Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 29

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2022 by vobeskhan

Team Gnome Force Ultra leave Bryn Shander

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger/Druid 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. (unavailable this session)
  • Jack – Eldyra, a high elf Twilight domain Cleric of Selune with the acolyte background.
  • Jon -Yongrad Anviltamer, a duergar Artificer Armourer with the Clan Crafter background.

15th Hammer, 1493 Year of the Purple Dragon

attending the lottery draw

Speaker Shane called out “The chosen person for Bryn Shander’s sacrifice is” as she unfolded the paper and read the name written upon it, her face lost much of its colour as she raised her gaze, looking at the companions, “Elenath!” she called out.

Recovering quickly from the initial shock, the companions made their way to the front of the crowd, the town guards shuffling nervously as they approached. Speaker Shane leant down and showed the slip of paper in her hand to Elenath as she quietly said “I’m so sorry, but if anyone has a chance of surviving outside of town it’s you and your friends”.

“Elenath”

“You’ve got until the fifth bell to put your affairs in town in order, then the guards will collect you in readiness for the exile ceremony at the sixth bell.” she said as she stood back up. The crowd was already dispersing, including the priest of Auril and Speaker Maxildanarr and his companion leaving the steps of the town hall.

“It’s ok, we were going to be leaving anyway. This just advances our plans, and better us than some other poor soul.” answered the druid. Speaker Shane nodded in agreement, wished them well and went back inside the town hall.

The heroes visited a few of the remaining shops in town to restock and acquire some supplies, before heading over to the Hooked Knucklehead to see Vellyne. As they entered they saw a small brown bear skin hanging on one of the coat pegs, and a small gnome sitting in one of the comfortable chairs beside the fireplace with Vellyne. Barton, the innkeeper, stood behind the bar as usual, cleaning a cup with his customary cloth. Vellyne waved them over, and when the gnome made to leave she told him to remain.

Joining the wizardess, she introduced them to the gnome, Copper Knobberknocker, an associate of hers. She told them she had witnessed the lottery draw and was glad that they had come to see her before they left. She nodded to the gnome and he produced a small scrimshaw jewellery box and handed it to the heroes. They opened it to find five identical earrings, blue crystals wrapped in fine gold wire.

As pretty as they were, they looked questioningly at Vellyne, who smiled as she explained. “I had Copper craft these in readiness for your explorations. They are enchanted to allow you to communicate with each other (over short distances) should you become separated.” As she told them how to use the earrings, Eldyra handed them out amongst themselves.

“Now as I said, I shall not be accompanying you to the Lost City but have given you the location of my professor orb. In addition, I’d like to give you this,” she pulled a smooth obsidian pebble from her pocket and handed it to Elenath. This will allow you to communicate with me via a Sending spell once each day, just in case”. The druid thanked her and slipped the stone into her pocket. “Copper was also wondering if you have time and are in the area if you could check on a companion of his, didn’t you Copper dear.”

The little gnome shifted nervously in his chair, his little feet swinging in the air as they didn’t reach the floor. “Erm, yes, well, that is. My friend, Macreadus, was working on something to combat this unnatural winter out at his cabin, beyond Termalaine. I came back to Bryn Shander a month ago and haven’t heard from him since. We didn’t part on good terms but I’m worried about him. I just want to know he’s ok.” The heroes assured him that they would check on his friend if they came across his cabin. They remained with Vellyne and Copper until Barton eventually brought out a tray of tea. But eventually, they made their farewells and returned to the Northlook to wait out the rest of the afternoon.

As the day reached the fifth bell, a quartet of nervous-looking guards arrived at the Northlook and requested Elenath accompany them. When the rest of the party also came, they looked confused briefly but allowed them to do so. They took up positions with two leading and two following the party as they marched down the street towards the marketplace and town hall. They were about halfway there when a little girl standing watching pulled free of her mother’s hand and ran up to Elenath.

“Mummy says you have to leave so the rest of us are safe, I wanted to thank you,” she said as she pressed a small square object wrapped in grease-proof paper into the druid’s hand. “Thank you” replied Elenath as the girl’s mother pulled the child away and the group continued their march. The druid looked at what the paper contained, finding a square of fudge, and with a smile pocketed it for later.

The procession arrived at the town hall, there was no crowd this time but Speaker Shane stood waiting. “I’m sorry about this, but apparently the ceremony of it is important” she apologised as she joined the group and it turned around and marched back up the same street towards North Gate.

the exile ceremony

As they reached the North Gate they could see a crowd had gathered around a temporary stage, upon which stood the priest of Auril, and beside it was a dozen children with blue-trimmed white tabards over their cold weather clothes, singing a hymn to the frostmaiden. It took a moment for them to recognize that one of the children was Nixa, scrubbed clean, her wild hair tamed and pulled back into an auburn braid. Speaker Shane led Elenath up onto the stage but the guards made it clear that the other heroes would have to stand in the crowd. Duvessa waited for the hymn to end before starting her speech, once again thanking publicly the heroes for their actions in helping Bryn Shander and now one of them was to make the ultimate sacrifice by accepting exile to appease the frostmaiden. There was a small round of applause from the crowd, and then the priest stepped towards the druid to administer the ceremonial blessing of Auril but the elf gave him a glare and just said “No”, in a way that left no room for disagreement. Duvessa quickly hid a smile. “May the frostmaiden guide you” the priest responded as he stepped back.

Duvessa gestured to the gates and gave the final part of the ceremonial speech, inviting Eleneth to exit the town, never to return. The druid calmly walked off the stage and towards the opening gate, as the other heroes began to follow her the gate guards went to block their way, “Hold your positions,” commanded Duvessa, “they’ve earnt the right to accompany their friend don’t you think.” The priest looked as if he was about to argue but quickly thought better of it. The gate guards instead stood to attention and saluted the heroes as they walked out of Bryn Shander for possibly the final time. Once they were outside the gates closed ominously behind them and they were out in the snowstorm-filled evening.

They decided to head to Targos, partly because it was the closest town but also because Maxildanarr, its speaker, had been noticeably absent from the ceremony. It was a blustery couple of hours walk but as they approached the town they could see it now had a tall wooden palisade built around it. Guards stood on its parapet where the gate was, and others could be seen patrolling. At the heroes’ approach, they called out, asking about their business approaching after dark.

The party shouted back that they wanted to see the speaker, but the guards said he was busy and orders were no one was to enter after dark. “We’re the heroes that stopped the dragon, he’ll want to see us” they called back. The guards looked at each other before saying that they’d send someone to ask if he would see them. It was a good ten minutes before another figure appeared above the gate, it was the armoured tiefling companion of Maxildanarr. “I’m afraid my lord is otherwise engaged this evening and the standing order is that the gates remain closed on the night of the sacrifice, you understand I’m sure” he called with a very insincere smile. Elenath scowled up at him as she muttered “Fine” before the heroes turned and began to stomp away to find a campsite. The tiefling called after them “Take care” and the heroes weren’t sure if it was his laughter or the wind of the snowstorm they heard as departed.

They found a suitable campsite and Eldyra battled the winds and conjured her magical dome for them to rest within. It was close to midnight when they noticed movement on the road out of Targos nearby. A dog sledge raced by followed by a pair of flying creatures. The heroes realised they recognised the passenger on the sledge, the albino tiefling they had met at Caer Dineval, which meant the flying creatures were likely her gargoyle pets. Apparently, the closed gates didn’t apply to her. The heroes returned to their rest which was thankfully undisturbed.

In the morning they decided to head along the lakeside road to Termalaine and reached the ruins of the town around midday. There were several folks in the ruins, salvaging usable materials, and as they saw the party approach they waved a friendly greeting. They were townsfolk from Lonelywood and were combing through the ruins for anything that could assist in the rebuilding of their town “waste not, want not, as they say,” they beamed. They invited the party to take a lunch break with them, not really giving them an option to decline before starting a communal pot of food. Once lunch was over Elenath used her magic to turn Castle into a mammoth, which brought a round of excited applause from the salvagers who began asking if they were going to carry their salvage back to Lonelywood for them. The heroes apologised but explained they had to go out into the tundra and made their goodbyes.

