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Tyranny of Dragons, Session #39: Tiamat!

Here’s what happened in last night’s final session of our Tyranny of Dragons campaign which we started in May 2015.

10th Flamerule, 1491 DR (contd.)

As Rosie dimension doors to the entrance to Tiamat’s Temple in the Blue Chapel, Ug casts twinned haste on herself and Turin, Crake activates her wings of flying and Gwastdyn wildshapes into an air elemental. 

Rosie casts maddening darkness to fill the apse, where Severin the Red is levitating 100 feet above the temple floor and chanting. The others, still in the Black Chapel, attack the Red Wizards with arrows, swords and axes. 

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Here’s what happened in Saturday’s penultimate session of The Rise of Tiamat in which the PCs made it to Tiamat’s Temple inside the Well of Dragons. The PCs have now reached 15th level in time for the final battle against Severin the Red and the Cult of the Dragon.

10th Flamerule (contd.)

As the armies of the Sword Coast and the Cult of the Dragon clash, the PCs sneak around the volcano to the southeast entrance. There, they see a familiar face – Leosin Erlanthar and his Harper skirmishers have cleared the way for our heroes by taking out the dragonwings and drakes guarding the entrance. The party creep up to the cave and enter the lava tubes.

After examining the tunnel floor for tracks to work out which path to take, the PCs find themselves inside the luxurious chambers of Rath Modar. As Rosie and Crake debate whether or not to open a large chest, there is a shout from behind. Talis the White, now the White Wyrmspeaker, has appeared along with Maelgot and Sorvic, her ex-pirate lackeys from the Merman’s Cock, and four dragonwings. 

Crake charges in to attack his childhood friend, but in return she banishes him to Avernus, the first layer of Hell, where the fiendish armies of Tiamat are assembling. Turin casts two fireballs in quick succession, disrupting Talis’ concentration and allowing Crake to return to the Material Plane. Rosie attacks her treacherous former shipmates with finger of death and agonizing blast, while Turin engages them in melee. Meanwhile Ug goes after Talis and Gwastdyn supports with healing magic. Crake joins Ug in attacking Talis and kills her, then Turin finishes off the wounded Sorvic. When Maelgot makes a run for it, the other PCs stand aside to allow Rosie to have her revenge.

With the fighting over, Rosie uses ghostly gaze to look inside Modar’s chest, and then mage hand to retrieve the Red Wizard’s spell books. With half the party injured, Turin casts catnap so he and Rosie can have a quick rest. While they are dozing, Naergoth Bladelord, the undead former master of the Well of Dragons appears with two ghost knight lieutenants. Fortunately Crake and Gwastdyn manage to explain away their presence with a convincing pack of lies and the death knight leaves them to it. 

Naergoth Bladelord by Bryan Syme
Naergoth Bladelord by Bryan Syme

Passing through the Red Wizards’ quarters, the PCs come up behind a group of dragonwings who are escorting around 30 hapless prisoners to the temple to be sacrificed. The adventurers defeat the cultists, but not without suffering some grievous wounds. Rosie traps the soul of a dying dragonwing in her soul cage

The PCs unlock the prisoners’ manacles but convince them they will be safest sticking with the party as they continue onwards. Ahead, a set of rough stone steps leads up to the temple, where the Wyrmspeakers and Red Wizards have begun the terrible ritual to summon Tiamat from the Nine Hells. Determined no one else should join the party, Rosie dimension doors to the north entrance and uses her immovable rod to barricade the doors.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game in which the Cult of the Dragon unleashed a deadly assault on the party and Ug finally avenged her family. The PCs have now reached 14th level.

8th Tarsakh, 1491 DR

The PCs are walking through the Castle Ward to attend the Fourth Council of Waterdeep when a group of panicked Waterdhavians come running towards them, shouting “Dragons!”  Two Red Wizards on large red dragons swoop down to attack the party as half-dragons and dragonfang cultists appear from alleyways to the left and right. 

One of the Red Wizards points a bone wand at Rosie – a thin black beam shoots out of it, striking the warlock and killing her instantly! Turin, who feels a special connection to the half-elf, cries out in anguish. Determined to ensure the enemy does not kill them all, he casts fear and sends three of the cultists running. 

The Cult strikes back!

As the dragons breathe on the party, setting nearby buildings on fire, Gwastdyn wild shapes into an air elemental and attacks one of the great reptiles, while Ug and Crake engage the red half-dragon in melee on the ground. Things take a turn for the worse as Turin falls unconscious and loses his fear spell, prompting the return of the fleeing cultists. 

Crake and Ug take down the red half-dragon, then the paladin brings Turin round with cure wounds. Meanwhile, Gwastdyn kills one of the mages, knocking him off his dragon, but is forced out of elemental form by the wyrm and tumbles to the street. The green half-dragon assassin shoots Ug with his crossbow and scores a critical hit, inflicting so much damage that she drops to 1 hp. Gwastdyn casts mass cure wounds to heal everybody and the PCs take down the assassin and one of the dragonfangs. Then Turin casts mass suggestion and the surviving enemies scatter. Crake chases after the dragonfang, catches up to him and knocks him unconscious while the others rescue people from the burning buildings. Ug casts revivify, bringing Rosie back from death’s door.

After the battle, Turin thanks Ug for saving Rosie: “I am in your debt once more.” Ug asks if Rosie and Turin are brother and sister, and reminds Turin about the time he accidentally killed Ug by throwing her down the stairs “to safety”. Rosie is freaked out by her near death experience and returns to the inn to rest, leaving the others to go to the council meeting without her. 

Ug interrogates the captured dragonfang but they learn little of use. She drags the dead Red Wizard’s body along to the Council of Waterdeep as “evidence" that Thay cannot be trusted. 

At the council meeting, the PCs learn that hundreds of dragons have gathered at the Well of Dragons, and there is much consternation that Waterdeep's Dragonward has been bypassed. The time is at hand for the forces of good to strike! 

The adventurers talk through their experiences in Xonthal’s Tower and in Thay. During the break, Rian Nightshade of the Zhentarim offers them 50,000 gp for Xonthal’s Tower, but the PCs decide to give it to Laeral Silverhand and Waterdeep. After the members of the Council discuss the help they have received from the metallic dragons, each faction and city votes on whether they will join the armies heading southeast to confront the Cult of the Dragon. Their support is unanimous, with even the Zhentarim promising to send spies and assassins to join the war effort.

The PCs spend two tendays in Waterdeep, recuperating and buying potions and other magic items for the expedition, before catching up with the army as it heads towards the Well of Dragons as spring turns to summer. As they march southeast, the constant sound of the Draakhorn fills them with a sense of foreboding.

5th Flamerule

As the PCs scout ahead of the large column, they spy a familiar black winged shape in the sky, diving down towards them. This is Vilholin, the black dragon that slew Ug’s family. The dragon breathes acid on the party. As she taunts Ug, the hasted paladin, now equipped with a pair of winged boots, flies after Vilholin and lets her "feel my slash”, burning spell slots to deal massive damage to the dragon. 

Gwastdyn attacks with sunbeam, then transforms into an air elemental while Turin casts Otto’s Irresistible Dance to stop the dragon from flying away. Crake lines up a deadly shot with his bow but holds off to let Ug deliver the killing blow. Vilholin is dead, Ug’s family are avenged and the PCs have finally slain their first adult dragon!

Vilholin attacks

10th Flamerule

The armies of the factions reach the Well of Dragons where a five-towered Temple of Tiamat now stands atop heaps of dragon bones inside the caldera. A war council is convened and the PCs are asked for their advice. Turin offers his suggestions to the gathered lords and ladies, recommending the following:

  • Lords Alliance armies vs Cultists
  • Metallic dragons, Arcane Brotherhood & Harper archers vs Chromatic dragons
  • Order of the Gauntlet paladins & war clerics vs Red Wizards & Devils
  • Zhentarim assassins & Harper agents vs Wearers of the Purple
  • Emerald Enclave & dwarves vs Evil mercenaries

The PCs are assigned their own vital mission – they must sneak inside the Temple of Tiamat and stop the ritual to summon her here from the Nine Hells! The Council gives the group five magic items to help them on their quest. 

Here’s what happened in last night’s game in which the PCs recovered the Blue Dragon Mask from Xonthal’s Tower and went on a diplomatic mission to Thay. The PCs have now reached 13th level and the final confrontation with the Cult of the Dragon and Tiamat is fast approaching.

29th Alturiak 

The PCs search the library beneath Xonthal’s Tower and find a few interesting and valuable books including Wyrms of the Northlands- perhaps this might contain information on some of the dragons the PCs have faced? 

