Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 7

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit witness a sacrifice.

  • Hinesh – Rohän Fell, a human Life Cleric of Silvanus with the hermit background.
  • Jack – Erinya Longtooth, a half-orc Swarmkeeper Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Sarah – Tsukiya Kimiko, a tabaxi Bladesinger Wizard with the noble background.
  • Priyan – Ardigo, a half-elf Hunter Ranger with the outlander/forrester background.
  • Lyam – Groth, a half-orc Zealot Barbarian with the acolyte background.
  • Ashley – Flint, a hill dwarf Circle of the Moon Druid with the acolyte background. – had to drop off due to hardware issues 😦

16th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

The food was warm but hardly hearty, a thin soup that was more water than vegetables. The bard finished his performance and made his way over to their table, odering a round of drinks as he did so “by way of apology”. He rightly surmised they were new to town and made small conversation with them while they finished their meals and drinks. When Rohan asked if there was anything they should know about the town he told them to keep an eye on their coin purses, explaining the history of the town being founded by thieves and that pickpocketing was still not illegal in Easthaven. When asked about the recent burning of the wizard he said he’d been there to watch and that the wizard had reportedly been one of those Red Wizard fellows and had brutally murdered an adventuring party that he’d been travelling with. All most of the locals cared about was that his execution let them all off the hook for this month’s sacrifice to Auril. Groth bristled at this, realising that the human sacrifices were not just limited to Bryn Shander. As the bard prepared to take his leave he invited the party to join “a little private soire” he was to be hosting at the White Lady next evening. At this point the party realised they had left the donkey and cart outside and so took it down to the stables to have it looked after before returning to the White Lady and retiring to their rented room.

Next morning was another clear sky and they headed over to the town hall in search of the dead wizards belongings. The clerk didn’t pay a lot of attention to their story of why they wanted the things and simply advised them that they would need to ask Captain Imdra Arlaggath about them, but she was currently out running militia drills south of town.

As they walked through Easthaven they realised that around a fifth of the residences were boarded up and looked as if they had been left empty for some months. Reaching the southern edge of town they could see a couple of dozen militia members being put through various spear weilding drills by a couple of very shouty drill sergeants while another figure in resplendant plate armour stood watching. They correctly assumed this was Captain Arlaggath and approached her.

The half-elven woman was very matter of fact about having no real need nor desire for the dead wizards belongings and whether she believed their tale of the books having been stolen from their employer or not she gave no indication. “If you want them you can have them, but I need you to do something for me first” she told them. The heroes said they would do their best, and asked what task she had for them. “A quartet of our fishermen have gone missing, they went out before the last snowstorm on the lake heading over towards the deeper water by the eastern cliffs and they haven’t returned. It’s been six days now and I need to know whats happened to them.” She marked the area they were heading to on the heroes map, and after retrieving their faithful donkey cart they set off in search of the fishers.

Shortly after they had stopped for a break (mainly for the donkey) they came to where one of the rivers fed into the lake, thankfully the ice covering it was several feet thick and easily took their weight as they trudged across, however on the other side they spottted some tracks heading upriver. Erinya tried to ascertain what had made the tracks but was unable to do so. Groth however showed great aptitude in not only discovering that the tracks belonged to a heavy humanoid of medium size but that there had been several individuals moving in each others tracks to disguise their numbers. The heroes agreed to followthe tracks for a quarter of an hour in hopes of discovering more. Just before they were about to turn back the tracks stopped. Both Erinya and Groth agreed there was no sign of the tracks turning around, they simply ended, leaving clear fresh snow ahead. Still pondering the mystery but fairly sure it wasn’t the missing fishermen they turned around and resumed their march towards the marked areaon their map.

It wasn’t long before they found themselves on the very narrow stretch of shoreline between frozen lake surface and the rising black stone cliffs and soon spotted a skiff pulled up on shore. It had a layer of rimefrost indicating that it had been out here for a few days. Inside the boat were sets of oars, four sets of fishing rods and almost a dozen empty beer bottles. The cliff face nearby had four openings, three part way up the cliff and the fourth was at “ground” level where a frozen over river fed into the lake, the heroes could make out sets of footprints leading into this entrance in the snow. They also spotted a pair of large birds circling above the cliff top and fearing for the donkey pulled it and the cart into the tunnel mouth for safety.

Off to find the missing fishermen of the Four Knuckleheads

The wind coming off the lake whistled through the stonework of the tunnel, making a constant shrieking noise that quickly became annoying. Progressing into teh darkened interior Rohan cast light upon himself as they reached a frozen waterfall. Using a grappling hook and rope they party began to ascend to the upper level until Groth slipped, his hefty foot breaking through the ice of the waterfall as he fell back down. Water gushed outwards but instead of falling and soaking the half-orc it formed into a humanoid-like shape and began attacking! Despite the initial surprise fo the assault, the watery creature was swiftly dealt with, and as Groth once again ascended the rope he found the remains of a body and its backpack within the broken ice of the waterfall. Retrieving the pack they found it contained the contents of an explorers pack (albeit waterlogged) and a miners pick.

Gathering back up the grappling hook and rope Erinya and Groth began behaving oddly, the barbarian jumping back from imagined foes coming out of the walls and floors around him, while the ranger stared at her companions as if not recognising them and beginning to raise her bow, but quick thining Rohan cast hold person and instantly paralysed her until both of the half-orcs looked to have recovered themselves.

In an effort to get out of the shrieking wind they took the side tunnel above the waterfall, following the natural stone tunnel up some stairs into a larger chamber littered with bones. The bones ranged in size and types, from small bird and animal, to humanoid sized, to a massive skeleton that looked to have belonged to a giant. As they looked at the bones and made their way across the chamber the giant skull turned to regard them eerily and Erinya (still on edge) let fly an arrow at it. The skeleton began breaking free of the lair of ice that held most of its body trapped as the heroes attacked it, Kimiko loosing an orb of thunderous energy at it that echoed ominously throughout the chamber and tunnels.

The skeleton broke free of the ice as Groth and Rohan wailed upon it with their weaponry and Erinya and Kimko used ranged attacks. Rohans magically enhanced quarterstaff was proving highly effective, so much so that the skeleton turned its glare upon the cleric and fired a pair of icy beams at him from its eyes, thankfully Rohan was able to dodge the worst of the blast but his left hand side was still hit by the energy beam, chilling himto the bone even through his cold weather gear. It turned out to be a desperate last stand by the massive undead as the heroes smashed it to bits, and took a moment to catch their breaths and heal a few of their wounds.

As they descended the stairs leading from the other side of the chamber they began to smell a delicious scent of cooking food ahead and Groth seemed to become entranced by it, striding boldly into the chamber ahead to where an old lady in animal furs was stirring a massive cauldron from which the delicious scent was coming. The rest of the party, having resisted the intoxicating scent could see the woman for what she was …

Maud Chiselbone preparing a feast

… cruel and horrid looking hag of some sort, adding various pieces of flesh to the pot from the table behind her that was adorned with various knives, hatchets and hacked up body parts. Erinya shot at the hag but missed by a country mile.

“How rude!” cried the hag as she grasped her gnarled grey staff and and conjured a cone of blasting cold at the heroes, catching all but Erinya within it. Kimiko was frozen into unconsciousness and Groth almost joined her, but his racial ruggedness enabled him to just catch himself and staggered back to his feet.

Battling Maud Chiselbone and her Wisp

Before anyone else could react a small lightning ball appeared beside the hag (who had identified herself as Maud Chiselbone) and flew over beside the fallen tabaxi attempting to extract her remaining life force but was unsuccessful. Aware of the dangerous nature of their foes Rohan used his healing magic to get get his companions back in the fight.

Getting back to her feet Kimiko let loose a stream of magic missiles at the hag, but before the fey creature could respond the now raging barbarian launched himself at her but his halberd failed to connect as she knocked the blow aside.

Repositioning herself for a better line of fire Erinya let loose another arrow as she called upon the nature spirits to mark the hag as her prey, this time her aim was true and the arrow sank into the hags side casuig her to snarl in anger.

