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The Blackrock Brothers Abroad
Author: Keven Simmons
System: AD&D 2nd Edition
Requirements: characters level 3-5
When you finally reach the farmstead, you discover that it is abandoned. The buildings seem to have been severely damage, as have some of the trees at the edge of the clearing. Apparently the inhabitants of this farm were the victims of a tornado, because the damage seems to be relatively localized.
This module is designed for use with the AD&D(tm) game from TSR, Inc. and contains references to trademarks
and/or copyrighted material owned by that company. The original portions of this works are (c) copyright 1994 by
Keven Simmons and is being offered free of charge under the following conditions:
- You may not sell this material for your own profit.
- If this material is redistributed, either electronically or in printed form, it must include this copyright notice.
- You may modify details of this material for your own purposes, but only the original can be redistributed.
Correspondence regarding this material can be sent via U.S. Post to:
Keven Simmons, POB 351, Sherburne NY 13460 or via the internet to: email@example.com
This material may contain references to non-TSR monsters, spells and magic items. If you would like information on
non-standard spells or items used in this module, write or e-mail me at the above addresses. I will be happy to
share whatever information I can.
Feel free to make modifications as you deem necessary in order to make the module playable in your campaign.
If the GIF-format maps for this adventure were not included, or you are unable to read them, I will provide paper
copies free of charge to anyone who sends a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the address above. Please mention
the module name (and version number if applicable) when requesting maps.
abbreviations and other notations used:
- th or thaco = to hit armor class 0
- hd = hit dice
- hp = hit points
- ac = armor class
- d = damage
- mr = magic resistance
- str = strength
- con = constitution
- dex = dexterity
- int = intelligence
- wis = wisdom
- chr = charisma
- pp = pick pockets
- ol = open locks
- frt = find / remove traps
- hs = hide in shadows
- ms = move silently
- hn = hear noise
- cw = climb walls
- rl = read languages
Some spells, magic items or monsters may have a notation following them similar to this: find familiar [P 134].
The information in the brackets is a book and page number reference for locating the item's description. The following
are the book abbreviations used in these references:
- P = Player's Handbook (2nd edition, first printing)
- T = Tome of Magic
- D = Dungeon Master's Guide
- A = Unearthed Arcana
- M = Monster Manual
- F = Fiend Folio
- S = Monster Manual II (first edition)
- C = Creature Catalog Supplements
- K = my own compiled reference manuals
If you eventually use this module, I would like to hear how it turned out.
Even though moral turpitude is one of the defining characteristics of hill giant nature, there are still a few rules that all hill giants follow; rules like "The Clan Chief is Always Right", or "Don't Throw Boulders at the Shaman While He's Meditating". These simple codes of conduct allow the members of a hill giant clan to live together, if not in harmony, at least in partially controlled anarchy. In this respect, the Blackrock clan was much the same as any other hill giant tribe, and like other tribes there were some members that were less inclined to follow the rules than others. In the Blackrock clan, the prime troublemakers were the brothers Snagtooth and Bearbreath, named for their distinctive dental features and culinary tastes respectively. Ever since they were old enough to throw rocks, these two had been a plague on the rest of the clan. Even other hill giants considered them to be lazy, bothersome pests. It came as no surprise then when they were caught breaking the tribe's most sacrosanct rule: "Never Steal the Clan Chief's Favorite Club".
The Blackrock tribe is lead by an ugly brute of a chief called Crunchjaw whose most valued possession in the world is his collection of clubs. All of the clubs were carefully crafted by Crunchjaw himself from the strongest trees; hand-picked for their tightly spaced limbs which he sharpened into deadly spikes. It would be safe to say that he valued his clubs more than he did his wives, offspring or even his collection of gold coins. His favorite club he named Big Stick (intelligence is not a requirement for being hill giant chief) and he prized it above all the others. It was with Big Stick that he defeated the former chief of the Blackrock tribe and was thus granted the title he now carries. So when Snag and Bear were caught pilfering it, his response was hardly unexpected. After beating them both within an inch of their lives, he banished them and declared them clanless. (They probably would have been killed outright if they hadn't been his sons).
