Flint’s Journal

This session’s recap is brought to you by Flint:

By some miracle Mara stabilised and recovered enough to travel back to the roadhouse with us, where Jamna was reassigned and replaced in the group by the halfling rogue Roscoe. He has a flying snake, which might be useful. I found some time on the journey to study the scrolls and spellbooks I recently acquired from Erevan’s effects and the chest in the caverns and add a few to my repertoire. The swamp crocodile was, thankfully, nowhere to be seen. Perhaps the dragon pickled him.

On returning to the castle, with Roscoe fully briefed on our previous experiences and current assignments, I turned him invisible and he had a scout around the castle in the late afternoon. Then we all went back down to the caverns using Keo’s wonderful water breathing spell again.

As we moved along the passageways we heard voices in the misty cavern where we had previously found the magic portal. We could hear at least three voices which we assumed were cultists tasked with guarding the portal. To minimise the risk of being attacked from behind as we attempted to enter the castle from below, we attacked the guards, killing them quickly and dumping their bodies in the water for the giant frogs to eat.

Moving to the stairwell, the still-invisible Roscoe scouted up and reported back. The first level was muddy with pathways indicated by planks on the mud. We moved up there and barred the door into the hall from the stairwell, then continued up the stairs. The second level stairwell revealed closed doors behind which we could hear snoring and muted conversations. On the third level a cultist was seen through an open door to be reading at a desk while snoring emanated from behind the second door, which was closed.

Roscoe and Mara were able to kill the reading cultist quickly but they made enough noise to disturb the cultists in the other room. The door opened and battle began, made a little awkward by Keo transforming into bear state in the confined space at the top of the stairs and trying to attack the cultists through the doorway while I tried to keep an eye out for anybody coming up the stairs. The cultists knocked out Mara but were all eventually killed, and I poured a healing potion down Mara’s throat.

By now cultists on the lower levels were mobilising and Keo lumbered down the stairs. A few cultists were able to evade his reach and rushed off screaming about a bear attacking them, while the rest were slaughtered. By this time Mara, Keo, and Roscoe needed a bit of healing, and I needed some time to recover some of my magic, so we all went back down to the caverns and used my Rope Trick spell to have a short rest.

During the rest, a detail of lizardfolk searched the caverns but went back up the stairs empty-handed. I don’t know if they were looking for us or for the portal guards we had killed earlier.

With everybody feeling a little better, we went back up the stairs to the first level where the entrance to the main hall was. We had originally barred the door while we cleared out the upper levels of that tower but some of the cultists escaping from Keo’s bear had unbarred it and we hadn’t re-secured it when we were looking for a place to rest. Now Roscoe saw that during the time we had been resting the cultists had been barricading the hall and preparing for a fight.

I came up the stairs behind Roscoe and cast a fireball into the room, killing eight cultists, singeing a few others, and leaving two cultists and a guard drake to fight amongst the barricades and burning debris. The drake was eventually killed but the cultists ran out the side door into the courtyard. Keo, once again in bear guise, followed them to the now-closed keep door. He couldn’t hear anything through the thick door but returned to the main hall when he heard more shouting.

While Keo was outside, I had gone to the kitchen end of the hall and carefully climbed the stairs. The cook threw a meat cleaver at my head from where he and two assistants were hiding in the pantry. They were quickly subdued and tied up. The top dry goods level was cleared and discussion began on how to deal with the keep. Without any climbing spells, entry would have to be by another method than last time.

Moving back to the hall door out to the courtyard, we saw that the keep door was now open! Roscoe rushed out the door to try to get in but was ambushed by a guard drake and a cultist as soon as he left the hall. While we were engaged in battle with those two, the elf teleported into the hall behind us.

Now that I have only one arm, defending myself is so much harder because I can’t carry a shield. In this fight I quickly fell and have been told that Mara defeated the elf and removed the magic ring he was wearing. When I woke up I examined the ring, noting it was an evil magic device associated with Myrkul, god of the dead. It was with misgivings I presented the ring to Snapjaw to pass on to the swamp dragon as promised in return for our lives in the swamp. Finally we entered the southeast tower.

