Storm King's Thunder

SKT.15: A Legendary Turn

Campaign Date: 27 Eleint (The Fading) – 11 Marpenoth (Leaffall)  1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragons

27th- Having survived the assault on the hill giants, the Fool Hardy Fellows' next assignment was to find the path back to Beliard. Commoner ex-prisoners in tow, the heroes made it back to the Dessarin Road by nightfall thanks to Bjorn's navigation skills.

28th- Splitting with their liberators at dawn on an extremely hot, windy day, the prisoners left the heroes who continued up the Dessarin Road north to Beliard.

29th- The heroes traveled North on a warmer than normal Eleint day, advancing closer to Beliard and their just reward, plus, they hoped, a little extra for a full extermination.

30th- A light rain ushered the heroes back into Beliard on a typical late Eleint day. The Fellows and Beliardians celebrated an end to the hill giant menace on a day most were spending inside anyway. Bjorn and Edmund celebrated a little too hard on the shitty human beer, doomed to suffer a hangover on tomorrow's departure. The Fellows got paid and thought twice about squeezing the tavern owner for his day's income to reward themselves for the extermination. They drunkenly planned their next route toward Shadowtop Cathedral- they were to set out north up Jundar's Pass until it hit the Dessarin River. Then it will be Dessarin heading east until it ends in The High Forest, at which point they would be relying on Bjorn who they assumed would manage further with druid stuff.

1st- The heroes headed north up Jundar's Pass, despite Bjorn and Edmund's exhaustion. They were aiming to run into the Dessarin River and then head east until deep within The High Forest, bringing them close to Shadowtop.

2nd- They headed further up the pass, contending with soaking rain, but unmolested otherwise.

3rd- The heroes reached Noanar's Hold by the end of the day, a once popular hunting destination on the edge of the High Forest. Something strange was going on about the townsfolk. Pust recalls how the town fell on hard times after rumors surfaced that the Hunt Lords were allowing hunts and even arranging them for entertainment between hunters against each other. Male human innkeeper at the White Hart Inn, Avgar Filroy, informed the Fellows that the Hunt Lords are retired and don't wish to be disturbed. The party is brushed by a broom controlled by an unseen servant. Done with the creepiness for the evening, the heroes retire and opt to pursue their Lifferlas quest. They stay inside the inn at night and penetrate the forest in the morning.

4th- On a brisk and very windy Marpenoth day, the Fool Hardy Fellows made their entrance through the curtain of swirling autumn leaves into the High Forest. Bjorn, leading the way as usual, cut through the foliage- or rather, the foliage cut itself- from the ground to provide safe passage. It was his little secret he shared with the flora, thanking them with a few pats as he held up branches for his compatriots scrambling underneath. The heroes were following the river for now, but Bjorn assumed that once they split off from the river toward Shadowtop, anyone unfriendly to druids would be forced in circles by the helpful guides, and he gained a little more confidence in the quest.

5th- Fool Hardy Fellows split off from the Dessarin River and trusted Bjorn's druid-sense to lead them in the right direction, not realizing that the plants were doing all the work; those donning the Emerald Enclave clasp are always welcome in this neck of the woods. By the end of the day, the heroes reached Shadowtop Cathedral, a closely packed stand of towering shadowtop trees with high, dark canopies. A mossy copse with precariously perched trees seemed hallowed so all avoided it save for Bjorn.

About sixty feet away or so bubbled a delightful little spring at which sat a satyr named Greenwhistle playing a dirge. Greenwhistle was very morose about a dryad spurning his advances, so he sat by the pond playing sad music on his pan pipes. In between songs, he ushered to the heroes that, "Turlang will be along any time now," over and over again. Pust fashioned a nice stool to sit in, Tormir sharpened his axe, and everbody just generally chilled while  waiting for Turlang. Well, as much as one can chill while listening to extremely sad music.

6th- Greenwhistle dirge. All day.

7th- A druid showed up to check on the cathedral, but doesn't provide any helpful information other than letting the heroes know that the caretaker always comes by eventually.

8th- Turlang the treant finally arrived with half-elf friend Tharra Shyndle by his side. The tree was terse and quick-tempered at first but the heroes eventually divulge that the giants are menacing the countryside and they are out to stop them. Turlang had no idea where Aerglas, Lifferlas' creator, would be at this moment. A mission incomplete seemed in their future, since the heroes came here in the first place to deliver word to Aerglas of Lifferlas. However, since the heroes seemed decent enough and seemed honest about ending the giant menace, Tharra offered to take the heroes to Everlund, home of Aerglas, in secret without Turlang knowing.

9th- Tharra Shyndle offered to walk the heroes out of the forest in front of Turlang and while out of sight of the tree, offered the heroes magical silver berries that grant temporary invisibility to the eater. The party made it to Olostin's Hold by the end of the day, a fortified keep with high walls standing halfway between Yartar and Everlund on the Evermoor Way.

10th- The party reached Everlund via Evermoor Way by the end of the day. Tharra took them to meet Aerglas who had a pleasant evening getting to know the adventurers, a responsibility he retired from many years ago. To do his part against the giants, he gave them permanent magic items that he acquired in his time: a rope of climbing, a brooch of shielding, and a potion of growth.

