Today we cover the ubiquitous Forgotten Realms. Often considered the generic kitchen sink of settings, we go into why it isn’t just that, covering its history, recommending some books and games to get into, and doing a retrospective of our most Forgotten Realms campaign experience, Storm King’s Thunder.
Day 359) Greengrass, 1491 DR
It has been a busy time, full of celebrations and consolidation of power, so I haven’t had a moment to sit down and write about the end of our adventure. It is hard to believe that it’s been a year since I told Ninya and Aukanthi we were going to Nightstone. But let me try my best to finish the story of the biggest year of my life – two lives – so far.
After Kayalithica came to join us we had to spend some time in scrying and investigating to find Iymrith’s lair. Ultimately what led us to her were rumours about an ancient blue dragon known as the Doom of the Desert who kept a garden of living statues. Following the clues, we were able to ascertain that she was indeed that dragon, and her lair was at the northern end of the Anauroch Desert.
We set out, Zephyros taking the main party by whale to his castle which was hovering over the Whalebones. From there we flew via rocs and the castle all the way to the Anauroch desert. When we arrived to the point where the rocs would take us no further, we could see the great ruined amphitheatre that was her lair. We navigated through a barrier of dust devils carefully, and then once we reached clear ground we could see that an army of living gargoyles was awaiting us before the lair. So we charged.
Trebutchets troubled us until we were within range for me to shoot them to pieces with lightning. Moving in closer, we hit the gargoyles head on, and tried to make quick work of their stone golem leader. Ninya and Harriana took the major brunt of the force head on, as they beat everyone else there. Harshnag, Moog and Kayalithica were able to catch up soon and aid them. Zephyros summoned steam mephits to distract the gargoyles, which exploded in clouds of scalding steam when they expired. Ragmar and Aukanthi struggled to catch up, while Halani and myself approached slower, shooting lightning bolts as we approached.
As soon as we were able to take down the stone golem, Iymrith’s pet emerged from the ground. It was a purple worm of immense size, so large that despite how far back Aukanthi and Ragmar were, they were able to fight it. Kayalithica was stabbed near-fatally by the tail of the purple worm, and seeing the danger this put us in, we all panicked and laid down our most brutal attacks and spells to destroy the worm. It went down without being able to attack us again.
Her pet dead, her gargoyles diminishing, Iymrith finally emerged. As she approached we tried to wipe out as many gargoyles as we could before she reached us. With so many people near unconscious, Harriana dropped down a spell called Aura of Life, which meant that no matter how many times they fell, they just got up again.
And so it was that with this power, and with the power of our alliance, we charged forward, ignoring as much as we could the fear in our hearts. We wore her down bit by bit, some hits landing, some not, but always getting up again. Her lair itself seemed against us, as lightning arced from the ground, and Harshnag and Zephyros both got swallowed by the ground one time each. We tried out hardest to protect Harriana from going down, but eventually Iymrith managed to knock her off of her concentration on the spell. But it was too late for Iymrith. More than half our party down, those of us still standing concentrated all fire, and then… it was done. She was down.
We raced to aid our fallen allies, and all were revived successfully. It was unbelievable how lucky we’d been. After a rest in the safety of our Instant Fortress, we investigated the ruins and found the hoard of Iymrith, with many treasures. The guards with any intelligence had fled in the interrim, so we only had the slowest of the monsters left to slay. Interesting items we found included winged boots, a staff of the Adder, a ring of mind shielding, a trident of fish command (Ninya took this), a ring of animal influence, a stone of earth elementals (I have given this to Kayalithica, and a fully functional apparatus of Kwalish.
And well, after that we went home, all of us to our various places and journeys. I understand Halani and Harriana have gone plane travelling, though they were secretive about it. I hope they’ll be okay. Aukanthi has gone to live for the time being at Citadel Felbarr to learn dwarven ways. Kayalithica has gone to relocate her people to a place not tainted by the pretend god presence. Ragmar remains court champion, but he is usually away seeking perfection in mind and body. Same with Zephyros, who remains court wizard but travels around freely. Harshnag continues to be my ambassador, which means we will only see each other occassionally, but I trust him greatly. Moog has gone back to her people, and I think her name will ring down the ages amongst the hill giants.
I don’t know where Umbero went. I don’t think I want to ask. Maybe I’ll find out where he went one day. Everyone but Ninya thinks I should just let him go. But I want him to know that it’s okay. I’m okay. I think he’s a good person who made bad choices when he was young. It’s easy to do. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to say this to him.
As for Ninya, she was miserable after Iymrith’s death. I couldn’t work it out. But then she told me she was going to miss me, and I realised what it was. She thought she was going to lose me forever. She had no idea how wrong she was! Nowadays I visit Ninya everyday in Waterdeep as Genora. Giant life moves so slowly that I am able to get more done in a few hours than giants can accomplish in a day or more, so I don’t see there being any problem with my double life. When I’m with Ninya, we have fun together. Shopping, parties, catching up with friends. She’s closer to me than my sisters after all. I can’t ask her to live in the Maelstrom, but I can use my spare time and my magic to still be a part of her life. I hear it only takes a year of casting Teleportation Circle consecutively every day to make it permanent, so in a year’s time I’ll be able to teleport directly into the Amcathra mansion. Until then, I’ll just keep taking the long way every day.
That’s what friends do.
And so we’ve reached the end of the Storm King’s Thunder campaign! Stay tuned for our next one. In the meantime there will be twitch streams and reviews coming up.
