May 3

Against the Giants: Session 154

dyson's delve level 1

map by the very talented Dyson Logos

Our heroes continue exploring Dyson’s Delve...

…heading down to the third level after having destroyed the ghoul, and crossing a bone-strewn cavern into some catacombs. As they move through the cave, a rock almost clobbers Sidni as she scouts ahead, and draws a gang of zombies from out of the darkness: these are swiftly turned and obliterated by Halmary’s divine might, although most fall to the blade of Calibos. The catacombs are old, with broken masonry and coffins. These are looted as the heroes explore, searching for secret doors as they move along. Some ghouls try to surprise them, but Sidni, Calibos and Xellos cut them down. They locate a secret door, behind the pile of treasure the ghouls had collected, and find an untouched sarcophagus inside. Opening it triggers a flash of blinding light, that only Sidni is affected by. She is cured by Halmary’s magic, and some more loot taken away. They carry on, find another tomb with air vents blowing air down. A quartet of robber flies swarms to attack, but their buzzing is cut short as Xellos and Ungrid swat them.

They backtrack to the caverns and head further down: more exploration finds a trapped room with sleeping gas (rendered useless as Calibos smashes open the door with his giant strength) and yet more goblins. These pretend to be statues by standing absolutely still, but the heroes aren’t fooled and tell them goblins to avoid them if they want to live. The goblins agree and scurry off. Another room opens into a treasure trove, guarded by a manticore that attacks but finds itself badly wounded by the combined might of Ungrid and Calibos; it tries to retreat, but Sidni’s long reaching spear ends its life before it can flee. They loot the room and move off, finding a secret set of tunnels and rooms, with indifferent lizardmen standing guard. They warn the heroes that the goblins are theirs, so they should go away. They more or less ignore the creatures, and carry on past them instead…

End of Session

Kills: 7 zombies, 4 robber flies, 3 ghouls, 1 manticore.

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April 18

Against the Giants: Session 153

[Note: the PCs have ventured into the mini-mega-dungeon of Dyson’s Delve]

 12th Flocktime, 594 CY

After some downtime in Hochoch, the heroes peruse their treasure maps and decide to head off to a dungeon one of the maps says lies in the hills beyond Pest’s Crossing. They head back home, then hike through the forest and into the hills that rise gradually up into the Crystalpeaks. The dungeon lies beneath a hill topped by the foundations of a former fortress. A cave leads inside, and spiral stairs lead inside from the ruins. As twilight sets in, the heroes waste no time checking out the cave using continual light conjured by Halmary, with the invisible Sidni scouting ahead. She finds tracks around the entrance and inside the cave– giant rat paw prints– and exploration of the caves reveals a nest of indifferent giant ferrets, munching on giant rat corpses; then a nest of giant rats in another. The heroes spy coins glinting in the light, and decide that they want it: Sidni incinerates several of the rats with a lightning bolt, sending the others scurrying. Sidni wades in, killing a few rats, as does Calibos and Halmary. Meanwhile, the ferrets are attracted by the noise and smell of blood and venture out: Ungrid kills one, leaving Xellos to cut the others down.

The coins turn out to be copper pieces, which the heroes decide aren’t worth the pain of collecting. Instead they follow some narrow tunnels into the manmade section of the dungeon, quickly coming across some goblins. Halmary knocks one out as the other runs off. A quick interrogation reveals possible loot in the nearby crypts, and that goblins lair on this level and the one below. They let the goblin go. Next up, the crypts: eight skeleton are found and blasted to ash by Halmary’s divine power; as is a zombie.

Deciding that lowly goblins and undead are not worth the time, they head back to the caves and take a stairway down to the next level: there they are surprised by a ghoul, who is equally surprised when Halmary turns undead and blasts the ghoul to dust. They find treasure hidden in a cleft in the rock, loot it, and carry on through the cave…

End of Session

Kills: 11 giant rats, 3 giant ferrets, 8 skeletons, 1 zombie, 1 ghoul; also KO’d a goblin.

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April 4

Against the Giants: Session 152

map of city centre

Heart of Derelion

28th Planting, 594 CY

Before heading in to Derelion, Halmary communes with his goddess and asks three questions: (1) is the elf king alive? No. (2) Is he in the city? Yes. (3) Is the scroll that was meant to close the portal on his body? Yes.

