Monday, July 29, 2019

Storm King's Thunder #1 - In the Beginning

               I went through the module and liked the bones of the story, and I liked a lot of the details. It can suffer from points where there is not a lot of focus. The story also is relatively linear, and as mentioned in my previous article, the sandbox pieces feel a bit stapled on. I totally dig the big personalities in the story overall, and I actually plan to play it 50/50. I want the giants to be serious, and not a joke. I will play many of the other personalities much more hammy. I hoping it will give the adventure a certain charm, but not lose the narrative.

Such cool art

                Let’s talk about my PCs, first is the “Cleric” Ionas. I put it in quotes, because I believe his intention is to take several levels of Wizard, more than Cleric. This character worships Ogma the Binder, and is the Knowledge domain. His goal is for enlightenment, as he put it, “I not only want to see the fabric of the universe, I want to see the threads that make up that fabric.” His character is trying to be an oracle/diviner, which will work out all sort of nice for me down the line due to one of the major plot threads.
                Next, I have Izumi, who is a Bard from the country of Wa. For those that are not up on their Forgotten Realms lore Wa is a stand-in for Japan. Izumi was born with the unfortunate disposition of not being able to control her emotions to the standards of Wa society. She would have the occasional outburst over the beauty of the world, or a piece of art and this was an embarrassment to her family. As a minor noble she was expected to marry for political reasons, but when she refused, she was sent on a “political” mission to the far corners on the known world. This would rid her family of her embarrassment, and pleases her because she wants to learn about other cultures.
                Lastly is Chandelier (aka Shandy). Shandy is a Warforged Fighter from Eberron. He was accidently summoned to this universe and had random memories thrown into his frame. He was discovered in Wa and eventually became the guardian of Izumi in her travels. He came to consciousness fully formed, and thus knows things without having huge context for them. He also when traveling through space/time was infused with random memories of people from the Realms. I added the last part so that on occasion I could splash a bit of plot through him if needed. His name is from the first thing he saw when he was asked who he was. He was fascinated by the lights above him that were arrayed in a beautiful pattern. He asked what it was, he was told it was a Chandelier, and decided to be called that.
                Since the adventure has been out for several years it has the benefit of resources to call upon. I have decided to use a lot of information from these two Reddit Posts, and this guide that I found on DM’s Guild by Sean McGovern. McGovern’s guide is especially helpful and to anyone planning on running SKT you should check it out. Almost every suggestion he makes, I agree with. Thus, in my reports you will see a lot of his changes. Between all three sources there are a lot of common themes in changes that should be made, and nothing convinces me like consensus among RPGers, because it happens so rarely.

This is a great resource.

Ok, enough gibber gabber, get to the fucking monkey!

                I went with the idea of doing prologues with all the characters to quickly introduce them to some of the characters of the story, and start pushing ideas that need a push. I started with Izumi, and she had been in Waterdeep for several months and often took quite boat rides to view the beauty of nature and to help her compose great works. One of these quiet days was abruptly interrupted and her boat was capsized and wrecked by a set of storm giant females. They quickly apologize and help Izumi to shore. They begin talking and both a fascinated by the other’s culture. She learns that they are Queen Neri and Princess Serrissa and both sides agree to meet again and share pleasantries. Weeks go by and they meet regularly each bringing small tokens of each other’s culture and a friendship is created. One day in the middle of this meeting, another larger storm giant emerges from the water and begins to chide the women for involving themselves with “the small folk”. Apologetically the three return to the water, never to be seen again by Izumi.
                Next was Ionas, and he was a young, Harper adventurer on a quest of exploration. His group was captured by Iymrith, the Ancient Blue Dragon, and she was turning his party members into stone statues, and later into gargoyles. She taunted and teased them a bit, and then she began the ritual on him. His hand slowly started to turn to stone, as the dragon cackled. Just when he thought all was lost a group of Harper heroes came in and start wailing on Iymrith. Primary amongst them was Artus Cimber using the Ring of Winter and screaming “Blood of the Lady” over and over. Ionas was rescued, but his hand is still made of stone.
                Shandy was a bit of an issue, because he was relatively new to the world, and was the guardian of Izumi. Trying to get a prologue with him was puzzling me, so that is when I came up with the idea that he would have some random memories from people in Forgotten Realms. One of his memories was in a very cold and icy cave. In front of him was an Ancient White Dragon who was crying and verbally attacking herself. The person whose eyes he was seeing through was hiding, and managed to see a corpse covered in snow with its hand sticking out and it was wearing a ring. The White Dragon continues to moan about how, “The Master will not be happy. I lost it.” The person tries to make a break for the entrance and is spotted, they distract the dragon by pointing out the ring, to which the dragon squeals with delight. The person manages to get away into the cold, and the vision ends.

