Tyranny of Dragons

Session 14
Assault on Skyreach Castle

They all needed a rest long enough to recoup from their recent battle fatigue and minor injuries, and the casters had to pray or study their spells, so when they were warned it was dangerous and they’d likely be killed if they left their room at night they took the warning to heart. By morning they were refreshed and felt…stronger. During the rest everyone had gained some insight into using their skills and abilities, were blessed by their deity with more power than they had ever been , or finally puzzled through the final phrases and proper gestures of a spell that had eluded them for the last several weeks of study. They were confident they could disrupt the Cult’s plans here, they just needed the proper plan and a little luck to make it happen.

Yumi helped with the former shortly before the kobolds came to get them for their morning meal. They kept up their Cultish disguises and Yumi grabbed the bullywug poison pots they’d taken from Spattergoo. As they were guided to the kitchens Yumi started talking to their kobold guides about their current duties and who answered to who in Skyreach Castle. The kobolds were only too happy to complain about their lowly lot in life and how everyone seemed to order them around for all kinds of extra jobs when they were too busy preparing the meals for everyone aboard under the too watchful eyes of Blagothkus’ pet griffin. Between Yumi’s insight, Seef’s charismatic friendliness, and a few choice draconic translations from Callahorn party was able to gain some measure of trust from the kobolds and they got some information about where everyone important was staying in the castle, including a Cult vampire holed up tallest tower which is why absolutely no one goes out at night. As they neared the kitchens Yumi offered to help the kobolds get on Rezmir’s good side with the “special spices” that she really enjoyed. They had brought some in with their shipment and were going to give it to her personally but it was obvious the kobolds would benefit from the gift more. When the kobolds were suspicious about the party helping them Yumi quickly reassured them talking about how those in the lower ranks of the Cult needed to stick together with Giants, Vampires & Red Wizards about on this trip. Once they arrived at the kitchens and Yumi saw how big the giant-sized cauldron was they were using to cook the lunch stew, she made quite a show of talking about the various spices they were already using to season it, how they’d need all the bottles of “special spices”, and which other kitchen spices would help the overall flavor (and likely help hide the smell of the poison). There was some concern the griffin would recognize something was amiss but that fear turned out to be unfounded as the kobolds added everything Yumi suggested, including the bullywug poison, to the giant cauldron. The party took their breakfast back to their rooms. The kobolds moved to escort them but the party were able to convince them they knew the way back and didn’t want to trouble the kobolds further since they were so busy preparing this special meal, which was all too true so the party left on very good terms with all the kobolds.

Breakfast was as good as dinner was the night before, which is to say it was edible, but the party laughed out loud as they decided to skip lunch today. They took the stairwell back up to the upper courtyard but instead of heading directly to their room they quickly moved to the back of iceberg and made their way to the tall tower reportedly housing a vampire. They all agreed they needed to tackle that enemy first while the sun was still positioned to help them during the battle. The ancient tower they found was in dire need of repair. The cracked and crumbled ice provided abundant handholds, which was fortunate given the front door could not be opened and the only obvious entrance was an ice balcony about 75 feet above them. Between Yumi’s winged boots giving Crosby a lift and the strength and skill of the rest of party, reaching the balcony wasn’t much of a challenge, but when it gave way after more than Crosby tried to stand on it they had a harder time getting into their typical battle formation. The door was unlocked, but not surprisingly it was not unguarded. As soon as they opened it sunlight entered the upper most tower floor, and that simple act tilted the entire battle into their favor, for the two vampire spawn waiting inside could not easily keep them from entering. While they were fairly easily defeated they served their master well, delaying the party while he awoke from his stupor. She proved to be a moon elf, and all things considered spoke with civility in an ancient common tongue. She identified herself as Sandesyl Morgia and described how she longed for the Cult to return to the “true path” under Sammaster of killing dragons and raising them of dracoliches, but is forced by circumstances to work with the current leadership, most notably Severin the Red. She was fairly conversational early in the battle, mostly because she was able to dominate different members of the party a few times and use them against each other, but after a few rounds of staying in the sunlight and getting the upper hand the party was able to turn the tide of battle, hit with several devastating strikes and ultimately forced Sandesyl to flee in her gaseous form. She fled downstairs and as they followed her they realized why they couldn’t open the front door: the middle two floors and the stairs leading up to them had all fallen so debris filled most of the ground level and blockaded that door. The party could not easily follow Sandesyl’s clouded form down the tower into the darkness, so they simply hauled her coffin to the doorway and threw all the dirt inside out into the sky where the wind carried it all away. They then destroyed the coffin itself. After taking a short rest they climbed back down and decided to check out the nearby tower with three inattentive ogres on top with a ballista, mostly ignoring what was going on around them.

Approaching the tower’s only door they found no guards, but upon entering were greeted by four ogres wearing fancy plumed helmets. Still wearing their cultish robes, scabbards and rings the ogres only questioned what the party wanted to Blagothkus and made sure they understood the four of them were his Honor Guard. They easily talked their way past the four ogres and up staircase. On the way up they passed walls sculpted with ice murals depicting an army of hill, frost, fire, stone & cloud giants battling dragons. They knocked as instructed by the ogres and a deep, resonating voice bid them enter. Inside they found the walls of the room sculpted with more icy murals, these depicting cloud giants riding giant rocs against dragons of various colors. A blue-skinned giant was sitting on the floor with his legs crossed while two ogres comb his snowy white hair. Obviously taking them for cultists he immediately warns the party not to share any of Rezmir’s demands or they’d end up like her previous messengers, and points to an area of the floor still marred by chipped ice and frozen blood. Looking up they see his hulking morningstar leaning against the bed within arm’s reach. They diplomatically state they are in fact enemies of Rezmir and the Cult in general, and wonder how a giant has allied himself with his ancient foes as shown in the ice murals. He is only too happy to speak of his plan to stir his fellow giants our of their complacency and into action, thinking they have grown soft, and thrashing some dragons would be good for giantkind. He is playing along with the Cult to learn as much as he can about the plans and forces, but on the side is gathering support among giants to fight them. He believes that the rise of Tiamat and the threat of a dragon empire will spur the giants to unite. He has no conflict with “small folk” like the party and talks openly of his plans to take the vast treasure below with the Cult forces to the Well of Dragons where the cult is gathering its forces and amassing a hoard in anticipation of Tiamat’s arrival. He’s willing to change course and instead head north since he’s learned most of what he thinks he safely can, but will do so only if the party is able to eliminate Rezmir and the two Red Wizards like they have removed the vampire from the picture. He warns them to not harm his Stone Giant allies housed in the lower courtyard but has no real concern for the ogres. Once the party brings him proof they’ve taken care of Rezmir and the two Red Wizards he’ll unleash his ogres on the remaining cultish forces as the party battles the white dragon in the main vault below. Knowing they have only until nightfall before Sandesyl is able to leave her tower and warn Rezmir or the two Red Wizards, the party agrees. They warned the Cloud Giant he and his ogres shouldn’t eat the bullywug tainted stew for lunch but he wasn’t concerned with “small folk” poison, figuring any giant affected by such was weak and got what they deserved. Given it was after lunch and hoping that Rezmir and the Red Wizards might be incapacitated by their ploy along with the cultists in the barracks, they readied themselves for their next battle.

