Tyranny of Dragons

1: Greenest in Flames! (Part 1)
And thus our story begins...

At a gathering, several scions of Clan Ak’kanraush were sent off on a heroic quest: to answer the call of one Leosin Erlanthar, an adventurer the clan owed a debt to. There were a few problems with this scenario: no one seems to have heard of him or any debt that might be owed some outsider half-elf. Nonetheless, Arlen, Torinn of Clan Ak’kanraush, and Badarr were sent off with much fanfare by an elder of the clan, Nala as well as gifted a potion of healing each.

The heroes headed off through the Greenfields towards Greenest, a town nestled amongst the grasslands that is where they were supposed to meet Leosin. Along the way, they encountered a travelling caravan they assisted, played a little Three Dragon Ante (profitably, at the expense of one committed but unskilled caravan hand) and felt each other out, getting hints of where they agreed and differed.

Upon cresting the hill overlooking Greenest, they discovered the city under assault! A dragon blasted the central keep, and bands of raiders pillaged and menaced the town. The heroes rushed to the town’s aid, encountering bands of kobolds allied with menacing looking drakes, whom they fought off. It was during the first of these skirmishes that they encountered the fourth member of their band, Alikul, who had slipped away before the ceremony (one step ahead of somone, perhaps?) and had met up with his clan-mates at the town. The heroes saved a family being pursued by the raiders, and were able, with skill and luck, make their way through the ravaged town, picking up more refugees along the way, as they led the citizens to the keep. They were able to make it into the keep just as the doors were being barred, with the aid of the refugees who explained to Escobert the Red, the castellan and head of the guard, that these dragonborn heroes were opposed to the draconic forces that were attacking the town.

Escobert thanked the heroes for their service to Greenrest and took them to the head of the town, Governor Tarbaw Nighthill

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2: Greenest in Flames (Part 2)
A quest to save innocents...

14 Mirtul, 1489 DR, Year of the Warrior Princess

After being escorted to meet Tarbaw Nighthill in one of the towers of the keep, the heroes overcame his reluctance (or, more accurately, he realized his distinct lack of options), and the governor charged them with a quest to assist the town, during its darkest hours. A sizable contingent of the raiders had begun a much more effective cordoning of the keep, to pin the defenders up within it and prevent them from aiding the rest of the town. What the raiders were unaware of, though, was a secret tunnel beneath the keep that lead out to the stream that runs through Greenest, at a point beyond the cordon. The governor pointed out one of the biggest sites in the town, a temple to Chauntea where he had strong reason to believe a contingent of townsfolk had fled.

Castellan Escobert the Red led them to be basement where the tunnel entered the keep, a location barred by a rusted gate and covered by crates, gave them a key, and before leaving charged the heroes with one more request: if they could capture a leader, even a minor one, from the invaders, it might help Nighthill and himself to determine what was going on with this invasion. After clearing a path to the gate, Torinn was able to work the rusted gate and the band entered the path, which true to Nighthill’s information, looked as though it had not been used by the in decades. That did not mean it was uninhabited, though, as the heroes found on their way to the outlet. Two vicious swarms of rats assaulted the heroes, who were able to drive them off with a combination of their dragonborn breath weapons, skill, and a well placed dropkick on Arlen‘s part, that loosened a weak point in the tunnel, allowing a burst of water to wash many of the rats away. Finding the far end of the gate even more rusted, Torinn was nevertheless able to pass it, and snuck out onto the streambed, where he noticed a band of invaders searching the river, apparently for townsfolk. An ambush lead to the defeat of the invaders, but one of the humans and one of the kobolds were taken alive (barely, as they were rendered violently unconscious, but still alive). During this battle, Badarr boldly blew his warhorn as he charged into battle, much to Torinn’s irritation. No invaders, however, answered the call (at that point…)

