Dungeons & Dragons Catch up

I’ve gotten really far behind and I’m sorry about that. So here’s a catch up of both games I’m running.

Divine Contention – The Leilon gang

This game is still going strong. The party secured the Gnomegarden Grenade and support from Lord Neverember (they returned by teleport, so no naval episodes on the return) with little difficulty, and then I moved into the Siege stages. The party repulsed the first attackers, but of course the town was overwhelmed anyway. They fought a battle at the docks and turned to hunt the drummers. This went awry when the dragon appeared.

Once again, a dragon made little headway against this group and it was quickly pushed off. The party followed the dragon and fought it alongside the Swords of Leilon at the tower. Here again, the dragon was quickly in a critical way, the possessing Ebondeath fled empty handed and the dragon crashed into the town. (The mysterious shop that the village didn’t know what the players were on about was a cool touch).

Saviours of Leilon… rejoicing in the streets. But some loose ends. Ebondeath’s ghost was still there and it wasn’t long before the party headed off to resolve this issue.

The party found the entrance with help from their friendly Lizardfolk villagers (from an early foray into the Mere) and descended into the outhouse (the small building over the entrance really reminded us Australians of the old outhouse.

The moved through the crypt with little real difficulty. Even the ghost didn’t really faze them. Ebondeath was dropping quickly, with an AC of 15 he was reasonably able to hit – the ranger was doing 30-60 damage per round. Even his possession wasn’t working well, he tried it twice without success and even as I increased his hit points to push a couple more rounds it didn’t help. Ebondeath was down. And a pile of treasure secured.

They returned to town and have just set out to sink the Stormlord cultists galleon. Divine Contention is almost complete.

Saltmarsh crew.

Not so far behind on this game. The Mariners Guild has hired the party to clear cultists, pirates and undead from an island so they can safely build a lighthouse.

They managed to get onto the island with very little trouble, the random number generator got them almost all the way across the skeleton beach safely. Once on the island they quickly found, then descended into the undamaged basement.

Here they fought the surviving cultist in a large brawl across the main open room. This went on for several terms, but some crowd control by the party kept the enemy numbers manageable. And cleared the entire floor, except for a single prisoner, a mercenary who traded his way for a lift off the island.

He revealed the existence of a treasure hoard, though he wasn’t exactly sure what. He did know how to start looking.

The party headed off to find this treasure. At the same time it would satisfy the “clear the island” direction…. just doing their job.

Their first opponents included a Bodak, an undead that radiates necro damage. This had much of the party backing away for the fight. They hadn’t tried healing or resting since the first fight.

But they got through and began exploring the small passageways, uncovering trap after trap. A room with a Crystal Minotaur Statue had them in trouble. The backed the party down a passage, hoping to lure the Statue into one of the traps. It would have worked except they managed to kill it before it got to the trap. In other luck, a Turned undead ogre tripped a trap for them as well.

They uncovered the fake treasure and were quite disappointed by the note in the empty chest. The session ended with the party about to fight the guardians in the real treasure room………

D&D – Saltmarsh – Lizardfolk!

Their mission was clear. Deliver the lizard folk and their goods to the lizard folk base and determine if they were a threat to Saltmarsh. A successful mission would see them as the owners of The Sea Ghost.

It was only about 3 hours sail to the landing place shown to them by the lizards. Extremely close to town for a group that seems to be arming themselves. The sea elf accompanied them, so he could find out for his people.

Following their lizard escorts, the party went ashore and travelled across a headland to find the hidden entrance. The lizard escorts made this entry fairly amicable and they were handed over to a guard officer, who took them to see the Lizardfolk Queen.

The Queen and her advisors were a lot more fluent in common and the introductions went very smoothly.

It was quickly clear that the Lizardfolk were arming themselves to retake their home, further up the coast, that had been taken from them by a band of sahuagin. They also had emissaries visiting from the menfolk, the koalinth and the locathah. The sea elves had not been invited due to animosity between them and the koalinth. Humans had not been invited as the Queen couldn’t see the benefit of land dwellers in what would be a sea or undersea fight.

