Here Be Dragons

Once Again in the Asylum!

As they are returning to the asylum, Wellby Tosscobble catches up with us and reports that he has sent a message to the Duke, via her daughter.

Lydia and Urg enter the asylum and go thru a corridor. Lydia looks in the window to the orb room and sees some cultists. One is trying to strap a struggling inmate into a chair. A cultist begins muttering an arcane spell over the orb. Lydia continues on, passing Mad Max’s cell, sending Urg to reconnoiter. Lydia then disguises herself as a cultist and enters a room where 5 thugs and 2 acolytes are talking.

A cultist asks her if her work is done and when she replies yes he tells her to go help the others. She returns to the orb room and enters. One of the cultists asks her to help strap another inmate into a chair. Having no choice, Lydia complies, and stands there as the cultist again utters a spell. The inmate shrieks and moans, turning into a zombie before her eyes. He quiets down, is released, and shambles off.

The cultists leave the room and go on to Mad Max’s cell, obviously intending to perform the same ritual on him. Horrified, Lydia watches as Max backs into the corner and then, knowing she risks discovery but unable to stand by while this occurs, she slays the two cultists and escapes the asylum with Urg and Max, successfully bypassing the zombies in the courtyard. She meets up with the others and, leaving Max with Althea, the group returns and infiltrates the asylum in their cultists’ robes.

Once again in the asylum, we enter the room that leads to Randall’s office, attacking and killing the zombie and thug that are in there. There is an acolyte there as well, who screams for us to spare him. He tells us that Randall is in his office in a private meeting with General Lamentation. We sneak up to the partially open door and hear General Lamentation blaming Randall for the problems they are facing. Randall begs General Lamentation to send reinforcements but the General replies that a move of this nature would reveal his capabilities and motives to the entire city and be seen as a threat to the Baldur’s Gate Council.

We burst into the room and see the projection of General Lamentation. He turns to us, somehow knowing who we are, saying “An incompetent member of my organization needs elimination. I leave it in your capable hands." To Randall he says, “Our mistress has rescinded her praise and support. If you …. somehow… manage to salvage this situation, then we can discuss matters at that time. Goodbye.” He winks out of sight.

Zombies enter the room to defend Randall. Randall swallows a flask of green liquid. He transforms into an ogre zombie. We engage all the zombies in a long battle…..

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A Battle, a Dream, and Zombies at the Asylum!

The adventurers believe Enna, and ask her why she was fleeing, and what she knows about the Cult of the Dragon. She replies that Randal tried to kill her and wanted to usurp her position as Director at the Insane Asylum. As for the Cult, Durkon knows more than she does. She declines to return to Tyrisis to help the adventurers, and says her destination is the elven forest a day’s journey south of Baldur’s Gate.

They turn to head back to Tyrisis. Flint perceives a dangerous group of acolytes, cultists, and thugs as they are preparing to attack. Suddenly a “google” cloud descends, postponing the impending combat! A full day later, the “google” cloud lifts, and battle commences.

Flint hides behind a rock and manages to pick off a number of the acolytes, cultists and thugs as they cast spells and engage in melee battle with Lydia, Kurshk, Chinicum, and Cid, who turns himself into a slashing, biting bear. Althea and Durkon battle fiercely at their sides, and Althea is felled several times, with Lydia healing her each time, maliciously mocking the enemy.

At last, just one thug remains alive. He offers to talk rather than be killed, and provides useful information under Lydia’s rather over-zealous interrogation. He reveals that he was under orders from Randal to follow the adventurers and Enna, and to kill them all. He reveals that Randal takes orders from General Lamentation, who only communicates through devices, and that Enna will probably be safe if she stays out of the cult’s way.

The thug, whose name is Bert and who is more intelligent than most thugs, indicates that he plans to stay out of the way of the cult himself, now that the assassination attempt has failed, and the adventurers decide to let him go. They take his thug gear and give him a new set of clothes, sending him on his way. He sets off in the opposite direction, presumably to get an education and a new life. The adventurers remove the robes from the dead cultists to potentially use for disguise, and find a safe place to spend the night in the forest near the road.

