Thursday, January 11, 2018

Frostgrave RPG Campaign: The Summoners' Tale - Chapter VI - Lair of the Lich Lord

After resting for the night with the Rangifers, the party set off toward the receding glacier.  The area through which they traveled was lightly wooded but soon opened into what had once been an area of wealthy estates on the edge of old Felstad.

They were guided by Braanx the Rangifer.  Now that Atlantia was a wizard in her own right, she summoned an animal familiar.  This was a wolf that she named Chuck.

The party soon came to an ancient temple still half buried in the glacier.   Chuck the Wolf was sent forward to reconnoiter. They had placed on him one of the treasures they had gained on the wreck of the Dracolyth, the Eyes of Amoto, a pair of amulets that let the wearer of one see through the eyes of the wearer of the other.   

At the entrance to the temple, a half dozen cultist, led by a cultist Templar, were unloading a large ornate casket-like box from an oxen drawn sled.

The party moved quietly through the ruins of a nearby estate, hoping to surprise the cultists and force an entrance to the temple.

The walls of the old estate proved excellent cover as most of the party moved into position.

All that is, except An'varr himself who stubbed his toe on a fallen rock and let out an involuntary shout. Garamond the Treasure Hunter rushed to his aid, forgetting the danger from the nearby cultists. The demon-possessed Greg the Bear proved surprisingly adept at hiding himself from observation after his master's error.  

An'varr used the error as an opportunity.  After being shot at by the alerted cultists' bowmen, An'varr feigned that, as a Summoner, he was seeking to join the forces of the Lich Lord.  Four of the cultist went forward to disarm An'varr and Garamond and lead them cautiously into the temple.  As the majority of the cultists were now out in the open, the party decided to spring their surprise.

Captain Bozydar opened the attack by performing an amazing trick shot, striking the Templar with an arrow through the visor on his helmet, killing him instantly.  The other archers in the party reined more arrows down on the surprised cultists.
The rest of the party dashed out and quickly struck down the remaining cultists.  The doors to the temple slammed shut from within, those cultists inside obviously alerted but taking no obvious aggressive actions.

 With the momentary lull, the party drew the sled off to examine the strange casket.  It proved to be a stasis chamber of great age.  They were able to open it to find the body of a pre-Cataclysm man within.  Much to their shock, the man was still alive.  Speaking Old Lloroi, the language that was the basis of the modern Common Tongue, the man was, with difficulty able to tell them that he was Shafri, 3rd Storm Warden aboard the treasure galleon Dracolyth, out of the port of Manapor in the Fortunate Isles.  They had brought a cargo of tribute to the Lloroi Emperor that including a small firkin of water from the great Crystal Pool. Shafri said that they had just arrived in port when a huge wall of ice and snow rapidly descended on the city; he managed to get to the captain's cabin and flung himself into the stasis chamber there before the ship was engulfed.  This was the last he remembered.
The party explained to the shocked Shafri that 1400 years had passed since then and that the treasure had been seized by the Lich Lord.  Putting aside the horror of his predicament, Shafri said that the waters were highly magically and must not fall into evil hands.  The party then moved to assault the temple.

Bowmen and spellcasters formed up outside the door.  The rest of the party positioned themselves to attack as soon as the doors were forced open.

Inside another half dozen cultists led by a Knight awaited the assault. They were unprepared for the havoc that was about to be unleashed upon them.

Redmaine cast a grenade spell that blew open the doors.  Immediately after that An'varr and Atlantia hurled Elemental Bolts into the chamber.  Shafri then brought up a wind to interfere with any return fire.  Half of the cultists were brought down in the initial attack.  The members of the party waiting by the door rushed in and wiped out the remaining cultists.  They saw a small door at the side of the chamber.

Garamond confirmed there were no traps on the door and was able to easily pick the lock.  It opened onto what had once been a library.  A zombie shambled out from behind a bookcase but Garamond supported by Braanx easily dispatched it.
While Garamond checked to see if the bookshelves were trapped, An'varr rushed over to a large book on a lectern.  When he opened, he was sprayed by a cloud of gas that left him cover in phosphorescent glowdust, making him an easy target for anyone shooting at him.

