The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes met with the witch-lord Dama Zhadna and learned how to escape from Frostwyck, discovered the true nature of the one-eyed thieves and their many-eyed master, and then accidentally turned most of the villagers of Frostwyck against them… Oops.
Play time: 4 hours
- Drew the human Eldritch Knight (4)
- Ray the human Lore Bard (4)
- Ward the human Gloom Stalker (4)
- Rainen the dwarf Beast Master (4)
- Hugo the human Knowledge Cleric (1), Time Wizard (3)
The team had a hard chat about how Brother Vanya (and Ward) had just turned the entire town against them. Ray suggested a plan in which he impersonated Vanya and went about town acting crazy to discredit the priest, but this was voted down. Instead, they would return to the magically protected cabin and try to get in, once and for all!
Around noon, they walked up to the cabin and knocked on the door, but again there was no answer. Ward and Ray made their saves, so they remained interested in the cabin. There was a flurry of ideas about how to gain access using the chimney. Put the turtle Kali inside? Put the Ever-Smoking Bottle inside?
Drew climbed up the back of the house and discovered that the smoke coming from the chimney was an illusion, but more interestingly, the cabin itself had invisible walls that went up much higher than the appearance of the cabin itself!
Drew did the only thing logical. He attacked the invisible walls. The resulting burst of Force energy from his Eldritch Spear flung him off the chimney, but Hugo caught him in a bubble of slow time. This led into a brief discussion about Hugo’s faulty sense of time. He felt they had been in Frostwyck for weeks or months, but it had only been seven days. His magic book was clearly affecting his mind.
Spirits of the departed
Just then, there were cries of alarm in the village. Three huge spectral creatures emerged from the east woods and began walking slowly through the town. These ghosts resembled a gigantic bear, elk, and boar.
As the spirits of the dead druids passed through the cabins and villagers (who came out to see and ran away to hide in equal numbers), the group found themselves in the path of the boar. As it swept over them, they felt a sudden warmth and calm, as well as a newfound strength and insight (leveled up to L4!).
More determined than ever to get inside the magic cabin, Ray began climbing the walls, getting 10 feet up the invisible exterior before he remembered all the plans about putting things in the chimney. He dropped the Ever-Smoking Bottle into the chimney, and a plume of thick smoke billowed out. For a minute or so. Then the smoke stopped. And everyone realized they should have held the bottle at the top and used a cloth to plug the chimney and thus smoke out anyone inside. Oh well.
Ray then tried to continue his climb, but slipped and Hugo came to the rescue with a second bubble of slow time to catch him.
Ward shot an arrow at the cabin’s timber wall, which was about as effective as you’d think it would be.
And now, finally, the team pulled out the Lantern of Revealing and used it to discover that this magic cabin was actually a magic tower! A tower made of log cabins stacked impossibly on top of each other, stretching up five stories into the sky!
Baffled by the discovery of the tower, the team took a break to visit the tannery. Falina had left their leather armor and fur cloaks outside for them, but refused to speak to them or even open her door. So they armored up and moved on.
As they crossed the village, they passed a group of children who were playing “hero”. Each of them yelled out that they were Drew, or Ward, or Rainen. It was adorable.
At Brother Vanya’s house, the team shoved their way inside. Taking no guff from the frightened priest, who continued to accuse them of using unholy magic (which they did) and making deals with vampires (which they did), they “purchased” the priest’s incense for Hugo, and then left.
Ward tied a rope to an arrow and fired it up at the real roof of the invisible tower, where it seemed to stick. And then Drew began climbing the entire tower, determined to gain access through the thatching. (Ward’s arrow-bound rope pulled free with a single tug.) As Drew knelt on the roof, trying to tear it apart, the front door of the tower opened and a woman called out, “All right, all right, that’s enough, please just come inside.”
