We now resume our regularly scheduled program, already in progress.
Harried by yuan-ti in the temple after having interrupted their ritual sacrifice of a particularly damaged dwarf, the party found that the mental respite was working in their favor this week. All attacks were focused on the yuan-ti abomination who was essentially blocking the door into the room, and with that much firepower he didn’t remain an obstacle for long.
Early on, the yuan-ti realized that with their enforcer down, they were dealing with some professional grade adventurers here, and started to close ranks around their polymorphed priestess who was hopping around at the back of the room in rabbit form. With the ranger’s Silence spell still in effect, the lizardfolk were limited to ranged attacks, but the barbarian had no such reservations. His Frenzy was still in effect, and he charged into the zone of silence with a suddenly truncated battle cry of pure gibberish. The party watched, stunned, as the barbarian continued to shout, and even appeared to be addressing the party from within the zone where no sound could be heard or escape.
With only two priestesses and one yuan-ti soldier left standing, the ranger dropped the Silence field and issued a call for surrender, but not before the frenzied barbarian saw his chance to do some real damage. Sprinting across the room, the halfling scooped up the priestess-turned-bunny by the ears, and began swinging the creature in wild arcs in the direction of the other yuan-ti priestess. Thankfully for both the bunny and the yuan-ti, the barbarian’s Frenzy was starting to wind down, leaving him exhausted and less than accurate. In the end, he limply threw the rabbit at his target, and the weak impact negated the Polymorph spell, allowing the original priestess to regain her form.
Once again, the ranger issued his call for surrender, and after witnessing the death of their champion, and the batshit crazy assault with a deadly rabbit, the yuan-ti were of no mind to continue this battle. The ranger demanded the dwarf.
“Take him,” the priestess said. “But we hold his soul in exchange for our freedom. He will be made whole once you leave our caverns.”
The dwarf was quite banged up, and a quick healing word from the ranger stabilized him, but he was in no state to extract himself from the caves. Guided by serpents under orders from the yuan-ti and observed by yuan-ti soldiers from the shadows, the party was lead to the crypt of Didarius, where the secret door was closed and the sounds of a violent dismantling of the door’s mechanisms could be heard from the other side of the wall.
The only other obstacle that the party had to face was the group of bearded devils that were left sitting in the commissary. Unsure of how they’d react seeing their master mostly dead and being carried by the party, they allowed the warlock to cast Dimensional Door to a further room in order to take the dwarf ahead while the rest of the party sauntered past the devils like nothing had changed.
With the tomb behind them, the party used the summoning seal that Amonfel gave them for use once they found Varrum, and they rested while they waited for extraction. During this time, the dwarf admitted that he was the White Wyrmspeaker Varrum, and that he had lost the dragon mask that he’d been entrusted with. His trip to the tomb was an effort to retrieve the mask, but he and his party were ambushed by the yuan-ti only to see in the tomb’s scrying pool that the mask he was chasing was already back in the possession of the Dragon Cult. He knew that he could never return to the Well of Dragons, as Severin would torture him and use him in the ritual to summon Tiamat. Instead, he offered his knowledge of the cult to the council in exchange for asylum.
Amonfel and the Boarskier paladins arrived several hours later and escorted the party to the the paladin’s stronghold where they and Varrum were portaled back to Waterdeep.
+ + +
There’s not a whole lot to say about this week, I guess. We had left off in the middle of combat last session, and we hit the ground running this week. The battle itself was straightforward, thanks to our notes, although the…highlight…of the evening was the use of a rabbit as an improvised weapon. Sorry, a polymorphed yuan-ti in rabbit form as an improvised weapon. Unfortunately this action came almost right after the ranger opted to call for surrender, so I’m sure that the barbarian’s insistence on wielding a rabbit was the least expected action that could have occurred, but in hindsight I suppose that since he was in the Frenzy state and not making sound decisions at the time, there’s some kind of rational explanation in there. Maybe.
Still, I think the party needs to shore up its game plan. Had the barbarian’s assault with a deadly rabbit actually done some damage, then the possibility for surrender would have been shut down and the yuan-ti’s slaughtered. That might have lead to a more difficult time getting out of the tomb, and with Varrum in such a sorry state, he might not have made it out alive. All in all, things worked out as well as they could have, but party cohesion is something that the group has had trouble with in the past, and is compounded by a rotating lineup of players. Hopefully we won’t need to go through the hiring process again, and things can start to come together over time.
Varrum’s capture is most certainly a boon for the Council. On one hand he’s a Greek Chorus of “what’s going on with the cult”, but on the other hand it might make sense: Varrum is a morally bankrupt, self-serving dwarf, which is partly what lead him to the cult in the first place. But he’s not stupid: he knows that there’s absolutely no way he can return to Sevrin and be welcome, nevermind return to his position as White Wyrmspeaker. He’s got no other option but to spill what he knows and hope for some degree of leniency from the Council.
Next week is going to focus on the results of Varrum’s interrogation and what the Council has learned both from the dwarf and from the interleaving period between sessions. It’s also time for an accounting of the Council’s attitude towards the party per the RoT score sheet. The end of this chapter granted the players a new level, and thinkfully it seems to be a rather boring level that won’t require too much downtime for decision-making and character sheet-updating.