Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday Recap: The Rave Cave

It's a Great Club!
This was our third session of Storm King's Thunder! This intro adventure is really going by quickly, and the players are feeling much more comfortable with their characters. I hope the sense of achievement can hold up once they aren't leveling every session.

Storm King's Thunder: The Rave Cave


Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Megan: Cecelia Sondheim, human bard, a Harper hoping for a bright future!
Cody: Rolen Dundragon, half-elf Warlock of the Archfey, a scoundrel with a heart of gold
Cait: Mialee Galanodel, elf ranger, from a distant land and doesn't have personal space boundaries

When we last left our heroes, they had just defended the village of Nightstone from some Orcs with the help of daring elf hero Rond Arrowhome. Now, all that was left was to rescue the actual villagers themselves, who had apparently been holed up in the Dripping Caves for several days. The players decided to rest up and move towards the caves under cover of night.


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Little did they know the horrors awaiting them
Leaving their new pet Tressym, Rillex, with a few guards in Nightstone keep, they made their way to the cave. It was fairly obvious where the villagers went into the cave system, but Mialee quickly discovered that the goblins they had fought in Nightstone had also come from this cave.

Not wanting to rush directly into a goblin-filled cave, the heroes searched around the small hill for alternative entrances. The guards from Nightstone had told them there were a few different ways to get into the cave, and they discovered a small crevice which seemed to lead down into the earth.

Tying a rope around a nearby tree, they descended into the Dripping Caves. Rolen, with his skinny arms, used a thorn whip to hang on to the rope and not fall. Cecelia went down first, and as she neared the bottom of the rope she heard a strange noise: a kind of shuffling and tapping of footsteps, and a little melody being sung by a high-pitched, rough voice.

Cecelia sang the melody back, and the noise stopped. As the group lowered themselves down from the rope, they heard the small voice ask them if they wanted to hear a joke.

They agreed, and the voice told them a joke. "Why do elves have long ears? ... Because otherwise they'd have no point!" The heroes, even Mialee, got a kick out of that one. With the group laughing, the source of the voice leapt out from behind a stone wall.

umbrafox.deviantart.com
Even Goblins need someone to make fun of
It was a little goblin, dressed in a jester's outfit. She was holding a scepter with a little wooden goblin head on it, whose mouth open and closed when she shook the scepter. She introduced herself as Snigbat, and her wooden goblin head as Batsnig.

Together, Snigbat and Batsnig told a bunch of jokes, which were met with mixed reception. Cecelia loved them, Mialee didn't get half of them, and Rolen pretended to laugh while trying to figure out if they needed to kill this little creature.

Eventually they asked Snigbat what she wanted. Snigbat explained that she was no goblin, but actually a Nilbog! Because Goblin Boss Hark was such a jerk, sticking Snigbat in the dumb position of "chimney guard", she had become possessed by a nameless spirit and turned into a Nilbog.

Snigbat said that all she wanted was to turn the entire cave of goblins into Nilbogs. However, she couldn't do that as long as the goblins obeyed Boss Hark, who she described as a huge stick in the mud. Also, Boss Hark had tricked some ogres into his service, and since they couldn't be nilbogs they would have to go. If the heroes were willing to help Snigbat take care of the ogres and Boss Hark, the entire cave would turn into jovial little Nilbogs and the villagers (who also couldn't become nilbogs) would be free to go.
She just wants to DANCE
If you haven't picked up Volo's Guide to Monsters, this creature is from Volo's pg. 182. In the actual text of the Storm King's Thunder module, Snigbat is just a down-on-her luck goblin who despises her position and wants the heroes' help. According to Volo's, "there is a chance that a goblin will become possessed by a nilbog, particularly if the goblin has been mistreated by its betters." This seemed like the perfect chance to use a fun monster from an alternate sourcebook, and I think it turned out really well, as you will see!

The heroes decided to take care of the ogres first, rather than risk fighting ogres and goblins at the same time. After using dancing lights and Snigbat's help to lure one of the ogres over to a small crevice where it wouldn't be able to fight well, Cecelia cast silence to make sure their combat wouldn't be detected by the other denizens of the cave.

The ogre was very confused by his inability to roar, and had a hard time fighting in the tiny corridor. The heroes kept their distance and peppered him with arrows, crossbow bolts, and eldritch blasts. Just as he fell, however, a second ogre came running. She roared in silent rage at the death of her companion, and attacked the group.

Cecelia took a massive hit from the ogre's greatclub, and the silence bubble popped, just in time for the ogre to roar out in anger and sadness. The heroes quickly dispatched the monster, but they could hear Snigbat out in the main cavern trying to convince her fellow goblins not to go check out the noise.

