Against the Giants: Liberation of Geoff

Monastery of the First Blade: Part One
Session 162

9th Wealsun, 594 CY

After travelling for over a week into the deepest valleys of the Crystalmist mountains, accompanied by a scholar named Scully, our Heroes reach the bottom of a switchback path that winds up a mountain to a small plateau hundreds of feet up. They have been hired to escort and protect Scully as he goes in search of the legendary First Blade, said to be the first blade ever forged that was used to murder. It is reported to have been kept and worshipped by monks in an isolated monastery, long abandoned. The blade, according to Scully, lies in a sanctum within the temple of the monastery.

After camping in the cold, snowy gully, the Heroes begin the long hike up the snow-clad path, keeping to the sloping sides, away from the drop. Halfway up they pause as they spot a wyvern circling overhead, but it does not approach and as the sun begins to set they reach the top. Sidni, invisible, goes ahead and scouts out the immediate area: old walls, broken in parts, a gatehouse with broken doors, no sign of life. After lengthy discussion, as the sun slips behind the craggy mountains, they decide to venture inside to explore before they find a place to camp. They enter a large courtyard, trees sprouting from the snowy ground, a frozen fountain in the middle, cloisters and buildings worn away by time and the elements but still standing. It is dark, only the light of stars and pale moons providing dim illumination. Halmary conjures up some continual light, and torches are lit. Sidni goes off exploring by herself, finding doors, a watchtower, and what appears to a temple. The others locate the walled gardens, which is partially covered by rubble that has fallen from the mountain. Giant rats inhabit the gardens, and watch the intruders warily. The gardens are warm, a pool of water unfrozen, and flowers bloom. They leave the rats alone and all meet up, Sidni too, outside the double doors of a great hall.

Now they begin to see ghostly figures moving about: monks going about their daily business, tending the grounds, exercising, walking; all silent and paying no heed to them. Into the great hall go Halmary, Sidni and Calibos, Ungrid bringing up the rear while Xellos waits outside guarding Scully, who is making notes in his battered journal. The hall is strewn with rubble, with old tables, some upturned on their sides. Halmary and Sidni step on caltrops hidden amongst the rubble, and Calibos narrowly avoids being pelted by rocks as he trips a wire: then a voice, gruff and stern, calls out to them “Leave now! You are not welcome here. Turn around and go”. They actually listen and back out, heading towards the watchtower Sidni discovered to use it for their camp.

The watchtower is crowded with everyone inside and guards are set, standing atop the roof. On the roof is a harpoon-firing crossbow, intact and relatively rust-free. It is loaded and more harpoons are below. As the others sleep, Calibos stands guard and spots a wyvern, possibly the same one, making its circle above them. It begins to descend, then suddenly dives!

Calibos shouts out to alert the others, and they slowly awake. Then he turns the crossbow on the plummeting monster and fires off the harpoon, striking the wyvern and throwing off its aim as it swoops down and tries to carry Calibos off. It flies overhead and is pelted by magic missiles as Xellos steps outside. As it begins to turn round for another pass, Calibos hurls a spear at it and again hits: the wyvern turns tail and flies off, driven away.

The rest of the night passes uneventfully and in the morning they head to the temple and find the stone doors immobile. Ungrid and Xellos use their magic to try and open it, but it is impervious to their attempts. Ungrid levitates to see the top and spies a skylight at its apex. They gather at the doors: a carving of a crude blade in on the left-hand door, and on the right is a broken bowl protruding from the wall, the other half nowhere in sight. The interior is stained black.

They discuss options as the sun begins to shine.

End of Session

Dyson's Delve: Part 9 (end)
Session 161

With the dragon slain, the Heroes loot the dragon’s hoard of treasure and take some scales from the corpse. Then they head up out of the dungeon, into the lengthening day. They hike out of the mountain pass, Matilda and Patricia with them, and as night falls they make camp in the outskirts of the forest. During the night, as Ungrid and an invisible Xellos stand guard, giants (desperate, outlaws, exiled giants, remnants from the defeated invasion) spot their dwindling fire and try to catch them unawares.

