Winter’s Daughter, First Run

Sam W

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I ran Winter’s Daughter for the first time in Cairn. It went well! I like this adventure, and after this would happily run it again.

Character Creation and Opening

None but one had played the Cairn system before, so I quickly went over the gist of the system: three ability scores with saves, auto-hit damage, STR damage. We then made random characters using the Character Generator, which the players loved. They liked being the kind of grimy, despicable characters the tables gives. Our characters were Grendel, formerly a burglar; Sybil, formerly a thief; and Theune, formerly a gravedigger.

We decided to start with our party responding to an advertisement for a job asking for someone to delve a burial mound for a reward of 5,000 gp. They visit the ad-poster in his home, an elderly wizard. Though suspicious of the wizard’s motives, they agreed to do the job and got more information abou the mound. Ancient records showed it was the burial mound of a long-ago knight (Sir Chyde) who fought back frost elves from the mortal realm. He apparently had some elfin lover during this campaign. The wizard asks them to retrieve a ring, for unrevealed reasons. The wizard then handed them a map through the forest Dolmenwood to the burial mound, and they were off to desecrate some mound.

The Tomb

The party arrived at the mound ready to take the ring and get their cash. After several hours of traveling through the woods, our party arrives at a large earthen mound. Immediately they notice a dead and mauled animal just outside the mound and iron owls perched in the trees, making rusty clanking noises. After some inspection, a large stone slab blocks an apparent entrance and a trail of slime leads from the mauled deer around to a small hole descending into the mound. The party ingeniously used chain and grappling hooks to budge the stone slab just enough to squeeze into the pitch–black and deathly silent tomb.

By the light of torch, they descend a stone staircase to a small square room with several holy items placed around. Sybil, being a greedy little thief, attempts to snatch a small silver crucifix off a plinth when it mysteriously floats away into the air… just as every other object begins to levitate as well. They surround our party, who decide to make a mad dash for the door to the next room.

Slamming the door shut behind them, they turn around to see several raised stone coffins, a large fissure in the floor, and two skeletons dancing through the air. Theune gets ready to rob some tombs, supposing one to be of Sir Chyde, while Sybil converses with the skeletons. After declining to dance with them, Sybil learns Sir Chyde is not entombed in this room. On their mission for the ring, the party continues out the door opposite the one they entered.

The next room is a large pillared chamber with a pair of stone double doors at the other end, “guarded” by statues of giant dogs. Theune confidently walks over to open the doors, which he finds to be locked, and a grinding of stone shows the statues to be alive! Luckily, the dogs were chained and Theune was able to back out of their reach with a successful DEX save. Theune did manage to notice degraded collars and name–tags on the dogs, and an enscription on the door: “Call to the Companions.” Puzzled by this enigmatic clue, the party ventures out of this room into a new one entirely.

Down a hallway and around a corner, the party enters into a room with statues of warriors and a large mural, depicting Sir Chyde in his battle against the frost elves. After suffering through some coughing, choking, and general respiratory distress upon clearing mold away from the mural, the names of Sir Chyde’s dogs are revealed: Flaegr and Chedr. (To speed things up, I revealed both names).

Returning to the animated statues, the correct names are recited, and the doors pop open. Inside, the party finds a ghostly knight and a large sarcophagus. They learn the ghostly knight to be Sir Chyde, and he asks them to return his soul, bound to a ring, to his bride-to-be, Princess Snowfall-at-Dusk. After some scheming to figure out if they can collect both their reward and fulfill the knight’s ask, they decide to return the ring to the Princess.

The Elflands

Pulling the magical ring from the sarcophagus, Sir Chyde directs the party through previously unknown parts of the tomb towards a portal to the Elflands. The party arrives in the Elflands in two feet of snow in front of a tower on a frozen lake. They approach the tower, and a troll–mounted goblin inquires to if the visitors are on the guest list for the wedding. Their entrance fee, since they are not, is to eat a mushroom given by this goblin. Theune geniunely does so, upon which his skin begins to shift and change… turning a bright purple, permanently. Sybil and Grendel cheek their mushrooms and the party passes up to the next level.

A wedding banquet is spread and haughty frost elf nobles sip their wine… waiting. Guards ask the party of their business, and revealing they have brough Sir Chyde with them, they are ushered upstairs to the chamber of Princess Snowfall-at-Dusk. They approach the lady, and present the ring. The lovers are finally, after centuries, reunited and married. The party then asks for payment, and the Princess forks over some expensive jewelry. Merriment and revelry ensue.


This took ~3 hours total, and I find myself surprised of the thing I hear most about people new to OSR: they catch on quick to being clever. Everybody said they had a good time, which is always great to hear. I hope to run more Dolmenwood soon!