Dragonlance 5e

The Men With the Golden Skin
Outta This World

After freeing the captives, the party was informed by the elves among them that there were strange happenings in a small village to the east. With a group of helpless humans in tow, the party set off to check it out, hoping to find a safe place to stash the refugees once they arrived.

Approaching with caution, and gathering some questionable info from a farmer on the outskirts, the adventurers made their way to one of the two inns in town – the Golden Grain inn and were treated warmly… well, everyone except the dwarven cleric they had rescued along with the humans who wandered into the Slumbering Serpant Inn and promptly passed out from one strong drink. They picked up some more clues, leading them to suspect the Mayor’s recent visitors were involved with the sudden changes around town – including the disappearance of some townsfolk. They collected the cleric and headed to the Mayor’s mansion. The Mayor was easily distracted which allowed the party easy access to his residence where the stealthy ones found a notebook referencing two old friends of the Mayor.

The brash cleric then busted through the front door only to trigger a powerful mindtrap that left him huddled in a quivering heap in the corner. The rest of the party chased two figures out the back of the house, still unsure who or what they were up against.

During the battle, the party was able to get a good look at their adversaries and they were unlike anyone or anything any of them had seen before. Tall, lanky, with long golden beards and unnatural golden skin. Mid-fight, these obviously powerful beings made a surprising proclamation- they were the old friends with the mayor, and they were here to help. Brief explanations followed and the new friends then went back to stake out the Golden Grain Inn.

The Inn emptied out without any obvious abnormalities. The bartender was a bit anxious to close up, but due to the parties earlier generosity, he allowed them to stay while her retired to his quarters. Throwing on his clock of invisibility, the kobold was able to easily follow the innkeeper to the secret passages under the bar where he discovered some giant beast known to be a tool of slavers. Quickly returning to inform the rest of the party, they all ambushed the formally friendly bartender. Once again, the party was shocked mid-fight as the innkeepers face split open and a sentient brain-like creature emerged, controlling the shell of the innkeepers body like a puppet. Seemingly searching for a new host, the brain-thing attacked the cleric who was having a bad day. The dwarf struggled against the creature’s mind-control, but ultimately lost, leaving him a drooling idiot (again), even after the rest of the party smashed the parasitic-brain into oblivion.

The golden-skinned gith had their suspicions confirmed by this turn of events. The party must now decide what to do next- both with their dumb-founded cleric and with the town as a whole.

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It's true. All of it - the dragons, the gods. All of it.
The day I ALMOST rode a dragon.

Emerging from the swamp, the motley band of adventurers appear to find the place they have been searching for – the Ruins of Xak Tsaroth. A cursory review of the layout told them all they need to know – the way forward was through the immense golden doors on the ancient temple, the only building still standing. Upon entering, they were greeted by a beautiful statue of a peaceful woman. An urge led Telia to place the blue crystal staff she had been carring in the woman’s arms. Upon doing so, the party was shocked when the statue came alive and spoke them, revealing herself as the long-forgotten goddess of healing, Mishkal! She tasked them with “returning the truth and power of the gods” to the people and “finding the Disks of Mishkal” which could were deep within this very temple.

With their divine quest now clear, the party delved deeper into the temple, led by the ever-curious kender. Fass darted from room to room, while the rest of the group did their best to keep pace. The highlights of the ground level were a crypt (which the party wisely left alone) and a round room with an huge pillar that appeared to have a space for a book of some kind carved into the top. With nothing more to see, the party headed down a twisting flight of stairs. Below, they found the temple to be in much worse shape, with huge sections of the floor caved in and pits of unknowable depths. Zayander and Fass had the chance to test how far one of these pits descended, but were (fortunately) stopped by a huge web of some sort. Zayander shifted to giant spider form and carried them back up.

The corridor split off a few different times, but Fass kept the party on its toes by continuing to race ahead, forcing them all to follow. He spotted an apparent inhabitant of the temple and began chasing her. The little person led them into a hole in the corner of a room, and down a tunnel/slide. Half of the party were able to break off and follow the new person, while Zayander and Varick missed the “turn” and ended up having to fight off another giant spider in the garbage dump.

