24 November 2016 @ 09:25 pm


DM: It is NOW… the Rise of Tiamat. (inappropriate terrible music with even more inappropriate Hutt laughter)
Thalynmar: Oh that’s very dramatic, sir. I’m feeling the tension. If this were Star Wars, my groin would be strained.

The game begins with a LOT of people taking out the audio. Blagothkus is pleased with their efforts, and the PCs spend a few day melting free the treasure. Maldrake plays rock-paper-scissors for treasure-watching duty, and as the only person playing loses every time.

Maldrake: Throughout the days I go touch some of the ogres that are sick and cure them. Just be like, ‘Hey, how’s it going, buddy! All right, woo!”
DM: “That feel good.”
Maldrake: “Yeah, no worries, it’s always good to get a pat on the back.”
DM: “Am me gay…?”
Maldrake: And Maldrake never cured another soul. Every time he heals you now, “no homo, right? No homo.”
DM: It feels REALLY good, Thalynmar. Really good when he touches you.
Thalynmar: ‘I’m feelin’ a bit conflicted about my emotions.’

Three days after the dragon fight, they step out of the barracks to find a raven waiting there. As soon as it spots them, it greets them in the name of Leosin Erlanthur, and bids them use the gift it bears to meet him in Waterdeep! Said gift is a teleport scroll with a sigil sequence for a circle in Waterdeep. Thoughtfully, they elect to go tell Blagothkus what’s up.

Krixxix: ‘We’d LOVE to share this information with you. It’s only 10 gp per person for us to tell you what’s going on. You can pay it to me! Checks made payable to Krixxix.’
Maldrake: Oh yeah, they’ll give you a check, all right. Check from the frost giant bank. Good luck trying to cash THIS in. There’s just a giant at the door…
Eben: He’s like, “We’re sorry, but your account’s been frozen.”

The group literally applauds Eben, which just goes to show that they actually like puns and just hate the DM. The DM reveals Eben has been a doppelganger this entire time, which actually leads to the group wondering how springing that sort of reveal on someone would work.

Eben: Can I cast Eldritch Blast on myself until I die?
DM: …sure, why not?
Maldrake: Wait, what’s he doing?
DM: Killing himself.

The DM contemplates the viability of using forced movement from Eldritch Blast as an escape mechanism. The group steps upstairs to find the ogres playing a game.

Maldrake: I was rather hoping they were playing with the kobolds like chess. The kobolds are just trying not to move.
DM: ‘I hate being the queen. Although I am the most powerful piece…’
Maldrake: ‘Wear dress, kobold!’
DM: ‘Am I gay…?’

The game is midway between marbles, shuffleboard, and curling, played with ice balls. They report at the control tower to one of the plumed-helmet ogres, letting him know the plan.

Eben: Meanwhile, in his head: “Obey the Mad God! And surrender to him!”
DM: “DOOOOOOOH!” The ogre drops to his knees, clutching his head, as he struggles to –
Eben: While he’s on his knees, grab the plume!
Thalynmar: Oh god, no!
Maldrake: I thought we were going to walk past him…
DM: You rip the plume out of his helmet. A hush falls across the courtyard!

…Eben and the DM quickly clarify that they weren’t at the tower he was thinking of and that this was all perfectly visible. The warlock quickly magically increases the impressiveness of the plume and replaces it. Thalynmar, of course, wanders off to play the ice ball game; he and the ogre duel mightily with their ice ball, and Thalynmar loses by one point.

DM: “Ah, me win, but it very close.” He pats you on the head with one meaty hand.
Maldrake: You take 4d6 bludgeoning damage.

Thalynmar bemoans having to leave, no longer able to play iceball. A single tear trickles down his cheek and freezes, forcing him to break it off.

DM: You activate the scroll and read it, and around you the ice castle fades. You find yourself standing in a platform marked with the sigils of the teleport.
Maldrake: Trapped inside a forcecage. (slow clapping)

The group speculates on other hilarious places they could have been teleported to. And other foes they might have faced. Class is in short supply.

