dungeons and dragons and fighting games
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Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 7

Fighting in the streets

Rewind!

Zephyr is trying to regroup with the rest of the party after getting separated and heard about one heavily-armed and three other hangabouts watching over some dungsweepers on Warrior's Way. As she goes along, she's met by a giant, wormlike tentacled creature popping out of nowhere. Guards whistle and pull their swords as the create slithers down the street.

Fight!

I (Azthoran), creates an illusion of a large crate in front of the dungsweepers, blocking them from the carrion crawler's sight. Farah invokes duplicity to create a masked clone of herself. Vivi attempts to cover it in Faerie Fire but it evades the spell's effect and climbs along a wall, swiping unsuccessfully at a cityperson on the way. The guards take a shot with their crossbows: one shot lands and the other hits the wall, shattering. Gwen closes in and casts Compel Duel on the creature, locking its sights onto her. She then hurls a javelin at the creature, landing a glancing blow. Zephyr tries to find some cause for the crawler's appearance but doesn't see any caster or summoner. She does finally catch sight of Gwen, though! Two of the dungsweepers take cover, but Stooge runs away - and Farah notices him smirking as he goes.

Azthoran sends a sliding window of starry space - an Edlritch Blast - toward the creature. Super Farah casts a guiding bolt, slamming into the crawler's side, causing two smaller things to detach from its sides: smaller but still tentacled. Farah's physical self chases after Stooge. After failing to highlight the monsters with Faerie Fire again, Vivi inspires Gwen with some encouraging words. One of the smaller beasts attacks Super Farah (the illusion), doing nothing and the other ignores it, moving past Gwen towards Azthoran. Doing so provokes an opportunity attack on the way. Nevertheless, it manages to bite Azthoran and drag his legs out from under him, knocking him prone. The big crawler bites Gwen, paralyzing her and breaking her concentration. Regardless of the compelled duel, though, it attacks her again only hitting her armor. The guards reload and fire without much luck. Gwen tries to make her body react but isn't able to. Zephyr moves between the two guards and throws a pair of daggers at the larger crawler. Her first dagger whiffs and so does the second. Morton and Error continue taking cover while Stooge tries to run - Farah manages to hit him with her mace while he flees, stumbling.

Azthoran stands and sends Dissonant Whispers at the smaller crawler. It resists the worst of the celestial music but the psychic damage still finishes the creature off. He moves down the street toward where Stooge is fleeing and Farah is following. Farah attempts to command Stooge to grovel but it resists the magic. Vivi launches a crossbow bolt at the large crawler and moves down the street also. The remaining young crawler chases down Azthoran, dealing him yet more poison damage and dragging him prone again. The mama crawler follows suit - one bite is stopped by his armor but the second lands home. The guards close in and pull their swords, striking the large crawler. Gwen shakes off the paralysis and rushes back into the fray, ready to attack at the next opportunity. Zephyr runs behind the crawler, between the guards (again!), thrusting with her rapier for a sneak attack! With her other hand, Zephyr stabs with a dagger. She tries to back away but is grabbed by a tentacle first and is paralyzed for her trouble. Morton Till screws his courage to the sticking place and strikes the larger monster with his broom, dirtying it but not much else. Errol flees down an alley and Stooge evades Farah's attack.

Another burst of celestial music wracks the large Carrion Crawler's mind, causing it to thrash into Gwen's glaive and collapse, dead. Farah attempts to command Stooge to grovel again but he resists the magic and smirks back at her; Farah gives chase and moves her illusion to keep within its range. Vivi gives chase after Stooge and tries to wing him with a crossbow. The remaining carrion crawler tries to bite Azthoran but I manage to juke its attack. One guard attacks the monster but fails badly, hitting the ground. The other guard checks on the bystander as Gwen cleaves the crawler in half.

Cleanup

After the fight, the guard questions us but there are witnesses confirming we weren't involved in the creature's presence.

Morton Till told us that to find Stooge's residence, we should talk to the main guild operation is in Trade Ward, on Salibar Street (off of River Street).

A grizzled guard vet thanks Azthoran for his service and asks his name and guildmaster to commend him to his leadership. Az tells the guard that he works for the Zhentarim and that he may find Yagra at the Yawning Portal Inn. The gaurd seemed unsettled and got out of the conversation as fast as he could. This will probably be fine.

Vivi suggests that we try to find Stooge and Gwen knows has some familiarity with trying to track people down. Gwen's experience and contacts tell her that either the Watchful Order or Xanathar's Guild would be the best way to find someone with strange abilities.

Azthoran and Zephyr are going to try asking about Stooge with the guild. They have work history but not his address. They think he was staying in the same neighborhood as The Curious Past.

Krentz might be able to get us a contact at Xanathar's Guild. We also recalled someone vaguely connected to Xanathar's Guild - Xoblob, the owner of the purple shop - who might be able to point us in the right direction to inquire at Xanathar's Guild.

Farah's family are done at Trollskull Manor - they confirmed that the orphans were there though they aren't now.

We collectively try to harass Lif into working as a bartender since he clearly enjoys doing so, via a thoroughly incorrect series of cocktails and pours. After irritating Lif to a breaking point, he reveals himself to Azthoran and gestures for him to drink what he just poured. Azthoran acknowledged how completely wrong it was and invited Lif to take over behind the bar. We need supplies and alcohols.

Zephyr takes an inventory of the drinks and supplies we have for the bar and tries to get a list to fill in gaps. She heads to the Castle Ward and starts trying to acquire supplies at a five-finger discount. The first place she tries, Felzoun's Folly, though, she spills a mug of ale while reaching for supplies behind the bar and is spotted by the bartender.

