D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 21 Recap

We wade into the hostile sewers beneath Yartar to confront an evil threat.

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PROGRAMMING NOTE: Next week’s session has been moved to Sunday, September 24. Same start time.

Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

We carefully descended down the ladder deeper into the sewers, my head still ringing from the thunderous blast that erupted from the grate. 

A deep pool of foreboding water lie before us. Across the large room a monstrous merfolk stood rigid, its eye glazed over. Before we could utter a remark, an inhuman voice invaded our minds.

“Welcome, guests. Welcome to my home. I’m glad you were able to join us this evening.”

Everyone looked startled, and I saw a few eyes glance my way. “That… wasn’t me,” I replied telepathically, fear plain in my thoughts.

“Your party has come a long way to find me,” the voice continued. “Atalia* called me ‘Oosith,’ but that was simply a construct.” Even with its mind-speak its voice felt harsh and clipped, causing us to creep backwards from the pool.

My anger overrode my fear. “It was you who went to the monastery after I left. You enslaved them!”

The creature’s mind never wavered. It mentioned that it was doing the bidding of its own master – as Atalia did. I used that against it. “So, you’re another slave?”

“I am no slave!” For a moment we felt the creature’s calm demeanor slip, then it was right back. It beckoned us forward into the murky waters. 

I had no intention of jumping in. We kept it talking and learned about its plans: to turn the nobles of Yartar into its master’s servants.

Bryseis conjured a dancing light, and sent it down into the water. A writhing mass of tentacles curled around it. “You spit in the face of my generosity? Perhaps I should just enslave you as well.”

An ancient creature of the deep rose up out of the water, unfurling three large tentacles. Its white slimy body locked onto us with rows of eyes and a gaping maw. 

*I verified the correct spelling of names with the DM this time!

Two weeks of zero battles suddenly begat a mini-dungeon full of big encounters! This week we fully explored the monster-infested sewers beneath Yartar, coming face-to-tentacle with an evil creature hellbent on enslaving the town.

The ruse Kazin and Bryseis had tried to concoct at the end of last session quickly dissipated when we realized none of us could speak or understand the language of the Kuo-Toa who had just crawled out of a deep pool in the first sewer room.

As the disguised drugged noble I wasn’t keen on being dragged away to share whatever icky diseased fate Arten had, so I signaled to the party to attack.

We unleashed several attacks and spells. The Kuo-Toa responded by adding a few more foes to the mix, rising out of the murky, fetid water.

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Korinn charged forward and unleashed a 3rd-level Lightning Bolt spell, frying several weaker fish-folk and deeply wounding two others. The rest of the creatures were no match for us in a fully rested state (despite actually staying up all night gambling, heh).

The DM let us loot the Kuo-Toa’s unique weaponry, including their Sticky Shields and Pincer Staffs. They’re fairly low-level creatures and items but any loot is always welcome.

Turning a corner revealed the controls for the water level in the sewers, represented by turn-wheels and levers. We determined that pulling the levers would drain the water, and I suggested we do just that to try and ferret out any more Kuo-Toa that may be lying in wait.

The plan worked, though not as I anticipated. The drained water disturbed the lair of a nearby Otyugh! The creature screamed and charged at us around the corner.

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We still had some distance between us and the creature, and I made sure to keep it that way by assaulting its mind via Dissonant Whispers, sending it fleeing backwards – but not before Bryseis launched a Fireball directly into its face.

On its turn it again ran up, but this time could only reach T.I.M. and me. As is customary, T.I.M. received the bulk of the damage, ending up grappled in one of the disgusting creature’s tentacle appendages.

Seemingly to compensate for his constant battering, T.I.M. is fucking brutal with his Inflict Wounds spell, constantly hitting and always near max damage. Death cleric!

Korinn followed up with yet another Lightning Bolt, downing the creature. Third-level destruction magic is crazy powerful! We also learned that as a Warforged, T.I.M. is immune to disease, which came in handy here and in the following encounter.

We strode past the drained lair of the Otyugh, noting that it would’ve sprang up and surprised us had we not drained the water, causing it to charge at us recklessly.