Maud focused her glare upon the hulking barbarian before her, “naughty boys get smacked!” she cackled, her gnarled claw smacking into the half-orc viciously and knocking him unconscious to the floor. The wisp again flew across the room in an attempt to feast upon the final vestige of life force but was once again denied.

Rohan charged forward, attempting to shoulder barge the hag back into her own cauldron but she withstood his shove and so he settled for using more of his healing magics to bring Groth back awake …..

The session ends mid-combat

Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 6

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit witness a sacrifice.

  • Hinesh – Rohän Fell, a human Life Cleric of Silvanus with the hermit background.
  • Jack – Erinya Longtooth, a half-orc Swarmkeeper Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Sarah – Tsukiya Kimiko, a tabaxi Bladesinger Wizard with the noble background.
  • Priyan – Ardigo, a half-elf Hunter Ranger with the outlander/forrester background.
  • Lyam – Groth, a half-orc Zealot Barbarian with the acolyte background.
  • (Ashley – Flint, a hill dwarf Circle of the Moon Druid with the acolyte background. – missing this session)

15th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

The party stood at the Northgate with the gathered townsfolk as Speaker Duvessa Shane finished her speech thanking the man that had been chosen by the lottery as the latest sacrifice, Aelim Hursk. A woman stood nearby consoling a crying child, the mans wife and son. The priest of Auril said a prayer to the Frostmaiden and blessed the man, leaving a faint snowflake symbol on his forehead. As the town guard opened the gate the continuing snowstorm blew in through it and the guards formed a cordon and saluted sombrely as Aelim slowly walked out of the town and into the dark, evening wilderness beyond.

Kimiko cast a message spell toward the man “Walk a hundred steps to the west and wait for us, we want to help”. As the guards closed the gates and locked them for the evening, symbolically showing that Aelim could not return. The crowd began to disperse and a familiar face approached, Vellyne Harpell. “I have a business opportunity that may interest you, come and see me at the Hooked Knucklehead” and without waiting for a response she strode off.

The heroes rushed towards the southwestern gate, retrieving Groth’s livestock and cart as they went and headed out into the cold night and began to circle uparound the city to where they had told Aelim to wait for them, Rohan using his druidcraft to create little puffballs to float around him and cast light upon them (as he was the only one of his companions without natural darkvision).

The snowstorm was still reducing visibilty but they could see a light up ahead, they approached until they could clearly see who it was and could see what looked Aelim with his back to them, though it looked as if the light was coming from him and not a lantern of any sort. They called out to him so as to be heard over the wind and he turned towards them.

 

Aelim?

“Aelim” attacked the party, utilising the light emanating from itself in an attempt to blind them temporarily as it struck at them with its fists and threw icy rays at them. It had been a long arduous day already and the heroes were hard pushed against this creature. During the fight Rohan was knocked unconscious by a heavy blow but one of the rangers quickly used healing magic to revive him.They looked to be getting the upper hand but then it turned its blinding gaze upon Kimiko, thankfully she was able to resist its effects but it must have distracted her as, as her vision cleared she was struck with an icy beam that knocked her senseless to the snow covered ground. Thankfully the next heavy blow from Groth’s halberd dropped the creature, its inner light going out as its now inert form hit the ground. Reviving Kimiko, they examined the creature, finding that its features were that of Aelim but he looked to have died of exposure. They agreed to take some time to give him a proper burial and then returned back to the southwestern gate, stabling the animals, and heading back to the Northlook Inn to rest up.

Fighting in the dark is so much easier when the foe is a flashlight

As they ate their evening meal, it was agreed that come morning, Groth, Erinya and Ardigo would visit the Temple of the Frostmaiden and confront the priest about what had happened to Aelim; while Kimiko and Rohan would visit Vellyne and discuss her business opportunity.

When morning came the weather had cleared, the wind had dropped and it had stopped snowing. A quick breakfast and they were off. The two half-orcs and the half-elf made their way across town to the temple, arriving as the priest was leading a congregation of half a dozen or so townsfolk in a prayer to Auril, thanking her for accepting last nights sacrifice. They did notice that one of the townsfolk was Aelim’s widow. They decided to stand at the back and wait. As the prayers finished one of the younger townsfolk took the collection plate around and eventually came to the three heroes expectantly. They tried their best to look intimidating, a task a pair of half-orc warriors should have found easy, but the lad was unphased, when they didn’t offer a donation he shrugged and moved off.

The crowd thinned and the trio walked forwards to the altar where the priest was tidying up. Their manner was brusque as they questioned him regards what he had done to Aelim (the snowflake on the forehead) and how it had turned him into the creature they had fought. The priest remained calm throughout, assuring them that he had simply laid a blessing upon the man to ensure he found swift comfort from the Frostmaiden in honour of his sacrifice. When they said it was barbaric that such sacrifices were being made the priest assured them that each of the Ten Towns were making them, in their own ways, and that the cost of not doing so and incurring the wrath of the Frostmaiden had proven too much for the populace in the past. The folk of the town had agreed upon the lottery as a fair way to appease the goddess, the sacrifice of one for the continued safety of the rest. The heroes showed remarkable restraint in not just attacking the priest right there and then, but begrudgingly left it at that and headed back to the Northlook to meet up with their companions.

the priest of Auril

Meanwhile Kimiko and Rohan made their way to the Hooked Knucklehead, just off the marketplace. Upon entering they were greeted by the proprietor, Barton, though they noticed he was ofa nervous disposition and never actually made eye contact with them. He asked them to take a seat near the fireplace and that he would tell her ladyship her guests had arrived. There was no-one else in the taproom and from their seats they could see him slowly ascend the stairs and knock on her door. “Yes, I’ll be down. Make us some drinks and then make yourself scarce, I have private business to discuss” a voice called from within the room. Barton began to slowly make his way back down stairs, barely reaching the bottom before the door opened and Vellyne came out, resplendant in fine clothing adorned with a jewelled harp brooch on the chest. She thanked them for coming and exchanged pleasantries until Barton had delivered the drinks and then left the room.

As she had briefly stated on the journey up here, she was meant to joining business associates, however due to the length of the journey they had already moved on before her arrival. She wanted to find them, but so far had only discovered the location of one, Dzaan. Unfortunately he had run afoul of the authorities in Easthaven due to his former affiliation with the Red Wizards of Thay and had been involved in some terrible business or such that had resulted in him being burned at the stake as Eathaven’s sacrifice to Auril the night before. She hoped his belongings were still in the custody of the authorities and wanted the heroes to recover his research journal, if the also acquired his spellbook they could keep it, ” There’s no magic he knew that I don’t already possess” she proudly announced. For the retrieval of the intact journal she would pay the party 100gp.

Vellyne Harpell

Rohan asked what it was her and her associates were researching up here, to which she replied that they were looking for ancient ruins of Ostoria and such, that were rumoured to have been up here “before the first human settlers created this hovel of a community”. When Rohan expressed that he too had an interest in such things she said that if they performed this task adequately then there may well be further ones she could use their skills for, such as exploring said ruins once discovered. Rohan and Kimiko agreed to try their best and left to regroup with the others.

Back at the Northlook the party decided to head over to Easthaven but to gather a few supplies first, Kimiko visited Redoril’s Emporium once more to commission a custom set of extreme cold weather gear. While Redoril took her measurements etc she admired the two shining suits of armour he had on display, one a suit of half-plate and the other a gleaming chain shirt. WHen she enquired about them he advised that they were enchanted and with the price tags he had on them she could well believe it. He required half payment up front and the new clothing would be ready in a ten-day.

Rohan meanwhile had visited the Lion Shield Trading Coster, looking to purchase one fo the yurts they had used on the journey northward. Beorne was happy to sell him one and it wa added to the gear on Groth’s cart, much to the dismay of the poor donkey.

It would be around a seven hour journey along the Eastway to Easthaven, and it was just after midday so the party made their way to exit the East Gate. As they did they found several pamphlets scattered in the snowy ground. Ardigo examined one, noting that the ink had yet to run so they hadn’t been in the wet for long.

Supply Run!
Hello fellow humanoids. We need the following items delivered to the crossroad on the Eastway:

  • Three dungeoneer’s packs
  • Six miner’s picks
  • Six shovels
  • 500 pounds of sheet metal
  • Ten times 50 feet of hempen rope
  • Ten block and tackles
  • Twenty buckets
  • An ox drawn cart with one ox
    When you arrive, yell loudly. We will pay double whatever you paid!

