Wintercrest: Fragments of Fate

Session 22

Secrets, Revelations, and Paragon Powers

Summary

Fiora meets the party at the airship dock and wants talk alone, but the party decides it is best to speak with Erasmus first. After the trip, Faemeril’s feeling great. Lorna not so much.

At the Guild, the party notices Valen seated by himself, no longer with the Defiant Circle. Erasmus tells the party that an emissary from Flamekeep is in town to speak with them, waiting in the diplomats’ quarters at the Keep. The party catches Erasmus up on the events of the last few weeks quietly in his personal office.

Erasmus shows the party a Dark One that a young party had captured. Dredgden’s dwarf friend Orsik was a member of that party. The Dark One had been mapping paths to the tower, but the party figures out that he wasn’t interested in Wintercrest, but rather some kind of mirror copy of it in the mirror world of The Shadowfell. On the way out of the Guild, Valen approaches party, tells them not to trust Fiora and “ask her about Flamekeep.”

The party does some shopping and various merchants comment on a sparkle in Faemeril’s eyes. Lorna feels unwell, has a dizzy spell. Krenlik has left a note: it says he is a hero now, found eggs to make chickens, home has own chickens.

Back at the Guild again, Lorna talks to Erasmus about her symptoms. He calls over Grimwold, who looks her over but says nothing is physically wrong with her.

Grimwold has a chat with Adrik about alchemy, agrees to train him in art of healing. Erasmus recommends Dredgden talk to Tarrack, another elder who is a half-orc. Tarrack is missing part of his right arm from recklessness and a bad fight, and as a half-orc he knows what it is like to not have a home. He tells Dredgden he can train him to focus that bitterness and pain into strength; it will be physically difficult and painful but worth it. Dredgden agrees.

Now evening, party is ready to see the Flamekeep Emissary at the Keep. Erasmus warns that Flamekeep is very rich and trains their diplomats in the arts of spying. They have a history of buying and stealing info (Trannen was a criminal who sold them info).

Emissary Ambassador Felgren at Keep is dressed in reds and golds, has a gold pin of a clock face that Adrik recognizes as the clock from his dream. He tells the party that his connections say The Natural Ones may know where ‘a very large artifact’ may be, and he will give them a large sum of money if they can “make it available” to the kingdom of Flamekeep. He starts at 60,000 gold and works up to 80,000. Party isn’t sure which Fragment he means, but they figure out that’s intentional – he is fishing for info. The party then denies knowledge of any such artifact and tries to see if he is also here in town for anyone else, but he acts as though he doesn’t understand what they mean. Party declines his offer, so Felgren says he will be leaving within a day, then.

The City Council immediately brings party before them and ask them to discuss what the diplomat is here in town for. Party described his request, but also say they didn’t know what artifact he was talking about.

The Council says they are concerned about the man’s visit – Flamekeep is building their army and increasing Celestium production. They need party to help with a mission. Mission is to intercept Flamekeep’s lightning rail vehicle and steal a specific piece of cargo, gives party symbol to look for (made with triangle and X). Say they can offer free equipment to get job done. Party negotiates a stipend of money upon their return as well.

Mikhail comes in and describes details – party will get small airship, with excellent pilot. Will be going undercover as pirates. Need to steal adornments for ship and outfits from actual sky pirates as part of mission. Party signs contract agreeing to do the job and gets lots of new shiny magic items.

Late that night, the party sneaks into the Arcane College to speak to Fiora, who explains her urgent news. Firstly, six (or maybe more) completely new stars have appeared, which is unprecedented, and appear to be moving toward a convergence that indicates four unknown “fated events” will happen together.

She elaborates on her theory for predicting the future: stars are affected by the thoughts of the gods, and each are known to have allegiances to one or more gods, and whole system is harmonious. But the new stars disrupt that harmony. Fiora also finally divulges name of her society: the Skycallers. Symbol is a white swan.

