Lord Ordin's keep

GAME FOURTEEN: November 3, 2007

Tales from the Drowning Bear Lodge


Our old friends the Neanderthals approach us tentatively.  Seems they have a problem.  They were out hunting and their party came across an ice castle that was new, on the edge of a lake.  One of their parties has disappeared in that area.  They fear this place will be a problem and offer us 3 magic items and 500gp to go investigate the place.

So we invest a bunch of money and have Khouzam make us something for the weather (gloves that grant "Endure Elements" protection).  We can take a difficult climb to get directly there, or we can go the long way, right past our old burned-out lodge.  So we go the long way, rest at the lodge, and then continue up the next day toward the frozen lake and the ice castle.

On the way, the party is attacked by some manta-ray like creatures that fly, and who use snow to make themselves hard to target.  They engage the party.  They're disposed of without any major injuries.

We arrive at the castle and through observation it is deduced that any attempts to step across the small 1ft divide in the ice will probably send us into the water due to how brittle the ice is on the other side.  The building is basically a big tower with a few visible windows.  Murk goes across and checks out the windows and can see nothing but unnatural darkness.  So we ferry everyone across through use of polymorph and carry maneuver.  As everyone stands at the edge and decides what to do first, Gilda leaps into the darkness below and lands without any serious injury.  Immediately Zam dispels the darkness, and from up top the group can see four large ogrely beings and some kind of strange aberration.  When we go to rounds, Zam winds up toasting most of them with his custom tailored fireballs.  The aberration thingie (an Ice Golem) however is still up and about.

It comes through the door and face to face with Gilda, so the two tie up and unfortunately it is extremely strong.  Nyzene summons a bear, and the group slugs it out with the thing, which seems to be able to ignore all spells.  Slash and piercing weapons don't do much damage to it, however the blunt ones seem to be doing some damage.  So Gilda is doing the most damage when she's not in the thing's grip.  It takes a while but between summoned creatures, various enhancements to Gilda, lots of healing to keep her up, and just pecking away, the Ice Golem goes down and breaks into so many ice cubes.  We find in a search of the place: 4 Potions of Water Breathing.

There are stairs that lead below, but we need rest.  So most that is done is that Murk looks below the waterline (the stairs recede into water) and discovers a closed door.  We climb into the rafters and sleep.  During her watch, Gilda hears something but it just turns out to be an object that surfaced in the water below.  It's a small tin that bobbed to the surface.  After the shift ends, we go down and look and it radiates magic, say the spell casters.  It radiates necromancy!  No one is in a hurry to sample it.

Investigating below the water line, we come through a door and discover a few mostly unused rooms, a room that has in it hundreds of birds suspended in ice cubes.  Yes, you read correctly.  Birds... in ice cubes.  And in one area, we find a hag and her amphibious minions.  She tries to curse us and most resist the role.  We slaughter her kin, but in a zany fit of fervor, the hag leaps through the crowd to attack someone and is cut down by many attacks of opportunity en route.  After that, her people are easy prey and they know it; They swim away and out through various submerged windows.

The next encounter is with yet another hag.  Seems the first one had a sister.  She is on what we figure out is the bottom floor.  The only problem is that she too has an ice golem guard.  Murk, who can hid from nearly anything, spots the two below.  But I should explain the room first:  It's a square room filled with water, except where there is a canvas staked down in the middle of the room.  The canvas bulges up.  It's a hand-made air pocket!  At the center of the floor beneath the canvas is a large hole.

Khouzam launches a fireball into the hole once Murk pulls back, and he listens for the sounds of pain.  When he hears the witch suffering, he launches a second, bigger fireball into the hole and she is toast!  As before, the Golem ignores the spell.

I like the next move, too bad it failed.  Murk transforms into a replica of the witch and drops down into the hole, ordering the golem to turn away.  The golem apparently sees right through this and comes after him/her.  Murk gets back up, but the golem is coming!  It grabs the opening and begins to pull up.  Gilda leaps on it and tries to drag it down into the hole, the only problem is that she a)has no decent jump skills, b)misses the grab, c) has no tumble skills.  So she just lands in a hole basically. The creature climbs up, grabs our mage, and attempts to squish him.  Now the best result of the night:  Jim bluffs being unconscious!  He beats the golem in a contested roll by one and the golem lets go of him and comes after the rest of us, who are downstairs by now.

There are two sets of doors in this room.  The first set go out into the lake.  The other set of doors go into this, the last floor of the castle.  There's a wrestling match between the golem and Gilda and various summoned bears and undead.  The bears are particularly funny/sad, as we are now underwater (the golem broke the air bubble causing the water to flood in), and bears, as you may well know, are not amphibious.  So they are summoned to fight for a few rounds, knowing they're going to die LONG before they drown.  Thus it is suggested that when we rebuild the lodge we traveled from that it be named the Drowning Bear Lodge.

The skeletons, et al, provide good cover, as when the creature's hands are full it provides us the opportunity to rush out through the open doorway, including Gilda.  Now the funny thing to me is this:  As Gilda rushes out, a number of players seem to think she is going to stick around and fight, despite the fact that they explicitly told her that if someone says "retreat" then we all retreat.  It has been said, and she sticks to the deal.

We escape, but nobody is happy with leaving the golem there, especially if it's guarding treasure.  Well, it may very well have been.  When we later go back to take the golem on, it is gone.  We suspect there was a third witch (as tends to be the case with witches) who took her golem and went home.  There's no additional treasure to be found.

There's some stuff about Zam disjuncting a storm which I skipped over, along with some back and forth travel.