As they couldn’tcurrently afford all these items and they would be heading past the crossroad anyway they kept one of the notes and continued onwards.

They were about an hour out of Bryn Shander when they saw a mans body face down in the snow ahead. Cautiously they approached but need not have worried, the fellow had been dead for a while. His throat, face and chest looked to have been savaged by an animal attack, though his coin purse still hung from his belt. Ardigo checked around for signs of what manner of creature could have done this, finding tracks of a large feline creature leading to and away from the scene. They agreed to take the time to once again bury the poor soul, but had some discussion as to whether it was correct or not to take his coin purse, eventually agreeing to take it as recompense for burying him, before setting off once more.

The meagre sun had long since dropped below the horizon b ythe time the party reached the crossroads where they paused long enough to call out to (hopefully) whoever had left the pamphlets that they intended to help but couldn’t do so just yet. There was no response and so they continued on to Easthaven.

Approaching the town the first thing they found was a pair of wooden guard towers, their occupants training their crossbows on the approaching travellers as another pair of guards halted their progress. A brief discussion followed, with the heroes getting directions to the White Lady Inn where they could find rooms for the night.

Entering the inn they could here a halfling minstrel singing a lament about a woman who married a rich business man but then thought he’d left her and so rowed out onto the lake and drowned herself. While the rest of the party spoke to the innkeeper to arrange room and food Kimiko decided to do a dance to accompany the minstrels strumming. However, the halfling didn’t take too kindly to someone else horning in on his gig and kept changing the tempo of his music, resulting in Kimiko looking more like a staggering drunk than the graceful feline she normally was. Disgruntled she joined her companions at a table as food was brought out to them ….

Easthaven

Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 6

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Gnome Force Ultra continue their trudge through the woods .

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Morgan – Elanath, a wood elf Circle of the Stars Druid with the sage background.
  • Lee – Castle, a warforged Rune Knight Fighter with the city watch background (missing this session).
  • Jack – Eldyra, a high elf Twilight domain Cleric of Selune with the acolyte background.
  • Jon – Erland, a human Battlesmith Artificer with the clan crafter background and his trusty steel defender bear, Ursa.

13th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

After taking a short rest in the nesting cave of the Basilisks the heroes continued their journey through the woods and around Maer Dualdon. Eventually arriving at Lonelywood around dusk, they stopped at the Lucky Liar for a round of warm ciders and picked up a few of the local rumours:

  • Local woodcutters were being attacked by animals seemingly led by an angry white moose.
  • Easthaven has captured a Red Wizard of Thay, one of them with shaved heads and all tattooed up, that murdered some adventurers, they’re going to burn him at the stake.
  • There’s been no mead being sent out from Good Mead since their speaker was killed by a giant recently.
  • Good Meads not the only town without a speaker, Caer Dineval’s speaker was apparently taken ill and hasn’t been seen in ages.

They asked the tavern keeper, Donae, about the animal attacks and she said they’d best talk to the Speaker, especially if they were hoping to stay in town for the night as the only inn (the Ramshackle) had been closed down for several months. So, finishing their ciders they set out towards the Speakers house.

As they walked through Lonelywood Elanath tried the tracking lantern and this time it did indeed reveal the presence of elemental beings nearby. Noting the rough direction and location they continued to see the Speaker.

Arriving at the Speakers house theiy could see it was a two-story building but with a window also in the loft area. Warm light was spilling through the small gaps of the ground floor shutters as they knocked on the door. It was swiftly ansered by a halfling boy who took one look at the heroes before turning back into the house and shouting “Mum! It’s for you!” and running back inside chasing a trio of other halfling children madly around the interior.

A cheery halfling woman came to the still open door as she wiped her hands on the apron she wore, she introduced herself as Speaker Huddle “but you can call me Nimsy, everyone does”, as she invited the party inside out of the cold, “we’re about to have dinner, you’re more than welcome to share while we talk”.

Over dinner (at a very crowded table) they discussed the problem of the animal attacks and Nimsy told them that some hunters were looking into it but with no success so far, if the heroes were willing to try the standing reward for putting an end to the attacks was 100gp. When they asked about lodging she told them that the Ramshackle Inn had been closed down after its owner, De Grootz, had been found hanged after leaving a note saying he couldn’t carry on with no business and mounting debts, “in fact as the deeds revert to the control of the town, if you’re looking for somewhere to put down roots we could come to an agreement?”, the heroes said they’d think about it and in the meantime Nimsy said they were welcome to stay the night in her attic, then in the morning she’d take them to a group of loggers that were due to be heading out. The meal ended with glasses of warm milk and halfling shaped gingerbread cookies all round before everyone made their way to bed.

The following morning saw a snowstorm settle in, the temperature dropped and visibility was reduced as Nimsy led the party to meet up with the loggers, after she made the introductions she wished them luck and headed home. The party travelled along the lakeshore with the loggers to their camp at the northern end of the lake and then Drazekk began to look for any animal (specifically moose) tracks heading deeper into the woods. It was difficult with the weather but as they went further into the trees it at least cut down the winds a little. The search was difficult and took a few hours, and the party disturbed a small brown bear as they travelled but when it saw Ursa (still in her polar bear skin) it quickly retreated.

Eventually they came to a clearing beside a hillside that had several pedastal mounted statues “guarding” what looked to be a large sundial bordered by a raised area that held a sarcophagus with a half circle of blue crystal pillars. As they approached they found the white moose standing in the area of the sun dial looking device. Elanath cast speak with animals and tried to reason with it, telling her companions “If we can talk down a dinosaur, we can talk down a moose!” unfortunately whatever influence she may have been able to exert was blown away as Eldyra, certain that the moose was actually a wild shaped druid, cast moonbeam. With bellow of pain the moose charged directly at the nearest person, Elenath, but just as it was about to gore her with its antlers it became a cloud of misty snow, reforming once more about ten feet behind her and continuing its charge into the cleric.

The white moose prepares to charge!

The fight was brutal, with the moose constantly using misty step to withdraw far enough to then charge back in again, the heroes were eventually able to bring the beast down but not before it had trampled Elenath unconscious into the snow covered ground. While Drazekk set about harvesting anything useful from its corpse, Eldyra revivied their druid companion.

They continued to cautiously explore the area realising that the sundial was actually a moondial, as a cleric of Selune, Eldyra felt a kinship to the area but didn’t believe that it was dedicated to Selune in particular. Eldyra could tell that the dial and the surrounding stonework was very old and the statues depicted elves.

North of the raised area was a marble gazebo with a brazier that had filled with snow and pinecones, when they emptied it out they saw the bowl had four images carved into it, a pinecone, a branch or twig, a feather and a humanoid style hand. These symbols appeared to be repeated on the blue crystal pillars near the sarcophagus as well as a fifth showing a flame. The heroes were unsure of what this meant and examined the moondial a little more.

The blade of the dial was huge, about twenty foot at its longest point but seemed to be unmoveable. The phases of the moon were carved into the floor around it and a hole had been smashed onto the western wall, leading into the hillside. They tried using the tracking lantern and Drazekk’s light stone to make the dial point to the various phases but to no avail but they did find that the full moon and two half moon symbols had elvish runes around them. The full moon having “Gaze upon your own face and have seven questions answered.”, while both half moons had “Unlock the tombs of the half moon.”

While Erland and Eldyra continued to examine the dial and its area, Drazekk and Elenath entered the hole, dropping around ten foot into the interior they discovered three more of the elven statues along with three narrow passages. Two led to stone doors while the middle one ended with a large mirror affixed to the wall.

After a bit of discussion and thinking Eldyra tried casting another moonbeam and targetted the full moon symbol while Elenath stood before the mirror – the mirror shimmered and the druid felt a mental connection with it and asked her questions:

  • “Why is the Frost Queen awakening creatures and animals?” To preserve the north and hold back the greater evil.
  • “What is the “greater evil?” Those that tried to destroy the gods and rule the land.
  • “Where can we find Nass?” The image in the mirror looked to be travelling swiftly across the tundra towards the coast, then across the ice floes in the sea to a frozen island with a massive ice castle shaped like a grinning skull.
  • “What is in the tombs?” The resting dead.
  • “What is the black obelisk?” There was no answer and the mirror showed only swirling mist.
  • “Would it be in our best interests to help or heed the Frost Queen?”Again the mirror was silent and showed only the mist.

