DM When last we left our heroes, they had set up a safe base from which to attack the hill giant steading. Having scouted out the area, they know there are three entrances to the fortress, and that tonight, the giants appear to be celebrating a great victory. As a result, the guards at the front gate are lax in their duties, having been drinking heavily. There is no better time to attack than now, to catch the giants off guard.
Julian Julian has also been keeping an eye out for other bands coming and going, to learn whether there are nearby giant reinforcements to worry about or just the denizens of the fortress itself.
Kryss Kryss is especially interested in tracking where they may be getting any supplies from.
DM Most of the hill giants in the region have been gathered into the steading, along with a great many ogres, orcs and goblinoids. While some scattered bands still roam around, most of the hill giants are completely giddy about the prospect of their Lord Ruk having returned in the flesh.
DM Fresh food seems to be sourced by raids and daily hunting, but no doubt the giants have massive stores in this huge fortress.
Kryss Kryss scratches his chin looking over all the intelligence they’ve managed to collect.
DM The front gates boast a tower, with a makeshift bell, behind a wall.
Julian “Once the guards are drunk enough, we might seize a gate before they can raise the whole fort against us.” Julian suggests.
DM However, the tower’s (and wall’s) guards are already starting to stagger.
Kryss “Perhaps we will learn more about the layout of the fort from tower.”
Julian “Slay the guards. Leave a strong party to hold the gate. It is a chokepoint from either direction and we can fall back to it if needed.”
Julian Julian nods. “Once we can see the layout of the place, we can say whether to assault all together or in teams.”
Kryss Kryss clears his throat and mutters to Julian, “How close can you get me?”
Julian “I think soon we could walk right up before they realized anything was wrong.” Julian replies.
Julian “Shael, you are the least loud and armored of us. Make your way in to the tower by stealth, will you? Stop anyone who tries to reach the bell.”
Kryss “Hrmm?” Shael replies, smiling at Julian. “I was thinking that I just saw a…” Shael’s voice trails off as he wanders off the path and disappears into the woods.
Julian Julian follows up by approaching the gates once he judges the guards are good and drunk.
Julian He sets Hengist and Horsa in front as the least manlike of their party.
Kryss Kryss follows the others, his draconic senses on high alert.
Julian “Sir Rochefort, would you like the place of honor next?”
DM “I insist upon it.”
Julian “By all means, I know you are a doughty knight and well worthy of it.” In this array the party moves towards the gates.
DM From beyond the front gate, loud snores rattle through the air.
Julian Working together several of the party force the gates.
DM Two snoring hill giants, supposedly guarding the entrance, lie curled up blissfully asleep just inside the front gate, a nearly empty keg of ale between them.
Julian Julian gestures for half the party to assail one giant and the others the second.
Kryss Kryss leads the way towards the second.
Julian They move to surround the sleeping guards.
DM A dropped shield clatters to the ground, and the guards rub their drunken eyes groggily.
Julian Lightbringer is the first to draw blood.
Kryss Shatterspike draws a line across its fat throat.
Julian As the two lords bring the giant to its knees, the Runesword bursts through its chest from behind.
Shael In the bell-tower, Khionesoul joins its new brother in tearing into the giant guardian.
Julian While the other knights pile onto the second rudely awoken guard, Julian moves to check the tower and bell are secured by Shael.
Kryss Kryss stays to ensure their party members do their bloody work.
DM The second giant’s head rolls off.
Kryss Kryss shrugs and turns to follow Julian.
DM Shael’s giant tries to take in the situation and reacts the best way he knows how…bash the little human. He snatches up his club and swipes, barely realizing he’s almost dead.
DM Almost dead becomes all the way dead once the unmetal swims out of his femoral artery.
DM He drops dead with a loud crash, blood nearly washing Shael off of the tower.
Julian Julian assesses. Several doors. “Aethelric, Earmanaric (they are the Dragonfire household knights, Loyal Readers!), take charge of this place. Boren, Ragnar, too, if you will? Kill any patrol or drunken enemy that wanders out here. Hold the gates in case we should need a place to fall back to. My bear and the wagon will remain here, they may help you.”
