Lancefinder

Session 21
Rescuing the cleric, Battle with the Green Dragon Highlord, Sailing to Sanction

Having been directed to the lair of a dragon by the mysterious bird people known as Kyrie (who were apparently at war with the minotaurs), the Heroes worked their way overland to the jungle-shrouded base of a mountain. They had seen a green dragon fly overhead, ridden by someone in green-highlighted dragon armour.

Finding the cave, they moved inside slowly working their way through the winding corridors and previously triggered traps. They have some trouble in a cylindrical room filled with a cyclone, which pulls Berem and Deldred off their feet and batters them against the walls. Beyond that they encountered a flooded room full of ice-cold water, a room of thick mud, a cloudy room filled with poisonous gas, a maze with many exits that went nowhere and a single magical exit, and a round ring-shaped room with a rolling boulder.
At the very end of the cave was a large opening to the outside, with a sickly bronze dragon lying on the ground. Berem all has to be held back to prevent the impulsive human from killing the dragon, as Wilder Spirit explains that not all dragons are evil. The dragon assumes the Companions are more villains here to finish him off, like the ones that just attacked and flew off with his human guest.

After Berem and the others are convinced Clarion is not evil, the group moves closer to the exit, which leads to a large spur of rock jutting out from the cliff face. Suddenly, a huge green dragon landed and exhaled a cloud of burning chlorine gas. The group charged, with Wilder Spirit using her elven blade, WyrmXXX to hack deeply into the dragon. Berem attacked the rider only to find his lance was ready and quite deadly. The battle was over quickly as the dragon died within seconds and the green dragon highlord, Salah-Khan, was beaten into unconsciousness by Squee’s sap.

Meanwhile,
Palanthus has begun to arm itself, increasing the number of its guards and their armaments. More knights have begun marshalling in the city, especially after the seas cleared and grew less hostile (after the defeat of the King of the Deep), making ocean travel less hazardous.
Weeks pass, as Arthur returns to the Stone Dragon to make more dragonlances while Elsebeth recovers from her pitched battle with the Blue Dragon Highlord. After recovering, Elsebeth assumes command of the local knights, doing her best to prepare them for the coming battles.

One day, over a month after the victory at the Tower, Arthur returns to Palanthus with a new shipment of lances, accompanied by a familiar silver elf-dog. It is the disguised dragon Silvara.
She tells what she can of the Oath binding the good dragons. She cannot fully describe the Oath, as talking of it is itself a violation. But she tells of its origin, how the evil dragons crept into the lairs of the good dragons and stole their most prized possession. With that held hostage, they ordered the good dragons to stay out of the coming war. But, most importantly, she believes she has discovered where the object is being held. If it can be reclaimed then the good dragons might be convinced to re-enter the war.

The heroes set out over the sea, having paid for passage to Sanction on a small yet swift moving merchant ship. With Gauraux at the helm, they make good time, shaving a day off the trip, and easily avoid many of the larger naval vessels blockading New Sea. Two days from their destination their luck fails, and the vessel is ambushed by a larger Dragonarmy ship crewed by mercenaries, press ganged sailors, and draconians. The heroes make quick work of the dragon men and claim the new ship as their own, promising the human crew freedom if they work for them and death if they resist.

With their new vessel and dragonarmy disguises, the Companions soon arrive at the occupied city of Sanction.

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Session Twenty
Battle at the base of the maelstrom, duel in the Minotaur capital.

The hero moved into the chamber beyond the hag’s lair. They had spent limited magical resources to revive the unconscious Squee. Revived, the druid barely turned back into the deadly giant squid.

The chamber was actually a deep shaft, seemingly endless. A deep bottomless chasm. Above was the hideous aberration known as the King of the Deep. Below was a curious portal leading… somewhere. Energy leaked from the portal, a spring of dark power, flowing into the water where it was collected by ten statues, resembling petrified Istarian priests, and focused in a single point to be absorbed by the King.

The heroes swam down, attacking the statues with lightning magic and a barrier of conjured magical blades. The statues glared at the champions, their empty eye sockets opening into a terrifying void. Squee caught a bad glimpse at the eyes and was struck blind. Berem rushed forward, charging through the blade barrier to attack a statue, only for the statue to strike and knock the raging human back into the swirling blades.

Arcus and Deldred made quick work of the statues, the disruption in the flow of magical energy harming the King. Then, there was an aquatic cry as a yellow-skinned draconian swam into view riding atop a dragon turtle. It was Gildentongue returning for revenge. Spells flew as Arcus struck the two repeatedly with lightning that did nothing, the draconian having prepared for the fight. However, he was not prepared for Deldred’s deadly magic or being hammered into the blade barrier by Berem. The massive turtle did its best to scald the heroes with its steaming breath. But its thick hide was nothing to Wilder Spirit’s claws.

After having defeated the dragon turtle and Gildentongue, the group was hailed as heroes by the sea elves. The King of the Deep’s death ended his animation of the fallen and control over sea life. The Companions returned to the surface and were deposited in a floating raft.

The first ship to come across them is the Butcher, a pirate ship. At first the captain and crew were considering sinking the dingy or abandoning a prisoner on board, but the captive, Bas Ohn-Koraf, the minotaur former first mate of the Perechon recognizes the heroes and asks their help.

The captain of the Butcher, Mandracore, was an old enemy of Bas’ captain, Maquesta. Mandracore made the mistake of showing off his captive on Mithas, and the minotaur emperor ordered the pirate to settle the matter in the arena. Bas’ tells the Companions that Maquesta knows the location of Elisan, missing since the Perechon sank. She’ll tell, if they agree to be her champions against Mandracore.

The battle in the arena is fierce, with every attack cheered by the minotaur audience. The Companions have to be the first to claim three golden rings. One is atop a greased pole, another at the base of a pit, and a third on the neck of a giant tiger. Wilder Spirit’s beast Fu struggles with the tiger as the tawny beast savages both. Mandracore cuts up Berem and Squee as two of his pirate lackeys assault Deldred and Wider Spirit. Things get bad as Arcus turns into an air elemental to recover the ring inside the pit spraying its contents across the field: green slime! Squee is coated and badly dissolves, barely surviving. One of the pirate flunkies, a skilled alchemist, hurls bomb after bomb at the heroes.

Finally, the pirates fall.

