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Dragon of Life ([personal profile] dragonoflife) wrote on February 16th, 2017 at 05:23 pm

The game begins with the DM noticing something about the picture of Tiamat on the front of the module.

DM: Even on Tiamat, you got the red dragon head looking ominous, you got the green dragon head looking like it’s gonna kick some ass, the blue dragon head looms ominously over everything, the white dragon head -- (really stupid voice) “Hi, guys!”
Thalynmar: The black one’s like, ‘I’m outta here.’
DM: ‘I’m on the back cover.’
Maldrake: Trying to leave.
DM: Once you go black, you’re on the back.

The group groans and reluctantly applauds. Krixxix is reminded of his past shame with dragons. The DM gives them a moment to select spells and whatnot; Thalynmar stubbornly keeps his existing fighter abilities. Maldrake prepares Hold Monster, because he is definitely a level 17 paladin. Morning comes, and Bonecarver comes back into the hut with furs and hides more suited to the Ice Hunter people than outsiders such as them. They also get bone spurs to strap to their feet.

Maldrake: They’re poisoned again. ‘Force of habit.’
DM: ‘You weren’t supposed to stab yourselves with them, I don’t know why you did that…’
Maldrake: ‘I thought that’s how you use it!

Further racist jokes ensue, in between a roll to check white dragon vulnerabilities. In this edition they have no weaknesses, merely invulnerabilities. Bonecarver warns them that the floors are icy smooth and the stairs down are treacherous. Maldrake covers his blatantly dragonborn self.

Maldrake: If I rolled a 1, you guys would see me like, ‘I’m ready to go!’ I have half this face covered…
DM: He’s got two end of his scarf that he tied around his neck… (mimes strangling himself)
Maldrake: (strangled) ‘Things are looking good here, guys…’
DM: ‘This will make me less coppery…’
Maldrake: I’m now a red dragon.
DM: A blue dragon. Also a corpse.

Bonecarver marches them past the gathered villagers to her hut. The players really want to drop the dragon’s severed head in front of the villagers to show them all up.

DM: You all come back, bloodied, battered, wounded, limping… Slam the head down. “That’s not him. That’s his son!” (roaring)
Thalynmar: Aww crap.
Maldrake: Here we go again!
Thalynmar: “This is gonna be a bit of a slog!”
Maldrake: We come back… ‘That’s his aunt.’ How many dragons ARE there?!
Thalynmar: Why is his whole family here!?
Maldrake: Heads come flying out of the top of the mountain and just start crashing. ‘His brother! His son! His former roommate! His second cousin first removed from his wife! His wife’s daughter!’
DM: His creepy old uncle who just got out of dragon prison!
Maldrake: His baby momma! This journey… ‘You guys have killed 57 dragons raging from an egg to a grand adult, and you STILL didn’t kill the dragon you were sent to kill.’ ‘HE WASN’T THERE!’
Thalynmar: And it was all one chapter! So we got ONE FUCKING LEVEL of experience!
DM: Tiamat emerges from the depths of the Abyss, and beside her stands that ONE dragon you failed to kill. Then the camera zooms out and there’s giant gaps in the ranks of dragons. They’re looking around. ‘Huh. Where’d everybody go?’

Inside the hut, Bonecarver pulls aside some furs on the ground. Before them gapes a pit with stairs cut into the side!

Maldrake: Actually, can I do a Religion check on myself real quick?
DM: (long pause) I don’t know how to answer that, Maldrake!

Maldrake wonders if he can use poison, and if so, can he get some from the shaman. The question, as usual, results in a needlessly complex scenario.

DM: You’ve got your sword wrapped in tangy spoiled fish and are swinging it around… ‘I used it all up on the meals, I’m sorry.’
Maldrake: ‘I don’t want to be dishonorable!’ There’s a hanger at the bottom that says ‘poisoned weapon’ in 30 different language.
Thalynmar: That’s an inconvenient weapon.
Maldrake: 1d6… 12d6!
DM: That’s a lot of papercuts. She again beckons to the stairs. “Swiftly. If you’re discovered it will be the end of us. Old White Death will put as all to our graves.”
Maldrake: ‘Don’t worry, ma’am. We’ll take care of this – whoop! WHAAAAAGH!’ (miming falling down the stairs) ‘I’m okay! Agh!’ (miming falling down more stairs) ‘Kill me, dragon, you son of a bitch!’ I crash into the dragon, you come down, my body is speared on his neck…
DM: You crash into the floor, slide into the dragon. He looks down at you. ‘Trespasser. For you, the ultimate punishment.’ Speaks a word in an arcane language, you are transported back—
Maldrake and DM: To the top of the stairs.
Eben: Tiamat, I’m here to bargain.

Down they head, envisioning a scenario in which Eben refuses to come and later discovers that his entire kill list is down there for some reason. A flesh golem made of Play-Doh awaits. Down they head and hit a treacherous part of the stairs that calls for Acrobatics checks! Maldrake burns his Inspiration and promptly rolls a d12. Raven follows him and passes. Krixxix literally can’t fail, but rolls a 37. Eben… plummets!

Eben: 40d6?
DM: 6d6! 60 feet you fall to the bottom, taking 13 points of damage, as I roll SPECTACULARLY low.
Maldrake: Yeah, it’s pretty shit.
Eben: What did you ACTUALLY roll?
Maldrake: He rolled pretty low.
Eben: Worst sneak attack ever.

