ACT 9: Secrets of the Valley

Session 50: Ancient Jotun Ruins

[Mar 16th, 2021]

The heroes decide to continue exploring the caverns of the dark passage. Kiltro and Agandar scout ahead as best they can, following the long smooth tunnel eastward until they see a point of light at the end. Peering closer, the two find a pair of rock trolls guarding the exit into the eastern valley. However, the trolls appear to be half-asleep and paying little attention. The heroes discuss continuing forward towards the giant’s camp or heading back into the western valley to explore the ruins instead. Duke leads the argument towards exploring the ruins, while Brango seems predisposed to finding Urathash and getting the vengeance promised to him by Droja. In the end, the heroes decide to pursue the ruins and seek the giants after they are better rested.

The heroes head out into the western valley, crossing the river, and eventually come to a narrow forest-filled valley towards the western end. They find the valley filled with flowing streams and small waterfalls. They break into groups to explore the area and look for a campsite. Abhlesh and Duke come across an ancient Jotun stone with the ‘secret’ rune etched into it, the same one shown on the ancient map. They explore the magic of the stone and find it has strange temporal characteristics and may connect to some other plane of existence. Abhlesh mentions that Moruntyr the Storyteller was a disciple of the Jotun goddess Gelmira. Duke realizes that Droja told him he would find himself, “forged anew”, in the Temple of Gelmira, which he believes is beyond this magical gateway. Kiltro finds that the magic requires a particular piece of knowledge to unlock the magical portal.

The heroes make camp and rest for the night. The next morning, (15th Firesky, 692 G.R.), the heroes head eastward and cross the river again. They head into a narrow canyon where ruins of ancient giants stand. As they get closer, they are attacked by a group of ogres led by an ugly hill giant. The battle is quick and decisive, with Agandar summoning bolts of lightning from storm clouds, Arngeir summoning a valkyrie warrior to fight with them. Eventually, the ogres are felled and the heroes find that the giants have collected nearly all the artifacts from the ruins into a pile of sacks. Most of the items are useless junk, but they find a few ancient tablets containing ancient spells. They learn that the ruins once belonged to a slag giant village. Slag giants being stone/fire giant hybrids that served the Braelheim Empire as craftsman and expert smiths. They were one of the few tribes of giants that did not agree with the enslavement of the small folk and, in some cases, even helped the small folk rebel.

The heroes head south, following the river, through the wooded valley. They eventually come to nightfall and find a wooded grove to rest for the night. In the middle of the night, Brango is kicked hard by some small creature. He finds it is a red cap, an evil fey creature.

Yaganty - Monsters - Archives of Nethys: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Database

The heroes rise out of bed to find themselves surrounded by red caps and fiery yaganty’s. The yaganty’s throw burning wax at them as the heroes try to fight back. Duke summons forth black tentacles to grasp at his enemies as Agandar summons down an icy storm. The yaganty then blackens the area in darkness, but Arngeir summons the light of the gods to banish the darkness. The battle continues into the night…

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Session 51: The Underwater Temple

[Mar 30th, 2021]

The heroes fight against the yaganty’s and redcaps throws deadly spells and blade against the fey creatures that disturbed their night’s rest. Soon the fey were defeated and the heroes were able to return to their slumbers and rest for the remainder of the night. The next day, (16th Firesky, 692 G.R.), the heroes continue their journey to the south and east, following along the river until they arrive at a large placid lake that fills the green valley. Agandar flies out and looks across the water, finds only a deep lake below him.

The heroes spend the rest of the day exploring the southern shore of the lake, traveling to the eastern end of the valley. They then set up camp at the eastern tip. That evening they chop down two hardy pine trees of great size and Agandar uses his druidic staff shape the logs into serviceable canoes. The heroes rest for the night and set out the next morning (17th Firesky, 692 G.R.), onto the waters of the placid lake. They reach the center of the large lake by mid morning and see great shadows underwater, suggesting structures beneath the placid surface. They head back to shore and make camp and Lucias stays behind to watch their gear as the heroes set back out to the center of the lake.

Arngeir and Agandar summon their magic to bless each of them with the ability to breathe water like a fish. The six of them then leap down into the depths of the lake. The blue-green water is filled with algae and floating debris, but an impressive structure can be seen below them. They swim down the rocky ruins and find an entranceway on the north side. They swim into the entryway of the large ruin where Duke finds the underwater temple reminds him of a time in his past.

