Privateer

Episode 101: Scimitar Rock, Part One
New arrivals and new troubles.

Campaign date: 1 Ayez (Month of Steam) – 425 A.R.

Griffon

The griffons of Scimitar Rock watch over those who enter its bay.

The spring months preceding this first Winesday of summer were peaceful, yet saw many exciting events and new arrivals to Scimitar Rock. An aerum vein was discovered, foretelling great prosperity for the town of Griffton, and the mostly-dwarven Barduk family set about the construction of a mine. The gnome-captained trading barge Azkar docked on this first of Steam and a mysterious ironborn disembarked, marking the last of the new travelers. While some of the citizens thought them to be possibly villainous, town’s newest guests proved themselves to be heroes, when they answered the alarm bell to fight off a ravenous pack of starving gnolls who had devoured a pair of farmers and two thirds of the Griffton patrol. The heroes rescued the farm children from certain doom and the outlying homesteaders took refuge behind the town’s wooden palisade. Sorrow gripped Griffton as the mourning residents buried their dead and pondered their uncertain fates on the eve of the Jannian Navy’s biannual appearance. After seeking the advice of Sheriff Durri, the party decided to pay a visit to the wizard outside of town, and upon their arrival discovered Dragaurlônd, the great green wyrm Patron of the Rock, perched atop the tower.

Gnoll defenders by ben wootten

Notes: Fraas (John), a lithe male human with strange blue tattoos covering his body, also arrived on the Azkar, continuing his mission to explore and catalog the natural world. Arriving on the prior months’ trade ships were Shah (Neil), a flamboyant male half-elf with a penchant for the womenfolk of Griffton, and Bork (Rich), an alchemically-inclined, obsidian-eyed, slate-grey deep gnome — a rare sight on Scimitar Rock! Leading the robed, ironborn Sentinel (Derek) and these two adventurers in the slaughter of the gnolls was the civilized, female half-orc spell-sword Zinnaerris (Allison) — long time apprentice of the town’s wizard — and the earthsmasher-wielding Rand Barduk (Aaron), the adopted human son of the Barduk dwarves. In the weeks before this battle, and after he wowed Baz Barduk with his alchemical skill, Bork and the heroes quested to gather sassone leaf, and unfortunately leaarned that stirges sometimes nest near sassone bushes. Sentinel found the trail of an old elven friend Verion to have gone cold. Shah showed great initiative in providing a valuable service to the community, earning many pieces of gold in the process. Bork initially was convinced that Sentinel was a lich. (In fact, he still might be .. so Bork remains wary.)

Warforged

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Sneak Peek at Episode 102: Scimitar Rock, Part Two
When it rains..

Campaign date: 2 Ayez (Month of Steam) – 425 A.R.

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Parleying with Draugarlônd?

Griffton has suffered its worst attack in decades, the Jannian Navy arrives with a surprising guest and an even more surprising request, and the heroes must deal with the green dragon Draugarlônd, who has perched atop Jackmerius’s tower. Familiar and unfamiliar foes threaten the uneasy peace of Scimitar Rock. And to make matters worse, someone in Griffton is not who they seem to be …

COMING SOON

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Episode 102: Scimitar Rock, Part Two
It looks like these heroes might need a hand.

Campaign date: 2 Ayez (Month of Steam) – 425 A.R.

Lord garland 3 The heroes cautiously approached the great green Wyrm perched atop Jackmerius Stringfellow’s tower, only to discover that it was an repeating illusion, and that Lord Garland (pictured at left in elven form) was inside, conferring with the visibly-shaken wizard, to whom they overheard the instruction, “You know what you must do.” The Lord of Griffton, ever the champion of noble etiquette, commissioned the party to investigate the reasons for the gnoll attack, providing them with his battle standard to let any would-be attackers know that the party was “under his protection” and promising a reward.

After much debate about their motives, and learning that the Jannian Navy was delayed, the heroes began tracking the gnolls. After a soggy three-day trek into the Westwood of Scimitar Rock, noticing an omnipresent, distant rustling in the jungle at night as well as a growing stench of rot, the party discovered the feral gnolls’ makeshift camp — but the gnolls had been brutally massacred. At the rear of the camp was a wooden cage containing a gnome who was trying his best to remain absolutely motionless.

Ashen undead Stirred to “life” by the heroes’ intrusion, one of the dead gnolls nearest the cage bolted upright, his movements impossibly quick, whipped his ruined head around on what remained of his spine, and rushed the party. He savaged them with his half-mandible, and a strange, wet clucking sound emanated from the back of his rotting throat. This call to arms woke many more of the fallen foes to unlife, and, rising all around them, they mobbed the group, which struggled to survive until the timely application of fire disintegrated the enemies into a spray of cindery ash.

Matters quickly went even worse as the freed gnome captive informed his new allies of two new threats: the pirates of the Summerstar, who he had escaped after they disembarked far south of the Bay of Griffton, and the hunters that decimated the gnolls — a chorus of reptilian screeching and rending claws and teeth in the inky blackness of night.

The party began their trek back to town, and along the way noticed (by climbing a tree) that there was a visible “line” in the distant forest canopy where the lush green colors changed, suddenly, to a unnaturally darker shade.

As the party camped for the night, they heard the sounds of something stalking the camp’s periphery. Heedless of danger, they charged it, only to discover that their foe (or foes) were invisible. The invisible threat bit Rand’s torch-carrying hand clean off, cauterizing the wound instantly with acid, and the paladin fell unconscious. The party used a combination of waving Lord Garland’s banner, a fear spell, and alchemical bombs to drive away the foe(s.)

The party hustled back to town and took Rand to the healer. The healer cured both Rand and Aven of some sort of disease they contracted, and Rand slowly regained his vigor. Rand’s father Baz Barduk, with Gfedcba’s help, fashioned a metal claw so that Rand could wield his earthbreaker.

During the downtime, Gfedcba and Aven combined to perform the greatest act of music that the mote had ever heard. A dragon roar in the far north was heard as the music died down. A young farm couple named their newborn “Aven Maestro Harkshire,” as he was born during the epic performance. As well, it was revealed that Lord Garland had ‘adopted’ the two children orphaned by the starving gnolls’ attack on the farmstead, taking them north to be raised “with every advantage.”

The party encountered Lord Garland, Captain Mordren and an Admiral of the Jannian Navy with a very severe personality in the tavern. Lord Garland paid the grouo fifty platinum pieces for their services to the Griffton. Captain Mordren, speaking on behalf of the Navy, asked Rand where to find Boko, and told him that he was in trouble. The party left to find Boko first, and it appeared as though Archibald Bush somehow signaled for the tavern patrons to crowd the table around the Navy men, so that their pursuit would be hindered. Gfedcba and Fraas used their wiles to delay the pursuing sailors further while Rand and the others hurried to find Boko.

