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Friday, August 19, 2016

Dungeons & Dragons - A Guide to Storm King's Thunder

This guide is meant to help DMs plan out the new D&D adventure, Storm King's Thunder. If you spot a mistake or found some material for me to link to, let me know!

You can get this guide in pdf form here:

You can buy these books on amazon here:

Storm King's Thunder
Volo's Guide to Monsters
Dungeonology (Ologies)


d100 Items for a Giant's Bag
Appendix A: Linked Adventures 
Appendix D: Special NPCs
Random Wilderness Encounters
Giant Options
Huge Map used on pages 75-76

Official Links

Players Guide
DM Guide
Character Sheet 
A Great Upheaval: This pdf is the first chapter of Storm King's Thunder, free.
Chapter 3 Maps: You can buy the maps to chapter 3 here.
More Official Maps: By Mighty Mike Schley!


Rune Magic Items: There's a billion, they're good, and they're free!
Amber Waves of Grain: A DMs Guild Supplement on Goldenfields
The Giant Killer's Companion: This looks really good, is only a dollar and has a ton of player stuff in it.
Desert Temple Dungeon Tiles: These tiles look perfect for Iymrith's lair and they are only $6.
Enhancing Storm King's Thunder: Handy ENWorld thread with useful info.


Nerdsourced Storm King's Thunder Review: Really comprehensive and well done review!

My Stuff

How to Run Storm King's Thunder

When Does This Adventure Take Place? The timeline is kept purposely vague to suit your campaign. This adventure definitely takes place after Tyranny of Dragons. There is a sidebar on page 13 that says that this adventure is assumed to be set after the year 1485 DR. You can see a mega-detailed timeline here.The timeline on that site stops prior to The Sundering, the story that brought us to the D&D Next playtest era and then into 5e.

The Spellplague hit in 1385 DR, which marked the beginning of 4th edition. According to this thread, The Sundering occurred in either 1484 or 1485 DR and marked the beginning of the D&D Next playtest era. So, yeah, here we are. I'd say you should put in at least a year to account for Tyranny of Dragons, which occurs prior to this adventure.

I think saying that there is one year of time between each adventure sounds good. Out of the Abyss could take a very long time in-game.  In my campaign, I would say that Tiamat was repelled three years ago in Tyranny of Dragons.

Things to do Before You Begin the Campaign
  • Warn your players that some of the encounters are very hard and that they might need to run away. See "Deadly Encounters" on page 17. It is expected that the group will either try to interact with or run from monsters that are much more powerful than they are.
  • At least one character in the party should speak Giant.
  • Check out "Random Magic Items" on page 18 and consider letting your players each make a 'wish list' of magic items. Maybe have them pick three items per chart. Then you can just roll on that list during the adventure.
  • Pick out some mundane items off the chart on page 18 in advance. If a giant has a huge brass gong, you might want to know that up front so it can be used in the encounter in some fun way. 
  • Every single chapter has a bunch of instances where you roll on random magic item charts from the DMG. I highly recommend handling this in advance, as it will grind your game to a halt.
  • Foreshadow the Runes: When you describe the giants, you might want to mention the weird rune/symbol many of them wear. In the dungeon area on page 125, you can see that each type of giant has a rune associated with them. In that area, the group needs to figure out what each rune means. If you place non-magic/cosmetic runes on the giants, then the group has a chance to learn what they are in advance and they will be rewarded for paying attention. 
  • Foreshadow the Chip: In chapter 11, the group needs to find out where a gambling chip came from. You might want to have the heroes see these chips during their earlier adventures. See chapter 11 for everything about the chip. 
  • Alternate Giant Powers: Make sure you check out the giant options on page 245-246. There are fun new powers you can give your giants to keep them from getting repetitive. My favorite power is "Fling," where the giant throws you 60 feet.
  • Klauth the Red Dragon: The group should hear about the red dragon Klauth before chapter four. You should try to build up the legend of Klauth. This dragon gives the group an airship and it will have more impact if they know who Klauth is in advance. See page 95 for info on this dragon. Also, check out this article by Ed Greenwood.
  • Familiarize the Players with the Names of the Giant Lords: When you use the giants, I think you should have them call out the name of their leader, or the group hears them talking about their leader, whatever. You are going to want to make sure that your players are aware that the leaders control the schemes and are the ones that need to be defeated. When the group gets to the oracle on page 129, it is somewhat expected that they will ask the oracle about the leaders. The group will ultimately need to pick at least one giant lord to kill. 
  • The Importance of the Conch: Every giant lord has a conch of teleportation. The heroes will need one of these to find King Hekaton.
  • Dragons vs. Giants: Remember that in this adventure, the group can team up with all sorts of dragons, even evil ones. It could lead to lots of fun things. 
  • Big Map at the End: Be aware that you might want to make a big poster map of Iymrith's amphitheater (page 228) way at the end of the campaign. It's hard to draw, but it seems like if you can do it you should give it a try. 
  • Storm Giant Stats: Don't forget that storm giant stats are on the very last page of this book (page 256). That should save you a little bit of shuffling during the game. 
The Overall Storyline: King Hekaton, ruler of the giants, is dead or missing. The giants are all fighting to re-organize their caste system, known as The Ordning.

Mirran and Nym, two of Hekaton's daughters, secretly killed their mother and sent Hekaton on a wild goose chase looking for the murderers (few are aware that Hekaton has since been captured by the Kraken Society). Now their sister Serissa rules the giants. Iymrith, a dragon, is manipulating Mirran and Nym. All of them want to overthrow Serissa.

No Pressure: On page 16, it is noted that there is no time pressure. The group is free to wander. It's kind of tricky to convey that, though. I mean.. once that frost giant finds the ring of winter, the world is plunged into an ice age! Why would you take your time?

Leveling: The group should not hit level 10 until they've finished chapters 10 and 11 (aka, once they've rescued King Hekaton).

