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The Untold Adventures of Fap Longwood & Friends!


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mikeawmids

Explorer
The Adventures of Fap Longwood #36 (Tyranny of Dragons)

The party are teleported to a bitterly cold and densely forested clearing high in the Greypeak Mountains. A trail winds through the creaking evergreens toward a secluded, two-storey hunting lodge. The windows are shuttered but smoke puffs from one of three large chimneys rising from the moss-covered roof.

The heroes are low on health and need to rest before they go kicking another nest of hornets. Mara casts Leomund’s Tiny Hut, creating a magical bubble of safety against the elements and/or wandering monsters. The next eight hours pass uneventfully and the party enjoy the benefits of a long rest, although Fap has the feeling they are not alone among the pines.

The heroes advance on the lodge. Mara uses her spider staff to grant the entire party the Spider Climb ability, which lasts one hour and allows them to reach the roof. The plan had been to climb down one of the two unlit chimneys, but once they get up there, they realise there is a big hole in the roof. The heroes drop down into what was once an armoury, but now most of the weapon racks are bare. The party take this opportunity to restock on arrows and crossbow bolts.

Fap peeks out onto an open landing overlooking the main entrance. There is another door directly opposite the armoury, opening into a spacious hall buttressed by ten wooden pillars carved into the likenesses of dragons. Tapestries adorn the walls, depicting dragons hunting and killing the ‘lesser’ species’. The largest tapestry hanging over the roaring fireplace shows a five-headed dragon stitched in gold and silver thread and adorned with precious stones.

“Tiamat, Queen of evil dragons.” Mara says. Even Horatio is stunned into silence.

The heroes continue their stealthy exploration of the hunting lodge. So far, it seems their presence remains undetected. They find a couple of empty bathrooms and a darkened dormitory occupied by a single sleeping mercenary. They close the door and Mara casts Arcane Lock, shutting him inside.

The adjacent door opens into a well-appointed sitting room occupied by a human woman wearing white robes and the cult insignia, one masked cultist and a two armed bodyguards. The woman in white is ranting about Rezmir’s decision to give someone called Varram the White Dragon Mask, instead of giving it to her. Fap pulls the door closed and Mara seals it with another Arcane Lock.

The party continue around the landing and enter a single bedroom. A locked chest rests at the foot of a large, four-poster bed covered with plush white furs. Fap picks the lock and the party help themselves to what’s inside (4000gp, a scroll of Scorching Ray and a vest of +1 chainmail that nobody wants). There is also a leather bound journal belonging to someone called Talis (the party assume that this is the white robed woman from the previous room). She writes that the Dragon Cult are amassing a treasure hoard worthy of Tiamat as part of a ritual to bring the Queen of Dragons into the realms! The cult are planning to transport a vast amount of plundered loot to their headquarters in the Sunset Mountains via a flying cloud castle hidden near the town of Parnast.

The heroes hear a distant banging noise. Talis and her bodyguards have realised they are locked inside and are trying to break down the door.

“Time we weren’t here,” Fap says, slipping the stolen journal into his pack, “We have a cloud castle to catch!”
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
The Adventures of Fap Longwood #37 (Tyranny of Dragons)

The party retreat onto the roof of the lodge. From their vantage point, they can see the tops of a mist-shrouded town further down the mountain. Assuming that this is Parnast, the heroes head in that direction.

It’s not long before they hear sounds of pursuit. The cult have picked up their trail and are hot on their heels. Fap finds a good spot to spring an ambush and the heroes lie in wait of the hunting party. Three drakes enter the clearing, followed by a pair of troll handlers and a four-armed troll called Trepsin, the cult’s huntmaster.

Fap shoots the lead drake in the neck, felling it instantly. Mara immolates the two trolls with Fireball, neither troll are able to regenerate HP this turn. Brian casts Shield of Faith to boost Horatio’s AC, as the fighter charges to attack the burning trolls. Trepsin makes five (!!!) attacks and rends Horatio for 22 dmg! Horatio takes a full round action to defend, hoping to keep Trepsin occupied while the rest of the party wear down the other two trolls.

