Falling Star

Week 9
The Tale of Agnetha and Anni-Frid

"Well, Agnetha, it looks like we lost our army."
"Eh.  We can always get more cannibals."
"I can smell the sky metal – it's in that hold!  That hold that we just spent an army not taking."
"I don't think it lives there, though – someone carried it along this trail, and not long ago.  Let's  head up the fjord.  Maybe we can ambush the weapon-bearers and find our longship as well!  Swimming all the way home – that's a  lot to ask of these old bones."
"Anyway, if we swim home without the skymetal, Makavili will have our eyeballs  for dumplings.  Up the fjord it is!"
"Look, Anni-frid, they've got some kind of vines growing all over their walls!  And with swords for leaves!  I'll take control of it – none shall  escape as the vines crawl inwards in an ever-tightening noose, driving the  inhabitants of the hold before them with point and edge!  Except the babies,  the babies it can spear like meatballs and toss out to us!"
"Oo, that looks painful, Aggie.  Do you want this healing draught?  I see you drank yours."
"Thanks.  Turns out that wasn't a real vine, it was more of a vine-shaped golem. I should have known – we've not had one bit of fortune on this whole journey!"
"Say, doesn't Black Hilde live in these parts?  We can coven up!  Let's drop in."
"I think she's in the swamp."
"Agnetha, Anni-Frid.  I didn't expect to see you two sniffing around here. You didn't bring any of that nasty mold, did you?  I won't be having any talking bloody mold under this roof!"
"No, of course not!  Although I have no idea what you've got against our molds – they know all and see all!"
"Ugh.  Just look what it does to those cannibals!"
"Well, we didn't just drop by for abuse about our lifestyle choices.  What do you say to making a coven?  I bet it's been ages since you've been in a proper coven, living out here on the edge of the world. Just us three!"
"But it wouldn't really be just us three, would it, it would be us three plus the mold.  Blech."
"One is the loneliest number, Hilde."
"Where do you come up with these ridiculous bromides, Aggie?  And they're without fail exactly wrong – one is the uniquely premier number!  It's right there in the words, "unique", "premier".  I spent about a century married to an Oni three decades ago, and let me tell you, one is just exactly the right number.  Can I refill your tea?"
"Thank you.  Well if you won't help us make a coven, at least tell us the news.  We need to figure out some way to get back to Kalva, and we're also going to bring that skymetal back with us, one way or another."
"AH, news.  News I have.  The Feyjasfjordings are all in turmoil – they've gone and had the dvergr forge your precious skymetal into weapons, and the weapons have – as you might expect – rekindled the old feuds between the Skeggvarsons and the Hallgrimmsons.  Now they're all rebuilding the longships – the viking years are back, and I'm sure ere long rings will be flowing through these parts like water.  If you want a willing hand for dire deeds, I think you should speak to old Hallgrimm.  He doesn't need hags like us, but the rumor on the water is he's seeking a friendly lawspeaker."
"I could be a lawspeaker.  <Zzzzing!>  There, how's that?  'Greetings, noble lady of the swamp, I am Kavlax Lawspeaker!'"  Anni-Frid, you can be my assistant Papti."
"Why do I have be Papti?  You be freaking Papti and let me be the lawspeaker! What sort of dumb name is 'Kavlax', anyway, it sounds just like 'Kalva'! 'Greetings, noble lady, I am I-want-a-ride-to-Kalva the Lawspeaker'!"
"It's a perfectly fine name.  I get to be the lawspeaker because I'm older, and thus senior."
"We're twins!"
"Yes, but I was born first."
"But I spent twenty years in the First World while you were just mucking around in Kalva for a week, so I'm actually twenty years older."
"You spent twenty years in the First World AS AN END TABLE!  I will gladly defer to your seniority if we ever need to, say, support some knick-knacks or a lamp, or stub somebody's toe."
"Actually I was there for fifteen minutes before I got turned into an end table.  So I'm still senior in terms of time lived."
"But you have to mark off some time for the end table thing, that probably made you less wise…"
"So, are you two just going to sit here gabbing?  I'm all out of tea. Out you go, good luck with the deceptions and all that.  I'll be sure never to come to Kalva so I needn't return the visit."
"Greetings, noble lord!  Word around the fjord is that you might be needing of a lawspeaker, and if that be the case then fortune has guided one to your door, for I am Kavlax Lawspeaker!  (and this is my assistant Papti)"
"Oh yes?  Then Gorum has surely smiled upon me, or whatever the old suit of armor does when he's pleased.  My daughter had just brought to my attention a new infamy perpetrated upon my family by that foul harridan Gudrun, wife of my neighbor Gull-Skeggi.  I've called a Thing for tomorrow; I was going to ask for Gudrun's sons as thralls.  That should rile up Gull-Skeggi enough that we can settle this in a proper battle."
"I am sure that I will be able to assist you in that end, just as I'm sure that a thane of your legendary generosity will shower me with rings if his aims are achieved."
"Hrmm, well, we can no doubt come to some arrangement."
"Tell me, mighty jarl, is it true that your kin were abandoned on Kalva to the dark mercies of the Kalvamen?  And that this is also Gudrun's doing?"
"It is so."
"And is it also the case that there is a viking voyage in the offing, which might well be manned by you and your kin, and Gull-Skeggi and his kin?"
"I hardly think that's likely, I'm not setting foot in any boat with that bastard – viking voyage or no.  Perhaps after I take his children as thralls I will seize his longship as well."
"I might think such a joint voyage would present a unique opportunity for an even more just vengeance that merely seizing Gudrun's worldly goods or a couple of her spawn."
"Say that Gull-Skeggi and his kin were to drink some bad ale, and be taken ill just as the longship accidentally diverted course to Kalva… and say that they were then left there on the beach, dying or nearly so, as the cannibals approached!"
"Oh!  Hmmm, they say no jarl can match the deviousness of a lawspeaker.  I think you have shown your education in good light this eve, Kavlax.  Let it be as you say.  I'm sure Gull-Skeggi will jump at the chance of a new voyage, even if we split the crew evenly.  The farmer's life has worn heavy on him these last couple of decades."
"Gnnnr!  I can't believe Black Hilde showed up at the trial, and was LAUGHING!"
"It all worked out, though."
"No thanks to her!  If the Feyjasfjordings saw through my disguise I was ready to get into a curse-off with her right there in front of everybody!"
"Let's get our rings from Hallgrimm and skedaddle.  I'm sick of being Papti – I barely even get any lines!   We can watch them gett the ship ready, and figure out a good place to hide."
"It's a longship.  There's no 'good place to hide'.  You were just in it, where are you going to hide?  Clinging to the top of the mast?"
"So… we're not going to get home without getting wet, after all?"
"Well, Aggie, this is surely very wet.  At least we don't have to swim, though.  And they're bringing the skymetal with them!  We are sooo clever!"
"Stop looking on the bright side, I hate that.  My rheumatism is flaring up from all this cold."
"Quiet – and let's go invis!  They're slowing down!"