With the goal of locating the lost scroll and to then close the portal, the Heroes head into the ruins of the elven city at what they expect is around mid-morning, but the ever present Shadows make it impossible to tell day from night. As they make their way down the weed-choked paths towards where they know the Portal lies, they see ruin all around them: trees rotten and misshapen, soil turned to ash, once beautifully painted buildings now peeling and flaking. Within the ruins the remnants of elves, mere Shadows of their past lives, writhe and scuttle in the darkness, although they leave the heroes alone as they head deeper into the city.

They follow Xellos’ sword that locates objects, and after a couple of hours searching he feels a tug in the direction of the scroll: which lies right where the portal is. The Ruinguard protects himself with a Protection from Evil and Halmary blesses them as they approach; the cleric then blocks the portal with a scroll of Forbiddance, preventing any more Shadows from coming out. Sidni scouts ahead, as the area of withered tree-houses is oddly lit; invisible, she spies the portal: a whirlpool of darkness sucking in the light. Shadowy figures, elven knights, stand nearby, watching and guarding. They seem to sense the heroes approach and as Sidni reports back, the Shadow Knights move in to attack: and step right into Sidni’s lightning bolt as she lines them up and fires off her shield. Then battle is joined!

Calibos strides into the midst of the Shadows and slays one that was badly injured by the bolt. Then, all around them, lesser Shadows manifest and move in to attack. One strikes Sidni and weakens her; another grabs Ungrid’s arm, draining his strength as its cold touch bites into his flesh. Xellos retaliates by fireballing a group of Shadows, destroying several Shadows and one of the Knights. Halmary activates his giant strength shield and joins the fight. As Ungrid hastes himself and starts to wreck havoc around him, Calibos steps up and dispatches another Shadow, as does Sidni, and Ungrid too: the dwarf follows this with a war cry that inspires everyone to fight that much harder, and he heads into the tree where the scroll is meant to be, followed by the others close behind. Sidni is reinvigorated as she cuts down another, joining the fight inside.

Outside, Xellos and Halmary fend off the Shadows: one falls, then another, then the way is clear and they follow the others inside: within the tree the last Shadow Knights are cut down by Ungrid, who also badly wounds the Shadow King (actually the remains of the elf king), leaving it open for Xellos to fly in and deliver the final blow.

They find the scroll on the dead king and Xellos immediately casts the reverse gate, and the portal is sealed and dispelled by a soft pop and a sudden lifting of tension. The shadows already seem less.

In the tree they find the treasure of the Shadow Dragon and take the time to loot it.

Then, with their quest complete and the enemy defeated, they head back to Hochoch to rest and decide their next plan of action.

End of Session

Kills: 10 Shadows, 4 Shadow Knights, 1 Shadow King, 1 Portal of Shadow.

 

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March 23

Against the Giants: Session 151

24th Planting, 594 CY

They Heroes travel on through the Dim Forest, occasionally losing the path in the enveloping darkness. The day passes without encountering anything, although during the night faint screams can be heard coming from deeper in the forest. Sidni suffers from night terrors and has a restless, sleepless night. In the morning they continue on, the darkness sapping their strength and will. They arrive at Hocholve around dusk, the abandoned town that the remnants of the forest elves took as their home while the Heroes dealt with the dragon and the portal. The place is a ghost town, the buildings falling apart, the ground dry and grass and trees withered. They approach some dark buildings after hearing noises of movement within: as soon as they enter, Shadows of elves detach from the walls and swarm in to attack!

Xellos finds himself a target for several at once, but shakes off their cold touch and manages to slay them instead. Ungrid, Halmary and Calibos wade into the mass, Sidni stabbing from behind. The Shadows prove easy to slay. Further search of the town reveals no one living, and no sign of where anyone went. The Heroes leave town and find a sheltered spot amongst the trees to make their camp. Another night passes, their vitality slowly ebbing away; Halmary has to resort of healing magic to keep their life force intact.

On the fourth day the continue following the path towards Derelion, to see what they can do with the portal. More screams are heard in the morning, and as dusk falls Sidni– scouting ahead invisible– spots a pair of Shadow Giants (shadowy hill giant figures) heading in their direction. Halmary activates his Giant Strength shield and Ungrid hastes himself. The Shadow Giants walk into their midst, and one is slain immediately as everyone piles on it, swords and axes, maces and spears stabbing, cutting and bludgeoning away. The second follows quickly after, barely able to raise a fist to defend itself.

