Halls of the Mountain King Session 3 – The Briar Witch Problem

An airship approaches a dwarven stronghold in the mountains.

Halls of the Mountain King was the second 4th Edition Open Design project from Kobold Press. I ran the adventure in 2010 as part of the same Parsantium campaign as Wrath of the River King. Here’s the write up from the third session.

Begin here with Session 1 – Alarm in the Dead of Night.


10th Quintilis (contd)

Frostgrenze the chimera charges the adventurers, breathing fire on them all (something of a surprise), and knocking Krivinn unconscious after double attacks from his three heads. Khuma heals the paladin who stays toe to toe in melee with the beast while the other characters get rid of the crows flying around the hold and attack the chimera from range. Not-so-brave Ella backs away, shooting Frostgrenze with magical arrows that daze – the ranger bloodies him and he breathes again, burning everyone apart from Krivinn – since the dragonborn has been knocked prone, the fiery blast goes over his head! Eventually the chimera falls to Saethus’ magic missile spell, vomiting up gold coins when it dies. 

The characters search the hold, finding a chest filled with thousands of gold pieces worth of gold, but the party are worried the ore is cursed in some way after what happened on the Drake and don’t want to touch it. Boso comes down from the deck above and says they will have to tell Captain Stonethrower about the treasure. On deck, Ella tries to convince the captain that there is something wrong with the gold and that the dwarves should stay on the Manticore. He appears to listen.

The party climb down the rope ladder from the Drake to investigate the bodies they saw from the deck, but when they get down to the ground they are attacked by a briar witch dryad, her hamadryad minions, a basilisk, and a displacer beast*. The basilisk’s gaze poisons the characters, including Ella who has drunk the counterfeit potion of poison resistance she bought from the Kariv.

The adventurers attack the basilisk, killing it first, then Saethus casts ice storm on the dryads, creating an icy zone. While Krivinn and Ella attack the briar witch, Saethus, Khuma and Bolval fight the hamadryads and the constantly shifting displacer beast. The briar witch traps Krivinn in its thorny cage, capturing him again and again each time he escapes. Then, Khuma goes unconscious after being flanked by the displacer beast and a hamadryad. Bolval brings the shifter round as Saethus and Ella both go to help Krivinn and end up trapped in briar cages themselves.

Finally, Krivinn gets up close to the dryad and kills her. With its mistress dead, the displacer beast flees into the undergrowth. Meanwhile, up above, the dwarves have boarded the Drake and brought the gold aboard the Manticore.

The two dwarf bodies on the ground are wearing leering diabolic copper masks, sashes of poisoned darts, and unholy symbols of Mammon. One also wears a belt of vigour. Both have been killed by blows to the head from a blunt object. The party find some interesting papers on their corpses – the missing pages from the captain’s logbook including the crew manifest, and some parchment rubbings of an engraved mechanical device. Several notes, scrawled in Bathuran, read “Where is the Eye?” and “Tears wash away greed”.

* Looking back on it now, 4e monster groups like this one often worked well in terms of building a fun and challenging encounter, but didn’t always make much sense story-wise!


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Main image by Malcolm McClinton

Published by richgreen01

D&D gamer | Freelance game designer | Writer & publisher – Parsantium: City at the Crossroads

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