G3 - Hall of the Fire Giant King
The party might have arrived before the huge obsidian valves which bar entrance to the Hall by means of the transporter found in the lair of the frost Giant Jarl, and in this case they will have to search to find a place of safety to rest and recover their strength between forays into the Hall. If the group journeyed hence by some other form (horseback, mounted on hippogriffs, etc.) they will have noted such a place 2 miles distant from Snurre’s sooty palace. This hidden refuge will prove to be safe from detection as long as the party leaves no plain trail to it, and as long as they are not followed to it. (If they thrice venture forth from the cave to raid the Fire Giant Hall there will be a 10% cumulative chance per additional raid that the hidey-hole will be found by the giants, i.e. a 10% chance the fourth raid, 20% the fifth, etc.) The ravine which is near the safe cave leads directly to the spiney, broken heap of slag which is indicated as the site of the Hall by their map, or obvious to them otherwise, for it has a wide well-trod path leading up to two great slabs of black stone, obsidian portals which give access to Snurre’s Hall. But these gates will open to the party if one of the members has fire giant strength (or greater) and mass, or a chime of opening to employ, or one of them can cast a knock spell. Each valve is 29 feet tall, 10 feet wide, and no less than 3 feet thick.
The plain about seems most evil and drab. The sky is gray and filled with sooty clouds. A distant volcano can be seen, and far to the south a glowing river of molten lava moves sluggishly down a slope and out of sight. It is hot and the air smells of heated rock and metal. The ground is full of cinders and sharp rocks. The place is lit by night with dim red light from the flaming gases shooting forth from the earth and from molten rock. On the second and any successive raids upon the place, there is a 50% likelihood that the gates will be ajar, and some guard will be watching for the attackers in order to alert the Hall.
Notes for the Dungeon Master
The pile of lava, slag, and jutting black rock which houses the Hall of Snurre is a steeply rising hill about 300 feet high at its summit. It is difficult to scale, but the party may do so if they desire. Everywhere are vents which smoke, and some of these holes spurt out jets of flame from time to time. The party will never locate any other entrance to the place, and there is a 2 in 6 chance that any member investigating a vent hole will be struck by flaming gases (Dmg 2 – 12).
The upper two levels of Snurre’s Hall are lit by torches, braziers, natural gas jets, and even molten lava. Most of these lights will be extinguished if the place is heavily attacked. The lower level is unlighted except where the matrix indicates otherwise. Passageways in the Hall are vaulted and some 30 feet high. Halls, chambers and rooms are 40 to 60 feet high.
The floors, walls and ceilings in the place are of black, reddish-black, dark gray, and dull brown rock. In some places it has been hewn, but in others it appears to have been fused by heat. All doors are made of iron plates. Opening them requires giant strength so normal probabilities of opening resisting doors are cut in half. Pillars in passageways and other places are of black stone.
The lower level is mostly natural, and the details of the place will be given hereafter. When the party gains this level, do not be too precise in calling direction or distance. As with any such map, the twists, turns, and irregularities are very difficult to map anyway, and general directions and descriptions will suffice for the mapper and make the whole more realistic in any case, for such an area would be nearly impossible to accurately map under existing conditions.
As has been said in the previous adventures in this series, while considerable detail has been given, it is up to you to fill in any needed information and to color the whole and bring it to life. You, as Dungeon Master, must continue to improvise and create, for your players will certainly desire more descriptions, seek to do things not provided for here, and generally do things which are not anticipated. The script is here, but you will direct the whole, rewrite parts and sit in final judgment on character’s actions. If you have already taken your players through the first two adventures, you will wish to be particularly mindful of how their behavior there will have altered what is shown here on each level matrix. Use the parameters given to design your own epic. 13e disinterested and be just. This is a very difficult scenario, and the players might rue thoughtless actions, but do not allow this to temper what you have before you. Likewise, do not set about to entrap the party in a hopeless situation. Allow their actions to dictate their fate. In any event, never reveal too much information to players. For example, if they learn about the drow, give only scraps of details from your information sheet; determine a percentage probability of the particular bit of knowledge being known by whatever means is being employed (sage, commune legend lore, contact other plane, or whatever), and roll the percentile dice for each scrap. Base your communication to the party upon this, but always judge for yourself if the information thus imparted is too much or too little.
Remember also that these giants are both the toughest so far encountered and that they have the best advice immediately available to them. As soon as the party strikes and then retires, the attack will be assessed and countermeasures taken. Some notes to this effect will be found in the matrices for each level, but you will have to design some reactions personally. Even when the party first enters the Hall you will have to gauge the reaction of the giants if and when they learn the intruders are within. How will they react? From whence will they call in guards? Where will Snurre go? Most assuredly, he will not remain seated upon his throne when an attack is in progress! You have not ceased being a Dungeon Master by using this prepared scenario. You simply have some details handled for you so that you can better script the more important details.
When the party retires from the Hall, the fire giants will lay whatever traps and ambushes they are able to under the circumstances. Lights will be put out, sentries will be posted, and so forth. In the play-test version, I had the giants who survived the first foray by the (exceptionally strong and well-played) party set several ambushes, each surprise being set to allow them to retire quickly behind a turn in a passage or through doors, gradually falling back on the corridor to the 2nd level. However, even the females and young fought, as the King has so ordered, and 1 assumed that their fear of him, (and the drow) was greater than their fear of the party — or at least equal. As the characters offered no quarter and slew every giant or other creature encountered with absolute ruthlessness, their opponents fought with hopeless abandon and sacrifice. How you will manage must be based upon knowledge only you, as judge and referee, can have. Regardless of what your players do, morale checks for the giants and their associates should seldom, if ever, be made. What hope have they? The rationale of this whole series of adventures is a fight to the finish. Only the leaders and those they take with them will normally seek to move to a place of safety, the rest will stand fast and battle to the end.
Finally, drow weapons and armor do not radiate magic.
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