The newly crowned pirate queen: Maquesta Ka-Thon agrees to help the group find the missing priest. She reveals he remained on his raft and currents would have carried it north, to the island of Karthay. The group heads north on Maquesta’s new ship. Squee flies ahead to scout and encounters the bird folk known as Kyrie. They tell of a man in white taken by a dragon to the north. As the group searches for a landing site a green dragon flies overhead, ridden by an armoured figure!

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Session Nineteen
The ruins of Istar, battle under the sea

Arcus, Deldred, Wilder Spirit, and Squee awoke in a large chamber, most surprised to be alive. Squee informed them they had been rescued by blue-green elves with webbed feet: sea elves. They took the drowning heroes and placed them in an air-filled room, something that looked like it was once a ball room, but was now partially collapsed and covered by kelp and fungi.
After they assessed the situation, the Companions realized they were missing Elistan and the other sailors on the ship, save the helmsman Berem who seemed rather unhappy to be alive.

The group began exploring the ruins, wandering through the submerged corridors and discovering several flooded chambers, what were essentially moon pools, granted access to the outside and revealing that the heroes were in a sunken building! They wandered and smashed their way through several secret doors (Berem having no patience for searching for hidden latches) looking for signs of occupancy. Squee trampled through an alchemical lab and stole a red robe from the owner. Then they found their host: a sea elf woman and a red robed wizard. The sea elf (Apoletta) explained that she had brought the heroes underwater because it seemed fate had chosen them to help the sea elves, they were unlike anyone she had rescued before. Apoletta explained that evil forces had declared war on the sea elves (or dimernesti). Sea dragons swam at the forefront of armies of merrow (aquatic ogres) and sahuagin (fish men). This formidable force was bolstered by numerous undead lacedons (aquatic ghouls) who were being raised by the King of the Deep: a horrible newcomer to the Blood Sea from an unknown place. The King was forcing his will upon sea life, causing it to attack seagoing vessels and giving the dragonarmies an unassailable maritime advantage. All the sea elves knew was that the King had something to do with “the Pit of Istar”: a bottomless trench that was once the heart of the sunken city, formerly the Temple of the Kingpriest, now lying at the very base of the Maelstrom.

Recalling the recovered dragonarmies missive that mentioned “the spring”, the Companions assumed it was related to the King of the Deep and his power over the undead or sea life. They volunteered to investigate and see if they could do anything to stop the King. The red robed wizard, an alchemist named Zebulah, offered to make a few potions of water breathing to supplement Deldred’s spellcasting. Three days passed as potions were brewed under the assistance of Arcus.

Apoletta wished the heroes luck and lent them dolphins, to speed their journey to one of the caves at the edge of the Pit of Istar. Reaching the entrance of the cave, the Heroes found it guarded by three massive underwater ogres (known equally as merrow or yrasda). The heroes launched into battle, with Squee wildshaping into a giant octopus that proved surprisingly deadly! Arcus demonstrated the lightning magic worked just fine underwater. The orgres rushed forward to grab at Wilder Spirit and her lion Fu (who was less then pleased with being underwater). Halfway through a fight a huge shark, a megalodon, joined the fray, and attempted to swallow Wisp whole.

The Heroes progressed into the caves, wandering in circles through the kelp and coral filled caverns. They encountered the ghost of a sea elf that spoke in curiously conflicted phrases and a merrow spellcaster who was busily preparing a squad of lacedons for battle: a force that proved effortless for the heroes to scatter. They found a long chamber filled with unnatural cocoons filled with corpses, being altered and corrupted into becoming ghouls. The Companions dispatched the proto-ghouls in their cocoons.

Moving on, the Heroes stumbled in on three hideous crones looting the body of a fallen sea elf warrior. They rushed to attack but the hags were faster, trapping the Heroes in a web. The magical webbing did nothing to stop Berem and Squee from rushing forward, although hag magic blinded the druid-octopus. Arcus blasted the hags with lighting as Berem pounded away recklessly, the sailor having little concern for his safety. The hags responded by dispelling the magic permitting Wilder Spirit to breathe underwater, but Deldred soon set that right by renewing the enchantment, but not before the cleric cast silence on Berem’s hammer preventing the hags from using their magic. Undaunted, the hags focused their gaze on Squee who fell catatonic from the unnatural curse. Arcus and Deldred finished off the hags, despite the seeming loss of their shape-changing gully dwarf companion.

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Session Eighteen
Endless waves, offensives, and betrayals

The dragonarmy forces charged towards the High Clerist’s Tower, weapons raised and howling warcrues. The heroes marshaled the forces in the Eastern courtyard, rallying them as draconians scaled the walls and forced their way through the doors into the courtyard. Elsebeth rode throughout the courtyard, charging draconians with her lance while giving short, inspiring speeches. The knights flocked to her banner, motivated to continue the fight. A half-dozen elite draconians attacked, including a bozak spellcaster.

After defeating the draconian commander of the first assault, the heroes only had a moment to rest before screams and cries indicated the central gate was now under assault. Moving, they bolstered the defences as Arthur devastated a small patrol of kobold archers while Gauraux and Elsebeth engaged a number of more skilled human mercenaries who were cutting through the knightly defenders. Sensing victory, the heroes allowed themselves a moment of pride.

Then, suddenly, a half-dozen undead soldiers, led by a black-armoured figure atop a skeletal horse: the famed Lord Soth. The undead smashed though the knight’s line, ignoring Arthur’s defensive wall of fire. Elsebeth engaged the dark knight, and quickly fell under his unholy sword, which flamed with unnatural fire as the death knight smote the goodly knight. Straining to keep the female warrior alive, Arthur expended much of his divine might keeping the Knight of the Sword upright. Meanwhile several skeletal champions attacked Gauraux, overwhelming the minotaur. Realizing she could not withstand Soth’s blade, Elsebeth did the only logical thing and attacked the death knight’s sword, shattering the weapon after two savage blows!

Weaponless, Soth had to rely on his magic and unnatural touch, but there was only a wizard and oracle standing. He moved to attack, but Elsebeth was soon back on her feet. After a long, pitched battle, the Death Knight fell, blasted by the positive healing power of Arthur who extended the last of his potent healing magic offensively.

