Against the Giants: Chapter 1, Part 11

Chunt, just because you CAN search anywhere on a dead giant doesn’t mean you should check INSIDE him.  Oh, you found a diamond… in his [what?].

Session Notes by Stephen Noa (Cara)

Prized Material Possessions
The session starts with a little background information from the PCs as they share what their most prized material possession is:

  • Theodin shares that he keeps a lock of Alaina’s hair sewn into the cuff of his robe.
  • Shadow’s favorite material object is not any of his tools of the trade. Nor is it any of his adventuring gear or trophies. His most prized material item is a necklace that once belonged to Theodin’s sister Alaina. Alaina and Shadow were very close in the early days. They were not a couple, but they were both close friends. Shadow took this necklace from her body before the party had laid her to final rest. He did not want to be disrespectful to Theodin. He never told him he did this and has never revealed he has this totem. Shadow wears this on his person always and it is never far from his heart.
  • Kargarn loves the stein that was given to him when he took his vows to follow Ninkash. He wears it on his belt at all times and frequently samples from it anytime he finds a need.
  • Chunt’s prized possession is a necklace that wraps around and lays under the thick chin beard that falls from his face and chest. It is a collection of things that represent where he has been and who he considers family. Chunt takes some time to explain the many charms on his necklace, so be sure to especially listen to the YouTube session at 7:02 when he gets to his favorite and final charm.
  • Callie reminisced about the time she awoke from death with the Goddess Yarila’s blessing and how a tree had withered and died, pouring its life force into a bow that she uses to play her violin.
  • Cara revealed a time in her past when she was being lectured by Kargan on her evil deeds and how a lifetime of repentance would still not undo the wrongs she had done when he had gotten angry and splintered off a shard from a boulder. The stone shard remarkably resembled an infinity symbol and Cara keeps the token as a reminder that it is a never-ending struggle spending one’s lifetime to atone for one’s mistakes.

Finishing the Stronghold

The adventure picks back up with the group anxiously awaiting the return of Grutha (Chief Nosn’ra’s lady giant) after Kargan had banished her to the Eleven Hells. The group looked to Kargan for an explanation as to why she had not returned, but the stumped dwarf could offer no answers leaving the mystery unsolved. As a result, the group turned their attention back to looting and searched the bodies in the room.

This turned out to be more difficult than anyone could have imagined. Not because of the loot itself, but because we apparently lost the ability to pronounce words such as “boning” and “retinue”. We’ll just leave it at that. Loot found:

  • Ioun Stone of Intellect
  • A Letter from Evander Dross detailing the plight of the Giants to gather the three relics of Wotan (with the closest one being in Baccho’s Vineyard, but a couple days travel away). The letter also mentions the Scathesidhe (Shadowfey elves) and many other historical hints prompting a large history lesson from those in the party with the knowledge of old lore. Additionally, the letter talks of the giant Rolvog – which the group deduces would be located somewhere in Jotunheim being the Lord of the Frost Giants.
  • A Diamond from inside the chief

The group decides they can get some more information from Evander by raising him from the dead, but Kargan would need a rest first. (They never revisit his body again).

Instead, the group decides to finish looting the now empty stronghold, going room by room to each place they had previously rushed past:

  • Unknown bluish liquid vial with a sliver of a fingernail
  • Vial with a clear liquid bubbling.
  • Curved Tower Shield
  • Some coins and gems

The group then leaves the stronghold and meets up with Draeven, Herzog, and the rest of the group downriver. They catch up exchanging stories while sitting down to an interesting stew prepared by Hoom. Viscount Ered asks the group to escort him to his fort which happens to be in the same direction as Baccho’s Vineyard. The adventurers agree to escort him leaving Hoom somewhat disappointed they were not going to visit the Margreve Forest. However, she does leave a boon with the group that should she run into any Piney in the future, they would help. The group gains +2 status when interacting with the Piney.

As the group rests for the evening, Theodin identifies many of the items gathered from the stronghold:

  • 11 +1 Arrows
  • +2 Spear
  • Flame-Tongued Short Sword (can detect gems and jewels within 50 feet)
  • Shield +2
  • Tower Shield +2
  • Invisibility Potion
  • Potion of Storm Giant’s Strength
  • +1 Battleaxe W/Reach (+5 feet)

In the morning, Morgan and his small troupe of dwarves depart as well as the orc band. Following farewells, the group decides to take the delicious casks of wine with them on the horses they had ridden in on so as to not waste any of it. With Chunt leading the way, they set off in the direction of Baccho’s Vineyard.

The day draws to a close and the group settles in for the night. During the second watch, Callie and Chunt notice some giants heading their way. They wake the group as they prepare for the incoming giants and battle ensues.

The adventurers are able to quickly dispatch the hill giant and two cave giants with ease and find 23 gold pieces as well as an interesting case containing a finely crafted emerald inlaid flute. Closer examination reveals it to be a Flute of the Wastelands (5 charges), which seems to randomly grant helpful and/or harmful effects when played. Curious about what effects may result, Callie decides to play a little diddy and magically casts a Prayer of Healing on the group. With that the group finishes their rest, thereby ending the night’s long rest.

Against the Giants: Chapter 1, Part 10

Ten thunderbolts strike at the same time
A hundred hearts energized in the thundering roar
Simultaneously a thousand colliding thunderbolts
And too, ten thousand lightning strikes in the heavens

Hu – hu – hu – hu…
Hu – hu – hu – hu…

Wolf Totem, Hu

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Finally, the PCs had found Chief Nosn’ra and his most dangerous lieutenants. So far, the battle had not gone as expected. Would the Fates truly favor them in the end?