Fap back-flips away from the two drakes and lays down fire on the two trolls. Trepsin flurries at Horatio, who parries his claw attacks with deft precision. Mara blows up one troll with a second Fireball, while the other troll claws Brian for 29 dmg. The cleric drops Cure Wounds (lv2) on himself. Horatio continues to defend.

With a roar, Trepsin ignores Horatio and turns toward Mara! The little wizard squeaks in fright and throws a hasty Firebolt at the charging troll. Realising that Mara is in grave peril, Brian tries to finish his opponent off with Inflict Wounds (lv3), but misses! Horatio attacks Trepsin twice, both miss!! Fap ignores the drakes snapping at his heels and also shoots at the four-armed troll, he also misses!!!

It seems the gods have decided Mara Lemonrock must die.

Trepsin hits Mara with all five attacks for a staggering 54 dmg!! Mara drops to the ground like a bloody ragdoll. To add insult to injury, the troll also recovers 10 hp (bastard).

Brian channels divinity to preserve life, specifically his and Horatio’s. Horatio cuts off the other troll’s head and turns back to Trepsin.

“Er… Horatio!” Brian cries, pointing to the decapitated body, “Look out!”

The headless troll is crawling around on all fours, searching blindly for its missing head. Before Horatio’s eyes, a second, melon-sized head begins to sprout from the troll’s shoulder, all bug-eyed and baby-faced.

“Oh for fudge’s sake!” Horatio growls.

“Kill it with fire!” Brian yells.

Horatio throws Brian his explorer’s pack and the cleric lights up a pair of torches, tossing one onto the regenerating troll and handing the other back to the fighter. The first troll writhes on the ground as the flames consume its rubbery hide. Trepsin knocks the torch out of Horatio’s hand and grabs each of the dwarf’s arms in two of his own.

“This is gonna’ hurt,” Horatio predicts, bracing himself for the pain to come.

With a crackle of bone, Trepsin breaks both of Horatio’s arms and tosses the dwarf aside. Horatio flops around like a landed fish, but cannot right himself.

“We can’t win!” Fap cries, “We’re all going to die if we stay here!”

“We can’t abandon our friends!”
Brian retorts, standing his ground.

Trepsin lunges and grabs the cleric in a four-armed grapple. No matter how he struggles, Brian cannot break the troll’s grip.

“Drop your bow or I will maim this dwarf also!”

For a moment, Fap considers running… but he can’t bring himself to do it. He looks to Mara, ragged and bloody, sprawled across the trail. He looks to Horatio, still struggling to rise despite his two broken arms. He looks to Brian, trapped in the troll’s ruinous embrace.

With a cry of frustration, Fap tosses his weapon aside and allows himself to be taken.
 
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Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
So, yeah... I'm thinking three trolls - one of which gets five attacks per turn - and three ambush drakes might have been overkill.
Trepsin was/is terrifying, my guys- in my last play through of ToD- which is written up here, did all they could to avoid the confrontation- this after taking a brief kicking from the Troll & Drake patrol- they won through the patrol fight but it was tough, made easier by the Warlock's Hunger of Hadar (I hate that spell) from memory. They talked their way through this rest of this area... but at this point they were trying (and mostly succeeding) at chatting their way through lots of encounters.

I'm loving this by the way.

Are you caught up with the action- with the write up, how far ahead are the PCs in ToD, only if you're inclined to reply- no fuss.

Stay frosty.

Cheers goonalan
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
We're now up to date. The players have outlined their replacement PCs following the TPC (Total Party Capture) detailed above. I'm enjoying comparing my experience of this campaign with your own write-up. I have a l-o-n-g way to go before I catch up with your thread! :)
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
I was going to post some suggestions here... but then I thought, you're up to date and your players possibly come here- do they?

If not then I have a few suggestions, again- not pressing, just it's been great so far... want to see where you go with it.

Cheers goonalan
 


Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
I'm pretty sure they don't come on this forum, so fire away. Your interest/input is much appreciated. :D
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Well, Tallis isn't enamoured with just about everyone in the CotD hierarchy... or at least she didn't get the White Mask, Rezmir seems to have advanced swiftly beyond her reach, or else the Half-Black Dragon is getting much too much love from the higher ups.

