Dean (Jared), Matt (Spinter Paw), Chris (Creeper), Jeff (Ford), Coby (Kyros), and James (Kraygen) are returning cast members.

We left the party resting in the ruins of Cragmaw Castle, which they had earlier cleared of occupants. Only the squirrels had moved back in. When dawn rose, the party left the castle and followed Creeper’s directions through Neverwinter Wood towards Thundertree. Miraculously, their journey went unnoticed and unmolested by denizens of the Wood. They arrived in the ruins of Thundertree around mid-day.

The ruins seemed quiet at first, with a few crumbling buildings being slowly taken over by natural growth. A 40-foot tower loomed over the town from a small tor, with a gaping hole in the roof. Entering from the northwestern corner, the group moved south and east following the remains of one of the town roads, exploring as they went. The first building proved empty; the second was guarded by a pair of strange, bush-like creatures. They fell to Jared’s hand crossbow almost as quickly as they attacked.

More of the plant creatures attacked from the pair of buildings further southeast as the party explored them, falling almost as fast as the initial two. The next house offered a change of pace; they were invited inside by the druid Reidoth, the very many they had been seeking. He informed them that the “twig blights” were his allies (friends might be too strong a word) against a strange form of undead known as “Ash Zombies”. Those zombies had taken over the town following a volcanic eruption nearby a decade ago. Reidoth was slowly whittling their numbers down while using the twig blights to keep travelers away from the danger.

Unfortunately the druid’s plans were disrupted by the arrival of a young green dragon, who claimed the town’s tower as his lair. The presence of the dragon forced the druid to restrict his activities against the zombies, fearing to draw the dragon’s attention. Worse, not long afterward a group of strange human figures began skulking through the ruined town. They appeared to be seeking to communicate with the dragon.

Reidoth offered to share what he knows about the location of Wave Echo Cave in return for a small favor: convincing the dragon to lair elsewhere. After staying the night with Reidoth and discussing strategy, the party agreed to try. Reidoth agreed to restrain his twig blights from interfering. Defeating the Ash Zombies within the town would be helpful but not necessary to the bargain. The other humans in town might be allies or enemies; Reidoth knew little about them other than that their interest in the dragon was concerning.

The following morning, Ford and Creeper set out to scout the dragon’s lair. They – well, Creeper – managed to scale the tower and peer down upon a green dragon curled up around a chest. The dragon slept. Withdrawing and returning to the rest of the group via a different route, Creeper stumbled into a web, drawing the attention of two giant spiders. They hustled out to fill him with paralytic poison and haul him back into their web.

Ford reacted quickly and sent a magical message to the rest of the group, who came to the rescue. After a short battle the spiders were defeated and Creeper rescued. Returning to the druid, the group decided to clear as much of the town as possible before confronting the dragon. Reidoth found and pacified the group of twig blights just south of the spiders while the group surrounded a house that contained two ash zombies.

Kyros tried to open the door and failed, falling on his back and alerting the zombies within. His second attempt also failed a moment later, but one of the zombies pushed the door open from within and stumbled his direction, followed quickly by a second one. Between Kyros and Kraygen in melee and the rest of the group in ranged support, the ash zombies fell quickly, though not before leaving some of the group wounded or choking on ash.

Unfortunately, Splinter Paw celebrated the victory of his pride by “yodaling for zombies”. His loud caterwauling woke up the whole town, starting with a nearby clutch of twig blights outside of Reidoth’s influence. Two groups of ash zombies also started towards the group, one from the northeast and the other from the northwest, though they started from farther away than the twig blights. And the group of strange humans also began converging on the party from the southeast.

The fight against the nearest group of twig blights was going well, but the zombies were just starting to trickle in. Kyros again got himself in close proximity to an ash zombie and began choking on the clouds of ash surrounding the creature. Creeper found a house to hide in. As the strange group of humans arrived, they demanded Splinter Paw and those of his companions nearby “lay down your arms and prepare to be presented to His Green Majesty.” Splinter Paw promptly dropped his dagger and brained a twig blight with his lute.

The humans, now revealed as some kind of dragon cultists, joined the fight against the twig blights. Meanwhile the ash zombies and the twig blights were fighting each other. Creeper added to the confusion by casting Fog Cloud over the center of the battle.

The cultists and the group made short work of the twig blights outside the fog, and things seemed to be going well, until Jared and his steel defender caught up to Reidoth – still keeping his group of twig blights pacified – and yelled for him to flee, along with Ford whose union break had just started. Reidoth promptly fled… which unleashed the group of twig blights he had been restraining to chase after Jared.

Kyros, who had been trapped inside the fog with the twigs and zombies, was being pressed hard after accidentally revealing his location. His divine invocation to turn the zombies had sent some of them fleeing, but some had resisted, including those closest to him. More of the zombies had entered the fray from out of his range. Meanwhile, the cultists lined up outside the fog, treating Splinter Paw and Kraygen as allies and preparing to face whatever emerged.

They were not expecting to Kraygen to unleash a Thunderwave on them from behind, or for Splinter Paw to follow it with Heat Metal. Everything in the area of effect was killed outright,including most of the cultists. However, Kyros was still being hard pressed inside the fog by a group of ash zombies. Those of the zombies fleeing from his divine influence were heading straight north…

We called a halt to the game for the evening with several ash zombies, one cultist, several tree blights, and a very peckish dragon remaining on the battlefield.

To be continued…

Experience and Treasure

  • 100xp each

Roleplaying moments and quotables

Dangling Threads of Fate

  • A necromancer is excavating Old Owl Well
  • Reidoth the Druid is reclaiming Thundertree from ash zombies, cultists, and dragons: oh my!