Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Recap: Defenders of Icewind Dale

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This game happens here
We had another short game this week, but a lot happened! I'm beginning to really appreciate the travel system, it makes the wilderness a thing to explore and engage with. The games after this will involve a lot of travel, and it feels good to have a dynamic system for the players to interact with, rather than me just rolling a single random encounter and then telling them they made it to wherever they wanted to go.

Storm King's Thunder: Defenders of Icewind Dale


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
Shannon: Kye Bosunen, human Purple Dragon Knight, carries a big sword and his honor

When we had last left our heroes, some drama had taken hold of the party. Kye had (unwittingly) revealed his feelings for Rolen, and Rolen had turned him down. The characters had all gotten drunk at Kelvin's Comfort, their favorite tavern in Bryn Shander, and as usual ended up sleeping all over town.

After Duvessa Shane had gathered the lot of them, she told them she had a job for them. Duvessa had called a meeting of all the Speakers of the Ten Towns, of which Bryn Shander was the biggest. Half of them had already arrived, but the more distant Speakers had gathered in another town called Easthaven. It was a day away, and Duvessa asked the party to escort the Speakers to Bryn Shander.


Denneth Waylan: hates the cold. Lives in a cold place.
The group left early, making it to Easthaven without any encounters or delays. Easthaven's speaker, Denneth Waylan, had requested them directly, and as it was already after sunset, the group went to the Visiting Dignitaries House.

There, they were treated to excellent accommodations and libations. Denneth proved to be a very haughty man, but he was quickly swayed by the group when they presented a letter given to them by Duvessa. The House was outfitted with a bar, and the party split up to mingle with various Speakers and their guards.

Cecelia met a spunky old lady named Edgra Durmoot, Speaker of Dougan's Hole and a political ally of Duvessa. They chatted into the night. Meanwhile, Mialee spent her time reading a mysterious book she had found in her pack that hadn't been there until that morning. It was, of course, an instruction manual on improving intimacy.

Rolen swooped in to save a female guard from a portly man hitting on her, and the man turned out to be another town Speaker. He quickly picked up on what Rolen was doing, and took his leave gracefully. Kye gravitated to the other side of the room, away from Rolen, and tried to diffuse an argument between two Speakers from rival fishing towns.

For this session, I gave Kye a temporary ability: Heartbroken. Whenever Rolen was in sight, Kye would roll all his mental checks and saves with disadvantage, but Kye would get advantage if Rolen was out of sight. This didn't affect the game too much, but ended up making some great role-playing moments for social situations such as these. Also, I made sure the players were on board beforehand, so they were interested in the interaction and neither of them saw it as a "punishment".

The heroes retired to their various bunks, and in the morning the entire band of Speakers, squires, guards, and adventurers was ready to head out. Rolen was upset that he didn't have time to do any fishing on the lake near Easthaven, but the group needed to make it back to Bryn Shander or risk traveling at night.


It just wants to hug you! With its mouth.
Along the way, they were ambushed by Crag Cats! Having already fought some of these on their way to Ironmaster, the group quickly dispatched the beasts, finishing them off before the rest of their companions were harmed. They arrived safely back at Bryn Shander, and Duvessa was very pleased. She gave them a Potion of Greater Healing for their trouble.

The group split up for the evening, Mialee opting to continue to read her book and Kye heading to sleep, while Cecelia and Rolen went for drinks with the Speakers and their guards. Rolen ended up in the stables again, and Cecelia passed out in the snow and was taken in by Garn Blackiron's sister.

The next morning, the group met up at Kelvin's Comfort for some lunch, and Beldora joined them. She had a secret mission for Cecelia to carry out, and it could result in her gaining some good credibility with the Harpers.

Rendaril, the owner of the biggest supply shop in town, had made a public accusation that Ogden Flamebeard, proprietor of Kelvin's Comfort, had been making his signature Firebrandy by simply rebottling cheap liquor and selling it at a high price.

