A few years ago, around the winter time, a particularly mean-spirited Githyanki Gish crashed his Astral Skiff and landed on the material plane near the halfling village of Huvil.
The halflings of Huvil celebrate a holiday called Crunchmas, where traditionally they give each other magic items they have scrounged throughout the year and feast upon various crunchy delicacies. Unfortunately, the Gish has put a stop to this by making his own tradition of coming down toHuvil every year and stealing all the presents and food on Cruchmas Eve. He is breaking down the magic items to repair his skiff, and feeding the crunchy foods to his trained owlbear Max.
The PCs arrived in Huvil after the latest theft, and were told by the mayor:
"He came from a rift, and stole all the gifts! He nabbed all our rings, ate all our wings, made his sword sing and now we lack things!"
The PCs ascend Mount Crunchit, where the telltale tracks of the Gish's grounded skiff lead them to the Gish's lair to confront him. Setup
Githyanki Gish That Stole Crunchmas (G) Max, Winterclaw Owlbear (M) Crunchmas Tree (C)
As they enter the cavern, read the following description out loud:
The Gish's cavern is mightily cold, and in the corner are gifts just as you were told. On the walls, you find no stockings hung with care, just the green-skinned villain and his trusted Owlbear. The Gish draws his sword from his cloak of red, "Merry Crunchmas to all, you will all wind up dead." Now you can stop the enemy of festive, Pick up your dice, and roll initiative!
See the attachments for the map and monster stats.
The Gish uses his teleport abilities to lure the melee characters out onto the ice, and then teleports away and uses a force bolt to try to break the ice under them, while maneuvering towards any weaker characters to use his sword attacks. Max fights separately from the Gish, trying to keep the party separated. The Crunchmas Tree stays back near the presents unless it absolutely must move.
Features of the Area
Presents: The pile of presents, food and decorations is difficult terrain, and stepping on them will probably make a halfling child sad later.
Ice Ponds: The icy sections count as difficult terrain, but can be moved through at full speed with an Acrobatics check (DC 25). On a failure, the PC falls prone.
The ice can also be attacked. Each square has AC 12, Ref 12, Fort 12, and 12 hit points. Anyone standing on or moving into a square of broken ice can make a saving throw. On a success, the creature falls prone on any square adjacent to it. On a failure, the creature falls in to the icy pond and takes ongoing 10 cold damage as long as it remains in the pond. A move action and a DC 25 Athletics check is required to pull up from the icy pond into an adjacent intact square.
The Gish's Sled: The sled is a remnant of the Gish's Astral Skiff, and continually hovers just above the ground. It is initially located in the pile of presents in the corner. One medium creature can ride it by spending a move action to get on. While on, the rider ignores all difficult terrain and broken icy pond squares. When pulled by another creature, the Skiff can also carry the entire bag of presents. The halflings of Huvil insist on taking the Sled afterward, because it's fun to ride on.
When the Gish is defeated, the sound of singing rises up from the village of Huvil. The Gish's heart grows two sizes, which unfortunately, is a serious medical condition. If Max or the Tree are still alive, they give up fighting to attend to the dying Githyanki, who finally realizes the true meaning of Crunchmas.
If the PCs offer to help him, they return to the town, where the Gish recovers enough to help carve the roast beast (the party receives no XP for the roast beast.) The Gish offers his personal belongings to the party in the spirit of Crunchmas.
If they finish off the Gish, the denizens of Huvil are grateful, and offer some of the ill-gotten goods recovered from the Gish's hoard.
The hoard contains: bad banana with greasy black peel, a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole, teeth of a seasick crocodile, and a 17th level magic item of the DM's choice.
Background: Somewhere deep in the reaches of the realms of the Fey of the Winter Court lies a dark-hearted Fey Lord that builds horrifying, murderous toys all year round in an automated factory. Once a year, during the Winter Solstice, the factory transports itself to the Northern Kingdoms of the prime world for 2 nights. During that time, the Blood-Red Spirit releases its clockwork contraptions on the kingdoms' children in retaliation for some long forgotten slight to the Winter Court. This year, the human kingdoms are fighting back! The Winter Fey's Workshop Encounter Level 18 (11 000 XP) Setup: The characters enter the strange otherworldly factory strangely unopposed. They soon understand why. When you enter the out-of-place cottage, you are assaulted by the cacophony caused by a room full of machines made of wide, circulating looped leather belts, hellish furnaces, alien humanoid constructs and other stranger things. Standing near the machinery is a large red and white clad humanoid grumbling hostilities in Elven. Further back in the room, centauric men armed with longbows and wearing antlers take position. Something...mechanical seems to be moving in the large red sleigh resting at the end of the noisy contraption. As the PCs move forward, they hear the large Fey utter a deep, sinister chuckle "Whatever you do, don't touch anything!" The PCs set up at the southern entry of the factory. 1 Kris Crimson, Fey Lord of the Winter Solstice (K) 2 Reintaur Hunters (R) 8 Throwaway Manakins (T) (start in sleigh, 2 activate arrive each round)
Tactics: Kris Crimson tries to maintain cover while trying to force hapless adventurers into the factory line with its Force Movement inducing Powers and use a one of the control panels to inflict as much damage as possible. The Reintaurs stay in the back half of the chamber, using Charge Arrows to push approaching PCs back into the machinery.
