Monday, July 3, 2017

Monday Recap (Plus Cool Milestone): On the Feywild Side

Welcome to the Jungle!
We played Storm King's Thunder again this week, but before I get to that, I have a cool thing to observe.

This post marks my 100th article for this blog. I never expected to have this much to write about, and some of these posts are HEFTY. I'm really happy that I have a reason to keep writing every week, though. Not to get sentimental, but I really feel like this blog is helping move my life in a better direction. A skill is improved not by a single great leap, but by a thousand small steps. I've never considered myself a writer, but I guess I am now.

Here's to another 100 articles!

Also, here's to a Monday Recap!

Storm King's Thunder: On the Feywild Side


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 last left our heroes, they had just barely arrived at the Hostower of the Arcane, home of the Arcane Brotherhood in Luskan, when the whole place was attacked by a Cloud Giant castle. The wizards in the castle responded with a wave of Fireball spells, but two Cloud Giants floated down to where the party was waiting and tried to break in the front door.

Cecelia immediately leapt into action, using her mentor Beldora's technique to climb up a Giant's back. Meanwhile, Rolen and Mialee began to fire at it from range, and Kye charged forward, sword in hand.

Shorty always bringing the Giant down
The Giants responded in kind - Kye and Cecelia took powerful hits from their massive morningstars. However, Rolen and Cecelia quickly used their Hex - Curse combo to completely lock down the one of the Giants. The other Giant decided to go straight for the doors of the tower instead.

Rolen responded by casting Hunger of Hadar, which not only made the Giant take damage from being near the door, but also blocked its sight so that it couldn't even open the thing. The Giant fled from the door, but decided to take out its frustrations on Kye. In what was becoming a common occurrence, Kye dropped to the ground, completely out of stamina.

The other Giant, under the effects of a Hex spell and a Curse spell, was clutching its head and howling in agony. Mialee abandoned her bow and rushed forward to attack with her Pink Princess shortswords. She slashed at the Giant's legs, causing it to stumble to its knees.

At that moment, Rolen's tressym familiar Morgana had crept across the battlefield to Kye's side. She was carrying a Potion of Healing, which Kye gladly drank. Pulling himself back to his feet, Kye thrust his blade upward into the falling Giant, piercing it through the neck.

The other Giant, seeing the gruesome death of its companion, decided to cast Gaseous Form and retreat back up to the cloud castle. Rolen attempted to use a spell to lower the temperature of the air and revert the gas back to a liquid, but that's not how magic works and he should know better.

The castle was now retreating, having been driven off by the Arcane Brotherhood. Rolen quickly searched the slain Giant for treasure - if the Giant was richer than him, it would have higher standing in Cloud Giant society, and his Giant Rune enchanting might suffer. Fortunately, he found less gold on the Giant than he currently held, and got a new enchanting rune to boot.

The doors to the tower opened, and a group of wizards came out. Their leader thanked the party for their assistance, as they had prophesied that without a "band of giant slayers" guarding the door, the Hostower might have fallen. The leader introduced himself as Jendrick the Blue, one of the 5 most powerful wizards in their order.

They really know how to help a brother out
Jendrick removed Kye's curse as the reward for their assistance, but was otherwise tight-lipped about why his tower was being attacked by Cloud Giants. Mialee was fairly sure that the Giants weren't exactly good in nature, but the motives of the Arcane Brotherhood remained a mystery.

With Mialee rejoining the group, they discussed what had happened to each of them and what they should do next. Cecelia received a note stating that the Harper contact, Dral the one-eyed half-orc, was waiting for them at a tavern called the Croaker. Mialee, on the other hand, wanted to help a young boy she had met. He was looking for his brother, who he claimed was stolen by faeries.

The group decided to seek out the boy, whose name was Jakob. He was enamored by the group, calling Mialee a "fairy lady" and Kye and Cecelia "awesome warriors". He lead them to his home, and (with his dad's permission) they went inside to look around.

Mialee was distracted by Jakob's dad, and started flirting intensely with him. Meanwhile, Cecelia realized Jakob's brother was only 2 years old, and checked the child's crib. She found a small piece of paper, covered in writing she couldn't read. The group passed it around and Rolen was able to decipher it.

In both Elvish and Sylvan, the paper revealed it was an advertisement for a shop called "Assistance in Finding Children Taken by Faeries". The group was incredibly suspicious, of course, especially when it came to the directions on how to find the shop. The paper didn't name any streets, but instead told the reader to perform a series of hops, skips, and rolls to get to the location.

A secret place requires secret moves to find
Suspecting they were dealing with Fey creatures, they followed the paper's instructions and found themselves in front of a small storefront bearing the same name as the paper. Lots of little baubles and trinkets filled the windows, and Rolen immediately cast Detect Magic before they entered.

Just as they were about to go in, a group of thugs spotted them. They were wearing the colors of Ship Rethnor, which the group had been not-too-friendly with earlier that day. The thugs yelled to stop and give up, brandishing clubs and swords. Cecelia decided they weren't going to deal with that and shoved everyone into the shop. Surprisingly, the thugs didn't follow them.

In the shop, the group saw hundreds of weird magical objects lining the shelves. Behind the counter was a little man, who looked like a Gnome but had far more angular features than any gnome they had yet encountered. He introduced himself as Gallas, and inquired about the child they were looking for.

The group, still suspicious, questioned Gallas intensely, demanding to know what he knew about the missing child. He claimed to know nothing, which the group didn't believe. However, during the questioning, Mialee caught a glance at the sign outside the shop, which now read "Answers to Questions regarding Gallas' Intentions". The group realized that the shop simply sold what it thought you needed, and Gallas might indeed have no idea what was going on.