At the Barduk home, Bork noticed a loose floorboard by meticulously hopping on each one. In a hollow, they discovered a piece of leather that clearly wrapped some sort of small cylinder, and part of a children’s toy. Rand puzzled over the toy for a few moments before realizing that it was one piece of a toy he and Boko used to play with in a certain secluded grove on the outskirts of the farms. The party hurried there.

Arriving at the grove, the group found Boko being threatened by pirates, led by two elves, a male and a female. The female elf said “he’s telling the truth, he doesn’t have it,” and the male elf quick-drew a strange device which seemed to explode in his hand — and Boko’s skull exploded in turn.

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The group charged the pirates and cut them down, but not before the gunslinger summoned his rescue: “Draugarlond!” Lord Garland teleported right next to the pirate, transformed into his huge, terrifying wyrm form, and then flew away with the pirate on his neck. The gunslinger (made invisible by his partner) yelled out, “what about her?” to which Draugarlond growled out, “Not in the contract.” The piratical elven lady surrendered, obviously shocked at her friend’s abandonment.

Our heroes led this elf woman — named Isolindë — to the Barduk family’s new aerum mine and interrogated her. She offered help freely, though she did not know the details of the plan. She shared the names of her now ex-lover, Galóndil — better known as Blackhail, captain of the Summerstar, and the greater group to which he belonged. This group, known as the Agarchanar, elven for “Brothers in Blood,” is led by Lómil-Galdor, known as ‘the Viper,’ and the self-styled King in the Void. He captains the Greyswan, the flagship of his fleet, and the base was revealed to be in the far south, in dragon-controlled lands known as the Drag-Suar Motes.

Notes: Rand used his detect evil ability to view Draugarlônd for the first time and was nearly overwhelmed by the power of his aura. He was rendered shaking and speechless for his trouble. Lord Garland conscripted Sentinel to be his companion on patrol of the town, choosing to “take a more active role in the protection of Griffton.” Aven identified the symbol hastily scratched into the ground of the gnoll camp as referring to the Patron of the Gnolls.

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Episode 103 Recap
A Secret Lurks In The Shadows

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The party had not been long in the Barduk family mine when it became clear that interrogating Isolinde would be of little use. The elven piratess knew nothing of the larger game being played around her, certainly not enough to make sense of what had gone on that terrible night. She didn’t know what the pirates wanted from Boko, or why they had killed him. Isolinde knew only that she was in love with Blackhail, that he had betrayed her, and that she would do everything in her power to help the party bring him to justice. So she said.

Zinnaerris scowled. Frustrated, exhausted, and enraged at Isolinde’s apparent ignorance, she felt an ancient rage stirring within her, but she knew better than to act on it. Instead, she thumbed the curved edge of her battle axe and paced.

“Shhhhhhhhh!” someone said abruptly. Rand stopped questioning, and the party stood still. A soft, chilling hiss flowed through the cavern. There was a long moment of silence, then it began again. This time it was louder and they were able to make out a word: “Fraaaaaaaaaaassssss.”

The hiss became a whisper as it grew louder and more crisp. Suddenly a group of shadows passed through the stone wall, headed directly for the party. “Fraaaaaaaaaaas.” Everyone looked at Fraas, whose pale face and slack jaw proved he knew no more than they about why these wretched creatures were calling his name. They attempted to fight but soon learned these creatures could be destroyed only with magic. Fraas was able to fend them off with a spell, but only after Isolinde saved his life with a protection spell. The party barely managed to escape with their lives.

Once outside the cave, the adventurers decided to offer Isolinde the chance to join their group. She accepted.

Stunned by recent events and unsure of what to do next, the party decided to head to Jack’s house to see if he could tell them anything about the mysterious shadows in the Barduk mine. When they arrived, they found Jack acting very strangely. He insisted he was much too tired to talk, and would be happy to oblige in the morning. The party spent the night, but when morning arrives, Jack never came downstairs. Zinnaerris made a nice breakfast of fried eggs and goat bacon for the group, but Jack’s sat there, uneaten. Zinnearris made a frown out of the goat bacon to express her displeasure when Jack finally did emerge, but he never did. Finally Zinnaerris ventured upstairs and knocked on his door. No answer. She cautiosly opened the door only to find Jack’s bead empty and stripped of sheets. The bedsheets were tied into a rope that trailed out the window. The party ran outside and saw footprints from the base of the house, but which stopped a few feet later, as if Jack had simply vanished.

The party decided to venture back into town to rest and heal. Isolinde waited on the outskirts of town to avoid capture. Rand and Fraas went to Quinnla Tealeaf, the town’s halfling clerif, to receive healing from their encounter with the shadows. Meanwhile, Bork spent some time studying the banner the green wyrm had given them and determined that it had a clairvoyance/clairaudience-type effect. They party decided it would be best to leave the banner rolled up in the temple when they next ventured out.

While he was resting, Fraas quietly noticed something in his pocket, something Boko had slipped in there when he wasn’t paying attention.

While going about his business in town, Shah discovered that there were bounties on Boko, Isolinde and Blackhail, and that Boko had been spotted on a pirate ship fleeing the Jannian Navy to the South. When he shared this with the group, many heads were scratched as they’d surely seen Boko killed the night before.

Rand returned home to see his parents. His father seemed more distraught by his son’s disgrace than anything else.

The party decides to go explore Griffon tower. Upon arrival, they look inside to find giant spiderwebs covering giant steps. They also notice a conspicuous scroll in the middle of the floor. Zinn decides to climb the tower and look inside the second story window to get a better view of what might be lurking inside. When she reaches in, she feels a breeze and swats it. A huge spider, with a strange human face, phases in and attacks at her. She falls but Fraas slows her descent with a feather fall spell and she lands safely. The party fights two nasty “phase spiders” and slays them easily. During the fray, Fraas manages to capture a note that’s lying in the middle of the floor on the first level. It’s from Boko:

“To friends new and old, If you’re reading this, I’m dead.
I am sure you’ve found it by now, and this is where you use it.
Be careful, these old paths aren’t as safe as they used to be.
Sorry for the secrecy. There are old things on this rock,
things older than the green wyrm, and names are dangerous.”

- Boko

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Episode 104 Recap
Of Spyglasses, Portals and Giants

Aven arrives at the tower on horseback, wielding another of Draugarland’s banners, which is quickly snapped when suspected of being another of the Wyrm’s augury devices. When the group magically checks Aven’s alliances, his horse is outed as evil and is thusly slain by Bork as it tries to flee and it dissolves into shadows.