DM: Your arrival has set to ringing a small series of bells, and after a moment a man dressed in the vestments of the priesthood steps in. He bows to you.
Eben: BOW TO THE MAD GOD.
Thalynmar: That’s his go-to now.
DM: “Welcome.”
Maldrake: “Yes.”

They are in the temple of Tyr, and the priest inquires of their names and purposes. He tells them Leosin awaits them, not at all suspiciously. The priest escorts them!

DM: Down the hallway you head, off to a small antechamber.
Lualyrr: Auntie!
DM: Leosin is waiting there, looking much better than the last time you saw him.
Eben: Ah, Auntie Leosin.
DM: He rises from his contemplation of a pamphlet and hurries over to shake all of your hands.
Maldrake: A pamphlet for what, wizard’s camp?!
DM: He’s a monk!
Maldrake: Yeah, and he’s going to wizard’s camp! He’s so excited!
DM: “My friends. Such rumors have reached me of all you have done.”
Thalynmar: “Really? That far.”
Eben: The stuff on the fortress couldn’t have gotten here. Unless the dragon flew off and went to each town saying, “Guess what happened!”

Leosin clarifies that he’s heard the story up to where they left the caravan. And he tells them that others wish to hear the story as well!

DM: “The Council of Waterdeep—“
Thalynmar: If we’re in Waterdeep, I can get some armor!
Eben: And we can get a hireling!
DM: But later.
Maldrake: Can I even hold that much? 83,000—
Thalynmar: We’ve got a Bag of Holding.
Eben: In you go, Leosin!
DM: ‘Whyyy?’

The Council is in session, and Leosin hurries them off to it. Maldrake starts summarizing their entire adventure out loud.

Ebem: Save it for the Council.
Maldrake: --where we just missed – I’m assuming we’re at the Council now.
DM: No.
Maldrake: Oh.
Eben: He wasn’t going to say anything, that’s why I did.
Malrake: I’m going over it in my head.
DM: I thought you were trying to get your story straight ahead of time.
Maldrake: I am!
Eben: Snapjaw!

Lualyrr insists on changing into something more respectable. Maldrake spins a knife around, while the DM stares on in horror.

Thalynmar: I don’t know why he’s twirling a knife around. It’s gonna end badly.
DM: Probably for me!
Thalynmar: Or me. Anybody but Maldrake.
DM: I assume knives and you have an understanding at this point. “We’re good, right?” The knife just gleams back at you…
Thalynmar: It DID get to the point where the cuts stopped hurting…

After changing briefly, they step out into the glory of Waterdeep – only for a strange sensation of unease to wash over them, promising disaster. The entire city falls silent for a moment because of that same feeling.

Thalynmar: “I hope that’s not foreboding that She’s back…”
DM: Leosin shakes his head, then lets his entire body shiver as if he’s trying to wash it off. “Come. Swiftly.”
Lualyrr: “Has that been happening often?”
DM: “No.”

Krixxix rants bitterly, claiming that he’s died twice; the group points out he only got knocked down to 0 HP in the last battle, which he’s done countless times before.

Krixxix: I’m uber-depressed because I lost my mask.
Thalynmar: That’s right, you’re Emo Krixxix now.

Their path leads them to the Lord’s Palace itself, seat of power in Waterdeep and possibly the world. This might be more impressive to them all if they regularly played in Forgotten Realms, but eh.

DM: Spelljamming ships soar through the –no.
Thalynmar: (in imitation of the old PC game) ‘Ohhhhhhhhhh!’
DM: ‘Aaaaaaaaah!’
Thalynmar: Ping!
DM: Straight through the front gates he goes, unchallenged by the guards, who eye you with professional disinterest. There are clerks and pages, visitors of all sorts, and over it all the watchful eye of the guards, but Leosin pays none of this any mind.
Thalynmar: He don’t give no shits.
DM: He leads you into the castle, deeper, negotiation the mazelike corridors with the eye of one who knows what he’s doing.
Thalynmar: Suddenly he stops. ‘I have no idea what I’m doing.’
DM: ‘I’m so lost.’
Thalynmar: ‘I was going to play it off and maybe I could get back on track, but I’m sorry, I can’t – where are we?’

