• Crossing the tundra, a frost worm attacks. Melée ensues. The frost worm is dispatched. (Explosive retribution avoided when Worm fell into the collapsing ice field, a freak side effect of the fire attacks)
• Still crossing the tundra, 2 polar bears attack. Melée ensues. The bears are dispatched.
• Continuing to cross the tundra, the group is then attacked by 2 winter wolves. Melée ensues. They are dispatched, and treasure is found in their lair – 2 6' lengths of brown silk (30gp ea), 2 small (pixie sized) gold cups (25gp ea), a lg white rock carved in the shape of a man's head with an aquiline nose (5gp), 1 lg mace (12gp), 2 balls tangled white yarn, 2 sm metal cylinders w/cap (toothpick holders), 4 pale blue quartz gems (10gp ea), 38 silver, 50 copper.
• Another frost worm attack and another melée has unforeseen ramifications – the scorching ray sent out by Grandath melts the tundra enough that the ground gives way beneath the worm(again), and it falls beneath the surface before it can explode and inflict heavy damage on the group. ( the plot cards are helpful)
• Trudging across the tundra, 2 winter wolves attack. Melée ensues. The wolves are dispatched. 30GP and a scroll of True Strike is found.
• And across the tundra we go, to be attacked yet again by winter wolves. Melée ensues. These are dispatched, but there is no treasure.
• We reach the Rubicund Valley, a chasm of more than 400' depth and between some group members riding summoned hippogryffs, the cart (with passengers) being levitated, and others flying down, we all arrive at ground level. There is a rickety rope bridge across the deep red waters of the river, and a cave opening at the other side of the bridge. With some hassle and bother, the entire group makes it over the bridge and enters the cave.
• At the entrance to the cave, writing on the wall says:
The mouth of darkness swallows light.
Tread soft the tongue of white.
• There are four openings immediately seen, and a patch of white ooze on the floor directly in front. It is an acid ice ooze, which starts towards the adventurers, and dissolves any weapons being launched at it. Melée ensues. It is dispatched at some cost to weaponry. A fifth passage is found.
• Thune attempts to pick up some of the vanquished ooze in one of the toothpick holders and is promptly frozen. Grandath flings scorching ray at her to defrost her, and savs her life in doing so.
• The passages look like a left hand. The thumb leads to a cavern with an abandoned campsite. There is an uncanny acoustical effect that magnifies every sound made.
• The index finger passage ends in a cave-in, with an ape-like humanoid covered in fur and red ice buried beneath the fall. It wears a small pouch around its neck that contains six featureless coin-sized red crystal discs. No magic detected.
• The middle finger passage slopes down into pitch dark, drips pink water from the ceiling with red mud on the floor, and is definitely warmer than surroundings. Balin and Hawk slip and fall into a unseen pit, while Thantz sits abruptly and stops himself from sliding into the same, unseen, pit. The walls of the cave system seem to absorb light, so a light source from Galen that should reach 120' barely illuminates the 20' wide passage. Falco takes a rope and light source, and goes very carefully down the dark passage. The floor of the pit Balin and Hawk are in is freezing enough that they have some difficulty breaking their feet free at first, but they both get loose, and are able to leave the pit.
• There is a hole in the wall, a continuing of the passageway, halfway up the side of the pit.
• The ceiling is jagged ice stalactites.
• The index finger passage leads on for 50' but the end is filled in.
• The pinky finger passage is essayed, group members are tied together to prevent slipping. The tunnel ends in a hole 15' sq, and on the opposite wall is a crawl space that continues north and is about 20' lower. Malevir creates an ice wall so the group can enter the crawl space, which very quickly opens up to an enormous cavern more than 200' wide.
• The ice cavern floor is red ice, sloping down, then rising to the end of the cavern. Walls made of red ice blocks stretch across part of the cavern on both left and right, with an open space between them. There is a white blotch on the floor.
• Galen walks into the cavern, and up to the white blotch, which turns out to be a yeti pelt. Rocks start flying over the left wall at Galen. Thantz walks across the white pelt and promptly falls into the 15' wide, 20' deep pit under the pelt, on top of Marron. Thantz tries to throw Marron up out of the pit and fails, but then Marron is able to climb out, throwing everyone for a loop, as he is not the same person whom we just saw fall in to the pit.
