dungeons and dragons and fighting games
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The Storm King's Thunder: session 22

Uninvited guests

With shiny new mithral equipment and their questions answered by the Eye of Annam, the party flew their castle out over the Sea of Swords and toward Maelstrom. Along the way, Maalora continued training Cinderhild on how to use her ballista. Once they were near Maelstrom, Corvyn used the Conch of Teleportation they acquired from Duke Zalto to bring them all into Maelstrom proper.

They appeared on an enormous run in a gently glowing cavern and, following music echoing from above, entered into a lounge filled with giants! The performers - Mirran and Nym - turned out to be the sisters of the regent - Serissa - and the others were most of what remained of King Hekaton's court.

Bryn and Maalora snuck around the stronghold and found what appeared to be the king and queen's tower, guarded by what had to have been the worst guard available.

Meanwhile, Sashura appealed to Braxow, the stone giant seer to support the party because they're enacting the will of the giant gods (and Lathander).

Ghore picked a fight with Jarl Hellenhild and tossed her on her back, earning both her consideration and attention! He spent the rest of the evening with her, as well...

Corvyn chatted with Vaal, trying to feel him out but the conversation didn't amount to much.

At that point, the storm giant princesses finished their performance and Mirran announced that it was time for their uninvited guests to leave. Corvyn asked them to let the party stay and that they'd be happy to wait until an audience with Serissa could be arranged. Mirran was furious at this but Nym stepped in and allowed them to stay in guest chambers.

Guards escorted the party back downstairs to Cinderhild's guest chamber but rather than be escorted to chambers sized for small folk, the party insisted they would stay with Cinderhild. If the guards had a problem with that, they could tell Serissa and she could deal with it.

Orphans & Organizations: session 15

The story of the cave

The monk(?) has a pleasant smile and calming demeanor. He said he's defended himself recently after trying to talk to those who've tried to attack him. Vivi told him that we hoped to warn him and he cut out again to say Evil grows more paranoid and less patient, daily. They will strike when no one is ready.

After showing him the note I found, he was interrupted again and repeated nobody is who they seem yet they will reveal themselves to those who pry enough several times, during which I cast Detect Thoughts. The thoughts reminded me of sea salt and the Mask of Many faces, as they shift between images. I tried to pry deeper but lost my connection to the thoughts.

I realized that we hadn't exchanged names and introduced myself. The monk intoruced himself in return as Halam. He said that he's felt an inner schism and was trying to mend it. He'd come across beings that can interpose upon peoples' dreams, which seemed to line up with what's happening to him.

One of the notes from Halam's attackers instructed them to bring him back alive. I asked him if the note said where they were supposed to bring him, having a terrible great idea. One did say "home base".

Halam told us the Peryoton - the antlered flying beasts - are most active at night.

Apparently, three separate entities wrote the instruction notes.

We asked him about his chant about the eyes and Halam seemed concerned.
One eye: trolls, cyclops, abominations? Four eyes? He didn't know. Ten: he said was more straightforward about Xanathar's Guild and recommend we avoid the interest of beholders. Borrowed eyes: illusion, a doppleganger or something more gruesome?

Halam agreed to let us know at the Tavern if his meditation on all of this reveals any wisdom and Vivi asks him if there's a safe shortcut down the mountain, and there is! It exited into Fetlock Court.

The route looked a little treacherous but we all make it down successfully. On the way, I used the sending stone to update Davil More information - their next target has been unsuccessfully attacked by several organizaitons. If those persist, there may be other groups attacking elves soon also.

After a couple minutes, I recieved a reply: Well, that's good to hear. Which next target? Another elf? By the way, your previous quary already escaped. Next time, let's keep it in house please.

Vivi hired someone to clean the peryoton skulls and antlers and mount them next to the troll skull. We finished the evening by continuing to prepare for our opening the next night.

When we arrived at the Tavern, there was a note on the door from Volo saying that he was going to be out of town, and possibly the plane, for a while researching for a book. He apologized for any lack of funds and there were five bags, containg 100 gold each.

Furthermore, Fala said she scared someone away from the coin purses also. This individual had come up to our door several times in the past tenday. Each time they wore a frayed crimson hooded cloak. She didn't know who they are or where they're from but it seemed really suspicious. Fala agreed to let us know if and where she sees them again.

Soft Open

Arabis was the first one to arrive on our soft opening. I welcomed her in draconic and told her that all of us would be happy to help her with Common, as she wished. Baraht arrived next and Davavor showed up about half an hour before opening.

Vivi visited Wren to the smell of burning and received a hand crossbow! It uses a clip of four bolts and while well-aimed shots will damage the target further, it could also jam, preventing it from firing unless cleared.

