Tyranny of Dragons

Tyranny of Dragons, Session #21: The Pool of Divination

Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Each PC gets 1,940 xp.

28th Marpenoth (contd.)

Crake enters the hallway from the mosaic chamber, spotting a secret panel halfway down the corridor. The rogue signals to the others to approach, and they open the panel, revealing a narrow shaft heading down. Deciding to press on, Crake triggers a pressure plate in the floor which sends a boulder made of skeletal bodies rolling down the corridor towards the party. It runs over Gwastdyn and Turin first, then Ug gets caught up in it and is sent crashing into the wall at the end of the hallway!

With everyone feeling beaten up, the PCs take a short rest in the chamber. Turin tries to pinpoint the strong smell of incense but there is no obvious source.

Opening the door to the east, the PCs enter the former library, now stripped bare of books. The ghostly librarian, a woman named Ilda, manifests – her terrifying appearance shocks Ug who ages 20 years! Ilda was supposed to have guarded Diderius’ books and her failings as a librarian mean she is tied to this chamber. Gwastdyn speaks to the ghost who reveals that Diderius’ powerful divination pool allowed those using it to peer past the magical protections that block lesser divination magic. She warns the PCs that the pool’s revelations can drive you insane unless you asked a specific question, and that gazing into the pool without first making a sacrifice is very dangerous. She also tells the PCs that yuan-ti have taken up residence in the complex.

Next, the party enter the throne room. Here a well-muscled twelve-foot-tall male humanoid with a flowing white beard is sitting on a throne; a large pile of treasure lies at his feet. When the PCs approach, he says “Ye who seek Diderius’ insight must first furnish tribute, that Diderius might work his mighty magic. Lay such tribute at my feet and depart”. When the PCs ask other questions, they get the same response. They leave a few coins each and leave by the western exit.

Five bearded devils are sitting at stone tables in the dining room beyond. Although they don’t seem hostile, Ug is incensed at their presence and attacks. Turin casts shatter and Gwastdyn summons a pack of wolves to defeat the fiends. Stairs in this room lead up to what was once a bedchamber. Here, a pair of wraiths and four spectres attack the party, draining their life energy – poor old Ug suffers the most, losing 30 hp from his maximum.

Once the undead have been vanquished, the PCs search the room, finding books and treatises on divination, silk robes, a magical ring of poison resistance and two scrolls of remove curse. Crake “pours” from the empty silver ewer into one of the goblets on the side table. This fills it with a fuming gas. Ug and Turin deduce that the gas protects from poison when “drunk”. Low on spells and wounded, the PCs hole up in this chamber and take a long rest.

29th Marpenoth

Returning to the library, the PCs give the books they found to Ilda. The ghost smiles gratefully before fading away into nothingness.

Next, the PCs reach the pool chamber – a dead cultist lies on the floor amidst broken arrows and other debris. Ug and Gwastdyn return to the well, fill a bucket and pour water into the basin. Sure enough, the pool fills, flaring with black light. Unfortunately, Crake and Turin do not heed Ilda’s warning and their eyes are drawn to the water. Both go insane – Turin passes out, while Crake starts crawling around on the floor, eating moss. By the time Ug and Gwastdyn return, the water has evaporated, but they are able to bring their companions back to their senses. Examining the cultist’s body, they realise he has been sacrificed. The arrows in here appear to have been fired from the southern doors and perhaps belong to the yuan-ti.

The double doors lead into Diderius’ crypt: the walls are covered in frescoes and his great sarcophagus rests on a dais. Ug can sense the presence of undead in the sarcophagus and behind the walls, so the PCs debate what to do next. Is there a sacrifice they can make to the pool? Would Rosie be willing to take one for the team?

After deciding against this drastic course of action, they search the dungeon for secret doors they might have missed before returning to the well. Gwastdyn wildshapes into an otter and is lowered down the well in the bucket. Unfortunately, the surviving troll is lurking at the bottom and takes a swing at the shapechanged druid, which turns him back into a dwarf. Gwastdyn scrambles up the rope as Ug pulls it from above, while Turin and Crake attack the troll. The foul creature drops back into the water and swims off when the druid drops a flaming sphere down the shaft.

Still stumped, the PCs return to the throne room. Crake realises the giant figure in here is a clay golem disguised with an illusion – Ug urges the others to leave it well alone.

With no other option, the party go back to the crypt and approach the sarcophagus to speak with Diderius. A deep clear voice from inside the coffin tells them that yuan-ti have taken Varram the White to their lair. A moment later, a secret door opens in the north wall...
Tyranny of Dragons

Tyranny of Dragons, Session #20: The Tomb of Diderius

Here’s what happened in last night’s game as the party set off for the Serpent Hills on the trail of Varram the White. Each PC gets 3,300 xp.

22nd - 28th Eleint: Downtime in Waterdeep

Crake spends the week disguised as his noble alter ego and hobnobs with a bunch of wealthy merchants, beating them at cards.