Noticing a strange sight in the distance, the heroes ventured a few hundred feet from Everlund toward the Nether Mountain foothills and had a strange voice shout their names. A frost giant clad in plate mail with a skull of a white dragon as a helm knew their names and asked for the Fellows. Knowing too much about their past and the past of their people, as well as speaking common too articulately, jarred the heroes' memories enough to remember their clue about looking out for such an armored frost giant. Exchanging words, the heroes were convinced that this was indeed Harshnag the Grim, defender of Waterdeep and friend to the small folks of the North. Surprisingly calm and soft-spoken, he delivers confidence to the heroes that they can make it to the Spine of the World in one piece. They hope all answers will come after the treacherous journey north, for they will indeed earn it, as the calendar is not much in to the tenth month of the year, rounding the corner into winter. They need to make it to the Valley of Khedrun first…

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SKT.14: A Conch Fit for a Queen

Campaign Date: 27 Eleint (The Fading)  1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragons

I was going to start this entry by explaining to you, student of the Fool Hardy Fellows, that this is how not to be an adventurer. Our heroes got in over their heads and on the verge of something awful. 

However, Tymora blessed them once again, for in the room adjacent to the kitchen they found sixteen soon-to-be-dead hostile creatures. Six goblins sighted shortbows atop a 10-foot wide, 20-foot high wooden ledge that ran the perimeter of an enormous dining hall and throne room. Layers of mud and caked, rotten food carpet the floor dotted by white bones sucked dry. Five male hill giants, laid about the room lazily on stools and leaned against tables, exhausted from raiding the countryside. Their queen Chief Guh commanded the simpletons to battle, slumped atop a creaking four-wheeled, flatbed wagon bent under 20,000 pounds. Four ogres were interrupted from their offering of raiding spoils to retrieve their greatclubs. Slurring giantish commands, Guh gurgled her lazy, tired giants into melee with the heroes.

It's quite a shame no bards were present.

The start was forgettable, however, as Edmund chose to gum his pixie dust instead of the patented FHF snort. Bugging out, he immediately dropped to a deep slumber with a loud thud. Thankfully, Pust's snake familiar was nearby to provide the sweet nothings in his ear that rouses a man awake. The giantkin closed in by throwing some dining tables end-over-end and the slugfest began. Tormir, delighted to be in such close melee, acquired the most layers of blood his armor had ever seen, knocking giant after giant down.

Ghalvin Dragonmoor, half-elf scout of Goldenfields popped a few ranged shots off to join Pust's skeletal archers, shielded from the melee by the phalanx of Tormir, Phineas, and Bjorn. Arrows from above, cuts from below, the giantkin were bottlenecked in between their 10 ton leader and a structural pillar. A magical emerald was thrown and smashed by Bjorn, summoning a large water elemental to slam some of the goblins and consume the ogres. The elemental proved a strong ally to both dish out and take blows for the entire fracas, whether subsuming ogres or greatclub blows. The spellcasters took note of the sheer elemental power which turned the battle in the heroes' direction. Ogre tears mixed with the bloody sea foam to lay a moist grave for more than one ogre. Meanwhile, the phalanx was still adjacent to their watery ally. Phineas, by that time, had cast spirit guardians to summon his naked baby Phineas smackdown servants. Allosaurus-shifted Bjorn wasn't far- Intending to scare the piss out of the pitiful goblins, he charged and leaped up onto the ledge, only to crash and destroy it in a wooden rubble heap with all his dino girth.

Oh, and the barbarian Gryhark had his time in the spotlight! Well, as a greatclub punching bag, anyway! To everyone's delight, he lived to see another day.

Some more well trained shots, round-after-round by the unit of archers found purchase to make a ladder of arrows. The skeletons and the scout maintained advantageous position and continued to prick the large-folk. Ogres vomited from choking on sea water.

Boom: a kill was stolen from Tormir by a well placed shot from Dragonmoor! Tormir entered further enragement.

The tide turned against the giants by about this point.

The wyvern rider whom the heroes spotted a mile out finally revealed himself by running in through the front door opposite the heroes and immediately noticed that the tide had turned. "Who are these who so openly strike down hill giants in their lair?" thought the platemail-clad hobgoblin. A round spent tepidly marching to combat raised his doom-meter enough that he booked an exit and turned tail to see another day.

The goblins, no strangers to a rout, dashed toward the end of the ledge at the front of the room but were waylaid by fire bolts before hitting the floor hard and dead.

Fighting to the death, the giants traded heavy blows- even dropping Phineas' spirit guardians spell from his concentration and forcing him to heal on a few actions. Although not an easy fight, the heroes were greatly aided by their watery magical fighting wave absorbing heavy blows.

