So the party’s preparations continue….
Rogue finishes going through his pack and checking to make sure everything is in order before looking to the rest of the party.
Navus- “It occurs to me that we’ll have to live off the land. We can’t count on being able to buy anything inside the Lost Lands.” He drums his fingers and shrugs.
Rogue - “We will need to bring most of what we need with us, though getting food and water will be mostly simple if we start to run short. Anything else would be good to get before we leave.”
Navus- “Indeed. I’m going to find more arrows. Kusab, stay.” He hops up and starts asking around. Kusab looks put out, and flops over.
Grenda - “I can create water and purify food with my spells, if needed. I don’t know much about living off the land, though.”
A couple minutes later Ardivan walks up. “Are you Grenda?” He asks….Grenda.
Grenda - “I am. Is there something you need?”
Ardivan proffers a scroll. “This scroll has six copies of the divine version of the Sending spell. Tamurel desires that you send reports as you see fit during your travels.”
Grenda - “That is an excellent plan, thank you.” She stashes the scrolls in the side pocket of her backpack.
Ardivan bows slightly. “May Corellon guide your blades and arrows.” And he wanders off.
Navussar walks back with a bunch more arrows. “This’ll have to do. I’ll probably wind up taking them off dead orcs or something eventually.”
Grenda - “You’ll figure something out, I’m sure. Shall we set out and travel at night or wait until morning?”
Navus- “I’m fine either way.”
Rogue - “We should wait till morning. Scouting at night with lights might let the enemy see us coming. We won’t be able to count on seeing everything coming at us at night if we try to travel without light.”
Mav - “Poor elf, can’t see at night?”
Grenda looks confused for a moment. “Oh right, I forgot that elves don’t have dark vision. Moving at daytime is fine with me.”
And so you all wrap up in cloaks and snuggle with your animal companions or whatever until the crack of dawn...of Day 159! You have a quick breakfast and set out.
Preston is only nine miles from the elven camp, which is on the eastern edge of the Oytwood. There are a couple of roads (overgrown and unused except by the giants occasionally), and a network of faint trails (less faint after years of use by giants, who are not very clever hunters).
Rogue - “I will take point with Timber, we will try and keep an eye out for anything we might run into. Give me a twenty foot lead so that noise won't travel to me as much. I will try to stay in view and if not will send Timber back to guide if that starts to become impossible.”
Navus nods. He has his longbow and a couple of arrows out.
Grenda - “No problem.”
Mav - “Sounds like a plan” Taking point for the group that is moving behind Rogue.
You’re travelling pretty slowly, maybe two miles an hour, but make it to lunchtime without encountering anything except songbirds, which puts you about a mile from Preston (although to the east and a little to the south).
Rogue comes back to the group as it gets close to lunch, “I found a place up ahead we can break at before heading into Preston.”
Grenda - “Sounds good, then we can talk about our plan of action.”
So we settle down for lunch.
Rogue leads everyone to the camping spot, “Should be simple to get into the town, Though we will want to keep eyes open. Once inside we will find ourselves more in the open.”
Grenda - “I assume it will not exactly be difficult to spot the giants. Perhaps we should try to find one outside and attack it from a distance to draw it away?”
Rogue - “We can look for a good ambush spot and I can move a head to try and lead one to us.”
Grenda - “That’s reasonable. Although we’re supposed to flee to the opposite side of the town from here, we may want to circle the town first and come in from that direction.”
Rogue - “We will need to pick our way as quietly as possible. Should work out easily if we stay far enough away from the town,” Looks to Navus “do you think you could lead everyone around at a decent distance while I try to skirt close to the city to get an idea of what we are dealing with and then meet up with everyone on the north, and find a good ambush sight while you are at it?”
Navus- “Shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll pass around the south side of town, and I guess meet maybe 100 yards north of the northernmost building we can find?”
Rogue - “That works for me, give me an hour after you get there before you start to plan for sending someone to find me.”
Grenda - “If you needs us, be sure to shout.”
Everyone hears the sound of a branch snapping about 65 feet to your north, and those facing in that direction see a large humanoid, about 11’ tall, pause and whisper a curse under his breath.
Rogue raises a finger to his lips for silence and moves that direction silently, looking to see if the figure is moving their direction.
The figure isn’t moving, but he is facing you, and has taken something off his back. You all hear some rustling of bushes right around him.
Grenda nonchalantly picks up her mace.
Rogue turns his head towards the party and speaking lowly, “Draw, get ready.” Moves forward another ten feet attempting to see what else is around the figure. Also draws his swords. Rogue can see it’s one hill giant. He’s put down and opened the bag that all giants seem to carry and has picked out at least one rock (the size of a human head), probably more.
Navus gets up slowly and preps his bow. “I’ll head around to the right.”
Mav sets her feet and pulls out her battle axe.
