Giantslayer 5e

Session 49
Drow of the Underdark

The group watched as the fire giant guard retreated in haste to warn others of the intrusion, and decided to investigate several tunnels to the west. They were interrupted by a number of bizarre, shelled jumping-spider creatures called steeders and their duergar masters. The duergar were no match for the combined might of the outsiders, and were determined to be slaves of the House Eilserv drow. The group tracked the duergar back to their shelter where they discovered a figure bound in spider silk. The bound person was none other than the elven scout Rhys Ravenwind whom they had encountered at Shinnerman's Fortune. He was comatose due to drow poison, but the group's healer was able to revive him.

Rhys had been captured in Kragnaroch while searching for his daughter Karys Greenbough and brought to Ashpeak by the invading giants. He managed to slip away from his captors and made his way down below where he encountered the drow. He eluded a drow patrol just long enough to hide his gear in the glowing green pool with magical displacement charm. The drow in turn handed him over to the duergar to be used as food later on. The group was able to help him find his way to the pool and retrieve his gear, and he decided to accompany the group until he could discern the whereabouts of his daughter.

Attempting to make their way across the northern end of the dragon's chamber proved elusive as darkness plagued their path and a poisonous fume pushed them back into the western caves. The drow were preventing them from progressing east it seemed. Turning their attention to the western tunnels, the group determined that they were largely unused. The group pursued them to their natural ends and were turning back when they found themselves hemmed in by impenetrable darkness. The drow had followed them! Magical radiant light drove away the inky darkness, revealing a number of male and female drow combatants under the direction of a male drow mage. When it was eventually captured and slain, the mage dissolved into a pile of ice and quickly melted away, another simulacrum.

Shortly after this encounter, the group was witness to a horrifying wall of dragon's fire filling up the cave. The effect was just a powerful illusion meant to capture their attention. The drow archmage Sissivex Eilserv wanted to make one last effort to bargain with the intruders. He warned them to circumnavigate the dragon's chamber or else his mistress would be alerted to their presence and forced by duty to stop them. All Sissivex wanted was to be left in peace so he could complete his experiments. The group heeded his advice and plotted their path through the Underhalls. 

While making their way along the southern perimeter of the grand chamber, the cowardly fire giant returned with two other brethren intent on personally stopping the invaders. The coward suffered a quick but painful death amid a hail of arrows and bolts. One guard met an instant end at the hands of the legendary hammer wielded by the dwarven hero. The other suffered a truly grievous blow from Calistria's Sting and was summarily cut down. The group hastily moved on and came upon the outskirts of the drow encampments which seemed to be guarded by mottled walls of tentacles. The invaders prepared themselves for the coming battle…

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Session 48
Perils of the Underhalls

Ashpeak's Underhalls lay before the group just beyond another pair of massive metallic valves. The air reeked of sulphur and soot, and the heat was oppressive and cloying. Taking a moment to prepare a plan of action, the group was interrupted by a number of fire giant workers returning to the barracks above from their shift in the furnaces. The noncombative giants were cowed into silence and went on their way upstairs.

The group were temporarily stymied by the massive closed portals, but were eventually successful in opening them. Moving beyond the threshold set off several glyphs of warding designed to strip magical wards from interlopers.  Following a set of humanoid tracks into the natural passages, the group came upon an unusual, glowing, green pool of cool water. Investigation discovered the bottom was covered in green slime so the group moved on. The twisting tunnels emerged into an enormous cavern that was the lair of the ancient red dragon Tesharat resting atop an enormous dragon's hoard. The dragon noticed the group's approach and briefly interacted with them before becoming antagonistic. The group fled just before the dragon bathed their approach corridor in dragon's fire. 

Moving deeper into the labyrinthine Underhalls, the group encountered a serpentine behir and four azer guardians and dispatched all of them. Continuing their exploration, they came upon a contingent of dwarven slaves from Janderhoff. The malnourished and exhausted dwarves were in dire straits, made the worse by being outnumbered and hunted by dozens of orc slaves. The group managed to dissuade and disperse the orcs and gave what succor they could to the poor dwarves. The aroused orcs' actions summoned their stone troll slave masters and their stone cat pets. The group handily dispatched the slavers and left the dwarves to shelter in place while they sought out their missing brethren. 