Getting Captured: Because of the deadly encounters, the book advises you to have them be taken prisoner rather than just being killed.

On this podcast, Chris Perkins talks about Storm King's Thunder. He explained a lot of things that I think you should know:
  • The Giants Are Supposed to be Too Powerful: The idea of this adventure is that it is supposed to be similar to the walking dead. Low level characters are trying to survive and figure out how to deal with giants who are far too powerful for them to handle. Eventually, the group becomes powerful enough to take them on. He mentions that forming an alliance with other giants is a major option.
  • Sandbox: He says that this adventure is sandbox-y because the sandbox elements of previous adventures were well-received.
  • Random: They put in the choices and randomness so that the adventure is different each time people run it.
  • Support a Daughter: The characters will have to choose which daughter to support. Choosing the wrong one has grave consequences for the realms.
  • The Zhentarim Are Allies: It was mentioned on another D&D podcast that while the Zhentarim are "bad guys," they sometimes do good things. In this adventure, because they are trying to protect their interests, they will team up with the Harpers and other factions.
  • Links to the Future: There are things that you find in this adventure that come into play in future adventures.
  • Chapter 3 Happened for a Weird Reason: Chris says that he realized after his pitch was accepted that there was tons of space between all of the lairs. He needed to describe all of the areas in between. The research was this huge, daunting thing. He raided the library, took a week off to go through all of the old books (volo's guides, savage frontier, etc).
  • Winged Cats: The tressym (winged cats) are in the adventure because they had some space to fill in the appendix. They went back and wrote them into the adventure.
  • The Wyrmskull Throne: The wyrmskull throne was put into this adventure because they came up with a title for the adventure that involved the throne. But ultimately they ended up using a new name, and the throne remained.
  • Acquisitions Inc. Airship: The airship from chapter 4 is exactly like the one that the Acquisitions Incorporated group has.
  • All of the dragons in this adventure are from Ed Greenwood's Wyrms of the North Dragon Magazine articles.

Adventure Outline

There's a nice synopsis of the adventure on page 16 and a sweet flowchart on page 17. Here's a quick list that should give you the gist of things:
  1. The group checks out a village that was recently attacked by giants
  2. A cloud giant takes the heroes to a settlement (their choice: Bryn Shander, Goldenfields or Triboar).
  3. The group must defend that settlement from a giant attack.
  4. From there, the group can follow one of a billion hooks to have all sorts of side adventures indifferent areas. Eventually, they meet the frost giant hero named Harshnag.
  5. Harshnag brings the group to an oracle who helps them figure out what is going on with the giants. The oracle first wants the group to retrieve giant artifacts from barbarian burial mounds.
  6. The group goes to 9 different mounds and gets the items.
  7. The group returns to the oracle with the items and are allowed to ask 6 questions. They can learn that they need to find out what happened to King Hekaton and that they need to get a conch from a giant lord.
  8. Iymrith the blue dragon attacks during the oracle thing. Harshnag holds her off while the group escapes.
  9. The group basically picks one giant lord out of five and attacks them. That giant lord has a conch of teleportation that will get the group to the undersea realm of Maelstrom.
  10. In Maelstrom, Princess Serissa asks the group to find King Hekaton, her father. She gives them a clue - a gambling chip.
  11. Investiagtion reveals that the chip is from a gambling business in Yartar. Going there ultimately reveals that the cult of the kraken has captured King Hekaton and they are keeping him on a boat.
  12. The group rescues King Hekaton from the cult of the Kraken. The group may have to deal with the powerful kraken Slarkrethel, who will try to sink their ship. 
  13. The group can use the conch to return to Maelstrom. Hekaton finds out that Iymrith was behind his abduction and the slaying of his wife.
  14. Teamed up with King Hekaton, the group has an epic final battle with Iymrith in her desert lair. 
The Main NPCs to Know

  • King Hekaton: Storm giant, ruler of the giants. Sits on the wyrmskull throne, an artifact. Thinks that the Lords' Alliance killed his wife.
  • (dead wife) Queen Neri: Hekaton's wife, she was fond of "small folk" like humans and elves. She was actually killed by the Kraken Society. It is possible for the group to resurrect her if they think of it.
  • (younger brother) Imperator Uthor: Commander of the king's garrison. Good guy.
  • (youngest daughter) Princess Serissa: Will inherit the throne, is wise.
  • (oldest daughter) Mirran: Spoiled, tempestuous, emotional. Wants to create a new giant empire.
  • (middle daughter) Nym: Cold and unloving. She thinks that when Mirran rules, she'll fail and Nym will take over.
  • Iymrith: Blue dragon that can turn into a storm giant. Manipulating everything.
  • The Kraken Society: Mirran and Nym hired them to kill their mother using a legendary kraken named Slarkrethel.
Who is Iymrith?

2nd Edition Iymrith
Iymrith is the secret villain of this adventure. I'd never heard of her before. There's a big article about her in Dragon Magazine #242 by Ed Greenwood. This entire article was updated to 3e rules and posted on the wizards site. Here's what we learn:

Iymrith, "the Dragon of the Statues," was first sighted in 570 DR, making her at least a little over 900 years old. She served a lich for a time. He actually rode her with a saddle and everything. Iymrith creates gargoyle servants out of dead adventurers...! She also has the ability to shift her essence into statues and control them.

