important to the cult, and to their leader, Rezmir, in specific.

“HL"
Celestial Patron - Angel (Unknown Classification)
Faction: Unknown
Origin: Unknown
Status: Imprisoned
HL is an angel who reached out to Rylorn through his dreams to offer him a path towards the light. HL states that they are currently imprisoned in a place called "The Forge of Fury". They are currently Rylorn's new Celestial pact patron.


Enemies

Francine
Female Human Cultist
Faction: Cold Sun Cult, Talons(?)
Origin: Unknown
Status: Imprisoned (Windshire Keep)
Francine was a Cold Sun Cultist leader who the party encountered in Lady Cara’s manor house. Brother Alwyn overheard some other cultists voicing concern over her loyalty to the Cold Sun, referring to her as a “Talon”. She held a byeshk shortsword, and seemed to have the power to inflict additional fire damage with her attacks, which was not a feature of her sword. The party defeated and captured her, and Merla, through subterfuge and disguise, was only able to get her to admit to serving the Cold Sun.

Langdedrosa Cyanwrath
Male Dragonborn Champion (Bronze Scales)
Faction: Cold Sun Cult
Origin: Unknown (Possibly Q’Barra or Seren)
Status: Alive
The party first spied this fierce warrior pacing frantically on a hilltop overlooking the village of Windshire. Near the end of the assault, as other cult members began to withdraw, he approached the Windshire Keep with two underlings, Seren barbarians, who were holding on to hostages (a human woman and two human children). He demanded to fight the village’s champion in honorable single combat. Despite some subterfuge by the party to secure the woman’s release (he released the children earlier), he got his wish in a true one-on-one duel with Anakendrick, who was able to wound him fairly strongly before losing the fight. Langdedrosa appears to be obsessed with the story of Masvirik, the Cold Sun, and Rhashaak, and how Rhashaak defeated Masvirik in three duels, securing Masvirik’s imprisonment, though over time has become corrupted by the Demonic Overlord. He looks forward to his next duel with Anakendrick. He does not appear to give much deference to Frulam Mondath.
Chapter 3: After Merla charmed Cyanwrath's berserker companions, Cyanwrath found himself outmatched by the party. Anakendrick refused to face him in a rematch, and Coop was able to convince him to delay their rematch until Anakendrick is able to gain more power. Cyanwrath left the Cold Sun Hatchery, taking his companions with him.


Frulam Mondath

Female Half-Orc Cultist
Faction: Cold Sun Cult
Origin: The Shadow Marches
Status: Alive
Frulam Mondath is a half-orc from the Shadow Marches who has somehow risen to a position of some prominence in the Cult of the Cold Sun. She is briefly spotted overlooking the assault on Windshire, and again when arrives at the keep to chastise Langdedrosa Cyanwrath for ignoring the order to withdraw. Her robes are purple (in contrast to the blue robes of the Cold Sun) and she appears to lead this particular branch of the cult. Little else is known about her, save that she is wanted for crimes in the Shadow Marches, and Rylorn has a contract to capture her and bring her back, alive if possible.

Azbara Jos
Male Tiefling Red Wizard
Faction: Unknown (Allied with Cold Sun???)
Origin: Unknown
Status: Alive
Azbara Jos arrived the Cold Sun camp with a delegation of tieflings all wearing very distinctive red robes, which Kazik recalled his parents owned. He was sent on behalf of a "Rath Modar" to treat with Rezmir.

Rezmir
Female Dragonborn (Black Scales)
Faction: Cold Sun Cult
Origin: Unknown (Sharn?)
Status: Alive
Little is known about Rezmir; just that people call her the "dragon lady" and that Frulam answers to her. She was at the camp's location when the cultists and mercenaries returned from Windshire and she did not look pleased. Anakendrick did grow up with a dragonborn named Rezmir in Sharn; an older dragonborn who looked after the other oprhans of clan Norixious.

Other

Leenan Boulderfist
Male Minotaur Mercenary
Faction: Lightning Fangs (Allied with Cold Sun)
Origin: Sharn
Status: Unknown
A boisterous and gregarious minotaur and leader of the Lightning Fangs mercenary group out of Sharn. Participated in the raid on Windshire. Thinks Merla is hilarious. Was last seen in the middle of a massive brawl between rival mercenary factions in the Cold Sun encampment.
 
Last edited:

Gradine

Archivist
Chapter 1: Windshire in Flames

Session 1

The party has met up on the road to Windshire, finding it interesting that they are all heading to the same location and for the same reason: to investigate the activities of the Cult of the Cold Sun. They crest a hill just outside of town around nightfall, and see smoke rising from the direction of the town. The rush to see it attacked by large force of cultists, mercenaries, kobolds and lizardfolk.

Their first sight as they approach the town is the stream that runs alongside it, and their first instinct is to sneak through the stream to the keep, where it appears that many villagers are gathering for protection. However, they spot a villager, Linan Swift, protecting her husband and children from a group of kobolds led by the smallest lizardfolk they’ve ever seen. The kobolds note their approach but do not react to them, instead advancing on the family. Brother Alywn immediately ran forward to help, decisively killing the lizardfolk before any of its minions could react. This almost immediately breaks the morale of the remaining kobolds, some of which put up minor resistance but several of which flee, only to be shot in the back and killed by Eldritch Blasts from Kazik and Rylorn. The party decide to take the family along with them, down the stream, before making a run for the keep.

On the way to the stream, they run past a house and Brother Alwyn bumps almost immediately into a man in blue robes. This cultist leader insists that they “take care of the hostages and ransack that nearby shop.” Alwyn, always helpful, respond with “Okay!” without a hint of subterfuge, though Coop steps in to assure the cultist that all is well. After a convincing bluff, the cultist stomps off, muttering about “shiftless mercenaries” under his breath.