It was empty of people and we explored freely, finding the codeword to activate the magic portal amongst the papers on a desk, many valuable books in a makeshift library, and furnishings which collectors would pay well for. Snapjaw revealed that one of the statues had a magical dagger inside it, which we’ve let Roscoe have. An acid trap on a wardrobe was cleverly avoided when Roscoe used a rope to open the wardrobe door from outside the room. We were all safe when the acid bomb went off but most of the contents of the room was damaged or destroyed. It looked like the black half-dragon Rezmir’s room. We sent a message to Leosin through the Sending Stone, informing him that the castle had been cleared of cultists and that there were valuable books and furnishings to be collected.

The delay in clearing the castle due to Jamna’s departure and Roscoe’s arrival meant that the treasure we have been following appears to have been moved through the portal already. We untied the cooks and returned to the caverns to have a good long rest before we attempt to use the portal and find out where the treasure has gone.

Under Castle Naerytar

The Red Wizard
As the group prepared to leave the observatory in search of a safe place to rest, they heard footsteps on the stairs. A friendly voice called out not to shoot as Azbara Jos, the Red Wizard from the caravan, came into view. “Aha! I thought it was you fellows from the caravan!” he exclaimed as he came to a stop at the top of the stairs.

What ensued was an awkward conversation where the heroes attempted to position themselves to grab the wizard while he questioned them regarding what they knew about the cults’ plans, where and how they had obtained their information, and whether or not they thought the cult had much of a chance to succeed. The heroes seem disinclined to answer, so Azbara threw them a bone: he told them that the cult had a magic portal in the caverns beneath the castle.

When the group asked where the portal led, the wizard simply told them that they’d have to go through it to find out. They asked him what his involvement was, and he replied that he was a member of the Thayan Resurrection – a resistance movement intent on driving out the undead rulers of their homeland – and it just so happened that the cult’s plans aligned with theirs at the present time. Azbara also informed the group that Rezmir had gone to quell their little lizardfolk rebellion, while Dralmorrer was rallying his troops in the great hall.

When Azbara sensed that the heroes were getting ready to jump him, he took his leave, quickly scurrying down the stairs. As Keo made to follow, the wizard muttered a word of magic and disappeared. Frustrated by the wizard’s escape, the heroes decided to make the most of things and searched around the second floor of the keep. The main room appeared to be a sort of common area and office, with a small hearth and a writing desk. A door led to Dralmorrer’s private quarters. The PCs spent a good few minutes searching around. Erevan even thought to look under the carpets, where he found a loose floorboard, under which was hidden a small lockbox. He managed to pick the lock on his second try and found Dralmorrer’s emergency funds inside (some gold and silver coins and a mix of precious stones). Flint dumped the box into the bag of holding.

The heroes then used their sending stone to let Leosin know what they’d learned so far. He thanked them and asked them to head through the portal if they could to see where it led.

The dwarf then cast rope trick and the companions crawled up into the extradimensional space to get some much-needed rest. At one point, they noticed a couple of cultists poke their heads around the door, but seeing no one in the room, they departed again. It would appeared that the cultists had been mobilized and were searching the castle for the intruders.

The heroes chose not to go up against the full might of the castle’s forces, so they retreated to the lizardfolk camp. There they met up with Snapjaw, who told them of the glorious victory against the bullywugs, most of whom had turned and run at the sight of Pharblex’s head being paraded around by the lizardfolk. By the time Rezmir had arrived to put a stop to the fighting, most of the bullywugs were either dead or fleeing into the swamp, and the lizardfolk were celebrating. Snapjaw invited the group into one of the longhouses and told them that they could spend the night there safely. His people would cover for them if the cultists came calling.

