Saturday, October 24, 2015

D&D Hoard of the Dragon Queen - To the Hunting Lodge

When last we spoke, our heroes had just convinced an elf supremacist - also a Wearer of Purple for the Cult of the Dragon - to pack up his things and leave Castle Naerytar with all cultists left. They then spent the night in the observation tower to keep an eye on things by use of the Farseer of Illusk.

Upon awaking, Erky decided that the destruction of the Farseer was in their best interest, and the rest of the group agreed. Raiann was more than ecstatic to smash the thing to pieces. Corrin was more than happy to stock up on broken pieces of copper which could be valuable to the right buyer. All teh lenses and crystals were destroyed in the smashing.

Heading down the tower back to ground floor, they began to hear more and more noise coming from the wards and the causeway. When they arrived on the ground floor, they discovered that the Scaly Death Lizardfolk had begun their assault on the Bullywugs and had the upper hand. The group then remembered there had been a room in the tower they had not investigated, so went back in to check it out. They found only a few sets of robes which appeared to belong to a Red Wizard of Thay and a small locked wooden box which contained a spellbook with the symbol of the Red Wizards on the front. Erky took this book as no one else could utilize the book and it contained a few spells Erky did not yet have.

Symbol of the Red Wizards of Thay, found on the Forgotten Realms Wiki.

They went back outside and Erky manifested an illusion of Spattergoo's corpse to attempt to demoralize the Bullywugs and invigorate the Scaly Death. This attempt was successful, and the Bullywugs were slain mercilessly. Snapjaw then approached the heroes and thanked them for the effort. They asked him if the Scaly Death knew much of the dragon in the Mere of Dead Men, and he replied that it was revered by the Lizardfolk, and they also wondered why Voaraghamanthar would allow the Cult to operate like that in the Mere instead of doing something about it.

The group then gifted Castle Naerytar to the Scaly Death, and Snapjaw - being the new leader of the Scaly Death - told them the Scaly Death would help them in the future any way they could. The group told Snapjaw they would be using a teleportation circle in the dungeon and that they should kill anyone who comes back through that does not say the phrase "Long Live Scaly Death!". This phrase was at Snapjaw's urging, as every phrase anyone would try to offer, that was his only response.

Erky jumped through the portal first. He had a brief 5 seconds of calm, quiet serenity in the Greypeak Mountains before the rest of the group joined him. They were standing on a teleportation circle which was flanked by two tall stones with carvings etched in, and they could spot several other similar setups nearby. Ahead of them was a two-story wooden building. They approached it cautiously using Erky's illusions.

The Hunting Lodge, from the Hoard of the Dragon Queen Literature

Knocking on the slightly-ajar door offered no results. Erky left an illusion up for his allies, and walked in the front door. This was a sort of mud room with arrow slits in one wall and another door across from the door he entered through. He opened this door to find a foyer with a pair of statues flanking a staircase in front of him, and a pair of armor set on stands on either side of teh door he came through. There were also a few other doors he could see.

He walked into the room and felt a coldness pass through him, originating from the suits of armor to either side of him. He discovered through his innate magic abilities that the armor were enchanted with elvish runes that would attempt to freeze anyone who passed between them. He also observed they were sitting on crude wooden stands, so he tried to burn one down using his Create Bonfire spell. After a minute or two of waiting for it to burn down, a man dressed in a suit walked in and asked how a fire got started in the foyer. Erky convinced him he was just trying to put it out, so the man ran to the kitchen to fetch a pail of water, returning less than a minute later to put the flame out.

The man went to introduce himself, but decided that no one ever cares who he is, so asked Erky instead if was a new cultist. Erky said he was, so the depressed man offered to show him to his room. The man returned to the foyer to discover the rest of the group standing with their weapons drawn wondering what to do next. The man offered to show them to the room the "short wizard" was just brought to, but they had too put their weapons away so the Gargoyles would leave them alone.

My inspiration for the hunter-turned-groom.

The guest room they were in was one of two rooms, they discovered from the man. The man used to be a hunter at this lodge until the Cult discovered it and forced him and two others there to be their servants. He excused himself, so Erky and Corrin decided to explore a little bit. They discovered a few empty rooms (one of which was a trophy room of sorts, with a few animal heads - the Griffon head holding two potions of healing), then found their way to the kitchen where a few cultists were hard at work prepping breakfast and cleaning. Erky stayed in the doorway, and Corrin walked in to talk with them. He explained he just came from the castle, and they replied with "That makes sense. It did just land." They then told him to stop exploring, and just to wait in his room until he was given assignment. The boss upstairs would have one for him soon.

Erky and Corrin decided to head back to their room and send Erky's Bat Familiar out to investigate the place by crawling on the floor between the door and the jam. Of note, he discovered a room jammed full of Kobolds (between 20 and 30) and a room with a gorgeous tapestry and another suit of armor. They decided as a group to go investigate the tapestry room.

The tapestry was discovered to be a tapestry of teleport - able to transport anyone who walked into it while it was hanging on a wall to a random location within 5 miles of the tapestry. It would be a one-way trip. Erky wanted to take it for emergencies. As soon as he grabbed it, the armor on the other side of the room attacked - it was a Helmed Horror. Which they easily dispatched, much to my own disapproval (Only two of them had turns, and it didn't get it's own turn).

Helmed Horror from the 5e Monster Manual.

This was where we called it. We got started late and one of our players needed to leave a little early because he had work the next day. As you can see, it was a lot of ground-setting for the future. The group seemed to have a lot of fun even still.

Our next game will probably be in December. We have a few weeks of players already having commitments. Stupid adulting. As always any opinions are welcome. If it may contain spoilers, please contact me directly as my players read this blog.