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Dolmenwood: Winter’s Daughter (Session 03)

Gamelog for my Dolmenwood Campaign written by Maydrid the Rogue.  Rogue’s Gallery:

  • Marj Smith the Fighter.
  • Maydrid the Rogue.
  • Madrid the Rogue (twin sisters).
  • Jackie-of-Many-Colors (Elven Magician).
  • Spruce-Upon-Gallows (Elven Enchanter).
  • Hogrid Weavilman (Cleric).
  • Boone the Hunter (Hunter).
  • Tassain (Minstrel).

The first thing Boone notices is the human, seemingly alive, hanging from one of the pine trees by the hood of his cloak some 30 feet high. He squirms and grunts, attempting to break free every few minutes. “Hail,” Boone calls, staring up.

“Help me!” the human responds, gesturing wildly. “If I unlatch my cloak it’s a long fall.”

“We keep running into these mortals and it’s growing old,” Sprue comments, shaking his head. “Let’s get to work.”

They create a makeshift landing spot cushioned by various pieces of clothing, a few bedrolls, and their arms. “Let it go!” Marje calls up, and the human obeys with shaky fingers, unclasping his cloak. He falls, ungracefully but without injury, into their landing pad. Once he’s gathered his bearings and brushed the snow from his clothes he introduces himself as Tassian.

“I’ve been up there for a few days, I think. My traveling companions were slain and eaten by a troll of some kind. He licked me,” he shivers in disgust, “and then hung me up there to ‘grow tasties’ as he said. I have not the slightest clue as to what that means.”

“A moss troll,” Jackie responds. “Their saliva encourages a special kind of plant to grow on their future meals. They love that stuff.”

“What are you all doing here? I didn’t think I would see humans again.”

“We have a job to do,” Marje replies, pointing to the tower some 45 yards ahead of them.

.: :.

Surprisingly, the ground-floor door into the tower is wide open, and a small goblin is rushing back-and-forth between his sleigh and the room beyond, carrying various sacks and boxes as he goes. The goblin pays them no mind, completely focused on his task.

Marje knocks on the open door, a redundant gesture; another goblin sits atop a moss troll, and he stands up, peering at them curiously.

“Mortals!” the goblin exclaims, clapping his hands excitedly and hopping from foot to foot. “I never would have thought I would see you again.”

“I’m Marje Smith, and we have business with Princess Snowfall-at-Dusk,” Marje states, unwavering as the moss troll trudges forward, leaning close to her face. The goblin smacks the troll on the forehead.

“Get back you dirty hulk,” he admonishes cruelly. He turns to Marje and smiles a toothy smile before retrieving a scroll from his belt pouch; “if you had an invite you would be on the list!” The goblin says as he unrolls the scroll with a flourish, and the parchment tumbles to the floor. “I am Grindelwald, and you are not on the list. How disappointing.” His grin widens as he gazes from person to person. “And what are your names?”

One by one Grindelwald pronounces that they are not on the list, and he fakes a sigh. “I am feeling particularly gracious today, and I can add your names to the list for a small, small price.”

“And what would that be?”

Grindelwald opens a small bag and shows them an assortment of mushrooms he has collected. “Eat one, any one, and your name will be added.”

“That’s Fae food,” Sprue warns. “Who knows what effect it will have on you mortals.”

Marje ponders for a few minutes before reaching into the bag and drawing forth a mushroom. “We have to see the Princess somehow,” she says before biting into it. In an instant, she grows twice in size so that she is almost at eye-level with the moss troll. Grindelwald breaks into hysterical laughter.

“Oh how hilarious, you look ridiculous,” he squeezes out between guffaws. “Anyone else?” he asks, gesturing to his scroll where Marje’s name has magically appeared.

They all pay the tax to enter the tower – Sprue is hit by a wave of depression and begins weeping and crying; Jackie and Boone becomes invisible, except for their clothes and belongings; Hogrid falls awfully ill, retching constantly; Madrid’s eyes shrivel up, with new eyes appearing in the palm of her hand; Maydrid sprouts long locks of hair from her bald head.

All the while, Grindelwald is rolling with laughter. Finally, he wipes a joyful tear from his eye. “Calm down, calm down, the effects are temporary,” he reassures, shaking his head. “You mortals worry too much. Go on ahead.”

As they climb the stairs past Grindelwald and his moss troll, they glance into the adjacent room where the first goblin has been scurrying into: it’s a moderately-sized kitchen, a few frost elves cooking and cleaning constantly, as if preparing for a grand feast. They also notice a dozen or so cloaks hung up by the door, indicating more than a few people are in the tower.

.: :.

The second floor hosts a large banquet table, regally decorated with both fine silver wares and delicious-looking food. Two frost elves are silently standing guard near the summit of the stairs. Seated at the table are frost elf knights and frost elf nobles, all drinking in merriment.

