23/04/08: The Dungeon Level

23/04/08: The Dungeon Level

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Grimskalle

Score 1569

06/15/24

1st of Mirtul, 1490 DR, continued

 name total   adapt   cold-resistance (2)  clothing (1)  extreme clothing (+1)  yeti cloak (+1)
 Merida   6    dragonborn (3)  furs    
 Hjolgram   9   2  furs of warmth* (5)  furs (+4)    yeti cloak
 Namel   5   2    furs  owlbear cloak  yeti cloak 
 Dayjumper   6   2  goliath (3)  furs    
 Teu   4   1    furs  owlbear cloak  yeti cloak
 Sam Axebeak   7   4  nature (3)      
 Vellynne   3   1    furs  extreme clothing  

 name                      ac        hp        ex                                                     
 Merida 17 45/53 0  remaining: 2x lv1; 1x breath wpn; 5/10r on sacred wpn
 Hjolgram 14 54/67 0  remaining: 2x lv1; 2xlv2
 Namel 16/18 38/59 0  remaining: No spells; 1x bead: lesser restoration 
 Dayjumper  16 36/67 1  remaining: 0x stones endurance
 Teu 15 50/(45+5) 1  remaining: 1xlv1, 1xlv2, 2xlv3; 1x bi; 1x fey step
 Sam Axebeak 11 19/19 0  
 Vellynne   41(67+5)  1  -0/7 magic missile; only used 1xlv4

 

In ice and blood, our folk are born.
To our great queen, we raise our horn.
We'll fight and plunder in the morn.
To Vassavicken, we are sworn.

 

Fight skeletons. Dayjumper goes down.

Detect evil in the ice sarcophagi and the visage on the ceiling. Also magic on the ceiling. 

Find the magic axe

 

Teu uses identify.

the axe conforms to the user and the user conforms to the axe.

party takes a short rest and Dayjumper attunes to the axe, which shrinks to a 6' great axe, from a 15'/650# axe. Teu adds a song of rest.


 name                      ac      hd     hp        ex                                                     
 Merida 17 6/7 53/53 0  remaining: 2x lv1; 1x breath wpn; 1xch.divinity
 Hjolgram 14 4/7 34/67 0  remaining: 2x lv1; 2xlv2
 Namel 16/18 5/7 24/59 0  remaining: No spells; 1x bead: lesser restoration;
 1xch.divinity 
 Dayjumper  16 3/7 30/67(+10) 1  remaining: 1xas, 0xsw; 0x stones endurance
 Teu 15 7/7 50/(45+5) 1  remaining: 1xlv1, 1xlv2, 2xlv3; 2/4x bi; 1x fey step; 1xpact 
 Sam Axebeak 11 7/7 19/19 0  
 Vellynne   3/7 49(67+5)  1  -0/7 magic missile; 3/4xlv1, 3/3xlv2, 2/2xlv3, 2/2xlv4

return to ice skating walrus. Vellynne casts detect magic.

Party explores the various passages off the center room. After finding magic doors marked  "endurance" and "isolation". Then they find a passage where...

A disembodied voice says, "This way is shut to all but those who pass the tests ofcruelty, endurance, isolation, and preservation."

They realize they should go through the other doors, now realizing that once is down a passage in each corner.


First, they pass through the door marked "endurance".

The surroundings vanish in a flurry of snow and ice. When your vision clears, you find yourself in a raging snowstorm, standing at the edge of a Reghed tribe's camp in the process of being d ismantled. The nomads work feverishly to tear down their tents and pack them onto dogsleds. A few ofthem spot you and brandish their weapons. A tall figure standing among them calls out, "We shall not lie down and die for your pleasure, emissaries ofAuril! Begone, vultures!"

This camp is home to the King of the Elk Tribe, Jarund Elkhardt. Each party member has a tiny, glowing snowflake floating a few inches above them-the symbol of the Frostmaiden, which most Reghed nomads recognize and fear. Members of the Elk Tribe won't attack anyone bearing this symbol except in self-defense.

