Corruption in Icewind Dale

Prologue: Chilling Words From the North
Pre-Game Intro

It is a time of relative peace in Baldur’s Gate thanks to the actions of six heroes who stood against the Chosen of Bhaal. Though that peace still wades through a simmering smokepowder keg of animosity, their efforts and example have set the city on the road to recovery. The disaster has been averted – but change and progress will take their time to manifest.

Two of the Bormul’s escaped custody, and magical scrying reports that they have veered northward, heading to Waterdeep and beyond. What schemes they might hatch are for the moment, out of reach.

Making matters worse, the Lord of Murder is again alive – but in a far weaker state than he anticipated and bereft of followers.

Yet Bhaal is not the only evil god to choose a mortal champion invested with the divine spark that could spell ruin for the innocent. That fact is hammered home a week after the fall of Rilsa Rael, when Isteval, paladin and Chosen of Amaunator the Morning Lord, arrives in Baldur’s Gate, seeking and audience with the city’s venerated heroes…

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Over Sea and Over Land
Act 0 – Session 1

In the week after the fall of Rilsa Rael, Bhaal’s Chosen, our heroes began tying up loose ends. Alan Whitcombe and Aldric Longbeardboth went south on missions of memorial. One, to see to the burial of his short-time paramour, Cossondra Fairweather, the other to return belongings held by Baldur’s Gate’s greatest hero to his home in Candlekeep.

As our heroes saw to the recovery of the city, (and were showered with gifts, praise, thanks, and in Aldric’s case, a request to officiate a marriage) destiny approached. One evening they were called on to join the paladin Isteval for an early dinner. The crippled warrior and Chosen of the Sun God Amaunator beseeched them to go northward. He had received visions from his God that heralded the next stage of The Sundering – the arrival of another Chosen. This time, the divinely imbued servant championed the cruel ice Goddess Auril. This new Chosen, (and he presumed, agents of the Cult of Auril) would seek to cover the entirety of upper Fäerun in a ceaseless winter; bringing all lands and peoples under the goddesses capricious subjugation.

Having heard of the hero’s successes in defeating the Chosen of Bhaal and stifling the Lord of Murder’s cult, Isteval found them to be the natural choice in opposing Auril. Though he was invested with no authority and few funds to support them, Isteval impressed upon them a need to preserve the balance of the world, and offered to make arrangements for the hero’s journey before he himself saw to lurking dangers in Daggerford.

Most of the Heroes of Baldur’s Gate agreed to Isteval’s request, and set to preparing for the long journey into the inhospitable north. In addition to this world-spanning threat, the assistance of the Sage’s Guild had revealed that the two escaped Bormuls were making their way by ship northward, and there was a good chance of catching up to them on the way. A thought the stalwart Pelagornis Sandersi IV relished. Alan and Aldric both hit the books to prepare for the unfamiliar terrain, their desire to reach Icewind Dale further spurred by orders from the gran clergy of the faith of Oghma. Visions received by the Chosen of their own god saw a horrific future of world-shaping climate change were Auril’s Chosen to be allowed the freedom to carry out the goddesses plans. Among those visions were several uninterpreted images:

•A Luskanite Wizard
•A dwarf bleeding black slush from all his orifices
•An elk fighting a bear.
•A hobgoblin and a a rat with chains on their necks being unleashed

Before leaving, Pelagornis underwent a ritual to dedicate himself as a rarity among his faith: swearing and oath of vengeance against the enemies of civilization and industry and becoming a relentless avatar of destruction for his otherwise even-tempered god. Amidst the clanging of hammers and simmering of furnaces, Pelagornis pledged to destroy his foes by any means necessary. And as insurgents who would risk the destruction of Baldur’s Gate to ensure their personal authority, the Bormuls were a prime target for his wrath.

With their equipment and belongings in order, goodbyes said (this excludes their reluctant ally and sometime superior officer, the Flaming Fist Marshall Ulder Ravengard) the party boarded their ship: the Eyrie Monster, under the care of a grizzled but personable Captain Pridemore. Also seeking passage on the ship was a well dressed and well spoken calligrapher, one Mister Bartholomew Jones.

Their first stop was Waterdeep, where the ship acquired cargo and two new passengers of small stature. The first was a dwarf merchant who filled the already crammed holds and deck with her stock of goods. The amenableHelda Silverstream was a world hardened traveller and a shrewd businesswoman, who was eager for a little adventure on the high seas among storied heroes.

The other newcomer, was a more reserved gnome called Kharatazul the Chastised, though he quickly pointed out that “Zul” would suffice. Though a grim sort, he was not unapproachable, and soon fell in with the companions as they settled into a life at sea and in very close quarters with one another.

Upon reaching Neverwinter the party had a few days of respite on land. Alan took the opportunity to link up with old contacts, and was offered a position among The Harpers at the behest of one of Biri’s old allies. Meanwhile, Zul exercised a bit of his frustration by killing a particularly irritating ruffian outside of the Moonstone Mask, and sneaking away before he was caught.

But the final leg of the sea voyage to Luskan would not be so easy. Only a day out of the City of Sails, the alarm was called by the lookout – a ship flying pirate colors was sighted off to starboard. After a few hours pursuit it was clear that the swift pirate vessel would no doubt overtake The Eyrie Monster and board her. Our heroes readied for battle, and when the time came, the pirate vessel smashed into the Monster head first. A first and fast melee broke out, but the pirates had underestimated the tenacity of their prey’s passengers. In the end, the party stood on the deck of the enemy ship, all combatants slain and crew surrendered, their personal treasure now filling the pockets of the Monster’s passengers and crew.

