D&D 5E (IC) Rise of the Dracolich


Imani's Heroes Book Two: Rise of the Dracolich
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Previously in Vault of the Dracolich

The Wizard Imani, Sage of Hap recruited a large group of adventurers to undertake a dangerous task: Entering the Vault of the Dracolich Dretchroyaster to retrieve an ancient elvish relic - The Diamond Staff of Chomylla. Deep within the forest of Cormanthor under a mountain known as Blackpeak, the Vault was behind an abandoned Temple dedicated to Bhaal, the God of Murder. The Temple was occupied by the villainous Silakul and his Cult of the Dragon followers as well as a company of mercenaries known as the Beast Boys due to the foul reputation of their captain, Bardaby "The Beast".

Using various points of entry, Imani's agents worked their way toward the Inner Vault, collecting Bhaalite Idols which would disarm the powerful wards that sealed and protected the inner chamber. They encountered a tribe of Troglodytes who worshipped the Dracolich, and discovered many secrets of the vault. The most important secret was that the Mountain of Blackpeak was grown by the power of an Earth Node that had fallen from the sky in ages past. The very rock that contained the elemental power was in the heart of the Dracolich's Lair.

Fighting through the Cultists, Mercenaries, Necromancers, and Undead, as well as facing Dracolich Simulacrae and a Hydra, the groups made their way, with surprisingly minimal losses, to the Inner Vault and used the Bhaalite Idols to gain entry. There they fought their way past the Stonefaces, Dragon Cultists that were imbued with elemental power seized from the Earth Node, and descended into the Dracolich's Lair.

Dretchroyaster, venerable Green Dragon, had been a tyrant in life, preying upon the Centaurs, Elves, and other creatures of Cormathor for hundreds of years. The Cult of the Dragon had turned him into a Dracolich. The creature laid on its hoard, wrapped around the Earth Node and holding the Diamond Staff. The staff held the essence of Chomylla, an Elvish Archmage from the days of Ancient Uvaeren, a golden age of elvish Lore and Magic. The Dracolich was in a torpor, in fact engaged in a psychic battle of wills with the Staff, who held the secret of unlocking the full power of the Earth Node.

Imani's agents took the staff and escaped through a teleportation circle, leaving the powerful Dracolich enraged, and fully awake. The creature had lost the Staff and his Cultist followers, but he still had most of his horde, and the elemental Node.

* * *

Rise of the Dracolich: Chapter One: The Gathering

Six months had passed since Imani had sent his adventuring allies into the Vault of the Dracolich. Imani had spent most of that time conferring with the Diamond Staff of Chomylla, learning the Lore of Uvaren. He was still a patron to adventurers, in particular scouts he employed to keep an eye on the activities of the Dracolich and the Cult of the Dragon, where it could be found.

Dretchroyaster had ravaged a village or two and had chased a tribe of Centaurs into hiding, but the creature had returned to its lair. Still, agents of the Cult came and went from the Bhaalite Temple. A vast blow had been made to the Cult of the Dragon, but they were still active, and now, perhaps, under the direct influence of a powerful and crazed Dracolich.

The problem of the Dracolich and the Cult was never far from Imani's mind, and most of his research was dedicated to ending the threat. One day, after making an important discovery, Imani sent for some of his most trusted allies. Some of them came and some of them sent proxies, but once again, the small village of Hap in Battledale became the destination for several impressive adventurers.

GM: Welcome. Feel free to introduce your character as he or she arrives in Hap.
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Dusty Dragon
On a small hill overlooking a wagon track, three children were busy building a snow-fort*, pretending to defend their homeland from would be invaders.

The three kids interrupted their construction as they heard the rumble of a cart in the distance. Who could it be? The cart was a utilitarian affair - the study, no-nonsense kind that a small merchant or farmer would have used, pulled by a single mule. But the cart driver caught their attention - that was no merchant. A wide-brimmed hat, a tattered black cloak that seemed insufficient for the weather, the hilt of a long blade visible, mail hauberk underneath.

Looked scary. Still, you couldn't invade with a single person... The hat tilted up. Blood-shot eyes peeked from under the brim, a pale, gaunt, ill-shaved face.

