Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Icy Plunge

  • Characters: Nobanion, Vall, Jebeddo, Krullix
  • NPCs: Gribbold, Los Calzo, Aldila, Hoinnia (Tiefling), Puennoki (Green Hag), Chirkka (Annis)
  • Synopsis: Nobanion, Vall, and Jebeddo arrive at Gribbold’s shop to purchase much needed supplies. The recent winter storms have slowed down shipments along the trade route through Threshold, but some items are available. While negotiating “friend prices”, Krullix arrives in a bit of a huff. He said he went to Los Calzo to see if Dak’s mithral shirt is complete. He informs the trio that Aldila, Los Calzo’s friend and caretaker, is worried something terrible has befallen him. The four adventurers decide to pay a visit to the town tinker. The townsfolk are aware of the tinkering that goes on in Los Calzo’s workshop beneath his home, so it is not unusual for him to busy himself for a tenday without so much as an appearance in town. Aldila looks after him during these times. Upon arrival, Aldila greets them and informs them that she has not seen him in almost two tendays. Aldila leads them to the stairway that descends to the workshop. Recent rumors around town tell of the strange locks appearing on door. Nobanion encourages Krullix to open the door before he breaks it down. Krullix is able to determine the best approach to open each of the three locks. Jebeddo seems nervous at the sight of the Blade Golem guarding the only path to the workshop, but they are able to pass without any trouble. Continuing down the hallway to the workshop, they spy an ominous red-orange glow coming from beneath the door. Vall listens at the door but upon hearing nothing, opens it to discover an activated portal. Vall searches the room for clues to Los Calzo’s whereabouts, finding a journal with scribbles regarding birds. But the name Peunnoki is scribbled in the margin. Nobanion questions Aldila who informs them that Puennoki is a bird collector who resides in a tower near the Thunder Peaks mountain range. Jebeddo examines the scene within the portal, surmising that it is indeed near the Thunder Peaks. Taking the lead, Jebeddo passes through the portal, followed by Vall and Nobanion, with Krullix taking up the flank. From their vantage point they see what appears to be a medium structure shooting up from a frozen lake, 100 yards from the shoreline. They carefully traverse the ice, but encounter a fair size moat surrounding the tower. It appears the rest of the tower lies beneath the frozen lake, with only the top portion at water level. A female humanoid in a hooded cloak greets them, announcing herself as Hoinnia, and allows them entrance via a rope ladder. Inquiries regarding Los Calzo confirm that he is visiting with Puennoki in the lower level of the tower. The party is able to see through Hoinnia’s ruse and advise her to bring Los Calzo to verify his well-being. She leaves and closes the door behind her. Vall makes his way to the door and picks up the sound of heavy footsteps and battle cries. The party prepares itself for what is behind the door. Hoinnia and two ettins appear in the doorway, brandishing their morning stars. Vall’s fists are a blur as they strike the closest enemy causing it to howl in pain. Jebeddo unleashes magic missiles into the other ettin and Krullix fires his crossbow with reckless abandon. An enraged Nobanion beheads the lead ettin, with the second ettin falling soon after. Darkness falls upon the party as they engage their final enemy. With a stroke of luck, the flat of Nobanion’s blade strikes Hoinnia and causes the dark veil to fall. Vall begins to hogtie the tiefling and secures her to a fallen ettin. Upon questioning Hoinnia, the party learns the other tower’s residents are now on the alert. The foursome drinks recently acquired water breathing and protection from cold potions before descending into the frigid waters. At the bottom of the stairs a swollen, wooden door blocks their progress. A cooperative effort proves no match for this simple door. A foyer leads to a set of double doors that easily surrender to Nobanion’s brute strength. The room is filled with blocks of ice, each with varying sizes of birds and each tethered to the floor. A green hag is admiring her collection, but her ogre companion appears perplexed at the intruders. Equipped with a long spear, the ogre begins tapping his weapon on the stone floor. Krullix fires his crossbow at the merrow, but the water inhibits the bolt from finding its target. Vall manages to wrestle the long spear from the merrow. Jepeddo unleashes a scorching ray, which instantly produces a turbulent arc of bubbling, superheated water on the way to its targets. Unable to discern words underwater, the party turns to hand signals to surround their opponents. Grabbing the long spear from Vall, Nobanion plunges it into the merrow sending it roaring in pain. Vall is able to understand the words spoken by the green hag, Puennoki and warns of a spell being cast. Just as before, the lights go down. Even with all participants blinded, an all out slugfest ensues. Vall’s fists pummel into the hag. Jepeddo’s flame blast produces an arc of superheated of water. Nobanion continues to poke at the darkness to find his target. Vall is able to pick up a final cry from the hag as she yells out “Chirkka”, a name perhaps, and the dark veil lifts yet again. The party is astonished they were able to defeat such a powerful spell caster. Not knowing what else awaits them below, they retrieve the tiefling and entice her to tell them how to get to the fifth and bottom level of the tower. Hoinnia advises them to gather stones before starting down the staircase that leads to the bottom level. On reaching the third level, stones are put at the door leading into the stairwell to prevent access to the stairs. On the fourth level, the stairway door is easily opened. A small foyer has a door directly ahead and one on either side. Hoinnia suggests to place stones on the side doors as she opens the remaining door. An odd-looking dome of oiled leather fills most of this chamber. Engulfed by a big net lashed to some rings in the floor, the mass seems to be held in place. But the whole dome strains upward against its binds. With a little more investigation the group discovers the dome holds some sort of air pocket on this floor. As a light shines from beneath the dome the air bubble’s oily surface forms a stable air-water interface, allowing one to enter or exit the bubble without disturbing the arrangement. Nobanion goes berserk, jumps through bubble, and lands with a ground-shaking thump. The others follow suit, finding themselves on dry land once again. The room is occupied by two more ettins carrying what appears to be a wooden box. Caught off guard, their package drops to the floor, splintering into many pieces. The contents are revealed; inside is a small creature completely encased in ice. The other occupant of the room introduces herself as Chirkka who states that this is her tower, and that all who enter shall be encased in ice for eternity. Recognizing their primary objective lying on the floor, the group swings into action. Vall unleashes his fury on an ettin knocking it senseless. Attempting to draw their morning stars, three ettins succumb to Jebeddo’s grease spell, falling to the hard, stone floor. Unable to obtain a sure footing, the party continuously strikes them down. Still enraged, Nobanian deals a deathblow to an ettin as Vall and Jebeddo search the remaining intact bodies to collect the spoils. Jebeddo uses a flame spell to accelerate the thawing of the small creature, who indeed turns out to be Los Calzo. He is in a daze and semiconscious, but alive. The party escorts Los Calzo and Hoinnia out of the tower and back to the portal, with a final warning to Hoinnia. She must leave this plane and never return, or face the most severe of consequences. They provide her with basic supplies, and release her. The five enter the portal back to Threshold as the patient Aldila is there to welcome them home, and Los Calzo pushes a hidden stone button that closes the portal. The unfrozen gnome heeds their advice not to travel to strange places without proper security. Los Calzo has witnessed their aid first hand yet again and promises to recruit them in the future. Ever thankful, Aldila sees the party out praising their actions. The four wary adventurers head over to The Verse to unwind and speak privately. With a new way to travel to the Thunder Peaks, what other adventures await?
  • Encounters: Merrow Warrior (Aquatic Ogre) (1), Ettins (4), Deep waters of a frozen lake
  • Achievements: rescued Los Calzo from the tower, and utilized the portal in Los Calzo’s workshop

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