Injured and weary, the group retired, but found no rest. The dragonarmies gave them no respite, no time to recover magic or heal wounds. The onslaught was irregular but unending.

Meanwhile, while attacking the dragonarmies from above, Tictok is hit by dispelling magic and plummets fifty feet to an uncomfortable crunch, creating a dogpile of illusionary Tictoks pre-programmed for injury. It takes some hours for the gnome to sneak though No Man’s Land back to the Tower.

Days pass. Knowing spellcasters require time to recover, the dragonarmies attacked irregularly but frequently. Fatigue set in as the knights on the wall were cold, hungry, and tired. Arthur and Carrion managed to rest long enough to memorize and prepare a few spells, but not many. Gauraux, in the meantime, approached Tictok with the idea of mining the dragonarmy camps with some kind of explosive. Working as fast as he could, before Tictok could finish a wave of a hundred kobolds surged onto the field, peppering the area with arrows. The rolling mass of reptilian bodies struck fast and hard. Tictok and Arthur slowed the kobolds down with magic while Carrion blasted them with magic. The kobolds reached the gate and forced their way though damaged gaps, swarming over Gauraux and Elsebeth. Finally, the kobolds were dispersed and slain.

With the extra time, Tictok managed to finish the mines. The group, save Elsebeth, flew invisibly over the draconians and planted the mines. Gauraux explored a few tents and discovered the officer’s quarters with orders and references to the return of the dragons and an assassin!

Meanwhile, Elsebeth was meeting with the Lords commanding the battle. While arguing over the course of action, a young rookie knight humbly interrupted. He had a message for Else, from Derek Crownguard: he wanted to meet her at the wall. Elsebeth met with “Derek” who revealed himself as a draconian assassin, when he stabbed Else in the chest. More angry than injured, the knight quickly dispatched the assassin.

Returning, having planted the mines, the rest of the Companions used the stolen orders to repel enemy attacks (which were aided by the chaos caused by the exploding mines).
Things were going well until the dragons arrived, attacking and striking at the walls. Suddenly, there was a blue dragon hovering over the main gate, bring ridden by a fearsome rider. The Blue Dragon Highlord had arrived. He challenged a young knight, one who had just earned his spurs, to single combat. Fearful yet sad, the young knight was compelled to refuse until Guaruax asked if he could appoint a champion. The youth asked Elsebeth who happily accepted.

Else rode to the top of the wall where the Blue Dragon Highlord landed. He removed his helmet and revealed his face. It was Drake! The former companion last seen at the Foghaven Vale. Who left about the same time the dragon orb went missing. The entire time he had been with them he was gathering intel and planning betrayal.

Saluting and toasting his opponent, Drake readied for battle. Elsebeth charged, lacking mercy and ready for the kill. She struck with her sword, aiming to shatter Drake weapon as she had Soth’s. Drake avoided the attack and responded with a deadly series of slashes and attempted to knock Elsebeth’s weapon from her hand. The oe prompted a retaliation, but Else fumbled badly, twisting the grip on the weapon making it harder to attack. Drake swatted the weapon from her hand. Seeing potential defeat Elsebeth kicked her weapon off the wall and stepped backwards into the air, falling 40 feet to the ground. Drake ran down and finished off the injured warrior.

Meanwhile, Gauraux and Arthur decided the dragon was not part of the “single combat” and attacked viciously. The assault ended when Drake threatened to join that fight. He mounted Skie and took to the air. Inside the tower, Carrion had other plans, and was busy trying to use the orb discovered in the tower. Finally, she forced the orb under her control and called the three nearby dragons to her. Heedless of the danger, the dragons rushed into the dragon trap that was the Tower of the High Clerist. Outside the walls, the draconians, not being true dragons, were driven mad by the orb and fled, halving the opposing army. Victory was assured!

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Session Seventeen
Journeys by Sea, Meetings and Reunions

Inside the massive stone dragon of Foghaven Vale, Arthur hammered away, working day and night forging dragonlances. When fatigue threatened to overwhelm him, he resorted to divine restoratives to remove the exhaustion. After a couple days, Drake departed, saying only he was seeking vengeance having learned the identity of the Blue Dragon Highlord.

After a couple weeks, Elsebeth, Derek Crownguard, and Gauraux sailed west to Sancrist isle, home and birthplace of the knights. The voyage was rough, as their commandeered sea vessel was harried by sea life, including being battered by whales and sharks while avoided by any edible fish. Looking at the other vessels docked at Sancrist, this unusual event was not unique: every vessel showed signs of damage.

Arriving, they met with the knights in preparation for the Whitestone Council. Gunthar Uth Wistan, one of the knights vying for the position of Grand Master of the Solamnic knighthood, welcomed them into his home. They were offered warm beds and fresh food while they waited. Elsebeth, having brought the dragon orb and many of the new dragonlances, was tasked with taking a lance and the orb to the gnomes, so they could study them. She quickly rode north to Mount Nevermind, the hollowed volcano home of the gnomes. There she was re-introduced to the finest in gnomish engineering (and the gnomeflingers which had replaced inefficient “stairs”) as she toured the various gnomish guilds showing off the dragonlance and dragon orb.

Suddenly, she heard a familiar voice behind her. It was Tictok! He quickly told her of all the problems and horrors he had encountered after their separation and how happy he was to be home and how Wilder Spirit was now dead and how they had found a dragon orb as well, but it had been lost. The gnomes took a long look at the dragon orb Elsebeth had brought, and wondered why it just looked like a big glass ball. Else looked close and something did seem odd about the “orb”: there was no mist inside, no feeling of arcane power. She gave it a firm tap and the orb easily shattered. There was a “thud” as the gnome Gnosh (whose Life Quest was to study dragon orbs) fainted.

Elsebeth mused about how the orb could have vanished and Tictok interrogated Atlas, Elsebeth’s horse who had been guarding the orb. It had been a month or two since they had really looked at the orb after its recovery in Icewall, and many former companions could have had access: Gilthanas, Fizban, Drake, Silvara, D’Argent (the disguised silver dragon), and even current companions who might not be fully trusted, such as Carrion and Derek Crownguard. And there was always the possibility of an enemy trained as a ranger or druid…

Returning to Castle Uth Wistan with the bad news (and Tictok), Elsebeth was informed by Guaraux of the power struggle between Derek Crownguard and Gunthar Uth Wistan. Gauraux had offered his assistance to Gunthar, having travelled with Derek and doubting his honour. They scheduled a Trial on the Question of Honour for after the Whitestone Council.

