Storm King's Thunder

Storm King's Thunder: Vol I
From the Journals of Seamus the Bard

Prologue: Parnast

They would be known one day as heroes, this motley assortment of nobodies from the hills surrounding Parnast. And their paths were clearly destined to cross. 

Opagopolis was raised by wolves in the nearby Weathercote forests. It was there that she first met Calum, the Tethryin sage. She saved him from her pack, only to lighten his purse and send him on his way. He settled down briefly in Parnast, where he met the half-elf bard Pwomp, who is something of a local… oddity?… celebrity? Pwomp, being well connected as he is, put him in contact with Rin Ko, a renowned bounty hunter who agreed to help track the halfling down and recover his stolen items. And so it was that both Rin Ko and Callum were in the Wethercote forests hunting for a little halfling girl when fire descended. 

Unbeknownst to just about everyone, a warband of fire giants had descended upon the valleys surrounding Parnast. They seemed to be searching for something, and as they searched they burned the forests to ash. The retired paladin, Garrus, rode out to face them alone, but despite great effort he was slaughtered and left for dead in the roads. The goliath clan from the foothills also mounted a defense of the forests, but many were killed. It was one of these goliaths, Totham, who found the dying paladin and carried him to safety. 

When Rin Ko and Callum found Opagopolis, the forest was already ablaze. Rather than settle their dispute, Opagopolis led them through the forest back to safety. And there, in the light of the flickering flames from the burning forest, they gathered as a group for the first time. 

Chapter 1: The Well of Dragons

It was only a short time later when they had their first lead on the giant who had nearly cost them their lives. Patrols were regularly sent out from Parnast to the Well of Dragons, across the Anauroch desert to check on cult activity in the area. One such patrol had returned with rumors of a giant in the area. And so it was that the group was sent to the Well to investigate.

It was a long, but otherwise uneventful, trek through the Anauroch desert and from there they received passage on a caravan through Evereska. 

At the Well, they found that the Cult of Tiamat was indeed reforming, with several acolytes making their way to the caldera of the dormant volcano to pay their respects to the dragon queen. But at the top of the mountain the party watched as the cultists were rebuffed by a quite jovial and civilized frost giant. They conversed with the giant, who introduced himself as Harshnag. 

Harshnag had once served in the infamous Grey Hands, the loose cannon adventurers that served as something of an unofficial weapon of last resort for the city of Waterdeep. Harshnag gave them a brief overview of the Ordening, and how the hierarchy of giants had been disrupted when the giants failed to intervene against the dragons of the cult of Tiamat. (Note: For more about the rise of Tiamat, please see Volumes II-IV, found in the Great Library). All order had collapsed, he said, when Hekaton, king of the storm giants went missing. He passed on the rumors he was aware of regarding giants in the Dessarin Valley, northeast of Waterdeep. 

As the party of fledgling adventurers discussed the matter with the frost giant, the cultists decided it would be a good time to make a cautious retreat. But the adventurers noticed them edging away, and slaughtered the lot of them, save for one: a young acolyte named Ravos. Ravos told them that the cult was in disarray. Most of their priests were dead, only scattered groups remained without leadership, and the red dragon Klauth (more commonly known as “Old Snarl”) was regathering the remnants of the cult in the Klauthen Vale to the far north. For his part, Ravos seemed misguided and repentant, electing to join the group as they returned to Parnast.

And so they set off, back to Parnast with news of both the dragon cults and the giant attacks. 

LEVEL UP: Level 2

Chapter 2: The Long Road Home

The journey home from the Well of Dragons would take the heroes first to Darkhold for supplies, and then on to the road through the Anauroch Desert. As they approached the desert’s edge they received a mysterious message, delivered in the form of a flying origami bird. It advised them to seek a merchant by the name of Azam. The Calimshani was seeking guards to escort a caravan carrying a statue bound for the shrine in Parnast, to replace the one destroyed by the Cult of Tiamat. They agreed, and set out the next morning. As the caravan travelled they were attacked by goblins, who grew increasingly brazen as they made their way deeper into the desert. They also met a small band of Zhentarim who were traveling east across the desert. They camped together for the evening, trading rumors of what they had encountered on the Black Road, and the adventurers were warned about hobgoblin toll collectors standing watch at the canyon that leads out of the desert. They convinced the Zhentarim to send two of their men to accompany them back to the wall to eliminate the hobgoblin extortion. 

