DM When last we left our heroes, we were just talking about going around to follow Felskar by the door through Masnurre’s room. As well as whether we should detour to kill the Queen or let her faction struggle with the other factions some more first. What will happen now? Read on!
Julian Julian hands Dram a couple of healing potions (knowing that Kryss has his own) while the party reorganizes, and he takes a look around the corner of the back passage to Masnurre’s room, seeing whether the coast is clear.
DM The coast appears clear.
DM If this were a coast, and not a hallway.
DM The hallway, definitely clear.
Julian The party heads that way.
DM Probably. There probably aren’t any traps here, since there weren’t last time.
Julian They make for the secret door.
Kryss Kryss holds up a hand while he invokes his circle of power.
DM The secret door is no longer a secret to them. They note that the king’s former room has been stripped down of most of that which they themselves had not taken before, even the hellhound puppy corpses have been removed.
DM No one accosts them on the way. The room and halls are eerily quiet. Almost too quiet, considering a fire giant should be stomping around here somewhere.
Julian Julian heads for the second secret door, wondering with a frown whether Felskar has gone to sic the pyrohydra on them.
Kryss “Felskar has probably gone to sic the pyrohydra on us,” Kryss advises.
DM The second door is not open when they reach it, though that is soon adjusted. The door slides open.
Shael Shael hangs behind and watches the passage behind them, guarding everyon’s back while they explore the chamber ahead.
Julian “I was just wondering that. Either that or he has slipped away to muster forces and is planning to come up behind us once we’re in this cul-de-sac.” Julian mutters. As the door opens, he looks beyond for any sign of the foe.
Shael While he trails behind, he looks about to get a sense of who has passed through here recently.
DM No one. The most recent tracks are a few weeks old at best. Something is wrong here. Everyone saw Felskar flee through the secret door, and there’s nowhere for him to have gone but here.
Kryss “Then he didn’t know about this door,” Kryss speculates.
Julian “Or maybe he used rune magic to whisk himself elsewhere and let us think he fled here. This is a cul-de-sac for him as sure as for us.”
Julian Julian shrugs. “But unless anyone has a better suggestion…”
Julian After a beat, Julian starts down the stairs.
DM The hydra lair lays empty, no sign of the beast or their giantish quarry. Beyond, Masnurre’s treasure lies scattered in the chests and coffers, just as it had been before.
Shael Being prepared as he is able, Shael casts a spell to listen for the minds of their foes.
DM It will take them more than an hour to gather it, as Shael had mentioned before, several cunning traps left to ruin the loot, their hands, and more.
DM Shael does not pick up any minds other than their own present.
Julian Julian glances uneasily at Shael. “Well. Let’s set to dealing with those traps and gathering what we can.” he suggests at length. Min extends her own senses, seeking out illusions or tricks.
DM Eight trunks, six chests, five coffers, plus what has been strewn on the ground, all giant sized in proportions.
Shael After gaining his confidence that they are not walking into a trap; Shael changes his perception so that it may detect magical traces and moves out to find and disarm any traps or runes that guard the treasure.
Kryss “See what you can help with,” Kryss instructs PKaC as he keeps an alert eye on the entrance.
Julian Up above, Juulian opens the secret door from the other side so that they will have ample warning of any giants sneaking up.
Kryss Dram is standing at the doorway into the treasure chamber, mouth dropped open and a slight trickle of drool coming off his chin.
Kryss “Its… its beautiful!” he says slowly.
DM The first trunk is locked, though Shael sees no traps. As he pointed out previously however, the locks of this giant chest are not defeated by his human sized thieves’ tools. Brute strength is required to aid what is typically a job of finesse.
Julian Min lends her jotunesque strength to the task, seeing that Shael’s focus needs to be on the locks.
DM Magic, might and mind all come together, barely cracking open the first trunk. When it is opened, they see that it is full of silver, tens of thousands of pieces.
DM They are reminded that some of the coins might be traps themselves, and require a bit of painstaking effort to sort out from those not.
DM The second trunk opens right up without any difficulty, and Shael has confirmed that it possesses no traps. A massive amount of copper the size of the other’s silver is there.
DM The third trunk is locked.
