|GM My Red Sun|
Letitia ignores what is going on in the cave for now, studying the magic from the other side of the clearing. though they are too far to see much from among the igloos, Letitia can feel the magic coming off of something big. she detects a single source of both strong Evocation and strong Conjuration magic.
Samuel does not find any traps and the key from the troll springs open the box. inside is a collection of treasure likely more than some of these adventurers have ever held in their hands at once.
4 potions (these look like they are the same type of potion)
4 blue quartz crystals
a silver diadem, a flawless diamond, a jeweled necklace, 3 sapphire rings, and a decorative dagger scabbard worth a total of 1650 gp
a collection of gold, silver and copper worth a total of 2795.7 gp
Letitia (and possibly Callix) immediate recognize the blue quartz as "ice diamonds", a common currency in Irrisen worth 100 gp each.
Callix, Alec and Ashling discuss the storm. the snow does not seem to be letting up at all. cold wind is blowing steadily from the direction of the ice spears, and snow seems to be flying almost sideways from that direction
After picking up the stash hidden in the box, Samuel stares at the storm blowing at the group "Letitia explained us the storm is magical. It is not going to stop blowing"
"I do agree though we need to rest. We have walked the whole day since the High Sentinel's headquarters, through a terrible snow, and then faced the feys and the troll... We are almost exhausted for the day" the Taldan turns once more to the cave and starts securing it as a camping site "Whatever there is inside the storm, we cannot face it in this condition. I am still ok, I can take the first watch"
After studying the magic while the others explore the cave, Letitia joins the others. "I think that's the winter portal just beyond the ice spears!" she shouts over the howling wind. "The magic is of conjuration and evocation! It has to be it! Why would you want to bed down now just a snowball's throw from the gate? You make no sense! If we don't close it now, it will continue to pour winter into this country!"
Because, it will likely be guarded, and we'd rather not die. said rather bluntly, One would figure a mage with such intelligence would know the old story of the Tortoise and the hare. She turn to the others in the group, going back to discussing the watch order I can see in the dark, i'll take the late shift
"Could one of you scout it? To see if it's guarded, or if the troll was its guardian?" Letitia asks. "And the hare stopped just short of the goal line to take a rest and the tortoise reached it before him! Why would you want us to mimic the hare?"
I don't. The meaning of the story is too keep one's pride in check and take your time. if we rush this, we could die and then everyone loses. We did well today, anyone else would have perished long ago, Potion's were found, perhaps you could look at those and distract yourself while we discuss what to do.. As a group. She puts particular emphasis on "everyone loses". Scouting is a decent idea, provided there aren't spies waiting for us, magical alarms or traps, things like that
Letitia looks exasperated. "You have a curious interpretation of that parable. And if you are so afraid of a lurking guardian a mere sixty feet from us, why do you insist on falling asleep near it??"
She whispers to Lazlo, "Go and see if it is as I suspect. If there is another guardian, let me know." She lets her snowy owl take flight toward the ice spears.
Stealth: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (18) + 15 = 33
I'm not afraid. i haven't felt anything for the last two years. She makes a somewhat somber comment, pulling out of her bag an odd painted white wooden mask and putting it on, wrapping herself in her cloak, before briefly stepping outside in the blizzard
Callix nods at the witch's comment, "Scouting it before decide makes sense -- if there are no guardians now, we should stike while the iron is hot." I'm really hoping that I'm agreeing with Letitia this often because she's being more reasonable and not that I'm getting caught up in her sense of immediacy...
|GM My Red Sun|
While the group discussed what to do and who should scout ahead, Letitia lets Lazlo loose, and the owl obediently flies towards the ice spears, immediately blending in with the white snow and almost becoming invisible.
The owl circles around for a few minutes searching. He is clearly uncomfortable about being so close to whatever the magical aura is, but he is not feeling fear or giving you signals of approaching danger.
After a few moments, Lazlo feels a spike of surprise and curiosity.