  • The battle carried the PCs out into the courtyard where rain and wind pummeled down upon them. The fleeing stone giant tried to use the pack of fire wolves in the courtyard to cover his escape but the effort was a futile one. The PCs took wounds but finished off the giant and wolves.
  • Cara and Shadow snuck back into the hallway from which they had spotted Chieftain Nosn’ra and his minions but found they had escaped.
  • The group searched the room attached to the hallway and then moved into the room where Nosn’ra had been arguing with the other giants.
  • A skull was noticed on the mantle and Callie decided to retrieve it. She believed it to be the skull of an elf and she wanted to tend to the remains successfully. When she picked up the object, energy surged through her body and he experienced a vision. In the vision, she saw the fall of the Dross family and the sacking of the city of Zobeck (roughly a century before). She witnessed the last scion of the Dross family, a young boy named Evander, hidden in the shadows while his family keep was taken. The shadows spoke to him and he bound himself to the Shadow in exchange for salvation.
  • The PCs realized the urgency of the situation and a mad dash through the steading ensued. Some rooms were searched but most were just run through.
  • In the hallway between the chief’s hall and the main hall were four large orbs of unusual make. They identified them as thunder orbs and decided to go through them (the fastest route to the great hall). They attacked the first orb in unison and destroyed it but the three remaining orbs came to life.
  • Battle the thunder orbs! These PCs are no novices and in good order, the orbs were turned to scrap.
  • Beyond the doors the orbs had guarded was light and the PCs would hear movement.
  • The PCs moved in to the room and were attacked by a pair of hill giants, hidden around the door by invisibility. Finally, the great battle with Chief Nosn’ra was upon him. The chief was protected by his wife, Grutha, a cave bear, and Evander Dross himself.
  • Cara charged across the room to attack the spell caster, her training taking over while the rest quickly dealt with the hill giants. Kargarn banished Grutha to the Eleven Hells to tip the odds in the PC’s favor and the group swept through the rest of their foes.
  • They prepared themselves for Grutha to reappear but when Kargarn dropped his spell, she did not. They waited a bit longer and realized she was not coming back.


Giant Party.png

Against the Giants: Chapter 1, Part 9

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The PCs had found Chieftain Nosn’ra treasure vault but it was protected by a pack of catoblepas. They knew nothing of the creatures and had lost all advantage when the PCs accidentally chased the beasts off before they could be dispatched. The portcullis raised, the PCs suddenly found themselves without the protection they had enjoyed only a moment before.

  • Cara quickly dashed into the lair of the catoblepas and the game session began with combat. The group rushed the creatures and managed to keep them mostly pinned despite the death rays and horrid stench of the monsters. Once the catoblepas were destroyed, the PCs laid claim to Nosn’ra’s treasure horde.
  • The PCs tore through the chests they found a horde of coins of all types, gems, jewelry, and a couple of magic items. Two of the chests were trapped and Chunt set both of them off with little regard.
  • Throwing caution to the wind, he smashed the seventh and final chest. He immediately regretted it. Minotaur horns scattered across the floor and Chunt was devastated. A minotaur’s horns are a symbol of their personal honor and to claim those horns as a trophy is a vile crime against all of minotaur-kind. Chunt felt this even more keenly as he had lost his horns when he faced the cyclops. He was filled with rage and quickly became consumed by it. He collapsed to his knees and burst into tears. The group quickly moved to console him. From the markings on the horns, Chunt knew them to belong to one of the herds which patrolled the edge of the Wasted Wests and protected more civilized worlds. The group gathered them up and vowed to return the horns of the fallen to their people.
  • Kargarn tended to the group’s wounds and they decided to take a short rest. Theodin identified the magic items they found in the treasure horde which included an Amulet of Health (Callie) and a Temple Sword +2 (Cara). Kargarn also channeled the divine nature of Ninkash and transformed the liquid in his waterskin into holy brew. Everyone partook of the spirits and was blessed by Ninkash. The PCs were buzzed.
  • The group finally decided to finally take Callie’s advice and backtracked to make sure the hill giants were not hiding in the rooms behind them. They made their way to the pool and then down to the room where they found the cowardly orcs but all of the rooms were empty. They speculated on where the giants and their servants had gone but no one knew for sure. They retreated to the false treasure room and Shadow worked the gears in the first trapped chest to reverse the portcullis in the northeast corner of the room.
  • The portcullis opened into a hallway. At the beginning of the hallway, Theodin and Kargarn spotted the telltales signs of a dwarven crafted secret door. They easily found the mechanism to open the door which revealed a hidden storeroom. Shadow moved into the room and did not notice a pit trap at the entrance to the storeroom. He fell into the pit and after he picked himself up he freed himself by stepping through the shadows.
  • The hidden storeroom appeared to hold two crates and a broken barrel. Shadow also noticed the southern wall was covered with yellow mold. In fact, the room was filled with illusions, one last defense against would-be thieves. Theodin dispelled the illusions and found 1) a small black metal box where the barrel was, 2) an ancient elven quiver hanging on the wall with finely crafted arrows, 3) a long spear of impeccable craftmanship, and 4) a short sword with a blade formed to resemble a flame. Shadow claimed the short sword, Chunt claimed the long spear, and Cara collected the remaining items to be divvied up later.
  • In the black box was a smaller cask which held a pair of scrolls and a long, circular chain. Picking up the first scroll Shadow realized it was crafted from human skin and Theodin refused to touch it. Kargarn examined the scroll (without touching it) and discovered the chain was a magical device which could teleport one giant-sized individual or 6 medium-sized creatures to a single location far to the north. He explained to the group how to use the item and cast a sacred flame to destroy the scroll. The second scroll was a map which marked a location in the kingdom of Jotunheim in the north, deep in the Blodejord Mountains. They surmised that was probably the location the chain would take them to. In the crates, they found gold and platinum coins, 15 gems of various sizes and colors, and 7 pieces of jewelry.
  • The group decided not to take time to identify the items. They needed to know what the hill giants were doing.
  • At the end of the short hallway, they found a second staircase going up. A storm had broken over the hill giant steading and the group could hear nothing above so they proceeded carefully. At the top of the stairs, they found a small room with no exits. In the southeast corner was a concealed door. They stealthily opened the door.
  • Beyond was a dining hall occupied by a single hill giant. Cara, Chunt, and Shadow quickly assassinated the hill giant, tossing its body into the fire.
  • They spotted three doors on the eastern wall. They heard a noise through the northernmost doors but the southern door was quiet. Through the southern door, they found an armory. Most of the weapon and armor was crafted for hill giants but they did find a javelin of lightning. Chunt also possessed one and recognized the make of the item (no identification necessary).
  • Through the northern doors (which both happened to open into the same location) was a long hallway which turned to the south. At the end of the hallway, Shadow spotted a hill giant on guard and dropped back into hiding before he was seen. They could hear more giants in a room beyond the guard. Also at the end of the hallway was another pair of doors, these leading to the north, and a single door leading to the east. Shadow heard multiple voices in the distant room speaking in giant. He used his racial abilities to mimic the voices he heard and tricked the guard into following the PCs into the hallway they ambushed and killed it. Chunt dragged the hill giant back into the dining hall and threw him into the fire.
  • Shadow carefully approached the room where he heard the voices. Nosn’ra was arguing with a female hill giant while others milled about the room (a stone giant, a storm giant, and a flab giant. A large brown bear rested between the chieftain and his wife and resting by a hearth was a medium-sized humanoid wearing a mask. Callie listened through the double set of doors in the hallway and believed she heard wolves on the other side.
  • The group was debating what to do next when they heard Nosn’ra’s voice rising above the rest. Shadow mimicked what he said to Kargarn and Kargarn translated. The chief had noticed one of his guards missing and had ordered others to find him. The PCs quickly retreated to the dining hall and closed the doors.
  • The stone giant, storm giant, and flab giant opened the doors and the battle began. The PCs were not familiar with the abilities of the flab and storm giants (and took a good hurting from them) but they managed to bring them low. The stone giant bellowed that he had no interest in dying for Nosn’ra and he retreated through the doors to the north.
  • Cara moved to the doors through which the stone giant fled and threw them open. A pack of dire wolves surrounded the stone giant and howled at the sight of her.


