D&DEnc 16 – Legacy of the Crystal Shard – Session 7

ShardBefore you think your going mad and have missed session 5 & 6, they don’t exist. The sessions were scheduled for Christmas Day and New Years Day so rather than try and find other days to fit in we simply missed them out and continued with this weeks session. I’ve kept the session numbering in line so as to match up with the scheduling.

We had a full table once again at Tabletop Tyrants, indeed a player from several of our previous seasons popped down to see us and will hopefully be rejoining us from next week. We are continuing to use the last packet of D&D Next playtest rules and the characters leveled up to 5th level in preparation for this session.

  • Tanis – Elf Mage
  • Sunyi – Tiefling Bard
  • Adam – Tiefling Mage
  • Richard – Half-orc Druid
  • Hannah – Half-orc Fighter
  • Shane – Half-orc Barbarian
  • Vipin – Gnome Paladin
  • Tilly – Elf Rogue

Having informed Stokely of his miners fate (last session), the heroes buy a few items of equipment from the dwarves before hiring a guide to take them back to Brynn Shander. Once outside of the dwarven valley the biting winds and swirling snows show that the winter storms are taking a turn for the worse, but their guide plows onward undeterred.

A couple of hours into the journey and some of the heroes notice silhouettes of large dog-like creatures paralleling their course but the poor visibility hides any further chances of identifying them. Shortly they come upon the carcass of a large polar bear and as they examine the remains to determine the cause of its demise a deep snarl draws their attention to what looks like a wolf with white fur, but its the size of a pony! The heroes quickly realise that wounds on the bear were caused by the teeth and claws of the wolf.

While Shane, Hannah, Vipin and Richard surge forward to engage the wolf in melee, Tilly and Tanis provide covering fire and Sunyi strums a bolstering tune on his mandolin. Adam however take the opportunity to prank Tanis, using a prestidigitation spell to cause the elf’s underwear to become soiled!

Another pair of growls drew their attention as two more of the wolves move out of the concealing snow, blasting forth clouds of icy breath over Tilly, Tanis, Sunyi and Adam. Luckily the first wolf is quickly slain and the other heroes rush to their comrades aid. Vipin uses his Misty Step ability to drop onto one of the wolves backs before continuing to pound his mace into its head. Having taken a double dose of the icy breaths Sunyi decides to get some payback and fires his crossbow at Vipin’s unwilling mount but accidentally strikes the paladin.

With the aid of the half-orcs the remaining pair of winter wolves are quickly despatched (despite one taking an intense interest in the aroma coming from Tanis’s posterior) and the heroes take a break to bind their wounds and Tanis skin’s one of the wolves, albeit under the disapproving gaze of Richard’s druid. Once they’re ready, their guide urges them onward.

As they march across the rolling tundra they get a sudden feeling of dread as a huge shadow passes over them in the snow-laden clouds and Vipin senses a large undead presence, but it passes quickly though ominously heading in the direction of their destination.

As the crest the final hillock between themselves and Bryn Shander they behold a terrible sight. The city walls are besieged by a mixed force of yetis, barbarians and wolves; though at present the defenders atop the walls appear to be holding their own further waves of attackers are quickly approaching and threaten to overrun the defences. More worrying though are the pair of figures they see hanging back. What looks to be a pale skinned woman wearing a head-dress of elk antlers standing beside a huge skeletal dragon.

The heroes hadn’t been noticed as the pair stared intently at the battle at the city walls and so they hurried forward to get within striking distance. Tanis led with a mighty bolt of magical lightning as Hannah scooped Vipin up as she ran forward and used her momentum to throw the gnome forward. As he reached the zenith of his impromptu flying arc he enacted his misty step once again, reappearing right in front of the surprised woman and hitting her with his mace.

