Part two of the ongoing adventures of my group.
Rogues Gallery – “General Puggin’s Moribund of Mercenaries”*
- The Rogue – Giselle der Gauner the Soulknife due to a mutation granting her telekinetic powers (character #2, previous character was Mirka the Rogue – Deceased)
- The Monk – Augusta “Tof” Bamberger and her henchmen Elmo the Ranger and pet pug General Puggins.
- The Druid – Lilie the Elf and her henchmen Wolfram and animal companion Fuyuko, the white wolf.
- The Knight – Lintelfaden Toshcobble, squire of Rufus the Bold.
- The Fighter – Fencil the Android (brain tape swap) (Character #2, previous character was a cleric – Deceased) and his (henchmen Zof the Jarhead Wizard – Deceased).
- The Ranger – Bustov Daman and his animal companion, The Mou-Mou Bird (bloodthirsty sparrow).
- The Cleric – Lorenz Brandt (character #2), the scribe, Mouthpiece of the Golden Goddess (human cleric of UNITY).
*Due to a transcription error by the Verbobonc mercenary company registrar, “Merry” become “Moribund.”
Session 57 Recap
Gisella flicked through a notebook and ticked off a list filled with a few things the party had been putting off. With the defeat of Olhydra, they finally had free time to either relax or seek out another adventure or quest to undertake without the inevitable return of the Elemental Evil Eye bearing down on them. Not that they were bothered by time in the first place. They ventured deeper within Luna Castellum and even got Augusta an android body, changing over from being doll sized, and ticked off a few favors for Kwalish including saving his niece who was sent to the deeper levels of the space station for ‘failure management’. They had just survived a close encounter after their trip to Avernus and saved the Bicorn Paladin Mike had been searching for months. And their hunch was right, he was indeed the brother of Renwick the Lich and the two were reunited with each other, now having near infinite lifespans being a machine and a lich.
“Is that it?” Lorenz asked, falling down on the grass. “Man, it feels like we’ve done so much over the past half a year.”
“That’s the last one,” Gisella confirmed, closing her notebook. “Done and dusted. Sheesh, we’ve been going from place to place endlessly.”
Bustov tapped Lorenz’s shoulder and pointed at his mask. “By the way, the settings on your mic are a little scuffed.”
Because of UNITY’s taint, though he would call it a blessing, he lost his ability to speak and can only communicate via radio waves. Luckily, wearing a mask with a mic allowed him to ‘speak’ through it with relative ease.
“Uh, is that… better?” he asked. “How’s it sound?”
“I’m gonna miss you!” Augusta cried, hugging Lilie and lifting her off the ground. Much to her sadness, the druid had decided to rest after the long and memorable battle against the elemental cults. “Remember to eat all your vegetables and have a good and healthy diet, get lots of sun- and- and-!”
“Ahaha, I’ll be fine, it’s not like we’ll never see each other again,” Lilie laughed. “Now, uh, you’re kinda hugging me too hard…”
“Oh, gifts! We didn’t forget those, did we?” Fensal realized, running back to KIT and rummaging through bags.
A cute drawing of Lilie and her pets from Augusta, an antique dagger that could fly on command from Gisella, a handmade small robot from Lorenz and Lintelfaden, and Fensal presented a set of dice from D4 to D20.
“And here’s mine and Aki’s,” Bustov said, pulling out a cage from KITT with a red-feathered bird. “Gotcha a baby hawk from the Honest Hommlet Trader. Aki had to go buy it since I was banned from the store…”
“You guys…” Lilie laughed, wiping the tears from her eyes. “Hahaha, stay safe out there, alright?”
“You watch out for yourself too,” Lorenz reminded.
She took one last trip with them inside the tank, reminiscing about the adventure and the months thereafter but the few hours passed by in a flash and they arrived at the forest where her home was before she knew it. Wolfram gladly accompanied his mistress and they waved the party off with one last goodbye.
“We’ll come to visit, alright?!” Augusta cried as they turned to leave. “And we’ll bring more gifts for you!”
Though famous for fighting against the elemental cults, Lilie happily laid down her weapon, content with the adventures she had experienced, and headed deeper into the woods with Wolfram. The sunlight filtered through the leaves and the carpet of grass led her further in towards her own people. More than a year had flashed by so quickly but, after moving to the peaceful village of Hommlet, exploring below the earth, to storming plains of roiling waters and even to the endless expanse of the stars above, she was finally back home.