The next room, a small alcove, contained another zombie.  Braanx destroyed it with glee.
The alcove led to a curved hallway divided by two large pillars.  A wizard and Wraith Knight lay in ambush.  Chuck, who had been sent forward again with one of the amulets of Amoto, was crushed when the wizard crumbled a pillar onto the poor creature. 
The enraged party charged forward, Atlantia killing the Wraith (her third now) and Greg avenging his fellow mammalian companion.

The party then came upon a set of stairs descending into a dark passage below. Garamond was able to disable a large swinging axe that had been set as a trap.
The came across an abandoned shrine to some forgotten dark god.  They had just about crossed the room when a valporine sprung down from the ceiling, attacking Ril.  The ape-like creature was incredibly fast but proved no match for the combined blades and claws of the party.
Beyond the shrine, they could hear the dull thumping of some type of large machinery at work.  They burst into the next passage where two cultists briefly tried to stop them.  They came to a door behind which the thumping sound seemed to come.  Casting an invisibility spell on Greg, An'varr sent the still demon-possessed bear, now wearing the amulet of Amoto, into the room. 

An enormous wheel of bones rotated slowly in the center of the room, powered by arcane forces.  The desiccated bodies of wizards bound to each arm seemed to be providing the power. Bolts of energy arced from the wheel to a large gate-like structure at the end of the room.

A number of wizards and apprentices, including Redmaine's Thisbe, were held prisoner in one corner, awaiting their turn on the wheel.

Presiding over it all was the grim form of the Lich Lord, sprinkling water from the firkin of Crystal Pool upon the wheel.

Slowly, a huge glistening, pulsating, bloated, multi-legged abomination oozed its way through the gate.  The Lich Lord had opened a portal to a dimension of horror.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Frostgrave RPG - The Summoners' Tale: Chapter V: Wraith-Slayer

With Redmaine having killed the last surviving gnoll before any further information could be gained, the party returned to The Two Kings settlement to regroup.  After having engaged in successful trading, they repaired to the inn for a meal befitting their success at the River Maragille.
Their repast was interrupted however, when they found themselves surrounded by the settlement's "police force," a hired band of Conondra tribesmen led by the resident head bouncer, an extremely ill-tempered troll named Rosko, who told them that the "Boss" wanted to speak with them.

They were escorted to a well-protected and well-appointed office where they met the inn proprietor and de facto ruler of The Two Kings, the halfling Trudeh Sweetflower

She was agitated by news that numerous magic users had been kidnapped by mysterious cultists.  Rumor had it that they were followers of a Lich Lord, a pre-Cataclysm sorcerer who had used dark magics to gain undeath and who had recently been released from a frozen entombment. Worse, it was said that some of the local magic users, primarily necromancers and summoners, were going off to join the Lich Lord voluntarily.  Given that An'var was a Summoner and had returned successfully from a battle with the cultist, Sweetflower demanded to know his plans.  An'var and the rest of the party assured her of their opposition to the Lich Lord and their desire to rescue Redmaine's apprentice, Thisbe.  Sweetflower was persuaded and decided to help the party.  She told them to make contact with the Rangifers, human-reindeer hybrids who dwelt on the outskirts of the ruined city and who had an abomination for the undead.  Rumor had it that they had been fighting the Lich Lord even before the dark sorcerer's presence was generally known.
To aid them, Sweetflower provided them with a copy of the Book of the Rangifer which described the creatures' customs and language.  One the party's rangers, Urkmaas, undertook a quick study of the language portion of the book.  The party traveled to remote outskirts of the Feldstad that were said to be the range of the Rangifers.  They were soon surround by the creatures.  In a tense encounter, Urkmaas incredibly limited knowledge of the Rangifer tongue somehow managed to convey the party's good intent.

(GM NOTE:  I didn't have any of the dedicated rangifer figures that are produced by North Star.  Instead I used some Confrontation Wolfen figures that I had available and told the players to imagine the antlers.)

Just as the party and Rangifers were reaching an understanding, a group of the Lich Lord's cultists, including a gang of zombies led by two Wraith Knights attacked the clearing.
One of the Rangifers was dispatched in the first attack.

