THE DARK ELF’S RESEARCH

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Vraeree Everhurden
Vraeree Everhurden

Vrae’ree spent his time in Neverwinter researching the legal system and rights of Neverember for the upcoming trial in Waterdeep. He also passively investigated the Mayor and all other suspects who may be involved in trying to remove Neverember from power. He began by looking through accessible official documents that may be filed in the library and other city buildings to form a defense of conspiracy against Neverember.

His search for historical documents led him to the House of Knowledge, an ancient and somewhat abandoned library, located at Dolphin Bridge near The Wall, maintained by a middle-aged Human sage named Loremaster Atlavast. The Loremaster is a priest of Oghma and the only remaining in Neverwinter since the mysterious death of Brother Anthus, Atlavast’s mentor and friend. Atlavast still blames Rohini the Prophet for Anthus’s death. She was able to rise in power and convert many of the Oghma priests to the religion of Helm.

With the assistance of the Loremaster, Vrae’ree is able to discover a lot of the turmoil that is affecting Neverwinter. There are several factions at play, and nearly all of them oppose Neverember’s quest to rebuild and fortify Neverwinter since his arrival in the frontier city of Neverwinter.

The Shadovar-Thay War was in full conflict in the region of Neverwinter, having started in 1467, attracting the attention of the Waterdeep Lords. Dagult Neverember, open Lord of Waterdeep and heir to the throne of Neverwinter, arrived with an army of Mintarn mercenaries to reclaim his throne in 1478 DR. Dagult would then fortify Helm’s Hold for the exiles of the Spellplague, providing them a place to live without fear from the general public.

Waterdeep’s “Neverwinter Movement” is propaganda started by Neverember designed to stir nationalistic emotions within the city’s population. This tactic, combined with the physical improvements to the city, has drawn many residents over to Neverember’s camp. To avoid a rebellion against his rule, Neverember avoided bringing in Waterdeep mercenaries, but rather those from the distant land of Mintarn. The mercenaries, led by the sultry General Sabine, would immediately set out to patrol the Neverwinter River and would renovate the Herzgo Alegni Bridge for their base of operations.

Neverember’s main plan to annex Neverwinter and wrest it from the hands of Thay and Netheril is simple, make the people love him. However, he intends to ensure that the citizens have reasons to feel gratitude towards him through the supply of facilities, market opportunities, access to work and safety, then when the time comes for a king, Neverember envisions the people begging him to take the crown. Knowing his word to not be enough, Dagult has hired scribes to locate documentation that link him to the line of Nasher through Vans Ner, a bastard son of Nasher Alagondar. The link was found to be legit, and Neverember is considered the heir to the throne. However, he has not yet donned the Crown to claim his kingship.

Neverember’s main plan to take Neverwinter was in finding the forges of Gauntlgrym. He accomplished this goal with the help of Drizzt Do’Urden, Artemis Entreri, and Jarlaxle Baenre. He had planned on rebuilding Gauntlgrym in order to win over many citizens, namely Dwarves. However, a common enemy to all races had already found the forges, House Xorlarrin of the Drow. Instead of a means of support to his goals, Neverember discovered another enemy wishing his demise.

Due to being a delegator, Neverember cares little for the day to day happenings in the Shadovar-Thay War, but rather the key points. He leaves the regular activities relating to defense and security for General Sabine to take care of as this is her sworn duty. Politics are handled by a dwarf mayor, Soman Galt, who oversees tax collection, grants of property and city files.

As Neverember has continued to focus on rebuilding Neverwinter and helping its citizens, various factions plan to assassinate him, though none have acted on their plans … at least not openly.

Dagault Neverember
Dagault Neverember

The Neverwinter Factions

Thay, the dark and forbidding nightmare land of the undead, wish to sieze control of Neverwinter for many reasons. One of the many is that it would allow for a strategic base of operations in the North. The Red Wizards of Thay would love to take control of the city to delve into its rich arcane heritage. To this end, Thay aligned  itself with the Cult of Ashmadai who are deeply rooted within Neverwinter. Recently, the Cult of the Dragon has aligned itself with Thay and the Ashmadai as well, adding even more threat to Neverember and his plans to rebuild Neverwinter.

The Ashmadai, a secretive devil worshiping cult based in Neverwinter dedicated to the god Asmodeus, would thrive if the Lord Protector were to lose a foothold in the city. The cult was well connected in Neverwinter prior to the cataclysm and have continued to thrive despite the efforts of Neverember’s peace keeping forces.

Valindra Shadowmantle resides in the Neverwinter Woods within the Ashenglade. She is the North Overwizard of the Arcane Brotherhood and is responsible for the Brotherhood’s operations in Northern Faerûn. Using a powerful rich-red ruby scepter of Asmodeus that was given to her by the Red Wizards and with the prayers of the cultists, she called forth a pit fiend called Beealtimatuche whom in the end was responsible for the death of King Bruenor Battlehammer. Later, she became an important player in the politics to rebuilt Neverwinter as she constantly seeks to oppose Waterdeep’s efforts to rebuild and fortify the city. Shadowmantle has aligned herslef with the Cult of the Dragon, and has added the Arcane Brotherhood to their expanding power in the Sword Coast. Shadowmantle used her power to raise a mighty dracolich and a legion of undead to participate in the recent Siege of Neverwinter.  

Mordai Vell is a Tiefling and powerful merchant within Neverwinter who owns 1/4 of the fleet that moves goods from Neverwinter throughout the Sword Coast. It is well known that he shares a bed with General Sabine, and is a fast friend with Mayor Soman Galt. Many believe that Vell is closely affiliated with the Ashmadai Cult, but despite Neverember’s best efforts he has never been able to prove it. Vell would like to see Neverember removed from power in the city so that he could slide right in and assume the throne, although he has no claim to the Crown. He seeks to rule without fulfilling the legend of the True King.

Elden Vargas is a Cormyrean expatriate who has based his highly successful trade buisness into the city. He rivals Mordai Vell in the import/export buisness, owning a huge number of ships that harbor in Neverwinter. He is a former battle wizards for the Purple Dragons, and has come to Neverwinter due to the failing health of his beloved wife, Karis. Karis is one of the many patients in Helm’s Hold, and suffers from the ill effects of the Spellplauge. Some say that Elden is a keen buisnessman with exceeding charm and astounding luck. Others believe that he is a seer, able to read the minds of others and see the future. Either way, Elden tends to speak out against Neverember during council sessions, claiming that the Lord Protector is too restrictive and asks for too many taxes from the city’s wealthy.

Soman Galt is the elected Mayor of Neverwinter. He is the highest ranking city official under the Lord Protector, and would assume leadership Neverwinter. The Mayor devotes much of his time to civic, ceremonial, and representational functions, and to preside over meetings for the advancement of the public welfare. Even though Lord Neverember assumes Galt is somehwat of a stooge, the mayor is actually in a position that would allow him to eliminate the Lord Protector and take control of the city.

General Sabine an extremely beautiful, yet hard woman in her early forties. He is the leader of the coalition of soldiers in Neverwinter known as The Protector’s Enclave. She is also the mercenary Captain of the Mintarn soldiers contracted to maintain order in Neverwinter. She is known to share her bed with Mordai Vell. Neverember and Sabine have been at odds many times because of her chosen methods to enforce the laws of the city. She is a woman who believes in “might makes right” and often goes too far (in Neverember’s opinion) with her law enforcement. Although the Lord Protector and the General share a troubled relationship, they manage to work together to secure Neverwinter from its enemies.

Herzgo Alegni was the self-proclaimed King of Neverwinter when Lord Neverember arrived with the backing of Waterdeep to retake the throne. Herzgo is a high ranking officer in the Shadow Enclave. His goals are simple: retake the city from Waterdeep, Thay, and the Ashmadai. For the time being, Neverember has negotiated a tense partnership between Neverwinter and the Shadow Enclave. Lord Neverember employed them for discreet assassinations against the Ashmadai within the city. As such, Herzo and his assassins are content to take Neverember’s coin in exchange for slaying his enemies, all the while watching for the opportunity to turn their blades on the Lord Protector.

Madame Rosene and the SONS OF ALAGONDAR: Almost all of the Sons of Alagondar were descendants of those who served Lord Nasher Alagondar. They refused to leave Neverwinter even as Mount Hotenow erupted and actively opposed the city’s new self-imposed leader, Lord Protector Dagult Neverember, wishing to return Neverwinter to the way it was before the cataclysm rather than creating the ‘New Neverwinter’ that Neverember endorses. . They put pressure on Lord Neverember to give Neverwintan citizens more political power, using subterfuge to advance their aims rather than force. Their leader, Madame Rosene Greycloak, is the  proprietor of the Driftwood Tavern.

In the end, Neverwinter is full of conspiracy. If Neverember were to end his efforts in Neverwinter, many possible factions would war among themselves, seeking to control the city. In the end, the city might prosper but the Sword Coast would suffer while the battle raged.

 

 

THE CONVOCATION

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“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.” ― George R.R. Martin

Session Roster:

  1. Adabon, 7th Level Wood Elf Fighter
  2. Vrae’ree Everhurden, 7th Level Drow Elf Wizard
  3. Tharivol, 7th Level Moon Elf Fighter
  4. Fo, 7th Level Human Monk
  5. Brûne, 7th Level Human Paladin

Inactive:

  1. Deiter, 7th Level Human Fighter
  2. Abernacky, 5th Level Human Fighter
  3. Tom, 5th Level Halfling Wizard

 


Neverwinter
Neverwinter

Neverwinter is a city-state which was founded by Lord Halueth Never. It sits on the northwestern coast of the subcontinent of Faerûn. The name of the city has its origin in that even though the town is situated in the cold north of Faerûn, the Neverwinter river that flows through it is heated by fire elementals living under the nearby Mount Hotenow in the Neverwinter Wood. The heat given off from the river creates a permanent warm climate in the immediate area; without the elementals, the river, and subsequently the city’s water supply, would freeze over. An alternate explanation for the name is that when the city’s founder (Halueth Never) was hunted to the coast by orcs, he chose the city’s site to make his last stand. Expecting to die in the imminent battle, he named the site “Never’s Winter”. When the orcs were defeated with help from some human allies, Never founded the city, keeping the name. Over the years the name was shortened to “Neverwinter”.

In addition to its unnaturally warm climate, Neverwinter is a rather picturesque city. It founds such sights as its three spectacular, intricately carved bridges: the Dolphin, the Winged Wyvern, and the Sleeping Dragon. Under these, the waters of the Neverwinter River cascade over small, gentle waterfalls as they course into the city’s bustling harbor. Neverwinter’s magnificent gardens make sure the warm winters are colorful and the summers are rich with fresh fruit. The city is replete with beautiful and ingeniously designed buildings, many of which are famous in their own right, such as The House of Knowledge, and Neverwinter’s tall and many-windowed temple of Oghma. In addition, the reputations of such unique taverns as The Moonstone Mask and The Fallen Tower reach far beyond the Neverwinter’s walls. These elements generally make Neverwinter a distinctive city.