He returns to you quickly, and hoots once, indicating one creature approaching
As you get closer to the spears you see they are arranged like a fence in a circular pattern. within the border of the fence there is the winter portal. swirling colors outline a shimmering hole in the air, through which you can clearly see another forest covered in snow. it is clear even to an untrained eye that the trees on the other side of the portal are of a different variety than those here in the Border Wood.
only moments after you start looking at the portal you spot something approaching through the gate, moving quickly. a mounted rider in black plate armor comes through the gate, the large black stallion it is riding looking close to death from exhasution. the humanoid on the back of the horse is clearly very injured.
He or she does not seem to have spotted you yet
Letitia stands still against the swirling snow and feels her connection to her familiar. When he returns, he alights on her shoulder and hoots once.
She turns to Callix and Samuel. "Prepare yourselves. There's one creature approaching. Lazlo, does it appear dangerous?"
As the discussion erupts Samuel clearly shows his frustration with Letitia "Ah! Why do you always have to antagonize us witch? Ok... if you are scouting ahead Alec, or anyone, you will need someone to cover you from afar, just in case things go wrong" the Taldan checks his musket readying to cover the scout at distance.
When at the middle of the discussion Letitia suddenly raises the alarm Samuel places his firearm on his shoulder and takes aim "W-what is it now?" on that guise, Samuel scouts behind Alec or whomever goes to meet the approaching creature.
Callix draws the wand and taps it against herself, So much for saving it..., then clips it back to her belt and draws her axe. "We've yet to encounter anything friendly, so let's hope for the best and expect the worst."
CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
"Indeed," Letitia agrees with Callix, and chooses not to respond to Samuel's accusations. "I've magic left that can weaken a foe and can do outright harm against the living. Combined with the weapons we still have, I believe we can stand firm." Better standing then lying asleep, she mentally adds.
If the others appear ready to advance, Letitia goes with them, ready to confront whatever it may be that's come through the gate.
Looking at the spoiler... Oh, man. Is that what I think it is? Do I recognize that???
Knowledge (nature): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
Assuming that roll is good enough...
Letitia freezes in place, eyes bulging and heedless of the stinging wind. "The black rider..."
Ashling , not being afraid slowly approach the injured rider, blade drawn. She's careful not to alert the rider to everyone elses presence, only her own. A white mask covering her face and cloak blowing in the wind Are you the leader of this group?
|GM My Red Sun|
If anyone hasn't already, read the spoiler from above, you should all be able to see what came from the portal, and I don't want to just copy it down here again
The rider comes towards you all rather quickly, but pulls his horse up short, stopping about 10 feet from your group.
Letitia does indeed recognize the rider. it has been a long time since he was seen, so she would never have seen him in person, but the armor, helmet and steed clearly mark him as the black rider.
Before the rider can respond to Ashling's question, the steed below him suddenly dissipates into black smoke that fades into the cold air. the rider falls to his knees, and you can now see a spear of ice lodged in his back, piercing through plate armor.
the rider looks at Ashling and speaks in a loud but wavering voice
Peace! I mean you no harm. I am not aligned with those who brought this unnatrual winter to your fair lands. Please, I have knowledge of vital importance to give to you if you want to stop this madness!
With those words, the armor around the rider shimmer and melt away just like his steed, revealing themselves to be half-illusion fashioned from darkness.
Standing in the place of the mighty rider kneels a frail-looking old man, balding and with a white beard.
He looks directly at Letitia, obviously knowing her for what she is
My name is Illarion Matveius. But now I am known as My Black Midnight, Baba Yaga's black rider, harbinger of the witch queen's return. And I need your help
Very well Black rider, I am Ashling Frostwing. Sheathes her blade, Speak your piece, if you aren't with the northerners that did this, then please explain who and what is happening, as well as how we can stop it. Baba Yaga is not one i wish to trifle with if even half the stories are true. So i will help how i can.
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Letitia's mother had, of course, schooled her and her sisters about their grandmother, Baba Yaga, and her impending return. As the time grew closer to the appointed year, the stories grew more graphic in detail about the three harbingers -- the white, the red, and the black rider. There was excitement, but also dread, as their judgment was swift and there was no escape if they deemed you disloyal to the Witch Queen.
At first, sheer horror struck Letitia at the rider's arrival. She feared her insistence at finding the gate would be the doom of all of them, and for a moment considered offering herself if he would spare them.
