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Previously on Rime of the Frostmaiden

Valravn, level 11 Eladrin Bard of Eloquence
Fray, level 11 Halfling Barbarian of the Beast
Celeste, level 11 Half-orc Sun Soul Monk
Edmond, Level 11 Human Alchemist Artificer
Thimbleweed, level 11 Thri-kreen Swarmkeeper Ranger

After the gauntlet of battles and freezing weather across the Island of Solstice, the Marshals huddle in the yeti caves for a short rest, using the last of their hit dice to bounce back to full hit points.

Then, it’s onward and upward: the skull-shaped, frost giant mountain fortress of Grimskalle.

The slopes of the mountain gave way to gigantic stairs hewn from ice. And by gigantic, I mean literally sized-for-giants, with 4-ft height intervals between steps. Normal people would find this climb exhausting. But the Marshals are far from normal. Fray and Thimbleweed have climbing speeds. Celeste can simply walk on vertical surfaces. Edmond can activate his infused winged boots.

And Valravn has a gods damn pegasus with Lord Marbury.

But even Lord Marbury grows nervous when a large, aerial creature sweeps overhead as they reach the entrance. Dragon skulls and bones are embedded in the icy door, which Fray quickly pushes open.

One of the dragon skulls breathes a cone of freezing breath. Shockingly, ever single player character fails the DC 15 CON save, taking 40+ cold damage (except for Fray and Valravn, who have cold resistance).

Adding insult to injury, the cold breath conjures two Animated Cold Breaths, who attack the party with miniaturized bursts of freezing breath.

The elementals hit hard, but the party hits harder. With the elementals destroyed, the already heavily injured party crawls inside the fortress, just as they see that massive flying creature make another pass.

The inside of Grimskalle is in ruin. The frost giant fortress had been conquered by the Frostmaiden’s faithful. The giant-size tables, weapon racks, and benches are in shambles, or frozen solid, with a perpetual freezing mist lingering on the floor.

Walking past an open door, Thimbleweed spots an elderly frost giant in a small room. The giant slowly stands up, introducing himself as Ertgard, last of the Vassavicken’s clan, who once ruled from this fortress. Now forced to serve the Frostmaiden.

Thimbleweed blends into the environment as Fray strides up, more than happy to speak to a giant (and the only one who can actually speak Giant, thanks to her axe).

Through their conversation, Ertgard reveals that he’s seeking an honorable death. Dying at the hands of worthy intruders could grant him what he wishes, but only if he can fight one of them one-on-one.

Fray tries to talk him out of it, wanting him to join them and fight against the denizens of Grimskalle, but Ertgard sees no honor in turning on those he pledged to defend, even if they did conquer and slay his people.

Ertgard promises a reward if he’s given a fair fight and an honorable death — with no outside interference.

Rime of the frostmaiden session 66 grimskalle

Fray finally relents. Despite her bloodthirsty battle rages, she’s very thoughtful and empathetic with those she perceives as strong, confident, and powerful (see also the Goliaths!).

Of course, no interference doesn’t mean she can’t get a little pre-game boost. Valravn hands her a Potion of Speed, giving her one of the best buffs in D&D 5e, Haste!

Armed with their axes, the towering frost giant squares off with the puny but mighty (and hasted) halfling.

Fray gets the first blows in, rarely missing with her triple attacks. Ertgard is not so fortunate, though just a few slashes shock everyone with his high damage (and Frostmaiden-blessed axe). Thankfully, Fray’s rage shrugs off the worst of it.

Edmond sends his homunculus in to subtly deliver a Jump spell to Fray. Now the hasted, raging, jumping halfling is a whirling force of chaos, leaping around the room and taking full advantage of her small stature versus the lumbering giant.

She takes some nasty hits, but she fells the giant, respectfully giving him the end he yearned for. With his dying breath he enchants his belt, turning it into a Belt of Frost Giant Strength (which Fray still needs to identify), and hands it to Fray with his blessing, and a call to avenge his clan.

The giant also had squirreled away a sizable hoard from the fortress, including over 1,000 gold pieces and a magic shield made of white dragon scales.

At the end of the hallway the party spots an empty dining hall with stairs leading up, and a semicircular chamber with stairs leading down. That latter room also features ice sculpture gargoyles perched on ledges 20-ft above the room.

Ice statues send off all kinds of red warning flags. Edmond uses his telekinesis to try and shove a statue off his ledge, but the frozen gargoyle animates, resists, and attacks!

Six frozen gargoyles begin to stir. Most of the party roll terribly for initiative, yet the gargoyles do worse, resulting in only two flying down to attack before Valravn can cast a devastating Slow spell, hitting all but one of them.

With reduced AC and only one attack, the gargoyles are far less threatening. Yet they have one trick up their sleeves: when destroyed they explode in a burst of sharpened ice (to create the frozen gargoyles, I combined the gargoyle statblock with a stronger deathburst of the Ice Mephit).

The party begins separating and creating distance to avoid the shrapnel death-plosions.

But this fight is Celeste’s time to shine. With every killing blow and subsequent explosion she makes the DEX save, using her Evasion to take no damage three times in a row! An impressive display of fancy footwork and spinning mop deflections.

With the gargoyles destroyed, the party have one door left on this floor, then their choice of stairs as they continue to explore the old frost giant fortress.

MVPC – Fray

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