Roping themselves together, they return to the Cosmic Hallway and proceed cautiously to the end. They talk to Taraz the Fair, an efreeti, who seems to have been imprisoned by Xonthal in a chamber warded by a line of salt. Accepting his polite offer of spiced tea, the party enter his room. Taraz challenges the PCs to a game of chess - if he wins, the PCs must free him. If they win, the efreeti will tell them how to find Iskander and the Blue Dragon Mask. Crake takes up the challenge, winning the game, which angers Taraz who draws his sword and attacks. The genie conjures a wall of fire but the PCs leap through it and Rosie is able to banish Taraz back to the Plane of Fire. Taraz shouts out in triumph as he returns home.

Entering the Time Chamber with its two giant hourglasses, Rosie uses a mage hand to retrieve the Blue Dragon Mask from Iskander’s body. It seems that the PCs were too slow - the wizard is dead, having bled out from his wounds. 

Dashing past the elementals, the PCs return to the teleport platform and press the flame symbol. This brings them to a room full of cultists with a fire pit burning in the centre; the skeleton of a dragon has been assembled on the floor. Turin casts fireballand Rosie casts synaptic static to take out the cultists. The warlock draws one of their dark souls into her soul cage. 

Using the teleporter again, they select the triangle symbol which brings them back to the sundial in the maze. Lennithon, the blue dragon they first encountered nine months ago in Greenest, is flying over the village, blasting villagers and buildings with its lightning breath. The dragon demands the adventurers surrender the mask. The PCs gulp down potions of lightning resistance and charge forward.

Lennithon attacks the village of Xonthal's Tower

Lennithon stays airborne for much of the battle, landing briefly to attack with its bite, claws and tail. The PCs scatter for cover and attack at range with agonising blasts, arrows and guiding bolts. Ug takes to the air but Turin is attacked and loses concentration, forcing the paladin to land on a rooftop. Rosie and Turin are down to a handful of hit points, but Lennithon has had enough and flees. The PCs hit it twice more before it flies out of range, badly wounded. Another dragon has been defeated by the heroes. 

25th Ches

The PCs arrive back in Waterdeep and hand the Blue Dragon Mask over to the Council. Unfortunately, experts soon determine the mask is a fake. The PCs speculate the whole incident was designed to lure them into a deadly trap.

Leosin Erlanthar of the Harpers briefs the PCs on the mission the Council would like them to undertake to Thay, far to the east. They are given sealed warrants to hand to the Tharchion they are due to meet with. 

27th Ches

The PCs teleport with the Red Wizard Nyh Ilmichh to Nethwatch Keep near Thay’s western border. At the fortress, the PCs are given luxurious individual rooms (with no locks) and served delicious food by zombie servants. 

Later, they meet with Eseldra Yeth, vampire Tharchion of Lapendrar. The PCs do their best to show her the proper respect and answer her questions as best they can. Turin and Rosie have impressed the Tharchion; she is less convinced by Crake and Ug. 

Crake's Nightmare. Art by Marcel Mercado

That night Crake and Ug both have a hideous nightmare in which they are tortured by Red Wizards and asked a series of questions about their intentions, what they know about their companions, and what the Cult of the Dragon is plotting. Their interrogators do not seem very happy with the answers they give and the pair wake up screaming and drenched with sweat, their sheets stained with blood. 

28th Ches

After a delicious breakfast, the PCs are greeted by Nyh Ilmichh who tells them the Tharchion thanks them for the information they have supplied but regrets that Thay’s attention is commanded by matters within its own borders and the Red Wizards cannot help. A moment later, the PCs find themselves standing in a ruined farmhouse, north of Waterdeep. 

House Hunter for D&D 5e

I've always thought the house hunter was a fun monster to include in an adventure so I couldn't resist the chance to feature a real life Dread Gazebo as the PCs wandered the hedge maze around Xonthal's Tower in Rise of Tiamat

I couldn't find any stats I liked online so came up with the following which I am sharing here as they worked pretty well.  And, if you get the chance, check out The Vanishing Village by Marcus Rowland in Dungeon Magazine issue 19 ;) 


Gargantuan monstrosity (shapechanger) neutral

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 202 (15d20 +45)

Speed 15 ft.

STR 18 (+4) DEX 12 (+1) CON 16 (+3) INT 5 (-3) WIS 13 (+1) CHA 8 (-1)

Skills Stealth +5 

Damage Immunities acid

Damage Resistance cold, fire

Condition Immunities prone

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11

Languages Pidgin common 

Challenge 9 (5,000 XP) 

Camouflage. The house hunter can use its action to change its appearance to resemble that of a building, and can produce dim flickering light (bioluminescence) to resemble candle or lantern light, at any body opening, and can imitate domestic noises (muffled voices, clucking hens, the tolling of a temple bell etc.) 

Adhesive (Building Form Only). The house hunter adheres to anything that touches it. A Huge or smaller creature adhered to the house hunter is also grappled by it (escape DC 16). Ability checks made to escape this grapple have disadvantage. 

False Appearance (Object Form Only). While the house hunter remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from an ordinary building. 

Grappler. The house hunter has advantage on attack rolls against any creature grappled by it.


Multiattack. The house hunter makes three attacks: one with its tongue and two with its tentacles.

Tongue. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (3d6 + 4)  bludgeoning damage, and the target is subjected to its adhesive trait.

Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (3d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage, and the target is subjected to its adhesive trait.

Swallow. The house hunter makes a tongue or tentacle attack against a Huge or smaller creature it is grappling. If the attack hits, that creature takes the attack’s damage and is swallowed, and the grapple ends. While swallowed, the creature is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the house hunter, and it takes 21 (6d6) acid damage at the start of each of the house hunter’s turns. 

If the house hunter takes 30 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, the house hunter must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of the house hunter. If the house hunter dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse using 15 feet of movement, exiting prone. 

Another character can force open the bony plates covering an opening (“door” or “window”) in a house hunter’s body from outside with a DC 16 strength check.


Here’s what happened in last night’s game, in which the PCs escaped the hedge maze and entered the dungeon beneath Xonthal’s Tower.

28th Alturiak, 1491 DR (contd.)

The PCs defeat the bellowing gorgon without anyone being petrified and use the diamond that crystalilzed from its breath to return to the third sundial. 

This time, they decide to take the path the blue fox took (at 3 o’clock). Unfortunately this proves to be another wrong path, leading to a summer house in the middle of a large lawn. 

Hearing voices, Crake approaches stealthily, only for the structure to reveal itself as a house hunter – a giant mimic capable of disguising itself as a building – and the rogue is grabbed by its tentacles and sticky tongue. Gwastdyn wild shapes into an earth elemental and moves up to attack but is also grabbed and then swallowed by the beast. Turin casts Otto’s irresistible dance but the house hunter doesn’t dance for long, and Ug’s slash, Rosie’s agonising blasts and Turin and Crake’s blades and arrows are needed to kill it. Gwastdyn is disgorged, covered in acidic slime, but climbs back inside to retrieve the emerald needed to return to the sundial.

House Hunter

This time they take the correct path, going back the way they came, and find themselves at the fourth sundial where there are four shadows in an X shape which spin faster and faster before disappearing into the sundial. Wounded and low on spells, they take a short rest, and again take the path they entered the area by. 

This is another wrong path, leading to a clearing where a huge blue caterpillar sits on top of a giant mushroom, blowing smoke rings from a hookah. Turin catches a smoke ring which turns itself into a gold necklace. When the caterpillar blows five more rings, Turin catches his and gets another necklace, Ug is surrounded by a stinking cloud, and Crake is trapped by a rope of entanglement. Annoyed, the PCs attack the caterpillar – Gwastdyn uses wild shape to turn himself into a giant elk and Rosie casts contagion to blind the creature but it can breath lightning and isn’t easy to kill. Finding a sapphire inside its hookah, they return to the sundial.

The Caterpillar, by Tom Carlton

The blue fox reappears and offers more cryptic advice, telling the PCs there are nine possible paths, before wandering off again. Rosie encourages the others to investigate the sundial. They try and turn it, push and pull it, and dig up the flagstones surrounding it. Then, the warlock stands on top of it and she vanishes! The others follow, finding themselves at the fifth and final sundial. 

This time, Rosie solves the puzzle quickly by running through the hedge between the paths. The rest of the party follow and they at last escape the maze, appearing at the bottom of the tower. After checking out the body of the fallen cultist, they use the teleportation circle to enter the castle, arriving in the lounge, where is a metal panel on the wall marked with various strange symbols. Rosie levitates up to one of the two balconies in the room and uses the teleportation circle to come back down again. 

