Played September 10th, 2016
Cyanwrath is briefly taken aside by Jamna Gleamsilver for a job offer from the Zhentarim, whom she’s been working for. She’s noticed that Robyn was curiously absent while everyone else was either in the crowd or in the fight, and has guessed that Cyanwrath was intentionally diverting the cult and the guards from the strongroom. Having seen both his combat prowess and his skill for subtlety, Jamna offers him a spot in her messed up extended family of spies, assassins, and extortionists. After mulling it over for a few minutes, he accepts.
The party reconvenes, slips back into the strongroom while the place is still busy with the deaths of the cultists, and follows the tunnel out into the Mere of Dead Men. Here, they find a trail and clearly reptilian footprints of what might be dragonborn leading away. As the party begins to gain on their quarry, Robyn realizes that the tracks are those of lizardfolk, not dragonborn, but still quite clearly lead away from the secret tunnel leading to the strongroom. The lizardfolk are perhaps working with the cult?
The party is intermittently attacked on the way through the Mere, most notably by a shambling mound, a twisted creation of vine, root, and bramble brought to life by fairy magic and consuming all matter to grow larger and larger. Fortunately they are very slow. The party comes across the thing pounding the bloody viscera that used to be a lizardfolk torso into a rock. The limbs are still mostly intact nearby. The mound pounds steadily, thump, thump, thump, either unaware or uncaring that its target has long since expired. The party attempts to go around it, but it catches notice of them as they leave (Thaemin, Ront, and Cyanwrath are all in noisy armor) and attacks. The creature is tough, but fortunately it isn’t able to get a handle on any of them long enough to begin consuming, and is eventually hewn to pieces.
There’s a couple more random encounters that took up table time, but had basically no plot relevance at all. Pretty disappointed by these encounters after how chapter 4 was basically nothing but awesome random encounters, and they were all so good I went with the advice semi-frequently given to just run all of them in a pre-determined sequence. I would’ve saved some of them for later, but they were all pretty well fixed to traveling on a road through hostile wilderness between two major cities. Many of them don’t work if you’re in a swamp. Upshot of that being this is gonna be a real short update, like, a quarter the length of the usual.
The party is later ambushed by a dozen bullywugs. Cyanwrath and Ront alone make short enough work of half of them, and soon the ambush is cut down to just two bullywugs sent fleeing into the swamp. Some nearby lizardfolk observe, and flee when the party notices them. They pursue the lizardfolk back to their camp, where Thaemin asks for their leader. One known as Captain Snapjaw steps forward to talk to him. Conversing in draconic, the two quickly come to an understanding. The lizardfolk used to be the cult’s allies, but ever since the cult hired on the bullywugs they’re…well, still allies, but much more lukewarm about it. They agree to defect and help the party kill the bullywugs hiding at Castle Naerytar.