The intrepid travelers reconnected at the dawn of the lockdown to meet weekly for D&D.
A few players are returning to the game after decades, and some venturing to learn for the first time. These friends brought new ones to the game. Some with small children, some in college, some looking for a distraction, some miles apart in locale and views; however, this alliance has become family for one night a week.
Be patient; someday, this plan will work ~ Havocs for Hire
The Hills of the Lost, Episode Five
Kobolds, Skeletons, and Dragons. Uh oh….
Upon Entering the dark hallway inside the castle, the Party encountered several doors and a ritual chamber with an empty, broken cage. Draconic Runes proclaimed "Here Be Dragons" in green, less than a professional script. After finding several dead goblins and kobolds, some jade dragons and other jewels and defeating a swarm of rats, the Party was surrounded by a mass of Kobolds, "requesting" that they accompany the Party. Traveling more in-depth into the castle and seeing remnants of a goblin v. Kobold battle, the Party emerged into a vast elongated audience hall. At the far end on a throne sat a Kobold King, Yusadryl, and……
KETOS and ODETTIS!!!
Yes, it seems that our wayward adventurers had arrived at the castle earlier in the day, seeking some treasure on their own. Having bypassed the traps, they had come upon the rear guard of the goblin raiding party. They made the goblin rear guards' quick work using stealth and surprise and helped the Kobolds victory. Yusadryl, in gratitude, offered them his thanks and a key to a chamber elsewhere in the castle. He also prevailed upon them to engage their friends in a rescue mission to find the Kobolds pet Dragon whom the Goblins had stolen.
On their surprising arrival, the rest of the Party agreed to add this to their task list.
Delving into the castle, using a seldom-used back hall with Meepo as their guide, they discovered another ritual chamber and crypt, more draconic runes, traps, and some Skeletons. With the Party's members in seeming competition to demonstrate their acrobatic prowess, they managed to defeat the skeletons and find some treasure. Ketos walked away from the battle with some glory of her own as well, a mysterious whistle.
Eventually, they continued to track the path of the missing nobles to yet another door.
Hills of The Lost Episode Six
Goblins were killed, prisoners found, a dragon wyrmling rescued, and the castle began to collapse. Kobold king rewarded the group and "allowed" them to take the dragon.
The Hills Of The Lost, Episode Seven
JeffroD Likes To Dance….
The Party left the Kobolds to return to Anaroc with the rescued Adventurer for their reward. Upon exiting the castle, they discovered Earth Elementals and Stone Giants attacking. With the Party agreed to make a hasty retreat, Shermdog, Vrin, JeffroD, and Erky (Invisible) stayed behind to guard the retreat, with stones flying from the Giants.
In an inspired moment, JeffroD jumped up on to a wall and began to dance, and Shermdog threw a bomb. The bomb did not go off, and then as he danced to his own drummer, a rock crushed JeffroD, rendering him unconscious, near death. With the rest of the group in full retreat and no one able to reach JeffroD in time, things looked grim for JeffroD. Suddenly, An invisible Erky appeared and healed JeffroD; Sherm's bomb exploded, and realized the giants' real danger. Everyone continued to run and climb the staircase out of the chasm.
Vrinn, the Goliath, bringing up the rear, was struck by a boulder as he reached the stair but remained upright. However, as the Party's final member in the chasm began to climb the stairs, he was struck again. Scrambling up above the ruined staircase he continued, but was struck again and became unconscious. At significant risk, Haalbru heroically revived him, only to see him struck again moments later, and the stairs disintegrate. Vrinn, the goliath, disappeared into the chasm, Dead. As the Party collected themselves in their grief, they discovered another goliath at their wagon. By chance, a wanderer was recognized by Shermdog as an old acquaintance, Seamiester, from the wars. After resting, the group loaded the wagon with the dead and rescued. They were pausing at the Chasms edge to mourn Vrinn, each in their way. A few hours down the road, they heard cries for help. They discovered a wagon and a man trying to pull another unconscious man from a lake. Running to his aid, they rescued a malnourished and destitute human from drowning. He said his name was Scot and that he had just moments before been in Baldur's Gate, seventeen days march away. His exhausted Rescuer introduced himself as Jalester Silvermane, of Waterdeep. An agent of some sort, escorting a fallen brother's body back to the city for burial.
Exhausted, the group had many questions for the two strangers. This could wait until after some sleep in the town. Shermdog did some late night shopping in town before turning in, and Ketos did some investigating of her own into the mysterious strangers…
What to do about Scot
Hill of the Lost, Episode Eight
Waking up in the village of Anoroc, the Party had a few things to sort out.
Odettis, Shermdog, and Mokon decided to chat with Calcryx, the white dragon wyrmling, while Hallbru went to check on Beora with some fresh lamb and beer jerky.
Meeting back for breakfast, the group identified some of the magic items from their adventures, and after some discussion, the items were divided up amongst them.
Ketos and Vax, and Haalbru went to discuss with Scot, the mysterious stranger from the lake. They found him chatting intently with Jalester, the soldier/agent from the metropolis, Waterdeep. The group met up here after breakfast and set to questioning Scot. After some quality time with Scot, the group did learn a little about him. It seems like a solid guy, except he does not drink. While having no recollection of how he ended up in a lake so far from Baldur's Gate, he related to the group that he worked in the court as an accountant/banker of sorts, a manager of collections. He hails from the island nation to the south and west of the Sword Coast. His current goal is to make for Waterdeep to find new employment, which Jalester seems ale to help.
