'Hoard of the Dragon Queen' Campaign

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 Episode 22 of Hoard of the Dragon Queen
 2015-02-04 -  
Castle Naerytar... ( Member Submission! )... 2015-02-04 
The canoe settles in the marshy bank, the heroes dismount, sick of the gross black water around them for the last several hours. what you see is below. an old castle, thick stone all around. a moat around it with fathomless depths. Looks like it is 3 stories tall.

the land around the castle is quite busy.

within the last hour you heard the sound of drums coming from the castle. snapjaw explains that the bullywugs use this as a form of communication to the greater bullywug population in and around the castle, this last message was a standard 'all is well' one. he also volunteers that they killed the lizardfolk Shaman who was their leader. they are lost now and have turned to the half dragon Rezmir and the Elf Borngray for guidance. The bullywug leader is also a shaman of great fearsome power, Pharblex is his name, you learn. Recently Azbara Jos (thay wizard) arrived and is meeting with Rezmir since he arrived. Borngray runs day to day operations, Rezmir is the real boss. The black dragon they worship has not been seen by the lizard folk for many months, they are saddened.

outside there are two camps: lizard folk have 'longhouses' (the nicer buildings in picture) but you don't see too many lizard folk in and around them. there is pen with a few giant lizards in them, ugly mean looking beasts (large size). the lizard folk tend them.

on the other side of the land is the bullywug homes. shitty clay domes, dirty, mucky. there are many, and you estimate 40ish bullywugs and 6-10 giant frogs that seem to be their pets.

throughout the various open stone windows of the castle you see bustling activity and movement.

there is a old metal rusted gate which enters the Barbican, you can see Bullywug guards there

no one has seemed to notice or care about your arrival. Snapjaw and the other lizard folk look at you expectantly, the hope of an entire people rests upon you.

(ask away, snapjaw is your bitch and eager to help you all destroy the bullywugs)

"Under castle is bullywug territory we no go there.
Cultists take loot down there when Rezmir demands.
Sometimes no come back for long time or not at all.
We will attack bullywugs under castle then?
What about the many outside here?"

Snapjaw looked through his snake-like eyes, unblinking, at the heroes. His grip on his weapon loosened and tightened reflexively; a sprinter ready to explode from the blocks. Hopeful to spur the heroes into action, he continued:

"more bullywugs live in castle proper in barracks, they spend much time cursing at us and ordering us around, they need to die! Pharblex (shaman leader) go down to caverns often with his honor guard. he pray there. they raise disgusting giant frogs down there. sometimes we see crocodiles swimming in and out of moat; beware! also more lizardfolk living/working in castle. cultists also in castle maybe 20, leader types they call dragonclaws or dragonwings, scary ones. Leader is Borngray I no know first name. He elf. Listens to Rezmir, he hates bullywug and pharblex too I can tell. he complain a lot, like a baby. but he give us metal weapons and teach us to make them. one day we rise and destroy the bullywug. maybe that day is now! we never go up in castle except in our area. rezmir and borngray and humans occupy upper levels. rezmir very scary! everyone listen to it/her." Continuing, Snapjaw says in slithering draconic, "Drums are on second floor of Barbican (the guard house), always bullywugs there. Need to kill them otherwise they can call out more bullywugs from the Swamp, only half the tribe is here!" "Castle so big! Pharblex always with his ten honor guard bullywugs. At night they sleep in bullywugs barracks 2nd floor. He go into caverns under castle many times too. He scary. Kill our shaman! Uses bad magicks.

Sometimes he come outside to beat up poor lizardfolk, then all bullywugs laugh. But not if Borngray is there he not let Pharblex abuse us if he catches him. Rezmir no care she always thinking of other things. Looks so scary with black mask and great sword. Borngray give us many metal weapons when time is ready we wield them to slit bullywugs bellies open!"

Snaphaw pauses, looks a little sheepish. Then he farts. It sounds wet, smells like fish and lemons. Another lizardfolk leans over subtly and slightly, but obviously smelling it, and nods his head in appreciation. Snaphaw continues.

"Small chance we no convince rest of lizardfolk of plan to revolt. They not see your skill in battle and magicks like we see. I must go through the camp and castle and try to convince them. Then we kill all the stinky bullywugs!"





