Dragonlance: Dragons of Ice
Setting the Scene
The heroes travel to the fabled port of Tarsis at the request of the council. The mission is to obtain passage for the refugees to a safer region of Ansalon. Unfortunately it seems the Cataclysm has had a big impact on Tarsis. It no longer stands on the coast but in the middle of a plain of dust. It is still inhabited though and the guards refuse to let Mordred pass. It seems they blame the Knights of Solamnia for the Cataclysm! They are also less than friendly towards the non-humans.
The humans Griff, Socrates and Trevor enter the city. They are surprised to see Draconians walking the streets. They arrange to meet the council to discuss their case for entry of the rest of the party. However the council will not meet for another 6 days at least.
From the journal of Windrush
In the city an old man approaches us and addresses Socrates. He says he knows what we seek and where we can find an old library that contains valuable knowledge. An old library that has lay in waiting for 200 years and contains knowledge that will show us the way. With that he walks off, leading the way. The humans follow through a deserted part of the city with dark dusty alleyways. He opens a concealed door in the wall at the end of an alley and goes in. Griff lights up his staff and leads the way.
The room they enter is thick with dust. There are several open books on the table and a small pair of crystal glasses. Examining the glasses Griff determines that they are too small, suitable only for elves or Kender. The books appear to be in some unknown ancient language. Holding the glasses in front of the books reveals that they all appear to be related to the legend of Huma.
With that the group searches the library and check for magical auras. The glasses radiate a strong magical aura. Nothing else appears to be magical. We gather up a few books. Having completed our search we go to leave through the concealed door. As they crack open the door screams and loud noises can be heard. Smoke rises from several points in the city.
People mill around screaming and seeking shelter. Socrates gives shelter to 2 old people in the library. Gathering their wits they then slowly make their way to the exit of the city. The intensity of the crowds increase as a grim shadow passes overhead. A blue dragon! Finally we emerge from the city escorting 2 elderly people. We direct the elderly people to the column of refugees and join up with the rest of the party. We quickly head away from the city and make camp for the night without a fire.
The night passes uneventfully. In the morning Karanon reads a book as we watch the city from afar. A column of soldiers leaves the city apparently pursuing the refugees. We take a vote on whether we should try and assist the refugees or go after a dragon orb in the ice wall. After voting to go after the orb we note that we need cold weather gear that we don't have. So we argue some more about our course of action and then decide to go after the orb anyway.
We travel south. The weather is getting colder as we travel. On the second day we spot a cage to the side of the road. On closer examination it turns out to be the skeleton of a huge beast 100 foot long and 20 foot tall, possibly a sea dragon. More such sights await us over the next few days. Finally we see a small column of smoke rising in the distance, possibly from a chimney. Slowly a small village comes into view.
As we enter the village it all goes quiet. Karanon greets in a polite manner and all our jaws hit the floor. They are down to earth and hardy folk and all they seem to want to trade are weapons. So we trade several of our spare weapons for furs and food. Even Shadow gets a fur jacket and bootees.
Leaving the village the landscape is notably whiter as we approach the glacier. We rope ourselves together and proceed. Amazingly we make it safely to the top though Socrates slides down and has to climb up again. Seeing this, Kereth slides down the slope, just for the fun of it. Later we hear the sound of battle just around an outcropping. Kereth sneaks around the corner and comes across a group of bull headed humanoids who are taunting a white bear they have roped. Kereth doesn't like what he sees and taunts the bull headed men to distract them. They respond by drawing their axes and pursuing.
From the journal of Mordred Straightlance
We make short work of the bull headed creatures but Trevor goes down, he is not out however and I heal him a little. Windrush is trying to charm the bear and not having too much luck to start with, eventually it becomes friendly and Griff heals the bear. While this is happening I take the time to ask Scuff how he came by the items that he collected from the tomb and he provides me with a good explanation. Meanwhile Shadow is getting down to a big meal.
