Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday Recap: Life in a Northern Town

G I A N T B O Y E does him a frighten
We finally had another session of Storm King's Thunder! When you play weekly, it feels like a long time when you miss a week. We only had a session and a half of travel time, but it felt much longer.

Also, I should mention that if you haven't seen Dice, Camera, Action, it's a great time. Chris Perkins, the guy who writes the official D&D adventures, leads four players (each of whom are Twitch or YouTube celebrities in their own right) through his adventures.

They began with Curse of Strahd, and are now working their way through Storm King's Thunder. It's cool to be playing through an adventure concurrently with Chris Perkins, even if he takes his group wildly off the rails. They stream most Tuesdays at 4PM PDT, but you can watch the YouTube archive or read brief summaries of the episodes if you want to catch up.

They aren't paying me or anything, I just happen to really like the show.

Anyway, on to the recap!

Storm King's Thunder: Life in a Northern Town

Going upstate's my destination
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

Our heroes have been traveling with Zephyros, a kindly Cloud Giant wizard, in order to get to the town of Bryn Shander. They have news for the Sheriff, Markham Southwell, that his sister died in a Giant attack on the town of Nightstone.

Their travel so far had been fairly eventful. They met more Cloud Giants, had a run-in with the Cult of Howling Hatred, and met the Oracle of Power. After receiving omens of where a powerful magic item meant for them might reside, they returned to the tower and continued their journey.

The next few days, they travelled over the Mere of Dead Men, a dangerous swamp filled with all sorts of nasty monsters. Zephyros warned them of an Ancient Black Dragon named Voaraghamanthar that patrolled these parts.

The players wisely avoided investigating any strange or unusual things that they saw over the Mere, although Rolen was tempted to go down and check out what appeared to be a circle of dancing lights on a hill. The other players out-voted him.

 Finally, the players cleared the swamp, but no sooner were they in safer skies that they had another problem to deal with. Mialee, while playing with Zephyros' pet Griffins in the aerie, saw a dark shape approaching from the north.

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Ride the Dragon!
It was Felgolos, the Bronze Dragon they had befriended in Nightstone! However, he was flying right at them... and carrying several dwarves on his back and with his claws. He flew up to the tower, dropped the dwarves off at the entrance, and winged his way up to the aerie.

Cecelia, who had been practicing on the first floor of the tower, watched as the six dwarves ran in, and 5 of them quaffed potions that turned them into clouds of mist. The sixth ran over to Cecelia, asking if she was hurt and claiming they were here to stop the Giant. Cecelia blanched in shock and quickly began trying to explain.

Meanwhile, Felgolos ran straight into Mialee in the aerie, and also immediately claimed to be here to help rescue her. Mialee was able to quickly convey the situation to Felgolos, but he warned her that the dwarves were here to stop Giant threats and were planning on attacking the tower's Navigation Orb (which kept the tower in motion).

The misty dwarves floated up to the second floor, where Zephyros and Rolen were discussing the finer points of magic. Suddenly, five dwarves armed to the teeth appeared in the room, and began to run straight for the Navigation Orb!

Rolen quickly cast sleep on the dwarves, hoping to drop at least one, but he was unsuccessful. Zephyros, thinking quickly, intoned the spell for Mass Suggestion, his highest-level spell.

All five dwarves stopped in their tracks. Zephyros gave a carefully-worded suggestion that they didn't need to attack him, he was no threat to the Small Folk. The dwarves all began to nod to each other and agree.

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Small in stature, large in beard
The leader, who had been convinced of the situation by Cecelia, introduced himself. His name was Voldrik Firehammer, and he was working for the Lord's Alliance, a network among the powerful cities and rulers of the Sword Coast. he said there has been increased Giant activity all over the sword coast, and about a week ago a group of refugees from Nightstone told of a direct assault from Giants.

The dwarves left agreeably (very agreeably, among those who had been suggested to do so), but Voldrik warned that if Giant activity continued, the Lord's Alliance would likely start putting out bounties on Giant heads. Felgolos also wished them a good journey, and hoped that he would run into them again soon!

They continued their journey along the coast, travelling over the fairly peaceful High Road. Cecelia saw a ruined statue on the side of the road, and they stopped to check it out.