Xellos spies them approaching and uses his wand of illusion to distract them long enough to start waking the others. A semi-naked Calibos grabs his sword and charges at the first giant he sees, wounding it, taking a wound himself, then retaliating and slaying a hill giant. Meanwhile, the trees part as a fire giant lumbers into the camp, and beyond the light more movement can be seen. Xellos uses an other illusion to distract any new giants, while Sindi attacks the fire giant from behind, stabbing it in the back; Ungrid leaps up and clobbers it one too, then follows it up with a hefty undercut that fells the giant. As it falls heavily to the ground, Halmary conjures a light where the other giants are, and finds just one more hill giant momentarily confused by Xellos’ illusion. Calibos charges in, wounding it badly, then putting an end to its miserable life.

The Heroes assemble back at the camp, where Calibos discovers that is girdle of giant strength is missing. Halmary and Xellos both saw Patricia and Matilda near his bedding, and accuse the women of stealing. When they deny it and a search reveals nothing, Xellos uses his locate object sword and discovers it is on Matilda. Halmary tires to hold person, which fails. It does, however, prompt both women to suddenly shape-change into doppelgängers, who are swiftly dispatched.

The Heroes return to Pest’s Crossing, carouse and spend gold, take some downtime to recover from their latest venture, and learn that the Duke has increased taxes to 50% and is arresting any dissenters, making them work double-time on the ever-increasing wall. They also take time to have their new collection of magic items identified: a sword that wipes spells from a mage’s mind; a spear that allows limited flight; a staff of healing; a glowing warhammer; and a mace that does double-damage with a critical hit.

For their next adventure they are approached by a scholar who wants an escort deep into the mountains west of the forest, to where a legendary weapon is said to be held in an old abandoned monastery.

End of Session

Kills: 1 fire giant, 2 hill giants, 2 doppelgängers.
Level-Up: Halmary is now a level 10 cleric.

Dyson's Delve: Part 8
Session 160

In the lair of the wererats, the vizier surrenders and is tied up and interrogated about the whereabouts of Matilda’s and Patricia’s missing daughters: he directs them to the caverns below this level, past the giant worm, which- he tells them- is trained to back off from troglodyte smells. They gag him, loot the place, then leave him behind as they make their way to the worm cave, picking up a troglodyte corpse from the levels above. They descend the stairs, entering more natural caverns. Sidni and Halmary scout ahead and spot some monster backing off into the darkness. Halmary warns the others, while Sidni follows it into the dark. The monster turns out to be a Minotaur, who spots the party coming from a side passage and attacks. Calibos moves off to intercept it, but triggers a trap: rocks fall, bruising the paladin, and blocking the side passage; the others are forced to go the long way round. Sidni attacks it from behind as it charges in to attack Calibos; at the same time, from further down the cave, a pair of giant lizards move in to join the battle, smelling fresh meat!

Once again the monsters prove no match for the party: between Calibos and Sidni the Minotaur falls dead, the explorer landing the felling blow; the lizards are tougher to put down, requiring Ungrid, Xellos and Halmary to hack away at them; one falls to Calibos’ sword as he joins in, the other is hacked to death by Xellos’ axe. They find coins to loot in the cave where the Minotaur laired, and stairs down to a pebble beach of an underground lake. Footprints, troglodytes, lead off along the beach, and the Heroes track them, Sidni leading the way.

The footprints lead to the lair of the troglodytes, who are scared of the party and are sent off to visit some ogres, who might have the women’s daughters. Xellos wizard locks the door, trapping the troglodytes inside. The ogres are unfriendly, even more so when Calibos charges in, followed by Sidni, Halmary and Xellos. One ogre falls after another, more injured as Sidni releases her lightning bolt from her shield, and the last are crushed by Ungrid’s hammer. More loot is bagged and they head further along the beach, to a cave with fanatic troglodytes who immediately attack, the Heroes waste no time parleying and Calibos wades in, cutting one stinking lizard down after another, splattering his armour in gore. Ungrid joins in. Xellos scares some more by chucking an ogre head at them.