But the biggest windfall came after a day of cautious and treacherous wheeling and dealing in the chaotic city of Luskan. Thanks to Captain Pridemore’s experience, a few favors, and no small amount of luck, he was able to sell the salvaged pirate ship for an incredibly fair price, which was then divided amongst all those on board the Monster. Knowing that the allies of the defeated pirates would soon catch up with them, Pridemore cast off quickly, and the party along with Helda, joined the caravan setting off for Icewind Dale.

Days of boring, tedious travel and hard weather lay ahead. Along the journey their numbers deterred bandits but seemed to barely keep bands of wild animals at bay. Finally, after a sum of nearly forty days travel from their departure in Baldur’s Gate, on the early morning of September 24, our heroes finally sighted the gates of Bryn Shander, the trade hub of Ten-Towns.

But the caravan would not reach the gates, before the cries of concealed yetis broke the chill silence of the early morning air: it was an ambush!

REWARDS

EXP: 250 Each
GP: 100 (Pirate booty + Isteval’s Financing) 450 (Ship Value)

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Rescue in Bryn Shander
Act I — Session 2

Eleint (September) 25, 1485 DR – 6:07 am

The wind howls and so do the yetis. Our heroes leap out of caravan wagons as the merchants and their charges try desperately to keep the horses and pack animals from panicking and wreaking more havoc. In spite of the monster’s raw strength, supernatural powers, and the advantage of ambush, the party prevailed in cutting them down after a deadly and risky skirmish. In the end, only two of the caravaners were killed, and no supplies were lost to the monster’s sneak attack. As blades were being sheathed, Kharatazul the Chastised noticed off in the distance a localized squall concealing the form of a young woman, who seemed to vanish into the wind.

Zul was also left with another mystery. When he summoned for the power of his otherworldly patron to materialize his mystical spear, the weapon “hatched” into a horrific looking fey creature. Eager to please, and instinctively linked to the warlock, it obeyed his commands and did its part in the battle, though it did little to resolve the problem of why it had appeared so suddenly.

As the party made the final march through the gates of Bryn Shander they overheard guards speculating that the attack was brought on by the barbarian tribesman of the dale, one of whom had been arrested just a day before. The timing to them, seemed suspicious.

Happy to be someplace relatively safe, the amiable Helda Silverstream thanked her companions for their assistance in the fight and their camaraderie on the long journey. She offered to hire them as an escort north to Dwarven Valley in a few days, once she had completed the sale of her goods. Helda indicated that she would be staying at the inn closest to the city’s north gate, a hostel called The Northlook.

As the party began to make arrangements to use Bryn Shander as a base of operations in their hunt for the snow witch, they came upon the aforementioned prisoner in the town’s market square. Hengar Aesnvaard, of the Reghed Tribes was bound to a post in the square, sentenced to death by exposure and watched by two surly town sentinels.

Our heroes exchanged words with both the young barbarian and his imprisoners – discovering that he had been accused of trying to steal an enormous sum of money (by the local standards) and assaulting a shopkeeper. Hengar claimed that he came to Bryn Shander to seek aid for his people, beleaguered as they were by the depredations of the Ice Witch and her bestial minions. After a chat with the town sherif and the woman who claimed that Hengar tried to rob her, it was clear that the young man was being treated unjustly, and his lead in the direction of Auril’s Chosen was invaluable. It was decided to rescue him.

Meanwhile, Zul communed with his patron to inquire about the sudden change in plans. The demure and capricious being who granted him his otherworldly strength explained that he would be safer with a companion, rather than a weapon that put him on the front line and in harm’s way. She explained that he was here to slay the Ice Witch, a foe of his Mistress, and to undo the works of Auril and her minions wherever he found them. She encouraged him to go along with the party on their quests and errands, to earn their trust and support, as their strength and success was requisite to her plans.

Eleint 25 — 11:52 am
The daring escape was planned, and swiftly hatched. While Mr. Jones served as an unwitting distraction to the clothier, Miss Alcott, Tellus Casavir crept in invisibly, and secured her lockbox – the very item she claimed Hengar was after. Though the shopkeeper noticed his invisible presence in the store, she did not reveal the rogue himself, and had no clear idea what was going on. Her suspicions raised though, she called in the guards to pursue any fleeing thieves (word of whom was supplied by Tellus himself) and to hold the odd Mr. Jones for questioning.

In the market square, Alan Whitcombe appeared in the guise of Sherif Markham, drawing more sentinels away from the young barbarian. Pursuit of the “thief” continued, aided by an illusory footpad leaping from rooftop to rooftop. In the commotion, Alan cut down Hengar from his bonds, taking on his appearance and replacing him on the stand. Swiftly, Aldric Longbeard bound the Elk tribesman in a cloak, and rushed off to provision him for an escape. Alan bought the party as much time as his spell allowed, escaping by detonating a deadly thunderwave that killed a guard and a civilian, before he turned invisible and slipped away.

Alonside all this, the search for Guy Bormul and his uncle Rexus Bormul, as well as The Zhentarim mercenaries that they accompanied continued. Though few in Bryn shander will willing to speak or knew much of their whereabouts, the party gleaned that the conniving nobles headed north for a few days, returning briefly the day before, and then heading out east. It seemed they would need to be a target for another day.

In a comedy of fortuitous errors, our heroes all bumped into one another at the Northlook, conveying the plan to rush out of Bryn Shander with Hengar in tow, eager to make way to the Dwarven Valley as Helda’s bodyguards. With some fuss and finagling, they moved past the northern gates before word of Hengar’s escape could reach the guards.