The Throwaway Manakins will charge the PCs to grab them and, predictably, throw them into the machine. If any PCs get caught in the Wrapper, a Manakin positions itself so it can grab an immobilized character and throw it into the nearest furnace.
Features of the Area: Illumination: The Furnaces provide dim illumination throughout the complex and bright illumination inside them (ha ha). Ceiling: The Ceiling is 20' high. Control Panels: Controls the factory line (see below).As a standard action, an adjacent character choses one: trigger Crushers , Trigger Riveting stations, fire all Furnace Blasts. As a minor action, an adjacent character choses one: activate all conveyor belts or reverse direction of all conveyor belts. The panels can be targeted (AC and Fort 20, 50 hp). Whenever a panel takes damage , a random trap triggers. If both panels are destroyed, the whole factory ceases functioning. The factory Line: The apparatus is made of a series of elements described as 7 traps. Note that whenever a trap activates, all traps of the same name activate. Conveyor Belt Level 14 Obstacle Trap XP 600 A long, wide loop of leather wrapped around a series of iron rollers. It turns rapidly, making a series of high-pitched squeaks. Trap: A conveyor belt whose running speed make it hard to remain standing on. Perception DC 28: The leather loop is poorly stitched in only one place (+2 bonus to thievery check) Trigger The trap triggers on an initiative count of 25 and 15. Alternative Trigger: Whenever a creature enters or starts its turn in a conveyor belt square, it must make a saving throw or fall prone. Attack Standard Action Attack: +17 vs Reflex Target: Any creature standing on a conveyor belt Hit: Target slides 3 onto adjacent conveyor belt squares in the direction the belts are currently going. Countermeasure As a standard action, an adjacent character can disable the belt by jamming the rollers of cutting the stitches of the belt by rolling a DC 28 Thievery check. Note that there are many belts on the map, disabling one had no effect on others. Soul Furnace Level 14 Blaster Trap XP 1000 A gigantic furnace of glowing red iron, its openings are shaped like screaming gargoyles. Its bellow sounds like multiple voices screaming in pain. Trap: A high-temperature furnace made to melt metal. Perception DC 5: Yup, you sure don't wanna go in there. Trigger Whenever a creature enters or starts its turn inside a furnace square (including on a conveyor belt) Attack Opportunity Action Target: All creatures inside a Soul Furnace space Attack: +17 vs Fortitude Hit: 3d6+6 Fire and Necrotic Damage Miss: Half-Damage Countermeasure As a Standard action, a character can make a DC 28 athletics check to force a furnace door close. In doing so, the PC gets attacked by the trap for 1/2 damage. Soul Furnace Blasts Level 14 Blaster Trap XP 1000 Like the screeching sounds of hundreds of people burning, a bellowing gout of flame explodes out of of the furnace. Trap: A 3X3 blast of necrotic fire pours out of all opened furnace doors Perception DC 23: The bellows cycle last approximately 1 round. Trigger The trap triggers on an initiative count of 20 (from all open doors on each furnace). It can also be triggered by the control panel (See 'features of the area') Attack Standard Action • Blast 3 (according to templates found on map) Attack: +17 vs Reflex Target: All creatures inside the blast areas. Hit: 1d10+6 fire and necrotic, and the target gains ongoing necrotic damage 10 (Save ends) Miss: 1/2 damage and no ongoing damage Countermeasure As a Standard action, a character can make a DC 28 athletics check to force a furnace door closed. In doing so, the PC gets attacked, as a free action, by the soul furnace for 1/2 damage (See Soul Furnace trap description). Crushers Level 14 Blaster Trap XP 1000 A pair of iron plaques, like a gigantic plaster mold, clamps periodically over the rapidly circulating leather loops. Trap: Huge iron plates crush unlucky PCs Perception DC 23: The plates crush together roughly once per round. Trigger The trap triggers on initiative count of 10. Attack Standard Action•Melee Attack: +17 vs Reflex Target: All creatures found in a crusher space while on a conveyor belt. Hit: 2d8+6 and target is knocked prone Miss: Target is knocked prone Countermeasures As a move action, an adjacent character may make a DC 23 athletics check to climb on a crusher to access its control mechanism. As a standard action, a character climbing on a crusher can disable the mechanism with a DC 28 thievery check. Riveting Station Level 14 Blaster Trap XP 1000 Four humanoid constructs, armed with strange crossbow-like weapons periodically activate to shoot red-hot rivets on each other. Trap: Two pairs of constructs shoot rivets into whatever happens to pass on the conveyor belt, damaging and slowing down victims. Perception DC 23: The constructs activate roughly once per round Trigger The trap triggers on an initiative count of 5. Attack Standard Action•Melee Attack: +17 vs Reflex Hit: 2d8+6 damage and target is slowed (Save Ends)
