D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 8 Recap

We talk down a dwarven assault on the flying tower, survive an explosion by a mysterious new foe, and cling to life versus a pair of deadly Yetis in the snowfields below.

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Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

We’d been in the tower for a week, and fended off two separate attacks. I was pleased to see Zephyros again but unnerved at the global event that painted him a target. I would be glad to set down near Bryn Shander and resume our quest.

That night I felt a chill in the air. I slept uneasily, with visions of what Korinn had told us about her own ominous vision dancing through my mind. We awoke to the sound of a growing thunderstorm all around us. Zephyros floated down, a worried expression on his face.

“Little ones! Gather quickly!” he implored. I’d never seen him like this before. “Something terrible has happened. You all need to get out of here right now.” His words were punctuated by a startling roar that echoed throughout the tower, as a thudding sound indicated that something large had landed directly on the tower.

“I’m not going to leave you, Zephyros,” I yelled, the howling winds making it difficult to speak. I’d only just found my friend again. After all we’d been through protecting this tower, I wasn’t about to abandon it. We could face whatever new threat together.

“Zephyros,” an eerily calm, deep voice echoed down the tower. “You have for so long stared into the void,” it taunted. “Now it is your lucky night. The void has come calling.”

“Zephyros,” I yelled, “What did you see?”

“The cloud, dear boy. Whatever I could not see. It is here. You have to go.” Zephyros waved his hands and I felt our bodies become lighter than air. I glanced at Korinn, who was clutching her stomach as if struck by a wave of nausea.

“Don’t do this Zephyros!” I felt my voice crack. Zephyros was the closest figure I had to a father and mentor in my life. Without him, I’d never reached the Mind-Zei monastery, never untapped my potential, never survived the nightmares.

d&dZephyros’ eyes crinkled with sadness. “I’m sorry my boy. It is the only way. I will deal with this. You must continue our work. The Ordning – fix it if you can. I will find you. I promise.”

The tower shuddered as pieces began falling around us. I was dumbstruck as the giant ushered us toward the front door and outside into the swirling winds, our hair standing on end from the lightning surging around us.

Zephyros stepped back inside the tower and drew himself up. The kindly old man became a beacon of strength and defiance. “Whatever you are,” he shouted up into the tower, “You will not have me or my castle!”

“Come Zephyros,” the voice teased. “Claim the answers you seek.” A huge chunk of the tower was ripped away, crashing to the bottom nearby.

“Zephryos!” I screamed and ran back toward him. The cloud giant turned, a look of resolution etched upon his face. He reached out a hand and a blast of telekinetic force slammed into me. I hurtled backwards along with the others. A second later we were tumbling down the air, the Feather Fall spell keeping us from plunging to our deaths.

I reached out with my mind, briefly touching his. ::We’ll find you again:: I sent. The connection was severed as the tower receded into the distant sky. A giant bolt of lighting coursed through the cloud, slamming into the tower and exploding chunks of rock. I screamed again, and again.

This was not a good session for my warlock. In addition to having an emotional moment where he was forcibly pushed out of a friend’s home and watched it explode, he soon ended up dying in a snowbank from a vicious mauling. From the frying pan to the fire.

But first we were still stuck up in Zephyros’ flying tower. I am not a fan of this sequence of the campaign. We had been picked up right outside our newbie starting zone, given a large info dump, then left to simply stare outside while we fly North to receive the occasional scripted encounter.

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Zephyros was more of a presence this time, and insisted on speaking to all of us individually. I thought this would be an interesting opportunity for everyone to dive a little deeper into their backstory and why they were marked for destiny in this campaign.

Instead the DM focused on one person in particular, Korinn the Dragonborn Sorcerer. Her backstory involved dying on the battlefield and coming back with renewed purpose (and powers). Her and Zeph peered into his scrying ball and saw some more images, including a woman on a throne being stabbed and an electrical cloud that shot them with lightning. They woke up and were left with more questions than answers.

Next a force of armored dwarves carried by a Roc descended upon our flying cloud tower. At least this time our encounter was more interesting than simply “cultists show up and attack.” We were caught mostly unawares if not for T.I.M.’s convenient need to not really sleep (and taking the Observant feat). He woke everyone up and we barred the door.

We heard the dwarves dismount and chug some potions, then their gaseous forms rose up from the door and into the upper levels, materializing right in front of the magic orb. Oh shit! They knew destroying the orb would bring the whole damn tower down. We had to act fast, and carefully.

I launched into my Obi-Wan peace-keeper mode that I feel Kazin embodies when the need arises. The dwarves were sent from the Lord’s Alliance on a mission to hunt down and destroy cloud giants, after what had happened in Nightstone. It was straight up racial profiling, but these weren’t evil people, just misguided. These moments are all too rare in D&D and I relished the opportunity to give a persuasive speech.

Unfortunately I really borked the Persuasion roll, even with Bryseis Helping and T.I.M. using Guidance. I had one more trick – the Friends cantrip. The DM let me use it (I figure I can cast spells mentally with Awakened Mind) to try another Persuasion roll with advantage. A 16! The catch – the charmed person knows I used magic to influence them, and it only lasts a minute.

