Frostgrave Campaign ’17, Game 12: Red Sled Down, or, The Last Excursion

Chris Palmer    On Saturday December 9th, we got together for our Frostgrave Christmas Party and the last game of this past year’s campaign.    Sadly, only 5 our our regulars could make it; but a grand time was had by those who were there!   As we did last year, everyone brought Christmas cookies and other treats, and three small gaming-related presents, of approximately $5 value, to correspond with the three treasure tokens they would place on the table.

A view of the table at the start of the game.

   The scenario we did we called Red Sled Down, and featured Santa’s Sleigh crashing over Frostgrave on Christmas Eve, scattering present across the city.  Also, Santa and Mrs Claus had survived the crash, and are stranded on two towers in the city.  To add a little more challenge to the mix, we also added two teams of 6 goblins (we used Thug stats) who were trying to gather up the presents/treasures for themselves.  They were ruled to move towards the closest unclaimed treasures first, and if there were no unclaimed ones, then they would try to get claimed ones.  At game’s end, however many treasures a player recovered (not counting Reveal Secret treasures,) was the number of gifts that player could select from the gift pile.

Loot!  The present pile for the treasure-based gift exchange.

    Just for fun, I also created a half dozen special treasure tokens based on iconic props from the classic Christmas movie, “A Christmas Story”.  You can see most of them here: Christmas Story Treasure. I also did a pair of pink bunny slippers and a cooked turkey.  In addition to these, I made a small piece of scatter terrain that was a zombie with his tongue stuck to a frozen flag pole, just like in the famous Ttriple-Dog-Dare scene from the movie.
      I got first choice on set up position, so I took a corner by a large square ruin, and a large bronze statue of a female warrior.  In the distance was a ruined tower complex, and a large monument to a vampire lord.  Across from me was Alfred the Unready, an Elementalist,  and his odd Duckmen; and to my left was Gru the Soothsayer and his strange yellow minion creatures.  Diagonally across from me, on the left, was Bemis with whom I didn’t really deal with during the game, (though he did help out with a much needed Fog Wall at one point!)
   For an account of last month’s game see: The Final Battle

A Christmas Story based terrain piece: a poor zombie who was triple-dog-dared to put his tongue on a Frozen flagpole! 🙂 

 
The Report

     Quail sat at the big table in the main hall sipping her tea.  She looked around at the walls and ceiling of the old tower, musing over who had built it and originally occupied it.  It had been a good home to them this past year.   So many memories…  She would be sad to move out of it.  But the fact was, her year of leave from the University was over, and they would soon be starting the long trip back.  Already many of her belongings and artifacts from the trip, as well as those of her Apprentice Bailisette, and the old Knight, Sir Cardidil, who had acted as their escort for the trip, were piled in cases and trunks along one wall inside the tower’s entryway; waiting for Sir Cardidil to come back from town with the horse and wagon they had hired.  In fact he was due any minute.
  The Sigilist didn’t have to wonder about the Knight’s whereabouts for long, for only minutes later he came bursting through the door of the main hall.  He had been such a good and loyal companion this past year; where would they have been without his combat knowledge and field skills to help them through the first few months.
     Seeing the wizard sitting at the table, Sir C. stopped short, and  exclaimed, “My Lady; there’s news!”;  and he proceeded to relate the tale he had heard at the inn while he had been in town fetching the horse and wagon.  Apparently, some folks had spotted a strange sight in the sky the night before: a large red sleigh pulled by strange deer-like creatures, flying through the air.  It appeared to be in some distress, as it’s flight was very irregular; up and down and side to side; nearly tipping over at some points.  It was last seen heading into the old city, where there were reports that it crashed; sending its odd cargo of fancily wrapped boxes all over a mile or more of the ruins.  “So, some of the wizards are preparing to go see what’s what, and I thought you might want to be a part of that.” the old Knight concluded.
     Quail thought about the situation for a moment; surely they could delay their departure for a few hours.  Everyone was still here in the tower, it wouldn’t take too long to get the group together.  The wizard couldn’t resist one more chance to venture into Frostgrave. “Go get the party ready.” the Sigilist said to the Knight, “I’ll go tell Bailey to prepare”.  Quail realized there would be no time to prepare potions; and their potion making equipment was already packed up anyway. (Both casters fail their pre-game Brew Potion rolls.)

