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(IC) Quickleaf's Rime of the Frostmaiden


I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Scout forward. Lumrolur goes into the dark, shadow within shadow.

Ooc: I'm on a business conference, please roll for me

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Scout forward. Lumrolur goes into the dark, shadow within shadow.

Ooc: I'm on a business conference, please roll for me
Lumrolur advances to the front of the group, gingerly stepping towards the edge of the light source when suddenly a flagstone drops an inch underfoot and there's a loud grinding sound. At the end of the long hallway a spark glints in the darkness like a flint and steel about four feet off the ground. Lumrolur - thanks to his deep gnomish superior darkvision - sees a sparking mechanism inside the engraved dwarven mouth activating but nothing seems to happen.

GM: @VLAD the Destroyer Logrim recognizes this as one of his uncle Jorlen's fire traps, but it might be depleted of fuel.

Lumrolur perception save dc 13: 1D20+4 = [6]+4 = 10

Ok. You're looking at that thinking "but Lumrolur has a +6 Perception!!!!"

So this is a low-stakes situation – the trap is defunct – but since I think everyone hasn't looked at my all of my House Rules (nor do I expect you to remember them all), I wanted to show how I'm using Perception as a special saving throw. I know folks have been dropping Perception rolls to "notice stuff"...and honestly I've just been ignoring those rolls to describe whatever I'd describe/foreshadow to you anyway.

I'll post the house rule in spoilers (this has always been in my document in the OOC), but basically Perception is a special save vs being Ambushed or Taken Off Guard By A Trap. That's it.

Like all my house rules, if consensus is "we don't like that" or "we like the default" or "that's cool but can we change this bit", then you've just got to let me know in the OOC. However, my assumption is that all my house rules apply unless I'm told otherwise.

Using my house rule, Lumrolur's Perception save would be +4 =
Proficiency (automatic for all adventurers) +2
Would have proficiency (apply higher of Wis/Int) +2

IF we stick with this house rule, unchanged, then you would shift your Expertise from Perception to another skill.

Perception Saves: Perception is no longer a skill that PCs actively use. Instead, it is a saving throw which helps with noticing ambushes (avoid surprise) and traps at the last minute (quick reaction as the trap is triggered). It has no associated ability score by default, but all PCs apply their proficiency bonus – a minimum competence of all adventurers is awareness of hidden dangers. Think of it as a “hidden danger saving throw.” A PC who would gain Perception as a “skill” due to their race, subclass, background, or feat can apply either their Wisdom or Intelligence modifier to their Perception saving throw. When a character takes time to explore an area or uses the Search action, the GM says what they discover. The GM is forthcoming and offers clues that foreshadow hidden things.

There are a few considerations about how this interacts with other rules:

Advantage If anything would grant you advantage on a Perception check, you instead gain advantage on your Perception saving throw.
Bardic Inspiration can be applied to Perception saves.
Dim light imposes disadvantage on Perception saves relying on sight.
Expertise cannot be applied to Perception saves.
Feat (Dungeon Delver) grants advantage on Perception saves against traps, and advantage on Investigation checks to determine a secret door’s mechanism of action (instead of on Perception & Investigation checks to notice secret doors).
Feat (Observant) grants advantage to Investigation checks and Perception saves made in well-lit conditions (instead of +5).
Feat (Skulker) negates disadvantage on Perception saves due to dim light.
Magic Items vary in whether they apply to Perception saves: Cloaks of Protection and Rings of Protection do not. However, a Luck Blade, Robe of Stars, Rod of Alertness, Staff of Power, and Stone of Good Luck does apply the save bonus to Perception.
Paladin’s Aura of Protection does not apply to Perception saving throws; the paladin’s aura is about resolve, not foreknowledge or awareness. Rangers may select Aura of Awareness instead of Hide in Plain Sight and Vanish; this aura grants a bonus to Perception saves.
Spells that boost saving throws, like Bless, can be applied to Perception saves.

This house rule is intended to:
1) Separate GM description, asking questions, and players trying things from Danger perception.
2) Remove need for GM to track passive perception.
3) Distinguish Perception and Investigation. Perception is your instinctive response when something has gone pear-shaped and you’re in immediate peril. Investigation is figuring out how things work, such as the mechanism of action for a trap or secret door.
4) Circumvent habits of some players who ask to roll Perception, and encourages engaging with the fiction.
5) Rein in rampantly high Perception checks, to keep them more in line with lower Stealth scores of monsters and trap save DCs.


I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
I would argue you can apply expertise in the same way as for 'normal' skills - reaction time of trained soldiers or sportsman is faster than those of 'normal' people. Their perception speed goes up too, they notice things, analyze etc...reflexively, non-thinkingly, they do and only later can they explain - in the same way you could have expertise apply to perception.

That said, if you say I need to switch, I will, I'm on a conference now so I can do it for the weekend
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Alma blinks at Zeth. She nods, taking in the information. Fair enough. In that case, she can understand why he feels set off course. She feels herself tense every time she catches a flash of fire from Aric's direction. She squints, mouth set in a tight line. Looking decidedly uncomfortable.

Jack blinks, twice, in astonishment at Aric's handling of the undead remains. He's without words, but just for a moment.

Then, he glances at the smoldering heap with a mischievous grin, some thoughts taking shape. "Well, if we're turning undead to cinders, why not be efficient about it? Once the keepsakes are somewhat charred, let's just stash them in Logrim's bag of holding. Ensuring the bones are safely stowed away will let us properly dispose of them later. No need to linger for a full cremation now. We can reduce them to ash and dust when time is less pressing!"

