Adventures of Team TPK

The Ruined Temple of Chauntea - Part 3
Once more unto the breach, dear friends

Hear Abbot Darovik himself is coming to Phandalin
Town Council discuss whether to close it now
Fizbo gets earth elemental rock
Down into the Underdark again
Traps – Get hit by acid/rocks, Igo gets caught by spectral tendrils, Igo sees green slime
Shield of Farsight
Mushroom Cavern – waves of enemies. Darisa spends most of her time stunned. Discover MF plan to collapse tunnel trapping the party.
Discussion whether to proceed – Goldi goes misty to scout
Assault on Mind Flayer Outpost
Brain in a jar
Find Aunt Maggie has left for a short time. Party speculate if linked to arrival of Abbot Darovik.

The Ruined Temple of Chauntea - Part 2
Into the Underdark

Review info
Goblins make contact with Fizbo
Fizbo and Bonnie clear the rubble, Bonnie unable to come on adventure
Investigate Aunt Maggie’s dealings
Enter, find diary, map
Once more unto the breach, dear friends
Grimlocks harvesting fungi
Grell nearly kills TND
Rest in cave
Continue, find Shield of Farsight, get psionic blasted, take eye out
Into mushroom cavern – Simon, Thrall Priests, Grimlocks
Retreat out with Simon (and staff) and Thrall Priest

The Ruined Temple of Chauntea
Rescuing Sister Garaele

Meet Aunt Maggie on the road
The Ruined Temple at a distance – initial combat
The Ruined Temple up close – combat
Igo sneaked around back, attacked
Guinne sneaked – seen and attacked
Igo finds Garaele while fight still going on
Kill the baddies, search around, find stairs
Note stairs have been blocked from below
Go investigate info and find out about the ruined temple.

Lost Mine of Phandelver

Bare bones again, taken from my notes:

Encounterd Stirges – not surprised. Goldi does detect magic ritual – strong pull of magic northeast (NE).
Skeletons (5) – Eric killed all but 3, goblins betting on outcome.
Decided not to go through fungus, Goldi recognised the spore danger. Perception, hear moaning from NE.
Ghouls (6) surprised and charged, wiped out before they could retaliate
Ghouls (9) not surprised, but Fizbo killed all but 3 with fireball and Goldi killed rest with lightning bolt. Igo feels redundant and inadequate.
(7) looks like a good place to rest
Ochre Jelly (2), Bonnie splits it with axe, but it was badly hurt by then from Ray of Frost (more powerful now) and thrown hammer. Ochre Jelly wounds Bonnie, goblins cast cure wounds to help her.
Area 10 – found Ring of Spell Storing with 2 spells still in it
Goldi scouts in gaseous form, finds bugbears (room 18), a party of drow (room 19).
Plan to kill bugbears goes well. Guinne invis pushes ladder to trap 3 bugbears, Goldi in gaseous form surrounds bugbear acolyte’s head so difficult to breathe and is incapacitated.
Kill acolyte and bugbear chief quickly, then rain spells and missile weapons on 3 bugbears climbing cliff and kill them. The left the dungeon to rest.

Next morning they came back, and took on the drow, with complete success, even though they summoned a demon to help them. It turned out the drow priestess was The Black Spider, she was trying to make a name for herself so she could climb higher up the rankings in her drow House. They found Gundren’s other brother a captive of the drow and rescued him. The Spellforge was glowing blue, and radiating chaotic magic. The drow appeared to have been trying to fix it because it appeared to have been warped over time, possibly by the event known as “The Spellplague” over a century ago. It does not appear useable, and may even be dangerous. Gundren said he would seal up the area where the Spellforge was located until they could find someone to help repair it. In the meantime they would reopen the mine for its main purpose, which was mining mithral.

  • Everyone goes back to town, the goblins go off again (which Guinne is happy about, she suspects one of them might have stabbed her during the fight with the drow, but then the acolyte goblin healed her, so she’s not sure).
  • Gundren and his surviving brother Nundro organise for the mine to start up again. Within a few weeks dwarves started arriving in Phandalin, buying supplies and food, which has increased the town’s prosperity. The mines will not start producing minerals for a year or two yet, but the dwarf miners still need to be provisioned.
  • As no dwarf priest came with the miners, Sister Garaele makes the mines one of her rounds to assist with magical healing for those who need healing from injuries.
The Return to Phandalin
More information is revealed

It’s been a while since we played this so only the bare bones:-

Gundren is worried about his brothers. He was captured by someone who knew he would have a map of the mine, someone called The Black Spider who used the Cragmaw Castle tribe as mercenaries. There were two doppelgangers, one was Sausage the dog, the other acted as a drow emissary who had been killed in the battle with the Cragmaw leader King Grol the bugbear.