The disposition of treasure in the area where Quail entered the table.

   As the group moved through the outskirts of Feldstad, towards the location the mysterious flying sled had last been seen, Quail remarked, “I think I know this area.” Bailey, her Apprentice, looked at her questioningly, and the Sigilist continued, “Yes, I’ve been reading more of the Magical Atlas of Feldstad this past week, seeing what magical wonders we may have missed in our time here, and it seems to me there was a power Enchanter that lived near this area…see that ruined tower over there, and that statue of the warrior there… and he kept his cache of grimoires hidden in a niche in a stone wall near his house.  In case of thieves breaking into his dwelling. We’ll have to check it out."  (Quail casts Reveal Secret pre-game.)

     They had not gone much further when a few strange sights caught there eye.  First on a high part of a tower not far away, directly to their front, there was a distressed looking woman, all dressed in red, huddled and looking quite cold and scared.    Also, to their left, they heard the chattering of a group of Snow Goblins, who appeared to be putting a large package on to a sledge. Quail realized it must be one of the scattered boxes Sir Cardidil had told her about.   The group also noticed a few other large boxes scattered about, all wrapped up in shiny metallic paper.  They all pondered what could be in them.  
     Quail quickly divided up the party; this would be easy she thought.   She moved off to the left with Luc Demic the Marksman, Sir Cardidil, and Dorchesman the Treasure Hunter.  She instructed Bailey to go investigate the right with Sallisee the Ranger, and Innis Flynn and Kinny the other Treasure Hunters.  And the Sigilist pointed out a sturdy cut-stone wall a short ways off that might hold the Enchanter’s horde of Grimoires.  Barc the Man-at-Arms, Clol the Barbarian, and Cirvid the Warhound were kept nearby, and told to help out where ever they could be most useful
Quail’s starting position.  Quail with Sir Cardidil, Luc Demic, and Dorchesman.  Bailey with Salisee, Innis Flin, and Kinny.  Clol, Barc, and Cirvid in reserve.  
         Quail quickly became aware of the nearby gibbering of those fiendish yellow creatures belonging to the Soothsayer Gru; and in the distance she caught the echo of the odd quacking language of Alfred the Unready’s Duckmen.  Her immediate concern was the Goblins though.  "I’ll be having that,” she said under her breath as she focused a Telekinesis spell on the box sitting on the Goblin sledge.  It immediately raised up in the air, much to the shock of the Goblins, and came drifting towards the Sigilist.   With at least two other wizards in the area, she had to be carefully which direction she moved the package, so it wouldn’t be seen by anyone else; and making a hasty decision, she moved it off to her left behind two walls, rather than bring it directly towards her.
     Bailey, spotted another package in an archway of the distant ruined tower, and she too cast Telekinesis, moving the package directly towards the warband.  Quail noticed, and smiled to herself, thinking how her Apprentice had learned to use so much of her own initiative since they had been in the city; the Sigilist no longer needed her to tell her everything to do on these excursions.  
A trio of Ghouls enters between Quail’s and Gru’s warbands, near the square ruined building, on the first turn. 

      The rest of the party advanced.  Kinny was instructed to go over to check for the Grimoires in the wall, and Innis noticed something shiny in a nearby well and moved up to investigate.  Barc observed some movement behind the group, and called out a warning as three ghouls came shambling up near the ruined square building they had just passed. (Random treasure-activated Bestiary appearance.)   The Man-at-Arms tightened his grip on his spear and went running in their direction, trying to stay out of their view in hopes that they might just wander off.  Back at the sledge, the Goblins were quick to recover from the shock of seeing their prize fly away, and two of them went running after it.  The other two, taking notice of the package Bailey had moved, went running after this new target.
     Once again Quail mustered up a Telekinesis spell and move the box a little further away from the pursuing Goblins.  Unfortunately now, the Goblins weren’t her only problem, as members of Gru’s warband approached the square ruin from the far side.  She noticed that there appeared to be a treasure also hidden within it’s ruined rooms as well.   Bailey duplicated her mistresses’ efforts, and she continued using Telekinesis on the same package she had done so on earlier, even with the two Goblins in hot pursuit. 

