The Coldfire Campaign

Session 7: Racists, a Tavern Brawl, and a Jailbreak

24 Month of Gifts 4228 AE

After finishing breakfast at the Goblin and Duck, Durian parted ways with the group, telling them he’d meet them in Osley in a few days. Stax then excused himself, saying he forgot something in his room, and went downstairs. Once Moira reminded the party that Stax hadn’t stayed at the inn the previous night, they ran after him, but he was already gone.

They went back to the Temple of Knowledge to ask the sage about the orb they found in the citadel. He didn’t remember anything off hand, but he told them to come back in a few hours, after he’d had a chance to locate his notes on the citadel.

Kerowyn Hucrele intercepted the party in the streets, and she carried Shatterspike with her. She said the sage had told her about the Gulthias Tree, and she realized that the group wouldn’t have been able to save Sharwyn. Since no one in town knew who Sir Braford was or where he was from, there was no one to claim his belongings. She handed the sword to Ianos, thanked the group once more, and left.

After killing some time, Ianos and Zorrik went to pick up their armor. Zorrik found a note in his chestpiece, folded into a ninja star with the words “OPEN ME” and a pair of antlers drawn on the outside.

To my adventuring group (tentatively known as The Magic and Stabby Hero Gang),
I was reeeaaally looking forward to going north with you but my grandmother is very sick.
Don’t look for me.
— Stax
Demon child of Kale, of the Young Shadow, Druid-slayer, and the Antler King

Since Stax was probably long gone by now, the group decided to head back to the sage to hear about the orb before leaving for Osley. They found the sage in a secluded back office, papers and books strewn about every surface in the room. He was hunched over the smaller piece of the orb, measuring something about it with a calipers, and he had a magnifying monacle on his left eye.

“I found mention of the orb in my notes,” he said, “but no other information about it. There’s absolutely no magic eminating from it, either. However, the stone itself is rather fascinating. It is not native to these lands.”

When Zorrik asked what type of stone it was, he replied: “I have no idea!”

He asked if he could keep the orb to study it further, and he’d send a message to the party as soon as he knew more. Zorrik agreed.

The group set off for Osley.

It was a hot afternoon, but there was a decent breeze. The journey was largely uneventful. An hour or so after sunset, the night was getting very dark. They reached the town of Heahill, which was about halfway to their destination. In front of them was a large wooden wall with tall wooden doors that were closed. Two guards stood outside, and one of them stopped the group.

“You and you,” he said, pointing at Ianos and Zari, “can go in. YOU can’t.” He glared at Zorrik. “No demons in Heahill.” Ianos was able to persuade the guard a bit: he demanded 100 gold as a bribe, which Ianos paid. He shouted at other guards inside to open the doors. He chuckled and said to Zorrik, “Good luck in there.”

Since the hour was late, there was little activity in the town. Many windows were dark. The path they were on led them to a town square, where they saw “The Slaughtered Stag” scrawled on a wood plank above a door. The windows were lit, and commotion could be heard inside. Ianos went in alone to gauge the room.

There were six tables in the tavern, five of which were full. Ianos walked between the tables, playing his lute as he tried to listen in on some conversations. Most of the people in the tavern – all humans and dwarves – were workers and traders. One trio in particular were exceptionally drunk. After a while, a couple of groups left.

Ianos tried to get a read on the drunk trio. He wanted to see if Zorrik would be welcome in the establishment. The most outspoken of the three, a large man in work clothes, had no kind words to say about Tieflings. Ianos stepped outside to convey this to his friends.

Zorrik disguised himself as a human, and he and Zari now joined Ianos at the bar. Zorrik and Ianos had more ale, and in his drunken state, Zorrik forgot to renew his Disguise Self spell. His true appearance as a Tiefling was revealed to the room. The outspoken racist stood up, immediately hostile. The table of dwarves in the center left some coin on the table and made a quick exit. One more table of three remained, and two of them decided to join in the fight.

It was as epic a tavern brawl as the group could have had. Drunk men swinging mugs and fists up against three adventurers wielding weapons and magic. One person made it outside to pull in two more fighters. The outspoken racist took an acid spray to the face and a firebolt to the back, and he was down for the count, barely clinging to life. Four town guards then barged in, and Zorrik and Zari were able to make a quick escape out of a back entrance. Ianos remained, taking the blame for the entire fight. He and the other remaining patrons were led out by the guards and locked up in cells in the guardhouse.