Shael It crawls back up his arm to its resting position as Shael gracefully sheaths Khionesoul, acrobatically dodging to the side to find what space there is left on the platform. He crouches down to gather spell components, ‘war trophies’ he claims to anyone asking, and free the Giants of their possessions before catching up to the others.
Julian “I think we might form two parties, one right, one left, and leave the center doors for last.”
Kryss Kryss spends the time assessing what he can see of the rest of the fort from their new vantage, caution not to be seen.
Julian The three Dragonfire lords will take the left-hand door, the others the right.
Shael Still invisible, Shael murmurs to Julian – “Why don’t I take a look around and make sure we can blunt the worst of it – don’t want these fellows dying before we even get this war started properly.”
Julian Julian nods to himself, apparently, as he considers his plan.
DM Shael sees a long hallway, with doors beyond, down the hallway they intend to send the others through.
DM The doors lead off to the west, and the hallway beyond leads west and east.
Shael The diviner continues to focus his specialty magic through the blade Khionesoul, the keenest may detect his mystical implement thrumming with his power but of course his subtle magic requires no verbal or somatic components to alert the Tallites among their group.
DM Both the west and eastern passages eventually turn north. More doors lead to the south.
Shael Little is revealed, however – he shrugs and mentions, “Without checking everything, it’s hard to say with more clarity.”
Julian Once Shael indicates that he is ready, Julian forces their door.
Kryss Kryss gives Alhandra an awkward sort of goodbye wave.
DM She looks strangely at him, making a mental note to ask how he is doing later.
DM The door opens, and the heroes enter the steading of the hill giants.
DM The halls are lit, and from far to the north, a loud clatter can be heard, metal clashing, water boiling, giants yelling.
Kryss “A kitchen,” Kryss moans, his stomach turns at the idea of giant cuisine.
Julian Julian proceeds to check the first door on the left.
DM Another giant sized hallway, with more doors, leads away from the door.
Julian Julian follows the emerging rule of left-hand doorways first.
DM In all, the room holds seven beds and various small furnishings including chairs, nightstands, and chests. One torch burns at the west end of the room in a sconce; on the opposite wall is a sconce holding a large, unlit torch. Various skins and hides cover the floors. Several others hang on the walls alongside giant garments on pegs. Flabby giants and ogre servants bustle about, trying to keep the room clean.
DM Spotting the lords of Dragonfire Dyrr, they rush to attack.
Kryss The party quietly steps in and closes the door behind them.
Shael The unmetal slithers into Shael’s hand, Khionesoul slides into the other, as Shael flips over his comrades and whirls into the nearest giant.
DM The surprised giant grunts in pain as the blades slit across its knee.
Julian Julian moves in to cut an ogre down at the knees.
Julian Like old times.
DM The ogre staggers, burns as Lightbringer sears through its flesh.
Kryss Julian draws the ogre’s attention down and when it looks back up Kryss has Shatterspike coming down at its face.
DM Well, its belly, anyways. The ogre towers four feet above even Kryss’s mighty height, but that doesn’t seem to stop Shatterspike from spilling its entrails all over the floor.
DM The giantkin rush the lords, but fail to make much of an impact.
DM “Lord Stein will be angry with us if we let them rob him!” howls one of the ogres.
DM In Giant, which Shael understands.
Julian Julian slides around the flank of the not-so-nimble flab giant opposing him. As he does Lightbringer scores a track through its belly.
Shael Shael growls, “I wouldn’t worry about it, we’re not here for his treasure – we’re here for his head.” as his blades slice through his foes once more – cold biting and fire lashing.
Kryss Kryss again takes advantage of Julian’s attack to drive Shatterspike into the back of its knees like chopping a tree.
Shael But he speaks in common since he understands giant but does not speak it (yet).
DM Globs of putrid fatty flesh drop off the giant as Kryss hews at its lower legs.
DM It kicks Kryss away with a dirty foot.
