Giantslayer 5e

Session 40
Knights Take Queen!

The battle with the dark fire wielders led by the orc-hag Berkvildr raged on while the scared remnants of the frost giant noncombatants watched in fear of the outcome. One by one the ashen, fire-instilled beings were defeated, causing them to explode in a hail of shrapnel. Then, Berkvildr herself was defeated and she exploded in a blast of powerful darkflame leaving scorch marks upon the blasted, frozen ground. At the mistress' demise, the final darkflame-wielding dwarf charged into the midst of the outsiders and exploded in a gory ball of burning blood.

One of the remaining frost giant nobles begged the outsiders for help in getting the women and children to safety. Lord Jarblut promised the tribe's aid if the outsiders would finish the task of removing the corrupting influence of Queen Skirkatla from the Glacial Rift. The giants left the inner sanctum while the group prepared to rest up from their recent engagements. There was to be no respite for the heroes, however, as the queen strode out of her private chamber surrounded by a pack of white wolves to deal with the invaders once and for all.

The queen tried to charm one of the outsiders to no avail, and so she resorted to the tactic she was most familiar with. Summoning her magical axe and shield, she transformed into a hideous undead creature and set upon the invaders with all her fury. The battle was fierce and the heroes were put to task before they miraculously forced the queen into mist form and she retreated screaming back to her private abode. 

Taking the chance for a much-needed rest, the group took some time to catch their breath and tend their wounds before preparing to move on and finish the task. Lord Jarblut returned to check on the outsiders' progress and discovered they had retrieved his noble armband, which gave him some semblance of control over a set of magical guardians protecting the queen's private chambers. The group cautiously proceeded up the steps and into the curtain-shrouded private sanctum.

Awaiting them within the large room was Tyranno and a pair of frost giant vampire spawn. Tyranno had donned his war armor and was brandishing a fiery spear in addition to wearing a crown of golden laurel leaves. He reluctantly engaged the invaders before being driven away, vowing to meet them again someday. The heroes, now battered and drained, still had to face the newly-risen form of Queen Skirkatla who was now supported by the cyclopes oracle Onenphexia. The oracle sequestered herself within an inner chamber and supported the queen with her defensive magic while Skirkatla charged into the fray. The heroes realized that Onenphexia must be dealt with swiftly and turned their attention full to that task before taking on the queen directly. The battle ebbed and flowed, and the outcome was in jeopardy when the elven cleric fell, but fortune favored the heroes and Skirkatla was once again forced to retreat as mist to her nearby resting place. The heroes dealt with her once and for all and eliminated the threat of her evil forevermore. 

Ding! Level 13!

Thus ends book 4 – Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen (adapted into G2 Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl)!

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Session 39
Breaking Open The Inner Sanctum

Fully rested and replenished after their long stay in the former fire ambassador's apartment, the group plotted to locate the dragon's lair and deal with it before turning their attention to Queen Skirkatla. While descending to the lower level, the group came upon the remains of former frost giant guards they had slain that were in the process of rising as undead. Uncertain as to the impact of further involvement with the still-forming horrors, the group hastily pushed past.

The outsiders came upon Gregganor once more in the grand hall on the lower level. He was adamant about performing his duty for his queen, and he called upon the tribe's magical defenders in the form of a pair of frozen stone golems to aid him in driving off the invaders. The golems were broken and Gregganor was knocked out so that the group could proceed. They looked for passage to the dragon's lair without success, and so decided to push on for Skirkatla.

The passages of the lower level were eerily quiet and uncharacteristically undefended. The portal to the queen's inner sanctum was locked and trapped, and the group unwittingly announced their arrival as they dealt with the traps in their way. Stormfang and a pack of ghastly winter wolves greeted the outsiders as they broke through. The battlefield spilled over into an adjacent chamber where giant skeletons were slaughtering the missing matrons and adolescents. The group engaged the skeletons to stop the slaughter and caught the attention of a hag-like orc named Berkvildr and her flame-imbued cohort. Berkvildr greeted the outsiders with a firestorm that consumed many of the innocents in the communal chamber. The group finished dealing with the ghast-wolves and the skeletons before turning their attention to their smaller foes.

