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Welcome to Episode 22 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.
But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…
Diessa introduced the rest of The Brunch Club to the seedy underbelly of Elnor. They discovered the location of the city’s black market where they stocked up on health potions and scrolls of find familiar to resurrect Pip with. They embarked a second time to collect the bounty on the hill giants. During the night they were attacked by three owlbears, one of which tried to drag Salys away. Salys was able to escape and The Brunch Club were able to kill the owlbears with the help of an unknown ally assisting them with accurate crossbow shots from an unseen location.
Episode 22 “Warning Shots”
The sky was beginning to brighten with the approach of morning, but it was still dark. Drusilla cast four orbs of light around the camp. She made them circle outwards, illuminating the area around them, as well as the three dead owlbear carcasses.
Vorjhon took a deep breath so he could shout something to the unseen stranger or strangers who assisted them in their fight against the owlbears, but he dropped to a knee and winced in pain. He coughed blood into his mouth and spit it on the ground. The paladin had not fully healed himself after the battering he took from two of the owlbears. He murmured a prayer to himself, laid his hands on his chest and abdomen, and felt the pain in his chest and back disappear. He stood up again, inhaled successfully, and shouted in to the early morning air, “Thank you for assistance! Please, show yourself!”
There was no reply.
Drusilla guided her dancing lights past small hills, boulders, the edge of the woods, and anywhere else someone could hide. They saw no sign of anyone.
They dragged the owlbear corpses away from the camp, then rested for another hour while they waited for the sun to fully rise.
In the bright light of morning, they searched again for their mysterious benefactors, but without success.
Elora looked at Pernold’s map that marked the rough spot of the Hill Giants last known location and guided them toward it. Vorjhon and Diessa followed behind her while Salys and Drusilla followed behind them.
After noon Diessa stopped and pointed toward a log a few yards away.
“I saw something duck in there,” She said to Vorjhon. “It looked shiny.”
Elora, can you shoot that log, please.” Vorjhon asked.
Elora shrugged and said, “Sure, why?”
“To be safe,” Vorjhon answered.”
The ranger shot her phoenix arrow at the log. It pierced it easily going clean through the other side before magically reappearing in her quiver.
“What’s going on?” Salys asked.
“Diessa saw something in log,” said Vorjhon. “Can you fire magic missile on one side of log? Hopefully that will scare whatever is in there out the other side.”
Salys did as Vojhon asked, but nothing emerged.
Vorjhon walked up to the log and swung at it with Eclipse. The rotted log disintegrated into powder when he struck it. In the middle of the dusty pile lay a fist-sized velvet bag with a segment of gold chain hanging out from the loosely tied top.
“What in the gods name are you doing?” Diessa asked Vorjhon as they all walked over to him.
“You said you saw something shiny duck in log. Just wanted to be safe. Make sure there were not more snakes,” he explained.
Diessa sighed. “I said ‘stuck,’ not ‘duck’ you moron.”
The dwarf took the bag from him and emptied it into her hand. At the end of a long gold chain hung a large, exquisitely cut, star shaped ruby.
Salys whistled. “That’s not something you find every day.”
“What’s it doing out here,” Elora asked.
“It must have been stolen and hidden away,” Drusilla supposed. “I wouldn’t risk leaving a necklace like that in the woods if I owned one, even if I was trying to hide it from someone.”
“So, we should take it then,” Said Salys.
“Why don’t we ask Mr. Good And Lawful, over here,” Diessa said without any attempt to hide her sarchasm while gesturing at the paladin.
“There is nothing wrong with doing right thing,” said Vorjhon, without any attempt to hide his self righteousness. “I think Drusila is right. Jewelry must be stolen. We should take it and try to find its rightful owner.” The dragonborn held his hand out, palm up, in front of the dwarf.
“We’ll call that ‘Plan A’,” Diessa said as she dropped the necklace and bag in Vorjhon’s palm.
He placed it in the bag of colding.
Since they had stopped anyway, they decided to eat lunch, then continue on their way.
About three hours later Elora stopped and looked at the map again. They were still on relatively flat grassland, but they could see foothills and rocky mesas in the distance. “We’re getting close to its territory,” Elora said. “We should camp here tonight. No fire.”
They ate cold rations and discussed their strategy for taking down two hill giants.
“I recommend not getting hit when they throw boulder at you,” Vorjhon suggested, recalling their earlier encounter with a hill giant.
“If we can keep them at a distance, we should be okay,” said Drusilla.
“You’re the soldier Vorjhon,” Salys pointed out. “What do we do?”
The paladin thought for a moment, recalling the tactical training he received during his time with the Silver Flame. “Drusilla is right again,” he said. “Better to keep them at distance. When we are in range, the four of you should shoot everything you have at largest one. Hopefully you kill it quickly before second giant reaches us.”
“What if it reaches us before we kill the first one?” Diessa asked.
“Then I will engage it,” answered Vorjhon. “The four of you should run in different directions so it can’t take you all out with one blow.”
