D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 3 Recap

We’re forced to improvise our tactics when a small force of Zhentarim mercenaries arrive in Nightstone.

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Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

As soon as he walked in the door I bashed him in the head with my staff. I can only imagine the look on his face. I was still disguised as their Zhentarim ally, Kella.

“We’re under attack,” someone shouted. Damn! I thought we’d been careful. The Zhentarim mercenaries stopped chasing their horses and drew their weapons. We still had one ace up our sleeve – Halfred in the windmill. One of the Zhents suddenly had an arrow protruding from his eye.

I grinned as I let the rush of adrenaline flow freely. The goblins had caught us flat-footed. This time we had surprise on our side.

Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 3 Recap”

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 0 – Introducing Our Characters

We create our new level 1 characters for our next D&D campaign

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

After over a year with our first D&D 5e characters, it was time for a change. You’ve already seen the announcement that our next adventure will be another officially published 5E campaign: “Storm King’s Thunder.” The other big news is that Chris (who played everyone’s favorite zealous Paladin Kalinaar) will be sitting in the DM’s chair, and I’ll become a player!

The streaming schedule, YouTube channel, and weekly recaps will remain the same. Our campaign will begin with Session 1 on Friday, April 14. But first we needed to create our new characters. Welcome to Session 0 – Character Creation!

To summarize our session, I’ve copied each player’s character backstory (as written by them) as well as a screencap of their level 1 character sheet. Wish us luck against the giants this year!

Kazin, Half-Elf Warlock (Pact – Great Old One)

Played by Eric

Born as a bastard son of an elf lord, Kazin rarely met his aloof father. He was raised by his human mother in Neverwinter, but his father made sure they never wanted for anything.

Despite middle-upper class upbringing and schooling, Kazin never took to bookwork, instead displaying a natural athleticism. Around puberty, however, he began suffering from terrible headaches. He could hear the thoughts of others, and sometimes they could hear his. His mother sought after numerous physicians, mages, and caregivers. Finally someone showed up who could help, a most unexpected ally – a cloud giant wizard named Zephyros.

After some weeks spent aboard his floating tower, Zephyros delivered him to a solitary monastery nestled in the mountains, home to a little-known and even less understood organization called Mind-Zei. There he learned how to quiet his mind, and tap into the thoughts in his head, controlling them rather than letting them control him.

The Mind-Zei monks told him that many kids are born with “awakened minds” – those touched by the alien beings of the Far Realm. Whether through purpose or cosmic joke, many are driven insane after puberty, when their powers begin to manifest. The Mind-Zei attempt to reach them before that happens and train them to control their telepathic and telekinetic powers. They are not always successful, however…

Kazin flourished under their guidance. Instead of meditation and quiet solitude he would practice martial skills to help keep his mind focused. His natural talents and drive worried some of the order, but when he came of age they agreed to let him travel the world. Their only wish was for Kazin to maintain the harmonic balance within his mind, and help those who exhibit the same symptoms (or put them out of their misery).

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T.I.M., Warforged Cleric (Life Domain)

Played by Reese

T.I.M. hails from Ardeep Forest and started out as a body guard for his master and creator. Although it was an odd occupation, since his (his? its? her? the androgynous construct’s?) creator was a bit of a hermit and needed no protection from the local fauna.

T.I.M. was taught the healing arts from his creator as well as how to spot a bog leach at a hundred paces. One day, as T.I.M. was out looking for said leaches, he returned home to find his creator dead and probably not from natural causes. What could have killed such a mighty god? Food poisoning? An impacted bowel? Healing bog leaches? A paper cut? T.I.M. had not a clue.

T.I.M. then shrugged at this unknown quantity. With a handful of leaches and no other humans to adhere them to, T.I.M. took off for the nearest town.

Before he left, he made sure to gather the holy book of wisdom written by his creator. A book his creator wrote in every day, usually in the evening, and had scrawled diary on the front for some reason. “Onward,” thought T.I.M., “to find other fellow humans that totally aren’t made of metal and wood! Just like me.”

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Bryseis, Tiefling Sorcerer (Wild Magic)

Played by Heather

I grew up as the only daughter of Lyandra Esterborn. Lyandra ran a gambling parlor, Hope House in Baldur’s Gate. She was loved by everyone and despised by those who thought they could beat the house. She loved the irony of calling her business Hope House because while her patrons came in Hoping to fix their troubles they left worse off then before.

From a young age I watched my mother and those who came to Hope House and learned everything I could. I learned how to charm those around me and make them feel at ease even though they couldn’t see past my appearance. As a child they didn’t see me for the threat that I had become.

As a teenager I began to have issues with the world around me. I could feel a force inside me asking to be released. The more I tried to reign in this force the more dangerous I became. It was then that my mother found a teacher who understood what was going on. My teacher taught me that the force I was feeling inside me was the power and magic that was inherent in the world. She taught me how to find the power and how to harness it for my needs.

While I was learning to control this power I fell into the love of gambling. The feel of the cards in my hand, the risk of not coming out on top. My mother taught me how to always win, but with this new magic I never know what is going to happen especially when I left the magic take control.

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Halfred, Halfling Ranger

Played by Raymond

For as long as Halfred can remember (which isn’t long given his worsening memory loss), he has served for his master, Wuce Brayne, and his family. Following the tragic murder of Wuce’s parents, Halfred took him in and raised him as a son. When Wuce came of age, he inherited his parents’ multimillion fortune and the best hill mansion money could buy, with Halfred still at his side.