Rezmir’s chamber was locked but that didn’t stop the party for long, though their attempts at forced entry did alert Rezmir and she was ready for them as they moved into her room. She was standing protectively in front of an iron-banded chest secured with a sturdy padlock resting on her desk and flanked by two loyal guard drakes. The party moved in and was surprised by the rug of smothering. It was, of course, then that she leaped into the fray with her magical greatsword laughing maniacally and drakes. She fought as one possessed to her death, and the party was disturbed to see her laugh almost with glee as they finally cut her down. As she fell a great flash of power was felt emanating from that chest she was guarding, and they were not surprised to see it was empty when they finally broke the lock. It likely contained gems, jewelry and coins along with the Black Dragon Mask, but all seemed to have teleported away with her death. They party did claim her evil greatsword, though, at least Callahorn did, which thankfully had stopped its evil laughing with Rezmir’s death.

They didn’t rest long before moving to the chamber on the far side of the lower courtyard from their own quarters where the Red Wizard sanctum was located. Seef managed to distract them with his Cult disguise as they entered, so the wizards didn’t immediately attack them. Rath Modar threatened him with bodily harm just as Azbara Jos recognized Crosby and the others. This brief period of confusion likely proved the wizards undoing as the party quickly overpowered them, preventing either of the wizards from fleeing through the vanishing wall of ice and balcony with magical flight.

After a short rest the party brought their heads to Blagothkus, and he grinned at the gore held before him. He grabbed his massive morningstar and may have briefly considered attacking the party, but instead he rallied his ogre forces. He stated he and his ogres would help defeat the dragon after they’d taken care of removing the remaining cultish forces from his castle, and bid the party good luck in their fight below until then.

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Session 13
The Hunting Lodge

They decided to move all the treasure they’d acquired into the top room of the observatory and leave it locked behind them, hoping it would remain safe while they ventured onward. They made their way down to the teleportation circle and used the keyword they’d found on Rezmir’s desk. After they’d all assembled on the magical symbols and readied their weapons, Crosby firmly spoke the word, “Draezir”, and with a gut wrenching lurch they suddenly found themselves outside under a clear blue sky breathing air that was both cold & fresh, and surrounded by dark pine woods. They were standing between two ancient stones and no more than a bowshot ahead along a path was a large house, with stone on the ground floor, timbers above. To the sides were three more pairs of standing stones. No movement inside the lodge or outside was observed during the few moments they took to get their bearings, but they quickly moved around to the side of the house unsure if they’re arrival had been witnessed.

Around the back they spotted two smaller buildings, a stable and a kennel. They found the former housed a wagon and a few draft horses but empty of people, however they could tell that dogs & their master occupied the latter. Because the building had both a front and back entrance the party split up and worked out the timing so those in front could open the door and charge in to surprise the occupants, then the back team including Seef could take advantage of the diversion and attack them from behind, hopefully quietly enough that they wouldn’t disturb anyone inside the lodge. Unfortunately the front door was stuck, and though they pulled mightily they were unable to force it open. They made enough noise in their attempt that they alerted those inside and soon it crashed open as a four-armed troll and his six ambush drakes poured forth ready to attack. It was a vicious fight and while they did beat their foes they were worried they’d made an awful ruckus which was likely to alert anyone inside the main building. They retreated to the stable for a short rest and were surprised nothing else showed up looking for them.

They decided to then try the back door, and as expected found it led into the kitchen where four cultists were preparing a meal. They were quickly slain before any could escape into the rest of building to warn others. The pantry was well stocked but empty of foes, so they ventured downstairs into the basement. They found three prisoners chained to the walls. Craggnor the Dwarf made no bones about being a Cultist under Varram the White, and his singed & chopped beard were testament to his recent tortures under Talis, the cultist currently in charge upstairs. The party left him where he was for the time being since he couldn’t be easily trusted, but they released the other two prisoners, a woman named Mirasella from Baldur’s Gate and a priest of Amaunator named Brother Caemon. They helped them hide in the stables and ministered to the wounds Mirasella had received while Brother Caemon explained Talis had been trying to recruit him to the Cult and had treated him very well all things considered. Even with the party’s assurances the troll and guard drakes were dead neither of the two were comfortable making a run down the mountain slope to Parnast in broad daylight unless Talis and her henchman, numbering four plus the kobolds & low level cultists maintaining the lodge, were eliminated.

They reentered the manor and quickly located a few human servants being forced to serve Talis and her fellow cultists. These too were safely ensconced in the stables before the party fought a helmed horror (capable of Evard’s Black Tentacles Crosby later explained) guarding the study and chased a couple dozen kobold servants from the house into the wilderness. In the study Callahorn was quite taken with a magical wall tapestry that seemed capable of transporting those who activated it and step through to a location near a deer, mountain goat or other wild game within 5 miles.

