Laughing Fox: Shaman, lvl 5
Helena Keller: Dwarf Machinist, lvl 4
Boldvay: Magic-User, lvl 4
Mark: Thief, lvl5
Whiskey: Explorer, lvl 2
The party kept their word and returned to the Power Station the next weekend. They left out on Friday but unlike their last trip, this one proved more eventful. That first night, they encountered a flock of 4 cockatrices who were flying towards the group's camp. Neither side were surprised, and fighting soon broke out. Spells were cast, including Holy Chant, Dispel Magic, Phantasmal force, and soon to follow, Spiritual Weapon. Arrows and bolts were launched as well. Mark used the opportunity to use the Horn of Blasting at the foul creatures. This, while proving very effective, scared off all the horses. Still, not long after, the party emerged victorious. Laughing Fox collected the bodies of the stony birds and the players decided to settle back in for the night and to search for the horses in the morning.
Early the next morning, a couple of the horses comes back to camp. The party soon leaves to search for the others. While most of the party stays in their wagon, Whiskey stays ahead of the group on foot, looking for tracks. They venture towards the northeast, and finally after some hours of searching, stumble upon horse tracks. They lead to a copse where they can see flying above a hippogriff with one of their horses clutched in it's claws. It soon drops the horse, and they hear a sickening wet crunch. The players then notice one of their other horses fleeing from the copse and is headed their way, with about six hippogriffs hot on it's trail.
The players grabbed Whiskey and Laughing Fox decides to use the fleeing horse as a "snackrifice" so that the party can get away in their wagon. I ruled that each of the hippogriffs have a 33% to continue to focus on the poor horse instead of the party. Two of the hungry creatures made the roll and soon flew off with neighing horse. The horses tied to the wagon see and hear what happens to their equine companion and soon break morale and flee, taking the wagon with them. The remaining four hippogriffs soon chased after the now fleeing party in their wagon! Laughing Fox tried to cast a spell against the flying beasts, but I ruled that since the terrain was rough, he wouldn't have the focus needed to properly cast his spell.
The wagon manages to stay ahead of the hippogriffs, but just barely. Many in the wagon use their missile weapons, which prove effective. Boldvay uses up another charge for his Staff of Wizardry and casts Fireball. This roasts and drops the pursuing bird horses. They finally reach back to their camp of the previous night, where they find two more of their horses waiting for them. Eventually, they make their way up to the Power Station where they are greeted by the welcoming dwarves. They also find that the Joe Bridger III has finished up the gunpowder.
They stay the night and Laughing Fox, Joe, and Helena use the combine the bodies of the cockatrices with some of the gunpowder to make grenades that can explode and cause the targets to make a saving throw against petrification or be turned to stone. Nice. They head back the next day and on their way home, encounter a family of storm giants flying around in their cloud castle. I decided that these were the same storm giants that Urgag the Orc Chief (a patron player) encountered earlier in the week. He tried to recruit them but with them being Lawful, they told him to get on and leave them be. I also decided since they're lawful beings, the Bunyans (as Urgag called them) are also good Christian giants.
They hailed the players and told them not to be afraid. They invited them to their cloud castle, Stormanvil. The giants treated the players well and took them back to Pottsfort. They even showed them their giant pool of holy water that they kept in case they ran into foul demonic or undead creatures during their travels. The players then asked them if they could help them with their vampire problem. The giants agreed, and decided to stay around Pottsfort for the following week. The rest of that story is soon to follow...