A disembodied voice speaks to the party telepathically while they’re walking alongside the docks.
“Well now, don’t you all look like a rough-and-tough crew? I bet you’re smart too, am I right? Probably plenty smart enough to not miss out on a lucrative business opportunity.”
If the players ask (telepathically) who it is that’s speaking to them, the voice will simply say.
“Turn to your left…a little more…a little more. Okay, now look up.”
If the party squints and passes a DC 10 perception check, they can make out one of the ships in the distance, docked at the harbor. In the crow’s nest of said ship is a tiny being, holding a nautical spyglass in one hand and waving with the other.
“Come this way. I have a special business proposition for you.”
If the party decides to head toward the vessel, the tiny figure will descend from his crow’s nest and come to speak to them alongside his ship. Now that the players are closer, they realize that this person is not a “person” at all, but rather a small penguin-like creature known as a Dohwar.
“I apologize for intruding on your thoughts earlier,” the Dohwar says without a single hint of sincerity. “We have small legs, you see, so we Dohwar have become pretty reliant on our telepathic abilities. Saves us a trip.”
Another short Dohwar comes scuttling up from below deck. “Captain Pitt, sir. We are all set to shove off whenever you are.”
“Good, good,” the Dohwar says, “we shall leave momentarily.” The captain turns back to the party. “Since we don’t have much time, and time is money, I’ll get straight to the point. The name is Captain Arman Pitt. I run an incredibly successful slushy business that caters to the rich and powerful. One reason for that success is that I personally venture into the farthest, coldest waters and nab only the finest ice for use in our products.
He retrieves a well-insulated flash from his jacket and offers it to the party. “Take a swig and see for yourselves.”
The slushie concoction inside the vessel tastes like the purest of melting snow, winter itself distilled, flavored with sweet and succulent fruits.
“See what I mean?” Captain Pitt says, giving a knowing glance. “Of course, those waters are choppy and dangerous, and I’m a bird who understands that to make money you need to spend money. Therefore, I’m offering to pay you all to accompany my crew on this expedition. Flippers make it a bit tough to mine ice ourselves, and I admire your hands. We leave immediately and will return as soon as our hull is full of ice. What do you say?”
If the party agrees, then the captain raises a flag depicting a slushy insignia, and the mission proper begins.
All Flippers on Deck
As the vessel cruises farther and farther into icy waters, the players feel the air getting cleaner, colder, and crisper.
Captain Pitt has a crew of 5 other Dohwar who are somewhat lazily attending to their duties. Most of the time, however, they are pouring themselves slushies and passing them out amongst themselves and to the players. An interesting thing about Dohwars is that they do not get drunk from alcoholic beverages but, rather, from exotic fruits.
Therefore, as the slushy gets flowing, the party will feel completely sober, but Captain Pitt and the rest of his crew will get progressively drunker. Before long, they are all loudly squawking sea shanties like “What Shall We Do With a Drunken Dohwar?” and “The Wellerbird.”
If you want, as DM, consider having the party roll a d8 if you’d like to potentially add some sort of sea creature encounter or sudden wintry gale that tries to steer them off course. Otherwise, the ship will carry on without much issue until, finally, one of the Dohwars yells, “Iceberg ho!”
The ship eases its way toward the icy mass. Then, the Dohwars drop anchor and prepare to set off on foot.
Ice, Ice, Baby
After dismounting the ship, Captain Pitt passes out pickaxes and ropes to the party, instructing them to begin chipping away and hauling masses of ice back to the ship.
When the party goes to strike a particularly large mass of beautiful crystalline ice, they are greeted with a loud “ROAR!”
Whoever is holding the pickaxe at the time needs to make a DC 10 dexterity saving throw or take 2d8 bludgeoning damage and be knocked backward prone.
The ice mass in question immediately stands up, revealing itself to be a massive Ice Golem (now with a pickaxe driven into its icy foot). It roars in pain and sobs giant tears that freeze into icicles as they come crashing down around the party.
