Tyranny of Dragons

Session #1 Recap
Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

The party was accompanying a teamster named Berny to the town of Greenest with his wagon full of cargo. On arriving there, they see the town in flames, under attack by a dragon and what appears to be a small army. The group was immediately found by a group of kobolds, who apparently posed little threat and were easily dispatched, mostly thanks to a well-placed Sleep spell by Delorean (Eric).

Berny reminded them that he was paying them to protect him from trouble on the road, and insisted they escort him all the way into the keep. On their way there, they encountered a woman and her family being attacked by kobolds and cultists. This group, too, was easily defeated, andDelorean grabbed one of the dark robes from one of the fallen cultists. The family climbed aboard the wagon, and everyone made it safely into the keep.

Once inside, Delorean sent his hawk familiar up into the sky to try to get a better look at the dragon – who promptly saw the hawk, and decided to blast it with some lightning breath. Just before his familiar was very thoroughly turned into char, Delorean was able to see the dragon through his arcane link with his hawk, and saw that it appeared to be an adult blue dragon.

The PCs (Player Characters) were introduced to Governor Tarbaw Nighthill, who runs the town of Greenest. He appealed to them to help the town survive this attack in any way that they could, and he seemed distraught that he could only offer the characters 50 GP each as a way of reward.

Nighthill gave the group a key to a tunnel beneath the keep, which lead out to a stream at the edge of town. Finding the grating there locked, Arya (Marta) had the thought to pick the lock, but found that she didn’t have any Thieves’ Tools handy. Instead, Heikki (Chris) easily dismantled it with a well placed kick. The noise, however, alerted a nearby group of kobolds, cultists, and a drake, who ambushed the characters as they exited the tunnel. This fight was only slightly more challenging, but the group prevailed quickly, again thanks to a powerful Sleep spell.

With Duath (John) and Arya sneaking just ahead to the Temple of Chauntea, the characters were able to gain a surprise round on kobolds and cultists guarding the back door. Nyx restrained half of the enemies with an Entangle spell, which seemed to put everything in the PCs favor, but the group was still unable to kill all of the enemies before one of them was able to raise a cry for help. And just as the final kobold was killed, another group of kobolds, cultists, and a single human dressed in black robes with a black mask came in as reinforcements. This combat was tougher for the group, with both Duath and Nyx dropping to 0 hit points before all the enemies were slain. Fortunately, Finellen (Jill) was able to revive Duath with a quick Lay On Hands, and Heikki tended to Nyx with his Healer’s Kit.

With their party members restored, the group now stands outside the Temple of Chauntea. Signs of the assault still rage all around — plenty of buildings are on fire now — but the sounds of fighting and the screams of villagers seem to have abated…

Session #2 Recap

Having cleared out the kobolds and cultists guarding the rear entrance to the Temple of Chauntea, the party decided to approach the situation cautiously. Hearing voices inside, but unable to discern whether they were from villagers or bandits, Arya decided to don the guise of a cultist.

She entered the door, only to find the temple occupied by about a dozen villagers and the priest, Edyan Falconmoon. Arya’s skill at Disguise was so incredibly good that she impersonated a cultist exactly in the minds of the villagers, who reacted with terror.

“Caw caw!” Arya said, somewhat sheepishly.

After Nyx, Saccharinity, and Finellen managed to calm the folks down, the priest asked them to escort everyone back to the keep, if they could. Barely a moment had passed, however, before the sounds of a battering ram echoed from the barricaded front door.

After a few moments of tense deliberation, during which the structure of the door was severely tested, a plan was finally reached to usher the villagers out the back the way the party had come, back through the old tunnel and into the keep.

Just as the last of the villagers were through, and the party nearly gone, the kobolds broke the door enough to get a peek inside. Delorean conjured a ghostly sound to attempt to distract the kobolds, but only managed to confuse them slightly.

Heikki lead the group of villagers (mostly women and children) back through the tunnel, with Nyx bringing up the rear and covering the group’s tracks as best she could. Everyone arrived back at the keep safely, with the Fellowship of the Hawk welcomed as heroes.

