Rise of Tiamat

Tessa's Personal Journal

Date: Skyreach Castle

I have traveled and fought for several 10 day with this group. It is comforting to have a mission with companions for a change. One wearies of having only her own thoughts for company after a time. Best yet, these are comrades I mostly trust.

LeShanna Nailo and I see the world from similar perspectives. She is also a member of The Order Of The Gauntlet but with more experience than I. Of course being an elf means she has lived two or more lifetimes to my one. I love hearing stories of her adventures, her father’s military conquests, and other elven tales of glory and valor. I hope she and I will become battle comrades, good friends, and have shared stories to tell…….

Sylina Earthwander is a halfling barbarian I travel with. She has a fire in her eyes and a fierceness in battle I have never seen before. Combat will change her eyes to those of the wild bear and she has a rage that is truly frightening. Barbarians must be formidable foes if they all fight as she does. You always knows where she stands on a issue. She has a frankness that is refreshing, if not always the wisest choice while sizing up the situation. I envy her closeness of family while growing up……..

Balefire the Wicked (aka Tim) is my third companion. His title should be changed to Balefire the Formerly Wicked since his encounter with orphaned human babies. I’m so inspired by his tale of seeing innocence in an infant and it’s power to unharden the wicked heart. His powers of sorcery greatly weaken the enemy so they fall beneath our blows with less effort……..

My last group member is Stump, a Half Orc fighter. He is incredibly strong and an asset on the battlefield. However, I’m not sure I entirely trust him. He says nothing of his background, his alliances, or motives. Perhaps the distrust stems from my time in captivity but it would be helpful to know why he is on this mission……….

I have grave misgivings about Hazirawn the Great-sword. I feared its power from the moment I claimed it from Rezmir’s dead claw. Any magic weapon created for an Orc King can bring only woe. It has a blood lust that doubles normal damage by creating rot and decay (game terms=necrotic). My first reaction was to put it aside for later destruction. The soul within the blade revels in bloodletting and will corrupt all who weld it. Kelemvor once again has other plans for my life. This weapon is to be a satin upon my soul until the cultists are vanquished or I fail this mission. I must spend more time in prayer to devise a plan that protects my companions should Hazirawn overpower my will. I shall follow my god’s directives or die trying.

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Between Adventures

Rather than posting a journal entry of the adventure, Andy has given me the thumbs up to post this cinematic discussion between Tim and Sharky that occurs between adventures. This sheds a bit of light onto some of their mid to long term goals.

**Balefire the Wicked returns to the floating castle after the hectic mission in which he almost pondered everything in existence for a moment and of course the subsequent spy vs. spy debriefing with the council. His purpose at the castle is to manage the projects with the kobold Sharky that keep operations running while Team Heroes are away on missions. Having completed most of the details and affairs of the castle’s maintenance, and also having completed the very public rounds of maintaining Sharky’s prestige by making appearances with him to secure his influence over fellow kobolds, Balefire and Sharky find a rare opportunity to share their philosophies from their unique perspectives on the Good vs Evil while sharing a cup of tea by the fireplace in one of the castle’s towers…

Sharky: So I can’t say that I actually ever signed on for this good-guy stuff, but I’m pretty sure that myself and all of the kobolds here are pretty much dead if we ever tried to blend back in with evil society after working for you all.

Balefire: You know, having had a fairly decent life and reputation now on both sides I can honestly say that the day to day isn’t that much different, it’s pretty much a difference of who you work for and why you are doing it. Of course there’s that whole “don’t kill, steal, blah blah blah,” but then again you get the benefit of knowing that everyone isn’t plotting against you to do those very same things.

Sharky: It’s odd that you would say that. Several weeks ago I would tell you that you were wrong, and such thinking makes you weak, but I’ve been witnessing firsthand several accounts where standing shoulder to shoulder and trusting another with your weak side allows these soft ones to develop far stronger than they would have if they had only themselves to rely upon. I suppose that is why their people are able to build great cities, and mine only builds when enslaved by others.

Balefire: Don’t be fooled, there are still snakes amongst them who would lie, steal, and betray only to gain even the slightest advantage for themselves, but it is true, for all of the annoyances that these creatures with their soft little hands possess, there is that undeniable quality that serves them, and most of them don’t even notice it. When they work for others and sacrifice of themselves, they grow stronger for it.

Sharky: Okay, so you know that some of my (insert slang word for kobolds) were tasked out to help a group of young humans with a construction project, under close watch of course, and they were convinced that they were wasting their time when they were told that these buildings were often used to care for elderly that for some strange reason weren’t put out of their misery, or for orphans that weren’t, well… put out of their misery, but even in such a short time how they are picking up on this very concept.

Balefire: What do you mean?

