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

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 19 Recap

We reach level 6 and journey south along the Long Road to find Triboar devastated from a recent Giant attack.

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Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

We were tired, hungry, and in T.I.M.’s case, severely wounded when we emerged from the caves of the Zhentarim outpost.

We had cleared the entire outpost. The final attack from a venomous giant spider had humbled our elated mood. T.I.M. showed no pain, despite his nasty limp from the spider’s venom.

We were in no mood when we found the gates of Xantharl’s Keep closed. Bryseis knocked on the door and a voice rang out, “Go away interlopers, we know what you did!”

“Damn it,” I muttered. 

“I told you we shouldn’t have let some go,” Bryseis glared at us, her demonic eyes burning with annoyance. “We should’ve killed them all.”

She turned her attention to the gruff voice beyond the gate. “What is it you think we did?” she snarled.

“Alicia told us – you killed all the Zhentarim. They were our lifeblood, you’ve doomed us! Go away!”

“We freed you from the Zhentarim,” I replied, wearily.

“You think you’re heroes, but a lot of those folks lived here. They had families! You’re not welcome here.”

“To hell with this town,” I sighed. But I thought of Millie, the undercover Harper agent who had helped give us some information.

Bryseis brazenly called out to the guard that we needed to speak to the barmaid. It felt horribly suspicious to me, but money greased the palms of the guard and he went to fetch her.

Millie emerged several moments later and we told her everything, about Xelan’s death, the ledger that revealed all their payments and book keeping, and the letter that revealed the Weevil’s next stop – Neverwinter. She was grateful for the assistance, agreeing to ride north to try and uncover more of the Neverwinter hideout.

We had other plans. The Giant attacks weren’t about to stop so we could follow the damn Weevil all over the country. We saddled the horses and turned south, riding a few miserable miles before collapsing into our tents for some much needed rest. A long road lay ahead of us.
Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 19 Recap”

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 18 Recap

Our final showdown in the Zhentarim Outpost offers a rematch with Captain Xelan.

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Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

The alarm bells rang out, and for a tense moment I wondered if we were doing the right thing. I ran to the door, practically barreling into it, shouting as if some foe were right behind me. 

“Captain Xelan,” I screamed in the acolyte’s voice. “We’re under attack!”

The Zhentarim leader whom we had thwarted at Nightstone, and who had tried to have us killed, stared back at me irritably. The well-dressed man to his left sighed. “Do you see, Captain Xelan? Your organization is becoming nothing more than a liability.” The large robed orc in the corner said nothing.

Xelan stood up from his desk, unsheathing a brilliant golden scimitar. “If you don’t want to die it’s your problem too.” He turned toward me. “Lead the way, Alicia!”

I hurried down the hall, pointing toward the west where the rest of my friends lie in waiting. Xelan nodded and charged forward, but the well-dressed man stopped to stare at me. I felt my heart beat rapidly as an uneasy force flowed around him. My mind felt the tiniest prick and I used all my concentration to retain my composure. This was no man.

My disguise held and the fake-man continued on. I heard Xelan cry in surprise as Halfred whirled around the far corner at the opposite end, dropping two arrows directly into his chest. A gout of acid sprayed across the other two, and T.I.M. summoned his terrifying spectral leech.

I stepped behind everyone as Xelan called out to me, “Heal us, woman!” My hatred of Xelan and unease over the odd nobleman coalesced around me as I shedded my disguise.

“Captain Xelan, I think you remember us.”

Xelan’s eyes went wide. “Gods damn it! You’re all supposed to be dead!”

I smiled wryly and held out an arm, channeling all my psychic energy forward. “Now you will know fear.” Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 18 Recap”

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 17 Recap

We infiltrate the underground Zhentarim outpost using some subtle and not-so-subtle tactics.

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Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

I headed toward the flickering torchlight down the tunnel, motioning for the others to stay back. I rounded the corner and the cave opened up into the entrance to an old temple – just as the Zhent thug had described.

A pair of guards near the entrance were playing cards. I stumbled onto some loose rocks and the nearest one glanced up. I felt a rush of adrenaline before I remembered I was still disguised as the man we had interrogated outside the cave.

“Walter!” he called out. “What are you doing? I thought you were going into town with the others?”

I had to act fast. “Ah yeah,” I stammered, gradually calming myself. “I forgot something. Hey, those brutes – the guards, are acting really weird.”

“The orogs?” He replied. “What are they doing?”

“I don’t know but they’re starting to get violent. Get out here and help me with them!”

We went back and forth a few times. I briefly entertained trying to pry some more information out of him (Zellan was indeed here, somewhere) but didn’t want to press my luck.

Finally the guard relented. He and his buddy got up to investigate. I mentally called out to my friends that they were coming down the tunnel. I made sure to avoid making physical contact as they brushed past me.

