Monday, September 16, 2019

Storm King’s Thunder #3 – Captives, Caverns, & Cloud Giants

               It has been some time since I have been able to write about my Storm King’s Thunder campaign. My group is all about 40 years old with careers, families, and responsibilities, it has just been crazy for all of us for different reasons. We finally got to meet up this past Friday and continue our game into the murky world of SKT. When we last left our group had just fended off the Orc attack on Nightstone and was considering options in attempting a rescue on the civilians in the caverns to the North. They had Felgolos go to the caves to scout, he returned and told them that the villagers must have been captured, and they decided to have him go to Waterdeep to send help. The village seemed to be on everyone’s radar as open for the taking, and they needed help in keeping it free. Like the good “Bro” that Felgolos is, he decided to help again.

Hekaton looking great

                The first order of business was the party wanted to deal with Kella. She was chained to Shandy, but helping against the Orcs with solid advice, if anything to keep herself alive. Towards the end of the Orc fight, things looked like they were not going the party’s way, Shandy decided to cut her free and told her to run. Taking full advantage of this, she did and took off into Nightstone. Now that the incident was over there was a big debate as to what to do with her. They noticed that the drawbridge was not down, so she could not have left yet. She must be in the town. The party, being three people, split into three different chains of thought on what to do with her. Shandy wanted to let her go, and even wanted to try and see if she would help them with the rescue of the villagers. Izumi took the exact opposite track and wanted to bring her to justice for her crimes, possibly killing her. Ionas took a middle path, he wanted to lock her up until they got back from the rescue, then release her. He did not want her loose while they were away. They never fully came to an accord once they found her and it got rather heated.

                Kella had made it back to the Inn and she was gathering her belongings. This is how in the standard adventure path you find her and I felt this was an appropriate time to reveal that she had been in the town before these events. They approached and asked her to come down peaceably, but Izumi had a much harsher tone stating, “If you do not come down now, I will kill you.” This did not go over well with Kella. Izumi kept calling her out for stabbing them in the back and how she has no honor. Shandy was trying to smooth over the wrinkles, but to no avail. Eventually after being berated for a while Kella shot back at Izumi, “I have no honor? You attacked my friends unprovoked and killed them. You are the honor-less killer.” Then she challenged Izumi to single combat to resolve the situation. I really wanted this to happen, because I honestly did not know how it would shake out. She is the spy template from the Monster Manual, at this point Izumi is a 4th level Bard from the College of Swords. It would have been close I believe. Shandy and Ionas stepped in, and Ionas reminded everyone that he was the one that actually was stabbed in the back and tells her that she was going to go into a cell for a time, until the group came back. Then she was going to leave and that was that. Ionas is usually pretty soft spoken, so this was unusual, and everyone agreed. They locked her up, and ordered the stooge guards not to let her out until they got back.

Kella still causing problems

                The group set off for the caves hoping to be able to rescue the townsfolk from the clutches of an enemy they believed correctly was goblins. They still have not done a long rest since the Orc fight, but got a short rest while on the way to the cave. While headed there they decided to look for any signs of activity and see if the tracks looked like anything they recognized. They did well on the roll and I described obvious goblin prints, but some other humanoid prints were there as well, something big. At this point they have giants on the brain and thought that this was part of the giant narrative. I did mention if it was giants, it would be giants on the smaller end of the spectrum, possibly giant-kin. They approached the cave and Izumi went to scout and discovered the main room. It had some goblin guards on ledges, and an Ogre bathing in a mud bath. They decide to try and lure the guards out by making an illusion in front of the cave, and hiding above the entrance. When setting up for this, Ionas noticed a bit of smoke coming out of the top of the hill. When they investigated the smoke, they realized there was a chimney up top and decided to descend into the caves that way.

                Immediately they run into Snigbat and attack him, luckily for him he lives long enough to be pathetic. They take pity on him and he agrees to betray Hark and show him where he is located. He encourages them to kill him, and then Snigbat will take over as boss, and free the prisoners. The party seemed to agree, and Snigbat upheld his part. He led them over to Hark’s area and they see Hark and 2 other goblins betting on giant rat fights, while other giant rats are feasting on the corpse of a villager. Now is a good time to discuss how module think things will play out, and how they actually play out. The module spends a good two paragraphs discussing “if the party tries to negotiate with Hark”. This, I believe, is wasted ink. Most gamers I know will show little mercy to a goblin that is eating people and feeding them to giant rats. There might be some out there, but I don’t know many. Hark sees the party enter with Snigbat, and begins to speak, before that can happen Shady sees the bodies and says, “I rage and throw my spear at him.”

