This was the first quest in our campaign after my "How the Half-elf rogue played the DM" post. We had been trying to track down any drow that might lead us to Lolth. We captured all kinds of drow, from slavers to priestesses. We had apparently earned a name for ourselves in drow society cause ever drow we met would drop everything and run. None of them gave us any information, so we stopped at a nearby frontier town called Phandalin and rested until we could come up with a solution to our predicament. We got to know a few NPC's and one of them had the info we needed, at a price. His name is Daran Edermath, a member of the Order of the gauntlet. He didn't want our money; he wanted our services. To the far north, past the humanoid settlements, there were sightings of driders going to the home of a frost giant chief who called himself "The Ice King"
His palace was a fire giant forge until he captured it and took its previous occupants as slaves, forcing them to make weapons for "The King"
He wanted us to kill "The Ice King", and in return he would give us locations of powerful drow figures in the drow society.
When we heard that driders were going to "The Ice King" two things came to mind: One, there can't live with their shame of failing Lolth's test so they are going to complete an assignment for Lolth to restore their honor and image, or two, they are here to offer their services to the giants. We had a run in with drider assassins so it could be either, and we really needed that info. He gave us all a pair of boots of the winterlands and leather armor that was resistant to cold damage. We didn’t like swapping armor but we put them on and put our other gear in a safe house we had on the way north.
About 15 miles from the last frontier town, I snow front started coming through. A few more miles and we entered “The Ice King’s” domain. We knew that because we found a Frost giant patrol. Most of the terrain was hilly with several small valleys. We had the high ground and the snow was sticking to our armor so we blended in a little. Unfortunately, we could barely see them and the storm was becoming thicker. After about 15 minutes we lost sight of them and decided to try and follow their tracks as best we could. The snow blowing against our face made it hard to see and Melech wasn’t liking the cold to much so he cast firebolt, but instead of throwing it, he held it in his hand, warming us but giving our location away. Doom told him to put it out, even grabbed his arms and put them in the snow, which only melted. As soon as Melech put out the firebolt, we were grabbed out of nowhere. Most of us wouldn’t move, but Dutch cast burning hands which illuminated our surroundings a little, burning the giant and forcing him to drop Dutch. Melech used acid splash on the giant that had him and me, melting through most of his arm, loosening his grip allowing Melech to get out of the giant’s hand. Dutch was about to cast another spell but the giants were gone. But one of the giants was leaving a blood trail. Dutch noticed it and showed it to Melech. They followed the trail to a snow cave at the base of a mountain. They could hear someone fighting inside, the sound of steel meting shield rattling through the cave. They waited a moment to hear who the victor was. “Who are you human?”, came from the cave, "I am your Doom.” came the reply. At this Melech and Dutch rushed in to the cave and saw the gory scene of 5 giants dead all around Doom. “Are you injured Doom?”, Doom replied,” Only a little battered, I take it you found my trail?”
“Your trail? Do you mean you cut yourself?”, asked Melech with concern.
Doom assured him that it wasn’t his blood saying,” I managed to get my knife out a cut part of his finger, not enough to hurt him, just enough to leave a trail.”
“Where is everyone else?”, asked Dutch. “In the main hall, there held in a cage as one of the chief’s trophies.” Doom replied.
“Does that mean…”, he trailed off in sadness. Doom replied,” There not dead, yet. I know where their weapons are though. Once we get their weapons, Dutch will create a distraction while Melech and I fly up to the cage and free our friends, then we kill ‘The ice king’”. Doom takes them up a passage where the walls change from ice to stone.
“I saw one of the giants take their weapons to the main forge, but the fire giants aren’t going to melt them. Instead their going to try and copy their magic.”
“Can they do that?” asked Melech. “No” replied Doom,” but they could enlarge them if they have any magic users.”
Dutch thinks a minute and realizes why the driders are here. Some driders can use spells, maybe the giant summoned them here to enlarge the weapons they already have.