Sharky: For starters, my (same slang word) were awestruck at the sight of the physical strength that mere boys possessed, and they learned that it was from years of giving up their free time to lay stone foundations, shape wood, and carry heavy bags for old ladies. But it wasn’t just the novelty of “that’s a big specimen of human spearbait over there,” it was that in such a short time our workers learned more about building than any slavemaster had ever taught. These humans freely shared with them their knowledge of pretty much everything, with the only thought of repayment being that if these kobolds are on a job again they would really be able to help someone out.

Balefire: That is encouraging to hear, but is this really what they spend their time talking about now?

Sharky: No, of course not, it’s usually bragging, bullying, and business as usual when they get back to their old routines, but this introspective thing is new for them, and frankly… it’s new for me. The only difference I suppose is that I’m one of the few who has had some sort of formal education in the past, so I can read a book or two to sort it out. One of the nobles from the city is actually letting me borrow a copy of pages from a journal of some dark elf from ages past, it’s an interesting read.

Balefire: Sigh, well then I guess you and I are responsible for this pack of misfits and their newfound moral compass. Hey, remember those mandatory Tiamat rituals most of us had to do growing up? Maybe we should try and do one for the other guy. Even if we’re just going through the motions it might do some good for everyone if we decorated a small chapel or maybe a shrine. Let’s see if there’s a book for that or something, I could probably run the service.

Sharky: Yeah boss, just try not to make any of your usual jokes if it’s gonna be a religious thing.

Balefire: Oh that remind me… ‘ahem (clears throat):
Two gnolls are sitting in the woods eating lunch. One says “Man, I hate my wife”
…..and the other one says… “Then just eat the salad!”

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Field Notes of Avenger Tessa VanSilgar
For the Council of Waterdeep

Mission: Find Wyrmspeaker Varram and the White Dragon Mask
Destination: Serpent Hills, Boareskyr Bridge

Day 3: We arrive at Bolo’s Tentside Inn at the foot of Boareskyr Bridge. Bolo’s intel: halfling male, States thata purple robed dwarf was seen at the Inn a few ten day ago. Looking for escorts to lead him into the Hills. Stabbed a scaled folk to death before leaving. Locals believe Varram to be a hero because they think the scaled folk was a spy. Suspect left the Inn with 12 companions consisting of humans. dwarfs, and elves.

We pursue this group. Fight a gang consisting of 1 hill giant and 11 lizard folk. No useful intel on bodies.

Day 4: Find a passage to the Underdark. Left it unexplored. See map for location and opening directions. The shadow of a white dragon passes over us as we travel.
Find Diderius’ Tomb. See map for location and complete description. Find possible campsite of cultists. Fresh fire pit and three bedrolls and seven shallow graves. Investigation of the graves reveal torn apart bodies, 3-4 days old, all wearing cultist insignia. A blood trail leads to the well. Investigation of well shows hand holds leading to a troll sized opening inside the well. Did not climb down.

A party member approached the tomb. Statue heads turn toward her and say " Halt before Diderius. Which do you seek, wisdom or knowledge." She answered wisdom and an opening appeared. Inside was a magnificent tomb with gilded carvings and silver censers. The opening was too small to enter but we phased through when touching it. The tomb was an illusion. It turned into an ancient ruin when touched. At tomb’s end are double doors ajar and damaged.

Behind the doors lie a hallway lined with six statues of cowled wizards and signs of battle between cultists and skeletons. Sylina enters hallway and hears a voice in her head saying," Some secrets are not to be known. Look away from the dark. She and Tim light up the hallway and enter. Upon entering their heads are filled with the secrets of the universe. She runs and screams with madness while Tim stands silent and stunned. This passes quickly and we all proceed down hallway while avoiding looking at the statues.

The third chamber is highly ornate, with two exits and a mosaic depicting a knight and chimera in combat. As we enter the room, the chimera comes to life and assumes a fighting stance. The beast is a magical trap made of tile and resistant weapon attacks. We win a hard earned battle and the beast once again becomes a part of the floor. During the combat we are joined by Harper agent Randell, who was planted with Varram’s gang. Randell tells us the evil one is using a divination pool to scry the location of the White Mask. Varram is also working with demons. We rest the night in the SAFE room.

Day 4: We awake to two trolls attacking. They came out of the well in SAFE room. They were easily defeated.

It is decided to pull down copper double doors. They reveal an unsafe looking tunnel. We crawl in with Tim preforming Mending to stabilize the ceiling. This leads to the divination pool room. There we see sign of battle, with Yun-ti arrows and cultist bodies and one body in the pool that perished from a Dragontooth dagger. Drag marks lead from the pool to double doors.

Behind the doors we find a tomb. It contains the sarcophagus of Didderious and wall decorated with frescoes of the Lost Gods of Netheril and Anauria. Silvan warns us not to touch them. As we approach the sarcophagus Diderious speaks.“You approach Diderous in repose. I know what you seek. Yun-ti have taken the one you seek. I will open the portal in the North wall. Prepare for peril.” As the doors open he says, “Leave me to my rest.”