Looks like Shandy

                All of these are being used to foreshadow events that will come down the line and tie the characters somewhat into the over plot. This makes them a bit more in the plot as opposed to outside looking in. We decided to hand wave them knowing each other, and they all decided to be members of the Harpers. I started them having a meeting with their patron in Waterdeep. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure who I wanted the patron to be so I pulled the oldest trick in the book, the patron is a Masked Lord of Waterdeep. The identity will be determined at a later date, you know, because details.
                The patron describes to the group how the Harpers and Force Grey have been working together gathering intel about disturbances in the North. Caravans are being raided, corpse found at random, small villages being wiped from the map. They are not sure who or what are doing these acts, but they have sent their agents out to try and find out. They received a message from Hashnag that they needed to get to Nightstone as soon as possible because there was a rumor that something was going down there soon. He was too far to get there in time, and this group of Harpers was sent to find out. Short on time and details, the party is convinced to move with great haste.
                The party collected some supplies, including a few ponies and a pack mule, and set out. On the morning of the second day they ran into a woman in the road being attacked by a pack of goblins. She is injured, and trying to fend them off. Izumi decides to take off on the pony charging into combat. Shandy, who is on foot, runs after Izumi. Ionas decides to tie down the horse and mule and follow after. I declared that it would take them 2 rounds to catch up. Izumi manages to kill one of the goblins straight away, while Ionas cast Thaumaturgy and causes the ground to shake under them to frighten them. Shandt continues his long haul to the battle. Three goblins left, 2 decide to run off, one directly away, and the other towards Shandy and Ionas. As the goblin runs by Shandy misses with a glaive strike, but Ionas crossbows him for 1 point of damage. This begins the saga of Larry the Goblin. The next round Larry is able to move up next to Ionas who draws his weapon and hits the goblin for 2 points of damage. The goblin continues to run towards the mule, and is closing in. Ionas picks up the crossbow and shoots again, hits for 1 point of damage. Larry is still running. Ionas shoots 2 more times and cannot hit him, at this point the goblin has untied the mule and is preparing to run away. At this point Ionas is overly pissed and decides to use his Guiding Bolt and nukes Larry for 13 more damage. I described that the donkey looked like the back of the car in Pulp Fiction with poor Marvin.

Imagine a donkey

                Shandy mopped up the last goblin and they rescued the woman named Kella. Izumi had noticed that Kella’s wound is an electrical burn, and she claims she was with a caravan that was attacked by a dragon. They seem to assume it is a blue dragon, and they tell her to accompany them to Nightstone. As they approach something is wrong, no one is watching the walls, and the church bells are tolling non-stop. They use caution and move into the town under stealth and notice that giant boulders are like pox marks across the city. As the move from building to building they slowly take out random goblins here and there, all with a note of silence. Even when they kill the goblins ringing the bell, they continue to ring the bells in order to hide their movements. They set a careful oil trap for the Worgs, and have no problem bringing them down. They decide to go and check out the fort up on the ridge, and begin to move across the shattered bridge.
                We decided to end it here, but as you can see it was an eventful evening and I had a lot of fun. I hope you enjoyed reading about it. We play semi-monthly, so and update will be about two weeks away.

I went ahead and created a Facebook group for the blog, if you are interested the link is here.

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