Eddas

Session 27

The battle with the twisted Kruthik was savage; their dark auras and poisonous barbs dealing savage wounds to the party.

However, the hard-fought battle was another victory for the party. Once the smaller beasts were slain, they were able to concentrate all their attention on the large hive lord and quickly bring him down.

With all the beasts dead, the party was able to explore the corridor, including the rune-inscribed door.

Examining the door, Leif determined it to be based on the same principles of the wards and locks of the underground tomb the party had found under the tower several weeks before. It would require the work of several people to open without setting off the protective wards.

Familiar with the previous door, the party had no problems quickly dismantling the ward, and were easily able to open the door to the room beyond.

What lay beyond the door was a treasure vault. Boxes of coins, weapons and other items filled most of the room. Searching the room, many valuables were found.

800gp in open-topped boxes
2000sp in open-topped boxes
2000cp in open-topped boxes
12 suits scale armour
12 suits chain armour
12 battle axes
12 daggars
12 spears
12 shortswords

A large Dragon-Head carving, with its forelegs arching downwards. Acts as a Door Warden (AV2 p80)

A suit of chain armour with the symbol of a serpent eating is own tail on the shoulders. Acts as +2 shared suffering chain armour (AV p51)

Placing the Door Warden on the entrance to the vault, the party moved to investigate the door at the far end of the hall.

It proved to be neither locked nor latched; it had been forced from the inside at some point in the past, and swung open easily.

The room beyond was an ancient storeroom, with boxes of decaying tools and other items of little value.

Searching the room, Ghesh managed to knock over a stack of the boxes, which fell on both him and Zanne, inflicting several wounds.

Despite the falling boxes, the pair managed to find a tight hole in the back wall of the storeroom, which lead to another storeroom, though this one was far less cramped, and also contained little of value.

Exiting carefully through the dilapidated door to this room, the group found themselves in the basement level of their own keep back in Hedeby.

Taking advantage of their unexpected providence, the party quickly moved their new-found treasure to a more secure location in their longhouse.

The party also took the opportunity to check on how the town was doing in their absence.

There was little that required their attention, and, after a rest, the party re-entered the dark void, in the hopes that it would take them back to Descott.

The second trip through the void was not as strenuous as the first, and the party managed to re-emerge into the Kruthik tunnels relatively unscathed.

Quickly heading back to town, they found Himmel waiting their return. His messengers had made it back early, bringing with them the last of the information that he as looking for, and he wished to leave immediately for the capital.

He had procured additional horses for the group, which would allow for them to trade-off mounts on their journey.

He had also obtained a guard of 10 additional men from the Yarl, as well as extra mounts for them as well.

Leaving immediately, Himmel pushed the party and the guards hard, not allowing for rests, and trading off horses regularly.

Unfortunately, the pace set by Himmel was very difficult on Ghesh; his dragonborn frame was simply not built for riding a horse, and as the days passed, he became more and more exhausted by the riding.

Finally, due to bad weather and the need for real sleep the party stopped for a night’s rest.

Unfortunately, the night was not peaceful. Just as the camp was settling down for sleep, a large group of undead attacked the camp.

The undead came in 2 waves; 1 towards the party’s side of the camp, the other towards the Yarls men.

Hoping that the party would be able to handle the closer undead, Himmel raced to organize the remaining men to fend off the second wave.

The undead were not very powerful, yet they radiated an intense cold that froze the very blood in the party-members veins, and it only became more intense as the undead got closer together.

They were defeated quickly though as the party through their most powerful attacks against them.

The yarl’s men, though they defeated the undead attacking their side of the camp, did not fare as well as the party; several were killed by the un-natural beasts.

Searching the corpse of the largest of the undead, Leif found a holy symbol implanted underneath the skin of the brute. It as easily identified as Derosan.

Himmel, seeing the symbol, quickly had the party search the area in the hopes that they would be able to locate whoever sent the undead after them; it was no coincidence that the group was attacked this close to the capital.

Searching the area, the group did find a small lean-to where someone had obviously performed some recent magic, and who had abandoned it quickly, leaving behind several items of interest.

250gp on gem dust
Jewelled silver dagger, 100gp
Carved bone scroll tube with gold inlays 200gp

With their return, Himmel quickly got the camp disassembled and the group moving quickly towards the capital again, without any more time to rest; he feared more attacks.

The last day and a half of travel to the city was uninterrupted, and the party was quickly taken to the palace of the Konungar without interruption.

There Himmel briefed the party on what was to come: they would present their evidence to the Konungar, and attempt to prove the existence of the plot by the Derosans to start a war between Estvar and Jotunland.

While the trial started off badly, the party managed to turn it around with the presentation of the evidence of the plot that they had found.

• The undead attacks
• The doppelganger assassins
• The scroll obtained from the Jotun
• The holy symbol from the giant undead

With the party’s testimony, and the evidence they presented accepted by the Konungar, the Derosan plot was foiled.