After experimenting a bit more, the PCs touch the star symbol to teleport to the observatory. Here, they battle a mage and his three cultist aides. Rosie kills the three cult fanatics with synaptic static,then traps one of their souls in her soul cage. After the mage fireballs the party and retreats to the balcony, Gwastdyn summons a polar bear to attack alongside Ug. The wizard doesn’t survive for long and the party are able to grab the hourglass hanging from his belt.  Touching it to the hourglass symbol above the panel, they teleport to the dungeon. 

More dead cultists lie on the floor in the room where they arrive. Rosie questions the soul she has trapped about the dungeon but learns little of use.

The next room holds two earth elementals and a fire elemental. Low on resources, Rosie uses mage hand to retrieve the small chest sitting on the table and Crake opens it, bypassing the glyph of warding. Inside are three scrolls of protection vs elementals. Crake reads one of the scrolls and the others crowd round him to move safely through the room, thereby dooming the poor polar bear. 

A side passage leads to a laboratory where gemstones swirl around inside a whirlwind, while ahead the walls of the corridor disappear and the passage extends through the void of space. 

Narrowly avoiding a swarm of tiny meteors, the PCs make it into the library where they take a much-needed long rest.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game in which the party were all back together again and wandered the hedge maze surrounding Xonthal’s Tower.

Midwinter, 1491 DR

Rosie returns to Waterdeep. She tells the others she’s been advising some of her “associates” who are mounting an expedition to Skyreach Castle which has crashed into a glacier in the Spine of the World Mountains.

2nd Alturiak

The PCs travel to Daggerford via teleportation circlewhere they charter a barge to take them downriver to Highstar Lake (450 gp).

8th Alturiak

Shortly after leaving Secomber, a figure in black robes signals to the party's barge from the shore. The PCs are invited to meet with "Lord Volmer of Nessus"to discuss matters of mutual interest. 

Lord Volmer is a bone devil and his entourage are diabolists. He tells the party that his master and his associates are not enamoured of Tiamat being summoned from the Nine Hells and would look favourably on the PCs if they were able to stop this happening. The devil also says that Szass Tam, Zulkir lich of Thay, would be well disposed to anyone providing information leading to the capture of the rebel Red Wizard Rath Modar. Rosie and Gwastdyn press Lord Volmer for more detail on the potential rewards but these aren’t forthcoming, although magical items would certainly be an option. Turin is the only one to share the hospitality of Lord Volmer’s tent, enjoying a glass of fiery red wine, before the PCs depart.

24th Alturiak

After bidding farewell to the barge, the PCs set off across the High Moor on foot towards Mount Hlim. A pathetic cry of “help me” from beyond a ridge sends the PCs into an ambush by a pack of leucrottas. Fortunately, the beasts are dealt with without much trouble.

27th Alturiak

The PCs arrive at Xonthal’s Tower. Gwastdyn flies overhead to scout. From above, the hedge maze appears to be a tangle of briars and thorns, and some kind of force field stops him from landing on the tower balcony.

The druid returns to the others and they enter the village outside the hedge maze, arranging rooms at the inn. Talking to the innkeeper, they learn that Xonthal disappeared a century ago but lights have been seen in the tower at night during the past year. Moreover, Hilde, a shepherdess, claims to have seen a huge blue dragon flying overhead. The villagers warn the adventurers to keep away from the maze – many enter, few return.

28th Alturiak

As the PCs discuss what to do next, they spot a figure on the balcony of the tower – Iskander! He calls out to the heroes and brandishes what appears to be the Blue Dragon Maskin one hand and a large hourglass in the other. 

“Look for me beneath the tower,” he shouts. “This [the hourglass] is the key that will let you teleport into the dungeon. I will leave it behind after I use it, but others may find it before you do.”  Suddenly, another figure appears on the balcony, there is a brief battle, and the second person falls over the railing.

The PCs fly over to the clearing between the hedge maze and the tower but soon realise dimension door, stone shape and other spells cannot get them inside. Reluctantly, the party enters Xonthal's hedge maze….

Gwastdyn casts find the path in the hopes that this will allow the party find the quickest route to the tower – sadly, the spell fails to work. They will have to do things the hard way.

After a minute or so walking along a neatly maintained garden path, the PCs come to an intersection where eight paths meet. A sundial stands in the centre – its gnomon casts a shadow straight ahead, although this doesn’t reflect the position of the sun. Rosie marks the sundial with her dagger and they take the path where the shadow is pointing. This leads them to an identical intersection – or is it the same one again? This time, there are two shadows: one pointing straight ahead, one pointing directly right. 

The PCs take the path directly opposite again. It leads to a large pasture with a pond and a giant-sized cottage; two cyclopes and their sheep stand motionless, coming to life when the adventurers approach. Turin, wearing his belt of hill giant strength, wins a boulder throwing contest with the cyclopes. The cyclops’ rock splits open to reveal a topaz. The PCs pick it up and leave by the far exit, only to find themselves back at the sundial. 

Next, they try the right hand path which takes them to a garden of dangerous-looking carnivorous plants – warlock’s trumpetblooms. Crake, Ug and Turin are all  paralyzed by their poisonous stingers, but they are able to kill the deadly plants and escape by grabbing one of the pearls growing from their stems. 

Back at the sundial again, the PCs take a short rest – Turin casts catnap to speed things up. This time they take the path between the two they tried before which leads to a third (?) sundial. Its shadows point to three of the paths: straight ahead (12 o’clock), 4 o’clock, and 8 o’clock. 

The PCs choose straight ahead again, which brings them to a pagoda in the middle of a small lake. They are invited inside by a man in silk robes who fills a strange-looking kettle with herbs. When the kettle begins to give off poison smoke, the man traps the PCs inside the pagoda with a wall of stone and vanishes. With everyone taking damage from the poison, Turin tips the kettle over. Rosie finds a piece of jade inside, then Ug smashes the kettle, causing an angry dao to appear and dispel the wall of stone. Clutching the piece of jade, the PCs make a run for the exit and return to the sundial.

A fox with bright blue fur strolls past, chuckling to itself. It tells the party there are five sundials in all and they are at the third one. The shadows provide clues on which is the correct path to the next sundial. There are four shadows at the fourth sundial, and eight at the fifth where “no path is the right one”. The fox wanders off, smiling enigmatically.

Still unsure how to choose the correct route, they pick the one at 8 o’clock which turns out to be another wrong path leading a twisty maze of hedges. A gorgon charges out of the greenery ahead, bellowing loudly.

Here’s what happened in Sunday’s game, in which the PCs thwarted an attack by the Cult of the Dragon, attended the Third Council of Waterdeep and reached 12th level.

28th Hammer

The PCs arrive back in Waterdeep after their meeting with the metallic dragons. They go to the Yawning Portal to check for news of Rosie but the warlock isn’t there – she’s left a message with Durnan saying she is attending to “pressing faction business”.

As the party discuss the upcoming meeting of the Council of Waterdeep and how they plan to win over King Melandrach and Ambassador Brawnanvil, there is a cry from the street. Several bystanders run into the inn, shouting that there is a dragon outside! Crake goes out the back door to see what’s going on and tries to climb up on the roof. The thief is followed by Gwastdyn who wild shapes into an air elemental and flies into the sky to attack the black dragon Vilholin who is attacking Waterdhavians in the street.

Unfortunately the dragon isn’t the only thing the adventurers have to worry about – a group of cultists appear at the back door to the pub. Three of them surround Crake while the others go inside the tavern where they are joined by a nycaloth and three mezzoloths who teleport into the taproom. One of the mezzoloths is banished by Turin but another one casts cloudkill and wipes out a number of innocent civilians. While Gwastdyn keeps Vilholin busy, the other three PCs each find themselves surrounded. Turin is down to 2 hp and even Ug is badly wounded.

Battle at the Yawning Portal

Gwastdyn spots the Griffon Cavalry are en route from Castle Waterdeep and disengages from attacking the dragon. Landing at the entrance to the Yawning Portal he casts healon Turin who has used dimension door to escape. Ug kills the gloating dragonsoul cult leader and Crake kills the second mezzoloth. With several of the cultists dead, the other two yugoloths flee and the PCs share a collective sigh of relief.

29th Hammer

After a good night’s sleep, the PCs attend the Third Council of Waterdeep. This time they notice a new attendee sitting next to Dagult Neverember of Neverwinter,  a female tiefling named Rian Nightshade who is introduced as the lord’s “special adviser”. The PCs give their reports on the meeting with the metallic dragons and their battle with the Green Wyrmspeaker Neronvain and Chuth in the Misty Forest. Turin explains to King Melandrach that he has promised the gold dragon Protanther an apology for the dragorage mythal, and Gwastdyn tells Brawnanvil that the dwarves are expected to apologise for the dragonmoots and return the armour made from the skin of Otaaryliakkarnos' niece. Both are irked at being put into a difficult position but reluctantly agree to honour the PCs’ promises.

