A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Default IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]



    AGAINST THE GIANTS:
    Steading of the Hill Giant Chief



    Giants have been raiding the civilized lands in large
    bands, visiting death and destruction upon villages,
    towns, and farmlands. Entire militias have been
    conquered, whole crops wiped out. These marauding
    bands consist of mixed groups of hill giants, stone
    giants, frost giants, and fire giants, as well as ogres
    and other monsters allied with the giants.

    Determined to repel the invaders, local lords have
    begun hiring brave adventuring parties. The first
    few groups didnít fare so well. Some were crushed
    beneath the boulders and jackboots of rampaging
    giants, while others went into the wilderness and
    never returned. However, a new band of adventurers
    has assembled to punish the marauding giants and
    banish them from the civilized lands!

    With the recent defeat of the Dread Pirate Lazarus, the stalwart members of the Order of Night Sky returned to the capital of Quizarth aboard the flagship of the Principality's Navy - the NSS Pride of the Howling Bay. There upon, Princess Zarna hosted a grand triumph, celebrating your great deeds. Thousands gathered to cheer the triumphant heroes on, as they processed through the City of the Fallen Tyrant. At a masquerade ball, the Princess gifted each of you a single magical item from her personal vault. A token of friendship and gratitude, a rare boon from the monarch. As the party began to wind down, a human messenger burst into the room. He was beaten, bloody and hangered. He bore ill tidings from the Moonbow Marches - Giants have begun attacking the march lands. When the messenger left the Temple of Blue Moon, three towns had already been obliterated. The Princess calmed the gathered nobles and dignitaries, then asked that the Heroes of the Howling Bay investigate the matter and bring the villainous giants to justice. The Archmage of the Tower of Arcane Astrology gathered the supplies necessary to cast the Linked Portal ritual. The Archmage created a glowing circle of sigils on the ground, through which one could see the hazy vision of the Arcane Tower in Farwater, the furthest such tower that has been constructed in the Moonbow Marches. You and your allies stepped into the circle, and were instantly whisked away to that far off place...

    A Tiefling woman with red-purple skin and long, ram-like horns greets you as you manifest. "Salutations, I am Orimaia, Wizard of the Fifth Circle. I have been told by the Archmage that you have come to deal with the threat of the Giants..." She pauses and looks mournfully at the ground, "I must warn you, three other adventuring parties have ventured into the mountains. None have returned."

    The mage leads the party down a claustrophobically narrow spiral staircase, which opens up to a sprawling library. Seated at a twelve foot long table, are three people. The first is a young woman clad in stark white vestments. Her long, raven-dark hair has been coiled up into three buns. You recognize her as Sanise, one of the Priestesses who serves in the Temple of Blue Moon. The second is an elderly human. His eyes are glassed over, clearly he is suffering from advanced cataracts. He has a long, mangey white beard. His clothes are made from the finest foreign silk but the clothes are threadbare. Beside him is a thick, gnarled staff. You do not recognize this man. The third is a half-orc woman. She has fine, chiseled features and the barest hints of fangs protruding from her lower jaw. She wears a tight-fitting black shirt and pants. Her body is fit and muscular. Around her waste, a wide leather belt has been hastily fastened, two glowing red longswords hang off of it. You recognize this woman as Tamarel of House Strongaxe, Thane Woodford Castle. During the siege of Woodford Castle, the Thane was heinously injured by a poisoned arrow. She beseeched you to defend her holdfast from the Mad Gnolls, while she was taken to the Temple of Blue Moon,so the priestsesses there could cure the magical poison that wracked the Thane's body. Tamarel is a stalwart warrior at heart, who spares little thought or time for politics. She is a frontierswoman, born and bred.

    The Thane is the first to greet the party, "Well met friends." Tamarel walks over and personally shakes each of your hands, "The Moonbow Marches are safer by your very presence within them. Come, let me introduce you." She points to the young woman, "This is Sansie, she is the priestess who removed the poison from my body." Turning from the woman to the old man, she continues, "And this is Darak, Guardian Druid of the Mangrove Bowels."

    The Thane takes a seat at the table, "The giants from the mountains have been attacking our lands for several weeks now. The giants are violent, unruly and ruthless. They will broker no peace and care little for the suffering of the small folk. The gnollic wars have left the Moonbow Marches in a weakened state, we have not had a chance to even catch our breath, and now this..."