Day 315) 18 Ches, 1491 DR
We took ourselves to Deadstone Cleft to speak with the stone giants and try to find a resolution to the situation there. I say we, I mean just me and the small folk, as all my giant buddies had other missions to run off to.
We teleported directly into the valley of the stone giants, and were soon attacked by the mighty Jotunglang, an enormous Roc, as we tried to approach. We tried to convince it of our good intent, but it was too well trained. A human barbarian woman came rushing towards us with two bears. Then a stone giant came out of the cave system. I told him we were here from the Storm Court and wanted to learn about the stone giant religion. Unconvinced, he began to attack, so I pulled out my trump card long before I wanted to, and turned into my giant form. That changed his mind quickly, and he went back inside to go and inform the Thane of our presence.
Knowing this would take forever, we had a look around while we waited. I spoke with the woman who had come out, who was now surrounded by her tribe. I tried to find out more about their co-habitation with the stone giants, and how it could be that they were allowed to have stone and metal weapons. I thought the stone giants were against anything being taken out of the earth. This confused them a little, so I left it there.
Next I tried to investigate the huge, ancient stone giants who were a part of the mountainside itself. As soon as I touched the one nearest me, I heard a voice on the wind saying “The words of … are lies, … has been misled.” I was worried about this. I felt like the giants in the mountain were shouting about falsehoods, and there being some kind of deceiver. Aukanthi wondered if they were calling me deceiver. Harriana instead suspected Thane Kayalithica of being the deceiver. Halani instead wondered if it was the god Scoreus Stonebones who was the deceiver. She also pointed out that the actions that the god seemed to be driving them to were weirdly selfless, that they were not raising the stone giants in the Ordning, unlike every other clan of giants had been trying. We considered going onto the spirit plane to investigate, but we decided to try the physical plane first.
It was taking far too long, so we explored some more, and in giant form, I let everyone ride on me as I waded through the ravine. At the very end we found a statue of Scoreus Stonebones under a waterfall, and two stone giants praying. They were uneasy at first, but I managed to reassure them. I explained I was not here to destroy them but to understand what was going on. They were unsure about the commands of the god and their Thane, and more willing than others of their kind to have a reconciliation with me. Together we prayed, and then they directed me to the bridge of stone above which led to the temple where Kayalithica only was allowed.
I flew up and left my friends on the bridge, forbidding them to come any further. I went to the very edge of the temple grounds and told Kayalithica, shouting, that I did not want to come in and profane sacred ground, but I must speak with her. She melded with the stone and spoke to me outside the temple, denying me as queen. I decided to head in.
When I came in, she was writing questions to the god on a giant stalactite called the Steinfang. All over the walls I could see the questions of the Thanes down the eons, and the answers of the god. She stopped writing and with a spell of thought detection applied, I asked her whether she was the deceiver, or the deceived. She was so offended. Her rage was real, and so the truth had to be that the writing on the stone was the deceiver. Our tussle began. She woke an ancient stone giant off the wall, and it attacked me. I was sad to attack it back, but it was a soulless husk, so I destroyed it. Then I focussed on her. She was fighting smart, melding with the stone and making hit and run attacks. So I went to the Steinfang and started trying to write on it. This drew her out, and as we wrestled, I killed her.
I brought her out into the waterfall, and before the gathered audience I placed her in the pool and raised her from the dead. She denied me again, so again I killed her, and brought her back. Finally, she accepted I was the queen, but still there remained the question of what the god was saying.
Together we meditated on the problem in the temple. Gazing at the scrawls on the wall, I realised that the god always took the most violent option in responding to questions, and this was not necessarily the best thing in the interests of the stone giants. I wanted to prove he was not omniscient, and therefore not the god. Seeing one prophecy, I came up with an idea.
It said “Is the gnome lying to us about Loudwater’s defences?” and the answer was Yes.
I wrote “Is the elf lying to us about Waterdeep’s defences?” and we left it there. A few days later the answer was there. Yes. It was proved. Whatever was masquerading as the god was lying, did not know that I was making something up, and was leading the stone giants to ruin. Kayalithica broke the Steinfang in her rage, and finally pledged loyalty to me. So strong is her desire for redemption that she will fight by my side in the final battle against Iymrith.
It will be soon. We have returned to Maelstrom, and we are finalising our battle plans.
Day 260) 24 Hammer, 1491 DR
Last week we arrived back in Waterdeep and organised passage on a ship. Since word had come that the Dancing Wave had been wrecked by frost giants up the coast, we gave up on that idea and found the Kelpie’s Kiss. We made our way first to the Whalebones. We were attacked a couple of times by pirates, and both times we avoided damage to our ship and loss of life through Halani’s use of the Disintegration spell to ruin the sails of our foes, and a little bit of Chain Lightning from me.
We’re in the Whalebones now, getting supplies. Headaches and visions of my past life have haunted me today as we’ve come back to the place where I died. I wanted to go out and look around, maybe try and find the place where I died, or go looking for the massive birds called rocs we saw in the distance. But I’ve been too sickly, so that’s not going to happen.
Day 272) 5 Alturiak, 1491 DR
Have been to depressed to write. The night that I last wrote, I had an argument with Umbero. I can’t even remember what it was about, only that what was lying underneath was my mistrust of him following the revelation that he murdered me in my past life, and the bad mood the visions were putting me in. So when I woke up the next morning, he was gone.