Before the Spellplague, the was ruled by Lord Nasher Alagondar, an aging, veteran adventurer and devout worshipper of Tyr. Neverwinter was prosperous, its master-craftsmen making lamps of multi-colored glass, precision water clocks and exquisite jewelry. Its Tyrran faith promoted justice and fairness, and greed was frowned upon.

But that was before the Spellplauge, the Cataclysm, and the Sundering. Now, once famous as the Jewel of the North, Neverwinter rivaled Waterdeep in splendor. Then Mount Hotenow erupted, rocking the city’s foundations and scouring its streets with flame. Nearly five decades later, Neverwinter is within sight of reclaiming its former glory. People have returned, great buildings have been restored to beauty, and a strong ruler reigns—Lord Neverember, a kindly man from Waterdeep.

Despite these advances, Neverwinter faces many challenges. The rivalry between power groups threatens its recovery. Sections of the city lie in ruins, serving as the lair for bandits and monsters. And dangers abound in neighboring lands: Mount Hotenow still rumbles, undead and dark fey stalk Neverwinter Wood, and giants have been seen descending the slopes of the Sword Mountains to the south.

Neverwinter will never know peace and prosperity until the Crown is donned and a true king sits on the throne. The public has urged Lord Protector Neverember to don the crown and take his place on the throne. But for some reason, he continues to wait. Some say it is because he fears the ancient legend that the crown will slay whoever claims the throne if they are not worthy. Neverember is a humble man, despite rumors, and he questions his true ability to rule the city despite being the clear heir to the throne. As he is often heard to say during public meetings, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” However, many know that the throne is in jeopardy because many factions are moving to assassinate Neverember and seize control of the city, including General Sabine, Mayor Soman Galt, and Mordai Vell.

 In recent months, a powerful threat arose in the far kingdom of Thay that was to imperil not only the Sword Coast but also all of Faerûn. A great champion of Tiamat rose to prominence within the Cult of the Dragon by the name of Severin. He used his influence to assemble a vast network of allies willing to assist him in releasing Tiamat into the Prime Material Plane from her prison in the Nine Hells.

Severin knew that he could not leave the city of Neverwinter untouched. The city stood as the only bastion of civilization in the area. He and his lieutenants converged on the city from the north, south, and east, devastating the countryside as they came and laying waste to towns along the way. The city was not prepared. There was no official declaration of war. There was simply a sudden attack in the early morning.

Dragons appeared in the skies, working en masse as the initial strike force. Red, Blue, and Green dragons filled the skies raining down death on the city. Orcs from the kingdom of Many Arrows burst forth from their hiding places to assail the walls alongside giants, barbarians, and trolls. Drow emerged from the sewers, tunnels, and caverns below. A vampire riding a dracolich led a legion of zombies and ghouls. Within the city itself, the Cult of Asmodeus came out of hiding to sabotage the defenses and spread chaos throughout the citizens.

Word spread quickly that Lord Protector Neverember had been gravely wounded at the onset of the battle, possibly killed. General Sabine took control of the defending forces, but still, communication broke down and many directions in the field fell to individual officers of the Lord’s Alliance soldiers, and Mintarn Guard.

The siege lasted for fifteen days. Time and time again, the forces of Evil hurled themselves at the already crumbling walls of Neverwinter. Attackers and defenders died by the hundreds. Thankfully, Neverwinter was reinforced on the third day by Dwarven and Elven allies. And on the fourth day, metallic dragons arrived to aid in the battle. For a full ten-day, neither side was able to gain a significant advantage. Fighting was concentrated on the three main causeways serving the city’s gates. For most of the battle, the western sector of the city remained untouched.

A great breach in the walls and a rockslide tore through the northern wall, but the gap was filled with brave men and women willing to defend the city with their lives. The enemy seemed unable to capitalize on the opportunity to storm the city. It was almost as if they wanted to harry the armies of Neverwinter but not actually close in and take the city. Some claimed that they saw both Drizzt Do’Urden and Artemis Entreri fighting on the walls near the Blacklake District, but surely those two would not set foot back in Neverwinter after being banished after the events under Mount Hotenow.

At last, on the twelfth day, news reached the walls that Neverember had been sighted in the western sector of the city and was falling back to Castle Never. Despite the breakdown in communication, all the soldiers knew that Castle Never was the place to make a last stand for the city. News of Lord Neverember’s presence in the city soon spread like wildfire and boosted morale. He was severely injured but had been rescued by a group of heroes, quickly named The Unseen Eight by the public. Inspired by the news, the forces of Neverwinter fought on even with renewed strength.

Three days later, on the morning of the fifteenth day, the siege ended. There was a strange thrumming sound that shook the ground. Many of the Evil creatures started to chant in unison a single word: “Draakhorn!” The chromatic dragons dispersed first, then the others, some moving southward and others retreating northward. The assault ended as quickly as it had begun.

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 The Company fled the safehouse after defeating the dragon cultists. They were all injured and in need of rest. Following Neverember’s directions, they moved from street to street as quickly as they could, crossing the large bridge that would bring them to Castle Never. There they saw in amazement that an army of spectral creatures, ghosts shimmering with gold light, had surrounded the Castle. As they approached, wondering what would happen next, a ghostly bridge extended to allow them access to the Castle. The ghost warriors parted, granting them access to the bridge. Finally, they entered Castle Never and found refuge.

For three days, they remained in Castle Never with the other wounded and refugees. They received healing from clerics and met the vastly popular cleric named Adon. He counted his story of being imprisoned in Helm’s Hold and helping a group of prisoners combat a green dragon and a war party of Drow.  Adon remained in contact with the Company off and on, checking in on them when he would visit the wounded. He and Brûne seemed to have much to talk about, discussing the intricate game of thrones at play due to the Cult of the Dragon. They discussed all the ally and enemy forces, breaking them down into Factions. Brûne seemed to be gathering a lot of information from Adon, and Adon seemed to enjoy providing insight on the recent events. The cleric seemed more of a bard than a holy man.

Once the fighting was finished, the Company was summoned to a meeting with Neverember. They arrived to find that The Prophet Rohini was waiting along with a barbarian man with wild red hair. Two Lord’s Alliance soldiers guarded the doors, armed with sword and shield. They seemed to be wearing ceremonial armor and not battlefield armor. Soon after arriving, the door opened and Soman Galt appeared in the doorway. He called for Rohini to come into the room, waited for the Prophet to enter, and then without even a glance in the direction of the others waiting in the room, he closed the door behind him.

Brûne talked with the barbarian, discovering that he was named Bjorn from the distant island of Chult. When the paladin asked about the strange necklace of teeth around the man’s neck, he told them about the “Thunder Lizards” native to his island. The conversation pulled in Fo, who hails from the Eastern lands of Kara-Tur. Bjorn made it clear that he was frustrated with having to wait so long, having arrived from one of Neverwinter’s teleportation circles. He stalked off after a few minutes of conversation, saying he needed to clear his head.

Before long, they noticed that the conversation in the room had gotten heated. They heard shouting inside and questioned the guards. The guards explained that if Neverember needed them to intervene, he would call for them. They also explained that The Prophet was summoned today to answer to Neverember about the rumors surrounding Helm’s Hold. Apparently, the asylum had been infiltrated and controls for at least a short time by Evil forces including Mindflayers and Drow. Some even rumored that Aboleth were involved. Since Rohini was responsible for the day to day activity in the complex, there was much to explain.

And then there was a shout of “No!’ and loud chanting from inside the room. Vrae’ree acted swiftly, throwing the door open. Everyone saw that Rohini was facing Neverwinter, casting some kind of offensive spell. The guards behind the Lord Protector were moving forward with their shields up, and Neverember was raising his arms in a defensive posture. Vrae’ree quickly intoned the words that would send a volley of Magic Missiles at the other spellcaster. The glowing darts sprung from the Dark Elf’s fingertips, striking The Prophet in the back. The small explosions caused Rohini to cry out in pain, losing concentration on the spell being cast. The Prophet staggered, fell down to her knees, and hit her head on the table in front of her.

Adabon rushed into the room, softly singing a lighthearted Elven song. He withdrew his sword, moving to stand between Neverember and the Prophet. Brûne and Tharivol did the same, moving to a defensive position opposite Abadon on the other side of the table. Fo engaged Rohini directly, hitting the woman while she remained down. His staff scored a solid hit, and then Fo kicked the woman two times to make sure she stayed down.

Neverember shouted that the two guards should take Rohini into custody. They hauled her away roughly, leaving the heroes with Neverember. The other two guards saluted Neverember and took their places at the door again, closing the door. Neverember sighed and recomposed himself. Mayor Galt did the same. After a few moments, Neverember asked everyone to sit down, and thanked them for their intervention against Rohini. “You’ve saved my life for the second time, my friends. Thank you.”

At that point, Brûne informed Neverember that Bjorn was in the waiting room, and had been for some time. The regent looked surprised and gave an annoyed look to the Mayor. The Mayor avoided eye contact and simply looked down. However, the small man seemed to be smiling. Neverember excused himself, and invited Bjorn into the room, apologizing for making him wait. The two seemed to already know each other. They talked very briefly with the regent asking Bjorn if his tribe would be lending support to the movement against the Cult of the Dragon. Bjorn stated that they would, and a delegate would attend the Council of Waterdeep. With that, Bjorn nodded to the heroes and departed. The soldiers outside closed the door once the man was gone.

Neverember returned to his chair and explained that he had called them here today to formally thank them for their deeds during the siege. He also thanked them again for their actions which saved his life, and the lives of the refugees that were inside the safehouse. There was some discussion, and during it, Brûne mentioned that he had sensed that Rohini had some taint of Infernal power. Neverember seemed surprised at this, but the Mayor looked down again, a suspicious look on his face.

Vrae’ree took the situation into his own hands, lunging across the table and grabbing the Mayor by the shirt and shoving a dagger against his neck. The Dark Elf demanded to know what Soman knew based on his reaction. The Mayor started shouting about how everyone knew that Helm’s Hold had been taken over by Drow a ten-day before the siege began. He also started shouting about never trusting a Dark Elf, exclaiming that they had made that mistake in the past by trusting Drizzt Do’Urden. Neverember asked Vrae’ree to back down and then questioned Gult himself, asking why he had not given this information to him until now.

“We have not yet had an official council meeting,” he said snidely. “Such information is Council business only.”

Neverember nodded. “You are right, Mayor.” He gestured towards the door. “And since this is not official council business, you may take your leave of us now.”

The weasely Mayor stood, adjusting his vest and coat, and then huffed indignantly. “I have more important business to see to anyway.” And with that, he stomped off and left the room.

Neverember apologized for the Mayor behavior, explaining that the man has never liked him since he took on the seat of regent in the city. He quickly turned the focus to a large wooden chest that he raised up from the floor and set in the middle of the table. He went on to explain that the city has not had a proper King since the tragedy when the volcano Mount Hotenow erupted, killing not only the royal Alagondar family but also thousands of the city’s citizens. Legend has it that the city will never experience peace until the Crown of Neverwinter is donned by the True Heir. Neverember explained that he is unsure if he should accept the responsibility of becoming King of Neverwinter because he owes allegiance to the Lords of Waterdeep. After all, a man cannot have two masters.

