This adventure log will contain spoilers for the D&D 5th edition Tyranny of Dragons adventure, Hoard of the Dragon Queen. Ye’ve been warned!
After gearing up to follow the cultists out of Waterdeep and discover where they were taking the purloined treasure, our heroes were approached by their old friend, Tom Haverford. He informed them that his employer requested a meeting with them at her home in the Sea Ward: Eagleshield Villa. Once there, they were treated to luncheon with Dahlia Eagleshield and introduced to the other members of the Radiant Shield: Ontharr Frume of the Order of the Gauntlet, Master Leosin of the Harpers, and Aurea Moonshadow of the Emerald Enclave. Lady Eagleshield represented the Lord’s Alliance and explained that they formed the Radiant Shield to do what the leaders of their organizations and homes would not: investigate the activities of the Cult of the Dragon. They were also joined by an eavesdropper, Jamna Gleamsilver who insisted the Zhentarim be included since they also had a vested interest in preventing the destruction of the world by a vengeful dragon god (and she was going to find a way to involve herself even if they refused to let her listen in, anyway).
The Radiant Shield had been piecing together evidence gathered from the Sword Coast raids, and other reconnaissance, and thanks to Tom Haverford’s report on the heroes’ behavior during the long trip from Waterdeep, as well as endorsements from Ontharr Frume and Master Leosin, decided to reveals themselves to our heroes. What they learned was that the Cult of the Dragon’s goal appeared to be to open a portal through which Tiamat could enter Faerun from Avernus. Five Wyrmspeakers of the cult are the primary culprits in this plot. The Radiant Shield believes the half-dragon our heroes saw meeting with the cultists was one of these Wyrmspeakers: Rezmir. Each Wyrmspeaker possesses a Dragonmask which is used in the ceremony to open the portal.
Armed with this information, the Radiant Shield was able to put together a plan for moving forward: capture or destroy the Dragonmasks and take the Wyrmspeakers out of the equation. Master Leosin tracked a few previous shipments of cultist goods out of Waterdeep north to a roadhouse near the Mere of Dead Men, but was unable to investigate further because of a patrolling dragon. He showed them the location of Karnath Roadhouse on a map.
Upon their request, Lady Eagleshield arranged for water transportation for our heroes to head up to Leilon. Their plan was simple: get to the roadhouse ahead of the next shipment. They believed trailing them would be too dangerous since the Cultists were already suspicious of them. Kagark, of course, asked to accompany them and Lady Eagleshield also sent Tom Haverford along with them. In the meantime, the rest of the Radiant Shield would work on their own leaders and try to fortify their alliances.
A few days later, they arrived in Leilon and followed the road south to Karnath Roadhouse. There, they found a working roadhouse that served as a staging area for workers repairing the road between Waterdeep and Neverwinter. It seemed an unusual place for Cult of the Dragon activity, so Broken Sky and Zinianna investigated covertly, discovering that most of the residents were, indeed, just regular folk going about their lives. They did find a trap door in a treasure-filled strongroom and returned in the dead of night to investigate with the rest of the heroes. The chef reported being awakened regularly by noise from within the strongroom, and our heroes discovered the trapdoor appeared to be used as a way for the cultists to move their treasure out of the roadhouse.
They followed the dark, dank tunnel. It led away from the roadhouse, directly in to the Mere of Dead Men…
Another RP-heavy session, and one in which I took a page from the various blogs writing about Hoard of the Dragon Queen and took the opportunity to introduce some elements that will take the forefront in Rise of Tiamat. As written, Hoard of the Dragon Queen has the group pass through Waterdeep and continue on their merry way, squandering the opportunity to begin setting pieces in place that will come together in the next adventure. It seemed to make sense to begin laying the groundwork to tie the two adventures together more closely.
Of course, since the PCs masqueraded as a brewing company during the caravan, it didn’t make much sense for them to suddenly want to be guards on a caravan taking road-repair supplies from Waterdeep to Karnath Roadhouse. Having Master Leosin do some pre-game scouting helped alleviate the need to hand-wave a few complications that arose from the caravan trip in a way that made it look like the NPCs were actually doing something. The PCs’ plan to take a boat north, then back-track to the Roadhouse put them there at least a few days before the cultists, so they were able to pretty much bypass most of those encounters, making it a trivial matter for them to locate the tunnel the cultists use to transport their ill-gotten booty.
If they keep being clever, we might get to Rise of Tiamat before Gen Con!