Following the successful defeat of two Frost Giants and a pair of Hill Giants, the party opts to push ahead, deciding that the best defense is a strong offense.
A majestic eagle swoops down at Tamarisk’s head to get his attention. Lowering his mind shield, Som accepts the telepathic link from Tamarisk and informs him that there are another pair of Hill Giants on the opposing cliff. He then rejoins his flock of eagles and flies across the crevasse. Lightning bolts are seen and loud claps of thunder join the howling wind of the snow storm already in progress.
As the party prepares to storm the icy cavern, a magical sensor is noticed floating around the cave entrance. Fearing that the enemy is using it to spy upon them, the party spellcasters dispel the snoop.
Clambering over a dead frost giant partially blocking the cave entrance, everybody files slowly into the icy cavern. As they do so, the magical sensor reappears. Further attempts to dispel it are unsuccessful.
Entering into the icy cavern, the party encounters a lone frost giant guarding a southern branch of the cave network. After a brief struggle, the outnumbered and over-matched frost giant is subdued.
At the rear of the party, Kizan notices that the magical sensor has disappeared. Shortly thereafter, he sees a brilliant flash of light at the cave entrance. To his surprise, he sees a pair of Sun Elves, one a divine caster and the other an arcanist, standing before him. Peaceful contact is made, and the Sun Elves explain that they have arrived with a “guest” that they wish to release into the party’s custody. It is the long-absent Asher.
Old friends queue up to greet their long lost friend. However, they are somewhat disturbed by the grotesque physical transformation that she has gone under. Touched by the taint of an aberration, Asher now possesses freakishly long limbs and stunted wings. Though never a beauty to behold, she is now a monster. Undaunted, the group is desperate for any help they can get and gladly welcome her back into the fold. They even ask the Sun Elves for assistance and they oblige in the form of some healing spells.
Their business concluded, the Sun Elves (determined to be followers of Lathander Morninglord) disapparate.
With a brief reprieve from the rigours of non-stop combat, the party takes in a spectacle of nature’s raw fury. Against a dark sky poorly lit by the pale moonlight, angry flashes of lightning strike the opposite cliff. No one is quite certain, but some say they can hear the groaning of giants carrying across with the howling wind.
It is in this moment that group members become aware that both Nidalee and Tamarisk are missing. Nidalee had pushed further into the southerly branch of the cave network and begun looting the room marked as 2 on the map. She returns dutifully with a large bag of gold.
Meanwhile, Tamarisk Sungold had turned himself invisible and ventured alone into the unexplored northern branch of the cave network. Being unable to see in the dark, he cast light on a rock and tossed ahead of him so that he might see any trouble in his path. Eventually, he found it.
Entering into the room marked 1 on the map, Tamarisk finds that a quartet of frost giants have setup an ambush here. They are alerted to his presence by the appearance of his magically illuminated pebble. A pair of very observant frost giants detect Tamarisk himself and hurl boulders at him. One misses, but the other hits him solidly. The blood spray on the icy cavern walls reveals his location with a brilliant red outline. Barely escaping with his life, Tamarisk runs further into the cave network, instead of towards his nearby comrades. At first blush, this tactic seems puzzling, but Tamarisk’s ultimate strategy does pan out as he planned all along.
Preparing to move on Tamarisk, the frost giants are distracted by the war cry of Jarvan Proudmore as he charges down towards them, intent on saving his endangered comrade. They reset their ambush and wait.
The first to enter the room is Grim. He enters the room and is immediately pummeled by a pair of boulders. Staggered, he thinks better of his strategy and withdraws to safety at the rear of the party.
Undaunted, the rest of the party begins to file in. Cainam traps two of the frost giants behind a wall of fire. If they want to enter into combat, they’ll need to brave the flames… a tough sell for a creature with fire weakness.
Jarvan and Asher charge into combat against the two closest frost giants. They are pummeled mercilessly, but they give as much as they take. Kizan joins the fray and proves just how useful a fire mage is down in these frozen depths.
The enemy divided, things go poorly for the giants. Eventually Nidalee joins the battle, piercing flesh from afar with her arrows. Even Grim rejoins the battle after a quick spot of healing by Cainam. Ultimately, the force of Jarvan’s sword, Asher’s sacrifice, Cainam’s Wall of Fire and Flame Strike, as well as repeated scorching rays from Kizan all prove to be too much. The enemy is vanquished.