The party is able to easily sneak alongside the town down the stream, and arrive to the Keep just as the gates are being sealed. Carrying the children (and halfling) they make it inside just in time. Merla Tealeaf stops to help tend to some wounds with a fellow house Jorasco scion, Callie, while they spot a few other Dragonmarked scions helping out, from Harley d’Ghallanda providing fresh food and water to Jerred d’Cannith fixing things around the keep. Coop and several others seek the leadership, and find Lady Cara, the bewildered minor noble who rules this region of Aundair, and Escobert “Big Red” d’Kundarak, the dwarven castellan. Lady Cara professes she never imagined the cult would be so brazen as to assault as large a settlement as Windshire, to which Coop replies “Maybe you should have imagined it,” to approving nods from Escobert. Brother Alwyn asks if there’s anything the group can do to help. Cara points to the local Temple of Olladra, where several villagers rushed to take refuge but is currently under siege by cultist forces. They spot three groups; the roving band patrolling the building’s perimeter, the group trying to break down the front door, and the group trying to smoke them out from the back.

Escobert shows the party the hidden escape tunnel through the back of an old storage room, which takes them through the keep sewers. He also gives the key to the lock at the end. Anakendrick goes ahead to scout, and notices two swarms of rats up ahead. Merla hatches a scheme with Herb, as both have the minor illusion cantrip: Merla will form the image a large cat while Herb will make the sounds. This works wonders: the rats disperse, fleeing out the tunnel. They struggle to open the lock, but a little oil helps them get it open without resorting to breaking it down.

Unfortunately, the escaping rats have attracted some unwanted attention, in the form of a patrolling group of cultists and kobolds! A single cultist is sent to investigate, and again mistakes the PCs for mercenaries, though this time the party does so intentionally, with the help of a well-timed casting of friends by Kazik. They pump the cultist for information, finding out that the cultists are looking for loot, and especially dragonshards. They’re also looking for a way into the Keep, and he asks the party about the tunnel behind them. Again, Coop successfully bluffs the cultist, telling him the tunnel is collapsed behind them. The crisis appeared averted.

As the cultist went back to inform his colleagues about the tunnel, Kazik and Rylorn began motioning to Coop to ask her if they should shoot him in the back with eldritch blast. She nods, and together the two successfully kill the cultist, then proceed to kill his remaining colleagues in a fairly simple combat. This battle also saw the first use of Anakendrick’s acid breath. One of the cultists had a spell scroll of silence.

The group decided to sneak their way to the back of the Temple, where they could stop the cultists from trying to smoke the villagers out. The warlocks hung back to assist and pick off stragglers or anyone trying to run for help. Anakendrick, with Herb hiding behind him, successfully snuck up to the creatures. Anakendrick was able to easily kill the lead kobold, who was carrying a weird backpack and wearing a fancy cloak, while the rest of the party quickly joined the fight. There was some difficulty with a particularly difficult to kill cultist, but the group was quickly dispatched. Anakendrick looted the backpack wearing kobold, discovering three alchemist’s fires, a bag with a hornet’s nest in it, and the cloak, which turned out to be a cloak of billowing.

The party had to work fast, as the patrolling group was nearing them. Merla was able to talk to the scared villagers, convincing them to open up and escape with the party back along the stream. Herb dropped a fog cloud to cover their escape.

As the rest of the party reported back to Cara and Escobert, Merla amused herself by conjuring the image of a large dragonshard just outside the gates. An eager kobold broke from the siege and tried to leap on, falling straight through it and earning laughs from its enemies as well as its allies.

Their triumphant return was short lived, as sounds of fighting broke out in a nearby side courtyard near the Sally Port. They arrived to find a small group of kobolds, a cultist acolyte, and an ambush drake had broken through the sally port broken and killed the guards stationed there! A difficult melee ensued, as the party’s focus fire on the drake and the acoylte’s well-timed saves allowed the kobolds to gang up on party members, taking down Brother Alwyn in short fashion. Merla was able to bring him back to his feet with a healing word, but the kobolds surrounded her and also knocked her unconscious! Coop, still tangling with the acolyte, risked an attack of opportunity to break free and cast cure wounds on Merla, and the kobolds were quickly dispatched after that, eliminating most of the threat.

The sally port gate was broken. This was when Merla remembered: there was a House Cannith rep in the keep! She ran to get Jerred, who was a bit jittery about being so close to combat, but was comfortable coming to help cast the required mending spells needed to fix the gate. But just then a second group rush the sally port ledge, trying to climb up. A timely eldritch blast from Kazik knocked a cultist off, killing him, but four kobolds managed to make the climb, including one with a large black shield made of dragon scales. The kobold was much more powerful than the rest, easily knocking the exposed Kazik out before engaging in a difficult melee with Coop, while Anakendrick and Alwyn focused on the other kobolds. The other kobolds were quickly dispatched, but the dragonshield kobold posed a tougher threat. Alwyn shoved a goodberry down Kazik’s throat while the rest of the party engaged the remaining kobold.

Seizing an opportunity, Escobert charged at the remaining kobold, who, in its shock, dropped its shield as they both went tumbling off of the ledge. They saw the kobold land, its neck broken, as another group of kobolds swarmed over the fallen dwarf. The shield was a black dragonscale shield, a magic shield without an enhancement bonus but conferred resistance to acid. The shield, not being made of metal, was claimed by the party’s druid, Herb.

