Neverwinter: Tyranny of Dragons

New World Journal Entry 3
Not my war

Basajaun Gartzia back for a third report.

After all the excitement in my previous report, we Copper Crusaders decided to take another couple of tendays off to pursue our interests. I mean to check on Hory during the interim and see if he was doing okay, but- well, I got distracted and put it off too long and then the city got besieged!

For the first thirteen days, everything seemed normal. I spend some time practicing my magic, and I’m more or less back to the level of power I could command back home. After that, I decided I had given up too quick and started to search again for local druids. I think I was making some progress. Kirrin at the adventuring payment office in the Commonwealth knew some, remember, and I was trying to track which freebooter bands they were with.

On the fourteenth day, all of that got shoved aside. I woke up and there was yelling and running in the streets and smoke everywhere. I finally got a “Sovereign” (that’s what the people heavy into the free city anarchy stuff call themselves) to tell me what’s going on, and I find out a Netherese army has appeared from nowhere just outside the city walls. All of Neverwinter is surrounded. They’ve got catapults firing into the city, and Netherese soldiers are using their shadow magic to teleport in, attack, and teleport back out. I help some people out from under rubble and make my way to the Sunken Flagon.

Hory, Asterion, and Talyn show up there as well. Amafrey is missing, and we can only hope she hasn’t been hurt. Talyn tells us the Netherese have landed a black dragon on an earth mote and are using it to destroy any ship trying to leave the harbor. Hory tries to figure out how big the dragon is, but any dragon that can destroy a ship is too big for me!

I use Animal Messanger to send a bird to Kypreos asking what we should do, but that spell doesn’t come with a ‘reply’ function. Not wanting to wait on advice from our patron, we go to the Hall of Justice to see if they are organizing freebooter bands like us to do anything useful. Kirrin doesn’t have a lot of time to talk, but she tells us that they’re offering a reward for every siege engine destroyed.

We start to get a better grasp on the army that has the city encircled, and it is no mere raiding force. They have a lot of soldiers, mages, and seige engines that are constantly firing rocks into the city. They even have a bunch of golems that are supposed to be super duper special. No one has any idea how they got so close to the city undetected. Everybody woke up one morning and boom, there the army was. I mean, maybe they brought everyone through the Shadowfell? I don’t really know how that works, though. I thought you had to go through specific passages at specific places, not dump an army through all at once. But what do I know, I’m not an ancient empire of shadow mages.

We decide the best thing we could do to help would be to try and capture one of the soldiers. They presumably know how they got here, right? So it’s a stealth mission for the four of us (Amafrey still being missing). We slip out an entrance that isn’t being watched as closely and belly crawl our way there with Pass Without Trace active from my staff.

I thought about keeping on going. I really did. I’ve only been living in this city for less than two moons. This isn’t my war. If I have the chance to get out, shouldn’t I take it? Still, I don’t. Most of it is that I don’t want to let my new friends down. We’re the Copper Crusaders, right? It’s also that I like Neverwinter and the shadow people really are kind of an evil empire. And… if worse comes to worse and the city falls with me inside it, I can probably still sneak away as some small animal.

The mission is a disaster. The soldiers are veterans who are tougher than us. The mages are way more powerful than me or Talyn. Maybe if we had taken them seriously, all concentrated on taking down just one guy and getting away, we could have managed it. Instead we ended up fighting two squads at once and barely escaped with our lives, mostly because the mages got paranoid and fireball-happy. We only get away with our lives because they stay to guard their siege engines.

As they’re cracking open a gate to let us back in, that kobold working for Kypreos shows up with a box from Kypreos. Inside the box is a magical stone called a sending stone that allows Kypreos to talk to us. He advises us to go to the that tavern called the House of a 1000 faces, find the elf woman I know called Theryis, and tell her that Kypreos sent us and we can be trusted. We’re given some kind of code phrase I’ve already forgotten.

Kypreos tells us that the only thing that can save Neverwinter is its red dragon patron, Klauth. The problem is that the Netherese have figured out how to scare Klauth off. One of their mages has developed some kind of magic that interferes with some other kind of magic that Klauth “depends on” (whatever that means) and Klauth won’t show his scaly face until the mage goes away. Kypreos thinks that the mage is in Gloomwrought, the Shadowfell reflection of big city called Waterdeep to the south of here. Theryis can get us to Waterdeep.

I push back a little. I thought we wanted to keep Klauth from being the savior of Neverwinter? Seems like if there’s magic keeping him from the city, that’s great. Kypreos doesn’t see any other way to break the siege, though, so it’s going to be one of those stories where we invite in the snake to catch the rat and then have to deal with the snake. Still, it’s not like I have any better ideas and fleeing the city honorably doesn’t sound so terrible.

We go to the House of a 1000 faces. I give the code phrase and we get sent to a back room to talk to this other woman waiting with a sword. Apparently she’s this famous hero in these parts named Luusi Wintermere. We introduce ourselves to her, although she already knows who Talyn is. I am not clear on why we have to meet her in secret if she’s famous or what all these code phrases are about, because what she asks us to do is pretty straight forward and not secret at all.

Dwarves from Delzoun have a shipment of mithril they were going to load onto a ship called the Silverstar that’s supposed to go to Waterdeep. They want to send it along with news of the attack to their allies in the Lord’s Alliance. The only issue is that black dragon attacking all the escaping ships. Apparently his name is Garundar the Vile, and he’s this really old black dragon who used to lair in a place charmingly called “the Mere of Dead Men”. He’s far too powerful to fight head on. In fact, there’s a good chance that he could take the city by himself, but I guess the Netherese aren’t paying him enough to risk himself against Neverwinter’s most desperate defenses.

Anyway, there’re going to try to distract him with this flying tower and sneak the Silverstar out of the harbor. They think he won’t chase us too far away from the harbor if we get out. I’m not clear why that is. What’s our job in all this? To escort the ship out as security.

We head over to the River District to see the Delzoun. Along the way we finally run into Amafrey fighting off some Netherese soldiers. They duck back into the shadows quick once they’re facing real opposition, and we reunite with Amafrey. She’s been helping some other wizards from her academy fight all day. We explain what’s happening and she comes with us.

There’s a whole crowd of dwarves when we report at this counter to take the mission. Hory wants to know why everyone doesn’t just evacuate through the portal to Delzoun, or at least use it to being in supplies to withstand a long siege. The answer is that Delzoun is completely cut off underground. They don’t even have a good path to get to the surface, much less trade routes there. This portal is their only door out right now. That seems… not good.

I make a crack about how come adventurers aren’t lined up around the block to take the mission as a way to escape the city. The woman at the counter tells me they all consider it pretty much suicide with the dragon and all. I don’t see how that can be. If the ship captain doesn’t believe the ship can make it, why would he or she agree to go?

Asterion and I don’t have many ties in the city, but Talyn and Amafrey do. (No idea how Hory feels.) I suggest everybody split up to say their goodbyes, because who knows when we’ll be able to come back or if Neverwinter will fall before we can. (I maybe don’t say that last part out loud.) I don’t have anyone to say goodbye to, so I visit Helder Stormcrow and give him as many goodberries as I can make. At least that’ll feed a few people today and let them save their real food for tomorrow.

We report in the next day to a dwarf called Rogin Ironfist, who has us escort a bunch of mithril-filled crates to the harbor. There we meet the Silverstar’s captain, Westra Lackman. She quizzes us about our capabilities and all the crates are loaded.

The escape is actually kind of anti-climatic. Talyn has this gust of wind spell she uses to fill the sails, and we’re out of the harbor and onto open sea before Garundar can stop us. The end. We all go to bed relieved.

We all wake up in the middle of the night, alarmed. The Silverstar gets attacked by a bunch of skeleton pirates in a rotted ship. It’s tough being caught without armor, but Asterion and I don’t have time to wriggle into it. Instead I slap a Barkskin on him and we do the best that we can. I have to turn into a bear twice, but we win in the end. The rest of us besides Talyn get a chance to earn our pay.

From there it’s a couple of days more sail to Waterdeep. Amafrey gets antsy, though, and she sneaks into the hold and looks in the crates. Buried underneath the mithril in one, she finds a chest. She and Hory and Asterion want to figure out what’s in it and if it’s why the skeleton pirates attacked us.

My take is that there’s no reason to invade the privacy of the Delzoun just because we’re curious, and if they want to keep secrets from us they have a right to do that. My take doesn’t seem to have much sway, so Talyn and I sit things out while the other three investigate further.

Eventually they come back and Hory tells me that the crates had a bunch of powerful evil magical artifacts. Well okay then, it makes sense they want to keep those things away from the evil shadow empire, especially if they’re afraid Delzoun itself will get invaded through the portal and fall. Talyn wants to confront Captain Lackman about it, which I think is crazy. She could literally have us keelhauled or any other horrible thing she could think of. Ship captains can do whatever they want on the ocean, and I can’t manage any water-breathing forms yet.

Talyn listens to reason, but Hory and Amafrey are still worried. Not sure how Asterion feels. Anyway, I tune out after they come to some plan to satisfy themselves that the evil artifacts aren’t going to evil people. Good to know.

Finally we arrive in Waterdeep. It’s an amazing city, just as big as Tarmalune. I don’t get much time to look around, though. Kypreos contacts us and tells us something bad is going down in Neverwinter right now, and we have to get to Gloomwrought tonight, no waiting. Not good.

The dwarves they try to sneak
The skeletons they try to peek
But the mithril blocks all
Save for Amafrey’s curiositall
So it’s the wizard that gets the sneakpeek

Oh that’s good. I think my poetry is improving! A little?

