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Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 14, Part 2

January 6, 2017

varnhold-vanishing-session-14-map-5You’re My Obsession

Leaving the horror show in the feast hall behind, the group went up the large, long flight of stairs at the other end of the room, which brought them to an oddly-shaped area that overlooked the grisly banquet. A locked & warded door led to an oddly-shaped passage that led to an oddly-shaped octagonal room (W25). “That’s supposed to be an octagon?!” the players exclaimed after I added the room to their map. The room did have eight sides, if you count the entryway as a side; they’re just not equilateral. But the players put that weirdness aside when they took in the rest of the chamber:

“This octagonal chamber, which vaults to a twenty-foot-high ceiling, is composed of multiple slabs of opaque, white crystal fitted together to form a dome in the distinctive shape of an inverted eye, its gaze focused into the room below. This white crystal gleams with a subdued moonlike glow. The walls of the chamber are covered with arcane symbols, stylized line art, and images of cyclopes. A twenty-foot-diameter circle is incised into the stone of the floor directly beneath the great eye-shaped dome.”

A dome in the shape of an eye! A strange circle that the eye is looking at! Arcane symbols! Glowing crystal slabs! Clearly, there was a puzzle here that had to be solved and/or smashed. The players started trying to figure out how they could dismantle the ceiling, whether standing in the circle under the eye did anything, checking for traps, and so forth. But they couldn’t figure it out, because really, there is nothing to figure out; it was just a fancy summoning chamber. They marked the spot for later destruction and proceeded through the only door.

A wide stair led to another oddly-shaped room with a large pool at its center. A channel in the floor allowed the black, sulfurous water from the pool to flow under a set of double doors and into the next room. Satampra the swashbuckler went up to the water and stirred it with his sword, whereupon a water elemental rose up and smacked him across the face. He and Orseen the warpriest attacked the thing, only to discover that it was highly resistant to weapons. Orseen was soon down on the ground again, dying, and so they decided to run rather than stay and fight. The swashbuckler pulled the warpriest out of danger, and the adventurers retreated back to the glowy-eye room.

An Eye for an Eye

After dispensing some healing, Remesio the cleric teleported the group (sans Iofur the druid, who would fly out to meet them) out of the dungeon. They decided to go where they assumed the Nomen centaur camp to be – right outside the Valley of the Dead. What they found instead was a terrible scene of carnage! Crushed campsites, dead centaurs, dead zombie centaurs, and dead zombie mastadons were scattered about the ground, which bore marks of both burning and freezing. As it was the heart of summer, the freezing was particularly odd. Remesio the cleric tried a prayer of speak with dead on a fallen centaur, but the spirit made its save and declined to return to its broken body. The group walked around the battlefield for a while, but found no survivors.

Eventually, Iofur caught up to them in his dire bat form and was brought up to speed. He took to the sky once more, hoping to find some of the scattered survivors. He returned after a short time, having located a couple of centaurs that were off to the east, and the others followed the druid to them. The horsefolk were on edge and expecting another attack, but after recognizing the humans (and elf), they lowered their weapons and, in hollow, shell-shocked voices, told the tale of their loss.

The Nomen related how they had discovered that the cyclopes had been active around the massive linnorm skeleton half-buried in the hills. There they had clashed with undead cyclopes and mastodons, led by a cyclopean knight that was covered in frost and ice. The frost knight was a terror in battle, and could unleash devastating blasts of winter. To their horror, the Nomen soon discovered that those centaurs that died in battle and whose bodies were not recovered would turn up later in their enemies’ ranks.

An urgent call for help was sent to Caerelia, but before any aid could arrive (and since the PCs declined to get involved themselves), Vordakai’s forces completed their work in unearthing the colossal skeleton. Earlier that day, the animated bones of the linnorm cut through the sky to bear down upon the Nomen’s camp, the frost knight and another cyclops on its humongous back, and with the remaining zombie forces attacking from the ground. The centaurs were no match for the might of the undead army that fell upon them. They destroyed many zombies, but could offer no opposition to the skeletal dragon, nor its riders.

The party tried to suss out who the riders were. The frost knight was wearing heavy armor, so they assumed it was another of Vordakai’s “Horsemen” lieutenants. The centaur’s description of the other matched Vordakai himself. It seemed that when he fled from the group in the secret eye room, he had gone more or less directly to presiding over the destruction of the Nomen.

After spending the night with the two centaurs, the adventurers somberly hiked back through the towards the island. The Nomen accompanied them back to the battlefield, where they met up with other returning survivors. While the horsefolk labored to find the remnants of their people and cremate their fallen, the party trudged through the Valley of the Dead and then started the trek up through the cliffs. When they reached the plateau upon which the island sat, they were not terribly surprised to find the gigantic linnorm skeleton perched atop the smoking column of stone!

Next: frozen!

  1. Nasty!
    I _like_ it! 🙂

    … and I’ll so have to steal it if we get that far, I think. Will you be posting the stats for the skeletal linnorm?

    • Oh, yeah. Let’s see, it’s an Ice Linnorm with the Burning Skeleton template (flipped to cold) and the Advanced template. Ice linnorm is size Colossal, which I felt was important, without going over the HD limit for the skeleton template. According to the template, the resulting creature is only CR 9, so I added in the Advanced template. I’ll post the stats with the next update.

      • Pinkius permalink

        Oh geez, hope you like high attack bonus creatures! You’re going to crush them O.o

      • Ooooh, thanks!
        I was just planning on using a skeletal Silver Dragon 🙂

  2. Pinkius permalink

    Presumedly it’s a linnorm with the skeleton template. Possibly using the base of a gargantuan crag linnorm? Dunno which abilities it kept if any.

  3. Updates will resume on Friday. Was out of town and then got sick.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 14, Part 1 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 16, Part 1 | Daddy DM
  3. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 16, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  4. Kingmaker: Intermission #2, Session 1, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  5. Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 2, Part 1 | Daddy DM
  6. Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 5, Part 2 | Daddy DM

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