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We D&D- Tyranny of Dragons Part 2: The Rise of Tiamat #24b Strike Team 1 Part 2 A Ton of Undead.


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Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
I like how you separated them from each other for this. I might try that if we have an uneven assortment of people captured. Starting this chapter tomorrow. :)
I like to work between sessions (via e-mail) on some of the players (actually all of them at different stages) I encourage them to interact (in PC where possible).

Sandy who plays Lux (mainly) e-mails me as a matter of course after probably every session, when we're doing a downtime bit, or else the PCs are between action then sometimes the e-mails fly by. The same these days with Jackie (playing Watt), they both tend to have more questions- and both their PCs (in this campaign) are more inquisitive, with contacts they can make use of.

There are times around the table when one of the two- Lux or Watt, already know what's coming next- or else they're less surprised, sometimes the information they have- gathered from the Black Network, or other dodgy contacts, leaks out at the table.

What I mean to say is it is always fun to seed the action, give different PCs bits of info which together would perhaps make much more sense. Then see if you can trust the Players to keep their allotted secrets.

Mess with them- that's what they're for.

Cheers Goonalan
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #50 The Rise of Tiamat #09a Death to the Brothers of the First Light.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 10
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 10
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 10
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 10
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 10

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #50 of our game, but only session #09a of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

The Brothers of the First Light are back in Waterdeep, taking part in various downtime activities while awaiting tomorrow’s second meeting of the Council of Waterdeep. Cult of the Dragon activity has stepped up on the Sword Coast however, the PCs spotted several burnt-out settlements while travelling in the Flying Lighthouse from the Sea of Moving Ice back to the City of Splendours.

The PCs downtime activities however have been interrupted (in the last session), Lux (Human Warlock) has learned from Talis the White (Dragon Cult boss, last seen in the Hunting Lodge near Parnast) that the Cult plans to strike in Waterdeep. Furthermore, Watt (Human Bard) has infiltrated the aforementioned Cult group, and then in an effort to counter the Cult’s planned attack, has led his comrades in to their lair in the city’s sewers.

So far it has been a slaughter- twenty Cultists are dead already, and the PCs have not taken a single hit. There’s a method to my madness… I promise, not much method- but a little.

The Brothers of the First Light burst in on the Cult leaders (actually a Mage, a Priest, a Thug and a few more low level mooks- a little less subpar (oxymoron?) than some of the previous combat encounters).

And so, we begin…

28 Cult Sewers 2.jpg


Sgt Bobby (Human Fighter) smashes the door open and charges head first in to a high-ceilinged chamber, the place was obviously once the tomb of a well-off family, arrayed before the Fighter in various stages of ‘ready’ are a dozen or so Dragon Cultists.

And when I say ‘ready’ I mean several of them have readied actions.

A Cult Fanatic shapes and chants and Sgt B’s limbs begin to seize- Hold Person, and he fails his save, but Sgt B is Indomitable, and makes his second save- the lucky bugger.

A pair of Dragonclaws lurch forward and slash at the sturdy Fighter, Sgt B takes a hit (actually a low roll Crit) but not enough to hold the big man back, a Guiding Bolt- fired by the Cult Priest at the back of the chamber alas (for me) flies wide of the target.

Seconds later (after an Action Surge) both Dragonclaws lie screaming and dying from their wounds on the dirty floor of the former crypt.

Then Lummins (Half-Elf Cleric) steps in and launches his Fireball, or at least he would if it weren’t for the Cult Mage at the back, watching for a spellcaster’s arrival- the foul fellow Counterspells Lummins’ effort, and the magic fades.

The Priest of Lathander isn’t happy, an Inspiration Point later and he repeats the trick, only with a much-enhanced Fireball this time- Flame ON! Another two Dragonclaws, a Cult Fanatic, and a Cultist are all incinerated. More or less all of the other bad guys are left bloodied or worse, except for the Mage, who has a little extra (Fire) protection.

During the chaos Hotlips (Halfling Rogue) sneaks in to the chamber, keeping low and in the shadows, she situates herself and then attempts to assassinate the problem-Mage… and misses, and so she too spends her Inspiration Point for a re-roll, and shoots a crossbow bolt clean through the Cultist bad guy’s throat.

The Mage is dead, he didn’t last long.

Bugger, you’re thinking… but I’m not.

I’m biding my time.

The badly wounded Cultist Thug staggers forward and attempts to block Sgt B and Lummins’ progress in to the chamber- slamming his mace (even with Lummins’ Warding Flare) in to the face of the Priest of Lathander.

A Cult Fanatic fires up her Spiritual Weapon, a shimmering spectral curved dagger- which stabs Lummins in the back, for good measure the Cultist closes with the Priest, trying to Inflict Wounds with her touch. Lummins however keeps the evil woman at bay.

Watt rushes forward and fires a much enhanced Thunderwave in to the Cultist’s frontline- the Thug menacing Lummins is killed, as is another low level mook.

There’s only the Cult Priest, and two babbling Fanatics left standing.

Lux hits the Fanatic menacing Lummins with an Eldritch Blast, the other Fanatic spots a sneaking Hotlips and sends his Spiritual Weapon out to seek the Halfling, and then when that misses goes in search of the little menace with an Inflict Wounds spell at the ready. Hotlips avoids both attacks.

The Cultists Priest rushes the Brothers- screaming for Tiamat to kill them all, and moments later the evil Priest (and the PCs) are surrounded by a horde of wispy spectral Dragons, the Priest’s Spiritual Guardians. The evil fellow then casts a Sanctuary spell on himself- although he continues to shout foul and dire threats at Sgt B and Lummins.

Sgt B is the first (and the last) to feel the necrotic drain of the cackling Dragon Priest’s Spiritual Guardians- he’s not happy, and so as usual- he cuts the Priest’s head off (Bugger!) after easily passing the Sanctuary induced saving throw.

Seconds later the burly Fighter almost ends one of the two remaining Cult Fanatics- not good, Lummins spears the fellow also- the Cultist survives on 1 HP.

Not for long- Hotlips steps behind the fellow and skewers the Fanatic with her rapier- dead!

The last Fanatic flees, or at least attempts to- Watt puts an arrow in the fool’s back.

The fight is won- although only for a little while…

The Brothers set about searching the chamber, and the bodies of the fallen, unaware (of course) that their old enemy the Red Wizard, Rath Modar, is floating approx. twenty feet above them- Invisible (actually Greater Invisibility, and with a few other buffs), and in telepathic contact with his hand-picked Dragon Cult Assassination Squad.

Yes, that’s right- this is the first of the Cult Strikes Back attacks- try saying that when you’ve had a few.

So, I wind down the fight, and let the PCs drop out of ‘paying attention’ mode (it doesn’t take long- someone digs out the take-away menu- Pete), and then Teleport in the aforementioned Dragon Cult Assassination Squad- taking all of the Brothers (and Players) by surprise.

Achieved!

This is a Deadly Encounter, and with a Young Blue Dragon (Maxed HP), a Half-Blue Dragon Gladiator (Maxed HP) and a Dragonfang (guess what- Maxed HP). So, I’m going for it… strap in.

29 Cult Assassins 1.jpg


The Young Blue Dragon (code name “Electric Boogaloo”, young Dragons these days, no sense of tradition) suddenly appears in more or less the centre of the chamber, it immediately unleashes its electric death breath on Lummins and Watt. The Priest of Lathander takes the full force of the storm and is almost down and out (Save = ‘2’), the Bard is hurting also, but not too bad.

The Half-Blue Dragon Gladiator (code name “Blue Fury) appears beyond the Dragon- next to the Rogue, he Shield Bashes Hotlips down to her knees and then stabs the Halfling twice (and she’s bloodied).

This is going well- and believe me when I tell you that by now the Players around the table are screaming very rude things at me (some of them- and ‘no’ not the ladies, it’s Pete with 90% of the screeching and profanities).

The Dragonfang (code name “Light Sabre”) suddenly appears, sword already drawn and sheathed in Lightning, she slices at Sgt B and manages to miss the burly Fighter twice (with Advantage).

Pete’s a little less screechy now.

The Brothers are at last in action, although not before Electric Boogaloo attempts to kill Lux- the Dragon, swats at the Warlock, like a cat with a ball of wool- the first Claw attack is a Crit- although the Dragon pays the price, Lux’s Hellish Rebuke burns (for 30+ Fire damage). The Dragon’s second Claw attack is too slow- the Warlock ducks in time, but then comes the Bite, and Lightning sparks and burns- Lux is bloodied in an instant.

I think I may have been grinning at this point in the game- it’s the kind of thing I’d do.

That is until…

Watt unleashes a Mass Cure Wounds (and rolls really high, something like 26 HP) healing all of his comrades, the Bard then scurries for cover (grabbing his bow out en route) while screaming naughty words at Sgt B (his Bardic Inspiration, which is mostly brought to us today by the letter ‘F’).

Hotlips dives back to her feet and then scurries in to a more advantageous position (i.e. with Sneak Attack), then strikes- and cuts Light Sabre (the Dragonfang) deep.

Lux (now with only one Warlock power left) attempts to Banish the Dragon- Electric Boogaloo and Blue Fury- the Gladiator, neither it seems is for shifting, they both make their saves, and Lux is just about spent- down to her Cantrips.

Again- there is much in the way of screaming and swearing around the table.

Sgt B slices in to Light Sabre (and rolls about as low as you can get for Hazirawn’s damage) and then rolls a ‘1’ for his next attack.

We turn the swear-o-meter up to ‘11’.

At which point Blue Fury (Half-Blue Dragon Gladiator) unleashes her Lightning Breath, which Hotlips Evades neatly- exposing Sgt B who takes the full force of the attack in the face.

Pete has a sweargasm.

Light Sabre attacks Sgt B twice more with her lightning enhanced blade, and misses both times, again… Just for info Sgt B is now AC 18 (I think) now he has Hazirawn (his two-hander).

It’s all too much for Pete.

Lummins, without telling anyone at the table his plan, mutters a few words and an instant later Electric Boogaloo and Light Sabre are snatched away to an alternate plane for a very short while- they’re Banished.

This was rather a surprise to everyone because for all of the sessions up until a few weeks back Lummins has had a limited palette with regard to his Cleric (Priest of Light = Fire) spell choices, his mantra thus far has been to select spells using the following criteria-
a) It burns, or hurts.
b) It heals.
c) It’s Bless.

A couple of sessions back Rob (who plays Lummins) changed up his spell selections, actually he didn’t do that- he just decreased slightly the number of hurty or healy spells and picked some others he was interested in- like Banishment.

What I’m trying to tell you is that no-one knew that Lummins was going to pull this stunt.

Shock and awe were the Player’s reactions.

Except from me of course.

The bastard.

Suddenly Blue Fury (the Half-Blue Dragon Gladiator) is on his own with the Brothers of the First Light, and there’s a lot more grinning around the table.

It’s like a conference for Cheshire Cats.

Note Rath Modar has a watching brief, he’s not getting involved atm, that’d sky-rocket the level of this Encounter.

Watt keeps dishing out his Bardic Inspiration (swearing at his colleagues) and firing arrows at the remaining Half-Blue Dragon Gladiator- Blue Fury.

Lux, now free of the Dragon, follows Watt’s lead and finds somewhere safe to hide and hit Blue Fury with her Eldritch Blasts.

While Sgt B and Hotlips get to work double-teaming the lone remaining enemy- seconds later Blue Fury is bloodied, but not done for- taking another hit from Hazirawn just to manoeuvre in to the best spot possible to unleash his newly recharged Lightning breath- with the same result.

Hotlips, at the last moment, scurries out of the way of the electrical storm and leaves Sgt B (Save = ‘1’) to face the full Lightning fury.

I swear I was laughing so much it bloody hurt.

Pete, as usual, failed to see the funny side.

And so it goes for a little while longer, that is until the inevitable happens- Sgt B decapitates Blue Fury with Hazirawn, at which point the Brothers have about thirty seconds (Lummins advises) until the Dragon and Dragongfang are back in the room.

The Brothers heal and cast other spells, get in to position- ready to attack.

Who am I kidding- Hotlips goes in to hiding; Lux & Lummins exit the room, Watt turns Invisible while Sgt Bobby stands in the centre of the chamber swearing very loudly and making threats (some of which are biologically impossible).

The Banished duo reappear, and it all begins again- Lux fires Eldritch Blasts in to the Dragon, Lummins fires Scorching Rays (mostly in to the Dragonfang), while Watt sheds his Invisibility and starts up with his bow, also targeting Light Sabre.

Meantime Sgt B and Hotlips get in to their tag-team work-out on Electric Boogaloo.

The just returned bad guys are taking a beating, although Light Sabre manages to hurt Sgt B a bit (at last), Electric Boogaloo however is having no luck (long story short- I rolled ‘1’, ’2’ & ‘3’ for my first three attack rolls).

We’re going to the last here though, the Cult Assassins are in no retreat, no surrender mode.

They’re both however bloodied very quickly (and remember they were all Maxed HP at the start- that’s 224 for Electric Boogaloo).

Lummins eventually incinerates Light Sabre (with about his eighth Scorching Ray- we went on a while, although the Priest was max-enhancing every spell).

The Priest of Lathander however almost pays the price, Electric Boogaloo launches its Lightning breath and again Lummins takes the full effect (Save = ‘1’ therefore 58 Lightning damage), Watt is also back to bloodied in an instant.

But its not enough- the Brothers keep hammering away at the Dragon, and before the creature can inflict any more damage, Lux (eventually) kills it dead with yet another brace of Eldritch Blasts.

And then there’s a moment of happy silence- the aftermath, the Brothers are spent- but victorious.

It’s post-coital.

Well, almost.

Then the Fireball goes off in the midst of the Brothers of the First Light, and Rath Modar departs (teleporting away).

Lummins is down and dying (Save = ‘3’, every time he rolled a save the results were terrible), Watt is only just conscious- although the Bard is quickly to the Priest of Lathander with a Cure.

The fight is (really) over.

Although the Players and PCs are on edge for a good while after, there’s quite a lot of hectic running about- seeking their attacker.

After a frantic, and often noisy debate, it is finally surmised by the Brothers that the Fireball came from above them (correct) but that no-one saw anybody there (at any point during the fight), and furthermore no-one knows where the caster has gone. Most likely they have departed.

So, not much to work on.

Great- big tick for me.

The rest of the time spent in the Cult hideout in the sewers is underwhelming, there’s a little treasure to be had, however the PCs also locate a stack of paperwork, it seems the Dragon Cult is keen on an audit trail.

The paperwork is actually a ruse, but Shh… the Players didn’t know this- you’ll see.

The Brothers are certain that the paperwork (which is going to take a while to get through- it’s all encrypted) will reveal the nature of the imminent attack on Waterdeep that they have just thwarted.

So, they’re the heroes- again, that’s nice.

And yet…

The PCs are left with the uneasy feeling that they’ve been set up (prescient of them) and that the higher ups in the Dragon Cult are perhaps now on to them.

Who just dropped a Fireball on them?

Who just teleported (possibly) the big bad guys in, and themselves out?

The Players are fretting.

Did we just get targeted?

Lux is also concerned that Talis the White (the Cult leader from the Hunting Lodge that told her that an attack in Waterdeep was imminent) may have set her up.

The bitch!

What’s worse several of the PCs are at this point remembering that it was indeed Lux that sent them on this mission. The Players know (because Sandy = Lux told them) that it was one of the Warlock’s ‘informers’ that had provided the information.

Several of the other PCs (who am I kidding- it was just Sgt B = Pete) want answers- there’s a bit of argy-bargy for a while, Lux eventually comes clean about where she got her info from (Talis the White) and the recriminations (although only low-level carping) begin.

The rest of the session, well that’s just a lot of chatter, which of course is for next time…
 
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Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #50 The Rise of Tiamat #09b The Second Council of Waterdeep.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 10
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 10
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 10
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 10
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 10

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #50 of our game, but only session #09b of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

The Brothers of the First Light are just back from their trip in to the sewers, after defeating the Waterdeep branch of the Dragon Cult, and thereby thwarting their imminent attack on the City of Splendours. At least that’s what they think they have done, several (all) of the PCs have their suspicions that they’ve maybe been played.

The Brothers, all of them that is, have however taken a beating- much healing is needed, and a little R&R as the PCs have got the second Council of Waterdeep meeting early the very next day.

Funny how the timings worked out.

So, we take a break for food- and for Lux (Human Warlock, played by Sandy) to run through the powerpoint (I’m kidding) that she has prepared for the Council. In reality that translates to the five of us, mostly with mouths shoved full of take-away food going through what Lux is going to say (Sandy has a note pad, it’s unnerving at times- she asks me to spell things). In truth I didn’t contribute much to the cause, except to remind them of names where there were memory lapses.

There’s one other job to take care of- the coded Cult papers salvaged from the hideout are passed on to Marflub and the Ice Toad gang, and by doing this the Players reveal a little more of their plan (but see much later- next session- for the full scheme). They want Marflub and his fellow Ice Toads to go through the papers and find the evidence they need- the details of the Cult attack on Waterdeep, and any other secrets to be told. They figure (or else Lux and Watt (Human Bard) do) that the Ice Toad accountants are meticulous, like a mystery, and are keen to do some work- who am I to disabuse them. I find that when Players are keen to make the story up for themselves, then more often than not- just nod. Note the coded messages are not too difficult to decipher, remember that three of the PCs are ex-Dragon Cult members. Therefore Watt, Lummins (Half-Elf Cleric) and Lux spend a little time with the Toad Team going through all of the Cult ciphers that they know.

The DM is happy with all of this, and happier still to inform the Brothers that the Toads will need a day, at least, to go through the paperwork- so, basically the results come after the second Council meeting.

Funny the timing of things, I think that’s worth repeating- although the Players didn’t figure it at the time, I just told them there was a lot of paperwork to get through, and codes to break. Simples.

Oh, and just to make clear- the book says that the PCs should all level up now, screw that, they’ve only just got their level 10 sticker. Besides they don’t know when they’re supposed to level up, and its much too late for you to tell them. So, they’re level 10 still… and the next morning back before the Council of Waterdeep.

There have been some changes, well- at least two, the first change is really obvious- there’s an extra chair in the room and someone sitting in it, a reserved looking middle-aged lady in fine clothes who is simply introduced as Elia. No further details are provided, and when Watt and Lux ask Dagult Neverember explains that all will be made clear later, but first it’s time for the Brothers of the First Light to deliver their report.

The second change to the Council is slightly less obvious- in fact Leosin Erlanthar has to tell the PCs about it for them to even notice- it seems Neverember has been replaced as the head of the Lords’ Alliance delegation. The new big chief is Lady Laeral Silverhand, who is also the new Open Lord of Waterdeep, Leosin is very happy to report this.

Note the Brothers would not have picked up on this fact if they were not told of it beforehand, Lady L stays (mostly) quiet throughout the meeting, which is (as per the first council session) chaired by Neverember, who continues to pretend he’s in charge.

Anyway, enough of that- we have about an hour of game time left for this session, and so the next ninety minutes goes a lot like this. The Brothers have five topics/subjects to discuss-

1) The action and adventure in the Tomb of Diderius, fighting Devils, Yuan-ti and undead- culminating in the capture of Varram the White, alas the surly Dwarf Cultist had already ‘mislaid’ the White Dragon Mask, so this was not recovered.

The chat goes on a while- and its mostly slaps on the backs from all of the delegates, the only dissenter being Delaan Winterhound (of the Emerald Enclave) who gets an attack of the giggles when he learns of Varram’s capture. Delaan is of the opinion that Varram holds little value- the recovery of the Dragon Mask was the primary purpose of the adventurers’ mission. Which they therefore failed.

This last bit doesn’t go down too well- Sgt Bobby (Human Fighter) has to be quieted (and then apologised for).

Next up…

2) The action and events in Oyaviggaton, including the rescue of Maccath the Crimson and the fleeing of the great wyrm- Old White Death.

Note Lux veers from the protocols at this point, although after first gaining permission from the Council, and invites in to the meeting witnesses to the events, to wit- Orcaheart (the Hero), Maccath (the Crimson) and Marflub (the Ice Toad).

The Council are mostly underwhelmed, but polite, particularly when Lux and Watt make an impassioned speech (partially written/encouraged as it turns out later by Lummins (Rob)) regarding the decimation of the Ice Hunter tribe, slaves of the great tyrant- the Dragon.

Lummins (Rob) has had an attack of the conscience- after all the Priest of Lathander killed over a dozen of the tribes-folk with his Radiance of the Dawn attack.

The Brothers of the First Light (except for Sgt B and Hotlips (Halfling Rogue)- they don’t give a damn) push for some sort of reward or recognition for the Ice Hunter tribe- the Council are happy to oblige, particularly if the PCs agree to get the newcomers out of the meeting hall sharpish and get on with their report.

And so it comes to pass- (a little) more on this later.

The Brothers, of course, receive their rightful plaudits for their Oyaviggaton venture, Ambassador Connerad Brawnanvil squeals with glee when he first hears the tale of Old White Death’s fleeing. He offers to personally reward the hero of the hour (that’s Orcaheart) with a Dragonslaying weapon (he has a couple to choose from, slaying Dragons is what Connerad is all about).

You can imagine how happy Sgt Bobby (Pete) is to hear this.

Whereas Orcaheart is overjoyed when the information is finally translated in to words he just about grasps.

I seem to remember all of the other Players also being very happy at this news- some of them even happier to see the frowny face that Pete (Sgt Bobby) was pulling.

There was a lot of laughing and pointing, to be honest- I’m slightly ashamed I started it.

But we move on, after a little more verbal applause for the Brothers from the Council.

While Orcaheart and Marflub are shown out of the meeting hall- Maccath the Crimson, Dragon scholar, remains- the Tiefling wishes to report also...

3) Maccath has been in touch with the Hosttower in Luskan, home to his colleagues in the Arcane Brotherhood, in summary he wishes to offer his (and their) services- to help in any way they can to thwart the Dragon Cultists.

And the crowd mostly goes wild.

I say mostly because Ambassador Connerad mutters and whines loudly for anyone (and all) to hear that he “don’t trust them black-hearted spell-wranglers”, there’s a bit of an atmosphere for a while but it soon passes.

Although a little later on (next session) as it turns out someone else is also unhappy about this situation- but we’ll get to that.

Next…

4) Lux, and Watt, speak at length about the things they saw on the way back from the Sea of Moving Ice- settlements in flames, death and destruction caused by Dragon attacks, that kind of thing.

Several of the other Counsellors have their own stories to tell- it seems the Cult are (in places) rampant.

Soon after a discussion breaks out, in which I am able to briefly but succinctly reiterate the plot, or at least the bit we’re at.

If you’re playing a campaign that is but one great adventure, I find it useful to do this kind of thing quite often.

However, better still…

The Dragon Cultists, the Council concludes, are on the move- they’re doing things, the implication being the PCs don’t know what they’re doing- perhaps they should try to find out.

The PCs, of course, have a few theories about the bigger picture, and are therefore encouraged to articulate them by the members of the Council. Which is obviously good for me (your wordy DM) because I wanted to make sure that they have been (mostly) listening and paying attention.

This is a better way of doing things- if you can get the PCs to remind you of the plot every now and then (in-game if possible), that way you can find the bits that either need reinforcing, or deflecting (hiding), or else… gulp, rewriting.

Their theory is this- Tiamat’s coming, the Dragon Cult are gathering a hoard (and horde) and then they’re going to be summoning big bad Moma.

We explore the question “How?” for a while, and the PCs are pretty much spot on there too, their version is- the Cult bigwigs (Wyrmspeakers) are going to meet up somewhere and use Red Wizard magic to power some sort of summoning (using the Dragon Masks). The treasure hoard is the lure, or else the reward for big T(iamat).

Well, as it turns out they have been listening.

Or else Pete has read the module.

I know where my money is.

Actually, I would bet my mortgage that Pete has read the book but not told any of the other Players anything about it, they have simply (and fairly easily) figured it out.

It’s about an Evens bet- because that’s what happened with Pete in the last module.

What the PCs don’t know is where this is going to happen.

Or when.

Actually, they’re not that certain on the how, but they’re in the game.

But there’s more, sometime toward the end of this discussion- which goes on for quite a while, Delaan Winterhound (of the Emerald Enclave) makes mention of the fact that there have been concentrated Dragon Cult attacks in the Misty Forest, the domain of King Melandrach.

Worth investigating? Watt & Lummins (and others) want to know.

But no, King Melandrach confidently states that the attacks have in fact stopped now, several Elven settlements have indeed been decimated, but the situation is under control. The Elven Kings goes on to say that he believes the attacks have ceased because the Dragon Cult has got all the treasure it needs.

The hoard has been gathered.

King Melandrach believes the countdown has begun.

Which gets the PCs attention.

Good- because all of that last bit was a (sorta) bluff.

Lastly…

5) Just before the session/meeting breaks up Lux (in an awful rush) tells the Council all about the Brothers of the First Light’s latest heroics- thwarting an imminent attack on Waterdeep, and in the process dealing with the Cult of the Dragon management (and more than a few underlings) in the City of Splendours.

The meeting hall is filled with joy- the Council members are obviously worried (so close, what could they have been plotting?) but also so very happy that the threat has passed.

Lux goes on to STATE (I emphasise this word for a reason- what can that be, I wonder) that the Brothers have also gathered evidence from the Cult secret hideout which MAY make clear their future plans…

But she’s guessing, and grandstanding.

Both, as it later turns out, badly.

That however is the end of the session, and we were well over time in the end, except I’ll just add the new and updated version of Council of Waterdeep “Official” Score Table-

The Harpers +6 (5/7/10)
The Order of the Gauntlet +6 (7/9/12)
The Emerald Enclave +2 (5/7/10)
& the various Lords’ Alliance delegates-
Lady Silverhand +6 (7/9/12)
Lord Neverember +5 (5/7/10)
Ambassador Brawnanvil +7 (7/9/12)
King Melandrach +6 (6/8/11)
Marshall Ravengard +8 (7/9/12)
Taern Hornblade +6 (6/8/11)
Sir Isteval +8 (6/8/11)

Note the numbers in the parenthesis, let me explain- at the end of all four council sessions the PCs need to score +5 to garner one favour from the Harpers, +7 would earn them two favours, while +10 would result in three. The numbers in the parenthesis therefore indicate the scores needed for one to three favours from each of the delegates

More chatter (a lot more chatter) next time...
 
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We D&D.

Session #24a Hoard of the Dragon Queen #10a House Hunting for King Urp.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 3
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 3
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 3
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 3
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 3
What did you end up doing with Cyanwrath and Frulam Mondath?
 


Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #51 The Rise of Tiamat #10a M is for Toadalyser.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 10
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 10
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 10
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 10
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 10

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8

This is session #51 of our game, but only session #10a of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

Apologies for all the ‘a’ and ‘b’-ness but it seems to me as the PCs get higher level, and more involved in the plot et al, then things seem to take a lot longer to explain here. Every session, it appears, needs to be split in to two narrative parts- just to get everything that happened said, and explored a bit.

This however is a short section, apologies, but that’s because the second part is a sizeable chunk of roleplay and chatter, and other (sometimes fraught) stuff.

And so…

The Brothers of the First Light are back in City of Splendours, the second Council of Waterdeep has just ended- and the PCs are as always, the heroes of the hour.

Also, at some point the Players are going to figure out that they have actually been set no new tasks by the Council- but that doesn’t happen yet, so read on…

It’s a bit of a give away what goes on in this session- just check out the title.

What do you mean your confused? Well, believe me, I was more than a little confused at the time.

So, lots of things happen- in the following order.

The Brothers are straight out of the council chambers and in to a meeting with Ontharr Frume (Order of the Gauntlet) and Leosin Erlanthar (Harper), also present are several of the PCs newly employed (sorta) specialists- to wit, Maccath the Crimson (Arcane Brotherhood) & Marflub the Ice Toad (Accountant). Actually, Orcaheart is also present but he serves no purpose, and doesn’t understand 90% of what’s being said- all of the time, but he smiles a lot- which is nice.