The Curious and Captivating Commencement of the Copper Crusaders: A Concise Chronicle

25 Kythorn 1481

Met back up with my companions at the Sunken Flagon. Felt good to be getting back out on another adventure. Basaujan suggested we start with the ooze problem in Blacklake, which he believes is connected to the “infestation” the animals there told him about. Hory wanted to make sure we had a witness so that we could collect the reward, and it was suggested that we recruit some of the Red Bridge to accompany us. Hrast, these people are going to be the death of me. Fortunately, it turned out that we did not need their help in any case. According to the troops we spoke to, the quest had been posted largely to appease an apothecary named Hazel who had been raising concerns about the matter. They did not seem to think there was much to her claims and referred us to her.

Hazel had apparently been studying the oozes around the lake for some time. She said that they were somehow changing it. Asterion looked at Hazel’s research and determined that the oozes were turning the lake into one giant ooze. Hazel said it had been spreading from the old boathouse, so we set out for there. When we got there, we found a drow cultist—apparently a follower of Ghaunadar—performing some sort of ritual. We killed him, but not before he was able to complete the ritual. The whole lake started to rise and form into the giant ooze we had come to stop.

I did what I could to slow the ooze down with rays of frost while the others ran back to Hazel to see what could be done. Finally they returned, Basaujan in bear form carrying Hazel upon his back. As we circled the giant ooze, Hazel threw some kind of alchemical mixtures into the thing, causing it to weaken. After a few rounds of that, the life seemed to go out of the ooze, and it melted back into the lake.

Among the remains, Hory found an insignia belonging to a drow house—House Auvrymtor.

Back at the Flagon, we received letters from Kyprios. One, addressed to the group, warned of an impending attack upon Neverwinter from Evernight. The other, addressed to me specifically, was about my research into this “Softwing” that Silverwing speaks of in his journal. From his accounts, it sounds as though Softwing often accompanied Silverwing and Valamaradace, but I have never been able to find mention of him in any other historical texts. I asked Kyprios about it. In his letter, he writes that he believes that Softwing is not the name of a person, but rather a location. Clever.

26 Kythorn

Hory told us that he met with First Secretary Auvrymtor last night. Apparently, she’s interested in recruiting us as agents. Well, it’s nice to have options.

We went to One Eyed Jack’s II to look into the anti-drow rallies that Helder Stormcrow has been holding. According to the bartender there, Helder had once been held by the drow as a slave. Basaujan suggested that we need to convince the drow who were involved in the raid on Helder’s home to apologize to him. While I appreciate his idealism, I tried to suggest that there may be more intermediate compromises we could get them to agree to in the interim, as settling a decades-old blood feud may take some time. But he was very insistent. Tluining teenagers.

We went to see Helder and got his side of the story. He believes he is doing the city a service by ridding it of a potential threat. I tried talking to the man to see if I could get a sense of what he might be willing to accept as compromise, but my fellows cut the conversation short before I had the opportunity. Afterward we tracked down Arlon Bladeshaper. The Brightwoods say they don’t have any leaders for some reason, but really, Arlon is their leader. We found him handing out food to people, and we decided to lend a hand until he had time to speak with us. He mostly confirmed what Rizzen and Helder already told us and doesn’t seem to have any ideas on what to do about it. Basaujan decided that we should go on patrol with one of the Bregan D’aerthe patrols tonight with the idea that the drow warriors will bond with people who have fought beside them in battle. We also have to look into the Evernight situation anyway, so I suppose it’s worth a kell.

After meeting with Arlon, we tracked down a Waterclock reporter named Tura Oakenheart who had been investigating the recent ghoul attacks. She was looking to hire some protection to take her into Evernight, so we offered to go along with her.

For now, we’re waiting until nightfall to meet up with a Bregan D’aerthe patrol and try to persuade them to follow us into Evernight.

27 Kythorn

Last night was certainly interesting. We found a Bregan D’aerthe patrol willing to go into Evernight with us and crossed over to the Shadowfell. Tura only had one of the amulets that the denizens of Evernight use to indicate who not to kill and/or eat, so the rest of us posed as her slaves. The place was crawling with Netherese soldiers. Clearly they had been planning something big. We spent some time listening around for what’s been going on. Word around town was that the governor had shut down imports coming into the city. Which was why the ghouls had been attacking Neverwinter. The governor cut off their other supplies of food, forcing the ghouls to raid the material plane and giving the Netherese another force with which to attack Neverwinter. And apparently, this governor is none other than Clariburnus Tanthul, one of the Princes of Shade. Which would mean that this is a major Netherese operation we’ve walked into.

We started to discuss how we could turn the ghouls against the Netherese, but it turns out we didn’t need to do much. The ghouls were already on the verge of becoming a mob after the Netherese tried to close down the market, and Hory was able to provoke the situation into becoming a full-blown riot. We escaped before things got too heated and returned to Neverwinter. Hopefully, that will at least slow the Netherese down.

Had a few drinks with the Bregan D’aerthe afterward. Basaujan talked to them about making amends with Helder. I tried to convince them that it would be in the best interest of their company to make the effort to get along with the surfacers. Though they didn’t seem to need much persuading. Apparently they had a conversation with Helder today, where they worked out their differences, and Helder agreed to stop the rallies. Which would be a remarkable feat of diplomacy even without the cultural differences between them. I guess the drow are a lot friendlier than everyone is always saying. Anyway, I’m glad they were able to work things out. Seems like the best outcome.

28 Kythorn

Went to the Hall of Justice to inquire about the reward for finding Brander Waderivver. We officially registered our company as the Copper Crusaders while we there. One of Kyprios’ suggestions. Amafrey wasn’t too enthused about the name, but I think it has a certain ring to it. In any case, we were told to see Kira Stavinger about Waderivver’s disappearance. She was Brander’s girlfriend. When we spoke with her, she said she suspected that Brander’s father, Dornan, was involved. Apparently, this is not the first person who has disappeared from Fisher’s Float either. She said that someone goes missing there every year on the 15th of Kythorn—around the same time that Brander went missing. Clearly too much of a pattern to be a coincidence. Kira believed that Dornan was somehow involved with the Abolethic Sovereignty. I suppose it was too much to hope that the aboleths had been driven off for good.

We took the portal to Fisher’s Float and split up to ask around town about what has been going on. Most of the fishermen were out working, so I spoke to some of the children who were playing nearby. One of them said they had gone into Dornan’s basement when their ball accidentally went into his house, and they saw strange equipment inside before Dornan yelled at them to get out. And he didn’t even give them their ball back!

I went to Dornan’s house, where the others had already started to gather when we heard the sound of battle from inside. Apparently, Hory had gone in alone and was attacked by Dornan and some other cultists in the basement. This was obviously where those who had gone missing were killed, as they had the body parts hanging inside. I helped Hory to his feet while the others took down the cultists.

Gave the children back their ball. That’s one small victory at least.

New World Journal Entry 2
Worst place I've ever been

Basajaun Gartzia, taking some time to write another report.

After leaving Kyprios at Highcliff fortress, the group split up to go our separate ways. We promised to keep in touch with each other by leaving messages at the tavern where we had come together, the Sunken Flagon. I was glad of that, these are pretty much the only people I know in Neverwinter and having shared danger together I feel like a bond has been created.

With some money in my pocket, I decided to get lodgings. Not knowing the city well I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted to live, but I eventually settled on a place in what they call the River District in the east half of the city. Apparently this is the Free State of Neverwinter territory, which is what they call the half of the city that doesn’t believe in government. More on that in a bit. Anyway, I found a place where this nice husband and wife couple have a big garden area they don’t mind me using for druidic rituals. For my rent I get my own room and one meal a day if I pitch in on ingredients. Living in a city feels a bit itchy, but so much is strange that it doesn’t bother me that much.

I spend about a tenday doing nothing but trying to settle my connection with the local nature spirits. Tasting the air, feeling the soil, chanting to put myself in the right frame of mind, cutting plants with a carefully crafted dagger made from bone- you know, the usual. Some of the implements cost more than I was expecting (boy, was it nice when the Circle just gave me all that stuff) but it’s a success! I’m able to take on the forms of beasts once more. Just like Master Xani promised, it only took a little time to settle myself and adjust. I’m not quite where I used to be, but being able to turn into a bear puts me in a better mood.

After that, I spend five days looking for information on any local druidic circles. Plenty of people are willing to talk to me, but neither they (not the birds or beasts) know anything. Finally I find this pretty “elf” woman in the Blacklake District named Theryis. I’m still getting used to elves; can’t believe they really live for over a thousand years! Not even powerful druids live that long, and their years pass ten times as slowly as those of most men. Well, maybe if you had a powerful druid who was a dwarf, but I’ve never heard of one of those. Elves are like human beings, but better. I feel so nervous and awkward around them.

Theryis owns a tavern called the House of a Thousand Faces, and she tells me about this circle called the Ring of Swords that used to operate in Neverwinter Wood to the east of here. She said they were a militant group that tried to protect the ruins of old elven kingdoms and drive out the gnolls, goblins, and bugbears that roamed the forest. Then there was another druidic circle used to operate in a place cheerfully named “the Mere of Dead Men” called the Circle of Merdelain (which means something in elven but I forget). Bad news is that both circles were destroyed even before the great disaster that brought us to the New World. She knows of no druidic circles that have taken their place, but said that she would be quite interested to hear anything I might learn about what happened to them.

So there’s two possibilities here. One is that druids around here aren’t very well organized. I don’t think people would stop developing the ability, but maybe my own Circle(s) in Eskorn just have unusual longevity and power. Or maybe people in the city just don’t know about them; it’s not like we advertise ourselves to people in Stormhelm.

Theryis also tells me something weird; she’s heard some of the patrons at her House of a Thousand Faces talking about Netherese (the shadow people empire) spies infiltrating the city through the Free State. Not sure why she told me. However since I live in the Free State now, I figure I’ll take a fiveday off and try to get to know the people there and learn more about them.

