DGA9.04: Stronghold of the Wood Giant Shaman, part four

The Long Roaders and their allies for this session

Cat, level 9 warlock, with his familiar Dis;
Elderberry, level 2 rogue NPC;
Gwen, level 4 rogue/ranger NPC;
Jahia, level 9 paladin NPC;
Kuiper, level 7 ranger;
Phoenix, level 9 barbarian;
Seck, level 9 rogue;
Tastra, level 3 ranger NPC;
Vir, level 9 ranger

The Long Roaders begin 172xp below level 10 and stay on the same

The battle thus far

The Long Roaders have gained a lodgment on the stronghold’s eastern fighting platform. Jahia is with them: and in her hands, just as they hoped, Beast Slayer is devastating.

But both the western fighting platforms are held by giants that are well aware of the danger, and inside the compound, wolves baying have set other creatures on guard! We pick up the action again during Round 4…

Boulders and bamfing!

“Phoenix!!! Get yer ass up here!!!!”

It’s a slim hope for Seck – Phoenix is nowhere to be seen – meanwhile in the split seconds since the infected wood giant was thrown dead off the platform, Cat suggests they head for the least-defended platform, north-west. He can use Dimension Door once more, and the others are nimble enough to manage the stockade wall, which, being tree-trunk size, is difficult going rather than impassable.

“It’s ‘a’ plan,” Cat adds, “not ‘the’ plan – anyone got any ideas?”

<cricket noises>

“This had better work – I’m beginning to smell cabbage!”

(Cabbage being the bug-out safe-word.)

As Jahia lends Kuiper some healing and presses a potion into his hand, that cabbage smell gets stronger! A boulder strikes and Cat is abruptly plucked off the platform and away!

Misty Escape – Cat reappears, trying to pretend it is all part of the plan while fishing out a healing potion: “Give us more arrow support…”

Vir throws up a higher-level Fog Cloud to mask the southern angle.

Inits: Phoenix, Kuiper, Cat, Tastra (but moves with Gwen), Kongtok, Kartu/Demon wolf, Jahia, Vir/Gwen, Marjikk, Burly Squatch, Seck, all remaining wolves, squatches and giants.

A second boulder is flung, but this time, everyone ducks: it makes the massive boards underfoot bounce as it ricochets off. “Hurry up” Cat can hear the giant hollering.

Round 5: Phoenix feels the ground tremble underfoot a little… “guess that’s the guys getting attacked” he guesses (wrongly) and uses top speed to get within 250′ of the east tower. From behind, he hears a vague rumble.

Phoenix has not been rolling well on Perception, but luckily does not stand about for the three “picket” giants to get hold of him as they return from the wood.

Kuiper swigs the potion – Greater Healing – he feels a lot better! Cat (who is invisible, post his Escape) touches Jahia and arrives at the north-west tower. Jahia levels Beast Slayer at the looming giant, who is currently unaware that he has company!

Dis makes a fine Perception check, which comes in super-useful later

Jahia lunges (somewhat clumsily) with Beast Slayer and Kongtok bellows in agony, coughing black blood as the spear impales its belly. “For Roweena!” Jahia yells, putting her shoulder into the push – the giant staggers but manages to stay atop the fighting platform! Vir has the line of sight, and slams one longbow shaft home! His other misses.

Seck, who has amused himself with slamming a hunting arrow down into one of the wolves, looks about, judging what he may do. The wolf seems not much hurt. And he’s too far from the giant to make much difference. But a man of his agility could weave over the trunk-tops of the stockade! He drops his useless bow and races along, aiming to leap atop the lean-to that runs along the wall about 60′ away.

With a 30 on Acrobatics, Seck decides to use Move and Dash to get to within Maelsauga range. He gets right past the lean-to and within 80′ of the north-west tower. The lean-to smells absolutely terrible, and as Seck passes, a burly, part-clad squatch clutching a massive cleaver lurches out and gazes up at Seck… with glowing yellow eyes! Moreover, the wolves (especially the one he hit) are chasing after him!

The giants on the south-west platform keep the attack up, one hurls a boulder accurately despite the fog, and Kuiper and Vir dodge!

At the north-west tower, Kongtok swings his vast beam-size club, sweeps the whole platform! Cat and Jahia dodge, taking only minor bruising. Kongtok stomps – Jahia simply steps aside – then Conjures two massive wolves. One bites Cat, throws him down, and the other immediately uses Pack Tactics to bite again. Cat is looking pretty shabby, his winter furs on the mangy side.

Round 6: Phoenix intuitively alters his run to a deceptive, weaving pattern and halves the remaining distance to the tower. Kuiper decides he’s better off in the compound – the wolves have gone chasing after Seck, after all! He drops clumsily, taking an unfortunate bump and Dashes across to reinforce. He’s running roughly towards the lean-to, but making sure the Fog Cloud covers him to the west. So, very exposed.

