Against the Dragon Queen: Episode 13: A New Hope
Just before dawn — From a hidden location within view of the castle the party, alongside their new lizardmen allies, deliberated on a plan. To one side of the area in front of the castle, there were lots of bullywog huts. To the other side were some lizard man longhouses and a pen full of giant lizards. Bendrin and Antony took turns asking Snapjaw a lot of great questions about the operation and security of the castle. It gave the group a good deal of insight on the castle.
The group decided that the best option was to have Snapjaw and the 6 other converted lizardmen enter the Lizard man longhouses and attempt to convince them to attack the bullywogs. Leaf joined, disguised as a Lizard man. The lizards gathered into one of the longhouses and Snapjaw spoke while Leaf acted like a supporter in the crowd; eventually becoming a co-speaker and using luck and inspiration to convince them to rebel against their masters.
The plan was to attack the bullywogs, in their huts, before they woke up and then attack the castle. Quietly, the lizard men gathered the giant lizards from their pen and loosed them inside the bullywog huts, then they joined the fray. As the plan was set into motion, Antony and Bendrin and Leaf watched from a hidden location. The rest of the group having fallen to Adventurer’s Sleeping Sickness. (They couldn’t make it.)
As the lizards attacked the bullywogs as they slept, a troop of 10 bullywogs and 4 giant frogs emerged from the castle, marching down in close formation towards the uprising. The Antony, Bendrin, and Leaf jumped across the moat to get behind them with Leaf face planting into the far bank. Knowing to stay motionless, he avoided detection and didn’t give the group away. We then tried to avoid them and sneak into the castle but Bendrin made a sound and one of them turned around to look…
Before they could react, the three ran into the first room of the castle which was the semicircular gatehouse. Quickly surveying the area, they discovered nine more bullywogs in the upstairs of the gatehouse, and a long causeway to the main castle. They ran up the causeway towards the castle but were stopped by arrow fire from above. The bullywogs in the upper part of the gatehouse had spotted them and were able to fire on them.
Leaf fired into the offending arrow slit with his Wand of Magic Missiles and killed one of the them before running back under the cover of the gatehouse. The small group prepped to make a stand.
Back inside the gatehouse, bullywogs came down the stairs to fight the stalwart three while half the troop that had spotted the group sneaking in closed in from the main entrance (the other half continued to head towards the battle outside. (Go lizarddudes!)
Antony was able to kill both giant frogs at range, (from the returning troop) with his bow, before the group from up stairs descended on Leaf, and he turned on them. Bendrin held the gatehouse entrance and was swarmed by bullywogs. In glorious cinematic fashion, Antony and Bendrin were killing at least 1 bullywog a round and sometimes 2 with quicker and more precise attacks than either had previously evidenced. Clearly, the experience they had gained on this adventure was improving their fighting styles. Bendrin also forewent defense in favor of all out attacks against the enemy which paid off as there was never an enemy left to counterattack him. He fought with advantage and impunity. Leaf did what he could to help with his new wand, sending bolts of magic at injured foes and weakening others. Antony’s powerful dual sword fighting style made short work of the bullywogs that came down the stairs.
The battle ended just as the lizardmen got to the gatehouse. As the trio ran up the causeway to the castle, the lizardmen went off to clear the upper floor of the remaining bullywogs.
On the causeway as they heard drums coming from the upper gatehouse (some sort of alarm, perhaps) but they were silenced a few seconds later.
Entering the castle courtyard, there were 6 bullywogs charging out to address the commotion. Leaf made a brief attempt to stop them but they were not amused and the fighting commenced once more. Once again Bendrin held the line while Antony cut them down with his “fangs” and Leaf helping with his wand.
Courtyard bullywogs dispatched, looking back, the group noticed the victorious lizardmen running up the causeway. (Go lizarddudes!) Trying to stay ahead of them, they took the first door on the left (Snapjaw had told them that the treasure was in the great hall on the left). It was a room with 12 Lizard men that were waking up (perhaps the elite Lizard men that Snapjaw had also told the group about). Hoping that these would be roused to help their rebelling brothers, Bendrin closed the door and went to the next one. Here he found a dwarf cook who apparently came from the same region as Escobar from Greenest because he shooed the trio away in a French accent, all the while complaining about the quality of the ingredients he was forced to work with.
The third door on the left opened into the Great Hall. The side of the hall we entered was set up for eating but the other side had 3 Guard Drakes. Antony commanded them to “sit” in Draconic and 2 of them did. the third, however was not convinced and came at them full speed. Combat commenced with the angry Drake which roused the other two into attacking. A full melee ensued, with Bendrin and Antony chopping the drakes to bits while Leaf fumbled with his now empty wand and a Rapier he hadn’t draw in at least a month. The Drakes were really tough but the trio persevered.
Leaning up against the walls of the Great Hall, the trio took a short rest. Looking up they see the glint of gold and gems at the other end of the room…
Will some of the party emerge from Adventurer’s Sickness? Will the lizardmen succeed in taking the castle. Stay tuned for Episode 14…