"BOO!" the man shouted. Two of the kids fled screaming. But one, a girl, held her ground. She crossed her arms and jutted her chin.

The man smiled, stopped the mule. "Kid! Where's Imani's Tower? The sage of Hap?" The girl pointed at a country lane.

"Catch!" the man replied, as he flicked in her direction a fat copper piece. The girl caught it, looked at the man again, and turned around to find her friends. The man's thin smile faded, and he urged the mule onward, trudging through the snow.

A short while later, the cart arrived at the tower. "Well at least that half-wit messenger got that part right" the man muttered as he heavily got off the cart, armor jingling. He surveyed the area as he belted the sword to his waist, and hitched the mule to a post.

"No trouble from you", he glared at the mule. The mule glared back. "You better hope we don't run out of rations".

He adjusted his cloak and as he did so, a small shadowy shape fluttered out. "Sooty, take a look around". He walked the small rise to the tower, one booted foot dragging, a hand on his sword hilt, the armor reaching past his knees.

He reached the door knocker, banged it three times. There was no immediate answer.

"Bloody wizards..."

*may need tweaking depending on the season


Ahh... Hap. Memories, memories...
Such a quiet place. Too quiet maybe. But if Imani called for us, it will not stay that way for long.

The Mage tower was not difficult to find. Lorenn landed, jumping off his flying board. With a fancy move, he kicked it up into his hand while walking away casually.
He was almost at the door when he pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket. He unfolded it and scrolled trough the letter one last time.

"This is the last time you will hear of me." Those were the last words of his father.

"Yeah Father... But you will hear of me!" said Lorenn out loud while putting the letter back at the bottom of his pocket. And he knocked at the door.
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The air down an alley in the village of Hap begins to warp. A moment later, a man stands where there was none before.

Primus squinted against the sunlight. He’d just come from the Shadowfell, and it was ungodly bright here on the Prime.

He reached into his pouch, a Bag of Holding, and pulled out his last roll of tobacco. Taking a deep pull, he steps out into the street.

People. He hated people. Titus owed him, big time. Primus was already sketching the deck he’d make his little brother build for him. Maybe he could finally talk Auraia into teaching his wife, Eliara, how to make her salsa. He needed more of that salsa in his life.

He made his way through the town, his boots crunching the gravel underneath. He’d known Imani for a while. He’d been the one to recommend his siblings to help with Imani’s last problem. And now he was here, to clean up their mess. Woopie. Eliara was already complaining that he wasn’t home often enough. The kids were starting to develop their own abilities. He’d have to start teaching them soon.

He took another draw on his tobacco, before making his way to Imani’s tower. May as well get this over with.


The last snowfall had been a week ago and it seemed that spring would soon arrive. The determined children played in the piles on the sides of the small-town gravel roads, where the townsfolk had cleared it. Imani's Tower rose high above the town on the cliff at the base of Haptooth Hill that protected the little town from the worst of the northern winter winds. A small lane switched back-and-forth a few times on its way up to the tower from the town's main square and its Millery Inn.

The children watched in amazement as one-by-one strange outsiders arrived and travelled up the lane to the tower. It was not an unusual occurrence, but it never ceased to cause a stir amongst the locals.


An armed and armored warrior made his way up the zig-zagging path from town, his face forlorn and his pace slow.

Zander wasn't sure that this was a good ideal and of what use he could be to a mighty wizard like Imani, but he put his life on hold once more to answer this summons. It would be good to see all his old comrades once more, and by the looks of the townfolk he passed some of them should be here.

Coming into view of the tower he stopped and adjusted his weapon and shield, that he wore on his back. "Whoa now," he though to himself. "If I start jumping at the slightest thing I'll be no good to anyone."

Restarting his slow walk he thought of Layla and a grin formed at the corners of his lips. The woman he hoped to marry after whatever this final quest for Imani might be always brought a smile to his face.

Charwoman Gene

So this is Hap... rather quaint. Alhana rode into town in the back of a cart filled with turnips. DIscarding the badly carved turnip she'd been toyinmg with, she mad her way to the tower, wondering what would await her.