Drazekk asked if he could use the final question for a personal one and as Elenath also wanted to do so they played a game of boulder-parchment-shears to decide and Drazekk won. Elenath gave him some privacy while he asked his question and he shortly rejoined his companions, looking thoughtful yet eager.

Eldyra used the moonbeam to activate one of the half moons and the door in the southern tunnel opened to reveal a clean sparse tomb with an umarked stone sarcophagus inside. The heroes chose to leave it alone and tried the other half moon, opening the northern tunnels door.

The chamber beyond looked similar but had clearly been used recently as there was a bedroll and several handfuls of herbs hung up to dry on the walls. The heroes were about to just walk out when they noticed a small plant behind the sarcophagus, when they moved nearer to look at it, it moved further around away from them! Elenath tried to calm it down and it spoke back to her in common. They discovered that a druid of Auril had woken it up as she had several animals in the area (including the moose and the thing in the lake), and that she ate the berries the little bush created when she was here. Elenath asked if she could try one and the bush gave her a couple, they looked like a variety of blueberry and when she ate them the juice stained her lip a bluish colour. She picked the plant up and took him with them as they returned to the moondial, asking what to call him, if he had a name. When he said he didn’t have one and that the druid simply called him shrub, Elenath decided she would call him George, rejoining their companions, Eldyra ended her moonbeam spell ….

Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 5

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit go on a beer run.

  • Hinesh – Rohän Fell, a human Life Cleric of Silvanus with the hermit background.
  • Jack – Erinya Longtooth, a half-orc Swarmkeeper Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Sarah – Tsukiya Kimiko, a tabaxi Bladesinger Wizard with the noble background.
  • Priyan – Ardigo, a half-elf Hunter Ranger with the outlander/forrester background.
  • (Lyam – Groth, a half-orc Zealot Barbarian with the acolyte background. – missing this session)
  • (Ashley – Flint, a hill dwarf Circle of the Moon Druid with the acolyte background. – missing this session)

12th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

Exiting Bryn Shander’s south-west gate the first thing that struck the party was lack of noise, the bustling of the townsfolk now hidden behind the protective walls. The weather was still cold but hadn’t gotten worse so they were able to make fair time as they trudged along the Ten Trail towards where the dwarves had said their sled had been attacked. As they travelled Ardigo and Erinya foraged for small games and firewood with moderate success. By the end of the day they were unable to find any natural shelter and huddled close around their small campfire and took turns resting inside Groth’s small tent. Unfortunately over night the winds picked up across the open tundra of the Dale and they awoke to a big drop in the temperature.

Shortly before midday they found the site of the attack, a large patch of frozen blood soaked snow but no sled. Two sets of tracks led off. Those of a large biped dragging something bloody headed to the east, but a trio of humanoid tracks and the sleds tracks led off to the south. Fairly sure that the bloody victim was already beyond their help they chose to follow the sled tracks.

As the meagre light dimmed mid-afternoon, the tracks veered left to go around an icy outcropping in their path. Erinya leading the way suddenly dropped from sight of those behind her! A short drop, followed by a slide along an icy slope and the half-orc ranger found herself lying in an ice cave, her darkvision just able to make out multiple swarms of tiny blue-white spiders scurrying towards her.

Being the nearest when she disappeared, Rohan dropped to his knees and began feeling the snowy ground ahead to discern where Erinya had gone. He quickly discovered that the outcrop was an illusion hiding the true tracks and that the ones Erinya had followed led over and hid a small crevasse. He called his companions over as he gathered his rope and cast light upon before tossing one end down towards Erinya.

 

Erinya, cautious of the slippery footing, made her way to the rope just as the first swarm scrambled around her legs, several of the tiny spiders biting viciously. But thankfully, between herself and her companions they were able to not only pull her up out of the crevasse but also to kill the spiders still clinging to her lower half. The heroes decided rather than explore the ice cave they would stick with the mission at hand and followed the true tracks once more.

Dark day began to turn into moonless night and the heroes were beginning to give up hope of catching up to the sled when they spied it ahead, being pulled by a trio of orcs. As the only member of the party without darkvision Rohan cast light once again, catching the attention of the orcs. He quickly cast Calm Emotions towards them and his companions that spoke orcish conversed with the now un-aggressive trio. The party could also see the remains of two humanoid bodies draped on the casks atop the sled, an Erinya realised these were members of the Tribe of the Bear, and they normally viewed anyone not of their tribe as prey.

The lead orc seemed to be of higher intelligence than the norm, and was willing to negotiate with the party. Eventually agreeing to sell them two if the four casks and allowing to take the sled once he and his companions had offloaded their cargo to an awaiting cart.

As they accompanied the orcs onward they heard more orcs ahead as well as the roar of a bear, a big bear. Appearing out of the darkness before them was a large wooden wagon pulled by a pair of massive polar bears in studded leather barding and another pair of orcs, one of which was shouting at them to hurry up while taking alternate gulps from the pair of tankards he gripped.

The sled and wagon were set pieces on the map we revealed the whole scene as the pary had avoided any actual combat

After paying the orcs the agreed sum the heroes took their two cask and the sled and began heading back, making as much headway as they could before having to make a camp and rest once again out, exposed in the tundra. The winds continued to buffet them throughout the night and into the following day as they decided to forgo any foraging in favour of pushing onward at a fast pace so as to return to Bryn Shander within the day. With the added issue of the heavy sled it was already dark as they reached the gates and entered the town, thankful that the walls and closeness of the buildings lessened the winds if not the temperature. As they dragged the sled towards the Northlook Inn they heard a woman scream which quickly cut off down an alley way up ahead and Erinya saw a figure come darting from that alley, cross their path and disappear down another alley. With a shout to Rohan to “see to the woman” she took off after the fleeing figure. Unfortunately she lost him quickly, as if he had simply disappeared, his tracks just ended. The only features she had noticed were that, like her, her wore no cold weather clothing, but he had piercing blue eyes.

Rohan and Kimiko rushed to aid the woman but found that her scream had abruptly ended due to her having an ice short sword stabbed through her heart. As town guards began to arrive Kimiko cast Detect Magic but like the previous attack, there was no residual magic (though she did discern that the blade had been created by magic but was not itself magical). With nothing more they could do they continued to deliver their cargo to the waiting dwarves who rewarded them with some bloodstones.

A lot of the townsfolk were by now beginning to gather around the North Gate as Speaker Duvessa, Marshall Southwell and the Priest of Auril stood with a townsman, both the priest and the townsman were not wearing cold weather gear. The speaker gave a short speech regarding how thankful the town and its people were for the sacrifice Aelim Hursk was about to make on their behalf. The priest chanted a prayer to Auril as the gates opened and Aelim turned to head out into the cold dark night ….

Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 5

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Gnome Force Ultra continue to explore the Ten Towns.

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Morgan – Elanath, a wood elf Circle of the Stars Druid with the sage background.
  • Lee – Castle, a warforged Rune Knight Fighter with the city watch background.
  • Jack – Eldyra, a high elf Twilight domain Cleric of Selune with the acolyte background.
  • Jon – Erland, a human Battlesmith Artificer with the clan crafter background and his trusty steel defender bear, Ursa.

12th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

Approaching the ice-locked docks the party could see a dwarf arguing with a taller figure while standing beside the dmaaged boat they were looking for. As they got nearer the dwarf pushed past the other figure and yelled towards them that they were late and reminding them of the price they agreed on the previous night. The party quickly informed him that he had mistaken them and that they were hoping to examine his boat. He was more interested in them taking it out to catch fish for him and the figure he’d been arguing with joined the conversation admonishing the dwarf for trying to convince the heroes to go out on the lake while there was a “monster” on the loose. The dwarf grumbled and walked off while the other figure introduced themselves as Tally, a researcher from Waterdeep here to learn about the fauna of the Dale. Tally said that the monster attacks/sightings had begun about a month ago with some saying it was big as a house while others said the size of a horse. From the varying descriptions he surmised it may be some sort of large fish or eel.

