Chris Palmer This past Saturday we played the 11th game of this year’s Frostgrave Campaign, and the last scenario of the “Thaw of he Lich Lord” supplement book: The Final Battle. Next month, we will be playing a special Christmas themed scenario, called Red Sled Down, for our annual Frostgrave Game Christmas Party.
We had 6 of our regular players in attendance for Saturday’s outing to face the Lich Lord in a final showdown. The scenario has the Lich Lord using his powerful magic to lift a whole section of the city, including a fortified manor, high up into the air; where it sits suspended by huge chains above the ruins of Feldstad. The Wizards and their warbands must climb these chains to get to the Lich Lord. This required a different set-up then our usual long table, and because we had 6 players, we modified the more linear set up that is described in the Lich Lord scenario book. So, I arranged the tables into a 6’ x 7.5’ surface, and on this I laid out a somewhat six-sided gaming area. I then marked an entry point in each of the 6 corners, representing where the chains were attached and the players would ascend to the battlefield.
There was also a host of the Lich Lord’s minions waiting to face us that needed to be preset on the table. This included 6 Wraith Knights, 18 Death Cultists, and 36 Armored Skeletons (plus one extra Armored Skeleton that the Lich Lord personally raises pre-game), and the Lich Lord himself. We placed 3 Treasures each; either in, or adjacent to, the manor house ruins in the center of the table. Also placed there was Lich Lord, with the spells Elemental Shield and Time Store, already in place.
I got last set-up choice again, but with the 6-sided play area, it didn’t make make much difference to me where I set up, as all roads led to a whole bunch of enemies. I ended up with the Necromancer, Missy, on my left, and the Soothsayer, Gru, on my right.
For an account of last months game, see: The Bones Wheels
|A look at the table at the start of the game.|
|Quail’s warband enters in a ruined building and takes a moment to get its bearings.|
Then, as suddenly as it started, the sounds and lights stopped. The dark clouds, and the ice and dust falling from them, began to pull back towards the city as if being sucked towards some central point; like water flowing down a drain. It was then that Quail first saw it, in the distance: a great hunk of rock floated in the air just a few dozen yards over the tallest spires of the old city. She estimated it was the size of a full city block. As the Sigilist peered into the distance, trying to see details, she realized the top of the huge rock was flat, and she saw ruins up on top of the rock. It was as if a whole section of the city had been torn up and now sailed in the air. Bailey, her youthful eyes a little better, said in disbelief, “There are chains coming off of it; holding it to the ground."
Quail turned to her, said with fierce determination, "We must find out what this means.”
The Sigilist had read about many magical events in her years, had seen some bizarre things herself, but nothing compared to this. She felt lost, a feeling she was not used to. Pacing on the parapet, the Wizard tried to form a conclusion. Then, Bailey suddenly drew Quail’s attention. “Look”, said the young woman, and she pointed up in the sky where a small bird flew in a haphazard course directly at them. It landed at Quails feet, and as the two women gazed at it. They saw it wasn’t a bird at all, but an intricately folded parchment. Quail snatched it up. Hurriedly, she unfolded the bird. “It’s a letter.” Her eyes went down to the bottom first. “From Bemis”. Her eyes danced back and forth across the page. “There’s going to be a meeting of Wizards, at least those of us who aren’t heading for the hills already, in the tavern. In an hour. To discus what this…” and she flourished a hand towards the city, “…is all about." The Sigilist looked up at Bailey, "Good. We’ll get some answers.”
There were six Wizards and their Apprentices who were brave, or foolhardey, enough to stay and attend the meeting. Quail and Bailey, and of course their fellow Sigilists, Bemis and Agarn; also the Elementalist Alfred the Unready and his boy Apprentice, and Gru the Soothsayer and Agnes, and the Summoner Challara and his Apprentice. As they pooled their information, Quail learned that, sure enough, it was the Great Evil that had done this; and the belief amongst those of them that had more information, was that it was an immensely powerful Lich. The consensus between all six of them was that tearing the city apart like had been done, must have taken an immense amount of magical power; and no matter how powerful the Lich might be, he was surely drained and weaker after such a feat. If they were going to have a chance and strike against the Evil, now was the opportunity.