Arthur and Carrion arrived atop undead dragons, armed with newly forged dragonlances. Arthur had managed to craft twenty of the lances over the month, and was ready to arm as many knights as possible. They arrived just in time for the Council as the elves in exile arrived from Southern Ergoth, as well as kender, gnomes, as well as a handful of dwarves who were able to break through the siege of Thorabardin. The meeting goes badly, as the attending forces are reluctant to work with each other and Arthur and Elsebeth are unable to forge them into an alliance. The Whitestone Council ends with no union.

Sadly, with the Council having failed, the Companions were left with no clear goal. They knew the free city of Palanthus was under threat from the dragonarmies, defended by only a single fortress blocking a mountain pass: the High Clerist’s Tower. A handful of knights hold the tower and Elsebeth had earlier offered her assistance.
Before they departed, the Question of Honour began for Derek Crownguard, with Arthur acting as a character witness against Derek while Elsebeth questioned his motives and honour. While the trial could not remove Derek’s knighthood, Gunthar sent him to the High Clerist’s Tower, to man the walls and not in a command position, and hopefully redeem himself with a demonstration of courage. Derek was furious, and shouted his way through the castle, swearing vengeance. After, then Gunthar requested Elsebeth and her companions to also head to the tower and do what they can to assist with the defence.

The heroes tarried for a week, repairing and reinforcing their requisitioned ship. Tictok and Gauruax armoured the hull and set-up harnesses for Carrion’s zombie dragons to help tow the boat and reduce the drag from the armouring. Through skilful seamanship, the Companions made good time on the ocean voyage, and arrived at Palanthus a day-and-a-half early. They spent their time warning the city of the impending invasion, which fell on the deaf ears of complacent and spoiled citizens. Elsebeth conferred with the ageless head of the Library, Astinus, who advised her that the tower of the High Clerist was “built oddly”. He promised to speak honestly with the senators of Palanthus, warning them of the attack. Meanwhile, the rest of the group decided a visual demonstration of the dragonarmies was due. They dressed Carrion in the dragonarmour of Verminaard, the dead Red Dragon Highlord, and used Tictok’s illusions to create the image of an entire flight of dragons. Carrion and her “wing” of dragons, buzzed the central town square as the black robed wizard used her magic to blast the ground with lightning. When the town guard began to rally, Carrion took to the air. While the display shocked the citizens, they only began to man the town wall and asked for extra volunteers for the city garrison. No extra troops were sent to the High Clerist’s Tower.

Feeling like they failed twice, the Companions rode to the High Clerist’s Tower, several days south of the city through the mountains. The tower itself rose high into the sky, rising over sixteen stories and almost a thousand feet into the air, a wonder of dwarven and human construction. But the oddness of its design is quickly apparent: the eight-sided wall has three gates to the south and the octagonal central tower has six large doors all leading to a central chamber.

The tower itself had been sealed since the Cataclysm, requiring a follower of the Gods to unlock its doors. Investigating, Arthur touched one of the gates and they Companions quickly realized it was unlocked. Despite the knights’ protests that the tower is a holy site (as they counter that are accompanied by the chosen prophet of the gods’ return) they group ventured inside. They found the central chamber, and at its heart a large dais topped by an empty fitting for a globe-shaped object. Looking above, they saw a long hollow shaft that led sixty feet into the tower and ended with a floating platform.

Curious, Tictok flew up the shaft and discovered (seemingly) that it was designed to look straight and got wider and larger. The platform was massive, on the same level on a huge cavernous floor with cyclopean archways. On the floating platform was a mountain of treasure, all curiously large, and dominated by a massive dragonorb! The rest of the group flew up, and as they ascended, Tictok realized they were actually shrinking. Doing some quick comparative math, the gnome realized he was approximately five inches tall!

Abandoning plans to roll the dragonorb off the floating platform, the group ventured upward, hoping to find the treasure elsewhere. The first floor they reached proved fruitless but the second revealed the familiar large chamber (now eight times smaller). They entered and quickly discover it was a maze without walls, teleporting them throughout the chamber. Tictok bypassed this challenge by teleporting directly to the doorway to the platform then grabbed the orb.

Now armed with an actual orb, the group readied for the battle. Their troops were spread out across the wall as the enemy army advanced. The knights were outnumbered three-to-one. Toctok prepared some additional fortifications as he and Arthur used spells from a distance, only to realize the enemy also had spellcasters who were readied to dispel enemy magic! The enemy advanced again, meeting walls of fire that block their passage and a hail of arrows. Undaunted, the blue dragonarmy charged!

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Session Sixteen
Blackmail and Diplomacy, Death on the High Sea

The Companions continued their journey to Flotsam, having left Kendermore behind. Almost at the city, the group moved through dense woodland along a game trail. Accustomed now to the various wanted posters offering rewards for elves, they strived to avoid the attention of the Dragonarmies, but up ahead they saw a Dragonarmy patrol manhandling a group of merchants, one of which was a Silvanesti elf.

The group swiftly moved to attack, positioning themselves to strike at the human officers. Tictok raised a wall of stone separating the Dragonarmy soldiers from the innocent travellers, so Deldred could summon down holy fire. Surprisingly, the soldiers surrendered. They then revealed themselves as members of Silver Fox’s resistance, posing as Dragonarmy officers. The freedom fighter himself revealed his presence and congratulated the heroes for passing their “test”. The Fox informed the group about the state of Flotsam, held by the Dragonarmes and controlled by one “Highmaster Toede”, (apparently promoted from Fewmaster in the past months). However, the Blue Dragon Highlord had been sighted in the town, looking for something or someone that would supposedly turn the tide of the war and ensure draconic victory.

