marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)
First, watch the theme song to this entry.

All beetle antics were the responsibility of players other than the two whose characters were were present. Beetles had a selection of random bonus feats, some of which proved more useful than others.

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As previously mentioned Perry and Azarel set out to explore a smaller passage, a breach in the wall of the giant's tomb. It descended to a natural cavern, lined with fungi and amongst which moved several large beetle-like shapes. Impatient to continue Azarel cut loose with a fireball consisting mostly of shadow but real enough to deal with the vermin before them leaving a swathe of roasted beetle bodies - and enraging every other beetle in the area. The fight was on!

The first few beetles which had been spared the fireball dropped from the ceiling and rushed the narrow passage, where Azarel was able to fend them off. One or two, distracted by the opportunity for a hot meal that wasn't fungi and wasn't likely to impale them, set upon the corpses of their companions instead.

Perry summoned an arrowhawk to aid in the battle. It appeared hovering in the middle of the cavern and fried one beetle with a bolt of lightning before another dropped on it, clinging and biting furiously. This combat veered off around the cavern.

Pressing through the thinning ranks of beetles on the ground and dodging those continuing to 'beetle bomb' them from the roof Perry and Azarel made for the exit to the cavern, to be met by a second wave of beetles from an adjoining passage. By this stage even Rolly (the druid's overweight rodent companion) was involved, finding the beetles not a bad match for his size.

In the air the beetle was getting the worst of it's tussle with the arrowhawk and decided to find a softer target. As the pair passed the ground combat it launched itself at the most prominent target (Azarel, the gnome for once the tallest present) sailing gloriously through the air and splatting into the cavern wall.

This pretty much ended the battle as the beetle population was reduced to those too cowardly, too lazy or too well fed to be bothered with the intruders. Having used several mid-level spells in the combat however the two scouts opted to continue their exploration under a combination of stealth spells, returning to report finding
- several caves
- a couple of large red-hued lizards which may or may not have been dragons
- a passage with a fire-giant guard possibly leading up towards our current level of the stronghold
- a cavern containing a gorgon!
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)
[Author's note: this update is only [cough] months late...]

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defeating Eclavdra )further exploration )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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The lever was as expected a teleport activation. We arrived in a rocky wasteland, near impassable terrain on foot except for the cleared road we stood upon. Before us stood an imposing fortress of piled boulders with only one apparent entrance, a gigantic pair of dark stone doors. We approached with caution, expecting a trap.
Exploring the fortress )Meeting King Snurr )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)
Looks like I forgot to make the last entry of last year. Here goes.... (we're back tonight)

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Returning to the caverns proved fruitless. The giants had removed the bodies of their fallen and fled, carrying what they could. Some young white dragons had been released into the caves to delay us, but these were quickly dealt with. Other finds were some human captives in the kitchens who while grateful to be freed could tell us little, and a giantess of yet another type (Storm?) held captive as some form of hostage or intended concubine for the frost giant king. This last was able to tell us a little about the giants near the volcano, apparently their leader is a cruel despot. In gratitude for her freedom she agreed to escort the humans back to their settlement, as we could not transport them all.

Divinations proving inconclusive the only remaining option is to pull the lever. Our trackers say the frost giants left through the exit beyond it, one may have used it and vanished (teleported). With some reason to expect the environment and denizens on the other side to be hot rather than cold we have again returned to the castle to re-equip.

Moriana has chosen to leave us at this point, embarking on a quest to return dwarven remains found in the giants' trophy chamber to their rightful home.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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A captured ogre pointed the way to the lower levels before we allowed him to flee. In a quirk of fate these ogres are those who fled from the steading, so I expect him to spread word that now might be a good time to abandon this place as well.

We rapidly fell into a pattern of encounter giants, kill giants before they raise the alarm, continue. Offers to cease fighting in exchange for an escort to their king have were met with determined refusal. Frost giants definately hit harder, although fortunately not much more often. I have been fortunate to escape the worst but Oscar and Wengus have not been so lucky. Moriana is starting to look dented again.

Another denizen of the caverns was a 'storm' giant, responding to an alarm we failed to stop. Larger again, but fortunately paralysed by a spell from Azarel before he could attack. This may well indicate the alliance of giants continues here.

