A frost giant, who happens to be a fan of all things Elvish, has captured the elves from a local village and is keeping them, as pampered prisoners, in glass terrariums on his bookshelf. Players must rescue the captive elves and can do so through a variety of methods.
The party arrives at small snow elf village that appears to be completely abandoned. Searching homes, players find journal entries and childish drawings depicting a terrifying frost giant that lives up in a mountain cave.
For more direct instruction, players can find a snow elf who managed to avoid capture. She tells them about how the frost giant crept into town, snatching up elves left and right, and carried them off to his home in the mountains. The elf can point the way up the slope towards the giant’s cave or direct the party to large frost-giant footprints in the snow so that the players can track the creature themselves.
The players advance up the side of the mountain, weaving through dense forests and scaling up craggy ledges. As DM, feel free to add climbing/acrobatics challenges to keep the players on their toes.
The mouth of the giant’s cave is massive. Planks of wood and uprooted tree trunks are stacked and leaned against the side of the cliff in some incredibly crude attempt at recreating Elvish architecture. This serves as the first of many indicators that the giant obsesses over Elvish culture.
Here are the rooms of the giant’s cavernous home:
- The Kitchen – Strangely enough, there are no signs of elf bones or the remains of some elf stew. Instead, there is an assortment of root vegetables, snowberries, and mushrooms (the giant is trying to wean himself from his high-protein needs and adopt a more vegetarian diet).
- The Bedroom – The giant’s bed is neatly made and seemingly unused. Instead, there is a rug at the center of the room where, if the party catches the giant while he’s “sleeping”, the giant sits in an attempt to meditate like elves do; of course, his efforts will fail, and he will simply fall fast asleep, snoring loudly.
- The Training Room – This cave area has targets and a pile of crudely made (and broken) short bows alongside stone-tipped arrows. The giant has clearly been trying his hand at elvish weapons…and failing miserably because his strength keeps snapping the bows.
- The Sitting Room – This final room features some crude furniture, like a table, a few chairs, and a sofa of stone slabs. A wooden bookcase leans against the far wall and, on the top shelf, sit the glass terrariums that contain the captured elves. On the “coffee table” (aka another stone slab) sits a very simple picture book called “Baby’s First Elvish” with simple single-word captions coupled with pictures of things like “tree”, “cloud”, and “house.”
During the exploration of these rooms, the players need to be stealthy. You can have them roll a d4 when first entering the cave to determine which of the rooms above the frost giant starts in. Then, of course, the giant can lumber about the rooms freely, warning players of his approach with heavy footsteps and frustrated grumbles.
The players need to climb 20 feet into the air to even reach the shelf that contains all of the glass containers. If a player stands on the shelf, they must roll a Dexterity check (DC=12) to determine whether or not the shelf collapses under their weight. With each added player to the shelf, it creaks more and more, and the DC rises by 2 each time.
The elves are thankful that someone showed up to rescue them but, if asked about their treatment, they confess that the frost giant has taken very good care of them; he spends most of his time staring at them in their glass terrariums longingly, sighing to himself, and attempting to mumble back the Elvish words he hears them say to one another.
The terrariums can be shattered by either dropping them to the floor (and possibly hurting those inside) or by swinging with a strong melee attack. Doing so will be noisy unless the frost giant is somehow distracted/indisposed. If the giant hears the commotion, he will angrily enter the room ready to fight, first trying (and failing) to use an Elvish short bow before switching for a more giant-worthy weapon like his great axe. You can use the following stat block for frost giants.
There are a variety of ways to successfully complete this encounter:
- Shatter the terrariums and slay the frost giant
- Use magic of some sort to help the elves quietly escape their glass prisons and stealthily leave the cave without being detected (DM Note: unless the players replace the elves with decoys, during the mountain descent, they will hear an angry roar from back up in the cave and be soon joined by a rampaging frost giant)
- Speak to the frost giant (in Giant or some very fragmented Elvish) and convince him that he can be an honorary “elf” in the village (if the party can also persuade the captured elves to be onboard with this plan)
Provided that the elves are returned safely to their village and that the frost giant is destroyed/pacified, the elves reward the party with gold or intel about the strange goings-on in the region. If the frost giant has been successfully adopted as an “honorary elf”, the frost giant can even happily gift the players with his great axe since his new “elf” status means he wouldn’t wield such a barbaric weapon anymore.