New Year's Bell
An ice druid has stolen the New Year’s Bell. Without it, the region will fall into an eternal winter. Can you get it back before the clock strike’s midnight?
On New Year’s Eve, the residents of your town have a huge party to celebrate the ringing of the New Year’s Bell. The Bell’s magical sound lulls the powerful ice dragons of the North into a deep sleep, and ushers an end to the cold winter months.
Two hours ago, Mayor Remora Rockland came running up to you, face red and sweat dripping down her forehead, and exclaimed…
The bell! It’s been taken by the Balefrost, the powerful Ice Druid!
Brave souls, can you help us retrieve the bell? If we don’t ring it by midnight tonight, our town will fall into an unending winter. Our crops won’t grow, our rivers will freeze over, and we’ll have no choice but to leave forever. You’re our only hope.
That’s how you ended up here, deep in the woods of the Eastern Grove, looking for Balefrost’s lair. You’ve only got a few hours to find it, retrieve the bell, and get back to town.
But you can’t shake the feeling that someone—or something—is following you…
- How does the Bell work?
- Why does Balefrost want it?
- What do you know about Balefrost’s hideout?
- What happens if you ring the bell after New Year’s Eve?
- Someone else also wants the bell. Who, and why?
The Path to Balefrost’s Lair. The path through the Eastern Grove is cold, icy, dark, and dangerous.
- Someone is following the party. Maybe they hear crunching branches, or smell something, or just get the sense of being watched.
- The entrance to Balefrost’s Lair is hidden at the base of a very large tree. His lair is in the root system underneath it.
- Creatures & Traps
- Ice Bridge. A bridge of ice spans a raging river. It’s slippery and weak in certain spots, and will collapse if too much weight is put on it. The water may or may not have piranha’s in it.
- Wolves. They’ll try to surround the party, pounce, and bite. They’re controlled by Balefrost and used to keep away intruders, so they’re presence means the party is close.
- Bear. If the party is noisy, a mound of snow will begin to shake, revealing a sleeping bear, now awake.
Balefrost’s Lair. A twisting maze of dirt tunnels built in the root system of the trees.
- Secrets +
- Creatures & Traps
- Freeze Trap. The room begins to freeze, from the outer walls in. If touched by, players become frozen to the ground. The frozen ground is slippery, and can cause players to slip and get hurt.
- Arrow Trap. Observant players might notice a row of holes bored into some tangled roots along the wall. Closer, careful inspection reveals them to be an arrow trap. If the players don’t notice them, one arrow per player is launched at the players as they walk by.
- Cliff Face. As the tunnel slowly lowers deeper underground, players come to a 15-20’ tall cliff in front them. It’s face is comprised of rocks, dirt, and loose roots.
- Wall of Ice. A wall of ice blocks the path forward. Do the players double back and find another way, or break through?
- Cave-In. The roof of the tunnel caves in on both sides of the players. A Wisdom Check will give players a hint it’s about to happen. On a successful Dexterity roll, the player jumps clear before it it seals them in.
- Flooded Pasageway. The section of tunnel dips down into a flooded passage of ice cold water. It’s too dark to see where, or if, it pops back out.
- Spore Cloud. A cloud of spores fills this section of tunnel. A successful Dexterity roll jumps out of the room before its effects kick in. On failure, choose a random effect from this table.
- Wolves. The players were being followed… by wolves. They attack in the tunnels.
- Giant Spider. One or more players get stuck in an unseen giant spider web. While trying to free themselves, a Giant Spider attacks. If it takes too long, a sac of spider hatchlings bursts open and also attacks.
- Balefrost. When players find the Bell and grab it, Balefrost emerges from the dirt wall and attacks. He should flee before being knocked out. Balefrost shoots ice from his hands and can turn into a cloud of snow.
- Gear & Treasure
- Healing Potion
- Hide Armor
- Balefrost the Ice Druid
The Race Home. After retrieving the Bell, you glance at your watch and notice you have just 42 minutes to get back to the village.
- Creatures & Traps
- Treefolks. As you race back to the village, a grove of treefolk attack and attempt to stop you (one for every three party members).
Game Master Tips
- Balefrost should be scaled up or down in difficulty and strength as needed based on your party’s skill.
- For added fun, you can add a tunnel creature (perhaps an anthropomorphic mole) NPC that the party meets in their travels. They can aid the party, give them any needed gear, and heal them if necessary.