Frostwatch

Session #23 Summary

After the battle with the purple worm, the PCs continued on deeper into the mountains toward Norvaldr’s palace. Toward the end of the day, the cold started to seep through Helmirion’s protective rituals, which under normal circumstances would not have been possible. There was foul magic in the area which was preventing cold protective magic from working. Even more worrisome, those PCs with natural protection from cold were also feeling its effects.

Toward dusk, the PCs were start to try to find a place to make shelter. With the cold now affecting them, fatigue was setting in quickly. A snowstorm had moved into the area, accompanied by heavy winds. Suddenly shapes materilazed out of the swirling snow and attacked: barbarian humanoids that seemed to have command of the winter cold, along with winter wolves under their command. The PCs slew them all, their bodies disappearing back into the snowstorm.

As they were recovering, the leader of the barbarians, seemingly unharmed, appeared again. He introduced himself as Garko of the Eisk Jaat, and explained to the PCs that they had passed the test. He led them back to his village where the PCs were given food, shelter, and warmer clothing. They spent the night in the village. In the morning, Garko found them again and brought them before the Earthmother.

The Earthmother was an ancient, shriveled woman. The PCs were ushered into her hut and then sat uncomfortably before her while she examined them, spending a few minutes in front of each PC measuring their worth. She was satisfied by what she saw, indicating that the gods had sent heroes that could truly rescue her people.

She told the PCs that they would have to go on a vision quest to reveal their fate. She prepared the ritual, and the PCs fell into a deep sleep. They were given visions of their future:

  • The frost giant compound built on a plateau within the mountains. Thick walls of ice with a heavy iron gate. Many guards manning the walls. Large huts made of wood and straw scattered around the compound. In the center of the compound, a large palace of stone and ice. Large white dragons fly above the palace.
  • A small hidden entrance through the ice walls. A frost giant would have to squeeze crawl, but the vision shows the PCs walking through with ease into the compound.
  • One of the huts packed with Eisk Jaat slaves. Many are old or infirm, but there are a number of strong warriors that still have a fight in them.
  • The slaves freed, charging at their giant captures. At the same time, Eisk Jaat swarm in from the mountains, scale the walls, break the gates, and join their slave brethren in the fight for their salvation.
  • The king Norvaldr waiting for the PCs on the roof of his palace, atop his dragon. A vicious battle, with the PCs victorious, standing above the fallen king, while his giant subjects die below by the hands of their slaves.

The Earthmother explains to the PCs that it was prophesied that they would appear to rescue her people from the oppression of Norvaldr and his frost giants. She gave the PCs what help she could: a new magic item for each of them, and command of 60 of her strongest warriors, along with Garko to lead them.

The PCs set out at once with Garko and the rest of the Eisk Jaat. They arrived at Norvaldr’s compound after a couple days travel. The compound and the palace were just as in their vision. After a bit of searching, they also found the hidden entrance through the walls.

Helmirion created some invisibility elixirs to allow the party to sneak into the compound. Sariel went first, sneaking into the hut where the slaves were kept, and picking the locks on the chains that bound them. Despite the language barrier, she got the slaves to attack, charging into the compound to get revenge on their captors. Their free brethren joined in, scaling the walls and unlocking the gates to allow their winter wolves to attack as well.

While the battle raged, the PCs snuck through to the palace, and made their way to the roof where the vision showed they would find Norvaldr. Rohak, familiar with the design of such a building, led the way, easily navigating to the throne room on the top floor which adjoined the roof. The PCs looked into the throne room and found that Norvaldr had retained his elite guard to protect him. Over a dozen fearsome frost giants blocked the way between the PCs and their target…

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Session #22 Summary

The battle for the monolith raged on, with new combatants entering the fray. Unbeknownst to the other PCs, Lucifan and Telera had been captured and were being tortured for information in an adjoining corridor. They were being guarded by a few tanarukk and demons who decided to abandon their posts and aid their masters in the fight. Somehow, Lucifan found the strength to break his bonds, freeing himself and Telara. Beaten but not broken, the two headed down the corridor after their captors.

Although it was one of the tougher battles of the PCs’ careers, they eventually won the day. The enemies were all slain or fled through the open portal. The PCs rested briefly, and then focused on closing the portal. Helmirion and Lucifan examined the portal and determined that it could be closed using a ritual, but it would require a sacrifice of life essence. Rohak quickly volunteered and the two arcanists started the ritual. Things went smoothly, and Rohak survived with only minimal damage.

With the portal sealed, the PCs felt comfortable enough to rest for the night. The next day, they focused on meeting up again with the Travius at the Red Spire to secure and restore the monolith. Travius was prepared to join the PCs, and also brought along some Red Spire assistants and a score of guards from the Frostwatch military. He was confident that he had figured out how to restore the monolith to its full power, given enough time.

