I just got the third report back from the Order of the Amber Die folks, and I'm excited to share it with everyone! As a recap, here are links to Part 1 and Part 2. As usual, I must warn everyone reading that there are spoilers in this blog post, so if you're playing in the Giantslayer Adventure Path read at your own peril.
Order of the Amber Die is back with the third update on our ambitious endeavor to complete Giantslayer in just 6 months!
Once again, both players and GM set about trying to build on the momentum of the previous marathon. We knew we were headed into the Mindspin Mountains, so we acquired a massive backdrop of the peaks in all their glory. Our GM stopped returning calls for a couple of days, then surfaced with a map from the adventure that we're not sure Paizo intended anyone to draw—nearly 70 square feet—the biggest yet. Finally, in a risky move to help improve the roster, we also drafted a young but promising rookie to play the role of NPC Kurst Grath for this module.
No two marathons are the same, and when we close the doors on reality and begin a 4-day run of Pathfinder, we're never exactly sure how it will all go down. This marathon was massive—totally overwhelming—and clocked in at 82 hours, with 57 hours of play culminating in a single 25-hour run to complete the adventure just before some careers had to resume on Monday morning. We even skipped breaks, which took its toll. Four months passed on Golarion. Two of us had real-life birthdays in there somewhere.
It was AWESOME.
Highlights From our Experience With Forge of the Giant God:
- While the adventure was diverse, author Tim Hitchcock still delivered one of the single best fighting modules in our history. He turned our GM loose to drop us into at least 15 different battle maps during our long trek through the Valley of Minderhal.
- Negotiating with giants is not always as easy as a die roll. In a case of Quinn's diplomacy gone astray, it was determined by several dozen hill giants that Crowe should have to defeat their champion, Kragmuld, for the right to stand before the great Cathedral of Minderhal. Not exactly what we had in mind. In a fighting pit surrounded by a crowd of cheering giants, Crowe not only survived Kragmuld's spiked chain, but put the champion down in 6 rounds—and we woke the neighbors.
- Giantslayer is officially living up to its name: the big folk were abundant throughout the adventure, and thanks in part to our Escape Route teamwork feat, we slew more than a score of them.
- During this marathon we had a chance to experience something special: an exhilarating 20-20-20 from the Amber Die, which is what makes it our namesake.
- While exploring the tomb of a giantslayer, Crowe and Ingrahild (whose ancestor was buried there) became separated from the party and locked in the sepulcher. Trapped inside with them was the broken soul who had betrayed the ancient giantslayer 700 years before. An epic struggle ensued, which saw our heroes fight dearly for their lives before being forced to share the tomb with its former occupants.
- Player-fatigue is a factor in marathons, and can be lethal for a character. In a brave but incomprehensible move, Kurst Grath spurred his mount into battle against two stone giant sentinels—alone.
- Kurst and Ingrahild were scouting ahead of the party when they spotted something very, very big. With one eye, it noticed them too. Gsurak the huge cyclops stalker moved to erase the rangers from Golarion. Kurst sprinted back to get help; as fate would have it, Ingrahild was wearing the armor of her ancestor and legendary giantslayer—which compelled her to attack.
- In the final battle above the great forge, Zadim engaged Urathash, a stone giant inquisitor of the god Minderhal. The slayer brought Sarenrae's will to bear with a flurry of critical hits, but it wasn't enough to save him from Urathash's human-bane warhammer.
Our party is surviving this AP, and we've had our moments—but not much more. Character deaths have at least been well timed, which has avoided TPK, but an absence of about 210,000gp proves we have sacrificed dearly. The party is also missing some precious artifacts after an encounter with a venerable slag giant. An in-game relationship has fractured, causing one of our NPCs to quit the party. Morale is at a low point. What's compounding everything is that we have learned where we're headed next: above the snow line as autumn descends on the region.
This is what it takes to slay giants.
Best Quote From Marathon 3:
Tyler (Kurst): "Sure man, I'd love to chop your hand off." (Alluding to Steelhand's artifact.)
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.
Looks like the Order of the Amber Die crew are fighting for their lives in this Adventure Path. They're at the midpoint and things are only going to get more dangerous. Wish them luck in Pathfinder Adventure Path #94: Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen and stay tuned next month when we get to hear how they fared.