Minotaar's GWJ Overwatch D&D Campaign

Godfall

Beholder-kin of Spectators, Gazers, and a Gauth descended upon the party's ship while tiny toothy eyeball creatures tried to eat the ship apart! Quickly dispatching their foes, they feel the pull of a godfall - a massive gray expanse floating in the Astral Sea. A cave entrance awaits that takes them into a temple of a forgotten deity named Falinnia, a goddess of dreams. A spirit warned them that the ghosts of other martyrs to Falinnia went mad here, and she said that if they unlocked the power of the temple Falinnia would answer their questions.

Rooms with empty sarcophagi had switches to unlock the temple, but the mad ghosts indeed blocked their progress - animating giant suits of armor, crafting puzzles of endless rooms, or fighting them directly. They learned that the first spirit that warned them of the rest hadn't been here for nearly as long as the others, and activating the temple allowed them to be freed of their martyrdom and pass on. Azarek was keen on finding a piece of the godfall that could be used as a material component for his psychic anchor spell. When speaking with Falinnia she recommended they take a gemstone she created as a headrest for her most devout servant. Falinnia was delighted that new people had come to her forgotten piece of existence and could bear memory of her to the Material Plane.

Azarek hears Falinnia refer to mind flayers with disdain, and she calls them the "Sons of Fraal." She thinks his dreams lead him to The Far Realm, where the aboleth come from.

Vaelro asked about where the Horn of Valhalla might be, since she was led here. Falinnia told her to think about where she'd least like it to be...and a vision of the Githyanki capital of Tu'narath appeared in her mind. Vaelro shuddered at the thought.

IMAGE(https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/forgottenrealms/images/a/aa/Tunarath.png/revision/latest?cb=20180825135355)Tu'narath

Before leaving the godfall they partook in the dreaming herbs they'd found. Valka dreams of her family, which feels like home, even though none of them are in Tradeholdt anymore. Baz dreams of his creator, Verenestra. She feels cold, but not like winter - distant and out of touch. Azarek's dreams become divinations, as he can see the elder brain conspire with mind flayers to drug an aboleth into servitude. And Vaelro dreams of home, beautiful yet empty, and it makes her wonder if a house is actually a home if no one is there.

Refinancing

From the godfall they plane shift back to Shra'kt'lor, where Azarek meets up with Silah and they research what they can about Tu'narath. It's clear that Azarek wants to learn about the Seeming spell, a powerful illusion that can mask many people at once before the do any real infiltration.

So Vaelro, Valka, and Baz set out into the Githzerai capital's market and try and find the goods. They wind up speaking with Krolid the interplanar artificer who is more than happy to get what they need, but it always takes time. And time on the Elemental Plane of Chaos moves at varying degrees of speed compared to the material plane. Nonetheless, they decide to stay the night cycle for a crystal ball to be delivered to Baz and Vaelro to get a magical sealcoat on her armor. They also discussed obtaining that Seeming spell - and Krolid explained exactly how much it'd cost, which was far more than what they had. In order to strike a deal, Krolid proposes a job - steal a magical item called a Luckstone from a dragon's hoard and the spell scroll is theirs. All the information they have is that it's on an island west of the Sword Coast. Vaelro knows that if it's anywhere island-bound near the Sword Coast, she knows someone in Luskan, The City of Sails, who can give up some info.

Layover

Plane Shifting the repurposed githyanki astral schooner (now dubbed The Pragmatist) to outside the walls of Luskan, our heroes head into the pirate-infested port town looking for leads.

IMAGE(https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/forgottenrealms/images/6/6f/Luskan.png/revision/latest?cb=20190408204959)

Vaelro takes them to the Seven Sails Inn, a large building with wood planks on its roof to resemble a shark's fin. Twilby, the bartender and contact of Vaelro's tells them he knows there used to be a dragon that lived on the Whalebones, a set of islands in the Trackless Sea closest to Luskan. He's heard the dragon isn't there anymore, and people who go looking for it's hoard don't come back.

Valka is enticed to play a drinking game with some local patrons. Shots of clear liquid are poured for each drinker, but each drink is not the same - some are simple alcohols, others are pure liquid fire, and others still are actually just soured milk. Try as she might, she encountered one too many sour milks and lost her bet and breakfast. It was the last of her coin, save a few coppers.