Upon entering we encounter 6 Lizard Folk playing cards instead of guarding. They are easily defeated. One is captured and tells us that Varrum is being sacrificed by the Yun-ti, who the Lizard Folk are being forced to serve. He also gives us the way to the temple. We consider freeing the captive until he tells us his people offered live sacrifices to the pool before the Yun-ti arrived. He is killed for his past evils.

Next we follow the directions through dark passages, past deep caverns, and over slick bridges. At last we find the door leading to the foul temple of the Yun-ti. The scene is one of sick nightmares. The temple is large, with many stone columns, serpents painted upon the walls, many Lizard Folk and Yun-ti, and at the far end was an alter. A badly injured Varrum lay upon it with priestess ready to strike the killing blow with her Dragontooth dagger while and abomination looked on. She strikes a deal with us. We can take Varram if there is no bloodshed by our group. She even shows us a safe route out. We leave unharmed and with the object of our mission.

Day 5: Varram awakes. I cast Zone of Truth and we get the following intel:
*White Mask last seen in his library.
*The divination pool reveled that Talis now has it.
*Location of Varram’s stronghold.
*Cultists have been recalled to The Well of Dragons. They plan to call Tiamat to the world. Time for this unknown to him.
*The Well of Dragons is a day and a half ride from Greenrest.
*There are plants from cult working for Lord Neverember and Marshal Ravenguard.
*Remi’s husband was assassinated by a cultist plant.

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The Council of Waterdeep
So it begins...

The group was enjoying their much deserved rest and relaxation, meeting in the former chambers of Blagothkus, discussing what they should do about the Vampires remaining in the castle, as well as the general problem of what their next steps should include.

Suddenly, they were astonished to see a raven fly into the window and land in the middle of their meeting table. The raven eyes the party, as if he’s trying to make certain he has the right group and then says in Leosin Erlthander’s voice "Leosin Erlanthar sends his heartiest congratulations! Please review this information brought by the Raven and meet me in Waterdeep as soon as possible.”

They agree to travel to Waterdeep but then begin to worry about the problem posed by having a tower full of vampires near a large city. Seeing this as an opportunity, Tim sends a message back via the raven, stealing their small vampire problem and asking for assistance. Within a ten-day, just as Waterdeep comes into sight, the raven returns and speaks with Leosin’s voice again, “Prepare your mind for contact.”

Suddenly Tim starts talking to the air and relating that the tower is on the upper level and that they can have the area clear in a few moments. The rest of the group started questioning I’m and after few moments, Tim realized they hadn’t heard the voice. Once Tim explained that someone named Lady Laeral Silverhand contacted him and said she’d deal with the Vampire and they had 30 minutes to clear the area. They get the kobold servants and head to the former dragon lair under the castle. Thorn decided to watch what was about to happen. He moved to the balcony and transformed into a mouse. A bright light appeared on the top of the vampire tower. The light expanded and enveloped the tower, obscuring it from view. Suddenly the castle shakes and ice falls from the ceiling of the lair onto the members of the group that went underground. Thorn sees the sphere of light brighten then sharing into a single point and vanish. Once the rest of the party climbs back to the upper level, they see a perfect bowl carved out of the ground where the tower once stood. Sylina declares this the new pool for the castle and promptly orders the kobolds to begin the process of filling it with water.

The castle is docked to the upper side of Waterdeep and the party meets the town guard who is there to escort them to the Lord’s Palace. Leosin Erlanthar. and Ontharr Frume are on the steps waiting for the party to arrive. As the party climbed to meet them, things grew still.

A sudden shift in the wind brings with it a strange sense of unease. The feeling is akin to the drop in air pressure before the approach of a deadly storm, or faint tremors felt from a landslide or earthquake far away. You’re not the only ones who have noticed. The city around you goes unnaturally quiet suddenly. No dogs bark, no birds squawk. Even the street vendors have gone silent. The silence lasts only a moment before the normal sounds of Waterdeep return to mask the unexplained sensation. but once they move inside where it is quieter, they notice the disturbance again, like a rumbling almost too faint to hear. As well, subtle changes in the behavior of animals can be noted. Dogs are nervous and on edge, horses are skittish, cats are more feral than usual, and rats gather in large, bold packs. Tim hears a constant sound of a horn sounding, but none of the rest of the party hears the noise.

The adventurers are approached by Dala Silmerhelve—a Waterdhavian noble. She tells them, “The disturbance that’s been sensed across the Sword Coast is the Draakhorn— an ancient device whose sounding alerts dragons across Faerun that great events are unfolding. It’s impossible to say what the sounding means, but the dragons hear it clearly and will eventually answer its call. ”

While waiting for the council to begin, General LeSeAn Nailo interrupts the party to greet his daughter, LeShana and asks her to rejoin him with the armies of the Elves. She tells him he knows why she left as she did and that she ultimately would return. He compliments her on the work she has done, if a little bloody at times and turns to go. Tim, though, sees a slight smile on his face as he walks away.