The party suggested that perhaps they could help with weapons, suggesting things like crossbows could also be added. More conversation ensued

At the end, the queen said that she would consider their proposals and respond soon. She would call them back when she was ready to discuss. In the meantime, they could roam freely within the Lizardfolk’s home.

Which the party did. They were asked not to enter a few sleeping chambers, and one area which the Lizardfolk used other creatures to guard the entranceway.

Wandering around they made a good impression on the lizards. Especially when they demonstrated the power and accuracy of the crossbows to the soldiers. This scored them a lot of points.

There was a tense moment when the koalinth emissaries spied the sea elf with the party. However, in the spirt of peace, and that the elf quickly moved away, nothing occurred.

Koalinth – basically sea orcs

In the end the queen agreed to send two emissaries to Saltmarsh, to begin negotiations. The party returned to the Sea Ghost, and sailed back to Saltmarsh.

This session was entirely RP’d. The session completed the entire Danger at Dunwater without any fighting. There were a few persuasion and insight checks. A couple of moments where there party did think about poking in where they had been asked not to but they did not.

Throughout their visit, the DM tracks what kind of an impression they are making on the Lizardfolk. Doing good things, establishing good relationships, being courteous would add numbers, with bad things, like releasing sahuagin prisoners or fighting with emissaries would reduce the number. At the end, if the number was high enough the queen would send them home with emissaries.

The party was probably meant to kill the lizards back on the ship, but that’s not what happened, so they entered this module in a very different place to the normal. I gave them a high positive number to start with because of that, and for returning the weapons. They treated courteously with the queen and friendly to their youngsters. They hit it off with the soldiers by showing them the additional weapons and (apart from the koalinth) were friendly to the other emissaries. They got a high number quite easily. (and were so close, and the session was about to end, so I didn’t feel like running the extra killer croc event)

Now they have some time off (they think) in Saltmarsh while the crown and the Lizardfolk negotiate….

D&D – The Sleeping Dragon wakes!

The party left Old Gnawbones lair on a mission. They would find the necromancer responsible for sending the waves of undead against the lair and stop them. In repayment the dragon would…

Um, I will have to go back and see what was offered (Although it’s not actually important…. you’ll see why).

Oh, that’s right. If this gets resolved she has said she has no reason to attack Leilon (to try to get information). The party, as protectors of Leilon, are happy enough with this.

The party set out and started their search. Using the process from the module, they rolled to search.

And rolled 26. So supposed to be an instant success.

I decided that this was a little too easy, so had them successfully determine the direction and that it was a couple of days away. The first day passed uneventfully, but a group of wraith came across them overnight. The wraith, originally headed for the lair, attacked.

The fight went reasonably well for the party. A few hits were suffered, including several hit point drains. However, the party fought them to nothing, then spent a long morning recovering.

The search roll the next day was almost as high, so I let them find the necromancer.

The party came across the enemy in a small clearing, standing and casting something in the air. The party managed to get within a few hundred feet without being spotted.

The mage called a fire elemental, right in the face of the necromancer. As they did, her spell finished and a half dozen spectres appeared. The enemy took one hit from the elemental and dimension doored away from the fight.

The party charged in, not realising that all of their fire spells were only causing half damage (the same thing had happened against the wraiths, without being noticed). The casters attacking the wraiths from afar.

At this point the mage dropped control of the fire elemental, but by this time it had a spectre in its face so it was occupied.

The ranger spotted the necromancer and proceeded to inflict massive amounts of damage. It had no resistance to magical piercing damage. In two hits, 100hp after rolling two natural 20s. The highest damage I think I’ve seen from a player. As the rounds continued, she cast invisibility and tried to make her escape.

Hunter’s Mark meant the ranger could follow, and at disadvantage managed to hit her enough to put her down. The corpse became visible as the rest of the party was just starting to wonder why the ranger was suddenly shooting in a random direction.