They made good time on mammoth-back, skirting past the woodland north of Lonelywood and just as the enchantment came to an end they could see a decrepit wooden cabin perched on the edge of a ravine.

approaching the decrepit cabin

There were two outbuildings, one was a wood shed, still well stocked, while the other was a snowed-in outhouse. Yongrad used the thermal cube to melt enough of the built-up snow to be able to open the door. Inside he found several torn-up pieces of parchment, bearing scribbles and notes.

They climbed the creaking wooden steps onto the walkway that led around the cabin to the first door. Drazekk opened it to find an abandoned workshop. From the scattered tools, he was able to scrape together a smiths and tinkers tool kit. Elenath headed towards the furthest door, passing by one of the barely shuttered windows and a brief movement within the cabin caught her eye. She stopped and tried to see what had moved but when she couldn’t find it she continued on. There was a gap in the walkway where several of the planks had rotted away but the lithe elf easily jumped across and got to the door, shouldering it open and entering. Drazekk jumped across the gap but as he landed his heavier frame broke through planks and he fell into the snow beneath, barely missing the edge of the ravine and what would have been a long drop. The dragonborn crawled out from below the walkway and rejoined his friends as they began to enter the cabin through a window on the safe side of the gap and join their druid ally.

Elenath had stopped upon entering the cabin as she could see a ghostly male figure standing on the opposite side of the soot-covered table, the figure seemed surprised that she could see it though they quickly realised that they couldn’t hear each other talking, not even the druid’s telepathy seemed to help. She started to step around the table but the figure motioned for her to stop, floating forward and pointing out an area of the cabin’s floor and making a falling motion with his hands.

Macreadus

The other heroes had climbed through the window now but none of them could see the ghostly figure. What they could see was a charred skeleton and a pile of snow covering something spherical on the floor on the far side of the table. The ghostly figure began to motion a warning at Drazekk as the ranger bent to pick up the spherical object which had now been revealed as Yongrad’s cube melted the covering snow. It appeared to be a chunk of coal suspended within a pair of rune-covered rings.

an odd contraption

Before Elenath could shout a warning, Drazekk grasped the object and stood. A blinding flash of energy radiated out of the object enveloping the ranger, the table, and the druid, and Eldyra and Yongrad lost sight of their companions momentarily. As the flash faded and their vision returned they heard a thunk as the object dropped once more to the wooden floor, as well as the charred skeletal remains of their companions!

The cleric of Selune rushed to the body of her fellow elf but there was nothing her magic could do, she looked to Yongrad and shook her head sadly. “There’s got to be something here somewhere that can reverse this!” growled the duergar, and he began searching the other rooms of the cabin, but all he found were a pair of bedrooms, a laboratory/workshop area and a store room with barrels of frozen wine. The laboratory did contain several blueprints and pages of notes but none seemed to offer a way of reversing the effect.

“Oh no, I tried to warn you not to touch it” sobbed the ghostly figure as ghostly forms of Elenath and Drazekk appeared beside their scorched remains, all of them invisible to their companions. “Why did you come here? I thought nobody else would get hurt with being so remote out here” he continued to sob. The druid explained that a gnome called Copper had asked them to check on him, at this he stopped sobbing, and said that he had been too obsessed with his work, he hadn’t even read the note Copper had left when he left, and now he couldn’t, passing his ghostly hand through the table to demonstrate, only by really focussing could he interact with the material world but his will was no longer strong enough.

Elenath was too stubborn to accept that and by sheer force of will was able to leave a message in the soot on the table directing her allies to the unopened letter in the fireplace. Eldyra recognised Elenath’s handwriting and she retrieved the letter and read it with Yongrad.

“Three rings!” cried Macreadus, “yes that might just stabilise it! But, there’s no way I could focus enough to perform the delicate work needed!” The druid once again concentrated and was able to get the message across to Yongrad and Eldyra. The duergar said that he could easily perform the necessary work but was wary of handling the device, with the ghostly druid as a go-between Macreadus was able to assure him that the device was dormant until it could recharge at dawn. Gathering the required tools and materials the artificer set about creating and installing a third runic ring. Three hours later he was done, he placed the device on the table as Eldyra conjured her customary dome for the pair of them to rest.

When morning came Yongrad nervously stood beside the table, “well, here goes” he said as he grasped the device and it thrummed to life. This time though the energy was focused into a tight beam that shot up through the roof without damaging it, and into the sky above. Suddenly the device pulsed again, the bright energy expanding to fill the room and blinding the companions, material and ghostly alike. Elenath just had time to see Macreadus looking up at the beam of light and saying “it actually worked” before fading away and the pulse blinding her.

As the flash faded Yongrad and Eldyra were surprised to find they had not been incinerated, but they were shocked to see their companions restored to their living forms with all of their gear intact. “I don’t know what I did, but I’m glad it did it” muttered the duergar as he placed the dormant once more device on the table. …..

In the dilapidated cabin
at Macreadus’s cabin

Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 30

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2022 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit return to Bryn Shander for the lottery

  • 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. (unavailable this session)
  • Sarah – Tsukiya Kimiko, a tabaxi Bladesinger Wizard with the noble background.
  • Lyam – Groth, a half-orc Zealot Barbarian with the acolyte background.
  • Priyan – Ardigo, a half-elf Hunter Ranger with the outlander/forrester background. (unavailable this session)

15th Hammer, 1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragon

Pulling their cold weather gear close about them, the heroes made their way back to the Happy Scrimshander and entered the little shop which was a part of the overall building. A human woman in her late fifties to early sixties sat upon a stool knitting as they came inside, looking up as she greeted them but not stopping her knitting. The heroes inquired as to what the shop sold and how it had been rebuilt quicker than most of the other buildings. The old woman explained that she had accrued several favours over the years and had called many of them in to get her home and shop rebuilt quickly. As to her wares, she explained what the scrimshaw trade was and that she sold the tool kits and inks for carving and decorating the ivory-like materials. Groth purchased a beginners kit and the heroes bid her good day.

It was almost midday and they realised that it was sacrifice day, they were unaware of what the town of Lonelywood did for their sacrifice but agreed that they wanted to be back in Bryn Shander to witness their ceremony. Gathering their gear, Kimiko turned Ardigo into a mammoth and they rode him past the ruin of Termalaine and south along the edge of Mear Dualdon and towards the north gate of the town.

By the time they reached the outside of Bryn Shander what little daylight there was had passed into darkness. They decided to wait outside and help whoever was to be exiled that evening. Kimiko tried to conjure her magical hut but the high winds of the snowstorm kept messing up her ritual and after two failed attempts they decided to enter the town and use their afternoon to check in on Groth’s goat and to deliver the collected items to the speaker from Targos.

As they were passing through the marketplace they could see it was relatively busy, but they did spot an unusual sight. A small brown bear, about two-three feet tall as it stood upright, came out of Redoril’s Emporium and ran, still upright, across to the Hooked Knucklehead before letting itself inside. Their curiosity piqued, the heroes diverted across the market to the inn. As they did a figure clad in similar heavy cold weather gear accidentally collided with Groth and gave a muffled apology before disappearing into the snow and crowd. The barbarian quickly checked he had all his belongings and relaxed when he found that nothing appeared to be missing.

Entering the Knucklehead they saw what looked to be the bear’s skin hanging on the coat pegs in the entrance, and a small gnomish figure sitting with Vellyne by the fireplace.

Copper the Gnome’s bear suit

Vellyne introduced her guest as Copper, an acquaintance who was just leaving and taking his cue the little gnome hopped down from his chair and began pulling his unusual cold weather suit back on. The heroes commented on his unique attire and he told them it was a special one he’d had made by Redoril, then bid them a good day and left.

They went and sat with Vellyne, telling her of their findings at Grimskalle and the probable location of a fallen Netherese city noted within the Codicil of the White. She was very interested and advised them that she may have some things that could help with their further exploration, assuming that they intended to seek the city and uncover its secrets. First she passed them a small jewelry box, inside were five identical earrings made of blue crystals wrapped delicately in gold wire.

Vellyne’s Messaging Earrings

She explained that these would allow the heroes to communicate with each other over short distances, should they become separated. Next, she gave Kimiko her pearl back, assuring the tabaxi that its detrimental effects had been purged (at no small cost). Finally, she told them that she had located an item that one of her former associates had stolen from her when they came north. She assumed it was still with the one that had taken it, her former apprentice Nass Lantomir, but that this item would prove invaluable if they were going to explore a Netherese ruin. She explained that it was a magical orb, itself a relic of Netheril, that had a form of sentience but was a repository of knowledge. The heroes asked if she would be coming with them to explore the lost city but she told them that her adventuring days were far behind her, but with the orb in their possession and the sending stone she had previously given them (that they had all but forgotten about) they wouldn’t need her there.

