SGT Scott's Hoard of the Dragon Queen Campaign AAR

sgtscott658

First Post
Hi-

so I recently decided a about four months ago to give 5E a go. I had picked up the Starter Kit from WotC and from there spent two months gathering up a group of players (People that I could tolerate and would not annoy me). The Starter Kit was a nice intro into 5E but I did not play the adventure within it, by the time I did have a group up and going, both the 5E PHB and HotDQ were out. So with that said, I decided to run HotDQ a 1 to 7th level campaign set in the forgotten realms. The adventure is not bad but very railroad like IE trying to force the players into situations that normally most would not be apt to attempt, so as a DM I felt the adventure needed a bit of loosening up and a bit more leeway for the players and less railroading.

I do like like FR but for this new rule set I felt Greyhawk would be a better fit for me to DM this adventure, it is alot more sand boxy to add and change stuff within the Greyhawk campaign setting then it would be for the FR setting (plus I think most of my players know FR much better then I do :p)

Edit: from episode 6 Castle Naerytar onwards will take place in FR.

Basically this adventure pits the players against the Dragon Cult, which is looting area's of Greyhwak and to bring that loot to a central area for the main bad guy to summon Tiamat from the 1st plane of Hell and to do this the cult needs to gather as much loot as possible. The players come into the picture by trying stop the ritual and get back the loot for their patrons. Pretty simple and epic feeling adventure but some parts needed serious work I felt to make it more palatable to both players and me the DM.

I did make a few changes in both the module (an adventure path actually, AP's are episodic encounters kind of.) and my campaign. In my campaign I set HotDQ in Greyhawk in the Village of Hommlet. In the module HotDQ, many locations are set in the Forgotten Realms, but the FR just has to much baggage and too many players know FR better then me. So Greyhawk was my alternative choice to FR. Greyhawk is a more open campaign area where you can add or take away what you like or dislike.

As for house rules, I had a just a few, I'm old school D&D, so in my campaign I ruled zero'ed teiflings (a Demonic P.C race in 5e) and Dragonborn (another PC race in 5E), I also ruled that Paladins must be Human and of Lawful alignment, no new age paladins in my campaign. Another thing thast should be kept in mind is that 5E is a low powered system IE no powerful magic and monsters tend to be weaker then previous editions, so perspective DM's will have to bear this in mind when playing 5E. As one person on another message board put it, a 20th level cgaracter in 5E with a +3 sword is considered to be wheedling a relic. Not very epic but will see how this turns out.

The characters in this campaign consist of:
one rogue, Human Male
Cleric of Kord the Storm God Human male
Cleric of(I forgot lol) Halfling Male
one fighter Human Male
Edit: Added new player playing a Human Warlock
NPC ranger named Dolf. 1/2 Half

Episode 1:Hommlet in Flames
In HotDQ there are some very railroad like encounters and this I did not like, I wanted the players to immerse themselves into the campaign and get to know the NPC's in Hommlet before the proverbial **** hit the fan. Ya see in the module the players come upon a raid in progress and are attacked relentlessly by the raiders as they do certain missions within the town, I did not like that and wanted to build up to a more set piece battle. So I had it where the players arrived 3 days before the battle occurred, giving them time to scout the lay of the land and inter-act with their fellow NPC's/ characters. This payed off because the players had both of best worlds Role playing and combat.

The players do hear rumors of a vast Raiding army approaching, and get sucked in to helping defend the Village of Hommlet from these raiders which includes a young Blue Dragon. The Attack begins late in the Day on St Crispens day, the village of Hommlet, even though they knew the attack was imminent still celebrated the Feast of St Crispen. Once the attack got under way, the players helped the Druids of the Grove (Cherry, Amber and Misty) defend against various incursions by both Kobolds and Goblins (the players are at 3rd level), The Raiders take a beating and but do manage to loot some areas of Hommlet and then the raiders Retreat back.

I know in the adventure the players are supposed to meet the blue dragon and run in fear of its awesomeness but I thought to myself, if I was a player, no matter what the rope might be, I would feel mighty low if the DM popped a blue dragon on me and there not I could do. Instead I had the blue dragon jut circle on high making sure what was looted was not carted off by stray kobolds or goblins.
As for the fight with the Dragonborne dude, I nixed that, why would you go out and duel someone when your whole mission is to raid, kill and pillage?

