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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".

Orphans & Organizations: session 4

Hate the Flayer

Vivi helped the two goons hold the door shut but got pushed back. Gwen holds the door while Zephyr locks the it. "It was big and grey and frightening. It took out Raj." This sounds familiar to Vivi and I - it sounds like a big, amorphous cubic blob - a grey ooze. We brace the door and prepare for the ooze to slime its way through the door. The ooze breaks through the door and we fire a volley of prepared attacks with underwhelming damage.

After a short battle, Zephyr lands a killing sneak attack on the ooze, which loses its shape and dissolves. After the ooze is gone, the dwarf - who had embiggened himself to giant size - turns and attacked Gwen. The bald human - Krentz - makes a run for it but Vivi stops him. The duergar has 7 gold 5 silver and a war pick. Krentz goes to burn his palm tattoo off but we burn it off with a heated war pick instead. I also gave Krentz a note instructing a Zhent safehouse to get him out of the city.

Krentz tells us that Floon is through the door and down the hall, guarded by a wizard, "the boss' boss' boss" and a walking brain. It was the wizard's idea to get Floon, thinking that he was Renaer but discovering that he wasn't Renaer was the second strike against him. Krentz told us that they use the phrase all eyes are watching as a passphrase. We all dress in black and purple robes as a basic disguise.

Zephyr wasn't able to pick the door's lock but was able to take the hinges off the door.

We follow the hallway into a room with a raised dais containing three figures. One on a rack, one with green-grey skin and moving stuff on his face.

The plan is to make it look like we're Xanathar's Guild members bringing Renaer in as a prisoner so that we can get close enough to the wizard to launch an attack. Renaer has loose ropes around his wrists making it look like he's bound.

The wizard is an orc - Grum'shar - and the mind flayer is Lord Nighilor. The figure on the table is a redhead. The brain creature is four-legged, with a probing probiscus. We "present" Renaer to the mind flayer for inspection. I managed to turn the wizard against the mind flayer by using Awakened Mind to suggest that the mind flayer was going to kill the wizard now. During the fight, Grum'shar threatened Floon and Renaer looses his "bonds" to engage the wizard. Zephyr chases after him and "grabs ahold of him".

Grum'shar uses Flaming Hands to down Gwen and hits both Renaer and Vivi as well. Renaer lands a killing blow on Grum'shar.

Lord Nighilor offers us employment in exchange for taking care of one of their "lesser problems" or that he can take us over.

We violently declined the offer and Lord Nighilor steps through a dimension door after telling the brain creature that it can choose one of us and calling forth another Gazer. The brain downs Gwen again and tries to break into Zephyr's mind. I remind Renaer to actually join the fray, and he finishes off the brain. I blast the main eye of the Gazer, killing it.

Vivi searches Grum'shar's body and finds a book, 10 gold and 10 copper.

  • Burning Hands
  • Disguise Self
  • False Life
  • Shield
  • Unseen Servant
  • Witch Bolt

There is a chest with 18 gold, 82 silver, 182 copper and a silver dagger with For Rosco and Friends inscribed on its hilt.

The room next to the chamber we fought in has a small hole in a pillar in the center of the room. I take a rubbing of the runic inscription around the hole.

We make it out of the sewer via a different entrance than the one we entered: across the street from The Fallen Stars Fish in the North Ward and it's sometime in the night. Renaer suggests taking Floon to The Hospice of St. Laupsin when we wanted to avoid going back to the Yawning Portal or Vivi's family's place. We enter and bring him to a room. Renaer sends a note - in the form of a paper bird - out the nearest window.

Volo doesn't have the liquid funds to pay us right now but is offering the deed to a tavern in the North Ward. He got it as part of research for an upcoming guidebook on spirits. The tavern may or may not be haunted. The tavern is named Trollskull Manor.

We took the deed and will take the gold as Volo can pay it.

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/QElhOTJ7gH

The source code for Slate is on Github

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 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 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.

Orphans & Organizations: 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).

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.

Orphans & Organizations: 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 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 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!

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.