"Thank goodness the crew don't seem to have much magic.  We're nowhere near Kalva, I'm not even sure we're heading in the right direction.  Be a pity to have to swim from here."

"Thank goodness the fish is gone.  Ah, we're picking up speed again too. I guess they've given up."
"What do you mean, 'Oar!'?"
"Look to your stern, Anni-Frid, they're trying to scrape us off!"
"We have the skymetal, we have fresh meat, we have a nice purse of rings – this trip turned out ok after all!"
"For the last time, cut it out with the optimism!"
"Ok ok.  But really, all we had to do was confuse the crew a bit while that lass smuggled the weapons ashore – and confusing men was ever an easy day's work.  I did that, so you can carry the skymetal weapons back to Makavili."
"I'm not touching them.  I'm still senior, you carry them."
"Eeyargh.  I'm not touching them either.  These thugs don't look like they're going to wake up any time soon – we can just go round up some cannibals and get them to carry the damn things."

Week 4 - Aftermath

Further back in the firenewt lair you find some evidence that there were some more of them, maybe noncombatants or cowards.  You never saw them, though.

Miika never made it home.

The folk at Feyjasfjord are now calling you Skodi the Wise and Thrag the Unmanly (although the latter, not to Thrag's face so much).

Your skald was back at Skeggvarshold when you got home.  Since there was necessarily a return expedition with sleds – and thralls to drag them – to collect all the armor and gold (the gold still being attached to a broken-up statue at that point), he can meet Old Man Steam, Gloob the magmin, and the two salamanders (whose names turned out to be Cinder and Spite) if he's interested.


Adventure Summary - Week 4

About six weeks have passed.

Skorvir gets up one night to answer nature's call, and notices the usual guard patrol on the wall is absent.  He wakes his half-brother Torin, and they quickly discover chaos reigns at Skeggvarshold!  The gate is open; one wall-guard is down and one missing entirely; the dverg tasked with guarding the meteorite has been strangled, and the meteorite is missing entirely!

Skodi eventually organizes a headcount and figures out that Miika, the idiotic Varki thrall, is also missing.  Skorvir's tracking shows that three people only recently departed eastward on skis.  The downed guard – Solveig, who was recently spurned by Thrag – turns out to be alive and merely suffering from the effects of svartalfar sleep poison, which Skodi cures.  The  Skeggvasons quickly organize a pursuit and set off on skis.