They left the Knucklehead and continued their walk through the snowy streets, heading towards the southwest gate and the stables, the streets almost empty now with most folks keeping nearer the north gate area ready for the evening’s ceremony. Rohan heard a deep growl, which he thought came from behind and to their right, alerting his companions they all peered into the snowy gloom but couldn’t make anything out.

a strange feline hunting beast attacks out of the concealing snowstorm

Until a large shape lurched out of the snowy shadows of an alleyway on their left, about the size of a pony, a hunting beast with features of both a feline and a canine but neither. Its skin was smooth and looked like oil in a dark puddle, giving off multi-coloured hues as its musculature rippled under it. Its tail curled up over its back and ended in a large eyeball, almost a foot across.

The creature barrelled into Groth, swiping viciously with its front claws and knocking the barbarian to the ground before its tail-eye flicked around to look at Kimiko and spat a beam of sickly dark purple energy at her. It struck her before she could react and pain seared into her mind.

battling the beast

Getting back to his feet, Groth stepped back, expecting the beast to attack immediately but it didn’t, and so he began swinging his halberd at it with mixed success. Rohan chanted a prayer and put a bane upon the creature, hoping to reduce its combat efficiency, while Kimiko called forth an arcane hand that smashed into the creature and held it in place.

Groth continued to slash and stab at the monster, his attacks visibly hurting it. Kimiko kept the magic hand holding the cat in place and sent a quartet of magic darts which the cat seemed to reflect half of them back towards her, but she thankfully ducked them, while Rohan stepped up to the side of the monster and chanted a prayer to inflict vicious wounds into it, but sadly it seemed to have no effect.

The monster made no effort to try and escape the grip of the magical hand, content to continue to claw at whoever was nearest and spit rays of energy from its tail eye, but the continuous assault of Groth’s halberd was beginning to tell and Kimiko went into her bladesong, dancing forward and running up the barbarians back to leap off so as to bring her spear down upon the beast as she cast a booming blade spell. The beast gave a final howl of pain and fell to the ground, where it immediately began to dissolve into an oily goo.

Rohan healed his companions of their more grievous injuries and they continued on to the stables. Groth was pleased to see that his goat was looking healthy and happy, the stablemaster assuring him that its care was still paid up until the end of the month. The barbarian said that he should be back before then and the stablemaster replied that if he wasn’t then he’d just sell the goat, as was his right. Groth grumbled “well see about that!” as his companions ushered him out of the stables and made their way to the house of the Targos speaker.

There were two guards standing outside who asked their business as they barred their entrance. The companions told them they had business with the speaker and one of the guards disappeared inside briefly before returning in ushering them inside. After taking off their coats etc they were shown into the study where they had met with the speaker previously. Once again he was seated at his large writing desk, his gold-skinned tiefling companion sitting in a chair at the side of the room sipping a glass of chilled wine.

Speaker of Targos and his companion

The speaker greeted them warmly and said he assumed they’re journey had been successful, they told him that there had been a dragon involved, “nothing beyond your fine capabilities I’m sure” he replied. The companions pulled the items they had retrieved from the Dark Duchess from their bag of holding, as Nearth tallied up their value. He told them to keep the magic items as they were of little use to him in rebuilding the towns, he agreed on what their share of the remaining goods and coins was and let them take their due, thanking them once again for their assistance as they left and headed back to the Northlook Inn.

It was after the fourth bell as they entered the inn, warmly greeted by Scramsax. Kimiko quickly went to check on her retainers, relieved to find that they were alright and hadn’t been selected as the lottery winner. “No, it’s that poor wretch Brother Mithan that’s getting the boot,” said Scramsax, as Groth spat a mouthful of ale and lurched to his feet …

In the Northlook Inn

Dungeons of Drakkenheim (Kickstarter rewards)

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D, Drakkenheim with tags , , , , on July 26, 2022 by vobeskhan

If you play 5e Dungeons & Dragons odds are you have heard of the Youtube channel The Dungeon Dudes and their video breakdowns of classes, builds tips and guides. They also have a series of actual play videos set in their campaign setting of the City of Drakkenheim and last year (in conjunction with Ghostfire Gaming) launched a Kickstarter to bring the adventure and the city to our home games.

The pledge I chose to do was the Lord of the Feast (early bird) and we received the digital rewards early this year (and they are amazing) but my physical pledge didn’t arrive until now, well, most of it (missing a couple of items which I’m chasing up). So let’s take a look at what we’ve got.

Not in the original pledge but one of the upgrades they included for all physical rewards, the majority of the set arrived in this rather nice presentation case.

The Guilders Coin was a stretch goal bonus item, the bag features the logo of the Hooded Lanterns (one of the factions within the adventure). The coin could be used as a great inspiration token at the table.

The Eldritch Contaminations deck, handy card references for the contaminations the player characters could contract during their exploration of Drakkenheim, the information is in the main book but these are great for giving to the affected player for ease.

Faction pins for the five factions vying for control of Drakkenheim. The Hooded Lanterns (former city guard trying to restore law and order amidst the chaos), the Amethyst Academy (a guild of mages and scholars interested in the ruins of their arcane tower within the city and the uses of the fragments from the comet), the Followers of the Falling Fire (a religious cult dedicated to the comet, the Knights of the Silver Order (militant order of paladins and knights that want the destruction of the taint of the comet), and the Queen’s Men outlaws (a massive guild of thieves thriving in the ruined city and its surrounding environs).

Large cloth map of the City of Drakkenheim, there’s something really nice about a cloth map.

The actual book, is really well set out and the included artwork is just fantastic and really helps to show off the aesthetic of the adventure and setting. The tactical maps inside are clear and many have matching battle maps available (in both the physical and digital rewards. Each encounter is written concisely, with details of NPCs likely to be there, their motivations, and hooks for why the party may be there.

Speaking of battle maps, the Tactical Map set is awesome. the maps are quite large and printed double-sided. I really like that the back of the packet lists which maps are which, and the actual maps have a little identifier in one of their corners (visible in the photos in the top left of the two maps shown).

The heavy card stock Dungeon Masters screen features excellent artwork of an adventurer looking out over the city of Drakkenheim, while the other side features all the necessary charts and tables the DM could need from the main book collected in a convenient place.

Thanks to stretch goals there were a few options on which miniatures could be included but I wanted the original pack of encounter bosses. These are great detailed minis and are excellent representations of the artwork for each of them. The Crimson Countess (not the one from the Boys), The Executioner, Lenore, The Lord of the Feast, and The Rat Prince.

And finally, the Rat Prince plushie. Again, as part of a stretch goal, there was an alternative version where the Prince is in his disguise outfit (as used in the actual play campaign) but I wanted the standard one.

Sadly missing from my package were the Magic of Drakkenheim card deck and my Delerium Dice set. As I said above, I have contacted them to see what can be done about this and await a response.

Meantime, I have my friend Jon working on some extra miniatures that I will be using for my own in-person games and encounters that I’m hoping to be running in the not-too-distant future.

Batman Miniatures Game – the Court of Owls awakens

Posted in Batman miniatures game with tags , , , on July 24, 2022 by vobeskhan

“Beware The Court of Owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed, speak not a whispered word of them, or they’ll send the Talon for your head.”

While the League of Assassins is by far my favourite crew in the game, I can honestly say the Court of Owls are the true assassins of Gotham City. And so I had to get myself a crew of them for potential use in-game.

While a friend who used to play (Mark) gave me the old metal set of the court and Butcher I also wanted the box set with the additional owl markers and leader. I managed to also get The Court model secondhand as it had missing hands but an email to Knight Models got a set of replacement hands posted to me. To add a few more tactical options I got the updated set of the Parliament as well as Dementor and Calvin Rose.

I wanted to put the standing male off The Court on his own base so as to use him as the High Court Member model and assembled the Parliament, Dementor and Rose also. As luck would have it, my friend Jon contacted me to see if I had any more models in need of painting, so off they all went, along with the Talon’s Night boxed set to be assembled and painted.

As always, a huge thank you to Jon for the paint job. I look forward to murdering lots of Gothamites with them.

Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 28

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2022 by vobeskhan

Team Gnome Force Ultra go on a beer run

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger/Druid with the outlander background. (unavailable this session)
  • 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 -Yongrad Anviltamer, a duergar Artificer Armourer with the Clan Crafter background.

14th Hammer, 1493 Year of the Purple Dragon

The heroes awaken from a very comfortable night’s sleep thanks to the new thermal cube in their possession. Having made their way down to the taproom for breakfast Scramsax comes over to them and asks if he could bend their ears for a moment, once they nod he goes on to first thank them for helping clear his name on the previous day, but wonders if they could do him a huge favour. With the town deciding that they can stay at the inn for the foreseeable future for free he needs to ensure his revenue would be increased from the drink sales but his stocks are low. He had made a deal with the Meadery in Good Mead and had received word that his order was ready but they couldn’t deliver it for several more days, if the heroes could see fit to go and fetch his delivery for him it would give him those several days advantage on sales over the other taverns and inns in town. He assured the heroes that it shouldn’t take them more than a day to do so, and they decide to do it for him.

awakening in Bryn Shander

After finishing their breakfasts the party head out to see about acquiring axebeaks once again, the stablemaster looks a little sheepish as he confesses to the heroes that he hadn’t realised they only meant to hire the animals previously and had charged them full purchase price, but to make up for it they could have this day hire as part of the earlier payment. When they also asked for a cart he was unable to help but suggested they try Beorne Silverstream over at the Lion Shield Trading Coster.

While the axebeaks were being readied the heroes walked across to the trading coster and talked to the dwarven caravan master they had journeyed to the Dale with, he was happy to loan them a cart on the understanding that they would pay for any damage it might incur.

Castle pulled the cart back to the stables and they hitched up the quartet of axebeaks to it and set off out of the Southwest Gate before making their around the town wall to the Eastway.

They followed the Eastway until they had passed the woods north of Good Mead where they came across a crude signpost with a single parchment note tacked to it that read:

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 Castle ripped the entire signpost free of the ground Eldyra spotted a small figure watching from a hiding place in the bushes at the edge of the woods that ducked down when they realised they had been spotted. By the time the heroes went to investigate all they found were footprints leading deeper into the woods, though not wearing shoes and not human-like, they appeared to be barefooted and clawed.

a mysterious noticeboard along the Eastway

Not wanting to spend more time investigating the heroes returned to their cart and continued on to Good Mead. As they entered the town they could see that rebuilding was underway, the Long House near the docks had been the first building to be rebuilt as it could then serve as lodging for the workers as they continued to rebuild the other buildings. The Meadery stood unchanged, a wisp of smoke coming from its chimney, and as they hitched their axebeaks outside they could hear the low drone of the bees inside. They knocked loudly and after a few moments heard the sound of the opening and closing of the inner doors before the outer door was opened by the smiling face of Old Aggie who greeted them warmly. The party headed inside, hanging up their cold weather gear in the foyer before following Aggie into the main chamber. Castle and Elenath knew what to expect but the others were a little surprised by the raised beds of flowers in full bloom and the large round-bodied bees merrily buzzing around.

While the others talked to Aggie about collecting Scramsax’s order, Elenath went in search of George, finding the little bush hopping on its roots excitedly as it spotted her approach. She had a short conversation with the bush, learning that he had grown almost a full inch while he had been here and was full of his little blueberries. He also told her that he had only heard from his previous owner once since arriving at the Meadery when she had contacted him for an update on what the heroes were doing but he had told her he was no longer with them, then as an afterthought had said “so don’t contact me anymore, leave me alone” and she hadn’t been in touch since. He wasn’t sure if it meant she was dead or not but he hoped it was because he’d felt brave enough to stand up to her.

Old Aggie had ten heavy casks of mead for the Northlook but told the heroes they would have to load it themselves as she had no one available to do so. They brought their cart around to the loading doors and both Castle and Yongrad used their magics to enlarge themselves and made short work of loading the two-hundred-pound barrels onto the cart. The heroes made their farewells and began the journey back to Bryn Shander, they didn’t see any sign of watchers as they passed the area where they had found the sign and their journey was slow but uneventful.

They took the cart around the outside of the town and entered through the North Gate, taking their cargo directly to Scramsax and once again the warforged and duergar used their magic to make unloading easier. Once the cart was empty they drove it back through the main street and dropped the cart and axebeaks back off.

Elenath wanted to stop by and talk to the speaker before returning to the Northlook and so they made their way to the Speakers Palace, one of the town guards stood at the door and as they approached alerted someone inside that there were visitors. They were let in and a servant asked them to wait in the hall while they fetched Speaker Shane.

Speaker Duvessa Shane

Duvessa Shane came out of a side room and invited the heroes to follow her into the lounge but the druid assured her this wouldn’t take long, she just wanted to see if there had been any progress in comparing the handwriting from her note to town records with Maxildanarr’s signature on. Duvessa apologised but with the lottery being the following day her office was busy processing the names of all the new residents due to the influx of refugees, but she assured the party that it was still a priority of things to be done. Elenath thanked her for her time and the heroes departed.

Castle diverted the party to seek out Brother Mithan, the priest of Lathander that resided at the Geldenstag Inn. As they approached they saw the building was extremely rundown and in need of repairs. The down on his luck priest was the only patron at the inn and they found him sat by the small fireplace nursing his cup. Castle enquired if the priest would be able to repair or regrow his missing eye but the priest sadly admitted that such magic was beyond him, advising the warforged to ask the priests of Auril at the House of the Frostmaiden. The rune knight gave him a couple of silvers for his time and the heroes made their way to the House of the Frostmaiden.

The temple had been repurposed from its former dedeication to Lathander, the doors stood open and the stained glass windows had been carefully removed to leave them permanently open. While the rest of the party waited at the doors Castle strode in, passing several large stone statues that had been covered with cloths bearing the symbolism of Auril. There was a a priest tidying up at the alter so he called out to them, when he told them what he was looking for they said he would need to speak to Father Dane, the head priest and went to fetch him.

Father Arryn Dane, priest of Auril

Father Dane came out to speak with Castle, apologising that he was unable to cast such magics but could request a scroll of the necessary spell though it would take almost a tenday to arrive and would cost three and a half thousand gold pieces. Castle said he waould have to consider it, thanked the priest for his time and returned to his companions, telling them of the option. They were unsure if they could afford that much and so decided to wait for now and began making their way back to the Northlook.

As they passed through the market place Eldyra and Elenath spotted a curious sight, a two and a half foot tall brown bear came out of Redoril’s Emporium and ran, upright on its hind legs, across the street and let itself into the Hooked Knucklehead. They asked a nearby townsperson if they had seen the bear, “Bear? where?” they said shocked, then gave a little giggle, “apologies good ladies, thats just Old Copper, he’s a gnome that had Redoril make him a snowsuit out of that bear hide. He’s mostly harmless”. They considered investigating the strange little figure but decided it could wait and returned to the Northlook.

Entering the taproom they found the place was packed, word had quickly spread that Scramsax had a new supply of mead and locals had been eager to drink it. Seeing the heroes enter, Scramsaxstalked through the crowd to a table where a handful of townsfolk sat with empty mugs, “come on, you’ve had empty ones for ten minutes, if you were going to have more you’d have done so, clear off so paying customers can have a seat” as he shoo’d them out of their chairs. He collected the empty mugs, gave the table a wipe with his ever-present cloth and called the heroes over to take the now vacated seats. “First rounds on me as thanks” he said as he walked away back to the bar. They enjoyed an evening meal with their drinks and eventually made their way up tp their room to rest.

The elves agreed to take watch for the night, still wary from the nocturnal assault of a few nights past. Elenath took the first half of the night and was just getting ready to trade with Eldyra when she heard a scratching at the outside of their door. She listened at the door and heard a feint meow, and opened the door to see Marmaduke, the ginger cat waiting to be let in. It brushed against her leg as it pushed its way in through the narrow opening and she closed the door behind it. She gave it a little food before picking it up and putting it in Castle’s lap while the warforged sat in a chair in its rest mode. The cat couldn’t get comfy so jumped down and went and lay on the floor close to where the thermal cube was giving off its warmth. The druid woke the cleric and then took her rest. The rest of the night passed uneventfully and they awoke refreshed the next morning. They busied themselves maintaining their gear for the morning before heading down to the market place to join the already growing crowd outside the Town Hall, awaiting the monthly lottery draw.