The Raiders did get a bloody nose but were also able to pillage parts of Hommlet, the steadfastness of both the players, the Druids Misty, Amber and Cherry, The Sherrif Owens of Hommlet and Byrnes Badgers along with many others helped save the day a little bit.

Episode 2 Raider camp
I kind of changed things up a bit here, I wanted the players to decide if they wanted to go into the camp disguised or find another way in, they went the rout of looking for another way in, once more having a blue dragon in a low level adventure can put off players a bit.

The players are then tasked to follow the Raiders to where there camp is and try to get an idea of the raider's and report back to the Lord Mayer Burns so he can dispatch a troop of mounted knights to deal with the Raiding group. The players find that the Raiders have taken refuge in an old abandoned Moat house, they do see the Blue Dragon in the court yard but it is just relaxing and eating any stray kobold or goblin that wonders near it. They do come across a secret passage in the outlying woods and it leads into the tunnels underneath the Moathouse, of course near the secret entrance in the tunnles are two troll's guarding this access point to the rest of the area underneath the Moat house.

Episode 3 The Dragon Hatchery:
The players along with Dolf, fight a bitter battle against the Troll's guarding the secret passage, much oil and fire was expended in this effort to lay low the troll guards. And it worked. The Rogue does discover a side cave entrance nearby which turns out to be where the trolls were keeping their valubles, some gold, a nice wand (wand of wonder) and a cursed amulate and of course the Rogue put the cursed amulate on..............

While the players are trapsing through the tunnal's of the Moat house, the cultists above have prepared their wagon caravan and leave behind a group of cultists and their bosses to oversee the dragon hatchery. The players battle their way into the hatchery finding prisoners to weak to accompany the caravan left to be food for the dragon hatchery. The players do come across a Monk named Cain who was captured by these guys. He tells the players they need to destroy the hatchery and return to Hommlet, there he will give them the low down on this cult and what they can do to help. Not tooo railroady I think.

As an aside, the Fungus room was alot of fun to run, as the players had to deal with violet fungus spores as they tried to get through the room and survive, which they did do, damn d20 dice lol. The players finally reach the main hatchery where they encounter Both Fruit loops a Monk for the Dragon cult and his aid Cyanwraith a dark elf Fighter. (yes I changed him from a dragonborne to a dark elf) Once a bitter battle ensues and the players learn just cool monks are as Fruit Loops does flurry of blows and stunning attacks. Unfortunantly Cyanwraith gets his butt kicked by 3 straight d20 nat 20's from the Halflings crossbow and the Fighters longsword, the Cleric of Kord has a nice ability that when he takes damage so does his opponent. The Rogue does come close to death but does survive in the end. With both bosses taken out the players dispatch the hachery and head back to Hommlet.



Will post the next part later in the week but so far we are having a blast.


Scott
 
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sgtscott658

First Post
Addendum:
As an aside, here is what happened on the return to Hommlet, the players had found maps of where the caravan was heading which was Safeton along the Wild Coast, then by ship to Sanctuary along the coast of the Neverwhere desert. From their the Caravan would travel the Silver trade road to the Oasis of the Sunflower a rundown trading post along the silver road and where the players should catch up to the cultists at this time. I placed Naertar Castle within the Neverwhere Desert and within the Dead Marsh. The Hunting Lodge was placed in the Demon Blight hills. Hopefully this will help other DM's whom might plan to run HotDQ in Greyhawk.

Sidetrack Adventure:

Well today was a sidetrek adventure day due to some nut job setting fire to a radar facility in chicagoland and effectively halting air traffic for a few days and thus one of my players could not make it. Anyway, once more we continue to plow through the ins and outs of the 5E rule set which is good times in itself. I used Urban Decay from Dungeon Magazine as the Side trek adventure, it's actually a pretty good adventure with some minor adjustments for 5E but nothing too complicated.