25 Month of Gifts 4228 AE

Zorrik and Zari observed the guards from a dark corner down the street. They identified one that looked like he was in charge. Once he left the guardhouse, Zorrik disguised himself as the captain and entered. He demanded to see the half-elf prisoner, and the guards brought him forward. Ianos was suspicious of this sudden interest, and realized it was actually Zorrik. He played along. Zorrik commanded the guards to go rein in the group of drunks in the other cell, and then he and Ianos made a break for it out the front door. After meeting up with Zari, they made it to the back entrance of the town.

The group was able to neutralize the guards in front of the gate: Two were sent away by a disguised Zorrik, one was overwhelmed with disembodied whispers, and the other two were knocked over when the doors rapidly flew open. The party fled into the darkness and made a camp in a grove of trees for the night.

It started to rain as they were making camp. When they awoke in the morning, it was a full blown thunderstorm. Walking down the road to Osley was no picnic, but it was manageable. Along the way, they met a couple on their way to trade in town – Vance and Githa Kicheda – but their wagon had broken an axle. The party helped them make a makeshift axle from a long, straight branch, and they all continued to Osley together.

The group asked around and eventually found the Strangled Goose tavern & inn. The barkeep was an old dwarven woman named Frances. The party enjoyed a meal and bought rooms for the night.

26 Month of Gifts 4228 AE

In the morning, Zorrik was awoken by loud knocking on his door. A young boy, out of breath, said he worked for Moira in Orhall. He handed Zorrik a note.

A convoy just passed through carrying your Tiefling friend – the kid who came back wearing the antlers. He was being held in a
prison carriage. There were eight of them. They’re from Kale, headed back through the capitol, going north from here to get to the main road.
I charged them double and spit in their drinks, but you could do more.
— Moira

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Session 6: Shop 'Til You Drop

22 Month of Gifts 4228 AE, Late Morning

Sharwyn looked up at the party, trying to hold back her tears. “What’s the plan? Are we leaving the citadel?”

As the group debated what to do, the ground started to rumble. An earthquake was starting! Rocks started to fall from the walls and roof of the cavern as the earth shook more and more violently. Zorrik shouted at everyone to not use magic, and they all started running. It was hard to move quickly through the grove, but they made it back to the entrance just as the quake started to subside. The wall to Belak’s study had collapsed. As they made their way through the hallway, an aftershock started, and more debris was falling all around them. They ultimately made it back to the large garden to climb the vines back up to the upper level. As they were climbing, another aftershock hit. They ran through the citadel back to the entrance, navigating around more collapsed walls and fallen stone as a third aftershock struck. On the way, they noticed the door to the dragon’s room was in pieces on the floor, as though the wyrmling had broken through it.

Zorrik tripped over a rope that was pulled taut across the doorway to the entrance chamber. Ianos and Sir Braford fell on top of him. Stax attempted a flip but landed poorly on some fallen rock. They saw Durian standing there, holding an unconscious Meepo in his arms. The lower half of Meepo’s right leg and the end of his tail had been turned to ice, and a blast of frost coated the floor and wall across the room. Durian said that the dragon attacked Meepo and then fled the Citadel. Two boulders now blocked the exit.

Four of the group pushing together were able to move the top boulder, and they climbed over the remaining rock one by one to exit. A fourth and final aftershock struck, and debris fell behind them. They climbed the stairs in the cliff face and then ascended the rope to the top of the chasm.

It was late morning, and very hot, so Meepo’s leg and tail were quickly melting away. The group made their way to Croprot to find the gnome that knew about kobolds. Durian was carrying Meepo on his back, and he and Stax ran ahead of the group to get to the village as quickly as possible. They arrived around midday. Durian went to the temple, where the priest knew nothing of a gnome. Stax went to the tavern, and the young man there had not seen a gnome recently, either. The rest of the group arrived, and they soon realized that the gnome had been in Orhall, not in Croprot. Since Meepo was stable (though his leg and tail were almost completely melted away by now), they wanted to stay for a meal. Unfortunately, the barkeep wanted them all out, because he didn’t want tieflings and a kobold hanging around. He agreed to give Ianos one meager ration and kicked them out.