Second bit of urgent news: says Valen’s dad Arcturus has spread rumors that The Natural Ones interfered with “what was rightfully Valen’s destiny” and caused some kind of “incident” at the Black Tower, and suggests that The Natural Ones are dangerous. The party doesn’t trust Fiora entirely, so they deny knowing what the Black Tower or said incident were. She tells them that spies may follow the party and attempt to interfere with them becoming involved in any “fated events”.

A violet pendant in the room seems to Lorna to be calling to her in her mother’s voice. Lorna asks to see it, and Fiora hands the “dreamstone” pendant to her. Lorna vanishes! Dredgden attacks Fiora, demanding answers. Only a few seconds later, Lorna suddenly appears again, pendant in her lap and she is no longer holding it. Fiora is in complete shock and babbling, says it has no teleportational magic properties. She recommends asking professor of Planar Studies, Caelynna Shalbarain, in the morning.

In the morning at the Guild, everyone but Faemeril is at breakfast. She is nowhere to be found. Bird comes in (animal messenger ritual) and in Faemeril’s voice it loudly whines that she is naked (except for a new sash and amulet) on a rooftop in town and doesn’t know how she got there. She had flying dream. Party finds her, dress her, and they visit temple of Corellon (new items are religiously significant), where they says Corellon has called her for some purpose. Party visits temple of Sehanine for Lorna. They say there is distress in world of dreams right now. Dreamstone can have connections to Dream world.

Professor Caelynna at the College tells Lorna that SHE, not the stone, teleported herself. She takes her down to the basement teleportation circle to practice. She agrees to teach her to hone these skills. Meanwhile, Dredgden trains by pushing barbed wire axle connected to a mill stone, barefoot on thorns, then learns more attacks. Adrik trains too. Faemeril is at the temple to Corellon. All are prepping for Paragon paths.

Party returns to Fiora to apologize about dreamstone. They then ask her about Flamekeep. She denies knowing anything.

Lorna goes back alone and successfully gets her to talk. Fiora breaks down and tells her how she used to sell her predictive abilities as a Skycaller Astroexeger for very good money, and used it to help Flamekeep discover the “Order” Fragment, not yet knowing what it was. They later discovered an obelisk (“Gate of Fire”) underneath their city, and used the Fragment to connect to the mirror world Mechanus, but it took a great deal of power to activate. When Fiora discovered that they had designs on finding the Fire Fragment, which would have provided the power to make the portal permanent, she fled.

Lorna asks to bring party back, and they together confess that they did know about the Black Tower and they describe the portal setup there and what it looked like when it went off. It went to the Shadowfell. Fiora deduces that the Giants must have had the Stone Fragment to power the Shadow Fragment, but it only worked temporarily because they had a shoddy replica of Wintercrest’s obelisk (Gate of Stone) connected to an existing portal. Fiora explains that the Fragments operate in pairs with the Gates. Order+Fire with Gate of Fire, Shadow+Stone with Gate of Stone. “Life” must work with one of the remaining elemental Fragments: Air or Water. And the last two are Dream (for the dream world) and some kind of capstone.

Fiora explains the white swan symbol for The Skycallers – it represents the opposite of a “black swan event”, ie, an event that comes completely out of the blue and surprises everyone because of a gap in our knowledge. The Skycallers’ goal is to foresee the unforeseeable, and prevent such events. Party tells about guys with the false eyes. She doesn’t know what or who they are, but they seem to be working with the Giants to obtain the Fragments. Party dubs them the “Black Swan Society”.

Party explains about the ambassador from Flamekeep asking around for a Fragment. Fiora says if they discover her connection to the party, it won’t be safe for her to remain in Wintercrest anymore, and says she needs to do a lot of research and make plans to leave town.

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Session 21

Lair and Back Again

Summary 1

The party has traveled to the north side of the Iron Mountains, only a day’s travel now from Cyratralyk’s lair. The snow is deep and the air thick with fog. When they get within about 100-200 ft of the lair, they suddenly hear voices ahead. Three voices are very deep, and another sounds Human or Elven, which Navah recognizes as the Silver-Eyed Stranger from T’kuarkhanhuarak’s lair. All are speaking Giant.

