Far Secrets, Northern Visions

Session 5: Traveling Winter Skin Waste

The Winter Skin Waste is a broad, open expanse of ice and snow. About halfway across, a giant glacier spans the entire region, creating a vertical cliff. There is no way around it. Dvalinn leads the PCs to a section of the cliff that is 50 feet high. At the top of the cliff is a cluster of ice-covered tree trunks, and massive nests are visible at the top of them.

Encounter 1: Cliffs and Crows

All climbing of the cliff should be done by turns. In Round 3, sensing the impending threat, the crows attack. Any player on the cliff gets a -2 circumstance penalty to attack, and must pass an Athletics check (DC 15) or fall. Likewise, if a character is hit, they must also make an Athletics check (DC 15).

Characters using Climber’s kits gain a +2 to all climb-related checks.

Characters must have at least one hand to hold onto the cliff. Therefore, characters cannot use two-handed weapons while on the cliff.

Fall Damage
A fall from 40 feet or higher is fatal. (In the case of a successful check, the character takes 2d8+4 damage.
A fall from 30-40 feet deals 2d8+4 damage.
A fall from 20-30 feet deals 1d10+4 damage.
A fall from 10-20 feet deals 1d6+3 damage.
A fall from 10 feet or lower deals no damage.

If a character falls, they can make a second Athletics check (DC 20) to slow their fall, reducing damage to half.

Before beginning the ascent, Dvalinn points out the tree trunks and says they are giant raven nests. He mentions that the mages of Frostfell often use giant ravens as mounts and familiars, but those are the ones raised from birth. He also says the eggs are extremely valuable (1500 gp).

Giant Raven (5)

CR: 2
XP: 125
Large Magical Beast
HP: 20
Initiative: +4
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), fly 70 ft. (poor)
Armor Class: 16 (–1 size, +4 Dex, +3 natural)
Attack: Bite +5 melee (1d8+3)
Space/Reach: 1
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., evasion, low-light vision
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +2
Abilities: Str 16, Dex 19, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 10
Skills: Bluff +3, Listen +4, Sense Motive +4, Spot +7, Survival +4
Feats: Flyby Attack, Multiattack
Environment: Cold mountains

Total XP: 800 (675 +125 Situational)

This black-feathered bird is the size of a riding horse. It has a sharp, black beak, and its dark eyes seem to project an eerie intelligence. Giant ravens are intelligent, mischievous scavengers that dwell among the high places of the frostfell. They are sometimes domesticated as aerial steeds by barbarian tribes. The giant raven is a willful bird, prone to crude practical jokes such as stealing its rider’s helmet or weapon and hiding it someplace where the rider can’t reach it. Giant ravens born and living in the wild rarely attack other creatures unless they feel threatened or their nests, young, or eggs are endangered. Young ravens can be trained as aerial mounts, though they are less prized than giant eagles, giant owls, or pegasi. Giant ravens speak Common and Giant.

When fighting without a rider, a giant raven prefers to harry its enemy by swooping close to strike and then quickly retreating, rather than enter a stand-up fight. The bird is capable of diving onto targets from a great height, using its sharp beak and daggerlike talons to slash at an opponent’s face. A mated pair attacks in concert, fighting to the death to defend their nest, young, or eggs. Several giant ravens sometimes band together to defend their nesting grounds against predators or egg raiders.

Evasion (Ex): If exposed to any effect that normally allows a Reflex save for half damage, a giant raven takes no damage with a successful saving throw.

Skills: Giant ravens receive a +4 racial bonus on Spot checks during daylight hours.

TRAINING A GIANT RAVEN

Although intelligent, a giant raven requires training before it can bear a rider in combat. To be trained, a giant raven must have a friendly attitude toward the trainer (this can be achieved through a successful Diplomacy check). Training a friendly giant raven requires six weeks of work and a DC 25 Handle Animal check. Riding a giant raven requires an exotic saddle. A giant raven can fight while carrying a rider, but the rider cannot also attack unless he or she succeeds on a Ride check. Giant raven eggs are worth 1,500 gp apiece on the open market, while hatchlings are worth 2,500 gp each. Professional trainers charge 1,000 gp to rear or train a giant raven.

Carrying Capacity: A light load for a giant raven is up to 152 pounds; a medium load, 153–306 pounds; and a heavy load, 307–460 pounds. A giant raven cannot fly with a heavy load.

Icy Tree Trunks

The characters can climb these trunks to steal eggs from the nests, if they wish, or they can ask Dvalinn to do so. There are a number of eggs equal to the number of spellcasters in the party.

