Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A calendar of events thus far in TR 720

Hârnic date Corresponding Gregorian date Event
22 Azura Late October Leave Thay.
24 Azura Arrive Phandalin.
7 Halane Early November Spellforge explodes in Wave Echo Cave.
10 Halane Murder Hill Giant.
12 Halane Fight Venomfang.
20 Halane Explore abandoned Khuzan mine.
21 Halane Mid-November Giants destroy Phandalin.
26 Halane Late November Rescue of Hill Giant captives.
9 Savor Early December Arrive in Azadmere.
15-17 Savor Raid on Frost Giant rift.
20 Savor Mid-December Giants take Thay.
24-25 Savor Explore Telumar (Earthmaster complex).
26 Savor Meet Deep Gnomes of Djebel (Underdark).
28 Savor Raid on the Fire Giants' mountain.
30 Savor Arrive Melderyn.
2 Ilvin Late December Arrive Elshavel.
5 Ilvin Defeat Elvanna.
6 Ilvin Defend Elshavel vs White Dragons.
8 Ilvin Early January Fight with Malevix.

Sessions 65 through 68 (Sept. to Nov. 2018)

Note to readers: This is a session re-cap of an ongoing D&D 5th edition campaign set in a loosely adapted version of N. Robin Crossby's Hârn. A journal of sessions 1 through 54, beginning in February 2015, can be found here.

In-world dates: 6– Ilvin 720 TR [first week of winter]
Moon: waxing crescent (full moon on 15 Ilvin)

6 Ilvin
  • Alexandria takes Heidi to return her to her village.
  • The party murderates the vizir and guards who discover Leomund's Tiny Hut inside the treasury.
  • Cade, a prisoner aboard the skyship, is interrogated by the Lengese, who seem principally interested in maximizing their profit from trade in slaves and gems.
  • Cade escapes by shapeshifting into a bug; unfortunately, many of his the pets he had about his person were destroyed when he was thrust into the Amphoron's crushing mechanism. The Lengese appear uninterested in recapturing him.
  • Reunited with the party, Cade uses Transport via Plants to bring the group back to the Lengese skyship. (He had planted moss there before escaping for good.) Sneaking into the hold, the party locates Baba Yaga's hut and releases Baba Yaga from her magical prison.
  • Baba Yaga invites the party into her hut — it is, astonishingly, much bigger on the inside! — and teleports back to the portal leading to Evael on Hârn.
  • Baba Yaga
  • Baba Yaga gives Juan an unbreakable crowbar; she also gives Cade several gems. The party agrees to loan her the Well of Many Worlds and the Prison of Zagig so that she may better track down and capture her daughter Elvanna. She also warns them of two flying creatures rapidly approaching from the west.
  • Dracul's eagle eyes notes that the flyers are two white dragons. The party hastily passes through the portal.
  • Back in Evael, the wintry storm seems to be subsiding. Cade uses Wind Walk to bring the party swiftly back to the Sindarin capital, Elshavel (his mentor maintained a teleportation circle in her house there).
  • Queen Aranath welcomes the party, who recount their adventures and the vanquishing of Elvanna. Aranath rewards them with gifts: Boots of Speed for Juan, a shirt of fine elven mail for Gil'Doren, a Horn of Blasting for Dracul, and a Staff of the Woodlands for Cade.
  • The white dragons attack Elshavel! In the ensuing battle, Cade and Dracul land on one dragon's back, while the other is attacked by a flying Gil'Doren and potent incendiary spells.  Juan mans a ballista and wreaks havoc.
  • The dragons are destroyed, though many Sindarin fall in the course of battle. Queen Aranath thanks the party for their valour and bestows a blessing upon them. She also gives them some crystals that can be used for scrying, to distribute to the nations of the alliance that is forming against the Giant-Drow-Lengese coalition.
  • The party rests.  Gil'Doren inherits his mentor's old home in Elshavel— she left some years ago and deeded all her possessions to him — and proceeds to scour her grimoires for new spells.
7 Ilvin
  • Using a teleportation circle within his former mentor's home, Gil'Doren brings the party to the capital of the kingdom of Melderyn, which they find well fortified.
  • After receiving an update on the strategic situation from the kingdom's ministers, the party decides to prioritize finding Maslorius. Scrying the gnome, you find he is moping in some kind of prison cell. Using Transport via Plants (there is moss on the wall or something) you drop in and rescue him.
  • Back in Melderyn, the party scries upon Malevix, Dracul's father: he is seen interrogating a prisoner in a castle that you think is Gythrun, an important Melderene port on the Hârnic mainland.
8 Ilvin
  • The party Transports via Plants to Azadmere and meets with the kingdom's spymaster, Fjola. After some rest, you scry on Malevix again: this time you see him in bat form, flying in a swarm toward the south. You Transport via Plants to a nearby tree and Wind Walk, tailing the bats to an abandoned tower on on the coast across from the island of Melderyn. The bats fly down into the depths of the tower where a group of Melderene knights, clad as rangers are resting. The bats revert to vampire form and attack! You shift out of cloud shapes yourselves and take on the evil undead...