So, release the PCs back into play (maybe except for one of 'em, keep a hostage- and make it real difficult for the PCs to come back to rescue their guy). Give the PCs a list of things to do- kill Rezmir (maybe) and hunt down Varram the White (who is handily placed in RoT).

The entire ToD series has villains that are all CotD ranking members and are yet all just (seemingly) out for themselves- y'know EVIL.

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Also...

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So, there's two guys for Talis' list- my first choice TPC would be to reprogram (or at least convince them of the new story- you need to do this, or else bad things happen to the prisoner PC) the PCs- kill Rez, take over the Ice Castle- come and pick up Talis (maybe) then skip forward to the chase down Varram site in RoT.

How you resolve it after that...

1) Give the PCs just one chance to take the Castle back, and to rescue their guy.
2) Else, if you've chatty PCs, get them to talk Talis round to some other plan...
3) Something else which springs up from your great big brain as the PCs plough on- maybe there could a climax (death scene) for Talis in Oygavitton when she meets and joins up with Old White Death (or is killed by same- hubris, after trying to force the great white into her plan somehow).

I also had a lot of fun with Sandesyl (from memory) the Vampire in the Ice Castle, she wants to go the dracolich route, and so could usurp/kill/whatever Talis and take over as puppet master.

Or else just keep it up, with Talis- Trepsin and Old White Death all aboard the Ice Castle doing their best to punish Severin/Rez/Varram/the CotD by either messing up their plans or else making her play for the top slot in the entire operation.

How much Talis tells the PCs, that don't matter- she can tell them do these things and I'll set you on your way again- and then welch on the deal (big time) in the end.

Likewise all of the above can be achieved much more quietly- Talis stays in the background, just nudging the PCs here and there to her own ends- just do a deal with them, but give the guys some indelible mark that kills them (or other) if they don't stay on course.

I'd also consider Talis already mid-deal with the Red Wizards- see the Thay section of RoT, the Thayans could be of use- holding a PC prisoner for Talis, a meeting with Szass Tam (or similar) and as it utrns out a lot of bad guys want the CotD stopped/punished/crippled too.

Compromise the PCs, they're doing the Council of Waterdeep thing but reporting back all the while to Talis/Tam/Sandesyl- screw the PCs to the floor with whatever hold over them you've got, and then make them play the game as double agents.

Oddball-

Polymorph Trepsin into whatever normal and send him with the PCs, stat him up and give him to the player that's sacrificing their PC (held prisoner). Trepsin could even come to see the light on this route.

Talis meets Glazhael (the White Dragon in the Ice Castle) and live happily ever after.

In summary-

1) Remotivate the PCs by taking one of them captive, or else some other substantial hold- then let them loose again.

2) Give them a set of tasks to complete for Talis (which may not be enough to satisfy her...)

3) Turn the PCs into double agents for Talis, they have to make choices/plans how to avoid being caught, but also how to wyrm (sorry, worm) their way out the situation.

4) Get another CotD high-up involved in the action- Sandesyl, Old White Death- whoever.

Just noodling, you know best- you are the DM!

Take care.

Cheers goonalan
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
The Adventures of Fap Longwood #38 (Tyranny of Dragons)

In the secluded village of Parnast, a strange group gather in the taproom of the Golden Tankard. They are seated around a table as far from the prying ears of the rat-faced bartender as the dimensions of the building will allow.

This is the B team, replacement characters bought in to replace the Heroes of Phandalin, after they fell into the scaly clutches of the Dragon Cult. They are;

Hellen Iresworne, Tiefling Bard (lv7), College of Whispers. A raven-haired beauty with understated horns and an overstated bosom. Her personality is almost as bouncy as her… ahem. She carries a rapier and wears a Cloak of Displacement.

Urukk Hai, Half-Orc Monk (lv 7, Way of the Open Palm. Kitted out with Gauntlets of Ogre Power. He likes to punch things. That is literally his whole deal.

