Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 14

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit enter the wolf’s den

  • 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. (missing this session)
  • 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.

22nd Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

As their vision cleared the heroes found themselves standing on a elevated pathway leading up to a cave mouth in a mountainside. The entrance had been embellised with woodwork to resemble a snarling beast, possible a wolf or bear. While Groth and Ardigo tried to determine their rough location from what visable stars there were, Kimiko and Rohan spotted a a smaller opening towards the base of the path that had several bones and old blood stains leading out of it.

Realising that they were days away from anywhere, they decided to see what had brought them here and cautiously entered the cave entrance. The first chamber had two tunnels leading off in roughly opposite directions as well as a pair of alcoves closed off with rusty iron gates. Checking the alcoves revealed each contained the broken remains of bluish-white egg shells, large egg shells. Between them the heroes deduced that they appeared to be white dragon eggs.

Exploring the southeastern tunnel first they discovered it contained the other end of the refuse chute, the smell giving ample clues as to its purpose. As well as a pile of dirty animal skins, a search of which revealed quite a stash of coins and a spell scroll. As they finished collecting up the coins Rohan heard a low growl eminating from the chute and quickly ushered his companions onwards. Taking the north-westerly tunnel it quickly came to a fourway junction and they chose to explore the one on their immediate left as it had a blue light coming from within it.

The tunnel led into a chamber that had pictograms running the length of its walls, a stone brazier holding a blue flame and tucked begind the curve of the chamber a skeleton sat upon a stone throne with an unstrung bow at its feet and something grasped in its right hand. Without hesitation Ardigo picked up the bow while Kimiko and Rohan tried to discover what was in the hand. Once they were sure it was reasonably safe to do so they pried the hand open to reveal a silvery pink orb wrapped in a fine gold thread cage. Kimiko tentatively took it and sure that it was a pearl used it to focus an identify spell to see it it was what she hoped. Meanwhile Groth had been examining the brazier, finding that the the flame gave off no heat and that the brazier itself seemed to be a natural formation of the cave rather than a sculpted item. Rohan began to move back towards the intersection as Kimiko finished her spell, grinning like a cheshire cat with her new Pearl of Power.

The cleric of Silvanus had much less to smile about as he turned the corner and was confronted by a small (relatively) white dragon, before anyone could react it belched forth a blast of its icy breath. As Groth rushed to his comrades aid the dragon surged forward and bit a chunk out of the priest, causing him to drop unconscious. With Ardigo and Kimiko providing ranged support Groth proceeded to hack and slash at the dragon with abandon, quickly dispatching the frosty monster.

In a surprisingly clear headed moment, Groth grabbed his healers kit from his backpack and switftly stabilised the badly damaged cleric while Kimiko created her magic hut for them to hide in until Rohan revived. She took the time to identify Ardigo’s bow and the pair of them attuned to their new items.

A white dragon wyrmling bites Rohan viciously

After a couple of hours they emerged from the hut and began to explore further, heading up the north-east tunnel. The barbarian had already surged ahead into the chamber beyond before his companions could urge him to be cautious. Awaiting him was one of the rough looking tribesmen with more bits of chardalyn embedded in their flesh. He was busy butchering what looked to be a large owlbear carcass and hanging the meat on large hooks embedded inthe far wall. The barbarians noisy entrance caused the tribesman to turn, revealing that they had lost their nose to frostbite and was grabbing a vicious weapon.

Rohan moved to a position to the north of the chamber as Groth closed into melee range, but to the clerics horror he’d forgotten that the barbarian used the reach of his halberd, leaving the angry tribesman free to then charge the already injured priest and batter them brutally once more. Ardigo and Kimiko once again keeping out of melee and strafing the foe with ranged attacks. Rohan called upon his diety for magic and was rewarded when the tribesman was suddenly paralysed. Groth quickly grabbed a set of manacles from his gear, disarmed the tribesman and dragged him back to the wall and hooked the manacles over one of the meat hooks.

The heroes gathered around their prisoner and Rohan dropped his spell so that they could begin questioning him. All they could get out of him was that he intended to kill them all, eat their flesh, and gnaw on their bones in honour of Malar! His cloistered upbringing coming to the fore, Groth recalled that Malar was known as the Beastlord, god of the hunt, and often worshipped by lycanthropes. Fairly sure that they would learn no more from the prisoner Ardigo fired an arrow straight at his heart, but what should have been a killing blow was ineffective as a wisp of blue fire washed over the impact and the tribesman laughed at them as he strained at his manacles, breaking free.

Rohan and Kimiko turned to each other and almost in unison said “Put out the blue flame!” as they rushed out of the room and towards the chamber with the brazier. Ardigo and Groth faced off once more with the tribesman. Groth grappling the frenzied tribesman while Ardigo grabbed one of the half-orcs javelins and began stabbing with it. The tribesman didn’t even try to break free, content to stay close and rain fists down on the half-orc.

With the sounds of fighting behind them, Kimiko and Rohan ran to the brazier, only to find another white dragon wyrmling awaiting them. The dragon belched its frost breath over them but this time the heroes were able to withstand it better, Kimiko blasted the monster with magic and Rohan, not wanting to suffer another bite, channelled his most powerful magic he could and touched the wyrmling, unleashing a wave of necrotic energy into the dragon that blackened a large patch of its white scales. Roaring in pain and agony the dragon took to the air, flying past the human and tabaxi and into the tunnels.

Meanwhile, Ardigo and Groth had continued to pummel and stab the tribesman with no visible affect, and as they heard the roar followed by a yell from Rohan of “another dragon!” began to drag their foe toward the intersection. Groth spotted the dragon as it was flying through the intersection calling out to taunt it. It’s only response was to turn its head just long enough to unleash another cone of icy breath before it continued its flight towards the cave entrance. The half-orc felt the bite of the ice cold breath badly but the tribesman merely laughed as blure flames rippled across where the frost touched his skin. Ardigo pushed past the embattled pair to give chase to the dragon and the tribesman punched him for his trouble.

Kimiko and Rohan tried pouring water in the brazier, smothering it with a blanket, everything they could think of but the flame would not extinguish. They realised they may need to dispel it with magic but neither of them had the relevant magic available. But Kimiko was able to deduce that the life preserving effect should only be limited to the interior of the caves – “Get him outside!” she yelled.

The chaotic melee continued as they fought to drag the tribesman out to of the cave, Ardigo throwing the javelin at him to no effect other than to now arm him with a javelin! Kimiko and Ardigo made their way outside and attempted to taunt him to chase them out, Rohan tried to get past only to get repeatedly stabbed with the javelin and once again slip into unconsciousness.