Countermeasure A DC 23 Perception check (Minor Action) reveals an access panel. Once found, as a Standard action, the riveting station can be disabled with a DC 28 thievery check The constructs can be attacked (AC and Fort 20, 50 hp). Bringing it to 0 hp disables this Riveting station. The Wrapper! Level 14 Obstacle Trap XP 600 This huge iron box makes strange clicking noises... you don't want top know what goes on in there. Trap: Creatures come in, and wrapped gifts come out, with a nice blood-red bow ribbon. Perception DC 5: Yeah, don't go in there either. DC 20: Seriously, stay away! Trigger Whenever a creature enters or starts its turn inside the wrapper. Attack Standard Action•Melee Attack: +17 vs Fortitude Target: All creaturesinside the wrapper. Hit: Target is immobilized and wears a red ribbon* (Save ends both) Miss: (Evil DM version) Target wears a red ribbon (Save ends) *Wearing a red ribbon as no mechanical effect, but I'm sure players would not be caught dead wearing one. Countermeasure A DC 23 Perception check (Minor Action) reveals an access panel. Once found, as a Standard action, the wrapper can be disabled with a DC 28 thievery check
Conclusion Searching Crimson's Sleigh reveals no presents except a huge bag of coal. Sifting through the bag reveals several diamonds worth 14 000 gp hidden inside the coal rocks.
Why exactly is this contest limited to residents of the US and Canada?
If D&D is to be a global game, contests should be open to everyone. It's not like the extra cost of shipping a book or two is any great imposition...
PS. Nice work Dave and Chatty. Didn't mean to steal your thunder but wanted to speak up rather than sulking at my computer
Purely a legal thing this time around Colmarr. I put this together pretty quickly and from what I understand there are different legal issues with contests in different countries. Our legal team worked with me to get this out and make sure we dotted all the i's and crossed the t's as far as the US and Canada are concerned, but we weren't able to address all the details that might be pertinent to other areas of the world.
I'm hopeful that we can make events like this one world-wide in the future, but it just didn't come together that way this time.
Urlbog has for a long time been hunted by the town’s folk. They have been Unsuccessful so far but she has lost her two children to hunters in the past five years. So when ever she can she attacks anyone coming and going from the village trying to acquire supplies to one day destroy the village. On this day she attacked a caravan that seemed like any other. Save for the very important cargo a magical hat being transported to Sage Salios of the North. Once Urlbog returned to her cave to look over her loot she know something was strange about the hat. With some time she was able to surmise its properties and master its control. She now has the power to destroy the village
It is snowing heavily when Urlbog enters the village. The heavy snow will make movement hard for the adventures. As the adventures exit the tavern and meet the first of Urlbos creatures it location is the crossroads of the two main streets going through town.
This encounter includes the following:
2 Frozen Racer Level 11 Skirmisher Medium elemental magical beast (water) XP 150 each
2 Ice Gargoyle Level 12 Lurker Medium elemental humanoid (cold) XP 700 each
2 Chillfire Destroyer Level 14 Brute Large elemental magical beast (fire) XP 1000 each
1 Urlbog of the Wastes, Frost Giant Ice Shaper Level 19 Leader Large elemental humanoid (giant) XP 2400
2 Frostfell Harrower Level 20 Skirmisher Medium elemental magical beast (cold) XP 700 each
Using that hat Urlbog has conjured several creatures to be her army. In the front the frozen racers and the Frostfell Harrowers attack any who fall in there path. The ice gargoyles fly above the group scouting ahead for danger. The Chillfire Destroyers are at Urlbog side waiting for any real threats.
Once the adventurers confront any of the monsters the Frozen racers and Frotfell Harrowers try to box the adventures in. Allowing the Ice Gargoyles to do fly by attacks and the Chillefire Destroyers will use there trample is it appears the adventures are getting the upper hand following with freezing slams.