Dagar Kutt, Goblin Warlock (lv 7), sworn to the Great Old One. Goes hooded and cloaked, primarily to hide his face and heritage, but also because it looks sinister. Kinda’ looks like a Jawa. Although he can summon a pact weapon (a matched pair of ceremonial daggers), he prefers to fight with his Tentacle Rod, a powerful boon from his patron.

Headstone Hal, Dwarf Rogue (lv 7), Assassin. “Why do they call him Headstone?” I hear you ask. It’s because he’s the last thing his targets see before he puts them in the ground. A mute killer, Headstone fights with a pair of hammers that he wields with almost balletic finesse. In one of his many hidden pockets, he carries a Portable Hole.


“So we all know why we’re here,” drawls the fifth member of their group, a diminutive gnome thief called Jamna Gleamsilver, “The Cult of Dragons are moving a king’s ransom in stolen treasure through this arsehole of civilization and loading it onto the cloud castle they’ve got moored on the edge of town. The Black Network wants that plunder! Your team is tasked with infiltrating Skyreach Castle and hijacking the steering tower! Achieve this and you’ll all be promoted from Wolves to Vipers!

“But if you fail to secure the castle and its golden cargo, we don’t want those lizard lovers hanging onto it! In that scenario, your secondary goal is to bring the castle down by any means necessary! Headstone, do you still have the stuff?”


The taciturn dwarf nods slowly and pats his breast pocket.

“Good. Don’t mess this one up. The higher-ups are watching. Your future with the Zhentarim hinges on the success of this heist.

“Oh, I almost forgot! We got word that those stuck-up prigs from the Lord’s Alliance already sent a group of trouble-shooters after the treasure. The Heroes of Some Nowhere Town – or something like that. Bunch of amateurs got themselves captured. We think they’re being held in the castle. It could be useful if they owe us a favour. If you chance upon them, consider getting them out – but not if you think they might jeopardise the mission!

“You got all that?”


The Wolves nod. They got it.

There is a commotion in the street outside the tavern. A group of armed guards approach the building, under the stern gaze of a brawny warrior in the distinctive purple attire of the Dragon Cult. The villagers clear the streets, slamming their doors and bolting their shutters.

“Hear me, Zhentarim scum!” the officer shouts, “My name is Captain Othelstan and it is my duty to inform you that you have outstayed your welcome in Parnast. Throw down your weapons and exit the tavern! My men will escort you back to the main road.”

“Time for me to make myself scarce,”
Jamna says, heading for the back door, “Good hunting, Wolves!”
 
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mikeawmids

Explorer
The Adventures of Fap Longwood #39 (Tyranny of Dragons)

The wolf pack emerges from the tavern and squares off against the cult enforcers.

“What are you Zhent scum doing in Parnast?” Captain Othelstan demands.

“We are but simple tourists, here to take in the sights and absorb the local culture,” Hellen drawls, “We heard you had a lovely cloud castle and just had to see it for ourselves. Tell me, do you sell postcards?”

“No, but we do have a historic dungeon, where you will be spending the foreseeable future if you don’t scram this instant.”
Captain O retorts, reaching for his flail.

“Is it just me, or is that castle starting to move?” Dagar interjects.

“Oh hell, they’re taking off!” Hellen cries, whipping out her rapier.

“Hold them here until the castle is airborne!” Captain O commands.

The cult guards rush forward. Headstone weaves between their flashing blades and strikes at Captain O. The dragonsoul evades the attempted assassination (and the additional 8d6 sneak attack damage that would have accompanied it) and retaliates by cracking his flail across the side of Headstone’s skull. Urukk punches one guard in the throat, then again in the groin; down he goes, curled up in a sad little ball. Hellen flicks her wrist and pins another guard’s foot to the ground with one of her (many) daggers.

“F*ing b**!” he curses her.

“Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” Hellen replies, feigning shock.