They walked back to Orhall. The ice had melted, and Meepo was left with cauterized stumps on his right leg and tail. He was still unconscious. They drew stares from everyone who saw them on the road. As the party approached the watchtower outside the town, they saw a tiny figure in bright blue clothing walking their way. It was the gnome, Gilly Primspindle! He told them he was on his way to the citadel, and they asked him to look at Meepo. He examined his wounds, feeling very sorry for the kobold. He said the damage could be reversed by a skilled enough healer. When Durian asked him if he knew a place Meepo might be safe, Gilly thought for a moment, then said he had the perfect place in mind—but he wanted to ask Meepo first.

They took Meepo off of Durian’s back and woke him up. He was grimacing in pain, and asked to be taken out of the sunlight. Stax covered Meepo with his own cloak. Gilly knelt down next to Meepo, and Durian asked Meepo if he remembered him—he did. Gilly started whispering in Meepo’s ear, and Meepo’s face lit up. He was suddenly very excited. Meepo very much wanted to go with the gnome. When questioned, Gilly would not share the destination. He swore that Meepo would be safe, and promised to get a message to them all when they were settled in or when Meepo was healed (whichever came first). Meepo was eager, and the gnome seemed genuine, so the party agreed to let Meepo go. Gilly took a small wooden box out of his bag, put it on the ground, and said, “Avantio!” The box unfolded itself into a cart. They loaded Meepo into the cart, and Gilly covered him with orange silk, returning Stax’s cloak. The old gnome then lifted the cart by himself, and set off to the south.

The party continued into Orhall. By now it was early evening, and the tavern was half full with people enjoying their dinner. When they got Moira’s attention, she rushed over and immediately embraced Sharwyn. “Oh my, you’re alive!” She went to get Kerowyn, bringing her up from the rooms in the cellar. Kerowyn ran to her daughter, holding her tightly in her arms. After a minute, Kerowyn asked Sharwyn about her brother, Talgen. Sharwyn went to hand his signet ring to her mother, when she suddenly collapsed on the floor, dead. Sir Braford collapsed at the same time. While Kerowyn was weeping over her daughter’s corpse, Ianos mentioned their reward. This quickly drew Kerowyn’s wrath, and while she promised them their reward for the signet rings, she would not speak to them further.

The party had some dinner and retired to their rooms for the night.

23 Month of Gifts 4228 AE

The next morning, they collected their rewards, which Kerowyn had left with Moira. They headed to the marketplace to spend their newly earned gold and sell some of the trinkets and excess equipment they’d looted from the Citadel. They commissioned upgrades to their leather armor, bought new armor and weapons, and picked up supplies, balking at the price of the healing potions. The tanner modified the leather strap of Stax’s antler crown so it would fit his head perfectly, and she made him a new sling from some leather scraps.

After lunch, the party made their way to the Temple of Knowledge to speak to the sage that had examined Sharwyn and Sir Braford’s bodies. After hearing about the Gulthias Tree from the group, he hurried off, returning with an open book. A Gulthias Tree grew from a stake pushed through a vampire’s heart, and one had been documented a few centuries prior. Once the tree died, any supplicants it had taken were doomed to die as soon as their remaining energy ran out. There was nothing anyone could have done to save Sharwyn and Sir Braford, after all. Next, Zorrik inquired about the Shadow the group encountered in the citadel, and the weakness he’d been feeling since he was attacked. The sage rushed off for another book, and came back with the answer: Zorrik was cursed, and a remove curse spell would do the trick. The sage was able to perform the spell himself, and Zorrik was healed.

Ianos inquired about help with “performance,” and the sage mentioned there was a temple for the God of Pleasure across town.

The party returned to the tavern to talk to Moira about where they might be needed next. She mentioned there was a man through town two days prior who had mentioned a blight near Faraday, where the land went dead rather suddenly and decimated a farming village, just like what happened to Croprot hundreds of years ago. There was a green dragon giving people trouble at the outskirts of the Dark Forest northeast of the capitol. Far south, the orcs had been leaving the Orclands more and more to raid villages and towns outside their territory. North of Orhall, about two days’ travel, was the town of Osley, a large trading hub that had an adventurer’s guild office. If they wanted something to do in the immediate area, that guild office would be the place to go for leads. (She also mentioned that Osley had a killer Midsummer Feast, which would be happening in about a week.)