Spymasters office: City-State of Haven

"And what of our 'prodigal child'?"

"He's been damned impossible to track down since the Battle of BlackRock sire. But we think we've got a lead."

"Yes, our scrying attempts started to fail just after that incident. No doubt that damnable Imami is to blame."

"Er, yes sir, we believe he has acquired an amulet. In any case, he has been seen in the company of 3 men who we can't identify..."

"Can't identify? Why ever not?"

"They wear masks, sire. And never take them off in public. Not even to eat. Or so it is said. But they do everything he tells them to."

"So, he's gaining new followers for his damned little cult then? We may just have do deal with this sooner, rather than later. We can't have a Havenite noble running around drumming up cults..."

"One more thing sire... he seems to be headed towards Hap."

"What? Damnit, not Imami again!


A plain looking carriage pulls up before the tower of Imami, it is obviously a fired coach, although the driver looks a bit on the nervous side. Though he Also seems to be quite relieved at having arrived at his destination. He quickly scrambles down from his seat and hinges the step down before opening the door.

"Here we are sirs! I hope you enjoyed the ride!"

Three men stepped out first. They seemed to match to a T at first, of only slightly different builds and all wearing the same style of armor and of clothing. None of their faces could be seen as all were masks. Though each of the masks had a slightly different design, probably so that they could tell each other apart. These men didn't speak, they only looked about the area for dangers and then stood aside as their master stepped out of the conveyance. "It was sufficient for my needs. Thank you. Here is your pay, and there is no need for you to stay. I have a feeling that I will be departing through other means."

The driver seemed extremely relieved to be released from service although he tried to hide it. He packed up and drove away, probably too quickly for appearances.

Mord had arrived, and he strode into the tower flanked by his bodyguard.


Dusty Dragon
Kalorn was sitting in the antechamber of the tower, nursing a cup of mulled wine. Turned out that he was early – no one else had shown up yet, and the Sage wasn't ready to meet him yet. That was ok, it was nice to sit for a bit, and the wine was surprisingly good.

His sword laid besides him. He could have dismissed it – should have, the long blade was awkward in confined quarters – but the sword was important for first impressions. Who is this man? Ah, a swordsman. It avoided... questions. He wondered if any of them would recognized it as a Zentarim blade. He didn't care. He won it fair and square from the rulers of Archendale – still had a scar from that troll-bite too.

He closed his eyes. Sooty was hidden in an evergreen, about 50 feet from the tower's door, keeping an eye out. Kalorn wanted to see the others *before* the door was open. More telling that way.

Thus, Kalorn saw Mord arrive in a carriage. A carriage of all things! But the person who stepped outside wasn't the fop Kalorn had momentarily feared. He walked as one with power. A mage? And those three... something was... off. They wore mask for a reason. Kalorn had used Sooty's senses many a time over the years, and those guards didn't … feel... right. The echoes were wrong. Kalorn straightened in his chair. His leg twitched. He then smiled ruefully. If the sage of Hap was willing to hire him, who else would he hire?

He would find out soon enough. He always did.


Imani always felt apprehensive before he faced a large crowd of adventurers. As usual, he was upstairs in his study as his servant welcomed the arrivals, fretting over all the last details. "You will do well," the Diamond Staff told him reassuringly in his mind. The essence of the Archmage Chomylla contained in the staff was kind and knowledgeable, though not as knowledgeable nor as ambitious as she had been in life, thousands of years ago. "They are here to help."

Imani agreed that she was right. He expected at least some of the arrivals to be known to him; competent agents who had done excellent work before - far better than he had expected. Others were new, but came highly recommended by people he trusted. Still, he always hated sending people on dangerous missions, potentially sending them to their deaths. Though he expected the first part of the task would be relatively simple, he knew that things did not always go as planned.

Furthermore he knew that every time he sent a group out to work against the Cult of the Dragon there was a chance that the cult would discover that he was backing their enemies. He was not concerned for himself - as the Sage of Hap, he felt responsible for the lives of the villagers who lived below his tower. Hap had only three active guardsmen and a potential militia that numbered only in the dozens. Even a small mercenary company could take the town, and the Cult of the Dragon had hoards they could use to hire mercenaries.