 Episode 15 of Hoard of the Dragon Queen
 2014-11-24 -  
AFTERMATH... ( Member Submission! )... 2014-11-24 
The cart wobbles across the slightly uneven surface of the rocky road. Our five heroes are quiet, Arobyn and Foluwa driving the rickety cart. The rest on horses donated by Governor Nighthill before they left Greenest. Whisper off by herself 10 yards ahead, Luther and Scribe in the rear. Foluwa looks back, nervously, at their cargo, for what must be the thousandth time. Arobyn jumps in his seat slightly at this. Unsettled they smile awkwardly and face forward once again, trying not to glance backward again. The Dragon egg sits perched in hay in a makeshift wooden box in the back of the cart. It's color is gold and metallic and bronze all at once. The torch light glints off it magically, erratically. Is there movement inside? Luther chuckles at the scene before him and nods at Scribe. He gets no response however. Scribe is staring at the egg, furiously scribbling on his parchment. He doesn't even notice Luther's attempts at conversation.

(The exit from the Dragon hatchery was uneventful, no challenge was given. The heroes found an old used but road worthy cart and hooked up two of their horses to it. They travelled a few miles and then rested for the night. It is now morning and you are headed to meet Leosin in Elturel but on the way is Greenest, a half day's ride away)

The loot is heading to Naerytar, is what Frulam had written down. Now where was that?

These heroes just met each other a few days ago. What are their plans? What will the bards sing about them?

And what on earth are they doing carrying around a dragon egg?











 Episode 9 of Hoard of the Dragon Queen
 2014-10-06 -  
The Tribesman... ( Member Submission! )... 2014-10-06 
She is not comfortable with friendships, Foluwa thought to himself, and is probably unused to the attention. The druid smiled as he looked at the group. I am unfamiliar too, but I welcome the companionship.

"What has you so happy?" Luther said from his reclined position next to him. Foluwa glanced at the boy, unsure how to answer. How do you explain what it's like to live as an outsider to your own tribe, and to yearn for nothing but a place to belong?

"I would not know where to start." Foluwa replied, all the more aware of his accent, in the silence of the room.

"Why not start with the Whitefeather family?" Arobyn asked, "Tell us where you know them from."

"I am not from around here," Foluwa started hesitantly, drawing chuckles from his new friends, "I come from very far away."

"Chult?" Scribe piped in quickly, excitement evident in his voice, "Is it true?"

"Yes," the druid responded, and he almost smelled the thick jungle as his mind wandered back to his homeland, "My tribe dwells deep in the jungles of Chult."

"I hear the island is infested with fearsome giant lizards, called dinosaurs. There were pictures in a book I read, and it was simply unbelievable!" the young bard gushed. Foluwa nodded at the boy.

"It is true. Some of them stand taller than castle walls. The are terrible creatures that can kill a man in mere seconds. They are best avoided, this I know," Foluwa frowned, and stared down into his hands. Even the bravest of his tribesman had run in terror at the approach of one of these beasts, but the druid did not tell this to Scribe. There was no need to frighten the boy, as it was highly unlikely he would ever meet one.

"But you asked about Joss and his family, and the truth is, I never met them until today, sadly. And to have to deliver such terrible news.." Foluwa's voice trailed off as he thought of the trembling weak voice of the Harper agent, Joss. How he begged the tribesman to find his family, and tell them of his undying love for them, with his very last breath. The druid wondered, not for the first time, if Joss would have ever left his family if he thought there was a chance he would not return.

"An order of mages, called the Red Wizards of Thay, set upon my people in Chult. Their desire, likely, was some sort of experimentation, using my kinsmen as test subjects. I was not in the village when they took my tribe, but I followed, determined to stop them. When they reached the coast, they were set upon by Harper agents. I joined the fight, and my tribe was freed, fleeing back into the jungle. Some of the agents escaped, and I was taken captive by the Red Wizards, along with a Harper agent named Joss Whitefeather. We were dragged into their sea ship, and they fled Chult with us buried in the belly of their wooden beast."

The room had grown quiet, and Foluwa could hear the scratching of Scribe writing in his notebook.

"The crossing was rough, the sea angry. I have never before been in a ship, in all my life, and this I know, I do not wish to be on one again." the druid shuddered, remembering the screeching iron and groaning wood of the vast vessel. The feelings of stark terror that overtook him, and the calming words of Joss Whitefeather, who tried to keep him sane.

For a moment, Foluwa was filled with intense sadness at the thought of Joss. The storm was more terrible than any jungle beast, and it tore the ship apart like it were no more than a fragile toy. The sounds of screaming men, including himself, were everywhere. Death had come for him, and it had come with the icy cold hand of the merciless sea, pulling him into the depths to die forgotten and alone.

But he was not alone. When he had given up, it was Joss that had saved him, somehow. Foluwa could not even remember the details, just the tearing of wood, the air full of stinging splinters, and sucking in lungs full of water as he desperately attempted to breath. And then darkness and calm, only to wake afloat on debris, with an exhausted Joss keeping them both together. The druid wanted to tell them, but the words caught in his throat.