The heroes decided to disguise themselves as merchants, and borrowed a cart and some clothing from the rebels, while Squee turned himself into a horse to aid the disguise. Reaching the city, they witnessed a meeting between an angry wingless draconian (identified as Gildentongue), whom Wilder Spirit and Tictoklington recognised from Tarsis. Toede was berated for some time and, in a climax of humiliation, fell off his amphi dragon into the mud. Squirming, the fat hobgoblin righted himself and returned to his saddle and rode into town. The Companions moved forward and Wisp’s keen eyes spotted something in the sludge where the goblin had fallen. Retrieving it, the item was revealed to be a scroll case containing military missives. They entered the town and went immediately to the inn recommended by the Silver Fox and examined the letters. One was a report on the war in the west, with references to an impending battle at a Tower as well as an impending meeting with the ogres to renegotiate the terms of the alliance. The other mentioned something about a “spring” and the Dragonarmies’ naval advantage.

The heroes decided to use the missives to blackmail Toede, drawing him out of his guarded manor into an ambush, finally enacting their revenge. Having five days until a reliable sea vessel arrives, they opt to wait until later in the week to deliver their ultimatum to Toede. Squee kills time by talking with the vermin of Flotsam, herding them into the Dragonarmy barracks and vessels. Tictok continues to work on a new device that will replicate the Contingency spell.

After a couple days the group notices a military procession as the Blue Dragon Highlord crosses town to meet with Toede. Squee is dispatched as a seagull to spy on the meeting, pausing only to poop on the Highlord. A small child laughs at the sight and, to Squee’s horror, the Highlord sends a couple of his guards to shatter the boy’s legs. After berating Toede for his incompetence and telling him not to fail at the negotiations, the Highlord flies away on his dragon, heading west to the Solamnic front. Thankfully for Squee’s conscience, Deldred is sent to do what she can to heal the injured child, bringing hope of the gods’ return to Flotsam.

The heroes decided that the ogre negotiation is something to look into, and speak with their Resistance contact: Erewam the Shaggy. Through him, they are asked by the resistance to break-up and ruin the negotiations. The resistance provides Tictok with magical aid to disguise himself as Toede to sabotage the meeting. They send Squee and Bupu to deliver a message to Toede, asking for a sack of food in exchange for “papers”, giving the impression of a pack of gully dwarf blackmailers. Toede agrees to the exchange in the bad part of town, arriving alone with a large sack. Of course, Toede is planning to betray his gully dwarf extorters, having his dragon-kin mount hidden and ready to ambush. Toede proved his treacherous cunning after he threw the sack at the “gully dwarves”, when the amphi dragon struck the bag, revealing it was filled with vials of alchemist fire. The fight was over quickly with the dragon slain and Toede knocked unconscious. Deldred and Wilder Spirit took the stunned Highmaster into a rough inn where they proceeded to drag information from him, the rough treatment bounced the fat goblinoid between consciousness and near death. Finally, he revealed the date and time of the meeting with ogres, the following morning but a day’s journey away!

The group immediately set out, using a feather token of Wisp’s to create a magical boat, greatly easing their travel to Ogreshield, a large ruin claimed by a large tribe of ogres. At the meeting, Tictok, magically altered to resemble Toede, arrives with his entourage of Deldred and a disguised Wisp , while Squee altered himself into a rat and hid in the rafters of the building. Tictok did his best to insult the ogres and sabotage the negotiation, while the main negotiator, the aurak draconian Gildentongue, fumed at his partner’s incompetence. The filthy gully dwarf Squee let his pot/helmet of endless dung drip on one of the ogre chielftan’s meals, which the unfortunate ogre failed to notice. One large bite revealed the contamination and “Toede” very poorly tried to blame the seeming poisoning on other ogre king from the rival tribe, badly botching his attempt at lying. Squee, from above, quickly cried “master, the assassination attempt has failed!” bringing the negotiation to a violent end, as the ogres suddenly believed the Dragonarmy was trying to kill them. Tictok cried out for Gildentongue to teleport them to safety, readying his magic to vanish away. The selfish draconian magically vanished through a dimensional door, as “Toede” disappeared, giving the impression the dragon-man had indeed spirited the Highmaster to safety. A fight ensued, with Deldren unfortunately facing off against two angry ogres and a blue dragon which suspected treachery. The heroes fled, being chased by ogres across the terrain all the way back to their boat.

Sailing away, the group encountered a ship heading to Flotsam: the Percheron. This was the ship the group had been told of by the Silver Fox. Coming aboard, they were greeted by the captain, Maquesta Kar-Thon. The able helmsmen, Berem, brought them easily into port. The Companions offered several magical items as payment for the trip north, encouraging the captain to leave immediately. With the wind blowing hard and favourably and birds in the air, the Percheron took to the sea. No sooner had they left when a half-dozen Dragonarmy vessels closed from the rear. The swift merchant vessel did its best to lose the ships in a fog bank as Deldred smote the perusing vessels with divine rage and fire.

Before they had travelled long, three shapes appeared on the horizon, easily catching-up to the ship. Dragons. Mounted on one of the dragons, a large blue, was an armoured figure: the Blue Dragon Highlord. The dragons drew closer, strafing the ship with acid and lightning, aiming their blasts at the rudder damaging the ship’s steering! The Blue Dragon Highlord called out to give him what he wanted, and if they surrendered his prize he would leave the ship alone.

Lying, the group say they had no idea what they were talking about, not mentioning the destroyed ships in Balifor or ruined negotiation. The Highlord called back that all he wanted “the Green Gemstone Man”. Surprised silence followed.

The Companions refused and the dragons continued their assault. Suddenly, the three wyrms pulled back as a dark shadow appeared under the boat. Something below watched as a storm raged above. Then the world tilted as the Percheron hit a strong current. The helmsmen, Berem, did his best to fight against the strong flow, but with the damaged rudder it proved impossible. The ship was heading straight for the Maelstrom, the great vortex in the center of the Blood Sea of Istar. Crimson water rushed over the deck as the boat trembled and shook. Waved washed Wilder Spirit off the deck and into the water along with sailors, who desperately clutched at riggings to keep afloat. Screaming faces sank beneath the red waves.

Tictok watched in fear and sorrow as the boat tipped over the edge, the void opening below. “Sorry,” he whispered before his contingency device activated, teleporting him to the farthest distance he could reach.

The boat toppled and sank. The helmsmen, Berem, floated down. His shirt torn open from the storm, and the fist-sized gem embedded in his chest brightly glowing green.

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Session Fifteen
Over the sea, into the woods, and through trouble

Almost two weeks passed after the Spring Companions freed the elven kingdom of Silvanesti from its magical nightmare. They spent the time securing the capital and looking for surviving elves. With almost fifty elven survivors found and rescued, Alhana believed she had enough forces to defend the city and move outward into the still horrific forest to look for more survivors. The heroes were no longer needed and would do more good elsewhere.