As they discussed this, the door burst open. In the doorway was Elden Vargas and six purple robed Waterdeep marshals. Vargas declared that he was there to arrest Neverember on the word of the Lords of Waterdeep for High Treason. Vargas unfurled a parchment decree and demanded that Neverember surrender right now.

They all noticed Mayor Galt standing in the background, a wide smile on his weasely face.

Fo moved quickly, snatching the paper from Vargas’s hand. Abadon and Vrae’ree shoved the door closed, and Tharivol used his Gauntlets of Ogre Power to hold the door closed. Reading the scroll, they confirmed that it was legit and did call for Neverember to appear before the courts in Waterdeep in a ten-day. However, it did not call for his immediate surrender or arrest.

Tharivol allowed the door to open, and Vargas shouted that they would be arrested for conspiracy if they did not allow him to arrest Neverember. Fo and Vrae’ree both explained that Neverember would not be coming with them today because the summons did not call for the arrest, only an appearance at the trial in a week.

“I will be in Waterdeep in a ten-day, Vargas,” said Neverember. “I will face my accusers.”

Vargas gave the Mayor a dour look, and stalked away, grabbing him by the arm. As the influential merchant left dragging the Mayor behind him, the black and purple Waterdeep marshals turned and followed without a salute or a word.

Vrae’ree narrows his eyes and turned to look at Neverember. “You are Open Lord of Waterdeep, yes?”

Neverember nodded. “Indeed. Last I knew.” He turned with the others, and all saw the same thing at the same time.

At the back of the room stood a Dwarf. He wore chain armor and leathers. His head was partially concealed by a long flowing green cloak. His face was scarred on the left side, and his eyes were bright blue. His beard was long and bright red. In his hands, he held the Crown of Neverwinter, taken from the chest on the table.

The dwarf smiled, holding the Crown up int the air in front of him. “Ambershard wins again!” And with that, the Dwarf stepped through the wall, disappearing before their eyes.

A TIME FOR HEROES

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“We can be heroes” – DAVID BOWIE

SESSION ROSTER:

  • Vrae’ree Everhurden, 5th Level Drow Elf Wizard
  • Fo, 5th Level Human Monk  [Faction: Lord’s Alliance]
  • Deiter. 5th Level Human Fighter  [Neverwinter Noble]
  • Tom Lightfoot, 5th Level Halfling Wizard

My Dungeonmaster voice is in red text. If you are one of my player’s please respond with comments on this post to earn some Inspiration points!

They were ambushed along the High Road. As Evil approached from the West, they made an unexpected discovery within the Karst Caves. They met a bandit called The Black Spider working for the Cult of the Dragon. Using espionage and deception, they discovered that stolen waters are sweet. Using the cult’s own resources against them, they teleported to the Halls of Justice to report their findings to the Alliance. However, they discovered that the city was under attack, and decided in a moment of panic to escape from Neverwinter. And now, having made a new resolution to help the people of the Sword Coast, they return to the city to find the Alliance safehouse which may hold city officials in need of rescue.

Neverwinter
Neverwinter

Vrae’Ree quickly swept his gaze across his companions, making momentary eye contact with each one. He had fought along side them all long enough to know what happens next, to know that this night would end with either their blood or the blood of their enemies staining the streets. “It ends tonight,” he quietly muttered. And then, building upon the magical energies he has practiced with since childhood, he turned his attention to the vile beasts in front of them and screamed in a thunderous voice, “Attack!”

Vraeree Everhurden
Vraeree Everhurden

Vrae’ree strode boldly forward, unleashing a Thunderwave spell at his enemies with a few arcane gestures. A wave of thunderous force swept out from the Drow Wizard with an audible booming sound. The Half-Dragon and all of the cultists cringed in pain as wave after wave of cosmic energy smashed into their bodies. The waves of force shoved them backwards, their boots dragging along the cobblestone street until colliding with the wooden safehouse walls. Only three stood in their original positions, but all of them remained dazed by the tremendous booming sound.

At that moment, a woman lurched out of the safehouse and pulled the two toddlers inside away from the battle. Both children were bawling and frightened, but basically unscathed. Neverember positioned himself in front of the doorway, stabbing another of the Cultists with his greatsword. He winced and clutched at his side with his free hand, realizing that his wound was still not fully mended.

Tom found a reliable hiding spot within the alley behind a large crate. He traced a symbol of protecting in the air and chanted the syllables that would place a Blade Ward upon Fo. He quickly did the same for Deiter, and then asserted his natural stealth to settle into a hiding spot from which he could effectively cast his magic during the mêlée.

Tom’s player declared that the Halfling would hide. He rolled a 27 with Tom’s +11 to Stealth!

Fo was faster than Deiter, but both of them charged at the three cultists closest to them. Fo led with his staff, hitting the cultist twice in the ribs before he could counter. As the cultist took a few steps backwards, the monk stepped to the side, delivering two more punches to the man’s midsection. The cultist cringed and groaned with each hit, but held his own. He swung his two sword swords in angled slashes. Fo continued with his momentum and side-stepped the attacks easily.

Dragonclaw Cultist
Dragonclaw Cultist

Deiter rushed the same cultist, swinging his twin battleaxes mightily. The cultist was forced to retreat with each swipe from the fighter. Although none of Deiter’s axes landed a hit, he had managed to put the enemy had on his heels. Deiter growled in frustration.

Deiter had four attacks. Bad dice rolls managed to equal four misses.

The other two Dragonclaws rushed forward, jabbing their blades at the fighter and the monk. Fo tried to evade but he felt the blades cut into his hip and belly. Deiter, too, suffered wounds from the expert cuts of the Dragonclaw cultists. These fanatical assassins were not to be toyed with. Their devotion and faith in Tiamat gave them exception abilities that served to enhanced their skill. Luckily, the Blade Ward protected them somewhat and lessened the severity of each kiss if the cultist’s blades.

Honestly, Blade Ward saved the day. It managed to cut a lot of damage from the cult of the dragon soldiers!

Sable grabbed Neverember by the throat and hefted him in the air. The man struggled, and then moaned in pain. Blood started to flow freely down his left hip. Apparently, the wound he had suffered had opened again. The Half-Dragon growled, and tossed Neverember into the door of the safehouse. As the man smashed to the planked floor, the creature leaned forward and breathed a spray of acid on Neverember. The man howled in pain, and suddenly the door slammed shut, closed by one of the other people inside.

“I’ll deal with you rodents in a moment,” he muttered and then turned his gaze on the Wizard, Monk, and Fighter. Then Sable, the Half-Dragon, was in the air. His wide bat-like wings blocked out what little light did filter down from the darkened sky. He landed next to Fo, brandishing an impossibly large sword in one hand and a shield emblazoned with the symbol of Tiamat in the other. The creature’s plate armor shimmered with a strange aura, hinting at a magical nature.

FO, HUMAN MONK
FO, HUMAN MONK

Fo and Sable entered a martial dance, lunging and sweeping. The Half-Dragon’s sword slashed sideways through the air, and Fo leaped above it gracefully. Turning the blade with a flick of the wrist, Sable brought the huge sword up and then down in a chopping motion that surely would have cut the monk in half if he had not ducked down and away to the left.

Pressed flat against the wooden crate, his robes tight around him, Tom watched the battle unfold. Four of the six Dragonclaws recovered from Vrea’ree’s spell, and stalked forward. Along with them came one of the Dragonwings. The other three cultists remained by the doorway of the safehouse. Tom could sense that something was amiss though. He sensed a shifting in The Weave of Magic in the immediate area. He had a gut feeling that someone was using magic to hide their presence. Invisibility, maybe. It was difficult to tell.

Vrae’ree felt the disturbance in the Weave as well. He had spent years in Menzoberranzan; he knew the feeling of magic in play. The way the hair on the back of your neck stood up and the way your stomach churned. It was all natural and primal instincts informing you that something unnatural was at work nearby. Humans sometimes called it intuition. He pushed the thoughts away from his mind, and focused on the situation at hand.

The Drow traced symbols in the air, invoking Magic Missiles. Tiny darts of energy shot out from his fingertips, striking at the Half-Dragon unerringly. Sable seemed hardly to notice, his attention on Fo and Deiter. Sable managed to block several of Deiter’s axe strikes with his shield, but suffered a blow to the upper thigh. As the Half-Dragon staggered to regain his footing, Fo was able to land several blows. It was obvious that Sable was wearing down, but he seemed to be weathering the injuries. Such was the nature of one with draconic blood.

SABLE, HALF-DRAGON
SABLE, HALF-DRAGON

And then the cultists surged forward. Three focused on Fo, and the others on Deiter. The Dragonwing leaped into the air, using its limited flight to land behind the Nobleman. Before Deiter could turn, the cultist stabbed him twice in the lower back and then leaped away. Fo fared no better. The fanatical cultists struck several times, opening wounds with each hit. Fo and Deiter both cringed and stumbled in pain, trying to keep up focus against their foes.

Vrae’ree glanced down, noticing something interesting on the ground. It looked like a small golden locket. He glanced back up, seeing a dark shape lunging at him. He tried to step aside from the oncoming monster, but Sable landed lightly next to him. The Drow raised his staff, preparing to fend off the Half-Dragon with what martial skills he had learned while in the Underdark.

The Half-Dragon leaped into the air, kicking the Drow’s staff to the cobblestone. His armor and shield glowed with the essence of the Nine Hells, glimmering like Hellfire. The huge sword struck once, twice, and a third time. As Sable launched himself into the air again, the Drow wizard tumbled to the cobblestone, writhing and dying.

Vrae’ree was reduced to 0 hit points but successfully made his Death Saving Throw the next round.

 Tom watched the Drow go down, and knew that the Humans were not faring well being so greatly outnumbered by skills villians. He traced a few symbols in the air in front of him, and whispered the words of a Fireball spell. He waited for a moment until Sable landed in the middle of the melee again, and then pointed his finger directly at the murderous Half-Dragon. A bright streak flashed from the Halfing’s pointed finger to Sable, blossoming into an explosion of flame that filled a 20 foot radius. He manipulated the raw arcane energy of the Weave in such as way as to injure his enemies but leave his friends unaffected. The cultists flailed about, screaming and staggering around the area. Sable moaned in pain, falling to one knee.

Unknown to the players, Sable was at half hit points at this point.

From the side of the building, out came two men. Both had been concealed by a spell of invisibility but it had been disrupted by the effects of the Fireball. They staggered out, jerking wildly, burned by the sudden explosion of arcane fire. The first one was a dwarf wearing fine clothing and a cape of deep green. The other was a tall man wearing black armor much like those of the cultists. He was a Cambion, the spawn of a union between Humans and Devils.

There was a Cambion on the roof watching the combat, and a Dwarf assassin sneaking around waiting for the perfect chance to strike. Both were hit by the fireball though and so I decided that the Cambion’s spell of Invisibility dropped at that moment.