As for the campaign, the players are in hot pursuit of the dragon cultists that looted hommlet but they also know they need to find where the final destination is for where this loot is going. To that end the Jeager Staffal, an organization of lawful good Paladins have directly took a hand in this situation and are helping the players with transport and logistics in trying to keep the players on the trail of the cultists and their caravan of loot. To that end, the players were given passage aboard the Sea Sprite, a ship of Captained by Hans von Muntafful an elf Cavalier and veteran of the both the Blood wars and Psychic Wars on the planes. His Ship once belonged to a Demon Lord and every so often, that Demon Lord will send his minions out to harass the good Capt.

As for the adventure itself, I ran a little city adventure set in Sanctuary (yes of thieves world fame), During the Journey to Sanctuary, the Sea Sprite collects lightening and stores it in a box of unknown metal, then Capt Hans sell's this lightening to powerful Wizards for a nice fat stack of gold. You see, the Sea Sprite can not only plow the waves, it can fly and travel the planes of existence. It is one of maybe two or three other ships like it known to exist from what many texts say. So on the Journey, the players are charged by Capt Hans to guard the strange metal box while it absorbs the lightening, unfortunately, there are creatures called Lightening Mephits that guard their lightening with fanatical vigor.

The players are a smart bunch and tie themselves to the ships rails as the ship rocks back and forth in the lighten storm, one player falls overboard but manages to make a strength DC and hold on for dear life on the ships rails but at the same time 6 Lightening Mephits begin their attack on the ship targeting the box, the players get hit hard but the Mephits end up getting critted three times, three players rolled nat 20's !! By the end of the melee, the players are hurt but not dead though one nasty surprise with the mephits is the fact that they explode when they die. By days end, the Ship is approaching City of Sanctuary and begins to dive out of the sky to land in the water and pull along the docks. What the players see though is a City of pure filth.........

Will continue this later. posted below is the map I am using for the campaign.
 

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sgtscott658

First Post
Hi all

Here is the latest installment of my HotDQ Campaign, in the last session, the players had defeated the wererats thieves with a little help from the Assassins guild from the mini adventure Urban Decay from Dungeon magazine. Unfortunately Bel a female wererat apart of the Thieves guild managed to escape the Assassins guild guards and has swore vengance on the players for taking down her Brother, the wererat guild master. So with that said, here is a break down below of what monsters and other stuff the players encountered and EXP awards:

Here is the EXP for each creature and for Role Playing:
Crawling Hand 20 xp
Air Elemental 1,800 xp
Giant Roach 200 xp
Giant Scorpion 300 xp
Sand Yak 100 xp
Hells Galley +Infernal Laddle Role play 200xp
General RP rewards: 200xp
Total: 2820 xp

Episode 5 Construction ahead
Note:
I used Santuary as Waterdeep

Thomas Fairweather is the Assassins guild master and has asked the players to take on the task in trying to find Bel the wererat thieves guild surviver in Sanctuary for the Assassins Guild. The players do go back to her old hide out beneath the Ratcatchers guild and fight a parting gift from her: a Crawling Claw at Her old hide she left behind.

After the fight with the crawling claw which the Claric did turn, the players do find a clue clue a torn piece of paper with the number 7 written on it. As the DM I did point out to the characters as they were on the docks earlier in the morning that 7 caravans were getting ready to head out to the Neverwhere Desert including the Wagons belonging to the cultists. So for the players, that number 7 Luckily corresponded to the Caravan she hired her self onto for the Dragon Cult possibly.

Still, running around the sewers of Sanctuary most of the day, gave the cultists and their caravan a head start so Unfortunately you guys realized that she along with the caravan left early in the morning for the oasis of the sunflower in the Neverwhere Desert.

But with the help of Hans and his Ship the Sky Ship Sea Sprite, you might reach the Oasis of the Sunflower just around the time the caravan arrives and pick up the trail again of where the Dragon cult is taking the loot from sanctuary but also deal with Bel the wererat Thief maybe.

During the Journey to the oasis, once more Capt Hans wants to gather lightening so he fly's the Sea Sprite into another dark cloud and once more you guys are tasked with guarding the box that gathers lightening but this time you guys get to fight an Air Elemental named Gus. Thank gawd for NPC's to take the brunt of attacks sometimes lol.

