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Previously on Rime of the Frostmaiden

Valravn, level 4 Eladrin Bard of Eloquence
Fray, level 4 Halfling Barbarian of the Beast
Celeste, level 4 Half-orc Sun Soul Monk
Edmond, Level 4 Human Alchemist Artificer
Thimbleweed, level 4 Gnome Swarmkeeper Ranger

After meeting with Kadroth, the Marshalls finally leave his office to meet with Huarwar, the innkeeper’s son, and then with Avarice, Valravn’s handler and member of the Arcane Brotherhood.

Unbeknownst to the party, Huarwar was in charge of the gatehouse, and was the one who let them in when Valravn uttered the pass phrase. They returned to the entrance, still under guard, to ask if the young man was alright.

They had learned from his mother, Cora, the innkeeper at Termalaine, that he had been acting strangely aggressive since finding a piece of black ice, which the Marshalls later identified as chardalyn, a mysterious crystalline ore that was being discovered more and more recently. Some people had come to town and invited him to their castle, and she had grown worried about their intentions.

And yet, Huarwar seemed perfectly content to be here.  He still postured with a defensive attitude when Valravn tried to pry into his well-being, and he especially wasn’t happy when Valravn used Message to mentally communicate, believing it was some kind of charming spell.

Edmond flashed some of the chardalyn he had found at the duergar outpost, which put Huarwar at ease, believing Edmond was there to join up with them. Ultimately they couldn’t see the young man was in any danger, and short of forcibly kidnapping him, decided to leave him alone and visit Avarice in the second story of the keep.

The guard led them to the hallway that held Avarice’s chambers and Kadroth’s. Edmond tried to break in to Kadroth’s chambers but failed, while the others filed into Avarice’s room.

The Marshalls may had a mind to come in all swagger and intimidation, but Avarice’s acerbic, domineering attitude instantly disarmed them. She had big disappointed mom energy, and Valravn was practically apologizing for confessing his secret and believing Kadroth to be a good person.

Avarice assured them he was more than he seemed. The Speaker wasn’t ill at all, but kept under house arrest, and his people had taken the castle over, violently. She revealed that the truth could be found in the cistern beneath the keep, via a trapdoor in the northwest tower.

Rime of the frostmaiden session 14 black swords

She asked about any wizards they might have encountered during their travels, and revealed that was hunting down chardalyn, believing there to be a source somewhere in the dale. Edmond seemed to know more about why her and the Brotherhood were in Icewind Dale. She admitted that she would explain everything, if they took out Kadroth and his loyalists. She had no interest in playing politics, nor in keeping the Speaker a prisoner or even keeping this castle, which seemed reasonable to the Marshalls.

Toward the end of the conversation, Edmond was able to successfully, and quietly, break into Kadroth’s bedchambers, where he found several potions, gems, a bag of Dust of Sneezing and Choking, a couple Chardalyn-tipped arrows (I copied the Shadow Arrow ability from the Fighter Arcane Archer) and Kadroth’s arcane notes and rituals for crafting magic items out of chardalyn, including weapons, shields, and amulets (I created an actual crafting system, partially based on Solasta: Crown of the Magister’s, for Edmond the artificer to dig into).

The party exited the hallway as the guard was prepared to lead them back downstairs. Two other guards were across the balcony on the other side, guarding a door that led to where the Speaker was being kept. Kadroth and the guard said it was because the Speaker was sick, but after speaking to Avarice, the party had their doubts.

Edmond decided to act. Using his Mage Hand, he launched the Dust of Sneezing and Choking at the two guards on the other side of the balcony. They both failed the DC 15 CON save, sending them into choking fits. Roll for initiative!

Thankfully Fray rolled slightly higher than the third guard (CR 2 Thugs), the one who was escorting them. She grappled him and dragged him into the hallway, muffling his mouth, while the others surrounded and attacked, eventually taking him down thanks to a huge damage roll by Thimbleweed using the new Chardalyn Arrows.

But the real MVPC was the Dust of Sneezing and Choking. The two choking guards would fail their CON saves for multiple rounds while the rest of the party hurried over to beat them up. One would eventually recover only for Valravn to use the Command spell to silence him, while Thimbleweed and Fray killed the other.

With one guard remaining, and Command wearing off, Valravn tried to cast the Sleep spell, but rolled less than the guard’s remaining hit points. Instead he switched to persuasion, attempting to get the guard to surrender. It helped that the guard was currently afflicted by temporary madness thanks to missing with his Chardalyn Mace.

I created a series of chardalyn-powered magic items, but they all share a similar negative drawback (in the case of a weapon, missing an attack) that results in making a DC 10 CHA save or suffering a one-turn Short-term Madness effect.

Valravn helped sell the persuasive surrender by walking up to the crazed guard and putting his hand on the enraged Fray. The guard hit Valravn twice, then came to, hearing his words and seeing the quick destruction the party had done. He surrendered, believing that these were agents of Avarice and that he’d rather side with her than Kadroth. Then Fray swiftly knocked him out.

Now the real fun begins!

MVPC – Edmond, Thimbleweed, Valravn (tie)

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