Releasing his hold on the tribesman momentarily Groth rummaged through his bag to retrieve a healing potion and fed it to the fallen cleric. The tribesman was distracted, apparently having a conversation with his god that the heroes could only hear his side of.

Kimiko prepared a ray of frost to shoot at the tribesman once he crossed the threshold and Ardigo backed further out along the path. Groth once again grappled the tribesman and began draggin him to the entrance, Kimiko released her spell but the tribesman was still within the flames effect and shrugged it off.

The tribesman broke free of the grapple but was still in a battle frenzy and didn’t try and back into the cave. Then, from out of the dark interior, the running form of Rohan charged forward and drop kicked their foe from behind causing him to stumble forward, out onto the pathway. Kimiko swiftly conjured magical missiles that flew unnering at their target and finally ending his life.

Taunting the tribesman at the threshold

Battered, weary and breathing heavily in the cold mountain air the heroes took a moment to relish their victory. Rohan picking himself up off of the floor and reminding them all “there’s still another dragon out here somewhere” ….

miles from anywhere, bruised and battered

Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 12

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Gnome Force Ultra explore the blue goblins hideout.

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Morgan – Elenath, a wood elf Circle of the Stars Druid with the sage background (missing this session)
  • 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.

18th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

Cautiously the heroes entered the ajar doors, surprised to find an excellently carved tunnel rather than a rough natural cave. Clearly of dwarven construction confirmed Erland. While the rest held back at an intersection, Drazekk and Erland snuck forward to see what lay in the chamber at the end of the tunnel. Broken furniture littered the room, but a dozen serviceable cots remained, and were in use by more of the blue-skinned goblins. Rejoining their companions the group began to investigate the side passage but one of them made too much noise and roused the sleeping goblins into action.

The goblins began to walk along the tunnel, assuming that it was their compatriots outside that had disturbed them. But when the first to pass the side tunnel was struck down by a thrown dagger they quickly realised there were intruders and squealed an alarm.

The heroes were holding their own against the goblins fairly easily with Castle and Ursa taking the brunt, until the door at the bottom of the corridor opened. Eldyra easily defeated the goblin archer that had opened it, but then a much larger figure pushed through, filling the tunnel as it advanced and threw a heavy javelin at the priest.

As the last of the goblins was dealt with the heroes backed up into the first corridor and set Ursa as the front line to face the oncoming verbeeg while the rest of them pelted it with ranged attacks and magic. The very angry giant was more than happy to wail upon the steel defender and quickly smashed the loyal companion into pieces. But thankfully it had distracted the verbeeg long enough for the rest of the group to whittle away at it and bring it down. Checking to see if it ws carrying any loot all they found was a pudgy childlike hand and a foot and shin that looked to belong to a goliath by the skin tone.

Drazekk and Castle had noticed another humanoid moving at the furthest reaches of their vision in the corridor leading further west into the complex but as they turned their attention back that way they could see no sign of them. Pausing long enough for Erland to reassemble and activate Ursa once more the group explored the western corridor, except for Castle who chose to go solo and look where the verbeeg had come from.

Passing the corpse of the goblin archer, Castle made his way through what could have once been a sitting room or lounge for dwarven officers, a comfy fire burning in the hearth but nothing else of interest catching his eye. Continuing to the next room it looked to have been the sleeping quarters, and was now being used as the verbeegs lair. A pile of stinking furs covered the smashed remains of a bed in one corner, and a poorly hidden door was noticeable in the southern wall. Cautiously Castle opened the door and heard the sounds of snoring coming from the dark corridor beyond, he closed the door and searched the smaller chamber off to the side, finding several smashed chests and a collection of sacks containing gathered coins and gems, the giants spoils. Making a note of where these were he headed to catch up with his allies.

Meanwhile with Drazekk leading the way the others were exploring the several side chambers off the snaking western corridor. The first few were full of trash left by the goblins rummaging but they soon came to one with an iron cage that contained the frosted curled up form of a russet skinned tielfing woman clutching something to her chest. Drazekk could tell that she had been dead for some time and easily broke the cage open before pulling her arms aside to retrieve a brown leather bound book and an empty potion bottle. A brief examination revealed them to be a spellbook and that the bottle contained a sloshing liquid but it couldn’t be seen!

Another couple of rooms yielded several barrels marked with the Goodmead brewery logo, three of which still contained mead, and some empty wine bottles, while another was a latrine (not that the goblins had been particularly fussy enough to use them rather than the nearest room of trash from the smell of things). Another room held a second cage this one containing a halfling missing its left hand and pierced by a trio of ice spears. After breaking the cage open Drazekk was able to determine that the halfling had only recently been slain, and his right hand was clenched around a token on a necklace. Prying the token free they could see that it was carved to show a selection of fruit resting on a shield. The ranger knew it was a holy symbol of one of the halfling gods, but couldn’t recall their sphere of influence.

Exiting the corridor they came to what looked like it had been the dwarves dining room, a long table with benches took up the centre of the room, with what looked to be a kitchen to the west and another corridor heading north into darkness. The table still had plates and cutlery scattered across it and the long rotted remains of food seemed to be stuck to them for some time. An open fireplace split the wall, accessable from the dining room and the kitchen, and the heroes could see a large waxy capsule sitting in the burning fire. The dragonborn called upon his fey powers to retrieve the capsule and deposit it upon the table before them. It was about three foot tall and half that wide. As it touched the cold surface of the table its heated exterior hissed a little and they could see it was beginning to cool already. Erland and Eldyra were anxious about what it could be, so Drazekk calmly stabbed it with his javelin. The weapon struck the exterior and pierced it, cracks instantly spreading from the point of impact and steam escaped the interior and the contents broke free.

the waxy capsule splits open to reveal …

Looking like some hellish crossbreed between a centipede and a cobra, a sapphire skinned creature emerged and attacked Drazekk. The heroes attacked batch with blades, hammers and divine magics and the creature was swiftly killed, just as Castle rejoined them. Drazekk took some time to dismember the bizarre creature for salvageable parts while his companions took the chance to bind their wounds and catch their breaths.

the remorhaz hatchling attacks

Once they were all ready they set off up the northern corridor, finding the chamber at the end lit by unburning torches. Small altars dedicated to Auril stood against the east and west walls of the chamber but what drew the party’s attention was the tall silver rimmed mirror affixed to the centre of the north wall. The mirrors surface appeared to be made of the strange black metallic-stone they had come to know as chardalyn but rather than reflect the illuminated chamber they stood in it showed a darkend curving corridor which after a moment they recognised from the area of the magical mirror in the elven moon tomb near Lonelywood.

Fairly sure that the mystery figure had somehow used the mirrors to pass from one to the other but not knowing how to do so themselves they decided to head back, collect the verbeegs treasure and investigate the snoring. By the time they got back there however the source of the snoring had exited by the hidden door that Elenath and Drazekk had noticed before they had fought the goblins outside.