The party returned the diary and the purple kiiara to Agatha the Banshee in Conyberry. She dropped the black kiiara she had been wearing, and transformed into a beautiful ghost who smiled at the party before fading away (with the purple kiiara). Goldi picked up the black kiiara, knowing from the diary it is tainted and will turn whoever wears it evil (if it doesn’t kill them first). She is looking for a way of disposing it.

In Phandalin the goblins spent their time squabbling and bullying each other and anyone else (usually children), and stealing chickens, pies set to cool on windowsills, or anything not nailed down. Eventually, after a few complaints, Fizbo told the goblins they had to leave town and find somewhere to hole up for a while until the party leaves town, when they can join them again. The goblins did so reluctantly (with a few stolen chickens in their pack).

A few days later the party with Gundren headed to Phandelver Mine, meeting the goblins on the way. Fizbo acts as if he were Felonius Gru and they were minions. The party encountered griffons on the way but the creatures fled after a few well-placed missile weapons. On the way they found the bodies of three prospectors, nailed to trees, missing their heads. They arrived at Phandelver mine, only to discover one of Gundren’s brothers body, also missing his head. Gundren stayed outside with the gear, while the party moved into the mine.

Cragmaw Castle
Rescuing Gundren - finally

They left the horse and cart about a mile from the castle. They unhitched the horse and left it on a long, loose tether so it could free itself if attacked. Fizbo was worried for his ride home.
“See, this is why I don’t want to deal with horses,” said Bonnie.

They moved quietly through the forest until they came to a cleared area where the ruined castle stood. The castle consisted of seven crumbling towers of different sizes and heights, but the upper stories were all in varying states of collapse.
“It’s of elven design,” whispered Goldi.
A short flight of steps led up to a terrace in front of the main entryway. Past the wreckage of sundered doors lay an shadowed hall. Round towers loomed over the entranceway, with dark arrow slits looking down on the terrace.

The party decided to sit and observe for a while. Goblins riding lean and unhealthy looking wolves were soon seen, patrolling around the cleared area around the castle. Movement was seen at the arrow slits of one tower.
“Shut the dog up,” hissed Bonnie, as Sausage started growling at the wolves. Guinne put her hand around the dog’s muzzle and soothed her.

A plan was made, and Guinne and Tai Ni Dong waited for the goblins to pass and then scaled the wall. When they were both ready Tai Ni Dong fired his crossbow into the arrow slit, catching a goblin and then he and Guinne slipped inside and quickly dispatched three goblins guards. They waved to the rest of the party.

goblinwolf-rider.jpgWhen the goblin wolf riders came around again, the party attacked by surprise. There were many goblin riders, but the party had archery support from the tower and and spell support from Eric, Goldi and Fizbo. Bonnie slashed and cut with her axe, and Igo was everywhere stabbing with his sword and slashing with his scimitar. Hobgoblins appeared out of the castle, and they fought as a disciplined team. However soon the hobgoblins, goblins and half starved wolves were all dead. Igo had several small wounds, but Bonnie had a few nasty stab wounds from the hobgoblins. Eric cast a cure wounds on her and saw her wounds close up.

“Shall we continue into the castle?” asked Igo.
“No, we’re nearly out of spells, and they are no doubt in ambush waiting for us,” said Bonnie. “We’ll rest and come back. Maybe they’ll think it was just a one off raid. Either way they won’t be on high alert when we come back.”
“What if they send a patrol after us?” asked Eric.
“They might,” she replied, “but no one else is coming out now which makes me think they don’t have as many troops as we were afraid of. But those that are there have homeground advantage, and are no doubt lying in wait.”

The party returned back to where their horse and cart were, Sausage happily following behind. Igo masked and confused their tracks. They rested uneventfully overnight, ate cold rations rather than have a fire, and the spellcasters prepared their spells.