Back at their tower, there was no time for Quail or Bailey to look at the their Magical Atlas to detect any hidden treasures in the raised section of city, (Both fail Reveal Secret), and certainly no time to get involved with brewing any potions (Both fail Brew Potion). Everyone gathered their things as quickly as possible and headed for the rendezvous point. Quail, however, did take the time to grab the scroll of Illusionary Soldier out of the vault, and she read it quickly when they reached the base of the chain they were assigned to ascend.
|Quail and Bailey Fog their flanks as a group of Ghouls climbs up over the edge of the floating rock.|
The climb up the large chain was arduous at best. Her months in the frozen city had certainly made Quail leaner and more muscular, but she was quite winded when the group finally reached the top. The Sigilist quickly surveyed the area they had come up in; it looked to be the middle of a mostly ruined building. She immediately detected they were flanked by two groups of Armored Skeletons milling about along the edge of the rocky ledge not far off, both to their left and right. “Fog” she said to Bailey, still huffing and puffing from the climb, and pointed over to their right. Quail then proceeded to cast a wall of white mist on their left, effectively blocking the skeletons’ view of them. Her Apprentice did likewise on the right.
Through the crumbling window frames to their front, Luc Demic, the Marksman, spotted a Death Cultist in the distance and fired his crossbow, hitting the man, but only wounding him. Then, Sir Cardidil the Knight spotted three Ghouls climb up from below the ledge, not far from where they all stood. (Treasure generated Random Encounter.), and shouted out a warning. Cirvid, the Warhound, lumbered forward and fiercely leapt at the nearest; sinking his teeth into the creature and killing it. Unfortunately, this allowed a second Ghoul to fall upon the distracted dog, cutting a deep gash in the animal’s flank with his ghastly claw like hands. The poor beast fell to the snow and lay motionless. The third Ghoul advanced at the Illusionary Soldier, who had obediently moved towards the danger.
Seeing Cirvid fall, Quail extended her right arm with her hand palm outwards, and recited the Push spell. The Ghoul, turning from the downed Warhound, was suddenly hurled a few dozen yards off the edge of the floating rock. Then gravity took effect, and it fell down towards to the city below, disappearing from view. With so many undead creatures lurking about, Bailey quickly tried to cast Awareness on herself, but she had little to no experience working the spell, and only ended up giving herself a splitting headache (Takes 2 HP damage). Meanwhile, Barc, the Man-at-Arms, ran up, and before the Ghoul could strike at the Illusionary Soldier, the Man at Arms, ran the creature through with his sword. Luc took a second shot at the Death Cultist, who had started advancing towards them despite his wound, and killed the man. Sallisee, the Ranger, was surprised to see one of the Armored Skeletons come round Bailey’s fog wall, and took a hasty shot, missing it. As she curse her aim, Clol the Barbarian bounded by her, and with one swoop of his mighty Club of Battering, he smashed the skeleton into a pile of broken bones. In the far distance Quail could make out the Lich Lord himself standing up in the middle of the main floor of a ruined manor house. He was all dressed in cursed red armor, and his head was nothing more than a skull with glowing eyes. As she watched he turned and fired an Elemental Bolt at some unseen target towards the distant left. The Sigilist tried to remember who had come up the chain in that direction, and recalled it was Alfred the Unready. (Lich Lord hit, but did no damage.)
|A lone Armored Skeleton approaches around Bailey’s fog wall.|
Quail and the rest of the warband slowly and hesitantly advanced. The Sigilist knew they were here to do a job, and they couldn’t just wait forever on the edge of the rocky ledge. Bailey paused to extend her Fog wall with another section of the white mist. She didn’t want anymore surprises to see them and come in their direction. And, she knew Gru the Soothsayer was over there; and even though she knew they all had agreed to be on peaceful terms for this encounter, she didn’t trust him and the strange yellow creatures that he used as his minions. Quail watched as the Lich Lord turned to his right rear now, and fired another Elemental Bolt in that direction. Bemis’ area, she thought. (Hit Bemis, doing about 8 HP of damage.)