• Falco goes right up to the wall, and sees four yeti hiding behind it, throwing rocks at Galen. Melée ensues. Malevir drops a fireball right in the middle of the four yeti, and kills three of them immediately. Nessirëa becomes spellbound by the yeti and is immobilised. Galen goes invisible and climbs the wall, seeing three more yeti hiding, and is able to direct Malevir to drop another fireball on them. In all, seven yeti are dispatched. The cavern has a lot of climbing equipment in it, scattered behind the walls. Carefully investigating the piles of ice, Nessirëa discovers four more people, still alive, bound and gagged under tarps. One of them is a cleric, Aramill, who immediately says “blessings upon you and thank you for our help.” A lot of the equipment found is theirs.
• Falco checks all three walls, and finds 3 more passages. The largest tunnel leads to a cavern approx 50'x50', with openings on the south wall and directly across from the entry. There is writing carved by the entry:
Fur and furnace to keep them warm.
Avoid them both to keep from harm.
• Opening on the right goes to the middle finger passage pit.
• Another opening goes to another cavern that has a slide of red mud covering an ice giant body, which is next to an ice giant-sized sword holding a minor evocation. The ice in this room is not red. No traps or magic were detected. As the group started chipping at the ice surrounding the sword, a white ice figure with red pits for eyes appears – a spectre.
• Melée ensues. Mirdar's magic missiles hit, and so do Malevir's. Aramill successfully turns the spectre, and as it leaves precipitately, Nessirëa's arrow hits it and it dissipates. Galen was badly wounded, so Etila throws full restoration and Galen is well again.
• Falco and Etila successfully excavate the ice-giant's body but no treasure is found. The greatsword is a +2 (2d8) that protects the wielder as would a ring of warmth, and Galen takes it.
• Continuing down the tunnel to a cavern 150' wide and long, with a ceiling more than 300' high and a vaguely circular opening in the roof. There is an unaccountable feeling of despair. A corridor leads out of the cavern to the left. Galen, Mycroft and Nessirëa notice a gleam of gold, a mound encased in red ice.
• Mirdar looked up at the ceiling hole and saw a glowing tower surrounded by jungle.
• Encased in the red ice is a white dragon, lying down. When Thantz chips at the hoard, the white dragon wakes, bursting out of the ice to attack Thantz. Melée ensues. Nessirëa shoots flaming arrows. Grandath sends fireballs. Dragon sends will, Aramill and Nessirëa are shaken, Mycroft runs away terrified. The dragon screams at Galen, “you have the Fang of Gorthang! You are my enemy!” To which Galen replies, “and I'm gonna stick it up your butt!”
• Falco, Thantz and Hawk are knocked unconscious. Nessirëa delivers the coup de graçe and the dragon falls. Healing is performed on those who need it.
• Malevir casts detect magic on the hoard, and there is something there. Some time is spent excavating the hoard.
• Mycroft is so scared, he runs fast and far, falling into cold water over his head, in pitch dark. Nessirëa finds Mycroft close to drowning in a lake of red water that appears to be the source of the Rubicund River. There is a waterfall at one end of the lake, where there is red ice that has eroded in the shape of a scarab.
• Malevir detects faint conjuration on a Horn of Fog that gets chipped out of the ice.
• Past the lake, there is another cavern, with a clutch of eggs, protected by a pair of many-legged worms – Remorhaz. Melée ensues. Grandath attempts to grab an egg and suffers fire damage to his hands. Thantz and Grandath are grappled by the creatures and rendered unconscious. The remorhaz are dispatched. There are two eggs in the room, each worth 1000gp. Grandath expends a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to transport them, as he wishes to sell them upon return to a city.
• Back to the waterfall room, it seems to be a sculpture but it is simply massive layers of red ice that have been eroded and shaped by that action of the water. Falco fills three vials with the red water. Malevir sends his raven familiar to look at the top of the waterfall. The water comes from a rock. There is a 75' ice wall behind and above the ice-scarab shape, that goes up to a 10' rift in the ceiling of the cave. Falco and Thantz attempt to climb the red ice, and see words carved on the scarab:
Up and up without a breath.
The end is near. So, too, is death.
• Falco belays a rope and throws it to the group members so they can all climb up behind the scarab shape.• Malevir flies to the top of the wall, to the rift, and looking out, sees a tower with a glowing orb at its apex, like a tiny moon. The tower is surrounded by jungle. Climbing carefully down a moderately sloped ice mountain, the group reaches the jungle and relatively level ground. A lake of red water is actually the headwaters to the river. The tower rises half a mile, too tall to stand without magic. Heat from the tower peak keeps the temperature comfortable.
• There are four gemstone ruby towers covered in vines, with a collection of huts at their feet. As the group draws near, the preparations to repel invaders becomes increasingly clear. It is a village of bugbears that has been attacked by goblins on multiple occasions. The chief, Mogar, parleys with Galen, El Gato, and Grandath, to allow the group past the village walls.