Yet, before the ambassador could be arrested, he withdrew a vial from under his robes, and, calling down the wrath of his ancestors upon the PCs, he quickly drank it.

The ensuing death spasms of the ambassador were terrible to behold. He thrashed about violently, the snapping of his bones echoing throughout the massive great hall, and blood spewing from every orifice.

Finally, after almost 2 minutes of thrashing, he lay still.. Guards, moving to check the body found that despite his apparent harmlessness, he was still dangerous. With a merest touch, the guards also exploded into fits of convulsions and fountains of blood, which, landing on their fellow guards also caused them to erupt into violent death throes.

Before it was over, and the bodies immolated by fire from the warlock and burning wood thrown onto the corpses by the remaining guards, a half-dozen of the Konungar’s best men lay dead in the great hall.

Wanting to get awy from the scene of devastation, the Konungar had the party brought to his private sitting room, and providing them with food and drink, had them tell the tale of their adventures.

As they spoke, Himmel was sent to bring the group a reward from their monarch.

A set of 5 matching torcs, set with small rubies at the ends and carved with flowing runic patterns, were presented to the party with his thanks.

The torcs are all part of a set, and are identical. They act as +2 Brooch of No Regrets (AV p149)

The Konungar also arranged for the group to be housed in his castle for the duration of their stay in the capital.

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Session 26

With the small corpse of the dead Krutik lying on the table before them, the party debated whether to investigate the ruins to see if there is a connection between these Kruthik and the swarms that attacked the tower?

Finally they decided that it was worth investigating, and the next morning headed into the ruins to the area where the explorers had indicated they fought the swarm.

It did not take the group long to find the area, which was strewn with the corpses of the dead bugs.

The small cave mouth from which they had exited was easily visible, but hoping to find a larger entrance, the group searched around the collapsed building.

Unfortunately, not finding any other entrances, the group sent the rogue, being the stealthiest and most perceptive in to take a look.

Zanne did not make it far into the small tunnel before she could hear the chittering and scurrying of the bugs just around the bend.. Backing out, she informed the rest of the group of what she heard.

Hoping not to have to fight the bugs in the cramped tunnel, the group went to work trying to create a shortcut around the long switchback that let into the the lair.

Unfortunately, they managed to get only a few moments of work done before the bugs came swarming out of the cave mouth: hundreds of the small bugs in a carpet that covered the ground.

The battle was hard-fought. While the group managed to keep the bugs contained to the area around the cave mouth, those in melee were constantly bitten and clawed by the tiny bugs, and worse, they felt their life being sucked out by each bite and scrape and by a thick black mist that accompanied the bugs.

Eventually the group was able to dissipate the swarms by killing enough of the bugs, and after a short rest, finished their work on the tunnel bypass, and proceeded further into the lair.

The first two room were empty; they had likely been occupied by the swarms that had attacked at the cave mouth.

In the second room the group came across some mostly-devoured bodies; little was left besides bones and leather; the metal weapons having been devoured by the bugs.

With a quick search, the group did find a pair of red leather gloves that had not been devoured by the bugs. Examining them, the warlock indicated that they were magical.

Red Leather gloves: lv6 Burning gauntlets (AV p132)

The third chamber, accessed through another of the tight tunnels, contained more of the Kruthik, though this time it was 5 of the larger beasts, which, similar to the previous battles, continuously sprayed the group with toxic barbs. However, these beasts had also been twisted by whatever had affected the smaller ones, and their attacks and proximity drained the life from the party.

In addition to the larger Kruthik, the room contained what appeared to be a tear in the wall; a dark gash that seemed to drink in the light around it.

The Kruthik, like those before, attacked immediately. However, the group was expecting the attack, and managed to defeat them much more handily than the swarms that had attacked earlier.

With the beasts dead, Leif moved to investigate the tear in the wall. He believed it to be some form of portal, but it was not like any he had seen before (lacking the rainbow-hued edges) and it did not radiate any magic at all.

Steeling themselves, the party plunged through the portal.

It was not what they expected. Unlike the previous portals they had been through, this did not lead to anywhere; the party emerged into a dark void, free of any light or sound or smell or any other sensation apart from an un-natural cold that seemed to spread from the inside out.

Forced to rely on their intuition, the party stumbled around in the darkness for several minutes, their life-force slowly being leeched from their bodies by the void, before they managed to find a way out.

Stumbling from the rift, the party emerged into a well-make stone hallway with well-reinforced doorways at either end, one of which was set with a glowing blue rune.

They were not alone in the hallway; several of the large Kruthik, as well as a truly giant specimen we also in the hallway, and pounced on the group as they emerged from the hallway, spraying them with their poisonous spines, and the larger one spewing forth blasts of acid and the life-draining mist.