Friday, July 13, 2018

Session 64 (11 July 2018)

Note to readers: This is a session re-cap of an ongoing D&D 5th edition campaign set in a loosely adapted version of N. Robin Crossby's Hârn. A journal of sessions 1 through 54, beginning in February 2015, can be found here.

In-world dates: 5 Ilvin 720 TR [first week of winter]
Moon: waxing crescent (full moon in 9 days)

Opening the door, Juan and Dracul discover within a wizard's study and laboratory: the walls are lined with shelves full of arcane jarred or dried ingredients (eye of newt, toe of frog, etc.), some utterly unidentifiable. In the middle is a large workbench with alchemical apparatus and a variety of instruments. On one end of the table sits a small, ornate birdcage containing a mouse. Beside it, lying open, is a large book. On the visible page is an illustration depicting a birdcage that closely resembles the one nearby. In one corner of the room, there is a 10-foot-diameter raised dais of ice with low steps leading up to it; in another, an extremely lifelike ice statue of a female human warrior. The latter looks strangely familiar...

While Juan ransacks the room for things of value (after taking care to wedge the door closed), Dracul examines the statue and realizes it's Alexandria, the Amazon warrior you had encountered previously, both in waking life and in the odd collective dream you had of a labyrinthine ice tower. Activating his Searing Sword, the dragonborn warrior carefully thaws out the frozen Amazon. Meanwhile, Juan hears movement outside and takes measures to secure the door. Peeking through the keyhole, he sees a slim figure robed in white approach the door, try the handle and, finding the door barred, bend down to peer through the keyhole. He thus comes eye to eye with a pale woman whose emotionless expression is as cold as the aura she exudes. She straightens abruptly and leaves.

Released from her icy prison, Alexandria explains that she was captured while investigating the tower and imprisoned in ice by the ice queen herself several days ago. Though unable to move or speak, the Amazon was nonetheless able to perceive, dimly, some of the activity around her. The ice dais, she notes, seems to be a teleportation device of some kind through which the ice queen occasionally enters and exits the laboratory. She also observed the ice queen repeatedly speaking to the mouse in the birdcage, but the latter never replied.

Image result for birdcage metal exoticDracul sets about performing the ritual magic that will allow him to Speak to Animals while Alexandria and Juan make preparations against attack, either via the door or the teleportation dais. As a precaution, Juan unfolds the Well of Many Worlds and spreads the silken fabric atop the dais. Sure enough, moments later, the ice queen materializes on the dais... and promptly plummets through the Well!

Meanwhile, Dracul engages the mouse in dialogue. It is (as your dream suggested) none other than Baba Yaga herself. She does not know how to free herself from the birdcage; presumably Elvanna, her daughter, knows a command word. The cage itself appears to be indestructible. Baba Yaga inquires after her hut, but you do not know its whereabouts.

