Tuesday, September 29, 2015

D&D Hoard of the Dragon Queen - Castle Naerytar Part II

When we last left our heroes, they had just defeated a Bullywug Shaman named Spattergoo and looted his secret stash just past his elaborate and confusing shrine. They weren't sure where to look for Borngray now that Rezmir was away), so they chose to check out the wet and rocky basement a bit more. Down there, they found a dark room which gave off the impression of being gigantic. Erky tossed a rock which had light cast on it into the room to reveal a Giant Frog sitting on a rocky island in the center of a very large underground lake. The frog was just sitting there, staring at them eerily. A path around the lake was also revealed, which they decided to take since the water seemed to grow very deep very quickly.

On the other side of the room, they discovered staircase, and further down a pair of Bullywugs (easily dispatched) which were guarding a small pond of Giant Frog Tadpoles (tadpoles the size of diner plates). The frog still hadn't moved, so they decided to head up the stairs.

Up the stairs they discovered a room which did not fit the dungeon at all. If I had read back through the dungeon before we played, I would have added something different in the room. Instead of something that fit, they fought a bunch of Centipede Swarms. I'm still not sure how the Bullywugs got around the centipedes, as the room descriptions even said there were muddy prints coming from the adjacent mud room. Anyway, the stupid swarms were easily dispatched with liberal use of fire.

In the mud room, Corrin went all Assassin's Creed (Metal Gear Solid, Apocalypse Now . . . depends on what's popular when you're reading this) on a pair of Bullywugs protecting the sacred mud. He was able to sneak up on them and jam his dagger through each one of their spines to instantly kill them and lay them down in the foot-deep mud one at a time. It was easily one of the funnest things I have ever DM'ed.

I think this is what we all imagined Corrin looking like during that scene. Only a 3-foot-tall Halfling and not Martin Sheen. 

After this epic scene, they decided to head back upstairs and search for Borngray. They then remembered they had passed a lot of loot piled up in the Great Hall. Right near the door they were coming out of, and far away from the Cultists on the other side of the room. Using Erky's illusions to make a wall and Corrin's invisible Mage Hand, they were able to steal everything from the Cult - a small fortune even split four ways.

They then made a B-line for the Keep in the center of the Castle. Inside, they found a smaller version of the great hall, a door, and a spiral staircase heading up. They took the stairs up one floor (though the stairs headed up an additional floor), and found what looked like an office. Upon inspection they found that this was Borngray's office and he was part of an elf supremacy group. They decided to check out the attached room which turned out to be his bedroom. Apart from a loose floor board which hid a small lockbox with another small fortune, there was nothing of real interest.

They decided to head upstairs. As soon as they got upstairs, four gargoyles came in through ceiling hatches to attack them. After dispatching the gargoyles, they realized there was a magical device called the Farseer of Illusk facing out the front of the room.

The Farseer was an interesting device that could be used to see any location known to the user. Corrin took a peak into the lens to discover it was already set to be looking at a Black Dragon in his den somewhere in the Mere of Dead Men. After about a minute, a second black dragon flew in, they seemed tom communicate, and the first one flew off. Erky seemed to recall that there was a tale of a black dragon in the Mere named Voaraghamanthar. There wasn't supposed to be two of them, however. And chromatic dragons tend to be very territorial and don't share anything very well. Odd.

Adventurers stumbling on Voaraghamanthar in the Mere of Dead Men. This image is right out of the "Hoard of eh Dragon Queen" literature. 

Playing with the Farseer a bit, they were able to spy on the Great Hall. Now being about diner time, the Hall was full, and an elf wearing purple robes was seen eating by himself. The group decided to set up an ambush in his bedroom and wait for him to return. They also debated whether the Farseer should be left in tact. Raiann wanted to destroy it. Erky wanted to keep it in the Castle as a as a resource (it was too heavy, large, and fragile to be able to remove in one piece). Corrin seemed to side with Erky, and Clarissa didn't have much of an opinion. They decided to leave it in tact, at least until Borngray was dealt with.

Dralmorrer Borngray as seen in the "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" literature. 

Borngray was easy to ambush. More illusions from Erky made it very simple to see him coming up to the door. Clarissa had cast Silence as soon as the illusion was removed. Erky then communicated with Borngray by projecting illusions onto a blank scroll. They walked over to the desk so Borngray could respond. Through him they were able to find out the portal in the dungeon went to "The Hunting Lodge" in the Greypeak Mountains and also the command word for the portal (Drezir). They found that Borngray reports directly to Rezmir, and that to Borngray's knowledge there was only one Black Dragon in the Mere. Erky cut a deal with Brongray: Raiann wouldn't bash his head in if he left Castle Naerytar with the Cult and the Bullywugs. He agreed to get the Cult out of the Castle, but refused to help the Bullywugs in any way. All races are below elves, but Bullywugs are gross creatures that serve no purpose.

They let him go, then went upstairs to rest. While they rested, they set the Farseer to watch the front hall of the Keep in case Borngray took this time to attack them. This did not happen. And this is where we called it.

Our next session won't be for a few weeks. We have a few weeks worth of SCA events coming up, so next time we play will probably be October 17th, unless we play Sunday the 11th (where Monday is a holiday. I'm super excited about a few things I have planned for the future. One of the things won't be coming up for a long time because it will happen in the "Rise of Tiamat" (the next adventure after "Hoard of the Dragon Queen"), and we're taking a break when we finish "HotDQ" so Felicia can run a game for the first time (this won't happen for a few months, but when it does I will continue a recap from a player's perspective. I'll be playing a half-elf pirate, starting at 3rd level, so 2 levels in a modified Ranger and 1 level in Rogue).

As always any opinions are welcome. If it may contain spoilers, please contact me directly as my players read this blog.