(IC) Against the Giants PBP Group 1

FitzTheRuke

Legend
OOC Chat Thread
Rogues' Gallery Character Archive

Against the Giants

Part One: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief

Group One Players:

@Hriston playing Reeve Bible, Human Champion Fighter Sailor
@Blue playing Eoghan, Firbolg Glamour Bard
@Lidgar playing Jack "the Knife" Blake, Human Rogue Thief
@VLAD the Destroyer playing Quinn, Hexblood Circle of Stars Druid
@TerraDave playing Tenibor, High Elf Wizard
@Shadowedeyes playing Valda the Runeblade Human Rune Knight Fighter

Introduction

Giants have been raiding the civilized lands in large bands, visiting death and destruction upon villages, towns, and farmlands. Entire militias have been conquered, whole crops wiped out. These marauding bands consist of mixed groups of hill giants, stone giants, frost giants, and fire giants, as well as ogres and other monsters allied with the giants.

Determined to repel the invaders, local lords have begun hiring brave adventuring parties. The first few groups didn’t fare so well. Some were crushed beneath the boulders and boots of rampaging giants, while others fled into the wilderness and never returned.

The closest giant stronghold — and the greatest immediate threat to the safety of nearby settlements — is a great timber fortress populated by hill giants, known simply as the hill giant steading. Nosnra (pronounced noz-en-rah), a grossly fat and thoroughly despicable hill giant chief, rules from this stronghold. Sly and vicious, the hill giant chief routinely plunders farms, ambushes merchant caravans, and threatens trade roads. He has gathered ogres and other vile creatures to his banner and uses them as fodder during his brutal raids.

Nosnra’s alliance with more powerful kinds of giants, such as frost giants and fire giants, is a matter of grave concern. Many suspect a sinister influence at work, a secret motivational power behind the unusual
banding of different races of giants. Civilized authorities seek answers and they are willing to pay.

A new band of adventurers has assembled to punish the marauding giants and banish them from the civilized lands!

Day One: Culligan's Cairn

Lord Falldur coughed and waved to his squire, who helped him to his feet. He made his way down the long, intricately carved passageway of the dwarven tomb that he had used as his base - his home - for the past week. Had it only been a week since he had lost two-thirds of his men, and most of his supplies, on his way to the steading? He had retreated into the hills with what was left of his forces, hiding from roving bands of giants in an ancient burial mound, hidden from the giant's view.

All he could do now was wait for reinforcements to arrive, and to send his scouts to spy on the steading. Wait, gather information, and heal. The old knight, veteran of the War of the Fallow Fields, had been badly injured when a rock had struck his knee - a rock the size of his head, thrown by a fourteen-foot Hill Giant.

He nodded to the guard at the mouth of the cairn, and peered out across the rolling foothills. The skies were grey, with a light rain, leaving the furthest hills (and the mountains beyond) obscured by mists. Still, his heart rose with a renewed sense of purpose, when he saw a figure coming along a worn animal trail.

An adventurer - the first of many, he hoped - had arrived.

GM: You have arrived at Culligan's Cairn, where you can meet your allies and get some information off of Lord Falldur before tackling the Hill Giant Steading. Good Luck!
Cairn.jpg

OOC: Feel free to introduce your character and say a word or two about their journey through the hills.
 
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TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
A pale rider on a pale spectral horse pulls up to the tomb. With a gesture he dismisses the mount.

He strides into the Cairn with the confidence of one whose ancestors put many of its permanent residents into their current state.

He declares himself to the lord:

"Greetings your lordship. I am Tenibor of House A'Nora. I come as a leader and representative of my people to confront the scourge of giants."

"Our numbers in these lands are now few, hence I come alone. May my magical abilities help defeat this great menace."

He gives the slightest bow. He is trained in the ways of civilization, so will not smirk when and if the lord describes his recent defeats and suffering.

