Thursday, September 15, 2011

Averlorn Campaign: G2 The Frost Giant Barracks and an Exciting Cliffhanger

Recap from 7/29/2011

After resting up for the night, we set out the next day for the glacial rift of the Frost Giants.  Once again, we went in on the right cliffside up against the icy mountain and roped ourselves together to keep from falling over the edge into the rift floor far below.  We decided to skirt the sloping path down to the rift floor and continued along the main icy path until we came to more ice caves cut into the right side of the cliff.  We untied the ropes and decided to send the assassin in to scout ahead of the group.  One of the elves cast invisibility on Evelyn and Lucias lent her his magical dagger for light (magical daggers shed less light than magical swords and are better for sneaking around) and she went into the cave moving as silently as possible to look for any signs of trouble.  We waited at the entrance for some time until she came running out yelling that she was being pursued by lots of Frost Giants!  We found out later that she encountered a few frost giants, some of which were sleeping and then decided to keep going instead of turning back to warn us and found even more giants.  In Labyrinth Lord and B/X D&D high level monsters have a very small chance of spotting invisible opponents (like 5% per giant) but the more opponents you try to sneak through, the larger the chance of one of them eventually spotting the invisible character, and apparently, one of them got lucky and noticed her.

So the jig was up and multiple Frost Giants started coming at us up the hallways.  There was one large group of giants coming at us through the right hand passage and a couple on the left hand branch that eventually turned into another large group!  Apparently we had stirred up a hornets nest and inadvertently alerted the entire Frost Giant barracks and things were about to get very interesting.  While Lucias and Taleth fought to hold off the ones in the front, the arcane spellcasters in the back (three Elves and a Magic User) started throwing fireballs and lightning bolts on the large groups of giants coming out of both corridors behind the ones that were in the front battling the fighters.  To top that off, our cleric Kaira pulled out a scroll of Flame Strike and cast it on the group on the right and quite a few of them died or were badly burned by the magical attacks.  The burned giants kept coming and the fighters in front were cutting them down as fast as they came while the spellcasters kept up the fusillade of fireballs and started throwing magic missiles when their heavier firepower was exhausted. 

After an epic struggle, we eventually managed to cut down fourteen Frost Giants in that melee and only suffered relatively light casualties.  Kaira healed up the wounded fighters and we decided to search the barracks for loot.  We entered several caverns and found very little until we entered a large cavern with a crystal clear pool of water babbling in the corner.  One of the players spotted something shiny at the bottom and then we were attacked by a lone Frost Giant that we cut down without too much trouble.  We searched the pool and retrieved 200 low value shining gems worth 10 G.P. each.  After having searched the Barracks of the Frost Giants, we returned to the ledge and roped up to continue exploring the complex.  We were mostly out of offensive spells and had little healing left at this point but decided to press on anyway.

We continued down the icy ledge and had another close call with one of the characters slipping over who had to be hoisted back up with the rope.  The last cave on the ledge led to another tunnel into the icy mountainside.  The tunnel eventually branched and one branch led to a cavern with some runes written on the floor.  Taleth the Ranger knew how to speak giant and told us that it was a warning to the giants of some unknown danger and that they should avoid the place.  That was good enough for us and we went the other way.  We continued down the tunnel and quickly found ourselves confronted with another pair of frost giant guards that were throwing rocks at us from the cavern ahead.  Lucias, the Ranger and his hireling fighter Bellinorn the Sun Elf charged them and engaged them in melee while the spellcasters in the back cast what few magic missiles they had left on them, or fired missile weapons.  The two giants were quickly dispatched but we were starting to get pretty beat up at this point.

We continued down the hallway past this guard post and once again came under attack from a fusillade of boulders and both Lucias and Taleth were hurt badly this time.  The giants were so far away that they could see us with their infravision well enough to hurl stones but we couldn’t see them.  They shouted an alarm and charged down the hall towards us.  Since we were in bad shape at this point we decided to turn into a left hand branch of the tunnel to take cover from the barrage of boulders – this turned out to be a huge mistake!  Suddenly, we were confronted by three fire giants that attacked us from the left hand tunnel while the four giants on the right were charging at us up the other hallway! 

This quickly turned into a desperate situation as our two front line fighters were so badly beat up as to be useless in melee and we were under attack from two sides.  Teth-en-Aire, our Elven NPC ally, saved the day when he pulled out a scroll of Wall of Stone and cast the spell to seal off the right hand passage so that we would only have to fight one group of giants at a time.  Cyrcla the Elf cast invisibility on Lucias who only had a few hit points left at this point and he fell back to the newly created wall of stone to quaff a potion of Extra Healing.  Taleth also fell back to heal as best as he could while the rest of the group fought off the three very tough Fire Giants in a desperate struggle for survival.  They eventually killed them but only after several of the other characters were similarly beaten down including our other fighter Bellinorn and Teth-en-Aire who ended up fighting off the giants with the help of the others.

Once the fight was over, we realized that we were trapped in the cavern by our own wall of stone!  Since the Frost Giants to our rear had gone past the “Y” intersection into the passage we had just come from, Teth-en-Aire had to cast the spell on the entry to the Fire Giant cavern and effectively sealed us in.  After quaffing healing potions and using the last remaining healing that we had available, we explored our new accommodations.  The cavern held several large braziers that burned with fiery coals to keep the fire giants nice and warm and we also found a considerable sum of gold (9,000 g.p.) and a bear figurine with topaz eyes as well which appeared to be worth a great deal of gold.  We also found a thick and long rope in one of the giant’s bags.

As we searched the cavern further we realized that there was an exit but that it led out onto another icy ledge with no apparent way off of it except down or through the air.  We could see the ledge we had just come from not too far away to our left, but it was several hundred feet away and the rift floor appeared to be further down below than it was towards the entrance (in other words the rift floor was at a lower elevation here).  We also spotted other ledges on the opposite side of the rift as well that we hadn’t noticed before, that presumably led to other ice caverns on the opposite side of the rift.

In retrospect, we made several mistakes this session – the assassin pressed on into the barracks rather than falling back which ended up stirring up the hornets nest but the end result of that fight wasn’t so bad (we killed some 15 frost giants there and found some loot).  The real mistake was pressing on when we were mostly out of healing and arcane spells.  When we were assailed with the rocks, our third mistake was to turn into the Fire Giant’s lair rather than just falling back – that nearly wiped out the entire party.  The amazing thing was that we found a decent amount of loot and killed some seventeen Frost Giants and three fire giants and somehow managed to survive the session without anyone being killed.  All in all, it was a very exciting session as well due to the element of uncertainty and desperation.

We made a resolution to learn from our mistakes if we could only figure out a way out of our current predicament.  We knew the Frost Giants would be back and if they could manage to break through the wall and attack us in the Fire Giant cave we could be finished, so we had to find a way out through the rift or onto one of the other ledges before they could do that.  We ended the session there as a true cliffhanger as we contemplated our options and began to plan our escape…



  1. Yes, "just one more room" syndrome has probably caused more PC deaths than dragons. I reckon you made a fourt mistake as well: continuing to explore the Fire Giant lair after you locked yourselves in. I suspect a better option would have been to hunker down where you were and spend some time fortifying the room you were in. What if the lair had been trapped, or, even worse, what if the Giant's had a pet dragon chained up in the next room?

  2. Well we had to find a way out of that cave otherwise the Frost Giants would be back in force to finish us off...