Eventually, enough giants went down and all that was left was dear queen Chief Guh. The interrogation went about as well as you could expect it would with one of the participants only able to speak monosyllabic words. However, they were able to ascertain that all the males served as her man-harem and she eats about two dozen livestock a day to please Grolantor, hill giant deity. Phineas cast a spell to view the behemoth's surface thoughts and saw things he can never unsee. Pissed beyond reckoning, the heroes had enough with the blubbering, crying, house-sized simpleton. Noticing the wheel axle bent in precariously the perfect position, Tormir sent a well-placed fire bolt to snap it in two and send the mammoth rolling to the floor. Immediately, Guh tried to get up, but her bones snapped from underneath her mass and she rolled to the 20-foot opening nearby and cracked through the wooden grates to the pig slop filth below. Out of her fatty curtains violently fell a naked goblin, already ninety-percent of the way toward a painful suffocating death. Tormir has no trouble putting one more out of its misery.

Also in her wake were the proud and glorious Fool Hardy Fellows; benefactors of back-door positioning, and a magical elemental-summoning emerald that Keltar Dardragon would have been proud of. The gnome, the halfling, the shield dwarf, the hill dwarf, and the human stood cleaning their weapons and armor of the carnage, collecting their new magical items and armfuls of gold in the process. The heroes were new owners of a magical immovable rod and a rust colored bag that can summon various beasts. Also found was a large and mysterious two-and-a-half foot long magical teleporting conch, a new fascination for Phineas considering the spell's destination is unknown.

Not one for magic, Gryhark the barbarian made his exit about now. Thankful to be rescued from giant captivity, he bit the flesh on his hand to draw blood and smeared it on each Fellow. Pust alerted the ignorant of the grateful religious gesture and the Fellows gained an ally in the Elk Tribe this day, should Gryhark survive the journey home to tell the tale.

They really did it, my reader. 

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SKT.13: The Dam Siege Continues

Campaign Date: 27 Eleint (The Fading)  1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragons

27thStill on the partially underground floor, the Fool Hardy Fellows plowed through sow, boar, and piglet shit toward a 15-foot-wide passage in the muddy river side wall.

Rivulets of water poked through the river wall to form ruts in the floor, before they flowed onward through to the pigpen. In a horseshoe-shaped room of what appeared to be a prison, wooden cages with heavy rocks situated on top were filtered throughout. Lo and behold, waiting in the shadows were two more bugbears laying an ambush with those shady known tactics. After a few smarting whacks, the brutes were assaulted into pulp and gave the heroes no more trouble.

Three cages in particular were occupied and our Fellows played the part of bold rescuers this day. The first contained a commoner human family, the middle had a tribal barbarian by the name of Gryhark, and the last held half-elf scout Ghalvin Dragonmoor of Emerald Enclave duty. He requested of the heroes to escort him to Goldenfields to report to the Abbot what he has seen, while Gryhark desired a weapon of dwarf soldier Tormir Stoneaxe, clearly equipped to the nines and looking competent enough. Gryhark, Dragonmoor, and the heroes left the commoners to a presumably safe, explored wing before inclining up a ramp on the far end of the pig shit cavern. More slobbering filth awaited them and charged forth when they entered the next room.

Blood spattered wooden tables stood spaced about a room with a stream running down the middle. A 30-foot-long wooden ladder rose up behind the two charging figures in the foreground, one hill giant abattoir and one grotesque, bulbous, tri-legged behemoth. Three tentacles, two of them spiked and one with eyes and a nose protrude from the creature's backside. Thankfully for the heroes, only Gryhark caught the sad end of those appendages and they took down both savages with enough time to revive the unconscious Gryhark from death's doorstep. Peeling the Gavel of the Venn Rune from around the abattoir's neck, Edmund had a new wondrous magical item to assist him. After checking out the abattoir's den to the north, the Fellows relied on some wizarding by Pust who sent his familiar to investigate the upstairs as he used it's senses for his own.

Hooks protrude from the walls of this room, the floor of which lay bloodstained- some dry, others still moist. All of which were currently empty and the room stood unoccupied. Unsatisfied, Pust's familiar peeked around the corner to the adjacent room. Four goblin cooks were preparing a halfling on a spit as a fire was stoked in a dome-shaped fireplace. Maggot-caked pots and pans swam in the muddy and rotting floorcovering. The necromancer shared his findings and Phineas  Banderby was the first Fellow to bolt up the ladder, eager to save his halfling-kin.

The unarmed goblins wanted nothing to do with the heroes, regardless, they paid for their alliance in blood with their lives, death throes echoed by squeals. This attracted two hobgoblins from behind a curtain in the north side of the room. Giving it a good go, they too were laid low in short order.

Phineas freed the would-be supper, halfling Rodrick Hilltopple who was pissed at the giants that he swore to swipe a sheep for his pasture and his trouble on the way out. His only problem was that he needed an escort out of the compound, so the heroes stowed him below with the rest of the commoners. Free of immediate problems, the heroes followed the wall toward the curtain, but passed through a second curtain to their left, leading outside.

The Fellows were then assaulted from the sky as humanoid shapes rained arrows on them from above. Thankfully for the heroes, their druid had just the spell for the job, as he conjured a swirling mass of air to follow them about. Diminishing the projectiles flying toward them, the heroes scrambled around the cliffside to the eventual ladder leading up to the tower. Would you have put it past our heroes to headlong assault a guard tower from below? Well, they did it … eventually. Yeah, they made it up there and slaughtered all four hobgoblin archers for their service.

