Hoard of the Dragon Queen, session 9

This session saw the characters proceeding northwards with the caravan, spending a day in Daggerford, and ingratiating themselves with the cultists. I had a full table this week, with seven players and myself as DM. All in all, we had slightly above 30 players participating this week at Good Games Ballarat.

My session focused a little more on role-playing and story this time around. I used the opportunity of the group arriving in Daggerford to tell tales of the Scourge of the Sword Coast heroes, which pleased Danielle and Josh no end, as they’d played through that campaign earlier in the year. I used Sir Isteval, the patron of that previous adventure, to interact with a few characters who were members of the Lords Alliance (which is about half the table), allowing them to feel that they weren’t alone in this adventure, as well as giving them some much needed support. In particular, Sir Isteval was able to reequip the player characters. As a result, most of the fighters now have plate mail armour and so will be significantly more durable in a fight.

Meanwhile, I properly introduced the gnome who joined them last session as Janma Gleamsilver, a female gnome who proved to be both nosy and charming. She proved particularly interested in what was going on with the cultists’ wagons, and especially in a new traveller who had joined the group, a human male who showed signs of a tattooed scalp he kept hidden beneath a woollen cap. (Which, because it was amusing, I described as a deerstalker). Her primary interactions were with Danielle and Josh, but she was curious about all the group.

Paul and Lewis, who were travelling with the cultists, noted the interest of Janma in the new traveller, but proved no more able to have a civil conversation with him than Janma, although he spent a lot of time in conversation with Cultist Bob.

Was Janma one of the Harpers? She was inquisitive enough for them, although she got on pretty well with Paul (who is a member of the Zhentarim).

Speaking of Harpers, once the group was on the road again, they came across a human man, buried up to his neck in the middle of the road. The wagon masters were all in favour of leaving him there, as they didn’t want to be set upon by bandits (who had presumably buried him), but the group persuaded them that they could learn more about the bandits by interrogating the stranger. So the caravan stopped for a few hours as they dug out the stranger. He proved to be a member of the Harpers. He explained that he’d been buried by his jilted bride’s in-laws, who had proven to be bandits (which is why he didn’t marry the girl). The group invited him to travel with them to Waterdeep, which he gratefully accepted.

Action was provided for the session by the group coming across a merchant’s wagon being attacked by particularly savage gnolls. I played this encounter beginning at fairly long range, which permitted the archers in the party to fully appreciate their skills (even if the gnolls did not think likewise). Lewis, in particular was pretty happy to just cut down the gnolls as they raced towards the group.

I’m quite happy to let the archers dominate the occasional battle. They can have a hard time of it during dungeon crawls when everything is at close quarters!

During this stage of the trip, one of the cultist wagon-drivers began paying a lot of attention to Danielle’s character; it seemed he recognised her from Greenest! A couple of nights later, the cultists attempted to get rid of Danielle in a night-attack, but they were stopped and killed by the group. Their bodies were hidden, and the session ended with Cultist Bob ordering Paul and Lewis to find those responsible. Paul and Lewis were extremely enthusiastic about the order, but proved extremely poor at actually finding the murderers!

The caravan continues north…

EDIT: I am reminded that I completely forgot to mention the peacock. After rescuing the merchant, they discovered he was transporting birds of plumage for sale in Waterdeep. Parrots and the like. Unfortunately, I also mentioned that he had a peacock, which Josh acquired from the grateful merchant. And then proceeded to tie to his helmet. This was very amusing, but it may cause a few problems for Josh later on…

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