There is hammering at the door: guards and wolves! Time to go. Leaping onto the teleportation dais, you speak the command word — Alexandria and Baba Yaga have heard the ice queen using it – and are instantly conveyed to a sumptuously decorated bedroom: a vast ornate bed draped in the finest white silks, fine tapestries, and a large locked chest occupy the space. In the corner stands another ice statue, this one of a young girl in peasant garb. While Dracul sets about thawing the girl, Juan picks the lock on the chest, inadvertently setting off an icy explosion! He is rewarded, however, by discovery of several scrolls and a superbly crafted arrow within. Alexandria searches for another exit, and finds one in the form of a secret door. Unable to figure out how to open it, Juan resorts to hacking at it with his crowbar. The girl, it turns out, is named Heidi, and asks to be returned to her mother in the village. Baba Yaga, however, tells you Heidi is very likely Elvanna's daughter (and thus her own grand-daughter).

Two hundred feet below, at the base of the ice tower, Gil'Doren lands softly (thanks to Feather Fall) and finds himself confronted by two very confused guards at the tower entrance. Snaring them in a magical Web, the tall elf races inside and begins a hasty search for a route leading to the upper levels whence he fell. Bypassing several doors, he notices a secret door which he succeeds in opening: it leads to a securely locked vault and to some kind of administrator's office. Realizing that he is being hunted by the guards, he Dimension Doors to the tower's parapets and, seeing no one, begins to descend the stairs. He passes a section of wall through which come sounds of chopping and hammering, notices a secret door, opens it and.... finds himself face to face with Juan, Dracul, and Alexandria.

Reunited at last (but without Cade, who was last seen being processed by a mechanical monster), you return via stairs to the lower levels and duck into the passage leading to the vault. Juan succeeds in picking its three locks, but is jabbed by a poisoned needle. Inside, you discover a great deal of wealth – all mundane items, but of considerable value. Safely ensconced within Leomund's Tiny Hut, you settle down to rest and plan your next move.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sessions 62 & 63 (13 June and 27 June 2018)

Note to readers: This is a session re-cap of an ongoing D&D 5th edition campaign set in a loosely adapted version of N. Robin Crossby's Hârn. A journal of sessions 1 through 54, beginning in February 2015, can be found here.

In-world dates: 5 Ilvin 720 TR [first week of winter]
Moon: waxing crescent (full moon in 9 days)

A chaotic battle erupts on the ice tower's parapets as Gil'Doren and Cade engage the guards. Juan, meanwhile, maintains his subterfuge, lugging his burden down the stairs leading into the tower as if he were a peasant bearer. Dracul, previously deposited in the rookery by bird-Cade, opens the door and sees Juan as he passes by pretending to be a stevedore. The mighty warrior decides to follow.

On the parapets, things get wild: Druid Grove and Storm Sphere spells transform the environment even as new foes join the fray: several mechanized metal constructs from the flying ship and the rookmistress Oxana, who is not only able to fly, but apparently can also speak to her ravens in their language.

Fireballs explode, lightning flashes, auras of ice come and go... Gil'Doren and Cade hold their own until the tentacle-fingered aliens (the Lengese) on the flying ship conjure a barrage of Hypnotic Patterns that incapacitates the two heroes!

But Oxana's ravens obey the order to attack Cade, unintentionally freeing him from the charm with their painful pecks. He in turn wakes Gil'Doren who wreaks more havoc on the constructs with his spells. The flying ship begins to withdraw, but the heroes fly over, land on its decks, and continue their assault. Another wave of Hypnotic Patterns again renders the heroes helpless, and Cade cannot resist as one of the constructs uses its pincer arm to draw him into its internal processing machinery, a combination of metal-toothed blades guaranteed to process him to mush. Gil'Doren's familiar is already in the air and pecks his master back into consciousness, sparing him a similar fate. Surrounded by the tentacled aliens and seeing that he cannot free the druid, Gil'Doren casts a parting Fireball and leaps off the ship, Feather Falling to the ground below.