Eben finds himself at the bottom of the shaft, next to a descending ladder. Maldrake and Thalynmar envision dart-throwers which are in fact an extended reference to a game.

Krixxix: How long does it take us to get down there? Does he heal any hit points on the way?
DM: No!
Thalynmar: It’s not THAT far down. That’s like a short rest.
DM: You gain negative inspiration for your stupid question.

They head down into a chamber with a couple of baskets and not much else. A ramp leans down to a corridor. Krixxix makes a racist comment and gets double negative inspiration.

Eben: Permanent disadvantage?
Thalynmar: Reroll successes.
DM: Reroll everything that isn’t a 1. It’s the opposite of your halfling power.

With their bone crampons on they can make their way slowly down the slope. Fog curls around at a distance in the corridor, and they have a choice of going down or continuing at their current level. Krixxix proposes going down to find the dragon; Thalynmar, who has played the same RPGs the DM has, insists they explore the likely dead-end for its inevitable treasure. Down the slope they travel into thicker fog.

Krixxix: It turns out there was a massive trap on the left side above the dragon’s head, it would have killed him instantly.
Thalynmar: There was an elevator straight down to him.

With the choice of going up or entering a hallway, they turn to the hallway and spot a massive figure in the distance!

Krixxix: I think we foooound it!
DM: A massive HUMANOID figure becomes visible in the fog.
Krixxix: I think we found something eeeeeelse.
DM: You hear the low chatter of voices too far off to make out.

Krixxix proposes to sneak ahead, and with no objections, he does! Creeping forward, he realize he’s staring at a frost giant – who is staring back at him! He immediately retreats.

Krixxix: I’m still slowly creeping back to everyone else and telling them, “I saw a frost giant and I think he saw me!”
DM: Krixxix slowly creeps back to you and says, “I SAW A FROST GIANT!”

They wonder if the Ice Hunter disguise has served them. They advance forward within staring distance of the giant, which does not react. Continuing on forward, they realize the giant is dead and frozen! Other gruesome trophies in their frozen walls become visible in turn. Worse, kobolds are in the room, polishing the ice walls to perfect clearness.

DM: The kobolds completely fail to notice you with their 1 on Perception. Never saw or heard you. Dumbasses.
Thalynmar: To engrossed in their work.

Without backtracking, their only choice to proceed is a steeper ice ramp. The DM warns them they will need to roll to climb!

DM: Everyone give me an Athletics check.
Thalynmar: Athletics!? YAY! No. Really?
DM: Acrobatics.
Thalynmar: DAMN IT!
Maldrake: Fuck!
Raven: 4.

Raven doesn’t make it, obviously, though the others have a little more success. Maldrake rigs a rope to give Raven advantage; he promptly fails again. They ultimately have to team up and drag him up forcibly.

DM: Working hard, you are able to haul him up the slope, and amazingly attract no attention while doing so.
Thalynmar: (absolutely mad laughter)

The dragon is lured by the laughter, gets stuck in the tunnels, and is slain. They continue to wend their way around the corridor, favoring descent whenever possible. Maldrake at last hears noises from a right passage and suggests they investigate it, yelling about cake the whole time.

Maldrake: Did you go to the end of the book?! We found the warp zone to Tiamat!

Entering into the room, they spot giant icy toads hard at work scribing and transferring written materials into nooks in the wall. There may be a further passage behind them, but the PCs can’t see it! For no clear reason, the DM talks up Pharoah Man on the Mega Man cartoon. Krixxix sneaks into the fog past the toads. A hundred feet in he spots a passageway to the right, but no way for the others to pass the ice toads.

DM: You’re looking in on a freezing cold, absolutely miserable chamber. All sorts of stuff floating around here… Walrus-tooth wart scrapers, narwhal-horn spears, weird-ass furniture that’s actually built into the floor…
Eben: Narwhals.
Thalynmar: Narwhals, narwhals!
Eben: Unicorns of the sea.
DM: Art objects that are just a random mismatch of found items and whalebone.
Eben: Is that what it says? Random art – it just says the word ‘tapestries’, is what it says!

Numerous ice toads are in this room as well, though Krixxis sneaks past them all to a dead end. Krixxix sneaks back out, but finds himself stuck beneath a table as a toad stands at it. So cold is the toad that he begins taking cold damage!

DM: There’s no immediate way to get free. You can wait here and probably not be discovered as long as you want, but if the toad doesn’t move the cold radiating off of it will probably whittle away your very life force. What do you do?
Krixxix: I’m gonna wait for a little bit.
Eben: After five minutes you’re gonna be in serious trouble.
Krixxix: How much is it doing, like one per second…
DM: You wait a round. You take two more cold damage.
Krixxix: Is he doing anything?
DM: He’s continuing to work. He appears to be scribing something on the table above you.
Krixxix: I’m gonna wait a little bit longer. I’m gonna wait a few more minutes.
DM: You wait – minutes?! Rounds aren’t that long boy.
Thalynmar: Six seconds.
Maldrake: Just say how many hit points you’re willing to lose.
Krixxix: I’m willing to lose another 18 hit points.
Eben: The toad falls asleep at its table as it works!
Thalynmar: Well, at least he’s asleep.

Krixxix loses 10 hit points, after which the toad moves away and he takes his opportunity to escape, shivering furiously.

Maldrake: “Good job.”
Krixxix: “Th-th-th-th-tha-ank y-y-y-ou… asshole… Sorry, the cold has me thinking out loud.”
Maldrake: Before you leave, I pat you on the back. You get—
Krixxix: 2 points of bludgeoning damage.

