Tyranny of the Dragon Queen

Green death
We got loot!

A towering waterfall cascades before us. The lair of the green dragon is almost certainly concealed behind the splendid torrent. Braving the treacherous landscape and the unknown dangers beyond, we pass through the waterfall. Almost immediately, we encounter four hostile elves which are instantly vaporized by a massive fireball. Out of the blackness appear three giant etins, five more elves, and six dragon cultists from three separate directions. The bard quickly wipes out about half of the enemies, but then both her and the warlock get knocked unconscious. The fighter and the barbarian eventually wipe out the rest of the enemies, but not before the warlock died. We retreated and his in Leomund’s Hut until we had raised the warlock and fully rested. Once ready, we again approach the lair. Immediately upon entering, the barbarian rushes into the center of the room. Unexpectedly, the green dragon breathed onto the rest of us. The barbarian used a grappling hook to attach a rope to the dragon and climbed up to his level, forty feet up in the air. As her next action, she pummels him with vicious attacks. The invisible wizard keeps moving around the room casting magic missile onto the party members. The fighter went down, and the bard cast cure mass wounds. There is an evil elf elf casting force bolts at the dangling barbarian. Near death, we finally kill the dragon and the elf and the wizard ran away. Finally, we get loot from a dragon’s lair!

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Capturing Varrum
Snakes Bite

We continued up into the hills after wiping out the cult allies, and come upon the ruins of an ancient tomb structure guarded by two twenty-foot tall statues. As we approach, they warn us to be respectful and ask us if we would prefer wisdom or knowledge. We respond, “wisdom”. They then return to normal statues.

We climb up a thirty-foot ladder into the crypt revealing an illusion, hiding severe defacing, and a stone door that has recently been forced open. Entering, we see six hooded statues and a bone littered floor. We cross the room without looking at the statues and reach the other side without incident where there is a closed door. We enter it into a vaulted room encircled with a ledge and a beautiful tile floor. As the barbarian crosses the room, the chimera image on the floor transforms into a 2D tile chimera construct that attacks her. The warlocks enters into the room labeled “SAFE”, and checked out the weird well and toilet function while the fight raged on.

After destroying the construct, we turn the sliding, circular plate in the sun mosaic. Beneath it are hundreds of skeletal bodies in the shape of a seven-foot sphere. We find the trigger mechanism that would have caused that ball to roll down the hallway after us. Just past the mechanism, we find a narrow opening that goes down thirty feet. We squeeze down the tunnel and encounter five humanoids sitting at a table. After a short talk, we banish the fiends back to hell. Next, we visited the adjacent room and encounter a well-muscled statue that demands tribute for the seer. We hand over a two-handed, magical sword that we haven’t been using and he returns to stone. Opening the next door, we discover a ghost guarding an empty library who tells us how dangerous the pool is. We continue on to the pool and find a dead cultist who was sacrificed to the pool in exchange for information on the missing mask. There is a door to the east, which reveals the ancient seer’s sarcophagus. We hear a booming voice telling us that Varrum was taken by the snakefolk and he will open a portal to them for us to follow Varrum. On the other side of the portal, are seven lizardmen which we promptly eliminate.

Exploring the hall, we encounter a pit full of vipers, and four powerful lizard snake-cultists. The warlock and I are magically enticed to climb into the pit. We both nearly die before we get the opportunity to completely annihilate the lizards and hurry out of the pit before the remaining vipers can overtake us again.

Heading down the next hall, we enter a room filled with basic lizardfolk. They basically drop dead at the sight of us. We destroy their magic item that allowed them to store food and water near the crypt and head to the main chamber room where Varrum is about to be sacrificed. We make an agreement to not destroy any more lizardfolk in exchange for Varrum. We agree to the deal, and leave, teleporting back to Waterdeep.

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Dragon Soup
When dragon's suddenly started turning into mush

We spent a couple days in the city selling, competing, and learning. We found out that that is a large dungeon near the city, and that Varrum the White lost his special dragon mask to someone in the Sanctum. He made some excuses to his dragon cult leader and was last seen at the Boarshyr Bridge. We have been asked to go intercept him, because having the mask will make it easier for him to summon Tiamat.