Gwastdyn visits Sir Trodeng d’Visir’s menagerie outside the city and studies some of the exhibits so he can wildshape into their forms

Rosie makes contact with the Zhentarim in Manysteps Alley. As well as Jamna Gleamsilver, she sees Tyler Logan (the cell leader she had a run in with last time she was in Waterdeep) again – there is clearly no love lost between the pair. Jamna gives Rosie a sending stone and asks her to keep in regular contact.

Turin visits New Olamn College and learns some new songs to play on his cittern.

Ug visits the House of Wonder and agrees to undertake a quest to bring back a circlet of seven serpents to the temple.

29th Eleint - 20th Marpenoth

The party travel south from Waterdeep to Boareskyr Bridge, dealing with a group of dragon cultists who attacked a caravan near Daggerford.

At Dragonspear Castle, zombies clamber out of the ground to attack the party, but Gwastdyn, wildshaped into a giant eagle, swoops down and carries them off before dropping them to their doom. Unfortunately the druid's flight over the castle is cut short when he slams straight into a wall of force, and has to be rescued by Crake.

21st Marpenoth

The PCs defeat a second band of dragon cultists on the Trade Way. Gwastdyn wildshapes into a giant elk and squishes the dragonsoul leader with his hooves after Rosie polymorphs him into a crayfish.

22nd Marpenoth

The party arrive at Boareskyr Bridge, spending the night in Bolo’s Tentside Inn. They learn that Varram the White killed a “scaled folk” spy before heading into the hills with over a dozen men. Rosie sends a report to Jamna using her sending stone.

24th Marpenoth

The PCs head into the Serpent Hills following Varram’s trail. They kill a weird-looking blemmyes by means of an effective combination of summoned wolves and Turin’s dissonant whispers, and rescue the two tribesmen it had captured for its dinner.

25th Marpenoth

The trail leads through an arch formed from the coils of a great petrified serpent. At Ug’s insistence, the PCs climb up the slope to the serpent’s “head” and go inside. When they spot a shimmering portal inside its mouth, they decide to return to the trail and their mission, much to the half-orc paladin’s disappointment.

27th Marpenoth

The PCs arrive outside the Tomb of Diderius. They explore the ruined buildings but give the two giant statues flanking the entrance to the tomb a wide berth. Camping for the night inside a crumbling tower, they are attacked by three trolls. Rosie falls unconscious twice, but the adventurers do manage to kill two of the foul creatures. The third one escapes down the well outside after Turin casts compulsion and sends it packing.

28th Marpenoth

The PCs decide to dig up one of the shallow graves they found outside the tomb – the body inside hasn’t been dead long and still shows signs of both bludgeoning and slashing wounds. Ug approaches the statues which animate and speak to the party, asking them if they seek wisdom or knowledge. The PCs reply that they "seek wisdom" which appears to satisfy them “as long as you show proper respect”.

Using magic, the PCs get up to the ledge holding the tomb entrance. Gwastdyn wildshapes into an eagle and flies inside past six cowled wizard statues. The room beyond is decorated with a mosaic depicting a knight in shining armour battling a chimera. When the adventurers enter the room, the chimera rises up out of the mosaic and attacks the party. After it breathes fire on the heroes standing in the entrance, it flies up to the ledge running around the room. Ug isn’t about to let another flying monster get the better of him and misty steps up there to attack it, joined by Gwastdyn. The others attack from range – Crake finishes it off with an arrow.

Behind the door marked “SAFE” in chalk is a round chamber containing a well and a stone basin. Ug fills the bucket from the well a couple of times, empyting the water into the basin and pulling the lever on the wall. The water empties out but the PCs can’t figure out where it’s gone. Back in the mosaic room, Ug wrenches open the bulging double doors to the north, sending a load of rubble crashing into the room, nearly burying Rosie.

The corridor to the southeast seems to be the only way to go now...
Tyranny of Dragons

Tyranny of Dragons, Session #19: Glazhael the Cloudchaser

Here’s what happened in last night’s game, in which we finished Hoard of the Dragon Queen and began Rise of Tiamat. Each PC gets enough experience to reach 8th level.

5th Eleint

After some careful deliberation over strategy, the PCs head inside the iceberg beneath Skyreach Castle to confront Glazhael the white dragon. Turin drinks a potion of cold resistance and Rosie casts fly on Ug.

Ug, Gwastdyn and Rosie enter the dragon’s lair at the lower level, while Turin and Crake approach from the upper tunnels. Only Crake is quiet enough to surprise the dragon and gets off an arrow with sneak attack, inflicting 43 hp damage. Then, Glazhael acts, surrounding Turin and Crake with freezing fog, and breathing on Ug, Gwastdyn and Rosie. Rosie loses concentration, meaning Ug is no longer flying and can’t get to the dragon who is clinging to the ceiling. He runs in anyway and challenges the dragon to face him in melee. Meanwhile, Turin, Rosie and Crake attack from range while Gwastdyn summons a pair of giant eagles. The eagles swoop into combat with Glazhael and inflict a couple of wounds on him before they are slain.