"The boat sank," was all he could manage to them, his shoulders trembled slightly, "Nature, it seems, did not agree with the Red Wizards. Their power was nothing, compared to wrath of the sea. This I know."

It was a long pause before Foluwa sighed and continued.

"Joss had saved me from the sea, and we somehow managed to wash ashore on the coasts of a great desert."

"Calimshan!" Scribe blurted, like an eager student in class. Foluwa chuckled.

"Correct. But Joss was weak, sick from exhaustion and wounds he took in the crossing. It took every ounce of my will to keep him alive and cross the desert. The burning sands of that place, the relentless sun, the thirst..." Foluwa himself was amazed that he could keep them both alive as long as he did.

"I carried him in the end. He could not walk. For days. More than I can account for. When we finally reached the end of the desert, something I did not think we would see, he died."

The silence in the room was deafening. Where is the laughter? he thinks to himself, mourning it's absence. He shouldn't have told this story now, not after so much mirth had been flowing.

"But not before he tasked me with finding his family, and passing on his last possessions. It was important to him that his sons received his family ring, and his Harper medallion. So I traveled north. From the desert, and up the infamous Sword Coast. I saw the many splendors of your vast cities, and I walked the paths of your deep forests. The wilderness of these lands are like nothing I've ever experienced. And they are wonderful. This I know."

"Your arrival in Greenest was fortuitous in it's timing." Luther says, patting Foluwa's arm. Foluwa smiled in response.

"Will you return home now?" Scribe asked, his curiosity getting the better of him. Foluwa almost winced, but did his best to hide it. How to explain to the boy that even at home, he lived apart from his own tribesman? Did I ever truly have a home?

"I think not," the druid said, nodding his decision to Luther, "I wish to explore this world more. And besides, I think I have found myself a new tribe."

Arobyn looks to Luther, the two smiling their approval, and despite his cleverness, it seemed to take Scribe a moment to realize what 'tribe' Foluwa is referring to. The druid lays his hand on Luther's chest, his face serious.

"And this is why you must rest! My mother used to say, if you wish to run all day, you must first rest all night. This I know."
 Episode 8 of Hoard of the Dragon Queen
 2014-10-05 -  
Making Friends... ( Member Submission! )... 2014-10-05 
It was like something from a nightmare, made all the worse because she knew it was her own damn fault.

Growing up, she had heard the same tales as the other elven children about the great heroes of her people and one thought had stayed the same throughout each tale:

"Not me."

So why had she thrown herself into such a situation, a situation where she would be constantly assaulted by the worst possible thing...

Attention.

Up on the parapets, the half-elf Arobyn had come to her aid when she was overwhelmed by the stares, cheers and friendly pats (They actually touched me!!) after finding a chink in the dragon's armoured hide with her bow (with a little magical assist), but the young warrior was nowhere to be found now.

Walking out of the armoury with fresh arrows for her quiver (free; perhaps it wasn't all bad...), there was a small group of Greenest villagers waiting for her. Her eyes widened in terror as she shrank into herself, up against the hallway wall, face down now as they smiled and looked at her with admiration.

She was sure she would vomit. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad; they'd surely leave her alone after that, wouldn't they?

"What was it like?" asked a young woman excitedly.

"How are you strong enough to pull that bow?" asked a militia guard with undisguised awe.

"Are you married?" asked another one, with a little too much enthusiasm.

"Is it true you're a princess?" queried a young girl, clutching her doll.

Whisper sank back, the bombardment of attention practically paralyzing the elf, when a voice of salvation rang out behind the well-meaning crowd.

"Ladies, gentlemen, please, if you would kindly release the 'Hero of Greenest' to me; there is an important council her presence is required at." The crowd turned to see the friendly yet imposing figure of Luther Tallstag. He stood with arms folded across his chest and a warm smile across his face, making sure not to make eye contact with Whisper. While still quite young, Tallstag's voice had an air of authority to it, backed in no small part by the stories circulating of his leadership in bringing dozens of citizens safely to the keep during the Dragoncult raid.

A chorus of "of course"s and "certainly"s mixed with a liberal dash of "awww"s eventually led to the crowd parting, allowing Whisper to pass through to walk by Tallstag's side down the hallway.

"Thank you for that back there."

Luther inclined his head. "Pardon me? I'm afraid I didn't hear you."

Whisper gritted her teeth and tried again. "Thank you."

Luther nodded, smiled, and kept up his brisk pace. "Not at all. The least I could do."

A frown had crossed Whisper's face. "I'm...not used to being 'saved.'"