We took a portal north then rode four griffins toward the bridge. A day in, we see a red dragon chasing us down. After a quick fight and a near-dead griffin, the red dragon flees. We continue on our way uneventfully, and reach the bridge and a tent city. With great reservation, we enter the city and start asking questions about Varrum. A person in the nearby inn, tells us that about two weeks ago Varrum was seen in the inn with about a dozen barbarians. He killed someone for asking him questions about why he was there, then he set off for the Serpent Hills. We quickly hired a guide and set off after him. A couple days later, we are encountered by two medium blue dragons and a large group of cultist groupies. I quickly turned one dragon into a slug. The warlock fireballed, and killed, at least thirteen opponents and then quickly died to a dragonkin’s spear. I shattered another group of cultists to death. The warrior took out a half dragon creature, and our dragon-shredder made quick work of the remaining dragon and dragonkin. We closed out the fight by tying the slug to an arrow and shooting it directly into the air so that it would fall to its death. Finally we raised the warlock and holed up for the night. Tomorrow, I feel confident that Varrum is going to meet his end.

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No Escape for the Wicked
The Fall of Arauthator

The day grew long as we slipped into the dragons lair. It was unclear what the fierce Arauthator would have in store for us but we had a plan of attack. Knowing little about the white dragon we prepared as best we could for the battle ahead. I as always held the front leveraging the magic available. The fierce-some barbarian at my side with an arrow readied, waiting to strike. But it was the quick thinking of the bard that saved us from Auranthors first attack.

The coward dragon, hiding from sight, filled the chamber with a deadly mist. A mist that if not guarded against surely would have spelled our end. Luckily the bard was prepared. A circle of protection spell cast around her caused us not to feel the terrible effects of the frozen mist. And again keep us safe at the frightful sight of Arauthator as he flew up to great us.

Upon seeing the fierce dragon the bard fired, both shots missing, the arrows going wide, our strongest weapons lost. But i knew what to do. I flew up to strike the dragon holding him at bay and steering him away from the party. The Fearless barbarian joining me by grappling the dragon with a rope. Had the dragon fallen it would have surely spelled the end for her, but her thirst for dragon trumped the risk.

The battle continued with the casters rallying a barrage of spells the dragon shaking off some of even the most potent mental effects. The wizards and warlocks could do little against the beast but he knew after long their magic would break his defenses and so he flew away to the bottom of the chamber.

As her reached the edge of the chamber I was sure he had no place left to run. We were grouped right by the top entrance surely he was trapped. But he continued into the pool taking the barbarian with him and freezing it shut behind. The group continued launching attacks, fireballs that broke through the ice and I flew into the pool after them.

The battle raged on in the depth of the water. The dragon at a great advantage was not limited as the barbarian and I were by the environment. Knowing that there wasn’t much time before my air ran out and that the dragons powers greatly outweighed my own I chose the only sensible option, stay with the dragon at all costs. Its a good thing the barbarian and I think alike. Grappling, swimming, holding on for dear life, in the darkness of the water we stayed with the dragon getting in small jabs quickly. It was not for certain but together with all of our strength we managed to take down the dragon.

Emerging from the water exhausted I fell to ground. Know that a great victory was had but there was still much left to do before the realm was extinguished of the evil dragons and despicable cultists hellbent on our destruction.
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Exhausted
The day that won't end