Glazhael conjures a wall of ice to block Gwastdyn and Rosie from entering the cavern, then flies over to the upper level to attack Crake and Turin. Ug climbs up and steps forward to attack in melee, but falls unconscious. The druid summons a second pair of giant eagles to harass Glazhael but by this time the dragon is able to breath again and Rosie and Crake both go down inside another cloud of freezing fog. Turin and Gwastdyn bring them round so they can escape the fog, and Rosie saves Ug with spare the dying. By this time, Glazhael is badly wounded too and flees towards the exit after Rosie hits him with blight. A third pair of eagles are summoned to give chase and manage to bring the dragon down to just 8 hp before it flies off.

Exhausted, the PCs have a short rest to heal up, then chisel away at the treasure hoard, taking a number of magic items, and all the gems and jewellery they can find, before casting create water and hunger of Hadar to freeze the hoard again and disguise their activities. Then, they head upstairs and tell Blagothkus they have driven off the dragon. The cloud giant agrees to take them to Waterdeep and says they can take “a few items” from the loot. The PCs thank him and return to the cave to take the chest they filled with gold coins earlier!


21st Eleint

Skyreach Castle arrives near Waterdeep. The PCs fly down to the Trade Way on wyverns from the castle, and enter the city on foot. As they approach, they are greeted by a talking raven bearing a message from Leosin Erlanthar – the party are to meet him outside the Lord’s Palace. Inside the city, the PCs experience a strange sense of unease as the Draakhorn sounds, first once, then again.

Outside the Lord’s Palace, Leosin briefs the party. Following the assassination of the Masked Lord Arthagast Ulbrinter, the factions and leaders of the Sword Coast have come together to oppose the Cult of the Dragon and the PCs must report to the Council of Waterdeep.

The adventurers are welcomed to the first Council of Waterdeep. The other attendees are:

* Remallia “Remi” Haventree of the Harpers
* Ontharr Frume, Order of the Gauntlet
* Delaan Winterhound, Emerald Enclave
* Lord Dagult Neverember, Open Lord of Waterdeep, Lords’ Alliance
* Ambassador Connerad Brawnanvil of the dwarves, Lords’ Alliance
* Marshall Ulder Ravengard of the Flaming Fist, Lords’ Alliance
* King Melandrach of the elves, Lords’ Alliance
* Taern “Thunderspells” Hornblade of Silverymoon, Lords’ Alliance
* Sir Isteval of Daggerford and Cormyr, Lords’ Alliance

The PCs give their report, recounting their battle against the Cult of the Dragon from Greenest to Skyreach Castle. Crake mentions that they have the black dragon mask and it is suggested the party keep hold of it for the time being. Overall they make a good impression on the Council, particularly Sir Isteval, Ontharr Frume, King Melandrach, Ulder Ravengard and Taern Hornblade, but the failure to capture the flying castle irks Connerad Brawnanvil.

Lord Neverember and the council deputize the PCs with emergency investigative powers, and they are asked to undertake two missions. Leosin briefs the party no the first – to travel to Boareskyr Bridge to investigate rumours that Varram the White has lost the white dragon mask. A Waterdhavian noblewoman named Dala Silmerhelve tells them about the second mission – to travel to the Sea of Moving Ice, the last known location of the Draakhorn, and find Maccath the Crimson, a missing tiefling sorcerer who is an expert on all things draconic.
Tyranny of Dragons

Tyranny of the Dragons, Session #18: Night of the Vampire

Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Each PC gets 2,290 xp. Only the white dragon Glazhael stands between you and the end of the adventure….

3rd Eleint, 1490 DR (contd.)

Rosie casts disguise self to appear as Rezmir and opens the doors to the barracks. Meanwhile Gwastdyn has summoned eight pixies and ordered them to become invisible. Rosie orders the dragonwings resting inside to line up, telling them that intruders have been seen in the castle. The cultists fall for the deception and are standing together in a group when Turin casts shatter. This is followed by hunger of Hadar from Rosie and sleep, confusion, and entangle spells from the pixies. Turin and Ug attack the hapless cultists near the edge of the darkness while Crake waits outside and picks off ones escaping through the side doors with his bow.

With the dragonwings dealt with, the PCs enter Rezmir’s chamber. Crake is attacked by a rug of smothering but manages to avoid being smothered. The rogue checks the chest carefully for traps, before opening it. Inside is the Black Dragon Mask and a large cache of gems, jewellery and coins.

Deciding to report to Blagothkus, the party head up to the Upper Courtyard and go to the cloud giant’s tower. The ogres on the battlements tell them their boss has gone to the steering tower. The PCs walk over there but find it locked, and there is no answer at the door. They return to Rezmir’s room to rest for the night.

That night, while Gwastdyn is on watch, the vampire Sandesyl Morgia appears and attacks the dwarf. The others wake up and join in but are unable to stop the druid falling unconscious. Ug strikes her with his divine smite, inflicting radiant damage which stops her regenerating. The vampire flees into the courtyard and gives the party the slip. Shaken, they heal Gwastdyn, Rosie casts an alarm spell, and the PCs finish their long rest.

