Corey – Roeman – Human Eldritch knight
Damo – John, half elf evocation wizard
Mark – Thurin, Dwarven Paladin of Bahamut
This game is split in to two parts. First the fallout from the players decisions from last session, where after an uneventful year has passed and secondly the reunion / kick off of the next adventure.
A year has passed in Araluen.
Roeman has spent a year within the arcane university, where he’s befriended Zarrius, the super old tiefling sage, and keeper of the Arcane library. Roe now has advantage on all history/lore checks and if doesn’t know a piece of lore at least knows where to find it. His connection with Zarrius spread through the university and Roe now knows the heads of each magical discipline. His Harper underlings also reported their findings to Roe regarding the Matriarch / high elf connection.
John found his spy network was squeezed out by the Zhentarim. Almost all efforts resulted in dead ends and the ongoing push resulted in lower financial yields for the company and ultimately for Roe and Johns investments in the mine. John learns The Zhentarim have been around the Spy game much much longer, and are far better resourced.
John manages to make some headway with Rommeril. While never forgiving John he does impart some transmutation knowledge to the half elven wizard. John can now enchant equipment with magic of up to 4th level, though it’s time and costly. Johns end of year project is an enchanted weapon of freezing for Roe and thanks to some strong INT rolls gets a periapt of wound closure for himself.
On a more positive note, John has unlocked contacts in almost every major city and is able to mingle with the high society citizens in each area.
John ultimately sold his stake in the mines to the Zhentarim in exchange for almost triple his gold and information regarding the rising darkness.
After entrusting the order with guarding his legendary armour he became famous within the Order of the Gauntlet for acts of valour in the field. His nickname amongst his peers is “the finisher” due to how he always manages to land the killing blow in outlandish ways on various monsters. (see bursting out of a hydras stomach, riding a dead wyvern from 100 feet and bursting through a zombie beholders eye socket). Tales are sung across the land and Thurin, always favouring to help the most poor and needy becomes some sort of folk hero. Thurin has advantage on social checks when dealing with peasantry, and can always find a place to stay.
He managed to learn the whereabout of his old friends Grim, the Dragonborn barbarian and Jungle, the elven ranger but their distant locations mean he would only be able to visit one within the year. Thurin treks and finds Grim alone in the desert living among a large clan of Kobolds. Grim explains the small child Thurin set him up with on their last adventure was accidentally killed by Grim himself when Grim was confronted by the younger brother he thought he’d slain when he was young. The whole event sent him feral and he spent months terrorizing the lands until one day he attracted the ire of a blue dragon which maimed him and left him for dead in the desert where he became a hermit. Thurin also learnt other dragonborn from Drakkholm, the island nation of the Dragonborn peoples had been looking for the legendary warrior to aid them in finding their islands protector, a gold dragon, which has been missing for months.
Thurin was able to bring Grim out from the depths of his depression and anger to finally forgive himself. With his fiery passion reignited, Grim took up his huge full blade, Tulloolah, once more and set off on his own personal quest to set aside his own insecurity and shame to finally be of service to his ancestral people. Before parting, Grim left Thurin with a dagger he carved from a dragon tooth that was left in him following his scrape with the blue dragon and thanked the dwarf for saving his life.
Horrik accepted King Gustlavs invitation to each party member and was made lord of a small town to the furthest, coldest region of the kings empire which was perfect for Horrik as it was situated nearest his ancestral home across the shivering seas. Horrik normally known for his impulsiveness and brutish nature turned out to be a pragmatic leader, his rule established quickly and brutaly. At first the people of lonely rock felt chaffed under his rule, but soon found themselves on the receiving end of many successful raids, their home and resources growing exponentially over the year.
Across the seas to the frozen isles Horrik became known as Storm Sword for his raids where brutal lightning fast affairs, falling upon towns using nefariously clever tactics. But Horrik gave all a chance to live and many of the frozen isles happily sided to he with so many victories under his belt.
Horrik instilled fear into any spies he found inflitrating his tribes, for it was well known any found partaking in such acts was dealt with severely, swiftly and publicly.
Horrik would leverage locals to rule over these towns and was fair and open minded when dealing with disagreements in his rule.
Even though the king meant to make a mockery of Horrik, he has carved out his own little empire within the lords alliance, paying his tribute as due and is seen as a valuable asset to the king.
The party was re-united at the Council of Middenport where all the heads of state and major factions came together to discuss trade, law and treaties. Hours and hours of boring legalese, bickering, political maneuvering and plotting where finally interrupted by the news from the elven kingdoms, that they believed that the dragon cult had not been wiped out as previously thought but instead move in numbers across the northern deserts toward Kumlari, which is quite close to the human capital. This resulted in accusations that the Elves where simply trying to either make an excuse to have their own forces so close to the human capital, or lessen human forces along their southern borders. The argument went around for almost hours before Jillian Greenbottle suggested the Bad Company be sent to investigate the rumours, as they represent many races and factions, and would report back to the next council meeting.
