Part two of the ongoing adventures of my group. Original google doc here.
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 58 Recap
The party was greeted as any guest would be; with boulders charged with elemental energy. One exploded in lightning while another emitted poisonous gas, invading their lungs and blurring their vision. The stone giants were already prepared and they reached down for another boulder by their side and were ready to hurl it. One such bigger than the others barked orders in another language and power surged through them.
Gisella’s pink circuitry changed to purple and magic coalesced around her fingertips. “Thanks, Kwalish, for your own custom spells.”
She had taken lessons from the mad wizard and inherited a few of his wild spells that broke the rules of other wizards. Calmly, she drew a small heart symbol with her finger in midair and crushed it, releasing a wave of magic that harmlessly enveloped the giants. The leader resisted the powerful magic but the same could not be said about the others.
“That’s that,” she chuckled. “Charmed and at my command.”
“Whoa, how long are they charmed for?” Squeakers asked in awe.
Charm was an understatement that Kwalish liked to use, it was more like mass domination. The giants turned on their lord without hesitation and swung their clubs with all their might. His body hardened and resisted the physical blows but he was still reluctant to attack them.
“Not going to lie…” Lorenz muttered. “But that… kind of ‘not good’ if you know what I mean?”
“But they’re now my buddies!” Gisella protested. “Right?”
One giant gave her a thumbs up before turning around to fight again.
“Right… Anyway, didn’t you say there was a cloud giant as well?”
Augusta’s senses tingled and she reacted to a frozen boulder from above before anyone else and her ki flowed through her body. She spun on a dime and kicked the boulder, sending cracks across the rock.
“Did that girl just kick a boulder?” the cloud giant muttered. “No, I must be imagining it.”
The rock shattered and the pieces harmlessly fell to the ground but the monk was still standing unscathed. Dusting the dirt off her shoulder her ring flickered and shone with a faint light and she flew towards the cloud giant.
It wasn’t just the cloud giant as reinforcements though, multiple hill giants that had escaped including another chieftain wielding a titanic ax suddenly charged from the forest towards the party. A horde of bugbears roared and, eager to finally tear through human flesh, brandished their jagged blades and let out a war cry.
“Alright!” Fensal cried.. “Deal with the guy inside, Gisella and just join us when you can with the giants! Lintelfaden, see if you can disperse the bugbears!”
He fired a bullet and the hill giant but the neanderthal was smart enough to use his ax as a shield. The ground shook as they approached but it wasn’t just from the horde of bugbears and hill giants. Fire giants as well turned the corner of the steading and slammed their black iron armour and readied their massive greatswords.
“Well, I don’t think we need proof of them working together,” Elmo cursed. “Quite a bit of diversity here. Augusta!”
“A bit busy!” the monk yelled, trying to keep balanced as the cloud giant spun in midair. “I stunned him and now he can’t keep aloft on his wind!”
Squeakers spun her hammer and its elemental affinity changed to acid as she hurled it towards the stunned giant. It struck him directly in the head and he began to sink lower as his magic weakened but it wasn’t quite enough to take him out.
“I’ll cut through the bugbears, you’d better have my back, Lorenz!” Lintelfaden yelled as he charged towards the enemy.
“Hey, there’s a lot of them there!”
The bugbears stood no chance against the mechataur and their weapons shattered as soon as it hit his skymetal body. He tore through unmatched down the center, slicing through the enemy or crushing them underfoot, and their morale shattered with their bones. They fled in terror and a clear path was opened to the hill and fire giants at the back.
“You really charged right in?” one of the fire giants laughed. “How stupid..”
“We’re nothing like those hill fools,” the other agreed. “Your metal armour is going to bend and break against the superior craftsmanship of our blades.”
He heavily underestimated the stark difference in strength between the hill and the fire giants. In a single blow they shattered the forcefield and they were fast as they were strong. The skymetal didn’t break but it bent beneath the weight of their weapons. Sparks began to fly from his body and Lorenz’s healing wasn’t going to keep up with their attacks.
