Falling Star

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House Rules

1. Background
   You are the Skeggvasons, the sons of the Ulfen farmer Gull-Skeggi and his wife Gudrun.  Gull-Skeggi was once a famed viking raider, but since the Linnorm Kings have forbidden that he has taken to farming … and brooding.  Gull-Skeggi's home is Skeggvarshold in the far western Thanelands, near the border with Icemark.  Skeggvarshold is at the center of a nice chunk of arable land around Feyjasfjord.  King Sveinn's grasp is faintly felt this far from Kalsgard.
   Skeggvarshold is one of a sparse cluster of about 20 farms, total population roughly 300.  The land is fertile but unpopular due to the proximity of Kalva, an island of crazed berserkers.  All the holdings are quite well defended, and generally sport a decent wall.
   The PCs don't all have to be descended from or even related to Gull-Skeggi, but they have to live at Skeggvarshold and have some good reason to go on adventures with the Skeggvasons and Gudrunsdottirs if not.  If someone wants to play a thrall we can probably work something out – see 2.D. below.

2. House Rules

2.A. Alignment
   We will be using alignment.  The game effects of alignment are as usual.  The definitions of alignment are a bit different, however, reflecting the Ulfen culture.  Creatures generally will have their usual alignments, but will act according to these rules.
   Here are some example actions; anything not listed here works the same way it does in the standard alignment definitions.

Non-aligned actions
   killing your neighbor in a fit of drunken rage
   stealing from foreigners in their own lands
   killing anybody in battle
   letting an unconscious foe bleed out
   failure to render aid on land

Evil actions
   hiding in the back during a melee (minor)
   killing your own thrall in a fit of drunken rage (minor)
   failure to render aid at sea
   couping an unconscious foe (applies to "people"-type foes only)

Evil and chaotic actions
   turning a house-guest over to his enemies
   not announcing that you have killed your neighbor in a fit of drunken rage ("secret murder");

Lawful actions
   accepting wergild for a wrong someone has committed against you
   accepting the judgment of a court against you without starting a fight
   turning away an outlaw who you might otherwise have reason to help

Chaotic actions
   refusing to accept wergild, demanding vengeance instead
   helping an outlaw (in addition to being chaotic, to do this risks outlawry yourself if found out; because of the risk involved it can be a good action as well as chaotic)
   rejecting the judgment of a court against you

Good actions
   fighting bravely at great risk to yourself
   going to a lot of trouble to aid a house-guest, particularly one not related to you

2.B. Character generation
   – 20 point buy

   – everybody get Handle Animal as a class skill and a +2 farmer bonus at it as well

   – the number of negative HP at which you die is higher than the default: it is – 5 – max(CON, 10) – 1 per level so for example someone with 8 con and lvl 3 would die at -18 instead of -8; someone with 15 con and level 1 would die at -21 instead of -15.

   – some races will need a good reason to be here.  Gull-Skeggi is human; his children are mostly human although half-elf or half-orc could be half- siblings acquired when he was out viking in his youth; half-snow-elf half-siblings are certainly reasonable as well.

     Halflings: quite rare around here; one could maybe be a thrall that Gull- Skeggi captured in his youth on a viking raid.

     Gnomes: Fey is very close here, so there are some gnomes; they generally don't live with regular folk, though – too weird.

     Elves: there are mostly snow elves in these parts, which are for game purposes elves with the Arctic template.  Snowcasters from northern Icemark have their own very different culture, but they trade with the Varki and sometimes even with the Ulfen.  Snowcasters ("kaldalfar" in Skald) would be very unlikely to live on a human farm.  Normal elves are "lysalfar".  People are aware of rumors of evil dark-skinned elves called "svartalfar" that live under the earth, but you have very likely never met one.