Against the Giants: Chapter 1, Part 8

I’ve got dreams, dreams to remember

Otis Redding

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In the bowels of the hill giant steading, the PCs had freed the imprisoned dwarves, destroyed Evander Dross’ temple, and slain the froghemoth that infested the caves connected to the dungeon. They had pushed themselves to their limits and needed rest before facing Nosn’ra, the chieftain of the hill giants.

  • The group scrubbed the cave to remove any signs they had passed through the area and rigged booby traps to at least warn them if someone approached.
  • As Callie goes to sleep, she visits a particularly strong memory from 13 years ago when the group was facing the minions of the Lazghoul in the small town of Karvolia. The memory was of a battle in which Callie was reunited with her sister Cara (who almost killed everyone). The enemy was led by Blood Sister Alkava, a foe who came to become a nuisance to the PCs on numerous occasions.
  • The group moved through the dungeon and returned to the secret door. Through the door, they found a false treasure room and beyond it, 4 catoblepas on the other side of portcullis bars.
  • Callie communicated with the creatures and learned they were trained to guard another room beyond the one they were now in. The group wondered if they could turn the creature to their purposes but everyone disagreed on that idea. Ultimately, they decided to kill the creatures but did not prepare their focus fire well.
  • They did a small amount of damage but scared the creatures into the back room where they could no longer be attacked through the bars.


Against the Giants: Chapter 1, Part 7

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Thus far in the Steading of the Hill Giants Chief, the goddesses Urd and Verdandi had favored our heroes but only the goddess Skuld knows “what shall be.” The goddesses of Fate, and others, watched the party of adventurers with interest.

• Through the secret door Cara opened, she found a 30′ long hallway which ended in a dead-end.


• Through the other door Chunt opened, he found a small prison. In this area were two bugbears torturing an elderly human man (Ser Erik of the Song). Locked in the cells were a young human male (Viscount Ered) and a young piney female (Hoom). A quick attempt at deception quickly turned into a brawl as the party thrashed the bugbears. Callie summoned thorny vines to cover the staircase in case anyone approached them while they were facing the bugbears. This proved to be a good plan as one of the bugbears managed to sound an alarm before Chunt could stop him. This would bring more trouble their way.
• Callie tended to Ser Erik’s wounds while he and his ward were from Smoltenberg (a prosperous town to the northwest of the Smolten Hills). Ered’s father and brothers had left to join the military coalition facing the invading forces of the Mharoti Empire.
• The piney introduced herself as Hoom and explained she was exploring outside the Margreve Forest when she was captured by the hill giants. She sensed magic among the giants and she got too close. She believed the magic came from the “human with the mask” who she thought might be a seer. She was not much of a fighter (as the PCs would soon witness for themselves).
• At this point, Draeven heard something approaching from the stairs and he alerted Theodin who warned the rest of the group. The sorcerer cast water breathing on everyone (including Viscount Ered, Ser Erik, and Hoom) and then he, Kargarn, and Shadow escorted Ered and Erik to the pool of water so they could escape. Oddly, Hoom did not follow the retreating group and decided to stay with the PCs (despite Cara’s warning of the danger).
• A hill giant raider stomped down the staircase and stumbled into the thorny vines. There were others behind him and this brought their charge to a halt. One of the giants called for the group to retreat and use the other entrance to the dungeon level (which the PCs realized they had not found yet).
• The PCs decided the other entrance must be in the southern sections they had not explored yet and they head that way. As they passed the three rooms where the “cowardly orcs” still hid, Cara asked them where the second entrance was. The orcs insisted they did not know what she was talking about. They left the orcs behind.