We look for shelter and discuss how we will set watch at length. The watch order is: Griff and I first, Windrush and Scuff, Karanon and Kereth (he he) and finally Trevor and Socrates. Ironically after such agonising we have a quiet night.
Windrush pokes through the possessions that the Bull heads were carrying but we find nothing of interest. The bear tags along and at one point saves us from falling down a snow covered crevasse! Later in the day we see a vague and unusual shape like a recent ship wreck - on ice. Windrush scouts ahead and is ambushed by eight large humanoid shaped walrus type creatures. Windrush calmly runs away from them only to turn around and fight when he reaches us and launch into melee.
Several of us hit but the creatures press their attack. Karanon conjures three mirrors of himself to confuse the enemy. Trevor goes down again as Shadow and Griff both take damage. Scuff flanks a creature and attacks but the creature does not fall. Windrush's enemy falls & the bear does another in. Then Shadow is killed. Everything slows down around us as we continue to attack the creatures. Windrush claims another kill. I claim my first kill. I hit my next target twice as magic sears past me into the creature. Windrush kills MY creature. Scuff kills the other. Afterwards Trevor and Kereth are healed.
We examine the ship and find it to be some kind of giant sailing sledge, with a broken runner. There are several recently dead bodies; they are bearing axes and other tools. The ship's hold is full of peat. The Cabin seems quite luxurious. As there is a storm coming in we rest. We then have to sit and wait for five days for the storm to pass. I have to say that it takes a little getting used to a polar bear in a small cabin but spending five days in close confinement with the Kender was far worse.
On the sixth day it is clear. Using snow shoes we leave the ice ship. It is really bright and so we put strips of fabric across our eyes. At last a great ice sailing ship approaches us and stops. Several warriors move out from the ship and come and talk to us. We explain that we are going to the ice wall to find out what is there. We also explain about the other ship and they pick us up and take us to the wreck to pickup the peat and then we are taken back to their camp. In the camp we are told of a force that has taken Ice Wall castle and that walrus men and bull headed men now live there.
As we are talking and eating the door opens and a man stumbles in. He warns the chief of an army approaching. Socrates heals the man, to much amazement, and then engages in a conversation with the village shaman.
I look around at the defences and assist with the preparations. In the morning the wind has gone and we can't escape in the ice boats.
From the journal of Kereth
I have had a good night's sleep. Preparations are being made for the battle. Spiked pits have been dug. Harald will command his forces from the centre behind a large ice wall. Windrush scouts out a thousand paces ahead. The Minotaurs and Thanoi charge when they reach the edge of the village. To our bemusement a large number fall in the pits.
Windrush returns quickly telling of a small group of invaders coming around the side of the village for a sneak attack. So we decide to defend against that sneak attack while the villagers hold off the main force. Eight Polar bears being ridden by walrus men force their way through the snowdrifts and head for the boats. Keranon conjures Evard’s Black Tentacles which holds up half the force with two polar bears and three walrus men becoming entangled. The other four charge directly towards us. This looks very bad.
Mordred slays a polar bear which falls on a walrus man pinning its leg. Kereth and Windrush also fall in the heavy fighting. Karanon’s scorching ray finishes off a walrus man that was fighting Trevor. Socrates, the moron, decides to attack the second group of polar bears and walrus men instead of healing his fallen comrades. They were heading for the boats in order to burn them. Mordred finishes off a Thanoi. Griff having cast all his protective and healing spells on his best buddy Trevor, finally decides to help Kereth having seen him drop to the ground. A rider less polar bear wanders off. Windrush is healed by Griff. Kereth backstabs a Thanoi which is finished off by Mordred. Two polar bears wander off. A long and intense combat is over.