The spectres were defeated and the fire elemental dismissed. The necromancer’s body was picked up and the party set off back to the lair.

After their success they were greeted cordially and escorted to the dragon.

However, in a set piece, she convulsed and lost control as a dark shadow could be seen entering her body. The spirit of the evil black dragon, The Ebondeath, now possessed her. The dragon rose up and fled the lair.

And there ended the Sleeping Dragon Wakes Module. Next session we will see if the party decides to loot the lair, though the druids may not be impressed with that approach. If they don’t, the druids are likely to offer some reward to track down and free their mistress. Equally, the party will want to pursue this clearly evil foe to protect the region.

From here the party will head into Divine Contention – when the two factions threatening Leilon are faced and their true intentions revealed.

And it was a great place to stop the session, as I haven’t read any of the next module and had NO IDEA what to do next. So I have some homework…

D&D – A new Dragon

After a rest in the castle they had cleared, the party headed out. They had found a trail of footprints. It lead in about the same direction as they were headed in their search for the green dragon.

After a while, they noticed a stange flickering light ahead. As they continued, they realised they were gaining on it. More details became clear, something bright and firey and some humonids along with it.

Closer again, and it was a flameskull, leading a group of ghouls.

The party opened up at range with a fireball, causing significant damage to their enemy. The ghouls turned and charged, but the party continued to fight from range, with the rangers arrows doing some serious damage. The ghouls went down before they even reached the group. The flameskull had just enough time to launch a fireball of its own before it was taken down. That fireball hurt the party, with the mage almost dying from the attack.

With the enemy down, the party dithered about for about 10 minutes before they remembered that flameskulls (which they have faced a long time ago in the Phandelver Mines) need to be destroyed before they return. They started the hour long process to create some Holy Water. Flameskulls take an hour to regenerate. Now think back to the start of the paragraph.

So up pops the flameskull. It got a couple of fairly ineffective shots off before it was brought down again. I let them have a percentage chance that the almost finished water was holy enough for them… success.

With that out of they way, the party continued into the forest. The trail kind of ended as they approached a cliff with a set of cave entrances. A strange green glow emanated from the openings.

They moved closer, wary, but with nothing to actually fight. The mage started to prepare a teleportation circle to get them up to the highest entrance. Part way through, the Wood Wodes attacked.

Ever since the party cleared the town of ThunderTree, way back in the Lost Mines, the paladin has been carrying around a magical axe called Hew. Hew has the property of doing maximum damage against wood creatures. The party had cleared all of the twig blights before it came across the axe and since then have not faced a wooden creature. Well apart from doors, which the large dragonborn paladin has failed at knocking down the entire adventure!

Wood woads are made of wood.

With Hew and a pyro mage the woads had little chance. A few in the party caught a club hit or two, but not enough to really threaten them.

The mage redid the teleportation circle, sending them up into the lair.

They passed the caged owl bears and found themselves in the camp of The Gnawbones. Druids who worshipped the resident dragon.

There were two druids in residence, but a conversation started and the druids softened their attitude when they discovered how many undead the party had slain. Undead that were a constant pressure on the lair here. The party was approved for an audience with Old Gnawbones.

The followed the druids into the lair proper, finding Old Gnawbones struggling to end the constant undead threat to her lair. She just couldn’t find the source, even with several magical scrying stones.

Some earnest discussion ensued, and the party agreed to search the forest for the necromancer who was sending their minions against Old Gnawbones. The margin struck, the party retired to the druid camp to set out in the morning.

D&D – and zombies

The broken battle continued in this session. 

Seeing that most of their company had fallen, including the leader, the last two bandits threw down their arms and came clean on everything that they knew.

The party listened, but every quickly decided that they needed to dispatch the remaining threats behind each door before too much time passed. The chimera was sounding decidedly unhappy, so they started there. A pet of the bandit boss, the animal was already incensed by her death. Just as I was about to have it burst out to disrupt the conversation with the surrendered bandits, the party opened the door.

