Giantslayer 5e

Session 36
Enemies, Truces & Allies, Oh My!

Reacting quickly, one of the pair of frost giant guards moved to engage the invaders while the second intended to sound the alarm. The outsiders convinced the second guard to engage them instead of blowing his signal horn before preventing him from doing so with an area of invisible silence. The guards fought furiously to defend their home, but were no match for the outsiders. 

The group's brief healing interlude was interrupted as the quintet of hill giants burst into the guard station. The giants sought to aid their frost giant hosts by apprehending the invaders, but only got themselves killed by their hasty actions. One of the hill giants escaped back the way it came. 

Fearing more reinforcements, the group quickly picked up what treasure they could find off of the huge corpses and descended deeper into the glacial complex. They encountered a stone giant ambassador and his bodyguard on their way to an audience with the queen, but after seeing the outsiders he invited them to his quarters where they took a brief rest and he offered them his chest of treasures in exchange for their aid in removing the threat of Skirkatla.

Having rested, the group descended to the lower level of Skirgaard where they learned of the demise of the hill giant escapee. It had fallen prey to a number of giant ice toads residing on high ledges above a main passageway. Two of the outsiders nearly fell prey to the monsters as well, but in the end they prevailed and continued deeper in.

The next chamber was an impressive one, with bas-relief carvings of giants in battle with other mountainous monsters. Also displayed was the frozen corpse of the ice princess, Gavindra. Guarding the chamber was a mountain of a frost giant in plate armor named Gregganor the Hammer. Hiding nearby was the winter wolf Stormfang and several of his pack. The winter wolves fell to the invaders, but the Hammer begged off death at the last minute in exchange for aid with a well-concealed, enormous ice door. Gregganor also convinced a pair of frost giant guards to let the invaders pass by in order to deal with the estranged queen.

Several passageways offered possibilities of further exploration, but choices were hastened when a richly-garbed cloud giant named Tyranno discovered the invaders' hiding places. He opted to look the other way and returned to his quarters. Following several tremors to their source led the group to another sealed chamber that they were able to force their way inside. Bound to the far wall was a storm giantess named Kallisto who had been starved and tortured to madness. Mistaking the invaders for torturers, she summoned a powerful bolt of lightning from her hands and blasted the would-be rescuers. Acting quickly, the group were able to secure her release, remove her malady, and allow her to rest.

Ding! Level 11!

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Session 35
The Rift Laid Bare

A shuffling of feet along the icy path outside their chamber alerted the group to the slow approach of one-half of the ogre pair they had just let escape. The ogre brought tidings from the queen and sought to put his hands on the dwarf. As the group intervened to keep the ogre at bay, a frost giantess named Margrunda and her ally Horkt charged headlong into the room. While fighting the pair, the group noticed a wall of fog approaching from the far end of the room. The wispy voice of Skirkatla spoke to the group from within the fog, making notes as to their fighting styles.

Laying low the pair of giants and the ogre, the group sought to escape the dead-end chamber but found themselves pinned in by a large number of giants. Skirkatla eagerly announced that her "beastie" would arrive shortly, and her prediction became true when a remorhaz melted its way into the chamber through the floor. The beastie was a terrible foe, but its demise was inevitable and its tunnel provided the group with the escape path they desperately needed. Tumbling down the frozen hole for hundreds of feet, the group found themselves on the rift floor. Taking this opportunity to rest, they moved a distance away and set up a hidden campsite. 

While the others rested, the ranger was approached by a winter wolf named Stormfang who thanked the outsiders for removing Renfearg. Now the way was paved for Stormfang to become the pack alpha. He pledged he would not reveal the outsiders' location as long as they left the rift. Later, a pair of abominable yetis happened upon the campsite and the group were forced to engage them. One was killed but the other fled. Fearing it would return with allies, the group broke camp and were preparing to move north into the rift when a massive iron torch landed in their midst. It was followed by a black chain ladder that offered an escape from the rift floor. Climbing up, the group met a fire giant ambassador from Ashpeak. The chatty diplomat provided safe keeping for the night allowing the group to complete their much-needed rest.

