August 29

Against the Giants: Session 171

map of pest's crossing
The Ruins of Pest’s Crossing

Richfest, 594 CY

Back at Pest’s Crossing, a couple of weeks after leaving Pregmere, our Heroes of the Liberation are enjoying the end of the mid-summer festival. Alone in the banquet hall of Calibos’ keep, dining and drinking, they discuss plans to root out the Mirror Duplicates and restore order to the Grand Duchy. They have the decoded messages and lists that they took for the council house, which highlighted the various lords and ladies that they suspect to be the enemy, as well as potential recruits to their cause. To gather more information about what towns and villages are under the sway of the Mirror Lords, Sidni hires ten spies to pose as couriers and travel from settlement to settlement, learning as much as they can. Already some have reported back: the Duke is massing an army at Gorna, several thousand strong, the entire military force that the Duchy can gather. Rumour has it that they intend to march on Pest’s Crossing and liberate it from the rebels and traitors that are there: in other words, the Heroes and their allies (Marquis Bertram and Baron Lionel). The Heroes have already established a war chest, filling it with gold, and word has gone out to attract mercenaries to join their small but growing rebel army (three companies of infantry, plus a platoon of cavalry, bowmen and more infantry). Meanwhile, Halmary’s church stronghold is nearing completion.

As they discuss further plans– such as where to go next, and whether they should head straight to Gorna and eliminate the generals of the army– the main course of their meal is wheeled in: a large roasted boar on a bed of roast vegetables. The two men roll it in on a cart, then suddenly raise a plank on the cart, throwing the food to the floor, and allowing a fancy mirror to sit upright, reflecting back the entire party in its silvered glass: immediately, mirror images of the heroes step forth with murderous intent, and suddenly the hall is filled with the sound of battle!

In the first few seconds, Calibos leaps over the table and hacks away at the Mirror version of Sidni; while the real Sidni gets into position and releases a lightning bolt, wounding three of the other images (Mirror Calibos, Mirror Halmary, and her counterpart), while both Xellos’ throw a spell of confusion on everyone in the room; although several resist, most are affected, making the rest of the battle more interesting as confused allies turn on one another, and others babble. An previously invisible mage pops up, summoning the earth’s teeth to injure Halmary and disrupt his prayers. Ungrid, the real dwarf, hastes himself and charges in to wound one of the assassins that brought the mirror in, then shatters/kills him with a mighty swing of his hammer. The fight spreads out across the hall, the enemy suffering most, as Xellos destroys his counterpart and Ungrid shatters the Mirror Halmary. The other assassin falls to Sidni’s numerous spear thrusts, and Xellos deals the death blow to the mage, then helps Ungrid finish off the dwarf’s duplicate. That leaves just the Mirror Calibos standing, but he proves difficult to hit thanks to his superior armour; plus it helps that Calibos and Sidni briefly end up fighting each other in their confusion. Ungrid tries to take on Mirror Calibos, but the duplicate gains the upper hand, and manages to take Ungrid down!

Then Calibos steps up to battle his mirror self, the confusion spell thankfully ended, and after an exchange of blows the final Mirror Man shatters.

End of Session

Kills: 2 assassins, 5 mirror lords.

KO’d: Ungrid (results to follow next session).

August 22

Against the Giants: Session 169 & 170

map of pregmere

Session 169

Under disguise and invisibility the heroes approached the council house, with added silence by an ensorcelled coin thanks to Halmary. The others, except Sidni and Xellos (who have their own magic) moved under an invisibility 10′ radius spell. Prior to their trek across town, Xellos sent out his wizard eyes to scout the house, following his initially spying with a breaking & entering: he spied soldiers and lords, in meetings and guarded. As night fell, assuming the inhabitants to be asleep, the spells were cast and the heroes made their way to the house undetected (thankfully, Pregmere was under curfew and the streets were empty).

They broke in through the study window, and immediately located a mirror covered by a black cloth; Sidni smashed it. Still under silence they crept through the kitchen and down into the cellars, finding the usual storerooms and wine cellar, as well as a locked alchemical laboratory with a few potions to loot. The door was smashed open by Calibos’ giant strength. They headed to another door, iron, and got ready to break that one down too…

Session 170

…and kicked the door in, finding the room beyond to be an armoury. While all this is going on, it is nearing dawn and upstairs people are stirring. The cook arrives to prepare the breakfast, notices someone is up, and alerts the guards who alert the lords, who strap on their armour and weapons and head down to ‘welcome’ the intruders.

Below, the heroes search the cellars but find nothing much. They head back up, surprising the cooks (who were told to pretend as if everything was normal) and tied them up. They head out of the kitchen and as they near the hall, the lords and guards spring their ambush and battle is joined, raging across the ground floor of the townhouse.

