Hoard of the Dragon Queen

Episode 6: The Castle In The Swamp
Here be dragons...
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Episode 5: Construction Ahead!

Arrival In Waterdeep

Our tired adventurers arrive in Waterdeep on the evening of their 60th day of travel.
Their time to rest is minimal however, as the cultist wagons veer off into the city. Carlon Ammofel and Jamna Gleamsilver quickly follow at the parties behest but not before Carlon whispers to Valaric Silversong (a fellow harper) to meet them at the Yawning Portal. Jamna looks at them suspiciously.

Lasfero the Silent and his “cargo” pay Balthazar and Nem’eia their dues, and fare well Green Isma who goes off in search of a cure for her condition. Sulusdeg the Pole pays Lagertha and hands her a small hand carved woodpiece in the shape of a greatsword resting in a rock. This will show her as a friend to his people should they ever meet.

Hector and the party try to find Remilia Haventree, the drop off point for the cargo of the late Edhelri Lewell. Local folk don’t know her exactly but point the party in the direction of the Yawning Portal as being a favourite stop off for moon elves.

The Yawning Portal is a very famous inn; It is the entrance to the Undermountain dungeon which runs all under Waterdeep. Suddenly Valaric is grasped from behind, but manages to flip over his assailant. He is surprised to recognise his childhood friend Freya who has grown to be the bartender and owner of the Yawning Portal. She points to the stage, and he sees Alyssa Moonwhisper playing for the crowd. They recount to her their travels so far, and she grows dark. She wished it was not them but people are waiting in the back room for the party.

The party enters the room and are relieved to see Leosin Earlanthar and Ontharr Frume. Three other people are there, who are introduced as Delaan Winterhound, Lady Laeral Silverhand and another moon elf Remilia Haventree. Together these members represent every faction that is currently helping to thwart the cult.

Remilia represents the Harpers and the wood is part of supplied they were stocking for a war effort. As a gift she hands Hector a small Green Crystal. This crystal when held by Hector glows with the blue light of the full moon, casting dim light in a 60ft radius.

The party recounts so far where they have been, and when they get to asking where Carlon Ammofel is when Jamna Gleamsilver arrives, skulking in the rafters. She has “detained” Carlon elsewhere in the city, and wishes to exchange her knowledge of the cult to be included in the council. After some threats directed at her Leosin begrudgingly allows her and her faction entry.

She explains that:

  • The wagons have entered a warehouse on the north side of town.
  • The cargo has been loaded onto supply wagons bound for the North Road restoration project.
  • The High Road Charter Company is in charge of this project, which is sanctioned by Lord Dagult Neverember
  • Lady Laeral Silverhand insists that it is a legitimate operation and it seems that the cultists have infiltrated it somehow.
  • The party can visit the HRCC offices in the morning and speak to Ardred Briferhew to become part of the escorts or workers.

The council entreats the party to join the HRCC and find out the extent of the cultists infiltration and of course, where the treasure is heading.
The meeting to a close and the party retires for the evening. Carlon shows up later, only with a bruised head and ego.

In the morning the party meets Ardred Briferhew who hires them on as guards for the grand price of 1sp per 10 day, a fortune in this poor economy, after making them sign in triplicate all manner of waivers.
The party spies some of the cultists from the road trip and they return their disdainful stares in kind.

The road trip continues and on the 8th day the caravan stumbles upon three Lizardmen with a young female human slave (Sess Ety. They are being threatened by 12 toad like creatures called Bullymongs, who want to take their slave. Hector and Valaric manage to make an offer the lizardmen “can’t refuse” by buying the girl for 1000 steel ball bearings and a simple ruby that they bluffed as being the “tear of a red dragon”. The bullymongs,( feeling robbed of their prize and chance to steal from their enemies) murder one of the lizardmen with arrows and all parties flee into the bushes.

