- Player Characters: Calindy, Harlan, Jolan, Naidora, Richard, Uryaen (Ryan)
- Final Party XP Pool: 1,490 (+500) (-10)
- Percent To Next Level (2) : 66%
- Miles Traveled: 15 (Since Highpass)
At least it warmed up. Stalled by a harsh cold snap the previous day, the companions set their camp in the safety of a stone overhang to protect them from a late rain and a cold night. Still, rain meant clouds, and the overcast weather helped warm the night up just slightly, although didn’t impede Naidora’s hunting, producing an evening meal.
Morning brought new troubles – Harlan seemed to have vanished, taking the sled with many of the party’s supplies with him. In their search for a solution, Jolan and Calindy knocked down some branches, took Calindy’s skis, and rigged a makeshift sled to carry the tent that Harlan had left behind when he disappeared. Beofre they could start on the road, fierce, bloodthirsty hawks Naidora spotted the night before attacked them, particularly eager for human flesh – Until swift blades and spears ended their hunt.
Striking out, the day was good for travel in the morning, the party making more time than they realized until a massive wall of rock blocked their path. Calindy made a daring, and almost fatal climb up the bare rock, allowing Jolan and Richard to combine their magical prowess to get the whole group up and over. On the other side, a long slope of fresh snows made for easy going, but Calindy and Naidora noticed that the warming temperatures made the mountains dangerous. Suspicions were confirmed before long, when Jolan spotted a landslide long before anyone heard it, offering enough warning to escape the deadly bury zone. Everyone but Calindy found themselves swept up and buried. The Halfling’s quick thinking helped free Naidora, before Jolan’s familiar located the sorcerer, leaving Richard unaccounted for. Almost too late, the trio dug fast and managed to locate Richard, unconscious beneath the slide. Rather than risk further trouble, assuming the mountain had done it’s worst, they decided to dig out a cave in the snow with Calindy’s handy shovel, and hunt up some berries and meat for dinner.
The following morning brought a surprise early on in travels. Atop a rocky escarpment, Calindy located a strange object seemingly held aloft by a stiff rope. The party ventured up through a series of exposed cliffs to find out what the object was, and discovered something far more unusual than they had imagined…
Elsewhere in the waste, a lone traveler stepping lightly over the deep snows (via snowshoes) discovered the abandoned den in the snow. Intrigued, he followed their unhidden tracks across the mountainside, then up the same path to the top of the cliffs.
Meanwhile, Harlan followed. His side trip had put him hours behind the group, but their difficulty with the rockslide and the snow had given him a chance to catch up.
Atop the escarpment, Calindy, Jolan, Naidora and Richard found the remains of a shipwreck, thousands of feet above sea level. Oddly, the vessel seemed to match a drawing in Calindy’s book, now filled as if with watercolors to show a ship sailing above the clouds alongside birds. Investigating through a gash in the side of the hold, they found evidence of long gone skeletons of miniscule sailors, along with simply unfathomable wealth, huge chests filled with silver. In their search, Jolan realized a stranger was watching them from the snow below, and Calindy shouted down. Who would be out here in the middle of nowhere, let alone follow them up? An elf, of course. Nimbly joining them atop the deck, The Answerer joined them and introduced himself as Ryan – Short for Uryaen.
With a hiss of sleds on snow, Harlan returned as well, offering little explanation for his absence, most simply welcome to have their missing belongings and a strong worker around to plunge into the wealth of the ship.
Supplies and Wealth: Untold volume of silver pieces. More than enough firewood. Uncarryable quantities of silk rope. Sewing kit, carpentry, leatherworking tools. Masterwork weaponsmithing tools. 125gp Alchemical Supplies. 20 100-page journals. Parchment and bookbinding supplies. Calligraphy kit.
Seven Six 500gp bags of gems. 3lb jewel-studded scepter.
Equipment: Masterwork Chain Shirt (Small), MW Longsword (small), Darkwood Buckler,
Magic: 500gp scroll materials. 500gp spellbook inscribing materials. Spellbook with most PHB Wizard spells up to 4th level. Gnome hooked hammer. Totem of Tah’lain, The Giant’s Cat. Scrolls: Burning Hands x2, Ray of Flame (CL 5), Resist Energy x2.
Chests carrying gems, art, and more subtle wealth filled the hold, while an alchemist’s workshop, a trove of books and a few key pieces of equipment turned up elsewhere. But below decks came the most shocking display of material – gold ingots stacked high in the lower hull, and a huge furnace-like machine that seemed connected to the troughs of lead spheres along both sides of the deck. Richard determined through study what Harlan discovered by trial and error – The machine turned ingots of gold into many times their mass in lead spheres! The companions realized that the entire boat, much like the plank they had seen chained to the ground, would float up if left to it’s own devices – And only the mass of lead held it firm to the ground. In addition, a strange, warm hammer-like weapon seemed to power the device.
