D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 20 Recap

Our investigation of Yartar’s kidnappings leads to a riverboat gambling den, and a figure from Kazin’s past.

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PROGRAMMING NOTE: Next week’s session has been moved to Wednesday, September 13. Same start time.

Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

“STOP!” My thoughts rang out in alarm, focusing squarely on the woman in front of me. The woman I’d loved, once.

She turned around. Even by the sickly dim light of the sewers she was still beautiful.

“Who…?” she began, startled. “Your mind is familiar…”

I pulled my hood back and ended the magical disguise that made me appear more human. I focused Ellaria with my most intense stare, hoping me emotions wouldn’t betray me.

“Kazin, it’s so good to see you!” she rushed forward as if to embrace an old friend. For an instant I wanted to take her in my arms. But the slumped man in the corner made me take a step backwards.

“What are you doing?” 

“I’m doing what I must. I’ve been forced to do terrible things. But you can help me escape them!” Her eyes were big, her face pleading.

Words poured out of her mouth. A man named Useth had come to the Mind-Zei monastery, promising more psychic power. Those he couldn’t recruit he enslaved. She was a victim.

I’d been burned by her flames of passion before. I felt an iron sheath close over my heart. I reached out with my mind and focused on hers, willing her thoughts to speak to me. Her mind met mine with outrage that soon turned to fear.

Her thoughts were laid bare. She was concentrating too much on keeping up the deception. She’d gone with Useth willingly. She hungered for more power.

“This isn’t safe, you shouldn’t be in here. He won’t allow you to be in here!” I realized her mind was speaking to mine even as I probed it. I saw her handing over the victims of Yartar to monstrous fish-folk. 

“Don’t do this!” She was speaking directly to me now, her face a mask of terror. “You don’t understand the power they promised us, Kazin. Our minds can be opened!”

That’s when I felt it. The same unnerving energy from the frightening creature in the Zhentarim outpost. A powerful psychic link. A chill dread shot up my spine.

My mind followed the trail, across mountains, forests. Into the ocean. Plunging under the depths. Deeper, deeper. “Stop it!” her voice screamed. But I was close, I could almost see-

A blast of psychic energy rocked me backwards as the link was severed. I blinked and looked up. A trickle of blood dripped out of Ellaria’s nose, and she crumbled to the ground.

I was shocked last week when we made it through an entire session without any combat. Make that two sessions now! This week we had some fun in Yartar infiltrating a riverboat gambling establishment to investigate a rash of disappearances around the town.

We arrived in Yartar and the refugees were quickly taken care of. We went to the local Allfaiths temple to inquire about T.I.M.’s crippled leg, but balked at the cost – 400gp! No amount of haggling persuaded the priest, though it made for some fun role-playing.

After we left Bryseis secretly ferreted over the coin from her sizable purse. T.I.M. would get his leg fixed upon our return.

We went to the Rossolio Manor to deliver the odd young nobleman, Arten, whom we had found in a cocoon. Arten was still afflicted with a strange slimy disease, requiring constant moisture on his skin.

Apparently Arten was the young fuck-up of the family; the matriarch was none too happy to see him returned. She did pay us, but more importantly she offered us a side quest: investigate what happened to him and recover a family pendant he had lost.

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Between Korinn’s Invisibility, Halfred’s tracking, and Bryseis and Kazin’s Disguise Self abilities and social checks, we’re damn good at gaining information.

Kazin had previously used Detect Thoughts to see into Arten’s mind, gaining two important pieces of intel: a golden goose statue, and a woman he recognized from his days at the Mind-Zei monastery. Hurray character-relevant quests!

The Lady Rossolio and her manservant Khemed easily identified the golden goose statue as belonging to The Grand Dame, an all-night gambling riverboat for rich folks with money to spend. Time for a fun deception and disguise scenario!

Halfred was able to spot a Merrow underneath the city sewers using his Primeval Awareness. We briefly considered finding a grate and dropping down but we’d already changed into fine clothes for the riverboat, so we continued on our plan.

Korinn went invisible while Halfred, Bryseis, and Kazin strode up to the boat with all the haughty noble swagger we could muster; T.I.M. and Khemed behind us as manservants.

We tried our best but the dice failed us horribly. Both Bryseis and I even used Inspiration and we couldn’t roll better than a damn 11, despite having +7 and +6 to Deception respectively. Sigh, bribes it is.

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I was expecting a bit more story-wise from The Grand Dame. Some sort of intrigue or danger. Instead it offered some fun gambling opportunities involving skill checks and dice rolls. Korinn helped us cheat using her invisibility, and even swiped some coins herself.

Hey, heroes need money too; fixing a broken leg is damned expansive!

The real goal was the Mind-Zei woman, Ellaria. She walked in with a young nobleman, and we watched her carefully. She got the young man good and drunk, and they left when the boat docked the next morning. We quickly followed.

Sure enough she turned a corner in an alley and disappeared down a sewer grate. We had no plan but Kazin was acting on pure emotion. The DM and I had formed a backstory: she was the reason Kazin had left his psionic school. She was an ex-lover who had used him to get ahead.

Kazin rushed after and confronted her. She put on a good act, feigning that she was under control and forced against her will. Kazin knew her, however, and knew he couldn’t trust her despite his feelings. He had grown in power and used Detect Thoughts to see into her mind.

Her deception was at the forefront of her mind. When he probed deeper he saw some startling images. A terrible psionic creature in the ocean had established a powerful psychic link with her, channeling its power into hers. She had done all this willingly. This thing she called Useth recruited her and others right out of the monastery.

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The entity was unlike anything Kazin had felt, save for when they fought its unnerving disciple at the Zhentarim outpost. He was intrigued, then very afraid.

The psionic creature channeled a psychic overload, severing its link with Ellaria and hemorrhaging her brain. She dropped unconscious, dying.

T.I.M. rushed into action to stabilize her and Kazin cradled her in his arms. He wanted to rush to the temple but they were in the sewers and close to possible answers. It was time to disguise once again.

He and Bryseis assumed the form of Ellaria and the drugged noble to attempt to see what her plan was.

We still weren’t sure why they were kidnapping people, and we had to recover the Rossolio pendant.

We ended the session when several Kuo-Toa rose out of a nearby pool of sewer water and began speaking in Undercommon…oops! Looks like we’ll finally have to fight our way through a problem once again.

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

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