Tyranny of Dragons

Pathways of Light...
Season 2 Session 8

Prologue: Osrik’s Dream
Dark clouds had swallowed the sun and sky, and darkness had fallen upon the city by the sea. Great waves, followed by powerful winds, violently tossed ships and piers. The dock workers were rushing inland, trying to escape the deadly reach of the waves and the brutal blows of the wind. He stood upon the hill overlooking the pier and watched the destruction, his Da’ calling him inside. His home was stone and built by Dwarves. and he would be safe inside. He turned to obey his Da’, but Osrik saw a young human girl with blonde hair gripping a post of the pier. The water had surged and there was no way for her to escape. The young Dwarf heard his Da’ call out again, “Osrik,” he shouted. “Get inside, boy. The Sea Bitch is raging, get inside where ye be safe. Only death is outside.”
“The girl, look,” said the young Dwarf. “She’ll be killed.”
“Aye,” said his Da’. “Get inside or it will two lives the storm claims.”
Osrik turned his gaze away, “I… can’t. No, I won’t leave her to die.”
His Da’ started to protest, but Osrik ran, downhill, through the howling wind. He heard his Da’ shout, “Ya fool! No! Ye canna swim!”
The young Dwarf pushed against the wind, which slowed his steps. He grit his teeth and pressed against the wind. His body surged with fire of his resolve and his steps found no resistance, he pushed through the wind that easily would have hindered another. He shouted, “Maggie, ya alright lass!”
Maggie was about 12 years old, and she was screaming when the wind snapped the post and waves pulled her to sea. She struggled to hold on as the storm struggled to take her. Osrik leaped and grabbed onto the post with the young girl. “It’s gonna be ok. I’ll get out of here,” he said.
The storm responded with a huge wave rising as high as a mountain. The young Dwarf looked up and was paralyzed by the massive looming darkness which swallowed both him and Maggie completely.
He was floating in the darkness, holding Maggie tight against him in one hand, and his other arm wrapped tightly around the post, but it was sinking fast, pulling them down. “Ya fool! Ye canna swim,” echoed in his head. Fear crept into the young Dwarf’s heart and he knew he was running out of time. Maggie was unconscious, he had to do something. The storm will claim two lives instead of one, his Da’ had told him.
The burning in his chest and the memory of his Da’s cowardice ignited a rage within Osrik. He gripped Maggie tightly, released the pos,t and kicked off it to launch him to the surface. He broke the surface of the sea with explosive force and a loud gasp, as air filled his lungs.
Kicking his legs frantically, Osrik struggled to keep himself aloft and gain his bearings. The young Dwarf couldn’t see the shore. He was lost and felt himself falling under. “Da!” he shouted as he was pulled under the waves. But the young Dwarf fought back, refusing to stay under. He broke the surface and shouted, “Father! Help me!” But he soon lost his strength and was pulled under.
In the darkness Osrik heard a voice.
“Osrik, ma boy, I’m here. Take my hand.”
In the darkness, Osrik grabbed hold of a hand which pulled him up. His head made its way to the surface and he gasped for air. Standing on the surface of the sea was a red-bearded Dwarf bathed in a warm glow. His touch renewed Osrik’s strength. He looked at him with pride-filled eyes.
“The girl will die. You must swim Osrik.”
“Dwarves canna swim…” said Osrik.
“Swim Osrik. Save your friend. Show your Da’ he’s wrong.” And with a smile, he pushed Osrik towards the shore.
Osrik swam. He kicked his legs, cradling the unconscious human girl who was nearly a foot taller than him. But he did not stop, not when his arms and legs no longer had feeling, not when he was pulled under water, not even when he felt the sand on his face. It took some time for Osrik to realize that he had actually made it to shore.
He picked up Maggie and made his way to some large rocks to take shelter from the wind. The storm had swallowed the shoreline and had swelled inland. Debris of ruined ships and docks were all about.
Osrik checked on Maggie and realized that she wasn’t breathing. He struck her on her chest trying to get the water out of her lungs, but she did not respond. “No, no, no,” he muttered, “We didn’t do all this for ya to die. Wake up Maggie. Wake up!”
He struck her cheek, and for a moment Osrik felt warmth fill his body. When he struck her she gasped and air filled her lungs.
The young Dwarf smiled, relieved that he had saved her. The wind picked up and Osrik noticed a shadow looming towards him. He tried to move, but it was too late. A large piece of debris struck him in the head and then there was only darkness.

17th day of Nightal 1489 DR the Year of the Warrior Princess

The party sleeps in the secret tunnel connecting to the portal chamber. Tribs wakes Reven and tells him to follow him. They wake Harilin, who also follows. They emerge in an old chapel of Shar. Tribs tells Reven that this is where Shadowheart performed a ritual that brought him back from the dead and bound his soul to another body. He tried to use him against his friends, though eventually he was released from this life with his friends’ help.

Exploring the chamber, Harlin finds a secret entrance to Shadowheart’s office which looks like it hasn’t been attended in some time. There are many rows of books, a desk, and a model which predicts planar orbits.

What dominates the office is the back wall with many names in the form of multiple family trees. Upon inspection, they find Reven’s family tree which dates back nearly 130 years to someone listed as “The Lost King, Gondegal the Graywolf,” who Harlin explains was a prince of Corymyr who betrayed his brother and conquered the lands outside of Cormyr, causing a mild civil war. He held the lands for four days before the Purple Dragon Knights restored order. He was never captured, but many claim that his actions caused Cormyr and the knights to expand and grant protection outside of their region and territory which helped many towns and villages outside of Cormyr. Tribs is surprised by this information, saying that he never knew his father.

Harlin recognizes the name Sandoval Fanchone which raises Tribs’ curiosity of his origins, though Harlin is sure he is not related to him. Tribs and Reven talk about the mission and stress the importance of its success, Tribs saying Reven must be prepared to make sure they do whatever is necessary to succeed.

The rest of the party awakens, Osrik waking from his strange dream. They realize that Reven, Tribs, and Harlin are missing and track them down. They soon join them in the Temple and find the secret entrance. They enter the room and ask what they have been doing. They explain explain that they found this room and were investigating it.

Gamora notices her birth father Vayer Graverson’s name on the wall and his family tree dating back to a name, Klauth, which Cora reveals as the name of an ancient Red Dragon.

There is also an extensive tree of the Clan Glitterstone Dwarves, which Reven assumes Osrik belongs to, based on his shield.

Jean Luc notices Kalu Starglimmer’s family tree and her two children, Abigail Starglimmer and Samirn Hala.

Even with these names are many more the party doesn’t recognize. Reven lets slip that Tribs is his father and calls him Ash. When the party members begin to look at his name on the wall, he destroys his name with a burst of lighting. Osrik repairs the wall instinctively, but the name is gone. Jean Luc does recall the name Ash Nightbreeze, a name of historical significance but he keeps it to himself.

Jean Luc turns his attention to the planar model and realizes he can manipulate it. The planes turn and become coterminous with the material plane as he moves the dial. He notices that the dial has a date which he determines is the Netheril calendar year turning to dial to the current year of 5348 he sees the current alignment of the inner plains and some objects that may represent the outer planes, though they are less prominent. Fine tuning the dial he realizes that some of the planes become more coterminous. And that in the early months of 5349 there will be an alignment between several outer planes and a single plane which becomes coterminous during the first week of Alturiak. Jean Luc is worried that that plane may be the Baator, the realm also know as the Nine Hells.

Leaving the office, the party returns to the planar gate and uses Hazirawn again to shift to the Shadowfell. When arriving to the tower, they find the door has a slot in the gate that looks like the outline of a sword. Hazirawn is placed in the slot and fits perfectly. With a loud click, the door unlocks and slides open. Hazirawn laughs as he slides into the wall. He wishes them best of luck in a sinister way.

The party enters the tower and immediately realizes that magic their magic does not function. The tower is dark, save for a single blue flame brazier, and surrounding them is the black shadowstuff they found under the temple and in the Illithid’s lab.

The party finds three stones, and reading the inscription on the brazier, throw a black stone in the fire. The result is a pair of light bridges which manifest and lead to an upper level, with each path having a similar brazier. Cora walks up the platform with Khendrig, the young gnome refusing to leave her side. At the top of path, she finds more stones and takes a black stone and throws it into the brazier. The room flashes a red light and the light bridge vanishes. Cora instinctively grabs Khendrig and kicks off the wall as she falls on her back into the Shadowstuff. The party pulls Khendrig to safety, but Cora is caught in the Shadowstuf and begins sinking. Osrik throws her a rope and pulls her out of the muck, freeing her.

They party realizes that two individuals must attempt to throw the stones at the same time. They activate the light bridge again and Dru goes up one path. Cora starts the other but Khendrig latches on to her, saying he must protect her. Cora begins to try to convince the young gnome to stay behind, but Harlin decides to take the risk instead. Jean Luc realizes the colors of the stones align with the planar map in the office and beings to instruct the others to throw pairs of opposing planes, which reveal more ascending platforms until they reach the very top.

Dru and Harlin reach the top, which is a similar platform as the one from where they started. Jean Luc and Mags realize that the top stone should correspond with the positive energy plane, but find no yellow or white stone. After a time, Jean Luc figures out the pattern of using two stones that create yellow light. They cast their stones together and with a loud rumble, the upper and lower platforms shifts aside, and the upper platform begins to descend. The party jumps on the lowering platform, which continues down a tunnel of glass that holds the Shadowstuff back. The platform then descends deep below the surface into the Vault of Shadowheart…

Next: Descent Into Darkness

Back: Hidden Rooms

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Hidden Rooms
Season 2, Session 7

16th day of Nightal 1489 DR the Year of the Warrior Princess

During their rest, Mags removes her stasis crystal and places it on the ground. Rusty’s body materializes and the crystal is destroyed. After a few moments, the Dwarf begins to wake, but he looks confused and is speaking Dwarvish. After a few moments, he speaks in the common tongue and the party realizes he has no memory of them or his own past.

Soon a group of Drow appear and confront the party. Realizing that Darlandra is dead, they draw arms and discuss terms with the party. Cora intimidates the Drow, telling them if they wish to fight they will end up like Darlandra. This sets the leader back on her heels, and she agrees to maintain a wide berth if they leave them the east side of the fortress. The party agrees and the Drow withdraw.

Harlin opens the secret passage, and a stealth team of Cora, Reven, Harlin, and Dru enter the passageway. Cora holds on to Jean Luc’s sending stone if needed to call for aid. The party finds a laboratory with a pit of black Shadowstuff, which seems to have hoses connected to six glass tubes and a chair with some head apparatus.

They investigate the room thoroughly, finding nothing. Reven, suspecting the Illithid has escaped through the black liquid, jumps in seeking it out. He is nearly suffocated as the shadowstuff begins to burn and poison his body. Cora reaches in and pulls him out, saving his life.

After some time, the rest of the party join and experiment with the lab, the shadowstuff, and the blue fire. The result is an explosive effect, but it seems to somehow create an invisibility effect in darkness when exposed to the blue fire. This, the party will learn, is a temporary effect.

The party learns through investigation that there were some alchemical components in the back table, where many of the key apparatuses are missing. It seems the Illithid may have escaped. Gamora asks Hazirawn a question, and the blade mocks her for her stupidity. In an act of defiance, she attempts to drop the sword in the Shadowstuff, but finds the blade imposes his control over her body. She sheaths the sword and walks out.

Returning to the main chamber, Harlin is able to locate another secret door, which leads to a chamber with a large central structure with double doors. Investigating the area, there is the sound of moving stone and Tribs rejoins the party through a hidden side corridor. He explains that he had been exploring the side of the fortress where the Drow have encamped. He didn’t find much and asks what they have discovered.