4th Eleint

The next morning the PCs explore the store room and the guest chambers, before returning to the Upper Courtyard. As they look at the horizon, they realise the castle has turned around and is now heading north.

Deciding to explore the crumbling tower, Ug climbs up to the balcony 75 feet above. Unfortunately it’s not strong enough to bear his weight, and gives way when he climbs onto it, sending him plummeting to the ground. The others dodge out the way but Gwastdyn isn't quick enough and it struck by falling debris.

Ug climbs back up and throws a rope down to Turin who joins him. The pair go through the door into the vampire’s lair and are attacked by two vampire spawn. Crake starts climbing up the tower, while Rosie casts dimension door to transport herself and Gwastdyn up to the top. The warlock is grabbed by one of the vampires and is bitten twice as Ug and Turin battle the other one. Crake arrives and takes down one of the spawn, but then the coffin opens and Sandesyl appears. Ug turns on her, destroying her with his divine smite. Then, Turin slays the final vampire spawn.

The PCs take a short rest, then visit Blagothkus in his tower. The cloud giant tells them he is taking the castle to the Spine of the World but will gladly drop them off en route – at Waterdeep for example. He urges them to go and deal with the dragon. Exhausted after their battle with the vampires, the PCs return to the Lower Courtyard and have a long rest.
Tyranny of Dragons

Tyranny of Dragons, Session #17: Skyreach Castle

Here’s what happened in last night’s game in which the PCs finally took down Wyrmspeaker Rezmir. Each PC gets 2,060 xp.

3rd Eleint, 1490 DR

The PCs enter the village of Parnast - everyone except Ug is wearing Cult of the Dragon masks and cloaks and Rosie has cast disguise self to appear as a bloke called Arric. Turin notes that the stables look too large for horses. After greeting the cultists in the village square in the usual manner (“Praise Tiamat’s glory!”), the party enters the Shrine of Axes and has a look at the four statues inside before heading to the Golden Tankard. The landlord tells them that Captain Othelstan is in charge of the cultists in the village and gives the party directions to the captain’s house.

Arric’s story isn’t very convincing so a fight breaks out with Othelstan and his men, but Turin’s fear spell sends half of them running scared which buys the PCs some time to deal with the others. Gwastdyn wild shapes into a bear and Rosie/Arric takes down the captain with her agonizing blast. While Crake, Rosie and Gwastdyn search the house and grab some interesting-looking papers, Turin and Ug hurry to Skyreach Castle which is preparing for departure. They display the banner they got from Talis’ hunting lodge and give the pass phrase (“Tiamat, our Mother and Strength!”), entering the castle via the drawbridge. Inside, they are met by two ogres, Tarzzen and Hunnc, who are confused by Turin’s florid turn of phrase, but take a liking to Ug who is more on their level. They offer to take the two PCs to see Blagothkus the cloud giant owner of the castle, and lead the pair across the lower courtyard to a set of spiral stairs.

Meanwhile, the others have realised the castle is about to go and hurry over the drawbridge, remembering to give the pass phrase. They spot Turin and Ug with the ogres and catch up with them. A heated discussion takes place about whether to go and see Blagothkus or to report to the cult barracks – Ug insists on going to see the cloud giant and no one is keen on him talking to the giant on his own. The ogres take the PCs through the upper courtyard, past two tall towers to Blagothkus’ tower and upstairs to the giant’s chamber.

Unfortunately the PCs haven’t really come up with a plan or got their stories straight. Turin removes all of his cult gear and says he isn’t a member of the Cult of the Dragon, Ug says he is the party’s “protector”, and the others claim to be cultists here to report to Rezmir. Blagothkus is so frustrated with their conflicting stories he swings at Rosie with his morningstar. A fight looks likely to break out but Crake is able to avert disaster by coming clean just in time, explaining the PCs are actually here in disguise to kill Rezmir. Blagothkus explains he is no friend to the cult who are plotting to take over the Sword Coast, and hopes that the threat of a new dragon empire will get the giants riled up enough to go to war. If the PCs want to take down Rezmir and the dragon, that’s fine with him. He tells them to return to the lower courtyard where they will find the cult barracks and Rezmir.

The PCs visit the barracks and have a short rest, then Turin casts invisibility on Crake. The rogue heads off into the courtyard with Gwastdyn the white rat in his pocket. Together the pair check out the kobold kitchen, the stone giants’ quarters, a storeroom and guest quarters. There are two doors that are locked that Gwastdyn can’t squeeze underneath. Next, they head down the spiral stairs until they reach the dragon’s lair in an ice cave beneath the castle. Glazhael the Cloudchaser, a huge white dragon, clings to the ceiling above a vast pile of frozen loot. Crake backs away as quietly as he can and returns to the others.

