DCC2: The Frostfang Expedition, part one

Spoilers! This session reveals some of the dangers adventurers may face in The Frostfang Expedition, another Purple Sorcerer Games product authored by Mark Bishop

Neverthawe: meet the team!

A strange place to stay, Neverthawe: a town permanently under the floating mountain, the Earth-Mote, the sky-bound fortress where the ancient wizard Dagon dwells. Bits of the mountain fall from time to time. A feeling of impending doom hangs upon the town.

The town is full of would-be adventurers, most of them desperate, corrupt souls that dare not brave the icy challenges. But some are are brave enough!

Our heroes of last session make their way to the pub, where the cleric Levi Fangred is hiring. He plans to lead an expedition on a mission revealed to him from above… indeed he wears an amulet that he claims fell directly from above, and a note from Dagon is passed about to those joining him.

In the pub these adventurers are signing up:

Acolyte Martin, fairly strapping, hide armor, mace, cobbler background;
Wanderer Halfling Fleentz, reasonably agile, leather armor and two swords;
Wanderer Elf Boris the Brawny, good all-round, studded leather armor and a number of low-iron-content weapons.

Our heroes of last session have chosen career classes:

Thin-chested trapper John, goes with Thief, padded armor and dagger;
Percy the farmer has chosen to be a Warrior, armored in hide, bears a two-hand battleaxe and a longbow;
Trev the farmer also chose Warrior, leather armor and carries a number of weapons;
Bootsie also chose Warrior, bears leather and shield, longsword and crossbow; and
Mickey the wizard’s apprentice graduates to Wizard, wears robes and carries a staff;

As they queue, the company learn that dwarf Gruin Ardokk will accompany them. Gruin seems to have a down on Levi. He knows the road well, but seems to want to reclaim his birthright, the Ardokk mines. Rumor flourishes as to the fate of any venturing in! Possibly a medusa?

Each member receives 38 gold coins in advance – a fortune! – and a couple swiftly head to the Merchant Chauncey to upgrade, scour for further information, and buy some raisin bread, which the mission note describes Dagon as missing. Percy upgrades to scale mail. Boris heads back to the Gilded Griffon Inn, where adventurers with cash stay, to speak to the elf proprietors and look at the room they keep above-stairs, for their old friend Dagon. Towards evening, Trev buys a dreamcatcher amulet from a wisewoman.

Overnight, some of the party have a note slipped under their door… most of them seem to be either Gruin warning against Levi, or vice versa.

XP: +1 each

Leaving Neverthawe: The adventure begins with an ambush!

“I thought we were agreed we were not going through the mines…” – Levi

“Wha’ are ye talkin’ aboot? ‘Tis a short way through, an’ me birrrthright!” – Gruin

As the two argue, the party pushes west along the Barren Road.

Fleentz in particular has no illusions about the types of adventuring scum that have taken note of the rich gear of the party. Who therefore are not surprised when three of the scum ambush them!

Combat

Bootsie levels his crossbow and the bolt slams through the sling-wielding halfling rising from rocks by the Barren Road. He moves to cover. Martin prays and a holy crown of Blessing appears above Trev’s head! Martin then steps around to make sure Trev is between he and danger. A man wielding a big axe rushes Trev and the warrior punches off the axe-swing with his shield. Laughing gleefully Fleentz charges at the man’s leg, wielding shortsword and dagger: he crits! The man collapses backward as Fleentz slices behind the knee, and bleeds out as Fleentz stabs his throat. Boris and John can see only one man unengaged, and let fly. Boris misses, John’s slingstone fails to drop the man. Who charges at Bootsie, lunging with a spear, but the cover foils the charge! Percy and Trev target that man but they jostle one another and both miss. Seeing his chance to mark his mark, Mickey summons a mystical Ropework – which rebels and spanks him soundly! Bootsie now draws his longsword and cleaves the luckless man’s skull down to his jawbone.

