13 Siege-hold (night)
We set up camp with the group of gnomes. They are Nibar, Xalybar (who wears polished leather armor decorated with gems), Lovar (whose armor is battered), Jelham (female, dressed in ill-fitting patchwork armor), and Fensys (wearing colorful silk scarves). The rescued prisoners are Zaibiss, a gnome girl dressed in simple clothing with a nose ring, Terri, a halfling, and Karyth, a female elf wearing robes and silver earrings.
Brinn asked Nibar about the dangers of the area, concerns in setting up camp, and the watch schedule. Meanwhile, Cora struck up a conversation about the rescue attempt we stumbled upon. The group explained that two gnomes and a halfling had been traveling between small villages when they went missing. Orcs or hill giants were assumed to be responsible, it’s a local hazard. These five gnomes are the go-to team from their village to rescue people, and it took them a couple of weeks to find the missing persons.
We discussed the trade route. The gnomes view the territory between villages as ownerless, but they’d rather people did not visit their village itself. They are generally keen on trade, however. They describe their home as Greymeadow Hill of the Abundant Valley of the Goats. We speculated about setting up a militarized trading post. We will need to make a path as well.
The morning was warmer than expected and mild. Toward afternoon the wind picked up. As it turned into a full dust storm, we agreed to take shelter, and found a cave with some effort. The evening passed uneventfully, and around the campfire the gnomes shared pipe weed.
The next morning dawned cooler, with a clear sky. Around lunchtime, Luhluh and Cora noticed a brief darkness, as of something flying across the sun. They spotted just a glimpse of a copper-colored tail disappearing over a hill. Could it be a dragon?
In the evening, a skinny being was spotted walked toward us. Luhluh observed a person wearing robes and carrying a quarterstaff, looking… lizardy? The figure approached, revealing a kobold dressed in pale blue robes and a green belt, walking with a light brown sheep. He introduced himself with a name none of us could pronounce, and Fuzzball the sheep. Unpronounceable is a cleric of the Peacemaker, and explains his presence here by saying “my journey takes me wherever I am needed.” Faust, mindful of our earlier sighting, asked if he’s seen any dragons, and Unpronounceable did not react as if the question were odd. He just mediated a conflict for two orcs; that’s what he does, travels seeking conflicts in need of mediation. We agreed to let him join our camp for the night (although Zamaia doesn’t trust him), and sang hymns around the campfire.
Suddenly, with a crackle, a flamboyantly-dressed wizard appeared! He startled at the sight of us, then disappeared as quickly as he’d arrived.
In the morning Unpronounceable continued on his way (seeing that we had no conflicts in our group in need of his assistance). He departed with a blessing, “may the Peaceful One comfort you.”
The gnomes shared mashed turnip bars for lunch with goat jerky. Just as we finished, we heard the sounds of giants, with laughing and loud crashing sounds. We found two hill giants on a steep hill top throwing boulders at something on the other side and laughing. Zamaia sent Wyndal to look closer, and Brinn called for quiet. Nibar muttered, “the mine”. There is a gnome mine on the far side of that hill, likely the giants’ target. The gnomes wanted to go get more help, but Nibar and Jelhami chose stay with us. Hill giants are bullies, they explained, stupid and brutish.
Wyndal returned and described the scene. A hut (presumably the mine entrance) had been covered by the boulders the giants were throwing, and looked damaged. Brinn gave some quick orders, Faust cast Fly on Luhluh, and Cora cast Haste on the whole group. Then Cora used a new spell, Arcane Concordance, to increase the range on Faust and Zamaia’s spells as long as they stuck close together. Luhluh flew up the hill toward the giants, while Brinn came around from the left side. Cora, Faust, and Zamaia moved a bit closer while Cora started to sing, and Faust threw a fireball at the giant on the right. Brinn shouted, “the strong have a duty to protect the weak, you pusillanimous scoundrel!”, and charged, striking the leftmost giant on his way past. Zamaia poured frost onto the giant on the right.
Both giants threw rocks clumsily toward Brinn, missing him. A third giant came around the corner of the hill.
Cora hit the giant on the right with an arrow. Luhluh used the Rod on the third giant, pelting it with small, minty candies. This did seem to slow it down a bit. Faust used Magic Missile. Brinn charged back at and past the giant on the left, who was then Dazed by Zamaia. The giant on the right fumbled his rock, and realized that his ear wasn’t working.
