Monthly Archives: August 2011

SOW Chapter10: IceHome

IceHome

Beholder is dead
Found and rescued the captured
Restorationists

Icehome

Map: IcehomeHaving successfully entered a complex hidden within the iceberg known as Icehome, the emissaries of Sayre take shelter within the second chamber after battling the remorhaz. On the high ledge Dell searches through the grisly remains of the dead warriors. Apparently the ledge had served as the remorhaz’s larder.

Ice ShoesHis search reveals several sets of spiked ice shoes. Quickly Dell tosses these to his friends below while the group takes a few moments to strap the shoes upon their feet. The Doctor’s assistant ignites a fire to keep everyone from freezing in the harsh cold of Icehome. 

The odd footwear had been constructed to be worn over their other boots to add the traction necessary to cross over the icy surfaces. As the others pull near to the assistant’s fire he squeals, “Join me, join me … friends yes we are friends, sssee … it is warm, warmer here, my friends. Everyone wants to be my friend now.”

Dell reminds the others, “We need to keep moving, we are not safe here. I am going to check the other ledge.”

Quickly Dell scales the icy rise and from there he wanders into a third raised chamber. Up on the higher elevation, a massive stalagmite partially obstructs the cavern beyond. Dell notices a smooth shaft in the ceiling of about a ten foot diameter. Below the shaft lying upon the floor was the body of a warrior. Tentative Dell considers his options when suddenly he notices movement within the shaft. Something floating down the shaft, a spheroid body with a large fanged mouth and single eye on the front and many flexible eyestalks on the top.

DellIt is too late to physically run when Dell recognizes the eye tyrant, so in an explosion of shadow the halfling vanishes teleporting back to the original ledge in the chamber he had just left. As Dell appears he sees that his allies are not alone. A squad of sahuagin hunters had surprised his friends–a battle had broken out. A pair of hunters stabbed and grabbed at the construct L.O.G.A.N. from the icy steps of the first cavern and a second pair had taken cover behind stalagmites from where they hurled javelins at the party.

Bhenedict and Finellior rushed to aid L.O.G.A.N. while Lucian, Doctor Manne, and the Doctor’s assistant dealt with the javelin throwers attacking from range. The battle was violent and progressing swiftly. From his perch, Dell yelled out warnings about the eye tyrant but, in the midst of battle, his allies were beyond hearing and the beholder hadn’t appeared. Dell couldn’t take his eyes off the high ledge, as he kept imaging the dance of shadow and the hollow cackle of the beholder’s laugh issuing from the second rise. Finally as the last sahuagin falls, Dell leaps from the ledge and grabbing Bhenedict shouts, “There is a beholder in the chamber beyond the ledge!” Dell points to the chamber hiding the lurking danger. Bennie calls the others to him saying,

Icy Beholder“These fish-faced bastithes are done, but we’ve bigger fish to fry, we’ve got putrid spyrokeet gas bag.”

Dell adds, “A beholder, eye tyrant, a bluish white one, an eye of frost!”

“Whatever,” says Bennie, “I am going to go this way.” pointing out a passage that seemed to wrap around the beholder’s raised chamber.

Dell adds, “And I will flush out the beholder directly,” pointing back at the ledge from where he had fled. The others nod, and take up positions backing and supporting both Bennie and Dell. Lucian hangs back to watch both at the same time. The Doctor wanders back unnoticed and began examining the dead remorhaz. The assistant took cover beneath the ledge of the raised chamber just behind Dell. L.O.G.A.N. began moving behind the dwarf and Fin positioning himself at the nearest corner from where he would be able to rush wherever he might be needed most. Bennie starts marching first, approaching with caution, but loudly as his new spiky shoe dug into the passage‘s icy floor.

“Come on out, gas bag, it’s all great fun ’til somebody loses an eye! But dinna fuss. I’ll mail it to yer friends for yaw, ye bloated bag of offal.”

Ahead of the dwarf, further down the passage, there was another open ledge providing access to the raised chamber. From this opening a single snaky eye stalk peers to release an ice blue beam that freezes the dwarf in place. Bennie‘s feet freeze to the ground and the beholder drifts out enough to focus it’s large central eye on the dwarf. Bennie bends losing his lunch as a crushing nausea overcomes him. Suddenly Dell flies through the air behind the beholder, clearly under the control of another of the beholder’s eyes. Dell sails through the air towards a sunken pool at the far side of the passage.

