Gang or group fighting is reminiscent of most original fantasy and for this meeting the party was on the receiving end of it. Attacked by hordes of goblins or kobolds is expected now and again, but these were Grylians - a hybrid tiger/humanoid creature I had used years ago. Standing almost 7' tall, 300 lbs, no movement penalty in snow, 15 AC, +3 strength, +7 to Initiative, 5+5 hit dice, 3 natural weapons or two attacks with a prepared one, and capable of using the Grylian long bow that packs a punch similar to a crossbow. The group was being dropped left and right but managed to prevail at the end.
Write up follows:
Thurin positioned Pop (still invisibly) near the base of the spiral stairs going higher into the citadel, about 15’ from the dead Frost Giant, relying on the familiar to let him know if anyone came closer to investigate. Meanwhile Draugmor and Guyus continued their checking out of the main floor chambers. From the “barracks” room there was another doorway, which opened to reveal a combination washing room as well as barracks for another 10 Grylians. There was an alcove in the left side of the chamber which had a larger “sleeping” area, 4 or 5 fur blankets deep. The reek of urine and Grylian was very strong from it.
Draugmor wanted to check it out and see if there was anything there for it, but was fearful or repercussions or traps or anything. He spent a long time checking it out before daring to even move the first sleeping fur.
Meanwhile, Pop informed Thurin that there were Grylians coming closer and sure enough, the Frost giant’s head lolled to the side. Thurin let the rest of the group know and Aleron loaded up his Grylian long bow while the mage and dwarf readied their own long range weapons.
Detheron had come into the room with Guyus and the thief and after a short Detection, revealed no magic in the area. We did notice though that his spell had the room suddenly radiating warmth – and the warmth stayed. The druid informed us of “something” coming on the stairs and the party went back to the hall together.
Guyus was able to feel 3 sources of evil and they were just on the other side of the giant and the curve of the stairs. We drew up into battle formation and then crept forward slowly, anticipating the battle to come.
And then we were shot in the back. Grylian arrows flew across the foyer from the MAIN DOOR, where we were not looking, skewing Detheron and knocking the druid down, and also bouncing off Thurin’s ensorcelled clothing and mage armor.
And then the front facing Grylians fired at the group, dropping Gwyn from the impact of the bow, the shaft penetrating his throat. The next two leaped into the group, closing to melee range with Guyus and Draugmor. More arrows were shot and this time Aleron was struck, the ranger reeling from the impact. Guyus summoned his war steed and had it try to kick the Grylian grappling with him free but it failed, kicking Guyus instead.
A 6th Grylian tore into the fight, wielding a large tooth like a dagger. It leapt into Aleron, buried the knife in the ranger’s chest, and dropped him to the ground and 0 hp. Smokey was directed into the fight and the bear went toe to toe with the tooth wielding Grylian, wounding him deeply. To keep the party from getting shot from behind, Detheron called on Frey to fill the hall with a fog cloud, dropping visibility to nothing. Thurin moved to the side and his around the corner.
The battle slowly turned as most of us were able to stand up and fight the Grylians back. The leader type leapt away from the fight and down the stairs to the basement while the one on the stairs retreated back up. We waited, no one else jumped out to attack, so the party rested and bound up their wounds. The arrow in Gwyn’s neck was removed and Aleron was revived with some of the last healing we had. According to Detheron more than half the party was below half hit points and we had no healing of any note remaining.
As for the Grylian down the stairs, attempts to stick our nose past the steps resulted in arrows shot up at us. Guyus played chicken for a bit and a light spell covered stone was thrown down there, followed by his steed – but it resulted in nothing except for his horse falling over and the light stone being taken and brought elsewhere.
Pop was guarding the stairs and told us often that the stairs smells of Grylian and the weasel was convinced it was at the stairs top. We checked out the rest of the floor, finding nothing. We kept an ear out for Norris and Mebali who did return with the sled and our firewood. The group decided to hole up here, in the citadel. We would use the armory room and bar the door.
It was a fretful night but we awoke the next day and ventured out. The Grylians were nowhere around and we looked about, finding prints in the snow showing that they had left during the night (4-8 of them by our count). The citadel also didn’t seem as cold today.
From here we explored the structure for the next 6 hours from basement to 3rd floor. We found a torture room, stores, barracks that would allow 25 Grylians to sleep, a shrine to Thrym with something missing (according to the giant/dwarven runes, something that was called a “Thrymian Engine” – some sort of relic that would be housed here), larder, kitchen, workshop, a few hidey-holes, Njor’s chambers, a records room, and a few other points of interest. We did discover a map of Freysteig denoting cities, Snorri’s Pipe, a river (called the Gullinflow), a lake, and 3 or 4 locations that had the same symbology as Njor’s Citadel on the map – making us think there might be 3 other citadels out there.
One of the last things we found was writing called the Deed of Yngvi:
On the lee of Snorri’s Pipe
She was borne to
Sleeping Giantess with
Flaxen hair of gold.
She called aloud
To that who was her Grandfather
The Morninglord did answer
Clear as the Gjallar’s call.
She wrestled Gylfang
And wounded she was.
But with the belt of Gullin
She smote him down.
The maker of Runes
Met Yngvi at the shore
And took her there
To where Heimdall waited.
With proof of her deed
Bifrost did open
Beyond where Sutur’s scion
Wait for Ragnarok.
By the deed of Yngvi
The Rainbow bridge
Holds prism firm and open
To all who blow the trumpet.