Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition [Part 5]

*Last Updated: 6/13/18*

Warning:  SPOILERS ahead for Storm King's Thunder.

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5.1 The Yakfolk Village

The way is decided, and the party begins to move forward.  They will go to Ironslag, to the Yakfolk Village, and find the Conch of Teleportation.  Harshnag decides to stay behind to protect the Eye of the All-Father, and the party bids a fond farewell.

Just as they are leaving, they hear a horrible noise.  The doors burst open to the main shrine of the Eye, and an enormous blue dragon smashes its' way in.  When Harshnag and the creature lock eyes, mortal combat begins.

It becomes apparent very quickly that the party is outmatched.

Harshnag fights valiantly, but implores the party to continue onward.  Given little other choice but to escape, the party somberly retreats.  A huge rumble in the mountain is heard from above in the airship.  A mournful tone followed them all the way to the mountain where Ironslag lay, and during the trip Starman composed a tune to the memory of their only giant friend...

The cry of dragon filled the hall - in frozen depths where shadows crawl - the voice of Harshnag called us to flee - his axe and life forfeit to see us free...

The blue wyrms blows fell like death - Harshnag stood as we left - his axe like thunder, his heart so bold - stood his ground on stone so cold.

We left is fear, we left in grief - Harshnag defended us from the teeth - our hearts heavy, our friend is lost - we seek revenge at any cost.

Along the trip, the party is attacked in the air by a group of aarakocra and an air elemental.  These threats are swiftly dealt with by the party, but the dragon cultists suffer a few casualties.  The encounter does serve to remind the adventurers that their position in the air is precarious.

As the party approaches the Yakfolk village, they wonder about how to land on the precarious mountain.  As they watch the yakfolk gather, they simply decide to land in the middle, as they allowed the yakfolk to become aware of their presence.  Much to their surprise, the yakfolk are friendly!

The party meets Chief Kartha-Kaya and his wives, Nahala and Imberu.  The adventurers are invited to sit with the chief and feast.  Wine and smoke are brought, and Niv imbibes too much.  After a while, the party begins to notice the presence of slaves all around them.  For their part, the yakfolk see the owning of such slaves as the natural order of things.  The party agrees to stay overnight at the yakfolk village, after speaking with them of the giants below.

5.2 Inside Yakfolk Village

The party drags Niv's comatose form into a hut provided by the yakfolk, and prepare to bed down for the evening.  An ethics discussion ensues, where the party debates the nature of slavery and what, if anything, can be done for the naked slaves of the yakfolk.  In the end, they resolve to do what they must for the captives in the morning.

The yakfolk, however, don't care to wait that long and bust through the door, attempting to take the party unawares.  The action is swift, and soon yakfolk litter the ground, bloodied and dying.  The party presses forward, out of the hut, to take on the wider village of the yakmen in mortal combat.

5.3 Escape from Yakatraz

The party decimates the rest of the yakmen, killing Kartha-Kaya and his entire clan.  The slaves quietly look on in awe as the party begins to investigate the now-quiet village.

5.4 The Mines of Ironslag

The party descends through many levels of the mines of Ironslag, going ever deeper into the mountain towards the great forge at its' heart.

5.5 Salamander on Duty

Emerging from the mines into the smelter area of Ironslag, the party rescues several dwarf slaves from a horrific salamander taskmaster.  Upon gaining their freedom, the former captives relate to the party there are more prisoners below.  Perturbed, the adventurers weigh their options.

5.6 Intruder Alert!

Ignoring the advice of the dwarves they liberated, the party retreats a short way into the mines and attempts to rest.  However, the fire giant overseers below in Ironslag get hip to the fact that there are no more slaves loading mine carts and send out a general alarm throughout the complex.  The party's anxiety grows as they hear approaching guards.

The adventurers get the jump on a group of ogres searching the lower mines for escaped slaves, but one manages to run back into the smelting area.  Not long after, a bigger patrol made up of fire giants arrives and sees the dead ogres and missing slaves.  The giants attempt to take the party captive, but through a both cunning and lucky confluence of events the adventurers manage to triumph over their enemies, though only two of the giants were actually slain.

5.7 Captured by Giants!

The characters flee back into the mines, and narrowly avoid the patrols through stealth and cunning.  Eventually they are able to rest and ready themselves to re-enter Ironslag.  This time, however, they have a different approach.

Ikki Popp polymorphs himself into a Fire Giant.  The party them fake-binds themselves with ropes, and the faux-giant Ikki proceeds to walk into Ironslag.  Not far in, they encounter Zaltember, Duke Zalto's son.  He is enraged, and agrees to take the party to his father after being told those were the faux-giant's orders.

The party encounters Duke Zalto deep in Ironslag, after passing by many giants and other beings doing Ironslag things.  Very soon, violence erupts, and though the party fought bravely, Duke Zalto managed to shove through and wound Starman.  The party surrenders shortly thereafter.

Berry is thrown into Zalto's hammer.  Starman is taken by the Duchess Brimskarda, presumably to revive and then look after Zaltember, who was shot in the back of the head by Briar and unknown effect.  The rest of the party were imprisoned in the slave pens...where they wait for their chance to get out of this mess.

5.8 Zalto Family Values

Things look grim for our intrepid adventurers.

While the duchess Brimskarda kept Starman with her in the kitchen until he regained his faculties, the others are kept in the slave pens with several other groups of prisoners. Berry is kept by Zalto in the hammer and dragged around the Vodindod most of the day.  The party is unsure how to proceed, but are confident since the giants didn't confiscate any gear.

Berry witnesses emissaries of the drow approach Duke Zalto and bequeath a gift - a primordial elemental that powers up the adamantine forge.  He offers nothing in return, and the drow leave.  However, now that the forge is hot enough, Zalto to redoubles his previously stymied efforts on the Vodindod reconstruction.  Shortly, he gets so wrapped up he pretty much forgets about the earlier intruders (the party).

Soon the daughter of the Duke, Cinderhild, pays the slave pens a visit.  She shoos the guards out, who think she plans to torture the captives.  She then engages Briar and Softhands in conversation and it leads to a deal:  pretend to take her captive and get her out of Ironslag.  The party agrees, and she releases them and the other slaves.  As they move through the fortress, the inhabitants keep their distance until they reach the kitchen area...

Brimskarda is displeased.  After a short exchange, the party tells her they want only to leave with their companion.  The duchess informs them that the priest will leave only after her son is healed.  The party agrees, and the duchess tells them to talk to her husband in the forge area while she fetches Starman.

After a short exchange in giantish with his family, and then in Common with the party, the terms of a deal are laid out.  They will exchange Cinderhild for their companions, and this is readily agreed to by the giants.  In addition, the party offers the location of a Vodindod fragment in return for access to King Hekaton.  Baffled by why they would want that, and not caring either way what happens to them, Duke Zalto agreed and gives them his conch of teleportation.  The party gave him false information twice, but he seemed to buy the second bit.

Starman healed the stricken Zaltember, and  and the party left with Cinderhild in tow.  Starman took the elevator to the Yakfolk village, where the dragon cultists had been busy feeding dead yakfolk to the chimera.  The mounted the airship, and caught up with the reset of the party below.  The party flew with Cinderhild to a safe distance, then parted ways with the young giantess.

With the conch of teleportation now in their possession, the only thing left to do is blow.

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