Eleint 25 — 10:45 pm
A long, grueling ten hour march later, the party arrived at the southern end of the Dwarven Valley. An attack by a pack of vicious wolves, led by a deadly winter wolf did little to slow them down, and more to fill Aldric’s cart with profitable pelts. But the warm welcome Helda expected would not be coming. As she called out to the sentries on the cliffs of the southern watch post, they shot back a curt answer: “”/characters/dain-stokley-silverstream" class=“wiki-content-link”>Stokely may say ye can enter, but Baerick says ye cannot, and so ye can’t."

REWARDS
EXP Yeti fight + Bryn Shander Rescue + ‘Chievos + RP + Wolf Fight = 575 each
Helda’s reward for seeing her safely to Dwarven Valley = pending

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A Rift in the Valley
Act I — Session 3

[EDITORIAL NOTE: iOS8 has disabled spellcheck in safari windows. What follows is a shitshow]

Eleint (September) 25, 10:30 pm
It seemed the part was at a standoff with the guards keeping watch over the southern entrance to Dwarven Valley. Upon learning that Helda Silverstream, the niece of the denounced Dain Stokley Silverstream was in their presence, they became more agitated, and demanded that she be handed over. Tensions finally boiled over and the battle begun. Dwarven archers fired flaming arrows as our heros rushed forward in an attempt to take the ridge, or dove for cover behind the wagon. Kharatazul the Chastised smote one of the dwarf sentries and pried a strange looking dagger, seemingly made of black ice, out of the combatant’s hand. When he used it to fell another of the aggressive guards, he noted that he felt compelled to viciously slay his opponent.

As the battle raged, our heroes gained the upper hand, though Hengar Aesnvaard and Pelagornis Sandersi IV were both critically injured in the fighting. With his last breaths, the commander of the redoubt shouted a warning into the raven figurine head of his warhammer – and to everyone’s surprise, the weapon sprung to life, flying away. Both spells and the Zuul’s nimble fey imp failed to catch the messenger effigy.

With combat over, Zuul and Tellus Casavir helped themselves to an even split of thespoils in the customs station’s lockbox, while the others dressed their wounds and bound the sole survivor for the typical interrogation.

They learned from this dwarven scout that a political civil war was on the verge of breaking out in Dwarven Valley. Due to recent zombie attacks, and his refusal to begin mining and hoarding the mysterious black ice, many declared no confidence in their leader, Stokley. Instead, dwarves began to ally themselvesin droves with the craftsman who had discovered the iron-hard material: Baerick Hammerstone. The valley was now divided brother against brother – with Stokley’s loyal follwers to the west in Battlehammer Hold, and Baerick’s usurpers holding out east in the Halls of Black Ice.

This all chagrined Helda. She knew many of the dwarves who lay dead in the snow, and even once had some fondness for Baerick. These hostilities were very recent. And suspicious.

Once inside Battlehammer Hold, the party related their encounter to a grim faced Stokley Silverstream. He agreed to offer a reward if the heroes could resolve one or both of the problems threatening to tear Dwarven Valley apart from the inside. Though Hengar took some convincing to stay on, he agreed to spare a day out of their mission to aid the dwarves with their problems.

A call to his patron granted Zuul a great deal of insight. She asked that he begin collecting as much of the black ice as he could – imbuing in his memory a ritual by which to purify the ice of the demonic taint within it. This seemed to prove a wild theory that Mr. Jones stumbled upon, impling that the black ice was in fact the remains of the enchanted fortresses raised by the nefarious magical artifact known as the Crystal Shard. The complicationinherent in this ritual being that it was a blood magic practice, and necessitated a living being to temporarily give up its life force, and its blood. Though rest would restore the subject to full health, this limitedthe amount of black ice objects that could be purified at one time.

Armed with the knowledge that the ice had a corrupting effect on those who came in contact with it, the party set to experimenting with their captive and another dwarf from Baerick’s faction. It was difficult to tell if the hostility the ice seemed to fill its victims with was a permanent shift in their demeanor. Zuul attempted his purification ritual on one of the victims, and found that it exacerbated their recovery. The effects could be reversed…and this meant that the effected dwarves were not lost to the cruelty and malice of the long dead Crystal Shard.

September 26, 7:00am
In the morning, the party decided to move quickly by dividing their resources. Alan Whitcombe, Tellus Casavir, and the barbarian youth Hengar would go to the halls of black ice in disguise to spy upon Baerick’s operation and disposition. Meanwhile, the others, (with Helda on as a guide, in spite of her uncle’s insistence) would inviestigate the supposed zombie “plague.”

Upon reaching the mine’s nexus, they found a survivor. A miner named Paldrinor had lost his wits in fear, and survived the massacre by hiding under a minecart with what little food and water he could find. His screams attracted the undead, and soon the group was surrounded by a brigade of shambling dead. Zombies moaned, skeletons fired their arrows, and ravenous ghouls clawed hungrily for the flesh of the living. After a tense but well-managed battle, our heroes prevailed. Paldrinor explained that this was indeed no plague – for he saw a humanoid of some kind casting spells and raising the fallen dwarf warriors and miners. Pointing the way, he insisted on staying safe, and so was locked into a nearby temple.

Deep in the newest section of th mines, the party was harassed by a raspy voice whispering threats from out of the darkness. As they narrowed in on the place Paldrinor saw the necromancer, they drew closer to the voice. It’s threats left no mistake that this was none other than Akar Kessell, an old enemy of Icewind Dale. Kessell led the heroes knowingly into a trap, and they fought their way past poisonous spiders of enormous size, and another horde of slavering zombies, some of which had been buried under the ice and stone since Kessell’s first attempt to conquer the valley. Defeated, Kessell swore vengence, then drifted out of the chamber in mist form.