Deiter and Fo wasted no time taking advantage of the stunning effects of the Fireball.  Deiter rushed Sable again, as Fo came up fast, launching a series of attacks against the closest cultist. The monk landed softly on the cobblestone, striking out with his staff, hands, and feet in a rhythm, manipulating the Ki around him. Deiter held on battleaxe in each hand, sweeping them in and out with a practiced pattern. Sable deflected half of the attacks, and cried out in pain as the other struck home.

But there is strength in numbers. The cultists continued their onslaught. They were fanatical in their movements, willing to sacrafice themselves for their Dragon Queen. Fo felt a downward slice on his left leg, forcing him to recoil and sweep out wide, avoiding a second slash. He rolled backwards, coming up fast to his feet only to be stabbed twice more by the blades of the cultists. Although he was protected by Tom’s Blade Ward, it was simply too much. Fire shot through his gut as a blade bit deep, sending him staggering backwards into another piercing attack to his back shoulder. He reeled again, feeling an elbow rattle off the side of his head, sending him staggering back to fall dying on the cobblestone.

Fo dropped to 0 hit points, but made his Death Saving Throw the following round.

Deiter glanced around at the throng of enemies around him. He was wheezing and fighting for breat, with one hand pressed against his torn side. He knew the cultists would not relent. With great effort, he picked up his battleaxe and stepped forward. Holding one weapon in each hand, he gritted his teeth and shouted for them to come at him. He might die today, but he’d take as many of the bastards with him as he could before he fell.

The nobleman fighter felt the bite of a sword on one leg, and he swiped his axe to the side hoping to ward off the attacker. There were so many of them, a wall of black oiled leather armor, swords, and fluttering capes. He swiped out again with his other axe, and then grimaced as he felt another blade pierce his gut.

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He bulled ahead, lowering his head and driving forward. The cultists reacted as he thought, falling and leaping away to strike at his flanks. But the effort was not enough. The lieutenant of the cultists, a Dragonwing, landed lightly next to him, driving two longswords into the man’s back. Deiter tried to push on forward, but his legs buckled under him and he hit the ground hard. He lay there, blood gushing from his wounds, dying.

Deiter was reduced to 0 hit points. His player managed to successfully make the Death Saving throw the next round.

 Tom watched from his hiding place while the cultists regrouped and gathered near their leader, Sable. There was a moment of snickering and laughter among the villains. A few clapped each other on the back. Finally, Sable declared that they should bar the doors and windows of the safehouse.

“We’ll burn you alive, Neverember,” shouted Sable. “You can burn with your precious citizens.”  The Half-Dragon watched as the cultists began to follow his orders, using rubble and broken timbers to bar the doors and windows. Sable looked around, and then nodded to a number of his men. “You will follow me to the front gates. We shall check on how things proceed for Cyanwrath.” With that, Sable and several of the cultists launched themselves in the darkened sky, fluttering on bat wings to the front gates of Neverwinter.

At that moment, Tom realized that the Dwarf was gone. He had slipped away leaving the Cambion and six cultists to finish the job of burning the safehouse. The Halfing creeped forward from his hiding place, pulling out some acacia gum from his belt pouch. He plucked out an eyelash, pressed it into the gum, and began to roll it into a ball between his thumb and forefinger. After whispering a few words of magic, he faded from view and became invisible.

He moved forward, keeping his eyes on the cultists. Carefully, he moved to each of his comrades and touched them. One by one, they joined him in his Invisiblity spell. Then, Tom removed several small vials from his belt pouch and poured them into the mouths of his fallen friends. The healing potions smelled of burdock and cinnamon, and worked quickly to bring the fallen back for death’s door. As each of them recovered, Tom whispered in explanation of what was happening.

Within a few moments, they were all up on their feet but hardly fit for combat.

Most of the playing characters has less than 10 hit points each.

“We should retreat, and return later.” stated Deiter.

I’m fairly certain that I remember Deiter only had 1 hit point. Maybe 2.

“And leave the people in the safehouse to die,” whispered Tom. “I think not!” The Halfling smiled with determination, and gestured. “Follow me.”

Tom Lightfoot
Tom Lightfoot

Tom’s plan was clever. While the cultists were occupied in the front of the safehouse,  he led the others around the back to a large window. using a small crowbar to pry open the window, whispering into the building that he was a friend and that they should hurry to escape through the window. Although some of the citizens hesitated, Tom explained that there was no time and that magic was at work here

The two Mintarn guards who were tending to Lord Neverember helped the children and women out the window. As the last citizen was outside, one of the Mintarn guards helped to get Neverember to his feet. The man was obviously suffering from grevious wounds and would soon fall unconscious. The effects of the Half-Dragon’s acid spray were obvious on his armor, as well as, his flesh.

“Leave me,” mumbled Neverember. “They are after me alone. They will not pursue you.”

Lord Protector Degault Neverember
Lord Protector Degault Neverember

The Mintarn soldiers shook their heads. “Ain’t leaving the King here to die,” said the first. And the seoncd nodded, saying “Swore to protect you with our lives, we did. And we will. Now come on.”

Tom manipulated the Wave of Magic again, allowing himself to be revealed to the three men. “Sirs, my name is Tom Lightfoot. I am an entertainer of great renown and I am sure you have heard of me.” The Halfing smiled widely but did not allow the three men to reply. “First, here is a healing potion for our Lord. Second, perhaps one of you could prove your loyalty to your oath by providing us with a distraction while we lead the others away from here.”

Tom’s player used a Persuasion roll to inspire the soldier to make a distraction for them. The players all chimed in with ideas. It was some good teamwork from the players as a whole.

The second guard nodded, giving the healing potion over to the first. While he fed Neverember the healing potion, the other took their Lord’s purple cloak from his armor. Neverember sighed heavily, closing his eyes as the tonic flowed through him, mending a small amount of his wounds.

“What are you doing,” asked the first guard. “Taking his cloak?”

“Yeah, I am.” muttered the other one. “You nevermind what I’m doin’ and get the King out of here.”

“Not the King,” muttered Neverember weakly. “Lord Protector.”

“Brillant,” commented Tom. He gestured for the guard to help Neverember through the window. The he backed away becoming invisible again, allowing Fo and Deiter to get closer to the window to be of assistance. Slowly, Neverember was able to make his way through the window.

“Three approaching,” whispered Vrae’ree from the corner of the safehouse.

The last man out of the safehouse was the older Mintarn soldier, now draped in the bright purple cloak of Lord Neverember. He gestured to the other soldier and Neverember, mainly because the others were all invisible. “Take them along the De Bie corridoor, straight to Castle Never.”

The other man sputtered. “Castle Never?”

The older soldier nodded. “That’s the final fallback point. The Halls aren’t secure. You know as well as I do that any and all citizens that could squeeze into that old keep are taking refuge there, ghosts or not.” The older man thumped his finger into the toher’s breastplate a few times. “So gets them there. And keep your head down.”

With that, the soldier turned and rushed down the road away from the safehouse. He made sure to stomp his boots heavily on the cobblestone, and let out a cry of “For Neverwinter!” as he ran. The purlpe cloak flapped in the air behind him.

The distraction was successful. The Cambion and three of the cultists saw the Mintarn soldier runing away and assumed it was Lord Neverember making an escape. They gave chase immeadiately while the remaining soldier helped to lead Neverember and the others away towards Castle Never.

As the three remaining Dragonclaw cultists rounded the corner, the Company ambushed them. First, Tom directed another Fireball to explode centered on the middle cultists, jarring them and sending them recoiling to their backs. They laid there for a moment, jerking widly. As they started to gather their wits about them, Fo charged forward, his hands and feet working furiously in a series of strikes. Two of the cultists went down hard, leaving only one to struggle to his feet.

Deiter was already rushing forward, his twin battleaxes cutting through the air this way and that. launching into several short chops at the cultist. The dark-clad man was able to fend off several of Deiter’s attacks with sweeping parries of his short sword, turning the axes away. But in the end, the nobleman scored a hit , causing the dragon cultists to stumble backwards.

Dieter hit twice, reducing the cultist to a single, annoying hit point!

At that moment, Vrae’ree unleashed another Magic Missile spell, shooting the small glowing darts out to strike the cultists solidly in the chest. As they erupted one by one , he continued to stumble backwards, and crashed heavily to the ground.

Good move by Vrae’ree’s player. Magic Missiles don’t miss and they definately do at least 1 hit point of damage!

The battle was finally over.

Vrae’ree looked around at his companions with a smile. “Now to Castle Never.”

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… to be continued ….

THE SAFEHOUSE

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They were ambushed along the High Road. As Evil approached from the West, they made an unexpected discovery within the Karst Caves. They met a bandit called The Black Spider working for the Cult of the Dragon. Using espionage and deception, they discovered that stolen waters are sweet. Using the cult’s own resources against them, they teleported to the Halls of Justice to report their findings to the Alliance. However, they discovered that the city was under attack, and decided in a moment of panic to escape from Neverwinter. And now, having made a new resolution to help the people of the Sword Coast, they return to the city to find the Alliance safehouse which may hold city officials in need of rescue.

Southwest Neverwinter
Southwest Neverwinter City

Moving back through the tunnel into the Halls of Justice, the heroes looted the bodies of their fallen compatriots seeking devices or supplies that might help them. They managed to find some useful items. When they finally got to the streets, they found that the fighting was just starting to spill into this district. They kept moving, only entering combat when they absolutely needed to do so. They were going to the safehouse, and could not be distracted from this goal.

Outside the Halls of Justice, they noticed Swordcaptain Muln Horan fighting alongside several Mintarn soldiers against several Dragonclaw cultists. Well known to Abernacky and Fo, Horan is a mighty dwarf warrior who commands the city’s militia. The battle seeemed to be going in his favor, and perhaps he would be able to rally the militia in this area near the Halls.

Swiftly, the group moved from alley to alley towards the safehouse. They saw that people people were seeking shelter in their homes. This section of the city, more than the others, were where the common folk lived, worked, and plied their trades. They passed the general store where they had confronted a group of looters earlier. The human that Adabon had killed was still laying in the street, but now an elderly woman kneeled next to the body, sobbing “My son! My son!”

Moving on, they passed several small groups of villagers being escorted to safety by Mintarn or Callisite soldiers. Although the fighting was spilling into this area, the soldiers still tried their best to protect the people of Neverwinter. You turn another corner, and stop. A group of five mintarn soldiers are fighting with a group of eight orcs. You start to go to their aid, and then are surprised to see a garrolous male halfling join the fary on the side of the militia. He drops from the rooftop, and spouts insults as he fights. As you all turn to move away, you are sure that the halfling will turn the tide for the soldiers.

“This way,” whispered Fo, gesturing down a main thoroughfare. “The safehouse is only a block away.”

As soon as they all entered the road, their stomachs were gripped with fear. Overwhelming,instinctual fear caused by the presence of a dragon. Overhead, a huge green dragon soared towards the East, maniacal laughter dripping from its hideous maw. Suddenly, a lightning struck the underbelly of the beast. It roared in anger, and swooped into the air, hovering there for a moment. The source of the lightning, a blue haired dark skinned female wizard wearing silver robes, stepped into view on the edge of the rooftop.

