Campaign session notes for playing Icewide Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, with two major changes: The setting has been moved to Blackmoor in the World of Greyhawk (Oerth), and the players starts with 8th-level characters.
A group of prisoners with partial memory loss awaken in White Plume Mountain, apparently tasked with serving the dungeon’s ruler. Instead, they seek their escape, rescuing other prisoners along the way and recovering three legendary weapons – the greatsword Blackrazor, the trident Wave and the warhammer Whelm.
* Ehrendil Stone the half-elemental/half-elf druid
* Norah Brithel the dwarven alchemist/artificer
* Rose Flickflower the halfling paladin
* Sariel Galanodel the elven wizard
TO THE CITY OF GREYHAWK
After teleporting back to the City of Greyhawk and enjoying themselves during the Festival of Brewfest, the group are “awarded” an invitation to an open bar tab at The Nymph and Satyr tavern in the upscale Garden Quarter. Once there, the group sees two out-of-place patrons…
* Stelfast Holren, a centaur with primal magical powers, and his young ward, Maura
…almost get kidnapped by Slave Lord emissaries, some of whom are slain in a backroom barfight as Rose, Norah, Ehrendil and Sariel get revenge for past crimes. Afterward the party is invited upstairs to a private audience and meet the cabal which arranged their gathering, a group of Greyhawk’s most elite citizens…
* Nerof Gasgal – Lord Mayor of the City of Greyhawk
* Org Nenshen – Guildmaster of Thieves, charming crimelord
* Kieren Jalucian – Guildmaster of Wizards, University of Magical Arts dean
* Ravel Dasinder – Patriarch of Rao, the god of peace, reason, serenity
* Mordenkainen – a famous archmage and international powerbroker
* Jallarzi Sallavarian – a wealthy archmage, friendly rival to Mordenkainen
* …and a few other of the city’s oligarchs
During the meeting, several devils burst in and attack Stel and Maura (which they say happens a lot), but the fiends are quickly dispatched by the powerful spellcasters present.
Lord Gasgal wants the soul-eating Blackrazor out of his city ASAP, while others find it and the party useful for another purpose: Find out what’s going on in the far northern Archbarony of Blackmoor and what happens to the magic-users sent there weeks ago in an initial mission of discovery. Jalucian and Sallavarian become the group’s patrons (along with Nenshen to Rose and Dasinder to Stel).
Guide To Party Travel
1. Illithid Nautiloid crash site, meeting of guides (Day 0)
2. Earthquake, Elven Tomb (1.5 day’s travel)
3. Settlement of Glendour (2 days rest)
4. Black Cabin of Macreadus (1 day’s travel)
5. Duergar Hill Outpost (0.5 day’s travel, 1 day rest)
6. Travel to Blackmoor Castle in Orc King’s Territory (2.5 day’s travel)
6. Reworking the Summer Star device, rest, The Comeback Inn (1 day)
6. Visits to other worlds/times linked to The Comeback Inn (5 days)
7. Return to Blackmoor Castle in 576 CY, defeat the Frostmaiden and the Knights of the Black Sword, get a “flying ferry” hovercraft, pick up elven warriors at the elven tomb, command the chardalyn dragon and head northwest to the Clockwork Fortress. (less than 1 day)
OFF TO BLACKMOOR
The group teleportation to Blackmoor goes horribly wrong – first putting everyone on the Astral Plane, then on the floor of an ocean, and finally in the middle of an arctic nowhere next to a crashed Nautiloid spelljamming ship (alien spacecraft) built and used by weird gnome-illithid hybrids. The party makes quick work of the creatures, though one escapes via a plane shift spell.
The group is quickly found by a team of wilderness guides, all saying they were hired to escort the party from this location thanks to the head elder at Broomsage Abbey. Oddly, the contract was set up two weeks previously when the party had not even agreed or planned for the trip yet.
The party is offered multiple possible destinations – west to Dantredun, north to Dearthkettle Keep, south to Ramshorn Castle or west to Glendour – and the group elects to head west amid a supernatural blizzard.
THE UNCOVERED ELVEN TOMB
Along the way, the party is caught in an earthquake that reveals an old elven tomb surrounded by life-size statues of elf soldiers. There an awakened noble elf mummy named Sahnar helps the party defeat a mixed pack of hostile awakened animals and their master, a frost druid driven mad by whatever the Frostmaiden has done to Blackmoor’s nature spirits. The party also activates some sort of magic viewing mirror showing green rolling hills and summer days in the lowlands of Blackmoor, a scene into which Sahnar steps and disappears.
ARRIVAL IN GLENDOUR
Continuing onward, the party’s dogsleds roll into the settlement of Glendour where dozens of outlying buildings show stone foundations, arches and chimneys, but all wooden walls, doors, support beams and roofing tiles have been stripped off. A few buildings appear to have burned down and there are no signs of occupation.
A stone-carved sign at the edge of town reads: “BY ORDER OF ARCHDUKE BESTMO… THEFT OF FOOD, THEFT OF FUEL, REFUSAL TO SACRIFICE, CANNIBALISM SHALL BE PUNISHABLE BY DEATH.”
Further into the settlement are found surviving residents staying closer together, occupying buildings a few blocks’ radius around a town square. The party rides past The Chastity Inn for Men and The Virtue Inn for Women to instead check in at The Wicked Wonders Inn, a place featuring a huge bubbling hot tub right there in the lobby. The place is raucous as bards play bawdy music, gamblers try their luck and patrons of all kinds get drunk – all while seemingly being watched by a painted portrait of the infamous Lich of Glendour that hangs in memoriam above the biggest fireplace.
RECAP FROM FEB. 10, 2021
* Party caroused at the Wicked Wonders Inn, did some profitable gambling, met some NPCs, slept through the night in one luxury suite.
* In the morning, barkeep Bartaban served a crude breakfast of fish, porridge, eggs.
* Rose joined a backroom seance led by Rinaldo the halfling, asked questions from the spirit of The White Lady (some sort of chilly ghost). Rose learned the Frostmaiden’s true name was “Auril” and she lairs in The Frost Palace about 40 miles to the north of Glendour.
* The rest of the party met Copper the gnome, who got into talking robotic schematics with Norah, also complained about wasting weeks trying to help a woman named Macreadus (Mah-cree-ah-dus) solve “the endless winter problem” while working at her cabin in the eastern hills.
* After the seance, everyone witnessed the fatal poisoning of a candlemaker in the bar and caught a 3-inch duergar trying to escape across the floor. (Poison turns out to be preserved venom from some underdark monstrosity.) Later interrogation of the psionic gray dwarf in the morning sun revealed he’s Durth Sunblight, who spilled all he knows under fear of Blackrazor:
1.) Durth and his three companions – Klaska, Ossyl and Zublorr – were the duergar briefly spotted in the dungeon under White Plume Mountain. (This was shortly after befriending the bugbear guard.) It’s revealed for a while the duergar used the legend of Keraptis to lure adventurers to W.P.M. to be captured and enslaved. (Weeks ago Norah had found papers in the dungeon and got them translated for this info.)