Urlbog fist uses Ice wall to assist in boxing in the adventures followed by its freezing bolts. She will only go in to melee combat as a last resort and only is she feels she can win, first casting ice armor then using her freezing flail. If things take a turn for the worst she will leave her creature to cover her escape.
Urlbog of the Wastes, Frost Giant Ice Shaper Large elemental humanoid (cold, giant) Level 19 Controller (Leader) XP 2400
Initiative +12 Senses Perception +16 HP 182; Bloodied 91 AC 32; Fortitude 32, Reflex 29, Will 33 Resist 15 cold Speed 8 (ice walk)
Freezing Bolt (standard, at-will) Cold Ranged 20; +22 vs Reflex; 2d12+4 cold damage, and the target is immobilized (save ends).
Ice Slide (minor 1/round, at-will) Ranged 10; +22 vs Fortitude; the frost giant ice shaper slides the target 3 squares.
Wall of Frost (standard, recharge ) Cold, Conjuration Area wall 12 within 10; the frost giant ice shaper conjures a wall of swirling snow that lasts until the end of the ice shaper’s next turn. The wall is 6 squares high and blocks line of sight. The wall’s space is lightly obscured and is difficult terrain. A creature that starts its turn adjacent to the wall takes 5 cold damage, and a creature that enters a square of the wall or starts its turn there takes 15 cold damage. Sustain Minor: The wall persists..
Ice Armor (standard; recharge ) One ally within 10 squares of the frost giant ice shaper gains resist 10 to all damage until the end of the ice shaper’s next turn.
Icebound Footing When an effect pulls, pushes, or slides a frost giant ice shaper, the ice shaper moves 2 squares less than the effect specifies. Also, an ice shaper can make a saving throw to avoid being knocked prone.
Chillfire Destroyer Large elemental magical beast (cold, fire) Level 14 Brute XP 1000
Initiative +12 Senses Perception +12 Leaking Firecore (Fire) aura 2; while the chillfire destroyer is bloodied, each creature that starts its turn within the aura takes 10 fire damage. HP 173; Bloodied 86 AC 26; Fortitude 26, Reflex 25, Will 25 Immune disease, poison; Resist 10 cold, 10 fire Speed 5
Freezing Slam (standard, at-will) Cold Reach 2; +17 vs AC; 1d12+6 damage plus 1d12 cold damage.
Trample (standard, at-will) Cold The chillfire destroyer moves its speed and can move through enemies’ spaces. The destroyer makes an attack; +15 vs Reflex; 1d10+6 damage plus 1d10 cold damage, and the target is knocked prone.
Icecore Breach (when the chillfire destroyer drops to 0 hit points) cold The destroyer does not die until the start of its next turn. Until then, the destroyer can take no actions. At the start of the destroyer’s next turn, it makes an attack: close burst 3; +15 vs Reflex; 4d10+6 fire damage.
Frostfell Harrower Medium elemental magical beast (cold) Level 20 Minion XP 700
Initiative +19 Senses Perception +14 Frostfield aura 1; each enemy within the aura takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls. HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion. AC 34; Fortitude 32, Reflex 34, Will 31 Immune disease, poison Speed 5, fly 8 (hover)
Frozen Racer Medium elemental magical beast (cold, water) Level 11 Minion XP 150
Initiative +15 Senses Perception +6 HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion. AC 24; Fortitude 22, Reflex 25, Will 22 Speed 6
Frosty Bite (standard, at-will) Cold The frozen racer can shift its speed before making this attack; +16 vs AC; 7 cold damage.
Frozen Destruction (free, when reduced to 0 hp, encounter) Cold Close burst 1; each non-elemental creature in the burst takes 8 cold damage.
Alignment Unaligned Languages - Str 12 (+6)Dex 27 (+13)Wis 12 (+6) Con 12 (+6)Int 18 (+9)Cha 12 (+6)
Ice Gargoyle Medium elemental humanoid (cold) Level 12 Lurker XP 700
Initiative +14 Senses Perception +15; darkvision HP 96; Bloodied 48 AC 26; Fortitude 25, Reflex 23, Will 23 Immune slow; Resist 15 cold; Vulnerable fire (the ice gargoyle is dazed until the end of the attacker’s next turn) Speed 6, fly 8
Claw (standard, at-will) Cold +17 vs AC; 1d6+5 damage plus 1d6+4 cold damage.
Flyby Grab (standard, recharges after using ice prison) The ice gargoyle flies 8 squares and makes a melee basic attack at the end of that movement. If the attack hits, the target is grabbed. The ice gargoyle can try to move the grabbed target as part of its next move action. If it succeeds, it can move or fly at full speed, pulling the target with it..
