Tyranny of Dragons

Death of the Old White
The Sea of Moving Ice, Part 5

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Out of the Cold, Into the Freezer
The Sea of Moving Ice, Part 4

The adventurers take a short rest in the tent of Maccath the Crimson, having learned from the tiefling wizard that they must vanquish the white dragon Arauthator the Old White Death before they can safely leave the iceberg. Hurk takes this time to attune to his ring of cold resistance.

While they rest, the kobolds that Maccath dismissed earlier return with her food and are accompanied by an ice troll. The tiefling uses illusion magic to hide the party as the troll pokes its head into the tent. But event after, Beryl hears the big monster lurking outside.

The adventurers quickly decide to confront the troll. It manages to call out an alarm before they cut it to pieces and burn the pieces. The party decides to wait and lay an ambush for reinforcements coming up the ice ramp.

Another troll and a band of kobolds rush up, and the ambush is spring. The kobolds quickly gang up on Larion, while the troll considers Beryl’s sacred flame its most pressing threat. The adventurers make short work of most of the kobolds, and the last two try to flee. Garrett and Jamna finish them off.

Beryl and Hurk work together to take out the troll. The ice monster discovers at the last minute that Hazirawn was its greatest threat, as the evil sword greedily feasts upon the troll.

Garrett and Jamna notice that a large group of man-sized ice toads has gathered at the entrance to the chamber. The arctic amphibians watch them impassively with their enormous eyes, but make no aggressive gestures. With a shudder, the rogues retreat back up the ice ramp to join the others.

With no more reinforcements inbound, the adventurers move on to the back entrance to Arauthator’s lair in the heart of the iceberg. The entrance is a vertical chute in the ice, which opens out into a large chamber.

Garrett descends first, relying on his experience as a second-story man to properly climb down while securing a rope line for the others. As he climbs down the rope into the large cavern, he finds himself hanging above a large ice shelf overlooking a vast chamber. On the floor below, there are several slushy pools of water, as well as ice that sparkles with frozen treasure. And hanging from the ceiling above the treasure is the huge, sleeping shape of Arauthator the Old White Death.

But Garrett has more immediate concerns, instinctively swinging aside on the rope avoid the grasp of a frost giant woman who suddenly becomes visible right beside him. Garrett realizes this must be one of the two invisible figures they encountered earlier. He negotiates with her and after being promised she won’t kill him, descends to the ground.

It is then that she pulls out the manacles and explains she is there to collect him for a many-eyed individual in Waterdeep. Garrett is less than enthused by this, but is also concerned that the dragon might notice them. The giantess uses a ring to turn herself invisible again, then grabs him with a big cold hand.

The other adventurers, unclear on what is taking place below, have been descending the rope. Hurk (with Jamna clinging to him) dangles down into the cavern, while up above Beryl’s armor clanks noisily.

The sound echoes across the chamber, stirring the dragon to open one stark blue eye. it rears up angrily. The frost giantess grumbles “why must there always be complications?”

Hurk, meanwhile, breaks out his fabled silver tongue and tries to bluff the dragon into believing that the party are devoted servants trying to stop the giantess from raiding its treasure hoard.

Arauthator’s blue eyes narrow…

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Ice Skating Uphill
The Sea of Moving Ice, Part 3

Having gathered in the shaman Bonecarver’s yurt and been provided with a map of the first level of the dragon Arauthator’s ice caverns below, the adventurers come up with a plan. Because of how slippery and uneven the caverns are, they also use climbing kits to create makeshift crampons. They then head down through the back entrance beneath the shaman’s hut.

Following their plan, they move stealthily out into the central circular hall and move in a clockwise fashion towards the red lady’s room. They manage to slip past the kobold quarters unseen.

However, the tunnel starts to slope downwards in a steep ramp and they run into trouble trying to traverse it. All but Jamna take a tumble and land in a heap at the bottom of the ramp. An eerie, roiling fog sweeps over them, filling the hallway, and they realize they are not alone. There is something very large in the fog as well.

Rather than investigate, they feel along the wall to head away from the creature and eventually come clear of the fog. They reluctantly pass by the dragon’s trophy room.

The adventurers reach the empty chamber just before the red woman’s room and are confronted with another ice ramp, this one sloping upward. As they ascend, Hurk tumbles back down. This draws the attention of an ice troll standing guard around the corner, who attacks the party. Hurk isn’t able to make his way up the ramp, so the others retreat back towards him.