• Southwest of the cowardly orcs, the PCs found a smithy manned by five dwarves chained to the forges they worked. When Theodin turned the corner, he recognized one of them as Moradin, an Ironcrag dwarf and an old friend. It was Moradin’s stonework Theodin had recognized earlier in the dungeon. A lengthy reunion was cut short under the circumstances but they did ask Moradin if he knew where the second entrance to the dungeon was. He told them the second entrance was through a secret passage just off the marshaling area (the secret hallway found by Cara) and it led up the chieftain’s quarters.
• The group rushed back towards the marshaling area in time to find the hill giants had already reached them. This group of hill giant raiders was led by the hill giant sub-chief and the hill giant’s sergeant. This group proved more challenging than the previous groups but in the end, the PCs managed to defeat them. Hoom joined the PCs in the battle and quickly demonstrated combat was not her forte, even if she was enthusiastic about helping them. During the battle, Cara’s off-hand weapon was shattered by the subchief. When the battle ended she mourned its destruction and Theodin used his mending cantrip to repair it (but his power could not restore its enchantment).
• Callie asked Moradin how many giants were in the steading and he thought there were 20-30 of them. When asked about the orc caves, Moradin confirmed the orcs had held up there for some time and there was a water source there as well.
• By this point, the group felt quite spent. They had not had a real chance to rest since they found the steading and they decided to use the orc caves to do that.
• When they passed the stone barricade made by the orcs, they decided to rebuild it for protection. After setting the barricade, they decided to explore the caves to make sure they were safe. The caverns were very labyrinthine and Chunt set himself to the task of memorizing its twists and turns. A short way into the maze, they found the stream and Cara realized they had been passed the door near the rubble twice without investigating what was on the other side. Meanwhile, Shadow explored the maze in earnest.


• The group opened the door and inside found a small temple carved in the rock. Moradin explained they had carved the temple for the evil seer and had not been back to the room since. Shadow returned to the group and reported he had found both medium-sized footprints and huge-sized footprints in the maze which were fresh.
• With Shadow’s warning in mind, Callie and Theodin moved into the temple to investigate while Cara checked a side hallway which led away to the south from the temple. In the hallway, Cara found murals of the people of the Crossroads being tortured by denizens of the Shadow Realm. Shadow and Cara realized they had not retrieved the magical warhammer from the subchief (the one it used to shatter Cara’s off-hand weapon).
• Callie and Theodin noted the wall was constructed of a purple-black glassy material and there was smoky glass. As they looked at the walls, they were assaulted by a psychic attack. The images depicted in the murals came to life in their minds and they witnessed horrid torture and dismemberment. Fortunately, the pair were strong-willed and despite their screams, they managed to fight off the attack and avert their eyes. They immediately realized if they had not been able to break contact, they would have been driven insane. They quickly decided they needed to destroy the temple. Theodin examined the pillars and realized if those could be knocked down, the temple would collapse. As he came to this conclusion, a ring and two red gems appeared on the altar. He was immediately intrigued by Callie warned him about meddling with such things. Theodin carefully picked up the items (without touching them with his skin) and hid them away for future examination.
• Theodin meticulously instructed Chunt that he needed the barbarian to enter the room but he needed to avert his gaze from the walls. He warned him about the horrors they saw when they looked at the walls. He should then go to the columns and use his prodigious strength to topple them. Callie began to wonder if the whole task was too risky and she tried to use her magic to knock down the columns but she could not do enough significant damage to bring the columns down quickly. Completing the task expeditiously depended on Chunt.
• Chunt averted his gaze and moved to the farthest columns. When he touched the columns to topple them, a second trap in the room was revealed. A magic trap assaulted the minotaur and he was poisoned (for 1 hour). Chunt steeled himself against the effects of the trap and as he pushed the first columns over a third trap revealed itself. Chunt’s ears were filled with sweet music which called to him to look upon the walls. He asked the others about the music and they realized he was being lured by a siren song. Callie immediately cast a counter-charm which cut through the magic and freed Chunt mind. The minotaur became furious he was being manipulated and he threw himself into the next columns and knocked them free. A cracking sound filled the room and Chunt rushed for the exit. He threw himself out of the room as the ceiling came crashing down! Callie was just on the edge of the room and Chunt used his body to shield her from the falling debris.
• Cara and Shadow returned with the magical warhammer (which was more like a maul to the medium-sized PCs). They also found a belt pouch with coins and a vial on the sergeant with an orangish-red liquid. Theodin recognized the liquid as a concoction crafted from troll’s blood.


• They retreated into the caves again and decided to investigate the footprint Shadow had found. Trying to rest would do no good if a huge-sized critter cornered them in the caves. Callie was still suspicious of the items which appeared on the altar in the temple.
• Shadow led the way to where he found the footprints. It looked like the creature had last moved into the water and in fact, there were two sets of tracks. Investigating the area further, they found a light-blue egg in a corner near the water. Callie and Theodin examined the egg closely and realized it was a froghemoth egg.
• Just then the froghemoth emerged from the water (two of them). The creatures attacked the weary party! In turn, the creatures swallowed Shadow, Theodin, and Cara but somehow the PCs kept managing to free themselves. They unleashed the last of their magical resources and thanks to some well-timed crits and well-placed spells, the froghemoth were brought low. However, the PCs had no choices left to them. They needed a long rest.
• But not before Theodin smashed the froghemoth egg.
• As they prepared to rest, Theodin cast identify as a ritual on the ring and gems he retrieved from the altar and the maul. The gems were not magical but the ring was revealed to be a ring of mind shielding. The hill giant warhammer was a +2 maul.