They arrive at a door under heavy guard, though they allow the PCs entry at a word from Leosin. Inside they find the upper echelon of Faerun’s society packing the chambers, in one giant meeting swirling around.

DM: “I can accompany you no further within, I’m not part of the discussions. But I know what they’re about. I know why you’ve been summoned. Everyone here is committed in name to stop the Cult of the Dragon. In name. None of them are quite certain how to work together—“
Raven: Hello?!
DM: Turn up your volume! I’m being quietly dramatic!
Eben: Raven interrupts!
Raven: I just heard static for a moment.
Maldrake: I thought you were saying it to the Council. ‘Hello!’
DM: “These squabbling disparate factions need leaders. I suspect you all might be the ones for the task. You have, after all, accomplished great things so far. But I warn you, you’re delving into a sticky morass of politics here. Everything you have done and everything you will do will be judged. Your words, your actions, each of them scrutinized by the factions that have assembled here.”
Maldrake: My noble background means something!
Eben: I’m not signing the Sakovia Accords, so throw that out right now.
DM: “Know that pleasing one group will almost certainly anger another. You’ll have to strike a fine balance –“
Thalynmar: To anger all of them.
Eben: We’ll do their questlines one at a time.
Thalynmar: Just walk in. “Fuck all y’all!” There we go, pissed ‘em all off. That’s nice and balanced.
DM: Huh. According to this they all admire your gumption and support you wholeheartedly. Why was this in here!?
Thalynmar: This is stupidly written!
Maldrake: Do we enter the center of the room or something?
DM: No, not yet. Leosin has bid you wait. And as he explains all of this, a woman steps up.
Lualyrr: Thank God for tits.
DM: ….says that and then leaves, I guess.
Eben: Who was that woman?
DM: Titania!

Someone rages out and slams plates into the microphone, and the audio gets taken out twice in rapid succession. By this point the transcriber expects this and nothing is lost. The woman is in all black and wearing a veil; Thalynmar, with his poor wisdom, assumes it’s the style, while Eben dons an onion on his belt. Eben mocks the DM and is banished and ostracized. Haberdashier’s Guild representatives appear. The woman leads them to the innermost chambers.

DM: You step into the great central chamber, the doors creaking open grandiosely. The well-lit room inside has a round table, cosmically large, around which numerous people sit. You recognize one of them immediately – it’s Onthar Frumme, who rises as you step in. “And here are our heroes!”
Thalynmar: “Thanks, Ontharr.” I give him the appropriate salute for our order.
DM: “Sit if you will,” says the woman, and she takes her own empty seat.
Maldrake: To your horror, there are only five chairs.
Eben: This must be a really large table.
DM: I said it was cosmically large.
Eben: I thought you meant the chamber.
Maldrake: The chamber is comically small.

Ontharr pontificates and speechifies, and the PCs introduce themselves. Raven’s official last name becomes ‘the grandson of a dragonslayer’.

DM: “You know me. I believe you just met Remalia Haventree,” indicating the woman in the black. “Over there, Daelyn Winterhound of the Emerald Enclave.” He points over to a half-elf who, as opposed to the formal affair of others, is clad in a simple tunic, although one clearly of fine make. Seems his understated garb is making a point, and he’s regarding you with an open scowl on his features. “As for the rest of these gentlemen, this is the Lords’ Alliance. The most powerful of all who dwell on the Sword Coast. With our political and military might, the order of Tiamat will surely fall before us.” He says this as if he is trying to force this viewpoint on the others as he looks at them.
Thalynmar: Aw crap.
DM: The first person he indicates, a tall and broad-shouldered man with a thick beard and a wild mane of hair, simply regards him over a wineglass with a patient if faintly annoyed air that speaks volumes, and gives a clear indication of which of the two of them is superior in diplomacy and political maneuvering. “Lord Dagalt Neverember, Open Lord of Waterdeep, Lord Protector of Neverwinter, and our leader.” Lord Neverember looks at the rest of you, inclines his head slightly. The next one he indicates is a dwarf. “Ambassador Connerad Brawnanvil.” “Lads. Lass.”
Thalynmar: “Kinsman.”
Maldrake: “Lord.”
DM: You’ve heard this name, Thalynmar. He’s the son of Bannach Brawnanvil and a former king of Mithril Hall! He’s the delegate from the dwarves of the north.
Thalynmar: Gotcha. Where am I technically from?
DM: …I don’t know. “Next, Marshal Uldar Ravenguard, leader of the Flaming Fist from Baldur’s Gate. Next, King Malendrach of the Misty Forest.” This elf regards you—
Thalynmar: I was about to say, ‘elf’.
DM: With a cool look that betrays little. “Taeryn Hornblade, wizard of great repute. And Sir Istvaal, a former adventurer like yourselves, now a Purple Dragon Knight of Cormyr. He is the representative of Daggerford.”