Dell needs a bathAt the pool, Dell is greeted by the jaws of a massive shark. The shark snaps in anticipation of a tasty meal. Nearby from that far end of the passage, three more sahuagin, one with great size and two sets of powerfully arms charge out from behind the cover of the stalagmites there. The sahuagin leader, Xurgelmek, and his personal guard.

There is no attempt at negotiation, just fury, battle, and blood. L.O.G.A.N. locks in on Dell, his targeting computers magically fixing on the halfling allowing the construct’s cannons to target whatever might attack the halfling. The delay gives the sahuagin leader an opportunity to gain initiative over the construct. The large sahuagin easily matched L.O.G.A.N.’s size and physical power, Xurgelmek grabs L.O.G.A.N. hurling him to the floor; then striking downward, the sahuagin stabs L.O.G.A.N. deeply while pinning him to the ground with his extra set of claws using L.O.G.A.N.’S bulk to his own advantage.

SahuaginLucian tries to blast the frenzied sahuagin off L.O.G.A.N., but the sea devils, intoxicated by L.O.G.A.N.’s blood, pay no heed to the warlock’s attacks. As the shark’s jaw’s snap, Dell twists shadow a second time, vanishing as the shark lurches towards him. Dell reappears behind the dwarf but again the beholder telekinetically grabs the halfling effortlessly throwing him back toward the pool. Dell spins acrobatically in preparing to meet the shark. Still trapped in ice Bhenedict clenches hard as he suddenly becomes aware of the remorhaz staggering, limping, lurching towards Bennie through the passage, then catches his breath as he realizes that the monster was being guided by the Doctor.

As the remorhaz appears the beholder retreats deeper into the safety of his raised chamber. Somehow, Dell escapes the shark a second time slashing it as he makes his escape, when L.O.G.A.N.’s targeting system automatically blasts the shark.

Undead RemorhazThe Doctor orders the animated remorhaz to attack. The huge remorhaz bites Xurgelmek throwing the other sahuagin aside with it bulk alone. Freed, L.O.G.A.N. rises to his feet. The sahuagin guards rush to defend their leader, one attacking Dell (and getting blasted by L.O.G.A.N.) and the other driving another trident into the construct. Then suddenly L.O.G.A.N. flies backwards as the beholder throws him into the pool with the shark.

At the entrance of the passage, Finellior begins loudly mocking their attackers so vociferously that he is impossible to ignore, his taunts building on the morale of his allies. L.O.G.A.N. fires jets rocketing out of the pool while blasting the huge shark again. As he lands, Fin rushes to aid the L.O.G.A.N., hoping his healing magic would work on the strange construct. In the upper chamber, the assistant had already scaled the icy ledge and snuck into the chamber where he distracted the beholder with a simple deception. Carefully, aiming a wand he fires, badly burning the eye tyrant and ducking back out of the chamber depriving the beholder an opportunity to react but sudden the assistant become aware of a deep freeze spreading outward from beholder’s chamber.

In the passage the remorhaz continues pressing its attack. Healed L.O.G.A.N. joins in the attack. Lucian uses his arcane power to causes an explosion so large that it engulfs all the combatants, friend and foe alike. L.O.G.A.N.’s armor protects him, the dead remorhaz pays no heed to the attack, the sahuagin guards fall, their powerful leader is injured but he persists in his frenzied attack. Forgotten, Bennie finally shakes off the beholder’s attack, and charges slamming full-force into the giant sahuagin hurling him across the passage into the waiting jaws of the shark where Xurgelmek finally dies. As the shark feasts, the group of heroes turn their attention back to the beholder.

L.O.G.A.N. rockets into the upper chamber, Fin jumps and climbs up the ledge. Finding the dead remorhaz’s inner fire cooled, the Doctor mounts his remorhaz and the monster climbs the icy walls, its claws easily biting deep into the hard ice. With the Doctor’s assurance, the dwarf approaches, and with the Doctor’s encouragement, Bennie hitches a ride. All the while Dell tries to climb up the ledge while Lucian stands guard watching the approach to the passage.