The bottle takes 15 gold off of the renovation cost, leaving 1160 gold.

A New Mastermind

After thinking through the battle, Zephyr realizes that the rest of us were being really inefficient with our movements and actions. She takes a visit to Siltress, a female elf, in one of her hideouts. Siltress is going over notes and with both hands is automatic writing. After a brief introduction and explaination from Zephyr, Siltress launches into a lecture about tactics, language, body language, etc, and becomes a Mastermind rogue.

Zephyr asks when the guild is going to make its move, and Siltress responds that there's a faction war brewing and that it's not the right time yet.

Taking an Oath

Gwen sleeps, but without rest. That the Blackstaff has information and will owe Gwen a favor, she dreams about her past:

Gwen standing, bloody. A coin flips in the air.

A body laying on the ground, Gwen's blood on the ground too. A coin flips in the air.

Two faces on one side of the coin.

Gwen lashing out.

Coin flip.

Same perspective, but halved.

Coin flip.

Her standing over Gwen, a look of defiance as she walks off.

The coin lands but only one face is on the coin: anger, rage and vengeance. Gwen picks up the coin and her face takes on the same visage: that someone is out there and now Gwen has another tool that she needs and deserves in order to give that person what she deserves.

Gwen wakes up in a cold sweat, screaming but feels like she has the capability to strike not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well.

A Light in the Dark

While studying three separate books of arcane lore, Azthoran notices the walls of the study have expanded to be a great void.

A light shines in the dark and Azthoran sends his consciousness toward it. When he gets closer, a hooded figure is revealed, holding the light.

Azthoran projected closer to the figure and heard more and more voices laughing. The final voice being deep and roaring. The cacophany grew overwhelming and started him back to waking consciousness.

After recovering, Azthoran realized that the three tomes on his desk were replaced by a single one that he hadn't ever seen before, with a gilded icon on the cover: a lantern with a gemstone eye inside.

The book of shadows contains arcane lore, and spells, all written in different hands. Azthoran attached a chain to the spine and began studying it, staying up all night.

Whispers in the Night

Vivi meets up with Professor Niverra Wildrun at an inn. As she sits down, the Professor asks "What have you learned?"

Vivi asks about the Grand Game and if it could be guided toward a beneficial outcome for the city.

She just listened while Vivi talked at length. Afteword, the Professor says "Do you see what I did there?"

"Just listened..."

"Exactly. Sometimes it's easier to just let people tell you what they know rather than asking." She goes on to explain that there are social pressure points just like there are biological ones.

They agree to share information about the Grand Game and tells Vivi to learn when, who and why to trust someone.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 12

To Find an Oracle

Harshnag suggests the party consult The Eye of the All-Father, hidden away in the Spine of the World. (A trail in the Valley of Khedrun leads to the temple.)

Before they leave Westbridge, the party tried to secure Fulminore's castle to use as a base - Corvyn used Flight on himself and Harshnag. Corvyn wasn't quite familiar with how to use the castle's navigation orb, however, and while he managed to lower the castle's cloud spiral staircase, he accidentally started the castle sinking toward Westbridge! A pair of panicked werewolves fled from the Barovian staircase and attacked the pair.

After defeating the werewolves and familiarizing themselves with the navigation orb, Harshnag suggested again that they visit an oracle he's aware of - the Eye of the All-Father.

They flew the castle north, to the Spine of the World, and left the castle at the Valley of Khedrun to go the rest of the way on foot (Harshnag couldn't guide them the rest of the way from the castle).

The party found fresh tracks along the way, which Sashura and Ghore believed were from an Uthgardt tribe.

A few days later, they arrived at the temple of the Eye of the All-Father. They crossed the bridge into the temple but the barbarians whose tracks they found were already inside. Sashura wasted no time sending off a fiery pebble...

Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 6

Unlucky Work

Vajra is the Blackstaff and invites Gwen to Blackstaff Tower, who agrees. We all debate about what to do and what it could mean for us to have caught the attention of such an important and powerful person.

It's nearing dusk and Vivi explores the attic and turret of Trollskull Manor.

We gather up and prepare to go to Blackstaff Tower and Farah wants to stop to check on her adpoted orphans first. Lif pantomimes walking out while floating in place.

Some roughs are lingering around Trollskull Alley as we depart, messing with one of the doors. They see us and run off but Gwen puts a note under the door advising them to get a new lock. We argue about the ethics of putting your nose in other peoples' business as we walk.

We find the children, who hadn't done a very good job looking for Gwen. Farah assures them that it's ok and Gwen gives each of them a dagger. They have various levels of interest in them and Gwen offers to train them. Squidly carves his "name" in a wall, but it's just a squiggle. Farah and Azthoran suggest they also need to learn their letters then Farah tells them to go back to her house for the night.

Azthoran uses illusions to make the stuffed beholder that Farah gave them spookier. Squidly looks impressed and asks if he could learn how to do magic. Az tells him to start by learning letters and languages - libraries around the city would be a good place to start.

Azthoran disguises himself as a scribe using Mask of Many Faces and Farah does the same, but as an unarmed adventurer aide.

The guards in front of Blackstaff Tower let us in when Gwen provides her name. As we enter the tower, we notice that Zephyr is missing - we don't remember her being with us since shortly after we left the manor (her player was absent this session). We really have to do better about making sure each of us know where we're going. An elf with brown/black sclera sitting at a desk, surrounded by bustling clerks, directs us further into the tower after Azthoran announces Gwen the Red.

