‘Tis that time of year, where some say magic happens in places you least expect. Hopes are high and snow quite deep. Nothing can be more sublime than being tucked under a woolen blanket, belly full with a nice, warm drink. You could say the spirit of High Winter is strong. Really strong… Really, really strong…
Why the heck is everything glowing?!
Everything sparkles and glistens. Weatherworn blades shine, as if fresh from a smithy’s fire. The dirtiest coins in your purse – rusted and grimy from passing through palms – wink in the dark. And it’s spreading at an alarming rate! Battleworn gambesons now have frill and tassel, and the tips of boots sprout bells that jingle and jangle. And, worst of all, the strongest drink in town to get you through this is starting to hint a taste of peppermint.
Reactions vary from person to person. Some try to scrub this shine off, others run to doctors for remedy, and a select few have decided to embrace their new found twinkle by having portraits etched in their High Winter likeness. Not even the Churches or Temples have an answer, but blame one another while their halls inexplicably start to amass ornaments of the season.
With no clear answer to this curious case of adornment, the brave, the annoyed, and the eccentric gather in a mob to seek an answer before the privy confuses their noses any further.
The High Winter spirit is high in Ralinwood—perhaps a little too high. Cookie contests, festive duels, and merriment abound. Everything has a sparkle and a glow to it, and even the mundane appears to be magical. But something sinister surely lurks behind it all.
Amidst all the glamor and festivities, High Winter Master Ritualist Tinselbeard came to town. Tinselbeard explained that he kind of maybe sorta had a hiccup or two while performing a High Winter ritual—which is really only natural considering he’s a dwarf. The flaw of the ritual unfortunately forced him and his crew have to repeat not only the ritual but their entire days’ work, lest the High Winter spirit continue to grow in Ralinwood to dangerous levels.
Town quickly got to work, helping Tinselbeard put things right.
First they recovered lost presents, traversing through the woods patrolled by hungry wolves and snarling bears—clearly grumpy from not hibernating yet.
Their next task was to sort out the last of the naughty list. Tinselbeard used his magic to help transform adventurers into spirits so that they could…investigate select individuals of interest.
Third they had to make a trek up the mountains to gather crystals that would help power Tinselbeard’s ritual. The crystals were a very delicate ritual component and were well guarded by the natural defenses of the mountains. Adventurers barrelled through snow and tundra, endured blistering winds and snapping cold to harvest this crop.
And when things were finally all being pieced together, Tinselbeard’s Highwinter sack became clogged. So he shrank the townsfolk down so they could investigate. What they found was only…mildly disturbing.
Leon had his High Winter wish granted—again. A large golden statue of himself was forged and brought to life. However, with its animation, the effigy had given in to greed and was taking all the presents for itself. Luckily the town was able to topple this foe and get the festivities back on track, helping to deliver gifts.
At last, Tinselbeard was ready to finish the ritual again; but, lo and behold, once the ritual begun, all the presents, tomes and crystals flew out from his sack and hid themselves one last time around site. Tinselbeard was getting a little loose with the ‘nog again and fudged the ritual. Adventurers made a mad dash to retrieve the gifts one last time and preserve their efforts. As components are returned, the ritual stabilizes and a large rift forms in the aether from which outsteps Father Nikoli.
With a rumbling gruff, Father Nikoli demanded his affects (allegedly all of the items Tinselbeard had been galavanting around town were actually stolen from Father Nikoli…) When all was returned to the Guardian of High Winter, he began dispelling the magic plaguing Ralinwood returning all to normal.
And with a spring in his step, to his team he gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
In a great booming voice he exclaimed, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Highwinter to all, and to all a good-night!”