Campaign of the Month: August 2013

Dragons of Autumn

Here there be dragons... and draconians...

Session 6

The group assesses their surroundings and discovers that they are in a massive cavern approximately 700 feet below the surface. The ruined city lays before them and massive waterfalls can be heard in the distance. The the immediate west of the tower foundation is a chasm that acts as a drain for a great deal of water. The group decides to investigate the eastern part of the city first. Before they investigate, Draigo follows a small cave to the north to discover another overturned building. This appears to have been a church, but now lays on its side. The tall windows now act as the spigot and drain for a fall of water that Draigo believes connects to the chasm hole they discovered between the upside-down inn and the shops.
The city is mostly collapsed and its main streets acting as channels for rushing water, but the alleys still prove navigational. The group comes upon what appears to be a storehouse. They search it and find a Qualinesti-made +1 Composite longbow (+1 STR bonus), and a quiver of 12 arrows. Unfortunately, they also find a drunken Bozak. The Bozak is so drunk that he believes the group to be other Draconians. He begins telling them that he and the captain over-celebrated and the captain might have been carried off by some " rat-dwarves. " The Bozak brushes it off as a hallucination, but he’s worried that it might be true. If it is true, the drunken Bozak ascertains that the gully dwarves likely took the captain to their king. The Bozak gestures over to the western part of the city when he says this. Suddenly, realization dawns on his face as he sees the group for the first time. " Hey, you’re not… a… draconian… I’s seein’ stuff again… " he sputters before passing out.
The group is not eager to disturb the Bozak again and continues their investigation. Of the two remaining doors to investigate in the room, one has audible struggles and the other opens into a collapsed building. The group favors tunneling through the rubble instead of risking discovery. Yelfis leads the group through the rubble and exits into a street that runs parallel to the cavern wall. They follow the road until it breaks west where they observe a massive pot on a chain surrounded by Draconians, gully dwarves, and a smaller wicker dragon idol like the one in the swamp. The group is certain that the pot must lead to the mechanism they heard and avoided in the tomb under the temple of Mishakal.
The group decides to let Kip investigate alone further to the south and report back if there is anything else interesting. Kip spends a lot of time climbing through rubble and eventually comes to a waterfall surrounded on either side by massive vines. The water from the fall runs west towards a great hall like Ossamis described. Kip makes his way back, relays the outcome of his investigation, and the group decides to follow their path back to the tower foundation.
At the tower foundation, the group follows a main city-street filled with running water to the south; they cross when the water becomes passable and then head north and west into the other half of the city.
The area is filled with tracks from gully dwarves. The group follows the tracks deeper in to the city until Almaia spots a mark on a wall. The mark is similar to thieves guild markings she has seen on her travels. She searches the wall and finds a secret door! The door hisses when it opens and dank-stale air envelops them. Almaia enters the small room alone. She follows the small path through the walls of this building. Along the way, she passes an area with loud shouting on the other side of the wall. The shouting is unintelligible, but she occasionally makes out words in dwarven and in common. At the end of the secret path is lever. The lever opens a wall and Almaia pushes it open with great effort. A giant bed had been placed against the secret door and the room is covered with ratty old hats. The other door exiting the room leads to the area of shouting so Almaia returns into the wall and resets the bed and secret door as best as she can. She informs the group of her discovery when she returns.
The group decides to leave the secret path alone and continue their search into the city. They continue to follow the gully dwarf tracks and find a door to a building. The door opens to a room with an ominous and cold feeling to it as if something horrible happened there long ago. They decide not to investigate any further into that building and instead continue tracking the gully dwarves further into the city.
The group arrives at the entrance to a large-standing building at the end of the trail. They enter and find a room with arrow slits on the southern and western walls. The southern slits look into a foul-smelling chamber that appears to be a gully dwarf barracks. The western slits look into a small chamber with three sleeping gully dwarves. The group exits the room west toward the three sleeping Aghar. They look to be guards, but their weapons like several feet from them, and all three lean against each other as they slumber.
The group carries on and comes to a room filled with gaudy tapestries. To the south, through double doors, they hear shouting and commotion. Yelfis leads the group through the doors into a gully dwarf mess hall. The gully dwarves are in the middle of a food fight. They are throwing some of the foulest, diseased, organic materials that the group has ever encountered. Some of the group is unfortunate enough to get hit with stray globs of their putrid meals.
Yelfis pulls out his hammer and yells to stop the food fight. Unfortunately, the effect is overkill for the cowardly gully dwarves who scatter at the suggestion of lethal damage. Yelfis pursues a few into a room and discovers the bedroom filled with tattered hats that Almaia described. As he searches the piles of hats for gully dwarves, he finds a crudely written map. While he assess the map, the hiding gully dwarves make their escape. Yelfis returns to the party. During the mass-exodus of the gully dwarves, the group locates their guide who agrees to lead them to their king.
Along the way, the group hears impacts and groaning from behind a tapestry. They investigate and find a secret room. The room contains a bound Bozak and two gully dwarves. The gully dwarves are taking turns hitting the Bozak and then scurrying away. The group notices the military insignia on his robes and ascertain that he is the missing captain the drunk Bozak mentioned. The group attempts to interrogate the Bozak, but he only responds with:
