Saturday, November 11, 2017

Storm King's Thunder #26: Sky Whales over the Sea of Swords

Having learned the giant king is "held on the Morkoth", the bard and sorceress did some scholarly research in the libraries of Waterdeep.  Amongst the musty scrolls references to a Morkoth as a type of giant squid, a pirate ship and buried in a list of dragon names.  What could it be?

The crew of the Kelpie's Kiss set sail at dawn, despite the time of year being a dangerous one to sail the Sea of Swords, but the captain was a Harper, who was willing to risk his ship to save the world from the casual violence of giants.

The first days were clear and cold, making good time with the wind in the sails.  "Uncommonly consistent easterlies," muttered Captain Flossin.  Esra the Dark smiled under her hood.

In the distance great sky whales could be seeing plowing through clouds, occasionally diving into the ocean to come up trailing long strands of sea vegetation.

Then the weather turned.  Esra frowned.  A storm came quickly.  The winds howled and ripped at the sails.  The sea grew into a maelstrom of surging waves.  The bard was sea sick.  All the passengers huddled below deck until a crash of lightning and thunder was followed by the arrival of a bedraggled first mate, Sprite, who begged the to come above, for there was company.

Seeming to wade just off the lee of the boat, two massive giants had appeared out of the storm, their hands crackling with electricity.  The first called out in a booming voice like thunder, "Puny small folk!  The queen ordered you to never approach her court again.  She was too kind.  Now you will forfeit your lives."

Battle was joined.  The storm kings threw lightning bolts and boulders at the ship.  The heroes replied with fireballs, and a water walking barbarian who stood toe to toe with the mighty foe.  The drow sorceress took control of the winds around the ship and started pulling it desperately away.

The giant Orlekto fell, slain by a single charmed arrow from the bow of the bard.  His companion wailed in distress and they sank beneath the waves.

Two days later the Kelpie's Kiss limped into the harbor of Rhauthym Isle, in need of repair and resupply.  The small port was full of grim warrior sailors.  The talk of the taverns was the plunder they would gather in the wake of giant destruction.  They did not seem concerned that giants would turn their attention to this small isle.

The Company of the Raven disembarked and hiked overland to where they had heard of a gathering of purple hued warriors, paying passage through the pasturelands with songs and news of the mainland.

The purple beach on the western shore held a crude encampment of some two dozen men, long haired, heavily tattooed, their skin stained purple.  They confronted the company, crying out "Hail Tiamat", but were quickly scattered by demon skull mace of terror.

Suddenly Althea the Wizardess donned her Mask of the Black Dragon.  Instantly the purple barbarian dragon cultists dropped to their knees.  "High Wyrmspeaker!  We did not know!  What orders do you have from Tiamat, Mother of Dragons, whose wrath will return to burn the world in flame and fire!"

Althea demanded the location of Hekaton the Storm Giant King.  The purple men pointed west, where just off shore a small islet with a keep could be scene.  As they watched, it seemed to move...


DM Notes: 
I thought quite a bit about how to run the nautical travel section.  I've been talking with my friend who will take over DMing next for Tomb of Annihilation about hexcrawls.  We tested out some hex-crawl procedures, then tested the journey rules from Adventures in Middle Earth, which we preferred.   I thought of using those, but finally decided to just hand wave it.  At this point in the campaign the players and I want to get there.  The end is in sight.  Rolling for encounters and events would be a side track.  We didn't need to add rules and procedures.  As it was I decided an attack at the behest of the evil Queen Mirran was in the cards, which took up most of a short session.  Two storm giants are a serious handful for a 11th level characters.

I completely improvised the island of Rhauthym.  I read the paragraph in the book, then riffed made stuff up.  The encounter on the beach was improvised but I had a great minds eye image of an early scene from the show Vikings, when they encounter the Saxon king.

I hadn't completely had it clear in my mind until this session, but the "Purple Rocks" and "Purple Vikings" thing is all a call back to the purple robes of the Cult of the Dragon.  They are all out there helping keep the giants out of order so Tiamat can return.

The wizard has had the Mask of the Black Dragon for three years of play time.  She got it when I used part of Hoard of the Dragon Queen in a different campaign.  That character then joined up with this group when they returned to the Forgotten Realms from Ravenloft.  A dragon stole it once, but she got it back.  It may end up being the key to the end game of the campaign, though that might not actually happen for a long while as I think we'll suspend this one pretty soon.