As the party approaches a small, yet heavily fortified, wintry mountain village, they feel a rumbling beneath their feet. Suddenly, a large snowy boulder comes crashing down the mountainside, heading straight for them. Have everyone in the party roll a dexterity saving throw (DC 12) or else take 1d8 bludgeoning damage, 1d4 cold damage, and be knocked prone in the snow.
A bell tolls from the village, answered by a miserable cry of some wounded animal from up in the cliffs. A villager, dressed in heavy furs and leather armor, races to the party’s side, urging you to quickly come into the city walls and take cover “before he throws another one!”
Once inside the village, the party is ushered into a tavern. The disembodied wailing is more muffled here but can still be heard. The party is handed bowls of soup to help them warm up, but it is abundantly clear that the soup primarily consists of water and a few boiled potatoes.
“Sorry we can’t give you something heartier,” the tavern keeper says, stoking the fireplace so the room stays warm. “Our hunting parties are having a hard time out there and don’t bring much back. It’s all because of that darn mountain troll…He’s miserable up there on the mountain, and he wants all the rest of us to be miserable too.”
“We should put him out of his misery then,” a man says, dressed in furs and eyeing the spear clutched firmly in his gloved hands. “Then we can get back to hunting and not starve before spring.”
“There is another way,” rasps a voice from behind the party.
Sitting in an old rocking chair beside the fireplace, turned away from the commotion of the other villagers, is an old woman.
“That’s enough, mom,” the tavernkeeper says, looking ashamed, “you know that crazy idea of yours is only going to get more people killed.”
If the party approaches the old woman and asks about her idea, she will smile broadly, showing a checkerboard mouth of missing teeth, before slowly rising and gesturing for you to follow her into the adjoining room.
“This is our knitting circle,” she says upon opening the door. The room is warm and smells of dusty fabric. Shelves are filled with balls of yarn and wool. Sitting in a circle, facing one another and gossiping about various things, the other elders of the village work on knitting various mittens, hats, and scarves.
“We call ourselves the Close-Knit Society,” the woman continues, offering the party some homemade toffees and taking her seat in the circle. The toffees are incredibly sweet and impossibly hard to bite into. However, if you have a party member who chooses to stubbornly suck on the sweet until it’s gone, they will feel a warm sense of “love” and “home”, giving them one bardic inspiration die.
The elders will show you their most recent project: an enormous, troll-size, sweater. It’s made completely from wool and includes decorative and colorful images of hearts, flowers, and smiley faces.
“That troll isn’t some evil beast; he’s just cold and lonely up there on that snowy mountain. We can’t make the journey ourselves, but if you young ones could go up there and put this sweater on that troll, we are certain that he will calm down. All he needs is to feel loved.”
There’s a general nodding of heads in agreement from the other elders in the room.
If the party agrees to take on this task, then they will be given the massive sweater, rolled up like a camp sleeping bag, and have it tied onto the back of one of the players. If a player tries to conveniently tuck it away into a bag of holding, the elders will frown and claim that void-dimensions damage the integrity of the fabric, insisting that you carry it yourselves “the old-fashioned way.”
The elders will provide you with some additional general care instructions regarding the sweater:
- The sweater has a durability HP of 10
- It’s 100% wool so avoid moths and other insects that might eat the fabric
- Whoever is holding the sweater should avoid taking any fire damage or else the sweater may shrink
- Avoid snagging it on anything, or it might become unraveled
One of the hunters in the room will agree to lead the party out of the village walls and to the path that winds up the mountain.
“You know that a homemade sweater isn’t going to stop this beast, right?” he asks as they trudge through the snow. “When it doesn’t work, just do your best to slay the beast, okay? You have him outnumbered and you all look tough. Just strike hard and fast since trolls can regenerate. Use fire or acid if you can. Good luck.”
Take a Hike
The delivery trek is not easy. While the party scales the mountain, you can have them roll additional dexterity saving throws as the troll, Donkey Kong-style, rolls massive snowballs down the side of the slope in an attempt to strike you.
Additionally, the party can encounter other challenges that put the sweater-bearer in danger. For example, there could be terrain with sharp rocks or gnarled dead plants; have the player roll acrobatics or survival checks to try and avoid getting the sweater snagged. If snagged, the sweater takes 1 HP of damage. If the player then tries to pull the sweater harder, it will take another 1 HP of damage as it starts to unravel. The player must be specific about how they carefully dislodge the fabric before proceeding.
Upon reaching a clearing, a group of giant snow moths will flutter up from their camouflaged places on the wintry mountainside. These moths will, of course, attack the players and attempt to eat the sweater. The party can try to cast bonfire or create flames/light to redirect the moths (just make sure the sweater-bearer stays clear of any intense heat so that the fabric won’t shrink).
If a moth uses its gnaw attack on the party member holding the sweater, then the sweater also takes that same amount of damage. The number of moths for this combat can be directly related to how challenging you want this to be for your players; just remember that there’s a still a troll waiting for them up ahead.
Grandmother Knows Best
After tending to the moths, the players ascend to the top and find the blubbering, angry troll standing outside the entrance to his cave. He is attempting to warm his giant hands over a pathetically small pile of glowing embers. At his feet are an assortment of animal bones and some human remains; clearly, the village has tried, unsuccessfully, to dispatch the beast themselves.
Once the troll spots the party or is attacked, it releases a horrifying wail and promptly enters into initiative.
At this point, your party has two options:
- If the party feels strong enough (or if the sweater’s HP was reduced to 0 during the climb), then they can choose to battle the troll. Possible stat block is provided below.
- The better option, of course, is getting the sweater onto the beast. In order to do so, the troll needs to be charmed, paralyzed, or put to sleep. If the party doesn’t have these sorts of spells, they can try to trip and grapple the troll, although this will be a multi-person job. Once incapacitated in some way, a DC 12 dexterity roll determines how well you manage to slip the sweater overtop the creature’s hulking frame. If the sweater shrunk because of any fire damage/serious heat contact, then this roll will need to happen at disadvantage.
If the sweater is on, the troll will wake up, look at the sweater’s pretty patterns, feel how warm it is, and immediately start wailing. This time, however, they are tears of joy and gratitude that spill down the troll’s chubby cheeks. Unless a party member can speak Giant, they will need to communicate to the now warm/loved troll with grunts and snorts. He will excitedly show you something that he has been working on, scampering off into his cave and bringing back a pair of knitting needles (formerly human femurs) and his own version of a “sweater”, human-sized, made from what looks like stitched spiderwebs and dead vines. As a gesture of kindness, he will hand over his own creation to the party.
This item is called the Spider-Silk Sweater. It has the following effects:
- Provides some light insulation; reduce any cold damage by 3
- Allows for advantage on all animal handling checks involving arachnids
- +2 on stealth checks when in nature
- Allows the wearer to jump and “stick” to walls (could be handy if you fall off the edge of a cliff and need to quickly “grab” ahold of a rockface).
Returning to the village will reward the players with a certain amount of gold. If you helped the giant rather than killed him, the Close-Knit Society will even marvel at the craftsmanship of the Spider-Silk Sweater and consider inviting the troll to some of their future village functions.