The group, savaged by the onslaught of the Kruthik, fought back desperately…

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Session 25

With the deadly vines blasted and hacked away from the doorway, the party was finally able to enter the building.

Opening the main doors, the group saw that the ground floor had 2 doors and a staircase leading away from the entry hall.

Zanne, using crowbars taken fro others in the party, quickly jammed the doors so that they could not be opened easily, to prevent anyone from sneaking up on the party while it dealt with the upstairs.

Knowing of the 3 robed figures inside, the group decided to split up to attack from 2 sides.

Zanne and Holdbar moved around the building and snuck in the window by which Zanne had snuck in previously, while the rest of the party entered through the main door and up the stairs.

Unfortunately, the stairway proved to be warded magically, and it unleashed a blast of necrotic energy on Ghesh and Ivar, and ruined their attempts at stealth.

With all pretence at stealth gone, the main party charged up the stairs before the robed figures could prepare. They managed to catch 2 of them unprepared, though one did manage to get a blast off at Ghesh before he was ready.

Unfortunately for the warlocks, the sudden rush of the main party covered the stealthy approach of Zanne and Holdbar, and caught in the flanking attack, fell quickly, though not without inflicting some significant wounds on the party.

Capturing the last of the robed figures alive, the party interrogated him, though he revealed little; simply ranting that the ‘Master’ would soon return and slay them all. The group quickly killed him.

Searching them, the group found a few valuables.

100gp
1 pot healing, lv5
3 Fine robes, 75gp each

The group quickly moved to give the building a quick search, checking first the small room near the window by which Zanne and Holdbar entered. It was essentially empty, though it looked to be in the process of being turned into quarters for someone.

Examining the large double doors near which the battle with the warlock apprentices took place, Leif managed to determine that it was warded magically, but when Zanne attempted to bypass the ward, she set it off, blasting her and Ghesh with another powerful wave of necrotic energy that sucked the vitality from them.

As the party entered, they were met by a blast of radiant energy. It was quickly determined that it had come from a cowering Valla. The room itself was made up like some form of lavish bedroom.

Recognizing the group, Valla quickly apologized and begged the group to get her out of there before the ‘Master’ returned. She then showed the group the chain holding her to the bed. Holdbar quickly broke it, freeing her.

Searching the room, the group found several items of interest or value.

Furs worth 250gp
Silks worth 250gp
Jewellery 250gp
A half-dozen arcane tomes.

Heading down stairs, the group proceeded to search the remainder of the building. There was little to find; a small eating area, and the Spartan quarters of the apprentices.

In total the group found 100gp on coins, trinkets and other small valuables

As the group exited the building, they saw a lone figure walking slowly towards the building. Guessing it was the ‘Master’, the group withdrew back into the entry hall of the building and set up an ambush.

Unfortunately, the ambush was not quite as successful as the group could have hoped; the destruction of the vines around the entrance obviously alerted him to something amiss, as when the doors flew open, he was not alone; a pair of humanoid shadows accompanied him.
In addition, as soon as he and Leif laid eyes upon one another, it was obvious that they knew one another. The ‘Master’ spoke…

“So. You survived. I had heard rumours of you being alive. Well, no matter. You will be dead enough soon. And then your power will be mine. Just like Lothar’s.”

As he finished speaking a corona of dark energy settled around both him and Leif. The party recognized it as being similar to the curse that Leif placed upon his opponents.

The Master proved to be a much more dangerous opponent than his apprentices. His barrages of psychic bolts slid his targets around the battlefield, and caused them to take their allies for enemies, and attack them. He also seemed to shrug off the most powerful of wounds; something was giving him an un-natural toughness.

He also managed to draw the party outside, where he managed to slide several of the party into the deadly vines around the building, while he himself did not draw their attacks.

Finally though the party managed to defeat him, though several were on their last legs. It was one of the closest battles yet…

As his body hit the ground, it began to quickly age and turn to dust. The corona of dark power also began to flicker and pulse. The faster the body disintegrated, the faster the darkness pulsed. Once the body was completely destroyed, the darkness gave one last pulse, and flew into Leif, surrounding him and then quickly flowing into him; through his mouth, his nose, his ears and his eyes…

Staggered momentarily, Leif quickly recovered, his wounds healed, and all of his powers restored, along with new abilities…

Searching the now-empty robes of the Master, the group found a few valuables.

Agera’s Bone Spear
A spear of giant bone, holding the power of lightning.
Lv9 2 (4200gp) Lv245 (525000gp)
Lv14 3 (21000gp) Lv296 (2625000gp)
LV19 +4 (105000gp)
Implement (wand)
Enhancement: Attack Rolls and damage rolls
Critical: +1d6 lightning damage per plus
Property: can be used as a +2 spear
Power (Daily, Arcane, Lightning, Implement) Standard Action. As the wizard’s power Shock Sphere (PH p161)
The spear is presently +2, but can be enhanced by infusing the indicated amounts of arcane materials into the spear (does not require ritual casting).