The Council of Waterdeep was called to order by Lord Dagult Neverember. The party was introduced byOntharr to the council and a brief recounting of their adventures from Greenrest to the acquisition of Skyreach Castle was detailed. During the discourse, Delaan Winterhound was upset at the wonton destruction of dragon eggs without attempts to seek balance. Ontharr and Sir Isteval agree with the adventurers actions.. Then King Melandrach questions the wisdom of traveling the length of the sword coast to track this treasure and accuses the adventurers of being the catalyst that expanded the cult’s attacks on the Alliance. Marshall Ulder Ravengard states that Balder’s Gate is just now beginning to recover from the resurgence of Baal a few years ago and wonders aloud if the Alliance can even begin to afford the cost of this excursion. Ambassador Connerad Brawnanvil states he is willing to lend any aid to a fight, he doesn’t see where a battle would be joined at this time and accuses King Melandrach of being unfair in blaming the party as they were doing what needed to be done, unlike this council.

Sir Isteval then states that he is not only representing Daggerford, and providing council, but that Comyr to gain insight into what looks to be a war brewing on its western border. He claims that hiding this fact would be an error in judgement, but that does not stop Lord Neverember and King Melendrach from demanding he be removed from the council immediately. He is left on the council only through the quick words of Ontharr, Ambassador Brawnanvil, and, surprisingly Taern “Thunderspells” Hornblade who reminds the party that with the exception of the adventurers before them, Sir Isteval is the only one of them to have actually faced a dragon and indeed, the only one to take part in SLAYING one. On those words, the calls for the removal of Sir Isteval cease. Tavern does question the party on the wisdom of slaying Rezmir, rather than keeping her prisoner, but states he wasn’t there so he has to trust the party’s decision. Lord Neverember is quite pleased when the party presents the Alliance the rights to the dragon hoard deep in the ice under Skyreach. This seems to lessen the weight on Lord Neverember’s shoulders a bit. He then states that the groups actions only reaffirm the decision the council made while they were on route to Neverwinter.

Lorde Neverember stands and says, “It’s obvious to all that the you have taken a firm hand in addressing this crisis, and that your group have proven their worth. The council deputizes each of you with emergency investigative powers and a writ demonstrating such. This grants access to resources and sites you deem necessary for your investigation, but always remember, this right carries with it the burden of oversight from the council. If the any of you misbehave or abuse your powers, all of your actions will be reviewed and the writ will be revoked. Also, I will personally see that you are placed in a dungeon so deep, you will have to look UP to see the Nine Hells.” With this grim pronouncement, he sends the party to see Remallia Raventree as she seems to have information on the location of the White Wyrmspeaker.

On their way to speak privately with Remallia, the party is approached by Dala Silmerhelve. Daly informs the party that the Arcane Brotherhood had been seeking information on ancient artifacts of power, like the Draakhorn. She informs the group, bq). “The Sea of Moving Ice was the last known location of the Draakhorn. No one can pinpoint its present location from the sound, or even verify with certainty that the relic is still in the northern sea, but the search must start there. The one person who could tell us more is a tiefling sorcerer called Maccath the Crimson. No one alive knows more about the Draakhorn than her, but the Arcane Brotherhood, of which she is also a member, hasn’t seen her for three years. She was investigating the Sea of Moving Ice when she disappeared. “Maccath reported her progress to the Hosttower by way of sending spells. Her last report spoke of seeing Ice Hunters paddling their sealskin boats toward a huge iceberg, flattened like a plateau across its surface, but ringed by icy peaks. She had intended to follow the Ice Hunters and investigate the iceberg. After that, no more reports came. Attempts to find Maccath using scrying and other magical means located only her ship, adrift and heavily damaged. Some of the ship’s crew were seen dead, but no sign of the tiefling sorcerer was ever found. However, the lair of a dragon as powerful as Arauthator is no doubt protected against scrying magic. If Maccath is alive, in addition to the lore she can share regarding the Draakhorn, the Arcane Brotherhood would be most grateful to get her back.”

As the party discusses this, they reach Remiallia. There they are rejoined by Leosin who informs them that “One of Remallia Haventree’s first acts in her fight against the Cult of the Dragon was to encourage the Harpers to focus all our resources on the cult’s activities and its most powerful members. Those efforts have been successful. We have tracked Varram the White to the Serpent Hills not more than a few day’s ride from here. Harper agents have heard rumors of the theft of the White Dragon Mask, and I have recently learned that the dwarf Varram was seen in the trade settlement of Boareskyr Bridge, near the Serpent Hills. With the Harpers already spread far and wide on their intelligence-gathering missions, we believe you are a perfect choice to pursue the wyrmspeaker.” Remialla also asks that the Black Dragon Mask be left with the Harpers so they could study it and learn what they could from it before they encountered more of them. Reluctantly, LeShanna agreed.