Kryss Kryss tucks a shoulder and catches the worst of the blow on his armored shoulder.
DM The other giant bats at Shael with an open palm.
DM The ogres redouble their efforts to guard their master’s treasure.
Shael Shael leans into the blow, while it clearly shakes him he still doesn’t seem to take the damage as if some other magical buffer still stands in its way.
DM Shael liberates the flabby giant’s “bag” amid a shower of blood and frozen gore.
DM The ogre’s charred flesh scent wafts through the lords’ nostrils.
Julian Julian beats off the other flab giant’s attacks and drives Lightbringer up at its chest.
DM He catches the giant in the hip. Its leg comes free, and the creature tumbles down like a bowling ball upon Julian.
Kryss Kryss turns and sidearm throws Shatterspike at the next closest giants head. It spins past the giants ear and slows before spinning back to catch it in the back of the head. Kryss catches it mid-leap and brings her down into the back of the giants knee.
DM The ogre, already weakened by flame, perishes as the mighty lord cleaves its limb asunder.
DM The remaining ogres consider their options and charge.
DM Shael, once again is rocked by a blow, as the ogre valet smashes a broom the size of a log into his back.
Shael The blow still doesn’t leave any visible impression on the mage, but he complains all the same – “I am not some rat come to steal your cheese.”
DM Meanwhile, the remaining ogre keeps bouncing its weapon off the flab giant atop Julian.
Shael He darts forward, sliding between the legs of the ogre at the door with both his blades lashing out before standing up to interfere with retreat.
DM It whimpers as the unmetal tears out vital musculature in its exit.
Julian Julian heaves the flab giant off himself and onto the ogre.
Kryss Kryss throws Shatterspike to catch the ogre threatening Shael under the chin then catches her on the return just as he closes on the ogre threatening Julian. Shatterspike flashes.
Shael Shael uses the momentum from Kryss’ strike – as the Ogre’s head snaps back he stabs Khionesoul and the UnMetal blade into its brain with leap.
DM It tears out the ogre’s brain like a rock through paper.
Kryss Kryss quickly takes a sentry position by the closed door while the others investigate.
DM The final ogre watches him curiously.
Julian Julian takes advantage of its distraction to put Lightbringer through its throat.
Julian Then he takes stock of the room.
DM Shael is able to determine that the unlit torch is actually an illusion…the true form of the object is a massive sheathe.
Shael “This is a massive sheath…” he pauses and looks back at his friends with a mischievous grin, “…if you know what I mean.”
Shael He looks around waiting for the rimshot.
Kryss Kryss rolls his eyes and goes back to listening at the door for approaching giants.
DM None seem to have heard, or perhaps not cared about, the murder of the giantkin.
Shael “No culture at all.” he mutters, investigating further.
Julian “Is it empty?”
Shael “It is not.” he unsheathes the blade within.
DM It is a giant sized longknife, roughly the size of a claymore, and very sharp. No doubt enchanted.
Shael “It’s basically a claymore..” he considers for a moment, “..very sharp, no doubt enchanted.”
Kryss Kryss asks to take a closer look.
Shael Shael nods
Kryss Kryss rubs a thumb along the blade, tests the balance, and basically attempts to get the measure of the strange weapon.
Kryss “Why would they hide junk like this?”
Julian Julian shrugs. “We’ll look at it when it comes time to rest. For now…”
Julian Julian moves on to the next door.
DM The place contains several cots, boxes, and stools, a table, two benches, and various odds and ends, but nothing of true interest.
Julian After determining this, and having exhausted left doors, Julian tries the right one.
Shael While they consider the room, Shael focuses on repairing his wards.
Shael “Ready.” he says when he is.
DM These doors lead to a nearly identical set of beds, with some cloaks and hides being the only identifiable difference.
Julian Having little interest in the giant beds, Julian tries a second right-hand door.
DM He comes upon a giant-sized armory, where spears, clubs, shields, helms and axes are stored.
Kryss “Where is everyone? I haven’t heard any alarms yet. Why would they leave the armory unguarded?”