So they don’t believe in government. Instead when someone needs the cooperation of other people they call a big meeting where everyone talks and they try to reach a consensus. When two people are having a dispute they grab a random stranger to adjudicate. It actually reminds me a lot of my circle in Hargleth forest! Except with less turning into animals to fight out disputes and less attempts to awe everyone else into compliance through display of powerful nature magic to prove your mastery. Still the same amount of petty dickery and boring repetition of the same points over and over until I can’t bother paying attention anymore. I attended some Free State meetings and they are so boring. People asked who I was the first few times, but then they got used to me. I heard a few things they want adventurers to investigate, but no public meetings about Netherese spies.

One day I check back in at the Sunken Flagon and Hory has called a meeting. Thank the spirits! He’s burned through his money a little faster than I have and wants to see if we’ll take another job together. So it is that about 21 days after the group went our separate ways, we reconvene at the Sunken Flagon for a meeting.

Everybody shows up: Asterion, Amafrey, Talyn, and Hory. Amafrey is wearing some new robes and informs us that she’s officially graduated from her school and these are her formal wizard robes… which she’s apparently supposed to wear all the time to show everyone she’s a wizard? Wizards are weird on every continent, I guess. Not like us sensible druids.

The Commonwealth of Neverwinter (the guys with a government) are offering a reward for going after ooze monster reported in the northwest Blacklake district. That could very well be the infestation the animals earlier were talking to me about, so I’m all for that one and everyone else is okay with it. It helps that the reward is a lot of money, 500 lords (the gold metal currency around here). Now the mission requires you “prove” that you dealt with the matter, so my idea is to recruit someone who lives in Blacklake and would testify they saw us fighting oozes.

We decide we should go flag down a street patrol of the “Red Guard” which is a militia that keeps order in the streets (at least in the western half of the city) and is ultimately answerable to that red dragon Klauth. This makes Talyn real nervous, but the whole point of Kyprios’s plan is that we’re supposed to attract Klauth’s attention so that he sends us on his big mission, so we can’t exactly hide from him. When we tell the guard we want to look into the oozes, though, they only laugh. They and a lot of other people don’t think the oozes are real. Apparently there’s this apocathery named Hazel who has been raving about ooze monsters no one else has seen for a long time now, and she had enough pull to get the Commonwealth to put out a bounty. Hory gives the guard a silver for their trouble and we go on our way.

I wish I were as good with people as Hory; he seems to have knack for getting people to talk to him even though he’s a weird cultist spy. Well, I guess he doesn’t tell most people he’s a weird cultist spy.

Hazel is really glad to see us. Apparently the Red Guard weren’t kidding; everybody thinks (well, thought) she was crazy and she’s so happy to see someone actually investigating. She’s been studying this for years, and she shows us samples of water she’s taken from various areas in the swampy area that used to be a lake. I can’t make anything of them (neither can Amafrey), but Asterion studies them a while and declares that the entire lake is turning into a giant ooze! Hazel is certain that whatever is causing it is centered on some old boathouse. She can’t get close because these oozes and animated vines attack anyone who tries to get through, but adventurers like us probably could. She gives us all healing potions and we head in.

Sure enough just as we get in site of the boathouse, a bunch of animated vine monsters and grey oozes attack us. I use that sweet new staff that Kyprios gave me to cast Barkskin and move in to fight as a bear. I don’t think it’s too hard a battle, but Hory gets beat up a lot and has to drink a healing potion. Hory’s a really good fighter, don’t get me wrong. He jumps in with his knives and fists and he’s like, wham-bam-slam! It’s just, you know, he takes a real beating doing it.

So we move on to the boathouse, and I sneak up as a bear to sniff the air. There’s definitely a person inside, and I let Asterion know. His ability to talk directly into your head is really convenient when I’m an animal! Hory tries to sneak around to cover the rear, but he’s spotted halfway through and I go ahead and bust inside. There’s one of those dark-skinned elves, drow they call them, dressed in rags.

But… I mean, I’m excited but I realize we don’t know he’s behind the oozes. He could just be some dude squatting in the house. It would be terrible if he was just some homeless beggar and we hurt him! So I try to just sort of bear hug him without hurting him. No luck, but Asterion busts in (along with everyone else) and manages to grab the guy and restrain him. Then the guy waves his hand and calls an ooze up from beneath the floorboards to attack Amafrey. That seems to confirm he’s the bad guy, so I kill him with my bear claws. At the time I’m thinking it’s justified, but… it was a mistake. It makes something really bad happen.

I don’t understand all this at the time, but later Talyn and everybody explains it to me. This guy was a cultist for some kind of god of oozes and slimes, and he’s been working on the “turn the lake to ooze” plan for years by sacrificing animals and other stuff. When I kill him, the cultist dedicates his death to finishing the ritual and the lake transformation starts to complete. I’m going to take this as a lesson about not being too quick to deal out death. Even if someone is a bad guy and even if they’re dangerous, you can’t unkill someone. Well if I were a more powerful druid I could, but you get the point. The point is that my first instinct was right, and I was wrong to let the slime panic me into taking his life.

We run back to Hazel’s place, with Talyn shooting some frost rays into the giant ooze behind us to try and slow it down. She’s got nerves of steel, even as I’m panicking. Once we tell Hazel what’s going on, it gives her the final pieces she needs to figure out how to stop this. She mixes a few potions together and we run out in a circle around the giant ooze, protecting her as she throws her potion bottles into it. It’s dangerous and we have to dodge a lot of monsters, but eventually the ooze shudders and dissolves itself.

Naturally this attracts a lot of attention as people coming running out to see the monster. Hory takes the opportunity to talk what we and Hazel have done so that everybody knows. That’s smart, if our plan is to get famous. So the crowd is just relieved that nobody got hurt and they all cheer Hazel and us (even though we/I triggered the attack) and Hazel gives us all healing potions and tells us we can have a discount at her store anytime.

We go straight to the place the Commonwealth pays out bounties, which they call the Hall of Justice. This lady named Charinyn pays it out. Hory asks Charinyn about some insignia the drow had, but I don’t pay a lot of attention. Money in hand we go to the Sunken Flagon, where it turns out that anybody who saves the city gets a round of drinks for free. Yay! Though also, I still think booze is kind of gross. You know what you get if you cast Purify Water on ale? You get water. Right?

This guy comes in and brings us two letters from Kyprios. One is just to Talyn and the other is addressed to “the Courageous Companions of the Copper Colossus” which we take to mean us all. The one to all of us gives us greetings and says that events are afoot in Evernight (that’s the city in the Shadowfell) and that there will be an attack on Neverwinter from Evernight soon. He doesn’t know if there’s anything we can do, but if we can we’ll have his full faith and support. The note to Talyn is about some private matter he’s helping her with.

We don’t really know what to do about this attack and can only hope that Kyprios is getting someone more competent than us to do something about it. In the meantime, despite earning a lot of money everybody is a little happy about how well we did and wants to go do some more quests. I’ve heard of a few in the Free State, so we all agree to meet at the Flagon the next day and then walk to the Free State.

If I’d thought about it I would have asked them to just meet me at the gate to the Free State so I wouldn’t have to talk all the way to the Sunken Flagon and back again, but whatever. A little walking is good for the sole… of your feet! Hah. That’s funny in Illuskan, because it’s a homonym with soul.

Hory seems distracted by something as we walk in the gate, but he’s always distracted by something or other. We head to the district where the drow live, which is called “Little Menzobarrenzon” after some city of theirs in the local Underdark. Yes they live in the Underdark, poor bastards. We’re going there because some of the drow are getting harassed by the humans in the district, and there’s a reward for anyone who can stop a guy named Helder Stormcrow from turning everyone against the drow. We decide to get the drow side of the story first.

I suppose I should give some context here. If the drow live in the Underdark, what are they doing in Neverwinter? Well apparently they have this all-drow mercenary company called the Bregan D’Aerthe (I double-checked the spelling with Amafrey.) The company got hired to help defend Neverwinter, and they’re getting partially paid in land. Some of them have settled here even when they’re not on an active tour of duty.

We head into a tavern called One Eyed Jack’s Two and talk to a drow bartender called Rizzen. He tells us the first One Eyed Jack’s was in a city to the north called Luskan, and they named this one after it. We ask if the drow have been having trouble, and he says there’s been big public rallies about how the drow should be driven out of the free city. Helder Stormcrow is indeed organizing the rallies. Rizzen doesn’t seem too worried. He keeps saying that the Bregan D’Aerthe are big tough fighters, and if a mob comes for them they won’t have any problem killing anyone who tries something.

We ask him why Helder dislikes them so much, and he tells us that Helder was a slave in Menzobarrenzon (the one I the Underdark) for a couple of decades. Well. That does seem to be something to be mad at. The others tell me later that this isn’t unusual for the drow. They’re known for slave raids on the surface, and a lot of people see drow as nothing but prettier orcs or goblins, monsters that love evil and enslavement and killing. Drow living on the surface like normal people is actually really strange and disturbing. It’s basically only happening because the First Secretary of the Commonwealth is a drow and she convinced both sides to make a go of it.

Rizzen does seem pretty bloodthirsty and casual about killing. But… he also served us all drinks when we came in without complaining and talked to us like equals. He doesn’t act like a raving monster. I ask if maybe Helder could be convinced that the drow here didn’t have anything to do with enslaving him. It turns out they did! A couple of the Bregan D’Aerthe here were part of the raid that destroyed his village and took him prisoner. I ask who they are, and Rizzen tells us that they’re a couple of soldiers named Tebryn and Ryld, and they’re on patrol tonight looking for ghouls that have been attacking people. I’m thinking that talking to them would help, but nobody else seems to think so.

We decide to go see Helder next. He runs this charcoal business, and he’s a really nice guy who doesn’t mind explaining himself. He tells us that the Bregan D’Aerthe destroyed that city Luskan to the north of here by… well, I’m not sure exactly what he means. They got all of the money somehow and left the city broke. He says they want to do the same to Neverwinter and that trying to drive them out isn’t personal at all. I don’t believe him when he says that, but he believes it. We see we aren’t going to talk him out of this, and we make our excuses and leave. Well, I stay to ask about his charcoal business and it sounds like he’s got a really sustainable model where he farms trees to harvest instead of cutting down old forest. Great!

