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Previously on Rime of the Frostmaiden

Valravn, level 5 Eladrin Bard of Eloquence
Fray, level 5 Halfling Barbarian of the Beast
Celeste, level 5 Half-orc Sun Soul Monk
Edmond, Level 5 Human Alchemist Artificer
Thimbleweed, level 5 Gnome Swarmkeeper Ranger

After following the map the party found in Easthaven and finding a trail in the mountains, the imposing duergar fortress soon looms before them. Sunblight is a solid stone skyscraper, hundreds of feet tall, built directly into the mountain. A staircase built into the rock leads them to the only entrance, halfway up.

Thankfully, one of the Marshals has a plan to get inside.

Ahead of them, the party see a group of duergar returning to the fortress. The doors open and they go inside, but not before one of them lingers behind and talks to the guard through a small arrow slit near the door.

The Marshals overhear that not all is well inside Sunblight. The duergar are concerned about their recent losses at the hands of the player characters, and Warlord Xardarok is growing increasingly paranoid and unhinged, even having his own guard captain arrested. They mention if a duergar named Grandolpha has yet made her move, but they (the anti-Xardarok duergar?) are still too few.

The doors close, and the party try to decide how to get inside. Edmond comes up with a clever plan: he casts Disguise Self to alter his form to that of Durth Sunblight, one of Xardarok’s sons and the leader of the duergar group in Easthaven who had been defeated by the Marshals during the Chardalyn Caper.

As Durth, Edmond doesn’t just physically look like the duergar, he becomes him in every sense of the word. He strides up to the guard with all the confidence of a royal leader, explains how he alone survived the attack, and demands to be let in.

The guard quickly complies, punctuated by a hilarious Alchemy Jug saltwater-in-the-face maneuver that allows the rest of the party to sneak inside.

Edmond-Durth performs a similar song and dance for the second checkpoint guard, learning how many duergar they have on stand-by (nine in the nearby barracks alone), where Xardarok and Prince Nildar are (below them), and that a leader of another clan, Grandolpha Muzgardt, has been invited to the fortress as Xardarok tries to woo her into become his fourth wife (and merging their clans).

Thus the Marshals easily make it inside the fortress, now facing a long hallway that stretches east to west. They realize the western door leads into the barracks, so they head east.

Rime of the frostmaiden session 28 sunblight grandolpha

The first stop turns out to be Xardarok’s war room and bedroom. The war room features a table with a map of the Ten Towns region, and a miniature dragon that flies along a grooved path, like a model train set. The path takes the dragon through every single town before returning to Sunblight. Hmmm!

In the bedroom the party find a locked treasure chest. Even after using inspiration, and Bardic Inspiration, Edmond fails to pick the lock (DC 20!). Fray tries using a more unconventional method with sheer strength and her axe, also using inspiration and Bardic Inspiration, to cleave the lock off.

Humorously, they later open a nearby closet and find the key in a nearby statue.

The contents of the chest are worthy of a king, or a duergar warlord, with gem-studded smoking jackets, a jewel-encrusted hookah, and more. They also find an intriguing scroll with a series of numbers, with no context on what they mean or what they’re used for.

As they move to leave, a snarling duergar face above the bed releases a cloud of poisonous gas. Everyone in the party make the CON save except Valravn, who takes the full 29 damage! Ouch. He quickly quaffs a Potion of Greater Healing they had found in the Goliath cave.

After Edmond talks down the guard who watches the door (and notes an elevator in the same room), the party continues to head east down the long hallway. A southern hallway leads to an imposing shaft that resembles a large chimney, smoke billowing upward, and the sounds of metalworking and voices emanating from below.

A northern door opens up into a dining hall and kitchen. Edmond-Durth strides in to speak to Grandolpha Muzgardt. Another excellent role-playing scene follows, as Edmond-Durth fully embraces his persona, and learns that Grandolpha conspires against his father (and perhaps Durth is on board with the coup!). Most importantly, she has some duergar who are loyal to her. That could prove useful to the party.

Edmond-Durth declines an invitation to eat, and the rest of the party stay in the shadowy hallway. He leaves and they reach the end of the eastern hallway, finding three doors.

The southern room features another elevator, surrounded by training dummies and suits of armor. The eastern room has a bed and alchemy table, and a notebook confirms the bedroom of Prince Nildar Sunblight. Edmond swipes a few spore-powered potions.

Fray enters the northern room, another bedroom with a bed and chest. Perhaps this is Durth’s? Fray searches for a key before realizing the chest is unlocked, but when she goes to open it, her hands sticks to it as teeth emerge! Seems the real Durth had one more trick up his sleeve.

MVPC – Edmond

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