The party continue their exploration of the tower by working their way through the mess of spiderwebs with their torches. They discover on one of the tower levels, a pair of bedrolls, one large, one smaller, some socks, as well as some more nasty baby spiders that are swiftly slaughtered and the remaining egg sacs smashed.

Above them is a locked hatch that leads to the top of the tower. It is here the group find a funeral pyre and a griffon keeping guard. Gfedcba attempts to talk to the griffin, whereby the party discovers the pyre was for Boko. Strangely, the griffon dies soon thereafter, seemingly linked to Boko. Rand discovers a piece of Boko’s toy in the pyre, the same clue which originally led the party to the grove.

That night, Fraas reveals to Rand and Zinnaerris that Boko had snuck the spyglass onto his person the night of Boko’s death. After assuaging Fraas’s fear that telling others about the spyglass would not make him a target for the pirates, Zinnaerris takes a look through the spyglass, seeing nothing but darkness. Fraas and Rand next try to look through the spyglass to see if they could see anything. Both see a pinpoint of light in the north, but otherwise nothing.

Zinnaerris again attempts to look through, only this time, instantly vanishes from sight, leaving the spyglass to drop where her feet once stood. The rest of the party is quickly roused from sleep and each take turns (perhaps foolishly) looking through the spyglass. After experimentation, only Fraas, Rand, Aven, and Shah see the pinpoint of light, while Sentinel feels a strange pull from the darkness he sees with the device. Bork decides to try and let the darkness pull and overtake him in order to follow and potentially aid Zinn, and he vanishes just as she had. Gfedcba, perhaps wisely, decides to forgo looking into the scope.

Fraas takes another look into the telescope, this time looking down at his feet and notices a much bigger source of light coming from the base of the tower. As the remaining party members are trying to figure out what this light was, it is revealed why the spyglass may have worked differently for Aven and Shah; like Fraas they are both outsiders, an Undine and Ifrit, respectively. Although Rand claims humanhood, the others are less than silently suspicious.

Under the ground at the base of the tower they uncover a large dragon-carved black metal disc. Suspecting that this could be a portal and thus another way to transport to where Zinn had gone, one by they touch the metal and vanish from sight. Before following, Rand sets Isolinde free from bondage, and makes sure to grab Zinn and Bork’s belongings. He bends to touch the portal and vanishes.

The group, except for Zinn, now find themselves in a hallway of a strange shifting dungeon. As they explore deeper, another group of Shadows advance on them, however this time Fraas and Rand discovered that they were attracted to the spyglass, because when Rand had it in his hands, a raspy “Raaaaaaaaaaand” echoed throughout the halls.

During the escape, the group fall down a trap slide ending in a large hallway and here, while still running from the Shadows, they finally meet up with Zinnaerris, who is safe, but shouting “FRIENDLY GIANT!!!” Before the group could make any sense of this, the horde of shadows were upon them. It was looking hopeless, the group runs away while in a moment of desperate bravery Rand stands to sacrifice himself and stop their advance. Suddenly, a bright sphere of light flashes from Rand, a supernova dissolving the shadows and saving the group from imminent doom. Lots of “I told you he wasn’t human” were thrown about.

The gang of adventurers gather their composure, and while glad to see Zinn again, immediately start to understand what “friendly giant” had meant. On the throne of this great hall they had stumbled into, sits a wizened and very sleepy elder storm giant. They gently awaken him and are told that he is 1100 years old (much longer than a typical storm giant’s lifespan?) and of his history with the green wyrm (or was it the green wyrm’s ancestors?). He refers to a pair of wyrms that had destroyed his family’s town, the ruins upon which Griffton now stands. He did not remember entirely how or why he is in this chamber, but that he was stuck here by his family for protection. The group notices that the only other exits from this room are into a servants quarters and kitchen, and another entrance closed up by dragon-carved black metal similar to that of the griffon tower portal, although this disc seemed to be inert for teleport, and did not radiate any sort of magic.

After the giant has again dozed off, the group heads back into the tunnels, but not before Bork again tries teleporting into the spyglass. Eventually they reach Bork in the room where they first entered the tunnels and he takes them down a path toward a bustling murmur leading toward a bright white portal. After passing through, the party find themselves in the back storeroom of the Griffton tavern, the Fallen Angel. The group sneak as casually as possible out through the boisterous tavern and make for individual home bases, agreeing to rest up and discuss what they’ve discovered the next morning.

Coming back to the tavern the next morning, Archibald Bush, the tavern owner doesn’t seem to know the full extent of the tunnels, for when he tried to re-enter the dungeon, the tunnel instantly shifted, merely providing him with a secret extra storeroom. “There are clearly much to these tunnels we do not understand.”

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Episode 105 Recap
Bread for the Oracle, Stone for the Rest

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Back in town, the adventurers found themselves quite busy. They became aware that the green wyrm wanted to meet with them and tried to find out for the town magistrate and Sheriff Durri what the wyrm could want from them.

In the meantime, Fraas and Shah acquire a sail to be used as a cloak for the giant oracle, and the rest of the group decide to acquire provisions (tons of flour, etc. for bread baking and some rounds of cheese) in order to feed the him. They reenter the tunnels via Archibald’s tavern and what can only be described as a “bread baking montage” ensues. The oracle is fed and given his newly fashioned cloak, and seems very happy. When helping him don the cloak, Fraas notices that the oracle’s body is merged with the rock of the tunnels, which very well explains why he kept trying, but couldn’t stand up.

After returning from the tunnels, the group takes their meeting with Lord Garland. After apologizing for keeping tabs on the group, and specifically to Rand for judging him harshly for his brother’s crimes of piracy, he implores the group to tell him what they have found out on this mote, but the party is reluctant. After a short and awkward silence, he states that he is not a fool and asks how the party travelled into the Griffon Tower and then reemerged in the storeroom of the tavern. The group quickly realizes he knows about the tunnels. Mid-chat the group takes a highly disrespectful private aside to discuss what to reveal to the green wyrm. At this point, Sentinel recants almost everything, including what they found out about the spyglass, but choosing to omit commenting on the encounter with the stone giant. This is done much to a silently seething Rand’s chagrin. The dragon seems to already know about the draconic portal at Griffon Tower, or at least that there was something to the place, but he mentions that the griffons would harass him if he ever came near. He states that he hated conflict and taking life, and did so only when required and with great sadness. The wyrm also denies that Boko had been killed. He insists that he had spotted Boko on a pirate ship escaping to the south, and affirmed that his eyesight was very good.