With the platemail wearing dragonborn paladin holding the doorway, the chimera found getting out of its room rather difficult. Coupled with several mighty arrow strikes from the ranger, the chimera barely got a breath attack before it found itself very quickly dead. 

Next, they decided to drop the large room of zombies. With a great fireball, that destroyed the locked door and engulfed the entire pen, many zombies fell before the fight even started. The ogre zombies proved a little more sturdy, and there was a few rounds of fighting before they fell. 

At this point, I had a long line of dead tokens stacked off the map and the party is starting to find that it has only a few spell slots left, or not a lot of arrows etc. Once again, a long running battle has pressed the party towards their limits. 

One final door, and 3 zombies try to attack the party. Using a similar approach, blocking the door with the paladin, the party finds that while they don’t hit much harder, they take a lot more to put down. 

With the fall of the last zombie the party paused for a breath. During the distraction the bandits had fled, but that won’t have any lasting consequences. The bandits are running for Neverwinter and to find some other work to do.

With the keep theirs, the party secured the buildings and pulled up for a well-earned rest. They will continue to look for the dragon next session….

Or will they…. It will be Valentine’s Day for the next session and (assuming we are not all out entertaining our real life valentines) I am looking about for a short little sidetrack to run them through. There are a couple of possible options in DMs Guild and I have a couple of ideas myself…

D&D – Smugglers

And it was time to restart the adventure in Saltmarsh as well….

Our party spent the evening interrogating their prisoner, eventually finding out that a businessman in Saltmarsh who worked with the smugglers had sent him to observe and interfere with the party’s investigation. And if needed, to stop it.

To Ned it was quickly evident from the party’s loose chatter that he was too late to prevent the party interfering, so his task changed to stopping the party.

And evidently, this was a little too much to ask of Ned, hence the current situation. 

The party decided to stay the night, keeping a vigil for the smugglers boat (Ned let them know that one was due on the current new moon). No ship showed and this antagonised the party until they realised that a new moon isn’t just one night, and it is the sea, so there could easily be delays.

They knocked out Ned, slung him over the back of the Tortle and headed into town. 

As they passed through town there were quite a few curious looks. A particular set of people were noticed to see the party, confer and then quickly disappear into the crowd. Meek, the urchin druid Halfling set out to follow them, but it turned out they had some local advantage and he lost them as they climbed over the fences of some rather well to do house. After watching for a while, Reek headed back to rejoin the party.

Meanwhile the party arrived at the council chambers and were ushered into the office of the councilman who tasked them. He was both happy and dismayed that his hunch was correct. He was also very interested in hearing what Ned might reveal about the businessman involved. He sent Ned away with his man to keep him safe. Being that his man is the leader of another hidden faction trying to disrupt the smugglers for their own needs, he’s pretty stoked the party bought this guy back.

The councilman asks the party to remain in his employ, return to the house and try to catch the smuggler’s ship. He agrees on a reward, agrees to provide supplies so the party can remain at the house, and the party can have any spoils, including the ship. With several of the party having sailor backgrounds, some happy grins were exchanged.

With that, the party head out into the town to sell some of the items they had collected. The most memorable was a bidding war in a local miners pub for some illustrated erotic books. They headed back to the mansion as it grew dark, settling in to rest and watch for the ship.

D&D – Zombies again

Well the Leilon game has restarted. Most of the players got the message over various socials so we had 4 in attendance. About normal for us anyway.

When (before Christmas) we left our party, they’d just defeated a collection of zombies that charged out of the scrub at them. The fight ending up with a single armoured fighter who had been chasing the zombies (her colleague had died in the fight). The party and the fighter had an initially strained conversation, but it eased off as each side worked out where each other stood.

