Episode 43: Foiling the Frost Giants' Foragers

20 Slaves Freed!

Asa had a rough time on his journey from Trunau. He suffered a terrific nightmare just before he embarked. He was also set upon by winter wolves, and during the fray, his riding dog (borrowed from a friend back home) was killed. Cold, tired, and irritated, he wasn’t at all happy to see an adult red dragon in the middle of his friends’ camp! It was now dawn, and the halfling couldn’t believe his eyes.

The dragon was munching an ice troll. It greeted him and the two exchanged cautious words. “Oh, they’ve made an alliance with you, have they?” he concluded, and the dragon nodded. Just then, the other Giantslayers appeared, and introductions were made. " Naximarra " muttered the paladin, uneasy with this indirect alliance he had entered into. “So begins my fall from grace!” he added, under his breath.

The dragon told the others that she had eaten the ice troll that they’d carelessly let “get away”. Silaqui and her brother Turin quickly filled Asa in on the political (and religious) situation in Skirgaard, and the trouble they’d caused the night before. The dragon said a quick goodbye, and then the party discussed what to do next. Silaqui and Asa, two of the more stealthy of the group, went to do reconnaissance of the wooly mammoth pen and the grainery, while Gydion (in hawk form) surveyed the tent-village nearby. For her part, Silaqui noted that the pen was run by giant-centaurs of the kind they’d seen the day before, while Gydion saw that the giants seemed segregated: the frost giants kept to themselves within the village. All of them (Asa, Gydion and Silaqui) overheard the giants talking about vandalism and destruction wreaked on the village the night before—but the perpetrators remained a mystery.

In addition, Gydion also learned that the frost giants were sending out a foraging party sometime soon. The others were very interested to learn this. After some discussion, the group decided to follow the foraging party and, once out of range of Skirgaard, assault them.

Gydion (again, in hawk-form) watched the main road until he spotted what looked like a likely foraging party: a hag-like woman; a bunch of trolls riding wooly rhinoceri; some ice trolls; some winter wolves; and a host of human slaves. “No giants?” thought the Druid as he returned to fetch his friends. They followed the odd assortment of monsters down, down, down, until finally, at the end of the day, they reached the shore of the Usk River. They had traveled 16 miles! Although the bottomlands around the river were very icy, it wasn’t nearly as cold as it had been in the high peaks above. There were a number of wooden buildings—clearly this was a camp frequently used by the giants and their minions.

Night was falling quickly. The party formulated a plan: Turin would distract the guards (mainly wolves and ice trolls) with a Fireball on one side of the camp, while the others gathered around the hag’s building (she was clearly the leader of the group). As soon as the elven wizard’s Fireball burst, the hag came out to see what was going on. She was immediately set upon by Asa, and battle commenced!

The hag immediately threw down a magic gem and POOF! a huge lightning elemental appeared. The mighty dwarf Draken ran up to it and smacked it with Agrimmosh. Meanwhile, the hag traded blows with Asa, all the while with wolves nipping at his back. Silaqui moved around the battlefield, picking off foes with her deadly arrows as they came within range.

Gydion, flying above in owl-form, noticed that Turin’s Fireball had ignited a wooden pen, inside which the human slaves were kept. He immediately flew over and doused the flames with a Quench spell which he had wisely prepared for just such an occasion. Meanwhile, his lion companion Kingsley had attracted the attention of multiple trolls and wolves—which is exactly as they party had planned. The lion had been ingeniously fortified by a Stoneskin spell and thus ignored most of the damage being done to him. Slowly, the lion, aided by Gydion (and sometimes Silaqui), overcame his attackers.

The tide really turned when Turin (after one failed attempt) successfully Charmed the hag’s lightning elemental. This freed Draken to redirect his attention to the hag herself, killing her with one well-timed bash of his hammer. Two wolves remained, and they scattered into the surrounding forest. Reluctant to leave any survivors, Turin sent the lightning elemental to dispatch one, while Gydion and Kingsley took down the second. Asa, meanwhile, cut off the hag’s head. The party’s intention was to drop the head in the middle of Skirgaard, with a message indicating that the giants had angered their traditional god by shifting their worship to Urgathoa, a god of gluttony, disease and the undead.

A search of the hag revealed just one piece of treasure: a Mask of Giants. Apparently, when worn by a Druid, the mask allowed him or her to Wildshape into the form of any giant! The party was elated but they weren’t sure how to get around the fact that Gydion didn’t know the Giant language. Leaving that dilemma aside for the moment, Asa and Gydion freed the slaves, calming them with a successful “Diplomacy” skill check. They fed the humans while listening to their tales of woe.

The party spent the night inside their Warped Wood Hut with the slaves while Turin disappeared with a Teleport spell. He had gone to fetch some dwarves from Minderhal’s Valley to accompany the humans northward along the River Usk. After two more days, Turin had been able to Teleport six dwarven fighters (along with numerous rations, equipment and weapons), and the party felt confident that the humans would have safe passage along the river, north towards the Bloodsworn Vale.

Next: I Don’t Know! I’m Not DM’ing Anymore!


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