"And besides,"
Jack gives Aric a knowing look, "there's going to be plenty more zombies to come, so maybe we ought to just cremate them all at once later on." Jack purses his lips, contemplating, "Or maybe we'll come across some vast chasm down here, and then we'll just toss them down. Or, better yet, some lava pools!" Jack's eyes alight at the thought of passing by some lava during their jaunt through the underdark. He's never had a chance to see real lava pools. They're probably just a few rooms deeper, he muses.

Focusing again on the matter at hand, Jack chuckles a bit while fluttering a step closer to the flickering fire that engulfs the zombie remains. "Lingering over a bonfire of zombies is hardly my idea of a cozy setting. I've got campfire tales aplenty, but let's keep the march moving. We've got places to get to, after all."

"You want to collect and store all of the remains we find? There are an average of 206 bones in a human body. This is cumbersome and pointless. Burning them here is just as good as burning them elsewhere."

She begins to follow the others out of the room, leaving Aric to his work. When the trap is triggered and a dying spark briefly lights up the darkened hallway, she flinches again. Fingers flexing, ready to cast. "Please be cautious," she warns tightly.

Logrim looks at the fire trap with interest.

"That's my uncles handy work. He must have trapped this entire area. That could explain the scorch marks on the zombies. We're lucky the fuel was depleted for this one."

Logrim nods in agreement to Alma's statement.

"Tread carefully. My uncle had more than just fire traps. Many had self reset mechanisms or magical means to replenish their ammunition. We might not be as lucky next time."
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"Good to know." comes dry answer somewhere from the dark

OOC: moving on, more slowly
You come to double doors leading south, their construction resembling the initial green-tinted doors through which you entered the Temple of Dumathoin, only on a smaller scale (10 feet tall) and made of hammered bronze with hints of char on the surface.

Inset into the center of the doors, with the seam running through it, is an indentation of a five-pointed star.

This looks exactly like the Silver Star Key that Dain Silverstream gave to Lumrolur.

Digging under his chain shirt, the Dain reveals a necklace with a large silver star on it which he regards solemnly for a moment before unclasping it to hand to Lumrolur. "Your human friend would make a worthy match for any dwarven politician. The Temple is a three-tiered place of magic locks and keys. To reach the second level down, you'll need this – the Silver Star Key." He places the key into Lumrolur's hands.
Screen Shot 2024-05-13 at 11.07.04 AM.png

GM: Btw, red circles are Alma's light spell (described as reddish hue), yellow circles are Aric's produce flame spell.
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Screen Shot 2024-05-14 at 9.26.30 AM.png

Entering level 2... The Silver Star Key fits where Lumrolur presses it into the indentation. From your vantage point, it looks like something like vice clamp mechanisms within the door press on the arms of the star, pushing it down, and whatever mechanism it is depressed against within the door causes a grinding sound. The double doors swing open away from you. The Silver Star Key rests within one of the doors, but can be removed with a firm tug.

On the opposite side of the door is a dead leathery drow zombie pinned against the wall, head split in twain by a handaxe. Stairs lead east down to a lower level of the temple. Rurm Doraghaen immediately perks up, "Well, I'll be a bearded elf... That's my old axe!" Gripping the handle, he tugs it free, the corpse slumping to the floor, wipes it off and gives a wry smile to your party. "Drowbiter," he waves the handaxe.

Roleplay question... As you move carefully down the stairs, Angrom Krorfaeg inquires in a low voice, "So... this killer you are pursuing... What do you make of it? It's a man, you think, or a monster of the icy wastes?"

Description of area... The stairs are peppered with bones of long decomposed corpses. Bas reliefs line the walls, depicting the dwarven god Dumathoin burying treasures. However, there is a bas relief – at the southern edge of Alma's light's range – depicting Dumathoin instead sharing his treasures generously.

Brydum and Russet take the front line, the dim light radius from Alma's red magic revealing another set of stairs leading down. Abruptly, Brydum raises a fist, calling you to halt and quiet. Gurgling sounds and shuffling signal there are zombies ahead down the stairs, but the zombies haven't noticed you yet.

Darkvision... Those of you with Darkvision can spot the faint silhouettes of 3 zombies shuffling near an alcove with a stone statue of a dwarf holding a chalice. The corpse of a dwarf is slumped at the statue's base.

GM: If you choose to ambush, you can roll group Stealth DC 9 – for simplicity ignoring dwarves & Russet – 4 or more would need to succeed to surprise. However, if failing group check, there would be a consequence.

Otherwise, if you choose to attack, @happylace and @VLAD the Destroyer would go first, continuing initiative from earlier.


3. The Fast Group
Russet (GM-controlled)
2. The Middle Group
Logrim (& Ludo)
1. The Slow Group
NPC Dwarves – Brydum, Rorm, Angrom
0. Zombies (AC 8)

Dwarf Warrior:
hp 13, AC 18 (chain mail, shield), speed 25; Str +2, Dex +0, Con +2, Int +0, Wis +0, Cha +0; advantage save vs. poison / resistance to poison; darkvision 60 ft, passive perception 10; Battleaxe +4 hit, 6 (1d8+2) dmg; Light Crossbow +2 hit, 80/320 ft, 4 (1d8) dmg; Defender (reaction): if a creature attacks the dwarf or a creature within 5 feet of the dwarf while it is wielding a shield, the dwarf can use a reaction to give the attacking creature disadvantage on the attack roll.

Holy Water (4/4):
As an action, you can splash the contents of this flask onto a creature within 5 feet of you or throw it up to 20 feet, shattering it on impact. In either case, make a ranged attack against a target creature, treating the holy water as an improvised weapon. If the target is a fiend or undead, it takes 2d6 radiant damage.
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