    Orimaia pipes up, "From what we have managed to gather, the closest giant stronghold is located about ten miles from here. The hill giants have constructed a large timber fortress there. It serves as their base of operations. We do not know what the giants named it but the locals have taken to calling it the, "hill giant steading". Not the most original or evocative name, if I do say so myself but... Simple folk often use the simplest of names, I suppose.

    The Thane lets the information hang in the air for a moment before adding, "As you no doubt know, many mercenaries and adventurers have been sent to attack the hill giant's steading. None have returned. Of those who attacked the hold, several were people of importance.... Including an elven Priestess of Sehanine named Ysildea Wyntris; an aasimar Wizard of the Seventh Circle, named Rygwen; a firbolg druid named Holahana Shornissi; and my nephew and heir, Borumur the Brave."

    Sanise cautiously interjects, "All of the adventures and mercenaries are important. Every life is precious but, these four are of great importance to the longevity and safety of the Moonbow Marches. We ask that you take special care while investigating the giants' holdfast. We pray to the Moon Goddess that all of courageous warriors sent to battle the giants were merely captured and not killed..."

    Suddenly the doors to the library burst open. An ornery looking dwarf with a fiery red beard and a mithral helmet shaped into image of a doe's head, saunters into the room, "Milady, I was not informed that the latest band o' would-be-heroes had been summoned from your people's much vaunted capital."

    Tamarel quietly groans as she stands up, "Friends, this is Brammun Flintbreaker, Dwarf Lord of the Foothills of the Crystalmist Mountains."

    "Aye, lass... Erhm, Milady. I be tha' Lord of the Foothills. It be my people that be beaten an' murdered an' taken inta' slavery by those foul, loathsome beasts!" The Dwarf pulls a sack off of his back and lobs it onto the table. The table groans under the weight. "I be offerin' ya' tha' same deal I gave ta' tha' other adventurers - 500 gold for each dwarf safely returned ta' this here town."

    Orimaia adds, "The town is well stocked with any mundane gear you may require; and my library here has a few potent rituals that you may utilize. I am told the Guardian Druid has spoken with the local fauna and acquired the use of several elk to shepherd you up to the foothills quickly and silently.

    The Thane then continues, "You are the Moonbow Marches' only hope. Through your victory, the Marches will thrive for decades to come. If you have any questions or concerns, now is the time to raise them. Once you are satisfied, I bid you farewell. May you bring death and ruination upon our enormous enemies."
    DMing:
    ❶ AGAINST THE GIANTS: IC | OOC

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Maugrim spends most of the discussion quietly looking at the floor; his companions know he's likely uncomfortable from the large event preceding this especially as this is the cleanest and most polished they've ever seen the dwarven hunter. He fidgets idly with the clasp of the new black and silver cloak the Princess Zarna had recently gifted him. Mithrim, conversely, eagerly headbutts Tamarel as she makes the rounds and lets out a loud "hoo" as Brammun joins the session, paying rapt attention and nodding in seeming understanding. As a silence settles on the room, Mithrim nudges Maugrim and lets out a low growl.

    "Err, yeah, right. We're wonderin' if ya know how many giants are up there in the stead? And ya said meybe they're takin' prisoners an' slaves and such, so do we know why? They got any other sites, or followers? Oh and also, given that we're tha Order of tha Night Sky meybe we can be pai...oof!", Maugrim's speech is cut short by a swift and slightly more violent swat from Mithrim. "Err...ne'rmind. Yeah, just that."

    Spoiler: Question for the DM
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    My intention with a name like "Winterhill" was that Maugrim is from a clan up in the Crystalmist Mountains. I'm wondering how familiar Maugrim might be with Brammun Flintbreaker and if I know anything about his reputation, trustworthiness, and relations with the principality? History check in case required:

    (1d20+6)[12]

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Evan Newberry - Half-elf Swordmage

    Evan sits quietly listening to the assembly speak of their challenge. He is a tall man, with an athletic, but not overly muscled build. He has short blonde hair and his blue eyes are focused on a point on the table-top as he absorbs the information. His ears are slightly tapered, but little else about his body or clothing would give away his partially elven heritage. He wears leather armor with several arcane runes worked into the leather. His fingers are interlocked and set on the table before him, a large signet ring bearing the mark of his noble family on one of his fingers.

    After processing what the Thane has said, Evan turns to the tiefling woman. "Have any divinations been done of the area? Perhaps Sending rituals to the most important people you'd like to see returned? Or scrying to learn about the situation we're going into? I'm not much of a ritualist myself, but it seems there are several that could prove useful. What has been done so far?"

