HDQ3.03: Rescuing Lapis, part one

The level three heroes for this session

Brog, dwarf Life cleric of Chauntea;
Kael, human fighter/Battle Master;
Lapis, wood elf rogue/Phantom;
Zebedee, forest gnome wizard/Bladesinger;
Worm, human Way of Long Death monk

supported by Bramble the halfling druid, and Erevan the elf ranger

The story so far

Greenest demands answers! And by any means, the rescue of Leosin the half-elf monk, who is captive among Greenest’s attackers, some kind of cult. The heroes travel south towards the badlands, penetrate the canyon where the cultists are massed in camp, and stumble badly as they try to distract-and-rescue. Not only is Leosin not rescued, Lapis is taken prisoner.

Now, with the aid of Bramble and Erevan, they are lying up finishing a Short Rest while Worm concludes his account of he, Lapis and Leosin all being surrounded by vastly superior odds.

And my rope too!

Zebedee suggests a simple solution. The druid and ranger need to bring the three prisoners north to Greenest, and they four heroes will rescue Lapis and Leosin. All they need do is fall down (“I have Featherfall”) nearest where Leosin was tied up, and start from there.

“Well I have some rope here” – Kael, not liking the idea of just falling 100′, wizard or no wizard.

Between them and the pile of gear they have in reserve, they knot together about 200′ of hemp rope. No pitons though.

Forest gnomes know roots

Erevan sketches in where they ought to circle round to, emphasizes for the fourth time or so that there could still be patrols and that there is a powerful ambush force guarding the canyon mouth, and then he and Bramble lead the rescued townsfolk away.

Some hours later the quartet reaches their destination and cautiously approach the canyon. The raiders have gone!

This is not a surprise to the players, because Lapis learned this last session, but they have all done a good job roleplaying ignorance.

DM

There are a couple of campfires still, true, but hardly a tent to be seen, and no wagons. Still, it’s best to proceed with plan rappel, and they cast about for a likely sturdy stump or the like.

I insist on Nature for this one, which is definitely not a strength among these four, but hand Zeb proficiency for his background

DM

Kael points Zeb to a patch of brush and the gnome picks a well-rooted bush.

I know exactly where Lapis went!

Having descended, they wonder how they are to go about finding out anything. The first place to start seems to be where Worm reckons that the struggle took place.

Kael casts himself down on the ground and goes full Aragorn. He picks exactly which of the various caves around the canyon wall their comrade was dragged to. And what kind of boots the man that dragged him was wearing.

Rolling a nat 20 on Survival Tracking and reaching DC23 was pretty useful for the DM at this point!

DM

And so, not needing to prolong the search further, they head for the cave!

Unwary guards are the best!

Worm creeps along the canyon wall and listens. Two guards, one getting bored and impatient for the change of watch. But daylight isn’t filtering very far in. He heads back and asks Zeb to sneak in.

Very soon, Zeb reports the best news. One guard isn’t even watching, just sitting down. The other is barely attentive. They are both dressed in cult robes, and each has a mask too.

“If we rush them we can overpower them no problem” – Zeb

Worm runs blocker, past the pair, while Kael advances with a torch. Zeb’s Fire Bolt and Brog’s hammer fell one, then Kael wields his Geatsword and Worm rushes in the knock that one unconscious.

While the guards’ robes and masks are confiscated and the dead one dragged out and hidden under some boulders, the live one is tied hand and foot. Then it’s question time. Kael is very convincing as an intimidating figure!

The guard maybe doesn’t tell them everything helpful, and maybe does. They learn that:

  • Lapis and Leosin were dragged in to a hatchery
  • The Half-Blue dragon, Langdedrosa, is inside at a shrine, praying
  • Lady Frulam, this guard’s immediate boss, is inside as well, and she has plenty of guards
  • And there are drakes and kobolds galore, they should really just run away

Having a feeling they can’t linger, the heroes gag their prisoner, then drag him out to join his dead comrade in hiding away from casual cult eyes. Kael dons the cultist robes and mask. Whether this disguise will come in handy, he cannot know.

