Monday, March 6, 2017

Monday Recap: A New Face!
The man of the hour: Kye Bosunen!
We added a new player to our session this week. As promised, here is a short backstory and character description!

Kyedan "Kye" Bosunen grew up in a shipbuilding family in Cormyr. He enlisted in the Purple Dragons and began to protect the realm of Cormyr, wandering from place to place and helping people, meeting new allies, and fighting dangerous monsters. While traveling through the Sunset Mountains, his patrol was attacked and taken prisoner by a clan of Fire Giants. The Fire Giants killed the other Purple Dragon knights, but the Fire Giant Duke's daughter, Cinderhild, asked her father if she could keep Kye as a pet. The Duke conceded, but took away Kye's weapons and armor.

Cinderhild took Kye back to her room and asked him about the outside world. She told him that her father, Duke Zalto, was obsessed with forging, and was trying to divine the location of an ancient and powerful forge called Ironslag. Kye convinced her that they can both escape Duke Zalto, if Cinderhild could lead them out of the clan's den. He also grabbed a Fire Giant's shortsword, which was the size and weight of a greatsword in his hands and was forged of a strange mirror-black stone with a strange rune on it. Cinderhild snuck them through the complex, finally reaching the monstrous steel doors, and spoke the passcode her father always uses: "By Surtur's flame, I command these doors to open!"

However, they hadn't gone far when Duke Zalto released his pack of Hell Hounds to track down the pair. Cinderhild headed back to allow Kye to escape, and to give her father a real piece of her mind.
"The DM gave him a name... must be important."

Kyedan trained with the sword, and for his bravery and tenacity was made a full Purple Dragon Knight. His family was very proud, and he regularly sent part of his military stipend (and extra treasure) home to help them out.

About 5 years later, a call was put out to escort a caravan to Neverwinter. Kye immediately joined on. After the caravan reached Neverwinter, a round-faced, plain looking man asked the knights to accompany him a bit further, he was looking for a quiet place to fish and live out his days. The man introduced himself as Sirac, but asked that he not be made to reveal more of his backstory.

The three knights accompanied Sirac up to Bryn Shander, and Sirac suggested the group stop here a while and see if the Knucklehead Trout fishing is any good. Soon, Sirac had become an Acolyte to Torm, the God of Duty and Loyalty. This essentially secured his place in town, and with a job well done, the Purple Dragon Knights began to look for caravans or jobs leading them back down to Cormyr. Unfortunately, rumors and reports of increased Frost Giant activity in the area made distant caravans a rarity.

One clear day, Kye and his allies heard the sound of a giant voice booming over the town. Frost giants were attacking the town! Huge boulders began to fly over the walls and land on people and houses. The Purple Dragon Knights sprang into action, recruiting the local militia and nearby armed civilians to help. They made their way out of the north gate and fought down to the Southwest Gate, killing the giants one by one.

When they finally made it to the Southwest gate, the giant's leader was dead at the hands of a small group of heroes. Unfortunately, so were a local knight, the town's sheriff, and Sirac.
Purple Dragon Knights: Honor, Duty, and Killer Fashion Sense.

Kye was eager to learn more about the people who slayed the giants (apparently they knew about the unrest in the giants), and insisted on staying and joining up with the heroes. His superior said that was fine, but Kye would lose his Purple Dragon mission stipend.

Kye agreed, knowing that wandering adventurers often find gold enough to send home and help his family. With his runic sword in hand, he went to find the heroes and seek glory!

Apparently a "short" backstory is nearly 700 words. Whoops!

This story is part 7 of a series. This campaign was discontinued.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 |

Storm King's Thunder: A New Face!

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
Time to ENTER THE WILD™ on your SICK RIDE™. ©®™
Last week, our heroes had just defeated a group of Frost Giants, but at great cost: three noble citizens of the town of Bryn Shander had fallen, as well as many of the town guard. Also, a horse named Henry.

The group was summoned to the Speaker's Palace, which wasn't anything grand but was still nicer than the wooden cabins that filled the town. Outside the palace was a young warrior with a huge sword and purple armor: Kye Bosunen! Mialee greeted him in the normal way, which was to say she leapt up and hugged him immediately.

Kye introduced himself to the group and said that he had also been summoned by the town's speaker, Duvessa Shane. Apparently there was a mission of great importance to be undertaken. Duvessa's butler came out and led them inside.

