Thursday, December 8, 2016

What You Missed - Echoes of Ragnarok II: Muspelheim

by Christopher  "Janus" Donnelly

Ulric of the Jomsvikings called for our aid and we answered it once again.  The fire jotun of Muspelheim had been leaving their home and have been found in a variety of places, including the world tree as well as Svartelheim.  We have seen their devastating effects upon the battlefield, and that they have always been a thorn in our side.  It appears that their leader, Surtr, was killed not by bedlam, but something else, and we were to collect his ashes in Urns and reincarnate him so he could later burn Nordlund and help complete Ragnarok.  WIth this quest in mind, we were handed off to a Dwarf, Bairn, to help us navigate Muspelheim.

Bairn came prepared to help us and provided us with three things to help us survive the sweltering heat within Muspelheim.  First were five necklaces which would protect the wearer from the environment within Muspelheim.  Second was a ritual mat and the instructions to create more of the necklaces (in addition to a note that we may find more instructions to craft other items on the way.)  Finally, we were gifted a pillar which would generate an area which would negate the environment within in.  And so, with these tools, and Bairn as our guide, we crossed the Vanfrost to enter Muspelheim.

Within the fiery lands it became apparent we would only last seconds if we left the protections we brought with us.  Luckily we found two more pillars so we could cover the cavern we were assaulting as well as the cavern we were moving from.  For a while it was simply fighting various creatures (some of which looked an awful lot like imps...and may well have been, I should have had Ged identify them in retrospect) and finding materials to craft the necklaces as well as other components.  We swiftly came to a door we needed to use a pillar to open and continued.  As we traveled deeper into the heart of Muspelheim, we came to a point of reprieve and assessed our resources.  We took the second to breath and forged more necklaces as well as bracelets which allowed us to allow us to recover our dead faster.

After this reprieve, we found a twisty set of passages which was cooler than the others we had been in so far with.  Within it, several Salamanders defended their nests while a fire jotun dragged a magical ward around the room.  At the center of the passages was a pedestal that contained the Surtr’s ashes (perhaps the ashes were the reason why this area was so cool).  We realized that Salamander egg yolks could perfectly fill the ward being dragged around the room, and so we slaughtered the salamanders to get the eggs from the nest.  Eventually, we bypassed the ward and the ashes were freed, and thus we went down another cool passageway.  This one was mostly wide open and nothing was fighting us.  There were simply four pedestals, three with open flame on a colored plate along with a pile of metal wands.  On the fourth pedestal was another warded urn surrounded by three unlit candles on colored plates which matched the plates the flame was on.  Someone hesitantly poked a flame with the metal wand and sparks were emitted from the wand slowly moving towards the wielder’s hand, but it became so heavy that the person holding the wand couldn’t walk with it.  So after a few failed attempts (which I shall spare you the details of), we formed three chains of people who lit their wands from the other wands until we had all the wands in the chain lit and lit the candles at the same time, which unlocked the urn.

We took this urn with us, going even further into Muspelheim.  The heat was at full force again, but we started producing more and more trinkets to aid us.  In addition to the bracelet and the necklace, we found two other trinkets we could make: one which allowed a spellcaster to cast more spells while the other prevented weapons from breaking.  We fought, and destroyed our foes until we came to a open clearing which was cool.  In it was a warded urn, a set of scales with weights on one side along with building supplies and traps which we could arm.  We intrinsically knew that undead were going to attack soon, so we started to fortify our position.  We built a small fort and armed the traps.  As we neared completion of the final few traps, waves upon waves of undead attacked.  Upon searching our kills, we found stones, and while fire jotun tore our fort apart with their bare hands, we managed to carefully balance the scales, killing all of the undead and freeing the urn.

From there, we found another cool passage and found a volcano with an empty goblet nearby.  There were dangerous pathways we fought a variety of snake creatures down until we found a frog pond filled with blood.  We eventually realized that the only thing that filled the goblet was the blood from the pond, and the frogs were filled with it.  So, to save the Nordlands, we started hatching frogs and then slaughtering them for the blood they carried.  We filled the goblet, and we felt it was the right time to toss it into the volcano and stand clear.  A moment later lava flowed forth from the Volcano and from there we were able to recover the final urn.

Bairn felt he knew a good location to go next, so we followed him into Ember’s Lair.  Ember was a dragon who had happened to have cooked a large amount of food, and we partook of it.  Apparently while we ate, Ember had communed with Thor and was informed he should help us on our quest, so Ember gave us information. Surtr’s brother was the one who klled Surtr...at another’s prompting (note to self: look into who) .  To restore Surtr, we need to bring his ashes into a pyre along with the pieces of Surtr’s obsidean crown, which was being worn by his brother.  Knowing this, we finished up our food and headed out.  A group of us killed Surtr’s brother while another group figurd out how to work the pyre.  But, before we could complete it, one of the urn’s broke.  So, we gathered up as much of the ashes as we could, and with what we had left, we caused Surtr to live again.  A bellowing voice warned us that peering upon him would destroy our souls...so we took that as our cue to leave.

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