Lapis decides to leave

Meanwhile, it has been a trying morning for Lapis. First cross-examined (he cribs from Ella and speaks only elvish) then consigned to “feed the younglings when they hatch” he (and Leosin) have been dragged through descending caverns and dumped at last into a great warm pit. Two massive drakes watch from some distance. They seem not inclined to attack.

“I have a small knife concealed in my boot” Leo whispers and Lapis duly (but very slowly) works it out and slices their bonds away bit by bit.

Time drags slowly. Off somewhere in the distance (caves are tricky) Lapis can hear a deep voice chanting or praying. The hulking drakes in the cavern with he and Leo seem to be guarding metallic-sheened eggs of quite some size. Lapis has no idea how big of an egg a dragon would need, but it seems likely these are the eggs Zeb told them all to be on the lookout for and save if possible.

Eventually he has had enough of pretending to be captive. He warns Leo, and braces, heaving the weakened monk up to where he can scramble out. But the activity engages one of the drakes’ attention and as he too swings up, Lapis takes a savage bite on the ankle.

Leo makes matters worse

The noise of the drake seems to have alerted a kobold, somewhere.

“Yik yik?”

<In draconic, but sounding like a gnome>”Be silent! I am not to be interrupted!” – Leo

“Yik yak yik!!!”

A kobold angrily explodes up from a hidden hollow, and waves its tail and blade menacingly!

Traditional fun with Fungi and Stirges!

Meanwhile, Worm shadows the left wall as the others use Kael’s torch to explore into a wide, tall passageway or long cavern. It seems to lead to a drop, over fungi large enough to rate as a farmed resource. A flight of broad stone steps leads down, but as Kael heads down the steps collapse to rampway, and he skids down to fall victim to Violet fungi! Worm leaps down to help and he too takes some evil spore harm. Then seeing nothing coming to interfere, Zeb spams Fire Bolt at the fungi until they are all incinerated.

Zeb also uses a Grease to slow the fungi, in case they get frisky and advance up the ramp.

Beyond the violet creatures the farmed fungi are normal, and beyond them is a bat cave. But not just bats! Worm, scouting again, is struck by one and the blood makes a swarm of them go mad and attack!

Sacred Flame proves really handy against these critters, though even Zeb’s rapier skewers a couple. Least useful: the greatsword. Kael takes some damage; Worm is healed near fine again by Brog’s Life powers.

He also gains temporary hp thanks to his own path.

Kobolds up, kobolds down

The kobold studying Lapis and Leosin suddenly launches past them, sounding an alarm! But between Leosin’s knife and sneak attack, Lapis deals with the critter easily. He sweeps up the kobold-size blade, good enough as a dagger, as three more kobolds scramble out of wherever they have been hiding and they, too, try to rush past the fugitives! One of them gets about 20′ past, but finally all are down. But has their noise been heard?

Alarms and a Boss

The noise of Kael and Brog catching up to help seems to have alerted something beyond and left. Something that sounds a lot like a drake. Worm and Zeb investigate a stair down off the bat cave – but it proves merely to be a meat store cave.

Brog and Kael (still clanking) wait for the inevitable kobold investigation as the drake (drakes?) become more restive!

Meanwhile Lapis discovers that yes, the kobold alarm has been heard! Langdedrosa Cyanwrath, no less, strides down into the warmth of the ledge above the hatchery. And he is wielding that massive wavy-bladed greatsword. Two hulking minions light torches and follow him.

Before the light can reach him, Lapis sprints away and drops into hiding in the (surprisingly deep) kobold hollow.

“Wha – bu – ” – Leosin

“So, you have escaped! I felt it a mistake to leave you there… a mistake that shall be corrected!” – Langdedrosa, seeing only Leosin

The massive half-dragon advances on the weakened monk, but with surprising agility Leosin turns Langdedrosa’s attack and counters, nearly overbalancing his foe.

“You – send for more drakes! And you – deal with this impudent spy” – Langdedrosa, backing off safely

“But… there are two drakes right there my lord”

“Fool! They are doing their duty by guarding the eggs – I want the other drakes!”

“Very good my lord” – hulking minion, heading away

The remaining minion flexes mighty thews and moves in to pinion Leosin.

And as Brog and Kael ready themselves, Lapis finds he cannot clamber out of the hollow, and the session ends.

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