Adventure 2 – Sleeping Dragons
Having regrouped from their expedition into Roachdale, our adventurers found themselves in need of several dragon parts. No easy task. Deneveve, fortunately, had a history of chasing down agents of the Prince of Shadows before the Priestess turned her life to a more righteous path. She had long suspected that the Prince may have had a hand in assassinating a royal family member that she was once charged to protect in the capital city of Axis. Using her knowledge of the underworld she was able to dig up a name and location of someone that might have information relevant to their quest – Shez’a’Kah the dragon hunter in the city of Shadow Port.
A few days travel found them in Shadow Port. They would never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. After greasing a few palms, the party found themselves at the White Dragon Inn, a tavern of mainly dwarves who found themselves away from their homes. Walking in, the seedy collection of customers turned their heads at the newcomers. Augustine and Deneveve, clad in their polished silver and gold armor and bright blue tabards, were sure to raise a few eyebrows in a town like this. Towards the back of the tavern a tall red cloaked figure glanced in their direction then went in the back.
Deneveve asked the bartender where he could find Shez’A’Kah. When the bartender grunted, Deneveve slipped him a few coins. “Oh, we get lots of Half-Elves in here. My memory may need to be refreshed.” Deneveve pointed out that she never mentioned Shez’A’Kah was a Half-Elf, but when he refused to budge she pushed another few coins across the table. “Ah yes, Shez’A’Kah, I seem to remember her now – She’s in the back room. Tell her she owes me money.”
Making their way to the back room, they knocked on the door. Augustine and Deneveve quickly agreed that sending Alleric in first would be less suspicious. “MORE WINE!” was the only answer. Alleric, taken aback, walked back to the bartender and ordered a bottle, then opened the door. The Half-Elf sat at the only table in the room, leaning back in her chair and resting her hand on a faintly glowing saber. “You bring the wine?! Put it down and get out.” Deneveve, sensing Alleric’s hesitation grabbed Augustine by the wrist, pushed the party in the room and closed the door behind them.
Augustine explained that they had a few questions for her; they needed to find a dragon. Reluctant to part with the location of her next hunt and the black market goods she could sell from it, Shez’A’Kah laughed in their faces. Alleric tried first to trick the dragon hunter into giving them the information they sought, but a failed skill check left Shez’A’Kah’s blade to his throat in a flash. Warning the party not to question her abilities again, the dragon hunter once again took her seat and resumed drinking her favored elven wine.
Whispering to his allies, Alleric stressed that they needed to find the location of the next hunt – dragons aren’t exactly easy to find – and this dragon hunter was the best bet that would get. Knowing that Shez’a’Kah would need some persuasion and seeing the chess set next to the hunter, Alleric gestured towards Deneveve’s gloves. “How about this – You play us a round of chess. If you win, you can get these pretty little gloves. If we win, we get the location of your next hunt.” Deneveve was taken aback by this suggestion. The jeweled gloves on her hands were a newly acquired magic item from their last adventure and ever since she put them on she had a sneaking suspicion someone might try to steal them (magic item quirk). Shez’a’Kah appeared delighted at this offer, but Deneveve most certainly was not. An argument quickly arose. In order to keep the peace Augustine stepped between his companions.
His code as a paladin prevented Augustine from killing Shez’a’kah outright, and he reasoned his skill in battle may offer him some insight into the game. Sitting down at the table, he took the first move. He deployed a defensive strategy trying to buy himself some time and wait for her to leave her forces open. A successful skill check using his background in tactical combat provided him an advantage early in the game, but he did not fare so well mid game during a second skill check. Cringing as several of his chess pieces were removed from the board, Augustine admitted he was better at actual combat than these strategy games. Deneveve hovered over the table, trusting her paladin companion would make this right before the game’s end as she tightened her grip on her gloves. “More wine!” Shez’a’Kah shouted gleefully.
Alleric, seeing an opportunity, went back to the bartender to get more wine. But this time, with the help of a disgruntled bartender and a charming charisma check, the wine came with a little bit more of a… kick. When she served it to Shez’a’Kah the dragon hunter winced as her vision blurred but she kept playing. With a flash of inspiration, Deneveve pointed out a strategy that could win the game in their favor. With the final skill challenge roll landing in a crit, Augustine maneuvered his pieces to place the dragon hunter in check mate. Shez’a’kah glanced at the pieces, knocked over her king, and sullenly said “Gorogan’s Maw, the highest peak. Dress warmly,” before stomping out.
After chartering a boat, they sailed south for Gorogan’s Maw. The giant mountain stood lonely among the southern plains, its features representing a giant demonic face. High up, they could see snowcapped peaks amongst the clouds. Deneveve, having spent the last several years studying in the comforts of the Cathedral found the climb up the mountain particularly harsh. When they began to climb the steeper cliffs, she slipped and narrowly escaped a serious injury.
Reaching a ravine leading toward the higher peaks, they found it littered with young dragon hatchlings playing at hunting. Alleric knew the white dragons were generally the least intelligent of the dragon flights. They were more bestial than their brethren but also known for being apt hunters. Alleric, convinced he could use his background knowledge in Draconic language to speak to them, approached the white whelps, but only received a deluge of ice as the hatchling unleashed its breath upon him. Immediately, the rest of the hatchlings swarmed after a new source of prey. Augustine stood strong against four whelps, taking the brunt of the icy clawed assault. Staying vigilant to watch her allies, Deneveve prayed to her gods to keep them safe, knitting their wounds. Arcane forces crackling around him, Alleric launched bolt after bolt of scorching flame at the whelps. Seeing that they bit off far more than they could chew, the remaining whelps hastily retreated. Free of the young dragons, the party tended their wounds and carried on up the steep slope.