The Caverns
In the morning, the companions resolved to find a way down into the caverns. They recalled that the lizardfolk had suspected that Pharblex had an underwater access, so they asked Snapjaw to find out. He sent some lizardfolk out to investigate. They located a tunnel in the murky water south of the bullywug camp. Flint was not keen to go in the water at all, so Erevan offered him an entire bottle of Berduskan dark wine to help him steel his nerves. Once Flint was pleasantly drunk, Keo cast water breathing on everyone, and they slipped out of the longhouse and headed towards the pool.

The journey through the tunnel was unpleasant but relatively swift and painless, thanks to Keo’s magic. The goliath also cast darkvision on Mara and himself, as they were the only ones who couldn’t see in the dark. After about 300 feet, the group emerged into a large underground lake. As they surfaced, they could see that the ceiling was only about 30 feet above them. The chamber was filled with the croaking of frogs, and they could make out a few of the amphibians lurking on the dry land.

As they emerged from the pool, they discovered that they had three options: a passage to the south, stairs ascending to the east, and a path leading north along the shore of the lake. They went south first and found two bullywugs guarding what turned out to be a frog tadpole hatchery. They intimidated/persuaded the bullywugs to run away, and the cowardly creatures both dropped their spears and dove into the pool.

They then went and checked out the stairs, which led up into an empty chamber that opens into another chamber filled with centipedes. They could see another set of stairs heading up on the far side but weren’t too keen to cross the centipede lair to get to it, so they returned to the lake and moved north along the shore.

As they reached the north end of the lake, they found a mist-filled passage leading up to an intersection containing a bank of fog rising three feet off the ground. Two passages led west, while a larger passage headed east. Since the mist seemed to be coming from that direction, they went that way first. They soon came to a tall cliff, at the top of which was a wooden crane and pulley system. Next to it was a ladder. Up they went and another flight of stairs led them up to a large chamber lit by a single torch burning brightly next to a set of ascending stairs. Beyond that was another, rougher flight of stairs leading down. In the middle of the room was a shallow pool of water, which appeared to be seeping out of a crack in the north wall. They headed down the far stairs and found a large chamber filled with mud, in which two bullywugs were happily making sure it was just the way they liked it. They let them be and headed back into the main chamber.

Next Flint turned Erevan invisible, and the half-elf slipped through the crack in the wall to see what was on the other side. (He was somewhat obsessed with figuring out where all the mist was coming from.) He saw nothing, but something saw him, despite the invisibility. A section of the wall next to him started oozing down and a pseudopod lashed out at him. Ducking, he retreated back through the crack, grateful that the thing didn’t follow.

Then Flint decided to cast detect magic as a ritual and walked around the caverns looking for magic. He didn’t find any until he pushed on through to the mist-filled room in the northwest corner, where he picked up conjuration magic emanating from the floor. Erevan and Flint used prestidigitation to briefly clear away some of the mist so they could see what was down there. They caught a few glimpses of what looked to be a permanent teleportation circle etched into the rock. Flint knew he’d need some kind of passcode or key to activate it, which meant heading back up into the castle.

It’s a Trap!
Before heading into the castle, however, they reckoned they’d better check out that last unexplored passage to the south of the portal chamber. They found some stairs descending to what looked like a shrine. The room was filled with frog carvings of various sizes, many placed on niches in the walls, as well as seemingly random collection of religious iconography that appeared to have been included for no discernible purpose.

They pressed on to the south and found Pharblex’s sanctum, with a muddy desk and chair, a box of candles, and a wooden chest. Treasure! Erevan headed over and checked the chest for traps. He could tell that it was rigged up so that anyone who wasn’t careful would cause some cleverly hidden clay pots in the ceiling to fall down around the chest. He gingerly set about disarming the trap but unfortunately only succeeded in setting it off! Five clay pots crashed to the ground, releasing a potent hallucinogen that quickly spread through the room!

