GM Aram Zey's Reign of Winter for PFS part 1 (Inactive)

Game Master SwampTing

Master of Spells Aram Zey has heard of a noblewoman who has gone missing near the Taldan village of Heldren. Kidnapped by bandits, is the rumour. Whilst a rather minor noblewoman in her own right, her disappearance coincides with the appearance of a curious pocket of winter reminiscent of the eternal frost that covers the land of Irrisen.

Intrigued by the opportunity to gain allies for the Pathfinder society amongst the Taldan nobility and to discover the reason for this strange phenomenon, the Master of Spells has decided to teleport a team of pathfinders to Heldren to look into the matter.

Easy reference sheet
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Scarab Sages

Masterwork Nodachi +5 (1d8+1/18-20/x2) ]Masterwork Musket +8 (1d10/x4) Halfling Gunslinger Musketmaster HP 26/26 AC: 20/FF16/T15 Fort +5 (+7 circumstance bonus vs. cold weather), Ref +8, Will +4; +2 vs. fear Perception +8 Init +4

So anyone knows what that dude was? A troll? A giant kobold? An aberration? Anyway, let´s see what´s back there in that snowstorm!

Grand Lodge

Border of War map Reign of Winter map

Sorry for the delay in bringing out the epilogue, the weekend's been quite busy for me!

Following the retreat of the remaining fey retreat into the snowstorm, there is a long hushed silence as you wait for whatever new menace might appear from the blinding blizzard.

You wait for what seems like hours, though in fact is scarely more than a few minutes. Eventually, you realise that you are now alone, and with nothing else to do, venture deep into the blizzard.

It is reasonably easy to find the source of the blizzard: once inside, you quickly realise that the snow-laden winds are constantly blowing from only a single direction, and that to find the source, you need only travel onwards against it.

Eventually, you find your way through the blizzard. Or rather, you find your way to a place beyond the blizzard where the howling winds no longer blow as fiercely or incessantly. You find yourself within a bank of quill-like icicles that spear outward in a ring, seemingly from a heavy sheet of ice covering the ground. A second ring of giant icicle-shaped monoliths standing within the outer ring, surrounding a swirling cylindrical vortex easily ten feet in diameter. Icy winds and driving snow continue to blast from the vortex in a cone through a break in the ring of icy spears (see the map), and you quickly realise that this is the source of the unnatural winter.

A surge of wind suddenly blasts from the swirling vortex in the ring of icicles, gusting outward in a stinging spray of snow and ice. Suddenly, a gaunt horseman with curling ram's horns and wearing coal-black armor lurches through the portal astride a black warhorse, surrounded by tendrils of cold, dark mist. The rider slumps in the saddle, a shard of blue ice jutting from his back. As rider and mount come to a halt in the snow, the horse suddenly dissipates into black smoke, and the horseman falls to the ground with a groan. He briefly attempts to stagger to his feet before slumping to the ground once more, and the dark mist dissipates along with his helmet and horns, leaving the broken form of an old human man, exhausted, pale from blood loss, and close to death.

The old man wheezes. this it then? Have...Elvanna's agents... finally *cough cough*...caught up to me? ...

As he regards you, however, hope flickers in his rheumy eyes, and he seems to regain some vitality, if only a little. you are not, are you? You are not of Irrisen... Then there is still a chance! There is still hope! Hear me, mortals... if you wish to save your entire world from eternal winter... you must listen to what I have to say!

As he makes his pronouncement, he manages to pull himself (or perhaps one of you helps him)into a seating position. He motions to you to lean close, as he carries on in a softer, weaker, but steadier voice.

Once I was called Illarion Matveius, but I am now known as Black Midnight. I am Baba Yaga's Black Rider, harbinger of the Witch Queen's return.

Something has happened to Baba Yaga, mortals! Every hundred years, she returns to Irrisen to place a new daughter on the throne. But
it seems the current Queen, Elvanna, has other plans. Baba Yaga has not appeared as planned, and Elvanna intends to slay everyone loyal to her mother. She hunted down those of us who would herald Baba Yaga's return and has already slain my associates. I am the last of the Three Riders, and Elvanna has pursued me to my death as I am the last remaining threat to her plans!

As for her plans... the fooling whelp thinks to take the place of Baba Yaga herself! She would supplant the Witch Queen and take all of Golarion as her personal kingdom! Irrisen is a land of endless winter, created by Baba Yaga's magic, and Elvanna seeks extend the reach of that magic, to cover the entire world in ice and snow by using portals like this one, thus getting a stranglehold on all of Golarion! "

As the black-clad rider delivers his chilling message, he convulses violently for a brief moment. You see that the shard of blue ice jutting from his back is slowly turning red, as if it were drawing his very lifeblood from his body, whilst a small patch of ice appears on his chest, slowly spreading over his entire body. He waves off any attempt at pulling the ice shard from his body.