The group sets out for Boareskyr Bridge. After a few days ride, they approach the way station setup by the bridge. They enter Bolo’s Tentside inn and are quickly introduced to Bolo, the halfling who owns the establishment. When asked about seeing a dwarf in purple a few ten-day ago, Bolo says, “A dwarf in purple robes? Oh, I saw him. He was asking about escorts into the hills, when this hooded fellow starts asking him his business. The dwarf looked him straight in the eye, then pulled out his dagger and stabbed the tall fellow dead! He was one of the scaled folk of the Serpent Hills, come down to spy on us! That dwarf’s a hero, make no mistake. But he and his entourage took off straight away for the hills then, quick as cats!”

Not wasting any time the party follows and after a few encounters and discovering an entrance to the Underdark, the party arrives at the Tomb of Diderius, the resting place of a renown seer of many ages ago. This tomb once was the central part of a town that rested in the valley, but only a few ruined stone structures and the slab foundations of administrative and temple buildings now remain. Cave entrances dot the bluffs, marking former residences and simple tombs.

The entrance to Diderius’s tomb stands in what was once a large paved plaza. The remains of a fountain are now little more than a stone circle set around a crumbling hole in the ground leading to a well deep below. Two stone statues stand in the courtyard, rising twenty feet high. Behind them, a forty-foot high edifice is carved into the cliff side, dominated by relief columns carved with strange, otherworldly scenes.As the group investigates they discover a camp in the plaza near the ruined fountain. A campfire is burning down here, and three bedrolls show where the rearguard cultists were camped. Seven shallow graves have been dug east of the campsite—casualties from the cultists’ exploration. there is blood all around and it seems the train of blood leads to the well. Looking into the well, Tessa saw what could possibly be openings to tunnels though they were too small to fit through.

Sylina and Tim approached the front of the tomb and saw the carvings in better detail, one was of a great battle but the land was opening under the armies and swallowing them, another was of elves standing in water to their necks, but the elves had no eyes. and appeared dead. About then Leshanna walks up beside Sylina and recognizes these as representations of two of the worst defeats for the elven history. The ground swallowing the armies was during the battles of “The Return” when her father was still a young officer. During that battle the fighting was so horrible, men claimed the ground was swallowing them. The elves in water was symbolic of the Mere of Deadmen near Balder’s Gate. it is a place where, against her father’s recommendations, the army had sent their whole host into battle, only to have them drown in water as the wizards and sorcerers of the enemy inundated the plain, turning it into the swamp it is today and killing almost all the elven army. They then see another carving of a Dragon menacing a whole village. The dragon is broader than most and where its head had been was damaged. A fourth carving show a statue in a city square with adventurers standing, holding hands aloft in victory. These heroes looked familiar to Sylina and she moved closer to get a better look. While this was happening, Tim discovered the dragon in the carving actually was supposed to have five heads.

As Sylina approached, everyone heard the sudden sound of grinding stone. The colossal figures before the tomb turned their massive heads, their shattered features staring down at her. Two voices issued forth in unison, booming out as though erupting from the deep earth. “Halt. You come before Diderius, ether walker and conduit of clairvoyance. Behold ye now his wondrous triumphs. Diderius extends wisdom, and Diderius offers knowledge. Which do you seek?"

Sylina promptly answers Wisdom to which the statues reply "Diderius shall grant you what you seek, but only if you heed him and continue to show proper respect!” They then returned to their previous positions. At this point Tim notices an opening in the front of the tomb. He looks inside and sees a tomb with gilded carvings and silver censers. The opening seems too small, but when he leans on the wall to get a better look, he falls through and discovers the whole tomb is a ruin. As the group passes through to a set of double doors that hangs ajar. Marks on the door and frame indicate that it was recently forced.

Looking into the room, the group sees a hallway. Six statues stand here, all of cowled wizards leaning on staffs, their faces obscured by deep hoods. The hollows the hoods form are particulalry dark. Niches between the statues once held skeletal guardians that fought the cultists. The bones of more than a dozen humanoids now litter the ground. As she is about to enter, Sylina is struck by a sudden thought, “Some secrets are not meant for mortal minds to know. Look away from the darkness in which such knowledge hides.” Selina informs Tim and they decide that that means they shouldn’t walk into a dark room and Tim lights up the hallway.

As they both enter the room the sound of grinding stone announces the statues turning their cowled heads to follow their movements. As they turn Tim and Sylina look into the darkness of the hoods and they both start hearing voices explaining the entirety of the universe. This drives Sylina momentarily mad and she starts screaminng and running in circles begging the voices to stop. Tim, is simply mesmerized as he listens. It sounds so simple, but as the voices fade, the knowledge slips from his mind and he knows he has lost something of great value. The rest of the part moves into the room and avoids looking into the hoods. They bring both Tim and Sylina with them as both slowly come to their senses.