Collecting the treasure they headed back outside and down the side track to begin the final part of their ascent of the cairn in the dark evening air ….

Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 13

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit suffer a setback

  • 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. (missing this session)
  • 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.

22nd Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

With the pair of rangers translating the heroes interogated their duergar prisoner, discovering that they had been using the abundance of undead in the valley and its seclusion to test a prototype (the mechanical bulette), they also learnt that something deep in the mines was continually creating the undead. Once they felt the duergar had nothing left to tell them they despatched him and searched the remainder of the outpost. Discovering a rolled up map and handwritten letter detailing that the duergar were targetting Ten Towns and planned to unleash a “great weapon” at years end – only 8 days away!!

They also found a locked stone chest but none of them had the skills or tools to pick the lock, Groth pulled a crowbar from his backpack and with assistance from Rohan they pried the chest open, sadly triggering the spray of poisoned needles it was trapped with. But they were still able to take its contents, lots of coin, some gems, a pair of potions and a set of magical goggles that Rohan eagerly claimed that enabled him to see in the dark. Searching the remaining rooms they found some old dwarven weapons, climbing gear and the tunnel that led to the low bunker they had seen in the valley. Aware that at least one other duergar had escaped and may well be on the way back with reinforcements they left the outpost and headed back up the valley to where they had left their cart and mounts.

They were about half way along the valley when they heard an echoing voice from the dark sky above them singing a taunting tune.

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home! Your house is on fire, your children all gone, All but one, and her name is Ann, And she crept under the pudding pan.

Recognising the voice as that of the hag, Maude Chiselbone, they picked up the pace and rushed back to the palisade, seeing an ominous plume of smoke rising from just outside of it. Clambering over the wooden barricade they saw the smoldering remains of their cart and belongings, only the non flammable items remained, of the axebeaks there was no sign. Tired and a little crestfallen they decided to make camp, Kimiko conjuring the magical hut for their rest.

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home …

Thankfully nothing interrupted their rest and they awoke around midday in the still dim light of the Dale. As they prepared their gear they discussed the path ahead, should they seek out and destroy whatever was creating the undead in the valley? Head to the nearest town, Termalaine? Back to Bryn Shander? or head to the nearest town on Lac Dinneshere, Caer Dineval, to warn them of the duergar threat? Groth and Rohan were keen to tackle the undead but realised that the pallisade had held them at bay this long so they weren’t an immediate threat. Hopefully they could get all the supplies they needed in Caer Dineval and warn of the duergar at the same time, and so they set off across the tundra to the east.

They’d walked for about an hour when they heard a wolf howl up ahead, followed by one to either side. Ardigo, who had ben raised by wolves, said they had probably picked up their scent and were just hungry. Rohan used his druidcraft to create skunk stink in an effort to mask their scent. Unfortunately it turned out that it wasn’t actual wolves but members of the tribe of the wolf – crazed barbarians wearing tattered wolf pelts and wielding chardalyn javelins that howled as they charged to attack.

Tribe of the wolf berserker

Ardigo rained arrows upon the tribesmen, as Groth waded in with his halberd. Kimiko began her bladesong and danced into melee with her spear and Rohan summoned his spiritual weapon. The tribesmen took everything the heroes threw at them unflinchingly, barely noticing grevious wounds as they continued to stab repeatedly at whoever came nearest. Rohan ried to use his magic to calm the attackers as he had previously done with Groth but they were gripped by something other than just rage and continued to fight on. Groth took several severe stabs before the poisonous nature of the weapons affected him, though the stalwart half-orc grimaced through it and fought back.

One of the tribesmen scored a heavy strike on Rohan and looked as if he was going to do so again but the wily cleric called upon his divine magics once again and froze the berserker in his tracks. The heroes finally got the upper hand and it wasn’t long before only the paralysed foe remained. Rohan surprised and shocked his allies by using another spell to inflict horrific necrotic damage upon the tribesman, and Ardigo, switching to his blade, strode up to the helpless man and drove his sword through him.

the source of the howling is revealed – tribe of the wolf beserkers!

Pausing only to catch their breath the heroes checked their fallen foes for any loot, finding only the three chardalyn javelins (which Groth eagerly grabbed up) and on the middle finger of the formerly paralysed ones left hand a chardalyn ring with a wolfs paw motif.

chardalyn ring with a wolf paw motif

Before anyone could stop him Rohan pulled the ring from the dead mans finger, intending to toss it to Kimiko to examine, but as it came free there was a blinding flash of light, a searing surge of magical energy, and the heroes felt themselves pulled in several different directions at once ….

en route to Caer Dineval the journey takes an unexpected turn

Epic Encounters from Steamforged Games

Posted in D & D 5e, Encounters with tags , , , , , on August 27, 2021 by vobeskhan

Even though my current games are being played solely online (via Roll20 and Discord), I have some miniatures that are really suited to the Frostmaiden setting.

These are from the Epic Encounters range from Steamforged Games (see the full range here https://steamforged.com/games/epic-encounters?tab=Overview).

Now I do paint miniatures occasionally but I wanted these to look spectacular and beyond my meagre abilities so I turned to my friend Jon as he had done several of my Batman miniatures for me in the past.

I had a particular colour palette in mind and we discussed this before hand, and here are the results.

These are the Frost Giant and the Halls of the Orc King sets. With it being an icy setting I wanted snowy terrain and for the orcs to have a blue skin tone rather than the more common green hues. Both sets have weapons and accents of a glossy black stone to represent the black ice/chardalyn prevalent within the Frostmaiden campaign story.

Each set came with double sided colour battlemaps and booklets describing the encounters, their stats and tactics. For my campaigns I changed one of the nomadic Reghed tribes to be to be the orc Tribe of the Bear (because who doesn’t want orc archers riding armoured polar bears into battle right). And those of you that have read my session write ups will have spotted them in a couple of the encounters my players have faced already.

While not intended for use with the Frostmaiden campaign I also had Jon paint another if the Epic Encounter boxes, the first one I bought actually. The Lair of the Red Dragon.

The photos were taken on the battlemap that came with him and as you can see he’s a big fellow, his wings come as separate pieces to make fitting in a box easier but I asked Jon to fix them in place as would prefer not to damage his lovely paintwork moving and refitting them. This means he is about a foot across but the base is sized for a 5e gargantuan creature.

I have also today passed over my next two sets for Jon to work his magic on, the kobolds set and the giant snake. I fully intend to collect the full range as they’re great models and even if you don’t use the encounters they come with (though they’re awesome so why wouldn’t you) the sculpts can inspire you to create to your own so that can still whip out these terrifying and awe inspiring models in front of your players.

Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 12

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit reach the end of the valley, but is it the end of the road?

  • 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. (missing this session)
  • Lyam – Groth, a half-orc Zealot Barbarian with the acolyte background.

21st Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

Gathering their gear the heroes prepared to continue deeper into the valley, Rohan chose to not use a light source as the only one without darkvision and so Groth tied a rope between them so as to guide him along. The cleric still stumbled occassionally but at least didnt wander off into the night. Fully aware that their fight, especially the thunder of Kimiko’s magic, may have alerted anything else ahead, they moved cautiously but nothing charged out at them.

They saw more evidence of the bulette constructs burrowing as they walked as well as several mine entrances before they came upon a wider opening with carved stone pillars supporting it, unfortunately it had been blocked by fallen rocks. Investigating they surmised that it had been done intentionally to block the entrance and a few of them recalled hearing tales of dwarves rigging such things as defensive (or offensive depending on circumstance) measures. They considered trying to clear a path to access the interior but quickly gave up on the idea as they realised it would take many hours of hard (and noisy) labour, and so continued towards the end of the valley.

As the they reached the end of the valley they spied a low, stone structure with snow coverings its flat roof off to the side of a frozen stream. Erinya crept forward to investigate wary off the multiple arrow slits facing into the valley but relieved to find it empty. She could just make out that the structure was sunken into the ground and looked to have a trapdoor in the centre of its floor. She climbed up on to its roof and cleared away some of the snow to see if there was any way to enter but found none. Following the stream they noticed a rough trodden pathway running parallel and both led to the wall at the end of the valley. The stream disappeared into a small culvert in the stone while the path (now showing signs of heavy traffic) rose slightly to end at a pair of massive stone doors carved with the image of a pair of dwarves that looked as if they were pulling the doors apart.

Carefully and as quietly as possible they tried to examine the doors for a lock and any signs of a trap but found neither. Eventually Rohan and Groth (after untying themselves) braced to attempt to pull the doors open,surprisingly they slid apart into hidden recesses with ease and quiet to reveal the interior. A thick wooden bridge spanned a wide pit immediately inside the doors before leading into a wider chamber that looked to have been carved from the solid rock itself. But more immediately they spotted a hulking ogre upon the bridge blocking the way in. The creature had bits of flesh hanging loose and a stench of decay. Its left arm ended at the elbow and then was replaced with an iron shod battering ram. A little way behind him a trio of armed and armoured dwarves could just be made out, though they had each had their beards shawn off.

an unwelcoming party awaits

Erinya called forth a magical web on the bridge to prevent the ogre charging into them, though it seemd to have no inclination to do so. Rohan, unable to even see the monster and realising that stealth was no longer an option, called forth light upon his staff and then imbued it magical energy in case a foe came within reach, as Kimiko threw a chromatic fire orb into the monsters face. Groth strode forward inciting his rage and strikeing with his halberd though the bigger foe barely registered the attack, and the barbarian being careful not to enter the webbed area stepped back towards his companions only to receive a mighty whack from the ogres battering ram as he did so. The half-orc winced as he advised his allies not to get too close.

The ogre still seemed content to just stand and wait for the heroes to come within striking distance, while the dwarves waited at the interior end of the bridge (two of them using the bridge supports for cover while the third stood in the open) Erinya struck the blocking ogre with a pair of well placed arrows and Kimiko followed it up with a streak of magical missiles, the last of which dropped the brute motionless to the ground.

Turning their attention to the dwarves they were shocked to realise they recognised them, the trio of Ironmaster dwarves they had retrieved the iron from the orcs for. But now they could see the dwarves had been encased in this armour, their beards shaved off, their eyelids removed and their eyes and mouths forced open by the construction of the armour around them. They appeared to be armed with mining tools (hammers, pick-like claws, and a drill respectively) but showed no sign of recognition. Fairly certain that they were no longer the people they had shared drinks with the heroes reluctantly engaged them in combat.

Javalins, arrows, arcane and divine magics rained down on the central dwarf with the drill, quickly dropping it to the floor before Groth charged across the bridge into melee with one of the hammer wielders, the second hammer dwarf closed to flank the barbarian as the remaining heroes prepared to rush forward to assist.

As they reluctantly battled the dwarves a crossbow bolt hurtled out of the darkness to the northwest, striking the barbarian though he barely noticed. Erinya and Kimiko moved past the combatants until they could see who had fired it, spotting a duergar hiding in a doorway. As the last of the hammer dwarves fell to the ground, the heroes shifted their attention to the new threat, their ranged attacks and Groth charging ahead forcing the duergar to back into the room though he doubled in size as he did so and dropped his crossbow in favour of a wicked looking sword and shield. The grey dwarf made a beckoning motion at Groth, inviting the barbarian to come and fight, only for Erinya and Kimiko to kill him with their ranged attacks before the half-orc could do so.

Groth didn’t have time to be disappointed however as Rohan, still near the bridge called to the others as a group of humanoids emerged from the corridor to the south, shambling forward and seeming to have fungal growths covering their bodies. Still gripped with his battle-lust Groth ran to assist his cleric friend as a second duergar attacked from his invisibly hidden position and shot Kimiko with a crossbow bolt

fungus men and invisible dwarves attack

Groth and Rohan waded into the fungus men, taking a few strikes in return from their crude tools but whittling their numbers down, while the ranger and bladesinger returned fire on the duergar taking him down fairly easily.

As Groth and Rohan deal with the last of the fungus folk they heard the sounds of heavy footsteps close by but could see no-one. Kimiko called upon her tabaxi speed to sprint down to where they thought they heard it and collided into something invisible only to have it materialise before her as it stabbed its blade into her belly, the already heavily injured wizard dropping unconscious to the ground. Erinya, out of arrows, pulled her staff and with Groth and Rohan charged into the newly revealed duergar warrior and surprising everyone Groth listen’s to Rohan’s plea to subdue the durgar rather than kill it.

With their foe down they strip him of his armour and weapons before tying him up. Rohan stabilises the tabaxi before beginning to chant a prayer of healing. As he prays to Silvanus he hears more heavy footsteps, this time running across the bridge and out into the valley, rather than interrupt his prayer though he decides to ignore it. Once the healing energies flow out to his allies he tells them he thinks another duergar may have fled invisibly.

The two half-orcs slide the doors closed and use the mechanism on the interior face to secure them in place before dropping the corpses of their fallen enemies into the pit beneath the bridge. Groth and Rohan agree to not do so with the trio of dwarves, wanting to at least give them a proper burial once able to. Rohan gathers some of the fungus that that had come off the humanoids during the combat, to study later as Erinya gathered any usable arrows she could.