Lord Neverember rises and address the PCs, inquiring of their journey after they left the caravan to follow the castle. Maldrake takes the lead in recounting their tale, with occasional help from the others.

Maldrake: “..to another ally of the cult, the frost giants.”
Thalynmar: Storm giants.
Maldrake: Storm giants.
Thalynmar: Or cloud giants.
Eben: Some giants.
Thalynmar: One giant! One giant and a bunch of ogres.

Krixxix attempts to send the Council to this journal to read game reports, and is smited deservedly. The Council recognizes the name of Skyreach castle and most are pleased, but Connerad Brawnanvil interrupts.

DM: “Kinsman! How could ya leave the castle in the hands of the giants!? Don’t ya realize the danger that puts our people in! To even damage a dragon the way ya did, surely ya could’ve slain the giant and claimed it for us!”
Thalynmar: “I don’t think you underestimate how many ogres he had at his command.”
DM: “Ogres, ha! What are ogres to dwarves like us! And… y’know, yer friends.”
Thalynmar: “I’d say one dwarf could take out a score of ogres, but there are more of them than us. And he was no small giant.”
Krixxix: “Hence the name ‘giant’.”
DM: “The size doesn’t matter, as well ye know. It was a terrible thing to leave that castle in the hands of the giants, it endangers us all!”
Thalynmar: “At the moment they seem to be concerned with being allies.”
Krixxix: “Listen, buddy, if you got a problem with the giants then you go there yourself and take care of it.”

The players all begin talking over each other, and eventually get out that they’d pitched Rezmir off the castle. The lords are a bit dismayed that Rezmir had neither been captured nor the kill verified, though the elf king points out that the cult would probably have raised her by now even if she had died. They grouse about their inability to injure the Red Wizards.

DM: Uldar speaks up. “Well, it seems you all have a fine track record of wounding your foes but failing to finish the job, what have you to say to that?”
Eben: Well, not having a fine track at sitting at the table…

Lualyrr rolls History to see what she can get on Uldar Ravenguard, learning that he has a lot of soldiers and is probably capable of taking them. Krixxix is relieved he didn’t pick a fight. This doesn’t stop Eben from snarking that he didn’t see any Flaming Fist helping them and Maldrake sneering that he had no intention of lying.