She has six such statues, each of them carved to look like a blue dragon. She can cast spells through them or she can inhabit them. When she has possessed a statue, the eyes come alive with tiny flames. Iymrith may be able to exist as a disembodied, mistlike flying spirit (Just like Palarandusk from Force Grey!). She has mastered two new spells which you might want to add to your game:
  • (lvl 4) Flame Sands: For 6 rounds, the target can vomit sand that is almost molten. It does 2d4+2 damage and if it hits water, it creates scalding steam that does 4d4+4 damage. That's 2e damage, you should make the damage somewhat comparable to level 4 5e spells.
  • (lvl 9) Force Burn: This spell only affects spellcasters with spell slots left or phaerimm. The cast fires a bolt of force that is six feet in diameter and up to 20 feet ling. It does some damage and causes the target to make two saving throws. Each fail means that the target lost a spell slot or a memorized spell. I think you should say that Iymrith gets to pick, or determine the spell randomly.
I would definitely use the flame sand-spewing gargoyles made from dead adventurers! And having her attack the party using dragon statues is really cool. That's a nice way for her to interact with the party without you worrying about whether or not the group will kill her or otherwise mess with her.

Temporary Portals: There is a bit more in a follow-up article here on the wizards site. It says she figured out how to make portals to other places in the Realms. These portals last for 12 hours. She sends her gargoyles through them.

Iymrith has some fairly complicated stat adjustments for her cloud giant form. Let's just roll up our sleeves and make this thing:

I used this free 5e monster maker program for this stat block. It worked pretty well.

The Giant Lords

This is the actual Chief Guh mini
These giants rule their respective subrace:
  • (Hill Giant) Chief Guh: She is gorging herself, trying to become the biggest giant in the world.
  • (Stone Giant) Thane Kayalithica: Wants to destroy settlements and rebuild the giant empire of Ostoria.
  • (Frost Giant) Jarl Storvald: Seeking the ring of winter to plunge the world into an ice age.
  • (Fire Giant) Duke Zalto: Wants to trap a primordial (!) in an iron flask and use it to re-animate a colossus so that it can go on a rampage.
  • (Cloud Giant) Countess Sansuri: Searching for a treasure trove. Torturing a bronze dragon for information.

The factions come in handy on page 220. They can provide the group with a boat. I'm going to try to list every faction member that appears in this adventure:

The Harpers: They were "instrumental" in foiling the dragon plot to summon Tiamat from Tyranny of Dragons.
  • (Page 220) Zaldar Floshin: Mage, captain of the Kelpie's Kiss. He must be linked to Floshin Manor in Hoard of the Dragon Queen. Has a sprite named Arrow who is first mate.
  • (Page 220) Ilkara Levari: Bosun of the Kelpie's Kiss.
  • (Page 40) Beldora: Pretending to be homeless.
  • (Page 40) Thwip Ironbottom: Based in Hundelstone. Beldora reports to him.
  • (Page 42) Artus Cimber: The dude with the ring of winter. This guy is gone - apparently his location will be revealed in a future adventure.
  • (Page 42) Lord Zelraun Roaringhorn: Archmage, has parties.
  • (Page 53) Darathra Shendrel: Lord Protector of Triboar, retired adventurer. 
  • (Page 60) Krowen Valharrow: A dotty archmage in Moongleam Tower.
  • (Page 82) Moonlord Daviana Yalrannis: She's a knight and she runs Moongleam Tower, the harper base.
  • (Page 118) Nespril Menk: Reliable apprentice of Krowen. 
  • (Page 118) Flewen Aldhark: Sleep-deprived apprentice of Krowen.
  • (Page 118) Revil Slombarr: A slovenly mage in Loudwater.
  • (Page 118) Zazspar Bronzefire: A dwarven mage in Mirabar.
  • (Page 118) Sandyse Thunderquill: A studious mage in Neverwinter.
  • (Page 118) Thestryl Mellardin: A tiny little mage with a shield guardian in Waterdeep.
  • (Page 115) Kolban: A cantankerous mage in Yartar.
Lords' Alliance: King Hekaton thinks they killed his wife. The alliance is paying a bounty: 200 - 500 gp per giant head! The alliance is credited with defeating the dragons in Tyranny of Dragons.
  • (Page 12) Lord Dagult Neverember: Former ruler of Neverwinter
  • (Page 12) Lady Laerel Silverhand: Ruler of Neverwinter
  • (Page 12) Lord Taern Silverblade: Ruler of Silverymoon
  • (Page 12) Queen Dagnabbet: Ruler of Mithral Hall
The Emerald Enclave: They are the first to notice that the giants are running amok. They want to preserve the balance if possible.
  • (Page 220) Klarz: A hobgoblin who owes his life to an Enclave ranger. He is repaying his debt. Captain of the Koalinth.
  • (Page 47) Abbot Elardin Darovik: Ruler of Goldenfields.
  • (Page 46) Sevembra Tumbleleaf: Halfling druid who sells seeds in Goldenfields.
  • (Page 51) Tharra Shyndle: Half-elf druid, friends with a treant named Turlang.
  • (Page 57) Zindra Winterbow: A guide who is noticing lots of giant activity.
  • (Page 83) Dasharra Keldabar: A dwarf who teaches people to ride griffons.
  • (Page 94) Quinn Jalanthar: Runs Jalanthar, part of his ear bitten off by a barbarian.
  • (Page 107) Turlang: Treant, primary caretaker of Shadowtop. 
  • (Page 144) Ghalvin Dragonmoor: Half-elf scout, imprisoned at Grudd Haug, reports to the Abbot of Goldenfields..
The Order of the Gauntlet: Trying to protect people from the giants and gathering information.
  • (Page 220) Arilosa Adarbrent: Owns the Coin Toss, a merchant ship. 
  • (Page 220) Captain Tazlan Rilzeer: Captain of Coin Toss, fearless scoundrel.
  • (Page 220) Tharkil Morn: Priest of the Coin Toss. Cheery, overweight.
  • (Page 40) Sir Baric Nylef: Knight of Tyr, hunting dwarf bandits.
  • (Page 44) Sir Lanniver: Knight of Tyr.
  • (Page 44) Dannika Zarn: Joined a splinter group of overzealous inquisitors.
  • (Page 47) Naxine Drathkala: Quiet, bookish spy for Laeral Silverhand. 
  • (Page 90) Arthus Cavilos: Lord of Hawk's Nest
  • (Page 90) Lady Fenris Agathon: Wife of Arthus, mage, relative of the ruler of Silverymoon. 
 The Zhentarim: Trying to protect their holdings and bribe the giants to leave their stuff alone.
  • (Page 221) Captain Drashk: Captain of the Lost Cause. Has an imp who is a bad influence. 
  • (Page 43) Sorelisa Zandra: Spy, looking for dwarf fugitive to recruit him. 
  • (Page 43) Naremos: Left arm was torn off by a troll.
  • (Page 46) Shalvus Martholio: Spy that is scoping out Goldenfields.
  • (Page 51) Zira: A half-elf (actually a bronze dragon magically disguised) who runs an inn in Daggerford. Is on the Zhentarim payroll.
  • (Page 53) Nelkin "the Snail" Danniker: Undermining a moneylending business in Daggerford.
  • (Page 54) Urlam Stockspool: Red eyepatch, suave businessman.
  • (Page 54) Valken Nespeer: Urlam's bodyguard, half-elf assassin. 
  • (Page 73) Nalaskhur Theaelond: Owner of Bargewright Inn
  • (Page 73) Chalaska Muruin: Terse, cold-eyed militia leader. 
  • (Page 81) Nelkin "The Snail" Danniker: Talks real slow. In Daggerford.
  • (Page 81) Pencheska the Succubus: She has secretly replaced the ruler of Daggerford.
  • (Page 97) Telbor Zazrek: Ruler of Loudwater.
  • (Page 100) Oboth Thornsteel: Looking for a tomb in Mornbryn's Shield.
  • (Page 100) Fylo Nelgorn: Priest of Bane, negotiating with the fire giants.
  • (Page 104) Yondral Horn: Dwarf, runs an inn in Rasalantar, spies on the Lord's Alliance.
  • (Page 156) Nilraun Dhaerlost: Teamed up with the Storvald, the frost giant lord to find the ring of winter. 
  • (page 184) Jasper Dimmerchasm: Dwarf trapped in Zalto's maul. Neutral Evil.
The Kraken Society: Led by a godlike kraken named Slarkrethel who can psychically connect with people all over the realm. Killed Neri and captured Hekaton. Hekaton is being held on a ship called The Morkoth.