We chased him down, seaching the Whalebones and even taking a half-week’s detour to go to Ruathym to find him. During that time I sorely alienated Halani and Harriana, and they refused to help me find him. In the end, when we reached that pirate port, I gave up. They were right. I could tell Aukanthi was only following my orders and would be happier to let him go. Ninya was the only one still agreeing with me that we should find Umbero. Then I gave up too.
It’s been another half-week since I gave up and the trail went cold. We’re back on track to finding my father now. The weather has been stormy. Ninya has not been happy to be on a ship. Everyone is generally low. Midwinter passed somberly while at sea. Hopefully if I apologise to everyone we can get back on track and rally.
Day 280) 13 Alturiak, 1491 DR
How things have changed. I hardly know where to begin.
We faced another six stormy days at sea before we reached the Purple Rocks. Then we faced another day of searching, having us all scout by flying through the storm. After finding the strange, squid shaped ship, we returned to the Kelpie to rest up and return the next day with our energy back at its fullest. Then we flew right in the next morning.
We were spotted about 300 feet above the ship. Cultists of what we were later to learn was some kind of kraken cult started gearing up the ballista. Their captain, a wizard, threw up a wall of force which Ninya and Aukanthi slammed right into. When the wizard managed to hit Halani with a spell, she fell on the deck and Harriana fell into the water where she was attacked by merrow. It was a pretty rough fight in some ways, because we all got slammed on the deck or on the wall, and Halani got targeted by the wizard, and got taken down twice. But ultimately we took everyone down, and got Harriana up on the ship.
Looking around the ship, we found the captain’s spellbook, which Halani was very keen to look at. Then soon after that we triggered a gorgon gas trap and Ninya and Harriana were encased in stone. Halani carried them around on a floating disc as we waited for the effect to wear off.
Meanwhile we found my giant father, King Hekaton, down in the hold, disheveled and chained with magical irons. We broke them, and then suddenly in his confusion he woke and started to attack us. But as I yelled at him in giantish, he somehow recognised me as his daughter despite time and reincarnation.
Just as we were reunited, the ship was attacked by the same kraken the crew had worshipped. We were taking heavy damage and it started trying to kill my father, so he blew the conch and we found ourselves, kraken-less, transported to Maelstrom, the palace of the storm giants.
I found it vaguely familiar. Poor Ninya was upset at her wet paws. We quickly hid in a spare room, dressed my father in a bedsheet, and rested up to regather our strength before revealing ourselves. He asked me if he had been a good father. I was only able to say he wasn’t a bad father, but he was distant, because the duties of state wore heavily on him. He said he was only doing what he thought was right, and yet everything had fallen and the Ordning was over.
When we finally left the room and when to the throne room, we found my sisters holding a music recital for some invited guests, an assemblage of noble giants of every race (except hill giants, sadly). They stopped in shock at my father’s entrance, but suddenly into the silence stepped another female storm giant I did not recognise. She accused my father of being an impostor. I realised this stranger had to be Iymrith in disguise, and as I accused her and ran to protect my father, she vanished.
Father arrested my sisters. There followed a busy period where we just stood there confused as my father sorted everything out around us. And then as everything began to settle, my father threw it all into disarray again when he abdicate the throne to me.
There was nothing for it. I ascended the throne. When I sat on it, it happened, just as I thought it would. I was myself again, my giant self, Princess Serissa.
I had only moments to think of my grand speech, and luckily I seemed to pull it off somehow. I cannot remember exactly what I said, only that the righteousness of Annam was behind me and I was for that moment shaping the reality we would all have to live in. I said that the Ordning had fallen because we had abused our superiority. Just because we are at the top of creation doesn’t mean we can abuse and ignore the lower beings. My experiences with the hill giants had proved that no one was stuck in their sphere of being forever, and through effort and righteousness they could rise. My experience with the fire giants and the frost giants taught me that arrogance could make you overlook the small things, to your detriment. We have to help and respect all beings and to maintain and improve creation, as the direct descendants of Annam. We have to work together with other beings. Even the good dragons – though not the bad ones!
It worked. Not only did it impress the other giants, but it did something I didn’t expect. It gave me my freedom. Afterwards when I spoke privately with my small friends, Ninya’s misery for losing her best friend made me start bawling, and suddenly I found I was small again. Perhaps because my speech was a message of unity between all beings, I can now transform between Genora and Serissa at will. It’s hard for me to grasp what all this means right now, but I feel like we have a much stronger chance of beating Iymrith now.
Day 310) 13 Ches, 1491 DR
We’re finally ready to get back on the road. We’re going to go on our final diplomatic mission to the stone giants, and I’m going in human form, to give them a chance to prove that they can look past my appearance before announcing my real identity.
It has been a really busy month. Emissaries have come from all sorts of places, and giant friends have come to join my cause. Zephyros, Moog, and Ragmar have come, and lo and behold, Harshnag! He survived Iymrith, though he lay near death for some time after her attack.
I have updated Laeral and my human father on the situation. All goes well there. Also happily, the Kelpie’s Kiss managed to avoid the kraken, we found out from them. My sisters stayed under house arrest, and I have given explicit instructions that they not communicate with each other.
Also there have been a few nice surprises. We got some nice treasure in the form of weapons for the party. Also, I have a pet whale! It’s amazing that I forgot that.
My one regret is Umbero couldn’t be here to share in our triumph. I’ve asked Laeral to try and get an agent to find him and employ his skills for the cause of good. I can’t bear the thought of him slipping back into a life of crime.