Arrival at the Carnath Roadhouse comes on the late afternoon on the 10th day.
The wagons accompanied by the cultists enter in first, and are unloaded into a room under the direction of a large half-orc called Bog Luck. The party disperses into the roadhouse and Hector meets the resident cook Gristle Pete and after a few drinks he mentions not being able to get any sleep from the “scratching and hissing and clawing at all hours of the night” from downstairs.

The other party members take up residence in a room next door to some cultists, and manage to hear the words “tunnel, lizardmen and stongroom” from the next room. The dinner bell chimes and everyone piles into the kitchen for dinner. Valaric Silversong manages to catch the eye of his enemy, the cultist Larion Keensblade. Trying his best to make peace, Valaric takes over a drink and does not see a leg swing out and trip him resulting in Larion being covered in liquor. This proves to be the final straw and Valaric is challenged to a duel downstairs. The roadhouse pours out to watch (and place a sneaky bet) on the winner. Ardred Briferhew shows Valaric his waiver which includes “death due to duels”.

Larion attacks viciously as the combatants wear each other down. The crowd cheers and hollers as strike upon strike is thrown. It looks like Valaric is certain to meet his doom when Larion Keensblade tired, goes to strike with his short sword, trips and impales himself. Valaric also notices that Bog Luck is carrying a scabbard just like the ones from the bandit camp.

The evening winds down, and a stable boy speaks to the adventurers about his suspicions that some of the wagoners are not exactly who they think they are. He shows them that there is a locked room inside the storage room. “What is so important to lock up in road supplies”? he says. Bog is the only one with the key.

The adventurers discuss at length what to do before Jamna Gleamsilver (Who has joined their journed to track down Azbara Joss) hurries them up. “Are we going to take this strongroom or what!”

Bjorn Jager stands guard as the rest of the party enters into the store room, picks the lock and breaches the strong room. Inside are many boxes all marked with a white hand with the fingers outstretched. This is the mark of the cult. After a little bit of searching they uncover a secret tunnel entrance… and a hoard of lizardmen who were climbing up into the room at that very moment! A short battle ensures and when it is done the party can hear the roadhouse awakening and shouting above them as the last of them slip into the tunnel…

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Episode 4: On the Road
Murder most foul

The party has spent the best part of 60 days on the road as part of a convoy travelling north from Baldur’s Gate.

Along the way they made many friends, Green Imsa, Edhelri Lewel, Lasfelro and Sulesdeg being their employers, and a few enemies such as Aldor Urnpolehurst, who met an unfortunate end, but not before receiving a special deposit from Valaric.

Tragedy strikes when a trio of Doppelgangers infiltrate the caravan and woo several members.
Late at night Edhelri calls a besotted Hector to meet her under a tree, and when he approaches the doppelgangers strike. Unfortunately they had claimed Edhelri, and the adventurers find her body torn up in a gully not far from the camp.
Hector takes up the transportation of her exotic wood cargo to Waterdeep as his own personal quest.

In Daggerford the party meet with Sir Isteval, a retired elderly paladin who pledges his support to the characters and their quest against the cult. He also asks them to keep an eye out for an agent that has gone missing, Carlon Ammofel.

Two other characters also join the caravan in Daggerford, a shady halfling who trails a the only human to gain passage on the cultist wagons.

The halfling later reveals herself to the party as Jamna Gleamsilver, saving them from an assasination attempt by the cultists, who think they remember one of the party from the camp, but cant be sure. They were told to not allow any interference.

Jamna reveals she is on the partys side (Valaric showed her the Harpers medallion), but not on the same team. The human she is following is none other than Azbara Jos, a red wizard of Thay that Ne’mea saw back in the cultist camp. What do the red wizards and the cult have to do with each other?

The party meets Carlon later on, as they find him buried up to his neck in the road. He had been trailing a previous cultist caravan, but they had suspicions and convinced the caravan that he was an oathbreaker, who then passed judgement and left him in the road.

A day out from their arrival at Waterdeep the caravan awakes to a murder. One of the cultists is found dead, and the adventures have the finger pointed at them. After someone asks to see if something from the cultists wagons are stolen, the accusations die down as Azbara steps in and calms the crowd.

