[4] Cairn of the Winter King

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Matthew Sernett



Credits Design

Matthew Sernett Editing

Miranda Horner Managing Editing

Kim Mohan R&D Director

Bill Siavicsek D&D Creative Manager

INTRODUCTION Cairn of the ';Vinter Kin8TM is a D UNG EONS & DRAGONs® adventure for four to six characters of 4th leveL To run this adventure as the Dungeon Master, you need the DUll8eon Master's Book and the tokens from the Dun8eon Master's Kit"". (The Rules Compendium '-~ oHers a more extensive treatment of the rules and ca n be used in pJace of the DunBeon Master's Book.) Players need Heroes of/he Fal/ell Lands"" or another book for players that enables them to crea te characters.

Christopher Perkins D&D Design Manager

James Wyatt D&D Development Manager

Andy Collins Art Director Kate Irwin 0&0 Senior Art DirecLOr

Jon Schindehette Graphic Designers

Leon Cortez, Keven Smith, Emi Tanji Additional Graphic Design

Yasuyo Dunnett

Adventure Background A half-elf fugitive from justice has come to Fallcrest bea ring a powerful item stolen from the Winter King. The half-elf traveled to Fallcrest through the Frostjaw Peaks far to the south_ As he traveled through a mountain range during a storm, he took shelter in a frozen cave beneath a pillar of ice fllled with skulls-the Cairn of the Winter King. Exploring deep into the cave, he found the ice scepter in the grip of a figure frozen to a throne and encased in ice_ He took the scepter and left the cave when the storm cleared. No\\' a seemingly endless ,,,inter has befallen the Jand in the middle of summer, and the people ofFallcrest and the surrounding lands are desperate_

Cover Illustration and Cartography

Jason A. Engle Pub lishing Prod uction Specialists

Angelika lokatz, Erin Dorries Prepress Manager

Jefferson Dunlap Imaging Technician

Carmen Cheung Produc t ion Manager

Cynda Callaway DUN GEONS & DRAGONS, D&O, d20, d20 System, WIZARDS OF THE COAST, Dun8con Master's Kit, Heroes of the Fallen Lands, Monster Vault, Rules Compendium, Cairn of the Winter Kin,g, all other Wi~ard s of the Coast product names, and their respective logos are trademarks of Wi~ards of t he Coast LLC in the U.s.A, and other countries. All Wi~ards characters and the distinctive likenesses thereof are property ofWi~ards of the Coast LLC T his material is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or unauthori~ed use of t he material or artwork contained herein is prohibited without the express written perm ission of Wi~ards of the Coast LLC This product is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual people, organ i ~ations, places, or events included herein is purely coi nc idental. Printed in China. ©2010 Wizards of the Coast LLC

300-24465000-001 EN 987654321 First Printing: November 101 0 ISBN; 978 ·0-78 69 ·56 31-9 Visi t auf website at www.Dunge onsandDragons.com

ADVENTURE SYNOPSIS The characters arrive in Fallcrest just as another snowstorm begins to fall [rom the black clouds. Unprepared for the sudden freeze, the people ofFalicrest have gathered together to discuss what to do, and the characters capture their interest as travelers who might have news of a place not consumed by ,",'inter. While the characters are talking about the strange weather. a rhythmic and deep chanting resonates between peals of thunder, and it appears to come from the sky. vVhen the characters investigate, they witness a ship filled with undead warriors descending from the clouds. The ship bears a message from the Winter King: Return the ice sce pter! The characters must use the ship to fly to the Cairn of the Winter King and either return hi s scepter or kill the Winter King. Only then will winter loosen its grip. They can choose to bring the fugitive and the ice scepter with them, or make the journey without one or both. The characters mllst succeed on a skill challenge as they rovv the sky ship back through the storm or face the first battle at the Cairn in an injured state. They must navigate the dangers of the \Vinter King's realm and find their way to his throne room to confront or appease him. If they succeed, they win much treasure and save thousands from a cold and hungry death. If they fail, winter might claim the Nentir Vale forever.

