Watch video of the game session on YouTube at https://youtu.be/9WLsuACEVWo.
As the season of Thunders nourishes the land and Thor rages from mountain top to open plain, a road-weary messenger finds each of the PCs. The messengers present them with a letter with a wax seal marking it as written by Draeven, a human sorcerer of prodigious arcane renown.
Draeven expected to find Theodin in the southern lands but the letter found the dwarf far from the land of his people. Despite the somewhat ominous words in Draeven’s letter, Theodin was excited to see his friends again and set out for Neuraddel.
Kargarn was torn. He was excited to hear from one of his old companions but he had become so focused on his new craft, making beer, and spreading the faith of Ninkash. He took his time to make sure his affairs were in order and then he began the short, four day journey from Zobeck to Neuraddel.
Chunt the Destroyer
The great minotaur warrior had enjoyed the life of a celebrity and he contemplated hard on the letter from Draeven. While he tried to decide what to do, he fell asleep and had a nightmare about his old friends in turmoil. He awoke with a start and returned to the letter. He had not seen the adventurers who travelled with him ten years before but he considered them family and he would not forsake them.
“My beauties, I will be back and there will be much enjoyment. But until then, your hero must stampede evil out of this world… one… more… time…”
Callie and Cara
The sisters had remained close to the region where they last saw their companions. Cara’s guilt over her previous life drove them to do what they could in the rural lands of the Crossroads to atone while keeping a low profile. The Blood Sisters and the Morgau still wanted the elf-marked sisters dead. When they received the letter, Cara was convinced it was a trap and she convinced Callie they needed to keep moving. That night, Callie, who possessed a magical tattoo over her heart noted that the tattoo had begun to wither. Callie believed it did so because they had decided not to flee the letter. They decided to go to Neuraddel but continued to worry if they were making a mistake.
On the first day of Low Summer, Kargarn was the first to arrive in the small town of Neuraddel. He had no difficulty finding the Leaky Flagon. The establishment is filled with mostly humans but they did not pay him much mind. Ironcrag cantonal dwarves are not uncommon in this region. The elderly, red-haired man named Coll behind the bar greeted him warmly and when he learned Kargarn was a disciple of Ninkash, he pulled out some of his special brew to serve to the cleric. When Kargarn mentioned Draeven, he called for his daughter, Ademia, to take the dwarf to a private chamber. He told Kargarn that Draeven had made special arrangements for the group and all of their expenses had been covered. Ademia was intrigued by Kargarn’s accent and commented on how he sounded different than the southern dwarves she had met. Kargarn commented that his people tended to keep to themselves. She promised to bring meat and bread and left Kargarn alone to wait.
Theodin is the second of the companions to arrive and both he and Kargarn immediately realized how different the other looked since last they saw each other. When they parted way, Kargarn was not a servant of Ninkash and he had gained weight (probably, due to the copious amounts of ale he drank). Theodin, despite being a southern dwarf and the warmth of the weather, was dressed in heavy robes which covered most of him. Their reunion was a warm one. Theodin explained that after the death of his sister, Elena, he had sought out the remainder of his kin but found he was not very welcome there. He spent his time wandering since then. Kargarn shared his new faith and tried to impress upon Theodin how he appeared more relaxed.
Callie and Cara arrived in very basic travelling garb and Cara looked rather… dolled up. This was an odd look for the warrior woman which made it an excellent disguise. The dwarves greeted them warmly even if the sisters were just a bit standoffish. They exchanged pleasantries and the sisters managed to keep the conversation away from their own activities. Cara, ever to the point, stirred the conversation towards the purpose of their reunion.
A dark shadow passed by and blocked out the sun as it passed by each window of the tavern. Chunt slammed the door to the inn open and “arrived.” He apologized for the door and immediately sauntered up to the bar. The tavern had gone quiet. Coll tried to serve Chunt with a large mug but the minotaur insisted his ale be served in a bucket. He chugged the ale and the golden liquid splashed across his chest as much as down his gullet. Coll urged Ademia to quickly escort Chunt to the back.