Robes 125gp
4 75gp gems
50pp
50gp

The party, after a short rest, quickly returned to Descott.

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Session 24

The barbarian’s attack was devastating. The shear number of them, with their greatweapons, savaged the party in their opening rush, nearly killing Ghesh, and severely injuring several others.

However, Leif managed to knock unconscious the majority of the barbarians, which turned the tide of the battle against the barbarians, and the party was able to knock the rest of the young, headstrong barbarians unconscious before facing the more skilled and deadly warriors.

Hoverer, the party now outnumbered them, and the remaining barbarians quickly fell before them. As they fell unconscious, however, they shimmered and shifted, and assumed the now-familiar shape of doppelgangers.

Searching the unconscious barbarians, the party found a few items of interest on the doppelgangers.

One of the doppelgangers was wearing a Belt of Sacrifice (PH p252).

And each of the doppelgangers has a small pouch with 10pp concealed in their left boot.

Binding the doppelgangers to some nearby trees, the party bandaged their wounds and waited for the Jotun to awaken.

A short while later, the Jotun began to stir. They were not happy, and began to curse and threaten the party.

Holdbar, using threats and intimidation, was able to forestall any violence as Ghesh attempted to talk the barbarians down. Unfortunately, Ghesh was unable to talk past the barbarians rage, and even unarmed, the barbarians attacked the party again.

This time the party did not hold back, and quickly slaughtered the barbarians.

The doppelgangers attempted to use the distraction of resumed hostilities to escape, but were not successful.

Seeing what they thought of as their allies cut down and transform before their eyes caused the remaining 2 barbarians to stop fighting and listen to the PCs.

This time, with the evidence right before them, the barbarians listened to the PCs, who explained what the doppelgangers had been attempting to do.

With the barbarians anger now forced on the doppelgangers, the group was able to peacefully search their tent, which had nothing of value, before departing the camp.

Returning to Himmel, the party reported theuir findings. While pleased at their finding of the doppelgangers, he was a bit disappointed that they had not been able to bring at least 1 back for questioning.

With their report, Himmel also asked the group to accompany him to the capital to speak with the Konungar regarding what they had discovered. To speed them along their way, he has arranged for extra horses and food. He will be leaving in 3 days, once he has heard from the last of his messengers.

With that, the party went and collapsed, as they were all exhausted from their interrupted night’s sleep and the battles they had fought.

Once they were rested, they spent the rest of the day moving about town speaking with the people in town, recruiting guards for their town.

The next day the party worked to try and locate Valla, the priestess of Freya.

It took a few hours, but after speaking with several of the regulars that delve into the ruins, the group managed to reduce the area in which she disappeared to a much smaller area.

Armed with more information, the group proceeded to the ruins, and , with about an hour’s searching, found the location that had been described to them: a small tower, covered in thick vines.

Approaching the front door, Zanne was immediately attacked by the vines, which wrapped around her and drove their long thorns deep into her.

Zanne was quickly able to escape, and the others moved to hack and blast at the vines as she scouted around the rest of the tower, finding one of the large windows, and climbing the wall to look in.

The vines proved to be very thick and quite resilient, and attacked anyone getting too close, but the party eventually managed to hack away the sections around the door.

Meanwhile, Zanne had slipped inside the second floor of the tower, and had located some of its residents: a trio of dark-robed figures holding iron-shod quarterstaffs. They were speaking to each other in a dark, unknown tongue.

Remaining hidden, Zanne quickly withdrew, and returned to the rest of the party, which had finally managed to hack through the vines around the door.

They stood before the door, contemplating what to do next…

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Session 23

Having verified that they had not left their town in the hands of the doppelgangers, the party, now mounted, set back out for Descott.

This time the trip was faster and without incident, and they delivered Himmel to the residence of the Yarl before continuing on to the ruins on the far side of the city to investigate the location that was indicated on the map recovered from the doppelgangers.

The location was easy to find; a tower, mostly collapsed, with a small entrance holes in the rubble. Before entering, the party checked the area for tracks and other entrances, but found nothing.

With Ghesh in the lead, they proceeded down a twisty tunnel that led to a small entrance hall, with only a small delay as Zanne dealt with a small pressure plate for a trap on the stairs.

With two doors leading off from the hall, Ghesh opened the first, and was met with a trio of sharp blades driven into him from the shadows.

The party quickly counterattacked the shadowy doppelgangers, and a short, bloody fight with the shape-changing beast and their warlock leader ensued.

The leader was captured alive, to be delivered to Himmel and the Yarl

The party emerged victorious, and searched the small den of the evil beasts, finding several items of interest.

