Campaign of the Month: August 2013

Dragons of Autumn

Born on the Bayou...

Session 3

After a couple hours of recovery from the encounter with a platoon of skeletons, the group (including Draigo) continued up into the Eastwall Mountains. Riverwind’s warning about the dangers of the mountains was fruitful as the group encountered a group of 6 bugbears and a separate group of 3 dire badgers. The group was successful in defeating the monsters along the mountain pass and descended into the eastern foothills of the Eastwall Mountains.
The group came upon the ruins of a dwarven fortress in the foothills. Upon investigation of the ruins, the group discovered 3 owl bears fighting over a recent kill. The group dispatched the large beasts and continued north into the swamps of Xak Tsaroth.
As the grasslands turned to wetlands, Riverwind warns the group about the hazards of the swamp; specifically mentioning the dangers of disturbing the swamp water. The group heeds his warning and heads into the swamp. Unfortunately, a group of Draconians were lying in wait for intruders in their swamp. These Draconians were a different race than the ones the group encountered in the plains; they surprised the warning and began casting sleep spells. The group quickly falls asleep to the onslaught of the 7 skilled sorcerers, but Kip takes cover under the cart.
Kip watches from his hiding spot under the cart as the Draconians carry his companions deeper in the swamp. Kip follows at a distance and discovers a fortified encampment set up around a giant wicker dragon. Kip is very interested in the wicker dragon and decides to investigate it while his friends sleep it off. He circles back to gather the horse and cart and takes a different swamp-trail to circumnavigate the encampment and approach it from the north side.
Meanwhile, the dwarves and their human companions awake in bamboo cages. They are surrounded by dozens of Baaz Draconians. Their leader is dressed as a priest and is conducting rituals by a bonfire directly in front of the giant wicker dragon. Blz081The groups equipment has been confiscated, but Draigo was able to hide an owl bear tooth he kept as a souvenir. He gives the tooth to Almaia to begin cutting the vine lashings of the cage. The group attempts to distract their guards with cajoling and insults, but the Baaz laugh at them. Suddenly, the perimeter guard to the west alerts the camp to a possible intrusion and the Draconians mobilize to investigate.
At about the same time, Kip is attempting to drive the horse and cart along the swamp-trail west of the camp. The horse is obviously not taking him seriously as it will not continue any further north. Kip hops off the cart and tries to lead the horse by the reigns. When the horse continues to refuse him, Kip starts to give the disobedient animal a piece of his mind. Unbeknownst to Kip, several draconic heads have emerged from the swamp water behind him. The horse, following its military training, stands its ground but continues to disobey Kip’s commands to move toward the area of obvious danger. Suddenly, Kip hears yelling from the encampment and approaching foot steps. He jumps back into the cart and raises his hoopak. The swift strike of the Kender‘s weapon motivates the horse to move with a purpose. The acceleration rolls Kip into the back of the cart as the horse runs directly past a six-headed hydra. Before the hydra can pursue it is accosted by a dozen Baaz who drive it back into the swamp water. Kip finally gets back into the driver seat of the cart and is completely oblivious to his near brush with horrific death.
Back in camp, the captured companions observe the Baaz returning from the west. The Baaz are unimpressed with their encounter and shake it off as a routine maintenance of living in the cursed swamps of Xak Tsaroth. A short while later, the companions are interrogated the Draconian High-Priest who wants to know about the Blue Crystal Staff. The companions feign any knowledge of the staff when they spot movement by the base of the wicker dragon temple.
Having stashed the horse and cart on a secure swamp peninsula to the north of the encampment, Kip began traveling south. He passed through the outer ruins of an ancient city and over a fallen obelisk before reaching the encampment. Kip spots a doorway at the base of the wicker dragon and moves swiftly for it. He is not spotted by any Baaz and begins his investigation of the truly wonderful creation. He climbs some stairs inside and gets a decent few of the camp from what must be the creatures mouth. He spots his companions being interrogated and is quickly sobered by their imprisonment. Imprisonment is considered a great offense to a Kender and Kip did not appreciate that kind of behavior. While planning an approach for a break-out, Kip hears praying. He looks down to see the Baaz bowing by a bonfire and reciting prayers to their dragon-god. Suddenly, Kip had an idea! He digs through his pouches and finds an old horn mug with a hole in the bottom. He raises it to his lips and commands: “I am very displeased with you! These prisoners are not worthy for sacrifice! Release them at once or feel my WRATH!”
Silence and stillness falls over the camp at the commands from their wicker idol. Kip, fearing that they would not take him seriously, climbs up to a joist attached to the great wicker wings on either side of the structure. He begins jumping on the beam causing the great wings to bounce up and down. He leaps back to the platform by the dragon’s mouth to issue more commands, but he loses his footing and falls.
The imprisoned companions watched as the Baaz paused in awe from the orders of their wicker god. When the great statue began to beat its massive wings, the Baaz scattered in all directions into the swamp. The companions seized the moment to break out of their cages. Once freed, the companions split up to look for their equipment when a few of them spot a small figure topple from the wicker dragons mouth and fall into the bonfire. The incredibly nimble Kip tumbled clear of the fire without much damage and rejoined his companions. The group finds its equipment after a few minutes of searching and can hear the sound of the Baaz returning. The group follows Kip to the north before they are spotted. They come across the fallen obelisk and begin to cross, but Almaia notices an etching in the stone monument. She deciphers its message:
" The Great City of Xak Tsaroth, whose beauty surrounds you, speaks to the good of its people and their generous deeds. The gods reward us in the grace of our home. "
The group excited at the discovery of their destination and fearing pursuit by the Baaz proceed into the ruined city.
Blz15   16

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