Nonetheless Freddy the Fighter with awesome skill of swordsmanship did quite the number on Gus. With good support from Badger the Rogue and Marty the Cleric, the poor Elemental was dispatched back to the elements. I should have added inspiration from the Happy Yoddlers and the Bag Pipers Clan when you guys fought that elemental. My bust.

After the battle with Gus, Marty the Claric decided to check out the Galley aboard the Sea Sprite to do some cooking, what He found was Hell's Kitchen.

This ship as pointed out by Capt Hans used to belong to the Infernal Lord Draxis whom he and his fellow adventurers defeated and the Ship, the Galley has not been used by the Ships crew, so in remained in the same state for ages. The players came across bones of various humanoids in the hearth, and a cauldron atop a stove that is black as night.

Within the cauldron a swirling viscus liquid swirling counter clock wise around and around. Capt Hans pointed out that is is planar gate to where is not sure, he just chucked non-cooperating or paying passengers into it. He does quip however that one of them did make it back unbelievably and said there were infernal like pastries that walked about the plane he was on. too weird.

No matter, Marty commenced to cook up some bread from some bags of infernal flour He had found, but the brimstone taste was just very appetizing, then Marty came across a Laddle called laddie, that said he could help Marty be a top cook in the infernal culinary arts, with a bit of a caveat, the laddle required a tiny bit of blood to work. Of course Freddie the fighter was none to happy about this but Mart assured him that He had thing under control, the Infernal Laddle did get rid of the brimtone smell and taste of the Bread and the Bread turned out to be very tasty, the Bread is magical and each slice gives the player a +1 to hit and damage for a day.

The players arrive see the cult caravan in the courtyard being unloaded. They see a huge looking Orc named Burk Detwiller directing where the caravan horses go, and making sure the crates of cult loot is stored in a storage house adjacent to the inn common room. The players convince the Inn's cook Old Grisled Joe or OG as he likes to be called to let them check out the storage area, in exchange they would go and hunt up some Scorpion meat and tail, a fine delicacy in the Neverwhere Desert. Of Badger is not fond of Desert Worm meat or Scorpoin Tail and finds out that there Sand Yaks that might be found nearby.

The players set out around late afternoon and find that the desert is a most dangerous place as they survive a number of spots with quicksand. They do come across both a Sand Yak and a Desert Scorpion and dispatch both creatures with little problem and do return to OG with his items. While Marty distracts OG, Both Freddy and Badger manage to find a trapdoor, where it leads they are not sure but plan to investigate it later.

Enter Bel! As the players dine on their Scorpion tail and Badger dines on his Sand Yak Steak, Badger begins to feel not too good (failed his con DC) and about this Time Bel the thieves guild wererat whom failed her disguise (slight of Hand roll) is found out and Freddy charges her table and tries to tackle her, that fails and Bel wins the initiative, bounds for the door leaving her pet cockroach (medium size creature) to block the door while she jammed it shut. The players dispatch the giant cockroach but fail to catch Bel. Badger thanks to Marty's quick intervention, is cured of the poison effects. Its about this time Badger turns to Burk Detwiller and tells him of the Trap door in the storage room............a cliff hanger lol

Scott
 

sgtscott658

First Post
Howdy all-

Finally got the energy to post my AAR of the past couple of sessions with my group I am DM'ing here in Chicago. The last we left off, the players had faught Bel the wererat from sanctuary's Guild of Thieves. The encounter took place within the common room of the Oasis of the Sunflower in the Neverwhere Desert of Greyhawk. The players had defeated Bel's Pet Roach but she escaped into the catacombs beneath the Inn. Burk Detwiller, the 1/2 Orc Inn owner and not to enthusiastic member of the Dragon cult decided it was high time to turn a new leaf and help instead of hinder the players. So He pointed out to the players the trap door in the storage room which led to the catacombs beneath the Inn. The Ranger Amos( DM NPC) along with the party had two options, pursue Bel or forge ahead and deal with the Dragon Cult.