In the morning, the group parted ways with the fire giant but were intercepted shortly after by the bheur hag Dybellos and her ice troll lackeys. Dybellos would not survive the encounter, but one of her trolls managed to. In fact, having learned that the legendary armor of invulnerability was actually cursed armor of vulnerability, the group bequeathed it to the troll in exchange for information about the complex. Delving deeper into the complex, the group watched a quintet of hill giants lumber past before following them to a guard post. While attempting to spy on the frost giant guards, the group was discovered!

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Frozen Treasure
Magic Items

The following magic items were found entombed with the frozen remains of 8 deceased adventurers displayed as trophies in one of Skirgaard's ice caves.

The Ouroboros is a ring of protection from ancient Osirion in the form of a gold serpent swallowing its tail. It was crafted by ancient artisans and magicked by the high priest of the god-king for the young prince Akenhotat. It kept the prince safe all his days and was buried with him in his tomb after his death from natural causes. There it remained for millennia until discovered by Pathfinder archaeologists. The Pathfinders encountered pirates on their voyage to Absalom and the ring was passed around in quick succession from one pirate to the next. It eventually landed in the hands of an adventuring family from Varisia where it was handed down from patriarch to patriarch. The last of that line was a mountain climber/adventurer from Korvosa named Nathan Olhos who met his poor fate on an expedition to the peaks of the Mindspin Mountains when his band came upon Skirgaard unexpectedly.

The legendary chainmail of invulnerability was rescued from the remains of a fallen Numerian warrior.

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Session 34
The Assault Begins

Moving quickly into the Glacial Rift, the group took the left passage at the vee and made their way out onto the frozen ledge around the perimeter of the rift. The bitter wind howled and tore at exposed flesh, forcing the group to seek shelter within the nearby ice caves. Scouting out the cave network, the group came upon the first guard post. The fight with the pair of frost giant guards alerted a second guard post which brought another frost giant and his two winter wolves into the fray. The guards were defeated and the group advanced further into the icy bowels of the glacier.

Traversing a long, straight hallway leading into the depths of the frost giants' home, the group came upon a chamber of stored provisions. A chance glimpse while looting goods in the chamber noticed a figure frozen in the thick ice of the adjoining chamber. Hacking through the wall of ice discovered a chamber with 7 more figures suspended in ice. Looting the preserved corpses turned up a number of treasures, but none more notable than a legendary suit of chainmail of invulnerability. A nearby pack of winter wolves turned up to investigate the noise and were summarily dispatched. A cave-in made passage beyond the trophy chamber mostly impassable, so the group returned through the small ice tunnel they made.

Continuing their expedition into the rift, they came upon another network of caves. The first set of chambers the group explored contained a number of Deadeye ogres awaiting their meeting with the jarl. The group got the initial drop on the unsuspecting clan and, despite having the advantage in numbers, the ogres were outmatched. Only a pair of the oafs were left alive to make their way out of the rift. As the group prepared to explore the other caves, a frost giant voice called out…the giants knew the outsiders had arrived, and Skirkatla herself was coming to welcome them!

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Session 33
An Ill Wind Blows

The enchanted ice-encased shrine that the monk found herself trapped within was dedicated to Kostchtchie, the demon lord of cold and giants, and its patron demanded offerings of flesh or blood. The guardians over the place included an elf winter witch named Kesha, a frozen dwarf warrior from Kraggodan named Jobral, and a dozen ice mephits. The site was unnaturally cold due to fiendish influence, but the group managed to overcome the malevolent defenses and it vanished.

Later, the group came upon the tracks of an enormous bear that changed into a large humanoid. While investigating the tracks, the group was waylaid by three elemental myrmidons sent by Kostchtchie as retribution for their attacks against him. The elementals were dismissed and the group discovered that their mysterious quarry had run off up the mountain.

