- Tick Tock the Paladin (Warforged)
- Ashar the Swordmage (Genasi)
- Truceus the Cleric (Elf)
- Reverence the Ranger (Tiefling)
- Bigby the Druid (Shifter)
The heroes engage the Dragonborn atop the Cursed “Tree”, fail to recover the Prime Core, and fight a new type of mechanical opponent, the Dragonforged.
The heroes engage the Dragonborn atop the tower/tree without delay, as the Dragonborn try to escape with the Core; presumably by either throwing the Core to Caustrex or gliding from the tower top. We almost manage to stop them, at one point Bigby and Reverence even pursue a Dragonborn onto the tree itself; a dangerous drop of 20 feet, a misstep could send either of them to the ground – which is not even visible at this height! Unfortunately the Dragonborn manages to fall from the massive tree limb, and although Reverence manages to kill the reptile as it falls Caustrex catches the Core before they fly out of sight. This leaves the heroes to fight and kill the surprisingly tough Dragonborn Boss, and his Lieutenant. Although challenged by Tick Tock’s seeming inability to hit even the largest of targets the party eventually triumphs and gets an explanation from Torvan.
It appears that he was kidnapped solely to extract the “Prime Core”, although why a race with technology as advanced as their Clockwork Rifles (and the large Gatling guns) would need help from a human he was never able to establish. Apparently he pieced together that the Prime Core was designed to extract magic from Mystra’s Weave (which is now gone), and turn it into Residuum. Torvan fears the Dragonborn intend to use it on people, now that the Weave has gone. He says Caustrex was retrieving the Core for a group of people known as “Followers of Thoon”. Which is a strange title as Caustrex also appears to worship Thoon to at least some extent, judging by his letter. Perhaps this is a way they refer to their clerics?
The party locks the large Adamantium doors to the Cursed “Tree” and have a rest after their exhausting fight with the Dragonborn Boss. in the morning they set off for the dragon’s lair (Kalri had told them it’s location days ago), leaving Torvan behind at the Tower/Tree.
After about 40 minutes travel they come across yet another structure that seems to have originated from Toril. The frequency of these seems to suggest that perhaps all the missing stuff from the Spellplague ended up here, perhaps we should ask the locals if they have seen the infamous missing Dwarven homelands. The structure appears inhabited by the Dragonborn. At his urging the party allows Tick Tock to approach alone, with the intention of either passing as Dragonborn warforged or perhaps getting some sort of information about the races intentions in general, as their motivations, although appearing sinister have yet to be established. Instead of Dragonborn Tick Tock instead finds a curious sort of Warforged, in the shape of the Dragonborn. they demands to know his “Forge and master”. Tick Tock tries to pass himself off as being from “forge Loudwater” and claims his master is “unassigned”. The Dragonforged aren’t happy with this answer and re-state their question; Tick Tock demands theirs instead. We find that their master is designated as “Thoon” and their forge is a series of 20 or numbers (which Tick Tock memorizes). At that point the Dragonforged attack.
The party in general doesn’t have too many troubles with the Dragonforged, although they are surprised by the Necrotic energy “breath” weapon they have. They converge onto Tick Tock towards the middle of the battle, attempting to deactivate the “defective unit”. Although heavily wounded Tick Tock survives the fight without falling. Upon victory Tick Tock takes the largest Dragonforged wings. Tick Tock also notes that the Dragonforged Ghurlas (forehead symbol) are all identical, previously these symbols were believed to be individual to the Warforged, like fingerprints. It is also clear that the Dragonforged Residuum Cores are tainted by negative energy. The heroes also find an active, although closed portal of some kind. Magical runes are drawn around an arch in blood. Although no corpse is evident, there is signs of some recent wounding in the room. The runes glow red, very similar to the red cores of the Dragonforged. Being the most skilled in the arcane Ashar the Swordmage copies the runes carefully before we deactivate the portal by erasing the runes.
The party travels on to the dragon’s lair. They eventually come across a series a half dozen or so caves set into a cliff. Some of them are lit. One of the caves is above a waterfall, that creates a lovely stream that meanders through the clearing. The party decides Caustrex is most likely to be in the cave above the waterfall (which is also out of the way of the lit caves). And they make preparations to climb the water slicked cliff…