STARTING THE ADVENTURE When the ad venture starts, the characters a re assumed to be arriving in the city ofFallcrest in the Nentir Vale. For informatio n about FalJcrest and the Nentir Vale, sec the DUI18eon Ma ster's Book. Optionally. you can place the start of thi s ad venture in \,,·hateve r settlement you like or put Fallcrest whereve r you w ish in your ca mpaign . "Opening Scene" on page 4 uses flames a nd places in FallcIest for convenience, but feel free to change any stich elements in th e ways that suit you. [0 a ny event , the adventure doesn't linge r long in the town be fore se nding the characters off to the Cairn of the Winter King. To start this advent ure, YOli can do the foll owing: + Use one orthe following hooks for the character s' travel to Fa llc rest , or lise one of your own devising. • Describe a nd roleplay throug h the events of the opening sce ne (page 4). • Run Encounter 1: Sky Raiders, page 6. • Continu e the adve nture with "Aftermath of the Battle," page 8, or, if the characters leave on the sky shi p right after encounter] , w ith the skill challenge on page 10.

Hook: Investigate the Iron Circle's Ties If the charac tcrs just completed the Reavers of Hark emvoId adventu re from the Dungeon Master's Kit, they could be traveling to Fallc rest prepared to pretend to be Iron Circle mercen a ries. They lea rned from a lettcr on anlron Circle mem ber that the individual and a number of othcr Iron Cirde merce nari es are supposed to go to Fallc res t and meet' up with a ma n namcd Armos Kam roth to ",'ork fo r hiln. QUEST: INVESTIGATE THE IRON CIRCLE'S TIES

4th-Level Minor Quest (175 XP) The characters complete this quest if they talk with Armos Kamrath and discover what he knows about the Iron Ci rcle: nothing! Armos wanted to hire extra muscle from out of tow n to break so me legs and steal the possessions of debto rs, but t he current sit uation has him more interested in hiring the characte rs as guards for his estate. The Iron Circle intende d to turn Armos to its side with blac km a il and bribe ry once some agents gained his tru st. The characte rs have ruined th ose plans.


their goods. The work promjses to be relaxed and net them 0::: 50 gp each. All they have to do is show lip in Fallerest :J and greet the halnings's leader, Ba rroTurnfin , with their ~ fr iend's special hand shake. From there on, it should be a OJ month of smooth sailing down the river to new Sights and > o sounds to the south. (Of co urse, it doesn't work out that ..: way.) OJ




\J 4th-Level Minor Quest (17S XP) Z The cha racters complete this qu est if they meet up with the halflings at their camp in Fallcrest. The ir leader, Barro ~ Turnfin, has no work for the characters now that w inter has ~ frozen much of t he river and sta ll ed trade, but he offe rs to ill pay eac h character 1 50 gp for th e job they ca me out to do if the strange winte r we ath e r e nd s within th e month.

Hook: Marriage Proposal The charac ters bear happy news for Amara Azaer, a tiefli ng merchant in Fallcrcst. Bellis lronoak, a merchant of Hammerfast whom she h as long pursued, has accepted her proposal fo r marriage and the joining of their companies. Amara runs House Azaer, a trading company in Fa IIcrcst. W h en you read th e second passage of read-aloud text in "Opcning Scene" on page 4, the wa rehouse the characters pass on the way to the ha lning ca mp belongs to Amara. She is there arguing ,... ith the guard s and the people \'"ho are cutting up her cli ents' goods. QUEST: AZAER BELLIS'S ANSWER

4th-Level Minor Quest (175 XP) The cha racte rs com plete this quest if th ey let Amara Azaer know Be ll iss answer. It should provi de a nice roleplaying moment as Amara worries about her abi lity to see Bell is Ironoak again. It shocks her out of he r a nge r at the guards and gives her the oppo rtu nity to describe the situa tio n in the town from he r pe rspective as so meone w hose goods have bee n com mandeered.

Hook: Discover the Cause News of the unnatural winter ha s traveled quickly, but the weather itself h as not ye t s pread as far as the ironically named Winterhaven, a forti fied town abollt 50 miles to the northwest.1ts leader, lord Padraig, sent th e characters into the storm to see ifthey co uld bri ng back news ofits cause. H e paid them in advance, hoping they would honor their promise once they h ad in formation.

Hook: Boat Guards


A friend of the cha racters and her partners h ave ta ken a morc lucrative stint of caravan gua rd duty and can't make it to thejr usual summerjobs in Fallcrest as boat g uard s fo r th e Turnfin clan of halflings. The friend has as ked the char ac ters to take over guardianship of the halnings a nd

The characte rs com plete th is quest if they learn of the W inte r Ki ng and successfully com mun ica te t hat info rmation to Lord Padraig.

