**Caution this post contains spoilers for Sunblight!**

When I was a child, I had no one to play Dungeons & Dragons with. Now, I am 46 and play with my own children.

Yes – I built my own players!

Our players: the piplins!

Rime of the Frost Maiden

In Icewind Dale, adventure is a dish best served cold.

Beneath the unyielding night sky, you stand before a towering glacier and recite an ancient rhyme, causing a crack to form in the great wall of ice. Beyond this yawning fissure, the Caves of Hunger await. And past this icy dungeon is a secret so old and terrifying that few dare speak of it. The mad wizards of the Arcane Brotherhood long to possess that which the god of winter’s wrath has so coldly preserved—as do you! What fantastic secrets and treasures are entombed in the sunless heart of the glacier, and what will their discovery mean for the denizens of Icewind Dale? Can you save Ten-Towns from the Frostmaiden’s everlasting night?

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is a tale of dark terror that revisits the forlorn, flickering candlelights of civilization known as Ten-Towns and sheds light on the many bone-chilling locations that surround these frontier settlements.


This encounter is the partner to the monstrous dragon encounter last session. Here are the basics of how it is as written by WotC:

The Sunblight Encounter – Rime of the Frostmaiden

Introduction: The Sunblight encounter is a thrilling and climactic event in the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition adventure module, “Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden.” It takes place in the icy depths of Icewind Dale, where a nefarious duergar clan known as Sunblight has established their stronghold. The encounter poses a significant challenge to the players, as they must navigate treacherous terrain, battle formidable enemies, and ultimately confront the leaders of Sunblight.

Setting: The encounter unfolds within the confines of Sunblight Fortress, a massive stronghold built into the mountainside. The air is bitterly cold, and the ground is slippery with ice and snow. The fortress is guarded by duergar warriors, war machines, and powerful magical beings.

Objective: The primary objective of the encounter is for the players to infiltrate Sunblight Fortress and put an end to the duergar clan’s sinister plans. They must navigate through various chambers, battle enemies, and gather vital information about Sunblight’s activities. Ultimately, their goal is to defeat the leaders of the clan, including the ruthless duergar king, Duergar Xardorok.

Encounter Highlights:

  1. Stealth and Infiltration: The players must use stealth and cunning to bypass duergar guards and patrols, finding hidden passages and secret entrances into the fortress. The environment presents numerous challenges, such as icy floors and creaking floorboards, that make staying undetected difficult.
  2. Duergar Stronghold: The interior of Sunblight Fortress is a sprawling maze of tunnels, chambers, and guard posts. The players encounter duergar warriors, war machines, and traps as they explore the fortress. They must use a combination of combat, problem-solving, and clever tactics to overcome these obstacles.
  3. Confronting Duergar Xardorok: The climactic encounter occurs when the players reach the Forge of Duergar Xardorok. The king is a formidable foe, armed with powerful magic and surrounded by loyal guards. The players must strategize and coordinate their attacks to defeat Xardorok and his minions, thwarting Sunblight’s plans.

Conclusion: The Sunblight encounter in “Rime of the Frostmaiden” is an exciting and challenging climax that tests the players’ stealth, combat, and problem-solving abilities. The treacherous terrain, cunning enemies, and grand-scale battles make for an unforgettable experience. It is an opportunity for the players to save Icewind Dale from the clutches of the duergar and emerge as true heroes in the frozen north.

Changes Summary

Although this encounter is not as poorly written as “Destructions Light,” we need to make some changes to address the main issue with this campaign; the lack of continuity between its three parts. Unfortunately, players can easily overlook crucial clues and main campaign paths for several reasons.

  • Chapter 2 prioritizes player freedom and side quests, but these can quickly become disjointed.
  • The Dureagar fortress and dragon can be introduced too early on and can seem like a side quest in themselves.
  • As written, nothing in the early chapters seems essential to stopping the Frost Maiden’s Rime.
  • Consequently, finding Auriel can easily feel like an accidental discovery during “unimportant” side quests.

This is a similar issue to Chapter 3 in Storms Kings Thunder, where the team can wander aimlessly for months and not move the plot forwards. For some teams and DM’s, this might be fun, but for me – I find the lack of motivation can quickly lead to the campaign becoming boring and ending early.

