Session 22: Prophecies of the Oracle
The heroes return to the riverboat where they are greeted by Captain Raag Bloodtusk and Coxswain Halrex. Raag has recovered from the simian tranquilizers and he thanks the heroes for everything they did to keep the ship moving and protecting his crew from the stowaway, Melira, and the orc attack. He gives the heroes his old victory belt, given to him after he earned his freedom in the gladiatorial pits of Gruum.
The heroes are now eager to reach Redlake Fort, armed with the new treasures of the Vault, and the heroics of the two dwarves, Brango and Ingrahild. They spend the six days travelling the rough rivers, using the horses to push upstream towards where the river joins. During the journey, Brango shares what he knows about fighting giants with the others. Esderal prepares some alchemical concoctions, while Duke and Agandar go over some new spells. Kiltro learns how to channel magic more easily, and Arngeir prays for courage in the coming battles.
After six days pass (8th Heartrise, 692 G.R.), the heroes say farwell to Raag and the rest of his crew. He promises to try and meet them again where the rivers join in a few days. The heroes head out into the wild lands towards the fort, following one of the rivers that join into the Vestr Elfr. As they near the fortress, they come across the massive humanoid footprints, suggesting that there are giants nearby. Agandar determines, based on the tracks, that there is at least one hill giant, a few other large humanoids, as well as many orcs in the group. The heroes decide to continue onward, trying to avoid detection by the patrol.
After about an hour, they come across very fresh tracks, that likely belong to the same patrol they found tracks earlier. They decide to prepare an ambush. The heroes hide behind some trees as Esderal charges towards the patrol, throwing a bomb at them. This gets their attention quickly and the half-elf flees to the others. As the lumbering giants stumble into ambush, the heroes leap out, throwing powerful blasts and spell upon them. A few ogres are killed immediately and the heroes charge int at the orcs, who try to surround the heroes from the side. Esderal charges at the orcs as the others finish off the ogres. One of the orcs then flees for the woods and Agandar, Ali, Kiltro, Arngeir, and Esderal all make chase. Duke tries to follow behind.
Meanwhile, Brango slays the hill giant and he and Ingrahild wait for the others to return. Agandar and Ali chase down the escaping orc and he surrenders. After some interrogation, he heroes manage to learn much about the fortresses defenses. They learn that the ogres and orcs do not get along and that Grenseldek keeps the three groups (Heart Eater hill giants, Morb family ogres, and Twisted Nail orcs) from fighting each other. However, she hasn’t left the keep much lately and the orc says General Karrguk of the orcs plans to fell the others and take control of the keep. He also confirms that Umlo Nargrymkin is captured at the fort and fights in the “bear pits”.
Esderal kills the orc and the heroes decide to continue onward. They reach the outskirts of the fortress as the sunsets. A small stealth group, featuring Kiltro, Esderal, and Ingrahild examine the perimeter of the fort. They determine that the only entrances past the palisade wall is through the dam blocking the river and the barbican main entrance. The heroes gather together and decide to enter the fort, using Duke’s magic to all become invisible.
The group then sneaks to the edge of the dam and uses Agandar’s magical token to create a ladder that let’s them climb down into the dry moat. They hear the orcs all shouting from the barbican, watching what they presume to be the bear pits. The heroes then hear orcs coming and rush to the darkness of the west. They then see an aged half-orc woman across the moat floor motioning for them to follow her. Reluctantly, the heroes do so and soon find themselves on the western edge of the moat, where it is considerably quieter.
The woman introduces herself as Droja and brings them to her tent on the northwest end of the moat. As soon as they enter, she treats them like celebrities, eager to meet them. She introduces them to herself, knowing intimate details about each of them. She says they are her saviors and they will liberate the fort and she will be free. She then reads some fortunes, predicting their futures, bringing some disturbing revelations to light.
Droja: Kiltro’s Father:
Droja: Duke’s Lost Memories
Droja: Arngeir, Chosen of the Gods:
Droja: Esderal’s Birth-Mother
Droja: Brango’s Revenge
Droja: Agandar’s Lost Daughter
Droja: Nyyrikki’s Rise
Umlo is then brought to Droja and Arngeir heals him. They learn that Umlo fights in the bear pits each night to entertain the orcs, less they rebel. Droja has been healing him each evening after the fights at General Karrguk’s request. Umlo tells his sister and the heroes to do what they need to do to fell Grenseldek and cause problems in the fort, he will continue to fight and distract them. Droja then tells them to seek Fabian Blix,a ghost in the nearby church who can shed some light no Grenseldek’s condition.
