We started this adventure with describing and playing out Thryggvaels introduction, mentionedin his own post. When “Tryggve” joined the other characters in the Greenest keep, he found them to be quite a loose outfit, only tied together by a common enemy, the Cult of the Dragon, who had ransacked the town, humiliated Victor’s noble pride and now threatened all of the Greenfields.
Governor Nighthill assembled a war meeting, of sorts, where he quite unsuccessfully gave a large portion of Greenest’s finances to Victor of Prestor in return for continued help against the Cult. He wanted to know more of the Cult’s motives, their whereabouts and who their leaders were. Tryggve explained that Leosin was probably captured and he wanted help rescuing his mentor. An expedition was formed, and the party rummaged through the keep’s armory and stables in preparation.
The storm clouds were long gone when the party set out on their horses. It was obvious which way the Cult had gone, due to track marks and footprints. At noon, the heat was so intense they had to take a break and found shadow next to some large bushes. A curious, egg-shaped stone lay next to the shrubbery. It suddenly started to rock back and forth. The PC:s took interest and investigated the stone. When they got close, two Cockatrices jumped out from the bushes and tried to defend their egg!
After a quick encounter, the Cockatrices were dead, but Victor lay petrified on the ground. Garros destroyed the egg in a secret homage to Talos, his god. The party didn’t know too much about the Cockatrice’s petrifying poison but decided to wait during the rest. After an hour, Victor shook of the chalk-like shell surrounding him and the PC:s could continue the expedition after a couple of laughs.
The Beekeeper's Cellar
Atop a hill-crest, the riders observed the track marks making a huge turn around an old watchtower ruin. They had no time to find out why, since a gigantic bee swooped by, just above their heads. It flew toward the ruin and disappeared. Kerr and Victor decided to sneak closer and recon, while the other two weren’t as interested in dangerous detours.
The duo found that the ground floor had collapsed and revealed the cellar floor. Someone had built a new stairway since then, although it, too, was old. Kerr found some curious overturned boxes and three doorways inside, one of them being a stair, descending into darkness. Through one of them he also found an old kitchen and storehouse with large swarms of bees inside, but didn’t dare disturb them. In the last doorway was a small study and sleeping room. The desk drawer and the bed-side table contained diaries, presumably from the previous occupants. A chemistry set was set up on the desk and vials and jars with unknown liquids and substances lined the walls. One of them turned out to be a healing potion.
Victor joined Kerr when exploring the stairs leading down, after an attempt to smoke out the bees in the kitchen that turned out to be empty. They continued almost three floors down and ended with a doorway covered in wax. Victor smashed the wax with his hammer, only to be assaulted by three gigantic bees! When they were taken care of, they found the remains of a former resident, dressed in a peculiar, white cloak. One of the diaries had spoken of “magical protective equipment”, although only Tryggve had read that passage when consulted earlier. They snatched the cloak anyway, and headed back.
Our adventurers had taken a detour and were now even further behind the Raiders, but the coming night would prove a great ally.
I added these two encounters to fill out the trip to the camp. The first one came to me while flicking through the Monster Manual. The second one had two sources of inspiration. Firstly, I wanted to try the DMG's dungeon creation tool and get a feeling for how my group acted while inside, in preparation for episode 3.
Secondly, I wanted to plant a magic item, since the player's seemed to want a real treasure. There are surprisingly few magic item in 5th edition (particularly in this campaign). While reading the DMG I was struck by how each of them seemed to have or inspire a story, so I wanted the cloak to carry on the beekeeper's legacy, so to speak. I was right, and the cloak is now not just another magic item.