In his dealing with the Zhentarim where John sold his share in the mines, revealed that the dragon cult had fundementally shifted from it’s fanaticism of dracoliches and resurection of dead dragons, to living ones and that they mean to usher in an “age of dragons” where they empower the evil dragons to rise up, unite and take over the lands, using influence granted to them via powerful magical artefacts known as “dragonmasks”. He also learnt a lot about the structure of the cult, it’s methods, some secret signals and more.
The party agrees, flying atop the gargantuan Roc (giant eagle thing) to the dusty fortress of Kumlari. Where they’re met by* Commander Brunskill*. (Whom John sold the stolen horn to). The commander treats them as one might a stray dog, and palms them off to the almost equally uninterested Mariama, a high elf lieutenant who shows them their rooms before setting about her business.
Unable to get much information from the servants John and Thurin delve the depths of the castles dungeons looking for anything nefarious where they come upon a guarded iron door, nowhere near anything else of interested. Thurin is teased by the two thugs guarding it before Thurin uses some mind manipulation magics to send them one their way. John gets to work on the lock, unsuccessfully, before teleporting himself into the room and trying from the other side. The pair make such a racket trying to open the tough lock and can hear armoured boots stomping their way towards them. “What are you doing here!? Cries a guard to Thurin, but before he can answer there is another flash of magic as John teleports Thurin into the locked room as well. The guards tussle with the door but the damage to the lock caused by the pair hamper their efforts. The pair begin searching the dark room finding it a dusty old hall of some sort. John suspects hidden door somewhere but amidst the dust and debris is unable to find anything before they hear a mighty crash, and the sound of boots closing in.
John teleports them away in a nick of time. A guard on the towns surface enquires as to what happened but is easily talked down by the pair who head back to speak with Roe to find out what he’d been doing that entire time.
Roeman had actually tracked down Mariama. Drawing upon his soldering experience Roe was able to win her respect but when he asked to speak with her in private she declined him whilst signaling him to follow. All the cloak and dagger behaviors was because Miriama believed her hated commander Brunskill kept tabs on her via covert means. Roe had some work to convince her it was safe to talk and eventually broke through her distrust and learnt Miriama hated Brunskill, that he messes with her resource scheduling, assigning his own personal guard to strange locations in and around the fort.
The party reconvene to exchange information and are invited, strangely by a full squad of heavily armed soldiers to dinner with the commander. The players are dubious of the fact but attend anyway. The party probe regarding his leadership, and find him to mostly be a dutiful soldier, doing what he can to earn a promotion to what he sees as glorified guard duty. Whilst the party learn a lot about the town itself, there’s nothing really evident of what, if anything, is going on around there.
The next morning the party awakes to the sound of alarms. Horns blast out, and groups of armoured men crash and clank along whilst their sergeants yell commands. The party meet Brunksill on the wall overlooking the deserts that stretch away from the northern kingdoms and see a large dust cloud over the horizon. Brunskill advises dust storms are not uncommon in the area but something is off about this. Brunskill explains he’s busy calling in the populace outside the keep in and that if the party could gather intelligence that’d be great. Happy with his care of his subjects the party summons Johns giant eagle and take to the skies, flying well above the storm realising their worst fear. A huge force is moving towards Kumlari. It’s hard to make out how many exactly but it looks like a sea of glinting armour and weapons just barely visible through the dust cloud. A force of roughly 100 power ahead at speed. Before gliding down for a closer look a long resounding bestial roar is heard from within the cloud.
The party decide to report back whilst the going is good and explain to Brunskill, that a large force is approaching it’s vanguard on it’s doorstep. Many call to close the gates but Brunskill wants to get as many people in as possible. The party defer his question back to him, forcing him to make the tough call. Brunskill sadly concedes the needs of the few outweigh the many and to close to the gates.
An messenger reaches the group, panting and puffing explains a small force has broken from the main host, and is headed towards the northern pass, a small trail guarding a route through the mountains. Brunskill is worried it’s under staffed for such an event and asks the party to either stay here and help or if they volunteer, to head to the pass. He’d like to send a detachment but they couldn’t get there in time and he cannot find Miriama to arrange it who is busy collapsing the southern drainage channels, to block forces easily flanking around the town. Brunskill was opposed to this at first, but the party convinced him citing the destruction would ultimately save lives.