Once they got into the main forge, they could see 5 fire giants at work, pounding blades on an anvil, sowing shields with other shields to make scale mail, and turning ballista's into large crossbows. There were two Ice giant guards watching their work, making sure there was no uprising. Doom drew his sword of sharpness, climbed one of the anvils and attacked the first Ice giant, cutting through his armor and into his chest. The giant was in pain, but still able to fight. He swatted the puny human off his chest, sending him flying. Melech cast feather fall, so Doom was not hurt when he hit the stone floor. Dutch cast sacred flame on the other giant, burning his face, turning it from ice white to a charred black. Seeing the fight with the guards, the fire giants took their tools or finished weapons and finished them. The giant’s turned to the humans who had helped them earn their freedom, thanking them for their aid. “You can return this favor by helping us kill “The Ice King”, are there any more of you?” asked Doom. “There are, but we will need to free them along with our chief. He is held by chains above the lava that heats our forges, we cannot be killed by fire, but if he breaks his chains, there is a mechanism that will trigger three crossbows, killing him almost instantly. We will free him and our brothers and take back our home.”
“And I wish you the best of luck, but know if we ever hear of any troubles from this region, we will return and kill you as we killed “The Ice King”. Doom was stern when he said this.
“Very well, we will do our best to honor this bargain.” the giant smirks,” I’d hate to have to kill you anyway”
Doom returns with a smile, "The feeling is mutual.” He turns to Melech and Dutch who found their friend’s weapons. “On to the main hall”
In the main hall sat “The Ice King” with his sub chief. It was large even by giant standards, with the chief’s trophies hung on the wall to remind his clan that he is the strongest. Among his trophies was the party in a cage that hung on the tooth of a dragon’s fang. They already tried to escape, almost sneaking out into the main halls. One of them even bit him, tearing into his skin.
In the cage, Medrash was spitting the last bit of giant blood from his mouth. “When they said use everything from steel to your bare teeth, I don’t think they had giants in mind.”
“Who told you that” asked Uriel laying down
“My battle masters at the academy. They had taught me to use everything, from steel to my bare hands, even the dirt on the ground.”
Uriel knocks on the medal cage casually and stands up. “Can you freeze the floor?”
“Easily, but what will that do?”
“This medal is thin and its pretty cold already, any colder and we might be able to break it.”
“I see, but aren’t we a bit high? I don’t have wings like doom and Melech isn’t here to slow our descent. And I think the ice breaking would make a lot of noise.”
“True but we will have our weapons at that point.”
“What makes you so sure?
Uriel shows a silver ring on his finger. “Melech gave it to me this morning, while I wear this, he can talk to me and tell us where he is and what he’s doing.”
“Where is he know”
“Behind you”, came Melech’s voice. “Melech!”, exclaimed Zephera.
“Where are the others?”, asked Uriel.
“At door to the hall, when Dutch gives the signal, we get out and kill the king.”
“What’s the signal?”, asked Zephera, retrieving her weapons from Melech’s bag of holding.
A knock came from the door. The sub chief went to the door and opened it to three fire giants with Dutch and Doom. The sub chiefs head was then cleaved in two by the first fire giant’s great sword. "The Ice King" was know angry, and we were going to find out why he called himself "The Ice King". He stood from his seat and raised his hands. At first nothing happened so the fire giants went strait for him. As they were about to strike him, icicles came from the ground, scuering the giants. He turned to us, speaking in common. "Ice bends to my will, and you shall replace my old slaves for the rest of your puny lives!"
With that ice armor formed around him and and ice axe manifested in his hands. We avoided most of his attacks, until he brought icicles out again. It grazed Uriel's right arm and Dutch's back. That's when Melech cast teleport and sent us back to our safe house. "You may be able to manipulate Ice, but I control fire. With that he cast firestorm and telepoted out of there. This caused most of the ice to melt and the whole place to come down on the giants still inside. He only teleported a little away from the mountain, to make sure his idea worked. It did. The strom melted the ice and most of the bodies inside. Seeing the work done, he teleported with to his friends and told them he was sorry and why he did it. From that day on we started calling him "Melech the Flame"