4th-Level Minor Quest (175 XP)


OPENING SCENE While the characters were traveling to Fallcrest, snow began to faJi in the middle of summer. This turned out to be no freak weather occurrence but a long-term trend. Dark clouds covered the sky, and the snow hasn't stopped falling. The hardship this is causing people becomes obvious as the characters near Fallcrest. Outlying farms are abandoned, their crops buried in snow and blighted by cold.

When the characters arrive in Fallcrest, read:

Your hopes for hot food and a warm fire seem dashed as you approach FalIcrest. The Bate in its hi8h stone walls stands unBuarded, and a drift ofsnow holds open the huge wooden doors. Inside are few sians of life. Businesses and homes stand tiahtly shuttered, and you spy only a couple thin trails ofsmoke from nearby chimneys. Even the lord's castle, barely visible throuah the aloom and blowina snow, looks dark and lonely on a distant hilltop. You spot afew dots of ruddy light by the river where a crowd is aathered amid some tents. Plumes of white smoke rise from bO"!fires to streak across the darkening sky, looking like the claw marks of some behemoth. Allow the characters to explore the tOvvn as they wish. Most of the buildings in the town are currently locked up and abandoned or occupied by suspicious people carefully guarding what little food and fuel for fire they possess. Iviost of those who stayed have sent a representative to the camp of the Turnfin halflings in response to a ca1l from the Fallcrest Guard. Everyone else has gone to the camp. Lord Warden Faren Markelhay decided to hold a town meeting at the halflings' camp so everyone could hear what he and the halflings had to say. If you used one of the hooks that came with this adventure, the characters can learn that the person they are looking for is likely at the Turnfin camp with the other folk from the town.

U S ING T HIS A D VEN TURE As with any published adventure, Cairn of the Winter Kina might not be perfectly suited to your group and the world in which you set it. Make any changes you need to make your game more fun. Some of the encounters use the poster map provided in this product. For the others you can use 0&0 Dun8eon Tiles, or draw their maps out on a blank battle grid.

When the characters go to the tents by the river, read: As you approach the camp, you pass a warehouse with crates and barrels 9fina in tumbled heaps outside it. Six humans and a dwarf are dumpin8 their contents into the snow and hackin8 the containers up. Food appears to be the only exception. They take

the food back inside throu8h doors j1anked by members of the Pallcrest Guard. One of the 8uards sees you lookin8 and nods his head toward the camp. His messa8e is clear: Move alona. When the characters continue on, read: The walk down to the camp by the river is a lonely one, even as other latecomers to the crowd file onto the street to crunch their way throuah the snow and the chill air. The people you see don't

say anythin8. but they look worried and defeated. By the time you arrive at the camp, the area around the

halflin8s' tents is packed with people. They stand shoulder to shoulder, and bonfires roar nearby, but stilI they stomp their feet and rub themselves aaaimt the cold. You can see people's breath as they shout at a baldin8 man in fine furs standin8 on a chair in the center of the crowd. Unprepared for the sudden winter, the citizens are run· ning out of coal and wood for fires , and tempers are high. Lord 'Varden Faren Markelhay has brought the people together to explain his plan to take all food and keep it under guard for rationing while teams of people cut up furniture and other objects for firewood. The Lord Warden is earnest in his desires to help his people, but many consider his efforts draconian. The Turnfin halflings are a clan of river ·traveling shippers who come up the Nentir River to Fallcrest at this time of year to collect goods before traveling south again. They have brought news that the lands to the south are no better off. Their journey through the Witchlight Fens-which often has its perils- was made eerily easy by the stillness brought by the cold. They had to contend with the freez· ing water, though, and had to break ice to make their way to the light ofFallcrest's civilization. Barro Turnfin, leader of the Turnfin clan, says as much when several of the Lord vVarden's people raise him on their shoulders. Roleplay the characters' interactions with the citizens and the Lord \Varden. The characters' words are of great interest to the people because they are travelers and might know a land not blighted by the unnatural cold. As such, those gathered push the characters to the center to stand by the lord \t\'arden so that everyone can hear what they say. The characters' report likely confirms what most people fear; The winter is widespread and has been for weeks. Although normally the people follow their Lord Warden's orders without much complaint, the dire nature of the town's predicament is causing unrest. Things could get ugly. Use the following statements from some of the citizens of Fallcrest as inspiration for roleplaying '''ith the players.

