Hoard of the Dragon Queen. Part I

Posted on Posted in D&D, Tyranny of Dragons

This is the first session of the campaign.  

We had played one short evening where Evandar, Mort, and Meela met.  Belinda and Garrick met in Baldurs Gate and then met the others on the road.  I started the campaign with three words – ‘Roll for Initiative!’ – Matt

They were attacked on the road at dusk, a day’s travel from Greenest. The five travellers were, more or less, strangers. There was Belinda, a newly ordained priestess of Tymora heading home to Greenest, Evandar, a hard-eyed mercenary armed with both axes and magic, Garrick, a roguish gnome with quick wits and a quicker tongue, Meela, a wild and uninhibited Green Elf warrior, and Mort, a youthful and eager young priest of Lathander.
The attackers struck without warning and mercy but found, to their cost, that the five travellers were far from helpless. Initially at least Belinda and Mort tried to warn the attackers off rather than hurt them. By comparison Evandar, Garrick and Meela showed no such restraint and fought back with spell, bow and spear. The assailants’ bloodlust was not matched by their skill-at-arms and were all quickly dispatched.
Searching the body of their leader the travellers found a set of written orders to cut-off the road to Greenest in preparation for an attack on the village, orders that revealed that they were members of the Cult of Dragons.
Of the five travellers only Belinda had not had dealings with the Cult of Dragons in the past, although the news that they wished to attack her home town was distressing enough in itself.
Garrick, in the course of his extra-legal activities, had heard rumours of the Cult and their practice of forced recruitment. For reasons of his own consciousness  the gnome had decided that he should look into these rumours and find the truth. For their part Evandar, Mort and Meela, only days before, had helped the people of tiny village of Willowtrees track down a bandit who had been allied to the Cult. On his person were similar orders and the three had agreed to bring warning to Greenest.
The day was quickly waning and, although they feared that time was short, the five travellers made camp. They had been walking all day and had a full days walk ahead of them tomorrow.
That night they camped beneath the stars. When it was not their time to watch the humans and gnome slept. Meela, as was the way of elves, did not sleep but entered a restorative trance. As it had been many a night before her trance was not an easy one but disturbed by a dreadful vision; a the world dying, choked by poison, blasted by fire, ice and lightning and scourged by acid. All the while five sets of merciless eyes watched the devastation from the shadows, watched and approved…
The next day the five travellers rose early to make the best start for Greenest. Belinda often took the lead, eager to see her home and family again. They travelled through the day but that evening, as they crested a ridge about half a mile from Greenest, they discovered that they were too late. The town was a scene of chaos. A large band of armed men and kobolds, numbering well over a hundred, rampaged through the streets, looting at will, while overhead flew a blue-scaled dragon, mighty and terrible to behold.
Without a thought the five travellers ran the rest of the short way to Greenest. Meela hurled herself into the nearest clutch of human cultists, eager to put a stop to their looting. Quickly she was joined by Evandar and Mort. Belinda, however, had more pressing issues on her mind and ran down the high-street in an attempt to reach home. Worried that the priestess would get into trouble on her own Garrick gave chase. The pair did not get far before they ran straight into a pack of marauding kobolds. Driven by a hereditary hatred of gnomes, the kobolds swarmed over Garrick, bearing him to the ground. It was only the combined healing powers of Tymora and Lothian, channelled through Belinda and Mort, which saved the gnome’s life.
Garrick and Belinda fought a desperate defensive battle against the kobolds until their three friends could reach them and even the odds.
While the five travellers had been victorious in their battles so far they had learnt a hard lesson; the raiders outnumbered them many times over. If they were to live long enough to do any good they would have to choose their fights more carefully. Belinda lead her friends through the back streets of Greenest as they headed for her parent’s house. As they scurried from cover to cover the five friends noticed that the Cultist seemed more concerned with gathering valuables then attacking people. Despite their best efforts the five travellers were spotted by looters a couple more times before they reached their destination but they were able to drive off the cultist each time.
When they reached the childhood home of Belinda the young priestess was in for a terrible shock; the house had been forced open and ransacked. Of her parent’s there was no sign.
As Belinda picked through the wreckage Meela glanced out of the front door, across the market square and spotted a family about to be overrun by kobolds. Without a second thought she plunged into the kobold’s midst, fighting to the side of the family. Where Meela had used brawn Garrick used brains. Exploiting their mindless hatred of his kind the gnome taunted the kobolds who forgot all about their human prey and rushed after him. The nimble gnome lead the kobolds back into the house where Belinda, Evandar and Mort were waiting to finish them off.
From the family, neighbours of Balinda’s, the five travellers learnt that everyone was falling back to Greenest Keep. To get there the five travellers and their new friends had to run the gauntlet of several more cultist and kobolds; including one kobold who was blessed with bat-like wings.
With seconds to spare they made it through the shutting gates. The high stone walls may have kept the cultist at bay but they were no defence against the dragon. From high above the castle it exhaled a bolt of lightning that shook the keep. Their nerve cracking at the sight of this blue-scaled behemoth the five travellers still joined with the defenders of Greenest in launching arrows and spells at the dragon. Again and again the dragon swept the battlements, mowing down archers like corn before a scythe. With growing resolve they kept up their attack until, with a final bolt of lightning aimed at the castle tower, the dragon broke off its attack. The dragon’s parting shot was deadly enough though as it sent a rain of rubble down into the castle courtyard. Belinda, Garrick and Mort were knocked senseless by the attack.
