Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Monday Recap: Gnome Place Like Hundelstone

Slowly but surely making it Southward
We had a short game this weekend for my Storm King's Thunder group. Honestly, these folks are hilarious enough that I'm okay with doing "just a travel game" or something similar, because they make it very fun.

This story is part 11 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: Gnome Place Like Hundelstone

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 intrepid band, they had gathered at Ketthiel's Rest, an underground inn among the many underground buildings of the city of Hundelstone. They were merely passing through, but Cecelia also had to deliver a package to Thwip Ironbottom, a fellow Harper.

The group, having rested and bathed after their ordeal with a blizzard on the journey here, decided to take care of business right away. Getting directions from the dwarven innkeeper Ketthiel Axebane, they made their way to the home of Thwip Ironbottom, an inventor, so they were told. His house, half-underground like all the others, had strange chimneys, antennae, and periscopes poking out of the low roof.

He's very busy, you know
Cecelia gave a very polite knock, but nobody answered. She knocked again, and thought she heard someone inside yelling. Rolen decided to have his fey familiar, Morgana, listen with her cat-like ears. Morgana said they should probably break down the door and get inside.

Kye busted through the door, and the group rushed in. In the main living space, a huge contraption was strung up that nearly filled the entire room. Its many concentric rings made it gyroscopic in appearance, and each ring seemed to be shaking and straining to move. They were all stuck, pushing against a small figure trapped between them.

Thwip Ironbottom yelled for help, and the heroes leapt into action. While Kye held the rings apart, Cecelia and Mialee pulled Thwip out of his machine. Meanwhile, Rolen placed the door back on its hinges.

As soon as Thwip was free, the machine began to spin wildly once more, and the heroes ducked to avoid the now-spinning wires slashing around the room. Rolen and Cecelia, acting on Thwip's instructions, went under the machine's blade-like wires and disconnected the power supply, turning it off before anyone got seriously hurt.

The crisis had been averted. Thwip thanked them profusely, offering them lunch and the chance to see the machine functioning properly. He also dug out an old contraption for the players, a small clockwork dog named Rusty. Kye, the only party member without an animal companion, decided to take the adorable little construct.

Like this, but probably even more complicated
They ate, while Thwip showed them his machine. It now worked correctly, and revealed several ley-lines of magic in the surrounding area. There was Klauthen Vale, where magic kept the valley warm in the icy tundra, Raven Rock, a holy barbarian burial ground, and Aurilssbarg peak, where the white dragon Arveiaturace kept her hoard of magic items. Rolen said that he knew the ancient white dragon, and Thwip didn't believe him at all.

The group also saw two small crossings: Blackice Hole, a pit that lead to the Shadowfell, and Ice Crystal Kingdom, a series of ice pillars that served as a Fey crossing. However, the group thought that Ley-lines and "the weave" were a very wizardly take on magic. Cecelia believed magic came from the music of creation, Mialee knew her magic came from the natural world, and Rolen had been granted magic by his patron archfey. Kye was fairly entertained, however, having no magic of his own.

Their lunch of rabbit mushroom stew finished, the group decided to take their leave of Thwip Ironbottom, and of Hundelstone. Before they left, Thwip told Cecelia that she could find a good Harper contact in Everlund. She thanked him, and they parted ways.

After doing a bit of shopping, they spent another night at Ketthiel's Rest and struck out southward at first light. They were heading south towards Luskan, a five-day journey, and they were glad to finally be out of Icewind Dale.

Crag Cats: if the Random Encounters table is to be believed, a universal menace
The first day, they fended off some Crag Cats, and Kye obtained one of their furs. Then, that night, they located an orc camp and killed the lot of them. The group picked up about a dozen orc tusks, hoping to sell them in the next settlement they came across.

The weather was nice and clear for their next day on the trail, and they were able to successfully sneak by some camping barbarians. They set up their own camp that night, after fording a river that Rolen and Kye had fished at for their dinner.

That night, while Mialee kept watch, she heard stomping footsteps headed their way. Two Frost Giants were walking towards their camp! They were discussing a different couple of Giants, Storvald and Hellenhild. The verdict was that Hellenhild could beat up Storvald, but Storvald was wiser than Hellenhild. It seemed these Giants were part of Storvald's clan.

Mialee woke her companions, and they hid behind a boulder, waiting for the giants to pass. After a brief debate, they decided to attack and take out the pair. They leapt out, peppering the Giants with a volley of attacks.

The two Giants (which we named Fuul and Haaf, based on the water bottles we were using to represent them) struck back, dealing massive damage to Kye and nearly dropping him. Cecelia and Rolen stayed behind the boulder in support mode, hoping to hamper the Giants with their Hex and Curse spells.

If there's one thing Giants and Orcs hate, it's grubby human magics
While Mialee and Kye whittled down Haaf, Fuul grabbed the boulder the players were hiding behind and raised it over his head, ready to squish one of them! Kye saw this happening and stabbed the Giant hard, causing him to drop the rock on his own head!

Mialee took advantage of this to wrap a rope around Haaf's legs, and with Kye's help they pulled hard enough to topple the Giant into his ally! Both of them went down, and Rolen finished off the prone giant with his Eldritch Blasts.

Cecelia laid a curse on Haaf, and with Rolen's Hex still active, the Giant began roaring and clutching its head, unable to act. Mialee used her elven grace to run up the Giant, stabbing it over and over until it toppled. Unfortunately, it toppled right onto Kye!

Cecelia ran over and bandaged him up with her healer's kit. Meanwhile, Rolen and Mialee looted the giant's bags of goods. It yielded a rocking chair and a strange metal-infused rock, implying that the Giants had recently attacked a settlement.

Rolen cast Detect Magic on the rock, but it wasn't anything special. However, he did pick up some magic off Kye's Crag Cat hide. After a quick Identify spell, they discovered that it could be sewn by a master craftsman into a cloak that would grant advantage against certain spells. The group resolved to look into that when they reached Luskan.

They were only two-fifths of their way through their journey, and the weather was looking windy. They knew they would have to press onward, if they ever hoped of making it back to Rolen and Cecelia's home in Waterdeep, and finding more about the mysterious Giants.

Hey look, it's a dragon I know!
As I said, a short game. I think doing a city and a few days of travel is perfect for this group, as it gives them a chance to explore and discover things as their characters.

I'm starting to think the group might be changing paths soon, though. The original plan was to take a longer, more scenic route, but they seem to be pushing towards Waterdeep. Fortunately, there's a lot of material out there on the Forgotten Realms, so I'm fairly sure I can roll with whatever they decide to do!

Thanks for reading!

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