The injured guard opens his mouth to hurl more abuse her way, then explodes as Dagar targets him with Eldritch/Agonising Blast. A different guard drives his spear into the goblin’s side. Dagar waves his Tentacle Rod and three long, rubbery tentacles lash out to batter him. Two guards advance on Hellen, the first strikes her across the face with the butt of his spear. She snaps her fingers in Hellish Rebuke and her assailant spontaneously combusts. She drives her rapier through the second guard’s heart.

Urukk crits on his next attack and literally punches a hole through some poor bugger’s chest. Headstone waits for Urukk to engage Captain O, so he can get his sneak attack damage. The half-orc monk unleashes a flurry of blows; only one hits, but it is enough to distract the Dragonsoul. Headstone darts in, swinging his two hammers and breaking bones. Hellen viciously mocks the captain, while Dagar hits the Dragonsoul with two Agonising Blasts. Captain O is agonised.

“You can’t win this fight,” Hellen taunts the captain, “Why not surrender and get it over with?”

“I don’t have to beat you,”
the Dragonsoul replies, splitting a glob of bloody phlegm at the bard’s feet. He glances up at the escaping cloud castle, “All I have to do is delay you for a few moments longer.”

But he doesn’t have a few moments. Headstone darts back into the fray and crits against the Dragonsoul for 40 dmg! That should have finished him off, but Captain O is kept standing by Tiamat’s Blessing of Retribution, granting him one last chance to avenge himself on the wolf pack. He squanders this opportunity with two sub-par attack rolls, then keels over, dead as a doorpost.

“Know when you’re beat, buddy.” Dagar says, prodding the body with his boot.

As Captain O dies, Hellen steps forward and captures his shadow.

“Neat trick.” Urukk grunts.

Skyreach Castle is growing ever smaller as it ascends into the heavens. The heroes have no idea how they are supposed to get aboard now that it is already in the air. Fortunately, by stealing the Dragonsoul’s shadow, Hellen has gained access to a few of his memories.

“The cult stabled a pair of wyverns nearby,” she says, “If we can ride them, we can still catch up.”

The wolves find the wyverns and fit their harnesses. Urukk and Dagar will ride the first beast and get it under control almost immediately. Hellen and Headstone mount the second, but it proves to be more stubborn than its mate. Hellen weaves Captain O’s shadow into a disguise and the truculent wyvern soon settles down. She can only maintain the illusion for one hour, so time is of the essence. The wolf pack takes to the sky in pursuit of Skyreach Castle.
 

mikeawmids

Explorer
The Adventures of Fap Longwood #40 (Tyranny of Dragons)

The wyverns are swift and soon close the distance with the cult’s cloud castle. The entire edifice is constructed from thick blue ice, built on/around a huge floating glacier. Icy mist spills from the battlements, leaving a freezing fog in the castle’s wake. While clammy and unpleasant to fly through, it does hide the wolves’ approach from the ogre sentries on the walls.

Five towers rise from the upper courtyard. The tallest (and the one in the greatest state of disrepair) is the only one not to have watchful ogres posted on top of it. A balcony 75ft above the courtyard presents an inviting landing pad. As Urukk and Dagar bring their wyvern in to roost, the balcony collapses beneath their combined weight. They maintain control of their mount and manoeuvre it into the tower – surprising the two vampire spawn chilling inside! They appear to be defending a stone coffin partially embedded into the icy floor of the chamber. The vampires hiss and attack!

“Are you kidding me?” Dagar cries, “We should have just fought the ogres!”

The wolves dismount and engage the undead. Hellen and Headstone join the fray a moment later. The two wyvern fly off, leaving the agents stranded aboard the cloud castle. The thick ice protects the vampires from the hateful sun. The wolves defeat the undead, leaving just whatever is asleep in the coffin still to be dealt with. The party definitely do not want to tangle with a fully fledged CR 13 Vampire, nor do they want to leave it here, in case they are still around when night falls.
Something stirs within the coffin! The party panic! Headstone produces what looks like a black handkerchief from his pocket and unfolds it on the floor. It is a portable hole, containing several casks of blasting powder. There’s no time to unload the barrels, so the wolves just shove the coffin into the hole and hastily fold it back up, before whatever is trapped inside comes bursting back out.
 

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