After being exiled, the giant brothers wandered aimlessly for weeks in search of food and a new place to live. Eventually they left the mountains that had been their home and began to travel through more populated areas. Their first encounter with the inhabitants of this land came when they stumbled across a small elven village. The giants, upon seeing the elven tree houses, began to play a rather destructive game of rock throwing, the object of which was to see who could knock the most elves out of the trees. The giants killed many of the villagers before being driven away by a host of concealed archers. Their next encounter was with a herd of centaur. Snag was always fond of horse meat, which was rare in the mountains, and thought that these beasts would make a fine meal. The brothers killed several and retreated with the bodies while under fire from the remaining centaur. While the meal sated their hunger the giants, being unused to fending for themselves, thought that chasing down their dinner was far too much effort, particularly when dinner had a habit of shooting arrows at you, and so they continued on in search of easier game.
Meanwhile, the elven village had organized a posse to hunt down the giants and exact vengeance for their attack. The group began tracking the giants, a relatively easy task, but found themselves falling behind due to the giants faster rate of travel. They had almost decided to abandon the chase when they happened upon the remains of the centaur herd. After talking to the centaur, the elves discovered they now had allies in their quest and more importantly, allies that could match the pace of their quarry. Unfortunately, there were only a handful of centaur willing and able to pursue the giants so an advance force of 5 centaur ridden by 5 elves continued on while the rest of the elven force (12) followed behind.
The giants, unaware that they were being stalked, continued their wandering until they crested a small rise and saw below them a pastoral valley with farms dotting the land along the a meandering river and sheep pastures on the higher slopes. Even their limited intelligence was sufficient for them to realize that this was the perfect place to make their new home. They first raided a flock of sheep and were delighted when neither the animals, nor the shepherd showed the slightest hint of resistance. The next day they scouted the hillsides until they found a suitable place to make camp and by luck, rather than design, selected a ravine whose entrance was partially concealed from casual view.
Over the next couple of weeks the giants explored their new home, raided several farms for livestock, and built a crude lean-to in the back of the ravine. Their only trouble came when they raided a small cottage and horse barn they found in the forest. What looked like easy pickings turned into a rather nasty battle when the inhabitants turned out to be well armed and proficient fighters. The giants prevailed however and made off with four horses but the experience had dulled their enthusiasm to some extent and they decided to lay low for a few days while their wounds healed.
At the same time that the giants were returning to their camp to hide out, the centaur/elven posse arrived at the valley. They proceeded to search the valley but while signs of the giants' presence were everywhere, they were unable to track them back to their lair because of the abundance of crisscrossing trails left by the brothers during their raids and exploration.
The peaceful valley of Willowvale has had very few problems since it was settled 120 years ago. The first humans to move into the valley were sheep herders who found the hillsides to be perfect land for grazing and the lowland along the river to be easily cleared and farmed. Craftsmen soon followed and the village of Willowville grew to be a small town. The villagers never formed any formal government, and there is no peace-keeping force resident in the valley. Any disputes that cannot be worked out locally are taken before the nearest magistrate, who is located in a town several days journey away.
Over the years the residents have had to deal with wolves, a stray owlbear or displacer beast or the like, and were plagued by a band of kobolds for a period of time, but otherwise have had little disturb their quiet life.
Recently however, the peaceful nature of Willowvale has been shattered by two hill giants who have been raiding farms and flocks and destroying the homes of Willowvale residents. The folk who have made the valley their home were totally unprepared to deal with this calamity, and now spend most of their days watching the horizon with fear, ready to run at the slightest hint of trouble. A few of the braver souls have talked about defending themselves against the giants, but they are just not trained or equipped well enough to put up much resistance and the one person in the vale who could pose a threat to the invaders, the sorceress Sharelle, has refused to get involved. The villagers have sent an agent to the nearest city to see about hiring mercenaries, but the wages demanded are far beyond Willowville's means. The folk of the vale are thus resigned to dealing with the problem themselves but have yet to come up with a plan that any of them feel has a chance of success.
The foxwoman called Sharelle has lived for nearly two centuries, although she has only recently (15 years ago) settled in Willowvale. Before moving into her current home, she had lived for a time among a tribe of elves hoping to find a suitable young girl to "adopt" and raise as a foxwoman. She had identified a prospect but while attempting to abduct the child was discovered and driven off. Only by assuming her nimble fox form was she able to escape with her life.
