10 August 2017 @ 09:35 pm

Rise of Tiamat begins with the Daily Double. The DM recaps: They had captured Neronvain and slain the dread dragon Chuth. At last they are actual dragonslayers, not just dragon-scarers!

Eben: He was the one who was just like -- (puts his hands in the air)
DM: Once you butchered his dragon, he realized which way the wind was blowing.
Eben: And the stupid caster bitch took off.
Maldrake: Oh, I thought it was the guy who was countering you. I thought you’d be like, “You wanna counter spells? COUNTER THIIIIIIIIIIIIS!”

They head further in, discovering the great lake from which the dragon had emerged, as well as passageways on each side of the lake. Maldrake interrogates Neronvain, who stubbornly answers in Elvish.

Lualyrr: “He wants to know what you want to know.” (to the cat) Hi, Bubby.
Maldrake: “Any secrets, any other dragons live here?”
Thalynmar: Yes, tell us, Bubby.

They shake Neronvain down for the dragon’s loot, even though the DM has already awarded it. They have other questions as well.

Maldrake: “Any other information you have – if he was contacted by other dragons, if he was planning on joining them…”
DM: “Of course! You – you do realize,” and here he’s so aghast at your questions that he’s forgotten he’s haughtily replying to you in Elvish and has lapsed into Common, “you do realize I am the Green Wyrmspeaker, right? One of the five Wyrmspeakers under Severin? You do realize who you’ve captured, right? OF COURSE he was contacted by others! Of COURSE he was planning to join Tiamat! Who shall still rise, and you’re far too late—“
Eben: “That’s enough.”
Krixxix: “Can I slit his throat?”
DM: You fortunately cut him off before he reveals valuable information.
Maldrake: I was gonna say, just let him talk.
Eben: ‘That’s enough of your blabbering, out with your valuable information!’
Maldrake: I was playing dumb in the hopes that he was going to do that.
DM: I give you full credit for it.
Eben: I had no idea when you were going to wind down.

Krixxix eagerly anticipates using his flying carpet to reach the loot; they point out that the flying carpet is in the loot pile, making him curse. Jar-Jar Binks tries to lead them underwater; they threaten to pitch Neronvain into the drink with his arms tied, though he doesn’t buy their threat.

Krixxix: I’m going to practice my waterboarding techniques.
Maldrake: (so very done) Go get the treasure. The rest of you go with him or we’ll never see it. He’ll come out thirty pounds heavier. ‘No treasure there, boys,’

Krixxix swims blindly through the tunnel and emerge into the lair, finding the treasure they’d already been rewarded. As ALWAYS, he attempts to take it all.

Thalynmar: We already distributed the wealth, so you’re SOL, little buddy.
Krixxix: Damn.
DM: You don’t think for a second they sent you in there and aren’t going to shake you down for every copper on you when you get back.
Eben: That ghost pain.
Krixxix: All of a sudden, that share of gold gets this added to it. (pointing to Krixxix’s wealth as listed on his sheet)

Out comes Krixxix from the lair, rolling an Athletics check along the way (with disadvantage). He immediately sinks and scrambles back to the lair. His second roll is better, and the DM describes his emergence on the far side with far too much delight.

DM: He collapses to the bank in front of you with the heaviest jingle of coins you have ever heard. In fact, gold, copper, and silver spill out from his shirt out and pants as he lies there.
Krixxix: “Sorry guys. I couldn’t find the treasure.”

Back to the dragon corpse they head. They want a trophy, and butcher it for its head right in front of Neronvain.

Krixxix: (to Thalynmar) Please lick the axe. (ludicrously dramatic licking)
DM: What are you licking?!
Krixxix: I was telling him, lick the axe. He’s staring at you, you’ve got the axe.
DM: Welp. (to Thalynmar) You would’ve cut your tongue, but your Heavy Armor Mastery prevented that somehow. I don’t understand it, but there it is.

What next? They propose going back to town to reassure the elves that they’ve dealt with the dragon. This proves to be no problem, because nothing in the forest is willing to screw with a group carrying a DRAGON HEAD. The players revel in this.