They return to the hallway and begin to navigate a steep icy ramp downward. Ego damage and sliding ensues. Eben, down at the bottom ahead of them thanks to said slide, hears heavy footsteps crunching on the ice. The rest reach the bottom, just in time to see a blue troll peer out of a side passage.

DM: It focuses on the two of you at the bottom, then looks up the stairs. You can see it squint each eye individually as it tries to figure out what to make of this. Leans its head back. (making a beckoning motion) It steps back into the passageway.

Puzzled, they elect to follow the troll, but they can’t see it when they peer into the chamber. Swirling fog and bitter wind await then, and Thalynmar grimly predicts an ambush. In they step, hearing only the sound of running water.

Thalynmar: Down to the beach I’m strolling…
Maldrake: Do we hear anything in the room?
DM: Just the running water.
Maldrake: Is it particularly loud?
DM: No. It’s streams. In fact, you can see one out of the corner of your eye. Strangely, it seems to be enchanted to keep flowing.
Thalynmar: I was about to say, it should be frozen.
DM: Should be, but it’s not.
Thalynmar: GOD DAMN IT.
Eben: Dispel it.

Silence, except for the faint cry of a bird of prey FOR SOME REASON, I DON’T KNOW WHY

DM: The illusion vanishes, you find yourself in a shack.
Lualyrr: Is it a love shack?
Thalynmar: You find yourself leaping off a building into a hay stack.
DM: Yes!

In they step, and just as they do, the Greatsword of Warning alerts them to trolls looming out of the fog.

Raven: Is it happy map time?
DM: Yes!
Raven: Yay, happy map time! I demand rainbows.

Dishwashing jokes ensue… for some reason. The trolls furiously Rickroll the adventurers, revealing themselves to be level 20 bard trolls.

Maldrake: They’re like, ‘now we have you!’ He goes to the back, pulls out a hat. Then we get to see their snazzy outfits we missed. They start singing barbership quartet.

Initiative ensues, along with Eben saying ‘Lualyrr!’ a lot, as is his way. Thalynmar and Lualyrr are up!

Maldrake: “Clear our rear, so we have a route of escape!”
DM: Maldrake begs you to do something with his rear, you’re not sure what!

Lualyrr rolls up a Shatter, even as Maldrake cautions them not to expend their efforts too quickly. Krixxix gleefully starts calculating his free crit damage as he rolls his attack!

DM: Krixxix, smirking with glee at the thought of putting a shortbow arrow into the throat of the troll, steps to the side, fires!
Maldrake: The lick on his bow is a little too thick today!
Thalynmar: Ping! ‘Oh no!” (barfing)
DM: He licked it, it froze, and threw off his aim.

Maldrake discovers he can shove creatures around with a bonus action thanks to a feat and a shield, and slaps trolls around vigorously.

Maldrake: Can I face the guy who led us over here?
DM: You can’t really tell which one is which. Ice trolls all look the same to you, you racist.
Maldrake: You’re just putting words in my fucking mouth!
DM: No, I’m putting images in your head. Of identical ice trolls.
Maldrake: Making me a racist…

Maldrake knocks over a troll, then flails the crap out of it. The troll lunges back to its feet in a flurry of flavor text and attacks Maldrake, hitting with only one claw for 9 damage. Eben blasts a troll with FIRE!

DM: This guy steps forward, shoves past the protrusion and his friend—
Thalynmar: Really.
DM: Yeah, they can squeeze. And it helps that that last ice crack was shattered.
Lualyrr: (nervous laughter)
DM: Unable to reach Lualyrr, he turns instead to vent his spleen on the dwarf that had wronged him!
Maldrake: Wait, what?! (miming juice squirting out of an organ)
Thalynmar: What are you talking about?
DM: You wronged him by being in his presence.
Maldrake: Venting his spleen…?
Eben: Shouldn’t that do damage to him?
DM: (a long pause, then incredulous) It’s a SAYING, you dicks!
Eben: I’ve never heard it.
Maldrake: I’m sorry, I haven’t heard that one.
Eben: I’m not calling bullshit, but…
Thalynmar: (coughing the word ‘bullshit’)
DM: He swings both of his claws at you, and you catch them on your… glaive?
Thalynmar: Yeah.
DM: But he yanks upwards, and leans in, snapping your jaws close on your nose, to the tune of 9 points of damage as a chunk is taken out of it.
Eben: How many times is your nose – you’ve had bits of nose chomped off multiple times…
Thalynmar: Dwarves DO have big noses. So that’s six damage instead, because apparently my nose is armored…
DM: Well, this turned interesting… (drawing a critical fumble)

A troll steps on pointy ice to its alarm and pain, and the next two trolls step up and deal some damage. Raven joins Maldrake in a shield wall, and also some shoving and slashing. Fleshlights are deployed as the DM gets distracted adjudicating Raven’s hits and the players take advantage. Thalynmarlon Brando hews at a troll. Krixxix attempts to hide and snipe!

DM: No, you miss. You forgot to add the Krixxix penalty.
Krixxix: No, that’s just something you want.
DM: As the DM, I get what I want.
Thalynmar: Yes, but we all know where you sleep.
DM: …I don’t think Krixxix knows where I sleep.
Thalynmar: Yes, but I could point it out.
DM: Traitor!