Just after the party took a short rest to regroup, the keep’s sally port was attacked and overrun. The group ran to intervene, and with fighting raging all over the keep, they raced to the door of the sally port itself, where they encountered a drake, a few kobolds, and a magic-wielding cultist, who were all put down in short order. As Finellen was leading the repairs to the door, the fighting began to subside in the keep, and the remaining attacking force was chased back to the sally port by the keep’s guards. A quick-thinking Delorean put a sleep spell to great use, dropping most of the attackers, and causing the remaining two to surrender.

The keep’s guards took the human cultists prisoner, and killed the kobolds outright. Governor Nighthill promised he would share whatever information he could extract from his prisoners with the group, and reminded them that they still believed villagers were hold up in the Mill, near the stream.

With the sneakier characters leading the way, they found the Mill apparently besieged by…four kobolds, who were doing a terrible job of trying to light the stone structure on fire with torches. Arya put down one kobold with an arrow, Nyx summoned flame, taking another one, and Duath severely injured another with a dart. Clearly seeing they were outnumbered, the remaining two kobolds fled around the back side of the mill, and were quickly lost out of sight.

The group cautiously approached the Mill, peering through the windows into the darkened interior, and after a moment of study, were able to discern two shadowy figures who appeared to be waiting for something. Deciding that these were clearly not villagers in need of rescue, the group hatched a plan whereby Arya would again pretend to be a cultist, with Delorean as her prisoner, while the rest of the group got into position to ambush their would-be ambushers. They called this plan the “Roose Bolton.”

Arya and Delorean strode into the center of the mill, with Arya declaring she “had captured one of the villagers.”

After a moment, during which the rest of the party got into position, a cultist stood up and shone a light down on the pair. “You’re not who we expected to see,” he said.

Arya’s disguise was expertly crafted, and for the moment the cultists held their attack. Several more cultists stood up from their hiding spot on the balcony above the pair, and again shone lanterns down on them.

After a few more moments of tense banter, Arya realized the rest of her group hadn’t agreed to any signal to attack, and everyone stood at their posts waiting for somebody to do something.

Eventually, the cultists realized that Arya and Delorean were up to something, and decided to attack.

The resulting fight was a bloodbath on both sides. More guards and cultists were waiting in hiding, and the group quickly realized they were outnumbered two to one. Heikki and Duath were a flurry of rage and martial arts upstairs, having come in through an upstairs window. Heikki flew into a rage, shrugging off blows that would have easily decimated weaker beings, and Duath carefully applied life-ending force to sensitive portions of cultists’ anatomy.

Downstairs, the air was full of thrusting spears and bolts of fire and flame as Nyx, Saccharinity and Finellen came to the aid of Arya and Delorean. The battle was very close-fought, and for every two enemies the Fellowship downed, one of their own was knocked unconscious.

Soon the only members left standing were Heikki upstairs, Nyx, Saccharinity and Delorean downstairs, with the remainder of the party left to bleed out on the floor while they tried to mop up the remaining two cultists.

In a fit of rage, Heikki pounded the remaining upstairs guard to a pulp, then with a thundering cry and crash, leaped over the balcony directly onto a cultists, finishing him off with a draconic roar.

It was easily the closest the group had been yet to total death.

Session #3 Recap

You awoke to a dull gray sky punctuated by drifting black smoke. The remains of last night’s attack lay scattered about the keep, and as you walked through its common areas you saw the toll etched on the faces of each villager you passed. One woman seemed particularly displeased at seeing Heikki, and stormed off when she caught sight of him.

Governor Nighthill made you a promising offer: scout the bandit’s forces, return any missing villagers, and he would reward you with the bulk of the gold remaining in the town’s treasury: 200 GP each. He also provided you with two Potions of Healing, and what you believe to be a Potion of Climbing, and wished you well.