Rogue nods, “Grenda, go with him. Mav come with me. Ten seconds then we start moving forward and get ready to charge if he sees us.” Waives to Timber giving a signal for him to stay low and out of the fight.
Navus- “OK. Kusab, come.” He moves around and to the right, attempting to be relatively stealthy.
The giant doesn’t appear to notice Navus and Kusab. It moves forward a bit.
Round 1: Continued Sneaking
Grenda makes with the sneaking to the right. The giant doesn’t notice her either.
Rogue continues moving to the left of the Giant remaining as quiet as he can and attempting to close the distance a little faster.
Kusab doesn’t do anything except delay his action.
Mav moves quietly behind Rogue.
The giant stops again. It looks like he’s seen something.
Navus sidesteps one step and launches a couple of arrows! Two whiz by the giant, but the third sticks solidly in his arm.
The giant bellows and throws a rock right back at Navus, winging him right back.
Grenda moves forward and casts Divine favor on herself.
Rogue closes on the Giants right and attacks.
Mav moves forward to close with the Giant as well.
You all are getting in the way of Navus shooting arrows, so he continues running around the right side, with Kusab loping along with him. He also exchanges his bow for his greatsword, which has chilled air coming off it for some reason.
The giant pivots to its right and does a traditional overhead swing at Rogue and hits him HARD. It immediately tries again, but over corrects and injures a tree instead.
Grenda moves swiftly up to the giant’s left side and takes a swing! She misses.
Rogue blinks through the pain and continues his attacks on the giant.
Mav also attacks.
Navus runs around the backside so the giant is surrounded, but doesn’t get a chance to attack. Kusab doesn’t get close.
The giant takes another swing at Rogue and hits him, then pivots to take a swing at Mav as well. He misses- barely- cause she’s a dwarf and is good at fighting giants.
Grenda bashes the giant in the back with her mace twice, and that turns out to be enough to kill him. He collapses to the ground with a large thud.
Grenda hurries over to Rogue and casts a cure spell. “I can do more, are we staying here or moving immediately?”
Navus exchanges sword for bow again and looks back he way the giant came from.
Rogue remains still as he receives the healing watching behind him for giants, “we need to wait till Navus gets back to hear if there are more giants coming our way.”
Mav moves forward to the dead giant and starts to search the body.
Grenda casts a smaller spell.
Rogue nods to Grenda, “thank you,” looks to the dead giant, “I think I pissed him off.”
Grenda - “Just a bit!” She casts another spell.
Mav finds the following, after digging through the large sack: a total of 20 gp in a small purse, a human-size brass drinking horn, a human-size brass drinking mug with some jade insets, a small obsidian statue of a dog, a bag of salt, a big pile of rope, a large feather, a whetstone, a rusty axe blade, and a small amulet.
Mav - “It was probably your bubbly personality.”
Navus comes back at a trot. “I don’t hear or see anything else. This guy might have been hunting.”
Grenda - “That would explain why he kept approaching quietly after he noticed us. Thought we might be dinner.”
Rogue - “We should collect this all up, Move to another location to finish lunch after Navus and I take a quick scout around that location to try and make sure we won't get interupted and then continue with the original plan. We might be able to get one or two more giants depending on the situation.”
Grenda - “Sounds good to me. We’ll wait for you here.” She casts detect magic.
The amulet and the feather radiate magic. Grenda picks those two up. “These two are magic.”
Rogue - “Do you have any way to identify them?”
Navus- “Kusab, stay here with Grenda. Let her know if a giant approaches.” Kusab stares at him.
Rogue looks to Navus, “Ten minutes that direction,” points to the left of the direction the giant came from, “find a good spot and then we will go in opposite directions twenty feet and do a half circle and return to the spot we have found to make sure we are in a good location?”
Navus- “Okay, can do. Let’s get a move on. At some point the giants will realize this guy is missing.”
Grenda and Mav scoop the rest of the items into a bag.
“Huh, the amulet radiates conjuration - healing,“ Grenda says.
Rogue nods to Grenda, “If we are not back in an hour start the way we went slowly” Looks to Navus, “we go” and starts moving.
Rogue and Navus tromp cautiously through the woods for about 25 minutes, and don’t see or hear anything interesting.
Rogue and Navus return to the Party, “Alright, we have a spot. Lets move out.” The others follow. At the new spot settle down for lunch. “An hour, eat, drink, reset and we will start moving to the city.”
You’re able to eat lunch without further attempts on your life, and also make it to your split-up point without trouble. The brush cover varies depending on how thick the trees are (inversely proportional and all that), but you’re able to stop within ¼ mile of Preston with pretty good concealment.
Navus, quietly, to Rogue- “So are you going right and we’re going left?”
Rogue shakes his head, “we will go the same direction. I am just going to move closer to the city. I will be moving slower to stay quiet and unseen. From this distance it should be easy for the rest of you to remain unseen.”