People started to filter into the tavern. It wasn't packed but at several points, all the seats were filled.

  • Zephyr was barbacking, managing her homebrew and alcohol supplies. Things got away from her a bit and she got in the way at points. (-5)
  • Vivi cast Enhance Ability (Eagle's Splendor) on Lif and performed to entertain the crowd. When Lif looked jittery, she played tunes he enjoyed to help him shine. (+5)
  • I spent the evening moving around, looking for potential trouble spots: empty glasses, missing glassware, soothing tempers and boosting morale, etc. (+15)

Renaer and Floon stopped by and gave me a signed (cover and inside both) copy of Volo's Guide to Monsters. I say hello and well met to make sure the pair of them feel welcome and make sure that Vivi knows Renaer wants to speak to her.

Vivi's acquantance, Threestrings, stopped by and tries to distract her and throw off her mood in between sets. He told Vivi that he's heard rumors about her entering a new line of business. He offered to trade tales with Vivi and tapped his tunic in a way that revealed a small silver harp pin.

Rishal and Fala were seated together, trying desperately to make small talk. As they drank more, they started talking about the philosophy of sourcing paper and the ethics of doing so. They got sloppy drunk and made peace after talking through the conflict about scroll paper.

Yagra was cleaning up in arm wrestling and stared down Zephyr, calling her out. I told Zephyr not to hurt herself in a contest with Yagra and cast Guidance on her. Zephyr tried to challenge Yagra to cards, unsuccessfuly, and had to settle for finding another victim for Yagra. There was a group of off-duty guard members arm wrestling among each other - one of them is particularly drunk and eagerly agrees to challenge the mercenary. They out-raised each others' bets until two stacks of 20 gold were stacked on the bar. After a few moments, Yagra mechanically levered the guard's arm down and collected the coin. The dwarf seemed to enjoy the whole experience and started chatting Yagra up and what's more, she actually enjoyed it!

Once Vivi has a break, Renear told Vivi that his father reached out about the Grand Game. He sent a Waterdeep native to give something to Renear and needs a secluded place to meet and would like it to be Trollskull Tavern. He invited VIvi - and the rest of us - to sit in on that meeting. Naturally, Vivi agreed to host them.

Vivi asked after Floon and Renear said he was concerned. Floon wasn't really himself, he said that something was still with him. He said that Floon seemed to be constantly listening to everything around him but couldn't be convinced to talk much. Is he the borrowed eyes?

Overall, we came away with a profit of 110 gold! After Mirt's cut, that leaves 99 gold. We decided to split Volo's payment to 150 gold each with 50 for the tavern fund.

The next day would be Brightswords!

The Storm King's Thunder: session 21

Questions answered

The party ended up basically adopting Cinderhild after successfully raiding Ironslag and turning it over to the dwarves of Citadel Felbarr and the Xorlarrin exiles.

They flew Ironslag's mithral doors back to Citadel Felbarr and used one as raw material for equipment and the other as payment for the crafting and enchanting.

After spending a couple tendays recovering, fitting their new gear and training Cinderhild to use a "crossbow" (read: a ballista).

While preparing to go to Maelstrom, the group took another visit to the Eye of Annam. There, they found the body of their fallen friend, Harshnag, where he apparently fell holding off a blue dragon so they could escape. They performed funeral rites for Harshnag and vowed vengeance upon the dragon!

Cinderhild took the greatsword from the statue of Surtr and used it to open the portal to the oracle. Inside, they asked more questions and learned:

  • the castle won't fit into the destination for their Conch of Teleportation
  • Maelstrom can't easily be reached from the castle
  • Queen Neri was slain by adherents of an ancient kraken
  • the dragon that killed Harshnag is hidden in Maelstrom
  • Cinderhild can remake the Ordning with Fire Giants supreme by claiming the Wyrmskull Throne for her own

Orphans & Organizations: session 14

To the summit

While going about some errands, Zephyr couldn't find her regular contact (Merrick) and people who know him say they haven't seen him since the night before. Since Merrick is the central hub for the few Shadow Thieves in Waterdeep, she was concerned that it looked like he just disappeared. She left a note for him (in thieves' cant) at a dead drop at a nightclub. Zephyr recalled that even if in disguise, Merrick wears a blue orchid in his lapel.

When Vivi and Zephyr returned, I informed them the payment from the Zhentarim Doom Raiders wasn't coin but instead a powerful restorative ointment. It seemed curious that the payment wasn't in coin but it would likely be very useful. Since it wasn't coin though, we pooled our purses to collect the funds to open the Tavern for Brightswords.