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Session 38
Another Clash of Titans

The group were resting in the young frost giant Narvel's secret cave when they overheard a commotion going on in the adjoining communal chamber. Peeking outside, they witnessed the rounding up of the matrons and children by frost giant guards at the behest of Tyranno the cloud giant ambassador. One of the matrons cried out that Narvel was missing, and was last seen in the company of the invaders. The outsiders convinced the young lad that he should leave with his tribesmen, but in doing so they were discovered.

Tyranno had the room cleared quickly but was left alone in the great chamber with the outsiders except for three air elemental myrmidon companions. He informed the group that they were being summoned by Queen Skirkatla to the great hall as she had something to tell them. Even though the group agreed to the meeting, Tyranno instructed his minions to "make sure the interlopers were subservient" as he strode boldly out of the room. The myrmidons were no match for the group, even tired as they were.

Within the great hall was the beautiful figure of Queen Skirkatla, resplendent on her bejeweled bone and ivory throne, accompanied by an ornately armored cyclops named Onenphexia, the cloud giant advisor Tyranno, a pair of her vampire spawn, and the majestic form of the white dragon Horcallus. With great trepidation, the group approached the sitting figure of the queen after being announced by Tyranno. The queen thanked the group for their efforts to date, and then offered them a task as a way of earning their freedom from the rift. Locate Volstus and retrieve from him the Orb of Red Dragonkind and bring it to Skirkatla. The offer was magically binding. The group debated for several moments, knowing their lives hung in the balance of the decision, when all heard the blaring of war horns from behind them. The queen, sensing that the moment had passed, fled to the safety of her inner sanctum along with her handmaiden Onenphexia, leaving Horcallus and Tyranno to deal with the invaders.

The group outnumbered the defenders, but the dragon was a fierce combatant and had the advantage of defending its lair. The heroes nearly fell, but in a moment of brilliant inspiration victory was snatched from defeat. The war horns marked the arrival of the shapechanger Bode, and he was accompanied by the storm giantess Kallisto. Their timely arrival created the diversion the heroes needed to turn the tide. Tyranno obsequiously surrendered, the spawn were destroyed, and the dragon driven off to lick its wounds. In the aftermath, Tyranno managed to make good his own escape to the dismay of the heroes. The group picked themselves up and together with Kallisto and Bode hastened to an unused chamber in the upper level to take a much-needed and well-deserved long rest.

Ding! Level 12!

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Session 37
Laying Waste To Enemies & Hearing The Lamentations Of The Women

The group wrapped up their brief respite and pondered their next steps while the storm giantess Kallisto slept peacefully. While discussing their next move, the voice of the cloud giant Tyranno could be heard outside commanding unknown followers to "find her before she finds the storm giantess!" Shortly thereafter, the ice block barring entry into the giant's chamber was rolled away and a group of heavily armored hobgoblins peered within. They were led by a captain and accompanied by two blue-skinned ice trolls who were actually oni in disguise. The group took no prisoners and hastened outside to see if they could track down the cloud giant ambassador.

Tyranno was nowhere to be found, so the group proceeded further within the lower complex and came upon the Fury of Skirgaard, Rohkinnir. He sought to entrap the group between himself and his allies, another frost giant guard and two winter wolves. The fury and his allies fought viciously and without thought of surrender, giving their lives to defend their home. Heavily damaged from the battle, the group picked up Rohkinnir's magic spear and retreated outside Kallisto's chamber to tend their wounds and catch their breath. A lone frost giant guard approached and vowed to stand guard during their rest at the behest of Gregganor.

The group once more picked themselves up and trudged deeper still, coming upon a large throne chamber cast into shadow and eerily quiet. The ethereal voice of Skirkatla encouraged the group to approach, which the group did cautiously until they spied the sleeping form of Skirkatla's pet white dragon at the base of the throne. Upon their hesitation, several of Skirkatla's undead spawn climbed spider-like down the icy walls and attacked the invaders, seeking to drain the life out of them. Two were turned away by divine power and two were destroyed by furious might even as the dragon awoke and took flight before being coerced into vacating the Rift to seek greater trophies. 

Retreating into a side passage after the battle, the group encountered a large common area filled with matronly frost giants and dozens of children. One inquisitive child engaged the invaders in conversation, and willingly showed them to a hiding spot where a much-needed respite was taken.

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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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