Returning once more to the entrance to the Underhalls, the group was about to follow the prominent tracks of the giants when a fire giant patrol happened upon them. The battle was overly nearly as soon as it started, with one of the guards and both hell hounds slain and the second guard fleeing for his life back the way he came.

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Legendary Treasures

Several legendary treasures were obtained by the heroes in the most recent session.

The Hammer of Thunderbolts is of ancient dwarven make from the time just after the Quest for Sky and was stolen from the Reliquary of Ascension in Kraggodan centuries ago.

Elementus is an ornate dark wood heavy crossbow of Thassilonian craftsmanship with adamantine cross members and components. The cross member is wrapped in copper wires and becomes charged with lightning whenever it is cocked. A topaz gem is embedded on the top of the stock. This weapon is treated as a heavy crossbow +2 that fires bolts that deal an extra 3 (1d6) lightning damage. 

In addition, the crossbow has 4 charges and regains 1d4 charges daily at dawn. The wielder may depress the topaz gem before shooting as a bonus action to expend a charge. Doing so causes the weapon to deal an additional 7 (2d6) lightning damage on a successful attack.

The Ring of Invisibility has swirling arcane runes etched into its gold surface and always feels cool to the touch. It was fashioned by Baba Yaga's daughter, the first Queen of Irrisen - Jadwiga.

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Session 47
Decisions, Decisions!

After transporting the rescued human slaves from the kitchen to Trunau via teleportation circle, the group were gathered up by the cowed fire giant Dornarlon into a torn tapestry and transported unceremoniously through the halls to the armory. The group were deposited roughly on the floor as a surprised Beastmaster gathered up his weapon and prepared to defend himself. The giant opened the cage containing his two captives allowing the chimera within to join in the attack. The group eventually dispatched all three and set about to ransack the armory for aid.

In addition to locating the curative elixirs they sought, the group discovered the legendary Thassilonian crossbow Elementus and an accompanying elven Quiver of Ehlonna. While deciding whether it was safe to take an extended rest, the group was disturbed by pounding on the door. A pair of fire giant guards, accompanied by a nessian war hound, two hell hounds, and Garthume the hobgoblin captain strode into the chamber. The group attempted to hide without success, and the battle was on. Thankfully, the frost giant Skelsgaar and his allies were nearby and jumped in to take out the fire giants. The group fought the hounds and the hobgoblin along with Obmi who was leading them. The hounds were slain, Obmi knocked unconscious, and Garthume surrendered. The fire giants were likewise defeated, and Skelsgaar's band dragged the fallen into the armory to hide them. 

The group bade goodbye to the honorable Garthume and allowed themselves to be taken by Skelsgaar to the visitors' barracks where they stripped Obmi of his legendary ring of invisibility and belt of frost giant strength before taking a long rest. Skelsgaar announced that his band was leaving Ashpeak to return to the Rift and invited the group to come with them. Begging off, the group used Obmi's advice to send the scout invisibly to search the king's bedchamber for the legendary hammer of thunderbolts. Along the way, she bore witness to the Storm Tyrant dressing down King Tytarian, and was unexpectedly aided by Tyranno who caused a distraction allowing her to sneak into the secret passage behind the throne. She discovered the hammer's hidden location, but set off a trap when removing it and beat a hasty retreat as guards rushed in.

Deciding to leave Obmi behind with his few remaining magic items, the group prepared to descend the ramp to the lower levels when they were engaged by a projection of a Vudrani man begging for help. Divination magic proved that taking time to help the mysterious being would not be beneficial and the group ignored his pleas and headed down the ramp into natural caverns nearer to the heart of the volcano.

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Session 46
Mischief Managed

The group revived the two fallen elven companions and re-emerged into the king's treasure room to plot their escape from the locked chamber. They were interrupted by the timely arrival of a thieving dwarf named Obmi who mistook the lone disguised companion to be an errant orc slave and forcibly dragged her from the room with a strength unbefitting his stature. He led her back out through the king's private chambers and evicted her beyond even as he alerted the sleeping regent to the threat. 