Encounter 2: Howl of the North

On the top of the glacier, the wind is very strong. When the PCs are about halfway across, the wind picks up to a severe Howl of the North.

Howl of the North:
Lasts 4d4 rounds. Deals 1d6 sonic damage per round. (Fort check DC 10 reduces damage to half.) This is for ALL creatures in the Area of Effect.

Gray Wolf (3)

Medium Natural Beast
XP: 125
CR: 2
Init: +5
HP: 38
AC 16; Fort 18 Ref 17 Will 16
Speed 8
Attack: +7, 1d6+2; 2d6+2 if target is prone
If an attack succeeds and the wolf has combat advantage, the target is knocked prone.
13 14 14 13 2 10

Dire Wolf (2)

Large Natural Beast
XP: 200
CR: 5
Init: +7
HP: 67
AC: 19; Fort 18, Ref 17, Will 16
Speed 8
Attack: +10, 1d8+4; 2d8+4 if target is prone
If an attack succeeds and the wolf has combat advantage, the target is knocked prone.
19 16 19 14 5 11

Total XP: 900 (775 + 125 situational)

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Session 4: Dwarven Ranger

Having freed Yuki’On’Na and discovering the nature of the threat to the North, the PCs’ next objective is to hire the dwarf guide Dvalinn Icebeard to take them north across the treacherous terrain to The Frost Cage, the only remaining passage to the northern town of Ice Harbor.

Dvalinn’s cabin is located north of Skyrim in the Split Altar Mountains.

Encounter 1: Yeti

These yeti are hiding at the bottom of the trail leading into the valley where Dvalinn’s house is. A Perception of 25 reveals their location; otherwise, they gain a surprise round.

Yeti (3)

XP: 200 Large monstrous humanoid
CR 5
HP: 30
Init: +1
Speed: 6
AC: 16
Attack: Claw +7 melee (1d6+4)
Grapple: +12
Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +5
STR 18, DEX 15, CON 14, INT 9, WIS 12, CHA 11
Reach: 2
Languages: Giant

Constrict: The yeti deals 1d6+4 points of damage with a successful grapple check plus an additional 2d6 points of cold damage.

Abominable Yeti (2)

XP: 300 Huge monstrous humanoid
CR: 7
HP: 105
Init: +1
Speed: 8
AC: 18
Attack: Claw +17 (1d8+9)
Grapple: +27 Fort +8, Ref +8, Will +9 STR 29, DEX 15, CON 22, INT 8, WIS 14, CHA 8 Reach: 3 Languages: Giant

Constrict: The Abominable Yeti deals 1d8+9 damage with a successful grapple check, plus an additional 2d6 points of cold damage.

Treasure: Pouch containing 24 gp, 17 sp.

Total XP: 1200

Encounter 2: More Minions of the Demon

Directly across from the trail to enter the valley is a small path that leads up to Dvalinn’s house. A search DC of 20 reveals it. If the PCs choose to take this path, they gain a surprise round for the following encounter. Otherwise, things proceed as usual.

Note for this encounter: Since this is a steep slope, the attacker that is uphill gains a +2 to attack rolls and a +3 to rushing.

Phantom Warrior (7)

Medium Shadow Humanoid (Undead)
Initiative: +8
HP: 40, Bloodied 20
AC: 18
Fort 16, Ref 15, Cha 16
Immune disease, poison
Speed 6, Fly 6, phasing
STR 14, DEX 12, CON 12, INT 10, WIS 11, CHA 14

Phantom Sword (at-will): +9 vs. Reflex, 1d8+2 necrotic damage

Total XP: 1400

Encounter 3: Dvalinn Icebeard

As the PCs approach this cabin, a gruff voice calls out, asking who they are and what is their purpose. If the PCs can convince him of their intentions (Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Bluff 15), they hear a lot of scraping, as if large furniture is being moved. Eventually the door opens, and Dvalinn explains that the cabin has been under attack since that morning, and he’s been trying to fend off the attackers by barricading his home.

Dvalinn invites the PCs into his house. He informs them that the king sent a messenger earlier indicating that the king would cover his fees for escorting any adventurers who came in the king’s name across the wastes. He also indicates that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement for him, as well, since the PCs provide extra protection and make the journey safer to Ice Harbor to trade.

Dvalinn suggests that the PCs return to Skyrim if they need any supplies before departing. The journey will take several days, so they need enough food and shelter to last that long. If the PCs are already equipped, however, they can depart immediately.

When the PCs and Dvalinn exit the house, it has been surrounded by the ice demon’s minions.

