Castles & Crusades Diary: Barrowmaze, Session 56.

The Army of the Light is ambushed by jotun giants under heavy rain (the weather affected a lot of the combat). They later arrive at the Viking Thing (Assembly) and bestow gifts on the Norse leaders – humans, dwarves, jotun giants, stone giants, and frost giants.

Game Diary:
We left off last time with the group successfully defeating Bogar, the hill giant, and his hill giant and ogre followers. He had been recruited by Asbjorn, a higher ranking jotun giant bent on blood vengeance against the Army of the Light from previous actions they took. The group knew Asbjorn would probably be waiting for them on the four days remaining before they arrived at the Thing, so when they saw six large stone rocks roughly 25 ft. in diameter and 30 feet tall, several members jumped off their two wagons and headed toward them to read the runic writing (it was difficult to see the writing from the road due to heavy rain that was following). Rosaline (half-elf druid) decided to kneel down to the long grass at the side of the road and cast speak with plants. She asked questions about giants and she got feelings and images that the giants were under the ground. It was just as she was acquiring that information that nearly two hundred feet south east of the east-west road they were traveling that Asbjorn climbed to the top of one of the stone rocks and using a power bestowed by his god Karontor, hurled a “rock of earth shattering” onto the front wagon where Gimli “rot face” (dwarven berserker) and two friends were located. The wagon was destroyed by the impact and the three were lying in rubble on the ground. Five other jotun giants rose from covered pits they had been hiding in under the ground and threw boulders (being waist high in a pit meant that they were going to get half cover from ranged attacks and the heavy rain would give them a further bonus). The group of 11 adventurers scattered into groups, spellcasters and ranged attackers stayed far away, and melee combatants (monk, cleric, dragonslayer, oathsworn) made their way toward individual giants, although they had to be careful for the heavy rain made the matted down grass slick, and moving at a full run would’ve required a Dexterity save or they would fall prone on their face (which did happen to one character!).

One of the 12 foot tall jotun giants the group fought.

Spells played a good part in this combat, for the sorceress cast ice storm, which pre-occupied one jotun giant for several rounds, another cast summon swarm which caused massive numbers of spiders to move like sheets over the wet, slick, grass, and pour like a waterfall into the pit where another giant stood, slowly wearing him down. The oathsworn made his mark by making called shots over two rounds and successfully slicing off a jotun giant’s big toes, impairing its movement. And Gimli put everyone everyone on edge when he not only summoned Odin’s Fury (i.e. enter a berserk rage), but also managed to reach deep inside his soul and activate his recently acquired curse of lycanthropy, and transform himself into a werewolf!

Asbjorn was watching what the Army of Light was doing to his jotun giant as they were one-by-one getting immobilized by the adventurers and he was both surprised and annoyed, for all his giants needed to do was get one or two good blows in and an adventurer would go down (indeed, the sorceress did go down to -2 hit points, but healers rallied around her and brought her back, which allowed her to cast the ice storm). But Asbjorn was also the target of attacks. Since ranged weapons and ranged spells were at a disadvantage due to the heavy rain, Balthazar (elf-turned-mongrelman wizard) kept casting magic missiles at him. Asbjorn finally had enough and pulled out his giant greatclub and summoned through his god Karontor its flameshooter ability, lept from the 30 foot high stone rock, and charged toward the wizard.

When Asbjorn made it to Balthazar there also happened to be two other jotun giants in a straight line behind him, and it was at this point that the wizard cast lightning bolt. Although the giants made their saves, they had all been whittled down and they had nothing left – the blast took them down.

With the jotun giants defeated, the adventurers discovered behind one of the rocks and high grass that the giants had a massive wagon pulled by two mammoths. Inside the wagon were over a thousand gold pieces, many gems, an expert battle axe, a painting of the venerable frost giant godi (chieftain) Hokleid, a jade and platinum brazier, and a magical belt of grounding (which would absorb electrical attacks, drawing it to the ground with the two chains that hung from the back and dragged on the ground – too bad Asbjorn wasn’t wearing it when he was fighting Balthazar!).

Over the next few days the group made their way to the Thing and Thorgrímr Osricsson welcomed the group – and Gimli, who he wants to join him as a brother in his clan and set him up to command his berserkers when the time is right (i.e. when Gimli has reached 9th level and can get followers). Gimli clearly wanted to make the best possible impression he could, and gave the flameshooter great club to Kalf, Asbjorn’s older brother and godi of the jotun giants. He gave the frost giant painting to the old and powerful Hokleid himself. He gave gems to Asta, the stone giant chieftain, and a bearded axe to Ofeig Hammerblow, the representative for the dwarves. And for Thorgrímr he handed over troll knuckles worth an astounding 5,000 gold pieces, and three runic tablets collected from the Barrowmaze. The adventure ended well, but next time there will be rulings on matters of justice, for the Army of the Light did kill Bogar (the hill giant chieftain), and Asbjorn (brother to Kalf, the jotun giant chieftain). The giants had already attempted blood vengeance, but they may now seek monetary compensation for the deaths, or even a dual!

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