Our hardy pre-heroes met up in the little hamlet of Palebank, on the continent of Wildemount. They found that Palebank is quite small, certainly no shops dedicated to magic or magical weapons, though there is a store that sells general goods and maybe a potion or two which they have yet to visit. Three of the party’s elves, Budgerigar, Kirknarnan and Feanor had acquaintance with each other owing to their lineage. Connections with the others in the party, Gandoff, Delenn and Popeye were less certain. Some may have journeyed by ship to reach Palebank, others may have come overland.
Seeing that the town was nearly deserted, the found out that there was a funeral that day for a Dwarf, Urgon Wenth. While they were paying their respects, they were approached by Elro Aldataur an elven resident of the village who seemed to posses some authority and respect in the town (he is in fact the leader of the Village).
They learned that Urgon had visited the island area to the Northwest of Palebank called Eiselcross for about a year, in search of adventure and treasure. Urgon had returned two months ago, after exploring Eiselcross. A few days after his return, he started moving quite slowly and blue veins appeared on his body. The priests of the nearby villages tried with various spells to heal Urgon, but nothing worked. Eventually his body turned to ice, and so he died.
Elro also revealed that a second Dwarf had become ill, Tulgi Lutan, who seemed to be moving more slowly than normal, with a distinct blue color to her veins, and he explained that when he approached Tulgi to try and obtain more background information on the affliction, she rebuffed him, having no trust in authority, and asked that she be allowed to die in peace. Elro suggested that they visit Urgon’s cabin near the edge of town and/or Tulgi’s Cabin, nearby, and that he would make sure that the party was authorized to have access to Urgon’s cabin.
Elro offered 100 gold pieces for uncovering the cause of the affliction.
With plenty of time left in the day, the adventurers decided to take Elro up on his offer, and trudged off in the snow. There they found a guard named Mila Teno, one of the “Glassblades”, who seemed to already know of their approach and agreement with Elro. The group entered the cabin, and began an investigation. Things were strewn all over the floor the cabin, as though it had been robbed or someone had been there looking for something. While taking a close look at the books, a bookmark was discovered which turned out to be a receipt for the sale of certain items by Urgon to Pelc’s Curosities, an antique shop in town. The items were listed as a dagger, a scroll case, a jade statuette, a quiver of twenty arrows, a silver ring set with a jasper, and two blue glass vials. Examination of the cabin and the surrounding grounds also led the adventurers discover some tracks in the snow which appeared to lead to Tulgi Lutan’s Cabin.
The group were concerned with what they eventually figured out was the head of a Yeti, mounted above the mantle, and wondered if perhaps it could be a factor in the mystery, as they are native to Eiselcross.
The group arrived at Tulgi’s cabin, only to find the door locked. Despite thie locked door, there were clear indications of someone within – smoke from the chimney and the light from a fire peaking through the shuttered windows. When Kirknarnan knocked, Tulgi made it very clear that she wanted everyone to leave her alone, but though a combination of charm and good luck, Kirknarnan and the rest of the group were able to gain entry to the cabin.
They found the cabin to be extremely hot. Indeed Gandoff only barely missed setting his robes on fire from standing too close to the hot brazier. Through some “persuasion” with the force to back it up, the group convinced Tulgi to divulge what she knew. It wasn’t all that hard, as she figures she is “dead meat” anyway.
Tulgi came to Palebank Village a few years back from Shadycreek Run with her sister, Hulil. Both work for the Uttolot family. The Uttolots sent the sisters and a few others to the village to keep an eye out for treasures coming back from Eiselcross—with the intent of stealing them. When such artifacts come through the small settlement, they are often unusual goods that treasure hunters are trying to keep away from Uthodurn or the Dwendalian Empire, the major ruling force on the continent. When Urgon Wenth returned to Palebank Village with treasures from Eiselcross, Tulgi saw her chance. She waited for Urgon to sell his finds to Pelc’s Curiosities, then stole them all.
Tulgi gave most of Urgon’s relics to her sister, Hulil, but kept one for herself—an ornate dagger, which after a couple of tries the group discovered. Tulgi offered the dagger to the group, but the group declined, fearing it could have a part to play in the affliction. Delenn cast a spell to determine if the blade was evil or not, and reported that she did not detect any evil. Tulgi admitted that she was the one who searched Urgon’s cabin, convinced that the dead dwarf must have had magic or other secrets stored away there.
Tulgi also told them that Hulil has the other items in a site north of the village known as Croaker Cave. The group discussed whether to go to Pelc’s Curiosities or Croaker’s Cave, but owing to the diminishing light on a short Winter’s day, opted for Pelc’s Curiosities.
When the adventurers arrived at the store, they found the door ajar. After a perhaps ill-advised immediate entry, they discovered a band of bandits there and battle ensued. Our developing group quickly subdued the villains, with Budgerigar and Feanor playing pivotal rolls, terminating the lives of three bandits, and tying up the remaining two.