The sun is setting on the 60th day and Waterdeep comes into view as the caravan crests a hill. What awaits them in the city of splendors?

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Episode 2: Raider's Camp

In the light of the day Govenor Tarbaw Nighthill approaches the adventurers with a proposal; Follow the bandit trail to the southeast and fulfill these objectives.

  • Where is the camp
  • How many raiders are there
  • Who their leaders are
  • Why are they attacking
  • Where is their next target
  • Also, recover treasures
    For their troubles the adventurers are promised 250gp each, a sum that has been put together by the remaining townspeople (with a large portion from Sargeant Markguth) as thanks.​

As the adventurers leave town they are waved down by an injured monk. Nesim Waladra and his fellow monks barely made it into the town keep during the attack and have since noticed a member of their party has gone missing; Leosin Erlanthar, and the only things remaining were his choker and wooden staff. The monks advise Leosin was actively investigating the cult, and would be a wealth of knowledge should they retrieve him.

With this extra mission in sight the party leaves town to the south east, following the swathes of trampled grass and deep indented tracks of the laden treasure hoard until they happen upon a resting group of bandit stragglers. With a flick of his wrist, Balthazar the sorcerer immolates the pile of weapons the human guards unfortunately left lying around. A bandit dies due to a lack of vital everything as Nemea in Bear form eviscerates him from top to toe, and kobolds are squewered by a hail of arrows from Lagertha and Bjorn.

The last remaining cultist (A seemingly ex militia man called Bob) offers up some information to the party; approximate numbers of raiders, his immediate supervisor (A disillusioned Major from the Baldurs Gate military, Thomas) but not enough to fulfill the mission.
The hills of the Greenfields roll on, and the surrounding country side turns from lush hills to boulder scattered and rocky outcrops as afternoon sets in.

Wanting to avoid a rather lengthy round trip, the party decides to scale up a rocky mountainside and take the high road over a ravine. Luckily enough, the ravine was home to the main raider rearguard force, and they managed to dispatch them without falling prey to their falling boulder traps. In fact, rather than use these traps against a bandit that decided to cross the ravine, Bear-mea had the truly INSPIRED idea to belly flop off the edge in an attempt to crush the bandit below. Unluckily for her, she missed and ended up prone on her back, 5 feet away from the bandit. This turn of fortune want enough to save the poor fellow, and he was cut down.

After taking a rest and questioning the captured acolyte the party uncovers some more facts. The raider force numbers approximately 350, their leaders are Rezmir the half-black dragon (Not half black – dragon), Langdedrosa Cyanwrath (half-blue dragon, and face smasher of bards) and Frulam Mondath (the wearer of purple from the raid on Greenest). The raid was to gather treasure for the “great horde of the dragon queen”, what that actually entails, only the leadership know.

A carrier pigeon arrives from Greenest with a message from Hector, the rogue who seemed to have disappeared before the party left Greenest.

_“To my fellow adventurers,
I am just writing to let you know that I am having a wonderful time. The people of this village, whilst ugly, are very pleasant. The ale is cheap and the local bar wenches are very accommodating. Also I’m sure the burning sensation will be gone shortly….
Please do not get killed in my absence, it would be rather tiresome finding new travelling companions. I would appreciate it greatly if someone could argue with Balthazar in my stead… He really does need to be questioned at every turn. I hope to rejoin you as soon as my luck at the games table turns around….

On that note I’d like to remind you that I am still part of the group and really should share in any treasure that is found. I had best keep this short as I can hear a furious husband screaming “Where is he?!”
Until we meet again….. Remember I should still get a share of the loot.
Sincerely
Hector.
P.S. Does anyone know how to get grass stains out of leather armour?
“_

Following the trail on towards sundown the raiders camp comes into view. It is nestled deep in a sheltered rise from all sides save the front.