Despite their prowess, the ambush, and the added element of surprise (an invisible Baron, sneaking lords), the heroes prove more than capable of dealing with these creatures: for each (except one lord and the guards) shatters upon their demise, like broken mirrors, just as the baron and his men did in The Lea. The first to fall is a guard to Calibos’ sword, then one of the lords thanks to Halmary’s flame strike. He destroys another one a few rounds later with a second flame strike, delivering divine justice on the enemy. Another guard is crushed by Ungrid’s hammer, and Halmary takes out the baroness in charge with a finger of death. Sidni takes one on single-handed, and after a furious exchange of blow slays the creature. Ungrid and Calibos chop up another together, and the paladin takes out the last one. Xellos, in the midst of all of this fighting, lends a hand with magic missiles.

They take time to search and loot the place, finding plenty of coins and gems and the odd potion. There are also coded messages, maps and battle plans, which are taken for later reading. They discuss setting the place on fire, but instead dump the bodies and shattered fragments down the well in the cellar. Then, with Halmary disguised as one of the barons, they get the infantry that is mobilising to march to Gorna to stand down and remain in town.

The heroes prepare to leave for Pest’s Crossing, discussing their next objective.

End of Session

Kills: 2 guards, 6 Mirror Duplicates.

August 7

Against the Giants: Session 168

hex map of town
The Lea

With Halmary disguised as the Baron and praying to his goddess to find traps, and Xellos following with his wand of secret door location, the Heroes explore the keep and take what treasure they can find. Along the way they encounter some guards, and Halmary orders them to stand outside, guarding the keep and making sure no one gets inside. Sidni, meanwhile, heads out to see if he can see any of the original guards amongst the slave-labour, but none look familiar to the men they had killed. Those dead, who all shattered into dusty mirrored-glass pieces are swept into now empty chests and little of the battle scene remains.

They spend the night in the keep and come dawn, they are interrogating the captured mage and only learn that he was but hired help and knows nothing of any use. Halmary prays for Xellos to have the sight of true seeing and he flies out, checking out the guards: all are Mirror Men. Back at the keep, Halmary gets the guards outside to come in for an inspection. As soon as they are all lined up Sidni lightning bolts them, destroying them instantly. Then they head out into the town and systematically slaughter the soldiers and guards as Xellos identifies them as enemies. They fall to a mix of fireballslightning bolts and swords and maces; Ungrid’s hammer bashes heads. They free the slaves, passing them bags of copper coins to help them on their way, and pointing them in the direction of Pest’s Crossing if they have nowhere else to go.

Then they leave The Lea, leaving the town largely empty and certainly undefended. The captured made is put under a quest to do no harm to the Heroes and is sent off with the slaves.

After a day’s hard travel, they arrive at the spa town of Pregmere under disguise again. Xellos, with true seeing, flies around invisible and discovers that not all of the Duke’s soldiers are Mirror men, and that there is a garrison of two units of infantry (120 men apiece) that seem to be mobilising, but they have no idea where they are heading.  The Heroes advance on the town…

End of Session

Kills: 40 Mirror guards, 2 Mirror captains.

August 2

Against the Giants: Session 167

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall…

The duplicates of Halmary and Calibos step out of the mirror and immediately move to attack, each facing off against their opposite. Xellos, meanwhile, flies over to where the Baron stands and attacks him, leaving Sidni to make her way over to the mirror; she delivers a hefty blow to it, shattering it. Both Halmary’s being to cast spells, but the Mirror Halmary is faster, laying down a flame strike on his counterpart, disrupting his spell and charring him. The two Calibos’ exchange blows, their superior armour protecting well.

Both Halmary’s begin casting again, but the Mirror version is disrupted when Xellos turns away from the Baron (parrying a thrust of the man’s sword) and pelts the Mirror cleric with magic missiles, allowing Halmary to burn his opposite with his own Flame Strike. Sidni, meanwhile, charges across the room and slays the guard by the door. She then opens the doors and shouts down the stairs to Ungrid, yelling for his help. Ungrid hears them and fights his way up.