EDIT: Of course, he also shows only the slightest concern as he begins to understand this is very much about giants. And maybe not just a few.

"So these terrible oafs as tall as trees, your unfortunate and brave men encountered them in some numbers?"
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
A few shouts are heard from outside, the scrape of drawn steel, and words exchanged, but no alarm raised. A minute or so later a tall, broad, almost towards the worrisome "gigantic" carefully pulls himself through the dwarf-size opening to the tomb, blocking the sun. "Erm, pardons" he intones, though if that was trying to edge past a guard or to the stone door frame itself isn't clear. The voice at least fits the surroundings, deep as a dwarven mine.

Tufty ears, large eyes, blue skin, and a wide pinkish nose are visible once he is no longer a silhouette.

Still hunched against the oppressive-to-him height of the cairn he presents himself to the eldest present, hoping it was this Falldur he was told about. "Kind greetings to you and your tribe. I am here."

He turns his head and beams a wide toothy smile towards the pale elf. In Sylvan he says a traditional if old-fashioned Eladrin greeting, <May the sun show your path and the moon illuminate your steps.>
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Lord Falldur had not expected the rider to be an elf - it had been over a decade since he had even seen one of the olden folk. He was suitably impressed when the elf had dismissed his mount - it implied the competence that he was hoping for.

"Yes, they have been active in numbers unseen for thirty years." Falldur replied, then as he realised that the elf probably did not see three decades as a long time at all, he changed the subject for the moment, "Welcome to Culligan's Cairn. I hope you don't find it too distasteful to take refuge in a tomb. Since the dwarves left these hills for the mountains, a hundred years ago, this place has been thoroughly looted. Though it's possible that they took much of its contents along with them."

While Falldur was showing Tenibor around, the elf's thoughts turned to his true mission. Helping these humans against the giants was a noble task, to be sure, but Tenibor had been tasked with something else as well: Alaurien the Crestfallen, seer of the Starlit Fens had told him, "The dwarves would not tell our emissaries why they abandoned the Stalwart Hills, but the feeling was that they had discovered a hidden shrine. Not to just any of the old gods, but dedicated to the Nemesis itself. They fled under the mountain to avoid its dark influence, leaving the shrine buried. This... steading, that you have been tasked to journey to. It is uncomfortably close to that place. The wind is shifting. You must find out if the shrine exists, and if it has been uncovered."

OOC: Tenibor has his own Quest: Find the Shrine (or at least, make sure it's NOT found).
 
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FitzTheRuke

Legend
The arrival of a giant (even a strange, fey-born one) caused quite a stir among the remaining soldiers. However, his bearing was so relaxed, warm, and pleasant (so unlike the aggressive, brutish hill giants) that they quickly came around. Soon, the word went around that they "had a giant of their own" and idlers came from various parts of the tomb to gawk at him. A few guards even traded posts (or in one case, left it abandoned) to see him. While he was not nearly as large as their enemies, his voice and his personal presence filled the space. Morale noticeably rose, and soon the tomb was filled with jokes, laughter, and song.

Lord Falldur was forced to roar orders that returned soldiers to their duties and restored discipline. Still, even he showed the signs of a better outlook - and his knee seemed to bother him less. While he still walked with a limp, he dismissed the squire who had been acting as his crutch.

OOC: No extra mission for Eoghan, but he knows of a circle of druids who would greatly enjoy hearing the tale of what happens here, secluded as they are from the things that happen outside their deep forest. So perhaps, Eoghan's Quest: Gather inspiration for a epic to sing for the Druids.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
The Reeve of Steelport guides Memory, her horse, along the winding trail leading to the Cairn, stopping occasionally to let her forage some of the fresh dew covered grass and humming half remembered snippets of sea shanties, mumbling to herself as she goes. Nevertheless, she makes good time, arriving quickly and quietly as summoned.

She spies Lord Falldur at the dark entrance of the Cairn, dismounts, and descends between the megaliths that line its walkway.