As Quail moved forward, she saw the bright green words of a Drain Word spell for Telekinesis appear in the air. As Drain Word was one of Bemis’ calling cards, she figured he must not have been wounded too badly by the Lich Lord. Looking towards the Lich Lord again, the Siglist spotted a promising chest just inside an arch of the manor house, and despite the Draining Word in effect, she successfully casting Telekinesis and watched as the chest slowly drifted towards them, and dropped gently to the the snow. Then, the Wizard’s jaw dropped as the chest started moving again, but this time towards where Gru was located. Quail was infuriated, and called to Bailey, “That Soothsayer is stealing our chest! Block his view!" Bailey didn’t want to question Quail’s order, but all the young Apprentice could see from her position was the two Fog walls she had already made, she had no idea where Gru was located. So, despite her better judgement the young woman stepped forward and passed through the Fog walls she had made to the far side, just at the juncture between the two. She spotted Gru’s location, and easily threw up a wall of Fog blocking his sight from the chest. As Bailey finished the spell, she felt a stab of excruciating fire in her side, and she cried out in shock and pain. Looking down she saw the spike of a Bone Dart protruding from just under her ribcage on the right side. (Thrown by Gru’s Apprentice, Agnes.) Bailey felt faint, and the ground beneath her feet seemed to roll and pitch. (Bailey reduced to only 2 HP.) As she tried to stay conscious, a second stab of pain shot through her left shoulder, and through blurry eyes, she turned her head to see a crossbow bolt from one of Gru’s Marksmen sticking at an angle into her arm. Her eyes lost focus, the world gave a last roll beneath her feet, and her body pitched backwards into her Fog wall as all went black.
|Bailey fatefully moves through the fog to cast a blocking wall to prevent Gru from stealing their treasure.|
Quail heard her Apprentice’s cry, and had to fight every instinct to run to find out what was wrong, but there were eight other people depending on her at that moment. In the back of her mind the Sigilist told herself over and over, "Bailey has the Crystal Rose, she has the Crystal Rose…”, as a way to sooth her anguished thoughts. She calmed herself enough to cast Telekinesis on a second chest in the Manor House; this one on the grand staircase leading up to the main floor. But the Wizard’s mind was still distracted, and she had to force herself to complete the spell correctly, causing a spasm of pain in her brain. (Pushed for -2 HP)
Meanwhile, the Treasure Hunter, Innis Flynn, followed by the Illusionary Soldier rushed forward to retrieve the chest Gru was trying to steal. Quail saw them advance, then watched in horror as the new Fog wall Bailey had made melted away. (Gru used an Ivory Scroll of Dispel Magic.) With the wall gone Innis was exposed to all of Gru’s force, and he too felt the stab of one of Agnes’ Bone Darts, followed in quick succession by a bolt form a crossbow. His momentum caused him to pitch a few feet forward, as he came crashing down to the snowy pavement, where he lay motionless. Quail could see a trio of Gru’s soldiers running forward now. They reached the chest, and the Sigilist cursed under he breath. Sallisee tried to fire at one, but missed. Dorchesman ran forward to retrieve the second chest, and Clol, and the little halfling Treasure Hunter, Kinny, ran towards the steps of the ruined manor house.
|Kinny and Clol ascend the stairs of the manor house as nearby Dorchesman carries off his chest. Over on the right, Gru’s troops reach the disputed chest and start hauling it away.|
As the big Barbarian and little Halfling headed up the steps of the manor house, they could see that soldiers from Alfred the Unready’s group, as well as Missy the Necromancer’s, and Bemis contingent, with Bemis himself, were also approaching the Lich Lord. Kinny also spied a couple other treasures upon the floor, not far from where the Lich Lord stood. Maybe…in all the confusion…
Outside the ruined manor house, a skirmish was developing between Gru’s warband and Quail’s. Quail tried to send a Furious Quill at Gru’s Treasure Hunter, but the yellow creature successfully batted it away. Luc, however, fired at the creature with his crossbow and killed it. Gru launched a Bone Dart at Barc as he approached, hitting him; but the tough Man-at-Arms kept advancing. The Soothsayer’s Marksman fired at the Imaginary Soldier, hitting it. The magic dissolved and the soldier slowly turned to a fine mist and floated away.