So, while I never railroad my players, I do run the table to be moving in a direction at all times, with several NPCs and happenings driving the story. Therefore,  in an effort to address the “aimless” issue, I restructured the campaign in the following manner:

  1. Firstly, the team encountered the malevolent frost druids, who were revealed to be in league with Auriel in session 1. I did this by having Auriel turn up herself and make a speech about how the druids are not to be touched. She then created a Cold Light Walker which attacked the team, connecting these ice zombies to her actions.
  2. After several missions that have druid bosses, the team faced the “last” druid boss in the White Moose quest. Here, I had her driven mad by Chardalyn, thus connecting the druids to the madness caused by contact with this material. A note found in the elven ruins indicated that the druids have been amassing it for Xardarok. Thus connecting the Duregar king with the druids.
  3. Xardarok’s son attempted to kill the players in Bryn Shander. This was a fun encounter where they chased a fleeing assassin into an ambush. This allowed the boss to make a villain’s speech, quickly explaining the dwarven motives: conquering the region. It also enabled the team to use the local forces to win the battle, intimately connecting them to the town.
  4. The players are now being asked and not tasked by the forces running the town. The team feel needed. They investigated the Duregar’s takeover of a bank vault containing something valuable. Upon gaining entry to the vault (bank heist session), they encounter a woman who leads them to Jarl Moot to uncover Xardarok’s whereabouts. However, she ultimately betrays them. This connected several sessions directly to the unfolding plot:  Druids > Chardalyn > Dwarfs > Dragon > Arcane Brotherhood > Island > Auriel.
  5. By defeating the Jarl Champion giant and solving the puzzles under the moot, the team was given a vision revealing the Sunblight Fortress’s location.
  6. The Destruction’s Light encounter occurs as they prepare to journey to the fortress. This ensures they are in the right place to run the defence of the town and become the heroes who defeat a dragon. At the start of this defence, Xardarok claims dominion over Icewind Dale and responsibility for the Rime.

To seamlessly transition into the next chapter, we will provide a direct clue that leads to the location of Auriel’s island, which will be revealed in due course.

Player/campaign backgrounds

  • We’ve reached session 10 and the players successfully defeated the dragon. Currently, they’re recovering from the intense battle in Bryn Shander.
  • My players range between 10 and 12 years old and are all at level 6. While some may consider their age a disadvantage, I’ve found that children tend to break away from scripted encounters and think outside the box. As a DM, it’s important to be flexible and adapt to their approach.
  • I have three players who have already completed four campaigns and are quite knowledgeable about DND mechanics. They’re incredibly clever and make the game even more enjoyable.
  • Our party consists of a Warlock, Wizard, Rogue, Sorcerer, Ranger, and Druid. To enhance the game visuals, I use “Dynamic Dungeons” software, which produces fantastic “theatre of the mind” slides and battle maps. Everything looks great, and it’s all animated beautifully.
  • To ensure everyone can see the game, we use a 32-inch electronic sign that we’ve repurposed as a table screen. It’s an old piece of equipment, but it works perfectly for us.

The official Frostmaiden Dice Set is worth the money

DM’s game flow

  • Welcome back to IWD

Greetings team, I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone back at the table. I am pleased to announce that we have recently started utilizing cards for Crits and Fumbles, which have proven to be an excellent investment. These cards not only provide humor but are also remarkable in their own right.

  • Ice Wind Dale Map.

Here’s a helpful tip to keep track of your progress in the game – make a map that shows where you’ve been and where you need to go next. This will add to the overall adventure and keep everyone in sync.

  • Last session.

Let’s quickly recap what we did before – we checked everyone’s memory and hopefully rewarded an early inspiration coin to those who exhibited great role-playing skills.

  • Bryn Shander.

The team are standing atop the parapets of Bryn Shander, having returned from the battle with the dragon.

One player is requested to make a speech:

  • Speech atop the parapets

“My fellow warriors, today we stand atop these walls as champions, for we have emerged victorious from our battle with the fearsome Chardelyne Dragon! Let this be a moment of hope and inspiration for all who witness it. Let us look towards the future with confidence, for we have proven that with courage, determination, and a united front, we can overcome any challenge that may come our way. So let us celebrate this moment, and let our spirits be lifted by the knowledge that together, we are unstoppable!”

  • The crowd erupted in cheers while banners flew high above.
  • The city fires have been extinguished and the rubble is currently being cleared away.
  • [Player with Spy Background] Catches eye of Harper spy
    • No one has been Vllynne Harpell
    • They have caught a duergar spy outside the walls and taken them to the dungeon.