There is one thing, though. When we talked to Helder, Hory told this really moving story about how his parents were killed by gangs and he shared Helder’s pain. When we got outside, though, Hory said it was all a lie. I said that wasn’t a good thing to lie about and he got mad and told me that it’s okay if lying is in a good cause and some lies are good. (Including making an unkind remark about my poetry which I think is an unfair judgment on am amateur like me.) Hory’s not wrong, but he’s not right either. It’s not that lying hurts Helder, but that it hurts Hory. It makes him trust people less because he knows there are people who lie like that… I don’t know how to explain it good now, and I didn’t then, so we all shrugged and walked on.

We spend a couple of hours walking all over the district trying to find Arlon Bladeshaper, who is one of the local leaders they don’t have. We finally pin him down distributing food and help him with that for a while, until finally we can talk. He tells us he disagrees with Helder but doesn’t know what to do to convince him to stop the speeches. I speak up about my idea to have Helder talk to the two drow who hurt him and that maybe if he could get an apology from them, that might make him feel better. Arlon thinks it’s a great idea. He tells us that the Bregan D’Aerthe are into the warrior brotherhood thing, so if we can fight beside them in battle then they might be willing to listen to a request like that. That means helping them with the ghoul thing.

So we talk all the way back across the city to the Commonwealth to find this lady named Tura Oakenheart who has been writing about the ghoul attacks for a news sheet called the Waterclock. (She’s human, not a dwarf, despite the name.) We find her at this temple, but as soon as we start talking to her she has a proposal for us. Tura wants to make a visit to Evernight to scout out what’s happening there. She’s pretty sure that’s the source of the ghoul attacks. The problem is she’s a writer not a fighter, so she needs people to protect her from the undead if she gets jumped.

You would think that of course we’re going to be fighting, but she’s got a medallion that would identify here as a servant of the Netherese. They control Evernight, so the ghouls won’t attack her if they think she’s with the Netherese. Just the one medallion, though, so the rest of us would have to pretend to be her slaves. That’s just an Evernight thing by the way; slavery is illegal in Neverwinter and in most everywhere in this part of the continent. I was worried so I asked.

We talk all this over while getting an early supper at a food court run by this guy Jarvey in the White Dragon market. I tell Tura about the Eminence of Araunt and we agree to go with her if she also lets us recruit that drow patrol. (We try to explain why we need to do that but I don’t think she’s that interested.)

Anyway, we walk across the city yet again. This time I’m sure that Amafrey’s feet are getting sore. We find the Bregan D’Aerthe we’re looking for in a three man patrol. The patrol members are Zaknafein, Tebryn (one of the people that hurt Helder), and Ryld (another one of the people that hurt Helder). They agree to come along without a lot of argument.

To get through the shadow crossing we have to sacrifice a chicken. Amafrey tells us that I need to cast a healing spell on the shadow crossing to open it back the other way, which is good to know. I don’t think Tura had even bothered to think about how to get back.

For the second time in less than a moon I’m in the Shadowfell. This time I have the time to notice how horrible it makes me feel. All the stars are gone and there’s no moon, and I feel so depressed and homesick. It makes me sorry I was ever stupid enough to cross the ocean. This is a horrible place and it’s horrible being here and everyone is a horrible savage who doesn’t understand how things should be.

I hope it was just being on another plane of existence that made me feel that way.

Anyway, the shadow people have patrols and guards anywhere. It’s the first time I get a look at them. They look human except not, like the shadows have soaked in and become part of them. They really like piercings and have this ragged but well crafted style to their dress. I don’t know how better to describe it. There are ghouls everywhere, and so many undead makes my flesh creep. They all take one look at Tura’s medallion and ignore us, just like she said, but you can tell they’d like to devour us.

We go to a place called the Corpse Market which is so sickening I don’t want to talk about it in detail. It’s where the ghouls go to buy and sell things… mostly horrible things. Mostly pieces of humans and other intelligence races. I barely don’t puke. I want to burn this place and everything in it to the ground. If I had the power of grand druid, I’d do just that. I can’t think of a better use for fire. The Corpse Market is going to give me nightmares for a long time.

Tura interviews this ghoul named Bertolf the Butcher. He complains the the Netherese have been cutting off all the normal supplies of human flesh they bring in through the Shadowfell and there’s not enough to keep all the ghouls here happy and fed. It’s on the direct orders of their governor. Bertolf doesn’t say that this has been making them raid Neverwinter for people to kill and eat, but all of us get the idea. Tura nearly blows it talking to Bertolf, but somehow she’s able to calm his suspicions and we get away without him calling all the undead down on us.

Tura says she needs to know who the Netherese governor is. I’m not sure why, but she thinks it’s important. We split up. Talyn uses a spell to make herself look like a ghoul and wanders off to see what they say when there’s no Netherese around. I change into a spider and sneak into the Netherese headquarters. It goes okay, but the problem is that they don’t speak Illuskan among themselves and I can’t understand what they’re talking about. I do get a look at the guy who seems to be in charge, and the guy seems steeped in shadow magic and kind of regal looking.

When we meet back up, Tura managed to find out his name from a written proclamation. It’s a guy called Prince Clariboran Tenthool, one of the 12 Princes of the Netherese. That’s serious stuff; he’s one of their highest leaders is what Tura tells us. We’re figuring we’ve learned all we can and are about to leave when the Netherese call out all the ghouls and make a big announcement. They’re closing the Corpse Market, meaning that even if the ghouls do find dead people to eat, they don’t have a way to trade the bodies among themselves. The ghouls look like they’re going to riot… so Hory jumps in and deliberately triggers a riot! We get a little battered, but we manage to get back to the shadow crossing and make our escape.

We’re so happy to be alive that we all go out drinking together. The Bregan D’Aerthe guys are rowdy but kind of cool. They don’t seem like monsters, just guys having fun and happy to be alive. I know that two of them have done terrible things, so I guess that means that people can do evil things and seem normal the rest of the time. How should I treat people like that? I don’t know…

Zaknafein talks a lot when he gets drunk, and the other two are always telling him to shut up. The atmosphere seems good, so I make my pitch for Tebryn and Ryld to go talk to Helder. They don’t want to do it at first, but everybody else jumps in and asks them to and finally they agree.

The next day they talk to Helder and it’s awkward and strained, but eventually they manage to put themselves in his shoes enough to apologize and he accepts it and everybody cries and Helder makes a big public speech about how driving out drow isn’t the answer. That could have gone wrong, but I wanted to believe that it could go right. I’m glad it did.

We get paid for the mission and for finding information on the ghouls, and Arlon stops by to personally give us a little more money and thank us for stopping the riots. We don’t do much else that day. After Evernight, I think everyone’s happy with a day off. At the same time, we’re also keyed up and tense. We walked through all those undead and didn’t actually fight and it’s like a thing where all of us feel like we need to do something else as a team to get the taste of Shadowfell out.

So the next day we meet at the Hall of Justice to take another mission. While we’re there, we also officially register ourselves as a group. We’d been arguing off an on a lot over the name we’d register under, and we finally narrowly agree on “The Copper Crusaders”. That’ll make Kyprios happy because he really wanted us to take a name acknowledging him as our patron. (All the other names he suggested were way dumber.) Hory is upset we’re using such a giveaway name, but what’s done is done I guess. Also, Charinyn confirms that she has met other druids! I want to ask more about them, but I get distracted Talyn makes fund of me for rambling.

The mission is that this man named Brander Waderivver has gone missing. He lived in a place called Fisher’s Float, a big glob of floating earth (earth mote) that a lot of the local fishermen live on. The report was filed by Kirra Satbbinger, Brander’s girlfriend. She works at Shandackle stables.

We go talk to Kirra. She is an ostler, taking care of the horses. They are such nice horses! I play with them while the others interrogate Kirra, and they are such sweethearts. I pet them and inspect their coats and brush them a little. I’d say that Kirra can’t be a bad person if she takes good care of horses, but I get that’s naive thinking. She can’t be a bad person to horses, though.

Kirra last saw Brander 11 days ago and thinks his father killed him. She doesn’t know what Dornan Waderivver (his father) is into but she is sure it’s no good. They have their own weird society on Fisher’s Floar and everybody defers to Dornan. He’s a creepy man and she thinks he killed Brander because Brander was breaking away from Dornan’s control at her urging. She tells us that other people there have gone missing about once a year on the 15th of Kythorn. Hory asks what religions they follow, and Kirra confides she thinks Dornan is mixed up with the Abolethic Sovereignty. Asterion’s ears perk up at that, literally.

Before we leave, I mention that it’s nice that the government is willing to put up a reward for looking into this. It shows they care. Kirra likes Lord Rodrik a lot and doesn’t have much good things to say about the Free City.

You get to Fisher’s Float through a portal set up in this temple near the harbor. Those are expensive to set up, and we wonder how a poor fishing village got one. Once up there, it looks like any other small fishing village. We decide to split up and poke around.

I talk to some goats near Dornan’s house and they tell me some awful stuff. They have seen people with eyes in their chest and groups of hooded people coming in and out of Dornan’s house. Sometimes they bring in people all tied up and gagged and haul a bag out later. This is definitely some kind of creepy cult sacrificing people.

Before I know it, Asterion and Talyn and Amafrey are all there as well. We are wondering where Hory is when there is shouting inside the house. I find out later that Hory went to interview Dornan directly and willingly went down to his murder basement where mutated cultists tried to kill him (Hory, not Dornan). Good effort on getting evidence fast I guess, but I wish Hory would take better care of himself. I worry that the loss of his twin moon cult has made him suicidal or something. I’ll try to be there more for him.