"Ahoy, m'lord!" she greets the old knight, summoning as much pleasantry as she can muster for the occasion.

She notices Tenibor and Eoghan as her eyes adjust to the darkness inside the Cairn. "Oh my gosh, an elf!" she exclaims.

"And you, careful there," she says looking good naturedly up at the looming fir bolg, "don't bump your head! What am I? I'm no sage, but I know grave matters are afoot. Who am I? I'm Fistblood -- Fistblood the Sailor."
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
After Lord Faldur had greeter her and turned to look for more arrivals, an exclamation came from the back of the cairn, "Fistblood!"

A familiar face appeared, but now dressed in the style of a royal scout. It was Cromby McGibbon, an able sailor, gifted in the tops; agile and steady. He came forward and said, "Glad ta see you, mate! Asye I've been playin' the part of a scout since the Gorgon grounded in Stoney Bay. I heard you was Reeve of Steelport! I guess I should bow now insteada salute, eh?"

He made a mock-bow, deeper than would ever suit her rank, and winked when he rose.

Turning suddenly serious he added, "As we was comin' up here from Singedfield, we was hit hard by giants. Our old friend Cordit Littlefoot was with us, an' she got carried off by a giant. Maybe if they haven't eaten her yet, y'could see if you can save her?"

Cordit was a ship's halfling - a long standing tradition on the White Coast. What she was doing with Lord Falldur's company was anyone's guess, but many sailors had to find new work since the end of the Pirate Wars. Perhaps she was too small for the giants to consider eating. She might still be alive.

OOC: Bible's Quest: Rescue Cordit.
 
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Shadowedeyes

Adventurer
The warrior, she strode through the mist towards the cairn. Approaching the entrance to the dark threshold, she spat onto the ground to clear the dust from her throat, before acknowledging Lord Falldur.

"I heard you have a giant problem." She stopped for a moment, as if thinking, then chuckled at the unintended joke. "I'm invested in killin some giants."

As she moved into the tomb, she removes her helmet and takes a quick look at her surroundings and the other people inside.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
"Yes, that's right." said Lord Falldur to the newly-arrived Valda. She strode into the cairn, the tallest human there - only shorter than Eoghan, but something about her seemed more typically giant-like than even the Firbolg. Something about the way she stood, the way she moved.

"I bet she could wrestle a giant!" she overheard a soldier say to another.

"Nah. They're huge!" answered another, "There's just no way."

The first insisted, and an argument quietly ensued. Soon there was a small crowd. Valda's past caused her to instantly recognize a bookie when she saw one, as one of the soldiers began to take bets, offering odds.

OOC: Valda could get in on that action if she likes, and take the Quest: Wrestle a Giant (beat a giant at a contested grapple check). Presumably you will need surviving witnesses, of course.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
"That's about all I can stand," says Bible as she hears about Cordit's capture.

"No way I'm going to let those big galoots make a meal outa one of me friends," she says to Cromby, shaking her fist. "Not if I can help it! Any idea which direction they were going in when they took her?"
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
"We think they tooker t'the Steading, with all the rest o'their loot." Cromby answered Bible. He looked side-to-side to see if anyone was listening, then added, "They took a lotta stuff there. A lotta stuff. A sailor could buy a ship, if she gotter hands on just some of it."
 

Lidgar

Legend
As if on cue at the quiet mention of treasure, Jack slipped out of the shadows near the entrance and looked around the dim chamber. The newcomer smelled as if he hadn't bathed in weeks. His leathers beaten and road-weary, it looked like he could collapse at any moment.

“Quite the crew you’ve assembled here my lord,” graveled the lanky thief. Almost as an afterthought, he bowed low to Lord Falldur and the others, giving the giant-kin a long, appraising look. "Jack Blake at your service. Word is you know where these giants are. Me and my knife are keen on payin' them a little visit."
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
The old knight eyed Jack dubiously, but if he were not sure if he wanted help of 'that sort', he quickly put those thoughts aside, and said, "You and your knife are welcome here, Jack."