The next afternoon a fierce blizzard caught the group unprepared on the mountainside. Following the lead of the ranger, the group pressed on despite treacherous conditions until they were discovered by Bode, the enormous Ulfen man who was their mysterious quarry the day before. Bode escorted them to his humble cabin where a warm fire, hot food, and good mead refilled their bodies and spirits. Bode imparted what he knew of the frost giants of Skirgaard.

Early in the morning the cabin was alarmingly awakened by a powerful knocking on the door. It was a party of frost giants fleeing Skirgaard, and they stopped by to tell Bode that Gavindra was dead, killed by Skirkatla herself and displayed as a warning for all other would-be traitors to witness. The news hit all equally hard, especially that there was a traitor among the princess' allies.

The next day and a half was spent climbing the peak to the Glacial Rift of the frost giants. The jagged entrance to the frost giants' realm was lightly guarded, despite knowledge that the giants were expecting the outsiders to attack. The group eliminated the sentries and prepared to make their assault against the frost giants and their evil queen, Skirkatla.

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Cutscene 9
Second Homecoming

The last few days of the journey down out of the mountains have been ones torn with mixed emotions. The looming threat of the giant army is diminished, but the memories of the fallen and lost are heavy on the minds of the Trunau soldiers and settlers. They know they are bringing sad news to the families left behind, who held out hope for their safe return that will not come.

Much of the journey has been in silence, each lost in their own private thoughts. The daily and nightly storms wracking the southern mountains have been even more destructive than usual since the fall of the cathedral and its defenders. As dawn arrives on the sixth day, though, the campsite is bathed in a most welcome sight. A bright sun rises over the far peaks and casts its welcome golden rays onto the valley floor far below you. The rays alight on the wooden palisade ringing the butte known as Bloodmarch Hill, and the roofs and whitewashed buildings stand ever present ready to receive you. It was more than 2 months ago that you left, but home is finally within sight.

The group breaks camp one last time and eagerly proceeds down the path to the valley floor. Some of the men have tears running down their faces as they travel. They quickly wipe away any evidence, but flashes of smiles express the relief that all are feeling. As the bedraggled group draws nearer, the familiar sounds and smells of Trunau provide still greater enthusiasm to travel a little faster. A long Trunauan horn blast fills the air, and the front gates open emitting a line of riders galloping toward you. At their lead is Chief Defender Halgra, and to her side is Patrol Leader Jagrin Grath. A score of riders follow behind, quickly bearing down on your position. They encircle the group in a dusty cloud as they pay special attention to each and every one of you.

Halgra speaks, "Sergeant Frum, I feared you were likely recounting your tired old tales of heroics to the Lady of Graves by now." She smiles, continuing, "I am glad to see you survived your ordeal. Please be so kind as to see the other survivors to the Longhouse where meals and accommodations await you. I look to join you later. Please be so kind as to save some of the ale, will you?" Frum nods and a big smile crosses his lips. He motions for the other survivors to follow him, and they set off toward the gates.

Halgra then looks at each of you, sizing you up. "I hate to spoil your homecoming, champions, but there is a matter we must speak of." She pauses for a second, then continues, "We have been awaiting your arrival for a few days now. Silvermane has been monitoring your approach and the townsfolk have all been most anxious to celebrate your homecoming." As if on cue, a hue and cry of welcoming shouts erupts from the town as Frum and the others enter through the gates. Halgra looks over her shoulder, smiles, and continues, "So I am sorry to tell you that the next few days are likely going to be full of food and drink, back claps, and requests for stories without end. I ask that you indulge these kind folk and let them treat you like the heroes you are. You have done a tremendous thing. When you have had your fill of the townsfolk, I would ask that you come seek me out in the Ivory Hall. I would hear of your plans. But for now, prepare to be besieged by the kindness of kinsmen!" Winking, she says, "I hope you're up to the task." She then wheels her horse around and the column of riders escorts you into the town as throngs of well wishers sing choruses of joyous homecoming.