The figure calling out to the characters is King Jarund, who has ordered that the camp be torn down so that the nomads can stay close to the reindeer herd they've been following. The herd is migrating eastward, and where go the reindeer, so goes the Elk Tribe. If the characters assure Jarund that they mean no harm, he gives them a choice: help or leave. Either way, he doesn't want to provoke Auril's wrath.

The party members don't need to help the nomads tear down the camp or set up a new one, but they must accompany the nomads on their journey and endure the same hardship. The trip is a grueling march across the tundra with the wind against them the whole time. In this blizzard, which has an unusual property: magic does not function within it, as though the area encompassed by the blizzard is within an antimagic field. 1The march lasts 14 hours. While exhausting for most, Sam Axebeak and Hjolgram fail the test.


The next door is "isolation".

Your surroundings vanish in a flurry of snow and ice. When your vision clears, you find yourself standing at the edge of a camp under a clear sky. All the warriors in camp appear to be sharpening their weapons.

This camp is home to the Queen of the Tiger Tribe, Bjornhild Solvigsdottir . When the characters enter the camp, Tiger Tribe warriors escort them to Queen Bjornhild, who is using a stone to sharpen the edges of her greataxe while her saber-toothed tiger, Grava, keeps a steady eye on the new arrivals. Bjornhild's reaction to the characters is one of exultation, which is not surprising given her devotion to the Frostmaiden:

"Auril has blessed us!" she shouts to every other warrior in earshot. "The Frostmaiden has sent emissaries to watch our camp while we complete our mission!"

She then tells them that she's planning to attack a nearby Elk Tribe camp and steal their food. She's taking every member of her camp with her, hoping that overwhelming numbers will make the unsuspecting Elk tribesfolk give up without a fight. She asks the characters to stay behind and watch over her camp until she returns. Bjornhild expects to be back in a day or two.

In the end, the characters are alone at Bjornhild's camp for six days and nights. During the the time, Merida and Teu are lost. After six days and nights, Bjornhild and the surviving members of her camp return with several haunches of reindeer meat loaded on dogsleds. Accompanying them are all the party members who went missing from the camp; the Tiger nomads found them, one by one, wandering in a daze.


 

Your surroundings vanish in a flurry of snow and ice. When your vision clears, you find yourself at the edge of a camp under clear skies. All the fires in the camp are out, and the only sound you hear is the flapping of the tents.

Closer examination reveals dozens of corpses half-buried in snowdrifts. It becomes clear that a massacre took place here recently. You hear the squawking of buzzards coming from the middle of the camp and see a half dozen vultures picking at two bodies outside one of the larger tents. There are no dogs or dogsleds at this camp.

All but one of the Reghed nomads in the camp have been killed. The sole survivor is the nine-year-old son of the clan's chieftain, a noncombatant named Aerix Vokototh who stayed alive by hiding in the snow. He was born on the Midwinter holiday and as such is blessed by Auril with resistance to cold damage. He wears only a light woolen poncho, as extremely cold weather doesn't bother him. When the characters arrive, Aerix is cowering in the chieftain's tent while six giant vultures feast on the corpses of his mother (the chieftain) and father (the camp's shaman).When the party kills two vultures, the others take to the sky and circle above the camp for the remainder of the test.

After dealing with the vultures, the characters hear low sobs coming from one of the big tents and find Aerix inside. The boy is in a terrible state of shock and refuses to speak, although a calm emotions spell or similar magic enables him to describe the massacre to which he bore witness. As Aerix begins to recount what happened, Isarr Kronenstrom appears at the edge of the camp, having found out that the marauders he sent to kill the camp's chieftain failed to find and kill her son as well. Isarr is determined to slay the child himself.

Isarr circles the camp, letting out a terrible howl every minute or two. Aerix urges the characters to hide from the Wolf King, lest he flay them to pieces. He shoots Dayjumper with his crossbow. Her Berker Axe then causes her to fly into a beserk rage, attacking Hjolgram.

When Isarr is slain, an awakened wolflopes toward him in a nonthreatening manner. This wolf speaks common. It offers to bear Aerix safely to another Wolf Tribe camp. Aerix is inclined to trust the wolf and accompany it. Whether the characters surrender Aerix to the wolf or not is up to them, but once their decision is made, everyone with a glowing symbol of Auril hovering above their head is teleported back to Grimskalle.