Day 243) 9 Hammer, 1491 DR
We spent three days training with Dashara to ride griffons, and then we set out on the long flight to Ironmaster. The only things of note that happened on our way were that there was a snowstorm, so travel took much longer than expected, and we spotted orcs once, and the griffons had fun dive-bombing them. Every night we slept in our Instant Fortress. Such a useful little item! Also useful to us has been the fire rune of the giants, which Ninya holds onto even now and shivers despite it! She seems the worst affected of us all by the cold. What’s the point of all that fur then?
We had to camp outside of Ironmaster for five days until they noticed us, but even once they did, their advice was not great. They suggested the three day flight to Ice Peak island to ask the locals there. So we started out, but then the next day we spotted an ice giant ship heading out from the north west. We decided to chance it and head that way. And now, three days later, we are sitting on a nearby island, hopefully hidden by the snowstorm. We will storm the great iceberg fortress we can see on the horizon tomorrow.
Day 245) 11 Hammer, 1491 DR
I write to you in an inn in Mirabar. Our quest was successful and we teleported straight back to civilization only an hour or so ago. It is so nice to write this next to the fireplace with a warm meal in my belly.
Yesterday we got up early and flew over to Svardborg, landing on the most secluded outward dock we could find. Dashara left with the griffons. We gave her the Instant Fortress to see her and the griffons safely home. She was extremely grateful for that, but at the same time couldn’t help a wry smile when I told her she could give it back to me when we met in Waterdeep.
Once she left we crept into a nearby drydock housing a very old ship. It had signs of human habitation! So we hid behind some barrels and sent Umbero, invisible and flying, out to scout. That morning he found these important things: there were barbarians working for the giants in the centre of the iceberg fortress, which acted as a little harbour for the giant ships, and he was able to map out for us the different buildings, which ones looked important and which ones were completely empty.
When it was lunchtime the humans came in. Halani and I listened in on their conversation with a spell of comprehending languages. After listening we decided they were too chummy with the giants, and probably had made an alliance, so we would find no help there. Once their lunch break ended we left the drydock and went to the other side of the island, where there were the ruined remains of one of the mighty buildings, enough for us to squeeze into and shelter for a sleep before our nighttime assault.
We rose around three hours to midnight and flew straight through the window of the highest building, believing the height would mean it was the most important building. Inside was a giant owl, which, when Halani cast a spell of speaking with animals, told us it was Storvald the chief’s pet and he would tell him once he came back. Once we realised help was not at hand for the caged owl, we forgot about him and set to unthawing the various chests and boxes around and seeing what we could find. We found the corpse of a dwarf. We had to put her back in the chest as we had no means of resurrecting her, but we took the potions of diminution and frost giant strength she had on her. We also found 60 vials of alchemist fire, which we put in our bag of holding, and some kind of dwarven metal contraption… Harriana believes when we get back to Waterdeep we should construct it and she thinks it will be a pony!
Peeking downstairs, we saw giants and wolfs, but we also saw a throne and a shelf of trophies. So we sent invisible, flying Umbero down to investigate. He avoided the giants and in a few minutes returned. Imagine my surprise and delight when he gave into my hands, becoming visible as it left his hand, the conch to take us to the Storm court!
Day 252) 16 Hammer, 1491 DR
Back in Mirabar again. Took a few days in the north to give Dashara a chance to get to Waterdeep on her own steam. Meanwhile we decided to travel down to Xanthar’s Keep and seek out the criminal known as the Weevil. On the way down we managed to scare off some crag cats that nearly attacked, but not so the orcs, who we made short work of.
When we got to Xanthar’s Keep, well, looking back I could just kick myself. When we got there we stabled our horses at the inn and I just got this funny feeling from the dwarf in the stable. But being polite, I didn’t want to interrogate him then and there, so we went in for dinner. The next thing I know, our peaceful evening is interrupted by a raid! We went out to help but the lord said he could handle it. In fact he was right. It was a strangely small force of ogres and goblins. This made us suspicious, so we investigated, but couldn’t find anything until after the raid, when we saw that the stable dwarf was missing. We decided to get on the road again at once. We got lost in the night though, so we had to leave it til daylight.
Two days out of Xanthar’s Keep we found the camp. It was ogres, goblins, and a giant who had captured the Weevil! I went in to them to converse, and the goblins nearly attacked, but Umbero and Halani intimidated them with a fireball bursting in the sky above them. The frost giant leading them came out of his tent and spoke with us. I wanted to know how a giant really thought he could go into Mirabar, a dwarven city, and claim a bounty! When we said all we wanted was a conversation in exchange for the Weevil, and that we’d give him the full bounty immediately, he was confused but gave us a meal and talked with us anyway. His name is Kaltivar and he is an exile from the frost giants. He works as a mercenary and has actually been able to make money and feed his ragtag band.
After the interesting meal and conversation, we teleported back to Mirabar and handed in the Weevil to the authorities. Made no profit from the transaction besides a nice chat, but that’s all I really care for anyway.
Day 222) 18 Nightal, 1490 DR, Continued
With heavy hearts we cast flying spells and tried to sneak between the clouds, but we were spotted by the giant and aaracokra guards of Sansuri’s castle. We decided to just go straight up and try and bluff our way into the throne room. We were escorted by Cressero, a cloud giant. Harriana whispered in my ear, “toy boy!”. Maybe? Probably. When we met Sansuri, I agreed with Harriana. Sansuri held up an elegant mask and asked why we were here. When we said it was about the bellowing that could be heard for miles around, she accused us of sneaking, which I tried to bluff my way out of. I grew tired quickly of her stubborn responses to all of my attempts at diplomacy, so I just straight out said that I wanted the conch so I could rescue the Storm King. That was not enough to sway her, so she had Cressero escort us out.