Cat uses Fey Presence to Frighten the wolves ganking him. Though they are conjurations, they are still beasts! He fumbles out another healing potion. Not distracted by the wolves, Jahia keeps impaling Beast Slayer deep – Kongtok falls – the wolves vanish! Jahia ducks down, poised to ambush anything scaling the ladder, and calls to Cat to do the same. Since Beast Slayer isn’t usable from her crouch, she hauls out the Mace that Phoenix loaned her.

“Cat – do you still have the boots?” “Yep…” “Get them ready!”

Vir moves cautiously along the wall. His ranger powers allow him to move near to the lean-to, and the stench assails him. He Bonus Actions Hunters Mark onto Burly Squatch.

Scratching his hairy behind, Marjikk exits the privy and realizes the tinies are attacking! He bellows! And he is looking right at Kuiper! He Conjures a great ape, which also begins heading towards Kuiper! Burly Squatch attempts to leap and grasp the top of the wall – Seck cuts its fingers with Maelsauga for its trouble then balances and hurls Maelsauga at the fallen squatch, doing further damage. Then swiftly retreats forward toward Jahia’s tower.

But on the other hand, Seck has not reinforced Jahia, so the plan (such as it was) is beginning to collapse

From that vantage he sees an odd shadow at the north-west corner of the vast long-house. Meanwhile: a giantess, Kiktu, belatedly heads to where Kongtok’s body marks where she was supposed to be on duty. Another of the giantesses, Kartu, clambers down off the south-west tower and she too heads north.

Round 7: Phoenix hears a vague hooting behind him, but gets to the east tower without trouble. Away to the north he can see two women running to the same place, Tastra and Gwen judging by their hair color.

Kuiper sees the ape and heads to engage, taking the Dodge action. “I’ll hold them off!” he assures those in earshot. Cat eases up and sees Jahia pointing over to the lodge:

“We’re heading to that building next! Get me on the roof!” “I can’t – I’m out of those spells! I have to recharge!”

Cat swigs as Jahia gazes at the lodge… he feels somewhat better, but not so much that he creeps over to help ambush. He does notice a giant head, as the nearest giant – Kiktu – peers up and Conjures:

A huge slimy tentacled slug appears next to Jahia and attacks. Its bite fails to find a gap in her plate, but its tentacles grab her left arm. She shrugs off its poison, then slams the gleaming mace into it, splattering it into green pulp. It fades away.

Vir drops onto the lean-to roof – fails a CON SV to avoid retching – and unloads into Burly Squatch, hurting it. Burly Squatch bellows and orders its squatch minions out of the lean-to!

Meanwhile Marjikk seizes Kuiper – lifts the ranger high – pounds him onto the ground. There’s some nasty snapping noises.

Crit at disadvantage – which being a Giant-Size crit, has extra damage implications! “Splintered spine. The PC is completely paralyzed until magically healed.”

Seck creeps back away from reinforcing Jahia and Cat, seeing that Burly Squatch has been distracted by a longbow arrow. He balances and flings Maelsauga again! Then retires again – and this time does spot Tar Tar lurking at the lodge corner.

As Kiktu clambers up, Jahia reacts and dots her with the mace. It checks Kiktu, but does not knock her off the ladder.

Round 8: Phoenix jogs around, finds the assault rope, climbs, pauses to wave to the girls, and makes it to the top. It’s so much easier climbing without half-plate! He rolls into shallow cover and takes Dodge action.

Kuiper makes his first Death roll.

Cat, trusting that Jahia has a plan, recharges with Osuz. Meanwhile, Jahia has spotted something useful! “Wait ’til they all get to us – then you get us inside that door,” she says, sounding calm. Cat can’t see what she’s seen, but he can hear that the giants still seem in a state of confusion. One voice wonders where Goothlik is. He files the name away.

Kartu, rather than using the Dash action to get to Kiktu, summons two creepy crawlies that swiftly ascend the tower and attack: neither dent Jahia’s armor. Jahia Readies Action to repel Kiktu.

Vir, too, decides not to reinforce Jahia as he, too, is lured by the clumped squatches emerging reluctantly from the lean-to. He slams a shaft into Burly Squatch, who becomes maddened with rage.

The great ape clambers up the east tower and since Phoenix is conveniently right there, slams him. Marjikk is at the ladder’s foot. Phoenix avoids being tossed off the top. From below he hears Gwen calling, “are we retreating?”

“Hard to tell,” Phoenix replies unhelpfully.

Burly Squatch, maddened with rage, attempts to clamber to get Vir but merely pulls part of the lean-to away. The remaining squatches inside mill out, dolefully. There are now six squatches close-grouped around Burly Squatch.

Seck muses… then repeats last round’s tactic. Burly Squatch is hurt. Seck thinks hard about a standing-start jump 20′ to the lodge roof, then opts for a drop. He gets halfway across, full in the gaze of squatches, and – though he doesn’t realize it – Tar Tar, who is peering round the corner. Nor have the wolves, still holding a grudge, lost sight of him!

Kiktu clambers up again, and grasps the massive club left lying by Kongtok: but as she does so, Jahia two-hands the mace, crits, leaves Kiktu reeling, but cannot prevent her gaining the platform. Jahia looks over at Cat to check that he is ready.