It is useless...this is foul magic, and to touch it would doom you as well... No... you are still needed! Listen well! Through the portals, Elvanna will spread a new ice age across your world, consuming it for all eternity. Even if you manage to close this one, Elvanna will simply open ten more in its place. If you want to save your world, you must find Baba Yaga! Only Baba Yaga can defeat Elvanna. Only the Queen of Witches can undo what her daughter has done.

The Rider pauses briefly to let the brevity of his proclamation sink in.

You must find Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut, and use it to locate her. The hut is a powerful artifact that can cross great distances , even travel between worlds . If you can control the hut, it can take you to Baba Yaga. The hut has many keys objects attuned to the hut-that can take it almost anywhere. I managed to secure two of these keys, but Elvanna stole their power to prevent anyone from using the hut to find her mother. Once they are reactivated, placing the keys in the hut's cauldron will retrace Baba Yaga's path.

The old man suddenly convulses and cries out in agony as the patch of ice on his chest flares violently. It has by now covered his entire torso, jagged protrusions of ice growing throughout it. The original shard of ice protruding from his back is now a deep red, and if it is indeed draining his lifeblood, you wonder that he is still alive.

If you have any questions for the Rider, you must ask them quickly, as it seems that he is struggling for his very breath right now.

Scarab Sages

Masterwork Nodachi +5 (1d8+1/18-20/x2) ]Masterwork Musket +8 (1d10/x4) Halfling Gunslinger Musketmaster HP 26/26 AC: 20/FF16/T15 Fort +5 (+7 circumstance bonus vs. cold weather), Ref +8, Will +4; +2 vs. fear Perception +8 Init +4

How can we restore that magic in the keys? And where would we find that dancing hut? This needs to be stopped!

Grand Lodge

Gnome Wood Wizard 1 / Ninja 4 | HP 41/41 | AC 19 T 15 FF 19 | F +4 R +8 W +3 | Init +3 | Perc +8/+10 | Sense Motive +3

"How do we find other keys?" Shu asks, then something else occurs to him. "Baba Yaga not known for her generosity. We find her, how can get convince her to help?"

Lantern Lodge

[|]Aasimar | Paladin 2 | HP:17/17 | AC: 14/ FF 10/ T 11 | Fort: +8 Ref: +6 Will: +7 | Perception: -1 | Dark Vision | Init: +4 [|]

I'm going to guess from the description that a CLW isn't going to help him much, if at all...

"My guess is that we will have little trouble convincing Baba Yaga to help as far as taking Elvanna down is concerned. If she aims to supplant Baba Yaga as the Witch Queen and has killed Baba Yaga's heralds and loyalists, then I imagine there will be reprisals."

"But finding and restoring the remaining keys, as well as finding the hut itself...we need some sort of clue!"

And Exiel will cast CLW on the old man anyway, since he can.

Scarab Sages

Male Human Wizard (Transmuter) 7 | HP 57/57 | AC 15 T 15 FF 11 | Saves: F: +5 R: +7 W: +7 | CMD: 18 | Init: +7 Percep: +12 SM: +1

"Quite true! I have heard rumors of the Dancing Hut, but as to its present whereabouts, I couldn't even venture a guess. How can we locate something that can move anywhere?"

Exiel's puny spell of healing has no effect on the Rider. He does not even seem to notice the spell.

The Rider wheezes through gritted teeth.

The hut...the hut has been captured by were the other keys... I fear I cannot give more guidance than that you must move against the Jadwiga Elvanna if you are to succeed... I do not suggest that it will be easy...but if you want to save your world, you must save my queen first...

The Rider convulses and cries out in pain again as the ice spreads further. By now, most of his torso is covered in icy protrusions, though his arms still remain free. With trembling hands, he pulls from a belt pouch what appears to be a lock of coarse white hair and a curious leather mask with goggle-eyes and a long beak where the nose and mouth should be.

These are...the two keys I managed to retrive... I...can use what power I have left to re-activate them... and I can give you what remains of my power to aid you against Elvanna...

He takes a deep, shuddering breath, then composes himself and pronounces

I wish you well, mortals... From this point on, you are the Black Riders!

With that, the Rider places the mask and hair under his chin, then with a swift motion pulls a dagger from his belt and plunges it into his neck! Blood flows freely from his ravaged throat, covering the items...or rather, the blood seems to flow into the items, leaving neither stain nor mark! As he does so, a black mist rises from around him and takes the form of six black cowled cloaks that float in the air for a brief moment before flying to each of the six of you!

As the mantles alight on each of you, you instinctively perceive that its powers are at this stage weak, but also raw, and you have a brief moment in which to shape it by your will - molding its power and appearance to suit your preference.

