Blamstard Industries Presents: Tyranny of Dragons

No way out
Save the Mill — part I

The eye of the storm — a crowd of survivors huddle around, while outside their town is under siege. Few of them can stand, let alone defend themselves. Four blood splattered strangers hobble in. Are they here to help, or are they here to take advantage of the situation?

The four adventurers survey the keep’s courtyard. The survivors they shepherded here mix with the crowd — some whisked away to have their wounds tended to, others to see if their loved ones made it. Guards bar the gate. Regardless of their plans, the adventurers are now locked in here with everyone else.

Balabar Rumbuckle, the adventurers’ patron, immediately starts pushing his way through the crowd. “Tarbaw,” he calls, looking for someone. “Where is he?” he demands from a red haired dwarf stationed in the corner. With a grunt, the burly dwarf nods his head in the direction of stairs leading up to the parapet.

With Balabar distracted, the adventurer’s set about exploring the keep themselves. Elven splits off, looking for a healer. The Kobold’s blades bit him deep, and he’s unsure how he’ll fare the night. Luckily, on the opposite side of the yard he finds an elven women tending to the wounded.

The women is Rashenid Lael, the town’s apothecary. Limited in the help she can provide, she tends to the injured as best she can. Without supplies from her shop there is little she can do. For Elven, she plucks some trampled weeds from the courtyard and muddles them into his wounds. The jabbing fingers sting his open flesh, but the pain slowly subsides and he feels refreshed.

Meanwhile, Webelo spies an unguarded door. Ever curious, he sneaks his way through it. Inside, he finds a mostly empty room. A few dusty spears sit mounted to the wall, across from a rusty gate. The gate must lead out the side of the keep, an alternate exit — something Webelo takes note of. Before he can explore further, he’s confronted from behind.

“Excuse me sir, what are you doing?” the guard asks. “If you’re looking for someone or something, I’d be happy to help”. Grumbling, hesitant to cause a conflict here, Webelo returns to the yard with Behal, the guard.

Elsewhere, Hunkir simply finds himself a soft spot in the yard. Seeing this as an opportunity for some down time, he lays down amongst the crowd and closes his eyes. The day was long, and he’s not here to get involved.

Sir Darin navigates through the yard, taking this time to find Linan and her family. Ever playing the hero, he wants to make sure they’re okay. Everyone’s quite shaken, but it seems like they’ll all survive. She extends a hand to Darin and thanks him for his help. Gratified, he turns and scans the yard for Balabar.

The gnomish merchant sits up atop the keep’s parapet, ranting to somebody out of sight. One by one the party reconvenes and climbs to join him. They want this night behind them and the pay that they’re owed.

The gnome stomps back and forth, speaking at fever pitch to a man’s back. That man, flanked by two guards, stands surveying the town — his town. The governor of Greenest, Tarbaw Nighthill, stands desperately trying to figure out how the town will survive the night. He raises a hand, cutting Balabar off, “Yes, yes. Your mill is important Balabar, but not if there is no town left for it to feed.”

Turning to one of his guards, Nighthill ponders, “What do they want? Why are they here? If we figure that out, the quicker we can be rid of them.”

Spying what Nighthill is watching, the adventurers see enemies amassing outside the keep. A purple clad figure barks orders, directing the mustachioed raiders. At her side stands a towering blue skinned menace, glaring right back at the parapet.

Then, from the opposite direction, a resounding boom and a burst of flames. “My mill!” Balabar exclaims.

Nighthill turns quick and, for the first time, takes notice of the four adventurers. Startled, he reaches for his dagger. “Who are you? What do you want? Why are you here?” he exclaims, assuming the stranger’s and the night’s events are no coincidence.

On the horizon, flames billow, threatening the Rumbuckle mill. Anxious to she his business saved, Balabar jumps in, “Whoa! They’re with me,” he intervenes.

Still suspicious of the adventurers, the governor concedes that the mill is in need of rescue. Though, he’s not able to mobilize a force fast enough — there are very few soldiers here, and the keep’s safety comes first.

Turning to the adventurers, Balabar suggests they go to save his mill. He argues that their agreement hinges on him having a home to return to. At that, annoyed that the job keeps getting more and more complicated, Webelo demands more pay. Moaning that he’ll have no profits by the time this trip is over, Balabar agrees.

With little choice, the governor accepts the plan. He’ll organize some guards as fast as he can and send them after the adventurers. Not knowing if he should fully trust them, he asks that they return to the keep afterwards, “If you encounter any raiders along the way, capture them and bring them back here. I have some questions that need answers.”

With all that agreed upon, one question remains: how do they get to the mill? Outside, surrounding the keep, raiders line up, walling off all lines of escape. It appears as if there is no way out.