Since settling in Willowvale, she has not done anything to raise the ire of her human neighbors, although her effect on the male population has caused a considerable amount of grumbling and gossip among the women. Most of them refer to her as "that elven trollop", particularly after a couple of the local hunters began living at her cottage, and she earned the permanent disfavor of the unmarried girls in the area by stealing the vale's most eligible bachelor, a young soldier named Samuel. Despite these social blemishes, Sharelle has become an accepted, if not universally liked member of the community. She rarely visits the town in person, preferring to let one of her house-mates deal with the humans and when she does go into Willowville, she is always accompanied by two of her companions. She does not hide her elven heritage, and has publicly performed some minor feats of magic so the villagers have come to see her as a reclusive elven wizard. While some of the women believe her companions to be ensorceled, they assume it is a result of her wizardry and no one suspects her true, lycanthropic nature.
When the giants started causing trouble in the valley Sharelle, like her neighbors was concerned, but true to her self-centered nature, refused to assist them in defending against the brothers. As long as she was not inconvenienced, she felt no obligation to cooperate in eliminating the common threat. That attitude changed abruptly when the giants appeared on her doorstep, stole her horses and killed all three of her male companions. She escaped into the woods in her fox form, but now harbors a deep desire to see that the giants pay for their affront, preferably with their lives.
When running this adventure, it is important to keep in mind what the NPCs ultimately want to achieve. Their motivations are the driving force behind the decisions they make, and how they will respond to the player characters.
Snagtooth & Bearbreath
The giant brothers have very simple goals: they want to live the easy life, taking their meals from the livestock in the area, occasionally smashing a building or two and terrorizing the human population of the valley. They believe they have found the perfect place to live and will fight to protect it, although they would not die for it. If things ever go bad for either one of the brothers (i.e. reduced to less than 20% of their hit points), they will flee and not return and neither one will risk his own life to protect the other (these giants' blood, it seems, is not thicker than water).
Elves & Centaur
The elves and centaur are on a mission of vengeance and will not be deterred from their goal of seeing the giant brothers dead. All of them have lost friends or family to the brothers' attacks and most of them will die to avenge their deaths. Neither the elves nor the centaur are fond of humankind and only in extreme circumstances would they join forces with them. In fact, most humans the band encounters (PCs included) will get a cold, if not hostile reception from the posse.
In addition to their desire to see the giants killed, the elves also have good reason to want Sharelle's hide as well. It was from their village that the foxwoman attempted to kidnap her new foster-child and the elves will shoot her on sight. Unfortunately, they will assume that anyone traveling in her company is her ally, or charmed companion, and will deal with them in the same manner. The centaur know nothing of Sharelle and will be confused by their comrades' actions towards her. If the elves are attacked however, the centaur will fight alongside them, although they will not fight to death with anyone other than Snagtooth and Bearbreath.
In any event, if Snagtooth and Bearbreath are killed, the elves and centaur will return to their respective homes. If the giants flee, and they are able to pursue, the posse will continue to hunt them down.
Sharelle's desire is to see the giants killed or permanently driven away so that she can return her peaceful lifestyle. She will certainly not put herself in mortal danger to accomplish this, but she is willing to take a few risks. Only in the most extreme circumstances will she reveal her lycanthopy because doing so would likely result in her being forced out of the valley, or even hunted down and killed by the locals. If she does reveal her true nature and it is possible to cover up the knowledge, by charming or killing the witnesses for example, then she will do so.
A secondary goal of Sharelle's is the replacement of her male companions who were killed by the giants. She is primarily interested in men who will provide physical protection and who can do menial chores. Given these requirements, almost any male PCs would be perfect as it is unlikely that she will find any better replacements among the villagers.
A suggestion to the DM: If you have the luxury of knowing what PCs are going to be playing in the adventure, take aside those players whose characters will be charmed by Sharelle (males with wisdom less than 14) before beginning play. Tell them that at some point in the game they will encounter the most beautiful woman they have ever seen and that they should consider themselves to be by her. Remember that the charming effect of a foxwoman affects elves as well and that there is no saving throw. This will help to prevent the other players from becoming overly suspicious when the group encounters Sharelle and will make for smoother role-playing.
The villagers goal is to get the giants out of their valley, whether by killing them or driving them off. They do not have the monetary resources to offer any reward other than free room and board to any potential giant hunters and so are not particularly pleased with their prospects for getting rid of the beasts.
Enter the Party
The easiest way to introduce this adventure is by having the PCs pass through Willowvale on their way to somewhere else. It might also be possible for one of the PCs to have a relative in Willowvale who has contacted them for help in dealing with the giants. In any event, read the following to the players as they enter Willowvale.