“Hurry up!” calls out Lucian, and adds, “You act like your terrified.”

“That’s not it, I’m just not as tall as you are. I’m not built for climbing.” argues Dell. “Make yourself useful and give me a boost.”

“Why don’t you just teleport yourself? That worked before,” suggests Lucian.

As the group enters the upper chamber they find only the assistant waiting for them. He says, “The floating eye has coated itself in a protective coat of ice armoring itself and it fled upward, through the shaft to a chamber above.” He points to the hole in the ceiling of the cavern. On the floor below the hole the frost covered body remained undisturbed. As Fin cautiously approaches the body rises, ashen-skinned, with sunken features and solid black eyes bearing a single point of focused red light … A revenant, slender, yet rugged in appearance. By his bearing and appearance, Fin guessed his identity. “We have never met, spirit … might you be Zed, the warrior who guarded the githerzai elder, Odos, and aided my friends, Bhenedict among them, when they traveled to Sayre?”

“I am,” answered the unliving warrior.

“Have you come to assist us again now, we can certainly use your assistance,” offers the bard.

“The choice is yours. Above you will find opponents, they are not to be slain. If you slay them I will slay you,” answers Zed.

“What do you mean by that? Is there some reason for us to avoid hurting them?” asks Fin. “Will they do the same for us?”

“I will say no more,” answers Zed.

“Well … We accept,” responds Fin … “But is there anything else you can tell us?”

Zed says nothing. Looking about the chamber, flummoxed Fin asks, “How are we going to get up there, any ideas?”

“My pet is capable of climbing these walls,” offers the Doctor.

“Do you have a rope?” asks Zed.

“I do,” offers Dell finally joining the others with Lucian in the upper chamber.

“Where’ve you been?” asks Bennie.

Before Dell can answer, Lucian sas, “He wouldn’t climb-up until I told him the beholder was gone.”

Red-faced and wide-eyed Dell glares back at the warlock while tossing his rope suddenly noticing the ghostly-looking warrior which causes him to spring back instinctively. The group gets a quick chuckle at the halfling’s expense. Dell shakes his head, wondering just what he’d gotten himself into with this group.

Catching the rope Zed asks the Doctor to move the dead remorhaz beneath the hole, and after climbing to the top of the monster’s head, he asks the Doctor to have the monster lift him as high as possible. Fascinated by the revenant, Zed, the Doctor agrees.

Taking the rope in hand, Zed fades to point the he they can see through him, then his body floats into the air rising into the shaft above. As Zed drifts through the shaft he pauses fixing the rope, periodically as he moves reaching into the ice then withdrawing his hand, always leaving the rope behind where it stuck within the wall of the shaft. Soon Zed was at the top of the shaft having left a rope ladder behind for the others. Zed floated there waiting as the others follow.

Northman

First Dell, climbs, still annoyed by the taunts. Next L.O.G.A.N. climbs. Bhenedict, the assistant, Fin, follow L.O.G.A.N. and finally the Doctor and Lucian enter the shaft, both riding the dead remorhaz which scales the walls and climbs through the thirty foot shaft unassisted. With the others pressing against him, Zed slowly rises in the new upper chamber, a natural cavern with an eerie rippling glow bouncing off the numerous stalagmites present in the cavern. The eerie lights illuminate the area in dancing waves like light shining off rolling water. At the far end, a pair of ledges rises up close to the ceiling of the cavern, near the rises a tunnel opens to the north. Midway across the cavern the eye tyrant floats grinning with menace. Zed notices the fast movement of what he takes to be reflections upon several of the stalagmites. The reflections make it look like something was trapped within some of the stalagmites. Across the chamber large man stands in the shadows on the highest ledge, he stood there mockingly like some warrior prince. His voice echoes from the shadows through the cavern as he calls out in a metered, cool tone.

Map: Icehome - Northman's Fate

 

 

 

 

 

“You have come to threaten the will of my master. The Seed must be protected at all costs. Approach no farther and leave the way you arrived, and I shall spare you the agony of the change,” offers the one known as the Northman.