Anyway, we all rush in and fight the cultists. I turn into a bear, which works great. Dornan almost gets away, but I chase him up the ladder and kill him. Which I know contradicts the “don’t be so eager to kill people” policy I talked about earlier, but that guy is crazy bad news, worked for monsters, and killed his own son. I don’t know, maybe that’s self-justification. Maybe I should have tried another bear hug. It’s not easy hold back when life and death is on the line.

We all feel better, like we put a stop to something bad in a way we couldn’t do in Evernight. All us Copper Crusaders feel relaxed enough to take another break while we all attend to our own business.

I want to stop screwing up so much, but it’s hard. I want to try to do better, try to be a good druid of my circle that everyone can count on. All of the other Copper Crusaders seem to have it so together, like they always know what to do. I feel like such a screw-up. I hope they don’t kick me out of the group or anything. I wouldn’t even know where to go.

Copper shines in darkness
Crusading against the crook
Magic of dragon and book
Bullman and spy
And student of druid-ry

Yeah, needs work.

Thokas' Letters
To Yuldra, 4 Ky. 1481

Encrypted with Chapter One, Religions of the Sword Coast as keytext


I’ve received information that organizations associated with both of the Twinned goddesses worked together to attack the Order. Source knew who I was and what happened, but there’s no evidence yet to support claim; treat as suspect information.

For now, maintain status with Commonwealth of Neverwinter and focus on gathering intelligence related to the Alagondar District. As a secondary concern, keep an ear out for anything related to an infestation in Black Lake; potentially, but not definitely, also connected to the oozes reported.

If I die, Micar’eyl Auvrymtor likely knows about us. Ask her about the guest in the basement of High Cliff.


Thokas' Spy Ring Ledger

24 Kythorn 1481

4 Ky. 1481 – 65 GP gained from adventuring, 65 GP banked, 1 GP cost per day
14 Ky. 1481 – 10 GP paid to agents, 55 GP banked, 1 GP cost per day
15 Ky. 1481 – 10 GP Recruitment Costs, 45 GP banked, 1 GP cost per day
24 Ky. 1481 – 10 GP paid to agents, 35 GP banked, 1 GP cost per day

Y. – Attached to Commonwealth of Neverwinter

Need to build up base before looking further afield. Since we’re building in Neverwinter, our first milestone is to reach the following:

1 agent for each district (4 total)
1 thief
1 wizard

For now, agents will need to also cover organizations in their area, but in the future we’ll want to get agents attached to organizations as well. Y. will double as the agent for the Alagondar District; need to recruit five more agents. Agents will communicate via dead drops and encoded letters.

Thokas' Journal
Neverwinter Beginnings

2 Kythorn 1481

Met with Y. today at Sunken Flagon. She will remain attached to Commonwealth of Neverwinter, I will act independently to build our network and act against our enemy.

Another survivor, Siedi, reportedly in the area; attached to the Dark Moon, likely a traitor. Need to find, determine what she knows, and if a traitor kill her. Intelligence reported by Y.

A bounty has been taken out to kill a Red Dragon in the ruins of Highcliff. Small public bounty posted by the Commonwealth, but the majority of the bounty is being paid by private individuals. Falken Bryce is the face for the private money being offered. The Red Dragon is likely a fabrication, as attacks and events in the area do not match the behavior of a red dragon. Still, contract provides the means to establish as an adventurer. Intelligence reported by Y.

Attached myself to a group of adventurers. Basajaun, druid: Asterion, minotaur; Amafray, wizard; Talym, bard. See individual write-ups for more details on group. Followed Amafray, verified she has access to Academy, likely a true student.

3 Kythorn 1481

Traveled with group to Highcliff. Trip takes until later afternoon. Amafray determined that Shadow Magic was used in the area in the past; magic is likely not Netherese in origin based on subsequent events. Place is falling apart; I pity anyone who tries to put this keep back together again. Also, infested by kobolds who swear to be in the service of Klauth. Further evidence there is no red dragon in evidence, despite party skepticism.

In one room, found an old letter to Black Garius from a priest, talking about the King of Shadows and the taking of Fort Locke. Details included later in journal; will look to sell the original to establish contacts in Neverwinter and to identify who would be interested in this type of intelligence.

Also encountered hostile shadow creatures. Do not resemble anything from Netheril that I know of, but clearly attached to the Shadowfell in some way.

4 Kythorn 1481

So there’s a bronze dragon in residence under Highcliff, named Kyprios. Paid the bard on our bet, since I phrased it badly. Encountered more shadows to get to the basement, learned from Lyprios that they are the result of an old ritual that attempted to free the King of Shadows. Kyprios’ stated intent is to oppose Klauth, see individula write-up for more information.

Kyprios also knows who I am. Claims that Shar and Selûne organizations worked in tandem to attack the Order.

We aided Kyprios in closing a remnant Shadow Crossing from the ritual in the past. As a reward, Kyprios gave us all magical items. Again, the gifts suggest he knows us better than he should but not absolutely, as Asterion’s gift was less than effective.

We also cleared out the rest of the castle of kobolds; Kyprios suggested that we take up residence and use it as a base of operations. I look at my comments yesterday and recognize Shar’s hand at play in reminding me to not tempt fate.

Brandis Vrei in Black Lake works for Klauth; we took a letter of surrender to him from Kyprios to Klauth. Basajaun also revealed an unknown “infestation” is occuring in Black Lake.

Excerpt of Thokas’ Notes Further in Journal

Basajaun Gartzia – Short, needy human druid. Apparently weaker off of Returned Abeir? Writes the worst poetry I have ever heard, no interest in gold. Has a mission that he’s not clear on because he didn’t pay attention.

I hate teenagers.

Talyn Silverblood – Half-elf. Not a typical bard; has a lot magical talent. Unfortunately, insists on playing only upbeat, sugar-y sweet songs. Magic seems predominately ice-based. Has draconic heritage; seems invested in exploring that.

Asterion – A minotaur with psychic powers. Ritual branding on body suggests long term torture as a part of a ritutal. Stated goal is to save his friends and family; has a connection to aboleths. The best in the party.

Amafrey Windrivver – Human mage student (confirmed at least connection to Academy). Seems overly optimistic, will need to handle that with care in future dealings. Magic seems to be fire-driven, and includes the apparent ability to ignore a target’s fire resistance (perhaps immunity would still work against?). The most defenseless of the group in a physical confrontation.

Kyprios – Bronze dragon encountered under Highcliff. Knows more than he should, arrogant. Play into ego and desire to play games (introduced with a riddle and a maze). Obsessed with the idea of freedom, opposes Klauth.

Knowledge Report: Asterion
Current Status: Heterodyne. Lacking ataraxia.

Knowledge Report: Asterion
Year 28, day 218

Current Status: Heterodyne. Lacking ataraxia.

Status Review:
My life, once so obvious and clear, has become enturbulated. As detailed in my prior self-report during the ocean voyage, I have blown the island, leaving behind the only life I have ever known. Minos, the temple, the stories of the Prophet Ellarha, my own assume divinity, all were revealed to be apparencies created by aboleths for some sinister purpose.

Why, then, I wonder, do I continue to compile stats, continue to write knowledge reports, continue the Attainment Rundown to progress along the Bridge to Total Freedom?

The truth is, these acts of repetition and ritual bring me comfort. The truth is, the auditing works. On my own, I have made significant case gains, reaching Operating Thetan level II and allowing a resurgence of self-determinism and native ability. I have managed to weaponize my externalization. I have accessed the whole track memories of my past incarnations. Even if the parables and legends of Ellarha were tools for the aberrations to manipulate us, the tools they have provided work. “Disbelief is belief,” wrote the Prophet, “and belief is disbelief.” The psionic technology they have provided still functions. There are no mistakes, no accidents, only counter-intentions. The piscocephalous ones wish, on some level, for me to oppose them, or their malevolence would not have been made clear. Thus, I shall use their own tools to countereffort their dominance of my homeland.

No doubt, the Prophet’s Messengers have declared my flight from Minos a treachery of the highest magnitude. No doubt, I have been declared a suppressive person. My friends and families have certainly by now been given the notification with the goldenrod seal, identifying me as an enemy of the Prophet’s Messengers.

Yet I know this to be untrue. I aim to emancipate the people of Minos, not betray them. The true suppressive people are the aboleths, the secret masters underneath the island. I shall hereon act on my own determinism. I shall seek to increase the determinism of those whom the immortal amphibioids refuse to grant beingness.

Status Update:
Since arriving on the island of Neverwinter, I have obtained lodging and sustenance and begun to understand the society of the wogs. In my search for havingness, I have come to find several potential allies. None have any experience in the art of the Unspoken Word, but they each possess determinism within their own unique fields of endeavour. Initially, this alliance was purely to earn compensation for the destruction of a draconic teratomorph. In the end, though, the serpentine entity proved not to be the potential trouble source it appeared to be. Instead, of being a vermillion (malignant) wyrm, Kyprios, the creature in question, was of the cuprous variety, and therefore benignant. This draconian entity is apparently preclear, but possesses significant magics divinatory and otherwise, as well as many other determinisms of an ambiguous nature. Before our first encounter, Kyprios appeared to already know the details of my personal track, as well as the withholds of my martial compatriots. He also presents a great many withholds, an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and an unfortunate tendency toward altiloquence. As an ally, the aeneous one appears useful yet nonetheless unreliable. No doubt, the cupric creature will betray me to further his own ends, and his apparency will be revealed to be a facsimile created for more complex ends. Already, he has shown proficiency in crepuscular magics, which might imply connections to umbral entities of dubious meta-ethical allegiance. But until such time as those alternate goals are uncovered, his patronage will be of great utility.

Similarly, the akeratophorous adventuring companions I have located each no doubt have their own withholds and complicated gambits they pursue to my detriment. (One has already revealed himself to be a member of a heretical intelligence network.) But until such time as their sudden but inevitable betrayals present themselves, I can most probably utilize their disparate skills to achieve my goals, even as they turn my own capabilities toward their own.