And on this heroic deed is where we will catch up to them next time.

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SKT.12: Siege of the Hill Giant Dam

Campaign Date: 20-27 Eleint (The Fading)  1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragons

     20thAfter clearing the old crumbling tower, the Fool Hardy Fellows found themselves with one other problem as the evening sky draped over them- where did Keltar Dardragon's apparition lead them? A minor matter, for to be honest, our heroes didn't care much about that- they had magic items to identify!

     With their new consumables pocketed and some clever stargazing later, the heroes coalesced on a new heading. They were to set out due East-Northeast, in the direction of the High Forest and a presumed trail. After all, Lifferlas had fought valiantly by their side in defense of Goldenfields more than a month prior and they felt a sense of duty to the awakened tree! (…A duty to acquire more magic items and answers.)

     21st- Their heading proved competent indeed, for shortly after second-breakfast the heroes were back on something resembling a road. They followed the Stone Trail east for a bit before coming upon one of the finest feats of Dwarven engineering in all of the North: Stone Bridge. Smooth, fused granite, 15-feet wide with no railings or barriers spanned the two-mile distance from one plain to another, leaving any who cross at the mercy of the wind and cushion of the Dessarin River two-hundred feet below.

     Tormir Stoneaxe was going on and on about the ancient kingdom of Besilmer dwarves, blessed by almighty Moradin, laid low a horde of orcs "at that very spot" while, unbeknownst to the heroes, a giant and his pet marched in a collision course in the opposite direction. A fire giant searching for Vonindod fragments and his ten-foot-tall pet hell hound were enjoying their last day on Abeir-Toril.

     Finally, one party saw the other and a clash on the bridge began! Bjorn Earthenjaw shifted into allosaurus form, Edmund Kenting called some lightning, Pust commanded skeletal archers, Phineas Banderby doled out the misfortune, and Tormir Stoneaxe literally got high and became airborne after doing a line of pixie dust. Clawed, bitten, shocked, pierced, and slashed, the giant and his pet met a violent early demise. Unfortunately for the heroes, two huge bleeding corpses now blocked their wagon's 15-foot-wide path. An afternoon spent vigorously pushing and pulling purchased the way forward, as the corpses splashed down to a soggy early grave.

     Onward they marched for another mile to the end of the bridge where it met a small ranching community known as Beliard. A market-moot for local cattle drovers, apparently undisturbed aside from the crusty, muddy footprints of the two recently slain that had just doubtlessly passed through. The permanent structures of the community stand at the intersection of the east-west Stone Trail and the north-south Dessarin Road, the most impressive of which is the local inn, the Watchful Knight. The Fellows noticed ranchers and oxen among the far sprawling hills, and nearby a posted sign for "Adventurer's Wanted!" caught their attention outside the Knight. Our heroes inquired therewith, only to find that hill giants have been stomping through town more frequently, stealing all food and livestock in view, but wanting no serious trouble from the locals. By the time the heroes arrived, fed-up working citizens pooled their resources enough to offer a reward of 500 gold for anyone able to track down the hill giant lair. Smelling a bloody opportunity, the heroes inquired and were directed Southward. They set off at once to "help" these poor people with their hill giant problem.

22nd-27th- Rested and recuperated from Stone Bridge, the heroes marched south. The compass direction being their only clue, the heroes let their druid handle the outdoor navigation and giant-tracking. So for the next six days, the Fellows traveled under Bjorn's guidance in a meandering but southerly route zigzagging between the Dessarin and the High Forest. Then finally, on the sixth day, hundreds of feet in the distance and through the Dessarin foothills,  the heroes spotted an enormous structure on the banks of the river.

27th- Spying on the structure from a distance, the heroes observed a dozen or more giants coming in and out of the building. Flanked between two large stony outcroppings, the huge bulk of it dammed most of the Dessarin. An impressive, multi-story palisade of spiked logs and a single guard tower being the only identifiable defensive structures on the premises.

Now, our heroes surely could have ended their search for the hill giant lair from the comfort of the distant hillside, but by now you know that's not the style of the Fool Hardy Fellows! Why give away the location of such valuable spoils?!

Going for the glory, the Fellows charged as fast as their stubby legs could handle (and human Edmund compensated to match his allies' pace.) Eschewing stealth, the gang bounded forward drunk with bloodlust. They set their sights straight on the palisade, Edmund intending to blow it wide open with a shattespell, but the guard tower occupants made the first move. Still a few hundred feet from spell range, the crash of a ringing gong was unmistakably alerting all but the sleepiest occupants to their presence. The heroes got their R.S.V.P. returned in quick fashion as a pair of boulders were telegraphed in quick succession in their direction. Although flying wildly, the head-sized projectiles would have given a more sane party a reason to rethink their decision. These heroes were overcome with zeal, however, as Tymora's blessing was commonplace in their thoughts these days. Fortune favors the bold, and all five of them knew it. Fanatically, they continued to charge head-first through the onslaught.