Back in one of the long hallways we told Cressero we would teleport out instead of flying. But as Halani and I started reading the invisibility spell, he realised it was an illusion spell and attacked. We had him down before he could let off a warning (in fact, Aukanthi near killed him with Zymorven’s giant slaying sword, but Harriana and I quickly stabilised him) and had to fight the attendant air elementals he had around him.
Before we set off to explore we hid Cressero by changing him into a bug, moving him out of the way, and pouring invisibility potion down his throat. Then we all became invisible ourselves and started to explore. After a few dead ends Aukanthi said he reckoned the bellowing had been coming from the floors below. Lucky for us, the alarm for Cressero being missing actually coincided so neatly with our sneaking, that Sunsuri came out and we snuck through the door right behind her! We explored the throne room’s level of the castle, and finally on that level we found what we were looking for.
In the first part of the caged rooms were the griffon cages. They were all out now, probably flying around searching for us. We agreed to try and see if we could free them later. Then we went through to the final room of cages… where a bronze dragon was chained and muzzled! We freed him using a giant key we found in another room nearby and healed him. His name was Falgalos and he was eager to help us get out and see if we could free the griffons to. As we went to leave the room four cloud giants attacked. Let’s just say with Falgalos’s help, it all went very fast. I can’t say smooth though. Falgalos is very clumsy. Half the time his wings bashed us over where we stood. Also at one point Aukanthi’s sword went flying and nearly took Ninya out. Weird.
We charged out of the castle to smash the ballistae and more cloud giants in the courtyard. Meanwhile Halani talked to the griffons and convinced them to fly with us to Fireshear, to Dashara’s sanctuary. The giants defeated, we flew around the main tower, trying to peek in windows to see if we could spot the magical conch of the Storm King. We didn’t see that, but we did see Sansuri glaring at us through an angry mask. All her giants were fleeing in fear, and Falgalos was gone now. She had been torturing him to find the location of some great dragon magic hoard (he had no idea about it!). Her power crushed, she watched us fly away into the clouds.
Day 229) 25 Nightal, 1490 DR
Finally got to Fireshear. Between now and the last time we visited it had been attacked by frost giants, but Dashara’s sanctuary was fine. Falgalos left us there. Dashara agreed to open up negotiations with Laeral again for griffons to live in Waterdeep once more. She also told us she would give us a lift to the Sea of Moving Ice if we wanted to take on the frost giants. So I guess that’s what we’re doing tomorrow! Only two chances left to get the magical conch…
Day 210) 6 Nightal, 1490 DR
We left Halani at home learning all the spells in various books and scroll we had found on our adventures, and we went to the house of the Roaringhorns to ask about the fate of Sirac Cimber. When we got there, a party was in full swing. Zelraun Roaringhorn was in a rather elaborate satyr costume, but as soon as I mentioned the son of Artus Cimber, he became serious. He told us that Sirac was all right, that Artus and the ring of winter were nowhere to be found, and he gave us some healing potions, animal friendship potions, and choking and sneezing dust to aid us on our journey. Back at home now, Halani is still swotting! I contacted Harriana to see if she wanted to join us and she said she’ll be in Mirabar tomorrow.
Day 211) 7 Nightal, 1490 DR
I’m still fuming, so let’s see if writing helps me figure out how I’m feeling. We teleported to Mirabar today and met up with Harriana. Over dinner we discussed what we should do next. I offered up chasing down a local criminal we had heard of, or questioning Khaspere Drylund, or going straight to Sansuri’s castle above the Evermoors. People mostly agreed we should teleport to Yartar, interrogate Khaspere to see if he had anything to do with the death of my mother, and then from there go into the Evermoors. But Umbero started arguing with me and saying I was trying to avoid things. I don’t know what his problem is! I’m still angry at him…
Day 212) 8 Nightal, 1490 DR
We got into Yartar today, all set up for the interrogation with stored thought detection spells. I still can’t quite believe what happened. As soon as we got into Khaspere’s office, I asked him if he had gotten his pet octopus from the Whalebones islands. He said no, but I could feel a faint panic in his mind. So I went on the full attack and when he asked if I was here representing House Amcathra, I said I was representing the Storm King. He panicked and as I probed his mind, I felt repelled by another presence. He managed to spill out to us that he hadn’t meant to do it, and that my father the Storm King is on a ship called the Morkoth somewhere on the Trackless Sea.
As soon as he told us this, he died. I could feel it happening to him: the dark presence in his mind corrupted him from within. We started shrieking and pretending we were just innocent socialites who had witnessed a non-magical stroke. One of his bodyguards interrogated us, but my protection against thought detection saved me from giving the game away.
Tomorrow we set out for the Evermoors still, because we need to get one of the giant conches and take that to my father once we make it to him.
Day 222) 18 Nightal, 1490 DR
I’m numb. I don’t know if I can carry on, but I’ll try.
We walked into Calling Horns six days ago and Tamalyn was happy to host us again. She said the troll activity had died down somewhat. Three days after that, we ran into a small army of them deep in the Evermoors, but we were able to buy our lives.