Julian Julian summons one of the Dragonfire knights posted at the gate to carry these weapons back to the war wagon, so that if the giant fortress is roused and the warriors are called to arms they will find them missing.
Julian In the meanwhile he goes to investigate the door leading from this room.
DM Spears, shields, clubs, and axes are abundant here – no fewer than a dozen of each, all sized for giants. There are four great swords (two-handed with respect to human-sized creatures), two huge iron maces, and a sheaf of 6-foot-long spears. All the shields are leaning against the walls.
Kryss “Gaurzahkan will be happy we’ve liberated him some new things to play with.”
Julian These too are removed.
Julian Julian nods.
Julian “No more doors here. North, I guess.”
DM It takes quite some time for the knight to unload the armory. Some of the weapons are easily larger than he is, and not easy to carry or drag.
Julian Seeing this Julian calls the second knight to assist while he moves north towards the sound of shouting from earlier.
Shael Shael, actually, takes this time to reattune from his cloak to his staff.
Julian Julian peeks around the northern corner.
DM The northern corner seems to lead to the kitchen. Hill giant cooks bark orders at orc slaves and ogre servants, as they cook up the feast.
Julian “Cooks and slaves.” Julian mutters. “I don’t see any humans. If they’ve taken prisoners raiding they must be somewhere else.”
Kryss “Let’s try to go past them.”
Shael Shael nods stealthily.
Julian Julian takes the advice and tries to sneak past when their back is turned.
DM The party crosses the kitchen doorway unseen.
DM However, the massive doors to their right, quite a huge ruckus comes from them.
Kryss “It’s the others,” Kryss whispers.
DM It seems like any minute servants might be headed out and through these doors to whatever party lies beyond.
Julian Julian gets himself out of sight around the next corner.
Kryss Kryss follows after pausing at the door.
Julian Now that they are officially being stealthy, Julian pauses to listen at the next door before opening it.
DM Shattering glass and yells can be heard through the massive door.
DM The yelling is all in Giant.
DM Shael cannot make it out distinctly.
DM He does hear the word ‘die’ several times though.
Julian Julian warns his fellow lords that battle likely lies ahead.
Julian Then he opens this door.
DM They interrupt a fierce game of knucklebones, the ogres playing it are smashing mugs of beer and roaring fiercely at those winning. “Dod!” (That’s death in Giant)
DM Scattered on the floor of the room are nearly a dozen heaps of skins on which the ogres sleep, and a locked iron chest is tucked into one corner.
DM Once they see the humans entering, they howl in rage.
Shael “Shh, we’re trying to be stealthy.” he does not add that he is succeeding brilliantly.
Kryss Kryss simply closes the door, locking the giants in with them.
DM The ogres grab stone axes and attempt to kill the two lords within the room.
Kryss Shatterspike spins as the first ogre draws near.
Julian Julian retaliates against his attackers.
Shael Shael blinks when the door is shut in his face. He considers for a moment and shrugs before taking out a snack and munching happily. “I’m sure they’ll be fine.” he murmurs to himself.
Shael He casts a spell and moves a little ways along the wall towards where the back of the room would be.
Kryss Kryss lashes out at the hands of the ogre harassing him.
Julian The paladin trades blows with his attacker and gets the better of the exchange.
DM The ogre crumples to the ground.
Shael Shael appears further into the room and brandishes the Staff of Khazan before hollaring, “EXPLOSION!”
DM The nearest three catch the full brunt of the blast, while the furthest back manages to get his pal between him and the fire.
Kryss Kryss jumps off the back of the dead ogre in front of him and hooks Shatterspike on the next closest ogres shoulder and swings around past him.
DM It tears out the giantkin’s jugular, and the momentum carries him through the cautious fire survivor’s skull as well.
DM The two survivors are stunned by the sudden assault, but too stupid to realize the little creatures are a true threat.
Julian Julian does not give them much time to think on it as he moves in to finish them off.
DM Their wounds smoke as the sunbeam severs their limbs.
Kryss Kryss once again guards the doors as his friends clear the room.