XP: +1 each. Loot: a few coppers beer money, leather armor, spear, sling, woodsman’s felling axe.

The Mines of Ardokk: The Thief proves his worth!

Gruin’s argument that cutting through the mines will allow them to gain the peaks before nightfall is a powerful one. A clear majority vote to swing north to the mines. The entrance is carven as a gargantuan dwarf head, and into the gaping maw the travelers must go!

“Ah smell gooolldddd!!!” – Gruin

Rockfalls a-plenty mask other doors, the only viable entrance is locked. Percy weighs his battleaxe, but John persuades them all to wait until the lock is oiled and he has a chance to test his skill!

Successful Open Locks check!

XP: +2 each.

Hall of tribute: a balanced justice meted out

The next challenge is easily dealt with: a dwarf statue seems to demand tribute on balanced scales. Each member sacrifices 2gp, one on each balance, and they pass on without let or hindrance.

As they slowly filter through, a few more notes are secretly passed…

XP: +2 each. Loot: -2gp each.

Moodusa!

Boris’ sharp elven ears have already picked up the ringing of a cowbell and his keen elven eyes pick out one door beyond which the sound must have come from.

As they cautiously enter the soon realize that among the many tall columns, victims of a medusa – dozens of them – scores of them – stand in positions of defensive terror. Not far away a petrified halfling, petrified mirror and scroll still raised, stands over the bones of a medusa.

The cowbell sounds again and Moodusa strikes! A snake-maned cow with petrifying gaze!

Will SV: Everyone does an amazing job (or burns Luck) except Bootsie.

With gaze averted the Moodusa is near-impossible to strike: and Mickey fails his spell check! Things are looking grim: until Fleentz maniacally charges, wraps his arms around the creature’s eyes, and takes the poison sting of the snake mane! Boris (who has cast and had his Sleep spell resisted) charges, crits and knocks the Moodusa from its feet. Mickey succeeds with Animal Summoning, bringing spiders hatching over the Moodusa’s head and they web the thing’s head. Fleentz extricates himself. Then it is easily slain! Bootsie shakes off the petrification with his third and last SV.

Martin surprisingly fails with Lay on Hands and his disapproval range rises to 1 and 2.

XP: +2 each. Loot: a weapon-rack renders up two ebony throwing daggers, longsword, a good dwarf shield, studded leather, and a rabbit foot charm. Boris and John take the ebony daggers, Percy swaps out his battleaxe for longsword and shield.

Gold! The lure of Ardokk Treasury!

“Goollldddd!!” – Gruin, scenting towards the left of the Moodusa’s hall.

Levi, and all the lawful party, argue.

Gruin is talked down from the obvious danger of plunging into a cursed treasury.

XP: +4 each.

Onto the snowy mountainside

Ascending the last stair out, they enter a much colder zone. Sleet is blowing in the wind and snow gathers in any sheltered nook. They are all glad they invested in deep-winter clothing.

Since the obvious way up is a set of steep stairs carved right into the mountain, that’s the way they vote.

The Devil’s Stairway! Frost-gnat Doom!

Levi Fangred, occasionally stroking his amulet, is now in the forefront with Percy. He fails to react when the latter plunges through what seems to be granite steps and drops twenty feet into a ravine!

Percy fails with a nat 1 followed by a nat 1, and Trev following him makes a nat 1 to warn Percy.

The swarm of granite-colored frost gnats envelop much of the party!

The kindly Judge draws a veil over what follows… it cannot be called combat… at the end of the scene, Percy is apparently dead down a ravine, while Trev, Levi and even Martin appear down. Mickey has used Choking Cloud with some minor effect.

The other torch-wielding (or burning-oil-flinging) characters succeed in driving away the gnats and can begin checking for living!

Boris has failed with and lost his Sleep, Martin has failed with Resist Cold and is now on disapproval range of 1-3 (if still alive).

XP: +4 each. Loot: to be looted.

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