The half-orc oracle says farewell, reluctant to please General Karrguk as his concubine. The heroes then head to the western edge of the fort and verify that there is a 4-ft diameter sewer grate about 10 feet above the moat’s floor. They then climb into one of the nearby tents, knowing that they are empty and only for show. The heroes then try to rest, taking in the many revelations revealed to them and the great ordeal facing them at Redlake Fort.
Session 23: Infiltration of Redlake Fort
[Sep 8th, 2020]
The heroes rest over the night in the abandoned tents on the eastern end of the dry moat beneath Redlake Fort. The night goes by without incident and the heroes head out early the next morning (9th Heartrise, 692 G.R.) to the sewer grate outside the tent. Esderal climbs up to the sewer grate, using his grappling hook, quieted with some cloth around the ends. He peers through the wide grate and sees a 4-ft diameter tunnel with brackish, sewage water dripping down the angled corridor. He managed to re-affix the grappling hook to the stone on the inside of the sewer grate and Brango climb up and helps Esderal pull the sewer grate off the wall.
The grate breaks off relatively easily and they turn it and slide it into the narrow corridor. Esderal then sneaks ahead as Brango watches the entrance. After a few feet into the dark, slimy corridor, Esderal sees something sliding down the long, upward-angled shaft. It appears to be an ooze of some kind. It lashes at Esderal with an acidic pseudopod and the half-elf flees the tunnel with Brango. The creature does not seem to follow.
As the heroes are discussing what to do next, Arngeir hears a patrol of orcs coming from the south. The heroes shuffle into the nearby tent quickly, hearing the orcs walking by. The orcs are complaining about the ogres, saying how the ogres keep firing arrows down at them. They then hear the orcs discovering the rope and broken grate. Arngeir rushes out and bashes one of the orcs as the others follow him. They quickly fell the orcs with not too much noise and clatter. Kiltro uses Brango’s arrows to make it seem like the ogres shot arrows at the orcs. The heroes discuss what to do next in the tent, as Arngeir and Agandar treat their wounds.
They eventually decide to climb back into the sewer, with Esderal setting up his climbing kit and pulley system to make it easy for everyone to get up. Esderal and Brango then have Arngeir lift up the dead orcs and Brango lays them out into the sewer tunnel for the gray oozes to devour. They eventually get all four bodies into the narrow tunnel, leaving just enough room for them to squeeze by and leave the oozes distracted by their meals. Soon everyone climbs up the rope, they pack up the kit, and place the sewer grate gently back in place. The heroes climb past the oozes into a circular cistern with a center pool of sewage and waste.
Esderal climbs up the narrow tunnel that heads up to a hole in the floor above. On the way, he finds the skeleton of a child lodged in the shaft, it seems to have broken its neck long ago. He dislodges the skeleton carefully, and Brango catches it. They find two rings on the child’s skeleton, one of which is magical, but unidentified. The other ring is the heraldic symbol of the House of Blix, confirming that this skeleton was one of Calrianne’s ancestor, the brother of her great grandfather who escaped.
Esderal continues his climb and ascends into a small latrine room. He sets up the pulley system again and everyone is able to climb up into the chamber. Duke, however, slips on his way up and falls face-down in the sewage, contracting filth fever. The heroes then find the latrine heads to two nearby doors. Esderal explores the double doors to the east, discovering three hill giants in the main hall of the keep. The northern door heads outside.
The heroes then hear a patrol walk past the latrine. They then decide to avoid unnecessary risk, and Duke casts a powerful illusion over them to make them invisible. The group shuffles northward, atop the high wall of the keep into the another tower. In the courtyard, they catch a quick glimpse of some ogres ripping the arms off an orc, calling him a “dirty spy”.
The heroes find a dusty, unused barracks in the next chamber with a spiral stair heading up to the bell tower. They then cross the next high wall to the east finding an empty guard chamber. The invisibility spell ends and they decide to sneak their way back to the barracks and up to the bell tower. The ogres in the courtyard are quite distracted, making this task quite easy.
The heroes then sneak up into the bell tower where they find three deformed ogrekin quietly keeping watch from the high tower. The heroes rush in and fell the deformed monstrosities quickly, without making too much noise. From the top of the tower, they can see much of the fort, noticing a hill giant and some ogres on a wall in the center of the fortress. Agandar is able to identify the magic ring they found, and Kiltro takes it as a protection against electrical energies.