They ascend a stairway: into the lair of a black dragon!

Halmary activates his giant strength and flame strikes the dragon before it can do more than open its jaws; Ungrid hastes himself, and Xellos activates his dagger of spell-turning; the dragon spits acid, burning Calibos, Halmary and Ungrid, but they survive and Ungrid charges in, ending the dragon’s life with a mighty swing of his hammer!

End of Session

Kills: 1 minotuar, 2 giant lizards, 8 ogres, 8 troglodytes, 1 black dragon.

Dyson's Delve: Part 7
Session 159

The heroes continue to explore Dyson’s Delve…

…burning their way through a room of yellow mould, and descending deeper (to level nine). They descend into a hall with statues scattered around, in poses suggesting a battle scene. Halmary immediately spots an uneven wall, which turns out to be a secret door: inside the small room beyond are chests of old coins and gems. They loot the chests and cautiously advance down the corridor, coming across a door blocked by statues of elves posed in an attempt to pick the lock, two rearguards fighting off an enemy no longer present. Scorpions them come at them, giant-sized with deadly stings: none of the monsters prove much of an obstacle, and Xellos and Calibos cut them down, with a little help from Halmary, Ungrid and Patricia.

Further exploration reveals a giant skeleton with four arms guarding a doorway, and a room of cockatrices that react aggressively: the lizard-chickens are slain by Calibos. Ungrid gets the skeleton to attack by hurling his hammer at it, and Halmary discovers it is a bone golem rather than some undead guardian when his turn undead fails. As the golem attacks, the doorway opens and wererats charge into the battle. The golem is swiftly dispatched, Calibos once again landing the killing blow; Ungrid kills a wererat Halmary attempts to knock out, and Xellos webs a couple more. As Calibos slays the last, the others try to negotiate, but Xellos peppers them with magic missiles instead. Other wererats flee, disappearing down some stairs. Calibos goes after them, while the others– unaware that Calibos descended– investigate a barracks and find another secret door: behind it a giant worn rears up, but before it can attack, the door is slammed shut.

Below, Calibos finds himself held as a wererat priest freezes him in place. More of the creatures move in, intent on carving the paladin into bite-sized chunks, but Xellos comes to his rescue and flies into the room, killing two of the creatures before they realise what is happening. The noise attracts others and alerts the other heroes, and a short battle occurs in the chamber: Xellos slays one wererat after another, cutting down the priest as well; Sidni skewers one on her spear, and Halmary steps in and takes down the wounded wererat king after it has been bashed and bruised by the others. He proves himself just as capable as the others by cleaving the head of a wererat too. He then steps up to Calibos and removes his paralysis. The paladin leaps into action and slays one more, leaving the last wererat– a robe-wearing vizier– who throws its paws up in the air and surrenders.

End of Session

Kills: 4 yellow moulds, 4 giant scorpions, 2 cockatrices, 1 bone golem, 15 wererats (including a priest and their king).

Dyson's Delve: Part 6
Session 158

With the stone door locked, the heroes backtrack to the other corridors, exploring further. They locate a secret door with treasure chests inside, loot them, then discovered an abandoned living quarters with desks and crystal statues: naturally enough these animate and attack as the heroes enter and begin searching the room. Ungrid and Xellos smash one each, Sidni destroys another, and Halmary weakens one for Calibos to finish off. The room, sadly, is empty of treasure or anything of note. However, from the chests they find a scroll, with a knock spell that they use on the locked stone door. Inside the room is the lair of a malnourished and insane medusa. Thankfully, first to enter is Calibos wearing his helm that protects him against gaze attacks: he manages to ignore her deadly gaze and charges her, badly wounding her and distracting the creature long enough for Ungrid and Xellos to move in, eyes averted, and slay her. They loot the body and room, finding plenty of jewellery to cart away.