During an otherwise uneventful night, each adventurer has the same dream. They are all back in the dark dream-village. They hear a THUMP, THUMP, THUMP and can make out a massive creature of the darkest black imaginable, with massive wings tucked up against its side, a lizard-like head with fangs, and fire in its belly. The creature turns it gaze upon them and they are immobilized. Suddenly, black birds fly at the creature and distract him. As his gaze leaves the adventurers, they are able to move again. The old man in peasant robes appears, and cries, “I did not call you! Wake quickly!!!” More black birds appear and fly towards the adventurers, who wake up drenched in sweat. Exhausted from their dreams, the adventurers arise and continue back to Tyrisis.

Wellby meets them outside the gates and reports that he has been spying out information for them. He says their plan to hide at the duke’s estate won’t work, as the duke has left for a couple of days (according to the guards.) Wellby has been watching the insane asylum, and reports creepy sounds and weird shambling forms in the garden, but no inmates in sight. He agrees to find the duke and inform him of all that has transpired.

The adventurers decide to melt into the city while Lydia makes herself invisible and sneaks into the asylum to reconnoiter. She agilely scales the asylum walls and drops into the courtyard, where she counts twelve zombies. Before she can make her way inside the building, time is suspended for two weeks.

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Enna's Revelations

We grab horses and head north to follow Enna. The guard tells us that he saw her heading quickly up the road towards Baldur’s Gate half an hour earlier. We travel north for two hours until we come to a detour into a small village. Lydia disguises herself and goes into the town to investigate. At the town’s inn, the innkeeper tells her that an elven woman of Enna’s description visited earlier and gave his sick little girl some herbs. The little girl is already improving, and the woman departed.

Continuing on to Baldur’s Gate, Lydia rides ahead and sees some figures hidden in the trees off the road. They see her, and when she drops back to tell the others they come out of the woods, weapons drawn, and attack us. We battle, killing all of them except one of their spies. Althea knocks him out, and when he is revived Lydia interrogates him. He tells us that he follows orders of the Cult of the Dragon and that a short, heavy masked man gives him his orders. The man claims to be a mercenary and we attempt to hire him but realize he is lying to us, and we kill him.

Flint finds gold and, on one of the spies, the insignia of a dragon skull.

We continue to track Enna as she heads towards Baldur’s Gate. A half day into our journey, we catch up with her. Flint captures and interrogates her. She denies being our enemy and most of what we thought happened in the insane asylum, and asks if we felt an oppressive darkness before the cultists were left to deal with us. Enna says the orb she told us about has been used on us, and that between two periods of oppressive darkness we have falsified memories, that last for 24 hours. She tells us that she left us with Durkon, and that she came upon Randal as he was bringing in the Cultists, and had to run for her life. She asks us to wait 24 hours, at which time we will know that she is speaking the truth.

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Into, and out of, the Insane Asylum

Cid, Chinicum, Flint, Kurshk, Lydia, Althea, and Wellby approach the gates of the Insane Asylum, where the guard informs them that he will allow a group of 6 to enter. A disappointed Wellby agrees to wait outside.

Creepy noises greet the group as they enter, and a disturbed inhabitant, Mad Max, mutters and raves at them. An employee, Ivor, guides them to the director of the facility, Enna, who is in the middle of a disagreement with another employee, Randal. Enna cuts the altercation short to greet the visitors.

The group is immediately attracted to the sight of an orb in an adjacent room, and Enna explains that the orb is the Asylum’s prized possession – a powerful, magic gift from an Archmage. She says it can obscure devastating memories and temporarily replace them with happier memories, used only with patients’ consent. Lydia feels suspicious, but her insight leads her to believe Enna is sincere.

Lydia offers to help heal the patients, but Enna says the patients are beyond physical healing. Chinicum then offers to use earth magic, and Enna agrees to let him try. Chinicum casts a lighting spell and tries to engage Mad Max in dialog, directing him to look at the light and tell him if he sees the “source”. Mad Max cries out that Chinicum has seen the hidden faces and dark, overcast land of the dragons, and is in league with them!

Chinicum states that Max is not crazy. Kurshk blusters that they are BOTH crazy. Flint responds that he, himself is “in league with no dragon” and asks Chinicum to explain, but Chinicum refuses to elaborate, even at Lydia’s request. So the visitors are led to Durkon Frostbeard. Enna comments that Durkon is free to leave any time because he checked himself in voluntarily.