Just a day’s journey from the deserts edge, they noticed a sudden roiling storm cloud breaking over the horizon. As it drew nearer it became obvious the enormous cloud was home of a cloud castle, flying low over the desert. The intense winds threatened to wreak havoc on the caravan, the camels, and the caravan drivers, but they sprung to action and managed to protect the whole of the caravan. They pushed on towards their home, in hopes of arriving not long after the cloud giant’s castle. 

They were stopped at the canyon by the hobgoblins stationed at a sturdy gatehouse. Before long, they realized that the massive guard detachment was a ruse, and that many of the hobgoblins had been killed by the dust storm that caught them unawares in the canyon. With only a handful of the hobgoblins remaining, they were able to overpower them and retake the gatehouse, which they turned over to Kaniin, the Zhentarim priest of Waukeen. 

Pushing forward without resting, they arrived back in Parnast shortly thereafter, only to find the village perfectly safe. It seemed the castle had passed gently overhead, seemingly looking for something (or someone). The townsfolk were enthusiastic about having the shrine back in proper repair, and Raggnar Redtooth, the owner of the Golden Flagon Tavern, asked them to stop by the tavern the following evening after they’d had some time to rest.

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The Goat and the Prince
Storm King's Thunder: Vol 3

With the fire giant's burning of the forest near Parnast, the town's food supply has run low and morale is down. Raggnar Redtooth, owner of the local tavern, has decided to throw a festival to help raise the spirits of the locals and also repair his reputation for his role in the Dragon Cult's occupation of Parnast. 

He asked the adventurer's to accompany a local boy named Wallace Cartwright into the Weathercote Wood to find game. The wood is known to be haunted, and the locals are afraid to go there. 

After a long trek through the Wood, and exposure to the enchanted mists, they found an enormous white elk. Just as they prepared to let loose an arrow, a tiny voice warned them not to, but Wallace fired anyway. Immediately, they were set upon by a number of faeries and a massive treant. The leader, a flamboyant faerie prince by the name of Thornacious, threatened to kill them all, but the adventurer's managed to broker a truce by healing the great white elk and respecting the intricate rules of fey protocol. 

Thornacious agreed to lead them out of the Weathercote Wood and into the Lonely Moor, where enormous boars lived in relative abundance. However, the Lonely Moor was home to a pack of gnolls, which the adventurers, along with their guide Blassios, managed to defeat.

They returned to the village where they made preparations for the festivities. While fetching a keg of ale, a mysterious figure emerged, soaking wet from the closet and collapsed on the ground. He was accompanied by a young woman welding a pair of axes and dressed in hide armor. They seemed disoriented, but recovered in time to assist the adventurers as an enormous rock came crashing into the town square, announcing the arrival of a horde of hobgoblins, goblins, and gnolls, led by a hill giant wearing a headband with an enormous crystal mounted in the forehead.

With the assistance of the strangers, the adventurers drove the horde back. The giant, however, was unusually cunning and wielded powerful arcane magic. With great cunning they managed to incapacitate the giant and remove the headband. The giant seemed confused, with no recollection of anything that had happened since finding the headband. A close examination revealed it to be a headband of intellect, cursed to contain the soul of its creator and allowing his ghost to possess the wearer. 

Freed from the cursed item, exiled from his clan, and without anywhere else to turn, the village of Parnast graciously offered to allow the giant to stay in the ruins of Skyreach Castle, if he would agree to assist the village in defending themselves against the gnolls and hobgoblins that prowled nearby. 

The mysterious stranger introduced himself as Seamus, a bard with access to an ancient god built dungeon known as The Corridor, which allows him to travel through both time and space. He was a chosen of the goddess of torture, Loviatar, cursed to relive the destruction of the world and never able to intervene to save it. Instead, he has devoted himself to finding, recruiting, and training those who can, and setting them on their path. He advises them to continue on their path to Waterdeep, and to make haste, saying that the last time they were too late. With only those few words of warning, he disappears through a cupboard which appears to lead to some sort of high mountaintop fortress. 

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Stone Towers
Storm King's Thunder: Vol 4

With Parnast safe, the adventurer's were offered a ride to Waterdeep by Azam. They pass through the town of Llost, which has been reduced to a ghost town over the years, but is now being slowly disassembled by a group of stone giants. The giants taunt them, throwing boulders in their direction, and refusing to allow them to pass. Rin Ko decides to sneak into the town to search for survivors, finding the children of the innkeeper in the basement of the inn, but no one else. He carries them from the inn, but his scabbard slaps against the doorframe as they make their way out of the building, alerting all six of the stone giants in town. They charged towards Rin Ko, grabbing enormous clubs and stones. 