Ademia returned with meat, bread, and ale with Chunt in tow but they heard his booming voice long before he arrived. Upon seeing him, the group recognized their friend but noticed he had put on some weight. Like, a lot of weight. Dude had become “tubby bruh Thor.” The most remarkable difference was his horns were missing and had been replaced with ornate horns with inlaid copper filigree designs. He happily told the tale of how he lost his horn fighting a cyclops and how the town he saved had paid for his replacements. The festivities had begun!
The frivolity continued for hours and then, Draeven arrived. The sorcerer was ever a lost soul and even on his happiest day, his companions barely remembered him smiling. Even after all these years, with the trials of their past journeys behind them, he had not changed. Even more than his demeanor, it appeared he had changed very little physically as well which was strange for a human who tended to age much faster than other ancestries. Draeven remarked on how few of them had answered his call and he hoped something ill had not befallen the rest.
Callie questioned why they had been summoned. Draeven, a man who liked to stay on topic himself, responded that Magdar was a kingdom which had been plagued by war with the Mharoti Empire to the south. During that time, hill giants had begun raiding the small villages and towns all across the northern parts of Magdar. Hill giant raids were not unheard of but these raids had become more frequent and far more organized than had been seen in some time. Draeven suspected the hill giants had picked a new chieftain to lead them which was a rare occurrence. There had not been a hill giant chieftain in hundreds of years and Draeven suspected there was something more going on. When he approached the powers that be in Magdar, he was quickly dismissed. They had bigger problems to see to and with no proof of his suspicions, there were no resources to investigate the sorcerer’s claims further.
Cara said she understood all that but asked why “they” had been summoned for this matter. Draeven explained this was not something he could trust to unseasoned adventurers. Hill giants were dangerous and while he could not prove there was a threat, they were the only group he could call on if the threat was real. The group did not jump at the opportunity. Their last “adventure” was a successful one but there had been sacrifice and loss. Not everyone had survived. Theodin thought of Elena. Callie and Cara still felt they were repaying the debt they owed. Their work involved healing the land more than anything else and there was still much work to do, perhaps more than could be completed in any one lifetime.
In the end, they agreed to join Draeven for old time’s sake if nothing else. The sorcerer hoped this would be nothing more than a trek into the Smolten Hills to the west and his fears would be unfounded. For now, that was enough and none of them wanted to let down the others.
As the night grew late, Draeven reminded them he had covered all of their arrangements and bid them farewell for the evening. Eventually, they all retired to private quarters.
In the morning, the group found Coll had prepared breakfast for them along with a purple and green fruit he insisted would help with any lingering issues from a night of celebration. He had also gathered supplies for their journey although Chunt had sharp words of critique for the “lack of sustenance.” In the end, extra sacks of food were packed for the minotaur. He was not appeased but Callie insisted they could find more along the way.
As they left the Leaky Flagon, they heard screams and the bellows of large creatures attacking the village. In the street, a pair of ogres, a hill giant raider, and a tusked crimson ogre had struck down a pair of villagers and were attacking the buildings along the road. The hill giant was pulling raw meat from bones although they could not tell if it was a human he was eating or livestock.
Cara dropped the glamour which had made her appear dainty and assumed the visage of the warrior woman her companions were more familiar with. She taunted the giants, “You picked the wrong day for this.” She charged the closest ogre across the street and drew her temple sword. With two quick swipes, she cut the ogre wide across its stomach and its blood spilt forth.
The second ogre lunged forward and smashed its club wildly at Cara and caught her on her shoulder.
Theodin summoned his magic and scorching rays of fire leapt from his hand and slammed into the first ogre which Cara had attacked.
Callie dropped back into bushes just outside the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron (gaining concealment), hexed the ogre her sister and Theodin had harmed and then launched an eldritch blast at the creature. Her magic ripped through the ogre and finished it off (the first kill of the campaign). She turned to the second ogre and launched a second eldritch blast at it, scoring a hit.