Dru and Harlin look over the double doors of the central chamber. She attempts to unlock the door, which triggers a gas trap, knocking them both unconscious. Pulling them aside, Gamora realizes there is a slot the size of a sword, and when she inserts Hazirawn, the door opens. Inside is a large circular room with what originally looks like a vault door, but soon they understand it to be a metallic stone monolith in a room encircled with arcane runes. Jean Luc, using detect magic, finds several auras near similar sword inserts, but only one that has no light aura. He suspects that is the correct slot and instructs Gamora to use Hazirawn.

Inserting the Greatsword, she hears a click and turns the blade, which surges magical energy in the chamber. Those standing in the room (Gamora, Jean Luc, Tribbs, and Osrik) are transported to the dimension of pure death and darkness, and in the distance they see a black stone tower. Jean Luc realizes they have left the Underdark and are now in the Shadowfell.

Behind them, a similar monolith stands, but the runes’ locations are different, and far more complex. Before they can figure out the solution, Tribs uses his Gate Cube and returns the party back to the Underdark chamber.

They decide to rest and regain their strength before they venture into the Shadowfell. Tribs leads them to a secret corridor that should provide them a quiet night’s rest.

Next: Pathways of Light

Back: Mindflayer’s Chamber

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Mindflayer's Chamber
Season 2, Session 6

16th day of Nightal 1489 DR the Year of the Warrior Princess

After the image of the mindflayer fades, Gamora, Dru, and Mags check on Rusty. He doesn’t respond to them, though he seems in perfect health.

Cora, Dru, and Harlin are soon joined by Gamora in attacking the central brain, where it collapses and dies, releasing a strange burst of energy when it does.

The throne in the room soon begins to move forward, and six Drow warriors step forward, though they appear different from the Drow the party previously encountered. They are all black, including their hair, and they have faint blue glowing eyes. Their bodies seem to blend with the surrounding shadow and darkness around them. They press forward and attack.

Mags runs to Rusty’s body and places a crystal shard on his chest. She says a word and it expands, encasing his body in crystal. The crystal then shrinks down and she places it her pouch, then joining the fight.

Dru’s sister, Darlandra, and a Mind Flayer emerge from behind the throne. She turns to Dru and greets her, saying she is surprised to see her. Dru silently presses the attack on her sister. Cora, seeing Dru on the attack, fires her arrows which strike Darlandra and tangles her in an entangling spell that erupted from her arrows.

Darlandra tells Dru that she is the only chance she has of getting out of this alive, and stuns Dru with her gaze. It’s too late, as Cora finishes her off and moves her attacks to the Mind Flayer.

The creature moves towards Darlandra, but suddenly retreats as it’s gravely injured. Reven fires a spell at the Mind Flayer which he avoids and makes his escape.

The party struggles to finish off the remainder of the shadow Drow warriors, who fight on with no hint of emotion or sense of their own lives. As they fight, the throne closes, sealing off the Mind Flayer’s escape.

Once they finish them off, Cora asks Dru, “Are we okay?” and Dru nods silently, checking Darlandra’s body. She finds a magic staff, a spell book, and a childhood doll in her bag.

Harlin investigates the throne and realizes how to open it. They discuss if they should move forward, but decide due to their injuries to take an hour to rest and determine how to proceed.

End Session

Next: Hidden Rooms

Back: Shadowspire Fortress

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Shadowspire Fortress
Season 2, Session 5

16th day of Nightal 1489 DR the Year of the Warrior Princess

As the party rests, Cora speaks to the young deep gnome. She learns his name is Khendrig, though she isn’t able to learn much else. The boy appears to have been captured by Drow slavers, but left behind or escaped. The party discusses and decide that they have no choice but to bring him along. Cora asks Tribs if he is familiar with anything about a Deep Gnome village or how Khendrig would have been captured by the Drow, but he says he knows little of Svirfneblin.

They move on, and after nearly a mile through the cave system, they find their way to a large cavern with a long stone bridge over a canyon. About 100 feet below is a river with glowing green water that cuts through the cavern. Along the cavern walls are two massive statues, each holding a long glaive. Across the bridge is a large, black, stone fortress with a large tower that is partly buried by fallen rocks. Rusty realizes that the bridge seems Dwarven, but the fortress is Netherese in origin.

Jean Luc casts invisibility on Dru and she crosses the bridge, only to trigger some sort of alarm. The statues turn to face her, sensing her through her invisibility, and raise their weapons at her. Gamora draws Hazirawn and asks him if he knows what they are. Hazirawn’s eyes light up and he shouts, “Stand down!” The giants return to their position. The party crosses the bridge, and Gamora asks if he knows where they are, the sword responds, “At long last, I have returned home to my true master.”

As they enter the fortress. they enter a small chamber where two massive eagle heads flank the walls. 15 feet from the ground, and next to the entrance and exit are two braziers. flanking the entrance and the doorway ahead. Observing the brazier, it seems to have a strange blue fire, which gives off limited light, but no heat. Upon observation, it seems to be shadowstuff magically converted to absorb light in a way that creates a limited luminescence. Jean Luc finds this to be a strange and complex magical feat that he has no knowledge of ever being achieved.

Gamora asks Hazirawn about the chamber and he responds that this is the welcome chamber. As they try to pass through the next room, there is a force barrier that blocks their entrance and escape. The large eagle head mouths begin to open, and soon marching sounds are heard. From the mouths, three armored humanoids aim crossbows and fire at the party down below, their stiff motions and reactions identifying them as animated armors. Gamora rushes forward and pushes Hazirawn into the doorway, seemingly able to pass forward. She stands in the doorway, allowing the party to pass through. After a few stray bolt shots they escape into the main hallway of the fortress.

In this room they find a statue of who they believe is Shadowheart. He is armored and kneeling with his blade pointed down, while he looks up to the sky. The blade looks similar to Hazirawn, though they are not able to confirm if it is the same blade. The party examines the writing around the dais that lifts the statue, which says, “Champion of the darkness that serves the Greater Shadow. May the world all drown in Darkness.” Jean Luc and Reven both suspect the knight and the phrase may be referring to the goddess Shar.

Gamora asks Hazirawn who this person is. The sword feels warm and content. It says in her mind, “I am home.” She tries to poke the blade at the statue’s face, but it takes control of Gamora’s body and strikes her in the face with her own fist. Hazirawn falls silent and refuses to answer questions going forward.

The party observes the room, looking for tracks and checking doors. It seems there is heavy foot traffic to the right and forward path, and nearly nothing to the left. With no dust or traces of decay, it seems the fortress has magical properties, which is later confirmed as dirt and dust seem to slowly evaporate.

Gamora pushes forward through the left path and discovers a hallway with a different metal door which she breaks down. Inside she finds 6 animated armors, but slowly closes the doors once they are discovered. Rusty mends the steel door and they move on.

Cora opens the door at the end of the left hallway and discovers a large garden with the sound of running water. She states that it’s unlikely the vault is this way, and heads back to the main chamber.

Gamora, Jean Luc, and Rusty push forward through the garden while Cora, Reven, and Harlin discuss the next course of action. Dru, remaining invisible, moves between the groups, trying to make sure there isn’t any issue. Mags remains beside Khendrig, making sure he is safe. Tribs tells Reven to keep moving forward, but that he is going on ahead, and he breaks from the group.

As Reven turns to follow, he sees the old man fade into the darkness. He tries to follow him but he is gone. Reven suspects that Tribs may have gone to the right door, and wants to follow him, but Cora says that he didn’t want to be followed and likely mislead him. After some time, Cora wonders where the others are and whistles after them.

Meanwhile, the others discover a rather large chamber which seems to be a dedicated garden, with many phosphor luminescent plants. The chamber has a running stream, which is fed by a fountain for a woman they believe to be the goddess Shar. The water seems clean and pure and flows to the stream encircling the majority of the chamber. There seems to be some animal life mixed in with the garden. After some exploring they decide to go back. As they are about to leave, Gamora notices at the far end of the dark chamber another fountain, broken and overflowing with water running, under a set of double doors. She turns back after hearing Cora whistle. Gamora makes a honking noise back and turns around.

Reven looks at the statue, believing it is likely hiding something. Dru inspects the statue and pushes it, trying to move it aside. Reven helps, but both their efforts are fruitless. Harlin sits next to the statue and looks at it’s base carefully, then taps it with a knife before saying that it does not move. The rest of the group rejoins after this exchange.

The party tries to figure out where the best way to go is, and after some discussion Cora decides to move forward, pushing open the upper chamber. She says to the group, “Are we all moving forward or will we split up?” Rusty disagrees with her actions stating that they have no idea where they are going and they shouldn’t split up.

Cora argues that if the group stays in the main chamber, it’s only a matter of time until they are discovered, and she moves forward. Dru and Gamora follow, and soon the rest of the party moves on as well. Rusty remains in the main chamber begins to cast a ritual spell for divine guidance.

The party that moves forward discovers a grand staircase with several suits of armor, styled similarly to the animated armors. They proceed up the stairs with caution. The winding grand staircase takes them to a platform that feeds to another staircase that enters two small doors. These doors lead into a grand throne room with long winding stairs, which descend past several more suits of armor. They continue to proceed with caution.

The large room has four large blue shadowlights, much like all other rooms in the fortress. There is a large well and eight glass pillars glowing a strange purple light. When they investigate, they find within each glass pillar is a corpse of a mind flayer, floating in a purple colored liquid. In the center of the room, in a well in the ground, is a large brain that is also glowing purple. It twitches and writhes with movement. Tn_52059_CN_jpg.jpg

As they take some time trying to understand what they are seeing, Jean Luc moves deeper into the room and discovers a broken throne at the far end of what was once a throne room.

Rusty, completing the spell of divination, calls upon his god for guidance. He asks “What is the easiest path to take?” After a moment a spirit speaks to him stating, “No path you take will be easy. Move forward.” With that it vanishes. He rejoins the group, finding Mags waiting behind for him. She asks him what he discovered, and he replies he knows the way now.

He rejoins the group entering the chamber, and after a few moments there are skittering noises heard all around. They turn to find several small creatures PZO9204-IntellectDevourer.jpg heading towards them. Dru turns and attacks one of the glass cases, thinking that the small brainlike creatures will restore the mind flayers. Gamora and Cora turn their attention to the large brain hoping it will stop the small creatures.

jean Luc releases a fireball destroying two of the creatures. Rusty unleashes a gust of wind, pushing back the other two. On the other side of the room, Reven fires his bow, taking down another, while Cora, Mags, and Harlin attack the other creatures. Rusty is struck by a psychic attack by the small creature which leaves him unconscious. The small creature seems to make towards the fallen Rusty, but Reven finishes it off with his bow.

The party finishes off the remaining creatures. Jean Luc forces a potion down the dwarf’s throat but he doesn’t respond.

Before they can understand what is happening, a large spectral image of a mind flayer appears, and he shouts within their minds, “How dare you come to this place!” The party clutches their minds in pain as a psychic attack burns into their minds.

End session 5

Next: Mindflayer’s Chamber

Back: Into the Darkness

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Loudwater - Into the Darkness
Season 2, Session 4

15th day of Nightal 1489 DR the Year of the Warrior Princess

In the aftermath of the battle with Darlandra, Dru’s sister, the party lends aid to injured townsfolk before leaving the Tankard. They leave, trying to avoid any additional attention, and then each break off, trying to complete different objectives.

Rusty leaves to go shopping, where he buys a golden locket, which he prepares with a spell that burns a magical fire within.

Jean Luc and Gamora head towards the Fisherman’s Friend Pub, where Gamora encounters a man who she becomes rather smitten by After a brief conversation and a potential offer for work, he departs, leaving Gamora with the tab for his drink. Soon Leosin and Onthar Frume enter the Pub and greet Gamora. When Leosin asks about Jean Luc, she refers him to the large, muscled man in the back, who is Jean Luc in disguise. They walk out together and he and Jean Luc talk, recounting all the events thus far. Leosin says he would like to brief the rest of the team all at once, and Jean Luc suggests they meet at the docks in an hour. They part ways.

