Return to the Cold
Player - Name - Sex - Race - Hgt - PB - College
- Chris C - Kern Silvercrest - M - Elf - 6’2” - 20 - Earth
- Anne Hamilton - Jhiselle - F - Human/Fey - 5’3” - 12 - Fire
- Julia McSpadden - Mebh - F - Human - 5’4” - 18 - Air
- Claire West - Ithilmor - F - Elf - 5’8” - 23/26 - Celest – Star
- Lisa Rose - Pennlucien - F - Elf - 5’10” - 18 Namer
- Stephen Martin - Aryan - M - Human - 6’2” - 16 - Non
- Phil Judd - Pent - M - Halfling - 3’2” - 19 - Ice
- Malkor of Flugelheim, 2nd Assistant Royal Wizard.
- Physical Description: Human, tall, thin, middle-aged wearing tattered robes.
- To kill agents of demons. Also, if possible, to return the ruling members of Flugelheim.
- Ice storms ring the borders causing a serious impediment (this means it’s getting in the way) to trade and the country has not recovered from the last winter in 803, it has just stayed due to the influence of the 5 Ice demons.
- No looting of the populace (guess that means any stuff that anyone has left behind, as if we would!).
- Payment: one week of Binder services for each demonic agent killed. An extra bonus week if all 5 are killed. These services might include minor creation (wonder if the Guild can give us a list of things that minor creation makes?). He will also provide us with a message amulet (but I can’t remember what it does exactly).
- Party Leader Pent
- Military Scientist Kern
- Scribe Penni
Hours of Darkness 730pm – 530am 10 Hours
Watches 730pm-10pm Pent 10pm-1230am Mebh 1230am-3am Kern 3am-530am Aryan
815pm-1045pm Jhiselle 1045pm-115am Ithilmor 115am-345am Penni
Frontline Pent Aryan Mebh Kern Penni Ithilmor Jhiselle
Flugelheim and Artzdorf are still in winter, even though it should be summer by now. Everything is under a layer of ice. Many inhabitants have disappeared. Others are entombed (that means buried, but more than just buried, trapped deep, or in small rooms of ice, or even perhaps in things that are like crypts, where more than one body is stored) in ice, but still alive.
The 5 Demons are:
- Haze – ravens, only see 1000’
- Picturesk – spiders, distance wrong, artistic look
- Storm – polar bears (12’ tall), blizzards
- Chill – wolves, driving winds
- Apathy – furred ice snake, ease/ calm, lack of energy.
Previous Party Summary
Summary from the last party’s scribe notes shows:
We are advised of two high mana zones- Flugelheim at Northeast and Maltain where there is a reverse waterfall. This is on a small lake toward the end of Artz. It is accessible only by flying.
Flugelheim city has a college of mages and we will have to register with them.
Artzdorf has only been a monarchy for c 15 years when a single kingdom was formed. Artzdorf and Flugelheim are mostly human. Halflings not unknown. Elves are not common. The Western church has not made serious inroads though there are churches.
He says there is a hemlock tree in Maltain village at the northern end of the Serra Ranges. Maltain has been deserted due to Aim the Demon duke of fire, which makes good sense! On considering our other tarot reading, he says we should consider walking backwards or not sticking to the same path. The person doing this is probably bad. That winter seems to be attacking. Love is involved somehow and the real reason for it all is not clear and much deeper.
People are dying from wounds - The nature of the poison is demonic The poison can be cured as per normal healing & it enters the body through wounds of ice.
During a battle with 7 wolves and a polar bear - discovers that he is in a mind-wrestling match with some other power battling for control of the bear.
Robert has a dream about being trapped in a circle of frozen flames. Others have bad dreams too.
The snow will not fall on holy ground. The demonic influence seems to emanate from the Northwest general direction.
1st of Meadow 804, Duesday
Port Artz – a nearby monastery
We decide to walk to Rhitzsump. By lunchtime, we come across the gravesite. It was probably a knight / holy man of some sorts probably an Urielite at the crossroad. The grave is not covered in frost.
He died not of natural causes. He was not killed. He knew he was going to die. He scarified himself. He tried to stop the demons & did not succeed. His actions were part of a ritual. The monastery knew of him. He is from this country. He did not pass through the barrier. He knew of the ritual before the weather came. The grave is not consecrated. The effect is coming from the NW – Maltain? If the loot is removed?