“What if it takes you out with one blow?” Drusilla asked.
“You four killing it before it can do that is, as Diessa says, ‘Plan A.’”
They agreed on the plan and decided getting to sleep early was a good idea.
Without a fire, the women who were not on watch huddled together for extra warmth. Silver dragonborns were not affected by the cold so he required no extra protection against the chilly night. He said his nightly prayers to the Silver Flame and to Bahumut before drifting off to sleep.
It snowed that night. It stopped by the time the Brunch Club woke up and the sky was sunny and clear and there wasn’t much of a breeze. This wasn’t great news for them as they knew it would be easier for the hill giants to see them approaching. Nevertheless they proceeded into the hills. Haste was not needed as they knew they were in the giants’ territory now. They walked slowly, scanning every hilltop, valley, rock outcropping, and grove they saw. They did not talk and were thankful the couple inches of fresh snow muffled their footsteps.
In the early afternoon they saw a small cluster of boulders. They hid behind it hoping to keep out of sight and ate lunch. Elora peered over the rocks, scanned the horizon, and when she was confident it was clear, led them back on their path.
It was a couple hours after lunch when the first boulder landed 100 feet in front of them. They stopped and crouched down to make themselves smaller targets. Three to four hundred feet to the north north west, on top of a tall rocky hill they saw a grey skinned giant. He held a boulder above his head, but did not throw it. He put the boulder down when The Brunch Club backed away.
They waited a few moments then moved forward once more. The giant picked the boulder up and threw it. This time it landed closer. They retreated a little ways. Elora raised her bow. The giant quickly stepped behind one of the large pile of boulders that rested atop the hill. They still couldn’t see the giant, but now they knew it could see them.
“What now?” asked Salys.
“I only saw one giant,” Diessa pointed out. “Where’s the other?”
“Good question,” said Elora.
“Why isn’t it throwing more rocks at us?” Drusilla wondered. “We’re out here in the open.”
I think it just wants us to stay away,” said Vorjhon.
“We could charge it,” considered Elora, out loud.
“It has high ground,” Vorjhon said. “And we have no cover.”
“We should set a trap for it,” Diessa suggested.
“What would we use as bait? One of us?” Salys asked.
Elora reached into her sack, “We still have all that jerky we bought for Harir.”
“That’s right!” Drusilla confirmed.
“How much do you have?” Vorjhon asked.
“A little less than forty pounds,” Elora said after adding up the jerky she and Drusilla had bought in Wheaton..
A look of disbelief appeared on Diessa’s face. “You’ve each been carrying twenty pounds of jerky this whole time?”
“It was for Harir,” Drusilla said sadly, thinking about their lost wolf pup.
“I guess it’s worth a try,” said Salys.
They walked back the way they came, hoping the giant would see them leave and think he frightened them off. As soon as they were out of sight, they made camp and rested while they waited for nightfall. At dusk, they walked back to where the boulders landed. They were still there and they hid behind them for cover. Diessa crouched and snuck forward about 30 feet, testing whether the giant could see her. Nothing happened. She slowly walked back to the boulders and told them it looked safe to set their trap.
Elora, Diessa, and Salys fanned out quietly and each constructed a blind made of grass and snow. The blinds and boulders formed a 40 foot wide circle. Elora placed all 40 pounds of jerky in the center of it.
Diessa, Elora, and Salys hid behind their snow blinds.
Vorjhon and Drusilla each hid behind a boulder because their heavy armor made it hard for them to move quietly.
They waited and hoped the smell of smoked meat would find its way up the hilltop and tempt the giants. They waited for a very long time. They waited for a long time after that. They saw the snow blow across the ground and the jerky move a bit. This gave them hope a breeze was picking up and that it would carry the scent up the hill.
Before any of them realized the breeze was only located around the jerky, a creature swooped in on large, bat-like leathery wings and landed in front of the bait. The creature was enormous. It was ten feet long and looked like a lion with dragon wings. On either side of the lion’s mane, two other heads were attached to its shoulders. On the right side was the neck and head of a red scaled dragon. On the other side was a great-horned goat.
It pranced around the jerky. The lion head leaned down to sniff it. The other two heads looked around, keeping an eye out for scavengers that might try to claim this prize.
Vorjhon’s lack of night vision meant he could not see what the creature was. He could only make out a monstrous dark shadow against the slightly less dark night sky.
When he turned to ask Drusilla what she saw, his shield scraped against the boulder.
All three heads stared toward him. The red scaled dragon’s eyes narrowed. An unmistakable glow of fire lit the inside of its open mouth.
This tale will continue next week in Episode 23
Episode 22 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.
Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:
- Bethany Powers, who plays Diessa
- JP Black, who plays Drusilla
- Liz Raychard, who plays Elora
- Anna Flemke, who plays Salys
- Dominic White, who plays Vorjhon
- And Brian Messmer, who plays everyone else
Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!