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Previously on Rime of the Frostmaiden

Valravn, level 9 Eladrin Bard of Eloquence
Fray, level 9 Halfling Barbarian of the Beast/Fighter
Celeste, level 9 Half-orc Sun Soul Monk
Edmond, Level 9 Human Alchemist Artificer
Thimbleweed, level 9 Gnome Swarmkeeper Ranger

With their wagon destroyed from the bulette attack, the party trudges through the tundra. At Celeste’s behest they reach the source of the signal that has been sending her a repeating telepathic distress message: a nautiloid, a large alien ship that ferries mind flayers between worlds lies buried in the snow.

The same ship that had abducted her just a few weeks ago.

Although the signal is actively sending its message, the three-story ship appears inert, its large ropey tentacles lying motionless in the snow.

Celeste begins slowly approaching, Psi Crystal in hand, trying to make sense of the situation.

Fray takes out her axe and investigates one of the tentacles the only way she knows how — by slicing into it.

The tentacle jerks like a cut worm. Large fleshy mounds on the first and second levels began undulating as multiple eye stalks protrude and swing their gaze at the approaching creatures.

Roll for initiative!

I had replaced the mounted ballista with a more organic defensive measure, using the Mindwitness statblock (shout-out to Sylvanfox for the suggestion!).

The two creature-turrets roll initiative and fire their three eye lasers at random targets. They ignore Celeste since she has telepathy thanks to the Psi Crystal.

Fray and Celeste quickly scramble onto the lower deck. Fray begins hacking into the fleshy eye-turrets while Celeste pushes open the frozen doors to get inside the ship.

Meanwhile another defensive measure activates in the form of a mechanical death ball that rolls onto the ground. Spindly limbs jut out from its spherical body, forming knife arms and legs that whirl around it. It rolls up next to Edmond (still mounted on a summoned polar bear) and Valravn and begins slicing, dicing, and shooting out blasts of jagged metal.

The split party is forced to deal with multiple threats. The women infiltrate and attack the eye-mounds on the ship while the others are forced to deal with the Gearkeeper Construct — while also being harassed by the long-range eye rays.

Poor Thimbleweed is targeted multiple times by a Psychic Ray boring into his mind, dealing lots of damage and forcing him to drink several healing potions. Valravn is telekinetically lifted into the air and restrained, ironically putting him in a safe place than next to the whirling, bladed death ball!

Inside the ship Celeste moves past the cargo hold and up stairs as a new voice enters her mind. This voice is glad to see her, but especially glad to see an intact Psi Crystal, and urges her to reach the second floor.

Rime of the frostmaiden session 52 id ascendant

She opens a sphincter-like door and comes face-to-face with the alien abductor: a gnome ceremorph named Dredavex. This mutation of a mind flayer is more inquisitive than evil, and prefers to talk out loud rather than use its telepathy.

Dredavex is pleased to see Celeste, and reassures her that the defenses will kill the others soon. With the Psi Crystal they can repair the ship and get it operational once again. And since Celeste has been thriving with her limited mind powers since the abduction, he remarks that she would make an excellent candidate for ceremorphosis!

She’s less than thrilled about that, but plays the part of the dutiful ally. She’s even willing to hand over the Psi Crystal and pretend to battle her friends.

At the same time, Fray finally rages, and climbs up the outer wall of the ship to begin wailing on the second Mindwitness-turret (the first having finally been destroyed). She sees this scene plays out and questions Celeste’s allegiance, while forcing the eye stalks to target her with all three of their next eye rays.

The damn barbarian with her -1 INT and +O WIS makes all the saves, taking zero damage. Ugh!

Celeste hands over the Psi Crystal, then surprises the ceremorph by attacking him with a stunning strike. As he crumples to the ground, the nearby carrion crawler pet moves to attack, while another tentacled beast from the third layer crawls down to attack Fray.

The others are still dealing with the beefy construct outside (190 hp!).

A Web spell from Edmond proves useful, as does Valravn’s Slow spell — the absolute bane of my existence.

Thimbleweed continues to fire into the construct with his magic bow, nailing it for tons of damage every round. The construct gets in a few good licks but Valravn maintains concentration on Slow, and Edmond uses his arm cannon to devastate both the construct and the second-floor eye defenses with impressive blasts of lighting.

Fray, hacking away at the turret, is also hit by a blast of lightning. She’s hilariously exhilarated, having finally taken some damage this battle (argh), and uses her Runic Axe to partially absorb the energy. She runs atop one of the crawlers and slices into it with the extra lightning damage.

Have to admit, that’s totally badass.

The stunned ceremorph shakes off the effect and mind blasts everyone on the second floor. He stuns Celeste but AGAIN the damn barbarian makes the INT save, shaking off the psychic stun! That would prove his undoing as the ceremorph tries to run upstairs to start the self-destruct sequence. Fray chases after him, cutting him in half just as he reaches the top.

At the third level is another gnome ceremorph operating the controls of the ship, now looking absolutely terrified. Fray tells him to shut everything down, and he does. The construct outside had fewer than 10 hp, and the others certainly don’t let it survive as it powers down.

The surviving ceremorph, Vorryn, offers the party a deal. In exchange for the Psi Crystal (and his life) he will offer the services of his soon to be operational ship. The party hesitate only briefly, firmly telling the alien creature that there will be no more abductions while they’re around.

Hostilities finally cease, with only one ceremorph and one carrion crawler surviving the onslaught. None of the party went down, though several are heavily injured. Though they lost their wagon earlier, now they’ve gained a powerful new form of transportation, and an unlikely (and perhaps untrustworthy) ally.

MVPC – Celeste

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