Baz sees musicians on stage and immediately dances toward them and brings out his washboard and plays wonderfully along with the rhythm. He also sees a barmaid bring food out to another patron and asks if he can get some too. He's delighted when he does, but confused when she asks him for payment.

Twilby tells Vaelro to ask Captain Forscythe for more information, since he travels that way occasionally. Forscythe and his mates are playing Dead Eye Dice, and Vaelro and Azarek put up the gold to buy into their game. In a heated contest of luck, it came down to the dice between Vaelro and Forscythe in the very end. But luck was not a lady, it seems it was a stubby dwarf with rings in his beard and a smile on his lips as his arm swept the winnings his way.

IMAGE(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/71/0b/43/710b435a559de604a05108d582c0c3f8.png)

Vaelro asked with a smile if he'd ever heard of a dragon in the Whalebones, and indeed he had. Forscythe tells them of Tauntzoth of the Rocks, an old bronze dragon that went mad and died years ago. It lived on Finback Island, but tales tell that it's cursed and dying along with her. The island reeks of putrescence, and the wrecks of ships long abandoned by crews in search of treasure still lie on its southern beaches.

They find out how far it is and where it's located, and that a sailing ship travels faster with good winds then [/i]The Pragmatist[/i]. They attempt to hire Forscythe and his crew to carry them there. One of his spies overheard Azarek and Vaelro discussing what they were doing on Finback Island and exactly how much money they currently had, so the initial offer Forscythe proposed was quickly increased to a ludicrous amount of coin.

Leaving the bar after rescuing Baz and paying for his food, they are determined to make the trip in their own ship, regardless of how fast it is. Setting sail into the open ocean, they're surprised at how the wind does indeed affect them at high altitudes - so they begin other experiments in the sky and the sea over their travels. Baz shifts into a giant eagle or an octopus to scout around the traveling ship while Azarek is stuck at the helm, relentlessly commanding it. They even experiment with using conjured water elementals to help steer and guide the ship while the wind does the work of pushing it south.

On their third day of travel they see a black storm brewing to the west, and in order to avoid it they sail east. But in the bleakness of the ocean Vaelro spots a tiny island off to the east. Hootley is summoned to scout it out, but the bird comes flapping back to them with fury as he's being chased by a trio of giant flying beetles!

IMAGE(https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/the-american-godzilla/images/c/c4/40water1.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/340?cb=20130622140315)

The Finback

The trio of oversized insects fly down to the crew of the Pragmatist and attack with their mandibles and poison. Azarek is paralyzed by the beetle venom and his psychic connection to the ship makes it fall ever so briefly before Baz laces a magical restoration spell over him. Valka and Vaelro are quick to slice and dice the beetles - but it seems the storm they were trying to evade had its mind made up to overtake them.

A creature made of air and lightning descends upon the ship, rocking the vessel back and forth with winds, hail and lightning. It keeps its distance, swirling out of reach while hurling devastating bolts of lightning that crack open the deck of the ship. Azarek eventually relinquishes control long enough to cast a magical flying spell on both Valka and a giant simian polymorphed Baz. In short order the creature is slashed, has dead beetle carcasses hurled at it, and generally pummeled into submission. As the creature fades, the storm immediately recedes.

IMAGE(https://flashbak.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Shipwrecks-7.jpg)

As they come to the island they can see the shipwrecks on a small stretch of beach. They scout around the island before landing and find that the whole island is covered in a thick canopy of trees. The Finback mountain on the western edge is the highest peak in the surrounding islands known as the Whalebones. The vegetation goes up most of the way on the mountain, but they don't spot any cave entrances after hours of searching above and below the waterline. Eventually they settle down near the shipwrecks and investigate. No remains and no sails left on the ships seems odd, especially when the cargo deck is filled with barrels of rotting food. Into the jungle they go, trailblazing through thick brush. Hootley spies a tent village of odd looking lizard people. They are dressed in near nothing, their camp filled with common folk who are gutting boar, scaling fish, and weaving textiles when some of them spot Hootley in the trees. A raven is out of place in the jungle, which scares the lizards who grab for spears and bows. Before any harm could come to Hootley, Azarek transported him instantly back to his shoulder.