Jerred, holding Escobert’s key ring, let the party know that the gate was fixed and ready to be shut and locked. The party decompressed, and Harley d’Ghallanda offered them a specialized heroes’ feast that allowed them to benefit from a long rest in a much shorter period of time.

Coop has disappeared by the end of the meal. The last anyone had seen of her, she was pulling her blonde ponytail tight and headed towards the hidden tunnel.
 
Last edited:

Gradine

Archivist
Preview for Session Two:
Play Date: 02/18/18

Suddenly missing two members (Betty Cooper and Rylorn d'Tharashk have disappeared under mysterious circumstances), the party must work with Escobert's second-in-command, Sergeant Vasila Markguth, in capturing a cultist leader to pump for information. As the sun rises, a cultist champion issues a challenge. Kazik learns some distressing news.
 
Last edited:

Gradine

Archivist
Chapter 1: Windshire in Flames

Session 2.0

The party finish their meal well-rested, but notice that Coop and Rylorn have both disappeared. As they finish, they are approached by Sergeant Vasila Markguth, Windshire Keep’s second-in-command behind Escobert (and now actual commander). She comes bearing a message from Lady Cara: cultists have started to break into her manor, and she fears that several of her servants may still be trapped inside, hopefully in the manor house’s panic room. She takes them up to the ramparts, where they can spy several cultists standing outside of the manor. The party is initially skeptical of the request; if the manor has a panic room, the servants should be safe. This is when Markguth reveals she has an ulterior motive as well: one of the cultists seen entering was wearing robes with red fringe on them, and she suspects this individual might be one of the leaders of the attack. Vasila hopes to capture them and bring them back to the keep for interrogation, but knows that she isn’t capable of doing so by herself. The party agrees to help.

As the party make their way back down, they spy several figures on a hilltop on the opposite end of town, overseeing the chaos and destruction. One is a half-orc woman, her arms crossed, standing calmly as she watches. The other was a dragonborn with bronze scales and tough armor, pacing back forth and stretching his arms, as if anxious about something. They are surrounded by eight of the largest lizardfolk any in the party had even heard of, much less seen, towering over even the dragonborn. The party decides it’s wise not to approach them, and continue forward to the manor with Markguth.

Sneaking back through the tunnel and along the stream they are able to reach the manor relatively easily and unimpeded. Peering around the corner, they spy five cultists standing guard in front of the door. Alwyn is able to overhear their conversation; they appear to have some concerns over a cultist named Francine; that the Talons aren’t truly loyal to the Cold Sun, isn’t dedicated to reviving the Cold Sun, that the red fringe on her robes is tacky, etc. Alwyn relays this information back, with the exception that he says the words “cult’s son”, which manages to confuse only himself.

The party deliberates the best means of ingress; Merla intends to sneak along the topiary and distract the guards with a minor illusion. Herb wonders if it’s really necessary to kill them, or if they might be able to sneak past them. Her concerns are made moot when only one cultist, named Fred (and who looked a lot like Forest Whitaker) went to investigate the noises that Merla was making. Tired of all the talk, Anakendrick stepped around the corner and fired an arrow into the back of one of the cultists, slaying him immediately.

The rest of the party quickly rushed in to assist. One of the cultists, an acolyte, cast sacred flame on Alwyn. Herb, surprising basically everybody, tapped into something more bestial than she had ever known, growing claws and fangs thanks to her primal savagery cantrip, and tearing through the cultists in a hail of blood and viscera. Alwyn, thanks to some fancy dodging, was able to avoid getting sullied by the primal display. Markguth charges in screaming but accidentally hits herself in her shield with her flail while winding up for an attack, knocking herself backwards onto the ground. A very confusing litany of insults(?) from Merla breaks Fred’s brain as he tries to make his way back to the melee, and Alwyn and Herb finished him off. Kazik helps Markguth up, who admits that Escobert always told her she was better at command than she was at actual combat. Herb finds a spell scroll of calm emotions on the acolyte’s body.

The inside of the manor was thrashed pretty severely, and the party hears sounds coming from upstairs. Alwyn sneaks upstairs to find two kobolds fighting over a strange device at the other end of a long hallway. It is a long stick, with a strange contraption on one end that looks like a wide, gaping maw. A tube sticks out of the back of the maw and runs along the back of the stick to a sack, also hanging off of the stick. Alwyn hears a *click* and a sudden whooshing sound as the bag suddenly inflates, and one of the kobold’s has its face sucked directly into the maw. The two shout, frantically trying to pull the device off the kobold’s face. The door at the end of the hallway opens, revealing a room that is well-lit and a human cultist in blue robes with a red fringe. The cultist grabs the other end of the stick away from a kobold, and with a *click* and another whoosh the bag deflates, and the maw releases the kobold. The cultist rips the sack off of the stick and tears it open, spreading a large pile of black dust through the air. She reaches inside and pulls out a small blue crystal, with something black swirling inside of it. She then barks at the kobolds in Draconic and the three go back into the room, shutting the door behind them.

Alwyn heads back downstairs and relays this information back to the rest of the party to the best of his ability, which is very poor. Luckily, Kazik is able to understand; he also recognized the whooshing sounds from upstairs. The device is a Cannith Floor Cleaner, powered by a small air elemental bound to a khyber dragonshard (“...though any true member of high society would have upgraded to a bagless model by now…”). The party decides that a cultist and two kobolds is an easy enough fight for them, so they all rush together and throw the doors open to attack…

...only to find five kobolds inside (four near the doorway, and one with a rather large backpack in a back corner). They see Francine in the other end of the room in a long, walk-in closet. They are clearly in the master bedroom, where they were told they could communicate with anyone trapped in the panic room.