Dru, Cora, and Mags track down the shop that was being used as a front for the Black Trident, which leads them to Starra’s Knife Shop. They spend some time casing the shop, but are summoned by Jean Luc to meet with Leosin.

The party meets at Rusty’s ship and they discuss all the intelligence gathered on their quest with Leosin and Onthar Frume. They recount all they have learned from the dragon breeding grounds, on the long road, their encounter with Bog Luck, the swamp, the Castle Naerytar, Talis and the Hunting Lodge, and the Skyfortress Castle, and their recent encounter with Lord Volmyr, including the information he provided about the Red Wizards aiding the Cult. They also tell Leosin about the Black Trident and their presence in Loudwater.

Leosin thanks the party for their valued service and provides them a 500 gp gem each. Cora asks “what’s next” and Leosin tells them that there will be a council meeting in Waterdeep in the next 5 days, where they will mobilize forces against the Cult of the Dragon. Also, he believes he has identified a place known as the Well of Dragons, which may potentially be the Cult of the Dragon’s main base.

Cora asks for the location, but Leosin refuses to give this information, as it may jeopardize the team that is already on-site, investigating. He offers the team a teleportation scroll and asks that they join the council meeting so that they may contribute to the discussions.

The party agrees, but they feel that they cannot leave Loudwater under the Black Trident’s control and say they will handle this task before heading to Waterdeep. As the meeting concludes, Leosin pulls Jean Luc aside privately, and offers him a Harper pin.

He tells Jean Luc that his actions were of the most courageous, going farther than he could have asked for. He welcomes him into the Harpers, giving him his pin and codebook, as well as discussing what is required of him as a member of the faction.

Rusty pulls Mags aside and gives her a locket, which when opened holds a magic flame. Rusty says it’s to help her see in the darkness. She is surprised by the gift and thanks him for it.

After the meeting, Cora and Gamora head to the Fisherman’s Friend Pub to meet Harlin. They meet Reven, a half-drow, who is forming the expedition into the Underdark to find the Vault of Shadowheart. After some time, Gamora realizes that Cora has worked with Reven and Harlin in the past. She also recognizes Harlin as the one who cheated her out of a drink earlier. While Reven seems reluctant to work with Cora, he ultimately realizes he has little choice as no other adventurers came to answer his call.

They discuss logistics and terms of the party’s aid. Harlin states that their patron for the expedition has simple terms; first pick is his, and all other items can be divided up civilly amongst the group afterwards. Cora disagrees with these conditions, and states that if they are risking their necks, they expect some sort of compensation.

The old man that Gamora encountered in the gnome restaurant appears behind them. Cora also recognizes him from the foot race event and remembers how he seemed to have intentionally failed, and how she later noticed him in conversation with a half-drow she now realizes was Reven.

The old man introduces himself as Tribs Anchors, and states “these are the terms. Accept them or there is nothing for you.” Though, he states it seems that they are likely aligned already in their path and that it just makes sense for them to work together. He wishes them well and leaves.

Reven decides he wants to meet the rest of the party before they agree to work together. Reven and Harlin head towards the ship. They make introductions. Reven meets everyone and after some conversation seems to accept their assistance, and leaves. Harlin advises them to meet them at dawn at the Temple of Lathandar.

The party enters the temple before dawn to find Reven praying at the altar, Harlin sitting patiently eating a small breakfast, and Tribs leaning against the wall. Rusty also gives his respects to Lathandar, awkwardly.

Tribs tells the party, “Back when Loudwater was under control of the darker forces and before it was taken back, this church had been desecrated. And while the followers of Lathandar had purified the evil from these halls, there are still some things that remain.” Tribs pushes a large statue of a knight, which reveals a secret stairwell that descends under the church.

The path leads to a door which, when Gamora pulls, triggers a powerful Glyph of Warding that delivers a strong lightning surge. Gamora shakes off the trap and they push on. The next room is a large lake with still of shadowy water, and a path heading towards the center. When Rusty checks the water he finds that it is a strange shadow paste. His touch seems to trigger something, and the shadow water gathers into the form of a large, giant-like creature. The party runs to the center island which has the glowing blue light of a teleportation circle. Desperately looking for the command words, Jean Luc sees runes around the circle that say in Draconic, “Into the Darkness of Truth, leave behind the lies of the light”.

Upon repeating the phrase, the party vanishes.

The party appears underground, the atmosphere stale and cold. They stand in a teleportation circle, its runes a faint purple. Jean Luc inspects the circle and it seems it’s power is drained. He reads the inscription and it says, “Into the Light of Lies, Remember only the Truth of the Dark.”

As they walk out of the small hidden alcove, they realize they are in an underground city within a large cave opening. There are several buildings along both sides of the cave, each built up along the cave walls, ascending at least three levels.

As they make their way through, they spot a Drow patrol waiting in ambush. Dru steps forward and greets them. The Drow commander looks to Dru and she asks who she serves. Dru, confused by the question, says herself and her god.

The Drow attack the group. The party engages and through swift efforts, makes short work of them. They take a moment to rest and investigate the village. Jean Luc realizes that the town used to be some sort of village or trade hub. He finds evidence of soldiers, and possibly slave pens. He also determines that it was a magical force that destroyed this village, not a natural landslide.

Cora, investigating one of the rooms on the upper level, hears a noise. She investigates and finds a young child hiding under a table. She approaches, but is attacked by a floating, beaked creature, which she later learns was a grell. She kills the creature with her bow, and turns to the child. She realizes it’s a deep gnome boy, not more than 5 or 6 years of age. She asks, “Are you alright?” When the deep gnome looks at her eyes, there is a powerful force that possesses Cora.

She remembers when she fled from her parents’ assassins, she turned into an alley and tripped. She tried to get up, but before she could, a cart rolled over her, hiding her. She watched as Cult of the Dragon assassins ran past. A gnome merchant reached his hand to her and said, “Are you alright?”

Cora snaps out of the memory, and picks up the child telling him it will be alright.

Reven watches Cora, and realizes that this Cora is much different from the woman he knew 10 years ago. He steps in and offers aid with the child.

End Session

Next: Shadowspire Fortress

Back: Shadow Games

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Loudwater - Shadow Games
Season 2, Session 3

Evening of the 14th day of Nightal 1489 DR the Year of the Warrior Princess

Jean Luc is surrounded by the local guards of Loudwater. He tries escape using his magic, but it’s countered. He assumes it was Dru. The body of Lady Moonfire twists and begins to rise, her eyes glowing red. She attacks the guards, but Captain Harrowleaf steps up and cuts down the animated corpse of his former leader and friend. Jean Luc breaks away and runs, but is soon surrounded by the town guard. Realizing this won’t end well, he surrenders.

Rusty, exiting the Tankard, sees the guards taking Jean Luc away and the fallen Lady Moonfire. He convinces the guards to allow him to help revive Lady Moonfire and casts revivify to restore her. He is shocked and confused when her soul will not return. Pushing his intent and concentration into the spell, he makes contact with a demonic presence which shatters his concentration.

Soon there are more stragglers from the Tankard that come to see what has happened and mourn their fallen leader. Gamora and Rusty go towards the guards’ barracks while Cora and Mags remain behind, investigating.

Rusty and Gamora try to make a case for Jean Luc and offer to aid the investigation. Captain Harrowleaf rejects their help, stating they are too close to the case to be impartial. When Gamora presses, claiming they were friends with Lady Moonfire. She shows her concealed knife bracelet and says they had given her the same knife as a gift. Harrowleaf asks Gamora if he can take her bracelet for analysis. She reluctantly hands it over to him, and he has their statements taken for the record before they leave.

Cora arrives as the two exit the building. Curious about Dru, she and Gamora return to the Tankard to look for clues again. Rusty decides to go wait in the boat in case Dru returns.

Jean Luc, bound and gagged in the jail, prays to Bahamut and tries to escape, but to no avail. He hears a voice call to him and a black hole appears on the ground. The voice tells him to jump in the hole and he does.

Sometime later the hole opens and Mags becomes visible. She dispels her invisibility and tells Jean Luc he needs to wait a bit longer, then she hides him again and heads towards the ship.

Cora and Gamora arrive to find a dazed and confused Dru sitting in front of the Tankard. She tells them that she was taken, but doesn’t know what happened to her. They soon realize that Dru was not with the group for most of the day and the person with the party was an impostor.
Dru recounts that she saw something in a store and went to investigate, when she was knocked out. She states that she doesn’t remember anything else. Dru asks about Mags and is concerned for her safety. As they prepare to return to the boat, a mysterious, pale, gaunt man appears from the shadows. He tells Dru that he brings a message from Lord Volmyr, which appears to be a hidden map to a meeting.

As the messenger turns to leave Cora is unsatisfied with his answers. She tells him to halt, but he does not heed her. Cora fires an arrow in his back, killing him. The party, not wanting to deal with another murder, stuff the messenger into their bag of holding to deal with later. They return to the docks.

Jean Luc and Mags arrive at the boat and Jean Luc tells them what happened as he re-outfits himself. He tells Rusty that someone disguised as Dru killed Lady Moonfire and left him to take the blame. He states that she was a powerful mage using magic that was beyond his capabilities.

Not long after, Cora, Dru, and Gamora arrive. They exchange stories, and Mags asked if the guards are aware they are staying at the docks. Rusty says they are aware, but that he gave them a different dock number. Dru shows Mags the letter from Lord Volmyr, and Mags tells her that he is a gangster and they shouldn’t go see him. Mags insists that she and Jean Luc need to leave before the guards track them down, but they will return soon. She tells Jean Luc to get back in the hole and takes his bag of holding for safe-keeping, as they have negative effects on the hole. Mags turns invisible and leaves the ship, closing the door as she leaves.

Not more than ten minutes after Mags leaves, Captain Harrowleaf arrives and turns out the ship looking for clues and interrogating the party. He asks where Mags is, as he is aware of how she and the rest of the party entered the city. After an hour or so, Captain Harrowleaf whispers to Dru that she should follow the map, and leaves with his men.

Dru relays the message to the party and suggests they head to see Lord Volmyr. Dru realizes she left the map with Mags, but remembers well enough to make her way to the location.

When the portable hole opens, Jean Luc finds himself in the study of a well-kept manor. Mags gives Jean Luc a Hat of Disguise and some food to eat while he waits for the magic item to attune with him. He asks her about the home and if it belongs to her family. Mags nods and says that it’s hers. Jean Luc, looking over the books in the study, finds very rare tomes that would be envied in Candlekeep. (Well, he assumes, if he ever entered Candlekeep.) Mags gives him a book of poetry to read while they wait. Soon after, once the item begins working, she makes him enter the [[:portable hole]]. She takes his bag of holding before he enters.

The party goes to a cookware shop specializing in pots and pans. Dru notices a mark on one of the displays in the window indicating this is the location, since this mark was on the letter. When the party enters, the man behind the counter presses a button which locks the doors. He asks the party for the messenger. Gamora pulls the body of the dead messenger from the bag of holding, dropping him with a thud on the ground. The man takes the body and tells them to proceed through the back.

They pass several armed hobgoblins who lead them down a secret path, which leads to a chamber with a solitary guard and iron doors. He asks for their weapons and items to be left behind. Cora refuses. The others agree to the terms and leave their gear with Cora.

Rusty, Gamora, and Dru are taken to an audience chamber filled with lavish decorations, burning perfumed incense, and a large beaded curtain where a voice is heard echoing the chamber. The figure behind the curtain welcomes them and introduces himself as Lord Volmyr. Rusty asks for him to reveal himself and after a warning he does. Lord Volmyr is a Bone Devil.

Volmyr tells the party that he has heard of their exploits in fighting the Cult of the Dragon and how they resist the battle against Tiamat’s resurrection. He tells them that the Nine Hells are divided on the subject of Tiamat’s release, and there are those that would be indebted to the party if they were to keep her where she sits.

