Ah, I love the smell of a new campaign in the morning. I am extremely excited for Storm King’s Thunder, and I have been since it was announced. I love giants, I love viking-esque nordic-ish things, I love runes, this is all right up my alley. And I’ve only gotten more excited since actually reading the whole book (full disclosure: I did not do that before running the first session) – no spoilers, but wow, good stuff. I will also say that of all of Wizards’ 5th ed releases, I think this one is the best written and the best organized (we will see how it actually plays, but it feels promising).
Roshi, human monk
Relaris, half-elf paladin
Wade, human rogue
Heskan, dragonborn sorceror
Ulmo, water genasi druid
Madeline, human fighter
Becket, human cleric
The Village of Nightstone, near Waterdeep
The Sword Coast of Faerun
The Story So Far:
Our party of adventurers was traveling along the High Road on the way to the fortified settlement of Nightstone, for any number of reasons (but mostly those related to gold). Whether they intended to serve as guards for hunting nobles (that is… nobles that went on hunting excursions, not the most dangerous game of hunting nobleborn people) or sniffing around for some adventuring opportunities, the group had come together on the road to make their way to Nightstone. However, as they approached, they could tell immediately that something was not right. A bell was ringing incessantly from within the village, and the drawbridge to cross the moat was wide open and unattended.
The first place they went to, once inside, was the temple that was to the left of the drawbridge. Inside, they found that two goblins had clearly wreaked their fill of havoc and were now swinging on the rope to the church bell, cackling merrily. Already annoyed by the noise of the bell, the party wasted no time in setting about killing the goblins. Their next destination was a decently sized farm, the house of which appeared to have been mostly destroyed when a large rock landed on it – from where, the party could not tell. Although no goblins were present here, they’d left proof of their passing behind, the wreckage of the house quite thoroughly looted.
Up next was the windmill, and they were beginning to find it strange that they had not found any people here so far. Within the windmill were two goblins, climbing about on the rafters from above, who began firing arrows at the party as soon as they entered. These ones the party handily dispatched as well, before deciding that they would not kill the next goblins they encountered, but would interrogate them to find out what happened to all the people here. After all, those massive boulders were certainly not the work of mere goblins.
Indeed, the next farm they saw had a pair of goblins dancing around the pumpkin patch, emptied out gourds on their heads. Figuring that if you’re not going to beat them (to death, anyway), you might as well join them, Roshi, Heskan, Becket, and Wade put some pumpkins on their own heads and danced right up to the goblins. Catching them off-guard, Roshi bound one of the goblins with his rope and Ulmo cast Entangle on the other. They weren’t able to get much good information out of the stupid goblins, but they knew that the people of Nightstone had suddenly showed up in the caves where the goblins lived nearby. They didn’t know, or particularly care why, but their boss knew that this meant the village was undefended, and sent many of his goblins out to plunder the settlement.
Understanding that the people of Nightstone must have fled whatever was attacking them with the boulders, the party decided to make their way to the caves, keeping their goblin captives with them. Of course, only halfway through the town or so, one of them called out for aid from any remaining goblins in the town – and ten more flooded out of the surrounding buildings. Ulmo and Roshi knocked out their captives, then the group focused on taking down the rest of the pesky creatures.
Before they could make their way out of the village, a group of riders came thundering down the path and across the drawbridge. Their leader, a handsome human with a flying snake on his shoulder, shouted across the town, “Kella! Kellaaaa!” When the party questioned him as to just who he was and what the hell he thought he was doing, he introduced himself as Xolkin Alassandar. He explained that one of his riders had been staying in Nightstone, and they’d gotten the distress signal from her a couple days before – and that it indicated that she was still here. Indeed, a blonde human woman emerged from the Nightstone Inn and waved to the newly-arrived riders. She and Xolkin conferred briefly before the party interrupted.
The group explained that the villagers had fled to the nearby caves, though they weren’t sure from what. Kella said that it was cloud giants, who had flown above the settlement in one of their flying towers, and dropped boulders to destroy the town. The party intended to go get the villagers and bring them back; Xolkin and his riders agreed to hold down the fort (figuratively and literally) and make sure that no straggling invaders came by while they were gone. As soon as the party crossed the drawbridge, one of Xolkin’s men raised it back up, at least putting the town’s limited defenses partially up again.
When they reached the Dripping Caves, as they were called, Ulmo called fire and held it in his hand to provide light for himself and the other darkvision-impaired party members. Unfortunately, this meant that he was the first one to catch a glimpse of the fully nude and definitely male ogre bathing in a mud pit just inside the entrance. He immediately scurried back, urging the rest of the party to get out too, but unfortunately, the ogre pursued. And so did his mate. Roshi and Becket scurried to use their rope to make a tripwire across the cave’s mouth, but the ogre’s fell back as soon as the first ranged attacks from the party hit them.
Even more unfortunately, they still had to fight them to get any further into the cave. Really unfortunately, their clothes were nowhere nearby and did not seem to be a concern for the ogres. And unfortunately for us all, Heskan decided to cast Shocking Grasp on a certain sensitive part of the male ogre’s anatomy. The two ogres, even nude and covered in mud, still proved a fearsome challenge for the party, with fully half of the group going unconscious at least once before the combat was over. I mean, that is what happens when you forget that you’re not tier 2 characters anymore and charge into a cave full of ogres on day one. Thankfully, the tempest cleric knew some healing, the druid knew some healing, and the paladin could Lay On Hands.
Huddled towards the back of the cave were the villagers, and the party quickly spoke with their de facto leader, Morak the innkeeper. Morak asked if they had been sent by Lady Nandar and the party confirmed that they had not (and did not, in fact, know who Lady Nandar was). Still, grateful for any help at all, of course, Morak helped the party rally the rest of the villagers to get out of the cave. They all attempted to sneak their way out, making as little noise as possible, but of course, they still attracted the attention of a handful of goblins who were not exactly happy to see them go.
Assisting the injured and mourning villagers as best they could, the party slowly made their way back to Nightstone. One of Xolkin’s men was standing atop the watchtower and lowered the drawbridge when he saw them approach (Wade leapt atop the half-open bridge in a showy gesture to remind everyone what’s what). And that is where we closed the session, with the villagers surveying the wreckage and remains of their homes, disconsolate in the face of what they’d lost so unexpectedly.