Tyranny of the Dragon Queen

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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Observations-R-Us
how watching can feel dirty even when clean

The governor requested that we seek out further information about the activities of the raiders and after a good rest, we embarked on a quest for knowledge. Riding along the bootworn path, we encountered a small group of raiders. This was obviously not who we were looking for and instead of risking events turning against us, we bypassed the heathen oafs. This might have been a mistake as a bit further down the path, we were beset by cultists hidden in the rocks. Though they proved to be easily dispatched, turning an ambush upon the ambushers would have been appropriate justice. Regardless, after a brief skirmish and chase, these rear-guards were dispatched. The remainder of the journey to the camp was uneventful.

Arriving at the camp, the army seemed to have found an easily defended position inside a curved butte. However, their security was poor and we walked into the camp unnoticed. Once inside the camp our group split up to gather information. The rogue and monk watched the main tent while the seductress spell-caster and silver-tonged bard conversed with various cultists and guard. Eventually, we found the location of the prisoners, camp supplies, dragon eggs, and leaders. A brief discussion was had with one of the prisoners, a half-elven monk who apparently was something of an expert in dragon cultist activities. As the night wore on, our movements were noticed and the powerful barbarian was recognized as the Cyanwrath slayer. We quickly played this off as capturing her and proceeded to string her up with the rest of the slaves.

We waited until early in the morning, just before the cult was preparing to leave to rescue the half-elf and barbarian from what was surely certain death. The ever-useful Bard cast an illusion of them still imprisoned and we made our way quickly and quietly out of the camp. Returning to Greenest, we relayed a good bit of information to the governor and retired for a needed rest.

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Bard's Inspiration
Barbarian's Fury

’Neath the smoke and moonlit sky
A challenge came to end the fight.
A solemn threat of death and blood
Unless a solo fighter should
Tame the boastful, scaly one.

Despite the long and frightful night
Gunnhild grips her weapon tight.
Without fear she marches down
To save the burnt and tortured town
From the evil dragon son.

Axe raised high, she swings wide
But recklessly, makes another try,
Landing squarely on his head.
The blood pours down a sickly red.
His haughty, arrogance is gone.

She spins again and slices deep
He screams in pain, he won’t be beat.
His great sword lands with little force
Lightening from his mouth springs forth
The damage rent is almost none.

She twirls again in barbaric fury
inflicting another powerful injury.
One last turn, her axe lands squarely
His head is gashed most severely.
His evil days, forever done.

The people saved and enemy fleeing
She stands her ground and hears their cheering.
Her amber eyes brightly glinting
Many more dragonkin need hitting.
But this night’s battle is now won.

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Taking Fate by the Reins
Or how dragon slaying items are awesome

As we awoke to the news of the mills destruction, our hearts were sad at the thought of those who would go hungry this winter. But first, the towns folk must survive until the winter to go hungry and word that many were hiding within the shielding confines of the temple gave us direction and purpose. Our illustrious bard, ever glib of tongue, volunteered to provide a distraction to a rather large band of roaming mercenaries and cultists. This move allowed the remainder of us to sneak up to the small band of foes guarding the back entrance to the temple. Dispatching the inept fools in short order, we proceeded into the temple wherein we found 30+ townsfolk hiding. Our alluring sorcerer proceeded to convince them to exit out the back while the monk, fighter and barbarian reinforced and supported the front door.

Upon returning to the keep, a single foe emerged from the enemy ranks to challenge, in solo combat, any champion of the Greenest forces. Being of draconic nature, the barbarian felt compelled to accept this challenge. After a brief hesitation, to ensure no outside influences occurred, the challengers squared off. Initially the barbarian seemed to be over-zealous as her attack landed ineffectively upon the dragon’s armor. This turned out to only be a measuring shot, as her next two attacks landed squarely into the center mass of the blue-scaled monster. As it screamed in agony and revenge, it’s attacks landed accurately but with limited effect upon the enraged Axe-Queen. Maneuvering into position for her most powerful strike yet, the frenzied berserker landed a heaven’s-inspiring death blow to her scaly foe, rendering it most completely dead before the body had hit the ground. The army’s the dragon began to flee at the sight of their demolished leader and it would seem that the gods themselves approve of the manner with which this creature was dispatched.

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A very long night
The unending battle

As midnight closes in we head back outside to kill more bad guys, save more townspeople, and bring back as many hostages as possible. The chaos is everywhere. We skip some dragon dogs who are simply looting and keep searching. We come upon some cultists with two prisoners, just as they behead one. We eliminate the vermin, saving one person and continue on. We skip some cultists painting vulgarities on buildings, and continue on killing more cultists, dragon dogs, mercenaries, and other monsters. We also save about fifteen villagers and take at least five prisoners. In the distance, we notice a dragon cultist mage ordering the large dragon to attack the keep. The dragon clearly does not want to, but does so anyway. We decide to return to the keep to help fight off the dragon. Heading back, we go ahead and wipe out both the vandals and the looters, as well as save a couple people who were being raped. Closing in on the tunnel back into the keep, we spy a large ambush waiting for us, before they see us. Our wizard eliminates the twenty or so combatants with a single, well-placed fireball.

We run up to the top of the keep, and wait for the dragon’s next fly by the fighter puts an arrow in it, and I banish to another realm for three rounds. We prepare the guards and two ballistas for his return. As he pops back into our dimension, he is blasted with two powerful ballista bolts and several arrows. Shocked by this turn of events, the dragon turns around and flies away, northwest, leaving the city.

Back inside the keep, the mayor finds us and asks for help fighting back an intrusion through a breach in one of the passageways. Running to their aid, we see about thirty evildoers attacking a small number of guards and the two clerics who helped us earlier. A few area of effect spells later, we’ve got the situation under control. The breached doorway must now be magically mended. As the mender sets to work, the fighter and barbarian check out the hallway on the other side, just in time to see four grappling hooks appear at the end of the passageway leading out. The fighter knocks one off, dropping two mercenaries into the moat. Four flying dragon dogs appear and spray him with acid. The monk pushes one of the guards backward into the most below. The barbarian cleaves another guard. The fighter eliminates the last one, and everyone backs up. The dragon dogs land in the passage. We manage to kill all of them, just as the door is mended with us safely back inside the keep. Now for a quick rest, then back into the fray to live up to our growing reputation as valiant heroes…

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