The entire group succumbed to the poison. Keo came to believe that he was a frog and felt called to go and dive into the lake. The others, however, all saw each other as nightmarish frog-like monstrosities and proceeded to attack each other. Jamna turned on Erevan and took him out with two quick jabs from her poisoned shortswords. Mara attacked Jamna, and then Flint attacked Mara with bolts of fire. With Erevan down, Jamna turned to attack Mara. The warrior woman didn’t stand a chance and soon fell to the ground. Flint then shot his fire bolts at Jamna and nearly took her out before he, too, felt the call of the lake. He turned and ran out of the chamber. Jamna followed. Flint fired a shot back at the gnome, dropping her to the ground, then ran and dove into the lake and started swimming after Keo.

Luckily for the heroes, the druid’s water breathing spell was still active, so there was no need to worry about drowning! Eventually, the hallucinogen wore off, allowing Flint and Keo to come to their senses. Climbing back out of the pool, they hurried back to the sanctum. They found Jamna unconscious but stable in the shrine room. Unfortunately, when they reached Pharblex’s sanctum, they found that both Erevan and Mara had succumbed to their wounds. Flint took the opportunity to look in the chest, now that the trap had been sprung. Inside were two spellbooks! Flipping through them, he saw that one had once belonged to a slightly more powerful evoker, while the other had belonged to a significantly more powerful mage with an eclectic taste in spells.

Reviving Jamna, Flint and Keo dragged their fallen comrades’ bodies out through the underwater passage and back to one of the lizardfolk longhouses, where they proceeded to loot their bodies. They also let Leosin know via the sending stone that they’d be in need of reinforcements.

What will happen next?! Tune in next time to find out!

DM Note: Mara’s player was out sick, but her husband, who plays Erevan, was directed to play her. He is considering the possibility of bringing back his halfling rogue from our previous Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign (seeing as how Phandalin is practically a stone’s throw from the Mere). For his wife, I have extended the same one-time offer I gave him way back at the beginning (when Erevan was slain by Lennithon the blue dragon in Greenest) and my own wife just recently (when Flint was slain by the giant crocodile in the swamp): namely, that she can choose to have her PC survive at the cost of suffering a (semi-)permanent injury of some kind. Erevan’s injury was that neurological, confusion-based injury, while Flint’s was the loss of his arm. We shall see what Mara’s player decides. She could also potentially bring back her LMoP character, although you’d be forgiven for not being able to tell the difference between that character and Mara, as they are both based on the Starter Set noble fighter pregen.

Castle Naerytar

Through the Swamp
Leaving the harrowing experience with the giant crocodile behind them, the heroes paddled on through the murky water. As the sun started its descent into the west, everyone was relieved to set foot onto relatively dry land again. Snapjaw led them through the tangled undergrowth, making sure that none of them stumbled into any of his people’s hidden traps.

At one point, Snapjaw warned the group that they were approaching a watch post. He told them to wait while he went forward and met with the six lizardfolk guards, attempting to convince them that he had brought the tribe’s saviors with him. He mentioned that the great dragon had spoken to the heroes, and that they were now on “a mission from god” (as it were). He also pointed to Flint’s missing arm and told them about how the dwarf had survived an encounter with a giant crocodile. The heroes looked the part well enough that the guards were suitably impressed. They agreed to send word out to the other members of the tribe.

Castle Naerytar
A short while later, Snapjaw brought the heroes to the castle. He pointed out the stockade in which the giant lizards used as pack animals were kept, and the crude huts the bullywugs used for shelter. He led them to an expertly-made reed longhouse, roomy enough inside for quite a few lizardfolk, and offered them a meal consisting of smoked fish and crushed birds and lizards. The group relaxed in the longhouse until well after the sun had set.

When it was time for the lizardfolks’ nightly meeting, Snapjaw roused the herpes and escorted them past the bullywug guards in the barbican and across the causeway. They could see a few lights flickering through the windows and arrow slits in the castle but no one was out in the yard. Snapjaw led them into the forge and up the staircase to the armory above. There, representatives of the lizardfolk stationed in the castle were already waiting.

Snapjaw repeated his sales pitch, but this time the lizardfolk were a little more leery, perhaps because several of them were the elf Dralmorrer’s personal guards. Erevan stood up and did his best, in his finest Draconic, to sway them over to the plan of open rebellion. His stirring words proved sufficient, and then all that needed deciding was when to attack: should they attack right then, while the bullywugs were sleeping, or wait until morning, when more lizardfolk would have had time to come in from the swamp?

