Monday, October 7, 2013

Osric: Hunt for the druid of the North (20)

Our group leaves the camp and attempts to use the goat of travel. It appears to be gnome sized, and barely sits Scabs and Chester upon it. While far too slow to pull the sled, the two gnomes race off to scout around while the humans cluster on the remaining sled with the 6 surviving dogs (Jenks transformed into a small rat to spare weight and space).

After traveling for most of a day, the group espies a flying lizard swooping over a jagged range of mountains, and they alter their course in the direction. The fierce snowstorms of the last few weeks recede as they get closer, and the group approaches a high escarpment with sheets of steam pouring off the rocky walls. Past the steam is seen a verdant valley hidden in the ice finger mountains. Giant lizards are spotted moving through the jungle. The hidden Vale that the Treant spoke of is before the group.

Scouting about they find a stoney cave mouth than forms a natural tunnel (although unnaturally smooth) sloping downward towards the base of the Vale. The party encounters corpses of various evil creatures in the tunnel, many have been crushed and some even are still wrapped in the vines and creepers that populate the tunnel. A barrier blocks further progress with an ironwood door inset upon a rocky wall. The moss covered surface is rich with vines and creepers. Knocking upon the door causes a flurry of movement as the vines seize Jenks and begin squeezing. Jenks cries out in druidic about their request and hunt for the druid of the North. The vines pause, and Jenks, is held in the air uncomfortably. The other group members have wisely retreated up the tunnel a ways.

At last a large face forms out of vines and creepers moving together. Speaking in druidic it demands to know more of Jenks quest and his official title. There is some confusion (increasingly painful) for Jenks as his copy of Osric doesn't have titles for each of the levels achieved.... appararently this is a trade marked item for TSR. Eventually some intelligence and wisdom rolls reveal the correct answer. The druid of the north insists that Jenks promises proper behaviour from all his guests (the other PCs)...which is a bit concerning, and tells them to come into the vale. Proper behaviour includes being able to hunt, but not waste food, nor pollute water sources, etc. Jenks spends lots of time briefing the group on nature etiquette.

Moving into the jungle the group finds a verdant wilderness. After a bit of exploring they are accosted by a giant tyrannosaurus rex bearing down upon them (as prey animals flee past the group). Jenks wisely casts animal invisibility on the group and they hold position. The TRex stops and starts chuckling, and transforms into an aged but hale and healthy human. Such is the power of the druid of the North. He summons forth a bounty of food and drink and speaks to the group of the past months and the happenings of the outside world and the ice witch.

The druid is able to shed light on the ice witches vulnerabilities and how to banish the horn of daydri from their world. Fortuitously
the group carries with it the everburning ember, a fragment of the elemental plane of fire, much as the horn is from the elemental plane of ice. Taking the everburning ember to the mouth piece of the horn and blowing flames forth should destroy/banish the horn. The druid cautions the party that the horn is in a valley full of the armies of the ice witch. Ice giants and elementals can also be counted amongst her allies.

The ice queen is both a vampire and a necromancer, and has concluded a dark pact with an ice demon patron who adds to her power. She is susceptible to silver weapons and magic, and lairs within the crystal caves. She also possesses some of the weaknesses of regular vampires in that she needs to sleep in the day as a normal vampire and can be destroyed by cutting her head off and burning both head and body separately. In addition to her evil army she also has a host of magically enslaved minions. A gold collar encircles their necks and makes them as will-less slave to the ice queen.

A tough adversary to be sure. Thank goodness are only intend to destroy the horn rather than attempting to assassinate the master villain.

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