After some time talking, the group decided to head northwest, via the ports to the northeas where they might be able to charter a boat and sail along the coast, cutting weeks off their trip (if not months). Alhana loaned the party several griffons to speed their way, flying the two-day journey to the Balifor region. Halfway there the Companions encountered a group a shipwrecked kender and spent a day retrieving valuables. After crossing the Bay of Balifor, they saw yet another kender, this time one facing a large black dragon in battle overtop the body of a fallen elf maiden. The Companions leapt into action, quickly defeating the beast. After interrogating the two survivors, battered and almost killed, the Companions discovered they were part of… the Resistance. They were carrying vital information on troop strength and watch rotations northward.

The kender (Kronn) and the Silvanesti elf (Serinda) accompanied the heroes to the city Balifor, who paused in their journey only to dispatch a draconian patrol. The Heroes found Balifor to be a heavily occupied town, with Dragonarmy patrols on every street and a heavy guard at the gate. The Dragonarmies used Balifor as a naval port, easily controlling the seas and preventing any sailing vessel from escaping. Tictok and Squee decided to get creative (and destructive), and used several shrunken barrels of oil and alchemist fire (all from Tictok’s gnomish bag of item shrinking) to create explosive bombs attached to a dozen Dragonarmy ships. Setting a time deal on the explosives, the group hastily left town the next morning. As they departed, several explosions and screams were heard in the distance.

The journey north to Flotsam was slow and long over the barren hills, with the Companions stopping every so often as they passed a Dragonarmy patrol. Occasionally, they would see a dragon scouting overhead. As one dragon neared they dashed for the trees, barely escaping its sight. Vanishing into the brush they saw something dash between the trees, running away from them.

Pursuing, they saw a fallen child (or kender) covered in blood and moaning. Wilder Spirit moved to investigate and stumbled over a pit trap that the agile ranger easily avoided. More kender emerged from the bushes trying to attack the “Dragonarmy soldiers” as the bloody kender leapt to his feet having feigned injury. Two of the kender hurled magical iron balls that expanded into flailing and grabbing bands, which encircled Deldred and Tictok. With gleeful cries, the kenders shouted “to Kendermore!” and the trapped Companions vanished, teleported away! After explaining they were not members of the Dragonarmy, the Companions were invited to return with the kender to Kendermore, the kender capital.

Travelling the scenic route to Kendermore, the Companions were reunited with their friends and relieved of small valuables. Staying only for dinner, the group left for the following morning “the Ruins” , where the kender said they had found the binding iron bands. The trip to the Ruins was quick but proved uneventful, as little remained save a curious foundation and an ancient magical ward that confused the weak-willed, causing their innermost nature to surface: Arcus spent an hour devastating the countryside with lightning while Tictok laboriously calculated the height and weight and mass of the fallen tower that once stood at the heart of the Ruins. Departing, the group did find an odd set of magical armour, possibly centuries old buried and hidden under a large boulder, likely once inside the Ruins.

On their way to Flotsam, the Companions stopped at an Oracle, spoken of by the leader of the kender (Kronin, father of Kronn). The oracle spoke a toad who is second from command that has an encounter with earth; birds and air being a call to action that should not be ignored; and a child of the sea being key to events. From there, they followed the path the kender told them to stick to (thus avoiding the myriad kender traps) and reached the outskirts of Flotsam.

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Session 14
pixies, impostors, dogs, and dragons

Having defeated the shapeshifting sivaks, the Companions continued forward towards the mountains where they believed Foghaven Vale was located.
They passed through a small forest protected by fey guardians, including a pixie mounted atop a faerie dragon. Escorted through the woods, the heroes pressed on well into the night while trying to find shelter in the woods. Weary, the group found the camp of a group of mercenaries who were resting overnight. Approaching them warily, Arthur used magic to discern their alignment while Elsebeth stumbled over a pile of bodies that resembled their new campmates. It did not take long for Carrion to deduce most were likely Sivak imposters and the draconian were dispatched. The sole remaining survivor, was questioned then sent on his way: the Companions had no need of a treasure hunter and tomb robber.

Moving through the mountains the next day, the group encountered a number of ogres and their large beasts of burden, which were quickly dispatched. Beyond, they found the entrance to Foghaven Vale and a ruined keep. Across the foggy valley was a massive shape, barely visible in the whiteness: a stone dragon carved into the mountain and hundreds of feet high!

Gauraux explored the keep, discovering references to Huma and a group of bats that knocked him down a flight of stairs. Beneath the keep, Gauraux found a massive magically illuminated chamber that housed the lair of a dragon. The group was hesitant to steal from the unknown dragon, especially as it might be a good silver dragon. Carrion had no qualms about pocketing a number of gems that appeared to be magic. In the chamber, the group also discovered a pool of liquid dragonmetal, which had been befouled and corrupted by some dark ritual.

Moving through the warm and foggy valley, the Companions reached a long, sloping bridge that crossed the wide river. They moved carefully across, to avoid falling in the stream which bubbled, fresh from a geothermic hotspring. Carrion and Arthur flew across on her zombie dragon. Beyond the bridge they found what could only be the Tomb of Human, long-dead knight and champion of the people. Inside, they found his sword and shield but left them alone. They also found a curious empty well, which Carrion deduced was where the magical stones were used. Placing them along the rim, she was sucked by a vacuum of air, along a hollow tube, and into the stone dragon.

Investigating the stone dragon, the Companions worked their way up to its mouth, where there was an impressive mural, marred by the corpses of a dead wizard at its base. One of the corpses surprised the party my moving, revealing itself to be the befuddled wizard, Fizban the Fabulous, who was quite put out to learn he was dead. Unable to learn much from the crazy old spellcaster, the group moved up to the large chamber inside the dragon’s head, which was occupied by a couple sivaks and a bronze statue that proved quite deadly. The draconian, at the cost of a number of their friends, had learned how to avoid the attacks of the golem, which turned on the heroes. While the draconian swiftly fell, the heroes fled from the dangerous golem. Thankfully, Drake accidently muddled across the room without incurring the construct’s wrath, and the party followed his steps and was able to reach the long stairwell that descended deep to the chamber at the heart of the stone dragon.