We followed the treasure again today. We decided to sneak into the castle by hiding in crates of treasure. After many hours we were finally delivered via water and land to an underground cavern. Exploring immediately reveals a nearby magical teleportation circle. This must be the way they are moving the treasure out of here to the next location. All we need is the password. Looking in the next cavernous area, we discover a large lake. Walking along the narrow path at the edge of the lake, we are suddenly attacked by about ten car-sized frog who leap out of the lake. We quickly cut them down but they are closely followed by a toadman caster, a couple white, mindless lizardmen, and about ten bullywogs (frogmen). The barbarian hits the caster with an arrow and he runs off leaving us to face his followers. The fighters takes down a few. The bard, however, uses a scroll of fly to bypass the thugs and chase down the toadman. The fighter and barbarian take down the onslaught, but almost die to some ferocious and vengeful tiny vipers which the acid-spitting lizardmen had in bags and threw at the party members. The bard immobilizes the toadman by casting hideous laughter on him and quickly binds and gags him. Following the fight, he is interrogated and forced to provide a map of the castle along with a great deal of information on the workings of the castle. Just then we hear footsteps approaching and quickly retreat to toadman’s sanctuary. We hear the sound of drums meaning the cultists know they have been infiltrated and are preparing to escape quickly. We head upstairs and fire an arrow out of an arrowslit letting the friendly lizardmen outside know that it’s time to attack the castle to gain the release of their enslaved brethren within. The war starts and we don cultist uniforms before exiting to the next room. We see the chaos the lizardman attack has caused. We are just in time to see Reznar, the half-dragon man rush past us headed for the teleportation circle along with about thirty of his closest friends. We opt to follow and debate attacking. Ultimately, we wait instead to hear the password. Reznar takes the stronger half of his party through the teleportation circle and tells the other half to stay behind and stand guard. We quickly annihilate this group, but when we see four more lizard men carrying four more bags of tiny vipers, we decide it is time to escape. We utter the password and activate the teleporter just in time to avoid getting hit by vipers.

We land in a cold, forested area. Clearly, we are much further north now. We see a large hunting lodge to the north which probably holds more cultists, but we also see that Reznar and this party have traveled the other direction. Quickly following their path, we come to a tiny village. We enter the village in our normal clothes but are met with strong dislike. We make our way to the tavern, spotting a huge frozen castle nearby, and start buying ale for everyone hoping to get information. We are not particularly successful, but we do learn the name of the village as well as the name of the nearest city. Apparently asking questions was not the right move because we are soon confronted by the angry town leader six burly guardsmen. He is trying to distract us, so clearly we attack. When we do, the door opens and reveals some powerful dragon cult followers outside. The battle is fierce and both our warlock and fighter go down at one point. The bard is able to bring them back, and quickly the bard and fighter each eat a piece of dragon heart once defeat appears certain if they do not. This turns the tide of the battle. We finally finish them all off. We are tired and out of resources, but we now have little choice but to board the ice castle before it takes off and leaves us with no clue of where to head next on our mission to stop the return of the Dragon Queen.

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Feats and Feets
Competing for fame

This week we competed in the Festival of Feets and Feets to gain the favor of some influential aristocrats. Following breakfast and a brief opening speech, we started out strong. Our agile monk placed first in the foot race, well ahead of a cheating noble. Our rogue got third place overall in a series of three archery events, and the bard finished first in the initial horse riding event. The bard showed just how large her stomach is with a commanding win in the pie eating contest. After lunch, the wizard learned some history at the Concubine is Sass Tam play. We all failed miserably in the arm wrestling competition, and the bard earned second place in the semifinals of the dancing contest. Closing out the day, our barbarian survived the drinking contest, even though she was in a coma, and the fighter won first place in the first round of the wrestling competition. Now to prepare for tomorrow.

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County Fair...isn't
what, you mean character levels can make a difference?

So the first day of the fair is over. What do we know? Monks are really fast. Barbarians and Fighters cannot arm wrestle. Rogues are good archers. Bards and Sorcerers are good at dancing. Fighters and Monks may or may not be that good at wrestling, especially when they forget some of the rules. Finally, Barbarians can drink and drink and drink and drink and drink and pass-out and still drink.

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Feats and Feets II
Bear fight!!