The news that the metallic dragons expect a share of the loot also doesn’t go down that well but overall the council is pleased to have the dragons’ support. The PCs choose to allocate the metallic dragons as follows:

Silver – Harpers

Copper – Order of the Gauntlet

Brass – Dwarves

Bronze – Baldur’s Gate

Gold – Silverymoon

Then, Crake explains about the letter from Iskander that came into the PCs’ possession. The council is unanimous – whether it’s a trap or not, the PCs should travel to Xonthal’s Tower and attempt to recover the Blue Dragon Mask.

Dagult Neverember

Following the council meeting, the PCs catch up with Dagult Neverember. He reveals that Rian Nightshade is a member of the Zhentarim, and tells the party that earlier that day one of his aides, a man named Peregrin Bernat, had inexplicably killed an adviser to Brawnanvil, then hanged himself. The adventurers offer to castspeak with dead later on in an attempt to get to the bottom of the matter.

Afterwards they meet with Leosin Erlanthar who tells them that the council would like them to travel to Thay when they return from Xonthal’s Tower. A Red Wizard named Nyh Illmych has proposed that the Sword Coast and Thay discuss ways in which they might aid each other during the current crisis.

The PCs go to Neverember’s quarters in the castle and Gwastdyn casts speak with deadon Peregrin’s corpse. The dead man’s spirit answers the druid’s questions – he killed the dwarf because Meredith, “the love of my life”, told him to do it after Brawnanvil’s adviser saw the two of them meeting. He says that Meredith lives on Feather Street, in a house with a green door.

The PCs head to Feather Street and find the house. Turin and Ug knock on the front door and are admitted by the maidservant. Ug tactlessly breaks the news of Peregrin’s death to Meredith, a well-spoken lady. Meanwhile, Crake has sneaked in via the back door and rifles through Meredith’s desk, finding a series of incriminating papers that suggest Peregrin was spying on the council. Meredith throws Turin and Ug out as their cover story becomes more and more far-fetched.

Crake shows the others the papers. He goes off to check with Neverember that the handwriting is Peregrin’s while Gwastdyn and Turin go back to the house to confront Meredith. A fight breaks out in the hallway after the maidservant charms Turin and sends him away. Gwastdyn summons a pack of wolves and both women vanish, apparently turning ethereal. The PCs return to Castle Waterdeep and report their findings to Lord Neverember, Ambassador Brawnanvil and Laeral Silverhand.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Rosie has gone on ahead to Waterdeep on pressing faction business. Next: the Council of Waterdeep reconvenes.

18th Hammer, 1491 DR

Travelling back to Waterdeep from the Misty Forest, the PCs reach the village of Liam’s Hold. A group of dwarven miners have captured Cheela Flegsteel, a Wearer of Purple in the Cult of the Dragon, and are after a reward from the party. Cheela starts to explain that she is carrying a message for the Council of Waterdeep when Yggran, a half-red dragon veteran, and his ogre minions burst into the village and attack.

One of the ogres has an abnormally large head and is a spellcaster – he attempts to dominate Gwastdyn,  then uses misty step to close to melee. Yggran breathes fire on Cheela and the dwarves, killing four of them. Turin uses banishing smite to send the half-dragon to another plane. Ug and Crake move in to protect Cheela from Big ‘Ead while Gwastdyn summons a pack of wolves to keep the other ogres busy. The paladin kills Big’Ead and the others finish off the ogres and take down Yggran when he reaappears.

The PCs interrogate Cheela who claims to work for a mage named Iskander who is in the service of someone called Galvan. The cultist hands the PCs a sealed letter from her master. Crake opens it – against Turin and Gwastdyn's recommendation – as he thinks it is too urgent to wait until reaching Waterdeep to see what it says.  The missive promises them the Blue Dragon Mask in return for rescuing him from Xonthal’s Tower. Once home to a legendary wizard who wandered Toril, the tower lies to the northeast of the Serpent Hills and is protected by a hedge maze. The PCs let Cheela go and spend the rest of the day in the village recuperating.

24th Hammer

The PCs arrive back in Waterdeep and report to Laeral Silverhand on events in the Misty Forest and Liam’s Hold. The Open Lord tells them the Council of Waterdeep will meet again as soon as they return from their meeting with the metallic dragons.

25th Hammer

Elia assumes her true form, that of the ancient silver dragon Otaaryliakkarnos and the PCs climb onto her back. She flies up into the air and heads northeast towards the Nether Mountains. As they travel, the PCs can see villages and towns destroyed by the Cult of the Dragon far beneath them. They ask Otaaryliakkarnos about the other dragons they will be meeting, and learn that she dislikes dwarves because they hunt dragons in “dragonmoots”.

Later that day, Otaaryliakkarnos and the PCs come under attack from two familiar dragons - Arauthator and Chuth. A frantic aerial battle ensues, with the PCs trying to attack while clinging on to the silver dragon’s back – they suffer damage from Chuth’s breath and a fireball from Arauthator.

Gwastdyn wildshapes into an air elemental, Crake fire arrows, Turin casts fireballs and a frustrated Ug misses with his guiding bolt. Crake leaps to his feet, balancing on Otaaryliakkarnos’ back and fires an arrow at Chuth which strikes true – badly wounded, the dragon flees from the party for a fifth time! The silver dragon chases after Arauthator whom Gwastdyn has been keeping busy, and hits him with her bite and both claws. This is enough to drive off the white dragon.

As night falls, Otaaryliakkarnos lands on a freezing cold peak in the Star Mounts so the PCs can rest in a cave.

26th Hammer

Otaaryliakkarnos and the PCs arrive at the Council of Dragons and argue their case to the five leaders of the metallic dragons in an attempt to win their support in the war against the Cult of the Dragon.

By speaking honestly, persuasively and respectfully – and by offering important concessions – the PCs are able to win over the dragons:

Protanther, King of the Ice, a male gold dragon is the leader of the group. Turin promises to secure a formal apology for the dracorage mythal from King Melandrach of the elves.

They give the Black Dragon Mask to Ileuthra, the male brass dragon, and promise the metallic dragons will be given the other dragon masks after the final battle for safekeeping.

Gwastdyn promises Otaaryliakkarnos that he will ask Ambassador Brawnanvil to return the armour made from her niece’s hide, and secure an apology from the dwarves for the dragonmoots.

Nymmurh, the Wyrm Who Watches, a male bronze, is already favourably disposed to the humanoid races, but the party’s promise to give the metallic dragons a full share in the cult’s treasure is appreciated.

Tazmikella, a female copper wants the return of Borngray’s swashbuckler’s rapier, now in Crake’s possession, which was stolen from her hoard. Crake promises to give it back once the cult is defeated.

After the council is over, Otaaryliakkarnos flies the PCs back to Waterdeep.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game - the PCs have now reached 11th level.

12th Hammer, 1491 DR (contd.)

Crake scouts ahead, sneaking up the passage to the cultists’ quarters. He spots two groups of dragonclaw cultists, each led by a dragonfang, in rooms to the left and right. The thief rejoins the others and Gwastdyn casts wall of fire to cut off one of the groups while the rest of the party attack the other group. Rosie casts hunger of Hadar while Turin and Crake attack in melee. Ug, meanwhile, prefers to cast her new sorcerer spells rather than attacking with her slash. The dragonfang leader of the second group comes through the wall of fire but this doesn’t stop the PCs making short work of the first group of cultists. When Gwastdyn dismisses the wall, they take out the other group in a similar efficient fashion.

After searching the bodies and both rooms, Crake scouts ahead again - one passage leads to a storeroom, the other leads to a cave furnished with rugs and tapestries. Ug leads the way into Neronvain’s chamber, triggering a glyph of warding that explodes, covering the party in acid. Deciding it’s time to be cautious, Gwastdyn warns everyone not to look at the mirror in the room until he’s had a chance to cast detect magic. Meanwhile, Crake disables the poison needle trap on the trunk and opens it - it’s full of loot stolen from the elves - and Rosie finds a secret door behind one of the tapestries.

Beyond is a secret chamber containing a shrine to Fenmarel Mestarine, the elven god of outcasts, scapegoats and solitude. The PCs find Neronvain’s journal which reveals he is the son of King Melandrach, and that the Green Dragon Mask is already at the Well of Dragons, ready to be assembled into the Mask of the Dragon Queen.

A second secret door leads into Chuth’s lair. Ug boots the door in and the PCs join battle with the green dragon and the Green Wyrmspeaker, Chuth and Neronvain.