ThorinThen closer, behind one of the stalagmites, a gruff, deeper voice calls out “Don’t waste your breath, don’t you see who it is? It’s that daft dead guy again, he’s so dumb he doesn’t even know when to stay dead and his friends look dumber than him.”

Then a third voice, deeper still a filled with throaty resonances, “HA, HA, you think Buttock dumb … that funny but Buttock is not DUMBASS them is … HA, HA!”

Passing through Zed‘s body, L.O.G.A.N. blasts into the chamber. Instantly, the beholder hurls him back to the ground and traps him there in a coating of ice that almost instantly starts to melt under the heat generated by the construct. As the eye tyrant approaches the air freezes around the heroes, chilling them to the bone. Zed flies through the air hurling a hand axe that buries itself deep in the beholder’s icy armor. As Dell enters, the beholder attacks him, again L.O.G.A.N.’s systems lock-on and light-up the beholder; then Dell attacks and the beholder falls as the gruff voiced dwarf appears from behind a stalagmite. The Northman swings a great bladed polearm, lightening dances off the weapon darting through the air striking both Dell and L.O.G.A.N.

The dwarf roars and hurls his axe, it flies true and painfully through Zed before striking L.O.G.A.N squarely. The axe returns to the dwarf’s hand who catches it on the run racing towards Dell.

Feeling a deeper, seeping chill surrounding the dwarf, Dell gives ground then from behind the halfling, Bhenedict barrels into the newcomer, shield first.

The blue-skinned dwarf is knocked back in the collision, but he retains his balance, and yells, “Boy, I am goanna tan yer hide for that … It‘s clobbering time!” Now that he was up close and personal, even through the icy blue sheen of the dwarf’s frozen flesh, Bhenedict recognized his uncle from Thunderhold, Thorin Stormcastle.

Suddenly dumbfounded, Bhenedict asks, “What are you doing here?”

“Lemme spell out the rules for ye. I win. YOU LOSE! Ye rabid wussy footed jack shat!” answers Thorin slashing powerfully with the axe, just missing Bhenedict.

“You asked for it!” answers Bennie slamming Thorin so hard his eye’s cross, he wobbles and falls over backwards. Before Bennie can celebrate he hears a thundering voice behind him.

“YOU HURT MY FRIEND DWARF, NOW BUTTOCK WILL HURT YOU!” shouts an icy ogre suddenly emerging from the cover of a large stalagmite. Buttock, the beautiful

Behind the ogre the Northman leaps off the ledge sailing through the air and landing gracefully in a full run towards the melee. As he runs, he points his weapon towards the front of the cavern lightning leaps from the rod, arcing to one of the stalagmites near the emissaries, blowing the stalagmite to smithereens. 

ChillfireAs the icy shrapnel rains down, a large elemental appear as if freed from the stalagmite. The icy elemental bears down on the heroes igniting a burning core within itself. The elemental howls and charges racing through the heroes alternately freezing and burning them in its wake. Bhenedict ducks beneath the great arc of Buttock’s axe. Unseen in the confusion of the battle, Thorin wakes and lifting his axe with one arm he slams the flat side of the axe upon the ground. A wave of irresistible, ground-rippling force slams into Bennie and the ogre hurling both of them backwards and throwing them to the ground separating the combatants. Zed falls upon the ogre slashing with abandon. Using his great reach, Buttock swings his axe again, causing Zed to dodge in anticipating of the attack.

“Ha! You think Buttock dumb like you!”

WindwrathThe ogre’s axe splinters two more of the stalagmites releasing more elementals, these being misty conjurations of wind and wrath. Buttock yells, “Kill dead guy!”

The speedy elementals begin circling Zed tearing at the essence of his nether-form making it impossible for him to approach the ogre.

Bennie spots Thorin and both dwarves race to regain their footing. Bennie wins and charges hitting Thorin as he stands but still off balance. Opting for a good right gauntleted haymaker, Bennie knocks Thorin back hard into another large stalagmite crushing it and burying Thorin in the heavy ice.

Forgotten in the melee, the Doctor’s assistant focuses his targeting monocle on Zed’s windy assailants, as the monocle locks-on, the assistant’s covered helmet fires unerringly releasing potent beams of concussive force that blow huge holes in the elementals.