Tracking a small horde of bandits through the verdant countryside of the Greenfields proved simple. Their path wound southeast, up into the plateaus which surround the area. A few hours into your journey, a pair of ankhegs, sensing your presence and thinking you a fine meal, burst forth from under your feet. Because most of you had felt the trembling earth beforehand, however, you gained a surprise advantage on them, and were able to position yourselves in two ranks to trap your foes. A short few seconds later, and you were unharmed, and the large insect-like beasts were corpses.

Continuing on, you soon came upon an area that seemed ripe for an ambush. Delorean sent his hawk familiar skyward, and sure enough, spotted your attackers. After some debate, the group decided that the most prudent course of action was to spring the trap.

The fight was short and heavily in the Fellowship’s favor. The enemy’s boulder trap only hurt Finellen, and once spent, the ambushers could only follow up with a few futile spells and arrows before being overcome.

A single acolyte was able to surrender, and offered you a few pieces of information in exchange for his life: the location of the camp and a sketch of it; information that the guards wouldn’t officially be posted for another hour, so anyone should be able to sneak in easily; and the names of the leaders were a human woman named Frulam Mondath, a blue Dragonborn named Langdedrosa, and another black Dragonborn whose name he didn’t know and who kept mostly to himself. You debated killing this prisoner, but decided to hold to your word and let him go.

At the camp, you found it divided into three groups: kobolds and their rudimentary huts were towards the front of a horseshoe-shaped gully inset in the plateau, with a mercenary camp behind them, and yet a third group, more professional than the others, towards the back.

With the sun beginning to set, your plan to scout the camp and find the location of the missing villagers was to send in Nyx as a Wildshaped cat.

Session #3 - Nyx Scouts the Camp

You’ve always been smaller than most, but perceiving life from the height of a cat’s eye is startling at first. With a glance over your feline shoulder at your companions, you begin bounding through the tall grass towards the kobold encampment.

This part of the camp is clearly not well organized. Huts of mud, sticks, and grass clump together without any semblance of order. Here and there, small cooking fires are already lit, and each kobold appears to be responsible for its own fire. Some are roasting small prairie animals, while others don’t seem to be able to wait, and are eating their meat raw. Meanwhile, others appear to be taking care of their equipment – sharpening swords, oiling leather armor, and washing clothes. The small dragon-like kobolds are a primitive race, but they’re not entirely unclean.

Here and there, pockets of the kobolds are chatting in their Yip Yip dialect of Draconic. Unable to understand what they’re saying, you quickly make your rounds in between their huts. It only takes you about five minutes of slinking about and peeking around corners to realize that whoever is in charge of this group clearly doesn’t trust the kobolds with anything important.

Do you move on to scout the second part of the camp (the Mercenaries), or do you continue to search the kobold camp? Move on.

It’s easy to slip into the mercenary’s camp from the kobold camp. There’s no distinct boundary, but everything becomes cleaner and more civilized. Instead of huts of mud and sticks, camping tents are arranged around dozens of fire pits. Humans, half-elves, even some gnomes and dwarves go about their business. From what you can tell, this is a group of at least semi-professionals, though they don’t seem to be very organized beyond that.

As you’re making your way around the camp looking for the villagers, you overhear a snippet of conversation in Common that makes you pause.

“So what do you think all this looting is about, anyway?” says a half-elf dressed in leather armor. “What could those two half-dragons and that witch possibly be doing with all of that coin?”

His companion, a human sitting on a rock sharpening his axe, looks up from his task. “Aw, hell if I know. The pay is good, better than jumping caravans on the trade routes. And if all I have to do is take orders from that blue barbarian, fine by me.”

“Yeah, but don’t you wonder what they’re going to do with all of it? Greenest was, what, the third town we’ve sacked this month? They must have a whole pile built up back there.”

“Fourth. But if I were you, I wouldn’t ask that too loudly. Folks who do have a strange way of disappearing. Remember Earic?” The other man nods his head. “He was asking too many questions, just like you are, and two of those creepers in the purple robes came and took him away. A new initiate into the ‘Cult of the Dragon’, they said.” He runs the sharpening stone over the blade of his axe with a shhhhhhrickt sound. “Never saw him again.”