Greenest in Flames

Flames dot the landscape. A dragon circles overhead. Turmoil echoes from the town below. The troupe faces a dilemma: turn and flee, or wade into a battle that is not their own.

Balabar Rumbuckle, a resident of the town of Greenest, goes white. His livelihood is part of that town. If his family’s mill burns down then he’s out of work. Though if he dies he’s out of work too. It’s not safe for him here.

He turns to his hired guards. The contract they agreed on was to see him home safe. Balabar argues that they haven’t fulfilled their part of the bargain — he’s not quite home yet. The adventurers want to get paid, but a dragon is a menace no man wishes to deal with.

The beast circles high above the village. They watch. It disappears over the horizon and then reappears sweeping low over the town. They don’t see a drip of fire leave the dragon’s mouth, nor do they see it scooping up villagers to rip them apart. It’s almost as if the dragon is holding back, looming like a vulture in wait.

Reluctant, Balabar offers up a bonus if the adventurers ferry him to safety. Sir Darin, ever eager to save the day, doesn’t need the extra incentive (though he doesn’t reject the offer either). The others are more convinced by the promise of extra gold. Cautious, they all proceed as the dragon again disappears over the horizon.

As they enter town, a women and her family break from an alley. They’re chased by a pack of impish creatures. The scaly, baboon shaped things surround the women as she diverts them from her family.

Webelo approaches the women and introduces himself while she fights for her life. Ignorant of the situation, he attempts to make small talk. To her, Webelo is an annoying dawdler, a distraction. Her family will die if she doesn’t focus. To control the situation she needs to understand if he’s friend or foe.

The woman is Linan Swift, a villager of Greenest. Her injured husband, Cuth, takes refuge around the corner with their three children. Playing the hero, Darin rushes to her aid. Close behind, the others follow, while Balabar holds back and hides.

Darin urges the woman to retreat and leave the threat to them. Linan refuses to leave the fate of her family in the hands of strangers. Back to back they fight the pack together. One by one the creatures fall.

Grateful they survived the Kobolds, the Swift’s ask the adventurers to come with them. They’re heading to the town’s keep. The walled fortress sits atop a hill in the distance. It’s the only place in sight that doesn’t appear to be smoldering or overrun.

The adventurers debate if they’d rather drop Balabar off at his mill and walk away from this mess. Above all else Balabar wants to keep his head. So, with his mill on the opposite side of town, he convinces them to seek refuge at the keep first. There they can get some answers about what’s going on.

Trying to avoid more conflicts, the group winds its way through alleys and yards. Along their way, they catch glimpses of more Kobolds. It seems that the creatures are raiding the village, along with a group of mustachioed men. Taken by surprise, the adventurers stumble across another group of frightened villagers. Ultimately they decide to take the group under their wing as well.

Close to the keep, they sneak through a tight alleyway. Ahead, a set of Kobolds and mustached men call back and forth to each other from neighboring houses. Taking point, the adventurers attempt to sneak by. They don’t get far before tripping over one another, drawing the attention of the raiders. The townsfolk hold back, cowering against the alley wall, praying they stay concealed.

Hopping fences, the adventurers take the fight to the raiders. Still determined not to sit idly, Linan charges in to join them. From Elven, a misfired spell lights a bush ablaze, burning between the two houses. Him and a Kobold stab at each other through the blistering flames.

Trying to flank the adventurers, one of the mustached men goes around to the alley. He staggers across the cowering villagers, delighted with his find. Before the adventurers can come to the rescue, the raider slits the throat of a bystander. The elderly women crumples to the ground as Sir Darin reaches her killer.

Spread across yard, house, and alleyway, the adventurers (with Linan) finish the fight. Only a a single injured Kobold survives, managing to drag himself away amidst the chaos. Taking advantage of the open homes, Webelo does some looting of his own. He pockets some candlesticks, silverware, and a scarf from Grandma FaFa, the murdered villager. It’s not like she was using it.

At the hill in the center of town, the adventurers and townsfolk creep their way around to the keep’s gate. A squad of raiders sits entrenched at the foot of the hill, surveying the defenses.

Attempting to be stealthy and swift, the adventurers once again trip up. Tumbling down, wheeling through townsfolk and raiders alike, they all end up in a pile at the bottom of the hill. Panicked, the townfolk get up and dash madly to get to safety.

At the top of this hill the gate begins to close. The keep is being locked down. Disoriented after being bowled over, the raiders collect their wits and give chase. The adventurers join in the scramble. Darin gets to the gate and guides the remaining townsfolk through. Just as the raiders reach the door it’s slammed shut. Everyone made it in. They’re safe… for now.

The Adventure Begins
The Road to Greenest

Our adventure opens up one morning, as a group of travelers break camp. Today they make for their destination, the town of Greenest.