Inside the “heart of the dragon” the Companions faces a basilisk and an officer in the dragonarmies. The officer had apparently been dispatched on his mission after Feal-Thas learned the location of Foghaven Vale, sent to corrupt the dragonmetal so no new dragonlances could be formed. He died quickly and the Companions searched the rest of the chamber, discovered an exit in the wall. This led outside, a cleft evidently broken open by time or the Cataclysm. In the distance, they could make out human lands.

Then, a dragon landed! The group rushed to attack the fearsome red beast, likely the mount of the fallen officer. Elsebeth charged on her horse towards the beast, skewering it deeply with a dragonlance! Gauraux charged on foot with deadly results, fatally stabbing the beast with the enchanted weapon. Secure in the stone dragon and with a month before the Whitestone Council, Arthur set to work crafting new lances. While he lacked the Hammer of Kharas and the ability to make true dragonlances, these lesser lances might still prove to be formidable weapons.

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Session 13
Boat battle, wilderness trek, and a fight against shapechangers

The shipped rocked as the Heroes sailed through Ice Mountain Bay. Gaurauxand Drakeargued over who was captain, taking turns at the helm to avoid the massive floating ice mountains that give the bay its name. Exhausted after weeks of walking and battles with a dragon and a highlord, the group finally rested. Unnoticed, the jewel around Arthur’s neck brightly glowed an enchanted glow.

Carrionfound herself in a blasted wilderness. Ash filled the air and the trees suffered. A young man and his sister hunted for food on a sad excuse for a game trail. They came across a damaged ruin with a glimmering gemmed pillar jutting from the ground like the bones of a slain giant. The young man attempted to pry out a large emerald as his sister protested, warning this site might be sacred to some god. Carrion watched helplessly, being only a ghostly witness, as the girl fell and struck a stone pillar. There was redness followed by a bright green light, revealing a large chamber filled with gargantuan green dragons. Carrion found herself fighting alongside a gnome, a wild elf, Elsebeth, and Gauraux.

Arthur dreamed he was wandering lost through an inn, moving through corridor after corridor until he stumbled across the common room. It was empty but still filled with bustling noise and laughter. There were only two people in the room, both seated at the far table: a drunken dwarf and a woman in a red dress. Approaching them, they turned and greeted Arthur, using his true name “Amadaeus”. The woman told him he was walking too far down the Path of Vengeance and that there must be a return to balance. The dwarf smiled mischievously, now seeming much more sober, and said it was time to return to the Path of the Blacksmith. They passed over a large cloth bundle. Inside with an arm made of brightly polished silver. Arthur picked-up the arm and exited the common room, finding himself in a large throne room filled with friends and dragons.

Drake had a dream that cannot be repeated here among mixed company.

Everyone awoke on the ship, feeling both rested and shaken from the vivid nightmare. Arthur was especially affected, discovering that the mysterious silver arm had followed him from his dream and was very real!

They continued sailing for the better part of a week before coasting between the island of Enstar and southern remains of Ergoth. That morning a storm followed closely at their heels, so they pushed their damaged ship harder and hard to keep ahead of the tempest. Then, when only a few hundred meters from shore, the Companions saw a dragon nearing! Drake attempted to sail as fast as he could but the dragon closed, blasting the hull with lightning. After the entire group pleaded with Gauraux to take the helm, the minotaur reluctantly began to steer (and declared himself captain despite Drake’s protests). Navigating between jagged spurs of rock, the ship narrowly avoided disaster. The dragon continued to strafe at the vessel until, seeing his opportunity, Gauraux aimed the ship at the flying dragon and brought it (and the crow’s nest) crashing to the ship. The injured dragon, now recognized as the Blue Dragon Highlord’s mount, grappled briefly with Drake as they fell to the deck, then retreated into the water.

Landing in a small inlet, the Companions moved ashore and ventured through the untamed wilds. The forest seemed ancient and untouched. Then, abruptly, they came across signs of recent logging and fresh paths. Following a trail, they encountered an elven hunting party, bows raised cautiously. The hunters were a group of Silvanetsi nobles accompanied by many Kagonesti that seemed to be little more than slaves. Reluctantly, the Companions agreed to accompany the elves back to their camp but refused to hand over their weaponry and instead consented to peace bind their swords. The elves kept a careful eye on the dark elf exile Carrion., but were swayed into calm by Elsebeth and Drake’s words. Gauraux kept himself hidden during negotiations, and followed from a discrete distance. Taken to the elven refugee camp of Silvamori, the Companions were led to the hall of the regent, where a noble ruled in the stead of both the Speaker of the Stars, and his absent daughter Alhana. The situation is tense as the Qualinesti elves landed across the river and tensions have flared between the two long separated groups of elves. Generations of bad blood proved difficult to forgive.

After tense negotiations, the regent of the starts decided to hold the company as his “guests” and instructed them to be taken to “guest quarters”. Meanwhile, Gauraux moved through the trees as silently as possible, pausing as he noticed he was being shadowed. Moving to a location where he could surprise his tail, the minotaur encountered a Kagonesti female, Silvara, who offered her help. Silvara offered to create a distraction, and ran off (with her dog / animal companion Dargo) and told other Kagonesti slaves to run into camp screaming of Qualinesti invaders. With their guards called away, the Companions fled from Silvamori into the wilds of Southern Ergoth. Silvara, a druid of some minor skill, agreed to act as guide for the heroes.

Considering their next move, Elsebeth remembered there was a Solamnic outpost reputed to be somewhere to the north. They decided that was preferable to swimming across the sea, meeting with other elves, or dealing with ogres. The group opted to head northward. Along the way, Arthur spoke with Silvara about the return of the gods, fanning the spark of druidic talents to a full flame. The whole journey, Derek Crownguard bitterly complained of being forced to flee from battle with the elves.

After some distance they encountered a group of wild elves who told them the Companions should turn back, that the northern pass through the mountains was held by the dragonarmy and ogres. After some discussion, doubts were raised when the “elves” could not speak elven. The Companions attacked. The elves revealed themselves to be shape-shifted draconians, a new type before unseen. These grey-scaled monsters were much larger, capable of flight, and when slain curiously mimicked the appearance of their killers.

