Friday, September 04, 2015

Dungeons and Dragons: Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Episode 2 - A Kiss Is But a Kiss...

The scene setting was done here.

Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.
Part 3 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.

When we left our heroes, the party had been split. Much of it was not of their own choosing. But as you may recall, Berrian, Toril, Elroar, and Jake were tied to a stake in the enemy camp. Their execution was set for the following day. With them was another prisoner (whose fate you shall soon learn). D'Akath had been consigned to a tent with other members of the raiding party and Cult of the Dragon.

Berrian and the prisoner tied with them, strike up a conversation. This is none other than Leosin Erlathar, the one they were sent to deliver a message. Leosin has been tortured and is weak, but he has not given up on his plan to get as much information as possible. He works with Berrian and the others to plan their escape and rescue D'Akath.

D'Akath, meanwhile, is being watched by guards who escorted him to one of the tents of cult members. He listens to the conversation and is able to gain some information about the raiders and their camp. But his effort is interrupted when he is summoned to the tent of Frulam Mondath. Upon his arrival, he anticipates another interrogation. Frulam begins that way, but the conversation takes a turn, a very seductive turn. D'Akath is more than willing to be seduced.

The rest of the party witnesses D'Akath being led into the main tent and believe it is time to act. They were able to untie themselves and attack their guards. Dressing the uniforms of the guards, Berrian moves through the camp to locate their weapons and armor and other belongings. Jake moves through some of the tents looking for their belongings, also, but finds captives from Greenest and other communities captured by the raiders. He brings them back in the effort to rescue them.

In order to move toward their escape, Berrian and Elroar move to the farthest guard tower and set it on fire. Toril and Leosin set a watch over the escape route, up the ladder to the guard tower they attacked before. With the tasks complete, the party moves to "rescue" D'Akath. Hearing sounds of a "struggle" inside, Toril moves swiftly to cut his way into the tent. He finds Frulam and D'Akath engaged in something less violent. But still needing to recover D'Akath, he knocks Frulam unconscious. Comrades almost come to blows, but they quickly recover and depart.

The party is able to escape the encampment and return to Greenest without being accosted. Leosin invites the party to return to his own inn to discuss the next phase of the operation. D'Akath returns to the keep to collect their fee and report their findings. Instead of finding Escobert, D'Akath is greeted by a thankful Governor Nighthill, who gladly pays for the work of the party.

Leosin waits for D'Akath to return before discussing his needs. His initial plan was to uncover the plans of the Cult of the Dragon. The message that Berrian brought changes his plan. He must move toward Elturel and meet with others in the work against the cult. But Leosin needs to know what the Cult will continue to do. He asks the party if they would be willing to return to the encampment and observe their movements then report of changes.

The party is willing and return the encampment the next morning. Thinking that the encampment would be the same, they are surprised to see the camp nearly abandoned. The camp is partially burned and the majority of guards are gone. Jake and Toril infiltrate a party of hunters to discover more about what has happened. Berrian, D'Akath, and Elroar observe from the plateau. The observation is that the activity has moved from the camp into a cavern in the back of the canyon.

The hunting party returns and Toril joins another party. Jake remains in the hunters camp. But he was dressed in the armor of a cult guard. A superior officer discovers Jake, assumes he is a guard slacking on his duties, and drags him back into the cavern. Berrian begins to move down the plateau and sneak into the cavern. D'Akath and Elroar wait for Toril's return.

Next time....Into the Depths

Dungeons and Dragons: Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Episode 2 - When the Wheel Turns

The scene setting was done here.

Part 1 is here.
Part 2 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.

 After the shaming way they were dismissed by the governor, our heroes find themselves torn between the task of continuing the search and the desire to help the citizens of this place. The local healers bring restoration to their bodies, but not their minds. They still need to find a way to go forward. Out of the crowds of villagers, a young monk steps forward. He approaches the trio plus Jake to seek their aid. The raiders have left Greenest with valuables of the villagers. The monk, Nesim, was a companion to Leosin Erlanthar. He was the one the party was to meet in Greenest. Now, it seems that Leosin is missing. He was there at the beginning of the attack. His original purpose was to infiltrate the raiders. He is gone now.The party agrees to seek him out and, if need be, return him.

