If you read last month’s Giantslayer Marathon blog and were eager for part 2, your wait is over! Before I let those guys get to their highlights from their second marathon session, I wanted to warn people playing through the Giantslayer Adventure Path that this blog post contains some spoilers. Read at your own risk!
The Order of the Amber Die is back with the second update on our ambitious record-breaking endeavor to complete the Giantslayer Adventure Path in just 6 months!
Let's dig right in:
After a bloody nose in the first round of the Giantslayer AP, our players set about making improvements for a better showing in "The Hill Giant's Pledge". These included extreme measures such as holding Pathfinder combat training sessions at one player's apartment, as well as reaching out to an old member and retired giant slayer from G1-2-3 (Against the Giants) that we last played with 16 years ago. From the frozen wastes of North Dakota, this grizzled veteran answered the call and flew to NJ to play the role of NPC Kurst Grath for this 72-hour marathon. On the other side of the screen, our GM locked himself away for a Spring Break to prep an entire module at once, emerging with adventure accouterments that included an exact three-dimensional replica of the riverboat from the module and a massive map of Redlake Fort.
Highlights From our Experience With "The Hill Giant's Pledge"
- The authors continued to surprise us: in a chosen mission to locate magic weapons, we spent nearly 20 hours inside a druidic demiplane complete with high stakes lily pad hopping and flowers that were deadly to stop and smell, along with unique opportunities to gain familiars or animal companions possessing traits not found anywhere else. We used a fog machine for the greenhouse mist (as pictured), which helped make the Vault of Thorns a place we shall not soon forget.
- During a riverboat journey through Belkzen that was not for tourists, an ambush by a group of wicked merrow forced Crowe the bloodrager to leap from the crow's nest (we just had to put him there) and deliver a mid-air natural 20 with Agrimmosh, the Hammer of Unmaking, to put one of the ogres face down on the deck.
- Our players spent precious marathon time coming up with a detailed plan to assassinate Grenseldek the hill giant chieftain. To pull it off, they would have to lead an incursion against a nearly impregnable fort controlled by hill giants, overseen by ogres, and surrounded by orcs. After dozens of modules where plans like this have gone awry, props to the players of strike teams Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie for their rendition of Zero Dark Thirty that gave us a brilliant victory and proved wrong the adage: "Never split the party."
- Every now and then a character finds an item suited perfectly for them. A nod to author Larry Wilhelm for Oloch's discovery of the legendary greatsword known as Gorum's Thorn. Giants will fear it.
- With one character disabled and two others near death, the party found themselves deep in the Ghostlight Marsh. Daylight was fading, and soon the wisps would come. Rather than take their chances with the marsh at night, a tense party vote resulted in a decision to penetrate the Vault of Thorns and then rest. A few moments after entering, two twigjack defenders of the druidic sanctum laid waste to the party with a barrage of brambles. When the leaves settled, Oloch and Kurst were dead.
- Quinn's encounters with dangerous heights weren't over after the first module. In a precarious struggle against a giant dragonfly from the First World, the investigator was bitten, pulled from a ledge, and dropped 100 feet into a compost pile that wasn't quite thick enough.
- Melira the vengeful human-slaying ranger took up an advantageous position in the forecastle during a multi-deck riverboat battle. Overlooking our party of 5 human-premium targets, she selected our warpriest. For the second time in this AP, our GM threw down a 20-20 and sent Oloch to Gorum.
This AP continues to challenge our team of Iconics, but with the help of two of Giantslayer's capable NPCs they managed to secure along the way, our heroes did triumph over the hill giant chieftain—in 3 rounds. The party has now taken down its first few giants in single combat and continues to prove itself capable of surviving Giantslayer, but entering "Forge of the Giant God"with low resources and three characters under-level is daunting. We play a tight game to create intensity, and as always, CRs will not be adjusted down. We will just have to step up
Best Quote from Marathon 2
Adam (GM): "Guys, don't feel so bad about the deaths. What if Giantslayer is supposed to be Paizo's 'tough' AP?"
Read through the entirety of The Giantslayer Endeavor. For more pictures, campaigns, and information on the Order of the Amber Die, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram. The miniatures used are again painted by Blue Table Painting.
I hope everyone is enjoying reading this super campaign journal as much as I am! Keep your eyes peeled for next month when we invite the Order of the Amber Die back to let everyone know how they fared in the Giantslayer Marathon Part 3! Until then, confirm those crits!