However, the party responded quickly.  Atlantia struck an incredible first blow, eliminating one of the Wraith Knights immediately with a lucky casting of Elemental Bolt.

Ril was able to dispatch a cultist apprentice with a lucky bow shot.
The party charged forward and engaged the cultists and zombies in a frozen stream bed. Greg the Bear was downed by the zombies before An'var could cast his demon possession on the bear.
Dame Roswith skewered the cultists' wizard with her long sword.
Unfortunately, Urkmaas was struck down by zombies.  The apparent loss of their new friend enraged the Rangifers who redoubled their attacks of the zombies

Sir Emerick was beset by the remaining Wraith Knight.  Having no magic weapon, he struggled to hold off the fearsome foe with difficulty.

Redmaine came to the rescue.  Having climbed a nearby ruin, he teleported the Wraith onto the high wall.

The perch proved to be too precarious for them.  While the Wraith fell unharmed to the ground , Redmaine fortunately held onto the wall, relatively safe from the Wraitn

An'var was not having a good day.  Most of his casting proved unsuccessful and he was set upon by a zombie who had broken through the line of warriors.  The Summoner was struck down by the zombie and both plunged through the ice into the cold stream below.

A Rangifer warrior engaged the Wraith Knight, given Atlantia the chance to attack the Wraith from behind.
Using her magic dagger, she dispatched this second Wraith Knight to the wonder and admiration of all. The few remaining cultists and zombies were eliminated with ease.  An'var was pulled out of the frozen stream, lucky having loss no more than the items he carried and his dignity.  Greg the Bear was surprisingly only lightly harmed, despite being overrun by the zombie horde.  Urkmaas was found to have been merely stunned, much to the joy of his new Rangifer friends.

The chieftain of the Rangifers, grateful for the assistance the party had rendered, offered to help in any way they could.  He said that the Rangifers had seen the cultist taking looted treasure and prisoners to an old temple that remained half buried in the glacier that once covered all of Feldstad but was not slowly retreating.  He offered them the assistance of a guide, Braanx, who would show them the way and provide any assistance he could.  Given their small numbers, the Rangifers were reluctant to risk greater losses without being sure of finding and defeating the Lich Lord.

As the party congratulated Atlantia for winning herself the new title of Wraith-Slayer, a bedraggled An'varr grudgingly handed her the chain of office that marked her as a full-fledged wizard.

(GM NOTE:  Given Atlantia's incredible accomplishment in this game session, I decided that she deserved the promotion to full wizard as a reward, even though the Frostgrave rules don't really provide for this other than if the main wizard in a party is killed.  The rest of the group decided that the NPC Urkmaas wanted to become Atlantia's apprentice - I allowed this but said that he would not be able to learn more than one spell within the time frame of the current campaign.)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Frostgrave RPG Campaign: The Summoners' Tale - Chapter IV: Leviathan

As the tentacles writhe about the ship, the surviving gnolls flee. Most of the party still on their feet board the Dracolith where they try to fend off the pink horrors.  The tentacles take hold of the ship and attempt to drag it down through the cracking ice.  Dame Roswith leaps onto one of the slimy appendages and slips it open with her long sword, the damaged tentacle draws back under the ice.

Bozydar dispatches the last cultist onboard and rushes to the other side of the ship to attack another of the tentacles.  However, he is struck down by it. The two rangers rush to his rescue, driving off the tentacle with their arrows.

An'var's summoned demon wanders around pointlessly, arriving at the point of each tentacle after it had been beaten back.

Atlantia's bone darts are quite effective at damaging the remaining tentacles.  Finally, the Leviathan is driven off.  The party gathers up their wounded and what treasures they can grab and head back to shore.  

A captured gnoll tells Redmaine that his apprentice has been sold to the cultists.  The gnoll does not know why but only that the cultists serve the Lich Lord, an ancient and powerful death wizard who has returned from frozen imprisonment.  In a rage, Redmaine kills the gnoll before it can be questioned further.

Realizing that Redmaine's extravagant tale of magical devices were lies to obtain their aid in finding his apprentice, the party calmly expresses their displeasure at this misinformation and urges Redmaine to be more forthcoming in the future.