As if that wasn’t enough, yet another giant with a large staff joined the fray and with him, over a hundred orc slaves wielding giant-sized forks, spoons, and knives. Men, women, and even children; none were exempt as the giants desperately wanted to crush these sudden adventurers who killed their war chief.
“I can’t heal the damage the fire giants are dealing in time,” Lorenz cursed, trying his best to repair Lintelfaden’s systems. “Tch, I need more time-”
Time! UNITY’s gift!
The armour around his arm opened and a small rod slipped out and into his hand. It began to glow with essence and it split in half, revealing multiple holographic screens, code, and a keyboard in his off-hand. The screens reacted to his touch and he inputted a few keys and swiped the screens and code away until he found the power he desired.
Runes lined the ground in a massive area, spanning throughout the entire steading and into the forest, and the code began to spin like clock hands. Everything began to slow and was gradually frozen in place; the sounds of battle were silenced, those in the air were suspended, even the swaying grass or the falling petals were stopped as the hands of time were held by UNITY’s power.
The File of Fate, a wonderful relic we found after fighting the Typhon Nightmare back in Luna Castellum. An ethereal hourglass appeared by his head and the sands began to drain rapidly.
In the brief time he had, he was able to heal and enhance Lintelfaden without the damage of the fire giants, grant her increased speed with the File just as Gisella does with her time magic, and overdrive Augusta. And in the meantime he did a little pose with every cast, too embarrassed to do it in front of the party but… it’s not like they could see him now.
As the sands of time drained away, the code clock hands shattered and time resumed as normal. Lintelfaden suddenly felt power flow through him and he evaded the giants’ attacks and even deflected the heavy blade with ease.
“Augusta!” Lorenz yelled. “You’re powered up, get in there!”
The monk’s body glowed blue and electricity sparked from her overcharged body. “Is this what Bustov and Fensal feel like when you nano-boost them?!” Her hand blurred and the cloud giant was struck to the ground, plummeting like a rock and a cloud of dust concealed them as he crashed to the ground. All the giants could see was the azure sparks within the smoke screen. “Oh, it feels awesome!”
She blitzed to the fire giant open for attack and her movements blurred, leaving afterimages as she released multiple precise and crushing blows, cracking his armour, and her burning systems awakened Chuckie. In tandem with her attacks he released his own viscous kick and launched the giant off his feet and into the hill giants, completely shattering the armour with ease.
“Hold off the fire giant, Lintelfaden!” Gisella ordered. “We need to take out the hill giant rallying the orcs-”
Before she even finished her commands, Gisella had already stunned the hill giant leader and kicked off his face, disarming him of the greataxe. Chuckie flew from her body and tore the ax out of the ground with ease and he smiled as he decapitated the giant in a single strike.
“Done and dusted!” Augusta laughed.
“Oh, well that works,” Fensal muttered, in awe of her speed and Chuckie’s power. “Uh, it’s just the remaining hill giants and the fire one then.”
The hill giants fled for their lives and the fire giant bravely fought to the end, refusing to damage his honor. There was no one else left to stand against the party and the sounds of battle faded away. All that remained were the horde of orcs with kitchen utensils. And they fled for their lives, yet it seems as though they were cheering while running, thanking the party as they ran.
“I guess they were slaves,” Fensal chuckled. “Makes sense. None of them were wearing armour or wielding real weapons.”
The File of Fate closed and sealed itself and Lorenz fell to the ground and held his head. “Agh, that smarts. Using the File is really draining…”
Squeakers jumped on his chest and tapped his head, quickly pulling away from his hot temple. “Wow, you don’t look so good!”
“Nah, I’m fine, just got a headache, that’s all.”
Luckily, there weren’t any more giants coming out of the woodwork to attack them and Lorenz rested on Lintelfaden’s back. The File was extremely powerful but not without a cost of extreme mental and magic drain. In this situation it was alright since there weren’t any more encounters with the enemy but he knew he had to be careful not to abuse UNITY’s gift.
