We heard the giantess’ voice ring out from somewhere beneath us. It was clearly magical, drawing every damn guard from the castle to her location. It meant our friends were in trouble.
We raced upstairs and hopped onto our hippogriffs. Korinn and I flew through the open hatch in the ceiling as I looked at back at T.I.M., whose magically enlarged body was attempting to grab onto a pair of unhappy hippogriffs at the same time.
We flew down to the lower courtyard of the cloud giant castle, which held a greenhouse and an elaborate, giant-size checkerboard with armored pieces. The giant in the garden was racing back inside the castle to heed the summons.
Moments later we saw Halfred and Bryseis, riding a top a shrunken Felgolos, speeding through the air toward us. Behind them a horde of griffins raced after them.
I predicted last session that this week’s castle exploration shenanigans would be fun and I’ll be damned if this wasn’t one of our craziest sessions ever!
Stealthily getting high with a manacled dragon, escaping the clutches of a giant queen, dominating the mind of another giant, and an aerial spell-slinging dogfight with a pack of griffins. It was so much fun that when our DM called break time, we had to inform him that no, it was in fact time for our session to end!
Our plan at the end of our previous session was to split the party. Korinn cast Invisibility on Halfred and Bryseis, both of whom could fly. Their mission was to find Felgolos and either free him, or perform some reconnaissance and report back.
The rest of us were to hunker down in the spire and await the Countess’ return. We needed her to retrieve the conch shell from the pocket dimension she’d squirreled it away in, and we still had the element of surprise.
Team Dragon got lucky and located our old friend almost immediately. They went through a large archway near the bottom of the castle and found half a dozen cages holding griffins. More importantly the screams of the dragon we’d heard earlier were much more intense and close. A door lead further into the castle.
Bryseis and Halfred, still invisible, opened the cages. The griffins began tearing into their nearby food barrels, making a lot of noise. The doors opened as the irritated cloud giant leader Countess Sansuri stormed through, distraught to see her pets in chaos.
Our stealthy duo rushed into the larger room behind her to find Felgolos manacled to the ground, bleeding and weak. He was happy to see them, and even happier that they had brought some of Yondalla’s Delight, his magical pipeweed that, err, medicinally keeps his bad luck aura at bay.
Through a hilariously memorable exchange, Halfred lit a literal handful of weed that Bryseis was holding. She’s resistance to fire damage, but it did break her invisibility, and she shoved it up the dragon’s nose. Everyone felt a whole hell of a lot better.
Just as the Countess turned back toward the dragon to see all of this, Halfred force fed him the Potion of Diminution we’d swiped from her own personal stash of loot. Instantly the dragon shrank in size, shirking off the manacles. Freedom!
The Countess screamed for her guards, her voice magically echoing off the walls of the castle all around us. Roll for initiative!
At the same time another cloud giant, Cressaro, approached the spire, concerned about the missing Aarokocra statues we’d destroyed previously. When he approached the second floor we jumped him, T.I.M. diving for his legs and Korinn aiming Skullcracker at his face.
With our surprise round Kazin tore into his mind with Suggesstion. The cloud giant had a +7 to WIS but failed my meager DC 15 saving throw. Huzzah!
I commanded him that retrieving the conch shell for us was important for the good of all cloud giants. We knew we needed Sansuri to reverse the spell, so we told him to bring her back here, and off he went.
Team Dragon was in a bit more of a precarious situation. They didn’t want to try and fight the Countess with just the two of them and a very weakened, shrunken Felgolos. Plus there was a scary-looking cat-like beast who had just become very interested in the intruders.
Bryseis used Hold Monster on the Vapor Lynx (a custom-built creature by our DM), and the two of them jumped onto Felgolos’ back, who began racing out the way they came in.
Sansuri cast Bigby’s Hand on Bryseis but she held tight to Felgolas (I would have ruled that the hand would’ve kept her in place unless a spell or STR check knocked it away). The Countess did get a nasty stab off with her spear as the dragon passed by.
They also had to deal with the freed griffins, who were apparently well-trained to follow the Countess’ orders. Halfred used a smoke bomb arrow to cast Fog Cloud to cover their escape, and a Flashing Arrow to blind the Countess.
Despite having a freaking +10 to CON saves she failed the DC 15 saving throw – wow! Instead of being able to stop their escape she was left blinded, and cast defensive spells while the griffins tried to see through the fog to claw at them.
Felgolos continued to race outside the archway they had gone in with the griffins in hot pursuit.
The rest of us had heard the Countess call for her guards and knew our friends were in trouble. We began racing upstairs to our hippogriffs, and flew out through the top window like reinforcements from an aircraft carrier.
One hilarious issue was that T.I.M. was still enlarged from his potion he had drank last session, so had to awkwardly use two hippogriffs to fly. The failed animal handling check left him flying in a random direction.
Korinn and Kazin saw the rest of our party racing up on Felgolos and we moved to help cover them. Halfred used his newly acquired Wand of Web to wrap them up, while Bryseis launched a Fireball. Korinn threw a Chromatic Orb and Kazin some Eldrtich Blasts.
The combined pyrotechnics sent the ball of griffins careening out of the sky in a flaming, sticky mass of screeching feathers.
At this point we had an interesting dilemma. We had rescued Felgolos but still needed to recover the conch shell, and only the Countess could do it. Do we race back down and deal with her now, or return to the spire, wait for things to calm down, and trust in the still magically-dominated Cressaro to bring her to us?
Given Felgolos’ bloody condition we opted for the latter, hoping that the giants assumed we had simply flown off and escaped the castle. We flew back into the spire with our dragon friend in tow and awaited our proper audience with the Countess of the castle.