Krixxix rolls terribly on his sneak attack, then Maldrake rolls a natural 20 to bowl over a troll and starts chopping away. The troll attacks Raven, but Maldrake helps him block a claw attack!

Maldrake: (helplessly laughing) I don’t need your help, Inspector Gadget! The Klaw was easy! Big silvery gauntlet comes to strike him down. ‘I’ll get you next time, Maldrake!’
Eben: I’m hiding behind Krixxix! Do I get sneak attack on my spells!
DM: The only thing the trolls can do as Thalynmar holds the pass, neither of them can push past him to close on the fragile clothies behind!
Thalynmar: Yaaay! I’m gonna get destroyed!

Thalynmar gets destroyed! But one of the trolls gets a critical failure in all that, and the DM draws a card!

DM: The exhaustion coupled with the blood loss from the wound that is still oozing on his foot and the injuries that have been done to him leave him frantically slashing at you, but you can see him looking vaguely dazed! He pants – desperately -- (unable to keep a straight face any more) ‘We have a wiener’, that’s what it’s called. He pants, and then slumps forward! You catch him and shove him off with your glaive onto the floor. He would be unconscious for five rounds, but since he could not heal the wound on his foot bleeds him out and he shudders his last.
Thalynmar: Oh wow. ‘God, that was embarrassing…’

Raven gets 30 points of damage laid into him all told, and the group starts rapping their martial arts lesson. Raven’s turn is up, and he promptly answers a work emergency call. The group is horrible, and then Raven crits! Damage flies!

Thalynmar: Oh, that’s not gonna hit, is it. 15?
DM: Hits!
Thalynmar: Ooh, a Detect AC!
Maldrake: If someone was studying our opponents, we would have known that!
DM: Yeah, in that minute he had to spare…

Krixxix MISSES! Maldrake drops another troll, and the group gives thanks for Eben and Raven’s fire damage. The troll shoves Thalynmar back, just barely, and moves up to put some harm on Eben.

DM: His bite lands upon you, dealing 7 points of damage. He reels back, looking puzzled at the surprisingly poor taste of this seemingly tasty flesh!
Eben: “Best if used before now.” Aww, I don’t have Hellish Rebuke.
Thalynmar: Shame this isn’t 3rd edition, you could’ve gone down the cancer mage path.

Raven expends his lucky die to make with the shoving and sadly rolls terribly, then critically fails on his sword swing and falls prone. Luckily he isn’t blinded, so he stands back up to swing again and promptly crits.

Eben: HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE! What are the odds of two fails followed by a natural 20…
DM: You drop to your face, and the troll looms over you, reaching down to pick you up and bite your face off. But you rise with a rising slash and cut into his belly!
Raven: 22 physical, 20 fire.
Maldrake: Oooh, man.

Thalynmar lays into the troll while Lualyrr dances around to heal him, and Krixxix scrambles out of melee to Hide, taking an AOO in the process (and losing his mask). He promptly rolls 1s like crazy and ultimately misses!

Thalynmar: Why do you keep rolling that die?
Krixxix: It was rolling so well earlier.
Eben: This is that demon cat from Birthright come back again!
DM: Demon cow?
Eben: Cat.
DM: Maldrake, you watch the interplay of sword and claw besides you with confusion and perplexment! You’re not certain that should have happened, but it did!
Maldrake: “…Interesting fighting style you have there, friend!”
Eben: The whole play of events was like Scorpion’s teleport, you fall down and then somehow punch him in the face!
Thalynmar: Like Drunken Master: Medieval Edition.

Maldrake rolls terribly on his shove, but the troll rolls worse, and after a furious slapfight the troll trips on a pebble and Maldrake crits him! Eben rolls 12 damage on his Fire Bolt, which is above average, but nevertheless compares it to holding a lighter to the troll while everyone else does the work. The warlock endures 30 points of damage in return. Raven knocks the other troll down again and wails on him mercilessly.

Thalynmar: A 28 to shove him down.
DM: And heee goes down.
Thalynmar: I’m like, ‘hey, those guys have a good idea over there.’

Krixxix furiously attempts to stab every dead body he can find, before finally being directed to the LIVING troll on the ground. He then rolls every single d10 he can find before he finally finds a d8! Maldrake crushes the troll’s skull with his flail. Eben unloads 2 points of fire damage into the lone remaining combatant, and the last troll withdraws and tries to flee! Raven impales it and it withers and dies!

Eben: Loot the trolls, quick, Krixxix! Take their claws and fangs since they do so much damage. Uh, this isn’t working, it only works for trolls!
Raven: I’m gonna change class to troll.

They start searching the chamber, but find nothing of value. The chamber dead-ends, leaving them with only the corridor to return to, but they take the opportunity to grab a short rest. They heal up to a fair degree and creep back into the corridor, grimly aware that they’re heading in circles. Another side passages offers another place to investigate… but the fog again blocks their sight deep into it.

DM: It’s empty! But you can’t see the walls…
Eben: Let’s go back.
Thalynmar: Yep.
Maldrake: Yep. Let’s just head back. I don’t see any shiny gold from treasure.
DM: Like I said, there might be another passage further back.
Maldrake: Eh.

The DM gives up subtlety and tells them to explore the rest of it. They head further back and up a ramp that leads to another chamber.