Then, it was evident that he was wounded, and a new terror seized her -- that the reason Elvanna was still queen was that she somehow managed to do what none of the other rebellious queens had done. The implications were terrible.
She stood still as the rider approached and spoke. Then he looked at her with eyes that told her he knew who she was.
But she had been schooled in formality, and she fell back on it. "I am Jadwiga Letitia, daughter of Helka, granddaughter of Baba Yaga, of Ledenica, Thronehold, Irrisen. I am loyal to grandmother, and loyal to the Wh--" Her speech catches in her throat and she cannot bring herself to add that she is loyal to the White Throne. Ultimately, because it is no longer true.
When it finally dawns upon her that the black rider has just asked her for help, she swallows and nods. "Yes."
Samuel attempts to see through the snow just before the rider appears "That forest there is not the Border Woods... what the hello of the magic tricks is going on?"
As the armor of the rider and his stale disappear in smoke Samuel exclaims "Hell's teeth, a demonish' illusion of sorts!"
The High Sentinel closes up and marks the elder with his musket, staring at Letitia as she speaks up her allegiances "What's all this political plot you are rambling about? Why is Irrisen attacking Taldor? Explain yourself Illarion Matveius?"
"You seem to know this man Letitia. Whom is him?"
Not able to take her eyes off the old man who had just seconds ago wore the terrifying plate armor of the black rider, Letitia speaks without looking at the gunman.
"I know of him. He is one of the three, the riders who come in advance of Grandmother to test Irrisen's loyalty. Every hundred years, Baba Yaga takes the current queen, and places a new daughter on the throne."
She shakes her head and glances at Samuel and the others. "But Elvanna is still on the throne. It's past her time. She should be gone, and my exile over."
She kneels before the old, injured man. "How could this be? How has Elvanna defied Grandmother?"
"Wait a moment. Baba Yaga?" Samuel turns back to Letitia forgetting the elder for a second "Isn't her the evil witch of the tales? Is her real? Hell's teeth! Are... are you her granddaughter???!"
|GM My Red Sun|
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The rider focuses for a moment on Samuel, who is acting more aggressively than the others.
Your eyes are keen, soldier. through this portal you see a forrest that is similar but different. the forrest you see is in the land of Irrisen. this is but one of many portals that have been created byt the white witches who overstep the bounds put on them by the great Baba Yaga.
Your friend speaks the truth. Something has gone terribly wrong. There is a cycle, one that has carried on since Baba Yaga birthed the first witches on Golarion. One of her blood descendants is always the queen of Whitethrone. But every 100 years, Baba Yaga returns to crown a new daughter queen, and takes the previous queen with her to wherever it is she goes for 100 years at a time.
He shakes his head, grimacing in pain.
My job, and that of my brother and sister, is to herald her return every 100 years. But this time Elvanna decided she wouldn't come quietly into retirement. how she was able to defeat her own mother is still a mystery. But somehow she has delayed Baba Yaga's return and has hunted us, her heralds. I am afraid My Bright Morning and My Red Sun may already be dead. I have been wounded, stabbed through my heart with ice. I do not have long before I will be under the sway of the winter witches, as surely as one of their winter-touched sprites
Samuel somehow seems to be comforted by the softness of the initial words of the raider "This seems greater schemes than us, but let me see if we can do something for your wounds"
Retrieving his healing kit, Samuel attempts to stop the elder's bleeding "Why do you think Elvanna has decided to do this? And why the people of Irrisen is not revolting against her tyrannic decision to hold the power?"
Heal: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
Letitia snorts disdainfully. "The people? The people do as they are told. The Jadwiga rule absolutely. Though I wonder why so many of my aunts and cousins are going along with Elvanna. Revolts have happened in the past, when queens wanted to rule beyond their time. It ended badly for them and their supporters."
Is there any way to prevent them from gaining control over you? This needs to be stopped, We need to find Baba Yaga. This Elvanna threatens the balance of the world. She removes her mask briefly, Rider, will this end if we shut the portal?