We started the day out early, the bard went hiking and met a couple unusual individuals, one of whom is trying to get on a caravan being sent north by Anshar. The monk and barbarian went to breakfast while the fighter attended worship. They all came out feeling inspired and ready for the challenges of the day. The monk and barbarian started the king of the hill competition. One crazy thug seemed to have a bizarre hatred of the monk attacking him instead of the center. Things did not go as planned. The fighter went to the card gaming tables and after hours of play managed to win second place in the final round. After a break, the bard went to the jousting competition where she trash talked her way to first place. Then she went to fencing where she manage to get first place without insulting any mothers. In the greased pig competition, everyone got super greasy and it ended abruptly with someone rolling out of the pit with the pig in a bear hug. During the strong man competition, both the barbarian put up a good fight and pinned a bear. During dinner I learned some more about Anthar, including that he’s a fan of red wine. Now we just have to meet this guy and put the right feats forward.

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5 things I learned this week in the Sword Coast

Throughout my travels I pick up on many handy tidbits of advice and thought I could share my own for other adventurers:

1. One eyed rock monsters are best left alone, but if unavoidable offer them food and ask nicely for what you need.

2. Unlike other bits of dragon don’t eat the eggs. It makes a lot more sense but is far worse for you than eating the brains, heart, blood, eyes, or tongue.

3. Always check under rugs for large holes, there may be an adventuring party down there preparing to ambush you.

4. If you need to travel 200 miles it is possible to achieve this in 3 days without killing your horses or having to replace them. Also it is not a strange idea to have to swap out your horses mid journey, in Faerun, bards do it all the time.

5. Don’t shout at women standing in fields asking to be left alone, they are most likely deadly dragons.

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Dark holes
How looking into things can almost wipe a party

Yes, Governor and silly little half-elf, of course we can head back to the Cultist’s camp and look around for you. While we’re at it, why don’t we figure out where they are headed and make sure there isn’t anything left to cause you any more problems.

Why is it that the simplest things often turn into really dangerous things? So we head back to the place filled with people we had just spent the better part of the last 72 hours fighting. Oh, well that’s different, there’s not really anybody here and the ones that are here don’t give a crap, well, except for the dude with the really nice couch that seems to be free. Oh wait, what are those guys doing? We’re baking a cake using game meat and knives – OF COURSE!! Hey, that big hole in the ground isn’t guarded anymore, let’s go poke around in that.

Hmm, some dragon dogs, some stairs, some more dragon dogs, some…MORADIN’S (no, I have no interest in hearing your Moradin salvation story) STONY SACK!! WHAT THE HELL ARE THOSE?!?!? The drakes, they hurt! Kill them, kill them quick! Oh the pretty staff that the Bard carries makes my hurts go away, I like her, she seems to really care about us – everybody seems to feel better. Ok, back to killing the scaly bastards. Punch, kick, dodge the claw, that’s better. They are all dead or running away, let’s keep looking around.

Bah, those dragon dogs are asleep, nope, now they are dead – hehe.

Hey, let’s go down this really long hallway and, how come the scrolls and books are on fire?!?! Let’s walk into the room and see what’s up – oh, there’s a giant ball of pure darkness that seems to not like us and a bunch of really big dragon dudes with bad attitudes – I’m going to punch them. Ow, Ow, OW, OWWWWW, that freaking hurt, I’m not letting them hit me anymore. DODGE Hey plate armor dude…nevermind, they are beating the crap out of you as well. DUCK Hey, big ax chick, would you kill these guys already? DIP Damn, that was loud, so was that, and that. Hey pretty spell caster chicks, are you going the kill any of these guys or just make really loud noises? DIVE Oh, nevermind, that’s how, shit, watch out for the flaming bolt of burning fire – wait the mage isn’t here, who’s casting that? DODGE Hey armored dude, if you don’t let them hit you, that black ball thingy doesn’t get any energy to heal the bad guys – DODGE, DUCK. And DIP and DIVE and DODGE and 1 and 2 and 3. I’m going to keep punching, kicking and smacking you assholes with my staff until you can’t hit back – DODGE, DUCK, DIP, DIVE, DODGE – oh, they’re all down – if you can dodge a claw, you can dodge an ax.

Hey, this place keeps going, but I’m about to fall out and so is the steel can. Let’s take a 5 minute breather.

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