December 21, 993-Dec 30, 993:
After meeting with Shem Wartburg, of Standhall, the group set out to sell items and upgrade.
Bui visited other priests, selling a Belt of Resilience and buying River of Life Gloves. Rowena helped Bui upgrade his Holy Symbol from +1 to +3. Bui also bought a Circlet of Continuity from a local merchant.
Ja’Elle sold several items to members of thieve’s guilds including a Deathstalker Dagger, an Abyssal Adornment, and Knifethrower’s Gloves. Tyzzer upgraded Ja’Elle’s armor from regular leather to Magic Leather +3. Ja’Elle bought a Hat of Water Breathing and Gauntlets of Ogre Power from local merchants. He bought an Eleven Cloak +3 from a member of the Woodland Justice Network (WJN).
Kissandi bought a Belt of Vim from a local merchant. Bui gave Kissandi a Hat of Disguise. Tyzzer gave Kissandi a Ring of Fireblazing and Bracers of Speed.
Rowena sold a Staff of Fiery Might and Bloodthread Armor to members of the WJN. She bought Feystep Lacings from another member of the WJN. Rowena was willing to buy without negotiating because she supported the WJN, she gained a good name and was gifted 3 items. These included a Circlet of Arcane Extension, an Elixir of Luck, and a Fey Step Potion. She also bought Bracers of Mental Might from a Corellon worshipper.
Tyzzer returned on Dec 28, 993 and met back up with the group.
Tyzzer sold a holy symbol of Ioun and books about Dagon and demons. He bought Bracers of Respite from a local merchant. He trained a friend of Nan on the martial practice of Temporary Fix along with some gold in exchange for gaining training in the martial practice of Uncanny Strength.
He met Sarax, a dragonborn hero/wanted man, and bought Dragonborn Greaves. Sarax asked for Tyzzer’s assurance that he would lead the group against the giants, and seemed satisfied with Tyzzer’s response. Tyzzer has heard of Sarax before. Sarax is know currently as one of the most most wanted on the crown’s list. He used to be one of the greatest known heroes of the realm, knighted as a Scarlet Guard by King Goodwell IIs father, King Goodwell. He was honored for having repelled the last know giant raid in eastern Terkent, decades ago. He did this with wit, weapon, and leadership. Compared to what has been rumored today, this was a very small giant raid. In the past year, Sarax was accused of abandoning his god, Bahamut, for coin and was said to leading a revolt against the kingdom and the crown, possibly allying with enemies of the land. He denied the charges, but was convicted in Lambasa and sentenced to 20 years in jail. When Adalaentar attacked Lambasa, he escaped jail (at the same time as Craynor and others escaped) and has been a wanted escaped criminal ever since.
Tyzzer has decided that someday, after dealing with the giants and Adalaentar, he plans to return to meet with Shacrois Nuadil, the gold dragon, to try to understand the dragon’s interest in the ancient city of Seegold.
Ja’Elle bought 10 Potions of Healing and 2 Potions of Cure Moderate Wounds to distribute to the party. Each PC took 2 Potions of Healing. Bui and Tyzzer each took 1 Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds.
After all the selling and buying, the group has 14,792 g.p. remaining.
On January 2, 994, the party went to Glim about mid-afternoon.
Ja’Elle and Kissandi took to the streets. Ja’Elle found a female halfling rogue who said her name was Rixi. She and Ja’Elle shared stories about the recent increase in business in Glim. She said she knew or knew of Knix, a more recent contact of Ja’Elle’s from Lambasa. Ja’Elle felt that he made a good connection with her. Kissandi watched to make sure nobody was watching Ja’Elle.
Bui, Rowena, and Tyzzer went to a local bar and spoke to 2 humans and a dwarf. 1 human and the dwarf seemed like local town guards, on their time off. The other was very interested when Tyzzer mentioned the meeting of heroes at the Vortex. The non-local human seemed to want to hitch a ride with the party to get into the meeting. He was denied.
The streets in Glim are very busy with locals, farmers, urban folk, and many adventuring types.
The group arrived at the Vortex tavern and inn a little early, around 7:30 to scout the place out. A somewhat disturbing flag flew over the establishment.