Our one attempt at stealth - sneaking through a room of giants while invisible and silenced, failed when Wengus failed to convince himself that he shouldn't be killing them. Once he had broken his invisibility the rest of us had no choice but to do the same and aid him.

Sheer good fortune led us to take what must be the shortest route to the throne room. Here and in another chamber we defeated several waves of giants after an alarm was raised. Perry had purchased several scrolls of powerful fire spells, and these were devastating to our opponents.

The last giants we faced were the King and Queen, and here we took a casualty as Wengus was pounded into the floor by the giant king just as quickly as he has dispatched many giants. The winning of this battle came not so much from direct force of arms but from an enormous bear summoned by Perry which mauled the king and a spell from Azarel which temporarily removed the giant queen from this plane, returning her when we were ready to fall upon her.

Unfortunately these two giants were the ones most likely to be able to give us useful information about the person we seek. Searching their chamber revealed no solid clues. There is map to yet another giant lair, this time in or near a volcano, but that is tentative at best. There is also a chamber whith a magical lever, which Azarel thinks may be some form of summoning or teleportation device.

Rather than experiment with this in our weakened state we have teleported back to King Roland's castle, where we hope to get Wengus raised (if we can find a suitable church that he hasn't offended). Other options include asking for divine advice on investigating the giant lair on the new map, and returning to the frost giant caverns in hope of finding and capturing a subordinate who might know something, or having Heldig use clerical magic to question the giant king's corpse.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

The very start

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It has been less time than I expected since we defeated the alliance of giants in the steading, but King Roland seems unduly anxious to see us on our way. Most of the treasure has been spent as we equipped ourselves for a likely one-way trip to the frost giant steading shown on the map.

Gimble has departed but we have three new companions who have chosen or been directed to accompany us.

Oscar is a mad dwarven warrior who is everything Moriana is not - undisciplined, unkempt and with no care for clan or culture. The dynamic between them makes for interesting viewing, as Moriana attempts to reconcile loyalty to her race with Oscar's rejection of values she holds dear.

Azarel [Azeral?] is a another gnomish wizard, although the rapier and buckler he carry mark his path as something other than the pure study of magic. He also thinks the name on the letter we have may be drow, rather than human as we thought, which adds yet another worrying dimension to the whole affair.

Heldig [?] is a dwarven cleric accompanying Azarel. He rarely has much to say, but his abilities will be welcome.

All prepared, we followed the instructions in the letter to lay out the chain which would apparently teleport us to the North and stepped inside. There was a moment's pause, and just as we wondered if it was working the warm surrounds of the courtyard were abruptly replaced with bitter cold and blinding snow. Although most of us are protected from the worst of the cold by magical means as well as heavy clothing continuing to stand in the open was not a good plan.

Nothing living seemed to be about, and Wengus and Perry rapidly located both a discrete ice cave which may serve as a base camp, and a giant-trod trail leading to a dark patch in the glacier. Once we divested of excess firewood and other supplies in the cave we set off along the trail.

The 'dark patch' proved to be a chasm split deep into the glacier. Poor visibility makes it impossible to gauge length or depth. The trail leads narrowly down the side as a ledge - very narrowly, considering giants must use it. This may be to our advantage later on. It is also very slippery, and I was more than once glad for the sure footing provided by recently acquired 'Boots of the Winterlands'.

A split in the side of the chasm led to an ice-cave system. Here we encountered our first frost giants - a pair of sentries who seeing the dwarves leading the party attacked immediately. (I'm not sure that they would have not attacked if there had not been dwarves). They were quickly killed, which may well make the task of finding out who is behind the giants harder as they will doubtless be less inclined to negotiate once the bodies are found. Killing giants is not supposed to be our main mission, although I know Wengus, Moriana and Oscar disagree.

Pressing deeper into the caves we passed some storage areas and then stumbled on a group of young ogres. They were asleep, but Wengus' attempt to kill one immediately was not successful and beyond the silenced area Azarel has created. It's cry of pain woke the others who fell to our combined attacks almost as fast as they jumped to their feet - all but one who had the uncommon sense (or perhaps instructions) to run immediately, doubtless for help.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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We had no trouble from the orcs overnight. By morning they had discovered that most of the remaining giant forces had fled and were intent on freeing their comrades still confined elsewhere in the cellars.