Ice Prison (standard; at-will) The ice gargoyle encases itself and anyone it is grabbing in ice. In this form, the ice gargoyle and any target it is grabbing gain resist 15 all, except against the cold damage dealt by this power. Both can still see their surroundings, but they cannot use other normal senses. A target the ice gargoyle is grabbing is stunned, restrained, and takes ongoing 20 cold damage (save ends all, ending the grab and the ice prison). Aftereffect: The target is slowed until the end of the ice gargoyle’s next turn. Each time a target the ice gargoyle is grabbing takes the ongoing cold damage, the ice gargoyle regains 5 hit points. The ice gargoyle can take no actions in the ice prison, other than to end the effect (a minor action). If the gargoyle takes damage in this form, the ice prison is broken, freeing the grabbed target and ending the grab.
The knight, Sir Falstaff, has been charged by the King this year to bring the Prince’s toys and presents for the Midwinter Revels. He set off for the King’s Winter Castle with the gifts, accompanied by his porter and servant, Bardolph the Dwarf.
Bardolph is a strong but cowardly knave, who is overly fond of drinking – even for a dwarf. ‘Twas he carried the sack of treasures for Sir Falstaff as they made their way through the King’s lands.
Pursuing the pair was another of the King’s knights, Ivan Cornelias along with his trusty wolfhounds. Sir Ivan is the rival of Falstaff at court, and has a rather dark reputation. The dark knight would like nothing better than to discredit Falstaff with the King, and he may now have his chance.
During a sudden snowstorm, the befuddled Bardolph got separated from Sir Falstaff, and got lost in the snowy wilderness along with the young heir’s presents. Sir Ivan now has his chance to steal the Prince’s toys and deliver them to the King himself. And worse still, Bardolph is now being stalked by a terrible snowbeast, that locals in the area call “The Abominable”.
The party finds Sir Falstaff recovering from cold exposure at the Westmoreland Inn, and he entreats them to assist him.
Read to the PCs:
“You stop at the Westmoreland Inn, exhausted by your travels through the cold and snowy lands. After changing clothes, you head to the common room to enjoy a bit of cheer and spirits, feeling in a festive mood only a few days before the Midwinter Revels begin.
Before a fire sits a big bellied gentleman in a scarlet doublet and red leather coat trimmed with white ermin. He pouts by the fire, sipping his ale, his leg propped on a cushion and wrapped in steaming towels.
With twinkling eye, he sizes you up, and waves you over with a half-hearted smile and says, ‘Merry meeting my friends, Sir Falstaff’s my name. I think perhaps adventurers you might be.’”
The knight, Sir Falstaff, fears for his servant’s life, but cannot leave the inn due to a flare up of his gout, which makes it impossible to walk. His primary concern is that his servant may have run afoul of the Abominable – the great snowbeast rumored to hunt the area. And even more troubling, Falstaff has heard rumors that a knight resembling his rival, Ivan Carnelias, was traveling with his wolfhounds, and asking after a dwarf. Falstaff offers to reward the heroes handsomely if they save Bardolph and the little Prince’s presents before Sir Ivan can discredit the rotund knight. He even offers to introduce the characters at Court during the Midwinter Revel!
Setup (Level 15 Encounter / XP 6000)
Abominable Sir Ivan Carnelias Sir Ivan’s Wolfhounds (Zuss and Alpo) Bardolph (non-combatant)
The Characters start two rows up from the bottom of the map as designated.
The Abominable will be facing away from the adventurers, stalking the terrified Bardolph, who has climbed to the top of a 20’ ledge to escape the snowbeast.
Ivan Carnelias and his wolfhounds enter the lower right hand of the map during the second round of the combat after The Abominable has been damaged. Sir Ivan will demand everyone surrender to him, and then move to engage regardless of whether they surrender or not.
The Abominable will use his abominable bounce as soon as at least two melee combatants near him, and then as often as it recharges. The Abominable will not hesitate to engage Sir Ivan and his wolfhounds in the area of the abominable bounce if they are in melee with the Characters when it refreshes.
Sir Ivan will order Zuss to harass a ranged striker or controller, and then wade in on a leader-type by preference, keeping Aplo with him to benefit from dirty tactics.
The ledge where Bardolph is is 20’ high and Bardolph will cower at the top until the encounter ends. It cannot be entered normally, and can be climbed as a standard action by a DC 23 Athletics skill check.
Optional: Small 1x1 or 2x2 areas of the map may be designated as “snow drifts”, which are considered difficult terrain to all, except The Abominable who has ice walk. These can be scattered about for added difficulty.
Returning back to the Westmoreland Inn, the Characters find Falstaff in much better spirits, his leg feeling better, and somewhat drunk. He will toast the heroes and insist they tell the entire tale in detail at least two times, congratulating them again and again.
