Saturday, April 4, 2015

Below the Ice in Forgotten Lands (part II)

Holed up and healing their wounds, the party discovered that the health of at least a couple of members (Fil and Panope) had suffered permanent damage to their constitutions. While discussing what to do next, they suddenly noticed a faint light trailing through the ruins and making its way toward their hidey-hole. In a few short moments, they were face to face with a young human woman dressed in wizard robes and leaning on a rather potent-looking magic staff.

Elazti the Magic-User, as envisioned
by Aisha and drawn by Amanda.
A master of levitation, lightning, scrying, and fire, Elazti (new player Aisha!) had come to the Frozen City alone to investigate stories that the ruins contained long-lost artifacts, lore, and magical knowledge. A gentle soul, the sorceress agreed to travel with the party (safety in numbers!) for as long as it suited her.

Over the next day, the party covered a large swath of the abandoned city, encountering and/or (thanks to Elazti's crystal ball) spying out:

  • A pen of albino apes who had been enslaved by the Morlocks. The beasts were soon set free by Fil and Elazti, while Indis created another illusion of the Morlocks' six-legged dragon god to befuddle and frighten the ape-handlers.
  • A trio of ice trolls in a rough-built tower, ready to pounce on or icicle-skewer any who traveled beneath it. (The party wisely gave the trolls a wide berth.)
  • Charred skeletons who rose up from thick, ancient ash that covered one whole block of the city. Beneath the dust of aeons and bones, the heroes eventually found a few magical trinkets.
  • The spire inside the dome (or something not unlike it).
  • The cracked remains of a great stone dome which seemed to be filled with tall, metallic boxes covered in jewels and levers. At the center of the dome was a round, cavernous chamber with a tall spire in the middle. The spire had been cracked and some kind of fire had apparently blasted out of it in the distant past. Smoke and an orange glow still emanated from deep within.  Wrapped around the spire, apparently asleep, was the Morlocks' dragon god itself.
Leery of engaging a possible deity (or even just a typical dragon), the party decided that they had had enough of the Frozen City.  Besides, they had already found more silver than they could easily carry (~600 pounds of coins).  They quietly made their way back toward the entrance Elazti had first used, where three small streams cut through the ice and ran to the outside of the glacier.

Afraid to disturb the water too much, Fil ingested Indis's polymorph potion and transformed into a giant eagle. In his new form, he was able to carry (with a few trips), the party members and their treasure to the exit.  After a treacherous trip down what was essentially an icy waterslide, the party emerged at the base of the glacier, which was, itself, perched on the edge of a tall mountain-cliff.  After countless days underground, even the gray late-winter sun of the frozen north woods seemed blinding.

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