Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Recap: The Skies Above Silverymoon

Life in the pretty city
Once again, into Storm King's Thunder! We haven't really been following the plot of this module at all, but the players mostly seem to be having fun. They really are itching to level up, so it's time to get things headed back on track.

This week, I decided to throw in a side adventure that goes with Storm King's Thunder: The Cloud Giant's Bargain. I changed it up a bit to match the city they were in and the world they play in, but otherwise it was fun to run a premade adventure.

This story is part 17 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: The Skies Above Silverymoon

Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Megan: Cecelia Sondheim, human bard of Valor, 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 Hunter 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 been teleported to Everlund, the city where Cecelia had been trained as a Harper. They met Krowen Valharrow, an old wizard who seemed ready to party with the adventurers who had shown up in his tower.

The next day, the party met with Moonlord Daviana Yalrannis, the master of Moongleam tower and Cecelia's superior. They sheepishly explained what had happened the previous night: a massive party, where Rolen learned spells from the archmage while Mialee seduced him, Kye chatted up a very friendly elf politician, and Cecelia tried to impress some students from her bard college but ended up passing out.

Daviana seemed irked at them, and asked them to get back on track. They had information about the mysterious outbreak of giant activity, and Cecelia needed to act on it. She told them a contact had reached out for hired help in Silverymoon, a gnome named Bambra Gallagher. Daviana wanted the group to follow up on this, since it seemed that the gnome might have a job related to giants of some kind.

The group gathered some supplies and hit the road to get to Silverymoon. The journey was quiet. They saw another cloud castle in the distance, stayed at an inn, and met some Knights in Silver (Silverymoon's elite guards) who had slain some ogres along the road.
Silverymoon: not full of garbage! - Silverymoon slogan
Once they reached the city, they were overtaken by its great beauty and style. Silverymoon was a clean and well-cared-for city, unlike Luskan. As per their instructions, they made their way to the docks along the Rauvin River and headed into the Son of the Goat tavern. The barkeep, with a painful roll of his eyes, gave them directions to the alleyway where they could meet Bambra.

Once they reached the alley, they saw a body sticking out from behind a pile of crates. However, Cecelia noticed the body was a dummy, and Rolen noticed a gnome peeking out of a second-story window. He sent his familiar, Morgana, up to investigate.

Just then, a group of thugs stepped out from behind the crates and brandished their weapons. Their leader, a scarred and burly man who called himself Lin Zee, told the group to prepare to fight.

The party sprung into action, despite Rolen nearly dying of laughter at Lin's name. Kye rushed forward, Cecelia unleashed a spell, and Mialee nocked an arrow, and Rolen prepared his magic.

Nearly immediately, however, the attackers surrendered. Once Mialee had shot one of Lin's underlings down, they threw their hands up and begged to make sure their friend was okay. The group was very confused, until the gnome in the window leapt down and introduced herself: Bambra Gallagher, representative of the Beautiful Adventurer's Guild!

It turned out that the attack was simply a test for the adventurers, and they had passed! While Bambra ignored the pained cries of the dying thug, she explained that the legendary hero Arannis Nailo was engaged in an epic battle with Count Stratovan, a cloud giant bent on the destruction of the human world.

Cecelia healed the thug with her healer's kit while Bambra detailed the task she had for the heroes. Count Stratovan's son seemed to be interested in peace talks, and had reached out to the Beautiful Adventurer's Guild via his majordomo. However, the Guild had no way of knowing if the son, Olthanas, or his majordomo, Balakar, were telling the truth. The adventurers needed to figure that out and broker peace, if possible.

The group was given maps to Olthanas's cloud castle, and a letter of introduction to the Beautiful Adventurer's Guild. It became very clear that they were completely expendable, but in the interest of learning more about the Giants, they took the job.

The letter from the adventure, which I edited to fit my own world
Finally, Bambra gave them a talking skull to look after them, and a choice: they could fly up to the castle of Griffons, or Bambra could take them up in her hot-air balloon and do a HALFF (high altitude low feather fall) drop into the castle gardens. The group opted for the latter.

Bambra took them up into the skies on her ship, which turned out to be little more than a rowboat with a balloon on it. She gave them a runestone with Feather Fall enchanted on it, and told them to crush it at just the right moment. The group decided to also make themselves invisible to help with the entrance.

They made a harrowing leap, but ended up landing perfectly in the gardens. Because only Olthanas and Balakar were potentially friendly, they had to sneak into the castle. The group moved carefully through the gardens, avoiding monsters and traps that would give away their presence.

Their first stop was Balakar's quarters. The room seemed well-kept and benign, but with their pet Rillex's help they discovered a mirror portal that lead to the second floor. There, they found Balakar's personal notes, and three empty vials of knockout poison. The group was very suspicious of this - it seemed like this mission might be a trap.