Beldora knew Rendaril was a shrewd businessman and wouldn't make such an accusation without proof, but she also knew that Ogden was a beloved citizen and his Firebrandy was famous through Icewind Dale, so the accusation alone likely wouldn't cause Kelvin's Comfort to lose any business. So the question was: why would Rendaril make the accusation at all? Beldora asked Cecelia to sneak into Rendaril's shop that night and find out.

During the day, Kye met a member of the Lord's Alliance who had posted up a bounty poster: the North had put a bounty on Giant Heads after the attacks on Nightstone , Bryn Shander, and some townsnear the Greypeak mountains. The man, whose name was Martyl, was quite condescending and challenged Kye to a duel. Kye easily bested him, and the nearby commoners chuckled at the spectacle.


ralphhorsley.deviantart.com
The thievery value of Mage Hand is highly underrated
After dark, the group made their way to Rendaril's Emporium. Cecelia cast Silence on the group to mask their movement, and Rolen cleverly used a window and his Mage Hand to unlock the door. They began to set to work, carefully searching through Rendaril's papers.

Cecelia found a leather case with vials inside it, marked with a skull. She gave it to Rolen to identify with his new ritual, Detect Poison and Disease. Mialee found the combination to Rendaril's safe left on a scrap of paper from Rendaril's assistant. They opened the safe and found papers proving that Ogden really was using cheap liquor, but no evidence of Rendaril's plans.

Cecelia made sure everything was put back properly where it had been left, except the poison, which Rolen had identified as a powerful sleeping poison called Torpor. The group pocketed that and took it to Beldora the next day.

Beldora was pleased to hear that the mission had gone so well. She suspected that Rendaril was going to try to poison some of Ogden's supply, which would seal the deal and run him out of business. However, with the poison gone, Rendaril couldn't carry out his plan and would know he was being watched. Sure enough, Rendaril withdrew his accusation later that day.

The group was getting restless in the small Town of Bryn Shander, and they went to Duvessa to let her know that they were leaving. Duvessa was sad to see them go, but she agreed that the town was getting back on its feet. They hadn't had a Giant attack in several days, the dwarf patrols had established themselves, and the townspeople were more confident and ready to get back to normal life.

Duvessa also started taking combat lessons at the party's insistence... so far so good!
Duvessa gave them one final gift: a letter to her aunt in Waterdeep. The party could use it to gain free ship passage along any part of the Sword Coast. Beldora also gave her wishes goodbye, she had been asked to continue to monitor Frost Giant activity in the Ten Towns. She gave Cecelia a small, ticking package, with the instructions to take it to Thwip Ironbottom in the next town south, Hundlestone, and to NOT open it. Cecelia was very nervous about it.

Duvessa also let them know that if they were hitting Hundlestone and Waterdeep, the quickest way would be down the coast. However, the group decided to take a more scenic route and visit Mirabar, Triboar, and Red Larch (in part because there is a statue of their old characters in Red Larch now!

As the party took their leave, many townsfolk gathered around to wish them off. Mialee and Rolen said goodbye to their various intimate friends, while Cecelia and Kye wished Beldora good luck and packed their things onto a cart the Ten-Towners had prepared for the group.

As the town wished them off, the heroes began their journey through the North! Mialee, having finally finished her book, tranced in the wagon. She had figured out something important about her personal quest: The Oracle who could give her incredible intimate powers was located in the Nether mountains. Though they wouldn't pass through on their current journey, Mialee hoped she could someday make it to the Nether regions.

This week, I also learned who Cody is basing his character on. Suddenly, it all makes sense.
We stopped there this week. I'm very excited that the players wanted to explore more of the North instead of taking the quick route down the coast. I'm interested in making all the different cities, seeing which ones they just pass through, which ones they get involved with (like Bryn Shander) and how the travel works in the long-term. I think it will be really fun!

Plus, if you have read the module, you know that one of the cities on their journey will have the whole "player-controlled NPCs during a giant attack" type deal. I'm going to try to make every town full of cool NPCs so the group won't know when a giant attack will hit until it's too late!

Last note: we won't be playing next week because Cait is studying for her grad school finals. She was also studying during our game this week, which is why Mialee was just reading a book for a couple days. Good luck Cait!

Thanks for reading!

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