Hand of Light, Episode 16 – Into the City of Spiders

Session Date: June 24, 2017

In-Game Dates: 23 Kythorn, 1367 DR

Having rescued a few dozen captives from their insidious drow captors, the Hand of Light fortifies themselves in a stalactite in the compound to take a long rest. After resting, Dextor casts teleportation circle to send the captives, including two of Dona’s sisters and Grull back to Waterdeep. The heroes give Grull and Dona’s sisters instructions to head to New Olamn for protection and housing until the heroes can return from wherever the drow teleportation circle leads. Lyr provides them with a note for his mentor Cora and the High Harper that should get them lodging and protection.

Dexter spends a few hours studying the teleportation circle enshrined on the floor of the drow prison. He determines that in order to operate it, he’ll likely need something similar to a sigil sequence that is used for other teleportation magic. However, for all of his learning, the wizard is unable to ascertain what that sigil sequence is.

In a moment of inspiration, Lyr proclaims that they can use a scroll of speak with dead to talk with the slain drow mage to find out how to use the teleportation circle. [I think the group generally fears his moments of inspiration…]

The bard proceeds to disguise himself as a drow [he’s proficient in disguise kit] and practices his best drow accent. [Lyr speaks Elvish, but I rule that drow speak the language with a particular accent that he’d need to imitate.]

[The players spend some time deciding on exactly which questions to ask. And Lyr was carefully writing them down. It’s almost like they expected me to be cagey with the drow’s answers… The great thing about them players taking 20 minutes to determine the questions, is I also had 20 minutes to determine the answers. J When they were ready, I told the players that once the scene began, no one would be able to help Lyr since he was alone with the drow.]

Once Lyr is ready, he casts speak with dead on the drow mage, with all of the other characters out of the room. He’s hoping that the mage will believe him to be an ally and thus respond truthfully. Once the drow mage’s soul is brought briefly back into its corpse, Lyr asks his questions:

Who attacked this compound and slew all the drow? Our enemies. [The players were hoping this question and Lyr’s disguise would help reinforce that Lyr is an ally. The heroes, obviously, were the ones that killed all the drow.]

Where does the teleportation circle in this room lead? My home. [The players really wanted to know if they would end up in the middle of a drow city square, or in a room somewhere. Cagey response number one…]

Is your home in Menzoberranzan? Yes. [Not a planned question, and the players still don’t know exactly where the teleportation circle leads.]

How is the teleportation circle activated? By speaking the proper pass phrase. [Good thing they have one question left… See, that’s only two cagey responses so far.]

What is the pass phrase to activate the teleportation circle? The Night Below envelops the Light Above. [Lyr was furiously writing this down. He has experience with my unwillingness to repeat things out-of-character that were said once in-character by an NPC.]

With no further ado, the heroes gather up in the teleportation circle and speak the pass phrase. Instantly they are teleported into a large room. Large statues shaped like driders stand in the four corners of the room, and a door leads out.

They inspect the statues briefly to confirm they are carved statues and not petrified driders. Then Lyr checks the door for traps. When he discovers none, he tries to open the door.

Upon touching the doorknob, one of the drider statues to the side of the door unleashes a wave of magic that slows one of the heroes [I think it was Dexter?] and then begins to attack Lyr.

As a battle with the drider statue breaks out, the door opens to reveal a chamber full of torture implements and several drow. The drow immediately begin firing poison-tipped bolts from hand crossbows at the heroes.

Lyr, still appearing to be a drow, talks the drow down with a story about bringing prisoners to sell, and the battle stops for the moment. A drow captain blows on a whistle and commands the drider statue to stop attacking. Lyr tries to convince the drow to let them in, and the drow demand that everyone put their weapons down and go with them to see the Matron Mother who will sort everything out. [This was an absolute long shot for this deception to work considering the circumstances, but it was a good idea to try.]

Not about to surrender their arms, the heroes renew the fight. The battle slowly transitions into the torture chamber as the heroes try to get out of the room with the drider statue – a gust of wind spell from Dexter helps with this. The drow captain calls to more drow in a joining room.

The Hand of Light gets jumped by an animated drider statue and several drow.

Once the heroes bring down the captain, Lyr grabs the whistle and orders the drider statue to stop attacking. Then the bard casts insect plague on the drow in the other room, absolutely destroying them.

Then Karn and Dona begin to rescue the prisoners chained up in the torture chamber. A few were already dead, but they heal up two that were still living.