Chapter 1: A Great Upheaval

Megalith Sighting: Right off the bat, we get more megalith stuff. I talked about this here. Every official adventure so far has had at least one mysterious, unexplained megalith. In this case, four cloud giants stole it from Nightstone, thinking it to be an Ostorian artifact.

Basic Scenario: The giants attacked the small settlement of Nightstone. The villagers fled to nearby caves. It turns out that there's goblins in them thar caves and we have ourselves an adventure!

Arrival: The group comes to Nightstone to find it abandoned, save for goblins looting the village. Goblin MM page 166. They'll hear the church bells...

The Ringing Bell: The church bell is ringing. The group is likely to go check it out. The noise is caused by two goblins gleefully swinging on the rope connected to the bell in 5b.

1. Drawbridge: The group can find two sets of tracks:
  • Villager tracks that lead north
  • Goblin and wolf tracks that lead in the same direction.
3. Square: Worgs MM page 341.

4e. Summerhawk Residence: Antitoxin PH page 151. Herbalism kit PH page 154.

6a. Nandar Crypt and Graveyard: Specter MM page 279.

8. Nightstone Inn: Kella Darkhope is a Zhentarim agent that will be spying on the group through the hole in 8f. If you run the "Seven Snakes" event, seven Zhentarim will come to the village and call out for her. They want to make this place a Zhentarim base.

8c. Morak's Bedroom: Potion of Heroism: DMG page 188. Gain 10 temporary hit points for one hour, gain the effects of bless (PH page 219) which is: gain +d4 to attack rolls and saving throws for one hour also!

8f. Kella's Bedroom: Spy MM page 349. Flying snake MM page 322.

9. Trading Post: Adventuring Gear PH page 150.

14a. Great Hall: 4 guards MM page 347. They are Sydiri, Torem, Alara and Kaelen. They know a lot and want guidance.

14d. Upstairs Hall
: Flying Sword MM page 20.

Seven Snakes: This is really cool. 7 Zhentarim show up and what the characters did with Kella will have ramifications. Potion of Invulnerability DMG page 188. Resistance to all damage for one minute.

Ear Seeker: 20 Orcs fleeing elves! Orcs MM page 246. Scouts MM page 349. The elves can show up at a convenient time if you so choose.

Dripping Caves

1b. Hot Mud Bath: An ogre taking a bath! Ogre MM page 237.

2. Goblin Warrens: You might want to think about your players attitudes. These non-combatant goblins might create a "one player wants to kill the orc babies and the others don't" scenario.

3a. The Blob: A black pudding inside a stalagmite. Black pudding MM page 241. It has total cover, so that means it can't be targeted directly by an attack or spell.

Prisoners: The number in parenthesis denotes how many of that family or group there are:
  • Morak Ur'gray: Dwarf innkeeper, leader of prisoners. Morak ends up handing out quests once this is done, so beware!
  • Hiral Mystrum: Cowardly priest of Lathander.
  • (6) Unarmed, wounded guards.
  • (2) Agganor Family: Tiefling devil worshipers.
  • (5) Delfryndel Family: Own the windmill. Son was eaten by the goblins.
  • (5) Hulvaarn Family: Potato farmers.
  • (2) Nesper Family: Two kids. Family is dead.
  • (2) Osstra Family: Wheat farmers.
  • (5) Summerhawk Family: Halflings. The father died, crushed by a rock.
Once it is all Over: Morak wants the group to go on a quest. You, the DM, should pick the one you want to do:
  • Bryn Shander: Go to Icewind Dale and tell Markham that his sister, Semile, is dead.
  • Goldenfields: Go tell Mirok Xelbrin that his parents are dead and bring him the tressym (winged cat).
  • Triboar: Go tell Darthag's ex-wife the Darthag is dead.
They give you the travel times and everything, pretty nice.

