This post covers sessions 18 and 19, the last two of my Paragons of Waterdeep campaign. I fully intend to have a "sequel" campaign, hopefully with the same great players using the same characters.
Our heroes settled back into the city of Waterdeep. As they sought to sniff out what hidden groups may be pulling the strings of small-time thugs in the city, they eventually made their way to a house bequeathed to a former PC (Vorath, a wizard whose player, Glenn, had to leave the group around session 6). Using the strange pass phrase that Vorath taught them ("Happy half-orcs have halitosis") they were able to pass the powerful wards and enter the house. Within they found a goodly number of scrolls with all manner of spells inscribed on them, as well as chest and crates guarded by protective spells.
While exploring their new base of operations, they chanced to glance outside and see many robed figures prowling the street. As the party watched, the figures incinerated several citizens and left a young girl unconscious on the street. The party decided to not fall into the obvious trap. It was clear the robed figures did not know the exact location of the group, so they were obviously trying to lure the party out.
The next morning, the cleric Oisin went out to investigate. He discovered that the girl had been taken into the nearby home of a wealth merchant. The cleric went to the home and a servant let him in, leading him to an upstairs bedchamber. There, the merchant and his wife were sitting beside a large bed, in which lay the young girl from the street. When Oisin moved to administer healing, the girl sprung out of the bed, and she took on a horrible aspect: her skin became like scales, her features twisted into a horrible fanged face, and her hands grew black talons. The cleric fled from the room and back down the stairs. While nearing the front door of the merchant's house, a robed figure moved toward him from the living room of the house.
Oisin was able to exit the home relatively unscathed, and his fellows in the party saw his hasty movement. As the party rallied to the cleric's side, the two lizard-like beings attacked. The party fought off the beings (who had the ability to breathe gouts of flame), and one of the things sprouted a pair of leathery wings and flew off over the rooftops. The heroes managed to slay the female, but when they did so she returned to human form. When the other residents of the street came out of their homes to see about the cause of the disturbance, they saw what looked to be a young woman slain by a group of well-armed individuals. The alarm was raised and the city guard quickly came to investigate.
With the guard contingent came Marn, the apprentice of Khelben Blackstaff. He saved the party from being taken into custody. Marn then spoke with them at length about how Khelben knew the nature of their enemies: the lizard-like assailants were devotees of the infamous Cult of the Dragon, who worship dragons as gods and seek to help their "deities" become the rulers of Faerun (if not the entirety of the world of Toril). He also told them that Khelben had decided to form a new secret group of his own called the Paragons of Waterdeep. The party would effectively be the "founding members" of this new group, the purpose of which would be to help protect the city from incursions from groups such as the Cult of the Dragon, the Shadow Thieves, and others.
After this, the party regrouped and gained information from Marn about recent suspicious activities in Waterdeep's City of the Dead, a massive and ancient cemetery. The party set out to investigate. Once there, they followed signs of magic and evil intent to a large mausoleum dedicated to warriors who have died in battle. Not long after entering the burial place, they were ambushed by a horde of kobolds who were hiding within.
As they fought the diminutive lizard folk, a great rush of wings could be heard from outside. A black dragon landed just outside the entrance to the mausoleum, ridden by the lizard-like man who had flown away after their previous battle near the party's hideout. The party fought hard and fought well, and were able to slaughter the kobolds and cause the dragon and its scaly rider to flee.
And that's where the campaign ended. Suffice to say that the characters had uncovered a significant Cult of the Dragon foothold in the city. After their victory, they were praised by Khelben, their reputation for skill and bravery firmly cemented in the estimation of the archmage of Waterdeep.
As I said at the beginning of this post, I do want to someday run a sequel campaign. I love the Castles & Crusades system, and I had a great time running it. The group that I've gamed with for well over a year is composed of great people and I hope to game a lot more with them for a long time to come. This campaign was the first one I'd run in many years, so it definitely helped me knock off some rust from my GMing abilities. I learned a lot about what I like and don't like when it comes to gaming at this point in my life. It was a vital experience for me in my current return to the hobby. In all, a really rewarding experience!
Now, it's on to the next great adventure!