Session two found the group diminished, as one player could not attend.
Rules addendum: This is the snowman in rules:
- Based on the fighter stats and XP progression
- Natural AC 5
- Half Damage from missile fire
- Does not need to eat or drink
- Vulnerable to heat and fire (melting, exhaustion, double damage)
- Vulnerable to magic weapons
- Not affected by Charm Person
- Instead of walking, he slides on a sheet of ice (think slugs), thus gaining the ability to lay down a sheet on ice on anything he slides across.
The group travelled northwards, with Archibald Lysanderoth and King Dragon hanging back for now, but promising to follow as soon as possible.
On the way north the others found signs of destruction in the countryside and learned that there was a colossal boar plaguing the area. They proclaimed that they would overcome it, and the local tavern keeper promised to feed and house them for free if they could make good on that promise.
Nameless and Silent, Arkbald and Jay, Evelyn and Bob, and the Snowman and Andy waited for the night and slowly travelled east in the dark, until Bob noticed signs of rumbling and crashing to the southeast. It was the colossal boar, and they left their horses behind to sneak closer on foot. The boar noticed them, though, and came rushing at them. They spread out and sought cover individually. The boar became aware of the snowman because of his ice trail and sought to drag him out to trample him, but Arkbald the mage cast sleep on the boar. The beast was too mighty to be overcome by this. It was distracted by the attempt, though, and at that moment attacked from all sides by all eight adventurers, each of whom hit, and they managed to wound it so gravely that it bled out quickly, without managing to hit any of the group in its death throes.
A great victory!
The locals were very happy and came to carve up the beast and drag tons of meat back to their village. They salted and dried most of it to hold out through the winter, and gave several good rations to the group, in addition to the promised free food and lodging. They also noted down their names to tell everyone about their deed.
The next day the group travelled on and found a part of the road that looked suspiciously like an ambush site, so they decided to go around it through the wilderness. On that path they encountered poisonous tail ants, and the snowman caked them with ice to clear the way, then they all put cloth or fur on their boots and hoofs to get across the ice safely — except for Arkbald the mage and Jay, who just stepped carefully… that proved too little, and they slipped, but their comrades picked them up and carried them over safely.
Bars and the Three Tribes
Finally the expedition came to the town of Bars, where they saw a message board telling them three interesting things: King Iorik, their friend, was beset by barbarians from the west, and recruiting for an army. Queen Maeve, his enemy, was also recruiting to attack him. And there were 1000 gold pieces offered for the head of a red-haired goblin called Fridolin Stinkebein, aka Fridolin Stinkebart, aka Ubarak Bonegnawer, who commanded a gang of dangerous bandits in the area.
Quite fed up with tavern after tavern, the adventurers sought the local temple for shelter (having a cleric and dervish with them), and got more information about the brewing war there: For ten years now Iorik and Maeve fought, with each other and with King Norn of the White Peak. Iorik and Maeve had a history of friendship, but had fallen out hard.
Iorik, the Huntsman
The group decided to make peace between them, but that it needed more info. They travelled to King Iorik first, where they were received with honors, and learned that he and Maeve had once been lovers, but she had desired her son Snake as successor, because he was elder; he desired his own son Eggar to be successor, because he was from the male line. Then King Norn spread lies to deepen the rift between them.
Armed with this knowledge they travelled east to the Shard Valley and to Queen Maeve. Reception there was more frosty and they had to give up their arms and armor to be permitted in the palace. Unacceptable for Arkbald the mage, who sought to enter the Valley in secret through the wilderness. However, he encountered numerous wild animals and decided to retreat rather than risk life and limb to fight them.
The others sought an audience with the Queen, who was antagonistic when she learned that they had spoken to Iorik first. But she confirmed the beginning of his story, up to the point of King Norn’s lies. On the contrary, she said, King Norn saved her son’s life. He warned her in time of assassins in King Iorik’s pay who tried to enter her castle and kill Snake in his sleep. The assassins were slain, and the bitter feud with Iorik started.
“Why not keep the kingdoms apart?” asked Evelyn the Elf. “Have Snake rule the Shard Valley and Eggar rule the Blue Hills after Iorik and Maeve?
“Because we desired to unify our lands to rule Bars and the market there, the Queen explained.
Then the topic of the living snowman came up: Queen Maeve desired his services. She would have him replicated and build an army of invincible snowmen to crush her enemies. “We do not know how to make such snowmen,” said the others. “Only my friend Andy knows the secret,” said the snowman.
That comment turned out to be unwise. It shifted attention to the sidekick Andy, and the Queen decreed that Andy must stay with her and create a snowman army. The others were free to go.
Royals & the little man
That was a very stressful experience for the snowman, and he pleaded and offered to enter her service after the quest would be completed, if only Andy could come with him. But she remained adamant: She needed the army now. And she needed someone to build it. Andy was to stay, and the others could go or stay in the dungeons.
The snowman considered violence, but the Queen had guards and he had to give up his weapons upon entry. Resistance would have been suicide.
Saddened, the group left to travel to the white peaks and to King Norn and come back as quickly as possible to free Andy, when the snowman had a new idea. He let himself fall apart outside of Queen Maeve’s castle, and became a regular pile of snow. The others claimed that this was due to the distance from Andy.
Very unwelcome news for the Queen, of course: Who needs an army that falls apart as soon as it gets separated from its creator? Miffed, she let Andy go free and rebuild his snowman. Better to send soldiers of flesh and blood after all.
Happily reunited, the party moved off, but decided that it would be good to have something else for the Queen to make up for her disappointment, so they searched for old ruins to seek treasure.
One such ruin was a crypt located not far from the road, and the group went there. Nameless and Silent stayed outside to watch for Lysanderoth and King Dragon, the other six entered the first room. There they found some slain adventurers and three skeletons, which rattled, twitched, and rose to attack them.
The elves beat the skeletons asunder in a flurry of mighty blows, the other members of the team aided a bit.
Three stone doors lead on from this first room. To be opened next time.
End of session.
Image: Francesco Paggiaro on Pexels.