They head back down and through the lower level, to the other set of stairs heading down and encounter a pair of ogres that demand a toll for safe passage: Ungrid throws his hammer at one, killing it instantly, leaving the other for Calibos to kill. These too have some loot, plenty of gold and electrum coins from past tolls. They head down a corridor, and find a door leading to a natural cave, with a cave bear that isn’t too happy being disturbed. As Calibos and Xellos deal with it, a door opens down the corridor and a hell hound and ogres come out and engage the others. None of the monsters prove particularly dangerous, as the hell hound falls to Ungrid’s hammer, but not before it singes his beard. This insult cannot go unpunished, so Ungrid takes his rage out on the ogres next, killing them, albeit with some help from Halmary. Meanwhile, over the in the cave, Calibos and Xellos slay the old grey-furred cave bear, and Sidni explores down the corridor and discovers a cage hanging from the ceiling: inside are a pair of women, who Sidni frees. They introduce themselves as Matilda and Patricia, adventurers who brought their daughters down here and have since lost them, having been kidnapped by the ogres. They join the party, although the heroes keep an eye on them.

Beyond the cage corridor is another natural cavern, into which the heroes descend and come face-to-claw with a trio of owlbears: these too prove to be merely a pause in the heroes exploration, all falling to Calibos’ superior strength. Through another door are several shriekers that scream; these are pulverised. Beyond them, troglodytes who hurl spears and– by pure luck more than skill– wound Calibos; the heroes then proceed to slaughter them and loot the room; Halmary triggers a cloud of yellow mould spores, but manages to not breath any in.

Another door stands on the rear wall, and the heroes cautiously approach…

End of Session

Kills: 4 crystal statues, 1 medusa, 5 ogres, 1 hell hound, 1 cave bear, 3 owlbears, 10 shriekers, 8 troglodytes.

Dyson's Delve: Part 5
Session 157

After looting the bodies of the dead cultists, the heroes squash some fire beetles, get ambushed by a harpy and more cultists, but slaughter them easily enough as Xellos blasting the harpy out of the sky with some magic missiles, then Sidni awakens an iron statue in one of the chapels, which Ungrid and Halmary destroy as more cultists pop out to attack: Ungrid hastes himself and cuts several down, as does Sidni, and Calibos, while Halmary flame strikes the rest. By now the heroes are fatigued, having trekked all day and entered the dungeon without resting. They start looking for a good place to make camp, somewhere they can defend: during their search they find barracks, kill more cultists, and find several jewellery-wearing troglodytes that Ungrid decides to simply slaughter. With no more monsters in the vicinity they camp down in the barracks and spend an uneventful night resting.

In the morning they explore the rest of the dungeon level, looting gems and finding a magic spear as they do. They head back up by a different stairs and come into a catacombs, partially empty: Halmary wanders about, making lots of noise, but it appears deserted. Then they come across a locked stone door, which Ungrid smashes open with his other magic hammer. Alcoves hold statues, and another door stands opposite. The statues, naturally enough, animate and attack as soon as the heroes try the other door, but Ungrid and Halmary destroy them.

They approach the stone door…

End of Session

Kills: 6 fire beetles, 1 harpy, 8 acolytes, 1 iron statue, 1 stone statue, 7 veterans, 4 troglodytes.

Dyson's Delve: Part 4
Session 156

Our bold heroes continue delving into the dungeon, Sidni and Halmary leading the way through the room where the thouls were slain. The next room holds a trap: scything blades swing out from the ceiling, injuring both adventurers. This prompts Halmary to pray to his goddess to reveal any traps, and immediately spots the next blade trap. Sidni unfortunately triggers that one too, furthering injuring herself, but a bit of curative magic soon mends those wounds. Further on, they come across a room where a dozen lit candles float in the air. Calibos takes one with them.