Among the wight’s effects were a few scrolls, and a trinket carved from black ice. His mention of turning the people of Ten Towns against one another indicates his part in the appearance of the black ice.

September 26, 11:43 am
Stokely was happy to eward the teiumphant heroes, and ecstatic to see his niece returned alive, if badly banged up. In reward, he has offered the party free use of a home located in Battlehammer Hold, available to them indefinitely. Their spells expended and muscles exhausted, the group rested to restore their faculties while waiting for word from Alan, Tellus, and Hengar.

September 26, 7:45 pm
There is stll no sign of Tellus, Alan, and Hengar…

REWARDS

*PROPERTY: *1 Family home in dwarven valley, suited to 3 adults. Adjoined to a second apartment property that may be acquired later (for a map, see the wiki).
*GOLD: *Tellus and Zuul find: 50gp. 60 silver. 50 copper. 15 pp. 40 gp in gems (each)
*EXP: *All players should be at 5,000 exp

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Fall of the Black Ice Betrayer
Act I — Session 4

Eleint (September) 26, 8:00pm
Racing to the rescue, our heroes swiftly prepared to free Alan Whitcombe, Tellus Casavir, and the Elk Tribe barbarian Hengar Aesnvaard. Stopping at the smith and alchemist to acquire potions and arms, the party then sought Dain Stokley Silverstream’s advice on infiltrating the halls of black ice undetected. The dwarven lord loaned them the use of one of his scouts, a hard-eyed dwarf by he name of Pontar.

Pontar guided the vengeful heroes down a little guarded rampway and passage on the opposite side of the valley. Narrowly avoiding discovery by a passing patrol, Pontar proved his worth as a guide and companion, and led the others right to Baerick Hammerstone’s very doorstep.

Within, the crazed craftsman was raving at Tellus and Alan, their companion Hengar barely conscious and badly beaten. At his side were two veteran dwarf fighters, corrupted and twisted by the black ice, and a woman whose dress and mannerisms marked her as a stranger in Icewind Dale. She spoke against the heroes, recommending that Baerick kill them outright.

Pontar drew the door guards into the hallway where the party put them down, before rushing into Baerick’s chambers to the aid of their friends. The pitched battle was almost joined by a squad of The Zhentarim‘s mercenaries, but quick thinking and a few quick spells laid low the would be reinforcements. In the end, one Zhentarim soldier and Baerick himself survived the skirmish, with our heroes triumphant. Healing their wounds seiftly and gathering up their gear and any loot that wasn’t too much to bear (an easier prospect now that the had a bag of holding) the group fled down the side tunnels that the late Pontar had revealed to them, signaling Stokley’s men that they were in need of aid.

Just as they were starting to get lost in the deeper parts of he dwarven mines, several Battlehammer Hold soldiers found the party, and guided them out of hostile territory. Baerick and the mercenary were imprisoned, the later rveealing under magical interrogation that the Zhentarim had reached a business deal with the Black Ice dwarves – one that would be cut as short as the captive’s life was by the cold metal hands of Pelagornis Sandersi IV. At Hengar’s insistence, the party made plans to leave promptly in the morning, a grateful Stokely happy to reward them with a permanent dwelling in Dwarven Valley. The Valley’s troubles may not be entirely over, but the greatest dangers were squelched.

This perhaps being his last chance, a polite Mr. Jones approachedthe group’s longtime travelling companion, the merchant Helda Silverstream with a perhaps vague request. Having picked up on his personal quirks, she understood the message, and invited him into her room. Beer and wine made one thing lead to another, and it wasn’t long before Jones had the rare pleasure of experiencin dwarven pleasure.

Eleint (September) 27, 6:00 am
In the morning, the party convened for a hearty breakfast feast in their name. Speeches and gifts were given, thanks were shared, and the party was stocked with ample equipment for the journey north. Perhaps Jones was a bit sadder to leave, all things considered.

Alan Whitcombe took the lead, his training in wilderness survival having been tested during the journey to Icewind Dale. While guiding the party, he found evidence of a polar bear nearby, and the group agreed to bypass the potentially dangerous beast.

That night, Pelagornis assumed the first watch. But the tundra’s predators are the masters of their domain, and not easily spotted when arranging an ambush. It was far to late to sound the alarm by the time he heard the yeti howling, from mere feet away!

Rewards

• Two adjoined apartments (accomodates 6 persons) on the Battlehammer Hold side of Dwarven Valley
• Gold, gifts from Helda Silverstream, and black ice items acquired from Baerick’s men (already passed out during the adventure.)
• 3 black ice helmets, 3 black ice amulets, 2 sets of black ice breastplate armor, 4 black ice battleaxes, 1 black ice warhammer (looted from the corpses of foes, not accounted for in the session).

EXP:
1,600 (already accumulated during the session)

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Cave of the Bear Clan
Act I — Session 5

Eleint (September) 28, 12:15 am
Roars in the dark! Our heroes were beset on all sides by the hairy beasts of the tundra. Two yetis, and two polar bears, attacking in coordination fell on our heroes as they slept. Though startled and groggy, their reflexes and survival instinct kicked in, and the party put up a valiant defense, slaying their foes swiftly though not without harm.

Barely awake, Mr. Jones took and dished out a few blows, before trying to crawl back into his furs, much to the irritation of Kharatazul the Chastised. This also did little to earn him the respect of their Barbarian guide, Hengar Aesnvaard.