Raven: Oh jeez. Ramps, my most dreaded nemesis.
DM: This is not a steep one however.
Eben: Let me just preemptively fail my Athletics check… (rolling)
DM: (voice going up an octave) You don’t even need to roll it! Woop woop woop woop woop woop!
Thalynmar: And he broke the DM. We trudge upwards, our feet-crampons leading the way.
DM: You clamber up, and as you reach the top your sword lets out a warning. A troll looms out of a niche next to you, staring down at you, and snarls in Draconic, “Why you here?”
Maldrake: “We are here for your master.”
Eben: Do you have a moment to speak about our savior, Lord Neverember?
Maldrake: “Lead the way and you will live.”
Thalynmar: Straightforward…
Eben: Make an Intimidate check!
Thalynmar: He’s a paladin of vengeance, not a paladin of deception.
DM: The troll spits viciously at your feet, and then reaches forward to swipe at you with one brutal blow.
Maldrake: I… block it with my shield? “We took out four of your friends, do you want to join them in the grave?”
DM: The troll, with a hand on your shield, looks at you, and then at your companions, which are lined up –
Maldrake: We should be CAKED with troll blood at this point.
DM: Who are lined up on the ramp, and he attempts to shove you! He hurls you sideways and you stumble down the ramp, clashing into the person behind you, which I believe is Raven.
Thalynmar: Ah, the domino effect.

Raven absorbs the weight of the dragonborn and a fight breaks out, as the group imagines luring the dragon out by peeing on his treasure. The troll is relatively slow to act; Lualyrr shoots him, and then Krixxix MISSES AGAIN! Maldrake takes 14 points of damage but stays up against the troll’s shove. He circles around the troll and delivers the shield-trip that takes him down! The group charges up and pummels the troll – except for Raven, who falls down the ramp again.

Raven: I hate slopes!
Eben: Misty step!
Thalynmar: Fuck this ramp shit.
Eben: Oh! Well, a 20 hit the other batch. 19!
DM: You shoot the troll!
Eben: Yaaay! I get a burn!
DM: (as a Sonic the Hedgehog effect goes off) He loses his rings, but is unharmed!

After this withering abuse, the troll lunges upwards (as Krixxix realizes he can’t Disengage, to his horror) and starts ripping into the halfling.

Krixxix: I’m gonna die.
DM: You’re not gonna die.
Krixxix: Because he just crit. He just crit…
Maldrake: He did not crit.
DM: He did crit.
Maldrake: But you didn’t giggle, like you normally do.
DM: I would have giggled if it had been three hits.
Thalynmar: And all three crits.
Krixxix: He does 97 points of damage.
DM: You take 32 points of damage as the troll rends open your winter furs and lays open your muscles, then bites viciously, sinking his tusks into your shoulder.

Maldrake rolls poorly on the shield shove but the troll rolls worse and goes down! With a crit, Maldrake takes out the troll with a brutal flail crush of his throat. A long and awkward pause ensues as the DM quietly tries to remind them that they hadn’t put fire damage on him since his last turn. At last turning their attention to the chamber, they realize it has a large shelter built in the style of Kalimshan’s desert nomads.

Maldrake: How big is it?
Eben: Where’s Glamdring?
DM: About 20 feet wide, 30 feet long—
Thalynmar: Big Glamdring.
Eben: The Foehammer!

They creep forward, careful not to split the party, and enter the shelter. It is warm and cozy, carpeted and with tapestries, TAPESTRIES! At a writing desk is a female tiefling in a crimson cloak pinned with a clasp in the symbol of the Arcane Brotherhood, and two kobolds in attendance.

Maldrake: What was her name again?
Eben: Her name’s Della Silvermerhelva…
DM: After a few moments the tiefling looks up with an expression of pale disinterest.
Maldrake: What’s the title for Archmage, is there like a ‘doctor’?
DM: “Have you come to save me or kill me? Not that there’s much different between the two.”
Maldrake: “We were told to bring you back, that’s what the Council—“ Was it what the Council wanted or one of the archmages?
Thalynmar: That one lady.
DM: Dala Silmerhelve told you there was a missing tiefling by the name of Maccath who the Arcane Brotherhood would be glad to see again.
Maldrake: “One of your order wished your return. We are here to kill a dragon and save you. It seems that we’ve—“
Eben: Done them in the wrong order!
Maldrake: “Perhaps you could lead us to the dragon, because we’ve walked around a lot.”
DM: “More heroes.”
Maldrake: It’s not the first dragon we’ve killed! …I still have my mask on. I walk out. Disappointed in my inability to stroke my own ego. You go in and talk to her now.

Maldrake knocks the two kobolds out with his flail and cheap laughter, while Maccath watches indifferently. She informs them in no uncertain terms that she won’t leave without the Arcane Brotherhood’s property. Maldrake figures that with the dragon dead, that’ll be no problem.

Maldrake: Besides, the people up top will vow to help us once the dragon’s dead…
DM: “You’re certain? You will vow to this?”
Maldrake: “Well, yeah. They tried to poison us and failed…”
DM: “I mean in general. You swear that we will not leave without it?”
Thalynmar: “How much is there?”
Maldrake: “Can we carry it with five of us?”
DM: “…Six?”
Maldrake: I’m not counting [Krixxix]. How much is he gonna carry?
DM: As much as he can in his pockets.
Maldrake: And we can’t trust him.
Thalynmar: One tapestry.

Krixxix angrily rolls Deception, which the PCs will not credence in the slightest without a natural 20. The DM awards him automatic disadvantage for being Krixxix. Maccath, in the meantime, begins to show some life as they vow, and explains what she knows about the dragon’s lair proper (over Krixxix’s demands for all her money).