Garrett is the last to go and takes the brunt of the troll’s attack before escaping downstairs and then winging it with an arrow. Hurk follows suit with two more arrows. The troll jumps down to attack Hurk but can’t get through his armor. Beryl restores Garrett with healing magic. Hurk takes the troll to pieces with Hazirawn.

Using a rope to assist, the party climbs up the ice ramp. They discover a strange tent in the next chamber. Listening carefully, they hear trolls and ice toads in the distance. They also sense other entities closer to home. Jamna sees big footprints in the empty chamber below, while Beryl hears two invisible creatures.

Fearing an ambush, Hurk charges in the general vicinity of the invisible creature Jamna identified, but his sword cleaves only air. Rather than attack, the creature moves past him and up the ramp. It pauses near Larion, Jamna and Garrett, then moves on past the party. A second, faster invisible creature follows it on four legs, pausing in the same spot and sniffing Garrett. The adventurers decide to see where this goes and don’t try to attack the invisible entities.

Garrett and Larion then try to scope out the tent, which is made of many carpets and tapestries hung from a whalebone frame. The invisible creatures appear to have pressed on down a side passage towards the back entrance to the dragon’s lair below.

Entering the tent, the party meets the missing tiefling Maccath the Crimson. She isn’t all that excited to see them. The dragon has pressed her into translating its trove of plundered arcane secrets. They will have to kill the dragon or drive it off before it will be safe for anyone to leave the island. Maccath grudgingly gifts them with a ring of cold resistance and two arrows of dragon slaying and describes the layout of Arauthator’s lair.

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Clash of the Kayfabe
The Sea of Moving Ice, Part 2

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The adventurers’ latest mission has them sailing north to the Sea of Moving Ice aboard the longship Frostskimmr, seeking the iceberg that was the last known location of a tiefling woman, Maccath the Crimson. She is a renowned expert on the Draakhorn, an artifact being used by the Cult of the Dragon. Maccath hasn’t been heard from in three years, and it is feared that she may have run afoul of the dragon Arauthator, the Old White Death.

After leaving Waterdeep’s harbor, good omens of dancing dolphins are soon drowned by a winter gale. The further north the Frostskimmr sails, the colder it gets and the more ice drifts they encounter. Eventually, the ice floes are big enough that Captain Lerustah has the longship pulled onto a big ice floe at night. He assures them that all is well.

It is bitterly cold in the open air vessel and keeps getting worse. Jamna spends much of the trip bundled up inside Hurk’s greatcoat for warmth. She insists its simply a matter of her small body mass proving less effective at retaining heat. Yeah, that’s it.

As the Frostskimmr ventures into the shifting archipelago of icebergs, the crew spots a distant ship following them. After a discussion with Lerustah, the party decides to press onward rather than confronting their pursuer.

It takes five days of searching in the sea of moving ice before they find the iceberg mentioned in Maccath’s notes. They approach cautiously, and Lerustah observes signs of Ice Hunters, the human tribes native to the region. The are not known to be hostile.

The party decides to have the longship pulled up onto an ice shelf at the base of the iceberg. A huge pile of bones is there, showing bite marks from a large predator, likely the dragon according to Lerustah. The party leaves him to shore up defenses while they press on to the icy plateau above.

They are greeted by the sight of ten corpses frozen in a wall of ice, three Luskar warriors, a dwarf, and six Ice Hunters, the nomadic people of the Sea of Moving Ice. Beyond, they discover a hidden village of Ice Hunters. The villagers hastily run out to confront them. Beryl casts tongues on Hurk so he could negotiate with them in their native language, as none speak Common.

The Ice Hunter chieftain immediately tells Hurk to leave. Garrett spots a couple villagers slipping away to the meeting hall in the village. The rogue also notices there are no elderly among the tribe. Hurk realizes they are lying and challenges them. The chieftain suggests a contest of strength and valor to earn their place in the village. Hurk will face their champion, Orcaheart. The two will hurt each other until one is unconscious. Magic is forbidden to be used.

Orcaheart gets the upper hand and Hurk realizes he won’t be able to batter the man down. He tries to knock Orcaheart over, but the champion won’t budge. So a badly wounded Hurk decides to switch from swords to his silver tongue, and demands to know what happened to the Ice Hunter elders.

An intimidated Orcaheart quietly admits that the dragon slew them and its lair is inside the iceberg. He reveals that the Ice Hunters have been forced to serve it. Hurk convinces him that the party can slay the creature.