Callix pales, Baba Yaga's power questioned and her authority defied, possibly defeated... only to be supplanted by one of her daughters that is somehow... worse... This is like a dark perversion of a wish that some Blackraven made...
Callix shrugs, "Power, Letitia. In the end, it's almost always about power. Some want it, and so they do what they can to follow the new paradigm to get or keep a piece of it. Some fear it, so they go along, probably leaving themselves an out so they can show they were always loyal if the Baba Yaga returns."
She then gapes at Ashling's comment, Help the Baba Yaga? Is she mad? This isn't choosing the lesser of two evils - there is none more evil than she... though maybe there's a way to break the cycle, here... and finally free the Ulfen from this millenia-old terror.
Callix, finally, says to the Rider, "As Ashling said, is there a way to stop this control over you? Is it like a domination? If not, would it be better for you to fall than to fall under Elvanna's sway? Does your mantle pass on if you're slain?"
Letitia's mind whirls. This was too much. Here, face to face with the black rider, but he's only a wounded old man. Elvanna still on the throne and having defeated Baba Yaga somehow. And now her aunt was extending the reach of Irrisen throughout Golarion. "What sort of help do you need? How can I help Grandmother?" She glances at Samuel's surprise at her being one of the Witch Queen's descendants. "Yes, I am Jadwiga. You've known that."
|GM My Red Sun|
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The rider smiles at Letitia.
You have chosen your companions well, Jadwiga. they know how to get to the heart of the issue he stops and chuckles at his own morbid humor.
Shutting this portal would be a start, young woman, and would end the danger to this region. But the problem is much bigger than this small wood. Dozens of portals have been opened, and more are created every day. Elvanna plans to bring winter to every corner of this world.
This particular portal is anchored to a fortress known as the Pale Tower, which is on the other side of the gateway. It can only be closed by shutting down the projection inside that tower.
To Callix he says
Young Ulfen you are wise, and quick to see the truth of the matter. You are a credit to your god. I have been stabbed in the heart with magical ice. My altered nature as a fey makes me susceptible to control by this method. I am fighting it as much as I can, but it is only a matter of time. I have to assume I am the last Rider, and I must pass on my mantle, just as it was once passed to me. I have to do so before the winter-touched effects take hold, but becoming a mere human again will make this spear in my heart fatal.
He shakes his head sadly
I am ready to meet my end. I can only hope fate has brought me before worthy people. It is a huge risk as I don't know you, but I have no choice. One of you must become the new Black Rider and take my charge.
To Letitia he says
To help your grandmother, you must find her first. I have lost my connection to her. I do not know where she has hidden or been hidden. But the Great Witch always has a plan. We have standing orders when something goes badly. Baba Yaga has a fortress hidden from the world known as Artrosia. We were to meet her there. It is very, very far away, but Baba Yaga had a way of reaching it quickly.
You may have heard of her Dancing Hut. It is an artifact of great power, a building on chicken's legs that is able to travel to distant places, even on different planes and different worlds!
Unfortunately, Elvanna has captured the Hut. She has it chained in front of her palace in Whitethrone. To reach Artrosia, you must make your way to Whitethrone and recover the Hut. When you recover the hut, you must use 2 keys to select a destination. Throw them into the cauldron and the Hut will do the rest.
The man hands you 2 small items. A braid of white hair and a plague mask.
These items will get you to the fortress, if you are able to make it to the Hut
I am sorry, I know this is a lot to take in at once, and is a large risk to yourselves. Jadwiga, I beg you to do what you can to right this wrong and bring Irrisen back into order. Baba Yaga will reward you and your family greatly for your service. Whether you take the mantle yourself, or if you swear to serve the one who does, I charge you to lead this group into your homeland, the land you were exiled from
Letitia takes the two items and stares at them while she absorbs the tasks ahead of her. Home. I get to go home, she thinks, but this is no return full of relief and reunions. Her extended family instead has betrayed Grandmother and are following Elvanna. The idea of spreading Winter throughout the globe doesn't sound terrible to her; she wonders just how many of her aunts and uncles and cousins are excited about the new territories they could rule.
As fanciful and enticing as all that is, it's a future that she cannot be a part of.