You have been winding your way through shallow valleys for the past few days and signs of civilization have become less and less frequent. Other than an occasional cluster of farms, you haven't seen a village or even a roadhouse for two nights and have been forced to sleep in the open. Luckily, the weather has been cooperative, and your nights have not been disturbed by any indigenous wildlife. The road you have been following has degenerated into a wide path, usually running along side a small, lazy river. The further along you have traveled towards the river's source, the smaller it has become until now it is not much more than a large stream. The hills to either side of the path have slowly changed from gently rolling slopes to a steeper, more defined geography. As morning turns into afternoon, you round a bend in the valley and see ahead the signs of a small farming community. You can barely make out small, white specks of movement on a distant hillside that you assume to be a flock of sheep. Closer at hand, several hundred yards down the path you see a cluster of buildings through the thinning trees.
When you finally reach the farmstead, you discover that it is abandoned. The buildings seem to have been severely damage, as have some of the trees at the edge of the clearing. Apparently the inhabitants of this farm were the victims of a tornado, because the damage seems to be relatively localized.
If the PCs decide to investigate the ruined farm more closely, they will discover that all of the furnishings have been removed, which would seem to indicate either some of the inhabitants survived the "storm", or else the place has been thoroughly looted. A druid surveying the damage will come to the conclusion that it could not have been caused by a tornado, but will not be able to determine what the cause was (the giants gathered up all their throwing rocks after the raid). A ranger, or character with tracking ability will discover evidence of giant footprints and signs of violence in the form of some blood-soaked ground and a broken, bloody pitchfork.
PCs might want to follow the giant's tracks, but after about a mile, the tracks become muddled with other similar trails and the PCs (even those with tracking ability) will be unable to determine which direction to go. Eventually, the PCs should find their way to the village which is a mile further down the road from the abandoned farmhouse.
The Village of Willowville
read to the players:
The small village is built along the meandering stream that flows through the valley, and looks like it might be home to about 400 people. The inhabitants of the town seem friendly enough, and several nod in greeting as you pass. Several small shops (herbalist, baker, seamstress, etc.) line the main road including a single story inn or roadhouse whose sign proclaims it to be "The Grindstone Inn". The wheel of a water mill can be seen behind the tavern which apparently doubles as the town's grain mill.
The next "scheduled" encounter is with Sharelle the next morning. In the mean time, the PCs will probably visit the tavern, arrange for food and lodging, purchase some supplies and converse with some of the locals. The DM should play out these conversations as he desires, but eventually, the players should be made aware of the situation as seen from the villagers point of view. Use the adventure background and NPC motivations as a guide for determining what the villagers know.
If the PCs ask the right questions, they may also hear about the "witch" Sharelle; for example if they ask "Have you asked anyone to help you get rid of the giants ?" If they question the villagers at more length about the reclusive woman, they may also discover that in general, the men have a favorable opinion of her and that the women of the village do not.
Some sample villagers, their knowledge and views are given below. This list can be augmented, or modified as needed by the DM.
Fredrich Miller - Innkeeper and miller, perhaps the wealthiest citizen of Willowvale. He is for the most part well respected, although sometimes is considered to be a little too impressed with his own success. He is genuinely concerned about the giants, and is a close friend of Grant Thidwickle, whose farm was destroyed several days ago. He is quite enamored of Sharelle and speaks ardently in her behalf if questioned.
Grant Thidwickle - farmer. His farm was attacked by the giants several days ago and one of his young sons was killed by a thrown boulder. He and his family are living in the inn until they can arrange for some other residence. He witnessed the giants first-hand, and is the best source of information concerning their appearance and demeanor. The loss of his son has affected him deeply and he alternates between periods of dark depression and seething anger towards the giants.
Shirley Whistledon - serving maid at the Grindstone. Shirely is a young, comely lass who is frightened terribly by the giants' presence. She is good friends with Jon Goodman, a shepherd boy whose flock was attacked a week ago while on the lower slopes of the hillside. Her parents and 2 younger siblings live in town. Her father earns a living as a carpenter and barrelwright. She does not like Sharelle in the least, mostly because she is afraid of losing Jon (her intended beau) to the witch-woman's wiles.