That problem resolved, the question now returns to the whereabouts of Tamarisk. His bloody outline is detected on the caverns South wall. Nidalee tracks the fresh drops as they lead down a tunnel, away from the ambush. After 30 feet or so, the blood drop trail disappears. Assuming that Tamarisk is to be found further ahead; Jarvan, Nidalee, and Kizan charge down the hallway.
Back in room 1, Asher’s limp body is pulled out from under a deceased Frost Giant. She is healed enough for her to get back on her feet. Cainam proceeds to dispense further healing as necessary. Som rejoins the group, looking rather beat up. He finally defeated the Hill Giants on the other side of the crevasse, but they extracted quite a bit of retribution before they met their end. Streams of blood red sap trickle down his simple hemp cloak. He convalesces with Asher, joining hands (or what passes as hands for the two of them) with her and praying to the Selune. It is fortunate for them that it is near-midnight. The ever-loving power of the Lady of Light warms their tired bodies and they are healed of their hurt.
Meanwhile, Nidalee, Kizan, and Jarvan do eventually find Tamarisk. Though still invisible, he contacts them telepathically and then verbally. He turns over some treasure that he found in the storeroom (marked 6 on the map). They find that the long tunnel continues past the storeroom and ultimately leads back out to the vast crevasse. Unwilling to proceed with only half the party, Jarvan orders everyone back to cavern 1.
Refreshed, but wary of further combat, the group debates how to safely rest for the balance of the night. It is a little past 1am and the most sleep anyone has had totals to less than an hour. After a long brainstorming sessions, Jarvan has an epiphany. They will enter into one of the dead-end tunnels that were of no interest to anybody and have Som wall them in with a column of ice spell. This false bottom would allow them to rest unmolested by outside forces.
Relieved by his brilliant suggestion, the weary adventurers proceed to rest for the next 8hrs. During this time, they do hear the muffled screams and yells of Giantish, as the carnage the party left behind is uncovered.
At about 10am, the well-rested party begins to chip their way out of their icy tomb. They emerge to find the cavern network quiet and abandoned. The giant corpses had been removed while they slept.
Studying the map, they realize that the long corridor connected two relatively distant cave entrances. There was one cave entrance between the two. They decide to explore this one.
Entering cavern 3 cautiously, they notice that this icy chamber has a ceiling covered with beautiful icicles. Asher opts to explore the Northern branch of this chamber. Proceeding slowly, she turns the bend and finds herself facing into a den (4) of winter wolves. They growl menacingly at her, but do not strike. She returns to inform the party of what she saw. Som moves forward, prepared to assist, if called upon. Indeed, Jarvan asks Som if he might be able to do something about the wolves.
Som moves slowly, but not very quietly towards the wolf den. He doesn’t want to surprise them. When he turns the corner, he identifies himself as a friend of nature and proceeds to use wild empathy to allay their concerns. The wolves, only interested in protecting their young, are agreeable to a non-interference relationship. Returning to the party, Som informs them that the winter wolves will not attack them if left alone.
That settled, the party turns south and enters cavern 5. They discover a macabre scene. Eight humanoids are found frozen in solid blocks of ice. They all appear to have died gruesome deaths, judging by the varying degrees of mutilation their corpses have suffered.
Uninterested in recovering the bodies for decorum’s sake, the party only turns to pay heed when they spot several interesting items encased with the bodies. A quick scan with Detect Magic reveals that more than one of these items has a magical aura. The treasure hungry members of the group proceed at once to free the corpses from their frosty embrace.
Jarvan, who was previously serving as lookout, has qualms about grave-robbing. Bickering ensues as various moralities clash. Eventually, Som is able to mediate an agreeable solution. Jarvan sets about digging graves to dispose of the corpses in a more dignified fashion. Som takes Jarvan’s position as lookout at the mouth of the cave. Nidalee slumbers peacefully in her cozy drow box.
As Tamarisk, Cainam, Asher, Kizan and Grim continue to smash their way into the frozen cubes of flesh and treasure, a low grumbling occurs. With a sudden jolt, the icicles from the cave ceiling work loose and skewer the grave robbers below. The damage is moderate, but annoying. Spellcasting and wand charges must be expended to heal the injured.
After an hour of work, the party does finally extract the baubles that many so jealously covet. However valuable they may turn out to be, they appear to be of little use in these frigid environs. Why this band of ill-fated adventurer was doomed to death becomes apparent as their magical items are identified. It is better to charge a frost giant with a spoon, than a staff of frost.
Game Recap for 1/13/2013