Dungeon Fantasy Nordlond #9: “Boo!”
This session, we were missing Blixa. Which was weird, because if this campaign were a movie from the early 1980’s, it would be called “Blixa The Destroyer” and Blaadao would be played by Mako.
Spoiler Warning: This session uses some leftover content from Hall of Judgment, the first adventure set in Nordlond, Gaming Ballistic‘s Norse-themed campaign setting.
Not much in the way of spoilers, but if you’re a purist… Actually, no, upon review, there are some “forward-looking” spoilers for several other Nordlond books. I have a feeling (hope?) that from here on out, material from the whole collection is just going to start flowing together.
- Blixa, Half-elf Barbarian. Suffering from Oberon’s Revenge, often off-camera.
- Esen, Human Mentalist. Not a monk. No, not that kind of monk, either. It’s just a fashion statement.
- Ilmarë “Ray” Kem, Elf Cleric. Here comes the sun.
- The Kid, Nymph Bard. Too pretty to hit.
- Orvynth the Clanless, Dragon-Blooded Knight. Slices, dices, also juliennes fries.
- Slingshot, Human Scout. One shot, one kill.
Henchmen and NPCs
- Flavio, loyal cultist, former follower of Blaadao (now deceased)
- Halfdan, cultist and loudmouth, another former follower of Blaadao
- Vrin, Halfling Fire Wizard. Rescued from certain doom.
After last sesssion, our heroes found themselves with a lot of treasure, no ponies, and the corpse of one dead wizard. After consulting with Flavio, the party determined that Blaadao’s bizarre religious beliefs really only required that he be buried somewhere under the aurora. In the Frostharrow, the northern lights are readily seen, so they party found an area with a good view of the sky and built a cairn. Flavio said a few words, and the party moved on, making camp later that night.
It was a lucky thing that they found a good campsite, because that night, the temperature plummeted and a storm rolled in. Knowing that travelling in weather like this was to court death, our heroes stayed put, staying warm and trading stories.
Vrin explained that she, like Halfdan and Flavio, had been a henchman for a party searching for the Hall. Her party had been captured, and everyone else forced to fight to the death for alfar amusement, until only she was left alive.
Over the course of the day, Vrin flirted with The Kid, helped out with the fire, and gave everyone nicknames.
The next day, the storm let up, and our heroes took to the road. They had taken the litter for Blaadao’s body and turned it into a travois for dragging a tight bundle of packed loot. Blixa and Orvynth traded off dragging the loot.
As they walked, Esen started to get an odd feeling, like he was hearing a sound in his mind: the howling of wolves, getting closer. He mentioned this to the others, who heard nothing, but prepared themselves anyway.
None too soon, as a pack of astral hounds appeared from the ether, surrounding our heroes, and attacked, trying to get to Esen! They were shaped like wolves, but huge, with little hands where their eyes should be. Esen knew that rumor among psychics was that astral hounds served as hunting dogs for some kind of more powerful Elder Thing. Several moved to leap at Esen, while the others moved to attack the rest of the party.
Slingshot put two arrows into the alpha, while Orvynth went into a flurry of blows and lopped the heads off several others. Levitating ten feet in the air, Esen dodged and parried several attempts to leap up and grab his foot. The Kid fascinated one hound with his magic until Orvynth could get around to killing it. Vrin held off one hound with a flame jet spell, while Halfdan and Flavio took a defensive stance and awaited rescue by more powerful heroes.
In the end, only one hound was left standing, and it returned to the astral plane to bring news of their defeat to its unseen masters.
The victory celebration didn’t last long, though. Even before Orvynth could take a knee to thank the gods, the party heard a rumbling from overhead: avalanche! Everyone quickly ran for cover, with Orvynth scooping up Vrin to carry her to safety. Several party members were hurt, but none too badly, and Ray quickly healed them.
The next day was cold, clear, and relatively uneventful. The party accidentally ran into a herd of mountain goats who crossed their path. Slingshot tried to take a shot and get some fresh meat, to supplement their diet of cleric-created food, but wrenched his shoulder trying to quickly draw his bow and missed his shot.
The next day continued cold and clear. The group made excellent progress. Just as they were looking for a camping place, they stumbled onto a shack with a small garden of squash and beans. Investigation showed the place to be empty now, though recently occupied. Slingshot and Esen searched the place, finding some stored food and an inscription above the door inviting weary travelers to use the place. Anticipating a snowstorm the next day, our heroes happily settled in for the night.
Watch after watch, through the night, the temperature plummeted as the storm rolled in. Finally, just as the sky was starting to lighten with the dawn, The Kid was on watch and heard the sound of someone moving around outside the shack. The Kid immediately raised the alarm.
Everyone hurriedly prepared themselves. The shack had three doors. Slingshot went to one, discovering a group of four hobs approaching. Orvynth went to another door, meeting another group of hobs on that side. Finally, The Kid moved to exit out the third door, only to meet a group of hobs on that side, as well.
Hoping to avoid being bottled up in the shack, Slingshot raced out the front door, leaping off the porch and spinning to fire at the approaching hobs’ backs. Following his example, Orvynth rushed out their door to confront that group, shouting demands that the hobs surrender. Over the next couple of seconds, the two would cut through hobs like they were harvesting wheat. Slingshot noticed the storalf leading the attack when it called “Unleash the troll!” and advanced to try to charm Orvynth, so he put an arrow through its helmet’s eyeslit and into its brain.
