My PCs are already in Xin-Shalst and are collecting Sihedron rings. They need just one more. They've figured out that the rune giants have them, and they are planning to sneak invisible into Shalaria during the night (as I understand, that's where the rune giants that are in charge of controling the Lower Xin-Shalst stay), find a rune giant using locate creature, and assasinate him in his sleep, take his ring, then escape.
This sems like a plan that could work, and rune giants don't really have an effective protection against that. Besides, I'd like them to succeed (we've spent a lot of time in Lower Xin-Shalast and I'd be happy to get to the Spires), but I don't want it too be too easy. I have no experience with infiltration missions and I'm seeking suggestions how to make this into something more interesting than just everything going as they planned it.
I'd also like to flesh out Shalaria in more detials, in case if it cames up. For example, how many cloud and storm giant still inhabit it? What are their living conditions? What would be some interesting places in Shahlaria that the PCs can stumble into?
I see this never got responded to, but I'd like to poke my head in to ask basically the same question.
My PCs are looking to check out Shahlaria (because it was a military academy; they're not really thinking of it as a fort), and I'm having a lot of trouble beyond a description of the exterior and the walls.
If anyone's run any part of Shahlaria's interior (even just the ground floor), I'd love to hear about what you did to flesh it out.
Here's what I've got so far:
The rectangular building outside of the fortified walls, as well as the shacks behind it, are part of staff housing, specifically for instructors who did not live in Xin-Shalast before Earthfall. Nowadays, these buildings are mostly uninhabited, as the rune giants operating the place ejected the cloud giants who had taken up residence there a few years ago.
The walls and the gatehouse, while beautifully constructed, are clearly not designed with a real siege in mind - there are no particularly notable defensive structures, and the arcane cannons that once sat upon the walls were looted long ago by powerful arcanists who had better use for them.
The gate connecting the Pinnacle to Shahlaria is just across from the gatehouse, and is an arch of dark stone set within the thick basalt walls. Runes detail the entire side, and a dark red haze fills it even when not in just. Electricity jumps from the sides when it's active, clinging to those who come through it like static.
The courtyard inside the walls is plain and clearly not meant for spending time in - it's a liminal space between classes and other facilities. That said, there is a flagpole and a bas relief sculpture of rune giants (and enthralled giants) slaying legendary foes (I'm saying linnorms??).
Shahlaria's walls are 300' high and 60' thick, with towers rising an additional 100' beyond the walls. Interior walls are 20' thick, rendering essentially every room soundproof (and fully capable of dealing with the powerful magical abilities of Rune and Storm giants). Interior doors are intentionally cumbersome, and take a full-round action and a DC 20 Strength check to open for any creature with a Strength score less than 30.
On top of the expected Cloud and Storm giants found on the upper floors, lower floors include Rune Giants and at least 1 Ashen Forgemaster imprisoned since before Earthfall.
As for number estimates - it seems few if any rune giants have been deployed outside Xin-Shalast by this point, so we're looking at (I think?) about 4 dozen stationed here or in the Pinnacle. 3 reside in the Pinnacle, so that makes for about 45 below Shahlaria. Assuming some are on loan to the House of Divine Consumption or similarly important institutions, I'd say 40 currently reside there, with 20 present somewhere in Shahlaria at a time. During an emergency elsewhere in the city, cut that to 10.
Cloud giants have been maintaining a population in Xin-Shalast and were probably the first ones to enter training under the returned Rune Giants. However, most of them likely don't live at Shahlaria, so I'd say 40-60 during the day, maybe 10 at night.
Storm giants were recruited later from what I can tell, and seem less likely to have housing. I'd say there's only 20 in Shahlaria, but most (say 15?) live there.
As for some variation in the units:
Cloud Giant Bard (War Drummers, Flutists, Trumpeters, and Samisen players)
Cloud Giant Fighter (Wielding rune giant weaponry, like longswords, greatswords, and glaives)
Cloud Giant Druid (Focusing on wind spells)
Advanced Storm Giants (Powerful infantry)
Storm Giant Ranger (Archers with some magical backup)
Standard Rune Giant
Rune Giant Fighter (Field Commander - also has mental training for the Will of the Giants feat).