Halfred was periodically using Primeval Awareness to track the one creature that pinged on his Monstrosity-scanner: a lone merrow. It was nearby but still below us. A multi-level dungeon! We headed northeast and found another sewer great leading down.

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I reached down to pull it open, triggering a trap that unleashed the Thunderwave spell on Kazin, Korinn, and Halfred. The damage was a paltry 2d8 but like a cop pulling you over, it did make me much more cautious going forward. Which means shoving T.I.M. and his crazy Perception scores in front.

Descending into the second level we found a large pool. We spotted the merrow far to the northeast. It was standing completely still with a glazed look in its eyes. A voice in our minds reached out as the water before us stirred.

The creature spoke in an oddly formal manner, welcoming us to its home and beckoning us toward its ‘office.’ It knew me by name, and Kazin is always weary of those who share the Awakened powers and know how to wield them.

We learned that this creature serves the same master as Kazin’s former lover, as did the Deep Scion we had fought in the Zhentarim Outpost.

It was not THE master, however. It claimed it was no slave but it definitely answered to someone, or something, even more powerful. That was probably the visions of the ocean Kazin had seen.

This creature had used the humanoid form of ‘Oosith’ to recruit and enslave those from Kazin’s monastery. It revealed itself as an aboleth.

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Now, it’s hard not to metagame when you’ve been a DM. I had a hunch the second I saw the mucous skin of Arten that he had been inflicted by an Aboleth’s disease-causing body. An aboleth was the focus of a major late game boss battle during our previous campaign.

I had incorrectly assumed that the aboleth was the big bad master we’d have to deal with later on. I certainly did not expect us to battle such a creature right here and now!

The creature admitted to kidnapping nobles in the hopes of enslaving them, supposedly to control the entire town for its master. When it realized we weren’t about to waltz into its watery pool and sign up for enslavement, it attacked.

An aboleth is by far the most powerful creature we’ve faced yet. It’s a CR 10 aberration with legendary actions (though no lair actions). My first thought was that we had to immediately flee!

Yet this was a fairly short dungeon. Our sorcerers had spent most of their 3rd level spells but we still had everything else, and full hit points. Hell, why not!

It helped that we kicked its ass on initiative. Bryseis used her first round to throw another Fireball, making sure to hit the merrow in the back. The aboleth made its saving throw despite its -1 DEX, but the merrow took the full brunt of the damage. Coupled with Massive Damage, it was down in a single round.

That proved a critical move. We quickly learned the merrow was enslaved by the aboleth, and was going to raise the water level in the entire chamber. That would’ve complicated the fight, giving the aboleth further reach and making us scramble to attack while in water.

Instead, Halfred unleashed his special Widow’s Poison arrows he had crafted Monster Hunter-style from the Death Widow spider. The aboleth failed its save (despite a +6 CON!), incapacitating it. The DM was not pleased.

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With the aboleth knocked out we unleashed a flurry of attacks and spells. T.I.M. jumped into the water right next to it, fearlessly attacking it and shrugging of its mucous skin disease.

The aboleth woke up the next round, using its legendary action tail attacks to successfully hit T.I.M. and Kazin for some scary-looking damage.

Once again I had Kazin use Dissonant Whispers to put some distant between us, and our backline continued to assault it with arrows and spells. A hasted Halfred is a damn menace.

The creature died before getting a single round of actions. Oh my.

Even without an actual turn the aboleth could produce some solid damage using its legendary actions. But it was alone and somewhat limited in the water, and we punished it for residing in such a tiny dungeon.

We tried healing and interrogating the merrow but the creature was hostile and feral, and slithered away. Dealing with non-humanoids is not our forte, I guess.

We did get access to the loot room, which had some nice baubles, nobles’ clothes, and a crap ton of money (~1000 gold!). We also secured the family pendant that Lady Rossolio had tasked us with recovering.

We saved the town of Yartar from an insidious threat lurking below, and next week we can officially complete the quest. Then we can continue our journey to… what were we doing again? Something about giants?

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 21 Recap”

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