The party head across the courtyard and open the far set of doors. Inside are two Red Wizards – Azbara Jos and Rath Modar – and their pet gargoyle. Jos recognizes the adventurers from the caravan and the wizards attack with fireballs. The PCs get into melee with the mages, taking down Rath Modar who melts into an icy puddle – apparently a simulacrum rather than the real wizard. Jos gets off another fireball before he too is killed but by this stage Rosie is unconscious. Then, Rezmir arrives with her two guard drakes and takes down Gwastdyn with her nasty wounding greatsword. As the drakes attack Turin, Ug uses misty step to get behind Rezmir. Rosie casts blight as she lies bleeding on the floor, then Crake strikes the half-dragon with a sneak attack, allowing Ug to deliver the killing blow with a loud “Feel my slash!” The PCs finish off the gargoyle and the drakes, and bring the druid round. They search the wizards’ room finding correspondence to Modar from Severin the Red, and a sinister volume entitled Beyond the Iron Gates. They have a short rest and decide what to do next.
Tyranny of Dragons

Tyranny of Dragons, Session #16: Hunting Lodge

Here’s what happened in last night’s game in which the PCs went through the portal beneath Castle Naerytar to the hunting lodge, and Crake and Rosie were reunited with some old friends. Each PC gets enough xp to reach 7th level.

2nd Eleint, 1490 DR

The PCs head through the tunnels beneath Castle Naerytar to the portal. Hearing noise up ahead, Crake scouts ahead, spotting a huge frog-like creature with three eyes and four tentacles – a froghemoth! The great monstrosity grabs Crake and Turin in its tentacles, and swallows first Gwastdyn in bear form, then Rosie. Gwastdyn slashes at the creature from inside with his bear claws, doing enough damage for Crake to finish it off with a sneak attack. After a short rest, the party hold hands and step through the portal.

They arrive between two standing stones somewhere in the forested Graypeak Mountains far to the east. Crake recognises the hunting lodge nearby as belonging to Talis’ family. Moving into the cover of the trees, the PCs find themselves face to face with a pair of trolls and three ambush drakes. Gwastdyn conjures a pack of wolves, Ug terrifies one of the trolls with Abjure Enemy, and Turin casts fear to frighten off one of the drakes. The party take down the first troll and two of the drakes quickly, before turning on the second troll, thereby breaking Ug’s hold over it. Crake again delivers the killing blow.

The party check out the empty stables – large lizard or dragon-like creatures have been kept here until recently. Rosie, Turin and the three surviving wolves check out the barn but decide not to open the doors when they hear drakes growling inside.

Crake uses his robe of useful items to conjure a ladder and he and Rosie climb up onto the roof, followed by Turin. They are spotted by two perytons who swoop in to attack. The others scramble up to join them, and drop through the hole in the roof into the armoury below. Entering the corridor, they open the door opposite into the Queen of Dragons Chamber with its fine tapestries. After searching for secret doors unsuccessfully, Turin casts invisibility on Crake so the rogue can scout around. Crake opens the door to a bathroom, followed by a bed chamber where a grey-haired warrior is asleep in his armour. He continues round the corridor, hearing voices behind a door in the southwest corner of the building.

When he returns to the party Crake steps on a loose floorboard. Meanwhile, Turin has moved up to the southwest door and is caught standing outside when it is flung open by a dragonwing cultist. Talis the White calls out to the PCs, offering them the chance to “do business” but Rosie – who is peering round the door to the armoury – spots Maelgot, one of the mutinous crewmen from the Mermaid’s Cock, standing behind the dragonwing and transfers her hex onto him. Battle is joined – Turin attacks the cultist in the doorway, Talis conjures an insect plague in the corridor, Rosie and Gwastdyn cast hunger of Hadar and flaming sphere into the room. Turin falls unconscious as the swarms of insects bite and scratch at him.

When Talis suggests they all stop fighting to parley, the PCs agree, although it takes a while for Rosie, Maelgot and Sorvic to stop squaring up to each other. Ug casts cure wounds on Turin, bringing the bard round.

Talis explains she has a score to settle with both Rezmir and with Varram the White, who was made Wyrmspeaker by Severin the Red when that rank was rightfully hers. She offers the PCs a means to get inside Skyreach Castle so they can frustrate the transport of a large hoard of treasure. Cultists under Rezmir’s command are using a cloud giant’s flying castle to ship the hoard south where it will be used as a gift to Tiamat when she is summoned to the Realms. She tells the party that Rezmir has something called the Black Dragon Mask, breathes acid, and wields a dark sword that can “drain souls”. When pressed for information about the castle, she reveals that Glazhael, the Cloudchaser, a white dragon lives there, along with the cloud giants and several other giants. Rezmir is working with two Red Wizards.

After some deliberation, the PCs agree to the deal. The grey-haired warrior, Wessic the Wizened, fetches a five-coloured banner. The PCs must show this on approach to the castle and give the pass phrase “Tiamat, our Mother and Strength”). They are escorted out of the hunting lodge by the cultists. As they leave, they notice two demonic-looking stone statues in the hallway downstairs – one of them moves its head as they pass – and hear Wessic whisper something as they pass between the two ancient suits of elven armour flanking the doorway…

Before heading to Parnast where Skyreach Castle is waiting, the party camp in the forest, taking a long rest.
Tyranny of Dragons

Tyranny of Dragons, Session #15: The Cult's Last Stand

Here’s what happened in last night’s eventful session of Hoard of the Dragon Queen in which the unconscious Ug was thrown down the stairs to his death by his own companions, and in which a secret was revealed. Each PC gets enough XP to take them to 6th level.