That night, Ianos entertained the tavern in exchange for a free room. Zorrik and Durian decided to share a room. Stax had dinner with the group but left afterwards, and Zari was nowhere to be found. Ianos and Zorrik got drunk (especially Zorrik) off an entire bottle of elven wine.

24 Month of Gifts 4228 AE

When everyone awoke the next morning, Ianos and Zorrik discovered their leather armor was missing. They saw Stax sitting in the tavern’s dining room in his new studded leather armor. When confronted, he said the tanner had told him she had an opening to rush all their armor, and that he’d talked to Zorrik and Ianos about it the night before. They dragged Stax to the tanner by his collar, and she confirmed his story. Zorrik and Ianos weren’t sure what to think. The tanner said their armor would be ready by this afternoon.

Back at the tavern, Zari showed up eating an apple. The party decided their next move would be going north to Osley, though Ianos and Stax seemed rather reluctant to do so. We left off with the group eating their breakfast.

Note: A few of you will be getting character-specific updates next week. You’ll get an email notification when they’re posted.

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Session 5: The Gulthias Tree

22 Month of Gifts 4228 AE, Morning

The party was in the gallery outside the arboretums, having just killed the bugbear tending to the myriad of plants in the large hallway. Stax peeked in through the eastern door, opening it silently. In the large, octagonal arboretum, he saw two twig blights and two skeletons. After silently killing one of them with a perfect dagger throw, the group quickly dispatched the other creatures. Ianos took the opportunity to gather a sample of the prolific fungus covering the walls and floor of most of the rooms they’d been through on this level. Seeing nothing else of value in the room, they all moved on.

Behind the northern door was another octagonal arboretum, filled with plants and fungi. There were no creatures in here, however, and there was an additional door to the southwest. They heard nothing beyond the door, so they ventured into the next room. A giant dragon shrine greeted them, made from red-veined white marble and with glowing red eyes. A dark tile on the floor in front of the statue had a phrase carved into it in Draconic. Saying the phrase in Common had no effect. Zorrik stood on the tile and repeated the phrase in Draconic (with Zari’s help), and a red mist enveloped him. He felt more confident and charismatic than before! Behind the statue, the group found a shadow, which immediately attacked them. Physical attacks weren’t as effective as the group would have liked, but they still did the trick, and the shadow dispersed into thin air.

The next room was a ruined library, lined with shelves that had long since been destroyed. Piles of tattered books and scrolls lay on the ground, most completely worthless and unsalvageable. They did find some more spell scrolls. Erky found two brown leather tomes bound together, each with colored markings painted on the spine: one book with red, green, blue, black, and white circles, and the other with gold, silver, brass, bronze, and copper triangles. The books were filled with handwritten notes, most of which were in Draconic, but some in a language no one could recognize. Zari examined the book with colored circles while Zorrik took a look at the book with metallic triangles. Zari said the writings were that of a madman, and they made little sense; after Zorrik handed her the second book, she confirmed it was the same gibberish contents. The group moved on from the library.

Down a long and winding hallway, the party came upon two doors. Hearing noises behind one of them, Stax picked the lock on the other door to reveal a study – likely Belak’s. A thorough search of the room uncovered some items of value, including some additional spell scrolls, but otherwise only contained notes written in Draconic. The noise they made drew the attention of the goblins outside, and the group attacked them through the other door, gaining the advantage by flanking the goblins. Twig blights from the grove beyond joined the fight. When the group attempted to rest inside the study, more twig blights came from the grove, attacking the intruders. Continued attacks left the group with the realization that they would not be able to rest here safely, and so they ventured into the grove.

Bushes, shrubs, fungus, and rubble dotted the inside of this immense cavern. In the distance, they could see the gnarled branches of a blackened tree reaching upwards. The fae in this area was heading violently towards the tree. It was indeed the Gulthias tree, sitting in the middle of a clearing surrounded by ancient ruins. A middle-aged human dressed in furs stood before the tree, flanked by two other humans: a young noble woman and a young man in armor carrying a unique looking sword. The eyes of the young man and woman were a glassy black, and their skin was gray and bark-like. They were the remaining members of the adventuring party our heroes had been searching for – Sharwyn Hucrele and Sir Braford.

