Hoard of the Dragon Queen!

Hello, Castle

The group takes all three of the deceased Lizardmen’s canoes across the mere of dead men, following a series of blazes carved and painted on trees. On the trip, Osred and Galuzard are temporarily paralyzed by a deep sense of dread and fear. Kagrak “Q” Hammerfist is just fine. Banking the canoes, the group, still showing their cultist metal, meets the some lizard folk at the end of their 8-mile swamp journey, somewhat down the path. This path is wider and just enough to rise out of the marsh; it bears the footprints of humanoids, lizards, and frogs.

Osred puts on his best performance, warning them in Draconic that something is wrong at the Roadhouse: Dralmora and Pharblex will be interested in our news, but for now we convince them to send a few of their number back to begin investigations of the commotion. Leaving our canoes behind, we walk down the path among these lizardfolk, who believe us to be their friends, packing eventually into three canoes once more along with them. The heroes note that these lizardfolk bear metal swords rather than clubs as the others we have seen. We cross another swamp, Galuzard and Osred (the only who can understand Draconic) chatting with them along the way and only briefly interrupted by their leader’s call to lizardfolk in a hidden checkpoint.

During this canoe journey, we learn that the shaman of the Lizard Folk, Suncaller, was killed by bullywugs (giant frogs). A mysterious lizard man, Snapjaw, obscurely asks Q if he wants to help, but seems uncomfortable talking openly in front of the other lizardfolk.

Upon arriving at Castle Naerytar, we see housing for 80-some bullywugs and an additional 100 or so lizard folk, and that is only the village at the castle’s foot. We are briefly introduced to Pharblex, the scummy leader of the Bullywugs whom we learned was responsible for killing Suncaller. We’re led past lazing bullywug guards, through hallways, and past a forge (where Q notices that the smithing skills of the lizard folk are positively execrable) into a practice room filled with lizardfolk attempting to master their blades. In the middle of this room, we meet Dralmora Borngrey (yes, that Borngrey), an elf who curtly criticizes Sheranya for diluting her heritage and who seems to be in charge of the operation.

Dralmora offers us a place to stay in the second floor of the castle, and plans to send forces back to the Roadhouse as soon as is opportune to deal with “those damn Harpers.” We happily accept her request, and Q volunteers to help in the teaching of smithing to the lizardfolk (who really and truly are execrable at it). Dralmora insists that they be taught Elven smithing rather than Dwarven, and while Q has some opinions about this he does not share them.

Snapjaw leads us up to our room, then quickly tells us his need for help. The lizard folk hate the bullywugs, but some fear that if an attack is made at the wrong time it could bring both the bullywugs and the cultists down upon their heads. He asks us to spark a war between them, and offers information on a drumbeat we’re to play on the bullywugs’ signal drum when we think the time is right. He retires without answering our questions.

Exploring our new surroundings, Galuzard discovers that the hinges on our door are mysteriously well-kept, compared to the ramshackle nature of the rest of the castle. Exploring further, we discover a trapdoor leading to a room on the third floor, which is filled with human, animal, lizard, and frog bones, as well as 5 giant spiders. After a bit of roughness for Galuzard, the other two (Q and Osred) manage to put them to rest, but unfortunately find nothing among the scattered bones. We wonder, however, whether the bones might help provide an excuse for the lizard-bullywug war….

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