Now that the portal was in safe hands, the PCs focused on their next target: the frost giant king Norvaldr. Travius had been doing some research and scrying and gave the PCs a general idea of where his mountain fortress was located. In addition, while Travius was preparing to leave Frostwatch, the PCs did some research in the library and some asking around, and gathered some information about Norvaldr. It is unclear, however, how accurate any of the information was. They learned:

  • Norvaldr controls many of the savage tribes that live in the mountains. This includes many low level humanoids such as orcs and goblins. But it also includes fiercer creatures such as tanarukk, frost trolls, giants of various types, fomorians, tulgar, and others.
  • The savage races know Norvaldr by many names, such as the White King, Mountainrender, and the Great Jarl.
  • Norvaldr wields a huge two-handed battleaxe in battle. Its head is forged from deepest ice in the mountains, and can freeze a man solid with a touch.
  • Norvaldr is said to ride an ancient white dragon into battle. Apparently the dragon is a loyal companion to the Giant King.
  • Norvaldr is known to be able to control the weather in and around his fortress. He can summon blinding blizzards, or gusts of frozen wind that will throw a man to his death.
  • Norvaldr’s fortress is built from living ice, and will defend itself against assault. It can swallow groups of men and drag them into the depths beneath the mountains.
  • Norvaldr controls a group of powerful Ogre Magi known as the Crimson Eye that wield foul blood magic.
  • There are humanoids in the mountains known as Eisk Jaat which are not inherently evil. They look human but are infused with elemental cold. Some clans are loyal to Norvaldr and will fight with him. But some try to stay neutral and eek out a living in the harsh mountain terrain. It is rumored that some will even trade with the goodly races and provide shelter.

The PCs prepared themselves for a journey and then set out into the mountains. The way was uncharted so it was tough going. Often the PCs hit a dead end and had to turn back, or ran into unfriendly weather. But they made progress, travelling for a couple days toward Norvaldr’s fortress.

The third day did not prove as lucky. As the PCs were crossing a flat area toward the next set of peaks, they noticed a rumbling beneath their feat. The PCs managed to prepare themselves a bit as an ancient purple worm burst through the earth and attacked. The beast was huge, able to swallow them in a single gulp. But the PCs wore it down and eventually bested it.

Having spent a lot of their power, the PCs decided to rest in the clearing, planning to set out again on their fourth day in Norvaldr’s mountains…

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Session #21 Summary

The PCs spent the night among the ruins of Coir Dun. Rohak said his peace in front of his crumbling statue. Sariel realized that she needed a ranged weapon and dug through a few of the buildings until she found something suitable. In the morning, the PCs parted ways with Estan. He was not prepared to enter the mines, and Rohak knew the trails quite well from Coir Dun to the mines.

The trip to the mines was uneventful, until the PCs arrived at the entrance. As they were climbing the final switchbacks that lead to the mine entrance, they could hear the occasional snippet of giant speech from above. Sariel scouted ahead and found that the mine entrance was guarded by several stone giants, as well as a fomorian.

The terrain did not give the PCs much of a chance to get the jump on the guards. They charged up the last switchback and engaged their foes face-to-face. The giants proved to be amateur combatants, and Rosalina kept the fomorian from engaging the party. The battle was long but the PCs had the upper hand from the start. At the end, the fomorian was the last foe standing, and he realized that he was not going to prevail. He launched himself down the mountainside, barely surviving the fall but living to fight another day.

The PCs made their way into the mines, retracing their steps from several weeks ago when they had discovered the monolith. They entered the monolith’s chamber cautiously, approaching through one of the caverns on the upper level. They found that the monolith was as well guarded as last time, and the monolith itself was in even worse shape. It would clearly not last much longer, and there were a cultists surrounding the monolith and channeling foul energy into it even at that moment.

The PCs spent some time studying the room and their enemies, trying to come up with a plan for overcoming such overwhelming odds. The room was filled with giants, demons, elementals, cultists, and another fomorian. Eventually, the PCs landed on a plan with using one of the caverns as a choke point. They started the battle with Helmirion laying down a wall of ice to block the main passageway up to the cavern. Some of the larger enemies could still jump onto the upper level, but many were killed as they tried to smash through the wall. Sariel and Rosalina layed down some ranged fire until the enemies reach them, and then fell back into the cavern. Helmirion flew to the ceiling of the chamber, using a blur spell to remain invisible to the enemies.