2.) Durth is the son of Xardorok Sunblight, a major durgear clan leader whose is conspiring with devils to wipe out the surface dwellers of Blackmoor and establish the first gray dwarf kingdom above ground. Durth briefly mentioned the Sunblights rose in status after the fall of duergar House Grausamkeit in the underdark of their native homeworld, Toril (planet of the Forgotten Realms), following “those surface adventurers and that misadventure with the planar children.”
3.) The gray dwarves are not responsible for the endless winter of the Frostmaiden, but the crisis has greatly helped move ahead with their scheme.
4.) Durth’s brother Nildar is in charge of some sort of duergar outpost in the hills east of Glendour, and a major duergar citadel under father Xardorok’s rule lies just beyond the borders of the archbarony.
5.) Xardorok’s fortress has a forge powered by the still-beating heart of a red dragon. In this forge, Xardorok is crafting a dragon made of chardalyn, the strange black metal alloy that includes minerals literally from Hell (aka Baator, home of devils). Scraps of this metal have been found in the wilds of Blackmoor, but the gnome Copper warned although it was “a superior conductor of eldritch energies,” long term exposure to it tended to drive mortals insane.
6.) Xardorok plans to use the chardalyn dragon to lay waste to Blackmoor. The monstrous construction is close to begin finished.
* Rose was hailed a hero by the locals for using the Rod of Resurrection to save the poisoned candlemaker.
* The group ends the session debating what to do with Durth Sunblight as a prisoner, while the candlemaker and his wife went back home – unaware the murderous Klaska, Ossyl and Zublorr hide in their basement…
RECAP FROM FEB. 17, 2021
* Sariel followed up rumors about a spellcaster staying at the Wicked Wonders Inn and met Dzaan, a wizard she briefly saw at the College of Wizardry in Greyhawk. He claims to also be investigating strangeness in Blackmoor.
* Durth Sunblight was left in the custody of Sir Taric, an undead death knight who serves as a local constable in Glendour.
* The party went to the candlemaker’s house, got him and his wife out, found the three duergar in the basement and defeated them. Rose fed one of the duergar to Blackrazor, much to Maura’s discontent. A small cache of art objects stolen by the duergar from around town was found in the basement. Afterwards in the street, about a dozen locals badgered Rose (using the alias Willow) to help bring their dead loved ones back to life, and the art objects were handed over to those in the crowd.
* Back at the Wicked Wonders Inn, the party found Dzaan arrested and under “trial” there in the bar, accused of murdering Glendour residents, using necromancy to turn their corpses into undead, theft of holy relics from local temples “and other profane acts” – charges to which Dzaan calmly confessed. Geand Cul Meare introduces himself as the High Bard of Lore and master of the Rhymer’s Asylum, and essentially the leader of the Glendour settlement. Asking the party what judgment they would pass on someone so evil, the party suggested “putting him to good use for the community,” so Geand Cul Meare has Dzaan burned at the stake in the town square so everyone may come to warm themselves by the bonfire.
* While preparing to go look for the duergar outpost and Macreadus’ cabin in the hills just east of Glendour, the party is stopped in the street by the robot WITNESS L74 and harshly questioned (via an intercom in the robot’s head) by a woman calling herself Vyllax 818, who says she serves both Archduke Bestmo and the Order of the Black Swords. Her muffled voice sounded stern and officious, cutting off without answering many questions put back to her but vaguely offering support against the Frostmaiden and the Egg of Coot.
* Rose and Maura have an ethical debate about the Frostmaiden, killing vs. just stopping her without killing.
* After a half day’s journey with “No Maps” Mocior and Bentlee Saybn as guides, the party’s dogsleds follow Copper’s map and to the cabin, found in an extremely dilapidated state and built halfway over the edge of a steep 120-foot cliff.
The cabin’s inner rooms appear charred and covered in frost as snow drifts down from holes in the roof. In an old workshop, tinkers’ tools are found to move on their own, spelling out “HELP ME” and other words across a table. Outside, a woman’s corpse is found halfway down the cliff, a fatal wound in her chest suggesting something exploded outward from inside her body. A duplicate of the woman found inside the cabin compels Rose to help decipher a strange magical device (two large metal hoops, one inside the other, connected to a lump of pitch-black stone). Though this woman never speaks, her intentions seem to be automatically known to Rose, who picks up the object and is subjected to a massive blast of radiant energy from the device (90 points of damage).
The silent woman disappears, and a search of the cabin uncovers fragments of blueprints and notes suggesting Macreadus was crafting the device — the “Summer Star” — to control the weather, but it is either unfinished or broken. Norah tucked the arcane device away in her Bag of Holding. Also found were a “dead” clay homunculus, an angry “goodbye” note signed by Copper, a fantasy creature’s travel guide to some city called “Chicago,” and a fair amount of hidden treasure in coins and gems.
* The party’s spellcasters go around the cabin and use the Mending cantrip to secure it better against the weather. Everyone goes inside to spend the night in a long rest.
RECAP FROM WEDNESDAY, FEB. 24, 2021
Prior to calling it a night at the black cabin, several magic-using party members swept the rooms with castings of Faerie Fire to expose any invisible creatures, and lo and behold Stel found a green slaad – an extraplanar creature native to Limbo – lurking in a fireplace. A rousing combat ensured, tumbling down walls, taking to the roof and ending with the creature’s body of chaos-made-flesh spawning random objects as it weakened. In its death cry, Stel transforming for a minute into a gargantuan-sized centaur – destroying most of cabin in the process. All that remained of the creature were a tiny gear made of platinum (Norah took) and two small bat-shaped pieces of primal rock (Ehrendil took).
Having gathered various found blueprints, Norah and Maura examined the “Summer Star” object, recognizing it will need to have a third ring of carbon steel added to its design to work safely.
Continuing on a half-day trek up further into the hills to the duergar outpost, the party became target practice for four duergar shooting venom-dipped crossbow bolts from the supposed safety of their stone bunker overlooking the ravine approach to the main gate. Norah enchanted the glowing words “WELCOME HOME DURTH SUNBLIGHT” on the side of the bunker while Ehrendil opened a door into the bunker just before transforming into his polar bear form. Rose deftly ran over the bear’s back and drew Blackrazor to dispatch one of the duergar guards – devouring his soul in the process.
The remaining three guards immediately surrendered, and one of them began cooperating with all kinds of news: Lord Xardorok’s other surviving son, Nildar, was in charge of this outpost to watch over the Glendour and Blackmoor Castle settlements. A teleportation portal somewhere in this underground outpost connects to the duergar’s main citadel, a place called The Clockwork Fortress where the chardalyn dragon is just a day away from being deployed against the unsuspecting settlements of Blackmoor.