Trinkets and loose coins from the nest area worth a total of 185gp

The black leather robes of the warlock are +2 leather Repulsion Armour (AV p49)

The warlock also had 1 potion of healing, lv5

The furs from the nest are in good shape and could fetch 100gp.

A small lockbox under the desk contains 100pp, 100gp, 100sp, 100cp and 2x 100gp gems.

5 shortswords
4 suits leather armour

Taking the captured doppelganger warlock back to the Yarl’s residence, the group briefly met with Himmel. He informed them that he had arranged for a place for them to stay while in the city, and may have some more work for them in 4 or 5 days.

With the day almost over, the party spent the last few hours asking around town regarding people of interest. They managed to track down several noteworthy leads.

1. Egill the Hunter; known for his trapping and hunting, he is well respected as a maker of non-metallic armours and bows.

• He is known to frequent the southern parts of the Great Northern Forest, hunting the orcs of the Black Spear Tribe

2. Valla the Witch; met by the party when they first came to Descott and recruited the smith Ozgreth, she is known for her potions and fetishes (implements).

• Unfortunately, she has disappeared into the ruins near the city several days ago, and has not been seen since

3. Ferthing the Fence; also met by the party on their first trip to the city, he was rumoured to consort with warlocks and other practitioners of the dark arts.

• He has gone into hiding from his creditors somewhere to the north of the city

With several promising leads, the group gathered together at the longhouse Himmel had arranged for, and went to rest for the night.

Unfortunately, the night did not pass uneventfully. A little after midnight the party was awoken by chocking smoke and flames beginning to engulf the building in which they were sleeping.

Despite the door being barricaded closed, the party managed to escape fairly quickly with all of their bodies and gear intact.

Searching the immediate area, the party turned up a battle axe of obvious Jotun make.

With the axe in hand, the party demanded of Himmel some explanations.

Himmel, reluctantly, explained that he had come across information that seemed to indicate that the Derosans were attempting to start a war between Estvar and Jotunland. He is not yet sure who exactly is behind it, but the signs seem to indicate that it may be the Derosan ambassador.

Knowing that the axe is likely a plant meant to ferment more dissent between Estvar and Jotunland, Himmel nonetheless asked the party to look into any Jotun in Descott.

Still tired and nursing their wounds from the day before, as well as fresh burns from the flaming longhouse, the party quickly armed themselves and began working to track down any Jotun in the city, as Himmel dealt with the city guard and others come to investigate the burning building.

It was not a difficult task to turn up a camp of the barbarians outside the city; they made no effort to remain inconspicuous.

Proceeding to the camp, the party, accompanied by Himmel, received a very hostile reception at the barbarian’s camp.

Some quick talking managed to calm the barbarians down somewhat, and the party began to get a little information from them.

As they were asking the barbarians questions, Holdbar and Leif noticed that two of the older, more grizzled barbarians did not seem to be reacting in the same manner as the rest.

Holdbar, never the most diplomatic soul, immediately called out the two barbarians.

They did not react well; with a curse, the two stepped back, and, pointing at Holdbar, ordered the remaining barbarians to kill the party.

The remaining barbarians immediately began screaming and swinging their weapons…

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Session 22

Departing from the dwarves camp, the next 2 days of travel were quiet. Even the weather let up a bit.

Towards the end of the second day, the party came across what is a fairly common occurrence in Estvar: a farmstead being attacked by orcish raiders.

Hearing the screams of the farming family barricaded in the burning farmhouse, the party moved t attack the orcs immediately.

The orcs responded to the attack by filling the party with volleys of burning arrows.

The skill and viciousness of the orcish archers could not stop the party, as they attacked the orcs, and moved to rescue the trapped farmers.

The party as able to rescue all of the farmers before any were killed by the fire or smoke filling the farmhouse, though it was a close call with the farmwife.

The farmer, thankful to the adventurers for saving his family and killing the orcs, turned over his old adventuring gear that he had been unable to get to before the orcs had captured his family.

250gp
Jogen’s Luck; +2 Luckblade longsword (AV p71)
+2 hide armour of fire resistance 5

With his farm completely destroyed, the farmer accepted the group’s offer to move to the site of their town, where they would assist in the construction f a new farm for him and his family.

Saving the farmer’s family and recruiting him for your town has netted you the farmer’s life debt.

Once back at Hedeby, and the package turned over to Riddar Himmel, the party spent several days looking after various matters that had arisen during their time (22 days) away.

250gp payment from Himmel

Hedeby
Town level: 5
Monthly income: 400gp
Gained:

Lifedebt
A man owing you his life can always be counted upon
Monthly
Gain a +1 bonus to a single skill check during Keep Maintenance skill challenges.

While they were doing their administrative matters, the group was approached by one of the villagers who was looking for some investors for a mead hall. The group agreed tot eh 200gp which he was looking for to import some equipment and experts from Descott. He believes that the mead hall should be up and running in a month.