Befoe assisting them in this task we detoured down a side passage to an old temple which even the orcs were avoiding. I have seen other disturbing architecture in my travels, but I could have done without more. Wengus encountered something in an alcove behind the altar and was disturbed enough to wish to leave, which was good enough for me. Sanctifying this temple can be the Kings problem.

A couple of drunk giants were the only further resistance we encountered. Orcs freed we returned to a locked door previously passed by, eventually breaking through into a wine cellar. Some of the wine was so good that Moriana passed out shortly after sampling it. Quite a lot of it, but not so much that that she wasn't sheepish on awaking.

After this events moved at a more lesiurely pace. The garrison force I had sent the elven prisoner to fetch arrived, and we paid them well for their trouble with some of the treasure we had found. Their sharp-eyed scouts found some secret doors we had missed and more loot was accumulated along with sure proof that the giants are being guided by another hand. There are even directions to a frost-giant steading, and magical means to get there, although the name signed to the orders for these giants is a human name.

With wagons loaded with treasure we returned to the King to tell him our mission was accomplished and pass on news of the greater threat. There was a great feast in our honor and the King further 'rewarded' our success with right to the land about the steading, to tax, maintain, fortify and defend (on his behalf).

As my companions and I have only known each other for a few days (although it does seem much longer) I'm unsure how this will work out. Certainly I am not sure I wish to give up wandering and settle here and none of the others appear more inclined. Although as the King has also requested we 'investigate' the frost giants our adventuring days are by no means finished.

A few other notes:
- The giants had enough treasure that they (or we now) could probably just have purchased the kingdom. I hope we have made a dent in the treasury of this unknown mover - we have only his name on a letter.

- Two of the swords we recovered were possessed of intelligence (including the one disguised as a torch), and there is a scarab of which I am highly suspicious. In my travels I've never yet met an item with a mind of it's own that didn't also have an agenda of it's own (it was such an item which took Tirana from us). One has been disposed of but Wengus carries the other.

- It will take some time to secure the steading and equip for an expedition into the icy wastes. Maybe two seasons, maybe four.

- in the meantime the temple, the orcs and whatever else lies in unexcavated sections of the dungeon turn out to be our problem, after all.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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Bugbears )
Giants, Dwarves and Orcs )

See also Moriana's post
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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The night passed without incident. A quick tour of the upper level of the steading indicated that someone had been about during the night, and the stairs down from the kitchens had been barricaded. This left one route down - behing the concealed door in the meeting chamber. This led only to a corridor blocked by a stout portcullis, which Perry crafted a passage past through the adjacent stone.

many battles lie beyond )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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By the time we were ready to set out to the East wing we were joined by a latecomer to the King's summons who had tracked us by encountering Taurnil and Sparki. Fortunately we haven't been particularly concerned about closing the heavy doors of the steading after us, as I doubt the Halfling, Perry, would be able to budge one of them by himself. He is a Druid and I can understand his possible interest in clearing the steading, as the giants must have deforested a significant area to build it. Perry has a large rat which accompanies him, appropriately named Rolly.

Introductions over we proceeded to the kitchens. The servitors - orcs and immature giants - fled when we appeared but Gimble captured some in a web and Moriana and I questioned them. They were able to give us little useful information, but apparently there are some non-slave orcs below. They don't go down there much. It's where the giants keep prisoners.

We searched through a number of dormitory rooms like the looting adventurers we are. The notable finds were a chest of humanoid ears, which Wengus has gruesomly claimed as wolf-treats, and an unlightable tourch which Gimble and Perry both claim is really a sword disguised by an illusion. I'm reserving judgement on who is being fooled (or not) by what, and we've added the torch to the treasure collection in the meantime.

Some ogres had been sufficiently distracted by their own party in one room that they had not heard the previous battles, they didn't last very long.

Some more giant women huddled in another room, from them we learned that there are at least two other races of giants represented by the visitors before telling them to pack their belongings and leave. Also, the wolf-master really got around.

Finally, some orcs too injured to work or flee told us of an orcish rebellion of escaped slaves somewhere below the steading. From this I infer that the giants do not use or control the entireity of the area below. They may be able to help us, but we will need to make sure they leave as well. I doubt the king would appreciate a steading full of orcs any more than a steading full of giants.