As the party interrogated the captured dwarves, another duergar gripped with magical terror came out of the bunker’s underground tunnel and was grabbed by Norah. “The portal didn’t work right,” he exclaims… “It’s here now! IT’S LOOSE!”
FYI ON EXPERIENCE: The characters can level up to 9th level when the party achieved any one of the following milestones:
* Xardorok Sunblight is captured or killed.
* The chardalyn dragon is destroyed.
* The Frostmaiden is slain or banished.
RECAP FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 2021
The group snuck into the outpost structure, clearly something of human architecture – not dwarven. The terrified duergar prisoner was allowed to flee, while the Brojk the white haired agreed to help under threat of harm from Rose and Blackrazor.
Passing through a messy and abandoned armory and overlook hall, the group pressed ahead with Norah transformed to resemble duergar leader Durth Sunblight and ordering guard Urthhild to help lead the way. In the fortress main entry hall, the group found three prisoner cages – one containing four faerie creatures, one with two normal-looking goats and one with a frost giant druid. A terrified duergar ran off from behind the cages and (along with Brojk) fled the scene.
Spotting a petrified duergar down a corridor, the group prepared for a fight against a gorgon or medusa while they released the prisoners. One of the fey, a redcap, immediately attacked Norah-disguised-as-a-duergar, but the others led by a fey calling himself “Lord Dreamwell” joined the giant in looking for a way out.
And then the beholder came into view and began its eye ray attacks – charming both Urthhild and Norah and just missing Sariel with a disintegration ray and a death ray.
Noticing odd holes dug into the floor of the far end of the hall, the group quickly descended one with a ladder as Ehrendil stone shaped the top opening closed. (Stel the centaur did poorly navigating the ladder, crushing Norah as he fell to the bottom.)
Once in the level below, the group discovered two rooms with strange machines build from advanced technology, and in one a coffin-like box held another faerie prisoner. Before they could free her, the machine turned on, grew quite loud and a flash of light turned the fey creature into nothing but dust and fragile dragonfly wings. In the adjoining room was found a glowing crystal, very similar to the longer crystals recovered from storage aboard the mind flayer ship 5 days earlier.
Norah found and pocketed a piece of parchment with odd diagrams on it and a familiar symbol: The signature mark of the ancient mage Keraptis. Using comprehend languages, Ehrendil translated much of the alien writing found on the machines: “expression status from 1% to 100% complete,” one half of the level called the “Soul Husk Extration Pod” room, the other the “Mana Containment Unit” room – all the work of something called “Aztechnology” – a source of evil from the homeworld of Ehrendil’s mother. Their logo:
The group had a bit of discussion about what to do next, with Norah salvaging some parts, Ehrendil extracting blocks of lead from a wall, and Stel and Maura trying to break some of the machines. Ultimately the group chose to do a long rest in these rooms, relatively safe and hidden from the beholder floating about the outpost’s halls above…
RECAP FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021
Spoiler: Tonight’s session was a rough one.
Hiding in an advanced technology lab under the duergar’s hill outpost, the party took a long rest but could not wait longer, else risk running out of air.
Norah discovered a video presentation translated into the Common Tongue that showed some sort of “initiative” by the Aztechnology Corporation, including glimpses of steel-and-glass towers full of lights that Ehrendil noted his elven birth mother spoke of in his childhood – as well as views of earth and fire elementals being bound by magic-users as happened to his father during the days of the Suel Empire 4,500 years ago…
Sariel’s arcane eye showed the coast was clear of the beholder, and surfacing, the group encountered a HELPBOT, a small robot similar to Norah’s Dilbert but using the advanced technology matching the soul husk machine below ground.
After finding a badly corrupted teleportation circle and triggering a trap, the party found and captured the invisible duergar leader Nildar Sunblight, but his use as a prisoner was short-lived. When Ehrendil attempted to rework a found piece of chardalyn metal into a ring, it discharged a lightning bolt that electrocuted Nildar to death.
The HELPBOT confirmed the dwarf’s demise, then added, “NEXT-OF-KIN-HAVE-BEEN-NOTIFIED.” The HELPBOT also noted the chardalyn dragon was due to begin its 9-day flight to Blackmoor within hours, but The Clockwork Fortress was 18 days away by land, beyond the northern borders of the archbarony. The group speculated if The Frostmaiden could be approached about helping turn back/destroy the dragon-like construct once it arrives.
Then the wandering beholder showed up again, cornering the party in Nildar’s chamber, and Norah attempted to activate the Summer Star device to use as a weapon. Instead, it exploded again, causing horrific damage to most (45 points radiant damage), and completely evaporating Maura (90 damage) and HELPBOT. Stel was left in a state of emotional shock.
Combining efforts from Ehrendil’s comprehend languages, Stel’s Charismatic communication rolls and Sariel’s banishment spell, the beholder agreed to be sent back to its native realm. Afterward, a search of the rest of the outpost found the beholder had wiped out all its other inhabitants during its rampage. Some minor treasures were collected.
After connecting with the guides who were forced to flee the outpost, the group decided to venture into the orc-held territory surrounding Blackmoor Castle. Of note:
* Frost-covered heads of humans mounted on poles along the road to settlement.
* On approach, can see ruins of a keep made of black stone atop a tall hill.
* Many settlement buildings have been burned to the ground. (Orcs live in the keep.)
* Frozen bodies of Blackmoor humans and orc warriors found here and there.
Members of an orc patrol demanding tribute were persuaded the group had vital information to share with their leader, Brost Bulem, “king of the northern orcs,” who promptly offered the party swift deaths if they were wasting his time…
RECAP FROM WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17, 2021
The town around the ruins of Blackmoor Castle is a desolate place, full of burned-out buildings and corpses of both humans and orcs frozen like statues staring up in horror at the winter sky above. Only one structure seemed relatively unharmed: The Comeback Inn, a two-story building standing at the foot of the path leading to the castle.
Inside the keep of Blackmoor Castle, the party had an audience with Brost Bulem, “King of the Northern Orcs,” and members of his inner circle. Despite warnings about a dragon made of chardalyn coming to destroy them, the orcs didn’t seem overly worried – displaying a cold and proud version of orcish fatalism and bravado. An orcish witch doctor named Tholg cast divinations during the meeting, and a young orc woman identified as Shon Bulem, the king’s daughter, asked about popular touring bard Shindar. When asked about The Comeback Inn, all the orcs present seemed unsettled and King Brost revealed his curious son, Bullo, went into the place three years ago and never came out. The orcs now consider the place haunted and not worth further disturbance.