Azam, sensing that this may be their only chance to get their carts past the giants, urges his cart forward at top speed. Rin Ko manages to just make it in time, and Root assists them in getting into the cart. They traveled on for a few more hours before settling down for the evening. 

The next afternoon, as they continued down the road, they encountered a mute stone giant named Zorkh amidst a veritable forest of artistically arranged stacks made of smooth river rocks, some reaching 20 feet in height. While communication was difficult, Zorkh explained to them through intricate pictograms the shattered Ordening, and its possible effects on giant society. 

They eventually arrived in Loudwater, where Azam was finally able to stable the horses for the evening, and the group was able to resupply. There they learned that a cloud giant castle had passed overhead, and that an envoy from the castle has been searching for someone matching their description. The townsfolk disagreed where the envoy was heading, saying it was either Amphail or Red Larch. Calum reached out to his contacts with the Harpers, giving them access to the safehouse and teleportation circle which would allow them to travel to Waterdeep. 

In Waterdeep, they said goodbye to Wallace, who promptly went off to join up with an adventuring company. They found an inn, did some reconnaissance, and crashed a wedding, deciding to head to Amphail the following day. 

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Spoiled Rich Kids
Storm King's Thunder: Vol 5

In Amphail, the adventurers took a brief respite, enjoying the carefree resort town for a couple of days. At the Stag-Horned Flagon, they met the bartender Arleosa Stonehenge. She was a former carnival performer with the unique ability to change her appearance seemingly at will. She had a lot of information about the surrounding area, including knowing a local group of adventurers known as the Knights of Lance Rock, who lived in Red Larch and protected much of the surrounding areas. She told them that Lance Rock itself was an outpost ruled by an eccentric but benevolent old necromancer. 

They also met Yarnik, a strange tiefling with a love of taxidermy. He asked them if they would mind, if it weren't too much trouble, bringing him the pelt of a dragon. Even just a baby dragon. He's always wanted to stuff one. He mentioned that a green dragon in Kryptgarden Forest by the name of Old Gnawbone recently had a brood. Allegedly Old Gnawbone is a collector of crystal balls and a practitioner of divination magic. Yarnik assured them that the ancient green dragon would probably be totally okay with them murdering one of his children. Probably. He sold them a prototype weapon he had imported from Lantan to capture a dragon: a large net launcher. Root fell in love with the weapon, and worked out a rent-to-buy arrangement. 

With that knowledge in hand, they prepared to leave the town on Amphail. As they were leaving they bumped into a haughty and rude young noble named Lord Terrence Ammakyl, youngest son of one of Waterdeep's wealthiest families, who was busy bullying one of the local women. Root decided it would provide a good opportunity to test his new weapon, and ensnared the noble. The noble's boydguards prepared to attack, but the fight was quickly broken up by the town guard before it could escalate. 

As they approached Lance Rock, they were greeted by a small contingent of intelligent skeletal knights on skeletal warhorses. They were escorted back to Lance Rock, where they met the Knights, who explained that they were heading to Red Larch that afternoon to meet up with an associate who had information about the giants. There, they finally caught up with the cloud castle and met up with the envoy who had been seeking them out. It turned out to be Seamus again, though he did not remember them and appeared at least a few years younger than the Seamus they had met previously. Seamus explained that they were walking seperate paths, and directed them to the cloud castle where he said that a cloud giant by the name of Zephyros would direct them on the next leg of their journey. He also gave them a small token to help them on their quest: a figurine of wonderous power in the shape of a pitch black basalt elk named Alia'kamaaj. 

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Tower in the Clouds
Storm King's Thunder: Vol 6-7

Secure aboard the tower of the cloud giant Zephyros, the adventurer's learned more about the shattered Ordening that was causing such a stir among giantkind. Their apathy during the rise of the dragons years earlier displeased the giant god, Amman the All-Father, who unchained them from their established places in the ordening hoping to stir them out of complacency. Thus unfettered, the giants began seeking their god's favor, each in their own way. During this time of commotion, the king of the storm giants disappeared, causing them to retreat almost entirely from giant politics. With neither their god nor their king holding their reins, many giants took it as a sign to indulge their most primal instincts. Others wove complicated plots to gain power and prestige. Zephyros turned to the gods themselves, tirelessly using powerful divination magics to contact other planes and seek answers. The toll on his mind and body has been great, and at times he now seems quite mad, as his psyche retreats from reality.

