Hoard of the Dragon Queen

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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