Their foolhardiness would punish them to start however, because the never ending, awkwardly-thrown boulders found purchase on more than one ally. Mindlessly protecting their gnome necromancer Iskaral Pust, skeletal minions shattered on the spot and returned to the afterlife as stoney, boney bits knifed in all directions from each collision's epicenter. Flying through the adversity, the bruised heroes closed the gap and got within spellcasting range to blast a 10-foot hole in the palisade.

A more suitable meet-and-greet was waiting for them therein as ten frothing, axe-wielding orcs charged forward to support the two hill giant hurlers who now picked up their greatclubs. Bones, Rattles, Bob, and the remaining minions assisted the Fellows who were just as eager for melee action. After taking a few more lumps and gashes, the Fool Hardy Fellows axed, clawed, bit, and shocked their foes down to the blood-soaked ground.

Done with the immediate threat, the heroes had a few moments to ponder their new surroundings. Sheep by the hundreds neighed and griped-about in the enormous fenced-in pens encircling an orcish campground. No other orcs were in sight, however, providing a chance for Tempus and Tymora's magical warmth to close wounds and repair ligaments, courtesy of their respective clerics Edmund and Phineas. Concurrently, the uninjured among them charted the next invasion prong, of which they had three clear entrances to choose from.

The path from the campground wound up around a sheer cliff and elevated up to the riverside entrance, blockaded by a 20-foot-tall boulder; a front door for a structure of clearly non-hill-giant engineering. Two thirty-foot-tall unobstructed archways also led inward, one carved in the cliff-face and the other through the dam underneath the structure. The former only reeking of filth and mud while the latter flavored the experience with shit.

Opting for the less-stinking open arch, the heroes took their first steps in the indoor compound.

They proceeded to follow the left wall, opting not to explore the two offshoots to their right. Curving around to their left, they were led right into a shitty, cavernous pigpen. The tunnel opened up into a muddy room with a 30-foot-tall ceiling supported by wooden pillars. On the ceiling were three sets of grates set in a circular opening, light from the floor above shining through beam spans into the bleakness below. Scores of pigs were clearly satisfied by whatever can fit between the massive, criss-crossing beams spaced wide enough for a human to fit through. The river seeped through a gash in the north wall to form a stream that cut across the eastern half of the area before it spilled out through a hole in the south wall. That wasn't the only sight, however, as immediately ready for the Fellows were seven bugbears and one ettin- a large, two-headed cousin of a  hill giant with two brains but half the intelligence. Still, formidable foes nonetheless, as the ettin stood nearly twice as tall as Edmund, and with a weapon in each hand, to boot!

A squealing pig-projectile-shield in one arm and a morningstar on the other hand, bugbear and ettin alike charged to defend the fresh pork. The fight was over before it began, however, as bugbear tactics were well known to the heroes by that point since they faced waves of them in defense of Goldenfields several tendays prior. You can guess ettin "tactics" and the heroes did indeed, for they are foolish but not stupid! The dope got a few parting shots in but fell just like the several dozen other giantkin slain in the last two months. Another one bites the … shit?

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SKT.11: "Old Gnawbone"

Campaign Date: 14-20 Eleint (The Fading)  1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragons

     14th- As you know, our heroes are just so stubborn and it almost cost them dearly because they refused to yield the command of a black-cloaked female bandit after she demanded they take a detour, four other dark figures at her side. Combustive words were exchanged, sights were set, and the final boundary was crossed.

Then the commander issued a final battle cry: "NOW!!!!!!"

Fool Hardy Fellows were then sent scrambling as the silent, dark figures popped from behind and atop the thirty-foot aqueduct to complete an ambush. Pust got pincushioned riding solo atop the loot cart forcing the Fellows to smartly even the odds and play defense for a moment. A moment was all they needed because Bjorn immediately shifted into an allosaurus to occupy nearly half-a-dozen scimitar-wielding bandits. Meanwhile, tempest cleric of Tempus, Edmund Kenting called forth a spike of lightning to uproot the perched archers from their advantageous position atop the aqueduct. Jolted and landing blazed, shocked, and staggered, the biggest edge the cloaked assailants started with had evaporated in a flash. Concurrently, Pust had launched a blindness spell, taking out one of the mages at elevation for a while, as naked baby Phineas' were called to Abeir-Toril by Tymora to rip the skin from the bandits with radiant power. A few claw-ripping, arrow-piercing moments later, and all bandits save one found themselves ripped to bits by the Fellows. A withdrawing archer was close to a full retreat when Bjorn restrained her with a spike growth spell, forcing her to halt or suffer to death. Apparently, she had been trained for this, for just as the heroes were about to get answers she committed suicide with her longbow perfectly trained with the precision of a professional. Burned, pierced, slashed, and answer-less, the heroes licked their wounds before continuing along the Long Road toward Kryptgarden Forest. 

     17th- Heroes spent the evening in Redlarch.