Faren M a r kelhay, Human Lord Warden ofFallcrest: "You've heard from Barro Turrifin! The lands downriver are in winter too! Rationina is th e only way. We will outlast this. Srranae weather has come andaone in the past. This too shall pass!" Armos Kamro th , Human Landow ner and Secret Cleric ofTialnat: "Let each person take care of him self! Until this is over we should be with our families. not stand ina about the freezina cold and sta rvina ourselves. First we chop up trade aoods. Will we cut up our houses for firewood next?" Barstomun Strongbeard, Dwarf Leader of the Porters' Guild: "You've aot more than you need, Armas! .ifyou don't want to share, maybe we should help ourselves!" Amara Azaer, Tiefljng Merchant and Operator of House A za e r: "Armas is riaht! You'll pay every copper for my property. Lord Ward en, or ... or .. ." Bors H ungren , H u man Farmer: "Or you'll what, tiej1ina?

What will you do to the Lord Warden? What will you do to the man who is tryina to feed my family? You foraer that the people who put food on your table-thefarmers - are the ones worst hit

by this storm." Rag Vanna r, H u man Farmer: "You merchants worry over a few crates? A few contracts broken? I've lost everythilla! My whole crop is dead! Now I'm just tryina to keep l11y family alive, and the Lord Warden has a plan to do it."

Lannar ThistIeton, Ha lfljng Owner of the Fallcrest Stables: "When will it be over? It's been snowinafor over a week, and it's aettina worse. We should pack up what we can and head north!" A r mos Kam rot h, H u man Landowner and Secr et Cleric ofTiamat: "Pool of a halflina! When has the winter ever been made better by headina north? Perhaps we should all head into the Winterbole Forest and camp on Lake Wintermist. I'm sure the Tiaerdaw barbarians will welcome us with open arms!" G r ulldelma r, Dwarf Priest of Pel or: "Pelor is theaod of summer and sunlight! We should all pray to Pelor! " D irina Mornbrow, Human Priest of Erath is: "Non· sense! Erathis is our city's patron aod! We have taken the safety of our lands for aranted. We must make sacrifices to Erathis!" At some p Oint, small groups start forming in the crowd. Some of th e farm ers start mur muri ng together,joined a moment later by porters and other less well·off citizen s. Me rch a nts cluster around Ann os Kam roth , worr iedly di s· cussing their future. The Tu rnfin h alflings sta rt winding their way through the crowds toward their tents , and the guards look about nervously with h ands on their weapons.

Have the characte rs make an InSight check (a character ca n aid another ch aracter ifhe or she w ishes) and let them know the following abollt the groups based upon how high th ei r check result was. General Cr owd (DC 10): Most of the citizens are confl icted. They want to obey their lord , but they're all worrying about wh at they' ll have to give up. Guards (DC 10): T he g uards are getting nervous. A few of them are dov.mright tWitchy, putting hands to sword h ilts whenever anyone in the crowd shouts. Turnfin Haillings (DC 10): The Turnflns sense da nger in the crowd and are retreating to their tents. Some are keeping h ands close to weapons. Farmer s (DC 14): The farmers look pretty desperate. They're inclined to support the Lord \ Vard en and are look· ing fo r a way to do th at. Merchan ts (DC 14): The merchants are worried, a nd Armos is telling them w hat they want to hear. They're get· ting worked up to defend their posseSSions but are worried about opposing the Lord ' Varden. Porters and Others (DC 21): T he strong-looking porters have m ade a sile nt a ll ia nce with some sh jfty· looking h alflings a nd humans. They're fanning ou t through the crowd and occaS iona lly whispering into cars while the dwar f who shouted at Armos tal ks to th e farm er who shouted at the tie n ing. It looks li ke they're trying to sta r t a riot. While th is is un fold ing, om inous thunder begins to roll in th e darkeni ng sky, and the snow begi ns to fa Jl more heavily. Allow th e ch aracters to do what they li ke w ith the in for mation their Insight check gains. They m ig ht try to counter the ill wi ll in the crowd towa rd the merchants or try to calm everyone down. Perhaps th ey pOint out the ne'er·do·\vells to t he gua rds or warn the Lord Warde n. Read "War Chant from the Sky," below. During whatever dra ma unfold s, introduce th is element at a dra matically appropriate moment.