DM: “Well, you defeated them,” says the wizard, Taeryn Hornblade, known as Thunderspells for those of you who have the arcane—
Thalynmar: Do not care!
DM: “However, decisive blows are wise, but capturing is even better. You have the might of magic and the strength of arms at your disposal. In the future, if you can capture your defeated foes using those resources, why it would speak most highly of you, and provide us with valuable information. Is this something you feel you can commit to?”
Thalynmar: “I think it’s a possibility.”
Krixxix: “If we do the interrogation ourselves, can we dispose of them?”
DM: There is a stony silence, most particular from some of them.
Thalynmar: (mimes crushing Krixxix)
Krixxix: As I sit there licking my bow.
Maldrake: Tell me, friend Eben, do you have a silence spell that will last an hour or more?
Eben: Most of them last permanently.
Maldrake: Just tell him it’ll help his stealth check.
Thalynmar: I’m not doing any damage, but I am subtly putting my hand on Krixxix’s shoulder, and just start slowly squeeeeezing. And I’d like to remind Krixxix that I recently went up to 20 Strength.
DM: “We’ll grant Krixxix a little respite,” says Ramalia, “in recognition of the fact that they have just fought down, among other things, an adult dragon, which as some of us know, is not easy on the mind or soul even in victory. I trust some of his more bloodthirsty instincts will not continue to show themselves, and he will prove as valuable a leader and resource to this council as everybody else.”
Thalynmar: Very diplomatic…
Lualyrr: Wa ha, that was your first mistake.
Eben: We’re on this Council, are you going to grant us the rank of Master?
Krixxix: Says who?
DM: Says the leader of the Harpers whom you serve.
Thalynmar: The only thing I want to hear out of Krixxix’s mouth now is ‘Ow my frickin’ shoulder!’
DM: The representative of the Emerald Enclave, Daelyn Winterhound, at last leans forward. “I wish to understand… why you all have committed crimes against nature in the course of your adventures. Is this a case where you believe the ends justify the means?”
Krixxix: “Yes.”
DM: “That you can break the natural cycle at will?”
Krixxix: “Absolutely.”
Lualyrr: SILENCE!
Thalynmar: Is my hand doing nothing?!
DM: I’m assuming that was out of character.
Maldrake: All right, this is Maldrake, giving the good ol’ time out from the fucking game. All right. WHAT THE FUCK IS HE TALKING ABOUT?

Maldrake wonders if this is about Krixxix getting resurrected, while Thalynmar speculates and the DM points the finger at Maldrake as he reminds them that this guy represents the naturey faction and the corresponding weird views. Even the other lords are a bit puzzled. They speculate it’s the elves – but Daelyn at last reveals he’s speaking of smashing dragon eggs!

Eben: Oh wow. I’d forgotten all about that.
DM: “Smashing eggs is smashing the natural cycle. You have no reason to do that.”
Krixxix: “Though I can’t say I disagree with you, I have yet to meet a pleasant dragon.’
Eben: ‘But they were the best omelets you’d ever seen.’
DM: “They still are a part of the cycle, pleasant or not. Nature is not pleasant by nature.”
Krixxix: “Thus it was their fate to be destroyed in the egg. They are not to dodge fate whether they are premature or not.”
DM: “You took it on your own heads.”
Maldrake: “There was no one we could trust with those eggs. No one in the villages would understand what to do with eggs, and leaving them there, even under guard of the villagers, would have just left them under the target of the very people we went there to save.”
DM: Lord Neverember speaks. “What about Leosin? Could he not have been trusted?”
Thalynmar: “He was injured, gravely at the time.”
DM: “Even so. Rested, he could have guarded those eggs. I admit I care little for the natural cycle—“
Maldrake: “We made a choice.”
Krixxix: “As great a warrior as Leosin might be, I cannot promise or guarantee that he would be able to survive against an all-out attack by the cult to retrieve them back.”
DM: “The cult had abandoned them, you recall.”
Krixxix: “Then it was our right to do with them as we saw fit at the time.”
DM: “A wiser choice would have been to capture them, use them as hostages, bargaining tools, resources.”
Thalynmar: “If they abandoned them, then they would’ve been useless.”
DM: “I have to agree!” says Connerad. “As much as it would have been nice to keep them as resources, it would’ve been too dangerous to control them. If they’d been attacked we’d have lost them and many men besides. I think ya did the right thing, for what it’s worth!”
Maldrake: “Talking of past choices brings us no closer to bringing the Cult down than anything else we do. We made a choice, you didn’t like it. You brought us here. You brought us here knowing that. So obviously you want us here.”
DM: “That doesn’t mean we have to agree with all of yer choices though, lad. We want to see what ye’re made of. Some of the things you’ve done are very questionable.” “Ah, but others of them have been quite noble, I think we should continue to give them a chance. Who else do we have to turn to?”
Eben: Is that Dagalt?
DM: That’s the wizard.
Maldrake: Hold on – there’s a door? We could walk out this bitch? Here we go!
DM: Does your alignment allow you to—
Maldrake: NOPE!
DM: Abandon the fight, ha ha ha!
Krixxix: Chaotic Neutral, I’m out the door!
Thalynmar: Yaaaaay!

