Location: Swamps near Teras
Date: Early Fall of 1333 Avard
The drow Naivara had, despite the protests of her wealthy family, married a human. They never had children, but lived together as doting, loving husband and wife. He passed away of natural causes, but Naivara never quite recovered. The War of the Undead seemed to snap something within her. After the war, she paid for her entrance into Lok Magius, where she studied necromancy. She mastered as much of the art as they had to teach, passed every truth spell and paladin's test they placed on her, and eventually let her back into the world to study the necromancy of Demik Coruth – and, perhaps, advance the study of necromancy.
She studied necromancy in the hopes of one day bringing her husband back from the dead. She killed servants when it was necessary to study more necromancy, out of love. She visited old battlegrounds and forced spirits to do her bidding, out of hope. Naivara was a ruthless, dangerous drow noble who had no time for petty politics.
Sir Reginald was a noble well past his prime. He reminded Naivara of her late husband, in some ways. Sir Reginald, however, had taken a blow to the head that addled his brains. He had been a fop and a dandy all of his life, escaping the wars by hiring the best of mercenary companies. After his blow, he abandoned his wealth, seeing enemies among friends and friends among enemies, and sought fame and glory. The beautiful Lady Naivara promised him all the fame and glory he could handle.
Nissian was a gnomish soldiers without a gnomish people. The only other gnomes she had met were dead. After searching for so long for living gnomes to protect, she fell in with Naivara. Nissian knew well the dangers a necromancer represented, but Lady Naivara was her last hope to find her people.
Naivara had reached a plateau. In the centuries of pogroms against mages, most necromancy had been wiped out. Then came 'THE necromancer', Demik Coruth, who raised whole cities from the dead in service to him. In Demik's aftermath, the necromantic potential of the land had been dropped to almost zero. There were lots of still-wandering undead to find and study, but Naivara had become more interested in other possibilities. She was expanding her repertoire.
When one of the Dog Men came into Teras with some fanciful tale about a dragon attacking just one homestead, most people figured that there was a giant alligator that finally gave the irksome dog men their come-uppance. Naivara, however, decided that even if there was a giant alligator and not a dragon, it might be a worthy test of her necromancy. Her other methods of resurrecting her husband with arcane powers were proving fruitless, but a dragon..? If nothing else, it would help with the boredom.
The ferryman took them as far into Dog Man territory as he could, and left them. From there, Nissian made contact with the locals and arranged a meeting. Naivara used her arcane powers to charm and befriend the Dog Men, garnering their support for her endeavor. From there, they were led to the site of the attack.
The Holmsmin Place was dead. The gardens and plants in the area were withered, and there were no signs of life. Their guide, Thibin, insisted that the dragon had been seen flying about from the Holmsmin Place, as though it had moved in, there. Sir Reginald and Nissian investigated, while the servants and ponies stayed nervously close to the powerful wizard.
In the distance, a wyvern was spotted. It immediately banked, seeing a horse as a meal, and dove in to attack. The horse was almost immediately killed by the wyvern, claws digging into its body and the stinger on the wyvern's tail delivering enough poison to kill a dozen horses.
Nissian and Sir Reginald attacked. Naivara raised the horse from the dead, and found a local spirit still tied to the land willing to defend it. Sir Reginald's lance kept the wyvern pinned in place while graven bolts from beyond and a zombie horse attacked the wyvern.
The wyvern screamed in pain and frustration, a scream that was heard for miles.
The scream was answered, as a hybrid green and black young adult dragon raced out of the woods nearby. The dragon roared, bathing the wyvern's attackers in a poisonous cloud. The wyvern, immune to the poison, redoubled its attacks. It wore a collar about its neck, and the dragon was obviously its master.
The servants panicked and fled. The horses could not be held back, and ran.
Naivara pulled a dagger and sliced the throat of one of the servants as they fled. The body would become another zombie with which to attack the dragon, for the zombie horse and the graven spirit were both immune to the poison gas.
