Against the Ice Queen

Session 5: The Pale Tower
Well, it's been weeks and OP still hasn't cleaned this shit up.

We find our adventurers at a roadblock of sorts. Someone has to tell Nadya’s young boys, Orm and Mjoili, that their mother has been killed. We unanimously volunteer Ettore to do it. He speaks to the boys’ godmother. She says if we are going to the Pale Tower to fight the White Witch Nazina that if we return, we are to take the boys to their uncle who lives in a town near Bludfrost.

Before we leave Skorra we pick up a priest named Rolf, who is a Heartwarden of Otilio. He teaches us how to use sled dogs, and we make our way to the Pale Tower. The Pale Tower is made of ice and stuff, big honking icicles everywhere, beds made out of solid ice blocks. It’s a chill place.

We fight some guards in order to get in, mostly Rosaline failing a DEX check and slamming into a wall of ice and making a hole that the others who also failed their DEX checks can get through. Ouch. We enter a fancy icy courtyard with an ice dragon statue in the center. It doesn’t come alive, for which we are grateful. There is an ice troll lurking around and we battle it. During the fight, Constancia has a wild surge: the caster permanently gains one point of STR if they can make the DM laugh in 30 seconds. Unfortunately no one can make the DM laugh but like Terry Wogan and ridiculous WWE montages or something, so Connie’s strength remains unchanged.

Mirrors hang in every room of the Pale Tower. We discovered that Sgt. Volan had his own special mirror called an Attentive Mirror which allows the carrier to send a message back to the mirror’s owner. In order to make it work properly, the owner has to stare into the mirror for an hour, which then activates the mirror for others to use. Connie gets the bright idea to stare into one of the big mirrors for an hour, and we’re bumrushed by guards who get the message.

Somehow we find out that Nazina is not in the tower at the mo…how convenient for her to be gone when the Teenage Attitude Squad comes a-knockin’. Her apprentice, named Radosek, is in charge until Nazina returns. Oh yeah, Vasili the guard tells us that Nazina is gone. We sort of make nice with Vasili, and then when we reach the second floor of the tower he sort of runs away for his life at the first opportunity. An enemy is an enemy.

On the second floor we encounter that bitch Mierul again, along with two atomies. We fight them, the atomies flying around and making it generally difficult for us to slay them. During the fight Guard Captain Hestrig, a big amazon type woman, comes out and joins the fun.

We loot. We continue.

We encounter a spriggan in the kitchen. Corrinne is all about eating some delicious smelling stew. The spriggan doesn’t like Corrinne begging for food, so it stabs her in the knee. We fight the spriggan. Corrinne eats some more. Rosaline eats some particularly heinous cookies and has to run back to the first floor and use the privies. Fart noises are role-played. Giggling ensues.

Then we come across a library. On the table are open books about a white dragon, fey creatures, the royal families of Elderon, and a history of Elderon. Rosaline is intrigued by this because that’s where her #1 Crush!!! Lord Douglas Auberon is from. We take the books and press on.

In a locked room we hear a man’s voice coming from inside. We bust the door down and sitting tied to a chair is….Lord Douglas Auberon. Rosaline squeals and goes into stupid mode. Lord Douglas is supposed to be marrying Carlotta Visconti, but he says he called off the wedding because she has “hairy palms.” He has no idea what happened after his caravan was ambushed just outside of Brackenbeck. Someone asked him a lot of questions, cut off a lock of his hair, and took some of his blood.

Foul magic is afoot, obvs.

Loot:

light crossbow
30 bolts
cloak of protection +1 (Corrinne)
opal necklace
Meirul’s spellbook
potion of extra healing
philter of glibness
ice floe elixir
2 handed sword
dagger
throwing axe
2 potions of extra healing
scroll of Iceball (equivalent of 3rd level mage Fireball)
256gp 473sp 894cp
jeweled sceptre, 175gp
silver bracers with figures of dragons, 250gp
3 blue quartz, 100gp each
agate, 50gp
two potions of healing
potion of climbing
a potion of “botched alchemy check”

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Session 4: The White Witch of Norissen
NO QUARTER!