The fight went well at first, with many of the weaker enemies destroyed by the wall of ice, or by Helmirion’s blasts. Eventually the wall of ice was destroyed and the enemies started to make their way toward the entrance to the caverns where the PCs made their stand. The PCs held up well, but the blasts from the cultists were wearing down their healing reserves. A fire giant ran through another cavern to try to get the jump on the PCs from behind, but they were prepared and eventually he was slain. Many enemies remained, but the PCs were determined to win the day and rescue the monolith…

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Session #20 Summary

The PCs gathered themselves to leave Frostwatch on the road toward Whiteleaf. When they awoke, they found a cryptic note from Lucifan and Telara that they had to take care of a sudden emergency and would catch up with the group as soon as possible. Confused, but unable to find their companions, the PCs had no choice but to continue on toward Coir Dun to save the monolith from total destruction.

Helmirion’s newly-crafted Bridles of Conjuration came in handy, along with his Endure Elements ritual. The weather was horrible, with paths obscured by large snow banks, and close to zero visibility on the roads. But the PCs did manage to arrive at Whiteleaf by dusk, avoiding having to camp out on the frozen road.

As they approached the town, the PCs noticed that something was amiss. Faint sounds of screams and snarls could be hard on the wind, and black smoke wafted from a few buildings that were clearly aflame. The PCs spurred their horses and charged toward town.

They found the town overrun with orcs. Villagers were fleeing from the beasts in terror. There were dozens of the savage creatures. The PCs sprang into action and gathered the injured villagers into the town square. After the wounded were stabilized, the PCs looked to move out and end the raid. A large group of orcs ran through the square and the PCs intercepted them. Two more groups of orcs joined the fray, but the PCs made quick work of their numerous enemies.

The villagers were quite thankful that the PCs had come in time to save the town. Although the inn was badly damaged by the raid, the PCs were welcomed into the homes of the villagers for food, drink, and lodging. One of the villagers, Estan, offered to guide the PCs through the mountains to Coir Dun. The passes were growing more treacherous, and many of the normal paths were blockaded by the savage mountain tribes.

The PCs took Estan up on his offer and left for Coir Dun in the morning. At one point, they had to cross a river, and the bridge had been out since Coir Dun was raided. Estan found a spot where the river gathered into a large pond and had frozen over enough to cross. However, a couple of predators had also found the spot and were using it as an ambush point. When the PCs were in the middle of the frozen bridge, an owlbear and a frozen treant attacked from out of the surrounding forest. The predators had caught the PCs at a disadvantage but the PCs fought hard and eventually turned the tide and slayed the beasts.

The rest of the travel to Coir Dun was uneventful. The PCs found the mining town deserted and picked clean by raiders. Frozen bodies of dwarves and the occaisional orc or ogre littered the ground. But the saddest thing of all was the statue of Rohak, the hero of Coir Dun, toppled and broken on the frozen ground.

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Session #19 Summary

Lucifan had spent some time with a barbed devil that had whisked him away to the Sinking City within the third layer of the Nine Hells, the domain of his master Mammon. The barbed devil explained that if Solkara is freed it would greatly upset the power balance between the demons of the Abyss within the Elemental Chaos and the devils within the Nine Hells of the Astral Sea. The barbed devil made it clear that if Lucifan was instrumental in preventing Solkara from being freed, he would be greatly rewarded by his master. However, if Solkara was freed and Lucifan was unable to stop it, Mammon would be…displeased. Satisfied that Lucifan got the message, the barbed devil returned him to the king’s palace in Hathsarl and then disappeared.

Lucifan found that enough time had passed where the PCs were nowhere to be found. So he headed back to House Mariz where he found Telara aiding in the rebuilding efforts there. Telara explained that the other PCs had gone off to sneak into Etraiv’s vault and recover his piece of the key to Solkara’s prison. The two of them decided that the PCs could need some helped and headed off to House Qet’aran to lend a hand.

Meanwhile, the other PCs found themselves trapped in Etraiv’s vault, with a large contingent of goons, as well as Etraiv himself, on the other side of the door. Etraiv taunted the PCs, trying to get them to surrender. Helmirion realized that Etraiv was just stalling while he extended the area of the anti-teleport zone that surrounded his vault. Not wanting to give Etraiv more time to prepare, Rosalina threw open the door and the PCs dove into battle.

As the battle began, Etraiv shouted his thanks to his master Kostchtchie and began to transform into a hideous demon. Portals open and more rageborn demons, the minions of Kostchtchie, appeared and joined in the battle. Seeing the horrible monsters, Etraiv’s soldiers faltered, but under treat of death from Etraiv they joined the fray.

Lucifan and Telara arrived just in time, coming down the stairs behind the battle and the other end of the room. Helmirion threw down a wall of fire breaking the enemies into two groups. Lucifan and Telara took care of the rear guard while the rest of the PCs occupied the demons and a few soldiers up front.