Tired, battered and bloody they explore carefully down the southern corridor, finding the cells that appeared to have housed the humanoids and securing their prisoner in one of them. Erinya and Kimiko explored a little further finding what looked to be living quarters for the duergar as well as some stacked crates, barrels and sacks from which they retrieved some small supplies before returning to their companions to take a short rest.

As they rested they examined the trio of dwarves, removing the armour to find that it had actually been bolted into their flesh and bones. The head pieces appeared to have small crystals embedded on the interior that then were inserted into the rear of the dwarves skulls and their brains. They determined to question their prisoner about after their rest ….

taking a breather in the outpost

Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 11

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Gnome Force Ultra climb to new heights of adventure.

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Morgan – Elenath, 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.

17th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

Elenath advised her companions that her charm wouldn’t last long and that if they were going to do anything in the outpost they should do it now. They explored the area where the Duergar had sprung their trap and saw a door leading south. Erland checked to see if it was trapped or locked and found it to be neither and so they opened it to the room beyond which was lit in a colour changing light coming from a black lantern on a desk at the side. There were pieces of parchment and writing supplies also on the desk but nothing else of interest, though Drazekk took the lantern. The only other two items in the room were a stone chest and a bed. Erland examined the chest, spotting a keyhole and using his tools to unlock it, however he had forgotten to check if it was trapped and was rudely reminded when a sharp pin stuck his finger. However he had the chest open and was pleased to see a large collection of coins, gems and a familiar sparkling red potion. Taking a little time to gather and count their loot they also uncovered a rolled up map and notebook under the coins, both were written in undercommon and so Drazekk took a look and translated a few passages.

Apparently the duergar had taken over this abandoned outpost as a testing station for a prototype construct, they realised the armoured dragon creature they had fought in the valley, but also to gather more supplies of the black stone chardalyn from the mines and nearby towns to be sent to something called Sunblight Fortress. They had also sent scouts to investigate a black stone tower in the tundra but it turned out not to be chardalyn and was defended by a wizard. The final entry in the journal talked about someone at the fortress having almost completed a great weapon based upon the success of the prototype and that it would be unleashed upon Ten Towns by years end – twelve days away! Just for completeness they checked the bed and found it was just a bed, and took a cursory check of the rest of the outpost but all they found were some basic supplies from which they replenished their stocks before heading back to the valley.

Erland took a moment to think of where the dwarves would have had their exit from the valley and dug into his memory to recall that his instructors had told him that the dwarven community had made their home within their mines and would have had a way there to resurface outside fo the valley, and so led the party into the mine entrance he felt was most likely. It was a good hour of walking through the dark but surprisingly dry tunnels which gave way to large chambers filled with stone buildings and walkways of the dwarven enclave. Erland led them to the area that housed the forges and smithies, a rhyme his instructors would chant when crafting coming to mind as he saw the phrases repeated above several of the smelters and forges, realising that they led the path he needed. Finally coming to a well crafted hidden door behind one of the long cold forges. Beyond the door was a narrow passage which they had to traverse in single file, and Castle and Drazekk had to bend uncomfortably to avoid the low ceiling as they went. The passage wound its way in a lazy spiral upwards, ending in steps leading up to a iron banded trap door. Despite not being locked Erland strugled to lift the door, realising that it had a heavy layer of snow above it. He used his magic to heat the metal and thaw some of the snow enough to give him a gap and then as each heave of the door made progress he used pitons from his climbing kit to stop it closing fully. It took a short while but he did eventually get the door open and the heroes stepped out onto the lower slopes of Kelvin’s Cairn.

an ice troll strides out of the misty air

Following the artificers directions to where the path up the cairn should start they began heading anti-clockwise around the base, and it wasn’t long before a large shape lumbered out of the mist towards them, an angry ice troll.

Drazekk launched javelins at the monster but neither scored a hit before the creature closed the distance and with two vicious claw strikes dropped the dragonborn ranger into the cold snow. Castle and Ursa moved to engage the troll so that it didn’t just murder their companion while Erland threw his hammer and Elenath and Eldyra used their spells to revive the ranger. Eldyra also called upon the power of Selune to channel an aura of healing energy around her to bolster her allies to attempt to counter the intense aura of cold seeping off of being in proximity of the troll.

Drazekk stabbed at it with another javelin and got yet another claw swipe for his trouble but then the troll tried to bite the warforged and Castle utilised an ability to charm the creature, talking to it in Giant (which it appeared to understand) and convinced it to go and find easier food further along the trail. The rest of the party were astounded that it worked but glad that it did, and as soon as the troll ambled into the mist they continued on their own way.

Following the route Erland was taught they ascend Breunors Climb

Another hour or so and they came to the area Erland was sure was the start of the route upwards, this was confirmed when they found the remains of a campsite though the trio of tents were shredded and smashed. Tired, injured and unwilling to attempt to climb the mountain in the dark they agreed to take the time to rest here with Eldyra conjuring a magical dome once again for the nights sleep.

Arising in the morning, the air was still mist shrouded but they hoped that as they climbed the cairn they would rise above it. The early part of the climb wasn’t too difficult but soon began to get a little steeper, Drazekk was taking the lead when he spotted a trio of small shapes ahead which came out of the mists to be revealed as a trio of shaggy mountain goats. The ranger used his magic to be able to talk to the goats discovering that small blue humanoids were up ahead and the goats were avoiding them.

The heroes were crossing a flatter area along the cliff-face when they heard an ominous crack from above followed by an increasingly louder rumbling which Drazekk recognised as signs of an avalanche! Elenath used an Entangle spell to try and anchor them to their path, while Drazekk and Castle smacked their weapons (a pick and a hammer respectively) into the cracked stone walls to aid their grip. Unfortunately for Erland, Ursa and Eldyra the wave of crashing snow hit before they could take any avoiding action and they were swept along with it. As it continued to push at the party Elenath was also pried free from her position and swept downwards. In only moments the rest of the party were swept back to the foot of the cairn while the ranger and rune knight clung to their anchors relatively unscathed. The cleric and Druid quickly found their way out of the snow they were buried in, followed by Ursa, but Erland took a little longer and so the seeping cold of the encasing snow took a toll on him before his companions were able to dig him free.