The party helped build a rock cairn for her colleague, accepting her story that they had been all that was left of a caravan that had been attacked by the zombies. The pair had decided to follow and either stop, warn or assist anything else they came across. With the zombies taken care of, she said she would head to Neverwinter and find more work. (At no point did the party check any of her conversation. She was lying through her teeth, not even her name was real. Ah well).

However, some of the party became suspicious when she left. She didn’t head towards the main road, rather deeper into the forest. A couple of them followed until she started down a trail, still heading “the wrong way”. They went back to the party and the party moved to follow and investigate. (Our fighter was headed back to the bandit gang she came from).

The party eventually came across a ruined keep in the forest. After some recon of the area, the party split. With 3 approaching the gate and 3 covering them, hidden in the surrounding trees. They could see several guards on the walls and more through a large hole in one wall.

The party assumed that the fighter had come here, and name dropped to no response. (She had actually come back, but due to her failure to hide the zombies or destroy the party, the bandit leader had her killed). The party was invited in (the 3 they could see) and a little conversation was had. The party enquired about the group (mercenaries apparently, enroute to Neverwinter – not true). They warned them about the zombies (the bandits had a whole stash of zombies themselves). This was really a pretext for the bandit leader to get them in the walls to kill them, to keep the secret of the zombies.

In classic ambush style, the bandits attacked as the party went to leave. Several things helped the party. The paladin had sensed a great number of zombies in a nearby room, but was unable to say anything without revealing it. And someone did an insight check, it was clear the leader was lying. And the other party member figured that the camp looked like it had been here for sometime, not the couple of days that the leader described. Everyone was suspicious. Outside, the others had moved to see through the hole in the wall as soon as they saw the gates shut behind the party. So there wasn’t much surprise when the bandits attacked.

Battle ensued. The members in the courtyard put up a good defence, but most of the damage was done by the ranger and wizard launching ranged attacks through the hole in the wall. The bard cast his (continually frustrating for a DM) Hypnotic Distraction and distracted half the bandits. The guards on the walls started shooting arrows into the fray as well.

Initially it looked more even than most fights. However with half of her bandits distracted, the leader made a run for a room at the base of one of the towers, where her pet chimera was kept. She never made it, but her death scream caused the creature to cry out. The party figured something nasty behind door number one.

Door number two was revealed to have something behind it too, when the bard came up against it during the fight. The moans were clearly audible and instantly recognised. And the paladin revealed there were definitely zombies behind door number 3.

The bandits did intend to release these into the party, but were prevented from door one and two simply by being cut down when they attempted to move in that direction. The wizard secured door 3 with a Wall of Flame cast across the courtyard, cutting the bandits off from it.

An exciting session had to cut off in the middle of this fight. With only 2 bandits standing, things could calm down shortly.

I imagine the party will move to eliminate the remaining threats piecemeal, which will make it easier for them. It’s something they are very at good at setting up even in a melee, so with each group behind a door, I think it will be easy to keep them seperate. However, there are a LOT of zombies behind door 3. The chimera sounds scary, but this crew has killed 2 dragons in short order. I don’t think the chimera on its own will be much of a problem.

I am planning on having the last couple of bandits surrender. This won’t stop the party from having to deal with the other creatures as the bandits don’t control them (with the death of the chimera’s owner). But they might get some intel that could set things up for later….

2020 – From my perspective

Really, 2020 has been an unforgettable year. Tragedy for so many and upheaval around the globe. For Australia it started with the ongoing bushfires, and then just as things were getting back to normal, the COVID crisis hit, upending everything for pretty much everyone.

I am certain that I will cop some flak for this, but to be honest for me, and I mean just me, it was actually a good year.

Professionally I had two unexpected opportunities to demonstrate my abilities and I am satisfied that I did good work. Supporting the Bushfires response and then the COVID response I got great feedback. From the bushfires, one of the executives I was working for wrote an appreciative letter to my own exec. Big plus there, though it won’t mean a promotion or a raise though. It did feel good to be appreciated in that way.

This fire broke out very close to home.

