Wednesday, March 28, 2018

5e: Hammerheart's Tomb

From: Fulhoff of Clan Balderk
To: Helja and Adrik of Clan Balderk

Mother & Father,

After looting the goblins of their meager wealth, we carefully entered the tomb of Hammerheart. Bloody smears directed our attention to a pile of corpses... the stripped bodies of the Neverwinter guards. Unartfully butchered, they were missing various bits. The rest of the entrance chamber was decorated with ancient tapestries moldy and decaying. Whoever buried him was not a dwarf. Such impermanent furnishings are unworthy of even a minor legendary figure.

The only door was trapped, and in spite of my guidance in the workings of the trap, Bran was not only unable to disable it, he set it off. Darts shot out, but thankfully whatever poison was applied to them had degraded over the years. Only Bran looked a little green after. While humans have much going for them, they do lack a certain toughness.

The next chamber was full of boxes and crates, most of them open. Only one remained locked and unmolested. Atop it was an old leather bound book, long abused. I carefully flipped it open using the tip of my dagger and peeked at the words within. Neat blocky runes revealed it to be not only a diary, but the diary of Hammerheart himself. Telling of his deeds, and his undwarvenlike disdain for gold... he gave it all away? Keeping only that which would help him with his questing.

While I read, Journey examined the chest. The next thing I knew Bran and Journey were squawking out different children's tunes. Thankfully as they arrived at the end of the first verse the chest popped open, reveiling the arms and armor of Hammerheart. Not knowing their quality or value we let them be. Disappointingly it seems that Hammerheart used a broadsword... At least it wasn't an ax. Thorin would never have let that go. Listening at the next door...

Note to self/party: Search for traps, listen at doors, then check for treasure. We were stupid and lucky this time.

Listening at the next door... we heard a deep voice say something in giant, and then in common "what are you?" Bran unlocked the door quietly while the questioning beyond continued, and then Rin peeked in. A cyclops stood in the far corner, yelling down at something hidden behind a stone tomb. When he whispered that a giant-kin was squatting in the tomb of a dwarven hero... I'm the one who went into a rage. I shoved past him, and my hands crackled with energy. Rin, surrounded by the ghosts of his ancestors... or maybe those he's killed? Shoved past me, leaping over the tomb, and swung at the giant. As I recovered from the shove, I used the same magic on the cyclops as I had on the goblin. Blue-white energy arced from my hammer into the giant's chest, and his flesh blackened as you could begin to see his skeleton flashing though his skin. Bran and Journey followed into the room, each launching their own attacks at the creature. Bolts of magical energy fired from Journey, while Bran flanked the beast.

With a grunt of anguished pain at my ongoing attack, the giant stooped down and hurled a boulder at me. Thankfully the ghosts, and the beast's poor vision kept it from solidly hitting, and I was only staggered. Momentarily dazed my magic faltered, but I called the words drawing on the power of the weave, and again the energy crackled from my hammer. Rin and Bran continued to slice into the giant's legs, and Journey fired bolt after bolt of fire, but it was my assault that kept distracting it. With an anguished wail, the desecrator threw his massive club at me. I used my magic to swat it aside, and at that moment Journey fired one final bolt into the beast's blackened chest.

Bound up behind the tomb, we discovered the Halfling cartographer. Happy to be free, he asked for time to finish his map. He's dedicated, if nothing else...

While he did that, and the rest of the party checked the giant's sack, I said a prayer to the Great Digger over the tomb... and noticed the carvings on the far wall. Depictions of the great battles Hammerheart had fought... and among the images carved there, a badger. She may not always care about others, but when she does, the signs are there! And what a sign! Clearly pleased with having rid this holy resting place of the foul taint of giant-kind, she revealed a secret panel, behind which was a great sword in an intricate bronze and copper sheath. The metalwork was clearly that of a dwarven master! A matching dagger wrapped in a sable ribbon of fine quality was with it, as were 2 tanglefoot bags. Taking all we cleaned up the tomb, removing the loot and the bodies. May Hammerheart rest peacefully.

As proof of our adventure, we also took the cyclops' head. Lady Awful was most impressed, though disappointed that the tomb had no vast quantity of gold. She was however interested in returning with us to Waterdeep to further inquire of the role in Nightstone. The journey was mostly uneventful, though we did encounter several groups of refugees from giant attacks. One particularly ragged group of peasants was clearly in need, and I handed over a small purse of gold to them.

As we passed the traveler's shrine that the giants had previously destroyed I called for a halt to our journey for the day, and spent the remaining daylight fixing it up as best as I could. Thorin and Rin were both helpful in the task, though oddly quiet. The destruction of a holy site must have touched them more than I expected.

Once back in Waterdeep, we went directly to the Hand and Horn, where Halla Hild (to be filled in next session). Bran and Journey wanted to spend some downtime in the city, so I went to work researching what I could find about ancient artifacts of the giant's civilization. Not surprisingly there is little written that isn't mostly speculation of things that happened before Moradin sculpted the first dwarves from the living rock.

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