Sheriff Southwell

The Harper spy

  • The team accompanies Sheriff Southwell to the dungeon.
    • [Perception CHECK] Notice Southwell is nervous about something.
      • IF PASS: Southwell is worried about how he met the team down here and they were in jail. He apologises for how he treated the team now that they are heroes. 
    • A scream sounds out!
    • The team burst into the jail’s questioning room and finds the captured Duregar is dead and a guard dead with another injured. Guard says that he was trying to escape. 
    • [Intelligence CHECK] Use speak with DEAD
      • The team could have several ways of doing this, my team had a special “muffin of the dead” they found in chapter 1 in the goblin hoard.
      • [Intelligence CHECK] Think of good questions to ask the corpse.
        • 5 questions can be asked. 
        • Roll [INT] or [WIS]

Questions and answers:

As a Duergar brought back to life through the Speak with Dead spell, I am able to communicate with you from beyond the veil of death. My knowledge and memories are limited to what I knew and experienced in life, but I will do my best to answer your question.

Is everyone in the fortress loyal to Xardorok?

“Not everyone in the fortress is loyal to Xardorok. There are those who follow him out of fear, but there are also those who plot against him in secret. Beware of those who may appear loyal but harbor their own agendas.”

Is there a treasure in the fortress?

“Yes, there is treasure within the fortress. However, be warned that it is heavily guarded by Xardorok’s most trusted allies. Only the most skilled and cunning adventurers stand a chance of obtaining it.”

Are there traps in the fortress?

“It’s a fortress built on top of a lava flow! Yes, there are traps within the fortress. Xardorok is a cunning and paranoid leader who takes great care to ensure the safety of his stronghold. Any intruders who attempt to enter the fortress should be cautious and keep their wits about them to avoid triggering these traps.”

How many guards are in the fortress?

“I do not know the exact number of guards within the fortress, as it may have changed since my passing. However, I can tell you that Xardorok valued strength and discipline in his soldiers and kept a sizable force to maintain his rule. Expect to face many guards if you attempt to infiltrate the fortress.”

Where is the forge in the fortress

“The forge is located deep within the fortress, near the heart of the stronghold. It is heavily guarded and accessible only to those with the proper authorization or clearance. If you seek to access the forge, you will need to find a way to bypass the fortress’s defenses and earn the trust of those who guard the way to it.”

Is the dragon in the fortress? 

“Even as we speak the king reforms his dragon, this time much larger and with fearsome new weapons”

Who is your master?

“I serve Grandolpha Muzgardt, the grand dame of the Muzgardt duergar clan. She plans an uprising against Xardorok and has been secretly building support among the fortress’s inhabitants, gathering like-minded individuals who were dissatisfied with Xardorok’s leadership and rule. Perhaps if you can reach her, she will make a deal with you?”

Why is your uniform different than the other Duergar we have captured?   

“I serve Grandolpha Muzgardt, the grand dame of the Muzgardt duergar clan, not the insane Xardorok. My clan would have peace with the surface dwellers.”

Why were you spying around the city?      

“I was sent by my lady, Grandolpha Muzgardt, to see the state of the city after the dragon’s attack. She wanted to know if there was an strength left in the hearts of men to challenge Xardorok.”

  • After the questions, the sheriff takes the team to the speaker
    • The speaker says, “Please go and find Velyne, shes is my aunt”.
    • The speaker gives a jewel from her necklace of office
    • This casts group-fly.
    • Sherif says he will take the militia through the Underdark to the fortress.
    • Before you go – The sheriff says that the town is trying to repair the horn of blasting. They are not sure if it will work. Dwarfs tell him it may have one charge left but be touch only.
  • The team take off and goes soaring through the sky…
  • Description:

As you soar through the sky, the biting wind whips at your face and tugs at your hair and clothes. The frozen landscape of Icewind Dale sprawls out beneath you, a white and blue canvas dotted with frozen lakes and snow-covered forests. You catch glimpses of creatures below, some huddled in caves, others wandering across the icy tundra. The crisp air fills your lungs, invigorating you as you fly higher, the world growing smaller beneath you. The sheer beauty of the frozen wilderness takes your breath away, and for a moment, you feel as though you are one with the wind, free to roam wherever your heart desires.

The team head to Vellynne harpell’s hut

  • The team arrives at Vellynne Harpell’s hut
    • [Investigation CHECK] Vellynne Harpell is gone.
      • On a high roll, find – Amulet of the Shield. 

