Campaign Diary #8: Gingerbread, Snowmen and Demons.

The following is one of my Campaign Diaries, where I recap the latest game of Dungeons and Dragons that my friends and I play. Click here for the Campaign Diaries in order, click here for a “Who’s who” style summary, and click here for a Dungeons and Dragons introduction post!

When last we left our heroes…

The party began to investigate the murder of their friend and ally Ser Donat of Rosenbeck. Donat was killed to cover up the kidnapping and planned sacrifice of a child. The party climbed the nearby Mt Surble to rescue the child and to avenge Ser Donat. On their way they met an immortal cleric, known as Santa Claus, who gave them magical tools to help in the fight.

The Summit of Mt Surble

Once they climbed the summit of Mt Surble, the raging blizzard, which had been getting stronger and stronger, suddenly stopped. They had reached the eye of the storm, as it were. A large dome of perfectly clear weather surrounded the peak, and they had finally reached it.

“What the hell is that?” muttered Gryff, pointing out a strange building ahead of them. It was a small house, seemingly made of wood. There was a door and window and a very steeply pointed roof. Strangely white icicles hung from each of the vividly painted decorations that covered the strange walls.

Yes, it was a gingerbread house. Yes, I made it specifically. Yes I ate most of it afterwards.

About halfway between the party and the Gingerbread House lay a large man, with a woman leaning over him, crying. The man looked seriously hurt. Reynarín ran towards them.

“Wait!” called Gryff, but Reynarín ran on. As she got closer, the woman bent over and kissed the man on the forehead, and pulled something out of her pocket. She crushed it and sprinkled it over the man, who promptly vanished.

“Are you okay? Is he okay?” asked Reynarín, getting within shouting distance just as the man disappeared. The woman glared at Reynarín.

“You can’t stop me from getting my son back!” She turned and ran towards the house, yanking the door open, and dissappearing inside.

Inside the Gingerbread House

“Well, that was unexpected,” Dovogholz stated flatly.

“Agreed,” Gryff drew an arrow from his new unlimited quiver, “Let’s just move on… cautiously.”

The party approached the gingerbread house, excersising much more caution than the woman they just met. Dovogholz looked in the window, and saw a long corridor that sharply turned left, and nothing else. Theon and Naoise walked around the house to see if there were any other windows or doors, and found it to be a lot smaller than they thought. When they told Dovogholz and the others this, they all discovered that it was a lot bigger on the inside.

Here is a picture of the Tardis. It has nothing to do with the post. *ahem*

They entered one by one, and just as Naoise stepped through, the door slammed shut behind them, and vanished.

Puzzles, Riddles and Conundrums.

No door?

“Don’t panic!” ordered Theon, “This is the home of the Krampus, so there has to be a way out. Magical or not we can figure this out. “Besides, that woman is in here, she can help us I’m sure.” But as they turned the corner of the corridor, the woman was nowhere to be seen.

So the group began to search for a secret door until Reynarín found a small sign written on the wall where the door used to be. It said:

Keep your eyes on me.

Following the sign’s instructions, Reynarín walked backwards down the corridor until she walked right through the solid wall at the end. Realising it was a fake door, the others copied her and followed.

Mind your manners.

Walking through the wall brought the party into a large circular room. On the wall hung a rather large painting of a man bowing to a woman, and the woman courtesying back. A plaque underneath the painting named it as “Mind your manners”. Opposite the painting was a door, with a steel gauntlet hanging on the wall beside it.

“Yeah it’s a pretty picture but let’s keep moving,” Dovogholz grunted, walking straight towards the door. The instant he put his hand on it the steel gauntlet came to life and slapped him across the face. It struck him so hard he spun and fell.

Gryff, Theon, Reynarín and Naoise all doubled over laughing, as Dovogholz stood up, grumpily telling them to all “Shut up.”

Naoise, taking the painting as hint, gave Gryff a courtsey, who bowed back in return. The pair approached the door and opened it. Once the rest of them bowed, courtseyed or showed any sort of manners at all, the gauntlet let them pass.

There’s a place you can go…

“Not another one!” moaned Theon, rubbing his face with his hands.

This time the group found themselves in a square room. It was stark and empty save for four short stone pillars. Each pillar was thick and strong enough to hold up a person. When Gryff walked forward he noticed a small carving of a rune in each pillar, along with painted footprints on the smooth flat top.

Theon, being the most bookish of them all went through the runes.

“They’re called Yoth, Miril, Croth and Alfard. Yoth is the Dwarven rune for strength, resembles a forked truss in a mine shaft. Miril is the Elven rune for grace. Looks like a willowy fountain with two rounded arches of water. Croth is a Draconic rune that stands for night. It looks like a crescent moon. and then you all know Alfard, it’s the first letter of the Common alphabet. It looks like a road leading into the distance.”

