Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hoard of the Dragon Queen - Episode #21 – Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

While Oloril recovered from his wounds, Dain and Kaelthiros engaged in a heart-to-heart conversation about the elf returning to the party. The fighter could see the sincerity of his comrade and, noting his recent good deeds, welcomed him back with arms open. Soon thereafter, Oloril awakened.

The three immediately then began their search for Lucien, who was nowhere to be found. It was several hours before they located him, but see him they did. The reverse was not the case, however, for Lucien, though alive, was now blind! The paladin had been blinded by Lathander for his deceitfulness in playing along with the ruse to enter the cult's castle. He explained to his friends that he had been tasked with returning Bardu and his fallen allies to a temple of Lathander. Upon completion of this, his sight would be restored to him. In the meantime though, he must walk by faith - not sight. Well, maybe hobble by faith. He has only one leg after all.

But Lathander was not the only one communicating with Lucien. The spirit of Blathgokis's wife had also been conversing with the paladin. What she wished, he told the party, was for them to wipe out the cultists at Parnast to exact revenge for the death of her husband.

The party agreed that they would do this, and then assist Lucien in getting their dead to the temple. So, with permission from the spirit-wife of the cloud giant, the group sifted through the treasure in the treasure room to see what useful things they might find to aid them in their quest.

It was in this room that they encountered a peculiar creature named Murry. The castle's curious infiltrator introduced himself as an Air Genasi Sorcerer who sought revenge upon the cultists. And so, after brief discussion, Murry aligned himself with our heroes to set out on their new quest . . .

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hoard of the Dragon Queen - Episode #20 – This Is How It Ends - Not With A Bang, But A Whimper

And there he stood . . . all alone. Dain had just dealt the death blow to Rezmir. Such a feat would surely seem a victory -  were it not for the carnage around him.  Scattered across the floor lie the bodies of his fallen comrades: Nulara, Kaelthiros, Oloril, and Mullyn. Lucien, however, was not in sight. The castle was no longer plunging downward towards the earth. Perhaps, from another location, it was the paladin who had managed to stop its descent? He would have to look later. Urgently, he darted to each of his senseless allies. The vital signs of Oloril and Kaelthiros were stable; however, the bodies of Nulara and Mullyn had no life in them. Their spirits had already departed.

Silently, the dwarf stood. Surely, preventing the summoning of Tiamat and killing Rezmir was a great success. Still, the loss that lie before him stole the gladness from his heart. After situating Oloril and Kaelthiros, the warrior steeled his resolve.

"Lucien," he cried out, "help me tend to their wounds."  With any luck the paladin was still living, and could assist Dain. That is, he could assist not only with tending to the living - but with making preparations . . . for the dead.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hoard of the Dragon Queen #19 - Battle Aboard a Flying (Falling) Castle

After following the ogres to Blathgokus, the party discovers that the giant is aware that they've "stolen" from the treasure hoard and demands the return of all of the items they took. The party returns the items they took. The giant then invites them to dinner and engages them in conversation. The party begins to twist the giant's thoughts - isn't the cult manipulating and using you? The giant resolves to discuss the matter with Rezmir, asking the party to remain behind.

Following the daunting battle with an adult red dragon and the wave after wave of kobolds, ogres, and cultitsts, the party takes a much needed rest... but why did the cult allow them to take a rest? Could it be that the cult's forces are decimated?

No, kobolds scouts continually keep tabs on the party. But on Oloril's watch, something much bigger than kobolds comes to the party. Two ogres with plumed helmets, summon the party to meet the cloud giant, Blathgokus, who controls Skyreach Castle.

After hours of waiting, Blathgokus still hasn't returned. Then suddenly  The party and the giant's honor guard venturing out to find the giant. Opening up the tower doors, the party discovers that the courtyard at night is covered in pea-soup fog as a massive storm swirls around the castle. Venturing forward, the voice of Rezmir taunts them over the howl of the wind.

The ogres charge forward to attack in fury but the party hangs back, staying in tight formation. Oddly, the ogres return one at a time, and attack the party as if in a trance. The party holds their ground until two vampire spawn and a vampire attack, grappling Nulara, Lucien, and Kaelthiros and dragging them into the mist screaming.

Before Oloril, Mullyn, and Dain can rush to the aid of their friends Rezmir and two stone golems attack. Mullyn is quickly downed and Oloril soon follows. All looks lost for the party until lightning streaks down and strikes all on the battlefield. Is Have the gods answered Lucien's prayers?

Well... perhaps. But not as Lucien had hoped. Lucien has found his way to the control tower after driving off the vampire and has convinced the spirit of the castle to fight on their side! Using the temporary advantage, Dain delivers a death blow to Rezmir and the stone golems cease their attack.