Still, there was a troll, that had been held at a distance for the sake of stealth. It sprinted forward, heading towards the shack’s front door.
Meanwhile, inside the shack, The Kid was working to hold the third door. One hob entered and tried to attack him, only to be blocked by a magical command to turn and strike his comrade, the next hob in line. The wounded hob struck back in irritation, lightly wounding the first hob, who tried again to strike The Kid. Again, The Kid commanded the hob to attack his comrades. This time, the attacked hob lost his temper entirely. “What the actual ****, Bob?” he shouted, attacking the first hob in earnest. The two hobs dueled, blocking the door against the others, while The Kid retreated, until they each mortally wounded the other.
Esen had moved up into the shack’s front door and joined Slingshot in attacking the onrushing troll. One of the hobs rushed the door, and was badly wounded by Esen’s psychokinetic lash. Overcome by anger, it threw itself at Esen, wounding him badly with a spear thrust to the chest. Barely clinging to consciousness, he levitated into the rafters and pushed his way through the thatch in an effort to avoid the melee at the front door, ending up resting on the shack’s roof.
Inside the main room of the shack, Ray was charging a sunbolt while the henchmen gathered their gear… at least, that’s how it seemed at first. Shortly, she became suspicious of Flavio and Vrin, who seemed to be digging around in the luggage a lot more than one might expect. She asked them what they were doing and stepped forward. They gave her vague assurances. When she looked closer, she saw that they were each holding a bundle of armor from the loot and a tiwstakn. Surprised, she shouted. Halfdan came up behind her, telling her to go ahead, he would keep an eye on the thieves. Flavio and Vrin stood up, apparently chagrined to be caught… and then immediately vanished!
Cursing, Ray stepped up to the front door, unleashing her sunbolt against the oncoming troll, stopping it in its tracks. Unnoticed, Halfdan stepped up behind her and raised his axe. His choked “I’m sorry!” was enough to give her a little warning, but he was still able to land a blow, wounding her. Ray spun to face this new threat.
Outside, just as he was killing the storalf leader, Slingshot saw Flavio reappear on the far side of the garden. The image of “Flavio” melted away, revealing Elunad, the fae noble they thought the killed in the alfar warren! She shouted magically-compelling words across the battlefield, telling Orvynth to subdue the others.
The fae lady was immediately joined by Vrin. Both were carrying bundles of armor and tiwstakn. “Come,” Elunad said, beckoning the halfling closer, “we have business with my cousin in Northwatch.” Just before they vanished, Slingshot was able to get a good look at Vrin’s face; from her expression, she was horrified, with tears streaming down her face, but nevertheless, she followed Elunad without hesitation.
Ray knocked Halfdan’s axe from his hand, disarming him. The rest of the fight was mostly cleanup. A couple of hobs, who hadn’t been able to enter the shack, tried to make a run for it, but Slingshot put arrows into their backs. The Kid used mental manipulation to subdue Halfdan and Orvyth, who eventually snapped out of it. Ray climbed up to the roof and healed Esen; while nearly everyone was hurt to some extent, he had taken the gravest wounds.
Almost too exhausted to keep his feet, but knowing how trolls regenerate, Orvynth tottered forward and used the last of his strength to breath fire on the troll’s battered form, then fell to the ground. Esen telekinetically cushioned his fall.
Battered and fatigued, our heroes regrouped, healing and resting and looting the bodies. Upon checking the luggage, they discovered that they were missing one tiwstakn and the armor they had taken from “Elunad’s” body; apparently, one of the two sets of things they had seen taken from them was an illusionary decoy, but the other was real.
Halfdan tearfully explained. Flavio died at the hands of the nordalfar before last session’s rescue. Elunad had taken his place, under cover of illusion, while disguising one of her followers as herself. Halfdan and Vrin had been mind controlled the entire time, terrified, but unable to warn our heroes. For days, now, Elunad had been travelling with them, until she was able to put the temptation of the shack in their way.
Then, as they had seen, she had triggered her ambush and escaped, taking Vrin with her and leaving Halfdan with orders to kill the party if he could.
Slingshot shared what he had overheard. The Kid recognized the name “Northwatch” as an important town to the east that held the borders of Nordlond against the fae on one side and the dragon-folk on the other. The Kid remembered hearing something about a settlement in the wilderness being launched from Northwatch, but failing; something about a terrible disaster, but The Kid couldn’t recall the details. From what they put together, though, they suspect some kind of fae involvement.
Driven by a cold rage over the theft of what they had honorably stolen (and, one hopes, the kidnapping of their new friend), the party declared their intention to pursue Elunad and take her down. Pooling their knowledge of the area, they decided that the best way to get to Northwatch would be to first return to Isfjall, as was already their intention.
After a long rest and a lot of recuperation, the party pressed on. After some clever pathfinding on the part of Slingshot, our heroes arrived back at the bandit camp where they had left their wagon. Sadly, there were no ponies available to pull it. After a night of rest, our heroes continued on foot.
The rest of the trip was unremarkable. After a couple of weeks of hiking, the party returned to Isfjall, where they were joyously met by Tyrthegn, the cleric who originally put them on the path to the Hall of Judgment. The Kid turned the disposable loot into cash, which they shared out. Esen vanished, intent on finding the local cultists for training.
Next stop, Norðvörn!
The standard award for each member of the group was 5 points. Once the loot was sold and shared out, each member received just over $17,000.
Cool Point: Orvynth, for taking down hobs like a blender
Booby Point: Esen, for taking a nigh-mortal blow and ending up hiding on the roof