On the front, it bore the insignia of House Thunderbrand of Kraghammer in sapphire. An inscription on the back reads, “For Lorna, my love“. The amulet can cast the Shield spell once per short or long rest. Spell Description – An invisible barrier of magical force appears and protects you. Until the start of your next turn, you have a +5 bonus to AC, including against the triggering attack, and you take no damage from magic missile.

The team head to the fortress:

The following order of events was planned:

  • Gain entry into the fortress
  • Find and meet with Grandolpha
  • Discuss helping each other.
  • [Charisma CHECK] 
    • If high pass:
      • She wishes for good trade relations with the human settlements.
      • She tells of a treasure room, which requires some specific item to unlock. This item is somewhere in the fortress, probably his bedroom.
      • She says that Xardarok in his forge or nearby.
      • Prisoners are held in the dungeon north of the forge room
      • Dwarves with the “G” symbol will support if told the passphrase exactly, but, this must be kept a secret and not openly spoken:

“By the Forgefather’s hammer, I seek the aid of the Delver’s Guild”.

This passphrase invokes the name of the Dwarven god of craftsmanship and creation, Moradin, and makes reference to the Delver’s Guild, a secretive organization of Dwarves who are skilled in mining and metalworking. By using this passphrase, the speaker demonstrates their knowledge and respect for Dwarven culture and tradition, which would be likely to earn the trust and assistance of Duregar, who are a type of subterranean Dwarves.

What happened:

My team employed the “disguise self” strategy to deceive the initial guard at the main gate by portraying the player as their mother, who demanded entrance. The guard granted them access. Afterwards, they convinced a subsequent group of guards who came out that they were present to organize a birthday party!

Subsequently, upon convincing Grandolpha, she handed them a paper map detailing the most suitable path to Xardarok.

Fog of war on our table

The map to Xardarok

Finding the “key.”

    • The team goes to Xardarok’s bedroom.
    • Find chest.
      • [Investigation CHECK] The chest is trapped.
      • The head mounted on the wall is set to flow lava into the room.
    • Inside chest:
      • Various items, some of high value and an armoured gauntlet (the key).
      • [Investigation CHECK] The chest has a false bottom; if something is picked up, then the trap operates. The team have to swap the item – Indiana Jones style.
      • [Slight of Hand CHECK] Swapping the object.

What happened:

The rogue was left by my team to try to perform a slight of hand on his own. He struggled a bit, but managed to leave the room just in time to avoid getting burned.

The vault “key”

Deep Duerra statue

The way to the forge and rescue of the Myconid Sovereign

  • The team makes its way down to the lower level and see the statue:

Statue of Deep Duerra

The statue of Deep Duerra towers above you, its dark, polished stone glinting in the dim light of the underground cavern. The statue stands at least 20 feet tall, with intricate carvings and fine details adorning every inch of its surface.

At the base of the statue, you can see the likeness of a powerful and fierce duergar woman, her muscular form wrapped in heavy armor and her sharp features twisted in a scowl. In her right hand, she holds a large hammer that glows with a dim, purple light, while her left hand is raised in a fist, as if in defiance.

As you gaze up at the statue, you can feel a sense of awe and reverence wash over you. It is clear that this is more than just a work of art – it is a symbol of power and strength, a testament to the greatness of the duergar people and their devotion to their gods.

The statue of Deep Duerra is a reminder of the duergar’s fierce determination and their ability to overcome any obstacle in their path. And as you stand before it, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride and admiration for these hardy and resilient underground dwellers.

  • The team are able to spy on the forge:

Spying on the forge

Sunblight’s Forge is a massive, imposing structure made of black iron and surrounded by flickering flames. Smoke and ash rise from the chimney, filling the air with a pungent, acrid scent.

As you approach the entrance, you can hear the sound of hammers ringing against anvils and the roar of bellows blowing hot air into the furnace. The heat emanating from the forge is almost unbearable, and sweat beads on your forehead despite the chill of the surrounding ice.
Inside, the forge is a cavernous space filled with shadows and fire. The walls are lined with rows of tools and weapons, and the floor is covered in a layer of soot and ash.

At the center of the forge is a massive furnace, its glowing embers casting flickering shadows across the room. The furnace is tended by a group of duergar smiths, their faces streaked with sweat and grime as they work the bellows and hammer at the glowing metal.