Duke: The Undersea Xaya Temple

As the heroes move deeper into the chamber, they are immediately attacked by two large gars. The massive fish charge in and try to eat the heroes. One swallows Brango as the other swallows Agandar. They bite and tear at their enemies. Duke uses his magic to transform into a mighty water elemental and slams into one of the gars. Kiltro blasts the gars with a powerful wave that sends the room bouncy and rolling in the changing water pressure. Kiltro slams into the ground and an explosion of silt and dust creates a concealing cloud in the waters around the sorcerer.

My New World Campaign (Giant Gar) by lurch-jr on DeviantArt

Brango uses Nordspar, his favored weapon, to cut the side of the gar and tear to beast apart from the inside. Duke is soon eaten by the second gar. The others gather to take down the gar and free Agandar and Duke. With the beasts dead, their corpses floating to the top of the chamber, the heroes swim forward, exploring more of the ancient ruin.

They come across a room with a red-rusty silt on the floor. When Brango disturbs the dust while searching around, he finds the slag-filled forge dust irritates Agandar’s gills. The heroes push to a large chamber where they find a massive giant skeleton wearing a golden circlet. Then then find a smaller chamber where a bunch of crab-like monsters lash out at them with deadly claws. The heroes move in to strike at the beasts, finding their thick carapace armor nearly impenetrable…

Chuul - Monsters - Archives of Nethys: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Database

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Session 52: A Desperate Escape

[Apr 6th, 2021]

The heroes fight struggle against the crab-like chuuls, fighting for life deep in the underwater temple. The chuuls hold onto Brango and Duke trying to shove them into their deadly maws as their paralytic tentacles try to stun and pacify them. Agandar summons a mighty orca whale to chomp and bite at one of the chuuls, eventually freeing a paralyzed Duke from its grasp. The aged elf then sees a band of merrows, also known as aquatic ogres, swimming towards them. Kiltro and Agandar ready defenses as the merrows thrust forward with their spears. The heroes try to hold out as the chuuls attack from one side and the merrows from the other.

Brango fells one of the chuuls and he and and Arngeir are able to fell the second. Duke slays the third. The heroes then mount their forces against the merrows, slowly cutting them away and blasting them with a diminishing array of spells. They defeat the merrows and let the final two flee into the darkness of the temple.

The heroes catch their breath and leave the chuul nest behind as they head into an adjoning chamber. They find a metallic brazier under chunks of the ceiling. Kiltro heads over to examine the brazier, but the change in water currents was enough to dislodge the precarious balance of the stones. The entire ceiling collapses upon the heroes nearly killing them all and crushing them under the debris.

One by one, the heroes crawl out of the debris after Abhlesh blasts them with a burst of healing energy. They find that the two fleeing merrows had returned and Duke and Abhlesh are the only ones capable of fighting. Duke summons a wall of green poison to block the way, but the second merrow swim through regardless. Duke takes a spear and falls, but is soon bolstered by Arngeir and the others. Soon all the heroes have dislodged themselves and strike at the merrows. Brango explodes from the rock debris and cuts down one of the merrows. The other soon falls as well.

The heroes find themselves all near death, but know they cannot adequately tend to their wounds under the water. They swim to the entrance of the temple ready to escape to the safety of the surface. However, they are then ambushed by two strange aberrations with long tentacles and hard beaks.

The quoppopak shoot sprays of water at the heroes as they attempt to flee in their weakened state. Brango kicks off the ground, using a powerful talisman, grabbing Abhlesh and flying to the surface. He throws Abhlesh into the canoe before he climbs in as well. Kiltro simply teleports to the surface of the water, then teleports again to the camp. Duke turns into a water elemental again and swims at break-neck speeds to the shore. Arngeir swims to the surface and summons the power of the gods and walks on the air away from the water-dwelling creatures. Agandar summons the winds to carry him into the sky and over to the shore. Brango and Abhlesh row with all due haste to escape the creatures behind them.

