RECAP: Spectral Icy Hot (Storm King’s Thunder #9)

We continued south from Triboar, traveling the main road on horseback (with giants walking alongside). Funnily enough, absolutely no one messed with us and we saw several hastily made tracks from other travelers hiding out in the forest as we went. We reached Bargewright Inn (which, seriously?) on the fourth day of travel. Old Bargewright is a very nice inn, but we stayed only one night. The next day we advanced south east/west/ish to find the location of the giant fort where Moog’s husband is being held captive.

After not too long, we sighted a large structure straddling the river, known as Grudd Haug. As we approached, we got a few clues that this is the place. A) it’s way oversized for humans. B) hobgoblins man the watchtower. C) giants are coming and going. Svela snuck a bit closer to try to scout out the exact numbers and type of enemies. She saw some orcs outside, and a giant that kept popping out of the big house to survey the scene. She snuck in while the giant’s back was turned and it’s really quite a place. There’s a guard room at the front and what sounds like a larger room with some large voices beyond the big curtain. Svela snuck back to report all this and we formulated a plan, which was only slightly more nuanced than “go smash”.

Moog is afraid to fight, but told us that Hruk wears a necklace of bones. We all learned to say “Hruk! Moog sent us!” in giant. Then we waited for nightfall to attack. Harshnag is going to come up from the south and create a distraction, while we pick off any creatures coming out of the big house before we work our way inside.

Our plan worked pretty dang well. Harshnag created a great disraction by hurling a boulder that took off the top third of the watchtower. Guess no one’s watching now, and anyway we’ve made our presence known. Bardalph cast a spell that summoned a ghostly spirit guardian right in front of the boulder-door, and that guardian took care of 3 of the 5 orcs who came rushing out to respond to Harshnag’s greeting. Svela picked off another with an arrow and Rothe axed the last if we could come in. That orc didn’t answer, so we took it as a yes. We squeezed in the gap and ran into the guard room. Empty!

So we charged down the hallway, pulled the big curtain aside, and started the show. Inside the huge feasting hall beyond, we saw the giant chief/queen Guh sitting upon a broken cart throne.

She is very, very, very large in the sideways sense. She looks like the personification of gluttony (and there are bones and meal remains to prove it). Five hill giants are with her, along with four orcs and half a dozen goblin archers using the internal ramparts wrapping the perimeter of the room. Guh is so fat she can’t move, but she orders two giants and the four orcs to attack us, while the others line up to defend her. We yelled out for Hruk, who heard our “Moog sent us!” call. He looked surprised and stayed out of the fight.

Now, look. We’re heroes and whatnot, but this was a real fight. Hill giants are cranky when you attack their fat queen/wife/captor! They pound on Rothe and Bardalph a lot. Redfang takes plenty of hits too, while he’s dancing around with his magical whip that unleashes poison and lightning bolts and whatever else he dreams up. At this point, dropping a hail storm on Guh isn’t even surprising. Svela took up a position in the corner by the wolf kennel (oh, hey did we mention there’s a WOLF KENNEL?) and loosed a lot of arrows into the giants, who to be fair are really big targets.

The giants fought back hard, and without the many, many blessings of Tyr, delivered via Bardalph’s Spectral Icy Hot spell, we’d probably all be toast. However, we persisted and took out out enemies, big and small. (Actually, the goblins shot so badly that we mostly ignored them).

We whittled down the opposition until we could deliver Guh her last supper. After getting very, very, very, very bruised, she fell down dead at last and the few remaining orcs and giant fled the building (the big ones through the door and the goblins through some second story window). Hruk stayed close to us, and Svela led him to Moog. Meanwhile, Bardalph, Rothe, and Redfang examined the loot pile. We found: magic boots (which Svela took to match her cloak), a magic sapphire that summons an air elemental, and scroll with a spell that Redfang can use, and a mithril chestpiece of armor that Rothe will probably just sell.

Cool! We get outside and find Harshnag, surrounded by a crap-ton of dead creatures. He’s pleased that we were able to take out the enemies of Grudd Haug. We’ll rest, and then do a quick check of the place to make sure we’re not missing anything (like more loot or prisoners to be freed or sheep to make into dinner.)

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