Merla strikes first, casting a spell that sends the backpack-wearing kobold doubling over in laughter. It actually lands on the backback, and they hear the shattering of glass and the snapping of wood. The kobold catches flame, while a terrified skunk escapes from the backpack, running towards the door. Alwyn and Kazik are both able to take down a kobold each, but two more move to block the doorway. It’s now when the skunk, making its way towards the door, releases it spray. This sends one kobold doubled over and retching, as well as both Anakendrick and Markguth. Herb is able to calm the skunk down, and asks it to run downstairs to safety and wait for it. The skunk obliges on its next turn, finding some lettuce in the kitchen to happily munch on.

Francine enters the melee, and her strength of conviction is terrifying; powerful fiery magic flows through her, and she attacks with a wicked-looking shortsword that glows with a strange purple gleam. The sword’s attacks burn its victims, and she is able to take down Alwyn with a single blow. The kobold inventor in the back, unable to put out its own flames, resorts to hurling alchemist’s frosts and shocks at the party, striking Markguth and several others before Herb finally squeezes past the melee and tears its throat out.

Before Herb’s success, Alwyn (brought back up Merla) tries to get at the kobold inventor, but is taken back down immediately from an attack of opportunity by Francine. Anakendrick eventually recovers from the skunk spray in enough time to fire a spray of acid at Francine, critically wounding her, and Francine responds in kind, severely damaging her in return. Herb manages to bite her on the butt and Kazik sends a nonlethal eldritch blast at her, sending her flying over backwards and unconscious.

Kazik finds a spell scroll of invisibility, a khyber dragonshard with a small bound air elemental (from the Cannith Floor Cleaner), and Francine’s shortsword, which he recognizes is made from byeshk, a metal mined by the ancient goblin empire that used to span the continent of Khorvaire, and deals extra damage to aberration creatures. He gives the sword to Anakendrick. They also find a white gold necklace with a ruby attached to it. Herb finds a nearby sending stone and is able to convince the two servants hiding in the panic room, Jodie and Kristen, to come out by name-dropping Vasila Markguth.

Next: An interrogation, and a challenge...
 

Gradine

Archivist
Always curious about placing an premade adventure into Eberron. Good start thus far.
Thanks! It's been an incredibly fun exercise to adapt the material to Eberron, and HotDQ is full of gaps and holes, which sucks for a new DM or someone wanting to just play it out of the book, but is great for adaptation because I can fill all of those in with a bunch of very Eberron-esque content.

I hope you continue to enjoy the recaps!
 

Gradine

Archivist
Chapter 1: Windshire in Flames
Session 2.5

Back at the keep, the party decides to interrogate Francine, but despite Merla’s… successful-ish disguise and interrogation method, she’s unable to get much more useful information out of her. They do find something quite interesting about her, however; a tattoo on her arm. The tattoo is the shape of a five-pointed star, but each of the points of the star are curved, as if they were the shape of claws or talons.

Before they can finish their interrogation, they hear a bellowing voice outside: “People of Windshire! I wish to face your strongest champion in single combat!”

A heavily-armored Dragonborn paces anxiously in front of the keep. Near him are two of the strangest looking men the party has ever seen: barbarians in heavy cloths with long hair bleached bronze (the color of the Dragonborn’s scales) matted and braided. Each of these two men sported intricate facial tattoos designed to make their faces look more draconic. Each one held hostages; one with a pair of young children in each arm, the other holding a dagger to the throat of a woman. Kazik thinks he recognizes these barbarians from his research: clansmen of Seren, an island of dragon worshippers near the dragon continent of Argonesson.

Markguth instantly recognizes the hostages as her sister, niece, and nephew. As the party debates on who should face the challenge and what else, if anything, they should do, Markguth rushes to grab a greataxe off of the wall, nearly falling over from the weight of it. Herb attempts to calm the woman down with a nice cup of tea while the rest of the continued their deliberation.

The choice is made for them, however, as the Dragonborn outside bellows: “I’ve heard there’s a Dragonborn champion among you. Come, face me!”

Anakendrick is healed and sent out to face the Dragonborn, who introduces himself as Langdedrosa of clan Cyanwrath. Anakendrick introduces herself as well, and when she mentions that she’s a member of clan Norixious, Langdedrosa’s eyes widen slightly. He orders the children released and they quickly flee into the keep. Merla, Herb, and Kazik ready themselves on the wall, preparing to attack with their cantrips when the moment is right.

Langdedrosa asks Anakendrick if she knows the story of Rhashaak, and Anakendrick admits she has not. Langdedrosa shakes his head, ashamed at a Dragonborn that does not know her people’s history. He relates the story: “Long ago, Masvirik, the Cold Sun, threatened the mortal races of this world. Rhashaak, a great and powerful black dragon, was sent with a retinue of dragons and dragonborn to defeat him. Many dragons died, and Rhashaak and Masvirik fought three duels. Rhashaak won each of them, sealing the Cold Sun away within Khyber after the last. Rhashaak stayed to guard the seal, and many dragonborn stayed as well, settling and spreading across this continent. I wonder how many duels we will fight? Draw your weapon.”

Anakendrick draws her new blade, the byeshk shortsword. Langdedrosa laughs at the size of her weapon, before remarking that Masvirik, too, was more subtle in his ways. He draws his own weapon, a byeshk greatsword, and the duel commences. Anakendrick goes first, taking the Dodge action in hopes of distracting his opponent and drawing the battle out as long as possible. She’s able to dodge Langdedrosa’s first attack but not his second, taking a powerful blow that nearly knocks her out.

In an instant, chaos breaks loose.

