The column pulled off into a small copse of trees in an otherwise non-descript area only a few days from Waterdeep. The natural canopy wasn’t going to keep everyone dry, but it would help take some of the burden off the tents and shelter some of the animals. The clearing itself was rather snug, forcing caravan members into close quarters with one another — which included the cultists who had been universally stand-offish both physically and socially.
As the party set up camp, the badger-eyed (as opposed to eagle-eyed) ranger noticed that one of the cultists was heading into the thick wooded area at the back of the clearing. Not-so-stealthily, the ranger opted to follow the straggler, only to be surprised when the man tapped him on the shoulder.
Digging deep into his memory (several weeks ago), the ranger suddenly recognized this particular cultist. Ned, the camp guard that the party had charmed in order to escape captivity when they had attempted to free Leosin the Harper. Luckily for the ranger Ned didn’t seem to recognize him…or did he. At any rate, he directed the ranger to a choice spot for relieving himself in the woods (as if a ranger needed such help!) and returned to his campsite.
The next day, with the rain churning the road into soup, the caravan was stuck for yet another day. Different wagons sent out hunting parties to scare up some fresh meat, and the cultists were no exception. As luck (yeah, right) would have it, Ned was one of the cultists who went out into the woods to forage. The ranger, monk, and warlock took up their own weapons and headed into the thicket as well.
Doubling back, the party followed the cultists to a less-congested section of the woods where Ned and his compatriot were keeping watch on a warren on the other side of a small clearing. The party agreed that they couldn’t take the chance that Ned had recognized the ranger, or any of the party, and opted to take him out (and his co-hunter, Collateral Damage). Redeeming himself for his earlier, piss-poor rolls, the ranger quickly put a single arrow through Ned’s throat, killing him instantly. The monk crept closer to where the surviving cultist was squatting, but the warlock threw caution to the wind, stepped out into the clearing, and firebombed the last target to a writhing cinder.
After a brief discussion, the party filled the corpse’s clothing with rocks and sunk them into a nearby pond. They then killed some game and dressed it in the same spot where Ned had bled, leaving the entrails and other evidence of a hunter’s activities to cover their own tracks.
Later that night, as the party was preparing their fresh kill for dinner, one of the new passengers that joined in Daggerford stopped by to ask if the campers had any salt to spare. She joined the group in their dinner, and introduced herself as Jemna, a gnome traveler who was headed north on a sightseeing tour. She and the party discussed her family’s predilection for travel and exploration, and at one point the warlock asked if she had ever come across any evidence of dragon cults.
“I wouldn’t know what a dragon cult looks like,” Jemna replied. “I’ve seen a lot of weird people worshiping all kinds of things, though: trees, rocks, animals, clouds, statues…but I’ve never seen a dragon, so I don’t know if I’ve seen a dragon cult or not.”
During dinner, the actual dragon cultists were pitching fits over their two missing compatriots, causing quite the stir in the camp. “Do you think those guys are dragon cultists?” Jemna asked. The party just shrugged. “They seem weird enough.”
* * *
Good times last night. We had a little combat (very little!) and a little RP. We’re getting very close to the end of this interminable caravan schtick, which I’m sure we’re all happy to hear.
The combat with Fantasy Grounds worked flawlessly. I set up the two cultists in an encounter, used one of the generic maps from the HotDQ module that Smiteworks thoughtfully provided as “extra”, added the players and the cultists to the map…and the players proceeded to simply destroy the targets with frightening efficiency. The drag and drop method of targeting and damage assignment made the encounter super-simple to handle and resolve.
Oddly enough, everything went down perfectly. The module is (once again) vague, offering only a framework to build upon, and the situations and resolutions seemed to work out perfectly. Everything that needed to happen, happened, and we left off at a good place.
I think next session will be the end of the road-trip, and hopefully we can get back into moving the actual plot down the road. That means I need to read up on what happens after the players reach their destination.