So they attempt to fake Orcaheart losing the fight. The initial swing obviously doesn’t connect and Orcaheart falls unconvincingly to the ground. He then starts clutching at his face, pretending the half-orc threw something in his eyes. While he writhes around on the ground, Hurk finally manages to land a blow on him. Orcaheart goes limb, pretending to have been knocked unconscious.

It’s a passable showing that convinces most of the village, but Hurk suspects the chieftain and the young shaman Bonecarver have their doubts. As Bonecarver treats Orcaheart’s “wounds,” he whispers something to her.

The chieftain welcomes the adventurers to the village and says they will be tended to by Bonecarver. She takes them to her yurt, and comes clean. The dragon has effectively enslaved the villagers, using them as spies and demanding they provide food and tribute. She believes that the village will eventually be destroyed by the dragon, and has had visions that the totem spirits would send heroes to slay it. She prays that the party are those heroes.

She explains that the dragon has been alerted to their presence and she is expected to poison them so they can be taken prisoner. She gives them a general description of the ice cavern’s layout and warns them of the dragon’s servants, including ice trolls and ice toads.

“Frogs,” Jamna shivers, “why does it always have to be frogs.”

There is a little used entrance to the caves under Bonecarver’s hut, and a more frequently used one under the meeting hall. She also tells them that the one they seek, Maccath the Crimson, is also being held prisoner below. The party tries to determine the best route through the caverns to get to the dragon without running into a lot of minions.

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Clearing the Air
The Sea of Moving Ice, Part 1

Still perched up in the tree he was sniping from, Garrett is ambushed by an invisible stalker. The creature whispers “The Xanathar sends its regards” into the rogue’s ear as it attacks. Both Beryl and Larion notice Garrett flailing about trying to get free of the creature but mistakenly think he’s trying to swat a fly.

Then the invisible being of air grabs him by the throat and lifts him up, making it clear something is very wrong. Garrett stabs it ineffectually with a dagger.

Larion scrambles up the tree to try to slash the unseen entity with his scimitar, but never hits. Beryl rushes over and tries to restore Garrett with a healing word and hit the elemental with sacred flame, a combo she repeats multiple times with mixed success.

Jamna blasts away at the thing with her ray of frost. Each time she hits it, half the creature is briefly outlined with ice crystals. Hurk brings out the Longbow of the Golden Hart, but none of his arrows strike true—although two of them do strike Garrett. Eventually, Captain Khalia and the confused paladins join in with heavy crossbows, hitting the invisible stalker with a couple bolts.

Garrett finally manages to slip away from the creature’s ever-shifting grasp and scrambles down the tree and out into the open. The invisible stalker continues to pursue him. Hurk finally discards the bow and charges the entity with Hazirawn, tearing it apart.

Garrett then gets some paper from the paladins and writes an obscene note to The Xanathar. He then finds an underworld contact in the tent city to convey it to the beholder.

As the party recovers from the one-two of the cult ambush and the assassination attempt, their dwarven guide Thali arrives. She tells them about invisible stalkers, elemental entities that are summoned to kill specific targets that they can always track down. This does not reassure Garrett or Larion.

After resting up, the next day the party sets out for Waterdeep. It takes more than a ten-day to reach the metropolis, with Garrett jumping at every random gust of wind along the way. On arriving, they report to the Council about Varram’s capture and death, as well as the information they extracted from him. Lord Dagult Neverember and the other Councilmembers appear to be impressed with their handling of the situation.

The Council tasks them with tracking down Maccath the Crimson, a sorcerer from the Arcane Brotherhood who is an expert on the artifact known as the Draakhorn. She’s gone missing in the Sea of Moving Ice far to the north, presumed a captive of the white dragon Arauthator.

Jamna reunites with the adventurers after the Council session, giddy with her promotion in the Zhentarim. They go shopping for winter gear, then head to the Yawning Portal. While Hurk and Jamna chat each other up and Beryl gets drunk on two beers, Garrett and Larion spot Igach watching them. They spend the night sleeping in shifts, having set up candles to spot any stray breeze.

The next morning, the party heads to the dock to meet with the longship the Council arranged to take them north. They meet with Lerustah Half-Face, captain of the Frostskimmr, who welcomes them aboard. Soon, they are sailing out of Waterdeep and towards the Sea of Moving Ice.