Carl Donegar - smith. Carl is new to the village, having only moved here a few years ago when he heard the former smith had retired. He has been successful in building his business (the lack of competition helps) and does not want to see Willowville become a ghost town because of the giants. He is one of the most vocal of the villagers in his desire to do something about the problem, but he has no ideas of his own to offer. His best suggestion is to get enough village men together to attack and overwhelm the giants. Unfortunately, the villagers are not trained in wielding their pitchforks and fire pokers as weapons and most are too afraid (and rightly so they believe) to face the giants head-on. Like the other men in the village, he is quite taken with Sharelle, but he has only seen her a few times, so he does not know much about her.
Marggie Handle - seamstress. Marggie is a widow who has set her sights on Fredrich Miller as her next husband. She spends almost every evening in the tavern common room gossiping with the other patrons, and keeping an eye on Fredrich. She is not extremely intelligent but is full of "down-home common sense" and is quick to offer her opinions to any who ask. She believes that the village should petition the duke to send in troops to get rid of the giants (which would probably work, but would be many weeks before help would arrive). She also thinks Sharelle, "that sorceress whore", should be driven out of town on a wagon wheel. She firmly believes the men living at the cottage have been bewitched and that Sharelle is "up to no good", although if pressed, Marggie cannot say exactly what "no good" she is up to.
Wendle Cross - shopkeeper. Wendle is the middle aged proprietor of the general store which stocks basic supplies such as rope, candles, lamp oil, soap, cloth, etc. He is not particularly well liked because of his tightfisted tendencies and is called "Wheedle" behind his back. He is very concerned about how the giants will affect his business, and more importantly, the merchant trade that supplies his store. He supports Marggie in her suggestion to petition the duke for help, mostly because it is the one approach that will cost him nothing and does not require that he risk his own neck.
A Lady in Distress
The following morning, while the PCs are having breakfast in the common room, Sharelle makes an appearance. (read the following to the players):
You are enjoying a breakfast of hot oats served with a heavy, sweep syrup when a beautiful woman rushes in through the front door. She is dressed in fine clothes that have seen recent mistreatment for they have dirt smudges on them as well as small bits of leaves and twigs. Given the state of her clothes, and that her long, pale yellow hair is full of tangles, you would guess that the woman had just spent the night in the woods. She glances about the room after she enters and her eyes linger on you for a few moments before she hurries over to the innkeeper. Her voice is trembling somewhat, but it is strong enough that you can hear what she tells him...
"Fredrich! Oh Fredrich I'm so sorry to impose on you but I've nowhere else to go. Those giant beasts attacked my cottage last evening and killed Sean, Billy and Henry. It was only by sheer luck that I was able to escape into the woods before they killed me too. I was so frightened I didn't know what to do, so I just hid in the forest for the night. Oh Fredrich, what am I to do? I can't go back to my cottage now, what if they decide to come back? Was there any luck in hiring some mercenaries to deal with these giants? I noticed a group of strangers at one of your tables, are they here to help us?"
While the story Sharelle tells is for the most part true, her fright and sense of helplessness is an act. She did escape into the forest when the giants attacked, but did so in her fox form which allowed her to escape easily. Her purpose in coming into town was to arrange for some lodging (which Fredrich will offer, free of charge) and to see if the villagers have made any plans to eliminate the giants.
If the PCs have already decided to help get rid of the giants, Fredrich will tell Sharelle so and introduce her to them. She will thank them quite profusely, and offer to lend whatever aid her modest wizardly abilities might afford.
If the PCs have not yet decided to help the villagers, then Sharelle will do her best to convince them to track down the giants and kill them or drive them away. Any males in the party who are subject to her charming ability will immediately agree to help her when asked, and will be easily persuaded to do so without payment once she explains the village's poor financial state (which could make for an amusing bit of role-playing).
If Sharelle cannot charm any of the PCs into helping, or if the party is particularly adamant about being paid, Sharelle will offer to give them her ring of protection [+3] once the creatures have been killed. This is of course a lie and doubly so, for her ring is actually a ring of mind shielding, and she has no intention of letting the party have it. This DM should resort to this ploy only if the PCs are particularly obstinate about following through with the adventure. Sharelle's ring of mind shielding also prevents suspicious PCs from divining her alignment, or magically verifying the truth of her story and stated motivations.
Into the Woods
Once the PCs have decided to help out the villagers, Sharelle will suggest that they first go to her cottage and try to pick up the trail from there. It is the site of the most recent giant attack, and the trail there should therefore be the easiest one to follow. If for whatever reason the PCs do not take Sharelle's advice, then they will spend several days searching the valley, following various giant tracks before stumbling upon the hidden ravine. In this case, skip the next section and proceed with the encounter with the elven posse.
read to the players...
