In Search of Xin-Shalast I

Frost Worm Hunt by Akeiron

Rise of the Runelords Campaign Journal. Session Date: 5 June 2015. Continued from previous session

The heroes quickly cleared out the final wing of Runeforge, encountering only a single jelly monster, which they dispatched with ease. They then returned to Jorgenfist to plan their next move. They needed to go after Karzoug, but they had so far not been able to find out where his fabled city of gold was located. If it had even survived the last 10,000 years.

There were many other issues demanding their attention when the party returned to their fledgling town, however. The sage Brodert Quink had begun cataloging some of the many books they had recovered from Runeforge, all the while searching for some mention of the location of Karzoug’s city. Numerous requests had reached Jorgenfist, from historians and mages alike, begging access to the great library. Ciaran decided to charge a small fee to those wishing to visit the library, to cover costs of lodging and food. He did extend a special invitation to the headmaster of the Acadamae in Korvosa as a gesture of goodwill. Ciaran also began planning for the protection of the library and its priceless contents.

Jorgenfist now had a bustling mining operation and had attracted miners, fortune seekers and mercenaries. The cleric from the cathedral of Abadar in Magnimar had arrived as well, and he was already dealing with matters related to the treasury. Several warriors had arrived from the northern lands and were getting the villagers into shape.

Brodert Quink received a letter from a noted historian who recounted a story of some dwarves who claimed to have found the route to Xin-Shalast. They had returned to Janderhoff to get funding and supplies, set off into the Kodar mountains, and were never heard from again. It was a slim lead, but it was the only one that they had. The heroes teleported to the vicinity of the dwarves’ last known location, and eventually discovered what must have been their base of operations.

It was clear that the dwarves’ cabin had been abandoned for many years, but it seemed the spirits of the dwarves were not at rest. First the heroes came upon a ghostly dwarf eating arsenic-tainted gold dust, then the same ghostly figure was seen fleeing into the rapidly deteriorating weather outside. In another room, the heroes experienced the overwhelming pain of starvation. In yet another, they discovered a pile of clean-picked dwarven bones, and were beset by ravenous ghosts. It was very clear that something horrific happened to the dwarves on their expedition. Eventually they were asked by the spirit of one of the dwarves, Silas Vekker, to retrieve his brother Karivek’s bones from the place where he died so they could both rest at last.

The heroes set out in the blizzard, using Cecil’s survival skills and Ciaran’s dimension door spell to eventually find their way to the location of Karivek’s body. Before they could investigate the strange way his body seemed to have fallen from a great height or the fact that his feet were little more than burned stumps, a huge frost worm attacked them. Things would probably have been fine if Karivek’s ghost hadn’t also joined the fight. The hungry-looking ghost seemed as desperate for flesh in death as he had been in life, and he tore several chunks out of Cecil before using his corrupting touch to bring the orc down.

Once the frost worm was defeated – its body shattered into thousands of deadly shards as it died – Nu, Radha and Ciaran were able to focus their attacks on Karivek’s ghost, and they defeated him. Nanali’s breath of life spell was not able to bring Cecil back from death, and the heroes were forced to return to Magnimar to seek resurrection services once again.

Image: Frost Worm Hunt by Akeiron on Deviant Art

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