The other three were able to befriend the little gully dwarf they had been following, who introduced herself as Two-toes (and her pet dead-lizard as Abuku). She, in turn, took them to meet the High Blup, the king of the Xak Tsoroth gully dwarfs. He was eager to impress his visitors and told them of the ‘big bosses’ they served and the huge lizard that resided in the bottom of the temple. Two-toes helped reunite the dispersed members of the party, and then led them to the “big Up-Down,” a mechanical bucket lift guarded by three bronze lizardmen. Having the element of surprise, the party was able to dispatch these bullies without much trouble. They all then descended to the bottom of the “Up-Down” and proceeded through the remnants of an old city. Zayander had the idea to disguise himself as one of the lizardmen and led the party as if they were his prisoners. This turned out to be effective when they came across a patrol of 5 lizardmen guards. The guards were impressed with their “colleagues” capture of the group and assured him that Kisinth would give a suitable honor and reward.

Eager to meet this “Kisinth” the party moved on… and quickly found what they were looking for: a chamber split by a small stream that ended in a waterfall that plunged into unknown depths. On the other side, was an unbelievable sight – a huge black dragon (if such things existed!!)!!! Kisinth greeted the still disguised Zayander and inquired about the group. The party members did their best to ‘honor’ the dragon in various ways, with Quetzal and Fass being somewhat distracted by the glint of gems and steel coming from the treasure room behind where the dragon stood. When Kisinth learned that the party had the Black Crystal Staff, she offered to take the bearer up to the tapastry of Mishkal to place it in her out-stretched hands and destroy her – an action Takhisis, the evil-dragon goddess of lore, would most certainly be pleased with. Zayander reluctantly climbed up the dragon’s tail, signaled to the other group members, and chucked the staff over the edge of the waterfall into the depths below.

The fight was on! The dragon’s acid breath nearly killed Telia outright, but Varick was able to bring her back from the brink of death. Zayander shifted into dire wolf form and wrestled with Kisinth from atop her back. Fass and Quetzal darted in and out, punching and kicking; stabbing and retreating. Finally, the great lizard was brought down with a thunderous thud! The party was not disappointed with what they discovered in the mounds of treasure – beyond more gems and platinum, they found a Cloak of Invisibility, a Ring of Darkness, the golden book of wizard spells they had originally sought, and the Platinum Disks of Mishkal! Ecstatic beyond belief, the group returned to the surface, stopping only once to let the gully dwarves know that the big bosses and lizard were all dead. Fass took the opportunity to proclaim himself their new king, donning the unique “crown.” The party was now ready to return home!

Emerging from the ruins of Xak Tsoroth, the party exited the swamp, passed over the mountains that had inhibited them before, and entered the vast grasslands. It was clear the armies had been on the march. Large swaths of trampled earth and plumes of smoke on the horizon were visible day and night. When the party reached Solace, it was a nearly unrecognizable mess. Thanks to their unique appearances, they were able to blend into the remaining occupied town without much trouble. They made their way to the Inn of the Last Hearth, which was now situated on the ground instead of in the treetops. The city was under full occupation, with few civilians remaining and patrols of hobgoblins and lizardmen walking freely down the streets.

The barkeep was able to provide a little information, telling the group that he was one of the last remaining inhabitants. The rest had been systematically taken away in chains, with caravans of people heading south towards the elven forests. Those not fit for whatever purposes the army had in mind were simply slaughtered.

Armed with their quest to spread the word of Mishkal, the party decided to pursue the caravans to the south. It took only a couple of days before they found what they were looking for – three cages full of humans and elves being escorted by lizardsmen, hobgoblins and a single gully dwarf. Bursting forth from the trees, the party ambushed the squad of slavers. Hopefully the newly rescued prisoners will be able to provide some insight into what has happened in the party’s absence. Or perhaps there will be some among the group willing to join the cause. Regardless, the party has taken their first steps in “returning the truth and power of the old gods”… actions unlikely to go unnoticed for long.

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Mountains, plains, forest, swamp

After the heroes dispatched the hobgoblin garrison at the foot of the Eastwall Mountains, they woke the next day to find the half-elf ranger missing. They began a trek over the rugged range, but the mountains proved too challenging for the party, and they were forced to turn back. They spent several days trekking south and around the Eastwall Mountains, then heading north on the other side of the range, through Dire Wood. There, they avoided a nest of giant spiders thanks to Zayander’s magic, and made their way through the forest, crossing into the swamp of Xak Tsaroth.