Inside the town of Rhitzsump, it is very quiet with an inch of snow. On every roof there are perched many ravens.
He has identified 5 types of weather associates with 5 types of animals:
- Blizzard – white bear.
- Wind – wolves
- Pretty- spiders
- Hazy – ravens
- Apathy – no animals.
Head for Rhitzdorff. By 4 p.m., we shelter in an old store in a swamp. In the trees, there are Ravens but not as much as in Rhitzsump. The building we are in is relatively intact with some tables etc. Apparently, it was an inn and has had spells of magical preservation cast on some of the furniture.
We head for Regelhiem following a paved road that goes by the river. – A giant spider!
Five ice demons have caused the problems. They have locked down the country with magic and it looks like they were planning it for some time. Their names are not known. The fifth animal associated with the apathy day is a snake. He believes the centre of operations for the demons is the Moon Lake area. He only escaped as he was out of the country when this issue came into being. There could be some association with the fact that Flugelheim became unknown several years ago. The party will have to transport themselves to where he is. He will try to arrange some special amulets to protect from the effects of the demon’s weather for the next party.
He DA’s our ice marks, which have formed on our bodies, and says that they are associated with the various weather effects & will make the respective demons more powerful against us when we are marked. We can remove it by a get rid of curse spell.
Other pertinent (that means stuff that we will probably need to know later – important facts) information:
- We can be portalled into Flugelheim City.
- Magical Ice is not bound.
- Magic is flowing NNW, towards the Lake of the Moon in the Ritz area.
- Mana cannot be drawn in Port Artz, it has been perverted. This might go as far as 1 mile from the city walls.
- Planar magics won’t work into Artzdorf.
- The Port Docks are safe places to travel.
- Maltane is a High Mana Zone and a Place of Power for Water.
- The Lake of the Moon has a variable amount of mana based on the cycle of the moon.
- The Demonic effect seems to be for 1 day at a time, beginning at 0900. So Day 1 might be wolves, day 2 spiders etc.
- Malkor uses a rag and string golem for the portal.
2nd of Meadow 804, Wodensday
On arrival in Flugelheim:
It is a HAZE day.
Kern does some party member DAing (Detect Aura is when some mages look at the pretty colours around each person that I never knew were there when I was just a fighter, but they are, and they can ask questions and look at the colours and the swirls and tell important stuff. I’m not very good at it yet). Following is the information: Aryan – name of last magic to impact – intraplanar gate Pent – name of last magic to impact – intraplanar gate Duration of last magic to impact – immediate
Facts about the magical ice:
- Snow rhyme inside the room melts with a fire.
- Thick ice outside (4-8”) resistant to being broken.
- Infravision (this is a funny kind of vision that halflings have which is termperature sensitive rather than really seeing. I think they see pretty colours too) shows everything as being the same temperature as each other, e.g. ground, air, buildings.
- Ice/ Fire temperature alteration is about 50% effective.
- Ice can be tunnelled.
- Ice is about twice as strong as normal ice.
- Kern’s mace can shatter the ice.
- Once it is broken, the magic is gone and it is like normal ice.
Malkor gives us two letters of introduction, sealed with a College of Wizardry Magical Seal.
Ithilmor’s DA: from which direction is the winter magic emanating (this means coming from, it was my word of the week about 2 months ago)? NNE.
We are leaving a clear trail, but there are no other tracks. Some doors and windows have been left open in houses – any evacuation or taking of the people who lived here was very quick. It’s very sad, and inspires me with the desire to find the bad guys!
The city gates are iced open and we can see the snowy landscape. There are low stone walls to the sides of the road. The ground here has a different aura to the city. It’s much colder out here – the climate control operating in the palace/ city does not go this far.
Flying is even harder than normal (wish we could have some good strong mountain ponies instead) because we can’t see very far. We note that some deciduous (that means plants which lose their leaves in winter and grow them again in spring) trees still have their leaves – obviously there is some confusion about the season.
We fly to Rhigelheim and go north up the river. At a shallow ford, the water hasn’t snap frozen – you can still see the ripples on it where the water was flowing. We have some lunch about an hour’s flight north of Rhigelheim. Aryan uses his magic pot to heat up lunch. As SOON as he puts it on the gruond, it gets ice rhymed up.
Chat to trees reveals:
- Mainly deciduous, some have lost leaves, about 75% (that’s three quarters) haven’t.
