The Death of Ferdinand Ironfeld

D&D last night was awesome.  Sure, its weird that I just said a session where one of my players died was “awesome”, but it was great.

We continued where we had left off last July, with our cult-worshipping evil players (Brent = Amn, male human warlock 6; David = Kveldion, male halfling bard 6; Freeman = Ferdinand Ironfeld, male dwarf ranger 6) attempting to hunt down their former friends.  Ferdinand’s tracking abilities (their friends left footprints in the November snow) led him and the rest of the party to dismay…  The footprints ran for a bit down the mountain, before veering off to the left, over the edge of the mountain.  A 2,000 foot drop.  Ferdinand attempted to scale the mountainside, but saw no sign of their friends.  Either their friends saw the hopelessness of the situation (if my players had caught them, they had been killed…or worse, have their memories erased and “reformatted” to worship the same cult as they did), or since one of their friends was a divine magic casting cleric, flew off into the distance.

After a bit of pondering, the party decided to continue down the mountain.  This is where they came across the fateful encounter…  They saw five giants, three frost (evil giants) and two cloud (good giants) locked in battle against each other.  Kveldion put his bardic knowledge to the test and formatted a plan; stealthily move to a position and use his crossbow to help the cloud giants kill the frost giants.

A good plan, but someone threw a wrench into it.  Or, rather, a dwarf.  Ferdinand is also anxious for a fight, he was born for fighting.  He runs towards the giants in combat, axes drawn.  He doesn’t use stealth, but rather, a more direct approach.  He gets in melee range and begins hacking at a frost giants’ ankle with his axes…to no avail.  Kveldion’s crossbow unloads on another frost giant, the bolts drawing blood but the frost giant gives Kveldion no heed.  Amn moves up but his brother stays back, both watching the combat.

After some hits, one of the frost giants goes down (thanks to Kveldion’s crossbow and a well-timed swing with an axe from one of the cloud giants), but so does one of cloud giants.  The odds are now 2 vs. 1, in favor the frost giants.  The party sees this and considers retreating from combat.  The frost giant that Ferdinand has yet to kill, turns around and chases him down.  Ferdinand goes down fighting (he scores a critical hit, hitting an artery in the frost giants’ leg), but goes down nonetheless.  The last the party sees of Ferdinand alive, is him being brutally sliced by the giants’ great axe.

The giant eventually dies (once Amn’s brother gets involved, in particular), but the damage is done.  The party has lost their front-line fighter.  None of the other players have strong fighting capabilities.  The party’s primary concern now is to find someone that can resurrect Ferdinand, a feat that will cost them at least 5,000 gp.  Finding a cleric skilled enough (at least 9th level) won’t be an easy task.  Also, the party has a certain number of days to find such a cleric.  In the case of a 9th level cleric, the party has 9 days.  Otherwise, Ferdinand is forever dead or will have to be resurrected with more expensive means (10,000 – 25,000 gp).

The party decided to spend the rest of the afternoon resting, allowing Amn’s brother (human wizard NPC) to rest up and prepare a teleport spell.  Will this prove to be a wise decision, or will this day be wasted?  I’ll find out next Friday!

With that said, this was the first major challenge my players faced.  They had triumphed over many obstacles I had planned with ease.  This…was not one of those days.

As we near the final hour
Time is the only foe we have