“Chartilfax!” shouted the woman. “Long have you feasted on the minds of the weak and sick! Long have you remained hidden in the ancient cathedral!” Then the woman floated into the air. “But no longer, Chartilfax!” She raised her hands and they flared with purple fire. “Tonight the Green Traitor will die!” With that, the elf woman released the Dark Fire from her hands, and it streaked out to the green dragon.

The dragon roared, and convulsed as the fire raked across its body. It’s eyes flared golden yellow and it swooped into to strike at the Elf woman with it’s tail. Suddenly a dwarf appeared on the rooftop, lunging into the air to push the Elf out of the way. “Myrin!” the dwarf shouted. “No!” The dragon’s tail came down hard on the heroic dwarf, smashing flesh, slate, and timber.

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Silver Dragon

The dragon began to laugh again, and then stopped only to taunt the wizard who was looking down on her fallen friend. “Who are you, Elf bitch? Who are you that threatens the mighty Chartilfax?!”

At that point they stopped watching and started running. Not because of the dragonfear that was still stirring up fear within they. But becausethey did not want to be in the area when this battle began. They had a safehouse to get to, that was their goal. And because they were somewhat amazed to see the floating Elf slowly assume her true form, a large silver dragon.

“I am Crysanthia,” they heard the silver dragon screech. “And now you die!”

Rushing down the cobblestone road, they finally arrive at the safehouse. They can see that there are flickering lights of candles inside, and that there are definitely people huddled within it. But before they can rush forward towards the front door, they notice two figures on the rooftop. Dragonclaws, of course, crouched there and watching the sky. Obviously something is about to happen. They can all feel it.

Abernacky whispered to his comrades. “We must act now.”

“No,” said Vrae’ree in hushed tones. “Hold for a few more seconds, I have a bad feeling about this…”

Tharivol gripped his sword tighter. “A trap?”

Fo nodded. “Likely. I believe – “

But the monk never got a chance to finish his thought. From the darkness above came the flap of wings. A creature descended from above, landing in the dim light in front of the safehouse. Although its shape is roughly that of a human, it is at least seven feet tall, its skin covered in jet black scales, its fingers bearing wicked claws, and its face has a muzzle and reptilian eyes of a dragon. The creature strode forward a few steps, flexing to draw in its large, leathery bat-like wings.

Six more figures joined the half-dragon. Dressed much like that of the Dragonclaws, these cultists were known as Dragonwings because of their innate ability for limited flight. They touched down near the half-dragon, spreading out in anticipation of raiding the safehouse. One of the Dragonclaws dropped a bad from his shoulder, and the half-dragon pulled the top open. Roughly withdrawing two small children, probably the age of two or three years old, he held the crying toddlers up by their collars at the safehouse.

sable
Sable

“Lord Neverember,” shouted the half-dragon. “I am called Sable. Your city is on its knees, but I am feeling generous. Do you see these two pitiful children that I hold in my hands?” He shakes them a little, both children shouting for their Mommy or their Daddy. “They are two useless slaves from the town of Greenest to the South. I have no need for them. Come out now, and I will trade them to you in exchange for your surrender! I know that you were brought here after being grievously wounded in the opening forray of the battle. Come out, or I will kill them!”

Only seconds pass. Then the front door of the safehouse creaks open. A middle aged man with black and white hairstands in the doorway. He looks haggard, obviously wounded as the evil creature claimed. He withdraws a greatsword from the scabbard at his belt, and raises it in front of him. His demaeanor is serious, and speaks with an air of confidence.

“I am Dagault Neverember – Open Lord of Waterdeep and Protector of Neverwinter,” he says. “And I do not surrender.”

And with that, Neverember lunges forward, piercing the half-dragon’s clean through the chest with his greatsword.

Lord Neverember
Lord Neverember

THE RESOLUTION

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Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.

Keri Russel


Neverwinter
Neverwinter

The city of Neverwinter is under siege by Severin and his Cult of the Dragon. They have led a confederation of Evil to the city, seeking to cripple the city and its security forces. The skies are full of chromatic dragons of all colors, raining down death. And from each side of the city, a different force assails the walls.

From the East, an army of undead led by a vampire and its dracolich have breached the walls. To the North, an army of barbarians, giants, and orcs swarm the walls hoping to take the city for themselves. In the South, an unholy alliance of wild elves and lizardmen being led by a Half-Dragon cut a swath through the city, leaving carnage in their wake. And to the West, where very little fighting is happening at the moment, there are rumors of a dark fleet approaching the Cove.

And still there is no word of Lord Neverember and his Council. Some say they have fled the city and left it to be destroyed once and for all. Others say that he was seen being carried away by a huge red dragon calling itself Ashardalon. Others assume that he he simply cowering in the darkness, unwilling to fight.

In the middle of this chaos comes our heroes. Among them are two Cloaks, ranking members of the Lord’s Alliance. Several tendays ago, Icewind Dale was attacked by dragons! When word reached Lord Neverember, he dispatched agents throughout his domain to find out more about what the Cult of the Dragon was plotting this time. Of these agents, two were Abernacky and Fo. They travelled South along with a few local mercenaries and adventurers to travel from Neverwinter to Greenest, the entire length of Neverember’s domain.

They were ambushed along the High Road. As Evil approached from the West, they made an unexpected discovery within the Karst Caves. They met a bandit called The Black Spider working for the Cult of the Dragon. Using espionage and deception, they discovered that stolen waters are sweet. Using the cult’s own resources against them, they teleported to the Halls of Justice to report their findings to the Alliance. However, they discovered that the city was under attack, and decided in a moment of panic to escape from Neverwinter.

Neverwinter-City-Map-Parchment

Vrae’ree glanced at the city of Neverwinter from his vantage outside of the walls. He knew that he held no alligence to that city, its people, or its leaders. However, he thought in that moment of his kindly human mentor in Greenest. He had heard the rumors that the frontier village was razed. Those who were not murdered were taken as slaves. He imagined that the elderly wizard was laying out in the field near his now shattered tower. The thought somehow inspired him.

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He glanced around at his comrades. Abernacky and Fo were strangely quiet on the issue. Perhaps their morale was broken, or they simply had given up hope. Maybe they had been filled with despair watching the Elves murdering citizens of Neverwinter with such open contempt. Even he had resorted to killing the ruffian in the street when he might have simply knocked the human senseless…

“We go back,” said the Dark Elf suddenly. “We fight our way to the Alliance safehouse, and we rescue whatever city officials have taken refuge there.” Although a few of his companions (mostly the humans) smiled at this resolution, he noticed that his Elven comrades seemed wary of this decision. The Dark Elf added, “We started this as a team because we were hired to do a job. Circumstances and Fate have disrupted that job, so there is no reason why you must remain to do this with me!” With that, he turned and rushed back for the grate in the wall.

Abernacky nodded to the others. “I always finish the job.” He winked at them with a smile. Come, my friends, we have the stuff of heroes to do!”

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ESCAPE FROM NEVERWINTER

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“Who knows the end? What has risen may sink, and what has sunk may rise. Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men.” – H.P. Lovecraft


Session Roster:

  1. Adabon, 4th Level Wood Elf Fighter
  2. Vrae’ree Everhurden, 4th Level Drow Elf Wizard
  3. Tharivol, 4th Level Moon Elf Fighter
  4. Fo, 4th Level Human Monk
  5. Abernacky, 2nd Level Human Fighter

While in the employ of Lord Dagult Neverember, the Company traveled from the city of Neverwinter to Phandalin to deliver a precious relic to one of the newly formed churches, then headed South towards the town of Greenest. Quite on accident, the Company managed to discover the Karst Caves and later infiltrated the Cult of the Dragon! Having convinced the Cult that they are allies, they are now provided provisions and equipment with the promise of undertaking a secret mission in the Mere of Dead Men. But first, the Company plans to go to Neverwinter to report their findings to the Lord’s Alliance. However, arriving in Neverwinter they discover that the city is under assault by a combination of the Cult of the Dragon and the Red Wizards of Thay!


Last Time: The Halls of Justice

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Abernacky wasted no time. He strode to the back doors of the Hall and shoved it open, walking inside. Adadon, Vrae’ree, and Fo followed Abernacky but Tharivol kneeled down to investigate some strange substance on the tile floor. The next door was illuminated only by the few windows that dotted the wall. The door at the far end of the room was hanging open, allowing the chaotic sounds from the streets to seep into the room. Laying near the door was a dead Dwarf wearing the uniform of the Mintarn soldiers, the militia of Neverwinter. In the center of the room were the bodies of more Human Mintarn troops, and that of another Human dressed in simple commoner clothing.

Adabon glanced back at Tharivol. “What did you find?”

The Moon elf rubbed his thumb and fingers together. “Flakes of mud. Smells of sulfur, rotting fish, and saltwater.”

The Wood Elf shrugged. “And?”

Tharivol stood up, wiping his hand on his cloak. “Only one place around here has mud that smells like that: Blacklake Docks.”

The group discussed the possibility of going to the docks, but the conversation ended abruptly as Abernacky rushed out of the room and into the streets. From there, the group intervened with some of the madness that was happening in the streets of Neverwinter. First, they assisted a young half-Elf woman who had lost control of her horse and wagon. Then they stopped five looters from stealing goods from a local shop. Lastly, they were killed a bellicose ruffian who had been threatening people on the street.

A blue dragon flew above them, almost touching the rooftops. It exhaled deeply, shooting lightning at a nearby building. The roof exploded, sending debris raining down into the streets. At that point, Vrae’ree suggested that they focus on the task at hand: finding and reporting intel to the Lord’s Alliance. In the end, they all decided that they should use the escape tunnel in the Halls of Justice to escape Neverwinter. They would figure out what to do next after they were outside the walls.

They returned to the main audience chamber, and Abernacky revealed the location of the secret door which would lead down into the tunnel. They found a set of muddy handprints on the wall, dried mud like the stuff Tharivol had found previously. As the door opened, they saw that there were two bodies of Alliance soldeirs crumpled on the stairs below them. Moving past the bodies, they continued down the steps to a landing where they found that the door ahead was not locked as it should be. Instead it was hanging wide open, partially broken off of its hinges from the inside.

They continued forward to find two more bodies, one of a higher ranking officer in the Alliance and one of a Mintarn soldier. Both had been stabbed from behind, the death strike landing precisely at the base of the skull. Fo and Abernacky recognized the office, but they didn’t have time to stop. Moving forward, they climbed the steps to a second door. This one was knocked partially off its hinges from the inside like the one below. Moving through the door they entered a small room with no windows. Ahead of them was a large 4′ x 4′ grate. The grate barely let in anylight as the slats were thin and angled to make it hard to see through unless you were right up on it. The grate could be unlocked with a latch from either side, andwas hinged on the top to allow the grate to swing out from the room. Abernacky explained that one the other side was a large grassy field near the bank of the river. It would take them out of the city on the Southwest edge.