The Players decided to go after Bel, so they followed he trail which veered off into a side cavern, so basically the wererat was not heading in the direction of Castle Nearytar through the main passage. The players come upon a side room containing a 1/2 moon shaped apparatus that is glowing red. The Ranger determines that Bel's Foot prints seem to circle around the room and end at the glowing red object. Why She circled the room is puzzling to the players until they find that guarding the Portal Are two nasy Galeb Duhr's (MM139 ) Basically Bel managed to sneak by these guys, but the players were not so fortunate.

As soon as the players enter the room, Both Galeb Duhr's rise up and engage the party in combat. The players manage after being close to getting wacked, dispatch these guys. It was tough battle, because the Galeb's could ball up and roll around trying to overrun the players or bring to life the various large rocks in the area and use them to cause more harm to the players.

With the Galeb Guardian destroyed, the players enter the portal, they come out the otherside and find a sky of blood red, fine sand like dust blowing intensely around them, temperatures with extrema heat and the distant sound of wails and cry's. Of who and what, they did not know. But to their immediate front they encounter a badly wounded creature with red skin and bat like wings. His first reaction is to run, but with his wounds at a pretty sever level, he decides to parley with the party.

Welcome to Hell
The players, in their pursuit of Bel, have landed themselves on the first plane of Hell called Avernous. Basically what I did was run To Baator and Back from 2E AD&D from the Well of the Worlds module. I had planed to either run HotDQ if the players went down that path or or this adventure if the players decided to pursue Bel. Well they went the Planescape rout and I accommodated them. A good DM always prepares for multiple situations, its alot of work, but it keeps players from feeling railroaded I think.

The players did alot and I mean alot of role playing in this adventure with the only combat being a huge blood Worm from the River Styxx. The players did help the poor wounded Devil by curing his wounds, in return, Fawzi El Gamel, a Spine Devil and the Gate's Guardian told the players that he was attacked by Bel, if not for the roving hoards of Devils nearby, he would have most likely have been put into the dead book. Feeling slightly in debt to players for saving him, Fawzi tells the players of a Drow Hermit that lives in the foothills over the River Styxx that might be able to help the party. So armed with that info, the party quickly makes their way to the Drow Hermits cave, knowing that this might be a rough encounter if they dont say the right things.

The Party meets Hexailla, a Drow Wizard and a member of the Sociaty of Sensation, a faction from Sigil that likes to experience the more esoteric aspects of life on many of the different planes. Players pay here a hefty sum of gold and manage to get a couple of pieces of good info out of her. There is a portal out of this place but they will need to talk with the piller skulls to find the exact key to get them out of Hell. Of course Hexillia did come off trusting, but as soon as the players head towards the piller of Skulls, She will then inform the local infernal commander of the players presence on this plane. So it is race against time, get the key and get out.

The piller of Skulls is the punishment to those seers or sages that lied and cheated in life, now they are damned to jostle with many others gibbering and whining about their circumstances. Enter the players, they approach the piller and ask it about the key to the portal, many heads jostle around until one emerges and tells the players that he knows of the key but they will have to feed the piller a Blood Worm to gain that info. So armed with that info, the players head towards the River Styxx, just managing to avoid the Infernal patrols and fish up a huge Blood Worm from the Styxx, the Blood Worm does not go easy and gives the players a fight. I used the Purple Worm stats but halved everything to make it a CR more appropriate for the players level. They are after all 6th level. The players return to the piller with the blood worm and the main talking head tells the players that all they need is a brick from the planur road near the portal is the key to leaving.

A Brick, A Hoard of Devils and a wererat:
The players rush around gather the Brick and make their way to the portal only to be ambushed by Bel, she figured someone might show up to create an exit outta here and it just so happened to be the players. Of course in hot pursuit of the players are a hoard of Devils, the players are given 8 rounds to defeat bel and activate the gate. It took 6 rounds to defeat Bel and capture her and that left just enough time to open the gate and get away from certain misery and eternal death.

Sigil
The players exit into Sigil the city at the center of the multiverse and into the Styxx Oarsman, an infernal bar owned by Rule of Three, a Cambion of dubeuis nature. But he does see some potencial in the players and helps them get incontact with Capt Hans of the Sea Sprite and them back to their prime plane of existence with Bel in chains and the players getting a nice bounty for her from the Assassins Guild in Sanctuary.