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Big, dumb, and ugly: the perfect guilt-free D&D monster
Rolen and Cecelia decided to try to imitate ogre sounds to make it sound like the two creatures were off having an intimate moment, instead of fighting. They did surprisingly good imitations, so much that even Snigbat was surprised at their performing prowess.

With the goblins calmed and the ogres dispatched, all that was left was to find the Goblin Boss and take him out. Snigbat lead the group a short ways, ending just outside Boss Hark's chambers. Snigbat decided to go in and distract Boss Hark while the charcters prepared an ambush.

Snigbat jaunted into the room and told Boss Hark a joke. Cecelia and Mialee nearly ruined the ambush with their laughter, but Boss Hark didn't get it at all. He was jsut about the order Snigbat to death when the heroes leapt out to make their move!

They immediately got a lay of the room. They saw Boss Hark, his two goblin guards, and his seven giant pet rats eating something vaguely humanoid in the corner. Rolen fired off a sleep spell, hoping to put the guards to sleep while they dealt with Hark.

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Surely nothing bad ever happened from sleeping on the job
The sleep spell turned out to be incredibly potent, knocking out both guards and Boss Hark in one go! The heroes quickly dispatched the giant rats while Snigbat conked the goblin guards on the head.

With all the other threats taken care of, the heroes easily dispatched Boss Hark. As soon as they did, Snigbat began to dance and caper around, and the other goblins rose to their feet and began to dance around as well.

Snigbat allowed the heroes to take Harks' treasure horde, since the new cave of nilbogs had no need for it. The heroes got swept up into the mood, dancing and laughing with the nilbogs. They gathered the villagers from various parts of the cave and bid farewell to the now jovial nilbogs.

The heroes finally met Morak Ur'Grey, innkeeper of the Nightstone Inn, and the dwarf who Mialee had been told to seek out to find adventure. Mialee responded to finishing her quest in her favorite way: by unashamedly flirting with Morak. Meanwhile, Cecelia told the newly-rescued villagers of the death of the steward of Nightstone, Lady Velrosa Nandar. The villagers were very downtrodden that their home had been destroyed and their steward killed.

The party and the villagers decided to spend the rest of the night in Nightstone Keep, where they held a small ceremony for Lady Nandar and decided what they would do next.

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Morak takin' care of business
Morak decided it would be for the best if everyone went to Waterdeep for the time being, and a few of the villagers gave the characters tokens of appreciation for their rescue. Morak mentioned that the heroes could accompany the villagers to Waterdeep, and then head further north to Bryn Shander. One of the villagers killed in the giant attack had a brother who worked as the sheriff of Bryn Shander, and Morak suggested that he'd likely be appreciative if the news was delivered personally.

The guards decided that if they were going to leave Nightstone, they might as well give it a good send-off. They cracked open Lady Nandar's wine cellar and everyone toasted to their rescuers and to fond farewells.

Mialee continued flirting with Morak, and Cecelia flirted with a teifling stable boy named Grin. While the girls and their new friends went off to celebrate in private, Rolen got drunk and fended off the attention of an old human lady named Renarra.

In the morning, the heroes prepared to accompany the villagers to Waterdeep. They packed their bags and gathered all the supplies they could from the ruined town.

They actually did "Pack their bags". I've decided to try to make travel an interesting part of this campaign, so we're using a new set of rules that cover travel time, encumbrance, and random encounters. I'll be posting articles here in a few weeks detailing exactly what goes into this new rule set, but we aren't quite to traveling games yet, so they can hold off a little bit.

Their first day on the trail was quiet. The villagers were well-protected by the remaining guards from the keep, who were happy to have something to do again. However, during the afternoon, Mialee looked up at a bird and saw a magnificent sight.

Up in the clouds was a tower, sitting upon a cloud, with a giant wizard's hat set upon the top. It began to descend, and stairs made of clouds formed below it, reaching down towards the ground exactly where the heroes were standing.
Yep, that's the official art. A big Wizard Hat. 
That's where we ended for this game. I gave the players a brief overview of what they can expect for traveling, and how long it would take to travel to Bryn Shander. They immediately took to it, asking about taking a ship out of Waterdeep to cut some time off their journey. I hope that's a good sign that we can make travel games fun.

The real challenge will be figuring out ways to give them more choices like that for overland travel. I'll have to think about giving them reasons to travel all over and creating time limits on various travel goals to force them away form always taking the safest routes.

In the end, taking the safe route isn't always the best route, after all!

Thanks for reading!

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