Having secured the main floor they moved up the large staircase and fairly easily determined that Talis and her bodyguards were waiting for them in the southwest corner. They took the opportunity to explore the remainder of the floor and found a magical spear named Dragongleam in the Armory, and magical armor and a scroll in what were likely Talis’ bedchamber. Finally in the room next to where Talis & her crew were waiting they found one of her bodyguards in a drunken stupor. Katya was going to wake him up to slay honorably but Yumi took care of things while the others discussed this with her. It was this noise that caused Talis to call through the door, welcoming the party to the lodge as her guests and asking if they could do business. Yumi was asked to remain outside in the hall until one of the party used a code word calling for an attack, that way at least one of them would be free of any magical spells or enchantments trying to trap them. Ready to challenge her most of the party entered and then held off their attacks when she greeted them guardedly but more warmly than they were expecting from a foe. She was holding a magical wand but was not threatening them with it, and asked again if they could do business. Crosby took the lead here and they spoke formally as wizards often do. Talis even gave them a chance to join the Cult, an offer Crosby didn’t immediately refuse to the concern of his fellow party members. Regardless, despite plenty of misgivings the party did end up bargaining an agreement with Talis. She shared a fair amount of information about the cult & its leadership, allies and plans including how the party could smuggle themselves onto Skyreach Castle in Parnast, using the wagon & horses in the stable, some of the crates and barrels in the pantry and a banner of five stripes colored black, blue, green, red & white poorly hidden in the linen room on the first floor. She gives them the pass phrase necessary to safely enter the castle, “Tiamat, Our Mother & Strength”. She also describes those likely present on Skyreach Castle and that given Rezmir’s orders as she passed through yesterday from Castle Naerytar the castle would likely be departing some time later today or tomorrow. She is very open about hoping the party can disrupt Rezmir’s plans and putting her in disfavor even if the party is unable to eliminate her. She vows to remain with her bodyguards in that room for the next couple hours as the party gets the wagon ready, restocks their supplies and brings Mirasella & Brother Caemon along for the trip.

By early evening they arrive at Parnast, stopping only briefly at the local tavern where they slyly show one of the cultists hand signs and are quickly informed by an agent there they’d best hurry on through town and reach the castle by nightfall as it’s leaving tonight. Just outside to town around a bend they find the castle mostly hidden by fog. Ogres man the battlements in the towers on either side of the gate. As their wagon crosses the bridge Crosby points to the two Stone Golems standing guard flanking the gate. The large statues turn their heads and glare menacingly at the wagon until Crosby quickly mutters the pass phrase given to them by Talis, whereupon they they face each other and stand still again. The party is directed to park their wagon at the mouth of a large tunnel that goes down into the heart of the glacier the cloud castle is built upon. A couple wagons were unloading in front of them, so when their turn came they knew what was expected. They quickly unloaded their crates and barrels down into the main vault, and while they didn’t see a white dragon directly it was noticeably colder down there. Their wagon and horses had been removed when they came back to the main level, and a cultist Dragonwing gave them a few short orders about staying in their appointed room except for meals which they could obtain in the kitchens. Then he tasked a few kobolds with showing them the kitchen for their supper and settling them into their quarters on the edge of the upper courtyard. They tried getting some information from their kobold guides but they were too busy to talk much, fearful if they tarried with serving everyone dinner they’d be punished. As the castle suddenly started lifting into the the sky they congratulated themselves upon successfully infiltrating the Cult this far, then started to plan their next move.

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Session 12
Exploring the rest of Castle Naerytar

The gargoyles crashed through the glass roof panes and literally fell onto the party, or tried to. Their stony hides made taking them out difficult but the party prevailed though all of them took significant wounds. Given a bit of a short rest they tried to operate the farseer of Illusk, unfortunately it was too complicated to use without more careful study. They did manage not to break it in the attempt. Searching more of the tower they were able to more thoroughly examine the library Dralmorrer had been collecting from the raided loot during his time stationed here. They also broke into his personal strongbox of treasure which thankfully contained more portable loot than they’d found with Spattergoo.
With the lizardfolk by this time chasing the few living bullywugs into the swamp the castle was starting to empty out and quiet down. They decided to search the northwest tower which quickly proved to be trash pit. They did spy a chest on the second floor but the stairs up had largely rotted away. Undeterred Yumi used her winged boots to carry Crosby up towards the second floor as Callahorn misty stepped up to that ledge. While crossing the debris and muck they weren’t all that surprised when an otyugh they’d failed to spot attacked with it’s tentacles. No one was grappled for long but it did manage a few good tentacle slams before it succumbed to the groups combined attacks. The chest contained nearly 2,000 copper coins and little more than 50 silver with a pair of gold earrings worth 10 gp for the metal, but so garish that none of them wanted to wear them.
Moving back out to the inner courtyard they finally reached the south wall rooms claimed by the cultists. They were entirely abandoned, including the great hall that had been converted largely to a makeshift carpentry shop. It was obvious this is where the plunder was put into newly made chests and boxes for easier transport. Though much of the loot pile was hastily removed, likely just minutes after the lizardfolk started gleefully cutting bullywugs up for swamp bait, the party was happy to find a large pile of abandoned treasure in one corner, most of it small enough to carry with them. They were able to rescue a dwarf named Tham Tharmzid and his human helpers from their forced servitude in the kitchen. They also found a magical dagger of venom in a shrine to Tiamat in the converted chapel. On the third floor they found Rezmir’s chambers, but she was not in them. They were opulently decorated but appeared largely unused. On her desk they managed to find the keyword to activate the teleportation circle in the caverns below, “Draezir”. In her sleeping chambers they found a 2’ tall black dragon statuette made form actual black dragon scales and claws, with ruby eyes and diamond teeth perched atop an actual treasure heap of gold and gems. If handled carefully and delivered intact to the right collector they estimated its worth at around 4,800 gp. Fortunately they had moved it out of the room before opening one of her wardrobes and setting off the acid trap inside. They added that to the tally of grievances against Rezmir as they moved into the caverns below the castle.
The few remaining bullywugs they found down below were surprised as they hadn’t heard any of the commotion above ground. The giant frogs littering the caves and underground lake quickly left them alone after the first half dozen were cut down within seconds. They found a crane used to move the treasure chests and boxes down a ledge before being transported by the teleportation circle in the adjoining cavern. Down another passageway they found Spattergoo’s shrine to…confusion. Yumi & Crosby were able to identify the cave paintings and wall markings as pieces and elements of symbology to a myriad of different religions including Ghaunadaur (god of slimes) and Shar (goddess of night and void). Beyond that room was what could only be Spattergoo’s sanctum as there was only one mud-covered chair and table with a box of candles and a wooden chest. Though it was trapped it was simply disabled and inside they found no typical treasure. In the chest and the trap they recovered multiple pots of a frog-based poison and the recipe for making more that causes any creature affected to succumb to the hallucination that all other creatures near them have been transformed into nightmarish, frog-like monstrosities. (DC 11 + # of pots used, each turn roll a die, odd: flee to underwater, even:attack nearest creature, lasts 10 minutes) With the right alchemist, proper ingredients and a decent lab it’s likely this concoction could be distilled into something much more potent. They made their way back up to the observatory room to regroup, determine their next move, and rest.