Eventually Lucifan managed to shout to Helmirion to drop the wall of fire, and the two groups of PCs were able to work together to drop the rest of their enemies. Etraiv finally fell, taunting the PCs with his last breath that they would be unable to stop Solkara from being freed.

After the battle, the PCs knew they didn’t have much time to look around the compound before reinforcements arrived from the city council. While Helmirion took the ten minutes necessary to cast a teleport ritual, Sariel took the time to sneak around the rest of the house and look for anything interesting. She struck pay dirt and found a journal written by Etraiv in one of the drawers in the master bedroom.

The PCs teleported back to House Mariz and got some well deserved rest. In the morning, feeling refreshed, they regrouped to figure out their next move. They read through the journal and discovered some interesting information about Etraiv’s mentor, Vlaakith.

Apparently Vlaakith had been instructing Etraiv since he was a boy. But Etraiv’s parents never realized the truth of what Vlaakith was: a powerful lich in service to Solkara. Vlaakith worked to indoctrinate Etraiv into Solkara’s cult, and Etraiv eventually pledged his soul to the primordial and in exchange for powerful magic. The final act in Etraiv’s ascension was to slay his parents in an evil ritual.

Vlaakith wanted to use Etraiv to take control of Hathsarl in order to have unfettered access to the nearby Burning Lake. The lake of molten lava had enough fire energy that Vlaakith thought he could harness it to help melt Solkara’s frozen prison.

The journal also mentioned that Vlaakith was in possession of another of the keys to Solkara’s prison. Vlaakith was always working many plots and travelling from place to place advancing his power and researching new magic. However, he has a permanent home in the City of Brass, the largest and most metropolitan city in the entire Elemental Chaos.

The strange orb that had attacked the king was created by Vlaakith. He had given it to Etraiv and Etraiv had visited the King on the ruse of a diplomatic mission in order to release the orb. It was to be the final step in securing Hathsarl under the control of House Qet’aran.

After absorbing everything from the journal, the PCs went and talked to King Aphyr, who had recovered enough from his encounter with Vlaakith’s orb to discuss things briefly with the PCs.

The PCs gave the king a rundown of everything they had discovered. The king expressed his gratitude to the PCs for saving his life and rescuing the city from Etraiv’s clutches. The PCs handed the journal over to Aphyr and explained the contents. The king promised to use the evidence in the journal to restore the good name of Helmirion’s house, and instead see that House Qet’aran was banished instead. Helmirion made a plea to spare the lives of the rest of the members of House Qet’aran, not wanting to see history repeat itself. Intsead, Helmirion thought it was appropriate that he take possession of House Qet’aran in the name of House Saravel. King Aphyr agreed to this proposal.

The king gifted the PCs with unique magic items from his personal collection. In addition, he promised that Hathsarl would always be a welcome home to the PCs should they choose to return. He also pledged to lend his resources toward rebuilding House Mariz, and making sure that Yuriel was well taken care of for his role in saving the city.

The PCs decided that it was time for them to see how Frostwatch had faired in their absense. Helmirion had not yet had a chance to master the ritual necessary to travel between planes, but the king put one of the remaining sages of the city at their disposal to help them travel back to the mortal plane.

The PCs arrived back in the Red Spire safely. They found Travius there, wrapped in thick furs and huddled over his desk. It was terribly cold in Frostwatch, much colder than it would normally be at that point in the season.

Travius explained that Frostwatch had not faired very well since the PCs had left. The giants, ogres, and orcs from the mountains had been making frequent raids. The two mining villages had been overrun, and many of the outlying cities were having trouble repelling the raiders as of late.

In addition, many farms had failed due to the cold, or been raided. Those who could have fled inside the gate of Frostwatch, which is now overrun with refugees. Due to the weather and the food shortages, there are people dying everyday within the shadows of the Red Spire, and Travius finds this very disturbing. The church is doing what it can to help the refugees, but resources are spread very thin.

The PCs and Travius exchanged information that they had gathered about Solkara and her cult. Travius explained how the weather was being affected by the weakening of the veil between Frostwatch and Solkara’s prison. If the PCs could stop the cultists from further weakening the monolith the weather would stop getting worse, but it would take all of the keys to Solkara’s prison to reseal the veil and repair the monolith. Travius thought he knew how to do it if the PCs could recover all of the keys.

The PCs knew who was in possession of the three remaining keys: the frost giant king Norvaldr in the mountains north of Frostwatch, the lich Vlaakith who lived in the City of Brass, and Mirmakur, the Raving Priest, a storm titan that resides in the Elemental Chaos outside of Solkara’s prison. Travius agreed with the PCs that the least formidable of these enemies was probably Norvaldr, though it would be no easy task to challenge him.

However, before the PCs could go after the final keys, they had to stop further damage from being done to the monolith, in order to give the residents of Frostwatch even a small hope of surviving the terrible winter. With the decision made, the PCs started to plan out their trip and gather supplies.

