Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Storm King Sessions 18-21

After a hiatus, we game again tomorrow.  I just posted this on our fb group:
When last the sages delved into the depths of historic time, the Company of the Raven had challenged the enormous Queen Guh on her broken ox-cart throne, driven back her hulking minions and set fire to the ramshackle hall that served as palace for her immensity, and as beaver dam holding up the tides of Lake Grudd.   
Sometime in the night the dam collapsed. A low sloughing roar could be heard from the lakeside camp where the heroes had hidden to rest. The camp was not lakeside in the morning.   The gluttony of Guh was no more. The people of the North no longer had to fear for their meager stores of grain as winter approached, they would starve in peace. Or would they? What would a hero do now? 
Remaining giant lords marched for other inscrutable ends. Massive blue captained ships sailed from the frozen north, raiding the coastlines in the name of Jarl Storvald. Armored myrmidons of Duke Zalto combed the fields and furrows for fragments of an ancient doomsday device. Cloud castles were seen drifting in blue skies, watching or waiting, or searching for something. Blagothus still lurked on his glacier, perhaps still nursing his mad plan of mutual annihilation. And the strangest of all, the inarticulate grey giants, alien and thin, loomed high over small villages east of the High Forest, methodically dismantling the works of the small folk from the landscape as if it never existed. Only the legendary giants of the storms had been silent, their lightening tridents held in reserve, their thunderous judgement with held, for what purpose? and why? Where?   
With much to ponder that frosty dawn in the Iceshield Hills above the drained lake, sharp eyes spotted a small bedraggled figure mucking slowly toward the shore...

In this campaign I've mixed the plot from the Tyranny of Dragons module into the Storm King's Thunder book (after completing the "Curse of Strahd").  It has become apparent that the disappearance of Hekaton is part of a larger plot to return Tiamat to the Realms.  This is because I have a high level party.
They just finished up at the Temple of Annam.  Much plot point was put together, but I dropped the "gathering of the relics" part for level and pacing reasons.  So, I had a dilemma.  Does Imryth blast in there? Would that make it weird if they then went straight to Maelstrom (they were considering taking the flying ship they stole from some cultists)?
I went with Klauth.  The ancient red stepped into the temple.  He had been tracking the party ever since they stole his airship filled with a hoard meant to be delivered to him (he is ambivalent about the plan to revive Tiamat).  Klauth stepped in, roared something about his stolen treasure and the false oracle of Annam.  Harshnag ran forward to strike the central pillar as the party ran for it, escaping as the temple collapsed.
The group returned to Mirabar where they had docked their airship to find the ship had already been stolen by Klauth (the dwarven guards were shamefaced at this).  The ship was last seen floating north west toward Klauthen Vale.
So the group had now lost their easy transport and a huge amount of treasure.  They decided to take Harper Circle Transport to Waterdeep to save the starving population by tracking down the lair of the Hill Giants.  They are not entirely sure how to find Maelstrom, but they do know they'll need the giants' help to stop Tiamat.
All are around 10th level, which means Guh should be not too hard (she wasn't)  I plan on supplementing the steading with an ambush courtesy of the Cult of the Dragon, attempting to retrieve a Black Dragon Mask carried by the wizard.
Another thought I have is that I haven't done much to foreshadow the Kraken Society.  I don't much like the idea of Hekaton on a ship.  Much better if he is chained to a dragon turtle floating in the Sea of Swords.  But how do the players discover this?  There is a clue in Maelstrom, the coin.  I set this up in the beginning when the players messed about on a gambling boat from Yartar while at a fancy Waterdeep party.  Perhaps the wizard of Pow Ming is the artificer of the chains.  They will remember him because they wanted to steal his bag of holding.  The only issue is that it is yet another Cult.  Perhaps it is better if I make Pow Ming a Dragon Cultist.
On a side note, one thing I've realized about high level type VI play from the DM side is that challenging the group in combat, while possible, sort of isn't worth it in terms of game time spent battling.  Hit points are so high, battling anything truly threatening will take over an hour to play out.  It has been better just to make monster attacks really touch so that maybe a character or two drops in the round or three the foe survives.  This makes things interesting but there is never really any whole party threat anymore.  Not sure if its really a problem, but I wont mind when the game concludes and we can play some low level adventures.