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Total Party Kickass
The Cult Strikes Back, Part 2

Having discovered an impending cultist ambush at the Boareskyre Bridge, the adventurers race to disrupt the plot. Beryl and Hurk warn the paladin Captain Khalia to summon reinforcements, while Garrett, Larion, and Jamna attempt to do something about the barrels planted at Bolo’s Tentside Inn.

While trying to sneak in the back of the inn’s pavilion, Larion and Garrett spot a rapidly approaching blue dragon. They realize that it is lining up a strafing run across the row of barrels. Inside the tent, Jamna disguises herself as an inspector for the Guild of Inns and Taverns and demands that the barrels be rolled outside. Unfortunately, her bluster isn’t quite convincing.

So it falls to Garrett, alarmed by the incoming dragon, to burst into the tent and start shouting “Fire! Fire!” His genuine fear convinces the crowd and sparks a stampede for the exit, just as Beryl and Hurk arrive.

Beryl stands firm against the throng but Hurk is immediately bowled over. Jamna likewise is knocked to the ground and trampled. Beryl senses a fellow dragon nearby and casts her gaze up to see the diving wyrm. She also sees several individuals in full Cult of the Dragon regalia dashing from one of the nearby tents into the cover of the tree line.

Beryl pulls Hurk onto his feet and warns him about both dangers. The two of them elbow their way out of the crowd as Hurk unslings the Longbow of the Golden Hart and readies a shot at the dragon.

Inside the pavilion, Garrett urges Larion to pick up Jamna and make a break for it. The half-elf collects the gnome and carries her to the threshold, where she wriggles free and slips into the crowd. Garrett himself rushes out through the back of the tent and up into a nearby tree a safe distance away.

By this point, the dragon’s approach is noticed by the crowd of evacuated patrons and an even greater panic starts to set it. Their surprise spoiled, the cultists decide to reveal themselves. The blue half-dragon leads his band of cultists out into view, shouting “The dragons rise! None can stop Tiamat’s return!”

The half-dragon then belches forth a long bolt of lightning that strikes Hurk square in the chest plate, thoroughly zapping him and putting his hair on end.

Three individuals in the crowd cast off their cloaks, revealing cult regalia beneath. They, too, shout “The dragons rise! None shall defeat them!”

The trio rush up behind Hurk and Beryl, their scimitars at the ready. Meanwhile, two of the cultists from the tree line dash forward and lift off, their capes taking the form of great bat wings to fly them over to the adventurers. They descend sword first, their blades crackling with electricity. Hurk and Beryl both take savage wounds from the attack.

The party realizes that these aren’t second-stringers. The cult is truly bent on killing them in this ambush, and has invested substantial resources to do so. From the shadows of the trees, their old enemy Frulam Mondath watches her cultists do their work.

The blue dragon dives low, flinching only slightly as Hurk wings it with his arrow. It is younger and smaller than the dragon that attacked Greenest so many months ago, but still dangerous. Its lightning breath scorches a line through the pavilion. There is a hissing sound and then multiple explosions tear apart the inn. Larion is singed by the blast. The dragon starts to wheel around for another pass.

Beryl struggles to heal the damage the cultists are dealing out, as she and Hurk bleed from multiple wounds. Garrett looses arrows from his perch in the tree, then ducks back into cover, hidden from view. Larion manages to sneak up to one of the cultists, but his scimitar glances off their armor. Jamna casts color spray and manages to briefly blind two of the three that are flanking Hurk and Beryl from behind.

Hurk drops the longbow and has a cackling Hazirawn to hand an instant later. The greatsword cleaves through one of the dragonwing cultists, but a slash against the second one is parried.

The remaining dragonwing calls for help and the half-dragon marches forward, cutting into Hurk with a vicious falchion. Garrett takes a shot at the half-dragon, but the arrow bounces off its armor. The sighted member of the cultist trio slashes out at the badly wounded Beryl, but swift as a sentinel Hurk lops the top of the man’s head off.

The wounded dragonwing cultist takes a swing at Hurk, but Beryl hooks his leg, throwing him off balance and allowing the fighter to easily bat aside his attacks.

A frustrated Frulam Mondath edges closer to the battle and uses a crackling orb of electrical energy to hurl a bolt of lightning at Beryl. The cleric barely stays on her feet, but is able to recite a healing word that bolsters herself and her allies. She then moves to flank the half-dragon with Hurk.