While Alikul sprinted back to the keep with the unconsious raiders, the rest of the band hid the less lucky members of the search party, and searched them, uncovering a pamphlet identifying them with the Cult of the Dragon. Alikul makde excellent time, and the band headed off, deciding after a short conversation to follow the stream towards the temple. Upon arriving, they found the very large building under siege. The heroes chose to strike at the rear of the temple, where a band of kobolds and humans were setting fire to the backdoor, to try to smoke out the townsfolk or burn down the door to gain enterance, while the invaders at the front battered at the door and other raiders mobbed the outside. Another intense fight followed, but the cultists were defeated and another missle dropkick on Arlen’s part drove apart the smoldering door. The townsfolk were clearly terrified, nearly out of their minds with fear as they assumed the dragonborn of Clan Ak’kanraush were part of the raiding group, but Badarr’s powerfully magnetic personality saved the day, instantly calming the crowd in a nearly superdragonborn feat. The Arlen and Torrin then ushered the townsfolk (numbering several dozen) out of the temple, while Badarr and Alikul fought a rearguard action against several ambush drakes, who fell under their attack.

The heroes then escorted the townsfolk back to the secret gate barring the tunnel that led to keep. However, it was there that they encountered a large band of raiders, who apparently had responded to the sound of Badarr’s horn, and were inspecting the signs of battle but had not found the entrance itself, due in part to Arlen’s help in camouflaging it. With the raiders standing between the heroes and safety for the townfolk, they had no option to assault the larger force. A vicious battle ensued, with several of the heroes falling under the blades or claws of the cultists, only to be revived by their fellow adventurers. The battle pitched back and forth, with the outcome looking very much in doubt, but the heroes were able to rally and fight back, finishing off the kobolds, humans, and vicious ambush drakes, before opening the gate and ushering the townsfolk into the safety of the keep. The heroes made certain the entrance was well covered, and the gates were in good working order, before retiring to the keep itself, to check in with Escobert and Nighthill.

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3: Greenest in Flames (Part 3)

After making their way back into the keep, our heroes rested and recovered their strength after the ferocious battle with the war band just outside the secret tunnel entrance. As they relaxed, Torinn thought back on the dragon, and now lucky they were that the dragon hadn’t torn the keep apart by now… which, on reflection, led him to realize that the dragon may not be quite as eager a participant in the battle as they suspected! Alikul attempted to strike up a game of 3 Dragon Ante to no avail, while Badarr sang tales of soothing relaxation and Arlen practiced his lute.

After a short rest, Tarbaw Nighthill and Escobert the Red summoned the heroes to the tower, and explained the prisoners have been interrogated, and while the kobolds mostly babbled about Lennithon they also mentioned working for “the dragon lady”. The other prisoners revealed after much persuasion that the mission was to collect loot “for the great hoard that will usher in the reign of the Queen of Dragons.”

At this point the conversation was interrupted by Lennithon once more attacking the castle, seemingly in earnest. The dragon attacked a nearby wall, heavily manned with guards. Alikul (and one particularly sharp eyed guard!) struck back at the dragon, but Torinn pressed them to parlay, and Badarr used his bardic powers, praising the dragon’s power and explaining how this attack was beneath it’s majesty. As all of the heroes and guard (well, those that remained after its wing buffet sent several to their deaths), some combination of the wounds they inflicted, the persuasive words of Badarr, and the sight of all of the defenders on the wall (including, teeth clenched, the dragonborn heroes) kneeling before it, convinced the dragon that it had nothing more to gain from this attack, that it had accomplished the mission before it, and it flew off into the night. A cheer went up from the warriors, praising the heroes for their role in driving off the dangerous beast. There was little time to spare, however, as Escobert infomed them that a sally port had been breached.

The heroes rushed to the courtyard and beat back an assault from a group of the Cultists who had taken control of the port. The outer door was badly damaged, and a blacksmith was sent for to repair it. What they got instead was some sort of wizard, who’s magics worked on the door, but slowly. As another warband approached the castle, the heroes went out into no-man’s land to buy the wizard time to repair the door. They did, routing the attackers, weilding their breath weapons fiercely as the cultists assaulted them, and cutting down the attacking force.