The last remnants of the raiding force are winding into camp and tents are being erected. Seizing the opportunity, the party dons their cultist attire and follows the rest of the raiders in, only being stopped by the guardsman who recognizes the cloaks as belonging to that of the rear guard. “OI!……Any of you seen Bob around? Tell that bludger he still owes me coin!”, says the guardsman as he ushers them through. Now firmly mixing with the camps populace they notice a few things. The camp is split into a lower ramshackle area where the kobolds and unfortunate bandits live, and higher up on the rise a great tent sits, flanked by some fierce guard drakes and dragonborn sentries.

Lagertha uses her skills to mill in with the higher bandits, and discovers prisoners from Greenest and a solitary figure; Leosin Erlanthar strung up by his hands. He has been captured. She takes a step towards him and a hand grasps her on her shoulder.
“Hey, …you look…familiar….”

Heavily cloaked Nemea eyes off the large tent. “If only there was some way to get inside!” she thinks, as she sees yet another want to be visitor get denied entry. Feeling something move on her shoe, she looks down, sees a rat, and smirks…

Walking around the corner of a tent, Balthazar walks straight into the chest of an encampment guard. “Allo matey, looks like we got ourselves here a volunteer for latrine duty!”. No amount of talking gets the sorcerer out of emptying the chamber pots of the lower level tents for the rest of the day. Luckily, it’s just the cultist robes that are now brown..

Bjorn runs his fingers over some crude arrows that he pretends to work on sharpening them as he listens in on conversations of the camp.
“The monk is of special interest to Rezmir. Why else would she keep him alive that way? What Rezmir hopes to learn from him is anyone’s guess, but you wouldn’t want to be in that half-elf’s skin – or anyone else when the questionings done!”
“The plunder from nearby settlements is stored in the cave. No one but Rezmir knows what how much there is in there, but it must be a big pile by now!”

Watching from a distance, Valeric eyes off the cave at the back of the encampment. Another four dragonclaws and two guard drakes stand ready at the entrance. No one is getting in there unless they are allowed. Turning his head, he looks over in horror. “Oh no, Lagertha!”…

Inside the tent Rat-mea hides underneath a cloth covered crate, meters away from the leadership of the bandits discussing the recent raid on Greenest. Rezmir talks about the monk, Leosin and how fortunate it was that they captured him as her informants across the sword coast relayed information that the monk was investigating the cult. “Don’t be so sure of that Rezmir.” A lone figure emerges into the picture, dressed in red from head to toe. His powerful aura makes Nemea’s fur spike up. “He may have wanted to be caught.”
“Nonsense Azbara Jos! He clearly was no match for my cultists.” retorts Rezmir with a huff. The roar from a crowd outside makes the leaders look up. “Ill deal with this” speaks Frulam Mondath, and she exits the tent..


YOU ARE ONE OF ’EM GREENEST ’EROS! GET ’ER!”
Before too long Lagertha takes her place strung up next to the half-elf and being questioned by Mondath. She tries to bluff her way out of the situation saying she wished to join the cult, but Mondath was unconvinced.
“Execute her and the monk at dawn.”, and she walks back to the tent.
“I hope you ain’t the rescue party” Leo sighs. The silence is enough of an answer.

-Midnight-

The rest of the adventurers assemble in the shadows near the prisoners. The next guard patrol is only 10 mins away. Balthazar starts to prepare a Mage Hand spell to get them free, but unfortunately Leosin beats her to it. “I’ve had enough of this now”, he says, and with a swift kick of his feet dislodges a hidden knife, catches it and cuts one of his hand ties. Within minutes Lagertha and him are free. They throw the knife to the tied up prisoners. “Move quickly, and in small groups, hurry!” whispers Leo.

The party dodges, dips, dives, ducks and dodges guard patrols as they successfully stealth through the camp and escape into the night.

On the trip home Leosin tells the party all about the cults activities. They have collected large sums of treasure from raids far and wide. Greenest was the largest attack after many successful small raids. The camp cave is holding the treasure, and a clutch of dragon eggs that Rezmir is planning to hatch. The more hardcore cultists openly praise Tiamat, the five headed mother of dragons and speak of prophesy of her return. Somewhere further on he pauses in his tracks after spotting the wooden box that Balthazar had in his satchel. “Put it down. Step away” orders the monk. Waving his hands over the box and humming a few times, he looks up suddenly. “Who has opened it!?” The party retells the story of Traevus and the unfortunate end to Malareth.