Early the next morning they made their way to the castle again. There were no obvious sentinels, not even any movement in the arrow slits. They entered the castle, but almost immediately Bonnie tripped a trap, dropping literally a ton of rubble from a net. She dived out of the way just in time, but her armour still had some new dents.
“So much for surprise,” laughed Igo.
“Can Guinne look for traps, do you think?” asked Bonnie, dusting off her armour.

Grick-5e.pngGuinne found no more traps. The first room they went into was a dark hall, and hidden on the ledge was a worm like creature as heavy as Bonnie.
“It’s a grick,” advised Fizbo. “Hard to kill.”
They shot at the grick, which ducked behind statues of elven angels, and while they were distracted a second grick jumped from the ledge above onto Igo. He was badly wounded but the party eventually dispatched both creatures with magic and with Guinne’s magic arrows. Normal weapons and arrows hurt them, but not as much.

The hallway had thick curtains at one end. Beyond the curtains, nervous goblins waited in a shrine which had once been dedicated to an elven god, but had been desecrated and bloody, ragged tapestries showed the symbol of the goblin god Maglubiyet. The battle was brief – as soon as the goblin priest was killed, the three goblins still alive surrendered. The party had several goblin speakers, and so communication with them was not a problem. After interrogation they found out several important bits of information.

  • The chief Grol was a bugbear, who called himself King Grol
  • King Grol was currently entertaining an emissary from the Black Spider. The goblins didn’t know who or what was the Black Spider.
  • There was some conflict between the chief of the hobgoblins, Targor Bloodsword and King Grol. To minimise the chance of a coup, King Grol had sent Targor Bloodsword and a contingent of hobgoblins on a long patrol. They were due back any day now.
  • Two hobgoblins guarded the chambers to where the meeting with the emissary of the Black Spider was taking place.
  • The hobgoblins had captured an owlbear and confined it to a tower. King Grol didn’t know what to do with it.

After pointing out on the map what was where, the party decided to set fire to a storeroom using lamp oil, and drive out any hobgoblins in the room beyond. They didn’t see any, and the goblins suggested they would have gotten out of a hole in the collapsed wall anyway. No hobgoblins appeared.

With Sausage still following behind, they made their way to where the hobgoblins were guarding the meeting room. When their old trick of using a web spell on a doorway didn’t work, Fizbo cast a charm spell on one of them, and told the hobgoblin the other was planning to kill him. There must have been some rancour between the hobgoblins, because it immediately started a squabble which escalated into a fight. When they had weakened each other the party killed the non-charmed hobgoblin. The three goblins towing along behind almost clapped! They hadn’t been so entertained in a long time. Then Fizbo gave the still charmed hobgoblin a vial of oil, lit a cloth wick and instructed the creature to enter the chamber and throw the incendiary device at the king while the party would charge in while everyone was distracted.

The chamber beyond had been set up as a crude living space, with thick furs thrown on the floor to serve as carpets, old trophies hung from the walls, a brazier of burning coals provided heat and light. A pile of furs which might have been a bed was in the corner, next to a wooden and iron chest. Inside the room was another hobgoblin guard, a hobgoblin spellcaster, an enormous bugbear who must have been King Grol, a giant wolf which was obviously King Grol’s pet and bodyguard, and a female drow in chainmail. This last person must have been the Black Spider’s emissary. Also tied up and unconscious on the floor was Gundren the dwarf.

kinggrol.jpgThings happened very quickly – the wolf moved forward and copped the brunt of the flung oil flask. Battle was joined, even the goblins went in, and during the combat the drow woman stabbed Gundren on the floor, and was going to stab him again but Bonnie made it to stop her. Two of the three goblins were acolytes, and understanding the situation and now having thrown in their fortunes with the party, used healing magic on the dwarf. The charmed hobgoblin and the enemy hobgoblin were fighting each other. Fizbo cast a fireball from his staff of fire even though he wasn’t really confident he could control the magic. It worked perfectly, however, and did a lot of damage to both the dire wolf and King Grol while missing all of his allies. It killed the hobgoblin spellcaster outright, just as it was using it’s magic to move Tai Ni Dong into harm’s way.