Amidst the clang and clamor of the forge, you catch glimpses of a dark figure moving among the flames. It is Zardarok Sunblight, the forge master himself, overseeing the production of his deadly weapons and armor. His eyes gleam with a fierce intensity as he watches his minions work, and you can sense the power and darkness that lies within him.

  • The treasure vault has two guards outside.
    • The “orange” guard will help the team, but, they have to think of a sentence with the passphrase in it without giving the phrase away. The phrase is contained within another longer phrase.
    • If achieved, the orange guard defeats the other.
      • Else fight.
  • The team uses the gauntlet on the vault door; the player has to pick one of five small levers they can feel in the mechanism to open the door.
    • If right – the door opens.
    • If wrong, the player gets 1d8 lightning damage, and another player has to try (the gauntlet no longer works for the failed player)

Treasure in the vault:

  1. The Hammer of Delving: This enchanted hammer was forged by the greatest Dwarven smiths and can be used to break through even the hardest stone.The Hammer of Delving is a powerful magical hammer found in the Duregar King’s vault in D&D 5e. The head of the hammer is made of a dense metal and is adorned with intricate designs and runes. The Hammer of Delving grants the wielder a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls when used in combat. It also possesses the unique ability to deal double damage against objects and structures, allowing it to easily break through barriers and obstacles. One of the most notable abilities of the Hammer of Delving is its ability to create temporary passages through solid rock. By striking the hammer against a solid surface, the wielder can create a tunnel that extends up to 10 feet in any direction. This ability can be used to create escape routes, bypass locked doors, or simply to carve a path through difficult terrain. The Hammer of Delving is also enchanted with the ability to cast the spell Passwall once per day. This spell allows the wielder to create a temporary opening in a solid surface, allowing them to pass through walls, floors, or ceilings with ease.

  2. The Crown of the Undermountain: A magnificent golden crown encrusted with gems, said to be imbued with powerful magic. Crown of Command: This spell would allow the wearer of the crown to issue commands to any creature within a certain range, causing them to be charmed and compelled to obey for a limited period of time.

  3. The Shield of the Deep: A massive, enchanted shield that provides its wielder with incredible defence against all forms of attack. This shield is crafted from a polished metal that appears to shimmer and change color when exposed to water or other liquids. The Shield of the Deep provides the wielder with a +2 bonus to AC, making it a powerful defensive tool in combat. Additionally, the shield is enchanted with the ability to create a bubble of water around the wielder, allowing them to breathe and move freely underwater for up to one hour per day. The shield is also imbued with the power to cast the spell Control Water once per day. This spell allows the wielder to manipulate water and other liquids within a large area, allowing them to create walls of water, cause flooding, or even move water-based creatures against their will.

  4. The Pick of Piercing is a magical pickaxe found in the Duregar King’s vault in D&D 5e. This pickaxe is crafted from a dark metal that shimmers in the light, and has a razor-sharp point that glints menacingly in the sun. The Pick of Piercing is not only a powerful tool for mining and excavation, but also a formidable weapon in combat. It has a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls, and deals an additional 1d6 piercing damage when used against constructs or objects, allowing it to break through even the toughest materials with ease. In addition to its piercing abilities, the Pick of Piercing is also enchanted with the ability to cast the spell Stone Shape once per day. This spell allows the wielder to reshape stone and rock formations at will, opening up new paths or creating barriers to impede enemies. Overall, the Pick of Piercing is a versatile and powerful tool for any adventurer who values both combat prowess and practical utility. Whether used to tunnel through mountains or to pierce the toughest armor in battle, this magical pickaxe is a valuable asset to any adventurer’s arsenal.

  5. The Goblet of the Forge: A golden goblet that can produce any type of liquid the drinker desires, including magical potions. The Goblet of the Forge is a magical goblet found in the Duregar King’s vault in D&D 5e. This goblet is crafted from a glowing metal and emits a faint heat that can be felt by those who touch it. The Goblet of the Forge is not only a decorative item, but also a powerful tool for crafting and forging. When filled with water or any other liquid, the goblet can heat the liquid to boiling point almost instantly, making it ideal for forging weapons and armor on the go. The goblet also has the ability to purify any metal that is placed inside of it. This means that any impurities or imperfections in a metal object can be removed, leaving behind a pristine, high-quality material. In addition to its crafting abilities, the Goblet of the Forge is also enchanted with the ability to cast the spell Heat Metal once per day. This spell allows the wielder to heat up a metal object, causing it to become uncomfortably hot and dealing damage to any creature that is wearing or holding it. Overall, the Goblet of the Forge is a powerful tool for any adventurer who values practical utility and the ability to craft and repair their own equipment. Its ability to heat liquids and purify metals, combined with its offensive capabilities, make it an invaluable asset to any party of adventurers.