In addition, the group took advantage of their half-orc smith, and had him transfer the enchantments between some of their weapons.

Just as they were starting to take a rest after all their work, the party was approached by Himmel again; he had received some information (both from the PCs package and other messengers); he has become aware of a plot to start a war between Estvar and Jotunland. He asked the party for protection on his trip to Descott.

Agreeing to his request, the party set out with him the next morning for the trip. On the third morning, a day out from Descott, the group woke to find that one of the guards was missing.

Questioning the other guards, they believed that they were covering something. Pushing harder, they eventually provoked some of the guards into attacking.

Not knowing whi was friend or foe, the battle almost turned into a slaughter until one of the guards that had attacked was finally knocked unconscious, and his form transformed into a greyish humanoid, with vague,, rough human features: a doppelganger.

The party quickly finished the fight, knocking the 4 doppelgangers unconscious, as well as the one remaining human guard.

Interrogating the doppelgangers proved to be difficult, but several items were finally forced out of them:

1. They were sent by their chief, Grishnak.
2. They were sent to kill Himmel.
3. they were to meet back at a spot in the ruins near Descott when Himmel was dead. One had a rough map of the ruins with a location marked.

Himmel was thankful for the group’s protection; there was no way that he would have survived without the group to deal with the doppelgangers. He will always be willing to put in a good word on their behalf.

In addition, each of the doppelgangers was found to be carrying a hidden pouch of platinum coins, which they admitted was their pay for the assassination.

4 chain shirts
4 axes
40pp

Favour of the Valk
A friend in high places is always useful.
Monthly
Gain a +1 bonus to a single Diplomacy skill check during Keep Maintenance skill challenges.

Worried that the 4 guards left behind by Himmel were also doppelgangers, the group quickly returned to Hedeby.

Fortunately, after long, vicious interrogations they party was satisfied that none of the guards were doppelgangers or had any knowledge of the doppelgangers.

Worried by the presence of the doppelgangers, Himmel has asked the group to investigate the location marked on the map.

He is offering the services of his 5 remaining guards to the town of Hedeby, as well as all the horses (except his; 9 total).

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Session 21

Having obtained the package for the Valk from the barbarians, the group was faced with the long trip back to their town in Estvar.

As they set out from the ruins for the trip home, it began to snow lightly. The snow continued to fall for several days as they slowly trudged back to the giant outpost to retrieve the larger, more cumbersome valuables that they had left behind.

They first few days of travel were uneventful, perhaps of because the snow and the party arrived at the giant outpost without incident.

Retrieving the larger items from the tomb in the basement, the party spent some time to put together a travois to carry the armor, weapons and the large tapestry.

With the travois letting the party drag the larger items along with them, the party continued along their way. However, a little over a day out from the outpost, they came across a disturbing scene: a trio of giants leading huge hunting hounds.

Moving quickly away from the giants, the group attempted to evade the giants and their hounds. Unfortunately, navigating the rough landscape dragging the travois behind them left a trail for the hounds to follow, and they quickly caught up with the party & attacked, just as they were attempting to free the travois from between some large boulders.

There was nothing of value on the hounds; their pelts were not even worth salvaging due to the physical beatings they had taken during the battle.

The fight was a brutal affair, with the party separated by the hounds. However, after a few minutes of fighting the hounds were killed. With the hounds defeated, the party spent a few minutes bandaging their wounds and freeing the travois from the rocks.

With the travois free, the party continued with their journey, keeping their eyes open for the giants.

The next two days passed without incident, and the party finally passed into Estvar territory. Within hours of crossing the ‘border’ the party was intercepted by a dwarven patrol out of Durnan’s Keep.

The dwarves were hunting the giants that the party had seen a few days earlier; they had been sent out to investigate rumored sightings of giants.

The party agreed to accompany the patrol back to their cam, to speak with their leader, Loghain. Back at the camp, the dwarven sergeant bought the giant weapons and armor the party had found in the outpost, and attempted to recruit the party to the dwarves’ aid, to hunt down the giants.

The party agreed to assist the dwarves, and they set out together to ambush the giants. Working with a half-dozen of the dwarves, the group dug a pair of large pit traps, and set an ambush, as the rest of the dwarves searched out the giants and attempt to lure them into the ambush.

The ambush proved to be only partially successful; the giants did not seem to be all that surprised at the ambush, and attacked the party using what appeared to be an un-natural stealth.

The battle was vicious; the giants would pop in and out of sight and attack with their deadly spears. However, the party and their dwarven allies proved victorious.

With the giants dead, and with only 2 of dwarves killed, the party regrouped with the survivors of the dwarves; only half of the dozen that had gone out to lure the giants into the trap.