Fizbo suddenly felt a piercing pain and turned in surprise to see another drow attacking him where only Sausage had been seconds before. Fizbo knew he was in trouble and that Sausage had been some kind of shapeshifter all along. He yelled for help and Igo came back to assist with his shortsword and scimitar. Goldi turned her spells onto the threat in the rear. The enemies were all killed in the room, and the charmed hobgoblin had also been killed. The drow woman’s body morphed in death to a grey skinned, featureless humanoid.

doppelganger.jpgWhen it looked like the second drow was about to die, it dramatically touched its chest and said “I am undone! I release this body from possession!” and collapsed and changed back into Sausage the dog. Fizbo went to kill it, but Guinne stopped him.
“Didn’t you hear? Sausage was possessed! She’s back now.”
Fizbo pursed his lips but didn’t push his way past the halfling.
The dog painfully got up and limped off, whining piteously. Fizbo waited until it got a bit further away, then cast magic missile at it. The dog screamed and collapsed, dead this time. It’s body increased in size and changed shape into a featureless grey humanoid, just as the other drow had done.
“Doppelganger,” said Fizbo. “I knew it.”
“Oh,” said Guinne.

Eric cast healing magic on Gundren, who blinked and sat up. He and Bonnie exchanged a hug, and then he looked for his gear.

The chest was opened and there were many old elven coins, no doubt dug up from the ruins of the castle. There were many other bits and pieces, some valuable, some not. Gundren’s map was in there, inside a leather scroll case. There was also an old book, and an elven made tiara with a long purple gem set in front.
“It’s a kiiara,” said Goldi, with awe. “So rare!” She examined the book carefully, its pages were crumbling to the touch.
“This is Agatha’s diary!” she exclaimed. “Well, her name then was Auglatha, and she was an elven princess living in this castle.”
“Read it later,” said Bonnie. “I don’t want to get caught here when the hobgoblin patrol comes back.”
“We can probably talk the hobgoblin leader into thinking of himself more as a successor to King Grol rather than his avenger,” suggested Eric.
“I’d rather not take the risk,” said Bonnie. “Hobgoblins are a different proposition to goblins and bugbears.”
“I’m skinning this dire wolf!” said Fizbo, taking a knife and hacking at the corpse. Igo sighed and took his own knife and expertly skinned it.
“It’s going to need curing when we get to Phandalin,” he said.

Igo wanted to free the owlbear. They were irritable, aggressive creatures at the best of times, he had no doubt this one would be likely to attack on sight. The others left him to it, and he held out a clump of dried meat from his rations as he opened the door. The owlbear made to charge, but stopped, observing Igo’s soothing sounds and body language. A great paw snatched the meat and while it ate, Igo retreated. The owlbear left the castle shortly afterwards. The stink of the room almost made the party leave immediately, but something had caught Igo’s eye – it was a half buried chest, old and rotten. The owlbear had uncovered it when it was clawing at the walls, trying to get out. Inside were more coins, and some old vials which stored some potions.
“Elvish made,” said Goldi. “We make things to last, those potions will still be good.”

The party left Cragmaw Castle. They took the three goblins with them, not willing to kill them, but not willing to leave them behind so they could tell the returning hobgoblins everything. There had been some other goblins who had already fled during the battle, but they would not be able to tell the hobgoblins much.

“Woo!” cheered Fizbo. “Goblin henchmen!”
“Let’s get going and get back home!” said Bonnie.

[to be continued]


The route to Cragmaw Castle mostly followed the road. Towards the end of the day Sausage ran off the road and barked at something they couldn’t see behind a bush. They investigated and found an exhausted horse and empty cart. The horse had been injured, bloody claw marks along its flank were flyblown and oozing blood and pus. The healers of the group steadied the horse and cleaned its wounds and Eric cast a healing spell on it, the magic ejecting pus and dead flesh before sealing itself up, leaving only scars. The horse visibly calmed as Igo stroked its nose.
“You got your horse, Fizbo,” grinned Guinne. Fizbo climed into the cart, although there weren’t any reins – the cart was made to carry goods, not people, and the horse was meant to be led.
“What do you think caused the wounds?” asked Bonnie to Igo. The elf shrugged. “If there were big cats in this area, I’d say one of those, but there aren’t as far as I know.”
There were no other victims in the area, and Igo judged the horse had run for many miles before stopping from exhaustion. The party decided to push on.