We meet a gnome, who leads us up a set of stairs, speaking a set of phrases when the stairs run out, causing a new set of stairs to appear. This repeats many times before the stairs end at a single door, this time the gnome causes the door's handle to appear.

Beyond the door is a nature-themed lobby. Azthoran cautions the group about what information we offer up of our own accord. The room beyond the lobby is richly-decorated without being luxurious. A somewhat dimminutive human woman with olive skin stands up from behind a desk: Blackstaff Vajra Safar.

Vajra says she was eager to meet Gwen and is impressed that she accepted the invitation. Vajra said she might owe us a bit of a favor? Renaer and Vajra go back a ways, he suggested she take an interest in us, with how we can "help this city."

Vajra asks if we've heard of the Grey Hands - a sort of publicly-known special forces of the Guard. It sounds like she's offering Gwen a "part-time position" in the Grey Hands, paid with gold, information, etc. It would also allow her to work outside the Code Legal (assuming otherwise moral behavior). After some consideration, Gwen agrees and Vajra says there needs to be a test.

Some of the Dungsweepers have requested protection. A group from the Lords' Alliance has been protecting them but has to be away for a while. We're to fill in for 4-6 hours for 4 days. The Dungsweepers are concerned with being caught in gang activity. Morton Till is the lead of the group and would want to meet with us in 2 days. The pay is 20 gold per day for each, and for everyone who makes the whole time, 125 gold to split.

The oddities involved may be magical in nature.

Who's paying Safar to set this up? The Lords' Alliance.

This is just for protection? Not solving mysteries? Correct.

This is for 08 - 11 Eleint, it is currently 06 Eleint. We stay with them each day until dismissed by Morton Till.

We head to the Shallow's End to discuss further. We are all onboard with the job: the pay is suspiciously good and getting information is appealing as well. Farah is in favor of helping out the Dungsweepers too.

Paying outright to get the Manor started in a tenday is 1200 gold. Oof.

TODO:

  • clean rooms
  • Gwen to sell silver bars
  • fix kitchen
  • put locks on the doors
  • make sure privy works

Skipping forward a bit (after the job)

Vivi likes the attic bedroom. Azthoran to take bedroom on third floor (not the master bedroom). Farah takes the master bedroom and Gwen will stay in the spare room, since she doesn't plan to stay in Waterdeep.

Farah asks her family to help clean the Manor tomorrow. That saves us 5 gold from the total (1195 gold).

We get locks made for the front door with 6 keys and locks on all the bedchambers. This is 20 gold from the total (1175 gold).

Back to the job

Day 1

We meet Morton, who is a little surprised by our appearance but is reassured by the presence of Gwen.

The dungsweepers:

  • Morton (foreman)
  • Errol (a little shady, tries to nick things but is usually stopped by Morton)
  • Stooge (a young doof, talks about everything in sight non-stop)

Stooge finds a mostly-empty bottle with a small amount of thick yellow liquid in it. Azthoran swirls it around to get an idea of what it is and it starts to fill the bottle with foam. When the foam hits the cork, it bursts out and spreads a noxious cloud, making Farah nauseated and exhausted (level 1).

The cloud disperses and people recover. The bottle is now fully empty.

The weird occurrances have been happening for a month.

Farah asked if they've done anything to piss off a sorcerer, run over an old lady with a cart, read any creepy books, etc? Azthoran asked what happened a month ago. Farah looked at Stooge's aura and found something magical on his hip: a pink gem (with a necromancy aura). The Curious Past on the Street of Silks is the shop where he got it. He paid 70 gold for it.

Apparently random good fortune has been befalling Stooge as the ill fortune has affected others nearby him.

Gradil the Blue was the proprietor but died when the shop burned down 25 years ago. There's nothing obvious at the ruins of The Curious Past, but they are emenating a faint aura of illusion magic.

Day 2

Farah asks Stooge when he went to the Curious Past; it was last month on Agairon's Day (a holiday at the first day of Aleisis, named after a super powerful wizard) an hour or so after sunset. He says the proprietor's name is Gradil the Blue - probably a halfling.

Azthoran tells Stooge about the fate of The Curious Past and he looks very upset about it. After the shift, Stooge gets upset at us but as he starts to yell, we're interrupted by guard whistles and a carrion crawler barrelling down the street!

Azthoran Chryssel's magic

Arcane Focus

Azthoran's arcane focus is the icon of his patron, Dumathroth: a gemstone eye inside a lantern. This design is sewn into the inner arm of both arms on his tunic. Azthoran carries a lantern which bears a gemstone eye with him as well - the gemstone is not particularly valuable on its own, however.

Spells

Eldritch Blast

Verbal Components

oeul, a word from the dead language of Fost, which is the word for a shooting star

Somatic Components

pressing fingers into one's palm in a specific pattern and rhythm

Description

Azthoran's palm emits something that appears as a section of the night sky: a dark void dotted with frosty white and distant amber stars with occasional violet clouds. As the blast moves, the stars and cloud fields remain stationary to the viewer(s) while the borders move. It looks as if a window to deep space were moving.

The entire effect - projection, traversal and collision - is silent, save for the verbal component and any sound uttered by the target.

Minor Illusion

Somatic Components

crossing the pinky and ring fingers while making a ring with the middle finger and thumb and also crooking the index finger

Material Components

a bit of fleece, replaced by the icon of Dumathroth

Description

For visual illusions, the light briefly bends and refracts while forming the image. If needed, shadows congeal into a fluid almost-substance which is sculpted into the illusion as well. These elements remain (or appear) when someone understands the illusory nature of the vision.

