A kiosk in [Name of City] sits in the marketplace; the sign overhead reads “Powder Rangers’ Ski Resort.” A dwarven woman is shuttering the place and looking rather dejectedly at it.
If your party asks her what’s wrong, she will introduce herself as Gemma Snowshoe and explain how her family runs a small ski resort up in the mountains. However, recently, business has completely stopped, so they are closing down early for the season and, perhaps, indefinitely.
She offers to give you and your party a free one-night stay to try the slopes for yourselves and, maybe, see what’s so terrible about them that is preventing anyone from showing up.
The Base of the Mountain
At the base of the mountain, your party will be introduced to Gregory Snowshoe, Gemma’s younger brother. He’s sleeping at his desk in a small shack of sorts erected alongside what appears to be a crude “chair lift” that carries visitors up to the mountain summit.
Unlike Gemma, Gregory will explain that he thinks something really strange is going on because he has had travelers show up and ride the lift up to the summit; apparently, they just never reached the top. Gemma will reprimand Gregory for his jokes or chalk up what he has “seen” to him falling asleep on the job and dreaming.
If your party still decides to visit the resort, they will climb onto the benches of the chair lift, and Gregory will flip a switch to start the impressively complex (although maybe not entirely safe) contraption. Gemma will grab one of the two mules tied up outside the shack and ride up separately via the back roads.
While your party ascends the side of the mountain, they will admire the beautiful nature around them: dense coniferous forests, distant frozen lakes, and rocky crags.
However, as they approach somewhere around the midpoint, they will see a strange fluttering of light ahead of them. If they choose to leap from the chairs, they will take 4d6 of fall damage and land in powdery snow.
If they allow themselves to stay seated, then once they reach the strange shimmering in the air, they will feel themselves sucked through a portal of sorts; any party members on the following chairs will simply see their allies blink out of space. When their own chairs reach the spot, they too will vanish in a similar fashion.
An Unexpected Pit Stop
Your party will collapse together into a snow drift. Getting up and looking around, they won’t see any sign of the chair lift, ski resort/lodge, or the shack. A pretty easy investigation check will determine that they have been teleported to some other section of the mountain. The faintly shimmering portal that they traveled through to get here will still be suspended about 20 feet in the air above them.
In the distance, they will observe a small pillar of smoke rising from the trees. Walking into this direction, your party will find a witch’s cabin of sorts, with a hastily scrawled sign on the top reading “The Last Resort.” More chillingly (literally), your party will see the frozen corpses of what you can only assume are Gemma’s missing guests. They are posed in various tableaus: some like they’re skiing, others sitting with mugs in their hands “chatting” around an extinguished fire, a couple bards with instruments singing with their jaws frozen open. The scene is both horrifying and comical.
Just then, a Bheur Hag will appear in the doorway of the cabin. She is decked out in various mismatched clothing of conflicting patterns: knit hats, scarves, and gloves. All of these items were clearly stripped from her now-frozen-solid victims.
She will introduce herself as Machilda [Ma-CHILL-duh] and welcome you to “The Last Resort.” She will then promptly start to brag about how her resort is superior to “that dwarf’s place” on the other side of the mountain. Gesturing around at all of her guests, she will note how much fun everyone is having.
If you bring up the obvious (that her patrons are clearly dead), she will shrug and claim that it was the only way to keep them from running off. If your party continues to talk with her, she will offer everyone a bowl of soup; this soup will be ice cold and clearly made of some very questionable meat.
At this point, your party can “play along” and participate in various winter time activities at “The Last Resort”: skiing, sledding, nature tours, snowball fights with the hag, etc. However, eventually, the hag will instinctively attempt to take a bite out of one of your party members, which will trigger combat.
Once combat is initiated, Machilda will curse you (verbally, not magically) for being ungrateful guests.
As her first move, the Bheur Hag will cast herself up into the air, using her graystaff as a flying broom, and summon a snowstorm. These white-out conditions will affect your party’s visibility, giving them disadvantage when rolling to hit. Once your party is able to strike the hag out of the sky with enough damage, she will be knocked down to the ground, and the snowstorm will cease; the remainder of the fight will take place on powdery snow drifts around “The Last Resort.”
Here are some stats for the Bheur Hag:
Medium fey, chaotic evil
Armor Class: 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 91 (14d8+28)
Speed: 30 ft.
STR: 13 (+1)
DEX”: 16 (+3)
CON: 14 (+2)
INT: 12 (+1)
WIS: 13 (+1)
CHA: 16 (+3)
Damage Immunities: Cold
Senses: Darkvision 60 ft.
Saving Throws: Wis +4
Skills: Nature +4, Perception +4, Stealth +6, Survival +4
Languages: Auran, Common, Giant
Challenge: 7 (2,900 XP)
Graystaff Magic: The hag carries a graystaff, a length of gray wood that is a focus for her inner power. She can ride the staff as if it were a broom of flying. While holding the staff, she can cast additional spells with her Innate Spellcasting trait (these spells are marked with an asterisk). If the staff is lost or destroyed, the hag must craft another, which takes a year and a day. Only a bheur hag can use a graystaff.
Ice Walk: The hag can move across and climb icy surfaces without needing to make an ability check. Additionally, difficult terrain composed of ice or snow doesn’t cost her extra moment.
Innate Spellcasting. The hag’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). She can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
- At will: hold person* , ray of frost
- 3/day each: cone of cold* , ice storm* , wall of ice*
- 1/day each: control weather
Once you have defeated the Hag, her graystaff will be left behind but partially splintered. Your party won’t be able to use this staff’s magic spell-casting abilities, but they will be able to use it as a stronger Broom of Flying that can carry 1000 lbs as opposed to only 400 lbs. However, given its size and heft, the staff flies more slowly with a movement speed of 30 feet as opposed to 50 feet. Your party can return back into the clearing with the portal and use the graystaff to lift themselves up into the air and return back to the chair lift on the other side of the mountain.
Rewards for Your Peak Performance
Once your party reaches the top of the mountain via chair lift, Gemma will be waiting for you, incredibly worried. After explaining the situation to her, she will offer everyone hot tea and a seat beside the warm hearth. She will come to terms with the fact that, although this particular Bheur Hag has been defeated, this mountain is just way too dangerous to continue as a vacation destination. She will decide to still shudder the business, although this time willingly, not wanting anyone else to get hurt.
To thank you for solving the mystery and stopping the monster, she will let you take whatever “Powder Rangers” merch you want from the gift shop. These include hooded jackets with fashionable fur lining that provide resistance to cold, fun koozies to keep your drinks cold that read “Go, Go, Powder Rangers!”, and ski helmets (essentially traditional soldier helmets with a visor over the eyes) that can prevent any disadvantages from snow blindness. Additionally, your party will also have a sizeable graystaff that they can now use for slow broom flight in the future.