Kryss “That one will be lead,” Kryss guesses.
DM Dram asks “So, might we help this along by spreading out the coins so Lord Shael can scan them with his magic eyes?”
Kryss “I find its best to stand back out of their way while they do this sort of thing,” Kryss replies.
DM “So we’re not going to even touch it?”
Kryss “Not until they say so. Seems like everything I pick up has a symbol of pain inscribed on it.”
DM Min manages to twist the tumblers of the third chest into place with the two lords’ guidance. Opening up the chest, it is full of lead.
DM Min shoots Kryss a suspicious glance.
Kryss “I’m not surprised,” Kryss says.
DM “I’m not surprised either,” says an echoing voice that seems to come from multiple walls of the cavern.
Shael Shael double-checks to make sure it is lead and not some other more treasured metal — and either way, it is placed with the rest of the treasure. It is certain that the lords will find a use for it.
DM Princess Moonshadow appears near the hydra den.
Kryss “Oh, hey!” Kryss says, not surprised. “Beat us here did you?”
DM “Clearly not.”
Julian Julian, on the other hand, is surprised.
Kryss “Well someone did,” Kryss suspects. “None of this will be fun to sort through.”
Julian The paladin whirls and goes for his sword.
Kryss Kryss looks at him, “What?”
Kryss Kryss looks at Julian’s face, wisely assessing his thoughts, “This is the rakshasa that stole our stuff, isn’t it?”
DM Moonshadow looks at Kryss. “Well, I’m just glad you led me here. This will make a fine fortune for my people.”
Julian “Who else would it be?”
Kryss Shatterspike has already figured it out and is on her way.
DM “Oh, that’s right, Moonshadow is gone. Who else could it be?” Moonshadow’s image flickers and shifts into an angry giant.
Kryss He snapps his fingers, “Oh yea!”
DM “Felskar, the last loyal giant.”
DM Shatterspike blows through through the image of Felskar as though he weren’t there.
DM Because afterall, he’s not.
DM “That’s a bit rude,” says Felskar, though the voice is no longer the giant’s.
Kryss “You’re right, let’s talk!” Kryss suggests.
Shael Shael yawns widely and takes his time to examine the magic constructing the image. He absently pokes the lead in the chest again, but ends up closing the lid and glancing aside at the nearby dwarf.
DM Shael is unable to detect any magic coming off the image, which is itself, rather conclusive proof that something strange is going on.
DM “So…?” Felskar asks, as the party flings axes and spells his way.
Julian “So what, Zharunkumar?”
DM “So are you psychotics going to stop and talk, or do we fight this out?”
DM “…it’s the stick, isn’t it? You guys are still upset about that?”
Kryss “Whats there to discuss?” Kryss asks.
Julian “Can you give me a reason to trust anything you might say? We didn’t start out well on that front.”
DM “Is this where I unveil my villainous plan for you?”
DM “Monologue for a bit, while you sneak over and throw glitterdust on my true form in the corner?”
Kryss “I don’t think you have a villainous plan,” Kryss replies.
DM “I’m a rakshasa, you would be an absolute fool to trust anything I said. I’m hoping we can come to some sort of understanding without that.”
Kryss “What sort of understanding did you have in mind?” Kryss asks.
Julian Julian’s eyes flick about as he tunes out the raskhasa’s meandering taunts, searching for any sign of that true form he spoke of.
DM “You know what, you guys are busy and in the middle of something that I actually don’t care about. Khan Masnurre’s moldy treasure…pick through it, take your time. When you are ready, come see me in my room. I assume you recall which one it is.”
Kryss “Wait! Do you think the reason we’re here is to collect treasure?”
Shael Shael smiles vaguely and returns his attention to the treasure – but, Kryss’s shout calls his attention back to the rest of the room. He deflates a little and purses his lips as he waits for the conflict to resolve.
Julian “Maybe we will. Begone until then.” Julian overtly contradicts Kryss, having no interest in wasting more time listening to the rakshasa taunt them.
DM “Keep in mind that my legions of assassins could have relieved you of the burden of splitting that haul so many ways, but didn’t. I don’t think that should make you trust me, but maybe buy a little of that understanding.”