The palace was built of Dwarven stone and decorated like a hunting lodge. Duvessa had some hot drinks made and they all took a seat. The heroes ordered exclusively alcohol, despite the fact that it was still early morning.

Duvessa told them that the town was fearing another Giant attack, and they couldn't afford to spare a single city guard. However, the late Sheriff's deputy, Augrek Brighthelm, had a plan. Augrek was brought in to explain.

Augrek told them that she had family in the not-too-distant dwarf town of Ironmaster. She gave the characters a scroll that would request the aid of Dwarven fighters. Even a dozen trained soldiers could make the difference between the town's survival or destruction. The group agreed to undertake the delivery mission, and Kye was asked to join along.

This is the first time we've been able to use the entire travel system, and I think it went well. A couple things that I pointed out in-game were that they could choose between two paths: a short but dangerous one through the wilderness, and a longer but safer one along the roads. I also made it clear that the town feared another Giant attack, and there was a good chance it would happen. The players opted for the shorter path.

Ice? Check. Wind? Check. Dale? Well, he's not in this adventure.
The group set off towards Ironmaster, following the Shaengarne River. Navigation was fairly easy due to the river, and Rolen had wisely purchased a fishing rod in town that allowed him to catch fish for his meals. The first day was bright and clear, and the group chose to travel at a normal pace.

That afternoon, the party was following the river around a mountain when they heard a crack like thunder in the sky. They looked up to see an avalanche of snow coming down towards them. However, even more astounding was a massive White Dragon, fighting a Frost Giant as they slid down the hill. Rolen recognized the dragon - it was Arveiaturace, the dragon who had saved his life when he was lost in Icewind Dale.

Arveiaturace called out to the characters, each by name, to help her slay the Giant. The characters had to do their best to dodge the rushing snow that threatened to bury them while also fighting the giant. Mialee leapt into a nearby tree, while Kye and Cecelia struggled to keep their head above the snow. Fortunately, having an Ancient White Dragon on their side, the Giant was quickly felled. The Dragon then gathered them up and saved them from the flow of the avalanche.

Safe on solid ground again, the dragon laughed at her victory and demanded the group of humanoids bow to her as their savior. Realizing that they shouldn't offend such a beast, Rolen quickly made the group bow and thank the Dragon. Cecelia respectfully asked how Arveiaturace knew their names, when she had only met Rolen. The Dragon motioned back to a saddle that was tied to her back, with a corpse lashed into the saddle. Apparently the corpse, her "Master" had told her. Thanking Rolen and saying she was glad he was keeping good company, the Dragon took wing. The party let loose a collective sigh of relief.
If anyone knows how that Necromancer unlocked this sweet mount, let me know.
You can read more about Arveiaturace here! She might have her eye on Rolen...

The group carried onwards, thankfully not encountering any further dangers that day. However, the next day, the wind began to pick up, slowing their travel speed. A two-day trip was now going to take an extra half-day at least. Fortunately, the group would have an advantage when it came to seeing enemies approaching.

This turned out to work very well for the group, as they had encounters with Yetis and Crag Cats that day, both of whom use their white fur to blend into the snow. Rolen wanted to skin one of the yetis and sell its fur in Bryn Shander. Unfortunately (with a strength of 4) he wasn't able to carry it. Kye immediately offered to carry anything Rolen couldn't hold onto. Kye has a strength of 18, easily the highest in the group! Rolen took him up on it.

I am really enjoying the encumbrance system I put together. I think for these long journeys, where players can pick up tons and tons of items just getting between cities, it's necessary. Also, it makes Strength less of a dump stat for characters who don't use it. Now I just need a system that uses Intelligence and Charisma more...

The next day was clear again, and the group pressed forward, grateful. They were nearly to Ironmaster when they found strange paths in the snow leading off the trail, as if something large had been pulled away from the path. The players decided to follow the path, even though it meant taking some time away from their journey.

They discovered the wreckage of a caravan wagon, with the bodies of Dwarves lying everywhere. One of them was still barely alive, and Cecelia rushed over with her healer's kit. Bringing him back to consciousness and bandaging his wounds, she asked what had happened. The Dwarf, whose name was Darmir Battlehammer, said they had been bringing ale and weapons from Kelvin's Cairn, a large mountain that was home to the Battlehammer clan, to Ironmaster. They had been attacked by Frost Giants, and dragged off the road to be plundered.