Phantom Warrior (3)

XP: 200
Medium Shadow Humanoid (Undead)
Initiative: +8
HP: 40, Bloodied 20
AC: 18
Fort 16, Ref 15, Cha 16
Immune disease, poison
Speed 6, Fly 6, phasing
STR 14, DEX 12, CON 12, INT 10, WIS 11, CHA 14

Phantom Sword (at-will): +9 vs. Reflex, 1d8+2 necrotic damage

Barlgura (2)

Lesser Demon
XP: 350
CR: 8
Init: +7
HP: 108
AC: 19
Fort 20 Ref 17 Will 17
Speed 8
Attack: Slam +10 (1d8+6) (if bloodied, 2d8+6)
Double Attack: At-will, two slam attacks
Savage Howl: (immediate when bloodied) All allies within 5 squares of the Barlgura gain a +2 to all rolls until the end of the demon’s next turn.
STR 22 DEX 16 CON 18 WIS 22 INT 16 CHA 12
Language: Abyssal

Total XP: 1300

Treasure: Black Pearl (500 GP)

Barlgura Lore – A character knows the following information with a successful Arcana check. DC 15: Barlguras are favored by the demon prince Demogorgon, who enjoys their primitive, bestial savagery. Their presence in the world is often a sign of a hidden cult of the so-called Prince of Demons.

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Session 3: Ice Visions, pt. 2

Encounter 1: Pitched Battle

As the PCs enter the valley, they see the adventuring group that was at the king’s palace engaged in pitched battle, seemingly with the air. Most of them are badly wounded.

If the PCs decide to intervene and help the adventurers, all adventurers are bloodied. The Phantoms are at full health.

If the PCs decide to watch, the Phantoms kill all the adventurers and the remaining 4 phantoms turn on the PCs.

Phantom Warrior (7)
Medium Shadow Humanoid (Undead)
Initiative: +8
HP: 40, Bloodied 20
AC: 18
Fort 16, Ref 15, Cha 16
Immune disease, poison
Speed 6, Fly 6, phasing
STR 14, DEX 12, CON 12, INT 10, WIS 11, CHA 14

Phantom Sword (at-will): +9 vs. Reflex, 1d8+2 necrotic damage

See the Band from the South NPC page for stats.

If any of the adventurer’s survive, they offer to work with the PCs to rescue Yuki’On’Na.

Avalanche!

About two-thirds of the way up the canyon, there is a winding trail that leads upwards into the walls (Perception DC 15). This trail leads up to the cave where Yuki’On’Na was taken.

See Altitude Sickness and Avalanches.

Encounter 2: Cave Guardian

Upon entering the cavern complex, the PCs are attacked by the ice golem protecting Yuki’On’Na.

Ice Golem (1)

CR 12, XP 1200
Large Natural Animate (construct)
Init: +4
HP 304, Bloodied 152
AC 26
Fort 29, Ref 21, Will 22
Saving Throws +2
Speed 6
Action Points: 1
20, 7, 22, 3, 8, 3

Slam (at-will): Reach 2, +16 vs. AC, 2d8+5 damage, target is dazed (save ends)

Double Attack (at-will): Two slam attacks

Berserk (automatic, upon being bloodied): The golem makes a slam attack against a random opponent when bloodied.

Golem Rampage (recharge 5 rounds): The golem may move up to 8 squares, including through the enemy spaces, provoking opportunity attacks as normal. As the golem passes within reach or through the enemy’s space, he executes a slam attack. This must be ended in an unoccupied space.

Trap

In the hallway on the way to Yuki’On’Na’s room is a trap.

Ice-Spike Pit Trap
Mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 60 ft. deep (6d6, fall); pit ice spikes (Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes for 1d4 plus 1d6 cold each); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 17.

Treasure Room

There is a chest on the far side of this room (Lock DC 30) containing 150 gp and a large pearl (100 gp).

Yuki’On’Na

The PCs enter a room that was clearly constructed by intelligent beings. On the far wall, a beautiful, unearthly spirit with unnaturally pale skin and long black hair is chained to a wall (DC 25 to unlock).

Once the PCs free her, she is willing to answer their questions.

What is the threat to the north?
Yuki’On’Na has, through her scrying, determined that the threat comes from a frost demon from another realm. It’s stronghold is located far to the north, beyond even the borders of Frostell and the Sea of Shivers.