At the stroke of noon the Hall’s doors opened and Speaker Shane, Speaker Maxildanarr, Father Dane and the town clerk who was carrying a large wicker basket in his arms. Speaker Shane stood forward, giving a speech thankging the town for pulling together through a trying month before handing over to Father Dane. The priest of Auril gave a prayer to the winter goddess as the clerk brought forth the basket. They made a show of opening the panel on the top and placing their arm within without looking inside. A moment later the priest withrew his hand, holding a single folded piece of paper and handed it to Speaker Shane.

Speaker Shane called out “The chosen person for Bryn Shander’s sacrifice is” as she unfolded the paper and read the name written upon it, her face lost much of its colour as she raised her gaze, looking at the companions, “Elenath!” …

“Elenath”

Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 29

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2022 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit face a gargantuan threat

  • 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.
  • Lyam – Groth, a half-orc Zealot Barbarian with the acolyte background.
  • Priyan – Ardigo, a half-elf Hunter Ranger with the outlander/forrester background. (unavailable this session)

14th Hammer, 1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragon

…. into the fire

The massive white dragon had its back to the ship and the heroes could hear it crunching something in its mighty jaws. Any thoughts that they were undetected were quickly dispelled when, between bites, the great wyrm said “Look Methlarond, we have more uninvited guests”, before shuffling around to face the group on deck. They could now see it was finishing a meal of what looked to be a very large seal or walrus, and their thoughts turned briefly to Ukuma from Grimskalle and hoped it wasn’t the friendly skating walrus.

The heroes were surprised that the dragon didn’t immediately attack, and relaxed a little as it seemed more interested in having a conversation. Perhaps because it had just fed, the heroes certainly didn’t question their good fortune. During their chat, they discovered the dragon’s name was Arveiaturace and that the rider seated on her back was Methlarond. Nervously Erinya pointed out that the rider appeared to have passed away, and the dragon chuckled as she confirmed that he had indeed died several decades ago.

When they asked why she had chased the other dragon away she explained that this ship and its treasure was hers, claimed after it had attacked her at sea, but she had honestly almost forgotten about it until she heard Tymanthar’s roar (the smaller dragon) and realised that he was in her territory. So she had flown over to chase him off and put the younger dragon “in his place”. Upon mention of the treasure, the heroes shuffled uncomfortably, knowing full well they had taken it for themselves. Arveiaturace noticed despite their best efforts, but chuckled and assured the party that she had plenty of other trinkets and would count the loss of the small hoard a meagre cost against the first pleasant conversation with someone other than Methlarond in a long time.

With tensions alleviated the party relaxed as they talked to Arveiaturace, realising that her eyes had cloudy white patches over the sparkling blue orbs and that she was probably well on the way to becoming totally blind. After close to half an hour of exchanging pleasant chit-chat, she even agreed to allow the heroes to ride her back for a single journey to get them back nearer to the area of Ten Towns, Erinya and Groth were both eager to have her land at Bryn Shander so they would look awesome but she refused, saying “I leave the Towns alone and they do me the same courtesy”, but she would carry them as close as she felt fair. With caution and excitement, they climbed onto her back and held tight to the spiny ridge along her spine as her powerful legs launched her skyward and her massive wings lifted them higher.

Arveiaturace and Meltharond

As they flew through the crisp wintry air they passed over the shoreline of the Sea of Moving Ice and spied a campfire on the ground below with several figures running for cover at the passing of the dragon, but Arveiaturace paid them no heed and continued swiftly past, finally gliding down and landing close to the woodland on the northwest shore of Maer Dualdon and flattening herself as much as she could to allow the heroes to easily disembark. With a final farewell, she took to the skies again and quickly disappeared into the darkening skies as she flew off northward.

The heroes decided to head across the top of the frozen lake and visit the rebuilding Lonelywood rather than head straight back to Bryn Shander. Not wanting to risk any accidents on the ice they chose to forego their now customary polymorphed mammoth mode of transport, but Rohan still ritually cast a prayer of water walking just in case. Kimiko asked Groth if he would like to fly rather than walk and the barbarian eagerly said he would. She cast a spell enabling the pair of them to magically fly and while she chose to fly around thirty feet above the party as they walked, Groth climbed to a height of three hundred feet.

They were about halfway across the frozen lake when Rohan noticed a large shadow pass below them, under the ice. Alerting his companions they hurriedly made their way across while keeping an eye out for whatever it had been’s return but safely reached the far shore. They had barely made it to solid ground when Kimiko’s fly spell expired, the bladesinger tumbling to the snow below seconds before Groth hurtled into the ground nearby. They survived their undignified landings but both injured more than just their pride, Groth limping as they continued the walk through the campsite of Lonelywoods residents and rebuilders.

They could see that a few of the larger buildings had already been rebuilt, including the Lucky Liar Tavern, the Happy Scrimshander and the Speakers House. They headed to the tavern and found about a dozen patrons inside. The raven-haired barkeep smiled and told them to take a seat as she finished serving a table’s drinks, and as they were sitting down she walked over to them and asked what they wanted. Kimiko handed a small pile of gold coins and said “a round of drinks for us and also for the rest of the patrons”, the barkeep checked the coins were real then pocketed them and went to fetch the drinks. Several of the nearby patrons, having heard Kimiko, raised their mugs in thanks before returning to their own quiet conversations. The heroes enjoyed a pleasant, hearty stew with their drinks and a few hours later made their way back outside and headed for the site of the former inn the speaker had given them on their last visit.

The sign they had left had sagged to the side but Groth put it back upright as Kimiko conjured her magical dome for them to rest within. Kimiko took the time to examine and identify the rest of the items they had taken from the shipwreck and they each took which ones they wanted to before they settled down for the night, taking turns on watch even though they were relatively safe within a town.

Maud Chiselbone strikes

It was a little after midnight and Kimiko was on watch when she heard an eerily familiar voice singing on the wind. She quickly awoke her companions who took the time while in the relative safety of the dome to put their respective armours back on before the bladesinger stepped out to confirm her suspicions, or at least she tried to. She was barely able to step fully out of the dome (which then dissipated behind her) before her path was blocked by a wall of ice that had encircled the dome, reaching around thirty feet high. An all too familiar cackle above confirmed that Maude Chiselbone had indeed returned to plague the heroes.

The snow hag was astride her broom, floating eighty feet above the ground as Kimiko dispelled the magically crafted ice wall. The tabaxi turned to Groth, asking if he wanted to fly once again, the barbarian’s response was to grip the shaft of his halberd and grin menacingly as he nodded. Rohan uttered a blessing upon their group as Erinya marked the hag and let loose a pair of arrows at her.

Maude barely flinched as the arrows struck, instead hurling a handful of icicles at both Groth and Kimiko, they missed the half-orc but viciously sliced into the wizard, knocking her unconscious and freezing her in place.

Unable to reach the hag, Groth yelled insults at her as he pulled his crystallised flayer brain from his pack and prepared to blast her with it. Erinya continued to fire arrows at the hag with mixed results, while the priest realised that they were all still fairly injured from fighting a dragon and, in Groth’s case, falling to the ground, he moved into a position to be able to send a prayer of healing to revive Kimiko and then channelled his god’s energy into a healing wave that gave renewed vigour to all of his companions.

Still frozen to the spot, Kimiko began casting the spell to allow Groth to fly, but as she completed the incantation Maude chanted one of her own and countered the magic with another gleeful cackle. The hag then swooped down on her broom until she was beside the wizard and cast forth a cone of intense cold that swept over the whole party. Groth yelled and willed his crystal to blast the hag but nothing happened, the half-orc had just long enough to remember having used it earlier in the day against the younger dragon before the blast of frozen magic washed over him.

Maude cast a Cone of Cold spell

Kimiko was once again knocked unconscious but this time there was no encasing ice to hold her up and she fell to the ground. Erinya continued to rain arrows at the hag as Rohan again revived their tabaxi friend. Groth sprinted across the snow to get between Kimiko and Maude, taking a mighty swing with his halberd once he got within reach, striking the snow hag deeply.

