Tiamat Returns!

In which our heroes fight to send Tiamat back to the Nine Hells!

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Note: This post covers the last two sessions of this campaign. It’s been a long but fun ride! Thanks to all my players for seeing it through to the end.

 

The group went up the tunnel and emerged in a wing of the temple decorated all in black. It was clearly meant to be some kind of chapel with a black dragon theme. They could see similar chapels dedicated to the other chromatic dragons radiating out from a central hollow, in which a massive twisting, glowing, pulsing orb of magic hovered. Red Wizards were in every chapel, on the ground and hovering in the air, concentrating their magic on the rapidly forming portal. Severin, wearing a fancy mask, hovered high in the air directly above the portal.

The heroes quickly assessed the situation, then set about attacking the Red Wizards in an effort to stop their ritual.  They slew both wizards in the black chapel, which alarmed the others, causing them to cast greater invisibility spells on themselves, making it harder (but not impossible) for the PCs to target them.

They also found Rath Modar in the red dragon chapel. He was being guarded by a massive construct that Flint recognized as a shield guardian. The group set upon him, but it quickly became evident they were attacking an illusion. In desperation, Flint pulled out the robe of useful items, put it on, and pulled off the patch with the dogs. He directed them to sniff out Rath and attack him, which they did.

Skie busied herself throwing her axe at any Red Wizard she could find, while Keo transformed into a spirit bear and went hunting invisible wizards. Roscoe and Flint helped out as best they could.

Ultimately they were not able to stop the ritual, and the portal began to open, revealing a nightmarish hellscape through which a mighty form began to emerge. The heroes managed to kill Severin before he could witness Tiamat’s entry into the world, but his body continued to levitate above the portal, so Keo swooped up and grabbed the mask off his corpse and tossed it down to Flint, who stuffed it in the bag of holding just as Tiamat’s white dragon head emerged through the portal. As the mask was shunted into the bag’s extra-dimensional space, the portal wavered and Tiamat let out a roar of frustration, but the portal didn’t close.

About this time, Talis the White came running into the temple from the door to the outside, located in the blue dragon chapel. She slowed, awestruck, at the sight of her goddess coming through the portal, but she quickly spotted Skie and went to attack her. Skie had finally slain Rath Modar, however, and, at Flint’s suggestion, had claimed the shield guardian’s amulet.

The Dragon Queen took her time emerging from the portal, and when she’d come all the way through, she ignored the heroes, instead making an effort to heartlessly devour any remaining wizards and even Talis! She then turned her attention on the heroes.

The battle was fierce, but just as it looked like all would be lost, the temple shuddered and a silver dragon made a hole in the roof and clawed its way through. Flint’s lifelong friend, Ironclaw, had come to the rescue, bringing the blessings of Bahamut with him! As the heroes saw a vision of a ferocious platinum dragon flash before their eyes, they felt refreshed and invigorated!

At Flint’s request, Ironclaw scooped up both him and Roscoe, depositing the dwarf on his back and dropping the halfling onto Tiamat’s. Roscoe managed to hang on to the goddess’ tough hide, digging his daggers in under her scales. Skie threw her axe again and again and again, hitting with all the primal fury she could muster!

At a word from Tiamat, Keo found himself blinded, deafened, and unable to move. It wasn’t until much later that anyone was able to help him, and he was much relieved to discover that Tiamat had ultimately been driven back through the portal and trapped in Avernus once again. Flint had struck the final blow, peppering Tiamat with a barrage of magic missiles of all things!

Poor Roscoe had been slain by an unholy word uttered by Tiamat’s five heads as her body disintegrated and her spirit was pulled back through the portal, but the others had grabbed his body as they fled the crumbling temple.

Keo resolved that he would bring his fearless friend back to life. And so, in the aftermath, the four companions were wined and dined and showered with gifts and honors and praised as the saviors of the world up and down the Sword Coast. They helped with redistributing the stolen hoard from the Well of Dragons, and they assisted with various communities’ rebuild efforts. In the end, they retired to live out their days as best they could. They’d done their bit. Someone else could save the world next time …

 

End Game

The Red Wizards
While catching their breath in Rezmir’s chamber, the heroes heard some kobolds come open the cool storage across the hall. They were babbling about how the cultists didn’t understand the dragon, Cloudchaser, like they did. One kobold reminded another that the best thing to do was to just toss the frozen meat into the cave and then run. Kree forgot to do that yesterday and is now a permanent fixture of Cloudchaser’s lair. The heroes filed this information away for later.