Both my games this week featured Ogres

                The Goblin Boss in the Monster Manual is downright amazing, l love the little guy. He is mean, and has a handful of great abilities. He gets two attacks, can disengage as a bonus action, and can use his reaction to shift an attack onto a nearby goblin. He was very fun to play. The spear came at him in a surprise action (I know they are not in 5e officially, but I still use them), he pulled his mate in front of him and that goblin nearly died. Then the combat ensued. Hark managed to move around, and get all the other goblins in the room killed by dragging them in front of him, including Snigbat (it does not say the goblin has to be willing). He had his rats attack the party and in the end, everything was dead, except him, he had 1 HP and the party was severely hurt. Giant rats tore the party up, and I forgot their pack tactic rule.  At this point Hark tried to negotiate, and was going to let the people go, the party was having none of it. He did warn them, “I can make sure the Ogres don’t…..” he never finished the sentence as Shandy cut him in half. Speaking of the Ogres, I had them making listen checks every round and they were on their way.

                The party disagreed as to what to do, Shandy wanted to stay and fight, Ionas and Izumi wanted to flee and come back. Shandy decided to move to a choke point where he could only face one Ogre at a time, Izumi fled up the chimney, and Ionas said he was leaving, but ended up backing Shandy with the few spells he had left. Remember the party still hasn’t had a long rest since before the Orc fight, supplies were at their breaking point. Shandy and Ionas managed to kill Throg the Ogre, but their mate was a different story. Ionas decided to pull the Iron Bands of Billaro and wrap up the second Ogre. At that point Shandy and Ionas made short work of the Ogre who failed to break out of the Bands. Izumi came back down, with a combined effort of illusion, thaumaturgy, and a screaming warforge carrying an Ogre head, they scared the rest of the goblins from the cave.

                They rescued the villagers, but I did give them the body count of those that were eaten. The group was a little hard on themselves for not acting sooner, but all things considered they did well. I tried to ingratiate them to Morak Ur’Gray the dwarven proprietor of the Nightstone Inn, because of the upcoming events and sending them on a quest to Bryn Shander. Morak did not want the mantle of leadership that the party was thrusting upon him, making him make decisions for the group. He did step up though because he cared about the townsfolk and respected the party. I decided to play Morak, like many of my dwarves, as Ron Swanson from Parks & Rec. I plan to write a larger article on how Ron Swanson is the perfect dwarf stereotype, but that is for another day.

                The party brought the villagers home, and spent the next few days helping to fix the town as they received word from Waterdeep that supplies were on their way, and a small contingent of Griffin Riders would be patrolling the area to keep the riff raff away. They also received orders from the Harpers to continue deeper into the North and try to recover any information about the situation with the giants. Kella did stick around a few days, helping with the clean-up, she knew many of the villagers from her spying days, and is not completely heart-less. That is, until Izumi and Ionas pushed the issue. Izumi wanting her locked up, and Ionas wanting her gone. They left it to Morak, who was told about her friends trying to take over the city, and he decided it “might be for the best if you leave”. So she packed her things and moved on.


                Morak then asked the party for a favor, his friend Semile was killed in the attack and wanted to know if the party would pass the news and some of the personal items onto her brother. Her brother, Markham, is in Bryn Shander and this would allow them to go deeper into the North and see what they can find out. This is a contrivance of the story, because if the party says “no” it is hard to get this puppy back on track. Especially because Bryn Shander is extremely far away. My group are old veterans of D&D and smell a plot hook and bite full force. They set off for Bryn Shander. They don’t get but a day away from Nightstone when they hear a horrible and loud crash off in the distance. When they move to see what has happened they see a floating tower, surrounded by clouds, that has crashed into the ground. There is energy surging all over the tower and it looks dangerous in general. The party knows that something similar to this attacked Nightstone and move to investigate. They manage to scale the side as the tower begins to slowly rise. They then meet the owner of the tower Zephyros the Cloud Giant.  

                Zephyros lets the party in on the main plot of the entire SKT module and he has been looking for the party to help them fix what is broken. Here are his main points:
  • The All Father of the giants was mad at the giants for the events in Rise of Tiamat. He decides to abandon his children, and shattered The Ordning.
  • The Ordning is the giant’s hierarchy, and determines their place in society.
  • King Hekaton, Lord of the Storm Giants, was keeping the giants in place through force.
  • Queen Neri was killed by “small folk” and this sent Hekaton into a rage.
  • Princess Serissa, next in line for the throne, convinced her father to investigate the problem.
  • Before that was resolved, Hekaton disappeared, leaving the three Princesses vying for power.
  • All the other giants are trying to please the All-Father in their own respective ways, so that when the Ordning is restored, they will ascend. This is what is causing the madness in the North with all the giants.
               Zephyros has been contacting other planes of existence in order to try and find a way to fix the problem, this surge of energy is interfering with the control orb in the tower causing it to crash on occasion, and destroying his own mind. He did receive information that he was to help the party on their quest, because it leads towards the restoration of peace in the giant kingdoms. He agrees to escort them to Bryn Shander, but it will be almost a month of travel.

Next stop!

               This is where we ended the session, the party has met with their traveling companion and is on their way to Bryn Shander. I just had one of my party members message our group chat saying that he is really enjoying the game. I am happy about that, I am having a good time too. What adventures aboard the tower await? Who knows? Tune in next time.

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

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