It's All About the Journey: So this cloud giant ends up taking the group where they want to go in his tower with a wizard hat on it.
Aerie: Griffons MM page 174.

Day 3 Howling Hatred: Cultists from Princes of the Apocalypse! I like it. Invisible stalker MM page 192. Bag of holding DMG page 153.

If The PCs Are Losing: Zephyros will help out with a mass suggestion spell (PH page 258). It affects up to 12 creatures within 60 feet, Wisdom save DC 17, Duration 24 hours.

Considering the Cult's Offer: Contact Other Plane: PH page 226. Zephyros needs to make a DC 15 Intelligence save. He has a +1!! Fail: 6d6 psychic and insane until a long rest. Insanity means he can't take actions, he can't understand people, can't read and can only speak in gibberish.

Day 10 Operation Orb Strike: Silver Dragon MM page 117. Potion of gaseous form: DMG page 187. Gain gaseous form as per the spell (PH page 244). Your movement is fly 10, you have resistance to nonmagical damage, you can pass through small holes, etc.

Copy and print out the NPC list that starts on page 247.

Chapter 2: Rumblings

This is really odd. The group pick one of three settlements to defend. Each player will control their character and an NPC. If the NPC lives, the group is rewarded with a quest. This thing is really dense, so get ready.

There's actually metagame flavor text for the NPC situation on page 37.

Introducing the NPCs: So once the giants show up, the players are suddenly handed these NPCs their characters don't know. I would recommend running a little scenario where the group goes to town and meets each of these people, and you hand out their stats to a players as they meet. Once the group has all of them, then we can let the attack kick in. I'll probably write this up in a "How to Run Storm King's Thunder" post.

Bryn Shander

Things to Do Before you Start
  • Roll some giant items. Each giant has d4 art objects worth 25 gp on DMG page 134.
  • Maybe roll items on table B in the DMG page 144. It's a reward for the Sirac Quest (page 42). One more for Duvessa (DMG page 43). 
  • Also roll some table A items (DMG page 144) for Duvessa Quest (page 43).
Why We're Here: The group is here to tell Sheriff Markham that Semile, his sister, died at Nightstone.

My Favorite Thing: Everyone should have a chance to buy a yeti-skin coat (B12, page 40)

NPC Rules: Some things to keep in mind about the NPCs:
  • The NPC goes on the player's turn.
  • When given an option, a monster will attack an NPC over a character.
The Gates Might Get Bashed Down: The giants will try to bash in the gate. Here's stat stuff:
  • There are 3 gates barred from the inside, each 15 feet high.
  • Stats: AC 15 HP 200 Damage Threshold 10 (DMG page 247).
  • Open the Gates: Requires a strength check DC 28. The giants have +7, so it's impossible for them to open the gates in this manner.
There are three gates, but this whole thing revolves around the southwest gate. The bad guys:
  • 12 Frost Giants (MM page 155) Led by Drufi, who has two winter wolves.
  • 2 Winter Wolves (MM page 340).
NPC Locations: Here's where the NPCs will be when everything happens:
  • Augrek, Duvessa, and Sheriff Markham will be talking to the giants at the southwest gate.
  • Sirac is close to the southwest gate.
  • Beldora and Sir Baric are in the center of town.
Sequence of Events: Here's a step-by-step rundown of how this whole thing unfolds:
  1. 3 frost giants approach the southwest gate. Drufi (the leader) demands to talk to Duvessa.
  2. Drufi demands that Artus Cimber come out. She doesn't know Artus Cimber isn't in town.
  3. Read the flavor on page 41. Drufi calls out for Artus.
  4. Alarmed, citizens head for somewhere safe. Nobody responds to Drufi's cry.
  5. Drufi blows a horn as an action. Her giants advance to within 100 feet of the town.
  6. The giants start hurling rocks. Range 60/240. +9 to hit, 28 (4d10+6) damage. If you decide to have them throw from 100 feet away, remember that's long distance. They have disadvantage to hit.
  7. Drufi and her bodyguards try to break down the gate. That's 6 attacks per round, doing 25 damage per hit. If you decide they auto-hit the door, that's 150 points. Or you could roll for each attack: +9, need to hit AC 15. Either way, I think that door is going down in 2 rounds.
The NPCs of Bryn Shander: These are the NPCs the group controls. Each can offer a quest if they survive the attack:
  • Duvessa Shane: Elected speaker/ruler of Bryn Shander. Quest: Go to Waterdeep, end up finding loot from a wrecked ship.
  • Markham Southwell: Sheriff - he's the guy the group came here for. Quest: Go check Icewind Dale for giants (page 43), fight giants, come back.
  • Augrek Brighthelm: She is a sheriff's deputy, guards the southwest gate. Quest: Get reinforcements from Ironmaster (page 42).
  • Sirac of Suzail: A member of the Cimber family. Has no idea where the ring of winter is. Quest: Go find Artus Cinder. This leads to Waterdeep, where Lord Roaringhorn gives each character a magic item off of Table B on DMG page 144.
  • Sir Baric Nylef: Knight of Tyr, member of the Order of the Gauntlet. Quest: Sends the group to chapter 3 to check out a splinter group of the faction.
  • Beldora: Harper in disguise as a homeless person. Quest: Go say hi to Thwip in Hundlestone, get a clockwork dog.

I found this Goldenfields expansion on the DMs Guild which has gotten a lot of good reviews.

Why We're Here: The group has come here to tell Miros that his parents are dead and to give him his winged cat (if it is still alive).

