Tyranny of Dragons

Session 10

Lizardfolk & the path to Castle Naerytar

The lizardfolks’ surprise spelled their quick doom as most were cut down within seconds. Once just two of them remained one threw down his weapons and fell to his knees. With arms raised he hissed in rough Common “I yield, we can help each other? Yesss?” The last lizardfolk standing barked at him in Draconic, “No, you fool! You would betray the Black One!” but only Callahorn understands their short argument. The kneeling lizardfolk answers with just as much anger, “I do not! The ssoft ones do not speak for the Black One! Ssuncaller died for that belief, killed by the Swamp Toadss and I’m ssick of our tribe bending knee to those bloated sslugs! These soft ones are skilled, and sstrong! They can help us return to the swamp, to the old wayss, and help us rid it of the cultists and the stupid bullywugs!” The other hesitates only a moment before raising his heavy club to strike down his tribe mate, obviously disagreeing with his reasoning, but the party cuts him down before the blow lands. The other shakes his head and introduces himself quickly as Snapjaw, of the Scaly Death tribe. Between his stilted Common and Callahorn’s Draconic the party soon learns much about the situation in the deep swamp. The lizardfolk come in these small groups on a rough schedule to claim the cultist treasure from the strong room. They know which boxes and barrels to take by the mark on some of them placed by Bog Luck. The tunnel below emerges in a spot nearby that’s screened by trees and brush from the roadhouse, then a trail nearby leads deeper into the the Mere of Dead Men. Due to the swamp’s natural hindrances the trek to Castle Naerytar takes about two days, roughly half on foot and the other half by canoe. The party decides to return all the goods to the Strong Room though Crosby retrieves his stolen ring and Yumi her stored calligraphy set. After a short discussion Jamna Gleamsilver decides to stay and mess with Bog Luck; it doesn’t take long for her & Seef to scheme several ways for his luck to turn bad including robbing a few things from the caravan guards and drovers stored in the Strong Room and planting them in various rooms throughout the Roadhouse implicating several of the cultists and dishonoring Bog Luck. Yumi and Jamna agree to try and contact each other in the future. They wish her well and wonder as they lock the strong room how many days Bog Luck has left to breath.
As they travel into the swamp Snapjaw describes how his tribe worships the Black One, clearly a black dragon that not unsurprisingly lives in the swamp and claims it entirely as its domain. However several months ago things changed when a blessed one came and started speaking for the Black One. It doesn’t take long to discern that this blessed one was likely Rezmir, as he describes a female half-black dragon humanoid. She promised the Great One would reward the tribe’s labors for the cult and at first their tribal shaman, Suncaller, felt this could be good for the tribe, however the omens were poor, repeatedly and this troubled him greatly. He tried to go and speak with the Great One directly but on his sacred pilgrimage he was ambushed by the bullywugs that have also allied themselves with the cultists. While Snapjaw has no proof shortly thereafter he and a few others overheard Pharblex Spattergoo, the bullywug shaman, gloat about killing his rival at the order of Rezmir. Since that day a rebellion has been brewing, but the majority of lizardfolk, as superstitious as they are, wait for a sign from the Great One before rising up against the cult and destroying the bullywugs. While the latter fill the role of a defense force in the Castle itself, they mostly lounge around and verbally and physically abuse the lizardfolk who do most of the work required to keep everything going at the Castle. They did most of the heavy work clearing the debris from the castle which had been abandoned for likely over a century. They carry most of the treasure from the roadhouse. They tend the giant lizards used as draft animals. They do most of the hunting, fishing & food gathering to feed everyone at the Castle. They act as far-ranging scouts and outlying guards as they are far superior to any bullywug at actively patrolling, ambushing and laying traps. And finally a cadre of lizardfolk has been enlisted as elite guards for the cultist leader at Castle Naerytar, a male elf named Dralmorrer Borngray. While these elite guards are loyal to the cultists the remainder serve for a variety of other reasons including the payment of metal weapons they receive from the cultists, misplaced faith (in Snapjaw’s opinion) they serve the will of the Great One, and generally for a lack of leadership giving them something else to do. Snapjaw believes with a strong strike against Pharblex and the cultists in the Castle the majority of his tribe will rise up and scatter the remainder of the weak bullywugs and the Scaly Death tribe can return to its tribal lands and begin the rituals to name a new shaman with the true blessing of the Great One.
He is able to sketch out the entire Castle and give some rough details about nearly all of it, including what sounds like astronomy equipment in the upper dome in some disrepair and a magical gate in the dungeon where the lizardfolk take the cultist treasure when they return from Carnath Roadhouse.
While all of this took most of the two days of travel to learn from Snapjaw the trip was not entirely uneventful. Aside from the myriad of insects and typical swamp denizens the group stumbled on a Shambling Mound the first day. Snapjaw tried to flee immediately but when the party laid it low within half a minute he was reassured that he had not made a poor choice in siding with them and his confidence grew. Callahorn decided to keep the life seed at the heart of the creature. Before dark they made it to a halfway camp where the spent the night. Early the next morning they spotted another group of lizardfolk in canoes coming on their trip to the Carnath Roadhouse for the next shipment of cultist goods. The party ambushed them as they beached and stepped out of their canoes but was careful to knock them all out. At Snapjaw’s recommendation they trussed them all up and then as they awakened Snapjaw tried to reason with them and join their efforts. Four were convinced but the remainder were not. Rather than kill their tribe mates they left them to the swamp; Snapjaw and the others agreed they had about as much chance of surviving as they did of being attacked before they could free themselves. On the second day while porting their canoes over a drier stretch they were ambushed by a hunting party of yuan-ti. The party focused on two malisons and three purebloods. This was a much tougher fight and though they emerged the victors they spilled quite a bit more blood in the swamp than they cared to. The lizardfolk fought well but one of them was slain. The others said a quick blessing, each taking one of his tokens to add to their own, then slid him into the swamp to return to the deep sleep.
As they approached Castle Naerytar Snapjaw and his companions took care to find patrols sympathetic to their efforts and without much trouble they neatly escorted the party to one of their longhouses placed furthest from the Castle and relatively close to the giant lizard stockade. He explained they were safe from the bullywugs and cultists as none of them ventured out into the grounds surrounding the Castle since the lizardfolk were responsible for the patrols, and they were generally afraid of the giant lizards. The party took advantage of the time to rest and plan their attack on the keep. They agreed that with nightfall they would scale the outside of the northeast tower and enter from the top. Snapjaw notes the lizardfolk live on the first floor of that tower and have their arsenal of metallic weapons on the second floor. Mostly the party was focused on how relatively easy it would be to assault the adjacent building housing Pharblex and his bullywugs. While Snapjaw greatly appreciates the plan he does warn them of giant spiders that lair in the top rooms of the tower the lizardfolk claim as their own. They have spiked the trap door leading from the second to third floors to keep the spiders out and don’t disturb them; in return they aren’t bothered by them. Dusk settles on the swamp now, and soon it will be dark….


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