The heroes then head back down and eastward to the next guard chamber. After they enter, they hear the sound of voices below them. Esderal immediately recognizes one of the voices as Urnsul. However, Urnsul seems to have heard them as well. She sneaks up the stair and stabs Esderal before sneaking back down. The heroes chase her down into a prison room where four human merchants are chained to the wall. Four orc guards charge at the heroes and they fight it out. Esderal desperately tries to reach Urnsul, but she remains out of reach. She only takes a few well-placed hits and is cursed by Arngeir. Urnsul then sees the battle going poorly and drinks an invisibility potion, seemingly disappearing. The heroes fell the remaining orcs and free the merchants.
Arngeir recognizes one of the merchants as Katla’s father, Haf Jojurin. He is most grateful for the rescue. The heroes begin to discuss what to do next and what they should do with their newly rescued prisoners.
Session 24: Ghosts and Tension
[Sep 15th, 2020]
The heroes look about the courtyard of Redlake Fort, finding things are still quiet. They are weary about how to get Haf and the merchants to safety before the patrols arrive. Esderal and Kiltro scout out into the courtyard, finding a guardhouse full of ogrekin nearby. They then notice an opening in the patrols and have everyone sprint across the courtyard to the church.
Esderal and Kiltro find the church door barricaded shut, with a sign that read “Keep out! Vengeful spirits inside!” They are able to quickly release the door and get inside. The others charge into the church with the merchants and Esderal closes the door behind them, ensuring the barricade still looks functional.
As the heroes enter the church, they find the space untouched by the denizens of the fort. Dust covers many of the surfaces and a grand statue of the Noradrie deity Forsoti greets them. Arngeir heads over to the altar and prays and soon feels another presence in the room. A ghostly form of a man then appears before him.
The ghost introduces himself as Fabian Blix, a former priest of the church when the fort was held by the Alliance long ago. He mentions that Drodja had told him to expect a band of heroes, but he was skeptical it would come to pass. He seems to see into each of the heroes, knowing they have good intentions. Fabian then tells a story about the former castallan of the fort, a man named Tamand Varias who led the fort to ruin and cursed the place with his path to cannibalism. He tells how when the fort was surrounded by an army of orcs, Tamand had butchered the soldiers’ families and fed them to the soldiers to keep them going. The soldiers were told that meat was “found” in the church.
This evil act has cursed the fort and is the reason Fabian cannot find rest. Additionally, this curse may be affecting Grenseldek, causing her to slip into a prolonged mourning after her marriage offer was spurned by someone called the Storm Tyrant. Fabian begs the heroes to find the bones of Tamand Varias and bring them back to the church to be consecrated. He promises to teach Arngeir this powerful ritual as well. The heroes all agree to find Tamand’s bones and Fabian offers to let the heroes rest here anytime and for the merchants to hide here until the heroes can find a way for them to escape.
Esderal then scouts out to explore the central building, finding a smelly midden where the giants throw their waste. On his way back, he is accosted by some ogres, but quickly uses an elixir to appear as an orc. However, these ogres seem intent on eating this orc. Eventually, Esderal is able to convince them to let him go. Esderal returns to the others and they decide to move across the courtyard to strike at the guardhouse.
The heroes quickly assault the guardhouse and take out the ogrekin inside. They then move the bodies of the orcs from the other room to stage what looks like a battle between the two factions. The heroes then sneak back into the church to await the result. However, quite some time passes before anything is heard in the courtyard. The heroes then see a powerful orc, presumably General Karrguk, talk with the hill giants and ogres, the heroes then see a bunch of orcs haul out their dead from the staged battle. One of the orcs then looks towards the church and seemingly motions to Esderal.
The heroes ignore this sign and decide to rest for the day, hoping the cover of night will make things easier. The long day passes and as night falls, the heroes look back out into the courtyard. As Esderal’s head peaks out the crack, he finds Urnsul’s crossbow pointed at the side of his head. She whispers that General Karrguk requests a meeting at his tent. She then disappears as Esderal closes the door. The heroes decide to use Duke’s invisibility magic to sneak across the courtyard and look at the narrow arrowslit to the dry moat, but they believe it too be too hard to slide through.