DM Felskar fades.
Kryss “Is that a fomar?” Kryss asks.
Julian “That was the rakshasa who stole your stick.”
Kryss “Shes a jerk.”
Julian “Or he, as the case may be.”
Julian Julian turns back towards Shael with a frown, muttering a charm of revelation as the two put their heads together to try to glean some insight into their unwanted visitor.
Shael Shael expresses that he thinks the Rakshasa is earnest, but reminds them that has little to do with whether they should make a deal with it.
Julian “True enough.”
Julian “Well, let’s finish our work here, first of all.”
DM The next trunk is locked securely.
DM As Min bends down on the bar, suddenly an ominous clicking sound heralds the release of a spring loaded blade. Shael leaps in front of Min, taking the slash to the chest. Blood spurts everywhere, but neither the giantess, nor the treasure inside is harmed.
DM The treasure being, they note, as the chest is opened, extremely ruinable silk, three cubic feet of it.
Shael Shael coughs up so blood, turning away from Min. “Oh, sorry—” he says, and he presses his finger across the wound which closes with ice. He closes his eyes, gritting his teeth against the pain.
Julian Julian scowls at the now visible blade. “I shouldn’t have missed that. Sloppy. I apologize as well.”
Julian The party focuses on the next lock to be overcome.
DM The rest of the trunks go by in a blur. The team unlocks those that require it, finding rare wood inlaid with mother of pearl, a massive chest full of tens of thousand of electrum pieces, and massive ivory tusks. The last trunk opens and appears empty, though Julian hears something slithering around within. Shael’s mystic sight reveals an aura of illusion within.
Shael “There is an illusion.” Shael warns.
Julian “Slithering. Snakes?” The paladin’s warning is crisp but not panicked, as Apollo protects them from poison.
Shael Shael hmms, “How kind of them to provide an informant; give us a minute.” he then prepares a ritual so he can speak with animals.
Julian Julian uses the time to more thoroughly check for traps on upcoming containers.
Shael “Hello?” Shael asks of the empty space in the trunk expectantly.
DM “Who sspeakss the tongue of the sslitheren?”
Shael “I am Shael – and you? That space does not seem terribly comfortable; have you eaten recently?” he asks with concern, “Come out, we will find you something.”
DM “We have not eaten in agess. We guard the jewelss of the giant kingss.”
DM The trunk, being about ten feet deep, is a little much for a snake to climb, even an invisible one.
Shael “Oh, the giant kings? Jewels —” he shakes his head, “— is that something you want to do? We have freed other prisoners of the giants; we can free you, too… send you wherever you like.”
DM “There wass a mention of food?”
Shael “You could even stay with me if you like.” He leans over the chest and smiles without showing his teeth, “Yes, it’ll take a moment to find something — we don’t eat the same food that you do.” he shrugs.
DM The invisible serpent hisses. “That’ss fine with uss.”
Shael Shael smiles and holds his arm out towards the serpent for it to climb up, “So, what’s up with these giants, anyways? Any juicy gossip?”
Julian While Shael interacts with the serpents, Julian summons Julian for a moment to see if he can pierce the illusion – husbanding his own magic for now.
DM “We were placced in the trunk long ago, it has been yearss ssince we have sseen a giant.”
Shael “Oh, that’s horrible!” Shael complains on the snake’s behalf, “What’s in there, anyways?”
DM Juulian can see the serpents, they are fairly large red scaled snakes with flaring hoods. There are nine of them, and each one probably thrice as long as Kryss is tall.
DM “Jewelss. Unsseen, like uss.”
Julian “There’s nine of them. I, uh, I think the leader might be a little big for your arm, Shael.”
DM The snake is telling the truth, Juulian notes. Six pieces of jewelry.
Julian "It’s probably not much less than twenty feet.:
DM Shael is noting that more than his arm is being encircled. His waist, his leg, his other arm…
DM “The chesstss are where they keep the magic itemss,” the leader offers Shael.
Shael “Neat.” Shael says with a smile. He frowns, “Oh…” he ponders for a moment, “…yes, this quite an interesting turn of events.” he says and carefully moves along to check the chests.