It is time to rest before venturing below. In particular Gimble is out of useful spells. We have opted to camp on the roof, from where we can keep an eye on the (known) exits and tell if anyone comes or goes during the night.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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The moment's hesitation seemed like months, and then Wengus charged forward against the wall of ogres and giants followed by Moriana and myself. A fierce battle ensued punctuated by the magics of Gimble. One giant managed to get through the line of fighters and up to the spellcasters, hammering Gimble and felling an injured Wengus who charged back to help. I managed to fell the giant with a thrown spear and Gimble made it to Wengus with a healing potion in the absolute nick of time.

After the battle the only one of us who remained unscathed was Moriana, although it may not be possible for her to get out of her armour until such time as we reach a smithy.

At some point during the fight Taurnil decided that his deity no longer looked favorably on the expedition and fled, later Sparki also left offering what seemed a weak excuse of trying to find him. Four of us remain, five if you count the wolf.

All the giants we felled seemed to be warriors, no sign of the Chieftains wife or the "visitors". Further exploration of the west wing of the keep led us to some sort of council chamber, and a concealed door here leads to stairs descending into the hillside. there may be more to this steading than meets the eye. We also found a large map of this level of the steading which will be useful.

Adjacent was the armory - much of the material here is far too large for us but among the trophies were some javelins which Gimble identified as magical. I've claimed the use of them in the meantime, to supplement my spears.

Now we are deciding whether to hole up somewhere and rest or move on to the East wing. We must have eliminated most of the giants/ogres by now but there was mention of some Orc slaves who might be able to provide us with more information on what lies below. I think Wengus will hold off killing them for long enough to ask.
marsden_online: (Default)
For the second week in a row Against the Giants defaulted to card games due to unotified absence of players. As real life steals a player away permanently and another is about to take an overseas holiday the continuance of the campaign is looking shakey. This makes me unhappy :( I've been greatly enjoying the chance to play again in a compatible, 'adult' group.

Very much hoping to find a game to play in on Tuesdays this year, ever so tired of the whole "in addition to running two games, being the default organiser of board games and stuff on my other gaming day" thing that has happened the past two? more? years. Haven't other people been around long enough to decide what they want to do without waiting until I take an action and then following along?
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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There was a brief skirmish with some ogres and giants who came to investigate the tower, ended when the remaining giants saw their companions reduced to bloody pulp and fled. As no more were forthcoming Moriana and I ventured forth to offer them the option of 'negotiation or slaughter'. One who I presume to have been the chieftain's second opted for slaughter and led a charge.

Many giants fell before Wengus, Moriana and the summoned creatures and elemental magics of Gimble and Sparki. Again some survivors fled. We advance on the main hall now. A line of giants blocks us - obviously not happy to be there but obeying orders. I again offered the option of negotiation but none took it.

Still no sign of the chieftain's wife, this makes me a little nervous for some reason.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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After a brief discussion it was agreed that the giantesses could be spared. This was greatly aided when they offered treasure and information in exchange for their lives.

We learnt a little about the other inhabitants of the steading. There are orc slaves and ogre servants in addition to some undefined number of giants. The leader is a cunning giant with a pet bear, and his wife is a pwerful warrior in her own right.

There are guests in the steading - hence the party - a different type of giant. From the description my more knowledgeable conpanions guess the to be stone or storm giants.

Wengus suggested taking the giantesses with us to the chieftains quarters and there setting an ambush. This seemed a good idea until we got there, when I realised that as the party was likely to continue for many hours yet if we waited it was almoost certain that someone would discover the bodies we have left behind us.

Abandoning that plan we decided to investigate the other side of the steading where we are told are the kitchens and 'servants' quarters, still not wishing to charge into a main hall filled with giants. Well, most of us, Wengus is perfectly happy to launch a frontal attack, possibly by himself. So is Gimble, although his plan seems to involve an awful lot of running away on his part.

On the way back to the entrance hall however we encountered what could only have been the giant chieftain coming the other way, heavily intoxicated. He charged us, perhaps encouraged by my comparing his heritage to that of a pixie, and quickly fell to our combined attacks. Tactically we were helped by the fact that the chieftains's great bulk prevented his bear from getting to us until he was slain, after which the bear was quickly disposed of. However the ogres fled and are no doubt alerting the rest of the giants.