Lorenz flicked out a map and tried to trace down the path towards the Kingdom of Geoff. They had received summons as General Puggins’ Morbid Band of Mercenaries, a feared name among those in the shadows, and asked to combat another possible threat before it manifested into something as dangerous as the elemental cults.
The threat was obvious the closer they got to Geoff. There was clear evidence of recent battles and scorched marks across the earth. Pushing on even further broken weapons could be seen as well as multiple corpses of dwarves and humans alike.
“What were they fighting?” Lintelfaden wondered, unsheathing his katana in anticipation.
Fensal pointed to the body of hill giants in the distance. “That I assume. But there are way less bodies of them than the dwarves.”
“Onwards to Jeff then!” Augusta commanded.
The Kingdom of Geoff was the epicenter of the giants’ attacks and where the Viscount of Verbobonc had sent them. It was up to the Grand Duke to explain the situation to them and give them orders but the words ‘urgent summons’ didn’t carry much weight to them. The bustling city of Istivin where the duke could be found garnered their attention and what was the point of hard earned loot if not to spend it?
“Ahahaha, you’re here too!” Aki laughed, pulling a wanted poster off of a bulletin board. “Look at you, Bustov!”
“Man, why does every poster do my face dirty?!” Bustov snapped, snatching the poster and crumpling it. “I have such a handsome mug, not a disproportionate nose and a chin the size of a cinder block!”
Lorenz grabbed another poster of Bustov and held it up to his friend. “I dunno… It’s like a spitting image of you.”
“Say that again one more time.”
After the defeat of Olhydra, the party quickly spent a load of money at the Hommlet bar drinking, partying, and doing a little bit of gambling. At which there may have been an accidental swap between regular dice and a magical relic Lareth had gifted them that looked no different to ordinary blue dice.
One such roll granted a powerful artifact to Bustov, the legendary blade Blackrazor. Not without putting a target on his head of course but he was also loved by the people as a Hero and his overconfidence was a strong enough shield for him.
“You really should look to get a disguise of some sort,” Aki suggested. “You’ve already been targeted a few times over the past few months.”
Bustov slid back his hair and raised an eyebrow. “But a disguise would conceal all this greatness!”
“Not that there’s much to hide in the first place,” Gisella chuckled, joining the three as they headed for the castle.
The party regrouped and were recognised by the castle guards, escorted through pure marble halls lined with gold on velvet carpets. There was so much luxury the whole thing was uncomfortably cloying and you could hardly tell this place had been the focus of the giants’ attacks. They were led into the throne room where the king was and he explained the situation to them.
As they had seen, Hill Giants had been conducting raids which in and of itself was not a strange occurrence. But they had been banding together in an orderly fashion and fighting with a real plan in mind. The destruction of villages, farms, and other cities had started to become rampant and the king was desperate to regain their trust and quell the looming threat before it caused any more damage.
His spies had reported to have seen the giants returning to a steading; unheard of as they usually dwell in caves or just out on open plains. Smarter giants must be banding them together but who banded the giants in the first place?
“So you think there’s a greater enemy behind the enemy who is behind the hill giants?” Lorenz asked.
“If you want to put it that way, then yes,” the duke replied. “I want you to teach them a lesson and, if you find any evidence of alliances, bring it back.”
“True, giants are linked to one of the four elements,” Gisella replied, thinking back on the books she had read. “And I remember reading about a trio of heroes that previously banished a primordial elemental titan the giants had summoned.”
“I swear if this is Gar’s doing I’m going to kill him this time,” Lintelfaden swore. “Anyways, let’s go protect Jeff.”
“Uh, it’s pronounced ‘Geoff’. You know, with an ‘o’ sound,” the duke corrected.
“Yeah, G-E-O-F-F: Jeff. That’s what I said.”
Once night fell, the party made their move and headed towards the hills where the steading was spotted. Hiding KITT in a cave they snuck down the small mountain and came to a valley where a massive house had been built. It was giant sized but it was built for dozens of them to stay in all at once. Reports told them that they had taken townsfolk and soldiers alike during their raids and could be inside the house.
Teach the giants a lesson, search for any evidence of an alliance, and save any and all hostages within. The Hill Giant Chief Nosnra, a grotesque and fat giant, was somewhere within and his death was mandatory; others could flee for the hills but he was not to be let go.
