Here’s how it went down:
Tan Meng decided it was steak night. He cooked potatoes in little foil wrappers in the grill’s upper rack, and when the time came, loaded steaks onto the flames. We were mostly all present at that point so there was no shortage of constructive grilling advice. Regardless of our comments and tutorials, the steaks turned out great. There was salad also. We feasted and feasted some more. I brought some home brews, Himo brought a couple of bottles of “vintage” wine, Garr brought a few cans of Old Milwaukee, and Tan Meng threw his growler of Saison into the mix. Some drank, others drank with gusto.
We sat down to play, turned on the data projector, and cleared off the table. After two weeks, we were all excited to get back to the game. Evidently, Tan Meng was so excited, he ejaculated prematurely and passed out in his chair. What a champion.
The rest of us got down to the details of getting seven characters aboard three semi-hostile Wyverns. Brokk made fast friends with the flying lizards assisted by his spell, Speak with Animals, and a great roll. Fierce encumbrance negotiations followed. Garr was carrying three suits of armor and 100 lbs of copper coins. Much yelling ensued but finally Valeriya bought out the greedy dwarf with 10 gold pieces. Soon, Terredon (druid) was in squirrel form hiding someplace warm aboard Brokk (barbarian) with Tan Meng (cleric) riding bitch behind. Valeriya (paladin) and Raynard (warlock) mounted their steed, and Garr (fighter) and Himo (monk) mounted the last.
Away all flew into the chill mountain air. In fact, it wasn’t long before CON rolls were called for to fight the effects of freezing winds. Brokk and Raynard were chilled to the bone. Each half hour, another round of rolls and a few more failures. On failure, a point of CON drained away. By the time an odd shaped cloud with several stony ice towers protruding hove into view (about two hours), all were deeply chilled.
As the destination approached, debate grew as to where to land. Those landing on the upper deck, away from the stables, would be met by a reception party. Those landing on the lower deck were often ushered directly toward the stables. Final decision: lower deck. Our heroes passed towers topped with watchful ogres and ballistae as they descended into the opaque mist covering the deck and filling the lower courtyard.
In the nearly blinding mist, the chilled and tired crew, including their leathery mounts, finally set down. Out of the fog two armored ogres approached. Luckily our heroes were prepared. They had taken time to outfit themselves in the black leathers of the cultists before departure. Waving the chromatic banner of Tiamat and returning “our strength” in response to the ogre’s growl of, “Tiamat, our mother,” they were directed to the stables. There, inside the giant ice-stone doors, they easily enough tucked in their Wyverns for some rest and then set off to find a bit for themselves.
Terredon suddenly left us. Why exactly, we’ll never know. Such are the mysterious ways of the comings and goings of druids.
Across the courtyard they came to a large opening and peeked inside. Two stone-skinned giants went about their business. One worked at some large bowl or kettle and the other, a female, looked on. “Can I help you?” the male asked. “Looking for the barracks,” said Valeriya. The giant gave a shrug toward the side of the courtyard as yet unexplored.
Another giant doorway and finally some warmth and the smell of food. Inside the large long chamber within were ten cultists in leathers, a crackling fire, tables and even better, beds. Our heroes made some small talk, warmed themselves by the fire (thus removing their CON drained condition), and turned in. A Long Rest later, Brokk awoke first and decided to chat a bit more with these cultist types. Brokk said something indelicate. As he will. The cultist challenged him with the pass phrase, which he passed, but then said something again in Draconic. Brokk’s lack of comprehension was suspicious. Even more suspicious was his uncomfortable response.
With a knowing look, one of the cultists went for the door. It was on. Valeriya and Himo cut him off. Raynard opened up with Arms of Hadar. Swords flashed, cultists screamed of invaders and invoking the wrath of Tiamat. Valeriya took over 100 points, though heavily mitigated by her rage damage resistance ability ( from a barbarian level dip).
The cultists fought ever more desperately as they began to fall. Suddenly, the door from the tower end of the chamber opened and ogres joined the fight! Our heroes worked well together however, and held steady. One ogre picked up Jamna – only to be forced to release her with the command “drop” from Valeriya.
The final cultist fell and the battle spilled into the tower after the ogres. Three ogres in all went down. Our heroes pursued them into the large stoney ice-tower. Through the tower’s main doors, two stone skinned large giants were seen to approach. Garr used a bonus action to swing one of the giant doors closed, Brokk closed the other and barred the doors. Three more ogres descended from the roof! They took ranged hits as they descended to the attack. Finally coming into range, one leapt and tackled Valeriya. But as it leapt onto her, it leapt into the midst of our heroes’ reach. That armored beast and its two companions soon fell.
Quiet fell on the group. Himo noticed the main barracks door in the hall behind swing quietly open. From the doorway, Azbara Jos cast a fireball amidst our heroes! Himo set after him like the wind. He ran and arrived nearly adjacent to the wizard and just before the barracks door. On foe’s round, a giant hand reached through the door and snatched Himo from the room and threw him hard into the entrance tower wall. Smack! Himo landed alive, but hurt. Unfortunately he landed near the other stone giant who, on her turn, picked him up again and threw him back. Again he landed with a smack. Only this time, he didn’t move.