For 100 gp, the orcs agreed to let the party spend the night within the walls of their castle ruin. The party was told their guides would be allowed to take their sleds and sled dogs into one of castle ruin’s four standing towers. No orcs disturbed the party until the following morning.
Rose’s rod of resurrection used on ash scraping from Maura’s demise did not have the expected outcome, instead bringing the sage-scientist Macreadus back to life. The excited mage immediately wanted to work on the Summer Star object but got distracted by food and conversations (and thinly veiled threats) from Rose. When confronted about Maura, Macreadus said her mind and soul had been trapped and watching the group from the Border Ethereal Plane ever since the cabin, but Maura “wasn’t a little girl, I don’t quite know what she was.”
Stelfast suddenly suffered a horrific and painful transformation, losing his centaur shape and turning back into human form but wreathed in chaotic magical energy. Norah quickly saved his life with healing magic, as Stel also developed a gaping hole in the center of his chest. Sullen toward his party members and suffering terrible pain, the newly restored Stel allowed Ehrendil to fashion him a bed-like isolation area to sleep it off.
Ehrendil also helped Norah and Sariel create a metal-working forge within a Leomund’s Tiny Hut spell while Rose distracted Macreadus outside the sphere. Thus in seclusion, the two magic-users added a third rune-scribed metal ring to the Summer Star device and uncovered its functions to control the weather, but they did not test it. Macreadus remained unaware the device had been enhanced and completed.
In the morning, the party investigated The Comeback Inn, finding it empty of people and covered in frost. Boot prints across the floor suggested signs of previous entry by others, but little disturbed the upstairs guest quarters where each was labeled with small room signs: The Glendour Room, The Cyndor Room, The Brithel Room, The Squire Room and The Blackmoor Room. Sariel confirmed nothing specific radiated magic, but the entire building itself was a source of powerful transmutation/transformation magic.
A few items of note found:
* Some plain wool cloaks in various rooms.
* Found in the Brithel room, an unnamed adventuring/merchant group’s inventory ledger, with entries dated in the year 487 CY. (That’s about 90 years ago.) The book aged rapidly when targeted by a Dispel Magic spell.
* Also found in the Brithel room, a strapped-together bundle of seven books – three about Flanaess history, two about cartography with regional maps, two about classical literature – with a hand-written noted tucked inside the bundle: “NORAH – TAKE THESE WITH YOU, GIVE THEM TO CALEN.”
* Also found in the Brithel room in the bottom of a chest of clothes, a handful of coins – 4 silver pieces, 2 gold pieces – each bearing the stamp of some kingdom unknown to any of the party members. (Sariel caught one coin that bore the word “THONIA” on it.)
* Found in the Blackmoor room, a painted picture illustrating a verdant countryside of green hills and pine trees under a sunny blue sky, very much like the vista seen in the magical mirror back at the Elven Tomb.
Rose attempted an experiment to climb out an upstairs window, but she fell right back into the room. A similar test at the inn’s front door saw Dilbert fly out and re-enter to immediately appear inside the main tavern’s entryway.
In the cellar of the inn, Ehrendil and later others searched a fairly mundane storage area (finding candles, partially frozen booze, old moth-eaten blankets, simple repair tools). In the southern corner of the western wall was a metal door identical to those found in the technological “soul husk” chamber found beneath the duergar’s hill fort. Behind the door was found a room featuring a 20-foot diameter circular metal ring connected to various advanced mechanical control panels. A screen showed symbols with labels translated by magic to read: PRIME, MYSTARA, OERTH, ABEIR-TORIL – the last two clearly being the names of worlds (Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms settings).
Throughout all these investigations, Macreadus stayed in the tavern area and served herself (and any who would join her) shots of some sweet-tasting liquor.
RECAP FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24 & 31, 2021
Characters visit multiple times/planets via a portal under The Comeback Inn. At the end of last game, they met a bunch of people in the past:
EHRENDIL: Was poked at by Ulfius the wizard while having a charming chat with elven Princess Sahnar, who did not recognize the names of Ehrendil’s parents. Ehrendil noted they “met in another time” but said nothing about her mummy found at the elven tomb in future Blackmoor.
NORAH: Gave Calen the bundle of books (three about Flanaess history, two about cartography with regional maps, two about classical literature) but not the enclosed note. Calen is fascinated by what these books imply about their future on Oerth and begs to be told how she came by these writings.
ROSE (aka IVY): Celebrated as a hero, everyone wants to see Blackrazor – esp. Ulfius who calls her “little” a lot, but not Archbaron Aetherwick who seems to recall the weapon’s history and immediately fears it.
SARIEL: Let’s say she joined in the chat with Ehrendil and Sahnar to talk “elf stuff.”
STEL: Tries to talk with Vyllax, who is increasingly guarded about the child Moniv.
In the cellar of The Comeback Inn, the party found another room full of advanced technology just like under the duergar outpost, but here it powered some sort of portal. Using the powered crystals as fuel, the group punched in a location and ended up in another Comeback Inn – only this one on Toril (world of the Forgotten Realms), deep in a demonic-tainted dark forest. The inside of the inn was full of gelatinous cubes, weird insects and the gory remains of a slaad.
Returning to Oerth, the group tried the next destination and found themselves in another identical Comeback Inn, only the chilling frost of their departure point was replaced by cool autumn breezes under sunny skies. A barkeep in the cellar named Strase seemed surprised but not confused by the group’s sudden appearance, calling them “newcomers” and saying Sem the bartender upstairs would give them a free first drink of mead, ale or lager.
The bar of this Comeback Inn was alive with a half dozen or so patrons (various ethnicities of humans plus a couple of elves), all drinking and chatting away. Most seemed friendly, asking the party things like, “What part of the empire did you come from before taking Calen up on his offer?”
An alarm sound interrupted such social drinking as peasant-looking folk rushed with their children into the Comeback Inn “for safety.” The metal triangle was being sounded due to an attack by “forces from the Egg of Coot.” Rushing to aid in the defense, the party faced about a dozen bestial humanoids – creatures with features of hyenas, bears and birds, all laughing madly and foaming at the mouth with rabies – all led by a vrock demon. In the course of the battle there was still evidence of unstable chaos magic which, among other things, turned Stel a bright cyan blue. Three peasants were killed before the party slew the last of the raiders.
Now called “saviors” and “heroes” by a late-to-the-fight guard named Sargen, the group were invited to the fully intact Blackmoor Keep (newly built by earth elementals) to interrupt a gathering of important “colony” leaders. Most shocking was finding a girl who looked exactly like the late Maura among them, but this child reacted as if she never saw Stel before in her life and was actually a bit afraid of him.