Nissian drew upon arcane powers of her own, creating a cyclone of air about her and Sir Reginald that would protect them from any further poison gas attacks by the dragon. Sir Reginald and graven bolts finished the wyvern off.
Naivara channeled her arcane power into an attack on the dragon's mind, completely befuddling it. It's eyes whirled in confusion, and it practically sat down like a house-sized cat on catnip. The dragon ignored Nissian and Sir Reginald and the spirits and the zombies as they attacked, doing their hardest to bring the dragon down. Its hard scales of bayou black and green were nearly immune to most attacks, but they hammered at it, none-the-less, knocking off scales and finally drawing blood.
The dragon snapped out of its confusion for just a moment, and flew off as hard as it could. The spell caused it to pause in midair at the edge of bow range, hovering there in confusion for long seconds. It snapped out of the confusion again, and flew off – low, wounded, trailing blood, and apparently going somewhere nearby.
Thibin, whom had climbed a tree and hid from the wyvern, as well as the dragon, was easily convinced to lead Naivara and her zombies to the dragon with the promise of a dragon's treasure in gold. Naivara's spells clouded the young man's mind, but not enough to prevent him from tracking the dragon's blood.
They were skirting a pond with slippery, muddy sides when they noticed sharpened stakes just beneath the water. Thibin had slid in, but was quickly rescued by Nissian and Sir Reginald. They wound their way around the pond's edge, single file, leaving some ten feet between each of them.
The water in the pond began to bubble, and then the dragon broached the surface – with a captive river troll as its unwilling ally.
The troll vomited a thick, viscous, toxic mess all over Naivara and her undead horse. The dragon brought its breath weapon to bear – only for the party to find out it could also spew acid. The cyclonic winds did little to stop the sticky weight of the acidic blast.
Nissian's crossbow was almost ineffective as the dragon leapt out of the pond and landed on the other side of party. It then used its wing buffet attacks to hurl several of them into the water, and throw another line of acid at the neatly lined up party. Nissian, Sir Reginald, and Thibin fell to the ground writhing as the acid burned them alive.
Naivara was thrown in next to the troll, somehow missing all of the sharpened stakes that, she belatedly realized, were all coated in an oily poison of some sort. The troll brought its club down upon the drow necromancy, and then there was darkness.
There was silence in the swamp for a moment, and then the troll went fishing in the water for Naivara's corpse. He picked up the corpse, and ripped her legs off with his teeth, chewing messily, eyeing its dragon master with hatred. The stakes and the mud helped keep the troll contained in the pond, where the dragon's meager treasure grew with the addition of the party's riches.
The dragon tossed Nissian's gnomish body high into the air, and caught it, swallowing it down. The plate armor would pass through Trakaskamasht's gut, clean and polished. It lashed out with a claw and destroyed the zombie horse. Trakaskamasht sniffed at the zombie horse, and tossed it into the pit for the troll to eat.
Then it flew off, towards the Holmsmin Place, to see if its wyvern pet had survived.
DM's Notes: Caileb wanted to try and push Saige to play different styles and characters, thinking that she's in a bit of a rut. He and Sualy and Saige and I bought in for a one-shot where everyone made odd duck characters that should challenge the others to branch out, but they could not play their own build. They discussed who would get which characters, and then made a go of it. The TPK was partially expected, as I was certainly building a situation that would have been difficult for a team that took their time to get to 10th level with their own characters! I think they had a good time and learned a bit. We sat around, afterwards, discussing how the characters might have been used differently or played differently, and the kids seemed to have a good time – despite the TPK.
Thinking about the situation, later that night, I realized that whatever character Sualy had made did not make it into the session. Caileb played the character Saige had made (Nissian, gnomish eldritch knight with defensive emphasis), and Caileb had made both Naivara and Sir Reginald. This whole one-shot was Caileb's idea!
None to date.