The other door to the barracks, the one far from the tower and near the fireplace was open. Another caster ranged the party from there. All of our heroes had been hit. Most were badly bloodied. Tan Meng was resorting to bandages. There were at least two giants in the courtyard, several ogres, and at least two casters were slamming the party with fiery death. The giants were speaking among themselves of the coming of Rezmir. Things looked grim indeed. The group discussed surrendering. Nobody wanted to surrender, but nobody could see a path to victory.
Valeriya ran for the roof, hoping to master a ballista and shoot Rezmir at least once if nothing else. Others followed.
On the roof of the tower, however, the cloud giant Blagothkus sat, floating on a nearby cloud. “Hello…. who are you… and what are you doing in my castle….?”, said the giant in a slow giant sized voice. Discussions followed. Quickly, Valeriya ascertained that Blagothkus wasn’t exactly allied with Rezmir and the forces of the Dragon Cult. More, the giant sought to motivate his fellow giants to be great once again. Once upon a time, giantkind did great things. They worked together against their traditional and common foe – the dragons. Thus, Blagothkus sought to rekindle the old flame by giving the foe a bit of assistance.
Tan Meng didn’t quite track this line of discussion and passed Blagothkus a small note offering his sparring services, or to help the giant with fighting practice. Blagothkus wasn’t quite sure what the priest of Chauntea was proposing. “…but fighting! Fighting isn’t sparring. Fighting is life or death. One fights one’s foes. The is nothing greater than fighting a dragon. Once giants were great, and together they fought the great dragons…”
Rezmir, the half-black-dragon-she-bitch herself, two guard drakes and two red wizards appeared below and advanced across the courtyard toward the tower. They came upon the crumpled and bleeding form of Himo. Rezmir drew her black greatsword. It crackled with dark energy as she lifted Himo by his head. She demanded that the invaders upon the tower surrender or the “little elf man dies.”
Valeriya quickly explained to Blagothkus that Rezmir and her cadre of servants wronged our travelers and that they came to settle a debt of honor, a blood grievance. These dragon cultists violated their home, stole their goods, killed their kin, and now sought to do even worse.
“Surrender now!” shouted Rezmir! She held the elf by the back of his skull and prepared to slice off his head with her crackling blade. Looking upward, toward the top of the tower, her yellow eyes rolled hungrily.
“NOW!” Shrieked Rezmir.
The giant gazed down at Rezmir. “Hold,” rumbled Blagothkus. “Harm not the fallen.”
Rezmir and the red wizards of Thay conferred. Seconds later the three were flying toward the top of the tower. The two guard drakes stood over Himo.
Instantly, the air filled with spells and missiles. Azbara and the other wizard cut loose with fire spells, Raynard fired off his eldritch blasts, Garr and Brokk cut loose with arrows and javelins respectively. Our heroes spread out to receive the fiery wrath of Thay. When Rezmir gained the top of the tower, she belched out a great blast of searing lightening. One of the Thayans, Azbara Jos, disappeared after taking two arrows and two eldritch blasts.
In the courtyard below, Himo continued to bleed out. Rezmir’s guard drakes descended on him. Just then, Jamna appeared from the barracks and dashed to Himo to administer an elixir of healing, barely saving his life and bringing him back into the battle. As he revived – he set on the guard drakes about him – killing one with his fury.
Back atop the tower, first Brokk fell, then Tan Meng, then Garr. Soon after, the second red wizard, Rath Modar, disappeared with the clouds and cold winds. Rezmir held her distance and rained death from afar. Finally, Valeriya taunted Rezmir to attack – which she did with relish. The half-black-dragon-she-bitch closed with her black blade crackling. She breathed again! Then she lashed out at Valeriya, and slashed a deep vile wound. Valeriya stood for more and three more times Rezmir struck out – each time her sword crackling and thirsting for blood – but each time she missed. She only needed a seven to strike Valeriya. It would probably only take one more hit! But she rolled three sixes in row! Then Valeriya gathered herself and struck again, and again for a whopping thirty five points of cumulative damage. Disbelief and rage in her yellow eyes, the half-black-dragon-she-bitch fell eighty feet to the courtyard below. The three sixes, the number of the beast, her beast, her undoing.
Her black sword struck deep into the stoney ice of the courtyard below. Her corpse burst into flames and dissolved into ash, leaving only smoldering robes, a purple and black broach, and her black blade.
That is where we settled the evening. It was late.
One night in the Sky Reach Castle. One huge fight.
What’s next? Where’s the treasure? If there is a treasure, is Glazhael Cloudchaser, a giant white dragon (!) guarding it? What other dragon cult forces remain in the tower? What about Blagothkus? Where is this castle going?