For auditory effects, the sound simply occurs.

Charm Person

Verbal Components

har'ch no gravthrist. Azthoran has not been able to identify the language these words are from.

Somatic Components

tracing an x with one's index finger and then grasping the space which would hold the sigil

Description

Azthoran gains temporary insight into the kinds of body language, speech patterns and mannerisms that make the target feel comfortable and friendly. This works to subtly guide Azthoran's behavior to ingratiate him onto the target. He can attempt to actively tap into this knowledge to manipulate the target as well.

If the target succeeds on their save, Azthoran is so obvious about playing to the target's preferences that the manipulation fails embarassingly.

Dissonant Whispers

Verbal Components

There are no magic words or phrases for this spell but the sound must be able to be heard by the target to take effect.

Description

The discordant sounds Azthoran makes are the sounds celestial bodies emit, when translated into sounds mortals can perceive.

Hideous Laughter

Verbal Components

ver'dona miskearmn - a phrase that roughly translates to "divine comedy" in Primordial.

Somatic Components

a hand held palm to the sky and then inverted and thrust downward

Material Components

tiny tarts and a feather waved in the air, replaced by the icon of Dumathroth

Description

For the duration of the spell, the target's thoughts are flooded with the utter futility of existence (from a cosmological scale) and buckles under the realization, laughing helplessly at the misery of their own part in the sad joke of reality.

Eldritch Invocations

Agonizing Blast

Azthoran's Edritch Blast gains ominous garnet-colored stars and cloud fields.

Mask of Many Faces (Disguise Self)

Verbal Components

houranst. This is the term the Grey Elves used for a lie that someone has committed themselves to.

Somatic Components

Quickly adjusting how one's clothes are worn is all the spell requires.

Description

Azthoran briefly takes on a multifaceted, gemstone-like aspect while light bends and refracts to form his new visage.

Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 5

Welcome to Waterdeep

I took the deed to Trollskull Manor and Volo talked at me the whole way back to the Yawning Portal. Zephyr went back to her room above the cart shop.

Rewinding!

Farah was escorted to a City Watch outpost, to be questioned as to the events at the Zhentarim warehouse. Farah pretends to be sick, coughing on the guards. It's also Featherlung season, which is apparently very contagious. The guards give her plenty of space on the crowded High Road.

Farah fakes a coughing fit and ducks down an alley while Invoking Duplicity to create a duplicate "Floon" to distract the guards. Something unidentified makes the hair on the back of her neck stand up.

After escaping the "escort", Farah wants to check in at home, work an evening shift at the family alchemy shop and start looking for Gwen.

On the way home, Farah encounters a group of children playing a game, that sort of stare at her. The boldest of the children is a girl with a wooden sword named Nat, who communicates with hand signs. There's also a tiefling boy with an eyepatch named Squidly. The squat boy holding a stuffed owlbear is named Jenx.

Farah convinces the kids to come home with her for a meal and a bed for the night.

Back to the present!

On the way to Shallow's End, Gwen and Vivi talk about how Gwen is a little suspicious of Azthoran and Zephyr's backgrounds. They also get to know each other a little better - Vivi is trying to gather information to help defend the underclasses from being caught up in the churn. They stop at Vivi's place across from Shallow's End to drop off equipment and clean up.

Vivi has a pet squirrel - George.

Shallow's End is lively and active and also around 3'5" - most of the room is almost literally half the height of Gwen. Vivi introduces Gwen to several of her family and afterwords Vivi goes to perform on stage. After finishing her performance, Vivi goes to her room and reviews the papers she took from the (Zhentarim) warehouse. One of the papers is an unused Paper Bird, which will carry a message to a recipient.

Also in the pile of papers is an intricate locket of jade with inlaid gold vines. The locket has a portrait of a fair-haired, redheaded woman on one side. The other side of the locket contains a hexagonal, oval-shaped hole.

The next day

It is 06 Eleint (roughly september). 15 days until Brightswords - equal parts harvest festival and combat tournament.

I wake up early and hire a messenger to carry a message to Marsaili at the Beer Golem, who runs another Zhentarim safehouse, to see if Krentz got there safely. She can reach me either at the Yawning Portal or Trollskull Manor.

Zephyr's room is above Grafer Axl and Wheel repair; she wakes up early also and heads to the Yawning Portal.

Vivi is used to later nights but tries to get up a little earlier since she has a guest. Gwen has horrible nightmares most nights and has been up for a few hours already.

Farah is not an early riser but is a very deep sleeper and sleeps until her sister or one of the orphan kids wakes her up. She asks the kids to look for Gwen. Squidly's eye patch is on the other this morning. She goes to the Trickster statue near her house and takes a moment to meditate on how her actions connect to the Trickster - she doesn't have a personal relationship with the deity, she just coincidentally aligns with it.

Durnan is not behind the bar at the Yawning Portal. It's a young woman named Fithier, a young-ish freckled blonde. I ask Bonnie to send anyone looking for me on to Trollskull Manor should I not be here.

Volo has slept in and is very hungover. He barely makes it 10 steps out of the Yawning Portal before booting. Zephyr gets a mixture of coffee and ale from the bar and Volo drinks/bathes in it. We go to a clerk's office and get the deed signed over to myself from Volo. We tell Volo that we'll be in touch and head to Trollskull Manor.

Farah makes her way to the Yawning Portal - Zephyr and I find her on the way and tell her some of what happened last night. She joins us as we go to Trollskull Manor in hopes of finding Vivi and Gwen.