The rest of their conversation turns to the mundane matters of camp life, and you slink away, continuing your circuit around the camp.

Tucked away in the northern part of the mercenary camp, you are surprised to find what must be the kidnapped villagers so easily. They’re currently laboring on something – a latrine pit, if you had to guess – and they look filthy, tired, and scared. There’s ten of them, of various ages of men and women, and they’re tied together with rope and watched over by four mercenary guards.

Only a few seconds after you arrive, an elderly woman collapses with a small cry. One of the mercenaries hurries over, cuts her bonds, and roughly stands her on her feet. “Knew you wouldn’t last long, guess I was right. Come on then, off with you,” and he half drags her in the direction of the upper third part of the camp.

Now that you’ve seen where the villagers are, what do you do next? Follow guard and woman.

Making a note of where the villagers are being kept in the camp, you attempt to discreetly follow behind the guard and his captive.

The pair weaves between tents, heading towards the rear of the camp. The woman doesn’t make much fuss, and the other mercenaries in the camp ignore them. It’s relatively easy for you to keep far enough back so that they don’t notice you following. By sticking mostly to the shadows, it’s easy to stay out of direct line of sight of the others, and you’re fairly confident nobody has gotten a good look at you.

After a minute or two, you’ve followed them to the boundary between the mercenary camp and the upper, more organized part of the camp. Here a short wooden fence separates the two areas, and the mercenary escorts the woman past two guards – these are dressed the same as the mysterious human you fought outside the Temple of Chauntea last night. Tall, dressed in black leather armor and black robes, with wide black masks mimicking a dragon, these foes are more solemn and appear more dangerous than the rest of the bunch in the middle camp. The two guards stop to question the man briefly and, satisfied with his answer, gesture them past.

Looking around, you notice that while the short wooden fence seems to run the whole length of the camp, you see a stack of crates that, if you get on top of, you could use them to jump over the wooden fence into the upper part of the camp. There doesn’t seem to be any other way to follow the mercenary and the old woman without running directly past the two black-clad guards.

What do you do? Jump on crates and follow.

You land softly in the upper part of the camp, and immediately notice the differences between it and the two lower sections. Here, tents are laid out in a more organized fashion – six dark purple tents around one smaller cookfire. Everything is laid out in neat geometric rows, in contrast to the haphazard arrangement of the mercenary camp and the organic disarray of the kobold encampment.

The other thing that catches your attention is the fact that there’s no readily apparent way to jump back over the fence the way you came.

Keeping the guard and the woman in your sight is made easier due to the new layout, but makes it slightly more difficult to stay hidden. Still, you are a cat, and it is near dark, and not many cultists seem to be up and about at the moment, so you are confident in your stealth.

Near the back of the camp, the rows of tents make way for another feature. A gap of about thirty feet separates the bulk of the tents from a few other, larger ones. Several more of the masked guards stand at the ready here, along with two drakes, which you recognize as those five foot long dragon-like lizards you fought in Greenest last night. Another thirty or so feet separate these tents from the sheer cliff behind them. The guard stops in the middle of the gap, so you stop as well, hidden in the shadows cast by one of the tents.

One of the guards leans inside a tent, and after a moment a woman emerges. She’s wearing ornate purple robes over some functional-looking chain mail, and the way in which she purposefully strides out to meet the pair immediately suggests someone of authority.

“Lady Mondath,” the guard greets her, nodding his head deferentially. “This one fell during -”

The woman raises her hand, cutting him off. “It’s not important.” She clasps her hands behind her back and quickly looks the old woman over, and nods. “We won’t get any more out of her. Let’s not waste any more resources keeping her around. Langdedrosa is inside tending to the rest of the drakes.” At the mention of the drakes, the woman collapses to her knees and lets out a cry of anguish. “Take her to him. At least we can use her there.”