They ski through the night.  Skorvir leads the way, carrying  a lantern so he can keep on their foes' trail.  The sun rises and then shortly sets again; the pursuit continues into the evening.  At one point when the sun is low in the  sky the pursuers spot  their quarry on a distant hilltop, silhouetted against the evening (2 PM, anyway) sky; apparently two svartalfar maidens (it seems as if all the svartalfar are female, or at least none of the heroes have ever seen any men) are dragging poor Miika along by a halter, and making him carry the chest containing the sky-metal.

Soon afterwards they spot poor Miika chained to a tree!  The thin links lead from his still-locked collar twenty feet up into a dead oak tree, where the chain is tied.  The thrall Thrag scurries up the tree and starts unhooking it; only to find himself in an ambush, targeted once more by the hated svartalfar hand crossbows and their poison!  But Thrag fights off the soporific venom and quickly descends.  The heroes advance cautiously into the darkness, only to hear the now-familiar blast of the Ulfhorn and the barking of charging wolves!

After easily dispatching the pack of wolves, and sending a whining Miika to walk home – his svartalfar captors having apparently stolen his skis – the intrepid Skeggvasons advance cautiously only to find themselves at a sheer cliff face.  The accursed cowardly svartalfar have apparently levitated up, but with Skodi's limited physical abilities the pursuers must now circle around, losing valuable ground on their prey.

They do not see them again until they reach Old Man Steam's hot springs, where they see the Old Man himself – an avaricious spirit with whom the brothers are well familiar, having often come to these springs for their healing properties and the tests of manliness Old Man Steam was happy to provide with his scalding breath.  Old Man Steam hints that he can reveal a shortcut to the lava vent which the svartalfar no doubt seek, for its access back to Svartalfheim.  Skodi negotiates briefly, and is cajoled into offering three rings for the information.

With his brothers' help, Skodi is able to ascend the treacherous shortcut without mishap.  Now, the party is right on the tail of the two svartalfar thieves!  They  cautiously follow the lava tube into a wide natural room with apparently manufactured streams of magma providing illumination.  The room is furnished with a three-sided table that sports two apparently insensate serpentine figures, lying facedown and burning!

Thrag enters from the west just as a shouting humanoid lump of living magma enters from the north, radiating intense heat!   Combat almost breaks out, but Skodi is able to pick out a few words in the lava-person's strange language, and the brothers figure out that the svartalfar must have just come through here and shot the salamanders.  A time-consuming fight is avoided, and some valuable intelligence gained about the further threats that await below.

The brothers soon descend further into the depths of the dormant volcano.  They soon find  themselves in wide cave with an enormous, crudely sculpted snake head coming through the wall!  As soon as they have entered, stone doors slam down around them, trapping them – and magma starts to pour from the  snake's mouth!  A reptilian figure watches through a grate above the snake. 

"Throw down your weapons and I will stop the flow!" it calls in elven.  Luckily, the half-snowcaster Torin understands, and the group agrees to be disarmed rather than burned to death.  A troop of lizardfolk-like creatures appear and grab the brothers, and they are marched into a nearby prison cell where they see the two svartalfar thieves already chained to the wall.  Before they are entirely helpless – but unfortunately after their weapons and most of their gear have been carried deeper into the caves – Thrag gives a mighty heave and frees them.

An intense fight develops in the prison cell.  Now freed, the two svartalfar run off deeper into the complex – probably seeking their own equipment.  The brothers slowly drive the fire-breathing lizard men back, but more reinforcements keep arriving.  As they try to push their way through wave after wave of the foe, following the svartalfar in the hopes of retrieving their own weapons, a new and more dangerous enemy enters the field – an evil priest who, instead of channelling positive or negative energy, seems to channel bursts of flame!

But at the same time, the two svartalfar thieves recover their gear and suddenly reenter the battle as a third side!  In a long and grueling fight, in which all parties are worn down to near exhaustion, the firenewts – for that is what these lizardine flame-breathers are – are driven back.  Eventually their priest retreats back out the front door with the last few warriors.

Torin is able to negotiate a fragile truce with the two svartalfar, agreeing to break the meteorite in half and each take their own part back to their homes.  This is done.  The svartalfar agree to give the brothers Skeggvason a ten-minute lead, then follow them out.  But when the brothers start back up the lava tube to the chamber of the salamanders and the magmin, they're ambushed by the remaining firenewts!  Thrag takes the brunt of the attack, eventually being overborne and knocked out, but the three brothers – now fully armed and equipped – make quick work of the remaining enemy.  The firenewt priest escapes with one lackey by running down a flowing stream of magma where the non-fireproof heroes cannot follow.