Gwen and Vivi head to Trollskull Manor in hopes of finding the rest of the group and look inside. The windows are grimy and the tavern is caked in dust. The space is open but too dark to see. Gwen closes her good eye and uses Divine Sense to search for spirits. They decide not to investigate further without the rest of us and as they turn to leave, Gwen notices something writing in the grime on the mirror closing time as the door slams in front of them.

Vivi tries to convince whatever's happening that they're here in peace and Gwen's divine sense gives her the impression that whatever's happening is half-hearted.

While Gwen is waiting for us to arrive, she asks the spirit if it wants to play dice. A pair of spectral dice, followed by a spectral, young-looking half-elf man. They play a game while Vivi plays a tune for them. The ghost appears to be very good at dice! Vivi notices that the ghost is rolling just a split-second after Gwen and is always rolling better than her.

Vivi asks the ghost its name, and he writes in the dust: Lif.

As we (Azthoran, Zephyr and Farah) approach, we notice that Trollskull Manor is huge! It's a three-story building on a bustling street. It's very impressive looking. Why is it named Trollskull? After the alley? Why is the alley named that?

Lif is kind of a lazy goof of a ghost who cheats at dice. He eventually reveals himself to everyone but me, mocking me invisibly (to me) when I address him.

Farah casts guidance on herself and wagers three gold against Lif's dice that she can beat him. Farah rolled a natural 1 on her Sleight-of-Hand check but the ghost still failed to notice the cheat!

Lif seems fine with turning the manor into a working tavern so long as he doesn't have to leave. It will take ongoing downtime to maintain and a fair amount of money to get up and running again.

Using Detect Magic, Farah finds two keys radiating transmutation magic in the cellar. Lif doesn't know what they're for and Farah hangs onto them.

North side of the second floor is two open common areas. One common area on the south with a broken crappy bedframe.

Third floor: two more bedrooms, one with a bath. Two privvies on this floor. The other bedroom room with a bath.

In the master bedroom, Gwen finds a seam in the woodwork that opens up, revealing a doorhandle and a keyhole. Zephyr broke her thieves' tools but manages to open the door. There are some clothes and on a dressform is a set of a pristine studded leather which is magical (armor is transmutation, cloak is illusion), along with a cloak hanging next to them.

  • Cloak of Many Fashions
  • Armor of Gleaming

While Zephyr is holding the cloak and thinking of how to keep it from the rest of us, part of it disappears.

In her mind, Gwen hears "Gwen, this is Vajra Safara. I would like to speak with you."

The Storm King's Thunder: session 11

Dinner with a Vampire

After killing Fulminore, Baron Strahd von Zarovich offered the party a boon each and a night of safe respite as his guests in Castle Ravenloft.

Bryn shapeshifted to appear as one of Yan-C-Bin's cultists and flew a giant vulture up to Fulminore's castle, rejoining the party. Harshnag remained in Westbridge (the Village of Barovia?).

Not seeing any other choice, the party accepted the Baron's invitation. When they arrived in Castle Ravenloft, a servant lead the party to the dining room where Strahd reintroduced himself and emphasized their status as his guests. The party asked if they could clean up before dinner and Strahd acquiesced. After a short rest (during which Bryn and Corvyn changed into a gown and vest/shirt/slacks they found in the armoirs in their chambers), the party joined Strahd to have dinner.

The food was delicious and decadent, the beverages strong and flowing.

During the meal, Strahd reiterated his thanks along with his intent to grant them each a boon in repayment for their defeat of the wizard Fulminore. Those ended up being:

  • Bryn and Corvyn requested access to the library of Castle Ravenloft, gaining advantage four times on:
    • History and Arcana checks for Corvyn
    • History and Investigation checks for Bryn
  • Alun simply requested gold, and was granted 250 gp
  • Sashura asked for a yearly festival for the Village of Barovia and Strahd agreed to pay for three years, after which the village could continue it themselves if they want
  • Maalora requested a piece of magical armor and was granted an Animated Shield
  • Ghore asked for an honest conversation

During Ghore's conversation, Strahd told him that he believed Fulminore was attempting to merge the surface of Faerün with that of Barovia in order to curry favor with Fulminore's gods and that the ritual was an attempt to remove giantkin competition and establish his kind's dominance over the others. Strahd also said Fulmore believed it would allow them to reestablish an Ordning with cloud giants on top.

Also, Strahd said that the dawn would separates Barovia and Faerün and that to return to their home, the party must be outside of any Barovian structure come the sunrise.

After the dawn, Harshang suggested the party visit "the Oracle".

Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 3

The Grand Game

Make it sound like we were attacked by three kenku and that we think more just broke in (and that they were the cause of the alarm). We're happy to see the guard and hopefully they can save us.

Tell them that I was supposed to receive a shipment but when it didn't come I got worried. Since this is a rough part of town I hired some guides and protection and came to ask what the problem was. Good thing too because those kenku thugs almost killed me!

Farah makes herself appear like Floon(?) using disguise self and affects a nasal accent. She convinces the guard to escort her away while the rest of them investigated the warehouse.

Renear had a locket taken from him by the Zhentarim and went back into the warehouse to get it. He was emotional about not getting it. He does offer more information to help us find Floon once we reach a safer place. Gwen stops at The Sleepy Owl to get sausages and salt-sprinkled bread. I got a round of ales and a combo platter of bread and cheese.