The dragon’s frightful presence terrifies Turin, Gwastdyn and Crake but the bard is able to cast calm emotions to nullify the effects. Gwastdyn wildshapes into an air elemental and attacks Chuth, joined by Ug, Turin and Crake, while Rosie attacks Neronvain from the doorway with her agonising blasts. With most of the party protected from poison, they are able to damage the dragon without taking too many serious wounds. After Chuth’s attempts to tangle the party with grasping roots and vines, and trap them behind a wall of thorns prove ineffectual, Ug swings her slash, powers it with her divine smite, and inflicts a mighty critical hit on the dragon, doing 51 points of damage. Unfortunately, her follow up strike is feeble, allowing Chuth the opportunity to dive into the pool and escape.

Gwastdyn wildshapes again, this time into a water elemental, and sets off in pursuit, followed by Crake and then Ug who sinks like a stone to the bottom of the pool. Meanwhile, Rosie blocks Neronvian’s escape with mold earth and is joined by Turin who levitates over the wall of thorns. Chuth has made good his escape but the returning Gwastdyn grabs Neronvain, holding him fast while Turin, Crake and Rosie pound him until he falls unconscious. With the battle over, they throw a weighted rope down to Ug and haul her out of the pool.

After searching the lair for treasure, the PCs attempt to interrogate Neronvain but neither charm spells, persuasion or intimidation have any affect.

15th Hammer

The PCs meet Prince Alagarthas in the village of Altand and hand Neronvain over to him.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game, in which our heroes have a lucky escape and then try again.

11th Hammer, 1491 DR (contd.)

The PCs discuss in whispered voices what might happen if Neronvain finds them in his stronghold and decide to act first. Gwastdyn casts a wall of fire across the tunnel that the elf went down, then Turin casts fog cloud as the elves on the ledge nock arrows to their bows. The elf mage casts ice storm in the area where the PCs are standing, then three ettins appear through the cloud to attack the party. One goes down quickly, but things get worse as Neronvain appears out of the pool riding the green dragon Chuth.

Ug battles the ettins while the dragon attacks Turin who loses concentration on his fog cloud. The elf uses dimension doorto flee to the ledge where the mage and archers had been standing. Chuth breathes poison on Rosie and Gwastdyn who have retreated towards the entrance. As the elves enter the fray, firing bows at Ug, the paladin misty stepsto the island in the middle of the pool. The ettins swim after her and she takes one of them down.

Meanwhile, Gwastdyn has wildshaped into an air elemental and is keeping Neronvain and the dragon busy while Rosie and Crake make ranged attacks and move towards the entrance. Rosie briefly considers giving up the black dragon mask to facilitate their escape, but dismisses the thought. The warlock levitates up the slope but is struck by an eldritch arrowfrom Neronvain and falls unconscious. Crake feeds her a potion of healing and the three of them escape through the tunnel as the druid’s wall of fire drops and cultists charge into the room. Turin uses another dimension door to rescue Ug from the island and take her to safety.

Retreating some distance from the dragon’s lair, the PCs rest and recuperate.

Ug and Turin on the island

Rosie, Crake and Gwastdyn try to escape from Chuth

12th Hammer

Casting protection from poison and water breathing, the PCs return to the caves. Gwastdyn wildshapes into a giant eagle and flies invisibly through the waterfall into the lair; the others follow using dimension door to arrive on the high ledge where the elves sleep.

Chuth has been waiting for the PCs, clinging to the ceiling, and flies down to attack. Turin casts fear to scare off half the elves while the others move into melee, led by their knight. The mage casts cone of cold and another elf shoves Gwastdyn off the ledge to the floor below. Fearing Chuth is about to breathe, Rosie opens the door to hide behind it. When she realises the corridor leads to the ettin chamber, she sneaks back and closes it.

Gwastdyn casts wall of stone to seal off the tunnel to the cultist quarters again. The ettin bashes down the door but Turin’s fear spell sends it packing. Chuth flies around and makes another attack, but the dragon has been damaged by sneak attacks from Crake, Ug’s slash, and Rosie’s agonizing blasts and has had enough. It dives into the pool and disappears. The mage also vanishes and the surviving five elves surrender, claiming to have been forced to serve the dragon. Rosie tells them to grab their weapons and go and kill the ettin. They flee for the entrance instead – the PCs let them go.

The PCs go after the ettin while Crake keeps watch from the ledge for when Gwastdyn’s wall of stone vanishes. They slay the ettin in its filthy lair. The invisible mage attacks again with a fireball, then she too seems to have fled.

The druid has a quick look down the corridor the cultists appeared from before the others tell him to come back. Rosie casts Leomund’s tiny hut and the PCs take a short rest.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game in which the PCs came up against their first green dragon.

6th Hammer, 1491 DR

The PCs continue down the Trade Way towards the Way Inn. A black dragon is sighted in the distance, flying towards the Lizard Marsh. Ug is convinced this is the same dragon that killed her family and heads off after it. The other PCs try to persuade the paladin to focus on their current mission to no avail and end up tagging along. By the end of the day, they still haven’t reached the marsh and with no way of finding the dragon in the swamp, they manage to convince Ug to head for the Misty Forest again in the morning. 

8th Hammer

The PCs reach the elf village of Altand in the Misty Forest. After talking to some of the villagers, they meet with the warden, Galin, in his treehouse. Unlike the other elves, he does not believe that the green dragon that attacked the village had a rider. Turin plays a lament for the warden’s wife who was killed in the attack. 

9th Hammer

The PCs return to Galin’s home and Gwastdyn uses speak with animals to talk to Galin’s pet raven Quoth. The druid learns that the warden has been meeting the dragon and an elf in the woods at night. The party confront Galin who confesses to making a deal with the Wyrmspeaker to leave Altand alone in exchange for passing on information on other elven villages in the forest. He reluctantly agrees to cooperate with the PCs as they prepare to ambush the Wyrmspeaker and dragon that night.  

Illustration by Lars Grant-West

Close to midnight, the green dragon flies down to the forest clearing with an elven Wyrmspeaker in purple robes mounted on its back. As the cult leader talks to Galin, he realises something isn’t right. The PCs attack – Gwastdyn flies in as a giant eagle and attempts to knock the Wyrmspeaker off the dragon’s back while the others attack with arrows and spells. The dragon attacks Gwastdyn, then breathes on the druid and Ug. With the Wyrmspeaker badly wounded. it flies off to the southeast.  

Realising that they have now put the village in danger, the PCs advise Galin to lead the elves to safety in the morning while they go after the dragon. 

10th Hammer

As Altand is evacuated, Gwastdyn flies southeast as an eagle looking for signs of the dragon. He spots a destroyed elven village but no dragon. He returns to the others and they all head towards the village on foot. En route, they come across a venerable elf whose leg has become trapped under a fallen tree. Ug begins to lift the tree up when it rises on its own. The elf stands up and declares the PCs to be heroes. She hangs garlands of flowers around their necks before turning into an owl and flying off, followed by a trio of awakened trees. 

The PCs reach the elven village by dusk and spend the night there. 

11th Hammer

Heading southeast, the PCs follow a stream in the hopes that this will lead them to the dragon’s lair. Passing through an area filled with spider webs, they are attacked by ettercaps and giant spiders but have little trouble dealing with the creatures.  

Soon afterwards, they arrive at a waterfall which feeds a pool whose surface is obscured by an emerald haze. This is surely the dragon’s lair.  

Gwastdyn scouts around, first as an eagle, and then flies through the waterfall as a duck, confirming that there is a cave behind it. After a short rest to recharge his wildshape, the dwarf transforms into a giant eagle and transports the other PCs through one by one.  

The PCs head down the tunnel into a large chamber filled with stalactites and stalagmites, and with a large pool with a small rocky island in its centre. Four elves dressed in forest garb appear and ask the party to name the leaders of the Cult of the Dragon. When Turin names Severin the Red and Talis the White they seem satisfied. As more elves with bows appear on a high ledge looking down on the cave, one of them goes to fetch “Neronvain”... 

Here’s what happened in last night’s game in which the PCs finally killed their first dragon.

1st Hammer, 1491 DR

The PCs spend the day buying potions and other gear in Waterdeep.

2nd Hammer

The PCs attend the Second Council of Waterdeep. This time round there are two new attendees - Laeral Silverhand, the new Open Lord of Waterdeep, and a human woman named Elia, who later reveals herself to be a polymorphed silver dragon.

The PCs give their reports to the council. Gwastdyn tells them how the party tracked Varram the White down to the Tomb of Diderius in the Serpent Hills and battled yuan-ti as they searched for the Wyrmspeaker but were unable to stop him from being killed by the snake people’s priestess and did not recover the White Dragon Mask. Remallia Haventree of the Harpers and Connerad Brawnanvil of the dwarves both seem unimpressed that they were unable to interrogate Varram or speak with his dead spirit.