The heroes then head to the center building, where they find a latrine and over hear some patrols and guards moving about. The heroes then try to sneak back to the guardhouse with the cracked arrowslit, but are spotted by a patrol of ogrekin. The heroes charge into the guardhouse with the ogrekin on their tail. A quick battle takes place and the ogrekin are slain. However, with their shouting and the sound of thundering lightning bolts by Duke and Kiltro, others likely heard what happened. The heroes stand over the bodies of the ogrekin trying to quickly decide what to do next.
Session 25: Truce for Slain Ogres
[Sep 22nd, 2020]
The heroes stand in the guardhouse with the fallen ogrekin in the doorway and upon the stair. They quickly the bodies to block the entranceway as Esderal begins to prepare a piton and rope to climb out the narrow window to the dry moat 30 feet below. Esderal is able to help everyone squeeze out the window as the sounds of ogres is heard outside the door.
Soon everyone is able to climb down, jump, fall, or otherwise leap their way down to the dry moat below. The heroes then rush into one of the abandoned tents on the western end, near Droja’s tent. They hear the sounds of chaos around them and wait a moment before sneaking their way towards General Karrguk’s tent.
They climb the stairs carved into the rocky outcropping that the fort is built upon. The General’s tent is spread out like an awning from the side of the fortress. Numerous orcs brandishing weapons eye the heroes as they reach the top of the cliffside. General Karrguk then comes out to talk to them, allowing only Kiltro and Esderal into his tent, unarmed.
After a tense discussion, Kiltro and Esderal agree to assist General Karrguk with the elimination of the ogre’s leader, Pappy Gutterunch, and Grenseldek. In exchange, the General will release Umlo and provide a secret entrance into the fort. The heroes do not fully trust the orc leader, but they know the secret entrance could help them gain a surprise attack on the ogres. The heroes return to the western tents, and talk with Droja for a short while, before resting for the rest of the night.
The next morning, (10th Heartrise, 692 G.R.), the heroes return to General Karrguk’s tent and enter through a secret entrance hidden in the side of the fort. The General had covered it with a tapestry behind his throne. They find a small corridor behind the secret door, covered in dust. As promised by the General, the heroes find a few traps, but Esderal and Brango are able to deal with them. The heroes find a way into a guardhouse to the east and a well room to the west. They then find a shaft that climbs up into a chamber above the well.
They move into the upper chamber quietly and Esderal leads the heroes into the hallway and down the stairs into the keep’s basement. They then push into a pair of double doors into a large storeroom that stinks of filth and rot. They then see a few glinting trinkets in the corner inside an old overturned cauldron. As they move towards the cauldron, a powerful ghostly haunt infects them with an urge to attack and eat each other.
Agandar and Arngeir are able to resist the urge but cannot control the others as they strike, cut, and burn each other with magic. This loud ruckus attracts the attention from some ogrekin in the room next door and the heroes also see that the ogres are performing some foul ritual in the other chamber. Some of the heroes regain their senses, but Kiltro and Esderal continue to try and eat each other, causing much harm.
The others strike out to fight the ogrekins as the sounds of the ritual reaches a concluding crescendo. The ogres then summon a mighty blade demon to charge in at the heroes. Brango tries to hold it back, but the ogres charge in as well. Things look grim for the heroes as the enemies cut and strike at them. Kiltro is nearly killed by Esderal, but they both eventually come to their senses too.
Duke, Agandar, and then Kiltro blasts the ogres with powerful bolts of lightning that sends reverberating thunder cracking throughout the keep. The large, pregnant ogres fall and eventually Brango and Arngeir are able to fell the demon. Then the heroes swarm in on Pappy Gutterunch and fell the mighty sorcerer. Kiltro takes Pappy’s powerful ring and Duke takes the magical staff of conjuration.
The heroes survey the chaos of the battle and the loud sounds they produced, trying to decide what to do next.
Session 26: Against the Giants
[Sep 29nd, 2020]
Vignette: Duke: Moment of Aptitude
The heroes quickly gather what they can from the old armory where Pappy Gutterunch and his ogres lay dead. Duke is able to decipher the runes on the ground, learning they are part of a demonic ritual. He also finds the headless skeleton of Tamand Varias, and Brango agrees to take the bones with him to bring to the ghost of Fabian Blix.