Falstaff will offer the heroes Sir Ivan’s Bloodthirsty Halberd +4 and one of the Prince’s old toy soldiers. The toy happens to be solid gold and worth about 4000gp.
The knight and the dwarf claim that they must take their leave now, despite a heavy fog that has begun to settle over the area. When Bardolph asks if he should carry the treasure again, Falstaff tweaks the dwarf on his ruddy nose, and grabs the treasure bag from him. Hopping up on his mount, Sir Falstaff tells the dwarf:
“Bardolph with your nose so red, I’d rather you lead my mare instead!”
And with that they set off into the fog for the King’s Winter Castle. Should the Characters arrive during the week-long revel to be introduced at Court, they will find that Falstaff has already claimed victory over The Abominable and the black-hearted Sir Ivan. Tales of his battle have spread around town, in great detail – just as the heroes told it to him.
Acknowledgements: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964); Henry IV (Shakespeare, 1597); Map by R. Kusiak of Hecubus Press.
Life is the game that must be played. ~Edwin Arlington Robinson ...but who the heck is DM'ing?
Background The shifter village of Rankinbass has been plagued by the Miser brothers and their miserlings for years. When these giant bullies are bored, usually around the Winter Solstice Festival (or WinSolFest as the locals call it), they like to compete by rolling flaming slushballs down from their mountain cave to see how many village huts they can take out. They would have continued to get away with it too, if it weren't for the interference of the meddling Cinder Claws. Cinder Claws was a shifter warden who thwarted the attacks from the Miser brothers until one day they kidnapped him. The local village elders fear that this is the first salvo of a full-on assault of their village. They've asked your party to rescue Ciinder Claws and defeat the Miser brothers once and for all.
After easily tracking the slushball trails back up the nearby mountain and successfully navigating a skill challenge involving a scary-looking, but surprisingly friendly yeti, your party arrives at the brother's cave. A DC 13 Perception check from the entrance reveals what sounds like arguing coming from inside the cave. Steam is wafting out and forming icicles above the entrance. If the PC's pass a DC 20 Stealth check, they can have a surprise round against the brothers.
This Encounter includes the following: Heat Miser (H) 2 Heat Miserlings (HM) Cold Miser (C) 2 Cold Miserlings (CM)
Setup: As the PCs enter the cave, read them the following: The cave is unlike any you've ever seen. You are standing in front of a shimmering magical forcefield that extends from the bubble you are standing in across the cave, dividing it in half. Steam hisses and pops along the field where it divides the room in half. On the left side of the cave, the air shimmers with heat and is lit red by the glow of a lava pit in the floor of the cave. A fat giant with flaming red hair is near the back of the cave shouting taunts at someone on the other half of the cave. Henchmen that look like smaller versions of this giant are flashing fiery swords at their counterparts. The right half of the cave looks similar, but for the blue glowing icicles and icy slush pit. Here a thin giant with icicle hair is taunting his brother back and miniature versions of him are brandishing large ice hammers across the steamy field. Directly opposite the cave from the PCs, the field turns into another bubble that surrounds what appears to be a cage containing the crumpled form of Cinder Claws.
If the PCs have a surprise round, they may take their action, but as soon as the Misers become aware of the PCs, they drop their squabbling and turn to fight the PCs, taunting them whenever possible.