Relaying what he'd seen, a quick retreat was in order. Vaelro didn't want to take the chance getting spotted by natives, much less getting into anything violent if she didn't have to. Back aboard the ship they could see lizardfolk eyes spying their floating aircraft. A plan was made. Using the magical bag of food, lay out a wonderful meal (of delicious empanadas) to see if the lizardfolk can be lured out. When that doesn't seem to get their attention, they fly off, doing another lap around the island and trying to see hidden treasures. They do utilize the ships' navigational table to see a stone altar right outside a cave entrance at the foot of the mountain. When they return to the beach they see the empanadas still there. Aboard the ship, Baz and Valka snack on their ignored empanadas, only to discover they've been poisoned! How dare those impudent locals! A new plan was concocted. Baz would go to the empanadas. Hoping the lizardfolk are watching, he'd feign eating and fainting from the poison, while Vaelro stays hidden nearby and Azarek and Valka are aboard the airship a distance away so as not to scare them.

Their intent was so good, you guys. SO good.

IMAGE(https://www.dandwiki.com/w/images/c/c5/Lizardfolk.jpg)

The lizardfolk wait until they can barely see the ship and come out to secure Baz with force and purpose, taking him prisoner. Vaelro was specifically selected as a negotiator due to her excellent telepathy that transcends the language barrier. When she states she just wants to talk and doesn't want trouble, the confused lizard she speaks to only responds with "You will be food for Zedrazes!" Vaelro gets her hands tied behind her back and they begin to haul them away. Baz won't have it so he makes the first move and uses his fey powers to teleport to freedom. The tips of Baz's auburn hair begin to fade to white as he blasts the lot of them with a cone of cold. Vaelro uses her psychic blade to quickly free herself and start dispatching the lizards from the shadows(which she did not want to do). The conflict nearly resolved with Azarek and Valka arriving by magically flying, leaving the slower vessel behind. Some of the lizardfolk had escaped. Azarek really wanted to interrogate one of them, and he and Valka fly off trying to chase those that left. They come across the camp Azarek has seen before, though far less populated. Valka quickly snatched one of the smaller ones up over her shoulder and proceeded to fly back to the beach, with it clawing and biting her the whole way. Summarily dumped on the beach and bound by rope, the heroes get back aboard their ship and begin asking questions.

Vaelro begins speaking to the lizard telepathically. The lizard is upset at hearing voices in its head an screams for her to stop. They press on, asking it what "Zedrazes" is. He says its their god, and you will be fed to it. Azarek starts detecting the creatures thoughts as Vaelro keeps questioning the lizard. He sees images of the altar they'd spied with the navigation table, but in the creatures mind the altar had bodies of sailors packed atop it, lizardfolk bringing them as a sacrifice for whatever awaited in the cave beyond.

And at that point, the lizard shut its mind down, stared at its toes, and closed off its thoughts, screaming "Get out of my head! Get out of my head!" over and over until Vaelro put her hands up in frustration. Leaving their captive bound they discussed how they'd handle getting to that altar and seeing if they could magically locate the Luckstone near the cave. But that would have to wait for the next day...

Baz is sullen and takes to the top of the ship. His mood is changing in the night sky as he watches the island far below get overridden with fog. No wildlife to hear of see, it seems, which is quite odd. He passes this information off to Valka as she takes over the watch. The fog is thick now, surrounding the island. She doesn't hear the flap of wings, but she feels the weight of it tugging the ship down. She looks overboard for a moment in the moonless night and can only see that something is attached to the bottom of their airship. She runs below deck, clanging her swords together and rousing the others just before they hear a mighty roar from below.