Before the companions could seek more answers, the lower hold’s other inhabitants – Giant wasps, unfathomably with the faces of fiercely fanged baboons, wormed out of their nest behind the apparatus and attacked them. Jolan’s wall of smoke and Harlan held them at bay, long enough for Naidora to conjure an eagle to flank them. ‘Yaen displayed his talents, peppering them with arrows, while Richard propped up the party and blasted at the strange beasts with magic. Between them all Calindy’s rapier flashed, landing the final blows on all four wasps as Ryan patched the others up.
When the wasps lay dead, Richard found something uncovered in the scuffle – A ritual circle in the hull of the ship. Without pause, the excited arcanist set up to perform a ritual spell. Harlan discovered that the odd weapon, a hammer on one end, pick on the other, handily cleaved through the gold bars. Richard’s spell produced a surreal vision of the past that showed both the distant creation of the ship, it’s purpose as a treasure craft in the exodus, and it’s demise, along with the mountain, glimpses of a draconic protector tending it’s young’s eggs, and a fierce battle between the two ending with the flying vessel crashing into the flying lizard – followed by painful weeks of starvation as the surviving gnomes consumed their supplies before abandoning the site.
Finally loosed from his reverie, Richard shared the details. Wondering about the creature Harlan left the ship, digging at the ‘waterline’ to find signs of the beast below. He certainly found them. Reaching a layer of dirty ice, sensing a faint thumping beneath, the barbarian came face to face with the fierce, half-smashed visage of a twisted, icy wyvern. Much of it’s face gone, a single crystalline eye loosely twisting in a fragile socket as half a jaw of teeth snapped at the underside of the ice, Harlan reared back as long frosty gouges ruined the ‘window’ below, marred by criss crossing clawmarks.
Following moments of disbelief (mostly denial and bargaining,) Harlan called the others to abandon ship. Gathering valuables in their arms, they fled the hold just as the creature burst from beneath, breathing a cloud of ice and frost and freezing Harlan half to death. A giant wyvern, it’s wingclaws, side wing and head seemingly shattered like broken glass, clearly damaged but not disabled, leapt out upon them.
Following the initial shock, Jolan shouted out a warning that this beast was no dragon, but some sort of construct crafted from ice itself! Quick-thinking Calindy lobbed a vial of alchemist’ fire onto it, a perfect throw wasted as a faulty bottle bounced open, spilling only some of the burning liquid across the creature’s face. Richard let loose a powerful scroll discovered in the lab above, projecting a beam of searing flames up across the creature’s chest, leaving a jagged score that burst into flames, lighting the beast. More quick bow-work from the ranger, Ryan cracked the carapace, leaving just enough room for his arrow, too, to burst into flame. As more alchemist’ fire rained down and the fires upon it continued to burn, Jolan ran upstairs to seek more fire. Realizing others had already cleared out the lab, the large deck crossbows of the ship caught his eye instead. Leaping to man them, and suddenly insightful to their use, The sorcerer turned the great gun to slam a bolt into the creature’s back. Harlan stood and traded blows with the beast as Naidora ran outside it’s reach, pumping life into her allies. Roaring out, severely damaged, the Wyvern turned from the pricking of Harlan’s club (which chipped on it’s hide) to face softer targets. Richard sought to slow it, slackening the rocks beneath it and sending it crashing to the ground aflame, before it hauled itself back up to hurl another cloud of icy wind at Calindy, Richard and Naidora. The former two were brought to their knees by the frost, as Naidora sunk into unconsciousness, even as her wounds knit.
Another crossbow from the ship’s second crossbow grazed the monster, and more of Calindy’s jarred flames crashed across it, adding to the inferno. Siezing the chance to smash the monster on it’s unsteady feat, Harlan roared in fury, dropping his club, and plunging a perfectly forged scimitar into the dripping chasm in it’s chest left by Richard’s ray, shoving deep and prying the dragon apart, before wading in and smashing bone and ice until nothing moved…
As Harlan’s anger died down and the rest of the companions patched themselves together, Calindy located the chipped piece of sabretooth club so Jolan could reattach it. Exhausted, the group retreated below decks to the furnace’s warmth to camp and talk. Everyone realized that the massive wealth couldn’t all come with them, and despite some consideration, it seemed unlikely they could float the vessel without damaging it further, and risking pieces of the hull floating off on the winds. They decided it best to give Jolan time to learn the new tools discovered aboard the ship and improve the party’s packs and sleds, Richard time to investigate the magical equipment left behind, and Calindy a chance to browse the ship’s surviving library (behind waterproof cabinets.) Ryan fitted the arrowheads discovered in the dead elf’s tent nights before as well as a few silver-tipped arrows with Jolan’s help, as well as helping Harlan and Naidora hunt each day’s food.
Five days of careful work and preparation later, the companions went over their gear, packing carefully, distributing what they could bring with them. A fair share of wealth made it into their packs and sleds, all with the understanding that the tools of survival came first, but the lessons learned as their sled ‘disappeared’ also on their minds. Packed, rested, fed and determined, they set out from their brief respite, all with concern for even more dangers and wonders ahead nagging them in the back of their minds.