From across the chamber Lucian targets the ogre blasting him into unconsciousness. Ignoring the carnage, the Northman remains fixated on Zed and spins slicing through Zed with the blades of his weapon. The polearm rips through Zed’s ghostly form causing little harm. Zed responds slicing at the Northman in a dangerous arc, the Northman saves himself with cat-like agility and a warrior’s reflexes.

With the battle rising to a climax, L.O.G.A.N., Lucian and the Doctor surround and deal with the chillfire elemental. The assistant and Fin work together finishing off the windwraths. Zed, Bhenedict, and Dell approach the Northman together. The Northman points his lightning rod blasting them all his attackers, but saving the worst of the attack for Zed, sending electricity racing through Zed’s body. Zed finds himself unable to move, and the Northman, Zed’s living son, grins with evil delight at his father‘s plight; blinded to anything but the fury of his own attack. Ignored, Bhenedict and Dell take the Northman down hard. With all their opponents defeated, Sayre’s emissaries quickly tie-up their unconscious opponents binding them tightly as Zed recovers from his son‘s attack. Dell looks to Zed and asks, “Do we have to keep them all alive?”

Then, without warning, a voice calls out from the front of the cavern, separated from the party by about twenty-five feet, right near the entry shaft; there two figures stand poised for combat.

Cavelry“If I were you I wouldn’t even ‘THINK’ about it bub …those guys there happen to be our friends, and you don’t wanna see what happens to our enemies.” After a brief pause for impact the figure in black adds, “So how do you wanna play this? … Do you feel lucky?”

Finally recognizing the crew they had just encountered, Dell says, “To tell you the truth I am a little disappointed. Am I to believe you are Sam Spade’s Restorationists? It can’t be true … I had heard you guys were talented … the best?”

The man in black, Bottellik, replies, “Well … you haven’t caught us on at our ‘best’.”

The wizard behind him interrupts, “You seem to have us at a disadvantage, I am Math Helm, the large man you captured is my brother Garth, the others are our friends. Who might you be and what is your purpose here?”

 

 

Botellik’s Story

Aifor, Northerner Defense

We started with ninety-nine men, and three ships but when we had reached the iceberg we had just one ship left less than a two dozen men, including us. The Helm brothers had saved our the ship, the Aifor. Math cast spells trapping and blasting the attackers and Garth put his lightning rod to good use, countering the sahuagin’s efforts to scuttle our ship. We were already too far gone from Nefelus, too far to make a run for the island; the only viable option left to us was the iceberg.

When we got there we found a fast-moving stream heading straight into the berg. We decided to chance the stream, counting on the low draft of our ship to carry us through. Almost immediately, the walls of the iceberg pressed in tight around us threatening to pin us in but soon it opened up again, but we found ourselves surrounded by mist. The stream’s banks became thick with it as we entered a massive cavern in the center of the iceberg. Above us there was a slick-looking, steep bridge of ice that hung impossibly above the stream. The cavern itself was too obscured by the mist to be properly seeing the surroundings. And this wasn’t a normal mist, somehow the mist thickened, congealing into thickening frost as we tried to move through it, and not only on the ship, but on us too, before we knew what was happening we were being frozen. The ship came to a dead stop, then we started hearing deep, guttural growls, fierce sounds … the air got suddenly colder like nightfall during a winter storm, and then a rain of huge, deadly, icy spears began targeting us from the surrounding cavern. Men were being skewered, some of the men abandoned ship immediately, jumping into the icy stream where we heard screams, "Shark!", and the water ran red. Before we got a handle on things some giants had taken a hold of the ship and began dragging it out of the steam pulling us deeper into the cavern. There was no doubt about it, we were in too deep already. We tried to make the best of it but there was no way to save all the men. In the chaos of the battle we decided to make for the bridge with those men still capable, but more were taken by huge wolves and the bridge itself was steeper and more slippery than we’d imagined, more men fell to their death there. Only ten of us made it up the bridge.