Maldrake: I wish you had a weakness like Mr. T, just feed you some milk and you clock out. Whenever there’s treasure around. “Here you go, have some milk!” “Thanks guys, I love milk! Zzzzzzz…”
Thalynmar: Oh! Yeah, we gotta buy some sleeping potion…
Maldrake: ‘Why do you guys keep feeding me milk?’
Thalynmar: I don’t think we’re paying attention…
DM: She explained everything to you, but you weren’t listening, and she refuses to explain a second time.
Thalynmar: Look, I am plotting against Krixxix, here, okay.
DM: …Yeah, the universe gives you another chance.

Maccath tells them there are two entrances down, and the dragon is usually closer to one than the other. That entrance is right nearby, though Maccath warns them they’ll have no easy way back up once they go down.

Maldrake: I pull out my climber’s kit.
Thalynmar: Don’t leave it here…

Maccath warns them the dragon can come and go through the icy water that opens into his lair, and they bitterly expect the dragon to flee when it gets weak. She also describes the terrain just a little, and offers the PCs a ring of cold resistance and two arrows of dragonslaying. They wonder if they should even try giving the arrows to Krixxix.

Maldrake: No. He has not hit with his arrows yet.
Thalynmar: Well he can go clamber after them after he fails until he hits him. We’ll hold it off until then.
Krixxix: Ehhhh…

Krixxix promptly shoots Maldrake with the arrow of dragonslaying to see if he dies, on the theory that they have two and need to test. They also hear that the dragon held the Draachhorn until about a year ago, but humans came and took it away after a negotiation.

DM: “Well… if he does kill you, try not to give me away. Though I suppose I don’t really care all that much.”
Thalynmar: Emo.
Eben: She’s lifted right from Final Fantasy VIII.
DM: Whatever.
Thalynmar: Squall. Fem-Squall.
Maldrake: Is she super-pregnant? In all the Mario animations I’ve seen, Luigi is a Tumblr follower, it’s fucking hilarious.
DM: (showing them the picture of Maccath)
Eben: Hey baby.
DM: Krixxix, the only one who would aggressively hit on her, does not notice.
Krixxix: Wait, can I see?
DM: No! Put your phone down and pay attention.

They head to the nearby scriptorium, which is chock full of books and interesting material. Maccath warns them not to read the books or look at them, as they hurriedly close the books they were all looking at before the warning. A large chute is the entrance to the dragon’s lair! For some reason they hurriedly throw bags of holding into portable holes and put bags of devouring over people’s heads.

Maldrake: I go in first. (miming wiggling into a narrow passageway)
DM: What are you doing?!
Maldrake: I don’t know… You said it was a chute!
DM: Yeah, fifteen feet fucking wide, I said!
Maldrake: Oh, I missed that part.
Thalynmar: He still wanted to do that.
Maldrake: It doesn’t sound like a chute!
Eben: Fifteen feet wide, I don’t think you can still refer to it as a chute.
DM: Well tell… (angrily leafing to the front of the book) Steven Winter and Alexander Winter.
Maldrake: Well, I will do that right now! Dear…
Thalynmar: Dear cuntbags!
Maldrake: A fifteen foot tunnel is not a chute! Parenthesis! Parenthesis! Figure that out, bitch.

They begin climbing down into the darkness, descending onto an ice shelf overlooking the lair – as far as they can tell, being quite short on light, and even darkvision is limited to sixty feet thanks to swirling vapors in the air.

DM: “Hmm. Visitors,” rumbles out a voice that shakes the iceberg. “It’s been some time… since I had visitors. Tell me, visitors… what brings you here?”
Eben: ‘Die, monster! Your kind don’t belong here!’ You’re the… you’re the face man….
Maldrake: “We stand against the dragon cult. We are here to stop her rise and free the world from their tyranny!”
Eben: ‘We only came to look upon you, oh greatest and chiefest of calamaties…’
Maldrake: ‘We are heroes who take selfies with dragons!’ (mimes snapping a selfie) ‘Okay boys, we’re done!’ The dragon’s like… (puzzled look)
Lualyrr: ‘Dafuuuuq?’
Maldrake: Then he just sits there for like an hour and a half… I go into a speech about, you know, paladinness and goodness—
DM: ‘Oh my god. Whyyyyyy?!’
Maldrake: Not THAT long!
DM: ‘I surrender! Just shut him uuuup!’

Maldrake flaunts the fact that they beat up the dragon on Skyreach, as the crunching of ice draws inexorably closer and the two banter.

DM: “Optimism. One of the quirks of you mortal races.”
Krixxix: “Yeaaaaah, it makes us happy. It makes us feel good about ourselves.”
Thalynmar: “We’re gonna do GREAT.” Meanwhile, deep down… ‘ohshitohshitohshit.’
Krixxix: ‘I can read your thoughts…’
Maldrake: ‘He’s a lot fucking bigger than I THOUGHT he was going to be…’
Eben: ‘I can smell you…’
Thalynmar: “Thief!”
Raven: So is the cat standing in for the dragon?

The DM draws the map, while the PCs attempt to sell him dragon cave insurance. Thalynmar angrily demands to know why the DM is drawing Texas. Fortunately, he drops that line of criticism…

Thalynmar: You drew a clownfish!
DM: Leave me alone!
Thalynmar: You did!
Maldrake: Wow, that is a really good clownfish!
DM: I’m duplicating the map as best I can…
Thalynmar and Maldrake: THEY drew a clownfish.