They planned to teleport to the city of Whiteleaf just south of Coir Dun. They would have to go on foot or on horseback from Whiteleaf into the mountains, and would need supplies and possibly a brave soul to guide them. Coir Dun had been overrun by the raiders from Norvaldr’s clan, so once the PCs left Whiteleaf they would see no friendly faces until they had reclaimed the monolith and stopped the cultists from destroying it.

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Session #18 Summary

The PCs fought hard against the strange orb that was sucking the life out of the king. Helmirion acted quickly to remove the king from the battle using a well-timed teleport, while the rest of the part distracted the undead that the orb had summoned. The PCs destroyed the summoned undead but were forced to retreat from the orb without destroying it, leaving it in the king’s throne room.

The PCs teleported the king back to the ruins of House Mariz, where some attendants set up a hasty bed for him. The PCs were quite spent, and immediately settled in for some well deserved rest.

When they awoke, the king was conscious but not really coherent. Rohak judged that it would take him a couple days to recover his wits. In the meanwhile, the PCs decided to take another shot at recovering Etraiv’s amulet.

Yuriel recommended that the PCs seek out an associate of his named Corkin. Corkin was useful when shadier dealings were required, and Yuriel was sure that he could help uncover some information about Etraiv and where he might be keeping the amulet. Yuriel described the Twisted Iron, a tavern where Corkin maintained his operations.

The PCs doned some heavy cloaks to cover their appearance, while Sariel used her shadow abilities to assume the guise of Yuriel. The PCs found the Twisted Iron without too much trouble, but getting in to see Corkin was a bit tougher. The PCs had to talk their way through his goons but eventually got in to see him.

The PCs described the amulet to Corkin and explained that Etraiv had one and they wanted to know its whereabouts. Corkin proved to be a tough negotiator. Initially his prices were quite unreasonable but eventually the PCs talked him down to 10,000g, one high level magic item, and a favor to be called in later. The PCs reluctantly agreed, and Corkin sent out his agents to get the information.

Before parting, one of Corkin’s goons rushed in and they had a whispered exchange. Then a couple other goons ushered in a young female fire genasi. Corkin explained that they had found her skulking about. She bore an emblem of House Qet’aran and had probably been following the PCs. Corkins gave her over to the PCs to deal with as they saw fit.

The PCs questioned the girl for awhile but they were not able to get much out of her. She was very green, and as her first assignment had been instructed to follow the PCs and report back on their dealings. The PCs convinced her to not report that they had been at the Twisted Iron, and had Corkin keep her captive for the time being until the PCs were through dealing with Etraiv.

Corkin summoned the PCs to his office to reveal what his agents had found. He reported that Etraiv had moved back to his estate after finishing at the Council House. The remainder of his guard and his attendants had also gathered back at House Qet’aran. So most likely anything that Etraiv considered valuable would be there as well.

Rumor had it that Etraiv had a vault where his most valuable possessions were kept. The rumors surrounding the vault were quite varied, involving horrible magic, demonic protectors, and devious traps. Corkin handed over a map to the PCs that laid out the best way into the vault from outside the estate. It described a side entrance that was only a few paces from the entrance to the vault. Unfortunately the vault was at the end of a corridor that also contained several barracks rooms for the guards.

The PCs waited until the middle of the night before heading to Etraiv’s estate. Before heading inside, Helmirion cast a locate object ritual to confirm that the amulet was inside, and indeed it was.

The PCs managed to avoid the meager patrols of guards and get inside through the side entrance just as the map suggested. Another few guards were inside patrolling but again were easily avoided. The PCs got downstairs and inside the vault without too much trouble.

The vault was filled with valuables of all sorts, but Helmirion’s ritual easily pointed out where the amulet was located: in a small chest on a pedestal at the other end of the room. Sariel teleported over toward the chest when all hell broke loose. Objects came to live and swiftly attacked the PCs. The vault was protected by several mimics and a stone golem. In addition, several tiles on the floor were rigged with magical traps.

Sariel attempted to continue toward the chest containing the amulet, but as soon as she touched it a burst of magical energy exploded from it. Her arms and legs started to turn to gold. She managed to shake off the effect but it was clear that the PCs would have to battle through the room’s protectors before they could focus on recovering the amulet.

The battle was tough but the PCs finished off the constructs. Helmirion was able to disable the magical trap on the chest and recover the amulet. Helmirion realized that they couldn’t simply teleport out of the vault – it was protected by anti-teleportation runes. The PCs started to head back out the door when they heard Etraiv’s voice shouting at them from the other side, gloating that he knew they would return for the amulet.

