Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rise of Tiamat - Episode XIII - Land of Confusion

Image result for hedge maze d&dLost and confused. It was in this state that our persistent heroes wandered about the hedge maze. Xonthal's Tower, their destination, was visible just ahead. Or was it behind? Or  . . . wait. It was just over there, but . . . so hopelessly lost.

A sun dial at the center of the maze gave them hope. Well, at least initially. For, as they expected, the paths leading away from the sun dial, did not lead where they expected. Shadows on the dial pointed this way and that, but no sense could be made of the cryptic device. 
After wandering for hours (or was it days) the fatigued little rabble did make some progress . . . sort of. Finding themselves in various distinct clearings within the maze, they collected several intriguing gems by accomplishing various tasks and odd puzzles. What puzzles and tasks? Well, Oloril won a boulder throwing contest against an ogre. The entire crew put on a comedy act. Mullyn fed the starving children. Okay, and now it gets weird - they even encountered a second Killian. Yes, that's right. Another one. As if one wasn't enough?
With their new comrade, Killian II, they compiled their thoughts and formulated their plans. Maybe if they placed the gems on the sun dial . . . in all the rights places. Yes, of course! That was the key! With great care, the gemstones were placed in their alloted sections of the sundial. And then . . . the shimmering stones dissappeared into the dial. Gone.
Frustrated, and after watching the same vanishing act happen to his sword when he placed in on the dial, Killian launched himself onto the device. Maybe something interesting would happen. Maybe the items had teleported, and not dissappeared. Hey, if he was wrong, there was another Killian to spare! However, the barbarian was quickly joined by his comrades on the dial. And why not? What did they have to lose? Killian II would remain behind to guard their exit . . . or be the lone survivor to recount the tale of their demise.
Thankfully, the party found themselves transported to another maze. Haha! They had eluded disaster yet again. On the ground in front of them lie all the gems they had placed on the dial. Among them (thank the dear lord) was Killian's sword. We can't have him lose that . . . again! But of even greater significance, Xonthal's tower lie only a short distance away down an unobstructed path. New challenges would await . . .

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Rise of Tiamat - The Fighting Forces

With the decision by the Council of Waterdeep to confront the cult and marshal their combined forces, the stage is set for the final confrontation. Here are the known fighting forces for both sides as it stands now:

Alliance Forces
Cult Forces (Known)
The party
Wyrmspeakers, Cult wizards and clerics
Skyreach Castle
Draakhorn, Dragon Masks, Well of Dragons
Storm giants
Hill giants, Cyclops, Ettins, Trolls, Golems, Ogres
Arcane Brotherhood
Exiled Red Wizards of Thay and their undead
Lord Volmer’s devils
Cult Allied Devils
Water Elemental army
Fire elementals, Mephits
Metallic Dragons
Chromatic Dragons, Wyverns, Half-dragons
Remallia Haventree – Harper mages and scouts
Yugoloths (Arcanaloths, Mezzoloths, Nycaloths, Ultroloths)
Ontharr Frume – Paladins and healing clerics
Ettercaps, Giant Spiders
Delaan Winterhound – Druids, treants, lycanthropes
Lady Silverhand - Waterdeep’s Army & conscript troops
Mercenaries, Doppelgangers
Lord Neverember – Neverwitner conscript troops, mercenaries
Dragonclaws, dragonwings, dragonfangs, dragonsouls
Ambassador Brawnanvil – Dwarven soldiers and dwarf-forged armaments and siege weapons
Hobgoblin and Goblin army
Marshall Ulder Ravengard – Flaming Fist warriors and expert advisers to train conscript troops
Orc army
King Melandrach – Elven eldritch knights
Bugbear army
Taern Hornblade – Army of Silverymoon (Knights of Silver) and Silverymoon conscript troops
Gnoll army
Sir isteval – Purple Dragon Knights and War Wizards
Kobold army


Rise of Tiamat - Episode XII - Unity!