With the map drawn, they still see nothing and hear reverberations. The group splits up to try to mitigate breath damage, while they beg Lualyrr for some dancing lights. The DM calls for Perception checks, and the group starts prepping to blast them all. They take too long to prepare and the dragon flies away.

DM: The greatsword on your back pulses a warning, but you don’t know where the dragon is, though its voice continues to rumble through the lair, echoing off the walls and obscuring its location.
Eben: I’ll cast Minor Illusion… I guess I could fabricate something bright there, like a knight in shining armor…

Eben deploys an illusion, which may be a dancing dwarf or really ‘special’ dwarf to judge by Thalynmar’s noises…

DM: “I allowed your long-winded one to make his speech. Will you allow me to make one of my own?”
Maldrake: “Um, yeah.”
Thalynmar: ‘Um, yeah…’

Everyone mocks Maldrake for how he said that. Dancing Lights have been deployed, but it turns out that it doesn’t offer much light for being a cantrip. Everyone is FURIOUS about that. The group begs Lualyrr for a couple of minutes to cast Light, and she ignores them till the DM directly hauls her back to the game – then reveals she doesn’t HAVE Light. The trouble of light as well as pre-buffing is the topic of debate for a short while.

DM: The dragon asks if you will give its speech and you all say yes… Its claws lunge over the edge, just barely visible, and it yanks its head and neck into view. Its roar shakes the entire iceberg. You can hear ice smashing and clattering around you.

Raven and Eben fail rolls against dragonfear, and initiative ensues. The DM patiently explains to the players that the roar WAS his speech. Then the dragon gives a speech!

DM: “Foolish mortals, to beard a dragon in his own lair – when it answers to ME!” At the roaring of the word ‘me’, icicles erupt from the ceiling, collapsing down on Lualyrr, Eben, and Raven. Let’s see if it can hit you… Lulayrr, no, the icicles miss badly. Eben, also a miss, you’re fired, die!
Raven: When you send me those dice, don’t send me the DM’s….
DM: The icicles fortunately miss all of you as he starts out rolling terribly. But then his jaw opens and you all brace yourselves, knowing what’s coming.
Lualyrr: The cone of we’re fucked.

The blast hits all of them! Some gain bonuses or have reduction, which is good when the base damage is 54. Krixxix, who gets nothing, is dropped immediately, except the group discovers he completely failed to recover any HP during the short rest and yell at him to get off his phone. Thalynmar moves forward and the dragon’s attention is drawn to the glaive he holds. Eben lobs a Shatter and shakes off the dragonfear. The group suddenly remembers they have that driftglobe kicking around to provide light! Raven is unable to advance because of the fear, while Krixxix juggles the driftglobe around. Raven drinks a healing potion for lack of other options, but cannot shake off the fear. The DM remembers the whole concentration-checks-on-damage thing. Icicles from the lair pummel Raven for 7.

DM: Turning his back contemptuously on the paladin, the dragon smirks down at Thalynmar. “Well. Let’s see if you can use dragon bone and claw as well as I can, shall we?”
Thalynmar: “All righty.” Aaaand, Thalynmar you are dead, okay.

Thalynmar is bitten, but parries the claw attacks, and returns a vicious blow with his glaive. Lualyrr heals herself. Maldrake lays a Vow of Enmity on the dragon, and lays into him for 12 and 9!

DM: The dragon, at the feeling of your blows hacking around his flanks, contemptuously flicks his tail into your chest.
Eben: Ahh, he pulled a Cell on you!

The players deem dragons to be jerks, and Eben blasts him clean off the edge of the ice shelf with his eldritch blast – which also prevents his legendary actions. Raven sheds his fear even as the group debates the dragon’s tactics.

DM: At the end of his turn you hear a massive flailing of wings, and the dragon surges back up, no longer amused.
Thalynmar: (chortling)
Lualyrr: That makes two of us.
DM: The dragon slams a claw into the ground, and cold air congeals around those of you here… (drawing out an AOE)
Thalynmar: (seeing himself not included) Oh thank Christ.

The freezing fog has a low DC and only 9 cold damage, but the real agony of it is how it blocks LOS and lingers.

DM: That’ll stop that pesky warlock.
Eben: You know what would’ve stopped that pesky warlock? Another cold breath.
DM: And if his cold breath would come back I’d be happy to use that on you all, but I keep rolling 3.
Thalynmar: Yaaay!
Lualyrr: Yaaaay!
DM: The dragons swivels his head, looking between paladin and fighter. “Volunteer?”
Maldrake: (whispering stupidly) “It’s not my turn. I can’t talk yet. Hold your action until I can talk.”
DM: Angered by your REFUSAL to speak words, the dragon turns on you!
Maldrake: I’ll pull your move. Slap my shield.
DM: “Let’s try it.”

The dragon lands his bite and a claw, while Thalynmar casts Detect AC with his attacks (18).

Thalynmar: I wonder if I should Action Surge this round, get some heavyass damage.
Eben: Do it before we wipe. Take as many of his hit points as possible. He’s got a retreat threshold like the other…
DM: This from the man who bitterly complains that every foe in my campaigns fights to the death.
Eben: But this ISN’T your campaign, technically…
DM: There’s no pleasing you!