Luther barely held back a grin. "I'm sure that's true. Still, if we are to be allies, we should be willing to accept help from one another, don't you think?"

Whisper drew her cloak around her shoulders as she walked and contemplated what the young paladin had just said.

Allies...?

They walked for a while in silence, until Whisper broke it with a theory. "There's no council, is there?"

Keeping his gaze forward, Luther was quick to answer "Oh, yes, there definitely is."

Whisper's almond-shaped eyes narrowed, ever the investigator. "But...?"

Luther's mouth upturned so slightly anyone other than the detail-obsessed elf would have missed it. "But it is not for many hours yet."

Interesting...maybe I'll be able to get along with him after all; not so straight-laced as I thought.

They continued on, again in silence, until Whisper summoned up enough courage to try something.

"I...I am glad to see you up and around after the fight with the half-dragon."

"I'm sorry, could you say that again?" requested Luther.

Whisper had an inward sigh of frustration. It was hard enough to do that once! Steeling herself, she tried again. "I said I am glad to see you're ok."

"Oh, well thank you," replied the paladin. "Here we are, the others are inside. Come in," he finished with a smile.

A smile that, to the ever vigilant elf, gave him away.

She seethed. He had bloody well heard her the first time.

********

Whisper entered the room glaring at Luther who pretended not to notice. Sitting on a small stool in the corner was Arobyn, polishing his blades and wiping dried kobold blood from them. Sitting not far from him was the boy-bard, Scribe, writing down something as Whisper noted he was wont to do.

She felt a twinge of regret for him; while she still wasn't sure how she had gotten mixed up in all of this, it must be much worse for him. He was talented, no doubt; the music he spoke in her ear had definite elven-tunes, no doubt something he picked up from one of his parents. But it was obvious that he was still naive to the ways of the world; reading about things and doing them are entirely different, as she well knew from her days at the Academy.

Her keen sense of smell picked up the scent of herbs, soil and spices from behind her; the druid Foluwa must have returned. In his loud, melodic voice, he greeted them. "Hello, friends. It's good to see we have all recovered fro...Luther? You shouldn't be walking around, boy, not after what you've been through. What did Foluwa tell you?"

Luther looked down, properly scolded. "You said..."

"I said," the druid interrupted, not waiting for the answer, " 'You took enough lightning to fell a tree. You are no tree; Foluwa knows trees and you are not one. You are lucky to be alive and you will lie in that bed until we can be sure there is no lingering wound to aggravate!' That is what I said!"

Silence filled the room. Everyone was looking to see what would happen next.

Luther looked at Foluwa for a long moment, then walked over to a nearby cot...and lay down in slow deliberate fashion, clasping his hands across his chest.

Everyone was doing their best to stifle a laugh. Finally, Luther could not hold it in anymore and began laughing so much it infected the others, and soon everyone in the room was laughing; even Whisper had to purse her lips tight to not join the spectacle.

Foluwa stood impassively amidst the laughter. Finally, when it had died down, he looked at Luther "You are funny. You are a boy. We will see how funny it is, the next time I treat your wounds. Foluwa can be funny too!" That brought a new round of laughter, with the druid joining in this time.

After things had settled, Arobyn cocked an eye towards Whisper. "So...quite a shot you have there."

Whisper fell into her defensive stance, shoulders hunched in to protect her. "It was nothing."

"You used magic," piped up Scribe. "Are you a magician?" he asked, ready to pen her answer.

"Not exactly, no."

"What do you mean?" asked Foluwa. " 'Magician' means 'someone who uses magic.' Are you a trained magician or not?"

Whisper fidgeted. "Sort of. All elves receive some magical training, to see if they have the gifts for the Academy."

Scribe became very interested. "Are you party of the Academy?"

"...no."

"Why not?"

"...it's a long story."

"I love those!"

Arobyn laid a hand on Scribe's shoulder to try to restrain his enthusiasm, nodding at him once as he did so. Addressing Whisper, he added "We don't want to pry, of course. It's just that if we are to all be allies..."

There's that word again.

"...it might be a good idea to get to know each other."

She looked them all over. Time to take a calculated risk, she thought. "I was in the Academy. My instructors all told me I had a bright future in the study of magic. I liked it...and I was good. When the final Test came, I was expelled for cheating. I was exiled from the Academy, lost any goodwill and station I had earned and ended up having to find my own way."

The group fell silent again, exchanging glances amongst each other.

Damn it! thought Whisper.

She turned to go. "...call me when this council is being held."

Luther nodded. He seemed about to say something, then held back.

Whisper took them all in with a look. "And thank you."

"For what?" asked Arobyn.

She drew her hood over her head before answering and leaving the room. "For not asking me if I was guilty..."