The final door is labeled "cruelty". 

Your surroundings vanish in a flurry of snow and ice. When your vision clears, you find you rself standing at the edge of a camp, its tents holding fast against a raging blizzard.

The blizzard rages for the duration of the test and is inescapable. This camp is home to the King of the Bear Tribe, Gunvald Halraggson. There are no sled dogs at this camp. The camp has run out of food, and the tribe's hunters have failed to return because of the unyielding blizzard. The nomads have already eaten their sled dogs. Now, Gunvald has decided that desperate times require desperate measures. He plans to kill four of the tribe's eldest members and cook them to feed the rest of the camp. 

Once the characters' presence becomes known, they are brought before King Gunvald. He treats them with respect and caution, as befits emissaries of the Frostmaiden. He has the four elders lined up outside his tent and entreats the characters to kill them or leave the camp at once.

In the end, Hjolgram and Dayjumper kill the four, so the group passes the test and are returned to Grimskalle.


Having passed the tests, they return to the room that they were turned away from.

 

Arranged about this room are three tablets o fice, each ten feet tall, seven feet wide, and one foot thick. They sit u pright in stands that are also carved from ice. Script has been chiseled into the surface of each tablet. Another door stands in the middle ofthe far wall.

 

The inscriptions on the four ice tablets, in Common, spell out the tenets of Auril's faith:

  • cruelty. "compassion makes you vulnerable. Let cruelty be the knife that keeps your enemies at bay."
  • endurance. "exist as long as you can, by whatever means you can. Only by enduring can you outlast your enemies."
  • isolation. "in solitude you can understand and harness your full potential. Depending on others makes you weak."
  • preservation. "every flake of snow is unique, and that which is unique must be preserved."

They proceed to the next room.

 

This chamber has a domed ceiling engraved with a giant snowflake. Two caryatids depicting a towering woman stand on either side of a door in the south wall. In the middle of the room is a five-foot-tall, claw-shaped lectern with a white-covered book resting on it .

 

 The book on the lectern is The Codicil of White. No wards or creatures are guarding it.

They spend at least 10 minutes poring over The Codicil of White learns that the poem in its pages, "Rime of the Frostmaiden"

 

We bow to she who wears the crown; let the world shiver with dread. Clad in winters whitest gown, her snow enshrouds the dead.

Her fury sheds but frozen tears as gray clouds issue forth. Her wind across the wasteland shears, bringing blizzards from the north.

lce-kissed flowers caught mid-bloom, beauty kept in all its grace. Summers gone to its silent tomb, stilling in her cold embrace.

All the world in winters white, sheathed in sleet and ice. Set upon never-ending night, she conjures paradise.

Behold her everlasting rime, see how it covers all; Weep not for those she traps in time behind her glacial wall.

Sovereign of summers lost, general of winters war; Long live the queen of cold and frost. May she reign forevermore.

 

The continue to the last room. Beyond the door is a small room filled with mist. Chunks of broken ice cover the floor.

Namel and Dayjumper hear the voice of the Frostmaiden.
"Will you court death to receive my blessing?"

Dayjumper adamantly declines. Namel says, "what the hell..."... and instantly turns to ice.

The party realizes there is nothing they can do. They collect his armor, his axe, and his prayer beads... the only things not turned to ice.


Dismayed, exhausted, and beat to hell, the remaining group returns to the central area with the walrus. They move to one of the side areas and Teu conjures a tiny hut and they bunker down.


2nd of Mirtul, 1490 DR

Refreshed, the group heads back to the Frostmaiden's chamber. They gather, then rush in... then find themselves in a blizzard. Dayjumper, skilled in blind fighting, is able to keep a press on the maiden. Merida, driven by her hatred of the Frostmaiden, drives blindly in after calling her sacred weapon upon her hammer. When she hits, she smites, time and again.

When the Frostmaiden is finally defeated, both Dayjumper's magic battle axe and Merida's warhammer are coated in the icy crystals. Both weapons are icy.

The orb is nowhere to be found in the 

 

 

Connections

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