DM The chest are going swimmingly, much easier to open than the larger trunks. However, at the very last, they spot some sort of oil smeared on the lock and handles of the chest. They are unable to identify it, though it looks suspicious.
Julian Julian shrugs. “If it’s a poison, we’ll be fine. But just in case…” God helps those who help themselves, so he hands Min a handkerchief to protect her hands as she opens the last chest.
Shael Shael backs up a step; no reason for all of them to explode.
Kryss “Its probably that explosive oil we’ve been finding.”
DM Min doesn’t seem to suffer any harm from the oil through the handkerchief. They open up the last chest and like the others, fantastic items lie within.
DM The belt and cape on top of the last chest definitely radiate magic.
DM So did the wand in the second chest, the bodice in the third, and the rod and amulet in the first.
DM So many magic items, it’s hard to even pay attention to mithril tiaras, astral diamonds, and tens of thousands of gold pieces.
Kryss Kryss keeps a close watch on the snake currently sizing up Shael.
Kryss “He’s sizing you up to see if you will fit down his throat,” Kryss warns.
DM The snake is invisible, and doesn’t appear to understand Kryss’s threat.
Shael Shael shakes his head, disagreeing with Kryss but also indicating silently that if that’s the case he’ll probably be fine anyways.
DM The chests had acid spraying traps, poison gas releasing traps, and spikes, in addition to the suspicious oil. The coffer has but one, a needle. They disarm it, and unlock the rest of the chests.
Kryss “I’m surprised the the rashkasa left us alone to our treasure sorting,” Kryss says idly, leaning way back in his saddle and crossing his feet over PKaC’s neck.
Shael “Really? Why?” Shael wonders.
DM “Don’t be surprised when the whole damn giant army is waiting for us outside,” Dram mutters.
Shael “That would be convenient—” Shael replies to Dram. “—it’s always easier when they gather in large groups instead of making us chase them down.”
Kryss “At least we’ll know where they are,” Kryss replies.
Julian “Fewer of those cursed symbols of death.” Julian agrees.
DM Dozens of rings are in the first coffer, and Shael spots one with a magic aura for a second before it disappears under the rest of them. Like the silver, they’ll have to sort out the entire thing to make sure they don’t miss anything.
Shael Shael nods his agreement with the two, “See? Better for them to be waiting for us — simplifies everything, really.”
DM The second coffer has a ton of copper, the third has a bunch of seeds and packets of leaves and husks.
Kryss “Do you think you could get the entire giant army to gather right out front, Dram?” Kryss asks.
DM The fourth coffer has six small statues of some unknown mineral, and the fifth is full of over a thousand gems.
Kryss “Could I take a look at the mineral?” Kryss asks after the others have cast their spells and done their inspections.
DM It’s taken over an hour, and they haven’t even sorted through the entire haul.
Shael “Yes.” Shael agrees, preoccupied with the vegetable matter.
Julian The work of sorting continues…
Kryss Kryss examines the small statues carefully, trying to identify the material they’re made of.
Kryss “This stuff doesn’t act like metal,” Kryss obsesses over the statues as the others identify magic items.
Shael Shael’s attention is immediately taken and Atraxa twitches around his hand. “Oh? What does it act like?”
DM While they sort the haul, they frequently find greater treasures buried beneath lesser ones. Platinum pieces under copper, sacks of gems in silver, massively valuable gems underneath lesser valuable ones underneath least valuable ones.
Kryss “When I push it it is firm, but if I run my finger across it, it feels like flesh. Its not from this plane, that much I can tell,” Kryss answers.
Julian Julian scowls at the mention of metallic flesh, his mind drifting back to the otherworldly horrors, of both fleshy and phantasmal ilk, they battled in the other two giant strongholds.
Shael “Well, these are fire giant spices — probably the hottest dish you ever ate if you use ’em.” he moves towards Kryss and observes the metal to compare it to his UnMetal.
Kryss “Julian, do you think these are related to the otherworldly horrors, of both fleshy and phantasmal ilk, that we battled in the other two giant strongholds?” Kryss asks.
Julian “Wow, Kryss, it’s like you read my mind. I was wondering. Or if it’s not from the realms of the mi-go, it’s probably the black craft of the Great War.” the paladin opines.