⊕⊕⊕

Arvik Zaltos stood on the bank of the Neverwinter River, watching the embattled city from afar. He had already adduced that the siege would fail. Neverwinter would weather disaster again. But Cyanwrath did not want the city to fall, only to suffer. The true target had been Helm’s Hold prison. And that mission was a success. All was in order.

Even the unexpected combatants at the tunnel was not a true worry. They had caught him unaware and their force magic had knocked him into the bank of the river. But he had left more than enough animated dead there to finish them off. And even if they did survive, they would be fools to track him. They would be rushing to their own doom.

He continued to walk along the muddy expanse at the perimeter of the city’s walls followed by five Dragonclaw assassins. They moved swiftly in the darkness ever closer to their destination: the Inn known as The Moonstone Mask.

Arvik spoke in a hushed tone to his Dragonclaw companions. “The bordello holds a great number of the nobles of the city.” He cracked an evil grin. “We leave none alive.”

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… to be continued …

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DUNGEONS DEEP AND CAVERNS OLD

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Session Roster:

  • Grogon – 17th level Half-Orc Fighter
  • Sun Tzu Lee – 17th Level Human Monk
  • Wraith Headhunter – 17th level Human Rogue
  • Abernacky – 17th level Dwarf Ranger
  • Maug The Destroyer – Half-Orc 12th Level Barbarian/ 4th Level Rogue

“Cold be hand and heart and bone,
And cold be sleep under stone:
Never more to wake on stony bed,
Never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

Continue reading “DUNGEONS DEEP AND CAVERNS OLD”

THE HALLS OF JUSTICE

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Session Roster:

  • Vrae’ree Everhurden, 2nd Level Drow Elf Wizard
  • Fo, 3rd Level Human Monk [Faction: Lord’s Alliance, Rank: Cloak]
  • Tharivol, 2nd Level Moon Elf Fighter
  • Brûne, 3rd Level Human Paladin [Oath of the Ancients]

 

Symbol of the Lord's Alliance of Neverwinter
Symbol of the Lord’s Alliance of Neverwinter

“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

While in the employ of Lord Dagult Neverember, the Company traveled from the city of Neverwinter to Phandalin to deliver a precious relic to one of the newly formed churches. Now they are headed South towards the town of Greenest.  On the way, they discovered the Karst Caves, a base of operations of the Black Spider whom is an agent of the legendary Cult of the Dragon! Quite on accident, the Company was transported to a War Council meeting where the Cult of the Dragon has revealed their plans for conquering the Sword Coast. Now they have decided to return to Neverwinter to report their findings to Lord Neverember and the Lord’s Alliance! What they did not expect is to find Neverwinter in the midst of a massive assault from the Cult of the Dragon …

 A once-bustling metropolis, the northern city of Neverwinter lies mostly in ruins after a century of turmoil that culminated in a great cataclysm nearly thirty years ago. Fires, earthquakes, and evil portents destroyed or chased away most of the populace, but even the waking of an ancient primordial could not kill the city completely. Some stubborn natives remained, carrying on in spite of countless hardships. Because of them-and because of the reconstruction efforts of the last decade – Neverwinter still stands, despite its tragedies.

Neverwinter
Neverwinter

After so much abuse and neglect, much of the city’s architecture is damaged or lies in rubble. Recent repair efforts have given Neverwinter a patchwork appearance; slums are juxtaposed with new construction, all resting on the shattered remnants of old buildings. Certain districts are more intact than others, and former citizens have returned to such areas, thanks to the efforts of the city’s Lord Protector: Dagult Neverember, Open Lord of Waterdeep.

Lord Protector Degault Neverember
Lord Protector Degault Neverember

The Halls of Justice is actually a temple to the god Tyr, a deity of Law and Justice. The temple itself is a radiant and beautiful structure, decorated with marble columns and gold filigree, beneath the high-domed ceiling filled with hundreds of precious gems. The trappings of the building reflect a bygone age, one dedicated to justice and temperance in all things. The temple remained standing completely intact even after the earthquake shattered the city and the chasm swallowed up half the city’s structures.

When Lord Neverember took control of the city, he chose the Halls of Justice as his base of operations for its practical value and its emotional significance to the people of Never winter. The city had long served Tyr, the god of justice, and even after the deity fell nearly a hundred years ago, the residents refused to convert the temple to worship of another god. By restoring the temple to its former glory, Neverember seeks to win over the city’s traditionalists and establish himself as a champion of just rule. He sponsors priests of Torm whose rites emulate the Tyrran tradition, hoping to attract new devotees to the temple and to the Lord’s Alliance.

HALLS OF JUSTICE

The Halls of Justice is the headquarters of the Lord’s Alliance of Neverwinter. From here, Lord Neverember struggles to keep his two cities and the territories between safe. He watches as civil war threatens to erupt within Neverwinter due to political strife, Waterdeep is torn apart from within by the children of Lolth, and the trade routes slowly grow unsafe thanks to raiders, bandits, and thieves. He knows that his vision of peace stands upon the edge of a knife.

And this is where the Company chose to teleport using the gem given to them by the Half-Dragon cultist named Cyanwrath. In an instant they had traveled hundreds of miles thanks to a single powerful spell. Vrae’ree watched as Tharivol fell to his knees, sickened by the teleportation. Vrae’ree looked around and gasped.

The marble floors, walls, and ceiling of the Inner Sanctum were smeared with fresh blood. At least a dozen Dragonclaws lay dead, scattered throughout the room. Twice as many Alliance soldiers lay among them. And there, ahead of them near the dias stood five men. And beyond them, the throne where Lord Neverember usually sat to hold audience was splattered with blood. A wide trail of red was splattered from the throne to the rear doors of the room. Someone had dragged away a hostage, and it was possible that it was the Lord Protector himself. And if so, he was severely wounded. Because … there was so much blood.

There five men turned to gaze at The Company. Four of them were Dragonclaws, holding blades still dripping with fresh, red blood. The fifth was a Man draped in heavy, Black robes. He held a wooden staff in his hand, and his face was handsome … beautiful …. impossibly perfect. He frowned, and turned to face the Company. The top of his staff flamed with a flicker of fire, and his eyes seemed to burn with an inner fire.

“WHO ARE YOU,” he shouted. “TO INTERRUPT OUR PROCEEDINGS?!” The Man in Black’s eyes flared angrily.

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The Company was still in disguise. Fo and Tharivol still wore the black masks and cloaks of the Dragonclaws, and Brûne was still draped in the dark green cloaks worn by the Lolth-worshipping wild elves.

Vrae’ree stepped forward. “I am Vrae’ree Everhurden of Menzoberranzan. I am my companions were sent here on the behest of Master Cyanwrath of Phlan. We -“

At that very moment, the main double doors to the Inner Sanctum were flung open and two soldiers of the Lord’s Alliance rushed inside. They were outfitted in heavy armor and carried shields and shortswords. One of them wore a dented helm and it was clear they had both seen recent combat from the swathes of blood spattered on their clothing and armor. Both of them raised their swords, and shouted, “For Neverwinter!” And with that, they charged forward towards The Company.

With that, the Company abandoned their ruse. Tharivol and Fo both shrugged off their masks, and rushed towards the Dragonclaws and the Man in Black. Brûne followed, unsheathing his blade as he dashed forward. Meanwhile, Vrae’ree raised his spell focus crystal, and cried out arcane words. He extended his hand, and unleashed Thunderwave.

A thunderous boom shook the room as a wave if force smashed into the Dragon Cultists. Two of the Dragonclaws and the Man in Black were tossed backwards against the far wall and the dias. Two of the Dragonclaws managed to weather the brunt of the Thunderwave, and remained standing.

Tharivol rushed at the Man in Black. He slashed time and again with his swords, opening grievous wounds on the man’s forearms, chest, and belly. The man grimaced and moaned in pain. Tharivol noticed that his features were slowly changing from astoundingly perfect to twisted and ugly. Each new injury seemed to add a new wrinkle, a crooked twist to the nose, or a droop to the eyes.

Fo and Brûne worked as a team. Together, they managed to drop the two closest Dragonclaws. They turned to see the two Alliance soldiers dash past Vrae’ree and engage the two other Dragonclaws who had been blasted backwards. Although the two Cultists were prone, they still managed to wield their weapons with enough finesse to parry and block the blows of the two soldiers.

“For Tiamat!” shouted one of the Cultists as he swung wildly at Brûne.

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“No, you are deceived,” said the Paladin as he drove his sword through the Dragonclaw’s belly. “This is the work of Asmodeus!”

Asmodeus Symbol
Asmodeus Symbol

The Man in Black stood up, and opened his mouth impossibly wide. A cloud of thick, dark ash spewed from his mouth, and filled the area. The Alliance soldiers and Tharivol began to cough and coke, blinded by the ash cloud. Brûne and Fo both rushed towards the edge of the cloud, unable to see what was going on inside. Vrae’ree however squinted his eyes in horror. He could see perfectly what was happening.

The Man in Black grabbed Tharivol roughly, and spun him around. Withdrawing a wire garotte, he wrapped it around the Moob Elf’s neck and pulled tightly, leaning backwards to pull Tharivol off of the ground. The Moon Elf grunted and groaned in pain, struggling to escape. But the Main in Black was too strong, even with the added strength provided by his new magical gauntlets, Tharivol was bring strangled to death.

Vrae’ree pointed at the Man in Black, and gripped his spell focus in the other hand. He chanted the words that caused glowing Magic Missiles to leap from his fingertips and spiral out to explode on the shoulder, face, and neck of the Man in Black. He growled in anger and pain. Tharivol continued to struggle, and the Man in Black shifted his weight, turned his hips, and then turned to put his back against Tharivol’s back. Mercilessly, the Man in Black leaned forward to add more leverage to the strangulation.

Fo and Brûne rushed to the edge of the ash cloud. Fo noticed the outline of one of the Dragonclaws hovering just inside the cloud. He struck out first with his staff, connecting with a solid hit. He followed through with a series of kicks and punches. Before delivering the last punch, he summoned up his Ki and channeled it through into his fist. The blow landed with enough force to send the Cultist flying through the air, over the heads of a second Dragonclaw and past the Man in Black. The Cultist landed against the wall with a loud, sickening crunch. He slumped to the floor, his neck shattered in three places.

Suddenly, the ash cloud was gone. The two Alliance soldiers, Fo, Brûne, and Fo all ran at the Man in Black. They could hear Vrae’ree chanting again, and they saw more Magic Missiles explode on the Man in Black. He shouted and groaned in pain, but held fast to the Moon Elf. And then suddenly, Tharivol gave a final sputter, and and he went limp. Blood was pouring from his neck, the cruel wire having cut deep into the Moon’s Elf’s flesh. The Man in Black left go, and Tharivol slumped to the ground. He wasn’t moving. It was likely he was dead, and if not dead, then dying.

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The Man in Black turned, a wide grin smeared on his vile face. His incredibly beautiful visage was gone now, replaced by a withered, twisted face of an ugly old man. “You don’t how true your words are, Paladin,” the monstrous Man in Black laughed. “But soon you will know without a doubt!” It was clear at this moment that this was no man. He was a monster, perhaps a demon, devil, or even a fiend.

