After some planning, Ja’Elle scouted out the area. He peeked in a door and saw two hill giant torturers torturing a half-orc and a dwarf. Then, he explored a passageway leading around to the other side of the torture chamber and also to the smithy.
The group planned to lure the hill giants out towards into an ambush in another room. Kissandi, using the hat of disguise, disguised herself as an escaped prisoner, got the hill giants attention and moved away. The closest hill giant torturer was able to catch up to her at the entryway to the ambush with a charge.
The first hill giant was quickly bloodied. The second yelled something towards the smithy and then joined the fight. Ja’Elle, Kissandi, and Tyzzer were able to keep the giants flanked and away from Rowena and Bui. Rowena and Bui used ranged attacks to weaken the giants. Bui planted the Standard of the Silver dragon and used his own glorious presence to quickly deplete the last remnants of will and energy of the giants. The group quickly dispatched both hill giants with focused fire.
During the melee, a couple of orcs peeked around the corner and then left to take word back to the smithy. Another orc sprinted off in the direction of the mines. With Javok’s help, we later guessed that he was alerting stone giants, more orcs, and dwarf slaves in the mines to our presence in the Steading.
Kissandi freed Javok, a half-orc, who had been strapped to a rack and tortured. Using her action point, Kissandi freed the dwarf from the spit above the hot coals, too. The dwarf cowered in a corner. Javok said he would do anything to help us out.
Javok, following Kissandi’s orders, charged into the smithy and attacked an orc. The orc hit him back. The fire giant forgepriest, Smolderheart, grabbed Javok with his fiery tongs and smashed him with his flaming warhammer, dealing over 60 damage. The group hustled in. Kissandi and Tyzzer worked on the minions. Bui protected the group by greatly reducing the damage of the fire giant and temporarily made it so Smolderheart could not attack. Rowena made the group fire resistant. Javok escaped the grasp of the tongs and ran, on fire, to safety.
Smolderheart quickly made his saving throw and regained the ability to attack. He grabbed Bui with his tongs. Rowena blasted Smolderheart back, releasing Bui from the tongs. The orc minions were dispatched quickly. Ja’Elle joined the fray, initially helping pick the lock on manacles that were slowing a dwarf slave. Ja’Elle and Tyzzer told the dwarves to help free each of from the manacles.
Smolderheart only got off a few hits before succumbing. Rowena scalped the fire giant, planning to use the scalp as a negotiation tool later.
The party searched all areas in the area (smithy, torture chamber, hill giant bedroom) and found 500 gp and a potion of vitality (Kissandi) in the hill giants’ bed chambers.
Javok spoke with the party, sharing a little more information about what is in the lower level and brainstorming what to do next. Javok says he was initially captured while trying to do reconnaissance here. Then, while leading an attempted orc revolt, he was quickly captured again and brought to the torture chamber where you found him. He learned about the stone giants commanding the orcs and watching the dwarves in the mines, about a rock beast with long arms guarding the entrance to the mines, and that part of the mines were off limits to the slaves.
After much discussion and planning, the group decided to use Javok to escort the slaves to freedom, asking him to return to the hidden cave near the Steading and wait for the party, once all are delivered to safety. He agreed. This will likely take him days to accomplish and return.
Ja’Elle scouted to make sure the residents on the upper level hadn’t discovered the breach yet. It appears they hadn’t. The party that we heard still rages on in the great hall. All is quiet on the western side of the Steading, in the wake of our group’s path.
The coast appears clear. All 17 former prisoners slowly and quietly followed the party to the upper level and to the entrance. Javok led the prisoners out.
Rowena used a ritual (cost 270) to see what is in the great hall while Ja’Elle and Kissandi investigate what appears to be guest chambers occupied by Stone Giants. After Kissandi successfully picks the lock, we found 10 500 gp gems (5000 gp), 700 gp, and a stone tablet engraved in dwarven to Laerthar from Belastraya.
Ja’Elle notices an orc slave going back and forth from what we guess is a kitchen to the great hall.
The group discussed the best strategy going forward. Should they try to find poison or a way to get the giants to fight each other? Should they attack the main hall? Should they enter the kitchen and try to get the orc slaves to help? Should they explore more?
Ja’Elle scouts out the passage leading to the eastern side of the Steading and hears many giantish voices there, too.
In the end the group decides that the great hall is likely too much to handle right now. The kitchen and the great hall seem connected by the food supply, so the group decides to hold off on the kitchen, too.
The next point to attack is the eastern side of the Steading, in hopes of depleting the giants forces, possibly gaining a prisoner for a negotiation, and hopefully not alerting the great hall to our presence and joining in a fight. Having a plan of escape may be necessary as many of the party have only a couple heal surges left.
Priorities (in no particular order):
Major quest: The stone giants, frost giants, and fire giants have hidden strongholds in the mountains. Look for a map or some other clue that reveals where these allied strongholds are located.
Special Quest: Free the Dwarf Slaves– The hill giants have captured several dwarves, and the dwarven clanholds (Bofgim, Thokak, Vonhak) have posted generous rewards for their safe return. PARTIALLY COMPLETED – FIVE SENT WITH JAVOK
Minor Quest: Rescue Zandor Caskerhill – The hill giants have captured Zandor Caskerhill, a human merchant who has ties to local nobility in Estias, the Finnara family. Locate and rescue him. COMPLETED – SENT WITH JAVOK, ALTHOUGH ZANDOR WAS KNOCKED OUT BY KISSANDI
Minor Quest: Find the Abandoned Temple – The hill giants have built their stronghold atop an old dungeon complex, within which is rumored to be an abandoned temple. Find this temple, explore it, and bring back proof of your discovery.
Total Party Loot = 20,308 g.p.
Magic Item Update = Potion of Vitality (Kissandi)
Additional Item Update = Engraved stone tablet from Belastraya to Laerthar
2 Milestones: 4 encounter since last extended rest.
Time: Currently around 11:30 pm – midnight on January 9, 994.