Over the course of the gathering (role-played for about 45 minutes but lasting several hours among the character’s time), this was discussed…
* The “Blackmoor” settlement/colony of the current “now” is mostly made up of humans and elves from the planet Mystara, where another Blackmoor and Comeback Inn also exist. A scholar of time named Brother Calen discovered that Blackmoor was doomed to annihilation sometime in the future, so he set out to found a “new” Blackmoor on another planet (Oerth, the world of Greyhawk) to avoid such a fate. Those who chose to follow his warnings are building homes and making a new life for themselves.
* The Comeback Inn and its portal existed on Oerth already, just as it had in the Blackmoor of Mystara. No one knows who built it.
* Shortly after “crossing over” via the portal in The Comeback Inn, a baby was found alone on-site and adopted by the colony. (This child is who they call Moniv, the duplicate of Maura.)
* Both on Mystara and now on Oerth, the Egg of Coot has sent creatures of chaos to harass Blackmoor’s citizens.
Details on NPCs met in this Blackmoor…
Settlers from the planet Mystara, unknown time (“Thonian calendar was Year 750”)
* BROTHER CALEN: friendly cleric and scholar, the de facto leader of the Blackmoor colony though he claims no authority
* ULFIUS: boorish and boastful wizard in charge of magical constructions
* SAHNAR: elf princess who has vowed her people to help the colonists founding Blackmoor on Oerth
* VYLLAX 818: stern monk who has been studying the machine found in the cellar of The Comeback Inn
* WITNESS: a robot silent in the corner, always watching
Native to area of planet Oerth in this past (maybe 800 years ago from the character’s time?)
* MONIV: a girl found in the wilderness when the Mystaran colonists arrived here on Oerth about 10 years ago
* JUNA OF THE MOONS: a woman of the local Tuoct tribe living in the marshlands to the west, body covered in Flannish tattoos, a druid helping the colony
People from future Blackmoor (533CY to 576 CY) on planet Oerth
* LORD CHIROC TRIVELIOR: claims to be the Baron of Glendour, appears about 70-75 years ago, been in past Blackmoor for decades, asks a lot about his home
* LORD LOTHAR DANTREDUN: claims to be the Baron of Dantredun, appears about 70-75 years ago, been in past Blackmoor for decades
* ARCHBARON AETHERWICK: claims to be the true ruler of all of Blackmoor when forced to flee in 533 CY amid attack by the Egg of Coot’s forces, now in mid-80s
* BULLO: son of “King of the Northern Orcs” Brost Bulem, early 20s, dressed in fancy armor and silks, styled in human fashions, been in past Blackmoor for about 3 years
RECAP FOR WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14, 2021
So the group had a pre-dawn intra-party brawl all session. (Well role-played by everyone. First time as a DM I ran a game and never made an attack roll for NPCs or monsters.)
Ehrendil has a fitful night’s sleep, Sariel gets up before dawn and wanders outside, and Stel catches sight of Sariel meeting with a familiar white unicorn a distance off toward the northern trees. In another room, Rose wakes up to find Norah about to smash her in the face with Whelm.
Roll for initiative. Rose misty steps onto Norah’s back and tries to choke her out using the flat of Blackrazor’s blade. Ehrendil comes out of his room, sees Rose choking Norah, and transforms himself into a giant scorpion to grapple both of them. Stel then comes out of his room, sees a giant scorpion attacking Norah and Rose, and promptly attacks Erhendil before switching to thinking Blackrazor had taken control of Rose. Sariel returns to the inn, also misreads the situation, and calls up a wall of fire amid the confusion to protect herself. The warhammer Whelm keeps trying to resist Norah’s commands, sensing she’s not in her right mind, but Sariel magically charms the dwarf and grants her the power of magical flight. Ehrendil’s bed is set on fire and bystanders from downstairs raise a general alarm that “giant monsters have gotten inside the inn.”
Amid the fight, Macreadus runs into Norah’s room and grabs the Summer Star magic item, gets hit by a Hold Person spell, shakes it off and goes back a second time to get the Summer Star again before “turning it on,” running outdoors and conjuring a thunderstorm. (Norah: Remember the 90 hit point radiant damage blasts?)
Hours of gameplay battle later, a Lesser Restoration spell causes Norah’s madness to go into remission. She appears to suffer from “Living Chaos,” a magical disease she picked up after being bitten by a creature the day before during the fight at the windmill. (Note: While foaming at the mouth, she did manage to bite Stel who also failed his Constitution save.)
The Summer Star is snatched back from an excited Macreadus (“It works! Copper and everyone said it would never work, BUT IT WOOOOORKS…”) and her Control Weather spell is disrupted.
Stel confronts Sariel about seeing her with the white unicorn, saying the celestial creature played a key role in his meeting Maura. Sariel dismisses it as a personal issue about her father, but then mentions the creature was delivering a message to her from Erevan Ilesere, the elven deity of mischief and change also known as “The Trickster” – and a being with whom Sariel appears to have a personal connection.
Meanwhile, Ehrendil sticks his hand into the ground to communicate with any nearby earth elementals. (James rolls a natural 1 on a d20.) Ehrendil’s eyes turn into tiny blue flames and he wanders off in a stupor, heading toward new/old Blackmoor’s stone keep atop the hill…
RECAP FOR WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
Following the mind-controlled Ehrendil to Blackmoor Keep at dawn, the party discovers resident mage Ulfius has a technomagically-modified stone of conjuring earth elementals. They are told this device has been making elementals construct buildings around the new Blackmoor colony on Oerth, something the rest of the group quickly recognizes as slavery. Once Ehrendil breaks the enchantment and attacks Ulfius with an earthen grasp spell, the mage teleports away out of sight. A search of the mage’s private quarters finds various wizard-related curios (cheap spell components among old unfinished meals), but a collection of architectural blueprints for both Blackmoor Keep and other fortifications look to prove valuable.
Brother Calen, sleepy from having studied the “800 years of future history” books all night, is rattled by the group’s accusations of slavery, claiming both Ulfius and Vyllax repeatedly assured him the earth elementals were only animated shapes like statues, not “living” spirits. The cleric, after magically removing the “living chaos” curse from Stelfast and Norah, is upset by the revelation and promises to do something about the crime once he’s conducted funeral rites that morning for the colonists killed during the previous day’s raid. Calen also begs Norah to tell him how she came by the history books, and after seeing the delivery request note left for her, the cleric shows how it looks a lot like his own present-day handwriting.
While a hasty breakfast is shared, and the orc prince Bullo flirts unsuccessfully with Norah, the girl Moniv appears from the kitchen and walks quickly out the front door of the keep’s main building. Norah and Sariel follow, only to be startled when the child hits them with cone of cold and fireball attacks at the front gate. Norah retreats for healing, and Sariel uses her dust of disappearance to vanish. Moniv appears to wait near the gate, ready to blast another spell at any who pursue her. The men-at-arms guarding the gate do nothing to intervene, apparently too confused by events to take any initiative.