With the creatures safely out of reach, the heroes head to camp and rest, telling Lucias all about their adventures in the deep lake. After a good night’s rest, the next morning (18th Firesky, 692 G.R.), the heroes return to the ruins where they find an altar devoted to the giant’s gods. A few of them murmur a prayer to the gods to gain the giant deity’s blessing. They then find a large statue of Gigas in the chamber where the merrows came from. They find a large mithril prayer disc with the blessing of Rosag written upon it. Duke identifies that this prayer was used in the ritual to light Gigas’s Forge in the Cathedral of Gigas.

Rosag’s Prayer: Blessed be the Hammer of Making and Unmaking and the immortal craft of Gigas. In the infinite wisdom of the Almighty, may he bless this forge with divine providence. Ahk Khan Veis Daeus. Blessed be the will of Gigas and the Hammer of Making. Show me your might, show me the power of creation, Bless this forge with your power! Gigas’ will be done.”

Duke uses his magic to make the heroes all invisible as they sneak their way back to the canoes to avoid another quoppopak ambush. It seems to work perfectly and the heroes return to camp with the mithril prayer disc and the water temple explored.

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Session 53: Cavern of Fallen Heads

[Apr 13th, 2021]

The heroes say farewell to their glorious camp on the northern shore of the placid lake. They pack up and follow the river back west and north, heading towards the cavern of the chimera, the black-headed beast that devoured Esderal over a week ago. A couple days of travel through the valley, and on the 20th of Firesky (692 G.R.), the heroes reach the rocky valley near the beast’s cavern.

They gather outside the cave and begin to discuss their strategy for taking out the monster. However, after many minutes of discussion, Agandar hears the faint sound of wings flapping to the north. The beast was out on a hunt and was now coming in straight towards them. The heroes prepare themselves among a gathering of large boulders as the chimera swoops down towards them. Kiltro throws a great ball of fire, but the beast dodges the explosion. Duke uses a powerful spell to grow Brango to truly giant-sized proportions. Brango then leaps over the boulder and strikes at the chimera, but misses and falls.

Agandar summons a mighty griffon to strike at the beast and Arngeir summons a valkyrie warrior from Valhol to fight at his side. The heroes throw powerful spells and Brango strikes with his blade. The chimera blasts them with spray of acid before it rushes in with goat horns, lion teeth, and dragon jaws. The battle is long and arduous, but eventually the heroes are successful and the beast lays dead at their feet. They celebrate their victory and treat their wounds before climbing up into the cavern.

The find Esderal’s skeletal remains and Arngeir fishes out the half-elf’s hopeknife to return to the brazier flames of Bolvirk. They find a large bounty of coins and treasure that the chimera had gathered over the years. They split the coin and pile many of the objects into the magical bag. Brango gathers the heads of the chimera and makes a shrine for Esderal in the cave, as Agandar creates a wooden plaque to celebrate the young man’s life and honor his death. Arngeir says many prayers and performs a departing ritual for Esderal. Afterwards, they all sit around and tell stories about Esderal, with Arngeir telling most of them from their many years together in Bolvirk. First, as opponents when Esderal was a troublesome youth, then as allies when Esderal joined the militia.

The storytelling is interrupted by the sound of large booted feet entering the cavern. The heroes soon see a well-scarred hill giant flanked by two massive dire bears wearing spiked chain collars. He introduces himself as Kragmuld and demands the heroes give him tribute for killing his prey, the black-headed beast.

Brango suddenly rises to his feet as Nargrym’s metallic hand pulls him towards the giant, the spirit of his ancestor driving him to battle. Duke enlarges Brango agaain and Kragmuld meets Brango’s charge in the cavern, two giants fighting it out with their strength and weapons. Kragmuld swings his chain menacingly, cutting and slicing Brango as the Arngeir tries to heal the enlarged dwarf. Kiltro, Agandar, and Duke throw deadly spells at the bears and giant. However, the bears take a command from Kragmuld and flank around Brango grabbing and mauling Duke and Abhlesh. The bears are then quickly cut down and soon the heroes blast and defeat Kragmuld. He drops his weapon and surrenders just before he bleeds out and falls unconscious.