The heroes treat their wounds and try to leave the basement. They grab the trinkets in the cauldron and head up the stairs. However, they then hear numerous ogrekin coming towards them. They rush back to the basement and Kiltro quickly throws up an illusory image of Pappy. The ogrekin seem to accept the fake Pappy’s explanation about the commotion and leave the ogre patriarch alone.
The heroes follow after the ogrekin and sneak back into the secret corridor. They decide to strike at the hill giants in the fort entrance and Esderal devises a plan to distract them. He uses a potion of invisibility combined with a spell from Agandar to climb unseen like a spider to the top of one of the middle buildings. He then sets off a mechanism that explodes a fire bomb and a thunderstone simultaneously. The blast creates a loud noise and sets a small flame to the rooftop.
Esderal sneaks into the fort’s main entrance as one of the hill giants heads out to investigate the explosion. Meanwhile, the others stand in the well room ready to charge in. However, once the hill giants hear about the fire, two of them rush towards the well room to fetch some water. They find the heroes waiting for them and a tense battle ensues in the hall. They manage to fell one of the giants, but find themselves in a dire situation.
Brango tries to hold the giants off as the others try to flee. The giants throw balls of iron at them, nearly felling Brango and Agandar with their heavy blows. Esderal sneaks past one of the giants, cutting it he slips into the room with his friends. The heroes flee into the secret tunnel as Brango holds them off. Eventually Brango leaps down the well hole and falls into the lower well room. The giant above him notices him and calls out to the others. The other giant begins to charge towards Brango, who is hiding near the door entrance to the courtyard. Esderal and Kiltro then throw a smokestick into the lower well room and use the secret door to sneak Brango into the corridor with them.
The secret door closes tight and the heroes are hidden. They learn that the giants, ogres, and orcs have banded together to find the intruders. General Karrguk asks them to stay hidden for now. The giants search for quite some time, before they seem to give up. The heroes spend more than an hour in the tight corridor. They tend to their wounds and talk about their plan. Brango weeps uncontrollably as he seems to be dealing with some repressed emotions as a demon fever begins to afflict him.
After some time, the heroes gather their strength and decide to poke out. They find that the well room is quiet and Esderal checks the upper well room. As he pokes his head out the secret door, he finds himself face-to-face with an ogrekin. A battle ensues as the heroes climb up and charge out of the secret place. They fell the first ogrekin, but find five more charging in. The heroes charge at them and begin to take them out quickly, but soon they hear the two hill giants coming from the fort’s entrance to the north.
Arngeir takes heavy wounds and is forced to pull back as Brango and Esderal charge in, slaying the ogrekin. Duke, Agandar, and Kiltro provide powerful spell support. Arngeir then unleashes a powerful wave of dispair upon one of the hill giants and it is felled quite quickly. Duke then paralyzes the final hill giant as his friends then cut the giant down. With the giants defeated the heroes have a moment of relief.
Before the heroes can enjoy that moment, however, they see an old man in dark robes step out of a nearby door. He is holding a strange tablet covered in ancient Jotun runes.
The man seems quite unconcerned by the heroes, confident and dark in his words. He warns them about crossing his path again. He then greets Duke by name before disappearing in a swirl of shadows and darkness.
Session 27: Foray into Failure
[Oct 6th, 2020]
The heroes stand for a moment, staring at the spot where the stranger once stood. Duke seems to lose himself in a moment of reverie, drifting through strange memories of the past.
Vignette: Duke: Resistance
The heroes then decide to push forward. They believe they should strike at Grenseldek quickly while her hill giant guards are dead, before others find out. The heroes push into the next chamber, the one where the strange old men stepped out. They find a massive treasury, filled with numerous boxes and crates, and piles of art objects and other items stolen by the orc raiders over the past year.
Dominating the chamber, however, is a massive cage that seems to house some large stirring creatures hidden under a cloth. The heroes decide to leave things be and sneak past the cage. Kiltro notices a few bits of magic in the room, but they don’t take the time to seek them out. They also find some letters, a map, and a large giant-sized wedding gown in the chamber.
The heroes then enter the doors on the other end and climb up the spiral stairs to the upper tower. Esderal cracks the door open and finds a weeping and sobbing Grenseldek laying upon a massive bed. The rogue sneaks into the room, but finds that a half-orc/-half-giant guard notices him. The guard calls out and the heroes are forced to flee down the stairwell as Grenseldek and her many guards come clamoring after them.