Not so yesterday. We had been walking towards the distant spectre of Sansuri’s castle, watching the massing storm clouds and sometimes losing view of the castle and where we knew it to be. As we reached the point where we decided to fly up, suddenly the clouds broke open to reveal a gigantic blue dragon. Iymrith. She swooped down and attacked. It was… more than we could handle. I shudder to think that we have to take her down at some point. How? How can we even manage? Especially now that… I dread to write it. It will be true if I write it, truer than I currently think it to be. Harshnag stood his ground and made us run. Aukanthi and Umbero dragged me away. Harshnag wrestled the dragon. We lost sight of him. I don’t even know… but he must be gone.
After a sleepless night, the clouds have passed. We can see Sansuri’s castle above and no blue dragon in sight. We have to carry on. I don’t know how I can without Harshnag.
Day 198) 25 Uktar, 1490 DR, continued
We have decided not to take the airship, and the offer from this dangerous Klauth figure. Instead, we have teleported our way around. We popped into Neverwinter to visit Sir Lanaver and let him know that Sir Baric is up in Bryn Shander. He told us the gossip in Neverwinter, that there was a knight called Danica Zarn who has joined a dangerous order of knights called the Gilded Eye. They are going around persecuting people they believe are worshipping devils, with very little in the way of evidence. We told him we would look into it.
Popping back to Waterdeep, we visited the tavern recommended to us by Duvessa of Bryn Shander, and asked about the ship, the Dancing Wave. It turns out the ship hasn’t returned from its last voyage. I will investigate if we go up the coast again – which I’m sure we will.
Lots of shopping, meanwhile, since we’re in Waterdeep. With our new treasure hoard we were able to update our armours, get a couple of pre-loaded wands of lightning bolts and fireballs, and most importantly, a small metal cube which is an instant fortress! We shall live in style on the road from now on!
We set out again tomorrow. We have gotten the hint we need from Zira, and we know the location of Tazen’s fortress. Lafarus ‘escaped’ from Laeral’s custody and has led us right to it. It is on the edge of the desert Anauroch. He’s going down!
Day 208) 4 Nightal, 1490 DR
We’ve travelled ten days from Everlund. In that time we only ran into a small band of bandits, who ran away when they realised who we were. During this time we also celebrated the Feast of the Moon. The others tried to get me to talk about my past life as a giant princess. I couldn’t bring myself too. I’m too confused still.
I’m starting to remember Hecaton, my giant father. He was distant, and quick to anger. He didn’t really favour either me or my sisters. It was Mother who favoured me. I can’t remember much more than that.
We’ve finally reached the fortress today. Its fallen doors were guarded by some black pudding, which we defeated. We also met tanarukks in the courtyard, and when we went inside without Harshnag, we met wyverns, helmed horrors, and animated clothing in the first level. We also ran into traps, like illusory voices, a poisoned box, a bed with a long-term sleeping enchantment on it, a second bed with yellow dust that we kicked up, a log hanging over a chest (we used Halani’s unseen servant to empty the chest of money in case we set off the trap), and a room full of rats (but we had a bag of dried peas from another room, so we gave them that and left).
We went down the stairs and saw a statue of a wizard called Gygar, that looked as if it was missing some orb or other from its hands. We ran into a snake den and more tanarukks, and then decided to call it a night.
Day 209) 5 Nightal, 1490 DR
Going further in the second lower level today we saw first an elven skeleton with a magical longsword and a spellbook. Halani took both of these. Exploring the level further we found the throne room of the chieftain of the tanarruks, who we defeated, bodaks eating an orc corpse, which we defeated, and a singing silver urn, singing an elven song, which we took… and then put in Halani’s ethereal chest because it wouldn’t stop singing. We took on orogs in their stinking living quarters, and Aukanthi fell in a pit trap with a skeleton in it, which had a magical shield which Umbero took.
We found the way down to the bottom floor, and Umbero snuck down with an invisibility spell. He saw Zhentarrim guards so we attacked quickly and kept them quiet, because we realised we were on the right path now. Going further on this floor we met with chain devils, and a black altar to Asmodeus, with a book of devil worship on it (we have confiscated it for further study) and the heartless corpse of Lafarus, poor shmuck.
We had several magical traps to avoid on this floor. We narrowly avoided touching a magical tapestry that would have alerted Tazen. Ninya zoomed through a corridor of statues and Halani quickfired a Counterspell at the magic in the room, completely switching off the spell in the very moment it was invoked. We found ourselves in the inner sanctum, where every door was hidden and would not open from this side. So I drank a potion of gaseous form and when under the door, only to find myself face to face with Tazen!
Only joking. It was an incubus disguised as him, which we found out once I’d let the others through and we’d defeated him. Going through another fake door, we found two incubi pretending to be him, and then a fake bedroom. We almost gave up, until Ninya pointed out that our eyes were being fooled, but she – and our magical lion statuettes – use their noses to perceive the world. So we summoned them and because of their efforts, we were able to find the real secret pathway to Tazen’s real inner sanctum. He summoned a horned devil and while we fought it, he flew away down a hidden corridor.
Once we defeated the devil, we chased after Tazen, but I slowed everyone down and we just listened. Tazen was talking to something massive. I popped the edge of my mirror around the corner and we saw… a red dragon. This dragon lost its patience with the whining Tazen, and burned him to a crisp. We left, deciding it would be far wiser to let this dragon leave with the treasure hoard Tazen had assembled for it.
In Tazen’s real bedroom meanwhile we found a chest with guantlets of ogre power (which Halani has taken), a wand of paralysis, a rope of climbing, and two healing potions. We covered the rest of the areas of the fortress that we hadn’t seen, scaring off the remaining guards by telling them Tazen was dead. We also ran into a room full of beautifully shiny shelled flail snails. A quick message to Twyla later, and we teleported them to Laeral’s garden for her enjoyment.