Opening moves.  The party enters, and the Spell Casters use Telekinesis on the two treasures.  The Goblins chase after them. Gru’s warband can be seen forming up along the wall on Quails left, at the top left of the photo.  Alfred the Unready’s warband can bee seen entering the ruined tower in the upper right of the photo.  They were the ones to rescue Mrs Claus off the tower by using a Leap spell on her.

      Sir Cardidil ran forward to deal with the pesky Goblins chasing Bailey’s box, and Quail directed Clol to run forward and grab the newly discovered package in the square ruins.  Luc Demic helped clear a Goblin away from the package Quail was moving with a well aimed shot from his crossbow.  The Sigilist also had noticed members of Alfred the Unready’s warband getting nearer, including his large bear companion, and send Cirvid the Warhound to stand guard in a narrow gap between part of a ruined tower and a low wall.
       And then, suddenly, several of Gru’s soldiers were upon them.  Clol found himself battling two of them before he had a chance to pick up the treasure in the ruin.  Likewise, the Goblin pursuing the treasure Quail had been moving was soon a victim to the Soothsayer’s minions as well.

Clol goes to get the treasure in the square ruin, as Sir Cardidil goes after two of the Goblins, and Cirvid the Warhound moves up to guard the gap leading to Alfred the Unready’s warband.  Barc moves back to keep an eye on the Ghouls. (center left of photo).  In the lower right, Innis is getting the treasure in the ruined well. 

      The Siglist was quickly finding herself flanked on two sides.  Memories of the distaster at the river, shortly after she had arrived in the Frostgrave, flashed in the back of her mind.   There too, she had found herself squeezed between two warbands, and the results had not been good.  She quickly tried to cast Awareness, but  rushed the spell and was rewarded with a stab of pain behind her eyes (-1 HP).  Bailey, meanwhile, saw what was going on in the square ruin, and used Telekinesis to move the package out of the middle of the battle between Gru’s troops and Clol.  Dorchesman, the Treasure Hunter, was now next to the package Bailey had been moving earlier, so he picked it up and turned to head back to the tower.  Likewise, Kinny had found one surviving Grimoire from the Enchanter’s cache in the wall, as well as some gold coins; and Innis had retrieved a package from the well.  Both had secured their treasures and were heading away from the area.  The Goblins seeing all the packages slipping out of their grasps, pursued the one yet unclaimed one; which was the one Bailey had just moved out of the square ruin.  This sent the Goblins right into the middle of Quails’ warband.
  Back behind the group, Barc easily dealt with one of the marauding Ghouls, and Sally put an arrow through a second.  The third had apparently wandered off towards Gru’s area. Cirvid braced himself and prepared to battle the Elementalist’s Bear, but was shocked to see a rogue Rangifer come lumbering up and charge the big beast. (Random treasure-activated Bestiary appearance.)
     Quail then became aware of members of Gru’s force moving to the left of the square ruin trying to cut her party off from behind.    Quickly, she ran back to see what she could do, and cast a wall of Fog by the back of the ruin to block any missile troops. Bailey also became aware of what was happening, and realized that getting the treasure they had recovered back to base quickly was becoming a high priority.  She turned and tried to use a Push spell on Innis to help get him back to the tower faster, but the spell fizzled and the Treasure Hunter felt nothing more than a strong breeze blow by him.

Quail is brought down by a crossbow, as the present-chasing Goblins are encircled. Behind the group, Bailey faces the Elementalist’s  Bear (being proxied by a gorilla figure).