The next chamber is a high vaulted dome with a deep inset ledge circling the room, 10 feet wide and 15 feet up. The floor here is set with a beautiful tile mosaic showing a knight in plate armor wielding a glowing sword against a chimera. The word “S A F E ” is written in chalk on a door leading out. There is a mosaic of a Sun along one wall and a set of double doors plated in corroded copper engraved to depict a group of wizards peering over a pool of water. The oversized figure of a male wizard at the top of the image raises his hands as if summoning a creature from the pool.

As they watch the tile chimera begins to slowly shift. Then the tiles shoot up and the chimera seemingly claws its way out of the mosaic and stands preparing to attack.

chimera.jpg

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The Story so Far
What went on before.... The Prologue.

Opening Notes

Just a warning, This is going to be long and where possible, I have included your character’s actions in this Prologue as well as what happens in general During the Hoard of the Dragon Queen.. Also, LaShanna was fighting in Plan for the first portion of this adventure. I will note where she joins the party and the circumstances behind this event. By the time of the events that will start Rise of Tiamat, you will have become a solid group that has fought well together, for the most part, and knows each can be depended upon to fill their role.

Greenrest

The party, Stump the quiet but strong Half-Orc, Tessa VanSilgar the Human Paladin of Kelemvor, Balefire the Wiked (AKA Tim) a Dragonborn Sorcerer, Sylina Earthwanderer, a halfling Barbarian, and an* Elven Monk* (To be edited later;) ) , was hired to escort a caravan on run from Beregost to Greenrest. This was described as a “milk run,” by many, but it gives an opportunity for adventurers to gain experience without having to face dangers above their ability. The caravan proceeds with little issue, and the party’s only action was dispatching a couple of wolves and a few kobolds. As they approach Greenrest, the sun is setting and it looks to be a beautiful evening until they walk over the last rise. As you clear the top of the hill and see the small town, they see a scene of chaos. There is an adult Blue Dragon, flying overhead and buildings throughout the town are on fire. There are horns sounding and they can tell the city is being attacked.

The party rushes in, saving over 50 towns people from attacks by humans and kobolds, protecting them as they run into the Keep. Once inside, They meet Governor Nighthill, the leader of Greenrest. He asks for their help defending the town and the keep and they dutifully agree. This begins the longest night of their lives so far. Throughout the evening and night, they suffer the fatigue of marching all day and then fighting long into the night with little chance for rest and recuperation. There are many times that had it not been for a friendly cleric or spare healing potion, they may not have made it out alive.. They go on several missions, rescuing trapped towns people and even getting ambushed by what they determine to be Cultists as they learn of the adventurer’s assistance with the defense of the town. At one point, they had to show ultimate bravery in the face of an adult Blue Dragon named Lennithon. While Tim originally tries to talk to Lennithon, stating that a Dragonborn may be able to reason with a Dragon, the effort was a ruse for the party to prepare for a coordinated attack. During the battle that ensues, the Monk manages to throw a rock that catches Lennithon between two of his scales. Stump and the Tim combine forces to drive him away by alternating spell attacks that were very well placed with javelin throws that were right on the mark. Sylina lands the final blow which causes the Dragon to swear loudly that this was NOT what he expected when he signed up for this fight and then he flew off into the night.

Later, while on the walls surveying the current state of the battle, the party catches sight of a woman in purple that seems to be in charge and directing the attack, accompanied by a Black Half-Dragon. Near dawn, the cultists make a final push and manage to breach the main gates of the Keep, but the heroes fight them back and held off wave after wave of kobolds and cultists as the townspeople quickly did what repairs they could manage.. As dawn approached, the fighting slows and then stops as a large blue Half-Dragon named Langdedrossa Cyanwrath approaches the Keep’s main gate. He issues a challenge for a one-on-one battle with the best of the Keeps remaining soldiers. He presents four prisoners and offers to release them if anyone will face him in battle. He demands the the fight be an honorable fight or the prisoners will be killed. The party, who almost all want to fight, except Tim who would prefer to watch, draw lots. Tessa VanSilgar wins, or loses depending on the point of view. The fight goes on for minutes, but in her exhausted state, the Half-Dragon soon takes the upper hand and renders her unconscious. True to their word, Cyanwrath releases the prisoners and the Cultists and Kobolds retreat to to west.

