Friday, June 23, 2017

What You Missed at: The Gilded Lion Summer Festival III

by Pat "Saka" Bobell

The following is a summary of my experiences this past Saturday, by the Realms’ reckoning of time the 17th day in the sixth month of year 1017, recorded on the 20th day of that same month and year by my own hand, and submitted for public record as requested by Dame Areni of Rhiassa.

His Majesty, several of my fellow Chimeronians, and I journeyed southward to attend the now-annual Gilded Lion Summer Festival in Rhiassa. Upon our arrival, we were pleased to join many friends from other nations there, and expressed our gratitude to our fellows heading out to the Western Flank, and to our Rhiassan hosts. As expected, we met Ulric and journeyed across the Vanfrost to aid the Jomsvikings in setting their worlds back on track toward their Ragnarok. Our mission that day was straightforward, and befitting such an assembly of Heroes such as we: Go Somewhere, and Kill Lots of Things.

There was, of course, a reason to go kill everything we came across. The power which is resisting the natural death and renewal of Norlund’s Ragnarok, the same which had controlled the minds of the dwarves in Svartalfheim, had somehow tamed, broken, or bewitched the denizens of Jotunheim to serve its unnatural purpose. At least, so we have been told by Ulric, and one of the untainted persons of Jotunheim (whose name I may or may not have forgotten, but who was kind enough to bring us several special weapons to use in the fighting).

The only catch was that most of these things to be killed were rather large, averaging about thirty feet in height. Apparently, just about everything in Jotunheim is gigantic, including their beasts and monsters. To face them in battle we needed to bolster ourselves with “hex” magic from that land. Since many of party’s mortal forms would be hard-pressed to contain such power, the strength and magic comparable to that of a Jotun had to be distributed across at least three of us: one to become the enormous Body, at least one to contain its Life force, and at least one more to contain its magical Might. We performed the magics and started with four Jotun Bodies - His Majesty, Sir Wil, Sir Oliver, and Captain Orion each filled that role, and there were enough of us remaining for each of the four to have redundant Life and Might supporters. Later in the day, Enlon and Slade became Jotun Bodies as well, with their own Life and Might supporters. Power split three ways, go slaughter monsters. Simple enough.

Well, we were unable to safely approach our enormous friends, and had to stay a significant distance back as they fought. (They were new to the scale of their actions, and if I might say, somewhat clumsy.) To heal them, the Life supporters could channel healing magic from a distance by suffering the same wound as the Body they were tied to, and having it healed. The Might supporters could join their Body in combat, and their magical or mundane missile attacks would be appropriately amplified to deal mortal damage to their enormous foes. The Bodies themselves were very durable, and could withstand a full weapon blow before suffering any appreciable damage to their heads, limbs, or torsos. Unfortunately, their physical strength and size were such that they could not use any of our normal equipment. Since the friendly Jotun (who definitely has a name that somebody probably remembers) brought a giant earth sword and six enormous wooden clubs, this didn’t seem to be much of a limitation.

Ulric provided us with a representation of Jotunheim, and we were able to “teleport,” or instantly move to, specific areas of Jotunheim as we desired to fight the monsters assembled in each area. This effort took us all across the world, with different large regions being inhabited by creatures with specific elemental alignments. The majority of Jotunheim was filled with earth-aligned monsters, the exception being some impressive cliffs which were home to lightning-aligned creatures. Humongousness is apparently contagious, because the creatures just across the worldly borders into Muspelheim and Nivlheim were just as formidable as those in Jotunheim proper, and they were fire- and ice-aligned, respectively. In each of these four regions, there was a stronghold housing the mightiest beast of the corresponding elemental nature, and a fifth stronghold held a chimera of all four elements. This was starting to sound like a full day of fighting rather than a leisurely interplanar jaunt, but at least we had some clear objectives and could just get down to business.

“Why do these elemental traits matter?” one might ask. “A sword by any other name would stab as deep.” About that…

They matter because each was weak toward another, and resistant toward a third. Ice was particularly damaging to Fire, which could easily dispatch Earth, which grounded the power of Lightning, which broke apart Ice. It made a nice little circle, and going backward, for example attacking Fire with Earth, was next to useless. (I still have trouble understanding how it was that Ice could cripple Fire, but Fire couldn’t hold a candle to Ice.) As it turned out, the fiercest beasts, in the strongholds, could only be damaged by the element they were weak to. To take full advantage of these interactions, we needed harvest body parts from monsters of each element to forge elemental weapons and armor that our own Jotun could wield and wear. We started with the earth region, but did not yet attack the stronghold, not having an advantage and not knowing what to expect from it. We built what we could with the earth monster guts, scales, tusks, gems, bones, and other materials we gathered, and attacked the lightning stronghold with the advantage our earth equipment gave us. It then became a rinse and repeat operation: collecting and building lightning equipment, assaulting the ice stronghold and surrounding area. Collecting and building ice equipment, assaulting the fire stronghold and surrounding area. Collecting and building fire equipment, and assaulting the earth stronghold.

In each encounter, while we watched and facilitated the battles of our Jotun against the locals, we were set upon by some native creatures more our size. Thankfully, with Eagle’s Rook, Torolf, and Lord Malaki on one flank and Grimloch the other, we were more than up to the task of holding those forces off from our Life and Might supporters. There was one point at which a particularly motivated creature managed to slip through and break our mobile Circle of Healing, but otherwise the fighting progressed fairly smoothly. The great monsters in each stronghold were significantly fiercer than the others, even among creatures of such great size. It took an astounding amount of damage to bring each of them down, and in order to damage them at all, out Might supporters needed to hit them with missile attacks that were magically empowered with the element of their weakness, then our Jotuns could use weapons of that same element to hack them down.

With all the fighting and crafting of new elemental equipment for our Jotuns, we were running short on time to get through all five strongholds before dinner. Laika and Jamie each used particularly powerful regional magic to destroy two of the strongest enemy Jotun, which saved a lot of time, effort, and resources. Their magic did, however, result in such thorough destruction that it took several attempts each to Call their souls, with some divine magic thrown in to improve the odds. Indana was invaluable throughout the day with her Circles of Healing, empowered by Rosetta’s Intervention to be transportable. She worked with the Life supporters of our Jotuns throughout the day to keep everyone in the fight.

In the end, we were successful in destroying a significant number of the enemy Jotun, including each of the four primary elemental monsters and the chimera, a monster that seemed to be a combination of each fo the four primary elemental monsters. Once we were finished, we returned to Rhiassa for the rest of the evening enjoy some food prepared by Taliea and the other members of Rhiassa who weren’t fighting on the Western Flank. Many options were provided to us for dinner, and I expect they were all as good as the ones I had. After dinner, we did some talking and some magical investigation toward the unusual encounter we recently had at the end of the day in New Verai. Magus Janus will be publicly communicating a summary of our findings to the Realms sometime this week. Similarly, details on the construction of Jotun equipment and the magics we encountered in Jotunheim will be submitted to the Library of Ivory if they are not already recorded for public use in the Rhiassan archives.

All in all, it was an great day with good friends. I would like to again thank our Rhiassan hosts, and all those who spent the day serving on the Western Flank. I always enjoy spending time in Rhiassa, and the recent forays into Norlund have consistently presented new and interesting challenges for us to deal with. I look forward to the next such journey.

Sakariasvafnir Redwing of Clan Rua Thar Cinn
Warlord of Chimeron

[Editor's note: for photos of the event, click here]

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