Against the Giants: Chapter 1, Part 6

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  • The PCs were confronted by a hill giant with one eye and a hunchback (named the Keeper) and a pair of apes. He whistled to signal his apes to attack and the battle began!
  • The party destroyed the apes and the Keeper began to run while he yelled for help. One of the PCs caught the dead apes in a cone of cold and froze them. This would be important later. The PCs stopped him from fleeing but not before a fire giant heard the cries for help and headed towards the sound.
  • The PCs killed the Keeper before the fire giant could reach them and began to explore a bit, finding a storage room with a door on the far side. Callie filled the hallway between them with thorny vines and the fire giant did not notice them until he had plowed through them (taking a lot of damage). Then Chunt picked up the frozen apes and threw them at the fire giant. Both hit for bludgeoning and cold damage. Since the fire giant was vulnerable to cold damage, it took double damage from Chunt’s improvised attack.
  • We took a moment to sort out experience. We realized the group had lost track so we figured out where we stood and I created a handout in Roll20 for the group to track what they had earned. Problem solved! 😀
  • Kargarn provided the group some of that sweet cleric healing and then the group searched the storage area. The crates held a lot of stone cutting equipment but nothing of value. They also noticed the door on the far side of the room had a padlock on it. Chunt tried to smash the lock but caught it cockeye and did not break it open. Shadow offered his services and picked the lock even though Chunt thought that was a boring way to open a locked door.
  • Beyond the door, they found a hallway that split west and northeast. The northeast hallway ended in rough-cut stone. Kargarn and Theodin checked the stone and realized it was a work in progress, an unfinished tunnel. The western portion of the hallway led to a second padlocked door. Callie heard silence beyond the door and saw no light under it.
  • Shadow unlocked this padlock as well and inside the group found a bounty of barrels, kegs, and casks (13 in total). Kargarn was ecstatic! He smelled one of the wines and realized he was dealing with something like he had never smelled (or tasted) before. Chunt decided to sample the wine (and succeeded on his Constitution saving throw) and managed to stay on his feet. The brew was almost complete alcohol (like hill giants like it) and it knocked the minotaur through a loop. Kargarn appraised the lot and realized this must be the chieftain’s store and was worth a small fortune. After a bit of goading by Cara, Kargarn decided to sample the wine as well (and passed his Constitution saving throw as well).
  • The PCs locked the room and decided they would come back later to collect the goods.
  • They backtracked to the marshaling area and checked the next unopened door. They quickly realized (after finding the ape scat on the floor), this was the Keeper’s quarters.
  • They decided to explore the hallway leading to the north. First, they found a chamber (with an antechamber) which was under construction. Kargarn identified this as new work and Callie wondered aloud why the dwarves were working with the hill giants.
  • Shadow wandered further down the hallway and was ambushed by a stone giant, one of a pair. They had heard Shadow a short time earlier when he called out to the other party members while exploring. Unfortunately for the stone giants, they wanted nothing more than to escape but they were in the worst possible tactical position to do that. The PCs cut them down before they could fight their way through the narrow hallway.
  • The group found a large volume of treasure in the stone giant’s quarters and were happy to collect all of it.
  • Callie was thinking about the layout of the dungeon and realized there was a lot of space between their current location and the staircase they had come down. Kargarn searched the wall along the gap and couldn’t find any hidden doors. The group debated their next move and Callie suggested they check the last remaining door in the marshaling area.
  • They returned to that room and half of the group listened at the door while the others gave the rest of the room a quick search. The first half of the group heard milling about through the door at the same time Callie found a secret door in the northwest corner of the room. Excitedly, most of the group moved to the secret door and opened it just as Chunt opened the other door and…


Against the Giants: Chapter 1, Part 5

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  • Kargarn listened at the door to the marshaling room and heard footsteps. He estimated there were two or three individuals in the marshaling area and he motioned for the rest of the group to keep quiet.
  • Suddenly, Shadow was enveloped by smoky dragon wings and disappeared as well.
  • Chunt and Theodin appear into a well-lit circular chamber with a natural pool filling the center of the room. A few albino tadpoles swim lazily in the water. The ceiling is a poorly hewn stone dome that goes up 35 feet.
  • Chunt had once heard a worrisome story from a bard about tadpoles so he used his loincloth to protect his posterior.
  • Shadows appeared and Chunt nearly took his head off with one of his axes.
  • Chunt drank deeply of the water and it did not have any adverse effects on the minotaur. While partaking of refreshments, he noticed a tunnel at the bottom of the pool leading away from the room. Chunt tossed a rock into the pool and discovered there was a current strong enough to tumble the stone out of sight.
  • Theodin remembered he had a potion of water breathing and wondered if they should investigate the current. He asked if they should do that or look for their friends. Chunt wondered if they were still in the same dungeon and Theodin confirmed from the cut of the stone in the wall he thought they were still in the same place. So they decided to look for their friends.
  • Kargarn heard the footsteps in the marshaling area disappear to the north. Kargarn and Cara barricaded the door from the bugbear warren to the marshaling room and then went to check out the doors to the south. They did not know where their friends were but they were determined to find them.
  • Through each of the three doors in the hallway, they found whimpering orcs who were too scared of the PCs to do much of anything. The orcs were slaves of the hill giants and as far as the PCs could tell, their spirits had been broken. Cara left them with these words of encouragement, “You belong to no one. Don’t hurt humans.” Stephen earned inspiration for stumping the DM.
  • As the group moved farther west, Cara spotted a pair of burly hill giants. They were mumbling about torturing someone to get them to talk.
  • Meanwhile, the other PCs were trying to figure out how to get back to their allies. Theodin checked the floor for tracks and realized there was a lot of traffic between the pool they had appeared by and the hallway leading away to the south. They decided to follow the most heavily trod path. Shadow stealthily scouted ahead while Chunt breathed heavily in Theodin’s ear. Shadow quickly realized this hallway led to the marshaling area.
  • While Shadow had been silent, Theodin and Chunt were not as quiet and the two hill giants (seen by the other PCs) heard them enter the marshaling area. They moved to investigate and the battle was joined!
  • Unfortunately, the two hill giants did not provide much of a challenge and both of them went down before Chunt could even reach the battle. The minotaur warrior was NOT happy!
  • Fortunately, another battle was not far off. Around the corner were jail cells and four bugbears were guarding them. More battle!
  • In the cells were more orcs but these had not been broken like the ones the PCs found earlier. The PCs learned these orcs, along with their leader, Herzog, who had chosen not to be enslaved by the hill giants. They fought back and managed to escape into caves which connected to the dungeon under the steading.
  • Cara (and others) proposed an alliance and warned the orcs what would happen if the orcs betrayed them. The orcs insisted Herzog would need to decide on an alliance and offered to take the PCs to him.
  • The orcs took the PCs to the rubble in the hallway. They called to someone on the other side and rocks were pulled away until there was room enough to pass through.
  • Beyond the blocked hallway, the PCs were escorted into the caves and found a large number of orcs and a pair of orog, one of which was Herzog.
  • Cara proposed an alliance but Herzog said he was more interested in finding a way out for his people. They discussed fighting their way out of the steading but Chunt suggested using the pool with the underground water flow. Although this was a clear path, Herzog knew the waterway was at least a couple miles long and his people would not be able to hold their breath long enough to traverse it.
  • Draeven realized he would cast water-breathing on all of the orcs which would enable them to use the waterway as an escape route. Herzog asked what the PCs would want in return and Cara [basically] said Herzog and his people would owe her a boon. Now possessing a plan, the group decided to proceed.
  • The PCs escorted the orcs to the pool.
  • In route, the group ran into the source of the footsteps Kargarn had heard earlier. The PCs threw themselves into hill giant and ogre who blocked their path and destroyed them.
  • At the pool, Draeven used his magic and the orcs escaped. Although the PCs could have left as well, they decided they still had work to do.