As the dwarves set about burying their dead, the dwarven sergeant Loghain came to speak with the party. He thanked them for their assistance and presented them with a gift; the great hammer that he carried into battle for the last 20 years, as well as some small gems.

Loghain’s Gift: Resounding Maul +2 (PH p236)
4 75gp gems

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Session 20

Eager to hit the road and make up for the day spent exploring the old giant outpost, Ghesh leads the party through a ‘shortcut’, attempting to cut through the edge of the forest to shorten the route.
Unfortunately, traveling through the forest made him miss the signs of an early winter storm, which caught you unprepared.

Vicious as only the early winter storms can be, several of the party members were laid low with serious cases of frostbite, and some of your food and equipment is damaged.

Skill check failure (4 successes, 3 failures)

The skill challenge continues, but now due to injuries and damaged equipment you are -1 penalty on all skill checks during the challenge (and any encounters that may take place before it is resolved). This is in addition to the loss of 1 healing surge that you are still suffering from due to the forced march established by Holdbar early in the trip.


In a foul mood from the storm and the frostbite on his foot, Holdbar is in no mood to waste time dealing with the small bands of orcs and other marauders that accost you constantly as you travel.

After one of the small fights, he mounts several of the orc heads on a long pole, and uses it to intimidate and drive off several other small bands, as well as motivate the ‘slackers’ in the group…

Skill check success (5 successes, 3 failures)


Passing through an area of difficult terrain, Ivar takes charge of the group to ensure that all are able to meet the physical challenges of the terrain; climbing the low cliffs, jumping across the small chasms, etc.

Despite the lingering effects of the storm and the forced march he is successful, and the party makes good time, getting closer to their goal.

Skill check success (6 successes, 3 failures)
_______________________________

As the others concentrate on the travel aspects, Leif keeps his eyes open on the surroundings. He manages to spot several orc patrols before they spot you, and divert the party around the un-necessary conflicts, saving much time in your journey.

With the time saved, you make it into the lands of the Jotun, with your destination maybe only a day’s travel away…

Skill check success (7 successes, 3 failures)


With the party deep into Jotun territory, Zanne takes charge of leading them, trusting in her superior nature knowledge. It is a relatively simple matter for her to lead the party to the correct location, despite the crudeness of the map provided.

A half-ay early for the meeting, the party makes camp in the ruins, careful to keep out of sight, lest they attract any unwanted attention.

Skill check success (8 successes, 3 failures)

SKILL CHALLENGE COMPLETE


That evening, just as the sun begins to go down , they see a large group of the Jotun approaching the ruins. Keeping an eye on them, the party sees the prominently displayed tribal symbols that they were told to expect.

Cautiously, the party makes itself known to the approaching barbarians.

Wary of each other, the two groups meet in the open space at the edge of the ruins. With both groups keeping a close eye on each other, a representative of each step forward to talk.

Expecting an older human, the ‘chief’ of the barbarian tribe, the party was surprised to see a much younger barbarian step forward. This caused some anxiety within the party.

When asked, the barbarian replied that his father, the chief, was too ill to travel to meet the ‘outsiders’ and sent him instead.

Several more questions followed, form both sides, as each group made sure the other was who they claimed to be.

Finally, both groups satisfied by the responses they received, the chief’s son handed over a package: a large bone scroll tube, crudely sealed and decorated with various fetishes. It is heavier tahn expected, and you can feel something sliding back and forth inside. It obviously contains something other than a scroll.

“Here is the evidence your ‘King’ wanted. This fulfils our debt to him. Now leave, and do not come back. If you do, you will be treated as all outsiders.”

With that, he turned his back and he and his troop withdrew from the ruins.

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Session 19

With the spirit of the giant defeated, the group took a few minutes to bandage their wounds and catch their breath.

Continuing their exploration of the catacombs below the giant outpost, they followed the left-hand wall around the room. Not far from the cell that held the remains of the giant they came across another room separated from the main chamber by a portcullis.

With the stronger members of the group lifting the portcullis the rest of the group quickly searched the room. Unfortunately, they found nothing of interest.

Abandoning the room, they moved on to the next point of interest, a large door leading off from the corner farthest from the entrance to the catacombs. Forcing it open, the group was immediately set upon by a small group of dire wolves. With the armored warriors in front, the group managed to hold back the wolves as they slew them one by one.

With the wolves dead, the group searched their lair, a former storeroom into which the wolves had apparently dug from outside. They found nothing of value apart from the remains of several small animals, and what appeared to be a cow.

The next storeroom, also sealed off by a large portcullis, appeared to contain more dilapidated materials. A crack in the back wall was letting in a small trickle of water, which contributed to the thick coating of mould covering almost the entire room.

Deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, the group decided not to search the room fearing that the mould would prove to be dangerous.

After the mould-filled room, the party explored a final store-room. It too turned out to be empty.

Finally, the group approached the large double-doors leading off of the wall to the right of the entrance by which the group came into the basement.