Eleint (September) 29, 8:45 am
The attack meant a later start in the morning, which frustrated Hengar, but the party carried on. Thanks to Alan Whitcombe‘s tested skill as a wilderness tracker, they arrived around midday. Funeral pyres burned on a low hill nearby, a portend of the ill tidings they were to find within the camp of the Reghed Tribes’ Elk Tribe.

There they were welcomed with some apprehension: for the barbarians had just endured a great hardship. A raid by the tribe of the Bear had ended poorly for Hengar’s brethren. Some were dead, and several warriors were captured and hauled off with thebear tribe raiders…into a blistering winter storm. It seemed that rumors were true – the tribe of the bear had allied themselves with Auril.

When our heroes were caught up on the tragedy, Hengar made introductions with his people, including the ruler of the tribe, King Jarund Elkhardt. The king was skeptical of Hengar’s mission to seek aid from Bryn Shander, but given the beleaguered state of his tribe, he was in no position to argue.

Against the advice of his shaman and vizier, Mjenir Tormhaalt, the King agreed accept the help of outsiders – and worse, soft civilized men who lived behind stone walls! They showed little respect to Mr. Jones, though the shaman agreed to answer his questions about the mysterious historical figure “Drest Mac Rath” (called “Kresselack The Black Wolf” by the Elk Tribe shaman) and his fabled axe. Assuming, of course, Jones and his friends could successfully rescue the missing tribal warriors.

Then a horn of warning was sounded. Four of the raiders appeared from the East once again, this time with a captive in tow. The prisoner, a man named Soren, was one of the warriors kidnapped earlier. He was returned to bring an ultimatum to the Elk from the Bear’s new god, the Ice Witch: surrender to her completely and turn to the worship of the Ice Witch, or be destroyed. The King, of course, refused, and gave his nod for our heroes to strike against the raiders swiftly and rescue Soren. Mjenir objected to this breach of protocol, but to no avail.

Pursued by ravenous wolves, the party, now joined by a dozen elk tribe warriors, (including Hengar, Soren, and a strange guide named Folnor, who claims to have “killed” the Ice Witch only to see her return) our heroes pressed on. Soon they arrived at the encampment of the Bear tribe – a sacred place called “Evermelt.” Hengar was all to eager teplain that the rangely warm pool was situated over a hot spring that welled up in front of the great glacier. It was home to the cave wherein dwelt the white dragon Icingdeath, who was killed oer 100 years prio by the Elk Tribe hero and barbarian unifier, Wulfgar son of Beorngar.

September 29, 11:15 pm
Under cover of dark, the raiding party began to scale the glacial morraine, but was discovered in their attack. Arrows rained down, but the warriors were swift in taking the ridge, and a enormous skirmish ensued in the valley blow. Inspired by the presence of Pelagornis Sandersi IV, himself mounted on a massive supernatural elk, they fought hard and fast. Despite facing stiff resistance, and in part thanks to the reckless boasts of Jones, the elk tribe andtheir foreign allies carried the day.

After licking theirwounds, they made the dangerous descent into the pool, whihc lead to a deadly chute exiting far below the ground. The landing ws hard, but in this underground grotto were the captives whic our heroes sought. They swiftly dispatched the Bear shaman and his elite zealots, then freed the captives, now nearly dead from exposure.

But there was one more chaber ahead. One more threat. The Ice Witch herself. Gathering together what remained of theassault force, they pressed on.

And indeed, their foe stood before them. “Hedrun? By Tempus, SHE’S the Ice Witch?” Hengar spat in disbelief. The barbarian youth swiftly explained that this girl, the Ice Witch, was exiled from the Elk Tribe a year ago. Soren, thmanthey hd resced earlier in the day, who had been sent by the withc to deliver her ultimatum, was her father.

But questions must wait until later. The witch was readied for batle, and the frozen bones and decayed flesh of the horrific Icingdeath began to stir, a malevolent blue light shining in his long dead eye sockets. Auril’s wrath was upon them…

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The Breaking of Icingdeath
Act I — Session 6

Eleint (September) 29th, 11:59 pm

The undead dragon made no sound, other than the thundering of its rickety and powerful bulk against the hard packed ice. The chamber erupted with shouts to Tempus and the Elk tribe, as southern hero and tribal hero alike sprang into action. Icingdeah’s corpse reared back and blasted his frigid breath across the field, causing Alan Whitcombe to collapse into a shivering pile, his eyelids sealed shut by the cold.

While Kharatazul the Chastised used his dark magicks to impede The Ice Witch, (who the bold Hengar Aesnvaard revealed to be an Elk Tribe outcast) the other set upon Icingdeath. Dodging and weaving they encircled the beast to evade another blast of his deadly breath. One of the barbarians worked the precious droplets of a healing potion into Alan’s throat, beeseching him to “make it count.” Alan retunred the favor and his words with a spell, and began to support the warriors with his keen tactical mind (all while clutching his wounds).

Mr. Jones and the noble Pelagornis Sandersi IV both used lengths of rope to attempt to bind the dragon. Their gambit would prove wise: Pelagornis was able to keep pace with th dragon by smashing his grappnel hook into its icy bulk, while Jones impeded the undead beast’s ability to land with his ropes.

Zhuul spent all his will halting the Ice Witch’s spells, buying the barbarians and the ever loyal Eye-Gore to cut her down. To their dissapointment, the form of the witch collapsed into snow and ice, her fell voice mocking them on the wind and promising that she would send another body after them, and yet others until they were still in icy graves.

With the whole of their force turned against the dragon, it wasn’t long before Jones struck the ultimate blow as the heedless Hengar violently wrenched the ice spear that had killed the dragon in life.