Fo lashed out with his staff from behind the monster, hitting the enemy in the stomach. Then he launched into a flurry of blow, pummeling the monster’s body. The Alliance soldiers attacked from the flanks, fighting almost in unison. Neither managed to hit the Man in Black, but instead landed stabs into his heavy robes. The Man in Black stumbled somewhat, turning to glare at Fo. The Monk watched in despair as the wounds slowly began to regenerate, healing before his eyes.

However, Brûne stepped forward, and shouted mightily, “By the Lord and Lady of the Forest!” He raised his blade, and it began to shimmer with light as positive energy gathered within the Blade. The Paladin channeled divinity into his blade, making it a sacred weapon for only a moment.  Brûne slashed the Man in Black, inflicting a savage wound in the monster’s chest.

 At that moment, the Man in Black revealed his true nature. The facade of his visage fell away, revealing the face of a vampire! The thing’s face was pale and feral with long white hair, black blood-shot eyes, and long viper fangs. It snarled and wriuthed in pain, the radiant energy surging through its undead flesh. Finally, they had inflicted a wound that this monster could not easily recover from … one that could not be healed so quickly.

Vampire
Vampire

The vampire hissed at Brûne. “Tiamat will rule this land,” it spit with a hissing moan. “And when that time comes I will find you. Our buisness is not at an end!” With that, the vampire faded from sight, and turned into mist which began almost instantly to dissipate and fade. The Paladin attempted to call forth vines with his divine powers to entangle the escaping vampire. The vines burst through the marble floor, grasping at the mist but making no contact. The monster was gone.

The remaining Dragonclaw remained in the far corner of the room, lurking within the shadows. He made a dash for the rear doors, but the two soldiers cut him down before he could escape. They turned to The Company, and slapped their swords on their shields. This is was a standard act of honor among the Lord’s Alliance. It was a show of respect.

Fo nodded to the two men with a smile. Then he turned to look at the others, and shook his head. “He will tell the Cult what he knows. Our path may be more difficult from here.”

Brûne was already at Tharivol’s side. He layed hands on the Moon Elf, channeling healing powers into his body. “Lady Mielikki,” he whispered. “Heal this one to us. His task is not done.” The Paladin’s hands seemed to glimmer with a faint light for just a moment, and the gashes on Tharivol’s neck slowly began to close. His skin returned to its normal alabaster rather than grey. And he coughed raggedly, whimpering in pain.

“No,” Vrae’ree shook his head. “The vampire doesn’t know who we are -“

Fo crossed his arms. “You told them-“

“-my name.” Vrae-ree finished the Monk’s sentence. He frowned, suddenly realizing his mistake.

“Our Elven friend will live, but he needs greater healing than my own ability. I have simply stablized him for now.” Brûne raised a hand, pointing to the blood covering the throne and leading dow the steps to the marble floor and out the doors at the rear of the room. “My friends, what are the chances that this blood is that of the Lord Protector?”

Fo glanced at his companions. “If that is the case, then the enemy has him. And they will not keep him alive for long.”

Vrae-ree nodded. “If Neverwinter falls, the Cult of the Dragon will take the entire Sword Coast.”

One of the two soldiers stepped forward. “The time is dire, my friends. The city is at war. An army of undead led by a witch assaults the eastern gate! Their numbers are bolstered by a dracolich! And within the city, the streets are madness. The Cult of the Dragon are going house to house, slaughtering as they go! And even worse, they have broken the wards on Helm’s Hold. The insane and criminal flood the streets, adding to the chaos!”

The other man stepped forward then, the horror in his voice obvious. “Dragons are attacking the city: Blue, Red, and Green. The very rock of the battlements are aflame! The city is nearly lost, my friends. We must flee. We’ll take the Great Tunnel out of the city, and live to fight another day!”

Both men looked at The Company anxiously. It was time for a choice. Would they stay and fight? Would they seek to find and defend the Lord Protector and his family? Or was it a better choice to flee though the Great Tunnel and live to fight another day?

… to be continued …

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STOLEN WATERS ARE SWEET

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“Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.”
George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones


SESSION ROSTER:

  • Vrae’ree Everhurden, 3rd Level Drow Elf Wizard
  • Fo, 3rd Level Human Monk [Faction: Lord’s Alliance] Rank: Cloak
  • Tharivol, 2nd Level High Elf Fighter (Moon Elf)
  • Brûne, 3rd Level Paladin, Oath of the Ancients

While in the employ of Lord Dagult Neverember, the Company traveled from the city of Neverwinter to Phandalin to deliver a precious relic to one of the newly formed churches, then headed South towards the town of Greenest. Quite on accident, the Company managed to discover the Karst Caves and later infiltrated the Cult of the Dragon! Having convinced the Cult that they are allies, they are now provided provisions and equipment with the promise of undertaking a secret mission in the Mere of Dead Men. But first, the Company plans to go to Neverwinter to report their findings to the Lord’s Alliance.

Any red text is my DUNGEON MASTER voice. To gain a point of Inspiration for the next game, please leave a comment in the space below describing what you think about the magic items your characters found in the treasury. Was it what you thought it was? Is it cool? Is your character going to keep it or pass it on to someone else?

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The two Dragonclaw cultists escorted The Company down the long hallways of the caves below Phlan. They arrived at the treasury in a few moments. The walk allowed Vrae’ree and Fo enough time to make “small talk” and glean some additional information from the two guards. First, they were in the ancient city of Phlan located on the northern shoreline of the Moonsea at the mouth of the Stojanow river. The Cult assaulted the city three days ago and murdered Lord Protector Anivar Daoran. The city’s militia has disbanded and Phlan is in chaos. The Lord Reagent Ector Brahms, greedy noble houses, and labor guilds vie for control of the town. Amidst this chaos, the Cult continues to attain footholds and awaits further orders from higher ranking officers within the organization.

Arriving at the treasury, the Dragonclaws introduced The Company to the Quartermaster, Mazza Tulach. They were allowed entry and allowed to gather equipment under the watchful eye of Mazza. The cache contained many finely crafted weapons and armor, but only a few were magical. Brûne claimed a set of finely crafted plate armor for himself, and Fo gathered several darts. Vrae’ree donned a Drow chain shirt and a rapier. They managed to find some interesting items including a set of gauntlets, a ring, a staff, and a set of boots which all radiated magic.

Now pay attention gentlemen because this is the part where I reveal what your characters found! However, your characters will still not know exactly what the items are to be able to fully use the item’s properties until they have attuned to the inherent magic within the items. Certain magic items require a user to attune to them. Attuning requires a short rest concentrating on the item. Depending on the item, this concentration may take the form of prayers, weapon practice, or meditation.  Refer to page 52 of the “Lost Mine of Phandelver” provided in the D&D Starter Set for more information.

Fo claimed the BOOTS OF STRIDING AND SPRINGING. These boots appeared worn and well used. However, they are very comfortable to wear and magically adjust to fit the user’s feet perfectly. These boots prevent their wearer from being slowed down due to encumbrance or wearing heavy armor. In addition, it allows Fo to jump three times his usual distance.

Tharivol took the GAUNTLETS OF OGRE POWER. These masterfully crafted gauntlets are made of polished steel with gold knuckledusters. On the sleeves of the gauntlets are identical Ogre howling Ogre faces made of gold. While wearing these gauntlets, the user’s Strength is boosted to 19 (+4) giving the wearer immense physical power.

Vrae’ree took the STAFF OF DEFENSE was slender, hollow, and crafted of glass. Yet it was as strong as steel and weighed roughly 3 pounds. While holding the staff, the user gains a +1 bonus to Armor Class. Also, the Staff holds 10 charges after it becomes attuned to a new user who is also a spellcaster. These charges fuel the spells contained within the staff. The spellcaster may use any of the following spells as if they were prepared and as a BONUS ACTION. No components are needed as the staff acts as a built-in focus. For 1 charge, the user may cast mage armor, and for 2 charges the user may cast Shield. If the user expends the last charge within the staff, roll a D20. On the roll of a 1, the staff crumbles to dust. The staff regains 1d6+4 charges every day as long as it remains within a place that it is in touch with the Weave of Magic. If the staff is placed in a place devoid of magic or charged by Wild Magic, it regains no charges until removed.

And Vrae’ree also claimed the RING OF PROTECTION. Is it a simple ring made of Titanium and marked with the Dwarven rune for “shield.” While wearing the ring, it adds +1 to the user’s Armor Class and Saving Throws.

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Having armed themselves, they departed from the treasury and took a few moments to find a place where they were alone. Lifting the ruby given to him by Cyanwrath, Vrae’ree looked around at his companions and then bold spoke, “The Inner Sanctum of the Halls of Justice in the city of Neverwinter!”

In a flash of red light, they were gone.

… TO BE CONTINUED …

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ESPIONAGE AND DECEPTION

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While in the employ of Lord Dagult Neverember, the Company traveled from the city of Neverwinter to Phandalin to deliver a precious relic to one of the newly formed churches. Now they are headed South towards the town of Greenest.  On the way, they discovered the Karst Caves, a base of operations of the Black Spider whom is an agent of the legendary Cult of the Dragon! Quite on accident, the Company was transported to a War Council meeting where the Cult of the Dragon has revealed their plans for conquering the Sword Coast. During the meeting, the Black Spider threatened to reveal their deception, and the Company responded with violence …


“Oh, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!”

– Sir Walter Scott, Marmion

SESSION ROSTER:

  • Vrae’ree Everhurden, 2nd Level Drow Elf Wizard
  • Fo, 3rd Level Human Monk [Faction: Lord’s Alliance]
  • Tharivol, 1st Level High Elf Fighter
  • Deiter, 2nd Level Human Fighter (Noble)

dndToD_Background

 The Company infiltrated a War Council meeting of the Cult of the Dragon, discovering many of their secrets. The meeting was being lead by a Half-Dragon named LANGDEDROSA CYANWRATH. Discussion revealed that the newest leader of the Cult of the Dragon is a Calishite man named SEVERIN SILRAJIN.  This new leader has broken away fom the traditional teachings of the Cult and has decided to interpret religious texts in his own perspective. He believes that true power lies within the living dragons of the Reams, not Dracoliches. SEVERIN has dedicated the Cult to venerating TIAMAT, THE DARK QUEEN and seeking to complete an ancient ritual that will finally undo the spell that banished TIAMAT to the Nine Hells so long ago.

Tiamat has smiled on SEVERIN, revealing to him the existence of ancient artifacts known simply as THE DRAGON MASKS. There are five, each colored in representation of the Chromatic children of TIAMAT. These ancient masks allows their wears to commune with Dragonkind including Dragons, Drakes, Wyvern, Dragonborn, and Kolbolds – to only name a few. More importantly though, the wearer of each Mask becomes a WYRMSPEAKER able to influence and sway the thoughts of Dragons. SEVERIN claims that when all five of the Dragon Masks are brought together and assembled, the masked join to form the single MASK OF THE DRAGON QUEEN. By using the assembled mask, SEVERIN will be able to tear open a rift to the Nine Hells and release TIAMAT into the Realms.

