Ice Demons in Flugelheim

From DQWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Ice Demons in Flugelheim

Session: Autumn 804wk (March 2004)
GM: Struan Judd


The Party Members

Braegon - Human, Earth Mage, Cat Herder, Healer, DA, Philosopher
Kin - Erehleine, E&E Mage, Scribe, Translator, Philosopher
Mortimer Graves - Halfling+, Warlock, Mechanician, DA, Philosopher
Motley - Giant/Pixie, Warrior, DA, Philosopher
Serendipity - Elven, Celestial Mage of the Utter Dark, Dangerous, DA
The Chevalier Roke - Human, E&E Mage, Practitioner of Subtle Skills, DA, Philosopher
Teleri Silverfoam - Elven, Namer, Military Scientist, Socialite, DA, Philosopher

Employer and Mission

Mission

Remove the Icy Hell from Flugelheim, or otherwise completely nullify it, after first retrieving as many of the imprisoned populace as possible, especially the royal family (King, Queen, Prince, Princess (aged four)).

Employer

Malkor, the second assistant royal wizard of Flugelheim, a binder & shaper. Malkor was a member of the Artzdorf wizards guild before A&F merged.

The nom de guerre of a thaumaturgical spymaster high in the Flugelheim counter intelligence service is "Sir Rocklam".

He will provide transport to Flugelheim by intraplanar gate. He has employed a previous guild party (see notes), who came back intact, but in a hurry.

Payment

He offers payment as follows - each party member to receive either two weeks of his skilled labour, or lands to the value of a knight's fee (without any service requirement), or 25,000 sp in money or items from the royal treasury. There is to be (of course) no looting of citizens or their property, but normal salvage applies otherwise - he claims that he will endeavour to waive the normal kingdom tax of 10% on such ventures. The party have assured him that they do not feel that such a tax should be applicable to anything found in the Icy Hell, as it is not part of Flugelheim. Detailed negotiation awaits the event that there is anything to negotiate over.


Diary

Duesday 1st Fruit Autumn 804wk - Guild Meeting

Melkor chose not to make a public announcement at the guild meeting, but rather asked the guild to assemble a handpicked party for him (research heavy, rather than necessarily heavies). Nor did he wish to meet on guild premises (although guild security do have oversight of the meeting) - instead he took a room in one of the better inns in Seagate for the afternoon of the first of Heat, where the party met with him and gathered the above information, before settling down to enjoy his hospitality, and form a plan of attack.

The party split up almost immediately. Silverfoam settled down to divinate the Rumpelstiltspin, Kin & Mortimer tasked our employer with a few more searching questions before starting research in the guild library, and Braegon, Motley, Serendipity and Roke flew off to visit Navzra The Shaper.

Navzra kindly interrupted his current ritual for a few minutes - appearing as a shimmering haze. He was interested to hear about Flugelheim, having noticed a major planar working just over three months ago (but having assumed that its locus was rather further west - Terra Nova). He confirmed that Alusian magics were binding the Icy Hell to its location (presumably the wards around Flugelheim & Artzdorf), and offered to investigate the nature and power source of the magics, and when the incursion would become permament. He cannot leave his ritual unattended for long at present, but in six days time (when it will either have failed, or be so stable that it may be left for a day) he proposes a meeting at Candlestone Farm - with Malkor and a summary of the information the party will have gathered by that date, with which he may perhaps he may be able to create an item which will sever the Icy Hell from Alusia.

Meantime Mortimer & Kin persuaded our employer to be slightly more forthcoming (which was only metaphorically like pulling teeth), and learned a little more about the magical borders about Flugelheim, the Rumplestiltspin, and the internal politics of the region and Malkor's place within them.

That night, after Motley had invited Foras to a picnic, but ended up talking to a sulfurous flunky instead, he, Roke, Braegon & Serendipity flew to Erewhon & Castle Black.


W'ansday 2nd Fruit

They arrived, got some sleep, Roke discussed the situation with some local contacts, who advised him that they had lost contact with several mutual acquaintances in the badlands , and they flew on to Eltrandor. The is no new news out of Flugelheim - the old news may be summarized as no news - a popular young King & Queen, ruthless enough but well liked, efficiently keeping the College and Guild at loggerheads but essentially loyal. A point of interest was the rumour of a third place of power in the combined kingdom (as well as Maltain and the Lake of the Moon) - perhaps an ex-dwarven stronghold in the Artz mountain range?