The Players, I think I said a few sessions back, have been plotting again.

So, the meeting is this- the Brothers want Marflub and his Toad Lab boys (don’t ask) to go through all the paperwork and evidence gathered so far, in short they want access to everything the Order of the Gauntlet and the Harpers know.

This is news to Marflub of course (and to me), however a little while later after more explanation (mainly from the three PCs that have on average something like +7 on every social skill on their character sheets) Marflub is up for the challenge.

Marflub is rechristened “M”, and the Ice Toads are to be known collectively as, wait for this… it took someone (Rob) an entire lunchbreak to come up with the name… the Toadalyser.

A marvellous piece of whimsy.

There are arguments, and rough words- particularly from Ontharr Frume, who- as it turns out, is also mad at the PCs for letting the Devil-worshipping Arcane Brotherhood in to the non-magic circle (as it were- the Council of Waterdeep).

Ontharr rips Sgt Bobby a new one. Sgt B remember is a member of the Order of the Gauntlet- the Gauntlet’s motto is (paraphrased)- “No Wizards! How do we want them? Dead!” Or something like that…

Sgt Bobby (Pete) is less bothered than you’d think.

In summary his opinion is, “like I care.”

Sgt Bobby soaks up the verbal barrage- he’s an ex-Watch Sgt, this isn’t his first bollocking, it won’t be his last. Awfully magnanimous of Pete, I enjoyed the moment immensely.

Eventually (after a series of very persuasive rolls, again) the Harpers and the Order of the Gauntlet agree to share their info but only with Marflub (sorry “M”) and his team. Ontharr is particularly insistent that the Arcane Brotherhood not be allowed to see the documents he will be providing.

The Brothers agree (and in doing so lie to Ontharr, or at least one of them does).

Maccath the Crimson (Arcane Brotherhood), who is still in the room- remember, stays silent. Much later she gladly agrees (with Lux) to (secretly) help with the document search (this detail later played out via e-mail).

The Brothers, in summary, put together their special investigations team.

I don’t mind that. In fact, nice work.

I tell the guys (a while later, after I’ve had an extended think about how I’m going to play this) that they can post a new question for the Toadalyser team to work on every other (even) session of play. However, posting a question and receiving an answer are two different things- the DM (through the auspices of the Toadalyser) will post answers when they become available (basically, I’m going to be controlling the drip-drip of new info). The Players are happy(-ish) with that.

And so, the Harpers and the Order of the Gauntlet allow the Ice Toads access to their paperwork, and to quiz Leosin and Ontharr (and others) at length to get their take on events- all of which will, of course, be written up and added to the data cache.

I’m writing about D&D and using the term ‘data cache’, that’s an odd one.

Anyway, meeting done.

You know the old saying, “As one meeting ends, another begins”, and so it comes to pass…

The Brothers are heading for the exit when they’re stopped by a well-dressed fellow who tells them that he is the seneschal of the Lord’s Palace, he then indicates that the PCs are late for their next meeting… ‘follow me’, he mouths and then heads off, (somewhat) reluctantly the Brothers (eventually) decide to follow after.

The seneschal manages to always stay ahead of the Brothers, who have to rush to catch up at times- somewhere along the way the adventurers gain an escort, a group of four guards (actually Gray Hands)- two ahead, and two behind. The PCs are getting edgy- eventually Watt stops the show and refuses to go on- “Are we being arrested?” the Bard asks.

As it turns out- no, the seneschal explains that now they’re away from the audience (any audience) he can tell them that they have been invited to a secret meeting with Lady Laeral Silverhand, and some others- when he says ‘invited’ however he means their attendance is mandatory.

The Brothers are happy to serve.

I wanted to make sure the PCs understood that this was a very secret meeting.

En route to the meeting the seneschal warns the Brothers to be on their best behaviour (Sgt Bobby = Pete), of course.

And so, all the way in to the depths of the building, and eventually to a magnificent chamber that has been unused for generations, probably- regal, massive, but empty.

Save for Lady Laeral, Dagult Neverember, Sir Isteval (who is a big fan, apparently, of the Brothers) and the unexplained Elia, the middle-aged lady who also attended the second Council of Waterdeep.

Lady Laeral says little except to introduce herself, and her three companions- the rest of the meeting is mostly Dagult.

And the big secret is this… well, actually it’s a demonstration, before the Brother’s eyes Elia transforms into an Ancient Silver Dragon, eighty feet long from tail to snout, and with a wingspan that encompasses the massive chamber.

While the adventurers gaze on at the largest creature they have ever seen, Dagult explains- the Brothers are to accompany Elia (actually the Silver’s name is Otaaryliakkarnos) to a meeting of the Great Dragon Council and basically be the eyes, ears and voice of the Council of Waterdeep there.

The Brothers must negotiate an alliance with the Dragons, making concessions if they have to- although within reason, in order to secure Dragon protection for the cities and regions of the Sword Coast (particularly those that members of the Council of Waterdeep call home) and also to secure aid for the various factions (on the Council).

So, no biggie.

There’s a lot of hurried chat with Dagult- most of it along the lines of “how the hell do we do that?”

Dagult and Sir Isteval have all the answers, which are-
1) Behave (everyone in the room turns to look at Sgt Bobby).
2) Impress the Dragons with your/our story.
3) Convince them that we’re the good guys, but that we need their help.
4) Offer them money and other things.
5) Anything else you can think of that might work.

The Brothers are up for it, particularly when they learn they are going to make the 600-mile journey to the Nether Mountains on Oty’s (as Sir Isteval likes to call her- he’s very affectionate) back. The journey should take two days at most.

That’s the way to travel.

However, before we get to the going several of the other Brothers have further questions, the most asked being- “What do we want the Dragons to do?” Dagult explains again- protection (flying overhead) for cities and regions, and aid for the various factions. At which point we stop the chat while PCs go through the members of the Council of Waterdeep and figure out where, or who, or what each member represents.

We spend another ten minutes chatting about this and that, and then the deal is done.

The Brothers are going Dragon-riding, but first however they’re going to have to lay a false trail- remember, this is a very secret meeting- as is the meeting with the Great Dragon Council, no-one can find out that the PCs have even left Waterdeep (ideally).

Including all of the other members of the Council of Waterdeep, and all of the factions- in short, no-one should learn of this meeting… until the result is in the bag.

The Players are therefore told to come up with a smoke-screen.

They flounder for a while, eventually the brain’s trust comes up with the following ruse, which sorta fits the bill. The line is- the Brothers of the First Light will be unavailable for a short while, they’re heading out on the Flying Lighthouse (although not too far, probably Luskan to the Hosttower) and to continue their investigations.

I’m good with that, and soon after so are the Harpers and the Order of the Gauntlet- neither of whom have any clues that need investigating right now. Both factions however ask the Brothers to look out for other Dragon attacks, and if possible- intervene.

But that’s a given- if there’s a fight to be had, then the Brothers are having it.

Both factions also advise that they will get in contact (via Sending) if there are any new developments, the Brothers promise to do the same.

So, the PCs (and Elia/Oty, secretly) climb aboard the Flying Lighthouse and then get some distance away from the City of Splendours, and then climb aboard Oty/Elia the Ancient Silver Dragon and it’s up, up and away.

Dragon-riding, which involves several skill checks (not to hold on- the adventurers are tied to the great beast) but rather to overcome the inevitable air sickness, ever flown in a fast attack jet (even a trainer with a back seat), it’s the surest way to lose your lunch.

Oty, of course, goes easy on the Dragon-riding noobs- who am I kidding, she loop-de-loops, wingovers, barrel rolls and Immelmanns as often as she can.

Sgt Bobby is the last to yack.

Two days later, mostly flying at as higher altitude as the PCs can stand, and without stopping to rest once- Oty arrives in the Nether Mountains, and eventually circles and descends in to a massive ravine, the Dragon dives in to darkness. Then eventually lands in a huge open space supplied with fresh glacial water streaming down the tremendous stone-cliff walls, and home to a small but ancient forest. The vast hidden space is also equipped with a series of massive flattened and sculpted (over millennia) boulders, like great perches (or Henry Moore (abstract) sculptures).

After sleep the Brothers et al awake to discover that the Great Dragon Council is waiting for them to attend, but that’s for the second part of this session (because there’s a lot more chatter).

See you there…
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #51 The Rise of Tiamat #10b The Great Dragon Council.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 10
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 10
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 10
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 10
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 10

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #51 of our game, but only session #10b of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

We’re in the Nether Mountains, at the Great Dragon Council- the Brothers are here to win the wyrm’s favour- let’s see how that goes.

We begin, naturally, with introductions- but let’s skip that for a second- the Brothers are first up, they’re given the floor- and the smooth-talking trio (very mostly) are asked to the tell their story, and to come right out and ask for what they want from the great Dragons.

All of which you know about (the Council of Waterdeep wants an alliance, and for the Dragons to protect them), and the Brothers have been through their own story more than once before- so we skip to the good bit- the arguing.

And remember, the PCs are being peered down at by five Ancient Metallic Dragons, and these guys are big- the Gold is easily a hundred feet nose to tail.

But first let’s get to the introductions, I’ve also included a short statement from each of the great wyrms in reply to the Brother’s initial requests, and a short description of the wyrm’s character-

Protanther ‘Prot’, Ancient Male Gold Dragon-

“Screw the Council of Waterdeep, what have they ever done for us? If its uppity chromatic Dragons that’s the issue, then we take care of our own problems. We don’t need these people.”

Prot is a condescending tool, throughout the negotiations.

Ileuthra ‘Ily’, Ancient Male Brass Dragon-

“Well, maybe- it might not hurt to at least co-ordinate our attacks. But join them… SNORTS, perhaps we could just lead them, or simply tell them what to do?”

Ily views the humanoid races as tools- to be used. Humankind is not Dragonkind, and therefore much less than. He is however keen to make the most of this opportunity.

Otaaryliakkarnos ‘Oty’, Ancient Female Silver Dragon-

“I’m with Protanther, the Council of Waterdeep squabble like children… We don’t need these people.”

Oty was not at all impressed by the Council of Waterdeep, particularly with the Dwarves (Connerad & Ontharr)- she fears that all humanoids (to some extent) cannot be trusted.

Nymmurh ‘Nym’, Ancient Male Bronze Dragon-

“Why not form an alliance with the Council of Waterdeep. The Order of the Gauntlet and the Harpers have both proved themselves in the past- they can be trusted.”

Nym simply adores the Harpers, and the Order of the Gauntlet folk- so small, and so squishy, and yet still they fight for what is right.

Tazmikella ‘Taz’, Ancient Female Copper Dragon-

“We should kill the chromatic Dragons, and their allies- maybe we could use this alliance to lessen our casualties, otherwise- we don’t need these people.”

Taz is flighty, and a little mischievous- she wants something from the Brothers and is willing to play the game until she gets what she wants… you’ll see, now read on.

Note, obviously I changed up a few of the Dragon’s personalities from those described in the module, I had my reasons. Also note while all of the Dragons are paragons of Good, they’re mostly concerned with Dragons, and the things that get in their way, or can be a help to… well, them. In short their world view is Dragoncentric, not quite xenophobes, but the concerns of humanoids are certainly less important.

The PCs are somewhat dismayed that only one of the five Dragons is convinced- Nym is on the Brother’s side from the get-go. They’re even more dismayed however that Oty seems not to like them much either, this after we roleplayed out a short conversation (while we ate Pizza) between the PCs and Oty on the journey here. The PCs (and Players) thought Oty quite liked them.

To make matters worse at about this time Lummins, and then when the Priest of Lathander doesn’t answer, an hour later- Watt, both receive Sending messages from Leosin Erlanthar (Harper contact). The message is basically- “get in touch, as soon as.”

Remember this is now the third day the Brothers have been away from Waterdeep.

Obviously, the message comes during the bit in which the PCs are trying (again) with all of their fine words to come up with arguments to persuade the Dragons to join them. It takes a good twenty minutes of back and forth, with some good rolls in there, but the Dragon Council- most of them, are still not convinced.

Note, there were some very good skill checks from the PCs, and the Dragons (some of them) as the meeting went on were more polite, less dismissive (and/or insulting) of/to the adventurers.

But this problem can’t just be solved with high rolls- which came as quite a shock to several of the Players.

At which point the Great Dragon Council goes on a break.

The Brothers chat through, and then soon after implement, their new strategy- concessions, they’re going to offer the wyrms a load of cash- at least that’s the majority plan (in truth- not much of a plan, and again they were floundering a little here). That is until Watt takes it upon himself to approach Oty, and asks the Ancient Dragon directly- is there anything that the Brothers, or the Council of Waterdeep, can do to get her on their side (basically)? Anything? Just name it…

Oty thinks about this for a while and then tells her sad story, her mother Kaliatykars was slain during a Dragonmoot, a terrible tradition of the Dwarves of the north- they hunt and kill Dragons. Anyway, her mother’s hide is at present being used as a carpet in the Coal King’s Hall in Citadel Adbar- she’d like it back. Also, she’d like a personal apology from the Ambassador Connerad Brawnanvil, for the slaughter of her parent.

At which point Sgt Bobby snorts, and asks “Anything else?”

But the three chatty folks (Lux, Lummins & Watt) are in to it now- and after a short back and forth, the three agree- they’ll get it done. They’ll go back to the Council of Waterdeep, talk to the Ambassador and get the rug (sorry, Oty’s mother’s precious hide) and the apology.

Now the PCs/Players have a plan.

They’ve also got two Dragons onside, and they only need three (they think) to sway the Great Dragon Council in to an alliance.

They can do this.

At which point Lummins gets around to messaging Leosin back- “We’re a bit busy atm, what’s the strife?”, or something very similar.

The Priest of Lathander receives an answer less than ten minutes later- “Dragon attacks continue, located (possibly) Wyrmspeaker & Green Dragon Mask- need you back, soon. How long ETA?”

Lummins holds off replying for a while, the Brothers have other things that need doing first.

Next up they visit with Ily, the Brothers figure they have no reason to deal with Nym- the Ancient Bronze is already on their side- they’re correct.

So, to Ily, the Ancient Brass Dragon- and pretty much the same chat, although framed this time with flattery and passivity/civility (and some more good rolls), then the question- whatchyawant?

Ily has a think for a while, and then expounds at great length about the five Dragon Masks that the Cult of the Dragon (with Red Wizard help) have crafted. Ily finds the idea of these creations abhorrent, and then simply states that the price of his vote is all five Dragon Masks. The Brass Dragon promises, after further chatter, that he wants the Masks in order to take them to a safe place ‘beyond Toril’, so that they can never be used here again.

The Brothers actively support Ily’s idea, this after a series of checks to try to figure out if the Brass Dragon is dissembling, or else has other (hidden) intentions- not as far as they can tell.

So, agreed.

There is whooping, all they had to do was to roleplay a bit- promise some things which they’re not that concerned about, and that they figure they can (possibly) achieve. Maybe.

They’ve done it.

Or so they think.

And so right on time the Great Dragon Council reconvenes, for the second and final session of the day.

The Brothers et al delight in asking Oty, Ily and Nym- once again- whether they would like to form an alliance with the Council of Waterdeep, and what do you know- the three aforenamed Dragons are all okay with the idea. Although, subject of course to the PCs successfully gaining the concessions that they made to them earlier.

Woohoo!

You’d have thought.

3-2!

Only it doesn’t go like that- Prot and Taz, go bonkers (well, like bonkers- only the thing that Ancient and wise Dragons do instead of bonkers) which as it turns out is to get very angry, and yet very quiet (or at least Prot does). Taz is apoplectic for a while- Humans! If the Brothers are a typical example of the species, then they’re certainly not to be trusted- according to the Ancient Copper.

She also delivers some pretty spicy insults to the chatty trio (basically everything I’ve been wanting to say for a good long while, but y’know- in character, let it all out… now, breathe). That’s better.

The tetchiness goes on for a little while, until an ultra-surly Lux delivers the final fingers-up by boldly telling Prot and Taz to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine (or else a slightly (very slightly) less rude version of this) because the Brothers have the vote.

3-2!

At which point Taz semi-delights in informing Lux and the Brothers that Prot is the head of the Great Dragon Council, if he doesn’t call a vote, then there is no vote.

Therefore, no alliance.

Oty asks Prot if he’s going to call for a vote?

Prot shakes his head, and then with a smile brings to a conclusion the Great Dragon Council.

Class dismissed.

Oh, but I have been called some things.

Lolz. Worth. It.

The Brothers/Players (after a short verbal fracas encompassing the DM, of course) scramble into recovery mode.

There’s a brief debate- do they talk to Taz, or Prot, or Taz and Prot- they vote on it (don’t ask me why, it just happened). Just to make clear- during the above roleplay the PCs got on the wrong side of Prot very early on, the Ancient Gold was condescending, aloof and very dismissive of everything the PCs/Players had to say (I had a ball with it). Taz was easier to like, she was snippy and snappy but was like this (a bit) with some of her fellow Dragons (and even had a couple of semi-funny asides).

So, oddly, the result of the Players vote is 3-1, they’re going to have a chat with Taz first (and then Prot). I appreciate that this seems the wrong way around to you (and to me…) but that’s what happened.

Therefore, four of the five PCs- Pete = Sgt Bobby mostly does not much during these sorts of sessions, he listens- most of the time, but has also been known to fetch drinks, go for a smoke, or else get a magazine out (to look at the pictures). He likes the company but doesn’t often get too involved in the heavy roleplay stuff, the Players (after months and months of fighting) did a deal some time ago (remember).

Anyway, all three of the chatty folk get their humble pie-eating outfits on and head over to see Taz, there are apologies (aplenty), flattery (by the bucket-loads) and finally, a song- that’s right. Taz is a funny old mare (Ancient Copper Dragon) but eventually she is persuaded to listen some more, if… If Lummins, high Priest of Lathander will sing for her, she likes singing- and more than singing she likes humiliating high-ranking official types. Also, Rob (who plays Lummins) is the man most unlikely to sing a song (any song) even in the company of friends, even if he was drunk. Rob couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.

So, I make him sing “I Should Be So Lucky” by Kylie Minogue, all of it- along to the Youtube video. Although when I say ‘I’, I of course meant Taz- the Dragon, I’m Rob’s friend, I wouldn’t humiliate him in front of his friends like that.

Lummins completes his penance.

He had red cheeks afterwards.

Sgt Bobby/Pete, the bastard, joined in towards the end- he enjoyed it immensely.

At which point Taz allows the Brothers to attempt to cut a deal with her- after all, the other members of the Great Dragon Council are getting something out of this, why shouldn’t she (and she knows what she wants).

Prot has a stick up his backside anyway, she jovially confides- the Brothers very quickly get to like Taz, right up until the point that the Ancient Copper Dragon tells them what she wants.

To begin with it’s a sad tale.

She, and her fellow Copper (hinted at lover) Gazlikkus ‘Gaz’, were given the task (ages past) of keeping safe an item of great evil.

The pair took turns to guard the item, as they moved between active and inactive phases of their lives they would exchange the great evil- swapping it between their respective hoards.

Then, a century or so past, Taz called on Gaz for fun and frolics- and then to take charge of the great evil- it was her turn to guard the item.

Only Gaz was dead, her sometime-partner slain, and mutilated- the Copper’s body dissected in part, with sections of the skeleton removed (and missing). Gaz’s horde was gone, and the great evil also, of course, taken.

She suspected the Cult of the Dragon, who at this point were on the crusade to build bigger and better Dracoliches.

She hates the Cult of the Dragon- that’s handy, and yet…

Taz has been searching for the ‘great evil’ ever since, that is until now…

Right then, I had a plan for the next bit- I tried to confuse the PCs a little, alas they saw through my ruse pretty quickly.

I wanted the Players to think that Taz was asking them to get the ‘great evil’ item back for her- a quest.

When in fact the ‘great evil’ was something they already possessed.

As I say, it didn’t work very well, but I still got a sizeable laugh when I named Taz’s price.

That’s right.

Have you got it?

Worked it out?

Are you certain?

Positive?

No doubts?

The great evil is…

Hazirawn.

Sgt Bobby’s favourite thing in all of the world.

And up until this point the three chatty folk thought they were getting a little side-quest.

Pete/Sgt Bobby has to be called in from having a smoke in the garden for this.

His initial reaction is- “Who wants what?”

Which is followed by a brief explanation of events by Watt (played by Jackie, Pete’s wife).

Followed inevitably by a cacophony of profanities clustered around the word ‘no’.

The other Players attempt to persuade Pete/Sgt Bobby, some with tears in their eyes (Sandy was laughing so hard) but the answer is always and forever ‘no’, with added swears.

Entertaining, but there’s nothing else that Taz wants- the Brothers try for a while, but the Ancient Copper is severely miffed with the PCs, and in particular Sgt Bobby’s reaction. She’s therefore firmly back in the no to the alliance camp- so, that went well.

Just Prot left to chat with, perhaps they should have started with him.

You don’t say.

Here we go.

Prot is unswaying, he acts as badly as he did in the Great Dragon Council- he’s a massive condescending tool, who struggles to equate humanity (and humanoids in general) as being anything more than just scenery (that moves- slowly). Just to make clear, Prot is Lawful Good- but Dragon Lawful Good, human existence is all well and good, but not his job. Prot is all Dragon, and for him- Dragons are all.

So, the chatty Brothers play stupid a little, and say sorry a lot- which cuts little ice, Prot doesn’t care for insults or for apologies, the Brothers have nothing he wants…

At least that is until they ask him- “What do you want? Ask? Anything?”

Prot cogitates a while and then asks for the most preposterous thing he can think of- for King Melandrach of the Misty Forest to get down on his knees and apologise to the Great Dragon Council for the Dracorage Mythal*, and then to make recompense.

*I explain to the PCs/Players about the Dracorage Mythal, after looking it up the week before. Soon I will be reading about it, I’m sure, see this thread-

I'm reading the Forgotten Realms Novels- #47 Starless Night (Legacy Drow 2)

Lux and Watt agree to the deal in an instant…

Which puts Prot on the spot.

After a mite more chatter the great Gold agrees, if the Brothers can extract an apology, then he’ll agree to the alliance.

The whooping begins again.

And so, Prot calls the Great Dragon Council back to order… which Taz isn’t at all happy about- there’s a vote, and… 4-1.

The Brothers have done it.

And you’d think that would be the end of the session… but, it’s not.

Taz takes a short moment to insult a few of her fellow Ancient Dragons, then mocks the Brothers a little- and in the process makes clear that Hazirawn is an evil weapon forged in ancient times in Thay (of all places). Hazirawn, Taz goes on, has a mind of its own and a desire to slaughter and kill, draining the essence of its victims.

Sgt Bobby is briefly drawn in to the spat, the surly/burly Fighter (oddly) defends his blade, before switching tack to claim that he can handle the weapon’s ‘evil’ streak.

Note, when Sgt Bobby/Pete took up Hazirawn, me & Pete had a short discussion about the weapon- I told Pete that Sgt Bobby had to (every now and then) rush to the slaughter, and (sometimes) to solve his problems by violence (with Hazirawn). Surprisingly, he was good with that (I think he even had a tear in his eye), and I think for the most part he has fulfilled his side of the deal.

In truth, they were made for each other, Hazirawn and Sgt B- funny that.

What follows is the fall out.

There are two subjects up for discussion between the Players-
1) Why is Sgt Bobby (Pete) wielding an EVIL weapon? Also, due consideration is given to the supplementary enquiry- Should we allow Sgt Bobby to do this?
2) Will Sgt Bobby (Pete) give up Hazirawn?

The discussion of question 1) spirals for a good long while and descends into close examination of the text in the module with regard to the nature of the evil blade- Hazirawn. We drift OOC and do some more soul searching. Remarkably the OOC feeling of the group is they quite like it that Sgt Bobby has an evil sword.

The subplot to the above opinion (this DM thinks) is they quite like the fact that Hazirawn, in Sgt Bobby’s capable hands, represents a license to kill bad guys. It’s a terrifying weapon, thank Lathander we’ve got it- Lummins finally paraphrases. And for ‘terrifying weapon’ read Hazirawn and/or Sgt Bobby, they’re both equally frightening- but together.

So, the Players/PCs choose Pete.

Therefore, the answer to question 2), after maybe twenty (plus plus) minutes of exasperation moving towards angry finger-pointing, is finally concluded- the answer to question 2) doesn’t matter.

The Player’s/PCs vote Sgt Bobby/Pete.

They’ll take the hit- the final vote 4-1.

Just for info, Pete informs the room, the answer to question 2) is still ‘no’.

So, Taz the Dragon is about to fly off in a huff, however Sgt Bobby can’t let it go- the non-roleplay specialist decides to give over a piece of his mind, and so in front of the assembled Great Dragon Council, he lays in to Taz.

The crux of the non-chatty Sgt Bobby’s speech is- “Hazirawn may be evil, but I’m not- I will turn the blade’s viciousness to our advantage”, that kind of thing- with a few unnecessary insults thrown in for good luck. It’s not so much the hubris, what sticks in Taz’s craw is the fact that Sgt Bobby seems to be calling the Ancient Dragon a coward.

At least I think that’s what he was trying to do- it was a rambling speech, with addendums and asides, and in places less than coherent (not because of alcohol I feel I need to add, but because Pete tends to skim a variety of subjects when he chats).

And with that Taz departs, the rest of the Great Dragon Council are a little dismayed by the Fighter’s crowing, but… Humans! Typical.

The Brothers however have got the Great Dragon Council to agree to an alliance.

That however is the end, at last, of this session- and be warned there’s a little action, but also a lot more chatter in the next one as well.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #52 The Rise of Tiamat #11a Saving Irate Dragon

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 10
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 10
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 10
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 10
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 10

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #52 of our game, but only session #11a of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

We’re in the Nether Mountains and at the Great Dragon Council- the Brothers of the First Light have won the wyrm’s alliance, and in doing so have gained four favours from the regal drakes. This because the Council voted 4-1 to ratify the alliance, after lots of great roleplay and a few choice concessions.

Note the PCs have still got to get the various Lords, Kings et al on the Council of Waterdeep to agree to the concessions that they have made to the Dragons, so the alliance is a potential goer, but not yet a certainty.

The one vote against the Brothers came courtesy of Tazmikella or ‘Taz’, an Ancient Female Copper Dragon- her vote would have cost the PCs (or rather Sgt Bobby/Pete) the services of Hazirawn, the burly/surly Fighter’s (NE) magical sword.

Taz has gone away for good, enraged she fled the Great Dragon Council, after Sgt Bobby’s semi-humiliating speech (and associated insults) at the end of the last session.

Now time for the doubting and the fretting- Players, what are they like.

This is what happens next, and again the Players (as it turns out) have been chatting between sessions.

So, first up- high Priest Lummins of Lathander messages Leosin Erlathur and tells the Harper that they will be back in Waterdeep in two or three days, Oty (Ancient Silver Dragon) has of course agreed to return the PCs to whence they came.

That’s that problem solved- for now.

Then Prot (the Ancient Gold Dragon) asks the Brothers what favours they intend to ask of the Great Dragon Council, basically which four Kings/Lords/Ladies etc., or else factions (or others) are they going to assign the Dragons to help.

Just to note I decided to get the PCs to make their choices now, rather than get back to the Council of Waterdeep where they could have their heads turned. Decisions now and face the consequences later.

As explained in the last session, the PCs have four favours to spend.

Who do they choose to protect, or aid?

The first two favours go on Dragon-power to protect the Dwarves (Ambassador Connerad) and the Elves (King Malendrach), very simply in order to buy the concessions that have already been promised to the Dragons.

Smart move.

The next Dragon favour goes to Waterdeep, or rather to Lady Laeral Silverhand the head of the Council of Waterdeep, who sent them on this mission.

Again, smart move.

And that, alas, just leaves one…

Bugger.