We step through the portal. On the other side, it’s a lot colder. A helluva lot colder. We’re pelted by ice and snow. Off in the distance we see faint lights of a town. We decide to travel in that direction, heading east. Barking dogs can be heard over the howling winds.We approach. Five dogs are attached to a sled and they are not happy. A polar bear has mauled a peasant. The group of peasants have one caravan guard. They need the help, so we offer it and defeat the bear. Karishma does it. Errrrr, I mean, Corrinne mostly.

The caravan guard, a nice woman named Nadya, thanks us for our help and offers to let us set up camp with her and the townsfolk. The next day we will travel to Skorra, her home and the town we saw off in the distance. We have campfire talky time. The region’s White Witch ruler is named Nazina Blahblahkov. She is not a very nice person. Nadya hopes to get on Nazina’s good side by carrying supplies from Grundarfor to Skorra so Nazina’s servants can do other nefarious things.

As we’re talking a female figure approaches the camp. She has goat legs, long pale hair, a pretty cloak and silky dress, and looks completely unaffected by the cold. Her name is Mierul Ardelane, a bard. We ask her to tell stories about the Pale Tower and the White Witches. Nadya is giving us the death stare because we shouldn’t be talking about such things with total strangers. The White Witch has eyes and ears everywhere. Mierul doesn’t stay with us for very long, though she is curious about why we’re there, why we’re outlanders, and why we want to know about the Pale Tower. When the snow lets up a bit, she is gone.

The next day we break down the camp and get ready to travel to Skorra. We hear birds calling, lots of them. Nadya screams for us to hide in the caravan. We do, and the birds — ravens, Nazina’s spies — fly overhead and travel back to the Pale Tower.

We have a random encounter with some angry fir trees. Constancia has a wild surge. For one day she has boils on her face and loses one point of CHA.

As we’re getting adjusted to Skorra, we have a look around and do some shopping. We go to the White Weasel, a tavern. Corrinne eats soup. Constancia needs her gambling fix and she goads Ettore into playing checkers with her. It’s also Rosaline’s birthday, so she has some fancy wine to celebrate. Constancia even has a boxing match with one of the townspeople. Corrinne eats more soup. There’s a big fancy mirror on the wall of the tavern that looks quite out of place. The bar keep, Emil, and his wife, Katia, try to kill us.

But we sensibly leave before we can do anything stupid. We head back to Nadya’s home. A little while later, guards from the Pale Tower arrive and try to interrogate Nadya. They threaten to take her children, and as she’s getting ready to go with the guards, we bust out of our hiding places and fight. Corrinne manages to color spray one of the guards, and we interrogate him for more information after the fight is over.

Rosaline, taking her role as a Black Rider very seriously, straight up murders an unarmed Pale Tower guard because he’s the enemy. NO QUARTER! This will have some serious ramifications for her because Delora may not approve of murder most foul. The guard, before he met his end, told us that Sgt. Volan is waiting for us at the White Weasel. So we return.

There’s Sgt. Volan with more guards. And Emil and Katia are there, glaring at us. Emil has a crossbow. We fight. Emil fires his crossbow a couple times and misses. He retrieves the bolt. On his third shot, he shoots Nadya in the back of her feckin’ head and instakillz her. He falls to the floor sobbing for a little while, but when we kill Katia, he becomes hostile and so we kill him, too. No quarter.

Looty McLooterton:

20gp 37sp
10 x cold iron longswords
10 x daggers
10 x light crossbows
200 x bolts
2 x cleric scrolls of command
1 x cleric scroll of CLW
4 x chainmail armor (not sure on the number here)
3 x potions of healing
1 x ice floe elixir
fancy hand mirror
24gp
1 x potion extra healing
Nadya’s magic snowshoes

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Session 3: Black Rider Responsibility Club
Lifeblood, ewwwww.

The mercenary who escaped with his life when Lord Douglas’ entourage was attacked greets us. He looks like hell, still very bruised and bandaged up. He thanks us for rescuing Lord Douglas. He tells us his name is Yuln. We ask how Lord D is doing, and Yuln says D is acting like nothing ever happened. Lord D is betrothed to marry Carlotta and almost called the wedding off, but the whole kidnap ordeal has changed him. He’s going to go through with it and marry Carlotta, the pig with ribbons. Yuln tells us that Lord D would like to meet with us at the Silver Stoat to talk to us.