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The Cult has managed to keep its plots a secret. Many know of the Cult’s increased activity but few know the purpose behind it. Besides drawing together the various Cult cells throughout the Sword Coast, SEVERIN has also used his influence to forge alliances with several powerful criminal organizations throughout the Realms. These include such groups as THE RED WIZARDS OF THAY, and THE CHURCH OF BANE.

LANGDEDROSA CYANWRATH explained that although the Cult has operated in small cells which vary in size, it is time for the Cult to come together and focus their attention on SEVERIN’s orders. Any cells that are not willing to comply as to be considered splinter factions and will be eliminated. The Half-Dragon continued by saying that at this time the Cult has already found most of the Dragon Masks. While SEVERIN works to obtain them all, the Cult cells here in the Sword Coast are to focus on smuggling a vast treasure hoard worthy of thr DARK QUEEN North towards the WELL OF DRAGONS. While the treasure is being transported, the main trade routes between Neverwinter and Candlekeep must be controlled.  Loss of the HOARD OF THE DRAGON QUEEN will mean major set backs to the Cult. The organization has been working to gather these vast amounts of treasure for several years awaiting the opportunity to release TIAMAT from her prison.

TIAMAT
TIAMAT

The Black Spider is a renegade Drow named NEZZNAR. He  joined the Cult of the Dragon after being recruited by a man named FAVRIC. Nezznar encountered the Dragon Cultists accidentally while leading raids against wagons and caravans on the Triboar Trail and High Road. The Black Spider saw the power and resources of the Cult of the Dragon as a means to an end. NEZZNAR would help to guard and maintain one of the Cult’s DRAGON HATCHERIES located in the KARST CAVES while he continued to search for the fabled FORGE OF SPELLS.

Becoming a lieutenant in the Cult of the Dragon was useful for NEZZNAR. It put him into contact with KING GROL of CRAGMAW CASTLE who placed several CRAGMAW GOBLINS at his disposal for raiding on the trade routes. The Black Spider made sure that 10% of the loot was constantly carried to CRAGMAW CASTLE while the remaining 90% was added to the treasurey within the Cult’s complex in the KARST CAVES. NEZZNAR was also in contact with several of the other DRAGON HATCHERIES in the surrounding area hidden underground between Neverwinter and Candlekeep.  When his soldiers weren’t raiding on the routes or transporting treasure, he had them searching the vast KARST CAVERNS looking for entrances to the WAVE ECHO CAVES. The Black Spider knew that somewhere in the WAVE ECHO CAVES was an ancient temple of DUMATHOIN which contained the legendary FORGE OF SPELLS.

When NEZZNAR encountered the Company in the KARST CAVES, it was purely by accident. He was exploring another set of Dwarven secret passages that crisscrossed throughout the cavern networks. He recognized the Company as wearing regalia of the Cult of the Dragon, but he was unsure of their purpose within the caves. NEZZNAR feared that this was one of the rumored “splinter factions” who were still loyal to SAMMASTER rather than SEVERIN.

NEZZNAR used his spells to interact with the strangers. He cloaked himself in an Obsuring Mist and spoke with them. But this proved only to further confirm his fears. Casting Suggestion to weaken them seemed only to affect one of the Humans. Using Misty Step, he took a position where he could better assert himself. But this led only to combat. He attempted to escape using Invisibility, but the Moon Elf with them had too keen of senses to be fooled. As a last resort, he called cast Darkness and then used his magical staff to slip away. He was already late to the War Council meeting. He would report these traitors to the Council, and in doing so prove himself to be a valuable resources. Of course, he would need help from the Cult’s clerics first … he was severely wounded.

Damn that Dark Elf and his Company…  thought the Black Spider … I will have my revenge. I swear it by Lady Lolth.

Lady Lolth, Mother of all Magic
Lady Lolth, Mother of all Magic

Fo and Tharivol launched themselves into the air thirty feet above Vrae’ree, brandishing their weapons. Deiter lifted a javelin and launched it mightily at the Black Spider. Vrae’ree watched the actions of his companions and felt a sickening in his stomach. This was going wrong. Horribly terribly wrong.

“This is death…” whispered Vrae’ree. “We cannot survive.”

The javelin flew through the air, striking Nezzar the Black Spider in the chest. The Drow stumbled backwards, crying out in pain as he clutched at his chest. He fell backwards on the to the ground near the table. Vrae’ree watched in shocked awe as the leaders at the table all recoiled, retreating from the platform as several black-clad guards rushed the stage.

Tharivol landed roughly and was grabbed by two Dragonclaw guards. He shrugged off one, but the second overpowered him. He was forced to the ground, and held there in a hammerlock. Fo on the other hand landed gracefully and tumbled away from the oncoming Dragonclaw thugs.

“No,” shouted Vrae’ree. “You fools! This is not the time for bloodshed or petty revenge!” The Dark Elf waved his hands in there air, watching the War Council meeting erupt into chaos. He looked over to see Cyanwrath stomping angrily towards the stage. He seemed to have the angry air of an annoyed Father watching his young children fight among themselves needlessly.

“Stop these childish games!” boomed Cyanwrath. “Now is not the time for challenges or duels!” He stomped up on to the platform in the middle of the battle and raised his oversized Bastard Sword. He growled, his golden eyes gleeming brightly. “Stop!”

There was a flash of lightning, and suddenly the Company found themselves in a different location. They were unable to move, entrhalled by some kind of magic. They were no longer in the huge meeting chamber, but now they stood in some kind of Shrine to Tiamat. The chamber had cleared been reshaped and rformed from its original form. The floor and walls were smooth like glass, the stalagmites and stalactites polished into gleaming columns. Every surface glistened with moisture, and the air was warm. The flat walls of the chamber were engraved with abstract carvings of different kinds of Dragons.   In the Northwest corner of the chamber stood a monstrous scrimshaw carving of a five headed dragon emerging from an erupting volcano. In front of the statue was a large wooden chest filled with gems and silver coins.

Langdedrosa Cyanwrath sat on a throne flanked by two large men dressed in the traditional black leather armor of the Cult. Both men were nearly seven feet tall. It was possible that both men could have been barbarians from the Far North. Although Cyanwrath seemed to be relaxing, the two guards appeared to be coiled and ready to strike.

Looking around, Fo realized that the throne Cyanwrath was sitting on was decorated to resemble Tiamat. However, usually the Red Dragon head would be in the center of the throne. However, this one epresented the Black Dragon head at the center of the throne. Fo found this interesting. What could it mean?

Vrae’ree observed that the carvings on the walls overrepresented Black Dragons for some reason. Nearly half of the Dragon ingravings on the walls are those of Black Dragons, and nearly every one had small holed drilled into their mouths. What could be the purpose of this detail?

Tharivol noticed that the chamber was certainly a shrine to Tiamat. He recognized the goddess from folktales from his youth. He remembered learning about how the Dark Queen was banished to the Nine Hells long ago by Elven Wizards. She remains there, and cannot return unless the Elven magic is undone. Could the Cult of the Dragon really undo such ancient and powerful magic?

Deiter studied the carvings, and realized that the intricate patterns appear to be some kind of language. He peered closer, drawing on his knowledge of Draconian writings during his childhood studies at the Castle. He can to the realization that the markings were a poem of some kind, possibly a spell that was protecting this shrine. What exactly was the true purpose of this paticular shrine?

All of them noticed at the same time that NEZNARR, the Black Spider, was laying unconscious on the floor in the center of the shrine. He was still bleeding freely from his wounds. Given enough time, the Drow would simply die from blood loss. Already his deep black skin was beginning to pale.

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LANGDEDROSA CYANWRATH

The Company suddenly felt that they were released and able to move again. Cynawrath greeted them and explained that he had grown weary of the squabbling at the War Council meeting. Cyanwrath explained to them that although he had reason to bring action against The Black Spider, that now was not the time to do so. The Cult’s plan was entering the second phase, and everything must continue as it is. During the conversation, Cyanwrath demanded that they remove their masks while they spoke with him. When they did, Cyanwrath seemed to recognize Fo.

“I remember you from Greenest,” said the Half-Dragon with a toothy grin. “You are the Sorcerer who assisted us in setting fire to the Mill. What is your name again?

Fo hesitated. He glanced at his companions and then back at Cyanwrath. “Fu,” said Fo. “My name is Fu.”

Cyanwrath laughed. “Yes!” He slapped his knee. “Fu, that is right.” He leaned back into his chair. “You did well at the siege of Greenest. We were able to raze the town and take the salves we needed without much effort at all.” He paused. “Yes, you did well for us.”

Everyone stood silent for a moment, not sure what to make of this new information. One, it appeared that Fo might have been assisting the Cult in Greenest. Second, it seemed that Greenest had been sacked. This was yet another bit of distressing news for them all. Most of them had personal business to conduct in Greenest. Family and friend were there … and now may be slaves of the Cult … for worse … simple dead.

“I do not trust this Drow,” said Cyanwrath finally. “But he serves a purpose and must be allowed to live … for the time being.”

Fo and Vrae’ree both argued that the Black Spider should be executed for his failure to the Cult. Fo suggested that Vrae’ree be promoted to a position to oversee the Black Spider’s operations, but in the end Cyanwrath made it clear that there would be no changes in operations at this time.

“However,” commented Cyanwrath as he sat forward. “I do have a mission that you can do that is very important.”

Cyanwrath continued to explain to them that The Mere of Dead Men has become a very important location for the Cult of the Dragon. At the edge of the swamp lies CASTLE NAERYTAR where one of the Cult leaders, REZMIR, has decided to use as a base of operations because the castle contains not only a Pool of Radiance but also an ancient portal called THE FARSEER OF ILLUSK.

Cyanwrath sighed. “REZMIR is a trusted sister within the Cult. However, she is focused more on the portal than the operations of the Castle. I fear that she has instead put some of her minions in charge of overseeing transport of the treasure. Since most of the soldiers in that area are subjugated Lizardfolk and Bullywugs, I fear that REZMIR may have made NAERYTR a weak link within our chain.”

Cyanwrath continued. “I would like you to go to CASTLE NAERTYR and ensure that all is well. No not interfere in the operations unless it is clear that things are being delayed or threatened. There is an Orc named BOG LUCK and a Bullywug Shaman named PHARBLEX SPATTERGOO that you will need to make contact with when you arrive.”

The Company explained that they would need provisions and supplies for the mission. Cyanwrath agreed, and instructed one of the large guards to lead them to the treasury to obtain what they needed. He also supplied them with a fist-sized ruby that would transport them to wherever they needed to go next before starting their mission. And at the request of Vrae’ree, they were also given a small scroll with a seal that would identify them as agents of Cyanwrath and the Cult of the Dragon.

Tharivol walked with his companions towards the treasury.  “What have we gotten ourselves into?” he thought. “And how long can this ruse last?”

… to be continued …

REZMIR
REZMIR


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