The Raider’s Camp

After a rest, Governor Nighthill asks the party to track down the cultists and see if they will come raiding again. As the party prepares to leave, A monk approaches the party’s monk and asks them to search for Leosin Erlanthar, a monk who was studying the cult. the party tracks down the main camp and infiltrates. They are almost discovered but quickly recover when Tim acts like a leader and demands to be treated as such. They take him to Frulam Mondath, the Wearer of Purple and leader of this cult cell. Tim is able to convince her he is a new cult leader, but Tess is identified due to her fight with Cyanwrath. She is taken prisoner and tied to a post beside Leosin near the rear of the camp. Frulam tells Tim they are holding Leosin for Rezmir, the black Half-Dragon they saw earlier and whom Frulam called the Black Wurmspeaker for some reason. Frulam says Rezmir has gone ahead to prepare the way for the cult to transport their captured wealth. As the others wander the camp, they learn more of the cult and their veneration of Tiamat. The party also discovers these raids have been happening all along the Sword Coast and that they are amassing a Hoard to take north in preparation of Tiamat’s return from the Nine Hells. The party is also amazed to hear that there are Dragon Eggs in the caves near the rear of the camp and that they are expected to hatch soon. Once the camp settles in for the night, the party sneaks to where Tess and Leosin are hanging and cut them loose and open the cages of the other prisoners. They barely escape, and bring Leosin and the rescued prisoners back to Greenrest.

The Dragon Hatchery

Two days later, Leosin is well enough to ask the party, hire them actually, to go back and investigate the camp. They need to see if they can discover what the Cult is planning. They also need to remove the threat of the dragon eggs. After they complete this task they are to join him in Elturel to brief him on what they discover. He will be going there to meet Ontharr Frume, leader of the Order of the Gauntlet.

Once the group arrives at the campsite, they discover it has been abandoned and several wagons seem to have gone North, Rangers still in the camp that had been hired to help gather meat for the cult, let the party know there are still kobolds and others in the caverns as they are still buying meat. As the party explores the caverns, they stumble upon Frulam Mondath and quickly capture her. They tie her in a way they believe is secure as they do not want to take time to question her at that moment. They then work their way further into the caverns. They soon discover Cyanwrath in a Temple that has been created to worship chromatic Dragons, especially the Black and Tiamat herself. Cyan wrath immediately recognizes Tessa and the two begin a rematch of their first battle of only a few days previous. The rest of the party fights the other Cultists and kobolds while Tessa and the blue half-dragon match blow for blow. This time however, Tessa isn’t exhausted from over 24 hours of fighting and the battle is more evenly matched. She finally gains the upper hand and strikes down Cyanwrath as he tells her she will make a fine sacrifice to the Queen of Dragons.

The group then enter the hatchery and after defeating the hidden Roper, they destroy the black dragon eggs. The party now goes to question Frulam and they discover she has escaped, but she has left her purple robes and writings which show that Rezmir, the wearer of the black dragon mask and the Black Wurmspeaker, is headed north with the stolen hoard.

On the Road

The group travels north to Elturel and find both Leosin and Ontharr very quickly. After the group recounts their tale, Ontharr asks them to continue on to Balder’s Gate and sign on as Caravan Guards for one of the main caravan groups headed north. Since that is the most likely way that Rezmir will transport the stolen hoard, it will be an excellent way to see where they are taking all those stolen goods. The party takes a boat to Balder’s Gate and attempt to gain employment on the caravans about to head north to Waterdeep. Tessa is hired as a captain for one merchant with Stump and Sylina reporting to her. The others are hired as drivers, except Tim and the Monk, who end up traveling along with the caravan. The party recognizes some of the cultist in amongst the travelers and the cultists seem to have several wagons of their own in the caravan itself. Rezmir is nowhere to be seen. The trip north to Waterdeep is a normal, but very long trip trip, fighting off bandit and wild animals as well as thwarting an ambush of orcs. The party discovers a Golden Stag, who is a disguised Sylvan. He gives them a weapon and states, “What you seek is in the Castle in the Clouds, but the way is perilous. That is not your end however, though sadly some of you may never see the end.” The most notable event was when one of the cultist’s wagons lost a wheel and some of the crates in the wagon fell out and broke open. Before the cultists could get the contents covered, Sylina recognized some of the jewelry as being stolen from Greenrest.

Just south of Waterdeep, in a town called Daggerford, two new travelers join the caravan. The first is a Human male who keeps his head covered at all times and the other is a female halfling that seems to be up to no good. The human is taken into the cultists wagons, something that has not happened since the start of the journey and he stays with the cultists throughout the rest of the trip. The Halfling seems to be watching the cultist closely and convinces the party she is on their side. She helps them confirm what is in the crates. She also kills a cultists, but they blame Tim. The strange man, known as Azzara Jos, settles the crowd by proving it wasn’t Tim but someone else. Stump happens to notice the strange human seemed to have tattoos all over his head, but does not tell anyone until much later.