Terrain Illumination - the cave is brightly lit by the lava pit and the glowing icicles. The force field wall creates steam where the 2 zones touch, lightly obscuring the opposite side. Heat Zone - The left side of the cave is hot (the equivalent of 101F) and the PCs must pass one DC 13 Endurance check during their turn after entering that side to avoid a -2 to damage rolls as the heat saps their strength. Creatures with the cold keyword are vulnerable 10 to fire damage in this zone. Cold Zone - The right side is cold (the equivalent to -10F) and the PCs must pass one DC 13 Endurance check during their turn after entering that side to negate a -2 penalty to Reflex from shivering. Creatures with the fire keyword are vulnerable 10 to cold damage in this zone. Forcefield - This magical field keeps the Miser brother's respective half of their cave at the proper temperature, but can easily be passed through. However, the thermal shock from going from one temperature extreme to the other will cause any creature to have to succeed in a DC 25 Endurance check to avoid 2d8+7 damage. The Misers and their miserlings are vulnerable 15 to this thermal shock damage. Cold or fire based ranged spells/effects cannot penetrate the field. The forcefield dissapates when both brothers are reduced to 0 hp and both zones nuetralize each other and no longer have the above effects. Rimefire Cage - This rimefire steel cage contains the unconscious Cinder Claws. The cage requires 2 successful DC 20 Arcana AND 2 DC 20 Theivery checks to open. Failures deal 1d10+7 fire and cold damage to the character attempting it. It can be attacked to open it - it has Defenses 20, 100hp, Resist 10 cold, Resist 10 fire - missed melee attacks result in 1d10+7 fire and cold damage. The Miser brothers can open it as a minor action, and it pops open after both of them are reduced to 0hp. Lava Pool - This is a shallow lava pool that does 10 fire damage to any creature that starts its turn in or enters the pool and each square requires 3 squares of movement to move through for creatures without lava walk. When a creature without lava walk moves to dry land they are slowed (save ends) from the crusting rock. This effect is negated also by passing through the forcefield. Slush Pool - This is a shallow slush pool that does 10 cold damage to any creature that starts its turn in or enters the pool and each square requires 3 squares of movement to move through for creatures without ice walk. When a creature without ice walk moves to dry land they are slowed (save ends) from the ice that forms on them in the cold air. This effect is negated also by passing through the forcefield. Upper Ledge - The Misers starting position and the rimefire cage are on a ledge that is 10 feet above the floor below. Climbing up or down requires a DC 13 Athletics check for medium creatures or smaller and requires an extra square of movement for Large or larger creatures. Falling off the ledge causes 1d10 fall damage.
Tactics The Misers and their respective miserlings are aware of the terrain effects and will try to use them to their advantage - using forced movement effects to move their enemies into the pools or through the forcefield. They will preferentially attack anyone trying to free Cinder Claws and prefer to attack at range if they can. The miserlings will work to protect their respective Miser and will not willingly cross the forcefield. The Misers prefer to stay on their own side, but will cross the forcefield if they think they have a chance to force PCs back to their side.
Rewards The PCs receive full XP for the encounter if they manage to free Cinder Claws and escape with him. He weighs 200 lbs if carried, but if the PCs succeed on a DC 20 Heal check, he can walk out with a speed of 3 if a PC is adjacent to him to lean on. He of course can be freed and retrieved easily after all the enemies are defeated. The villagers are grateful and invite the PCs to join in their WinSolFest feast, and allow them to keep the platinum-trimmed WinSolFest place setting featuring the likeness of Cinder Claws, worth 120gp (half that after WinSolFest).
Tucked away in a snowy corner of the world, the elven town of Northcrest has long celebrated the coming of midwinter with the “Dance of the Sky” festival, named after the brilliantly-colored lights that streak across the sky one night a year. During this night of revelry and dancing, each magical household works together to construct a homunculus, which is then dressed up, paraded around, judged in an annual contest, and kept by children as a reminder of the holiday.
However, not all homunculi are retained as souvenirs. Some were created without the proper skill, turning out repulsive and horrific; others were merely unwanted and discarded after the festival. These forlorn constructs are ferried to Razormoon Isle, a nearby island where an ancient manticore, affectionately called the King of Razormoon, watches over them. But the years of solitude have slowly taken their toll on the manticore, driving him insane. Now, when the lights appear overhead, the King of Razormoon leads an army of forgotten constructs across the ice to Northcrest, terrorizing the town and its inhabitants.
The sky is starting to show the coming lights; the time is near. Desperate to save their town and traditions, Northcrest looks for those brave enough to cross the ice and put an end to the King of Razormoon and his misfit army. All they lack are some willing adventurers.
1) The residents of the town are boarding up their doors and windows, while those outside move quickly from building to building; all the elves constantly throw terrified looks above, where a series of bright, colorful lights are beginning to show in the night sky. Paranoid and afraid, the townsfolk point the PCs to the mayor’s house, where he regales them with the tale and asks them to kill the King of Razormoon.
2) As they make their way toward the island, the PCS encounter two battered and bloody dwarves: Hismey and Radloph. They crossed the ice as a trio of adventurers, and tell a story of an abominable beast guarding the King. The beast pursued them to the edge of the island, but stopped at the ice, unwilling to advance. One of their brothers was left behind, refusing to retreat: an obstinate dwarf named Ukonelius. They want you to search for Ukonelius and bring him back alive, confident that he managed to survive.
Area: Cave of the King
The PCs cross the ice and travel up a snowy path, unimpeded until they reach a large cave entrance. The stone and ice has been carved into pictures of little constructs and homunculi Large, deep footprints of an unknown beast lead inside.
1 King of Razormoon (K) 1 Bumbly the Rumbler (B) 4 Mobs of Disfigured Constructs (C)
Read this when the PCs enter:
The inside of the cave is enormous and resembles a temple more than a cavern; the rock and ice are carved into beautiful and elaborate images of small constructs worshiping a manticore. The walls contain countless little doors, big enough only for a small animal. The floor is covered with chasms, a large, frozen lake, and monstrous icicles hang from the cave ceiling.