By the end of a hard day’s travel they had covered about 24 miles and were camping just off the Triboar Trail near Icespire Peak. After they had tended to the horse and set up camp, Bonnie told them of the Icehammer dwarves of Icespire Peak and how they battled the Frost Giant king Lakkar who was using an artefact called The Winterforge . She had just finished telling the story of Lakkar’s defeat when Sausage started growling and staring off into the night. They all grabbed their weapons, just as Igo – who had been on watch – appeared.
“A man comes,” the elf said, and then faded back into the night. Into the edge of the firelight came a man, scruffy, lanky, with ragged clothes but well fed and moved like a dancer. He held up his hands in the universal sign of peace.
The man called himself Jarad and claimed he had come to see if the party were willing to sell him or trade for any magic or silvered weapons. He claimed to be part of a group that had been taken over by a shapeshifter named Murgo who was forcing them to attack merchants and travellers on the Triboar Trail, and he wanted the weapon to kill him and move the group away from the area.
“We’re going to attract too much attention,” Jarad said, his voice low and raspy. “It’s bad enough avoiding the hobgoblins from the castle. I mean we could take them, but their leader has a magic weapon. Some of us might die.”
“Cragmaw Castle?” asked Bonnie.
“Yeah,” replied Jarad. “The hobgoblins are organised, like humans. The goblins and bugbears are shit, they don’t care about much except eating and treasure and don’t do a lot of planning.”
The party didn’t trust Jarad, and Sausage kept growling at him. They refused his request. Jarad did not become angry, nor did he seem too disappointed.
“Fair enough. Just beware a blonde man with a notch in his ear. He is a shapeshifter, and an evil bastard.” Seconds later he faded away into the night.
“I think we pretty much know what happens next,” said Fizbo, and Goldi nodded.
“What?” asked Tai Ni Dong.
Bonnie replied: “Come morning – earlier probably – Jarad will lead those he wants killed to us, so we do his dirty work for him. So be it, might as well wait here for him. Keep your weapons handy, team.”
As expected, just before dawn a group of rough looking men approached the camp, violence most definitely on their minds. Jarad was at the back, although he had the sense at least to not smirk. The leader, a tall man with a notched ear, directed the others to attack. Taking the initiative, Bonnie charged with the others in support. As the leader dodged Bonnie’s swings of her axe, he and all of the others changed into a jackal headed humanoid – Jarad included. The creatures – jackalweres Goldi would tell them later – attempted to use some kind of magic on the party. The dwarf briefly felt a wave of tiredness flow over her, before shaking it off and laughing in the leader’s face. Likewise the other party members were able to resist the sleep magic. The leader then took a chromatic orb of fire to the face from Fizbo, and then one of Guinne’s magic arrows to the chest. Bonnie neatly lopped off his head as he staggered.

The fight stopped and Jarad shapechanged back into human form and stepped forward, hands up to stop the fight. He convinced the other jackalweres that they should move on, that to stay in the area was inviting death from soldiers or powerful adventurers such as these – he gestured to the party. The others glared at the party, but in the end listened and they moved of, Jarad nodding to the party as he left.

“We should have killed all of them,” growled Bonnie. “They are only going to cause harm and sorrow to others.”
She sighed. “But it is what it is. Let’s pack up camp and get moving.”

[to be continued]

Back at Phandalin

The trip back to Phandalin took several days but was uneventful.
“We need to get some horses,” grumbled Fizbo when they were about half a day from the town. The others ignored him, as he had said this several times during the journey.

They finally arrived and took themselves to the Stonehill Inn. The proprietors, Toblin and Trilena Stonehill, were glad to see them and set about preparing their rooms.
“We’re only here for a couple of days,” advised Bonnie.
“How has the town been?” asked Guinne.
“Much better,” advised Toblin. Despite being a human he actually wasn’t much taller than Bonnie. His wife was a head taller than him.
“With the Redbrands gone – at least as a group – things are better. Those Redbrands that survived are being used as mercenaries and guards by Halia Thornton,” said Trilena. “It’s actually worked out well, they’ve protected merchants from bandits. We hear that the number of bandit incidents has dropped considerably after the first couple of skirmishes.”

Guinne resolved to meet with Halia, who was the area contact and coordinator for the Zhentarim organisation, and update her on what had been going on with the party as well as pass on the messages the Zhentarim contacts in Neverwinter had given her. They all had a quiet night at the inn.