The rest of the group lamented the loss of their companion and struggled with how best to extricate themselves from the treasure chamber. They, too, were seemingly offered respite when the door opened once more. This time, however, it was the king's dreadnought bodyguard who entered the narrow passage and the group hastily teleported to the queen's chambers where they were subsequently reunited with their missing compatriot.

Under the guise of slave orcs delivering goods within the Hall, the group made their way out to the main audience chamber only to be discovered by Obmi and his band of hobgoblin mercenaries. The two groups clashed with only casual glances by passing giants, and the invaders got the better of the hobgoblins, sparing their captain even as Obmi used his ring of invisibility to escape and parley with the group's ranger in his chambers. Having lost their companion when he followed the dwarf, the group, still disguised as orc slaves, were gathered up by Atrid the hill giant cook and her four ogre kitchen helpers. The ranger rejoined the group just as they began the attack on the unprepared giants. Shortly thereafter, the frost giant Skelsgaar approached with four hill giants in tow. When the group showed him the signet ring obtained from his betrothed, he dismissed his giant brethren and conversed with the group. Discovering that his beloved Gavindra had been murdered by Skirkatla wounded him deeply, and he retreated to his chambers to think things through.

The invaders retreated themselves to the king's council chamber to take a respite and come up with a plan to transport the surviving human slaves from the kitchen to safety. Obmi had other plans, however, and warned Captain Balog of the group's location. The fire giant captain grabbed two of his guards and, along with Obmi, assaulted the group while they were resting. A fierce battle ensued in which Balog and one of his guards were slain, the other surrendered, and Obmi retreated to safety yet again. The surrendered fire giant agreed to transport the group in a tapestry to the beastmaster's quarters, as he believed there to be a sufficient supply of healing potions in that location.

Ding! Level 14!

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Treasure Fit For A King!

Despite King Tytarian's bragging about his collection of ancient magic weapons, the group has yet to come across any other than the illusion of the legendary Hammer of Thunderbolts (for what else could such a mighty weapon be!).

However, the king's treasure vaults did contain a number of minted coins, precious jewelry, valuable gemstones, and numerous magic items. The magic items from the vault include the following:

The Aegis Ring is a dwarven ring of protection fashioned by ancient dwarven metalsmiths in the service of Torag before the Quest for Sky. Ancient, holy dwarven runes of protection encircle the band and glow slightly when danger is near.

Six Ashpeak signet rings of fire resistance were found. These match the ring the wizard wears and are customarily given to any dignitary who might be staying at Ashpeak.

A pair of Boots of Elvenkind were found that form a matching bond with the ranger's Cloak of Elvenkind. Combining the pair makes the wearer as stealthy as an elf within the borders of their forested homelands, effectively making the wearer invisible while standing still.

A dozen potions of superior healing were also recovered, much to the delight of the adventurers.

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Session 45
Dem Sneaky Little Orcses

The group collectively decided to head back to the cave a few miles away to make camp after overhearing King Tytarian in his chamber address his dreadnought bodyguard to rouse the guards outside his chamber so he could retire undisturbed. Hastily retreating from the hallway to the royals' wing, the group mentally controlled a solitary fire giant guard and passed harmlessly by into the raging tempest outside. The cave provided a warm respite and a chance to take stock of recent events. That night a large ragtag band of assorted giants led by an imposing frost giant marched up the rocky track toward Ashpeak. It was discerned that the frost giant leader was the betrothed of Gavindra Hoarsdottir.

The next day, under cover of an illusion making the group seem to be a party of orcs, the group parlayed their way into the Hall once again. They made for the king's chambers and forced their way inside past two fire giant guards. Quickly searching the room the group spied what they were after, a magnificent dwarven hammer proudly displayed on the wall. Only the hammer was an illusion and the group was out of time. Giants were beating on the door! Discovering the king's secret escape passage, the group retreated and discovered two more secret doors within the hidden passage. Choosing one over the other, the group descended into a natural cavern. The king's treasure room was guarded by a pair of ravenous cryohydra, but the group's combined might easily defeated the pair and the group set to the lengthy task of sorting out the treasure. 

