Long ago Firn, the Marquis of Winter, summoned his two sons to his court. Firn was one of the mighty fey lords known as The Eldest. His sons, Sekka and Zusetu, were both powerful fey in their own right. Despite his immense power, Firn knew he would not live forever. He wished to name one of his two sons as heir to his title and power. Firn proposed a contest between his sons to decide which of them would become his heir. Sekka and Zusetu were teleported to a temperate forest on the material plane. They were told not to return to their father until one of them was driven out of the forest.
Firn expected his sons to engage in a quick duel. He hoped to declare one of them the victor before returning to his duties. He was surprised to see Sekka and Zusetu gathering allies from within Tealato Forest. As the sons’ conflict continued, the forest and the surrounding areas began to grow colder. Snow used to be rare in the region but it now began to fall more often than rain. Most creatures living in the forest were driven out by the now freezing temperatures. Those who remained risk being killed in clashes between the sons’ opposing armies. Now only a handful of stubborn lumberjacks remain to brave the frozen forest.
Sekka, the elder brother, occupies a large lake deep in the forest with forces. He and his forces personify the frigid cold of winter. Among his most loyal followers are a legion of cold riders and a pack of winter wolves. The cold riders are servants of Firn that Sekka convinced to serve him. He promised them promotions too, once he becomes the new Marquis of Winter. The winter wolves pledged themselves to Sekka once they saw the carnage he was unleashing in the forest. Sekka and the army of cold are a slow and foreboding force. They prefer to set ambushes and come down on their foes in a single savage attack. Sekka often leads these assaults himself. He hopes to trap Zusetu in his freezing embrace and win the contest.
Zusetu, the younger brother, keeps a handful of defensible positions throughout Tealato forest. He and his forces personify the hard iciness of winter. Zusetu lacks the charm of his brother and failed to attract many fey or locals for his army. To rectify this he uses magic to reanimate frost wights and frostfallen creatures to serve him. Unlike his brother, Zusetu is reckless and impulsive and leads his army as such. He’ll throw mobs of frost wights at his brother’s forces only to watch them be cut down. To not be tied down to a single location Zusetu will move his army between fortified camps at random. He also does his best to recruit anyone he encounters in the forest to his cause. If they refuse, he has them killed and reanimated to serve in his army anyway.
The lumberjacks of the Foolsbard Lodge are a mulish bunch. They are often accused of having more wood in their heads than common sense. Over a decade ago the lodge leader signed a contract with a noble to clear Tealato Forest to build a new manor house. Once Sekka’s and Zusetu’s war began the noble was willing to cancel the contract and pay the lumberjacks for their efforts. The Lodge would not entertain the thought of quitting a job before it was completed. They vowed to continue clearing the forest despite attacks from warring fey. The Foolsbard lumberjacks primarily humans, but dwarves and half-orcs are also common.
Zusetu has been losing more ground to Sekka over the last few months. In a desperate bid to bolster his forces, he has been attempting to woo Névé a powerful queen from the far north. Zusetu hopes to forge an alliance and use her kingdom’s resources to finally push his brother out of the forest. Névé has been keeping her undead nature and the full extent of her magical powers a secret from Zusetu. She has been stringing him along and getting him to promise her more and more extravagant things. Her ultimate goal is to help Zusetu become the new Marquis of Winter. Once that happens she plans to kill him and assume the title for herself.
The Foolsbard Lodge is holding its annual contest to decide who will be their leader for the year. Any lumberjack is welcome to put their name forward. Those who do must prove they have the qualities of a supreme lumberjack. As a test of their strength potential leaders must be able to fell a large tree with a single blow. As a test of intestinal fortitude, they must also down an entire cask of mead in a single sitting. As a test of their agility, they must keep their footing on a log as it speeds down a river. As a test of their personal magnetism, they must tell a tall tale that makes every member of the lodge laugh. The current lodge head, a half-orc named Helga has won the past three years. She intends for the lumberjacks to stay their course and stay until they’ve cleared all the trees in the forest. Her chief rival this year, a dwarf named Dormar, plans to pull the lodge out of the frozen forest and move them on to greener pastures.
Drag & Drop Encounter (CR 10)
Your feet crunch through the ankle-deep snow and your breath turns to mist before your eyes. A biting wind whips through the trees causing ice-covered branches to glimmer in the sunlight. To your left, you hear a roar as two massive white furred wolves burst out of a frozen bush and rush towards you. As they draw closer one of them opens its mouth as if to howl and you can see magically chilled vapors gathering. The wolves circle around you, trying to pin you close together to limit your mobility. Just when things look their bleakest, you hear the piercing sound of a horn being blown. From the path ahead of you four frost covered humans come charging through the snow towards the wolves.