Is it mercy when you decide to spare your players an impossibly difficult large-scale combat and let them get out of it easy? Or are you simply sparing yourself the hassle of dealing with a battle with no less than 40 giants, 2 dragons, and the PCs? …A little column A, a little column B. God knows I don’t want to deal with it, and I feel we’ve spend enough time at the home of the frost giants. I figured we were ready for one last big punch, and then getting the show back on the road.
Svardborg, home of the frost giant lord
The Sword Coast of Faerun
The Story So Far:
With the vast majority of the giants distracted by fighting the dragon Cryovain, who had been freed by Ulmo, the group was able to quietly sneak their way over to the Temple of Thrym, where the loose-lipped guard had mentioned another dragon. This one, allegedly the mate of Cryovain and the mother of the dragon eggs in the throne room, they hoped to free and make a deal with, as they had been unable to do with the other. Ulmo, in earth elemental form, was the only one able to carry the enormous eggs with them to the temple.
When they reached the temple, they did indeed notice an enormous treasure hoard, all covered in thick layers of ice in one corner. They also noticed the bell tower up above, complete with bell. And then they noticed the very large white dragon curled up inside the bell and definitely not imprisoned. Here was Isendraug, mate of Cryovain. Heskan made an attempt to speak to her in Draconic, to persuade her to leave them alone in exchange for her eggs. She was not at all interested, and as one might expect, combat ensued.
Isendraug’s fearsome bite and claws hurt those who first jumped into melee – Relaris and Roshi. Hugheorn moved to one side to hide behind a pillar while he threw spells at the dragon. Heskan moved to the other side while Ulmo stepped right up to punch the dragon with his mighty stone fists. Wade first attacked with a bow, keeping a discreet distance to start with. Isendraug’s terrible gaze fell upon Heskan, Wade, and Relaris (…and Relaris’ bear, Rodan), frightening them all. None of them could approach the dragon any further for the time being. Madeline, Ulmo, and Roshi continued the fight in melee while Hugheorn healed them from afar to keep their hit points in good condition.
Isendraug let out a blast of ice from her gaping maw, lashing them all with coldness and stinging pain. She struck out with her claws, her tail, her wings. Her scales and thick hide protected her from most of the attacks dealt by the group, but enough got through that she was looking fairly weakened when she made her escape through the side exit, that lead into a submerged tunnel, straight out into the icy waters of the north. A moment after she vanished from sight, several of the party members gathered around her exit spot, trying to determine what to do next. Her mate and her eggs were still here, so she almost certainly hadn’t gone away entirely.
In the end, they decided to slide the big ice block of eggs down the tunnel into the water after her, to see if that would get her to leave them alone. While the group looked above for any signs of her flying above, they also looked for the dragon cult airship that had been knocked out of the air – there was no sign of that either. They hoped that the cultists had managed to repair it and get it out of the way, and not that the giants or dragons had capsized it while it was floating on the surface. Minutes passed, the sounds of combat still raging around the building as the giants and dragons each attacked their ancestral foes. Knowing it wasn’t over, the party readied themselves.
Out of nowhere, both Isendraug and Cryovain crashed through the ceiling, shattering the wooden roof of the building and sending debris flying everywhere. They did not seem to have the eggs with them, but that was hardly the most pressing issue when faced with two extremely angry adult chromatic dragons. Both were injured, but they were still a hell of a match for the party – almost all of whom were also injured, some more severely than others. In addition to Heskan’s tressym being sent back to wherever familiars go when they get killed on the material plane, Ulmo’s tressym familiar was similarly killed. Even Relaris’ bear was dismissed, his injuries too great to carry on fighting this fight.
Isendraug fell first, her enormous body crashing to the floor with a deep thud. It wasn’t long before Cryovain fell as well, weakened by a period of starvation and captivity with the giants as well as the fight to kill his previous captors. The group made sure that no one was immediately approaching this building (or what remained of it), and indeed, the iceberg outside was littered with the bodies of dead and nearly-dead giants. Ulmo, still an earth elemental, began the task of punching through the thick layers of ice surrounding the mountain of coins and treasures. The others, after healing up and drinking any potions they felt they needed, joined in as well. It took some time, but they managed to gather up a nice haul for themselves – assuming they could find a way off this iceberg. This in addition to the samples they were able to take from the dragons of their hide, scales, blood, teeth, etc. You never knew when you might need something like that, after all.
The Jarl’s ship, Krigvind, had sailed away with the last of the survivors. The party themselves had destroyed the rest of the frost giant greatships – not that they could have crewed them adequately anyway. Much to their relief, they spied the airship floating a safe distance away – they hailed them and they rowed it back to the iceberg, moving in slow circles around it while the group finished their business. In fact, the last order of business was for them to confirm what the fate of the dragon eggs was. Ulmo magically transformed himself into a killer whale and swam down to the bottom of the sea here where the eggs had been dropped. Alas, there were only egg shells remaining, and the body of one wyrmling runt who had not survived the underwater hatching. The rest of the wyrmlings must have been gathered up by their parents and taken elsewhere. And with that possibility breathing down their necks, the group returned to the airship.