Tyranny of Dragons

The Nursery

Escaping the camp

Having been captured, the characters were brought before Frulam Mondath, the leader of the raiders. They exchanged a few words, and the party tried to convince her that they were hoping to join the cult. Unfortunately, Mondath knew that Heironymous Caine was the one who tried to fight Langdedrosa Cyanwrath and sentenced them to die.

They were tied to stakes, accompanying another prisoner – Leosin Erlanthar. He did not seem impressed with their attempts to rescue him.

They were unable to escape by themselves, but fortunately Erlanthar had a knife hidden in his boot that the Cultists did not find. Using this, the party were able to free themselves, and after a quick healing spell, Erlanthar as well.

They were spotted as they went for their gear, which had been carelessly placed in a chest nearby, and had to fight off a small group of cultists before scaling the cliff to escape the camp.

Intelligence

Erlanthar was able to provide quite a bit of information to Governor Nighthill and the party, some of which was already known.

  • Not everyone in the camp is a full-fledged member of the Cult of the Dragon. Many are initiates working towards full acceptance, and many others are simple mercenaries, hired to flesh out the camp’s strength during raids or if it should come under attack.
  • The kobolds are there because their worshipful attitude towards dragons makes them easy to manipulate, but they are not well liked or trusted by the other races.
  • The cult has been ranging far and wide on small raids to collect treasure. Greenest was the closest target to the camp, the biggest of all the towns they’ve attacked, and the most profitable.
  • The half-black dragon Rezmir came to the area a few months ago, and she set up the camp. Frulam Mondath handles everyday operations.
  • The half-blue dragon Langdedrosa Cyanwrath is Mondath’s right hand, and is seldom seen far from her side. He has a rigid sense of honour but you don’t want to make him angry.
  • The cave at the back of the camp is off-limits to all but those who have been cleared by Mondath and Rezmir, which includes a handful of guards and kobolds. It’s known around camp as “The nursery” and it’s an open secret that Rezmir plans to hatch a clutch of dragon eggs there.
  • The plunder from nearby settlements is stored in the cave. No-one but Rezmir knows how much there is altogether, but it must be a big pile by now.
  • The mother of dragons – praise Tiamat’s glory! – shall return, and when that day comes, all the world will tremble before her majesty!

Returning to the camp

The party returned to the camp after a couple of days’ rest. They found the camp to be almost abandoned – the kobold dwellings on the lower level had all been burned, but the tents on the upper level were intact, though lifeless. It appeared that the army had abandoned the camp by heading in small groups in all directions, but it was relatively easy to notice that the main bulk of the wagons left in a westward direction.

They were noticed by a pair of hunters who told them that there are still a few of the Cultists left in the camp – the Wearer of Purple, the Dragon-man and some of the dragon-dogs (kobolds). Breonna was able to read their minds and determine that they had no direct link to the Cultists and only hunted for pay. They were convinced to move on.

Breonna’s newly-conjured raven familiar (named Quoth, of course) scouted the cave entrance. It was dark, but they were able to determine two figures on guard in the mouth of the cave. The party stealthily approached, avoided detection, and eliminated the two guards very quickly. The guards appeared to have better gear than the regular run-of-the-mill cultists.

Further into the cave, the floor dropped away to a field of mushrooms and fungus of various sizes about 10’ below the entrance level. There was a set of stairs down one side, but as she went down them, Seraphina Tealeaf tripped a trap which dumped her on her back at the feet of four violet fungi, which immediately attacked. Fortunately no-one was seriously injured.

Beyond the fungus cave, they noticed a number of small forms on the floor, which upon close inspection appeared to be dead bats. They had been exsanguinated. Looking up, it was clear that the ceiling of the cave was carpeted with bats – millions of them. The party made their way stealthily through this cave, avoiding disturbing the bats and the stirges that they presumed were hiding among them.

Beyond this cave they were presented with a choice – either a drop-off to darkness ahead, a large passage to their left, or a smaller passage to the right. On the floor near the smaller passage was an old and rusty spear. They chose the left, and encountered several kobolds, killing them quite quickly. They noticed that one of them had wings.

During the fight, something in a pit to their right started howling, which attracted another larger group of kobolds from ahead.

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Pursuing the Raiders

After the attacking army left Greenest, the adventurers were finally able to get some rest. Midmorning, Governor Nighthill woke them and requested their help. He needed to find out where the raiders were camped, how many there were, who their leaders were, and what their next target is. The five adventurers were the most able and best equipped to perform this reconnaissance. The Governor offered a substantial reward for any information, and if some of the town’s valuables could be recovered, that would be good too.