War Chant from the Sky When th ings start to become te nse or a fight brea ks out. have the characters least involved in the hullabaloo make Perception checks. Perception Check (D C 14): A character who fa ils th is check ca n barely discer n frightened shouting from a few members on the edge of the crowd. If a character succeeds on this chec k, he or sh e hears th e shouting but also somet h ing more ominous. Betwee n pea ls of thu nder, a deep a nd rhyth mic chanti ng rever· be rates through t he area. The sound is si m.i1 ar to tJ1at a crew m ight make when rowing a sh ip- an d it seems to be coming not from the river but from above! Th is revelation shou ld ca use the characters to look aro un d. Turn to Encou nte r 1: Sky Raiders, on th e next page, to continue t he adventu re.




~ \,J









6 Decrepit Skeletons (0)

Levell Minion Skirmisher

Medium natural am mate (undead)

Encounter Level 5 (1,200 XP)

XP 25 each

HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion. Initiative +5 AC 16. Fortitude 13, Reflex 14. Will 13 Perception +2 Speed 6 Darkvision Immune disease, poison; Resist 10 necrotic; Vulnerable 5 radiant STANDARD ACTIONS


CD longsword (weapon) + At-Will

6 decrepit skeletons (D) 2 flesh-crazed zombies (F) 3 skeletons (S) 5 zombie shamblers (Z) When the characters investigate, read: The wind changes, and yo u can hear the chantin8 more dearly. It's a war chant of some kind, and it's comin8jrom the sky. You see afew fo lk pointina to the clouds and 5houti"8, but you perceive nothing. Then thunder explodes above you and, in theflash ofliahtnina that comes a moment later, you see it: a lontJship with a tattered black sail beil18 rowed throu8h th e air! Suddel11y it takes a curving dive and drops into thefri8id river, only to skid up onto the icy shore near the halfl-ina camp. The chantin8 stops asfur-dad warriors leap from the boat, each lettin8 loose an unearthly roar. After a moment ofshock, the terrified crowd surges away.

The fur·clad warriors a re und ead servants of the Winter King come to delive r a deadly message.


Effect: The skeleton can shift 1 square before the attack. Attack: Melee 1 (o ne crea wre); +6 vs. AC Hit: 4 damage. ® Shortbow (weapon) + At-Will Effect: The skeleton can shift 1 square before the attack. Attack: Ranged 20 (one creature); +6 vs. AC Hit: 3 damage. w;s 14(+2) S.r 15 (+2) De. 17 (+3) Cha 3 (-4) Con 13 (+1) Int 3 (-4) Alignment unaligned languages Equipment longsword, shortbow. 20 arrows

1 Flesh-Crazed Zombies (F) Medium natural animate (undead) HP 55; Bloodied 27 AC 18, Fortitude 17. Reflex 16, Will 14 Speed 6 (8 when cha rging) Immune disease, poison

Level 4 Skirmisher XP 175 each Initiative +6 Perception +3 Darkvision


Flesh-Crazed Charge Wh il e the zombie is charging. its movement does not provoke opportunity attacks. Zombie Weakness A criti cal hit automatica lly redu ces the zombie to 0 hit pOints. STANDARD ACTIONS

The undead spread out wide from the shi p like living raiders crazed for plunder and blood. They attack the townsfolk and th e cha racters in equal meas ure. All attack until destroyed. The charac ters shou ld have a hard time protec ting the cit.i ze ns from the undead. The characters might not know how to permane ntly kill the zombies at first. Ifno player talks about kicking the m while they're down or making sure they a re dead. a charac ter skilled in Religion can surmise how th ey must be destroyed. In any eve nt , it should not re main a mystery for more than a couple of rounds.

The Sky Ship The longsh ip is a semisentient vehicle with a talking dragon figure head. When a living creature comes within 5 squares of the sky ship, read: The dra80n fiaurehead at the prow of the ship shakes free of the ice around its face and turns to look at you. In a deep voice that booms out above the rumble of thunder, it intones, "Return the ice scepter to the 8rasp of the Winter Kin8, or this shall be a forever winter, and the cold and dead shall feast upon the warm and livin8."


[4] Cairn of the Winter King

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