The group continues to explore the stronghold of Hill Giant Chieftain. Watch the video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/0O0TIxj6-WA.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
END OF SESSION