Putting the Dragon in Dungeons and Dragons
Adventure Co were well on their way to storm the castle on the backs of their hijacked wyverns.
The giant’s floating giant castle was still visible in the gloom, enough for the party to see that there were three ogres standing atop the rearmost tower. Although there was a massive ballista on the tower with the ogres, they only waved the party down to the landing zone in the courtyard below without incident.
Well into dusk, the courtyard was deserted. The wyverns were fastened to a nearby hitching post, and the party scouted the grounds for…something. The purpose, several months in, had kind of gotten lost somewhere along the way.
The entire castle was designed, well, for giants. The doors were over 20 feet tall, and each door handle was a good 10 feet from the ground. The first door that the party encountered required the ranger to boost the thief on his shoulders so she could manage the latch. Much to the party’s disappointment, they chose the door that lead to the ogre’s barracks. The stench was enough to curl hair, so the party moved on in search of their own resting place. It had been some time since they had enjoyed a good long rest, and since the last battle at the barn in Parnast had drained them of most of their spells, a long rest was needed.
The next morning, they awoke to a bustling courtyard. Humans and kobold servants were scurrying around while a cohort of ogres were practicing their javelin throwing skills nearby. As the players attempted to gain access to a stairwell that descended into the depths of the frozen castle, they were stopped by an ogre who demanded to know who they were.
Panic ensued. The party tried name-dropping, although no one could remember any names to drop. The orge was becoming agitated, demanding that the party show proof that they were supposed to be there (ogres aren’t that smart, but they are sticklers for protocol, apparently). It wasn’t until the last minute that the ranger remembered that he had taken a cult insignia from a corpse back in Parnast. Showing this to the ogre seemed to calm him down, and he went back to joining his cohort playing lawn darts.
Of all the options they could have chosen, the party chose the frozen stairwell that lead deeper into the bowels of the floating iceberg. This lead to a series of cavernous hallways of blue ice, and embedded in the ice were horrible things: dead chickens, humans and ogres, and a rough cut of the next Michael Bay movie. Chilling!
Of course the party knew something was up. Why would an ice-castle, owned by a giant and commandeered by a dragon cult, have a basement full of meaty ice-cubes?
Around the bend, the party found out why: a massive cavern stocked to the ceiling with more gold, silver, and jewels than they had ever seen before in their lives
And a white dragon.
The party attempted to retreat through the maze of corridors, but the dragon was aware of their presence and tracked them through the caverns demanding food…or accusing them of wanting to steal Tiamat’s tribute.
The chase resulted in the dragon wrapping itself around the spiral staircase, preventing the party from escaping. But they had a plan! The bard cast Major Image behind the dragon, and set this illusion to taunt the creature so that it would free up the stairs. Since white dragons aren’t known for their “brain savvy”, it took the bait and chased the illusion back towards the treasure cavern, allowing the party to escape up the stairs to the courtyard.
It wasn’t long before the dragon discovered that his snack was just a projection, though, and a powerful roar shook the castle.
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As this is the last chapter in the module, and essentially the stronghold of the dragon cult, this ice castle is the most dangerous scenario in the whole shebang. But like other chapters, if the party plays things one way, they could end the chapter in under 10 minutes.
However, this was not to be because they re-focused on their goal: stopping the treasure from reaching its destination. How they were going to do that, they weren’t sure, but they went straight for the guts of the castle probably thinking that the engine to this whole floating giant castle thing was internal to the structure. I’m guessing.