Sunday, October 1, 2017

Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition [Part 1]

*Updated 10/04/2017*

Warning:  SPOILERS ahead for Storm King's Thunder.

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1.1 Nightstone 

The characters arrive in Nightstone, a village just to the south of Waterdeep.  As they approach, they note there has been some damage to some of the buildings that they can see over the palisade.  Things get even more eerie as they see the drawbridge is open, and a sonorous bell can be heard ringing out over the platz.

As they enter the town,  they see large boulders embedded in the ground.  These seem to be the cause of the damage, as if they had somehow been launched at the city - though there was no sign of a siege.  With the streets empty, they investigate the temple.

Inside they find two rowdy goblins, swiftly dispatched.  With no trace or sign of people, they move towards the inn.  They encounter a young lady named Kella, and she's the only person at all in the town.  After rough housing with a few stray worgs and goblins that were wandering the empty town, newcomers arrive at Nightstone.

They are friends of Kella's, who also happen to be Zhentarim.

1.2 Orc Attack

One of the Zhents, Xolkin, is the obvious leader.  The Zhentarim's intentions for the now-empty Nightstone is to use it as a ready made fortified outpost.  The quickly set about securing the town.

After figuring the characters were 'all right', Xolkin gave them a task - deal with the guards holed up in Nandar Keep.  As the party is fixing a ladder to the bridge to Nandar Keep (apparently damaged in the rain of falling rocks), they notice a large group of orcs approaching the town...swimming across the moat.

It didn't take long for the orcs to figure out how to get into the town - by climbing up to the area where the bridge to Nandar Keep connected to the palisade.  The very one the party was standing on.  The fracas began with javelins and arrows, but the orc mob was huge.  Niv pushed the marauders back with a well-timed spell, and the party retreated to one of Nightstone's guard towers, where they managed to engage and destroy the orc warband.

1.3 Nandar Keep

The characters find another ladder to cross the bridge to Nandar Keep, the other ladder having been lost in the fight with the orc warband.  After crossing, the characters encounter the guards.  They tell the players what has happened - Lady Nandar is dead, so her offers of adventuring contracts are up in the air.

The party learns what happened to Nightstone - a floating castle came by and rocks fell from the sky.  Then two blue giants came down and took the Nightstone - the city's namesake, which sat in the middle of the village square.  Nobody knows why.

The party then tells the guards that Nightstone is lost, and the Zhents are moving in.  Naturally, this is not well received by the Nandar loyalists, who expel the party from the Keep.  This is enforced by 'warning shots' from the (now barred) gates.

The party spends the next few game hours plotting how to most efficiently murder all the Zhents before simply attacking Xolkin immediately the first time they encounter him.  As it turns out, all that plotting didn't really matter, and most of the Zhents die gruesome deaths - except the two in the drawbridge tower, who flee to the north.

With the guards in Nandar Keep giving them the hand to talk to, the players decide to seek out the villagers.  They learned from the guards that this was most likely where they went.

1.4 The Dripping Caves

The players follow the villager's tracks north to the large cave mouth, where Starman plays a beautiful tune just outside the door.  The ogre that was relaxing just inside thought that it provided a great opportunity to get a flowery lunch.  It surprised the party, and nearly killed Starman in the process.  The players dealt with the ogre and a few other goblins near the cave mouth.

Exploring inside, they are pelted with goblin arrows from ledges around the main chamber, and disturb a sleeping ogress who begins to fling things at them.  Berry made sure Starman was safe outside, and together with Softhands, Niv and Briar swiftly dispatched the remaining monsters.

The party finds the villagers huddled near a large pit in the back, and a warren of goblin non-combatants in the front.  It seems the monsters were keeping the villagers as a sort of larder, casually eating one every so often.  The villagers are quick to get out of the cave, thanking the adventurers for their handiwork.

Inside, the players find the goblin boss Hark and throw him to the villagers, who swiftly beat him to death.  Back in Nightstone, the party finds nothing of interest and decides to follow the trail of the cloud castle.

After a day, the party is greeted by a mysterious phenomenon.  A tower with a wizard's hat floats by on a cloud, and a stairway made of the puffy white material descends for them.  After climbing a thousand feet to the tower, they meet the cloud giant wizard Zephyros, who offers to help them along their way.

1.5 Zephyros' Tower

The players ride Northward upon Zephyros' floating tower.  Most of the time it's very peaceful, being among the clouds and drifting lazily through the sky, watching the griffons hunt.  The party camps in the lowest level of the tower, having no easy way to traverse the hundred feet to the second floor.

On the third day, representatives of Yan-C-Bin, the Prince of Air, arrive to entreat with Zephyros.  Zephyros took their gifts, and bid them wait while he considered their offer.  Many hours later, he emerged from his sanctuary and told the elemental cultists he wasn't interested and they should leave.  They left without much fuss.

On the tenth day, a silver dragon appeared in the sky.  It carried armored dwarves in its' claws, and dropped them in front of the tower before leaping back into the sky to deal with the griffons in the tower aerie.  The dwarves take gaseous form and infiltrate the tower, ignoring the party and going straight for the orb of navigation.  A short battle ensues, leaving Niv paralyzed and floating nearly 200 feet above the tower floor and one dwarf dead.  Starman finally seems to convince the dwarves they are acting in error, and the dragon collects them before leaving the tower.

Zephyros seems annoyed by this, but not overly.  He thanks the party for their help defending the tower and seems to have a general disdain for dragons.  The rest of the journey is peaceful and quiet, and midway through the 12th day of the journey the cloud tower rests just above the mercantile town of Triboar.

Return to Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition?

1 comment:

What do you think about that?