The Grand Game is how the nobles exert influence over who becomes Open Lord and which families are in power as a form of enjoyment. I hadn't heard of a game happening recently but Renear suspects his father is involved in one. There have been Open Lords who have been compromised or installed by criminal organizaitons before. Renear wouldn't be surprised if his father ignored the orders of his exile if something were to happen to Renear.

I asked Renear about the Stone of Golorr. The Stone is a way to hide a secret, a password or piece of knowledge if it has all three of its eyes. It was (or is) a possession of his father's. Renear privately reaches out to his contacts about the Stone.

Gwen asks if Renear would inquire about a mercenary named Octavia Longspear.

The bulge in the papers Vivi took from the Zhentarim warehouse is a small, hexagonal shape.

In the sewers, we found the symbol of Xanathar's Guild. The first one has 8 stalks with circles and only 7 of them have dots in the circles. We heard a creature in the sewer and I tried to sneak up on it. I failed miserably and Gwen murdered the shit out of it.

We hid in a room, using two minor illusions to hide the entryway. Patroling goblins saw through the top-of-the-wall illusion and tried to "climb" through the wall, falling on their faces. Gwen quickly killed both of them.

In some dingy sleeping quarters, we heard something say "help me hold this door back". It was the leader of the assault on Yagra at the Yawning Portal (session 1).

Waterdeep Dragon Heist: session 2

Meeting Renear

Sawmill Silverfingers - the dwarf - is shady af. Wanted a boxing match or a game of savaa to give us information. Azthoran sort of volunteered Gwen for the fistfight, which she handily won even though Sawmill tried to cheat. Zephyr stole one of his rings as punishment.

Farah saw Zephyr nick the ring and talked to her.

The redhead Floon met didn't have any grey in his hair.

Dagult Neverember (brunette) exiled after being blamed for a series of grotesque murders, replaced by Laeral Silverhand as Open Lord of Waterdeep. Other redhead that Flun met was Dagult Neverember's son - has friends in high places. Political mover and shaker.

Floon and Renaer Neverember spent some time around a warehouse on Candle Lane - marked by a snake symbol.

Farah is a follower of the Trickster, trying to make her home (the Dock Ward) a better place by helping those in need.

Zephyr trying to better her own situation by capitalizing on Renaer's involvement.

I told the group about the safehouse and we arranged to meet at the Yawning Portal in the morning.

The safehouse is empty, save for a dozen bodies. Five in black and tan, seven in black and purple. One of the black and purple wearers has a tattoo on their palm of a circle with 10 spokes, each with circles on the end - the symbol of the Xanathar Guild.

Farah pieced together than the symbol with the beholder she stole from Xoblob's purple shop.

Something echoed back Farah's laugh from when she realized that.

A bunch of kenku (in green and purple) pop up and attack us! The last one alive repeats "Tie up the pretty boy in the back rooms"

When asked what happened: "Xanathar sends its regards"

Asking after Ur'gray One-hand, it says "Follow the yellow signs in the sewers".

When Gwen kills it, it says "No time to..."

One of the Zhentarim corpses had a note: "Find the stone, ask the son"

I found a secret door in the back room of the safehouse, containing four paintings (Neverwinter, Silverymoon, Baldur's Gate and Luskan) and 5 hefty corroded silver bars.

Another secret door smelled like sour fish and vinegar, hiding a man who just freed himself from bindings on his wrists: Renear Neverember.

Renear said he talked to the Zhentarim about the Stone of Golorr, who were looking for the Stone and thought he had it.

He was captured by Zhentarim while drunk with Floon and brought to the safehouse where they all had discussed the Stone, where the Xanathar Guild attacked.

An alarm is triggered in the safehouse and when we all failed our stealth checks (except for Zephyr), the guard arrives.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 11

Dinner with a Vampire

After killing Fulminore, Baron Strahd von Zarovich offered the party a boon each and a night of safe respite as his guests in Castle Ravenloft.

Bryn shapeshifted to appear as one of Yan-C-Bin's cultists and flew a giant vulture up to Fulminore's castle, rejoining the party. Harshnag remained in Westbridge (the Village of Barovia?).

Not seeing any other choice, the party accepted the Baron's invitation. When they arrived in Castle Ravenloft, a servant lead the party to the dining room where Strahd reintroduced himself and emphasized their status as his guests. The party asked if they could clean up before dinner and Strahd acquiesced. After a short rest (during which Bryn and Corvyn changed into a gown and vest/shirt/slacks they found in the armoirs in their chambers), the party joined Strahd to have dinner.

The food was delicious and decadent, the beverages strong and flowing.

During the meal, Strahd reiterated his thanks along with his intent to grant them each a boon in repayment for their defeat of the wizard Fulminore. Those ended up being:

  • Bryn and Corvyn requested access to the library of Castle Ravenloft, gaining advantage four times on:
    • History and Arcana checks for Corvyn
    • History and Investigation checks for Bryn
  • Alun simply requested gold, and was granted 250 gp
  • Sashura asked for a yearly festival for the Village of Barovia and Strahd agreed to pay for three years, after which the village could continue it themselves if they want
  • Maalora requested a piece of magical armor and was granted an Animated Shield
  • Ghore asked for an honest conversation

During Ghore's conversation, Strahd told him that he believed Fulminore was attempting to merge the surface of Faerün with that of Barovia in order to curry favor with Fulminore's gods and that the ritual was an attempt to remove giantkin competition and establish his kind's dominance over the others. Strahd also said Fulmore believed it would allow them to reestablish an Ordning with cloud giants on top.

Also, Strahd said that the dawn would separates Barovia and Faerün and that to return to their home, the party must be outside of any Barovian structure come the sunrise.