At dinner a scroll written in ancient pixie was delivered to Motley by a confused underling. "Presume enquiring about incursion by Ice Demons in the Flugelheim area. Hmmmmm, not us, I think. P.S. don't TALK to them"

The sub-party flew on to Westport, arriving at night, to interrogate a horse (now the property of Roke). It is notable for having survived the onset of extreme winter in Flugelheim, although none of the people in the cart it was drawing as it passed through the blizzard/barrier (Winter/Spring 803) were so lucky. On investigation it also proves to be notable for being long lived (very long lived - millennia) and very, very, healthy - an effect caused by the empowered water an elf fed it long ago. At first the conversation was rather at cross purposes - asked to remember a pulling a cart full of dead people it reminisced about an exceptionally cold time with some worried elves, who reassured it about the dragon which was following them, and all died. Apparently the much more recent cold time with a cart full of dead humans wasn't quite as chilly. The Horses' name is Equen (The Horse).

The sub-party then rode out of town to visit Theros, a hedge witch, to purchase a skin change pelt, so that they might more readily return the horse to the guild for further investigation. He proved to be a pleasant middle aged human, unpacted, who specialises in special alchemy. His companion, Mikah. a small black cat, looked the party over, and immediately offered Seren a mouse (apparently she was hungry). Theros readily offered to trade a skin change for a three month lesser enchantment. Meanwhile Serendipity turned into a small black cat herself, but became somewhat defensive and changed back into her (for lack of a better word) normal form when Mikah made a heavy move on her. She did, however, accept his love gift of another skin change mouse pelt. The group returned to town (watched away by a much larger cat) a little after midnight.


Th'rsday 3rd Fruit

We try a few spells on Equen and discover that he has very high magic resistance and that spells that are controlling or shape/appearance changing will fall off quickly. But shadow wings work and he can use them reasonably well (he has flown before with magic horse shoes).

Mortimer had dream contact with unknown powers of light who approve of him being on this missing and say that the power source and size of the ice plane are linked - reduce one and the other will be reduced as well.

The sub-party fly up river to the badlands in north Eltrandor. There is a neighbouring "bandit prince" who has been politely taking out any spies that encroach into the badlands. They have also been stealing communication crystals and intercepting messages in a fashion that shows very good access to information. The locals have no fresh news from A&F. Sleep the night at a merchants house and leave him with a larger cellar than he had previously.

Meantime the research party had shifted their enquiries to the libraries in Alfheim - paying their own hotel bills as our employer declined to accept them as a reasonable expense.


Frysday 4th Fruit

Fly further north, talk to more contacts, more of the same information. Return to Westport.

Reapsday 5th Fruit

Fly back to Seagate via Erewhon.

Sunday 6th Fruit

Full party fly to Candlestone Farm with Malkor to talk with Navzra. We talk within the Candlestones, after introductions and updating Navzra, he insists on Malkor leaving before telling us anything. He confirms some stuff we already suspected and tells us a few tidbits more:

Freeing souls will weaken the plane. Weakening the plane will free souls. The Ice Plane cannot be destroyed from the outside. The Planar border will block anti-demonic and anti-ice plane magics.

We fly back to Seagate, leave Malkor there, then fly and portal on to KinLu. We ask after Lord Yo and he allows us to find him. After appropriate pleasantries are exchanged he tells us that he was not aware of the incursion and is suprised at that. We tell him what we know and ask for his advice. Lord Yo confirms that what we know makes sense but is unable to add much information. He did however offer one of his communication fish, should we need to call on him for assistance.

That evening, whilst relaxing on the terrace chez Silverfoam in Borovia, the party had a robust exchange of views on our next course of action (opinion being divided between our party leader, who wanted to head immediately up to Flugelheim to tackle the Icy Hell, and everybody else, who wanted to pursue the intriguing leads presented by Equen and the Rumplestiltspin).

Moonday 7th Fruit - New Moon

On deciding to do a little more research, the fish was released into the "ornamental" canal, and the party settled down to debate fine philosophical points and watch bemused as Serendipity the cat played with the ripples in a somewhat unauthentic manner (now walking with the hip sway of an arthritic raunchy tomcat). Yo Long arrived during one of the more diverting moments, and he joined the picnic, readily agreeing to open the ancient elven portals so that we might visit the University in Southern Terranova, but warning that it would only be usable for 24 hours.

Yo Long departed by teacup, and the party, augmented by Baroness Silverfoam and Equen, flew after him (more slowly) on shadow wings. Over the mountains - particularly beautiful at this time of year - to a canyon near(ish) to Burgelfen, where the cave containing the partially renovated portal was concealed behind a permament illusion. On arrival at the gate room (all gates closed, but in noticeably better repair than on earlier visits) the party chose to avoid conflict with the roaming bands of diseased (major curse) dire wolves, and instead flew directly to request admittance to the university, where we had interesting converse with Lois.