Not wishing to be pinned from two sides in a corridor or caught in the open we have returned to the guard tower, where they can only come at us from one direction and there is a possible escape route across the roof of the steading.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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We had an unexected addition to the party at this point - a gnome wizard named Gimble who must have been late arriving at court was teleported to us. Apparently his clan also thinks it is important to do something about the giants. He has already started to annoy the other members of the group, although I'm not sure how much of this is his personality and how much is some sort of bias against gnomes.

Proceeeding on we found a mostly-empty barracks and again slew the two giants there while they slept.

The next room was .. not a nursery as the giants there were no babes, but adolescents only as large as myself. The joy with which they threw themselvesat us was childlike, but no less dangerous for that. There was also an adult, from listening at the door before we entered I gather responsible for the wolves we earlier released.

We are obviously in a family area for the next room contained three younger giantesses being berated by a much older one for flirting with the wolfmaster while they should have been serving the feast. The old woman was as hardened as any warrior but the others were not, and the remaining two dropped their clubs and surrendered in tears and begging once the older fell.

Here is where more differences in my companions begin to manifest. Most hesitated, unsure of how to handle this situation. Winges pressed the attack, and I have moved to restrain him. Something is wrong about slaughtering a truely surrendered enemy, even a giant. Especially one who is not truely a combatant.

Assuming I can stop Winges and any others of my companions so inclined we will have to ponder the exact terms of our mission here - to kill all the giants, to kill 'the giants who have been raiding the kingdom' (these women are not raiding-party material), or just to stop the raids, in which case it may be possible to look for alternative solutions which do not require slaughter (although I feel we will still have to eliminate at least the majority of the warriors in the steading before any sort of negotiation can take place).

And then what do we do with these two while we explore the rest of the steading? Perhaps Gimble can seal the door to this room for a time the same way he sealed the far door or the childrens' room.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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The monarch of this kingdom, King Roland, has called for adventurers to defeat some giants raiding his lands. A mismatched group has responded, myself among them.

total strangers ) be continued.

See also: Moriana's account
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Armexis)

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Practical, Protective, Alone.

Blond hair, grey eyes, 5'10, 192 lb . Armexis is a solid block of muscle on which even the finely crafted set of mithral chain he currently wears seems stretched tight. Despite his bulk he moves lithely and quickly, and with the practiced paranoia which is second-nature to an experienced adventurer. His weapon of choice is the short spear, and he normally carries at least one although he will set it aside without complaint in social environments.

Although he speaks rarely and plainly his words demonstrate a that significant intelligence lies behind features which would charitably be described as 'rustic'.

history )
Armexis finds himself travelling alone, the only keepsakes of his past being his father's enchanted dagger, a signet ring with an unknown coat of arms, and brooding memories. Searching for some form of purpose he has heard and answered the call for adventurers (he would never consider himself a hero) to defend a kingdom from hostile giants.
marsden_online: (Default)
So, I seem to have a few minutes to kill. There's probably something I should be doing in prep for the party, but I've got my evening pretty well scheduled I think.

Clubs days (both Wednsday & Thursday) went well. I enjoyed myself all the more as I wasn't actually responsible for anything and was therefore free to roam and play games. Despite the change in venue SAGA got it's usual amount of signups. Most other clubs seem to have done as well, although I'm told some took a big hit.

Wednesday afternoon between C.D and gaming I helped [ profile] doth get in her first load of firewood for the year. The result of this is bruising up the insides of both arms. I must be getting weak.

Wednesday gaming was ... mediocre. my fault I feel.

Thursday gaming was a blast, again, despite my spending most of the session in -ve hitpoits (again). With the aid of a well-placed fate point followed by very lucky rolls I got to skewer a sorcerer, hold him aloft on a spear and intimidate the fuck out of a bunch of soldiers/bandits, while on 0 hitpoints. I fell over as soon as one of them actually charged and hit though. Phil is one of the best GMs I have played under.

Really took things easy at work. We've shifted to a new net connection, so our "highspeed" access is now in fact faster than my 56k dial up.

Speaking of which, my telephone provider has just rejigged their deals, doing away with the slower connections and dropping the price on the faster. I can now shift to a 2Mbs connection for only $3 more than I am currently paying all up. That's too tempting I think and I've started making enquiries.

Time to go put dinner in and change the light bulbs.

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