Heading into the steading, there really wasn’t anyone else inside. Gisella asked her stone giant ‘friends’ if they knew the location of any sweet loot but they had only seen the main hall while the giants were partying.
And so the party methodically searched every room. Under the bear rugs, in the shelves, above the shelves, under the beds, even inside the mattress; these giants were going on countless raids, there had to be some loot here and there. Arriving at Chief Nosnra’s room they doubled their efforts, remembering the amount of gold and jewelry on his obese body. Behind a desk or a picture frame, under the bed, pressing every floorboard for anything loose, even taking off a massive leash of the wall that seemed pricey but the material turned out to be second-rate on further inspection. In the end, their efforts finally paid off as Lorenz cut open Chief Nosnra’s mattress to reveal gold, platinum, and diamonds.
“Oh, sweet, glittering moola!” Lorenz cheered and he grabbed a handful of coins and let them slip through his fingers. “A wonderful reward for us!”
“You recovered quick,” Fensal laughed, taking note of any magic items in the bed.
“Gold is quite a strong remedy for such things.”
But the most important thing they found was a note signed by ‘Obmi’ directed to Nosnra himself. There was no doubt in their mind that the giants were being controlled by someone above but this gave name to the man behind the curtain.
‘His Majesty King Snurre commends your relentless attacks on merchant caravans and farms, as well as your brutal assault on the borderlands keep. But he now demands your finest warriors for a bold new raid against the humans; He wants to see their towns burn! Have your best troops rally at the Howling Crag by the next full moon, and one-quarter of the victory spoils shall be yours. Your sub-chief sends his regards along with your portion of the edward for the last raid.’
“King Snurre…” Bustov muttered. “A devious man.”
“His diabolical machinations are not to be underestimated,” Fensal agreed.
“You know this man?” Gisella askes. “Any details?”
“Oh, I don’t know anything about Snurre.”
Obmi seemed to be the messenger of the king but the name didn’t ring any bells for any one. A king of one of the giant factions to be sure and the one orchestrating all of these sudden attacks on the humans. But why? Just to see it burn? It wasn’t out of the picture but it seemed random that this King Snurre would suddenly seek aid from the hill giants just for wanton bloodshed. But if the elemental cults were involved the reason was unclear and it would all come down to guessing; there were still no leads in regards to the return of any of the elemental princes or the Evil Elemental Eye.
“Another note!” Augusta called out from a different room. “There’s one here in the sub-chief’s room!”
‘Laerthar, my love,’ the note read. ‘Go to the hill giants and help Nosnra plan his raids. Make sure he does not lose sight of our greater goal. Do this for your thane; do this for me.’
“There’s no way the sub-chief’s name is Laerthar,” Squeakers said. “It’s too nice for them, something like Bigglebus or Gorgo sounds more hill giant.”
“True, and there’s no name in the other note,” Fensal sighed, scratching his head. “Belastraya is definitely not a hill giant name either. Man, we’ve got names and orders but nothing to really go off of from there.”
They continued to search through the steading but there wasn’t much left to explore. A few more bedrooms, an empty dining room with bugs and uneaten food, a filthy kitchen with thrown pots and food all over the floor, and even aprons and shirts with a revolting stench infesting the air. Eager to get away from the smell, they headed towards a room that seemed to be some sort of slave quarters, filled with beds and sleeping rolls about the size of a human. At least here the stench was as rancid and they could search without having to hold their breaths.
“Nothing?” Lintelfaden asked. “Not surprised really.”
“No loot, no stolen goods, or any info to bring back to the King of Jeff,” Lorenz called from across the room. “Any secret doors by any chance?”
“Nothing,” Gisella informed.
Bustov rested his head in his hands and flicked a few covers with his shoes. “Ugh, I guess it is a slave quarters but this is more of a prison given the state of everything.”
He kicked a shoe and it didn’t budge an inch and a sharp pain shot through his foot as he kicked metal without holding back. It tipped over and hundreds of gold coins poured out onto the wooden floor.
“What the-?!” he cursed. “Why in the world is there gold inside these shoes?!”