Examining the doors, they noticed that the floor, walls and ceiling around the doors were covered with the markings of a large explosion.

Cautiously, the group examined the doors. Not finding any traps, they cautiously picked the lock, and pushed the doors open.

Beyond the doors was a large statue-lined hallway that turned to the left 30 down the hall. As the party proceeded into the hall, a pair of the statues began to shoot lightning at the party.

The majority of the party fought the statues, the rogue moved to disable the trap from the control box concealed in the wall behind the statues. Unfortunately the mechanism proved to be too complex to disable mid-battle, and it explodes in a large shower of sparks.

With the control panel destroyed, the party was forced to destroy the statues by hand, as they continued to shoot lightning bolts into the fray.

Eventually the statues were destroyed, leaving the party free to open the doors at the end of the hallway.

Again cautiously examining the doors before opening them, the group found no traps, and managed to force the huge doors open after a few attempts.

Inside appeared to be some form of tomb. 4 large stone sarcophagi could be seen in the room, with a giant banner of a white tree on a green field hung against the curved back wall.

As they entered the room, the tops of the sarcophagi slid open and 4 huge giant skeletons dressed in black plate armor and wielding giant greatswords stood up. Immeadiately the temperature of the room dropped, and the skeletons moved to attack.

During the battle, the group found tha the giant skeletons were mystically connected to some form of necrotic magic in their sarcophagi. Approaching too near to the great stone biers would begin to suck the life from the victim, and the skeletons would draw from the energy to repair the damage to their bodies. However, as each of the skeletons was defeated, the ark necrotic field from their sarcophagus was dispersed, making more and more of the room safe for the living.

After a hard battle which drained the final resources of the party, they last of the skeletons was put down, and the party collapsed in near exhaustion.

Only a few had the energy left to even search the room, in which they found several items of value.

300gp
Misc valuables worth 500gp
4 suits of plate armour (giant sized) (worth about 100gp each to a noble/collector
4 Greatswords (giant sized) (worth about 40gp each to a noble/collector
Great tapestry of a giant tree; acts as a battle standard of might (AV p179) with double range. Takes 3 standard actions to erect.
Strength of the Giants, as Kord’s Mighty Strength, lv8 (DMG2 p140)

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Session 18

With a night’s rest behind them, the group returned to the upper level of the ancient giant outpost.

Checking the rooms around the battle site, they found little of value. However, they did find that one of the rooms was set-up as a trap; as they entered, the ceiling collapsed, burying the room in rubble.

The trap did not slow you down for long, and soon you proceeded into another large, dark room, which turned out to be inhabited by several more of the nasty chokers.

These proved not to be as deadly as the previous three, and were dispatched quite quickly, despite their initial sneak attacks.

With the chokers defeated, the party searched the room and took a few minutes to bandage their wounds. Little of value was found.

Opening the next set of doors, the group found that the room beyond was even darker; the light seemed to be swallowed almost completely by the darkness.

As they proceeded into the room they were met with blasts of darkness. At the rear of the room, they found the warlock master of the chokers, protected by a quartet of shadowy hounds.

The warlock combined the usual grab and choke tactics of the other chokers with the occasional bursts of dark magic.

Eventually he fell to the attacks of the party, and with him, the unnatural darkness of the room dissipated.

Searching the warlock and the room, they found a small trove of valuables, neatly stacked byt the choker’s nest.

5 daggars
Cloak of resistance +2
200gp
The Book of Surt: this contains a dark ritual allowing any warlock to change their pact to Infernal. Cost of the ritual is 500gp in materials.

With the majority of the upper level checked, the party opened the last door, which led to the remaining balcony of the main tower. The rogue moved out onto the crumbling remains to search, but quickly lost her footing and fell to the sharp rocks below. Thankfully she managed to land safely.

The rest of the group descended to the main level in a safer manner, moving back to the great staircase.

Reunited, the group ventured down the spiral stairs leading to the basement levels. The stairs led down 50’ and opened into a large chamber, strewn with the skeletons of many humanoids, with several doors and portcullises leading off.

Proceeding with caution into the room, wary of the skeletons rising up around them, the party moved down the left-hand wall.

The first portcullised room contained a trio of humanoid skeletons alongside a giant skeleton.. AS the larger members of the party lifted the portcullis, the rogue entered the room.

No sooner had she set foot into the holding cell than the spirit of the giant appeared above its skeleton and attacked.

The spirit was not deadly, yet took all of the effort of the party to bring down, as it was barely affected by the attacks of the party.

As the spectral giant dissipated it left behind small traces of a viscous fluid on the weapons and clothing of the party.

Examining the fluid, you found that it had a slightly numbing effect, and seemed to speed the natural healing process.

After a few minutes of study, the party was able to refine it into a healing salve.
2 potions of healing (lv 5)

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