     Half-elf: fine, see above ("hafkaldalfar" or "haflysalfar")
     Half-orc: fine, see above ("haforkken")

     Dwarves: there are plenty of dwarves about, there's a big settlement just a couple of days ride up into the mountains.  Folks hereabout trade with them.  It would be a little weird for a dwarf to be a permanent resident at Skeggvarshold, though, why wouldn't he live with his own kind?  Dwarf culture is basically the same as the local Ulfen culture regarding alignments and such.  They are called "dvergar" in Skald – the evil-type traditional D&D duergar are not known hereabouts.

     More exotic races: almost certainly none of those around here.

  – similarly, classes that require a lot of schooling (like Wizard or Magus) are going to be thin on the ground.  It's not clear how a Skeggvason could possibly have gotten wizard training – maybe a thrall, captured in some distance land, could have.

2.C. Names
   Male children of Gull-Skeggi have the surname Skeggvason (their father's full given name is Skeggvar).  Female daughters of Gudrun, the matron of the house, have the surname Gudrunsdottir.  Thralls have no surname.  People who don't fit into one of these categories either have a surname from some other family in the area, or a Deed Name based on something they did.
   Skeggvar is called Gull-Skeggi because he was as peripatetic as a seagull during his years of viking.  Or so he says now.

   At least two players ought to play Skeggvasons or Gudrunsdottirs.

2.D. Thralls
   Thralls are slaves, but are generally well-treated and have the prospect of eventual freedom.  The children of thralls are free.  You can become a thrall if
  – you are captured in battle and nobody pays your hostage-price
  – as punishment for certain serious crimes
  – you are captured on a viking raid in foreign lands
  – you incur a large enough debt to someone that you can't pay
Debt- and punishment-based thralldom generally has a fixed term, not "life".  Because your thralls might be your neighbors' relatives, and will someday be free members of the community, people generally don't treat them too badly.  
   Thralls are expected to fight in defense of the homestead but not expected to fight otherwise, i.e. in raiding parties.  The exact relationship between a thrall and his masters varies a great deal from case to case.  A thrall who volunteers to help on raids will be more respected and may well be freed early.
   If any players want to be thralls, they will be assumed to have a pretty good relationship with the Skeggvasons.

 

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Adventure Summary - Week 1
In which the Skeggvasons come upon a fallen star

It was nearing Midwinter in Feyjasfjord.  It had been a week since the sun peeked over the horizon; at noon only faint light could be seen in the southern sky.  It would be several weeks yet before she appeared again.

The last few nights, the Northern Lights had been spectacular.  Everybody was up the roof of Skeggvarshold's longhall to watch (and drink).  Gull-Skeggi told the story (again) of the year the linnorm came, spitting fire, destroyed his sheepfold and ate all his sheep.  His son Skodi helped a bit with the telling; Skodi was quite familiar with the shifting details, although he had not been born yet when it happened.

Gull-Skeggi's story halted as the Lights washed over from green to a blood red.  Nobody at Skeggvarshold had ever seen them do that!  Skodi consulted the spirits of the ancestors, and heard a very clear statement that battle was coming.  Gull-Skeggi could not have been happier – maybe he would again go a-viking!  But then Thrag, Skodi's thrall and bodyguard, heard a hissing coming from the east.  And soon, he spotted a light off near the eastern horizon as well – surely the return of that damned sheep-stealing linnorm!

It soon became clear that this was not a linnorm but a falling star, as it whooshed overhead and smashed into the rebuilt sheepfold.  The Skeggvasons strapped on skis and took off to collect any valuable skymetal that might have fallen.  Unfortunately, upon arriving at the collapsed and burning ruins of the wooden structure, they saw that the meteorite wasn't there – it had smashed right through, skipped a few times, and judging from the new cloud of steam it was now lying at the bottom of the fjord.  Quite close to the far shore – Hallgrimson land.  In fact, in the flickering red cast by the Northern Lights they could just make out a couple of folks on skis heading from Hallgrimshold down to the fjord.

This presented a problem, because there was no fast safe way over there.  There is a lovely bridge, which unfortunately has an ice troll living under it.  Gull-Skeggi and Hallgrim have both encouraged the ice troll to stay there, just so it's not so easy for their kids to interact with each other (and, inevitably, kill each other.)  The Skeggvasons considered trying to buy passage, but eventually decided that since they were on skis and the bridge was at the bottom of a long straight run, they could just rush through and probably be ok.  Bjarkur Bolg, the troll, took a swipe at a thrall and missed – so they were right.