We meet him at the tavern where the owners are fawning all over him, large platters of food set on the table in front of him. He chats with us, sharing his food, and then offers us 500gp each if we bring Rohkar back, dead or alive. This unseasonably cold weather has everyone worried, and though Lord D isn’t from this area, he’s still concerned. We persuade him to play darts with us, and Constancia whips everyone’s ass. It embarrasses him, so he decides to retire for the night. The town has put him up at Old Man Dansby’s farmhouse, thus effectively kicking us out into the cold.

Rosaline, who has an enormous crush on Lord D, slips out of the tavern and stalks him at the farmhouse. Back in the tavern a halfling named Perkin approaches Constancia and challenges her to an arm wrestling match. A big crowd gathers around, and he easily whips her. While Rosaline is watching Lord Douglas undress, Yuln catches her steaming up the window. She’s not very good at explaining herself, and he tells her to leave, though he promises not to mention the event to Lord Douglas.

The next day we go back to the woods to find Rohkar. We fight some frost skeletons. As we are resting up we’re ambushed in our sleep. A man in dark attire with a fine looking cloak and a longsword, accompanied by some fey creatures, attacks us. It’s Rohkar the necromancer. We fight and are victorious.

We continue through the woods and come to something that looks like an ice maze. A little girl is stuck shivering in the large chunks of ice. She tells us that the minions of the Ice Queen will see us because the Ice Queen sees all. Then she disappears.

We come up to a small hut on four legs in the middle of the ice maze. The doorway is open and inside we can see a carved wooden chair. A creepy looking porcelain doll sits in the chair; the doll is wearing the same dress as the little girl, but it has the face of a withered old crone. The eyes are mismatched, a blue gemstone and a small silver mirror. Naturally — or rather unnaturally — the doll comes to life, and we have to fight it.

Soulbound guardian

Just past the hut is a warning carved in ice: “Turn back before the winter devours you.” Well, we’re not about to heed any warnings, so we continue on our way. The weather gets hella worse. We find a portal is the source of the winter weather. There is a campsite around the portal. There are also enemies to fight: a troll, sprites, and an atomie.

The battle does not go well. Constancia snuffs it. We manage to kill the enemies. As Rosaline goes to check out the portal to figure out how to turn it off, a gust of wind comes out along with a gaunt horseman wearing rams horns and kohl black armor. He is astride a black warhorse and surrounded by tendrils of cold, dark mist. He’s slumped forward in his saddle and a large shard of blue ice sticks out of his back. The horse dissipates, and the horseman falls to the ground. He beckons us to come over to him.

Baba yaga black rider
He says his name is Illarion Matevious, also known as The Black Midnight. He is a Black Rider, Harbinger of the Witch Queen Baba Yaga’s return. Except that Baba Yaga is missing. He tells us that the only way to close the portal is to go through it and shut it down from the Pale Tower. This portal is one of many. Queen Elvanna plans to spread a new ice age across the world. Closing the portal would save the kingdom, but the rest of Hyspero is doomed. Queen Elvanna resides in Bludfrost (umlaut U) in the Ivory Wastes. We have no chance of defeating Elvanna without her mother’s return. We have to find Baba Yaga’s Dancing Hut, which is a very powerful artifact in the multiverse. It can help us travel long distances and even between worlds. If we can control the hut, that is. Many key objects are attuned to the hut, and we have to find them. Black Midnight has two keys but Queen Elvanna has taken their power. If we reactivate the keys, place them in the cauldron in the Dancing Hut, we can retrace Baba Yaga’s path.

Every 100 years, Baba Yaga returns to the Ivory Wastes to place a new daughter on the throne. Elvanna has other plans. She’s slaying everyone loyal to her mother. Black Midnight is the last of the Black Riders. He offers us the mantle of the black rider as he produces two items — one looks like a plague doctor’s mask and the other is the hair from a frost giant’s beard. They are keys for the Dancing Hut. We accept the mantle of responsibility. He slits his throat in order to reactivate the keys. Some of his blood floats over to us and enters through our mouth, ears, nose, and eyes. His armor melts and leaves behind the body of an old man dressed in a black tunic. The lifeblood of the Black Midnight also brings Constancia back to life.

We must find the Dancing Hut and rescue his/our Mistress. We gain a permanent increase of +2 to an ability score and we are marked as Baba Yaga’s favored servants, which allows us to pass through certain wards and traps she has placed.