Now, for the first time ever, I’m going to tell you, dear reader, of what my players said, rather than the characters they play. Gryff’s player realised what was going on first and loudly laughed saying “Bredin you absolute prick!”

Yoth, Miril, Croth and Alfard… Y, M, C and A. Yes, I made them all do the dance. Once they did, I explained that the doors sprang open and onto a courtyard out the back of this magical home of the demon Krampus. They left…

The battle of Mt Surble.

They came out to a pure white field of snow, with a large hidious creature laughing to itself and building a snowman. The creature had the legs of goats, a man’s body and a demonic pointed face. A large forked tongue flicked out of its lips and it turned and smiled at the heroes.

“Where are the children?!” shouted Gryff, notching an arrow on his bow. The Krampus looked at the group, smiled and lifted a green bag onto its back. Then he clicked his fingers and the snowman sprang to life. In the same instant, an intense blizzard began and the Krampus vanished amongst the swirling snowflakes.

The Snowman lurched forward first, running to the group. It then opened it’s icy maw and a storm of hail, snow and shards of ice came flying out at them.

“SCATTER!” commanded Dovogholz, as he, Theon and Gryff jumped out of the way of the Snowman’s Ice Breath. Reynarín and Naoise weren’t so lucky, and the two of them fell to their backs from the force of the attack. Gryff let an arrow loose at the snowman as Theon hurled a Fire Bolt at it. Dovogholz ran to where the Krampus was last seen.

Reynarín and Naoise sprang to their feet, Reynarín casting a Spike Growth spell and Naoise firing a crossbow bolt at the snowman as well. “FIND THE KRAMPUS!” bellowed Gryff, running after Dovogholz.

A turn for the worst

As if invisible in the snowfall, the Krampus stepped out from behind Theon and attacked him with a large branch of a birch tree. Theon was sent sprawling to the ground as the Snowman ran straight for Naoise. The Snowman grabbed the tiny gnome and shoved her straight through it’s chest and trapped her inside it’s cold icy body.

With Theon lying on the ground and Naoise trapped inside the snowman it seemed that the group were struggling to win this battle. Reynarín raced to Theon’s side and healed him as Dovogholz managed to find and attack the Krampus. Freshly healed, Theon took a chance and hurled another Fire Bolt at the Snowman, this distracted the creature and Naoise managed to push her way out of it. Seeing the remnants of a Fire Bolt spell she had an idea.

“HIT IT AGAIN THEON!” she roared over the screaming storm, as she reached into her backpack and pulled out a flask of oil, pouring it all over the Snowman. Theon did as he was told and the Snowman was set ablaze by his third Fire Bolt spell. It didn’t take long for it to melt into the ground.

Winning the day

Once the Snowman was dealt with, all the party began to focus on killing the Krampus. However, the Krampus, now terrified and alone in the fight, began to act more desperately. He began to use spells against the party, hurling giants blades of ice, causing hail to pelt them, and all the while swinging his giant birch switch at them. It wasn’t enough, however, and it was Gryff who sank an arrow into the beasts eye that ended the battle.

Instantly the howling blizzard stopped and the Krampus froze on the spot. Like a candle, he began to melt away from the top down, leaving nothing save the green bag. Reynarín stepped up to it and opened it, to see Carp the little halfling boy, and another child asleep inside.

Just at that moment, Lana, the woman they met outside the Gingerbread House, came running out to the group. “My boy! Where’s Henry!?” she called. The group reunited the woman with her son, happy to have helped in some way. They stood watching as she hugged and kissed her young son, on the steep peak of the snow-covered Mt Surble.

Why did the Black Spider summon the Krampus?

Who exactly is this Lana woman?

Will anyone buy new oil for Naoise?!

Find out the answers to all these and more, next time!

Behind the Screen…

Wizards of the Coast

So these last two entries, which was just the one session, was a blast for me. The side-plot of Krampus and the murder of Donat has nothing to do with the Starter Set as written. We played this as a “Christmas Special” of sorts, and I incorporated the fact that one of my players wanted to call it quits (Ser Donat of Rosenbeck).

The players really surprised me this session, that use of oil on the snowman was fantastic. I couldn’t find the rules for something being on fire, so I did what any good Dungeon Master would do. I made it up and looked it up later.

I decided that the fire damage would be 1d10+1, but I’d reroll anything lower than a four. I happened to roll a 10, and a few more hits and the snowman went down. The Krampus was having a bad time, nearly every spell and attack missed until the end. With the Krampus’ bad luck and the players having some good luck, they dispatched of him fairly quickly.

Overall there was nothing I would have changed from the session. It was fun, exciting, and full of surprises for the players.

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