In the approaching-two-years since we have played a lot of sessions, but the party never sat down to even divide the loot from this adventure! In the intervening time castles had been designed, built, paid for, etc. and a lot of Domain level diplomacy had occurred, but little nuts and bolts.
I spent a little time doing a game-year worth of encounters and issued an update of what was going in in Blackdell, Doomsman's domain. Then we decided to sit down and settle some things.
Everyone had leveled after the Battle of Tolmar, so the session began by everyone leveling up. Mournglow's player went through 8 years of notes and collated all the spells in all the spellbooks that could be learned and then the mages did a huge learning spells session. Then magic items were split:
Doomsman got Paradigm, a +7 two-hander and Gauntlets of Might (like ogre power, but 19 strength) and some other things
Mournglow got the Book of Infinite Spells and Scarab of Protection.
Darkwalk got the Scepter of Goodly Might.
Ember got a Mirror of Mental Prowess and another short sword.
+4 short sword of quickness.
Stardust got a Carpet of Flying and an Onyx Dog.
Everyone got other items, too. Enough that at one point Darkwalk's player muttered,
"Necklace of Adaptation? +4 full plate? Trash!"
By going over the various rumors and reports from the realm (I highly recommend this as handouts) they identified 4 main issues:
-Tales of merchants and such vanishing in the Old Hills 2 days North.
-Colliers vanishing across the river to the East.
-An NPC liegeman reporting kobold tracks in the Old Forest to the West.
-Slaughtered livestock around the keep each full moon.
Darkwalk cast Divination and narrowed the livestock attacks down to the residents of Armor Street in the keep's village, Totenburg. Using Ember's sword and Stardusts's Gem of Seeing they narrowed in on the 16 year-old daughter of the keep's leatherworker. She had been attacked by a creature 6 months before and survived by leaping into the river. Darkwalk confirmed that she was becoming a werewolf, but it was early enough that her alignment as a human had not changed. He used the Scepter of Goodly Might to remove the curse.
Ember and Doomsman invited the relatives of people who had vanished to the North to the keep and greeted them with the entire party girded for war. Seating them near the Mirror of Mental Prowess they asked for detailed descriptions of the missing merchants. Soon the Mirror had found them, all alive! Those missing in the North were in cages inside a cavern, a cavern controlled by - the Hill Giant King!
When I spliced Against the Giants into the campaign world, the Chieftain of the Hill Giants survived every encounter and always escaped. When I rolled a hill giant encounter I turned it into a vengeful chieftain setting a trap for his foe.The hill giants (3 massive royal guards and the king) were setup to ambush anyone coming to their cavern and had giant cave bears lurking outside to join them. The party decided to use the Mirror to simply charge them.
Doomsman ran into the room with his Maul of Thunderbolts, achieved surprise, and struck the king with a throw - the king survived (due to his rank giving him infernal protection), but was injured.
Ember sealed the entrance with a Wall of Fire, Darkwalk hit the 3 royal guardsgiants with a Sleet Storm, and Mournglow Lightning Bolted the guards, too. Not to be outdone, Stardust back stabbed the meanest looking guard.
In round two Doomsman downed the king and a flurry of spells killed, paralyzed, or beaverized* the guards. By round 5 the party was taking the prisoners back through the Mirror to their loved ones.
The next day the used the mirror to search for the people missing in the East and soon found a harpy's nest. Stardust and Darkwalk (who is immune to charms) slipped though the mirror Invisibly and ambushed the returning monster, killing it with a back stab and a spell.
Last, but not least, they following day they scryed out the kobolds (who had an urd chief leader!) and Ember slipped through the mirror, killing all of them with Fireballs.
About this time I saw the light dawn on them.
During the entire campaign they had wondered how the horned one had maintained such a tight grip over his far-flung armies. Rebellions put down almost the moment they began; distant armies attacking with amazing coordination; approaching forces ambushed as if the horned one knew the plans of his enemies intimately.
The secret was the Mirror of Mental Prowess. Using it had given the horned one an incredible advantage in communication and mobility and even let him ferret out the thoughts of his enemies and commanders.
The party then did a lot of planning and such. Mournglow, Ember, and Darkwalk have been storing and stockpiling rare materials for years and years. Ember, the Fire Elementalist with a Ring of Fire Elemental Command, had been joking about this for years and finally did it: he used the Mirror and his Amulet of the Planes to get a nice apartment in the City of Brass (with a view of the Ocean of Fire!).
They are coordinating a bunch of materials (a 6' rod of tungsten, the tail spine from a remorhaz, the ichor of a salamander, and hide of a max hit points hellhound) to make the Inferno Spear [write up coming].
They are also taking the following items:
The crowns of the Chieftain, the Jarl, and the King of the giants; the teeth of a rakshasa; a lock of hair from a dryad; a scroll of Protection from Charm; a scroll of Detect Lie; and the blood of a morkoth [which they don't have, yet!].
to make what they are calling The Crown of Doom [write up also forthcoming].
Last, but certainly not least, they want to boost the citizens in their frontier domain so - the party is combining some treasure to make an incentive. The plan is that each family that moves to Blackdell will receive a steading, be exempt from taxes for 1 year, and receive 1 s.p. per family member.
This will be fun.
*After Mournglow learned Polymorph Other he stated, "Soon all of my enemies will be beavers."