With the creature still and Auril’s cruel will fled from the shattered bones, the barbarians were able to recover their captives and our heroes. After a night’s rest, they returned to the Elk Tribe encampment under the first sunlight in days. A feast was laid out before them and there was much rejoicing at the breaking of the Bear Tribe’s forward redoubt. Our heroes were feasted and celebrated, and made honorary memebers of the Tribe fo the Elk.

Eleint 30, 3:35 pm
The tribe’s leader, King Jarund Elkhardt, bid them to question Soren Aesenvaard. While a bold warrior, he was still the father of the girl who now called herself “Auril’s Chosen,” the dreaded ice witch. Without violence or coercion they determined that Soren had no part in her treachery, and held his tongue only to preserve his daughter’s life. He did all he could to talk her out of her madness, and is now resolute int he knowledge that his only child is lost to reason.

In speaking with the tribe’s spiritual guide, Mjenir Tormhaalt, Jones found two solid leads in the direction of the Axe of Drest MacRath (Called “Kresselack the Black Wolf” in Icewind Dale). The axe was either in the posession of the Bear Tribe’s champion, or in the frigid and forbidding Spine fo the World mountains, in a cursed climbe of tombs called the Vale of Shadows.

Zhuul agreed to such an expedition, but it was reluctantly agreed that such a trip would be postponed until after Pelagornis had searched the town of Easthaven for the two Bormuls, or any sign of their new allies among The Zhentarim. For now, the nearest settlement on the way would mean a return trip to Dwarven Valley.

This meant that Jones might get a chance to speak his new found feelings for the adventurous young dwarf, Helda Silverstream. But being a staunch traditionalist, the yet unknowning Aldric Longbeard breathed his displeasure at the notion of man and dwarf “fraternizing.”

The open tundra lay before them. They had been gone from Ten-Towns for days now, and at least two and a half more days of travel lay ahead before they might reach Easthaven. Much could happen on the dangerous icy wastes, especially now that they had earned the wrath of Auril and her cult.

REWARDS
EXP: 850 each
LOOT:
-x10 50gp gems
-x2 250 gp art objects
-Jaunty Hat
-Summer themed ring
-x2 yeti hide cloaks
-potion of cold resistance
-potion of hill giant str

Individual amounts once divided: 110 copper, 400 silver, 310 gold

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The Cold Breath of Auril's Vengence
Act II — Session 7

Eleint (September) 31, 7:00 am

Our heroes struck out from the encamped Elk Tribe as soon as light would allow. A whole day of travel south saw little more trouble than the portentious greying of the skies.

That night however,t he party was harried by a handful of Bear Tribe raiders who had been on patrol or otherwise escaped the assault on Evermelt. The initial attack was repelled, and the bold and vengeful Pelagornis Sandersi IV ersued the skirmishes to their camp, facing off with the help of Eye-Gore. He narrowly escaped being overwhelmed, and the party coordinated a succesful counter attack. Capturing one of the zealous devotees of Auril, they learned that the frost Godess was amassing an army to strike at the heart of Icewind Dale, and that an active cult in her name was working within Ten Towns.

Marpenoth (October) 1, 2:34 pm
The next day saw great tragedy. A horrific storm swelled up all around our heroes, limiting visibility and agitating the weatherbeaten horse, Ambrosius. Eventually, the wagon rolled up to a great hill, the sound of vicious winter wolve on the other side. Tellus Casavir, as if foreshadowing what was to become of him, expressed his doubts about the hill, and was proven true. No sooner had Mr. Jones ascended it, the lump of snow exploded into motion. A yeti, easily two stories tall, swung its mighty claws and roared. It spewed freezing breath onto the cart, severly wounding most of our heroes. Kharatazul the Chastised tried to forestall it with a mass of writhing ethereal tentacles, as he had done to deter The Ice Witch, but to little effect. The pony wheeled about in fear, dragging the wagon away from battle and yanking Tellus, and Alan Whitcombe with it. Pelagornis stood against the towering yeti bravely, a huge hole being wrent into his metal helm, leaving the glowing light of his soul-skull emenating through. As the party laid low the winter wolves, the battle took a horrifying turn…

In a moment of cunning inspired by Auril’s influence, the yeti retreated back behind the writhing tentacles to discover Zhuul and Tellus moving to flank it. In one blast of frigid and deadly breath, it killed both of the brave heroes where they stood. The solid ice form of Tellus Casvir shattered and crumbled to blood-drenched snow.

Distraught, the party fought with rage and desperation, and brought the beast down, hacking it to pieces and taking its might head as a trophy. But the damage was done. The broken corpses of their allies were loaded intot he wagon for a proper burial once the party had reached Dwarven Vally.

That night, they arrived and as word spread, and air of solemnity fell over the alley. In his sorrow, Jones went to his beloved Helda Silverstream confessing his melancholy and existential doubts, as well as his affections for the dwarf merchant. With her usual bravado, she told Jones that he had a destiny to fulfill, and that his friends were counting on him, just as the people of Dwarven Valley were counting on her to stay in her homeland for a time and see to its rebuilding. This task would mean marriage, motherhood. Both she agreed to grudgingly, but it meant any romantic tryst with Jones would be a fanatasy for another time.

Meanwhile, strange events stirred in the dwarven temple. As Aldric Longbeard prepared the bodies of his comrades, the black ice in Zuul’s pack began to move on its own. The pieces clattered together, making the shape of a small dragon. A luminous mist seeped out of the gnome’s small body and into the sculpture, which began to animate. Witha triumphant roar, Zuul, now in his new, disturbing body, flew off into the night. Sleep in the relative warmtha nd supreme comfort of their apartment was welcome.