Next, Turin reports on the PCs’ trip to the Sea of Moving Ice. The bard waxes lyrical on the party’s bravery in battling the dragon and his intellectual ice toad servants, as well as how they rescued Maccath the Crimson and returned her to the Arcane Brotherhood in Luskan along with her evil books. This impresses almost all of the council members - even the dwarf - but Ontharr Frume of the Order of the Gauntlet is concerned about the motivations of the Brotherhood.

Once the PCs have finished their reports, Delaan Winterhound of the Emerald Enclave tells the party he would like them to investigate raids by the cult on elven villages in the Misty Forest. A green dragon has been sighted and Delaan thinks it could be working with another wyrmspeaker.

Then Elia addresses the council, revealing that she is the silver dragon Otaaryliakkarnos and that the metallic dragons of Faerûn have heard the Draakhorn sound. She asks the PCs to come to a meeting with the dragons in the Nether Mountains when they return from the Misty Forest.

As the PCs go to leave the council, Ontharr Frume takes Ug to one side and tells him that he’s been promoted within the Order of the Gauntlet to the rank of marcheon.

3rd Hammer

The PCs use the teleportation circle in Castle Waterdeep to travel to Daggerford, and then set off down the road to the forest.

5th Hammer

Late in the day, the PCs encounter a grim jester on the road. Crake and Gwastdyn both succumb to its killing joke, with Crake reduced to 0 hp and dying after failing his second saving throw. Turin tries to heal the rogue but the jester uses ridicule hope to make the cure spell damage him instead. Ug tries out his new sorcerer spells rather than closing in melee and Turin hangs back too, allowing the grim jester to cast delayed blast fireball. When Turin dispels the spell, the fireball detonates. Then, the jester uses joker’s shuffle to switch places with Turin and Ug is tricked into attacking the bard rather than the jester. Gwastdyn turns himself into an air elemental but realises “Turin” is really the jester and vice versa. With all three PCs attacking it, the jester is destroyed, with Turin inflicting the killing blow.

The PCs have a short rest and Crake is back on his feet. By this time it’s getting late, and the party decide to camp by the roadside. Unfortunately they aren’t paying close attention to what’s going on and don’t spot the dragon cultists sneaking up on their campsite, or the young blue dragon swooping down through the air.

The cultists and dragon attack with surprise, with both the blue dragon and the half-dragon warrior among them breathing lightning on the PCs. Gwastdyn wild shapes into an air elemental again and flies up to engage the dragon while the others battle cultists on the ground. Turin goes unconscious a couple of times, Crake goes down to 3 hp and Gwastdyn is forced out of wild shape. Even Ug’s health drops alarmingly as the cultists score multiple critical hits as they demand the PCs hand over the Black Dragon Mask.

When Crake takes down two dragonwings, the tide starts to turn in the PCs’ favour and the cultists start to flee. Ug kills the half-dragon and Crake shoots the dragon with his last arrow of slaying, then Gwastdyn casts ice storm, killing the wyrm. Two cultists manage to escape but the adventurers are victorious.

Here’s what happened in last night’s session. Each PC gains enough experience to reach 10th level.

17th Nightal (contd.)

The PCs spend some time coming up with a plan for the assault on Arauthator’s lair, before deciding to scout out the chute leading down from the Scriptorium. Gwastdyn wild shapes into an arctic tern and flies down the tunnel but soon realises the cavern is dark and he cannot see. He returns to the upper level, changes into a snowy owl, and flies back down. When he emerges into the dragon’s lair, he dodges a net of magical force that has been launched at him through the icy mists. Deciding caution is the better part of valour, he rejoins the others.

Back in the Scriptorium, the druid rests to recover his wild shape ability, then summons four ice mephits. The PCs drink potions of cold resistance and walk down the chute, sure-footed with their crampons on. One nervous mephit is sent into the cave, while Ug and Turin approach the end of the chute and peer out. Suddenly a cloud of freezing fog engulfs them. Rosie secures a rope and the two warriors climb down as fast as they can, followed by Rosie and Crake. Ug misjudges where the icy ledge ends and falls off. As the adventurers move out of the fog, Arauthator casts fireball, catching them in its blast.

Gwastdyn and the mephits come down to join the others as the PCs scatter to avoid bunching up in a group. Arauthator appears, terrifying Turin (and the most cowardly mephit) with his frightful presence. The bard remains traumatised by this for the whole of the battle. Rosie hits the dragon with her eldritch blast, and Ug lands a couple of good blows before Old White Death knocks him down with his wings and flies off. On its next pass, Arauthator breathes on the PCs, and sends jagged pieces of ice down from the cavern ceiling to strike the adventurers.

As the PCs look to Gwastdyn for healing, Arauthator raises a wall of ice between Ug and the others, then flies down to attack the paladin. Crake, up on an icy ridge, seizes his chance and shoots the dragon with an arrow of slaying, striking true. Ug smites the wyrm with his axe, inflicting serious damage, and the dragon flies into the mists.

Old White Death hasn’t given up, though. It casts a second fireball at the PCs, taking Turin down to 3 hp, then attacks Ug again, reducing him to zero hit points. This doesn’t stop the half-orc who fights on for another round, supported by Rosie. Ug’s powerful blows are enough and Arauthator flees, diving into an icy pool to escape. Turin rushes over and heals the dying paladin.

The PCs look into the pool that the dragon dived into and think they can see a tunnel leading into the sea. Gwastdyn wildshapes into a polar bear and swims down to confirm this. The PCs rest and recover, eating plenty of goodberries, then start plundering the treasure in the lair, chipping it out of the ice.

Maccath the Crimson gathers up the diabolical tomes in the Scriptorium to take back to the Hosttower of the Arcane in Luskan. The PCs find a number of spell scrolls here which they divide between them, and also take Marfulb’s writings on the natural history of the Sea of Moving Ice.

The Ice Hunters thank the PCs for driving off Old White Death and give them some of their best fermented fish in gratitude. They don’t hang about for a celebratory feast, though - instead, they get into their kayaks and paddle off as fast as they can.

18th Nightal

The Frostskimmr sets sail for Luskan. Ug insists on throwing one of the evil-looking books overboard so Maccath gives him one of the less rare volumes to satisfy his eccentric religious principles.

20th Nightal

Three white abishai devils swoop down onto the deck of the Frostskimmr and attack the PCs. They prove hard to kill but are no match for the adventurers. They deduce they must be after the infernal tomes on board.

22nd Nightal

The Frostskimmr arrives in Luskan, delivering Maccath the Crimson and the stolen books to the Hosttower of the Arcane. Perhaps the Arcane Brotherhood may help in the coming battles with the Cult of the Dragon?

30th Nightal

The Frostskimmr arrives back in Waterdeep, in time for the Second Council.

Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Each PC gets 2,456 xp.

16th Nightal (contd.)

Turin, Crake and Ug continue to explore the caverns, joined by Gwastdyn. The dwarf druid cures the coughing disease of Mend-nets, the ice hunter lying beneath a heap of rugs in the entrance chamber.

Next the PCs enter the ice toads’ workplace – here, the bizarre creatures are carving writings into the walls and inscribing information onto parchments and stone tablets. Turin chats to Marfulb, their leader and seneschal of Oyaviggaton, but when she sends a toad to fetch the kobolds, Ug attacks. The ice toads fight back, surrounding the PCs and grabbing hold of them so they cannot escape their icy auras. Crake kills Marfulb, then Turin casts compulsion to send most of the toads to the far end of the chamber. Gwastdyn traps four of them behind a wall of fire, and the party finish off the others.

When Gwastdyn dismisses the wall, there is no sign of any ice toads. Turin heads further into the cave but he still can’t see them through the mist and snow. He mimes “elf lost in snow” to his companions and returns to the others. Everyone is badly wounded but Gwastdyn says “it doesn’t feel like time for a mass cure”. “Get your hit points out!” insists Turin, and the druid relents.

Heading back into the main corridor, the PCs run into a group of kobolds. The little humanoids turn to flee but their escape route is cut off by a pack of wolves summoned by Gwastdyn. One of the kobolds gets lucky with a sling shot, disrupting the dwarf’s concentration, and the wolves disappear. This gives the kobolds false hope as the PCs close in and cut them all down.

The party continue to explore the side rooms leading off the corridor. Crake sneaks into one large chamber and spots a frost giant. He returns to the others to report and Gwastdyn casts comprehend languages so he’ll be able to understand what the giant says in response to Turin’s mimes. They all enter the room, realising that the giant is frozen stiff when they get closer. There are several kobolds in here but they manage to slip out through the fog.

After defeating an ice troll they explore Arauthator’s trophy room. Gwastdyn has wild-shaped into a rhinoceros which is perhaps not the most agile of animal forms. He crashes into the longship in the centre of the room, disturbing the treasure in the chest on its deck. Turin casts fly, flies up to the ship and starts removing gold and jewels from the chest. Two more ice trolls appear but the PCs deal with them without too much trouble and plunder the treasure.