With the sally port once more secure, the heroes were faced with another challenge. A half-dragon warrior, Langdedrosa Cyanwrath He, along with his personal guard of 16 kobolds (including one with wings!) strode forth with a woman from Greenest (sister of one of the guards) and her 3 children. He challenged a champion of Greenest to come forth and battle him, in exchange for the prisoners. Arlen stepped up to the challenge (after some discussion!) and the heroes warily went out onto the field to meet the cultist. The children were released, and their mother held back as a hostage to insure the heroes abided by the terms: one on one combat. Langdedrosa leaped forward and unleashed a fiersome lighting attack on Arlen, but his draconic heritage allowed him to withstand the blow. The two warriors fought a vicious duel, with Langdedrosa at first treating Arlen somewhat casually, but Arlen’s prowess forced him to abandon that. In the end, however, the half-dragon struck down the brave Arlen. The children were released, and victorious cultist strutted off. After much debate about attacking the retreating cultist, it was decided that no safe opening existed, and the two forces parted ways. Arlen was returned to the keep, and the High Priest of Chauntea used his healing powers to rescue the warrior from death’s door.

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4-6: The Raiders' Camp

The events below occur up through 22 Mirtul, 1489 DR, Year of the Warrior Princess

After their successful defense of Greenest, the heroes finally were able to take advantage of a well-earned night of rest and relaxation. In the morning, their outlook was brighter; their bodies ached less, their mood was brighter and their bellies were full. Hailed as the defenders of Greenest, they were, however, not given much of a chance to rest on their laurels, as Escobert the Red and Tarbaw Nighthill had another charge for them. Governor Nighthill urgently needed information on the raiders’ camp: would the heroes perform reconnaissance for him? They swiftly agreed, and were promised reward for their service, as well as supplies to assist them.

While they were gathering supplies, Nesim Waladra, a young monk, came to them. Having heard they were on their way to the raiders’ camp, he asked if they would search for his mentor, Leosin Erlanthar. As this was the first news they had actually heard of the target of the quest the clan elders had laid upon them, they jumped at the news.

Arlen followed the tracks out of town; while a blind man could have followed the tracks given the size of the warband, he was able to determine additional information as well, including the fact there were wagons laden down with treasure and hauled by great lizards. The heroes came upon a band of stragglers, and after a brief battle overcame them, questioning survivors who (along with having a cache of treasure clearly stolen from the temple of Chauntea in Greenest) told of the camp’s location and the presence of a rearguard to await just such a band as themselves. Armed with this information, the heroes were able to circumvent the ambush laid for them at a boulder-strewn point between two hills, and passed on to locate the camp, which was nestled within a horseshoe-shaped high rocky mesa. Using some of the gear they recovered from the stragglers and Alikul’s skills at disguise, they were able to enter the camp undetected as just another group of stragglers…

The heroes of Clan Ak’kanraush infiltrated the camp and split up, gathering information. Through a variety of means (including a game of Three Dragon Ante), they discovered that the warband was led by Rezmir and Frumlam Mondath, and while most were members of the Cult of the Dragon, not all were. Prisoners taken during the raids were used for manual labor, though some joined the cult. The raiders consisted of roughly 100 humans and 100 kobolds, who were there due to their worshipful devotion to dragons. No sign of Lennithon was seen. Plunder was stored in a cave in the mesa wall, which appeared to be larger than the average cave the heroes discovered, and was near a single, larger tent. They heroes also heard that Leosin Erlanthar was being held prisoner, and that it was believed that he was of special interest to Rezmir.

The heroes located Leosin in an area devoted to prisoners, where he was lashed to a cross stake. Torinn approached him covertly to inform him that they would break him out, but he resisted, indicating he was there by choice to gain information. His weakened state revealed that the imprisioning had taken a serious toll on the monk, and Torinn was able to convince him that he needed to leave. Late in the evening, around 2AM, the heroes stole up, freed him from his confinement. Alikul worked his disgusing skills on him, and they were able to steal out of the camp before the escape was noticed. The heroes made their way to their horses, and were able to return to Greenest ahead of the search parties. The heroes returned to Greenest, delivering Leosin to his fellow monks and reporting in to the governor, who paid them as agreed.