"Very well. The mantle... would I no longer be a witch if I accepted it?" She looks at her other companions. "I do not know of any of these would be willing to take such a burden, even to stop the spread of winter."
I have little to do beyond hunting a threat of my own, though... that matter is less important than the fate of the world. Though i am no winter witch, i do possess some connection to it... i think... i have never bothered looking into my abilities. Regardless i am in. Ashling looks around the group before continuing If one of us needs to assume the mantle, i will volunteer. I have no family left, nor connections holding me back
Alec had stood silent even since the man appeared. At first he had taken up a defensive posture but once Letitia started to converse with him, Alec had visibly relaxed, although he kept his spear in his hand. The longer the conversation went, the closer he inched to Letitia. This was all so much more than he was expecting to here, or learn. It was overwhelming. He couldn't imagine how Letitia was so calm through it all.
So we have to go through the gateway... Alec's eyes wandered from companion to companion, trying to gauge their responses.
"Well you're not leaving me here all alone. I'm in" he said as he glanced towards Letitia.
Samuel frowns, not liking the news. Purposely ignoring the mantle and skipping the details about Baba Yaga and the Dancing Hut for now, he goes to the heart of his interest now "Tell me Black Rider. By any chance, have you seen a young woman around ten years younger than me at the other side of the portal? Blonde hair, almost white, blue deep eyes as the ice of an ancestral mountain, tanned but soft skin, and a charming smile like mine?" the Taldan opens wide his mouth trying to make his best smile.
|GM My Red Sun|
Black Midnight focuses on the questions related to the mantle, though he looks thoughtful at Samuel's question. he seems to be thinking about that before he responds.
Without the direct appointment of the Witch Queen, the mantle will not have the full effect of the usual passing. There is a ritual where she crowns each new champion and grants them the gifts of office. until baba Yaga has a chance to fully initiate a new Rider, the mantle will hold but a shadow of its full potential.
This means the mantle will not fully transform you into what I have now become. you will not instantly become a fey and you will not have the link to Baba Yaga that we have. The mantle will still grant you some useful abilities, and more importantly will allow you to take the appearance of the Black Rider, which will open doors for you among the followers of Baba Yaga. Be warned though, many in Irrisen hunt me, and will not treat a new Rider kindly.
Because it will not be fully vested, the mantle can be passed among you freely. no one person must commit to this path if all are willing to share in the burden. So long as both the giver and receiver are willing, the cloak will keep its powers. Perhaps if you succeed, one of you may be given the full measure of the Black Rider by the Great Witch herself
In game mechanic terms, the mantle fo the black rider takes up the shoulders slot for magical items. it has the following effects:
the wearer gains Alter Self as an at-will Spell-Like Ability. the spell can only be used to take the appearance of the Black Rider. the caster level for this effect is equal to the user's HD. the other effects of this item are only in effect while Alter Self is active
The wearer gains darkvision with a 60ft range
The wearer gains a +4 armor bonus to AC
The wearer gains a cold aura. any creature beginning its turn within 5' of the wearer takes 1d6 cold damage. this aura can be activated or deactivated as a swift action
Letitia looks through the portal while the black rider tells them of his mantle. She wanted to parse everything out, to sort through all that they've learned and figure out how she feels regarding each one. But there was no time and there was too much. She pushes her emotions aside as best she can and keeps an icy veneer on her face.
"Very well, Sir Rider. I will be true to Grandmother and find her hut." She couldn't let the others hear in her voice how thrilled and excited that made her, slicing through the terror at their monumental task.
"If Ashling is still willing, she may take the mantle, but it could potentially be shared amongst us who seek Baba Yaga. The others, well, perhaps they will be willing to at least go to the Pale Tower and close this gate?"
She turns to Samuel. "I suspect your sister bears the touch of Winter like the Jadwiga, or she has the fortune of looking like one of us. It's very likely she was taken through the portal. We certainly haven't seen any sign of her on this side."
