The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes killed a dead saint, met some woodsmen, and got magically trapped in the village of Frostwyck. They’re hoping to get out quick (spoiler: they won’t!).
Play time: 4 hours
- Drew the human fighter (2)
- Ray the human bard (2)
- Ward the human ranger (2)
- Rainen the dwarf ranger (2)
- Hugo the human cleric (2)
Meet the locals
Upon emerging from their cabin, the group discovered a deep frost had set in over night. Just outside, a group of villagers were arguing. One said that it was time to make “the offering”. Others argued about who in the area might be a witch.
Jumping into the discussion, the group learned that there was a monster in the pond called a vodnik. It requires an annual sacrifice (such as a bear) or else it will start eating the villagers. They also learned of suspected witch Rufina, a reclusive couple with a strange white child, dangerous spirits near the gray hill, and the monstrous Timberwolf.
During the discussion, Hugo revealed that he had acquired a magical turtle. He couldn’t get rid of it, and suspected it of being some heretical magic. (It’s his wizard familiar!)
With those leads in hand, the team went to meet Marta Morov. They suspected that she was a mighty witch since she had imprisoned the mysterious Yurikai.
Marta, Marta, Marta
Marta’s cabin was beautifully decorated with small wooden items. Marta herself was a strong, untrusting woman. She explained that she imprisoned Yurikai because he killed her father Misha last year. Her father had created the many wooden decorations, wind chimes, rocking chairs, spoons. And possibly the gray wooden hammer with a socket in its head on her shelves. But now she needed to go find her sister Elisa, who did not come home last night.
Hugo detected magic coming from the painted witch-balls hanging outside the houses (and by the fireplace inside). Also, coming from an unseen item Marta was wearing under her dress.
The group decided to confer with Brother Vanya.
Sad little Brother Vanya greeted the group warmly, and invited them in for tea. He re-iterated that Sister Xenia disappeared around 10 days ago, but he could not remember how or why she left. He did have a nightmare of a creature crawling down the wall and grabbing her in the night. Ward and Rainen noticed some very real scratch marks on the wall above her bed, as well as outside.
Vanya also explained that the witch-balls were local pagan rituals, meant to ward off evil spirits and witches. Hugo found this offensive and convinced Vanya to burn the witch-ball near his hearth. This soon revealed that the wooden balls were hollow and filled with salt. Ray snatched the burnt ball to keep the salt.
Vanya also sadly described his many other recurring nightmares. They included a flaming skull laughing at him, painful fits of vomiting eels, and being visited by a grotesque creature with one giant eye.
Rainen immediately believed these were all real events and were somehow connected.
After a quick debate, the group decided to head east to the Gray Hill. The prospect of “ancient ruins” seemed more appealing than investigating various suspected witches. They also checked in with local hunter Andrei, who was the last person to go out there. But he merely said that he heard some strange things and it was probably nothing. Ward bartered some arrows from Andrei, who of course tried to cheat him.
Heading east into the frost-covered forest, Ward soon sensed a creature in a tree. He discovered it was small and invisible. Wanting to play it safe, he left the creature alone and headed back to the trail. But he was attacked from behind by a twig-dragon!
Drew leapt into action and grappled the dragon while Rainen tried to pry its claws off Ward’s back. Ray viciously mocked the dragon Ward was able to wriggle free. Then Drew beat the little guy unconscious, Rainen tied it up, and they tossed it in Drew’s pack. I’m sure it won’t wake up and do anything troublesome later.
A side trail led the team up a hillside to an old black lodge. Ward spotted a body nearby. Drew pried it out of the frost to discover the corpse of a hideous one-eyed humanoid. Drew also carved a gold ring out of the creature’s frozen flesh.
Just then a huge white wolf emerged from the lodge! But Ray tossed it a bit of meat and the wolf took the easy food and trotted away. Inside the lodge, they found that the back wall had caved in and crushed a person to death.
They also found a magic bow and other useful items, as well as some old potatoes. Hugo identified all of the items, which included the Cindershot Bow and Bracers of Archery. Ward was thrilled at all his new archery power-ups!
Farther up the trail, as they approached a strange gray dome, Ward spotted a white creature (ice puck) in the trees. With a single flaming shot of his bow, he killed the creature. It fell to the ground and started to melt away entirely.
Three women then appeared on the path above them, asking them to leave the sacred ground that they protected. A quick conversation revealed that these three druids (Tatiana, Faina, and Masha) were the protectors of the ruins of the Elder Folk. They had also been pestered by ugly one-eyed thieves, which they had been killing and dumping in a hole.
At first they were unwilling to let the group visit the ruins, but then they made a deal. The druids had been helping the forest to reclaim a nearby abandoned village (Elk Ridge). But a blessing on the local Temple bell was impeding their efforts. If the group could bury the Temple bell, then they would let them visit the ruins.
As a former cleric of Virune, Hugo did not like this, but he was loudly overruled by the group. Everyone else wanted to befriend the druids, since they were the first people who seemed both reasonable and powerful. There was a concern that destroying the Temple might alert the Templar Irina to their location. The druids said they would help fight the Templar, and they seemed to think they were strong enough to do so.
The druids also revealed that the Timberwolf Volka was actually a person named Sestra Anca who had been cursed by Dama Zhadna. In fact, most of the bad things that had ever happened in the area were due to Dama Zhadna. And the druids very emphatically did not want the party to summon Dama Zhadna anywhere near them.
And that’s where we ended.
This session was a ton of fun for me. I got to play a bunch of weird characters and dump a bunch of lore and clues. The gang was all about investigating the rumors and trying to solve the mysteries, it was great!
We only did a couple of quick narrative combats with the dragon and the ice puck. But that was because Discord crashed right at the beginning of the game. We lost about 15 minutes getting back online.
I’m really happy that the group is enjoying investigating the problems around Frostwyck. While it may only take a couple of days in-game to do them all, it could easily take many sessions. More fun for all!