     19th- Dank vegetation clawing and pleading with every step, the heroes found themselves treading slowly and carefully through the intensely overgrown Kryptgarden Forest, domain of ancient green dragon, "Old Gnawbone." It was the heroes' aim to seek her advice, and they took it on good authority that she would not want to eat them if they shared their intent to end the threat of giants. You see, "Old Gnawbone" is widely known among divination scholars as one of the most proficient scryers in all the North, and the heroes were in need of answers. Creeping suspiciously and cautiously, the Fool Hardy Fellows hadn't traveled very far before the eerily quiet forest was thrown into a tumult by the crashing and snapping of the great wyrm. Quickly and suddenly the heroes were beset by a gargantuan, house-sized dragon head sporting emerald dragon scales and a fresh new kill dangling from her mouth, a tribally-painted humanoid limb just about the only recognizable piece of flesh remaining of the pockmarked and bloody lunch meat; a bone snap punctuating the wyrm's every syllable. Right away, her first question pondered who were these chumps that had the GALL to disturb her domain! Then, after firing back with their intent to stop the giants, the heroes managed to get a promise from the wyrm that there was a place they could seek for answers. She directed them to seek the Eye of the All Father in the Spine of the World mountain range and to keep an eye out for a frost giant with a helm made from a white dragon skull. Useful information divulged and losing her patience quickly with the pitiful and belligerent hill dwarf druid Bjorn, "Old Gnawbone," winged herself away without salutation. Heeding her words and departing from Kryptgarden, the heroes headed back toward their cart and beasts of burden, plotting their next course.

     20th- Fool Hardy Fellows awoke in the slice of real-estate between Kryptgarden Forest and the Long Road, still unsure what to make of the wooden ring adorned with dancing nymphs clinging to Phineas' finger. You know our heroes, though, as their curiosity instinct got the better of them just like that old pixie dust incident! One "Keltar Dardragon" later and the heroes were soon joined by an apparition of a halfling wielding the cheeriest grin most of them had ever seen (Phineas excluded). Begged for a full day's march toward "useful items, this way!" and "they're just over here!" from the gesturing ghost, and the Fellows were set upon a crumbling 80' tall tower with four small flying creatures encircling above. Bjorn, figuring to scout ahead using pet Rellix, sent the animal to spy, not realizing that the creatures hovering above were indeed hunting birds, blood hawks in fact. I would rather not go into detail about the poor creature's demise however, as our heroes are the stars of the show. Scouting report be damned, the heroes made it to the front entrance to the tower which would have been wide open if not for the 10' diameter boulder hindering progress for anything larger than a human child. An awful deep, guttural wailing was echoing forth from the entrance cracks and (mouse)Bjorn and Phineas were the first to find the source. First through the squeeze, their lucky prize was to be assaulted with flying boulders by a female hill giant throwing stones from her perch on the second floor balcony. The wide loads of the group, Edmund and Tormir, had to blast their way through the entrance, placing a shatter spell to sunder enough for a 6' frame through. The one hurdle in the path now removed, the two medium frames made their way toward the stairs leading toward the carnage upstairs. I'm not too sure they wanted to get there in a hurry, anyway! For by then the big oaf was slashed and pierced up from consecutive giant-spider-Bjorn bites, spittle and bile spilling onto her oily, lumpy neck rolls as the spider venom took root in her heart. Only eighteen more seconds of pain would she have to endure, swinging mightily and feverishly at the potent pests beside and below her with the last gasps of her life. Finally, the dum-dum gallumphed to the floor, nearly covering up the hidden secret compartment Keltar Dardragon was pointing to! With a pry and a prod later, the heroes were the lucky recipients of two new magical items: an emerald gemstone that can summon a powerful water elemental, and a bag of dust resembling very fine sand that makes a handful of beings vanish for a short time.

Oh, yeah, and through it all- the fight with the bandits and the assault on the tower, dwarf soldier of Adbar, Tormir Stoneaxe, took absolutely no blows! Some soldier!

Where will the Fool Hardy Fellows run off to next? Will they follow "Old Gnawbone's" advice?

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SKT.10: On to the City of Splendors!

 

Campaign Date: 10-14 Eleint (The Fading)  1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragons


Druid Bjorn Earthenjaw began the fracas with a well placed spike growth spell and forced the brutes to peel off their route in opposite directions, fearful of the inevitable punishment of the thorny overgrowth. Detoured and forced to squeeze between architecture which now splintered and open like a doll-house at their backs, the giants were met one-on-one with dwarf combatants, Tormir and Bjorn, each sadistically eager to punish and claim the kill. Three Fool Hardy Fellows at each dwarfs 6'o'clock, they bobbed, weaved, hacked, slashed and bit their way to stand toe-to-toe(?) for the thirty seconds needed for the Fellows to down the behemoths. Some beer guzzling, poisoning, lightning blasting, upstaging, dinosaur rending time later and both giants were slain with both dwarves remaining upright but not entirely satisfied. Fool Hardy but proven giant-slayers, nonetheless, and now keepers of a promise from human Lord Warder of Amphail, Dauner Ilzimmer that proven heroes have a place of employment in Amphail when the time is right. For now, giants need taking care of…

The heroes leave Amphail due South and over the Sword Mountain foothills on a windy, dark, cold, stormy day, but find respite that night in the quiet farming, pastural grasslands and community known as Rassalantar. Denied strangers to drink with by the stormy day and evening, the heroes find themselves alone with stoic, private barkeep shield dwarf Yondral Horn at the Sleeping Dragon Inn. Intending to continue their business toward Waterdeep, the Fool Hardy Fellows set forth the morning of Eleint 12 on a lightly windy day but are waylaid by an old foe, the one-eyed orc shaman from Nightstone and his newfound champion, a burly, chainmail clad, longsword wielding orc. Eight other berserk orcs at their side, they clash and ultimately perish against the Fellows' mighty power.