The heroes scramble through the treasury as Brango tries to hold the enemies off. Kiltro and Arngeir escape into the secret corridor, as Duke and the others flee towards the sewer. Grenseldek and her guards climb down the outside of the tower and charge through the front entrance, chasing just behind Esderal and Brango. They all scramble down the sewer hole as Grenseldek cuts the rope, sending Agandar sprawling down. The heroes then quickly move down the sewer tunnel, past the still munching oozes, and scramble down into the dry moat. They decide to head to Droja’s hut. They find her waiting for them and she throws furs and skins over them to hide them in the corners of her hut, just as Karrguk barges in. The General demands that Droja use her oracular powers to search for them and she lies, telling him that they fled into the woods.
Meanwhile, Kiltro and Arngeir listen to General Karrguk as he leaves his tent to search for the others. They sneak out and don orcish cloaks and helms. As they step out of the tent, they are called to help search for the intruders. They look through the nearby tents and along the northeastern portion of the fort. They then see General Karrguk and the orcs charging out of the fort and they are ordered to follow and search the woods. Instead, Kiltro and Arngeir hang back and are able to slip away. They head to Droja’s tent and meet up with the others.
The heroes then decide now is a good time to try and free Umlo. Ingrahild joins them as they head to the eastern tents, where they fell a few orcs in their sleep and head to the bear pits. They open the doors to the pit and free Umlo, who is eager to join them. Esderal then sneakily unlocks the gate to the bear cage.
The heroes head back to the secret corridor and lie in wait for the General to return. When Karrguk returns, about an hour later, he heads directly for the secret entrance. Esderal then leaps out and attacks him, just as his friends pour out of the secret entrance. A great battle takes place in the tent. Agandar then blasts the tent with a spray of stones, sending it shattered to blow away in the wind. The heroes strike at the orcs and weaken General Karrguk. Duke then throws a ball of fire down at the orcs and Karrguk, felling the general. The other orcs are quickly cut down.
The heroes rush to get Droja as Agandar summons forth the plants to form a short-lived barricade to the east. The heroes grab the oracle and return, trying to figure out where to go next. They then come face to face with a large gathering of orcs in the dry moat. Kiltro holds the general’s head out before him, trying to plead with the orcs, but they reject his offer and charge at him…
Session 28: A Furious Escape
[Oct 13th, 2020]
The heroes charge at the orcs in the dry moat, culminating in a wild battle between the orcs of Redlake Fort. Many powerful spells are thrown as Duke sifts through his collection of scrolls, trying to keep the orcs at bay as his friends strike at them. Orc after orc keeps falling to the heroes’ strikes, but the heroes also take numerous injuries that begin to threaten them.
Up on the high wall, the ogrekin begin to mobilize as they watch the orcs face off against these intruders. The heroes eventually slay over fifteen orcs and push their way through. They find the ladder Agandar had created with his magical token and climb up the dam and out into the wilderness. Agandar takes them deep into the woods and finds a hidden basin surrounded by small trees.
The heroes treat their wounds and tend to Umlo, Ingrahild, and Droja as well. After much talk, the heroes rest for the remainder of the day, keeping a watch for patrols from the fort. Late in the night, rather early the next morning (11th Heartrise, 692 G.R.), the heroes decide to strike back out towards Redlake Fort, deciding to face off against Grenseldek. They eventually decide it best that Ingrahild and Umlo stay to guard Droja as the six of them head back to the fort. They also decide to look for the patrols, hoping to dwindle the fort’s numbers before striking the fort itself.
Unfortunately, the heroes are waylaid by an angry pack of dire wolves that howl and charge at them. The heroes are surrounded, but find the wolves fall easily to their recharged spells and weapons. The heroes then find two ogres and hill giant charge into their camp, nearly felling Brango and Esderal. Duke summons Baratheon, the earth mephit to aid him as Agandar and Kiltro blast them with spells. Eventually the giant and ogres are slain with the wolves and the heroes patch up their injuries, ready for another foray into Redlake Fort.
Session 29: Grenseldek’s Fall
[Oct 20th, 2020]
Vignette: Kiltro: No Choice
The heroes prepare themselves for a foray into Redlake Fort. They head to the edge of the forest line, looking towards the fortress in the dead of night. Duke uses a powerful illusion to cloak his friends from prying eyes as they carefully move towards the dam. They see some moving figures up on the wall, likely ogrekin guards. However, down in the dry moat, all is quiet, the orcs of the Twisted Nail tribe are vanquished.