Once the heroes regrouped they continued their journey towards the summit, passing a particularly steep area before coming to a side path where there was a bloody trail in the snow. Unwilling to leave enemies behind them and still aware of the goats warning of angry blue humanoids they decided to investigate the bloody path, shortly coming upon a pair of boots sticking out of the bushes beside the path. Drazekk poked the boots with his javelin fully expecting a zombie to leap out at them, instead the owner fo the boots gave a small cry of pain. Pulling the person out of the bushes they found a human man in heavily damaged cold weather gear with several deep wounds, one of which he’d staunched with a scarf that used to be blue but was so blood soaked it was now maroon. Elenath realised that this was Keegan, the mountain guide missing from Targos. They used some of their healing magic to ease his injuries as he told them about an attack by strange goblins that had taken him and his tour group prisoner, dragging them up here “to be fed to the beast”. Keegan had rolled off the cart he’d been dragged along on and hidden in the bushes but was too injured to make his way further down. The heroes gave him some food and told him to make his way home and that they’d deal with the goblins.

Continuing along the path with as much stealth as they could muster they spotted what appeared to be a hidden door behind some more bushes but it seemed to be only openable from the inside. Heading further on they spot blue skinned goblins gathered around an open door leading into the side of the cairn and quickly attacked them, easily taking out the half a dozen little foes before they could mount a credible defence.

After helping Keegan they assault the goblin camp

Making final preparations, the heroes readied themselves to enter the doorway ….

Climbing the Cairn

Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 11

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit begin to explore the abandoned dwarven valley.

  • 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.

21st Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

Freshly rested the heroes clambered back over the palisade and began to venture along the valley. The collection of dwarven corpses gave way to open ground dotted with small clumps of bushes, rocky outcroppings and the odd stand of small trees. After about a mile they noticed that the ground began to slope downward, not enough to make walking difficult but enough to make the walls of the valley rise significantly, appearing more if a ravine.

As they reached the two mile mark they spotted movement in the gloom ahead and heard a strange screeching noise echoing from deeper in the valley. Advancing cautiously they saw several dwarven zombies shambling around and tried to pass them stealthily, but without a light to see by Rogan stumbled and alerted the nearest undead which began to head towards the heroes .

more dwarven dead, just not quite …

The rangers begin targetting the approaching undead with their arrows while the barbarian charges forward in a a rage to assault a group approaching from the opposite side, backed up by the spear-dancing tabaxi and a spectral venus fly trap conjured by the cleric. Many of the undead fell to their attacks, but rather than leaving corpses on the ground they burst into piles of ash, but more were advancing out of the dark night around them.

Rohan called to his allies to fall back around him as he called forth guardian spirits in the form of writhing plant tendrils that were highly effective against the mindless the undead that uncaringly marched forward into the threshing aura. As the rest of the heroes moved to stand within the protective area the night sky beyond the treeline was suddenly split by a spear of bright light stabbing upward with an accompanying monstrous roar. Having more immediate concerns the heroes return their attention to the horde of dwarven zombies still trying to tear them apart.

As the magical spirits continued to shred the throng of undead, the rangers and wizard retreated to be better able to utilise their ranged attacks and magics, confident that the raging half-orc and chanting cleric were holding their own. Groth just managed to notice what looked like a black fin emerge from the treeline ahead and sink into the ground as it surged nearer, before the ground beneath his and Rohan’s feet erupted as a glossy black shark-like head rose below them and unleashed a pillar of radiant energy up through the tumbling soil and snow and into the night air, searing their flesh as they were thrown aside and the rest of the creature emerged and slashed at them with wicked talons.

a construct resembling a bulette burst from the ground beneath their feet

Kimiko unleashed a bolt of lightning, striking the new arrival squarely though it barely seemed to notice intent as it was on those around it. Ardigo and Erinya switched their focus to the glossy black armoured beast too but their arrows didnt seem to be as effective as they hoped. Rohan’s concentration had been broken by the creatures sudden arrival and so his threshing tendrils faded away, he backed away from the beast and focused his magics to send healing energy out to his companions. Groth slashed wildly with his halberd but the monsters armoured hide deflected most of his blows.

The monsters slashing claws and snapping jaws tore into the final zombie and the barbarian with equal abandon, the former bursting into a cloud of ash while the latter being saved only by its half-orc stubborness, before it dove once again into the ground and disappeared from sight.

Not wanting to be on the receiving end of another of its breaching assaults Rohan made his way to nearby trees and clambered a short ways up one of them. The other heroes spread out so as not to present a group target and Ardigo focussed his attention on searching the ground for any vibrations or signs of the beast, managing to pinpoint where he thought it was.

But the ranger watched in horror as he spotted the subtle vibrations of the surface snow heading towards himself and the beast launched upwards out fo the ground once more between him and Kimiko, slashing at the pair of them with its claws as it unleashed another of its beams of radiant energy, not skyward this time but angled to burn into the ranger and the unfortunate tree-climbing cleric. Kimiko knew how dire the situation was and took the risk to point blank launch another bolt of lightning into the monster and as the flare of the energy strike subsided was relived to see that the beast lay broken and motionless on the ground.

Gathering together around the strange monster Rohan used more healing prayers to bolster them and as Ardigo and Kimiko began trying to salvage anything useful from the monsters remians the rest of the heroes took the time to recover spent arrows and bind thier wounds, fully aware that the noise and bright lights of the combat may well have alerted anything else nearby of their presence …

the heroes advance up the dwarven valley

Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 10

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

Team Gnome Force Ultra have an alarming time in the Dwarven Valley.

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Morgan – Elenath, 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.

17th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

Realising that who or whatever was inside the dwarven outpost knew they were there, the heroes gave up on being stealthy and decided upon the direct approach, marching straight up to the massive stone doors. After Erland gave them the once over to check for traps and locks and finding neither, Drazekk and Castle knocked on the door. When no answer came they put their shoulders to the doors and pushed to slide them open, surprised when the large portals moved with relative ease on well greased runners to reveal what awaited within.

Inside the doors a wide, deep pit awaited but thankfully a heavy wooden drawbridge was in place to allow access across it into the entrance hall. In the northwest corner an antechamber led further into the complex while corridors led south and northeast deeper into the interior. A frozen well stood off to the side of the drawbridge, the heroes assumed that it connected to the frozen stream they had observed from outside. A trio of large iron cages stood empty in the northern corner of the room, with an iced over dog sled beside them.

But attracting the heroes attention was the group of figures arrayed before them. Standing centrally on the drawbridge was a hulking figure of an ogre, though it looked to have been long dead, its eyes glazed over and its flesh ripped and torn in many places. Its left arm had been severed at the elbow and replaced with what looked like a battering ram which it swung back and forth, sweeping the bridge in front of it. Behind the ogre was a trio of dwarven figures, each encased in armoured suits, two were fitted with large hammers and claws while the third had some sort of drill. The drill equiped one had had its beard and hair shaved off and its armour seemed to force its mouth open permanently. All three appeared to have had their eye lids removed and their features looked like they were in constant agony.

a dwarf trapped within a duergar hammerer suit

Castle used his rune magic to increase his size to that of the ogre and strode forward to engage it on the bridge, followed by Drazekk and Ursa while Eldyra, Elenath and Erland held back and used their magics from range. The ogre failed to actually hit anyone before its putrid form was smashed asunder by the heroes, though this just made time and room for the dwarves to engage the party. The mechanical weaponry wasn’t overly accurate but when it did connect with the heroes it hit hard.