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Session 11
Making Spattergoo spatter goo

The evening was thankfully uneventful in their lizardfolk-made longhouse as they caught a few hours of rest. With the coming of Shar’s darkness and before Selune’s light spoiled the opportunity the group made it’s way along the east side of the moat. From there the party used their various talents and gear to get everyone to the top of the northeast tower. Winged boots, misty stepping and climbing rope all played their part. Thankfully the bullywugs were just as rowdy and noisy at night as they were prior to duskfall, so the little noise they made mattered not at all. With little effort they were able to enter the top of the tower and nearly immediately were set upon by the giant spiders that laired there. They were easily dispatched and then they were talking with Snapjaw and the other lizardfolk most interested in getting rid of their bullywug tormentors. They had a surprisingly large cache of metal weapons given to them as payment by Dralmorrer Borngray, the cultist in charge of Castle Naerytar, but they were hesitant to engage the bullywugs directly. Finally Snapjaw asked the party to prove their intentions and strength to the other members of his tribe to help convince them; take out the bullywug shaman Pharblex Spattergoo that killed their shaman Suncaller recently. The party was only too happy to oblige with this request figuring having two of the factions attacking each other left only the cultists for the party to deal with.
Through magic and stealth craft the party returned to the roof and moved on top of the barracks. The third floor was unoccupied so they had little trouble breaking in, and from there they were able to magically silence the stairway between the majority of the bullywugs carousing on the first floor of the barracks and Spattergoo with his retinue of guards hangers-on drinking on the second floor. Their coordinated attacks took out nearly all of Spattergoo’s closest defenders in the first few seconds, leaving no bullywug below aware of the attack. Though Spattergoo’s bodyguards put up a decent fight the entire battle lasted less than a couple minutes and no alarm had been raised. Using similar tactics they were able to clear out the first floor as well. They returned to the lizardfolk with Spattergoo’s head and with great hissing shouts the Scaly Death tribe took up their metal weapons, called to the giant lizard handlers, and started slaughtering countless bullywugs throughout the castle and surrounding area. The cultists raised an alarm almost immediately, but prior to that the party infiltrated the inner courtyard and entered the central tower. Since he was alone they quickly overpowered Dralmorrer Borngray and literally baked his raven before a few of his lizardfolk guards came too late to aid him. While listening to the sounds of battle outside they made their way to the third floor and discovered the observatory which Crosby noted almost immediately contained a farseer of Illusk, a magical telescope and scrying device. He also noticed through the roof windows the gargoyle guardians stir themselves and ready their claws to attack.

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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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Session 9
Waterdeep, Northbound Again, the Carnath Roadhouse