There, they discovered that the swamp was a network of earthen islands in the mire connected by tangled vines, fallen trees and obelisks, and rusted iron bridges. Crossing a fallen ironclaw tree, they were ambushed by three lizard-like humanoids with dull brown (bronze?) scales and a uniform, similar to the hobgoblins they fought in the foothills. The heroes were surprised that the creatures cast arcane spells, and exploded when they died! After dispatching these, the heroes attempted to cross an ancient rusted bridge. Embarrassingly, the most agile of the heroes got stuck putting their feet through the rusted latticework, while the Telia gracefully danced across. The heroes were met by five more lizard-men, these with gold-brown (brass?) scales, who used their wings to stay light-footed on the bridge. These ones turned to stone when they died, and as they were slain, the statues burst through the fragile lattice work, like slingstones through paper, dropping into the disease-ridden water below. There was a tense moment as Zayander, in giant spider form, sank his fangs into one, which became stuck in the statue as it fell through the bridge. Fortunately, the spider was strong enough to grip onto the bridge until the statue crumbled to dust.

Again, with the help of druidic magic, the heroes avoided an encampment of dozens of the lizard-soldiers, some of whom seemed to be worshipping(?) an enormous wicker effigy of what looked like a dragon, if such things existed. The party was alarmed to learn that Quetzal could naturally speak their language.

Crossing a fallen obelisk bridge, the heroes find themselves in the remnants of a ruined city; a large plaza surrounded by crumbling buildings, including a larger edifice that seems more intact than the others. In the center of the plaza is a large well, with vapor rising ominously from it. The plaza is absent the buzzing and croaking of the swamp, and is quiet … too quiet …

Each character gained 450 XP to put us on a total of 1,460 XP (I think).

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Journey from Solace

The unusual band meet up in the treetop town of Solace. After a brief questioning by some overweight hobgoblin and his goons, they shared a drink or two in the tavern. A few of the group began listening to the tales of a wizened old man near the hearth. Upon completion of his tale of Huma the Knight, the man made a request – journey to the east and find an ancient book made of gold and deliver a blue crystal staff to a statue in some ruins in the swamp.

It sounded like a grand adventure and the group heartily agreed. After a quick stop at the local merchant, they were off. A few days journey out of the city, they came across a distraught farmlady. Her son had gone missing in the nearby wood. Being expert trackers, the troop took to the woods, tracked down the hag and her toadish friend/fiend, ate her soup, was given a black crystal staff to take to the same statue, and then ended the hags miserable life. They also received a cryptic warning from the hag’s severed head about her master returning and putting an end to Mishakal, but the head was smashed before it could say more. They returned the kidnapped boy to his mother unharmed and continued on their way.

A few days into the plains, after being escorted through the lands of the Que-kiri, and while settling down for the night, the group was startled by a man running across the fields chased by three figures in dark robes and ghostly ceramic masks. Strangely, the figures turned to dust upon being killed, so little information was gleaned from them. The human told of his people being captured and enslaved by an army of sinister men and hobgoblins. They dragged his people off in chains to the south. The following morning, the group saw a large fire burning on the horizon. As they approached the once thriving trading post of Que-shue, they discovered the stomach-turning devastation – mass graves and burned, chained bodies in the town center.

The group had a decision to make – turn south and follow the army or continue on their quest to the east. Believing their small group could do little against an obviously powerful army, they decided to find the swamp and the ruins within. The plainsman needed to try to save his people, so they wished him the best as he headed south towards where his people were being led and the lands of the elves. The group traveled east towards the mountains. As they approached the pass, they noticed a make-shift barricade staffed by more reddish-brown hobgoblins. A hasty plan involving a fake prisoner was discussed which quickly fell apart, as plans are wont to do whenever a kender and/or kobold are involved, and the group quickly sacked the small garrison.

The way through the mountains is now ahead of them. They’d better keep moving – that army may come back to find their dead comrades and probably wouldn’t be pleased.

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