Groth grabs hold of the snow hag

Heavily wounded, Maude attempted to use her magic to mentally paralyse the barbarian but unusually he was able to shake off the effect, she tried to fly away but his meaty fist closed around the robe she was wearing and kept her in place long enough to hit her twice more with his heavy bladed halberd, the second strike cleaving her from shoulder to hip and cutting the broom in two as well. The hag fell lifeless to the ground and the companions gathered around her, giving her a few pokes with blade and staff to make sure she was actually dead. Once they were sure, Kimiko stepped away to once again conjure the dome so they could resume their rest as Groth pulled a flask of whale oil from his bag of holding, soaked Maude’s remains and watched, smiling, as she was set alight.

They all re-entered the dome and settled down to a thankfully event-free remainder of their rest, waking up late in the morning to find a snowstorm had set in, blanketing the Dale in a dense fresh carpet of snow …

waking up in a snowstorm in Lonelywood

Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 27

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2022 by vobeskhan

Team Gnome Force Ultra clear a friend’s name and confront a suspect

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger/Druid with the outlander background. (unavailable this session)
  • 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 -Yongrad Anviltamer, a duergar Artificer Armourer with the Clan Crafter background.

13th Hammer, 1493 Year of the Purple Dragon

Having finally gotten their full, undisturbed rest the heroes awoke shortly before midday. Gathering their gear they made their way down to the taproom to see if Scramsax had any breakfast left for them. Unfortunately, the inn’s proprietor wasn’t there, one of the serving girls standing in behind the bar. They asked where he was and were told that the town guards had arrested him and taken him to the town hall because of the dead body found upstairs. Forgoing breakfast the heroes hurried down through the marketplace to find a small crowd gathered outside the doors to the town hall and pushed their way through to ask the guards to let them in.

Once admitted into the council chamber they saw Scramsax, seated between a pair of guards at the side of the room, while Sherrif Markham stood before Speaker Shane, with the Targos speaker Nearth Maxildanarr seated beside her. The heroes recounted the previous night’s events to Speaker Shane and confirmed Scramsax’s innocence in the death of one of his patrons. When they described the creatures, Arynn Dane the priest of Auril from the Temple of the Frostmaiden piped up from his seat at the side of the room, that similar creatures had attacked the temple around the same time too. Sherrif Markham confirmed that several reports had come in that a handful of residences had also been attacked by the gibbering smaller creatures, but as with the ones at the inn, they didn’t leave any corpse behind when killed.

Elenath spoke up, commenting that the monsters they had fought all had the strange ginger tufts and asked “Has anyone heard from Dougan’s Hole?”. Surprisingly nobody else had made any connection until she mentioned the town and the ginger hair, but all agreed that there had been no word from the Hole nor any of the refugees coming into Bryn Shander coming from there.

As the meeting closed the druid approached Nearth and asked for a private meeting, the Targosion speaker told her he was a very busy man but would try to spare her a moment later in the day if she called upon him at his residence.

Leaving the council, the heroes walked over to the Hooked Knucklehead to discuss their findings at Grimskalle with Vellyne Harpell. Entering the inn they spotted the wizard sitting in her customary chair by the fireplace while the innkeeper Barton was stood behind the bar constantly cleaning the same flagon with his cloth. Vellyne ordered Barton to fetch the heroes some tea and he shuffled into the kitchen for several minutes. Taking seats and joining the wizard, the heroes shared what they had discovered within Grimskalle, and the wizard became visibly excited about the prospect of finding the lost Netherese city.

After their meeting with Vellyne, the heroes made for the stables and paid for some axebeaks, riding the birds swiftly cross-country to the ruins of Dougan’s Hole. They were roughly halfway there when they spotted an abandoned sledge, investigating they found the dog harnesses had been cut or slashed apart but the sledge still appeared to have a large cargo under its tarpaulin. Carefully they pulled back the cover to find five large crates packed with iron ingots marked with the symbol of Ironmaster. They remembered the trio of dwarves that Castle had spoken to the night they first arrived in Bryn Shander mentioning they had had to abandon a sledge and reasoned that this could be it. They covered the crates back over and made a note to recover it if they came back this way before remounting the axebeaks and continuing their journey.

They tied their mounts to the small copse of trees at the northeastern edge of the ruined town and began making their way through the wreckage towards the hill. Every building had either been smashed to the ground or burned to ashes, the few remaining corpses in view had been picked at by starving wildlife over the past few days but were certainly not enough to have been the whole population. Elenath did spot several old tracks leading toward the path up the hill and the heroes cautiously followed them, as they neared the outer ring of stones both of the elves began to get a buzzing headache. In the deepening gloom of the afternoon, they could still see that the larger central stone was missing.

investigating the ruin of Dougan’s Hole

Eldyra took a moment to perform a ritual to detect magic, discerning residual energy of the abjuration school but active magical effects other than the ones they themselves were carrying. Yongrad tossed a snowball past the ring of stones but nothing untoward seemed to happen and so the heroes stepped past them and once past the stones, the elve’s headaches stopped abruptly. The tracks led directly to the crest of the hill where they could see a roughly triangular hole in the ground where the central menhir had stood, they estimated it was about sixteen to seventeen-foot across at its widest point and even Eldyra’s extensive darkvision couldn’t see the bottom. Castle pulled a torch from his pack, lit it, and dropped it into the open hole, watching it fall. A hundred feet, two hundred, three, five, eight, the small point of light disappeared in the descending darkness.

Elenath began to consider what aminal form she could assume to investigate the hole but then began talking to an empty patch of snow on her left, while her companions looked at her questioningly. She seemed to be having a conversation regards going down the hole but who-or-whatever she was talking to dissuaded her and so she turned back down towards the ruined town.

As they made their way through the wreckage Elenath spotted something moving ahead, and with a little magical assistance, they stealthily made their way towards where the cleric had seen it. A small, dirty grey creature in rags darted from its hiding spot in an effort to get away from them but they easily intercepted it, finding it to be a small child, a girl of about six years old.

NIxa

She seemed terrified of Yongrad but Castle managed to calm her down and learnt that her name was Nixa and that her mother had told her to hide in the bolt hole when the dragon and duergar had attacked. It had taken a few days for her to gather the courage and be hungry enough to risk climbing out, only to find the town wrecked. Since then she had been scavenging what bits of food she could, avoiding the larger of the animals that would occasionally come through and savage the corpses.

The warforged pulled a ration out of his pack and handed it to the child which she devoured greedily. The heroes agreed to take her back to Bryn Shander with them and made their way back to the axebeaks. Stopping off to recover the sledge of ingots they rode back to the welcoming walls of Bryn Shander. They took Nixa to the Temple of the Frostmaiden as they were leading the care of the refugees, to begin with, she didn’t want to leave Castle’s side but was soon lured away with a tasty smelling bowl of stew. Leaving the temple they took the ingots to Black Iron Blades, the dwarves offered to pay a fair price for the ingots but the heroes said that they were meant to be used to help the rebuilding and wouldn’t accept anything for them. The dwarven smiths said they would ensure that they were put to good use and that everyone would know who had supplied them.

They returned the axebeaks to the town stables and then walked the short distance to the residence of Nearth Maxildanarr. A guard stood outside his door, not a member of the city guard but obviously someone with a degree of military training. He asked about their business and Elenath said that the speaker of Targos was expecting them. He disappeared inside for a brief moment before returning to escort them indoors to the study.

Speaker Nearth Maxildanarr

Nearth sat behind his desk while his companion Skath, the gold-skinned tiefling, sat at the side in a comfortable chair. There were no chairs for the heroes to take seats and Nearth didn’t get up as they entered. Elenath confronted the speaker about the note that they had taken off of the thugs that ambushed them at the coast but the speaker calmly denied any knowledge of it, pointing out that there were many other people whose names began with an N. He also assured the druid that if he did indeed have cause to wish her and her companions ill, he would “do it to your face, not behind your back”. Although she clearly didn’t trust him she couldn’t discern if he was outright lying to her, and Elenath and her companions left, still fairly certain that the smarmy speaker was involved.