The green wyrm tells the group that he will be leaving the mote soon. His family has called him and it is not the kind of summons he could refuse. He says he doesn’t know when he would be back, that it would be at the very least three months from now, with the possibility of an indefinite leave. He commends the group on working together and wants them to continue doing what that are doing and to look out for the good of the town. He tells them if they need any help, his representative could assist us, and that one will be on the way shortly.

The group finishes up the conversation, questioning the wyrm on his spying banner, which he claims was not his doing, but that “it must’ve been an aide with perhaps too much initiative,” and they also ask about the two children from the Gnoll attack. Lord Garland says they are quite healthy and happy, and being seen to. He also reveals that he has many ‘caretakers,’ implying that he has a large community in the north. Finally and forcefully, he states that his home is still his domain, and that the rule forbidding traveling past the offering point in the North still applies in his absence.

The party returns to Griffon Tower to see if touching a different stone on the draconic portal teleports to a different location, which is does not. Before traveling through, however, they notice the dirt around the tower was freshly scuffled, and there were tracks leading within to the black disc.

They re-enter the dungeon only to find its paths drastically changed. All the tunnels loop back on themselves with only a subset of the original paths available.

They travel down one tunnel and discover a trap and two dead men. The bodies are looted and after much searching, it is concluded that the trapdoor might be the only way out. Some stones of the trap are loosed to reveal a ladder leading into darkness. Zinn ties a rope around herself and is lowered into the pit, where she sees some shallow water beneath. She tosses some rations into the water and thinks she detects some movement. Suddenly she is latched onto by the tongue of cave crab that was scrambling across the ceiling of the chamber. Rand scurries down the ladder and jumps to save her, but the both end up falling into the water. The rest of the group rush down the ladder and manage to fight off and scare away the crab-like beasts. It is then that they all notice a bunch of stone statues in the water and on the shore of the shallow pool with a tunnel leading beyond. They notice on of the stone statues resembles Isolinde, but the fingers on one of her hands are broken off.

From the tunnel a basilisk emerges and engages the group. Sentinel is turned to stone in an attempt to melee with it, leaving Rand and Zinn to finish it off. Zinn recalls from her expert tutelage under Jackmerius that basilisk blood can be used to bring statues back to flesh. They harvest enough for three statues and given that there are only a few intact statues, Sentinel, Isolinde, a child, a gnome and an armor clad man. Impatient with discussions, Zinn tosses the blood on Sentinel, Isolinde and a knight.

Shah cauterizes isolinde’s finger wound and she retells that two men had grabbed her when she came down from Griffon Tower and dragged her into the tunnels. They were killed by the trap and somehow she ended up in the pit with the basilisk. The knight bursts into tears upon seeing the stone statue of the child, runs to cry over the boy, saying he was supposed to protect him. Rand recognizes this knight, it is his former mentor, the paladin Zidan.

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Episode 106 Recap
The Arrow of Portent

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Bork and Aven, who, unknown to the rest of the party, had been off on a little side mission, meet back up with the group in the basilisk’s chamber. Zidan tells everyone that he’s taking the, now encased in stone, child from the north and bringing him to safety under the direction of the child’s father. Asking for Rand to let him chat with the rest of the party privately, Zidan divulges a prophecy about Rand, that he will either save this world or destroy it with a righteous act. Either way, he’ll think he’s doing the right thing. Zidan describes how paladins can be immune to the effects of fear, but that this immunity sometimes includes the fear that one’s actions are incorrect. Zidan reveals that the prophecy came from Rand’s mother, who is described as a goodly being, “not of this world” and “a protector of a far away place.” Zinn appears to recognize Zidan, but makes no comment of it.

During the conversation, the cave crabs come out of hiding and commence an attack on the party. One of them snatches Isolinde and carries her off. Shah attempts to free her by shooting the beast with an arrow, it hits, but the crab and Isolinde falls from the 50 foot high ceiling and crash into the water. The crab lands on top of Isolinde, crushing her. The blood of their bodies attract a swarm of carnivorous leeches that pick her unconscious body clean. The rest of the cave crabs run away in fear.

Aven uses his special abilities to create a navigable and mobile cavity in the water and finds a small cave at the bottom teeming with loot. Of particular note is a arrow that can kill a good outsider in one shot, and an armor made from angel’s skin. Shah dons the angel skin, which makes him radiate goodness, as seen with a Detect Good Wand also from the stash. It also reveals that Rand radiates a similarly strong aura of goodness, while Zinn, Zidan, Aven, Gfed and Shah (without the armor) radiate a lesser aura of good.

The party argues for hours about whether to keep the arrow. Rand vehemently says it should be destroyed, while Bork claims it might be useful, as he reveals to Rand what Zidan had prophesized. Others in the group are less inclined to make a decision, but eventually it is kept. A forlorn Rand moves ahead through the tunnels a bit quiet and alienated.

The party follows further into the tunnels past the basilisk’s corpse where they reach a large room with a foul cesspool. A horde of wererats attempt to ambush them, but Sentinel’s fists and Fraas’s fireballs make quick work of them, but not before Zinnaerris gets bitten. After the rabble settles, the party argues about what to do about Zinn’s bite (should they kill her at first sign of a were-rat shifting?) but they know they have three days to cure her.

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Episode 107 Recap
Orborus's Angel

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Having just trounced a horde of vicious were-rats, the party look for an exit from the tunnel system. A path is chose that terminates at a small enclave of were-rat priests that had escaped the previous fray. They are standing in front of a large circular wooden symbol, hanging on the wall in front of an altar that is utterly evil. It is suspected this is due to it being a place of human sacrifice, possibly infants, as the ones seen roasting on a stick in the outer chamber. These sinister rectors are quickly dashed.

The group’s instincts suggest that the tunnels have some sentient component that is preventing their escape. Much time is spent declaring their intentions, verbally to the tunnels. “The tunnels respond to what we say!” The walls change when Sentinel is reluctant to say he wasn’t a friend of the dragon and they also change when Rand said he was against the Green Wyrm. Bork tells everyone that the rooms only seemed to move when the giant was sleeping.

Shaw detects good on the walls and passes out. He awakes in a state of euphoria, comparable in intensity as to when Rand detected evil on the Green Wyrm. This confirms the tunnels’s sentience and that they are extremely good.