The next day they were meeting up again in the afternoon after their various errands – Bonnie met with Darran Edermath who was the Order of the Gauntlet faction coordinator in the town, and Guinne had met with Halia Thornton. Igo had visited his sister Garaele at the Shrine of Tymora, and Tai Ni Dong had procured some supplies for their trip to Cragmaw Castle. Tai Ni Dong and Goldi spent time studying and writing in their spellbooks, and Eric blessed fields and vegetable patches and held services on farms for the faithful of Chauntea, the agricultural goddess.

sausage40.jpgAs they went past some shops, there was a commotion and a dog ran out of the butcher’s sh op with some sausages in its mouth. It was being chased by a red faced butcher wielding a cleaver. Bonnie felt like she was watching a comedy skit. The dog ran to the party and hid behind them.
“Whoa,” said Guinne to the butcher, patting the dog, a small brown dog completely unremarkable in any way, except for the sausages hanging out of its mouth.
“We’ll pay for the sausages,” added Goldi, fishing out some copper coins from a pouch. The butcher accepted the coins and returned to his shop without a backward glance. The dog wolfed down the sausages, and when the party went to move on after giving it a last pat, the dog followed. It followed them all the way back to the Stonehill Inn.
“Shoo, dog,” said Bonnie. The dog refused to move and looked at the dwarf with big eys. Bonnie shrugged and let the dog follow them inside where it sat at their feet under a table in the common room.
“We’re leaving tomorrow for Cragmaw Castle,” the dwarf announced. “Get yourselves ready. First light.”
“We ride – at dawn!” said Fizbo, dramatically.
“Are we actually going to use horses this time?” asked Tai Ni Dong.
“We don’t need horses,” said Bonnie. “I don’t really like them.”
“They smell, and you can’t be stealthy,” agreed Igo.
“But we’ll get there quicker,” argued Fizbo.
The discussion about horses continued for some time, but in the end it was decided not to take horses. They made ready and had an early night. The dog slept in Guinne and Goldi’s room.

The next morning the dog was still following them out of town, resisting all efforts to dissuade it from following them.
“Persistent little thing,” said Goldi.
“She can be our camp guard,” suggested Guinne. Bonnie and Igo were disapproving, but the others seemed happy to have the little dog along.
“We’ll call you Sausage,” said Guinne. Sausage cocked her head. They continued on the road out of Phandalin and towards Cragmaw Castle.

Turning the Tables on Venomfang
The Reclamation of Thundertree

Back at the ruins of Thundertree, the shaken party hatched a plan. Reidoth was disappointed in the outcome, but impressed with the party’s resolve to turn the tables on Venomfang. The dragon was young (for a dragon), vain, and would be overconfident. If they could lure the dragon into a killing ground, they might have a chance. There was no way there were going to bring the head of the old druid to the dragon, nor leave their companions behind, even they were to die. It was time to show the dragon why those overgrown lizards were no longer the dominant species.

There was some concern about the fate of Tai Ni Dong and Fizbo, whether they would survive the night after suffering their injuries. Reidoth advised that the dragon often did a patrol at dusk, either prowling around Thundertree on foot, or a flying patrol of the broader area. Perhaps they could enter the lair while it was out and rescue their comrades. Igo volunteered to observe the dragon lair and advise if it left. However it was not to be, perhaps expecting a rescue attempt, or for other reasons, the dragon stayed in its lair.
The following afternoon the party finalised their plans and with Reidoth made for the dragon lair. They took up their positions and called the dragon to advise that they had fulfilled their bargain. There was a nervous wait, but eventually Venomfang responded, growling and then slithering his way through the passage out into the setting sun. Before the dragon’s eyes could adjust to the bright light, the party attacked, taking the beast by surprise. Guinne was up in the tree, raining down arrows upon the creature, most bouncing off his scales but some finding the gaps between them. Igo fired his longbow from the side, likewise finding some of them getting through the dragon’s scales. Eric, after casting bless to increase the efficacy of some party members fired his own light crossbow into the opposite flank of the dragon, but his lighter weapon found it difficult to penetrate the dragon’s armour. Goldi fired off as many spells as she could, mostly magic missile as these bolts of magical force never missed. The elf wizard also cast burning hands from Fizbo’s staff of fire. The staff had other spells, but Goldi was worried they were beyond her ability to control and resolved to only use them if things got desperate for fear of injuring her companions. Reidoth cast call lightning and bolts of electricity arced from the sky to strike the dragon – making Guinne somewhat uncomfortable as the bolts came too close for her liking. However they were devastating in the damage they did to the dragon’s body. Bonnie hurled her throwing hammers at the dragon, getting ready to charge in and hopefully finish the dragon off with her magical golden axe. However the entire surprise attack worked better than they could have hoped. The dragon was staggered, and collapsed under the barrage. It managed an angry, croaking roar with a buff of noxious gas coming from its mouth, and then died. The quiet that followed after the noise of the attack was unsettling, as if the entire area held its breath to see if the dragon would rise again. It did not. Its broken, holed and arrow studded body remained on the scorched earth outside its lair, jaws agape, eyes glassy. Everyone froze as if they couldn’t believe what they had done.
“Quickly!” yelled Bonnie, breaking them out of their trance. “Find Fizbo and Tai Ni Dong!” The party moved into the dragon’s lair, expecting to have to fight a new battle with the blights who served the dragon, but they were all in the process of fleeing after the death of their master. The monk and wizard were found in the lair, and Eric cast cure wounds on them and was rewarded to see their eyes open and groan and cough. The air in the dragon lair was still tinged with an acrid, green mist and they all stumbled out of the lair into the fresh air.