Durkon seems pleasant and rational, but tells them he keeps hearing the voice of a wee girl asking him why he didn’t save her. Lydia tries to comfort the sobbing Durkon. She also asks him about Lia, the survivor he sent south to the caves. He replies he sent her to visit his home and tell them what had happened to him. Lydia sings to him and the voices stop temporarily – perhaps she can help him! Cid occupies himself by finding and petting an asylum cat.

Lydia asks Durkon to tell them anything he knows about the Cult of the Dragon, but as soon as he begins to reply the lights abruptly go out! For a couple of seconds, everyone experiences an oppressive force that blocks out all sound. When the light returns, Chinicum attributes the anomaly to the “source.” What is this “source” that he keeps talking about?

Durkon, meanwhile, has begun to panic. Flint commands Lydia to sing to Durkon, and she begins her song again, soothing him greatly. Flint and Lydia agree that it is imperative to get Durkon away from the asylum. Durkon insists upon telling Enna first.

The group make their way from Durkon’s room and come upon a hectic scene outside the orb room. Randal is on the ground, bleeding. Enna is telling black robed figures that they were supposed to wait for her signal because of the visitors, but now it is too late and they must deal with them. She strides away.

Battle ensues! Thugs, Cultists and Acolytes war with our friends. Acolytes point at the visitors commanding them to FLEE, and succeed in temporarily terrorizing Althea and Durkon. The other friends battle on courageously. Lydia creates a distraction, sings inspiration, and attacks. Cid turns himself into a bear and bites and slashes the enemy to great effect. Kurshk charges and bludgeons, Chinicum blasts, Flint heals a fallen Lydia and shoots his longbow to kill an acolyte. Our friends prevail and destroy the cultists.

Chinicum then makes an attempt to steal the orb but it repels him violently.

Randal has survived. He explains he was minding his own business when he interrupted Enna in “whatever she was doing” with the stupid cult she’d joined – the Cult of the Dragon! Enna has fled the asylum.

The lights again go out, and the oppressive force again blocks out all sound for a couple of seconds. Chinicum suggest the orb did it, but cannot be certain. They hasten to leave the asylum to pursue Enna, and meet up with Wellby, who tells them he had followed Enna to a stable, where she had obtained a horse and ridden north.

Cidbear changes back to human, and agrees with Flint that they should follow Enna. As Baldur’s Gate is north, they may also be able to track down the cleric who had survived the kobold attack. A disappointed Wellby, who wants to come with them, is instead dispatched to tell the Duke what has transpired.

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In the City of Tyrisis

The refugees join us, running for their lives as bouts of fire burst from the orb and many of the trees catch fire. Lydia notices that Chinicum seems to have shifted a few centimeters before and after Thia’s magic, and is suspicious. The elves suspect we started the fires, but we deny it. Neirea seems convinced, but suggests we flee, and we do.

We debate in the forest what to do next. Flint wants to sneak back and find out whats going on in the Elven village: Althaea offers to join, although she feels it is a reckless course. We decide to head for Tyrisis, but en route, Flint becomes aware of an ambush and alerts us, at which point elves comes out of the woods. We engage in a fierce battle, killing them before we continue on our way.

Entry to Tyrisis is easy as the guards wave us on through the gate. The guard says that Duke Emberweld will likely want to hear of the attack on Greenest. The Guard Captain offers to arrange a meeting with the Duke.

The villagers depart, with thanks to us for saving their lives. Kurshk and Chinicum go off to a bar together to drink and relax. Lydia, Flint, Wellby, and Althaea go to the Pig’s Whistle. Flint talks to Althaea about her past. Althaea reveals that she left her people, the elves, and her husband.

A messenger tells us that Flint has an invitation to dine with the Duke at 6 that evening, and is welcome to bring his friends.

We all attend the dinner, during which the Duke informs us that the Cult of the Dragon has been wreaking havoc on the countryside. The Duke has repeatedly requested a peacekeeping force from the Council at Baldur’s Gate to protect the surrounding villages, but his requests have been ignored. He offers us 10 gold pieces a day to pursue information about the Cult to be passed on to the Council.

The Duke gives us the names of a few survivors of attacks in other towns who may be able to help us: a dwarf named Durkon, traumatized by the attacks and currently in an insane asylum in Tyrisis; a human cleric named Zasheir last known to be traveling to Baldur’s Gate; and an elf named Lia who is traveling to some caves south of the city, at the behest of Durkon. We decide to accept the Duke’s offer and that we will first visit Durkon in the asylum and then head for the caves to find Lia. Wellby Tosscobble and Althaea Halflight decide to come with us.