Is this how cooperation works? “Two or more beings each possess distinct, non-overlapping magisteria, and thus can rely on the skills of the other in a reciprocative relationship, until such time as their goals no longer align.” So sayeth Ellarha, anyway. It has been so long since I wasn’t obeyed unquestioningly that some behaviors seem strange to me. Affinity is still unestablished, though perhaps with continued interaction reality will be made manifest and affinity can be instantiated.

Kyprios opposes another, scarlet beast named Klauth. Kyprios suggests that we inveigle Kaluth and infiltrate his operation, to then betray Klauth when the time is right. Klauth, apparently, is prophesied to be the downfall of the Abolethic Sovereignty. But, then, if Klauth seeks to unmock the squamous mindlords, shouldn’t he be an ally, rather than a counter intentive force? I must learn more about both these dragons, as well as other forces at work here, before determining the proper course of action.

Uncompiled Data:
[Here follows several pages of statistics on every aspect of Asterion’s performance toward his goals.]

New World Journal Entry 1
In which I go to work for a dragon

Master Xani is dead! My powers are messed up! Everything is terrible!

My name is Basajaun Gartzia, druid of Hargleth Forest and currently sole representative of my Circle on this expedition to the new world of Toril. I’m only lehen ordena, so you know that’s not how things were supposed to be. Let me explain from the beginning.

I wanted to get away from home, let’s not get into why, and Master Xani’s expedition seemed like a great chance to get really far away. He didn’t want to take me, but I can could do basic transformations, and I promised I’d do whatever he said and keep out of his way. He finally gave in, and we were off. The first part of our trip went fine. We spent a month crossing the southern mountains and passing through the Sword Lands on our way to the Windrise ports. Master Xani could have gone a lot faster without me, I’m sure. In fact, he could have gone a lot faster with me. Some days he’d have me transform into something small or polymorph me himself, then turn himself into an air elemental and carry me a long way. He usually wasn’t in that much of a hurry though, and we stopped to talk with a lot of his contacts along the way. I could tell he had passed through before.

We spent another couple of months near Tarmalune once we got there. See how I say “near”. I wish I could have seen more of the city, but Master Xani had a lot of business meeting people in the outskirts and we only stayed in the city itself a few nights. It was pretty incredible, though. I’m never seen so many people in one place or so many buildings. Makes Stormhelm look like a tiny village, and for that matter this Neverwinter place as well. This whole time Xani is drilling me in the language Illuskan, which is what they speak in the part of the New World where Neverwinter is. How did Xani know Illuskan? Search me.

Oh yeah, Neverwinter. That’s where we were going and the city I’m in now. Apparently there’s a lot of big things going on around here that Master Xani wanted to look into. The local dwarves have this entire city where they have a bound Primordial of fire. There’s this ancient red dragon looking to take over, but for some reason he doesn’t want to just plow in and force it. A creepy undead gang from Eskorn might be moving in. Some other stuff? Master Xani thought it was all real important for the future of the world or something. I wish I’d talked to him more, but his explanations always seemed to go over my head. …okay, maybe if I’m honest that’s also my fault. He seemed to have everything in hand, and I figured he’d handle all the hard stuff and tell me what to do when I needed to do it.

We finally took passage on this ship called the Purple Wyrm, which is captained by a dragonborn named Torrin the Seeker. He’s an interesting guy. Torrin worships the god of dragons, Io, but he has this belief that Io was once a mortal who was called a knight of the purple dragon. Which would have been before dragons were created? I don’t understand it and what I do understand doesn’t make a lot of sense, but he’s excited that there’s this country in the New World Cormyr where they have an order of knights called Purple Dragon Knights. Anyway, I don’t mind listening to him and he helps me practice my Illuskan. I like Torrin.

The first part of the trip goes smooth. We head out into the Dragon Sea, go south to the Great Sea, and then east towards Neverwinter. Torrin has made the trip a bunch of times, so it’s all going smooth. Halfway across the Great Sea, we make a stop at this island called Minos. I don’t know how big islands usually are, but it seems pretty big to me. There’s a port and a town attached, but we don’t stay very long. The Purple Wyrm drops off some cargo, picks up some other cargo, and we leave in a day. Only once we pull out, it turns out we have a new passenger on board. It’s a minotaur!

I’m not clear on exactly what happened, since Torrin talks with the minotaur, who I’ll go ahead and tell you is named Asterion, without inviting me to listen in. I’m feeling a little sick anyway and not paying as much attention as I should. The further we get from Abeir, the harder it is for me to feel the spirits of nature. I can tell that they’re there, but it’s like listening to a language you know in a thick accent. It’s hard to pick out the words. I can’t even transform anymore! I ask Master Xani about it, but he’s not even worried. He says he’s been rebalancing without any problems and if I had more experience it would be easy for me too. I should be back to normal with a couple of weeks and the whole experience will be good for my development, is what Xani tells me.

I think it’s the Worst Thing Ever! Until the dragon turtle kills Master Xani a couple of days later, anyway. Um…. I guess to put things in order, I should talk about Asterion first. He has the head of a bull and the body of a man, which is what minotaurs are supposed to be like. His fur is white, and the parts of his head and body without fur are covered in tattoos. He speaks the trade tongue of the continent we’re headed to, which is only partly Illuskan so he has trouble communicating more than a word at a time to me verbally. It doesn’t matter, though, because he can talk directly into your mind. Telepathy, Master Xani called it.

Asterion is really smart, I can tell. He seems to be talented at everything. I’m not so smart, but I’m good at figuring out what people are like and who I can trust. I can tell Asterion doesn’t want to hurt anyone on the ship and he’s a little lonely. I talk to him some, but he’s dealing with stuff so I don’t push.

Then a couple of days later, the dragon turtle attacks. I say “attacks” but I think it’s just playing around with us at first. It’s bigger than the entire Purple Wyrm, and I bet it could break the entire ship in half if it hit us from underneath. Instead it just sort of bats the ship with a flipper and then starts circling, eating one of the sailors that was knocked overboard. Everybody panics. The sailors start pulling out crossbows, but the quarrels bounce off the shell. Asterion tries to take carry out some sailors in a small boat and circle around it to get a shot at a vulnerable area, but the dragon turtle swamps the entire boat with a wave from its movement and Asterion goes into the water. Then it strafes the Purple Wyrm with some sort of steam breath and about four more sailors die. I try to run in and keep a couple more from dying, but just the heat from the aftereffects of the breath hurts my lungs so bad they won’t pump air.

Then Master Xani does something. It doesn’t seem like a regular spell, more like he’s just gathered up a bunch of nature spirits and throwing them at the dragon turtle directly. He didn’t have to do that if he only wanted to save himself. He could have turned into an air elemental or anything else that can fly and taken off out of the dragon turtle’s reach. But I guess he didn’t want to abandon the Purple Wyrm, because he does this instead. Whatever it is, it works. The dragon turtle gets hit hard and sinks back into the sea. Maybe it’s dead, maybe it just swims away. All we know is it doesn’t come up again.

Captain Torrin tells me later that dragon turtles are maybe the most dangerous thing in the ocean. The only thing he knows that could take one on is an ancient true dragon, and even that wouldn’t be a sure thing. We druids of Eskorn, though, we know about fighting dragons.

Master Xani, though, whatever he did kills him from the effort. He lasts for a few minutes, but it’s like all the life has drained out of him. He begs me to take over the mission, and I- Uh, I make a fool of myself. I confess I hadn’t totally been paying attention during the briefings and ask him if there’s a list and generally say stuff that I’m sure in no way comforted a dying man. I bet he died wondering if he’d made a huge mistake.

A Tenday later we limp into dock in Neverwinter. Everyone is exhausted since so many crew members died in the attack. I still have no idea what to do or where to go. I’m tempted to ask Captain Torrin if I can ride the ship back home, beg him really since I barely have any money. That really would be betraying Master Torn, though, so I don’t. Torrin must see I’m looking lost, so he tells me there’s this tavern he’s going to where he plans to meet someone from Cormyr later. That’s a destination, I guess, so I follow his directions there.

Asterion comes along too. I think he has no more idea where to go than I do. The city of Neverwinter isn’t like I imagined. Everywhere we look there are signs of buildings that were demolished and are only half-repaired, like the city is recovering from some huge disaster. I mean, it’s not terrible and there’s a lot of skilled hands working, but still.

The Sunken Flagon is warm and friendly. There are three portraits above the bad, two of them look like humans with some non-human blood… I think those pointy ears are signs of what they call elves? They look related. The third one is a human. Asterion orders a big platter of meat to eat, but I’m nervous and my stomach is unsettled so I sit next to him and don’t order anything. There’s a really pretty woman with silver hair and the same kind of sort-of pointy ears playing an instrument on the stage, and a dwarf woman drinking alone in a corner. I lure a black cat over and play with her while Asterion starts to eat.

This next part is kind of complicated because a lot of people were talking at once and there was a lot of back and forth, but I’ll try to summarize. This dark-haired woman about my age comes in and starts talking to the room at large about how she wants to recruit adventurers to go fight a red dragon. I get interested in that because hey, fighting dragons is definitely one of the things Master Xani was supposed to be looking into. Just as I start to introduce myself, an older guy with the same sort-of pointy ears talks to the dark-haired woman and tells her that his contacts say the monster isn’t a dragon at all but that he wants to look into it anyway because there’s a big reward. Then the lounge singer comes over and joins the conversation too. (I feel embarrassed looking at her. Girls should not be allowed to be that pretty.)

At some point we all introduce ourselves, and I tell them that my master is dead and break down crying which is really embarrassing but which I probably needed to get out. They’re all nice and make me feel better. In the end we all agree to work together to investigate this not-dragon (and I’m not sure I’d go if Horry hadn’t assured us all it wasn’t a dragon, because dragons are crazy scary). Apparently it’s worth a lot of money, and I’m going to need money if I want to take over for Master Xani.