As the adventurers got the upper hand against the strange dwarves they noticed a grey skinned dwarf appear in the archway in the northwest as it aimed a heavy crossbow and fired at Elenath, the bolt stiking deep into the druids flesh. Drazekk also saw a handful of shambling humans coming up from the southern corridor, unsure of their intentions he waited to see what they would do. The dragonborn ranger didn’t have to wait long as they lurched towards him, striking out using tools as makeshift weaponry.

After defeating the hammerers, screamer and zombie ogre the true threat is revealed

While her companions engaged the humans Elenath charged towards the dwarf that had shot her, calling upon her magics to attack him as she approached. He swapped from his crossbow to a wicked looking shortsword and shield, backing away from the archway into the room beyond and growing to almost double his size and taunting the druid.

The rest of the adventurers noticed that the humans seemed to be mindless and infected with some sort of fungal growth, Erland and Castle attempted to subdue them rather than just kill them outright while Eldyra used her divine magic to heal some of her companions more grievious wounds inflcted by the dwarves. Drazekk had no such compassion for the strange humans and struck them down as quickly as he could with his javelin strikes, and noticed he could hear footsteps in the southern corridor but no-one was there.

Elenath was incensed by the taunting of the grey dwarf and followed him into the room to attack him with her shillelagh, and another one appeared in the south west corner next to a lever on the wall as he pull it down, causing sharp teethlike spikes to erupt from the floor and ceiling in the archways behind her to form a barrier and trapher inside with the pair of dwarves! This new arrival was dressed in gleaming black plate armour and wielding an impressive looking hammer of the same glossy black material.

Duergar warriors led by a hulking brute begin to take a toll on the heroes

Having dealt with the humans and seeing the barrier appear the other heroes began to head northwest to assist Elenath as a third grey dwarf appeared with a crossbow out of thin air and attacked behind them. The druid was forced back into a corner as the pair of dwarves assaulted her, the hammer wielding dwarf growing in size as it struck multiple times and battering the elf into unconsciousness.

Eldyra used her healing magics again to revive her companion as Erland conjured a slick grease patch in the room in the hope of slowing the dwarves. Castle and Drazekk prepared to face the third dwarf.

The revived druid used her gifts to become a spider and scuttle through the narrow gap in the barrier but the hulking hammer wielder smacked at her as she did so, the injury forcing her back in to humanoid form as she shot out into the waiting arms of her allies as she once again slipped into unconsciousness. The other dwarf headed back to the lever and lowered the barrier and the adventurers prepared to face all three of the grey dwarf warriors.

Eldyra again healed the druid as they moved out of the whirling melee as Drazekk, Castle and Ursa engaged the dwarves that charged out of the room weapons swinging mightily. It was beginning to look bleak for the heroes, as the massive hammer struck again and again, Drazekk being pummelled to the ground and Ursa and Castle taking punishing blows. Then Elenath tried a desperate gambit, calling upon her magic to charm the hammer wielding dwarf and breathing a massive sigh of relief when it worked!

Between the charm magic and a revived Drazekk being able to speak their language they were able to convince the plate armoured dwarf to stand his forces down and leave, much to the surprise of the rest of the heroes and the other two dwarves too. However, they obeyed their commanders orders and accompanied him out of the doors and into the snowy ravine outside.

The heroes quickly closed the doors and removed the drawbridge, just in case. They dumped the bodies of the other foes into the pit, the fall finishing off the subdued fungal humans, and Erland and Elenath used fire based magic to burn the remains. Elenath advised her friends that the charm would only last a short time so they should do whatever they were going to do here quickly ….

in the dwarven valley

Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 10

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2021 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit take a stroll in the snow to an abandoned valley.

  • 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.

21st Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

The party gathered their axebeaks and cart from the Bryn Shander stables and rode back through town to exit via the North Gate. Erinya used her wilderness survival skills to determine their heading, so as to intercept the road from Targos to Termalaine, and led the troupe at a steady pace. After a couple of hours they still hadn’t reached the road as expected and so they tried to reassess their bearings, realising that instead of north-westerly they had been travelling north-easterly. Rather than try and head back to the road they decided to just continue cross country toward the Dwarven Valley.

They were about half way there when they came across a frozen stream crossing through a lightly wooded area, there were a trio of snowmen that had been built in the area and signs that two more had been broken down. Groth remembered the incident with the woman and her children from the other day and rode forward as he threw a javelin at the closest snowman – just in case.

Do you wanna build a snowman?

While his companions thought he was being paranoid to begin with they soon realised he was right to do so as the javelin hit and the snowmen animated and began to move (albeit slowly) to attack. Only the one Groth had attacked could reach him but the other pair threw icy snowballs until they could get into melee.

As the heroes battled the remarkably resilient snowmen a beam of magical energy flew out from the bushes and trees to the east, striking the nearest snowman but didn’t appear to cause any particular harm. Rohan guided his axebeak over that way to investigate where the beam had come from. When he looked closely he realised there was a young human woman hiding amongst the bushes, she wore the furs that were commonplace amongst the nomadic tribes of the Dale but unlike those he had encountered previously she seemed less friendly. She called forth a globe of sleeting snow around the combatants, blinding the heroes and making it treacherous underfoot for their mounts. The snowmen seemed utterly unaffected and when Groth’s axebeak slipped over and the half-orc abandoned it in favour of escaping the sleet storm, the snowman he had been battling pummelled the poor beast to a pulp.

As more of the heroes began to escape the sleet storm they all began to focus their attacks upon its creator, but while she took a beating she maintained concentration on the spell until she chose to drop it, and used her last remaining breath to call out to the wintry sky “Mistress of cold, hear my cries. Take this broken form and use it to take retribution upon those that oppose your will!” Before the assembled heroes could do anything a giant snowy owl swooped down from the sky, hitting the woman and driving her to the ground with its body and wings engulfing her, then it stood up!

A little taller than the woman had been but still not as tall as Groth or Erinya, the now humanoid owl creature gave a screech of rage. Erinya and Ardigo continued to strafe the snowmen with thier bowshots as Groth and Rohan engaged this new foe and Kimiko loosed a lightning bolt at it. While their attacks all found their mark the creature seemed not to notice or care about the damage it was taking, instead striking out at those nearest with ice cold talons as sharp as any blade before it disappeared in a swirl of snow and reappeared a short way off and conjuring a storm of ice shards to rain down upon her assailants, knocking the tabaxi wizard unconscious in her saddle but thankfully Erinya was close by and able to revive her with magical healing.

