The Acts of the Lords of Rannick, XXV

Thanks to Rolland for hosting last night – the rotisserie chicken was the bomb. I’m persuaded to look for one. Oscar was a champ too, despite all the hubbub going on downstairs he seemed to fall asleep decisively.

This was a fun little session – we didn’t get going for quite a while, and really it was just one fight and a little bit of clean-up afterwards. Still three grand+ in XP is still a good net. We started off with the hostage rescue going pear-shaped and ended up returning to base camp to decide what to do next. If that decision could be discussed on here, that’d be great, because it will let me know which area to prepare for next week…

Watchtower at the entrance to the Valley of the Black Tower.

We left off after Albedon and Corwin had just Dimension Door’ed into the upper level of the watchtower. There they were faced with a huge giantess, peering out of the narrow slits on the second floor of the tower. Stark white scars and tribal patterns covered the dusky skin of this towering brute. Brutess? At twenty-feet tall, she was festooned with all sorts of skulls, fetishes and crude trinkets.”Conna?” called Corwin, hoping that this was the stone giant elder they had heard about and that she would be friendly to them. Albedon made some solicitous introductions, but the giantess whipped around and bellowed a few words in giant, surprised but not happy. They weren’t friendly words. Albedon cast Dimension Door again and transported them 470′ from the tower, which was a nice safe distance for Albedon to cast spells from but a sucky distance for a rogue-fighter to find himself from the action.

Dagfinn recognised the deep throaty bellow as that of a female taiga giant. He, Kerplak and Tersplink (oh yeah, Tersplink was there) stayed ready to move within their sphere of invisibility, Tersplink casting Bull’s Strength on Dagfinn, as though expecting him to do all the fighting. They heard resounding thumps coming from the tower and then two Ettins rounded the corner, looking for something to murder. The two-headed sub-giants couldn’t see anyone nearby, with Albedon being quite a distance away and Corwin having started to run an interference route to keep the tower inhabitants guessing.

I think a Statler and Waldorf Ettin wizard would be really fun to play in a bad-guy campaign.

Tersplink cast Bestow Curse on the first Ettin and then ran around the side of the tower. The Ettin charged forward, causing Kerplak to throw a smoke bomb to the ground and retreat. Pursuing Tersplink around the corner while his cursed buddy just stood there staring into space, one Ettin moved too close to invisible Dagfinn and as he hurtled around the tower, Dagfinn pincushioned him with his rapier. Each attack of opportunity landed a critical hit, taking out one of its four eyes, opening up some horrific bleeding wounds, showering Dagfinn in more blood and otherwise shortening the Ettin’s life span.

Dagfinn went Dragon Age on the Ettin. Above: People in Dragon Age, hanging around in a tavern, covered in blood, like you do.
Corwin, by now had broken cover and was running back to the fight. As he did so, his trained horse, being no dummy, noticed that it’s guy was trying to get around quickly, so cantered up beside him. Helpful, those trained horses. Corwin climbed on and began galloping back to the action. Albedon began lending fire support in the form of another wickedly accurate bow-shot and Kerplak loosed some shots at the cursed Ettin. As the first Ettin fell, the Taiga giant rounded the corner of the tower and a few members of the party noticed that a signal fire had been lit.

Now Albedon began support fire in earnest, throwing in a fireball that caught both the giantess and the Ettin. Anything Albedon can do, Kerplak can do with a lower margin of safety, so he sent in a fireball from his necklace of fireballs. Tersplink cast Spectral Hand on himself and began passing out the Shocking Grasps, but also Displacement on Dagfinn since hea was tonight’s front-line fighter. The second Ettin fell, and the giantess moved up to engage Kerplak and Dagfinn.

And by engage, I mean flatten. There was little chance of getting out of the way her huge greatclub, and even less chance of trying to parry it. She smote Kerplak to the ground. Dagfinn hastily – so hastily he clean forgot about his arcane spell chance failure, again – cast Invisibilty Sphere on himself. But after a quick invocation to her ancestors (which Dagfinn understood again with perfect clarity) she stepped forward and unerringly beat the shit out of him too, her swing with the club not being fooled by Displacement either.

A male Taiga Giant. The female giants smell much, much nicer.

Tersplink, at this point, was concerned. Casting Fly on himself, he tried out some spells on the giantess that failed to take and then successfully Bestowed another Curse. As she stood there in a dwam, Corwin rode up and began hurling his spear at her, as Tersplink began bombarding her with Shocking Grasps. She managed to break out of her stupor long enough that she picked up a rock and hurled it at Tersplink, but missed him. Albedon’s supporting fire, Corwin’s spear and Tersplink’s Shocking Grasp finally brought her down, toppling to the ground like a large angry tattooed tree.