Julian “God knows we have seen enough of that strange metalwork as well, here.”
Shael “It isn’t UnMetal then?” he asks Kryss, who is the expert.
Kryss “This on is a tentacle faced winged creature…”
Kryss “This one is a hooded faceless thing,” Kryss tosses the hooded statue to Shael.
Shael Shael comfortably dodges it.
Shael He watches it his the floor curiously.
Julian “…the mi-go, or the colours, or other cursed things that ought not to be in this world, then.” Julian too makes no move to retrieve the evil statue as it falls.
Kryss “This one has multiple faces and tentacles…”
Kryss “one, two, three, four, five mouths on this serpent…”
Julian “Enough, Kryss, I want nothing to do with those.”
Kryss “There should be one more…” Kryss looks around.
Shael “As long as they’re safely stored—” Shael counters, “—I don’t recognize them, but I’m sure there is more information in my library.”
Kryss “Oh here we go, an elephant with a mouth on its trunk, Gross.”
Kryss “Here Shael, lets wrap them up and you take care of them then.”
Julian “I said enough, Kryss!” Julian remembers Bear Friend’s festering, rotting torture at their hands.
Shael He nods and waits for Kryss to put them back in the box before taking that and storing it.
Kryss Kryss puts the final one away without comment, a statue of simply a bunch of spheres.
Shael “Right then, let’s finish up.” Shael says, moving away to sort and catalogue the rest of the treasure without further comment.
DM Another hour is spent discerning the secrets of the magical items they have, some valuable, some not so much. There are still piles of coin and gems to gather up.
Julian Once their work in the treasury is done, Julian suggests checking out the so far unexplored northeastern portions of this LEVEL before they put themselves on the clock and head down a LEVEL.
Julian “I’ll level with you, I’m not sure we’ll find anything important, but there’s an off chance.”
Julian Unless objections are voiced, he heads that way.
Kryss “What,” Kryss says wisely.
DM Heading up the hallway past the closed doors, the party hears the sounds of pitched combat.
Kryss “Shael! You should see whats going on in here,” Kryss suggests as he passes the double doors leading south.
DM Pitched combat from up the hallway.
DM Very little from the closed iron doors.
DM Just to be clear, True Believers.
Julian Julian peeks around the corner.
DM “You’ll never take us alive, you damned fomor!” a male ildjot solider tears into a female.
DM Fire dwarves rush about the battle, stabbing their glaives at the male.
DM Another male supports the first, although he seems to be fighting his own battle from something in the room Julian can’t see.
Shael Shael peeks around the corner to get a read on the situation himself.
Julian “Let’s advance. I don’t intend to feed lives to Sharwyn’s plan, but it might be to our benefit to subdue rather than slay any non fomor.” Julian mutters.
Shael “Ah, sure —” Shael agrees, and moves forward into the room confidently shrouded in invisibility.
Julian “Where she might drain two of their lives, perhaps four would volunteer only a portion to be spared.” he muses as the party forms up.
DM The dwarves are dangerous, not those of the prison that were so easily dispatched by Kryss’s lovetap, but the fierce warriors who can stand against a giant on their own.
Julian When the time is right Julian and Min move out, the latter hurling a javelin of lightning and the former one of wood.
DM The explosion reveals the advance to the combatants, who immediately turn upon the new threat.
Shael Shael moves closer as well, careful to remain quiet.
DM “Cowards! You fear the dwarves!”
DM “What? Fomor witch, this is not our doing! Had you bent the knee to the king…”
DM The dwarves fling enchantment unraveling spells before they advance on the foes.
DM The giantess beats back the male giants, cutting them savagely with her blade.
<krysss> Kryss and PKaC bounce forward, the wyverns wings and mighty legs covering ground quickly. Finally, with a big hop they appear in the dwarves field of vision. Shatterspike crashes into the one on Alhandra’s side of the hallway.
DM The dwarf, already wounded, drops like a stone.
Julian Alhandra wheels into battle with his counterpart.
DM She also fells her foe easily.
<krysss> Dram charges into battle…. and continues charging… its a long hallway.