After traveling about 3/4 of a mile into the light forest that covers the valley floor, you come to a small clearing. A cottage and stable sit in the center of the clearing, and a well tended herb garden is visible just beyond the buildings. Both the cottage and the stable have been badly damaged by the giants, although the stable is in worse shape by far. Lying in the clearing are the bodies of three men, all dressed in leather armor and all dead from massive wounds caused by the giants' clubs and rocks. Two of them were armed with long swords, while the third was apparently using a short bow against the giants.
If the PCs decide to take the time to do a thorough search of the area, Sharelle will go into the cottage and begin tidying it up. A closer examination of the site will reveal little more in the way of useful information. Sharelle's cottage seems to have escaped with only minor damage to the roof. The stable however, is a total loss. Special tracking ability is not needed to follow the giants' trail, but a character who does have the skill will be able to tell that the giants were dragging some large objects along with them; most likely the stolen horses. They will also be able to tell that the either the injured horses were still alive, or that the giants were wounded because there are signs of blood along the trail.
Any PC who is not charmed, might find it strange that Sharelle is relatively unmoved by the sight of her dead companions, and that the fear she was exhibiting in town has almost completely disappeared.
Sharelle will resist allowing her home to be searched, especially her bedroom and workroom, but the PCs may have occasion to do so after the adventure. It is a cozy dwelling with a main living room, two smaller back rooms and a sleeping loft. The front room has a table, chairs and fireplace with cooking spit and cauldron. Wooden shelves along the walls once held plates, pots and eating utensils, but these now lie scattered about the floor. A ladder built into the wall leads to the loft where Sharelle's companions slept on straw ticks. At the moment, the loft is a shambles due to a boulder which crashed through the thatch roof and is now lying against the back wall of the upper floor.
Two doors lead from the main room. One leads to Sharelle's bedroom, which is comfortably furnished with a bed, a cushioned chair and a wardrobe containing a variety of women's' clothing. A small, locked jewelry box containing Sharelle's nest egg sits on the floor of the wardrobe. Inside are several pouches containing gold and platinum pieces (800gp total) and a dozen or more small, but valuable gems of various types totaling 1,200gp in value.
The second door leads to Sharelle's workroom. A wooden table in the center of the room is half covered with jars of various sizes containing a multitude of herbs and other, less recognizable substances. Shelves along the wall hold some household goods such as candles, linens, parchment, lamp oil, etc. and large clay pots on the floor contain potatoes, flour, onions, salt and other cooking staples. One shelf holds a small collection of books, most of which are of no interest, even to Sharelle who received many of them as gifts from infatuated admirers. Two volumes however, are her spell books (see NPC info for contents).
The party will not have too much difficulty following the giant's trail, which is heading more or less directly for a steep hillside farther down the valley, but on the way, they will first encounter the elven posse (read the following).
You have been following the trail of the giants for about 45 minutes. It seems to be taking a very direct route towards one of the steeper hillsides. The tracking is made easier by the fact that the forest in this part of the valley has considerable undergrowth; crushed bushes, uprooted saplings and broken limbs mark the passage of the huge creatures. Other than the destruction of the local flora, you do not see anything out of the ordinary until quite suddenly, you notice a group of elves on the path about 30 yards ahead of you. They apparently have already seen you for they are watching you warily and holding nocked bows. Behind the elves, you can also see the tall figures of a group of centaurs. These creatures also have bows, but at the moment these weapons are slung over their shoulders. Each of the horse-men also carry a long, metal tipped spear but are not making any hostile moves. One of the elves steps forward and speaks in a heavily accented common: "What is your business here?"
Tingloren, the leader of the posse, is the only member of their group that speaks common, although he is obviously not comfortable with the language. If one of the PCs can speak the elven language, and makes this fact known, he will continue in his native tongue. Tingloren is not very fond of humans or halflings, and barely tolerates dwarves. Unless the party contains an elven character, he will be cool, brusque and generally unfriendly (although he will not initiate any violence). He will not immediately reveal his group's purpose for being in the valley, unless the PCs indicate that they too are tracking the giants. The presence of a elven PC will soften his reaction somewhat, but will still treat the PCs with suspicious detachment.