For my new profession, teaching, I graduated at the start of the year with my paperwork finally arriving in March. My accreditation with NSW was also completed and I started actually working, as a casual, one day per week for Term 4. It was great to start, and I have a lot to learn, but I also discovered that there is work there, and I am in demand. That’s again a positive for the future. Oh, and I confirmed that I enjoy it and would love to have my own classroom.

Effect of COVID

Look, my family was kind of insulated from the upheavals. My wife’s profession and mine were both required to work throughout and there was never any threat to our employment. My daughters’ schools did close for a term, but we managed their online access. Being tech savvy and having several computers and iPads, but most importantly a reliable internet connection, meant that schooling online wasn’t an issue. After being released from the COVID taskforce after a couple of months, I did do some random periods of working from home as well, and I love it. From that perspective it proved to my entire organisation that working from home, or remotely are viable depending upon your particular role.

COVID initially made the traffic very light when commuting.

None of our extended families have so far caught COVID, and most live in small rural areas, so not high risk anyway. And work wise, many of them are retired, or in school or continued to work pretty much as normal. Again, this has lessened the impact on us. I don’t know anyone personally who has had COVID.

I am very thankful for the particular circumstances that my extended family found itself in during COVID.

We did cancel a planned holiday to Hawaii. I didn’t mind. I wasn’t really wanting to go at that particular time and it was going to be a hassle with eldest’s school too. We got about 95% of our money back as well, which helped. And our planned Christmas in Philippines was not even considered. We did take a few days down the far south NSW coast, consciously staying within the state, just in case.

Bikes

Well, the first comment is not really me, but the MotoGP has been a stellar year with all sorts of things happening. Jack Miller (#43) kept me on the edge of my seat in several races. To finish with a second place in the last race and hand Ducati the constructor title was an awesome way to step across to the factory team. Outside of Jack, there was some amazing racing and epic moments.

I was a little sad when the Australian round was cancelled. I had not planned to attend this year and if it hadn’t been cancelled back in Feb (I think) it certainly would have later. However, my Mrs is happy for me to attend next year. And I have a bike that I will enjoy even more riding down there and back. I have been busy looking at different routes there and back.

And they call it a “work trip”…..

Bike wise, I got several “work trips” in and some other minor rides about the place to break up the commute. Even the commute was broken up with a total of about 4 months of commuting to the city. I do enjoy filtering past all those cars…

Filtering…. see ya suckers 🙂

The bike is running well and I have done little things to fix it up. Replacing the broken fairing piece and sorting out the OEM tail to properly mount the Givi rack were little niggles of mine. I’d still love another 50-100km from the tank, but that’s not too much drama. I don’t really have any other “jobs” left to do on it now. It’s now in better shape than when I got it, 30,000km ago.

Of course, I did miss out on getting a new one. It’s still a goal of mine, but I think it might be 2022 perhaps.

Bytes

Not a lot happened in this arena. I picked up a Surface Pro, to use for teaching of course. First laptop in a long time and first new Windows hardware in 10 years! It worked out well for a couple of teaching days already.

No, this isn’t moving away from the Apple ecosystem, but until they make a MacBook with a touch screen/pen input, I don’t see the point. Admittedly the changes they have made to iPadOS have made it significantly more useable for a work/study environment.

Sure, part of the decision to get a Surface Pro is the “new toy” in lieu of the new bike 🙂

Dungeons and Dragons went from strength to strength this year. I DM’d a regular group online and they worked they way through the Icespire Peak/Leilon modules. A (mostly) regular Friday evening group stood up as well, with different people running it and different adventures. I’ve ended up DM’ing some of those Fridays as well, kicking off an adventure based around Saltmarsh which is proving entertaining. All online through Roll20.

That has been a lot of fun, made some new friends and got back into one of my hobbies. It even saw me complete a heap of painting of miniatures too. This young green dragon came out well (mini is about 12cm wingtip-wingtip).