" Dragon Highlord Verminaard will be victorious! He is a true representative of the Queen, and as her instrument, he will crush all who resist her new order. The invincible Khisanth defends the only hope of their enemies… Yes, I’ve seen the Disks. You are fools to place your trust in the gods they speak of. You have no hope! Her Majesty’s enemies are weaklings, unwilling to act with decisiveness and finality. So fight while you can for Verminaard will soon throw you on the funeral pyre of your chaotic and decadent civilization! "
The group gags the Bozak and leaves the gully dwarf guards to meet with the king.
The court of the gully dwarf king is filled with shiny and valueless items. At the far end atop a large golden throne sits a large gully dwarf (about the same height as a regular dwarf), his brow supporting a crown three sizes too big for his head. He introduces himself as Thane Highbulp Phudge I. At the mention of his name and title, every gully dwarf within earshot stands to attention and salutes.
The group introduces themselves and asks the gully dwarf king about a secret path to the dragon’s lair. The king is hesitant to disclose the information, but discloses his detest of the Draconians and the oppression of the gully dwarves under their reign. He explains that the Draconians use them as slave labor for many things including acting as ballast for the pot-elevator. The group convinces him that they are friendly and sympathetic to his cause. Phudge agrees to disclose share the secret path if the group agrees to bring him " many shiny things. " The group agrees and Phudge provides an escort to the secret path.
The group is led to a smaller building further to the south that contains the entrance to the secret path. Yelfis confirms this with the map he found in what must have been the kings bedroom. The small building overlooks another great waterfall, reflective of the waterfall to the east sans vines. Before the group enters the building, they spot among the rocks of the waterfall, a human maiden attempting to hide. As they approach, the maiden recognizes Goldmoon. Goldmoon confirms that the young woman is indeed of [Que-Shu]] and her name is Sunstar. Sunstar explains about the destruction of Que-Shu and her capture along with her brother, Raven-eye. She was able to escape, but her brother still lies in the dungeon to the east. The group decides to free Raven-eye before seeking the Disks of Mishakal in the dragon’s lair.
The group heads east toward a great courtyard and quickly hides as they spot the the black dragon, a Bozak high-priest, and several grovelling gully dwarves. The dragon speaks to the Bozak in a language none of the group recognizes. At the end of their conversation, the Bozak turns around, kicks the gully dwarves, and yells: " Find the prisoner! The Lady says that if she escapes, she’ll make a meal of all of you! I want her, and I want her now!!! "
The gully dwarves scurry to the north followed by the Bozak officer. The black dragon stands alone, cocks her head quizzically, and sniffs the air. She looks around and then retreats south toward her lair.
The group waits a moment before heading south-east to rescue Raven-eye. Their route takes them to what appears to be the giant steel entry doors to the dragon’s lair. Instead, the group follows a parallel route east into what appears to be a former palace. The group passes several statutes of humans, dwarves, and elves before coming upon two Bozak guards. The group attacks and is surprised to discover that these Draconians do not turn to stone when they die. Instead, at the instant of death, all the skin and flesh desiccates, shrivels to the skeleton, and then explodes. After the two Bozak explode under the might of the group, the group discovers a room full of treasure chests. Unfortunately, the chests only contain more clay Tsarothian culli. However, Almaia locates a package wrapped in burlap at the bottom of one of the piles. Inside the package is a +3 dagger (medium-sized), a +3 dagger (small-sized), a pair of gloves of swimming and climbing, a +1 heavy steel shield, and the Spellbook of Fistandantilus.
The group continues down a corridor lined with empty barracks racks. A separate officers quarters contains a table with a map of the palace, dried meats, and a potion of cure light wounds. The map shows that the dragon’s lair has two large entrances; one to the east and one to the west. The western entrance is through a long hallway which has an area marked off with an exclamation point. The group believes this mark to be the location of a trap.
Further down the corridor they discover the cell containing Raven-eye. He hangs from manacles driven into the walls, his torso bare and distended by his awkward position and he shows sign of torture. Once Almaia unlocks and opens the cell, Sunstar rushes to Raven-eye. As Almaia picks the locks on his manacles, the grateful Raven-eye thanks the dwarves and his fellow Plainsfolk tribesman for rescuing him. The group supplies Raven-eye with a +1 Longspear they recovered from their battle with the spectral treasury guards. After some healing from Donegin, Raven-eye is able to move around on his own, but he is far from full strength.
Toward the end of the corridor, the group finds another officer quarters. However, this office is occupied by a Bozak high priest sitting at a desk. Draigo charges into the office and flips the desk over. The high priest is startled, but after seeing that he is greatly outnumbered, he surrenders. He offers to lead the heroes into the dragon’s lair, but once he starts heading to the western entrance, the group realizes that the Bozak is leading them into a trap. The group slays the Bozak for his treachery.
The group follows the corridor to the eastern entrance when they hear the dragon call, " Enter! And return that which was taken from me! " The group steels themselves and enters the dragon’s lair.
The dragon’s lair is a large 100 foot diameter dome rising four stories. The black dragon sits in the center atop a pile of jewels, steel weapons, intricate items, and other treasures. The group attacks!
The battle with Khisanth is fierce. The dragon resorts to hovering at 5 feet and blasting with her acid breath. It tears through Sunstar and Raven-eye in a single round. Goldmoon wields the Blue Crystal Staff boldly, healing the party as they battle the dragon. The number and prowess of the group proves to be too much for the black dragon and she falls in combat. The group has to roll the dragon off the treasure after its death, but begins collecting the treasure and discovers the Disks of Mishakal!


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