The heroes find a bank of jail cells connected to the adjoining room. In it they find one insane human who bangs his head repeatedly against the cell bars and tries to bite Dona’s fingers off. There is a dwarven female who rocks slowly back and forth, her mind completely destroyed. These both appear to be the results of several years of non-stop torture by the drow. Karn tries to heal both of them, but it does no good.

They also find one cell with four drow in it, and another with one drow in it. This drow, Ladinor, says he is from House Oussiryn and was locked up for attempting a coupe. He claims he’ll help the heroes if they free him. The heroes agree, but Dona spends some time intimidating and threatening his life if he betrays them or “moves farther than five feet from her.”

Ladinor tells them that Dona’s brothers were taken to the chapel not long ago where they will be sacrificed to Lolth as part of a ceremony. Dona’s sister was taken by Orono Oussiryn, the First Wizard of the house, as a plaything.

With their new guide leading them, the heroes move out of the compound’s dungeons. They lure some drow in a courtyard into a room where the heroes slaughter them. Then they move through the courtyard, disguised in drow cloaks, to an art gallery. Ladinor tells them that in the next room is the chapel.

The heroes can hear chanting and singing from the next room, and then they hear a terrified scream as someone is sacrificed. Immediately, they jump into action and break through the doors.

The chapel is a long room full of pews with an altar at the far end. About two dozen drow occupy the pews, and at the altar three drow priestesses have just slain a human captive. Dona sees her three brothers standing alive, but obviously drugged, nearby.

The heroes enter House Oussiryn's chapel and interrupt a sacrificial ceremony to Lolth.

[This battle ended up lasting a full two hours at the table. Kind of to be expected as it was somewhat climatic and they were fighting the Matron Mother and tons of drow. When I reveal the scene, it was already 10 pm, and we usually stop around 9 pm. I asked the players if this was a good place to stop for the session, and two of them were immediately like “No! Please, let’s do this battle.” So we did. I’ll give a quick summary, but it can’t possibly include all of the cool stuff that happened. And it will be only roughly chronological.]

Karn and Dona begin to hack away at the drow in the back of the chapel. Lyr casts insect plague from his staff, and over half the drow in the chapel are promptly eaten alive by a swarm of millipedes that crawl out of the walls. Dexter casts wall of fire on the altar, cutting off the three drow priestesses from the rest of the chapel. Drow take two of Dona’s brothers through a door out of the chapel.

Dona's brothers are next in line for sacrifice to the evil drow goddess Lolth.

Karn and Dona charge through the insect plague -- which Lyr leaves up [for some reason] – to engage the drow at the front of the chapel. Karn attacks a drow leader, while Dona heads through the door after the drow that took her brothers.

Meanwhile, Dexter and Lyr are cleaning up some drow still in the rear of the chapel. Around this time, Ladinor, their drow guide, casts darkness on Dexter and makes good his escape. [Dona’s threats apparently weren’t as convincing as she thought they were.] Lyr moves through his own insect plague spell to the front of the chapel, and Dexter goes out into a courtyard that he believes will lead him to where the two drow took Dona’s brothers.

Dona enters an antechamber where she finds the priestesses and the two drow. One of the priestesses grabs a brother and puts a knife to his throat, telling Dona to lay down her weapon or she’ll kill him. Dona makes a lunge for the knife, but the priestess slits her brother’s throat first. As Dona watches her brother’s lifeblood flow out of him, the Matron Mother casts banishment on her, and Dona finds herself floating in a gray void.

Dona confronts the drow priestesses who were sacrificing her brothers to Lolth.

A priestess then casts hold person on Lyr who she can see through the open door to the chapel. Several drow begin to attack Lyr. [Amazingly, the drow, despite having advantage, roll really horribly for several rounds. Lyr had a heck of a time with his saves…] Just as Lyr shakes off the paralysis, the Matron Mother moves back into the chapel and begins to flay him with her snake-headed scourge. [It was 6d6 damage a pop. If Lyr had still been paralyzed and that had been a 12d6 critical hit… wow…]

With Dona banished and in trouble, things are looking very bleak for the heroes. However, Dexter finally makes his way through the courtyard and begins to lay into the priestesses with his spells. He also sends his bat familiar to feed a healing potion to Dona’s dying brother.