Their next port of call was the Hooked Knucklehead and Vellyne Harpell as they wanted to see what she knew about mind-speaking other worldly entities or melting away tentacle creatures. Vellyne told them that what they were describing could well be something from the Far Realm, especially as what few records could be found showed that the Netherese were known to have plundered such places in search for magics that could aid in the rising power. Indeed, it was believed that it was having encountered one such species that caused their empire’s downfall, creatures known as the Phaerimm. While they were with Vellyne, Castle asked her to take a look at the hammer he had recovered in Grimskalle. She took several minutes but was eventually able to tell him that it was a magical weapon that would allow him to be hit more accurately and harder but that it would be even more powerful in the hands of a follower of a moon diety as it had originally been dedicated to Eilistraee, an elven goddess of the moon and believed to be worshipped by many goodly drow. Hearing this Eldyra asked Castle if she could perhaps take a look at the hammer as her own goddess Selune was very similar. Bidding Vellyne a good evening they returned to the Northlook, as they entered Scramsax strode up to them and thanked them for helping to clear his name with the council. He also told them that someone was waiting in one of the meeting rooms upstairs for a private audience with them. They thanked him and headed upstairs.

They entered the meeting room to find Duvessa Shane sitting at a table sipping a glass of wine, several others were poured ready for them and she gestured for them to join her. She thanked them once again for all of their help so far and told them that the town would now be covering their lodging fees at the Northlook for as long as they needed to. She also said that she believed the worst was yet to come with their search and nudged a heavy chest under the table with her boot as she said that she hope the contents would prove useful in their endeavours. She finished her wine, bid them a good evening and left them to examine the chest and its contents.

The chest wasn’t locked and so they easily pulled it out from under the table and opened it. Inside they found a well-made quiver of obviously elvish design, a plain-looking sledgehammer, and a leather-wrapped small square packet. As they pulled the items out of the chest a golden ring fell out of the leather wrappings and rolled across the floor. Yongrad retrieved it, noting it had no visible markings upon it. They opened the leather packet to reveal a small cube of yellow brimstone that radiated warmth. They took the time to relax and examine the odd collection of items, discovering that each indeed possessed magical properties and shared them amongst themselves.

After returning downstairs for their evening meal in the taproom, they retired to their room for the night, taking turns to watch as they rested, undisturbed until morning …

the heroes rest at the Northlook

Misfits of the Dale, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 28

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2022 by vobeskhan

Team Misfit investigate the icebound Dark Duchess

  • 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.
  • Lyam – Groth, a half-orc Zealot Barbarian with the acolyte background.
  • Priyan – Ardigo, a half-elf Hunter Ranger with the outlander/forrester background. (unavailable this session)

14th Hammer, 1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragon

trapped in the ice, the Dark Duchess awaits

The Misfits, warily made their way up to the side of the stricken ship, noting the deep gouges in its hull that had been made by massive claws. The ship had settled at an angle leaving the deck railings higher on the nearest side to them. Erinya called the snow motes around her closer and used them to lift herself up to the deck while Kimiko cast a spell of flying to do the same. Groth and Rohan had to resort to walking further around the prow of the ship and climbed up the frozen remains of the rigging to join them.

From the forecastle, they could see a huge hole had been made in the main deck, straight through to the hold below and the banging and growling noises appeared to be coming from somewhere down there. Erinya pulled from her bag of furballs, summoning an arctic fox, and lowered it down into the hold to explore. Groth explored the cabins below the forecastle, finding what looked to be the ship’s surgeon’s and first mate’s rooms before joining the rest of the Misfits and the fox down in the hold.

The noises were coming from behind a door in the forward section of the hold, as his companions took up positions to support him, Groth kicked open the door – just as whatever was behind the door was trying to break it open from the inside!

the source of the noise revealed, an ice troll

An ice troll had become trapped in what seemed to be the ship’s galley judging by the wreckage of the long table and benches strewn around the room. The hungry monster immediately attacked, but the barbarian held the doorway while the rest of the party provided ranged support and the monster dropped to the floor. Stepping over the body they began to examine the room, finding a scrawny goat that had been trapped in a storage room beyond. But as they prepared to move back into the hold the troll staggered back to its feet and attacked once more. Groth again tried to keep it busy while the others supported with spells and arrows, and once the monster fell to them again they agreed to use their tinder boxes to set it alight. The long-frozen timbers of the ship thankfully didn’t catch fire but the flesh of the troll went up like kindling, burning quickly and fiercely, giving off an acrid stench, until after only a minute the corpse was no more.

The heroes turned their attention to the pile of frozen treasure in the hold, they could see several layers encased in thick ice and began using some of the tools they had looted from the duergar and Termalaine’s mine to extricate what they could. It was time-consuming but shortly they recovered a fair amount of coins, gems, partial bolts of material and a scrimshaw statuette of an archer with runes inscribed around the base. They were about to examine the runes when something landed heavily on the deck above, causing the already tilting ship to lean further to the side, almost tumbling them off their feet.

Groth walked to the far side of the hold so that he could see up out of the gaping hole, and was greeted by a fearsome sight, a snarling white dragon perched at the edge of the hole, above Erinya’s position.

a white dragon lands above deck and attacks the heroes

The dragon hacked up a freezing spit-ball at the barbarian, striking him squarely and temporarily freezing his legs to the decking where he stood, then raking its claws down at the ranger below it. Erinya was harshly wounded so ducked beneath the claws and moved to the other side of the hold as she used her magic to turn invisible. Despite the spell, the dragon’s eyes seemed to follow the ranger’s movement, and then it roared into the hold, the sheer force of the sound almost enough to knock the heroes off their feet, however, it was enough to scare both Kimiko and Groth to their cores.

Unable to move the barbarian pulled the crystalline brain from his pack and fired it up at the dragon, at first thinking that he had been able to stun the monster, but it shook its head as if clearing its mind, and a few smaller scales crumbling and falling from its neck, as it continued to glare at Erinya.

Kimiko conjured a bolt of lightning, hurling it at the dragon’s head and again it seemed to withstand the brunt of the magic and so she retreated into the galley out of its sight, Rohan uttered a prayer of healing and sent waves of healing energy towards the two half-orcs before skirting the outer edge of the hold to take up position below the intact part of the upper deck out of the dragon’s field of vision, or so he hoped.

The dragon crawled around the edge of the opening until it was perching where the stairs from the forecastle were, and with a deep intake of air, released its devastating breath down upon the heroes.

Erinya also made her way to the galley doorway, using its partial cover to take arrow shots at the dragon as it loomed above the opening. Groth, now free of the ice that had immobilised him, threw a pair of javelins at the dragon, each finding their mark, before retreating along the side of the stairs that led back up the deck at the rear of the hold. Rohan said a prayer to Silvanus, granting a blessing to himself and the half-orcs and moved further back also.

Again the dragon shifted position slightly before unleashing another torrent of its icy breath at the barbarian and cleric, almost freezing them to the spot if it hadn’t been for the blessing Rohan had performed, unfortunately, that seemed to have now been disrupted. Kimiko tried to come forward and use more magic against the dragon but her fear of it froze her in place as effectively as would ice. Erinya continued to shoot arrows at their foe but struggled to pierce its armoured hide.

Groth moved to the foot of the stairs but just like his tabaxi ally was unable to force himself closer to the dragon, with an animalistic roar of anger and frustration though he felt that fear leave him.

As Groth’s roar ended the heroes heard another roar, deeper, though still some distance away, and the dragon on deck seemed to flinch at the sound. As the barbarian ascended the stairs he saw their foe launch itself skyward and begin flying west, out to sea, quickly followed by a larger white dragon that seemed to have paid the ship and the heroes no heed.

Regrouping in the hold Groth told the others about the bigger dragon, but they decided to risk remaining in the hold while they saw to their wounds. While Rohan used his prayers to heal the worst of their injuries, Kimiko examined the statuette, finding that it was imbued with divine magic that could be used to remove a minor curse, albeit once only. Groth took the time to continue retrieving the treasures buried in the ice, joined by Rohan and Erinya once they were healed enough to be of use.