And so, we spiral for a while- here comes the fretting and doubting. The Players discuss last session (and other things) and make the same point time and time again- if only they could have got Taz on board, got her vote- that would mean six favours, and a much easier decision.

Note- six favours, because they get a bonus favour if they achieve a consensus (5-0) from the Great Dragon Council.

The PCs now have a plan for this- its simple, although they didn’t figure it out last week.

Sgt Bobby is very happy to pledge to hand over Hazirawn when all the fighting is done, he just needs to make full use of it until then…

It’s a shame that Taz is gone, and that they didn’t think of this last week…

I’ll be honest they whined at me a lot last session, because I had put them/Sgt Bobby in an ‘impossible’ position. I hadn’t, for all their smarts they’d just not figured out that they could do both things- keep Hazirawn for now, and then hand it over to Taz at the end. The Dragon would have gone for the deal…

Obviously, they’re going to attempt to get in touch with Taz, via the Great Dragon Council, and put their new offer to her. They didn’t think to use a Sending spell… although I would have found a way to make the magic not quite work if they had tried… see below, I had a plan.

Later Sgt Bobby (Pete) even apologised to me, I feel honoured- although at one point he did bite my head off in the last session, so- I’m due.

So, more chatter… who to give the last Dragon favour too.

And the answer is- they’re going to keep the last Dragon favour for themselves, that’s right- they’d like to move a Dragon (or two) in to the Flying Lighthouse.

I told you they were constructing Tracy bloody Island, they may as well paint Thunderbird One on the side of their new Dragon.

Prot, and the other Ancient Dragons, are happy with the outcome of the talks- after some more great rolls and roleplay, mostly from the chatty trio. So much so that Nym- the Ancient Bronze that was on the Brother’s side from the outset, gifts them with a trio of Dragonslaying Arrows, which are passed over to Watt, the Bard is the bow expert.

Nice!

Next up, promises of contact (via Sending spells) with Prot to confirm/arrange the various concessions that the PCs have made- as and when they have been negotiated with the members of the Council of Waterdeep.

Then farewell, back aboard Oty for the two-day jaunt to Waterdeep, actually to meet up with the Flying Lighthouse- again Lummins uses a Sending spell to inform Blagothkus (Cloud Giant) to rendezvous with the Brothers.

Remember this is still a secret meeting, no-one can know about it… yet.

So, the journey back is not as easy as the journey to the Nether Mountains, only a few hours into it and Oty suddenly lurches hard left, at the same time descending rapidly- almost in a headlong dive. The Ancient Silver has heard the sound of a Dragon in distress.

The Brothers are hanging on for dear life (and have to make an Acrobatics/Athletics check or else suffer penalties for their next (surprise) attack). Oty breaks through the cloud cover and directly below them is a familiar sight- Taz, the Ancient Copper Dragon. That’s handy.

However, Taz is badly wounded (and possibly Poisoned) and beset on all sides by a clutch of Dragon Cultists riding Wyverns.

Note throughout this encounter Taz is losing height rapidly, heading towards icy peaks- the Dragon starts the fight bloodied, being attacked on all sides- and spiralling in and out of control, desperate to slow her descent.

Here’s my thing- Dragon Cultists riding Wyverns- I’m having some of that. Also, a chance for the PCs to rescue Taz, and in the process claim the top prize- six favours from the Council of Great Dragons. Lastly there’s an additional encounter early on in the module called something like “Power of the Cult”, a band of Elite Cultists, so I thought- let’s put these boys on Wyverns, and so it comes to pass…

By the way The PCs/Players quickly (and excitedly) figured out that this was their opportunity to ‘rescue’ Taz, and (perhaps) secure her vote, and thus I am back in their good books- providing they can achieve the task.

Note Oty (their Ancient Silver Dragon ride), throughout the coming fight does little or nothing except to manoeuvre according to the PCs (mostly Lux’s) commands. The Brothers are proving themselves here- they must rescue Taz for themselves. I’m only going to get Oty involved in the fight if it looks like the PCs are going to really mess things up.

Oh, and its max Hit Points for Cultist bad guys- but not the Wyverns, that’s four Dragonwings, two Dragonfangs and a Dragonsoul- I wanted this to be tough. Note I also played fast and loose with the action- theatre of the mind as much as any map.

30 Taz Attack.jpg


And so Oty continues his almost vertical dive- straight into the action.

Hotlips fires a crossbow bolt (Assassination attempt) into the back of the closest Wyvern-riding Dragonfang (for 50 HP damage) alas the fellow is not even bloodied. That gets the Player’s attentions.

Watt has a moment of inspiration- he Polymorphs the next closest Wyvern into a frog (Jackie, who plays Watt, has a thing about frogs). The frog/Wyvern suddenly contemplates its demise- and quickly falls out of sight, the Dragonwing riding the beast does the same- although a little later is spotted slowing his descent using his Limited Flight (note the clues is in the title of the ability). The pair are however out of the fight.

Lux (after prolonged begging by Pete = Sgt Bobby) eventually agrees to cast Fly on herself, Sgt Bobby and Hotlips. Note Lummins has his Winged Boots on- the Priest of Lathander can also fly.

That done the surly/burly Fighter Sgt Bobby flings himself from Oty and semi-glides on to the back of the Wyvern carrying the Dragonfang with Hotlips’ crossbow sticking out of her back. Sgt Bobby stabs and slashes with Hazirawn (and with added Action Surge) and the Cultist leader-type is almost dead.

Lummins flings an enhanced Fireball into the largest concentration of Wyverns and riders- three pairs are caught in the blast, and already the DM is feeling slightly queasy- they’re murderising my bad guys (all but one of them fail their saving throws).

I’m not having that… one of the scorched Dragonwings directs his mount towards the Flying Sgt Bobby, who is grabbed on to the Dragonfang he’s in the process of slaying. The Wyvern screeches by and plungers its Stinger into Sgt B’s back- that hurt.

Down below Taz is biting and clawing at a pair of Wyverns and their Cultist riders which are both focussed solely on killing the Ancient Copper Dragon (note Taz started the encounter already bloodied).

Hotlips meantime finishes off another already scorched Dragonwing with another crossbow bolt to the back- her favourite attack of late, the body of the Cultist falls flailing from its mount.

Bloody hell this fight is going against me very quickly- and thus, the riderless Wyvern turns hard and launches itself back towards Oty, and the Brothers perched on the Ancient Silver’s back.

Watt, the bastard, meantime repeats his Polymorph trick- a second Wyvern suddenly finds itself in frog-form, and descending rapidly, the beast and its Dragonwing former-rider (using its Limited Flight ability) are however both soon out of the fight.

The rider-less Wyvern launches itself into the midst of the Brothers atop Oty’s back- Hotlips is hit by the beast’s Stinger, but the Stout Halfling barely feels the Poison’s burn. Seconds later the Wyvern is gone- Banished by Lux, as is (unfortunately for me- this is turning into a nightmare) the Wyvern that the Cultist Dragonsoul leader is (was) riding.

The Dragonsoul, as previous, slowly falls out of sight- again, using its Limited Flight ability to avoid plummeting into the snowy rocks far below.

Sgt Bobby, while the above is going on, slays the Dragonwing he’s fighting with- and then attempts to take control of the Wyvern, remember he’s been practising (and failing) to learn Wyvern riding as a skill during his Downtime activities.

So, this is it- one roll… but keep in mind he has the ability to Fly, so he’s in no danger.

At last, the burly surly Fighter gets the hang of things, he’s not perfect, but he’s flying the beast.

There is whooping- Pete is delighted.

There are only two Dragon Cultists and their Wyvern mounts left in the fight, but this pair are way-way below- clawing and slashing at Taz, as the Ancient Copper continues to spiral down towards the mountains.

The Brothers grip tight to Oty (or their Wyvern mount- Sgt B) and dive again, descending rapidly to save the Ancient Copper.

Just to note, I halved Taz’s hit points again- the Ancient Copper is down to 70 or so, from 315 HP at full.

Lummins hits one of the attacking Wyvern-riding Cultist combos with a Flame Strike, radiant fire engulfs the pair, and then the Priest rolls spectacularly low damage (there were 5 x ‘1’ involved). Taz, the Brothers are now close enough to clearly see the great wyrm, is looking very beaten up. The Priest of Lathander therefore also fires a much-enhanced Healing Word into the Dragon.

Too late?

The singed Dragonwing directs his Wyvern mount to attack Taz again- more hits (including a Crit), Taz (for your info) is down to approx. 40 HP.

However, the Ancient Copper Dragon fights back (I allowed the out of control (almost) Taz to make one attack/turn) with a roar she bites the Dragonwing rider clean in two.

Watt, moments later- after half of the Brothers miss their various attacks, goes for the three-card-trick. The bastard! The Bard Polymorphs his third Wyvern into a frog, and in the same instant (obviously) the Dragonwing Cultist rider falls away from the fight, screaming insults as he goes.

There’s only one rider-less Wyvern left in the fight; it doesn’t stick around for long (mere seconds) it flees the scene.

The Banished and Polymorphed enemies are swiftly forgotten about, Lummins applies more Healing Words to Taz, while the Ancient Copper finally regains control of her tumbling descent. Then with several of the Brothers (aboard Oty) guiding Taz down, they make for a convenient snow-capped glacial valley, to land- and heal some more, and inevitably (eventually) to chat.

However, Sgt Bobby and Hotlips have other ideas- the pair (both Fly-enhanced) descend on Wyvern-back to hunt down any survivors, the pair manage to account for another two semi-falling Cultists, before their Fly spell runs out. At which point they cling on to their Wyvern mount and gingerly make their way back to their companions.

Note, I scared the pair a little by getting them to make Perception checks to find the pair of Ancient Dragons (Taz & Oty), and the other Brothers, who are trying to stay hidden from sight (made a little more difficult by the presence of the two gargantuan Dragons). The pair failed a few rolls (and started to get tetchy) before finally spotting their companions.

There was a moment when they thought they were lost- nice!

So, after much much healing- Taz is much much more amenable, it requires almost no roleplay, just for Sgt Bobby to offer over Hazirawn into the Ancient Copper’s keeping after their quest is done. The clever-ish Fighter even goes so far as to suggest that Taz accompany the Brothers in their future adventures, in order to keep an eye on the evil blade.

He’s a sly bastard, that Sgt Bobby. Taz, is cheeky and chirpy- even going so far as to have a bit of banter with the burly Fighter- soon after the pair are getting on very well, maybe even a little flirty (which is an odd direction to go). But it gave me an idea- more on this later (your sneaky DM).

Taz will, of course, vote for the alliance- and will make her decision known to Prot as soon as possible, the Brothers have achieved consensus (5-0) of the Great Dragon Council. That’s six favours- four already distributed (Dwarves, Elves, Waterdeep & the Flying Lighthouse) and two more to be decided.

Taz also promises to send the Brother two (Adult & Young) Copper Dragons- she will (after her Dragons arrive) take responsibility for guarding the Flying Lighthouse, in effect honouring one of the favours agreed by the Great Dragon Council in advance of the promised alliance.

By the way, the Players are absolutely loving this.

That’s the end of the first half of the session- there’s more, lots more, chatter (sorry) in the second half.

See you there.
 
Last edited:

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter

We D&D.

Session #52 The Rise of Tiamat #11b Yet More Bloody Meetings.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 10
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 10
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 10
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 10
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 10

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #52 of our game, but only session #11b of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

Consensus (5-0) has been achieved at the Great Dragon Council, the Brothers are on their way back to the Flying Lighthouse (and then on to Waterdeep) riding on the back of Oty, the Ancient Silver Dragon. This after rescuing Taz, the Ancient Copper Dragon, from the clutches of a Cult of the Dragon Wyvern-mounted attack squad.

The Brothers have secured six favours- four already distributed (Dwarves, Elves, Waterdeep & the Flying Lighthouse) and two more yet to be decided, from the Dragons- providing they can arrange the concessions they have promised to the wyrm council.

Forgive us… but it’s lots more chatter from hereon in- and we didn’t get too much more in because this was a short session and the Pizza course went on a while with the Players still crowing about their victory earlier in the session. In particular, the fact that Watt managed to Polymorph three Wyvern’s into frogs (not even Giant Frogs) and thus also took three Dragon Cultist riders out of the fight.

Crowing, and giggling- they really enjoyed the last encounter, it had something for everyone, and Sgt Bobby (at last) has got the hang of Wyvern-riding. That said things do not go smoothly for the surly Fighter, later the same day (en route to the Flying Lighthouse) Sgt Bobby’s Wyvern’s mount (still not entirely tamed) decides to give the Fighter the fright of his life- swooping down low, flying upside down and generally trying to unseat its rider (this after an Animal Handling ‘1’).

Sgt Bobby somehow manages to hang on until the Wyvern has spent its energy, later the Fighter decides to curtail his effort, abandoning the temperamental creature and joining his colleagues on Oty’s back.

Clearly Sgt Bobby still needs practice.

Two days later they’re back to the Flying Lighthouse, which they rendezvous with maybe fifty miles east of Waterdeep. At which point they say goodbye to Oty, and it’s a fond farewell- and then fire up their Flying Ice Castle for the last leg of the journey to Waterdeep.

The rest of the session is chatter- as I’ve said already, and the chatter continued between sessions- so a third of what follows was achieved not around the table but via e-mail, lots and lots, and LOTS of bloody e-mails.

So, here goes-

First bit of news, delivered by M (that’s Marflub the head Ice Toad Accountant/Detective), is that there is absolutely nothing in the papers recovered from the Dragon Cultist’s lair in the sewers beneath Waterdeep to indicate there was an impending attack planned. M is absolutely certain that no such attack had been planned, the Ice Toad explains that two thirds of the paperwork the PCs recovered are scrawled taunts, threats and ranting screeds. Furthermore, one of the pages lists the five names of the Brothers of the First Light, each crossed through, and then in code the phrase “We are coming for you!” The paper is signed by Severin, who the PCs know is the present head of the Cult of the Dragon.

So, it’s personal- and the PCs were quite definitely set up, and in particular Lux was set up (she’s 99% certain) by one of her Cult contacts- Talis the White (Dragon Cult boss, last seen in the Hunting Lodge near Parnast).

There follows much chatter- possibly too much, I should have reigned them in and got on with the next bit, you live and learn.

Oh, and just to say- much chatter, but no actual decisions about anything by the Players/PCs- mostly a mixture of idle threats, vague possibilities, and a bit of half-hearted ranting (nothing new then).

Then to Waterdeep, and we decided ahead of time to get through all of the extra roleplaying before the adventurers go, well… adventuring again, in the remainder of this session (hence us continuing via e-mail, we wanted to get it all done).

So, Waterdeep- first meeting is another secret rendezvous in a (magically) warded room in the The Elfstone Tavern, there the Brothers meet with Lady Laeral Silverhand and Sir Isteval and tell the pair their tale. Joy is unbound, Laeral delivers kisses, and promises of further aid, and that the Dragon Masks will be handed over to Ily the Ancient Brass Dragon, for disposal. This when Laeral hears the happy news- and in particular that Waterdeep is going to have Dragon protection.

That said the Dragon alliance is contingent on the Brothers convincing Ambassador Connerad and King Melandrach to agree to the concessions. To this end the PCs (very clever) instantly cash in one of their newly gifted favours from Lady L, basically if things start to go bad with the Dwarves and/or Elves then they want Lady L to help them to make their case. She agrees- good work (the PCs can use Lady L only once in the following meetings).

Prescient.

So, after a bit more mutual congratulations the Brothers arrange, prepare, and then head off to their second meeting, this one in the Lord’s Palace, and with Ambassador Connerad Brawnanvil, member of the Council of Waterdeep Council and representative of the northern Dwarven kingdoms, and the Lord’s Alliance.

Things go badly for a while- by which I mean that I get the chance to RP an apoplectic (but not apologetic) sweary and surly Dwarf. I think I called Watt a mountebank (actually an effing mountebank) at one point, Pete looked it up on his phone.

Remember the Brothers need to get Oty’s mother’s (Kaliatykar’s) hide back, and an apology (with reparations = gold) for the Dragonmoots, and for slaying her.

Brawnanvil’s opening position on the subject is anatomically impossible to translate into action, although it may be possible for a Dragon to achieve the head to rectum interaction.

The arguing begins, with the PCs initially keeping the fact that the Dragon’s have promised to protect the northern Dwarves, to themselves- the (good to great) roleplay, and subsequent high to staggeringly high checks follow. Blah… blah… blah, and Connerad is having to give ground all the while- the PCs explain themselves succinctly (the greater good is the line), and are remarkably polite (mostly the chatty trio, although even Hotlips gets involved). Then Lux, after a great Insight check, figures its time to offer the Dwarven Ambassador a flight of Dragons to patrol and protect his people… the result is inevitable.

That is until Sgt Bobby (Pete) wanders in from an ante-room (the garden) which he nipped off to earlier to have a quiet smoke, because everyone was just bloody yapping… anyway Sgt Bobby/Pete arrives back on the scene and tells Connerad to ‘shut the something up and listen to sense, you something something hairy munchkin*’.

*Actually, there exists some dispute over the word munchkin, and this session (at this point) wasn’t being recorded. Other Players are certain that Pete/Sgt B said midget- nobody however disputes the two very rude words that preceded munchkin/midget.

Sgt Bobby rolls a ‘1’, when he gets seated, for his Intimidation check- Connerad shares a few expletives of his own and then leaves the room, with his entourage stomping out in his wake- meeting over.

The Players (three of them) go bonkers on Sgt Bobby/Pete, it’s like old times- although only very briefly, at which point Watt (Jackie) remembers they have a favour due from Lady Laeral, and what do you know- less than a minute later a red-faced Connerad is back in the room, accompanied by the aforementioned Lady L, who just happened to be in the vicinity.

Apologies, and then the roleplaying starts again, although only briefly- it is soon after agreed that Ambassador Connerad will visit with the Dragons at their next Great Dragon Council (at which the alliance will also, fingers-crossed, be ratified). There the Dwarf will apologise, hand over the rug (sorry, precious Dragon hide) and then (using money supplied by Lady L) make reparations. He won’t like it though, the (Silver Dragon hide) rug really tied the room together.

Dude.

Soon after, perhaps early the next day- we’re getting through this, and the Brothers are in another meeting- back in the Lord’s Palace, same room in fact, but this time they’re meeting with King Melandrach and his entourage.

This time the Brothers are looking to get the Elf King to apologise to the Great Dragon Council for the Dracorage Mythal, and then to make recompense. Well, it’s a similar opening to the PC’s last meeting, Melandrach is much more polite, and a little more genteel, and yet his answer is still a big fat ‘no’.

And so, we go around again, similar arguments- the greater good, and then the revelation that the Brothers have secured protection for the Elven kingdoms from the Council, and… it’s a maybe.

Not a ‘yes’, but also definitely not a ‘no’. Atm.

Just to say 75% of this meeting was played out via e-mail, lots of good chatter but, and here’s the big but, Melandrach was never going to say ‘yes’, the DM had other ideas.

The Players, of course, are disappointed- which in turn leads to many more e-mails, and more speeches and fine words… and still the answer is maybe.

Eventually we get around to the last meeting of this session (actually conducted entirely via e-mail between this session and the next).

The last meeting occurs only an hour or so after the meeting with Melandrach, and (what do you know?) in the same place- present are Leosin Erlanthar (Harper contact), Delaan Winterhound (Emerald Enclave, member of the Council of Waterdeep) and Prince Alagarthas (son of King Melandrach). The PCs/Players are intrigued when they’re introduced to the Elven Prince.

The substance of the meeting is this, as delivered partly by Delaan, but mostly by Prince Alagarthas- King Melandrach was correct in saying that Dragon Cult activity in the Misty Forest has subsided (a little) however the Prince and the Emerald Enclave believe that more attacks are imminent. There have been sightings of a great marauding Green Dragon, being ridden by a humanoid wearing what is very likely to be… the Green Dragon Mask.

Sightings of this pair have been regular and often, the creatures (the Prince swears) are still laired somewhere within the vast forest kingdom.

Leosin, Delaan and the Prince want the Brothers to track down and rout/kill the Dragon and capture/kill/rout its Wyrmspeaker rider, and also grab the Green Dragon Mask.

Another chance to capture a Wyrmspeaker and/or a Dragon Mask- that would really put a spanner in the Cult of the Dragon’s works.

The Brothers have a few questions- mainly where and when do we start, garner some advice, and then… depart.

And that’s all she wrote.

Next session, action at last.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #53 The Rise of Tiamat #12a Galin’s Story.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 10
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 10
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 10
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 10
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 10

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #53 of our game, but only session #12a of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

At last some bloody action, although not quite yet…

So, the Brothers of the First Light have almost secured the concessions they need- King Melandrach however is not that keen on apologising (and making reparations) for the Dracorage Mythal, which is a shame because if the PCs can get the Elven ruler onside then the alliance with the Greater Dragon Council is a goer.

Meantime however the Harpers (Leosin Erlathar), the Emerald Enclave (Delaan Winterhound), and Prince Alagarthas (son of King Melandrach) have come to the Brothers with a job of work. There’s a great Green Dragon on the rampage in the Misty Forest, the terrifying beast is stalking the woods and being ridden by a (Green, of course) Dragon Mask wearing Wyrmspeaker. They think, the usual caveats apply.

And so, another chance for the PCs to do their stuff, the Flying Lighthouse soon after departs Waterdeep- heading for the Misty Forest, a short hop away, the Brothers arrive less than two days later. Prince Alagarthas has told the guys all about Altand, the village which somehow stopped the Green Dragon’s attacks.

Note, en route to the Misty Forest the PCs are being interviewed (behind the scenes, not roleplayed out) by Marflub and the Toadalyser gang who are gathering info to fill out their files/database.

Back to the nearly action- the Brother’s plan, such as it is, is to head Altand- check in with the locals, but also to keep an eye on the forest (as best as they can) using the Farseer of Illusk, and so it comes to pass…

The away team descend into the forest, and then a short while later enter Altand, note the mist of the Misty Forest aids the Brothers semi-secret arrival in the region.

Altand, a mostly treetop Elven settlement, is recovering from the recent Dragon Cult attack- over half the villagers survived, which is a positive sign (or else odd) as several other nearby Elven settlements have been wiped from the map. It’s quiz time and guess what- a little more roleplay.

The chatty trio (Lummins, Lux & Watt) get into it, while Sgt Bobby (Pete) begins his moaning- “I thought you said we’d be killing stuff?”

So, forgive me but I’m moving quickly (a bit) just to appease the masses, all of the Players are gagging for a fight- you don’t get to 10th level without wanting to throw your weight around a bit (it seems).

Anyway, the Brothers make their introductions and then set about charming the populace, they learn-

1) The attack came without warning, but it was all over very quickly.

2) The Dragon swooped in- catching lots of Elves in and about their treetop homes with its poisonous breath (which accounted for a majority of the deaths).

3) A dozen or so Human Dragon Cultists (they were wearing regalia) came out of the forest to attack the Elves fleeing the Dragon by descending to the forest floor.

4) Some say they saw a figure riding the great Green Dragon, others are less sure.

5) The rider was a Human, those that saw the figure are certain of this… except for a couple of them who think that the lithe and agile rider could only be an Elf.

6) Regardless of race the rider was wearing a Green Dragon-shaped/faced Mask, which sounds promising.

7) Galin, the Village Warden, was the hero of the fight, and as the only surviving leader-type is now in charge of the settlement.

8) Lastly, the Dragon Cultists and Green Dragon et al, retreated from the engagement as swiftly as they first arrived- they took no treasure, or prisoners, or… anything. This last bit is singularly odd (the PCs know this) because the Cult is supposed to be amassing treasure for Tiamat’s hoard, unless (as King Melandrach stated at the last Council of Waterdeep meeting) they’ve already got their hoard. In which case why attack at all…

Note the last point above, was highlighted by Delaan Winterhound (Emerald Enclave) and Prince Alagarthas (son of King Melandrach) back in their meeting with the Brothers in Waterdeep. This, in essence, is the reason for the PCs visit to Altand.

From all of which the Brothers quickly conclude the following- that there’s a Green Dragon with an Elven rider wearing the Green Dragon Mask, and last bit- something happened to stop the attack, or else… well, they’re not quite sure of the last bit. That’s one of the things they want to find out.

These are clever people, but I’m not making it too difficult for them- I/we want to get on.

Now to chat with Galin- where does he think the Green Dragon is laired? And who’s the rider? And why the hell did the Cultists just stop their attack and then clear off?

The Brothers head up into the treetops and find the Warden and ask their questions in pretty much the order listed above, Galin is a not sure of any of the answers- it’s a resounding ‘don’t know’. Not an unhelpful ‘don’t know’, but rather- “I wish I did know; I wish I could tell you… then you’d be able to kill the bastards!”

Galin is an angry fellow, and agitated- not at all Elf-cool, more cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof. Which is suspicious (I thought so), and so the PCs come right out with it, or else Lummins does (after several checks, including an Insight ‘20’) “What are you not telling us?”

A short, but terse (and emotive) exchange of views later- which briefly manages to get Sgt Bobby excited (he draws his sword- Hazirawn), and the PCs are convinced that there’s something going on- and Galin is now on the defensive.

Lots of Elves are starting to gather around the evolving ‘scene’, bows and swords at the ready, Galin, soon after is working his (Elven) audience- “You come here, after we have lost half of our people, and start making accusations…”, turning the Elven-onlookers against the PCs.

It’s getting a bit like the Ice Hunter Village encounter in which Lummins hit the Radiance of the Dawn button and killed a dozen-or-so good folk. Rob (playing Lummins) doesn’t want to go there again…

Eventually (after a few more excellent checks, some good RP and some backtracking by the PCs- just a little) Galin cracks and tells the Brothers that the Dragon killed his wife, Mweira.

Oh, that’s why Galin’s so angry/upset/nervous.

Everyone is very sorry, well- almost everyone, Lummins is (as it turns out) a suspicious bastard- who has just rolled another ‘20’ for his second Insight check. Galin is still lying.

The Priest of Lathander calls Galin out (sorta) and tells him that he’s going to fire up his Zone of Truth (his third favourite spell), whether Galin likes it or not- and then he’s going to keep spamming it until the Elf fails his Saving Throw (or else the in-game RP version of this sentiment). Then he’s going to ask his questions all over again…

Lummins is certain that Galin’s got a story to tell (the DM has taken him aside and said those exact words to him). As it turns out Lummins (Rob) can be quite shouty too- which comes as a little bit of a (happy) revelation because since maybe the first session of our adventures he’s been quiet and calm (very mostly) the sensible and measured dude.

Sgt Bobby, while all of this is going on, gets some excellent Galin goading in- basically repeating the phrase “yer chicken”, and making chicken sounds, he’s a wag. I’m not even sure that ‘chicken’ is the right insult.

So, the Brothers versus the Altand Elves, the stand-off goes on for a little bit, by which I mean none of the PCs roll very high on their Intimidate/Persuasion checks for a while, and there’s nothing that Galin or the Elves can say to make Lummins pipe down.

Sgt Bobby has still got his sword out, but none of the Elves are keen to try to take it from him- or to start a fight, I’m keeping it together here.

And then Lummins plays a blinder, Lathander would be proud of the lad- here’s what happens. This after Rob did some hasty re-reading of his spells, he’s been doing this a lot of late. I hate it when the Players start finding out exactly what their PCs are capable of.

The Priest asks how long ago the Dragon Cult’s attack took place (this after chatting with me, the kindly DM, to get me onside). As it turns out Galin’s wife was the last to succumb to her wounds, the attack was maybe fifteen days ago, Mweira (Galin’s wife) died of her wounds only nine days since.

Here’s the killer line.

“I will bring Mweira back to life, if you tell me the truth…” Lummins states, confidently.

Seconds later, in front of the Elven villagers, Galin confesses his crime- he promised to help the Elven rider of the great Green Dragon if the Cult would spare Altand, and the crowd go wild. Wild as in ferocious- for a short time the PCs have to grab (a struggling) Galin and get him in to cover, and away from the loud and angry Elves of Altand.