Stay the Night: You should probably have the group arrive in the evening, if possible, so that they spend the night in town. This giant attack occurs late at night.

Rolling Stuff: You might want to roll some magic items in advance:
  • 1 item on table F (DMG page 146) and 2 items on table B (DMG page 144) for the Lifferlas quest. Two items on table C (DMG page 145) for Zi Liang's quest.
  • Placing Art Objects: You might want to roll up d4-1 250 gp art objects on DMG page 135. These are found on the bad guys. You might want to even place these items in town when the group arrives and have the bad guys steal them. For example, maybe the group sees someone in town who has a gold bird cage with electrum filigree with a bird in it. During the rampage, an ogre eats the bird and keeps the cage. You could use a carved ivory statuette of Chauntea and a silk robe with gold embroidery. With the robe, you could say the group sees some obnoxious person wearing the robe walking around in town. When the giants attack, this NPC went outside to see the ruckus and fainted straight away. An ogre took the robe quietly and let the person sleep.
Giants Were Here Recently: Remember that Goldenfields has already repelled some hill giants recently (see top left of page 49)

Gates: The gate doors probably won't come into play in this scenario, but just in case: The gatehouse has an inner and outer set of doors. Stats for each: AC 16 HP 500 Damage Threshold 10 (DMG page 247)

Gate Guards: These people probably won't be involved until maybe the third battle. 1 Priest (MM page 348), 4 acolytes (MM page 342), 1 mage (MM page 347), 10 scouts (MM page 349), 30 guards (MM page 347).

The Bad Guys: 6 hill giants (MM page 155), 12 ogres (MM page 237), 6 of those ogres have goblin huckers (page page 50), 12 bugbears (MM page 33), 60 goblins (MM page 166).

Sequence of Events: Here's how the attack unfolds:
  1. During the night (I'd say around 3 AM), 12 bugbears, 30 goblins and 6 ogres climb the wall and try to creep around town hoping to steal food. The hill giants are outside the town with empty sacks.
  2. They split into three gangs, each with: 2 ogres, 4 bugbears and 10 goblins.
  3. Don't forget that the ogres are wearing catapult-things that launch goblins (see "Goblin Huckers," page 50).
  4. The Moon Biters Gang goes to the animal pen (G5, page 46).
  5. The Eye Stabbers Gang goes to the central square (G6, page 47).
  6. The Hill Howlers Gang gang goes to the grain towers (G4, page 46). They are lost.
  7. Oren Yogilvy spots the Eye Stabbers and sounds the alarm.
  8. Read the flavor, page 49.
  9. The guards don't hear Oren' call, but the heroes do! So do the sidekick NPCs.
  10. The group and their NPCs will have to defeat all 3 gangs. After the second gang is defeated, the Abbot rings the bell. This frightens the last gang and they make a run for it. But..
  11. Log and Obb, two hill giants, climb over the wall. They send some guards running and they head for Harvesthome Abbey (G7, page 47).
  12. Once the giants are beaten, townsfolk look for more threats as the sun comes up. They follow a trail to the wall. They see the pile of enemies on the other side of the wall!
  13. The enemies fire range attacks and chuck goblins.
  14. When Lob and Ogg are down to 15 HP, they will surrender and sob (see top left of page 51).
NPCs: Here's our trusty sidekick NPCs:
  • Shalvus Martholio: A Zhentarim spy snooping around Goldenfields. Quest: Wow, a crossover with Princes of the Apocalypse. The group goes to the Bargewright Inn (POTA page 160). They escort a wagon and then eventually get rewarded with a Mark of Prestige/Special Favor (DMG page 229). Basically, the group can get help from a bronze dragon with something or other.
  • Lifferlas: A tree! Page 250. Quest: The group must seek out some people and are rewarded with allies: Two awakened trees (MM page 317) and one awakened shrub (MM page 317). An awakened shrub sidekick is pretty hilarious. There's a simple bonus quest where the group can get some nice magic items.
  • Zi Liang: Unpopular, page 47. Quest: Go to Waterdeep, get magic items.
  • Miros Xelbrin: Big hairy dude page 47. Quest: Go say hi to someone in Amphail, get a magic ring that summons a spirit that points the group toward the tower in chapter three.
  • Naxine Drathkala: Quiet, bookish member of Lords' Alliance. Spy for Laeral Silverhand. page 47. Quest: Go talk to a green dragon. Get some potions of poison resistance (DMG page 188) and a mislabeled potion (potion of poison DMG page 188).
  • Oren Yogilvy: Page 48. Halfling lute player. Quest: I really want to hear a player say: "Lay off the Hardcheeses!" out loud. Group roughs up the Zhentarim in Daggerford, scores some booze and snacks.

Why We're Here: The group comes here to tell Alaestra Ulgar (T6, page 54) that her ex-husband suffered a gory death courtesy of some giant rats.

Slightly Ribald Grafitti: You might want to come up with some lewd phrases for The Frost-Touched Frog (T12 page 56). It might be fun to do one for each adventure so far. Let's make some with adventure-specific references. I'm sure you can do better, but this should get the ball rolling:
  • "Leosin Erlanthar actually likes to be tied up"
  • "Teresiel is at my house"
  • "Eldeth Feldrun has a superfluous nipple"
  • "The Vistani smell like hot dogs"
Page Numbers: There's all sorts of random stuff you might need to look up:
  • Heward's Handy Haversack (DMG page 174)
  • Gray Bag of Tricks (DMG page 154)
  • Leomund's Secret Chest (PH page 254). Chest is hidden in the ethereal plane.
  • Bracers of Defense (DMG page 156). +2 AC when wearing no armor.
  • +1 Wand of the War Mage (DMG page 212). +1 to spell attack bonus!
  • Glyph of Warding (PH page 245)
  • Conjure Animals (PH page 225)
  • Mounted Combat (PH page 198)
It's Morphin' Time: A piece of the Vonindod is here! The Vonindod is the mighty colossus that the fire giants want to put together to go on a rampage with. This piece is under the campground (T2, page 53). The bad guys have a rod that leads them right to it.