He says that the business at the tower has ended, and the dragon’s assistance is no longer needed. They may now leave this lair and are not to steal from it. This dragon was a useful ally in defending the tower and in the attack on Wintercrest. It may prove a useful ally in the future. A couple minutes later, the sound of heavy footfalls can be heard going north.

The party approaches carefully. There is a camp here with large mound of ashes, and around it are blood and antlers and various types of fur on the ground. Three sets of Giant footprints lead north. There are no signs of any Elf or Human – the Stranger must have been a projection again. The lair is nowhere to be seen… until the party looks up the icy cliffside.

Skill Challenge
Party ascends icy cliff – it is very difficult but they manage it.

Summary 2

The entire cave is coated in thick ice. Frozen corpses are in the walls of ice around the lair – mostly look like barbarian tribes in various states of dessication. Little white kobolds in the main chamber run and hide in little holes in the walls. As the party approaches the lair, several ghost float out of the walls and warn them to leave, but the party steps closer. At that moment, chunks of ice break off the walls, revealing themselves to be Ice Gargoyles.

Battle 1
2 Ice Gargoyles, lots of ghosts.

Dragon’s hoard:

  • 5,715sp, 30pp
  • A small white fur pouch (5sp) containing 68gp
  • An open chest (50gp) containing
  • 2 large sapphires worth 350 each
  • 9 tiny loose diamonds worth 50gp each
  • 6 dime-sized aquamarines worth 30gp each
  • A small silver box (10gp) containing 400gp of residuum
  • Silvered scale armor, electroplated (45gp)
  • Suit of silvered plate armor, electroplated (50gp)
  • A beautiful diamond silver necklace worth 550gp
  • A +2 frost rapier (PHB234, 3400gp)
  • Several finely crafted crystal cups and a dining set worth 200gp
  • A silver mirror worth 50gp
  • A small crystal orb implement worth 20gp

Summary 3

The travel back is fairly uneventful, although the growing cold begins to sap the party’s endurance. They manage to avoid combat with two huge Ettins in the wide ravine.

When party reaches Black Tower, they see front door is slightly ajar. Inside the tower, they find a hall lined with 20 corpses in plain black robes impaled on rods of cold iron. Their heads are all uncovered and fully shaved, and their scalps have a violet-brown spiral symbol with nine notches around them. One of the bodies is that of Zarfan Cantelever, the bomb expert from Wintercrest.

The party figures out through a combination of skills and rituals that the people were impaled alive for the purpose of creating a conduit to The Shadowfell as their souls traveled there. The Giants and cult members are now waiting in The Shadowfell for something called Ogremoch to come.

Following pipes from that location, in the middle of the tower there is what looks like a very rough copy of the Obsidian Obelisk under Wintercrest. Attached to the Obelisk, are dozens of pipes and metal bars, some of which are attached to an ancient stone planar portal. This was a makeshift substitute for the real Obelisk, and how they managed to go there.

The party travels back to Ironridge and tells the guards of what they found, recommending that the Black Tower be destroyed. The airship arrives the next day and the party flies back to Wintercrest. On the way, the ship is attacked by harpies.

Battle 2
Frost, Fire, and Wind harpies.

Summary 4

Upon reaching Wintercrest, Fiora meets the party at the dock. She has something urgent to tell them.

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Session 20

Black Tower, White Dragon

Summary 1

Having defeated the owlbears, the party takes a brief respite at the edge of a 300ft ring of dead earth surrounding The Black Tower. Navah hears the flapping of wings, and they spot the white dragon they saw earlier, flying in tight circles over the trees behind them, playfully stalking them. They walk under the dragon and speak with him.

The dragon (Cyratralyk) tells the party that he is here to guard this valley, where the hunting is good, in return for the giants guarding his lair while he is away. The party tries to negotiate getting in to the tower – the dragon instead suggests that the party leaves their gear, and he will let them leave the valley alive. The party decides to try to make a run from the treeline toward the tower, but Cyratralyk cuts them off.