Eventually, after a few more great checks from Watt (and Sgt Bobby- very odd) the Elves sullenly disperse, and then the rest of the story comes out, although there’s not much more to tell, Galin states that-

A) The Dragon (and rider) lair somewhere to the south of Altand, or at least that’s the direction they departed (see below) twice.

B) The Dragon rider is an Elf, and with a local accent (I thought I’d drop that in).

C) The Dragon rider always wears a (Green Dragon) Mask.

D) Galin has met with the Dragon (and rider) once more since the attack- supplying the rider with information about nearby Elven settlements.

E) Galin is not due to meet with the pair for another eight days.

I added that last snippet because I didn’t want the PCs trying to ambush the Green Dragon and rider, I wanted the shoot out to happen in the Cultist’s/Dragon’s lair.

I like to get value from these modules.

Galin is sore ashamed, although Lummins is as good as his word- Mweira is disinterred, and after a Raise Dead spell, back in the land of the living.

Which only causes the resentment for Galin to grow in the village, Lummins suggests that Galin and Mweira join them in/on the Flying Lighthouse, but the now ex-Warden is determined to brave out the situation in Altand. This is his, and Mweira’s, home.

After a mite more chatter, followed by an overnight stay in the ruined treetop village, the Brothers set off into the Misty Forest- heading south and looking for any signs of the Dragon’s (unlikely) or Cultist’s (much more likely) passing.

At which point the Pizzas arrive, and we break for chatting, eating and planning. Then on again… only in the next section, sorry only a short one this time, lots more (and the promised action) in the next one.
 
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Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #53 The Rise of Tiamat #12b Enter the Dragon(’s Lair).

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 10
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 10
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 10
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 10
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 10

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #53 of our game, but only session #12b of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

So, the Brothers head into the Misty Forest, departing from the Elven village of Altand, having learnt of Galin’s treachery, making a deal with the Elven (Wyrmspeaker & Green Dragon Mask wearer) Dragon-rider to keep the village safe.

Note the PCs were a little miffed that they didn’t have a map, and that no-one knew who the Elf Dragon-rider could be, and that they didn’t have anything else to go on… I had to reassure them for a little while over munchies.

The Brothers stumble in to the dark and ancient, tangled woods, and remarkably Lux and Lummins (the pair of bastards) soon find the tracks of a dozen or more booted men, the Brothers attempt to follow the trail. Note I set the DC for this at 22 (initially), I wanted to make it difficult so that the next encounter (in the module- the possibly friendly Druid) adds value. I needn’t have bothered- Lummins rolls his third ‘20’ of the evening and soon after the Priest of Lathander is confidently leading the way- they’re certain they have the Dragon Cultist’s trail.

The PCs are doing really well, so I reverse the order of the encounters presented in the module to shake things up. Therefore, towards the end of the first day’s travel I drop a bunch of Ettercaps and Giant Spiders on them, and with as much surprise as I can muster. Something like DC 24 to spot the bad guys before the ambush- there are no takers, the PCs get well-and-truly jumped.

31 Spiders & Ettercaps.jpg


So, the Brothers are plodding along, on the trail, when suddenly a great mass of webs shoots down from high above (attack with advantage, miss- of course) and lands in a heap about eight feet to the right of Lummins (my bloody dice). While the Priest of Lathander slowly works out what’s going on, a second Giant Spider, also situated in the treetops above, proves to be much more accurate- Lummins is webbed.

It goes crazy for a bit, or else I unload big time- an Ettercap springs out of the trees and directly into the midst of the wandering PCs, biting Sgt Bobby and tearing a bloody chunk from the Fighter (nice hit, I rolled almost max damage). Watt is webbed (by a different Giant Spider perched in a different tree), and then bitten and poisoned badly (the Bard is only just short of bloodied) by yet another Giant Spider attacker, which scurries out of a concealed trapdoor hidden in the nearby foliage.

Meantime a second Ettercap bungees down out of a tree and savages Lux (with a Crit bite attack with added claws). My damage dice are on fire.

The panic is starting. Tee-hee.

Seconds later yet another Giant Spider descends into the clearing and bites the restrained Lummins, the eight-legged menace finds reverse gear and starts to drag the Priest of Lathander away.

Then Hotlips is webbed by yet another Giant Spider (there are lots of them), and then… finally, a third Ettercap scurries out of the undergrowth and joins its fellow lunging at Sgt Bobby. The surly Fighter is bitten and clawed some more (and well on the way to bloodied too).

Several of the Players (during the above) have to make their own System Shock rolls, Rob (Lummins) is hyperventilating, and Pete (Sgt Bobby) is absolutely furious (no change there). At the end of the surprise round three of the five PCs are restrained, and three of them have taken (multiple) hits- two of them close to bloodied already.

Then it gets nasty.

For me.

Just to say there are seven Giant Spiders and three Ettercaps in the mix.

Watt (max-enhanced) Thunderwaves a pair of Giant Spiders out of their respective trees and then starts dishing out his Bardic Inspiration- this (mostly) takes the form of motivational swearing.

Sgt Bobby unleashes Hazirawn, screams incoherently, and then slaughters one of the Ettercaps attacking him (with an added Action Surge Crit).

Lummins prays fervently as he’s being dragged off, and then fires off his Radiance of the Dawn- which encompasses almost all of the attackers. Two of the Giant Spiders are killed outright and fall from their lofty perches, while a third (the one formerly dragging the Priest away) now slowly flees the scene- dragging its radiant burned sagging broken body away from the fracas.

That’s more like it- and now the Players are properly back to grinning, normal service has been resumed.

However, Lux looks up- there’s a Giant Spider above her in the bowers, a second later and she’s webbed and restrained too. There’s only Sgt Bobby that’s not restrained, and the Fighter has two Giant Spiders and an Ettercap in very close proximity.

Hotlips however is far from done, the restrained Halfling snakes her rapier out and skewers and slays the Ettercap menacing her and Sgt Bobby, thereby freeing up the Fighter a little. The Rogue then spins out a dagger and catches another of the treetop (already badly radiant burned) Giant Spiders betwixt its eye cluster (from about fifty feet away, and with disadvantage (rolled ‘17’ & ‘18’))- dead.

Watt however is pounced upon by yet another Giant Spiders, he’s knocked to the ground, and bitten and poisoned (and bloodied) some more. The badly injured Spider starts to drag the now screaming Bard away- into the dark woods.

Lux screams and then Shatters the densest clutch of Spider-like attackers she can see- two Giant Spiders are blown apart in an instant- it rains hairy legs for a short moment. The last Ettercap standing looks panicked. It has every right to- it only has one very broken Giant Spider companion left in the fight.

That encounter fell apart very quickly.

Bloody Radiance of the Dawn.

Bloody Players Woo-Hooing.

Bloody Hell!

Watt mumbles a Mass Cure Wounds- mostly saving himself, he’s very bloodied.

Then Sgt Bobby (here to save the day) rushes to the last Ettercap- decapitates it, and then sprints on and flings a dagger into the abdomen of the last departing Giant Spider, the eight-legged menace drops the struggling but restrained Watt and scuttles away as quickly as it can (on 5 HP).

The encounter is over, and Sgt Bobby is revved up and ready to rumble, as Pete stated (volubly & repeatedly) “I’m rock hard!”

Soon after Sgt Bobby, after getting leery for a short while- “I could do anything to ya!” (remember the other four PCs are all webbed and restrained) breaks his comrades out of their sticky bonds. A halt is called to proceedings- mostly for some extended healing, and camp is set (after clearing away the dead bodies)- the Brothers will continue their journey in the morning.

The PCs set watch and then rest up for the night, I make a couple of them nervous during the rest, with false-encounters: snapping twigs- a badger, something glimpsed in the shadows- turns out to be an owl, that kind of thing… Just to keep them jumpy. Oh, and it rains all night- not that heavy rain but the fine drizzle that soaks everything, and (hopefully) erases the Dragon Cultist’s trail.

Next day and it’s up early and back on it, I tried to throw the PCs off the trail again (DC 25 Survival check this time to follow the trail) but alas Lummins finds the way, he starts the new day with a ‘19’ (and he’s +9 on Survival, how did I miss that).

So, off they go… for a stroll in the Misty Forest, that is until three hours later when the chatter and murmur of birds and insects et al is suddenly broken by a short sharp scream. The Brothers rush off, in random directions to begin with, until they eventually fall in line behind Lummins, the quintet eventually burst into a narrow but lengthy clearing, at the far end of which an old woman dressed in a dirty brown smock is pinned by a freshly fallen tree.

The old lady is clearly upset, she waves frantically at the Brothers, crying for help.

Lots of things happen at once- Lux and Lummins call out in unison “It’s a trap!”, Hotlips grabs her crossbow out and sneeringly points it at the struggling old woman, Watt (arrow nocked) scans the foliage around about looking for ambushers and the like. While Sgt Bobby, ignoring his comrades completely, rushes over to the fallen grandmother and grabs at the tree crushing her and POP! puts his back out with an athletics check ‘1’.

The burly/surly Fighter stumbles and falls groaning, which brings his colleagues running- what has the witch done to Sgt B?

There follows fifteen minutes of confusion, and semi-arguments (and more than a little laughter)- Lux and Lummins take charge (badly) of the situation, and after accusations aimed at the pinned grandmother soon discover that- a) Sgt B is fine, he just hurt his back and fell over, b) the old woman is a Druid (and an agent of the Emerald Enclave), c) the trees are alive.

Point c) is a concern for a short while, that is until point b) is finally made clear.

The nearest Awakened Tree is introduced as Russell.

That gets a laugh.

The Druid, after finally being rescued, introduces herself as Gragnan and then goes on to berate several of the PCs for a short while, she then grabs Sgt B- lays him flat on the ground, and shuffles up and down on his spine for a bit- kneading him (sorta) with her feet. All the while continuing to chatter with the other PCs, five minutes later and Sgt B’s back is gloriously pain-free.

The Brothers, of course, are very apologetic- and chatty, they explain away their initial reaction to Gragnan- basically, bad stuff has been happening to them all of the time for the last three or so months. They therefore err towards the suspicious.

All is forgiven, Gragnan is aware of the situation in the Misty Forest- the Green Dragon’s name is Chuth, the beast lives in a waterfall-fronted cave near a stagnant pool maybe two miles further to the south. The Druid explains the route, nice work. Alas Gragnan, knows nothing of the Dragon-rider, save what the PCs already know, she does however know that there are a bunch more (presumed to be) Dragon Cultists (less than twenty) laired with the Dragon and the (possible) Wyrmspeaker.

There’s not much else she knows, except that the (magical?) flower garlands she weaves from the flowers that (somehow suddenly?) sprout in her hair, will keep the Brothers safe from the Dragon’s animal spies that surround and monitor its lair. She gives one of the (magical?) flower garlands to each of the PCs.

The Brothers however want to get changed before they don the flower garlands, they’ve brought their Dragon Cult attire with them, in the Bag of Holding Lux acquired a short time ago in Oyavigatton. The Bag of Holding is now the PCs official dressing up box- they don’t want to travel in their Cult clothing, but they do want to have the option of quick changing into this attire. The Bag also holds Disguise Kits (and a number of other useful items) as well as spare Potions et al (everything labelled, Lux insisted).

Then after disguising themselves come the flower garlands, with warnings that they must not be removed for the magic to work, and then Gragnan is gone- the old woman transforms in a burst of feathers and squawks, into an Owl and flaps luxuriously (and almost silently) away.

The Players liked that encounter.

Then onwards, now dressed as Dragon Cultists, with Lux doing her best to look like a smouldering Frulam Mondath, the rest of the group her Dragonfang/wing/claw entourage, slightly odd that all five are wearing flower garlands, but… we’ll cross that bridge later, maybe.

Two miles later, or else ninety or so minutes spent trudging through the dense forest brings the Brothers to a stagnant (in part) pool fed by a fifty-foot-high curtain waterfall, several tangled streams and rivulets leading away into the Misty Forest. There’s an easy to spot opening beyond the falls, wide enough for several large, if not huge, creatures to pass through. This is very definitely the place.

Hotlips is sent out for a scout about, the Halfling disappears into the undergrowth- she has fifteen minutes, the Rogue returns right on time- having not been sighted once by the observing Brothers. There’s nothing much to see, or else there’s an easier way into the cavern mouth behind the waterfall, a bit of a climb- but no guards and no watchers, as far as Hotlips can tell.

Twenty minutes later, and with Hotlips leading the way, the PCs have all clambered their way into the cavern opening- although Sgt Bobby nearly goes for a tippy-tumble into the pool (he's attracted to pools of water- you'll see), he grabs a rock and saves himself at the last moment.

However, the clambering doesn’t end here, Hotlips- still leading the way, discovers the lip of the waterfall is just that- a lip, the ground drops away again within the cave, a steep-ish forty-foot-long descent. The Halfling keeps her colleagues informed, Sgt B grabs out a rope and takes the strain, guiding/lowering his comrades safely down one at a time. Hotlips scurries down unaided, and then goes ahead to make sure the coast is clear.

The Rogue is stealth incarnate- that’s a ‘20’, and so decides to milk her skill check and go for a bit of a wander, Hotlips returns in time to meet up with her colleagues who have made it down the slope (lots of skill checks- lots of successes, what can you do).

Note we slow-played the entrance to the Dragon’s lair (and pretty much the rest of what follows- you’ll see), it took over twenty minutes (real time) to get from the pool to here, the Players took myriad precautions (rope, stealth, aid-another x lots) they were very keen not to alert anyone within the cave.

And so, Hotlips reports in- just around the corner are a cluster of Elves, none of them dressed in Dragon Cult garments, the folk look just like the inhabitants of Altand, in clothing and aspect- Hotlips swears they look frightened.

Ten seconds later five Dragon Cultists, led by Frulam Mondath (Lux) stride around the corner and to the group of four Elves, which appear from the shadows either side of the cavern tunnel. The Brothers, or else Frulam/Lux make the appropriate Cult signals, which are half-acknowledged by the Elves- and then introduce themselves (again, or else Frulam/Lux does).

32 Elf Guards.jpg


Just to refresh your memory- Lux looks like Frulam Mondath, a happy accident- the character portrait Sandy picked at the start of play does indeed look a lot like Frulam, also Lux has spent plenty of time with Frulam, and she has the Actor feat. Lastly, she has an At Will Disguise Self ability, so- she really looks the part. Of course, the Elves here don’t know who Frulam Mondath is (some of the Dragon Cultists might however) but everyone can see (and hear) Frulam is a Dragon Cult bad ass through and through.

The Elves question the Brothers extensively, the PCs have all the answer, and they’re playing their parts very well (lowest Performance check = ‘14’, with three scores over twenty). In fact, Frumlam/Lux quickly takes charge of the situation, and the Elf guards (with some great RP from Lux especially, and three more checks from her- Performance, Persuasion & Intimidate = ‘17’, followed by ‘20’ and ‘20’).

The Players are bloody whooping again, Rob (Lummins) gets down on his knees to worship at Frulam/Lux (Sandy’s) feet- (they’re married, so it wont be the first time).

But what is it they want the Elves to do?

First up Frulam/Lux wants to know who the hell the Elves are- the now nervous Elven quartet describe themselves as servants of the great Chuth (the Green Dragon), but it’s clear that they’re terrified of the beast.

The Elves want to take the Brothers to meet with some of their Dragonfang/claw colleagues and state as much- even going as far as to show the Brothers the way- but Frulam is having none of it. Sandy is having a ball with this and playing her part beautifully- “I am Frulam Mondath, do not walk away from me- if you want to live.” Followed by an Intimidate check ‘19’, and she’s +9. What’s a DM to do?

The Elves are swiftly persuaded (check adjusted ‘23’) to take the Brothers to meet with others of their kind- Sandy’s thinking (as stated at the gaming table) is to get all of the Elves together (if possible), having worked out that these guys are prisoners of the Dragon (Insight ‘21’).

The Brothers are guided to a narrow passage, and then on and into a very loud (and large) guardroom in which a trio of growling Ettins push each other about, and quarrel. The giant trio however stop for the procession- Frulam/Lux however immediately takes charge again- firing an Eldritch Blast into the floor just feet away from the closest Ettin, which yelps and leaps back.

“I am Frulam Mondath! Do not anger me.” She declares, and glares (followed by another Intimate check- and that’s another result over twenty). The Ettins semi-bow, and then get back to their arguing- although their grunts are now interspersed with loud ‘shushes’, they’re trying to keep quiet.

The procession heads on, and through a door and into an odd-looking chamber- two sides (sorta) of the crude quarters are open, the chamber is on a ledge looking down twenty feet into the main chamber- a large high-ceilinged cavern- lit here and there with torches, containing yet another stagnant pool of water.

33 Elf Prisoners.jpg


There follows a semi-spectacular bit of roleplaying in which Lux turns off her Disguise Self spell and then explains, as swiftly as she can, that she and her comrades are in fact the Brothers of the First Light, sent by King Melandrach and Prince Alagarthas to rescue his subjects from the clutches of the Dragon Cult. The rest of the Brothers make clear their true allegiances (mostly displaying symbols of Lathander) and briefly explain that they are the special forces style rescue squad. Sgt Bobby even has a little speech, wanting the Elves to know that they’re also here to rid the Misty Forest of the tyrant Dragon.

You see Pete (Sgt Bobby), you can do it when you want to.

There follows five swift Persuasion checks, as the Guard/Prisoner Elves fret and eye the exits- but they’re soon convinced, particularly with the impassioned speech of Sgt Bobby (yeah, he rolled a ‘20’), although it also helped two of the other guys were 20+ on their checks also.

The Elves are soon after sharing what they know, or at least the DM is taking note of the questions that the PCs/Players are now firing at him. But I’m scrambling here- trying to work out just how much I can tell the Brothers, and still preserve some of the surprise. So, the answers to the PCs questions will not be made available until the start of the next session. Actually, a lot of the answers to the PCs questions were revealed via e-mail between sessions, once they bloody start this lot- they just don’t stop pestering you.

The Players/PCs have got their teeth in to this.

We played nearly an hour over time, somehow this turned out to be all my fault.

Pete (Sgt Bobby) even came up to me afterwards and congratulated me on the story/action- I swear we’re going to get him roleplaying by the end. Later Pete confessed that he didn’t mind the chatter when it was ‘important’ and ‘in the moment/part of the action’, I think what he was trying to say is he likes RPing when there’s a bit (a lot) of threat going on.

It would be fair to say that the Players had a ball with this session.

More next time, in the next session- which was much less of a ‘ball’ for the PCs. That’s right, I got ‘em good.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #54 The Rise of Tiamat #13a Chuth.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 10
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 10
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 10
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 10
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 10

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #54 of our game, but only session #13a of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

And may I present to you… very much more action.

Too much action- for some, perhaps.

So, we’re in the Dragon’s Den, as it were, the lair of Chuth the great Green Dragon and his Dragon Cult Wyrmspeaker rider- name unknown (although see below). The lair is also home to a bunch more Cultists and a trio of Ettins (at least). The Brothers are dressed as Frulam Mondath (played by Lux), a Dragon Cult boss, and her retinue; they have sneakily penetrated the lair (at first) and then met and convinced a bunch of captured/prisoner Elves that they are here to rescue them, and (of course) to destroy the Dragon.

Lots of good roleplay, and some high rolls- it’ll do that.

At the end of the last session, and via e-mail between sessions, the chatter has continued- the Brothers have lots of questions to ask of the prisoner Elves. I’ll be honest- I wasn’t sure how much of the story to give away, so- here’s what the Brothers learn-

1) The Elves were captured from a variety of Elven settlements in the Misty Forest, all of the settlements were attacked and (presumed) destroyed by the Dragon Cultists.

2) One of the prisoners was captured three months past, so the attacks have been going on for a while.

3) The Dragon rider always wears his Green Dragon Mask, but consensus is he is a High/Noble Elf (and very likely from this region), although he is of course dedicated to the Dragon Cult.

4) One of the prisoners heard the great Green Dragon call the rider ‘Neron’, or something similar. Note I allowed each of the PCs to make a very hard History check to recognise the (partial) name ‘Neron’(vain), DC 28 I think- no one came close.

5) The Dragon lairs beyond the pool (see lair picture below) although none of the Elf prisoners have seen what lies beyond the pool, only that the Dragon emerges from here.

6) The three Ettins are the hired help- door guards.

7) To the north east are the rooms of the Dragon Cult warriors, of which there are dozen- there used to be more Cultists- see below. The Dragon rider ‘Neron’ also has chambers in this direction.

8) Half-a-dozen high ranking (the Elves think) Dragon Cultists (and their escort) visited the lair two tendays past, and then left again a few days later- taking half of the guard compliment that was laired here at the time with them. There were over two dozen Cultist guards laired here prior to the visit.

9) Accompanying the Dragon Cultists (above) was a Red Wizard of Thay, after further questioning the PCs work out that the visitor was probably Rath Modar. The bastard keeps popping up.

34 Chuth Lair.jpg


And that’s pretty much all the Elves know, which is plenty. Note when the PCs start up with their questions (particularly between sessions) it’s much easier to get some hefty slices of plot in, and to make it sound all the more convincing. So, I’m setting something up here… and also making sure the Players have not forgotten about the Red Wizards, and Rath Modar in particular.

That said, between sessions, I thought long and hard about whether I should just have Chuth the Dragon make his entrance right now, and then get the entire lair on alert. Maybe even have the Elf prisoners risk their lives to save the PCs, if it gets really nasty, which I thought it might. But I didn’t, I bottled it- or else I just couldn’t bring myself to go for the big fight so soon, particularly as the Players have been doing lots of great RPing, and coming up with plenty of clever ideas, and rolling good to high- damn them.

It wouldn’t be fair.

I’m going soft.

So, back in game. The Brothers have got a plan- and of course, they’ve been plotting again between sessions.

The Elf prisoners are told to stay out of the way (i.e. where they are), or else (if they’re feeling very brave) to sneak out of the lair, if they can- note the Elves immediately decline the second option. The DM figures they may come in useful- depending on how the fighting goes.

Back-up if the PCs get out of their depth, maybe.

Next up the Brothers struggle back into their Dragon Cult personas and then led by Frulam Mondath (Lux) head back down the way and into the Ettin’s lair. Then, mid-Frulam (Lux) rant- this to get the Ettin’s attention, and to manoeuvre them into line- Frulam wanted to inspect the brutes, the Brothers launch their attacks. Surprise!

35 Ettins.jpg


Lummins wanders into the midst of the giants and fires up his Spiritual Guardians, which now encompass all three cowering Ettins (Frulam/Lux was being particularly mean to them- and rolling very high). Note the PCs are trying to kill the Ettins quickly and quietly.

Hotlips attempts to assassinate the nearest Ettin (and Crits), the creature is bloodied and beyond- seconds later Watt, guarding the exits, fires two arrows into the giant beast (the first also a Crit), while Frulam/Lux finishes it off with a pair of Eldritch Blasts.

One down.

Then, of course, Sgt Bobby starts up- moments later and a second Ettin is bloodied and beyond, Hazirawn never misses. The nasty giant doesn’t last long either- Hotlips scurries over and sticks her rapier in its back, the second Ettin collapses- dead.

Two down.

That just leaves one uninjured Ettin still in the mix, the giant roars in confusion- turns about and attempts to rush into a previously hidden(-ish) exit over the far side of the guard chamber, not spotted by the Brothers. Alas the creature is moving slow, and subject to attack by Lummins’ Spirit Guardians. The great beast also swiftly sprouts two arrows from its back, courtesy of Watt, and then is slashed horribly by Sgt Bobby.

The Ettin however is a roaring fury, and terrified, it eventually smashes its way into the previously hidden (and narrow) passage, all the way through the secret tunnel and into the entrance passage to the Dragon’s lair.

The Ettin is making one helluva noise.

Obviously, the now semi-panicked Brothers are swiftly in pursuit, Frulam/Lux fires an Eldritch Blast into the escaping foe, but it looks like the creature is going to get away- that is until Sgt Bobby (with an Action Surge) catches up with the beast. The burly Fighter skewers the giant, the tip of Hazirawn bursts through the massive brute’s chest. Dead.

Three down.

Encounter done.

Tbh I was going to have any surviving Ettins flee the lair anyway, as far as they can tell it’s the Dragon Cultists that are attacking them (remember the PCs are dressed, and acting like, Dragon Cultists). The Ettins were not going to be hanging around for their severance pay.

The fight is over, the fleeing Ettin is dragged out of sight (although it takes three of the Brothers to do this) while Lummins sprints back to the Elf prisoners in their room, which is handily situated on a ledge looking down into the central chamber of the lair. The Half-Elf Priest watches the passage to the north east, the home- the Brother’s have been told- of the Dragon Cultists.

Damn! As Lummins observes (about a minute later) a group of Dragon Cultists, maybe half-a-dozen of them, emerge from the passageway there and head towards the entrance to the lair, where the Ettin noises were coming from.

The Dragon Cultists don’t seem particularly spooked.

The Priest of Lathander hisses for the Elf prisoners to stall the Cultists, while he rushes back to his comrades in the Ettin’s former lair, there to catch the rest of the Brothers up with ongoing events.

The Elven stalling technique doesn’t go well, particularly when the Dragonfang leading the squad of five Dragonclaws, notices that the Elf prisoners/guards are missing, and so starts screaming up at the Elves for abandoning their posts.

It gets shouty.

While this is playing out the Brothers attempt to get closer to the bad guys, with varying degrees of success.

One of the Dragonclaws spots Sgt Bobby attempting to creep up on the squad and points this out to his comrades, remember Sgt B is dressed as a Cultist (although why he’s creeping about?). The Dragonfang starts shouting the odds, but Sgt Bobby isn’t keen on keeping up the charade, and his comrades are pretty much in position.

The Brothers attack the Dragon Cultist patrol, hoping to decimate it quickly.

36 Dragon Cult Patrol.jpg


Remarkably one of the Dragonclaws draws first blood- slicing Sgt Bobby good, the hit alas counts for nothing as Hotlips scurries out of the shadows and sticks her rapier in the Cultist’s heart. For chuckles the Halfling Rogue, as she scurries off again back toward the shadows, flings a dagger into the gut of another flustered Dragonclaw.

The Brothers don’t have it all their own way however, another Dragonclaw gets to Lummins and slices the Priest- nasty.

Then alas the secret finally gets out- Watt flings a Fireball into the midst of the Cultists- three Dragonclaws fall and flail- in flames (there’s just one left alive- he was out of range). The slightly scorched Dragonfang leader however is still very much in action, the fellow starts screaming blue murder and then leads the rapid retreat- thanks to his Limited Flight ability the singed Cultist makes it all the way back to the passage to the north east (from which they originally exited).

Alas the last Dragonclaw is not so fortunate, she’s hit by one of Frulam/Lux’s Eldritch Blasts and then stabbed by Lummins (the Priest is saving his spells- waiting on the Dragon, he says) - the mortally wounded Cultists (on 1 HP) flees screaming. Alas now she’s is in a footrace with Sgt Bobby (and a hidden-ish) Hotlips, who are both in pursuit of the fleeing Dragonfang.

The rest of the Brothers scurry forward, rushing to catch up with Sgt Bobby (and Hotlips). The last Dragonclaw, caught between the two groups, doesn’t quite know what to do and so settles for being blown apart by another of Lux’s Eldritch Blast.

The Brothers make it to the passage to the north east, beyond which the Dragon Cultist guards lair, they’re just in time for another pair of Dragonclaws to emerge from the narrow cavern opening- the pair don’t stand a chance, Sgt Bobby cuts both Cultists down and then continues his charge.

He’s in hog-heaven.

Yet another pair of Dragonclaws arrest Sgt Bobby’s progress, blocking the passage and slicing repeatedly at the Fighter (Sgt B’s taking hits). Hotlips scurries out of hiding and with her rapier skewers one of the Dragonclaws dead. Another Dragonclaw however rushes in to fill the gap.