Unfortunately, the PCs will not have much opportunity to talk with Tingloren (3 or 4 rounds at most) before one of the other elves shouts out a warning in elvish ("Look out friends, it's that bitch-woman Sharelle; they're in league with her") and fires his bow into the party. This elf had caught sight of Sharelle who, after recognizing the elves, was attempting to remain unobtrusive and unnoticed behind the PCs. She was seen, however and the elf that saw her didn't stop to think before shooting at her. After hearing their companion's warning, and seeing him fire into the PCs, the rest of the elves will scatter and begin firing as well. They are quite familiar with Sharelle and are aware of some of her powers. They will assume that the PCs are either her cohorts or her charmed companions; and will expect trouble from them either way. They will concentrate their attacks on Sharelle, or other obvious spellcasters when possible. The centaurs will be slow in reacting to their companions strange behavior, and will not immediately attack the party. They will stand alert, and somewhat confused for 2 or 3 rounds and will join the fray only if they are attacked. Eventually they will come to the aid of their elven allies, but since they have no clue as to why they are fighting, their moral will be quite low will retreat if the situation gets too dangerous.
There are several possible outcomes from this encounter. The first would be that the PCs react to the elves' attack in kind and defeat them, probably killing some or all of them, and killing or driving off the centaur. Any survivors could be questioned (assuming Tingloren survives or the PCs speak elvish) but they will be very uncooperative, particularly if Sharelle is still with the party. Likewise, the foxwoman will exhibit an undisguised dislike for the elves, and will claim that they are renegade outlaws. Charmed PCs will of course take Sharelle's word over the elves, particularly after she points out that they attacked without provocation and thus can not be trusted. If she thinks they might comply, she will also quietly urge any charmed PCs to kill the "outlaws" quickly. Even if the party discovers the elves and centaur were hunting down the giants, it is extremely unlikely that any surviving members of the posse will join the PCs.
Another possibility is that the PCs are able to defuse the situation before it gets out of hand. This is more likely if some or all of the members of the party resisted Sharelle's charm and can communicate effectively with the elves. A few well placed, non-lethal spells (hold person, entangle, web, etc.) could effectively deter the elves long enough for the PCs to find out why they are attacking. Charmed PCs will be less likely to reason with the attacking elves, and Sharelle will certainly do what she can to disrupt any negotiations that might reveal her true nature.
If Sharelle is in danger of being killed, or if the PCs discover that she is a lycanthope and decide to turn against her, she will transform into her agile fox form and escape into the woods. She will double back on her trail a few times then will head for her cottage where she will hastily pack her spells books and valuables. She will then head for an outlying farm where she will acquire a horse and hit the road. With Sharelle out of the picture, the elves and the PCs might be able to form an uneasy truce. The elves will still not fully trust the PCs, but if they can be convinced that PCs were unaware of Sharelle's nature, they might be willing to join forces against the giants.
Regardless of how the encounter with the elves turns out, eventually the party will continue tracking the giants. Read the following:
As you have approached the steep hillside, signs of the giant's presence have become more frequent. there are quite a few trees pushed over, or uprooted completely. Broken limbs and squashed bushes can be seen all around as well as an occasional animal bone. As you continue on, through the mangled forest ahead, you can see a steep escarpment that rises up to a height of perhaps 30 feet. Your first thought is that the giants must have climbed up over the rocky, brush covered cliff face, but when you begin to search for a good place to scale the obstacle, you discover a ravine opening partially concealed by bushes growing on its sides. The ravine is about 25' wide and goes back perhaps 30' into the escarpment before bending out of sight. The multitude of giant tracks and animal bones at the mouth of the ravine convince you that you have found the giants' lair. The question now is what to do about it.
The ravine bends a couple of more times as it winds 120' feet farther into the hillside. The walls in the back of the ravine are higher (about 40') due to the rise of the hillside, and closer together as it narrows to 15 feet or so. The giants have pulled up a large number of trees and laid them across the top of the ravine forming a haphazard roof of sorts. From the top of the escarpment, it looks like an unusually large deadfall, except for the fact that most of the trees still have leaves on them.
From here on, what happens is entirely dependent on the actions of the PCs. If they are careful, and quiet, they will almost certainly get the drop on the Blackrock brothers who are resting in the back of the ravine. They have a fire burning, over which is roasting one of Sharelle's horses, and are playing a old giant game called 'hot rock', which involves pulling a rock from the fire and tossing it back and forth trying not to get burned. If the PCs listen quietly for a period of time they may hear a giantish shout of pain and a string of curses echo occasionally down the ravine.