The middle-aged man spoke to the party, revealing himself to be Belak, the druid. He had been using the tree’s power to create supplicants, which he offered as a “peaceful” end for the group. A fight ensued, and the battle turned immediately in the party’s favor. Ianos paralyzed Belak, and Zorrik was able to charm Braford. Sharwyn cast a magic missle at the party with small effect. Belak’s giant frog familiar jumped down from the Gulthias tree to join the battle, to no avail. The party ultimately prevailed, and burned the Gulthias tree to a crisp.

They bound the hands of Sharwyn and Sir Braford, both now unconscious, not knowing if they would still be under the tree’s influence upon waking. Indeed, they were of their own minds. They explained that they were taken prisoner by the goblins, then brought down to the grove after a while and tied to the tree, and that was all they could remember. Sharwyn asked about her brother, and the group gave her his signet ring. She also saw her brother’s splint armor on Erky.

We left our heroes with Sharwyn weeping for her loss and Sir Braford thanking the group for their help.

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Session 4: The Goblin Chief and Belak's Laboratory

21 Month of Gifts 4228 AE, Evening

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Session 3: Massacre and a Dragonpriest

21 Month of Gifts 4228 AE, Morning

Zari, Zorrik, Stax, and Ianos decided against luring the dragon into the goblin crowd… for now. They decided to head back to the kobold’s area in the citadel to explore some of the doors they hadn’t yet opened. Luckily for them, the “back way” was clear and the doors were unlocked.

They opened the door into the great hall and saw nothing but bodies. A metallic stench filled the air, as there was blood everywhere. Kobolds and goblins alike (though mostly kobolds) lay dead around them, with wounds suggesting a brutal massacre. Even Yusdrayl, the kobold queen, had been cut down. The group retrieved the remaining items from above and behind her throne: a large key sitting in the mouth of the carved dragon head, a small stone token with a feather carved into it, three spell scrolls (mage armor, spider climb, and knock), and a small flask containing the two remaining doses of elixir of health.

They checked the door on the north wall of the great hall and found rooms filled with more kobold bodies, including some children. In an adjacent room to the west, they found a hole in the western wall, and a tunnel leading into darkness. The hole in the wall and the sides of the tunnel looked worn, like it wasn’t a recently made entrance.

The group listened at the door on the eastern end of the great hall and heard some whimpering, faint but familiar: Meepo! They rushed in, finding a great common room filled with dead kobolds, and a bedroll in the corner heaving with sobs. Meepo was traumatized, and had a cut on his leg, but had hidden early enough that he survived the slaughter. He explained that the goblins came through the back entrance just as Meepo was returning from escorting the party. They were shouting that the kobolds made the first attack, even though no such attack took place. He answered any questions he could: the tunnel they had just found led to the surface, and also branched off to the Underdark. The key they had retrieved from Yusdrayl’s throne opened a door near the entrance to the citadel. The way to the grove downstairs was past the goblins.

Meepo didn’t want to accompany the group into combat, and he didn’t want to wander the citadel alone. Everyone wanted to make sure he was safe, so they asked if there was anywhere he could hide. He said if they were going to the entrance, he could hide in a secret room there, so that’s where they went. The circular entrance chamber was as they’d left it, with the same four goblin corpses littering the floor. Meepo pushed a part of the southern wall and it opened up into a small 10×10 foot room. There were three skeletons inside, archers slumped against the east and south walls, each sporting a rubble-filled arrow slit. Upon further investigation, the skeletons were human, but very old (hundreds of years or more). They found 20 arrows in a quiver, 10 sp, and 5 gp, and there was a +1 arrow in a special pocket on the quiver. Meepo said he’d wait there until the group came back for him, and Durian stayed to keep him company.

The party went into the other door off the entrance chamber. Inside the first room was nothing but rubble and a large stone door with a rearing dragon carved on it. There was a keyhole in the dragon’s open mouth, and the key fit. It turned with a CLUNK, which disturbed a giant rat hiding in the rubble. Zari quickly dispatched the rat with an arrow. The stone door opened with a hiss and a puff of dust, suggesting it hadn’t been opened in a very long time.

In the chamber beyond, the air is stale and a layer of dust coats everything in sight. On the north wall are three alcoves, each containing a dark stone orb on a pedestal. A single alcove on the south wall contains a similar pedestal and orb, though this orb is glowing with a soft blue light. Zorrik approached the orb, hearing tinkling musical notes as he got closer. Once he got within five feet of the orb, brooding music began eminating loudly from it, and Zorrik, Ianos, and Erky all started to run towards the entrance of the citadel, charmed by the spell. Stax and Zari resisted the charm, and destroyed the orb with a dagger and an arrow. It split into two chunks and fell to the ground. Zorrik picked up the pieces and put them in his pack.

