Sword Coast Guard, Episode 10 – Tichwillow’s Truth, Part 2

Session Date: August 13, 2017

1 Eleasias, 1367 DR

As the Sword Coast Guard stands over the hacked and smoking corpses of ogres and trolls, they hear loud footsteps – running footsteps – approaching from separate corridors. The heroes discuss briefly how to prepare for whatever is coming, but end up doing nothing.

That’s what happens when players spend the time discussing what to do but don’t actually decide on anything.

Then, from one corridor emerges a large, two-headed giant – which the heroes and their grandmothers easily identify as an ettin. A second horribly deformed giant covered with bumps and boils, though with only one head and much larger than the ettin, exits another passage. This giant, a formian, bellows, “For Tichwillow!” and leads a charge against the heroes.

Elodin immediately banishes the formian, and Belgarath nearly single-handedly takes the ettin down. The heroes then gather around the spot the formian was banished from and prepare themselves to attack when it returns.

The formian returns, takes an incredible wolluping from the heroes, and then turns its large, misshapen eye upon Nigel. The bard’s skin ripples as his bone structure rearranges itself, and he is left as horribly deformed as the formian.

Which is possibly the single worst sort of thing that could happen to a lady-loving, player like Nigel. All good things much end eventually… I was originally debating between evil eying Elodin or Nigel, but Nigel insulted the formian and Elodin kindly translated. So, the formian chose Nigel. Thanks, Elodin!

The formian puts up a decent fight, dropping Belgarath, before finally going down himself. The heroes then mercifully heal Belgarath and bring him back up.

The heroes pass through a chamber covered in mud created by water constantly running down the walls, and enter a large room that serves as the pantry. Several carcasses hang from the ceiling by chains, maggots swarming them and flies buzzing about. Nigel then searches the containers and packages on the shelves, looking for ale, but instead finds several bottles of rum. That’s a win in Nigel’s book.

Just wait for when he decides to drink the ogre rum…

They then arrive at the door leading into what they call the “root room.” Belgarath listens at the doors, hearing what he believes to be primates grunting within. With the door barred from the other side, Mugzy – Malark’s ape companion – bum rushes the door in an attempt to break it down. Although he does fail to break the door down, he overwhelmingly succeeds at alerting those within to the heroes’ presence outside.

Nigel examines the door, finds a crack through which he can see the other side, and casts unseen servant on the other side of the door. The magical creation then lifts the bar from the door, opening it.

Inside the massive chamber, they see several thick roots – some 10 feet in diameter – punching through the walls and protruding into the floor. On the roots are perched two large, four-armed, white primates which Malark identifies as girallons. They are native to jungles far to the south, but the ranger knows they can be trained, and he immediately tells the group to leave one alive for him.

Mugsy is a good companion and all, but, I mean, a two-ton, four-armed gorilla is hard to beat, right?

As Belgarath moves into the room, Granny Tichwillow’s voice calls out to them. She congratulates them for making it this far, claiming it was but a test. She them proposes they work together, as they did when they brought down the White Knights, instead of fighting. Tichwillow promises them such a deal would be very lucrative for them.

Though the heroes cannot see her in the room – they suspect she is invisible – the begin negotiating with her. Among the many things discussed is that Tichwillow wants them to deliver unspoiled, innocent children to her. In exchange for that, she’ll give Belgarath information about a sentient morningstar he is seeking. Though Malark seems okay with such an arrangement, Elodin opposes it.

See? Occasionally alignment does matter in D&D. The other 98% of the time it might as well just say “whatever.”

Meanwhile, Nigel tried to sweet talk Tichwillow, saying he never wanted to fight her to begin with. Some of the heroes favor making the deal and walking away, though others want to fight – and which wants which sways back and forth several times.

FWIW, I would have been completely happy with Tichwillow making the deal and allowing the heroes to leave. Hags generally prefer to negotiate rather than fight. Also, it gives me that much more time to dream up foulness and mayhem for Tichwillow to be about and look forward to another encounter between her and the heroes. Alas, it was not meant to be…

Belgarath decides the matter, casting shatter where he believes her to be standing. Once Tichwillow is visible, her true form is revealed: a large annis hag, deformed and hideous.

The battle develops into a lengthy affair (taking nearly 3 hours of game time). Here are some highlights:

  • Tichwillow casts wall of thorns cutting off the party into two groups.
  • An acidic gas cloud wells up within the wall of thorns were some heroes are trapped.
  • Belgarath casts darkness on himself and takes on Tichwillow – an annis hag – and a girallon mostly by himself.
  • Tichwillow lightning bolts Belgarath, uses a bottle of wasps that heal her with their stings, and shatters a mirror over her head, producing a duplicate of herself.
  • Nigel dispels the duplicate.
  • Tichwillow casts blink (which the DM then forgot about for the remainder of the battle).
  • Elodin burns a hole through the wall of thorns and begins lobbing spells in the room.
  • Tichwillow gives Belgarath a crushing hug, dropping him unconscious, and then continues to crush him in his arms until he is dead.
  • Malark fires off volleys of arrows at Tichwillow.
  • Malark and Mugzy go down at various paints.
  • Tichwillow walks through the stone wall and appears in hallway next to Elodin and Nigel.
  • Elodin’s owl carries a potion to Malark, healing him.
  • Tichwillow casts cone of cold on Elodin, Mugzy, Nigel, and Malark.
  • Tichwillow drinks several healing potions.
  • Finally, Malark shoots an arrow in Tichwillow’s throat, dropping her

With Tichwillow and her girallon pets dead – Malark didn’t get his wish – the heroes quickly move to loot the hag’s body. They find potions of healing, a potion labeled “Love Potion #11,” an immovable rod, and a horn of blasting.

In the adjoining room used as prison cells, they find Tonguecutter, the orc they had rescued from the trolls and ogres and who had pledged allegiance to them. Tichwillow had imprisoned him once again; so, they free him once again.

2 Eleasias, 1367 DR

The Sword Coast Guard then heads to Gauntlet Hall, the castle they took over after killing most of the White Knights – noble paladins of Torm. There the heroes receive fanfare and a reverent chant of “Sword Coast Guard!” from the garrison of Waterdeep soldiers as they enter.

Not sure how they pulled this off… They ally with an evil hag, kill goodly knights of Torm, and then are revered as triumphant heroes… (It would be unfortunate if the truth ever came out…)

Civilar Casey is in charge of the garrison and tells them that the castle is now fully fortified should the orc army in the Sword Mountains make a move on Waterdeep. The heroes entrust Tonguecutter to her care, telling her that he has valuable information that can be used against the orc army.

2 - 12  Eleasias, 1367 DR

Then the Sword Coast Guard heads back to Waterdeep where they pursue various downtime activities:

  • Elodin buys and scribes scrolls, and meets with a member of his old thieving group. He is trying to get information about rescuing Sharra, a former companion, from the Velvet Fists, the thieving group that absorbed his.
  • Nigel works as a researcher in New Olamn bard college and earns a favor from a scholar.
  • Belgarath works on finding someone who can cast a permanent tongues spell on him, and runs across Fea Eltorchul, a powerful wizard from Eltorchul Academy. Fea tells him that she could do such a thing, but he would need to bring her tomes of great arcane power. She also agreed to research the crypt where a sentient morningstar could be found.
  • Malark finds a merchant selling magical arrows and buys five arrows +1.

The Sword Coast Guard

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

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