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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

With the upstairs guards defeated, Edmond opened the door to the Speaker’s bedchamber (C14), letting the body of one of the guard’s announce his presence as it fell forward into the room.  Speaker Crannoc was inside, disheveled, raggedy, and annoyed, but not bed-ridden or ill as Kadroth had claimed.

Edmond flashed his badge and the Speaker became a bit more grateful, though the party was unimpressed with his deposed predicament. He confirmed Avarice’s story: Kadroth had taken over the castle after they had agreed to work together to produce magical items from chardalyn. But Kadroth betrayed Crannoc, slew his guards, and kept him under house arrest to sign official documents and reply to letters.

The party came up with a smart plan: dress the Speaker up as one of the guards, and shove the guards in here. The dead one was propped up on the chamber pot, while the two unconscious guards were shoved into a back room. Edmond used his Artificer magic to place a recorded message on the door to simulate the Speaker being sick on the chamber pot.

With that the party made their way back downstairs, escorted by the nervous Speaker. Thankfully for them, nobody paid them much mind as they made their way outside into the courtyard (C2), and around into the northwest tower (C4), where Avarice had told them about a trapdoor that leads to the basement.

However, the tower had been converted into a barracks, which currently held three Black Swords members. It took quick thinking from the Marshals to convince them they were on a guided tour, though things got heated when the Speaker tripped and fell, and one of them seemed to recognize him. Valravn rushed forward and cast Suggestion on the one wearing an amulet, commanding him to maintain the status quo in this room, and to let them pass unscathed.

The group descended down the trapdoor into an underwater cistern (C16). It was freezing down here, and an empty room held several wrapped bodies that Crannoc didn’t recognize. He did recognize the bodies floating beneath the surface of the water, however. His former guards had been killed and thrown into the water, their armor weighing them down.

A single rowboat could provide passage across the freezing water. Edmond drank one of his alchemist elixirs, granting him flight. He was able to carry the tiny Fray, while the other three clambered onto the boat, leaving the Speaker behind as a lookout on the ledge.

Rime of the frostmaiden session 15 black swords

The party initially split up, with the flying pair passing by a near-empty room with a rat (C19) and into a room to the south with multiple levers and a pair of closed prison doors (C20). They noted a glyph that lit up as they passed through the entryway, but nothing else happened.

Inside there were three levers. Edmond used his hot breath (and an Investigation check) to determine that two of the levers had seen regular use, the left and middle. He pulled them both, which began opening the western prison door, as well as the large marble slab that blocked the eastern half of the cistern.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party stopped at the storage room (C19) so Thimbleweed could speak to the rat using his Gnomish Speak with Small Beasts.

Thanks to Thimbleweed, I’m acutely aware of every animal in each location, making sure they all have dialogue and information! The rat was dealing with some rat-drama involving an ex-girlfriend, but revealed that people do come and go regularly down here, and that there’s a crazy guy to the south. He wasn’t sure what was beyond the marble slab.

Fray and Edmond entered the prison room, which had been converted into a surgeon’s table and laboratory. A semi-conscious man lie strapped to a table, black veins spreading across his body.

A desk held journal entries, which explained how Kadroth had experimented on him to try and cure him of the violent madness, eventually surgically embedding chardalyn directly into his flesh. That seemed to calm the man down, though not cure the madness.

As the two moved toward the man, he suddenly convulsed and ripped apart, skin bubbling, boiling, and melting into a fleshy monstrosity, with pieces of itself exploding all over the room. It had become a fleshy pile of gibbering mouths. Roll for initiative!

The others had just made their way over via boat, and Celeste leapt forward to help. But the glyph in the entryway triggered and she was blown backward into the boat. Valravn investigated it, realizing the glyph was created by the Black Swords to trigger upon anyone not carrying chardalyn. Fray and Edmond both possessed some, as did Thimbleweed with the arrows. He gave one to Celeste so the two of them could cross.

Meanwhile Edmond and Fray had to deal with this terrifying creature as it lobbed a chemical blast, partially blinding Edmond. Its constant gibbering stupefied Fray, but Edmond controlled his wits, and thanks to his flight, avoided the sticky flesh-ground. He pulled Fray back and pulled the lever as the door began to shut. Thimbleweed and Celeste fired a few ranged attacks, and Fray even got a critical hit with a thrown javelin as the thing surged forward, missing again with its mouths as the door shut.

With the nasty creature contained, the party escaped back outside and through the now open path toward the east (C23), where they found a small tunnel that held what appeared to be the former servants and staff of the castle (C24). This bedraggled group was happy to be rescued, though the Marshals had to leave them here until they could begin ferrying them across the freezing water.

As they returned to the entrance where they left the Speaker, they saw Kadroth with a small contingent of armed forces, including his half-ogre bodyguard grappling the scared Speaker.

“I must say I am disappointed,” Kadroth called out. “I really thought we’d be able to work together.”

Time for the final showdown next week!

MVPC – Edmond, Thimbleweed (tie)

Post-session live discussion:

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