The door on the far wall opened to a small hallway, and Ianos stepped on a pressure plate in the floor, taking an arrow to the shoulder from the trap. Zari was able to find the plate and disarm it by wedging that same arrow underneath it.

The next room was empty except for a ten foot tall statue of a coiled dragon carved from beautiful red-veined white marble. Once approached, the stone jaws of the dragon appeared to move, and the group heard the following riddle:

We come at night without being fetched; we disappear by day without being stolen. What are we?

Ianos said, “That’d be stars, right?” and a secret door in the western wall swung open.

The door led to a great hall twenty feet wide. Six alcoves were in the room, three in each of the north and south walls. Five of them held a statue carved from the same marble as the dragon in the previous room. The statues resembled tall elves in plate armor. At the far side of the room was a pit ten feet deep, spanning the width of the room, filled with spikes. On the other side of the pit was an archway opening up into another room. A green glow and a large sarcophagus could be seen from this side.

Stax jumped over the pit, followed by Zorrik. Zorrik did not make the jump and fell into the pit, taking a lot of damage. As Stax landed on the other side, a quasit (a small fiend, looking like an imp with small wings) attacked from the north side of the archway. The team sprang into action, and when the first attack landed on the fiend, it shouted, “You broke the binding. My watch over the dragonpriest is over!” At its first opportunity, it turned invisible and flew away.

The party examined the sarcophagus and the room they were now in. There were four sconces on the wall, one in each corner, and one of them held a candle lit with a green eternal flame. Stax had additional candles that he gave to Zorrik, who lit the other three sconces. Stax and Zari found a secret door, leading to a crawlspace that exited behind one of the statues on the other side of the spike pit. The sarcophagus itself was made of marble, with dragon imagery carved all over it. The head of the sarcophagus resembled a dragon’s head. Six rusted iron latches held the lid firmly in place.

Ianos spoke up first, being firmly against opening the sarcophagus. He pointed out that the fiend said it was guarding something, and with this kind of protection keeping it inside, it might be something nasty. As he was talking, Stax jumped on the lid and pried one open with a crowbar. Erky spoke up as well, reminding everyone that the fiend mentioned what he was watching over was a dragonpriest, which might refer to a high ranking member of the dragon cult that used this citadel long ago. He was also against opening it. The group continued to open one latch at a time despite these protests, and even Erky was persuaded to help since he was the strongest in the group. Zorrik used fae sight and saw that dark fae was lining the edges of the lid; even so, he continued to try and open it. Finally the latches were all open, and the group pushed the lid part of the way off.

They saw a huge pair of feet, which started to move. They stopped opening the lid, but it continued on its own. After it was fully off, a giant troll sat up, dressed in rotted finery and adorned with jewelry and rings. His body was shrunken and elongated, and his flesh a rubbery, putrid green. His black hair was long, thick, and ropy. His beady black eyes flashed open, and he snarled.

The group fought him, and took him down. However, he got back up on the next round, landing a hit on Ianos that knocked him unconscious. Stax then remembered that trolls regenerate, and they need to take fire or poison damage to stop their regeneration. The group immediately took the candle from the nearest sconce, lit with a green eternal flame, and threw it at the troll. He fell, and did not get back up. The group took his jewelry and a ceremonial dagger.

After a short rest, the party made their way back to check rooms they hadn’t yet explored. They came across a room with a locked and barred iron door, and after picking it, found four goblin prisoners inside. One of them spoke Common, and tried to trade information for his freedom. The party learned that of the original adventuring party they were searching for, one of them was dead, and the other two are somehow charmed by the Gulthias tree. The tree “chewed them up and spit them out.” Ianos pushed for the group to free the goblin and his friends for sharing the information. Two of the goblins, including the one negotiating with the party, had their cuffs picked, while the other two locks jammed. When an eldritch blast aimed at the chains hits the opposite wall instead, the two free goblins fled. Giving chase, Zari followed them to a nearby room, but didn’t get there fast enough to see which door they went through. Meepo didn’t see any goblins run by him near the entrance, so the group determined the goblins went back to their tribe to warn the others.

