It's Saturday again, and you know what that means! Live-blogging tonight's D&D session. So as usual while everyone who didn't level up during the break like they should have catches up and levels up I'm going to go ahead and write my usual pre-game bullshit.
Pre-Game Reference Stuff:
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR TYRANNY OF DRAGONS AND POSSIBLY LOST MINE OF PHANDELVER AHEAD.
We left off on the road to Naerytar and will be picking back up in the same place. We're trying to low key keep an eye on dragon cultists and the halfling we met on Ringmaster's Captivating Caravel just joined the caravan with a wizard from Thay.
Cast of Characters:
Nicophel Arthainas - Moon Elf Wizard - Me : D - Robed and wielding the Glass Staff of Defense. He's quiet and observant, and considers himself the definition of a subtle wizard. (He isn't.) Nicophel does not like to be spoken to as though he doesn't know what he's talking about. Has started to develop a little crush on Varis, that is probably not going to go over great.
Varis the Illustrious - Elven Fighter - June - Big armored badass, his noble papers are faked, cannot say no to a challenge. He's arrogant and (kind of) short tempered, but unquestioningly strong and an amazing warrior.
Stalkurn XVI - Drow Rogue - Patrick - Stalkurn as Stalkurn always is (Yes this is actually the 16th Stalkurn Patrick has actually played; not the same Stalkurn but Stalkurn son of Stalkurn--the one in the Nim books was Stalkurn the 8th so he's a great great ect grandfather of this Stalkurn). His personality traits literally say "Is Great" and his "Ideals" are "To be Greater". His bonds say "I love myself". That should give you an idea of who this guy is.
Iroh - Human Ranger/Fighter - Cody - Really fucking hates dragons and will always kill them. Also a bounty hunter so his other favored enemy is "humans". Is very probably named after the one from "Avatar".
So we find this gorgeous ass stag and everyone in the caravan wants to shoot it except for a couple people. Nicophel is against shooting the stag, Iroh wants to shoot the stag, Stalkurn sneaks up and mounts the stag and for some reason we have no idea where Varis is.
Stalkurn rides the stag while Iroh tracks them and after a time Iroh thinks it's possible he might have lost it. He has advantage on everything so that's not super likely. It brings them to this idealic clearing with the ruin of an old castle, says something in Sylvan and when neither of them understands repeats it in Elvish.
"Greetings, I am Fariel."
"I'm Stalkurn, I've never really talked to a deer before this is a new experience for me."
"I have not always been a deer. My story is a sad one but it is not the right time for that now. You and your friend are on the right path, you must continue following the river of gold until you reach the castle in the sky. Sadly your path will be filled with bloodshed but I will help how I can."
And a bow appears out of sunrays on the ground as a gift from the deer that Iroh wanted to shoot. As it fades into mist it says, "Not all of you will survive."
That's not ominous at all.
The bow appears to be made of the antlers of the creature, very strong, "platinum with little bits jutting off of it".
And of course Stalkurn and Iroh have no choice but to come back and tell big fish stories to the rest of the caravan about how Stalkurn was crowned King of the Deer. Iroh even makes him a stick crown for it.
Varis and Nicophel are not believing a word of it, but Iroh is backing up every crazy word coming out of Stalkurn's mouth and we know at this point that we are never going to hear the end of it. The bow causes butterflies and cute woodland creatures to chill out around Iroh and Cody out of character makes a joke about it making it easier to find breakfast and mimes shooting a squirrel.
Iroh comes to Nicophel to get his bow identified. Which he can cast as a ritual and agrees to do so. Iroh also says that the deer said one of us is going to die, which wasn't the exact wording but Nicophel thinks it is.
Better Camps and Taverns
The halfling shows us that the cultists have dosed our food with something that would cause a very slow death from the inside; it's a bead of bone that splinters and causes all kinds of internal bleeding. Varis trades food with one of the cultists, that apparently doesn't know they poisoned our food. Varis sits near the cultists and eats oat meal.
After another day of travel it gets really dark, really cold and the storm is starting to kick up. The Caravan ends up at a large comfortable in on the roadside. The innkeeper lets us know the entire inn is sold out.
The common room is rented out by a private party and we go to speak to a finely dressed judge and his finely dressed friends to convince them to let us take shelter here from the storm instead of leaving us out in the cold.
They are assholes and talk about how the stables are taken because their horses are very particular and say "sleep tight" so Nicophel enchanting gaze's one of the assholes and makes him spill his wine on his shirt. His buddies stand up and draw short swords so it's Nicophel and Iroh vs 5 guys by themselves while Stalkurn and Varis break into the rooms upstairs.
Varis breaks into some guy's room and tries to hire him, and the guy is apparently above what Varis can pay for and Varis asks if the guy can hire him instead and the guy laughs and says he doesn't understand how this works.
Stalkurn knocks on every door and wakes up the whole inn. He and Varis come in on round two of combat and Nicophel finds out the guys we're fighting are a group of assassins. This wasn't the best decision he's ever made apparently. He casts haste on himself and then blinks into the ethereal plane.