Against the Giants: Chapter 1, Part 4

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Beneath the steading, they discovered a dungeon and encountered a bugbear warband. Alarms sounded above them and the heroes knew their presence had been uncovered.


When the food stopped flowing into the great hall, one of the hill giants went to the kitchen to investigate. There it found Chunt, Kargarn, and Draeven. Chunt attacked the hill giant and the pair accidentally crashed through the wall into the great hall (pictured to the right).

4.1 The Great Hall

The hill giants sounded the alarm and the trio of PCs fled through the kitchen, down the “cellar” stairs, and into the marshaling area of the dungeon.

Kargarn found tracks he believed matched the other PCs and the two halves of the group were reunited in Area 8 where the other PCs had fought the bugbears.

One of the hill giant searchers approached from the marshaling area while the PCs pushed forward into Area 4 where they had heard more bugbears at the end of the last session.

The PCs fought a two fronted battle against the hill giant in the hallway and an entire warband of bugbears in Areas 4, 5, 6 and 7 (pictured to the right). The leader of the bugbears recognized Cara as a Blood Sister. More and more bugbears continued to pour into the battle.

4.2 Dungeon Area 4, 5, 6, 7

During the closing moments of the battle, a shadowy mass appeared and whisked Chunt and Theodin away. Draeven rushed to investigate but could not determine where they were taken. He and Callie were able to identify the effect as a variation of a teleportation spell.

The PCs fought hard and pushed farther and farther into Areas 5, 6, and 7 until they had finally defeated the bugbears. Although the hill giant threat still surrounded them, they had won a great victory.

Theodin kept watch (and healed Shadow) while the rest of the PCs searched the area. Shadow quietly locked the door leading from Area 4 to the marshaling area.


Against the Giants: Chapter 1, Part 3

The group continues to explore the stronghold of Hill Giant Chieftain. Watch the video on YouTube at


Upper Level Area 17: Kitchen
Cara opened the door and beyond they found a bustling kitchen (of giant proportions). A hill giant stood by a massive hearth stirring a pot of stew while a second, a giantess, had been walking around the kitchen barking orders. She was obviously the one in charge. Rushing around the room and preparing dishes at large workbenches along the walls were a pair of ogres and four grey-skinned humanoids who were not familiar to the group (which I kept accidentally revealing were orcs). The giantess looked at the PCs for a long moment before yelling for everyone to, “Run!” Unfortunately, none of the [present] PCs knew the giant-tongue and they thought she was ordering her kitchen minions to attack.

3.1 Area 17

Cara leapt into action and danced around the closest ogre, slashing the creature with her blade and maneuvering herself so she could also strike the orc closest to the door. That creature looked like it was about to run and Cara did not want it to warn the rest of the hill giants (or any other threat in the steading, for that matter). She cut down the orc before it could go for help.

The battle begins!

Callie followed her sister’s lead and cast a hex upon the giantess before unleashing a pair of eldritch blasts. With each hit, the mysterious bard/warlock unleashed another of her floating magical rings and they struck the giantess hard as well (Callie had cast ringstrike towards the end of the last session which gave her eight rings to use in just this manner). The first ring struck the giantess hard but she did not budge. When the second ring struck her, she could not stand her ground and was slammed back against the wall and workbench which stood behind her. Cara slashed hard at the ogre she had previously scored a hit at but despite her best efforts, she could not bring the creature low. It still clung to life and looked at her with a vicious glare.

Theodin summoned a ring of fire in the northwest corner of the room on top of the giant and one of the orcs. This also served to cut off the adversaries’ safest means of retreat. He also conjured the wall so that the worst of the heat from the ring radiated outwards instead of inwards turning the northwest corner into a small inferno. The orc succumbed to the flames and the giant was badly burned but still stood. It howled in anger and picked up a large rock from the table. It turned and seeing Cara first, hurled the object at her. The stone smashed into her shoulder. It then scrambled onto the table and rushed across the room to get away from the ring of fire. Foolishly, it crossed too close to Cara and she took a swipe at it and cut it across its meaty thigh.

The giantess was a bit more shrewd than her counterpart and she recognized Theodin as the source of the fire. She grabbed a pot and leapt across the large table in front of her and smashed it on the ground next to Theodin, barely missing him.

The next orc was also in the heat of the circle of flame and rushed across the room. When he reached Cara, he took a swipe at her but missed.

Shadow Walker pulled his blades and rushed the giantess. With a final blow he struck her down and she collapsed on the floor in front of the hallway. She was covered in cooking grease and Shadow was forced to try to climb over her to continue forward. Unfortunately, he slipped in the grease on her body and fell back down into the hallway.

Cara smiled, shook her head, and taunted the rogue, “Losing your touch there, Shadow?”

Shadow curtly responded, “I just gotta get stretched.”

One of the ogres grabbed a grinding stone from a workbench and tosses it at Cara but misses. He then tries to close the distance by crossing the giantess’ body but slips just like Shadow.