That loose end tied up, the heroes continued to Waterdeep, but were soon aghast to find that even the City of Splendors is not immune to giants and their shenanigans. A castle in the clouds shimmers down into view above the city and apocalyptic hysteria sweeps the streets. The heroes had an inheritance to claim and won't be bothered with a seemingly peaceful cloud giant establishment, however. After claiming their hard-earned inheritance, the heroes party long into the morning with Banderby friend and family alike. 

Aside from the wicked hangover, Eleint 13 presents no other sudden dangers as the heroes make their way to the docks for Bjorn to conduct important druid business. After a sad exchange with an unintelligent fish and a gullible human, the heroes squish off to meet up with Pust after his library trip and see Chazlauth, Naxene's dragon-educated acquaintance. 

Chaz suggests the heroes visit "Old Gnawbone," an ancient green dragon residing in the Kryptgarden Forest who he claims is the best scryer in all the north. An assurance of wiping out the giant menace is all the convincing Chaz thinks it will take for the great wyrm to reveal a way forward, and backs up his claim with an offer of a potion of poison resistance for each Fool Hardy Fellow. The heroes are skeptical but ultimately find no reason to distrust the quirky but helpful mage. Thinking Tymora's charm ought to be with the heroes this tenday, Tormir and Phineas pay a visit to the temple of luck and leave a tithe for the good lady before heading out of the city on the same day.

Willing to risk the dangers of camping on the road, plus the heroes have had enough of the hysterical city under the cloud castle and camp the night of the 13th on the Long Road halfway between Waterdeep and Rassalantar. Before getting far, the Fellows are set upon by bandits claiming residence on this territory of road and want their due. Will the heroes give it to them?

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SKT.9: The Long Road to Amphail

Campaign Date: 27-30 Eleasias (Highsun), 1-10 Eleint (The Fading)  1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragons

The heroes continue skirting Morbryn's Shield and risk more random encounters, but ultimately find none. They then meet friend of Earthenjaws, Orobark Ambershard who teaches Bjorn the way of the Allosaurus. After a series of skill challenges, the party assists Bjorn in becoming a dinosaur the Earthenjaws would be proud of. The celebration for Bjorn is interrupted when an emaciated, crazed, shackled hill giant and six trolls barge on the scene, with the trolls apparently trying to use the giant to their advantage as a crazed pet. The heroes dispose of the threat with fire and take a short rest. Moving along The Long Road toward Waterdeep, they pass through Yartar, in which Phineas Banderby went big and bold with a successful charisma check and landed a ménage à trois with the halfling lasses the heroes rescued, Rixi Willowrush and Teg Yellowcrane. While in Yartar, the heroes received a bundle with a block of cheese wrapped in excellent silk, a black bottle of "Old Bargewright" wine, and a folded piece of parchment on which are written:

     Zira

     The Happy Cow

     Daggerford

Phineas, the goodly halfling priest he is, buys the halfling refugees new settlements in his home city as Pust buys silverware and a spellbook; the rest drink under extreme mirth (except for Edmund) at the Banderby residence. The heroes then set out for Amphail, passing through Redlarch on the way. The wilderness may hold many dangers, but the Long Road has stayed benign despite the tumult and gives the PC's no trouble all the way to Amphail. Once there, the heroes seek out Arleosa Starhenge, proprietor of the Stag-Horned Flagon, and complete the quest given to them by "The Yeti," Miros Xelbrin of Goldenfields and give his regards. Arleosa, being a fan of adventurers, buddies up to the heroes and bequeaths to them the ring of Keltar Dardragon, deceased halfling adventurer and former suitor of Arleosa's. She mentions that it represents a special favor and should she need anything, all she has to do is speak his name into the ring and he would appear and provide assistance. As for Amphail, the tents, tables, stages and firepits are to celebrate Tylandar Roaringhorn's 63rd birthday, a prominent Waterdhavian noble of one family among two others that trade turns ruling Amphail. Cynics view this as blatant curry favoring. Either way, the feasting was interrupted by the crashing, bashing and screaming of two hills giants steamrolling toward the banquet…

 

Roll initiative!

