'The Rise of Tiamat' Campaign

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 Episode 32: Hoard of the Dragon Queen Campaign - 2016-01-22 
Another Diary Entry... (Member Submission!) 
Dear Friend,

I hope you are doing well. I wish I was.

Stupid thing to write, right? I feel stupid writing this; I'm sitting in the corner of a flying castle(!), looking out the window, hundreds of miles up in the sky. I should be ecstatic.

Not even just because of that. When I think back to where I started, and all I've done since then...the different places I've been, the magics I've been able to wield, the different enemies we've brought low; I have done way more than I ever thought I'd be able to, and honestly I'm so much more than the street urchin from the back alleys of Amn. I am more than the wildest dreams of that frightened little girl.

I've grown up, I guess...

Look, I....I did it ok? I know you feel it was a waste of time, that it was a "distraction," but...I don't know.

Maybe it was a bad idea.

He didn't even look at me! Like, he didn't even see me! I was crazy to think he'd want to stay with me, but I just...I needed to at least try. He's so amazing, I needed to at least try. I hope you can understand that. It's just...I had visions of us in the cottage, living a nice, simple life, our friends coming to visit...

I don't know...I guess that life is not really meant for me. Maybe it never was.

Why am I getting the sense you'd be happy with that?

You know what the worst thing is? Like, the absolute WORST? I'm going to have to be around him all the time! I can't just jump off this castle! Even if I could, it's obvious we aren't done with the Dragon Cult yet, and I know how important it is to you...

How do I know that?

Like, it's become sooooo important to me too to stop Tiamat from escaping her rightful prison, but...

Where did I get the idea it's "rightful?"

Is stopping Tiamat important to me because it's important to you?

Who are you?

I know you, don't I...?
 Episode 25: Hoard of the Dragon Queen Campaign
 2015-09-09 
 To Sausage or Not to Sausage 
Graeme's summary is awesome... lol...

The discussion was me trying to get a gauge on player expectations for my campaign. In conversation with Eric, I got the sense that he was hoping I'd play Strahd as tough as I could to keep it real, and I wanted to gauge how others felt - since it would likely mean the death of a character (or more) before I am done. Most seemed to be okay with it so long as the story made sense.

Though I pointed out that, like a Bond villain, Strahd may not always make the best choices, despite the fact that he's a clever villain (like most Bond villains). But I wanted to get a gauge on how upset people would be if I decided to hammer them as hard as I could. Jonas was fine with it. Jedd and Graeme were sort of fine with it. Eric and you were absent so I took it to mean "please kill our characters first".

For Hoard: We tried to enter the lodge, but before getting to the front doors, we got HAMMERED by Perytons. Graeme was a crit demon from hell. People lost a lot of HP and Kindra went unconscious. We managed to survive, entered the lodge and Zane and Serevin fell victim to a freeze trap where we were restrained as gargoyles attacked. There were some killer moves and "magic hands" from Kindra, and then Mel killed a bunch of them.

We entered a trophy room and Throrogrim became the entertainment of the night as he gorged on sausage. Serevin knocked them away from him fearing they were poisoned, and this cause a rift between you and Serevin. Sausage jokes and innuendos were abundant. We found the kitchen (more sausage!) but killed the cultist cooks there (boo!). Zane killed a guy whose name may have been "Stew". This led to a yard with Rage Drakes. This was again a tough fight (and the part I started to fall asleep during). Once done, we thought we'd check out there "Rage Drake Coop". It was a bad idea.

Troll.

(session end - tune in next week when we fight a dick-nosed troll)

Neil.
 Episode 11: Hoard of the Dragon Queen Campaign - 2015-02-11 
Melissandres Diary... (Member Submission!) 
Dear Friend,

I am so glad you can't see me now! Or can you...? ;)

Hope not! I look terrible...or more terrible than usual. I'm covered in scorch marks and bandaging and I smell like ozone or something. It's terrible!!

How did I get this way? Glad you asked...

So we're still in Greenest, and trying to get as many people safe from the Dragon Cult as possible. We finally get to the keep with people in tow and the Mayor calls for us. People are looking at us like we're heroes...and maybe we are! I dunno...it's all really exciting, and we haven't really had a chance to catch our breath. I wish I could say that people now looked at me without the distrust I've come to expect...but I don't want to lie to you. Emoji

Emoji

Anyway, when we get up there, there's tons of people. All crowding around, panicking; it was hard to breathe. Zane pulled us through to the mayor though; he's just so charming and leader-like (wait until later to hear about that!), people just made sure not to be in his way. I'm falling for him, I really am. I just can't stand the idea that I look like an idiot to him...

...so of course I PROMPTLY LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT IN FRONT OF HIM!! I don't know what came over me, but the priest from that small temple I mentioned last time? He's here! He's here!! All safe with us, while his parishoners died around him with him doing nothing!

I lost it. I'm ashamed to admit this now, but I totally lost it. Ran up to him screaming at him and accusing him of not defending his people, the people in his charge, who ran to his house of 'worship' for protection...ugh, I made such a scene! I couldn't help it though...just seemed like such a lie to those people.