Near the rear of the cave, n ornate throne of ice towers high up to the ceiling, where a large manticore sits. At the base of the throne is an enormous white mass of fur, appearing to be some sort of sleeping creature. You can just make out a dwarf, sitting in a cage next to the throne. After taking a few steps into the cave, you can hear a chorus of raspy, childlike voices singing:
“We’re on the Island of the Forlorn, Abandoned by those whence we were born, Our defects reflect a maker’s lack of skill, Yet we are to suffer, shown naught but ill will. But then from our despair we found, Someone to love us all year round, All hail the noble King of Razormoon, Who sates revenge and heralds doom. The sky is bright, the Dance is here, The most wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, time of year!”
As the song ends or the PCs progress, the King of Razormoon notices them and says:
“This island is for constructs alone. Bumbly, awake and destroy these misfits!”
The King of Razormoon will take to the air, using ranged attacks until Bumbly is killed – and then will land and use his king’s fury and spike volley powers for the remainder of the fight. Bumbly is not clever and will follow the PCs everywhere, and using bite each round and making use of gnashing teeth and bumbly’s rumble whenever possible. If Bumbly is knocked into a chasm, he will bounce back up immediately. The Mobs of Disfigured Constructs will attempt to grab PCs whenever possible; holding them in place for icicles to fall on them during bumbly’s rumble. If a mob dies, place another one at the nearest construct door and have it take over the turn position of the one that it replaces.
The ceiling of the cave is approximately 50’ high.
The cave is well lit, magically illuminated through lights in the designs on the walls.
Icicles: Marked on the map with white triangles, icicles will fall when above the burst of bumbly’s rumble. An icicle makes a +18 attack vs. Reflex, and deals 3d6 +6 cold damage to any creature in the square below, and 1d6+4 cold damage to each creature within 1 square of where it falls. A square becomes difficult terrain after an icicle falls on it.
Frozen Pond: The icy blue area on the map is a frozen pond and counts as difficult terrain. The PCs can make an Acrobatics check (DC 25) to move over the ice at full speed; a failed check knocks the PC prone. The ice can be broken: each square has an AC of 25 and 25 HP. Any creature beginning its turn in the icy water below the broken ice takes an ongoing 15 cold damage, except Bumbly, who takes an ongoing 50 cold damage.
Construct Doors: Marked on the map as blue and black doors. When a mob dies, another one appears at the closest construct doors and takes the turn of the dead mob. The doorways can be attacked and collapse, forcing the mobs to use doors farther away. Each door has an AC of 25 and 50 HP.
Ukonelius’s Cage: Marked on the map as a cage. He is injured and even if rescued during the fight is unable to help, but Ukonelius still hasn’t given up the good fight, and yells encouragement throughout the ordeal:
When the fight starts: “You there, watch out! Here’s the dwarf… but here’s the beast!”
If Bumbly falls into a chasm and bounces out: “Didn’t anyone tell ya? Bumbly bounces!”
If a player is hit by an icicle: “Terrible weather we been havin’ in here! Snow and ice!”
If Bumbly falls into the water: “Observe Bumbly’s one weakness… he sinks!”
If you free him: “Well done, lads! You outwitted the fiend with your superior intelligence.”
When the King of Razormoon is defeated, he gasps his final breath and says: “A construct is never truly happy until it has found revenge...” The constructs immediately stop fighting, and surround the king’s body, mourning. On the manticore is a magical key that opens Ukonelius’s cage, a golden crown worth 10,000 gp, and a level 16 magical item. There are also some inanimate constructs near the throne, including a small elephant with spots, a bird with fins, a jack-in-the-box, a girl’s doll, and a cart with square wheels.
The PCs can then return to Northcrest and partake in the Dance of the Sky festival, and will receive minor compensation and xp for rescuing Ukonelius.
Read this as the players leave the island (if you like moral ambiguity and creeping out your PCs):
Overhead, the sky breaks out in marvelous reds, blues, and greens, waves streaking back and forth between the stars – and you can just make out the sound of music and singing in the direction of Northcrest. Turning back, you see the remaining homunculi waiting near the edge of the island, their eyes filled with melancholy as they watch you depart. A few of them stretch their arms out toward you with futility, fading out of sight as you pass through the winter haze.
As you reach the mainland, you see a group of elves loading a pair of carts with this year’s unwanted batch of misfit homunculi, who look around inquisitively as they are being prepared for the trip to Razormoon Isle. "Let's mush, " says Ukonelius, joyfully; "I can almost taste the ale!"