Suddenly, from a side passage, erupts an outpouring of skeletons and zombies. Fraas hits the main front with fireballs. Bork and Shah climb up on a pile of wood and rubble for a better vantage. In the undead company are more heavily armored skeletons, with glowing blue eye sockets, and their implied leader who makes frightening clacking noises with its teeth. These more advanced undead stay spread out and away from the rest of the mindless zombies. The leader sends a minion away down the halls. He then steps forward, tossing an onyx stone that the spellcasters in the party know turns a corpse into undead, perhaps hoping for one of the adventurers to follow and join his army. At his displeasure, the party was victorious. At this clear action in fear of our motivations by swarming the party with undead out of the tunnels, the party makes sure to announce that they were on the path of good, and the tunnels shift again.

Keeping in mind that Zinn was still potentially going to turn into a were-rat the group made their way further in hopes of finding the Oracle right away. Eventually, they stumble upon his chamber and after waking him up ask him if he can cure Zinn or if his deity is able. He doesn’t remember who is deity is, and cries immense tears at the shame of forgetting that fact. His eyes are still cloudy. He tells the group that he needs a holy symbol in order to pray. Someone had stolen it from him long ago. Sentinel notices the oracle has a circular indentation in his hand of the same size as the disk the wererats were worshipping. Rand supposes the disk on the were-rats altar is indeed his holy symbol. After retrieving it and bringing it to the Oracle, he seems pleased, even hopeful, but he says he needs rest in order to have the strength to try the spell. The party tells him of the various spells they need the next day: remove disease for Zinn sudden thirst for cheese, restoration for the draining the party has suffered, and break enchantment for the leftover stone statues. With that, the party spends the night in the Oracle’s chamber.

After several hours of rest the giant awakes and says he’s ready to try the spell. Before the Oracle tries the spell he asks if anyone wants to seek forgiveness. Sentinel and Fraas notice that Zidan seems very uncomfortable with the idea. Bork accepts. The giant then picks Zinn up in his hand to begin work on removing her disease. Zinn feels a weight lifted as the curse is dispelled. Suddenly, the disk catches fire and Zinn sees in a brief flash of an image of a dark tower that reminds her of one near her homeland. Zinn is chucked from the giant’s grasp and his eye begin clearing and he roars with deep strangled pain. The tunnels begin shaking to make the escalating intensity of his trauma.

Sentinel climbs the giant and makes a brute force attempt to remove the token. This fails. A giant crack forms across the floor. Zidan falls down but lands on ledge unconscious, sizzling. Bork casts enlarge person on everyone and is able to pull Zidan out of the fissure, which beging to glow with portal-like emanations. In a desperate attempt to remove the source of anguish, Zinn tries chopping off the giant’s arm, but his flesh is to impenetrable. She swings at the enflamed symbol but her axe melts upon striking.

From the rift in the floor, an Erinyes emerges and flies up into the chamber. With the instability of tunnels creating immediate and progressive danger to his fellows, and with no other apparent option, Aven fires the magical “Kill Good” arrow at the giant. It plunges into the Oracle’s chest and as he dies, he turns to stone, as does the symbol, he crumbles to pieces. The crack in the floor immediately seals.

The group’s effort turns to dispelling the flighty she-devil. Fraas blinds her with glitterdust. Zinn splatters her with rocks. The Erinyes regains her sight and teleports to the giant’s throne where she casts a protective malaise cloud on any who passed beneath her. She shrieks, “Orburos smite my enemies!” Sentinel and Rand eventually break through her protective spells and deliver to her, her final sensations of pain.

With the stone giant dead, the walls no longer seem alive nor do they glow good. Zidan parts ways with the rest of the group taking the child statue with him, into another of the tunnels. He says he can’t tell them where he way going, and the he didn’t know how his people would react, but he suspected that they’d all meet again. Rand asks if his people ride griffons, to which Zidan says, “yes.”

Gloomily, the party make their way back to the tavern through Archibald’s store room. Zinn recalls what she felt and saw in the wooden symbol when it burst into flame. The group take the opportunity to test for any lingering hankerings for a block of cheese.

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Episode 108 Recap

Magistrate

Arvellan Twinblade, the Magistrate of Griffton.

Ayez 28 (Day 1)

The party returned to Griffton after the Oracle’s death. Rand, Bork, Sentinel, Fraas, Shah, Zinnearis and Gfedcba stayed at the luxury suite in the tavern. Aven went off on his own and was spotted intermittently over the next twelve days.

Ayez 29 (Day 2)

Rand ordered magical armor from his father. The party contributed 1400 GP toward its purchase. Zinnaeris ordered a mundane battle axe from Rose. Bork made a number of healing potions. Fraas, Bork and Zinnaeris copied spells from each others’ books.

That night in their suite at the tavern, Zinnaeris showed the party a hand-painted picture book her mother had given her as a small child. It tells the tale of a heroic lady half-orc on a series of adventures. In one of the pictures, Zinnaeris fights alongside a knight who everyone agrees looks strikingly similar to Zidan. Fraas and Zinnaeris detected magic on the book and discovered three auras: a light aura of illusion, a moderate aura of transmutation, and an unknown strong aura.

Ayez 30 (Day 3)

Gfedcba played the lyre to mine stone from the Barduk family quarry in order to build a wall around Griffton. Three thousand five-foot blocks of stone were mined, as Gfedcba played for 10 hours straight.

Tan 1 (Day 4)

A caravan of ships arrived at Griffton. Rand, Sentinel, Fraas, Shaw and Zinnaeris observed the new arrivals on the docks. Zinnaeris and Fraas detected magic on the crowd and saw two sailors carrying a trunk of magical items. They also noticed Archibald Bush was there and that the space behind his eyepatch was glowing. He was looking intently at the crowd as if searching for something or someone.

Later that day in the marketplace, Shaw, Fraas, and Zinn found the owner of the magical items, a merchant named Yannick. He was selling: a feather that turns into a bird, which can deliver a message anywhere (500 GP), a scroll of gust of wind, a wand of magic mouth, and a divine staff of healing (15,000 GP). When they attempted to bargain with Yannick, he offered a deal, once the paladin left the vicinity, the remainder of the group having agreed to meet Yannick at the site of Shah’s ongoing beach bonfires. Yannick said he would give them all the items for free if one of them would sign a contract allowing Yannick’s consciousness to ride along with them. Yannick even offered to amend the contract to be more specific (10 days instead of an unspecified period of time), but the party found the unknown elements of the trade too risky and eventually turned Yannick down.

That evening, Sentinel was patrolling the marketplace when he spotted a hooded elf with the Green Wyrm’s insignia on his tabard, worn over exceptionally clean plate armor. It looked like Lord Garland from a distance.

Tan 2-6 (Day 5-9)

Time passed uneventfully. The armored elf was found to be staying in the room next to the party’s suite, and he quietly kept to himself. Rand remarked that a powerful evil radiated from him. He was later found to have been spending a great deal of time with the magistrate.

