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".

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hoard of the Dragon Queen #12 - Who Saves the Calvary?

Having endured the first defensive way in the swamp castle, the party decides to press forward with its assault despite being beat up and low on magical resources. Snapjaw, their lizardfolk ally, quickly enlists the aide of over 20 lizardfolk allies while Oloril decides to throw open random doors (finding a shrine to Tiamat). Snapjaw quickly leads the party through the outer ward and into the great hall where the party finds a small portion of the looted treasure they were seeking after.

Snapjaw continues to guide the party to stairs leading down into the catacombs below. Without resistance, the party finds a teleportation circle in a dead end corridor. Signs seem to indicate that the treasure the party has been tracking was brought to this location and then teleported away... however, the party is unable to operate the teleportation circle.

The party decided to continue investigating the underground caverns in hopes of finding a way to activate the portal. They entered a large cavern with an underground lake when suddenly they heard frogs croaking loudly and gigantic splashes as creatures jumped into the water in the dark. The giant frogs were the first wave of the assault upon the party, quickly eating some of the party's lizardfolk allies. Next, dozens of bullywugs surged forward, pushing the party back. When the bullywug leader and shaman, Parbalax Splatergoo, strode confidently, walking across the surface of the lake, and began hurling spells at the party, the group was at its breaking point.

Fortunately, Nulara charged to the rescue, teleporting through the darkness and dragging Parbalax down into the depths of the underground lake. When Nulara bobbed back to the surface, she was dragging Parbalax's corpse behind her.

The party stood victorious, but the victory cost the lives of most of their lizardfolk allies.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hoard of the Dragon Queen - Episode #11 - The Siege

The party's new ally, Snapjaw, lead the party in canoes through the swamp to the cult's castle. Suddenly, a massive black dragon surged up from the depths, demanding from the party that they tell him where he can find the elf that stole from him. Knowing exactly of whom he was speaking (Endilthil), the party honestly admitted that they had parted ways with Endilthil some time ago. The black dragon, having a name for the elf that dared to take from his treasure hoard, left the party alive.

The crocodiles that awaited the party, however, were not so friendly. They ambushed the party, grappling and dragging several members into the water in a frenzied battle. The party's newest ally, Snapjaw, was nearly fatally wounded but luckily survived. The party was victorious and soon arrived at dry land near the castle, hearing drumming coming from the castle.

Only the castle was completely in ruins. Nevertheless, Snapjaw went about recruiting lizardfolk from the nearby longhouses. The party, thinking that Snapjaw may have overstated the castle's importance, was still true to its word in assisting Snapjaw and the lizardfolk in eradicating a few scores of bullywugs from the bullywug huts. This eradication involved *the party* launching a fireball at the bullywugs.

Immediately after wiping out the bullywugs, Mullyn looked at the castle with True Sight. Indeed, the ruined castle was but an illusion and a fully functional castle was truly there. The party charged, quickly taking down the guards at the gate with another fireball.

Both fireballs alerted the inhabitants of the castle to the party's assault. Much to the party's despair, wave after wave of bullywugs, cultists, and ambush drakes streamed into the causeway. The party was able to fend off this repelling force but it severely reduced the party's resources in the process.

Battered and beaten, the party stood victorious but with a crucial decision: Press on and catch the enemy while they are still unorganized or fall back to rest and heal?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hoard of the Dragon Queen - Episode #10 - An Unlikely Ally

The party  pursues their objective  through the marshy land, and decides to rest for the night on the only bit of raised and dry land in sight. As could be expected, due to its conspicuous nature, their little makeshift camp is invaded by a group of lizardmen not long after nightfall. These invaders are dealt with quickly. One of them, by the name of Snapjaw, is restrained and interrogated.

It is during this interrogation that the party discovers that Snapjaw knows the treasure of the cultists to be hidden in a large nearby castle. The surprisingly cooperative captive offers to lead them to this castle if the party is willing to eliminate any of the evil frog-like creatures they may likely encounter there. The accord seemed quite agreeable to our heroes as they had no other lead to follow. Well, that and the fact that Mullyn had just obliterated a mass of these devious little froglings during the interrogation meant that they were already well on their way to fulfilling their end of the bargain.

Will the party find their new companion to be a valuable asset or a perilous liability? And let's not forget - where, oh where, is Endelthil?