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Session 32
Bittersweet Homecoming

The group followed the lead of the knowledgeable trackers among the survivors and carefully escorted the ragtag group along mountain goat paths to Shinnerman's Fortune. The village was devastated and uninhabitable in its present state, and as the group proceeded to push on to Trunau they encountered the red dragon Naximarra. She was displeased that they were headed north instead of south, but the group persuaded her that they needed to resupply so she hesitantly gave in and the group pushed on to Trunau where they were greeted as returning saviors.

Amidst the triumphant fanfare, the wizard caught sight of the dwarf Agrit lingering near the doorstep to the House of Wonders before heading inside. Hurrying after her, he discovered her crumpled form on the floor with a hole in her head just as Sara Morninghawk hurried inside responding to Agrit's prior summons. When she saw her beloved's body on the floor, she flew into a rage, accusing the wizard of her death and creating a commotion that required the intervention of Halgra and Jagrin Grath. Later investigation by the group determined that Agrit's soul was captured and being held on the astral plane, most likely by beings of the Dark Tapestry.

The group managed to restock supplies and procure horses for their upcoming extended trip to the Mindspins. In the process they learned that the rune giant and its entourage had bypassed Trunau but encountered resistance in Lastwall before continuing on toward Urgir for unknown reasons. They also learned of a war between rival fire giant kingdoms Ashpeak and Kragnaroch. Not having the time to linger in town overly long due to a time constraint placed by the dragon, the group packed up, bid their goodbyes, and returned south to Shinnerman's Fortune to meet up with Naximarra. The dragon reluctantly approved of their plan to take out the frost giant allies of the Storm Tyrant, and the group began their climb into the frozen heights of the mountains.

Amid the snowcapped heights of the mountain peaks, the group came upon a pack of white wolves led by a mated pair of winter wolves. The alpha male was a fierce beast called Ranfearg the Frozen Fang. After defeating the hunting party, the group came upon an enchanted ice-encased stone circle. Attempting to bypass it proved impossible, and the monk became entrapped inside it while trying to appease the site's spirits with an offering. When she moved to leave, the living ice crystals sprang to life to make sure she would never leave alive!

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Dragons' Horde!
Magic Items

Found within the collective treasures of the red dragon brothers' (Jahlvoraz and Mazzamorra) lair, the following magical items were quickly studied and passed out among the conquering heroes:

Scout's Honor is a suit of elven studded leather armor +1 made by the Nirmathi elves from the Chesnardo region. Only the most advanced scouts are bequeathed with such a fine suit. The leather is fashioned from owlbear hide and cured under the light of a full moon. The studs are made from the finest mithril, yet do not reflect light at all.

The Adamantine Half Plate magically adjusts to perfectly fit the wearer. The armor bears unidentifiable yet ancient patterning upon its chest and back. Strangely, a set of initials are carved into the interior of the back in spidery common script – RAB.

The Boots of the Winterlands are made from the finest white stag hide and snow leopard fur, and bear small crampons with diamond-chip bits. Fashioned by powerful tribal shaman from the Realms of the Mammoth Lords using ancient, long-forgotten rituals, they were gifts to their tribes greatest warriors who often ventured alone on great hunts.

The Pearl of Power hails from the cold waters off Tian Xia, and came over the crown of the world to Avistan hundreds of years ago with caravaners seeking trade. It recently came into the possession of Volstus the Storm Tyrant as part of a gift from envoys of Ustalav. Having no need of the magical item, the storm giant used it to lure the greedy young red dragon Jahlvoraz into range of his Orb of Dragonkind.

Ssamantiss' Scales is a cloak of protection made from the scales of the tyrannical serpent Ssamantiss of the Mwangi Expanse. The cloak is purported to have been fashioned by an apprentice of Old Mage Jatembe himself after the great serpent was slain by Jatembe's Ten Magic Warriors. The cloak was lost to the darkness of time for eons, only to resurface when it was discovered by adventurers seeking treasures in the ancient vaults around Ird. From there, it has changed hands many times over and made its way to Avistan and deep into Varisia before being claimed by the young red dragon Jahlvoraz for his hoard.