Either way is fine with me. She takes the Black Riders mantle in her hands I will endeavor to follow this through to the end, evil or not, i believe Baba Yaga to be the lesser evil here. History speaks for itself after all
"I know about Baba Yaga only from my mother tales when I was a child. I want nothing with Irrisen political affairs" Samuel looks with resolve at the portal "But this portal is killing my woods, and if whatever it is there at the other side is a danger to Taldor, you can sure count with me to cross the portal and destroy the projection at the Pale Tower"
"How does it look that projection Black Rider? Do you know where it is within the Pale Tower? And how do we destroy it?" the Taldan coldly waits after each question to give the dying man time to answer.
|GM My Red Sun|
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The rider gives a sad smile as the group agrees to take the task he has set before them. He is happy to have found a hopeful heir to his mantle, but knows this is his end.
He turns and focuses on Samuel.
The magic of this portal should be bound to a focus object of some kind, likely held in a high spot of the tower to draw sight to the point where the portal has been created. the magic placed on the object will have to be dispelld.
He eyes the human and his firearm
Or if you are not able to dispel such magic, you could always just smash the object!
As for the one you seek, this woman says she is your sister? Are you also of the Jadwiga? your description makes me agree with your companion. either she is of royal blood (which would mean you too are, whether you knew it or not), or she was mistaken for one who is. if one of these fey agents found her, they would have instinctively brought her back through to their master. your sister could very well be in the Pale Tower, or on her way to Whitethrone.
I urge you caution as you follow her. if you are indeed of a Jadwiga line or if you choose to make that claim, you will be immersing yourself in the fickle court politics of the witches. your companion knows much more than you, rely on her experience and wisdom. your life will be entirely in her hands, for better or worse.
The Rider's face strains visibly.
I cannot hold on much longer. if you have more questions speak quickly! Then I shall pass my mantle to this young woman and I will pass ot my long-awaited end.
I only know i am from a clan of hunters that once lived in Irrisen, I was given gifts by winter itself...So... it seems fitting to me for one of common birth, gifted by the snows to put the foolish witches back in line. Rest Sir Rider, You're duty shall be done and you're siblings shall be avenged. The Phantom accepts this contract and the phantom never fails. She slings the Mantle on and looks toward the portal
Royal blood?... an intense coldness goes across Samuel's spine "Whitethrone..."
The intense agony of the rider brings up the Sentinel back to reality "A focus at the top. Dispel or smash. Understood"
Samuel attempts to help the Black Rider incorporate for his last breath " You have fought under numerical inferiority. You have taken your orders and brought along your mission. Thanks to you, Irrisen, Taldor and perhaps the whole Golarion will be saved. You have been a brave soldier Black Rider. Your life has made a difference in this world. I am sure Pharasma will find a good place for you at the other life"
Letitia had questions. The state of Irrisen after her exile, the fate of her mother and sisters, all sorts of questions about Queen Elvanna. But they were selfish and likely unproductive. She knew her task well enough.
"I promise to find Grandmother," she tells him.
|GM My Red Sun|
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With that, the remaining armor of the Black Rider fades into a mist, leaving behind simple traveling clothes. Ashling somehow instinctively knows how to use the mantle and feels a power in her chest, a faint tugging towards the north.
The old man passes quickly, no longer protected by fey enchantments. blood runs from the corner of his mouth and he is unable to speak any longer. he smiles at Samuel's words and closes his eyes.
The portal is in front of you, do you pass through?
"We should rest still. And this man deserves a proper tomb" Samuel starts looking for something to remove the snow and the earth while the group discusses whether they should immediately step into the portal or not, a debate that had not ended when the raider appeared.
Letitia looks longingly at the portal to home, but ultimately relents and agrees to shelter in the cave for the night. Some part of her feared that the portal might close on its own, but she had to remind herself that that's what they essentially wanted to happen.
"You could entomb him in the cave once we're finished with it," she suggests to Samuel.
In the meanwhile, Letitia collects the eyes, tongue, and liver of the troll and uses them in the fire to make another potion of cure light wounds while the night elapsed.