The Seren barbarian holding Markguth’s sister screams and lurches backwards as the dagger plunges deep in his back. Brother Alwyn appears behind him, the spell scroll of invisibility wearing off with the attack. In an instant, Alwyn strikes again, clocking the Barbarian in the head, as Kazik fires an eldritch blast but misses horribly. The barbarian’s arm jerks back, slices his hostage’s neck but not very deeply, and the woman is able to break loose and flee towards the keep.

In the confusion, Anakendrick draws upon a source of inspiration to sneak attack Langdedrosa, driving his shortsword deep into a gap her opponent’s armor. Langdedrosa gasps as the blade drives home, and headbutts Anakendrick, dealing not damage but staggering her back a few feet. Blood trickles down Langdedrosa’s mouth, and he spits a mixture of saliva and blood on the ground that crackles with electricity. He drops his heavy sword as he clutches his side, then begins to laugh hysterically. “Yes!” he shouts. “Excellent!” He raises a hand to stop his barbarian comrades from advancing. “Forget the woman! Forget the elf! I want to finish this!”

All parties seem to agree to back down, and Markguth’s sister makes it safely inside the keep. The duel commences once more, but it does not last much longer.

Langdedrosa draws a spear from his back, with Kazik recognizes is made of flametouched iron, a metal considered sacred to the Church of the Silver Flame. Anakendrick is unable to dodge Langdedrosa’s second blow, which drops her to the ground, barely conscious.

Langdedrosa kneels down, raising her spear up high, and plunging it straight down… inches from Anakendrick’s head. “You were a worthy opponent, Anakendrick of clan Norixious,” the dragonborn whispers to her. “I pray we meet again.”

As he turns to walk away, the half-orc woman they saw on the hill approaches, flanked by four of her massive lizardfolk guards. “Cyanwrath!” she exclaims. “I gave the order to withdraw twenty minutes ago! What are you doing here?”

But the dragonborn ignores her, striding confidently and contentedly past her, the two Seren barbarians following in tow. The half-orc turns to glare at the party before shaking her head and following suit, leaving the town of Windshire behind them.

Merla quickly rushes to Anakendrick’s side, bringing her back up with a quick spare the dying, and brings the wounded dragonborn back inside the keep. There they find their missing comrade, Rylorn d’Tharashk, waiting for them. “I know who their leader is,” he says to the others. “We need to stop her.”

The sun slowly begins to rise over the town, and two figures emerge as they make their way to the keep: a tall blonde woman in chainmail armor and a tight ponytail, dragging a heavily injured by still very much alive dwarven warrior with a big, bushy red beard.

A young man rushes up to Kazik; it is Nasim Weladra, a student from Morgrave University who was a part of Kazik’s retinue. “Mr. Thibideux, it’s… it’s… Professor Erlanthar… Leosin… they captured him… I think they took him with him…”



Preview for Session Three:
Play Date: 03/03/18

The party is tasked with tracking down the cult to their headquarters, where they must find and rescue Professor Leosin Erlanthar, and find out what they can about the Cult of the Cold Sun.
 

Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
I'm about to settle in and read this but I just want to make a comment first: Tyranny of Dragons doesn't belong in the Realms; it belongs in Eberron.

There's nothing that actually connects the story with the Realms, and WotC didn't make any effect to correct this. By contrast, this plot is very similar to the Tiamat-based plot outline provided in Eberron 3.5E's Dragons of Eberron. If you haven't already, read Dragons of Eberron and I think you'll find a lot of ideas about how to make these two adventures really sing in the world they were meant for.
 

Gradine

Archivist
I'm about to settle in and read this but I just want to make a comment first: Tyranny of Dragons doesn't belong in the Realms; it belongs in Eberron.

There's nothing that actually connects the story with the Realms, and WotC didn't make any effect to correct this. By contrast, this plot is very similar to the Tiamat-based plot outline provided in Eberron 3.5E's Dragons of Eberron. If you haven't already, read Dragons of Eberron and I think you'll find a lot of ideas about how to make these two adventures really sing in the world they were meant for.
Thanks for the advice! I'll have to check it out.

In the mean time I'm still working on the recap for Chapter 2. It was a very different kind of session; hardly any dice were rolled after they reached the camp, but it seemed like everyone was having a blast!

I'm curious to see how they handle the dungeon crawl in Chapter 3. It's not a style I often DM as so even my more experienced players might be thrown off a bit.
 

Gradine

Archivist
Chapter 2: Cold Sun Camp

Session 3


The party take a long rest as everyone recuperates from the attack and the rebuilding process begins. Rylorn lets the rest of the party know that the cult’s half-orc leader is Frulam Mondath, the criminal he’s been sent to capture and bring back to the Shadow Marches.

The party is then approached by Escobert, who is still heavily injured from the attack. He says that he has a job for the party, and that Lady Cara has promised to pay them each 250 gp for finding out information about the cult: where they’re striking from, what their numbers are, who their leaders are, what’s motivating the attacks, and where they plan to strike next. Escobert even offers his personal stash of khyber dragonshards, which the party utilized to have Jerred d’Cannith enchant some equipment for them.

Coop, Rylorn, and Herb all had Jerred enchant their spell foci (with fire, ice, and tremors, respectively); these spell foci grant them a +1 bonus to their spell attack rolls, the ability to ignore up to half-cover with spell attacks, and a once-per-day spell (burning hands, ice knife, and earth tremors, respectively). Brother Alwyn had a lapel pin enchanted to grant his unarmed strikes a +1 bonus to hit and a +1d4 lightning damage. Anakendrick ended up with a flashy belt, which allows him to blind opponents in front him. Merla got the gauntlets of earthy grasp, which allow her to pull opponents ankle-deep into the earth, momentarily restraining them. And finally, Kazik had his shoes enchanted with the khyber dragonshard he found in Lady Cara’s manor, granting him the ability to gain purchase in mid-air one time before touching solid ground, effectively doubling his jump distance (gravity boots).