Zephyros said that he'd seen these particular adventurers in one of his visions, either at Goldenfields, Triboar, or Bryn Shander (he couldn't be certain) and he felt that they played an important role in establishing the Ordening once more. He offered to take them to one of those places, and knowing how important the walled agricultural temple of Goldenfields was to the rest of the Sword Coast, they began there. 

En route to Goldenfields, the group encountered a copper dragon who was curious about the floating tower and came for a closer look. The dragon's name was Vexilanthus, or Vex for short, and after hearing the group was on its way to Goldenfields, he told the group of the tragic tale of how he'd lost his lair to a mean old hill giant. Anxious to be of assistance, and clearly unaware that a measly hill giant could pose little threat to an adult copper dragon such as himself, the group agreed to assist. 

After setting an elaborate trap to lure the hill giantess out of an abandoned tower, slowing her with Vex's breath, ensnaring her with a net, and surrounding her, the giantess begrudgingly surrendered. With only a bit of persuasion, she began bemoaning her cursed state as the skinniest giantess in their tribe and the loss of her mate to the hill giant queen, Chief Guh. The sad, lonely hill giantess refused to give up the exact location of the hill giant's lair, fearing retribution, but told them it was to the east and that a warband had already begun marching on Goldenfields. 

After quickly scouting ahead with Vex to locate the giant warband, a disorganized rabble made up of goblins, ogres, and giants that seemed to be a bit turned around and lost, the adventurer's felt good about their chances of saving Goldenfields and set off to the walled temple-city of Chauntea. 

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Goldenfields: Jewel of Chauntea
Storm King's Thunder: Vol 8-9

En route to Goldenfields, they came across a band of traveling minstrels who offered them a ride aboard their wagon. After a brief conversation, Ren Ko recognized one of the men from a bounty poster, though he couldn't remember the specifics of the man or his crime. The hefty reward though? One doesn't forget a number that big. And so Ren shot an arrow into the guy, and demanded they hand the criminal over. 

Turns out the man was a defector from the Zhentarim. And the minstrels? High ranking members of the Harpers who were escorting him away from Zhentarim land. The encounter ended amicably, though the Harpers declined to assist the group beyond giving them a lift to Goldenfields. 

As they passed through the gates into the temple to Chauntea, they noticed one of the shepherds tending the flocks of Goldenfields paying extra close attention to the group. 

They first visited the captain of the temple guard in the Tower of Dragons, and found him to be both drunk and lazy. He had been a great war hero once, decades ago, but since then things had been quiet and he had grown complacent. They visited the abbot at the chapel and found the same general attitude from him, though he did make an announcement in the evening service to begin reinforcing the defenses. 

While spending some time in the tavern that evening they once again noticed the shepherd from earlier spying on them through the window. Garrus teleported outside to confront him and learned that the man was part of the Zhentarim. His name was Shalvus Matholio, and he explained that the Zhent had an interest in replacing the local town guard, who were members of the Waterdeep guard that were sent there in exchange for food for Waterdeep. He said that Waterdeep only sent their worst officers there, as a form of punishment, since there was so little to do and no motivation to do the job well. If the Zhentarim ran the guard in exchange for pay, they would be motivated to do well. And, since Waterdeep would then have to pay for the food it received, the town would likely prosper economically. In an effort to prove themselves, the Zhent were sending a band of warriors to assist in the defense from the giants, and planned to arrive when the fighting was most fierce so that they could turn the tide.

The following evening, the attack began, well before expected and in secret. A number of bugbears and goblins had secretly climbed the walls and begun hoisting sacks of food and casks of wine over the walls where they were being carried away by bands of goblins. Fortunately, one of the bards, a drunken halfling named Oren, stumbled across a group of bugbears while… relieving himself… in the fields. 

A fight ensued, with the adventurers splitting up and joining alongside several locals to defend the town from the bugbears. As they fought, flares went up warning of an attack on the north wall. By the time they arrived, the seige was well underway with several giants, ogres, and dozens of goblins assaulting the walls. After a long fight, the giants were killed or driven off and the town was saved.

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