As they were preparing to depart Greenest, they were approached by an injured monk who asked them for news of his master, Leosin Erlanthar. Erlanthar has been investigating the Cult of the Dragon for months and went missing during the battle. Either he has attempted to infiltrate the raiders, or he has been captured.

The attacking army’s trail was easy enough to follow. It was pretty clear that the army consisted mainly of humans, kobolds and trained reptiles. The beast tracks were deeper going away from the town than they were approaching.

The First Ambush

Several miles away from the town, rolling fields gave way to rocky plateaus and escarpments. Climbing one, they noticed the smoke from a small fire some distance ahead. Approaching carefully, they spied a small group of cultists and kobolds that had stopped to cook a meal on their way back to their camp. The human cultists and the kobolds were in separate groups, and they didn’t appear to like each other much. Neither group was prepared for an attack.

The plan was to capture and interrogate one of the raiders, but it was not to be. Breonna stepped up to the group of kobolds and unleashed a spell that killed many of them, and the remainder were finished off by the others. One cultist tried to run, but he was pursued by Breonna and Dona, finally being brought down by one of Dona’s javelins.

Disappointed at not being able to interrogate a prisoner, the party continued following the trail of the army.

The Second Ambush

The sharp-eyed adventurers spotted the attacking cultists before they could drop rocks on their heads. They were travelling along the floor of a canyon, and the cultists had hidden on ledges 12-15 feet above on either side. As they pushed boulders off the ledges in an attempt to block the canyon, Heironymous Caine climbed up to the ledge. Cultist spellcasters tried casting cantrips, but they were largely unsuccessful.

Dona tried to take out one entire ledge herself – she might have achieved it too, but she did have help from Breonna and Seraphina Tealeaf, who both were able to take out cultists.

One spellcaster was captured. and Seraphina patrolled the area while Breonna and Dona “interrogated” him. Unfortunately he was tight-lipped and fanatical in his devotion to the cult. Caine would not touch the holy symbol of Tiamat, but in the end it did not matter. Once it was clear that the cultist wasn’t going to talk, Breonna executed him.

The Raiders’ Camp

Following the trail, the party finally came to the raiders’ camp in the early evening. The raiders had made a camp inside a horseshoe-shaped plateau that rose about a hundred and fifty feet above ground level. There was a guard tower at the entrance.

Several plans were discussed, including climbing the cliffs surrounding the camp, disguising themselves as cultists and feigning the approach of a larger force, but in the end it was noted that the raiders were not on guard and didn’t appear to be at all concerned about a counterattack.

Wearing stolen cult robes, the party strolled straight in. They started to make their way towards the largest tent, but they were stopped by a large and burly cultist who recognised Caine from his (very short) battle with Langdedrosa Cyanwrath. Hands were laid on them and they were taken into custody.

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Saving Greenest

Governor Nighthill was desparate for help defending the town from the attacking cultists. A report had come in that the attackers were trying to burn down the town mill. If they succeeded, then the town would be unable to mill flour for months. The team sneaked out the secret tunnel and followed the riverbank.

They were able to see a small group of cultists piling straw against the building, but they noticed that they way they were doing it, they couldn’t possibly succeed. They were merely attempting to burn the stone part of the wall, and it was unlikely that the building would have caught fire. They ambushed this small group and killed them quickly.

Unfortunately, it was a trap. Upon entering the building the group was ambushed by a large group of cultists and armoured mercenaries. Two mercenaries were able to escape, and fortunately they did not finish the job of killing the defenders properly – the party was rescued by a reinforcing group of town guards. This encounter did reinforce two things – first, that the cultists were driving the attack and the mercs were merely paid thugs; and second, that the attackers knew about the group and thought that they were enough of a threat to set an ambush for.

The team was able to return to the keep through the secret tunnel and recuperate somewhat. About an hour later, word came that a large number of surviving townsfolk were trapped in the chapel of Chauntea at the southeast end of town. Again, the party sneaked out the secret tunnel and followed the river.

From the riverbank, it appeared that there were three groups of attackers at the temple: a large group of mostly cultists – including what appeared to be an officer – attempting to use a ram to break down the front door; a large group of mainly kobolds who were circling the building, hooting and singing; and a smaller group of cultists and kobolds who were attempting to set fire to the back door.

The party made short work of the last group and were able to quickly shunt the villagers out of the church and back to the keep before the circling kobolds noticed.

Now it was getting on towards early morning. The cultists appeared to be gathering just out of bowshot of the entrance to the keep. One large humanoid but dragonlike creature came forward and demanded that the keep send forth a champion to fight him in single combat. In return, four hostages – a woman, a teenage boy and two children – would be released.