Loot:

studded leather armor
longsword +1
light crossbow
10 bolts
dagger
keyring (high sentinel lodge)
hot topic skull necklace 15gp
thieves tools
cloak of the yeti
Whispering Way spell book
sapphire 600gp
1 unidentified potion
potion of extra healing
potion of speed
potion of agility
potion of cold resistance
13 frosty sling bullets (detect magic)
troll’s spear (detect magic)
keyring
jeweled necklace 400gp
4 blue quartz ice diamonds 100gp each
near flawless diamond 500gp
painting of Bludfrost 100gp
3 sapphire rings 75gp each
decorative longsword scabbard 125gp
satyr and sprite statue 50gp
2457gp 3313sp 1760cp

also need to detect magic on the two daggers we found in session 1

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Session 2: Grind-o-Rama
Almost certain death awaits you all.

We find our adventurers heading back to the White Forest. Along the way we have a random encounter (woo!) with some goblins. Then we come across a boar that talks. A big boar. Big. Lots of bacon! He says the woods are magical and he’s been able to speak for a long time. Rosaline notices his words and his mouth aren’t matching up. Off to our left we hear a creepy voice shout, “You’re ruining everything!” and then we get nailed with some crossbow bolts. We fight the creature, an atomie, and her pet boar. The atomie disappears, but all four of us take whacks at the large boar until we wear it down. Then we cook it; the meat is underwhelming.

We have another random encounter (woo!) with two ice spiders. We easily dispatch them, and continue through the forest. We come upon three men wearing padded armor with shortbows and shortswords. They look like the bandits we’ve been chasing after. We take them by surprise, killing two, and then interrogating the third, who cries and sniffles and says he just wants to go home. His name is Barnaby. He tells us about Rokar using dark magic to fight dark magic. The bandits were going to the woods to set up a new hideout. They got into a tussle with the rangers who already had the hideout and killed them, taking the lodge for themselves. Then they “intercepted” Lord Douglas to hold him for ransom.

After a few slaps to the face, we persuade Barnaby to take us to the lodge. His story is to tell the other bandits that he captured a bunch of rich kids who were stupidly out in the forest searching for ADVENTURE! Barnaby takes us to Lord Douglas, and Bob’s your uncle, and…well, it would have worked if it wasn’t for that stinkin’ atomie who was hanging out with the bandits. She ruined everything! And we have a bandit fight.

During the battle, a green-skinned bandit wielding a claymore comes out to help us. Constancia can tell there’s some dark magic in the air, and soon we’re fighting frost skeletons and undead zombie bandits. Everyone gets knocked out but Constancia and the bandit helping us. We barely make it. It was a tough battle. Level ones are squishy!

The bandit tells us that she’s tired of working for Rokar who promised to promote her but then dumped her off in the kitchen instead. She says she used to work for Papa in Brionne and wonders what horrible thing we had to do to him to get sent out to do his dirty work by killing Rokar for him. She tells us her name is Ten-Penny Tacey, and she is a half-orc fighter/thief.

We ransack the lodge and find a trap door underneath a bear-skinned rug. Inside the basement room is Lord Douglas, a handsome young nobleman. Rawr. They took good care of him, he says, because damaged goods are worth less. After we find five horses in the stable outside, we return to Brackenbeck with Lord Douglas in tow. The village council pays us 200gp, and they throw a feast in our honor, though the mood is sullen because of all the strange cold weather in the middle of summer.

Lewtz:

ladies silver ring 25gp
3 shards of tiger’s eye gem 30gp
gold ingot engraved with royal seal of Elderon 50gp
fine elvish leather riding boots 15gp
silver dagger 25gp
scroll of unseen servant
scroll of magic missile
25pp 150gp 180sp
blue quartz 100gp
70sp

money total
25pp 395gp 250sp

Theeeeeeeeeeeen all of the loot was sold in order to buy more stuff and repay the village for shorting them. So now we have no monies.

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Session 1: Teenage Adventurers Club
The Lycanmoo will find you.

It’s 8 Highsun 4442.

We find a trio of teenagers in the hot seat with the mafia don of Brionne who is affectionately, fearfully referred to as Papa. The teenagers are cousins: Rosaline du Barrie and brother and sister duo Ettore and Constancia Marino. Rosaline is a cleric of Delora who mistakenly thought her gambling debts would go away once she devoted herself to her goddess. Constancia is a wild mage who took up boxing as a hobby while her real job is obsessing over her and Ettore’s father. Her poor, long suffering fighter brother Ettore came back from a quest to find their father and ended up getting religion, Meelkor’s. Each of these teens had been rejected by their parents, and the pain of losing their families and their wealth was wholly felt by all three.