Then Karn moves to the Matron Mother and smites her three times, calling out to Torm with righteous fury. The drow high priestess proves to be no match for Torm’s might channeled through his faithful paladin, and she falls before Karn’s onslaught. [He hit her three times and used smites on each one. A couple were level three smites, I believe. The total damage came out to around 70 hit points…]

As Dona pops back into the antechamber from her banishment, the heroes are just mopping up the remaining drow in the chapel. Then the heroes gather to collect their breath, having successfully rescued Dona’s three brothers.

However, they have a nagging feeling that the clamor from that battle must surely have alerted drow nearby. And then they hear a horn blow twice, followed by a commotion outside.

No, it didn’t alert drow nearby. It alerted the entire drow compound.

The Hand of Light

Below are the famed members of the Hand of Light adventuring party.

Dona Falone - Barbarian

Dunkle Fledermaus - Rogue

Dexter Ambrose - Wizard

Aelyrendar "Lyr" Fairsong

Karn Mondel - Paladin of Torm

Hand of Light, Episode 15 – Prisoners of the Drow

Session Date: June 10, 2017

In-Game Dates: 22 Kythorn, 1367 DR

After taking a short rest, the heroes move across the bridge to the smaller stalactite here they believe Dona’s siblings are being held. In the first room, they find six cabinets and a hole in the ceiling leading upward.

After a short discussion, they decide not to mess with the cabinets, though Lyr is sorely tempted. There is a teleportation glyph on the floor that levitates people up and down with the command words levantame and bajame. [There officially written down. Many of heroes/players were constantly forgetting how to saw the command words, and I was holding them to the proper pronunciation. The shenanigans here were great, even after the players wrote down the phonetical spelling of the words…]

The heroes levitate up through the hole and find a small chamber with four doors. They discover that behind each locked door is a brick wall. Unsure how to proceed and believing the cabinets below hold some clues, Dunkle and Dexter head back down to the cabinet area.

Just as the others think to follow, Dunkle begins inspecting one cabinet, running his hands along it. As soon as the rogue touches the cabinet, however, his hands become stuck solid to it, and the cabinet doors open to reveal a toothy maw and pink gooey tongue.

And thus the encounter begins with four cabinets-that-are-definitely-not-mimics. The terrain and difficult battlefield is slightly challenging and some of the heroes take a bit of a beating, but ultimately they defeat the cabinets-that-are-definitely-not-mimics. [And now, in addition to mind flayers, Dunkle may quiver in terror at the sight of cabinets in the future…]

Once everyone is back in the room with four doors and brick walls, Lyr lobs a concussive grenade at a brick wall in a doorway. The grenade damages several bricks, and the wall implodes toward the heroes. Hot air, followed by flames, expand into the small chamber. Some Dona and Dunkle flatten themselves against a wall, while Lyr and Dexter dive down the hole to the cabinet room below. The flames fill the room, burning several of the heroes, and Lyr falls thirty feet to face plan in the cabinet room below. Dexter’s bat is immolated by the flames.

They next wall they try doesn’t explode on them as Dona runs at it and smashes through it. However, it does reveal a large construct standing in a long hallway that stretches beyond the sight of the heroes’ darkvision. The construct immediately casts a spell, causing black tentacles to sprout from the ground all around Dona. Chanting can be heard down the hallway, from the darkness, and a cloud of noxious green gas fills the area around Dona and the other heroes.

And so begins the battle with a construct that the heroes never quite identify and a drow mage. The construct has regenerative abilities and can take a pounding, but can’t really dish it out. The drow wizard, on the other hand, flings a fireball and other spells to good effect. Caught by surprise and with nasty spells complicating issues, the heroes have a tough initial go at it, but slowly fight their way down the hallway. They take out the construct, and the drow wizard follows soon after. [This was a sweet battle. When the podcast comes out, it should do it justice.]

The battle ends in the wizard’s bedchamber. There the heroes find gems, coins, and a bag of holding – full of hundreds of slippers! So, they dump the slippers out and put more interesting items in it. They also find lots of spell scrolls that Lyr and Dexter divide up.

There are two doors in the hallway yet, and their drow captive tells them that one holds the prison and the other is the wizard’s workshop. The heroes move into the prison, and discover a large chamber that stretches upward out of the range of their darkvision. [Anyone see a theme here? Drow have 120’ darkvision; other races only have 60’. Good stuff.] Starting ten feet above the floor, glistening spider webs stretch upward as far as they can see, and iron cages, most holding humanoid captives, are scattered about in the webs.