This setup allows for a lot of creativity on the part of players in devising a plan of attack. It should be relatively easy for a character to climb the escarpment and scout out the giants lair from above, or for a thief or ranger to move silently down the ravine floor without being noticed. A few well placed archers along the top of the ravine could wreak havoc from relative safety (although they could still be hit by a thrown rock) and setting up some kind of trap or ambush at the mouth of the ravine might be quite effective as well.
The DM may want to modify the current physical state of the giants depending on the strength of the party. If the PCs have succeeded in enlisting the aid of the elves and centaur (or vice-versa), then leave the giants at full hit point strength and assume that they have recovered from their earlier encounter with Sharelle's companions. If the party is alone, or is made up of lower level characters, then reduce the giants' hit point accordingly so that this final encounter is sufficiently challenging without being suicidal.
Concluding the Adventure
Assuming the PCs win the final battle with the giants, they will probably search the lair for treasure but will come up empty handed. The giants were kicked out of their clan with nothing but their loincloths, and have not accumulated any wealth since then. The villagers will of course be overjoyed at the giants' defeat and will treat the party to a hero's feast. If any elves or centaur accompanied the PCs, they will leave for home immediately after killing the giants and will not participate in the victory celebration.
If Sharelle is still with the party, she will attend the feast, much to the chagrin of the women in town and will begin to surreptitiously "interview" men to replace her companions killed by the giants. Any charmed male PC is her first choice, and she will very probably succeed in convincing them to stay with her rather than continue on with their party. It will be up to the non-charmed PCs to somehow break the charm, or forcibly "abduct" their comrades although any openly hostile actions against Sharelle will incur the wrath of not only the charmed PC, but three-quarters of the male population of Willowville as well. The charmed PCs will resist any efforts to make them leave Sharelle which could make for a very interesting opportunity for role-playing. As a DM, I would suggest giving a substantial experience point bonus if the players play out this portion of the adventure well.
There are a couple of follow-up activities the DM may wish to pursue as well, depending on how the adventure played out. There is still a force of 12 elves following behind the advance posse. If the PCs ended up killing some or all of the posse, the elves following behind may decide to exact some form of revenge for the act. This is particularly likely if the PCs and any surviving elves never settled their differences over the incident in the forest. If Sharelle is still alive, the elves might discover this fact and decide to eliminate her, perhaps "freeing" any charmed PCs still in her company. If Sharelle's true nature was discovered during the adventure, and she successfully fled the scene, the party may encounter her again.
The Cast of Characters
Snagtooth and Bearbreath, the Blackrock brothers (hill giants)
ac 3 hd: 12 + 1 hp: 50 thac0: 9 damage: 2-12 + 7 (w/ club) or 2-16 (w/ thrown rock)
They have no items of value.
Sharelle, the foxwoman
ac: 2 (as a fox), 4 (as a vixen), 6 (as an elf)
hd: 8+1 hp: 35 thac0: 13 damage: 1-2 (as a fox), 2-12 (as a vixen), bw (as an elf)
can assume the form of a silver fox, a fox-headed elf (vixen form), or an ordinary elf
automatically charms all males with wisdom of less than 14
hit by silver or [+1] weapons
90% immune to sleep / charm
when in fox form, can pass without trace in natural terrain
she wears a ring of mind shielding
4th level wizard abilities with the following spells in her book
level: 1 number per day: 3
affect normal fires [P 131], alarm [P 131], change self [P 132], chill touch [P 132], comprehend languages (r) [P 133], dancing lights [P 133], detect magic [P 133], magic missile [P 136], sleep [P 138], spook [P 138], taunt [P 138]
level: 2 number per day: 2
alter self [P 139], bind [P 139], fools gold [P 141], improved phantasmal force [P 95], Leomund's trap [P 143], preserve [A 54], shatter [P 145], stinking cloud [P 145], web [P 146]
Posse - elves
ac: 6 hd: 3 hp: 12 thac0: 18 damage: bw
armed with short swords and short bows (+1 to hit with these weapons)
Posse - centaur
ac: 5 hd: 4 hp: 17 thac0: 17 damage: 1-6/1-6/bw
armed with long spears which do 1-6pts damage (double damage if charging) and short bows