Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trail of The Blacksnake, part one

Cast of Characters
  • Twofoot Small – A Hinnish hunter and trapper who is not particularly fond of wizards or magic.

  • Al Minister – Paladin of Sune, Protector of all that is bright, beautiful, and good.

  • Argyle Bloodbane – Rowdy and opinionated fighting man of the Moonshaes; has a close relationship with his 'comfort' sheep.

  • D'Mik – A mysterious plague doctor hailing from Balder's Gate.

  • The Light Destroyer – A violet hued Dragonborn and practitioner of Shadow Magic.

  • Harkoon Beltimber – A Wizard and Sage.

  • Hozzy – An elderly Wizard of many winters, yet keen on his spellcasting.

  • Darkedge – A Kozokuran Shinobi.

  • Ol' Finster – A peculiar Rogue of odd habits and mind …

  • Morlyg, The Blacksnake – The assembler of the group; Moon Elf Swashbuckler and secretly a Harper Agent.

28th of Tarsakh, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

In the smoky and dim warmth of The Fallen Tower the strangers sat together, waiting on the one called the Blacksnake to return to the table. There was some rabble of introductions and tale swapping as he returned to the table with several serving wenches bearing mugs of Zaa for all.

“”I have gathered you all together for a short mission I hold to be very important,” Morlyg began. “All of you are newly arrived in Neverwinter, are of Adventurer stock, and without many coins to fill your purses. I am about to alleviate that problem.

There is an abandoned complex about two days journey from here that may contain abandoned riches. It is not very well known in common circles, so the prospect of it being previously plundered is small. There may be danger, there could be loss of life … you may reject may offer now if you are uninterested.”

The assembled men (and Dragonborn) considered the offer. Argyle spoke up.

So ye tell me there be no coin up front or may be no coin at all?”

Such is the risk of adventure,” replied Morlyg.

The minstrel who was leading the tavern in a jaunty song fell silent as the wenches dimmed the house lights. He then began playing a haunting melody that set the mood for the spectacle that was dominating the drinker's attentions. Two ghostly forms, wizards presumably, were slowly falling from the wood beamed ceiling of the tavern. They smoldered and burned as they descended into the floor, marked off by an iron railing. They were followed by yet another apparition, flailing in vain against his own arms, which had transformed into biting vipers. Finally the bringer of their doom floated down, a disintegrating mage, being eaten by foul magic from his feet up; suffering as his legs were rendered skeletal and then dust … His face twisted in a look of defiant madness as he disappeared from sight into the polished wooden floor …

I shall meet you here in the morn, if my offer suits you, gentlemen," Morlyg turned back to his guests. And with that, he quaffed his drink and left the newly acquainted adventurers to discussion and their own devices ...

29th of Tarsakh, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

Come the morn, all nine of the assembled would-be adventurers greeted Morlyg at The Fallen Tower. After a quick breakfast, they were leaving The Jewel of the North along The High Road, but by midday, veering off the well-worn road onto a path only known by The Blacksnake toward the Sword Mountains. The cold weather teased them with trickles of freezing rain off and on all day long. Near day's end, a group of shepherds tending their flocks were greeted in the foothills of the Swords. They warned us of unnatural happenings and monster beyond their grazing meadows and how they would not tend their charges any closer to the mountains. This was duly noted, and the party made camp and drank warming beverages with the shepherds.

30th of Tarsakh, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

By mid-morn in the foothills of The Sword Mountains, a great ravine paralleled our path into the unknown. Before long, a grouping of pillars, toppled by age, attracted Morlyg's attention and the group stopped to investigate. While Hozzy and Harkoon studied the Dethek runes upon several of the pillars – mostly warnings of danger – Morlyg discreetly erased the Harper's sigil traced in the earth, then drew attention to a leaning pillar among the ruin. Here, a knotted rope was secured to the structure, but Argyle argued that he would not leave here his comfort sheep to wolves or worse. Fortunately, there was more than 50 feet of rope to safely lower his pet/companion to the ledge below, as the group descended to it's gloomy depths.

Ol' Finster found an old campfire circle among among the scattered debris of sones and bones upon the ledge. He continued to be eagle eyed as the group stepped into the growing darkness of the carved stairs that switched-backed lower and lower into the darkness. As torches were lit, a great fortress emerged from the shadows and a courtyard awaited them at the bottom of the stairway.

Ol' Finster, constantly muttering to himself in a harsh and obscene lisp, cleverly detected a pit trap in the courtyard before a door that lead to the ruined shell of a tower that dropped twenty feet, filthy with bones and rats. After taking a few shots with his crossbow at the rats – an act he took way too much pleasure in – the party avoided the trap and entered the tower.

Noticing runes in Draconic and various bas relief carvings of dragons, Morlyg revealed to the group that this Sunless Citadel was once a Dragon Cult base of operations. As if on cue, a great roar was heard. Everyone peered upward through the open ceiling on the tower shell and beheld an obviously wounded Green Dragon soaring past the ruin. Argyle muttered about an ill omen, but was largely ignored and the party pressed onward into the fortress.

Exploring the fortress revealed more carved dragons and a stubbornly locked door bearing a wicked trap. A dried fountain bearing a statue of a dragon spewed forth a magical red liquid, that when drank gifted the imbiber with fiery breath. After several hours of exploration, the group happened upon their first encounter with a denizen of this desolate ruin. Hiding in a bedroll softly weeping was a Kobold calling himself Meepo. The group decided, both out of pity and curiosity, not to slay the diminutive creature, but instead, gently interrogate the Kobold as to attain more information about potential hazards of the complex.

Meepo was distraught about losing a wyrmling, as he gestured to a large cage with bars bent outward from the inside. After some some relaying of translation to the group by The Light Destroyer and the disturbing realization of Meepo's affection for the Dragonborn (and the complaints from Argyle as to why we didn't just kill the little bastard …) the Kobold agreed to take the group, by way of safe passage, to his tribe's leader if they agreed to help find the wyrmling. A deal was struck with the tribe's leader that her warriors would not molest or hinder the party if they helped Meepo recover the wyrmling and apply their more lethal skills to a tribe of goblins dwelling within the fortress as well. It was suspected that the Goblin's had stolen the young Dragon ...