To introduce my new friends:

Asterion – Already told you about him, and he is a male by the way. In addition to telepathy, he’s really strong and fights with his horns and can apparently charge them with some sort of magic mental power and make them hit harder.

Amafrey Windrivver – The dark haired girl who came into the bar and started talking about the quest. She’s an apprentice mage, and that’s what her robes mean. She seems very smart and sometimes talks about things I don’t care about. Good with fire magic.

Talyn Silverblood – She’s the lounge singer. She’s a sorcerer and does cold magic. I wish I could be as relaxed and natural talking to people as she is.

Hororin Carter – This is the guy who told us it isn’t a dragon, a fact he bets 10 gp with Talyn over. He tells us to call him “Horry”. He says he’s a merchant from Cormyr who is skilled in knife fighting. He also tells me Cormyr is a long way away. Huh. He’s pretty nice, paying for everyone’s food.

I don’t want to stay in an inn with my small funds, so I ask if I could camp outside the city. Horry tells me there’s a war with a shadow empire going on and that wouldn’t be a good idea, but there’s a basically abandoned park I could stay in. I get directions there and set up a campfire next to a ruined wall, then make myself some goodberries to eat. Only then does it occur to me that this might not be too safe either. I am a stranger in town, and if I don’t have many valuables I do have some. Usually I wouldn’t think anything of it, because if someone jumped me I could just turn into a bear, but I can’t do that now. I mean, I have armor and a weapon, but still. It’s fine to live in the woods, but living in the city like I would live in the woods could get me jumped by thieves.

With nothing else to do, I talk to the local rats and birds and other city animals. I have to cast the spell ritually each time, so it’s 10 minutes to cast then 10 minutes of talking, but over a few hours I hear from a lot of them. They don’t like that humans are pushing them out of their homes, which is to be expected. There’s something worse than that going on in a northern district I later identify as “Blacklake”, though. The animals call it an “infestation” and insist it’s unnatural, a festering sore that’s been growing for “a long time” which doesn’t mean a whole lot considering I’m not talking to any of the more long-lived animals, but means it’s not a “started yesterday” thing. I make a note to look into it. How did the local druids miss this? I found out about it in a few hours.

Are there any local druids?

Our group meets up the next day. We’re going to a ruined fortress called “Highcliff Castle” which is somewhat outside the city proper. It takes us most of a day of walking to get there. Amafrey look a little winded like she isn’t used to long walks, but everyone else seems okay. Along the way I asked everybody if maybe I should check in with the local government as an ambassador or an emissary or whatever. I don’t represent a government exactly, but our circle is pretty important in Eskorn. They don’t seem to think much of the idea, pointing out that I don’t have any proof I represent anybody. But if I did have credentials, how could anyone here even tell they were real? I don’t know what to do. I don’t know!

Anyway, we get to Highcliff and Amafrey probes the gates magically. She says there was really strong shadow magic here a long time ago. I don’t know anything about shadow magic; it’s not anything we druids use. Apparently it’s big around here, what with the shadow magic empire that Neverwinter is fighting and places like this. I may have broken down a little about how terrible everything is again, but then I recover and we go in.

It’s really dark inside, and Amafrey and Asterion and I need torches to see, though it seems like elf-blooded people can see in the dark. Weird! Horry starts off by scouting, but he falls into a pit trap in the floor. While we’re helping him out, five kobolds attack us. I haven’t been in very many real battles and never fought kobolds, but their sling attacks mostly bounce off my shield. Still, they lands some good hits on Horry and Asterion and I make some goodberries to help them heal.

At the end of the corridor we find the room the kobolds were camping in. It’s a real mess, filled with junk and broken tools they were using to make traps. We decide to continue exploring and find another room with hundred year old dead bodies in it. Asterion examines them and says they were killed and then raised as zombies and then killed again. I think this is the first time everyone else gets to see how smart he can be.

Then we find another room with dead bodies on the floor and dark shadows in the corners. The shadows turn out to be itzals, the undead that look like shadows. (Same word in Illuskan, apparently.) Two of them come out and attack us. I use my thorn whip on them, and Amafrey attacks with her fire bolts and Asterion with his horns. Horry has a weird acrobatic fighting style where he mixes in punches and kicks with dagger attacks, and he actually destroys one of the shadows (to use the illuskan word) with a kick to the head. I get hit real bad, though, with one nearly killing me with its cold touch.

After that I’m out of spells for the day beyond my cantrips, and so are Amafrey and Talyn. We decide to end the day’s exploration and go back to the courtyard to rest until morning. Since it’s still barely sundown, that gives us a lot of time to talk. The undead we’ve seen remind me to tell everybody about the Eminence of Araunt and how they’re supposed to be moving in on Neverwinter, or Neverwinter’s twin city in the plane of shadow I guess. I don’t think I explain myself very well though, probably because I only know stuff second-hand from Master Xani. These guys aren’t common knowledge even in Eskorn.

I’m feeling a little happy with still being alive, so I try out some of my poetry on Amafrey. She responds by telling me a lot of academic stuff about poetry construction rules in the New World, and I have to excuse myself to pass water to get away.

We head back in the next morning. Just a little further from where we stopped the day before, we find this altar and ritual circle set up by the kobolds with wolf parts and other animal bits hanging everywhere. I’m a little disgusted so I step forward and bust some of it up. Amafrey tells us that it probably wasn’t really magic, but it looks like the kobolds were trying everything they could think of to stop something they were very afraid of in the hall further on. That sounds like it could be our not-red dragon, so we push on past to see what the kobolds feared.

Horry warns us about this horrible ooze called a green slime hanging overhead, and Talyn kills it with her ray of frost from a distance. We continue on past and find a room filled with unnatural darkness. Even our torches are going dim. Two more of the shadow undead appear and attack us, and it’s a hard fight but we kill them. Horry kicks another to death and we start to joke he should call himself “shadowkicker”. Once the shadows are gone we find stairs leading down that somehow hadn’t been visible in the dim light before.

The stairs lead to tunnels which look different from the construction above. Asterion says they were carved by lizard folk, and they turn into a real winding maze. Asterion has no trouble leading us through, though. He says something about being good with mazes. At the other end we emerge into a large chamber with a fire going and mutton roasting on a spit and a stage set off to the side. There is a voice echoing. “Welcome. Welcome to my home. I would never harm any intelligent creature, but first I must understand how intelligent you are." It asks us a riddle, “It has a golden head, a golden tail, but it has no body.” I barely have any time to think about it when several party members immediately come back with, "It’s a coin.”

The voice turns out to be a large copper dragon. Horry has to pay 10 gp to Talyn. I know copper dragons are supposed to be “good” and this one can’t be that old at its size, but I’m still pretty nervous. It could probably kill us all with a single breath. He tells us his name is Kypreaos. I say something stupid about recruiting him for the resistance against draconic tyrants which sounded a lot better in my head, but he’s nice and doesn’t laugh.

We ask him where there’s a bounty out for him calling him a a red dragon. Kypreaos says someone named “Arlon” told Kypreaos that most of the attacks were made up and so did “Micar’eyl”, but “Rodrik” (apparently the lord in these parts) was forced to post a reward. The climate doesn’t agree with Kypreaos it’s far too damp, but what’s going on in the city is so interesting he can’t help himself.

Then out of nowhere Kypreaos offers to be our patron. He agrees to tell us his intent, but that it’s a sensitive thing. He could be destroyed if we talk about it. So if we betray him, he will destroy us first. Horry wants to know what happens if he betrays us, and he’s like, “Well then I won’t blame you for taking your best shot at me.” What else is he going to say. At my suggestion Amafrey casts detect magic to make sure he’s really a dragon. Yep, dragon.

Copper dragons and red dragons have an old emnity. He wants to bring about the death of Klauth (the ancient red dragon trying to become a draconic overlord around here) through trickery, deceit, and his superior wit. If we agree, he will employ us to see to the destruction of Old Snarl (a nickname of Klauth). He can provide a number of incentives for our aid.

Then things get a little weird. Kypreaos calls to each of us by name even though we haven’t introduced ourselves and makes an offer specific to each of us. He must have been watching us and listening to us talk for a while, because he knows an awful lot about us. He offers to teach Amafrey secrets of draconic magic. He will help Talyn unlock the secrets of her blood. Asterian apparently is enemies with “Aboleths” has past experience with Klauth has past experience with the abolethic sovereignty. Apparently Klauth believes he is the key to their destruction. That doesn’t sound like a reason for Asterion to work against Klauth to me, but Kypreaos is so smooth we sort of brush past that. All I know about aboleths is that they’re fish monsters, but both Asterion and Kypreaos seem to think me calling them that is underestimating them.

He offers to teach me “the secrets of faerun”. Um… okay? For Horry he gets real cagey like they’re talking in code about something they don’t want the rest of us to know.

Amafrey asks about someone called Instructor Morstad, who disappeared. Kypreaos doesn’t know anything but could investigate. Also, Talyn apparently has silver dragon blood in her from some dragon called “Silverwing” that “every dragon in the north” knows about and respects.

My best read on this copper dragon is that he genuinely cares about freedom above everything else, so he’s serious about opposing a new dragon overlord. That doesn’t mean he cares about us, though. We take a moment to talk in private with Asterion acting as a telepathic relay to tell each of us what the others are saying. We’re all mostly in agreement with signing on board, but Horry doesn’t want to swear any oaths of allegiance. When he finally voices this problem aloud, Kypreaos tells us we’ll be his pawns purely on a job basis and he’s find with manipulating us to do his bidding using his superior intellect alone and without dependence on binding oaths.

Kypreaos is as arrogant as arraio. He’s smart and charming, but I guess that really is what dragons are like.