The other ogre turns on Cara and swings on her but the elf-touched warrior deftly dodged the attack.

Callie moved closer so she could target the ogre which slipped. She called on the powers of her patron to move her hex to this ogre and then blasted it with her eldritch blast. She also unleashed a ring which slammed into the ogre but it stood its ground. She blasted it again and send another ring slamming into the ogre. This time it lost its footing and it stumbled back into the heat and flames from Theodin’s ring of fire. The flames consumed the ogre and finished it off.

Cara spun on the ogre and slashed through its belly. The ogre groaned in agony but still stood so Cara finished off with a second swing. She spun and cut through the giant’s thigh. Cara is a whirling dervish of death!

Theodin braved the grease-covered body of the giantess and managed to scramble to the far side. As he walked further into the kitchen, a ghostly form surrounded his body. The form took on the shape of a beating heart which surrounded his chest. The dwarf wizard breathed a line of fire which tore through the closest orc and the giant. The orc was killed and the giant was nearly brought low. Even after Theodin breathed the fire, the ghostly heart continued to beat around his chest and he appeared much stronger than he had before.

The giant wanted nothing more than to escape at this point. It scrambled to grab Cara to move her out of the way but she spun away from his grasp. So it pushed through her to make it to the hallway and Cara cut it down (attack of opportunity).

The remaining two orcs dashed about the room looking for a way to escape but could find none. They pleaded in giant-tongue for the PCs to spare them and insisted they were slaves. Cara (through Kargarn who translated) asked the orcs why they were here and how many giants there were.

The braver of the two orcs responded they were travelling through the area a few months ago and they were captured by raiding hill giants. He said they had been forced to work in the kitchen and he did not know how many giants there were.

Theodin asked about the giants in the kitchen. The orc explained they were servants of the rest of the hill giants. He also indicated the rest of the hill giants were in the great hall celebrating with Nosnra. Cara quickly (and forcefully) asked who Nosnra was the orc explained Nosnra was the hill giant chieftain and this was his steading. He knew there were visitors in the great hall but he was not the one who had taken food into that room and he did not know who the visitors were.

By now, Theodin’s ghostly heart disappeared and he took on his normal appearance. He also dropped the ring of fire. Cara commented on Theodin’s new abilities but the dwarf’s response confirmed he had learned some new tricks but remained vague.

The PCs debated what to do next. Use the orcs to spy for them? Cara was not fond of that idea. Use a disguise and scout the great hall? Before they took on the challenge of the great hall, they decided to check the rest of the kitchen area to the north. They didn’t want more foes to be at their back.


Upper Level Area 18: Kitchen Workroom
In the kitchen workroom, they found another hearth and more workbenches. There were also several large crates, sacks, and barrels. At a glance, they noted some of them for large and of giant-make but some were smaller, obviously goods which had been stolen during the raids. They find several types of cheeses, bread, and meats. The group was impressed by the giant’s “palette.”

3.2 Area 18

On the south side of the room was the door Cara had spotted from the hallway and another door which they suspected led to a pantry. Cara pushed the heavy door open.


Upper Level Area 18a: Pantry
In the pantry, the PCs found more of the stolen goods and giant foodstuff. More interesting, they also found a staircase leading down. They noted the cut of the stone which was much finer than a giant, ogre, or orc would produce. Theodin examined it and identified it as the work of cantonal dwarves from the Ironcrags. They suspected the staircase led to a cellar but decided to investigate before heading back to the great hall. As they descended the stairs they noticed the complete darkness below.

3.3 Area 18a


Dungeon Level Area 1: Marshaling Area
There was no cellar at the bottom of the stairs but instead, they found an entire dungeon level under the steading. They entered a large room which hallways leading east, north, and south. There were also two doors to the east and a third to the southeast. There were long, giant-sized tables along the north and west walls and benches at the tables and along the southern wall. They noticed the ceilings were 18′ high and the stone floor was very well worn. They also noted how quiet it was.

3.4 Dungeon Area 1

Cara did a tour around the room to see what she could see down the hallways. She could not see far enough down the north and east hallways but she caught glints of light reflecting off the southern hallway. They decided to follow that light. 80′ down the southern hallway, it split into a T-intersection and there were doors along the southern wall. They also heard multiple individuals speaking to each other in a growling tongue none of them recognized.

Cara peaked around the corner and saw more doors to the south and the hallway ended in the rubble which filled most of the hallway. There was also another opening in the hallway to the east and she caught glimpses of a dark brown, hairy arm on one of the speakers.

Cara motioned to the group she was going into the room with the hairy, growling speakers on 3… 2… 1…


Dungeon Level Area 8: Outpost
The hairy foes were humanoid and there 6 of them in a 40′ by 60′ room. On the far side of the room was a door. The group had moved stealthily and caught the humanoids off-guard earning themselves a surprise round of actions. Their foes were dressed in splint mail and were armed like guards and they recognized them as bugbears.

3.5 Dungeon Area 8

Cara slashed the closest target and then “danced” around him so she could get closer to the rest of the enemies. She slashed her first target a second time and killed it. Now that the opening to the room was clear, she dropped back so her allies could get into the room and she could not be surrounded.

Shadow rushed into the room and attacked the next closest enemy. Blood splashed across the stone floor as Shadow nearly killed this foe with a single hit.

Theodin maneuvered to the edge of the opening of the room and when he saw the foe who Shadow had almost dropped, he blasted it with a firebolt and killed it.

Callie moved up next to Theodin, cursed one of the humanoids in the far corner with her hex, and unleashed her eldritch blasts. She missed with the first but the second one smashed the target and bloodied it.

Cara followed her sister’s aim and ran up to the one which had been bloodied and struck it down. She then turned to the next one and slashed at it twice, killing that one as well. Like I said, Cara is a whirling dervish of death! She then hopped over to threaten the two remaining bugbears.

One of the enemies swung a longsword at Cara and missed her.

Shadows leapt across the room and crushed the fifth enemy. He lunged at the remaining foe but missed.