From across the street, the a man, looking at the group said, “Looks like FREAK NIGHT at The Vortex tonight! Ha, Ha, Ha!” Rowena used mage hand to give him a wedgie.
All but one of the entrances were closed. The open entrance to this riverfront business was guarded by two armed guards, a dragonborn and a goliath. In front of the at a makeshift table, sat a slight, frail older human named Carnavon.
One by one, Carnavon asked each character a series of questions. An old friend, Atli, helped Carnavon screen those coming through. Kissandi would not lie about being an elf and did not have an elf ID. After some convincing by Ja’Elle and Tyzzer, Kissandi returned and was allowed entrance into the tavern. Before entering Kissandi was asked why she protected Ja’Elle, was it for the dragon or against the dragon? Carnavon gave all of the characters a silver cufflink in the shape of a hand.
Rowena used a ritual to help protect the groups privacy in conversation as they entered The Vortex. A loud din of noise emanated from within as the group entered. A mixture of regular folks and those hardened by adventure were within. It was nearly body to body in areas near the bar and most every table was taken.
Above the noise, a female dwarf named Rokel and a young male halfling named Neff argued about the usefulness of adventurers in the world. Rokel seemed to think the world would be better without them. Neff was the #1 fan of all adventurers. Tyzzer tried to make good with Rokel, somewhat unsuccessfully. Neff, when introduced to Tyzzer and Ja’Elle knew about Tyzzer’s returns from the dead and Ja’Elle being a Chosen One. Neff was a little excited (understatement) to meet the heroes, running up and down the bar, telling everyone who he has just met.
The group sought out some others in the bar. Rowena spoke with Malifer, an older sage who said he mostly studied and did a little adventuring. Tyzzer and Ja’Elle spoke with a group of adventurers that Tyzzer knew (Alphariel, Vani, Xabier, Gaard, and Steel). Kissandi hung out in the corner. Bui spoke with Shivon, Thorn, Itzam-Ye, Ara, and Nashwa El-Nar briefly because Shivon was Shivon.
Several guards entered, clearing the bar of anyone who did not receive a silver cufflink in the shape of a hand. Neff and many other locals left. Still, many heroes remained in a very full tavern.
Carnavon introduced Sarax. Rowena remembered a very similar history about Sarax to what Tyzzer remembered above.
Sarax directs the action. He said, “I am pleased that you have all made it here and made it through our screening. My apologies for the necessity of the door check, but in troubled times, we can never be too sure that those who oppose what is right have not sent spies or infiltrators…now, on with our business. We have sent word to those we trust to ask your presence in coordinating our defenses, and more importantly our OFFENSE versus that powers that mean to destroy or subjugate us. For some of you, there will be a choice in how you can help. For others, the choice has already been made. It is up to you whether or not to accept it and join with us. Together we can accomplish anything. Apart, despite all of our best efforts, we may never see the ends we hope to see. h. Now it is time to lay out the dangers that we face and some of our strategies for each. We want you to be aware of all of our missions so we can coordinate with each other should something happen to any of the leadership of our newly formed network…"
- Fire related incidents have spiked. Are these from Adalaentar, copycats, or what? It is unlike Adalaentar not to claim his exploits and try to put fear in the populace. We need investigations into these incidents happening in many areas of eastern Terkent in order for us to find their source and put a stop to it.
- Rhendlichian Elves – We need to uncover whether the claims of the crown are true. Are Rhendlichian elves behind the problems we face in Terkent? Have these elves invaded? Do they have connections to the WJN? Or are these lies? Without answers to these questions, our search for the reasons behind our problems, we cannot get to the root of the problem. This will involve work on both continents.
- The Scarlet Guard – Why have some of the Scarlet Guard gone astray of the law and used their titles to harm a populace and others looking to help, especially after they were honored for helping the same groups of people? An investigation that begins in the capitol is in order. This will need to be a quiet investigation.
Alphariel shouts out, “Down with the Red Piss Legion!”
- The Woodland Justice Network, our allies in the past, seem to be splintering. We need more information about what is happening and if they are to be trusted or to be considered a threat to civilization. We need information seekers.
Agaro, a dwarf rogue-like character, slammed his fist on the table and said, “What does it matter? These are minor concerns. Unless the giants and Adalaentar can be dealt with, all the rest is meaningless!”