The upper floor was different than the cavern below, it was intricately carved from the ice. The ice bridge ended in a large chamber with a single exit. Perfectly round ice columns framed the chamber and their were a number of occupied platforms at the far end, one large platform and several smaller ones. The large one at the end of the hall held two very large frozen gargoyle statues and those to either side held smaller icy gargoyles. By this time, we were in such a rush so we ignored them and we raced past into an impressively large chamber beyond. That’s where our journey ended.

The great chamber beyond was bathed in blue-white light, with a lot of beams focused on a small white object that floated above a high pedestal in the center of the chamber, high above our heads. The beams seemed to be coming out of ten silvery mirrors positioned along both the east and west sides of the chamber on the same raised walkway that we stood on as we entered the chamber. This walkway wraps around the chamber, and the mirrors were built on pedestals set on either side. The main floor of the chamber lays about thirty feet below, that’s where the base of the column is … the column that rises to the pedestal where the beams are focused. The column is a huge obelisk formed of ice. It rises high above the walkway, maybe another twenty feet. Power hangs heavy in that room, but the air itself was the coldest thing I’ve ever felt anywhere, and I’m not just talking about the temperature itself. … There is something worse there still, something truly frightening, a massive twin-header dragon. It was in the far side of the chamber sitting upon a rune-inscribed dais. The gigantic, two-headed dragon was just waiting for us. Its eyes, all four of them, started off as black as Nuitari, its twin mouths were frothing with icy breath as it spoke, with two voices that echoed off the icy walls in unison, paying no heed to each other, making a confusing, bone-rattling ruckus that was difficult to understand.

"WHY ARE YOU HERE? HAVE THE MAGES BECOME SO DESPERATE AS TO HAVE SENT THE LIKES OF YOU? I FIND YOUR PRESENSE
“YOUR EFFORTS HERE ARE AN UTTER FAILURE, SO PATHETIC I SHOULD JUST CRUSH YOU, YOU DESERVE NO BETTER,
HERE INSULTING! AN ANNOYANCE, AN INFESTATION, LIKE A PLAGUE, YOU AND YOUR KIND REPRESENT IN THE WORLD. YOU
BUT A BETTER QUESTION IS WHAT LIES BENEATH THE SURFACE? WHAT I CAN MAKE OF YOU? IT CAN ONLY BE
WILL PAY FOR YOUR INSULTS OF YOUR WEAK RACE AND IN THE END WE WILL CLEANSE THIS WORLD OF YOUR KIND BUT
BETTER THAN THAT WHICH I’VE SEEN. PEELING YOUR FLESH WOULD BE MORE SATISFYING
UNTIL THEN YOU WILL SERVICE US, FEED US AND MAKE US STRONG, A WETSTONE TO SHARPEN OUR CLAWS UPON AS WE
THAN ANY CHALLENGE YOU HAVE PRESENTED BUT YOUR DEATHS WOULD BE TOO EASY. INSTEAD I WILL REMAKE
FATTEN OURSELVES FEASTING UPON YOUR FLESH. THE WORLD OF MAN IS DONE!”
YOU, CREATING SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BETTER, A TOOL. YOU WILL BE REMADE IN MY OWN IMAGE.”

Thorin, Garth and Buttock led our charge but as they moved forward things went from bad to worse. Mist began pouring from the dragon’s eyes as they turned from black to icy blue. Buttock suddenly stopped, his eyes had switched matching the dragon’s own. He suddenly grabbed Thorin and lifted him high into the air, Garth turned charged back towards Buttock, but then he stopped and his eyes changed too. Garth started helping Buttock, together they grabbed Thorin and stretched him out between them. Thorin struggled but he didn’t have much of a chance with both Garth and the ogre holding him down; they began dragging Thorin towards the dragon. Math and I tried to help, but the gargoyles suddenly appeared and they began to attack us and the other surviving men. The men fought and died, others were frozen in blocks of ice. By the time we broke free, Garth and Buttock had managed to drag Thorin on top of the dragon’s dais. The dragon just stood there, cackling, as they pinned Thorin down … A transformation had started, it was taking place quickly, Thorin’s skin froze, he became the creature of ice. He had already stopped struggling. We fled as the dragon turned towards us and we’ve been running and hiding ever since … Our old friends have been looking for us.