Thursday, March 8, 2012

Averlorn Campaign - G2 The Rift Floor and a Tale of Two Dragons

Recap from 9/9/2011

After getting continuously pummeled in previous sessions by giants and other denizens of the Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl (and by Frost Giants and Ogre Magi in the previous session) using the direct approach (a.k.a. a frontal assault) we decided to hit the Jarl’s complex from a different direction in order to have a less predictable pattern and hopefully catch the giants off guard.  So the plan was to attempt to take out the Winter Wolves guarding the floor of the glacial rift and go into the complex from that direction this time if we could find another entrance since we hadn’t successfully done that before or explored the rift floor at all.

During the first session adventuring in this module, the group went down to the rift floor straight away but had to retreat from seven Winter Wolves after the wolves won initiative and hit us with their breath weapons simultaneously in the first round.  Several of the lower level characters or henchmen were nearly killed so we had to fall back and hadn’t returned that way because of the danger posed by the wolves.  So we surmised the best way to take out the wolves was to have Asclepius fly over them and hit them with fireballs from the air where he was out of range of their breath weapons.  The spotters called in the air strike with the coordinates for our Smelf bomber to make his run with precision guided munitions (in this case a necklace of fireballs).  The Elf cast fly and took off for the glacial rift from just outside the entrance. 

Asclepius spotted the evil Winter Wolves roughly in the same location where we fought them before – right at the bottom of the cliffside pathway that led to the rift floor down from the ledge on the right side of the entrance to the glacial rift.  He used one of the larger fireballs from the necklace first followed by yelps of pain from the wolves and then hit them with two of the smaller fireballs from the necklace and the wolves were all destroyed.  While he had his spell going, he did a low level circuit of the rift floor and noticed a few things.  First, there was a very large ice mound at the far end of the rift not too far away from where we were trapped in the cave occupied by the three Fire Giants previously.  Next, he noticed a large sheet of ice beyond the mound which looked like it might be covering an opening in the snowy rift floor (a sink hole or something).  He also noticed some odd snow closer to the entrance on the left side in a couple of places as he flew over but couldn’t figure out from that height why it looked strange so he went in for a closer look.

He landed about where the winter wolves were killed and did a circuit on foot around the perimeter of the rift floor to get a better look at things.  There was a lot of swirling snow and ice which obstructed vision beyond 30’ in front of him but once he was on the ground he got a better look at the ice sheet and the dome but didn’t investigate them further.  As he followed the perimeter, he eventually made it to the two odd patches of snow and noticed something peculiar – the snow was moving or shifting in some way.  It was apparent that there was something living in those patches so he avoided them and reported back to the group.  With the way to the floor now clear of Winter Wolves, the group descended down the path off of the right hand ledge to investigate the mound.

When the ranger Taleth approached it, he immediately noticed that it appeared to be a lair of some sort.  Upon further examination, he thought it might be the lair of a Remorhaz – a great ice wyrm!  This was interesting indeed and if that was the case it was quite a dangerous creature.  There appeared to be an entrance on one side of the mound so, knowing there was a predator about, Asclepius cast invisibility on himself and flew in without touching the walls or walking on the snow of the floor of the ice cave (his fly spell was still running at this point).  He was concerned about causing vibrations that the creature could detect since he knew it was probably lurking under the snow nearby somewhere so he didn’t want to touch anything unless he had to.  Further into the lair, he noticed a frost covered human skeleton lying in the snow and ice.  On the skeleton’s finger was a rune covered ring and in his bony hand it grasped a very finely made rune covered long sword! 

Assuming these items were magical or at least very valuable, he slipped the ring gently off of the bony finger and put it in his pocket then pried the sword out of the skeleton’s bony rigid hand.  As soon as he pried the sword out of the dead adventurer’s hand (which took some effort and caused the skeleton to vibrate slightly) the Remorhaz struck and snapped at the invisible elf having detected his location at its trapped treasure trove from the vibrations of the skeleton!  The elf was bitten and hurt badly but not killed and he flew out of the cave as fast as he could with the icy beast in hot pursuit!  Asclepius succeeded in drawing the beast out of its lair and out into the open, like a mouse successfully snatching the cheese out of a mouse trap! 

The other two elves and the wizard Ferris attacked the creature with a barrage of magic missiles hurting it badly.  Then the dwarf fighter Beorn boldly stepped forward and slew the mighty beast with his magical broadsword in one powerful blow!  The sword hissed a bit from the heat of the creature but since it held a powerful enchantment it escaped any damage from the extreme temperatures issuing from the creature's back.  Remorhaz can generate extreme heat on their bodies and backs in particular to melt snow quickly to attack prey from below snow and ice.  As the great ice wyrm convulsed in its death spasms, the heat melted a sinkhole into the icy floor and the slain creature gradually sank from view to its final resting place.

So having defeated the Remorhaz, we decided it was best to leave the “moving snow” alone (it was obviously some kind of creature) and decided to explore the ice sheet at the back of the glacial rift to see if it might actually be covering up a sink hole that was another entrance into the lair of the Frost Giant Jarl.  When we approached the ice sheet for a closer look, it did indeed appeared to be a giant ice covered sink hole in the rift floor and another way into the cave complex!  So Evelyn the Assassin set to work cutting a hole in the ice sheet as quietly and gingerly as she could so as to not give away our presence having been trained in the arts of elicit entry.  Once she cut a hole in the ice sheet that was large enough to slip through (being careful to remove the ice as she cut it rather than letting it slip into the sink hole) we peered down into an eerily dark and quiet cave below.