The owl creature continued to strike and fade, eventually reappearing on the cart behind Ardigo and striking at the half-elven ranger with its wicked talons. But even its supernatural endurance couldn’t outlast the relentless assault of the heroes and it was knocked to the ground dead, barely hitting the floor before it transformed back into the dead body of the tribal woman.

The heroes agreed that they needed to recuperate but to do so here would be inviting danger and so gathered themselves up, Erinya letting Groth ride her axebeak while she joined Ardigo on the cart, and continued northward for another hour before finally reaching the mouth of the Dwarven Valley. It had been blocked off by a wooden palisade which appeared to have been constructed from this side, its support beams clearly visible though no gate any sort could be found. Kimiko conjured her tiny hut and they took a short rest to bind their wounds and gather their thoughts.

Using the cart to stand on they looked over the palisade, seeing the remains of dozens upon dozens of dwarves lying onthe ground. Nothing appeared to be moving but Erinya fired off an arrow to see if it drew out anything that was lying in wait. Nothing moved. Erinya, Kimiko and Rohan climbed over the wall and examined a few of the bodies, discovering that they had been dead and exposed to the elements for a long period of time. Most wore everyday clothes, none wore armour or carried weapons, but all showed signs of having been savagely attacked by tooth or claw. While this was happening Groth got a hammer from his gear on the cart and began knocking a couple of the supporting beams out in hopes of making a gap in the palisade wide enough to drive the cart through. As he was doing this Ardigo noticed a sign buried in the snow and pulled it out to see what it said. Written in dwarven, elven, common and giant was the same phrase – “Dead inside – Don’t Enter”. As the rest of the group climbed back over the palisade he showed them the sign and they stopped Groth from making his entrance.

They still wanted to explore the valley beyond but agreed that perhaps stealth was the way to do so and would leave the cart and axebeaks here, also reasoning that the palisade looked to have been made to keep something in rather than keep others out and to leave an opening could create more problems than it was worth. With the dim daylight of the dale fading into darkness Kimiko created another of her tiny huts and they settled down to rest, taking it in turn to keep watch.

As the magic of thier shelter faded they prepared to climb over the palisade and explore the valley in the dark of night …

Climbing the pallisade into the darkened valley beyond

Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 9

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

Team Gnome Force Ultra heal the sick and head to the Dwarven Valley.

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger with the outlander background.
  • Morgan – Elenath, 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.

17th Nightal, 1492 DR, Year of Three Ships Sailing

Awaking ready and refreshed in the Eastside Inn, Eldyra prepared her prayers and led the party back into Marta’s fathers room. The “old” man’s state was unchanged and as the cleric of Selune began to intone her prayer Castle tried once again to pull the ring free. As the prayer finished her father awoke with a cry of “get the damned thing away from me!” and the ring slid easily free of his finger, though his aging remained unchained. Marta and her father thanked the party profusely and let them take the ring as a thank you. Castle put it into his backpack for safe keeping.

The heroes gathered their gear and went downstairs to eat breakfast while discussing their next move, should they return to Bryn Shander and the waiting gnome and Vellyne; head across to Lac Dinneshere and the towns there following the hunter seeking Erland; or take advantage of their proximity to the Dwarven Valley and Kelvin’s Cairn where Keegan’s missing partner had gone? Erland said that he also had something personal to attend to at the Cairn and so they decided that would be their destination.

The journey across open country to the valley took a couple of hours, interrupted briefly by a trio of annoying ice mephits that the heroes quickly despatched before finally reaching the mouth of the valley. It had been blocked with a wooden pallisade that looked to be designed to keep something in rather than out. Castle and Drazekk peered over the barrier, seeing a scattering of dwarven corpses, many of which had been stripped of their arms and armour. Carefully clambering over (though Ursa had a little difficulty) they began making their way deeper into the valley, spying more of the fallen dwarves in states of decay as well as several mine entrances. They had just decided to ignore the mines and focus on reaching the end of the valley when they heard a strange roaring noise from further ahead. It didn’t sound like any creature they had heard before. They continued on cautiously.

They were about two thirds along the valley when they spotted several dwarven zombies ahead and began swatting the undead down. The strange roar sounded again, definitely nearer and Eldyra spied a large dark winged shape ahead as a bright beam of energy poured from its maw incinerating a handful of undead in its path as it began heading in their direction.

The valley is infested with dwarven zombies – and something else

Eldyra advised her allies of what she had seen as they continued to battle the zombies. The winged terror approached and they heroes could see it more clearly, a dragon shaped creature plated in the strange mineral they had come to know as chardalyn, about the size of a warhorse.

A horse sized plated dragon unleases a beam of energy from its maw

As the party slew the last of the zombies around them the dragon spewed forth its glowing energy beam breath incinerating two zombies and hitting Ursa as well. The heroes weren’t sure if that was intentional or just collateral damage. Elenath wasn’t taking any chances, calling upon the very earth of the valley floor to reach up and pull the beast groundward. Eldyra cast moonbeam upon the entrapped dragon-thing though it didn’t appear as effective as she hoped. Ursa charged towards it, ready to attack if it broke free but unfortunately, while unable to take flight it was still able to strike out, its terrible claws, teeth, tail and even wings slashing, tearing and bashing the poor steel defender to pieces while Erland looked on.

Castle used his rune magic to enlarge himself and strode into melee with the beast, Drazekk approached close enough to launch his javelins, while Eldyra, Elenath and Erland pelted it with magics. Despite it scoring a few wicked strikes on the enlarged warforged the heroes combined efforts soon brought the beast down. While Eldyra created a magical shelter to take a short rest within, Erland resurrected his faithful companion and Drazekk harvested various parts and pieces of the broken charadlyn.

Once they were ready, they continued up the valley as what little passed for daylight in the Dales turned into darkness. Eldyra used her divine abilities to grant Elenath, Erland and Drazekk her extended night vision as they approached the narrowing end of what had become a steep ravine. They could see the outer walls of worked stone and a large closed stone gateway of an old dwarven structure carved into the walls themselves, while slightly nearer the low top of a sunken bunker sat with snow atop its roof and no lights coming from within its dark arrowslits. The heroes tried to approach as stealthily as they could muster but with the majority of their party either wearing or being composed of metal armour it was unsurprising when a crossbow bolt streaked out from the bunker and struck Elenath.

They rushed to the bunker to see who or what had fired upon them but looking into the interior all they saw was a closed trapdoor, as they began to consider their next move the sounds of an alarm being raised within the “abandoned” outpost could be heard …..

The party approach a not so abandoned dwarven outpost
Into the abandoned dwarven valley