I am in the middle of the Ultimate Marvel Movie Marathon, and cleverly forgot to post yesterday. I will correct inaccuracies when I get back to my notes.
Following the battle with the young hill Giants, the party continued their travels, aiming to get out of giant country as soon as possible. Soon enough, however, the night watch warned of a much larger giant approaching their expanded and improved earthworks.
This giant carried a squiring prisoner and offered to trade it for a horse, as the latter would be better eating. After discussing the pros and cons of having another mouth to feed, more riders for fewer horses, and the general awkwardness of meeting new people, the team eventually made the trade. They learned that the man was a guide, and the sole survivor of an expedition to explore a mysterious castle.
More discussion about what to do with the fellow was interrupted by the approach of two giants, one being the original trading partner. When the party prepared to mount up in case the fight went poorly, they discovered that their saddles had been sabotaged.
Barely a single accusation had flown before the recent prisoner conjured magical darkness. Only Corin was quick-thinking enough to try to disrupt the spell, but unfortunately only Zeta was harmed. (Unknown to him, the treacherous guide was magically protected against fire)
The rescuee responded with a cone of cold that killed the horses and badly hurt many party members, revealing his true form to be an oni, or ogre Mage.
The ensuing battle was dangerous and obnoxious, as the oni alternated damaging area attacks with bouts of invisibility. When the party finally seemed to be getting the upper hand, the boss giant called for a parlay.
It turns out that all the subterfuge was an effort to trick the party into exploring the very castle Tony the Oni had described, as it was death for Giants to enter. With no horses and a promise of treasure within, the party ultimately gave in to the extortion.
The castle itself proved a very strange place, seemingly rebuilding itself from a ruin. After methodically searching the outer areas, the party determined that the place once served as a center for hunting, dissecting and studying various forms of life. A few trapped chests yielded some treasure, and there was a bit of excitement with a tentacle monster in a well.
Shard of First Ice: take a bunch of cold damage to create a Wall of Ice
Sheath for a short sword that makes the sheathed weapon vorpal for one attack after being blessed at any temple
A shard of glass that slowly oozes blood
Next, the party dares to plumb the mysterious depths of the main keep!