The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes killed an undead Templar, buried two lost friends, rescued Brother Vanya from a vampire, and headed home feeling pretty good about how well they had handled a complicated situation. Yeah, about that…
Play time: 4 hours
- Drew the human Eldritch Knight (3)
- Ray the human Lore Bard (3)
- Ward the human Gloom Stalker (3)
- Rainen the dwarf Beast Master (3)
- Hugo the human Knowledge Cleric (1), Time Wizard (2)
Cold Hard Truths
On the dark walk home, the group was attacked by a hail of icicles from above. They took cover in the trees, but Brother Vanya took an icicle to the knee. The wound looked bad, but Rainen healed him. Then Drew used a sleep spell on the attackers, who all promptly fell out of the trees. The elemental ice pucks crashed to the ground and shattered into pieces.
As they reached Frostwyck late in the evening, Brother Vanya asked Hugo how he came to have the chain-sickle weapon from Templar Irina. Hugo said that Dama Zhadna had sent an undead Irina to attack him, and he had taken the weapon after defeating this zombie abomination.
The young priest then insisted on going home alone, despite their offers of company and protection.
The Witching Hour
Back in their cabin, the heroes discussed the dangers of heading south on the Temple road versus the newly discovered road through vampire territory. Ward tried to read some of Hugo’s wizarding book, and failed. Then Drew took the first watch, guarding their cabin and Vanya’s, but didn’t see anything.
Meanwhile, Ray had another nightmare courtesy of Dama Zhadna. Again, she invited him to come speak to her, and this time… he did! Sneaking out into the woods, Ray said the witch’s name three times at midnight. A ring of bone-torches appeared in a thick mist, and then a cabin on bony spider-legs walked into the circle. The flaming skull of Nikita appeared. Finally a small chair of bones stepped out of the cabin’s shadow, revealing the shriveled witch clutching her wand and sickle.
After the standard taunting (which I loved doing!), Dama Zhadna laid out her terms. If Ray and friends could find and bring her Yurikai’s soul-box (so she could control him), then she would let them leave the village. In addition, if Ray took her sickle with him to kill vampires for her, she would (eventually) release Shaela from her power. (The sickle would punish him if he didn’t stay on task.)
The witch then returned to the shadows, and her house walked into the mist. The torches and mist vanished, and Ray returned to the cabin.
During Ward’s watch, he saw Brother Vanya stepping out into the freezing night air. But the ranger slipped on the ice and scared the priest back inside before learning what the little fellow was up to.
During Rainen’s watch it began to snow, and she didn’t notice anything of interest. But in the morning, Hugo discovered his magic necklace had been stolen. The thatched roof was disturbed and there were tracks outside!
Ray told the group of his meeting with Dama Zhadna and the two deals on the table.
Hugo suggested they talk to Marta again, since she was the last person to see Yurikai in town, and her father was a skilled craftsman (who might have made the soul-box). He and Ray met with the grieving woman and learned that she found “Old Yuri” standing over her father’s dead body, so she chased him and beat him into the woods. Somehow the old man didn’t die, so she chained him up in a cellar and left him there to rot.
Hugo also detected Marta’s magic necklace (a gift from her mother) and something in the cold cellar under the floor! Marta pointed out the cabin that Old Yuri used to live in, and they left.
The rangers insisted on tracking the thief who took Hugo’s necklace, so everyone took off into the woods. They eventually found a strange crack in some rocks, and then discovered a one-eyed creature trying to hide in a cave. They tried to talk to it and pursued it, but the hideous thing just shoved itself deeper and deeper into the narrow rock crevices out of reach.
Hugo cast Comprehend Languages and Ray then Suggested that the creature serve him, so they were able to get the deformed (and now crippled) cyclops to come out and explain a few things. They learned that the creature was once human but was then transformed by something it called “The Darkness”. Also, it had stolen the necklace and given it to The Darkness by throwing it into the crack in the rocks.
Hugo then tossed his familiar Kali the turtle into the crack, which obliterated Kali and summoned up a fleshy mass with floating yellow eyes. This again!? Ward poked the mass, but only got a headache for his trouble.
Returning to town, the group made a cunning plan. Ray sent the one-eyed creature to try to break into the “magic cabin” that they couldn’t open. Rainen spotted a group of Concerned Citizens having a heated discussion with Brother Vanya. Ward hurried over to try to calm folks down and distract them from the hideous creature sneaking through the village.
In the brief exchange that followed, the villagers revealed they no longer trusted the heroes. Brother Vanya told them that they were using “unholy” magic, and had a pet monster wolf (Sasha), and made deals with vampires, and were almost definitely involved in killing the holy Templar Irina. Ward…pretty much admitted that this was all true.
Just then, a scream! Someone had seen the monster trying to break into the cabin. Everyone scattered, some people running for safety, others running for weapons. Ward joined the hunt for the monster, again trying to make nice with the locals. Killing the one-eyed thief proved easy. Ward tried to claim that a pack of these creatures had killed the High Templar, but as soon as the villagers saw how scrawny the creature was, they refused to believe him.
They demanded that the heroes get out of their village!
Meanwhile, Drew also tried to get into the magic cabin again, but only got another headache. Ray, Hugo, and Rainen went to look at Old Yuri’s old house, but found nothing of interest there.
When Drew and Ward returned, a wild debate erupted. What to do now? Make a deal with Dama Zhadna? Make a deal with the vampires? Leave the village? Fight the villagers? Kill Brother Vanya???
And that’s where we stopped.
Wow. Okay. So. The big highlight for me was in the first half when I got to FINALLY roleplay Dama Zhadna in her meeting with Ray. LOVED IT. My favorite NPC yet. So creepy! And we finally got to put all the beans on the table. What does the villain want? CHECK!
The business with the one-eyed creature was super unexpected, but amazing. The PCs learned a bunch about these creatures and a little about their master. And the business of all the heroes’ less-than-savory actions are finally leading to some serious consequences with the poor villagers of Frostwyck. I’m looking forward to watching the group chat between sessions as the players try to reach an agreement about to what do about this mess!
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