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Session #17 Summary

The PCs had to take decisive action regarding Etraiv before more people showed up on the scene. They dragged him into the sewers beneath the alley where the battle occurred. Helmirion and Lucifan took him a few bends and turns away from the entrance while the more morally absolute PCs remained near the entrance.

Etraiv was awakened rudely by having daggers shoved through his wrists so he was pinned upright to the wall of the sewer. The interrogation was tough – Etraiv was not easy to break. In the end the PCs were forced to compromise with him. Etraiv demanded that Rosalina was included in the negotiations because he trusted her word over those of Hemlirion and Lucifan. The PCs were unable to recover his amulet as he did not have it on him and would not tell them where it was. But he knew of another person that had an amulet. He agreed to give them that information if they agreed to let him go. In addition, they would not interfere with his plans to take control of the city. In addition he agreed to leave the PCs alone provided they left the city immediately. And he would tell them where King Aphyr was, although he thought it was probably too late to save him.

This is a summary of the information that Etraiv revealed:

  • He confirmed that he did indeed kill his parents. He also claimed that his parents were responsible for the fall of House Saravel, and not him directly.
  • Solkara has some sort of leverage over Kostchtchie, the youngest of the demon lords known as the Prince of Wrath. The demons that Etraiv used to attack House Mariz were the minions of Kostchtchie.
  • Mirmakur, also known as the Raving Priest, is a mad storm titan that is Solkara’s closest follower. He leads the cultists. He is rumored to be the only person that speaks directly with Solkara.
  • King Aphyr was still on his throne within the palace. He is being kept in check by an item that was given to Etraiv by his mentor.
  • The other person that has an amulet is Norvaldr, a frost giant king that lives in a frozen citadel in the mountains north of Frostwatch.
  • Apparently Frostwatch is in even worse shape then when the PCs left. It is besieged by savage humanoids from Norvaldr’s tribes.

The interrogation was completed and Etraiv was freed by Helmirion. He limped his way back to the entrance. A few minutes later the PCs heard some conversation and comotion and then Etraiv shouted at some guards to attack them. Helmirion jumped to action and teleported the PCs to the safety of House Mariz before the guards could find them.

The PCs regrouped at House Mariz and spoke briefly with Yuriel. They borrowed some large cloaks to disguise themselves since they were still fugitives in the city. Then they made their way to the palace, hopefully in time to save the king.

They found the palace guarded by a few archons. The archons did not respond at all to conversation, and blocked the path of the PCs as they tried to cross the bridge to the palace’s earthmote. The PCs fought them, expecting an easy battle. However, some rageborn demons, minions of Kostchtchie, joined in the fight. They proved to be tough opponents but the PCs won the day.

With the guards defeated, the PCs entered the palace to find the king. Luckily the throne room was the first room they entered, and the PCs found a strange scene. The king was seated in this throne, and attendants were seated around the court. It appeared that the court was gathered to formally receive a guest. There was a large pitch-black orb hovering in the center of the room. An aura of purle-greenish light surrounded the orb, and tendrils of the dark energy flowed from each attendant, as well as the king, back to the orb. The PCs examined one of the attendants and found that he was dead. However, an examination of the king showed that he was barely alive.

The PCs continued to investigate cautiously, but eventually the orb became alerted to their presence. It surged to action, tendrils of the dark energy spinning through the room wildly. Howling ghosts started swirling out of the orb. In addition, two portals appears on the floor on either side of the orb and skeletons started crawling through them.

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Session #16 Summary

The PCs had just rescued Yuriel from the crumbling ruins of House Mariz. Everyone got back safely to the airship, which had been repaired a bit but still needed a lot of work. Yuriel knew of an inn on the outskirts of the city that was owned by a friend of his. The airship made the flight there and everyone went inside the inn to rest, recover, and plan. The PCs tried to disguise themselves and enter without attracting attention, since they were still wanted fugitives in the eyes of the council. They got rooms, and Yuriel let them rest while he sent out what agents he had left to figure out anything he could about Etraiv’s plans for the evening’s vote.

The PCs awoke several hours later feeling refreshed and ready for another battle. They found Yuriel in the inn’s common room, speaking with a couple of genasi dressed in street clothes. When he saw you he motioned for them to sit down. The innkeeper served a delicious meal and fine wine while Yuriel finished his conversation with his informants. Then he moved over to the PCs table while his agents left through the inn’s back entrance.

Yuriel explained that he has confirmed that Etraiv would be attending the council vote in person, to make sure that nothing went awry, and to take the throne when the vote was completed. The vote would almost surely go in his favor – he had most of the council under his thumb in one way or another. There was a procession planned that will move from House Qet’aran to the council building, travelling through the main streets of the city. The procession would be ceremonial, and would be aimed at drumming up favor for Etraiv from the common folk of the city.