The other group of Thanoi are moving to the boats. Windrush and Kereth shoot arrows. Keranon magically flies above our enemies and casts scintillating spheres at them. The first couple of Thanoi reach the first boat and fling burning coals onto it. Mordred, Socrates, Griff and Trev attack the trailing Thanoi. Griff slightly inconveniences the Thanoi showing why he doesn't get involved in combat. He gets hit by the Thanoi falling to the ground unconscious. Trevor heroically kills the last of the Thanoi and steps back from the polar bear which wanders off. Socrates finally realises what he's about and cures Griff. The small fires on the boats are put out.
The battle on the ice wall is hard and casualties are heavy. Fortunately the wind picks up and the women unfurl the sails so now we can all escape in the boats. We are told that while we were off preventing the sneak attack a white dragon with a rider came down and destroyed part of the wall allowing the Thanoi and Minotaur to break through. The barbarians do a fighting retreat to the ships and set sail for another of their camps. Roughly a third of the barbarians were lost in the fight. Scuff emerged unscathed from the fight.
From the journal of Trevor
The party remains with the Ice Folk as they reach their destination. Socrates decides to reflect his real calling and stay with the Ice Folk to spread the word of the true gods when the party departs for the Ice Castle. Harald supplies a guide to take the party to the Ice Castle and mentions Ice Mountain Bay, which is on the edge of the glacier and contains frozen boats.
The party sets out and travels towards the castle. Sheer ice cliffs appear and the remains of the frozen castle can be seen on the top. There are crevasses leading up the cliff and it will take many hours hard slog to reach the top. Everyone except Karanon ropes themselves together to climb with Karanon taking the lead to reach the top. A number of avalanches fall down the cliff and ice crumbles as the climb is made. Suddenly the ground falls away at the back of the party and Griff is left stranded and starting to fall. Scuff then falls with him. Kereth then falls and then Trevor starts to fall but grabs hold of the cliff heroically and with flair. Miraculously, the others that had began to slip grab hold of the cliff and regain their perch. Relief all round.
The party decides to rest up in a cave uncovered by the avalanche. After our eyes adjust there is a glint of what could be gold in the wall. Closer examination shows golden scales on what seems to be a dragon frozen in the ice! A man also seems to be on the dragon and the insignia of the Knights of Solamnia can be seen on the knight's shield. The knight is carrying what legend describes, a broken Dragon lance. Searching deeper into the cave we find a deep crevasse and a wall off unusual looking snow. Windrush with her keen eyes claims to have spotted the glint of gold from the bottom of the crevasse.
Karanon polymorphs into an Umber Hulk so he can burrow around the frozen dragon, with the intent of getting at the knight's shield and dragon lance. While transformed he also burrows through the odd ice wall by the crevasse and finds a storeroom - the base of the castle has been located.
Karanon transforms back and then flies down into the crevasse searching for treasure. After flying down several hundred feet he lands. Suddenly he is surprised by a giant worm-type creature with big teeth which strikes out and hits, trying to grapple and eat him. Desperately he casts a phantasmal force spell and somehow manages to escape the creature's clutches and fly away. Meanwhile, the shield, armour, sword and ring are removed from the knight and shared amongst the party.
Next morning the party heads to the storeroom. There is a locked door, which when opened allows Kereth to see a fountain in a courtyard and a large stone keep. Lying on the ground are 3 huge ice bears and 2 walrus men. Watching patiently for several hours there is a change of watch and they are replaced by 2 Minotaurs and then again later by 2 walrus men).
The party casts invisibility and edges round to the side of the keep avoiding the guards and bears. Windrush throws up the grappling hook and climbs up, but almost loses her grip half way up. The rest of the party then starts to climb. Griff, the clumsy idiot falls off the rope twice and makes enough noise for the guards to inspect. The first time they don't detect anything, as everyone at the base of the keep is still invisible. But then he falls for the third time and the invisibility spell wears off. Quickly he is dragged up to the top of the keep by the party. All the noise he made makes more guards come out and patrol around the keep.
There is a fantastic view from the top of the keep. We can see a large encampment outside the castle. Unfortunately the stairway down from the roof into the keep is blocked by rubble. Not sure if there another is a way down, was this a waste of time?