Stelfast and Rose mount a search of Blackmoor Keep’s kitchen, finding a hidden trapdoor in the floor and climbing 60 feet down into a rough-hewn tunnel littered with glowing crystals. The pair are soon taken by surprise by an ambush of three wall-crawling, tentacle-legged robots that also shoot various eye beams and emit strange magical-reversing auras. The robots’ vicious attack leaves Stel mortally wounded. Ehrendil and Norah later join the fight underground, helping save Stel and destroy the robots. Two advanced tech doors are found at the end of the tunnel.
Sariel, who had gone up to explore the second floor of Blackmoor Keep, briefly rejoins the group in the underground tunnel and tells of Moniv’s behavior at the keep’s gate. Joined by Norah and Rose, the three opt to go no further and head back upstairs to recover. Once in the main hall, Moniv again appears at the keep’s entrance, hits Norah with magic missiles, and flees. Brother Calen, increasingly concerned about these strange events, heals Norah and asks the guards to search at once for Ulfius, Vyllax and Moniv.
Ehrendil and Stel press onward underground, opening the left door to find Vyllax and Moniv at the controls of a familiar “turn-magical-essence-into-crystals” machine, which – thanks to Stel’s shatter spell, Ehrendil’s rock missiles and the druid’s conjured earth elemental’s slams – ends up smashed into twisted metal and showering sparks. Vyllax grabs Moniv and drags her away through another sliding door just as Stel has a brief telepathic exchange with the child via a message spell.
Hearing a woman’s screams from the room to the right, Stel bursts in and opens the extraction tube to rescue an elven woman who has striking golden eyes and bears a crescent moon tattoo with three teardrops under her right eye. She is barely alive and hisses, “WHERE IS SHE?”
As Ehrendil joins the pair, his voice cuts off as he recognizes the elven woman and he quietly says, “Mamma?”
OFF-WEEK FOR WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 2021 – THE TALE OF ELDRELL
tl;dr: A cyberpunk-ish corporation has been recklessly raiding other fantasy worlds and timelines to harvest magical creatures for fuel, causing temporal havoc along the way. Ehrendil’s long-lost parents, sworn to stop this corporate-led genocide, have recruited “help” from double-crossing duergar dwarves and an elven pantheon trickster deity, but their crusade needs urgent heroic help to succeed…
https://vimeo.com/544306405 (password: gygax)
A campaign exposition monologue by Eldrell Yeni Surinen, the missing mother of Ehrendil Stone (James’ character). SPECIAL GUEST VOICE ACTRESS: Melissa Wahnish!
TRANSCRIPT (scroll down for annotations)
My name is Eldrell Yeni Surinen. (1)
I’m Ehrendil’s mother. I mean, I will be his mother, a lot of years from now. Lemme start at the beginning. (2)
I was among the first elves born on my homeworld, and they called my birth an “Unexplained Genetic Expression.” Like being an elf was some medical condition. (3)
I tell yah, growing up in Chicago during the return of magic there was rough. I did what all teenagers did: I took on shadowruns for corporate pay. When the corporation hired me as an extra-dimensional survey scout, I figured it was my chance to see the world. Turns out that meant a LOT of worlds.
I found other elves on dozens of planets, freaky beings, and even few things I could actually call “gods.”
Found a lot of bad people out there too. There was this one place called the Suel Empire where magic-using bastards abused what you’d call “genies.” I did what I could to put a stop there. (4)
That’s where I met my Hallowed Keystone, the man in my life. We fell in love, had a kid. We were going to find a place everyone could be safe and free. (5)
See, the corporation told me I was helping find places to solve overpopulation and famine back home. Like always, the corporation lied.
I found out later that “Equal Share: There To Here Initiative” really was all about turning faeries and demons and elementals into fuel they could sell back on my native Earth. Endless batteries of magical and electrical power at no cost to our planet – and big profits for the corporation. Nevermind that the process killed all these poor magic creatures along the way. What a bunch of greedy bastards. (6)
Turns out even the dimensional portals we used were stolen technology too. “It exists in the past because it exists in the future” nonsense. They could only target a few specific moving points in time and space, all spots where the Comeback Inn building already was. (7)
By the way, that woman Vyllax’s got an evil soul, though then they say evil souls can’t get inside The Comeback Inn. (8)
Anyways, Aztechnology’s first attempts ended in disasters. Whole cities popping from planet to planet. Summoning giant monsters out of space-time. A real mess.
I heard one future version of Blackmoor even got an evil winter demigod called the Frostmaiden stuck there. (9) There’s a group of necromancer clones all named Dzaan crossing over from that demigoddess’ planet to track her down. (10)
Here’s where the children come into the picture. They say the corporation finally got the portals working by finding these… what’d the datafile say, “EVER-REINCARNATING EMBODIMENTS OF COSMIC IDEALS…” – each a little kid fated to never grow up. (11)
The “gods” can’t touch ’em, so them deities get mortals to guard or imprison kids. Another nasty cosmic game. (12)
See, Aztechnology lucked out by catching Moniver, the “daughter of mechanics” who made technology power up and just work by itself. (13) After that, the corporation was officially into the genocidal multiverse harvesting business. Those sons of bitches.
My family’s out to stop all this horror. My husband went to get some gray dwarves to build weapons against Vyllax’s thugs, these so-called “Knights of the Black Sword.” (14) They named themselves after a badass warrior named Willow, an old legend that still spooks them out. (15)
For my part I’ve been trying to rally the elves, but it ain’t been easy.
Good Princess Sahnar of Mystara has pledged her people “in life and in death,” which is nice but kinda creepy. (16)
This other time one group of elves I reached in the distant past were so frightened by my story that they withdrew from the world into a little valley and vowed to hide forever from outsiders. (17)
And once, an elven king I met in some forgotten realm decided to scheme with dark powers instead of joining our cause. He even put to death the only elf who tried to stop him. Real shame there. (18)
Strangest elf I ever met was this funny shapeshifting Erevan Ilesere guy who had a celestial white unicorn for a pet. He said one day he’d make sure I got help. (19)
I sure hope that help shows up soon. (20)
FOOTNOTES: EXPANDED DISCOVERIES FOUND WITH SOME RESEARCH…
For the chronological sequence of Oerth-based Common Year (CY) dates, see:
(1.) An automatic Intelligence (History) check confirms her full name as Queen Eldrell Yeni Surinen of the Divine House of Larethian, blood of the Preserver of Life, daughter of the Silver Crescent Moon. (Or, to Ehrendil, just “mama.”)
(2.) Ehrendil Stone is born on Oerth in 474 CY, but his time-traveling elf mother is telling her story while in the year -211, almost 700 years earlier.
(3.) UGEs from the background of the Shadowrun role-playing game universe.
(4.) Oerth timeline about the Suel Empire noted in -4400, revisited in 394 CY.