Because Papa was feeling slightly generous and didn’t want to kneecap children, he allowed the cousins to clear up a small matter for him. In exchange for reducing part of their gambling debts, Papa wants them to stop a bandit leader called Rokar. Rokar is not a nice man and dabbles in a little necromancy on the side. No one will miss the guy. Papa sends along a chaperone, a girl the same age as the cousins named Corrinne Uthadar.

So our adventurers set out to a little town called Brackenbeck in the west where Rokar was last seen.

It’s the middle of summer, and there’s snow in the forest. That’s weird. It’s noted. Upon arrival in Brackenbeck, the town is abuzz about the abduction of Lord Douglas Auberon. One mercenary in Lord Douglas’ retinue survived, and he was taken to the town apothecary for healing. We interrogate the apothecary a halfling female who tells us about the weird weather and Old Man Dansby, a farmer who thought a giant weasel was encroaching on his land. Rosaline tries to convert the halfling to Delora with a tract, and then we interrogate the mercenary.

The mercenary was wrapped in bandages and his nose and fingers were blackened from frostbite. He is from the north and tells us what happened. Lord Douglas was returning from Enkelhofen where the entourage was attacked by bandits. There were only half a dozen bandits, and the fight should have been easy, but then, suddenly, the bandits had allies — fey creatures. Lord Douglas was taken alive, possibly to be held for ransom. The weather had grown colder and more fierce, and the only way the mercenary survived was by fleeing the battle. He was ashamed of himself for doing so. Rosaline gave him a quick healing spell and a tract, and the party went on their way to follow up on the lead with Farmer Danzig.

So we B&E (read: welfare call) Old Man Dansby’s house; he’s not there. We go to the town watering hole, the Silver Stoat, to find out more information about Old Man D. No one has seen him in days. We visit the soothsayer, a woman called Mother Theodora who is absolutely useless, but she thinks the end of the world has something to do with Jhannis because this snowy trouble started around the Lightbringer festival.

On the way out of the soothsayer’s house we meet Ionna Teppen, the leader of the town council. She tells us more about Lord Douglas and says that she would like for us to go after the kidnappers. Lord Douglas is from Elderon. There have been tensions between Verena and Elderon ever since Lord Easton Lashvale snuffed it some years back, which gave Duke Visconti a flimsy excuse to invade Volkstadt and turn it all into Verena. Duke Visconti’s niece, Carlotta, lives in Enkelhofen with part of the Visconti clan. She and Lord Douglas have this thing going on. So Lord D leaves Enkelhofen, travels south to Brackenbeck where he can get his hands on some halfling pipeweed for his father, and then planned to make his way back to Brionne. But he was kidnapped, and that didn’t happen. Ionna Teppen offers us 200 gold to find the kidnappers and bring them to justice.

The next morning our crew heads out to the forest to find the bandits. We fight zombies, an icy dragonkin, sprites who F us up pretty good for only having 3 HP each, ice elementals, and a talking snowman. Constancia also has her first wild surge: her strength becomes 18/00 for one day. Ettore sets off a million traps with his sister’s 10 foot pole. Corrinne loads up on bows and arrows, and Rosaline probably complained about the cold.

We find Old Man Dansby’s body after the fight with the ice elementals, so we take it back to town for burial. Also while in town with her crazy strength, Connie decides to arm wrestle some schmucks. And win.

Lewt:

three courtier outfits worth 90gp
earrings 25gp
pearl inlaid bracelets 90gp
gold necklace 75gp
sapphire pendant 50gp
signet ring 50gp

in trapped chest*:
4 suits of leather armor
3 suits of studded leather
2 small shields
7 long swords
2 spears
1 dagger
3 light crossbows
25 bolts

*(I was under the assumption all we took was one suit of leather armor for Corrinne and left the rest there. That’s what my notes say.)

pair of daggers (need to detect magic)
3 shortbows
36 flight arrows
14gp
composite longbow
12 flight arrows
dagger
hand axe
14gp 25sp 18cp

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