After the dawn, Harshang suggested the party visit "the Oracle".

The Storm King's Thunder: session 10

The Ritual

Back in the Village of Barovia (or is it Westbridge?), the group seeks out Yan-C-Bin's cultists to steal their giant vulture mounts.

They fly up to the castle and defeat Fulminore, who is guarded by two air elementals, to stop his ritual. Afterward, Baron Strahd von Zarovich introduced himself and offers a boon and his thanks for defeating the wizard, who Strahd explains that he viewed as an invading general.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 9

Last Night in Barovia

Father Petrovich invites the party to hide the night in his temple. There, they discover that Father Petrovich has locked his son in the basement, where they hear him screaming about how hungry he is. Father Petrovich lets slip that he won't let his son feed because then he would be completely damned.

The party sneaks back into Vellaki and purchases some pig's blood from a butcher's shop and Bryn changes to look like Father Petrovich. She descends into the dirt-floored basement, puts the bucket of blood down and escapes before Petrovich's son can approach her.

In the morning, they go back into Vellaki to pick up their equipment. While inside Korina Vadu's shop, two walls explode inward and werewolves attempt to kill her. They kill all of them. Corvyn is probably fine.

One of the werewolves was carrying a sealed envelope addressed "To the foreign adventurers" and bore a wax seal of a raven. Baron Strahd von Zarovich has invited the party to visit Castle Ravenloft the next evening.

While travelling back to the village of barovia, the group is enclosed by the mists and channels every divine ability they can muster to keep from being swallowed by the toxic haze.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 8

The Festival of the Blazing Sun

A parting piece of advice from Tana to Corvyn: get better weapons.

Corvyn, Bryn and Maalora are deposited in Westbridge, where they're attacked by a pack of giant wolves! Sashura, Ghore and Alun rush from inside the Harvest Inn to assist them. Two of the wolves appear to be bipedal, however, and one manages to bite Corvyn. He's probably fine.

Harshnag says that he'll sleep outside the inn and protect it. In the morning, the party tell Stoldar and Yevgeny that they need repairs and replacements for their equipment and after asking around, are directed to a nearby village known as Vellaki. Apparently the smith there can work with silver and runes.

However, Vellaki is not on any of the party's maps. Westbridge is not on Stoldar's map, either. Stoldar says that they're in a place known as the Village of Barovia and the Old Svalich Road will take them to Vellaki, which is of course not on the party's maps either.

The Old Svalich Road is crowded on both sides by thick forests and more than one gallows, displaying the decaying remains of what Stoldar says The Devil calls justice.

In Vellaki, the party sees signs plastered on buildins for The Festival of the Blazing Sun - tomorrow!

They find the smith, who they pay to silver some of their weapons and inscribe runes on others. It will take several days to complete.

The party decide to visit a Vistani encampent outside of town, where they meet Khozak - a dwarven bard - Madame Striza - a half-elven fortune teller - and others. The Vistani let the party make camp there for the night and Corvyn wakes up to see a trail of blood drops from his sleeping roll to a deer carcass and hides the trail. He's probably fine.

The Vistani and the party all attend the festival in the morning, as it's mandatory. The festival takes place in Vellaki's town square, where a stage has been built. On the stage are a complicated series of mirrors and lenses along with two life-size wicker men. The burgomeister explained the festival and locked the final lense into place, which starts the wicker men smoking.

A man in the crowd starts crying out for his son, when the party realizes that one of the wicker men has someone inside! They storm the stage, attack the burgomeister and stop the burning. The man from the crowd - Father Mason Petrovich - throws his frock over his son, freed from the wicker prison and escapes while the crowd flees.

The party follows him to his church to shelter from the night.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 7

The Mists

The Cold Wind, while not becalmed on the Sea of Swords, is instead beached along the shore of the Dessarin River. The party pays the ship's captain (with a little extra for their trouble) while Ghore almost singlehandedly gets the ship back into safe waters.

Meanwhile, Corvyn is held back in the Feywild by Tana where she makes it very clear to him that he is to kill the wizard. She likes Faerun the way it is and doesn't want anyone making these kinds of drastic changes. Bryn lingered behind to listen in while Maalora watched out for more aggresive natives of the Feywild.

Sashura, Ghore and Alun start on the Stone Trail to Westbridge, where they expect they'll meet up with the others. Along the way, the cloud cover gets thicker and fog starts rolling in. As they hiked, the three were moving in one of the last remaining shafts of sunlight, which Sashura attributed to Lathander's protection. All along the way, they could see a cloud giant castle floating over Westbridge, with giant birds bearing riders coming and going.

Upon arriving in Westbridge, the streets were abandoned and the sky a dark, cloudy night even though it should only be early evening. A nervous-looking halfling poked his head out of the inn's door, gesturing for the adventurers to hurry inside. Once safely inside, he introduced himself as Herivin Dardragon, the proprietor of the Harvest Inn.

Alun offers to play at the inn for room and board for the three, an offer which Herivin accepts. The crowd is almost entirely unmoved by Alun's performance, though.

Sashura and Ghore talk to a couple wolf hunters, Stoldar and Yevgany, who aren't from Westbridge. Or, for that matter, Faerun. While talking to them, Ghore catches sight through a window of where the cloud giant Fulminore's castle was floating above the town and instead sees a castle atop a mountain surrounded by a large curtain wall, covered in gargoyles and spires.

