Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 36
Module: Queen of the Spiders
System: D&D 5e
Halfbeard (Cliff) - Dwarf Fighter
Meece (Daniel) - Goblin Arcane Archer
Ulmack (Gary) - Halfling Monk
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Half-Orc Paladin
To paraphrase an old joke:
A small, timid man was hired as a bartender in a small town. He worked for a few weeks with no problems. Then one day a someone rushed in shouting, “Everybody clear out! Big Johann’s comin’!”
The customers quickly abandoned their drinks and cards, shoving each other in their hurry to exit the tavern. Within seconds the tavern was empty. The bartender was perplexed, but he figured that he'd best get out as well. He started putting things away so he could lock up.
But before he could get very far, he heard the stomping of heavy boots approaching the tavern. The door swung open so hard it fell off its hinges. A barrel-chested giant of a man - easily nine feet tall - stomped into the tavern, shaking the building with every step. He approached the bar, and slammed his fist on the counter.
"GIMME A BEER!" he bellowed. His hands shaking, the bartender quickly pulled out a bottle from behind the bar, and set it in front of the giant. The bartender started to hand him a glass, but the giant just bit off the top of the bottle and spit out the broken glass. He swallowed the beer in one gulp and demanded another.
After his second beer, the giant stood up and said, "Sorry about the damage. I hope this will cover it." He set some money on the counter, more than enough to cover the beer and damages. At this point the bartender thought that maybe this wasn't such a bad guy after all, and the townsfolk had just misunderstood him. He asked the giant if he'd like another drink, on the house.
"Thanks," the giant said, "but I've got to get going. Big Johann's coming!"
Today we started a new adventure. Last session we were hired to sail cross the ocean and help some refugees who had been driven from their homelands by giants. We sailed, we docked, we met some refugees. We learned that it isn't just one type of giant, but variety of giants, as well as goblins, hobgoblins, human bandits, and several other races besieging the capital city. Some of these are races that don't usually work together. It's rumored that there is a greater power at work here, some great force organizing these giant soldiers. Having read the novelization, I already know the answer to that one, but I'll try to act surprised.
We set out for the capital city, Istivin. We took three carriages, each drawn by two horses. Our party was in the middle carriage. On the first day, Halfbeard noticed that the road led into an area that would be perfect for an ambush. And he was right. He spotted an Ogre about to drop a tree on us, and suddenly we were surrounded by at least sixty ogres. We discussed going out in a blaze of glory, but Ulmack decided to parlay.
We finally reached a small town, and in true D&D fashion, headed straight for the inn. Once seated, we saw a customer harassing a waitress. Val walked over and intimidated him into leaving. As he left, he threatened us, telling us that he'd be back with his friends to raze the town. The townsfolk were not grateful. It turns out the customer was one of Big Johann's men. BJ was a frost giant, and his followers had been causing trouble lately.
So, we did our duty. Not wanting to bring ruin to the town, we marched out of the town's front gate, and prepared to defend it. We didn't have to wait long. Big Johann rode forward on a mammoth, surrounded by ten hill giants, and the human Val had threatened. We didn't bother trying to reason with them, we just rolled initiative.
Ulmack finished off the human, so now we just faced the hill giants. They had low AC and for various reasons they had disadvantage on most of their attacks, so it wasn't too difficult a fight. Once the battle was over, Val took a trophy braid from Johann, and tied it to her armor. The townsfolk now adored us, and treated us like royalty as we stayed the night.
The next day we continued our trip to Istivin. At one point we saw a caravan of stone giants. They turned out to be peaceful. One of them approached us waving a white flag, and told us a bit of a prophecy involving the rise of dark forces. Once they had passed, we continued to Istivin without incident.
Istivin had a giant black globe bisecting part of the city. It looked like a sphere of darkness, except it was actually solid. We were led to the leader, and he explained more fully. The sphere had appeared a month ago. Only natives to the area are able to enter the sphere, but none of them have returned.
Once again we were told of how the giants are more organized than giants usually are, and that there must be a secret mastermind behind these attacks. Some dark, pointy-eared menace that can manipulate other armies with their spider-like machinations, staying in the shadows, emerging only underdark of night. If only we could figure out this puzzle!
We have been tasked with finding out this secret. We need to find out who is directing these attacks, and maybe even defeat them. And if we can recover some of the treasure the giants have stolen, we're allowed to keep it. They told us we should start with the hill giant settlements, because they are the