They soon arrived at the rocky beach where the Hallgrimsons were in the process of recovering the fallen star.  Present were Skapti the Lame, a doomsayer, Ullveig Helgasdottir, a capable warrior, and a bunch of thralls for doing the heavy lifting.  Skorvir Skeggvason drew his bow, but Skapti countered this by calling up a blinding mist.  Nobody is entirely sure what happened after this, but by the time the mist lifted Ullveig was down, one of her thralls was dead, and Skapti was hurt; but only after that coward had roasted the Skeggvasons with fire magic from inside the safety of his magical mist.  Ullveig had been disemboweled by Skodi's thrall; but Skodi, thinking this was not a fitting way for her to die, healed her.  Skapti had the Hallgrimshold thralls carry her off, and the Skeggvasons absconded with the meteorite after pulling it from the fjord.

Not wishing to risk Bjarkur Bolg – who was undoubtedly now waiting for their return – Skodi, Skorvir, their dog Huginn, and the thrall headed south along the coast into Gunnar's lands.  They first encountered one of his sons, working on fishing nets, and bought passage back home on his skiff.

There was much feasting at Skeggvarshold that morning.

The next night, after Skeggvarshold's smith had determined he couldn't do anything with the fallen star, Skodi, Skorvir, Huginn, and the thrall packed a sled with supplies and headed up into the hills to visit the dwarves of Dvergshol.  The folk of Feyjasfjord often traded with the dwarves in the summer; the main road to them was little-traveled in the winter, but Gull-Skeggi was eager to get this skymetal turned into weapons immediately.

Unfortunately the road to the dwarves went right through Hallgrim's lands, and access required crossing Bjarkur Bolg's bridge again.  Skodi was not keen on this, and instead convinced his brother that they should set off directly into the hills on game trails, then meet up with the road somewhere well north of Feyjasfjord.  The nine-day trip to the dwarves was uneventful, except when the Skeggvasons fell into a barbegazi pit while trying to sneak across their territory.  This could have been bad – the Skeggvasons were skiing at high speed in the dark, keeping on the track only by their thrall's darkvision – but due to their luck and skill they'd managed to bypass the barbegazi alarm, so the ice gnomes were as surprised as the Skeggvasons to find three men, a sled, and a dog suddenly falling through the ceiling of the burrows at high speed.  However, by the time Skodi, Skorvir, and company had dug themselves out, the ice gnomes were upon them – even worse, they'd brought a tame hoar fox, which blasted the entire group with its frost breath!

Skodi's magical healing shortly got the Skeggvasons and dog back on their feet; then Skorvir's arrows and the thrall's claws made quick work of the two ice gnomes.  The fox fled into a warren of burrows beneath the snow.  The damaged and exhausted party quickly threw the gnomes' bodies on their sled and fled.  Rather than risk another ice gnome trap in the next valley, Skodi suggested they head along the ridge and stay in cover.  They saw no more ice gnomes, but this added another day to their trip, meaning they would run out of supplies before they reached Dvergshol.  Skorvir and the dog spent a day hunting, but prey was scarce; the group decided to just go on half rations as needed, and push on to get to the dwarves.

While they ran into no further mishap, when they arrived at the front gate of Dvergshol, they found it closed and dark.  At first the knocker got no response, but with his darkvision the half-orc thrall noticed someone had opened the peep-hole!  It immediately closed; but the gate did not open, nor was there any response.

As the hungry Skeggvasons contemplated starvation on the very doorstep of the dwarves, they heard the call of a horn – a call which slowly turned into the howl of a wolf!  Seconds later, a pack of white-coated wolves came charging down the mountainside just behind them!

 

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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

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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.

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Adventure Summary - Week 2
Dvergshol

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.

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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#)

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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.

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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.

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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

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