And so the adventure continues...
The PCs, at the request of monk Leosin Erlanther, set out to return to the Cult of the Dragon's encampment to see what their next move was.
To the complete surprise of the PCs, they returned to the camp to find it largely being abandoned, the Kobold tents burned down and a few mercenary hunters straggling about. They chatted with the hunters, who didn't have a lot of answers for the party other than "the Cult left, we're sticking around because we're still getting paid".
The party scoured the camp for anything useful, before making their way to the hatchery cave. As they ventured inside, they were attacked by two armed guards, but made fairly short work of them!
The combat over, they decided to venture deeper into the cavern, finding a dropoff with stairs leading down. Shi Yan Hong stepped on a step that gave way, which dropped him in the midst of some purple fungus (not good), but he used his amazing athletic skills to leap back to the stairway and his companions. The group navigated down together, and ventured on.
They began to notice a growing number of dead bats on the ground, causing them to look up and see the ceiling carpeted in bats! What's more, a party of Kobolds was sneaking through the cave as well! The group all tried to hide, but the nearly 7 foot half bronze dragonborn could not hide very well, and the Kobolds freaked and went after him! The rest of the group got the drop on them, however, but this caused the cavern to erupt in activity and it flooded with bats! The group noticed that something else...something like a cross between birds and mosquitos was flying around the cavern, too! The Hermit blasted his lighting breath into the cloud of creatures, but the group was set upon by these things! One dug into Finnan and began to drain his blood, when a strange imp-like creature with a child's face emerged from his cloak and broke its neck, before sliding back under his cloak! Lerissa chopped the creatures out of the air, and the group managed to fend them off without taking too much damage, anyhow.
I rolled a die for the number of Stirges in the area to see how many might have been hit by The Hermit, which helped, leaving the PCs with one each to deal with. Also, the players were a little creeped out by the emergence of Finnan's familiar for the first time.
The exploration continued, with The Hermit venturing down a stairway which emptied into a chamber whose entrance was covered with leather strips. The Hermit used a spear from the top of the stairs to push them open and look around, finding the chamber full of meat hanging from hooks and not much else.
Ignoring an opening to the northeast, the group headed to the northwest, where they found a group of Kobolds, led by one with wings! They accidentally alerted the kobolds when Shi Yan Hong stepped into a trap, getting jabbed with spikes (though he did shake off the poison). Quickly surveying the situation, including a steep ledge, Shi Yan Hong and The Hermit tied themselves together and Shi Yan Hong lunged across the chamber to set up a clothesline to try to push at least the non-winged Kobolds off the ledge, but it failed.
I gave 'em a legit shot at making it work. I don't like to punish ingenuity. Bad rolls just got in the way.
The combat itself never got too out of hand, with Lerissa wiping out the winged Kobold and the group finishing off the rest. Lerissa used her darkvision to look down off the ledge, once they noticed it had man-made steps that were barred off, and backed off when she saw guard drakes lurking down below.
The group headed down stairs, sneaking the whole way, finding Kobold barracks where the Kobolds were goofing around, some playing games and one meticulously counting money. Lerissa used her magic to toss an item into the stacks of coins, causing a ruckus among the Kobolds. The group used the distraction to head further downstairs...coming face to face with the half-dragon Langdedrosa Cyanwrath and two berserker guards!
Finnan blanketed him in darkness and assaulted his mind with horrible magic, while Shi Yan Hong went after one berserker and The Hermit and Lerissa fought another! Shi Yan Hong was getting all he wanted from the berserker when he unloaded with a crazy amount of damage, using his quarterstaff to lead off and then a Flurry of Blows. The berserker decided to call it good, especially as Langdedrosa was fighting from a defensive position. Lerissa raged, and her and The Hermit finished off the other berserker. Finnan's familiar ran out and up Shi Yan Hong's back, guiding him into the darkness using Finnan's eyes. However, Langdedrosa figured out where Finnan was at and skewered the Halfling with his spear! The group converged on the Half-Dragon and tried to bring him down, especially when he telegraphed that he was about to spit lightning! Shi Yan Hong leapt through the air and jammed the bo staff down his throat! The half-dragon choked and spit lightning at the ceiling, destroying the bo staff and dying!
The Hermit moved quickly to save Finnan, while Shi Yan Hong took the spear of his fallen foe and decided it would replace his bo staff.
I made a small mistake here, not realizing at first that Langdedrosa had blindsight, so the darkness should never have had an effect...his recovery worked out to be quite dramatic, however.
Lerissa and Shi Yan Hong were exploring the chamber while Hermit was trying to save the Halfling, examining the weird dragon murals on the wall and attempting to open a treasure chest against the wall...setting off a trap that began to spray acid into the room!
This led to Lerissa having to haul everyone out of the room and make unskilled Healing checks to keep them from dying, which she barely succeeded at!
Once the group holed up and had time to recover, they were shaky but ready to fight.
The Hermit's player actually expressed a huge problem with the Hit Dice method of healing, as the group was back to almost full health, though this was after spending all, or almost all, of their Hit Dice.
The group ventured to a chamber to the east, this one also situated with a ledge and man made stairs...when someone began chucking bombs at them! Shi Yan Hong caught one and attempted to hurl it back, but failed...so he dove into the pit they were hurling them from and made short work of the Kobolds. The lone surviving Kobold accidentally gave away the location of the bizarre, tentacled creature on the ceiling, and the group pondered how to fight it...but ultimately allowed Finnan to blanket them in darkness and get them the heck out of dodge!
The Hermit scouted a ladder up a chute to find the chambers of The Wearer of Purple, Frulam Mondath, but did not attack...leaving that to Shi Yan Hong. He emerged and went after her, being one of the names on his Hit List and using his monk abilities to knock her down the hole! She hit hard and used her powers to summon spirit guardians to protect her from the party, but Shi Yan Hong vengefully dove down the hole, driving Cyanwrath's spear into her even as her spirit guardians attempted to rip him apart!
Fighting Monks near open holes = bad.
The group went up into her chamber, hauling their unconscious but stabilized friend, when they realized her chamber was right next to a guard barrack! The Hermit charged through the barrack, drawing the attention of the guards, and wound up running down a hallway (nearly back to the entrance, though he didn't realize it at the time), before turning and spewing lightning down the bottleneck, flash frying the charging guards! Finnan brutally dispatched a sole remaining, drunken guard and the group left the cave, carting the monk with them and heading back to Greenest, leaving the camp behind.
The group came very close to dying a couple of times, and Shi Yan Hong takes a beating in these games, moreso than anyone else, though he also arguably deals more combat damage per round thanks to his multiple attacks. A couple of good tactics, some luck, and a little mistake on my part helped the team make it through, but they are definitely earning these victories.
Up next, a divergence from Hoard of the Dragon Queen as I sent them through a converted Labyrinth Lord adventure called The Inn of Lost Heroes!