Determined as ever to get past the goblins, the group headed once again through the “back entrance” into the goblin area, but woke up four sleeping goblin bandits. One of the bandits made it part of the way out the door before dying, drawing the attention of three elite goblin guards. The party won the fight, but not without suffering for it. They now need to decide whether to let the dragon loose on the goblins, or attack on their own…

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Session 2: Zorrik, Goblins, and Erky Timbers

20 Month of Gifts 4228 AE, Late Evening

We picked up an hour after we left off, with Zari and Ianos having just regained consciousness after the previous fight. The group decided that the best course of action would be to retreat to the kobold area again for another long rest. They made their way back to the room where they met Meepo, and they heard fighting ahead. Peering around the corner into the hallway leading to Yusdrayl’s throne, Durian saw a goblin slaughter a kobold commoner towards the end of the hall. At that moment, the group heard the door they came through slam behind them, and running up to it, they heard footsteps running back towards the sanctuary.

The group pursued the mystery character and came upon a tiefling fighting two giant rats. They assisted in the fight, and afterwards, Zorrik introduced himself as a spellcaster. Zorrik said he was in the Sunless Citadel because a woman named Tias had told him there was a powerful magic item to be found.

He decided to travel with the group, and they all decided to go through a nearby door. They passed through an empty room and slowly opened the next door, which had a warning bell attached to the other side. Stax rang the bell in a botched attempt at disarming it, which alerted someone to their presence at the other end of the hall filled with caltrops. The party quickly dispatched the two goblins hiding behind the low wall, then lured one more into the room after filling it with the caltrops. They heard an additional goblin run away before entering the next room, a practice range with crude human-sized targets on the wall.

One of the adjacent rooms had a barred window in the door, and inside that room were three captive kobolds and a gnome in a cage. They freed the kobolds and gave them a scimitar, and the kobolds said they would hide in the sanctuary with the magic dragon door. The gnome introduced himself as Erky Timbers, an acolyte of the God of the Silver Hand (Stax recalled this was a good-aligned god, something to do with light or luck). The human adventuring party had been held in the same stockade two months prior, and Erky said they were removed when Belak, a powerful spellcaster in the grove below the citadel, sent for them. When the party asked Erky to join them, he happily agreed, saying it was the least he could do after being rescued.

The party went through a storage room into a hallway with several doors. The first door they tried was a room covered in frost, and the dragon wyrmling Calcryx was hiding behind a table. Calcryx didn’t want to leave, and used its breath attack on the party, knocking three of them unconscious right off the bat. The party members were somewhat healed by Ianos and Erky, and Zorrik popped off some fire bolts at the dragon, burning its face and destroying an eye. The group retreated to the store room for a rest, barricading the doors.

21 Month of Gifts 4228 AE

Durian took first watch, which was uneventful. During Zorrik’s watch, some goblins came to the practice range for some conversation and a meal but didn’t try the store room door. Zari took final watch after her four-hour trance, and two goblins tried to open the door but found it blocked. Battle ensued, and the party was ultimately victorious. Most of the group had regained their strength and use of their spells at this point, so they went back to the hallway to check the other doors.

They found that one door led to a large room filled with goblins, many of whom were commoners. Two of the doors in the hallway led to the same auxiliary hallway, with two more doors at the end of it: one leading to the same goblin common room, and one leading to a different room that also had a few goblins in it. The final door led to a room with a fire and four bedrolls, with no goblins in sight. Exploring further, the group found one more goblin barracks with empty bedrolls, and wondered where all the goblins had gone.

The night ended with the group debating whether they should lead the wyrmling into the room filled with goblins, deciding against it for now. Zari was speculating about whether they should double back the way they came and look for a way downstairs to the grove.

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Session 1: Journey into the Citadel

19 Month of Gifts 4228 AE, Evening

Our adventurers started in Orhall, at the Goblin and Duck tavern & inn for their evening meal. Ianos was performing on stage, Zari was sitting at a table by herself towards the back of the room, and Durian was seated somewhat closer to the stage. When Ianos finished his set and took a break, he was approached by Stax, who asked Ianos if he would teach him the bone pipes.