Theodin pushed into the room behind his allies unleashed a firebolt but missed the sole remaining target.

Callie rushed into the room as well and blasted the target twice with her eldritch blast and killed it.

The PCs searched the bugbears. They were wearing armor and weaponry which looked like they had been crafted by the same person. One of them carried a pristine owl feather but the rest had nothing of value.

Callie “suggested” they listen at the door and Cara grudgingly agreed. Listening, they heard more growling voices but they were muffled like there was something else between this door and the source of the sound.

Suddenly, they also heard a horn sound from somewhere above them. It was an alarm! They groaned.

Theodin pointed out, “You know, we really should have cleaned up the kitchen.”


Against the Giants: Chapter 1, Part 2

Watch the game on YouTube at

Shadow Walker, the raven-folk rogue, emerged from the shadows along the street and criticized the group’s performance in the battle. Not everyone was happy to see the rogue but Chunt and Theodin quickly maneuvered to smooth things over… for now. Theodin asked how Shadow had been and Shadow’s answer was elusive. His life had been interesting (without revealing details) and he had spent much time in the rookeries (without saying which one) but he did feel honor-bound in his own way to respond to Draeven’s letter. Theodin’s greeting was warm but the conversation quickly turned to their common connection, Theodin’s sister, Alaina, who had passed during their earlier adventures together. Shadow was sorry to hear that Theodin had not been able to raise her from the dead and Draeven commented on how this troubled him as well. He admitted he was only just a sorcerer and while he could call on arcane powers, he did not understand them like a wizard did.

Draeven commented the raids had come farther this direction than he had thought. He instructed the group would leave Neuraddel by midday and dismissed himself. The group looked the bodies of the giant and the ogres over for more clues but could find none.

Callie, Cara, Theodin and Kargarn found their way to the apothecary/alchemist who was an old woman who lived in the back of her small shop, surrounded by pots filled with herbs of all kinds. She was a kindly old woman who greeted them and told them her name was Deera (by way of introducing her shop). Her prices were a bit on the high side although not uncommon along the King’s Road and the PCs left with healing potions, sickroot herbs, and components for Theodin to craft some alchemist’s fire. The dwarven wizard retreated to his room at the Leaky Flagon to complete his work while the rest of the group gathered in the common room to partake in some last-minute libations before their journey began.


The group set out into the hills west of the town of Neuraddel. Draeven doesn’t push the group very hard the first day. He had noted how “out of form” some of them had been and did not want to wear them out before they had a chance to build up their stamina. He secretly worried if calling on his old allies had been a bad idea. Callie summoned a magical tiny hut that evening to keep them hidden and safe while they rested.

Where Are We

Draeven led the group into the hills until he reached a point where he needed the group to help find the path the rest of the way to the giants if there were any more to find. Callie used her magic to communicate with the trees in the area and learned giants had indeed passed through and recently. She and her sister, Cara, scoured the landscape and managed to find giant tracks heading northwest, almost parallel to the King’s Road (even if a day away from that ancient highway). They followed the tracks.

Later in the day, the group spotted a dragon in the distance flying along the horizon. It was too far to tell for sure but they thought it might be a red or yellow dragon. If dragons were roaming this far north, that did not speak well of Magdar’s efforts to keep the Mharoti Empire at bay. They briefly discussed what to do and decided they already had enough on their agenda for the day. The dragon would wait. As evening set in, Thor opened up the heavens and rain began to fall.


In the morning, the giant’s tracks were harder to pick out but Callie and Cara were about to follow them. Not long after picking up the trail again they spotted a pair of hill giant raiders, an ogre, and three dire wolves at a small camp in the distance under a rocky cliff. After some debate, Callie cast the Pass Without Trace spell and the group easily snuck up on the raiders.

I won’t recount the blow by blow of the battle because it was really a massacre. Between the surprise round, some really bad initiative rolls by the monsters, and some decent tactics, I (the DM) never got to make a single attack roll with the monsters. They were decimated before any of them got a chance to act.

After the battle, the PCs realized why the hill giants had picked this spot. Hidden from them in the distance, there was a small save entrance beside the road and under the rocky cliff. They explored the cave and learned it was once a beast’s lair but whoever lived here died long ago and it had been uninhabited since.

Moving to the edge of the ridge, they spotted their destination. In the distance (about an hour down the path) they could see a massive steading built to accommodate creatures the size of giants.

The Steading

The group decided to move closer before they formed a real plan of action. They stalked towards the steading and got close enough they could hear festivities going on inside. As they had approached, they noticed no patrols of guards outside the steading. Shadow Walker moved ahead to scout the outside of the steading for the group. He identified two gates into a courtyard in the northeast corner and a third giant into a courtyard in the south. The southern courtyard had a tower alongside its outside and Shadow climbed it. Inside the tower, he saw a drunken hill giant passed on and two more slumbering giants in the lower courtyard.

Shadow returned to the group and informed them of what he had found. They choose the southern courtyard with the tower as their “in” and pressed forward. When they reached the courtyard, Shadow climbed the tower again while Cara hoisted Kargarn on her back and flew over the wall (using her flying boots). The pair quietly removed the beam which barred the gate and let the rest of the group into the courtyard (with help from Chunt to open the large gate).

Quietly coordinating an attack, they slew the three giants as they slept. Along the northern wall of the courtyard were three doors, two smaller doors on the left and right and a double door in the middle. The sounds of the festivities were loudest at the center door so they decided to enter through the left door.

The door opened into a hallway with lit sconces lining the walls. The group moved quickly and quietly and Shadow used his magical abilities to snuff out the illuminating flames in the hallways (everyone in the party had darkvision and did not need the light). In the first section of the steading, they found a trip of common rooms filled with beds. They only took a small amount of time to search the rooms (and found a box with rotting ears and an earring in one of them), opting to move quickly while they could.

At the end of the long hallway between the common rooms, they found a final door leading into the next session. They threw open the door and found a kitchen filled with giants, ogres, and orcs.