Volmyr offers the party information on the Red Wizards of Thay, who have allied themselves with the Cult of the Dragon. Their leader is named Rath Mordar, who is a member of the exiled rebels called the Thayan Resurrection. They are enemies of Szass Tam, the Lich overlord and leader of Thay. Rath Mordar has been helping the Cult of the Dragon by summoning devils to aid the Cult and has been assisting with the Summoning Ritual necessary to release Tiamat from the Nine Hells. Volmyr states that capture of Rath Mordar would be valuable to Szass Tam.

Volmyr also says that if the party will continue to oppose Tiamat, then their interests align and he would be willing to use his network to aid them with any information they would find useful in their war. Though, he mentions, an organization called the Black Trident have moved into Loudwater and is threatening his network. He asks the party to assist him by removing the Black Trident so he will be able to better aid them.

Dru asks Volmyr if he knows anything about the Black Trident. He looks at Dru and seems to read her mind, then tells her that he will not help her with her game. Rusty asks Volmyr about Lady Moonfire, saying he believes that the Black Trident killed her to destabilize and demoralize the city. Rusty asks why he couldn’t revive her, and the devil reveals that Moonfire was a warlock, and that her contract had expired.

Volmyr believes that the Black Trident was not able to make their foothold in Loudwater without assistance and believes that an old rival named Ghaerleth Axom is responsible. Volmyr tells the party that Ghaerleth Axom was routed by Altormagnus nearly a century ago, but after the dragon’s disappearance has slowly gathered a foothold in the city.

The party asks how he survived the dragon. Volmyr said that some evils are necessary and that if you keep your head down you can find a way to endure, even under a dragon’s rule.
Rusty asked what type of being Ghaerleth Axom is. Volmyr says that he is a Mind Flayer.

With this information, the party is told their meeting is concluded, and are escorted out. Cora tries to make small talk with the guard, but it doesn’t seem to work. Eventually the rest of the group returns and they make their way outside, where Mags and a large, muscular, brown-skinned, bald man with tattoos wait for them. He calls himself Bravio, but it doesn’t take long for the party to realize it’s Jean Luc in disguise.

They make their way back to the boat to rest and discuss the information and Lord Volmyr’s proposal. The party is largely against allying with the devil, but they do believe that the Black Trident is a threat. They ask Dru about Howard, and she says she doesn’t know where he is. The party asks Dru what she remembers, but she doesn’t seem to recall much, leading the party to believe that her memories were altered. Jean Luc asks if he can inspect her items, and casts detect magic. On her holy symbol of Tymora, he notices there is a scrying locator cast upon it. Jean Luc holds onto the coin. They also notice that Dru has the same dress as she wore previously, when she was kidnapped, causing more confusion. Jean Luc tells the party that it isn’t safe to talk here, as they may be overheard. Mags then offers to take them to someplace safe, but they need to get in the portable hole.

She collects the party’s bags of holding as they go into the hole. Cora refuses to go, and turns to argue her point. Gamora shoves Cora inside, grabbing her bag of holding. She tosses both bags to Mags as she falls into the hole. As Cora goes to climb out Mags shuts the hole. Dru and Mags make their way to the other side of town with the party’s bags of holding. (Yes it totally happened that way…)

Cora, enraged, punches Gamora full in the face. Gamora, knocked on the ground, smiles, tasting the blood from the hit. “Yep, I deserved that,” she says.

Cora turns to the group and expresses how she’s sick of all these secrets, and questions why they are putting their trust in this girl. Rusty states that Mags has proven herself time and again, and she has earned their trust. Gamora says everyone has things they rather not talk about, and Cora should understand more than anyone else. Cora lets it drop, but is still very bothered by the situation.

When the hole opens again, they exit inside the manor. Mags tells the group that inside the house, they are safe from scrying magic, and there are several wards preventing other sorts of spells. Jean Luc uses this opportunity to dispel the scyring sensor on the coin.

Mags goes into the kitchen to make some food for the party, when Dru pulls her and Cora aside. She confesses to them that she remembers what happened to her and has known all along. Dru reveals that she was kidnapped by the leader of a criminal organization of Drow, known as the Black Trident.

She tells them the story of how in her youth she worked with a rival organization, known as the Blue Nightingales, and their leader, who was like a father to her, took her off the streets and trained her. One day when the Black Trident’s leader moved against them, she was told to kill him. She killed the leader of the Black Trident, but soon learned that he was her biological father. She realized that the man she trusted had manipulated her into killing her father, and let the man die as well.

She later disbanded the Blue Nightingales, but the current leader of the Black Trident, her sister, had come looking for her. Her sister knocked her out when she was investigating a store with the Black Trident sigil. When she woke, she saw a scrying glass and saw her sister posing as her and kill Lady Moonfire. When her sister returned, she told Dru that if she says anything to anyone about her, then she would kill her friends, starting with Mags. Then she let her go. Dru thinks it was a game to her and that she wants to see how it plays out.

Cora listens. After a moment she nods and says she has her back in this.

They eventually retell the information to the rest of the party and they agree that the Black Trident will need to be dealt with. Many of the group turn in to rest for the night. Cora asks Mags to let her go outside as she doesn’t want to stay in the house overnight. Jean Luc goes outside momentarily and releases Bruce to search the town. He sends a sending spell to Leosin to apprise him of the situation, and returns to the house.

Cora makes her way to Fisher’s Friend Pub, where she finds Harlin playing a game of cards. He glances over at her, acting as though he doesn’t know her, and asks if she wants to play with a sly flirt. She buys into the table and plays. As the night goes on, Cora finds herself and Harlin winning the table, until Cora wins the pot. They casually talk about what they have seen since they last saw each other. He tells her about the job that he has in the Underdark, saying he was waiting on some of their old associates, but it seems no one has answered the call. He admits that the expedition is to a secret vault of some Shade named Shadowheart.

Cora says that she is interested in this and might have others to help. Cora spends the evening with him talking about their old times together. In the morning, Cora admits that she is “glad he is not dead,” and they have breakfast together. Harlin lets her know where to meet him and his partners if she wants to take the job.

Core rejoins the party at the Tankard where they eat breakfast. Some notice a distinct shift in Cora’s behavior, though think little of it. They discuss their next steps, when Cora asks a question about Dru’s sister, referring to her openly as such.

When she does, the waitress shifts and turns into a drow who looks identical to Dru. She strikes the party with a lightning bolt, which arcs between them all and kills a few patrons.
She warns Dru that there are consequences for breaking the rules, and pulls out Howard, holding him by the tail. The party attacks and Howard is set free; he runs. After a few quick attacks and spells, Dru’s sister melts into a black ooze. Jean Luc notices that she is outside and disappears. Confused and weary at the attack, they tend to their wounds and those around them.

Next: Into the Darkness

Back: Festival’s End

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Loudwater - Festival's End
Season 2, Session 2

14th day of Nightal 1489 DR the Year of the Warrior Princess

On the morning of the second day of the festival Gamora registers for the float competition with seven other competitors for the closing ceremony. She is anxious and can’t wait for the competition.

Cora and Jean Luc try to estimate where the Cult of the Dragon is headed. They shop for a map and meet a gnome cartographer who sells them a fine quality map. The party has breakfast at the Green Tankard and make the acquaintance of the dwarf owner, Garwin Rockbottom, who asks them their story. The party gives a fake story and the dwarf seems to enjoy it, buying them a round of ale. Over breakfast, they try to determine the potential heading of the Cult, but their information is incomplete and they can’t make any determination.

Gamora asks the dwarf about Dreadmore or Graverson. The Dwarf claims to have heard the name Graverson before but can’t place it. Cora realizes that Vayer Graverson is the half-dragon who killed the dragon Ashardalon 100 years ago, and is a chosen of Bahamut. Jean Luc also remembers that he was a traveling companion and friend to Kalu Starglimmer, a legendary archmage from Silverymoon who went missing nearly a century ago. Cora is shocked to realize that Gamora’s biological father is the Vayer Graverson.

Cora asks Garwin about Altormagnus and how his disappeared. The dwarf says he is unsure, but that Old Barnaby claims to have seen the whole thing, and she should ask him.

Rusty points out the location from the map he found on his ship on the map Cora and Jean Luc acquire. He tells the party that the ship once belonged to a dragon hunter named Sigurd. He believes that the map leads to either Sigurd’s base or possibly a potential target, both of which could be valuable. Realizing it would take about a week to arrive, they hold off until after they meet Leosin.

After breakfast, each of the party members separate to handle some last-minute tasks.

Jean Luc and Mags go shopping for materials for his spellbook. Mags takes Jean Luc outside of Loudwater to a hidden shrine to Bahamut on top of the hill. She says a prayer which Jean Luc recognizes as a Gold Dragon prayer. Jean Luc gives his own prayer of thanks and leaves one of the Cult of the Dragon symbols as an offering. As he turns to leave, he notices in its place is a holy symbol of Bahamut. Jean Luc takes this and the two make their way back.

Cora makes an old acquaintance from her early adventuring days named Harlin Blackthorne. He and their old traveling companion Reven are heading into the Underdark for a treasure hunting expedition. Cora says she may be interested. They agree to meet at the Fisher’s Friend Pub later to discuss in more detail.

As Gamora and Rusty are eating their lunch, they run into Dru who is wearing a lovely dress. When asked if she had purchased it, she smirks and joins them.

Gamora goes to the preliminary competition placement, where each of the 8 champions will throw a weighted ball to determine who picks first. Each of the rather strong men and women hurl their shot puck. When Gamora takes her turn, she is clearly the smallest of the group that turned out this day. She lifts her shot puck and it swiftly flies across the room where it embeds itself into the wall. She looks over the float totems and chooses the Dragon float as her own.

The party asks the town leader, Lady Moonfire, if she would be available for an audience. She dismisses the party, saying she is rather busy, but will speak with them after the festival closes.

The party decides to go shopping for a gift for Lady Moonfire. Knowing she was a former adventurer, they purchase her a unique concealed knife from Starra’s Knife shop. Gamora gets one for herself as well.

As the final ceremony is about to begin, the contestants gather at their floats. Lady Moonfire gives a speech where she recounts all the darkness Loudwater has seen, and how the floats represent the dark foes the city has faced. As the champions push their floats away and they float down the river, she asks the people of Loudwater to remember that they are strong and can away any evil that enters their city. There is a cheer and she rings the bell. The race beings.

Gamora flies out of the starting spot, her superior strength dominating the race. She notices that Megana, the town blacksmith and only other female competitor, is doing much better than in the preliminary competition, though she is not anywhere near close to Gamora. She crashes through every obstacle; barriers, pyres, and the river itself, where the massive flaming dragon float gets stuck in the sand. Refusing to lose, she roars into a rage as she lifts the float overhead and hurls the massive flaming dragon float into the river. Bells ring as she is pronounced the champion of the event. Other competitors push the floats into the river as well, though one abandons their float all together. Gamora throws that one into the river as well. She is awarded a 500 gp purse and a Potion of Giant Strength.

The party returns to the Tavern for celebrations. Gamora is highly praised and celebrated. Everyone cheers her and buys her drinks.

Rusty and Cora speak with Old Barnaby. They ask him about the night Altormagnus disappeared. The old man tells the tale of how the Gold Dragon was struck out of the sky by a lightning bolt. He says that his body turned to ash, and the sky looked like it snowed that day. Cora was surprised that others had not mentioned this. The old man had little to say to that, though he did comment that he was rather disappointed that the Gold Dragon has been characterized as a town villain, and it pained him to see his effigy burned and sent downriver. He says while in the end the dragon made life a bit difficult for the people of Loudwater, without him they would had been much worse off.