“And look how much, hahaha!” Lorenz laughed, tipping the shoe over. “This was a secret stash or something?”
A bottle fell out and its contents sparked with electricity and there seemed to be a miniature storm swirling inside. They couldn’t believe their eyes when Gisella identified it as a potion of storm giant strength… in a shoe… an orc slave’s musty and smelly boot.
“You thinking what I’m thinking?” Augusta asked Fensal.
“I think I am,” he replied.
The party went through the entire steading again and found thousands of gold coins and other magic items tucked away inside boots. Why boots they couldn’t say but these shoes were loaded. Not even swords or potions were exempt from the secrets and wonders of the mysterious boot. Once again their jaws dropped when Bustov pulled out a sentient sword from a shoe underneath the dining table.
“I must’ve missed something,” Lorenz chuckled. “I know I’ve lived in a space station my whole life but is… hiding loot in your shoes normal?”
“This is ridiculous,” Gisella admitted. But she couldn’t help but smile. “A good kind of ridiculous.”
In their search they also found a secret door leading beneath the steading. Stone stairs led to a small alcove before branching off into multiple paths to their left and right, both seeming to lead on into the darkness. This place was void of light and the few dim torches were running on embers, barely illuminating beyond the scone from which it hung. Lorenz used magical light to guide them through the halls and to explore what seemed to be a rather large level. They were running low on stamina and magic but they could push on a little farther.
A faint slithering sound from the room beyond snapped their joyful conversation and they immediately readied their weapons. Lintelfaden went into the room first but the place was empty, not a soul in sight. Invisibility? No, the magical light didn’t cast any shadows aside from theirs-
“Behind us!” Augusta yelled and leapt out of the way of a bolt of lightning.
A blue snake-like drake shot lightning from its mouth and it chained from party member to member, ending a lethal shock through their bodies or mechanical systems. The androids were able to resist the electricity without shutting down but Lorenz’s cybernetics in his legs began to spark and Lintelfaden’s forcefield went down in a flash.
“Behir!” Gisella warned. The beast’s body began to seem transparent and it camouflaged, slipping away into the shadows. “Monsters that helped the giants fight the dragons!”
“Great,” Lorenz sarcastically said. “There was a leash in Nosnra’s room, wasn’t there?”
Fensal fired at the Behir before it escaped and marked it with a red target, effectively nullifying its camouflage and guiding Lintelfaden directly towards the hidden beast. With a powerful charge, he slammed it into the wall and followed up with a swift slash, covering the katana in purple blood. The monster’s body began to spark and glow as it also became transparent and readied another bolt.
Squeakers always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and slammed its open jaw from below with a surprising amount of power, shutting and delaying its breath weapon for a moment. A split second was more than enough for Lorenz to activate the fusion torch within his rifle and burn right through the back of its neck, scales and all, killing the beast quickly before it could get another attack off.
“Phew,” Lintelfaden sighed in relief. “That could have been bad, especially since a lot of us are vulnerable to lightning.”
“We’d better be careful,” Gisella warned. “If even the hill giants have a behir pet then the other factions could have multiple of them stronger and more ferocious. And they only breathe lightning from what I know.”
“Only lightning?” Fensal asked. “That’s bad for this party. Can you heal us a little, Lorenz?”
The cleric shook his head. “Just a little, I’ll need to use the remaining magic for a quick repair on my cybernetics or I won’t be able to walk. What about you, Aki?”
“Almost out,” she admitted. “I used a lot during our fight with the chief in the cave.”
They didn’t even realize they had come straight to the steading after that battle without rest and pushing on seemed dangerous even for them. There could be no one else here or there could be a second behir hiding in the shadows, either way they decided to air on the side of caution and return back to KITT. Lorenz’s headache was starting to return and they couldn’t heal the damage the behir’s breath had caused.
And Augusta had a few upgrades she wanted to perform at Luna Castellum while the party rested. Before anything else caught them off guard while they were wounded, they retreated to KITT or back to the space station thanks to the built-in portal.