    Clol had moved out of the ruin and after the treasure Bailey had moved, and he, Sir Cardidil, and Barc, now moved into deal with the Goblins who threatened to take the last unclaimed prize.   Quail felt confident that they could handle the Goblins, so turned to give her fog wall a quick glance to make sure no one was coming through.  She was horrified to see it suddenly vaporizing into misty tendrils while she looked at it. (Gru’s Apprentice uses Dispel Magic).  As the last wisps of vapor drifted in the cold air, the Siglist suddenly realized she was looking directly at a Marksman with a crossbow a short distance past where the Fog wall had been. She then heard the distinctive sharp sound of the weapon being fired, and was immediately aware of piercing pain in her side.  Then the ruins around her spun into a whirl of grey and white, and her world went black.
      Bailey saw Quail go down, and let out a loud cry of dismay.   Her exclamation was cut short though by an even louder sound; a growl that was very close by, and the Apprentice turned to see Alfred the Unready’s bear just feet away.  Bailey had only seconds to raise her weapon to defend herself from the beast’s giant claw-studded paws.   Then there was once again the distinctive twang of a crossbow, and  Barc was brought down by one of  Gru’s Marksmen.
     Behind her, Bailey heard a strange soft sizzle sound like water on a hot stove, and before her mind could register what it was, there was a large eruption just a few yards away.  The Apprentice turned from fighting the bear and watched in horror as the ground erupted in a flash of blue electric light, right in the middle of the battle between the Goblins, Barc, and Clol. She and the bear were covered in icy particles, dirt, and masonry.  As she spat grit from her mouth she looked in horror to see Sir Cardidil was down, and unmoving; his tabard smoked a little as if charred by unseen flame.   Clol and Barc, however seemed to be unharmed, as did the Goblins; though they all stood there blinking and dazed, covered in snow and dust.  (Alfred the Unready cast Elemental Ball.)

Barc is already down from a crossbow bolt, as the first Elemental Ball explodes.

     No one had any time to recover though before there was another slight sound of sizzling, and the ground erupted once again in blue electric light, in almost the exact same spot (The Elementalist’s Apprentice also casts Elemental Ball). This time Barc,  one of the Goblins, and Luc Demic, who was standing just a bit too close,  were all done and unmoving on the ground.  Bailey froze at the sight of all the bodies in the snow; one piled on top of another. Her mind went numb, and then she caught movement out of the corner of her eye, and a split second too late, remembered the Bear.  As the Apprentice turned, she had a glance of a paw twice as big as her head inches form her face, and felt the hard impact, and the claws scrape painfully along the side of her head. She felt the ground heave her body spin as if floating in air, and the grey daylight turned to night.
    Sally suddenly found herself all alone in the ruins.  She fired at the Elementalist, but missed. Turning, she was faced with two of Gru’s soldiers. Sensing the inevitable, she bravely tried to defend herself, but was quickly sent to join the rest of the warband lying in the blood-soaked snow.

Carnage everywhere.  Gru’s minions move in as Sally is the last soldier standing…though not for long.  At the very top of the photo, just right of center, the Elementalist’s Apprentice, and one of his Duckmen can be seen.

     Back in  the tower, the three Treasure Hunters, and Cirvid, waited, and paced, and glanced nervously at each other; and as the hour grew later and no one else had returned, they came to the conclusion that they needed to return to the city to find out what happened before darkness set in.   They were shocked at the scene of destruction they discovered.  Clol, battered and bloody knelt by Barc, tending the crossbow bolt wound above his right hip.  Bailey, blood covering the side of her head where the bear’s claws had slashed her,  was casting a Heal spell as she stood over Sally.  The Ranger sat leaned up against a low wall; a makeshift bandage around her shoulder.   Luc was sitting propped against the wall of the square ruin, trying to figure out how to stand with one bloody leg splinted with a bit of scrounged timber and some torn cloth.   In the middle of them all was Quail, crying soft tears as she sat next to Sir Cardidil, who still lay unmoving in the snow.   She held his lifeless hand in hers, as she rocked back and forth, and spoke silent words to him.
   One by one they helped each other back to the tower.  Quail was the last to leave the city.  The Maga Librarian sat with her brave knight until her legs were frozen and she could hardly stand.   Clol came, and with more care than you would expect from the big Barbarian, gently lifted the Knight  as carefully as a newborn baby, and carried him back to the tower.  Bailey came for Quail, and helping her up, the pair leaned on each other as they walked out of city.  Quail stopped them on the outskirts, and as the last rays of the setting sun painted the the sky orange and purple, she  turned to look back at the crumbling towers and  leaning spires of the ancient city.  She felt suddenly very old. The Sigilist sighed deeply, and wiping the last few frozen tears from her face, turned and headed with her Apprentice back to the tower.