During the bard’s break, Kerowyn Hucrele got up on stage (with the permission of the barkeep) and repeated a plea to the audience she had been making almost daily for a couple of months. Her children were still missing and she needed help. Durian approached her afterward and offered to help, and she told him that her son and daughter had gone adventuring south of town. Kerowyn had to clarify to Durian that her missing children were adults and had been members of a larger party.

Ianos also made a heartfelt plea to the crowd on her behalf, and while no townsfolk volunteered to join the rescue party, one old gnome in bright purple and orange clothing said he had some information. After another song, the group (all but Stax, who had gone back to the stable behind the tavern) sat down with Kerowyn and the gnome. The gnome filled everyone in on some details about the Sunless Citadel, and informed them there were friendly kobolds living within. (Kobolds, as he put it, were his life’s work.) Kerowyn offered the group 250 gp each for the safe return of her children, and 125 gp each for the return of their family signet rings (if the children can’t be returned alive).

The gnome also told them not to go down the Old Road next to the ravine at night because of weird twig monsters, since the “tricky little bastards” would attack on sight.

20 Month of Gifts 4228 AE

Stax followed the group at dawn the next day, on their way south towards Croprot. He rolled a 1 on his Stealth check, so the group saw him. He claimed to be following the bard so he could learn the bone pipes. He hid his ability to fight but was allowed to tag along.

They arrived at Croprot around 9:30 AM. Once there, the group split up: Durian went to the local temple while everyone else went to the tavern. At the tavern, a few locals were eating breakfast, and the barkeep was delighted to see new faces. He was forthcoming with information about the Sunless Citadel and the village of Croprot. He told the group about the goblins that sell a magic apple in town every year at midsummer, how the saplings planted from the apple’s seeds get stolen, and how the town got its name (it used to be a farming town, then the desert overtook the area and all the crops died).

At the local temple, Durian met the temple’s keeper, but it was otherwise empty. He learned the temple used to be to the pleasure god Karril, and since the village’s misfortune, was now just a place people came to pray, with no specific affiliation. He also told Durian about the goblins and the apple. Durian then went to join the group at the tavern.

When it came time to order food, Stax claimed he didn’t have any money, so Ianos offered to pay for him. Stax proceeded to order one of everything. He saved some food for his pet rat, Stacy.

Before heading out, Ianos cast Fae Sight to see if there was anything unusual happening in the area that could have killed the crops. He saw that the earth fae was moving more quickly than it should have been, and it was being pulled north. He filed that information away for later.

The group headed out on the Old Road along Claw Rend Chasm. Once they reached the pillars, they lowered themselves down the rope to the ledge 80 feet below. They fought three giant rats on the first ledge in the ravine. Down the stairs at the entrance, Zari triggered the pit trap but was able to avoid falling in. They killed the rat from above and looted the goblin corpse it had been feasting on.

Once inside, the group noticed the word “Ashardalon” behind the body of the goblin pinned to the wall. Stax remembered with a successful history check that Ashardalon was a well-known ancient dragon. The group then agonized over which door to go through, and ultimately chose the door on the right because there were human footprints leading in and out of the door on the left, but only into the door on the right. At this point, they were very cautious and checking everywhere for traps.

They went right to the room with the dragon’s empty cage, where they heard Meepo whimpering in his bedroll. Meepo told them what happened, and when they offered to help, Meepo brought them to the kobold leader, Yusdrayl. (Meepo relayed the safe word, Ticklecorn, in Draconic along the way to alert the guards the group was friendly. Ianos started using it as a greeting.) Yusdrayl offered them rewards, including the key to another area in the citadel, if they retrieved Calcryx, the dragon wyrmling, from the goblins. After successful persuasion from Ianos, she let them take one dose of her Elixir of Health with them.

Meepo brought the group to the “back way” into the goblin area, where the group fought three goblin bandits. They won the fight, though Ianos fell unconscious during the battle. The group retreated back to the kobold safe area for a long rest, and they decided to take the front way in instead. Meepo led them there. The group activated the first dragon fountain and collected the Potion of Fire Breath. They triggered the trap at the dragon door opposite the fountain, and were able to push it open with brute force since three of them were doing it together. Inside the sanctuary, Stax picked up the whistle on the altar, which awoke the skeletons in the five sarcophagi. The fight nearly killed the party, ending with Zari and Ianos both unconscious. (Stax blew the whistle during the fight, but nothing happened as a result.)

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