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Music by Kevin MacLeod.
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Previously on Rime of the Frostmaiden

Valravn, level 10 Eladrin Bard of Eloquence
Fray, level 10 Halfling Barbarian of the Beast
Celeste, level 10 Half-orc Sun Soul Monk
Edmond, Level 10 Human Alchemist Artificer
Thimbleweed, level 10 Gnome Swarmkeeper Ranger

Much of the prison beyond the central panopticon is blocked by rubble, leaving only the eastern path open. Fray returns to the armory door, intrigued by the Restricted Access warning, and begins hacking away at the magical wards, until Valravn produces a special key from the warden’s body, unlocking the door.

The armory is stocked full of weapon racks, shields, armor, ammunition, and several chests full of supplies. But in the middle of the room is a hulking construct, who commands them to show proof of identification.

The key fails to appease it, and the construct is authorized to use physical force. Roll for initiative!

The construct, whom we affectionately call Guard-209, projects a 15-ft anti-magic field, perturbing Valravn and Edmond (though the latter is able to cast Faerie Fire behind it).

The martial attackers charge forward, maneuvering around the cone to avoid losing their magic gear.

The construct blasts Thimbleweed and Fray with an electrical shock, but both avoid the paralyzing effect. Next round it launches its clawed hand at Edmond with a nasty crit, dragging him through the anti-magic field and shutting off the Faerie Fire.

But the combined might of Celeste, Fray, and Thimbleweed surrounding the large construct is more than a match for its bulky frame, and Guard-209 goes down soon after.

The Marshals help themselves to a chest full of nearly a dozen potions, including Greater Healing, See Invisibility, Flying, and a little custom potion that polymorphs the user into a saber-tooth tiger. For emergency use only!

After ransacking the armory, the party heads south into the kitchen. The kitchen has already been ransacked, strewn with blood and rubble. The screaming cries of the insects grows louder, but Valravn also hears muffled humanoid voices from a nearby closed door.

Fray knocks on the door and discovers a trio of survivors. Three cooks managed to flee and barricade themselves inside the small bedroom when the prison went into lockdown.

Unfortunately one of the cooks had been injured by a bug while fleeing, and now he isn’t looking so good…

Cue the moral dilemma!

Or maybe not. Edmond, Fray, and Thimbleweed are almost eager to mercy-kill the poor man. Valravn suggests some sort of exploratory surgery to see if they can remove the, ah, growth.

Meanwhile the feverish man begins screaming about the pain and convulsing. At the same time, several adult and juvenile insectoids burst out of the nearby walls to attack!

Over half a dozen modified kruthiks and young kruthiks are eager to rush into the party, using their pack tactics to deal as much damage as possible.

Edmond casts Blur (“I cover myself in Vaseline”) and wades into battle with his Green-Flame Blade. Valravn summons Bigby’s Hand to begin swatting and crushing.

Rime of the frostmaiden session 61 revels end

Fray and Thimbleweed are still in the cooks’ bedroom, now surrounded by bugs. After dispatching one, Fray turns to the screaming man and finally ends his life, killing him and the bursting bug from his chest in dramatic fashion.

Several more bugs spawn from around the kitchen and attack the party from behind. Being able to spawn enemies whenever and wherever is very liberating! They’re never able to hit with their acid spit ranged attack, but surrounding their foes and using pack tactics results in lots of little hits.

Weirdly Fray never takes any damage, and doesn’t even rage, while Celeste, Thimbleweed, and especially Edmond receive some nasty wounds.

Finally the last bug falls. The two surviving cooks promptly lock themselves in the armory.

Thimbleweed hears the same voice in his head again, calling out to him. The voice refers to him as “mother,” and requests that he come to the northern part of the prison.

Without even stopping to short rest, Thimbleweed obliges. It’s all the rest of them can do to hurry after him through the outer corridor, around a corner, and into the open hospital room.

The hospital is a gory, bloody mess, and it’s filled with over a dozen kruthiks of various sizes, including the massive queen. Using telepathy, she expresses love and concern for Thimbleweed.

She was born of him, and he forever changed by her. The queen offers Thimbleweed a proposal: his transformation is incomplete. He’s broken, and she can fix him. He can become something more.

Thimbleweed doesn’t even hesitate. He turns to his party and says,

“My fellow compatriots! It is time for my complete metamorphosis. Good knowing you. If you’d like to join, I highly recommend it. The future is bright!”

With that Thimbleweed approaches the queen. The bugs stare with admiration, while the party is slack-jacked. The queen gently careeses his partially chitinous body, then looms over him. She vomits up a viscous liquid, covering him head to toe. The slime almost instantly solidifies around him.

Then she turns to the others. Lacking the genetic connection, the rest of the party can’t hear her telepathic command to kill and/or infect the others!

MVPC – Celeste (note that the vote took place before the dramatic Thimbleweed scene at the end!)

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