The gnomes reached the top of the hill and struck the giant on the left. Cora hit the one on the right with another arrow. Luhluh used the rod to turn the ground below the third giant to mud. Faust pulled out the wand of Magic Missile and Brinn charged again while Zamaia screamed at the third giant. The giant on the left was still dazed, but the other two threw rocks, missing Brinn and Team Magic.
Luhluh used the Multicolor part of the Rod, and a thick block of fog appeared over the third giant. It appeared solid, completely obscuring the enemy. We continued in the same manner of attacks while the leftmost giant finally shook off the Dazedness (only to have the effect fall upon the giant on the right instead). Luhluh moved in close to get a very good stab in at the giant on the right. Faust began summoning a fire elemental.
Brinn finally dismounted, sending Prisa back to the wagon, and drew his sword. Zamaia threw a mudball into the giant on the right’s face, causing it to fall unconscious! The one on the left, however, clubbed a gnome. The third giant emerged from the fog and threw a rock at Zamaia. Cora struck back with two arrows. Faust’s summoned elemental appeared and set the third giant on fire! Faust then used a Ray of Enfeeblement to weaken him.
Brinn sliced fiercely at the giant on the left, hurting him and making him thirsty. It swung back at him but missed. Zamaia became cloaked in bees. The third giant threw a rock at her, but only managed to provoke another attack from the elemental. The gnomes also missed. Cora dumped glitter on the third giant, blinding him. Luhluh aimed the rod at the other one, striking him with a collapsable bath tub. Then, Brinn’s sword finally downed the giant on the left! Meanwhile the third giant rolled on the ground to put out the fire from the elemental.
Our pre-battle spells expired, so Cora, still singing, road closer on her horse. Luhluh used the Rod again, this time receiving an 8×10 photograph of her target. Faust continued to strike with Magic Missile. Brinn walked closer to the remaining giant, suggesting “someone ask that thing to yield.” Zamaia complied, trying to use sign language with her sickle, but the giant was still blinded by glitter. Brinn stood between him and his fallen club. Zamaia gave up and started walking toward the mine. The rest of us stood and waited while the giant cleared the glitter from his eyes, then Brinn communicated by gestures and shouting that the giant should leave. It complied.
Cora and Luhluh searched the bodies. In their packs was found some assorted suspicious meats, a painting of an elven maiden, a bag with four pearls, a human-sized cold weather outfit, a heavy cloak of deep red, a finely crafted rapier with a decorative letter in a strange alphabet, a golden necklace with a round pendant showing a rising sun, and some damaged or filthy miscellanea. The others headed for the mine entrance, and Cora and Luhluh followed a short time later.
The mine was caved in just a short way past the entrance. We sent Luhluh back to the wagon for a shovel and a crowbar, as we were reasonably certain there must be gnome miners trapped inside. Brinn set right to digging, and Faust summoned a floating disk to help carry rocks out of the way.
Eventually we cleared the cave-in, but farther in we could see another. Brinn sent everyone but himself and Zamaia to investigate a side passage while they cleared the next blockage. This part of the mine was steep and strewn with debris. We found another cave-in down the side passage, but still couldn’t hear anything; conversely Brinn and Zamaia could now hear cries for help from behind the fallen stones. Those not currently digging checked a second open passage, finding only a large empty chamber.
We heard rumbling. Cora looked at the ceiling and thought that it looked safe here; Luhluh thought that the sounds were coming from deeper in.
Beyond this block we found a chamber with two miners, one with a broken leg and the other trapped. Cora, Luhluh, and Faust tended to them while Brinn and Zamaia continued down, found another cave-in, and dug out this one as well.
Beyond this next cave-in we found a bunch of trapped and/or injured miners, Also, an opening from the mine into a natural cavern – which held a colossal centipede!
Meghan: “Do they taste like peanuts?”
Kara: “You could try to lick a gnome.”
“Gnomes come in armies of seven.” – Kara
“I mean, it’s alright as far as sticks go.” – Mike
Some band names: ‘Horn of Vanilla’, ‘Buttocks of the Titans’
“Our battles are ridiculous.” – Kara
*re: the subtitle – Erica failed her will save against quoting obscure Broadway lyrics. She is sorry.