After giving Gallas more information, he told them he had heard about a child passing through recently, and could help them. All they needed to pay was a drop of blood from each of them. The group was very suspicious, but went along with it in the end. Satisfied, Gallas directed them through a magical mirror, which they passed through with ease.

They found themselves dumped unceremoniously in a massive chamber, decorated by fancy pillars and crawling with ivy. Before them was a massive throne, upon which sat a beautiful woman, twice the size of a human and dressed in a stunning gown that appeared to be made from yellow flower petals. All around them were strange creatures: elves and gnomes with the same more angular features, satyrs, pixies, dryads, and a strange root-man standing directly next to the throne. Rolen quickly surmised that they must have passed into the Feywild!

A healthy mix of Dandy and Lion
Unsure what to do, Rolen lifted his hands in a bow and said "Ta-da!" The others followed suit. The woman asked them what they were doing in her court. Cecelia quickly stated that they were there to do a performance for her, and this was their grand entrance! She burst into song, delighting those present in the room.

The giant woman smiled and clapped, and turned to her root-man guard. "Apprehend them!" she said with a smile.

Roots grew out of the ground and around the feet of the party as the guard stepped forward. He stated in a monotone voice that his name was Branchlord, and by order of Princess Danelian Dandelion, they were under arrest.

Cecelia began to apologize for any perceived slight from the group, and inquired about the missing child. Princess Dandelion accepted the flattery, claiming that of all the spring maidens, she was by far the most suited to the season. Mialee, unhappy about being in a place where she was no longer the most unusual thing around, muttered that the Princess was more of an autumn than a spring.

Unfortunately, the Princess caught the remark, and suddenly bows and arrows from every balcony were trained on Mialee. Dandelion's face grew dark, and she demanded Mialee repeat what was just said.

The group was shocked at the intense reaction from the Fey Princess, and urged Mialee to take it back. Mialee did so, hesitantly, and the threatening bows were withdrawn.

Cecelia continued her line of questioning about the missing child, and it turned out that Dandelion had him! She claimed it had been a gift from one of her subjects, and she was very attached to it. Unless the group was able to do some great favor for her, they couldn't have it. Of course, the group agreed.

The Princess had apparently ordered some slippers from her favorite cobbler in town, in preparation for the Greengrass festival. However, Greengrass was quickly approaching, and the slippers hadn't arrived. The Princess reasoned that such slippers would surely be worth the life of a child.

The characters didn't quite follow that logic, but agreed nonetheless. Branchlord released them, and they made their way out of the hall.

Branchlord's the name, Lord of Branches is the game
As they did so, Rolen noticed a small pixie dressed in white was staring intently at Cecelia. He knew that Cecelia was the reincarnation of a long-lost princess that had spurned the Prince of Frosts, a powerful Archfey, and so Rolen asked Cecelia to put on a disguise as soon as they were out of the hall.

Also at this time, the group realized that Kye had been strangely affected by his passage into the Feywild. His nose was quite long, and his nostrils had flared out in a very Fey-like shape. He was disturbed by this, but it seemed to be alright for now. Besides, he could smell much more accurately.

The group left Princess Dandelion's palace, and entered what she called the Hedgegrove. It was a massive hedge maze, with walls 100 feet high and no apparent path through. Branchlord gave them a general direction to go, but they realized they would have to get directions from Fey along the way.

They passed several small homes and shops built directly into the Hedges, offering various amenities. A Elven woman offered a bottle of Fairy wine to Rolen in exchange for the knowledge of a skill he held, but Rolen turned it down. Meanwhile, an Elven man offered Kye some more intimate services in exchange for a treasured object. Kye agreed, and they slipped into the hedges together.

A few seconds later, they emerged, though to Kye it had been a six-hour encounter with the handsome elf. Rolen was intensely curious about the time-distorting properties of the elf's hedge glade, but the elf seemed turned off by the idea that someone would use his magic just to get some rest.

After the encounter, the group noticed that Kye had changed even further: he was moving faster and lighter, as if he was a bird. (In fact, Kye's bones had become hollow. He has a +5 ft bonus to speed, but also vulnerability to bludgeoning damage. I didn't really figure out how the characters would discover this fact, but whatever.) The group feared that Kye was going to slowly turn into a bird.

They finally reached the cobbler's shop, after getting directions from some random passerbys and avoiding some very strange Feywild events, like an abandoned food cart and suddenly growing grass.

The door to the cobbler's shop was hanging open, and the handle had been melted away, as if by acid. Kye could smell that someone was still in the shop, though, and they carefully entered.

Inside, shoes littered the floor, and a faint sobbing could be heard from the back. Investigating the sound, they found a small gnome sitting on the floor, surrounded by shoes, crying to himself. His nametag said "Hello! My name is Frendmaus!"

THE SADDEST GNOME OF THEM ALL
We stopped there for the week. Just to clarify, this Feywild adventure isn't a part of Storm King's Thunder! I wanted to start incorporating Rolen and Cecelia's backstory into the game, so I found a small free module to incorporate into the adventure. We should be back to Storm King's Thunder by next session!

Also, the players are very close to getting their next level, which hasn't happened in months of real time. I've promised them that they should be able to level next session, but that depends on their actions as well. Luskan is still a dangerous place, and if they can't make it out, well... hopefully we don't end up rolling new characters.

Thanks for reading!

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