Upon questioning one of the remaining bandits had little choice but to “fess up” or die. The bandit revealed that they were in the employ of Hulil Lutan, Tulgi’s sister, who holds forth at Croaker’s cave, and that Hulil is also sick, moving slowly with blue veins on her body. Hulil had ordered the bandits to rummage through Pelc’s Curiosities in search of potions, scrolls, or other items that might help cure her. Despite their thorough search, the bandits found nothing useful.
The bandits also revealed that Hulil is a dwarf priestess of Tiamat, the “Scaled Tyrant”. Tiamat is the evil queen of dragons – a goddess of greed, envy and hoarded wealth, and patron of most chromatic dragons.
When Popeye ventured into the back room he discovered the owner of the shop, Verla Pelc, frozen like what modern day people in our plane of existence might call a Popsicle.
Having defeated the bandits they found them carrying no “coin” but did “relieve” them of their weaponry, perhaps to be pawned later for coin. At this point, the adventurers, weary from their battle and investigations, decided to seek respite for the day at the local Inn.
During the day, Kirknarnan was discovered to have an alter-ego “Tough Bandit” attached to his representation on the gaming plane. The all-powerful DM cast a spell the next day to banish the corrupted container to another folder of existence, renaming him “Kirknarnan the Broken” and the former adventurer bequeathed all that he was and all the he possessed to the reconstituted Kirknarnan, who seems none the worse for wear.
[DM Ed: I decided to leave it there, rather than moving the characters to the Inn. We can do that next session, and thus everyone can learn how to apply a Long Rest to their character.]
A Visit with Elro
After dispatching with the thieves occupying Pelc’s Curiosities, the group did a little exploring to see if there was more to be seen in the shop building, but came up empty. There was some consternation about the two thieves who remained alive: some in the part were not comfortable just leaving them be, and others were concerned that they would likely trot back to Hulil’s hideout at Croaker Cave, only to be fought yet again. So, they left Budgerigar Tealeaf to guard them, went to town in search of Elro to report on their progress.
Elro sent Mila over to the curiosity shop to relieve “Budgie” who returned a short time later. He was saddened to hear of the new that Vela Pelc had become a frozen icicle, and not terribly surprised to learn that Hulil Lutan had also fallen ill. Elro provided the adventurer’s with directions to Croaker cave, which the village generally knew was the abode of giant frogs and toads and thieves as well.
The group, slowly becoming friends over their shared experience spent the night at the local Inn and awoke the next morning with wounds healing and spells refereshed.
After breaking their fast, a quick visit to the local general store in town provided some much needed gold in exchange for the weapons recovered from Hulil’s band of thieves the day before. Soon they were off to find Croaker Cave.
The cave area was not difficult to find. There was only one obvious entrance, and a fair amount of exploration by “Cap’n” Kirknarnan revealed no alternate entrances. Near the entrance, a bit to the east, they could see smoke rising out of a fissure in the rocks above the cave area: it seems that the cave is occupied.
Near the cave entrance was a large pool of water. Careful investigation revealed a blue-skinned ice frog lurking just below the service. Approaching the pool, Feanor espied a heavy wooden beam. He also drew an attack from the giant ice frog, whose teeth were no match for even his meager armor.
Kirk attempted to wrap a ball of pitons on the end of a rope and cast the rope across the pool. That effort was successful, however there was nothing on the other side to hold the rope firm, and it was subsequently retrieved.
Battle ensued, and it soon became clear the there was more than one ice frog in the pool. Caught by surprise, its attempt to bite fell short. Concentrating on the first frog, Popeye and Budgerigar did sufficient damage that the frog exited the cave in an attempt to flee. However, in the escape attempt, it was finished off by a slash from Kirk, and perished.
That left the second ice frog known to be in the pool. Delenn then stepped up to the plate and from near the back of the group, cast a spell of Command on the second frog, and commanded it to flee. Although it took some damage in the process, it was able to escape the area.
Unfortunately, the ruckus attracted the attention of a pair of Hulil’s thieves. Based on their stature and build, it seems one of them is an elf, the other a dwarf.
Tune in next time for the next episode of “The MT Dungeon”, the Battle for Croaker Cave.
Croaker Cave – Continued
In Session #2 the group continued to explore Croaker Cave. The two aforementioned thieves started making guerilla attacks on the group from the other side of the pool while the group tried to figure out how they were going to get to the other side. After a spectacular failure climbing by Vash, a monk that Elros sent over to try and help, eventually Kirknarnan and Feanor managed to scramble up one side, while Popeye climbed up the other.
Vash did subsequently manage to climb up, but one of the thieves’ arrows found its mark, dashing her into the water, leaving her at the first stage of exhaustion. Once the group got across, they discovered that they had managed to disturb a host of annoying bats. Soon the bats’ numbers had been significantly diminished by attacks from the adventurers, and so fled the cave.