OOC: Jack does not need to be handed a quest. He has one. Jack's Quest: Find Azbar. (See Jack's backstory if you're reading along and want to know what that means.)
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Numbers of giants not seen in decades. He looks across those gathered here. Do they have any idea what they will face? Apparently what we, will face.

He replies with brevity to the first newcomers: "Indeed" to the sailor. An elvish "greeting" to his distant and oversized cousin.

He takes in the obvious warrior and rogue. We will need them, but are they enough?

He turns back to the lord:

"Such a terrible turn of events. Have you or your wise advisors any thoughts on why the giants are now massing and marauding on such devastating scale"?
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
The old Knight shook his head, "I'm afraid we have no idea. This is what we need you to find out, and to survive trying. Make no mistake, I understand what I'm asking of you. There may be no chance of stopping them. There certainly won't be any chance without more information. I am not asking you to engage them directly - you must do whatever you can to survive, and to bring us as much as you can on their plans, alliances, and motives."

At the end of that speech, he laughed and added, "Obviously, if you can kill a few of them while you are at it..."
 

Lidgar

Legend
Jack smirks at this, and mutters "Shouldn't be a problem."

More loudly he nods his head towards the entrance and says "I take it you know where this "steading" is? Could one of your scouts point the way? I could use a bite and 40 winks, but the sooner I get mine own eyes on this thing, the better."
 

Shadowedeyes

Adventurer
Hearing talk about betting on her odds at wrestling a giant brought Valda back to her days in the fighting pits. She had earned some decent coin in the betting, however, this was about something deeper. Beating a giant in physical might would prove it had all been worth it. That she had become stronger since last time. Since the village.

"I'll take that wager." She remarked to the bookie, handling any coin exchange necessary before taking stock of the others. She had mingled with adventurers before, but it was rare to see an elf, and whatever that big un was. Other than them, there was one calling herself Fistblood, another warrior it seemed, and one who was obviously a thief, she knew the look all too well.

"Giants and marauding ain't exactly strangers." She commented, although she frowned. The whole thing did feel a bit off, not like what she knew of giants.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
"The steading is about an hour away on foot," Lord Falldur answered Jack. "I do not recommend horses. There are many ruts and ditches for them to turn their ankles. I have scouts keeping an eye on the steading in four-hour shifts. One is due back soon and we can ask them for the latest. Perhaps while we wait, more help will arrive."

In the back, the bookie had made five-to-one odds against Valda successfully wrestling a giant. She could earn decent coin by betting on herself. She would have to take these men's money, who likely could scarcely afford it, but they had nothing else to spend it on here, and betting brought them joy. Of course, she would also have to win, and she would have to survive the attempt.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
"They've, erm, 'rebuffed' any offers to parley I assume? My brutish cousins of the hills are even more enamored with the righteousness of might than the young races", he pauses then looks momentarily stricken, "No insult intended, of course."

He shrugs his broad shoulders, a considering look on his face as he scans the others who have answered the call.

"If they see you as weak, they will seek to dominate you. No one questions the valor of your guardians, Falldor Lord, but if you attack and lose more it will just embolden them. Let us attempt to shift the path of their brook."
 

Quinn circles the cairn several times, he notes the others as they arrive. With his keen eyes he looks for any danger before picking a suitable clearing to use for landing. Those watching from the cairn would see the giant eagle land and hop awkwardly once before shifting down to a humanoid man. He was tall with long reddish hair tied back with a simple leather cord. Those who first saw him change might have caught the a glimpse of his strangely pointed ears and what looked like a silvery black crown. Between steps as the newcomer walks they vanish leaving any who noticed to doubt their eyes.

The man walks to the entrance and stops.

"Good day, the stars have guided me here. The omens point to trouble. I have come to assist, the name is Quinn."
 
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