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Aelise, Human Sorcerer/Demonskin Adept
    HP 89/89; Bloodied 44, Surge Value 22; Healing Surges 7/7
    AC 26; Fort 23, Ref 26, Will 31; Initiative +10
    Immune Blind, Resist 10 Fire


    While somewhat average of height and with a typical shoulder length hair, Aelise strikes an imposing figure her piercing eyes and unusual dress. During the masquerade ball, Aelise mingled with the crowd while enjoying the royal chef's lobster soup as well as the honey cake and various sweets.

    Listening to the discussion amongs those of importanse in the Moonbow Marches it was clear that the giants posed a real threat to the people living here. She had never fought any giants herself, but from the sound of it they seemed quite ferocious. Still, if she could not overcome odds such as these then she would never achieve her goal. No, her companions had proven true both against the gnolls and and against the Dread Pirate Lazarus. She could trust them to watch her back against the giants, and fortune would surely stay by their side.

    Evan is quite right, if we are to rescue prisoners then it would be advantageous to contact them ahead of time. However, if you expect a stealthy rescue party then I am doubtful if we can live up to your expectations. If you hope for a group who can push the giants out of our lands on the other hand, then I am confident that fortune will stay on our side.
    Last edited by Lirya; 2021-09-13 at 08:19 PM.

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Sour-hearted Xantumon must be in unusually high spirits on this day of dire news, perhaps because word of the giants confirms his worldview of constant trouble. Whatever the reason, he was polite at the triumphal ball, he tolerated his spectral familiar dancing in the punchbowl and pretending to get drunk, he nodded graciously upon seeing the priestess Sanise, and he sat patiently through the locals' presentation without his customary scowl. Now he pipes up, a frown naturally returning to his face as he says, "I know the Sending ritual but I don't know your nephew or the other ... missing heroes." Dirigore's ghostly face appears over his shoulder suddenly. "You didn't even meet Borumur when you were in Woodford Castle? Xanty old boy, you've got to get out more." Without looking, Xantumon waves his familiar away as if brushing off a fly on his lapel.
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Maugrim nods at Aelise. "Aye, the lass is right. I reckon they can work a bit o' magic nonsense to get the lay o' the land, and me an' Mithrim can probably do some good recon, but if'n you're hopin' we'll have a nice stealthy rescue job we're nah really the crew. Killin' all them giants, that I think we can muster."

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Rain

    "You have my sword", Rain says, matter-of-factly. She bares her fangs in slow, wide smile. "Someday, I hope, everyone will have learned that attacking the kingdom is a terrible idea. Today, it seems like we must teach the lesson one more". She sighs in exaggeration. "And I was so hoping to catch up on my knitting". She stands up, straps her shield to one muscular arm. Her eyes dart across the table, looking for any delicious morsels to stuff in her maw before heading out.
    Semper ludens.

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Spoiler: Maugrim
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    Flintbreaker, Dwarf Lord of the Foothills of the Crystalmist Mountains, is a wealth lord of a small dwarven holdfast that happened to sit near the end of a twisting road that winds its way up and over the Crystalmist Mountains. Long ago, his ancestors constructed a large wall across the road and charge a large toll for any seeking to head into or out of the mountains. Brammun Flintbreaker, as a person, is arrogant, condescending and petty. He is well known for making both the peoples of the low lands and highlands angry by being frustratingly obstinate and more than a bit crass. You get the sense that he is genuine about wanting to liberate his people but it probably has more to do with re-exerting his control over the wall (and the tolls) than him truly caring for the plight of his people.



    Brammun at the dwarven adventurer, "Ah, a Winterhill. Good to see your people decided to send someone down here to help with the real problems afflicting. It warms me heart to know a dwarf will be helpin' ta' liberate ma' kin."


    The wizard then responds to Evan, "Ah yes. That is a well scouted plan. Perhaps master Xantumon and I could collaborate on a sending ritual..." She meanders off to go find a suitable ritual book.

    "I be hirin' ya to liberate ma' people," retorts the dwarven lord to Aelise, "I not be carin' iffin you be quiet as a mouse or as thunderous as a dragon."

    The Thane nods in agreement, "The quest is yours to carry out in whichever manner best suits your unique skillset. I trust that you will accomplish the goal of freeing our people and routing the giants." Turning to Rain the half-orc Thane smiles as she sates, "Well said, friend. Well said."
    DMing:
    ❶ AGAINST THE GIANTS: IC | OOC

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Asjara, Windsoul Genasi Warden

    Skin colored like the blue sky, and long, wavy hair vaguely resembling the like silky clouds, her connection to the sky cannot be mistaken. Asjara is tall and muscular, especially when not standing beside Rain (who is equally strong but has fangs so wins). The required mannerisms and self-control to avoid carelessly blowing up something with random gusts was more tiring than worrying about giants, and Asjara looks more comfortable as she arrived in the Moonbow Marches.