They took the undamaged of the dwarf’s boats and dragged it across the frozen lake towards the remaining open water and then clambered aboard and began to row out to where the most sightings had been. As they did so they came close to a skiff from Targos that was net trawling but the crew rudely told the party that this their spot and to move on before they had an accident.

After rowing for around a half hour they felt sure they were in the right place and decided to use the trio of fishing rods that were in the boat while they waited. Erland, Elanath and Drazekk each cast a line out. Erland had no luck, Elanath and Drazekk both had strong bites and as they tried to reel their catch in found themselves in turn being dragged by the fighting fish, the druid was able to catch herself before being pulled overboard but the ranger was tugged out of the boat and into the icy water.

As his companions pulled him back aboard, Castle and Eldyra noticed a large shape move under the boat and come to halt off to the side. The heroes ready themselves for incase they were attacked but were hoping it wouldn’t come to it. A serpentine like head broke the surface and rose up out of the water on a long muscular neck and opened its fang filled maw….

… and spoke to them!

After a fairly lengthy discussion it was discovered that the creature dwelt in the depths of the lake but had been magically summoned to the surface a month ago by a strange woman that had then given it the power to think and speak, but in return she commanded it to harrass the fishermen of Bremen and force them off the lake. The creature did not want ot go back to being a dumb beast and so had followed the commands. Thankfully Elanath was able to deduce that it had been affected by an Awaken spell and assured the creature that its effects were not reversible. The convinced the creature to return to its peaceful existence in the depths were neither it nor the fishermen could disturb one another. In thanks the creature tossed a quartet of hefty knuckleaded trout into their boat before disappearing.

Returning to shore the dwarf gave them the coin he promised for any fish caught and Tally excitedly took them to one of the taverns (Stones) for drinks while Drazekk dried off and questioned them thoroughly about the beast while taking copious notes. As a thank you for this Tally gifted the party a metal spell scroll which contained a spell of Animal Friendship. Castle commented that it might have been more useful before they went out on the lake but Tally was to excited to catch the sarcasm.

Returning to the town hall they once gain stood before the speaker and his assistant and the speaker told her to go and fetch the agreed upon reward. As soon as she was out of earshot his demeanour changed. He told them he needed their help with a personal and delicate matter. He asked them to meet him after dark behind Buried Treasures.

Renting a room at the inn they took the time to make sure that Drazekk’s gear was thoroughly dried out before heading out into the night air to meet the speaker. Apparantly he wasn’t really a dwarf but a selkie and had been trapped in his dwarf form for thirty years. A former town resident named Thurdene had found his pelt when he had shed it to explore the world of men and kept it hidden to force him (as speaker) to guarantee her safety and home. Thurdene had died about a decade ago and despite his wandering around trying to find his pelt his assistant thought he was simply getting old and confused. He begged the heroes to retrieve his pelt for him and suggested they begin looking at Thurdene’s former residence. The heroes agreed to search for it come daybreak.

It didnt take a lot of effort to cross the frozen river mouth at the edge of the lake to the small raised bar of land that house the shack. There were a trio of figures ice fishing just beyond it but the heores were careful not to be observed. In the shack they found half a dozen seal pelts being used as roof repairs and Drazekk used his skills as a hunter to determine which one was the correct one before they quickly exited with the pelt before anyone could discover them.

Presenting the speaker with his missing pelt he quickly gave the heroes a pouch of coins and cast off the blankets wrapped him and his seat. With a spryness that surprised everyone he ran from the town hall followed by the party and a handfull of guards the assistant shouted for. As they followed his trail towards the lake they could see pieces of his clothing were he had dropped them, tearing them off as he ran. The party arrived at the edge of the lake just in time to see him wrap his pelt around around him as it merged with his form, turning from dwarf to seal as it flipped through the air with a wave of its tail and diving under the surface of the water. Not wanting to have to answer any awkward questions that undoubtedly would arise they headed towards the northern edge of town with the intention to disappear along the uninhabited edge of the lake.

However they were stopped by a pair of young boys that said they’d heard they stopped the lake monster and that they need their help. The party followed to the boys to their home where they found out their names were Dane and Samiel Winterchest and that their dad, Johan, had gone on a hunting trip and hadn’t been back for a few days now. As the heroes were intending to head up and around the lake they said they would look for the boys father on the way for them.

Trudging northward along the lake edge they eventually came to where it began to get wooded and spotted some humanoid tracks leading deeper into the woods. Following the tracks they came across a small clearing around a hillock and a trio of snow shrouded statues. One was a tall humanoid fighter with a closed visored helm, another was a human male wizard in a dramatic pose as if casting a spell. The third looked like it may have been some sort of woodsman garbed individual but the statue had been broken and all that remained were a few parts. Before the heroes could examine it further they heard low growling and saw a pair of muscular, multilegged reptiles charging towards them!

(picture courtesy of Critical Role: Legend of Vox Machina Origins vol 1)
The dice gods taunt Jon as he attacks with disadvantage (diverting his gaze) and utterly missing his target.

The ranger and druid both recognised the creatures as basiliks and warned the party to avoid eye contact, and then the ranger totally ignored his own advice and surged ahead as he launched his javelin at one of them. The battle seemed to be going in the basilisks favour with half the party falling prey to their transfixing gaze and being held in place, poor Ursa even getting turned to stone before they could do anything. But eventually through the use of Eldyra’s divine magic and Castle’s runic abilities they were able to take the first creature down just as the second one turned Drazekk into another statue. Elanath had been knocked unconscious by the now dead basilisk and Eldyra revived her as Castle and Erland finished the other beast off.

They were a little worried about how to help their other two companions when Elanath remembered hearing that basilisks ate their victims because their bodies were able to reverse the petrification process and so they harvested bodily fluids from one of the beasts and smeared it over Drazekk’s statue and restored him before doing the same to Ursa. Harvesting further fluids from the other beast they also found another statue which matched the description of the boys missing father and revived him. He was very thankful and after making sure he was well enough to travel he set off back to Bremen. With one more use of the restorative fluids they decided to use it on the wizard statue. Although the wizard was not one fo the trio they were trying to locate for Vellyne he was grateful for the rescue and gifted the party a diamond before uttering an arcane word and teleporting away.

The heroes also discovered a shallow cave in the side of the hillock which apparently was the basilisks nest and contained a small amount of treasure that had belonged to their previous victim. The party decided to take a short rest and lick their wounds while the sorted through the treasure …..

Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 4

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit explore Bryn Shander.

  • Hinesh – Rohän Fell, a human Life Cleric of Silvanus with the hermit background.
  • Lyam – Groth, a half-orc Zealot Barbarian with the acolyte background.
  • Jack – Erinya Longtooth, a half-orc Swarmkeeper Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Sarah – Tsukiya Kimiko, a tabaxi Bladesinger Wizard with the noble background.
  • Ashley – Flint, a hill dwarf Circle of the Moon Druid with the acolyte background.
  • Priyan – Ardigo, a half-elf Hunter Ranger with the outlander/forrester background.

11th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

The heroes took their fallen comrades remains across town to the Temple of the Morninglord but as they approached they noticed that all the windows had been removed (not broken) and the doors were pitoned open. Inside the tall stone statues were draped with cloths, a lone half-orc sat in one of the pews and a priest in rainment of the Frostmaiden stood before the altar. As he had been raised in a church of Lathander Groth was incensed, and began to pull off the cover from one of the statues until the priest shouted to stop. Their followed a very tense conversation wherein they discovered that the former priest of Lathander had been forced to step down as lack of faith in the promised return of a dawn increased (though he was still in town). They also discovered that the town was using a lottery system to choose a person to be sacrificed to appease the Frostmaiden on each new moon by being exiled from the town without cold weather gear (and the next new moon was four nights away). Groth was ready to tear this priest apart but the rest of the party and the other half-orc were able to calm him enough to leave him be (for now). Rohan got the priest to take care of Erolith’s remains and they headed to see the priest of Lathander and get more information on how/why the temple had been changed over.