20th Eleasias, 1490 DR (contd.)

Climbing back down the tower, Turin suggests searching Borngray’s rooms one more time. Crake lets the cult leader’s raven out of its brass cage, and gets pecked in the eye for his trouble before the bird flies off. Crake finds a sapphire hidden in the sawdust at the bottom of the cage; Ug and Gwastdyn move the heavy object to one side to reveal a loose floorboard and Borngray’s strongbox.

Returning to the bailey, the party realise the surviving cultists are holed up in the chapel. Gwastdyn turns himself into a red squirrel and climbs up the outside of the tower, peering through the arrow slits. He spots four cultists on the first floor, but no one else. Crake picks the lock on the chapel door and Ug boots it open. Inside, Sivash and a group of dragonclaws and cultists are ready to attack. There’s some fighting in the doorway, then Rosie casts hunger of Hadar which fills the room with eldritch darkness and squirming tentacles. The PCs kill the dragonclaw at the entrance, then Crake slays Sivash as he emerges from the dark. Rosie dispels her spell to reveal several dead bodies. Moving forward cautiously, the PCs peer into the corridor to the east and are shot at with crossbows. Rosie casts shatter and then the others move in and finish off the survivors.

With the ground floor secure, the party climb the stairs to the first floor where four cultists wait. The PCs enter melee. Gwastdyn remembers he knows the thornwhip cantrip and casts it for the first time, killing one of the cultists. But then the door opens and seven dragonwings appear. They surround Ug and their attacks take him down. He fails his first death save. As Crake, Rosie and Jamna retreat, Turin grabs the unconscious paladin and throws him down the stairs “to safety”. Ug rolls another death save and gets a 1. He tumbles down the stairs, lying in a crumpled heap at the bottom, his neck twisted at a horrible angle. Things get even worse when Turin also falls as the cultists close in on him at the top of the stairs. Fortunately, Gwastdyn is able to administer a potion of healing to bring him round and the PCs are able to make it back down to the chapel. They barricade the door and flee out into the courtyard.

Rosie finds Snapjaw and asks him if there is a lizardfolk shaman who can cast gentle repose on Ug. They take the half-orc's armour off in readiness, only to discover that the paladin has a woman’s body underneath. They discuss this surprising revelation and agree it would probably be best not to say anything to Ug once he has been raised. They take a long rest.

21st Eleasias

Turin casts invisibility on Gwastdyn, then Rosie casts fly so the druid can fly up to the first floor and conjure a pack of wolves among the cultists through the arrow slit. The plan works, but when he orders the wolves to attack, he is visible again. One of the cultists shoots him with a crossbow bolt, he loses concentration, and the wolves all vanish. As the others come up the stairs, the dwarf flies back up and casts a second conjure animals spell to call more wolves. Battle is joined and this time the PCs are victorious without any casualties, with Crake knocking out the last dragonwing. They tie him up to interrogate later. Or not.

The party search Rezmir’s rooms, finding the command word to activate the teleportation circle. Rezmir’s notes reveal that the portal heads to a hunting lodge under the command of Talis the White – could this be Crake’s childhood friend? Crake triggers the trap on the half-dragon’s wardrobe, and everyone in the room is sprayed with acid. Unfortunately this ruins the valuable statue and fancy robes inside. In the library on the floor below, the PCs look through the books, then Rosie decides to set them on fire (“no good can come from books”). Turin shows his thoroughness by insisting the party return to the bullywug quarters and find Spattergoo’s room. Here they loot a sturdy chest filled with tarnished silver jewellery and art objects. At this point, Rosie remembers they had left the bound cultist in the library which is now burning brightly.

The group talk to Snapjaw again, telling him they had seen two black dragons through the farseer in the Observatory. Snapjaw is confused – the only black dragon in the Mere he knows about is Voaraghamanthar. He agrees to guide the PCs through the Mere to the High Road.

26th Eleasias

The PCs arrive in the mining town of Leilon with Ug’s body. The half-orc paladin is raised from the dead at the temple of Amaunator, following a 1,000 gp donation to the church. When the PCs go to leave, they realise Jamna has disappeared.

2nd Eleint

The party arrive back at Castle Naerytar. Entering the dungeon, Gwastdyn conjures four crocodiles to kill the gray ooze Turin has discovered in a side cave. There is a small hoard of precious stones in the water. With no stone left unturned, they head for the portal.
Tyranny of Dragons

Tyranny of Dragons, Session #14: Rise of the Lizardfolk

Here’s what happened in last night’s session of Hoard of the Dragon Queen in which the PCs fled in fear of their lives from a roomful of centipedes and encouraged the Scaly Death lizardfolk to rise up against their bullywug oppressors. Each PC gets 1,240 xp.