During the several-hour ordeal of counting their riches, the king passed by and closed the door to the chamber, sealing the group within. There was, however, another passage out of the treasure room. It was a narrow tunnel that wound its way precariously down into the depths. After traversing its twisted length for some time, the group came upon a most unusual wall. It was mottled green, purple, and brown, and when approached it split into tentacles and attacked! As the group sought to thwart the mysterious wall, they were addressed by a soft, malicious voice from beyond the wall that ordered them to retreat. Ignoring the voice's threats, the group were attacked by a barrage of powerful magic as well as poisoned arrows, and the rogue scout was slain and the elven cleric knocked unconscious. The remaining members wisely gathered their fallen and retreated carefully back up the passage to revive their comrades.

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Cutscene 10
A Kingly Audience

You find yourselves in the grand hall of the fire giant king of Ashpeak. The air is hot and close and reeks of the forge. Sounds echo off of the thick stone walls. You are in the audience chamber of King Tytarian, an immense and ugly fire giant of great girth and surly countenance. The mighty king wears green-tinged plate, a cloak of white dragon hide, and a jeweled iron crown. A giant green-tinged halberd rests against his seat. The throne is of jet and banded black-and-white onyx, inlaid with numerous gems. The throne sits on a raised black marble dais. Steps of polished black-and-white marble lead down from the dais to the dark stone floor of the hall. The king's flaming skull device is emblazoned on the wall behind him. Lying obediently to either side of the throne are the king's prized nessian warhounds. Standing in front of the king on the floor of the hall is his heavily armored dreadnought bodyguard. "Kneel before the King of Ashpeak!" he commands.

Another fire giant who bears an emblazoned shield strides briskly into the throne room. "My king, are these the invaders I heard of?" he asks. "I heard they slew Dantrag. I demand they be given to me as recompense for my loss." He bows and awaits a response. Tytarian watches you suspiciously before speaking, "No, Balog, I shall not let you make a mess of them. Dantrag earned his fate fairly. Return to your post and send the Tyrant's emissary to me." The captain bows and retreats from the hall.

He then turns directly to you, saying "I know why you are here, champions of Trunau." He pauses for a minute before continuing, "You seek to stop the Storm Tyrant from freeing his benefactor in the far off tower." He nods to the northeast before continuing, his eyes boring into you, "Either that or you are here to steal my collection of ancient weapons. Speak truly or your deaths will be merciless." <pause>

A familiar voice calls out to the audience from behind, "Your highness, I arrived as swiftly as my feet could carry me. What news have you for me?" It is Tyranno. He approaches and kneels momentarily before the king. Tytarian addresses him, saying "Tell Volstus I have what he seeks and they shall be delivered upon fulfillment of our bargain. Now go, you obsequious sycophant, preferably more hastily than you arrived." Tytarian looks glaringly at Tyranno, who replies "Of course, your highness, immediately." He then turns to you and winks as he says over his shoulder to the king, "Watch these folk hawkishly, mighty king. They are ever-so-much trouble!" He then laughs, nods to you, and strides away.

The collection of gathered giants part as none other than Queen Quivixia approaches. She wears gilded plate armor, a teal-green cloak, and a plain gold crown. Her face appears contorted into an abominable mask of garish femininity, only it is not a mask. She strides boldly to the front of the hall and addresses her husband, "Snurre, my pet, I hear we have prisoners?" She bats her elongated eyelashes at the king who nods in acknowledgement. "Yes, frupy-darling, see them here?" He motions to you. She turns to you and squeals in delight. "Oh, Snurre, I simply must have them! Will you give them to me as play things? You never let me have nice play things! I want them! If you don't let me have them I will hold my breath until I die!" She starts to make a wheezing noise that causes all present to hold their ears, including the king. "Enough!" he bellows, putting an end to the caterwauling. "You may have them, my queen, if you cease your keening!" The queen claps happily and motions for you to follow her, saying, "We are going to have such fun together, my playthings!" She then skips off down the corridor.

