OK, here’s how it went down:
Himo brought a crock pot full of pork ‘n’ beans. Made with two kinds of grilled pork sausage, smoked salt pork, they were delicious. He coupled that with a loaf of still-warm home made no-knead bread. And butter. All were pleasantly satiated when we turned on the data projector and set figures out, once again, on the cast image of Castle Naerytar.
We last left off with the group considering how to assault the enclosed area and central keep at the back of the castle. After much discussion, the group built a sort of walking screen for cover while scuttling across the courtyard. Bedrolls and some old rusty pole-arms were lashed together and all hid and dashed as one. There were a few shots from arrow loops on the keep, but all went into the screen and struck no flesh.
Our heroes spent time exploring the tower, home evidently to Rezmir. They discovered and raided the library of the half-dragon woman. Some of her books now burden the backs of our heroes. Brokk discovered rather painfully that sometimes, it pays to look before one leaps. He triggered a horrible acid trap in a wardrobe in his eagerness for fine fabrics.
In another room, a five headed alter to Tiamat stood alone in the shadows. Several set to work to destroy it, particularly Valeriya. In the papers of Rezmir’s desk, the group discovered descriptions of a subterranean gate, and even a controlling command word. All furiously scribbled down the word. A gate! Now we’re going places! The notes about goods and trafficking and logistics indicated that someone named Tanis was the responsible party on the other end. There were also two large onyx statues. Garr set about lashing one to his back – but then realized it weighed 300 lbs. The statues stayed behind.
Great debate then raged as to how to proceed. Some voted to use Terredon’s fog cloud to shroud the tower in concealing fog and thus advance under cover. Others advocated for using the rooftops and leaping into the inner courtyard – and some for a combination of both fog and rooftop access. In the end, Himo simply ran (with monk speed) around the corner and dashed into the adjacent kitchens. Arrows sought for his heart, but he caught and batted them aside, as a monk will do.
in the kitchen, among various foodstuffs, greens and meats from the swamp, Himo discovered a hairy dwarf, Tharm Tharmzid, cowering under a counter wheezing in panicked fear. Covered in blood and gore, and with a field of freshly fallen corpses smoldering in the courtyard behind, Himo asked Tharm for information about the castle and how one gains entrance to the keep. Tharm was only capable of blubbering, whining and fearful moaning. Himo asked again, with his quarterstaff. Soon the dwarf was sobbing and screeching for help from Dralmorer…until beaten unconscious by Himo, then dragged through the muddy courtyard (more arrows batted away) to the main body of the group. Tharm was revived only to find even more of the grim faced castle intruders, even more gore-covered, with even more questions. Raynard was quickly in his mind speaking threatening words, Valeriya intimidated him at the same time. Soon he spilled what few beans he held. Then, bound and hooded, Tharm was left behind.
The group moved ahead into the great hall. Finally a few hits were scored by the archers of the keep as the group ran through the courtyard! In the great hall, a few cultists and one of the pale ones held out there for a few rounds, but soon they were dead. And there the group paused.
What about the keep?
That’s when Raynard set about fire bolting the keep door down. Again and again, he hammered the door with his fiery cantrip. After several rounds of that, everyone began to feel self satisfied that this was a done deal. Suddenly, however, Raynard began to walk quickly, as though entranced, toward the tower. The door was open and Raynard was about to walk inside. Valeriya ran forward. Himo joined the fray – soon all followed.
Inside were a brace of cultists and Frulam Mondath (aka Radecere Perethun from the long overland wagon train journey northward). It was she who had commanded Raynard to enter the tower. Soon, everyone’s blood was spattering the walls. The dragon cult faithful worked their deadly scimitar synergies. Frulam tried to Hold Valeriya. Terredon yelled to her to surrender. “I will,” she returned. She stood back to the corner. Suddenly flying demonic apparitions sprang from her hands and swarmed about her, as if protecting her.
Our heroes carried on their grim work, killing the remaining cultists as they descended the tower. All stood quiet for an instant.
Then, Himo fired a shot at Frulam, but it missed. Instantly, however, her demonic guardians pounced on those in the room, tearing and ripping as they passed. But our heroes turned on Frulam and though she brandished her glaive with skill, she was no match for the press. “Lord Tiamat, I am coming…. As for you lot…I’ll see you in hell!!” Her last words. In this realm.
Searching of the tower revealed some small boxes in a lower chamber. A few treasures including a fine carpet in the upper chambers. All ascended to examine the legendary Farseer of Illusk – but all fled again when four gargoyles ripped through the rooftop to swoop down and attack.
The gargoyles were left for later and instead, Terredon, in Dire Wolf form, picked up the scent of Dralmorer Borngray and led the group to set upon the largest of the last two unexplored towers. The scent led to a stairway down and our heroes descended into a pitch dark subterranean world.
It grew late but our heroes pressed forward through a large pond filled cavern and up against a looming cavern wall topped with crates and boxes and a pulley or crane contraption. Then, attack!
Piles of croaking shrieking bullywugs attacked from the top of the cliff and from the pool in the cavern behind. Fierce fighting followed. Terredon leapt to the top of the precipice only to find there were even more bullywugs beyond the crates – and the freakishly attired bullywug chief, Pharblex Spattergoo. But Terredon was surrounded. Pharblex cast the giant area of thorns into the cavern below, effectively walling off much of the group from Garr (who had ran forward to climb the cliff…but repeatedly failed) and Terredon. The druid leapt back down from the cliff-top but took several jagged fishy spears and was forced to resume his true half elven form.
Raynard then cast the Hunger of Hadar atop the wall and upon the large group of bullywugs. Terrible frog screams and thrashing and slippery sucking noises echoed through the cavern for a couple of rounds…then all fell still, aside from the sucking slithering noises.
The group was really quite tired now, but curious as to what might be ahead: a four way intersection down the hall a bit, but Borngray’s scent went straight and into a chamber filled knee-deep with fog. Beneath that fog, glyphs. Is this the gate that Rezmir wrote about? The group considered activating it immediately.
We called it a night and bean and bread (and beer) filled gamers set off toward home in the late northern light.
What will happen next? Explore the caverns? Hunt down Splattergoo? What about the remainder of the castle? Is this the portal mentioned by Rezmir? Will the command word simply make the portal work? Where might it go? Who might be waiting on the other end? Where’s all of the treasure? What are these cultists up to?
Tonight, we’ll find out.