They headed to Geldenstag’s Rest and while half of them waited to see him the others took Groth to stable his animals and cart. By the time they returned the priest was just coming back in. Brother Mithann was a sorry looking individual and was definitely down on his luck, relying on meagre donations from the few that still attended his weekly sermon (now held at the town hall) to rent a room and food at Geldenstag’s. He told them that the priest of Auril arrived a couple of months after the extended winter had began, standing in the marketplace and spouting about appeasing the frostmaiden. More and more were listening to him, and fewer and fewer were coming to the house of the of the Morninglord until the city ruled that that the temple should be turned over to the Aurilite.

Then came the priests vision/dream calling for the sacrifice and to begin with the Speaker said no, but Auril’s displeasure was swift and brutal with several people being found frozen to death in thier own homes! After that the Speaker was forced by popular demand to agree to them, but chose to put criminals that were meant to be executed forward (a bonus side effect being that crime is down severely since that) but when they ran out the lottery was created. Anyone thats staying in the town over the age of 13 was eligible and would be assigned a number by the town hall clerk. On the afternoon of the new moon the priest of Auril will draw a number, the clerk will confirm the name of the person and the guards will accompany them to collect their things (except for any cold weather gear) and then they would be cast out into the wilderness from the North Gate at “dusk” unable to return.

The heroes decided that they needed to talk to the Speaker and Kimiko remembered that they had a package to give her too, but as it was late evening they would do so in the morning. They thanked Mithann for his time and headed back to the Northlook Inn.

 

As they made their way there they heard a woman scream from down a side street and rushed to investigate. The woman had been startled upon discovering a body with a curved icicle stabbed through its heart. They could hear the town guards approaching and made a quick examination of the area in the hopes of finding the killers tracks but the street was regularly used so they were unable to distinguish the most recent tracks. The blade looked to be almost crescent shaped, and as sharp as any weapon but made of solid ice.

The guard and the town sherrif arrived, and it was discovered that he victim was a local dwarven merchant named Brogan Derth. Kimiko used a Detect Magic ritual but there was no residual magic on the body. With the guard securing the area they resumed their walk back to their lodgings.

Back at the Northlook they had a hearty evening meal of beef stew with fresh baked bread, and Flint over heard a trio of dwarves having a heated discussion over a missing delivery. Apparently they were bringing a delivery of ale from Ironmaster bound for Kelvin’s Comfort but just short of arriving were attacked by a yeti that slew their comrade and the rest of the fled for safety. They were offering a payment of gems if the party would recover their goods so that they could complete their delivery. Flint said they would see if their companions were interested and let them know.

Despite having to share a room, the party found their rest better than any since leaving Fireshear and awoke refreshed and ready. Flint had told them of the dwarves request and the party were considering it. But first off they wanted to go and see the Speaker at the Town Hall.

Entering the hall they spoke to clerk who checked if the Speaker was free to recieve them, thankfully she had time before her first appointment of the day and so they were shown into her office. It was obvious from her apperance that she wasn’t getting a lot of sleep lately. Groth was eager (and blunt) in finding out why the town was going through with the lottery and the Speaker confirmed what Mithann had previously told them, adding that all of the towns were making some sort of sacrifice, either of exiling a person, giving away much needed food to the creatures of ther wild, or by forgoing any form of warmth for the night of the new moon. She didn’t like it but having seen the cost of not complying she begrudingly agreed it was the lesser evil.

Kimiko handed over the package from the captain at the whaler camp and the Speaker couldn’t help a slight blush coming to her cheeks before she regained her composure and put the package into her desk drawer. With nothing further to discuss the party left and perused the meagre market.

Rohan ws looking for a herbalists kit and was directed to try Redoril’s Emporium but before heading there they were drawn to the stall of a halfling gent adorned with various knick-knacks. A few items caught their eye, a snow globe containing a mountain scene but the snow constantly fell without shaking it and a deep blue silk scarf, both of which upon enquiring were out of their price range. But Flint spotted a sea blue-green glass unicorn horn and managed to talk the vendor down to only 3gp and bought it.

They spotted one of Vellyne Harpell’s servants exiting the Emporium and scurrying across to the Hooked Knucklhead and Flint set off after it. Upon entering she just saw a door on the upper floor closing before the man that appeared to be running the place intercepted her. Flint told him she had been travelling with Lady Harpell and that her ladyship had left the unicorn horn behind and she was wanting to return it. The man said he could take it and give it to her when she came down from her room, but wouldn’t let Flint go up themself. Flint deduced that the man was scared/intimidated by Lady Harpell but also wouldn’t let them go against his instructions of not letting anyone disturb her, so simply said they’d come back another time and returned to the party.

Rohan led the party into the Emporium and immediately they felt the almost overbearing warmth inside. The smiley half-elf proprietor welcomed them. Rohan asked about the herbalists kit and the half-elf produced a pair from his storeroom. Only needing the one Rohan purchased it. The half-elf correctly guessed they were adventurers and had bought their coldweather gear “south of the Spine”, stating that “they don’t know what winter is down there” and showed the party his selection of heavy duty cold weather gear. Unfortunately none of the party had sufficient funds so had to decline the purchases.

They breifly returned to the Northlook where Scramsax the owner offered to run them a tab if they wanted to continue renting the room “for a small interest rate” and while they were a little wary he sweetened the deal by offering a reduction in the interest if Kimiko’s servants were to remain and help out around the inn. The party agreed, and then decided that in order to earn some quick cash they would go and recover the dwarves goods as that should allow them to return the day of the lottery draw which Groth was determined no to miss.

Gathering their gear they set off down to the Southwest Gate and exited the town……

Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 4

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Gnome Force Ultra, having reached Ten Towns and advanced to 4th level.

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Morgan – Elanath, a wood elf Circle of the Stars Druid with the sage background.
  • Lee – Castle, a warforged Rune Knight Fighter with the city watch background.
  • Jack – Eldyra, a high elf Twilight domain Cleric of Selune with the acolyte background.
  • Jon – Erland, a human Battlesmith Artificer with the clan crafter background and his trusty steel defender bear, Ursa.

11th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

Once safe inside the walls of Bryn Shander, Bjorne the caravan master thanks the party and gave them a small bonus for their efforts on the journey. As the wagons were being unloaded in the Lion Shield’s compound they noticed Vellyne getting out of hers and that the interior looked stark and empty, most definitely not how Elanath remembered it on her brief visit. The wizardess approached them and said if they were looking for work while in Bryn Shander to come and see her at the Hooked Knucklehead within the next couple of days. With no further explanation she left with her three bundled up servants in tow. Bjorne gave the heroes a brief rundown of locales that might interest them, advising that the Northlook Inn would probably be best suited to their needs.

The party set off up the street, taking in the lanterns hanging from the buildings lighting the way in the failing light of late afternoon/ early evening. They entered the Northlook and were warmly greeted by the proprietor, Scrimsax, who quickly offered them “First rounds on the ‘ouse” as he then gave them the run down on his rooms rental rates. They decided to get a group room and paid for a tenday in advance, with meals included for all apart from Castle. After getting their key and depositing their heavier gear upstairs they settled in for the evening in the taproom. Aside from the small group of locals a couple of tables took their notice, the first being a studious looking elf pouring intently over a pile of books on his table and occassionally sipping his wine and making notes in another book. The second being a trio of dwarves who were having a heated debate amongst themselves.

Before they could interact with either a new figue entered the inn, removing the snow covered outwear before taking a look around and spotting the heroes and approaching. The gnome introduced themselves as Danika Greysteel and sat down to talk without invitation. They were here to study some sort of elemental spirits native to the dale that they believed may be key in ending the constant winter. Unfortunately they weren’t exactly built for the outdoors exploration and so wanted to hire the party to search for these spirits and if possible bring back a live specimen for further study, she offered what gold she could along with the use of a magical lantern that would glow green if such things were within range. The heroes agreed to look for the spirits and the gnome excitedly bid them a good evening.