Krixxix: Some bandits are like, ‘Ooh, ooh! Some prey has come! Let’s get – I’m going home.’
DM: UN. Eventful.
Maldrake: I love the idea of some bandits, like ONE guy didn’t see what was going on. ‘Now I see – oh that’s a dragon’s head. Listen, we were here to uh… serve you food! That’s why we’re here!’ Playing with a pack of dire wolves because they’re so terrified of us they become playful, docile animals.
DM: After a day of travel you make it back to Alton, as the sun is descending over the forest tops.
Raven: Well that trip was very easy.
Maldrake: Oh, oh! I’m Vengeance. Where is the guy? Is he sleeping in his house? I’m gonna drag him out and show him the head. Because I’m the fucking paladin of Vengeance. And ‘I told you so’ is on the top of our to-do list!
Thalynmar: Now that’s pretty fucking – that’s pettiness.
DM: What is your alignment?
Maldrake: Paladin of Vengeance!
DM: What is your alignment?!
Maldrake: Lawful Good. Being petty is not unlawful!
DM: It’s not Good, I’m just saying.
Maldrake: Being treated like shit is not good either!

Their arrival is greeted with elves turning out for a downright celebration, the death of the dragon being of course a cause for revelry. The entire group tries to stop Krixxix from looking up ridiculous songs. Galen, leader of the elves, stares at Neronvain in trembling rage.

Maldrake: I think we should play it cool and just walk past him, and as we walk past him… “Hope you understand what you did.”
Raven: I like that idea.
DM: You casually walk past him to I don’t know where you’re going…
Maldrake: We need to go back to the Council.
DM: Evening has fallen. You’re here in the elf village. Are you going to just walk back?

As they discuss their plans, Galen draws a knife and lunges at Neronvain! Thalynmar immediately moves to stop Krixxix, which is probably the right choice.

Krixxix: Can I use a Reflex to stab the guy?
DM: No, because Thalynmar is stopping you, because he knows you’re about to stab the dude.
Maldrake: I’m gonna use my shield to help stab the guy.
DM: However, Lualyrr lobs a confusion spell at him with a swift word that sounds musical, and he immediately pauses in a daze.
Krixxix: 17! Krixxix gets over there and has a dagger up to his throat!
Thalynmar: 19 to throw a dragon head at Krixxix.
Krixxix: It hits me!
DM: The world goes dark around you,
Lualyrr: I didn’t cast it at him!
DM: He just ended up in a dragon mouth.
Krixxix: I can’t believe I was going to do something good and I still got the fricking dragon head thrown at me.
Thalynmar: You were using more violence!
DM: The spell won’t restrain him for long, however. He may start to stab people randomly. What do you do?
Krixxix: Oh good! A dagger to his throat is the best way to make him calm down!
Thalynmar: Don’t make me wrestle you. You’re not going to like the end of that.
Maldrake: Just restrain him. Somebody!

Raven seizes Galen and ties him up, after which Lualyrr lets the spell lapse.

DM: Neronvain lifts his voice in Elvish. “Did he tell you he was a traitor? Did he tell you he sold you out!” Silence.
Lualyrr: He told us…
Thalynmar: Leosin, kinda need you here, get out outta here quickly…
DM: “Your beloved leader, whose strength has shielded you from everything, is the one who sold your people out! My kind has DECIMATED yours, thanks to the information he’s given us!” Galen cannot deny this.
Maldrake: “I’m going to make you translate into English. Repeat it in Common, please.”
DM: “I—I’m informing them their beloved leader sold them out.”
Maldrake: “Oh. Gotcha.”
DM: “We’re cool?”
Maldrake: “Just keep it in Common. They understand – you understand Common, right, folks? Yeah, your shocked faces tell me they did.”
DM: “They’ll – they’ll take it better in Elvish.”
Maldrake: “Oh, all right.”
DM: Galen cannot deny the accusations. The gaze on him –
Maldrake: Oh, I knew we forgot something, guys. Probably shoulda told that town.
Thalynmar: Hmm?
Maldrake: That he was betraying them.

The elves grimly seize Galen and drag him off. The players are briefly concerned about this, and they spend a moment asking if the elves will have a leader and if the town will be okay after they leave.