They had won.

Later that evening, eating a meal of rabbit and vegetable stew, Reidoth acknowledged a lot of their success was owed to the dragon being young and overconfident.

“Never expect that from an older and wiser dragon,” he advised. He went on to point out on their map where they could find Cragmaw Castle, the location where they believed Gundren was being held.

“Do you think people will return to Thundertree now?” asked Tai Ni Dong.

“Probably, now the dragon has been killed,” replied the druid. “And then I will move on too, I think. I have no wish to live in civilisation.”

“No one – except perhaps Igo – thought that a small village like Thundertree would ever be “civilisation”, but they understood the druid’s desire to be with nature.

Team TPK stayed for a couple more days in Thundertree. Tai Ni Dong showed them where he had lived – a ruined house on the edge of the village – and explained how he as a boy and his family had fled to Neverwinter when Mount Hotenow had exploded, raining rocks, clouds of poisonous gas, and ash, for hundreds of miles around. The volcano was quieter now. There was still a wisp of smoke coming from the crater at the top of the mountain, but there had been no major earth tremors for several years.
The party left in the early morning to head back to Phandalin to get more supplies and then head to Cragmaw Castle.

[To be continued…]

Thundertree - Part 3

Tai Ni Dong was originally from Thundertree, he knew exactly where the dragon’s lair would be, a cave underneath a great tree just on the edge of town.

There were two large carnivorous plants just at the entrance, looking like any other plant until they moved to strike. The party made short work of them, however.

The tunnel leading underneath the huge tree was 10ft wide but the party had to climb over roots at times, and roots also hung from ceiling. It was dirty, damp and foul smelling, with a faint green mist that tickled the throat and made the party cough. Creatures moved just outside of the party’s vision, but they did not attack. Then the dragon’s sibilant but deep voice echoed through the area.

“Adventurers! I know you’re out there. Talking to that druid, I presume. I can smell your foul odor. I know that druid wants me to leave. Coveting my treasure. Undoubtedly I’m sure you do, too. So if it’s a battle you want, I will provide it, but I hope to parley. If you value your lives you should hear me out. I come carrying, as the human custom goes, the white banner of peace. Step into my lair and no harm should come to you.”

The party discussed this, then yelled out to the dragon that they would parley. The dragon urged them to continue on down into his lair. Blights and stranger creatures moved out of the party’s light, letting them pass. The finally came to a huge cave. The dragon Venomfang itself was not huge – a young dragon, Fizbo judged, but even a young dragon is powerful. It slithered down a large natural column.