Assassination Time
The heroes opted for the element of surprise. They wanted to take Pharblex the bullywug shaman out while he was sleeping next door, and after getting a better description of the layout of the castle from the lizardfolk bodyguards, they thought they knew just how to do it. Once the plans were in place, the heroes popped their potions of climbing and walked out onto the roof of the forge, over the castle wall, and around to the back side. Flint then put on the robe of useful items and pulled off the patch with a window on it. They stuck it on an arrow slit leading into the third floor of the barracks, which widened it enough that they could all slip through.

They found the third floor empty, except for a few old training dummies. A faint glow – and a sickly stench – rose up from the stairs leading down to the second floor, though, where the lizardfolk had said Pharblex and his guards slept. Erevan crept down the stairs to see. Sure enough, there was the bullywug shaman, slumbering alone at the far end of the room, while his guards slept in a great heap in the middle. Ranged about the room were jars full of fireflies. It was their light that was giving off the glow. The floor was covered in mud and filth. Hence the stench. The half-elf crept back up and reported his findings to his friends.

Flint moved back over to the window and used prestidigitation to send a signal to the lizardfolk. As they barged into the first floor of the barracks and start slaughtering the bullywugs down there, the heroes set up their ambush. Jamna snuck down and across the floor to stand over Pharblex, then waited for Erevan to fire an arrow into the shaman’s bulk. Meanwhile, Keo planted a spike growth on the area around the bullywug heap.

Mara nearly ruined the plan by not bothering to even try to be stealthy as she ran across the room, but even though she woke up most of the bullywugs, it took them too long to realize what was happening. Before any of them could even croak out a warning, Pharblex was shot, stabbed, and decapitated.

While the guards were able to leap out of Keo’s spikes and head for the stairs down, some of them ended up returning when they saw the slaughter that was taking place below. The heroes made short work of them. Jamna and Erevan had a bit of a contest to see who could find anything of interest on Pharblex’s body. Erevan won, finding the key to the chained and padlocked chest in the room. He opened it up to find it full of women’s jewelry and accessories. The collection seemed a bit out of place, but the heroes weren’t too fussed, chucking it all in Flint’s bag of holding to sort through later.

Heading downstairs, they found that the lizardfolk had lost six men, but there were close to thirty dead bullywugs in the room. The lizardfolk were keen to go and slaughter the bullywugs in the barbican next, so off they went while the heroes walked out onto the barracks roof to survey the scene. Some cultists had come out of the doorway directly opposite the barracks to see what was happening and then hurried back inside. The heroes decided to head for the observatory at the top of the keep in the center of the castle courtyard. They used an archway where some gates used to be in the wall separating the outer yard from the inner yard to get to the keep without having to set foot in either courtyard.

The Farseer of Illusk
As luck would have it, the magical telescope had not been left unguarded. As the group neared the roof of the keep, what had appeared to be mere grotesque statuary animated. Erevan made a beeline for a hatch leading to the interior of the observatory, with Keo (and Jamna, who’d been getting a lift from the goliath) hot on his heels, while Mara and Flint attempted to hold off the gargoyles. Once inside, Keo summoned up some bears and then shifted into his own bear form as the gargoyles followed him into the room. The foul creatures bit and slashed him quite badly, though, and he was unable to maintain concentration on his spell, the bears vanishing with a pop.

The group were eventually able to destroy all four gargoyles without any losses on their own side. However, the destruction of the stony creatures had been quite noisy, especially since one fell about fifty feet down to the courtyard, where it shattered into lots of pieces, while another broke apart and clattered down all over the telescope’s brass roof. Realizing that the cultists would be alerted, the heroes paused only to smash as many of the farseer‘s fragile pieces as they could find before agreeing that it was time to get out and find a safe place to rest.