DM: “We’ll work it out.”
Thalynmar: Who said that? Random elf #2, thank you.
DM: You were TALKING to random elves!!
Thalynmar: I know, I know, I’m just kidding. So who’s taking first watch to watch Neronvain?

They cast the Animal Messenger spell while Maldrake asks if the cultists have dragonborn among them, and where the heck all the other dragons are. He goes off on a weird diversion about false teeth. A day passes without a response from their spell, but in the evening a rat runs up to them with a scroll on its back.

Thalynmar: Ugh! (miming stomping)
Maldrake: Food!
DM: You don’t recognize this handwriting.
Lualyrr: Do I understand the writing?
DM: Oh yes, it’s written in Common.
Thalynmar: ‘Do you like me?’ Yes or no.
DM: “Leosin sends congratulations. Magical difficulties. Make for Boreskyr. Signed, Maccath.”
Raven: This isn’t suspicious at all.
Lualyrr: Maccath isn’t suspicious!
Thalynmar: But why didn’t Leosin give us the message?

A long silence.

Maldrake: I go to whoever’s decided to be leader of the town.
DM: One of the acolytes of the church has reluctantly taken up the mantle, and has promptly betrayed the town to the dragon cult.
Maldrake: That was quick… “Tell me, do you have a way of messaging your leadership? Getting a message back to… Riven…dale?”
Lualyrr: We’ve got to call Elrond!

Maldrake arranges to send a message to Waterdeep, while the group gets pretty distracted trying to figure out their exact location. They have to find a random map in their pile of D&D accessories. They set off for Boreskyr, wading through a few handwaved encounters with the chaos and trouble now plaguing the Realms – and wishing to encounter bandits who piss their pants at the sight of the dragon head.

DM: You see a bridge over the ravine. Ogres stand upon it. ‘Halt. Pay toll. Dragon head.’
All: (laughter)
DM: ‘Pay toll. Half dragon head. Here your change.’
Thalynmar: Ugh!

The DM describes Krixxix as gleefully killing bandits; he takes exception to his, insisting he’s Chaotic Neutral.

Krixxix: I don’t murder GLEEFULLY—
DM: Does anybody agree with that statement?
All: No!
Krixxix: I murder because either they have something I want, or I need to stop them from doing something I don’t want them to do.
Thalynmar: Yeah, that justifies your actions…
Eben: You don’t do it gleefully, you just do it completely without remorse or regret. You’re not sadistic, you’re just a total psychopath.

Somehow the group meets the Abominable Martha, I don’t even know. They reach the tent settlement of Boreskyr without notable incident, getting a brief refresh on the town as they do. Thalynmar immediately goes to Bolo’s Tentside Inn. Krixxix goes to murder some small animals, just to prove what everyone thinks about him. Thalynmar is greeted by Bolo.

DM: “You’re back! I thought you might be coming. I’ve got a message for ya!”
Thalynmar: “Oh yeah? What message is this?”
DM: You hand her a dragon head.
Thalynmar: ‘I’ll trade ya.’
DM: “That’s… I… wow.”
Thalynmar: “We’ve been a bit busy. Up in the Misty Woods.”
DM: “That’s something. You mind if I pass word around that this thing is here?”
Thalynmar: “Is it gonna draw a lot of people?”
DM: “Oh HELLS yes. That’s the point.”
Thalynmar: “All right. That’s fine. For your business. Just a… little kickback.”
DM: “…How much kickback?”
Thalynmar: “We’ll see.”
DM: “How much kickback?”
Thalynmar: “It’s my dragon head. 10%. It’s a bargain.”
DM: “All right.”
Thalynmar: “And the note please?”
DM: “Oh right.”

Another note signed Maccath, instructing them to wait there. Maldrake arranges for a place to stay, they park the head on the bar, and a crowd begins to gather. As people pour in, they buy the heroes food and drink and beg for the story!