The group snarks a bit at these choices and the Council getting up in their business. None of them are particularly happy about this.

Krixxix: “Why am I here? I’m pretty sure I don’t serve anybody, and I’m here of my own free will.”
DM: “Do you want Tiamat stopped or not?”
Thalynmar: You’re part of the Harpers, aren’t you?
Krixxix: I am part of the Harp—
Thalynmar: Oh, you’re renouncing the Harpers!
All: Ohhhh!
The Council squabbles – Connerad is reluctant to commit dwarves outside the mountains, though Eben and Thalynmar argue against such a course. Maldrake speechifies his refusal to give up. Lord Neverember lays out the stakes: the PCs have done great things to delay the cult, even if some of their decisions are questionable.

DM: “You will become our allies. We will grant you a writ of authority. This will give you the power to investigate as you need-“
Eben: Will that be on our hands?
DM: (voice rising an octave) No!
Maldrake: So now! When we come upon a warehouse that think has stuff in it, we’ll be like, “We’re investigators, we need to see your stuff.” (making some gesture which is, let’s face it, probably a heil)
Eben: Stop that!
Maldrake: That’s how we do it!
Thalynmar: We’re from the Adventurers’ Guild, oooh.
DM: “Access to what resources and sites you need. Though of course be it understood that it comes with our oversight, and you will be reviewed as necessary if you overstep your bounds.”
Thalynmar: Oh, we ARE signing the Sakovia Accords.
DM: He says, eyeing Krixxix specifically.
Eben: “I will not be held responsible for his actions.”

Maldrake squeaks out a fart and has his noble background stripped from him, and Eben makes a Dragonlance reference that reduces the DM to giggles and then completely collapses Eben himself. Neverember explains that the Council will meet regularly to hear their reports, and that since Leosin and Ontharr trust them, the Council will as well – with verification.

DM: Out of character, I want to say something like this Council sound more like a leash than a tool for our aid in defeating the cult. I want to say along the lines of, it’s leash…
Thalynmar: But very diplomatically.
Eben: If we don’t have limitations, we’re no better than –
Maldrake: Shut up, Iron Man!
Eben: You just started a war!
Maldrake: Shut up!
Eben: Split this party right down the middle.
DM: Persuasion would be the most appropriate thing to say that persuasively rather than… fuck-offedly.
Maldrake: Good, Persuasion. I have that. 17. “As much as the aid of the Council would bestow me with the hope that we now have the forces we need to take on the cult, it feels more like a restraint on us. Up until now we have been fighting the cause that is right, against the cult, bringing it down. Now, what are we? Tools for this council? A bunch of hammers?”
DM: At your speech, Lord Dagalt Neverember actually lets out a rare smile. “Yes, young dragonborn. You are tools and this is a leash. That is the nature of politics. It is the simple fact of trying to get many people with diverse needs and diverse interests to work together for the common good.”
Thalynmar: At least he’s honest.
DM: The other representatives range the gauntlet from amused to irritated, judging from the expressions at him.
Thalynmar: At him?
Maldrake: I’m putting us in jail!
DM: At his little speech there.

Maldrake, having said his peace, vows to kill Tiamat personally (and graphically), though Ontharr explains even the fiends of the Hells support Tiamat and they need armies to defeat the cult.

Thalynmar: He rolled a 20, didn’t he.
Maldrake: I didn’t roll very high at all.
DM: You rolled well enough.
Eben: We don’t roll routinely above 20 in 5E.
Maldrake: We don’t need to. This is not 3.5, you need that 44.

A knock interrupts; one Lady Silmerhelve is here to give her report. Eben questions who is sitting near them, and on learning one of their flankers is Sir Istvaal, speculates that the latter doesn’t like them much.

DM: He has mostly been quiet, though if you want to roll an Intuition…
Eben: (heaving a sigh)
All: ( laughing)
Thalynmar: That sigh…
Maldrake: That sigh!
DM: It’s not like I’m asking you to pick up the Star Wars dice, Eben!