Sarax – “I like your vigor Agaro and I will get to that in due time. Send him some another ale, on me.” (Agaro stops, Sarax continues) “As you all are aware, our power is not yet strong enough to deal with Adalaentar head on. At some point we will. But, for now, we must learn new ways that will allow us to defeat him. We will need both wit and weapons to do this. With the showing before me, I know it can be done!”
Agaro – “Then what will we do about the dragon now?”
Carnavon – “The demands of the dragon continue. For now, the crown and our raised taxes have at least partially pacified Adalaentar. We do not have the power to defeat him…yet. Sarax believes that in time, we…you will.”
Sarax – “Enough, let’s go over our attack forces, those to protect eastern Terkent from immediate threats through direct action…"
- Brigands & Bandits – seemingly small threats, they must be dealt with. Some of you are suited to help in this way, gain experience, and be able to help in greater ways in the future.
- Aberrants from the Far Realm have entered our world in several locations. Some of these entries have been shut down. More is needed to be done. We have word from good sources that a town in Bala-dul, named Wellspring, has seen a very recent explosion of issues likely related to this Tear of Ioun. All signs point this way. (the sight near the Forlorn Tower) We need a group that will go here immediately.
- Giants – this is our greatest and potentially worst threat aside from the dragon right now. Giants have been raiding civilized lands in large bands, visiting death and destruction upon villages, towns, and farmlands. Entire militias have been conquered, whole crops have been wiped out. Marauding bands consist of mixed groups of hill giants, stone giants, frost giants, and fire giants, as well as ogres and other monsters allied with giants. The closest giant stronghold – and the greatest immediate threat to the safety of nearby settlements – is a great timber fortress populated by hill giants, known simply as the hill giant steading. The hill giant chief routinely plunders farms and threatens trade roads. He has gathered other creatures to his banner and uses them in his brutal raids. The hill giant alliance with more powerful kinds of giants, such as frost and fire giants, is a matter of grave concern. We need to:
1. Protect eastern Terkent from an immediate threat through direct action
2. punish marauding giants, banish them from civilization
3. Deal with the Steading, located among secluded foothills of King’s Mountains. It is close enough to civilized lands, Estias and Erya, and the main mountain path and pass in that region, to be a source of great concern
4. Break the enemy alliance
5. Find the Hidden Strongholds – 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.
6. We need those of Terkent, bound to protect Terkent, and experienced enough to take this, the most difficult of our missions. I have spoken with my great scout, Nan Hornberg, and he had recommended someone I thought dead until very recently. Tyzzer Zaneen, I need you to lead your companions in this mission?
Tyzzer receives a bit of guff from his comrades, ignores them, and accepts the mission.
Sarax – “Volunteers can sign up with Carnavon. Others will be assigned to roles we best feel suits them.”
Agaro – volunteers to help versus the brigands & bandits or spy in any of the info seeker missions.
Atli – volunteers to help investigate Scarlet Guard
There is much movement and interest from the other adventures.
The group enters the back room with Sarax and he goes over the mission, Against the Giants. His advice:
- Nan Hornberg and a small band have been sent as scouts. Look for them in nearby towns to get more specific advice.
- Gather information you can in the region nearby to uncover whatever you can that will aid you in your attack on the giants fortifications.
- You will be attacking the Steading, a fort. You would do best to not alert them as you approach & enter. We send you, a small band of experienced adventurers, because we believe a full out frontal assault is less likely to succeed than sending you.
- Only by destroying the alliance can we put down the giant uprising for good.
- Follow any clues that point toward the sinister hand suspected of uniting giants.
- As payment for your help, you can have all mundane items you need and are entitled to keep whatever treasure you find.
The group receives a 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.
Information I have learned about giant races (you may want more):
- Earth Giants (Hill) – territorial, enslave weaker creatures (chaotic evil), they are raiders
- Stone Giants – distrust strangers, little concern for smaller creatures (unaligned), they have brute force
- Frost Giants – might makes right (evil), tactical
- Fire Giants – enjoy testing mettle vs. formidable adversaries (evil)
Location of the Steading of Hill Giant Chief – foothills of King’s Mountains, near Estias and Erya, and the path and pass into the King’s Mountains.