In one room we saw another statue of Gygar, and the wall had musical notation on it. As I began to sing, knowing how to sing from sightreading, I realised I had done the right thing, as the statue had been clicking into gear to start shooting out fireballs. We recognised the tune as I sung it, and Halani took out the singing urn. The statue appeased, we took the money in the room and left. Halani still has the urn now in her ethereal chest.
We knew we had one last thing to do in here, which was to find the thing that belonged in the hands of the original Gygar statue. We found this after a long and brutal fight deep in the dungeon against some Umber Hulks, these awful bug-like things. But this was well rewarded by an ancient longsword with powerful magic, hidden under the Gygar statue, once we placed the correct orb in his hands.
And now we’re back in Waterdeep getting a well-earned rest!
Day 197) 24 Uktar, 1490 DR, Continued
We went deeper into the Eye of the All Father, following the eight sets of human footprints. Umbero invisibly snuck up and came back to tell us it was a band of Uthgardt barbarians with a captive white baby dragon. We snuck up onto a level behind them while they chipped away at a frozen door. Exploring, we found a lever that Harshnag pulled. It closed the outer gate, freaking out the barbarians. We opened it again and kept sneaking around.
We could find no other way into the central chamber except some portcullises which were too heavy, so I spoke to the barbarians and tried to convince them to let us help. They were searching for their friend Noori. I said we’d help, but when we brought Harshnag down to try and open the door, they panicked and fought us. The baby dragon, seeing its opportunity, helped us. We freed the white dragon and pushed the barbarians up the long corridor towards the gate and left them outside of it, using the lever to lock them out.
We finally got into the central room once Harshnag punched through the icy door. We found ourselves ina large central room with six giant statues, representing each race of giants, surrounding a large central giant figure. Harshnag told me that is Annam, the All Father. We could see that the other six statues had room for weapons in their hands, and five out of the six had their weapons in hand. The frost giant was missing his. We also saw a gateway with six runes carved into them. As I read them out, Harshnag was amazed. They are runes, he says, and I should not be able to read them. It should be impossible.
We explored the room and Halani and I cast some magic on the runes. Unfortunately that set off some traps, so we are all resting early today because we got badly hurt. Harshnag laughed at me for being able to read runes but stupid enough to set them off.
Day 198) 25 Uktar, 1490 DR
We opened the door in the southern wall and found ourselves in a feast hall, fighting a remorhaz. After we killed it, we found the frost giant statue’s axe, and a dead giant with a fine breastplate it had been using as a bowl or scoop or something, which we gave to Umbero. We also found a beautiful opal that had the rune of fire on it. We believe we can use it to cast powerful magic, so I am holding on to it. Going further into the temple, through the north door and up the stairs, we found a shard of never-melting ice with the ice rune on it. Halani is holding on to that too and experimenting with its power.
Going deeper in up the north side of the temple we found a series of tunnels that Harshnag could not enter. We went in and fought disgusting amounts of ice spiders at their nest. We found a couple of things for our efforts: a potion of climbing, and Noori! She was wrapped in spider silk and near death, so we healed her and took her back to the temple entrance. Her compatriots were gone so we sent a sending spell to the shaman who had been with the warband to let her know Noori was outside and safe. We went back in to the north side and set off a trap! A boulder came rolling towards us, so we had to cast a flying spell on everyone to dodge it, and Harshnag had to drink the potion of diminution we had to slip past the boulder.
Having found no lever or key to the magical gateway, we decide to experiment more with the dangerous runes. Harshnag tried touching the statues’ weapons to the runes and lo and behold, when he touched the frost weapon to the frost rune, the magical gateway opened. We entered…
There were further statues in this hexagonal room and a shining ghost of a female storm giant. She looked so familiar.
‘My daughter, I am so proud of you and how far you have come.’
Let me set it all down with just the facts, as my head is still spinning even now. She was Queen Neri, the Storm Queen, and I am her daughter, Serissa, heir to the Storm Throne. We were slain on the Whalebones Islands and since she was a powerful cleric, she was able to beg Annam to grant me my life back when she found herself before his throne. He reincarnated me as a human girl. The Zhentarrim agents who killed us had been hired by my sisters Merin and Nim, who in turn had been spurred on to kill us by a blue dragon called Iymrith, disguised as a storm giant, who has usurped my father the Storm King. My giant father is imprisoned, where, my mother does not know.
Annam has broken the Ordning to spur his complacent children into action. My mother cannot say exactly how to fix the Ordning, only that I must rescue my father, root out the evil that corrupts the Storm Throne and restore it. Once I have done all this, Annam will call on me to pass judgement on the Ordning… whatever that means. In order to get to the Storm Throne I must find one of the magical conch shells that belong to the leader of each giant race. I guess I have lost two chances at Gruud Haug and Ironslag, so three more exist. These have the power to transport me to Maelstrom, the underwater city of my people.
That was all my mother could tell me. We said our goodbyes and she vanished.
Blindly, I stumbled my way out of the temple to get some fresh air. I found outside the gate an amulet. It was a gift from Noori’s tribe, and it protects against detection and location spells. As I tried to take in all that I had just learnt another astounding thing happened: a giant airship with a red baloon arrived and rolled down its ladder for us. The crew all wear black masks, and are the servants of Klauth, the ancient red dragon who owns (?!?!) this continent. He has bidden them to do our will until we fix the situation with the giants.
