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Previously on Rime of the Frostmaiden

Valravn, level 13 Eladrin Bard of Eloquence
Fray, level 13 Halfling Barbarian of the Beast
Celeste, level 13 Half-orc Sun Soul Monk (played by Fray/Heather)
Edmond, Level 13 Human Alchemist Artificer
Thimbleweed, level 13 Thri-kreen Swarmkeeper Ranger (played by Edmond/Raymond)

After a short rest in the library (where Fray and Edmond roll all the hit dice!), the Marshals venture back outside. The Ythryn Aboretum is just outside. They need to hit up a cantankerous tree in order to craft a wand from its bark to complete the first line of the Rite of the Arcane Octad.

Despite the rampant destruction and chaos around the ruined, ancient city, the Arborteum has remained mostly preserved and untouched thanks to the magic sustaining it, save for the flickering, illusory “sky” above it.

The center of the Arborteum is dominated by a gnarled tree with humanoid features.

The Nether Oak is as cranky and mean-spirited as the anvil warned, already annoyed at these pesky adventurers stomping through its lair, most likely to ask that it hand over a piece of itself. Cleary not its first time dealing with the crafting of a Nether Wand.

Ever personable and charming, Valravn strikes up a conversation with the ancient tree, but talks quickly sour as the Nether Oak openly mocks them. It brazenly dismisses the danger of the malfunctioning mythallar, and seems morbidly amused that the imminent destruction will destroy more “fleshlings.”

As is often the case with monstrous individuals, Fray enters the conversation and finds an instant bond. The Nether Oak likens sharing one of his branches with breaking off a finger, gruesomely suggested tit for tat — and Fray produces her necklace of trophy fingers!

The Nether Oak is delighted and agrees to the trade, even consuming several of her collected fingers on the spot, while sharing the much-needed branch. Fray even promises to bring him more (or to feel free to eat Vaelish and Nass, should they come around here).

The Oak warns that the branch isn’t enough; they must craft it into a proper wand. He gestures to a crafting table nearby as Edmond grabs the branch. Crafting the wand is no simple matter; it will draw life energy from this place, and the life won’t sit idly by while that happens.

Edmond gathers everyone near him and uses his final charm from the Chingwa to create Leomund’s tiny hut around them. After the DM picks his jaw up off the floor, the Nether Oak growls annoyingly and casts dispel magic on the hut. “Not very sporting, is it,” it growls. 

Edmond makes the first Arcana check to begin crafting the wand. As he does so, several tufts of grass rise out of the ground like toothy turtles (Carnivorous Sod, Tome of Beasts 2), while a pair of plants in the distance sprout tendrils (Gloomflower, Creature Codex). Roll for intiative!

Rime of the frostmaiden session 81 ythryn arboretum

Edmond has to spend each round making a DC 15 skill check to create the wand. Meanwhile increasingly powerful plant creatures emerge to stop him, and the rest of the party has to defend him.

One Gloomflower hits everyone with a psychic blast of fear and anxiety, making them target the nearest creature. There are plenty of enemies to hit as the Carnivorous Sods quickly surround the group, but the psychic rage prevents Valravn from taking to the sky with Lord Marbury.

A Sod grabs the hovering pegasus with its trip attack, knocking Lord Marbury and Valravn to the ground. The elf scrambles back as a pair of Sods go full Walking Dead on the poor pegasus, killing the wounded ally after two rounds. The Nether Oak cackles in delight.

In the second round Fray attacks a newly arrived Shambling Mound, only for it to slam and engulf her. Literally no one is worried however; the raging barbarian pops her claws and goes stab-happy on the increasingly worried mound.

Thimbleweed, Celeste, and Vellyne have their hands full dealing with the Sods and an Assassin Vine (Tomb of Annihilation). Vellyne is stoked to show off her blight spell again!

Edmond continues working on the wand. The first check was a failure (which triggered the combat), but afterwards he can use Flash of Genius to succeed (in addition to his +5 rolls). Just in case, Valravn throws him a Bardic Inspiration, though he doesn’t end up needing it.

In the third round, a trio of Treants animate! One treant hurls a boulder at Edmond, dealing over 30 damage. That’s gotta be distracting. Thankfully Edmond takes his turn soon after, and is able to get his third success before the creatures overwhelm them.

The result is immediate, as all the plant creatures dramatically whither and die, their life force being drawn into the newly crafted Nether Wand.

The Nether Oak huffs and sarcastically claps at their success. The wand is magical, but Edmond will need to short rest again to see its properties.

With wand in hand, the Marshals have what they need for the first two rites to gain entry to the central spire. The nearby Tower of Divination should hold another.

Approaching the tower, they see several nothics trying to get inside, but they scatter and flee upon seeing the Marshals. 

Edmond uses the charm of opening to safely open the door, but it’s stuck on something, prompting Fray to kick it down.

The inside of the tower floor is a planetarium, with a half-destroyed orrery hanging from the starry ceiling. The planets and moon crashed to the ground long ago.

When everyone stares at the ceiling they receive a vision of a dozen nothics bursting through the open door behind them and attacking with claws and psychic blasts. Afterward each person sees a vision of the crashed celestial bodies around them producing magical effects, such as flight, or fireballs. 

When they come to, the party hears the sound of howling nothics in the distance, and realize they have only seconds to prepare.

MVPC – Fray

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