They take another short rest. Gwastdyn still has his comprehend languages spell running for a while so he returns to the ice toads workplace and studies their mysterious writings. The scrolls in here provide a comprehensive record of the Sea of Moving Ice and a chronicle of Old White Death’s exploits. The dwarf takes a few scrolls.

Maccath the Crimson

Passing through an empty chamber, the PCs climb a slope to Maccath the Crimson’s quarters, and kill the ice troll lurking just inside the entrance to the cavern. Ug leads the way into the tiefling’s makeshift tent which stands in the middle of the cave. After Ug tells the wizard they are here to kill Arauthator, she provides some useful information on the dragon’s lair, as well as a ring of cold resistance and two arrows of slaying. She also explains the origin of the Draakhorn – it is a signalling device for chromatic dragons, fashioned from the horn of Tiamat’s ancient red dragon consort, Ephelemon.

The PCs have a long rest to recover their strength before facing Old White Death.

Here’s what happened in last night’s session of Rise of Tiamat in which the PCs sailed through the Sea of Moving Ice and entered the ice caves inside Oyaviggaton. Each PC gets 3,537 xp.

12th Nightal, 1490 DR (contd.)

The crew of the Frostskimmr haul the longship onto the ice for the night. Crake scouts around the campsite, invisible and flying, after Rosie spots tracks in the ice. Three scrags attack the party’s snow shelter and have to be dealt with.

13th Nightal

The fin of a giant shark is spotted in the water. Ug tries to dominate the fish using his trident of fish command without success.

Later, as the party and crew are getting ready to spend the night on the ice again, they spot an ice hunter running towards them being pursued by a polar bear. Rosie, Turin and Crake bring down the bear with spells and arrows, saving the hunter. He is clearly very grateful but doesn’t speak Common but Turin manages to communicate with him using the power of mime, and Rosie’s comprehend languages spell allows the PCs to learn the rough location of Arauthator’s lair, Oyaviggaton.

14th Nightal

Stormy winds nearly blow Rosie overboard into the freezing water.

15th Nightal

A group of ice hunters in khyeks are spotted. They paddle away rapidly as the Frostskimmr approaches, losing the PCs’ ship among the ice floes. However, Turin’s sharp eyes spot the distinctive shape of Oyaviggaton in the distance.

Spending the night on the water for once, the Frostskimmr comes under attack from two giant octopuses. One of the sailors is snatched overboard and eaten, and Ug is also grabbed. The paladin uses his trident to command the octopus to put him back on the deck and then orders it to swim away. Rosie casts hold monster on the other one, and Crake slays it with an impressive critical hit.

16th Nightal

The Frostskimmr approaches the iceberg of Oyaviggaton, sailing past the ledge used by the ice hunters to moor their boats. Rosie casts water walk on the party and the PCs double back, arriving on the ledge. They climb the icy stairs to the top of the plateau – Turin casts fog cloud to mask their arrival.

Peering out from the cloud, Crake spots ten corpses frozen into the icy wall of a ridge. He sneaks along the ridge and looks round – he can dimly make out a village through the drifting snow. As Turin also approaches, the village’s husky dogs start to bark and a crowd of ice hunters appears.

An awkward conversation follows between the PCs and Barking Seal, the leader of the ice hunters. The tribe do not appear to be dragon cultists as the PCs suspected, but they are very wary of the party and the atmosphere is tense. Some of the ice hunters move around behind them to cut off the adventurers' retreat while others slip away to the large meeting hall.

To break the deadlock Ug agrees to fight the tribal champion Orcaheart. The ice hunter stabs the half-orc several times with his spear but Ug fights back strongly and takes him down. Despite the ban on magic, Orcaheart is healed surreptitiously by the shaman Bonecarver, and Turin uses a healing word on Ug. During the battle an invisible Crake sneaks off to the meeting hall and spots a hole in the floor leading down inside the iceberg.

Ug is declared the winner and the PCs are grudgingly shown to a storage hut where they can spend the night. Bonecarver brings them fermented fish to eat but no one is keen. When she returns later, Rosie tries a different tack and gets her to open up – the ice hunters are in fear of Arauthator and cannot leave the island. She tells the PCs that the white dragon is served by kobold, ice toads and ice trolls.

That night, the PCs climb down the chute from Bonecarver’s hut. Ug goes first, slips, and plummets down the last 60 feet, getting pretty bashed up in the process. Exploring the ice caves with their bold paladin in the lead, the party enter a den full of kobolds and massacre them. Three escape, fleeing through the junk room and larder and back out into the circular corridor.

The PCs pursue, again with Ug at the lead. In the entrance chamber they find a shivering ice hunter under a pile of furs. No one is able to cure his pneumonia-like illness so they pull the furs back over him and set off after the kobolds again.

Seeing the little humanoids run down a side corridor, Ug slides down after them, arriving feet first in a large misty chamber between two ice trolls! Reduced to 1hp, Ug battles bravely on, as the other PCs arrive to help him out. Turin casts compulsion to send the trolls to the far end of the room, allowing the party time to divide and conquer. Rosie’s hold monster spell, Turin’s fiery blade, Crake’s sneak attacks and criticals, and Ug’s trusty slash win through. The PCs return to the larder for a short rest.

Here’s what happened in last night’s eventful game in which Rosie finally got her revenge on the mutinous crew of the Merman’s Cock. Each PC gets 2,425 xp.

30th Marpenoth (contd.)

The PCs interrrogate the captured yuan-ti malison, Mek-Ssss who promises them group’s hidden treasure and safe passage out of the tomb if they are prepared to let him and the young hatchlings live. The party decide they wish to consult the Pool of Divination to find out what has happened to the White Dragon Mask and quiz Mek-Ssss about the necessary sacrifices needed. After a couple of near misses involving Ug, the party gets back across the chasm bridge to the pool chamber. Ug and Turin fill the pool from the well and Rosie throws her Book of Shadows into the water as a sacrifice while Crake averts his eyes.

The pool shows Rosie the caldera of a volcano many hundreds of miles away – an army is massing on the steep sides of the volcano while chromatic dragons fly over ahead. The view heads inside a lava tube and Rosie sees a purple-clad Wyrmspeaker with a small red dragon on his shoulder holding the White Dragon Mask. As the vision fades, Rosie is left shaken by what she has experienced.

Ready to leave, the PCs head back across the bridge to the yuan-ti temple where Mek-Ssss reveals a secret passage leading down into a treasure chamber and out beyond the tomb’s entrance. Ug goes first, taking the treasure. When they realise it is not a trap, the others follow. Mek-Ssss closes the trapdoor behind them.

That night, as Rosie goes to reconstruct her Book of Shadows away from the camp, the madness of the Pool descends on her and she wanders aimlessly in the hills for a while. When she snaps out of it, she can’t remember where she is. Confused, she wanders back to complete the ritual to restore her tome.

30th Uktar

The PCs arrive back in Waterdeep. Ug visits the House of Wonder, giving the circlet of seven serpents to Jelkar Feldspear. He agrees to pledge his allegiance to Mystra and the Knights of Mystic Fire. Later the party meet with Dala Silmerhelve and agree to head north to the Sea of Moving Ice to try and find out what happened to Maccath the Crimson and the Draakhorn. Dala tells the PCs she does not belong to any of the five factions but that a “benefactor” of her house is keen for the party to complete the mission.

Feast of the Moon

The PCs attend Ug’s inauguration ceremony into the Knights of Mystic Fire. She wears a new dress for the occasion. As the ceremony is completed, her battle axe glows with pink mystic fire.

1st Nightal

Having purchased winter clothing, snowshoes, climbing kits and crampons, the PCs set sail for the Sea of Moving Ice in the Frostskimmr, a longship captained by Lerustah Half-face.

7th Nightal

As the Frostskimmr nears Luskan, it comes under attack from the pirates of the Merman’s Cock – Rosie’s old ship. From up in the crow’s nest the warlock can see her mutinous former crew mates on deck – the captain Ching Shih, Queen Leutia, Sadie the Goat, Back From the Dead Red, The Lioness and Sayyida al Hurra. They are joined by a dragonfang from the Cult of the Dragon and a bare-chested tattooed male kraken priest who begins summoning a storm cloud as the pirate ship closes fast, firing its ballista and killing one of the Frostskimmr’s crew.

Rosie casts hunger of Hadar on the ballista crew as the Frostskimmr gets ready to repel boarders. Then, the kraken priest calls lightning down on the warlock, striking her and disrupting her concentration. Ug misty steps over to the Cock; Turin, Rosie and Crake swing across on ropes.