Soon Lady Moonfire joins the festivities and sits at Gamora’s table. They present her a gift, which she appreciates, and she thanks the group. She is brunt but pleasant company, though she makes no attempt to mask that the week has been rather exhausting to her. They discuss with her about the Cult of the Dragon raids and the operations in the area. They ask her if she has any information that could aid them. She says she doesn’t, but recommends contacting the Emerald Enclave in the South Woods. She also makes an offhand comment about how she swears this town is cursed. After this discussion, Rusty (under the effects of a Charisma boosting spell) proposes they have a little fun together. Lady Moonfire doesn’t seem opposed to it, provided Rusty cleans himself up. She soon leaves, followed by Jean Luc.

Jean Luc thanks her for her time and proceeds to show her how to use the hidden blade. She smiles and thanks him for the gift. Dru, who had followed them outside, waves her hand and ensnares Jean Luc in a hold person spell. Unable to move, Jean Luc watches helplessly as Dru fires a green ray at Lady Moonfire, which wracks her body in pain and kills her instantly. The drow touches Jean Luc’s cheek, smiles, and vanishes.

Seconds later, Jean Luc is surrounded by guards. One of them shouts, “It’s the wizard from the duel! He killed Lady Moonfire! Arrest him!”

A stunned Jean Luc finds himself surrounded by guards, framed for a murder he did not commit.

Next: Shadow Games

Back: Festival of Deliverance

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Loudwater - Festival of Deliverance
Season 2, Session 1

12th day of Nightal 1489 DR the Year of the Warrior Princess

The party arrives at the gates of Loudwater at dusk. They approach the guard at the gates, who states that only residents or authorized travelers may enter. After a failed bribe attempt, Dru tries to convince him, but realizing she is a Drow, he calls for assistance. As more guards assemble, Mags steps up and pulls out an iron coin and declares herself as Yashira Reign, a representative of the Iron Circle Trading Guild, and demands entrance. After a few moments the guards stand aside and let them through.

Realizing there are no open rooms in the inn due to the festival, Rusty rents space at the dock and unfolds his magic boat. Inspecting the cabin he learns that the ship is called Fafnir and was owned by a dragon hunter named Sigurd nearly 150 years ago. He notices a map in the cabin marking an uninhabited area on the eastern side of Highwater Lake, south of Loudwater. He suspects it may be either Sigurd’s lair, or the lair of a dragon he was hunting. He decides to bring this to the party’s attention later, he returns to reading his magic tome.

The rest of the party makes their way to a shop called Low Point Sundries, owned by a halfling couple, Shay and Vic. Shay explains about the Festival of Deliverance, which is an annual event where they celebrate the fallen heroes that stood against the forces of evil that threatened to destroy the city.

He names several heroes including Sir Liam of Helm, Nightshade of Myth Drannor, Altormagnus the Gold Dragon, and a halfing champion named Gragor. Shay goes on to describe the festival’s main events, in which some of the party decide to participate. After their questions are answered, the party purchases some magic items:

Jean Luc purchases a scroll and a pair of sending stones.
Gamora buys a bag of holding and two healing potions.
Mags buys a fierce looking flail for Rusty.
Dru and Howard attempt to buy an Ebony fly, but find they cannot afford the price.

Jean Luc and Dru buy Rusty a barrel of ale which is carried via Tenser Floating Disc. A boy, noticing Jean Luc’s use of magic, gives him a flier about the mage duel in tomorrow’s events.

Gamora and Mags go shopping and buy some new clothes and winter cloaks for themselves and the party. They head to dinner together in a small gnomish restaurant in a hidden part of town. Mags speaks gnomish to the servers and they treat them well. When she offers to pay, the gnomes refuse and wish her well.

Gamora notices an old human ranger also in this restaurant and makes her acquaintance with him. He reminds her of her father, and she asks the ranger if he knows him. The man says that he is familiar with a Dredmore who he met at the “mountain” but hasn’t seen him in a long time. Gamora says good-bye and leaves, finding that Mags has already left.

Meanwhile, Cora goes to the inn for dinner and speaks with a few locals. She learns a bit about the town’s history, including that the city was constantly terrorized by evil forces for nearly 200 years. She learns that Underdark creatures, a Shade named Shadowheart, and even the Gold Dragon Altormagnus had enslaved the city at one time or another.

Altormagnus, she learns, appeared during the Spellplague and had fought against the evils of the city and the region, liberating it and helping the people. But over time he became so possessive that he had become a tyrant, until one day he vanished. Some say he was struck by lighting and was never seen again. On the day of his vanishing 13 years ago, they began the tradition of the Festival of Deliverance.

They party returns to the boat for the evening. Jean Luc reaches out to Leosin, telling him they are in Loudwater. Leosin says he will arrive in three days and to keep a low profile until then.

The next morning, the party wakes to see Rusty still up all night reading. They leave the boat and head into the festival. Gamora signs up for the opening obstacle course, as does Dru. Jean Luc signs up for the mage dueling event. Realizing that he has never dueled before, the registering mage gives him the Mage Duel ritual and a counterspell scroll for him to learn.

The opening ceremonies are led by Lady Moonfire, the half-elf leader of Loudwater. As the festivities begin, the first runner, the oldest man in Loudwater, begins the obstacle course. He doesn’t get far but the people cheer. Next is Gamora, who fails at the third obstacle. Dru eventually goes and nearly makes it to end, but soon is washed away by the river as she loses her footing at the third floating barrel obstacle. The old ranger that Gamora met the night before attempts the course and nearly makes it as far as Dru, but he falls at the second barrel. Some of the party observe that it was almost intentional.

The old ranger makes his way to shore where he is met by a gray skinned half-elf who asks him what he was doing. The old ranger replies with a smile he was trying to stand out so he would be easier to find. Also wanted to see if he lost his step in his old age.

Cora, rather frustrated with all the fun and games, keeps a distance and watches the crowd. Watching the old ranger she observes the reunion and senses something familiar about the half-elf. As she moves to get a closer she loses them in the crowd.

The next event is the Drunken Trivia game, where the party must answer trivia questions and drink after each round. The team that gets the answer correct must drink a victory shot as well. Mags convinces Rusty to stop reading and help them in this event. He reluctantly agrees and they compete under the team name “Dragonslayers.” The party takes a strong lead at first but soon lose Dru to her weak constitution. Even Gamora has a hard time against the powerful drinks in the second round. Mags seems to have the answer to several historical questions regarding Loudwater, recalling the name of a hero named Sir Rikas who died repelling the drow invaders.

The party wins, but as per the rules, someone from the team must rise from the table to claim the prize or it is forfeit. With much of the team passed out from the strong drink, only Rusty gets on his feet. He makes his way across the room to claim the trophy and their prize, a decanter of endless water. Rusty takes a victory drink and the crowd cheers. He makes his way back to the party and uses lesser restoration to revive the party and then makes his way back to the docks to finish reading his book.

Next is the Mage Duel event where Jean Luc finds himself the only competitor. He faces the mage at the registration desk. They complete the dueling ritual and fight a rather intense duel. Powerful spells are hurled and countered, but in the end Jean Luc is victorious.

The mage congratulates him on a well fought duel his and offers him his prize, a Candlekeep Archive Spellbook. Jean Luc asks him his name and he introduces himself as Flip. They shake hands and Jean Luc offers to buy him a drink; the two make their way to the tavern.

Next: Episode 2 – Festival’s End

Back: Season 1 – Part 2 – Carnath Roadhouse to Skyreach

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Beginnings - Lost Mines of Phandelver
Chapters 1-7

Chapter 1: Not the Beginning…

Aeron Glitterstone approached Reven with a job from one of his kin. A dwarf named Gundren Glitterstone requested a shipment of supplies taken to the town of Phandalin. There is something Gundren and his brothers have been looking into that would mean great wealth and prosperity to the clan and the region around Phandalin. Together the dwarf and half-elf make their way to Waterdeep to acquire the goods and to bring them up north.

With talk of bandits on the road and the inclement weather Aeron suggests hiring some extra hands in case the need arises. In the tavern they make the acquaintance of Harlin a young adventurer with stories of his past adventures. They also recruit a young woman named Victoria Domine a skilled scout and archer. They both agreed to take on the job and would meet at the gate at dawn. When dawn came they began to set out, but Veronica was no where to be found. Instead a young woman named Cora appeared to cross their paths and asked if they needed a hand. So Aeron said if she knows how to use that bow then she has a job.

They traveled up north and spent the night in Leilon where they met Selvriane, a young half elf druid that seemed a bit out of place in civilization. Harlin taking a liking to her called her over, after some introductions and a few stories he invited Selvriane along to Phandalin. Aeron initially protested, but Harlin convinced him that a druid could have skills that would prove valuable.

On the road towards Phandalin, Harlin tells Selvriane a story about an encounter with a coven of witches who were really elves who’s hands were replaced with hooks. Reven playing a song on his lyre inspired by the sounds of the surrounding wind and trees. They come upon two dead horses on the road, when suddenly they are attacked.

Goblins! They have been ambushed. Aeron summons a flaming hammer which he hurls and bursts into fire smashing the goblins. Selvriane fires her bow as does Cora at the remaining goblins. Cora looking distraught by the conflict is offered a flower from Selvriane. The young Druid blooms the flower from her hands. Cora refuses it and walks away, though Harlin is willing to accept it instead and smiles.

Reven picks up his instrument which had fallen off the wagon into a puddle of mud. “I hate dirty lyres,” he says.

Aeron realizes that the horses may belong to Gundren’s group and he was likely ambushed as well. They follow the tracks of the goblins back to their lair. They travel about 5 miles to a stream which leads to a cave. After dispatching the goblin sentries they enter the base.

Inside Selvriane finds three abused and mistreated wolves. The druid soothes them and with Reven’s helps release the beasts of their bonds. The wolves express their thanks to the druid and run into the woods.

Avoiding a large water surge trap, they engage the goblins within. Aeron and Reven fight the Bugbear leader, while Cora and Selvriane fight to free a human captive.

The old man they learn is Sildar Hallwinter. Sildar claims to be an agent of the Lord’s Alliance. Thankful at being rescued he asked for their aid to travel back to Phandalin.

He confides in the party that he was traveling with Gundren when they were attacked. He wasn’t able to make out too much but he heard that something called the Black Spider wanted Gundren and his map taken to Cragmaw Castle. He doesn’t know what Cragmaw castle is, but knows that there is a clan of goblins known as the Cragmaw. It might do them good to ask around in Phandalin the locals might know more.

He explains that Gundren has been looking for the Wave Echo Cave and the Forge of Spells and had found it. His map showed the way and likely this Black Spider has similar goals.

Sildar also explains his business in Phandalin to find out what happened to a missing member of the Alliance. Iarno Albrek as well as reestablish order in the region. Iarno had gone silent not long after his arrival and he fears the worst.

Upon reaching Phandalin the party settles accounts with the transported goods, as well as making some prophet and new friends by returning recovered goods from the goblin cave.

They take the evening to relax and drink in the Stonehill Inn, where Selvriane gets her first experience with ale. They also play cards with Harlin, where Selvriane wins three hands and Aeron gets the worst hands of the night and has to buy drinks. Cora takes leave on her own, while Reven goes for a walk.

The soon learn that the town is under the control of a group of ruffians known as the Redbrands. Reven is attacked by them badly hurt he rushes back to the Stonehill Inn with the Redbrands making chase.

Reven bursts in shouting “I made some new friends.”

Selvriane a bit drunk giggles to Reven, “I’m winning.”

When the Redbrands catch up to Reven. Harlin hands his cards to Selvriane with a wink says he’ll be right back and joins the fight. Aeron also goes on the offensive. Cora watches from the fight from the balcony and soon retires to her room. Realizing they won’t have a hard time with the brawl.

Reven holds his own but soon succumb to his injuries and passes out. Selvriane stands and on her command her ivy tattoo uncoils from her arm and forms a thorned whip which launches from her hand, wrapping the last of the Redbrands and pulled them in like of Harlin and Aeron’s attacks. The two strike the thug and finish him off.