While working, Jerred brought up how he wished he got a chance to look at Cyanwrath’s byeshk greatsword, as byeshk weapons are exceedingly rare, ever since the secret to forging them was lost with the fall of the Dhakaani Empire. Anakendrick showed him the byeshk shortsword he took from Francine, and was flabbergasted by it. According to Jerred, the weapon doesn’t look anything like an ancient goblin-made weapon; that it in fact bore some hallmarks of ancient dwarven crafting, though with a fine and detailed filigree that no dwarven smith would’ve been able to accomplish. He also estimated, based on the wear of the blade, that the sword itself was no more than a few months old, which should be impossible. He asks the party to bring him any more byeshk weapons they find.

The party departs Windshire, finding the trail of the cult exceedingly simple to follow. After journeying for a few hours, they spot a plume of smoke in the distance. Merla, who’d spent a good deal of time with House Ghallanda colleagues, thinks she smells game hens, pheasants, and maybe a hint of roast duck. Herb transforms into a skunk to scout the area, finding a small group of human cultists and kobolds roasting some game hens and pheasants, and one duck (technically a mallard, which for some reason became a point of contention). The cultists have their backs against some high rocks, providing an optimal position for an ambush. The kobolds were eating about 60 feet away, and had with them one of the smaller lizardfolk as well as a winged kobold in their midst. After spraying the cultists, Herb runs back to report her findings.

The party concocts an unnecessarily elaborate and cockamamie scheme; Merla, who has taken the fringe off of Francine’s robes, will wear the robes, and ride in on a horse (Herb in disguise). Coop helped with the disguise, stuffing some pants and boots with straw to give Merla the appearance of being as tall as a human. Merla rides up, and while most of the cultists wave hello, their leader immediately sees through the disguise and lets loose a sacred flame. Merla and Herb dodge out of the way just in time, with Herb transforming back into a gnome at the same time. The rest of the party launch their ambush.

The kobolds immediately scatter for the nearby hills, and the party has little trouble dispatching the remaining cultists. Merla uses her new gauntlets of earthy grasp to pull their leader into the earth, rooting him to the spot, where Anakendrick is able to easily knock him out. Unfortunately, just then the kobolds return, firing attacks from their slings. Alywn takes out a few kobolds before an arrow from the small lizardfolk strikes him in the side, poisoning him. Merla is able to send several of the attacking kobolds into a deep sleep. Coop casts command to bring the flying kobold crashing prostrate to the ground and grovelling. A few eldritch blasts take care of the lizardfolk, and the battle is easily won from this point.

Most of the cooked meat is ruined on account of skunk-spray-related-vomitus, which leaves several party members (especially Merla) disappointed. Sensing an opportunity to be helpful, Brother Alwyn departs.

The unconscious cultist leader is awoken, and the party is able to successfully interrogate him. He reveals that this sect of the Cold Sun answers to Frulam Mondath, and Frulam answers to “the dragon-lady”, who, as far as he is aware, answers only to Masvirik, the Cold Sun himself. He is unable to answer most of the party’s questions, but he does reveal that the horde is usually somewhat disorganized after an attack, and that there are plenty of mercenary groups working for them.

Brother Alwyn returns with a handful of freshly caught wild game hens, and the party settles in for a meal and short rest.

The party deduces, based on the fact that, back at Windshire, one of the cultists confused them for mercenaries, that they should be able to waltz right into the camp unmolested, and this is precisely what they do. Just past the entrance they spot the individual camps of three large mercenary groups, each at least 80-strong. One, seemingly comprised entirely of elves, had a banner of a bleeding anatomical heart in a field of daggers. This is the Blood of Niath, comprised entirely of banished and disgraced Tairnadel mercenaries, all of whom were chosen by ancestors who were banished and disgraced and became mercenaries but ended up bringing greater glory to Valenar. Brother Alwyn goes to chat with this group, where he runs into an old colleague by the name of Thail. Alwyn tells Thail that a cultist told him to loot some buildings in Windshire (which is entirely true), and Thail reveals that’s what all of the mercenaries were hired to do.

Meanwhile, Kazik and Merla depart to talk with a second group, known as the Thunder Fangs, which Kazik and Anakendrick are somewhat familiar with, as they too hail from Sharn. Their banner is a white wolf with fangs beared over a dark blue background with lightning flashing. Their leader is a charismatic and boisterous minotaur named Leenan Boulderfist, whom Merla attempts to seduce (Leenan, already drunk at this point, think this is some sort of hilarious joke). They discover that the Thunder Fangs and the third major group, the Emerald Reapers (a green skull over a black background) out of Karrnath, do not get along, and that the Blood of Niath always seem to be spoiling for some kind of fight. They also learn that the “dragon-lady” was here at the end of the canyon as the raiding party returned from Windshire, and she did not look happy. Which is weird, since everyone seems to have considered the raid a smashing success.

Coop and Herb spot the prisoners in a space between the mercenary camps and where most of the cultists have appeared to set up camp. They go to inspect the prisoners, where there are three hostages from Windshire held in stocks and unconscious. None match the description of Leosin Erlanthar. They are watched over by a diverse group of mercenaries. Coop attracts the attention of one, an Emerald Reaper by the name of Theda Dorn. Theda is from Karrnath, but he’s still pretty freaked out by all the necromancy. He asks Coop what she knows about the Thunder Fangs, and if she thinks they would accept him. Coop sees Kazik and Merla chatting up Leenan Boulderfist, and tells Theda that he should go talk to the minotaur.