Stuff
It is at this point that I decided to have the players switch from Greyhawk to FR Campaign setting on their return trip with Capt Hans. The Hoard of the Dragon Queen module is a good module but trying to convert it to another campaign setting is just too time consuming. This adventure did take place last week and the adventure I DM'ed yesterday (Sunday) was set in FR and continued with Castle Neaytar which I will write up this week. Personally, I enjoyed running a Planescape adventure but I think the players felt a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing, so hence I quickly brought them back around to HotDQ and the Prime plane. Still, now the players can boast that they have been to Hell and back lol.


Scott
 

sgtscott658

First Post
Episode 6 Castle Nearytar

Note some encounters I did change to make it more challenging for the players, especially since the PC's have Feats, the encounters had to be modified to deal with the players extra abilities.

Creatures Encountered:
Bullywog Mobs (low level trash) 100exp total
Otyugh MM 248 1500 exp
Clay Golem 4000 exp (Guarding Rezmirs room)
Flesh Golem 1500 exp (Guarding Rezmirs room)
Stargazers Ghosts 700 exp (For interacting with Ghosts and not killing them)
Roleplaying 200 exp (Good ideas from all party members)
Total: Even 8000 EXP

Sigil and back:
With Bel firmly caged and guarded, the players then hook up with Capt Hans of the Sea Sprite to bring them back to Greyhawk and collect their reward for capturing the infamous wererat. But things do not go as well planned as players think they should. The Sea Sprite leaves Sigil heading to the planur gate that Capt Hans knows of but their ship is spotted and ambushed by Aisha and her ship the Black Rose. Aisha is a Drow elf and she has been perusing Capt Hans over the years trying to get back the gold he owes her. Now as the players are so close to reaching their goal of getting out of the planes, they are once more stopped by dumb luck.

Aisha's Ship puls within hailing distance and tells the Capt to pay up or be sent into the ether for ever and ever. The players are not too happy about this new problem and step up and decide to try and negotiate a way to keep Aisha off their backs. They come up with a plan to give Aisha a bunch of Dragon eggs they say they might come across in the near future. Ashia does find this highly unlikely but it might also prove to be amusing, so she relents and follows the Sea Sprite into the Portal. Unfortunately, the portal is only tuned to one ship and having two go through kind of throws everything out of whack.

READ: This was my opportunity to get the adventure HotDQ back on track and set it in the Forgotten Realms. And thus making the prep time for HotDQ and RoT that much more easier.

The players do return to what is now the Carnath Roadhouse (was Oasis of the Sunflower in GH) But the owner still remains Burk Detwieler. So basically locations may have changed but NPC's I used remained, I also kept Hommlet in place of Greenist (what a stupid sounding name), other then those minor changes everything will kind of remain true to FR.

The players then hand over Bel to Burk who will take her to Waterdeep's Assassins Guild for them to deal with and mett out the appropriate punishment. Then once more the players descend beneath the Inn into the caverns to deal with the Dragon cult and find were the ultimate destination is for the loot the Dragon cult has looted over the last couple of months. The first encounter in the caverns was meant to be a bit role play and combat in which the players encounter several Bullywogs harassing and beating on Lizard folk porters.

The players step in and stop and dispatch the Bully Wogs and end up befriending the Lizard Folk, especially a charismatic one named Snap Jaw. Yes this encounter kind of veered off from the one as written but I wanted a more plausible introduction to the Lizard folk instead of having the players hack them to death in the original encounter. Also note in the original encounter only SnapJaw survived and only then he might work with the PC's...........after they killed all his buddies...........ya right.

So with Snapjaw firmly impressed with the players kick ass ability against the Bullywogs, he decides to help the players infiltrate the Castle Nearytar and get rid of the Bullywogs and their disgusting leader Sputtergoo, whom Snapjaw suspects of murdering the lizard folk Shaman which he does confide in the PC's.

