Sorry, out for the weekend. I would go with taking out the guard at the watchtower. But that would just be me, and it seems like most people want to send Larry down. So, let's do that and get it goin'!
Actually, he does. Maybe you looked at the sheet before he finished it. I'm going to assume he casts it, even though he hasn't chimed in, just to get things moving. I'm sure he'd be okay with it. Invisibility is a much better choice here than Greater, what with 1 hour duration.
awesome call to get regular invisibility!!!! We'll have an invisible reconnaissance drone for 1h. Note that Gimlak instructs Larry to come back every 8 minutes or so, so he can re-initiate telepathic speech (otherwise, as per the summon aberration spell, he'll basically freeze waiting for instructions if none are given to him)
Gimlak smiles as Larry disappears. He telepathically instructs the aberration to silently go down the non-smoking chimney, scout, and describe what he sees, and to head back after about 4 minutes. To make sure, he asks that someone count to make sure the telepathic link doesn't expire As Larry describes what he sees, Gimlak verbalises everything to his companions.
Not sure how you wanted to handle the duration of telepathic speech. I'm assuming that my character has a sense of how long he can maintain the connection.
With their hiding spot seeming secure, the group discussed not "wasting" their time with Gimlak's summoned aberration. This came with a quiet discussion of the wizard's magic, and led to Duvrael offering to turn the beholder-kin invisible to scout while they waited.
With that, the hour passed as the invisible Larry would periodically leave and return (surprising everyone with a slightly-too-loud "Gbrabgh!" as he announced his return. During the scouting, the dwarf and the aberration would telepathically argue for a while, as Gimlak tried to get more precise details off the lazy and rude beholder-kin.
Eventually, the group were able to put together some (hopefully accurate) details:
With a map!
Map Key: 1) Where the party arrived; 2) Gatehouse (guarded); 3) Watchtower (giants); 4) Smoke-less chimney; 5) Great Hall bonfire smoke-hole; 6) Kitchen roof (PCs are HERE!); 7) Courtyard (4 dire wolves); 8) Outbuilding (sleeping ogres)
Larry stubbornly refused to give exact numbers, but he reported that there was a large party of giants in the Great Hall (a large room in the middle). The "king" was entertaining guests there, probably not more than a dozen, all giants. (Larry was unclear on the type). He revealed that there were actually more than one (Gimlak narrowed it down to three) giants in the watchtower (Kahru had only seen one) and guards (probably ogres) in the gatehouse.
Larry had gone down the two smoke-free chimneys. The one in the outbuilding, Larry reported "sleeping ogres", while the one at the south-west corner, he reported "one giant" but had no idea what the giant was doing, other than being "awake in the room". By his reluctant description, Gimlak thought that the giant was likely a Stone Giant.
It was fully dark by the time Larry disappeared, but the kitchen fires burned for another hour. A light rain began, washing away the mists that had rolled down out of the hills, but making any chance of a roof fire unlikely. They were cold, damp and cramped from sitting on the wet thatch roof, but the various noises from around the steading had died down and so had the smoke from most of the fires, with one exception: The fire from the chimney that they had initially climbed to get on the roof increased, and the one further south from that one stayed steady.
The bonfire in the great hall still burned, but the smoke from the giant smoke-hole calmed, indicating that it was burning low. Things would likely have changed somewhat, since Larry's reports.
Recommend we take care of the three giants in the watchtower first. Ideally, it would be nice to go after the sleeping ogres, but we'd have to go by the dire wolves. Don't think dropping in on the great hall, even if they're sleeping, is a great idea.
There was a noise from below and a hill giant came out from a door not far beneath them. He crossed the courtyard, and the dire wolves barely took notice of him. (they had moved to comfortable grass and were now curled up, fat on scraps and dozing). The giant began to slowly circle the courtyard, on guard duty.
Kaligan says, "We could go down the kitchen chimney. It's far from the tower and it's dark out, so we would not be seen. Once inside, we can explore and engage as we will, without the tower guards being aware."