Skodi expects treachery from the svartalfar, who might decide to take the whole of the meteorite for themselves given the brothers' weakened state.  And he is not disappointed!  Having found the controls for the  front-room trap, one of the foul elves activates it again, slamming down a stone door and cutting off Thrag and Torin while Skodi and Skorvir  are once more in the path of the magma-spitting snake scultpure!

However, the svartalfar are unable to follow up their initial success by figuring out how to start the magma flowing; instead, they accidentally open one of the escape routes.  Skodi and Skorvir charge through while the thewy Thrag and Torin manage to overcome the pressure of the magma and lift the stone door that separates them from their companions!

In the final showdown between svartalfar and Skeggvason, Skorvir is dropped by a volley of poisoned crossbow bolts; Thrag manages to get caught under a door and almost crushed as Torin forgets about him and runs off to fight the dark elves; but eventually the combined efforts of the remaining brothers defeat the two exhausted  svartalfar!

Week 4 - Treasure

3500 gp-worth of gold broken/melted off the statue of the snake man

11 sets of scale mail

11 longswords

5 firenewt flame-spitter tubes (decorated iron tubes, probably useless)

the Ulfhorn

+1 studded leather armor

+1 svartalfar black steel longsword

+1 svartalf black  steel shortsword

2 tanglefoot bags

3 acid flasks

mw  breastplate

mw hand crossbow

hand crossbow

1 poison bolt (svartalfar sleep poison)

mw manacles

Miika's neck chain thing – mw collar with light, strong 30' chain

47 gp – svartalfar mark

2 tourmalines worth 100 gp each

18 rings

a golden unholy symbol, worth 200 gp or 100 if you melt it down

Adventure Summary - Week 3

The increasingly large group headed back down the mountain.  After the first day, they decided that they would have to let three kegs of dvergr stout go, they just couldn't manage the extra encumbrance.  They buried them near Dvergshol for later retrieval.

Torin, who was out every day collecting fresh berries for his Goodberry spell (which was feeding everybody except the hogs), noticed wolf tracks.  On the sixth day, the wolves laid an ambush, baited by one of their number – a worg capable of human speech – pretending to be an injured traveler.  When Thrag went to investigate, he was quickly brought down!  But, before the pack could drag him away the rest of the group arrived in a hail of arrows and drove them off.

Shortly after that the weather started to deteriorate.  Before it started dumping snow, the group agreed to stop and let the dvergr build a snow house.  This worked quite well; the only hitch being the return of the wolves, who now pretended to be a cold traveler wanting to share the Skeggvasons' fire.  This time Skodi poked his head out of the door, but nimbly jumped back inside before the lurking wolves could grab him and pull him away.  The wolves were again driven off with arrow fire.

On the final leg of the journey, the travelers spotted a nithing pole, newly erected in the trail.  This turned out to be a message from Skodi's new-found nemesis, Ullveig Helgasdottir, calling him out and affirming her oath to neither take a husband nor regrow her hair til he was dead.

Shortly afterwards, the Skeggvasons skied into a Hallgrimson ambush!  What started out as a fight mano a mano between Skodi and Ullveig quickly ballooned into a slaughter – five thralls quickly regretted attempting to entangle the mighty Thrag in fishing nets, Ullveig's sister Leif was quickly dispatched, and once again Skapti the Lame managed to escape uninjured.  This time Skodi carried the wounded and unconscious Ullveig off over his (thrall's) shoulder.

Skodi did an admirable job of handling the hogs, with only one minor mishap – a sow broke loose and slid down a hill just as they were finally approaching Skeggvarshold.  He magically healed the sow, though, and everything was fine.

After some negotiations and magically reattaching her hair and rings, Ullveig and Skodi buried the hatchet.  She "escaped" from Skeggvarshold in the night, thus letting them both avoid an unwanted wedding.

Returning to Feyjasfjord, the adventurers saw that the Cormorant, a local trader, was anchored in the fjord.  The ship had brought visitors: a city-slicker noble from Kalsgard going by the (likely) alias Ulfbjorn, and his guide, a lysalfar rangeress named Vashti.  They were scouting linnorms for an unnamed patron who wanted one handy in case the current Linnorm King in Kalsgard, Sveinn Blood-Eagle, were to suddenly expire.  They were particularly interested in cairn linnorms, which are known to lurk in barrowlands.  The Skeggvasons helpfully informed the guests that there was just such a barrowland not far to the west; but Ulfbjorn seemed uninterested in any sort of joint venture to investigate.

That night a huge feast was laid out to welcome back the lost children and new visitors; the new skald Torbjorn recounted their adventures, to much acclaim.