As the caravan arrives at the gates of Waterdeep the caravan masters efficiently pay all of the guards and disperse in all directions. Those three that hired the PCs are told they may use them as references and they’d be interested in having them for similar work in the future. The party members earns their agreed upon wages of 1 gp per day, so 58 gp for each of them. Carlon tells them to follow the Cultists wagon convoy to the north gate and that he’ll learn what he can and catch up with them there later tonight at an inn called the The Frog & Folly.
Callahorn tries following Carlon but loses him fairly quickly in the large crowds and unfamiliar streets. He then checks the main library for some ancient scrolls. He doesn’t make much progress but doesn’t want to tell the archivists exactly what he’s looking for. By evening he hooks up with the rest of the party but hopes to do find time to do some more research.
Katya goes to the Temple of Torm, tithes 50 gp and gives her report to her superiors at the church and in the Order of the Gauntlet along with a letter from Ontharr Frume he asked her to deliver. She learns there have been about 6 such caravans in the last two to three tendays, all following the same pattern of hooking up with caravans headed further north.
Seef tries following Jamna and isn’t surprised when she gives him the slip, he then goes and buys some better armor before visiting a few taverns and learning what rumors abound. The most interesting is about a black half-dragon supposedly seen in the area at least a tenday ago. There are, of course, many versions of the story but it’s pretty easy to tease out that there was a strong escort of mounted guards and they were all headed north.
Crosby spends most of the day tracking down some spells of the second and thirds levels of power he’s interested in at a few of the Waterdeep Wizard Academies.
Yumi is the left to actually follow the Cultist wagons and arrange their lodgings at the Frog & Folly which he does without incident. He is also able to learn that the the Cultists have joined a supply caravan chartered by the High Road Charter Company and that they are provisioning to leave two days hence. Finally he learns that a human veteran named Ardred Briferhew commands the entire convoy and is in charge of hiring all the wagon guards. Once the others arrive they are joined after dinner by Carlon who is able to give them a Harper reference to give to Ardred the following morning to insure they’ll be hired as caravan guards and he also shares that he suspects, but wasn’t able to confirm, that Jamna works for the Zhentarim, which surprises none of them really.
Yumi then slips out as the others head to bed. He follows the signs easily seen for one of the initiated to a cell of his church, tithes 10 gp and informs them about the doppelgängers along the Trade Way to the south so they can possibly be recruited, as well as his possible recruits in Baldur’s Gate. He is able to confirm that Jamna works for the Zhentarim and may be a possible ally.
The following morning they very quickly are hired by Ardred as caravan guards and are asked to be present at sunrise the following morning in the large warehouse. Callahorn returns to his studies of ancient secrets and is more successful, making some progress. Yumi sleeps in a bit before heading to a circus during the afternoon (with Seef) and that night going to a wealthy show before returning to his church for a service and acquiring some poison. Crosby confirms with Katya’s Locate Object spell that his sigil ring is in the warehouse and then explores some of Waterdeep to become more familiar with the large city. After the circus Seef heads back to the inns & taverns near the large supply warehouse and is able to hang out, buy a few drinks and make some friends among the caravan teamsters the party will be leaving with on the morrow. Katya spends the day working @ Torm’s temple.
On Day 3 the party assembles in the large warehouse and find the Cultists are not at all pleased to see the party members among the caravan guards. It’s not clear how many of the Cultists or party members are surprised when Jamna also shows up as a guard. There are the 3 wagons the Cultists have plus 3 others, all laden with supposedly supplies for the new High Road being built. It’s easy for Katya & Crosby to determine as they leave Waterdeep that his signet ring is in the second wagon.
The next several days are pretty easy going giving Yumi a chance to talk with Jamna more about the Zhenatrim (which she doesn’t have any qualms about discussing out of earshot of others) and they learn to respect each other even if ultimately Yumi determines she’s not a good fit for the Zhentarim and that Jamna’s not a good fit for her church.
On the 8th day out of Waterdeep the caravan is attacked by a large force of bullywugs. These prove no match for the party but they are not unhappy to learn one of the cultists was seriously wounded.
In the late afternoon a full tenday out of Waterdeep they arrive at the Carnath Roadhouse, which has been rebuilt and put to use as a supply depot and wagon park. The whole caravan gets settled in and they meet Bog Luck, the superintendent of the camp, a burly half-orc who is the only one with a key to the Strong Room and also, the party notices quickly, happens to have a shortsword scabbard decorated with dragon motifs matching the ones they found on Cultist guards in the Raiders Camp cave.
The following day they figured out unpacking and inventorying one wagon takes a whole day, and the first wagon unloaded was one of the non-Cultist supplies. Very little was considered valuable enough for Bog Luck to direct it be placed in the Strong Room, however as Yumi watched he realized many of the caravan members, teamsters and guards, both Cultists and not, were asking Bog Luck to protect their own personal valuables in the Strong Room.
The second wagon chosen for unloading at Roadhouse on day two was a cultist wagon and most of the contents was placed in the Strong Room while some little things were unpacked and stored in the open warehouse and in the courtyard. Yumi watched this as well. Seef took advantage of the inattentiveness of some drinking Cultists that he was able to use Mage Hand to swipe something special from one of the Cultists, a personal memento that appeared to be a good luck charm of some kind. He also was able to learn while drinking with his teamster friends that Gristle Pete is frequently grumpy because of all the noise he hears below his Kitchen in the wee hours of the night, from what he calls "all the critters in the floors banging and knocking and hissing and whispering at all hours. With a little sympathetic questioning Seef learns they’re not present every night but instead seem to be typically a few nights after one of the supply caravans shows up. He figures all the new people staying at the roadhouse makes those rats nervous!
The next day the second Cultist wagon, the one containing Crosby’s ring as confirmed again by Katya’s Locate Object spell, was chosen and that morning Yumi asks Bog Luck to lock up his Calligraphy set in the Strong Room which he has no problem doing. Yumi has to persuade him to prove that the Strong Room is actually safe and Bog Luck is appropriately proud of the system he’s devised to make sure everyone gets their belongings and only their belongings, mostly due to his meticulous notes in a large ledger book. During this distraction Crosby is able to look around quite awhile invisibly and is able to determine one of the large “heavy” crates is actually bolted to the floor, possibly acting as trap door. He leaves before his spell wears off and the party then makes plans to slip into the Strong Room later that night to check everything out and try to recover Crosby’s Signet ring. Seef, meanwhile, has managed to hide his borrowed good luck charm in one of the other Cultist’s rooms just as that individual starts throwing around accusations about his stolen item. After some deliberation the party chooses to include Jamna in their plans since, while they don’t completely trust her they are sure she’s not in league with the Cultists and they’re sure she could interfere or interrupt their plans unknowingly if she’s off doing something at the same time.
They wait until even Gristle Pete is asleep and a couple hours past midnight creep down and make their way to the Strong Room. Through the door they hear some whispering and muffled banging noises just as Gristle Pete complained about. The lock proves not at all difficult for Seef to open and the party tenses as the swing the door wide. Inside they are confronted with about 10 lizardfolk moving boxes down into a tunnel below the trap door Crosby had discovered!

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Session 8
The Cultist Caravan and the second part of the journey