Next room holds statues, two of which are attacked after the heroes poke and prod around the room for a bit, but both crumble to the blows of Xellos and Ungrid. They backtrack to the stairs they came down from, spotting a pair of carrion crawlers that Calibos just hacks to pieces with his new giant strength. They loot some corpses the crawlers were munching on (including a new magic shield). Some kobolds scatter as they approach and are largely ignored. Next up is room with old mirrors fixed to the walls, reflecting their torch light and making it difficult to see. Which is why Calibos walks into a gelatinous cube as he tries to grab hold of a double-snake headed staff seemingly floating in the air. There is a moment of worry, as they recall how such a cube nearly killed the paladin a few months back, and Halmary and Sidni grab oil ready to hurl at it; but their worries are unnecessary, as Ungrid and Calibos just pulverise it as simple as smashing jelly with a mallet. They take the staff, which also turns out to be magical.

It is close to midnight now and the heroes grow tired, but they persevere and descend another level, encountering a party of clerical looking adventurers; they both agree to leave each be, and head their separate ways. Down the corridor some wererats are met, and after Halmary and Calibos intimidate them, one of the foolish creatures takes a swing at Calibos and actually manages to scratch him! Calibos’ Sword of Vengeance leaps into action, killing the wererat with a mighty blow! He slays another, leaving the other two to Halmary to bash into a pulp. Further along the corridor, another trap spits out green gas, but no one is harmed.

Then they come into a central chamber, stairs going down, black-armoured guards defending it. The guards warn them off, the heroes ignore the threat and Halmary attempts to hold one of them; he succeeds, the others fight, one flees down the stairs. Calibos cuts down the guards in the way and everyone piles down the stairs, Xellos running over the guard blocking the exit to find himself in a temple chamber, clerics and more guards in residence. They casts spells, Xellos swings his axe, Ungrid is blocked at the entry by a guard as the rest of the party are back-up on the stairs. Halmary sets up a glyph behind them, so that they don’t have to worry about an attack from the rear. Ungrid hastes himself and kills the guard, moves into the temple, allowing the others to wade in: Xellos cuts down one cleric, then another; Ungrid kills one himself, breaks the leg of a second, allowing Sidni to stab him from behind and follow through, the spear-head impaling another guard. Calibos takes down the last man, and after the dust settles, they loot the body and examine their new surroundings…

End of Session

Kills: 2 iron statues, 2 carrion crawlers, 1 gelatinous cube, four wererats, 3 veterans, 3 acolytes, 1 vicar.

Dyson's Delve: Part 3
Session 155

The heroes continue delving into the dungeon, finding the encounters far too easy…

They intimidate and avoid a confrontation with both the goblins and the spying lizardmen: both want their help eliminating the others, but the heroes refuse. Then, Halmary decides he really wants to see what lies on the other side of the secret door that the lizardmen are guarding and shoves one out of the way: this quickly escalates into a fight, and the lizardmen are slain by Xellos, Sidni, Ungrid and Calibos (and some treasure looted from their corpses). The secret door just leads back into where the goblins are, so the heroes decide to ignore it anyhow and head down to another level. On their way back to the stairs they come across the other manticore, which Calibos singlehandedly slays.

Down the stairs they soon come into contact with a rival adventuring party, who try to ambush the heroes and pay the price as they are cut down by Calibos, Xellos, and Ungrid. While that is happening, Halmary wanders into a room of gargoyles (statues, not the monster) and is attacked and paralysed by a trio of thouls, which are downed by Sidni, Xellos and Calibos. Once they are all a bloody mess, Calibos gets out the ‘final dead’ hammer and ensures that the regenerating monster stay down. More treasure is looted from the dead, and after waiting for Halmary to recover, they continue to explore…

End of Session

Kills: 5 lizardmen, 1 manticore, 10 veterans (rival adventurers), 3 thouls.

Dyson's Delve: Part 2
Session 154

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.

Dyson's Delve (part 1)
Session 153

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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