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Our first goal was to get them away from the orb and possibly disarm them. One young dwarf rushed the orb and put a nasty crack in it with his axe. We all sucked in air as our flying fortress rocked and threw half of us (and half the dwarves) on our asses. Thankfully the others were not keen on this dwarf’s attitude and held him back (Kazin was fully prepared to throw down at this point – nobody fucks with Zephryos’ tower!).

We got everyone downstairs and Kazin warned the rest of the party that hostilities could quickly resume. We spread out and assumed positions, and convinced them to put down their weapons so we could talk some more.

Right when they did the spell wore off. Bryseis used Mage Hand to pluck some axes to give us an edge, but surprisingly the dwarven leader was more annoyed than outright hostile. Once again we convinced him that the best course of action was to work together, and accept Zephyros’ help to stop the giant attacks around the world.

Eventually the dwarves agreed to leave without a fight, which was awesome. It was a tense moment of back and forth and it’s neat that we were able to solve it without having to draw blood.

After the dwarves left we had only a day left of travel to get to Bryn Shander. At this point it feels a bit like Milhouse waiting for the fireworks factory in the Poochy episode of The Simpsons. Having access to a flying cloud tower is neat but could not be more linear and constrained.

Then everything went to hell.

The last night, that ominous electrical cloud that had attacked Zephryos and Korinn in their vision came calling during a massive thunderstorm. We could hear roaring and the cackling of electricity. Zephyros came down with a haggard expression and told us it was time to leave – right now. He cast Featherfall on us as parts of the tower ripped away from the unseen beast, and ushered us toward the door.

Kazin, of course, was freaking out. At the last moment I had him run back to Zephyros, refusing to leave his old friend whom he owned his life (and his powers) to. Zeph cast Telekinesis, forcibly shoving us off the cloud. As they fell they saw explosions rip the tower apart, the cloud giant’s fate unknown.

What a cool damn moment! We gently fell into a snowbank. We had traveled hundreds of miles overland, reaching the sparsely populated northern end of Sword Coast, about a day’s travel from Bryn Shander. Kazin was in shock but Bryseis worked to build a campfire (then decided to just set an entire tree on fire). We huddled near a ridge and tried to sleep off the rest of the night.

Halfred was back in his element in the wilderness, and used his Primeval Awareness to sense any nearby monstrosities (he’s playing the Revised Ranger from Unearthed Arcana). He spotted a pair of Yetis a few miles away.

d&dIn the morning he used Primeval Awareness again, and our fears came true – the Yetis were now 500 feet away and closing fast. We had just enough time to scramble up the ridge to get better footing before they were upon us.

The damn beasts rolled a max 21 initiative, putting my weirdly awesome initiative rolls (I have a +1) to shame. They ran right up, negating our starting distance advantage, and paralyzed both T.I.M. and Korinn with their Chilling Gaze. Paralyze is a nasty condition that not only prevents you from doing anything, but also incurs advantage AND automatic critical hits to nearby opponents. A few swipes later and T.I.M. nearly died in the opening round.

What followed was a cavalcade of horrible misses as our dice completely betrayed us. Kazin hit once with a low-damage Force Blast and Halfred was able to hit with an arrow despite rolling a damn 3 (+8 to hit, holy crap). Yeti’s do a lot of damage (and that horrible paralyzing gaze) but with their low AC we should’ve been carving them up.

But after that initial round we missed again and again. Halfred put up a Fog Cloud to give us some breathing room. The Yeti near him got lost trying to find where he was, while the Yeti that had moved up to me got a critical hit – on disadvantage, meaning the DM rolled back-to-back 20’s.

Ouch. Then it got worse. The Yeti critically hit me again on his second attack. Another two 20’s. THE DM ROLLED FOUR TWENTIES IN A ROW!

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In our 1.5 years of playing D&D I’d never witnessed anything like that. So not only were the dice not in our favor, that son of a bitch monstrosity just downed me in one hit. Oh, and that was after I drank my potion of heroism I’d been saving since we fought off the Zhents back in Nightstone.

So two of our members are paralyzed, one is dying, and both Yetis are still up, one completely uninjured. Things were not looking good.

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The DM repeatedly told us that they were afraid of fire (T.I.M rolled really well on a Nature check despite a -1). Bryseis missed with Chaos Bolt but decided to summon one of her most useful spells – Dancing Lights, to look like fiery orbs. That combined with Halfred charging them with a torch got them to back off. Bryseis used the lights to push them back 120 feet – sort of ending combat but not dismissing the threat.

We ended the session in a really tense situation. This normally ordinary combat encounter has suddenly become a fight for our very survival as one member lay dying (I failed my first death saving throw, naturally) and T.I.M. was still paralyzed. It’ll be interesting to see how we get ourselves out of this one – if we can at all (also, we’re now eight sessions without ever earning Inspiration. Would’ve really helped in that fight – JUST SAYING).

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

2 thoughts on “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 8 Recap”

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