Bad Guys: 2 fire giants (MM page 154), 5 orogs (MM page 247), 6 orcs (MM page 244) riding axebeaks (MM page 317) and 12 magmins (MM page 212).
  1. The heroes probably won't be aware of this, but orcs attack Merrymeadow Ranch and Broken Yoke (these places are on the little map on the corner of page 55). The guards head there. This is just a distraction to clear the way for the giants to march through town.
  2. Read the boxed text on page 59. The giants are throwing boulders at Triboar. They are coming right into Triboar.
  3. The orogs are in front of the giants. They scatter into town and attack civilians.
  4. The giants (Ildmane and Okssort) march right into town wreaking havoc, hoping everyone runs away. They do. Ildmane has a rod of the vodindod which leads her right to the campground.
  5. The giants point out buildings and the magmins set them ablaze.
  6. They damage Othovir's (T11, page 56).
  7. They destroy Ransor's Open Road (T7, page 54).
  8. The giants dig at T2 for 10 rounds. Then they pull up the Vodindod fragment, which is 11 feet long and weighs a ton.
  9. The giants will flee if one of them drops to 85 hit points. They will come back to Triboar in 2d4+2 days with 4 hill giants.
NPCs: Here's the NPC sidekicks:
  • Darathra Shenrel: Fair and clear-headed leader. Quest: This one is cool. The group can magically travel to Moongleam Tower, a harper base. They have access to teleportation circles. The group gets scrolls of fly and some other utility spells.
  • Darz Helgar: Elderly ex-thief that spent a lot of time in the clink. Quest: He sends the group after the Weevil and we jump to chapter 3.
  • Narth Tezrin: Associated with the Lionshield Coster, an organization that is not well-liked at all in Triboar. He is linked to Alaestra Ulgar, the woman the heroes are looking for. Quest: The group ends up in the White Hart Inn and get in the middle of a weird, deadly inheritance situation between the three brothers.
  • Urgala Meltimer: Retired adventurer, owns Northshield House, an inn. Quest: The group can try to get a giant slayer weapon (DMG page 172) from a corrupt watch captain.
  • Othovir: Harness-maker, family are devil-worshipers and that is just not cool to him. Quest: The group goes to Silverymoon looking for stashed treasure and ends up neck deep in cambions! 2 items from Magic Item table C (DMG page 145) and two items from Magic Item table B (DMG page 144).
  • Ghelryn Foehammer: Makes weapons and armor. Getting old. Quest: The group can go meet the King and Queen of Citadel Felbarr and get two figurines of wondrous power (golden lions) DMG page 169. Lion stats are on MM page 331.
Chapter 3: The Savage Frontier

This chapter is overwhelming. I'm not exaggerating when I say this: They detail 164 locations in 46 pages. One hundred and sixty four! I'm going to try to just give you a quick rundown of the main scenarios here. That way, you can look them over and get a basic idea of what the heck is in here.

The Point of This Chapter: The whole point of this chapter is to meet Harshnag, the frost giant good guy. Whenever you want, just have the meet him using the material on page 118. I kind of like the idea of having Harshnag show up when the group is in a tough battle. He can jump in to help and there you go, we just became best friends.

There are two other large encounters. There's one on page 116 that involves a hill giant who can lead the group to the hill giant lair in chapter five. The other is on page 117, and it details the teleportation circles in Moongleam Tower.

Overland Travel: (PH page 182) Definitely read up on this, as it is so easy to forget. On average, the group will travel 3 miles per hour and 24 miles in a day. Even with horses! See "Mounts and Vehicles" at the bottom of PH page 181.

Using the Map: In case you are a new DM, take a look at the map on page 74. The scale on the bottom shows that one inch equals 100 miles. So, eyeballing it, it looks like taking the road from Waterdeep to Mirabar is 450 miles. At 24 miles per day, that trip will take about 19 days. There's going to be a lot of travel in this adventure.

Flying Mounts: Those on flying mounts travel 54 miles or more per day (see Hawk's Nest, page 90). There are a lot of opportunities for the group to get flying mounts. That includes hippogriffs, griffons, even dragons. At one point, the group can get an airship. It has a nice little chart that gives flying travel distances on page 134.
  • Hippogriffs: Page 138 says that they can travel 54 miles per day (three 3-hour flights with 1-hour rests inbetween).
  • Griffons: "Flying Mounts" on page 146 says that they can travel 72 miles per day.
This Chapter is Wide Open: Some of you who are good at flying by the seat of your pants can roll with this. If you're more like me and you like to prepare, definitely try to set up your sessions so at the end of one session, the group tells you where they want to go in the next session. That way you can prepare it all properly and insert encounters beforehand.

Reghed Barbarians (page 64) Basically, the barbarians hunt reindeer, fight orcs and sometimes they raid towns. There are a whole bunch of tribes. The Tribe of the Wolf (page 65) hunts the people of Ten Towns for sport.

Random Encounters: (DMG pg 86) If you want to roll for these, you'll need to decide how often. Maybe once during the day and once during a long rest? Roll a d20. An 18 or higher means a random encounter is triggered.