  6. The Boots of the Underdark: These boots are made of a dark leather material and have a slightly slimy feel to them, as if they were designed to be worn in damp and dark environments. When worn, the boots grant the wearer enhanced agility and speed, allowing them to move quickly and nimbly through the tight spaces and treacherous terrain found in the Underdark. They also provide some protection against the poisonous and acidic substances often encountered in that environment, making them a valuable asset for any adventurer exploring the subterranean depths. One of the most unique features of the Boots of the Underdark is their ability to grant the wearer the power of Spider Climb, allowing them to effortlessly scale walls and ceilings with ease. This ability can be especially useful in navigating the many caverns and tunnels found in the Underdark, and can help the wearer avoid danger and ambushes from above.

  7. The Armor of the Earth: A suit of armor crafted from an alloy of rare metals, imbued with earth elemental magic, giving it a deep, earthy tone and an almost metallic, rocky appearance. The armor is incredibly sturdy and well-crafted, fitting the wearer perfectly, with each piece seamlessly melding together to create a nearly impenetrable defense. The helmet is designed to look like a stylized boulder, with two small slits for the wearer’s eyes, and a sturdy leather strap to hold it in place. The armor itself is adorned with small, sharp spikes, adding to its intimidating appearance and making it difficult for enemies to grapple with the wearer. Stoneskin: This enchantment would give the wearer of the armor resistance to non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, making them nearly impervious to attacks from weapons.

  8. The Ring of Elemental Command: A ring that grants its wearer control over one of the four elemental forces of nature.The Ring of Elemental Command is a powerful magical item in D&D 5e that grants its wearer the ability to command the elements. The ring is usually made of gold, silver or platinum and has a large gemstone set into it that corresponds to the type of elemental power the ring holds. There are four different types of the Ring of Elemental Command, each corresponding to a specific elemental type: air, earth, fire, and water. Each ring allows the wearer to cast spells that control the corresponding element, granting them a wide range of powerful abilities. For example, the Ring of Elemental Command (Fire) allows its wearer to summon fire elementals, control flames, and even create a wall of fire to repel enemies. In addition to the elemental spells it grants, the Ring of Elemental Command also provides protection from damage caused by the corresponding element. 

  9. The Bag of Holding: A magical bag that can hold an unlimited amount of items, no matter how large or heavy.

  10. The Sword of the Depths is a legendary longsword found in the Duregar King’s vault in D&D 5e. The blade is made of a rare metal found only in the deepest parts of the earth, giving it a dark, almost black sheen that seems to absorb light rather than reflect it. The hilt of the sword is wrapped in dark leather, and the pommel is adorned with a small, perfectly cut diamond. When wielded, the sword feels impossibly light in the hand, as if it were made of featherweight materials rather than metal. The blade is perfectly balanced and seems to slice through the air with almost no resistance. When swung, the sword makes a faint humming noise, as if vibrating at a frequency just beyond the range of human hearing. Special ability: The Sword of the Depths can cut through any non-magical substance with ease, including stone and metal. Additionally, when attacking creatures that have a vulnerability to slashing damage, the sword deals an extra 2d6 damage. Finally, the sword grants the wielder the ability to breathe underwater and move through water at their normal movement speed

Please note that the items provided are very powerful, but they were intentionally selected since none of my players are skilled in using them.

  • Map
    • They also find the scroll showing the location of Auriel’s abode.
    • The scroll is made of ancient parchment, yellowed with age and brittle to the touch. The ink is faded in places, but the lines and curves of the text are still visible.
    • At the top of the scroll is a crude map of a floating island of ice and snow. In the centre of the map is a large circle marked with strange runes and symbols.
    • Beneath the map is a series of instructions written in a flowing script that is difficult to read. The text describes a journey amidst titanic icebergs in a churning black sea of unknown depth, crashing into one another with destructive results. Floating amid these mountains of ice, shrouded by mist, is Auril’s island, the Fortress of Grimskalle.
    • Captain Sharlasta Stormsword of the Ravenous signs the account.
    • Beside the drawing is a short note written in a different hand than the rest of the scroll. It reads: “Captain Stormsword currently resides in the Revils End prison”.