The guard nods. “As you say, Lady Mondath. Come on then!” He tugs the woman to her feet, and leads her away, not towards the tents, but behind them, towards the cliff face, and disappears into the darkness.

The woman Mondath stands for a moment watching them go, then slowly turns around back towards you. She spends a moment scanning the tents – and for a brief moment panic ices through your veins as she seems to halt her gaze on your position – but she passes over you. Spinning on her heel, hands still clasped behind her back, she takes a few steps back towards her tent, and is met by a large black robed hooded figure.

Mondath spends a moment conversing with the creature, speaking in terse, hushed tones. At this distance, it’s difficult to make out exactly what they’re saying, but Mondath gestures over to her right occasionally. You can tell they’re arguing somewhat.

You look where she’s pointing, and if it wasn’t for that, you likely would have missed it: a half-elf man is chained to a post, almost just outside the light cast by the fires of the camp. He looks to be in bad shape based on the way he’s sitting with his legs splayed out in front of him, dirty, wounded, head slumped down on his chest.

Glancing back, you see Mondath has disappeared back into her tent, and the figure is talking with one of the guards. The figure pulls back the hood, revealing the face of a black dragonborn. He continues to speak to the guard, and from the words you can make out, it’s not in the Common tongue. The guard nods deferentially, and the dragonborn slips back inside another tent.

Now what?

Session #4 Recap

Nyx returned from her scouting trip without much time to spare before you expect the camp to start posting guards – assuming the information you gleaned by torturing the soldier from the rearguard was correct. After she changed back into her normal gnome form, she quickly outlined what she saw, and the group concocted a plan to rescue the villagers. This plan involved leaving Heikki to hide outside of the camp, fearing that by being a Dragonborn he would attract far too much attention.

You decided to bluff your way through the camp, acting as if you were a group of hunters returning with your prize – a goat or other such animal, spun from thin air via a Minor Illusion spell. Under the direction of Arya, the ruse worked well enough to keep anyone from directly confronting you, and you made your way to the location Nyx identified as where the villagers were held prisoner.

A few quick words from Saccharinity convinced the guards there that these prisoners were in fact needed at the front of the camp to build a retaining wall. The guards, for their part, seemed relieved to be rid of the villagers, and were eager to head off to their own pursuits. The group then set off on their mission, ignoring the half-elf that Nyx had seen chained to a post near the Commanders’ tents in the high camp.

Fortunately, the journey out was as uneventful as the journey in. Some minor trouble was encountered at the front of the camp by the guards who had just been posted. Saccharinity once again stepped up to attempt some persuasion, and used her Fey Presence to Charm the guards into believing her story.

It was as such that the Fellowship of the Hawk walked directly into an enemy camp unmolested, and walked directly out with nine prisoners, entirely unopposed.

Once the group reached Heikki’s hiding place, Finellen explained to the villagers that they were sent there to rescue them, and that they were taking them back to Greenest. The villagers were nearly overcome with relief, and spent no shortage of time thanking the group for their efforts.

The jubilation was short lived as, a few hours into their trek, the group was ambushed by four Death Dogs – snarling two-headed beasts who mercilessly attacked the heroes. The situation turned dire once Arya, Delorean, Heikki and Saccharinity all fell to the Dogs’ attacks, but were eventually rescued by Finellen once the Dogs were defeated. The party regrouped, and made their way back to Greenest.

Up in Governor Nighthill’s chambers, the group recounted the tale of the rescue, and Nighthill was suitably impressed. He offered the promised reward, which was generously refused by a few characters. The Governor, when asked, also revealed some pieces of information that he obtained by interrogating one of the cultists who had broken into the keep the day before:

- The bandits are members of “The Cult of the Dragon”
- Greenest isn’t the first town they’ve plundered, and its valuables will make a great addition to the ‘Great Hoard’.

With normal business concluded, Nighthill summed Eamon Falconmoon to tend to the characters’ wounds (including applying the anti-venom for Death Dog Poison), and left the party to decompress in the keep’s ale cellar.


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