Marpenoth 2, 7:15 am
In the morning, Helda Silverstream woke the party to relay more bad news. Upon meeting Dain Stokley Silverstream, they learned that a band of miners and some rough looking body guards had just arrived in the valley and laid claim to some of the southern mines. Agitated,t he party went to confront the trespassers for Stokley with Jones being especially ready to draw blood. To their surprise, a familiar face was in the crowd.

J’ah Kreature had traveled to Icewind Dale just days prior via a one-way portal, and became a guest of Mithann. She had summoned him as political tensions in Ten Towns were boiling over, and the number of murders ramped up. In order to investigate, Kreature ingratiated himself witht he miners and accompanied them to the Valley. As the group met with the swaggering scoundrel who lead this illegal expedition (a man named Fordan who wore many sigils of defeated foes, including a Harper badge) Kreature revealed himself and twisted the situation around his diplomatic finger.

Things became confused, a reunion occured, Kreture swore a blood oath to his friends in House Casavir of Baldur’s Gate (both to the willing and unwilling members) and some aggresive diplomacy and grudging acceptance on Stokely’s part, lead to a monumental resolution. The miners would be allowed to stay if they paid Stokely a tax and worked only certain parts of the mine – a far different deal than the one the hostile takeover the brigands from Bryn Shander were offering.

Having secured a tentative peace, the party swiftly packed up for an arduous journey to Easthaven, to pursue the hated Bormuls and their allies within The Zhentarim with an enthusiastic J’ah Casavir joining them. En route, more terrible weaather slowed their progress. During a sudden squall, the sound of roaring owlbears and twanging crossbows could be heard.

After an agressive skirmish, the party stopped to question the man they had inadvertently aided. Clad in black and gold armor, he appeared to be a member of the Zhentarim, though the diving dragon emblem was nowehere on his person. He announced himself as Bertolf Crane, a former Viper in the Zhentarim. He implied that th enew leadership of Guy Bormul had disgusted him, and turned him from his patron organization. Seeing an ally in the enemy of their enemy, the companions took Bertolf into their caravan and continued on.

Marpenoth 3, 11:52 am
Blown about by repeated storms, our heroes struggled on as ambrosius bore the weight of the cart and the cold. Partway through the day they ran across a suspicious merchant, who after some tension, agreed to let the adventurers look over his wares and make a few trades (Principally the three pristine owlber pelts). The merchant agreed with little cajoling, to accompany the caravan back to Easthaven, his point of origin (Lost in the storms, he doubted that he would find his way to Bryn Shandar before danger found him.

The party passed a cloaked traveller on their way into town, but passed by without incident. Arriving at dusk, Easthaven was still bustling with people coming to and fro to finish their day. After settling in their wagon and mount at a safe place in the stables, the party wandered into town, with Bertolf warry for his former friends. They passed a doomspeaker, shouting for the people to repent in the name of Auril. There was, fotunately, no incident.

Soon they came to a usual haunt of the hentarim troops, one of Easthaven’s more favorable inns, Cairn’s Crossing. Weary from a ahrd road filled with cold winds, cruel claws, and sorrow, our heroes dropped heavily into their chairs and ordered drinks and meals. The warmth of the fire was welcome, and even the sound of laughter and other humanoid voices was refreshing.

Then a crowd left the bar, clearing the way for them to see the entire main hall of the inn. And Pelagornis’ eyes locked with those of none other than Guy Bormul…

REWARDS
EXP: 1,600 per person
Loot: Massive Yeti Head
Loot found on fallen friends:
Tellus: Burglar’s Pack, Thieves Tools, Dice set and playing cards, Chalkx2, an ancient arrow of elven design, Bag of holding, dwarf wiz scrimshaw, x6 daggers, shortbow, 12 arrows,
33 cp, 129 sp, 1948 gp, 2 pp, 55gp in gems

Zuul: Medical supplies, wolf head helm, steel mirrror, spoon, candle, medicine, cloak with dragon fringe design, lantern of revealing, 1 greater healing potion, 1 potion of cold resistance, 1 potion of heroism,

200 sp, 891 gp + 150pp

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Easthaven: City of Violence
Act II — Session 8

Marpenoth (October) 3 – 10:05 pm
Tensions ran high in the drafty inn, Cairn’s Crossing. As Pelagornis Sandersi IV eyed his sworn foe, Guy Bormul, the young nobleman now affiliated with The Zhentarim grinned in response. Zhent soldiers stood, calling out threats to both Pelagornis, and the defectorBertolf Crane. To make matters worse,t he room turned against our heroes. The Zhentarim had taken a contract to protect Easthaven from a recent bout of piracy, as well as the depredations of criminals based out of Bryn Shander who were attempting to extort local businesses. Pelagornis stood on a table, moments away from firing his crossbow arm and starting a bloody, drag out fight that would tear the inn apart, when the door slammed open.

“Easthaven’s under attack! The pirates have come, they’re on land, burning and looting. Milord of the Zhentarim, you are needed!” Words were exchanged and the tense moment heigtened. Our heroes agreed to let Bormul and his men exit the inn, scoffing at his oaths and promising they would repel the pirates themselves. As the column of Zhentarim troops rushed to the docks, Mr. Jones picked a fight with one of the local recruits, and beheaded the man, waving his grim trophy around to the dismay of his allies. Our heroes barely had time to form a plan before a detachment of pirates made their way towards the inn. Alan Whitcombe broke off in disguise to continue his pursuit of Bormul, and taking to the rooftops, the unstoppable J’ah Casavir followed his friend.