Reven is badly injured. Aeron takes care of his companion and takes him to his room. The bar tender brings another round of drinks as Harlin tosses the bodies outside the inn. Selvriane and Harlin learn that the Redbrands have been intimidating folks for some time and have killed those that speak up against them. They learn about the local woodcarver, Thel Dendrar, who resisted them and was murdered in the streets as an example, his wife and children then vanished. With the innkeepers thanks the Selvriane and Harlin retire for the night.

Chapter 2 : Homecoming

Cora wanders the streets of Waterdeep to her childhood home. No trace remains of her family, her life, or the deaths. It’s as if it was erased and never happened but it is still all too real for her. She hears her footsteps as she rose to the upper floor, heard the tear and deluge of blood as her mother’s blood spilled on the ground, the hard crack of her lifeless body as it collapsed on the wooden floor. She can still see the lifeless body of her mother once proud and powerful, her father once wise and cunning still and pale, and the cold yellow eyes for the half dragon assassin.

She traces her steps when she fled, walking down the allies of Waterdeep for the first time in three years. He body shivering from the cold breeze and the mix of fear, rage, and sorrow threatening to overwhelm her. She makes her way to her Aunt Layla’s house, the once pleasant and warm home of her aunt is abandoned and boarded up. Where her home was erased of her presence, her aunt’s was simply discarded and for a moment Cora can not reconcile which is the worst of the two fates.

She enters the home, it doesn’t take much to slip in, thick with dust and no light. She sees a dried up puddle of blood on the floor where her aunt had fallen. She remembers peaking in the window and seeing her hand behind the table, lifeless on the ground and the Dragonclaws searching the home, and the scream the foolishly escaped from her throat.

Cora finds on the floor a stacks piece, and remembers her aunt telling her while smoking her pipe a woman’s mind is her most dangerous weapon. Having a keen mind help you overcome obstacles you didn’t even know you had to endure.

Picking up her dust covered piece tears stream down Cora’s face, she collects the pieces and places them in a small box with the board. Her body trembling she hears a ringing noise and her aunt’s voice calling to her to wake up…

Cora wakes with a wild scream. She is in her room in the Stonehill Inn in Phandalin. The rest of the party stirs in the morning and go down for breakfast.

Cora and Harlin eat breakfast while the others sleep and he shares what he has learned about the Redbrands. Selvriane soon joins them and Cora helps her nurse the hangover encouraging her to drink and eat. Harlin is surprised to learn this is her first experience with drink. Harlin divides the share from the supplies and spoils sold. When Reven and Aeron join them Reven is confused about his share, but Harlin insists he takes it.

Aeron spends his breakfast reading a book and suggests they go out and begin to talk with the townsfolk. They split up and learn just how much of a threat the Redbrands are to the town. They shake down local merchants and farmers as well as making villagers disappear.

They also learn that Gundren’s two brothers, Nundro and Tharden had been camping in the hills outside town and are due back for resupplying. They don’t find any information on Cragmaw Castle, but get a suggestion as well as a job offer from Halia of the Miner’s Exchange. She notes that there is a goblin that is works with the Redbrands that may be able to give information on where the Cragmaw Castle would be located. Says if the party happens to encounter and take out the Redbrand’s leader a man called Glasstaff and deliver any correspondence they find in his office she is willing to pay for this.

They revisit Sildar’s who is now taking up residence in the Townmaster’s Hall and he urges them to help with the Redbrand plight as well as to help find Gundren.

They also speak to the town master, Harbon Wester, a old, fat, pompous man. Cora intimidates him and ask why he’s allowed the Redbrands to gain a foothold. Selvriane casts a spell trying to determine if the tea being offered was poisoned, Cora convinces the town master that the spell was a hex that will make his penis shrink with every lie he tells. He tells the party that he can’t stand against them, or officially sanction them to take them out. But might unofficially reward them for their help. And taking out the local orc problem as well. Selvriane soon ‘removes’ the hex and they head out.

Using the information they gathered around town they find the Redbrand hang out at the Sleeping Giant Pub which is on the way to the old manor that rumor has it is their base.

The party discusses the need for gathering intelligence, Aeron agrees and throws his flaming hammer picking off one of the Redbrands forcing the party into a fight. Selvriane attacks with her thorn whip but misses, the Redbrand press his attack injuring her. Cora and Aeron rushes to her wounding the Redbrand. Harlin takes out another Red Brand and Reven knocks one to his knees.

They make their way to the abandoned manor just east of the Sleeping Giant. Selvriane turns into a cat and she and Cora do reconnaissance. They find the entrance which leads to a the cellar of the manor. Aeron takes it upon himself to carry Selvriane in cat from which he seems to take great pleasure. Seems he’s a cat lover.

In the cellar they find a cistern, Reven investigates and finds a bag with some money, clothes, and potions. In the next room they encounter some more Redbrand members and take them out. Harlin finishes them off stating that they wouldn’t hesitate to do the same to them, and they can’t afford to leave anyone behind them. This seems to disturb Cora who is clearly uncomfortable with killing humans.

Avoiding traps in the next corridor and defeating some animated skeletons which the party wonders what could have animated them. Selvriane meows and Aeron feeds her some pork.

They find a jail where they discover a woman named Mirna Dendrar, the woodcarver’s wife, and her children held prisoner. She tells the party that the Redbrands were going to sell them as slaves. Aeron decides he will escort them back to the Stonehill Inn and tells the group to press on, he will return when he can.

They find a store room and grab some weapons and gear. Harlin finds a secret door which leads to a large natural cavern. They press on into the darkness.

Chapter 3: Way of the Sword

“Focus, breathe, and center your mind…”

Reven concentrates focusing on his breath he gently wills his mind to touch the weave and gather its energy around his fingertips. He concentrates on the pattern and when he opens his hand a small burst of flame pops, flickers and the suddenly grows wildly burning his hand. Reven lets out a grunt of pain as he falls on the stone floor. He tries to look as his hand but his head ache has blurred his vision, it’s hard to see how bad it is.

“Again,” says his father commands. Tribbs Ankers, or so he goes by these, stands like a taskmaster over his son. If there was any concern for his health it wasn’t displayed on his face.

_“I can’t….” Reven says in a pained voice. His hand was blacked and blistered due to his outburst of magic. “I can’t control it.” _

_ “You can, and you will.” Tribb’s shadow loomed over him. His father’s piercing blue eyes seemed to glow with a resolve that could not be denied. “Stand up. Again,” he commanded and Reven forced himself up._

Reven begins to concentrate, he focuses on his breathing. As he concentrates he feels the pull of the weave, his mind connects to form the magic, it happens. A flash and his world melts away:

He is surrounded by a red overcast sky, with a horizon of pure black a massive shadow that looms over the land. Bodies around him as long and as far as the eyes can see human, dwarf, orc, and elven, men, women, and children he doesn’t see faces, but they feel familiar. In the shadow that looms over the horizon are 10 stars and fire that glows blue.
A cloaked figure stands before him raising a golden bow towards the darkness with a brilliant white light glowing from the tip of the arrow.

His mind flashes back and in his hand he holds concentrated lighting. He holds it for a moment before it breaks and disperses.

His father watching him intently says nothing. After a few moments he says, “You almost had it this time. Again.”

“No. That’s enough. I can’t do it anymore.” Reven shouts.

His father lowers his head and breathes out a sigh. “No. You need to focus your mind. If you can’t do it with meditation,” He raises his left arm, a magic arm made of mithral and some other magic which Reven didn’t entirely understand. In his palm a torrent of electricity surges. “Then you will focus in battle!”

His father hurls a bolt of lightning at Reven, the young half-drow dives out of the way but it’s too slow sending him spiraling to the ground in pain. He crashed to the ground, to turns to orient himself and sword skitters across the ground towards him.

“Up.” Says his father. “Again.”

Reven stands holding the training blade, his feet shaking from the bolt of lightning and his anger. His father begins summoning another bolt, but Reven didn’t wait. He rolls aside predicting it’s trajectory closing the distance and attacks trying to interrupt the spell.

Tribbs released the spell, but it does not fire into a bolt, it shapes into a blade. Reven swings but his father parries and evades. Even through Tribbs is a human nearing 70 years old he is still as strong and as fast as in his prime which is beyond young Reven’s ability.
The old warrior easily evades his attacks and strikes him once, twice, three times with his lighting blade. The pain making Reven shout in agony. He channels his magic through his blade it erupts with magic force as he strikes at his father.

The world melts away again, he sees a cave… dark with a ravine. A chest below a makeshift bridge hidden in the darkness. And he sees silver wings within.

The shock of pain rips him back into the moment, his blade disarmed and his father’s book kicks him in the gut knocking him to the ground.

His father releases the blade and the lightning bolt bursts on the other end of the room with a massive explosion. “You blacked out.” He throws him a healing potion. “If you don’t master this ability it will get you killed.” Reven grips it in his hand, his pride and anger forcing him to shove it away. Though his body won’t respond.

“I have these visions for a reason.” Reven said. “I don’t want to make them go away.”
Tribbs looks down at his son. “Your mother had this gift. She was able to master it, to control it. You must master your power, Reven. You must focus and control your visions, or they will be the death of you.” His father’s stone face glare seemed to show a glint of an expression, was it sadness or disappointment? After a moment he walked out leaving Reven on the ground of the training hall. Alone.

The party continues through the secret path that leads to a large natural cavern where a pair of rickety rope bridges cross the path.

As they explore this area, a creature gets the jump on Reven. This one eyed creature, a Nothic attacks Reven. Harlin and Cora attack the creature. Selvriane still in her cat wild shape, leaps on the Nothic trying to claw out it’s eye. The monster grabs her and throws her into the 20ft deep gorge. The impact forces her into her half-elf shape where she finds a half eaten body.

Harlin and Reven finish off the creature and work to help Selvriane. Selvriane tells them that she found a chest and after inspecting opens to find a few items, including a sword. She calls out “Look at this sword I found.”

Reven for some reason feels like he’s seen this before.

Harlin climbs down into the gorge and inspects the blade. A longsword with a hilt shaped like outspread wings of a bird of prey in a silver-chased scabbard. “Talon" is etched on the hilt in elven letters.

Harlin recognizes the sword as the blade of a great knight named Aldith “Blackhawk” Tresendar. Sir Aldith died fighting off the orcs that attacked through the hidden caverns below his manor. His sword was lost until now. Reven inspects the blade and seems very enamored by it.

Cora, Selvriane, and Harlin mention that they should sell the blade and split the money. Reven tries to convince them to let him keep the sword, after a few moments of teasing him Harlin gives Reven the blade. Selvriane protests, but Harlin points out that magic swords are useful and Reven is the most skilled in it’s use. He promises to make it up to her and flashes a warm smile at her.

They cross the bridge, where Reven learns one is trapped and falls back into the gorge. As they explore Cora finds a hidden path that leads to the forest. They come across a hallway with two sets of doors, on one side they hear some humans loud and engaging in some sort of activity, in the other it sounds like goblins. They come up with a plan to tie the two door handles together so they are unable to pull the doors open (they swing inwards). Once they set this obstacle they find another pair of stairs that circle around the room with the humans. Before they get ready to ambush the room with the humans Reven opens a side door with a wizard’s workshop and an alchemist lab.

Cautiously they close the door and investigate the room. Cora finds a dwarvish text that details about the Phaldelver’s Pact where dwarves and gnomes agreed to share a rich mine known as the Wave Echo Cave nearly 500 years ago. Human spellcasters allied with the dwarves to make the Forge of Spells and the town of Phandalin grew and prospered until an Orc attack destroyed the Mine, Forge, and most of the town.

