Castles & Crusades Diary: Barrowmaze, Session 57.

Summary:
At the Viking Thing (Assembly), Gimli “rot face” (dwarf berserker) enters a duel with a Jotun giant, and on their return journey to the Duchy of Aerik they are attacked by griffons and discover griffon egg in their lair.

Game Diary:
Several cases were brought to the Lawspeaker, one of the rare and ancient Elder Dwarves names Skafti Forgefire. In the previous year some jotun giants moved into the Moon Peaks mountain range in the Duchy of Aerik. They had also attacked the walls of Ironguard Motte. That in itself was of no real concern to those assembled at the Thing, for these Vikings do two things – trade and raid, and as long as they are not raiding each other then there is not much concern. However, when the jotun giants entered the Moon Peaks they were infringing on the territory of the stone giants. Asta, the stone giant godi (chieftain) had brought a case against the jotun giants for that. The situation got more complicated when Kell Ironguard had enlisted the services of The Army of the Light to find and stop the jotun giants that attacked his town walls. The adventurers went out, found, and killed the jotun giants. This resulted in Kalf, the jotun giant godi to bring a case against Gimli and his companions for compensation.

If that weren’t complicated enough, Kalf’s brother, Asbjorn, choose to pursue blood vengeance against Gimli and his Thingmen, and recruited Bogar, the hill giant godi. In the previous two sessions those ambushes occurred and both Bogar, Asbjorn, and giants under their command were killed. This meant that the lawspeaker now had to balance the deaths of a hill giant godi, and the brother of the jotun giant godi, with the fact that they were trying to circumvent the law by engaging in blood vengeance. Skafti calculated everything out and determined that first, the dead jotun giants in the Moon Peaks were worth 5,000 gold pieces. Second, that Bogar and his dead two hill giants was worth 2,800 gold pieces. Third, Asbjorn and his dead five jotun giants were worth 5,500 gold pieces. This leads to a total compensation of 13,300 gold pieces. But, once he took into account that (a) the jotun giants should not have taken up residence in the Moon Peaks, (b) that Asbjorn and Bogar should not have pursued blood vengeance (which if they succeeded in killing Gimli and this Thingmen, would likely have resulted in “Outlawry,” which would’ve led to a 3 year expulsion from the Borderlands), and (c) Gimli returned the personal belongings of Asbjorn and to the other godi in good faith at the Thing, Skafti reduced the compensation to 5,000 gold pieces. At this point Kalf, the jotun giant godi said he would be happy to duel Gimli as an alternative for monetary compensation. This would’ve been a challenging battle.

Yet, the political maneuvering was still not complete, for the frost giant godi, Hokleid, whether because of a painting of himself that Gimli had given to him as a gift, or because he hates the ideas of weakness in giants, proposed that Kalf instead have a crippled jotun giant name Flogwar duel with Gimli instead. Flogwar, due to a previous major battle with some mighty beast, had mostly lost the use of his left arm (the muscle mass and fatty tissue had been torn away and there was much scar tissue), with a similar wound on his left leg. These injuries meant that he couldn’t hit as hard nor move as swiftly. Kalf bowed to the suggestion from the more senior and powerful frost giant godi and Gimli said he would duel Flogwar.

Gimli and flogwar took their places on the dueling island. Flogwar moved in with a mighty first blow – a critical hit – and Gimli’s armor was destroyed from that single blow. But the tides turned quickly, and Flogwar missed his next two attacks, whereas Gimi entered Odin’s Fury, and in his berserk state pummeled the crippled jotun giant with a barrage of attacks and just like that his giant body fell to his knees, and his handicapped left knee buckled underneath and he fell to the ground where Gimli finished him off. Justice had been served.

Griffon (picture D&D 5E Monster Manual)

The next few days at the Thing moved quickly by. Gimli swore his allegiance to Thorgrímr Osricsson on his armring, and when the time comes (i.e. when Gimli reaches 9th level and can get followers), Thorgrímr will hand over his elite group of berserkers and place them under Gimli’s command and give him his own land and longhouse. Asfrídr, Thorgrímr’s prophet of the dead/cleric used her Norse magic and cured Gimli “rot face” of the flesh rotting condition he had acquired when he jumped into the Pit of Chaos in the Barrowmaze. He still had severe scarring from that condition, but at least the constant sight and smell of moist flesh rot was gone.

Eventually it was time to return to the Duchy of Aerik. The journey back would take a week and it was early on that the group was taken by surprise by six griffons that came down from the sky to snatch away and feed on the four horses the group had (two were pulling their wagon, and the other two were roped behind the wagon). Griffons know how to hunt horses and almost immediately two of the horses were killed and a couple of griffons had picked them up to take them back to their lair. There were ten characters, however, and through a concerted effort to (a) protect the remaining horses, and (b) kill the griffons that were taking away the other horses, they concentrated their firepower. Griffons are tough and aggressive creatures, and whenever the group took one of these aerial creatures down, another one or two would swoop in to fight At one point Balthazar (elf-mongrelman wizard) was taken up into the air by a griffon, and when it was killed he came crashing back to the ground. But overall the group faired well, losing two horses, but still retaining the two they needed to pull the wagon back to town.

But the druid and several others knew that if you could find the lair of a griffon and it had an egg, you could possibly raise that creature as a flying mount. They put their heads together, and with the help of the gnome druid, Belden, who had a snowy owl that could scan the skies, they discovered the griffon lair was 3 miles south of them. Keeping a couple of characters back to guard the wagon and two horses, the other 8 set off to the griffon nest. When they arrived they found three more griffons, and after a series of ranged attacks and spells killed the remaining beasts. Searching the lair they found much treasure and a single griffon egg. Their was intense negotiation (i.e. a roll-off with d20s) and Kiaria (human seeker) won possession of the egg. She now looks forward to raising this animal up to be her mount (but she also wants to keep this secret, for many others would want to procure such an import and precious treasure!).

Next session the group returns to the Barrowmaze. What lies in wait for them?

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