We would be burying clothes, he vanished..That said, we should conserve energy and make camp somewhere. His wishes are more important than his formerly physical form
Samuel nods, grateful the party has agreed to refocus strengths. The man looks at Alec "Will you help me to make a small resting place for him Alec?" the Taldan will follow Letitia's idea and prepare the cave once the group has rested "Thanks for accepting to come with us friend. I was fearing you might not see your place in all this and wanted to stay back"
Samuel takes the first watch to make sure the party is not surprised during the night.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
Being in good shape himself, Samuel wakes regularly to tend to everybody's wounds, trying to make the most of the rest.
Heal (long term cares) DC 15: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
+4 hp and +2 ability damage recovery for everyone
The next day Samuel wakes up and while others prepare breakfast and ready their spells, the Gunslinger devotes to crafting new bullets with some of the materials found at the troll's encampment "A pretty day to cross a portal to a far land eh? Those trolls and witches will soon discover not to bully Taldor again"
When the group is ready, Samuel takes no delay to follow them and step through the portal.
"Of course my friend. We will lay him to rest."
Alec leaned against the cave wall near the entrance, his eyes focused on the world outside. He was lost in his own thoughts, thinking back to his father's own passing. His shield still strapped to his arm and his spear still in his hand, both serving to comfort him.
|GM My Red Sun|
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The group rests in the troll's cave, finding it to be very good shelter from the cold. Samuel does what he can to help aid the wounds of his companions.
After gaining some HP from sleep, everyone but Callix looks at full health. Callix, do you have any healing you want to use on yourself before sleeping for the night?
Each companion makes some preparations and gets set for a trek through the portal and into the unknown. With everything they have experienced in the short time since coming together, each of them has learned more and seen more than any of them had imagined in their time prior to this strange winter. They have fought through bandits, undead and fey only to find that the danger to this small community is only part of a much larger plot. Feeling a new sense of gravity at what might be coming, the companions set out feeling just a little more ready to take on the world!
You are now all level 3! Please take some time in the next few days to update profiles, headers, and the dice roller cheat sheets in the maps page.
One by one, the adventurers step through the winter portal. there is no exciting flash of light or sound as they cross through. they simply take a step and are standing in a different place altogether.
Those who have spent significant time in the north can immediately recognize this as being somewhere in Irrisen, but it is harder to pinpoint an exact location.
The first thing you each notice as you cross over is the COLD. you thought the Border Wood was cold, this is cold on a whole new level.
Fortitude Callix: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Fortitude Alec: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Fortitude Samuel: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Callix: non lethal cold damage: 1d6 ⇒ 5
Samuel non lethal cold damage: 1d6 ⇒ 5
Callix and Samuel are the least prepared for the shock of the cold weather and each feel sluggish in the cold. in addition to the cold damage, you are also fatigued until you warm yourselves.
Leticia and Ashling are both perfectly comfortable in the extreme cold. they even seem a little happier in this weather.
You have emerged on a small hill top in a sparse wood. from this vantage point you see three tings of interest.
First, you spot the top of a tall three-topped tower in the distance to the West. it appears to be made of ice, or coated in ice. it is hard to guage distance from here and with no reference to measure by, but the tower is likely 2 days' travel from here in the snow.
To the East you see smoke rising from chimneys of what may be a small town. it could probably be reached in a day.
More immediately, you see just 50 yards from the portal and down the hill a small combat in progress. A giant praying mantis is fighting several humanoids. The mantis stands out a shocking green against all the white of the snow, indicating it may have come from your side of the portal.
It appears that the mantis is winning. one person is down, blood on the snow. three more are fighting, but one appears injured and all three are treating the beast warily, jumping out of the way of its lunges and trying to hack at legs and pincers.
What do you do?
"Such a small step and we are already so far away from home..." Samuel cannot avoid looking back before he stares around to this new and mostly unknown land.
Considerably freezing the High Sentinel attempts to close his coat even more around the neck.
HP 20/20 (NL: 3) - Damage reduced due to Cold resistance 2
Survival DC 15: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
The Taldan looks at the sky and concludes "A storm is approaching. We have a few hours to find proper shelter or we will be in real trouble" he takes note of the smoking hearths and the tower locations.
Samuel gets tense as he spots the mantis and the fight along. He does remember the words of the Black Rider and turns back to look at Letitia "Are those humans allies of the usurper or we should run to their defense?"