Ulfbjorn and Vashti departed in the morning, as did Gudrun, the Skeggvasons mother – she was off with the Cormorant to visit relatives in Kalsgard (and very likely to report on viking activity in Feyjasfjord, or the lack thereof.)  Immediately after the ship sailed, the increasingly antsy dvergr started crash construction of a good wall around the hold.  Kelvin Ironbeard, a respected dvergr architect, insisted that while he didn't know anything about surface-world politics, he knew walls, and this place was going to need a wall – three times before Midsummer, in fact.  The wall project quickly engulfed all of the dvergr and thralls, and in a week it was up.

The wall's completion coincided with the return of a slightly worse-for-wear Ulfbjorn and Vashti, which was good enough occasion for another feast that couldn't be beat.  They didn't get up again until the next morning, when Thrag and Astrid, another thrall, were sitting on the new wall and Astrid noticed that there were glowing figures floating around in the darkness over Bjarkur Bolg's bridge!

This turned out to be the vanguard of an undead army, come from the barrowlands to reclaim stolen treasure – treasure which they seemed to believe was now inside Skeggvarshold!  A quick search for Ulfbjorn and Vashti showed that they had vanished silently in the night, bringing this horror down on the heads of their hosts in violation of guest law and all that was decent! 

A puissant and very angry wight – judging from his decaying raiment, some ancient thane – beat on the newly constructed and newly enchanted front gate, making a good dent but eventually giving up.  A rain of arrows and channels from the battlements had little effect.  Before leaving, the dead lord invited the Skeggvasons to join him in his ghostly longhouse, which now occupied the nearby hilltop that was formerly home to the New Sheepfold. 

Screwing up their courage, the heroes got ready to proceed into the longhall of the dead!   But first, they thought it wise to try to figure out why the deathly army was at their gate; suspecting the fiendish Ulfbjorn and Vashti might have secreted some stolen goblet inside the walls, they turned out every living soul and quizzed them.  Astrid, the thrall, remembered that that morning the cover had been left off the well; and sure enough, when Torin descended into the watery depths, he found an ancient greatsword that surely belonged to the besieging army!

Once inside, they were surprised to find not rotting corpses but apparently intact, if blue and glowing, revelers – vikings from ancient times!  Torbjorn recognized the livery of Thane Karbjorg the Red, a famously crafty and vicious ruler from many centuries past, also renowned for his excellent feasts.  The Thane and his retinue had been robbed and wanted satisfaction, but since the Skeggvasons were here he offered them the hospitality of his deathly home.  He was much mollified by the return of Goblet-Maker, his missing sword.

Thrag wrestled the Thane's prize thrall, Wolfcrusher, and after an initial setback (which served only to lengthen the odds the Thane was willing to give) managed to pin him.  Torbjorn attempted a recitation, which was less successful than his attempts among the living, but some nervousness was understandable given the circumstances.  Finally, to the brothers' horror, the Thane had his thralls roll out a wooden wheel to which was attached another of the Helgasdottirs, her three flaxen ponytails held out from her head by staples!  The thane offered that, if they could cut the girl loose with axes thrown from 5 paces, they could keep her; if they refused, or if an unfortunate throw resulted in her death, then she would return to serve the thane forever in his hall beneath the Barrowlands!  Torin and Skorvir handily cut the girl loose in three throws of three, however, and the team was unmolested in their return to Skeggvarshold.  That night the Thane and his retainers packed up and left; the next day, they returned the lost daughter to Hallgrimshold.

Week 3 - Aftermath

Relations between the Skeggvasons and the Hallgrimsons are peaceable again.

Bjarkur Bolg, the bridge troll, is now friendly with Thrag.  He didn't see the rest of the PCs in the fight at the bridge, so he isn't any friendlier to them than he was before, i.e., he will eat them given the opportunity.  Somehow, when he healed from that mauling, he seems to have gotten bigger.  He calls Thrag "littenork", Giant for "little orc".

There is still a bunch of undistributed treasure from before, which your skald is sitting on.  I no longer have any real record of this so it would probably be best if it got distributed.  It seems like one thing was missing from the treasure from Dvergshol – the bugbear slave-driver had a necklace with opals in it worth 350 gp.  If John didn't have this written down, I must have forgotten it, so yes you have that.

The dvergr (except for Mother Snowspike and the kids) spend the next week sleeping 20+ hours a day.  If asked, Mother Snowspike will explain this is a side-effect of their working all day and night for a week to get the wall built.

After that, Kelvin Ironbeard, the dvergr architect, fixes the damaged gate.  Gull-Skeggi provides the materials and money.

