The party arrive in a small village to the north east of Phandalin that’s got a hill giant problem. Daily visits. Threats. Little food left. Rumours of other nearby settlements suffering worse. The adventurers team up with septuagenarian ranger, Johari – a retired giantslayer, following up on an oath she made to the villagers, some 25 years ago.
Strangely, the hill giant – ‘King Bonecrusher’ – had installed itself in a cave that’s somehow significant to stone giants. And somehow found a way to open up a much larger complex (see below) that’s been more or less empty for centuries.
The additional areas to explore were not the only complications:
- Goblins (there’s always goblins)
- Intoxicating mushroom spores
- Gargoyles; two of them made of crystal
- A spurned offer of assistance from a dead elf (Lythrin’s hellish patron)
- A vast statue of Annam, the All Father (creator of giants)
- Bonecrusher, mid-worship, imploring the deity to ‘let him take his rightful place…’
- A second (unexpected, furious, female) hill giant
- Giant poisonous wolf spiders
Ranger Johari, elderly as she is, turns out to be fast, strong and lethal (once she got her breath and confidence back). But the considerably less experienced rogue, warlock, bard and wizard held their own.
Play of the game: either Goldmund shattering a crystal gargoyle’s skull with an expert shortbow shot into its snapping jaws, or Argo temporarily incapacitating Bonecrusher with a hurled glass sphere of Ether (despite almost knocking out Johari and Lythrin, too).
Eventually, the adventurers exit carrying arm loads of loot – mainly offerings to the All Father. Goldmund turns down his share. His upbringing has taught him that stealing from a god is a huge (giant) ‘no’. As they leave, they walk into four more giants – this time of the Stone variety. What has brought them here? Perhaps they have returned to reclaim their holy place? They ignore the party (‘the surface world is but a dream’) and seal the cave up behind them. Leaving the adventurers to return to the village as giant slaying heroes.
How many giants did they kill anyway? Two? Four? I heard it was ten…
Note: The original base of the layout was found here – one of many great maps by draughtsman Kevin Campbell. I just added/removed a few rooms (and some mushrooms). The story was a very heavily customised version of Giantslayer by Richard Jansen-Parkes and M.T. Black.