The party now split three ways. Roe, heads to the towers and repairs on of four giant ballistas, before heading back to the wall. John goes to the front gate, asking it be held a tiny bit open for a bit more, as while many are falling under the invaders vanguards crushing force, with help, some might make the wall. Several burley snake headed men, with viscous looking curved blades cut down those trying to reach the gates. There are way too many for John to hold off but some well placed scorching rays keep the attackers at bay allowing another 50 into the city before the gates are shut. John then directs everyone to the walls to help, inadvertently causing the walk ways to choke up with people causing chaos and confusion. One man slips and falls do his death off the crowded rampart before John rectifies the error with Roe’s help.
Meanwhile Thurin has left Kmulari all together, aback the parties giant eagle. When summoned by John, the eagle was a deep navy blue, witch vivid read highlights throughout. now summoned by Thurin, it’s a deep gray with the odd vivid green highlight. Thurin swoops down into the narrow pass and meets the pass garrisons commander, Cena Stone Splitter. An extremely lewd half orc woman who’s maul is a rock crudely fastened to a rough stick. She advises only a small force holds the garrison, though it’s very tough to assault in force, do the the limited space in the passage. Thurin works with Cena to bolster the men as a wave of men and woman with patchy scaled skin assault the wall with sword and shield, while their defensive line peppers the ramparts with arrows. The defenses seem to fairly easy whittle the attack away when a thickly roofed bettering siege weaponry thing is brought forward. Those underneath it, shielded from the rain of arrows by a thick roof. Obviously it has a swinging ram underneath and it begins to pound on the front gates with impunity. Recognising the danger Thurin curls into a ball and is hurled down like a cannonball at the siege device by Cena. The dwarf slams into the weapon, tearing a chunk out of it’s shielding, and begins laying waste to the crush of men around him. Aided by arrow fire the dwarf cuts a path to machine and finds the same hulking figures that attacked Kumlari pulling back a swinging ram, and letting it slam into the door. The machine is being held up by strangle looking creatures. Giant snakes with thick human arms hold the heavy thing up. Thurin smashes the front of the ram in an explosion of splinters, ending it’s threat to the gate and begins hacking into the strange snake like people to find them much much tougher than the fully human fodder all around. With the machine no longer serving its purpose the remaining Snake headed brutes close for the outnumbered dwarf.
Meanwhile back at Kumlari a richly dressed snake man approaches the wall, flanked by two hulking snake abominations (pictured) and yells up to Commander Brunskill, offering terms. He asks the fort be handed over because one way or another, it will be theirs and anyone found within would be slain. At that moment with a crack of thunder a gargantuan form bursts through the dust cloud behind the army. Terrified screams are heard as a massive blue dragon swoops the castle before flying a lazy circuit and landing by the enemy.
Snake headed dudes pictured here.
After much back and forth John convinces the emissary to pitch their greatest fighter against Kumlaris (volunteering Roe on his behalf.) The emissary cackles, introducing Blitzgarminakk, the great blue dragon of the desert as their champion. John tries to call foul but the ambassador holds, either slay the dragon one on one else their full power will wash over Kumlari. With the ballistas up and running thanks to Roe, John has it mind to accept the offer and and simply breaking the deal if opportunity presents itself to be rid of the invaders main weapon, the blue dragon. Through some fancy negotiations playing on Blitzgarminakks vanity John is able to not only send Roe, but 23 others, claiming a Blue would easily crush Kumlaris finest score of soldiers. The dragon accepts and Roe is sent out to face off with the behemoth. Before Roe leaves, Brunskill asks if he can go as well, citing that a commander should be brave, and instill courage in his men, and leaves command to John, his speech leaving the party nodding in approval. The party agrees and Brunskill marches out to the space between two armies under the shadow of the giant lizard, with Roe and 22 others with him.
At this point Brunskill looks to Roe and brandishes the enchanted horn John stole for him back at the university before they set foot in the underdark. The horn is able to summon a band of mighty warriors to fight for them. Roe falls in rank with the other men and the tiny figure of Brunskill walks slowly out to speak with the Blue dragon. The land is eerily silent, anticipation hanging thick in the air.
With Brunskill about 40 feet away from him, Roe is Struggling to make out the words but the dragons head dips to ground level suddenly as if craning its head to listen. From the wall, John can see Brunskill reach in under his armour for something and smiles realising he still had the horn he sold to him all that time ago.
Brunskill turns back to Roe face sullen as he pulls a blue dragon mask over his face, magic shifting its shape to fit the counters of his face… Brunskill leaps upon the dragon head as it lets out a mighty roar. Brunskill was the wearer of the Blue Dragonmask all along.
The session ended with Roe in the open planes standing opposite a Blue dragon, and thousands of Yuan-Ti snake people to his side, John at the walls and Thurin amidst a melee about an hour away.
Pretty much this, but a bigger fort and all deserty.