… um, why?!
Day 161) 18 Marpenoth, 1490 DR, Continued
After talking to Umbero some more I learned it was more than just the Seven Snakes out there on what he supposes must have been one of the Whalebone Islands. Also he remembed their orders were to kill the giantess while dressed in Waterdhavian clothing. We suddenly grew worried that there may be a storm giant attack on Waterdeep long in the planning… but we had issues to sort out up in the north before heading back.
Day 164) 21 Marpenoth, 1490 DR
Reached Hundelstone without any issues. There we met Thwip Ironbottom, Beldara’s contact, who gave us a clockwork dog for paying a visit. It’s very cute!
Day 167) 24 Marpenoth, 1490 DR
On the way to Ironmaster, we met a band of the White Tiger clan, who fought us until Halani used magic to understand their language, and generously gave them 42 shares of rations (enough that we can make it to Ironmaster before restocking). They were astounded, and went away grateful. They told us that the frost giants are raiding from the Sea of Moving Ice. Something to bear in mind for later. Also on the way we fought two yetis in a cave, and found their stash of money and a magical lantern. It contains elemental fire, and seems to be an old dwarven delving lantern that has magic to improve one’s dungeon sense and it also reveals invisible things.
When we finally arrived at Ironmaster today we did as Augrek had told us and waited by a menhir, as only dwarves are allowed in. As we waited we saw reindeer running by. Halani spoke to them magically and they told her that they were being hunted by front giants to the north. We did not see them in our time there though. Soon Gwert Brighthelm, a dwarf, came out. He listened as we told him of Augrek’s request for more reinforcements, and we begged him to let us buy food from Ironmaster. Thankfully he agreed! I didn’t think the hospitality of dwarves was so bad! But on a positive note he gave us each a dwarven gem and told us to take them to Fireshear, to Dashara Keldabar who RAISES GRIFFONS!!! So naturally that’s where we are headed next.
Day 170) 27 Marpenoth, 1490 DR
Well. That went well. Dashara did not want to see us. She is fed up with Waterdeep for kicking her and her griffons out in the first place (DECADES before I was born, might I add!!). She told us she will only hear us out after we have done something to prove we love griffons for the sake of griffons, and not just to use them. Well. I don’t see that happening anytime soon, seeing as we have literally travelled the whole region and only seen them today for the first time. Anyway, we left a donation of 2000 gold before we left.
Day 175) 2 Uktar, 1490 DR
It has taken us five days to get back to Bryn Shander. In those days we have witnessed a frost giant start an avalanche (flying spells, you are the best!), and fought an abominible yeti but did not find its cave. We also fought a remorhaz with treasure stuck in its carapace: money, a potion of diminution, and a wonderful find: two sending stones! They are most unusual, and have a message recorded on one. It was a terrible feeling when Halani decoded the message and figured out what it was: Dethen, a guy who tried to turn himself into a lich, leaving a message to someone called Arveia Turace saying he will find her once his transformation is complete… So now we know why Ice Claws has a dead guy riding on her back. Dare we ever tell her the truth?
Also on the road I started having terrible dreams of a great storm. As such we have sent one of the sending stones back to Waterdeep, where it has ended up in the hands of Twyla, an apprentice of Laeral. She says Laeral is at a meeting of the Lord’s Alliance outside of Waterdeep (and the topic is the Zhentarrim problem!) and that she will keep us updated on the situation in Waterdeep.
We let Markham know of our sightings and received reports about frost giants, and he was pleased. We’ll sleep here tonight before we set off onto the glacier tomorrow, to get to the Eye of the All Father finally! Harshnag is most pleased that we’re finally getting around to it.
Day 179) 6 Uktar, 1490 DR
I write to you tonight from the safety of a warm cave with a hot spring. On the first day out we narrowly avoided a fight with three frost giants. On the second day we fought four yetis but got a little off track because of that. Yesterday we climbed or flew up the Reghed Glacier. Today we found a plume of smoke, and moving towards it we found Evermelt.
It is a large cave with the ancient bones of a long dead white dragon, and a hot springs… and also, we were amazed to find, a forge and the trappings of what looks like a fire giant’s living space. It turns out we were right in that guess, because as we were bathing in the hot spring, Ragmar, the hermit fire giant, came in. He was a little put out to find us there and annoyed by my questions, but he fed us and we got to know his story. Fed up by the other fire giants (he was NOT impressed when we told him about the Vonendod) he came up here to purify himself as one would purify a blade. Once he is ready he will forge something out of this perfect specimen of meteoric iron which he showed us. He doesn’t know what it will be yet. We told him where we are going, and he seemed a little wistful. We wished each other luck.
Day 197) 24 Uktar, 1490 DR
Not much happened since Evermelt. Every day blurs into the next. At one point we sighted Ice Claw, and she dropped the skeletal hand of Dethen. We picked it up, just in case we can use it later to help her. This whole time my dreams got worse, and I saw an underwater city being destroyed by a storm. At one point we were forced to fight three frost giants, but any others we ran into we avoided. We also avoided, by mutual agreement, babarians of Bear tribe one day, and of the Elk tribe the next. We also saw reindeer, and naturally fought a couple of yeti on the way up.
But now we are finally here. The Eye of the All Father is an ancient temple, massive beyond comprehension, with giant statues all around. We’re taking a break undercover before heading in. We’re almost ready. One concerning note however: why are there human footprints here?