Navus- “Ok. We’ll start heading east (to your right) then.”
Rogue - “Once you are in place leave everyone there and see if you can find a good ambush site. I will be there as soon as possible.”
Navus- “Okay.” He has everyone but Rogue and Timber withdraw another hundred yards and start moving east.
Rogue moves to the edge of the woodline next to the city and starts moving east quietly and hiding. Looking at the city as he goes to see what is happening and if there are any giants. He has Timber move out in front of him looking for any giants that might be in his path.
Rogue moves up to the edge of the trees and watches for a few minutes. It’s plain that this used to be a very well maintained town with a mixture of elven and human architecture, but most of that has been destroyed, and the plants life either gone wild or trampled. He counts around half a dozen hill giants.
Moving to his next location, he notes another hill giant he didn’t see from the first spot; this guy appears to be in charge, with a few of the other giants walking up to him occasionally and talking to him.
Later, he counts four giants with coal-black skin and flaming red hair, who all wear metal armor. The hill giants look more like Neanderthals (not that that is how he would describe them), while these four look more civilized. The black-skinned giants are only marginally taller than the hill giants (like 12’ tall vs 10-11”), but are much bulkier, looking kind of like immense dwarves.
The giants mostly live in what used to be stables, with 1-2 fire giants appearing to live in a building, but 2-3 hill giants sharing a building.
He also sees three giants who are dozing. It’s warm today (but not super warm), but these three are stripped down to their shorts. They appear to be around 15’ tall, and have white skin (like white as snow), and light blue or dirty blonde hair.
Finally, toward the end of his circuit, he spots a solitary female giant. She is half again the height of the black-skinned giants, with sky blue skin and silvery hair. Surprisingly, she is pretty good looking. She appears to try to avoid the hill and black-skinned giants.
By this point, Rogue has identified the rendesvous point where Navus, Grenda, and Mav are waiting.
Rogue moves toward the rest of the part, “I am coming in,” He says when he gets about 60 feet out just loud enough for it to carry to the party and does not stop hiding and moving silently until he is about 10 feet out.
He’s able to link up with everyone else without disaster happening.
Rogue explains everything he saw above adding, “The three sleeping giants might be our best bet to hit and run before they can get too close. Though they are bigger and it could end poorly if we cannot get away.”
Navus- “Can you describe the giants again?”
Rogue “Tall Sky blue giantess with silvery hair, Coal black skin with fiery red hair, white skin with blond or light blue hair.”
Navus- “This doesn’t make a damn bit of sense, then. The coal-black skinned one are fire giants, who don’t live in lowland forests. The ones with white skin and blonde hair are probably frost giants, who should be living on a glacier, and the giantess sounds like a cloud giant. So three of the four types of giants do not live in this terrain. Only the hill giants are even close to in the right region. In any case, you said...how many, 15 total?”
It’s midafternoon as you’re having this conversation.
Grenda - “We could take a completely ranged approach to the attack.”
Rogue - “There are fifteen of them, though with them moving around the count could be off. Ranged attacked would be good to get their attention from a decent ambush withdrawal location. Who has ranged weapons?”
Grenda - “I’ve got a crossbow, or I can created magic weapons that can fly out up to 170 feet out from my position.”
Navus- “I have my longbow.”
Mav - “I have a shortbow”
Rogue - “I have some abilities I can use that might slow a few of the lead giants down before they come our way. We will have to get close enough for the shortest range weapon, I will prepare my skills. Hit the weakest looking ones on this side we can hit and then once they see us we run. Important part is that we run only as fast as our slowest member. We stay as a group so if we get caught we fight together.”
Grenda - “We could also wait until nightfall and see if we can catch them unaware that way. Gives us more time to get away.”
Rogue - “That could work, we will have to scout our escape route first. If not then we risk tripping on the way out.”
From his reconnaissance, Rogue found three of what were probably once roads. None were big, but one each went northwest, northeast, and south. They were probably 20’ wide before they stopped being maintained. The one heading northwest looks significantly more used than the other two, with the northeast one used a moderate amount and he south road used not at all.
Rogue - “there are three roads leading away from here that we can use. The problem with the Northwest road is that it looks like it is the most used road and means we could run into giants coming this way when we start our retreat.”
Navus- “I can prepare a couple of longstrider spells; it’s not a huge advantage, but every little bit will help. But that would mean we’d have to wait until tomorrow to act. I only have it memorized once right now.”
Rogue - “We are not in a hurry right now, could use some of that time to monitor the northwest road to see how used it is and if that is a viable route to use for our retreat.”
Grenda - “And if their night time set up is rather lax, we can just take that opportunity instead. We’d want to parallel the road though, I agree that taking it without checking could be disastrous. I should heal Rogue the rest of the way if we’re going to wait around long enough for me to rest and get new spells.”