They move into the room, pushing the drow captive before them. Dona then stabs him in the kidney and shoves him to the ground so he’ll bleed out. The drow screams in Elvish, “These are intruders. Kill them!” Then a voice from above calls out, “Why are you here?” Then Lyr tells a grand story about the group being there to sell magic items to the drow. The voices above seem to believe him at first, and then remember what the now dead drow told them. [So, the DM forgot about Dona killing the drow and the drow saying that. And then Lyr’s player distracted us all with a desire to tell his story to the voices above, and began to roll very well on his deception checks. When I remember the dead drow and what he said, the voices snapped out of it.]

The heroes hear both the voices above tell something else, “Kill them!” and the drawing back of bowstrings. Thus begins the encounter with two driders and three giant spiders.

The webs make it difficult for the heroes to get at the driders, and it’s slow moving through the webs. Dunkle goes down from volleys of poisonous arrows, though Lyr brings him up with healing word. One of the giant spiders spends several rounds going back and forth with Lyr. Dona gets in close with a drider after a couple rounds of climbing through the webs and unleashes fury on the monster. The battle begins to go against the heroes at one point, but Dexter swings it back in their favor by casting banishment on one of the driders. Once the heroes kill the other drider and remaining spider, the surround the area where the second drider was banished from. When Dexter stops concentrating on his spell, the drider returns and the heroes unload on it until it goes down. [This was a cool battle. I always feel like I’ve done my job in a “boss” encounter when at least one character drops to zero hit points.]

The heroes rescue from the cages Selise, Quara, Grull, thirteen humans, four elves, eight dwarves, and nine goblins. Dona’s sisters tell her that but a day ago the drow took Umbero, Marta, Salazar, and Pieron through a portal that opens up in the middle of the floor of the prison. Grull expresses disappointment that his liege lord, Karn, was not there to rescue him from the cage.

Investigating that area, Dexter and Lyr discover arcane runes that appear to be part of a two-way teleportation circle. They learned that it leads to a place called the City of Spiders, and they believe that is in reference to Menzoberranzan. [I forget who they learned this information from. It was either a drow that squealed or one of the captives they freed.] Dexter believes that with enough time, he’ll be able to discover the passcode that activates the portal.

And with that, the heroes settle down for a long rest. They’ll need to do something with the captives (there is talk of using teleportation circle to send them back to Waterdeep), and then head through the portal to rescue the rest of Dona’s siblings.

 

The Hand of Light

Below are the famed members of the Hand of Light adventuring party.

Dona Falone - Barbarian

Dunkle Fledermaus - Rogue

Dexter Ambrose - Wizard

Aelyrendar "Lyr" Fairsong

Karn Mondel - Paladin of Torm

Sword Coast Guard, Episode 6 – Into the Swamp

Session Date: June 4, 2017

18 Flamerule, 1367 DR

After their victory over the White Knights, the Sword Coast Guard makes a sweep of Gauntlet Hall, their new castle. Locked up in the cells, they find a farmwife and a half-elf. The farmwife was tried and found guilt of witchcraft and slated for execution. The half-elf turns out to be a bounty hunter the church of Torm had hired to bring Lady Ushien Stormbanner in for crimes against the church of Torm. The bounty hunter, Belgarath, was captured by the White Knights in his attempt to do so.

The group welcomes Belgarath into their party as he turns out to have useful skills and an axe to grind against troubles in the area. [He’s also the new PC of the player who previously played Shadoestar.]

The heroes return the farmwife to her home before continuing on to Rassalantar. There they inform Civilar Casey, the leader of the Waterdeep soldiers stationed in the town, that Gauntlet Hall is now available for her to garrison with soldiers to defend Waterdeep against the orc army gathering in the Sword Mountains.

Casey is grateful and tells them about another problem in town that she doesn’t have time to deal with. Two children, Sebastan Cohen and Tambor Bridges, were found dead that morning. Their tongues were cut out and nailed to their foreheads, their mouths were stuffed full of candies, and their bodies were nailed upside down to trees near their homes.

She tells them that the blacksmith was arrested for the crime as he was the last one to see the two children as they were working at his smithy the previous day. The blacksmith denies all the charges. The heroes offer to get to the bottom of the crime, and Casey thanks them profusely.

[These were the two children that Shadoestar intimidated into telling him about the “Candy Troll.” It would appear that someone didn’t appreciate the children ratting…]

Upon investigation, the Sword Coast Guard discovers that there is very little evidence that the blacksmith did anything to the children, and the candies stuffed in the mouth seem to point to the Candy Troll, anyway. They do learn of a wrinkly old lady who enter the smithy the previous day under the pretense of looking for brooms. The old lady took an interest in the two children and left without buying anything.