(Upside to all this was receiving comfort from Zane afterwards...even if he thought me stupid, it was sooooo niiiiiice to have his arm around my shoulder. Emoji )

That was the last good thing, though...you won't believe what happened next!!

So, remember how I described us all meeting up, with the dragon claws tearing off the roof of the prison? Well IT WAS THERE. THE DRAGON WAS THERE!!!!
It was circling around, blasting the keep with its lightning breath, causing fear with its presence...

Can I admit something here? I thought it was totally beautiful. Like, I've never seen anything like that ever, just the power and majesty; even the violence was like a force of nature or something...

I was in awe. Like, real, honest amazement.

Then it attacked, and it broke the reverie!! Emoji

It was all a bit of a chaotic blur, I have to admit: archers were firing, I used my eldritch blast (my new name for it! Like it? I think it sounds mysterious and deadly! OooOOoo... Emoji), people threw javelins...but in the end, Zane's leadership won the day for us! He inspired the troops enough to drive it off! It was amazing! I can't recall exactly what he said, all I know is how I felt.

We're so lucky to have him leading us, we really are! If we're going to get through this mess, it's going to be because of Zane Sevenstrings! Emoji

No, I didn't get hit by the dragon...my injuries and overall gross-ness now are because of what came next.

I dunno if it's because they saw their dragon fly off or whatever, but the besieging forces surrounded the keep and asked for a parley. This HUGE brute of a dragonman (different from Serevin...he's a "dragonborn" and is different from what came at us from below...this thing looked like a blue dragon did it with an ogre! I know! EEEEWWWwww!) comes out to talk to us from below. He's telling us they're about to leave, but...he wants one of us to go out and meet him in single combat.

Who was going to be crazy enough to do that?! No way, I'm thinking, nobody goes down there...

Then I see it. He has a family hostage. And the father of the family is in the keep with us.

Anyone can see he's not winning that fight; Hells, I don't think ANYONE is winning a fight against THAT thing. But he's got to try, right?

Anyone who's not looking at him is looking at us. We're the 'heroes of Greenest' after all...no one's looking at me, though. Zane (obviously!), Serevin, Thorogrim, and even Kindra (harder to see her, though!), but not me.

Who looks at the tiefling for heroism, right? Emoji

I look out and see those kids, so scared...I look at that poor man who knows, KNOWS! he's going out there to die, but is doing it anyway, for the sake of his family...and I think about how I never had that from my own parents...and it just kinda dawns on me.

I should be the one to go out there. It should be me.

It has to be me.

No one looks at the tiefling for heroism means no one cares if the tiefling dies...but if I can just last long enough for the family to be safe, than maybe my life will have meant something.

So, I gather the group and tell them I'll be going down to face this hulk of a thing.

Can I admit something here, friend?

It's stupid, and girlish, and makes no sense, but...see, there seemed to be some kind of bond forming in our group. I felt like we were really tight, you know?

But none of them tried to stop me. Yeah, they said some things to discourage me from going, but...no one else stepped up. I have to admit, that really made me sad. At one point, Serevin came up and I thought for sure he was going to send me back in and take my place, but...he just did some sort of weird blessing on my horns then went back into the safety of the keep.

They just let me go out there. Even Zane.

Stupid little girl, right? I mean, he's Zane Sevenstrings, he could have any woman he wanted; why would he care for a dirty tiefling orphan from Alm?

Still...

(Bright note! Kindra wasn't right there when I made my announcement, but she ran and caught up to me before I headed out. She told me she would go out instead of me. What a sweetie!! I just love her! But there was no way I was going to let her get hurt, even though I would have loved to see her jumping around kicking it in the face! She insisted though...like a real friend. So we played rock-paper-blade for it, and I won. Nothing beats rock...Emoji)

Besides, I had a plan. A longshot, but a shot. I had just enough energy for one more big spell; I figured if I could get the spell off quickly, I'd charm the thing and get them to leave that way. And I did! But it's will was too strong for my magic, broke the spell and threw a spear at me. It missed but it went straight through a rock behind me!! Yikes! So, naturally, I panicked and ran, trying to keep a huge distance between me and it. I even got off a great shot with my eldritch blast (love that name!)...but that just angered it. Before I knew what happened, it breathed lightning all over me (!) and I blacked out.

I woke up in this bed. Thorogrim and Zane saw to my wounds and told me just how close I came to dying. It was really scary to hear them describe it. On the plus side, the man was reunited with his family, so that's good...and...yeah.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to be alive, glad to be part of a group that did some real good...I'm just disappointed I guess. I thought I had found a group that...oh, never mind!

"Tieflings shouldn't expect such things!" as the orphan nanny used to say whenever I asked why I didn't have any friends. One day I'll learn that lesson! Kindra being the exception, of course. :)

I am going to lie here in pain now, and hopefully fall asleep. Talk soon!