Victorious, the Companions continued their journey as Silvara told a story, which she was reminded of by the shape changing draconian. Her story was of the knight Huma and the “lances of doom”, who fell in love with a dragon disguised as a human. Carrion noted a location in her story that sounded similar to the “Foghaven Vale” mentioned in notes salvaged from the white dragon highlord. The location was said to be “at the meeting place of three mountain ranges”, which seemed close to the pass they were journeying towards. As it was close, the group decided it was worth investigating…

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Session Twelve
The Nightmare continues, unbeatable opponents, green dragon onslaught

Leaving the refuge of the elven tower of Shalost, the Heroes continued their journey through the terrifying woods of the elven kingdom of Silvanesti. The one immaculate woods are deformed and twisted, the trees screaming and bleeding and the road winds and writhes like a living thing. The sky remained a grey-green haze when not completely covered by the dense canopy of black-green leaves.

Before long… or after a number of hours… the group emerged into a clearing filled with crude lean-tos, the remains of the elves who refused to leave. The clearing was slowly shrinking as the woods press inward. Both groups unable to help the other, the heroes continued onward. They came to the Thon-Thalas River suggesting they were finally nearing the city of Silvanost at the heart of the woods. Dancing on the dingy, befouled water are three spirits dancing on the water, ghosts of elves who died trying to flee the nightmare. Unable to assist, the group continued across the water, hoping that by ending the Nightmare they will release the spirits from their compulsion.

Before long, the Companions came to a straight patch of road and saw a group of draconians moving closer. Relishing a foe they could hit, the two groups swiftly attacked! Arcus unleashed a blast of lighting while Deldred conjured a pit. Wilder Spirit and her lion Fu rushed forward in a frenzy of claws. The draconians retaliated with flaming blasts, a hammer of crushing force, and a flurry of quick sword strikes. Squee became a massive rat while Tictok launched a box of mechanical monkeys only for the draconian to summon a swarm of distracting insects while one became a massive slavering spider-beast. Suddenly the truth became clear: the group was fighting themselves. With that clarity the draconians begin to waver as the heroes saw images of themselves layered overtop before the creatures vanished altogether.

Injured but determined, they forge forward. Just outside the gates of the city they discovered a group of children singing and dancing around a horrifying tree. They laughingly greeted the party as uncles, brothers, and mothers before skipping away over a field of poppies that had the faces of screaming elves. Entering Silvanost, the group meandered through twisting streets, the Tower of Stars always seemingly just a block away. Squee dashed ahead and the tower seems to pull back as he neared. The confused gully dwarf paused, as was passed by a troop of elven warriors carrying a fallen companion. Returning to the group with the elves, Squee discovered another Squee has already joined the Companions! Confused but undaunted, the group blindfolded Alhana and allowed her to lead the way to the tower based on memory.

Before long the group arrived at the tower, defeating the twin golems guarding its entrance: one by slowly hitting it into submission, the other by trapping it in an extra-dimensional pit then crushing it into powder via two magically generated walls of stone laid atop the pit. Entering the tower, the group wandered aimlessly through a maze of corridors and doorways. Arcus jokingly commented that the tower was bigger on the inside.

Through one door they found themselves in the courtyard of an entirely different tower while a war raged beyond the walls. Arrows rained overhead as the main gate was pounded by a battering ram. They saw Elsebeth fighting atop the wall while Gauraux helped secure the main gate. Suddenly, a huge blue dragon flew over the wall, mounted by the familiar form of the Blue Dragon Highlord, whom they had seen while fleeing Tarsis. He gestured menacingly at Elsebeth, and then someone stabbed her in the back! Else turned and half-recognized her assailant before falling from the wall. Crying her name, Tictok flew up and caught the falling knight causing both to crash into the ground. Elistan and Deldred rushed forward and administered healing. Elsebeth seemed dazed, with the last thing she remembered being sailing away from a glacier on a boat. Gathering everyone together they returned back through the unfamiliar tower and the entire group, including Gauraux and Elsebeth, found themselves back in the Tower of the Stars.

Through another door the group found themselves on a boat sailing on a crimson sea while a storm raged overhead. They suddenly became aware of the boat tipping sideways as it was pulled into the heart of a massive maelstrom. Frantically the group struggled at the doors of the cabin as the ship tipped over the edge vanishing into the whirlpool. Throwing the doors open the Companions found themselves tumbling back into the tower while the ship disintegrated behind them as sailor were washed away into the depths. Through the doorway they could just make out the sound of underwater screams and drowning sailors.

Finally, after hours, the group stumbled upon the throne room of the Speaker of the Stars. There they saw Lorcac, Speaker and lord of the Silvanesti elves. His hands rested on a glowing crystal sphere, while a green dragon whispered horrible words into his ear. This was the insidious dragon, Cyan Bloodbane, whose subtle whispers spread in the king’s sleeping mind like an infection and were given form by the dragon orb. The heroes moved forward and, as stepping into the dimly lit room, they became aware there were three other gargantuan green dragons! Then, even more surprisingly, doubles of themselves entered the room as well as a black-robed elf maiden, an elven warrior, and Arthur, who’s missing arm had been replaced by a glistening silver arm! The three groups of heroes all moved to strike!

The battle raged as the heroes focused their fire on one of the green dragons, guessing he was the true dragon, while the Tictoks grabbed Alhana and made her invisible. Balls of fire erupted, poisonous breath spewed, swords flashed, and claws rended. After several moments one of the dragons tried to flee before the black robed wizard, Carrion, shot it down. The dragon collapsed and the remaining three dragons shrank in size to little bigger than horses. Emboldened, the heroes redoubled their efforts and slew two of the remaining dragons while Toctok created an invisible field around Lorac. Several heroes gathered around the orb, planning their actions.

Suddenly, the fallen form of Cyan Bloodbane rose. The great dragon had been feigning death and, now knowing the orb and Lorac were protected, breathed a cone of gas over the clustered heroes. The remaining Companions quickly rallied, surrounding Cyan as Wilder Spirit convinced Alhana to strike at her father. Sobbing she stabbed him and the dream ended, popped like a bubble. Injured and defeated, Cyan barely managed to teleport away.

Victorious, the heroes were rewarded with a dragonlance and the dragon orb as the elves slowly began the long task of repairing their tortured land.

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