Leosin nods heavily. “I can see why some dragon cult members may have wanted this item. Granted, that incarnation of the cult is splintered and shattered. They pose no real threat anymore.” He recounts the history of the Cult of the Dragon.

“The Cult of the Dragon, also known as Keepers of the Secret Hoard or, more recently, Wearers of Purple, was a semi-religious evil organization venerating undead dragons, or dracoliches, founded by Sammaster, a powerful wizard. Sammaster possessed great power, in a manner similar to Elminster and Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun. In Sammaster’s case however, the additional power brought delusions of godhood and madness, and he came to believe in time that “dead dragons shall rule the world entirely” and began to work toward that goal, fighting the several Chosen of Mystra and even the god Lathander along the way. While Sammaster has died, risen as a lich, and fallen again, his cult lived on, and continued to threaten the Western Heartlands."

The sun crests midday as the party returns to Greenest. A little after sundown the escaped prisoners arrive to many open arms and smiling faces. Leosin is welcomed by his friends, and immediately retires to recuperate. It will be a few days before he is fit again.
The town puts on a feast for the adventurers from what stocks they can manage, and pays the adventurers 300 gold pieces each, a sum higher than expected, for saving the adventurers. Hearing the clinking of coin from a room not too far away, a roguish head pops up from underneath a bed sheet…

A few days pass and the monk calls for the adventurers to visit him. He has a favor to ask….

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Episode 1: Greenest In Flames!
Burn baby burn!

The party departs to Greenest, hoping to find more information about the Cult of The Dragon.
Upon approach, they spy the town under attack from bandits…and a dragon!​

Waiting for the cover of dark, the adventurers slip into town and before long come to the aid of a young woman, Linan Swift, her husband Cuth and their three children who were being attacked by Kobolds.
Swiftly dealing with the kobolds, Linan mentions that bandits are looting the town, and cutting down anyone who attempts to stop them from taking gold, jewelry and valuables. Most of the town has fled to the keep which is currently held by the Castellian Escobert the Red (a Dwarf) and Governor Nighthill, and elderly man who runs the town.

Sneaking through the outskirts they finally reach the keep, and race across the open ground just as the sally port closes behind them.

The Governor entreats the adventurers for help saving the town mill, which they oblige. Navigating the old sewer tunnel, they hit a stumbling block when they are forced to smash open the old rusted door and are set upon by a band of cultits and kobolds who heard the news and came investigating.

As the last of the cultist blood falls, the adventurers reach the mill, and immediately smell something fishy. The bandits do not seem to be trying to burn the mill, rather just seem like it is under attack. They lassoo a cultist and intimidate him into unveiling the plot:

The town is under attack by Frulam Mondath and the Cult of the Dragon. Their goal is to collect treasure for the great horde of the queen of dragons. They also discover that due to their earlier victories in town, word has traveled to Mondath that there was a force abound, and a trap was set. with this knowledge, the adventurers bluffed the ambushes inside the barn into fleeing.​

Arriving back at the keep, they are granted a quick respite before terror returns. A giant blue dragon swoops low upon the town, terrifying soldiers and adventurers alike.The town guard fires upon the dragon in an attempt to ward off the beast. In a bizarre turn of events, the only adventurer no to run in fear, the rogue Hector, INSPIRED, attempts to parlay with the dragon, Lennithon. The dragon has been sent to merely keep the tower folk occupied and inside the castle while the town is looted by raiders (a task which it thinks is beneath it). The party plays to the dragons vanity and manage to convince it that the attacks are beneath its concern. Finally, the Dragon grows tired of being used, and flies away.