The Mere of Dead Men

Into the Swamp
After some debate about how to make their next move, the group eventually settled on having Keo cast pass without trace on them so they could sneak past the roadhouse and into the swamp without any risk of being noticed. Once in the swamp, they discovered that the tunnel exit was quite easy to find, as it was only really disguised from the roadhouse side.

They didn’t have long to wait before a band of lizardfolk slipped out of the darkness and headed into the tunnel. Some time later, they re-emerged with treasure-laden packs strapped to their backs. As the lizardfolk went back into the swamp, the heroes followed. Once it became clear that the journey wasn’t going to be a short one, however, they decided to stop for the night. The trail was easy enough to follow, after all, for even when they were having to wade through knee-deep water, there were plenty of obvious trail markers scratched into tree trunks and talismans hanging from tree branches.

Flint set up an alarm down the trail and they settled in for the night. In the morning, they pressed on and, for the next several hours, found themselves having to put up with not just the cold, the mud, and the overgrown weeds but also man-eating giant lizards, gnome-eating giant frogs, and blood-sucking giant insects. Tired and worn out, they were almost caught by surprise when a group of strange snake-men approached out of the fog. Two of the creatures had human bodies with snake heads, while the other three were mostly human, except for a few snake-like features (forked tongues, patches of scales, and so on).

Keo dropped a spike growth in front of them. The three mostly-human creatures spotted the spikes and moved around, while the two snaked-headed men blundered into it. They stopped moving and raised their longbows. Mara moved into axe-throwing range, while Jamna disappeared into the undergrowth. Erevan and Flint took aim at the snake-headed men with bow and spell.

As one of the mostly-human creatures moved into melee range with Mara, it magically compelled her to surrender and proceeded to tie her up with some rope. Before it could lead her away, however, Erevan took it down with a well-placed shot, and Mara quickly regained her senses! Another of the almost humans moved to engage Keo, who shifted into bear form, only to have the creature breathe poison on him and then attempt to charm him as well (but to no avail). Jamna reappeared and stabbed the third almost human to death, then vanished into the swamp again, only to reappear next to the creature attacking Keo and finish it off as well.

Erevan and Flint were able to fell one of the snake-headed creatures, but the other one, seeing it was all alone, escaped into the foggy swamp.

A Voice in the Fog
Some time later, the group stumbled into a makeshift campsite at the edge of the “dry” land. No one appeared to be at home, although several dug-out canoes were resting nearby. Realizing that they’d have to take to the water to continue their journey on the morrow, the group decided to make camp in the lizardfolks’ huts for the night, with Flint once again setting up a magical alarm.

As the sun began to set, the fog billowed and Mara, who was on first watch, started to see massive, clawed footprints appearing in the soggy ground. As the footprints circled the camp, her immediate thought was of the black dragon that lived somewhere in the morass. Flint was woken up by his alarm and came rushing out to see what had triggered it. He instantly recognized the footprints as belonging to a dragon but was rather surprised to find that it was invisible!

The dragon moved in close enough that they could feel its hot breath on their skin. A voice out of the fog – at once deep and nasal – spoke the words that the heroes were dreading: “I am Voaraghamanthar, lord of the mere! Who are you and what are you doing in my swamp?”

This was enough to wake the others, who emerged from their huts to find Mara and Flint talking to nothing. Fortunately, the dragon seemed disinclined to attack. Flint remembered that the dragon was said to strongarm adventurers into delving into swampy ruins in order to retrieve lost treasures for it. As it just so happened, this was exactly what Voaraghamanthar had in mind now.

Remaining invisible, the dragon informed the heroes that he wouldn’t kill them and pickle their bodies in the swamp if they performed two small tasks on his behalf. The first task was the retrieval of a magic ring – a ring of Myrkul to be precise – which he believed to be in the possession of an elf who led the local contingent of the Cult of the Dragon. The cultists had taken over Castle Naerytar, which the dragon pointed out was once home to an all-female academy of stargazers. While the academy was really just a front for a horrid creature known as a penanggalan, they had installed a magical telescope – the farseer of Illusk – in the castle. Voaraghamanthar explained that Rezmir, the black half-dragon wyrmspeaker, had stolen something from him, and so he in retaliation, he wanted the telescope destroyed.