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SKT.8: Rendezvous in Nesmé

Campaign Date: 24-27 Eleasias (Highsun) 1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragons

The heroes continue their quest to "Deliver the Ale to The Troll in Flames,” in Morbryn's Shield. They arrive at The Troll in Flames and meet Oboth Thornsteel, Zhent “leader” of the town who assumed control after four fire giants strode west but did not disturb the town. Oboth grilled the heroes about Morbryn's tomb and paid the heroes for the quest. Phineas noticed the chip floating around Oboth's fingers from Yartar- he swears he's seen that goose-head chip before. The heroes learned during the evening that Oboth got kicked out of Yartar for his gambling habit and now views this as his next gamble. The heroes also learned that almost two dozen zhents were seen riding north toward the crumbled Nesmé ruins just two days ago. Heroes decide to follow that clue and head north in the morning toward Nesmé, encountering Anlow Hallan, thug leader of seven other thugs guarding the Surbrin Trail, slaughtering all but one. The one they spared doesn't know much about the rendezvous ahead, only giving the heroes the number of Zhents they will find. Heroes tie her up and give her a disturbing blanket of skeletons to ponder her nightmares with and let her go in the morning after the heroes rest. Heroes proceed to Nesmé and encounter riding horses and evidence of campsites; then set the horses loose from their posts. Edmund proceeds to slap them in the ass to get them moving off. Heroes stealth toward the rendezvous and Pust sends his snake familiar toward the meeting and uses the snakes senses to eavesdrop on the conversation between a male priest of Bane, Fylo Nelgorn, and a female fire giant named Gundahella representing Duke Zalto. Heroes do not provoke any of the twenty thugs, Fylo, Gundahella, or Gundahella's guard contingent of twenty hobgoblins. Heroes learn from the quick negotiation that the giants will release a dwarven Zhent prisoner if the Zhents promise to keep the Lords' Alliance and other groups from interfering in the fire giants' search for the Vonindod fragments, on the condition that the adamantine colossus not be used to attack settlements or parts thereof without the Black Network's consent. The heroes also note that Moongleam Tower in Everlund is an example priest gives as a vulnerable target that the Zhents need intact. Heroes see Fylo send off his flying snake southward. Since it's getting on in the evening, heroes head back south, not sure which way exactly, but they know they need to be off the road. This proves dangerous as the heroes encounter ten orcs in the night towing three halfling prisoners. Tormir begins the slaughter and eventually the heroes get to comforting the halflings and Tormir is thanked with a Ring of Water Walking in the morning.

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SKT.7: On the Road

Campaign Date: 12-24 Eleasias (Highsun) 1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragons

The heroes and Shalvus make it to Bargewright Inn and Shalvus spills the beans to his boss, male half-elf Nalaskur Thaelond who likes the cut of the heroes' jib and offers them the job to "Deliver the Ale to The Troll in Flames.” Thus the heroes sallied forth the next morning toward Morbryn's Shield via the Long Road, on a quest to "Deliver the Ale to The Troll in Flames,” the finest damn Dwarven ale most of the heroes have ever tasted. Along the way, they encountered a fire giant and his smoke mephit contingent, murdering the lot and taking their Rod of the Vonindod. On a separate day, three frost giants were given an early grave but the heroes spared a lonely, musician, relocating to a safer settlement. Passing through the towns of Yartar, Triboar, Westbridge, and Red Larch, the heroes encountered relatives of Phineas (Yartar: mother Yeema, father Phineas, aunt Bernice Hodmer, cousins Hamish IV and Bernard Hodmer; Triboar: 3rd cousin Montgomery Tallhedge and his daughter Lilia), including Roswyn Banderby in Westbridge to whom the heroes sold some 250gp art objects since she collects art of eclectic taste. While in Triboar, the heroes discovered that a band of fire giants had just strode through and took an artifact from one of the campgrounds. Nothing warranted the heroes to get sidetracked from their mission to deliver the ale, so onward they marched…

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SKT.6: The Siege of Goldenfields
Part II

Campaign Date: 07-12 Eleasias (Highsun) 1493 DR, Year of the Purple Dragons

The heroes charged out with a Goldenfields battle-ready contingent to intercept the mob at the gate before a caravan came upon the horde from the other direction. Twenty goblins, used for cannon fodder were poked and prodded into subservience by four goblin hucking-ogres and three hill giants looking for food at the gate. The heroes defend the city and save the caravan from its impending peril, and are to attend a feast for the honored dead. During the festivities, the heroes are given subquests by each surviving Goldenfields NPC. Naxene Drathkala tells them to go to Waterdeep and seek her friend Chazlauth, a dragon expert, who will know what wyrm to seek because they surely know what's going on with the giants. Miros Xelbrin tells them to go to Amphail and give his regards to Arleosa Starhenge, proprietor of the Stag-Horned Flagon. Lifferlas implores them to seek the druid who created him, Aerglas, last known whereabouts at Shadowtop Cathedral, deep in the High Forest up the Surbrin River. Shalvus Martholio asks the heroes to protect him on a trip to Bargewright Inn so he may report the giant attack to his boss, Nalaskur Thaelond. Xi Liang bequeaths the heroes her inheritance if they bring a black pearl pendant to caretaker Cauldar in Waterdeep's House Thann.

The heroes agree to take Shalvus Martholio to Bargewright Inn, leaving in a few days time. Eventually, they head out and get attacked by a frost giant and his pet winter wolf, but their first run-in with a frost giant proves their giant-slaying potential reaches farther than unarmed hill giants.  A three day march, they Bargewright Inn expecting payment.

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