Duesday 8th Fruit

Nearing the end of the 24 hour time limit, the party and entourage returned to the portal (again declining to investigate the scabrous dire wolves), to the wilds of Burgelfen, to Borovia, and so to Seagate - arriving back in the late afternoon.

After notifying Malkor of our desire to portal to Flugelheim the next morning we go our seperate ways for the evening.

W'ansday 9th Fruit

Malkor was unfortunately struck blind while preparing his planar travelling golem, but heartily suggested that the party travel onwards anyway without him. This risible suggestion was politely declined, and instead Silverfoam removed the backfire curse, whilst Mortimer took the oppurtunity to quietly divinate Malkor. After this interlude the golem chalked up a portal (pretty, but no artistic merit) and the party and employer travelled through it to a "binder's workshop" (far too tidy to be the real thing) in the Flugelheim palace.

Malkor gave us three communication amulets, and allowed us to memorize a brooch that he would place on the ground and step away from - thereby rendering it (but still not him) locateable - so that we might meet up again. The party adopted various forms of flight (Roke's transformation into a winged elf trumping Motley's shadow winged pixie) and flew off into the stationary drizzle.

En route to the Icy Hell the party enjoyed experimenting with the Rumplestilstpin effect, but firmly resisted the strong temptation to rearrange the portrait gallery, create rains of frogs or fishes, or assess and critique the palace security. Instead they debated the nature of light and sound (sound for instance travelled normally for a certain distance, then abruptly ceased), and soothed Mortimer, who was offended by the nature of the magic (apparently it went against mechanical principles...). All of the kingdom was covered by a faint aura, which winked out when an object became a possession of one of the (amulet protected) party, indicating the presence of the Rumplestiltspin magic. Spells cast into the environment remained in effect as if just cast.

Some three hours later the party arrived at the edge of the Icy Hell. It was still light, which was less suprising than it might have been, since the sun wasn't moving in the sky. The Rumplestiltspin effect faded out around two hundred and fifty feet from the border of the Icy Hell over a transitional area of fifty feet or so. A DA of the Icy Hell showed the nature of the magic to be "planar edge" and the magical strength to be avatar level.

More thorough investigation was interrupted by a small horde of creatures which left the Icy Hell a thousand odd feet away to the east, and then turned towards the party. Representatives of all the known Icy Hell creatures were included (five of each) - spiders, ravens, wolves, polar bears, and furry snakes - all the same (large) size. The party retreated (quickened) to the border of the Rumplestiltspin effect, and laid down preparatory magics - including summoning an earth elemental which Braegon put to work digging underground rooms as future roofed pit traps and a dark elemental of hideous aspect and violent nature.

The ravens were all whittled away by ranged attacks (arrow fire and major curses of asthma and blindness) before they could close (one surviving to flap away blind back into the Icy Hell), so the party was not able determine what form of magic they could employ. The wolves paused in their run to set up a fear inducing howl, at which Silverfoam broke and ran, but was fortunately rallied by Roke. The only other individual to be distressed was the Dark Elemental, but it too rallied to its mistress's side. Mortimer cursed all but one of the wolves with muteness, negating their magical threat for the meantime (the more wolves howling, the harder to resist the fear).

Ravens Wolves Bears Spiders Snakes
Mortimer 2
Motley 2
Kin 1

A few divinations later, we drag the bodies back into the Rumplestilspin effect to keep them preserved for later looting. Experiment with the border and just inside the plane which we learn is called Icehaim. The land within is idealised farmland made of ice.

Th'rsday 10th Fruit

As the borders of Icehaim are spherical, we fly up a few thousand feet and enter through the roof in order to be as far inside as possible before we pass through the border.

We look around from on high then decide to head towards a village we can see. On arrival we abduct and question one of the high speed residents (double quickened demonic denizen) and question it. After it summons its fellow residents we DA them thoroughly then head into the village. After a bit of searching and investigation we find the village is like the set of a play, designed to look the part but not functional. And beneath the village are people (abducted residents of Flugelheim) trapped in the ground.

Kin locates the royal family and fins they are all in different location in Icehaim.

We rescue one person, Melanie, fly her to the border and send her through with instructions to move directly away from Icehaim (into the Rumplestiltspin effect). As expected she freezes in the border with an exit time of 6 months Icehaim time (3 months Alusian time).

On searching around we find one body to experiment further with about 1,000 feet from the border.