Once Darmir had recovered enough to move, he asked the group to help him empty out the remains of the wagon and place the bodies of the fallen Dwarves in it. He let the party take anything that hadn't been pillaged or smashed by the Giants, and Kye picked up some handaxes and a greataxe of fine Battlehammer make.
At least it was a nice view to die to...
The group finally reached Ironmaster, and Darmir rolled the wagon down into a foggy valley where the city resided. He told them that non-Dwarves weren't allowed to enter, as the city was still under construction, but he would send someone from clan Brighthelm out.

While they waited, Cecelia got in touch with Beldora via her sending stone. Apparently there had been another Giant attack on the town, and Augrek had been slain defending the walls. Fortunately, the walls had held, but the town was doing very poorly with the loss of the Sheriff and a deputy.

A dwarf came up from the valley and introduced himself as Gwert Brighthelm. The group told him the situation and gave him the scroll of request. Gwert thanked them and promised he'd bring it to the clan elders right away.

The group decided to hunker down and wait just outside the town's boundaries until the Dwarves responded. They waited nearly all day, enduring the cold and hiding from some Frost Giants they saw passing in the distance. Mialee's new Pass Without Trace spell proved extremely useful in masking the group's presence.

Finally, Gwert returned the next morning. Unfortunately, all he had to say was that the elders were still deliberating. He asked that the characters be patient a little longer.

The group waited another full day. They had a close call with some Yetis, but once again Mialee's quick thinking saved the day. Cecelia received another message from Beldora: another Giant attack, this one claiming the lives of more guards and the owner of Geldenstag's Rest, a fine inn in town. Many people were now staying in Town Hall, having been displaced by the closing of the Inn.

Finally, on the dawn of the second day, the characters heard the pounding of footsteps coming up from the valley. Emerging from the fog were 40 armed Dwarf soldiers, most of them from clan Brighthelm. That many Dwarves could likely defend Bryn Shander even without assistance.
This game is now called Dwarf Zone. Zone of Dwarf.
The characters took the long road back, traveling with haste and passing some explorable areas. They spend the night in Hundlestone, a small town with only Dwarves and Gnomes as its inhabitants. There were a few areas that could have merited more exploration on their journey, but the party chose to simply mark their location to come back to, instead of wasting time checking them out now.

When they arrived at Bryn Shander, Duvessa met them at the gates. She was amazed at the incredible amount of soldiers the group had brought back with them. The people of Bryn Shander were also very grateful to the group, and it was decided that (after the Dwarves had set up their patrols and guards) there would be a party thrown in the character's honor.

Duvessa gave them a letter, which she said would be good for free room and board in any of the Ten Towns, provided they showed it to that town's Speaker. She also declared them "Protectors of Icewind Dale" for their service.

The group also went to pay their respects to Augrek Brighthelm, whose body had been given to her clan. The Dwarves took their fallen brethren and laid her to rest, in Dwarven fashion, under stone. They made sure that she was next to the grave of Sheriff Markham Southwell, who she had loved dearly in life.

At the party that night, the characters all enjoyed many libations and the company of the townsfolk. Cecelia picked up a few Dwarven phrases from one of Augrek's cousins. Mialee went chasing after the local priest, Dell Von Ludwig. Kye found a good courier headed back towards Cormyr and sent along some gold to his family. Rolen asked if anyone knew where he could get a Bag of Holding, and an old man stepped forward and gave him one. Rolen, unused to people being purposefully kind to him, demanded he pay for it, but the old man wouldn't hear of it. Rolen ended up slipping 50 gold into the man's pocket.

The next morning, Rolen woke up on the roof of Town Hall, and Cecelia found herself in the stables. Apparently it had been a wild night, and the adventurers were the talk of the town... for some odd and perhaps inappropriate reasons.
Start game in tavern. End game in tavern. Welcome to D&D.
We stopped there for the night. The game ended up going a little longer than expected, so I was okay with not rolling encounters on their way back (plus they had 40 Dwarven Veterans with them - what was really going to challenge them?).

One of the difficulties of running Storm King's Thunder is that there's not really a time limit on the game. The players are free to wander and explore, and it's assumed that things don't really happen until the players get there. That's normal for a sandbox-style game, but I like to keep things moving along. When we return, there will probably be some more quests waiting for the players to take on.

Thanks for reading!

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