A few days passed before the golden stag hunt faded from fireside talk amongst the caravan. It was on the 16th day of the journey that one of the “traveling” cultists, identified as such by Yumi when some of their ill gotten gains spilled onto the road back in the Fields of the Dead, came up to Crosby asking about a ring he wore on a chain around his neck. The ring was special to him as it bore his family’s crest. The man seemed overly friendly as he introduced himself as Kylar and asked about the ring. He assumed it was for sale despite Crosby’s polite but firm response that it was not; he offered a mere 5 silver. Over the course of the day’s travel Kylar became more insistent about buying it and then in the afternoon more angry about it. He made one final attempt at dinner offering a “generous 10 silver” and became angry when Crosby again rebuffed him and thereafter looked at him with animosity.
Around dinner on the 22nd day of travel two buxom sisters found their way to the caravan’s fires. They were not looking for companionship nor selling anything but were very interested in learning all they could about the various travelers, teamsters and guards. They were turned away from the cultist campfires but others were not concerned by their presence. Seef was most disturbed by their questioning and was able to watch them as they sat and talked with several others. Before long he realized they were picking up the mannerisms of those they spoke with longer and he became more suspicious about their true nature & purpose. He introduced himself as a great wizard, one of his alternate roles that he’d cultivated in the past, and was very convincing; so much so they two ladies shortly thereafter took their leave of the caravan and bid goodnight to those they seemed most focused on. He followed them a couple hundred yards into the woods before heading back to the caravan and gave some special words to remember to their likely targets. Over the next few days nothing seemed amiss.
At the same time Katya noticed that Nyerhite Verther’s silk stock was infested with worms and this caused him a great deal of anguish. He was comforted only when Katya agreed to mend the wagon & his silk and eradicate the infestation. She stayed up all night performing this service mouthing prayers to her deity all the while. Crosby helped initially sort through the good & bad bolts but went to bed eventually. For the remainder of the trip he was obsessive about Katya checking his silk rolls and making sure there was no recurrence.
On the morning of the 23rd Crosby awoke to find his necklace & ring had been taken. He’d not taken it off the night before. A search of his bedroll and the immediate area found the broken necklace but there was no sign of the ring. He & Katya immediately confront Kylar who surprisingly assumes Crosby is approaching because he’s ready to sell the ring to him now. His response seems genuine as he denies any part in the theft. Before anyone can react Crosby casts Shocking Grasp on him and he all but dies. They search him and his few belongings but don’t turn up the ring. The rest of the party notice the other cultists are angry and debating about becoming involved but before they do Katya heals Kylar and the pair leave him alone. He and the other cultists focus their gazes on Crosby for the remainder of the journey.
On day 26 the caravan comes upon a man buried up to his neck in the middle of the road with “Oathbreaker” painted on his forehead. He is in bad shape from exposure and dehydration and it’s obvious from wheel tracks on the turned-over earth that other wagons have passed him by during the last few days. That is what the cultists & some other wagon masters feel is best but none stop Katya as she approaches and immediately starts digging him out. Nyerhite does not second guess her decision and neither does anyone else, leaving her to deal with him and the hole she dug in the road. He is found to have a Harper tattoo on his arm if they dig him up. They borrow Yumi’s horse to catch up to the others by nightfall. After receiving some water and benefiting from her healing ministrations the man introduces himself as Carlon Amoffel. He is very thankful for her help and is quick to identify her as a cleric of Torm and confirms she is a member of the Gauntlet. Upon hearing a basic pass phrase from Crosby he openly shares he was on a similar mission to the party’s: tracking a shipment of stolen loot north along the Trade Way, but the smugglers—he’s sure they’re members of the Cult of the Dragon—became suspicious of him. He passed information to another Harper at a roadside inn and members of the caravan witnessed this. The cultists then successfully manufactured a story that he was passing information to bandits. The remaining merchants were unwilling to kill him outright but were willing to leave him buried in the road and “let providence decide the man’s fate.” Over the next day or so he regains his strength and then purposefully distances himself from the party after letting them know he has Harper contacts in Waterdeep and knows his way around the city; he’ll help them continue their mission when the caravan reaches its destination.
On day 31 the caravan was passing through a small forest and was attacked by a fairly organized group of ettercaps and giant spiders. While the party fought off the creatures with no losses the caravan as a whole lost five people and five horses before they were completely driven off. Unfortunately none of those killed were among the cultists.
The next few days and nights were filled with rain, lightning and strange whistling sounds on the wind. On the morning of day 34 the entire caravan awoke to find the surrounding countryside was blanketed with fungus. It grows everywhere, including on the road. The spores release a puff of black spores and a moan of pain when stepped on or crushed but they are easily destroyed. The sounds spooks the animals and none will willing walk on the mushrooms. Over the next couple hours they grow to over a foot tall each as the caravan debates about what they should do. Yumi is the first to try making a path broad enough for the caravan to move forward and uses silence to keep from going mad from their moans and shrieking. Unfortunately she succumbs to the hallucinogenic spores and falls into a deep despair for the next day or so filled with nightmares. Her training allows her to recover from these effects far faster than some other members of the caravan similarly affected. Armed with this knowledge the remaining members of the party cover their faces with wet cloth and are able to clear a path through for the caravan over a few hours.
On day 40 Seef comes to believe that one of the cultist teamsters has likely recognized Crosby from the bandit camp near Greenest. That night with the help of a distraction he’s able to slip an ingested poison into the man’s dinner stewpot and the following morning he is found dead. Though there is no proof Crosby receives even more dirty looks from the various cultists.
On day 44 the caravan arrives in Daggerford and rests for the night. As is typical along this type of journey some travelers leave the caravan and others join, among the latter two are noteworthy. The first is a robed human wearing an odd wool cap with ear and neck flaps who is surprisingly welcomed by the cultist wagons and rides with them; something they’ve not allowed anyone else who’s approached them and tried to pay for. The other is a female gnome who later identifies herself as Jamna Gleamsilver.
The following day Seef and others notice Jamna has spoken with all of them at different times and many other members of the caravan. She leaves the impression of being someone who flawlessly takes in every detail about people and her surroundings. Seef also comes to believe she recognizes that he is watching her watching everyone else. She doesn’t get closer to anyone in the party but is often observed near the cultists and especially their new riding companion in the robes, being in a position to eavesdrop on many of their conversations surprisingly unnoticed (probably because they’re all busy scowling at Crosby!).
The morning of day 49 Jamna fairly openly joins Crosby and Katya as they sit down for breakfast. She surreptitiously takes Crosby’s bowl of oatmeal before he takes a bite and with the blade of her dagger pokes through it and lifts out an oatmeal-smeared object resembling a tiny bead. She whispers to them that it’s a sliver of bone curled into a circle so it can be easily swallowed without noticing it. Once eaten, she explains, it uncurls exposing needle points that pierce your guts and kill you slowly. She suspects their in the breakfasts of the entire party and as she departs tells them they’ll talk more this evening. Other party members look for similar bone sliver beads in their bowls but find nothing; some skip breakfast.
True to her word that night after most of the caravan have bedded down she comes around again to Crosby and Katya. She gets right to the point stating “we don’t work for the same people, but we’re all on the same side—we share a belief that the Cult of the Dragon must be stopped. I need to know what they’re carrying in those wagons and where they’re taking it.” The party shares some details about the raids on Greenest and the area surrounding the bandit camp down south and she is grateful to learn that information without having to risk breaking into their wagons. She also points out that the robed man traveling with the Cultists, Asbara Jos, is a Red Wizard of Thay and is openly curious why he is chumming it up with them. Suspicious of her motives and allegiances the party is appropriately wary dealing with her and after she’s gone agree she’s not telling them everything she could, but none of them feel like she’s lying either.
The following morning Katya openly approaches Azbara Jos and introduces herself. The cultists bristle at her approach and seem tense but don’t interfere in any way. When he shares his name with her she asks simply if he is a Red Wizard of Thay; he denies and explains he’s another refugee forced to escape his country after it was overrun with undead under the control of Szass Tam, the story of which is well known across Faerun. She does not detect any falsehood in his statements.
The morning of day 53, only a few days outside of Waterdeep, the caravan awakens to find one of the cultist wagon guards was murdered overnight. He was stabbed in the back with a sword and left where he fell beneath a cult wagon. The cultists immediately accuse Crosby of foul play and are not deterred by the fact that his gnome-sized sword is not large enough to make the wound in the dead man’s back. Many footprints are around the wagon but nothing can be determined from this since most or all are from people crowding around the body that morning. The cultists then argue it was one of Crosby’s party members but they have no proof and other wagon masters are quick to rise to the party’s defense given how much aid they’ve provided to many of them personally and the caravan as a whole over the last nearly two months. One of them then asks what was stolen and recommends their wares be opened and examined to ascertain what might be missing. Azbara Jos then comes forward and tries to calm the situation, in the process saying more than anyone has so far heard him say at one time. The wagon masters ultimately agree that without witnesses, nothing can be done and the gods will punish the guilty party and life (for everyone else, at least) will go on. The cultists thereafter look at Crosby with undisguised hatred.
On day 58 the caravan reaches the great city of Waterdeep.