Yuriel’s spies learned that Etraiv would not be part of that procession, however. Instead the procession would be escorting his body double. Since he still had enemies loose in the city, namely the PCs, he feared an attack. He planned to enter the council building quietly through a back alley that is adjacent to the council building. Yuriel thought that the best chance of intercepting Etraiv would be in that alley.

Etraiv would not have a large force of soldiers with him, but only his elite guard. His elite guards were always fully cloaked and wore golden masks that hid their features. Many rumors existed for who his elite guards are. Some claimed they were demons, some that they were fearsome fighters from a savage race. Others claim that they were just regular genasi that are skilled in combat. Whatever they were, they had never been defeated. The exact total number of them was unknown, but it was somewhere between 6 to 10. It is unknown how many of them would be escorting him that night.

Yuriel also warned that Etraiv was a dangerous foe in his own right. He was a younger man, the youngest to ever control a house. His parents died when he was in his early twenties, in suspicious circumstances. Rumor had it that Etraiv was responsible for their deaths. He supposedly controlled powerful magics; some said he made a deal with a powerful demon lord. He didn’t often do his own dirty work, but he was perfectly capable of handling himself in battle.

The council meeting was scheduled to occur in three hours, which meant that Etraiv would be making his way through the alley in around 2 hours. It didn’t give the PCs much time to prepare, but this was their best chance.

The PCs made their way to the alley about 45 minutes before the council meeting. Helmirion cast some rituals to prepare the PCs for any eventuality – water walking and water breathing in case the battle took to the canals. Lucifan used these to choose his hiding place, crouching on top of the water behind the dock walls. Helmirion hid behind a statue at the base of the bridge. Rosalina and Sariel ducked behind walls of the warehouse buildings that bordered the alley. Telera climbed onto the roof of one of the building, a perfect spot for picking off enemies with her arrows. Rohak laid down amongst a pile of barrels, ready to pretend to be a common drunk if he was discovered.

A few minutes later, the PCs started to notice subtle signs of approaching enemies. Shadowy forms could be seen darting amongst the buildings, and moving inside them. They were either searching the area or getting into defensive positions. One of the cloaked figures found Rohak, said that the drunken dwarf was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and then lunged to attack. Rohak used his ruse to his advantage, getting the jump on his attacker.

At this point the battle broke out in full in different spots in the alley. There were several cloaked figures that turned out to be Shadar-Kai that were working for Etraiv. In addition, some hydrodemons had swum into the canal, making sure they were clear for Etraiv’s entrance. One of them was unlucky enough to stumble into Lucifan, who managed to finish him in head-to-head combat, though not unscathed. Helmirion and Rosalina worked together to keep the other hyrdodemon immobilized in a magical web summoned by the wizard. The PCs were forced to use most of their powerful abilities, but they prevailed against the advance guard.

They quickly regrouped, dumping the bodies into a sewer and finding new hiding places. Etraiv entered the alley shortly thereafter, escorted by the rest of his guard. These guards were much larger. Once the battle ensued, they revealed themselves to be two large, demonic orcs (Helmirion and Lucifan would later explain that these are known as Tanarukks), as well as two fearsome minotaurs. Etraiv also proved to be a powerful foe, wielding damaging spells and draining life from the PCs in order to heal himself.

Eventually the battle turned in the PCs’ favor, and they were able to disable Etraiv and slay his gaurds. Etraiv was still alive but unconscious. The PCs now had to decide what they wanted to learn from him, and how far they were willing to go to extract that information…

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Session #15 Summary

The PCs rushed toward the airship that had escorted them from Hathsarl, which was currently under assault by dragons. As they got closer, they could see that the dragons were being guided by genasi riders. There were three smaller frost dragons, as well as a larger, more formidable adamantine dragon. The PCs caught up to the ship before the entire crew and the ship was destroyed, but not without a few casualties. The battle was tough, but the PCs prevailed.

As the PCs were recovering, the captain of the ship used her spyglass to look back toward the city. The main building of House Mariz was burning! Black smoke bellowed from several different locations. The captained urged the PCs to assemble themselves quickly so they could head back to Hathsarl and see if they could save anyone from the House.

The PCs relented to the captain and gathered on the ship to head back to House Mariz. The airship was damaged from the battle, and moving slower due to lack of crew. The PCs pitched in where they could, and the ship made it back to town in about a half hour. The captain urged the PCs to head inside and see if they could rescue anything, while the airship crew tried to repair the ship to make a hasty escape if necessary.

There was a ranger that had been part of the crew of the airship, working for House Mariz. She had proved useful during the battle with the dragons, and wanted to join the PCs. After Sariel questioned the captain on the ranger’s skill and background, the PCs accepted her into their group.