The bottom of the ship explodes upward with force, a stinging and burning liquid shooting through the decks, splintering and both melting the wooden frame of the ship away. Coated in the acidic bile our heroes look down and can only see the face of a black dragon for a moment before it flies out of sight. IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/nV1LxA6.jpg)They rush above deck - the ship is starting to fall out of the sky! Azarek runs to the helm as the other three see the dragon circling around. Trying to protect Azarek they wall around him as the dragon slams into the side of the ship, clinging on and attempting to swallow Baz whole. They ineffectually swat at it before it launches away again, circling around to the bow of the ship and again unleashes its hideous acid breath all over our heroes and coating the main deck of the ship, eating away at the structure of the ship itself. The Pragmatist begins a nosedive, headed for the waters below. Baz quickly changes into a giant octopus, tentacularly snagging everyone and falling overboard into the ocean. Vaelro quickly ensures their safety with a press of the Cube of Force, surrounding them in an impenetrable force field and floating like an ice cube in a glass of water. OctoBaz helps swim everyone back to shore, and they quickly and ably find a place inland to rest. Baz's nature magics suppress sight and sound around them as they try and find sleep, though it's ridden with nerves and anxiety as they can hear the lizardfolk hunting for them, but never able to find them.

In the morning they retreat to the rocky shores to get their bearings and create a plan. With the ship destroyed, Vaelro reminds them that while she doesn't like a job incomplete, the option to use a scroll to get out of this stinking death-island is available. They don't want to leave with less than what they came with, so they decide to press on down the beach toward the Finback. Baz spends some time communing with the primal energy of the island to get a better insight into where they should go and what they're up against. While his magic can't penetrate into the mountain cave, he did find a cave entrance to the rear of the mountain that he'd never spotted before. So they head through the jungle, parallel to the beach to try and enter without disturbing the lizardfolk likely to be at the altar cave entrance.

Sneak as they might, they are discovered by a hunting party of lizardfolk! Large brutes and lizard priests attack alongside those with spear and shield. Our heroes begin to prevail, but one of the priests looks Valka dead in the eye and curses her, causing every bit of harm it takes to be inflicted back upon her! The barbarian, not happy about her circumstances, decides to power through anyway, feeling blow after blow inflicted upon herself. Baz gives chase as another priest tries to flee but is stopped short by Baz's thorn whip multiple times. Azarek webs up the brutes allowing Vaelro and Valka to carve them up quickly, but by the end of it all Valka was feeling the hurt something fierce. Some druidic healing later and some time to catch their breath, and surely they're ready to infiltrate a dragon's lair and steal its treasures...

Zedrazes Hoard Heist

Our heroes chose to regroup for a moment after the battle, resting within the silence of the druid's nature magic. They decide to follow the islands' rocky edge to get to the rear of the Finback, where Baz's communion with island told him there was an egress. Octobaz makes another appearance as they come to the right spot, but there's no visible opening. He goes below the water and slips through an illusion masking the entrance! Gathering the group for a swim, they enter into a pitch black cave that opens into a few passageways. Finding a small piece of land, they gather their wits for just a moment before set upon by more lizards!

IMAGE(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcRtJeJQCbTSx6f6Sp4Acp4nYe2HhlYxO9OLHwIYgXqqMIp1UxSq&usqp=CAU)

Dissimilar to the lizardfolk before, these large creatures resemble alligators with gigantic jaws and equally deadly claws. They catch a fatigued Valka off guard as they erupt from the water, snapping their whole mouths around the barbarian and thrashing her about. With the barbarian out of the way, they moved on to the druid - but Vaelro had one's number before it got to move on. A purple energy dagger caught the gator twixt the eyes and it dropped quickly. Baz took the time to recover Valka but it was a moment too soon as it snapped at her again and began to drag her underwater. Vaelro and Azarek threw everything they had at it to kill the gatorman before Valka was gone.

With a sigh of relief they had a rest before they scouted around the cave. Azarek's arcane eye spies the remains of a dragon, in skeletal form, atop a nest. Rooting around he comes across a bronzed egg, still in tact, far below the rocks and bones. Valka quickly heads out to investigate and pick it up. It weighs a ton, but every so often, movement can be felt inside. It is still very much alive. Azarek also scouts ahead to a larger cave opening surrounded by an acid pool - and further still he's come across Zedrazes himself. The gigantic black dragon is walking back to lay down on it's treasure hoard. The arcane eye is invisible and still provides use as Azarek keeps up his spycam - and some time later sees the dragon almost exit the cave - but stops short to grab a snack. Several lizardfolk priests are reconstituting the corpses of dead pirates, then "pickling" them in a light acid bath for Zedrazes. The dragon plucks one from an acid pool and swallows it whole before returning to its hoard.