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Session 7
Joining the Caravan and the first part of the journey

With the help of Frumar’s contact in Baldur’s Gate, the human trader Ackyn Selebon who operates an equipage business in the Outer City north of the city wall in the Blackgate district, the group is able to watch several caravans assembled. With that knowledge they know what to look for and how to join the caravan when the raiders finally arrive. Given how much faster the party traveled they had outpaced the loot raiders’ slow wagons by more than a tenday. With the extra time they are able to enjoy some of what Baldur’s Gate has to offer including each of them purchasing some items of magical power.
Finally the day arrives when Rezmir and her bodyguards come to Selebon’s yard but within a couple of hours they purchase five wagons & supplies and quickly move out with two of them. The other three are prepared more traditionally by the lower ranking cultists disguised as caravan sergeants, guards & drivers. The group is able to scout out and ultimately get hired on as guards with some of the merchants also making preparations to leave on the morrow.
Callahorn & Seef join Edhelri Lewel, a female Moon Elf merchant who’s wagon is loaded with exotic wood from the Jungle of Chult for the master carpenters and cabinetmakers of Waterdeep to turn into exquisite furniture. Her temperament is easily seen within a few hours time, she is impatient with people but exacting about her wagon and doting on her animals.
Yumi joins Lasfelro the Silent, a male Human merchant, who inexplicably breaks into merry songs and short stretches of joke-telling. His voice is a fine tenor and his jokes are hilarious, but these gregarious moods are always short. The rest of the time, he is silent as the grave, staring sullenly at the road ahead, barely moving on the set of his wagon, seeming hardly to breathe. No one knows what he transports in his wagon, but it is guarded by a brooding gargoyle that is tethered to the wagon by a slim, silver chain.
Crosby & Katya join Nyerhite Verther, a male Human merchant, who has a load of Calishite silk that he believes will make him a rich man.
The caravan starts out well enough, but on the second day a noble was regularly seen mistreating his horses. This was very disturbing to Edhelri Lewel so Callahorn tried unsuccessfully to intimidate him to stop. The noble was not so easily cowed, however, when backed by his knight & mage bodyguards. Crosby has more luck with his diplomatic tongue and offers to buy the “useless nags” from him and after the noble’s tirade gets them at a low price. Yumi later on is able to slip some purgative herbs into the noble’s dinner, and great laughter was had by the party with his effort.
On the 4th day as they were navigating through the Fields of the Dead one of the cult wagons overturned on a difficult corner and broke a wheel. Of the crates that tumble free, one smashes open, revealing dozens of beautiful items of jewelry wrapped in wool for protection. Yumi noticed that 3 travelers rushed a bit too quickly to help them recover and hide the items. Crosby offered his help and boldly asked about the treasure; in response he was given canned answers of nothing and it is obvious they mark his interest in their affairs.
On the 11th day several horses were attacked by perytons as traveled the Trollclaws including those guarded by Callahorn & Crosby. They attack relentlessly until they are killed by the party and they gain the respect of many in the caravan as they come to the aid of others.
The next day as they leave the the Trollclaws the entire caravan stops as they spot a herd of deer grazing on a nearby hill including a magnificent stag that shimmers in the light as if its coat is spun from gold and its antlers plated with platinum. Nearly everyone in the caravan who can handle a bow wants to bring down the beast but the party feels this would not be wise. Yumi harasses people to stand down and when that failed Crosby used both sleep and illusion to hinder the hunt. With the combined efforts of Yumi & Callahorn they successfully track it to some tumbled ruins. There it waits for them and greets them in Sylvan first, getting no response it switches to Elvish. With Yumi responding to its greeting it then assures them they are on the right track, and they must continue following the river of gold until they reach the castle in the sky. Sadly, the path will be filled with hardship and blood. To aid them it offers a magical longbow which appears on the ground before Yumi, and then the stag fades from view while saying, “Not all will survive…”.

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Session 6
Travels to Elturel and Baldur's Gate