Maldrake: “This time, I’m gonna let our Wyrmspeaker friend tell us what happened. Why don’t you tell us your side of the story? Tell us what you and the dragon were doing before we stormed in and slew him?”
Raven: “You’re a jerk.”
Maldrake: I’m a little drunk. I’m assuming this is the tenth time we’ve told this story tonight.
DM: My throat’s giving out on me for some reason. I haven’t done any ridiculous accents tonight…
Maldrake: “Ah, he’s just playing. Let me tell you the story. This little guy here…”
Thalynmar: Lean in closer. “Penis, penis. Penis penis penis.”

They all start telling the story, which never matches and is in a different art style depending on the teller, before they remember they have a bard in their group. Thalynmar refuses to speak and drowns himself in the ale. Krixxix attempts to convince everyone that he killed the dragon single-handedly.

Thalynmar: I roll to wring Krixxix’s neck.
Krixxix: 34 on Acrobatics, I flip out of the way.
DM: Nope. Your shoulder didn’t come with you.

Krixxix rolls to get himself plastered; he succeeds, by which I mean, he fails at a Con save to not get too drunk. He furiously attempts to roll to see if he gets jailed or laid, even going so far as to roll percentile dice with disadvantage.

Thalynmar: Did you roll a d10 and a d12?
Krixxix: Uh…..
Maldrake: Yes. Yes he did.
DM: Even a crowd has surrounded Eben, all of them trying to get him to drink. “Come! Have a drink! Celebrate your defeat of the fearsome dragon with us!
Thalynmar: Just pull your staff out.
Eben: I’ll take a drink and pour it into the ether of the bowels of the staff.
DM: A dozen tongues emerge from beneath the surface, licking up the alcohol that pours over the staff.

The group is drunkenly amazed by this, apparently demanding other tricks, while the DM calls for Perception checks. Maldrake prepares to put the magic of Revivify up against the instant AIDS Krixxix has picked up.

DM: Most of you – not Krixxix – notice the latest arrival standing in the doorway of the tavern’s tent. A tall figure in a cloak, wearing leather armor, and at his belt the unmistakable of a weapon that resembles so many you’ve seen thus far: a dagger signifying allegiance to the Cult.
Thalynmar: Uh-oh. Cultists. Oh my god, Krixxix is going to have to fight drunk.
DM: He lifts his voice. “I’d like to hear a different story!”
Krixxix: ‘The MURDER of those innocent dragons!’
Raven: I’m gonna see if I can study him with Know Your Enemy.
Thalynmar: Good time to use it.
DM: (observing Lualyrr’s gestures) Lualyrr ceases her playing immediately and points her hand crossbow at him.
Lualyrr: No no no, I was just making sure it was loaded. But I did cease my playing, so that’s fine.
Krixxix: I’m so drunk, the second I grab this bow I’m gonna hurl.
Maldrake: “Oh! How about the tale of the Dragon Cult’s raiding twenty to thirty villages out in the countryside, or dragons destroying the woodland areas? How about those stories?”
DM: “Close! But not quite what I had in mind!”
Maldrake: “Oh, how about the story of when we stayed in a town, and you killed everyone in the town, and then tried to kill us and failed, and then ran away?”
DM: “Again! Much closer!”
Maldrake: “Uh, you killing everyone in this town—“

The group explodes into a flurry of action. Raven’s study tells him the man is weaker than he is, while Maldrake’s Greatsword of Warning gives him an alert. Maldrake angrily protests that the town has no guards, Map drawing ensues. The group angrily curse the council for not giving them transport back to Waterdeep. The discussion gets weird.

Maldrake: You get more help from the Princess in the Mario games. At least she sends you shit, and she’s captured by a dragon.
Raven: Don’t ask how in the world she sends you a P-wing, the most powerful item in the Marioverse, while she’s captured by Bowser.
Maldrake: What, did he lock her in the storeroom!?

They plop themselves on the map, though the DM elects not to fill the tavern with mook minatures. They bemoan their inability to find the slave minis and discuss optimistic Beanie Baby pricing guides. A quick initiative-toll ensues. Krixxix is the first to act despite his drunken haze, and shudders with disgust as he produces his bow. Lualyrr and Krixxix climb onto tables to shoot the dude; both of them hit. Lualyrr has randomly forgotten the rules for crits, which is kinda weird.

Krixxix: 78 points of f—ing damage to that dude’s face and he doesn’t go down?!
DM: Nope.
Maldrake: It wouldn’t take ME down.