Esderal sets up a climbing rope down into the dry moat and the heroes quickly move into the area near the dark tents. All is still quiet as their magical illusion fades away. They see a stack of orc bodies piled up in a corner and Agandar hears the sound of a creature coming towards them. They then see a large dire bear move in with many other large bears. Agandar tries to calm the animals, using the soothing words of the druids, however, the abuse these creatures received from the orcs have made them to hostile. The bears charge in at the heroes, who are forced to cut them down, one by one. Eventually they manage to fell the massive dire bear as well.
The commotion of the battle might have drawn attention and the heroes are quick to return the secret door behind the remains of General Karrguk’s tent. Arngeir picks up the general’s horn as they sneak into the secret corridor and treat their wounds. The place seems untouched since their last visit. After taking nearly an hour to rest, the heroes climb up into the upper well room. Esderal then scouts ahead into the keep’s main entry. He finds it rather quiet, but then spots a large beast guarding the entrance.
Esderal returns to the others and describes the beast, Agandar quickly identifies it as a manticore, a dangerous monster of the mountains.
The heroes decide to lure the beast into the basement. They sneak their way down to the basement, but soon find there are occupants down in the chambers. The heroes charge in, finding a group of ogres trying to rest. The heroes quickly dispatch the ogres and move into the room. Esderal then heads up to the entry, trying to sneak past the manticore. However, he then sees there are three manticores, readying an ambush. The rogue is able to quickly rush away as one of the manticores chases him down the stairs.
The other heroes prepare a defensive wall and hack and cut a the manticore as it rushes in. Soon the beast is slain and the heroes cautiously climb the stair towards the entry hall. When they reach the hall, they find that an entire ambush was prepared. Grenseldek, in all her hideous glory, stands there with her half-orc/-half-giant bodyguards. The two manticores come out of hiding as well.
The heroes pull together in a defensive as the enemies close in. Duke immediately causes a powerful blasts of gravitonic energy to distort space in the treasury near Grenseldek. This causes the contents of the entire room to fly around in chaos and sends some of the guards to the floor. Duke and Kiltro then blast their enemies with powerful bolts of lightning. Agandar sends spells out at his foes as well, as Ali, Arngeir, and Brano try to hold out against the many enemies.
The manticores throw spikes out that pin Duke and Kiltro to the ground as a pair of wolves come in and bite at Esderal. Soon Grenseldek and her guards surround the heroes and cut away at them. Brango, Duke, and Ali are nearly killed, but Arngeir and Agandar manage to keep them alive. Eventually a few of the guards are slain and one of the manticores. The other manticore flees in the chaos. Brango and Grenseldek go head-to-head for quite some time, but eventually Brango leaps upon the giant and hacks into her neck with Hashkan’s Fang, felling the giant leader. The final wolf flees into the night as the heroes stand covered in blood, but victorious.
Session 30: The Giant’s Army
[Oct 27th, 2020]
The heroes stand within the entry of Redlake Fort with Grenseldek’s severed head at their feet. However, before they can relish their victory, two more wolves charge into the chamber with a mad hill-giant butcher behind them.
The beastly hill takes advantage of the worn and weak heroes, but Arngeir uses the power of Agrimmosh to grow to giant’s size and tries to hold off the giant, but he is quickly knocked down. Kiltro, Agandar, and Duke blast the giant with spells as Brango fells the wolves, but then Brango is knocked out. Agandar uses a powerful scroll to take the shape of a mighty dinosaur, but he too is knocked out by the cuts of the crazed butcher.
Esderal is cut down as well as Duke and Kiltro flee to the other room, peeking back at the giant to blast it with a few more spells. Eventually, Duke fells it with a final blast of a freezing ray. Duke then uses his study of primal magic to release a burst of radiant healing to revive his friends.
The heroes tend to their wounds as Kiltro, Duke, and Esderal begin sorting and counting the items in the giantess’s treasury. They find numerous items of wealth, but also a few more disturbing things. They find a letter from Grenseldek:
To the Great Storm Tyrant Volstus,
You call all giants to bring ruin to the small folk. I, Grenseldek, answer your call, but I am not your soldier. I offer something better. I pledge my hand in marriage to you. I bring a dowry and a tribe of giants, ogres, and orcs, and I will serve at your side as queen. Take me and you will not regret it.