After defeating Cyanwrath and claiming the treasure in the trapped chest, the group finds three black dragon eggs secreted in the back of a very dark & wet cavern. They also find a roper who was fairly congenial since it apparently was recently fed. They quickly describe the location of the meat locker cave and it moves off in search of many meals.
The arcane members of the group agree the dragon eggs are likely only days away from hatching in these near perfect conditions but only Seef hesitates and ponders some possibilities before smashing them. The infant black dragons in turn each struggle for breath, cry and squirm like a human baby for a few minutes, then die. No one is surprised when Yumi gleefully starts preparing a cookfire.
It is an uneventful and familiar trip back to Greenest where they are welcomed as conquering heroes once again by Governor Nighthill and the other townsfolk they’ve come to know over the last few days. With their help they are able to locate the owners of the string of pearls and gold-and-sapphire ring they found in the treasure chest, and for returning them receive a finder’s fee of 300 gp. They keep the bag of gemstones. Nighthill is quick to tell them before Leosin Erlanthar left Greenest he purchased horses & riding gear for all of the characters except Yumi (who’d purchased his own in the last few days, those expenses were reimbursed instead).
Their travel by horseback to Elturel was expected to take about 6 days though after only a couple they were able to resupply in Berdusk, including purchasing some healing potions for each of them. About a day outside of Berdusk they were ambushed by three ogres that were interested in lunching on their horses. They threw several boulders and hit hard but were fairly quickly overwhelmed. The remainder of the trip went quickly and quietly.
It was before noon when they crested a hill and gazed upon Elturel for the first time. It is well described as an orderly city overlooking the River Chionthar filled with merchants, river traders and farmers’ markets. Its most distinguishing feature is a brilliant magical light that hovers above it, illuminating it day and night. This light is reportedly painful to undead and is certainly visible to every corner of Elturgard (of which Elturel is the capital), and did appear from afar to the party as a star or distant sun.
Upon reaching Elturel around noon about 8 days after Leosin left Greenest they were quick to discover no one in town knew of him. It was Katya who first thought to ask about Ontharr Frume and it was quite difficult to find anyone who didn’t know of him. Everyone pointed them towards his “headquarters” at a tavern called A Pair of Black Antlers. They were quickly recruited into the near constant challenges taking place between Frume’s company members and sometimes Elturel’s monk disciples. It doesn’t take them long to understand Frume is taking their measure so each of them in turn participate in a challenge of some kind. Most of them do well and overall the group impresses him. They spend the night in rooms set aside at the inn for them and the next day are summoned to meet with Frume & Leosin in a private study off the common room.
Frume is quick to praise their successes and laments the failures of the entire region related to the Cult of the Dragon. Immediately after he asks them flat out to join the fight against the Cult, stating “we need people like you, who know how and when to fight, and how and when to keep their heads down and observe. We can’t promise you anything except long days filled with danger and stress—but what could be better than that, eh?”
Leosin then speaks up and shares that he is a Harper and tells the party a bit about their organization and aims. Ontharr then describes his faction, the Order of the Gauntlet and discusses how their goals align against the Cult of the Dragon. A third faction is also mentioned, then Emerald Enclave. It is then they both ask the group if any of them want to join. Katya is quick to commit to the Order, and Seef & Callahorn are interested in becoming Harpers. Pleased with the group’s choices to consider joining their respective factions and to continue fighting the Cult, talk then moves about the best way to spoil their plans. Problem number one is, of course, not knowing exactly what they are. Leosin & Ontharr have already made use of the information the party discovered from Frulam Mondath’s desk notes and arranged for transportation the following morning on a boat down the River Chiontharr to Baldur’s Gate. They expect to beat the Cultists loot wagons since they moved much slower west to the Trade Way and then north to Baldur’s Gate.
Ontharr describes his contact, a human trader named Ackyn Selebon, who operates an equipage business in the Outer City north of the city wall in a district called Blackgate. There he sells all the material needed for long-distance freight hauling: wagons, rope, netting, grease, chains, wheels and so on. His shop also repairs wagons. He is not directly involved in the hiring of guards for caravans, but he knows people who are. With him to vouch for the party, they don’t expect to have any trouble getting hired on as guards for a northbound caravan, but he can’t give them work with any specific merchant.
The party finds lodging in Blackgate at his recommendation and figures they have anywhere from 10-15 days in Baldur’s Gate before the Cult wagons are likely to arrive. What’s the best way to spend that time?

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Session 5
Nursery Cave, the Deep Tunnels

Stupid website just ate my 45 minutes of typing :(

Shorter version:
Cavern ahead: garbage dump, only Crosby interested in looking for another man’s treasure.
Tunnel to the right: down stairs to a very cold chamber functioning as a meat locker, trapped by hanging strips of poorly cured leather with multiple poisoned barbed hooks. Yumi buries one in one of the front haunches while the others don’t find any secret doors.
Tunnel to the left: everyone but Callahorn steps into a spiked & poisoned shallow pit trap but the poison doesn’t make them run wildly or attack one another. The cavern opens up into an upper ridge to the north and a lower southern section blocked off by a gate with the key hanging on the top of the small set of stairs. They hear kobolds talking around the bend at the far end of the upper northern ridge and rush them, taking them down quickly but not before the noise attracts a couple guard drakes locked away down below to the south and a larger number of kobolds down a stairway to the north. A devastating curse from Callahorn takes out a couple of the winged flyers trying to fly over the party’s heads and half of the six kobolds charging up the stairs. The others on the ground were demoralized at that point and quickly taken down by Yumi’s attacks but the party didn’t have any obvious way to stop the remaining two winged kobolds from flying over to the gate and key and using them to let the guard drakes out to rip into the party. Ultimately they were all taken out but not before giving some significant wounds. They used most of their healing potions from Ilestra to recover and missed Katya’s blessings from Torm. They were happy to find some gold & silver coins in the makeshift kobold barracks but were mostly confused by the 88 stacks of 8 copper coins each.
Following the last unexplored tunnel they were surprised by 3 things as they entered the largest cavern yet: 1) the many and varied dragons etched into all the walls and stalagmites; 2) the 5-headed dragon above a chest in the far wall; and 3) Cyanwrath pacing around the room, apparently waiting for them. They talked about various options and Seef was the first to enter with plans to try and sneak around Cyanwrath and check out the chest’s contents. He was spotted immediately by Cyanwrath so Yumi stepped in anxious for a rematch. While no formal duel was accepted by Yumi, Cyanwrath was clearly frustrated and a bit surprised when the party all started attacking him. He seemed to let loose and pull no punches then which allowed his lightning breath weapon and multiple attacks to devastate most of the party. Using the last of their healing potions Yumi was able to take out Cyanwrath as he declared her dishonorable. Seef was able to open the locked chest but not adept enough to disable the poison gas trap first which took the entire party by surprise. Ultimately they were able to claim the treasure inside which was mostly outlined by the papers on Frulam’s desk, some of which was likely stolen from Greenest. Before leaving they were able to find the bottom of the escape tunnel from Frulam’s quarters but do not find her or where she may have fled.

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