As a running battle raged throughout Easthaven, a new foe entered the fray – commoners in plain clothes grabbed Pelagornis and Guy Bormul, each band lead by a priest calling out to Auril. The cultists were attempting to kidnap the incapacitated warriors, dragging them off for some foul purpose. Thanks to the intersession of our heroes, the cultists were defeated and dispersed.

Having chased away the cult mob, Alan finally confronted an incapacitated and gravely wounded Guy Bormul as Casavir held the approaching Zhentarim off. Getting the answers to the questions he asked, he ended Bormul’s life with a dagger to the throat.

Meanwhile, the cultists had dragged away a magically paralyzed Pelagornis, fleeing from his allies as they came to the iron paladin’s aid. Foiled at every turn as Bertolf Crane shot down the fanatics and an enraged Mr. Jones crushed others underneath debris, the priest of Auril detached Pelagornis’ head (And thus, the skull containing his immortal soul) and ran off with the steel helmet. Not one to stand idle during his own abduction, Pelagornis drew on his holy might and bite the assailant, nearly killing him. Eventually, after a chase, Aldric Longbeard tracked the hooded figure to a home, and the priest was killed.

As our separated heroes reconvened (and Pelagornis was reunited with his body) the pirates closed in, hoping to make a quick escape with whatever loot they could snag in the face of their botched raid. Casavir and Aldric boarded the raider’s flagship to confront the captain, a scarred and snarling Derrick the Drowner, while the remaining heroes stood on the docks, ready to cut down the fleeing pirates.

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In Pursuit of the Cult of Auril
Act II — Session 9

Marpenoth 3 – 10:10 pm
The Heroes of the Wide clashed with a band of ragged pirates lead by Derrick the Drowner, a man with a ruined face and a soul marred by exposure to black ice. Aldric Longbeard used the last of his magical will to impede Derrick and his champion while J’ah Casavir incapacitated the cruel captain. Their ship was being helmed and by press-ganged fishermen whom Aldric shouted to, offering freedom in exchange for their assistance in foiling the pirates. On land, their companions held off a flanking maneuver from pirates approaching with loot gathered inland.

With opponents being flung into the frigid waters, and blades flashing through the snow filled air, our heroes expended their already frayed strength to put down the pirate incursion. In the end, Derrick was bound in ropes, alive but defeated. The Speaker of Easthaven arrived with blade in hand, having chased off the remaining pirate vessel, and thanked our heroes for their service. Nervous about the presence of Auril’s cult among the masses, the party was split determining what to do next.

It was decided that – of course – the now empty pirate vessel would be theirs for the taking. The freed fishers were hired to sail the ship for the party, meanwhile Alan Whitcombe and Aldric attended a debriefing with the Speaker to discuss rewards and terms of the boat’s ownership. Exhausted, Bertolf Crane accepted a hearty meal and drink offered by the staff in Cairn’s Crossing, and promptly went to bed.

Little did he know that one of the concealed cultists had spiked his drink with a sedative, putting him into a deep slumber.

While the others settled into more proper accommodations provided by the now grateful people of Easthaven, Aldric stayed up tending to those injured int he fighting, including one of the tavern girls from Carin’s Crossing, with a strangely recent wound.

In the morning, it was discovered that the girl had ascended the stairs int he inn to check on the sleeping hero, only to discover his abduction in progress. A cultist snatched the girl before she could cry for help, and cut her throat, leaving her for dead. She clung to life long enough to be found and brought to Aldric, with mere moments to spare.

Concerned for her safety in a town now infiltrated with Aurilites, it was decided that she must accompany the party for her own safety. Unable to speak openly about the threat, Easthaven’s Speaker subtly lent the party the aid of a local ranger who recommended a more more surreptitious exit from the town.

While waiting to counter-ambush any pursuing Aurilites, they discovered the trail of those who had captured Crane. Abandoning any attempts to sail as impractical, Alan used his own skill as a wilderness guide to keep the trail, and the party loaded up Aldric’s wagon with provisions and set out in pursuit of the abductors. Though she was reluctant to leave her family, after a brief but tearful goodbye, the tavern girl, Breena, made the heavy-hearted decision to accompany the Heroes of the Wide.

Marpenoth 5 – 8:12 pm
Assailed by storms and pursued by wolves driven by Auril’s wrath, our heroes kept pace with the wagon containing a bound Crane. Moving through the night, they made up for the distance and advantage that the Aurilites had, and descended on the cultists, defeating them and freeing their ally.

Careful not to distress their new “intern,” our heroes set about to interrogating the captive cultists with magic, trickery, and pain. What they discerned was that Auril’s Chosen, The Ice Witch is assembling a dreadful army of barbarians and beasts to march on Ten-Towns. She commanded this army from a dreadful tower of black ice, looming somewhere in the churning glaciers of the seas to the west. Furthermore, the cultists were attempting to take Crane to a nearby stronghold in a place called “The Veerbeeg Lair” in order to sacrifice him to some creature in Auril’s name. The outpost is guarded by goblins, hobgoblins, cultists and perhaps even a giant, as well as a woodsman and the cult’s leader, a merchant named Davrick Fain.

Breena had to confront a difficult dilemma…would she shed the blood of the unapologetic man who attempted to murder her? In the end, she was undecided, knowing that he must be punished, but too soft hearted to sentence him to death.

The party took this opportunity to rest before climbing the escarpment and attempting to breech the lair of Auril’s cult.

REWARDS
Treasure: 660 gold, 6 platinum pieces, 224 silver, 12 gems worth 100 gp each, 1 potion of Cold Resistance, 1 Healing Potion, x1 random magic item, an obviously magical longsword wrapped in a bolt of silk cloth.

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