The Heart of Air is an amulet of health fashioned from ethereal winds pulled from the elemental plane of air itself. Its exact maker is unknown, but it could only be the work of the finest crafters known to geniekind. 

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Session 31
Requiem For Urathash

As the group searched the chamber for treasures to aid them and took a short rest to recover some strength to their weary bodies, the stones of the cathedral called out to them in Urathash's voice to join him in the forge before the evening prayer or their young hill giant friend Toncliff would be put to death. The group steeled themselves for the fight against the high priest and descended the massive tower to make their way into the cathedral. 

Gathered in the nave of the church was a congregation of amassed giantkin. The gathered throng wagered among themselves as Gavindra and Urathash's servant, Kullsisk, held back the crowd with chides and calls for calmness. Urathash greeted the invaders and bade them to prepare for single combat against him. Minderhal would either grant him the strength to slay them, or he would not. When the battle commenced, Urathash was pressed hard but he was able to partially change the momentum when he struck down the monk. His earth myrmidon ally harassed members of the group as well, but in the end it failed to protect its master as Urathash was struck down by the group's combined onslaught.

The gathered giants erupted in anger at Urathash's fall, but thanks for strong words from the group's ally, Gavindra, the giants were cowed into fleeing the cathedral and, ultimately, to packing up and returning to their various homes. The Storm Tyrant's army was no more! Kullsisk reverently prepared his master's body for burial while the heroes discovered a secret door that led to the dungeon below the altar. Descending into the dungeon the group came upon the elderly, blind slag giant seer Etena. She followed the group out of the dungeon in order to be certain they carried out the instructions she provided to perform the Ritual of Unmaking and destroy Minderhal's Forge for good. The group realized that the slag giant would have to sacrifice herself as part of the ritual, but it was a sacrifice she was willing to make so that the forge could not ever be used for the Tyrant's purposes again.

The group took shelter in the cathedral to gather their strength for the coming task. The elf priest prayerfully restored the monk to the land of the living, albeit drained of some of her strength. Composing themselves, the group focused on the task at hand. They performed the ritual exactly as instructed and bent their collective wills against that of the legendary forge's imbued spirits, and were successful in causing its destruction. The forge was no longer a threat!

There was but one task left to accomplish. The red dragons at the top of the tower had to be dealt with. Preparing themselves for the long climb up the tower and the assault of the dragons in their aeyrie, the group arrived at the top ready for battle. The larger of the two dragon siblings, Jahlvoraz, swooped in and out of reach using his breath weapon to terrible effect. The smaller of the brothers, Mazzmorra, attempted to emulate his brother but fell victim to the attacks of the elf rogue who shot him out of the sky and finished him with her magical blade. Jahlvoraz flew into a rage at the death of his sibling and sought retribution against the elf, but his fury only brought him closer to the group and he was finished by a well-timed series of attacks.

The group took some time to review the contents of the dragons' hoard, which contained thousands of coins and quite a few magical treasures. They then descended for the final time, bade their goodbyes to Gavindra who was headed to Skirgaard, and sought to round up any remaining allies that might be within the cathedral and the nearby valley. As the sun set over the storm-wracked mountain peaks in the distance, the group reflected on all that they had accomplished over the past several weeks. Tomorrow they would head with the survivors back to Trunau, but they knew their destined road would eventually call them back into the depths of the Mindspin Mountains. 

Ding! Level 10!

Thus ends Book 3 – Forge of the Giant God

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Swag
Simulacrum Droppings

The simulacrum of Sissivex Eilserv was equipped with two actual magical treasures:

These Bracers of Defense are fashioned from thick strands of phase spider webbing by arcanists of the Darklands using the strange radiations of the ancient vaults to transform the material into magical defenses.

The Ring of Fire Resistance was fashioned by powerful noble efreet in the City of Brass at the behest of King Tytarian of Ashpeak. The ring is made from basalt and iron and contains fire giant runes and bears the symbol of Ashpeak on its crown. The ring is bequeathed to welcome guests of the king to allow them to withstand the heat of Ashpeak's dungeons.

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