Berrian and Toril choose to investigate the missing monk. They begin by searching his room at the inn. They find nothing that provides more information. D'Akath has returned to the keep for supplies. He believes he may be the only member of the party who the governor won't have slapped in prison on sight. As he arrives at the gate, a guard recognizes him and informs D'Akath that the captain of the keep would like to see him. D'Akath reports to the Escobert the Red and seeks assistance in the way of supplies. Escobert is grateful for the assistance of the party. He asks, without the blessing of the governor, if the party would be willing to pursue the raiders to find more information or recover the valuables that were taken.

D'Akath agrees on behalf of the party. But he still needs arms and supplies. He also asks for any assistance that may be able to go with them. Escobert offers the arms of fallen guards, but refuses to send any guards. He does point out, though, a wizard who has been in town as a possible candidate to join. D'Akath grabs the needed weapons and supplies and seeks out the wizard, Elroar. The wizard has been seeking an adventure and seems eager to join in hunting down the raiders. D'Akath also accepts the young Jake of the farm State as his squire and follower.

The new, expanded party sets out on the obvious trail of the bandits. Riding off into the hills south of town, the party encounters a clueless band of lagging cultists and kobolds. Sneaking upon the camp, the surpise attach catches the band unguarded, unarmed, and divided. The camp is the scene of very quick and decisive victory for our heroes.

Continuing on the trail, the heroes blunder into an ambush that had been set for them. A rear guard had placed themselves among the high walls of a canyon. After dropping rocks on the party, the enemy begins to fire arrows down upon them. The more agile among the party quickly scaled the sloped walls and put themselves among their attackers. A few wounds and a little more guarded, the party leaves the scene of the broken ambush and resumes tracking the raiders.

Berrian and Toril decide to scout ahead, and it is they who find the encampment of the raiders. They have established a semi-permanent base of operations in a horseshoe canyon. Huts and guard towers dot the protected enclave. The party decides to rest and wait for evening to make their move to infiltrate the camp.

Sneaking up the back of the plateau, Berrian and Toril believe they can convince the kobold guards in one of the guard towers to let them pass. The kobolds are not convinced and raise an alarm. Fearing that his comrades are in trouble, D'Akath leaps from the canyon rim to reach the guard tower. He fails. But he is able to save himself from serious harm by grabbing the supports of the tower legs. The guards are quickly silenced, but the damage is done.

Berrian and Toril are able to deceive the responding guards that they are members of the raiders. They send some of the responding kobolds along the rim of the canyon, away from the party, with a little help from Elroar.

Elroar and Jake retreat to the supplies in their temporary camp and await the return of the other party members. The other members are able to escape the canyon rim, but they are quickly cut off from their escape by guards coming to find the intruders. They are marched, unarmed, back into camp. They are questioned by the leader of the camp, a cleric and member of the Cult of Dragons, Frulam Mondath.

In the course of questioning, most of the party tries to hid their identity and purpose. Frulam is not impressed. But as her eyes fall upon the tall, bronze dragonborn, she sees something different. D'Akath throws caution to the wind and is honest about himself, if not the purpose of the party. Frulam puts D'Akath under guard and sends him to the tents of the cultists. The rest, she has them tied to stakes in the camp, stripped to their underclothes, and plans to execute them the following day.

Berrian, Toril, Elroar, and Jake consider their situation. They are tied up in the enemy camp. They face execution. Their strongest ally is hidden away among their enemies.

How will they escape this predicament?
What has happened to D'Akath and how will they recover their friend?
How will they get away from a camp of overwhelming numbers without weapons or clothes?
Who is this fellow silently eyeing them, tied to his own stake?

Tune in next time for Well That Could Have Gone Better.

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.