Your future bride,
Glorious Chieftain of the Twisted Hearts
They then find this “Storm Tyrant’s response:
I have no interest in your proposed union. Even now, hundreds of giants flock to my banner within Gigas’s Valley. You may bring your trinkets and your tribe and offer them as tribute, and I will consider not killing you outright for your audacity. I give you this one admonition – do not approach me again with such a proposal. You are far below my station, and the very prospect is absurd. If I ever hear such nonsense again, know that I shall take much more than just your “hand.” I am the Storm Tyrant – my word thunders with the might of the sky and my justice strikes swift as lightning. You have been warned.
The revelations of this letter begin to strike some fear into their hearts. They had come all this way to defeat the single giantress that sent a small army of orcs to their town. But now, they learn that this giant was but a drop in a larger pond, where hundreds of giants gather to reclaim the glory of their lost empire.
The heroes consider this news as they head upstairs to Grenseldek’s bedroom and recover a suit of dwarven-made chaimail and the other half of the geode. Based on Grenseldek’s notes, the believe the geode is a map to the tomb of Nargrym Steelhand. Brango is quite happy to find it. However, the heroes are overcome with some strange unnatural melancholy. Brango and Esderal seem to avoid the effects.
Esderal then finds a recently bricked section of a wall, where inside he finds the missing skull of Tamand Varias. Esderal also notices a quivering and crying Urnsul under the table. He lunges at her to kill her, but Brango stops him and convinces the half-shadmar to let her face justice in Bolvirk. Esderal knocks out Urnsul and ties her up. The heroes then return to the chapel.
They find the final band of ogrekin have taken the merchants hostage, they wish for free passage and the keep to themselves. The heroes agree, as they have little need for it. The heroes then sit back and rest while Arngeir and the ghost of Fabian Blix perform a powerful ritual to put Tamand’s bones to rest and break the curse of the keep. Fabian gifts Arngeir the knowledge of a powerful sacred ritual and a medallion of Forsoti.
Later that day, the heroes explore the rest of the keep, finding a few trinkets, but no sign of the ogrekin. They head out to gather Droja, Umlo, and Ingrahild on their way to the river, trying to meet up with Raag.
The heroes find Raag waiting for them on the shore, with a new crew of mostly full-blooded orcs from the Moon-Runner tribe. One of the tribesmen asks if Kiltro is a member of the Windbreath tribe, and Kiltro affirms that his father was, but he knows little about them. Xass, the tribesman, says that he believes they were killed off and he hasn’t seen them in a long time.
The heroes spend the next ten days traveling the rivers with the crew. Many of the reflect on what they have learned and if they will do more to stop this growing army of giants. The heroes then lead the merchants, the dwarves, and Droja to the town of Bolvirk after a two-day journey.
They arrive in the evening of 23rd Heartrise, 692 G.R. The town appears mostly rebuilt over the past few weeks and the heroes are greeted with a warm welcome. They are escorted up to the Ivory Hall to meet with the council once again. The council is horrified to learn of a possible giant army in the region. Halgra seems eager to get more information about them. After a long session and talks about their accomplishments and deeds, the council adjourns to discuss more at a later time. The heroes part ways as Esderal and Duke learn they both have family visitors.
Agandar heads to the small grove over the flowing water of the Hopespring, where he finds Silvermane, Katrezra, and now Droja sitting in meditation. He joins them and learns that Katrezra has had a vision about him recently. He warned Agandar that a young elven woman with red hair is in danger and reached across the void and saw Katrezra within the vision. He believes she also has “the Sight”, perhaps greater than anyone he knows. He says that this young woman is connected to Agandar. Droja and Katrezra are encouraged to learn Agandar will join the others to seek out this giant’s army, as they foresee his wisdom will be required.
At the Ramblehouse, Duke finds his brother Almrin waiting for him in his glistening armor. The leader of the Knights of the Golden Sword is eager to catch up with the brother as he speaks about their father’s failing health and the need for their estate to be cared for.
Exchange: Duke and Almrin
That night, Kiltro finds a restful sleep, finally having his own room at the Ramblehouse. However, his door is kicked in and two thugs grab him quickly. He then learns that his mother sent these thugs to protect him from a group known as the Silver Falcon League, a bounty-hunter mercenary group. It seems Kiltro is wanted for the murder of Brevalia Sulerius in Hopesdawn.
Exchange: Kiltro and Mercenaries
Vignette: Kiltro: Goodbye Brevelia