Calibos and Mirror Calibos wound each other, then heal with their lay on hands and Rings of Regeneration, while Halmary and Sidni gang up on the Mirror Halmary; both he and his opposite also heal themselves, prolonging the fight as Xellos cuts down the baron: who shatters like the mirror did. Xellos pelts the Mirror Men with more magic missiles, but those fired against the Mirror Halmary rebound thanks to his Ring of Spell Turning, but he then joins the battle and disrupts another spell. Then guards follow Ungrid into the room, another enemy cleric behind them. The battle moves into the room and corridor. The new cleric tries to hold person Ungrid, who just ignores it and instead helps Calibos against his opposite: the Mirror Calibos starts to wilt under the extra pressure. Outside in the corridor, the new cleric is incinerated as Sidni lets loose a lightning bolt, then turns his attention to the fight inside and throws down an oil of slipperiness at the feet of the Mirror Calibos, who slips and falls over, then slides out of the oil and manages to stand, right into the midst of the heroes. Xellos cuts through several guards as he battles his way to the Mirror Calibos and wounds him. Ungrid takes out the Mirror Halmary, shattering him, then cleaves into several guards; all the guards also shatter. Then in walks an iron golem and behind him– spotted by Xellos with his true seeing– an invisible mage. Halmary turns his attention to the golem, leaving Calibos and Ungrid to finish off the Mirror Calibos; Sidni attacks and badly wounds the captain of the guards, then kills him. Ungrid takes out the golem. Then the mage, after pelting Calibos with his own magic missiles is badly wounded by Xellos, and surrenders. He is knocked out by Calibos and tied and gagged.

With the battle over, the Heroes begin to search the keep, looting as they go along, with Sidni invisible and scouting ahead, and Halmary disguised as the Baron, in case they come across any more guards.

End of Session

Kills: 9 guards, 1 baron, 1 vicar, 1 captain, 1 iron golem, 1 Mirror Calibos, 1 Mirror Halmary; also captured 1 mage.

July 26

Against the Giants Session 166

In the morning the Heroes decide to continue travelling away from the valley. They spend an uneventful night on the edge of the forest, and prepare to combat the shadowy First Victim at dawn. This time they decide to place the blade outside their camp, 50′ away, to see whether the creature goes for it or the person who took it. As dawn rises on the 12th day of Wealsun, the creature appears and picks up the blade then disappears, taking it. The Heroes shrug, pack up their camp, and head home. They say goodbye to Scully and three days later arrive safely at Pest’s Crossing.

Medmyr meets them and tells them that a few days ago a warrant for the arrest of two lords, the Baron of Pregmere (Lionel) and the Marquis of The Lea and the surrounding area (Bertram), for treason. The two lords arrived a day later and Medmyr had them arrested, and placed in guest rooms under house arrest until Baron Calibos returned. The two lords wanted to see him, and the other heroes, and as soon as they have refreshed themselves a meeting is held in Calibos’ quarters. There the lords explain that they believe the Duke is not himself, that there is something seriously wrong. Other lords seem to be under the same sort of influence, but they do not know want. Both have been exiled and replacements have taken over command of their domains. Fortunately, some of their loyal soldiers managed to escape and are waiting for word to join them. They want the Heroes help in finding out what is happening and what to do.

After a brief discussion– since they too suspect something is up– the Heroes agree to investigate, and leave the lords under Medmyr’s care and watchful eye. The lords sends word to their men to come to the Hornwood to make camp nearby. Meanwhile, the Heroes pack their bags and head off to The Lea to investigate the new Baron who now rules there. They travel in disguise and under cover, with only Calibos and Ungrid posing as themselves. Halmary uses his mask to disguise himself as an elderly wandering cleric and Xellos and Sidni both keep themselves invisible. They find the village now has the additions of prison camps and a quarry where stone is being cut form the walls that are stretching from the major towns on the borders. Criminals are doing most of the work, used pretty much as slave labour, but rumour has it that these so-called criminals are merely people who have spoken out about the Duke and his lords. Calibos sends word home to check if the men the Duke sent to him are the same, and if so, let them be freshly judged and released if necessary: others are asked if they want to join his army, and a few dozen do so.

At the keep that overlooks the village Calibos, Ungrid and the disguised Halmary ask to see the Marquis, but are told that Baron Curtis is now in charge. They are asked to leave their weapons behind, which Calibos and Halmary agree to (Halmary has his disguised as a walking stick and takes it with him, Calibos has his weapon hidden inside his magic shield), leaving Ungrid in the Great Hall with the weapons and several guards. The other two are led upstairs into a spacious office where the Baron bids them enter and sit. Sidni and Xellos, both invisible, join them, and guards stand watch inside and out. Before they reached the keep, Halmary cast True Seeing on Xellos, who checks out the people he passes: there is something slightly off about them, the Baron as well, but he cannot tell what exactly. They begin to talk, questioning the Baron about the higher taxes, the slave labour, the whereabouts of the Marquis and what he thinks of the Duke; the Baron tells them he has a gift for them, and goes behind his desk and pulls a large mourning cloth off a huge ornate mirror.

Calibos and Halmary see their reflections. Their reflections see them smile. Then they step out of the mirror!

End of Session