19th Eleasias (contd)

Thousands of nasty, biting centipedes pour into the chamber, surrounding the adventurers. There are just too many for the PCs to cope with, and the PCs are forced to retreat when Turin falls unconscious. Ug drags the elf bard to safety and the others follow; Gwastdyn is last out and wild shapes into a bear to escape intact. The party return to Pharblex’s sanctum for a short rest to allow Turin to recover from the paralytic poison in his system.

Returning to the misty chamber, the PCs follow the passage leading out to the west. Through the mist, Turin can just make out a series of runes carved into the stone floor. This is a teleportation circle – presumably the cult are using it to ship the treasure onwards. It needs a command word or portal key to get it to function. The PCs return to their quarters upstairs to sleep.

20th Eleasias

The party’s long rest is interrupted by shouts calling the cultists to breakfast and the start of the working day. Crake fakes illness and Rosie turns on the charm with Sivash to get out of the morning shift, while Ug just refuses to do any work and is locked up in the storeroom by the cultists as punishment. Turin feels fully rested after his trance, but Gwastdyn still needs sleep and can’t think of a clever excuse to avoid working. Both start lugging crates down into the dungeon with the other cultists.

Later that morning, Turin skives off to confer with Crake and Rosie while Gwastdyn continues shifting crates. The dwarf druid watches a group of bullywugs go past into the caverns. Worried they’re on their way to see Spattergoo, he warns the others. Turin casts invisibility on Crake who sneaks off to find and rescue Ug.

Meanwhile, Rosie, also invisible, goes outside the castle to the lizardfolk huts and finds Snapjaw. She reveals her presence and tells the lizardfolk "the Age of the Frog is over, and the Time of the Lizardfolk is here!”. Snapjaw and his fellow Scaly Death tribefolk are convinced. They follow Rosie back into the castle where a meeting with their comrades inside follows. The lizardfolk agree to rise up to overthrow the bullywugs – they march out and attack the frog-folk in the barbican and in their quarters, slaughtering them.

With sounds of fighting all around, the PCs join up and head towards the keep. At that point Dralmorrer Borngray appears from the tower with six dragonwing cultists. Ug and Turin charge in to attack the one-eyed elf, while Rosie, Crake and Gwastdyn battle the dragonwings. The druid conjures a pack of wolves which make nuisances of themselves, snapping at the cultists and pulling them down, then he turns into a bear. Rosie kills Borngray with her agonizing blast after Ug and Turin’s attacks have seriously wounded the cult leader. The party soon finish off the rest of the cultists.


After entering the bullywug barracks and finding only dead frog-folk and lizardmen, they return to the keep. Crake picks up Borngray’s sword, a +1 swashbuckler’s rapier. The PCs go inside the keep, exploring the first and second floors, both unoccupied apart from a squawking raven in a cage. It looks like whoever was living in the first (ground) floor rooms has left in a hurry; the second floor rooms belong to Borngray. Ug heads up to the observatory on the third floor. As he steps into the chamber, four gargoyles swoop in through hatches in the roof. The others rush up to help and the evil stony creatures are defeated.

Looking through the telescope-like contraption in the tower, Rosie observes a pair of large black dragons in their swampy lair, surrounded by their lizardfolk guards and servants. It appears that Voaraghamanthar isn’t the only black dragon in the Mere of Dead Men.

Down in the courtyard, it looks as if the Scaly Death have emerged battered but victorious. The bullywugs are dead or have fled into the mere. The Time of the Lizardfolk is here.
Tyranny of Dragons

Tyranny of Dragons, Session #13: Beneath the Castle

Here’s what happened in Saturday’s session of Hoard of the Dragon Queen as the party continued to explore Castle Naerytar. Each PC gets 383 xp.

19th Eleasias

The PCs push open the door to the Great Hall where they are reunited with Gwastdyn and Jamna. The pair had arrived earlier that morning and by posing as cultist reinforcements had gained admittance to the castle through the front door. Sivash, the dragonwing in charge of processing the loot, sends the party to clean out their living quarters in the southwest tower.

When they arrive in the tower, they realise cleaning involves killing the giant centipedes who have taken up residence. Fortunately Turin’s shatter spell makes short work of them and Gwastdyn is able to cure the nasty disease Crake contracted from the otyugh. The adventurers explore the  upper levels of the tower which serve as sleeping quarters for the cultists.

Heading briefly downstairs to the entry caverns beneath the tower, they return to the Great Hall where they help the cultists sort and record treasure or make new crates to transport it in. Ug refuses to help with the work so Rosie persuades Sivash that it’s for the best if he goes to their quarters to repair the cracks in the tower walls.

After a while, Dralmorrer Borngray appears with his lizardfolk guard in tow, looking for the missing guard drakes. Luckily he believes Rosie when she says she heard their distinctive growling coming from inside the cesspit.

When Tharm Tharmzid, the Cult’s dwarf chef, appears to serve lunch, Turin flavours the stew with prestidigitation, impressing the cook. The PCs spend the rest of the day working, then go downstairs into the caves below the castle in the evening.

From the entry cavern, they head in the direction of the tracks, passing through a crane  and a misty cavern. Turin casts invisibility and scouts ahead to the Frog Shrine where Pharblex Spattergoo is conducting a weird, incomprehensible ritual. The PCs attack with surprise, killing Spattergoo and his bullywug guards, helped by the pack of fey wolves Gwastdyn summons to fight for him.