As they investigate, they are approached by Sidney Jasperfer, the ringleader of the children in Rassalantar that have been pulling pranks on everyone. Sidney is terrified and afraid for his life, and he begs the heroes to help him. He says that the monsters will come for him next because he knows where they live. After calming words and persuasion by the heroes, Sidney agrees to lead them to the monsters’ home in Burp Swamp, though he is clearly terrified of going there.

Since it is late in the day, the heroes stay the night at the Sleeping Dragon Inn, planning to head to the swamp in the morning.

19 Flamerule, 1367 DR

Once the heroes arrive in Burp Swamp, named for the bubbling quagmires whose gaseous expulsions resemble burps, they find the locale overgrown with diseased, blackened vegetation. There is also supernaturally large population of toads inhabiting the place. Travel is made difficult as they are forced to move across fallen trees and small patches of soggy ground. Most of the ground is swampy water.

They come upon a wrinkly old lady perched on the branches of a large tree. As the Sword Coast Guard strikes up conversation with the woman, several giant toads exit the waters and stare blankly at the heroes. The old lady warns them that they are not welcome in her swamp and tells them that if they leave Sidney with her, she’ll let them leave. Sidney is petrified out of his mind.

The heroes refuse, and a battle breaks out. The woman turns out to an illusion, and the party is left to battle four giant toads and a tree that comes to life. The heroes manage to defeat the living tree and toads, but Sidney is swallowed and killed by one of the toads.

Then the group hears howling in the distance. Howling that seems to be getting closer.

The Sword Coast Guard

the adventurers formerly known as the Heroes of Gold, Glory, and Girls

Russel "Rusty" Striker - Human Fighter

Nigel Dyreus - Half-elven Bard

Guld the Tower - Half-elven Monk

Elodin - Human Wizard

[sorry, still need a picture]

Shadoestar - Half-Elf Monk

Hand of Light, Episode 14 – Assaulting House Oussiryn

Session Date: May 26, 2017

In-Game Dates: 22 Kythorn, 1367 DR

After a night’s rest at the Crock and Helm inn, the heroes pass by the Black Tankard tavern to see if Ahmaergo is there. At 8 in the morning, he is not.

The heroes do run into the Scribe, who has tracked them to Skullport. He tells them that he believes drow bought Dona’s siblings from the Slavers Market. He is aware their compound was attacked by Katso and others and is in the process of tracking them down.

The group believes that the drow of House Oussiryn, which has a small compound near Skullport, bought Dona’s siblings and will soon be transporting them to Menzoberranzan. With no time to waste, they leave Skullport to track them down.

House Oussiryn’s outpost turns out to be in a vast cavern. As the heroes charge across the cavern into the blackness, the ground they stand on lights up brightly, making them perfect targets. Arrows begin to scream out of the darkness, peppering them, and a wizard flings spells – namely ice storm and fireball – at them. The heroes continue to charge blindly forward, and soon find themselves wading through a field of magical traps that when sprung unleash waves of paralyzing magic.

Finally, they find themselves before a fifty-feet tower manned by hobgoblin warriors and a hobgoblin wizard. The assault on the tower ends quickly, with Karn and Dona breaking down the front door and Dexter and Dunkle scaling the side of the tower.

At the top of the tower they find a magical levitation circle. Despite the heroes being rather beat up and in need of a short rest, Lyr jumps into the circle and begins to float upward into the darkness above. The rest of the group reluctantly follows (though there may have been discussion of just letting him go it alone).

As the heroes float slowly upward into the darkness, a hail of poisoned bolts begins to fall on them from above. Several agonizing moments pass with the heroes unable to respond, and a couple of them even falling asleep as the poison from the bolts courses through their bodies.

One by one the heroes arrive on a platform attached to the side of a stalactite that is being defended by a dozen or so drow. Lyr arrives first, is promptly surrounded, and goes down under a flurry of attacks. The other heroes begin to arrive and the tide turns against the drow – but not before Lyr dies.

Once the drow are defeated, the group discusses the fate of Lyr. Reluctantly, they decide they should raise him from the dead, despite his compulsive behavior that has gotten them into trouble before.

The heroes explore the stalactite and rescue some goblin slaves who were the drow’s cooks. The goblins tell them there is a bridge that leads to another stalactite and that they shouldn’t touch the cabinets there. With that warning, the goblins leave and the heroes take a short rest.

