The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes discovered the invisible tower and met the witch-lord-in-hiding Yurikai! They also found his hidden soul-box and leveraged it to get Yurikai to agree to help them defeat Dama Zhadna once and for all! Maybe.
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 party had a long hard talk about whether they could really trust Yurikai to help them defeat Dama Zhadna, and whether he might betray them during the battle, and where they should hide his soul, and whether someone should stay behind to guard the soul. Many options were raised and shot down in quick succession. In the end, they decided to stay together and hide the soul-box very close to the battle.
They also agreed that Ray (being the weakest fighter) would go with Yuri into the spider-house while Ward hid the soul-box nearby and Rainen negotiated with the witch to buy time.
While studying his wizarding book, Hugo discovered a passage that mentioned the village they were currently stuck in, Frostwyck. The passage said:
“On the road shortly after leaving Frostwyck, we encountered a kind and gentle soul, and his fierce protector. They slaughtered a vampire as way of introduction, and thus was our welcome into the forbidding lands ruled over by Castle Torescu.”
What did this mean?
During the rest before the battle, three heroes experienced intense dreams.
Rainen dreamed that she met the three dead druids in a beautiful forest, and they told her to learn from their mistakes, to not fight to protect things, but to protect life, and to protect her own life as well.
Hugo dreamed of his stolen time-pendant, now huge and offering three views. One, a clear view of a mass of black-green flesh full of yellow eyes. Two, a misty view of a black-green dragon with yellow eyes flying into the night sky. Three, a black-and-white view of a small lump of flesh climbing up through a cave.
Drew dreamed that Dama Zhadna offered to restore his nose if he gave her Yurikai’s soul-box.
As midnight approached, the party headed into the woods. Ward buried the soul-box in a secret location. Yuri and Ray went off to hide by themselves. And Rainen summoned the witch.
A dense fog enveloped the area, a fence of flaming bones appeared in a wide ring, and a log cabin walked into the ring on its enormous spider legs. A blue flaming skull drifted in from the fog, and a tiny crone rode her walking chair of human bones out of the shadows.
Dama Zhadna immediately sniffed out the nearby soul-box and offered the three visible heroes (Rainen, Hugo, and Drew) whatever they wanted for it. She offered an escape from Frostwyck. Rainen bantered around several ideas, such as more skill with a bow, or more intelligence, and so succeeded in distracting the witch for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, Yurikai teleported Ray into the hideous, dark, reeking cabin. While Yurikai worked to keep them hidden from the witch’s spells and alarms, Ray began searching for the stolen souls of the Dama’s minions. One by one, he found the ugly bottles and released souls of various colors. Gold, violet, black, green.
Sometimes, he jostled the countless jars and pans on the shelves, but each time he caught them before they could make too much noise. Unfortunately, a giant viper slithered out from under the bed. Before it could strike, Ray cast Bane on it, just before Yuri hissed at him not to cast any spells in the cabin!
Dama Zhadna immediately sensed the magical intrusion in her cabin, and attacked!
A wild battle broke out! On one side, our heroes plus Yurikai. On the other side, Dama Zhadna, her fence of bones, her spider-house, and Nikita the flameskull. Drew and Hugo rushed forward, followed by Sasha and Rainen, all hurling spells and weapons and fangs.
The tiny crone fought back with flying bones, a wand of dried flesh, and a rusty sickle. Hugo suffered an ugly scratch on his hand that festered and dealt doubling damage each round. Ward unleashed massive damage with his flaming arrow attacks from his hiding spot in the woods.
The Dama found herself smashed again and again, her bone chair barely able to dodge the blows. She slashed at Sasha’s muzzle and tried to cripple Drew with cursed screams, her huge cabin stomped on the heroes from above, and Nikita strafed the heroes with blue rays of fire.
Back up in the cabin, Yurikai summoned his gray sword and battled the giant viper while Ray continued smashing jars and glasses in search of more imprisoned souls. He freed a blue soul, which whisked down straight into the flameskull, Nikita! Freed of the witch’s power, the undead wizard’s head flew cackling away from the battle, firing off a few last blasts at the witch herself as he made his escape.
By now, Dama Zhadna was barely clinging to life. She lay on the ground amid the shattered bits of her bone chair, ensnared by huge razor-sharp vines. Drew moved in for the kill.
Just then, Nikita’s escape was blocked by the sudden appearance of a new combatant! Bruno the vampire emerged from the mist to fulfill his agreement to help the heroes, and promptly dealt a few devastating blows to the newly freed Nikita.
Drew stomped on the immobilized witch, and then smashed his Eldritch spear into her back. Her body exploded in a shower of bone fragments, insects, and foul earth. In that moment, the giant viper shriveled up into a tiny snake in Yurikai’s hand, and died. The flaming bone fence snuffed into darkness and clattered lifelessly to the ground.
And the spider-house collapsed… onto the heroes right below it.
Ray and Yurikai crashed down inside, while Rainen and Drew were buried under the rubble. Sasha was able to drag herself free, thanks to her great size. Ward shouted for Bruno to let Nikita alone as he raced to help Rainen and Drew.
Yurikai climbed up through the ruins of the cabin and stepped out onto the snow, only slightly worse for wear. Ward, Hugo, and Sasha pulled Rainen free, and then worked together to dig Drew out, who was barely clinging to life.
It then took several more minutes to find Ray in the wreckage… and they found him lifeless. Rainen and Hugo tried to bring him back, but it was too late. Ray was gone.
With Yurikai’s assistance, the party buried Ray nearby. They distributed some of his belongings, but buried his bagpipes with him. Hugo also gathered up the witch’s wand and sickle, and discovered that he needed to cauterize the festering wound on his hand before it killed him.
They also dismissed Bruno, who flew away in bat form. In the distance, they heard a strange wolf howl, and Sasha howled back. Drew attacked the wreckage of the witch’s house with Ray’s eldritch dagger, setting it on fire.
The group then returned to their empty cabin in town with Yurikai to have a few drinks and collect their thoughts after the battle. They decided that, in the morning, they would tie up a few loose ends in town, and then move on southwards toward home.
This was a great climax to the campaign. There was tons of planning, teamwork, character moments, social challenges, mechanical challenges, and of course combat.
I was a little worried when the players spent the first 40 minutes discussing plans, I didn’t want to run out of time! But everything worked out fine.
The combat itself was definitely chaotic and complex. I had to run Yurikai, Dama Zhadna, Nikita, the house and fence, the viper, and Bruno, and I actually had several more minions waiting in the wings (if their souls had not been freed). It felt like everyone got to do something unique and interesting. There were lots of spells and weapons and weird effects. The rolls were extreme, tons of highs and lows. Ward and Drew were huge martial damage-dealers. Rainen and Hugo were massively effective support casters. And Ray was clutch, up in the cabin, freeing the souls of the minions.
The death of Ray was fitting and logical, and seemed to “feel right” to everyone. He was the most squishy character, and so the most likely to die in any fight, but here he got to shine all the way until the end.
This marked the end of Witches of Frostwyck. We then continued with the same characters and transitioned into a new campaign: Fangs of Vulgoth!