The heroes enjoyed their evening in the warmth and retired to their room for a more comfortable rest than they had had recently. In the morning they descended to the taproom for breakfast, and once again spied the dwarves. Castle went and spoke to them, discovering that they had been attacked as they were bringing a sled of goods to Bryn Shander, the fourth of them being slain by a yeti as the remaining trio fled for safety. They needed someone to head out and recover their sled so that they could complete their delivery to a local blacksmith and were willing to offer the party a gemstone each if they would do so. Castle was keen but the rest of the party decided it wasn’t a priority.

They collected the magic lantern from Danika and put their cold weather gear on to head to the Hooked Knucklehead, stepping out into a blizzard that had set in over night. The strong winds and heavy snows reduced visibility to mere feet and made walking very hard to stay upright, by the time they reached their destination they all felt exhausted.

The proprietor was a balding human that seemed nervous as he welcomed them and took their snow-sodden coats, “Lady Harpell is expecting you” he said as he pointed them towards the fireplace in the all but empty taproom where Vellyne sat in the only comfortable looking chair available.

It appeared that her business associates had not waited for her and each had gone off to do thier own things and she wanted the heroes to track them down for her. The first was a human male named Dzaan, noticeable by his bald but tattooed head, the second was an albino tiefling woman named Avarice, and the third a young human woman of non-descript features but would have a floating orb with her. Vellyne was honestly more concerned about the return of the orb as it belonged to her and the young woman, Nass, shouldn’t have taken it with her. Vellyne explained that they were all arcanists looking for lost magical sites and relics amongst the ruins scattered around the dale, and if the heroes happened upon such things she would be greatly interested in them. In return she would make things worth their while as well as being willing to spend time and resources identifying any magical items they discovered during their travels. The heroes said they would look into the whereabouts of her associates for her and ventured out once more into the blizzard.

Thankfully they only went across the market place, entering Rendaril’s Emporium, and being warmly greeted by the half-elven Rendaril. The interior was stiflingly warm especially compared to outside, and apparently dealt in better quality cold weather gear. Rendaril offered “off the rack” or custom made (though the latter would cost more and take time to produce), the heroes chose off the rack and agreed on a trade in discount of their existing gear. After taking a few measurements off each of them he opened what look ed to be a massive walk in wardrobe and quickly gathered a pile of thick fur clothing and doled it out amongst them, everything seemed to fit near on perfect thanks to his practiced tailors eye. Settling thier payment the heroes once more set out this time heading for Kelvin’s Comfort to sample the hot chocolate that Scrimsax had told them about. They could definitely feel the difference in their new clothes even though they did restrict movement a little, the added warmth and protection was definitley worth it.

Upon entering Kelvin’s Comfort they were greeted by its boisterous owner, Ogden Flamebeard, and shown to a table “to warm ya bones” while he took their order for the hot chocolate. Briefly heading to the kitchen to bawl the order at whatever staff were in there before returning to make chit chat with them. Moments later a ruddy cheecked dwarf maiden brought out a tray of four tall glass mugs filled with a thick brown fluid and topped with what looked like whipped cream. It was hot, creamy chocolate goodness but there was also a definite undercurrent of some strong alcoholic spirit in there too which left a lingering warmth on their insides. Suitably fortified they once again headed out and back to the Northlook Inn, their warmed innards and upgraded gear meaning that only Eldath felt exhausted by the time they got there. Thankfully a hearty meal and a good nights sleep saw them awaken to clear skies.

After getting ready and having breakfast they spoke to the studious elf, learning that his name was Elric Sunhair, and the he and his companion were researchers from the academy in Neverwinter that had come north to study the phenomenon called black ice or chardalyn. Elric told them of the troubles the Ten Towns and particularly the dwarves of the cairn had suffered a few years back and that the residual black ice was a remarkable substance that could hold enchantments wonderfully. Unfortunately his companion had ventured outside the city in search of more samples and had failed to return, Elric was under no illusion that he was ill suited to do the same so was eager for anyone to bring him more samples for which he would gladly pay, also he had made what he called his “shards of sunlight”, small pieces of chardalyn that had been enchanted with a light spell permanently. Drazekk bought one as the constant poor lighting of the north was being irksome for someone without darkvision.

Geared up they set out and headed west along the snowy trail to Targos, finding the smaller town with its wooden pallisade after a tiring three hours walking. A brief talk with the guards led them to head to the Luskan Arms and here the met with the speaker, Naerth Maxildanarr, asking if he had seen any of the three people they were searching for. Sadly he hadn’t but if they could return to him in an hour he would consult with his guards to see if they had seen them. The party all agreed that he seemed almost too eager to be helpful, and headed out to explore the town a little more. They spotted a woman pinning a note to the town noticeboard.

MISSING

Please, my husband Keegan has been missing for almost a tenday now after heading out to take a group to visit Kelvin’s Cairn. Please help me find out his fate or even better bring him home.

They followed the woman discreetly until she entered a house further up the street, they waited a moment and then knocked. She seemed startled by their appearance but when they said they were there about her notice she invited them in and told them the details over a cup of warm cider. The heroes said that they would look into her husbands disappearance and she suggested they start at Frozenfar Expeditions in Caer-Konig as that was who the trek was organised by and would have left from.

Leaving her they headed to what appeared to be a local store called Triglio. The man running it had a ruined left hand but didn’t seem to let it get him down or slow him down. They bought some snowshoes to make their trekking easier.

Heading back to talk once again with the speaker, they arrived he was just finishing talking with a golden skinned tiefling in heavy armour. The speaker was sorry to inform them that none of his people appeared to have seen the ones they were looking for but if they left contact details he would send a message should they pass through Targos. The heroes left instructions for messages to be sent to Vellyne at the Hooked Knuckledhead.

As it was just passed midday and they had no new leads they headed out of Targos and further west to the town of Bremen. They saw a building with a sign saying “Buried Treasures” and thought it would be a knick-knack shop but realised it had been repurposed into an inn, it wasn’t very busy and the lady running it said it was just as well as she could barely keep up with the work needed to run the place since her son had gone missing during a blizzard a while back (when the party were at the whalers camp), apparently the speaker had led a search but in turn had then had to be rescued himself “bless his soul, he’s not been all there for a few years now but he tried”. The lady asked if they came across her son or his remains on there travels would they send word so at least she’d know his fate, “tall gormless looking oaf with a carrot top and an ‘art of gold”. They promised they would do so.

They went to the town hall to see the speaker, finding him sitting wrapped in blankets in his chair and drifting in and out of a doze. He started awake as his assistant announced them and introduced him, Speaker Dorbulgruf Shalescar. Again, sadly he didn’t recall seeing any of the folk they were searching for and indeed before they could question him further he’d dozed off again. Thankfully his assistant was a little more helpful, although she still had no leads on their missing people she did have a task that might suit the heroes. Something was attacking the fishing boats out on the lake and making the already meagre fishing even more difficult and sparse. It was coming to dire straights as one of the boats was discovered floating empty and with what looked to be a bite taken out of it! If the heroes were willing to deal with this threat she was authorised to pay them seventy five gold pieces. The heroes agreed to look into it and she suggested they head to the docks and start by examining the recovered boat.

The party began to walk towards the ice encrusted docks …..

More map components arrived

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 27, 2021 by vobeskhan

What feels like an age ago backed a kickstarter with 1985 Games for their Dungeon Craft Castles & Keeps and Cursed Lands sets, well yesterday they arrived and wow there’s a lot in the boxes.

I honestly don’t know if and when I’ll be able to get to use them in an actual game with real people yet so I will be holding off cutting the sheets up for now. But I just wanted to show what had arrived.

The sheets are double sided and marked with dotted lines to show where to cut them up, and able to be drawn upon with wet or dry erase markers. Many of the Castles & Keeps ones have the opposite sides showing the same image but in a ruined state, with many of the buildings being exploded or set aflame.

I’m looking forward to combining these with the Loke Battlemats map books and static cling accessories, though I may have just added to the already weighty bag of items I have to lug to live games 😦

Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 3

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit complete their journey into Icewind Dale.

