When we left our band of adventurers, they were desperately trying to catch up with the hill giant Fangrinth and his cohort of orcs and goblins. The group suffered some early hardships, from losing the artifact to attracting the attention of a few giant spiders. Fangrinth was well ahead of them and didn't seem to be slowing down at all.
Senthon, the High Elf ranger played by my brother knew the forest very well. Despite low rolls for tracking their foes, Senthon was able to keep the rest of the party abreast of the situation, keeping track of how many orcs and goblins remained with the giant, making particular note of the orcs (his favored enemy). After dispatching the giant spiders, the group elected to keep moving at double time to make up for lost time.
What they didn't know was that Fangrinth had run into some trouble of his own. The tables I had built for the two parties included opportunities to speed up and issues that would slow them down. I've copied the tables below. Feel free to use or adapt them for your own chases.
Fangrinth speed table (1d6)
1: Encountered wild creatures, lose 1d4 followers and take a long rest
2: Found a shortcut, moving faster. subtract a long rest
3: Normal speed
4: Normal speed
5: Pack mule threw a shoe, stop for short rest
6: Goblin alchemist makes restorative potion, subtract a short rest
Party speed table (1d6)
1: Encounter animals, must fight or escape
2: Find a shortcut, speed up
3: Normal speed
4: Normal speed
5: Path trapped, detect or trip
6: Find a supply cache with basic gear
For obvious reasons, the party table did not force them to take rests, as it was more fitting for them to decide when they needed to stop for any length of time. Fangrinth may have started out quickly, but his luck ran out just as quickly. Soon beset by giant wasps, he lost one of his orcish lieutenants and soon after was forced to stop numerous time by a stubborn mule with a terrible farrier.
The Party eventually found the site of Fangrinth's fight with the wasps. An extensive search of the site revealed a map to Fangrinth's lair hidden on the corpse of the orc. While Senthon and Brondlim (the dwarven cleric/hermit) studied the map for other possible routes, dragonborn conman and sometimes fighter Rhogar took the orc's rusted dagger to sell as a long lost relic.
The party followed Brondlim down a game trail that bypassed much of the road. By nightfall they had reached the tower while Fangrinth still lagged far behind, camped beside the road with a handful of used horseshoes. He was desperate to make it to the tower, and hoped to make it to the gate before it was too late to read the relic's message.
Meanwhile, the party scouted the tower. It was lightly guarded by three orcs and a couple goblin sappers walking the battlements. Senthon and Hollagas (rogue) stealthily climbed the wall while Samita (barbarian) remained on the ground, creeping closer to the orcs warming themselves by the fire.
Hollagas, in a moment of incredible inspiration stealthily dispatched the goblins. With another flourish, she casually tossed one of the sapper's charges into the fire below, incinerating the orcs before they had to wonder what had fallen out of the sky. Miles away, Fangrinth held his head in his enormous hands while a forty foot high column of flame shot into the sky behind him.
Ecstatic from Hollagas' success, the party laid a trap for the giant. Those with ranged weapons hid along the battlements, while Samita and Rhogar crouched beside the tower door. Saran (sorcerer) used minor illusion to create the image of a live goblin on the wall and cast disguise self to appear more orc-y.
Fangrinth, in his hurry to make the tower walls, barely noticed the smell of charred orc as he entered the courtyard. The paladin Thia pulled the lever and slammed the gate down behind the giant, trapping him inside while most of his raiders remained outside. The party descended on him in a perfectly executed attack, peppering Fangrinth with arrows and magical bolts while Samita used her rage to strike a serious blow at his feet and Rhogar smashed his mace into the giant's shins. Senthon nocked a final arrow, taking careful aim before firing it deep into Fangrinth's eye. The giant fell with an enormous thud and his raiders fled into the forest.
Pulling the black iron sphere from a pouch, Senthon and Saran soon deciphered the glowing text that encircled the bands. After a three day expedition through the forest, they located Ulthred the Wretched's secret treasure vault, untouched for more than a hundred years. Inside, they found numerous magical relics and enough treasure to found their own company.
The group had a great time with the little one-night adventure. It was a great opportunity for everyone to acquaint themselves with the basics of D&D while still being free to have fun with their character's personality. I was so happy to see them working out their own plans and traps for Fangrinth, and my niece's insistence on collecting every scrap weapon she found was perfectly in line with her background. We played one more adventure the following night, this time adapting the first edition adventure The Jade Hare. Perhaps I'll share the details of that game another time.