Thalynmar and Raven wade forward through the press of the crowd, and the latter Rallies up some temporary hit points for Lualyrr. Their nemesis takes to the air, gathering power in his hands.

DM: “Ha ha ha! The masks are joined, you fools! The call is sounded! Soon the Gates of the Nine Hells shall swing wide, and She shall return!” He hurls the ball forward and it lashes out. Lualyrr! The orb of acid slams into you on your raised position. You’re a perfect target which he has taken advantage of with a smirk.
Lualyrr: Yeah, cuz he’s eeeeevil.
Maldrake: Seriously, you guys – they’re quite dedicate, but… Are we that bad? Are we that boisterous?
Eben: Every time dragons are mentioned, your character goes into straight full-on trigger mode!
Maldrake: I don’t feel like I do good enough. Look at this guy!

Maldrake and the cultist get into a weird argument over whether or not the cult is taking this whole thing seriously, while a fiendish creature surges through the door! This is oddly pleasing to them all.

Maldrake: I feel like we’ve really finally stepped up our game against the Cult. They’re sending real stuff after us now.
DM: With cackling glee, it speaks words of power—
Thalynmar: (cackling weird words of power)
DM: Thank you, Thalynmar.
Thalynmar: No problem.
DM: It’s either thank you or kill you…

A cloudkill erupts in the middle of the inn! Krixxix, as is inevitable, begs for someone to push it around with Gust of Wind. A dragon rips through the top of the tent and drops down, smashing several innocents and forcing Krixxix to make a dragonfear save, which he fails. Maldrake snarls about the Council of Waterdeep. Neronvain also chokes on the Cloudkill!

DM: The dragon turns as you burst out of the cloudkill. “A copper.”
Maldrake: “Ah… black.”

Everyone gets a cheap laugh out of this. Being a paladin, Maldrake laughs away the dragonfear, then uses Abjure Enemy on the dragon – successfully!

Maldrake: “Look at the table, and see the death of one of yours! It’ll be easy enough to --“ Well, I guess the counter, is where it is. “Fear the one who has slain your kind!” …well, I guess not really your kind. A green dragon. And a white dragon ran away. So one of your rival dragons. Except more epic!
DM: (rolling, then peering at what he rolled in confusion)
Maldrake: He has to think about it. He has to think about it!
DM: Actually… the problem is, I rolled my d20 into a pile of d20s…
Maldrake: (cracking up)

The dragon fails its save! Maldrake, beyond himself, rolls to see if he keeps his cool or loses his shit with glee. Somehow it’s the former. Someone, I’m not sure who – probably Eben – rolls to identify the yuggoloths, even as a second one dispels Raven’s flametongue sword.

Raven: That’s it. I quite this game. See you guys.
DM: …Damn.

Krixxix abruptly takes damage as a different, larger yuggoloth appears next to him! The wounds fester and writhe, and at some point a spear bounces off a shield – the transcriber being fairly lost at what’s happening beneath the sound of very loud chewing. Krixxix bemoans his fate of getting one good shot and then dying, while Eben rages about being useless, out of the absolute 100% conviction that his spells will be countered.

Krixxix: He starts to launch a fireball. The dragon reaches up and slaps it back down on top of him!
Raven: Don’t give the DM ideas.

Krixxix tries to bait a murder-based alignment shift out of Eben, but with most of the civilians dead or fleeing, no such luck. He blindly lobs Circle of Death into the fray, and then the DM has to question the whole ‘no innocent deaths’ part of it.

DM: 60’ radius sphere?! Jesus Christ, you’re killing like every innocent there is!
Eben: I’m not putting it here, it’s gonna be like… back here.
DM: ‘We’re the paladin guard, here to –‘ (dissolving into coughing) You point the staff and speak the command word, and the staff vanishes from your hand. Aruptly, every square inch within that 60’ radius fills with microscopic, practically, tentacles writhing through the air. They burst out of nowhere, and then retract in an instant, leaving behind injuries countless, as their bodies practically seem to dissolve. None of them go fown, however.
Raven: I get to see the carnage. How many people was just killed by that?
Eben, Maldrake, and Thalynmar: None.
Maldrake: It sounded really cool…

Cultists advance, Krixxix runs away from the dragon and his stabber, the dragon misses him with his tail repeatedly, Lualyrr waffles over spell choices, and Thalynmar beasts through cultists like crazy thanks to their spell-weakening. Maldrake gets tail-slapped. Raven starts hacking down cultists.

