Campaign Diary #10: The Dragon Attacks!

The following is one of my Campaign Diaries, where I recap the latest game of Dungeons and Dragons that my friends and I play. Click here for the Campaign Diaries in order, click here for a “Who’s who” style summary, and click here for a Dungeons and Dragons introduction post!

This session was probably the one most of my players have been looking forward to the most, considering where I ended the last one! It’s also unique in that it’s the first session I ran since starting this site! I can finally give a “Behind the Scenes” chat!

Take your fate in your hands, take a chance, roll the dice!

The session started as the same as the previous one ended. Venomfang, the Green Dragon of Thundertree, had just used her poisonous breath attack and caused Theon, Naoise and Gryff to collapse unconscious. Dovogholz had just managed to stoically take the brunt of the attack and Reynarín just about survived it.

In seconds, the party began to act. Reynarín rushed to Theon’s side and revived him, hoping his powerful spells could aide her friends. As he gasped awake she ran from the room and healed herself too.

Venomfang lording it over the party, most of whom were near death.

Venomfang, green tendrils of smog still seeping from beneath her teeth lunged at Dovogholz, biting him and slashing at him with her powerful forelegs. He couldn’t take the hit without him too dropping to the floor. She then took to the air and perched on the top of the tower, glaring down at the vermin beneath her.

Theon got to his feet and laid his hands on Dovogholz, using his Misty Step spell to teleport them into the far room. Tendrils of fog and mist swirled around them and shunted the wizard and his friend to safety. Naoise and Gryff still lay on the floor of the dragon’s lair, neither of them moving.

Reynarín, thinking of her fellow druid who left the town mere moments before, ran from the cottage. She reached out to the natural world and willed large red flowers to bloom from the ivy on the top of the tower. She hoped it would be an obvious call for help, and returned to cast Healing Word on Dovogholz, bringing him to his senses.

“We have to get them out of there!” called Theon, once again running into the dragon’s lair, thankful that she hadn’t regained her dragon’s breath and decided not to swoop down and attack him. He got to Gryff’s side and again used Misty Step to vanish from the scene.

Dovogholz, having been revived, decided to rush in and grab Naoise himself, as Reynarín shoved a potion down Gryff’s throat. Venomfang, irritated that the party seemed to be escaping rather than pleaing for mercy, left the tower and landed on the roof of the cottage the group were fleeing to. She raised her powerful forelegs and tried to smash through, but the roof held.

At that moment a familiar woman could be seen running up from the bottom of the hill. It was Lana of Parilla, the Sorcerer whose son Henry had been kidnapped by Krampus. She said that she owed the group a favour, and it seemed that she was here to return it.

She ran through the door of the cottage, screaming at the group to “Get the hell out of here!” and cast Banishment. Venomfang vanished in an instant, teleported to an unknown plane of existence.

“IT MIGHT NOT HOLD FOR LONG WE NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE!” screamed Lana. Not needing to be told twice, the group ran down the hill, Naoise only now being roused with a Healing Word spell. Once they got to the bottom of the hill Lana followed, telling them the spell held, and they wouldn’t be seeing the dragon for some time.

Having wounds that needed to be licked, the group returned to Reidoth’s home, south from where they were. They got inside and rested for an hour, all while Lana chided them and called them fools for taking on a dragon. She begged with them to leave Thundertree and return with her to Phandalin immediately, but Gryff was having none of it.

“This is… should’ve been my home. I want to find the house I should have grown up. I need to.” The rest of the group discussed the merits of staying vs leaving, finally deciding to stay. Lana reluctantly stayed, but only to make sure her debt was repaid.

The group continued to explore the town, checking every building for the woodworker’s home, the house that Gryff should’ve come from. First, Reynarín found a small statue of a fish made of Emerald. It was carved in a similar fashion to the Ruby Fox and Jade Frog they found over the last few days. All three statues were standing on small cubic platforms, with a strange zig-zag spine jutting out from the bottom. They examined them and compared them, but couldn’t figure out the mystery of the statues.

After more exploring, they came across a group of men dressed in black cloaks and masks. They were speaking in Draconic, the language of the Dragons. Dovogholz, a Dragonborn, was shocked. It turned out the men were a cult who praised the evil five-headed dragon goddess Tiamat. They were trying to recruit Venomfang to their cause and were going to offer her jewels and their service.

The party ended up fighting them, and disarming their leader Favric fairly easily. Dovogholz interregated the man, trying to find out what else he knew and what was planned. He revealed that there was a Cult of Tiamat, and they wished to bring her back from the Nine Circles of Hell. Dovogholz threatened the leader, asking him what he would do if Dovogholz let him go.

Dovogholz about to lead the fight against the Cultists.

“I’ll return to my people, and continue my work to bringing the Queen of the Dragons back to the Material Plane, where she will rightly rule.”

Dovogholz wasn’t having any of this and grabbed the devil worshipper by the head and squeezed…. and squeezed and… Game of Thrones fans will know what I mean when I say “The Viper and the Mountain.” Anyone who isn’t sure what that is, YouTube is a thing.

Once Favric died, Lana stepped forward.

“That man was unarmed. He was at your mercy and you did… you did that?!”

“He was evil!” replied Dovo.

“Consider my debt repaid.” stated Lana, coldly. She turned and left.

The group decided to continue to do what they came here for, to find Gryff’s home.

 Finally, the group find Gryff’s home. Gryff, the Ranger, steps inside and sees his father’s workbench in the corner, covered in dust and growing weeds, barely standing, all the tools rusted and rotten. Across from it was a double bed, with a cot knocked over beside it. He walked over to the cot and righted it, and took out a little wooden dragon he had carved the night before. He put it in the cot and said “I made it home dad.”

Over the cot, his father had carved three names into a plank of wood. His fathers, mothers and his own true name. (Gryff being a nickname given to him by the orcs that kept him prisoner for years)

Lavena, Iden and Conchobar.

Before finally leaving the town and returning to Phandalin, Gryff remembers that dragons famously hoard treasure. The party explore the tower Venomfang called home and found many wonderful trinkets, including a potion of flying and a dwarven battleaxe called Hew.

Will Lana side with the party ever again?

Will the party ever figure out what is going on with the strange statues they keep finding?

How come the group didn’t freak out at Dovogholz popping a man’s head like a grape?!

Find out the answer to these questions and more, next time!

Behind the Screen!

So if you’re one of my players, don’t read this part!

There wasn’t too much that I needed to fix or change, as the group went fairly by the book this session. I was always going to have Lana rescue them, but I was going to wait until the dragon’s fourth turn, but because of Reynarín’s clever display with the flowers I brought it forward.

Gryff really surprised me in the last session by carving a wooden dragon, his father being a woodcarver. There is no woodcarver’s house in the book, so I decided that once the players explored the majority of the town, I’d just replace a random building, keeping track of whatever treasure they’d “miss” by replacing that building. From a storytelling perspective, he really gave a great character moment. I also now have his parents names, something he rolled on a name generator for. His own “true” name was a shock, as Conchobar is the Irish version of my own name!

I almost forgot to include the Emerald Fish statue, something that is not in the original story of Lost Mines of Phandelver. That would’ve been a disaster!

I was delighted with this session, and am really hoping to amp it up next time, whenever that is!

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