D&D Encounters, Tyranny of Dragons, part 6

Super late post, but I ended up volunteering my time to judge the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set at FalCon 2014, and was rather indisposed from last Friday to Sunday. Speaking of which, I need to remember to update my LinkedIn profile.

Add to that some of the shenanigans going on at work, and I was rather busy. Still am, but I’m squeezing in time to get a quick post in. I’ll probably forgo putting links in and what not.

But I digress…

Previously on Tyranny of Dragons,the party were trying to leave the camp of the Cult of the Dragon. Anders, Icarium, and Gabrielli managed to meet up at the entrance of the camp. Meanwhile, Bindlethorp, Tarvik, and Xavier had climbed out of the camp with Leosin, a half-elf monk who ended up saving Xavier’s ‘obsidian order’ arse from certain doom when Xavier proved to be rather poor at climbing walls. And Vladimir had apparently joined the Cult of the Dragon!

Our big damn heroes for last week included:

A patrol ended up leaving the camp from the entrance, looking for the intruders and Leosin. This patrol happened to have Vladimir with them, and they proceeded down the path the party came from, which in turn, was the path the entire Cult of the Dragon came down. Everyone got that? Good. Thankfully, as an occasionally good DM, I had just barely enough foresight to ask the player for Vladimir last week what his intentions were. Even though he showed up late (which is par for the course due to class,) I knew how I was going to run him.

A second patrol eventually emerged to patrol around the perimeter of the valley that overlooks the camp. Somehow, some way, the party ended up together again, and proceeded down the path where Vladimir’s patrol had headed. Seeing the patrol heading back towards them, everyone hid in the bushes to the sides of the path and got a surprise round in. Vladimir revealed his true colors by waiting for a bit…

…before beheading one of the cult guards. In a rather simple fight, the party emerges victorious and escort Leosin back to Greenest, where the Mayor, Escobert, and many of the villagers who had taken a liking to the party was waiting for them.

And at this time, the players had come to the end of episode 2. Everyone in the party attained level 3. And there was much rejoicing.

About four days later, Leosin, fully recovered from his wounds, asked a favor of the party; to return to the cult camp and to monitor their actions; are they planning another large raid, have they marched off already, etc. For their efforts, Leosin offered each party member 150 gold pieces each. Surprisingly, no one really haggled to up the reward, which honestly surprised me. What some party members did try to do was haggle the price of healing potions with the local, town trading posts (which they failed to do.) In any event, the party agrees to this job, and Leosin asks them to report to him at Elturel, a town north of Greenest, as that is where the half-elf monk is headed to meet up with a paladin named Ontharr Frume.

So the party heads off to the camp, only to discover much of the camp deserted. At the entrance to the camp, they do find faint tracks heading in a westerly direction. The huts in the first area of the camp where the kobolds stayed were all burned to ashes, and they see two solitary figures who give them no resistance. After some initial conversation, they find out these are hunters hired to provide antelope meat to cultists staying in the cave. As that is all they’re paid to do, they make no effort to guard the camp, and let the party go as they please. In the area previously used to house prisoners, they find the body of a dead girl. There is nothing else left in the camp besides assorted trash; cracked pottery, rusted cutlery, soiled clothing, cheap cookware, etc. Even the largest tent in the camp is empty, with no signs of life.

Entering the cave, and using stealth to their advantage, the party dispatches two cultists rather easily, and find themselves with some choices. At the southernmost area of the first cavern is a tunnel leading west, while to the east are natural stone steps leading down to another cavern with quite a bit of fungi around.

Electing to head down the western tunnel, they quickly find a fork in the road. They first head to the right, emerging into a room with overturned boxes, broken items, and a single cultist sleeping soundly, surrounded by several bottles of wine, including one clutched in his hand. In a hilarious moment, Icarium elects to hold his bladed weapon about 5 inches from his throat while punching him awake. Jerking awake, the cultist’s throat is immediately slashed by the razor sharp edge next to his throat. The party manages to stabilize the guard with a healer’s kit. Between being intoxicated and severe blood loss, despite Anders insistence using his super-telepathy, they get no meaningful information from the cultist, though they do find some scattered gold coins in the room.

Backtracking to the fork in the road, this time the party heads east to another chamber, where they find a large room that appear to serve as barracks, as they encounter seven guards and eight cultists. Despite the advantage in numbers, one guard and three of the cultists retreat to a passage to the east. Fisticuffs ensue, and the party emerges victorious in another rather easy battle. That is where the session ended.

In a sad moment, Vladimir has left the group for greener pastures. Well, not really; due to class, his player can only arrive around 7:30 most Wednesdays. Coincidentally, a fourth D&D Encounters table started, and their start time is 7:30. It makes perfect sense for him to be at that table, so the good, old switcheroo was made. Replacing him is…no one, at the moment. So the party is now reduced to six, which is honestly not that big a deal. That, to me, illustrates the flexibility of D&D Encounters, but it also plays havoc with the story at times. If a player can’t make it, I guess he / she was kept in a pokeball? If a player changes tables, then I guess we just had some Doctor Who-ish alternate reality timey-wimey shenanigans, where Vladimir was never there, and yet he..was? Time travel makes my head hurt.

What will happen…well, tomorrow night since this post is so late? Will the party pursue the enemies that ran away? Or perhaps backtrack to the cavern with the fungi? Or do something unexpected like split the party? Whatever they do, I’m sure it’ll be brilliant.

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