    The talk about rituals and stealth eludes Asjara, who kept silent as she does not have much to say on these topics. Sensing that a consensus of direct confrontation is forming, she smiles, "I know, right? The Order of Night Sky is specialized in one thing: fight. We fought the gnolls, we fought the pirates, and now it's the giants..."
    Last edited by ahyangyi; 2021-09-14 at 03:50 PM. Reason: Remove parts about sending and asking for setting off because I posted this too slowly :P
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Aelise, Human Sorcerer/Demonskin Adept
    HP 89/89; Bloodied 44, Surge Value 22; Healing Surges 7/7
    AC 26; Fort 23, Ref 26, Will 31; Initiative +10
    Immune Blind, Resist 10 Fire


    The dwarf lord seemed awfully uppity for a refugee begging for help. Thinking back to how Tamarel reacted to the dwarf's entrance, the Thane seemed to have her hands full with the lordling.

    Turning towards Thane Tamarel, Aelise speaks up once more, "Milady, it sounds like we have come up with a rough plan. While Xantumon and Orimaia see if they can contact any potential prisoners, we have some time to discuss what we know about these giants before heading out to rout them. Do we know if the giants are attacking us because they were driven out of ther homeland? Are they raiding us for slaves and wealth or do you think they intend to expand their territory? Do we know anything about how their war parties are organized and about their leadership? Also, you mentioned the locals calling the stronghold the "hill giant steading". Does that mean there are mostly hill giants or should we expect other types as well?"

    Spoiler: Knowledge
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    I don't know which skill would be most relevant to know about giants, but I'll roll Arcana since that is a skill Aelise has.
    Arcana: (1d20+17)[33]

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Maugrim looks a bit uncomfortable as Brammun continues to speak. Mithrim starts hooing and grunting behind him, and the group can hear him muttering under his breath back ""err...bu' he's the one payin', and it be for tha clan...ah, yeah...yeah, yer right...

    Maugrim clears his throat. "Well, Master Brammun, actually I be representin' Tha Order of the Night Sky and the Kingdom, and..." he looks back at Mithrim who gives a nod, "we be here to help all the folks o'the land, regardless."

    He turns to his companions, relieved as always to let those more eloquent take the lead from here. "Souns' good, to let Xantumon do his magic. I think we also need ta' be hurryin' along 'fore stuff gets much worse. So, I'll be ready when ya'll are." He starts adjusting his crossbow.

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Xantumon hurries after Orimaia. Dirigore floats above the abandoned seat and says, "Thane Tamarel, Lord Flintbreaker, you're in good hands. Giants are tough but we've taken the measure of more vile villains. Our blades are sharp, our -- whoops, he's getting out of range --" The little specter tries to dart across the table, but apparently Xantumon walked too far away from him, and he vanishes without so much as a pop.
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Evan Newberry - Half-elf Swordmage

    The corner of Evan's mouth turns up in a grin as Xantumon's spirit disappears. "You'd think he'd be better at keeping track of that."

    "I agree with Miss Aelise. Anything you know about these giants and their motivations could prove useful in dealing with their threat. They are apparently taking slaves of the dwarves, but why? If they are simply interested in taking the territory for their own, it seems that it would be easier to just kill them, unless they have a need for hard labor. And even then, while I'm sure your kin are very stout and might folk, Lord Flintbreaker, I doubt that they would be much of a match for the physical power of even a handful of giants. And what about these mercenaries and adventurers? It seems to me that keeping them on hand would be more liability than anything. Have the giants sent any ransom requests for them?"


    Spoiler
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    My nature skill isn't as good as some of the others being rolled, but may as well give it a try in case Evan has any insights. Nature - (1d20+9)[10] I'll also throw in a History - (1d20+19)[31] check in case Evan might know anything of the history of this band of giants or maybe about the geography of the area where they have set up their steading.

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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Asjara, Windsoul Genasi Warden

    "Perhaps they don't have a reason, and they just... follow their instinct? Perhaps we should avoid overthinking and act quickly." Asjara asks, completely clueless about the giants' motives.
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    Default Re: IC - Against the Giants: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief [4E]

    Rain

    "Well I guess we better catch one and find out, then".
    Semper ludens.

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