firnen_by_tatianamakeeva-d7gstqv_sm.png“The truth is,” said the dragon, “that this fight is more evenly matched than I prefer. I will destroy you, but I will be forced to lick my wounds and in that time, be a prime target for my half-sister’s inevitable attack! I may be inclined to be evil, by your own standards, but I’m not stupid. I would much prefer fights I can overwhelmingly win.”
“How can we trust you?” asked Fizbo. “You could probably gobble us up right now.”
“I’m quite full, right now”, the dragon replied, but seemed pleased the party thought it wouldn’t have too much trouble with them. ‘Vain’ thought Fizbo. ‘Maybe we can use that against it.’
“Another party tried to kill me recently, you see”, continued Venomfang. “They didn’t take to negotiating. Thought I was a liar. Oh…..The druid didn’t tell you about them?”
“That duplicitous human!” growled Goldi.
“Hang on,” whispered Igo. “We don’t know this is true.”
“He could be lying,” agreed Bonnie.
“Let us put aside our weapons,” suggested Venomfang. “To be welcomed into a lair of a dragon is a trust and honour no dragon dare go against! I’m giving you all the draconic guest rite. May Tiamat the dragon goddess strike those that defy this rite down!”
After a brief discussion the party put away their weapons, as a gesture of good faith.
While he spoke Venomfang glided with supernatural grace between various stalagmite columns, coiled around them, looked around, moved around the party. But he wasn’t behaving like a predator, Fizbo judged. In fact the dragon looked concerned for things hidden.
“There’s more of her spies around,” continued the dragon. “She will be concerned that I am talking with you instead of fighting. I can feel her attention…I must whisper now.”
Venomfang moved closer, not so close to threaten the party. He dropped his voice in volume.
“You see- I need a favor. Yes. Close together, now. I’m offering you a deal. Closer. I must whisper. There’s another nearby dragon who has a better lair. Her name is Verslexia and those spiders you torched in that building were her spies. If you’d slay her I’d gladly leave this place at once with all my treasure. No problem at all. I will rid myself of this place and vow never to return.”
“This is my town, dragon!” yelled Tai Ni Dong. “I would reclaim Thundertree!”
“Ahh. You were from here? Thundertree it was called? I see. I take it my lair here is insulting to your tastes. To your sense of cultural pride. For that I’m sorry. You could not have been bigger than a hatchling at that time! It appears I underestimate human memory and ambition. You and I share similar motivations! Well you may reclaim your town! You can even pretend to have ‘drove me off with heroics’ should any adventurer find me in my new lair.. I’d gladly play along… what is your name again, fleshling? Deal with my sister and then we can talk about how I should retell your story of how you drove me off from Thundertree!”
“Why do you talk about the druid Reidoth as if he tricks us?” asked Bonnie. “And what about the eggs?”
“They must be his sister’s eggs!” suggested Igo.
The dragon moved again, lithe and graceful. “Yes, my sisters eggs. I care nothing for them. As for the druid, see.. we have an arrangement me and him. I help him keep my sister’s influence at bay. He saves me time from going out and hunting for treasure and food.. He sends groups like you to me to deal in hopes I leave here. I either get treasure, or an attempt at a new lair! He can’t defeat me so he gets the stupid ones killed and the smart ones to help me leave his domain! Oh.. he didn’t tell you that? That’s too bad… yeah. It appears those druids love nature more than their fellow civilised beings. I suppose he cares less about you than you of him! Reminds me of dealings with my own kin. It appears the only honest deals that exist can only be between different races.”
Alarm bells were going off in Goldi’s head. The dragon was lying, surely, he was contradicting himself. Something wasn’t right. The dragon spoke again.
“Please listen to me! I would rather not risk my life for such a mission or leave my treasure unguarded. I knew this site would draw attention by adventurers.. It was all planned! I swear it on your gods and my own. She lives in the woods deep in a cairn about 10 miles from here…her name is Verslexia. She’s my half-sister. Come closer now and I’ll give you a map!”
“I’ll go,” said Igo, and moved towards the dragon, the others stood back in a group.
A broad smile broke across the dragon’s face. He now had the party where he wanted them, all together in a group – except for the ranger who had moved forward into claw range.
“Thank you for trusting me – MEAL!!”

The green dragon roared, exposing a ball of poison gas quickly building in his mouth. The scent of bleach and volatile chemicals hits the party member’s faces followed by a viscious cloud of acidic haze! Tai Ni Dong and Fizbo collapsed to the ground immediately. The others were badly wounded, except for Igo, who had avoided the blast of poisonous breath. The dragon immediately ran into the middle of them and snatched up the two bodies of the fallen heroes.
“Listen to me, would be heroes. I have no sister, the eggs are mine, though I care little for them, but they are mine. I have need of eyes and ears outside my town. MY town, Thundertree. Soon the lands around will be mine as well. You will report back to me every month, with tribute for my hoard. Are we agreed?”
Bonnie was seeing a way out of this.
“But,” continued the dragon, “as a sign of good faith, you will bring me the head of the druid Reidoth! By sunset tomorrow! Or your companions will truly die!” The dragon squeezed the bodies a little, and Tai Ni Dong moaned – he was still alive, but unconsious!
“Now go!” commanded Venomfang. “And bring me the head of that druid!”

The remaining party members fled the dragon’s lair.


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.