“Oh my, mortals, how wonderful!” a frost noble sings out; he is dressed in strange checkered clothes and the powdered makeup that has been applied to his face is thick. He turns to squint at Jackie. “And a drow! I’m surprised the Nightmare Queen let you leave – she is very protective of her people.”

“She is not as bad as they say,” Jackie says absent-mindedly. The noble smiles a wide smile.

“As for you mortals, how did you find yourselves here? I haven’t seen the mortal realm in years and I am terribly fond of it.”

“There’s an entrance –” Madrid begins, before she is interrupted by Sprue as he interjects with, “We stumbled across it and it’s a one-way. We already tried to return.”

“Ah,” the noble says, sighing. He offers them food and drink, to which they politely decline, except for Tassian, who gladly partakes in the Fae food. “That is such a shame. You poor things must have nowhere to go! I’ll be sure to send a few guards with you for protection when you leave.”

“You haven’t been to Dolmanwood for years?” Marje questions.

“Why yes! We once lived peacefully with you mortals, before we were so ungraciously sieged by the Church and the Drune, who sealed us away into Fairy. If only we could knock down those damn dolmens,” he grumbles at the end. “But nevermind that! Please, eat, eat – you must be hungry, and we are celebrating the marriage of Princess Snowfall and her betrothed, Sir Chyde!”

Maydrid and Madrid glance at each other in surprise; nobody knows that the Drune played a role in the sealing away of the Frost Prince and his people, and even less so that the stone henges they keep so diligently intact are part of it.

“It’s lovely of you to offer but we best get going. We have to speak to the Princess,” Marje rejects, and the noble shrugs in response, downing another glass of an odd dark green-coloured wine.

.: :.

The third floor is an ornate bedroom; there is a beautiful wardrobe and a large bed standing against one wall. There are small boxes overflowing with expensive jewelry sitting atop a white dressing table.

Standing and staring out of the window is the Princess herself. She turns to look at them when she hears their footsteps, and she smiles softly. Her face is more elegant than any of the paintings, murals or statutes have depicted her to be, and she moves with a certain timeless grace. “Come in, come in,” she ushers. “I take it you have the ring?”

“We do,” Marje responds, signaling to Hogrid. He reaches into his pocket and reveals the moonstone ring.

“Perfect! Please, place it on my finger and I shall finally be reunited with my love.”

Hogrid hesitates for a few seconds, peering at Marje and the rest of the party, who shrug cluelessly. He turns back to Snowfall and does as she instructs, slipping the ring onto her finger.

Instantly, the ring glows, and the snow in the room materialises into flesh and bone. They whirl together to form the figure of Sir Chyde, who bows to them in gratitude. “Thank you, friends! We can finally be wed.”

Before any of them can voice their shock, there is a loud and audible crack that sounds across the land, and Snowfall rushes to the window, leaning outside, before rushing back. “Friends, the magic in our wedding rings is now no longer needed. It was keeping our two worlds close together, along with keeping the portals open, but that magic is fading fast. Please, leave and return to your realm while you still have the chance!” She waves her hands about her room. “As a token of my thanks you may take anything from my room, and you,” she points to Hogrid, “I grant thee a wish. Now hurry!”

A sense of urgency seizes them as they rush around Snowfall’s room, throwing open wardrobes and yanking dresses and coats from hangers. Madrid is busy stuffing necklaces and rings into her pockets just as Sprue is dragging brooches and other various knicknacks into his backpack. Maydrid heaves up a small jewelry chest with no time to sift through it.

Another thunderous crack echoes across the Fae and Boone bolts down the stairs, yelling, “Pick up the pace! Let’s go!”

They charge down the stairs and outside into the snow, heading for the candles that are slowly flickering out, one by one. Suddenly, a pack of dire wolves is upon them, barking and nipping at their heels. Madrid screams in terror as she rushes through the portal, followed by Boone, then Jackie, then Marje, then Tassian. Maydrid falls behind, having to drag the heavy chest, and as the wolves close in she unwillingly drops it, relieving herself of the weight in order to run through the portal, close behind Sprue.

“Damn it!” she laments, breathing heavily. “That chest has more than a few gems in it.”

“Look,” Madrid says, elbowing her friend and pointing from whence they came. “The wolves don’t seem to see the portal.”

It’s true – the dire wolves stop abruptly as they begin to sniff the snow and circle their tracks. After a few minutes, they tire and run away towards the tower. There are only a few candles lit.

“What a waste,” Sprue mumbles, pacing back-and-forth, before deciding to rashly hop back through the portal and make a beeline for the chest. He picks it up and runs back as fast as he can, just barely jumping through with a ‘pop’ as the last candle extinguishes.

“Woohoo!” Madrid yells, pumping her fist into the air. “We are going to be rich!”

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons, OSE, The Ninth World

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