“ Kitchens mean fire, knives and scrounging guards” the Barbarian opined before looking back to the guard tower.
“Kill the guards then down the smokeless chimney is my plan” Kahru announced his intention. The gunman made him uneasy but Kahru had to agree about taking out the guards and was already moving that direction, pausing at the apex to see if at least one other would back him up …
Duvrael offers no explanation as he softly starts casting another spell. Producing a small piece of cured leather from a pouch on his bandoleer, he touches it to his other hand while intoning a few eldritch phrases and making complicated gestures. A greenish sheen of scales appears on his skin briefly before fading.
"I can make one of the guards attack the others," Avrael offers matter-of-factly as he puts the spell component back, confident in his magical prowess.
The wizard seems a bit distracted, as if making plans and calculations in his head rather than listening to the input of the others.
"However, violence will likely attract more attention than we want. We could draw out most of the giants with a distraction, but they will return faster than we can escape. I've only got one or two invisibility spells left, but that will not fool the wolves. One of us could go down there and tie up a few sleeping giants, slowing them down when they wake up."
He seems to be thinking out loud rather than coming to any conclusion.
Sorry, you guys are posting a lot faster than I can keep up with over the weekend.
So Duvrael has cast Invisibility on the beholderkin (feel free to assume I can cast whatever spell you need if I'm not online for a few days), and has now cast Mage Armor on himself.
I can cast Enemies Abound on one of the giants or ogres, making them attack its allies, and when doing so I will use the Portent to replace their saving throw roll with the '4' I rolled earlier.
Duvrael AC15* HP 56/56 HD 9/9 PP15* SSdc17 3/4 2/3 3/3 3/3 1/1 P 4,17
Reaction readied: Cast Shield spell when hit by an attack, increasing AC to 20 and potentially turning a hit into a miss.
"May I ask: Do we have a leader?" asked Donnell, boldly. "Because if not, we're going to have to work out how a group of equals can make decisions, and we're going to have to do it quickly. Before that giant down there spots us and raises an alarm."
So which is it? I have two-and-a-half "votes" for hitting the watchtower and one 'weighty' vote (in that @Maxperson sounds determined) to go down the kitchen chimney. Can we reconcile quick-ish (by which I simply mean without too much back-and-forth on it)? It's an important decision, sure, but ultimately not all that important. Either way can lead to success or death, depending on how things shake out.
Gimlak weighs in: "If we do anything outside, we need to dispatch the wolves first otherwise they will reveal our presence. If we go inside, this won't be a problem, unless the guards come in as reinforcements. If we can trap the giants inside, I can open a path to the greater void that will soften them up"
Gimlak has the inspiring leader feat, but I don't necessarily want to impose his leadership.
Also, apologies in advance, I'm travelling till Friday so my response rate will be spotty.
Also FYI, GImlak is referring to the Hunger of Hadar spell, that can be quite nasty in enclosed spaces
While the others discussed how best to proceed, Kahru went up to the roof's peak and peered over at the watchtower. It was now dark, and he could see the shadowy forms of two hill giants on watch. One was looking out to the south and the other to the east, using the light from two large hooded lanterns cast out into the grassy hills surrounding the steading.
He looked back to see if anyone was following him, and he could just make out the company in the crook of the roof, quietly discussing what to do, with no consensus achieved.
Edit: Just so we know what we'd be getting into with the Watchtower. The roof peaks at about even with the Watchtower's platform (45 feet above the ground) and then slopes down to 25 feet off the ground, making the climb ~25 feet (including getting over the railing) from the roof to the Watchtower. The hill giant guards ARE alert ATM, but they're not watching the roof, and they don't have darkvision. So slipping down the roof to the chimney (for cover) is not out of the question, though maybe not room there for the whole party. Still, you can work your way all the way to the base of the watchtower, with a stealth roll. (Currently without PWoT, they could feasibly hear you on the roof and shine their lanterns over, and you'd be caught). Then you'll have to climb 25 feet up to get at them. Not easy, really.