So we all agree and he has a first mission for us. There is a lot of lingering shadow essence around here because about 100 years ago this site was part of a ritual to raise the King of Shadows out of his extra-dimensional prison. The massive influx of shadow magic has left a ‘shadow crossing’ here, which from context seems to be a place where you can easily pass to the plane of shadow or “Shadowfell” as they call it here. Kypreaos would like to close it, so he doesn’t have to worry about the shadow empire pouring through into his den. He has a ritual to close it, but it requires someone acting simultaneously on both sides and he has to cast the more complicated part on this side. So long story long, he needs someone who can use ritual magic to go through and cast in the Shadowfell. I can do ritual magic, but I’m no good at anything but druid spells. We decide to have Amafrey do it while we guard her.

Before that, though, we get rewarded with some magic items. Horry gets some goggles of the night that will extend his ability to see in the dark. Asterion gets some dragon scale mail. Amafrey gets a ring that lets her talk to animals. Talyn gets a ring of spell storing.

He gives me a Staff of the Woodlands. Whaaaaat?! You can cast Wall of Thorns with one of those. Even Master Xani wasn’t powerful enough to cast that. Not to mention the ability to Awaken animals and plants, and a bunch of other spells that I’m not powerful enough to cast right now. I mean, wow. Forget one mission, I owe Kypreaos a dozen missions for something like this and I’m sure he knows it.

We all take some time to attune ourselves to our items and then we’re transported to the Shadowfell. Amafrey starts the ritual, and immediately itzals appear and try to attack her. It’s like they know what she’s doing and are ignoring the rest of us to get to her. We defend her as best we can, and I use the staff to drop a barkskin spell on her (probably should have done that before setting out). She goes down at one point and so does Horry and I have to use all my healing power to get them back on their feet. A bigger, meaner shadow monster appears and starts running towards us and none of us doubt it could kill us all. Amafrey finishes the ritual barely in time, and Kypreaos pulls us back just before we’re overwhelmed, killing some shadows that followed us back.

That… was…. awesome! I’ve never been more frightened, and I’ve never felt more alive. I cheer and celebrate with Amafrey and we all feel so good.

Eh, maybe a little too good. We’re all feeling so pumped we offer to “finish off the rest of the kobolds” for Kypreaos and head back upstairs without bothering to rest. We go down the corridor we didn’t go before and find a closed door. Talyn tries to lure the kobolds out with an illusion of screaming, but they don’t budge. Then Asterion forces the door open and bursts in… to get pelted by sling bullets and knocked to the ground. The kobolds have barricades set up and are organized and ready for us. They also have their leader with them, a kobold with wings of blue fire who is a spellcaster. He exchanges magic missiles with Amafrey and knocks her out, and things are going very badly for us very quickly.

Yeah, we were arrogant and stupid. I was arrogant and stupid. Those kobolds might very well have killed us right then and there. Luckily I did have have that new staff, so I dropped a wall of thorns (a spell too powerful for Master Xani remember) on the back row and pretty much killed them all instantly, except for one I couldn’t hit without hitting Horry. Hurray for overpowered staves.

Kypreos threw us a party when we came back and nicely doesn’t mention how dumb we were. He really seems to like sandwiches, which I guess aren’t a thing here? He takes charge of the surviving kobold, who is called Kryn. Kobolds are happy to serve any dragon, I guess.

Amafrey discovers something weird in her spellbook, a magic card. She doesn’t seem happy about it and Kypreos claims it “found her”. I’ll have to ask her about it later.

Horry tells us he was part of a spy ring before he came to Neverwinter. His real name is Thockas. Everywhere else he is Horry. The organization he belonged to was destroyed aby an unknown enemy. He wants to find out what happened and who attacked them. Kypreos tells him that the churches of gods Selune and Shar cooperated to destroyed them. Apparently his people were members of some weird heresy that believes the god of darkness and the god of the moon are the same god, so the churches of those two gods hated them. Talyn seems really upset about this for some reason, but I don’t like to argue with people about their weird religious beliefs. Worshiping gods is weird enough.

I ask Asterion what he wants and he finally confesses to me that he fled Minos because there were bad people in control of his village and his family. He wants to go back and free the whole place someday, but he’s not powerful enough yet. I tell him that I’m sure we can do it some day, and he seems genuinely touched.

Kypreos has Talyn transcribe a letter to Klauth basically offering his surrender and obedience. He doesn’t mean it, but he thinks it’ll appeal to Klauth’s ego enough to get the bounty taken off his head for a while. Apparently Klauth has a man in Neverwinter called Brandis Vrye.

We head back to Neverwinter to spend some time resting and figuring out what to do next. I need to reconnect with the spirits of nature and at least get back to the level I was before. Everyone is counting on me to help protect them!

Shades of Crimson and Copper

2 Kythorn 1481
The Year of the Grinning Halfling

I overheard some people talking about a job at the Flagon. Which isn’t really anything new. It seems as though every tavern I play in has some band of young adventurers planning to go out on some quest. This one was particularly interesting however in that the job involves rooting out a red dragon that is supposedly lurking in the ruins of Highcliff. The one who introduced himself as Hory said he doesn’t believe it really is a dragon. We bet 10 lords on it.

I’m not comfortable with the idea of another red dragon so close to Neverwinter. And if Hory’s right, and it’s not a red dragon, well that’s worth knowing too. The 1,000 lord reward that’s being offered doesn’t hurt either. So I introduced myself to the group and offered my services in their quest. We agreed to meet up back at the Flagon in the morning.

So I suppose now I’m an adventurer now.

3 Kythorn

I met up with the others, and we set out for Highcliff. Along the way, I catch myself sizing up my new companions, trying to determine how much of a threat they would pose. How I would deal with each of them if I needed to. Amafrey is a powerful caster, but relies heavily on preparation over improvisation. Asterion seems to rely much on his superior strength—slow him and strike from a distance. Basajaun has some nature magic but is still attuning his skills to the lands of Faerûn—may be more susceptible to trickery? Hory seems particularly agile—keep him in sight, don’t let him get the jump on me.

And I don’t know why I did that. It scares me a bit, that my natural inclinations are those of a predator. With luck, we’ll soon all be good friends, and none of this will matter anyway.

It took most of the day to arrive at Highcliff. We decided to scout the ruins before making camp. Amafrey cast a ritual to detect magic in the area. Ritual magic seems to tedious, I’m almost not sure why anyone would bother with it. After what seems like an eternity of waiting, she finishes the spell. Apparently, there is a great deal of shadow magic within the ruins. Have the Netherese been here?

We entered the ruins and explored the first few rooms. Encountered some kobolds who claimed to be serving Klauth. If Old Snarl is interested in this place, maybe there really is a dragon here. Or maybe it’s just kobolds not being very bright. Hard to tell really. There were also some shadow creatures that attacked us, confirming Amafrey’s warning about shadow magic.

After these encounters, we decided to make camp and get some rest before proceeding deeper into the ruins.

4 Kythorn

We headed back into the ruins. After clearing out the remaining shadows, it was as though a fog was lifted, and we found a stairway leading down into some tunnels under the keep. Asterion said they were likely carved by lizardfolk. The tunnels branch out in all different directions, forming a confounding maze. Fortunately, Asterion has a knack for mazes and was able to lead us through. Thank Bahamut for that. I hate mazes.

At the end we found a chamber with roasting mutton and a stage to one side. We were surprised to be welcomed by the very dragon we were looking for—not red, but copper. I collected my 10 lords from Hory.

Kyprios is a lively fellow to say the least. A bit of showman, but I respect that. He seems honorable enough. I feel like we can trust him. It seems that he too has been working against Klauth, who apparently believes he is destined to destroy the Abolethic Sovereignty. We agreed to do some work for Kyprios as an adventuring party.

Our first job for our new patron was to help him close the shadow crossing in the ruins. Kyprios performed the ritual from the Material side, while we crossed over to the Shadowfell to seal it from that side. Amafrey performed the ritual while the rest of us provided assistance and tried to fend off the shadow creatures that kept attacking. We had to work quickly, as the shadows just kept coming at us in ever greater numbers. We were surrounded, and a humanoid shadow creature the size of house began lumbering towards us. I tried to slow it down, but my ray of frost didn’t even phase it. Thankfully, Amafrey completed the ritual just in the nick of time, and Kyprios pulled us back to the Material just before the shadow crossing closed for good.

Before heading back to Neverwinter, we decided to clear out the rest of the keep. There was another group of kobolds holed up in one of the rooms upstairs. Basajaun was able to take down most of them. We took the survivor, a kobold named Krin, prisoner. He is now serving Kyprios instead of Klauth, so that seems like as good an outcome as we could hope for.

Then there was still the matter of collecting the reward. Kyprios gave us a letter of his “surrender” to deliver to one of Klauth’s servants, a man named Brandis Vrye. He even sent along some Netherese artifacts as a gift. He said that Klauth is seeking adventurers to send on an expedition to Returned Abeir, and that we should use this as an opportunity to get close. I worry about getting too close to Klauth. Does he know who I am? What’s to keep him from killing me for the secrets that Silverwing’s journal contains? Though it pains me to part with the only piece of my family that my parents left, I decided to leave the journal with Kyprios for safekeeping. I only pray that my trust in him is not misplaced.

In the meantime, it turns out that Hory’s name is actually Thawcus, and that he is spy working for some heretical movement that worships both Selûne and Shar. He says his organization was destroyed, and that there was a traitor among them. I think I saw this in a play once. Very cloak and dagger. That he would willingly worship a goddess as cruel as Shar gives me pause. Though he’s seemed a faithful enough companion so far. But then, as Basajaun pointed out to me, it’s useless arguing religion with a true believer. I tell him I’m just going to continue calling him Hory, and he seems to prefer it that way in any case.

Amafrey found in her spellbook a card from the fabled Deck of Many Things—the Vizier. She seems reluctant about pursuing it, but an artifact of such power would be a very valuable thing to possess.

And Basajaun seems concerned about some evil presence in Blacklake. He said the animals there refer to it as an “infestation.”

And all this on our first tenday as an adventuring company. It looks like we have our work cut out for us.

Welcome to your campaign!
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5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

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