Tan 7 (Day 10)

The wall was built, spanning the western edge of the city center. About a half of the mined stone remains unused, piled near the outskirts of town.

Tan 9 (Day 11)

Archibald Bush called Bork into his office to discuss a break-in. A wheel of cheese and several bottles of wine were stolen. A container of flour had spilled and there were small flour foot prints trailing back through the portal.

Bork arranged a way for Zinnaeris to see her picture book as it really was. She relayed what she saw to the party.

Tan 10 (Day 12)

The party picked up their new gear from Rand’s father and ventured into the tunnels to follow the flour footprints. They found that the trail coincided with Zidan’s (the dragged statue) up to a certain point before breaking away. They led to a door into a small room with a stone sarcophagus and five kobolds. The party killed four of the kobolds. The last, a magical type, who had called lightning to strike the group, fled further into the tunnels. They pursued and came upon another group of kobolds in a large room with two overlapping circular runes on the floor and the opposite passage carved to resemble a dragon’s open mouth, from which emitted a slight breeze and a low, wheezing laugh. Beyond the dragon’s teeth there were two mangled kobold bodies and a staircase that descended into darkness. Fraas killed the massed kobolds with a fireball spell, but immediately afterward, the runes glowed red and the bodies came back to “life” as zombies. Then the two bodies just beyond the dragon’s teeth turned into shadows. The party managed to defeat the undead kobolds and then the shadows. After further inspecting the room, they noticed an inscription in Draconic runes over the dragon mouth entrance: “A dreaded curse will fall upon those who enter here unless they carry the gleam of the stars on them.”

Pzo9031 kobold shaman

Rand smashed the runes on the floor with his hammer, which revealed a narrow pit and a ladder leading down. Bork scurried down the later and a moment later the party heard explosions. Bork emerged with one last kobold, shaking in terror. He gave the party a chest of “shiny good-goods, many treasures!” in exchange for his life. Bork interrogated the poor wretch and learned that the sarcophagus held their late King, Merlokrep, who had been slain by “pink fleshy ones,” and who had since become a wight. He didn’t have any idea where this King was at present, but the fleeing kobold from the first room, revealed to be a druid, named Depnaakra. The party granted the kobold his life and released back into his pit home. They took the chest to the next room and opened it, only to discover it was filled not with gold but with a swarm of poisonous centipedes. Bork took the chest back to the pit and dropped it in with the final kobold, who was instantly devoured.

After obliterating the kobolds, Rand wanted to go through the dragon’s teeth, but the party convinced him to instead pick up Zidan’s tracks back in the main tunnel. The tracks stopped suddenly in the middle of a passageway. After inspecting the walls, they discovered a hidden brick, which revealed a glowing portal. The party stepped through, weapons raised, and found themselves in a hunting lodge with two old human men playing chess and a third whittling in an easy chair. The statue of the boy that Zidan had been protecting sat in the corner of the room. Fraas noticed griffons circling overhead while peering through a window.

The three men turned out to be Colwyn, Gareth and, most notably, Tahgen Twinblade, the old magistrate of Griffton, father of the current one, and the man whose name the Green Wyrm decreed shall not be spoken. Tahgen told the party that his death had been staged by the Green Wyrm. The dragon had most definitely torn apart a real human being in the town square, but it had not been him. Tahgen had attacked the Green Wyrm, and even managed to pierce it, but then he smelled acid burning flesh and when he came to he was on the back of a griffin, clutching a single green dragonscale. When Tahgen’s men realized their fight against the Green Wyrm was hopeless, they fled. The griffon carrying the injured Tahgen found the men and led them to the base of the Griffon Tower, and showed them the portal at the base. The three of them explored the tunnels, found the portal to the snowy wood in the mountains west of Griffton, and built this lodge to house the Order of the Griffon. For twenty-five years they’ve been plotting their revenge against the Green Wyrm… but plotting is all they ever really did. The scale was used to forge two weapons: a longsword and a dagger, which they offered to the group. He said the longsword would bring the Green Wyrm down, and the dagger would finish him. The weapons only responded to those with a Chaotic Good alignment. Zinnaeris took the longsword and Shah took the dagger, which glowed as they were wielded: the sword emitting light like a torch, and the dagger simply flashing brilliant white when Shah first picked it up. Colwyn indicated that the weapons were meant to be used by Boko and Babdan Barduk, Rand’s two dwarven brothers. Tahgen also mentioned that the two brothers even helped forge the items.

The party asked about the stone boy and learned he was the son of Tahgen and was being held by the Green Wyrm before his attempted rescue. His youth belied his years, as the stone boy was a half-elf, like the current magistrate, and was roughly 25 years of age. Zidan had sworn an oath to deliver the boy safely and left the lodge two days earlier in search of a cleric or mage in the north who could return the boy to flesh.

Tahgen, Colwyn and Gareth knew and respected Boko Barduk, as Boko was of their group. They were the three other griffon riders at Griffin tower, and the ones who had constructed the funeral pyre for Boko. Tahgen said they knew nothing of the spyglass or Boko’s involvement with the pirates. Tahgen, Colwyn and Gareth also knew Babdan Barduk who was aligned with them against the Green Wyrm as a prior member of the Order. However, Babdan had grown impatient with planning and ventured into the North alone. He had not been seen or heard from since. When asked how the binding of griffon to rider worked, Tahgen pointed out that the griffons choose their riders, and that Boko was chosen after encountering the Order by accident in the grove where he played with Rand as a child, and later met his fate at the hands of the pirate gunslinger Blackhail. This grove was where the Order met their one contact in town, revealed to be Jackmerius, the “greatest liar any of us have ever seen,” as Tahgen put it. Jackmerius’s trips to the north were shown to be visits to bond with his daughter, who he had unknowingly sired. (The initial meeting where Draugarlond was lecturing Jack about ‘doing what he knows he must do’ was explained to be Lord Garland’s overbearing sense of honor and paternal instinct.)

Tahgen said the Green Wyrm has many sons and foster children. His sons are mostly unholy men, and the recent visitor to Griffton is assumed to be one of them. The Green Wyrm’s demesne is made of several small villages and towns in the north, as well as a capitol city called Belheim, which is a militaristic place, and has an army large enough to wipe Griffton off the mote. It was also told that Belheim and the surrounding lands practice slavery and human sacrifice, in accordance with their laws and traditions. It was suggested that the party could ‘pass’ as citizens if they were careful and wore disguises, which is how Zidan lasted long enough there to rescue Tahgen’s son.