• Mogar request the group fight the goblins and relieve the village, for the greater good of the beetle-god and its adherents.
• The glowing tower dims, the temperature drops, the yellow light becomes silvered as the moon, and the group rests in the village for the night.
• The next day, walking through the jungle, the group has several encounters: a giant snake, two pumas, four giant apes, four wraiths in the shape of giant scarabs. Melée ensues. Each set of creatures is dispatched.
• At the first red tower (tower of tranquility), many goblins attack the group. Melée ensues. The goblins are dispatched. The ring retrieved from the tower turns out to be a ring of vision, casting a purplish cone that lasts for 10 mins per use. There is also a magic thorn retrieved, that is a Thorn Warden. Once every 24 hrs, for 10 mins per use, it protects against ranged spells and missiles, causing an impenetrable screen of thorns that persists while the attack is active.
• Continuing through the jungle, various creatures attack: two leopards, a large snake, four giant ants. Melée ensues. The creatures are dispatched.
• Arriving at the second red tower, it appears to be similar to the last red tower – 70' of seamless red stone, 30' in diameter, no sign of age or wear and tear. 20' above the ground, plant dye painted graffiti shows a goblin warrior with two scarab beetles above.. No windows or doors except a circular opening at the tower apex. Malevir levitates a rope and grappling hook to tower opening, which is 5' tall and 10' wide. Straddling the opening is a large red scarab made of the same materials as the tower, with odd attachments and tools suspended from its belly. Malevir moves to attach the grappling hook, and the beetle throws the grappling hook down.
Galen, Malevir, Grandath and Salacious are levitated by Thune up to near the tower apex, so Grandath can summon an owl to test the perimeter. The beetle swats the owl in non-existence and moves aggressively to the entrance.
• There is no apparent damage inflicted by: lightening, force (arrows), fire (scorching ray), magic missile, cold (ice storm), or acid splash. Everyone goes back to the ground to strategise. The beetle retreats to the center of the tower and doesn't essay any furthur.
• Nessirëa goes invisible and is flying up to the opening. Galen has placed himself on top of the tower and is looking down through the opening. Grandath summons four air elementals, and then three wisps, using them to attack the beetle. Malevir casts dispel magic, and the transmutation spell is broken, and the beetle shows as a ruby red stone construct. Grandath's wisps dispatch the construct, leaving it as a pile of red crystals.
• Inside the tower, a net of silver runs down the walls. There are many platforms holding glowing globes that have tiny, flickering red crystals all over them. Nessirëa picks one of them up but nothing happens. Mycroft picks one up and pictures flash in his head – how the bug people came through a portal to escape the death of their world through ice. They established the sun/moon stone in the tower, and consider this land a paradise. The words “Shil Magar” occur to the bard. These bug people call themselves the Skree.
• Malevir casts “Identify”and the group finds out that these are knowledge globes – this is a library – with the entire history of the Skree in it. With the right combination of crystals pressed, the knowledge can be accessed. Malevir succeeds in learning a new spell in the process – “Skree Shape.” The construction material used by the Skree is known as Skree-stone, the red crystal that the tower is made from.
• Malevir creates red crystal plate mail for Galen. The group decides to spend the rest of this day and the whole of the next in this tower. Nessirëa, El Gato, and Mycroft attempt to access as many different globes as they can.
• The group discovers that the first tower (with many dead goblins in it) was the Tower of Tranquility. The second tower (this one) is the Tower of Erudition. The third tower is the Tower of the Red Circle. The central tower is the Sun/moon Spire, empty other than the globe that is sunbright for 12 hours, and moonsilver for the remaining 12 hours. The red lakewater acts as a cleanser, detoxes any poisons.
• Mycroft gains the Armband of Vision. Hondo gains the Thorn Warden.
• It is posited that Skullshanks might be in the Tower of the Red Circle.
• The group moves out from the tower, and onwards through the jungle. The jungle throws two creepers around members of the group, entangling them. Malevir, Hondo and Mycroft are grappled. The adventurer Audrey sees the trouble the group is having with the wayward vegetation, and wades in. Melée ensues. The two vines are dispatched. Afterwards, Audrey notices lots of bugbear skulls in what's left of the vines, finds 5 platinum pieces and a wand.
• Trek through the jungle. Four ants attack. Melée ensues. The ants are dispatched.
• Trek through the jungle. Four giant apes attack. Melée ensues. El Gato summons an acid elemental. The apes are dispatched