So I do extend my sympathies to those who have lost family or friends or who’ve had work upheavals, lost home or businesses. That’s why its with some awkwardness, I have to say that for me, 2020 was actually a good year.

Let’s hope 2021 is better for all!

D&D – Aid to the Bronze

So the weekend was a double header for me. DM’ing the Saltmarsh on Friday evening and then DM’ing the Sleeping Dragon on the Sunday Morning.

Oh, rubbish, I’ve missed at least one session here as well. I’ll use the fact that time is wibbly-wobbley, timey-whimey stuff to sort that out. And the fact that I can have the post schedule for whenever I like, even the past…..

The party was recovering in Leilon when a they got a note. Their old party member. Baraxas, a paladin of Bahamut, had sent word that there was a old Bronze dragon that might be able to help supposedly in a shrine not too far away. It had not been seen for some time, so some were convinced it might be dead, but Baraxas thought it be worth checking out anyway.

The party hired a small boat (as the shrine was apparently easily spotted and accessed from the water) and headed up the coast.

Here they found a large shrine carved into the cliff, depicting a dragon roaring. A small stone jetty lead to some stairs and up into the cave.

They landed and snuck up the stairs. The lead, a ranger, spotted a tripwire at the top, which the party avoided. Inside, they surprised several cultists (in this case benign cultists who provided support to the Bronze dragon and tended its shrine, not your usual evil, rip your beating heart from your body cultists).

Initially it was at a tipping point, with combat imminent. However, some quick words (and persuasion and history checks) lessened the tensions and soon the group was being shown around and invited to visit Lhammas…….. something. Dragon names are tongue twisters for sure. I just called her Llama for short.

They were cautioned that Llama was not well, acting very strangely and may be violent.

Up in the dragon’s chambers several members immediately felt uncomfortable with a distracting buzzing filling their heads. One became very confused.

The dragon met them with confusion and distrust, suspecting them to be foes. Some quick words and a Calm Emotions spell had a positive effect, but it was soon clear that the dragon was confused to the point of dangerous. The party retreated downstairs.

Downstairs they spent some time discovering that this had happened fairly recently. A helpful ghost they came across also suspected that the dragon was suffering some external influence. The party set out to search the rest of the dragon’s home and also prowled around outside in case anything seemed out of place.

They had no luck, so discussions ensued. As they settled down for the night, they began to suspect the barnacles growing around the window in the dragon’s chamber might be related. It seemed the barnacles were unusually far from the ocean below. (That was the end of the previous session, have I missed 2 reports?)

The next morning, two important things occurred. Baraxas rejoined the party. He had been released by his church to return to the party and support them with the dragon. This would also provide confirmation to the church that the dragon was still alive. In reality, a new player joined the group and decided they didn’t want to waste time rolling up a new character, happy to take up the reins of Baraxas. Big bonus for the party as they have their tank back. And in this case, they are Dragonborn – who better to talk to a dragon?

Who better to talk to Llama. The party headed back to the dragons room, Baraxas almost overwhelmed by the rank odour of evil coming from the direction of the barnacles. But before they could explain to the increasingly agitated dragon, Baraxas was thrown into a confused state, so much for that advantage. However, a timely cast Calm Emotions and the party was able to convince the dragon to move downstairs while they dealt with the whatever evil remained.

The second important thing was that the wizard was able to recall a demon known as an Alkitih, which usually took the form of moss or fungus, around doors or windows. These were known to send beings mad unless destroyed.

As the spell started to wear off the dragon, the group charged back upstairs.

Without the additional support of the crazed dragon, the demon proved a fairly simple kill for the group. As soon as it died, a loud thump was heard from downstairs.

Back downstairs they found Llama slumped to the floor, alive but probably unconscious.

After a nervous wait by the party and the dragons helpers, she slowing regained her senses and was clearly recovering quickly from the effects of the demon’s madness. The cultists were very happy.