-Mel
 Episode 6: Hoard of the Dragon Queen Campaign - 2014-11-24a 
Meditational Reflections... (Member Submission!) 
It seems i have had a memory lapse. i cannot for the life of me, remember when and where i have met these kind hearted souls. all that i can deduct is that it just happened recently. oddly enough, they have welcomed me into their company. master was right when he told me i would eventually find like hearted souls to journey with. i did not realize it would be so soon. from what i have observed, they must be old friends for they trust each other greatly in the face of adversity.

My new dwarf friend is adorable. and powerful too! his healing is nothing like i've seen before. it must be drawn from his great faith in his lord. i would like to give him a good wash and braid his beard; he would be soooo fluffy! I have never seen a dragon born before and wow. just wow... such an advanced being that i don't know what he's talking about half the time. i wish he would let me sit on his shoulders. the view must be amazing from up there! i think the pretty man is what master referred to as a man who prefers the company of men. it would explain his reluctance to engage Melissandre in courtship, as well as his speech. if i had to guess, he would be the receiver of sperm. oh how things are different out here! in master's opinion, these type of men are extremely gifted in expression. and i would have to say, he's gifted. I can feel his inspiration penetrate my serenity. up until now, master is the only one to have done this. i don't think i would be with this group if Melissandre were not with them. i sense a warmth in her which invites me and makes me feel comfortable in staying with them. master told me to follow my heart, and my heart is drawn to her. not like how the bard is attracted to men but like a friend helping another friend. i can see the suffering in her, and maybe someday we can sit in peace together. she's so pretty. i don't know if she knows how beautiful she is. i don't know why, but i feel she is watching over me.

There has been no exaggeration on master's part in regards to the suffering i would witness on this journey. i am glad to see i continue to be poised and unrattled during these events but i have noticed a change in me. a change which strives for a deeper serenity among the chaos and pain. At the moment I will stay with this group and exercise patience to see where this path leads me.
 Episode 5: Hoard of the Dragon Queen Campaign - 2014-11-18 
The First Diary Entry... (Member Submission!) 
Dear Friend,

So much has happened, and it's just been a few hours!

I have an hour, so I'll try to summarize as much as I can, ok?

First things first: The temple of Chauntea. That was the scariest thing I've been through, no question, including my time on the streets after the orphanage burnt down.

There was so much chaos, so much noise! I kinda felt claustrophobic...Zane tried to get people to listen, but it was impossible, even for him. That priest, Falconmoon, did nothing, nothing! Why was he even there!? Cultists and kobolds breaking down the door and he's standing around with his eyes closed!

Zane found an opening at the back, but when Kindra tried to open it, it was blazing hot! They were trying to smoke us out! I knew the fire wouldn't hurt me that much, but all those villagers...

(I know this is gonna sound awful, but...it was hard to see all those parents, obviously caring about their kids...I know it's stupid to think of that during a time like this, but...it still kinda sucks.)

Anyway, we get the door open, and there are kobolds waiting for us! And THEN, the front door breaks open! Zane tried to get the people to run outside, but they were so scared it took them forever. I went out with Zane and Kindra (p.s. I really like her! :D ) and we fought the little buggers...

I don't know what's going on with me, but...it's something. My 'push-blast' (note: gotta come up with a better name for it! Ideas?) was more powerful. Like, a LOT more powerful...

...I think I like it. Emoji

Anyways, we kill all them (don't feel bad at all!) and then make it back inside to help out Thorogrim and Severin with the cult in there.

They had dragons! Well, little dragons...I think they called them 'drakes', but still! Friend...they were trying to eat the villagers!! The little vicious bastards...and these human guys, cutting down children with their swords! It was so foul, so brutal...I don't remember a lot of what happened next; I blasted a lot of them, saw the dwarf go down (he's so tough; it was kinda scary to see him get knocked out!), but by the time the shooting and yelling was done, we were ok.

Lots of innocent people paid the price, though...it was so sad. I've really never seen anything like it. I kept it together until we got them through the secret tunnel to the keep, but once there, I lost it. I'm not proud, Friend, but I saw people hailing that priest like he did something, and I just couldn't stop myself. Maybe I can apologize after...maybe Zane can help me with the words...

Zane! Gods, I'm so embarrassed! Wait, let me set the scene: I've just finished yelling at the priest when I realize what I must look like and so take off before I make a bigger ass of myself (no one looks at him, then me, and takes MY side...this I've learned. The hard way, as I've told you before). Zane tries to talk to me, but I'm a mess. SO HE TAKES ME IN HIS ARMS!!! Friend, it was the best! Time stops, I can feel our hearts beating, I've completely forgotten about everything else...

AND THEN I OPEN MY MOUTH AND RUIN IT! You know what I said? "I wish all men were like you!" I actually said that to his face! Can you imagine? I wish I could blame this on a head injury or something, but no, I'm just stupid! Emoji

So, duh, I run for it before I make things worse. I'm gonna have to play it cool for a while, I guess, right?

Gotta run. Mayor Nighthill is calling for us.

I have to say...I feel like...I'm doing something...important, y'know? Does that make sense?

Talk soon!

Mel