We had to take a month off for various reasons, but we did pick Hoard of the Dragon Queen back up a few weeks ago...I've just not gotten around to doing a write-up.
This is that write-up.
The Hermit awoke to children circled around him, watching him sleep. Amused, he spooked all but one of them, a small girl who had drawn a picture of him and his friends.
Lerissa awoke to Finnan the Halfling hunched over, hood of his cloak off, seemingly talking to someone. He slipped his mask back on and his hood over his head as she spoke, startling him. She asked him who he was talking to and he shrugged it off.
Shi Yan Hong woke up in a recovery room, where Sergeant Markguth was knocking on his door. The Sergeant stepped inside and sheepishly thanked Shi Yan Hong for stepping up to the challenge against the half-dragon last night, and being the reason that his family was still alive...and that he was alive to see them today. Then he offered to bring Yan eggs and ham, made by his wife.
We ended the previous adventure abruptly, so it seemed like we needed to show the after effects of the raid on Greenest and what the PCs' efforts meant.
As Nighthill asked the PCs to go after The Cult, a wounded monk told them that his friend Leosin (who two of the PCs are connected to) had been with him and his brethren last night, but they got separated in a fight with the Cult. Not that they needed more motivation.
Shi Yan Hong and The Hermit picked up the trail pretty easily and the four of them headed on the trail. Finnan asked Yan if he was alright, showing genuine concern for the monk. Yan asked him about the mask, but Finnan politely refused to answer. The party came upon an encampment, and saw cultists and kobolds arguing over food. The group watched this for a moment before blitzing the unaware cultists, making short work of them. The kobolds scattered.
Finnan took the surviving Cultist and interrogated him. They didn't get much out of him, other than there was a rearguard in place a mile away, then Finnan decided to execute him. The party seemed nervous about this, but Finnan pointed out that he has not hid who he is. He drew a knife, then pulled his cloak over the cultist. Blood curdling screams tapered off and when Finnan walked away, the cultist had been gashed open and had frostbite around the wound.
The PCs became creeped out by their NPC party member here.
The group carried on to the rearguard, and while they tried to puzzle out the ambush, Finnan slipped away and caused some chaos with some magic, getting into the minds of a couple of guards and poking and prodding. The Hermit took advantage of this and summoned a cloud of fog, then guided the party through it and on to the camp!
The group prepared for something bad...but found the camp was busy and disorganized, with kobolds in watchtowers but not really paying attention. Lerissa, slipping into a Cult of the Dragon robe, started pressing people for information. Shi Yan Hong headed up the hill, where the humans seemed to be encamped at, while Finnan disappeared again. The Hermit hung back toward the mouth of the camp, hiding, fearing that his nature would get him killed.
Shi Yan Hong saw Langdedrosa Cyanwrath, the half-dragon who cut him down, talking to another half-dragon, this one black, and ducked his head down. He wound up pressed into service in the mess tent, where he started probing for information about Rezmir, another higher up he's been looking for...but his questions clued the mess tent workers in that he was not on the up and up, and Rezmir, Cyanwrath and Frulam Mondath surrounded the tent and took him captive!
Shi Yan Hong found himself chained up next to the monk Leosin, while Cyanwrath ordered his men to look for the rest of the crew. Leosin, who was in bad shape, scolded Yan for being there. He tried to convince Yan that he was right where he wanted to be, but this argument lost some steam when Rezmir returned and had him savagely beaten, then said she would be executing him and Yan in the morning. Finnan made psychic contact with Yan, telling him he had found more prisoners, while Lerissa smooth talked her way past some less than intelligent cultists.
With Finnan providing telepathic points of contact, the three free members decided to head for Yan when night fell, with Finnan using charcoal and patience to make The Hermit appear to be a half black dragon. As Lerissa and The Hermit moved in to save Yan and Leosin, Finnan created a distraction by freeing the slaves and causing them to attack the guards. Lerissa and The Hermit took advantage of the confusion to send the remaining guards off, and the snatched Leosin and Yan away, with The Hermit healing Leosin. The group made a break for it, and got outside the camp a ways before allowing Finnan time to catch up.
The group headed back to Greenest, where Leosin told them everything else he had learned about The Cult, and asked them to scout the camp out while reinforcements came to Greenest and he headed north to meet with a Paladin of Torm.
The group hit level 3, which is where the PCs in 5th edition start to really develop. The presence of Cyanwrath ratcheted up the tension in this adventure, kiboshing a lot of violence in this adventure. Paranoia is growing about Finnan's role in the team, and the Yan has a very real fear that he's going to have to fight him someday.