As they approach the cultist end of the camp, they see a large tent guarded by several of the very large lizardfolk they saw earlier. Langdedrosa Cyanwrath exits the tent holding a half-elf male prisoner Kazik instantly recognizes as Professor Leosin Erlanthar. Cyanwrath hands him to a pair of cultists, and tells them that he didn’t seem to know anything, to take him back with the other prisoners, and that Frulam had plans for them all at dawn. The cultists take Leosin away, as all are distracted by some sort of commotion coming back from the entrance to the camp.

Five tieflings, all wearing distinct crimson robes, walk through the camp and towards the large tent. The robes give Kazik a memory from his childhood; he recalls his parents owning robes exactly like these. The lead tiefling removes his hood, causing Cyanwrath to start. “You’re not Rath Modar,” he says. “Who are you?”

The tiefling introduces himself as Azbara Jos, sent on behalf of Rath Modar to treat with them. “Rezmir’s not going to be happy,” Cyanwrath responds, “though that’s hardly a change.”

It’s at this point that something strange happens. Cyanwrath scans the crowd, and several of the party members see him lock eyes directly with Anakendrick. Anakendrick, meanwhile, is too distracted by hearing the name “Rezmir” to notice. Cyanwrath grins for a moment, and then turns his conversation back to the tieflings, whom he escorts back into the tent. The party waits for a few tense moments, but nothing else seems to happen.

Concerned that their cover was about to be blown, the party springs into action. Merla and Coop return to the Thunder Fangs camp with Brother Alwyn, where they attempt to sow seeds of discord between the Fangs and the Blood of Niath, but both Alwyn and Leenan Boulderfist are too friendly and personable for them to make much headway.

Meanwhile, Rylorn heads to the Emerald Reapers camp, where he name-drops his archlich patron, Larloch, to their leader, a man named Wultram Brand, surrounded by skeletal bodyguards. Rylorn mentions that Theda has defected, and is able to point to him chatting up Leenan Boulderfist in the Thunder Fangs area. He motions to several of his members, and they approach the Thunder Fangs camp. Several Fangs hop to attention in response. Before too long, the Fangs and Reapers have devolved into an all-out brawl. The Blood of Niath, who’ve had worse excuses to engage in violence, jump into the fray as well. Their aligned mercenaries on prisoner guard duty abandon their posts to aid their companions.

The party works quickly. Herb quickly mixes together some smelling salts to wake up the prisoners, and Leosin asks Kazik what’s going on. There’s no time for talk, however, as several cultists are rushing past to try to stop the massive fight that’s been unfolding. Anakendrick cuts them free, and Rylorn is able to turn up an empty treasure wagon. Herb turns into a draft horse, and the party load up with the prisoners and ride swiftly past the brawl and out of the camp, back towards Windshire.

Preview for Session Four:
Play Date: 03/17/18

Leosin reveals what he’s learned, which has the party heading back to the Cold Sun Camp to investigate further. Rylorn faces a difficult decision as a battle rages over his soul. The party learns a terrible secret about the Cold Sun Cult.
 

Gradine

Archivist
Updated some stuff in the Dramatis Personae logs to reflect some new characters and some stuff that has changed since the beginning of Chapter 3 (There are a few spoilers in there, I guess). I'm quite a bit behind on my Chapter 3 write-up (and we'll finish Chapter 3; Session Five, tomorrow); but I'm hoping to write shorter, more frequent installments (so I don't go 2-4 weeks between posting again). I'm hoping to have the first Session Four writeup done by Monday.
 
Last edited:
Chapter 1: Windshire in Flames

Session 1

The party has met up on the road to Windshire, finding it interesting that they are all heading to the same location and for the same reason: to investigate the activities of the Cult of the Cold Sun. They crest a hill just outside of town around nightfall, and see smoke rising from the direction of the town. The rush to see it attacked by large force of cultists, mercenaries, kobolds and lizardfolk.

Their first sight as they approach the town is the stream that runs alongside it, and their first instinct is to sneak through the stream to the keep, where it appears that many villagers are gathering for protection. However, they spot a villager, Linan Swift, protecting her husband and children from a group of kobolds led by the smallest lizardfolk they’ve ever seen. The kobolds note their approach but do not react to them, instead advancing on the family. Brother Alywn immediately ran forward to help, decisively killing the lizardfolk before any of its minions could react. This almost immediately breaks the morale of the remaining kobolds, some of which put up minor resistance but several of which flee, only to be shot in the back and killed by Eldritch Blasts from Kazik and Rylorn. The party decide to take the family along with them, down the stream, before making a run for the keep.

On the way to the stream, they run past a house and Brother Alwyn bumps almost immediately into a man in blue robes. This cultist leader insists that they “take care of the hostages and ransack that nearby shop.” Alwyn, always helpful, respond with “Okay!” without a hint of subterfuge, though Coop steps in to assure the cultist that all is well. After a convincing bluff, the cultist stomps off, muttering about “shiftless mercenaries” under his breath.