Lummins, Lux and Watt- at last catch up with the charging duo, the Priest of Lathander gets the Bless spell going and then aids the wounded Fighter with a Healing Word.

Sgt Bobby cuts down the two newly arrived Dragonclaws blocking the passage, but is blocked again when a Dragonfang scurries around the corner and slices the Fighter repeatedly- nasty, Sgt B is very quickly back to being nearly bloodied.

Just to keep you appraised of the situation, a second Dragonfang (the wounded guy who lead the patrol) has already got to Neron(vain), and told the Green Dragon Mask wearing Wyrmspeaker that the PCs are coming. The Wyrmspeaker has since exited his chamber and made his way to his ride- Chuth’s coming soon.

Meantime back in the clogged passageway Hotlips gets in to action, fighting side by side with Sgt Bobby- the Dragonfang blocking the passage, and keeping the two furious Brothers at bay is not quite bloodied (both Dragonfangs, Neronvain, and Chuth start this encounter with MAX HP, oh yeah).

The Dragonfang blocking the passageway soaks up a lot of hits (well, he would do- he started with 120 HP) the Dragon Cultist is still not bloodied when the second (slightly wounded) Dragonfang comes charging around the corner to join him. The PCs have still yet to figure out that these guys are HP soaks, and that the Dragon and its rider are on their way.

Lummins keeps hitting the same Dragonfang with Scorching Rays, until he runs out of Scorching Rays- at which point the PCs finally figure out that they’re in a fight.

Just to run that by you again, not because it’s massively clever, but because I was trying something- I gave the Dragonclaws average hit points- so the PCs went through them like butter (and got a bit cocky). But I gave the Dragonfangs (and the big bad bosses- Chuth and Neronvain) max HP, it took a while for the PCs to figure that the Dragonfangs were very tough. I wanted to keep the PCs in the main chamber, where there’s plenty of room for Chuth to get into action.

Moments later the badly wounded Dragonfang Crits Sgt Bobby (for 48 damage all told) and there is screaming around the table.

Pete’s not happy, Sgt Bobby suddenly has 20-or-so HP left, I think his max (at this point) is around about 100 HP.

That said the Fighter doesn’t falter, Sgt B cuts down the badly wounded Dragonfang, and then gets to work on the other, he also gets his Second Wind. While screaming for “more healing… feed me now!”

The Players are enjoying this, or else Pete is.

Hotlips enters stab fury mode (not a special power, rather Sandy’s dice are on-fire), and soon after the last Dragonfang standing is bloodied.

The Brothers however are still unaware that Chuth and Neron(vain) are at present watching events from the pool behind them.

Watt meantime gets to Sgt Bobby with a max-enhanced Cure Wounds. Lux continues to fire Eldritch Blasts in to the last Dragonfang standing, who’s looking much the worse for wear- and now the Players think they’ve got this…

The Dragonfang however is still swinging heartily, Sgt Bobby is saved from two more punishing hits by Lummins’ Warding Flare, and a little bit of Watt’s Bardic Inspiration.

The Players are woo-hooing again.

Time to put an end to that.

37 Chuth & Neronvain.jpg


Chuth, with Neron(vain) riding the great Green Dragon, rises up from the stagnant pool in the centre of the chamber, behind the Brothers. The Dragon roars, then growls- “Time To Die!”, and then bathes all of the Brothers (and the last Dragonfang standing) in its foul and poisonous breath.

When the screaming stops (and the name calling around the gaming table dies down a bit) the Brothers are all still standing, just- as is the last Dragonfang (just).

Watt and Lummins have just three hit points each, the rest of the Brothers passed their saves (also Ring of Poison Resist- Lux, and Evasion- Hotlips) and are not even bloodied.

Chuth follows up with his Frightful Presence- roaring and snarling- snapping its jaws and flexing his great ragged-wings. It’s a great show but all of the Brothers are warded- they’re wearing their magical flower garlands remember.

None of which stopped the Players from screaming at me, and each other, for a while.

Sgt Bobby reacts first, he cuts down the last Dragonfang and then looks to his friends, very briefly (but the other Players have got nothing- they’re floundering a bit- do we turn and face the Dragon? Or do we run away for a bit?). Then Sgt Bobby remembers he’s a Remarkable Athlete. Grinning the brave warrior hurtles towards the edge of the pool and then leaps at Chuth (he’s in plate, so don’t miss Pete).

Pete rolls a ‘19’ plus bonuses- and Sgt Bobby lands on the Green Dragon Hazirawn first, skewering the beast and then hanging on to his sword as the Dragon thrashes madly.

The decision has been made- time to fight the Dragon.

Chuth lashes out with his tail, curling around to slam it into the Fighter- and hits, a Crit. POP! Sgt Bobby does his back again.

This is going to be bad… I can feel it.

Seconds later, while several of the Players are cheering Sgt Bobby on (or else laughing at his misfortune), a myriad strangling vines suddenly burst from floor of the cavern and wrap themselves around the four remaining Brothers of the First Light- the area is a cauldron of swaying, grabbing vegetation- Hotlips and Watt are instantly caught and restrained.

And now none of the Players are laughing, or cheering, or woo-bloody-hooing.

Remarkably, seconds later, Hotlips breaks free of the strangling vines and scurries away, grabbing out her crossbow and firing at Chuth, alas the bolt just bounces off the beast’s tough hide, and to make matters worse the vegetation snares the Halfling again.

Watt, wrapped in vines, fires off a Mass Cure Wounds- there is hope.

Lux meantime also gets clear of the entangling vegetation and attempts to Banish Chuth and Neron(vain)…

The table holds its collective breath.

BLINK!

The Dragon-rider disappears, but not the Dragon (failed save but… Legendary Resistance).

That’s one less enemy to worry about- now all the Brothers have to do is to survive ten rounds/get away and/or kill Chuth.

And Chuth started with something like 320 HP.

Lummins tries to pick his way out of the grasping vegetation- he’s less successful, however the Priest also unleashes another Mass Cure Wounds, and now none of the Brothers are even bloodied.

There is always hope.

But not for Sgt Bobby, Chuth (barely hurt) unleashes hell with claws and bite, trying to rip the Hazirawn wielding Fighter free of his flesh- at the end of which the Fighter is back to being bloodied and broken, but still hanging on to his terrible blade which is firmly embedded in the Dragon.

I get Pete to roll another Athletics check to hang on- he rolls another bloody ‘19’ plus bonuses.

The big bloody bastard.

Apologies if I sound like a petulant nine-year-old at times, but… well, if the shoe fits.

And the Players are celebrating every tiny success- there was whooping when Pete made the above roll.

The burly surly Fighter clambers all over the bucking Dragon and stabs down twice more, and hard each time (high damage rolls) with Hazirawn, and with the final thrust clings on to his blade- Chuth is down to approx. 200 HP.

Again, the Dragon’s tail swoops around and smashes into Sgt Bobby, the Fighter is back down to 20-or-so HP, but still hanging on.

He’s my hero.

Suddenly Sgt Bobby is swathed in a swirling fog which seems to gather and smother the flailing Fighter- a voice, Chuth’s voice, is in his head- “Join with me… we can rule this place together”, and the big guy is sorely tempted- but he rolls an adjusted ‘18’ on his Wisdom save, and shrugs off the wyrm’s charm (another Lair Effect).

“Screw you! You smelly bastard!” Perhaps with a few extra swears, is the Fighter’s reply.

Meantime Hotlips is caught in the grasping vegetation, the Halfling Rogue however still has her crossbow in hand, and this time she doesn’t miss- the bolt thuds into the snout of the now roaring Dragon, that hurt.

Watt, likewise, is still being grasped- the Bard attempts to Polymorph the Dragon (into a Frog, of course) what a story that would make- Chuth however resists. Note Watt is also handing out Bardic Inspiration every turn, now known around the table as ‘motivational swearing’.

Lux finally gets clear of the grasping vegetation, and then attempts to fire a pair of Eldritch Blasts into Chuth- alas she misses with both attacks.

How can you miss a Dragon?

You should have heard Sandy (playing Lux) scream (and swear).

Lummins, at last, also gets clear of the grasping vines, the Priest fires off another Mass Cure Wounds.

Pete (Sgt Bobby) is positively beaming, seconds later the marvellous Priest heals the Fighter some more with an enhanced Healing Word.

And just to say the Dragon still has not yet recharged its Breath Weapon.

Chuth cannot shake Sgt Bobby off, although the Fighter is bitten again, and soon enough back to being bloodied.

You’ll note that there are several smart things I could do with Chuth- like submerge and take Sgt Bobby off to chew on in his lair. But I’m not… because I’m nice, and I want to give the Brothers a chance- however, I do want this to go to the death (of the Dragon).

Sgt Bobby continues to hang on, and even manages to stab Hazirawn deeper into the beast, and now Chuth is bloodied too (below 150 HP).

And again, the great Green Dragon roars, and swats at Sgt Bobby with its mighty tail, but at the last moment the Fighter- clutching on to Hazirawn which is still embedded in Chuth’s breast, performs a swinging circuit of his sword- and avoids the attack. That was a ‘20’ Athletics check- Pete’s dice are also on fire.

Hotlips (with another ‘20’, damn!) stumbles clear of the grasping vegetation- at last, and then fires a crossbow bolt in to Chuth’s throat, the Dragon gasps- that really hurt.

Watt also finally makes it out of the grasping vegetation, the Bard tries to find some cover, and gets his bow out- he has a plan.

Lux uses the last of her Warlock powers to cast Fly on herself, Hotlips and Watt. Lummins, once he escapes the vegetation, takes to the air immediately- the Priest of Lathander flies in to deliver a much-enhanced Cure Wounds to a very bloodied again Sgt Bobby.

Keep the tank fighting is the Player’s call (although Watt has a different plan).

The Priest of Lathander, Lummins, alas (like Icarus) flies too close to Chuth and is swatted out of the air by the Dragon’s tail- nearly, if not for a last second Warding Flare.

There is more whooping.

I feel like joining in sometimes.

Note the Players while being very ‘whoopy’ (celebrating every success) are also far from happy with me- they ask (repeatedly) ‘How many bloody attacks does this Dragon have?’, it’s amazing but the ability to sound like a surly 9-year-old child never really leaves us.

Oh, and just to say that Pizza time should have happened something like an hour ago.

Also, to note that throughout this fight I have also been doing pithy (not) one-liners from Chuth all the while, I decided ahead of time to make he Dragon not the sharpest knife in the drawer, if you catch my drift. So simple but cheesy-terror style chatter- “Time to Die!”, or, “Your End is Now!”, or, “I AM YOUR DOOM!” That kind of thing. I had meant to play Neron(vain) as the chatty one, but alas the Wyrmspeaker has been sent to his room (Banished).

Chuth is less than amused- bloodied and struggling to peel the armour from Sgt Bobby- or indeed just to shake the Fighter-off, the Dragon repositions itself and then unleashes its full fury on the nearby (and now no-longer grinning) flying Priest of Lathander, oh yeah- switched targets to the much easier to hit guy.

It goes- Claw = Crit, followed by- Claw = Crit, and now Lummins (Rob) is looking very forlorn.

Chuth misses with its bite attack- DAMN!

The Priest however is very very bloodied, down to 8 HP.

Sgt Bobby chooses the next moment to stab twice with Hazirawn and to somehow fail to puncture the great beast’s hide both times, the Fighter loses his grip of the Dragon and falls, scrambling at last to cling on to Chuth’s back leg, he’s left half submerged in the stagnant pool and struggling to stay above the water.

He’s in a precarious position, and only just managing to hang on to the Dragon, and his blade.

OMG!

Then the grasping vegetation comes again- bursting from the ground, walls and ceiling, reaching out to snare the other three members of the Brothers of the First Light. Lux manages to gain height and manoeuvre quickly, but Watt and Hotlips are grasped and grabbed and dragged back down to the ground.

Miraculously (after yet more really high rolls) the grabbed pair both manage to get clear of the entangling vines mere seconds later.

The bastards.

Cue more bloody woo-hooing.

And a high-five, it’s so undignified.

Hotlips flies like an arrow straight to the Dragon, spilling her crossbow en route- and grabbing out her magical rapier, she gets in close, buzzing around the snapping jaws of the great beast, and then stabs Chuth again in his snout.

And now Chuth is down to less than 100 HP.

But Chuth is not done for, the Dragon’s tail comes around again and baseball-style smashes the flying/tumbling Halfling into a nearby wall. Hotlips is bloodied, and hurting bad.

Watt flies in to space- gets himself a little room to manoeuvre, at last, the Bard grabs out his magical longbow and fires a Dragon Slaying Arrow (Note, Jackie was loath to do this earlier because she was restrained, and therefore at disadvantage on her attacks)- a hit, straight into Chuth’s throat.

The great Dragon wavers, and attempts to roar, but only a hissing sound emerges.

The Bard steadies himself and then does it all again- but this time he Crits!

The Players are screaming and roaring, it’s like primal-bloody-therapy.

The Bard’s arrow hits and bursts Chuth’s right eye.

The Dragon thrashes furiously, screeching and screaming (mostly wheezing)- smashing loose sections of the cavern wall, and sending scudding waves across the pool. Sgt Bobby and Lummins are battered by the flailing beast’s wings (but I roll minimum bloody damage- snake-eyes).

Oh, and for info Chuth has 14 HP left. Obviously, I don’t tell the Players this, but I certainly let them know that great Dragon is almost down.

A grinning Lux flies in closer for the kill- she fires two Eldritch Blasts from less than twenty feet away and somehow contrives to miss with both (again).

The woo-hooing quietens for a moment, batter-up.

A badly wounded flying Lummins escapes the Dragon’s reach, ducking a half-hearted claw attack as he departs, then the Priest of Lathander very carefully positions a Fireball behind Chuth, and bathes the beast in flame.

We interrupt the following woo-hooing for Rob’s (playing Lummins) appalling damage rolls, it had five ‘1’s in it- and somehow Chuth survives (on 3 HP) the very minor magical conflagration.

Lummins, for good measure, fires another Healing Word into Sgt Bobby.

At which point, of course, Chuth recharges his Breath Weapon.

Oh, Happy Day Now! HAPPY DAY! Oh, Happy Day!

The ferocious Green Dragon let’s the Brothers have it- or at least the four Brothers he can hit with his attack; Watt (smart fellow) is well out of the way.

The result of which is pure terror- for the Players, Sgt Bobby plunges into the stagnant pool and sinks out of sight- unconscious and bereft of breath.

He’s dying.

Oh, and Lummins is hanging lifeless in the air, his little winged boots (of Flying) fluttering but the Priest of Lathander is very much unconscious.

Then, at last, as Sgt Bobby sinks (and makes death saves) a screaming (in righteous fury) Hotlips flies in with her magical rapier in hand, and stabs at Chuth’s looming snout- and rolls a ‘1’, but she’s a ‘Lucky’ Halfling, so she rolls again- and it’s a second ‘1’.

And Sandy does quite a lot of swearing, and screaming, and then some more swearing, followed of course by more screaming.

Until eventually she remembers- Hotlips grabs out her dagger, in her off-hand, she just has to hit…

Which she does, of course- for six damage, easily enough to end the Dragon.

Chuth slumps, slides, and then slowly sinks beneath the surface of the scum-topped water- following Sgt Bobby down into the depths of the stagnant pool.

Watt is straight in to action, the flying Bard spills his bow and then swoops down and dives in to the pool- remarkably (high rolls again) he spots the sinking Sgt Bobby and with help from Lux (a moment later), and a Cure Wounds spell manages to get the Fighter to the surface, and then back to the shore…

In the meantime, Hotlips has got to Lummins with a Potion of Greater Healing.

Just to say that Lummins had failed one death save when the healing got to him, while Sgt Bobby had just passed his third Death Save in a row (he’s a lucky bastard, or else bloody hard to kill) when the healing arrived.

It is of course at this point that Lux (Sandy) also remembers that the Banished Neron(vain) will be on his way back, any moment- actually, according to the DMs little tick chart, the Wyrmspeaker will be back in initiative this coming round.

Obviously, I don’t tell the Players this.

The Players/PCs have (of course) lost track of time and are not sure when the bad guy will be back.

But that’s for the next section, because it’s Pizza, excessive woo-hooing (“We killed a Dragon! We killed a Dragon!”) and desperate scheming next.

See you in a bit.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #54 The Rise of Tiamat #13b Neron(vain).

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 10
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 10
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 10
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 10
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 10

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #54 of our game, but only session #13b of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

Back to the Dragon’s lair… but the Dragon (Chuth) is dead.

We’ve been going on for a while in this session, the fight so far has been in action for something like 17 turns, that’s from the moment the Brothers of the First Light tried to get the jump on the Dragonfang led patrol. It’s been all hammer since then.

Just a brief note about the state of play- Lux is not yet bloodied, she’s in flight still- but out of Warlock powers; Hotlips is also in flight, the Halfling Rogue is well beyond bloodied (less than 20 HP); Watt is uninjured (or else he’s been healed back to full by the previous multiple Mass Cure Wounds spells) the Bard is likewise flying, bow at the ready and with a few spells left. However, Lummins (also flying) and Sgt Bobby have taken a thorough beating- the Priest of Lathander is on approx. 15 HP and has only a few spells left (no slots above 2nd Level); while good old Sgt B has been to the bottom of the stagnant pool and back, the big lad is on 10 HP and, wait for it, he’s without his favourite sword- Hazirawn is at the bottom of the pool.

Pete/Sgt Bobby wasn’t initially aware of this, I left the surprise until the start of this session, and such is the furore (for about 12 seconds) when I share the news with the Players that Pete storms out raging, and then comes straight back in again- grinning like a chimp. He scared the heck out of a few of us (but not me, of course) threatening as he departed never to play again. But the joke’s on us (particularly me) he’d worked out between sessions that it was extremely unlikely that his dying/drowning PC would keep a grasp of Hazirawn.

So, he’s okay with that- all the Brothers need to do is defeat the Wyrmspeaker Neron(vain), and then he can rescue his beloved Hazirawn from the pool’s depths.

It’s all the motivation the big Fighter needs.

The brief chat, before we get on, is the PCs are going to attempt to neck as much healing as they can, for those that need it, and then ready themselves for the Banished Wyrmspeaker’s reappearance.

Which is pretty much how it goes- although quicker than the PCs/Players expected- Hotlips downs a Potion of Greater Healing, Watt gets to Sgt B with an enhanced Cure Wounds, Lummins heals himself, and then Lux brings the Priest a Potion of Healing, at which point with all five PCs in close proximity, Neron(vain) suddenly reappears.

So, Neron(vain) has a Limited Fly ability (or else he’d just appear above the stagnant pool and then plunge in), he’s quite definitely a Green Dragon Mask wearing and slightly delicate looking male Elf. He’s also got something to say-

“By the power of the great Green, by the curling noxious fumes- Oh, %&+ you killed my Dragon! I’m gonna %&+ you up, two times!”

38 Neronvain.jpg


So, the fight is on, as Neron(vain) drifts back down to the cavern floor en route (and still ranting, in a slightly squeaky voice- for some reason, who knows what I was thinking) he grabs his bow out and fires an Eldritch Arrow into Lummins, that hurt, The Priest is back down to something like 10 HP, not content Neron(vain) attempts to repeat the shot but is way off target (damn!).

That would have put the Priest down!

The PCs scramble into action, Sgt Bobby grabs his plain old (non-magical) longsword out, and then charges the Wyrmspeaker but hasn’t enough actions for anything more than getting in the face of the squeaky Elf, close enough however for Hotlips to fly in and spin a dagger into Neron(vain)’s shoulder (with added sneak attack) that hurt.

But remember Neron(vain) has Max HP- that’s 180, he just doesn’t have any allies, and so…

Watt (Jackie, who plays Watt, has a big grin on her face for the next bit) attempts to Polymorph Neron(vain) into a frog (natch). It’s her signature move… it seems (or else she’s done it once or twice before).

There follows a short but heated debate between Pete (Sgt Bobby) and Watt (Jackie)- they’re husband and wife (in real life) about how sensible it would be to turn the Wyrmspeaker into a frog, being as they’re all standing so very close to a large pool of water.

But Watt (Jackie) is adamant, besides she doesn’t think her spell stands a chance of succeeding (a mantra she repeats often)- then I roll a ‘1’, and Neron(vain), only just back from being Banished, is now a frog.

But, hey- wait a minute, two questions-

1) isn’t Neron(vain) wearing the Green Dragon Mask?

2) isn’t one of the properties common to all of the Dragon Mask’s an ability called Legendary Resistance, whereby the Mask wearer can choose to pass one failed saving throw?

Well, you’d be right about the property of the mask- so question 2) is a winner, but alas for Neron(vain) this, as it turns out, isn’t the Green Dragon Mask.

Which is news to the would-be Wyrmspeaker.

Neron(vain), of course, suspects that something has gone wrong with the Green Dragon Mask from the moment he was Banished (and he didn’t get a Legendary Resistance-style free pass) however he has spent the last ten rounds (while Banished) incapacitated, so… he’s not sure what’s not working right. Then he’s back to Chuth’s lair to discover that his good friend the Dragon is dead, and less than six seconds later, turned into a frog- the Green Dragon Mask is broke, or else… well, something’s not right with it.

But he’s a frog, and is going to stay that way for a while (if I get my way).

Obviously, the PCs have no idea about the Green Dragon Mask’s powers.

So, I am (your glorious DM) scrambling a little- this is the story, I liked the idea of the PCs capturing the Green Dragon Mask (and in the process thwarting, slightly, the whole summon Tiamat thing). However, I decided well ahead of time that there was no-way I was going to let this actually happen, I am however very happy for the PCs to think they have got the Green Dragon Mask.

Also, the (false) Green Dragon Mask will serve another purpose later- you’ll see.

The issue for me however is that Neron(vain) has also realised (now that he’s a frog) that the Green Dragon Mask he’s wearing is not the real thing. Does he tell the PCs, if the opportunity arises? How do I play this so that the secret stays safe?

For info the Mask was swapped out by Rath Modar during his visit, the Red Wizard of Thay also reduced the number of Dragon Cultists in the lair, and then conspired with friends to make sure that the Harpers et al were aware of Neron(vain) and Chuth’s activity in the Misty Forest.

In other words, the PCs are being set up again, I want them to have the false Green Dragon Mask, I didn’t however want them (particularly) to capture Neron(Vain), so that’s a problem I’m going to have to solve, and quickly.

This was to be a titanic fight to the death, for both Neron(vain) and Chuth, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Bugger.

However, time is on my side- we’re already over time for this session (the Dragon (etc.) fight took over two hours to get through), the pause for Pizza was of course extended for extra crowing time for the Players, so I’ve just got to fill for a bit with this session and then fix things before the next game.

Therefore…

The Brothers of the First Light attempt to grab Neron(vain) the frog, although the little bastard has now entered into a hopping frenzy, the mighty adventurers- most of whom are flying are reduced to swooping and diving about trying to grasp the slippery little bugger.

Just for info, I love these little moments- having defeated Chuth the great Green Dragon the PCs are now reduced to making scrambling athletics and/or acrobatics checks (DC 20) to grab an oddly squeaky frog. Oh, how the mighty have fallen- and there are tears of laughter when Sgt Bobby dives headfirst, clean over Neron(frog) and ends up plunging back in the stagnant pool (‘1’)- thrashing the water into foam in an effort to stay afloat.

Eventually (with a ‘20’) Hotlips swoops in and grabs the awkward amphibian, then roughly shoves Neron(frog) into a filthy sack. Meantime Watt and Lux fly over and grab Sgt Bobby and haul him to the shore (again).

Note, when Hotlips grabbed the frog that was the PCs last possible check- the next event would have been Neron(frog) diving into the pool and getting away (very probably).

Which would have solved my Neron(vain/frog) problems.

Bugger, so close.

The Green Dragon Mask is, of course, just lying there on the ground- Lux grabs it, more of this later.

There’s a (very short) break for mild rejoicing, and a bit of inane grinning- the frog-thing worked again, but the Players/PCs are on it- and motivated to get things done because, it’s getting to the end of the session and they want to be finished with the Dragon’s lair.

But first a short relax for the PCs, there follows a bout of much needed healing- the guys figure they’ve still got the rest of the lair to explore, although after exhausting almost all of their spells Sgt B & Lummins are still only just beyond bloodied.

Next up- jobs to do, in short order the PCs achieve the following-

a) Rescue Hazirawn from the bottom of the pool, which happens remarkably quickly (after some more bloody great skill checks and a few clever ideas), the blade is quickly spotted, about thirty feet down and soon after recovered by the big man himself.

b) Chat a short while more with the Elf guards/prisoners- they’re convinced that the PCs have killed all of the Cultists in the lair. The Elves are left to guard the way as the PCs press on.

c) Discover and search the Dragon Cultist’s quarters, a little coin is found- there’s nothing else of import.

d) Discover and search a storeroom; a few bottles of fine wine are snaffled.

Then, with Hotlips leading the Brothers into an as of yet unexplored area of the lair, the Halfling Rogue triggers a Glyph of Warding- there is screaming, and shortly after raised voices.

The acid burst engulfs the Rogue, and unluckily the two PCs following- which are (of course) the already badly wounded Sgt Bobby and Lummins, shame. Both fail their saves- remarkably Hotlips (with Evasion etc.) is only very slightly singed, the other pair are back to being almost broken (between 10-20 HP each).

There follows a little mild arguing, a few raised voices etc. the source of the joy the fact that Hotlips (Sandy) wasn’t looking for traps etc.

We move on, after a bit more impromptu healing, the guys are into and now going through their potions, the HP gauge is very low for at least two of them. Lummins is out of spells & potions, and he’s still bloodied.

The smart choice, of course, would be to call it a day (or rather end the session) here- take a short rest soon after and then go on, that doesn’t happen- the vote is to press on, get it done.

A short while later the Brothers enter what was very obviously Wyrmspeaker Neron(vain)’s chambers- and they're well appointed, with lots of expensive furniture. The only item the PCs are interested in however is an ornate trunk, which Hotlips is certain isn’t trapped (it is), the Halfling Rogue is fortunate then that the spring fired poisoned needle in the lock shoots just wide of her face. The trunk, when opened, turns out to be empty- it is quite obviously the ornate storage container for the Green Dragon Mask. Lux takes it, a little later the Mask is put back in its box.

There’s nothing else to find, the Brothers head on again- this time through a secret door hidden behind a tapestry, into a corridor like narrow chamber. A hidey-hole, within which a journal is found- Neronvain’s journal (at which point the PCs learn the Wyrmspeaker’s correct name), written in Elven. Lummins reads a few random pages- the Priest of Lathander is therefore the first of the PCs to learn the Wyrmspeaker’s dark secret.

Neronvain is the estranged (clearly, from the text) son of King Melandrach.

The PCs are astounded, the Players are likewise giggle-some, and now they have the ultimate hold over the ruler of the Misty Forest (they think, and they’d be right to).

The journal will be read in full later, and then passed on to Marflub and the Toadalyser team for further investigation.

In the last moments of this long-extended session, the Brothers head through a second secret door, and into the lair of dead Chuth, the Dragon’s hoard (such as it is) is taken. There’s nowhere else for the Brothers to go… therefore, it is (at last- I got through it) the end of the session.

The Players are semi-overjoyed- congratulating themselves for a job well done, at last (they think) they’re getting somewhere. There’s lots of chatter as we’re packing up, the main themes being-

1) We’ve done it- stopped the ritual/summoning of Tiamat, and…

2) Do you think they’ll come after us, now we’ve got the Green Dragon Mask?

Time, before the next session, for some more scheming by me- how to play what comes next, to keep the PCs from discovering that the Mask is a fake, and to prevent Neronvain from telling the PCs the same.

Next time.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #55 The Rise of Tiamat #14a Lord Albert Ramsbottom Volmer.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 10
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 10
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 10
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 10
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 10

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #55 of our game, but only session #14a of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

So, lots going on in this session- including the results of my in between sessions scheming, but we’ll get to that.