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Thia’s Betrayal

The adventurers discuss Thia’s proposal. Flint expresses his suspicion of Thia and his anger at her holding the refugees hostage, but attributes most of his negativity to the fact that he would much prefer to be unencumbered by people and to be tracking the kobolds that destroyed his village. Chinacum hates being told what to do, and says he will turn on Thia “in a second!” Lydia notes that she is interested in the elven orb itself. Cid believes that the elves would not actually harm the hostages, whether or not they agree to Thia’s proposal. Kurschk reiterates that he resents it but will join the others in whatever is decided.

The adventurers decide that in the interest of releasing the hostages and gaining the elves as allies, they will agree to Thia’s terms. They communicate this to Neirea, and are given directions to a gnoll camp where the orb is being held. They are led out of the forest by an elf scout.

They find themselves in a swamp. Flint, still frustrated and angry, is unable to guide the group effectively, so Cid communicates with a marsh frog to see what it can tell them. The frog describes the location of a group of nearby gnolls. At Lydia’s suggestion, they use Flint’s survival skills to build a camouflage lean-to and await the arrival of the gnolls. Soon enough, four gnolls appear.

Flint lassoes one of the gnolls and drags it into the lean-to, where Chincum charms it into believing himself to be among friends. Kurshk rushes out and engages the other three gnolls in battle. With the assistance of Althea and Wellby, Kurshk and the others are able to kill the three gnolls. With his blood still running high, Kurshk rushes back to kill the captured gnoll, but Flint stops him as Lydia, in the guise of a friend, interrogates the gnoll.

The gnoll reveals that Yethzarek, “the big boss” is in possession of the magic orb, and is back at camp. He leads the adventurers to the camp and points out Yethzarek’s tent. The adventurers kill the gnoll before the “friendship” charm has a chance to wear off. Flint and Lydia stealthily make their way behind the camp, where Lydia sneaks up to the tent, lifts the flap, peeks inside. She sees Yethzarek lying on a bed of moss, his arm cradling an orb that matches Thia’s description. Lydia casts a sleep spell on Yethzarek to ensure that he does not awaken. She proceeds to steal the orb, and to grab a bow that she notices leaning against a wall, leaving behind a quiver of arrows on the other side of the tent. Returning to Flint, she hands the bow to him and they make their way back to their friends. Flint determines that the bow is a magic bow, and thanks Lydia, dubbing her “ruthless little one.”

The adventurers take an extended rest in the forest. Flint and Chinacum examine the orb, and determine it is full of elven “fire” magic. The adventurers determine to bring it to Thia in order to free the refugees and form an alliance with the elves, and they return uneventfully to the Elven forest. They are greeted by Thia, who releases the hostages who begin to leave the forest.

Lydia hold out the orb to Thia. Of the adventurers, only Chinacum notices a quick, surreptitious gesture of Thia’s. Suddenly, the orb shatters in Lydia’s hands and lights the forest on fire!

“Traitors!” cries Thia savagely, pointing to the adventurers. “Kill them!!!”

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Escape to the Forest

We battle our way out of the village with a small group of refugees, possibly leaving some behind. After some discussion we decide to head west to a forest four hours away. During our trek a group of Kobolds approaches, one of them carrying a device through which General Lamentation speaks to us. He demands that we give him Althaea and her son. We refuse, and we fight and slay the Kobolds.

Althaea does not know why General Lamentation is intent on killing her and her children. She vows to kill him, and we agree to help her.

We sleep in the forest, and dream of an old man and a bygone city of a bygone era. He tells us that we are at a vortex of events and that it is up to us to stop the encroaching darkness. He is here to warn us of coming danger from malevolent forces and that he will help us when he can. He warns us that this city that we see is not safe should we venture here of our own volition.

Several blackbirds appear from a broken window, fluttering and waking us.

We get the rested villagers up and continue on our way. We move further into the forest. Suddenly dozens of armed elves are surrounding us. A blond haired elf named Neirea speaks with Cid, challenging him for breaking the elves’ rules and bringing strangers to the forest. Cid apologizes and explains the situation and Neirea reluctantly tells the others to lower their weapons. He tells Cid that the elves fear strangers more than ever due to continued attacks on them. He says elves are no longer welcome outside the forest and more of them return to the forest every day. He states that the two elves and the half elf among us are welcome, and that he will make a plea for the others.