The Hand of Light

Below are the famed members of the Hand of Light adventuring party.

Dona Falone - Barbarian

Dunkle Fledermaus - Rogue

Dexter Ambrose - Wizard

Aelyrendar "Lyr" Fairsong

Karn Mondel - Paladin of Torm

Hand of Light, Episode 13 – Uncovering Skullport

My thanks to my player, Lyr, for writing up this campaign log! (I was busy preping D&D.)

Session Date: May 13, 2017

In-Game Dates: 12 Kythorn to 22 Kythorn

The party finished interrogations and released Etis Bright, confident that he was on their side. It was only moments later that Karn Mondel returned to the base to report that he had informed the Red Sashes of the capture of Etis. After exchanging anxious looks, the group informed Karn they had acquired valuable information from their interrogation. Unfortunately, when Karn inquired about the prisoner, the group had to come clean. It became apparent that Karn may not leave prisoners out of his sight in the future.

Knowing that Shandia Darkeyes would be at the Thirsty Throat Tavern for a meeting a ten day from now, the group decided to wait. The Scribe provided some valuable information about reaching Skullport. The remainder of the week was spent in preparation.

On the morning of the meet-up, Lyr and Dunkle disguised themselves and scouted the tavern. Since it was morning, the tavern was closed so they spent the day busking outside. Lyr intentionally allowed Dunkle to outperform him to keep their cover intact. As the evening grew closer the tavern grew busy and the two heroes headed inside with Dona and Karn keeping watch out back.

The tavern attracted a rough looking crowd. Lyr and Dunkle found an empty, and scanned the crowd. In one corner a cloaked figure revealed a swath of dark blue skin. Shandia? Before they could act further though, an obese man stopped by their table to say hello. His face shifted slightly and he admonished them for showing up. Etis?

After ordering drinks (and flirting), Dunkle pretended to drunkenly stumble to Shandia's table, angering some patrons but avoiding a fight. This resulted in a good many patrons watching Dunkle and Lyr with suspicion or interest.

Lyr decided to ruffle some feathers and made “winky kissy faces” at one patron. That unexpected resulted in the patron walking over and inviting Lyr upstairs. Lyr followed, still unsure what was happening. At the top of the stairs he cast Friends and told the man, “Go wait in the room and I will be there soon.” After the man disappeared into a room, Lyr sauntered back downstairs.

Dunkle sat down and questioned the figure he thought was Shandia. The mysterious cloaked figure was unreceptive and was rebuffed him. Lyr, seeing Dunkle leave Shandia's table decided to sit down. He pointed out her name, did some name dropping, and indicated he wanted to make some illicit trades. Shandia asked him to follower her upstairs and Lyr followed, confident that he had fooled her.

While Dunkle went outside, climbed up the wall, listened at the window, Lyr entered the upstairs room and sat carefully across the table from Shandia. Some rubbish was spewed, but eventually the pretense fell and Lyr realized that Shandia everything. Perhaps Etis sold them out. Moreover, she mentioned she had goons ready to fight downstairs. Surprise! In that moment, Shandia reached for her weapon, Lyr uttered an arcane phrase, and when the dust settled, Shandia was a little white rabbit. He reached down, grabbed the rabbit by the neck and stuffed it in his pack.

Dunkle dropped to the ground, shouted a warning to Karn and Dona, and entered the tavern. He grabbed a mug of ale and smashed it over a patron's head, precipitating a massive bar fight. Patrons fled the tavern amass, but some stayed and drew swords, circling around Dunkle. Dona dashed into the tavern, attempting to grapple Dunkle, claiming him as her drunken beau, but he resisted. And eventually Dona pulled out her sword as the thugs seemed intent on killing the heroes.

Meanwhile, a very quiet bard was trying to make a sneaky exit down the hallway of the tavern. At the same time, Karn had climbed an adjoined building, forced open the second story window, and spied a naked man in a room (Lyr's “friend” from earlier). The lovelorn man, obviously distressed, was confused to see Karn enter the window and move toward the door.

Downstairs, Dona and Dunkle had mopped up the thugs and rushed upstairs. Karn opened the door, with Lyr standing in front of it. Lyr looked at the naked man and all of his party members and said “Shandia is a rabbit, she's in my backpack”, and ran through the bedroom and jumped through the second story window onto the roof and dropped down to a nearby alley.

