[Vacaria Brotherhood] - D&D Expeditions: Drums in the Marsh
Khan (dwarf cleric), Klin (elf druid), Lanza (elf bard), Septimus (tiefling warlock)
Previously: People have gone missing in the farmsteads around the Twilight Marshes. On his way to Gilthanas’ marriage, the gnome Archibald decides to investigate… and disappears.
We rescued a bunch of people being driven in rafts by the lizards. A friendly dwarf named Kill Him told us that a competition was being held in the Island of the Lizard King (no, I'm not talking about Japan and Godzilla), involving three tribes: Dusk-Dusk, Gob-Gob, and Jib-Jib.
Alas, the freed farmers needed someone to guide them along the swamps, so four of our party members were volunteered to accompany them (yeeeah, the players were absent and we had to dispatch their characters...). But alongside the friendly Kill Him (dwarven baker extraordinaire) we discovered my good friend Lanza (bard not-quite-so-extraordinaire, but really smart) and the druid Klin (that somehow got teleported from another campaign, in another time, in another place).
The Hermit, The Dragon, and The Horned Ones
Kill Him told us to visit the hermit named Gregor that lived in the swamp. I have absolutely no idea what transpired inside Gregor's hut, because the entire time was spent with Septimus speaking with Gregor and the imp in abyssal. Yup, the horned guy with the imp was the single one remaining from the original ensemble (why me, Marthammor Duin... why me...).
The hermit eventually told us that a COLOSSAL BLACK DRAGON was the one responsible for the lizards' competition. Oh, joy… this just keeps getting better...
With the Island of the Lizard King's location in mind, we carried on.
When we felt that the beating of the drums was close, we halted our march. It was night, and we spotted a strange big lizard destroying several effigies that resembled a dragon. Septimus tried to allure him into an ambush, but the guy didn't fall for it. In that moment, our horned warlock decided to unleash an eldritch blast on the lizard... but apparently his batteries were out. Humm... what could possibly be the reason for his magical powers to wane so suddenly? When he answered that question, the world stood still.
"My patron, Mephistopheles, the Archlord of the Eight Hell, has denied me access to the arcane powers."
We must bear in mind that I am playing with a righteous dwarf cleric. Remember the guy who was protecting the pouch with the 15 gp belonging to the old folks from the farm, who is also a Harper agent? Yup, that's me.
The entire party fell silent, and looked at me in expectation. Ok, NOW is the time to roleplay. I wasn't going to attack another player's character (unless he harmed me in any way), but obviously I wasn't going to simply dismiss this info as "nothing to see here, move along". So, I displayed my most serious dwarven-face and questioned my companions if we were going to make the final assault on the lizards having at our side a servant of an archdemon that could - and probably would - betray us at any moment.
Septimus argued that I was judging him too quickly, and that his servitude wasn't a question of choice. Instead, he was bound by something previous to his birth. An interesting exchange of arguments followed, in the eternal struggle between good and evil, and the tiefling eventually revealed that Mephistopheles ordered him to kill the hermit, which he refused.
At that moment I considered hitting the imp with a Guiding Bolt, but my spell slots as a 3rd level cleric are very limited, and we had already decided to press the attack on the island this night.
GOB-GOB! GOB-GOB! GOB-GOB!
We had to be pragmatic. Albeit the issues with "Hellboy", we needed manpower to hit the lizards and free the captives.
Although Lanza is far from being among the 100 best bards of the Moonsea (teeheehee), we must remember that he is one of the smartest persons in the region (Hello-Kitty-Headband of Intellect). So, he decided to do the SMARTEST THING POSSIBLE: steal the flag from the Dusk-Dusk camp and run around shouting "GOB-GOB! GOB-GOB! GOB-GOB!" And thus another memorable moment was born in Vacaria Brotherhood's history.
Mayhem ensued, and the lizards started killing each other. At that precise moment, the imp decided to attack the tiefling. And there we were, dear readers: a bard running insanely with a horde of lizardmen in pursuit, a tiefling in mortal kombat with his own imp, and my righteous dwarf being cooked alive inside the chainmail by the tribal shaman's Heat Metal. Thankfully we had the bear-shaped druid to do something!
Amid the chaos, the big lizard who had escaped our ambush appeared from nowhere and assumed control. While we tried desperately to free all people from their cells, the Megalizardtron gathered all the tribes under him. The druid rushed to free all the animals captured in cages... and was trampled! Yes, there was a stampede of chickens, sheep, goats... and one cow!
Megalizardtron ordered all the lizards to throw javelins at us. Our DM is a kind, loving, merciful person, and so decided to roll a d20 to see how many javelins would hit us... and rolled 19. I hate the DM.
My brave Khan, seeing that death was upon us with a stampede of lizardmen coming our way, started unleashing Guiding Bolts at Megalizardtron. My comrades started losing crossbow bolts towards him, and when we felled the bastard... the lizards ran away!
Marthammor Duin be praised.
The One and Only Lizard King in the Universe
The "Protector of the Fifteen Coins" and The Missing Gnome
We managed to organize the panicking prisoners, but not a single gnome was among them. Where the hell could Archibald be? Well, at least I found the old farmers alive and restituted the pouch with the 15 gp to its rightful owners. No one can accuse this Harper of not keeping his promises!
We told the people to take refuge in Phlan, since we had learned that the COLOSSAL BLACK DRAGON would be returning in a ten-day. After a few days walking the marshes, and with the inn on our sight, guess what happened? We found Archibald. The dumb gnome had spent the entire time running in circles.
Now, about the horned fellow...
The day was saved. Well, Archibald tried to ruin it by summoning a fire elemental in the barn... Oh, and apparently Gilthanas' marriage went down the drain... But aside from that, all is well when it ends well!
There was, nevertheless, one loose end: Septimus! I confronted eye-to-eye (you'll understand pretty soon the pun in this...) my comrade-in-arms with his forthcoming choices. I wasn't about to allow a servant of Mephistopheles to go back to Phlan. But, if his claim to be innocent in the entire "demon pact" thing was true, I would be willing to look for powerful allies among the Harpers in order to help freeing him from servitude. My insight told me he was genuinely willing to explore this path.
The Eye of Septimus
There is, although, one minor detail that we are unaware of in-game: Septimus' powers only returned because he pledged to Mephistopheles his willingness to sacrifice one of his eyes. Will this go forward? And, if so, will the DM take the chance to further develop this seed and make this a powerful trinket in the future? We... shall... SEE! >:)