There is a bit of a triad going on here, Rezmir is the head of the Dragon Cult in Castle Nearytar, she brought both the Bullywogs and the Lizard Folk together in an uneasy alliance. The Lizard Folk joined because they lost their Shaman leader and feel indebted to the Dragon Cult for giving them powerful magic (actually cheap trinkets). Sputtergoo, the leader of the Bullywogs thinks once the Dragon Cult is done in this area, that they will give him Castle Nearytar. Rezmar also has an adviser named Delmar, an elf who hates Humans but unbelievably tolerates the human cultists. He hates the Bullywogs and tries to look after the well being of the Lizard folk as best he can. So even though he might support some of the cult activities , he is not a 100% onboard with everything this cult does.

The players are escorted by Snapjaw to the gates of Castle Nearytar and are met by SGT Carter and PVT Pyle. Both dining on deepfried roachs. They look at the players, as a few questions then tell them that they are to get rid of the undead ghosts in one of the castle Towers. Carter also warns the players that this place still has some pretty horrible monsters here and there through out the Castle, so some areas might not be as safe as others.

Snapjaw tells the players about the barbican above the gate area, lots bullywogs up there along with a huge log and bell which is used to warn of attacks and meal times. Snapjaw also tells the players of the caverns beneath Castle Nearytar and that after the treasure is inventoried in the great hall, it is brought down to the caverns by two hulking trolls that guard the carvern entrance. He goes on to point out the stables in one area and the Bullywog barracks, which no one can miss due to the noise and stench emanating from it. The players then reach the tower to where they must go up to get to the ghosts but find that they must cross a 15 foot plank over a pit of garbage.

Freddy the Bounty hunter fighter gets the bright idea that maybe this might be a way into the caverns beneath the castle and to Snapjaws horror, removes the plank and starts prodding the garbage heap to see how deep the pit is. Well, all hell breaks loose as a sleeping Otyugh is awakened from its slumber and begins to attack the players. Using its long tenticals it pulls both the fighter and the Rogue down into the pit and begins to try and chomp on them and crush the life out of them. The Warlock and two clarics above try chucking spells into the creature doing some damage. In the Pit, the Fighter manages to break free but before he can climb back out, he is grabbed again, the Rogue, who is getting crushed to death, manages to break free and races back up the pit walls and to safety. When all is said and done, the creature lays dead but both the fighter and the Rogue are down to around 8 hit points each.

After some searching, the players do find a Ring, and an amulate. After cutting open the creature they find a very nice staff within its guts. He used as a tooth pick lol. Items magical properties were a Ring of +1 to AC, A Staff of Fire and an amulate of Fortitude (giving the wearer a Con of 12 which the Rogue needed)

Well, thats not it, but will continue this After Action Report later on.

Scott
 

sgtscott658

First Post
Howdy all-


Continuing with my ongoing AAR of Hoard of the Dragon Queen we last left off with the players having been tasked with the mission of ridding the Stargazers Sanctum (tower 3E) from Castle Nearytar. The players had defeated a real nasty Otyugh, ya know, those organic garbage disposals every wizard keeps deep down in his castle. Anyway, the players come across a trapdoor above them that leads into the Stargazers Sanctom. Written on the trap door in dwarvish but partially obscured by time, is a Warning of powerful undead above. The players take a short rest on the stairs below the trap door and prepare for the coming encounter.

Once rested, the Rogue Badger Bob, opens the lock from the trap door and stealthily takes in the area he see's. What he does see from the moonlit room are a rack of rolled charts. An antique desk in one corner and a large table in the middle. on the floor he notices five piles of humanoid like remains in various areas of the room with the only exception being a translucent figure of a comly human female with soft facial expressions looking over and studying several charts on the table.

Badger then slowly closes the trap door and whispers to the players what he has seen. Marty the Claric along with Mr. Boggles the Warlock consult the party about maybe talking to this ghost instead of killing it out right. Yes, even in a dungeon you can still offer RP opportunities to players that think outside the box. In the actual adventure, it was expected to hack and slash the Spectors inhibiting the tower, but I spun it a bit differently when I described the Spector in a more positive light.

The players emerge from the trapdoor and the specter turns to face them, The players in unison tell the specter they wish to parley plus see'ing that these people are not the hated bully wogs or Dragon Kneelers that the specter has seen around of late she nods in and affirms that she will not harm them.