Colwyn was shown to be interested in books and lore, and offered the use of his library to Fraas. Gareth offered his services as a healer to the group, who decided to rest in the lodge for the night, after exploring the grounds further and continuing to gather information.

Now that the party knows about the Order’s presence in the West, Taghen believes the Green Wyrm will soon know too, and it will only be a matter of time before he comes for them, seeking revenge. If the party attempts to kill the Green Wyrm, Taghen wants to be there. For the time being he asked the party not to reveal to his wife or daughter that he is alive.

Griffon

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Episode 109 Recap
Frozen tears hurt

Part I
Gnome

Following the discovery of the Order of the Griffon, and with the realizations they introduced, the group decided to return to Griffton to rejoin Gfedcba and Aven in the bar. They were quick to find the party’s bards; Gfed entertaining and focusing on a spicy little Halfling vixen, and a bemused Aven being entertained by Gfed’s interest in Hafling women. The party reconvened in their always-on-hold penthouse suite after Gfed took a little cajoling and a helping Paladin’s hook to lift him upstairs to complete the meeting. The Bard’s and the traveling party relayed their separate experiences, see episode 108 for the party, but Aven had unique things to tell.

Aven has declared a deeper interest in pursuits other than the sharing of tales and giving performances of legend, instead he will be pursing a path devoted to tinkering and constructing strange functional devices. He revealed his experiences with his adopted Gnomish father that instilled this interest at an early age, but only came to be expressed recently. He has developed a device he is calling a “Pepperbox Gun” that will wreak havoc at range, and brings forth the memory of brave Boko in his final moment against the infamous Blackhail. Aven went on to tell of a discovery in submerged caverns along the cliffs below Griffton. They were writings of a tinkerer, or Artificer, stating formulas, plans and odd statements similar to journal entries, all of which were etched in the wall by a Gnome with a seemingly fragile grip on sanity. Among some of these statements etched in the stone were “must get deeper,” “the dragon knows” and “it’s at the heart.” The group decided that further cave investigation will be placed in queue along with the other multiple tasks worthy of group attention.

So following some deliberation, Bork would stay behind to ensure the party’s collective story would continue should the worst occur, and at the same time make more potions. The group would head back into the tunnels and finish the investigation of the Kobold lair at the Dragon Skull mouth. Along the way to that destination they would explore the side tunnels previously skipped during their pursuit of Zidan. It was the very first tunnel explored that proved to be highly eventful.

The party advanced down a hallway, and after a time it was lit by regular intervals of everburning torches held aloft by decorative sconces. Sentinel detected the sounds of something sleepily breathing from much further down the current hallway, it was deep and perhaps large. Undeterred the party continued down the tunnel as it gradually began to decline and with it so did the temperature. At first it merely noticeable, but gradually the cold became highly uncomfortable. Even dipping below freezing, dangerous to prolonged exposure as well as causing ice underfoot and on the walls. Up ahead was a “T” intersection with pathways heading to the left and right, the cunning Shah utilizing his new special dagger went invisible and approached the intersection as an advanced scout. He did take care to have a rope tied about his waist, held at the other end by the strong Rand to aid his return up the icy incline should it be necessary. Much to everyone’s surprise it was.

Ooze

Around the left corner was an intelligent ooze, seeing right through magic invisibility, laid a devastating wallop upon Shah. He was quick to react but never-the-less was still knocked down and out by the fierce hit. The ooze, gripping the hapless rogue’s head, began to drag him away sizzling acid upon his handsome brow as he went. The fleet footed Sentinel, having none of that, raced down the decline and engaged the ooze who showed some combat intelligence by releasing Shah and fighting in earnest. While at the intersection Sentinel noticed two additional oozes approaching from down the right hall and relayed it to the group. Mighty Zinnaerris descended the incline and engaged the other oozes with sword and spell crackling. The normally less than graceful Rand quite deftly slid down the incline to carry the fight to the strange monsters. Beyond the surprise start, all went well in the fight for our heroes. Zinn, Rand and Sentinel engaged in successful melee combat. They were capably and effectively supported with ranged attacks from tactical Aven, powerful Fraas and resourceful Gfedcba. Additionally, Gfed summoned a earth elemental for great contribution. Sentinel and Rand in turn shrugged off mind affecting magic by the first ooze before Zinn found herself a little dazed by it. But before long victory was in hand and the oozes were dead. During the fight, it was Zinn’s new weapon that showed it’s worth, first magically stabilizing Shah, and after the fight healing him anew.

With high morale, the party continued down the right passageway. Around a left corner they ventured, and approached the end of the hall, notable for the way it opened to 30ft wide at its end leaving great space for a double door 10ft wide at the center. Perhaps this suggested something large was on the other side. The Tactical Aven first detected, then disarmed a lethal trap rigged to the door’s opening. Rand peaked under the door to gain further insight as to what might be lurking in the space beyond, he was unable to detect any evil, but a few of the others could hear a spell of ‘shield’ being cast. Assuming there was some kind of a spell caster preparing itself, Rand thought time could be against the group, so he broke the door open wide and made one step in. Rand summoned light upon a coin that shined like daylight and threw it into the darkness, and what proved to be a metaphor to his coming fate, the coin landed in an icy pool and descended away once again leaving the room to darkness. Members of the group however perceptively spotted the visible breath from a large creature hiding among the icy stalactites hanging from the ceiling of what was a very large, ice filled cavern. At the same time, Aven struck light upon an arrow and sent it across the cavern. From where it landed he could see stairs that led up to a raised deck like area and strewn all about it were treasures piled high, but to his growing concern he could also spot three very large egg shells that clearly seemed to have been hatched long,,, long,,, ago.

White dragon attack

With the knowledge of the creature on the ceiling, and disregarding the dragon warning signs, Rand called out “Who Goes There?!” With that, the battle began. A fearsome White Dragon swooped down upon the group – the first hostile dragon any of them had ever seen – and gave them a taste of what dragons can do. The winged creature of icy fury let loose a cone blast of deathly cold. The party took the blast and surged forward eager to return the carnage in kind. Powerful Fraas got first blood upon the dragon, reminding the beast that fireball hurts exquisitely to cold loving creatures. Shah too got in on the action introducing him to what the fire friendly Ifrit can do. Fleet footed Sentinel, Mighty Zinn and Strong Rand all showed their bravery swinging away upon the enemy but to no avail. It was the same for Tactical Aven and Resourceful Gfedcba launching their ranged attacks without success. It all happened in a blur, but what did seem to stretch the seconds was when Cunning Shah used the magic of his dagger to transform his shape into none other than Lord Garland. It was a startling sight for the frosty nemesis and he was literally taken aback. He paused for an agonizing second or two, but then let loose a ferocious supernaturally terrifying roar. Despite their most stalwartly brave intentions Zinnaerris, Gfedcba, Aven and Shah were panicked when the magic of the beasts roar pierced their resolve. They dropped all their weapons and would run for a long time… Fraas and Sentinel however managed to resist the dragons frightful attack and as for Rand, his heart is divinely bolstered against such fearful things. The vile dragon seeing through the ruse of the rogue and knowing the strength of the party was broken, ended the short fight with a question: “Mortals,, do you yield?”

