Dragons of Winter Night
A Mysterious Sail
Can the heroes gain anything from a meeting with the Ice Folk?
Information Gathering: Once the storm dies, midmorning brings a bright blue sky over a landscape of eye-burning whiteness. A DC 15 perception check allows movement to be detected to the west.
A plume of snow rises from the surface of the glacier as a large object approaches. A great sail, rises above the object, it is an iceboat similar to the one wrecked by the walrus-folk.
A crew of rugged warriors leaps from the deck of the ship, and advance rapidly through the snow. All of the dozen or so figures are clad in heavy furs, and each carries a glistening battle-axe. The weapons look as if they are made of clear glass.
This is the flagship of Harald Haakan. He and a picked crew are searching for the missing iceboat. If the heroes weathered the storm at the wreck, Harald sails directly up to them. If the party is out on the glacier, the iceboat makes a long, elegant circle before slowing to a stop about 180 feet from the heroes. The Ice Folk pause when they are about 40 feet from the heroes and Harald Haakan moves several steps in front of his men.
Challenge: The crews attitude is Indifferent—they are cautious, but they do not attack unless one of the heroes makes the first hostile move. If the white bear is present, give advantage to any persuasion checks. If the heroes don’t provide a satisfactory answer to why they are at the wreck of the iceboat (assuming that’s where the Ice Folk meet them) or if they insult, offend, or provoke the Ice Folk, their attitude drops to Unfriendly. The Ice Folk will not hesitate to attack the heroes if the situation worsens.
On the other hand, if the heroes explain the wreckage and mention the thanoi, or the white bear (who is considered a mystical omen by Harald’s people) is present, their attitude might increase to at least Friendly if not Helpful.
Source(s) of Conflict: 12 personal bodyguards (Knight NPC armed with Frost Brand (DMG 171) Great Axe, and 80hp each); the Revered Cleric of his tribe, Raggart Knug (use commonor NPC); and Harald himself. This formidable group is more than able to take on the heroes, though their intent is not to attack but parley.
Celebration: Harald’s wrath is rightfully directed at the thanoi; once he and his crew are convinced of the heroes’ worth, they will offer them hospitality back in the Ice Folk camp. Harald is eager to hear about how the heroes came to travel with the bear, also; word of their battle with such opponents as the minotaurs will impress his men. Proceed to The Ride in the Getting to the Ice Folk Camp section.
Failure: Harald warns the heroes of more bad weather brewing He gives them directions to Ice Mountain Bay and Icewall Castle, and leaves them with additional provisions (if they have proven their worth, that is.) If the heroes fight they are roused and healed and their stuff is left out of range. The party can continue on its way.