“I’ll sneak in,” Gisella explained, slipping on the ring of invisibility. “Stay here and try to scout out the place from the outside.”
The newest addition to the party, since they still owed Kwalish a favor, was his niece they saved Ms. Squeakers. A gnome who knew a little bit of wizardry and a bit of close quarters combat. She played with her hammer dubbed the almighty ‘Binglebop’ and different elements sparked from the weapon.
“Uh, Squea… No, it was squeak-something… What was your name again?” Lorenz asked her.
“Mine?” she replied. “It’s Squeakersminglebobbleperrystonwinglebop.”
“…What? No, what does Kwalish call you?”
“Oh, gotcha. He calls me Squeakersminglebobbleperrystonwinglebop.”
“Squeakers,” Lintelfaden interrupted. “Let’s just go with Squeakers.”
The gnome excitedly spun the hammer and the handle retracted as the head compressed itself, shrinking it enough to fit nicely on her belt. “So are we doing this all sneaky-beaky like?”
“That’s the plan,” Gisella chuckled. “Though we aren’t the best at stealth missions.”
“We’re 0 for 3 so far!” Fensal laughed.
Gisella easily snuck in through the roof and flew in with her telekinesis, slipping in through the cracks of the thatch roof. Being giant sized, there were numerous routes she could infiltrate through and soon found where all the residents were. She could feel the bellowing roars, beating drums, and the echo of stomping feet vibrate in her chest and she traced the sounds back to the origin.
Dozens of hill giants feasted and cheered, slamming the ground and walls as they stuffed their mouths with food and wine. Hundreds of orcs, goblins, and ogres raced around beneath their feet, rushing to the kitchen and bringing more and more food for the gluttonous beasts. The biggest and most obese giant covered in jewels and diamonds clapped his hands as goblins danced on his table, folds of fat slipping out of his clothes.
Well, there’s Nosnra, Gisella thought, gagging as she smelled the revolting stench of sweat and fat off the creatures. Ugh, get me outta here.
She did notice a few giants standing away from the others… two stone giants and one cloud. They also seemed to be disgusted by the actions of their kin but seemed to be bearing it for some reason. They weren’t here to enjoy the company, they were living proof that at least some giants were working together.
Nothing here. Tracing the orcs back to the kitchen, she immediately left as soon as the putrid stench entered her lungs. This place is disgusting… I’ll scout for the hostages once we figure out how to clear out the place.
Outside, Bustov, Fensal, and Lorenz were playing cards in the forest, waiting for Gisella to return. In the past thirty minutes they had played five games and the cleric had not won a single round. He threw the cards to the ground and scratched his platinum wire-like hair.
“Agh, c’mon!” he cursed. “I just needed the 7 of hearts!”
“You’re not a very good cleric,” Squeakers interrupted, swinging her legs as she sat on Lintelfaden’s shoulder.
“Alright, listen, playing cards doesn’t have anything to do with being a cleric! And I’m a great support!”
“Shh!” Aki whispered. “Turn your mic down!”
Lorenz sighed and turned towards the steading, adjusting his mask. “Hmm, when’s Gisella coming back?”
“Boo,” Gisella whispered in his ear, grabbing his shoulders.
“Holy UNITY, are you trying to kill me?! My heart’s in my throat!”
“Hahaha, at least you turned your mic down before you screamed. Not that the giants would hear us coming anyway. They are inside partying hard after the most recent raid, as long as we aren’t actively trying to get caught we can easily sneak by.”
Bustov stretched and flicked out the arms of the Lenz. “So what’s the plan?”
“Don’t rush in. They have almost fifteen wolves at the back in a yard who are wide awake. I couldn’t even get close before their ears perked up and they started sniffing around.”
“I can deal with it,” Lorenz assured and he summoned a golden cog; his holy symbol. “I can summon a swarm of robots to wipe out the wolves, they’re going to struggle to damage them.”
“I’ll head back in, when you take out the wolves I can explore more.”
The golden cog in his hand enlarged and began to spin, creating a portal for holograms of hundreds of miniature robots to swarm out. Their bodies hardened and they became physical, scanning the area and transmitting information to each other and to Lorenz. On his command, they swarmed towards the steading and their bodies changed to camouflage and climbed the walls of the steading. The cog flashed one more time before shrinking and a bubble of silence followed them.