The fighting erupted almost instantly. Bryseis conjured up several magic missiles, slamming into one guard, and Halfred unleashed a hail of arrows. The Zhent fell, and the other turned to run, shouting about the alarm. T.I.M. smashed him with the mace as he ran away, directly towards me.

I reached out with my mind, but the man’s eyes were wide with fear. The same man I’d just spoken with seconds ago. He was in full flight mode and barreled into me, even after I manifested my psychokinetic glaive and slashed at his legs. I held my ground, bracing against the cave and shoved him backwards.

He gave a sudden scream, and for a moment I questioned how hard I hit him. Then I heard a sick sizzling sound as his face began to melt. The melting flesh cascaded down his body, choking him before he could even scream.

As he dissolved into a messy puddle I glanced back to see Korinn retract her arm and nod solemnly at me. I took a moment to realize that a few weeks ago I would’ve been horrified at this brutal display. Now it was just business as usual. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 17 Recap”

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 16 Recap

We arrive in Xantharl’s Keep to investigate Zhentarim activity in the area, and discover their hideout.

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NOTE: Makeup this was a makeup Wednesday session, with no session on Friday!

Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

Halfred’s bow sang out, and the Zhentarim thug gave a startled gasp as an arrow sunk into his shoulder. He glanced around wildly, perhaps noticing for the first time he was the last one in his group alive.

My mind probed into his, grasping and shaping his fear like a piece of clay. “Throw your weapons down if you don’t want to be cut down like your friends,” I intoned menacingly. “The information you provide could spare your life.”

The young man blanched, eyes wide. He spared a fearful glance toward the cave entrance, then met my gaze. He threw down his weapons.

“Don’t kill me, don’t kill me! Just let me go,” he whimpered.

“Smart man.”

We spent a bit of time shopping in Mirabar, one of the largest cities we’ve seen in this adventure. There were some solid magic items to be had, namely some Mithral Armor (half plate) and a Sentinel Shield.

Since I plan on multi-classing into paladin next level, I was all over that armor. I sold as much loot as I could, and still had to borrow a few coins from Bryseis, who just won the damn lottery from selling the pearls from Drufi’s helmet.

It took literally all my money but I secured much better medium armor than I thought I’d be able to acquire any time soon. I can only glance at it wistfully for now, but next level, oh boy! Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 16 Recap”

Roll20 Review: Cat and Mouse

Welcome to another Roll20 Review, my written and video series in which I review the paid modules available for sale at Roll20. 

Cat and Mouse is the latest conversion and paid module release by tabletop role-playing website Roll20.net. The 1st-level adventure was written and designed by Richard Petit at Kobold Press in 2015 as an introductory adventure to the Southlands, an Egyptian-like part of Kobold Press’ RPG fantasy world, Midgard.

Cat and Mouse, as with most of Kobold Press’ content in the last few years, is built with the Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition ruleset courtesy of the Open Gaming License.

The adventure takes place in the exotic city of Per-Bastet, home to catfolk, ratfolk, and gnolls. The player characters get swept up in a classic McGuffin hunt with competing factions, leading to a multiple choice ending. Continue reading “Roll20 Review: Cat and Mouse”

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 13 Recap

We stumble upon the living ice just outside of Caer-Dineval, then return to Bryn Shander to report our missions.

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Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

The inn had a nice warm fire crackling in the corner. I practically flew over to it, warming my body after the chilly encounter with the creatures of living ice. I’d only been embrace by one for seconds but I was still chilled to the bone.

“….giant snowy beasts! Nails as long as daggers. Teeth as sharp as….daggers.” I glanced over and saw that Bryseis had saddled over to the pair of loudmouths in the middle of the inn. It took me a few seconds to realize they were bragging about destroying the Yeti, the same ones who had nearly ended my life. I absently scratched at the scars on my chest.

Bryseis had called Korinn over and the two were feigning interest and fawning over them. I couldn’t help but grin.

“Let’s buy these ladies some drinks!” they declared. The ladies toyed with them like a cat toys with a mouse. Bryseis pressed them about the giants and the lads’ chests puffed out. Suddenly one of them gave out a slight yelp like a puppy. I looked over at Bryseis’ hand had disappeared beneath the table.

“Korinn I could’ve sworn we were the ones who fought the Yeti?” Bryseis said sweetly, flashing a devilish grin. The young men let out a whimper, his eyes wide.

Korinn nodded sagely and turned to the young men. “This one is a bit crazy, a loose cannon,” her hands waved casually at Bryseis. She lowered her voice to a steady growl as she leaned forward. “I suggest for your own good you tell us who you are and where you’re from. Because we know you’re full of shit.” Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 13 Recap”