All that was left of the statue was feet and a plaque. It was once a statue of Maliantor, a wizard of the Grey Hands, an adventuring group in Waterdeep. Cecelia was able to name off all of the members, since she had looked up to them as a child.
  • Jardwim, the ranger and leader, who always had his two Blink Dogs with him
  • Asper, a scrappy human fighter known for taking on foes much larger than her
  • Carolyas Idogyr, a wild magic sorceress who was loved for her caring demeanor
  • Harshnag, a Frost Giant adventurer who spoke little but laughed loudly in battle
  • Maliantor, a wizard taught by the Blackstafff who always had lots of scrolls with her
Rolen told Mialee that the Blackstaff is the guild of magic within Waterdeep, and Blackstaff is the title of the guildmaster. He also noticed that there were some magic scrolls, still intact, left in tribute near the statue. His Staff of Hrysam told him to take them, whispering in a snake-like voice. Even though Cecelia was watching, Rolen turned invisible and grabbed the scrolls.
Not every team is lucky enough to have a Frost Giant buddy
Their travel was uneventful for the next week or so, but they did get a stunning view of Neverwinter, the City of Skilled Hands, and Luskan, the City of Sails. As they passed Luskan, the nights grew colder, and the wind became frigid. Before long they were flying over the snowy tundras of Icewind Dale.

The group stopped for a moment to inspect what appeared to be a large obsidian obelisk sticking out of the snow. Mialee, who had learned the basics of the Gint language from her childhood, could read the runes carved into the structure: "Warning! Evil Fire Dragon." The group also noticed that the obelisk was warm to the touch. Mialee spent several minutes wondering if it was alive and touching it in ways not suitable for polite company.

Zephyros explained that the obelisk was warm because there was a "Fire" rune on it. Rolen's ears perked up at the opportunity to learn a new kind of magic. The fire rune was causing the obelisk to be enchanted! Zephyros explained that Giant was an old and powerful language (much like Draconic, Abyssal, and Celestial), and he himself had inscribe the "Skye" rune upon his Navigation Orb.

He also warned them that the dragon was likely "Old Snarl", an Ancient Red Dragon named Klauth who was notorious for being a horrible tyrant and an evil magic user. He lived in a valley where it was perpetually warm and lovely (despite the cold chill all around) but was infamous for eating anyone who came to his land for comfort from the cold.

The group retreated to the warmth of the tower, and for the rest of the journey, Zephyros explained the rune magic to Rolen. However, they didn't have much time to get through it, before they arrived at Bryn Shander.

Zephyros dropped them off a few miles outside town, so his tower wouldn't cause any trouble. The climate was biting and cold, and the party was ready for a warm drink and a thick coat apiece by the time they reached the walls of the town.
She'd go Southwell in a heartbeat
Outside the gates they were greeted by Augrek Brighthelm, a bright-faced, red-haired dwarf woman with green eyes and a big smile. She welcomed them, saying that she was a deputy of the Sheriff and that he worked out of the Town Hall in the Central Market. Also, every member of the party was sure that she was head-over-heels in love with him.

The players wandered towards the market, passing by shops and stables. When they reached a large, grey temple, Cecelia heard a voice shout "Blood of the Lady!" She immediately recognized the catchphrase of Artus Cimber, the Harper agent with a powerful magic ring who saved her life from the Dragon of Statues.

However, it turned out to just be Artus' son, Sirac of Suzail, a round-faced, plain looking human man with world-weary eyes and twice as many winter clothes as anyone else. He was working in the temple as an Acolyte of Torm, and told them he didn't know anything about his father's whereabouts. A powerful, nigh-immortal adventurer likely didn't care about a small-town fisherman and civil servant.
I worship the God of Loyalty, but not because my dad ran out on me. That's silly.
Rather than hear Sirac's lesson on the duty and loyalty of Torm, the group bid him farewell and continued into town. They reached the Town Hall, but were disappointed to find that Sheriff Southwell was out on patrol and the guards had no idea where he was.

Frustrated, the party went looking for a shop to buy goods at. However, before they could, they were accosted by a beggar covered in furs asking for change. They each gave a little, and the beggar expressed approval at the company Cecelia was keeping these days.

Pulling back her hood, the beggar revealed herself to be Beldora, a waifish woman with a smirk plastered on her lips and a mischievous glint in her eye, who was a well-connected member of the Harpers and survived on her wit and wiles. She had been on Cecelia's mission to the desert to fight the dragon, and had also been saved by Artus Cimber.

Beldora, introducing herself by several different names to each member of the party, congratulated the group on their efforts in Nightstone. She officially raised Cecelia to the title of "Harpshadow" within the Harpers. This meant that Cecelia could now go on secret Harper missions, as well as gaining a mentor within the organization: Beldora herself! Beldora gave Cecelia a sending stone so they could always stay in touch.

With formalities out of the way, and Rolen turning blue from the cold, Beldora suggested they stop in Kelvin's Comfort, a tavern where they could get some of Flamebeard's Firebrandy and warm up. The group pulled Mialee off of a confused stranger and headed towards the tavern.
She's like an underground river because she's well-connected
We stopped there for the week. There's a lot of groundwork to be laid in this game before we can get to the meat of things. If you've played or read through the adventure, you probably saw some of the things I'm trying to do here.

Next week, things are going to get real crazy! This whole journey and town exploration is building up to the first major event of the adventure, and then we'll really be cooking.

Thanks for reading!

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