The PCs headed inside, and found clear signs of battle. Corpses of demons and genasi were evident in several places. As the PCs were making their way through the house, they stumbled upon several groups of small demons, but were able to dispatch them easily. They made their way to the main dining hall of the house, and found a small group of House Mariz genasi had barricaded themselves in the room. They were desperately trying to fend off the advances of a few larger demons when the PCs arrived on the scene.

The PCs dove into battle, getting the demons’ attention before they could kill any more of the defenseless genasi. The fight was tough, but thanks to some clever tactics by the PCs, they were successful.

Yuriel, the older genasi from House Mariz that had been aiding the PCs, was amongst those who had barricaded themselves in the room. He thanked the PCs for saving them. He then explained what he had found out about Etraiv of House Qet’aran.

Yuriel managed to learn through his political contacts that Etraiv was quietly preparing the members of the council for an emergency session where he would vote for himself to act as leader of Hathsarl. The King has refused to show himself in months, and his archons have been preventing anyone from entering the palace. Due to the recent slaad attacks, Etraiv plans to argue that it is important that there be a single voice of leadership in order to ensure the safety of the city. Without a leader, the council is paralyzing itself with political bickering.

Etraiv most likely has enough support from the council for the vote to be a landslide. Yuriel suspects that Etraiv somehow bade the demons to attack House Mariz, thus eliminating any dissension during the vote. Yuriel urges the PC to enter the palace and find the King. He is the only one that can stop Etraiv’s plot, and the city desperately needs his leadership. Yuriel suspects that Etraiv is behind the King’s disappearance somehow, and it is part of a conspiracy to seize control of Hathsarl by House Qet’aran.

The PCs did not have much time to spare if they want to find the King before the vote occurs later this evening. They have just enough time to rest up, recover from the battles of the day, and then make their way to the palace. Although some of the PCs disagree as to the approach, and think that they should ignore the King, and strike directly at Etraiv and House Qet’aran.

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Session #14 Summary

The PCs wrapped up their exploration of House Saravel. They were finishing their exploration of the east side of the lower floor when they came upon a storeroom. They were searching it (and finding nothing of value) when suddenly the floor gave way. None of the PCs got out of the room in time, and they all tumbled into the basement room below.

As they regained their composure, they noticed slimes coming toward them out of the darkness. Two of the slimes buzzed with elemental energy, and the other was pitch black. Their sunrods didn’t seem to functioning correctly, casing only dim light. This turned out to be due to a darkmantle that was lurking in the room along with the slimes. During the battle, a nearly-invisible gelatinous cube also joined in. The battle was tough but the PCs succeeded in slaying the revolting creatures before anyone was seriously wounded.

The PCs continued exploring the basement. Most of the rooms did not contain anything of interest. However, there were some stairs leading down to a pair of large, ornate, stone doors. The PCs familiar with religious symbolism instantly realized that the bas reliefs on the doors were commonly seen at the entrances to crypts. Their was a disconcerting sight in front of the door: a genasi corpse from House Qet’aran. It had been burned and slashed. Based on the blood trail, the wounds had clearly occurred inside the crypt, and the wounded genasi had been dragged out. Helmirion also noticed that there was a hastily cast hold portal ritual upon the door. It was designed to keep something locked inside the crypt, but it would not hold for much longer.

Since this was his ancestral home, Helmirion decided to enter the crypt alone, hoping he could diffuse any aggression due to his birthright. He entered the room cautiously, and found himself face-to-face with a lich. The creature wore markings depicting House Saravel. It wielded a powerful staff. It was surrounded with several flaming zombies. Helmirion also noticed a skeleton sneaking toward him out of the darkness. Helmirion tried to talk to the lich, who appeared to be a ancestor of his that had lost touch with reality.

At first, it seemed like Helmirion might be able to convince the lich to let him and his companions on their way. However, the lich could not see reason, and started to move past Helmirion to deal with the intruders outside the door. Helmirion cast a wall of fire blocking himself and the undead in the crypt. The flaming zombies walked through the flames and opened the doors to be met by the other PCs, who pushed them back into the room. The lich was enraged, and ordered his minions to attack Helmirion. Helmirion was almost overrun, but he managed to concentrate enough to dismiss the conjured wall of fire. The PCs could now get through into the room, and rushed in to save Helmirion and destroy the undead.

After that harrowing encounter, the exploration of House Saravel was uneventful. The PCs explored the few rooms remaining, but did not discover anything of interest. They decided to rest once more in the courtyard to recover, and then head back to their airship. It was a couple hours walk to get outside of the cloud of smoke and steam and find their ship. When the PCs made their way out of the cloud and their vision cleared, the did see the ship about 300 yards away. However, there was something amiss. Three dragons with genasi riders circled around the ship, clearly in battle with the crew members.

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