Everyone corrects the DM on it being Insight, and Eben’s roll indicates that Sir Istvaal supports them strongly thus far. He inquires of the knight as to his silence, and learns that Istvaal is not properly part of the Council; he has many masters, such as Cormyr, and such mixed allegiance makes him unpopular. The visitor at the door is introduced as Daela Silverhelm.

DM: “I have come to speak to the Council because I know of the disturbance that we all felt earlier today. That disturbance has been sensed across the Sword Coast, and it is known as the Draachhorn. An ancient device whose sounding alerts dragons across Faerun that great events are afoot. Whatever it means, I cannot say. But dragons hear it clearly. They will answer its call, sooner or later, on each individual dragon’s whims.”
Maldrake: Do I recognize the name?
DM: No. It’s a fairly obscure artifact.
Eben: “They are drawn to its location?”
DM: “They are alerted.”
Maldrake: “Which flights? Which colors? All dragons?”
DM: “Dragons. All dragons.”
Eben: “Who would sound this device?”
DM: “I could not say. I only recognize it by its effects.”
Eben: “What say the Council?” She didn’t come here just to talk to us…
DM: “My lady,” says Ontharr. “From whence comes this information?” At this, Lady Silmerhelve simply shakes her head. “You cannot keep secrets from us, Lady. The knowledge you have is valuable. We must know everything you have to tell us.” To which she answers, “It is not my secret to share.”
Eben: So she knows what it is, and knows more about it, but—
DM: “Ach, this is ridiculous. Lass! Why should we trust a word ya say if ye won’t be honest with us? Come on!”
Krixxix: “She never once said she lied…”
DM: As much as you might want to bludgeon Krixxix for speaking up, his words seem to earn a bit of a nod from the other representatives. Even Lord Neverember himself—
Maldrake: ‘You win this time….’
Krixxix: I don’t sense any malice in her—
DM: You didn’t ROLL to sense any malice in her!
Maldrake: He got his dice out as he said it!

No one senses any malice from her, and with the tension somewhat defused, the lady retreats from the chamber. Lord Neverember indicates that they should investigate the Draachhorn, but Ramalia instead proposes they go after the cult’s leaders. The Council wanders off onto a tangent about how no clerics are politically important enough to sit on the Council. The Council gives the adventurers the option of which mission to pursue first. Debating this, the PC lean on the side of finding the Draachhorn.

Maldrake: Just a sec. Hey, somebody write down that there’s a Council? I guarantee three sessions from now we’re gonna forget we have rules to follow and break them all. ‘You guys burned the town to the ground?!’
DM: ‘Wait, how many times did ya punch the baby in his crib?!’
Krixxix: ‘Until he stopped crying, okay?’
Maldrake: ‘Look, he had a mask of evil on his face!’
DM: ‘It was a hat!’
Maldrake: ‘You said it was a mask of evil!’
DM: ‘I rolled a 1…’
Maldrake: It sure does look like a mask…
Thalynmar: ‘Anyway, anyone want some baby pate?’
Krixxix: ‘God, you’re coming at us like we’re the first ones to kill a baby.’
Maldrake: ‘Yes. Yes you are.’
Krixxix: ‘How else are you supposed to get baby oil?’
DM: It turns out this entire campaign was a false-flag operation. It’s secretly called ‘The Rise of Bahamut.’ It’s an attempt to make Thalynmar go so evil that Bahamut himself comes to the Realms to slay him, and then just sticks around to go good. Ontharr Frume has been masterminding it all behind the scenes. “They’ll never suspect.”
Thalynmar: I just want to know how he knows who I am.
Krixxix: He’s been watching you.
Thalynmar: Oh.
Krixxix: In the shower.
Thalynmar: Wait, what?

The group votes on finding the Draachhorn, and then Maldrake angrily demands all sorts of resources to capture cult leaders with. Lord Neverember signs their writ and they are presented with it. They desperately try to think of a way to get Krixxix off the writ without ostracizing him in front of the Council, but can’t think of anything.