Braegon develops his quick release method which involves a 30 second Tunnel around the bodies to be rescued, then a 2 minute tunnel of larger dimensions, when the first tunnel returns it doesn't have any connection to the rest of the ground and the entities become independent, then a 3rd tunnel the same size as the first one is used to release them from the ground. The only problem is that they need to be healed quickly as they are barely alive. The constraints on how many can be released at once are their density within the ground and how quickly they can be healed to the point of stability.

We send our latest releasee into the border. And then follow the locate on the Prince who is within the same segment. We find him in a walled town, trapped within the floor of a mini-palace. We rescue him and 2 of his people that were trapped nearby.

When the prince is released Icehaim suddenly shrinks by 3 or 4 miles!

We head to the "wizards tower" off the same town square in the hope of finding some mages to release. We find that the mages are in the floors with the weakest in the lower floors and the most powerful in the top floor. We release the mage from the roof level and he turns out to be a hermit named Karl who is magically powerful in a private and not necessarily colleged way. Then we release the 4 mages from the top floor and the 14 flunkies in the walls around their floor. The 4 mages are a Bard, Rune Mage, Water Mage, and ?. We send them off to escort the prince and other rescued people to the border.

Releasing the mages decreases the size of Icehaim a bit more but not as much as releasing the prince did.

We decide to fly east to rescue the Queen, the next closest royal. On route to the east portion of Icehaim, the local demon (Master) attacks us. He is a 14' tall humanoid E&E, powerful in melee, his Spec Grev blows inflict frozen doom, he has a cold based damage shield, his shield extends his melee zone, he lasts 8 pulses. His death curse hits Seren, a Mortimer-divinate reveals she is doomed to die if she kills a creature of ice. We recover his sword and shield.

Once killed it will be some number of days before this region can physically manifest another avatar.


Information

The Icy Hell - Icehaim

First effects investigated by a guild party hired by local merchants worried that their grain shipments had not arrived - they did so, and brought Melkor back with them to the guild. A demonic plane (the Icy Hell) has intruded into Alusia in Flugelheim, centred on the Lake of the Moon (high mana zone. a place of power for lunar magics, dwelling of an avatar named Selene). Melkor hired a party to further investigate, and eliminate the demons' agents. They did so, with prompt, efficient service. Unfortunately killing the agents completed the ritual which they had been performing to create the Icy Hell power base in Alusia. However there is a silver lining - the ritual was completed prematurely, so did not transform the entire country, just a circle of some 25 miles radius in the northern portion of the kingdom. Almost all of the citizenry are believed to be captive within this area.

The Icy Hell is expanding by approximately ten to fifteen feet a day, but not past the northern boundaries of the kingdom. The borders of Flugelheim are particularly well defined magically. witness the forgettingness recently lifted from the place: perhaps what drew the attention of the Ice Demons in the first place. Entering the area counts as inter planar travel - it DAs as Icy Hell, not Alusia. Within the domelike wall which is growing around the periphery (at roughly one inch per day) the terrain originally appeared a flat and featureless plain, with no relationship to the original geography of Flugelheim, lately there is some indication that landscape features are forming within the area. It seems a reasonable assumption that if the Icy Hell is not removed before winter its effects will be permament.

The agents of the Ice Demons were pacted Alusians, and conjured Alusian creatures, although the demons do not appear on the usual lists. Five demons, five agents, five special effects :

Spiders Crystalline Picturesque Illusionist agent
Ravens Haze Obscurement Celestial agent
Ice Snakes Blah Torpor E&E agent
Polar Bears Blizzards Ice Storms Earth Mage agent
Wolves Driving winds Chill Air Mage agent

The summoned animals came in two classes - normal Alusian animals and possessed creatures, which were half again as large and dangerous - if these were killed a demonic remnant was left which could move into possession of one of the normal creatures.

Freeing souls will weaken the plane. Weakening the plane will free souls. The Ice Plane cannot be destroyed from the outside. The Planar border will block anti-demonic and anti-ice plane magics. This includes wiccan amulets.

Icehaim is divided into 5 areas, one central circular area and 4 segments. One of the Denizens refers to the 5 demons (gods from his point of view) as Master, Mistress, Lord, Lady, and The Commander.

Icehaim South - Master of Despair

The land appears to be idealised farmland made of ice. Villages and Towns are populated with demonic Denizens that look like people and cute animals, are of limited intellegence and are always happy.

Trapped within the ground are bodies of the inhabitants of Flugelheim. They are barely alive and are part of the ground. If the area they are in is tunnelled then they are released as spirits/ghosts for the duration of the tunnelling. If the ground they are in is disconnected from the rest of Icehaim then they become independent of the ground and need to be broken free quickly before they suffocate.