It was Sentinel who responded first and wisely, accepting the dragons offer and throwing up his hands. Fraas, perhaps still recovering from his feat of will in resisting the frightfulness of the dragon was left in shock saying nothing. The situation was bleak, that much was clear, but to Rand, the prospect of surrendering to a dragon didn’t seem much better – he maintained his combat stance facing off with the enemy.

The dragon, ever confident and tickled at the meager efforts of such ‘mortals’ made an offer:

“Leave all these magic weapons and you can go.”

Again Sentinel acting in a quick and wise way turned to go and with him Fraas followed his lead. Rand’s mind raced; the weapons that would be left behind were the very weapons explicitly entrusted to the party in order to slay Draugarlond. Not to mention within those weapons was the last thread of connection to Rand’s dead brothers. His decision was sealed, Rand spoke up

“Instead, I’ll trade myself for the weapons, they go, I’ll stay.” The dragon glanced at Rand and sneered.

“Agreed. A Paladin is worth more than weapons.”

Besides, thought Rand, its my friends that are meant to wield those weapons, not me. This is a good trade.

Sentinel picked up the chaotic weapons with a sack, careful not to touch them. He exited the room and slowly closed the door, as he did, he looked back at his friend. Rand slowly descended the ice covered steps alone. The White Dragon looming over him.
White dragon overhead

Part II

After some time, the rest of the party recovered from their terror and got together. An excursion was made to try to find out what had happened to Rand. Shah looked under the door, and saw the dragon hovering over Rand’s body, incased in ice. Apparently the dragon was alerted to the presence of those at the door, who made haste to remove themselves from the situation. Especially Shah.

All seemed hopeless for Rand. He was surely dead. The dragon was powerful. The party was scared. But it was split. Half the party wished to honor Rand’s dying wishes and continue on their quest. The other half was not content to let the dead dog die. Eventually a plan was hatched. The group traveled to the Order of the Griffon the ask for help. Three brave Griffons were the first to join the group. Colwyn, Gareth and, Tahgen Twinblade were also convinced to join the quest. With their added strength, the party began to hatch an optimistic plan.

Bork was called upon to create 4 cold resistance potions. Which were given to Zinnaerris, Sentinel and Fraas and Shah. Zinn and Sentinel were also enlarged and had their strength bolstered.
Aven disarmed the trap at the door, Gfedcba sang has his song of courage and the potions were drunk. The doors were burst open, the Griffons flew in and the melee fighters entered. Expecting a fight, the warriors were instead greeted by stillness.

Moments later the water began to tremble, and someone shouted out, “The Water! It’s in the water!”

The melee fighters all crowded around the edge of the water with their weapons at the ready. Ranged fighters, too, were ready to attack. Out burst the dragon, for just a moment. Zinnaerris got off a shot that struck true, dealing heavy damage. But the moment was short, and in that short moment the dragon grabbed Gareth and drug him down into the water.

Helplessly, the party stood at the edge of the water, hoping the dragon would again emerge so they could have a chance to strike. Instead the dragon seemed content to use Gareth as a play thing, prodding and biting him, and forcing the party to watch as their comrade drown. Gfedgca summoned a water elemental that dealt several damaging blows to the dragon, but it was not enough to stop him from pulling Gareth down every time he made progress in swimming toward the surfac. In a desperate attempt to save the old knight, Aven tossed a rope into the water. Gareth managed to grab hold of the rope and the party began to pull him toward safety, but their hope was short lived. As soon as the dragon saw their progress, he closed his mighty jaws around Gareth and tore the old man to pieces.

Stunned and uncertain what to do next, the party remained at the edge of the water, the griffons circling anxiously overhead. Aven again attempted to use the rope. This time he enchanted it and it wrapped itself around the dragon’s face. Sentinal and Zinnaerris took hold and began to pull the dragon toward the surface of the water, but it resisted and the rope snapped. The dragon swam even deeper into the water and took refuge inside a cave deep under the ice.

Sentinal decided the only way to lure the dragon out of the water was to enrage him by stealing his riches. He ventured over to the double doors, and opened them, narrowly avoiding a block of falling ice. Once inside, he saw Rand’s body frozen in a block of ice on the far side of the room. He immediately ran to him and began pushing him toward the door, all the while stuffing his clothing with the most expensive looking items and calling out to the dragon gleefully, “I’m stealing your treasure!” Still the dragon did not emerge from the water.

Moments later, the party heard mumbling from deep beneath the ice. Fraas realized it was a spell for reshaping ice. “Get away from there!” he shouted to Zinnaerris, just as a cylinder opened up in the ice beneath her feet. She jumped away just in time to avoid falling. As she did, she saw the dragon running quickly up the side of the newly formed tunnel in the ice. She cast a fireball spell but he dodged it easily. When he reached the surface, she struck at him again, this time with Dragonsbane, but it glanced off his shield.

The dragon landed on the ice and let out a great roar. Aven and Shah panicked and ran screaming into the back room, where they attempted to hide under a pile of treasure. Fraas, who had been lying in wait all this time just outside the door to the room, seized upon the moment and cast a fireball spell that dealt massive damage. The dragon roared in pain and took off into the air. He landed on a broken column, then glared angrily at Fraas and cast a spell that blocked the door with a thick wall of ice.

The griffons circled overhead the dragon while Sentinal attempted to climb the column. Meanwhile, Gfedcba used his scorching ray wand and dealt another terrible blow to the dragon. The griffons swooped in to distract and harass the dragon while Fraas burned a hole through the ice wall. Sentinal reached the top of the column and managed a few glancing blows. Finally, Fraas melted a large enough hole in the ice to cast another fireball, but the spell missed. Fortunately, Gfedcba’s aim was true as he fired another scorching ray spell that delivered the fatal blow. The dragon roared and collapsed. The party could hardly believe it! They had killed a dragon, though at great cost, for both Rand and Gareth were dead and they had yet to discover whether their friend could be saved, or whether he would forever be remembered as “Randscicle.”

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