However, as they continued exploring they gained some hope. Using the hat of disguise, Cecelia turned into one of the Goblin servants of the castle and spoke to Olthanas's grandfather, Galadral. They learned that Olthanas actually admired the small folk such as themselves, while Balakar was more of the warmongering type. After some very awkward comments from Galadral, the group snuck away and moved to the second set of towers in the castle.

Here, they found a map room with further evidence that Balakar was planning to attack Silverymoon. They also noticed that Count Stratovan was making a move towards Waterdeep, Rolen and Cecelia's hometown. They made note of that, hoping to stop it.

The group also found a library, where they discovered that Olthanas had been looking at books about resolving family crises. Confident that Balakar was evil and Olthanas was good, the heroes made their way to the final set of towers, where their meeting was to take place.

Don't mess with the richest...
The party passed into the towers, heading towards Olthanas's quarters before they went to the central tower. Rolen used his mage hand trick to unlock the door, and they went inside. Mialee found Olthanas's giant diary under his pillow, and the group used it to confirm that he was a good guy. They left a note for him that he was going to be betrayed, just in case it happened when they had left.

Finally, they went to the audience chamber. Entering the tower, they saw two Cloud Giants awaiting them, a younger one in blue robes and a taller, more severe one. They correctly guessed they were Olthanas and Balakar.

Olthanas was relieved to see the heroes and thanked them for coming. Balakar was a bit more pressing, demanding to know how they infiltrated past the guards. The group was confused - aside from Olthanas's grandfather, they hadn't seen any other Cloud Giants.

Olthanas was also concerned that the adventurers had broken into his room. The party said they were just leaving him a present, but their secrecy made Balakar pressure them even more. Finally, the heroes said that Balakar might be planning to betray Olthanas, and Balakar decided to make her move.

She whistled loudly and a choker around Olthanas's neck began to tighten, cutting off his air supply. She then leapt into action, dealing heavy blows with her morningstar to Kye and Mialee.

The heroes leapt into action, Rolen and Cecelia unleashing their Hex-Curse combo on Olthanas while Kye slashed with his sword and Mialee leapt back to create a hail of arrows. Balakar, clutching her head in pain, was helpless before their assault.

Rolen rushed over to Olthanas and used his disguise kit to paint the Giant's Vind rune on him - even a low level Vind rune could cause a creature to no longer need air to survive. However, the rune failed to work, and Rolen racked his brains to discover the reason. He realized that by attacking Balakar, who was wealthier than he was, he had upset the Cloud Giant hierarchy and become "Maug". He quickly deactivated his Hex spell and Olthanas began to breathe again.

As Mialee fired another volley of arrows, a young White Dragon flew in from the window - a pet of the Giants. It attacked Mialee with its claws, and after the morningstar blow from before, Mialee was unable to take the blow and went down. The dragon flew over to Rolen, blasting him with cold breath and nearly taking him out as well.

Slightly less intimidating in the older books
Balakar used the chaos to turn invisible and attempt to flee, but Cecelia had climbed onto her back and was still visibly attached to her. Kye made a last-ditch effort to throw his sword like a javelin, and it stuck fast in the invisible Cloud Giant's head, causing her to become visible and keel over. Olthanas called to the dragon and it abated its attack, just moments before it would have finished off Rolen.

The group decided to stay with Olthanas for a few days while he took in the news of his majordomo's betrayal and they healed their wounds. Mialee tried to get closer to Olthanas's grandfather, but the old man seemed oblivious to her charms. The group decided to amuse themselves and cheer up Olthanas by throwing a fashion-montage changing room party, setting him up with some stylish clothing (pink, based on Mialee's preference).

Olthanas promised the group that he would spread the word to other Cloud Giants that his father's mad campaign was no good. He also gave them some magic items, some gold and jewelry that Balakar had kept around, and a book about magical jewelry.

The talking skull reviewed their performance, and decided they had achieved the rank of sub-employee in the Beautiful Adventurer's Guild, just barely not enough to gain benefits. However, they were granted some fabulous robes and a voucher for an in-person meeting with legendary hero Arannis Nailo, which was reward enough for the party.

Olthanas also told them that there was another Giant out there who might share their cause for concern. Harshnag, a member of the fabled Grey Hands of Waterdeep, was a Frost Giant who would probably be sympathetic to their cause. If they could find him, he would prove a useful ally.

The party headed back down to Silverymoon, a job well done.

Arannis Nailo: Professional beautiful elf
We stopped there for the evening. I enjoyed this adventure, and it gave a lot of opportunities for fun role-playing. It was nice to use a side adventure, bu I really want to get the plot back on track, so I think I'll be moving time forward a bit for our next session. We've really been counting the days strictly, and I want to get to the action!

Thanks for reading!

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