Flint convinced the others that they needed to confront the Red Wizards in their hidden sanctuary before doing anything else. Roscoe attempted to trick the wizards into coming out into the antechamber by posing as a cultist summoning them to speak with Rezmir, but the wizards wouldn’t bite, replying that Rezmir could come and see them herself.

Recovering quickly, Roscoe shouted that Rezmir couldn’t come because she’d been killed by a bear and that actually the wizards needed to let him in because the bear was going to kill him next! It was unlikely that the wizards bought this story either but it did get them to open the door at least. Azbara Jos himself ushered the heroes in and introduced them to his superior, Rath Modar, who eyed them up haughtily from his position behind a lectern.

The heroes were surprised that the Thayans would actually invite them in, but things quickly turned sour as Rath remarked that he had little patience for ruffians seeking to stop the inevitable. The heroes bristled at this, and as a fight broke out, it turned out that the Rath standing at the lectern was just an illusion. The real Rath was invisibly watching them from somewhere else in the room.

One of the gargoyle statues animated and moved to attack Flint. Roscoe stabbed Azbara with his daggers, then Skie bashed him over the head with the butt of her axe, knocking him out cold. Rather reappeared near another vanishing wall and attempted to cast a defensive spell on himself which Flint was able to counter. Soon after, the gargoyle was finished off by Flint and Keo in bear form.

Frustrated, Rath vanished again before loosing a fireball, which set much of the room’s contents on fire. The outer wall then vanished, revealing another landing platform, and Flint surmised that Rath had just fled. After securing Azbara, the heroes set about saving what papers they could from the flames.

Flint used his scroll of comprehend languages to identify the hefty tome that Rath had been reading as a book full of devil-summoning rituals. There was even a whole chapter devoted to summoning Tiamat herself, although the specifics of the ritual itself weren’t included in the book. Knowing that his Harper superiors would want to see it, he gingerly stuffed the book into his bag of holding, although with various letters showing that Rath Modar was in contact with Severin, the leader of the Cult of the Dragon, as well as various other Red Wizards back in Thay. It was clear from this correspondence that Rath was an instrumental player in the Thayan Resurrection resistance movement.

The Vampire
The heroes deposited the unconscious Azbara in Rezmir’s room and left Keo to guard him while they headed back upstairs to deal with the vampire. First, though, they opted to quickly explore the rest of the buildings on this level. The first building turned out to be a stables housing several wyverns. It appeared that the wyverns they’d ridden to the castle had been moved in here as well. Not wanting to disturb the ornery creatures, the heroes moved on. The next building was a barracks housing approximately a dozen cultists, most of whom appeared to be resting. Not wanting to disturb them either, the heroes moved on to the last building, which looked to be a kitchen full of kobold servants watched over by a griffon. How odd!

Heading back up the icy stairs to the upper courtyard, the heroes discovered that their rope was still attached to the side of the vampire’s tower. Roscoe scrambled up first, followed by Skie, who then lifted the one-armed Flint up to the open doorway.

The lid of the vampire’s coffin was closed, and the one surviving minion was nowhere in sight. Roscoe hefted the makeshift stake Flint had fashioned for him from an arrow and crept towards the coffin. Just as he was reaching for the lid, the remaining vampire spawn leapt out from behind the coffin and grabbed him. The wiry Halfling slipped free and stabbed at the creature with his dragontooth dagger. Skie then stepped up and slashed at with her axe. Although the creature managed to get its fangs into Skie’s neck again, it was not enough. Blade and spell swiftly ended its miserable unlife.

Cautiously, the companions raised the lid of the coffin, fully expecting the vampire to be waiting for them … but no, it appeared she had gone back to sleep. Without hesitation, Roscoe thrust the stake into the vampire’s heart. As her eyes popped open in surprise, Skie slashed down at the vampire’s neck. The three heroes then wrestled the coffin off the mound of dirt and slid it across the icy floor to the open doorway, where they pushed it out into the air. It smashed open on the ground, exposing the vampire’s body to the harsh sunlight. Like Rezmir, she was soon reduced to ash.

Now all they had to was tackle the dragon, Cloudchaser.