The pair quickly recovered from the surprise assault and the dragon-skeleton launched itself skyward, its tattered wings still capable of holding it aloft as hit swooped down at Richard with its blade-like talons extended. The half-orc druid looked dwarfed by the massive undead beast but held his ground stoically. Sunyi took the opportunity to examine the link between the two foes, his arcane training telling him that it was the power of the woman keeping the beast animated and he quickly passed this on to his companions who then concentrated their assault upon the female figure.

Up close they could see she was as pale as the snow around them and wore armour that seemed to be made from ice itself which absorbed some of the brunt of their attacks, cracks appearing in it as it did so. With a curse on her lips the witch conjured an icicle like spear in her hand and stabbed out at Vipin with surprising strength, but as she did so Hannah hurled her warhammer into her face distracting her somewhat and allowing Vipin to smite her with the power of his faith. As his mace smashed into her she seemed to explode in a shower of snow, as if she hadn’t even been there, and the bones of the dragon crumpled lifeless to the ground around a relieved Richard.

Without her influence driving them on, the forces besieging the town became disheartened and fled, much to the cheers of the defenders. As several of the heroes took a dragon bone as a trophy, Adam and Sunyi examined the “remains” of the women and realised she had been a simulacrum – the real Ice Witch was still out there somewhere and doubtless annoyed at this setback.

Returning to Bryn Shander they received much praise from those on the walls that had witnessed their battle, and when they asked for directions to Mithann the townsfolk eagerly told them where to find the priestess. The find her at her shrine and ask her about the note that led Aarun to his demise at the hands of Slim and his thugs. She revealed that she hadn’t sent the note but that Aarun had been bringing in silvered weapons to counter a suspected wererat problem (which the heroes then confirmed to her), when the heroes asked what had happened to the weapons Mithann sadly informed them that they were destroyed in an “accidental” fire at the warehouse they were stored in.

While the rest of the heroes talked to Mithann, Adam noticed a figure wrapped in a burial sheet at the rear of the shrine and investigated, finding it to be the young barbarian human that had been in the marketplace stocks, obviously he hadn’t survived the nights exposure. Before anyone could stop him he cast his Animate Dead spell on the corpse which began to struggle and writhe in an attempt to get out of its bag.

Shocked and appalled Mithann and Vipin put the animated corpse to rest (after several well placed mace hits to the head). Further talks with Mithann revealed rumours abounded of violence between the fisherman on the lakes and an increase in those venerating Auril in an attempt to appease the Frostmaiden. She also mentioned that a trapper known to her had reported several of his traps broken and destroyed by some sort of large humanoid, traps designed to take down tundra yetis. She said the trapper (Algonell) could be found around the west side of Kelvin’s Cairn close to Bremens Run. As the heroes intended to accompany Helga on her journey back to the dwarven valley they offered to check he was ok.

Searching for Helga proved easy and the friendly dwarf-maid was happy to bring her journey forward as trading had been good. It was agreed to leave the following morning and the heroes sought out rooms for the night.

We called it there as time had caught up with us, two hours had absolutely flown by. As we packed away Glenn said he’d be coming back to play so I arranged to send him the relevent updated documents (as they’re no longer available to download).

My only issues about this weeks session was the decidedly poor damage output of the skeletal dragon, if I had realised how low it was I’d probably have upped it myself, but hindsight and all that; and with the multiple possible threats it’s a bit too loose and unfocused for the players to follow a thread to completion, I think we’ll be focusing on one thread for the remainder of the season.

Looking ahead to next season, we have sanctioned the season and launch event as usual and it looks like we shall be back up to two tables/DM’s as Liam’s work commitments have relaxed and we’ll be back to smaller groups. Hopefully the adventure shall be a little more focused, I think we need a good old dungeon-crawl style quest.

The news that the new season will be a pdf only release isn’t a major issue as I hope this means delivery delays will be a thing of the past and DM’s can print off what they need for each session. There has also been word that stores that have sanctioned the season will receive codes for a free download, which would be nice though the $17.99 price tag isn’t too bad and I’d probably buy it anyway, we’ll see, February is still a little way away.

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