Why are there so many invisible enemies?
The demon has cast a protective spell on many of its henchmen, making them invisible to those in this plane. Yuki’On’Na offers to perform a ritual to grant the PCs sight of the creatures, but she needs her ritual kit. (If the PCs brought it, she will do the ritual right there. If not, they must travel back to her cottage.)

Why was she kidnapped?
The demon wanted to use her powers of premonition for its own unknown purposes. She was brought here to await an escort to the stronghold.

What should we do next?
She suggests traveling north, to see if the PCs can locate the stronghold of the demon.

Why are the animals acting so strange?
They are more sensitive to the blight on the landscape than others, and know something is amiss. As the demon grows in power, so too will the unnaturalness spread.

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Session 1: Into the North

Introduction

Upon returning to Winterhaven, Lord Paidrag congratulates the PCs on their success in defeating Kalarel and closing the Rift. He asks the PCs if they would be willing to travel to the northern country of Frostfell to help the snow elf king Thanion Lithval with a mystical threat to his kingdom.

  • What is the nature of the threat?
    The exact nature of the threat is unknown, but the weather has been even more severe than it usually is in the frozen land. There have been instances of Blood Snow Blizzards and Acid Sleet among other dire weather. Also the creatures that roam the Northern Wastes have become more savage, and are attacking the settlements, which they normally avoid.
  • Why should we go?
    Thanion has sent out messengers throughout the lands asking for aid. Lord Paidrag thinks it would bring prestige to Winterhaven to have local heroes take care of the threat. Also, Thanion has offered a large reward of gold to whoever gets rid of the threat.

When the PCs agree, Lord Paidrag suggests they buy new equipment and meet him at the gates of the city, where his carriage will take them north.

When the PCs arrive at the city entrance, Lord Paidrag presents them all with Cloaks of the North.

Cloak of the North
A white cloak whose magical properties grant survival bonuses to the wearer in wintry conditions. +2 to all rolls pertaining to surviving the cold. +2 to all Hide and Move Silently checks when in snowy conditions.

Encounter 1 – Ambush!

While the PCs are on the road to Frostfell’s capital city of Skyrim, they are ambushed by magical creatures.

Ice Weird (1)
CR: 11
HP: 115
Init: +6
AC: 21
Attack: Slam +10 melee (1d6+5 plus 1d6 cold)
Full Attack: 2 Slams +10, +5 melee (1d6+5 plus 1d6 cold)
Special Attacks: Chill, elemental command, summon elemental
  • Chill – In addition to its normal slam damage, an ice weird deals an extra 1d6 points of cold damage with a successful melee attack.
    Saves: Fort +14, Ref +9, Will +11
    Abilities: Str 21 Dex 14 Con 17 Int 21 Wis 25 Cha 22

This creature looks like a large, beautiful woman sculpted out of pure, transparent ice. Her eyes glow with white fire and misty vapors pour off her body, evaporating into the air. Below her torso, her body becomes a shifting column of ice blocks that connect her to the icy surface beneath her.

Snow Weird (1)
CR: 15
HP: 112
Init: +8
AC: 19
Attack: Slam +10 melee (1d6+5 plus 1d6 cold)
Full Attack: 2 Slams +10, +5 melee (1d6+5 plus 1d6 cold)
Special Attacks: Chill, elemental command, summon elemental
  • Chill – In addition to its normal slam damage, an ice weird deals an extra 1d6 points of cold damage with a successful melee attack.
    Saves: Fort +10, Ref +15, Will +11
    Abilities: Str 21 Dex 18 Con 17 Int 20 Wis 25 Cha 22

This creature appears as a large, beautiful woman composed entirely of brilliant white snow. She has dazzling silver eyes too bright to look at. Below her torso, her body becomes a swirling blizzard that connects her to the snowy ground.

Total XP: 4,267
Total Treasure: Ice Diamond Necklace, value 1,000 gp; Blue Frost Diamond Necklace, value 1,000 gp

The creature’s bodies evaporate into water as they are killed, leaving no trace that they were there at all.

When the encounter is over, Lord Paidrag remarks that only someone with very powerful control over the weirds could force them this far south. Weirds do not like traveling far from their elemental pools, which are portals to their own plain. They also rarely attack, and it is unnatural for them to be so openly hostile. Clearly they were sent to attack the PCs.

A King’s Reception

The carriage takes the PCs straight to Thanion’s ice palace in Skyrim, where two Midgard Dwarves lead them into the central reception hall. There are three other groups of adventurers present: a band of four female Valkyries, a group of four burly Midgard Dwarves, and an eclectic group of 6 adventurers who are clearly from the south.