We approach an elven village of treehouses, and a tall woman named Thia approaches and consults with Neirea. She eventually states they will feed and shelter us, but we cannot leave. She sets five hunters to keep eye on us.

Neirea tells us that Thia arrived some months ago, is now adviser to the Queen, and has made their settlement even more insular and unwelcoming since her arrival. She has told them she is a refugee from the city of Tyrisis, but her story cannot be verified as few elves leave the forest.

Thia returns with a proposal. She wants us to retrieve a stolen ancient artifact containing ancient elvish magic, currently in the hands of a pack of Gnolls to the west. Should we bring it to her, she will release us and the villagers. We discuss whether to accept her offer.

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The Adventure Begins as Kobolds Attack Greenest!
Cid, Chinacum, Flint, Kurshk, and Lydia are introduced

It was a dark and stormy night. In the quiet village of Greenest, five strangers happen to be spending the night.

Flint, a human Ranger, along with an elven compatriot, is on a mission to track the kobolds that have been harassing the region. The compatriots are staying at the cottage of another ranger’s relatives.

Kurshk, a well-meaning Barbarian with a fearsome reputation is at the tavern, where he seems to be on course to spend the entire night on a barstool.

Lydia, a Bard who has traveled and entertained audiences with her songs since her childhood, is en route to Baldur’s Gate. She hopes to hook up with other travelers for protection, and is spending the night in an attic room at the inn.

Chinacum (who has travelled with Lydia !) is a closed-mouthed, half-elf Warlock. He is taking up another barstool at the same tavern as Kurshk.

Cid, a human Druid, has spent most of his life in the wilderness, and prefers animals to people. He has stopped for the night at a park in Greenest.

Suddenly, an apparition enters into the dreams of Flint, Lydia and Cid, and into the drunken thoughts of Kurshk! It is an old man standing in a city of shadows. “Wake, child. Your presence is needed in the waking world!” he says, and black birds swoop directly at each of them.

Flinching awake, Lydia hears a scratching sound. As she tries to identify it, debris and sharp claws emerge through the ceiling as a small reptilian face appears. Lydia swiftly draws her knife and holds it to the creatures throat. “Who are you, and what do you want?” she cries.

Meanwhile, In the tavern, the doors blast open as another creature bursts in. Chinacum stands back and watches while Kurshk fiercely attempts to bash in the creature’s skull. Although he lands a solid hit, the creature does not die.

Cid, who has been sleeping under the stars, hears skittering noises and cautiously moves to investigate. He discovers a house with a bashed-in door, and is just in time to see Flint and his compatriot being attacked by a creature he identifies as an “urd,” a flying kobold. Flint fights back, but his arm is severely wounded. His compatriot has been killed. Cid throws a flame and heavily wounds the attacking kobold.

Lydia brutally interrogates her assailant, who reveals that “General Lamentation,” a Tiefling for the Cult of the Dragon, has ordered that all Greenest villagers be killed. Lydia slays the kobold and flees to the tavern, seeking help. There, Chinacum has joined the fray and has killed the kobold intruder. Lydia, Chinacum, and Kurshk together leave the tavern and immediately see and hear a wailing Elven woman and two crumpled forms in the square, surrounded by menacing kobolds.

Flint, in the nearby cottage, wraps the body of his dead compatriot, alerts his hosts, and departs with Cid. In the square they are confronted with the same scene.

Using their various skills of weapon and magic, the travelers work together to pick off and kill each of the kobolds and rescue the Elven woman. The crumpled forms are her son and daughter. Her son has miraculously survived, but her daughter has been killed, shocking the woman into inaction. Lydia rushes to her side and croons a healing, soothing song to comfort and revive her.

The travelers, along with the Elven woman and her son, then make haste to depart the village, but Cid’s powers of perception lead them to discover a house with ten refugees huddled inside. Eight humans, a dwarf and a Halfling are in a state of fear and agitation. Lydia uses her powers of song to soothe and quiet them, and Flint leads them all stealthily to the eastern edge of the walled village to escape.

Unfortunately, the eastern gate is heavily guarded by seven kobolds and a masked humanoid. Cid casts a diversionary spell and draws off three of the kobolds. Lydia casts a sleep spell and puts the other four kobolds to sleep. Only the thoroughly alarmed, masked humanoid now guards the gate!

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