The heroes glanced at each other briefly, realizing that they really had no choice but to accept the dragon’s offer of employment. Pleased, the dragon then informed them that a band of lizardfolk were just then heading in their direction by boat. Among them was one called Snapjaw, who was a loyal servant of the dragon. They could take Snapjaw with them to the castle and give him the ring when they found it. With that, the invisible dragon slipped into the dark waters of the mere and swam away.

A Plan is Hatched
Spooked but with great relief at having survived their encounter with the black dragon, the heroes resumed their rest. After sunset, they heard the splashing of oars. Erevan emerged into the open and hailed the lizardfolk as they drew their boats up onto the shore. He called out in Draconic, asking for the one called Snapjaw to come forward.

At first, the lizardfolk hesitated, fingering their weapons, but when Erevan revealed that Voaraghamanthar had instructed him to speak with Snapjaw, the lizardfolk identified himself. Placating his companions, he stepped forward to speak with the half-elf. The other heroes came out of their huts and helped explain the situation. Snapjaw was overjoyed, believing the heroes to be the saviors he’d been waiting for!

In broken Common, Snapjaw quickly outlined his people’s predicament: allied with the “dragon kneelers” in the castle, but subservient to the hated “flappy feet” after their shaman, Pharblex, had killed the lizardfolk chief. The lizardfolk of the Scaly Death tribe also felt somewhat abandoned by Voaraghamanthar because of his unwillingness to intervene on their behalf. They had been stockpiling weapons and waiting for a chance to rise up and overthrow the bullywugs. Switching back to Draconic, Snapjaw excitedly addressed his companions, managing to win over most of them with his enthusiasm.

Two of Snapjaw’s companions glowered darkly, however, and made to leave. The heroes want to stop them, but Snapjaw assured them they wouldn’t do any harm. They just wished to have no part in what they believed to be a fool’s errand.

Since the lizardfolk were heading back to the roadhouse to collect more treasure, the heroes agreed that Snapjaw’s companions should continue on with that task in the morning, while he guided them across the water to the castle, where they would attempt to meet with his fellows and organize some kind of revolt. Snapjaw pointed out that his people’s fear of Pharblex’s magic was mostly what was keeping them in line at the moment, so perhaps if the heroes were to assassinate him, that would show his people that the time was right to rise up. He informed them that the bullywug shaman spent most of his time during the day in the dank caverns beneath the castle but that he slept in one of the buildings within the castle walls at night.

Death in the Water
In the morning, Snapjaw drew a crude map on the ground, showing the general layout of Castle Naerytar and where the various factions were positioned. The heroes then packed up their things in two of the boats and pushed off into the mere. A few hours later, something large dislodged itself from a nearby island and swam rapidly toward the boats. A pair of massive jaws opened wide, revealing rows of enormous sharp teeth, as a giant crocodile attempted to swallow Flint whole!

The crocodile also lashed out with its tail, knocking Keo into the water. Although the goliath managed to climb back into the boat, the crocodile knocked him back into the water again, so he decided to shift into bear form and swim over to start clawing and biting at the crocodile. Flint bopped the crocodile on the snout with his hammer, while Snapjaw whacked at it with his club and spiked shield. Meanwhile, Erevan and Mara over in the other boat started attacking it from range while Jamna steered.

Unfortunately, the crocodile managed to get Flint in its mouth and then dove down into the water. The other heroes were afraid that they’d just lost their friend, but after a few moments of uncertainty, his limp form bobbed back up to the surface, minus one arm! Keo swam over and, shifting back into his humanoid form, helped pull Flint’s body into the boat where he could be healed up and revived. Much to everyone’s surprise, Flint was quite cold, and it was revealed that he had been keeping an amulet fashioned from the scale of a silver dragon hidden under his clothes and armor, and it was now freezing cold to the touch. It would seem the amulet had saved him somehow!