Along with Ketos's investigation the previous evening and talking with Jalester, it seems that he may e a person of some importance in Waterdeep.
Scot offered to help appraise the Party's loot from their adventures, and he seemed quite adept, listing prices they might expect to get for the items, although he made it clear that they would likely not get such reasonable prices in a small village such as Anoroc.
In an attempt to check on the veracity of his pricing and skill, the Party then proceeded to local shops to get the items appraised.
Every. Single. Shop.
What they found seemed to back up Scots claims.
In the afternoon, they told their story of the Citadel adventure and rescue of his daughter. He rewarded them with a gold and platinum Waterdeep coin chest, some introduction letters, and his gratitude. To Vax, he gave his sons a signet ring, earring the symbol of the Order of the Gauntlet.
Jalester met with Shermdog afterward, impressed y his military bearing and deeds done over the past week. It turns out that Jalester is a Captain in the Force Grey, protectors of Waterdeep, quite an exclusive order. He offered Shermdog an introduction and said he would vouch for him if he thought he might want to join or aid them in their efforts to fight evil.
With night falling, the group tussled with the next direction they would like to adventure. There were unfinished loose ends in the hills of Anoroc, the mystery of the missing dwarven caravan, and many leads pointing them to Waterdeep. Not the least of which is the future of Calcryx and finding his home, and the mysterious notes found in the Citadel.
Hills of the Lost, Episode Nine
"Monks, Bankers and Owlbears"
Waking up early on their last day in Anoroc, the Party set to final preparations for a ten-day journey. Having settled on Waterdeep as a next destination, the journey would take at least six days or more, depending on what they encounter and the road choices.
Scouring the small village for things such as wagon mounted ballista and rare magic items and basic rations, wagons, and horses, the Party is reminded once again that this tiny village has limitations of supply.
That said, the rogue Ketos manages to secure a warhorse named Belinda and an extra wagon, draft horses, and riding horses for the Party at reasonable prices.
Setting off, without the patron Jalester - he was called away in the night - The caravan sets off to Waterdeep in the rain. After an uneventful night and some illuminating discussion, they press on for the second day's travel. In the afternoon, at the storm's peak, a crash of thunder and lightning strikes nearby. They find a bedraggled woman trapped y a fallen tree, aflame from the strike; her cart crushed, she is shouting for help? Or whiskey?
The rescue the woman and her flask, Haalbru was taking an instant liking to her. Hobo Joan thanks them for their assistance and looks at her destroyed belongings with not sadness, but it seems relief, "too much stuff."
Suddenly, Odettis's crossbow glows a magical blue, indicating danger. Towards the rear of the halted wagon train, a massive Owlbear appears. As the group prepares to defend against the threat, Shermdog is struck and attacks. With a whirling leap, the "Hobo" stirs to action, seemingly running with the wind to attack the Owlbear.
After a short skirmish and a flurry of blows, the Owlbear is defeated. Hobo Joan is more than she appears. Just as quickly, another Owlbear appears across the glade at the front of the caravan. More defenses are readied, and as the monk, Joan, and JeffroD IpMan and Beora speed towards it, the banker, Scot, nonchalantly stands atop a cart.
With a motion of his arm and a flicker of something in his hand, a great arc of white-blue energy springs forth from his hand, connecting him to the Owlbear and its shudders with damage. It does not take much more to finish off the great beast. Fresh meat for Calcryx and Beora!
After drinks, recovery, and some discussion amongst the group, discussing the new information regarding their Banker, Scot is welcomed. Likewise, The Monk Hobo Joan is included to "tag along," and she sets to conversing with the Party's two monks. This woman is quite wise, although her demons and appearance do not reflect that on cursory inspection.
After four more days of swift travel, the Party arrives in the hills to the North of Waterdeep. Laid out before them, at the base of the mountains with the vast sea bordering its western edge, is the famed and wondrous City of Waterdeep. Behind its walls, the city glows with opportunity and riches. Its fabled giant "Walking Statues," seemingly touching the sky in the afternoon sun.
They are heading to the Tavern at The Inn of The Yawning Portal, a gathering place for adventurers to rest and mingle, to ponder what is next. This tavern built on an ancient wizard tower lies the Yawning Portal, a circular pit, entrance to the under the mountain - a fabled warren of dungeons, adventures, and treasure. Durnan, the proprietor of the tavern, closely monitor this.
Jalester has recommended this place for the group in Waterdeep; he will look for them there on his return to the city. He also noted that Volvo could be found there as wells many other individuals that could e helpful to the group, with connections to many things in the city.
The magistrate reminds them of the city's strict rule of law at the city gate. He allows them entrance, and as she passes, the trickster rogue Ketos attempts to pick his pocket and fails. The magistrate was very aware, although perhaps out of a sense of humor was amused that she had even tried. Being a fair man with a tedious job, he let her off with a wink and a warning. It had been a very long time since anyone had been that bold at the gates.
Tired, wet, and muddy, the Party secured a suite of rooms at the Inn and headed downstairs and out to enter, The Tavern at the Inn of the Yawning Portal.
Havocs for Hire
Shermdog - Dragonborne Barbarian
Ketos - Half Elf Rogue
Haalbru- Dwarf Cleric
Mokon- Elf Cleric
JeffroD- Eldrin Monk
Vax- Half Elf Monk
Dr Scot- Wizard
Odettis- Tiefling Ranger
Artwork Credit: Wizard's of the Coast, Hero Forge and Dungeons and Dragons 5E