The barks of the wolves were only heard for a second before the magic cut off their cries. The robots swarmed over the beasts and their powerful microlasers pierced holes through their targets.
“They’ll clear it out soon,” Lorenz chuckled, receiving their transmissions with information. “A couple more and-”
A deafening howl, the cracking of wood planks followed by a house being destroyed echoed from the back and the laughter from within the steading suddenly cut off. One wolf was breaking and tearing the houses, barking incessantly at the swarm and racing around, away from the silence bubble.
“Uh, you’re gonna silence that one?” Squeakers asked.
“It’s… moving away,” the cleric muttered to himself. “It isn’t approaching the silence field!”
Before long, cries from the giants inside changed from laughter to confusion and a gong was being sounded, interrupting their party. Once the wolf stopped barking, the giants had already been rallied and were racing for their weapons.
Wow… we just can’t pull off a successful stealth mission, Gisella sighed, watching the chaos from the rafters.
“It’s fine,” Fensal assured. “We can fight them easily, they’re basically massive neanderthals.”
The main gate was slammed open and about ten giants walked out and one in wolf’s clothing began to head towards them, tracing them by scent.
“We can take them.”
The back gate was blown off its hinges and another ten giants walked through, spotting the party immediately.
“Uh, this is less than ideal,” Lorenz chuckled uncomfortably.
A ballista bolt almost ran him through, landing into the hill side. Chief Nosnra carried an entire ballista as if it was nothing but a crossbow and he loaded in another bolt.
The party wasn’t even surprised the stealth mission ended in a disastrous failure and they quickly fled deeper into the woods. Even if they could handle the giants, over twenty of them as well as dire bears and wolves might be a bit much. Especially in an open area near the steading. The forest didn’t provide much cover either and the giants just charged through, tracking them by footprints or smell.
“Let’s run!” Lintelfaden laughed, not taking the situation seriously at all.
“This is normal?!” Squeakers panicked. “Which direction?!”
Though the ground rumbled as the giants chased after them, not one felt worried about the situation. They’ve seen, faced, and lived through worse, a couple (twenty) giants chasing after them was hardly on the list of life threatening challenges. Trees were destroyed in the stampede behind them as they fled back towards the cave with KITT and magic kept them ahead of their enemies’ great strides. The giant with the wolf cloak shapeshifted into a werewolf and charged towards them as they neared the cave, leading the others on.
And none other than Chief Nosnra let out a battle cry, rallying his men as they hurled boulders into the air, letting it rain down from above. Some crashed into each other and shattered into shards and jagged stones while others exploded as it struck the ground, creating a small crater on impact.
Lorenz was the last to get into the cave and he muttered a chant as the golden cog glowed. “Let’s see how these primitive creatures like this!”
The werewolf slammed right into a silver robot and was slammed into the ground. A Mk II stood between the giants and the cave and stopped all momentum they had. A few tried to damage its skymetal plating but this was nothing compared to the swarm they had fought. Their clubs broke into splinters and their dire bears refused to approach the machine.
“What the-?” one giant cursed, backing away. “Grobbers no hurting it!”
“Is this what all giants are like?” Lorenz laughed. The back of his leg opened and bladed wings flicked out, charging his body with energy. “Funnel them through and light them up!”
Bustov readied the Lenz and the ice dropped the temperature in the cave. “With pleasure!”
The werewolf was pierced straight through the heart, his body froze over, and the blast shattered him into thousands of pieces. The explosion was nothing but a dent to the Mk II but to the giants that wore nothing but animal skins? Their frontline was dismantled and those at the back were knocked to the ground by the force of the blast.
“Weak humans have weird weapons!” Chief Nosnra cursed. “But we are strong! Strong like bull! Crush skulls like sparrow eggs!”
“Hmm… this isn’t good,” Squeakers muttered, seeing all the giants reach into sacks with boulders.
Lintelfaden shoved his way to the front and slammed his knuckles together, projecting his forcefield up. The rocks were rolled into the cave like bowling balls crashing into each other or against the forcefield. The ground shook as each boulder shattered and the giant stomped their feet, letting out a battle cry and readying themselves for another round. They would either cause a cave in and trap the party or crush them beneath the jagged stones.
“I want to charge in,” Lintelfaden sighed, deactivating the shield for a brief moment. “But I can’t get a clear shot for the chief.”
“Break open a path then!” Lorenz ordered.