The DM sings about how the dragon is no fool; Thalynmar boos this, and gets tail-slapped. Maldrake giggles giddily about Starscream overthrowing a Megatron with laryngitis. Lualyrr casts Dissonant Whispers on the dragon, and Maldrake blocks his tail-slap to the dragon’s surprise. Maldrake counters with his shield shove and rolls a natural 20.

DM: That just barely beats him.
Maldrake: Slamming the entirety of my body into his back leg!
Thalynmar: That’s great.
Maldrake: Describe it! Describe it, DM!
DM: As the tail lands on your shield, you shove it aside, jump onto his back, and slam the shield onto the back of his head. The sudden ringing blow makes its knees go weak, and it drops down as you leap back off of it.
Raven: Hell yeah!
Maldrake: I fall down, slamming the mace, and then again! Jumping off him and landing back in my space perfectly, as if in some kind of turn-based combat.
Thalynmar: Meta. Meta.

The dragon tail-bashes Maldrake, but the group contents itself knowing that the damage to the dragon’s ego is great. Eben misses his blast as floating shields emerge from nowhere to chase people down with their sound effects. Krixxix bursts out of the fog and launches a dragonslaying arrow into the dragon… bouncing it off his armor. The group bemoans Krixxix’s terrible luck this session. Raven moves up to form the shield wall with Maldrake and promptly rolls a 1 on one of his two dice, but the other hits. The dragon creates a wall of ice out of the ground to block off the ranged, then misses his bite but lands two claws on Maldrake, dropping him!

Raven: Little help here! Medic!

Thalynmar lays into the dragon, unloading both his normal attacks and an Action Surge into the dragon. Lualyrr is up!

Lualyrr: Did Thalynmar shatter that wall that the dragon put in front of us?
DM: (indignantly) No!
Maldrake: We don’t have the ability to.
Lualyrr: Like a Shatter spell won’t do it?
Maldrake: It might, but the three people who have gone so far don’t have that spell!

Lualyrr scrambles up the ice wall and hops down to heal Maldrake. The dragon takes off with its legendary action, buffeting them with wind that doesn’t hurt a single one of them, and vanishes into the fog.

DM: The dragon’s voice rumbles out through the iceberg again. “I admit you have power, warriors, but it will avail you not. I have many lairs, and soon the Sword Coast will be my plaything. Cherish your small victory. You will not have another.”
Thalynmar: “COWARD!”
Maldrake: He’s running?! What’s all these running dragons?!
Krixxix: Because they’re a bunch of pussies.
Eben: We didn’t do nearly as much damage to this one as we did to the other one.
Maldrake: We did more than you think.
DM: You guys did a pretty goddamn good amount of damage to this guy, you really did.
Eben: He literally could have killed the rest of us with one more breath.
DM: And you know, as true as that may be, his breath does not come back.
Thalynmar: He’s rolling really terribly for that. Thankfully.
DM: I have not managed to roll a breath recharge…

Discussion of dragon breath occurs, as it relates to 5E and 3E. Then the group complains about loot in 5E, especially as they discover the dragon doesn’t have much in the way of loot here. They heal back up the chute, Eben musing on whether or not they could have burst down the dragon’s remaining HP if given another round.

Thalynmar: (randomly singing) My sweet Adeline….

Not forced to make rolls, fortunately, the group successfully climbs without incident.

Maldrake: We make our way back up to the… that… little library thing.
Eben: The spell-torium or… uh…
DM: Scriptorium.
Maldrake: What’s her name again?
DM: Maccath.
Eben: Mer’ dovich.
DM: (indignantly) No!

One of the ice toads is waiting, conversing with Maccath, but the toad is not hostile as they reach the top.

Maldrake: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned about these dragons, they like to run.”
DM: “Better than dying, isn’t it?”
Maldrake: “Aaah. Getting tired of not killing them.”
DM: “I’m certain I would have heard his death cry, but even so, having done that it’ll probably be months before he returns here.”

Maccath introduces the toad, and Maldrake snickers at the idea that the previous ice toads had known Krixxix was in their work area the entire time. The toad explains that they serve the dragon but their true work is their lore, while Maldrake clings to consciousness from his wounds the entire time.

Lualyrr: If you’re having that much problems—
Maldrake: I’m joking around. I can heal myself, I just haven’t taken a second to do it.

Disappointed that the toad won’t give them access to their lore, Maccath nevertheless begins gathering up her stuff. The group prepares to chip free the dragon’s loot, crapping on No Man’s Sky the entire time.

DM: Once you return to the top, the villagers are pleased.
Eben: There’s more poisoned fish.
DM: They know they can manage to flee the dragon and he won’t hunt them down, he’ll have bigger things to do. This is what they’d hoped for. The chief even bows and kneels before you, in apology for his hostility earlier, though his words are difficult to make out until Lualyrr casts Tongues on himself.

The group bemoans their inability to slay any dragons to date, and begin preparing their trip back to Waterdeep.

DM: Everything’s in Waterdeep.
Thalynmar: There’s Baldur’s Gate. No one seems to remember THAT any more.
Thalynmar: I know, but everybody seems to forget it all of a sudden.
DM: No one gives a shit about Baldur’s Gate.
Thalynmar: (stupid voice) ‘No one gives a shit! Fuck Baldur’s Gate! That stupid thriving town!’
Eben: Before we set back out again—
Thalynmar: Pissing and moaning about Baldur’s Gate! Fucking piece of shit. Makes bile rise in my throat – yessir?

The DM ominously warns them that their trip may not be uneventful, and they so close Chapter 2 of the Rise of Tiamat.
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