Friday, September 04, 2015

Dungeons and Dragons: Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Episode 1 - Wherein our heroes fight for dishonor...

The scene setting was done here.

Part 1 is here.

This is a playthrough of the game as our table played it. You may not get the same experience, but there are spoilers if you plan to play.

Bloodied and battered from their first serious conflict, our tepid adventurers recover from their wounds and prepare for their return to the fray. Across the stream, they see the town still held in the clutches of the raiding parties. Screams and shouts fill the air. They hope to free as many people from the terror as possible. But they are also seeking a high-ranking officer, someone to fill in the gaps. And, of course, the mission that brought them to this quaint location - find Leosin Erlanthar.

They remembered seeing a temple on the edge of town, directly across the stream from where they were hiding...ahem....recovering. They decide that was be the place to begin their effort to save as many villagers as possible. They are able to sneak back through the stream bed and up the embankment. They are approaching the temple from its rear facing side. They see a clutch of kobolds gathered around what appears to be the rear entrance; a single door. They also can see a contingent of mixed race looters at the front of the building, perhaps trying to enter by force. Finally, the observe that a roving patrol is encircling the building.

Waiting for the right moment to strike (after the patrol has rounded the corner), the three brave adventurers leap into the attack on the kobolds at the rear entrance. These kobolds are attempting to start a fire at the rear door. The kobolds were led by two humans who wore cultist robes. But the entire group was no match for the swift and deadly strikes of the warriors three.

The party began to creep around the corner of the temple. Using skilled, precision strikes, they thinned the number of patrol members. But as they round the corner to the front of the building, they are observed by the leader of the assault force. Humans and kobolds charge swiftly at our heroes. The fighting was intense, but brief. And as they finished, the patrol makes its return from the backside, having discovered their ranks were smaller and the pile of bodies at the rear of the temple. The party, led by the charismatic and reptilian D'Akath, is allowed to enter the temple. The door is secured behind them.

Faced with the terrified (and now extremely over-cautious) villagers, D'Akath gives a rousing speech to seek defenders. He encourages them for their bravery. He consoles them in their terror. He challenges them to rise to arms. And 2 people step forward to help in the daring plan to escape. The plan: charge out of the rear entrance and get as many people as possible to the stream. The problem: the roving patrol has now split. One contingent of kobolds stands guard at the rear entrance, their chosen path to freedom. The other contingent has returned to the front. Unbeknownst to the occupants (they will know soon, though), the front door assault is preparing to bash down the doors.

D'Akath, the paladin of Denier, takes the lead. He opens the door and rushes out, using his dragonborn gift of acid breath to spray the line of kobolds, so helpfully arrayed right outside the door. Berrian steps out and begins flinging daggers. Toril swings his longsword with quiet ferocity. The kobolds fall swiftly before the onslaught.

D'Akath and Toril take up positions to observe and cover the fleeing villagers. Halfway through their escape, the team assaulting the front door notices the activity and rushes to attack. Toril unstrings his bow and fires with focused accuracy. D'Akath charges into a melee. Berrian, our sneaky little rogue, tries to fight from the shadows. D'Akath must face cultists and the overgrown reptilian drakes they keep as attack animals. It is a struggle as they gang up on D'Akath. But the mercy of Denier protects him. Once the enemy is finished, the party leads the other occupants of the temple back to the storm drain and into safety.

Wisdom prevailing, the party does not kill all of their enemies. Berrian has a cultist prisoner. He brings the prisoner to Governor Nighthill, who wishes to interrogate him. They discover that the raid is designed to loot as many valuables as possible. It is one of many such raids that have taken place in the region.

While Berrian is convincing the cultist to reveal deep, dark secrets through "vays of making him talk", Toril was doing what rangers are gifted at: hunting down replacements for all the arrows he shot. D'Akath, though, was drumming up support among the captive audience of the the townsfolk who were locked in the keep. His rousing speech of facing overwhelming numbers and fighting the good fight, of not fearing anything but fear itself and having a dream produced a tepid response but enlightened the eyes of one young man, Jake from the farm of State.

The captain of the keep's guards rushes in to tell the governor that the mill was under attack. The mill is where the grains for the village is stored. If the mill is burned, and grain is lost, the village will face a hard season of hunger. The party valiantly volunteers to charge forth once more and fight back against the horde.

They sneak out once more into the village. Berrian turns on his super sneaky skills and flits into the office of the mill. There he sees the office has been ransacked, but his super sneaky spy senses tell him that something isn't right. He discovers that there is an ambush prepared in the mill itself. Berrian sneaks back to the rest of the party and informs them of the potential danger. Instead of rushing into the mill, the party sets up a surgical attack to take the guards prisoners or to silently silence them. This works to large degree.

In a house facing the mill, Berrian again employs his "making you talk" skills to discover that the ambush was set specifically for the adventurers. The attack on the mill was a ruse to draw the heroes out and stop their interference. The party steps out into the street to make a plan of attack when a large contingent of town guards shows up. The party stops the guards from rushing into the ambush and informs them of the situation. They, then, leave the mill to the guards.

The party has chosen to sweep through the farther streets to find any remaining villagers who may be hiding. Sweeping through the streets, they dispatch two patrols and rescue one villager. But approaching the town square, they find an overwhelming force. The decision is to return to the keep, looking for any other villagers along the way.

As they approach the keep, they see a crowd of enemy forming along the green. They are able to re-enter the keep just as a blue half-dragon steps out onto the green. He addresses the keep by issuing a challenge. If the village would send forward a champion to fight, he would release the hostages he had taken. He produces a woman and her children. The enemy champion, Langdedrosa Cyanwrath, seeks one-on-one contest with a champion for the citizens of Greenest. D'Akath speaks to the governor and asks for that opportunity to be that champion.

D'Akath steps forward to accept the challenge. Berrian and Toril take cover outside the gates. D'Akath accepts the rules of enagagement for fighting one-on-one. The champions draw their weapons and begin the back and forth of combat. D'Akath seems to be holding his own until Cyanwrath unleashes his lightening breath. D'Akath takes a face full of lightening, but avoids the fullest amount of damage. But he is critically wounded and falls to the ground. Seeing their comrade laid low, Berrian and Toril strike at the kobolds holding the prisoners. But their violation of honor rules of the field of challenge offends Cyanwrath. He turns upon the woman and strikes her down. He then delivers a killing strike on the downed D'Akath.

As Cyanwrath walks away, kobolds rush the walls of the keep. Berrian and Toril fight through the oncoming enemy to reach their fallen companion. They are there to see D'Akath stir, his death forestalled by a miraculous constitution. But when they return to the keep, the governor is furious with them. They cost the life of hostage, caused the kobold rush on the keep, and dishonored the name of the city. He dismisses them for their lack of honor.

Stay tuned for...When the wheel turns.
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