Greenest in Flames

Our Story Begins
Our four would-be heroes found themselves arriving in Greenest just as the sun was setting. They all conveniently gathered at the Lonely Demon Inn, a quiet but cozy place on the northwest edge of town. The proprietor, a grizzled old fellow with an eyepatch, introduced himself as Darvin “Folks round here call me ‘Patchy'” Nighthill. He proceeded to ply them with food, drink, and lots of questions.

When the elf, Erevan, explained that he was something of an entertainer, Patchy asked him to sing “one of those sad elvish ballads.” Erevan happily obliged, the result bringing a tear to the old man’s one remaining eye. Sniffing, he explained that he’d spent some time with the elves of the Misty Forest when he was younger, and that song had brought back memories.

Next Patchy turned to the human woman, Mara, taking in her fine clothes and noble bearing. She had little to say other than that she cherished her greataxe, a family heirloom. Patchy nodded, pointing to the beaten up old shield and mace hanging from the wall behind the bar. They looked like they’d seen a lot of use. “There’s nothing like having a trusty weapon by your side,” he remarked.

The dwarf, Flint, proved to be as taciturn as Mara, if not even more so, but Patchy just shrugged and said he could respect that, acknowledging that many dwarves don’t have much to say to strangers before moving on to Keo. He recognized the tall druid as a goliath, saying he’d met some in the mountains once. Keo apologized for his lack of manners, for not knowing how to use the utensils Patchy had given him, and asked if it would be all right if he just ate with his hands. Patchy replied that he’d eaten with his hands while living it rough in the wilds plenty of times.

As the four adventurers tucked into their meals, Patchy began regaling them with tales from his youth. At one point, he asked if any of them had ever fought a dragon. They shook their heads. “Well, I have!” he exclaimed, before launching into yet another tale. As he was describing the dragon’s approach, the inn suddenly shook as something heavy flew overhead. A moment later, there was a loud crack of lightning, followed by an explosion from somewhere else in the village. “Just like that,” deadpanned Patchy.

The four turned to look at him quizzically. “Folks, I do believe the town is being attacked by a dragon,” Patchy replied flatly, over the screams coming from outside. The old man grabbed his mace and shield from off the wall and announced that he was going to draw the dragon away from the town. “Who’s with me?” he shouted.

Before the adventurers could respond, a commotion from outside the front of the inn caught their attention. Turning to look out the inn’s windows, they could see an injured man shepherding three young children across the street. They were followed by a young woman clutching a shield and a broken spear. Stopping in the middle of the road, she turned to face the group of kobolds chasing her family.

The adventurers figured they’d better aid the family rather than go with the crazy old man with a deathwish. Patchy just shrugged. “Suit yourselves!,” he exclaimed. Reaching behind the bar, he tossed an old leather bag at Keo, adding, “You’re going to need what’s in there!”

As Keo snatched the bag out of the air, Patchy struck his mace on his shield and the weapon lit up with a bright, magical glow. With that, the old adventurer turned and raced out the back door, yelling a war cry at the top of his lungs.

The goliath had a quick look inside the bag. Unable to make sense of its jumbled contents, he handed it to Flint. A slight thrill rushed through the dwarf as he realized what it was: a magic bag of holding, with an internal space much larger than its outside would suggest. Shouldering the bag, he followed the others through the inn’s front door to help the villagers.

With the arrival of the adventurers, the kobolds didn’t stand a chance. The young woman, Linan Swift, was most grateful for their assistance. She called her husband and their children back and suggested they all make for the keep in the center of town as quickly as possible. As they wound their way through the village streets, they could see that the town was under attack by more than just a dragon. Groups of kobolds and human raiders were everywhere, lighting things on fire, looting buildings, and chasing after screaming townsfolk.

It took the group some effort to avoid the raiders, but they eventually managed it, picking up another family and some more adults along the way. By the time they reached the path leading up the hill to the keep, they had thirteen villagers in tow. Just then a group of kobolds came into view with a man-sized scaly beast slinking along beside them. Sending the villagers up the path to the keep, the group turned to fight a rearguard. Flint identified the beast as an ambush drake. The drake managed to get one good bite in against Erevan before it and most of its kobold handlers fell to the adventurers’ attacks. The survivors fled south into the darkness.

Seeing more raiders closing in on their location, the group beat a hasty retreat up to the keep. As a few more stragglers followed them in, the keep’s dwarven castellan ordered the gates to be closed and barred.

EDIT: Here is a brief summary of what¬†happened during the rest of Episode 1¬†…

The PCs met with Governor Nighthill and Castellan Escobert. They agreed to help, and so Escobert showed them the secret tunnel. They made it down past the rats with little trouble and managed to get the gate open without making any noise, so they were able to get the drop on the kobolds and cultists coming up the stream.

They then headed over to the sanctuary and assaulted the cultists trying to set fire to the back door. They went in and Mara managed to convince everyone to listen up and start running out the back, just as some cultists broke through the front door. The players handled this encounter well and actually managed to rescue everyone!

Later they went and captured a dragonclaw cultist for Nighthill to interrogate.

Then the dragon attacked. I had put a ballista up on the roof of the tower, so they went up there and operated it as a group. They managed to get one hit in, I think, before the dragon blasted them with its lightning breath, reducing the ballista to splinters. [DM note: Erevan would’ve died from the damage, except that his player opted to take up my house rule allowing him to survive but with a lasting injury. I did some research after the session and decided that damage from electricity would be primarily neurological, so I took the confusion-based madness effect from the DMG and made it permanent. It’s gotten him into trouble enough times now that he tries to avoid getting into melee.]

After that, they went and did the Save the Mill mission. They spotted the trap ahead of time, though, and reported back to the governor. Nighthill insisted that they “save” the mill anyway, and so the PCs persuaded him to give them three of his guardsmen to back them up. It was lucky they did, too, because the would-be assassins had just about all of the PCs on the floor, but they had heaps of trouble killing the lowly guards. In fact, the guards saved the day (and the PCs). I joked that if the PCs had all died, the players would have had to start playing the guards instead.

At some point they had a short rest, and then Langdedrosa showed up with his challenge. Mara agreed to fight him and was soundly walloped. And that was that.