Battle 1

Cyratralyk, adult white dragon.

Summary 2

After a protracted battle, the Natural Ones finally succeed. They use a Speak with Dead ritual to discover that inside the tower are roughly 12 Giants, several robed figures, and 2 large metal items. They also discover the location of the dragon’s lair. Deciding that this is too much for the party to handle, and figuring they will need reinforcements, they retreat to a cave near the other side of the valley.

Late in the afternoon, they notice that the clouds near the tower are spiraling, and suddenly an enormous orb of darkness, rimmed with red lightning, expands out of and swallows the Black Tower and surrounding cliffsides. After a few moments, the sphere of darkness shrinks down and fades away, with seemingly nothing changed. It was planar magic. Whatever they were doing, it worked.

The next day, they set out for the dragon’s lair. In all, the trip takes 4 or 5 largely uneventful days, passing by the hunting grounds of wargs, giant spider caves, and a shallow but wide ravine filled with trees. On the fourth day, they reach an empty encampment with spikes and skulls, and soon encounter the inhabitants as they pass through – Ice Trolls!

Battle 2

Ice Trolls and Frost Drake.

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Session 19

Into the Valley

Summary

The party follow tracks north, notice they diverge as one Giant seems to have fallen behind, injured. They locate Thok and ask him many questions. They follow the other path to see it goes into a valley with a tower up north.

They return to town to discuss their findings with the guards. An older guard named Rjolfan tells them about an old temple to Orcus that was once up the way they’re going. It’s been empty for 20 years. Party sends word to Erasmus by raven, decides to head out for temple again next morning.

Navah dreams again of her blue doe, which disappears in a small cluster of trees that grow and twist into an enormous figure with piercing green sparks for eyes. Says it does not trust the other Primordials, who serve the Elder Eye. Do not let them assemble the Ring of Apostos.

Next day, party travels again into the valley, sees a white dragon circling the far ahead. With some difficulty, the party makes it near the tower, but are ambushed by owlbears.

Battle 2
Two adult owlbears and cub

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Session 18

Chapter 3

Dueling the Defiant Circle

Summary

Shonauwenkilau briefly explains Fate, and says he believes something dire is coming before another year passes. He agrees to guard the chest, but doesn’t know how much longer he will be in the mortal plane. He flies party to the entrance of Drakkenhyde Basin so they can leave, as he cannot leave the valley himself.

Party travels back to Ironridge. When almost there, they hear sounds in the direction of town, see Hill Giant tracks. At Ironridge, they notice a Hill Giant body being burned outside, but town is otherwise fine. The Defiant Circle is also there. Guards explain that a contingent of Hill Giants raided the mine, and stole Celestium, and escaped north.

Valen demands The Natural Ones stand aside, but settles on agreement to duel for the right to pursue the giants and a magic item from each person.

Battle
The Defiant Circle: Argus, Deena, Grosh, Kenso, Tyrask, and Valen.
The Natural Ones win, and collect their winnings.

  • Wyaming gets Bracers of Infinite Blades.
  • Faemeril gets Hero’s Armor.
  • Adrik gets Repulsion Leather Armor.
  • Dredgden gets Battering Warhammer.
  • Lorna get Rod of Churning Inferno.
  • Silwen gets Blackflock Robe and gives it to Lorna.
  • Navah takes Death’s Brink Armor and gives it to Dredgden.
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Session 17

The Fire Fragment

Summary 1

The Silver-Eyed Stranger stands before the party and seems to probe their minds. So YOU are the ones who killed Rufian? he asks.

He explains that Rufian was an infiltrator, and he is a seer. He taps his silver eye. He also explains that he knew that someone would be here, but Fate was unclear as to who. He suggests that Fate is something that cannot be challenged directly, but there are places where it has no influence.

The party figures out that he is a projection from very far away – he is not really here. He tries to scan their minds for the location of the Life Fragment, but fails. He says he cannot prevent them from taking the Fire Fragment, but warns them that “Lady TK” was very possessive, then vanishes.