The Mk II ignored all attack from the giants and shoved past, releasing shockwaves with every rocket powered punch and knocking any and all to the ground. But one giant behind began to mutter an incantation and her hands began to charge with electricity. A witch doctor was casting a spell and Lorenz couldn’t get a clear line of sight to counter the spell.
A hammer came whirling out of the cave and struck the witch doctor’s hands, redirecting the bolt harmlessly towards the skies. Squeakers clicked her fingers and the hammer warped back into her hand. Despite her size she could throw it extremely far and it would always return to her thanks to her magic.
“I didn’t know hill giants were smart enough to cast spells!” she gasped. “I mean, yes, I intentionally stopped that, you’re welcome!”
The witch doctor was suddenly hurled into the air and horribly twisted and crushed into a small ball… Which was then twisted again, wrung, and destroyed into nothing but dust. Gisella appeared for a split second, pink circuitry pulsing throughout her body, before her ring spun its magic and she went invisible again. ‘Flying’ with her telekinesis, she stayed safely out of range and prepared for another powerful attack.
“Oh, goodness,” Elmo muttered. “That’s… unsightly.”
“Sorry I’m late!” Gisella apologized. “I saw her casting spells and want to get a clean kill from behind!”
“Don’t sweat it!” Bustov laughed, firing another arrow at the giants. “Is Fensal with you?! I think he got lost as we ran!”
“No? I thought he was with you?”
Meanwhile Fensal leapt from tree to tree, continuing to conceal himself in the foliage. Continuing to mutter a beat about an impossible mission, he leapt from bush to bush, imagining himself to be much cooler than he really was.
Flash back to reality, the Mk II grabbed a dire bear with a single fist as it tried to run past. Rockets appeared at the knuckle and blasted the beast into the wilderness. The giants’ morale began to break as the machine approached them, knowing they could hardly hurt this iron creature.
“Kill them!” Nosnra snapped, whining like a massive baby. “Nosnra will make any giant great hero! Bring me heads!”
“Lined up?” Lorenz asked Lintelfaden.
“Send me in,” he assured.
Gisella’s circuitry gradually discharged and was replaced by a bright blue as the hourglass appeared in her pupils. Thanks to the genesplicer, she was able to inherit Lilie’s power and use it for the team. A red clock appeared around Lintelfaden and began to spin rapidly, hastening his movements. Charging in, he tore through the ground and crashed through the debris, hand hovering around the hilt of the katana. Steam began to emit from his systems and he shot past the Mk II like a bolt of lightning.
“Oh, no you don’t!” Gisella interrupted and roman numbers began to spin around her arm. A massive wolf was frozen in midair and halted from shielding Nosnra.
“One strike to end it all!”
Nosnra blinked and Lintelfaden was already sheathing his sword. A steel flash sliced through his bloated gut and his head slipped off, seamlessly sliced without him even realizing it. His heavy body crashed to the ground and the battle was frozen in place but not with time magic. The giants felt a chill run up their spine as Lintelfaden glanced in their direction.
Screaming, they fled for the hills and into the forest, tripping over themselves to escape the party. Their war chief was dead in a blink, they were already breaking and now nothing was keeping them banded together.
And none other than Fensal arrived at the scene and the perfect moment, landing on one of the giant’s head. Spinning the pistol around his finger, he was locked and loaded for the kill.
“Bang,” he chuckled and the bullet flew straight through the skull.
Augusta clapped her hands and then flicked Fensal’s forehead. “Amazing timing; where were you before?”
“Sneaking away for a perfect strike!”
“Trying to be a rogue?” Gisella asked. “We already have Augusta learning from me.”
“Hahaha, I’m good. I’m fine with being a backup tank in case Lintelfaden needs help.”
Lorenz watched the giants flee, most running in random directions but some returned to the steading, most likely to regroup. “Let’s head back soon while the Mk II is still with us. He won’t stay for too long now.”
“Let’s hurry then!” Squeakers ordered. “The almighty hammer Binglebop seeks out its next target!”
Dashing back to the steading, they made it just in time before Lorenz’s power over the Mk II began to wane. Already it was starting to revert back into a hologram and transmat away but it had just enough power to get them to the front gate.
“Three, two, one,” Lorenz counted down. “Showtime.”
With one final punch, it blasted the doors off its hinges and the party had a clear path to enter the steading.