Meanwhile, Juan and Dracul explore the winding passages spiraling downward through the interior of the ice tower. They find several unoccupied guest rooms; three guards appear, but they are quickly dispatched by Dracul. Having descended several "floors", they discover a room hidden behind a secret door; it provides a concealed position from which to spy upon the goings-on in a massive round chamber — apparently some kind of throne room. A vizir-like fellow, one of the bearers, and a Drow can be seen talking to a someone who is out of sight on a dais below you. Juan fits an arrow to his bow, takes aim, and shoots the Drow! The two heroes then backtrack to investigate a strange, frost-rimed door, only to discover that the bas relief of a bearded man's face over the door conceals a deadly trap: a chilling gust of cold that freezes you to the bone and turns the floors into an ice rink. Even worse: it's also an alarm! Crawling doggedly up to the door despite the withering blasts of cold, Dracul hacks it to pieces, but it takes several rounds.

Clearly, something of great importance must lie within...

Session 61 (2 May 2018)

Note to readers: This is a session re-cap of an ongoing D&D 5th edition campaign set in a loosely adapted version of N. Robin Crossby's Hârn. A journal of sessions 1 through 54, beginning in February 2015, can be found here.

The Dream, part 2

You continue your exploration of the maze-like corridors, heading in the direction the yeti cook said was north. A variety of weirdness ensues: rooms in which you can walk on the walls and ceilings; a room full of fireflies; a glockenspiel that moves your minds into someone else's body. You also meet a lascivious female version of Juan who tries to kill you. (She winds up polymorphed into an orca and securely bound.)

At last you find a cellblock of sorts and within, a jail cell occupied by a speaking mouse who claims to be Baba Yaga. She explains that she has been captured by her daughter Elvanna and imprisoned in some of cell that prevents her from using her magic. She retains, however, the power to shape the dreams of others, and this is how she has been able to contact you. The dream you are in is in part created by her, in part created by your own minds. She urges you to find her, or find her hut; her hut can lead you to her. You already have the keys! Baba Yaga will defeat Elvanna. But you must hurry: she is weakening, and the dream will soon end.

You hear footsteps. Turning, you see a pale dragonborn warrior approaching. It is Dracul's father, Malevix. He is terrifying. You know that you are powerless before him. He will slay you and drink your blood. You try to scream, but it is too late....

You wake in a cold sweat. You are in your camp in the elven forest. The pale light of dawn is beginning to show in the east. It was just a dream... but then you learn that you all had the exact same one. Perhaps Baba Yaga was indeed speaking to you through it?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Session 60 (18 April 2018)

Note to readers: This is a session re-cap of an ongoing D&D 5th edition campaign set in a loosely adapted version of N. Robin Crossby's Hârn. A journal of sessions 1 through 54, beginning in February 2015, can be found here.

The Dream, part I

FLASHBACK to the night of 2-3 Ilvin 720 TR 

You spent the morning meeting with Aranath the Elf Queen in the palace in Elshavel and have subsequently traveled swiftly to the western borders of her realm to investigate an anomalous zone of wintry weather that is slowly expanding, bringing with it dangerous creatures that threaten elvish lives. As you prepare your camp for the night you recall the queen's parting words, uttered as she looked at each of you in turn, her penetrating gaze seeming to plumb the very depths of your souls:

"I thank you for investigating this threat to my people. Your path will be a perilous one, but I sense that you will find help from unexpected quarters. This you should know: when outsiders first come to my realm, they are frequently visited by vivid and compelling dreams—often ones in which they are required to face terrible dilemmas. Do not be afraid! These visions are not real; they reflect what you have experienced in the past as much as what you fear in the future. But there is more: these dreams may also explain things about the world that your mind has not fully realized. And remember: what we do in our dreams is an important as what we do in our waking lives. Good luck to you."