Another night in the forest gives Halmary night terrors, disrupting what rest he needed to cast spells the next day. Guards are posted, and during Xellos’ shift, four strange bulbous sacs of raw flesh festooned with eyes floats into the camp, totally surprised: Sidni incinerates two using her lightning bolt shield, and Ungrid takes out the others. They relocate the camp and sleep poorly.

In the morning, tired and feeling drained, they continue onwards up the path to the lost elven city and encounter another four floating fleshy eye sacs: Sidni again blasts one with a well-placed lightning bolt, then kills two more with her spear, leaving the last for Calibos to cut down. None of the party have any idea what these things are.

As dusk falls on the fifth day, they reach the outskirts of Derelion. There they make camp, and during the night they are attacked in their sleep by several Slow Shadows: two each cling to Calibos and Halmary, sapping their strength and life and slowing them down; it feels like they are still asleep, struggling to wake. Ungrid, on guard, calls out the alarm, and finds himself kicking Sidni awake, dragging Shadows off Calibos and killing them. Xellos slays one and helps Halmary by pelting the ones on the cleric with magic missiles. The Shadows are soon destroyed, and for once the rest of the night passes without trouble or terrors, and in the morning everyone is refreshed and their vitality restored with more divine healing.

Standing before them: Derelion.

End of Session

Kills: 7 Shadows, 2 Shadow Giants, 7 Slow Shadow, 8 Bulbous Flash Sacs.

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March 4

Against the Giants: Session 150

area_map

As the behemoth rages, the party at first decide to withdraw; but then Ungrid hurls his hammer at it, and Xellos fails to charm monster, and the massive creature’s attention is fixed on them. It tears through the stone and walls of the vault, the whirl of elemental energy ripping the rocks apart, and scouring the heroes. Undaunted, they decide to fight, unwilling to let it loose on an unsuspecting Duchy.

Sidni heads off to remove the Seals from their plinths: she topples two of them and then heads back to see if it had any effect. Meanwhile, Halmary flame strikes it, with no effect, and Xellos tries to disintegrate it, again with no effect. Calibos and Ungrid wade in to fight, ignoring the swirling aura of destruction, taking blows from the beast, but managing to eat away at it with hammer and sword. Calibos quaffs a potion of giant strength, but has to back off to heal himself, leaving Ungrid to batter it down: fortunately, the behemoth keeps missing, stomping on the ground and punching the air, the heroes narrowly skipping and dodging, allowing them to heal and regroup, and attack again, and again, and again. Sidni comes back in time to loose a few magic arrows, and the monster starts to fall apart. It manages to stomp on the dwarf, but he rolls out of the way to be healed by Halmary, leaving it to Calibos to deliver the killing blow!

The behemoth falls apart, destroyed.

They search the vault, loot the dark elves, but find nothing that might be a war machine, no hidden chambers, and nothing much to loot. Unsure whether that was the war machine or not, unsure as to whether the Duke or Malachi had set them up, or if it was simply a lack of understanding about how to deal with it, and wondering what the dark elves were doing there, the heroes rest for the night and decide to head off to the Dim Forest rather than return to the duke; thinking that whatever is going on, maybe the portal and the Shadow Dragon have something to do with it.

They head to the forest via Hochoch, and find the forest cloaked in shadows and darkness so thick that their lights can barely illuminate more than a dozen feet. They follow the road, heading towards Hocholve, where the elves relocated to after losing their city. It has been two years since they were asked to seal the portal in Derelion, and the consequences of their inaction is plain to see (or not see, since the dark limits their vision).

No sooner have they embarked on their journey, they encounter none other than the Shadow Dragon itself: out hunting it decides to attack, and with its deadly breath weapon manages to fell the cleric and injure others; unfortunately, it is badly wounded in return, and before it can fly away to safety, Sidni and Calibos cut it down, slaying the mighty dragon! Halmary, it turns out, was merely knocked out, and recovers quickly.

They continue on, camping for the night, and around midday of the following day they find that they have lost their way after taking a detour around a fallen tree. As they try to decide which way to go, a trio of Shadows reach out of the darkness and attack, but are swiftly defeated. They carry on, and as night falls (or as best as they can tell), they find the road again and make camp.

End of Session

Kills: 1 behemoth [30 HD], 1 Shadow Dragon [14 HD], 3 Shadows.

KO’d: Halmary (just knocked out).

Current Date: 24th Planting, 594 CY.

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