What happened next can only be described as next order comical. “Rabbit Shandia” managed to chew her way through Lyr's backpack and leap out. The rabbit then bolted down the alley and disappeared from view. Everyone inside the second story room jumped out the window, including Lyr's naked admirer who appeared to be going through magical withdraw.

Everyone chased after a rabbit fleeing through Waterdeep's alleys. Lyr managed to cut off the rabbit with a lucky Dimension Door, but fearing the bugger would get away again, stabbed it, breaking the polymorph. Unfortunately, Shandia sliced him up and instead of facing off, proceeded to flee, even faster. Dona and Lyr tried to give chase, Dona clearly the fastest, but Shandia still got away.

Meanwhile, Karn had a serious talk with Lyr's naked admirer and helped the man pull himself together (because Karn is such a good guy). Dunkle on the other hand hung around the Thirsty Throat Tavern, almost got caught by the City Watch, and ended up standing innocently next to the flirtatious waitress who covered for him.

After reconvening, the group chalked that up to a loss. However, Shandia had said something threatening regarding their gnomes. Realizing the residents staying at their base may be in peril, the group quickly returned home. Upon their return, they discovered their base ransacked, everyone missing, and the message “Katso was here”. Evidence of a bloody struggle and drag marks were found that led to the underground sewer entrance. Without hesitation, the group grit their teeth and immediately followed the tracks into the sewer, hoping they weren't too far behind.

After some extensive tracking and a couple secret doors, the group emerged into a sea cave with a skiff. There were some guesses that they were heading in the general direction of the southern sea caves that connect to Skullport. With that in mind, the group boarded the vessel and sailed to the hidden location they had gathered from The Scribe's intel. Indeed, they found a hidden sea cave, and inside was a dock with various humanoids (monstrous and not) attending to business. The group docked the boat, and were easily given directions to Skullport.

At the elevator down to Skullport, a group of hobgoblin guards re-iterated the importance of non-hostile action within Skullport. Dunkle spoke with one of the guards about the groups missing friends, and although the guard stated he had seen nothing, it was apparent he was lying. Confidence they were on the right trail, the heroes paid the elevator fee and boarded for the ride down.

On the ride down, Lyr brought up the importance of disguising themselves. Karn, ever the honest chap was against such deception. An argument about remaining inconspicuous took up most of the ride. Lyr, sidestepped the argument and cast Seeming on the group, making them look like a band of hobgoblins (albeit wearing their normal gear). Karn attempted the Charisma saving throw and failed, much to his chagrin. He did however maintain his Torm emblazoned breastplate and halberd. A very odd hobgoblin. It would have to do. As the elevator touched down, the group saw Skullport for the first time. A sprawling city with all manner of humanoids and creatures passing by. There were beholders, drow, mind flayers casually walking the street. More intimidating where the massive skull behemoths that patrolled and were rumored to enforce the “no fighting” rule. There were bizarre kiosks selling severed hands for who knows what, and massive slave blocks crowded with people. Dunkle bought a severed hand.

The group, disguised as hobgoblins, investigated the slave blocks and pens but did not spot any of their friends. They asked around and learned some various info. Some slaves, particularly gnomes, are very valuable, and sometimes go to private buyers. Minotaurs are generally considered poor slaves, but make for good pit fighters. Someone inquired after Shandia Darkeyes to a stranger, and the stranger went quiet and quickly retreated. A dwarf named Omergo (sp?) deals with specialty slave sales. He indicated he could provide us some more information to fit our needs if we wanted to meet him (I forgot the name of the tavern). Karn also talked with someone about the Xanathar. He learned where prospective recruits could apply to join. We ended up visiting the building to “audition”, thinking that if we joined we could gather more intelligence.

We were confronted by a leader named Slan. The names we provided him were Scarn (Karn), Jelsa (Dona), Grog (Dunkle), Rock (Lyr). He asked us why we didn't just join up with some hobgoblin outfit, and we told him we wanted to be part of an elite group. He decided to take us outside the city limits to “test” us.

Outside the city, we followed Slan and a few of his men to a recessed fight ring. Slan dueled each party member. Karn, unsurprisingly destroyed Slan in a single round of combat. Dunkle grudgingly surrendered, ego bruised after a difficult fight without the ability to hide, gain sneak attack, get range, or initiate surprise. Lyr took awhile but was luckily able to use magic to stay hidden to avoid most of the deadly attacks, slowly working his opponent down. Dona, much like Karn simply beat her opponent into submission in a couple rounds without noticing the attacks. In the end, the heroes were hired on as an elite squad of (what we think is) the Xanathar.