As they ascended the slope, the winds increased in force. Ice cold winds tore through the limited cold weather gear they wore for the journey. When they reached the saddle between the two highest peaks, they could barely make out the structure resting against a large cave mouth set in the mountain wall. When they got closer, the party discovered a misshapen excuse for a fort. Crumbling stones and cracked branches barely constituted a wall and towers. Several small scaly creatures sat encased in ice around the fort’s walls. When Augustine examined them closer, he recognized the telltale faces and teeth of Kobolds. Torchlight was seen moving across the battlements and the adventurers quickly darted in to cover. The two elves ducked out of line of sight, barely leaving a track behind them in the snowfall. Augustine, however, clanked loudly in his full plate, failed a stealth check. With blizzard winds howling around them the patrolling kobolds were oblivious to the noise, save one. The one that moved closer to the party to investigate was quickly slain by an arcane bolt from Alleric.
Saved from the patrol, they crept along until they found a section of the wall that had completely caved in. Augustine leapt over the barricade and charged the first kobold in sight. Screeching, the kobold next to him pulled a string on his pack, extending small wings from his pack. He lit the bottom of his pack with fire, propelling himself up onto the cliff face. The rest of the camp, now alert to the intruder’s presence, grabbed their weapons. Fearful of the stronger warriors, the kobolds fell back as they tried to pelt the party with arrows and curse them with dark magic from afar. Those kobolds fortunate enough to be equipped with the crude jetpacks flung themselves around the fortress, occasionally exploding on impact when their contraptions backfired due to the cold (and shoddy kobold craftsmanship). By numbers alone the party found themselves overwhelmed by kobolds, but hope was renewed as kobold after kobold was struck down. These were mooks, in numbers to be reckoned with, but low on health. Attacks with more damage than a single target’s health would carry over to the next and so forth.
More dangerous than the kobolds was the growing flames that licked around the party member’s feet as the kobolds using jetpacks threw alchemy pouches that exploded around them. One kobold fled into the cave as his tribe was struck down. When the kobold camp was finally defeated and the fort burnt down, the adventurers cautiously entered the large cave.
The walls of the cave were slick with a light blue ice. Deep within the tunnels, they found an expansive cavern riddled with more tunnels and pits. Several small streams of water streamed down into the chasm below. A lone kobold stood in the middle of the cave, nervously looking around him. “Great one, please! Intruders come to do you harm! They have killed this one’s tribe – your faithful servants! Please save this one!” In an instant, a great white hulking form crashed down in front of the kobold and devoured the little kobold whole. Spotting the adventurers, the dragon stayed where it was, enjoying its meal.
Not one to wait around, Augustine rushed forward to engage the drake. Half-way there, he was slammed to the ground by another drake streaking in from his left flank. Alleric and Deneveve rushed forward to help rescue their paladin companion. The drake atop him refused to let his quarry go and continued to bite and claw at the Paladin’s shield. Augustine tried hard as he might to free himself of the drake, but his strength faltered for a time and he could not wrestle the beast off of him.
It was not until Deneve and Alleric had sufficiently wounded the Drake that the dragon leapt off and disappeared into the nearby pit. Like the coordinated hunters that they were, the first drake covered his brother’s retreat and charged the cleric, savaging her with claw and icy breath. When Augustine got back to his feet and fought to challenge the drake in front of him, the second drake rejoined the fight from another tunnel, barreling in to Alleric. With a burst of arcane energy, Alleric gave the drake attacking him a taste of his own medicine, covering it in ice which stopped the dragon cold. For Alleric had spent a moment gathering power and the already damaged white dragon stood little chance against an attack twice as powerful as the rest. Seeing his brother fall, the first drake disengaged by knocking Augustine to his feet and flew off down a tunnel.
The cavern was quiet and tense as the adventurers ran to the fallen drake to try and recover some bones for their compass. Alleric managed to burn the jaw off of the drake, cutting through the bone. Deneve sensed something with holy energy nearby and found a sword embedded in a broken ribcage. Picking it up, she watched as the sword morphed into the shape of a one-handed mace perfectly balanced to her arm. An echoing roar down the tunnels alerted them that the danger was not yet over. The adventurers moved toward the cave exit and were ambushed by yet a third drake. The drake pounced out from the darkness narrowly missing Alleric. The wounded drake from earlier returned to enact his vengeance. Fighting with tooth, claw and frost, the drakes kept the adventurers pressured. Augustine channeled the strength of the Golden Wyrm, stabbing the new drake through the heart as Alleric blasted it with chaos bolts. Deneve channeled the spirits of the dead souls in the chamber to unleash their fury on the last remaining drake, ripping him apart.
Bloody but victorious, the three adventurers grabbed the jaw bone from the dragon and set out back down the cold mountain. They had the map. They had the compass. Soon they would have the Crown.
“A bit longer session than part one, this one included fledgling dragons which I could not get a sensible word out of and full grown dragons which were much more interested in lunch than conversation. The game mechanic of 13th Age is engaging and easy to understand. I love the escalation die and appreciate that powers are divided into immediate, occasional, and daily usage, even though I wish weaker versions of the daily powers could be used more often.” – Player 1, Alleric
[GM Note – Since 13th Age is rich in story telling adventure we thought bluebooking would fit well into our game. Concluding this week’s adventure we opened the door to let our players engaging in bluebooking if they so chose. Bluebooks are a great way to develop characters further during downtime and shed some spotlight on our players who make our adventures possible. There is no set schedule for this – bluebooks are simply shared on this blog with the player’s consent whenever players submit them to us. ]
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Sounds like you guys are having a blast; love the scope of the adventure. Speaking from experience, cutting back on the combat details a bit will save you effort and be more rewarding to read: the dragon fight hits the high points of the back and forth without bogging down as much as the previous adventure did.