  • Hinesh – Rohän Fell, a human Life Cleric of Silvanus with the hermit background.
  • Lyam – Groth, a half-orc Zealot Barbarian with the acolyte background.
  • Jack – Erolith Kiirstacia, a wood elf Way of Mercy Monk with the hermit background.
  • Sarah – Tsukiya Kimiko, a tabaxi Bladesinger Wizard with the noble background.
  • Ashley – Flint, a hill dwarf Circle of the Moon Druid with the acolyte background.
  • Priyan – Ardigo, a half-elf Hunter Ranger with the outlander/forrester background.

8th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

The next morning saw clear skies and a peaceful day of travel that saw the caravan find safe crossing of the river, as they camped that evening Groth commented that trashing the shrine to Auril obviously had no consequences, to which Rohan’s response was “Huh?” having been unaware of the barbarians previous desecration.

It was as if the goddess had heard him as next morning the camp awoke to find a heavy mist had set in, reducing visibility severely, making progress more risky. Bjorne advised thet they needed to cut due east across country to reach the road before turning to follow that directly to Bryn Shander and asked the heroes which way that was. With a brief discussion (and no rising sun to view) they decided upon the direction and the caravan set off. Late into the morning, around lunchtime, they spotted a large humanoid shape approaching, which quickly became two, then three, then several! Thankfully as the shadowy figures emerged from the mists they were revealed to be a Goliath hunting party. They briefly conversed with the heroes and it was discovered that their aim for the road was a little off, and they had been heading south-easterly, but the Goliaths were happy to redirect them and offered a warning to watch out for yeti’s as that was what they were hunting for. Adjusting their route the caravan moved on and reached the road making the going a little quicker and easier before making camp.

That evening Vellyne and Bjorne had a heated argument about how long the journey was taking and the dwarf assured her that they would still reach Bryn Shander within the longest of his estimated time of twenty days. Rohan tried to help assuage the wizardess’s irritation but she stormed back to her caravan with a huff. While the caravan crew and the heroes had their meal Bjorne told the heroes a little more about the Ten Towns.

The morning was again shrouded in mist but Bjorne said if they really pushed to oxen as far as they dared they should make Bryn Shander by nightfall and the safety of its walls. It was a hard pace for the mule drawn cart of Groth to keep up and shortly before lunchtime there was a sickening crunch and one of his cart wheels broke, tipping the barbarian and his cargo out onto the road and the poor mule still strapped into its harness was being held at an uncomfortable angle. The rest of the caravan daren’t slow or stop and Bjorne told the heroes to catch up as soon and as best as they could.

None of the party had any carpenters tools or expertise but Groth and Flint had balcksmiths and masons tools respectively and were able to cobble together an adequate repair of the wheel. While Kimiko calmed the mule down, Groth hoisted the cart back upright while Erolith and Rohan reaffixed the wheel. It wasn’t pretty but fingers crossed it would last long enought to reach their destination. During their repairs Groth had investogated to see why the wheel had broken, discovering that several of the support struts and been cut partway through – deliberately!

The heroes and their repaired cart hurriedly caught up to the rest of the caravan, and quicker than they expected did so. The caravan had halted due to being ambushed by a trio of white furred yetis. Bjorne and his drivers were fending off one at the front of the caravan and the other two were engaged by the heroes at the rear around the caravan Vellyne was travelling in.

The heroes split to engage both yetis with Kimiko dancing between providing ranged magic as needed. Unfortunately, as quickly as they dealt with one of the yetis, the other had brutally assaulted Flint and Erolith, its paralyzing gaze allowing it to get the upperhand in their battle. Eventually the heroes were victorious but Erolith had apparently succumbed to his wounds and they were unable to revive him.

As they prepared to move before more yetis came, Bjorne said to the remaining heroes “They have a saying in the Dales, you ain’t dead ’till you’re warm ‘n dead”, lets get him to Bryn Shander and see if there’s anything you can do then.

A little over an hour later they entered the gates of Bryn Shander. Bjorne was grateful for their work as his guards and even paid them a small bonus before bidding them good fortune and advising them to head to the Northlook Inn for a warm room and hot meal.

Renting a common room between them they took Erolith upstairs and sat him by the fireplace, warming the body, but sadly there was still no sign of life, the monks spirit had gone. The heroes agreed to take his remains to the temple of Lathander so that they may be dealt with accordingly ….

 

Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 3

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Gnome Force Ultra complete the final stretch on their journey to Ten Towns.

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Morgan – Elanath, a wood elf Circle of the Stars Druid with the sage background.
  • Lee – Castle, a warforged Rune Knight Fighter with the city watch background.
  • Jack – Eldyra, a high elf Twilight domain Cleric of Selune with the acolyte background.
  • Jon – Erland, a human Battlesmith Artificer with the clan crafter background and his trusty steel defender bear, Ursa.

8th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

The figures moving around the ruins turned out to be orcs, three of which appeared to be attempting to spear fish through holes in the frozen river, while a fourth was belting out loud orcish songs interspersed with equally loud belches and guffaws of laughter.

The party approached but the orcs took no notice until they got within their visual range, at which point the fishers picked up their bows and stepped forward. Despite the party calling out in a friendly manner in every language they knew (none of which were orcish) the orcs didn’t respond until Ursa came into view. At this one of the orcs lifted a horn to his lips and blew a long sonorous note into the evening air, which was replied to by a bestial roar from the north.

The party made surprisingly short work of the trio of orcs, just as the source of the roar became apparent and a pair of orcs riding barded polar bears bounded into view. The riders were swiftly dealt with by ranged attacks but the bears hit like a freight train and took a little more dealing with.

Meantime the druid had moved to investigate the now visible source of the singing, a rather drunk orc besides some barrels who proceeded to make obscene gestures at her while alternating between shouting in orcish and drinking form his two flagons.

As the party converged on the drunk orc he took quite some beating, especially when the druid tried to pull one of his flagons from his grip and got smashed in the face with the other one for her troubles. But eventually the lone orc fell and the party searched the ruins while the ranger set about harvesting the bears for usable parts.

The druid tried a sampling from one of the barrels and must have got a bad batch as she was quickly wretching from the taste. The rune knight found a small shrine dedicated to Auril with a woden box below it, opening the box to find it contained a fair few coins, some gems and a potion bottle containing a swirling liquid that looked like a stormy sky.

The caravan made camp and settled in for the night, waking in the morning to heavy snowfall that severely reduced their visually range.

As they journeyed onwards they passed a frozen pond where the ice had been broken open from the underneath, unable to ascertain any tracks leading away from from the pond due to the heavy, constant snowfall they wisely decided to just pass it by and carried on their way. As they made camp that night a brown bear approached the camp but seeing Ursa garbed in the pelt of the previously slain polar bear it chose to wander back into the night.

Next day was another snowy one and the only interuption to their journey was coming across a group of hunters which they took the time to converse with. They discovered that this was a hunting party from the Tribe of the Elk, and that there were other nomadic tribes out on the tundra of the Dale – the orcs of the Bear tribe (that the party realised that had already encountered), the elves of the Tiger tribe, and the bloodthirsty members of the Tribe of the Wolf. After their discussion the hunters wished them luck and went on their way.

That night during the third watch (the cleric and Ursa) a lone yeti entered the camp under the cover of the snowfall. Thankfully Ursa detected it in time and the cleric raised the alarm, causing the rest of the party (aside from the heavy sleeping ranger) to rush out into combat, some grabbing shields but none taking the time to don armour or cold weather gear (aside from the warforged who is always armoured). The warforged used a fire rune and landed some heavy blows on the creature as Ursa, the cleric and the artificer also attacked. The druid summoned a flame blade and struck a wicked wound on the beast, enough to draw its ire as it turned its paralyzing gaze upon her and she found her body siezing up making her an easy target for its swiping claw which in turn caused enough damage to knock her unconscious into the snow. Thankfully it didn’t get the chance to cause further mayhem as the remainder of the party were quick to despatch it and revive their fallen comrade. As the adrenaline of battle faded they felt the lack of their cold weather gear and rushed back into their yurt to recover.

Thankfully the rest of the night was uneventful and they awoke next morning to still more snow. The only thing lifting their spirits being when Bjorne announced that they should make their destination by the evening. The only thing they saw throughout the day was snow, snow and more snow and as evening began to draw in they reached the walls of Bryn Shander and made their way inside the the central hub of the Ten Towns.