Nim, Uthrid, Rudy and Theren awoke in an encampment surrounded by a few natural stone formations. A field of tall grass led north from the encampment creating a path through a jungle that encroached on the rest of the view in all directions. Mountains rose from foothills beyond the grassy path. The adventurers found themselves stripped down to their small clothes. The were tucked into bedrolls and there was a pile of equipment tied to two mules by the campfire. They found a few days rations each in beans and rice, nuts, water and a fine bottle of wine with the equipment. There were sets of hide armor for the taller people. Nim got a dagger, Rudy took a battle-ax, Uthrid ended up with a spear and Theren got a mace and a sling. Their treasure trove of gold and magic items were gone. They could no longer take food for granted because the Basket of Everlasting Provisions was gone. They had no Bags of Holding to carry all their gear. The transformation from riches to rags was devastating to the moral of the party. They had been left with a few torches, flint and steel, some rope and some throwing axes. They had no rituals but they all still had the Mark of the Tembo and the Greatwing Tattoos. There was a map with the equipment and a letter from Baba Yaga. The map showed that the adventurers were just southeast of the Crystalmist Mountains. North of the Mountains was a land called the Wastelands and Skull City. Jungle covered most of the area before reaching the sea in the south and east. These waters were labelled: The Desolate Waters of $&@¥£€#. The map indicated villages in the foothills of the mountains. The note from Baba Yaga congratulated the adventurers on avoiding her cook pot and thanked them for the many valuable items they had brought her. It explained that they had been interviewed but they would not remember the sessions. She revealed that some of the items they had carried had powers they did not know of. In particular she told them the necroshard longsword INVERNESS that Uthrid had carried was a lich’s phylanctary. She also left each party member a randomly drawn card from the Deck Of Many Things but they each chose to burn the card instead of accept it’s benefit or curse. They were attacked by worgs but fended them off and got used to their new weapons.
After lamenting that they were too weakened to continue their quest in Skull City they decided to head for the foothill villages that their map promised would be there. They came to a ruined village at daybreak and observed a group of dwarves laying their mentor to rest. They revealed themselves to the dwarfs and learned that hill giants had raided the village and taken dwarf and human prisoners. The pass to other villages had been cut off by giants in the mountains and travelling through the jungle was impossible in the dwarves’ opinions. They knew where the hill giant steading was located and planned to there to seek revenge and perhaps free their captured friends. When the adventurers volunteered to aid them they quickly gathered any gear they could find to better arm their new friends. Alden was the oldest of the dwarves, who were mainly career miners. Finn was nearly as old as Alden and he was the only one trained as a soldier. Finn carried a great ax and wore plate mail armor. Alden acted as the leader of the group and carried a war pick. Borri was a young blacksmith’s apprentice whose master was one of the dwarves who had been captured. He showed excellent skill as he fitted an old set of scale armor for Uthrid and sharpened up some swords for the fighter and Rudy. Alden found a bow and 30 arrows for Theren. Garek was the teams burglar and specialized at scouting and using his knives. Durin, Holgar and Kamand also carried war picks. Holgar was the teams cook and a capable herbalist. Kamand was the youngest and was responsible for tending to the ponies. In short order, they set off toward the steading. They hoped they would arrive to find the hill giants drunk from celebrating the recent raid. Uthrid had to ride on of the ponies because his joints were aching badly. A yellow chicken footprint had appeared on his forehead as well and he occasionally clucked uncontrollably. Nim was having disturbing thoughts that sometimes distracted him. Holgar had no remedy for their maladies which they figured were curses they had picked up in Baba Yaga’s Dancing Hut.