In doing battle with the thieves, the thieves managed to lure the explorers close to a second pool, where two more giant frogs awaited. These two were dispatched, along with two of what turned out to be three bandits. During the battle Delenn had ample opportunities to try out her wand of healing. Popeye managed to grapple the remaining thief who seemed pretty scared and unhappy, and revealed that Hulil Lutan is residing further into the cave, but plans to set out for Shadycreek Run, hoping that trading some of the items her sister Tulgi stole from Pelc’s Curiosities will allow her to pay for healing that will cure her. Poor dwarf: she does not yet seem to know that that sort of cure had already been tried, and was not helpful.
The hearty adventurers were considering whether to bed down for the night and rest when the session ended.
Hulil Lutan’s Hideout in Croaker Cave
Picking up in session #3, the group decided against a rest period, perhaps being unsure if there were any more bandits about. Exploring the cave Budgerigar, Popeye, Gandoff and Vash started rummaging through the bandit campsite. The fire was cold, and so was the pit that Budgie managed to fall into. A rope, with a lift from Vash and then the very strong Popeye quickly got her back above ground. Continue to examine the bedrolls, Budgie also managed to uncover a bottle of Bad Dwarf Whiskey, which is said to be quite a bit more sought-after than the what used to be in the bottles of swill that littered the floor.
Kirk, Delenn and others traveled up the passage to the North of the encampment, but they quickly discovered this just led them back to the bat cave (and not the one Robin frequents). The group then proceeded up the other passage, to the Northeast, and discovered another pool. Perhaps through luck or perhaps a shrewd guess based on the giant frogs in the other pool, Feanor discovered that there was indeed an occupant in this third pool – not just any old frog, the the giant toad Old Croker himself. He also managed, through exceptional animal handling, to convince Old Croaker to ferry him across the pool – and the rest of the party as well, though Popeye opted to use his above average strength and athletics ability to scale the wall and get to the other side on his own. Meanwhile Gandoff went back to see if he might retrieve the plank that most of the party used to cross the first pool, only to realize it was far too long to be able to make the necessary turns to get to the third pool.
For a while the group managed to quietly assembly on the far side of the third pool. They espied a large dragon mural on the North wall – likely a rendition of the evil dragon Tiamat. There was also a roaring fire in the middle of the room. Eventually their discussions alerted Hulil and her companion in worship of Tiamat to their presence. Hulil was annoyed by the presence of the party on what she considered sacred ground dedicated to Tiamat. Tense moments ensued and a brief battle erupted, as Hulil was skeptical of a couple of group members’ claims that they were there to help. In the process, Vash got a little too close to the roaring fire for comfort and got singed, and Budgerigar got hit with a sleep spell casted by Gandoff . Eventually Hulil was convinced by Budgie that the group really was just trying help.
Along the way, one of the group also discovered that the stone chest in the middle room appeared to be trapped with a strange blue powder in some small holes in the chest, which also is emblazoned with the image of a dragon.
When finally convinced by Budgereigar that perhaps the group was trying to help, Hulil Lutan demanded that her companion be awakened before she would discuss anything further. After that had occurred, Hulil revealed several bits of important information:
- The disease from which Hulil Lutan and her sister suffer from is known as “Frigid Woe”
- Hulil believes that she contracted the ailment from one of the blue vials that Tulgi and her bandits stole from Pelc’s Curiosities. That particular vial was cracked when she and Tulgi handled it, revealing that the vials’ lovely color was the result of a dark blue dust clinging to the interior surface of the vial.
- She plans to go to Shadycreek Run before the malady runs it’s course, hopeing to trade the goods that were stolen in exchange for a cure.
- Hulil sold one of the vials to a human named Irven Liel, a merchant who was traveling with his family, and was staying at the Jolly Dwarf Inn in Palebank.
Hulil was adamant that she would not reveal nor provide the contents of the chest to the explorers – who, after all, had claimed they were there to help.
Our fledgling adventurers then discussed at length what to do next. Things took an unexpected turn when Gandoff, for reasons known only to himself, decided to attack Hulil’s companion with magic missiles, leaving her nearly unconscious, lying on the floor of the cave. This naturally enraged Hulil, and as the session ended, it seemed likely that another battle would ensue.
Advice from the DM: Several of the characters (Budgerigar is a notable exception) seem to not be played in their alignment, and/or perhaps some of the players don’t fully understand what the characteristics of their character’s alignment might be. Below is some “homework” for reading up on alignment and how it affects characters’ behavior. Feel free to engage in discussion on this topic on the MT Dungeon Facebook group page, too.
A simplified explanation from the D&D5e System Reference Document (SRD) can be found at https://dnd5e.info/beyond-1st-level/alignment/
A discussion of alignment that goes beyond the basic rules can be found at easydamus.com – perhaps starting with easydamus.com/neutralgood.html
In particular, the DM notes for the benefit of the players that it is not absolutely necessary for evil beings to attack good beings, or vice versa – motivations are more complex than that, though I do recall one particular Paladin back in the day who was sworn to do so, and occasionally had to be restrained from leading the party into disaster.