Inside the tower
Everyone immediately asked if the woman resembled Marta. Was this her missing sister Elisa? But no, she did not resemble Marta at all. She introduced herself as Renata, a magic-user of some sort who lived here in hiding and rarely went outside. Renata had no interest in the village, or Dama Zhadna, and just wanted to read her books and study her spells and be left alone in peace.
She served up a tray of tea. Those who drank it found it odd, but Ray suddenly felt like he was intruding on this nice lady and tried to convince his companions to leave. Then Rainen noticed a frog sitting on a side table, and Hugo detected Transmutation magic on it. Rainen kissed the frog, but nothing happened. The team continued to press Renata about her powers, and accused her kidnapping/transforming Elisa, and eventually…
Reaching the end of their patience, Renata vanished and Yurikai appeared. The witch-lord thanked them again for setting him free, and in return for Rainen’s kindness he gave them the frog and said she would turn back into Elisa as soon as she left the tower.
Rainen immediately left the tower and the frog turned into a very confused young woman. Rainen offered her cloak and escorted Elisa back home to a tearful (and confused) reunion with her sister Marta. Ray also stepped outside. And then Rainen and Ray both promptly forgot everything that happened inside the tower.
Hugo, Ward, and Drew continued to press Yurikai. They asked for magic weapons, and spellbooks, and a tour of the tower, and help against Dama Zhadna. But Yurikai was not forthcoming, and they left. Hugo and Drew promptly forgot everything that happened inside the tower. But Ward remembered!
Ward tried to convince the group they had just met Yurikai, but they were skeptical.
Returning to Marta’s house, everyone was warmly welcomed inside. Hugo once again detected magic, including a hidden item on Marta’s person and something under the floor. They told Marta that “Old Yuri” may have killed her father after he made a “soul-box” for the old man. She found this hard to believe, but was happy to let Hugo search the root cellar.
Under the meat and vegetables, Hugo found a plug of ice. Ray came over to help melt the ice. His bardic magic made Hugo’s holy chain flicker and flare over and over again. Marta and Elise were very concerned about this, but the group convinced them this was all holy magic. Soon the ice was melted and Hugo pulled out a small gray wooden box. They couldn’t open it, but they were certain that this was Yurikai’s soul-box.
Grab him by the box!
As soon as the group stepped outside, they were met by a beautiful woman that only Ward recognized. “Renata” restored everyone’s memories of their experience in the tower, and then begged them to come back inside to negotiate for the soul-box.
Once inside the tower, Renata again became Yurikai and he bargained earnestly for his soul. The team demanded that he help them defeat Dama Zhadna, and he eventually relented and agreed. He also supplied them with some potions and vials, and they agreed to confront the witch that night. Yurikai’s role will be to teleport into the walking cabin and smash the soul-bottles to weaken Dama Zhadna. So everyone settled in for an early rest and prepared to wake before midnight for the Big Showdown.
And that’s where we stopped.
I hope everyone enjoyed this session. It was a little chaotic! There were a lot of discussions, and plans, and attempts, and failures. But they also surged ahead in discoveries! The invisible tower! Yurkai! Elisa! The soul-box!
This could have gone a very different direction. If they had gone to Marta’s house first and found the soul-box, they might have gone off to make a deal with Dama Zhadna and left the village this session!
Hopefully everyone enjoyed all the payoffs to their hard work. They got a lot of answers, and a new ally, and are ready for a big fight. They have a plan! It could work!
The next session will be the climax of this campaign. There are lots of pieces on the board. The stakes are high. I have absolutely no idea what the outcome will be!
Lessons learned: My players are generally very respectful of the NPCs, and would much rather talk through an interaction than use magic or brute force to get what they want. In a similar vein, they have tried to get into the magic cabin three or five separate times now, and each time they knocked, talked, hit the walls, and climbs the walls. It was only on this last attempt that they used any magic to reveal/counter the obviously magic obstacle in front of them. Should I avoid magic stuff in the future? Create more social triggers and options? Food for thought!