Roll for initiative.
The Dohwar will not take part in this battle. As a species, they are generally combat-averse and use their wealth to hire others to do their fighting for them; this is no exception.
Once the ice golem is defeated, it will crumble apart into large harmless chunks of ice. When the coast is clear, Captain Pitt comes waddling over. “As I told you earlier, this is dangerous work. Fortunately, it looks like I brought along the right crew for the job.”
He turns back to the other Dohwar that are still taking cover on the ship. “Come one down, boys, and start moving these ice blocks into cargo.” The drunken crew will begin to climb down ropes with their mining instruments in tow when there is yet another unexpected interruption:
“Not so fast, Pitt!” roars a psychic voice.
Snow Cones vs. Slushies
In the distance, another Dohwar vessel appears from the frosty mists and floats up to their iceberg. The ship drops anchor, and another Dohwar, dressed in similar nautical attire, appears on the edge of the ship. Glancing up at the flag, the party sees that this ship is sporting a snow cone logo.
“Well, well, well,” Pitt says, “if it isn’t my longtime rival: Admiral Flipp. You best shove off now, sir. My boys and I landed here first. This ice is ours for the taking.”
Admiral Flipp gives a hearty laugh. “You are mistaken, sir. For you see, this iceberg belongs to yours truly. Spy that flag on yonder cliff.” He points in the distance and, indeed, there is a small flag planted on a snowy outcrop sporting the image of a snow cone. “This iceberg is clearly marked as snow cone territory, so you best waddle your way back into open water.”
Captain Pitt grumbles before turning to the players, explaining how these northern seas are ruthless Dohwar battlegrounds, especially between the competing entrepreneurial empires of slushy and snow cone. He explains that the only way to settle a land/resource dispute is to take part in a time-honored Dohwar maritime tradition: the snowball fight.
Cue minigame and roll initiative.
The party participates on behalf of Captain Pitt (Team Slushy). Admiral Flipp will send out his own non-Dohwar crew (same number as the players in the party) to participate on behalf of him (Team Snow Cone).
Here’s how the snowball fight is played:
- All participants have 10 temporary HP for use only in this game.
- Players use a bonus action to roll a snowball and prepare it to be thrown.
- Players can use an action to throw the snowball at a target that they can see within 40 feet. Roll a d20+Dex modifier to determine if the throw lands. Then, roll 1d4 cold damage.
- Players can use an action to build a small fort at their feet to provide partial cover (+2 AC).
- The game is over when everyone on a particular team reaches 0/10 HP, thereby losing the match.
- The large ice-block remnants of the golem can also be used for cover, as they are likely still strewn about the area.
If you lose the snowball fight against Flipp’s crew, the adversarial admiral will still allow Pitt and his companions to take the remnants of the ice golem as a consolation prize (“it’s only fair you get the ice from him since you did all the work”). After completing the voyage back to the mainland, Pitt will apologize for not disclosing more about the contentious claims amongst the Dohwar on those chilly seas. For your help in gathering at least some ice (courtesy of the ice golem), he will reward the party with his promised gold pieces.
If you win the snowball fight, then the tone will shift entirely. After spending a few hours hauling large quantities of ice back to the ship, the Dohwar will once again get drunk on fruity slushies while making the journey home.
A rather tipsy Captain Pitt stumbles over to the party and expresses his gratitude. “Today,” he says, “you saved my life, my business, and my pride. I want you to have this.”
He hands the party the Psy-Spy Glass.
In addition to helping the user spot distant landmarks and functioning like a typical spyglass, the instrument has 3 distinct charges (replenished at dawn each day) that allows the user to zoom in on a target and do a little Dohwar mindreading:
- Charge 1: Read the surface thoughts of the target
- Charge 2: Read the current desire/want of the target
- Charge 3: Read the current fear/worry of the target