Raven: Why not? Let’s do a Menacing Strike.
Maldrake: I think that’s – yeah, go ahead.
DM: What’s that do?
Raven: Wisdom saving throw or he is feared.
DM: Dude, you killed him.
Maldrake: Apparently he dies.
Eben: You menace his corpse! You turn into Menasor! Motormaster looks around for Optimus Prime, so he can be barreled off the rode AGAIN!

The dragonsoul gathers power for an orb and is mocked for it, but Thalynmar takes 30 points of acid damage. Racist jokes ensue. The cloudkill shifts away, as a fiend steps up to Raven. Maldrake pulls the game into Warhammer40K somehow, as Raven eats some small damage.

DM: The dragon takes some damage from the cloudkill, to its massive irritation. It looks around, but it can only see one enemy. It quickly takes to the air and flaps over here. (moving the mini next to Krixxix)
Thalynmar: (laughing)
DM: You’re the only one it can see.

The DM rolls for the dragon’s attack; he promptly rolls a crit.

DM: I think Krixxix just burst. You take 37 damage from its bite.
Eben: Disappear into its jaws!

Maldrake takes a defensive stance, trying to tank some damage. The other smaller demon tries to put out a cloudkill; Maldrake furiously yells at the DM not to draw it. Eben leaves the cloudkill in a flurry of flavor text, while Raven tries and fails to maneuver such that he can boot an enemy into the cloudkill. A shatter blasts out over their human foes. Krixxix gets slapped down to unconsciousness.

Krixxix: Every fucking fight we have, I get targeted by the most powerful being to knock me down. I didn’t DO anything to the dragon this time!
DM: You were the only one he could see.

Lualyrr fires off a Mass Cure Light Wounds (standing in the cloudkill the entire time, for some reason), then Raven and Thalynmar go to town on the enemies – the latter dropping the dragonclaw who had been leading the charge, and the former critting but still dealing only half damage to the yuggoloths.

DM: The dragon lands a claw down on the table and leans over you. “Fear ME, will you?!”
Maldrake: “Honestly, I’m as surprised as you it worked. I’ll be truthful right now, I haven’t tried it on any of the others yet. I think we both had a bad day. Let’s just start over.”
DM: “All right. Let’s start over with YOU having a bad day.” And he begins to lay into you with blow after blow, claws slamming down on your shield. You reach up and deflect away the muzzle with a bash of your shield, but both claws slam shut on your form, crushing you from both sides! I should actually look up the damage!
Maldrake: He needs to do 80 damage? It’s like 50% of your health is a problem?

5E has a rule where if you drop to negatives farther than your max, you insta-die. This is probably not a fear for the PCs at this point. Eben envisions the legendary three-assassin encounter as the Kobayashi Maru scenario. Racist jokes come out of nowhere, to the credit of H. P. Lovecraft. Maldrake smites like a mofo, dealing a great deal of damage.

Thalynmar: You swing your flaccid flail.
Eben: AH HA HA! Flaccid flail! Swinging it underhand!
DM: The dragon lets out a roar, attempts to spin and hit you with his tail. It doesn’t go well.
Thalynmar: Oh no.
Maldrake: Oh god. What happened to the dragon?
DM: The dragon turns to bat at you with his tail, and the table he was standing on there collapses under his weight. He stumbles this direction. You may take an attack of opportunity against him.

The dragon’s dignity is sorely wounded; Maldrake promises to leave this incident out of the songs of his death, to the dragon’s indignation. They make a gentlemen’s agreement to not mention embarrassing parts of the battle, no matter who wins. The invisible creature who took out Krixxix pops back into view as he stabs Maldrake. Eben fires a shatter at the yuggoloths, and – well, it’s pretty late at this point, so they call the game here, take photos of the battle environment, and promise to do further battle NEXT TIME!