(5.) Ehrendil’s father, the Ninth Hallowed Keystone, a royal architect genie and a descendent of the dao from the Great Dismal Delve in the Elemental Plane of Earth. (Yes, Ehrendil is cosmic royalty from BOTH sides of his parentage.)
(6.) This technology is the faerie-killing/crystal-making machines the party has found in past Oerth Blackmoor (-211), future Oerth Blackmoor (576 CY) and in the wreckage of the illithid nautiloid spelljamming ship (also in the year 576 CY).
(7.) The Comeback Inn exists across time independently of Aztechnology’s time portal technology, but all the portals move “forward” in time in synchronicity around a few set points in time and space. One day gone by in the past equals one day gone by in the future, regardless of what world you are on.
(8.) Vyllax 818 is no “monk,” but actually the lawful evil project coordinator for Aztechnology sent across time from Chicago 2054 A.D. Per the D&D module “Blackmoor,” creatures of evil alignment cannot enter The Comeback Inn. Although that rule started in D&D creator Dave Arneson’s home campaign and the version of the Inn on the planet Mystara, the rule also applies on Oerth and Toril. (Note that non-evil-but-still-dangerous creatures are NOT blocked by this feature of the inn.)
(9.) The Frostmaiden is Auril, a demigoddess from the planet Toril (world of the Forgotten Realms). Being trapped on Oerth (Greyhawk’s Blackmoor) these past two years has driven her insane.
(10.) The party has met these clones of Dzaan before: Sariel Galanodel saw one in the University of Magical Acts before leaving the City of Greyhawk, then again met such a clone in The Wicked Wonders Inn of Glendour just before an angry mob burned that Dzaan at the stake for crimes of murder and necromancy. (Remember that Dzaan didn’t seem to care much about his own death.) There may be other Dzaan clones alive somewhere.
(11.) Continues a plot thread from a previous D&D campaign from 2010: http://epicsavingthrow.com/dnd/planescape_planarchildren.htm
(12.) Backstory to Stelfast Holren (see next point).
(13.) So Moniver is an earlier manifestation of this planar child (Moniv), found and guarded by Vyllax. In the future, another manifestation (Maura) will be found by the White Unicorn. The hunter Stelfast Holren, hired by mysterious sinister patrons, was/will be cursed to be her protector (568 CY) until the child’s destruction by The Summer Star device (576 CY). Such planar children immediately respawn as babies someplace new when they “die,” hence why the Rod of Ressurection could not be used.
(14.) “Order of the Black Sword” was mentioned to the party via the speaking intercom of a “Witness” robot while the group was in the streets of Glendour. Vyllax 818 of that time mentioned she serves with these knights as well as the Archduke of Blackmoor. However, the party may realize that future Vyllax already knew who they were at that Glendour “meeting” since her younger self has now faced the party in combat in the past under Blackmoor Keep.
(15.) “Willow” was the false name used by Rose Flickflower while the party was in Glendour. Thanks to people using time travel, stories about her deeds in the future were told among those going into the past, turning “the halfling with the soul-eating sword” into inspiring but terrifying folklore.
(16.) The party first met the undead mummified Princess Sahnar at her elven tomb in Blackmoor (576 CY), before later meeting her younger living self in the past.
(17.) These “Valley Elves” of the Vale of the Mage kept this meeting as their most secret founding myth. The drow Tysiln San, one of their new leaders in the current future (576 CY), knows of this “prophesy” and secretly backed Norah Brithel on a quest to again find Ehrendil’s parents.
(18.) This execution was Sariel Galanodel’s father, the shame that sent her family into exile on Toril prior to her arcane training and secret mission coming to Oerth.
(19.) Erevan Ilesere – the elven god of mischief, change and rogues – is a natural shapeshifter and constant liar who loves to play “the long game” with favored mortals.
SCHEMES OF THE TRICKSTER GOD EREVAN ILESERE
By way of an automatic Wisdom (Insight) success, the party now realizes they met him several times before during the course of characters’ backstories and encounters during this campaign:
* 307 CY: Erevan Ilesere was the mysterious “mage” who saved the dark elf Tysiln San and helped her escape to the surface world. (This drow would later become a leader in the Vale of the Mage and a patron to Norah Brithel’s family business.)
* 337 CY: Erevan Ilesere met Ehrendil’s mother in the Duchy of Ulek of Oerth, recognizing Eldrell as being of royal elven lineage even though she was born on Shadowrun Earth. He helps her learn about the ancient Suel elemental prison, an event that leads to the birth of Ehrendil Stone.
* Many years ago: On Toril, Erevan Ilesere was openly the magic teacher to Sariel Galanodel in her youth following exile.
* 566 CY: Erevan Ilesere took the guise of Lord Tethrin of the Faerie Kingdom of Celene in order to train a younger Rose (Ulanu) Flickflower toward becoming a paladin.
* 568 CY: Erevan Ilesere was himself the White Unicorn who “slew” and transformed Stelfast Holren into becoming baby Maura’s protector against devils summoned by duergar mages. (Note: These duergar are soon conquered by Clan Sunblight.)
* Summer 576 CY: Erevan Ilesere appears as an elven rogue to Umpit the Slave Lord and sells him information on where and how to kidnap Ehrendil, Rose, Norah and Sariel and sell them to the duergar dwarves running White Plume Mountain. In doing so, the elven trickster god got the fated heroes all together in the same dungeon. (That’s how trickster deities do for you.)
* Autumn 576 CY: Erevan Ilesere played the part of Mister Hiddlebottoms found as an ill-fated “prisoner” in White Plume Mountain, but the REAL Mister Hiddlebottoms was miles away the whole time. Rose’s actual cousin first met the party at The Nymph and Satyr bar during Brewfest in the City of Greyhawk. (Hence why the original Hiddlebottoms knew nothing about his “death” or the party’s previous dungeon adventure.)
It was no coincidence the disguised trickster deity was directly on hand when Rose and Norah each acquired the artifacts Blackrazor and Whelm, although he provided no direct help in the moments. (Again, that’s what trickster deities do.)
* Autumn 576 CY: Erevan Ilesere was disguised as Fis, the party’s waitress at The Nymph and Satyr bar in the City of Greyhawk. (Party members met Balazs and Barij, two Grugach “wild elf” druids who were asking around trying to find “a deity” there that night, but distractions arose when Slave Lord Umpit – aka “Father Mariach” – attempted to kidnap Stelfast and Maura.)
* This Morning: Erevan Ilesere was again in the form of the celestial White Unicorn delivering an early morning message to Sariel outside The Comeback Inn, just as Stelfast witnessed from his bedroom window before the big brawling melee started.
(20.) You all – the party of Ehrendil, Norah, Rose, Sariel and Stelfast – are the help Erevan Ilesere has been arranging to send to Eldrell over the course of centuries past and future.