Turin casts compulsion to send half of the pirate leaders over to the other side of the deck. Meanwhile, a fanatical pirate dives in front of Rosie’s eldritch blast to save Chinh Shih from being hit. The captain closes with Rosie in melee and cuts her down. Fortunately Turin is on hand with a healing word and again when Back from the Dead Red takes her down a second time! Ug engages the kraken priest in close combat, killing him – the paladin is hasted and his AC 23 proves hard (but not impossible!) for the pirates to hit. Crake battles the dragonfang who hurls orbs of fire at him but the rogue is able to take him down with his fancy footwork and sneak attacks. Turin comes under attack from Sadie the Goat and The Lioness but is able to cast shatter to destroy the ballista and its crew.

With the kraken priest dead, Ug turns his slash, now glowing pink, onto Chinh Shih and Sayyida al Hurra. Crake cuts down Queen Leutia as the battle starts to turn in the PCs’ favour. When Ug kills the captain and Sayyida al Hurra, the surviving pirates surrender.

Rosie kills Back From the Dead Red in cold blood and threatens to kill the other two if they don’t explain why the crew mutinied against Anya Ogre-Teeth. Sadie the Goat’s explanation that the Cult of the Dragon offered them money to betray Anya enrages the warlock, and it looks like the “par-lay” is about to come to an abrupt and violent end. Turin moves to attack Sadie, his sword drawn, babbling something about daughters, mothers and half-orcs. Ug casts hold person to stop him and order is restored. Turin seems to have gone the wrong end of the stick about something but no one is sure exactly what set him off.

Sadie the Goat and The Lioness are tied up; the other surviving pirates are allowed to join the depleted crew of the Frostskimmr. The PCs search the Merman’s Cock’s hold, finding a chest of treasure and a trident of fish command which Ug attunes to.

As darkness falls, Rosie throws Sadie the Goat overboard, tied to the corpse of Chinh Shih. She doesn’t survive long. As she starts setting the Merman’s Cock on fire, Ug rescues the Lioness who is still locked in the brig. She is dragged over to the Frostskimmr and chained to an oar.

12th Nightal

The Frostskimmr reaches the Sea of Moving Ice. A group of ice hunters are spotted on an ice floe, hunting seals. When Captain Lerustah calls out to them in greeting, they get into their khyeks and paddle off to the northeast – odd behaviour, according to the captain. The PCs sail after them but lose them among the ice floes.

As the day wears on, The Lioness reveals that the Cult of the Dragon knew the PCs were heading for the Sea of Moving Ice and ordered the Merman’s Cock to intercept them. Is there a mole at the Council of Waterdeep?

Here’s what happened in Saturday's game. For tracking down Varram the White, the PCs earn enough xp to reach 9th level.

29th Marpenoth (contd.)

As the PCs rest inside Leomund’s tiny hut, dozens of snakes pour from the holes in the walls and surround the magical shelter. Rosie lights a campfire inside the hut, and Turin gets ready to cast compulsion when the warlock dispels the spell.

But the adventurers hadn’t noticed their enemies sneaking up on them. As the hut vanishes, the door swings open and a yuan-ti nightmare speaker casts hunger of Dendar plunging the room into unnatural darkness. Fortunately, Turin is able to dispel it, then Rosie casts counterspell to foil the yuan-ti’s next spell.

Battle is joined – the PCs are surrounded by lizardfolk, yuan-ti and swarms of poisonous snakes. Crake skips out of the circle to duel the nightmare speaker and one of the malisons. Gwastdyn turns into a bear and Turin casts compulsion in an attempt to force their foes out of the room and over the slippery chasm bridge. He manages to move the nightmare speaker into the corridor before losing concentration, but this allows Ug to use his misty step and take her on in single combat. The paladin kills the yuan-ti just after she takes down Rosie with her eldritch blasts. Meanwhile, Gwastdyn has been forced out of bear form. He casts call woodland beings, summoning 8 azza gremlins, and swings his shillelagh into one of the malisons, crushing his skull. Turin’s healing word brings round the unconscious Crake who has succumbed to the poisonous snakes.

Finally, the PCs are victorious, and they’ve managed to take one of the lizardfolk alive. Draconic-speaker Turin interrogates their captive who tells them he is the only survivor of the yuan-ti’s lizardfolk slaves. They let him go.

After briefly checking out the yuan-ti sleeping quarters behind the door, they all get some much needed healing from Ug. Rosie casts Leomund’s tiny hut again and the PCs hole up for a long rest.

30th Marpenoth

An invisible Crake scouts ahead and finds the yuan-ti temple. Rosie communicates with the rogue via message and the others attempt to sneak up to join him. Ug and Gwastdyn are as noisy as usual and the yuan-ti inside the temple are alerted. The abomination priestess is holding a dragontooth dagger to Varram's neck. She calls out to the PCs, telling them she is prepared to negotiate. True to form, Ug charges in and the priestess cuts Varram’s throat.

Turin follows Ug into the temple, casting shatter and then fear, with Crake hot on his heels. Gwastdyn summons a pack of wolves, then retreats to the corridor to join Rosie. A second abomination enters the corridor to attack the dwarf who wild shapes into a rhinoceros.

After a fast and furious battle, there is just one yuan-ti malison left standing. He surrenders to the PCs. Ug grabs the priestess' circlet of seven serpents - this is the magic item he needs to bring back to the House of Wonder in Waterdeep.
Here’s what happened in last night’s game. No Ug this time, but Rosie returned. Each PC gets 1,650 xp.

29th Marpenoth (contd.)

Just before the party heads through the secret door, Rosie steps onto the dais to examine Diderius’ sarcophagus. The wizard’s booming voice warns her: “Leave me to my rest or face your doom!”. She decides to join the others at the entrance to the humid, slimy corridor heading towards the yuan-ti enclave.

Crake scouts ahead and spots a group of brown-skinned lizardfolk with strange green markings ahead. Battle is joined and the PCs are able to take them out easily with swords, clubs and hunger of Hadar. Beyond the entry chamber a set of stairs lead down to a slime-covered stone bridge over a dark pit. As Gwastdyn descends the steps, a sibilant voice calls from up ahead, telling him Rosie is really a yuan-ti agent and should be dealt with. The dwarf resists, and summons a pair of giant spiders on the bridge to attack the lizard folk and yuan-ti malisons on the other side. Rosie casts hunger of Hadar again to surround their enemies in alien darkness.

Then, Turin and Gwastdyn hatch a cunning plan to get safely across – Gwastdyn ties a rope around one of the giant spiders and Turin casts levitation. The spider walks across the bridge, pulling Turin along. Unfortunately, the bard succumbs to a suggestion from one of the yuan-ti to stop concentrating on his levitation spell and let go of the rope. He falls but luckily manages to catch hold of the edge of the bridge and stop himself plummeting to his doom.


Next, Gwastdyn wild shapes into a giant owl and flies Crake and Rosie across while the yuan-ti and lizardfolk finish off the giant spiders. Turin hauls himself on to the bridge and crosses over to the far side where he finds himself surrounded as enemy reinforcements arrive. One of the yuan-ti suggests the elf runs back across the bridge – he fails a second Wisdom saving throw and ends up clinging on for dear life again. The same thing happens to Rosie who then spends several rounds trying (and failing) to climb up. Turin’s enhance ability and minor image* don’t seem to help her much. Crake fires arrows into the lizardfolk, thinning their ranks, and Gwastdyn summons two packs of wolves but it’s his reluctantly cast thornwhip cantrip that eventually finishes off their last opponent.


Low on hit points and spells, the PCs try to find somewhere to have a short rest. No one wants to go back over the perilous bridge so the only alternative is to press on. Gwastdyn sends the wolves into a side corridor, followed by an invisible Rosie. Up ahead, arrows fly up from a sunken chamber, killing two wolves.

Returning to the others, Rosie and the wolves climb the stairs to the diamond-shaped meditation chamber. Here, snakes pour out of holes in the walls, and fill two suits of armour, animating them as “snake horrors”. Rosie retreats and Gwastdyn casts wall of fire across the room, damaging the horrors. They move forward to attack Turin and take him down. Rosie saves him with spare the dying but he goes down again soon afterwards and she has to do it again. Turin is saved but is babbling incoherently. Gwastdyn changes to bear form and shoves one of the horrors back into the fiery wall, but they are hard to damage – Turin’s shatter and Rosie’s eldritch blast do nothing. Rosie even resorts to setting fire to Frulam Mondath's robes so she can cast control flame on them. Finally, Crake finishes off the last snake horror standing with his rapier.

Rosie casts Leomund’s tiny hut and the PCs climb inside for a much-needed short rest.

*of a sign pointing back towards the yuan-ti. Made by Faerun's equivalent of Acme, presumably.

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