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 Farfaria 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.
You’re with your friends in the center of town, preparing for the night’s festivities, when Mayor Remora Rockland comes running in, face red and sweat dripping down her forehead. She exclaims…
The bell! It’s been taken by the Balefrost, the powerful Ice Druid!
She rushes over to you and asks,
Brave souls, can you help us retrieve the bell? If we don’t ring it by midnight tonight, Farfaria 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.
She unrolls a map of Farfaria, and points to a spot in the Eastern Grove.
My scouts followed the Balefrost here. There’s a massive oak tree. The entrance to Balefrost’s lair seems to be hidden somewhere near the base of the tree. Find it, make your way in, and locate the Bell.
Once you do, get it back here as quickly as you can. Time is of the essence.
Two of Mayor Rockland’s scouts step forward, and hand you supplies to help you on your journey.
As she walks out of the square, she turns back to you and says,
Be careful. Balefrost is very powerful, and very dangerous. We’re counting on 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 belle after New Year’s Eve?
Locations, Events & Monsters
The Path to Balefrost’s Lair. The path through the Eastern Grove is cold, icy, dark, and dangerous.
- Along the way, you get the distinct feeling you’re being watched or followed. Maybe you hear crunching branches, or smell something, or just get the sense of being watched.
- 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.
- As you get closer to the Lair, a pack of wolves attack (one for every two players).
The Entrance to Balefrost’s Lair. Standing before you is an immense oak tree. Icy, snow-covered branches stretch into the sky. This must be Balefrost’s Lair.
- The entrance is hidden by illusory magic. A Wisdom Check of the area will reveal it beneath an illusion of a pile of snow.
- Once opened, the entrance itself is a narrow tunnel that slows down. Jumping through it will slide them down below the root system of the tree.
- If the players take too long or make too much noise, a pile of snow starts moving, and reveals itself to be a snow-covered, slumbering bear.
Balefrost’s Lair. A twisting maze of dirt tunnels built in the root system of the trees.
- There are no defined locations here. For every room the party enters, choose an event, monster, or bit of treasure for them to find.
- The last room the players find is Balefrost’s study and bedroom. A bed built into the root system rests against one of the dirt walls. A small tree stump desk is pushed against another. A small shelf of books and herbs is tucked on the far side of the room. The New Year’s Bell rests on it.
- The room begins to freeze, from the outer walls in. Players who fail a Dexterity roll become frozen to the ground, and must succeed a Strength roll to break free. The frozen ground is slippery. Players who fail a Dexterity roll slip, fall, and get hurt.
- On a successful Wisdom Check, players will 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.
- 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.
- A wall of ice blocks the path forward. Do the players double back and find another way, or break through?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The players were being followed… by wolves. They attack in the tunnels.
- 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.
- When players find the Bell and grab it, Balefrost emerges from the dirt wall and attacks. He should flee before being knocked out
- Gear & Treasure
- Healing Potion
- Hide Armor. Reduce damage from cold by half.
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.
- 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.