- Trees are aware that the winter is not natural.
- Other trees warned them, but it happened too fast.
- Rhyme on trees and undergrowth, rhyme on grass, ice on dead mulch.
- Pent heals the trees a bit – they are very pleased.
Absolutely nothing else is moving apart from us. It is a full length summer day, even though it feels like winter. That’s really disorienting (that means we don’t really know which way is up!). We head further north until our visibility in front goes to almost nothing. About 1000’ away, there’s a “wall” (cos we can’t describe it any better, although I guess we could call it a really, really big pillar too, or perhaps a cylinder, although there’s nothing to tell us it’s circular cos it’s so big!). We can also hear the sounds of rushing winds. Non-ice magics don’t work so well. Maybe this is like a combination of all the 5 days/ demons put together in one spot?
We see Unseen people!!! Fortunately, they’re party members. We get closer to the wall, and at about 50’ we see a roiling (that means moving inside itself as if it had a large snake in its tummy, kind of both uncomfortable and a bit icky) wall of snow, flat, geometric and contained. Weird.
- Nature of the magic between us and the wall is OBSCUREMENT.
- The spell imbued (that means the spell that has been put in there) is Maelstrom Barrier, and an Ice College counterspell will get rid of it (maybe!).
- The primary effect of the magic on humanoids is freezing.
- The duration – 5 months since it started, but some part of it is just today.
The party Namer (that’s me, Penni) tries to banish the wall and it very rudely spits ice at me! A counterspell makes a dent, so Pent and I make a tunnel, which we run through. Our wings freeze and then explode! Maeb gets a bit hurt, but not too badly.
We see a more perfect landscape in front of us. Trees are made of ice. The river is no longer in a ravine. Two towers are equidistant (that means they seem to be about as far away as each other from where we are). We see a forest, a spire and a cliff. There are some moving things – birds and maybe animals. There isn’t much cover. The ground is magical – Ice Transformation is the magic. The Plane of Origin is Alusia/ Ice.
We seek out cover in a copse. Just as we get there, we see an unkindness of ravens heading for the cleft in the wall (which we did mostly close up). The trees are made of ice, but it seems to be flexible. Colours are distorted through the ice trees etc. The ravens hover near the cleft, then split into what look like search parties.
2 Meadow, Late afternoon, early evening
The Unkindness of Ravens (approx 150) continue to search for us. But we’re carefully huddled with a copse of trees. Pent creates an ice shelter, shaped as a landscaped bivouac. H got more ice than expected. W crawl in, careful not to touch each other, otherwise the Walking Unseen’s would fail.
Shortly many ravens fly over. I listened but all I could make out was them saying “different, find something different, changed”. They’ve spread out in a fan, flying away from the crack through which we had come. It’s uncertain whether they know the exact spot we come through, but about 10 have remained behind while the others search. Some look larger than others.
An Ice Tunnelling was tried. It took some effort, and the Icy Transformation effect goes all the way down. A DA on the dirt: Name of the Demon this effect is related to - the answer is not available; Direction of Source – here.
We wait about 15 minutes and the ravens are coming back. Pent creates a matching bivouac to cover the entrance to the first one. They fly back over but one has come down to investigate our copse. It thinks something is different. It starts to fly away but Pent manages to spear it with some darts. We skewer it on a branch, trying to make it look like the Raven had had an accident. Check that all is clear and we make a run for a rocky outcropping. Our range weapons are prepared and Penni is covering our tracks as we go.
It looks as though the other ravens have noticed that one is missing, and once we’re hiding in the rocks, we eventually see a few of them investigate the copse where we were. Also a small group has broken away and is making straight for the Spire that we can see further north.
The group investigating the copse then returned to the wall and we make a run for a gully. We keep moving along, with occasional check on the progress of the ravens, and is again Penni covering our tracks.
There is a large wood next to the gully. We make our way up a game track while Penni creates a false trail further along the gully. We estimate that this wood is about ½ mile across.
The ravens have gone back to the copse, with some inside and many flying above and around. They fan out and head in our direction but it looks like they’re back to searching and are not sure where exactly we are.
We make our way further into the woods. There is underbrush here, where there was only litter and debris back in the copse. Kern managed to find a cave in an oak tree’s root structure It appears to have once belonged to a bear. Unfortunately it’s a bit cramped for all of us, so well need to enlarge it. Kern attempts to summon an Earth Elemental. Unfortunately he failed to control it so we frantically kill it. He succeeds with the second Elemental.