Maldrake: Just keep it away from him. One of us will hold onto it.
Eben: Bag of Holding?
DM: He’s got a great Sleight of Hand, though…
Maldrake: (sobbing) I know…
Lualyrr: You know who we give it to? Eben. Eben doesn’t sleep.
DM: Eben doesn’t roll well on Perception….
Eben: But if goes missing, I’ll know who to cast Eldritch Blast on.
DM: You see Eben running through the streets, firing away at a fleeing Krixxix. Meanwhile, there’s some street urchin… ‘Gosh, this wasn’t money. How can I feed me starving family–‘
Thalynmar: (mimes snapping a neck)
DM: ‘with—aiiigh.’
Thalynmar: All right, there goes my alignment.
Maldrake: I wasn’t using that anyways!

Maldrake angrily insists that they aren’t capable of capturing the leaders with just monocles. He means manacles, but everyone has to agree he’s right. The group begins distributing its acquired loot and reducing it to platinum that can be easily stolen from them. Krixxix attempts to steal it back from this hypothetical thief but cannot overcome the level 77 urchin. The group is furious that they have no electrum! Maldrake misunderstands an item in his inventory.

Maldrake: A scroll of pedigree? I just assume every now and then it’s like, “Oh my god! This dog! I’ll pay anyone a million gold if they can tell me its pedigree!” “Ha ha! Do not fear! I have THE SCROLL!”
Eben: You cast it and the person immediately goes into the finisher stance… I polymorph Thalynmar into Shao Khan. He proceeds to cheese Tiamat to death. Or -- (laughing) I polymorph the bad guy into Sub-Zero and Sub-Zero disappears! After telling us he’ll be back! Ha ha! I broke the module! No I didn’t.

The PCs desperately try to go magic item hunting, chasing after the wizard Taeryn to persuade him. Elsewhere, Raven ponders buying a warship.

Maldrake: How do you have 25,000 gold?
Raven: I probably miscalculated it.
Maldrake: …Yes.

Maldrake discovers they’ve had a Wand of Web all this time and never used it. They all begin hitting up Taeyrn for magic item creation, as he’s offered to do them at cost. Maldrake hits up Ontharr for enchanting his armor.

Thalynmar: “Kinsman, a moment of your time.”
DM: He looks at you with a rather blank expression. “…Aye?”
Maldrake: ‘I just want you to know it was all my idea, that pesky dragonborn, he was against it, he wanted to murder all the giants! And the ogres.’

Thalynmar finds himself having to roll Persuasion to get dwarven plate mail. The DM rules that if he rolls a 1 he’ll reach out, shave off Connerad’s beard, and hold it hostage. Luckily Thalynmar rolls well, and Connerad offers to send his measurements off to the homelands.

Krixxix: Don’t do it, he just wants an excuse to feel you up!
Thalynmar: He’s probably not going to do the measurements himself…

Thalynmar discovers the price tag is 50,000 gold. And balks. Krixxix tries to claim the check’s in the mail.

DM: He turns, he throws his hammer at you, rolls a natural 1, misses, it sails off into the crowd, brains Lord Neverember! The Council dissolves into petty squabbling. Tiamat shows up unopposed. All because Krixxix HAS TO LIE!
Thalynmar: I wish for no Tiamat…
DM: No, Thalynmar! You’re not stopping the true evil! Wish for no Krixxix!

The DM vows to slap a Helm of Opposite Alignment on Krixxix. The DM calls for Insight checks. Maldrake has the best check, and determines that the Emerald Enclave, Lord Neverember, and Connerad Brawnanvil are all neutral at best; the Harpers are a little more positive, King Melendrach is up on them, and Uldar Ravenguard and Sir Istvaal are both solidly in their corner.

DM: Something for you to keep in mind as you make your next choices,
Maldrake: Yeah. Don’t be trustin’ other NPCs, ‘cuz if he hadn’t fucking squawked his mouth about those broken eggs, no one else would’ve found out. No one else would have known!

The group is universally shocked that breaking the eggs way back in Chapter 3 came back to have repercussions this late. As they finish equipping themselves and not leveling up, the game comes to an end.