The Brothers of the First Light have defeated Chuth, and have captured Wyrmspeaker Neronvain (he’s a frog)- they’ve rescued the Elf prisoners from the Dragon’s lair, and also taken everything they can find (of worth).

Including the Green Dragon Mask.

Not!

The Mask they have is a fake (of sorts) but the PCs are unaware of this.

So, what happens next?

Well, now’s the time for my scheming to take form.

The Brothers head back out of the Dragon’s lair the way they came in, only to be confronted on exit by a host of armed and armoured Elves, many of whom have clearly only just arrived- lots of them are still mounted on their Giant Eagles- still circling, it’s quite a reception.

Intimidating?

The PCs quickly ascertain that all is well- the Elves are incredibly polite, several of them appear to be high ranking folk but there’s little conversation- that is until King Melandrach and his son Prince Alagarthas suddenly appear (they teleported in). At which point all of the Elves present genuflect before their King, and then prompted by King M cheer and congratulate the Brothers of the First Light.

Victory!

The Dragon is DEAD!

Huzzah! (only in Elven).

That’s nice- the Players seem to be genuinely pleased (although a mite suspicious- why/how are this lot here?) that someone’s congratulating them.

Drink and food are offered, and accepted, also Healing Potions are distributed, there’s an odd party-ish atmosphere, although the PCs are not really joining in- just being polite. Then the royal twosome, accompanied by their guards, get the PCs on their own, and in private- into a nearby clearing in the woods.

Then the conversation really gets going, King M wants his missing son back, his younger son- Neronvain, he knows his child is still alive, and his advisers are certain that (somehow) the PCs have him.

They have- he’s a frog at the moment.

The PCs however are (mostly) not keen to play ball, they want to know the whole story- what the hell is going on here? How is it that the Green Dragon Mask wearing Wyrmspeaker is King M’s son, and shouldn’t they have been told about this before they were sent on this mission?

The PCs (or at least those that are bothered by such things) are not best pleased with the Elven royalty- they’ve been played again, somehow.

King M tells a sad tale- Neronvain, his second son- destined not to inherit, jealous of his older (implied, better/more competent) brother- frustrated by an accident of birth, he turned to the dark-side. Neronvain swore to destroy the Misty Forest and everything in it- including (especially) his family- note, this fits in with the things the PCs have read in Neronvain’s journal. He was banished from the kingdom, that was three decades past, but now he’s back, and a member of the Dragon Cult… and King M and Prince A are filled with shame.

The PCs don’t have access to a Zone of Truth spell (Lummins has no magic left) but all of the them believe the story (good rolls, and its true- I should know, I only put it together last week).

King M however doesn’t want the truth to get out- he does however want his son back, to punish/deal with as he decides.

He’s prepared to pay.

Just to say at the outset several of the PCs are disinclined to acquiesce to the King’s request, mainly because they’re pissed that the Elves lied to them- they could have killed Neronvain?

More chatter follows, the upshot of which is a better explanation of events- King M, it seems, suspected that Neronvain was involved with the Dragon Cult but did not share his concerns with Prince A- basically, he didn’t want him to know, such is/was his shame. So, when King M later discovers that Prince A has hired the PCs to slay Chuth and the Wyrmspeaker in the Misty Forest, well- he did everything he could to get here in time. Not that King M or Prince A knew where Chuth was laired, the Elven eagle riders found the Flying Lighthouse, and then started searching from there.

Basically, the royal Elves have a reasonable explanation for everything.

Again, I’d schemed this out between sessions, I made it very convincing.

Lummins really wishes he had access to a Zone of Truth spell, so I give him one.

In fact, it’s King M that comes up with the idea (after I, your glorious DM got fed up of Rob/Lummins going on about not having access to the spell). An Elven Priestess is sent for, she has a scroll of Zone of Truth (funny that). King M presents the scroll to Lummins (I’m a DM that listens) and the Priest of Lathander fires up the spell- the King & Prince are telling the truth- everything they have said previously is repeated, it’s all true.

Remember, as a DM you are often called on to explain (strange/odd) things and/or events in retrospect- what just happened? My advice is always to try to buy some time (if you can) unless you’re particularly agile with the chatter. You can pretty much justify anything given enough time to figure out a semi-convincing story.

And at last we get down to the nitty gritty…

King M offers the Brothers everything they want provided they hand Neronvain (the frog) over, and then swear to keep the secret.

Oh, and by the way I realise that Neronvain only remains in frog form while Watt continues to concentrate on the Polymorph spell (up to 1 hour) but I’m trying to paper over the cracks here- so, I forgot- silly me, and the PCs were too wrapped up in the action to question it.

Anyway…

The Brothers go for King M’s deal.

Eventually.

After they’ve added a few more items/conditions to their list of demands.

This is what they get away with-

a) King M’s unconditional support in the Council of Waterdeep.

b) King M’s apology to the Great Dragon Council for the Dracorage Mythal, and the payment of reparations.

c) Money (1,000gp each) & magic (mainly the Healing Potion cupboard restocked, plus a few extras- nothing to break the game, although Watt gets another Arrow of Dragonslaying out of the deal).

d) A future favour (for Lux).

e) A squadron of (12) Elven Eagle-Riders to be based in the Flying Lighthouse.

f) A company of (25) Elven Archers- guess what, also to be based in the Flying Lighthouse. Bloody Tracy Island!

g) Some sort of medal (mostly for Sgt Bobby, he’s a vain bugger) to be presented at the next Council of Waterdeep.

h) An opportunity to preach and bring the Light of Lathander to the ‘heathen’ (his word) Elves for Lummins (negotiated later, in secret, via e-mail).

i) A bunch of magical crossbow bolts for Hotlips (negotiated later, in secret, via e-mail).

j) A bevy of Elven beauties for a night for Sgt Bobby (negotiated later, in secret, via e-mail).

k) More money- an extra 1,000gp each for Sgt Bobby & Watt (both negotiated later, in secret, via e-mail).

l) More money still- an extra 5,000gp in gems and a Wand of Detect Magic for Lux (negotiated later, in secret, via e-mail).

There, that’s everybody’s secret out.

Eventually the deal is agreed, and Neronvain (the frog) is handed over, still squeakily ribbitting in his sack.

Note the above action- mainly the negotiating of the deal (save the bits that were tagged on later via e-mail) took us the best part of an hour to play out. Another observation, when the sessions are frantic the Players are, well… frantic- they seem to be keen to get lots done, after the action (post coital) they’re infinitely more relaxed and get much less done.

There was a lot of giggling (joy etc.) afterwards, the PCs/Players figure they’ve hit the semi-jackpot- Wyrmspeaker taken, Green Dragon Mask acquired, lots more loot and cool stuff for their castle.

They’ve been gulled.

And so…

With the help of King M’s mages, the Flying Lighthouse is contacted and directed to the PCs present location, the Brothers rest up (and LEVEL UP!) while they’re waiting for its arrival. In the meantime, the Elves set about fulfilling their side of the deal. Note, the Elven royalty (including the royal frog) however departs almost immediately- they have places to go and people to see.

In truth it wasn’t my finest bit of theatre, but I think the PCs (mostly) believed me, or else they didn’t suspect my motives. I got away with it- not neat, but hey-ho, the wheel turns… and just to say I convinced the Brothers that King M and his crew would be interviewing Neronvain- if there’s any new info then they’ll be the first to know. That was part of the deal.

So, next up- Level 11.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 11
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 11
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 11
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 11
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 11


The Players always love it when they level up, and for some reason they seem to like it more if it happens mid-session, it feels naughty.

Then back aboard the Flying Lighthouse, the Elven archers and eagle riders are also quickly moved in- King M, it seems, is as good as his word.

That said all is not well aboard the Flying Lighthouse at present, the source of the upset is very quickly shown to the Brothers of the First Light.

In the Upper Courtyard, situated in the shadow of Blagothkus’ Tower, is a small tent- the kind of thing usually inhabited by a fortune teller, or similar, at a fete. The tent just appeared here last night sometime; the PCs are informed by an irate Blagothkus (Cloud Giant owner of the Flying Lighthouse). The colours of the small tent are rather sombre- black and red, and what’s worse the structure is surrounded by a twenty-foot diameter force shield which has thus far proved impenetrable- the Cloud Giant’s fists failed to even make a dent in it. He isn’t happy, but it gets worse- there’s more to the story.

Several small folk- they look like dumpy (Victorian/Dickensian attired) Human-ish child-like urchins, have at various times exited the tent to bury their night soil just to the rear of the canvas construct. The urchins blithely ignore all else…

Which is the primary source of Blagothkus’ ire.

They’re burying their excrement in his courtyard.

You may be thinking- why the big production? Well, it’s because I’m trying to keep the action/event tap on constant here- there’s always going to be something going on (believe me) until the false Green Dragon Mask gets handed over to the Harpers in Waterdeep. Until then I intend to keep the PCs/Players very busy.

So, back to the funny-looking little tent.

Of course, the dumpy Human-ish child-like urchins change tack as soon as the Brothers of the First Light turn up, actually the action starts when POOF! and hovering at Lux’s shoulder is Fast Eddie (her recently acquired messenger Imp) who gabbles that “Lord V, has arrived…”. This event- even before we get to the performance that follows, is enough to raise the temperature of, well… all of the other PCs/Players.

Lux has been keeping secrets again.

So, Lux (Sandy) explains (very briefly) that she has been in contact with a respectable gentleman called (let me check my notes…) Lord V… for- Volmer, who it seems wants to help us (the Brothers et al) with our Dragon (Cult) problem.

What’s the catch, the rest of Brothers want to know?

Ah, funny you should ask, the thing is- Lord Volmer is a Devil, Lux is unsure of what variety.

Lummins (Rob) and Watt (Jackie) are aghast, and angry, and… all the usual stuff. Sgt Bobby (Pete) is tres amused- it’s not him getting in trouble for once. Better still, it’s Sandy (Lux) getting in trouble this time. Sandy (Lux) is usually the one making trouble (for Pete/Sgt Bobby). Hotlips doesn’t give a stuff about events (as Sandy also plays the Halfling Rogue).

Then the production.

The force field surrounding the tent audibly pops, fizzles briefly and then disappears, as half-a-dozen of the odd-looking urchins troop out of the tent- one has a kazoo, another a xylophone, yet another a large skull with marbles in it (maracas). The other three (non-musical) urchins line up to attention between the tent and the Brothers.

The music starts up, an instrumental (and yet strangely moving) version of ‘Bright Eyes’ (by Art Garfunkel).

Remarkably the PCs (and Blagothkus) wait the entire song out.

At which point ducking and striding from the tent comes a nine-foot-tall stick-thin Human wearing top hat & tails, as befitting a Victorian Gent about to depart for the theatre.

The nearest odd-urchin introduces the new arrival.

“Laydees and Jellyspoons, may I present- Lord Albert Ramsbottom Volmer, Legion Commander of the Seventy-Seventh Screaming Damned Nation.”

The very tall and dandy Lord V smiles like the cat that has got all of the cream (all of it- every single drop) and then addresses each of the PCs by their full names and titles, including a few extra titles and epithets that the DM throws in just to make clear that Lord V has been watching them (the PCs) right from the very start.

Sgt Bobby Markguth of the Greenest Guard, who bested Cyanwrath- at the second attempt.

The Radiant Lummins of Lathander, whose luminescence will be forever remembered by the Ice Hunters of Oyaviggaton.

That kind of thing.

So, Lord V’s a gent, but he has edges- sharp edges.

Next up Lord V invites the Brothers into his canvas abode with the following words, “To mark this auspicious occasion, I have made a quiche…” Then he ducks into the tent.

The odd-urchins signal for the Brothers to follow.

Which, eventually- after a little more squabbling, they do.

The rest… well, the rest is chatter- it was the front (the set-up) that was important… it got the PCs/Players hooked into the moment.

The Brothers of the First Light learn the following-

1) Lord V (‘please call me Albert, or Bert… if you like’) is very polite, very patient, and tends to explain things at length. He’s a diplomat, in every sense of the word, and a gentleman, of course.

2) He’s also a Bone Devil- at one-point Lummins loses his cool and does his ‘consorting with Devils’ etc. speech (Priest’s, sheesh), at which point Lord V reveals his true form, a skeletal hunched giant with a nine-foot-long scorpion like tail (complete with stinger). Remarkably, even in his true form, he is dressed to go to the opera.

3) The tent is much bigger on the inside (natch) and with many more rooms.

4) There’s a buffet, with quiche, and little sandwiches- as promised.

5) The quiche is to die for.

6) After the Brothers have overcome their prejudices, a little, Lord V explains that he represents an ‘external agency who wishes to remain anonymous’, and who also wishes that the present ‘status quo, vis-a-vis the Tiamat-situation, be maintained’. To make clear, in non-lawyer speak, his client would prefer it if ‘Tiamat continued to rot in Hell, where she belongs’. To this end Lord V’s client would like the Brothers of the First Light to consider taking a meeting with another ‘concerned party’, to wit a representative of Szass Tam, the High Lich Lord ruler of the Red Wizards of Thay. It seems the Red Wizards of Thay and the Brothers of the First Light share a mutual enemy. Which comes as news to several of the (slower) Players.

7) The enemy in question is, of course, Rath Modar, the as-it-turns-out renegade Red Wizard. The Brothers really don’t like Rath Modar, and so there’s that…

Eventually, when the PCs start to run out of things to say and ask Lord V, the meeting comes to a neat conclusion. The Brothers are not wholly convinced, they’ve agreed (after a little advice from the friendly DM- nice of me) to take the matter to the next Council of Waterdeep meeting and ask the sage leaders there what they think- Red Wizard allies, it’s an odd thought.

There is however one other oddity to report, during the prolonged chatter Lord V casually remarks to Sgt Bobby that he ‘likes his sword (Hazirawn)’, and when pressed adds- ‘made in Thay’, with a knowing wink.

Which, of course, arouses Sgt B’s (Pete’s) suspicions, the big Fighter however cannot pry any more info from the Devil- what was that all about? Well, you’ll find out later (at about the same time Pete did, you’ll see- more of my scheming).

And so, the PCs eventually depart Lord V’s tent.

Which remains in situ, the force field goes back up- although the Brothers of the First Light can come and go here as they please (which several of them discover later, mostly much later- after the session has finished, via e-mail).

Lux makes three trips back to ask follow-up questions of Lord V during the next two days of travel to Waterdeep.

The Bone Devil has other (e-mail) visitors, it seems even Priests of Lathander have Devilish questions.

Just for info Lord V, and his entourage et al, were just a version of one of the Additional Encounters in the module- Devilish Demands.

Next up, and while still en route to Waterdeep- remember I’m keeping the Brothers entertained (and occupied) here, Marflub (sorry ‘M’) reports in- the Toadalyser has an answer. Oh, but just to remind you that I told the PCs (in session #51) that they could post a question on every even numbered session for the Toadalyser boys (Ice Toads) to work on.

In session #52 the PCs asked, “Where will the ceremony to summon Tiamat take place?”

Well, the answer’s in- “Best guess- in a volcano.”

Which results in many more questions- M (for Marflub) explains that after interviewing the PCs extensively he was taken by the fact that several of them remembered seeing a carved depiction of Tiamat emerging from a volcano. This in the chamber in which the Brothers fought and captured the Half-Blue Dragon, Cyanwrath.

This insight produces giggles, several of the Players are just now remembering back to this event- the volcano with Tiamat emerging from it was indeed examined and commented upon by them at the time.

The Brothers are impressed with M (and the DM) and the Toadalyser.

However, M and his team have no actual idea where the volcano in question is situated- it could be anywhere on the Sword Coast. Still, the data gathering/analysing machine works, and the PCs are going to report this back to the council.

Then, we’re in Waterdeep, and it’s time for another (very late, as is becoming usual) break in play, and the inevitable Pizza (which I am getting heartily sick of).

More in the next bit, although not much more- this was a very relaxed (slow) session, odd sometimes levelling up can take a hellishly long time, particularly when there’s spell selections to be contemplated. Of course, I attempt to get the Players to do their reading and make their selections ahead of time but do they… ever. Not much.
 
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Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #55b The Rise of Tiamat #14b Hefty with War Phallus and Plentiful Loving Sack.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 11
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 11
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 11
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 11
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 11

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #55 of our game, but only session #14b of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

Earlier in the session, actually right at the very start, Lux (Sandy) told the other Players (and me, of course- I always listen in to their little pre-game chats) that one of things they needed to get done was to investigate the Green Dragon Mask. So, I had my hands full- I’m trying to avoid this happening, I don’t want them to figure out ahead of time that the Mask is a fake.

Although, I had a back-up plan if they discovered the lie- but back-up plans are never as good.

Also, in this session is a whole chunk of Plot I was levering in, so sorry about that- explanation follows, way below.

So (after Pizza), and we’re back in Waterdeep, and immediately into action- well, I am at least- scrambling, again (a little), to prevent the PCs from thoroughly investigating the (fake) Green Dragon Mask.

The subject of discussion in the mid-session food break is spells, and their uses- after the last level up (11th) several of the PCs have discovered a slew of divination spells (and similar) that they could be employing. Lummins (played by Rob) reads out (in entirety) mostly through mouthfuls of cheese crust (classy) a variety of spells, including- Commune, Legend Lore, Scry, Planar Ally- and the list goes on. Soon after all of the spellcasters are on it. Why hadn’t they thought to do this before? Is the oft asked enquiry.

So, I’m scrambling, like I say- but I’ve come prepared.

Yes, the PCs can use any or all of the above spells but, not yet- we’re in Waterdeep and there’s an arrival committee. Actually, less of a committee, more of a well-armed and armoured flock- the Waterdeep Griffon Cavalry are out in force to welcome the Flying Lighthouse home, and to bring Laeral Silverhand (Open Lord of Waterdeep, and head of the Council of Waterdeep) on board.

And we’re off and running again, here’s the story- Laeral is overjoyed to see the Brothers of the First Light once more, and to learn that they’ve secured the Green Dragon Mask, and slain the great Green Dragon- Chuth, and the unnamed Wyrmspeaker Cult leader-type (that’s the story King M and the PCs are going with). But… all of that can wait for a while- the Brothers of the First Light are late and for a very important date, as it turns out.

Laeral informs the Brothers that there’s a gala ceremony taking place- right now- at Castle Waterdeep, to celebrate the times and trials of the rescued Ice Hunters from Oyaviggaton. Which is universally met with replies of- “What now?”, or similar with added swear words (thanks Pete & Jackie).

I remind the PCs (and you the reader) that at the last meeting of the Council of Waterdeep, they (the PCs) asked that the Ice Hunters receive some sort of reward/helping-hand, this mainly because Lummins (Rob) was still feeling really bad about killing half of them.

Well, this is it- the Ice Hunter’s reward, exactly what the PCs asked for.

The Players are still not impressed- “Do we have to go?”

Yes, as it turns out because they are the guests of honour, and furthermore all of them have to give a speech- that’s right, a sure-fire way of getting PCs/Players off the scent (if you can swing it) is to make them do some work for a bloody change. So, the guys have twenty minutes (or-so) to come up with 100-200 words each, then it’s all aboard the Griffons and onto Castle Waterdeep, just in time for their orations.

They hate me at times, I can feel it.

Actually, some of them just tell me to my face.

Pete (Sgt Bobby) really isn’t happy- good, Lady Laeral Silverhand makes sure he knows that he’s last to the podium- the finale, and therefore the star of the show, and he’ll be giving an award to the hero of the hour- that’s right, the mighty Orcaheart.

So, it’s smiles all round, particularly as the rest of the Players have now assumed their default positions- laughing at a fuming Pete. But the Players all comply- mostly because they buy into this charade and are prepared to put up with my t(r)eacherous madness. The Players therefore scribble their mostly trite (although some are also backhandedly insulting) ‘thanks’ to the Ice Hunters (and specifically Orcaheart, get that Pete) and then we fly.

Just to say Pete really liked Orcaheart when he first got to know him, this after he beat the big lad down (sorta, thanks to Lummins’ Radiance of the Dawn) back at Oyaviggaton in the Ice Hunter settlement. He thought he had a bond with the big-boned Ice Hunter, or else the man-mountain followed Sgt Bobby around like a lost puppy. Then Orcaheart stole his thunder by keeping the White Dragon, Old White Death at bay, basically the Ice Hunter did the Fighter’s job for him- what’s the fuss all about, anyone can do this.

So, Pete’s doubly unhappy- which, of course, makes my heart sing.

Next up Castle Waterdeep and the Ice Hunter Gala, apparently the survivors of Oyaviggaton are being given houses and jobs in Waterdeep, and some form of recognition (a state pension, of sorts). It’s all very liberal and modern in the City of Splendours apparently, or else the PCs are being bought off some more.

Anyway, everyone’s here- or else lots of the big-wigs including a few members of the Council of Waterdeep (Lady Laeral Silverhand, Ontharr Frume, Delaan Winterhound & Sir Isteval), and the adjoining Waterdhavian nobility et al. There’s a buffet and entertainment- the latter mostly coming courtesy of the PCs, who arrive fashionably late to the soiree and are on stage moments later.

Speeches- delivered presentation style (as in standing before me, your glorious DM, and the other Players). It goes a little like this-

Laeral introduces each of the PCs, there’s loud whooping from the crowd (me and the other Players) the biggest cheer is of course saved for when Sgt Bobby comes on- because we all know he’s going to say something bad.

First up is Lummins (Rob) the self-proclaimed High Priest of Lathander (the ‘Shining Light, if you will’) who’s all contrition and soft-soap (in translation- ‘I didn’t mean to do it- to kill the rest of your families’). He’s very sorry- mixed in with the 200-or-so word apology are several adverts for the Light of Lathander, he never gives it a rest.

Next comes Hotlips, who contrary to the DMs instructions (but Sandy’s playing two PCs so I’ll let her off) hasn’t really got a speech, the Halfling Rogue instead goes a little Bill & Ted, recommending (repeatedly) that those present ‘be excellent to each other’. Still, it’s lots funnier than Lummins’ weaselling effort.

Then comes Lux (also played by Sandy) her speech doesn’t mention the Ice Hunters (or Orcaheart) once, instead it concentrates on the actions of the Brothers of the First Light, and specifically the group’s (self-proclaimed) leader- yeah, that’s right- Lux talks about how great Lux is. Or else tells the Brother’s tale while all the time emphasising the great decisions/orders/spells/actions/etc. she contributed to the cause. Basically, Lux is carrying the others- it’s actually a great speech (in-character). The other Players are not sure whether to applaud or to hiss and boo her.

We move on…

To Watt (played by Jackie), and another great speech- and I mean a properly great speech- a bit of Churchillian sounding “we shall never surrender”, a bit about Orcaheart and his titanic effort keeping Old White Death from eating the rest of the party. The finale a cross between Nike’s ‘just do it’, and Coke’s ‘we are the world’. I swear I heard Pete blow his nose (and dab at his moistening eyes). It’s a great effort and brings the house down.

Which just leaves Sgt Bobby (or as he has become known to me, you and everyone that has ever met him- ‘bloody hell, it’s Pete’).

So, strap in, because Sgt Bobby/Pete is grinning as he steps up to the (imaginary) podium to do his thing, and more than a little drunk (or else he’s acting the part, for insurance reasons). The speech starts well, mostly a recap of events- emphasising Orcaheart’s bravery and courage et al- although indicating to the audience throughout that the Ice Hunter hero was just subbing for him. Eventually we get to the crux of it- which is, if he was there (Sgt B) then Old White Death wouldn’t have got away from the gang. In summary- the fat lad did well, but I do it better.

Then, as he has the stage to himself, Sgt Bobby decides to say a few more (less than helpful, but entirely in character- for Pete) things. In precis- he tells everyone how great he is some more, calls Lux a few names, lets everyone know that he heartily approves of Hotlips (‘she’s a menace, and I like that’- is I think how he put it), forgets to mention entirely Lummins or Watt, and then lays in to Orcaheart a bit- ‘a fat freak who got lucky’, or something very similar. Remarkably he refrains from swearing- which, I think, is progress.

Obviously the other Players (and me) hiss, cheer and clap at all the appropriate points- some of us may have even goaded him on a little (well, I like to stir the pot every now and then- in truth they’re all getting on so well these days- there’s hardly any verbal spats or sulking any more).

Laeral Silverhand has to step in towards the end of Sgt Bobby’s oration, but he manages not to go too far with it, which is fortunate because next up… yep, there’s a next up- as it turns out Sgt Bobby isn’t the star of the show, is… the Ice Hunter’s response.

Bonecarver says a few words (actually very few) the Ice Hunter chief (& Shaman) is still not very happy it seems, gracious- thanks for all the help and that, but not delighted to be in Waterdeep- with a much reduced clan, and away from the place he calls home (Bonecarver is a Druid in a city, remember- and he’s watching his tribe disintegrate). I keep it short, mostly just a surly ‘thanks’.

Which brings us to Orcaheart- the real finale, who has leant a few more words of the Common tongue, I wrote a speech you see.

All of it, of course, in praise of the heroes- the Brothers of the First Light- Watt’s “wiseness beyond the ancients”, Hotlips is described as a “stab-stab-smiley-sneaky-bastard”, while Lummins (and Lathander) are “the Light of No-Ledge, and Underhanging, and all that is very much Holy (sic)”, while Lux is “fiery with bastard-clever-eyes”. Then Orcaheart gets to the great man, Sgt Bobby, the rest of his speech (actually about 50% of it) is a semi-homo-erotic paean to the magnificent beast that is Sgt B. Key phrases include- “I very much admiring his manly thighs”, and, “he is like god of war and lovely in one big chunky breast”, and, “he is hefty with war phallus and plentiful loving sack”, and finally, “he is like walrus-man, like walrus-man-beast- he is engorged Beachmaster!”, the latter is repeated (often) and at increasing volume (mostly by the other Players). It’s all delivered in a strange pidgin Common (actually cod Russian/English in-game).

There is much hilarity.

I get by far the biggest laugh, by far far- then again it took me about an hour (over a period of a week) to write the 500 or so words of Orcaheart’s speech.

Then, after the Players finally admit to actually enjoying this short interlude, two strange-ish things take place.

First up, Sgt Bobby gets to meet Orcaheart’s sister, that’s right- you heard me, Orcaheart has got a sister. Remember Orcaheart is a seven-foot-tall sumo sized fellow. His sister however is a young, raven-haired beauty, petite but with a full figure, and she’s all over Sgt B like a rash. Her name is Elsa (like in Frozen).

I just want to say that around the table (even for oldies like us) its slightly odd (as a DM) when you’re trying to roleplay a femme fatale, who is attempting to pick up your real life ‘best mate’, when all the while his wife is watching on. Alternatively, tense, and then (thank god) hilarious- there were some awkward moments to be had here, but I braved it out- and Pete went for it.

Good, that’s a bit of Plot done, we’ll come back to this in a bit.

Although…

But, while we’re at it have you noticed in this write up previously that Bonecarver (the Ice Hunter Shaman who became chief when the PCs (actually Hotlips) killed assassinated the previous chief- Barking Seal) has always been a bit of a grump. While the Ice Hunters have been aboard the Flying Lighthouse I have given the PCs plenty of opportunities to talk with them, or else for the PCs to involve the Ice Hunters in some way in their ongoing plans. This stuff mostly took place during the Downtime sessions, although I have presented the PCs with the option to meet with Bonecarver several times, they’ve always been too busy doing other things. So, and whisper this because it’s also Plot-related.

Orcaheart isn’t an Ice Hunter, he’s not part of the tribe- neither is his sister, Elsa. The pair turned up one cold day in Oyaviggaton, about six months before the PCs put in their appearance (and wrecked the place). So, Orcaheart (& Elsa) show up- the big lad challenges, and then kills, the previous Tribal Champion, and then claims the position for himself. At the time a few of the tribe’s Warriors were less than happy about this situation- so, Orcaheart killed a few of them too. At which point Barking Seal (now RIP) declared Orcaheart to officially be the Tribal Champion. The then chief and Bonecarver figured out between them that Orcaheart (and his sister) were Old White Death’s eyes and ears, the pair are agents of the Dragon.