The young blue dragon swoops down and bites Hurk as it passes by, its teeth easily punching through his armor. The half-orc still has plenty of fight left in him however.

Larion sees his chance and cuts down one of the blinded cultists from behind, then wounds the other badly with a dagger from his off hand. Jamna decides against magic and instead marches out into the open to pop the wounded dragonwing cultist in the knee with her wrench, then splatter his head once he falls to the ground.

With Hazirawn whispering in his ear, Hurk lops off the half-dragon’s sword arm. He the grabs the half-dragon by the shoulder with one hand and rams the evil sword straight through the creature’s armor. Hazirawn’s necrotic energy drinks deep and the half-dragon wilts into a desiccated husk that Hurk casts to the ground.

He casts his gaze over to the last of the three cultists that had been flanking him from behind. This gentleman, having just regained his sight, realizes that he is the last cultist standing in the half-orc’s immediate vicinity. The man, already badly wounded by Larion, tries to disengage and flee. Hurk just flicks out with Hazirawn to spear the cultist’s heart.

Frulam Mondath stares in disbelief at the circle of six dead elite cultists around the blood-spattered Hurk and Beryl. She then uses her orb to fire a bolt of lightning into the sky and starts running. Garrett lets fly with an arrow, but just misses her. The silvery wrath of Beryl’s sacred flame scorches her but does not slow her.

Then the blue dragon, with an air of “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” swoops down to pick up Frulam Mondath and carry her off. Captain Khalia and a lance of mounted knights ride up in time to witness the escape. From his perch in the tree, Garrett flips them off for their tardiness.

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Roll Out the Barrel
The Cult Strikes Back, Part 1

The adventurers have a tense interaction with Talis the White, who wants to question the captured Wyrmspeaker Varram the White. This is further complicated by the fact that their guide Thali secretly has a bomb ready to go off if negotiations fail.

After Varram refuses to cooperate, they let Talis ask her questions. Once she does, she informs the adventurers that the cult plans to ambush them at the Boareskyre Bridge. Talis, Larion, and Garrett then have an awkward reunion before she departs.

On their way back through the Serpent Hills, the adventurers question Varram. He reveals the following information:

  • The Cult is based out of the Well of Dragons, an ancient dragon burial ground to the south, which the Cult has heavily fortified.
  • The Cult can complete its ritual without all of the Wyrmspeaker masks, but every mask that is lost will weaken Tiamat’s avatar when it manifests on Faerun.
  • The loss of Wyrmspeaker Rezmir has thrown the Black Dragon sect of the Cult into chaos.
  • The Cult’s leader Severin the Red is relying on the magical expertise of exiled Red Wizards of Thay, but the wizards aren’t true believers. They just want to use Tiamat against their enemies in Thay—and those same enemies could intervene against the Cult.
  • The Cult has diabolical allies who want to see Tiamat released from the Nine Hells, but other devils make want to thwart this plan and keep her there.
  • One fiendish ally of the Cult is a succubus that has compromised some Council staff and has been feeding information to the Cult.

Once the adventurers have heard what they need, they give Jamna the green light. The next morning, Varram is missing. Tracking his “escape,” they discover he has fallen down a ravine to his death. Thali decides she isn’t going to pay to have him raised from the dead.

They approach the tent city at Boareskyre Bridge and see no sign of a cult attack. Jamna turns Garrett invisible so that he can scout the camp. He spots a paladin helping to bring some unruly dogs under control. He also uses this opportunity to try picking some pockets and acquires a strange little bag. At Bolo’s Roadside Inn, Invisible Garrett doesn’t see anyone unusually shady, but does notice something odd about the barrels of ale that the innkeeper is being sold. Five of them smell very chemically.

Invisible Garrett follows the ale merchant back to a tent, where he is conferring with Frulam Mondath, last surviving leader of the Cult’s attack on Greenest many months ago. The Cultists have spotted the party, but are surprised the adventurers haven’t moved on to the inn yet. Frulam says it will be a while before the innkeeper taps the special barrels. She tells the merchant to “suit up.”

Invisible Garrett returns to inform the party, pausing first to surreptitiously tie Hurk’s shoes. They debate what to do. Garrett discovers that his pilfered pouch contains hairy beans that turn into small animals that temporarily obey him. He sends a red squirrel to go gnaw on the funny smelling barrels in order to mark them.