DM The next time these fuckers play knucklebones, it will be in Hell.
Shael With a delighted cackle, Shael shouts to his friends, “Keep up!” and then runs through the walls into the next room.
Julian Julian moves to keep up.
DM The storage area north of the kitchen doubles as an eating place for servants. It includes three tables, a long counter, stools, benches, and an assortment of kitchen gear. Numerous sacks, boxes, and barrels contain flour, dried meat, dried fruit, honey, and other foodstuffs. Various cheeses, smoked meats, and sausages hang from the rafters. Several casks and tuns hold a wide variety of potables – ale, beer, mead, and wine – all of giant strength. Loaves of bread, still warm from the ovens, are stacked on one table.
Shael Before they can open the door they hear Shael up the hall, “Next!” he is sprinting for the next door up the hall.
Kryss “Let’s keep heading north,” Kryss suggests.
Julian Julian hurries to open that door.
DM A large common room in the extreme north end of the stronghold has various cots, tables, chairs, stools, and the like. It is cluttered with old clothing and junk. Six hill giant servants are here, and a few are flirting with a handsome male hill giant. One bounces on his knee.
Shael Shael phases through it just before his companions reach him, once again he brandishes the Staff of Khazan and hollars, “EXPLOSION!!”
DM The blast rips through the young women and they scream as they try to flee. The warrior lumbers to his feet in a rage.
Kryss Kryss rushes up and releases Shatterspike. She bounces between the giants face and Kryss’ hand a few times as the giant staggers.
Julian Julian follows up his fellow lord’s assault, dashing around one of the women and leaping up on a table to reach the lead giant’s torso with his blade.
DM Just that quick, the giant is nearly dead, bleeding profusely. He pulls an axe which he chops down on Julian, and unwraps a whip from his hand, lashing it out towards Kryss.
DM It smacks him on the face, less hard than Dara has in a sparring match.
DM The giant girls fling a shower of mugs, pans, plates and such at the invaders, as they try to flee out of the door.
DM Julian cuts one of them down, her bloody corpse upending the table as she falls.
Shael Shael brandishes the staff again, spinning around in an unnecessary complex flourish, before pointing it at the fleeing group and calling again, “EXPLOSION!!!”
DM The laggard is blasted into oblivion, her friends likely following suit.
Shael Shael blinks out of the material plane after the spell is cast.
Kryss Kryss races to secure the open door and prevent the giantess’ escape.
DM This hall is a messy and smelly place filled with pallets and junk. The two orc slaves currently in this place are too injured to work (since giants’ kicks break bones).
DM Kryss cuts the giantess down before she can make it far into the room.
Julian Julian battles the warrior while his comrades chase down the women.
DM The handsome warrior’s foot is removed at the ankle as Julian sweeps the blade upwards. The giant crashes to the ground where the blade takes his throat.
DM Heading into the next room, Julian hears the snarling of wolves…
DM Haven’t we had our fill of wolves, Loyal Readers? And our heroes don’t have any golden armor! Join us next week when our daring adventurers turn their attentions from sleeping guards and serving girls to their foes’ pets!
Julian After he and his companions slew all the other giants present within the space of moments, Julian calls something to the final giant and tries to indicate by gesturing that she must stop.
DM She continues to bolt, right for the wolves. No ordinary beasts these, each is nearly the size of a bear. The wolves rush to pass her and take down the intruders.
Julian Julian shrugs. “Worth a try. If you can take her down, we need not kill the wolves at least.”
Julian He gets ready to shut the door if Kryss and Shael prove able to do so.
Shael Shael nods and brandishes a wand that several missiles fire unerringly from. Afterwards he withdraws to the other room.
DM The fleeing hill giant staggers, but she continues running through the pain, blood pouring down her back.
Julian Julian frowns slightly but leaves off closing the door and discharges a volley of his own from a similar wand.
Julian He blocks the door and calls to Kryss to come help bar it until they can close it against the wolves.
DM The giantess limps away, her gasps of pain accompanied by the sound of gurgling blood.
Julian The lords slam the door as soon as they are able.