He put it from his mind. It was the humble nature of the village that kept it safe. No one would suspect that such a small place could gather forces that could strike such a blow to the cult's plans as his agents had under Blackpeak. Imani completed his preparations, straightened his robes and his glasses, and went downstairs, carrying the Diamond Staff. He could hear the crowd as they made small-talk, awaiting his arrival.

Prickly Pear

This was the second time Sesto had headed a summons from Imani, the great Sage of Hap. Last time, the Sage had sent a large group of adventures to stop a powerful dracolich from gaining even more power. It had gone well that time although it was a close call and some did not make it back. That was six months ago. According to Imani’s letter the dracolich and his cult followers were still at large and must be stopped yet again. Well, the group might need the spiritual help from a cleric of Lathander, he mused. Wonder who else have would come to aid the the Sage?

Sesto thought back on his time in the temple of Lathander in Neverwinter. He was raised by the priests to protect and help the unfortunate, in the same way he was help when he was orphaned at a young age. Now, as a powerful cleric, he would put himself in the path of danger to protect and help the people of Battledale.

Sesto was late. He had left Neverwinter early but on the way he came across a small village suffering under a horrible plague. It had taken some time to treat the sick and finding the source of the outbreak but finally it was put to a stop. He had hitched a ride from the village with a grateful farmer and made way to Hap urgently.

Bidding the farmer farewell in the market square, he rushed up the hill towards the tower. When Sesto arrived at the door he could hear voices inside. Late as always, he thought and sighed, then he opened the door without knocking first. He went inside to see who had already arrived. If he was lucky, Imani might not yet be there. Imani seemed to want to impress his visitors with a grand entrance… like last time Sesto was here.


Loklafd of the Seal Tribe sat enjoying the food that Imani had ordered from the Millery Inn. When Zander came in he stood and limped over on his prosthetic leg. He embraced the fighter while smiling and thumping him on the back, "Good to see you my friend!"

The Reghedman had taken a liking to the man when Zander had swum across the raging river between Blackpeak and Greenpeak, in a death-defying race before the Dracolich had flown overhead. It had been Loklafd's job to provide kayaks, but he had not had enough of them for all of the passengers at the time. Loklafd had pulled the tired swimmer out of the water, but Zander had done the hard job and had made it across on his own.

Loklafd only nodded to Mord when the warlock came in with his... servants. They had met, but there was something about the pale-faced man that the Northerner did not like. Still, he held him in high respect for having made it through the previous mission.

Imani's servant was pouring wine, and Loklafd gestured to Zander to have some while he introduced himself to the others. He spoke briefly to Primus about the Mystic's syblings and their whereabouts, and he greeted Alhana, though he was uncomfortable around elves - He had only the briefest word of greeting for Lorenn, though he liked the half-elf well enough.

Before he had a chance to say anything to Kalorn, Sesto came in. Loklafd had not spoken much with the Cleric, but was aware of all he had done in the previous mission. He greeted Sesto with nearly as much enthusiasm (though not quite as much familiarity) as he had with Zander.
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At a word, Mord's followers moved to an out of the way wall and stood with their backs to it to await their next command. The warlock himself seemed to stand apart even when surrounded by others. Maybe it was the dark clothing, black hair and even nearly black eyes, but there was a dark energy about the man at all times, and he almost seemed to enjoy unnerving the people around him.


Dusty Dragon
Kalorn was on his third cup of wine. He had seen all the others arrive, and told himself their means of transport was telling. Many of them knew each other - but not all, good he wasn't the only newcomer - but they all had arrived separately. Interesting.

The one called Mord was known by the others, but they didn't seem to trust him fully. Couldn't they see that his servants weren't alive - the trio didn't breathe! His eyes narrowed. The others must know already. The three weren't golems based on the size and equipment... so... undead. Not zombies based on the smell. So a necromancer - they often were short on cash, so the outfit he had for them made sense. It all fit together. He would have to keep an eye on that one. Necromancers were close to the line, and many stepped over it - and he would not tolerate an evil wizard. Too many of those out there.