This is where the stat you declared in the discussion comes into play - you will be able to give it a small boost once per day as a swift action for 1 minute. Also, you are able to declare for yourself the appearance that the mantle will take on you: it can be a hooded cloak, a robe, a surcoat over your armour, or whatever else you choose, so long as it is a sizeable and prominent piece of black clothing that you will wear for as long as you have this boon. You will not be able to conceal it in any way - making it into a robe and wearing another robe over it will cause it to dissolve into mist and reform over the other robe. Note however that this does not take up any item slot. Amongst other things, this is meant to make you look cool, so get creative with your descriptions! =)

The Exchange

Init +4(+6)|AC19/Touch15/Flatfoot14/CMD 18||HP 21/[28]| Fort:+4 ;Ref:+7 ;Wil+4|Percept +7/Sense Motive +2 Keleshite Human Male Gunslinger (Musket Master) /3 (Favoured Class)


Grand Lodge

Monk 5

"Crlap...more cold", Mu considers denying the charge but certain the Lodge would not approve of it. Mu rercalls one of the temple tales of black garbs that acolytes must wear during periods of special tests. He wills the mantel into the form of a black civara.

Lantern Lodge

[|]Aasimar | Paladin 2 | HP:17/17 | AC: 14/ FF 10/ T 11 | Fort: +8 Ref: +6 Will: +7 | Perception: -1 | Dark Vision | Init: +4 [|]

Exiel smiles as the tendirls of mist swirl around him. He spreads his arms wide, taking it all in. This was magic, and magic was familiar to him. Even if he did not always comprehend it, he understood it, instinctively. It guided his sword and served as his shield when wood, metal and leather gave way. With a sweeping motion, he wraps himself in the mists as he shapes it into the form of an tien-style overcoat.

Kinda like this guy.

Grand Lodge

Gnome Wood Wizard 1 / Ninja 4 | HP 41/41 | AC 19 T 15 FF 19 | F +4 R +8 W +3 | Init +3 | Perc +8/+10 | Sense Motive +3

"That looks like dress. Like schoolgirl, heh." Shu cackles and waggles his eyebrows at Mu. The darkness surrounding him suddenly starts to shift, the form shrinking and taking on the vague shape of a very short skirt. Shu gasps. "No, no!" He squeezes his eyes shut and mumbles to himself, and the form shifts and settles on a simple hooded hanfu.

Grand Lodge

Border of War map Reign of Winter map

I guess that's it for people who wish to describe the appearance that the black mantle takes on their characters.

As the fragments of the black mantle settles upon you, there is a sudden flash of light as a rather familiar voice calls out

Stop! Not to these...gods damn it all! I leave an apprentice to watch the scrying for barely five minutes and this happens!

It is the Master of Spells himself, and he is fairly livid with rage and frustration.

And this FOOL, this blustering old fool, sees a bunch of young whippersnappers and somehow decides that they will be the best people to entrust with Baba Yaga's Black Mantle? If he had held out for another 10, five minutes, I would have gathered a group of Seekers to assume the mantle and handle this matter!

The Master of Spells is pacing up and down in the snow now, or at least as close to pacing as the thick snow will allow. He rants on for a few minutes about the fate of Golarion being left in the hands of such inexperienced Pathfinders. Eventually, he calms down, picks up the lock of white hair and the strange mask carefully with a conjured hand of force, then turns to regard you with a gaze severe even by his standards.

Needless to say, the Pathfinder Society has, like almost all of the rest of Golarion, a vested interest in ensuring that this world is not covered by Irrisen's eternal winter. Unfortunately, as the current Bearers of the Black Mantle, you are also now uniquely qualified to handle many of the tasks that will be involved in this endeavour. However, you are still much too inexperienced to handle this on your own. You will resume your normal duties as Pathfinders whilst more experienced teams will be assigned to handle matters for which the mantle is unnecessary. At this point, I will be assigning other Pathfinders to see investigate the whereabouts of the other keys and the means by which they can be re-activated, as well as the location of the hut itself.

In the meantime, I expect you to be particularly active in performing your duties as Pathfinders. You will all need to grow in experience and skill if you are to have any hope of succeeding when you are next needed, and the society's tasks and expeditions are amongst the best ways to grow in those areas. Take care not to die, however. As much as it galls me to say will be needed to save Golarion from the Reign of Winter.

The adventure ends here, for now. Aram Zey teleports your group back to the Lodge in Absalom, and releases you to perform other tasks. He will be watching your progress, however, and when the time comes, you can be sure that he will summon you again...

Grand Lodge

Gnome Wood Wizard 1 / Ninja 4 | HP 41/41 | AC 19 T 15 FF 19 | F +4 R +8 W +3 | Init +3 | Perc +8/+10 | Sense Motive +3

Young whippersnappers? Shu looks at Mu with a snicker. From what he's heard giving grief to Aram Zey is about the best accomplishment any good Pathfinder can hope for.

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