Chunt bellowed, “Just like old times, friends!” As he rushed forward, he pulled his horns from his head. They glowed with brilliant orange energy and transformed into a pair of obsidian battleaxes and copper bull skulls formed on his gauntlets. He raged as he reached the second ogre and slashed twice through the burly and smelly foe.
The hill giant raider stomped across the wooden wagon and smashed it on his way to reach Chunt. The hill giant swung its massive club twice and smashed Chunt twice but the minotaur barbarian (who was raging), resisted half of the damage.
The tusked crimson ogre (who didn’t want to be left out of the fun) rushed down the street and tried to leap along the front of the building beside the Leaky Flagon but he slipped and crashed to the ground (double move and failed athletics check, prone). The creature immediately impressed upon the group how unintelligent it was.
Kargarn barked (in giant) for the raiding party to surrender but the hill giant retorted Kargarn would be the first one to go in the stew. Kargarn, who assumed the giants would not accept his offer anyway cast bless on Cara, Chunt, and himself. He then positioned himself in a defensive position in front of Theodin (and Cara who was hidden in the bushes).
Cara stabbed the second ogre with her temple sword and then danced around it to flank it with Chunt. With one last thrust of her weapon she killed the ogre and then slashed at the hill giant raider, she was now next two. Her blade drank deep of his blood as well. She continued to dance around the raiding monsters.
Theodin waved his hands and the temperature began to rise. He conjured a ringed wall of fire and surrounded the hill giant raider and the tusked crimson raider. The intense heat of the wall tore into both foes and they howled in rage.
Callie moved her hex from the first ogre (now dead) to the hill giant raider and slammed it with her eldritch blast. She launched a second eldritch blast at the hill giant and it tore across the side of its skull (critical hit, first of the campaign). Inside the flames, the hill giant reeled.
Chunt turned to the hill giant, “You will choke upon my patties this day!” He slashed hard through the hill giants throat (second critical hit of the campaign) and then buried his second battleaxe in the hill giant’s forehead. The giant fell to the ground with a powerful thud. Chunt didn’t even realize he had launched himself into the ring of fire and was thoroughly singed (still resisting half damage due to his rage).
Kargarn did not want to mess with the flames so he conjured a spiritual weapon and used it to attack the tusked crimson ogre who was still prone on the ground. He called upon Ninkash and cast sacred flame at the ogre to add insult to injury.
The tusked crimson ogre (thoroughly cut, battered, bruised, and burnt) leapt to his feet and flexed its powerful muscles. Acidic blood exploded from its open wounds and coated the area surrounding it. The blood burned everyone it fell on and began to drive them to rage but everyone managed to maintain control. It then rushed out of the flames, provoking attacks of opportunity from Chunt and Kargarn. Chunt slashed the ogre with his axe and Kargarn cast a second sacred flame (warcaster feat). Both attacks hit their mark.
Theodin noticed Cara was cut off from the rest of the party and the ring of fire was no longer threatening their last foe so he dropped his concentration and the flames disappeared.
Meanwhile, Cara leapt (actually, she flew) and twirled through the air. She came to a stop next to the ogre at a hover. She slashed through the ogre with her temple sword (the second hit, a crit). The ogre fell.
Cara quickly wrapped her illusion around herself and took on a less dangerous looking visage. Draeven appeared on the street from between two buildings and there was a bleeding wound on his head. He said giants had attacked other places in the town as well.
Callie asked if any of Draeven’s foes had lived and complained they could not interrogate the ones the group had killed. He could not help her.
Cara asked about what Kargarn had said in giant during the battle. The dwarf admitted he extended them an offer of surrender but their response was obvious now. They would fight to the death.
Kargarn cast mass cure wounds to heal his ally’s injuries.
Chunt admitted the battle was “awesome” and he had missed these kinds of battles. He compared it to a night he spent with a woman once and began to tell the tale but the rest paid him no attention.
Callie searched the giants and found a coil of 120 feet rope but nothing else of value. She also examined them for clues about where they had come from and she found mud which told her they had come down from the Smolten Hills. “It’s amazing what’s found on the bottom of a giant’s foot.”
End of Chapter 1, Part 1.