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Session 44
An Audience With The King

The heroes found themselves in the audience chamber of King Tytarian, kneeling before the ruler seated on his iron throne. The captain of the guard, Balog, rushed into the gathering and begged the king to release the intruders to him, but the grizzled king would not have it. He sent the disgruntled captain back to his post, but not before summoning the Tyrant's emissary. To the group's dismay, the cloud giant Tyranno appeared and was ordered by the king to take word to the Tyrant that the outsiders had been captured and Tytarian would turn them over when he had received his reward. Tyranno winked at the troublesome group and acknowledged that he would pass along the king's message to Volstus, winking and smiling as he left the hall.

Before the king could decide where to hold the intruders, his queen strode into the hall and demanded to have the small folk for her playthings. She cajoled the king into acquiescing to her demand and he relented. The group followed the queen to her chambers where she was attended by a trio of salamanders. The queen ordered the group to duel one another for her entertainment, but decided that the melee was not as entertaining without weapons. She left to go retrieve them so the rogue opened an unlocked strongbox which was trapped. The explosion damaged one of the queen's pet giant weasels and drew in the handmaidens. The pets were dispatched while the salamanders were banished back to the elemental plane of fire. The group hastily cleaned up the mess before the queen returned.

Quivixia returned shortly with the group's missing weapons before leaving again, locking the doors to her chamber as she left. The group picked the lock and opened the doors, drawing the attention of a pair of fire giant guards standing in front of the doors to the king's quarters. The guards ordered the group back inside, which set up a surprise attack. The pair of guards were falling to the outsiders when the giants kicked open the doors and freed the six hell hounds inside to join them. Just as the heroes were gaining the advantage in the fight, Quivixia returned and joined in to punish her miscreant playthings. Her fighting mien brought forth the infernal spirit of Zursvaater's minion that drove her, and she wielded a mighty, terrible power. The combat was touch and go, but in the end she was laid low and the evil spirit banished. The group hid the evidence of the battle as best they could and retreated to the queen's chambers to make their plans.

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Session 43
The Doors To The Hall Of The Fire Giant King

The group spent the last 24 hours in Trunau attending to minor details and personal issues. The night before their departure they received an unexpected half-orc visitor who informed them to meet at the Barterstones at midnight. When pushed further on the issue, all he would divulge is they owed a certain someone an explanation. The group approached the appointed place at the appointed hour and found the emissary awaiting them. He told them to go over the rise, which they did, and there they found the irate red dragon Naximarra. She demanded to know the current plan and find out why they were taking so long to secure the Orb of Red Dragonkind. Finally pacified, she flew off after receiving assurance that the group would keep in magical contact periodically.

The next day the group was informed that the Tian monk would not be joining them on their adventure to Ashpeak. She was to accompany Captain Redgrave to Geb on a quest pertaining to the Harlot Queen Arazni. After she bade her heartfelt goodbye, the group set to the task of determining how to best teleport to Ashpeak. Remembering that the wizard possessed a ring forged in Ashpeak, the group gathered and magically traversed the hundreds of miles in a matter of seconds. Their expected arrival inside Ashpeak was thwarted, however, and the group was violently shunted outside of its impressive main entrance. An immense pair of basalt, obsidian, and iron valves built into the side of an active volcano barred entry into Ashpeak. The surround was blasted and buffeted by a tempest, and ruins spoke to the harshness of the passage of time in such a place. The group cautiously approached the doors and were greeted with a magical mouth that barred passage within without proper identification. Unable to produce such, the group retreated and discovered a nearby cave in which to shelter.

Returning once again to the doors, the group attempted subtle trickery but only succeeded in activating the outer guardians: three giant-sized suits of animated armor. During the melee, the group discovered that the doorway was manned by a fire giant gatekeeper named Dantrag. He kept warning away the group to no avail. The group literally pushed their way into the fire giants' halls through magical means, slaying Dantrag and one of his hell hound pets but not before the second hound fled to alert others of the invasion. The group quickly faced a pair of ettins and a number of Twisted Nail orc slaves, who were subsequently supported by a pair of fire giant guards. The combat was turning against the outsiders when a booming giant voice ordered them to lay down their weapons and their lives would be spared. The group reluctantly did as ordered and were brought before the impressive figure of King Tytarian on his throne, surrounded by a pair of nessian war hounds and a fire giant dreadnought.

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