The heroes investigated a bit further, determining their next course of action. They learned that House Ouseran (sp?) led by the nearby Drow were notable slavers. There was also a group of mind flayers that made their home nearby (outside the city) and people generally tended to avoid them. The dwarf Omergo did not show up for the scheduled meeting, so the group figured they would meet up with him the next day. If information of gnomes being sold somewhere could be discovered, the group figured that might be worth pursuing further.

The group got a room in a nearby inn, letting Slan know their location. As Seeming was running short and it was late, they held up in the room for a long rest.

The Hand of Light

Below are the famed members of the Hand of Light adventuring party.

Dona Falone - Barbarian

Dunkle Fledermaus - Rogue

Dexter Ambrose - Wizard

Aelyrendar "Lyr" Fairsong

Karn Mondel - Paladin of Torm

Sword Coast Guard, Episode 5 – Assault on Gauntlet Hall

Session Date: May 20, 2017

I may have skipped a session summary... Anyway, the show must go on!

15 Flamerule, 1367 – The Troll Hole

With the guidance of Granny Tichwillow’s bones divination, the heroes go to a cave complex a few hours west of Tichwillow’s cottage. Inside the compound – called the Troll Hole – they find a tribe of ogres and trolls. They challenge the leader, a two-headed four-armed troll named Brogvok Two-Head, for leadership of the Two-Headed Tribe.

Rusty, Guld, Shadoestar, and Nigel fight and defeat the beast, with Rusty landing the final flurry of blows that finishes him off. The 9 ogres and 13 trolls in the tribe swear allegiance to the heroes who they now call the “Sword Coast Gord.” The heroes also rescue a band of 8 bugbear assassins (the Dripping Blades) and an orc (Tonguecutter) that the ogres and trolls had captive. They also swear fealty to the heroes.

17 through 18 Flamerule, 1367 – Assault on Gauntlet Hall

This is the assault plan the heroes devise and execute: Around midnight, under the cover of darkness, the bugbear assassins begin to slip over the walls of Gauntlet Hall, killing guards on duty. The trolls and ogres launch a frontal assault on the castle’s front gate. With that distraction, the heroes enter through the catacombs with the goal of finding the White Knights’ leader, Lady Ushien Stormbanner, and killing her.

The heroes kill some wussy guards in the catacombs, exit the chapel, and enter the main keep. They believe that Lady Stormbanner is at the top of the keep directing the defenses. The castle is in chaos as the heroes’ monstrous forces assault the fortification.

In the keep they fight a group of priests and soldiers tending to the wounded in an impromptu infirmary set up in the kitchens. At the top of the keep they find Lady Stormbanner and half a dozen soldiers. As the battle unfolds, several of the soldiers go down quickly, but two are true knights and much hardier. Stormbanner herself nearly kills Nigel before Shadoestar grapples her and takes her over the side of the keep with him.

They crash on the castle walls thirty feet below. Shadoestar unleashes hell on her, but she stands up and dispatches him with three nasty blows of her greatsword. (FWIW – Stormbanner was one tough mother…) As Stadoestar ends up dying as Stormbanner calls more guards on the battlements and returns to the keep.

At the top of the keep, the heroes finish of the remaining knights, and then begin to discuss plans as they believe Stormbanner is still alive and perhaps heading their way. In the middle of their discussion, she emerges from trap door to the top of the tower, and the battle picks back up. However, Stormbanner had taken massive damage from Nigel’s heat metal spell that had remained on her for several rounds. Stormbanner, skin blistered and clothing in burned tatters, makes a beadline for Nigel, set on bringing the damned caster down. However, she is unable to do so, and the heroes kill her mercilessly.

Shortly thereafter, the few remaining White Knights flee their castle, the ogres, trolls, and bugbears having slaughtered most of them. Only two trolls, three ogres, and one bugbear remain of their monstrous allies.

And now the Sword Coast Gord has Gauntlet Hall as their very own castle.

 

The Sword Coast Guard

the adventurers formerly known as the Heroes of Gold, Glory, and Girls

Russel "Rusty" Striker - Human Fighter

Nigel Dyreus - Half-elven Bard

Guld the Tower - Half-elven Monk

Elodin - Human Wizard

[sorry, still need a picture]

Shadoestar - Half-Elf Monk