Julian Min looses her bow at the smaller but more dangerous – whatever the giants may think of it – foes.
DM One of the arrows glances off the giant’s armor, but the other hits the creature it is fighting, a magma elemental, dead on. The arrow melts away, though lava leaks forth from where it was struck.
Julian Julian moves in to subdue one of the male giants.
Shael Shael continues to sneak into the battle.
DM The giant pitches forward towards the female.
DM The female quickly dispatches the remaining male giant, slicing his head from his shoulders.
DM “Who are you?” she demands of the advancing warriors.
Julian “Julian of Brindinford, and you?”
DM “Oksanasurt of Vulcanis. Will you stand down, or must we do battle?”
Julian “We must not, if you throw down your arms.”
DM She laughs. “You are bold, and were this another day, I would like that, but I cannot pause for such things today. I need to warn Lord Felskar of this treachery, and if you intend to stand in my way, I will need to sweep you from it.”
DM The dwarf gestures, and the magma creatures move to attack.
DM The pair fling exploding balls of lava at one of the Julians.
DM The dwarf moves in on Oksanasurt and chants to his god.
Julian “More have tried than have succeeded, Oksanasurt.” The flames have no effect on most of the party and minimal on the remainder.
DM Shael cuts off the dwarf’s healing chant, and the priest looks around suspiciously.
DM “No doubt, Julian of Brindinford, no doubt.”
Kryss PKaC wings forward, heralding the arrival of Shatterspike. She spins towards the giantess’ face and suddenly dips, crashing into the dwarf’s head and out somewhere else.
DM The dwarf’s armor is proof against the full force of the attack, though not all.
Kryss PKaC drags a claw along the wall and beats his wings furiously, carrying the pair back past friendly lines.
Julian Min hurls another thunderbolt, aiming to remove the dwarven spellcaster from the fight.
Kryss Dram continues charging into battle, glaring as he runs past his companions.
DM The dwarf staggers at the thunderclap, and blood flows from Oksanasurt’s nose.
Julian Alhandra comes thundering in to finish the job.
DM “Ah ha! This is good. I shall either save my people or dine in Logihal tonight!”
DM The dwarf’s blood splashes on the ground where Alhandra cut into him, his molten hot armor blazing.
Julian Valfear strafes the combatants below her and then dips low enough for Julian to aim an attempted knockout blow at Oksanasurt.
DM The blow is well struck, but ‘Julian’ does not appear to have his typical might behind his sword.
Julian Julian is close behind, showing his double how it is done as Lightbringer flickers out.
DM The giantess slumps against the wall, and the dwarf cries out in dismay.
Julian Lightbringer arcs around for the dwarf next.
DM The blade cuts into the dwarf, who stubbornly refuses to fall or flee his mistress.
Shael Shael slips up behind them and lashes out as well, his katana whistling with deadly noise through the air.
DM The dwarf’s stubborness is no longer enough, he pitches forward to join his mistress. At his collapse, the magma creatures unform into pools of lava.
Kryss Dram rushes up, breathing heavy.
DM “Well, I don’t suppose I can rightfully claim any of these ears, wee one’s blanket be damned.”
Julian Min extends her senses, searching for traces of transmutation magic on either surviving giant suggesting they might be fomor.
Julian (Or indeed any other magic that may be about, True Believers)
DM Only the dwarven priest’s armor glows to her enhanced senses.
Julian “I… think they are both giants true.” she reports.
DM “It looks like your seeds were well planted last time,” Alhandra offers Julian.
Julian Julian nods, breathing heavily. “If it brings us closer to victory and spares any shed blood of my folk, I am grateful to God and good luck for that.”
DM Cots, chests, and other furniture fill this place. Several pegs here and there hold cloaks, capes, shields, and four giants’ bags. Shael locates a hidden cache in one of the pillars as well, containing hundreds of gold pieces and three pieces of gem studded jewelry.
DM A lesser treasure haul than before, to be sure, True Believers, but we’ve got plenty more to go! With the giants in civil warfare, will our heroes be able to capitalize on the chaos to prevent the forging of the blade? Will they treat with the rakshasa? Will they feed Oksanasurt and the other giant to Brutus’ hunger? Find out next week!