The Magical Borders

Both the Wizarding College in Flugelheim, and the Wizards' Guild in Artzdorf, had sought to control magic within the borders of their respective countries. In Flugelheim a "lighter touch" was employed - a system where the head mages knew when evil magics were used within the kingdom - effectively a scrying detection grid on certain magics (control, binding, summoning, necromancy, illusions...) at high ranks. In Artzdorf the Wizards' Guild (of which Malkor is a member) sought a more comprehensive solution - a ritual that locked mana to their control so that only authorized persons could cast magics. This ritual was established in Port Artz, but there was effective resistance against it being extended to cover the entire kingdom. Nonetheless the preliminary survey work travelling and marking the borders of the kingdom had been completed.

When the King & Queen united the two kingdoms the Guild and the College joined forces by royal decree - the College came out on top after the inevitable infighting, and traversed the boundaries of the new conjoint kingdom, extending their scrying (at a reduced level because of the greater area that they have to cover) to cover the entire area. The old boundary between Flugelheim & Artzdorf still exists and may be detected by those who know it is there as a one inch band of mana running down the middle of the kingdom.

The borders are marked by stone survey pegs - removing them will not break the magic, but it may start to fade.


Rumpelstiltspin

Melkor did not believe that the few remaining inhabitants of Flugelheim were sufficient to sustain its economy, or defend it against predatory action, so he used a very powerful magic item to put the entire kingdom into magical stasis, freezing it (and them) in a single moment. This will present an interesting adventuring challenge, and some opens some fertile areas for philosophical debate. The party is to be supplied with nine amulets which negate the effect for the person wearing them. The end condition for the stasis is to prick the finger of the Queen (or the princess?) with the magic item (a needle or pin). Melkor is to supply the party with illusionary portraits of the royal family so perfect that they may be used for location purposes, and also a hank of hair from each of them (interesting items for a binder to be in possession of - especially one who was travelling outside the kingdom at the time of the disaster).

Malkor had known of the Rumplestiltspin for some ten years before it was "rescued" from a hoard - it dates from before the War of Tears, and is part of a set of cursed christening gifts - the rest are "lost to time". Divination reveals that it was activated (for the first time) "the other way around" by the use of an item that reverses effect and requires a sacrifice - that is, that the end, rather than the start condition, is the stab to the Queen's finger.


Interesting Information from the Library

Equen had been to the library before - presented by a researcher as a demonstration model, some 1653 years before the events we call the War of Tears. Also present at that time were several elves who later died in the extreme cold which Equen remembers. However the name and all other information about the researcher were missing from the records, although such information should have been readily available. Equen remembers him as an it, notes that "many called him master", and recalls two other long lived animals who also journeyed with him, both dead of natural(ish) causes.

This absence is different in kind from both the stonewalling which persistent inquirers receive if they ask after forbidden information (soul magic, for instance), and the subtle and varied manner in which all records about the attempts of elves to transcend their limitations trail off into nothingness.

A search for Ice Demons formerly active on Alusia showed a brief appearance by one "Commander of Sleet and Snow" who was summoned inadvertently by a planar summoner. Manifesting in a blizzard as a powerful warlord riding a giant polar bear, he was hastily banished - however a search for the summoner's name reveals the same abrupt lack of pathways as for Equen's creator.

The party asked three complicated questions, and supplied Lois with various snippets of information while they were waiting for the replies (except for Silverfoam's lady wife, who studied a fascinating range of siege weaponry of extreme lethality).

Motley had asked if the library could begin at the edges and search inwards looking for the boundaries of the information dearth about Equen's master : the answer came back that the hole encompassed all queries about ice magic and extra dimensional beings from icy demonic planes. The erasure dated from before the sundering. Interesting.

Silverfoam wanted to know whether the myth of the Rumplestiltspin or the item itself came first : the answer was that it was marginally more likely that the pin was created to match the myth, than that the pin inspired the myth.

Serendipity wanted to know if there was any correlation between the unsubtle erasure of information about Equen's master, and the more subtle limiting of information about forbidden subjects : the answer that it was only incidental - about demonic (soul) magics and ascension.


Outcome

The outcome of the adventure.

Loot

Treasure and Items acquired on the adventure.

From battle outside Icehaim:

  • 5 Snakes
  • 5 Bears
  • 4 Wolves (1 became L undead)
  • 1 Spider Corpse (other 4 became Lesser undead)
  • Some Raven Feathers

From fight with Master of Despair:

  • Giant-Sized Sword
  • Giant-Sized Shield



Note the scribe is Kin. Most of the content of this page is from Kins official scribe notes, this is the unofficial version used as a trial/prototype for using the Wiki to do scribe notes.

- Stephen

<= Scribe Notes