While Leosin recovered, the heroes rested and restocked their supplies. Badarr donated his share of the reward to the rebuilding of Greenest. Alikul indulged his love of games of chance, Arlen returned to the church of Chauntea, returning the stolen treasure, and Torinn negotiated for gems from his compatriots, as well as donating to the Chaunteans to support a couple of children orphaned by the raid.

Eventually, Leosin recovered and asked his rescuers to return to the camp. He needed agents to observe the camp, to report on any movements, particularly related to the cave, while Leosin trekked north to the town of Eltruel, where he needs to consult with one of his allies, Ontharr Frume, who shared his concerns about the cult.

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6-9: The Dragon Hatchery

The heroes set forth from Greenest on their quest to return to the Raiders’ camp, at Leosin Erlanthar‘s request. Despite their sharp eyes, a band of scouts from Clan Delmirev ambushed them. Badarr, normally the most diplomatic of the heroes, could not hide his contempt for the clan, but Arlen, a fellow ranger, bonded with the scouts’ leader, Mehen, and eventually managed to secure from him a pledge of assistance against the cultists in the future. Badarr, whoever, was not satisfied and gave a dramatic speech, trying to rally scouts to join them now, and managed to sway one of the youngest: Pandjed. Mehen tried to order Pandjed to remain, but he ignored Mehen, motivated by Badarr’s speech to seek glory with the heroes of Clan Ak’kanraush. Mehen eventually gave his assent, though it is unclear as to whether or not he considered his oath to Arlen fulfilled.

The heroes pressed on, finding one of the hunters they had heard from the Delmirev scouts, who were feeding the camp. Their interrogation did not go well, however, as Pandjed accidentally put an arrow in the hunter’s throat. The heroes made their way to the camp, where Arlen’s ranger skills determined there was both an infernal presence as well as some sort of draconic presense. This revelation led Alikul to reveal his raven familiar was in fact a shape-changed imp, explaining Arlen’s information. The imp, able to remain invisible, was sent into the camp, which was seemingly empty. It scouted the entrance of the cave (the one they had previously been told housed dragon eggs), and found a couple of guards.

The heroes entered the camp, ordering off the one remaining hunter, and made their way into the caves. The heroes overcame the guards, and made their way deeper into the cave, discovering soon that it was a full-blown warren of twisting passages and chambers in the mesa. The heroes overcame a series of foes, including mobile fungi, kobolds, and traps, eventually encountering Langdedrosa Cyanwrath in a chamber covered in draconic carvings and a great statue of Tiamat. He and his guards, beefy wild but undisciplined berserker warriors. After vicious fight that nearly saw Arlen killed, the heroes were triumphant and the foes defeated. Torinn examined a treasure chest and carefully opened it, using his skills to barely avoiding a trap that seemed likely to bathe the room in acid, and instead finding treasure: a string of pearls, a gold and sapphire ring, and a pouch of 6 masterfully cut stones.

After a rest (taking the form of a Three Dragon Ante game), and despite Arlen’s interest in resting up for the evening, the heroes pressed on, finding another cavern with a series of dragon eggs and a peculiar stalagmite that caught Torinn’s eye. After slaying the kobold and drake guardians, the heroes destroyed two of the black dragon eggs, and realized that the stalagmite was in fact Szaash, a roper! They soon discovered the roper was more hungry than loyal to the cult, and with bribes of food (in the form of slain foes) and the promise of greater food beyond, the beast wandered off, seemingly leaving the heroes in peace.

The heroes continued to explore the caverns, finding the lair of Frumlam Mondath. Torrin snuck up into her quarters, and a tremendous battle ensued, with her guards and fellow cultists rushing to her aid as the heroes battled them. She summoned vicious draconic spirits which savaged both friend and foe alike, but eventually the adventurers’ were too much for the cultist, and she was put down. They found evidence in her papers that the rest of the treasure had been carried off towards Castle Naerytar except for the few pieces they uncovered in Cyanwrath’s room. The heroes caught their breath and planned their next steps…

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