While it is enlarging the den, I and the other rangers try to remove the evidence of the scuffle with the first Elemental. We finally get to settle into the den with some degree of comfort, considering the conditions. Talking to the Earth Elemental reveals that there are other subterranean cave pockets, but we can’t get to them. It couldn’t sense any large creatures nearby. And the big building E/NE of here has weird foundations that are not deep. The Elemental is sent away and we settle in for the night.
At dawn we rise and prepare for the day, trading useful spells, including Walking Unseen. We head out to look at the area. We find various tracks of Wolf, Bear, Raven, Spider and Snake, some larger that normal. There are some ravens off in the distance, but none near.
We look for a secure place to be for the changeover of the day’s control. Northeast is a hill with some ruins upon it. We head off towards it.
7:30am: The ruins appear to have been a 4 roomed stone house. We find the outline of the hearth and the collapsed chimney. Everything looks more ruined that destroyed.
DA on the landscape here – it’s segmented but associated to what we’ve seen before. But it appears to be resisting the Icy Transformation.
A check on the towers reveals that the Spire might not be the centre of the ‘area’. And there may be 6 or 7 towers. Needs closer observation for a definite figure.
A closer inspection of the within the ruins reveals that part of the floor is sagging. Expect that a cellar may be below. Aryan tries to open it without too much disturbance but no such luck. Eventually get the old cellar door open. The cellar appears to be very deep.
Kern tried to get another Earth Elemental but failed. He described the failure as something resisting. Well we already know that magic seems to be having weird side effects.
Aryan and Ithilmor go down to investigate. The stairs have rotted and gone. They get to the first level. It’s about 20’ down, 10’ high, and 25’x15’. The stairs keep going down. There are remains of jars and barrels and other storage. The appearance is of complete disrepair and the ravages of small animals.
Aryan and Ithilmor continue down another 30’. Ithilmor acquired a few scrapes getting down to the second level but was okay. The second level is about 8’ high and 50’x50’. There are flagstones and cobbles on the floor and up the walls. The roof is packed earth. The stairs are in the centre of one wall. To left and right of the stairs are statues, about 4’ high on 2’ pillar bases.
The one to the right (upon entering): It is humanoid and carries a mallet and stone chisel. These statues are both golems. The one to the left: It is humanoid and carries a shaped stone, it appears to be a finishing stone. When the DA questions are done, the ‘triggering condition’ is Desecration.
Further in the room is a plinth upon which is an alter (slab). Runic characters go around the plinth. The plinth is about 10’x7’ and 6”high. The alter is about 6’x3’ and 4’ high. There is a fine ‘line’ about 15’ around the alter which matches up with a warded area. Aura Strength is both ends of the spectrum Magic/Avatar –i.e. Magic with speckles of Avatar.
Kern followed Aryan and Ithilmor down
Essentially the information gathered is Ithilmor and Penni - To whom does this worship belong: the answer is “You are not meant to know.” Kern - To whom does this worship belong: the answer is “You are not yet worthy”. The Ward triggers on ‘disrespectful intent’ – theft, destruction, mischief, desecration, incompatible rituals. The ward is an Earthquake! Kern says that this is not a place of power but his mana is locked away from him. There is a Devine Sphere of Influence – construction, masonry.
0900: A new cycle dawns…
We have no idea which one it is!!! We can tell that the circle effect is expanding slightly each day. It takes us a couple of hours, but we slowly approach the tower (unseen, on wings). The tower is 60’ high and has a 50’ diameter with arrow slits which are kind of human sized. There might be 5 or 6 floors. We fly closer. Investigation reveals snake slither tracks, away from the tower, going due west. It’s APATHY day!
We see snakes. Furry, ice snakes. We fight a bit. When we kill a snake, it goes icy then cracks and shatters. Maeb’s snake tries to constrict her. Aryan goes to help, and does, but then the other snake gets him! A DA on these snakes shows that the are Ice Wurn, and they are not summoned. A great big snake (which we call the King Snake) appears. It is a King Ice Wurm. Pent’s ice bolt bounces, so magical weapons only. The name of the Demon associated with the Wurm is blocked. When we kill the King Snake, it explodes into ice shards (these are small and often sharp pieces of ice).