D&DEnc 16 – Legacy of the Crystal Shard – Session 12 Season Finale

ShardAlmost a full house down at Tabletop Tyrants for this finale, Tilly unfortunately had to work and so missed out. Only a couple of photo’s to accompany the session as the battery died on my phone. As Adam’s character had died last week, this time he was playing a human Barbarian from the tribe of the Elk that had been the Ice Witch’s prisoner when the heroes arrived.

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

Despite having distrust for the Bard and Elf the heroes risked taking a breather to try and recover some of their health but were ever wary that the Ice Witch remained above. The paladin tried to get the pair to swear to support the party but his pleas fell on deaf ears. With no other recourse the party all stand upon the dais and the magical winds lifted them gently upwards. Once they were level with the upper chamber they gingerly stepped off onto the solid surface around the hole in the floor.

The Ice Witch calmly sat on a chair fashioned from the same black ice of the tower itself with her back to them, a male Barbarian crumpled on the floor nearby. She asked “Why do you resist the embrace of Auril?” and as the last word echoed around the room the heroes vision swam  and darkened.

CAM00685The heroes began to experience visions where they seemed to be reliving key points of the Ice Witch’s own past, and when their vision finally returned they all looked exactly like the Ice Witch. Whenever any of them moved, all the figures moved correspondingly, until suddenly one of them cast a flaming sphere at another and Richard (the sphere’s target) realised the spell had come from his fellow druid.

This knowledge seemed to break whatever enchantment had been used and the heroes stood revealed, though Tanis  and Shane were suffering the effects of a Confusion spell, and Robert had been Dominated.

CAM00687The four black ice statues of Auril also lumbered into action striking at members of the party with brutal fists while Sunyi backed up to the wall and began playing an inspiring tune – to the forces of Auril!

The fight was savage as both Adam and Richard were targeted repeatedly but the heroes quickly realised that a lucky strike on one of the statues could cause them to shatter. Robert and Shane managed to shrug off the confusion/domination but Tanis continued to stare bemusedly at the pretty colours on the ceiling.

Adam fell to repeated blows allowing the Ice Witch to move more freely, but he was quickly revived by his allies. The heroes realised that no amount of pleading was going to change Sunyi’s allegiance and so targeted him with their magics, first knocking him unconscious and then killing him with a magic missile while he was down. Unwilling to risk Tanis also turning on them, Adam used his grapnel and rope to pull the bemused mage into the open hole and the eighty foot drop to the icy dais below killed him.

Able to finally focus their attention solely on the Ice Witch the remaining heroes were able to pummel her to death, but as she died the tower began to collapse around them. Luckily they were able to escape without further harm only to find themselves out upon the floes of the Sea of Moving Ice and far from Ten Towns. They faced a hard and hazardous journey but the threat of the Frostmaiden had been successfully dealt with – at a cost.

We all had mixed feelings following this session, partly because of the PvP element that had crept in in the closing weeks, but also due to the sense that the adventure itself hadn’t really presented any real threatening villain. Kessel and his undead could be (and were) defeated, and the motivations of the Frostmaiden weren’t really over apparent until this final session. We felt that although the three factions thing had worked in the previous season, this time round it fell flat.

With regards to the “betrayal” and resulting PvP, as a group we had quite a late night discussion on the subject and have now agreed to adopt a similar credo to the Living Forgotten Realms Campaign Guidelines to prevent future occurences.

Having looked ahead to the new season it’s going to have more of a linear, old style dungeon adventure so should have more clear definition of who the good guys and bad guys are which is whats needed for Encounters, intrigue and subterfuge is great for ongoing home campaigns but can create problems in Public Play.

I must give a tip of the hat to Spykes from the Wizard forums for the “Trials of the Ice Witch” vision challenge, it turned what would have been a basic brawl into a much deeper encounter.

2 Responses to “D&DEnc 16 – Legacy of the Crystal Shard – Session 12 Season Finale”

  1. There’s the PvP I was kind of expecting…

    I suppose that in a module, or even a DM-created adventure, the expectation (players and DM both) is that the group will reach the end of the adventure and succeed against the Big Bad, or they will reach the end of the adventure and fail against the Big Bad. We forget that a third possibility exists – the adventure may end halfway through, either by party-wipe or by PvP and/or clash of alignments and ethos that dissolve the character group.

    Sounds like it was a fun experience start-to-finish at any rate. Well-run, and your summaries were well-written too !

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