Everybody levels up to 3.  Note that if you haven't spent any, you now have 3 hero points; 3 is the most you can have.  If you continue to not spend them and level up again, you will not get a fourth hero point.

If you want to pick up additional languages: the dvergr are happy to teach dwarven or undercommon to anybody who wants to learn.  One of the dvergr speaks Terran but he doesn't also speak Skald, so he will teach that to anybody who wants to learn it and who already speaks dwarven.  Bjarkur Bolg will be happy to teach  Thrag to speak giant.

Sled-loading post

Where we left off was the rag-tag band of dvergr refugees and the Skeggvasons had gone one day back along the trail toward Skeggvarshold, and then stopped and spent one day fixing the sleds.  At dwarf-in-snowshoes speeds you have 14 more days of travel to get down – assuming the weather holds.  If someone were to go from this point on skis it would just take something like 4 days, because it's more downhill than up.

It sounds like food isn't a problem as long as Torin is casting Goodberry. There aren't plentiful edible berries in the middle of winter; there are all the holly berries you could want, except they're poisonous. (Even though it doesn't specifically say so in the spell description, I am going to rule that you can't cast Goodberry on inedible or poisonous berries – poisonous berries are not Good.)  If someone spends a day foraging specifically for edible berries, and he gets a 10 or better on the Survival roll, he will find a berry plant with enough for the spell.  For each additional person he could feed with that Survival check he finds enough for an additional casting.  When you are just foraging for berries like this, you don't feed anybody, you just find the berries.

After reading this http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/livestock-forums/pigs/423553-cold-weather-pigs.html I think the hogs will need Endure Elements one per hog per day traveling or they will risk getting frostbite or ill.  If you are stopped for a day they can pile together under blankets instead.  Mother Snowspike can cast 3/day if she uses her entire spell load for it (Ieaving her one domain spell), which leaves Skodi responsible for the other three – I remember that he has the spell.

If folks want to keep any of the black steel stuff, and if you aren't intending to carry it on your back, figure out what it weighs because it needs to go on the sleds.  The dwarf kids also need to go on the sleds if they aren't going to slow the expedition down even further; they weigh 90# (Luna) and 60# (Skorvi, whose full name strangely turns out to be Skorvir – he is delighted when he finds out that one of his rescuers is a bigger Skorvir.)  The hogs can move through snow as fast as the dwarves. 


Someone will need to make one DC 10 Handle Animal check per day to avoid a Hog Incident.  Driving hogs down an icy or snowy road in the middle of winter for days on end is not easy.  The person making the check is spending the day driving the hogs; he cannot be pulling a sled, foraging, or scouting.

You have your two good sleds and one dvergr good sled, plus three dvergr crappy ad hoc sleds that after the first day of travel were rebuilt into mediocre sleds that at least won't fall apart before you get back to Skeggvarshold.

It looks like the suggested way we determine the sled load is the Light load for the person pulling it, which is stupid – why even have sleds then?  Unless someone else knows a rule for this, I am going to arbitrarily say that load on a sled encumbers you at half the rate of load on your back.  For reference Miika is Str 14 (light 58#, medium 116#, heavy 175#), the four dvergr most likely to pull a sled are Str 13 (light 50#, medium 100#, heavy 150#).  You cannot have multiple people pulling the same sled at the same time, but you can take shifts if it helps.  Because you are moving so slowly it might be possible for non-dvergr to carry heavy loads on their backs.

Additional stuff not on the treasure list:

15 14-gallon kegs of dwaven stout, 120# each, (1800# total)

46 person-days of dwarven trail rations (69#)

90 person-days of other preserved food (250#)

coin collection (15#)

the dvergr's assorted mw tools (61#, and that is after arguing them down to just the absolutely essential stuff)

Luna & Skorvi (150#)

the Blood Star (150#)

Adventure Summary - Week 2

Unbeknownst to Skodi and Skorvir, just a couple of days after they left Skeggvarshold their half-brother Torin came back from his long hunt with a juicy elk; also with a report of finding a badly burned body under a cairn just an hour up into the hills.  That night, Thorbjorn, a skald and the son of Gull-Skeggi's old skald, showed up, having heard the house of Skeggvar once more had adventures afoot.  Torin and Thorbjorn collected a sledge of supplies and a thrall to pull it, and headed off in pursuit of the brothers!

Their uneventful and detour-free trip to Dvergshol let them catch up to the original adventurers, arriving on skis just as the wolves attacked!  Although Thrag the thrall was briefly brought to the ground, the wolves were quickly dispatched; during the fight Torin noticed a slender female figure standing on a ledge far up the cliff wall, holding a horn.  Thorbjorn thought this likely to be the famed Ulfhorn, which, legend would have it, summons wolves to fight for the holder until the following dawn.