Stoldar closes the window, spits and curses "the devil". Sashura hires Stoldar and Yevgeny to bring the party to that castle, which Stoldar identifies as Castle Ravenloft.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 6

Shortcuts

The party hired a ship to take them south: the Cold Wind. The ship mostly carries ore from Fireshear to Neverwinter or Waterdeep and brings supplies back to Fireshear. The captain is nervous about having a frost giant aboard but the party convinces him (with coin) that it'll be fine.

Augrek Brighthelm meets them before it leaves - with the Ironmaster dwarves reinforcing Bryn Shander, Sheriff Southwell sent her to help.

Once in open water, heavy fog moves in and the ship gets becalmed. The crew makes an effort to keep momentum by rowing the ship but don't make much progress. Fortunately(?), Corvyn's patron - the Lady of Frost, Tana - Tana arrives and tells the party that the spell of the cloud giant Fulminore is so potent that it actually takes effect before it's completed. The fog and still air are part of its effects. She "saves" them by moving the ship into a Feywild river (Sildr) that will take them to their destination on Faerun.

The Cold Wind navigates the Sildr, defending themselves from its amphibian inhabitants. When they pass through a portal at the end of the Sildr, the ship returned to Faerun on the Dessarin River near the Sumber Hills and the Stone Trail to Westbridge.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 5

A Ritual Component

Harshnag has a lead on the cloud giant castle that took the Nightstone: he believes it will be taking the Nightstone to Westbridge in order to perform a ritual spell that would be "apocalyptic" for the small folk.

The party heads to Fireshear intending to hire a ship to take them south to Neverwitner, from where they could set out to Westbridge on foot. While in Fireshear, they debate hiring griffon mounts but decide that it would be too expensive, plus Harshnag couldn't ride one.

Alun earns the party room and board at an inn by agreeing to play there that night and earns some renown for The Story of Us, his magnum opus about the party's adventures.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 3

A message of misfortune

Morak's neighbor (Semile Southwell) was also killed in the attack and pays the party to take word of her death north to her brother Markham, the sheriff of Bryn Shander in Icewind Dale.

On the road out of Nightstone a wizard's tower, floating on a cloud, comes to a stop above the party and lowers a spiral staircase down to them. Accepting the invitation, the party ascend and meet the cloud giant wizard Zephyros.

Zephyros tells the party that the Ordning - the caste system of the giantkind - has been shattered. Not only that but Queen Neri of the Storm Giants - who had been known to meet regularly with the small folk - has been killed, obviously by small folk. King Hekaton (her husband) was persuaded to investigate the truth of Neri's death by their daughter Serissa before unleashing his wrath upon the entire Storm Coast.

Zephyros has been searching for answers and his divinations have made it clear that the party will play an important role in the establishment of a new Ordning. He gives the party a ride on his flying wizard tower north to Bryn Shander.

Along the way, mortal, giant-vulture-riding representatives of the primordial Yan-C-Bin entreat Zephyros to ally with their master but are refused.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 2

A daring rescue

After a trek through the forest - which they were warned is also home to a tribe of wood elves with whom Nightstone has been in conflict - the party finds the cave in question. Unfortunately, the caves are home to the goblins! A fierce battle with goblin archers and their two ettin guardians left the party badly wounded. However, they were able to locate the missing Nightstone villagers and escape the caves with them.

As they fled the caves, sounds of pursuit followed them. Thanks to some careful planning, the native wood elves came to the party's aid, helping them cut down the pursuing goblin horde. The fact that Maalora (the party's ranger) and Corvyn (the warlock) are also wood elves didn't hurt, either.

Lady Nandar had died in the giants' initial attack, leaving the town bereft of leadership. The inkeeper, Morak Ur'gray, stepped up in an unofficial capacity and ensured the party got paid for their labors.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 1

A missing monument

Our campaign opened with the party on the High Road, heading south from Neverwinter to take a contract offered by Lady Velrosa Nandar for stopping a horde of goblins that are causing problems for the town of Nightstone.

When the party got near the town, they heard the ringing of a bell and saw partially-collapsed buildings and a smashed drawbridge to the town's keep. They made their way through the town to the keep, fighting goblins and wargs only to learn that the town had been attacked by giants, dropping stones from a castle on a cloud! The villagers had evacuated to a cave north of Nightstone but haven't returned. After the evacuation, the giants took the obsidian obelisk the town was built around and which is its nameake. The guards at the keep offered a reward for rescuing the townspeople.

The Storm King's Thunder: session 4

Defense of the North

The party arrives in Bryn Shander, find Sheriff Southwell and deliver the news of his sister's passing.

While resting in Bryn Shander, the city is besieged by frost giants and their winter wolves! The party leads the defense of the southwest gate, earning the appreciation of the city. Sheriff Southwell hires the party to patrol near the city for more giants and winter wolves. Sheriff's Deputy Augrek Brighthelm, who aided the defense of the southwest gate, also asked the party to carry a message asking for reinforcements to her clan in Ironmaster.

The party began their patrol but soon realized that they were being tracked, themselves. Unable to stop it, they made camp and set a watch. During the night, they were beset by a pack of winter wolves! Once the winter wolves were defeated, however, the pair of frost giants they were leading beset the party as well!

With most of the party unconscious, a third frost giant crashed into the clearing, beheading the last of his kin!

Slate theme

Slate theme for Standard Notes

After a lot of trial-and-error, I've made a theme for Standard Notes using comfortable, shady slate greys and mossy greens. I used the Material Design guidelines to ensure legibility and usability. Obviously I'm biased, but I like it a lot!

screenshot

The URL to import Slate is here: https://blog.yuggoth.space/p/fvqXJWJqYi

The source code for Slate is on Github