Afterwards the party explore Pharblex’s sanctum. Rosie casts mage hand to move the bullywug's chest, triggering a trap. Pots fall from ceiling, spreading hallucinogenic frog poison. The warlock is affected, seeing rest of party as nightmarish frog-like monstrosities. She flees, escaping into a large cave filled with an underground lake. Turin casts sleep as Rosie dives into the water. Ug drags her out but she attacks the rest of the party until Crake knocks the half-elf unconscious.

Meanwhile, giant frogs leap forward to attack the party. Fortunately the wolves are able to cover the PCs’ retreat and defeat the slimy amphibians.

After another short rest, the PCs continue their exploration of the caverns. When they enter an empty chamber, thousands of centipedes swarm forth from the walls….
Tyranny of Dragons

Tyranny of Dragons, Session #12: Castle Naerytar

Here’s what happened in last night’s session of Hoard of the Dragon Queen as the adventurers travelled through the Mere of Dead Men to Castle Naerytar. Each PC gets 1,370 xp.

17th Eleasias, 1490 DR

The PCs continue through the swamp without Gwastdyn who returns to the Carnath Roadhouse to fetch Jamna. Ug blunders into some quicksand and has to be rescued by the others. A splash in the distance is followed by ominous silence but nothing further happens.

At dusk, the party reach a campsite on the trail. Here, they ambush a group of nine lizardfolk who arrive in canoes to collect the stolen loot for onward transportation to Castle Naerytar. The last surviving lizardman, Snapjaw, surrenders. He proclaims the PCs as “great warriors” and tells them a lot of useful information about the castle. The “dragon kneelers” are led by an elf called Borngray; Rezmir and a man in red robes are there now too. Also at the castle are the hated bullywugs led by their shaman Spattergoo, and lizardfolk of Snapjaw's Scaly Death tribe. Spattergoo killed their shaman, Suncaller. After some discussion, the PCs promise to help Snapjaw and the lizardfolk overthrow their enemies.

18th Eleasias

Travelling into the swamp in canoes, the PCs are attacked by the Weed That Walks. Crake is engulfed in the shambling mound’s body but manages to escape, and the adventurers slay the beast. They don’t hang around for long as Snapjaw warns them that the Weed will soon walk again.


Later that afternoon, they arrive at a lizardfolk picket half a mile from the castle. Snapjaw convinces the guards that the PCs are great heroes come to destroy the bullywugs and the party are allowed to pass. The guards tell them there are 100 bullywugs living in and around the castle.

The PCs arrive at Castle Naerytar at dusk. Leaving Snapjaw in his longhouse outside the castle walls, the adventurers scout the perimeter, identifying the north west tower as the ideal point of ingress. Rosie casts fly on Ug who flies up to the third floor of the tower and in through an opening where he secures a rope for the others. Turin and Rosie climb up followed by Crake, as Ug flies around the tower and spots three guard drakes in the inner ward below, and several lizardfolk and bullywugs in the larger outer ward beyond.

As Turin and Rosie look around the room, five spectres rise up from the shrivelled corpses lying on the floor. Turin is struck twice but Rosie’s dark patron Sekharet protects her from the spirits and they are too wary to approach. Crake arrives through the window and draws one spectre away from Turin. Meanwhile, Ug tries to open the trapdoor so he can join the others from the rooftop, but a spectre phases through the ceiling to attack him. The half-orc destroys his opponent and gets the door open. Together, the PCs finish off the other spectres. After searching the room, they decide to have a long rest to recover from the undead’s life drain.

19th Eleasias

Forcing open the sealed trapdoor in the floor, the PCs are greeted by the foul stench of the cesspit at the bottom of the tower. Not much remains of the second floor but Crake scampers across a slippery beam to loot an abandoned treasure chest. Then, the party head downstairs to the ground floor.

When Ug tries to leap across the garbage to the exit, he is grabbed by the tentacles of a lurking otyugh and pulled beneath the rubbish. Turin dives in to help him but makes a hasty retreat to the surface when he is bitten by the foul creature. Ug manages to free himself from the tentacles twice but each time he is grabbed again as he tries to escape. Rosie and Crake remain on the stairs with attacks readied, but the otyugh does not emerge.

When the paladin is flung across the room and into a wall, taking him down to 5 hp, Turin decides to make a run for it and opens the door to the inner ward. Unfortunately, this draws the attention of the three guard drakes, who advance on the bard, surrounding him. Deciding that being trapped between the otyugh and the drakes is a bad place to be, the PCs run or misty step past the lizards and into the courtyard. Luckily, the otyugh grabs one of the drakes and pulls it down into the garbage, allowing the party to kill the other two.

They throw the drakes’ bodies into the cesspit, then hurry over to a door in the south wall. Listening at the door, they can hear sounds of heavy objects being dragged around and what appears to be voices counting. Turin casts prestidigitation to clean everyone up, and then Rosie opens the door...