Skodi healed his thrall from the wolf-bites, but then collapsed.  The strain of the forced march and reduced rations had proved too much for him!  The brothers left the other thrall, the less-than-bright Miika, to care for him while they climbed up the cliff wall.  Although the figure was long gone, there they found a secret back entrance to Dvergshol, leading into a guardroom with two dead dvergr!  But a closer examination revealed one dverg to be clinging to life – the group tried various healing magic, but none of it seemed to bring him back to consciousness, so they just looted the potions off the poor dvergr and proceeded on.

A short passage led to a meeting room being used as a makeshift infirmary; in it the brothers got the first good glimpse of the dwarf-foe!  A black-skinned, white-haired elf – no doubt one of the rumored evil subterranean svartalfar – was bandaging another unconscious one on the table.  Thrag leaped in and slew the surprised medic before she could react with more than a startled yelp; Thorbjorn examined the wounded one, but the cowardly villainess was merely feigning unconsciousness, and plunged a dagger into the Skald's chest!  Although the elf called down magical darkness in a craven attempt to escape, she was quickly finished off.

The brothers found that this meeting room opened out right next to the throne of King Gandlehammer – at the end of the dwarf-hall where they had several times feasted in their youth.  But now, most of the hall was obscured by a wall of impenetrable blackness.  The foolish thrall attempted to walk down the table in the supernatural darkness and repeatedly fell, making a tremendous racket.  Eventually the whole group tried to pass the darkness, but as the last to enter the unseeing zone – the same thrall again – was about to step out of the light, a crossbow bolt spanged off the ground next to him!  Looking up, he saw another svartalf at the level of the high, vaulted ceiling just disappearing back into the blackness.

The group continued fiddling around in the dining hall in spite of being unable to find the ceiling sniper.  The did find the front gate, which was not itself filled with magical darkness; they then brought the meteorite, the now-unconscious Skodi, and the thrall Miika in out of the cold.  Another bolt from the ceiling reminded them that they couldn't leave their defenseless brother here unattended!  Skodi's bodyguard-thrall started thrashing around stabbing the ceiling with his polearm, and shortly landed a lucky blow, slaying the sniper.  The corpse remained on the ceiling, apparently weightless; but eventually the thrall managed to pull it down.

Finally free of the darkness, the group slew two more svartalfar soldiers, unmotherly women who had trapped two dvergr children in the creche.  The children's ad hoc defenses had held the doors shut until the Skeggvasons could effect their rescue.  As the dverglings only spoke dwarven, however, the group was at an impasse; they were unable to communicate to the children that it was safe to come out.  Then Thorbjorn had the idea of handing a lock of his golden (not white) hair through the door; the children then understood these were friendly Ulfen and not a svartalf trick, and emerged.

Having found the stairs down, from which direction occasional sounds of battle could be heard, the group started down, thrall-first.  But a dvergar voice from below yelled in Skald to stay their advance, for they were moving into a svartalf crossfire!  They were told to come down the horse-ramp by the front gate so that they might join up with the remaining dvergr forces.  This they did, the original group – who had missed the last couple of meals – distracted only briefly by the dvergr food stores.  And then briefly again by the brewery, which contained a stack of kegs of fine dwarven stout.

But after slaking their thirst and satsifying their hunger, the brothers were ready for battle!  Their thrall's arrival in the middle of everything brought the svartalfar and their bugbear and hobgoblin slaves charging from cover to engage him; their blood-thirst was briefly stymied, however, when a cowardly but lucky poisoned bolt from the svartalf priestess took him out of the fight!  It was a close-run thing – Torin Skeggvason, the hunter, was also frozen briefly by the  dark priestess' foul magicks, and then she unleashed a wave of magical destruction that badly drained all the stout warriors, dverg and human!  Having used her last spell, the svartalf priestess was overwhelmed.

After cleaning up one last svartalf and her wayward siege-worm (a strange creature with a burning head called a "thoqqua" by the dvergr), the heroes rested, exchanged healing, and assessed the tactical situation.  It was not good. 

The dvergr said that they had been attacked several hours earlier by a svartalf army demanding something  called the "blood star".  While these present warriors held them off, King Gandlehammer slipped out a secret back entrance into the tunnels of dvergsheim with the bulk of the population of Dvergshol.  He headed for another dvergr city – the nearest, but still many miles from here.  After a couple of hours the svartalfar – who had invested most of Dvergshol at that point – understood that they had been tricked, and their main force ran off in pursuit.  Shortly after this was when the Skeggvasons arrived with their skymetal.

