13: Session 7 – Against the Giants
Last session would have ended in one of two ways: the company either performed a perfect burglary and took the swords with the giants none the wiser, or the giants found out about it and the company is racing to the plains to rally the troops.
Assuming the first, the company has weeks to do some Lineage (Diplomacy) to get Fingolfin and the other clan leaders (along with Dwalin and the dwarves of the Slate Hills) to accept them as the agents of prophecy and rally the troops in a stand against the giants. The giants will learn of this through the magic of Zegor the Canny (remember him?) and come down from the hills in force to meet the human troops.
If instead the Company is racing ahead of the giant force the outcome will be much the same: there will be fewer giants in the mass, but also fewer forces of Tarmalania will have time to rally, so the math is pretty similar. The former is just more cataclysmic and less chaotic. Zegor will be there regardless.
The Lineage (Diplomacy) to get Fingolfin on their side is TN 10 extended contest at this point if it was a perfect sneak, or TN 15 if all hell is following after them. There are three other clan leaders that can be rallied treat as an extended contest TN 15 with three exchanges, and each 5 points they manage to lower the TN in that time brings one clan along for the ride. If they fail altogether they will also lose Fingolfin’s support and the warriors of the plains will flee before the giants and the remaining people will suffer.
If some method can be found to get a message to Dwalin (fast rider, magic, if someone has Speak to Birds) that’s a Lineage 10 roll to get the dwarves to ride out. Dwalin is more on their side. If this a spur of the moment fight then the dwarves arrive at an opportune time; if not they are there from the get go, even though that is less dramatic.
If this is a spur of the moment thing any PCs that want to have time to secure and don heavy armor would need to make a Lineage TN 5 and an Athletics TN 5 roll to have had the resources and time to do that. It sure wouldn’t hurt to have! If they have any of the clans on their side any PC who wants them can have a mount.
Here’s the general order of battle in broad strokes – the forces in this are just so big that they have to be broken out, and we really only have to focus on the PCs. Everything else is description, but how well the PCs do determine how well the battle goes.
Each giant is TN 25 to defeat, except for Nosnra, who is TN 30. In ideal circumstances a hero with a 5d warcraft, a company behind him, mounted in heavy armor with a talent for each, armed with a magic sword, will defeat any giant outright (TN drops by 25, which 5d does automatically) More likely not all of those things will be present. Remember that to face a giant at all is a Lineage (Courage) N 5 or Lineage (Command) TN 10 from your leader.
Each warrior type PC should be put up against a single giant – there are plenty enough giants on the field for that. For each of the horseclans they rallied to their side (Fingolfin’s plus 3 more) the PCs can add 1 die to one PCs roll for the aid of the riders (the rest of the clans are fighting other giants and goblins). If the PCs also have the dwarves present and accounted for they add another die to one PC. There’s a maximum of a two die bonus to any one PC
If the PCs have a starting TN greater than 70%, add more giants to the party – two or eight more as needed. (Or Nosnra and two giants) That would be an astounding fight.
If things start to look good for our heroes then Zegor the Canny turns up out of the water with an army of goblins and some water magic. The goblin swarm plus deep chilling fog that covers the field of battle (that the giants are high enough to see through) shifts everyone’s TNs up by 5 points.
Wondering what the non-fighter types can do during this? They can try to find and take out Zegor. Finding him is a Perception or Warcraft TN 15 roll per extended sequence of combat, and once he;s found getting past his bodyguard to make a melee attack is TN 10. The he himself is TN 10 (of course with a ranged weapon the bodyguard isn’t as much of an issue). Someone with Wizardry uses left might engage him in a magical battle, in which case it is Education (Lore) 15 in an extended contest that can burn through the special effects budget.
Regardless of whether the dwarves are there or not if and when things start to look grim for the PCs (hopefully due to Zegor’s enchantments) the dwarvish artillery will show up and start pelting the giants with ballistae bolts (and possibly cannon shot, GM’s call). This gives a 5 point reduction in the TNs again and hopefully turns the tide for the heroes.
If there are any other unused Wizardry charges in the game now’s the time to burn them. A Wizardry (Lore) roll can be made to kill any one giant at TN 25 or at TN 15 to give everyone on the PCs side a -5 TN somehow. The exact description of this is left to the players.
Player should be reminded that now is the perfect time to take wounds, lose equipment and possibly fight while wounded unto death since we’re at the last game session. Rack up those self-inflicted penalties to get through the fight.
Assuming the majority of the fighter-type PCs win the giants are defeated and driven off in disarray to be slaughtered by the horseclans and the dwarvish artillery and their storerooms can be returned to and reclaimed. If the majority of the fighter-type PCs lose the giants withdraw in an orderly fashion to fight another day, keeping the land partially in their shadow. If all of the fighter type PCs lose the giants win, rout the humans and dwarves and generally dance over the graves of the good and righteous.
But let’s assume the majority of the PCs win and are overall victorious. They are feted as the agents of prophecy but it’s not as if the city will miraculously sprung back up. There is much hard work to be done, but the company has truly earned their distant inheritance.
Anyone not of Tarlamanian royalty might want to bear the message back to the sheltered dales, but that is an uneventful trip after the adventure they just faced. The people of the Sheltered Dales will be ecstatic, with many a party and planned return to their homeland to start the rebuilding.
Fin. Any comments or thoughts? Sufficiently Hobbity without being totally predictable?