If any of the PCs had taken time to get to know Bonecarver (or any of the other Ice Hunters, probably), well… some of this (undoubtedly) would have come to light, but it didn’t… so, I’m running with it.

Oh, and last bit- Orcaheart wasn’t/isn’t working for the Dragon- Old White Death.

The big lad has a much nastier boss.

You’ll see.

And…

The other strange thing that happens is that Ambassador Connerad Brawnanvil, complete with entourage- jogging to catch up, makes an appearance- just as the party is coming to a close. The surly Dwarf however is frantic, desperate in fact to ‘hire’ the Brothers of the First Light- the story is Connerad’s (only) brother is in trouble big- he’s the Chief Engineer at Boltus Pit, a massive coaling station in the Spine of the World Mountains, about fifty miles north of Mirabar.

Connerad’s brother- Argonite Brawnanvil is also a Priest of Dumathoin (the Keeper of Secrets under the Mountain- every Dwarven miner’s favourite deity), anyway Connerad received a Sending message from Argonite- “Mine attacked- taken? Slaughterhouse- Dragon Cultists, we retreat Deep Forge Nine- come quickly, my brother. Stone Circle west working. Beware much Danger. Quickly- they come.”

Connerad further explains that ‘Stone Circle West’ refers to an ancient (& permanent) Dwarven Teleport Circle (yes, Dwarves hate magic but sometimes it’s just easier to Teleport places rather than trek for days through snows, ice and hazard) about three miles outside of the back door to Boltus Pit. He further explains the location, he thinks, of Deep Forge Nine- and everything else he thinks the Brothers need to know.

However, the Brothers haven’t said that they’re going yet, actually Connerad hasn’t got around to asking them- he just presumed. Ten seconds later however and the deal is done- Connerad will agree to anything, and everything, within reason- certainly his full support at the Council of Waterdeep, if only the PCs will rescue his brother- NOW.

Obviously, there’s a Dwarven Mage on hand to make this happen (in a quiet room away from prying eyes).

The PCs are, of course, up for it and less than five minutes later en route, and ready for more action- they love their fighting.

Oh, but it’s 2 AM when the PCs depart, the third Council of Waterdeep is in 7 hours’ time, at 9 AM. So, they’re against the clock- and quite frankly loving that too.

That however is the end of this session (another short one- we didn’t get much done), although nicely set up for the start of the next. Just to note in the intervening period- between this session and the next, two of the PCs got in contact with me to ask- “Are you trying to stop us from examining the Green Dragon Mask?” To which I replied “No, of course not…” and then, when pressed- “Yes, I am- will you please play along?”

They’re good people my Players, salt of the Earth- certainly co-conspirators, although tbh there’s very little Green Dragon Mask divining they can do know- it’s going to be all action until the start of the third Council of Waterdeep, that’s a guarantee.

See you next time.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #56 The Rise of Tiamat #15a Slaughter at Boltus Pit Part 1.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 11
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 11
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 11
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 11
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 11

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #56 of our game, but only session #15a of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

This was a short session, mainly because the last fight took a good long while to play through- and people were wanting to get off (for real-world reasons), and then we just got to a nice place to stop (eventually, after a bit of bickering).

Lots of fighting this time, and for all the subtle plot and nuanced NPC interactions et al, these buggers (the Players) sure do like their fighting- and by extension slaughtering the heck out of my bad guys. So, they loved this session- go figure.

Also, before we get on it a quick word- back in the last session Sgt Bobby met Elsa (the Ice Hunter- not) who is Orcaheart’s beautiful (and very available) sister. Well, after this (in-game) event I set my mind to another little Plot I had brewing- I made contact with Pete (playing Sgt Bobby) and started bargaining for his in-game services. I wanted to get the big lad onside for an upcoming event- in all honesty it was easy-peasy, Pete (Sgt Bobby) went for my initial offer- so, there’s something coming- not in this session, but soon after. You’ll see.

Then back to the game, and the Brothers have been sent by Ambassador Connerad Brawnanvil to rescue his brother Argonite from the clutches of attacking Dragon Cultists. The Dwarf is holed up in Deep Forge Nine, in Boltus Pit- a coaling station located in the Spine of the World mountains, 50 miles north of Mirabar. Last bit- it’s 3.00 AM by the time the PCs make it from Stone Circle West, the permanent Teleporter, to the secret backdoor of the Pit.

The Brothers therefore have six hours to get in- rescue Argonite (and any others), and then get out again, and then back to the City of Splendours in time for the third Council of Waterdeep (at 9.00 AM, obviously).

The clock is ticking…

Oh, and of course success here will be enough to guarantee Connerad’s vote, and continued support in the Council of Waterdeep, so there’s that.

The PCs are also keen, itching for a fight- and who am I to disappoint them.

So, the Brothers cautiously head in through the secret back door of the mine, only the Dragon Cultists have got there ahead of them- there are nine Dragonclaws led by a quartet of Dragonwings- a not too trying encounter, but of course all of the bad guys have MAX HP. I wanted to slow down the PCs somewhat, and eat a few of their resources, and make them think they’d been in a fight.

39 Argonite Rescue 1.jpg


The place is a ruin, it looks like the Dragon Cultists made good use of (spellcasting) artillery to smash their way into the mine, or else something similarly ferocious (and fiery).

However, it didn’t help me that the PCs got the drop on my bad guys- with Hotlips sneaking ahead and almost into the midst of the enemies.

Lux Shatters the closest trio of Dragonclaws (after being persuaded not to just drop a Hunger of Hadar onto them- the other PCs want to have some fun). Two Dragonclaws are left only just grasping on to life, the room shakes and shudders as more stones fall from the already wrecked ceiling.

Sgt Bobby follows in, cutting down the first badly wounded Dragonclaw with Hazirawn (and a Crit), and then Action Surges onwards- and almost slays a second.

Lummins strides up to the doors and spies a Dragonwing at the rear of the pack, the Priest of Lathander tosses a Fireball (nonchalantly) into the mix- two more Dragonclaws are incinerated, while the Dragonwing is badly burned and left bloodied.

Then large sections of the ceiling roar their disapproval (briefly), and collapse- several more Dragonclaws (and Sgt Bobby) are hit by falling stones, while another Dragonclaw screams wildly (but very briefly) as he is crushed to death when a sizeable chunk of the aforementioned ceiling lands on him.

Sgt Bobby (Pete) makes it clear to the artillery support that this place is unstable- “Could you stop trying to EXPLETIVE kill me! You EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVEs!” Is, I think, how it went.

Churchillian, as always.

Hotlips scurries in- stabs a Dragonclaw with her magical rapier (in passing) killing the poor fool, and then spins a dagger out at the Dragonwing hiding behind a pillar (an Assassination attempt), and misses- it was a hard shot, the Dragon Cultist is left cowering.

But still visible (just) to Watt who follows in and thunks two arrows into the terrified Dragonwing, and now the poor fool is badly injured.

Then the screaming and shouting gets going, as the rest of the Dragon Cultists hidden in a previously unseen chamber around the corner surge into battle. The badly wounded Dragonwing behind the pillar gets courage- he leaps into the air and glides over Hotlips to land before Lummins and Watt. The Dragonwing cuts and slices at the Bard, and misses- repeatedly.

Lux is having none of it, she scurries forward and Eldritch Blasts the Dragonwing-bastard to death, and then wounds another Dragonclaw reinforcement just arriving on the scene.

More Dragonclaws and Dragonwings emerge, and rush into action- Watt is sliced, but my bad guys are missing lots of their attacks. Sgt Bobby cuts down another Dragonclaw, meanwhile Lummins shoves his way into the entrance chamber and unleashes his Spirit Guardians- floating balls of spectral coruscating light- that radiant hurt.

Hotlips mostly kills the second Dragonwing to enter the melee, the poor bastard goes from full to 6 HP in a matter of moments, as the Halfling Rogue goes stab-fury-five.

A Dragonclaw, radiant burned by Lathander’s Spirit Guardians, gets to the Priest- (Warding Flare fails) and slices Lummins. Seconds later another Dragonclaw cuts Watt, while another pair of Dragonwings are now menacing Hotlips and Lux.

The oddity here being Lux never (ever) gets anywhere near the front line (usually).

Watt’s had enough of this, the Bard drops his bow and conjures a Hypnotic Pattern- catching all but one of the remaining Cultists in the spell- and only one of the bad guys makes his save, the others stand statue and stare at the ceiling. That is until Lummins’ Spirit Guardians ravish them (and in the process awake them from their idle)- which kinda negates the Bard’s effort.

First to revive is a radiant burned Dragonwing, the Cult bastard slashes and cuts Lux, but the Warlock Shocking Grasps the fellow right back- the bad guy is bloodied.

Another radiant burned (and formerly Hypnotised) Dragonclaw attempts to flee the scene screaming but is speared to death by Lummins. Likewise, a badly radiant burned Dragonwing (also formerly Hypnotised) tries to fly away from the melee (and the madness) but doesn’t get off the ground- Hotlips skewers the poor bugger- dead.

Sgt Bobby Crits and kills yet another Dragonclaw, Hotlips does the same (but for Crit read Sneak Attack), and suddenly there’s just one Dragonwing left alive and the poor sod is surrounded (and beyond bloodied, and within the compass of Lummins’ Spirit Guardians). The Cultists surrenders, and Lummins cuts short his spell.

Time for a chat…

Quickly (and a little brutally) the Brothers learn the following (with Lummins’ Zone of Truth in place)-

1) The Dragon Cultists attacked the mine yesterday- there are/were ‘lots of them’ involved in the assault, certainly, ‘more than 100’, with leader types, including a Wizard and a Red Dragon- consensus is, Bugger!

2) The leader of the force however is a Half-Red Dragon warrior, name unknown.

3) The Dragonwing has no idea why the mine was attacked.

And that’s the lot- of course the PCs have many more questions but- that’s pretty much all the guy knows (or at least they’re the questions he could answer). I was expecting the Players to ask how a force of 100+ Dragon Cultists got here… the answer would, of course, have pointed the PCs to the fact that a/the Dragon Cult lair (actually the location for the Tiamat summoning ritual) is also in the Spine of the World mountains.

But they didn’t ask- shame.

The Dragonwing is hogtied and left to stew, and then after getting directions the Brothers head off deeper into the mine, the place is a wreck- and the passage of the Dragon Cultists very easy to follow, although the way (to the next encounter) is long and windy.

An hour or so later (4.15 AM, they need to be in Waterdeep for 9 AM) the adventurers locate their next batch of enemies- and remember my job this session is just to keep the guys amused so that they’ve not got time to investigate the (fake) Green Dragon Mask.

So, more of the same, if you please…

40 Argonite Rescue 2.jpg


This time however the guys creep up on a (big) bunch of Cultists that are camped out in a section of the mine, these guys are mostly resting- but there are lots of them. Including a command group (spotted by Lummins) atop a rock shelf, the Priest of Lathander is fairly certain he spied a Red Wizard of Thay up there…

That’s interesting- the Brothers decide to try to take this guy prisoner.

The PCs are also keen to devastate the bastards, and in rather a jolly mood at the prospect of doing so, every now and then it’s fun to watch them grin and whoop as they take down easy enemies, by which I mean enemies that are still challenging, but- more importantly- easy to identify as being the enemy.

The absence of doubt- “Are we doing the right thing?” Very often brings on the Player’s guilt-free slaughter of my guys.

However, there are obviously lots of enemies encamped here, for your info I started with- 8 Dragonclaws, 5 Thugs, 4 Cult Fanatics, 4 Cultists, 1 Priest & 1 Mage (Wizard of Thay). Oh, and all with MAX HPs, so there’s that…

I allow the PCs to get in to position, because we’re just killing time here (a little) and besides the Players are lapping this up- giggling like loons and whispering to each other- “I’ll put a Fireball here, you put one here- are you MAX-enhancing yours?” That kind of thing.

So, the guys get in position, and note Lux has cast Fly on herself, Sgt B and Hotlips- Lummins has his Winged Boots on, so just Watt shuffling around on the deck.

However, it’s Watt that starts the play- a Fireball (with an incredibly high damage roll) into the command group up on the ledge- two Dragonclaws are instantly incinerated, the Cult Priest is left screaming in agony, while the Red Wizard of Thay is left, alas, only a little singed. The Bard slinks back out of sight- what just happened?

Lummins flies forward, and gets some height, and then goes bat-crap crazy, a second Fireball follows- aimed into the largest concentration of Cultists. Two Cultists and another Dragonclaw are incinerated, while several Thugs and Cult Fanatics are left screaming in agony.

The Priest of Lathander then spends his Inspiration Point and settles a Blade Barrier around a group of assorted Cultists, including the Mage and Priest up on the ledge- a swarming wall of slashing beams of light (think lightsabres). That’s fairly epic (if that’s not an oxymoron).

Lux emerges (flying) next and fires off a trio of Eldritch Blasts, all aimed at the nearest enemies- a scurrying bunch of Cult Fanatics rushing towards the PCs- all hits. Note all three of the artillery, after they’ve unleashed their fury, retreat back behind a sturdy cavern wall- they can’t be seen by any of the dying (or otherwise) Cultists. Good work.

Hotlips assassinates a wounded Cult Fanatic (crossbow bolt to the throat) and then flies to a new hiding place, while Sgt Bobby swoops in (flying) and begins hacking at the closest Cult Fanatic left standing, remarkably the foul fellow survives two hefty (Hazirawn) hits (the benefit of MAX HP).

Then the action really gets going.

A Dragonclaw wakes up to the fact that he’s being bisected by Lummins’ Blade Barrier, the poor idiot is pureed.

The Red Wizard of Thay is in a similar position- however he survives the ordeal and exits the Blade Barrier and casts a Greater Invisibility spell upon himself.

The Cult Fanatic Sgt B failed to cut down stabs the Fighter twice in quick succession (one a Crit) and then conjures his Spiritual Weapon and clonks Bobby again- Pete, it need not be said, is not best pleased.

A second Cult Fanatic (I’m playing these guys as berserker-style lunatic Priests) comes screaming through the Blade Barrier and ignores the pain- it rushes towards Sgt Bobby, en route it too conjures its Spiritual Weapon, but Sgt B dodges just in time.

Meantime Lux and Lummins emerge again from hiding, and take back to the air, the Priest of Lathander drops another (enhanced) Fireball into the midst of a bunch more Cultists- the screaming gets louder, while the Warlock Eldritch Blasts the two Cult Fanatics formerly menacing Sgt Bobby to death.

Note still within the Blade Barrier there’s a Cultist and the Priest cowering (the Priest was on 2 HP, until he started with the healing). Alas this situation doesn’t last long- Hotlips flies up above the Blade Barrier and shoots a crossbow bolt into the just healed Cult Priest’s head- and now he’s dead.

Sgt Bobby flies closer to the action and gets his Second Wind, the Fighter reports back- there are bunch more Cultists (Dragonclaws and Thugs mostly) heading this way. He also reports that the bad guys are ‘all bunched-up’ avoiding the still whirling Blade Barrier.

That’s not good- for my guys.

Seconds later however Sgt Bobby is hit by a Hold Person, cast by yet another screaming Cult Fanatic- he’s very lucky, Watt’s Bardic Inspiration (in the end) allows the Fighter to make his save- this after he rolls a ‘1’, followed by Indomitable (roll save again)- and another failed save (but only just- the Bard's Inspiration gets him home).

Watt rushes out of hiding and drops yet another Fireball into the bunch of Cultists that are skirting around the Blade Barrier.

It’s a bloody/fiery mess.

The Bard incinerates three Thugs, two Dragonclaws and a Cult Fanatic, all of whom were already wounded by the previous burn.

The Cultists are now officially panicked and fleeing- those that still live.

Lummins Sacred Flames to death a fleeing Thug, Lux strafes fleeing enemies with her Eldritch Blasts and yet another Dragonclaw falls, while Hotlips puts a crossbow bolt in the back of another- also dead.

The encounter is over.

Note, one Thug and the Red Wizard of Thay (Greater Invisibility) manage to successfully flee the scene (the Thug has to hide, briefly) the PCs go looking for survivors (and in particular the Red Wizard). They don’t find either of the two escapees- besides, they’re in a rush- they want to get on.

However, when the Blade Barrier comes down the Brothers discover that there’s a cowering Cultist still alive in there. The poor fellow is dragged out for a chat.

The broken fellow has little new info to tell, the only reassuring nugget garnered is this- the Red Dragon that was involved in the initial attack on the mine has since departed, heading… well, elsewhere.

As with the previous prisoner the unfortunate Cultist is left hogtied- to be picked up later, on the way out.

Then we break for the inevitable Pizza- the first two combats proved easy-ish to get through, neither lasted more than 6-7 Turns. Now chatter for a while- and whooping, and gurgling, and grinning.

Then we get on to the final encounter in Boltus Pit… but, that’s for the next instalment.


Stay safe and well you lovely people.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #56 The Rise of Tiamat #15b Slaughter at Boltus Pit Part 2.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 11
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 11
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 11
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 11
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 11

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #56 of our game, but only session #15b of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

The attack on Boltus Pit continues, remember the Brothers are here to rescue Argonite Brawnanvil, brother of Ambassador Connerad, and by doing so secure the Dwarven leaders vote and support in the Council of Waterdeep.

So, we’re nearly there…

There follows another hour or so of the PCs tramping through the mine (a few rolls each time we do this but I’m working to a schedule)- heading deeper and following the trail of destruction (DC 10) which is very easy to find.

Just one encounter left here- the finale, as it were.

And it’s 5.30 AM, or thereabouts (remember, the Brothers need to be back in Waterdeep for 9 AM for the third Council meeting).

The Brothers eventually arrive at the third (and final) bunch of Cultists, who are engaged (it seems) in combat with the remnants of the mine- the Dwarves they were sent to rescue, and hopefully amongst the survivors is Argonite Brawnanvil.

The last stand is taking place in a series of Dwarven living chambers just beyond Deep Forge Nine, which has clearly been over-run. Again, the trail of destruction is easy to follow, and the noise of an active engagement clearly audible.

The situation is, the last remaining Dwarven inhabitants of Boltus Pit have barricaded themselves into a variety of chambers- the Cultists are trying to break into these- and will do so, as the turns progress (dependent, of course, on what the PCs get up to).

Note there are 12 Dwarf survivors- numbered 1-12, when we get to the end of the encounter the (kindly) DM will roll a D12- whatever number comes up is Argonite, if he’s dead already… well, close- but no cigar.

So, it’s in the PCs best interest to keep all, or as many, Dwarves as they can alive.

Obviously, I let the Players know the situation, a bit gamist, but there you go.

More obviously, I allow the PCs (as always in here) to get the jump on my bad guys- an invitation to destruction, the Players therefore unleash their various furies.

Oh, but just to say I packed the halls with Cultists (and others) here- all with MAX HP of course, there are- six Dragonclaws, five Ogres, four Cultists, three Guard Drakes, two Cult Fanatics, two Dragonwings & a Dragonsoul, a Half-Red Dragon Veteran (the leader type), and the wounded Red Wizard of Thay (from the previous encounter).

Oh, and if you hadn’t worked it out by now, this is a version of Captive Cultists from the Additional Encounters, right at the start of the module book.

So, the Cultists know that the PCs/Brothers are about, but… I wanted the guys to get surprise on the enemies, so they’re just not observant enough.

41 Argonite Rescue 3.jpg


It starts with Hotlips, and an Assassination attempt- and a Crit, a Dragonwing expires- crumples, silently, and none of the bad guys even spot the first of them has fallen. The Rogue is so cock-a-hoop she spends her Inspiration Point and shoots an Ogre in the back- then the roaring fury begins.

Watt (the clever bastard) conjures a Confusion spell into the densest bunch of enemies he can spy- all but one of them (including the Red Wizard of Thay) fail their saves.

Lux (the even bigger bastard) then plonks a Hunger of Hadar inky-badness over a larger mass of the bad guys- oh crap, this encounter has fallen apart very quickly, let’s see how I get through this. Oh, and keep in mind that many of the inhabitants of the Hunger of Hadar’s black void are also Confused, so that doesn’t help.

Sgt Bobby rushes forward and cuts down a Dragonclaw, there’s only one other enemy visible this side of the black shimmering bubble that is Lux’ sHunger of Hadar spell- an Ogre, “You’re next”, the good Sgt offers the shocked giant.

Lummins settles for getting his Bless spell up and running, and now we’re out of the surprise round and into the meat of it.

Within the Hunger of Hadar the Red Wizard of Thay, the Dragonsoul, and a forlorn Dragonclaw all stand statue, Confused, and thus allow the cold burn and acid tentacle probing’s of Lux’s power to hurt them. Worse still, a very Confused Guard Drake starts biting and chewing on the Red Wizard of Thay, while a second such beast (similarly Confused) moments later comes charging in and tramples the Red Wizard- Prone, the beast thenn ploughs into a pile of crates and boxes, injuring itself further.

The stuff that’s going on within the Hunger of Hadar is so funny, I let the Players in on the secret. I narrate events within the black.

Meantime Hotlips fires a crossbow bolt into the back of the Ogre facing down Sgt Bobby, the only enemy the Brothers have in sight, it’s bloodied in an instant- a moment later Watt fires two arrows into the giant and then Lux hits it with an Eldritch Blast (Crit) and it sways and falls- dead.

Sgt Bobby isn’t happy- he stands statue frowning furiously, waiting for another enemy to emerge from the compass of Lux’s deadly spell.

Meanwhile, away from the action a second group of Cultists have just broken into one of the barricaded Dwarven bedchambers. These guys can’t see (or hear) the slaughter that’s going on with the PCs and their comrades.

Back at the action, inside the Hunger of Hadar- the Confused Dragonsoul starts lashing out with his blade, and… cuts the Red Wizard of Thay’s head clean-off. A similarly Confused Dragonclaw starts slicing too and cuts up an Ogre, also hidden in the cold- dark void. Another Dragonclaw succumbs to the acid tentacles and cold burn, moments later and yet another Dragonclaw goes the same way. So, that helps.

The Players are actually starting to root for the bad guys here- screaming at them to “Get out of there!”

Lux (Sandy) is grinning like a loon.

Back outside of the terrifying black bubble and the Brothers are killing time- and readying actions, Watt for kicks, fires a Shatter spell into the middle of the black void- more moans, screams, and yells of pain emerge from the enemies still trapped within.

Meantime the off-screen (as it were) Cultists slay their first Dwarven miner- there are two more Dwarves left in the room they have just broken into. The Dwarves, unbeknownst to the PCs, are now fighting for their lives.

Seconds later a second Dwarf miner dies.

The last survivor in the bust-open chamber is trying to hold off a Dragonclaw, a Cult Fanatic, a Guard Drake and an Ogre- there’s not much hope of that happening.

Obviously, the PCs/Players have no idea the above is going on, as far as they’re concerned, I’m just rolling dice (and grinning) behind my DMs screen.

Back to the black- and at last one of the Dragonwings manages to make it out of the compass of the spell- and is swiftly shot twice by Watt and then finished off by Lux’s Eldritch Blasts.

Sgt Bobby continues to grouse (and swear) he’s desperate to get into action.

Then, at last, a badly wounded staggering Cult Fanatic emerges from the black- and is swiftly shot by Watt again, Sgt Bobby rushes over and cuts the foul fellow down dead (with Hazirawn).

Sgt B (Pete) grins like a chimp- he’s easily pleased.

Within the inky black itself a Confused (and panicked) Ogre rushes headlong into a wall, and then moments later succumbs to the acid tentacles in the ebon mist, while yet another still Confused Dragonclaw also ends its days the very same way.

Then, elsewhere, the third Dwarven miner- the last in the just-broken-open chamber is cut down. Three out of twelve of these guys are dead.

The PCs/Players still don’t know this of course.

Next to emerge from the black semi-sphere is a badly injured Ogre, the brute rushes Sgt Bobby, big mistake- the Fighter cuts the creature twice and then, when it doesn’t fall, Hotlips fires a crossbow bolt into its brain pan- now it falls- dead.

Then, at last, the Half-Red Dragon Veteran emerges from Lux’s Hunger (and this guy’s only slightly wounded) and quickly sizes up the situation, the Cult leader bathes Lux, Lummins and Sgt Bobby in his fiery breath- at bloody last.

The ferocious Cultist also starts making threats, mainly because I (your friendly DM) haven’t had a decent speaking part for ages.

The grinning and general hilarity around the gaming table is curtailed, at least for a bit.

A very short bit.

To increase the tension Hotlips fires high and wide of the latest bad guy (the leader of the Cultists here) and then scurries into cover.

My joy however is very (very) short-lived, Watt Polymorphs my Half-Red Dragon Veteran into… you guessed it, another bloody frog.

The giggling and whooping around the gaming table strives for epic.

Sgt Bobby scrabbles on the floor for a short while and then grabs up the frog (Half-Red Dragon Veteran) and shoves the creature in a sack.

Just for info, at this point within the Hunger of Hadar there are only two enemies left alive, both wounded- the Dragonsoul and a lone Guard Drake.

A second Guard Drake cowers, trapped in the far corner of the chamber- caught between stone walls and the inky black shell of Lux’s terror spell- it’s already badly wounded.

While just emerging from a bedchamber full of freshly slaughtered Dwarves are a bunch more bad guys, who are just this minute starting to take in the scene- note all they can see is a great half-bubble of inky black, they cannot see the PCs beyond the void.

They also don’t much know what the black bubble is, the sextet take to shouting and yelling, mostly forlorn enquiries of their comrades, and thus they also let the Brothers know that the reinforcements have arrived.

However, the only way out for my bad guys is through the black sphere, or else wait it out- the favoured option, and then (alas) through the PCs- although (as stated previously) they’ve not spied the Brothers as of yet.

The Guard Drake within the inky black eventually succumbs to its wounds.

There’s just the Dragonsoul left in there- and this guy has been taking damage and failing to escape the black for the last eight turns, and also failing to save against Watt’s Confusion spell.

At last the Hunger of Hadar spell comes to an end.

The last remaining Cultists, including a bloodied (but now no longer Confused, he saved a second before the spell ended- ain’t it always the way) Dragonsoul try desperately to fight their way out of their predicament.

Watt puts an arrow in the Dragonsoul, Lux fires three Eldritch Blasts into the poor bastard (the last one a Crit), then Sgt Bobby charges over and finishes the bugger off.

That was a waste of time- for me.

At which point the Brothers also catch sight (or rather Sgt B does) of the other six Cultists that were formerly smashing their way into the Dwarven bedchambers.

Sgt Bobby tells his friends- “There’s a EXPLETIVE load more of the EXPLETIVE bastards”, is how he actually puts it.

Then the remaining Cultists attempt to break-out- there are two Dragonwings, two Ogres, two Guard Drakes and a Cult Fanatic- all (except one of the Drakes, which is badly wounded) at full HP. The first Dragonwing charges screaming its allegiance all the way, straight at the PCs- and takes a crossbow bolt to the skull- dead in an instant, thanks Hotlips.

The next to make the run is a Guard Drake, which stops an arrow from Watt before charging into the Brothers (but out of actions) an Ogre follows after, and throws a javelin at the Bard, Lummins’ Warding Flare ensures the giant is way off-target.

Lux meantime fires a pair of Eldritch Blasts into a snarling Guard Drake shuffling forward to join the clash.

The Cult Fanatic makes it to the action, with his Shield of Faith switched on, and his Spiritual Weapon in flight- Sgt Bobby dodges the Cultist’s attack and then cuts the Fanatic repeatedly- it lives, but only just.

Next comes the last Dragonclaw standing, the bastard slices Watt repeatedly, while the previously cornered (and now very badly wounded) Guard Drake rushes forward and slams its tail into Sgt Bobby- oof!

At bloody last, the PCs are taking hits.