|The noose closes around the Lich Lord.|
Meanwhile, up in the Manor House, the various groups of soldiers quickly looked at each other, and with no word spoken, charged at the Lich Lord. Alfred’s men hung back, but Missy’s Treasure Hunter was first there, brandishing her sword. Clol charged in next with his magic club held high, and he was soon joined by one of Bemis’ Treasure Hunters. Kinny, unnoticed by the rest, scooted forward and grabbed the treasure directly in front of her. The Lich Lord, in his weakened state, seemed momentarily confused by all the attackers charging him; and that moment of confusion was his undoing. Bemis’ Captain, Nigel, ran up behind the foul creature, and raising his sword high, brought it down with a furious power. There was a crack of energy that knocked them all a bit back as the sword cleaved halfway down the Lich Lord’s body, nearly splitting him in two. The Lich fell with an agonizing shriek and his body quickly turned to black ash as if he was being consumed by an unseen fire. (Bemis will surely give the details in his report, but as I remember Nigel went into the attack, with all his Captain benefits, the 4 additional attackers, and his magic weapons, having a +19 Attack. He then rolled very well. )
They all nearly fell as a shock wave went through the ground, and they felt the entire floating rock drop a couple inches in a single lurch. It didn’t stop dropping either. The floating city block slowly continued descending. As everyone scrambled to leave the house, Clol turned towards the second treasure, only to see one of Gru’s soldiers coming up the far steps and snatch up the prize. Infuriated, the Barbarian ran forward to strike this thief, but the strange yellow creature was quicker than the big human, and stabbed at him with his sword, cutting a deep gash. Clol stumbled backwards, bleeding and shocked. (reduced to 3 HP) Thinking better of pursuing, the Barbarian turned and joined those fleeing from the ruined manor house.
|The final battle, while Kinny uses the distraction to sneak forward and grab the nearby treasure.|
Back outside the manor house, Quail once again cast Fog to try and block her people from Gru’s soldiers. She needed this fight to end soon, as she could tell the floating rock was sinking. Sally finally had an arrow go true and hit another of Gru’s Treasure Hunters, killing it. The rest of Gru’s soldiers seemed disinclined to press the issue further, and joined their master in retreating. Quail, too, gave the fall back call, and raced over to check on Bailey. She ordered Barc to check on Innis. She reached Bailey and let out a gasp when she saw her there laying in the fog. She knelt down and was relieved to discover that the Apprentice seemed to still be alive, though barely. Quail called to Sir Cardidil, one of the few of her warband not wounded, to help get the girl down. They all made their way to the chain where they had come up. Kinny dragging her heavy chest, being the last to descend.
|Those who left the battle under their own power, along with their two treasures.|
Back at the their tower base. Quail had Sir Cardidil carry Bailey to her bed. And Innis was taken to his. The Sigilist sat on a chair near her Apprentice and tended her wounds with Healing spells and magical ointments. Bailey’s eyes fluttered open, and she looked at Quail with sadness and pain. “I’m sorry”, she whispered weakly.
"There, there, my child" Quail said soothingly. “There’s no need. We succeeded. The Evil is gone. Rest now.”
Later that night, when the Sigilist had time to look at the chests that had been retrieved, she found one held a pair of Boots of Leaping, and the other had a Grimoire of Forget Spell. There was also 160 gold coins. As she sat and leafed through the Grimoire, she was surprised to hear a familiar barking at the main door; and sure enough there was Cirvid, his fur bloody and matted, who somehow had survived and returned home.
Returning home was a good thing, she thought to herself. Her mind turned to her library back at the University. While a year ago she had been desperate to escape it’s dark cold halls, she now longed for its comforting familiarity, and its quiet security.
It was a frustrating game from start to finish. I should have known when I failed both my Reveal Secret rolls, and both my Brew Potion rolls, that it was going to be one of those days, and it was. I couldn’t roll to save myself. I feel extremely thankful that I even managed to get two treasures, and that no one died.
The Lich Lord himself proved to be a bit of a disappointment. I can see where having a player actually play the Lich Lord himself (as is recommended in the book) is much better than using the programed actions like we did. It didn’t help that all but one of his Elemental Bolts did no damage. The programed actions also allowed me to easily evade the skeletons with my Fog.
The final battle proved interesting, though very anti-climatic. It really showed the value of an experienced Captain in Frostgrave. And gave me a brief glimpse of what playing with a Heritor in Ghost Archipelago will be like.
And on a final note, last game Quail matched Kodak’s achievement by reaching level 29; this time she rose past him to level 33.
via One More Gaming Project http://onemoregamingproject.blogspot.com/2017/11/frostgrave-campaign-17-game-11-final.html
from Tumblr http://tumblr.hawks-club.org/post/167490410278