The group goes to the second best bar in Baldur’s Gate. The maitre d’ looks down his nose at them b/c they’re all covered in road dust and travel funk. Sigr goes around back (where the maitre d’ told him that they hand out scraps to the beggars) and sneaks in that way. Miri persuades the maitre d’ with her womanly wiles to seat them. The place is opulent but they are unfazed until they discover that they don’t serve beer. Aoidee sneaks behind the bar and steals some fancy liqueur in a fancy bottle and runs out the door.
Miri suggests a tavern that she remembers called The Goose’s Neck in the northern Merchant’s District.
When they enter, it is a lively tavern full of workers happily drinking their libations. Over the din of the crowd they hear one voice above the rest coming from a large man with long, mangy hair and a beard. He is lamenting the Wintermas festival as a vehicle for force feeding Santa Claus down the throats of the commoner and no one pays attention to the true meaning of Wintermas anymore, etc. Miri buys a beer and sits down to listen to the man’s gripe session. Sigr stands on the other end of the bar, staying alert.
Suddenly a small metallic cylinder is thrown through the door. When it lands there is a loud bang and a bright flash of light. When the light subsides, everyone in the bar has stopped moving, except the Crusaders. Four short men in black uniforms burst through the door in a tactical fashion, brandishing crossbows, and move directly up to the hairy fellow with the problem with Wintermas. They tell him that by order of the OSN, he is under arrest for being part of a terrorist organization. Moonracer flings 4 little cubes on the floor that unfold into toy soldiers that begin to attack, not only the OSN soldiers, but the Crusaders as well. Moonracer transforms into a half man/half lion and continues to throw out more toy soldiers. The combined group manages to take down Moonracer, losing half OSN soldiers in the process. Once he is unconscious, they manacle him.
Private Icicles explains that Moonracer is part of a terrorist organization called the League of Coal that is planning a terror attack against Wintermas. This squad was sent from OSN HQ to intercept Moonracer for interrogation and, further, thwart said plot if possible. The crusaders agree to help the remaining OSN with their mission.
When Moonracer wakes up, Sigr offers to give him a key to the manacles if Moonracer teaches him how to use the collapsed toy soldiers he looted. Moonracer explains how they work. Robin steals 6 gold from the frozen patrons of the bar, Aoidee steals a gallon of beer from the bar. The rest of the party interrogates him and eventually finds out that the League of Coal is performing some sort of ritual in a place called the Tower of Coal and he has an item that will produce a portal to it. They pull a piece of cloth out of his pocket. On one side it is a plain piece of cloth, on the other side it is an opening in which they can see a stout tower. Stripeytoes calls back to HQ to apprise them of the situation while the rest of the party figures out how they’re going to hang the portal so that they can go through.
The tower is situated on a rocky landscape with ambient light, but no indication of where it comes from. None of the party can see beyond about 20 feet, but they can’t tell why their vision is obstructed.
The party enters into the tower and are immediately in a throne room. There is a tan man with fiery red hair and a orange suit on sitting on the throne. A fight ensues in which Heat Miser turns into a fire elemental.
Behind the throne is a narrow archway that leads to a stairway that spirals around the outer wall of the tower which, in turn, leads to an archway into another throne room. In the throne of this room is a pale man with blue hair in a blue suit. Sitting atop the throne is a hooded crow. The floor in between the characters and the throne contain a puzzle.
entrance C I A P D R X W J H O D L B E U A J L R V Y S J C E B D S I P T K E A I C M A S O R F M Q B A I N T L O R B E L S F X M C O E L E U J I D A R S R G X R M V Y S T throne
They step on some tiles to test them out, some of them spawn Ice Elementals, some of them collapse into a pit trap, some of them trigger poison dart traps. Through many much trial and error, they make it across only to discover that the figure in the throne is actually a straw man. Miri ignites the straw man with a firebolt out of frustration.
They go up the stairs behind the throne and find themselves in a room similar to the other, but without a throne or dais. A tall, thin, well dressed man is inside a circle made of glowing figures and runes in the center of the room moving his arms and chanting. Outside the circle is a giant furry monster, flanked by giant toy soldiers. A fight ensues.
They try walking into the circle but find that it is protected by a barrier. Sigr tries jumping through it. Stripeytoes attacks it. Donken tries talking to the man inside and then rips up a floor stones and throws it at the shield. Miri studies the circle and shield and realizes that it is a demon summoning ritual. She further realizes that the glowing circle is made up of sand. Donken starts singing Wintermas carols. Miri casts Thunderwave and it disrupts the sand, bringing down the barrier. At that exact moment, an old lady in a red dress lined with white fur (wearing the same patch on here shoulder as the OSN soldiers) jump kicks through the wall and runs over deliver an immeasurable number of blows to the ritual caster, who disappears in the blink of an eye.
Through the hole in the wall, the party hears bells jingling. A sleigh led by reindeer flies throw the hole and lands in the room. A jolly, old man in a matching outfit to the woman steps off the sleigh. He thanks them for their help and gives each of them a present.
- To Robin, he gives a cloak made of shadow called the Shaed, granting him advantage on any stealth check at night.
- To Aoidee, he gives a pewter mug that will never run out of drink called The Everfull Mug, which will fill with any beverage of her choosing at will.
- To Donken, he gives a leather, fingerless glove called Hawk’s Glove, which will give him advantage on Strength checks and he will never lose at arm wrestling.
- To Sigr, he gives a palm-sized clear gem called the Erised’s Gem, which will show him his most treasured memory whenever he chooses.
- To Miri, he gives a silver necklace and tells her he can’t tell her what it does but it will be helpful.
- He gives them a fist-sized hourglass for their the party member that “isn’t here yet”