Lummins gets to the action and lays down a carpet of flames, a much-enhanced Burning Hands the enemies suffer.

The second Ogre heads into action and flails wildly with its greatclub at Sgt Bobby.

Now we’re in a stand-up fight.

Hotlips abandons her crossbow and grabs out her magical rapier, seconds later the Cult Fanatic is skewered through the head, and then dead.

Watt Thunderwaves the enemies before him, but the bad guys are only shaken (oh for low damage rolls).

Sgt Bobby is bitten by the Guard Drake menacing him.

One of the Ogres skirts past the Brother’s front line, but en route is skewered by a previously hidden Hotlips, the giant flails forlornly at Lummins. Lux Shocking Grasps it, and its bloodied.

The Dragonclaw Crits Watt (with Fanatic Advantage) and the Bard is swiftly down to approx. 10 HP.

That hurt.

At last- go me!

Sgt Bobby slices the Guard Drake menacing him twice more- and yet still it lives- oh, the joys of enemies with MAX HP.

Around the table the Players are confident but sweating it a little, there’s a lot of “Come ON! Come ON!” with extended dice shaking times in evidence. A study of ritualistic behaviour.

Lummins, tiring of the scramble, unleashes his Radiance of the Dawn- the Dragonclaw cutting up Watt, and the Guard Drake biting Sgt Bobby both succumb to the Light of Lathander.

Hotlips sneak attacks the badly wounded Ogre- dead, and then flings a dagger into the last (already very badly wounded) Guard Drake standing- it too shuffles off this mortal coil.

There’s just one Ogre left in the fight.

Watt grabs his bow back up and sinks two arrows into it, the Ogre however is not for surrendering- my What Happens Next D20 says so, the creature however is bloodied, at last.

Lux puts an end to that, the Warlock fires three Eldritch Blasts into the giant, who instantly flings down his greatclub in despair, curls up prostrate, and surrenders to the Brothers of the First Light.

The encounter is over- it only took 17 turns and nearly two hours to play through, although keep in mind we’re a very relaxed bunch, the two hours included a tea break and the best part of a packet of biscuits.

There’s not much more left of this session.

However, there’s enough time for the PCs to quickly discover that Argonite is… [Sound of D12 rolling] Alive!

Actually, that was a fudged roll- and the Players never spotted the move, they were always going to get their reward- I’m about making them feel good about themselves in this session. A bunch of fighting, rescue the Princess/hairy Dwarf etc. They’re the good guys- they’re winners.

So, brief introductions to the Dwarves (including Argonite)- a short chat, and none of the surviving Dwarves know why they were attacked.

Just to make clear (to you, and to the PCs/Players at the time), the rescued Dwarves are convinced that Boltus Pit contains nothing that the Dragon Cultists could want or else desire.

There follows a short bit of banter with the Ogre- the beast knows nothing, Gonk is not the brightest of his kind, and that’s saying something. After a short squabble amongst the PCs/Players the giant is allowed to depart the mine with his life- but if the Dwarves catch up with him, he’s dead meat.

So, run along.

Gonk, the Ogre, flees.

Then the guys let the frog out of the bag, and Watt ends his Polymorph spell- at which point several of the other PCs (but principally Sgt Bobby) are pinning the ex-frog now after the transformation- fully formed and functioning Half-Red Dragon Veteran down.

The enemy leader is wrestled into submission, and threatened repeatedly with destruction, eventually the Dragon Cultist calms down a little.

However, the Half-Red Dragon Vet resists the PCs questioning (basically, I’m holding out with this guy), the PCs are going to have to get creative (for which read brutal) to get any info here. There follows a short (but sometimes heated) debate.

The PCs/Players are running out of time (in-game and real-world), it’s approaching 6 AM- it took the Brothers three hours to get from Stone Circle West (the Teleporter) to their present location, they’re going to have to move fast to get back (only just) in time for the next Council of Waterdeep.

Lummins, during a moment of clear-headedness, uses a Sending spell to message Leosin Erlanthar (Harper agent back in Waterdeep) and ask him to try to delay the next Council meeting.

The PCs, and the Players, put aside their temporary differences- they’re against the clock here, and also, we need to finish early this session.

So, it’s a race to get back out of the mine, back to the surface, and then to Waterdeep- at which point the PCs finally remember (after like a million hints) that they have nine Dwarvern miners, including Argonite, in their midst. As it turns out there’s a much quicker route to the surface.

That changes everything.

So, this is what goes down-

The Brothers take a short rest, they’re all (except for Watt) bloodied, or thereabouts- the Bard is badly wounded, on approx. 10 HP.

Leosin messages back, the Council of Waterdeep meeting is delayed by an hour, that’ll do it.

Ferrix, the Half-Red Dragon Veteran is given a working over by Sgt Bobby, it gets nasty- and Lummins argues briefly against some of the violence but mostly the Priest of Lathander says nothing. Note, we’re all grown ups around the table, there are no atrocities to be had in our game (at least not from the PCs (so far)). An interrogation with violence generally mimics the good cop/bad cop routine- with Sgt Bobby beating the victim with his fists and making anatomically impossible threats, while Lux (more often than not) whispers sweet nothings (and questions that need answers) into the torture victim’s ear.

That said the procedure goes badly- over the course of thirty minutes Sgt Bobby gets to make three checks, Ferrix is making Con Saves to resist. Sgt B’s dice fail him, he rolls (unadjusted)- ‘2’, followed by ‘1’, then a ‘9’; Ferrix resists all of the Fighter’s efforts easily, his last roll is a ‘20’.

They’re going to have to take this thing to the next level.

But now we’re really running out of time (real world), so- change of plan.

Ferrix is scooped up, tied and bagged, hefted aboard (Sgt Bobby) and the Brothers and the Dwarves get the hell out of dodge (Boltus Pit). All the way to the surface, and then on to… well, eventually to Waterdeep.

But that’s for next time…



Stay safe and well you lovely people, these are very strange times.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #57 The Rise of Tiamat #16a The Third Council of Waterdeep Part 1.

Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 11
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 11
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 11
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 11
&
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 11

Secondary PCs.
Left at 8th Level- we’ll get them back if (and when) they’re needed later on.
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 8


This is session #57 of our game, but only session #16a of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

Oh, and apologies ahead of time there’s a lot of he did, she did in this one- this was a titanic battle around the table, keep reading…

The PCs are back from Boltus Pit (with Argonite Brawnanvil et al), another successful mission under their belt, and to the City of Splendours, and the Lord’s Palace, and (just) in time- so, the third meeting of the Council of Waterdeep is not postponed at all.

It starts now… just to keep the Players on their toes.

So, this is what goes down, although first to say there’s a new face at the Council table, a female Tiefling introduced as Rian Nightshade, a ‘Special Advisor’, according to Dagult Neverember who as always is doing his best to run the show.

Note, Lux (Sandy) knows Rian (a Zhentarim agent) and has dealt with her before, I let her know the Zhent agent will be attending the meeting ahead of the session.

The other PCs however have questions, Lux (obviously) goes along with her colleagues and pretends she doesn’t know who Rian is. The Brothers therefore want to know- who does Rian represent? Answer- no-one, she’s a ‘Special Advisor’, now move on. Some of the Players are less than enamoured with Dagult’s explanation, but they (eventually) let it pass.

They’re a bit chippy today, some of them.

To the meat of it, the Brothers (following Lux’s lead- she takes over, mostly, in these sort of sessions) start off by talking up their secret meeting with the Great Dragon Council, and specifically explaining that various concessions have been made (but not discussed here in detail). For which the Metallic Dragons have agreed to offer protection to a number of locales, and/or else factions. Four Dragon favours have been distributed so far- to the northern Dwarves (Ambassador Brawnanvil), the Elves of the Misty Forest (King Melandrach), to Waterdeep (Lady Silverhand), and the last Dragon favour for the Brothers themselves- to protect the Flying Lighthouse.

The crowd mostly go wild and leading the charge- for all to see, are Brawnanvil and Melandrach, who hardly ever find themselves, it seems, on the same side of a cause. Most odd, several of the other Council members are moved enough to make comment.

Lux then ups the ante by explaining that because they managed to achieve a consensus at the Great Dragon Council then they have two more Dragon favours to distribute to worthy causes. There follows a clamour from the various unprotected factions and/or locales, all seeking a Dragon favour for themselves.

The Brothers listen to various pleas and/or offers of aid in order to secure the much needed Dragon protection.

Lux (without telling her colleagues beforehand) decrees that the Harpers should receive one of the two outstanding Dragon favours. The last favour- she also declares, will be distributed by Lady Silverhand, thereby enabling the Brothers (and specifically Lux) to dodge their responsibility to distribute the last Rolo* in the pack (as it were).

*Rolo = chocolate sweets in the UK, the advertising goes (paraphrased)- “Do you love someone enough to give them your last Rolo?”

Note, a couple of the other Players are a bit miffed by Lux’s decision to support the Harpers, but… they don’t really care that much, only that Sandy didn’t ask/tell them ahead of time.

It’s a familiar lament.

So, congratulations all round, even those not blessed with a Dragon favour can see the sense in the Brothers’ actions, and the good fortune of getting the Metallic Dragons on-side.

That’s just the start of it- Lux, has a gleam in her eye ahead of the next bit.

Just to say I may have had a little chat with Lux (Sandy) ahead of this session, just to advise her (you understand) about the running order for her presentation to the Council.

So, then the story of the Brother’s visit to the Misty Forest, and into the lair of Chuth and the Green Dragon Mask wearing Wyrmspeaker- name unknown. A heroic tale if ever there was one- with the Brothers (and Lux in particular, as usual) responsible for the deaths of both of their Dragon Cult enemies- the cheering is unrestrained, and from King Melandrach in particular- vociferous, almost unseemly.

King M high-fives several of the PCs.

Which gets a laugh, and then funny looks from several other members of the Council of Waterdeep.

As the last roar of approval rings out, King M marches over to the Brothers and presents to each a finely wrought silver pendant, each depicting in miniature one of the ancient oaks of the great Elven forest. A short speech later and all five of the Brothers of the First Light have been honoured as ‘Heroes of the Misty Forest, and friends of the Wild Elves.”

King M makes special mention of the actions of each of the adventurers (as told to him by the DM) but makes sure that Sgt Bobby’s sacrifice is made clear, note Sgt B is left beaming with delight.

Pete (playing Sgt B) is grinning like a loon.

He’s a special child, if you catch my meaning.

But the best comes last, the reward- the Green Dragon Mask, and finally the great unveiling… at which point, as you’ve no doubt guessed (at least one of the Players had, maybe two, actually- definitely two), it all goes very badly wrong.

If you are wondering who the two Players were that guessed what's going to happen next (and told me about it beforehand), that would be the ladies of the group- Sandy and Jackie. In truth, I could make the above statement often, they 'get it' much more quickly than the chaps pretty much most of the time.

So, Lux opens the casket holding the (fake) Green Dragon Mask and instead of finding the Mask within she unleashes two spectral floating (giant-sized) heads- both bald Human males, although one of the two sports a large number of tattoos on and about his scalp.

“I am Severin, Wyrmlord- the Voice of Tiamat, and…”
“… and I am Rath Modar, your worst nightmare!”

I was going for Statler and Waldorf (of Muppets fame) cantankerous and insulting.

At which point the bad-things-happen-ometer shoots up to 11.

The casket and the Green Dragon Mask then dissolve, swirl and transform into a shimmering six-foot wide circular portal, a pulsing doorway to another (fiery?) realm, through which come leaping a Dragonsoul (switched to kamikaze mode, and MAX HP), a Mezzoloth, and an (invisible, but not for long) Nycaloth.

Oh, and keep in mind the Brothers et al have not recovered much from their previous outing to Boltus Pit, they’ve had a short rest and done some healing. But the quintet’s spellcasters are more than halfway through their spell slots (and they’ve expended lots of their high-level powers), and many of them are still a little wounded.

Oh, and I’ll be adding more Mezzoloth’s and Nycaloth’s to the encounter, another one more or less every round- until I (or they- the PCs) have had enough.

Oh, and the members of the Council of Waterdeep are also in the room, so- the PCs/Players need to keep these guys alive. Note the NPCs were all stated out as Max HP Knights (Isteval), Berserker (Connerad), Mage (Silverhand), Assassin (Nightshade) etc. etc.

Oh, and the bad guys get the surprise round.

Oh (last one), throughout the following fracas the two spectral floating heads of Severin and Rath Modar content themselves with their personal diatribes, all aimed at the rulers of the various races, locales and/or factions (courtesy of Severin, mostly), or else specifically the Brothers of the First Light (Rath Modar, again, mostly).

Rath Modar in particular delights in telling the Brothers all about the destruction of Greenest, Fireballing the innocent people there etc.

In order to get this right, I put the two spectral floating heads in the initiative order, this so that I remember to harangue and shout at the PCs every turn. The floating heads have no other powers, they’re just there to piss the PCs/Players off.

Worked a treat, you should try it. Nice backstory/recap thing also, and a chance to get some digs in.

So, at last, to arms.

42 Waterdeep Council Attack.jpg


Shocked seconds after the portal and the spectral scoffing heads appear, the centre of the chamber is suddenly engulfed in a swirling tide of choking acrid smoke, and obscured- the Mezzoloth unleashes its Cloudkill, and then clambers onto a table- chirruping threats as it goes.

Alas the first person to feel the Poison burn is the Dragonsoul, the ferocious Dragon adherent however quickly escapes the cloud (Limited Flight), and then lands and cuts and slices Hotlips (the Rogue is almost bloodied in an instant). The frenzied Cultist also finds the time to lash out and bloody Taern Hornblade (of Silverymoon).

There’s a collective sharp intake of breath around the gaming table, this guy (the Dragonsoul) clearly means business.

Then the Nycaloth suddenly appears atop a table and begins clawing at the Brothers- Watt is hurt, however its Hotlips (again) that suffers considerably, she’s clawed and left with bleeding wounds- the Halfling is bloodied and beyond (down to just over 20 HP).

And Sandy (playing Hotlips) is as white as a sheet.

At which point the fightback begins- Lux (wearing her Poison Resistance ring, smart) attempts to Banish both Yugoloths back to their fiery home- a second later and the Mezzoloth is returned to its hellish realm, and back before tea-time. The Nycaloth however is staying put. The Warlock makes her way out of the Cloudkill and screams for her companions to follow suit.

Back within the Cloudkill (and unseen by the PCs) a second Mezzoloth makes its way through the portal (which is obviously also much obscured).

Oh, and the PCs are encouraged to help me play the NPCs in this fight, i.e. the great and the good of the Council of Waterdeep.

Ontharr Frume (Order of the Gauntlet) therefore is all action, the Dwarf spots the newly arrived Mezzoloth (he’s stood next to the portal), and so clambers on to a table and starts screaming at Sgt Bobby to warn him- the newly appeared Mezzoloth is now stood behind the PC Fighter. The Paladin swings heartily but misses his attacks.

Hotlips, still bleeding badly, grabs out her magical rapier and skewers the Nycaloth, that hurt- and then swiftly gets the hell out of dodge, disengaging and skittering back to hide behind Watt, while begging the Bard for a little healing.

The Dragonsoul moves again and this time takes its furious anger out on Watt- the Bard is sliced and stabbed and left bloodied in an instant.

Jackie (playing Watt) actually screamed when the Dragonsoul hit her guy for the third time in a row in very quick succession.

This is going badly for the PCs, and there’s lots of moaning and griping around the table.

Sgt Bobby, choking within the Cloudkill- takes up the ‘heal me’ chorus, and then ignores Ontharr (and the unseen Mezzoloth) and gets to work with Hazirawn on the Nycaloth- he misses the hulking Yugoloth twice in a row, Pete goes swear-nova.

An Action Surge later and the Fighter hits at last, although the Nycaloth is still nowhere near bloodied.

Sir Isteval (Daggerford) and Taern Hornblade also make it out of the Cloudkill, choking as they retreat, the latter heads for the magically sealed doors of the Council chamber and begins pounding on them, in an effort to alert those without.

Remember, the Brothers et al are in a magically sealed chamber, which is also locked and secured.

Dagult Neverember (Neverwinter), likewise choking, scrambles out of the Poison Cloudkill and takes to haranguing Lux- “What have you done? You fool!” Which is obviously very much appreciated.

The Nycaloth however is content to stay where it is, on a table and safely ensconced within the Cloudkill spell- Watt is clawed some more, and the Bard is now also below 20 HP, and has still not appeared in the initiative order.

Tee-hee.

The Players are scrambling.

The Yugoloth’s are immune to Poison (and Acid) damage, if you’d not worked it out.

Lummins unleashes a Mass Cure Wounds, and then takes to the air (Winged Boots), using an Inspiration Point to disengage from the enemies to either side of the Priest of Lathander (he was stood between the Nycaloth and the Dragonsoul), Lummins escapes the Cloudkill.

Rian Nightshade (Zhentarim), also escapes the Cloudkill- coughing and spluttering as she goes, and then stabs the Nycaloth twice and hurts the beast bad (she’s statted as an Assassin, but the PCs/Players don’t know this of course), the women is a whirl of blades- and an instant hit with the Players.

Any doubts they had about Rian are instantly dispelled, several of the PCs cheer her on

Ulder Ravengard (Baldur’s Gate) is likewise volubly appreciated, the head of the Flaming Fist Shield Bashes the Dragonsoul to the floor and then stabs the bastard twice- that’s right!

Yeah!

Sgt Bobby just made two new friends- “Sick ‘em Rain”, that should be Rian, and “Take ‘em down Uber”, which of course should be Ulder.

And now the Players are mostly cheering- and starting to really like some of the members of the Council of Waterdeep. Note, I’m getting the Players to make the various NPCs To Hit and Damage rolls- while describing the outcomes of the action. Way to get the Players interested.

King Melandrach (Misty Forest) meantime also escapes the Cloudkill and decides to keep his mouth shut- he knows where the Green Dragon Mask came from, his Dragon Cult son Neronvain.

Remalia Haventree (Waterdeep) lashes out at the Nycaloth, alas she’s way off target.

Laeral Silverhand (Waterdeep), affected by the choking Poison, Misty Steps clear of the Cloudkill but now, as situated, she cannot see any enemies to attack.

Keep in mind Laeral is statted as a Mage here.

Watt still bloodied- disengages and moves away, but not before dishing out a little Bardic Inspiration (on Hotlips), he then spends his Inspiration Point to get another (much-enhanced) Cure Wounds for himself.

Connerad Brawnanvil (Dwarven Clans of the North) joins his colleague- Ontharr Frume battling the newly arrived Mezzoloth- the pair swing heartily, although continue to fail to land a single blow. The Mezzoloth chirrups wildly and then jabs its trident into Brawnanvil. Both Dwarves stand surefooted and unbending slap-bang in the centre of the Cloudkill spell, the pair are as tough as old boots.

Lux meantime gets altitude, and then begins to fire Eldritch Blasts into the barely visible Nycaloth within the Cloudkill- remarkably she hits the Yugoloth twice (with a Crit & a ‘19’).

Note, any creature inside the Cloudkill is hard to see, and therefore hit- particularly for anyone positioned outside attacking those within.

Ontharr, at last, smashes the Mezzoloth between him and Connerad, alas only a glancing blow with his warhammer, the insect-like creature barely notices.

At which point a second Nycaloth exits the entirely obscured Portal, and again the PCs don’t spot the bad guy’s arrival.

Hotlips stabs the Prone Dragonsoul repeatedly- and still it’s not yet bloodied, I started the guy on Max HP, that’s 186.

The Players, around the table, moan and whinge some more.

“What do you mean he’s not even bloodied?” Sandy (Lux & Hotlips) asks, with undisguised contempt. “I don’t know how I could make it any clearer”, is my ill-considered reply.

There is swearing.

The Dragonsoul leaps back to its feet, manoeuvres (and in doing-so gets stabbed again by Ulder) and then unleashes heck on Rian Nightshield, with a Crit and a follow up stab and slice- and now the Zhentarim agent is bloodied.

Bloody hell!

“Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!” Sgt Bobby screams, he’s already slightly enamoured with Rain/Rian.

The Players are now starting to fret that some of the Council of Waterdeep members are going to end up dead here.

We’ll see.

Sgt Bobby still bravely standing (and coughing and spluttering) within the Cloudkill cuts down the first Nycaloth (with Hazirawn).

There is cheering around the table.

It’s a bit half-hearted.

Alas, the big Fighter then turns around to discover that there’s another (freshly arrived and uninjured) Nycaloth stood right behind him- he Crits the foe, and shouts sweary encouragement for a while, while telling his friends that there are (he’s certain) more Yugoloths exiting the Portal.

Like, all of the time…

Which doesn’t go down well at all.

Just to note the PCs have no spells memorised (and remember they’ve not got many spell slots left to use) that will help them deal with the Cloudkill and/or the hidden Portal.

Every now and then Sandy (Lux) yells “We can do this.”

Which is a sure sign that things are going badly.

Isteval gets to the Dragonsoul, the Knight swishes ineffectively with his blade.

Dagult finds a corner of the chamber, and there keeps out of the way, except to scream something obnoxious and uncomplimentary, every turn, about the Brothers or else, specifically, about Lux.

Let it all out Mr. DM, sir. Everything you’ve been holding back…

Note, the floating spectral heads of Severin and Rath Modar are also continuing to shout the odds- I basically wrote up a few trite Dragon Cult-style rants and sayings for Severin; and a bunch of horrible and bloody/graphic recollections (about slaying innocents, or escaping the PCs) mixed in with a few choice insults, all delivered by Rath Modar. One rant from each per turn.

Which, by this point in the fight, the PCs are really starting to enjoy.

Lummins unleashes his Radiance of the Dawn, which clears away some of the Cloudkill fog- or else makes it easier to spy the inhabitants of the deadly cloud, but alas the harmful Poison remains in the air.

The Brothers can now see all of their enemies- a Dragonsoul, and then within the cloud a Mezzoloth and a Nycaloth, and of course- the flickering spasming portal.

Through which yet another Mezzoloth is now emerging… bugger.

Also, within the Cloudkill are Sgt Bobby, Ontharr and Connerad- all swinging heartily at their enemies, and seemingly unconcerned by the prevailing environmental effects.

Rian Nightshade, bloodied, lashes out and Crits the furious Dragonsoul, the Poison on her blade burns the Dragon Cultist.

King Melandrach, at last makes up his mind to fight back- he paralyzes the Dragonsoul with a Hold Person spell.

Cue another ragged cheer.

Ulder is not taking any chances, the Flaming Fist boss stabs the Dragonsoul repeatedly (including a Crit) and at last the kamikaze-Cultist is dead.

More cheering.

For real this time.

We’re getting there.

Watt, from outside of the Cloudkill, casts Otto’s Irresistible Dance on the newly revealed Nycaloth, and the nine-foot-tall (and big with it) Yugoloth takes to capering, the Bard selects Riverdance function and the great beast with fluttering hops and skips (on the spot) complies.

Which brings much needed laughter to the proceedings.

Back within the Cloudkill, the Dwarves continue to suffer- and to miss their targets repeatedly.

Lux, still flying high, attempts to Banish the pair of Mezzoloths, and I roll (with advantage on both checks) a ‘20’ each time. The Yugoloths are definitely staying.

I get called maybe a dozen (unpublishable) names.

And so, I turn the lights out, after the Radiance of the Dawn comes the Darkness, as conjured by one of the Mezzoloths, now no-one, except for the Yugoloths, can see anything within the circumference of the Cloudkill/Darkness.

The Players are delighted.

While the Nycaloth in the black, and still dancing, tears into Sgt Bobby.

The big Fighter is beyond bloodied.

This is really not going well.

Hotlips, now in crazy mode, charges into the Cloudkill/Darkness- to where she last saw the capering Nycaloth (and it hasn’t moved- just continued Riverdancing on the spot), she gets all the way to the Yugoloth but then fails to land a blow- we leave the Halfling mid-coughing fit.

She too is beyond bloodied.

Sgt Bobby however is made of stronger stuff, the Fighter connects twice with the dancing Nycaloth (and he’s effectively fighting Blind here), if he could see the terrible foe, he’d be able to discern that it too is beyond bloodied, and almost broken.

Lummins unleashes his second (and last) Radiance of the Dawn- the Yugoloths chitter and screech (the dancing Nycaloth is down to 1 HP), and the inky blackness is dispelled, also the Cloudkill is back to being only slightly obscuring once again.

Good work!

Rian Nightshield (now officially the PCs #1 NPC) fires a crossbow bolt into the back of capering Nycaloth- it falls (and then slowly fades from existence).

Sgt Bobby could kiss her, if she’d let him.

Although the feeling is shared by many of the other PCs/Players, anyone that kills these bastards is alright with them.

There is much cheering- there are only two Mezzoloths left in the fight.

At which point the other Mezzoloth fires off its Darkness spell, and we’re back to the inky black…

The Players hate me.

But only very briefly- although I wait for their complaining and moaning to come to an end before the next bit…

King Melandrach fires a Light spell into the Darkness, and as suddenly everyone can see again- we could keep this up for ages.

The Players are back to cheering again.

One or two, after some earlier harsh words when the Darkness fell again, even have apologies to make.

Ulder Ravengard rushes into the Cloudkill, he chokes a bit (although Save = ‘20’), and then Shield Bashes the closest Mezzoloth down, and then spears it- nice work.

“Rian and Ulder would make a lovely couple”, Watt offers for the other PCs/Players consumption. Then the Bard fires two arrows into the second Mezzoloth (both hits one off Max damage rolls) and the Yugoloth is bloodied.

Seconds later a choking Connerad smashes his ceremonial greataxe into the same Mezzoloth- and the creature is nearly spent.

At which point a couple of things happen at once- first, yet another Nycaloth steps through the shimmering Portal; second- the aforementioned Portal silently shatters- as Lady Silverhand, at last, works her magic.

Note, this bit is exactly as I planned it, that’s enough for the Brothers et al to deal with in this encounter.

The newly arrived Nycaloth whirls its greataxe at Sgt Bobby, who ducks just in time, and then Teleports out of the Cloudkill and straight into the midst of the squishier crowd stood outside of the poisonous cloud.

Which causes a little consternation.

Lux, for the last time- tries to Banish the Mezzoloths, I roll badly for my second guy and he’s whisked back home.

There is cheering, proper cheering- the Portal’s gone and there are only two enemies on the map.

The last remaining Mezzoloth claws and cuts Ontharr, and then stabs its hellish trident into Connerad, the pair of sturdy Dwarves are both bloodied and beyond.

A choking Connerad continues to flail and miss.

Hotlips, also choking, staggers up to the last Mezzoloth standing and skewers the bastard in its chitinous back with her magical rapier (and a big bunch of Sneak Attack), the Yugoloth falls dead, its sprawled corpse soon after fading to nothing.

The Cloudkill immediately starts to dissipate.

Cue lots and lots of cheering.

Sgt Bobby gets his Second Wind and then rushes over to hack at the last enemy standing, the late to the party and uninjured Nycaloth.

Sir Isteval joins in and Crits the fiend.

Lummins fires a trio of Scorching Rays at it, after figuring the creature is probably not resistant to flame, two of the fiery rays hit home.

Rian Nightshade skewers it with her short sword- great (Sneak Attack) hit.

Ulder Ravengard rushes over and spears it.

Remala Haventree slashes it with her blade.

Watt fires an arrow into it.

Remarkably the Nycaloth still lives (although it’s on 3 HP), in a fury it claws desperately and reduces Delaan Winterhound to not much more than 10 HP. Then, at last, the Yugoloth succumbs to Lux’s Eldritch Blasts.

The encounter, but not the (verbal) fighting, is over.

The doors burst open as guards from all corners of the Sword Coast rush into the chamber, moving swiftly to encircle and protect their various exalted masters.

That however, and apologies again for the narrative, is all I wrote (for now).

Oh, but just to say that the encounter above was, of course, the second Cult Strikes Back attack from Episode 5. in the module.

More next time.
 


COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

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