“We could really do with Seck’s help about now!” “This is no time to be thinking about sex, just get us past that door!”

Round 9: Phoenix rages, brushes past the ape and leaps atop Marrjik, slamming Mocair two-handed down on the giant’s head then falls rather than jumps off, taking a heavy bruise. Marrjik bellows and claws at his forehead!

While definitely not using his powers to their best, Phoenix is allowing Gwen and Tastra space to help Kuiper. An Inspiration awaits if and when they manage to rescue the stricken ranger.

Kuiper makes his second Death Roll.

Cat leaps to his feet under Kiktu’s shadow, grabs Jahia’s shoulder, follows her pointing mace, and Dimension Doors beyond the doors she is pointing at!

Tastra clambers swiftly, sees the ape, and keeps running past. There’s a thump as the ape helps her on her way into the compound! She lands safely.

Out eastward, Vir drives a killing Lighting Arrow into Burly Squatch, then another for good measure! The other squatches react with indifference to the electrical effect, as though it had not worked.

Gwen clambers up and acrobatically runs along the platform to the wall, whistling a signal to let Tastra know where she is.

Below and to her left, Marrjik gazes with a third eye at Phoenix, who feels his bones creak and age… then shakes off the effect! The giant keeps up the physical attack as well, kicking Phoenix reeling back. The ape is occupied clambering down after Tastra. Demon Dog sneaks around, heading towards Kuiper and Phoenix.

Kiktu, Kartu and Kartu’s creepy crawlies look about, confused. Tar Tar however is not distracted: he sees Seck spider-climb up the face of the longhouse, and amazingly, still have acrobatic skill enough to overhang-grip his way up to the eaves and onto the roof. While the wolves snarl ineffectually below, Tar Tar walks out to get line of sight and raises his dread yellow-shot Third Eye… Seck is stricken with an ague-like feeling!

Meanwhile the three picket giants, Froktu Lotok and giantess Lomtu, finally arrive back. Each has a Third Eye…

Round 10: Phoenix ignores Marrjik and the ape, and hurls an Ice-grenade at the grouped squatches, who are absolutely not menacing him or Kuiper. The blast covers them in snow, and damages Kuiper, who auto-fails a Death roll. It does also – accidentally – hit Demon Dog, who misses its DEX SV, and vaporizes yet again back to its kennel!

I think at this stage the team is just playing mice running about among cats!

Kuiper makes a third Death Roll and is stable.

Meanwhile… Cat and Dis gaze about, the former registering a wide passage, with two doors on the left wall, none of the right, and probably a T-junction at the far end. “It’s time to use my powers…” Jahia mutters. “I think we’re alone now,” Cat muses. “There doesn’t seem to be anyone around,” Jahia agrees, “but what can your little friend sense?” “Dis – is there a source of evil?”

Dis watches fey energy swirl, and gazes at bogles hiding up around the ceiling, and avoiding certain areas: “I was about to say, my lord, possibly the second door, but something moving around outside, and I’m feeling something below, and off to the right…” Jahia clutches the Roweena symbol while Cat praises Dis. “This feels much safer than facing Shadowfell and hags, my lord,” Dis says; then Cat hears, all in his own head:

“TEEHEEEHEEE… TEEEHEEEHEEEEHEEEHEEE…”

Jahia, feeling the need to be methodic to counter her wild-ass plan of retreat forward, moves to the first door. She heaves it open, finding an armory, filled mainly but not exclusively with giant-size gear. A door left wall, a door opposite; and a gigantic double-door man-robe or bureau, seemingly built into the wall. She glances back at Cat, who points towards the right-hand door.

Jahia still has Longstrider up so is actually a little nippier than Cat!

Back out east: Tastra conjures a Fog Cloud to cover, and rushes around the Marrjik-Phoenix confrontation, to reach Kuiper. She gazes at the mess. “We’re gonna need a bigger stretcher…”

She has a potion ready so given the mess, just splashes it over the fallen ranger, and makes two will-o-whip sounds to let Gwen know what’s needed.

With a final hoot, to let the three returning picket-duty giants know where he is, even Kotik now clambers down from the south and heads north.

As Gwen reaches Tastra and leans to start hauling Kuiper back, Vir gazes down from his shaky platfirm. One of the squatches, knocking ice off its matted fell, heads back inside the part-ruined lean-to, under him. Vir swings about: sends more shafts across the compound to where he can still see Marrjik’s feet under Tastra’s fog. Crit! Marrjik howls with pain!

Marrjik continues clubbing at Phoenix, who uses a brooch charge to avoid it. Then Marrjik misses the stomp. The great ape galumphs at Phoenix rather than Gwen, but misses both slams.

Seck eases painfully over the roof-tree, not seeing even a chimney. From the opposite pitch, he has some line of sight into the inner compound. He sees a thrown-out extra chunk of lodge between the wings, and the shapes of two inner buildings among dissipating fog. No ally seems to be able to be supported. No obvious door in a place he can make use of.

Seck gains one level of exhaustion

And as various giants shift about and Tar Tar begins his next move (out of sight of Seck) the session ends.

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