After months of investigation into Cultists of the Elder Gods, the half-elf warlock Ammon and the elven rogue Rolen have found themselves in a precarious situation. After attacking a caravan that was a front for the cultists, their actions have drawn the ire of both the Harpers and the Lord’s Alliance. Instructed to report back to Harper headquarters, their actions will have repercussions that will be keenly felt in the near future.
Changing of the Guard
Miranda, the leader of their Harper cell, is not pleased with Ammon and Rolen’s actions. She explains that their actions have weakened their alliance with the Lord’s Alliance. Since this organization has valuable information about the origins of the Elder Gods, they need to get back in their good graces and prove that the caravan was a front for the cultists. Unless they can find this information, the Harpers will turn them over to the Lord’s Alliance as a peace offering.
Because of their reckless actions, Miranda introduces a new party member who will keep them in line: The human knight-captain, Arlo Vladrago. After introductions, Miranda instructs the party to head to a town called Clearwater, just south of Neverwinter. An elven contact named Erlan Olatoris has information about a Harper agent who went missing when investigating the cult.
Suddenly, the door swings open and a very angry dwarf named Torbek steps in. He complains about Ammon and Rolen’s attack on the caravan he organized and remands restitution. Apparently, the dwarf is both short of stature AND on patience. After some dwarven drama, cooler heads prevail and Torbek is allowed to join the party. Miranda speaks to Arlo in private and gives him information about his new party members before they mingle at the dinner feast.
The Wolf is At the Door
In the morning, the party begins their travels and make camp for the night. Suddenly, Ammon’s alarm spell goes off, helping the party prepare for battle against a pack of dire wolves. Torbek botches his perception check and sleeps soundly as the party battles for their life.
Each wolf is the size of a pony and flanks the party to take advantage of their pack tactics. With a few quick bites and lunges, they start wearing down the health of Ammon, Arlo, and Rolen. Although all party members injure the wolves, their new captain, Arlo Vladrago, strikes the final blow against three of the wolves. With steady blows, he decapitates two of them and stabs the third wolf through the heart. The final wolf turns and flees as Torbek finally wakes, heals the party, then goes back to bed.
Harping On Rolen’s Career Change
Once arriving at the rendezvous point, the party meets a shifty looking elf, Erlan Olatoris, sharpening his blade. He recognizes Rolen from when they were both in the thieves’ guild and chastises him for abandoning his promising burglar’s career to become a do-gooder. Rolen counters that his new lifestyle has allowed him to be a force for good, but Erlan is disgusted that Rolen is working for the Harpers, an organization that has a reputation for meddling throughout the land.
Needing information from him, Rolen seeks to persuade Erlan to see his point of view. Although Rolen usually isn’t the most diplomatic, it’s his lucky day with rolling a natural 20 on his persuasion check. Suddenly, it dawns on Erlan that Rolen’s involvement with the Harpers is actually the sweetest scam he’s ever seen: He gets the chance to gather valuable information, sell it to the highest bidders, and still get paid by the Harpers.
With this new acceptance of Rolen’s lifestyle, he makes a proposition to the party: 1) Buy information about the location of the missing agent for 500 GP or 2) Have Rolen compete in a pickpocket competition with him at the local tavern.
To make things interesting, he offers to give Rolen the information and an Elven Cloak of Shadows if he wins, an enchanted cloak that provides advantage on Dexterity checks for an hour each day. On the other hand, if Rolen loses, he will pay for the information and will owe Erlan a favor in the future. Rolen wants to compete, but needs the approval of his party members.
Being a warlock, Ammon knows the dangers of owing someone a favor. He tells Rolen that if he competes, he had better win. Arlo doesn’t approve of robbing random citizens, but Ammon suggests a compromise: Have Rolen donate a portion of the money to the Harpers. Reluctantly, Arlo agrees to the competition.
At the tavern, Erlan uses a combination of subterfuge and arcane talent to stealthily rob patrons from a safe distance using his mage hand. Rolen is using more traditional methods, but luckily, his friends have his back. Arlo uses his intimidation skill to shoot death glares at Erlan’s direction, occasionally giving him disadvantage on his pickpocket attempts.
Ammon, in contrasts, tells people at the bar stories about his past exploits. He relates stories about his dragonborn friend punching out a manticore in midair, squaring off against a powerful sorceress, and defending a sieged village from an unstoppable horde of orcs. Ever the charismatic storyteller, Ammon’s efforts give Rolen an advantage on his pickpocket checks. Although the competition is neck to neck, in the end, Rolen successfully pickpockets five people before Erlan.
A man of his word, Erlan gives the information to Rolen, along with the Elven Cloak of Shadows. He cryptically remarks that he hopes the cloak gives better luck to Rolen than its previous owner, but he still wishes the party well as they leave to find the missing Harper agent.
To the surprise of the party, a dwarven messenger comes to tell Torbek about a family crisis he needs to attend to. Torbek leaves reluctantly, but has the party promise to send a full report after their adventure. With that, the party leaves into the wilderness to find an isolated hunter’s lodge.
Where’s the Best Place to Hide a Body?
The party creep up on the abandoned lodge and hearing voices, Rolen eavesdrops on the door. The conversation is muffled, but Rolen gathers that two people are debating about where to hide the body. His party members try to sneak up, but the clatter of Arlo’s armor runs the element of surprise. With no other options, Arlo shatters the door with a single blow, revealing a corpse on the floor, with two tough looking human thugs who are dual-wielding poisoned short swords.
The party exchange blows with the thugs. Ammon, in his haste, fumbles on his attack and accidentally shoots Rolen in the back with an Eldritch Blast. Irritated, Rolen slaps Ammon before turning his attention back to his enemies. The blades from the thugs find gaps in Arlo’s and Rolen’s armor, sapping their strength as the poison flows through their veins. The party stays calm and retaliate with magic, arrows, and blades. One of the thugs takes a fatal blow, and with a well-placed strike, Arlo disarms the last thug with a natural 20. When the thug runs to pick up his weapon, well-placed opportunity attacks from the party take him down.
After the battle, the party search the body of the fallen Harper agent. They find a cultist journal that has valuable information. It proves the caravan was secretly manned by cult members, who were transporting a magical artifact to their leaders. It also mentions finding strange metal with special properties, which were used by the Vladrago family to pacify dragons. It was sent to the south in a guarded caravan.
Most importantly, the journal talks about setting up a secret ritual to help the cultists communicate with an Elder God to learn how to free them from their imprisonment. The ritual is taking place two hours to the north in a secluded fortress, one thought abandoned.
Will the party stop the ritual before it’s too late? Find out next time, on Dungeons and Dragons!