As predicted, the dreams come. You "wake" to find yourselves no longer in Leomund's Tiny Hut, but in a strange built environment constructed of ice and snow. Your bedrolls are arranged about a pool of water in the middle of which stands a fountain. There are no lamps that you can see, but a pale blue glow emanates from many surfaces. And just as strange: Maslorius is not there, but in his place is another gnome you have never seen before. Not only that, but Klor is with you as well, though you are certain that he is hundreds of leagues distant in Azadmere. The strange gnome identifies himself as Wizdale and seems as nonplussed as you regarding these odd surroundings.

Four corked bottles float in the pool beneath the fountain; each seems to contain a roll of paper. Cade pulls one forth and unstoppers it; inside is a handwritten message:
Help me! I am being held prisoner. Go north from the fountain to find my cell. You will be richly rewarded!
— Baba Yaga
But which way is north? There are seven exits from the room: five passages (one very narrow) and two archways. From one direction you hear howling, as of a wolf; from another, you hear a distant scream. You opt to head toward the source of the scream. As you proceed, Gil'Doren voices the theory that this is some kind of communal dream through which Baba Yaga seeks to communicate with you.

Scouting ahead, Wizdale and Juan (who seem to be forming some kind of rogue-ish bond) discover a pantry; on a table within lie four freshly baked pies. (It was, indeed, the intoxicating smell of fresh baked goods that drew them in this direction.) Without further investigation, a pie is shared: mincemeat, and devilishly good. The sound of singing attracts their attraction, and they sneak carefully up a flight of stairs, motioning the party to follow. Not all the others are as skilled at stealth, however, and their noise causes the singer to pause and call out: "Malevix, iz zat you?" Dracul is stunned to hear his father's name.

The singer is revealed to be a yeti chef (with a French accent), busily preparing some kind of stew in a vast cauldron. With an enormous cleaver, he is hacking pieces from what could be a giant's bloody thigh and tossing them into the pot. His inattention is such that it is no problem for Juan to approach and deliver a mighty thwack from his crowbar to the back of the chef's head. He turns, regards you quizzically, and collapses like a (huge) sack of potatoes.

After binding the creature, you manage to revive him for interrogation. He readily divulges details: he is the head chef in this prison, responsible for feeding both the prisoners and the guards. He serves Queen Elvanna and is aware that the latter's mother, Baba Yaga, is being held here. He does not know the precise location of her cell, but he knows which way is north. (It's the opposite of the way you came.) He is expecting a visit from Malevix, the dragonborn guard captain.

Meanwhile, Wizdale eats another pie and nearly breaks a tooth on a metal object within. A key! But to what lock?

Taking a door that leads to the north, you find another pool, fed by a spout set high in the north wall, and another surprise: Cade! Or rather, a female version of Cade. She looks displeased to see you, and attacks. A vicious druid vs. druid battle ensues, at one point involving two giant crocodiles locked in struggle. The gender-swapped Cade falls to your spells and blades, yet Cade feels lessened, somehow, by the victory. (A greater restoration spell from Klor helps him get over it.)

In the pool, you see a massive egg, apparently made of gleaming silver. Retrieving it, you find it to be non-magical and non-organic.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Battle for Hârn NPCs

  • Aranath, Elf Queen, ruler of the kingdom of Evael
  • Iocaste, ambassador from the king of Melderyn to Evael 
  • The Operator, ancient creature who remembers the primordial age of conflict between Dragons and Giants
  • Cyrkanosh, headwoman of the Deep Gnome enclave of Djebel
  • Reidoth the druid
  • Sister Garaele, cleric at the shrine in the now-destroyed hamlet of Phandalin 
  • Sildar Hallwinter, knight of the Laranian fighting order of the Lady of Paladins 
  • Quellene, Halfling peasant from the now-destroyed hamlet of Phandalin 
  • Mhu, Deep Gnome scout from Djebel

  • Gundren Rockseeker, Dwarf merchant and kinsman of Klor 

  • Nicchidor, agent of the Green Dragon Venomfang

  • Elvanna, Ice Queen and daughter of Baba Yaga 
  • Malevix, father of Dracul. Vampire.