Abhlesh stabilizes him with a temporal stasis spell before stepping over to the giant and grabing his forehead. Abhleshes eyes close and his mind thrusts into Kragmuld’s, learning about the giant’s recent life and the encampment near the Cathedral of Gigas. He learns that Kragmuld organized a fighting arena in the camps and has many trophies of beasts in his large tent. He then sees a massive cathedral and a gathering of giants, led by a stone giant spiritual leader of Gigas, known as Urathash.

Abhlesh: Kragmuld’s Mind

Abhlesh releases the giant and blurts out all he saw in a confusing order. Brango, however, heard the name Urathash and his metal fist tightens. He slashes off Kragmuld’s head and adds it to the shrine at the back of the cavern.

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Session 54: Jogrothir’s Rest

[Apr 20th, 2021]

The heroes leave the cavern of the black-headed beast and the funeral mound of Esderal behind as they set out into the valley again. After much discussion, the heroes decide to head to Jogrothir’s Rest and explore the final accessible site discovered in the ancient cavern. The heroes travel for four long days, reaching the eastern side of the valley. During the travel, the heroes find their food stores grow short and they begin to worry about where their meals will come from. Additionally, Agandar is reunited with his long-time animal companion, the great polar bear, named Shrugga. Arngeir has Duke apply a magical rune of electrical power upon his axe he had found during the battle of Redlake Fort. The weapon is of ancient Noradrie craft and Arngeir names it Lumnjeir.

The heroes pass the giant scarecrow and rest just beyond the marshes in the narrow canyon. The next day, 25th Firesky (692 G.R.), the heroes head to Jogrothir’s Rest. They find a carved entrance to the cave high on the cliff wall of the rocky canyon, the bottom stones covered in drake guano and the rotting corpses of two drakes. Agandar flies into the cavern to give a quick look, he finds a quiet cavern. The others climb up to join him with Brango’s expert assistance. They then explore the cavern.

Inside, they find the bones of Jogrothir on a central dais and numerous ancient artifacts on a high shelf along the cavern’s wall. There is also a large drake nest of branches, bones, and hides. The heroes then hear the resident drake returning home. A massive black-skinned spire drake lands and charges in, blasting the heroes with a burst of necrotic energy and a caustic black vapor that poisons their lungs and skin.

Agandar summons a spike a stone to pierce through the bottom of the drake’s foot, holding it in place as the others throw spells. Duke grows Brango to a massive size as the dwarf holds the drake back. Brango is nearly killed trying to hold off the ferocious beast. Agandar flies into the air and throws spells from above, and commands Shrugga to flee. The others throw spells at the drake, but mostly send healing energy to Brango. Duke hides Arngeir from sight with an invisibility spell. Asthe drake is quite weakened, Arngeir charges over to it and hacks off its lower jaw with Lumnjeir, then cuts off the top of its snout with the backswing. The drake falls dead.

The heroes explore the cavern, finding many ancient knick-knacks of the ancient taiga giant hunter, Jogrothir. They also find lots of ancient coins and a few magical items, including Jogrothir’s famed Drakesbane Horn, known to send fear into the hearts of drakes, and serve as a calling to dragons that hate its resonating tones. The heroes rest for the night in the cavern, feeling victorious.

For the next few days, the heroes address their limited food supply. They travel slowly through the fertile valleys, foraging, hunting, and fishing as much food as they can. After a few days, they feel like they have enough dried meats and nuts to last for a week. They then spend the next five days travelling back to the hidden cavern that serves as a back-entrance to the Cathedral of Gigas and the valley filled with the giants’ armies. During the travel, Agandar notes that there are many more signs of giant camps and passing warbands. The heroes have to avoid a number of larger groups as they sneak their way through the wide valleys. It is clear the armies continue to grow with each passing day.

The heroes reach the hidden cave on the 1st of Truthword (692 G.R.). They find the bodies of the cave giants have been removed and they hear voices in the map room. They try to sneak in, but are quickly discovered by three stone giants. It seems the giants are close to discovering the locations of the ancient sites of the Jotun heroes. The heroes quickly fell two of the giants, but the third surrenders. He introduces himself as Keslog. The heroes learn that these stone giants belong to a small sect that disagree with the Storm Tyrant and the armies devoted to Gigas and Urathash’s teachings. They are interested in rediscovering their lost history. Duke sympathizes with Keslog and wants to spare him. The heroes stand to the side to discuss the giant’s fate…

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