Thanion thanks the adventurers for responding to his call, and he explains the problem. He offers a reward of 25,000 gp to whoever eliminates the threat in the north, by whatever means necessary. Also, he presents three of his scouts, who have information about some strange happenings in the area.

Three scouts:
  • The first scout, a female snow elf, says that Yuki’On’Na, a female spirit living in the taiga, has the ability of prophecy, and she would be a good person to seek out to find out more information.
  • The second scout, a Midgard Dwarf clad all in furs, says that all overland trade routes have been cut off, and the only pass through the White Wall Mountains, The Frost Cage, has been overrun by snow goblins. He suggests hiring the dwarven tracker Dvalinn Icebeard to guide the PCs across the open wasteland to the mountain pass.
  • The third scout, a Tundra Halfling from the northern coast of Frostfell, reports that the trade city Ice Harbor is under siege, and he implores the PCs to help. The only way to reach Ice Harbor is throuth the Frost Cage.
Three groups of adventurers (see NPC page):
  • Valkyrie Adventurers – This band of Level 10 adventurers is comprised of four tall blondhuman females in blue and white fur and silver armor. Two are fighters, with broadswords strapped to their back. One is a cleric, and one is an archer. The Valkyries are closed-mouthed and not interested in talking to the PCs, but if the PCs ask the other adventurers about them, they find out that the four women are sisters.
  • Midgard Adventurers – These four male dwarves are a raucous bunch, and they are more than willing to offer the PCs advice on survival. Their leader, a cleric, has a strange magical blue eye, and when asked, he states that he is a priest of Odin, who has a local temple in Skyrim. If the PCs ask them about survival and traveling in the snow, one of the fighters offers them a skin of Frostbite Salve.
  • Band from the South – These six adventurers form a motley band, who seem openly hostile to the PCs, viewing them as a threat. Their equipment looks inappropriate for adventuring in Frostfell, and they offer no helpful advice. Their leader is a weasely half-elf named Aian.

If asked if they were attacked on their journey, all of the NPC adventurers answer yes.

Skyrim

Skyim

NPCs

Wayrocket
Female Gnome, Level 3 Commoner
Wayrocket is the owner of The Road North, an adventuring gear shop in the Merchant District. For sale in this shop is basic adventuring gear, as well as some of the more specialized equipment for dealing with survival in the extreme cold. (See Equipment)
  • Wayrocket recently had a run-in with some local brigands. She mentions this to the PCs upon their meeting. If questioned further, she says she was mugged on her way home after closing up shop by a band of half-elves. They were last seen along the road east of the Merchant District.
  • Wayrocket is running short on some supplies, since the other adventuring groups came and bought them.
  • If asked about the location of Dvalinn Icebeard, Wayrocket can accurately direct the PCs to his cabin Northeast of Skyrim.
  • If asked about Yuki’On’Na, Wayrocket does not know her exact location, but she directs the PCs to Qillalia, an elven ranger who tends to hang out in the Hungry Knuckle Alehouse in the Foreign District.
  • If asked about Ice Harbor, Wayrocket has heard rumors that they are in trouble and regrets this, since she gets a lot of her supplies from there.
Qillalia Female Elf, Level 7 Ranger
Qillalia is located in the Hungry Knuckle Inn, in the Foreign District. She has only recently arrived in town from the taiga to the Southeast of Skyrim.
  • If asked about Yuki’On’Na, she can accurately draw a map to guide the PCs to her grove. She also mentions that the wildlife in the area have been acting strangely of late, and are more prone to attacking.
  • If asked about Dvalinn, she has heard of him by reputation, but has never met him.
  • If asked about Ice Harbor, Qillalia has not heard any of the rumors about the siege.
Llelwyn Male Elf, Level 8 Adept
Llelwyn is the shy owner of Llelwyn’s Alchemistry, an alchemical shop in the Merchant District.
  • If the PCs ask about supplies, he mentions that he has had trouble collecting them, since the animals have grown so fierce. He offers to pay the PCs to bring him any supplies they find.

Gameplay notes

PCs: Tamaril, Grungold, X

Though their objective is to save the north, our intrepid adventurers immediately set about doing things their way. Tamaril dabbled in alchemy, Grungold seduced the elven maidens with his exotic, er…charms, and X managed to find herself a new mount to traverse the wintry landscape. Finding their way blocked by rival adventurers, our daring heroes began plotting sabotage, but before they could spring their trap, the realized that the rivals were one step ahead. Hard on their trail, the adventuresome band wound their way through the perils of Frostwind Vale in pursuit of a sage who could answer their questions.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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