With dawn approaching, a challenge is roared to the defenders.
Langdedrosa Cyanwrath, a blue half-dragon champion agrees to release some captives, as long as a challenger from the castle comes down to the town square to duel.​

After a LONG deliberation, the bard Valerian steps forward as the champion (obviously tired of writing the tales of others).
Cyanwrath releases all but one captive, the wife of a town guard, Sergeant Markguth. Any
interference in the duel would result in her death.
The duel goes about as well as expected, and the bard lies broken on the ground, his face and nose broken.
The champion looks down with disgust, and the woman is released as the bandits sink away into the town.
Healers tend to the broken bard, who now is seriously regretting being the face of that encounter.
Even with healing, his nose will never be the same – a little whistle, toot, escapes whenever he breathes heavily.

When the sun rises on Greenest, over half of the towns buildings are heavily damaged and much of the wealth was carried away. Hundreds of injured are crowded into the keep or found hiding in cellars. A hundred or so were not so lucky.

The adventurers have a few hours rest and heal their wounds. No doubt they and the Governor have some questions about the raiders, the cult and the mysterious necromantic box they have in their possession.

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Farewell to Fallcrest
The end of 4th edition...

The Road So Far..

The warped Necromancer Malareth has been vanquished by the party, and his necromantic skull focus taken.
The party learns that Traevus and Malareth were contracted to obtain the skull under duress from a mysterious 3rd party who threatened Traevus’s family. After obtaining it, Malareth (disobeying the direction to not open the box) was corrupted and succumbed to the necromantic powers inside.
The box is meant to be delivered to an agent in the town of Greenest by the end of the week, or Traevus’s family will be executed. The party strikes a deal to take the box to Greenest, and Treavus and his family leave Fallcrest for the deep south.
The party returns to Fallcrest to relax and regroup, and spot the familiar sign leading to The Jiggling Jugs, a tavern of notable disrepute.
Inside the tavern the inkeep gives them the low down on what has been happening.
Raiders recently stole a nearby farmers daughter, and now he sits in the corner every night, drinking.
Word has been spreading of the mysterious Cult of the Dragon rising again up along the sword coast.
Looting and pillaging raiders are becoming more prominent in the south.
Hector and Balthazar approach Olaf Larrson, Lilly’s father, and sooth him before “convincing/lying” that his daughter had fallen in love with a raider and run off to be with him. They return her locket.
Durin manages to find himself a table playing Blind man’s bluff with one Valaric Silversong (a half-elf bard). During his card game with Durin, he tells (after a few tankards of ale) Valaric all about the quest to vanquish Malereth and save Traevus. Valaric sees this as an opportunity to broaden his repertoire and travel with a band of adventurers that will go down in history. The game does not end well for the stalwart dwarf, with the cunning half-elf fleecing him of this recently acquired gold and precious moonstone.
Sitting with her back against the wall facing the door Lagertha the Shieldmaiden listens intently to the kind Sorceror Balthazar bluff (rather well she notices) to Olaf about his daughter. “Liars! Time for the bard to write another tale.” she thinks, running her hand over the pommel of her sword, and looks over to Valaric playing a game of chance against a Dwarf.
In the furthest, darkest corner of the room, a ranger and a hooded figure listen intently to the inkeepers discussion with the party. Maybe this group has what it takes to destroy the cult once and for all?
Farewells

Sitting quietly alone in contemplation, Ranulf prays to his Gods.
That night in his dreams a giant golden dragon comes to him, it is Bahamut, God of justice and nobility. “My child, rumbles the God. A great calamity is upon this world. The forces of evil are rising up and you are called to stop them, in my name….” The dragon fades and Ranulf awakes, panting. He feels the touch of the God on him. He knows what must be done, and so with a heavy heart he packs his bags immediately, and sets out into the night, taking the road north.
The next morning Durin Bluetooth received word from his clan back at home that an old blood-fued between his family and a rival clan had risen up again. Durin said his apologies and goodbyes to his fellow adventurers and made all haste back to his mountain home to try to stop the senseless feuding (as he believes dwarves should be united against the goblin and orc threat rather than killing one another).
Ravenite, having barely made a profit from the so called “adventure” decides to cut her losses and leave for the south, far away from the talk of dragons.

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