The party, having successfully negotiated an alliance with the five metallic dragon races, returns to Waterdeep, once again riding on the backs of dragons. The ancient silver dragon, in her human form, attends the council (which has a new addition - Mr. Silvergleaming) with the party to inform them of the terms of the alliance. The council is overjoyed at the news... until they learn about the concessions the party made. 33% of the treasure, public apologies for ancient wrongs by the dwarves and the elves, turning over the dragon masks, and (worst of all) the party granted control of a key piece of land between Waterdeep and Baldur's Gate to the bronze dragons. Ultimately, the council knows the good outweighs the bad and accept the terms of the bargain.

The adventurers then relate the rest of their many adventures since their last meeting with the council (see everything from Rise of Tiamat Episode III until to now). The council is extremely impressed and grateful for all the party has done. It seems that the party has offered some hope of the factions putting aside their own interests and petty squabbling to unite against the cult. The council retires to deliberate. They will summon the party when they have reached a decision.

Roscoe, Oloril, and Mullyn are reunited with their new air genasi wives and establish households for them. Oloril's new house is next to Mullyn's, much to Mullyn's chagrin. Dain is reunited with his wife and infant son and spends a great deal of time with them.

Udofire, Oloril's father, stops by for a visit and offers to throw an extravagant wedding celebration for his son. This raises Oloril's suspicions because this is uncharacteristically fatherly. They haul Udofire before Lucien and Bardu, who divine that Udofire is, in fact, a doppelganger charge with extremely powerful magic. The real Udofire stands revealed as the Great Deceiver and Lucien's sight is returned upon the successful completion of his holy quest.

The characters are then summoned back to the council who has reached their decision. All factions vote in full confidence of the party and stand united, pledging the resources at their disposal to fight the cult!

The party is then informed of the chance to prevent the final battle before it begins - a rogue cultist has made contact with the council claiming to be in possession of the blue dragon mask. If the heroes can recover it, they could potentially thrwart the cult's plans entirely! The party teleports back to the hunting lodge near the destroyed town of Parnast and travels to the mysterious and magical Xonthal's Tower!

Rise of Tiamat - Episode XI - Dragonriders!

The party returns to Waterdeep where Lady Silverhand meets them and promptly tells them they have a extremely important quest - to attend a meeting of the five metallic dragon races. The party's goal is to persuade the dragons to act in concert with the humanoid factions rather than on their own. The party is introduced to three humanoids who transform into an ancient silver dragon, an adult gold dragon, and a bronze dragon. The party has been granted the boon of riding the dragons to the meeting of the dragons and they set off at once.

During the second day of travel, the chromatic dragons and dragon riders emerge from the clouds and strike! The cult is trying to stop the heroes! With the stakes high, the heroes fearlessly engage the adult red, adult blue, and ancient white dragons and their cult riders, including Galvan the Blue Wyrmspeaker. The aerial battle is epic, with powerful breath weapons and spells being deployed by both sides. When the blue Wyrmspeaker falls, the blue dragon exits the fray, giving the advantage to the heroes. When the heroes slay the ancient white dragon, the red dragon quickly flees, allowing the heroes to proceed on toward the dragon council.

Once there, the heroes are brought before five ancient dragons, one for each metallic dragon race. The party listens as each dragon explains what it thinks is the wisest course of action. Initially, most of the dragons are in favor of independent action without the humanoids. There were some rough moments (like when Dain is accused of being a thief), but through the wise use of diplomacy, concessions, and, let's face it, bribery, the party slowly sways the mood of the dragons.

Ultimately, the dragons vote to ally themselves with the humanoids in fighting the evil dragon cult. Additionally, the party will be able to assign one flight of each color metallic dragon to protect human settlements or otherwise assist the factions prior to the final battle.

In fact, the party has so successfully swayed the dragons that they are each granted one magical item from an ancient dragon's personal magical hoard. Mullyn is given an incredibly powerful staff of power. Dain is giving a Dwarven Thrower; Roscoe is given Glamoured Studded Leather +2; and Oloril is giving a Manual of Quickness of Action (to replace the one unfairly used by Kaelthiros), a arrow of blue dragon slaying, and the head of the ancient white dragon, Aveiturace, who fell in the aerial combat.