IMAGE(https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/forgottenrealms/images/6/66/Young_black_dragon-5e.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/340?cb=20190408023657)

So they're right there - but in planning their heist, and with the crazy pressures put on them by losing their airship to a dragon attack, being assaulted in the jungle when trying to hide, then spending a night in terror being hunted, they didn't have all their resources to quickly and ably find the Luckstone in the middle of the hoard. They decide to exit the way they came in and see if they can gather more information from the front of the cave, then spend the night resting in the dead dragon's nest to gather their spells and health before attempting their theft. Baz and Vaelro go on a mission to find a local bird for Baz to Wild Shape into, and with great success. They stake out the area where the lizards have the corpses of the pirates on stone altars. They look to be tending to them, and slowly bringing them into the cave, along with tanning leathers, cooking, and building. They wait a few hours, and while barely noticeable, Vaelro hears the rumbling of the dragon from within the cave, but it never exits.

Returning to Azarek and Valka who are already cooped up in the dragon nest, they hear a lizardfolk's voice coming from afar. Azarek's divinations understand the end of the sentence to mean "SUPPER!" Azarek uses Hootley to scout and see four lizardfolk with pieces of human flesh - a real arm and a leg - and waving them about in the water. One of the lizards spots the wizard's familiar and begins to swim after it to investigate. Our heroes surprise the lizard and dispatch it quickly, but not before it was able to call out for help - and yelling "Notify Zedrazes!" The chase begins.

Vaelro uses her daggers to both swim and teleport toward the other three lizardfolk, while Octobaz swims after them. Azarek casts Fly on himself and Valka and they dart toward the creatures. Valka manages to lock eyes by accident with one of the lizard priests, feeling that same cursed dread she'd felt before - but she carries on and flies after the one scrambling toward the dragon's cave.

The other lizard guard is quickly slashed at and dispatched, but not before throwing a javelin and Valka - which keeps her stormy fury going. Valero and Azarek start dealing with the priest that cursed Valka, and again not knowing what'd happened, inadvertently harming their barbarian in the process. Baz uses his fey powers to teleport time and again to catch up with the scout. Valka lands from her flight in front of it, and Baz behind it. It tries in vain to escape and shouts out toward Zedrazes cave beyond, before its run through by Fulmination, Valka's storm blade. A thunderous roar can be heard from the cave beyond. Azarek summons his most powerful spell and crafts a perfect Wall of Force to intercept whatever might come that way.

Valka is continually in pain from the curse as her comrades beat up on the lizard priest, her and Baz return and try to silence the last offender, but the priest saps the life from Valka with its magics, and she falls again.Before they can do anything else, the priest scrambles from her grasp and heads down the hall. As he's killed by Vaelro's blade, Zedrazes slams his giant claws into the invisible wall, scraping down the barrier. Green energy alights in the dragons throat as it spews a spray of acid, that cascades harmlessly down the forcewall. Knowing there's another way to get to his prey and kill, Zedrazes turns with alacrity and flees.

The group is now faced with a difficult and quick choice. They've always had an escape plan, to use the Plane Shift scroll Vaelro has to teleport back to Shra'kt'lor. But do they think the dragon is waiting for them? Is now the time to raid the hoard or do they escape with their lives and take no chances? Putting caution aside, they clasp hands and run toward the dragon's hoard. If any problems arise, it is mere moments to cast the spell to safety.

And inside they went - they could still hear the ruckus created by Zedrazes as he's begun to loop around toward the hidden cave entrance, lizardfolk chattering and shouting alongside. With only seconds to spare and no magic tricks to quickly locate the Luckstone, they combine their finely tune LOOT GOBLIN skills and start nabbing everything in sight.

Vaelro takes a softer approach, and uses her experience in thievery to gently work her whole arm into a pile of coins and feel for something distinct. And lo, she grasps at a stone with the markings described to her by Krolid the Interplanar Artificer just as a mass of lizardfolk, furious with their flagrant disrespect, storm into the dragon's chamber. So they gather together and hold hands, and recite the words of the Plane Shift scroll...