The map of Solstice

What happened at our table

We wrapped up the initial session after running out of time and using this as a stopping point. The team decided to take a “long rest” in the vault to prepare for the upcoming major fight.

A Week later, they left the vault and headed towards the main door of the forge. Through the keyhole, they spied on Xardarok, who was close to finishing the dragon’s reforging. This enabled them to strategise their attack.

Cue the fight with Xardarok!

The reforged dragon!

The forge battle map

Design of the fight:

  • Xardorok is placing the newly enchanted heart of the forge back into the repaired dragon. 
  • The dragon is now HUGE but “shutdown”.
    • It will activate once the heart is put into its body (in 6 rounds).
  • The team have one “pre” round to decide how they wish to attack.
    • Xardarok’s magic alarms that the team are here.
    • He calls for guards and first casts enlarge on himself.
  • After several rounds of combat, Grandolpha’s team comes to help.
    • If someone from the team goes down or near down:
      • The far door bursts open, and the Sheriff comes in
      • If they rescued the MYCONID SOVEREIGN, the king comes with.
      • He casts a complete spore-heal spell on everyone (including baddies). 
      • Now the fight is massive.
  • Sherrif goes to free Vellynne Harpell
  • When Xardarok drops to 0
    • Sovereign casts Pacifying Spores
    • Xardorok falls to the floor

“I die with honor, my kingdom secure. Beware, surface dwellers, for vengeance will be swift and merciless.”

    • He places the heart into the dragon and tries to cast the dragon awakening spell
    • [strength CHECK] against him (FAILS)
    • He awakens the dragon

“ROAR! The call of the Chardalyn has awakened me. My power is renewed, and my hunger for conquest has been reignited. Tremble, mortals, for I am the Chardalyn Dragon, and I will not be denied. The world will tremble at my feet, and my reign will be eternal!”

  • Xarderok dies
  • Vellynne Harpell comes into the room
    • Casts hold monster
    • Sherrif throws the horn to a player
      • [Dexterity CHECK] to catch it.
    • Sherrif says: “Quick players – create a crack in the dragon’s back! Get the repaired horn into it! Hurry I can’t hold it!
  • As the players approach the massive Chardalyn Dragon, they can feel the heat radiating off of its dark scales. Its glowing red eyes fix on the adventurers as they attempt to climb up onto its back.
    • All players [Dexterity CHECK] to get into the dragon. 
    • All who make it clamber up its back.
    • Claws, jaws, etc grasp all who don’t. Taking damage.
  • The dragon’s scales are rough and jagged, making it difficult for the players to find purchase. As they climb higher, they must dodge the dragon’s powerful tail and the streams of lava that spew from its mouth.
    • Despite the danger, the players persevere, determined to defeat the Chardalyn Dragon spurring them on. They finally reach the dragon’s back, finding a flat expanse of dark stone on which to stand.
  • Dragon breaks the spell, and Veleyne falls.
    • The dragon roars, its wings beating furiously as it attempts to dislodge the adventurers from its back. But the players hold firm, their weapons at the ready as they prepare to face the Chardalyn Dragon in the ultimate battle for survival.

“Fine – I’ll eat you all on the wing!”

  • The Dragon flies out of the fortress with the players atop it!


What happened in our game:

The players fought against Xardarok to obtain the Heart of the Forge, putting in all their efforts to stop him placing it in the dragon, including using enlarge/reduce spells, firewalls and getting up close and personal. As the battle progressed, Xardarok’s health dwindled and multiple fights were taking place simultaneously with all the additional enemies. Xaradarok got the heart in the drgaon just as the Sheriff turned up and it flamed the reinforcements, killing most. So, I had Vellynne Harpell be freed by the Myconid sovereign and she cast timestop. This allowed the team to attempt to climb abord the dragon to place the horn of blasting withina crack on its back. The dragon then took off and the of the encounter ran as expected from there.

The incredible “Forge Fight”

Cue the fight with the Dragon in the air!