Party uses ritual to inquire bones of TK consequences of taking Fragment. They must battle.

Battle

Eight flame skulls rise from the magma below, and TK’s skeleton begins to rise and attack the party. Party manages to destroy pillars of energy bringing TK to life, buying them time.

Summary 2

Party grabs a handful of items from TK’s treasure (buried in layers of volcanic rock) and escapes with Shounauwenkilau’s help.

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Session 16

To Dredgden’s Homeland

Summary 1

Extended rest in Ironridge. Windy, and a layer of snow. Friendly man at inn named Roderick says town only rebuilt in last 4-5 years; was peat iron mining town prior, hence the name. Now mines Celestium.

Party travels east, passes woods and large bonfire. Wyaming investigates fire, sees 4-5 Hill Giants. Seems odd for Giants to be this far south without a reason. Continue toward mountains, ground is soft and muddy. Dredgden explains creatures live in sink holes here. Silwen navigates party to end of bog. Late night, toward bog, party hears gurgling.

Battle

Otyugh, several Troglodytes.

Summary 2

Party continues up mountain next day as skill challenge. Archers are posted at entryway on inside of valley. They tell Dredgden he is dead and no longer welcome, rest of party is hiding. They tell him only the Undertaker will speak to him, will lead Dredgden there with 6 armed guards. Rest of party hides under candle and follows at safe distance. Native people there refuse to look at Dredgden. He is led to a tunnel into ground to see the Undertaker.

Undertaker tells Dredgden, “I can see you”. He is completely blind. He also tells Dredgden where the carved dragon statue is, and what he seeks is beyond that. Party travels that direction.

Carved statue is of a Brass Dragon, and it bears some slight resemblance to Dredgden and his clan. Beyond the statue, a long trail snakes up and into the trees, rising steadily. It ends in a wide cave in the side of the mountain. Party builds a large magic chest before going in, which they will use to hold the Fragment.

In the cave, they meet Shonauwenkilau, the spirit of this land, and the last of the brass dragons, who was mortally wounded in the act of slaying the ancient Red Dragon T’kuarkhanhuarak that laid had claim to this entire region. He tells them how the tribe of that Goliaths moved to this land gradually took on the appearance of the dragons as result of the war with Lady TK.

Beyond the dragon is a declining tunnel that appears to end in an enormous hole. The faint smell of sulfur and ash drifts upward from it.

Shou flies the party down to the caverns below, where they immediately use their Enshrouding Candle to stay invisible. After some twisting volcanic passages, the party comes to an enormous dragon skeleton. Near the head, is a platform of molten stone supporting another Fragment, and in front of the Fire Fragment is a robed figure.

The figure turns and the party sees he has a scar over his left eye, and in its place is a silver orb. He looks directly at the party, saying “your candle may shield you from sight and hearing, but you cannot hide from me… your minds!”

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Session 15

Travelling Among the Clouds

Summary 1
Fiora takes the party back to her office in the Arcane College – it looks like a hoarder’s room. Maps, papers, crystals, strange intricate devices, and a complicated telescope with interchangeable lenses are among the items there. Gives items to party members to help them track down a Fragment in Drakkenhyde Basin:

Wyaming gets Lamp of Perceiving.
Faemeril gets Enshrouding Candle.
Dredgden gets Boots of Free Movement.
Silwen gets Philosopher’s Crown.
Navah gets Map of Unseen Lands.
Lorna gets Dark Skull.
Adrik gets Dust of Arcane Insight.

She tells the party to meet with Mikhail at the Swine and Stag to make airship travel arrangements. Mikhail says in three days in the early morning they can catch an airship ride to Ironridge – takes about 6 days to travel. The party can walk from there – about 3 more days walking. Their fare is free as long as they do guard duty aboard the ship.