The survivors and their three treasure.

     They slowly healed.  And one by one the soldiers left to seek new adventurers.   Quail had Sir Cardidil buried by the garden in the back of the tower.  A stone monument was placed to mark his final resting spot. The Knight had been a good friend and a faithful companion this past year.  Quail would never forget their time together.
     And Bemis dropped in for a visit a couple days after the last excursion.  Hearing that Quail had been injured in the day’s events he wanted to check on his fellow Sigilsit’s well-being.   He too was leaving the city.   And as Siglist’s always do, they promised to write letters to each other in the years ahead.
     When the time came to head back to the University Library, Quail was filled with a whirl of emotions.  It would be a sad journey without her old friend, Sir Cardidil.  He had made the journey with them to Feldstad a year ago, and it didn’t seem right not to have his wise advice and good company on their trip home.  She would miss the excitement of discovery and the companionship of fellow adventurers.   The stuffy meetings of academia would pale in comparison to nights of stories and laughter in the tower.  But she also looked forward to sharing her new-found knowledge, and the familiarity of her old Library.    And, they had defeated a Great Evil while they had been there.  The world would provably never know what might have been if the few brave wizards who had stayed to face the Lich Lord, hadn’t had the courage to do so.  But the had stayed, and the world was safer because of it.
     And who knew’; maybe one day in the future she would come visit Sir Cardidil again, and maybe seek a new adventure in the old city.

The seven who fell during the battle: Quail, Bailey, Sir Cariddil, Clol,  Luc Demic, Barc,  Sallisee.

Game Epilogue

   Wow, what a game!  Almost a Total Party Kill, but not quite.  It was brutal to have lived though.  But the good company and festive atmosphere more than made up for the poor game outcome.  All in all a great campaign!
  The final haul for the game was 3 treasures (one of which was the Reveal Secret Treasure) totaling 230 GC, a Grimoire of Enchant Weapon, and Ring of Power +1.   Of the seven members of the warband that fell during the battle: Quail, Bailey, and Clol were all fine; Luc Demic, Barc, and Salllisee were Badly Wounded; and Sir Cardidil was dead.  Interestingly this was the first death the party suffered in the campaign.  How unlike Kodak’s campaign where he lost somebody almost every game.
   Bemis was the winner of this years’ campaign.  I forget what level he reached, but I’m sure he will report it soon in his write-up.   Quail reached Level 35, and took home a treasury of  1030 Gold Coins.  Not a bat retirement for a professor! 🙂   She also learned 7 new spells during her time in the city,  beyond her beginning 8 spells she knew when she arrived.

Selecting our “treasure” from the pile!

     After the game we traded in our treasure for gifts form the Present Exchange pile, had some cookies, and celebrated a very fun campaign.  We then set up for a test game of Ghost Archipelago, which will be the rules we will use for next year’s campaign.  I will be posting a report from this test game as well, hopefully in the next week or so.  So look for that link here.
    And before signing off for this year, I wanted to say a special thank you to my readers!  I really appreciate the feedback and comments you all have given my through the year.  I hope you enjoyed following Quail and her adventures, as much as I did writing them.  I also hope to see you all for our trip to the Ghost Archipelago next year.  Stay tuned!

via One More Gaming Project http://onemoregamingproject.blogspot.com/2017/12/frostgrave-campaign-17-game-12-red-sled.html
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