Kahru The Storm Bear looked back with a scowl, wondering why he had been cursed with ditherers instead of warriors. The aid of the spirits had already passed without trace into the night and he could feel the undercurrent of rage starting to broil in his belly. But as impatient and ready to crack skulls as the barbarian was, he was not so rash and unwise as to take on 3 giants alone.
If the rest chose to go down the nearest chimney, then Kahru would follow. But once they were inside - the Barbarian zealot was ready to rip the flesh of ogres
Oh Duvrael having Enemies Abound changes things, what would happen if it was cast into the Great Hall on the Hill giant king himself? Cause some real chaos as the king goes mad and slaughters his own
Thinking about the great hall and being at the peak of the roof, Kahru ventured to take a peek down the large smoke hole over the hall. The bonfire had died down to a smallish fire (though the pit was enormous) and he was able to look in without too much smoke in his face. The vaulted ceiling of the hall was supported with blackened rafters, and far below him (forty feet down), the hall was dimly lit by various low-burning iron braziers that hung from the rafters on chains. A few hill giants had put bedrolls down around the firepit, and one was crossing the hall. He could not see the entire room, but the party was over and there appeared to be no sign of the king, who likely had retired to his chambers.
I hate to tempt yet another egress, but it's possible to go in this way as well. I more mention this to make it clear that things have changed somewhat since Larry scouted. You waited until it got late.
The Colonel, huddled under the loose thatch as the scouting takes place, scowls at Donnell. "Know your place, lad. You're right, we don't have a leader. And you're right, it's not me. I've led too many men to their deaths before. Surviving means carrying the burden of those that are lost. If you're lucky, and watch, you will find yourself carrying that burden too before too long."
He lets the others know: "I can get myself, and anyone i can carry, up to the guard house without climbing and silently. If we go that way, I think we can take them by surprise. , since if they are looking anywhere, it won't be from the roof. If we do that, we thin out reinforcements and if we do it quickly we might not alert those inside.
Whether or not we do that, I agree that down the chimney is the way to go. Duvrael's spell seems a great way to go for the main hall, and again would create a distraction that might allow us some opportunity. If our king shows up, I can try to banish him to another plane, and that would give us a minute to deal with the depleted forces. Again, Duvrael's portent might be useful for ensuring that hits home.
Whether we hit the guard tower or not is up to others. I can lead that attack there if you want, carrying anyone who can hold on to my back. Otherwise, let's make our way to the chimney. Donnell, you stick with me."
"If I can cast that spell on one of the more powerful giants, perhaps even the king himself, then perhaps reinforcements will just think it an internal conflict," Duvrael grins coldly.
"With luck, they will not even suspect our presence. If they are sleeping, it could be that many of our opponents are killed without even waking up! The only obstacle is that I cannot focus on both that spell and on magical invisibility, so we will need to hide longer. And does anyone have a way to magically silence the hall?"
A vote to go down this chimney rather than take out the watchtower first. Although I'm fine with either plan.
Doc has been listening to the others with him. As he hears them talk, he silently takes another slug of whiskey. When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
Not makin' a decision is a decision I'm not makin'.
Doc moves to the chimney, and begins to clamber down.
Doc takes his rope back and fastens it to the chimney and climbs down the chimney. (Athletics at advantage, still proficient)
Doc stealthily hides toward the base.
Doc summons the fear of the souls who died when they were buried alive and plants it in the mind of the biggest, baddest thing he sees while hiding. (Enemies Abound @3rd Level warlock slot - 1 action, concentration up to a minute, critter gets int save)
Kaligan sees Doc head to the chimney and thinks, "Excellent!" He then moves towards the chimney himself and waits for Doc to reach the bottom, then he simply jumps in and lands lightly upon the floor of the chimney next to Doc and begins to look around as he steps out of the chimney to make room for the next person.
I'm assuming that we've been up there waiting long enough to get a short rest to refresh my Psi-Powered leap. If not, I will expend 1 psionic die to refresh it.