  • As the Chardalyn Dragon soars out of its fortress, the ground shakes beneath its massive weight, causing snow and ice to tumble from the cliffs around it. Its mighty wings beat the air, sending gusts of hot wind blowing through the icy landscape of Icewind Dale.
    • [Check to retain their hold on the scales]
  • The dragon’s dark scales seem to absorb the light around it, making it difficult to see anything but the dragon itself. As it takes to the sky, it unleashes a deafening roar that echoes through the valley, a clear challenge to any who would dare to face it.
  • The players cling to the Chardalyn Dragon’s back as it flies through the sky, its powerful wings beating the air with incredible force. The dragon twists and turns, trying to dislodge the adventurers from its back,
    • [Roll to remain on the dragon’s back]
  • They hold on for dear life, determined to bring the beast down.
  • The players ready their weapons and attack as the dragon swoops low over the ground. The dragon’s scales are as hard as diamond, and their weapons barely scratch the surface. But the players are undaunted, knowing they must keep the dragon distracted while their allies prepare their own attacks.
  • [Each player has to describe their role in attacking the dragon’s back and cracking open the scales]
    • ** Bonus for using specialist weapons from the vault
    • The Chardalyn Dragon breathes streams of hot lava at the players, forcing them to dodge and weave to avoid being burned alive.
  • [Dexterity CHECK] Save against lava breath.
  • But they stand their ground, using their weapons and spells to chip away at the dragon’s impenetrable armor.
  • The battle rages on, the players fighting for their lives as the Chardalyn Dragon refuses to yield.
    • [Crack appears in back of the drgaon]
    • ** Players put the horn within
  • But finally, with one last mighty blow, the dragon roars in agony and falls from the sky, crashing to the ground far below.
    • As the Chardalyn Dragon’s body hits the ground, a tremendous explosion rocks the entire area. The players are thrown off the dragon’s back and hurled through the air, landing in the deep snow several yards away.
  • The players are left helpless in the snow, thrown by the crashing dragon.
    • Gnolls come across them and prepare to kill and eat them.
    • A roar of a polar bear scares them away.
    • The polar bear comes up looking like he is going to eat them
      • He sniffs the character with the Reigned Heir secret background:

Reghed Heir

Prerequisite: You must be a human, half-elf, or half-orc to have this secret. If you don’t meet this prerequisite, draw a different card.

I am the offspring of Queen Bjornhild Solvigsdottir, leader of the pirates. My mother cast me into the Sea of Moving Ice when I was a young child as a sacrifice to Auril the Frostmaiden. A polar bear pulled me from the water and spared me a freezing death. This bear then transformed into a goliath who bore me safely to Ten-Towns. I remember the goliath’s name—Oyaminartok—but haven’t seen her since.

  • He says, “Hello Pup!” and licks his face, for it is Oyaminartok.

And scene – this is where we leave this encounter.

The team!

With thanks to ChatGPT…

In the icy depths of Icewind Dale, Where winter’s touch does never fail, There lies a fortress, cold and grim, A place where hope grows ever dim.

Sunblight, its name rings through the snow, A dwelling where darkness loves to grow. Within its walls, a frosty blight, A tale of despair in endless night.

Once a mighty dwarven hold, Now a prison, cruel and cold. The Frostmaiden’s grip, it holds them tight, Their souls consumed by eternal blight.

The howling winds, they pierce the air, As brave adventurers venture there. Their hearts are bold, their purpose clear, To end the reign of icy fear.

Through icy tunnels, they make their way, Facing danger, day by day. Yet, in the heart of Sunblight’s lair, A chilling secret they must beware.

For deep within the fortress’ core, A twisted creature, forevermore. A remnant of the Frostmaiden’s might, A being of darkness, devoid of light.

With swords and spells, they make their stand, Against the evil, hand in hand. Their courage burns like a blazing fire, As they face the Frostmaiden’s dire.

In a final clash, the battle rages, A war of heroes, throughout the ages. And as the Frostmaiden’s power wanes, Sunblight is freed from icy chains.

The fortress stands, a symbol of might, No longer shrouded in endless night. And in the hearts of those who fought, A victory, dearly bought.

For Sunblight, though it’s now set free, Will forever bear the scars they see. A testament to the Frostmaiden’s reign, And the heroes who fought through endless pain.

In Icewind Dale, the legend’s told, Of Sunblight’s darkness, fierce and cold. But also of the heroes’ might, Who brought an end to eternal blight.

Coming next time

In the next adventure, the players must journey to Revel’s End to interrogate the captain. Can they reach there before the “horde” of ice zombies?

It looks like we won’t be attempting a prison break, but instead dealing with a zombie invasion!

An image from the upcoming Revel’s End prison break, fleeing the zombies…

Thanks for reading!