They uncovered more coins and gems, as well as a small marble statue of a griffon, a driftglobe, an elaborate quiver, a ceremonial bronze bowl inlaid with red gems, an untarnished suit of fine silver chain mail, and a wand that appeared to be made of a creatures spine and skull that had glowing green flames coming from its eye sockets and open mouth.

the smoking wand

Before they could examine their finds further they heard a heavy whump from outside and the whole ship shook for a moment. Cautiously they made their way on deck, Erinya summoning a winter wolf from her bag, and peered over the railings to see that the bigger dragon had returned and was just finishing circling on the spot before curling up like a cat, apparently settling in for a nap. This dragon was easily twice the size of the one that had attacked them, and there appeared to be some kind of harness holding a seat or saddle in place upon its back, upon which sat a humanoid figure …

Out of the frying pan …
at the wreck of the Dark Duchess

Gnome Force Ultra goes north, Legacy of the Frostmaiden – session 26

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2022 by vobeskhan

Team Gnome Force Ultra relax in the safety of the Northlook Inn

  • Steve – Drazekk, a green dragonborn Feywanderer Ranger/Druid 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. (unavailable this session)
  • Jack – Eldyra, a high elf Twilight domain Cleric of Selune with the acolyte background.
  • Jon -Yongrad Anviltamer, a duergar Artificer Armourer with the Clan Crafter background.

12th Hammer, 1493 Year of the Purple Dragon

The heroes of Gnome Force Ultra settled down for a well-earned rest back in the safety of the Northlook Inn. Unfortunately, their rest was disturbed in the early hours of the morning as the elves heard bizarre giggling and cackling coming from the landing outside their room. As they nudged their allies awake something tried the door handle to their room, but luckily they had locked it. They considered donning their armour but the air was suddenly split with a blood-curdling scream of pain that abruptly cut off. Elenath quickly opened the door to discover a handful of weird halfling-sized creatures that were the source of the giggles, their faces having much too wide smiles that were filled with teeth and odd tufts of wiry bright ginger hair sprouting from various points of their bodies. The druid could also see the source of the scream, one of the creatures had dragged the occupant from one of the other rooms out into the hall and bitten their throat out.

Elenath hurled a guiding bolt at the throat biter while Yongrad used his abilities to quickly don his armour, Eldyra summoned the guardian spirits around her and Drazekk conjured spikey growths from the floorboards in front of their doorway.

weird creatures begin slaughtering the guests at the Inn

The strange creatures didn’t appear to be too bright, and a pair of them rushed through the spikes, killing themselves before they could cause any harm to the heroes. One of the others began grabbing balls off of the pool table and throwing them at Drazekk ineffectually. Drazekk dropped his spell and the heroes charged out at the remaining creatures, one of which had dropped over the bannister onto the lower stairs. The heroes quickly dealt with the three creatures remaining upstairs and realised that there were sounds of more of them coming from the taproom below.

more of the little gremlins await in the taproom

The smaller creatures were using the tables and chairs for cover as the heroes charged down the stairs to engage them. The disconcerting cackles began to take a toll on the heroes though, distracting them as the creatures began trying to bite them. Unfortunately, this also meant that the heroes didn’t notice another pair of creatures in the room until they dropped from the ceiling to attack. These new assailants were nearer in height to Drazekk but stooped over, and had six arms, giving them a spider-like appearance, though they also had odd tufts of ginger hair scattered across their forms.

multi-limbed creatures drop from hiding on the ceiling

The first dropped from where it had been clinging to the ceiling and attacked Eldyra, its claws raking the unarmoured cleric but thankfully she was able to block some of the blows with her shield. The second creature dropped beside Drazekk who had been distracted by one of the smaller monsters and the flurry of claw strikes dropped the ranger unconscious to the floor.

Elenath and Eldyra both used healing magic to revive their friend, and the druid moved across towards the open door of the inn where she realised there were several more of the small creatures and a robed humanoid approaching. Yongrad used his thunderous gauntlets to smash repeatedly into the multi-limbed opponent while the creatures that had double-teamed the Dragonborn had moved to attack Eldyra.

Elenath stood in the doorway and call lightning down on the robed figure and a nearby small creature, though both survived the blast, before she withdrew back into the taproom. The giggling monsters from outside surged into the taproom and joined the fray as the heroes suddenly felt screams fill their minds, causing them to become frightened of the robed figure as it approached. Thankfully there were plenty of other foes nearby and they continued to thin their ranks, though both the cleric and druid were having to repeatedly use their healing magics to keep themselves and their allies on their feet.

The heroes defeat the humanoid leading the weird attackers

The robed figure and the last of the small giggling creatures entered the taproom and despite their constant mental assault and a number of vicious dagger strikes upon Eldyra, the heroes eventually prevailed. The bodies of their creatures began dissolving into a gooey substance, while the robed humanoids’ skin split where their attacks had landed, peeling away to reveal a mass of writhing, inky-coloured tentacles within, before dissolving also.

Taking a moment to catch their breath and secure the entrance of the inn, the heroes tried to tidy up the scattered furniture as best they could before wearily stumbling back up the stairs to their room where they once again settled down to their well-deserved rest, sleeping in until almost midday …

the heroes try once more to rest up

Nightfell – a dark horror 5e campaign setting

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , on June 15, 2022 by vobeskhan

So about 2 years ago I backed Nightfell on Kickstarter, it was described as a gothic horror setting which is one of the types I enjoy (the original Ravenloft being my all-time favourite adventure) and it looked to have some European folklore influences which looked to be great fun. But then COVID happened and everything took a big hit, however, the projects continued amidst the global delays and mid-last year we received the digital rewards associated with the project – and I’ve got to say they are amazing.

High-quality digital pdfs of the Core rulebook, Bestiary and artbook, an adventure book that could take pc’s from level 1 through to 14, and an additional adventure for level 14 groups that was added to replace the physical collection box (due to the cardboard shortage), a full orchestral soundtrack which is utterly amazing, and because lots of D&D play had jumped to online and VTT play a collection of VTT ready battle maps, and tokens for not only pc’s but the whole set of monsters from the Bestiary, pre-generated characters and pdf blank character sheet as well as an HD map of the campaign world of Iurmen (the setting).

Once I had received these I could start making plans to possibly run a Nightfell campaign or just use bits and pieces in my existing games. But with my Icewind Dale campaigns taking up the majority of attention I haven’t yet run anything from Nightfell, and I was still awaiting the physical rewards.

Well, they did indeed arrive, this week, and I must say the books are great (quite weighty too), the paper quality is glossy art quality and cleanly printed. The artwork is dark, moody and evocative of the setting. So let’s take a look at what we got.

THE COREBOOK

Corebook cover
Corebook rear
Inner cover art

A selection of the runes and in-game languages – I love these kinds of details.

Races of Iurmen – the Krampus was added due to a stretch goal (previously being a monster race) and the Moon Satyr at the end is reminiscent of the standard 5e Tiefling.

Other cool bits of note, there is a vampire class available; special rules revolving around Soul points, Grim weapons, the phases of the moon and a whole new school of magic based on the moon too. Some great line art for several suits of armour really helps you to visualise the setting. And they include a Nightfell-styled trinkets table. Finally, they dedicate several pages to naming all of the KS backers, and there’s me 🙂

THE BESTIARY

Another weighty volume and you can definitely feel the Euro folklore vibe in the names and backgrounds of several of the creatures inside. This is definitely not a setting for younger players, and those of a sensitive nature might want to be wary of it (the corebook does a great job of discussing session 0 and setting clear expectations of content and themes from the get-go).

Some of these are real nightmare fuel – from vampiric, bifurcated-mouthed stray cats, to a very non-marvel spider-man, to a horse-sized spider-head! Just a few that I picked out. And of course, there are variations of vampires and dragons.

THE NIGHT MASTERS SCREEN

More great artwork, and three blocks of useful information for the DM (or Night Master as the game calls them) to keep handy. I’m so glad that it has campaign-specific info instead of just repeating the standard DM screen stuff so that it can be a useful addition instead of a straight replacement.

PC STANDEES

Another of the stretch goal additions, great artwork but they are single-sided and as you can see from the close-up of the assembled one, the edges will peel easily. It was also a really tight fit.

PREGEN CHARACTER SHEETS

Clean crisp printed pre-generated character sheets, nice, would have been good to have one or two of the blank ones too though.

THE WORLD OF IURMEN

Nice matt-quality printed foldout map, not quite A3 size but certainly a little bigger than A4. Not what I’d call poster size.

SPELLCARDS

75 new spells of moon magic (also came in a pdf in the digital rewards), several of them are quite lengthy descriptions so the text can get quite small but they are good quality cards and the storage box is nice, if a little flimsy.

NIGHTFELL PIN BADGE

A metal pin badge, another of the stretch goal additions. It’s actually silver and black but the lighting reflected weirdly.

All of the digital offerings are currently available via Drivethru-rpg, under Mana Project Studios.