Investigating the room they find a note from the Black Spider ordering Iarno Albrek to capture the dwarves and deliver their maps directly to him. They realize that Iarno Albrek, SIldar’s ally, is Glasstaff the leader of the Redbrand Gang.

A small rat seems to be scurrying around, and Reven chats it up and feeds it some rations.

Further investigation finds another connecting room which appears to be the wizard’s sleeping quarters with a chest. Reven and Cora investigate but Harlin finds a hidden door that leads to the cavern. Upon inspection he realizes a cloaked figure is escaping and calls the others.

They soon realize that it is Glasstaff trying to escape. They pursue the wizard, but Reven is stopped by the small rat. When he trys to help it up, it blasts him with a shocking grasp spell, realizing too late that it was Glasstaff’s familiar the small rat runs away.

They give chase back to the cistern through another secret door and find Glass staff, who actually had a glass staff. Looking through the cistern for something. When the party arrives he greats them, and offers them the opportunity to surrender.

The party fights Glass Staff, and are rejoined by Aeron who joins the battle. Cora finishes off the wizard. They stabilize the wizard and take him to Sildar. Once Iarno is in custody, the party decides to return to finish off the Redbrand gang.

When they return Harlin’s rope is broken and there is a commotion in the room. They see Redbrands and Bugbears engaged in combat. The party take advantage of this and engage. Selvrane releases a thunderwave killing the bugbear. Aeron throws his flaming hammer crushing the second bugbear. Cora orders the rest of the Redbrands to surrender, and Aeron breaks some kneecaps to shatter any ideas of resistance. Selvriane mends Harlin’s rope and presents it to him. He thanks her with a hug.

In the adjoining room they find a goblin named, Droop. They interrogate the goblin about the Black Spider and Cragmaw Castle. Droop doesn’t seem to know much, but offers information about raids nearby.

They escort the surviving Redbrands to the townhall and return to the inn for drinks and rest.

Chapter 4: Mark of the Lotus

A terrible howl tears through the silence of the night. Selvriane ripped from her sleep rolls from her bed and grabs her bow rushing towards the sound.

“Master Tengri?” she asks as she approaches silently. “Are you alright?”

She approaches her master’s lair, a massive dire wolf standing twice her height turns to her, with his eyes gazing at her, one golden yellow, the other blue as the sky.

“My child,” the dire wolf speaks, “Did I wake you?”

“It doesn’t matter,” She says and she lowers her bow. Master Tengri has raised her since as far back as she can remember. The old dire wolf has taught her how to survive deep within the Starwood of Cormanthor and taught her the druidic arts. Selvriane knows every line and rune on the old dire wolf’s fur and knows that something is troubling him. “Tell me what has happened, Master.”

“I have seen, darkness. It approaches…” Master Tengri says looking beyond her. “It is time. Come with me.”

The dire wolf leaps off his bed perch and begins to run. Selvriane leaps on his back grabbing his fur and pulling herself on his back as she has done since before she mastered walking. She holds on tight as he sprints through their lair, an old cave at the base of an ancient oak. Master Tengri once said it was an ancient temple, though it never seemed like anything more than home.

The dire wolf comes to a stop at a solid stone wall, he touches it with his paw and speak a word in Druidic. The runes on his fur flash an indigo light, and the wall creeks and opens. Fresh air bursts forward from the opening, and Tengri motions to enter.

As Selvriane walks down the cave she notices green vines that trace the walls and they begin emanating a blue light as she walks alongside it. The path leads to an opening which opens into a large circular cavern made of wood instead of stone. Upon further inspection it seems as if they were within a grand hollowed out tree. She notices grass at her feet and the mass of hair thin glowing vines hanging down from overhead, this place was teeming with life. A dais surrounded a pool of blue crystalline water stood at the center of this temple. All the vines in the cavern seem to gather upon it.

“Approach, my child.” Says Tengri as he sits next to the dais. Selvriane obeys her master and approaches. “This is the seed of the Renshintai, you must take accept this before your journey.”

Selvriane hesitates, “I’m not ready.”

“You are ready. It is time.” Her master reassures her.

Selvriane extends her left arm over the seed, a green glowing bulb. The hairlike strands dance around and over her hand, then her arm burns and the pain causes Selvriane to scream. The strands have plunged themselves into her palm and dig their way under her skin. Climbing and wrapping around her arm like ivy underneath her skin. Once the pain subsides she notices on her left arm a tattoo like marking of ivy from shoulder to palm. She feels faint, but forces herself to stay on her feet, she looks at her hand. There is no injury just the mark. On the dais the seed is gone.

“How do you feel?” asks Tengri.

“It hurts…” says Selvriane, “But I feel different.”

“When I received the seed I could not walk for four days. My master was ill for nearly a week.” Says the direwolf. “It has taken to you quickly. It is a rare thing.”

They begin to walk out of the temple, but Selvriane feels like the light has left this place and a sense of worry for this place washes over her as she walks out with her master. She rubs her arm absently trying to calm herself.

“The Lotus Circle is a small group of druids. The Renshentai seed is born once a generation and it has chosen you. As you grow in power, it will grow in power. As you learn, it too learns.” Says her Master.

“What of the journey, Master?” says Selvriane. “You said there was a journey.”
“You must travel west.” He pulls a pack of gear from behind a rock in the cavern. “Find a road, find some humans, people. Learn from them and the world outside the woods.”
“Yes, Master…” she picks up the pack noticing a bit of blood on the bag. She turns to gather her things and sort through the items. When she has gathered all her gear she walks out to meet her master.

Tengri holding an object in his maw presents it to her. She takes it, a black stone dagger with carved runes. “This blade has lost its power, maybe you can find a way to restore it, or just keep it to remember me.”

She turns the dagger over in her hand nervously. “When can I return, Master?”
“You will know when it is time,” says Tengri. “I fear you have lived with wolves for too long.”
Selvriane throws herself on the dire wolf giving him a hug. He returns the affection pressing his head to her own. “I will miss you, my child. Be safe.”

“I hope to return soon. Farewell Master.” Selvriane says as she walks from the cave.
She turns into a wolf and runs west, as the sun rises. As she runs through a grove of trees she is briefly blinded by the sun and finds herself elsewhere. Another forest, the sky is different. The smells are different.

She travels on for about five days before she finds a small structure. Selvriane makes her way inside and there are many eyes upon her a gray skinned elf with white hair and a small red bearded just smaller than her argue loudly about something.

Then a man approaches her and asks her name, and if she would like to join them. His name is Harlin and he introduces the others as his companions, Aeron, Reven, and Cora. They have dinner and play games, she finds herself laughing and enjoying their company. That evening Harlin explains that they are on a journey to deliver some goods up north, and if she would like to join them.

Selvriane gathers her things from her room and joins her companions for breakfast in the Stonehill Inn. As she meets the party her arms twitches and she notices her tattoo is moving on its own. Cora observes this and asks if she can touch it. Harlin watching this exchange asks if she is a Lotus druid. Selvriane says “Yes.”

Harlin comments that he’s never met one before and that she might be the most interesting woman he knows. Selvriane blushes and says “thank you.” She tries to make the vine come out, but only makes a flurry of flowers bloom. After eating breakfast and drinking some ale Selvriane’s tattoo seems to settle, Cora makes the observation that it likely reacts to her emotions. Which she seems to have slight control restored after she has eaten.

The group after breakfast decide to talk to Sildar to find more information on Cragmaw Castle and the Black Spider. Aeron tells the others to go on ahead, he has some more work to do at the inn. As they exit the notice a gallows being built. When they ask they inquire it seems that the captured Redbrands are to be publicly executed.

Sildar confirms that they will be executed as a show that law has returned to town and criminal activities going forward will be swiftly dealt with. They ask of Inaro and if he will be hanged as well, Sildar confirms that he plans to execute the wizard. They ask if they can speak with him before the execution and Sildar grants this request.

Inaro welcomes them as they enter and he is rather pleasant considering his fingers were broken by Aeron when he was captured. Reven explains that he is going to be executed and asks if he wants anything. Inaro says some tea would be lovely. Selvriane grows a flower in her hand and extends it, telling him that’s the best she can do. Reven knocks the flower out of her hand and crushes it with his foot telling her not to give him anything.

Inaro says that a flower is a sign of friendship and shouldn’t be mistreated. Reven, reacts as Selvriane makes a small hailstorm fall on him since he crushed her flower. After the commotion they realize Inaro is holding the flower in his hand. Reven states that doing things like that is going to make it hard to trust him.

Inaro nods and says he is willing to help them if they can convince Sildar to allow him a stay of execution so that he can be formally brought to trial in Neverwinter. If he is going to die it’s not going to be in this backwater hovel of a town, and if they succeed he will tell them everything about the Black Spider and who “he” is. Inaro says as he pets his rat familiar on his lap who was holding the flower.

They leave and discuss among themselves if they should bring this to Sildar. Cora is hesitant, believing this will be a mistake.

Sildar listens to the group and Inaro’s request, after a moment he seems frustrated at the request, but he does not deny it. He admits that Inaro is a ranked member of the Lord’s Alliance, and despite his feelings he is entitled to a trial. He tells them he will make arrangements to have him transported to Neverwinter.

Inaro seems pleased with their return and even more pleased by their news. Cora leads the interrogation and asks him some questions. Inaro tells them that the Black Spider is a male drow who has been working within the region trying to locate the Wave Echo Cave and the Forge of Spells. Any information on the dwarves including maps of their discoveries are to be sent to him.

The Cragmaw goblinoids are under his control and do as he commands. They have holed up in an old castle, but he doesn’t know where it is as Black Spider never shared this information with him. Since they raid the area outside of Phandalin it shouldn’t be too hard to find the Castle by tracking or interrogate some goblins.

He thanks them for their efforts as they depart and says he hopes he can repay their kindness one day. Cora is enraged by his smugness, but departs none the less.

Chapter 5: Finding the Trail

The party meets again with Sildar discussing the information gained from Inaro. He gives the party a map of the area that is marked where goblin raids have been reported. They split up to gather some supplies and see if there is any information about Gundren’s brothers before heading off.

The group heads to the Edermath Orchard and meet a silver haired elf named Daran who is the owner. He is a bit charming and offers them some apples and a some of his apple ale. He hasn’t heard about dwarves but he mentions some miners have been chased off by undead in the old Owl Well area. And if they are interested there might be some treasure and a reward for them. Cora pays him for his apples but the sly elf says that she can take two if they have a drink together when they return. Cora winks at him and agrees and gives Selvriane the second apple.

They next check with Quilene Alderleaf, a halfling who runs a local farm. She doesn’t have much information about the dwarves only that she has heard about their search. As for Cragmaw she tells them about a druid friend named Reidoth and where to find him. He may be able to tell them more since he knows the area better than anyone else.

Cora visits the Shrine of Luck as they prepare to head out. And the Sister Garaele ask her is they are interested in a job. There is a banshee in Conyberry forest, if they are able to lure her out by offerings of a gift and flattery she will answer a question, they are trying to learn the location of a spellbook. Cora says they are currently involved in a mission, but will consider helping them when they return.

Aeron joins the group looking pleased with himself and asks what’s the plan. Reven wants to head towards the Old Owl Well which will take them along the Triboar trail. Cora realizing it’s more than 10 miles away according to the map states the need for better transportation. Harlin heads off to find some horses.

When he returns he hands 20 gp to each of them complements of Halia for documents provided and has four horses that was loaned to them by the Miner’s exchange.

Harlin awkwardly steps up to Selvriane says “Hi” and wraps a belt around her waist. The belt has a dagger sheath and some pouches. Selvriane says, “Thanks.” And places her stone dagger in the sheath, her coins, and her apple in the pouch bags.

They travel about a mile down the trail when Harlin notices goblins setting up an ambush. They party attacks foiling the ambush. They capture one goblin and decide to interrogate it but he doesn’t speak common. Reven asks if anyone speak Goblin and Aeron replies, “Aye, I speak his language.” Smashing the goblin’s knee cap with his hammer.