So combat continues to happen and once again it is a very close ass fight but we slowly wear the assassins down. It's clear that we have to kill them all because leaving any alive is just asking for them to come back and try to get revenge on us. To make matters worse, Nicophel can't use any of his more powerful spells because we are indoors in an inn that belongs to someone who didn't deserve any of this crap so we're trying not to break any of his stuff.
Meanwhile the other assassins are watching us from the stairs not convinced their friends will lose the fight. Stalkurn asks how much they're paying attention to the window. He robs the room blind and then proceeds to attack the man inside of it, as he finally enters the fray.
We all head up the stairs (Nicophel briefly stops to ask the innkeeper if anyone upstairs is not an assassin and has it confirmed that they are not) to engage the assassins that are left. We are going all out, Nicophel is almost out of spells, my boys Varis and Iroh are running low on hit points but hella holding their own. Eventually we kill every last one of those smug bastards.
The caravan is watching through the windows and our cover is so blown. Unless we can do some fast talking. So Nicophel tells the innkeeper that anyone who needs shelter from the storm tonight should get it because we're taking ownership of all the assassin's possessions and thus their renting out of the inn for the night and apologize for any damages.
Nicophel buries all but one of the bodies. Alone. In the rain. Apparently Varis kept it to sleep with for the night (not in a creepy way--okay it's always in a creepy way but not in a necrophiliac kind of way more in an Emily Rose kind of way....digging a hole) and the missing body kind of freaks Nicophel out.
We get our long rest and the next day we wake up to find a bunch of people standing in a circle in the middle of the common room.
Finding a Body
Everyone is circled around Phil, who is dead on the floor. Which isn't too ridiculous given Varis fed him his own bone bead. Of course he clearly died from a sword wound and we're pretty sure the halfling did it but the cultists are clearly blaming Varis.
We continue on the road for a while, Nicophel befriends the red mage and Varis tries to sing and is really terrible at it. He's basically been a complete dumbass about whether or not anybody suspects him of killing Phil so that officially marks the end of Nicophel's short lived crush on him. He's really more into lawful good men anyway.
At one point we have to clear out some shrieking mushrooms and Varis and Nicophel are the only ones who do it and Nicophel gets mushroom poisoning and ends up just being sick the rest of the way there. Varis, by the way, is totally fine. He has like 4 dump stats but his constitution is perfect.
At this point, we level.
We get paid in change. The halfling is just gone now. The general sentiment is that she's a bitch. The cult wagons head for the north side of the city. Ezbarra (the red wizard) decides to stay with the cultists at this point and the halfling surfaces with them as well.
Stalkurn and Iroh sneak around and Nicophel just turns invisible to come with. Stalkurn asks if he sees his future girlfriend anywhere; the DM points out that he hasn't seen her and doesn't know what she looks like.
We all go shopping, as is the custom any time we're in a larger city. Nicophel gets a potion of blur, and since he got all Glasstaff's alchemy books and has learned some tricks he's going to learn how to create this potion as well as be trying to figure out how to brew a potion of speed since Haste is becoming a key spell for him.
Stalkurn legitimately buys a short sword that he hopes is good for all of the gold in his inventory and we have no idea if it's actually magical or not. Nicophel hopes no one tries to sell him some magic beans later.
After having Nicophel identify it he finds out that anyone the blade slays makes them disappear without a trace. Good for assassining, bad if you wanted to loot the body afterward. Stalkurn is excited at first until he realizes he needs to take their stuff before he kills them.
Meanwhile we follow the cultists north. They still have Ezbarra and the halfling with them. The path leads up into a swamp. This road used to be the fast track to Neverwinter, and as the swamp encroaches they keep moving the road. When Neverwinter fell out of use they let the road fall into disrepair but on the whole the road is not comfortable travel.
We find a crappy place where the cultusts are staying. There's a half orc who is, by the sheath of his dagger, probably a cultist as well that seems to be in charge here. Stalkurn, Varis and Iroh go to the warehouse and rob them blind. Meanwhile Nicophel sneaks upstairs to listen in and find out what's up here and we find out that not everyone here is a cultist.
Stalkurn and Nicophel infiltrate the caravan group all incognito. Iroh and Varis stay where they are and observe from the outside. A woman cultist accuses Nicophel of having killed Phil and challenges him to single combat, which they then proceed to get into in the middle of the room while the half orc clears tables.
She challenges him to single combat but when she realizes she can't kill him she calls in all her friends and Nicophel legit just fries 13 cultists at once single handedly with a fireball. Wow. He kind of scared himself with that actually. I mean there's really no doubt that as slaving dragon cultists they were evil, and killing them when they ganged up on him wasn't an inherently evil act, but still. 13 people up in smoke at once.
He did try to warn her. He did try to use diplomacy first.
And we leveled again.
What I Learned Today: Always. Always take blink.