Night before leaving, party members have dreams again:

  • Dredgden dreams about running and playing with Goliath friend as a child again, is scolded by chief for almost running up a path that has a carved dragon statue.
  • Navah stands at the edge of a pond with a waterfall, watching a blue ghostly deer. She follows it through waterfall into a small circular clearing with waterfalls all around her.
  • Silwen dreams of giant tower again floating in a purple sky, with two figures (one dark, one light) circling it. They tell her to come to the tower, but seek out the “ancient man” first, or she will never leave.
  • Adrik dreams that he is in an enormous clock tower, with knights marching around the inside of the tower in lockstep. Cannot see out clock face to tell where he is.
  • Faemeril dreams of a huge dark cavern, with rhythmic rumblings, and a huge foot steps in front of her as she realizes that it is an underground cave with giants.
  • Lorna dreams of sneaking up from below deck on her father’s ship, hears father arguing with other man in his chamber. Lorna sneaks a peek and sees a large bracelet-sized silver ring hanging from a dagger in the wall.
  • Wyaming walks outside his home temple to see an island floating in the sky. His master grabs his wrist and pulls him away.

Cold early morning takeoff from Wintercrest’s Central Tower. On morning of third day of travel, in the middle of a storm, the ship is attacked by a young Blue Dragon!

Battle
Young Blue Dragon. Party uses cannons to blast dragon away from ship – it eventually gives up and flies away.

Summary 2
Next few days are uneventful. As party descends over Ironridge, they notice the shape of the Celestium being excavated north of town resembles a gigantic hand.

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Session 14

The Secretive Professor

Battle
2 Ironstone Gargoyles, 2 Hornstone Gargoyles

Summary
Following the battle, Astanya completes a ritual which creates a small disc of force. She requires help to use disc to levitate fragment into large-capacity bag of holding, party notices it has markings that match Navah‘s – she gets feeling of deja vu from it. Party travels back to Adventurer’s Guild.

Garyn back at the guild described the fragment as possessing extraordinary Primordial elemental energies, and a Feywild influenced focus. Could be a weapon. He recommends speaking with Nikus Garromott at the Arcane College.

Nikus has never seen anything like the fragment, but says it has very strong elemental magic. Party asks about inscription on Obelisk. Nikus tells party about The Primordials, says Apostos mentioned in the inscription was a God, not a Titan Lord like believed by most, fragment was part of his “key”, could be related to Gate of Stone. The defeat of Apostos was the turning point of the Dawn War, when the Gods gained the upper hand. “Four combined” in inscription could be four total gates – one for each element.

Party sends a raven with a message to Fiora. She agrees to meet party next morning in secrecy. She tells party she knew something was under the city because the stars told her. She is an Astroexeger, and member of a secret organization – they seek to understand the minds of the Gods and predict Fate. They want to prevent giants from getting ahold of the Fragments. She has the rubbing of a ring taken off a Frost Giant general, part of which resembles a section of the fragment. There are 9 Fragments in total.

Fiora commissioned the collection of the Fragment that was in the caravan the party found destroyed in their first adventure. She intended it to be smuggled into town, not stolen. She is paranoid and afraid someone in her organization knew about the Fragment and informed the giants. Party learns Valen’s father Arcturus is in the same organization.

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Session 13

Under the Wintercrest Tower

Summary 1
In the evening at the guild, a thin balding man brings Yelena’s belongings to the party. Next morning, Ancka has left town to see to her family. Party learns that giants had the assistance of a white dragon. Erasmus recommends the party goes to investigate the tunnel into the tower under the factory. No coincidence this all started with the giants.

Dwarf lets party through the hole in the floor of the Element Refinery. The tunnel through the foundations of the tower is being repaired, along with the backed up sewers. A Halfling allows the party into the chamber beyond, letting slip that someone else went in first. Party passes mushroom creatures carefully, battles spiders.

Battle
Blade spider, 2 spider swarms

Summary 2
Party approaches young woman who is hiding behind The Obelisk. She explains she was sent here to investigate by Fiora, needs to get Fragment down from Obelisk. She begins ritual with the party’s okay, suddenly gargoyles attack.

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