D&D Encounters, Tyranny of Dragons, part 3

Previously on Tyranny of Dragons, the party arrived in Greenest to find it besieged by strange, robed figures, kobolds, and a blue dragon. Acting heroically, the group aid the town as best they could, repelling various attacks by these raiders. But not without loss; the human ranger Selwyn sacrificed his life, knocking the party aside from the blue dragon’s lightning breath and taking the full force of the ferocious attack. The surviving party members manage to drive the blue dragon away, and gain some new party members in the process. Asked to save Greenest villagers trapped in the local Sanctuary, a temple to Chantea, the party find themselves hiding by a nearby riverbank, observing one group trying using a battering ram on the front door, another group trying to get through the back door, and a third group patrolling the nearby area.

Our big damn heroes for this week include:

But, this is not the group we start off with. For whatever reason, only Anders, Gabrielli, Icarium, and Tarvik are at the riverbed. Vladimir and Xavier maybe stayed at the keep momentarily to enjoy a drink or two, or maybe they were giving Stephen a job interview?

In any event, after some discussion, the group decides to try and deceive the patrolling enemy force, which also happens to be the largest enemy force of the three they scouted earlier, including three robed figures, ten kobolds, and two ambush drakes. Wearing robes they procured from an earlier battle, Icarium and Gabrielli attempt to deceive the group. Icarium barely fails the deception check, but Gabrielli is successful. Except for one problem:

Cultist: “Who are you? And who is this fool? A Greenest villager?”

Gabrielli: “No, we’re members of the Cult of the Dragon.”

Cultist (looking more closely at Gabrielli): “Is that…a beard made out of feathers?! You are no member of the Cult of the Dragon. Attack these fools!”

For the sake of context, Gabrielli is a sorceress with a wild magic bloodline; whenever she casts a spell of 1st level or higher, she rolls on a ‘Wild Magic Surge’ table. The very first play session, a magic unicorn appeared. Last play session, she grew a long beard made of feathers that remained until she sneezed. The player hadn’t told me she sneezed at any point, so I assumed the beard was still present. Continuity, people, continuity. 😉

Naturally, battle ensued and before anyone knew it, Icarium and Gabrielli went down to multiple kobold attacks. Tarvik was doing okay, but Anders was pretty sure that things would go south really fast unless they could get out of there fast. Anders happens to be a warlock whose patron is “The Great Old One” (basically Cthulu,) which gives him a nifty ability called ‘Awakened Mind.’ It’s essentially telepathy, but what’s neat about it is that the creature doesn’t have to share a language with the telepath to understand him / her, though the creature does have to understand a language. Anders uses his Awakened Mind ability on one of the cultists, convincing him that the will of the Dragon Queen is for not to slay these foes. Thanks to an inspired deception roll, the cultist acquiesces and ceases hostilities, though he does get his kobolds to loot the downed tiefling and human noble. The enemies march away to resume their patrol.

Tarvik heals Icarium and Gabrielli as best he could, but he’s tapped out of any healing magic at this point, and the two magic-users look rather bloodied. Coincidentally, Vladimir, Xavier, and newcomer Stephen Colbert arrive. Perfect timing!

Noticing the front doors are looking bad at this point, the party acts more quickly this time, electing to take out the enemy group at the rear of the sanctuary. A much smaller force awaits them, and with so much smoke obscuring the back area, they pretty much surprise them and take them out in about twenty seconds. Stephen Colbert is especially effective, beheading his enemies with relative ease.

Entering through the back door, they find close to fifty villagers filling up the sanctuary, most of them terrified. Gabrielli atttempst to persuade the villagers to listen to her, and is successful in doing so. She also gains the aid of a local half-elf priest of Chantea, Eadyan Falconmoon; moved by the human noble’s speech, he vouches for the party. They quickly agree to have Gabrielli and Falconmoon escort the villagers back to the secret tunnel entrance which leads to the keep. Then the front doors break down and battle ensues. Before she leaves, Gabrielli casts a sleep spell, which puts three kobolds and five villagers to sleep. Unknown to her, these five villagers meet their doom from various kobolds. The remaining party members manage to counter the frontal assault, taking out this enemy force, and return to the keep not too worse for wear.

It’s almost 4:00 in the morning by the time the party returns to the keep. There, they join up with Gabrielli as well as Escobert the Red (keep castellan) and Governor Nighthill (Governor of Greenest.) Then a figure appears at the front of the keep, with sixteen kobolds, as well as four prisoners. This figure appears to be humanoid in shape, seven feet tall, with blue scales for skin. It is in fact, a half-dragon named Langdedrosa Cyanwrath, and he challenges Greenest’s “best warrior” to mortal combat for the lives of their four prisoners, three children and a woman.

Even though the half-dragon serves an evil cult, he is actually an honorable creature. Everything about his demeanor and body language indicate that he’s telling the truth as far as Nighthill and the party can tell. Governor Nighthill pleads with the party for help. Vladimir accepts the challenge; armed with two healing potions, he emerges from the keep to engage the half-dragon, while the party debates on what to do. There is some disagreement over whether to use ranged weaponry or not, but in the end they don’t interfere, and Vladimir does actually put up quite a good fight against a foe more powerful then himself. Alas, Langdedrosa does win in the end, though it looks like he’s had more fun than he’s had in ages. He acknowledges his rival with a kick to his fallen carcass (which automatically confers a failure on one of Vladimir’s death saves), releases the prisoners, and leaves with his kobold minions. Some of the local priests emerge from the front door, and immediately apply the second healing potion Vladimir had on his person (he used the first during battle; if memory serves me correctly, he rolled a ‘1’ when trying to determine how effective the healing potion was. Was probably made with spoiled milk, or something.)

At this point, it looks like the raiders are taking their leave. Relieved with having survived the night, the Governor offers the party immediate aid, beds, food and drink as it looks like they could use a long rest. Amusingly, the human noble asks for a separate room, which the Governor agrees to.

And we come to the end of episode one of The Hoard of the Dragon Queen. What dangers await the party next time? I have no idea, but whatever happens, I’m sure it’ll be brilliant.

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