The party is able to easily sneak alongside the town down the stream, and arrive to the Keep just as the gates are being sealed. Carrying the children (and halfling) they make it inside just in time. Merla Tealeaf stops to help tend to some wounds with a fellow house Jorasco scion, Callie, while they spot a few other Dragonmarked scions helping out, from Harley d’Ghallanda providing fresh food and water to Jerred d’Cannith fixing things around the keep. Coop and several others seek the leadership, and find Lady Cara, the bewildered minor noble who rules this region of Aundair, and Escobert “Big Red” d’Kundarak, the dwarven castellan. Lady Cara professes she never imagined the cult would be so brazen as to assault as large a settlement as Windshire, to which Coop replies “Maybe you should have imagined it,” to approving nods from Escobert. Brother Alwyn asks if there’s anything the group can do to help. Cara points to the local Temple of Olladra, where several villagers rushed to take refuge but is currently under siege by cultist forces. They spot three groups; the roving band patrolling the building’s perimeter, the group trying to break down the front door, and the group trying to smoke them out from the back.

Escobert shows the party the hidden escape tunnel through the back of an old storage room, which takes them through the keep sewers. He also gives the key to the lock at the end. Anakendrick goes ahead to scout, and notices two swarms of rats up ahead. Merla hatches a scheme with Herb, as both have the minor illusion cantrip: Merla will form the image a large cat while Herb will make the sounds. This works wonders: the rats disperse, fleeing out the tunnel. They struggle to open the lock, but a little oil helps them get it open without resorting to breaking it down.

Unfortunately, the escaping rats have attracted some unwanted attention, in the form of a patrolling group of cultists and kobolds! A single cultist is sent to investigate, and again mistakes the PCs for mercenaries, though this time the party does so intentionally, with the help of a well-timed casting of friends by Kazik. They pump the cultist for information, finding out that the cultists are looking for loot, and especially dragonshards. They’re also looking for a way into the Keep, and he asks the party about the tunnel behind them. Again, Coop successfully bluffs the cultist, telling him the tunnel is collapsed behind them. The crisis appeared averted.

As the cultist went back to inform his colleagues about the tunnel, Kazik and Rylorn began motioning to Coop to ask her if they should shoot him in the back with eldritch blast. She nods, and together the two successfully kill the cultist, then proceed to kill his remaining colleagues in a fairly simple combat. This battle also saw the first use of Anakendrick’s acid breath. One of the cultists had a spell scroll of silence.

The group decided to sneak their way to the back of the Temple, where they could stop the cultists from trying to smoke the villagers out. The warlocks hung back to assist and pick off stragglers or anyone trying to run for help. Anakendrick, with Herb hiding behind him, successfully snuck up to the creatures. Anakendrick was able to easily kill the lead kobold, who was carrying a weird backpack and wearing a fancy cloak, while the rest of the party quickly joined the fight. There was some difficulty with a particularly difficult to kill cultist, but the group was quickly dispatched. Anakendrick looted the backpack wearing kobold, discovering three alchemist’s fires, a bag with a hornet’s nest in it, and the cloak, which turned out to be a cloak of billowing.

The party had to work fast, as the patrolling group was nearing them. Merla was able to talk to the scared villagers, convincing them to open up and escape with the party back along the stream. Herb dropped a fog cloud to cover their escape.

As the rest of the party reported back to Cara and Escobert, Merla amused herself by conjuring the image of a large dragonshard just outside the gates. An eager kobold broke from the siege and tried to leap on, falling straight through it and earning laughs from its enemies as well as its allies.

Their triumphant return was short lived, as sounds of fighting broke out in a nearby side courtyard near the Sally Port. They arrived to find a small group of kobolds, a cultist acolyte, and an ambush drake had broken through the sally port broken and killed the guards stationed there! A difficult melee ensued, as the party’s focus fire on the drake and the acoylte’s well-timed saves allowed the kobolds to gang up on party members, taking down Brother Alwyn in short fashion. Merla was able to bring him back to his feet with a healing word, but the kobolds surrounded her and also knocked her unconscious! Coop, still tangling with the acolyte, risked an attack of opportunity to break free and cast cure wounds on Merla, and the kobolds were quickly dispatched after that, eliminating most of the threat.

The sally port gate was broken. This was when Merla remembered: there was a House Cannith rep in the keep! She ran to get Jerred, who was a bit jittery about being so close to combat, but was comfortable coming to help cast the required mending spells needed to fix the gate. But just then a second group rush the sally port ledge, trying to climb up. A timely eldritch blast from Kazik knocked a cultist off, killing him, but four kobolds managed to make the climb, including one with a large black shield made of dragon scales. The kobold was much more powerful than the rest, easily knocking the exposed Kazik out before engaging in a difficult melee with Coop, while Anakendrick and Alwyn focused on the other kobolds. The other kobolds were quickly dispatched, but the dragonshield kobold posed a tougher threat. Alwyn shoved a goodberry down Kazik’s throat while the rest of the party engaged the remaining kobold.

Seizing an opportunity, Escobert charged at the remaining kobold, who, in its shock, dropped its shield as they both went tumbling off of the ledge. They saw the kobold land, its neck broken, as another group of kobolds swarmed over the fallen dwarf paris cdg transfer. The shield was a black dragonscale shield, a magic shield without an enhancement bonus but conferred resistance to acid. The shield, not being made of metal, was claimed by the party’s druid, Herb.

Jerred, holding Escobert’s key ring, let the party know that the gate was fixed and ready to be shut and locked. The party decompressed, and Harley d’Ghallanda offered them a specialized heroes’ feast that allowed them to benefit from a long rest in a much shorter period of time.

Coop has disappeared by the end of the meal. The last anyone had seen of her, she was pulling her blonde ponytail tight and headed towards the hidden tunnel.
It's a big story to what I see. In any case, thank you for sharing the stories with us.
 

Gradine

Archivist
This game went on hiatus, but I'm hoping to pick it back up soon. I fell behind in the recaps by a couple of sessions too; in our last session the party had just reached the beginning of the caravan in Chapter 4.
 

Advertisement

Top