Llama took them into the chamber and they received a vision from Bahamut. In it a terrible green dragon was attaching Leilon. Llama recognised it as… another difficult dragon name, who I called Claude, an old green that lives nearby, but keeps to herself to avoid the wrath of the Cities of the Sword Coast.

They received some rewards, and I put them all up to level 9. Now they have returned to Leilon. After letting the town know what they had found out, they set off for the green.

As they moved through the hills towards the forrest where the green lived, they were confronted by several zombies lumbering along (who then lumbered towards them) being chased by two women.

The party engaged and the session ended with the zombies destroyed and the party about to talk to the 2 women….

Then the session closed and we’ll start again sometime in mid-January.

D&D – The Sinister Saltmarsh

Well looks like I have two entertaining sessions to cover for this adventure.

The party spent the night in the secret laboratory. Outside, the smugglers, being alerted by the Magic Mouth earlier and being all prepared to repulse the intruders, were quite perplexed when they disappeared. The smugglers were thankful that the party had cleared out the skeletons, but began to assume that the adventurers, not finding the further secret door (into the smugglers lair) had basically gone back the way they had come. They shrugged and went about their business.

Several hours later the party emerges, hearing sounds from the outer room they approached cautiously. Their sneakiest member managed to sneak up, knock one out and drag him back, all the way to the secret room where he was interrogated.

Discovering there were several smugglers, lead by a magician, the party headed back into the barracks. Here they were met by two smugglers, one of whom fled through a previously unknown secret door. The party quickly overwhelmed the remaining one and approached the secret door, the stairs and cave that followed.

Combat started as soon as they poked their head around the door. What happened next was a strung out, non-stop fight through most of the caves before facing off with a very confident lead smuggler. Whom they resoundly defeated. Ended that session there.

The next session was initially spent searching the now empty caves, finding a lot of trade goods and a small boat. They also remembered they had left a door unopened behind them and there discovered the wizard’s own quarters. Inside they found a lantern and signalling instructions along with some other bits and pieces.

They decided, having cleared out the underneath, to return to the floor above and search the rest of the house, before returning to Saltmarsh with their trade goods.

They kept going up and were soon on the top floor. Unlocking a door using a key hanging next to the door, they discovered Ned. Ned was tied up in the room and told them he was a traveller who took shelter in the building. Only he was hit from behind, knocked unconscious and left here without his equipment.

Ned is actually working with the smugglers and was sent here to infiltrate and stop the party. However, as the party “disappeared” he wasn’t sure what was happening. At this point he doesn’t know that the smugglers have already been defeated. The party was suspicious enough to leave him tied up while they talked, but wasn’t searched and no insight checks were taken. Oh well.

Convinced of Ned’s story, the party moves next door. These two rooms have a shaky floor, which one of the party proceeded to ensure was tested past breaking point, creating a large opening in the floor across the two rooms. Remember this for a moment.

In this second room they found evidence that the smugglers use this room and it’s window to signal their ships. Nothing else – on to the next room.

A shiny attracted their attention here and the first few entered the room. At this point the party is strung along the corridor, with a couple inside the room and Ned following along behind. He has figured out, through their conversations that they have defeated the smugglers. Ned decides he needs to defeat them, or at least inflict some damage and head for his bosses.

The members who entered the room were set upon by swarms of spiders. More of the party charged in to support their comrades. Ned took his chance and attacked the last person, causing a grievous wound with a dagger he had kept concealed (hey, the party didn’t search him, shrug)

Forced to fight in two directions the party split and defended themselves. Ned took a couple more swings and fled for the rooms behind to try to escape. There was a yelp and a crash. In his haste Ned had forgotten the holes in the floor and fallen to the floor below.

In some ways this made it easier. The party had all but killed the spiders so more and more members turned to retaliate against Ned. Several were shooting/casting through the gaping hole in the floor.

Reek, the halfling barbarian leapt into the hole and grappled Ned, knocking him unconscious.

And that’s where the party has left it for the Christmas Break. We should restart in mid Jan sometime.