Unfortunately for halflings, money doesn’t buy happiness. Years before the onset of this campaign, Wuce Brayne had set out on a soul-searching journey, inviting Halfred to join him. Along the way, Halfred learned a few basic combat skills and the skills necessary to survive out in the wild. After precisely one year, two months, and eight days, Wuce and Halfred returned to their home town, Gotham Shire.

Unfortunately, things were not the same. During their absence, a golden ring had gone missing. Giants, ogres, and harpies were becoming unsettled. They were terrorizing the halflings who just wanted to live peacefully and have their afternoon tea. Something had to be done.

It was at this point that Wuce realized his true calling. This journey gave him the strength to achieve what no other halfling could do. Wuce donned his mask and It was this day that the Wombatman was born.

Meanwhile, Halfred continued to serve Master Wuce as the only one who knew the Wombatman’s true identity. He continued to do a couple push-ups a day to maintain his upper body strength. Crime was down. Giants and ogres were no longer terrorizing the halflings of Gotham Shire. Then one day, Halfred could see the eureka moment in his Master Wuce. Wuce said in his gruff voice, “Halfred, the answer is in the giants. Follow the giants.” And with that, Wuce as the Wombatman drove off in his Wombatmobile, never to be seen again.

And thus begins the story of Halfred the servant.

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Korinn, Blue Dragonborn Sorcerer (Draconic Bloodline – White)

Played by Rachelle

Korinn was a renowned warrior of a tribe of blue dragonborn. Tribal wars broke out with the treacherous and low white dragonborn.

In a pivotal battle, Korinn set her sights on the commander of the enemy tribe. One on one battle ensued. Drenched in his blood, she felt herself weakening with his blood corrupting hers and stripping her of much of her power. She was about to give the finishing blow but the enemy was upon her, striking her down. A mortal wound. Sensing death, they left her to her fate.

Alone on the battlefield, writhing in agony, and near the end, she was visited by Bahamut (or so she thinks) who gave her a chance at redemption to lead her tribe to glory. Too ashamed to face her tribe now that she is tainted with white dragon blood, she instead journeys to cleanse herself so that she might someday return.

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

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 55 Recap

We descend into the volcanic shaft of the final elemental fire dungeon and battle its fiery guards.

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

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

This week we dove into the final of four elemental dungeons – the volcanic realm of the fire node known as the Weeping Colossus. It’s the smallest but also the most impressive. The party takes a magical floating elevator down into a lava pit to get started, and from there things just get crazy.

Brief aside: the live stream went much more smoothly this week. I ironed out the CPU encoding issues. No more freezing! Please join us on Friday evenings if you want to watch us live. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 55 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 50 Recap

We dive further into the Plunging Torrents, battling watery knights, icy mages, blood-thirsty fish, and mysterious tentacles.

Recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Holy crap, 50 sessions! I knew “Princes of the Apocalypse was going to be a much bigger undertaking than the Starter Kit adventure, “Lost Mine of Phandelver.” This is by far the longest single campaign I’ve ever run, and we’re not done yet!

At this point the party has battled their way through at least half of three of the four final elemental dungeons. But only in the water dungeon, called the Plunging Torrents, do they actively approach the first elemental node of power. The source of all the elemental incursions wrecking the land. The gateway to the elemental planes beyond.

I made that sound exciting but what followed was actually a pretty mundane session as the party battled their way along what I realized was by far the most boring and straight-forward path in the dungeon. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 50 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 37 Recap

Our heroes resume the main quest, only to find themselves in the bowels of some windy caves deep underground.

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Last week we took a break in our lengthy campaign. This week we dive back in as our heroes resume the main quest, only to find themselves in the bowels of some windy caves deep underground. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 37 Recap”

The 13 Weirdest Monsters from Dungeons & Dragons [Playboy]

Not every creature in the official D&D Monster Manual is a fearsome dragon or badass demon. Some are just incredibly silly.

Read the full list at Playboy

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The rise of geek culture has lead to wider exposure and acceptance of one of geekdom’s fondest hobbies: tabletop role-playing. Now you’ve got Vin Diesel playing Dungeons & Dragons to promote a film and prolific voice actors rolling dice online every week.

Even if you don’t know your beholders from your mind flayers, D&D’s latest Monster Manual is a treasure trove of mythological beasts and horrific nightmares. But some are just plain silly.

Read the full list at Playboy

D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 5 Recap

The party gains peaceful admittance to Feathergale Spire, attends a feast, hunts a manticore, and discovers a startling secret.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

A standard monster-filled dungeon can be fun, but I really enjoy when an area has some unique twist about it aside from room-to-room monster-bashing. The Feathergale Spire is a neat four-story tower filled with seemingly innocuous knights and aerial enthusiasts.

The encounter can transpire in numerous ways depending upon how the PCs react. Nothing is more fun to me as a DM than listening to my players hastily deliberate on a course of action, each crazier than the last.

First the party had to make it to the spire. When we left off they’d just killed a bunch of griffons in the Sighing Valley and found an alcove to rest in. When they awoke I had a group of aarokocra find them. The aarokocra were wary but curious. It was a fun opportunity for some unique role-playing, as neither party could understand each other.

Talus rolled really well on a History check and I gave him some information on these bird-like humanoids – mainly that they’re not evil and often fight forces of elemental evil. Numerous drawing, pointing, and miming ensued which was delightfully funny.

Talus would eventually cast Comprehend Languages (gotta love when seemingly mundane spells become very useful), and I would give them a bit more direct information – drawing a symbol over the tower, skull and crossbones nearby, question mark over the gully, and a hidden trail that lead up to the tower. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 5 Recap”