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Previously on Rime of the Frostmaiden

Valravn, level 14 Eladrin Bard of Eloquence
Fray, level 14 Halfling Barbarian of the Beast
Celeste, level 14 Half-orc Sun Soul Monk
Edmond, Level 14 Human Alchemist Artificer
Thimbleweed, level 14 Thri-kreen Swarmkeeper Ranger

From Ythryn Expanded Towers of Magic, the Tower of Necromancy resembles a mad scientist’s laboratory.

The scientist in this case is a brain in the jar named Lawrynce. Lawrynce is eager, devoted, and a bit mad. He draws facial expressions on his cylinder case using mage hand, and acts like the crawling claws that scurry around the room are his own hands.

As the party walks into the tower, he calls them over to assist with his latest experiment: performing the Ritual of Brain Transfer on a recently captured nothic.

Note: I’m incorporating Dan Kahn’s excellent Ythryn Expanded Towers of Magic supplement to enhance Chapter 7 of Rime of the Frostmaiden. Now available on Roll20!

Hilariously, the Marshals don’t even blink. They’ve had a When in Rome attitude throughout their exploration of  Ythryn. Of course they’ll help this brain in a jar perform experimental, magical brain surgery on a mutated creature!

Thimbleweed pulls out all his knives and begins eagerly approaching the table — though when it’s time to examine the creature for precise cutting, he needs Valravn’s Bardic Inspiration and Edmond’s Flash of Genius to pull it off.

The operation is a success, and with Lawrynce providing the magical incantations, the nothic’s brain is preserved and body liquified into a slurry, creating a new brain in the jar!

Unfortunately, as the party warns, the nothics are quite mad. And becoming a disembodied brain doesn’t exactly help its sanity. It responds by telepathically screaming and unleashing a mind blast attack on the party, stunning half of them.

Fray surprisingly makes the INT save and begins attacking the nothic-brain.

Lawrynce is upset and tries to calm it down, unsuccessfully.

The insane brain unleashes another mind blast, stunning more of the party. But Valravn makes the save and hits it with dissonant whispers. The reaction attacks from Fray and Edmond finally put the poor creature out of its misery.

Lawrynce is disappointed, but still excited about their success. He thanks them for the assistance, and only then do the party realize that he isn’t the High Necromancer, and can’t give them the clue they need. He gestures upstairs, where High Necromancer Cadavix was last seen.

Rime of the frostmaiden session 85 tower of necromancy

Fray is first up the stairs. The ghost of Cadavix possesses her, and Fraydavix begins searching the ruined room for a diamond to raise the broken but preserved body.

The rest of the party is confused and worried, though Cadavax hasn’t been outwardly hostile (yet). Fraydavix crushes the diamond and begins casting raise dead, while the rest of the party sits back and watches (and short rests — one hour casting time!). At one point they give the resurrected body a makeover and a manicure.

With the body raised, Cadavix leaves Fray’s body and enters his newly raised one, restoring Fray to her own.

High Necromancer Cadavix stands before them, an original wizard of Ythryn, and a high ranking member of the Ebon Star. He worked directly for Iriolarthas, the head wizard of Ythryn.

He’s through about only one thing all these years — his lost love, Auriliana, whom he refers to as his snowflake. A powerful wizard in her own right, he wonders what became of her after the fall.

Blessed by the goddess, Fray feels an odd stirring sensation upon hearing this name. 

Cadavix nearly stumbles over backwards when he sees the codicil of white that she carries, declaring that it is Auriliana’s old spellbook!

The party realizes that his ancient wizard lover is none other than Auril the Frostmaiden! Clearly some major changes have happened to her over the last two millenia.

Cadavix is equally shocked. He presumes that it might be possible for one to drain the Mythallar’s magical power for themselves, but doing so would doom the entire city. She was ambitious and passionate, but he refuses to believe that she would do such a thing.

He believes that by unlocking the way to the Mythallar, which now functions once again, it will draw her to them. Indeed, Fray has been unable to commune with the goddess since setting foot in the city. Perhaps the magical lockdown that seals the central spire keeps her at bay?

Cadavix agrees to provide his line of the Arcane Octad. He warns that once inside the spire, they’ll have to get through Iriolarthas, who underwent the ritual of brain transfer and must still rule over Ythryn, in some state. It will take at least one wizard to unlock the path to his chambers.

And with that, Cadavix joins the party! Vellyne is head over heels infatuated with the ancient necromancer, treating him like a celebrity. But its Fray who has the most profound effect. Her very presence seems to still his mind and keep him focused, even as they step foot outside and he sees Ythryn’s destruction for the first time. 

Likewise Fray feels an odd sensation being near him, faints tugs and pulls from the goddess. Conflicting emotions!

As they exit the tower, the ice devil appears, dramatically slaying several nothics. It provides the final three tower clues that the party needs, as instructed by Valravn (enchantment, evocation, and transmutation). 

When Valravn tries to ask about Vaelish and Nass, it slyly cocks its head, teasing that it made a new bargain, then disappears.

“That’s totally fair,” Varalvn replies.

The damaged Mythallar continues to sputter and spark, creating more tears in the fabric of reality around them, as they hurry back to the Spire Entrance. Cadavix’s knowledge of the city keeps them hidden from the chardalyn golem’s patrols as they cross back toward the southwestern end of the city.

Waiting for them at the entrance are several Knights of the Black Sword (using the chardalyn berserker statblock). Avarice herself flies down, flanked by her gargoyle allies, and yells out that they need to talk.

Moments later, Vaelish and Nass magically appear, with their new ice devil ally! 

Each member of the Arcane Brotherhood wants to get inside the spire to stake a claim to the Mythallar.

We’ll find out how the party handles this delicate situation next week!

MVPC – Thimbleweed

Live post-session discussion:

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