We decided to send her in for a closer look and one of the Elves cast invisibility on her so she would not be easily detected by any occupants of the cave.  We lowered a rope down and she climbed down to the cave far below.  She was gone for quite some time but eventually returned to the surface on the rope.  When she returned, she verified that this was indeed the same cave that she had scouted out before during the session when the Frost Giants had ambushed us on the ledge and we had entered the second level for the first time.

Previously, she entered that cavern while invisible when she and Lucias scouted out the second level while both were invisible.  She determined at that time that she was pretty sure there was a dragon or some other very large lizard or beast in the cave since she could hear its breathing but hadn’t actually seen it.  When she emerged she confirmed that, it wasn’t a single dragon but in fact was two very large and very old white dragons!  One was on a ledge above the cavern floor and the other was cleverly situated behind a large rock pillar so as to be unnoticed if someone were to enter the cave from the opening into the cavern that she had scouted out before. 

So we set about formulating a plan.  We decided that just entering the cave down the rope and attacking from there was far too risky since we would be strung out as we entered and if we were attacked while entering, we could easily be picked off by the dragons one at a time on the rope since they could fly and hit us with their breath weapons or their claw and bite attacks.  We also didn’t really have any defenses against their cold breath attack so any kind of frontal assault was ruled out.  We surmised that our best course of action would be for the Wizard and the Elves to hit them with a number of fireballs and lightning bolts at range if we could lure them out somehow.

We started discussing ideas of how best to do this when Ferris mentioned that he had memorized Resilient Sphere - a 4th level Unearthed Arcana forgotten lore spell he had learned.  This spell is usually used to trap an opponent inside a sphere of force and only a few very powerful spells or a dispel magic can destroy the force shield of the sphere to let someone out.  The result is that those inside the sphere are impervious to damage from the outside and vice versa.  So our plan was to cast resilient sphere on three willing recipients to act as bait and draw the dragons out so the arcane casters could blast the dragons with fireballs and lightning bolts.  The bait consisted of Lucias the human fighter, Beorn the Bahkshanni dwarf fighter and Taleth the Human Ranger who would then drop down into the cave inside of the sphere once the spell was cast.  To make it easier to control the sphere from the inside, Lucias quaffed a potion of flying that he had had for quite some time so that they could move fairly easily and prevent a hard landing on the cave floor below.  The spell is kind of like a hamster ball in that you can push the sphere from the inside or out to move it without damaging the force shield.

So the three of them climbed down the rope just past the hole cut by Evelyn, and Ferris cast his Resilient Sphere spell and they were contained within the force sphere.  They let go of the rope and Lucias flew the sphere down to the cave floor where they landed softly like a beach ball landing in the sand.  Immediately, the dragons noticed the movement and flew over to investigate.  The three fighters began taunting the fell creatures and gesticulating wildly in order to draw them closer.  The two dragons let fly with their icy breath weapons but the frosty breath harmlessly enveloped and went around the sphere to the area beyond.  When the dragons saw that their prey was still quite intact and unharmed, the fighters within began taunting them with renewed vigor – the Bahkshanni dwarf in particular (being the crude mountain dwarf barbarian that he was) even went so far as to drop his trousers and taunt them with his exposed buttocks!  (Shades of Brave heart!)  At this point the dragons were infuriated and charged the three to attack!

The arcane casters above, seeing that their opportunity was at hand, let fly with two 6-7 die lightning bolts and two similarly sized fireballs which also harmlessly enveloped the force sphere but absolutely decimated the two dragons!  The force was so great that there wasn’t much left aside from smoking and charred bones, dragon parts, and steam and melted ice at the bottom of the cave.  The rest of the group climbed down into the cave and Ferris dispelled the sphere and we set out exploring the cavernous dragon’s lair.  Again, it was a two tiered cave with only one exit aside from the one we had come in – that was the stone blocked tunnel that Evie had investigated previously that led to the lair of the Frost Giant Jarl.  So we set about collecting the massive amount of loot in two separate hoards from each dragon and gradually ferried it back to our ice cave hideout some distance away from the glacial rift with the aid of fly and polymorph self spells (Teth-en-Aire polymorphed himself into a White Dragon so he could both fly and carry more treasure).

When we returned to our ice cave hideout, we spent a day or two to identify the magic items that we found in the Remhorhaz' lair and the dragon’s hoard.  It was quite a haul of treasure and items but the real surprise was discovering what the two magic items from the Remorhaz’ lair were – one was a +2 Giant Slaying longsword and the other was a Ring of Three Wishes!  We were undecided as to how to best use the Ring of Three Wishes so we just kept it in the bag of holding for the time being, but we gave the +2 Giant Slayer to the Ranger Taleth and he gave his other enchanted sword (which was also +2 and +3 against giants) to his Elven fighter henchman Bellinorn.  So once this was taken care of, we pondered our next move to return to the Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl and assault the lair one final time!


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