Construction Ahead

Once the caravan arrives at Waterdeep after eight ten-days of travel. The goods are transferred through town for a continued trip north and the party is trying to decide what to do next. It is here the party is approached by a female Elf, LaShanna Nailo who has a letter from Ontharr. It introduces her as a ranking member of the Order of the Gauntlet who had done service in Phlan and helped protect the town from the cult. She also helped rescue as many as possible as a dragon took over the town and turned it into his lair. She tells the party they are to continue to follow the trail north to see where it leads. Not looking forward to more travel, the party then signs on as guards for the further trip to the trailhead for the new road to Neverwinter. While traveling out of town, they discover that Rezmir was seen passing through the city and headed in the same direction, and she had ben joined by Azbara . When Stump mentioned the tattoos he’d seen, LaShanna instantly recognizes this as a Red Wizard from Thay as she had dealt with several in Phlan as they attempted to recreate the Pool of Radiance. After four more ten-days, the group arrives at the trail-head and discovers that the stolen goods are being smuggled out of a secret tunnel out into the swamp.

Castle Naerytar

While tracking the path of the stolen goods, they come upon a lizardfolk named Snapjaw, who asks the party for their help in liberating their home, Castle Naerytar from the Bullywugs and the strange humans who talk about Dragons. As the party makes their way to the castle, they discover other Lizardfolk whom Snapjaw helps convince to fight. The party then hatches a plan to sneak into the castle and then signal Snapjaw and his newly formed Lizardfolk army to attack the bullywugs while the party clears the cultist from the castle. While working their way through the castle, the party uncovers records that indicate a huge amount of the stolen goods have passed through here on their way to a Skyreach Castle in the far north. They also see a keyword that seems to operate a teleportation circle. After fighting their way through the castle, they find the Teleportation circle and evidence that Rezmir and Azzara Jos recently escaped through the circle.

The Hunting Lodge

After clearing the cult out of the Castle, the party uses the teleportation circle and they are instantly transported to an area near the Spine of the World. They discover the teleportation circles only seem to work one way with their control word and decide to approach a hunting lodge they see in the distance. Rather than fighting their way in, they simply knock and are led into the rooms of Talis the White. Assuming them to be fellow cultists, Talis enlists them to help her recover the White Dragon Mask from her rival, Varrum the White. She claims the mask is rightfully hers and offers the party aid in gaining access to what they seek. She tells the party the hoard is being loaded into Skyreach castle, a floating castle currently anchored in a town named Parnast just to the north. She wants Rezmir to fail and for white mask to be taken from Varram and given to her, the “rightful bearer.” She also asks that the party tell Glazhael, the Cloudchaser that she longs to see him again. From her description, it is not hard to determine that Glazhael is a white Dragon. After a heated discussion amongst the party and against Tess’s wishes, the party agrees to the deal, with the intent to double-cross Talis at the earliest opportunity. Talis gives them banners and pass-phrases that will get them into the castle and tells them she will be watching for them. Before they leave, while getting provisions in the kitchens, they discover several prisoners in the basement. Two of these are Varrram the White’s daughter and brother, and the other is a priest of Kelemvor. The party quietly frees all three and as they leave, Variorum’s Daughter tells you that she and her father are in the party’s debt.

Castle in the Clouds

The party travels north to Parnast and find the castle. After almost being discovered in town, they make their way into the castle which starts to float away just as they enter the gate. The party sneaks around and discovers where Rezmir’s room is located as well as a group of Red Wizards lead by Azbara. They also discover that the castle is in the control of a Cloud Giant named Blagothkus. The party first tracks and kills Rezmir. Tess takes the sword from Rezmir’s hand as she dies. They then discover a small box with a black dragon’s mask. They hide that away and go to destroy the red wizards. However, the wizards were alerted by the fight with Rezmir and they all, including Jos, jump from the castle and escape using feather fall. The party then fights an epic battle for control of the castle, eventually defeating Blagothkus and his army of Cloud Giants, Stone Giants, ogres, and Kobolds. They are aided at night by Vampires who inhabit one of the towers in the castle after reaching an agreement with the party that they would allow the Vampires to remain in the tower after the party took ownership of the castle. The party gained the control key for the castle and quickly learned to steer the castle by communicating with the spirit of Blagothkus who took up residence in the control room. As long as they held the key, his spirit was forced to do as the party wished.

Finally, they were ready to face Glazael. Using the black mask LaShanna convinced the vain but a slightly muddle headed dragon that his favorite person, Talis, was in trouble and needed his help. LaShanna, using the powers of the mask, convinced the dragon that they would watch the hoard and take it on to the proper destination. The Dragon actually agreed and left the castle, headed for the direction of the Hunting Lodge. The party quickly changed the direction of the castle’s flight and turned on its mechanism that allowed it to hide so Glazhael would not be able to find them once he learned of their lie.

It is at this point, the new adventure begins.

The key points to take away.

  • The cult has been raiding the entire Sword Coast to build a Hoard fit for Tiamat.
  • They seem set on worshiping Tiamat.
  • They have masks which allow them to convince Dragons to do as they wish.
  • These masks are somehow connected to Tiamat.
  • The only way to stop the destruction is to stop the cult at all costs.
  • The Red Wizards are involved in some way
  • The Cloud Giants and Stone Giants are involved in some way
  • Caravan Trips take forever.
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