The fallen party members were attended to, but had at least stopped bleeding all over the place. Corwin sneaked to the corner of the tower and spotted the brazier that was sending up a thin column of smoke. Albedon came over and put the fire out with a ray of frost. When they were on their feet, Dagfinn, still under the effects of Bull’s Strength, hauled the bodies into the tower while Kerplak began searching the tower. Corwin took up watch on the top floor, keeping an eye on the camps. There was no particularly starting developments down there, but after a while he spotted giants standing at the edges of their camps peering up the road towards the watchtower.

Tersplink and Kerplak found a small pile of 80gp under some hay in the ground floor of the tower, but became convinced that the upper floor must hide more treasures and so spent an hour tapping and pushing every brick. Alas, they were unable to find anything. A search of the giant and Ettin bodies revealed no magic items at all, and all of the gear was oversized.

Eager to leave, the party returned to their base camp to decide what to do next.

The Compleat Adventurer Award: Went to Dagfinn for his triple-trouble AoO critical bonanza. Normally, Dagfinn wouldn’t be able to make three attacks with one weapon, his BAB isn’t high enough. However, because he had Combat Reflexes (and decided not to use Stand Still) he received an AoO when the Ettin moved through his threatened area and additional AoO equal to his Dex bonus as the Ettin continued through his space. If the Ettin had been smart and stopped, Dagfinn would just have hit it once with an AoO. But because the Ettin doesn’t alter its plans (it was of two minds, wakka wakka) and kept provoking new AoOs, it took all three. Then all three were rolled as criticals and all sorts of awful things happened to that Ettin.

9 Comments on “The Acts of the Lords of Rannick, XXV

  1. Sorry, what are the options that are available at base camp?

    Where Don has finally shown up asking what he missed…

  2. Oh, well, there is this valley and a base camp just outside it.

    Inside the valley is:
    A Watchtower (now sacked).
    A circular fortress with small towers on the walls, three longhouses and a tall spire in the middle.
    Seven encampments of giants and giant-kin in a ring around the fortress.
    A gate tower built into the fortress wall that looks older than the fortress.
    A tall black tower that is incorporated into the fortress wall but appears to be much older than the fortress
    Another mess of mountains on the eastern side of the valley
    A cliff face at the south of the valley that looms over a river below.

    A path leads from the Storval Plateau, past the watchtower, alongside three of the camps and curves around the far side of the fortress where the gate and black tower is…

    Fuck it, I’ll include a map in the text.

  3. We can’t really stay where we’re at because at some point someone is going to find the sacked watch tower. Mike had an idea for a distraction which would allow us to sneak into town. I don’t recall what it was but it seemed like a good idea last night.

    • Was it dressing up as ladies?

      Please say it was dressing up as ladies!

  4. Tentatively, I think Don’s tendency is going to be toward using a native bird or other tiny creature form to scout the gate and avoid the camps until he knows what lays beyond. Once he knows more about the gates he might look for something interesting in the camps.

    That probably doesn’t help you prepare much, does it?

    • It doesn’t help me plan, no, but it does quicken the process of you scouting the are and getting more information; with which you may or may not plan.

      The native bird (a swallow, in this case) won’t go near the spire in the middle of the fortress because of “large raptors” that live there. But it can tell you that in front of the spire is a gigantic hole into the ground.

      The bird avoids the valley because of the many dangerous flying things that have recently moved there. The cliffs are too dangerous to nest in because of the dead things that live in the caves and the black tower can’t be nested in because that’s where the half-bird people live. The half-bird people have lived there for a long time, longer than all these giants.

      The giants use the fortress and gatehouse, but stay away from the black tower and if any giants get too close to the door of the black tower (which faces out towards the cliff, not in to the fortress) the half-birds make them run off the cliff and fall to their deaths below.

      The swallow thinks you should go somewhere else, this place is very dangerous.

      • If I were the GM I’d get that gatehouse ready so we can diminish communications, then hopefully rest up there a bit and get ourselves to the tower from there. Don wants to avoid the encampment until he can level up to the point where he can do aerial bombardments by combining Wild Shape and Fire Seeds.

    • Does Don have any animals that can scout these cliff caves for us? This screams secret entrance just about as loudly as a waterfall.

  5. I think the plan was to dress Don up as a lady, put him on a griffin with a flaming sworn and have him do a fly by of the gate while screaming, “negative ghost rider my sword is on fire!!!”