We inspect the floor slabs until we find two with loose mortar around their edges. Carefully and quietly the two slabs are removed and Kereth is lowered down to explore. The upper floor is one huge room and is completely empty. Scuff then goes down using his night vision and goes down some dark stairs. He enters a fur lined room with a large bed in the corner.
Sitting at a desk is a male elf who apparently hears Scuff coming down the stairs, but fortunately Scuff manages to hide and is not seen. Scuff sneaks back up to tell the rest of the party what's going on. We decide to rush down the stairs to charge the elf. Trevor (what a guy) rushes in and strikes the elf who tries to retaliate with a spell that fizzles and then he goes down dead on the next attack.
From the journal of Mordred Straightlance
Karanon searches the body of the unfortunate elf, his armour is magical and looks like a dragon army type design and he is loaded with magical goodies. Kereth unlocks the chest and in it there is a book, a scroll, a journal and a couple of potions. I guard the stairs and completely miss the looting of these goods. Searching we find more stairs down and go down them.
The rangers say they can feel a slight breeze. The passage slopes gently down and opens out into a cavern with two other exits. There is a rushing stream running from right to left across the chamber. Windrush decides to goes back to get the body for some reason. The cavern opens up to a larger cavern which is lined with frozen bodies lining the walls. We agree that this cavern is boring and leave it.
In the next cavern Kereth and Scuff find a dragon sleeping on a huge hoard and a glass orb can also be seen – the object of our quest. Suddenly as the rest of the party come around the corner a loud wailing comes from Wyrm Slayer and the dragon is awakened. Kereth who was sneaking along the wall is certain to be noticed so I try to protect him while Windrush and Karanon back away.
The dragon breathes on us. Some of us (me included) look deeply shaken. Trevor attacks the dragon and hurts it. Scuff gets swiped by the dragon as he closes in to attack. I attack and get stung for some damage. I hit it back. The world slows down for me as Karanon casts haste. The dragon strikes back and hits Scuff. I get winged, literally. Trevor attacks the dragon and Scuff legs it. I hit it as Windrush charges in and cuts its head off........
We look around the treasure and dish out some healing. Karanon carefully puts the orb into his backpack taking great care not to touch it. Several other magical items are carefully packed away for later analysis. We also pocket the lightest pieces of the treasure leaving the majority of the vast dragon hoard behind.
Karanon decides the best thing to do next is to run away as "we have what we came here for". The rest of us decide to explore the other corridor. The corridor bends around and Wrym Slayer starts its noise again. We seem to have discovered some baby dragons. Kereth charges in and Windrush kills one with arrows, Scuff does something as Karanon magic missiles another. I finish one and hit the other and Kereth finishes it off. We find some eggs and Scuff has disappeared. We trash the eggs.
When we get back into the main chamber Scuff is holding the Orb and staring into space. Trevor and Windrush break the grip of Scuff from the orb and Kereth brings Scuff round. Scuff does not recall any of his actions. Karanon is not amused.
The plan to get down: Karanon is changed into a Griffon, Mordred and Kereth are down first, followed by Windrush as she is "so laden down with gear". Then Trevor and Griff followed by Scuff last. OH HORROR, Karanon’s spell seems to have expired and they are both falling to earth. Karanon slows down and tries to grab Scuff but misses Scuff. Splat! Karanon explains in his own words what happened and I am satisfied at this excuse.
Karanon buries Scuff all by himself. We camp out and the next day we move off across the ice. The weather seems warmer and after several days we reach ice mountain bay. There are many ice bound ships though one looks in good condition. We get aboard and rest in proper shelter for a change. The real question is what do we do next?
The journal hints that the orb needs to get to the isle of Sancrist. The mention of a place called Foghaven and lots of other things but a lot of the text is illegible. Karanon analyses the magical items. Some are good, some are bad and some are very good but not really relevant to us now. The items are split between the party. Decision time!