Larion suggests they bring the authorities in on this. Hurk, Beryl and Thali decide to talk to the paladin while the rogues try to abscond with the barrels. The paladin, Captain Khalia, remembers them and agrees to get reinforcements from the nearby watchtower.

At the tavern, the rogues try to find a way to get the barrels removed. Jamna disguises herself as a guild inspector while Garrett and Larion stealth around to the back of the pavilion. Just before they slip inside, they spy a dragon approaching in the distance.

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The Obligatory Serpent Cult Battle
Rise of Tiamat, Varram the White, Part 5

After the party recovers from the bridge battle, Jamna thanks them for saving her. She confesses her secret mission to murder Varram in order to prevent him from revealing details of Zhent operations to the rest of the council. Garrett suggests that they question Varram about the Cult and then kill him. The others are on board with this plan.

They jerry-rig a rope bridge across the chasm and venture deeper into the serpentfolk complex. Following a trail of blood, they arrive at a temple. Six enormous snake statues flank the room, the green flames in their mouths providing eerie illumination. At the far end of the room is a dais with a large stone altar. Behind it is a naga-like yuan-ti priestess, holding a semi-conscious Varram at knife point. Their foe Ssessirex stands near the altar, as does another yuan-ti malison and two lizardfolk warriors.

The priestess calls out to the adventurers, offering to give them the dwarf if they leave. Hurk demands satisfaction against Ssessirex and ultimately arranges for a duel between them. The half-orc confidently brings Hazirawn to bear against the yuan-ti’s scimitar. The baleful blade cuts the yuan-ti down.

But the green flame from one of the six snake statues flits over to the fallen Ssessirex, restoring him to vitality. The serpent-headed man presses the attack. Though Hurk kills him repeatedly, the green flames continue to revive him and the yuan-ti’s own attacks begin to wear down the half-orc, despite Beryl’s healing magic. Hurk cries foul at this, but Ssessirex points out that he is the one who provoked a duel i a temple.

Meanwhile, Garrett and Jamna have been slowly and stealthily creeping across the fringes of the room, moving from snake statue to snake statue. Jamna is ultimately discovered, sparking outrage from the yuan-ti for her interference. As the duel devolves into a battle, the yuan-ti priestess calls for the adventurers to just take the dwarf and leave, using magic to strike terror in them.

Beryl, jamna, Larion, and Ssessirex are all afflict and run. Hurk manages to lead the barely conscious Varram out of the temple chamber. Garrett lingers to take a few potshots at the priestess before following.

Out in the corridor, Jamna runs as fast as her little legs can take her, but the others quickly shake off the priestess’ magic. Ssessirex is caught outside the temple’s magic and is put down viciously.

The adventurers make their way outside of Diderius’ Tomb, where they reunite with Jamna. After dousing Varram with curative magic, the golf dwarf Wyrmspeaker becomes very talkative. He explains that the White Wyrmspeaker mask was stolen from him, so he traveled out to the tomb to use its divining pool to locate it before the theft was known to the rest of the Cult. Unfortunately, the pool revealed that Cult agents had already recovered the stolen mask, leaving Varram’s reputation in shambles.

That is when Talis the White and a band of her followers emerge from one of the ruined buildings outside the tomb. Talis is very disappointed to hear that the White Wyrmspeaker mask was recovered.

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A Close Fall
Rise of Tiamat, Varram the White, Part 4

Having chased the fleeing lizardfolk through the secret door into the Yuan-ti caverns, the adventurers find another band of reptile people on a bridge over a chasm. Two snake-headed yuan-ti malisons with longbows stand behind the lizardfolk.

Jamna stealthily creeps forward and uses minor illusion to create disturbing roars from the chasm to rattle the scaly warriors.

Garrett shoots the fleeing lizardman in the back with his shortbow. Hurk then rushes forward and tries to bash the wounded lizardman into his fellows on the bridge. The lizardman doesn’t budge. Beryl incinerates it with sacred flame

Larion creeps forward and prepares his scimitar in case the lizardfolk advance.

Having gone out in front, Hurk becomes the target for a barrage of javelins and arrows from the lizardolk and yuan-ti. Jamna starts up another minor illusion of a creepy shadow rising out of the chasm to further scare the enemy.

Garrett fires an arrow, then moves forward stealthily. Hurk charges the enemies on the bridge and cuts through two lizardfolk with Hazirawn. Beryl moves up to heal him.

The yuan-ti order the lizardfolk to hurl the adventurers into the chasm. Two lizardfolk try to heave Hurk, but he shakes them off. Jamna moves up and takes one down, then hides behind Beryl.