Meanwhile, as the synchronized time portals of the Aztechnology Corporation and The Comeback Inn continue to tick forward from their points in the past and future…
* Some part is also played by the young Calen, a priest to a god of time and whose younger self has now been given a record of future history by Norah (perhaps at the request of his future descendants or an older version of himself). For now, he is busy and on the lookout for further betrayals by the missing mage Ulfius.
* Auril the Frostmaiden continues to hold future Oerth Blackmoor’s weather in her deadly frozen grip. The “Dzaan clone” necromancers from her homeworld still seek her for their own reasons.
* The duergar’s chardalyn metal “robot dragon” is four days away from hitting occupied settlements in future Blackmoor.
* The fate of Ehrendil’s earth elemental father is unclear, but he was last reported going to the duegar at some point in time between the past and the future. (Tip: You know the approximate location of the Sunblight fortress northeast of Blackmoor, labeled on the online interactive map as “The Clockwork Fortress.”)
* Younger Vyllax of the Aztechnology Corporation is on the run with Moniv across time to again use the magic-sucking weapon of mass destruction that warped Blackmoor and other realms. In that future, older Vyllax has the Archduke’s confidence and her “Knights of the Black Sword” aware of the party’s presence in Blackmoor.
* Bullo keeps hitting on Norah, though he’s ready to return to the future and reunite with his father’s orc tribe.
* Macredus, alternating between drunk and sober, wants to get her hands back on The Summer Star and use it as a weapon against the Frostmaiden.
RECAP FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 5, 2021
(Players sat through big DM campaign lore dump, see above.)
Understanding now Ehrendil’s parent’s time-traveling work to thwart magical genocide committed by the Aztechnology Corporation in another timeline, the characters worked with Brother Calen and Princess Sahnar to plant strategic seeds in Oerth’s past (211 BCY) that they would benefit from after going back to Oerth’s future (576 CY).
* Norah crafted the technologically-enhanced stone of summoning earth elementals into an extra-powered backpack-like device to be worn by Ehrendil.
* The group helped Princess Sahnar plan to petrify 10 elven warriors around her future tomb, posing them as statues atop platforms that each hid a scroll of greater restoration to restore them to life.
* Stelfast wrote a note for Brother Calen to ensure reaches someone in the future: “I am Stel from the future. You must not enter the Duergar fortress or you will die. Separate yourself from me before I enter the fortress and then meet me on this day – the seconds Earthday of the month of Patchwall, Common Year 576, at the Comeback Inn within Blackmoor. Wait outside the Inn. Do not enter.”
* Sariel uses the message spell to telepathically send the following words to her father, who at this time is a young elf on the world of Toril: “In 1182, the mountains will burn and you know this true. Stop the false King in 1207 and flee to the Comeback Inn in Greyhawk.”
* Norah writes documents (mixing Dwarven and Sylvan languages) to be used for a future whisper campaign that encourages adding a fatal flaw to the constructing the duergar’s robot dragon in the future: “The key to conquering the land is the chardayln dragon. The blood of Ninth Keystone Arch’s line controls the dragon.”
* The group also asks Calen to ensure there are people available to pull them out of The Comeback Inn in the orc-held Blackmoor of 576 CY.
Upon arriving back to their original time, the party hears the thunderous sounds of combat happening outside the inn. Through the windows are seen the dreaded Knights of the Black Sword (clad in high-tech powered battlesuits), several orc warriors (both bloody and living as well as bloody and undead) and a raging blizzard storm controlled directly by Auril the Frostmaiden herself…
P.S. After talking with Eldrell, the control panel to the portal is now understood as follows. Boxes outlined in green are places the party has visited during the game:
RECAP FROM WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, AND WEDNESDAY, MAY 19, 2021
Upon arriving back to their original time from 787 years earlier, the party hears the thunderous sounds of combat happening outside the Comeback Inn. Through the windows are seen the dreaded Knights of the Black Sword (clad in high-tech powered battlesuits), several orc warriors (both bloody and living as well as bloody and undead) and a raging blizzard storm controlled directly by Auril the Frostmaiden herself.
Within the inn’s main room, the heroes found Shon Bulem, daughter of King of the Northern Orcs Brost Bulem, who was overjoyed to be reunited with her missing brother, Bullo Bulem. Two other orcs cowered by the door.
Helped by friendly zombies, the heroes were pulled out of the inn and joined the fight. An all-white woman hit the inn with a Cloudkill spell, and in the ensuing fight cyborg warriors and various zombies fell all around.
Attempts to befriend the Frostmaiden spoiled when the Summer Star was activated to change the great winter into a pocket of mild but windy springtime, enraging the demigod. Thanks mostly to the devastating barrage of blows from a Haste-quicked Rose with Blackrazor, the Frostmaiden herself was forced through three of her mortal forms: the owlbear-like Cold Crone, the towering Brittle Maiden ice giant and the floating ice diamond Winter’s Womb form. Amid the melee, the undead corpse of Sariel’s father arose from the frozen ground to give his daughter a healing potion and join the fight.
During the fight, Stel finds and frees Ehrendil from a tiny ice prison conjured by the Frostmaiden. Still in polar bear form, Ehrendil caught and quickly subdued a clone of the necromancer Dzaan who had been controlling the undead companions while invisible nearby. With control broken, the undead turn on the heroes. As soon as Dzaan recovers, he snatches up the broken and helpless fourth form of the Frostmaiden and teleports away, warning he plans to use the demigod to leverage a return to the good graces of his true masters, the Red Wizards of Thay on Toril.
Moments after the battle ends, a metal rectangle is seen approaching in the clearing sky to the west. Norah recognizes this craft as one of the “flying ferry” hovercraft she saw during an adventure in the Barrier Peaks a decade earlier. (See the “Lost Laboratory of Kwalish” adventure.)
Aboard this craft is found the hired guides “No Maps” Mocior and Bentlee Saybn, the cantankerous gnome Copper, the gnome-illithid hybrid that escaped the party via Planar Shift days earlier, and the 800-year-old elderly current state of Brother Calen. The ancient cleric tells Stel the new manifestation of Moniver (Maura) is now in the clutches of the Sunblight duergar in their Clockwork Fortress far to the northwest.
Thanks to the extreme speed of the “flying ferry” now that the Frostmaiden’s winter spell has been broken, the group heads to Sahnar’s tomb where 10 reanimated elven warriors are waiting to join them.
Several hours later, the group heads off the chardalyn dragon where Norah’s modifications to its design prove true, allowing Ehrendil to seize command over it.
The group then speeds toward the northwest for a final confrontation with the duergar of House Sunblight, and then moves to stop the ultimate villain: the genocidal time traveler Vyllax 818.
(Due to milestones, the heroes all level up from 8th level to 10th level.)