As Evandar and Meela saw to their comrades’ injuries they were approached by Tarbaw Nighthill, governor of Greenest. He had a handful of healing potions and, as thanks for the bravery they had shown, offered to use one each on the three unconscious warriors.
Once Belinda was revived, and she had satisfied herself that her parents were safe inside the castle, she and Mort began to treat the injured as best they could. Evandar kept to the battlements and watched the besieging forces of The Cult of the Dragon with an experienced eye. Garrick and Meela, at loss as how to help, kept out of the way.
After a while Governor Nighthill, along with the castellan Escobert the Red, called the five travellers together again. He had received word that some townsfolk were trapped in the temple to Chauntea and he needed the traveller’s help in saving them. If they could also capture on of the Cultist too that would be even better. Eager to help any way they could the five agreed. To aid them in their mission Governor Greenhill gave them the two remaining healing potions.
The five travellers were shown to a little used, secret passage that lead out of the castle to the woods to the south. As they navigated the passage they found it inhabited by a vicious swarm of hungry and territorial rats. The swarm would have overrun Garrick had Meela not been quicker off the mark. She hurled herself into the pack but soon would have been overwhelmed if her comrades had not come to her aid.
Soon enough the five travellers had reached the far gate of the tunnel. After some confusion about the keys the gate was open. Garrick and Meela slipped outside to look for any signs of trouble. They soon found it in the form of two cultist who were about to stumble on the passage-way’s secret exit. Garrick and Meela quickly brought down the cultists but not before more kobolds heard the fight. The five travellers fought side-by-side and the kobolds were soon dispatched. However the accumulative wounds of a dozen fights were beginning to take their toll on Meela and the travellers were forced to use one of their two remaining potions to her.
Following Evandar’s astute directions the five were able to reach the temple without further difficulty. What they found was not encouraging. A large force of cultists were positioned at the front of the temple while at the back a smaller force of humans and kobolds were lighting a fire with the aim of smoking-out those sheltering inside. Using the raiders’ own smoke as cover the five travellers closed on the force at the back of the temple. Garrick and Meela tore into the kobolds while Evandar and Mort engaged the two human cultists. Meanwhile Belinda dragged over a barrel of water to quench the fire. The kobolds fell easily. With impressive axe-work Evandar knocked one cultist senseless but the other ran Mort through only to be slain a moment later from a savage assault by Meela.
Belinda was able to convince the townsfolk trapped inside the temple that they were friends and to open the door. Belinda, Evander, Garrick and Meela, carrying both the unconscious cultist and the bleeding form of Mort, entered the temple. There were almost two dozen towns folk trapped within, including the town priest Eadyan Falconmoon. Mort was revived using the last of the healing potions. Now the five travellers had to act quickly. The force at the front of the temple were growing impatient and renewed their attempts to batter down the temple doors. Quickly and silently the five travellers began to lead the town’s folk out of the back of the temple towards the secret tunnel. The cultist were mere minutes behind them but using magic, both divine and gnomish, Mort and Garrick were able to send them on a wild goose chase.
Soon enough the five travellers and the town’s folk were safely back within Greenest Keep. With mounting frustration they watched as the cultists looted the town. Once or twice they caught glimpses of the raiding parties two commanders; a woman in purple robes and a towering half-dragon warrior.
In the pre-dawn light it appeared that the raiders were preparing to leave. As they did a contingent, lead by the half-dragon, approached Greenest Keep. With him were a party of kobold archers and four captured town’s folk; a woman and three children. The half-dragon issued a simple challenge; if the best warrior in the keep came out to face him in single combat the prisoners would be spared. An “invitation” by Mort for the half-dragon to fight inside the castle only resulted in one of the children having their throat cut. After restraining an enraged Belinda Meela announced that she would face the half-dragon.
Head high the Green Elf strode forth to face her foe. As tall as she was the half-dragon towered over her. Meela carried her shield and a new spear while her enemy carried a massive, greatsword. For a few seconds the two warriors probed the other’s defences. Meela spotted an opening and scored first blood but her moral victory was short lived as the half-dragon sent her crashing to the ground with a massive blow of his greatsword.
True to his word the Half-dragon released the prisoners and left the field of battle. Belinda, Evandar, Garrick and Mort rushed to scene of the fight. With divine magic they were able to save the life of both Meela and, miraculously, the child whose throat had been slit but they could only watch helplessly as the raiders marched away with their ill-gotten gains.
From their prisoner the five travellers had learnt that the treasure was to be part of a great hoard to be given as sacrifice by The Cult of the Dragon to bring forth a flight of dragons that would do their dark will.
While they had been unable to stop the Cult of the Dragon looting the town the five travellers’ actions, their valour and sacrifice, had saved the lives of many in Greenest. Five travellers had survived the night and immured reborn as five heroes ready to embrace their fate…

The first evening went well.  The attack on Greenest is nasty for first level PCs but they handled it well.  – Matt