Garrett wounds one of the yuan-ti. Hurk fails to take down the second lizardman and ends up driving his sword down into the bridge. A huge crack starts to spread across its surface.

The remaining lizardman freaks out and retreats, getting punched by Hurk as he goes. The reptile folk launch missiles, focusing on Garrett. Jamna retreats off the bridge and blasts one of the yuan-ti with ray of frost. Garrett backs away and kills the wounded serpentman with an arrow.

With great effort, Hurk gets his sword free of the stone. Beryl drags him back to safety as the cracks expand to cause much of the bridge to collapse. The surviving yuan-ti laughs across the chasm that they are at an impasse.

Hurk turns to Jamna and asks if she wants to try a fastball special. She determinedly agrees. He throws her across the broken bridge. Wielding her wrench, she takes down one of the lizardfolk and knocks another off the bridge.

Then it all goes wrong.

Moving lightning fast, the yuan-ti grabs the little gnome by the throat and dramatically drops her off the bridge. She plunges into the dark chasm with a shriek, followed by a sickening wet crunch.

Sneering at the horrified adventurers, the yuan-ti introduces himself as Ssessirex and invites Hurk to seek him out. He and the surviving lizardman then retreat down the stairs deeper into the serpentfolk’s lair.

The party immediately rushes to rescue Jamna, hoping against hope she was alive. Garrett quickly gets out his rope and with the rest of the party anchoring it, hastily descends into the chasm. He uses the dim glow of his magic bow Pokey to see. Garrett discovers that Jamna fortunately fell on the shallower side of the cavern, landing on the body of the lizardman she’d knocked off the side.

Garrett quickly applies a healer’s kit to the unconscious gnome, stabilizing her. He rigs a harness for her to be pulled up and climbs after her. Beryl casts cure wounds on Jamna and the gnome awakes gasping. She admits that the fastball special was a bit to cocky and notes that the yuan-ti had snake-like reflexes. She and Hurk ugly cry over each other.

The adventurers retreat up to the chamber above to rest and recuperate. Jamna awkwardly thanks Garrett, then returns to cuddle at Hurk’s side. The party still needs to find a way across the chasm and discover what has become of their target, Varram the White.

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I Speak With Dead People
Rise of Tiamat, Varram the White, Part 3

After their experience with the bone boulder trap, the party investigates everything more carefully. They discover a set of sarcophagi hidden behind the hanging tapestries but can’t determine their purpose.

Making sure to perform the holy gesture of Mystril beforehand, the adventurers enter through the large double boors. Beyond they find a throne on a massive dais that resembles a floating cloud concealing a golden sun. Seated on the throne is a twelve-foot tall, regal and well muscled man with a flowing white beard and purple toga. A pile of treasure, most of it copper pieces and cheap trinkets, lies at its feet.

The giant tells them that before seeking Diderius’ wisdom they must first furnish tribute. They each make an offering and the figure gestures for them to pass through the adjacent door.

The passage leads to a dining hall where five bearded devils stand on guard. The devils pay the party little mind until the adventurers strike up polite conversation. The party pays them 200gp in gems for information. They learn that the devils are from “Avernus,” that they serve Varram the White, and that they have been ordered to guard against anything dangerous emerging from the chamber below where undead things slew a cultist. They also learn that Varram has been missing for some time.

The party presses on to the divination chamber, which was apparently the scene of a fight. Beryl uses speak with dead to question a dead cultist, a man with gray hair and a tangled mustache. His corpse reveals that he was killed by Varram as an offering to the pool. Varram is seeking the location of the White Wyrmspeaker mask. The corpse also reveals that Varram came with twelve cultists and five bearded devils. Seven cultists were slain. Larion helpfully recalls the seven graves outside.

Garrett considers trying to contact Talis the White for information on Varram, but realizes it would take too long.

The party presses on to the next room, which contains the tomb of Diderius. He warns them that yuan-ti have taken Varram and offers to open their secret door. The party prepares for battle.

The door opens to reveal a band of lizardmen. Beryl hears one of them rush off to warn the yuan-ti while the rest charge forward. Hurk cuts through two of them, Jamna wrenches one that hurt the half-orc, Beryl fries one, and the last flees.

The party gives chase, stumbling across a band of lizardfolk and two yuan-ti waiting for them on a narrow bridge across a chasm.

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