Heironymous Caine demanded the right to fight this creature, though Dona argued the point. Caine went forth and declared his name to the creature. In return, it gave its name as Langdedrosa Cyanwrath, an officer of the Cult of the Dragon. The hostage children would be released immediately as a show of good faith, while the woman would remain with Cyanwrath’s kobolds and would be killed if anyone else interfered with the duel. The terms were agreed to, and Caine entered battle with the half-dragon.

Caine scratched it slightly before it pounded him into the ground, sneering. Caine was close to death as the creature gathered its forces and left the town.

In the morning the extent of the devastation could be seen – almost everything of value had been stripped from the town – all gold, silver, artworks, trinkets, weapons and equipment had been taken by the Cult.

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Defending the Keep

The party met up with Governor Nighthill and the Castellan, Escobert the Red, and committed themselves to assisting with the defense of the keep.

The first order of business was to open up the Secret Tunnel. There was an old door in a cellar that the Castellan had the key to (he had a huge keyring that would have served as armour for a halfling.. The door was stiff, but it opened into a dark tunnel festooned with cobwebs. Seraphina went first, followed by Dona and Captain Caine. Thertranna and Breonna followed up.

Seraphina rounded a corner of the tunnel, only to find the tunnel full of rats! She and Dona were bitten many times before all of the nasty things were finally killed or driven off. Unfortunately, the lock was so badly rusted that it could not be picked – Seraphina’s lockpick actually broke in the lock (that’ll need to be replaced later). It was up to Dona and Caine to force the gate open, which made a lot of noise and attracted some attention.

The attention came in the form of cultists and kobolds. Somehow both Dona and Caine were taken down by the vicious attack, though fortunately Sharani and Thertranna were able to clean them up. Seraphina was able to revive them. The tunnel had been opened, and all witnesses were dead. This was now a secret way in and out of the keep.

No sooner had they quaffed a couple of healing potions than the word came down from the battlements – the dragon was attacking!

A fully-grown blue dragon was swooping low over the rampart, letting loose with lightning bolts. Quite a few guards had been overcome with fear of the beast and were cowering in the basement. Seraphina, being a brave halfling, joined them.

The dragon swooped several times, injuring or killing guardsmen on each pass. The party, being largely fluent in Draconic, tried to talk to it, but it declined to respond. After several crossbow bolts and a heroic leap by Caine, the dragon was driven off.

Just then the cry came from below – the cultists had breached the keep’s sally port!

The useless keep guards had more or less scattered, but the group of adventurers was able to dispatch the group of kobolds accompanied by a cultist Acolyte and an ambush drake. The castellan fetched someone who could cast Mending as Dona and Caine held the sally port closed against a larger force of cultists.

Seraphina was able to prevent the Acolyte from dying, and they tied up and interrogated their prisoner. He confessed that he was a member of the Cult of the Dragon, which had attacked Greenest in order to collect loot for the great horde that will usher in the reign of the Queen of Dragons.

Finally, the portal was closed and the party could rest. For a little while.

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Attack on Greenest

Five adventurers joined a caravan headed for the sleepy village of Greenest, each for their own reasons. Some were compelled, others wandering aimlessly. But all were drawn together when the caravan approached the village and it became clear that the village was under attack – by a dragon!

Sharp-eyed Seraphina Tealeaf noticed that the dragon itself wasn’t exactly attacking so much as perhaps intimidating – it was swooping low over the town, letting off the occasional bolt of lightning, then flying off to land in a field and eat some sheep. It didn’t seem too interested in the attack itself.

As the group arrived in the town, a family darted out from between two buildings, pursued by a group of kobolds. The woman who was attempting to defend her family was quickly taken down as the party attacked. Though Seraphina was able to stabilise her, one of the children was killed by kobold slingers.

As the party took down the last of the kobolds, the grateful woman introduced herself as (insert name here). She pleaded with the party to help get her family to the keep, which was still open.

The way was hard, with several groups of kobolds and human cultists to cut through on the way. One group was trying (unsuccessfully) to set fire to a building, while another clumsily attempted an ambush. Fortunately the group of adventurers, with civilians in tow, were able to make it to the keep, where they met with Governor (insert name here), who was observing the battle from the parapets.

It appeared that the attackers were not particularly interested in attacking the keep – they were more concerned with looting and pillaging the houses and shops. He requested the adventurers’ help in defending the town and rescuing the civilians.

The first priority – apart of course from the dragon who returned from time to time – was an old secret tunnel that led to the stream. The tunnel was intended to be used during a siege for the defenders to retrieve water, but the keep has never been besieged and the gate has long since rusted shut. Opening the tunnel will allow a small group of adventurers to return to the town after the keep has been sealed, and attempt to rescue civilians.

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