The goblin howls in pain and begs for mercy in broken common. Cora initially horrified by his brutality can’t deny but the results. The goblin tells them his name is Ziku and his leader is King Grol of Cragmaw. He agrees to take them to the castle if they spare his life. Aeron agrees as long as he doesn’t try to run. Cora bandages the goblin and they make their way north.

Chapter 6: Assault on Cragmaw

Ziku true to his word leads the party to a fortress in the woods. Leaving their mounts behind they split up and investigate the area, Aeron remains behind with the goblin.

Cora and Selvriane circle around the south end while Reven and Harlin investigate the north. Cora and Selvriane in cat form find a door on the south end and hear arguing in a harsh language, likely goblins. Moving on they continue around the castle. Reven and Harlin find a path in the rubble and a curtain hiding entrance. When the ladies rejoin them they decide to investigate. They go to get Aeron who is sitting reading his spellbook. Ziku’s head smashed in and dead on the floor.

“What happened?” asked Reven.

Aeron shrugs, “He was trying to escape. I had ta put em down.”

“Really?” asked Cora.

“Ah, well he was thinking about it. I’m sure. What does it matter. Let’s go!” said the dwarf putting away his book.

They enter through the secret entrance follow one of the side paths. They come across two hobgoblins resting in a barracks. They decide to take them out quickly, Cora fires her bow the arrow plunging into the hobgoblin’s eye. Reven and Harlin press the attack on the second hobgoblin who reacts quickly parrying Reven and Harlin’s initial attack, but he wasn’t fast enough as Harlin drives his second short sword into his heart.

The make their way to what seems to be a dark hall, that may have once been a chapel. Aeron lights a brazier and they are set upon by a grick, a serpent like creature with a beak and four hideous tendrils with suckers and clawed tips. They attack, Reven and Cora firing their bows, but the creature is fast and evasive.

Cora fires again and misses. She hears a voice in her mind tell her, “Time to change tactics.” In response Cora draws her scimitar and heavily damages the creature. It moves away and Harlin finishes it off. Three goblins in the adjoining room join the fight but they are no match for the party. They finish them off and investigate further.

In the next room they find a storage room and a suit of chain mail and sword bearing the mark of Neverwinter. They suspect this may belong to Sildar and take it with them as well as a cask of good brandy which Silvriane sips and becomes rather drunk in cat form. Reven and Aeron find small a golden statue of a naked elven maiden. They argue about who gets to keep it but ultimately Reven wins.

Cora hears the voice again telling her “They are coming, be ready!”

Cora reacts warning the party and fires her arrow at the door as it bursts open striking down a charging hobgoblins. Aeron crushes another as two more goblins join the fight. Selvriane shifts back into half-elf form and casts thunderwave killing those caught in it’s blast.

One goblin runs away and Cora hears in her head, “Finish it off.”
She fires and it stumbles. Cora asks it, “Where is the dwarven prisoner.” The goblin says he will take them to him, to follow him.

Cora follows him with her bow drawn, but realizes it’s a trap as the floor falls out from under her dropping 30ft below, the goblin darts across the doorway but falls dead as Cora’s bow finds it. Going into the next room they are attacked by nine more goblin creatures, they fight.

Cora again hears in her head the voice saying, “You are outnumbered, what are you going to do?” She reacts by firing an hail of thorns hurting a few of the goblins cutting their numbers down. Harlin, Selvriane join the fight. Aeron circled around to the other side and struck down the goblin leader with magic missile he retreated.

Investigating they find a room with a few weapons which Aeron deems as unsuitable and advises them to leave it. Though Selivrane does find a well crafted quarterstaff made of an incredibly light wood and has decorative feathers on them. She takes this as her own.

They find a dark room where they suspect they will find Gundren. inside they find a angry owlbear that charges towards the door. Aeron gets knocked over as it charges through and Harlin pulls Selvriane away from the door as the beast runs past them desperately seeking its freedom. They investigate the chamber and find some potions and scrolls which they distribute.

Cora meditates and senses the presence of some humanoids. She leads the group in that direction when Cora kicks opens the door she finds a bugbear, a wolf, and an unconscious dwarf in the corner. She is suddenly struck by a female drow anticipating her approach. The blow in her abdomen nearly killing her she counters with a spell arrow which entangles the drow in vines. She fires another shot at the bugbear.

Harlin making his way in engages the Bugbear and Selvriane Thunderwaves the drow and bugbear throwing the drow free. The wolf knocks Selvriane prone and is struck the by bugbear. Aeron joins the fray striking the wolf with his hammer.

Reven unleashes a burst of flames from his hands, but the world melts away._ A woman with a golden cloak and a bow. She shooting at a shadow with streaks of light firing into the shadow. She is elven with a deep scar on her face. She looks at Reven and yells, “Wake up, boy!”_ Reven is stunned shaking away the disorientation of his vision.

Cora fires passed Reven striking the drow. Harlin finishes off the wolf. While Selvriane picks herself up and attacks the Bugbear with her staff. Aeron flanking the Bugbear roars as he brings down his flaming warhammer on its skull.

The drow rolls behind Aeron and emerges looking just like him and strikes him with a warhammer. Cora fires her bow at the second Aeron killing him dead. His body warps into a silver skinned humanoid, a doppleganger.

Aeron checks on the dwarf and it is Gundren, he has been badly beaten. Selvriane casts a healing spell on the dwarf comes too. Aeron talks to the dwarf and reassures him that things will be fine. They rest for an hour to regain their strength before moving on.

As they prepare to head out the door is knocked down and two wolves charge towards Aeron. The dwarf throws throws them off of him and an arrow breaks off his chain mail. Reven and Harlin finish off the two wolves but take cover from the hobgoblin archers.

The hobgoblins charge into the room to attack, but retreat under the cover of arrow fire. The party is pinned down. Selvriane throws her thorn whip and latches onto the leader pulling him into the room. Harlin drives his short swords into him killing him.

Reven moves in front of Selvriane and fires his bow as does Cora. Harlin charges down the hallway taking arrow in the shoulder, he pushes on and cuts down the archer. Aeron finishes another with magic missile and Reven using his sword lops off the head of the last hobgoblin.

They leave the Cragmaw Castle and make their way to their mounts and into the woods doing their best to cover their tracks. They set up camp and rest for the night. Harlin and Selvriane play cards and she scatters Harlin’s cards when attempting to show him a spell. Harlin says that the deck belonged to his grandmother and gathers up the cards. Selvriane apologizes and helps him find the missing cards in the dark.

Cora taking first watch sits in a high perch in a tree. She hears the voice call to her, “You must protect the boy.” She turns to look at a sleeping Reven and wonders what the voice means.

Chapter 7: The Benefits of Physical Contact

Selvriane taking second watch hears screaming in the distance. She wanders towards the sound and finds Cora away from camp and is screaming in her sleep. The young druid touches Cora and tries to sit her up and wake her. Cora on reflex attacks Selvriane with a knife. Selvriane avoids the attack and begins to leave, but Cora stirs awake.

Cora realizing what happened apologizes to her, Selvriane assures her that she is fine and everything is alright. Cora asks for her not to mention it to the others and Selvriane promises she will not. Cora prepares breakfast and they make their way to Phandalin.

Gundren tells the party that his brothers are waiting at the opening of the Echo cave and he hopes that they are safe. He mentions about the Forge of Spells and the riches of the mines. When asked he doesn’t have any information on the Black Spider.

They make it back to Phandalin by that afternoon. When they return to the Stonehill Inn, the party notices an etching on the floor that looks somewhat like the sign of the Stonehill Inn, but there seems to be runes hidden within. Aeron proudly says that it’s a rune trap that he placed on the door for the bar keep. It’s for keeping out intruders like the Red Brands.

Reven ask how does it work. And Aeron says by command word which only he and the barkeep know. Reven asks what happens if someone accidentally says the command word. Aeron laughs saying it’s unlikely, but it will be a bad day for whoever’s standing on that spot.

Aeron and Gundren sit down and drink some ale and order some food. The others return Sildar’s gear for which he is thankful and let him know that Gundren is back. He is glad to hear this information and thanks them for their efforts. He tells them that he plans to visit Gundren soon. Cora asks about Inaro, and Sildar says that he’s already been transported to Neverwinter.

They return to the inn Aeron tells Reven that he gave up his room when he started bunking with him, but Gundren is gonna be needing the bed. Reven asks if he can bunk with Harlin, and he says he doesn’t mind. And off handily ask Selvriane if he would mind if he sleeps with her, she says sure. Surprised by the answer he offers his room to Reven.

Harlin, Cora, and Selvriane play cards for drinks that night. Aeron joins the game and dominates the game. They have a fun night and retire for the evening. Harlin and Selvriane go to sleep together, when she joins him in bed she assumes cat form and nestles between his legs. Harlin laughs, pets Selvriane and goes to bed. Though when the wild shape wears off a few hours later the naked half elf sleeping between his legs makes it a difficult night for Harlin to get through.

Reven sleeps in Harlin’s room and goes to sleep. Cora sneaks into the room after Reven has fallen asleep. She amuses herself by tying his boots together, then takes off her weapons and armor leaving only a sleeping shirt. Quietly she slips into bed with Reven and works her way into his arms as he sleeps and falls asleep with a impish grin. It’s a few hours later when Reven wakes and realizes he is holding Cora in his arms. He blushes and panics wondering how this happened. He awkwardly makes his way out of bed trying to be quiet, trying to distract himself he takes out Talin, looks out the window and begins cleaning his sword. Cora seeing what happened smirks and goes back to sleep.

When Cora does walk up he teases Reven. He is very awkward and embarrassed leaves the room in a panic. After a few moments he realizes he left his armor and sword inside and he goes back to find Cora naked changing her clothes. Cora covers up while Reven blushes and leaves without his armor. He apologizes and leaves, but not before noticing that Cora has a tattoo on her back which he could not make out.

Cora comes down for breakfast Reven is sitting awkwardly quietly eating. Cora drops Reven’s chain mail and says you forgot this. Which prompts a chuckle from Aeron and Gundren.

Cora ask Selvriane about her night with Harlin, who happened to be missing and asked if anything happened. Selvriane seems confused and asks what she means. Cora mentions sex and how it is fun, and doesn’t have to be about mating or just one mate for life. And there are other nice things to do like kissing or holding hands. Selvriane thinks on this and holds Cora’s hand and smiles saying that she does enjoy it.

Aeron seeing the girls holding hands chuckles and mentions to Reven that it seems he did something wrong. Reven tells Aeron he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Harlin comes down soon and says hello to everyone, when he sits across from Reven he asks how’d he sleep. Reven nervously responds, “What do you mean? Fine, of course it was fine?”
The two nervously go back and forth about how everything was ok.

The girls excuse themselves and go to the general store for some Nara root, which is used as a birth control. Cora advises it’s best to take this if you are not planning on having children and if you are having fun. They get the root, some wine skins, and some bread for the road. Cora ask Selvriane if she can call her by a shorter name, and they settle on Rianne.

Harlin and Reven also go for a walk and get some supplies as well as see if can extend the lease of their horses. Gundren wants to go, but Aeron insists that he needs to rest. He has the dwarf show him the route to the Wave Echo Cave and they set out before long.

Chapter 8: Wave Echo Cave

The party arrives not long after noon.

(TBC)

Chapter 9: Fractured Time

Chapter 10: Seeds of Life

Chapter 11: Neverwinter

Chapter 12: Stolen Destinies

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Season 1: Hoard of the Dragon Queen
Adventure summary

The summary of the adventure is finalized and can be found below:

Part 1 – Greenest to Waterdeep
Part 2 – Carnath Roadhouse to Skyreach

Links were also added to the main Wiki page.

Did I get something wrong, forget a milestone, or need to expand on something let me know in the comments or shoot me a message.

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