The Specter introduces herself as Anna, a teacher from Silverymoon and the piles of bones around the room were her students. She had been possessed by the ghost of an escaped criminal named Bootstrap. Now for hundreds of years they have haunted this area of the castle and also continued with their study of the stars. Hence the reams and reams of charts. Anna tell's the players that her and her students would like nothing better then to go home, to that end the players strike a deal and take the bones of her and her students back to Silverymoon to the temple of Mystra for proper burial.

Anna then goes on to tell the players of the Farseer of iilusk- a telescope like contraption she designed that was useful for observing the stars but the current castle overseers have used it for more dastardly ways. By spying on distant area's of Fearun! Anna then tasks the players to destroy the devise which is in the observatory but is guarded creatures she says that are both horrible and frightening. The players agree to this task and at the same time SGT Carter and PVT Pyle come banging on the trapdoor asking what the hell is going on. The players pull in SGT Carter and the Spector kills him without remorse while PVT Pyle runs down the stairs going "shazam shazam" and "Golly they killed SGT Carter"

Now its a race to both complete the Specters mission and get to Rezmirs room to find clues on how to get into the caverns beneath the Castle and find where the treasure is going. First thing everybody does is race to the observatory but what they find are two Gibbering Mouthers guarding the Farseer, they quickly shut the door and turn to the Warlock who has a staff that can cast a nice fire ball inside the room. The Warlock then opens the door up makes his imitative roll and casts the fireball, now all hell has broken loose. The Farseer is destroyed but the Gibbering mouthers are only slightly hurt, the door to the observatory is too damaged to shut, so the players make their way down to the banquet hall, all around them bull wogs, Lizard men and cultists are running about in confusion. This is further compounded by high d20 rolls by the players in convincing them that they are under attack from inside and out.

The Banquet Hall
As the players run from the Gibbering Mouther, they make a bee line to the Banquet hall, but before they can shut the door on the Gibbering Mouthers, three of the players fail to make their wisdom rolls and attack their fellow party members. Hearing the commotion the two trolls guarding the Cavern entrance enter the banquet and see the two Gibering Mouthers in the Court yard slaughtering the bully wogs. The two trolls take off after the Gibbering Mouthers and Marty the Claric shuts the Banquet door behind them.

At the same time, the players suffering from the Gibbering Mouther mind effects attack each other for 1 round (that was funny) Once everything settles down, a bloodied Troll enters the Banquet hall. The Claric Morden (Bob's Character) Thinks outside the box and cast a Cause serious wounds on the troll, dropping the troll to the ground. IE killing it. Still the only way into the cavern is to get to the top floor of the castle and search for Rezmir or find somekind of key to get past the force that blocks their way into the cavern. From what the players have gathered only Sputtergoo, Delmar and Rizmar have some kind of way to enter the caverns and spirit away the loot.

Rezmirs lair
The players do find a way to get to Rezmirs quarters without having to hack and slash their way through. They do this with plenty of doses of deception. Remember, the Bullywogs dont want to really fight if they dont have to, and the Lizard Folk would prefer if the players killed the bully wogs, so they will tend to take a more neutral stance with the players.

The players make to Rezmirs quarters only to be confronted by her two guardians a Flesh Golem and a Clay Golem whom stand guard over her quarters. Rezmir is not there.

A huge fight ensues and the players had a most difficult time trying to take down two Golems. Everybody was casting spells or hacking away. By the time it was all said and done, the players had taken some serious damage but had dispatched Rezmirs guardians with much difficulty.

What the players find is a letter from Someone named Talis demanding Rezmirs presence, the letter goes on to accuse Rizmer of a lack of dedication to the cult. Thus a summons to the Greypeak Mountain Hunting Lodge for a proper dressing down. The players also find a small black dragon statue worth around 2500 gold and yes the Rogue did activate the Acid trap but the statue made its object save. And the players do find the code word to de-activate the wall of force blocking the cavern and to activate a portal to the Greypeak mountains.

As usual we all had fun, hopefully some of the above is understandable and give perspective DM of this adventure some ideas for their own HotDQ campaign. As of now, the players are resting up in Reznirs chambers and will once more venture out to confront the cult and make it into the caverns below. If I missed something, it probably due to forgetting a detail here or there.


Scott
 

Voidrunner's Codex

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