The other one he wondered about was Primus - a relative of some allies of the people here. He too held himself as someone who had power, but ... what? Not a wizard that was for sure... a sorcerer maybe?

So this gang had a sorcerer, a necromancer... and those two elves had the looks of folks who knew a magic trick or three... elves usually did. And himself... lots of arcane power in this tower. Must be a big job. Maybe an elven affair... Imani had asked for Malbung after all.

He rose with a wince, hitched his sword, re-grabbed his cup and stepped towards Zander. He looked like the man he would be fighting shoulder to shoulder with, and he wanted to take his measure. The spellcasters couldn't be trusted, it was a given... but he had to be able to rely on that fighter.

"Greetings. I am Kalorn, sellsword. I've been known to sling a spell or two too. So... tell me about this group. Any idea why we're here?"

He turned as Sesto came in the tower. A cleric of Lathander! Ha! He felt the god was a bit... silly... but clerics were good to have around. Now how would this Sesto fellow react when he saw Mord's servant.

"This should be interesting... does he know?"
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Zander grinned as Loklafd moved off, to greet the others. It was good to see some friendly faces after so many months.

"A pleasure Kalorn," the warrior says taking the other guests forearm in greeting. "Zander of Phaln, originally. Been living in the local area for th past year now."

"This should be interesting... does he know?"

Zander looks around wondering, "Who knows what?" he asks aloud.


Dusty Dragon
A very strong grip, good, thought Kalorn... but maybe he didn't know?

Again, interesting.

"I'm from Mullmaster, been working in the Dales for a decade... I meant the mission. I heard something about a dracolich and the cult, but no one knows why we are here. Maybe the priest knows..."


“My younger siblings apparently pissed off a Dracolich,” Primus says, walking up to Zander and Kalorn. “Came crying to me when they couldn’t put him back. Seems half my life has been cleaning up messes those four have caused.”


Zander looks surprised. "Wow you come from quite a large family. I thought maybe the quadruplets would be enough children for anyone. How many of you are there?" the man who never had siblings of his own asks. "If your half as powerful as them then we could take on another dracolich or two..."

"...umm not that I would want to, mind you."

Turning to Kalorn he tries to put on a look of confidence. "I hope that dead dragon hasn't reared it's ugly head so soon again."


Imani lingered at the top of the stairs until his servant rang a little bell that indicated that everyone who was expected had arrived, then the Sage of Hap sighed and descended, interrupting Kalorn's conversation with Zander.

"Welcome friends, old and new." he began, sincerely. "I have asked for you today to undertake a journey on my behalf. In my ongoing efforts to thwart the Cult of the Dragon and to eventually defeat our old foe, the Dracolich Dretchroyaster, my research has led me to discover a powerful relic that may help in that goal: The Drakhorn. This horn has the ability to call Dragons to its sound - an ability I hope to use to summon the Gold Dragon Protanther to beseech him for aid. He was a foe of Dretchroyaster's many centuries ago and is known to despise undead - I think he can be persuaded to help. But he has not been seen in a hundred years or more, which is why we need the Drakhorn."

His servant handed him a glass of wine and he had a sip and continued, "The horn is under the protection of the Arcane Brotherhood in Luskan, sealed in a vault of the Host-Tower. My contact there, Maccath the Crimson, is an expert on dragons. She has agreed to allow us the use of the Drakhorn, but believes that the Overwizards will ask us to complete a Quest on their behalf, in exchange."

He allowed that to sink in for a moment and then clarified, "In short, I ask that you travel to Luskan - to the Host-Tower, meet my contact Maccath and undertake whatever quest she assigns. Then take from her the Drakhorn, and return it to me."


“Six, actually,” Primus said. “And they aren’t quintuplets. Just born very close together. Just got back from visiting my baby sister, actually. She hasn’t left the Shadowvale since our parents died, but teenagers are known for being dramatic. Of course, when you’re mom is a Teifling and your father has the blood of a Celestial, it can do strange things to your perspective.”

Then Imani walked in, and Primus shut up.

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