Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Hoard of the Dragon Queen - Episode #13 - Attrition

Having survived the most recent assault, our heroes decide that they need to learn more about the mysterious teleportation circle - both how to use it, and where it leads. The easiest way to do this, they decide, is to find, capture and interrogate a cultist. And so our explorers infiltrate the deepest reaches of the keep in search of their quarry.

Before locating any cultists, however, the group stumbles upon a chest in one of the open rooms. Oloril, convinced nothing appears to be out of the ordinary with the chest, proceeds to open it. Unfortunately, in response to his opening of the chest, earthen containers filled with a gaseous substance fall from the ceiling and shatter on the floor, causing hallucinogenic fumes to permeate the air. Only Dain and Mullyn seem to avoid the effects of the gas. The others, as we shall soon discover, are not so fortunate. Upon breathing the fumes, Nulara, Snapjaw, Slackjaw, and Jemna begin to believe that they are frog-like creatures, and so they run quickly to the nearest body of water to submerge themselves. Yes, submerge themselves. Breathing all that water will no doubt prove disastrous . . . but we will get to that.

Meanwhile, as Lucien breathes in the gas, he begins to perceive that those around him (Oloril, Dain, and Mullyn) are giant enemy frog creatures. Persuaded that the evil creatures must be destroyed, he begins to fiercely attack the nearest one. The one with the giant crocodile hat. Hmm, Oloril had a hat just like that one. Oh, well. In fact, the unfortunate reality is that the "crocidile-capped amphibian" was indeed poor Oloril. I say, "poor Oloril", because Lucien, in two furious strikes, sent the dwarf into the realm of the formerly-conscious.

Dain, quickly perceiving that something is amiss with his paladin friend, gives the frenzied Lucien a solid whack on the side of the head, leaving him on the ground beside the benumbed Oloril. Dain then proceeds to chase down the rest of his companions while Mullyn is left to stabilize and guard his two senseless companions.

It is only after a short run that Dain sees Nulara, Snapjaw, Slackjaw, and Jemna laying face-down in a large pool. Not wanting to waste any time, the heroic dwarf swims out the them, grabs Nulara, and takes her back to dry ground. After stabilizing her, he returns to the water for his remaining three allies. Sadly, all three are long dead. (Now, I must note here that legend states that as soon as Jemna's heart beat its last, a smile crossed the face of the unconscious Oloril. But, perhaps it is just that - a legend. Then again . . . perhaps not.)

Saddened, yet full of haste, Dain, with the Nulara on his shoulders, rushes back to Mullyn to communicate the macabre news. The two work together to tend to their wounded comrades, and take turns standing guard as they allow their fallen friends to stabilize and regain consciousness. After a long rest, the members of the party, awakened and restored, share their perspectival insight into the events that have just transpired.

A bit stunned at what has occurred, the group decides to press on to the next area of the keep. However, they discover that during their rest, they have been barricaded in. Nulara, thankfully, is able to sneak to the other side of one of the barricades and work silently to move it aside. Finally, the tireless monk creates an opening large enough for all to fit through.

All draw a breath of relief when they emerge on the other side of the barricade. But, it is only a single breath. For, in a matter of seconds, the party finds itself surrounded by cultists, small dragon-like creatures, and even winged cultists!

Within this confined area of the castle, the group fights valiantly against the opposing horde. Yet despite their efforts, they see some of their number fall in battle. In the end, only Dain and Mullyn remain standing - locked in a grueling battle with an Elven cultist leader, Bourne Grey (sp?). Mullyn would be the one to fell him. With a blast of magic missles, the gnome sends their flamboyant nemesis to the ground.

The group is quickly revived and gathers its bearings. An interrogation of Bourne Grey is certainly in order. He must answer not only their questions - but also for the lives of their fallen companions . . .


For decades to come, Lucien would tell the story of his fierce duel with the
 "crocodile-capped amphibian".

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