As the Skeggvasons and skald were well aware, the Blood Star had been their father Gull-Skeggi's ship back in the viking days.  Strange coincidence though it was, however, they decided the svartalfar could not possibly have meant this, but must have wanted their meteorite.  Nobody had a good theory for how their source of information – divination, presumably – had told them when and where to attack, but had managed to get the time almost half a day early, making them waste their army against the dvergr when the (probable) blood star was not yet in residence.

Regardless, the dvergr said that due to their small numbers, the swiss-cheesed nature of their main gate to dvergsheim, and the presence of a svartalfar army in the area, they could not stay here.  Nobody had seen that svartalf that had originally blown the Ulfhorn, either; she might still be lurking about Dvergshol, or even worse might have headed off after the main svartalf force, to alert them that their coveted "blood star" was here after all! 

There was an overland route to the other dvergr city, but it is through the high mountains and would surely be impassable this deep in the winter.  The Skeggvasons gallantly said that the dvergr must come to Skeggvashold as their guests; sleds were built, loaded with all they would bear, and the dvergr, their stout, their pigs (five sows and a hard-to-control boar), all the supplies they could lay their hands on, the Skeggvasons, their skald, their dog, and their thralls set off  (very slowly, at the pace of a dvergr in deep snow) back down the mountain to Skeggvarshold.

Treasure - Week 2

I didn't keep track of who took and now has which potions; I will assume you have those on your character sheets.  I will only list the potions from the svartalfar in the big downstairs battle and the thoqqua handler.  Ditto for scrolls.

You have the opportunity to take quite a bit of the svartalfar black steel arms and armor, if you want to lug them.  The dvergr don't want the stuff and recommend you don't use it either – it's shoddily made and has the stink of the svartalfar on it.  They say that if it is ever exposed to sunlight, even briefly, it will start a process of decay that will lead to the stuff completely falling apart within a few days; sustained exposure will destroy it in minutes.  But if you are determined, fine, you won it in fair combat.  Here is the lot of treasure including all the arms and armor:

from the medic: magic black steel morningstar (at least +1), silver dagger, studded leather armor, tindertwig, two healer's kits, 8 sleep poison antidote puffballs, 2 obscuring mist globes, spell component pouch, 27 gp

from the one on the ceiling: mw black steel hand crossbow, 3 magical black steel bolts that are funny-looking and almost certainly poisoned, magic black steel longsword, leather armor, 50 gp

from the two that were menacing the children: black steel chainmail x2 , black steel longsword x2, javelin x2, black steel dagger x2, a total of 30 gp

from the leader: magic studded leather (no black steel involved), mw black steel shortsword, mw black steel hand crossbow, 6 mw black steel poison bolts, 3 acid flasks, a silver holy symbol of some unknown god or demon lord, two magic feathers, a svartalfar cure light wounds potion

from her two guards: one mw and one magic black steel longsword, black steel light crossbows, one mw and one magic black steel chainmail, a svartalfar haste potion, a total of 77 gp

from the thoqqua handler: mw black steel chain shirt, magical black steel mace – from watching her use it you think it's probably +1 or better and shock; black steel hand crossbow with 20 bolts (not poisoned), 10 gp

from the bugbear: morningstar, 3 javelins, black steel shield, leather armor, 25 gp

from the hobgoblins: longbow x 2, longsword x 2, dagger x 2, studded leather x 2, a total of 20 gp

If you took potions off the dead dvergr and didn't use them, probably nobody is going to be the wiser if you hang on to them.

Dvergshol also has extensive mundane gear if anybody needs it.  Cold weather gear, snowshoes, rope, 10' poles, that sort of thing: as much as you want.  We can talk about supplies and sled loading in another post.  The dvergr gather up all of the best toolkits for the professions that they have and bring those.

There is a coin collection mounted on the wall in the creche, where the kids were.  The kids want to take it.  It is worth 300ish gp, weighs 10#, is fairly fragile (so it weighs 15# when packed to travel), and gives a +5 competence bonus to any knowledge checks involving coins.  And it's theirs, but it seems likely it is going to be installed somewhere at Skeggvarshold for a while.

Treasure - Week 1

From the fight with the Hallgrimsons:

- Ullveig's hair, including 24 rings (240 gp value)

From crossing the mouth of Feyjasfjord on Asborg Gunnarson's skiff:

- you paid him 2 rings

From the barbegazi

- barbegazi ice sword – small-sized shortsword apparently made of ice: it glows blue (5' radius light), does 1d6 cold damage per round to wielder; probably the dwarves can wrap the hilt to protect against this.  May have other properties – the blade is certainly just as cold as the hilt, for one thing.

- 7 rings, a potion, two small daggers and a small short sword, and a wine skin full of very nice wine


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.