Driving the caravan is a Gnomish merchant, Balabar Rumbuckle, who is journeying home. His wagon is empty and his pockets are full of gold. This trip was a lucrative one. He’s accompanied by four adventurers who he’s hired on as caravan guards.

After hearing stories of increasing danger in the area, Balabar hired on the group in Berdusk. He didn’t want to lose his profits to bandits on the way home. It seems that the adventurers know each other, but they aren’t too open with Balabar about their past. Their history is somewhat of a mystery. It seems they have their own reasons for traveling to Greenest.

Hunkir Brittlebod, one of the adventurers, is seeking out an old friend in Greenest, Leosin Erlanthar. Leosin recently sent an urgent letter to Hunkir, urging him to meet in the town. The note was vague, but indicated that Leosin had stumbled onto something nefarious. Feeling loyal to his oldest friend, Hunkir makes the journey. He’s not normally one for selfless quests.

To reach Greenest they travel southwest along the Uldoon Trail, across the Green Fields of the Western Heartlands. The sea of grassland stretches to the horizon, with grass as tall as a grown man in places. Swaying in the wind, the grass chokes the path, barely leaving enough room for a single wagon. As they pass by, it’s almost as if the grass were alive, recoiling from their touch.

Trying to get to know his companions, Balabar attempts to make small talk. He doesn’t get far though, as he’s interrupted by the antics of Elven Fafaris, another one of the adventurers. Elven, amuses himself by playing pranks on the unsuspecting Gnome. One of his gags leaves Balabar thinking he’s soiled his pants. Embarrassed, the Gnome retreats from the conversation, praying that no one notices.

Under the midday sun, a startling noise alerts the troupe. Something behind them bounds away from the path. Dashing through the grass, the rustling falls off, springing away from the trail. It’s unsettling that they passed by something potentially dangerous, looming so close. The party decides not to investigate. It’s not worth the risk. They have no appetite for seeking out trouble.

Further down the road they’re alerted again, this time by a women’s cries for help. With a sense of duty to those in need, one of the hired guards, Sir Darin, charges forward. He forges a path through the tall grass for the rest to follow. Balabar, nervous about leaving the trail, stays back. Hunkir and Elven join Darin to investigate.

In a clearing, a distressed women sits crouched over a body. A massive dog sits at her side. She cries, begging for help. She says an evil knight rode through on horseback and attacked them unprovoked. As she describes it, her friend, on the ground, was attacked by some kind of magic, a “kind of lightening attack”. She pleads that they help him.

Noticing that the body appears unscathed, the adventurers hold back. The women begs that they come close and see what they can do for her friend. “He’s not breathing,” she pleads.

Taking pause, the adventurers notice that there are no hoof-prints or evidence of a battle. Surveying the scene in more detail, they also catch the man sneaking a breath. They press her for details and her story starts to crack.

Without warning, from the grass behind the women, an arrow flies, grazing Sir Darin. With their ruse exposed, the women and the downed man attack. Back at the wagon, guarding Balabar, Webelo, the fourth adventurer, hears commotion. He decides to sneak through the grass and get a peek at what’s going on. Heedless, he runs into the hidden archer. They’re both caught unawares.

A full skirmish breaks out, both in and out of the grass. Webelo wrestles with the archer while the others fight the brigands and their hound. The dog meets a sad end in a fire pit, while his masters are dispatched one by one.

Investigating the brigand’s camp sheds some light on their intentions. Two wagons wall off part of the clearing. Inside one of them, dried blood and deep scrapes decorate the floorboards. Several sets of manacles are bolted to the sides. From the brigand who feigned injury, the party recovers a mystical club. Though, it’s unclear what exactly is special about the weapon.

A second wagon holds the brigands’ personal effects. There isn’t much out of the ordinary here. The adventurers do find a small bird figurine, and an odd note. The note demands “heartier stock”, detailing that “the last group burnt out too quickly”. The note is signed with a strange sigil:

After the group returns to the wagon, Balabar is anxious to get underway. He seems galvanized in his worry — the rumors of danger in the Green Fields were true. Worried they’ll invite more attackers, he doesn’t want to linger any longer than they have to.

Elven, back to his antics, offers to share the loot they found with Balabar. He hands the Gnome an illusionary diamond which will fade into nothingness after an hour. Feeling exploited, Webelo calls for better pay — retribution for the dangers they faced. Balabar, fearing his guards will turn on him, hands over the diamond he had received from Elven.

The rest of the trip is uneventful. The party hurries its way along the trail as the sun gets lower in the sky. As dusk falls they crest a hill overlooking Greenest. Smoke, screams, and chaos echo from over the ridge. As the troupe lay eyes on the town, a bellowing roar comes buzzing from behind. A great blue dragon swoops down from overhead and takes off over the village. Greenest is under attack.


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