Zephyr used Vivi's other sheet of magical bird message paper to send a message to Merrick while Vivi told Lif everything she knew about the gryphons on Mount Waterdeep, and the rumors of the fledglings raised under the mountain itself.

While they did that, I went to the Bookwyrm's Treasure, hopeing to find a map of Mount Waterdeep's paths. Rishall's map collection was hopelessly disorganized and as an apology, gave me a four hundred year-old map of Baldur's Gate. It wasn't in any way useful to our current situation but could make an interesting decoration for Trollskull Tavern.

We gathered some basic rations from the tavern and left to climb a mountain. On the way through the city, Vivi practices her piece about Lif the ghostly bartender. I used minor illusions to create spectral images to accompany the music and Zephyr tried (unsuccessfully) to hype the crowd. Luckily, by Vivi's third take, we settled into an effective performance.

Night hiking

We found a path up Mount Waterdeep and started climbing without much of a plan for finding this rumored monk.

As the sun set on a mountain path, two winged and antlered creatures swept down at us from above! Vivi was almost immediately dangerously wounded by a surprise attack as was Zephyr. Vivi's wounds put her in danger of dying until I stabilised her with a panicked spell.

The next morning

19 Eleint

Zephyr lead us further up the path and noticed smoke coming from a cave. We decided to take a closer look, thinking that it was a more likely place for the monk in the note than at Peaktop Aerie.

The cave had bodies posed in - at best - uncomfortable positions:

  • two wearing purple
  • one in primarily black and red
  • one with pointed ears, black skin and white hair

While looking at the bodies, we were stopped by the light of a fire and a voice coming from further inside the cave:

One eye
Four eyes
Ten eyes
Borrowed eyes

There was a figure seated by the fire, facing toward the fire while reciting the chant. With Guidance from my cantrip, Zephyr crept closer to the figure and saw they were wearing brown robes with a shaved head.

Vivi created a gentle illusory sound to see if the person was trying to finish a ritual or just meditating. It turned out that he was just meditating and after opening his eyes, invited us to sit and talk since it seemed that we had questions.

After we sat down, his eyes went white, his head snapped backs and said no matter good deeds or evil, innocent blood shall spill.

That's probably fine.

Orphans & Organizations: session 13

Aftermath

Vivi searched the downed assailant, taking some crossbow bolts and almost all their coin (leaving some to make it look less like they were robbed).

"Our path forward is branching off", Istal tells Zephyr. He implied that Zephyr is stuck in some old ways. He says the guild will never return to this city. Istal was sickened by Zephyr associating with one of the "pale skins".

Zephyr got Istal to admit he was tasked to do a job and asked him who he works for. He stalled some more and Zephyr finally got him to whisper something to her. Vivi and I only overheard a few words.

Quickly looking Istal over, I found he has 22g, 7s, some kind of handheld miniature cannon and a note:

Istal,
Prove yourself. Five palekind, then the monk on the mount. Enclosed is for last resorts. Use will draw attention, I'm sure you know.
- Z

I asked Vivi to raise the guard and bring them back. Once she was there, I convinced her to take Istal away. As they're leaving, Istal asks the guard "What do you know of the Shadow's Thieves"?

Once the guard had taken Istal away, I showed the paper to Vivi and Zephyr.

On the way back to Trollskull Tavern, we discussed the note. Mount Waterdeep seems like an obvious connection to "mount" from the note, but there were no monastaries or anything... There's rumored to be someone on the mount who can help people find solace but that dreams and truth intermingle there.

The next day

3 days from Brightswords (18 Eleint)

After watching the staff mount the troll skull above the fireplace, there was a knock at the door. Zephyr opened the door and had a parchment thrust into her face and was asked "are you the ones responsible for this?" - Fala Lafalier was at the door.

Fala was surprised the Tavern was clean and functional. We invited her in, disarming her tantrum and talked about Rishal's paper supplier situation. She was surprised at how helpful we were and told her friends outside to get away and to take the paint with them. We were pretty sure her crew vandalized the tavern but she'll fix it and give us a discount on our first visit to her shop.

Discussing Istal's note, it finally clicked what Mirt was trying to hint at - Bregan D'aerthe! Zephyr suggested that Bregan D'aerthe could be connected to the Shadow Thieves and that she's looking to forge her own way from them. Awfully convenient timing that the Shadow Thieves started to show back up now that the Grand Game is happening.

I used the sending stone (given to me by Davil) to report in that the issue in the Dock Ward should be resolved but that we're continuing to investigate. I was told to see Bonnie (at the Yawning Portal) for payment. I headed down there to collect it and drop off a letter to my family in Neverwinter.