Chapter 4 – Fortress of the Stone Giants

In Part I, we returned to Sandpoint, which is a step up from “in the middle of ogre-infested wilderness” but not by much. We got in a good spate of honest-to-God role-playing, which made me happy. And then we had a three hour long combat, in which my foes were good enough to fail their saves a lot, and Valgrim got to kick buchu ass. A lot of that was luck – even giants’ Will saves aren’t that bad. As an aside, I don’t like the war of escalation this requires. When the opponents at your level are immune to normal spells, that’s when the player feels compelled to pull out all those new spells that manage to bypass saves in favor of touch attacks, or bypass spell resistance, or whatnot. Are those spells cheese? Yeah, but as a wizard it’s your only shot against them. Is it really a desired design decision that a giant would only fail its save against getting turned to stone by a wizard 1 in 20 times?

Part II features us chasing down the giants that had carted off the Scarnettis and rescuing them and then equipping to take on the Forbidden Valley where the stone giant leader, Mokmurien, lives. We went by Magnimar to equip but we don’t really have enough money to do much. Even with me taking Craft Wondrous Item and Craft Magic Arms and Armor it’s too expensive. I would recommend that they loosen up with the cash in these APs. None of the giants or ogres ever have one red cent on them!  And understandably we’ve had trouble getting good prices for the Small (goblin) and Large (ogre/giant) equipment which comprises most of our loot.  We got to the valley and started our planning. Next time, we hit it!  Valgrim plans to do his first Lesser Planar Binding in preparation. Ah, good old fashioned demon summoning. Gets talked about a lot but I don’t know that I or any other player in any other game I’ve been in has ever done it! I’ve been preparing by scouring all the monster books for the best LPB offerings – I’ve posted my findings in Treantmonk20’s “Mastering the Malconvoker” thread on the Wizards Character Optimization board.

We started delving into the caves and lairs surrounding the Fortress of the Stone Giants in Part III. One complaint – the fight against the redcaps was IMO poorly planned. The redcaps were cool, but the way the combat was blocked out – all in “squeezed” small passages, and them with high hp, DR, and regen – we were never in serious danger, but the fight took us like 2 hours to complete. It got pretty boring there towards the end. Even with reducing several party members and everyone digging out their old cold iron weapons, we couldn’t being much force to bear on any given redcap so they’d often regenerate back up to full hit points! And we didn’t really want to waste our entire spell complement on what was clearly a nuisance encounter.

I finally did my first (Lesser) Planar Binding! I got a Bar-lgura, a orangutangy-looking thing from Fiendish Codex 1. It was a good choice; its unlimited teleporting with another person along for the ride made getting from spider lair to wyvern lair to dragon lair and back without alerting giant sentries easy. It developed an interesting personality too. He kept following the cleric around, looming over him and drooling. The cleric made him wear a canvas sack over his head, which made him look even more disturbing (think the Scarecrow from Batman, but also being a big orangutang demon in the bargain) and then he couldn’t be convinced to take it off. My favorite part was when our monk found the secret door while we were all asleep, and decided to go investigate it without anyone but the bar-lgura (still stuck in its summoning circle) knowing about it. As the monk started to get into it with redcaps deep in the tunnels, the demon pretended to snore louder and louder so that the rest of the group wouldn’t hear his screams. Ah, good times.

We finally killed Xanesha too – Ravno killed her with an awesome scarf attack (she failed her massive damage save), but the two other lamia priestesses tore him up before we could help him. Luckily we’re now at Raise Dead level and have a looted dragon’s treasure hoard to finance the 5,000 gp in diamonds required.

For some reason our delicate session scribe omitted the need for us to convince my demon that no, mating with one of the dying lamias was not in fact in good taste.

Part IV started with Roscoe raising Ravno from the dead. When we went back in, we had an hours-long melee with giants, ogres, and more giants. Then trolls. Then mutated giants. It would have been boring but the environment kept getting weirder and more hostile as well. Then, we hit the every popular cheese-monster, the stone golem. Naturally this campaign’s kept us poor enough that no one had weapons that could hurt it much. So my summoner cheese came to the rescue and I summoned a sonic energon, a xong-yong. Four incorporeal touch attacks for +2d6 sonic each sir? Oh, I knew you’d like that.

We finish it on up in Part V! I missed the foreplay, but got there for the main event. I’m sad that I missed the scanderig and Hounds of Tindalos (the description of the fight with the Hounds in the summary rocks, by the way). Then it was death to Mokmurien time! A mess of Arcadian Avengers and my bar-lgura help out; Ravno’s multiple enervations put him in the hole, and a good round of Rodney Kinging from our fighters seal the deal. Ravno finally finds his long lost sister Jalelle! And then huge amounts of research happen in order to reveal the backplot, so be careful if you’re worried about spoilers ’cause pp.10-12 is all about ’em. The end finds us winging it back to Fort Rannek with a host of dwarves, intel, and loot.

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4 responses to “Chapter 4 – Fortress of the Stone Giants

  1. Ah, excellent stuff, this brings me back 🙂
    My Malconvoker has finally reached the dizzy heights of Lesser Planar Binding (after all these years) and is getting the magic dust ready. Can you remember what bargain you struck with the Hell-u-tang? Was it just “Serve me with teleports” or did it also fight? For how many days etc?
    Anything you can remember will help =)

    Cheers in advance,


    • If I recall correctly, I just had it ‘serve me’ for… A week? Or 1 day/level maybe? Which was combat and teleports and whatnot, though it kinda malingered in combat.

  2. Sigh. After mailing everything to the DM I ended up having to do a whole negotiation at the table, while everyone waited. I think he confused it with Planar Ally. I ended up with a Bearded Devil who wanted 500gp a day. I did get away with a bluff that I’d pay him after his service was up.
    We ran into some Vrocks in the first actual encounter and they did a Dance and that was the end of the bearded Devil.
    Another sigh.

    • Yeah, one of the reasons I’d never tried Planar Binding etc. in the game before this was the heavy dependence on a GM letting you actually do it.

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