The group goes to find Nan Hornberg, scout for Sarax. Using another useful ritual from Rowena, the group finds him pretty quickly in Estias. The surrounding farmlands have been heavily damaged, as has the city. Some activity remains in the city.
The group talks to Nan. He reconnects with Tyzzer and then advises the group:
i. Set up a safe place outside to retreat to if needed. He identifies a cave for the group.
ii. However, once inside, do not leave and allow them to fortify their defenses. Do not yield ground.
iii. Long rests will allow them to fortify their defenses.
iv. Their raiding groups may return if you rest too long.
v. Don’t approach the Steading openly, guards in watchtower will spot you.
vi. Remember to follow any clues that point toward the sinister hand suspected of uniting giants.
vii. Only by shattering the alliance can we succeed.
viii. Give the group a map he and other scouts made of the exterior of the Steading.
Advised by Sarax and Nan, the group seeks out more information from locals. This party gains the following information:
- Determined to repel the invaders, local lords have begun hiring brave adventuring parties. The first few groups didn’t fare well. Some crushed beneath the boulders and jackboots of rampaging giants, while others went into wilderness, never to return.
- One questions whether Rhendlichian elves are behind the giant alliance.
- One questions whether Scarlet Guard, and maybe even King could be corrupt and part of a bigger problem.
- One asks, could the dragon be convinced to defeat the giants to gain all their wealth?
- The closest giant stronghold – and the greatest immediate threat to the safety of nearby settlements – is a great timber fortress populated by hill giants, known simply as the hill giant steading. Nosnra (pronounced noz-en-rah), a grossly fat and thoroughly despicable hill giant chief, rules from this stronghold. Sly and vicious, the hill giant chief routinely plunders farms, ambushes merchant caravans, and threatens trade roads. He has gathered ogres and other vile creatures to his banner and uses them as fodder during his brutal raids.
The group adds three minor quests:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
The group scouts out the safe cave and the Steading. They spend the first night and the entire next day watching to see if raiders leave or return. None are seen. There is movement in the watchtower.
The Steading: A massive timber stronghold hides among the hills. The well-worn trail that you’ve been following ends before a pair of 15-foot-high doors made of ironbound logs. Thicker logs comprise the walls of the stronghold. The wooden roof inclines toward the middle, reaching a height of 30 feet at its peak. The stronghold has no windows, but a squat watchtower overlooks the entrance. Smoke rises from numerous stone chimneys.
A log guardhouse stands apart from the main stronghold, but connected by a palisade wall of vertical logs 15 feet high. Heavy doors set into the palisade lead to a courtyard lodged between two buildings.
The group debates several approaches and choose to follow advice from Sarax and Nan and check the front gate. Ja’Elle and Kissandi stealthily approach, listen, and then crack open the front door. A well-lit entry room where guards are snoring loudly, but almost drown out by what sounds like a nearby party, coming from deeper areas of the Steading.
After the others in the party arrive at the entrance, Ja’Elle and Kissandi try to sneak in to try to kill the sleeping hill giant and 4 ogres. Kissandi stumbles over a large sack, rattling the metal within and awakening the giant.
The giant stands and throws a rock in the general direction of Kissandi. Kissandi kills one of the minion ogres in its sleep. Ja’Elle rushes over and knocks out the giant, but the giants yell awakens the ogres. The other three ogres are dispatched quickly, as is the giant.
Three more giants descend from the watchtower to do battle with the party. Tyzzer directs others to get in extra attacks. Kissandi and Ja’Elle get into hand to hand combat versus the giants. Rowena even gets in the mix, centering several blasts and bursts on many of the giants, setting a couple on fire. For quite some time, they cannot put it out. Bui deals some ranged attacks and helps with healing, too. The pack a pretty strong whack with their clubs, but the group makes quick work of them.
The group is in pretty good shape after the first encounter. Only 1 daily was used, no action points. The only real harm was in heal surges spent. No worthwhile treasure is found in this entry hall or in the tower.
Next time, will venturing further into the Steading prove more difficult than beating sleeping, drunken ogres and giants? Which of the double doors will the party open first?
The total party loot is now at: 14,387 g.p.; the party has had 1 encounter since an extended rest. It is around 8:00 p.m. on January 9, 994.