Last night we played Josh’s Icewind Dale campaign. There will be a few spoilers for the Legacy of the Crystal Shard adventure from Wizards of the Coast. I will keep them to a minimum, but there have to be a couple just to tell the story. Forewarned…
First, a little background…
Icewind Dale is the setting for several of RA Salvatore’s fantasy novels set in the Forgotten Realms. His very first book, The Crystal Shard, introduced us to several of fantasy’s most beloved characters, including the drow Drizzt Do’Urden. The major plot line of The Crystal Shard was a crystal artifact that could exert control over its possessor. In this book, the crystal shard had been found by a very inept but egotistic wizard. The crystal shard inflated the wizard’s powers and made him the major bad guy of the book. When he is defeated, the crystal shard was not destroyed, but lost. The crystal shard comes back to cause problems every now and then in the Icewind Dale region.
My character’s background in this particular campaign is that of a historian. My wizard mentor has an interest in the crystal shard of the legend from over one hundred years ago. My wizard has journeyed north to discover whatever he can about the crystal shard and its legacy.
In real life, I have read some of Salvatore’s Icewind Dale books, but not all. This makes it easy to play a character with limited knowledge of the incidents surrounding the crystal shard. When I introduce my character to others in the game, I introduce myself as an historian, not as a wizard. My hat is more like this than a typical wizard’s pointy hat…
Other party members here, and I’ll use their non-game names, are Tyler (playing a female rogue, and our smoothest talking party member), Corrie (playing a warlock, and our second smoothest talking party member), Grace (playing a non-smooth talking barbarian), and Connor (playing our cleric, and brand new to D&D, this being his first game).
Dwarves in the area have discovered a beautiful new crystal they are calling ‘Black Ice’. It can be formed into weapons and armor and jewelry. It looks really slick. however, those in possession of it, over time, become sort of possessed by the crystal. We did not discover what long term exposure does, but it quickly makes it’s owner quite moody, surly, foul tempered, and aggressive. (I suppose you could say it starts to turn it’s possessor into a dwarf, huh? 😉 )
We discovered that there had been a split in a dwarf clan. A band of dwarves had come under the Black Ice spell. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, was to bring this renegade band to its senses, get them to abandon the Black Ice, and come back to the clan. I had no idea how to accomplish this, and neither did anybody else in the party. We tried to bypass this mission and move on to another time sensitive mission we have, but it became apparent that we could not abandon the dwarves in this hour of need. The situation between the two bands was rapidly deteriorating and could break out into open warfare before we could return. We decided that the best option to try was to simply separate the dwarves from their Black Ice items, breaking the hold.
Yeah. That’s all we had to do. I was not optimistic. On the bright side, though, the 5E rules make it easier to subdue and not fight everybody to the death. However, even though we might be pulling punches, I didn’t think the dwarves would.
I will spare most of the details in getting here, but we encountered a three dwarf patrol. We actually ambushed them pretty well and clearly got the drop on them. Tyler was able to talk them out of their Black Ice because we clearly had superior position on them. Once they dropped the Black Ice, they started coming out of its effects and saw we were right. We sent them back to their brother clan on the other side of the valley.
We continued on an d encountered another three dwarf patrol, but we did not have the drop on these. We were at a stand off. Tyler explained the situation with the Black Ice and made a Persuasion roll, since we did not have a superior position on these dwarves. He failed his roll. Then Corrie tried to use their pride, saying “Do you really want to be controlled by a trinket? Where is the honor in that?” And then she failed her roll.
It was starting to look like it was going to go to blows, which none of us wanted. I saw that even though I do not have the Persuasion skill, I do have a 13 CHA for a +1 bonus, anyway, so I said “To be honest, with all of the problems you guys have had with crystals and demons and such in the recent past, I don’t know what you all see in the stuff.” I rolled a Persuasion check.
They surrendered their Black Ice and agreed to take us to their leader.
We almost repeated the performance with their leader. Their leader, Bayrick Hammerstone, had a huge Black Ice maul, plate armor, and helm. Tyler stated the case against the Black Ice. No dice. Corrie played on their pride. Closer, but not quite. “To be honest, with the local history of possessing crystals and demons coming from Kelvin’s Cairn, where you found the Black Ice, I would think a smart dwarf would be more suspicious of crystals that looked too good to be true.”
Josh said, “You know, he is old enough to have lived through the whole Crystal Shard incident.”
And just like that…we won without a fight!