Here's the encounters I like and would place in my game:
  • Battlefield (page 69) Dead giants and barbarians. Animals pick at the corpses. This is a cool way to reinforce the idea that this giant rampage is widespread.
  • Dig Site (page 69): A fire giant has a horde of exhausted flunkies digging for a piece of the vodindod. There's a lot of monsters, so I am amused to think what wacky scheme the group might come up with. You might want to play up the fact that the goblins are abused and unhappy. The group could ally themselves with the goblins.
  • Horse-Drawn Wagon (page 71): I love the idea of the merchants with all those barrels of ale. I can just imagine them camping with the group, opening the barrels and then everybody getting really drunk. They'd get loud and possibly attract a hill giant. Maybe the group could even offer to share their barrels with the giant, get it drunk (or poison it?) and then they'll have to decide what to do with the giant. Kill it? Question it?
  • Ogres (page 71): Players love dumb monsters that can be tricked. These guys are lost and arguing with each other. I think players could have a field day with that.
  • Stone Giants (page 71): I think it would be cool if the giants were restoring an old ruined area of Ostoria, and maybe it has a magic pillar or something and there's some kind of secret compartment with magic items in it. Maybe the giants already found the treasure and the group will have to decide if they want to try to sneak over and steal the treasure pile, try to kill the giants, or just leave.
Need More Encounters: It feels like there are not nearly enough random encounters in this chapter. There is a ton of travel in this section, and the group will be coming back here in chapter four to go to all nine burial mounds.

Locations of the North

Tavern Names: Just use this list from Candlekeep if you need a tavern name.This inn from 3rd edition can be placed anywhere.

Burial Mounds: In chapter 4, the heroes will learn that they need to go to all of the burial mounds and dig up giant artifacts. I listed them all at the very end of this chapter.

Amphail (page 72) Tylandar Roaringhorn has a big festival. Three hill giants show up looking for food.

Ascore (page 73): One of Iymrith's holdings. There are two blue dragons here.

Bargewright Inn (page 75): There's a whole adventure about this place in Princes of the Apocalypse. In this book, it says this place is a secret Zhentarim meeting place. Few know there is a vampire on the premises who the Zhentarim use as a problem-solver.

Beliard (page 76): Hill giants are attacking the farms. The source of this problem is the Old Tower (page 116).

Calling Horns (page 76): Village and an inn. There's a quest to Everlund that involves "a fire giant slapping around a troll..."

Citadel Adbar: The "king" (a doppelganger puppet ruler) wants the group to go check out the fire giants, which in theory sends them to chapter 8. Yakfolk posses the guards and try to kill the king. This is further discussed in page 168, "Yakfolk Neighbors."

Citadel Felbarr: This is a dwarven fortress. The king and queen want the group to investigate fire giant activity - sending them to chapter 8. In return, the dwarves will build the group a tower! That's awesome. The construction will take 100 days.

Daggerford (page 80): This builds on the story from Scourge of the Sword Coast. Now, Pencheska the succubus is magically disguised as the ruler, Lady Morwen. They might run afoul of the Zhentarim and battle some stone giants, who flee. If the group pursues them, they'll end up in chapter 6.

Everlund (page 81): This is where Moongleam Tower is, the Harper base. There are teleport circles in the tower, described on page page 117 ("Inner Circles").

I think you should have Krowen Valharrow (archmage MM page 342) talk obsessively about wanting to learn the spell sequester so he can hide his treasure chest from "prying eyes of the Zhentarim" or whoever. This is done to clue the group in on how to find Iymrith's horde way at the end of the adventure (area 4 page 229). She's sequestered her loot and it is very hard to find.

Fireshear (page 83): A meteor crashed here long ago. Miners dig up the rock. The frost giants in the boat from chapter 7 show up and 12 frost giants attack! There's a bit more info on Dasharra on age 156. Her personal griffon is named Screecher.

Gauntlgrym (page 85): This is a legendary dwarven city featured in Out of the Abyss. Drow sneak in and capture Maegera, the primordial who powers the dwarven forge. There's a weird situation where the group can try to stop them, but the adventure seems to really want the drow to get away. I think this whole situation is meant to be resolved in chapter 8, so I'd say don't even dangle Maegera in front of the group. Maybe have a splinter group of drow try to kill the king and let the group deal with that. That makes it easy for the other drow to steal Maegera. These drow thieves bring Maegera to the fire giant lair of Ironslag (this event is detailed on page 186).

Grayvale (page 87): The group meets a brass dragon that tells them stone giants are up to no good in Deadstone Cleft, which is in chapter 6, page 147.

Grayvale Run (page 88): The group finds stone giants taking a house apart.

Hawk's Nest (page 90): The group can take down some fire giants and get an offer to join the Order of the Gauntlet. Characters who are already in the order get knighthood and a hippogriff mount.

Helm's Hold (page 90): This place is run by the Gilded Eye. They watch the heroes like a hawk. The group has a chance to take down 3 frost giants and check out their ship. There's 16 more frost giant who will be returning to the ship soon.

Icewind Dale (page 92): This place has its own random encounters. I love Arveiaturace, the white dragon who has a dead wizard on her back that she talks to. Check out this awesome article on her by Ed Greenwood.

Klauthen Vale (page 95): Egad. Klauth the red dragon runs this place and he is extremely powerful. He can dual-wield wands! Ed Greenwood wrote a huge article about him here.

According to that article, Klauth has 6 wands on his wings! In this adventure, he has two: a wand of lightning bolts and a wand of fireballs. The entire vale is his lair, so he can use his lair actions anywhere in Klauthen Vale.

Kryptgarden Forest (page 96): There's a green dragon here named Clauguyliamatar (Ed Greenwood has you covered). She has a "...habit of carrying a corpse dangling from her jaws to munch on absently from time to time, just as some humans suck on unlit pipes or chew cigars." She actually gives the group great advice. She tells them to seek out Harshnag and to go to the Temple of the All-Father.

Llorkh (page 96): There are six stone giants here reorganizing things.

Loudwater (page 97): Refugees are flocking to this place, displaced by the stone giants who are messing with this region. You might want to put Elister's clockwork shop here. Elister has been captured by the Stone Giant Thane (see pages 153-154).

Luskan (page 97): When the group shows up here, they see smoke in the harbor. Frost Giants are attacking. On page 156, it is noted that there is a pirate named Captain Vaalrik Redreef here in Luskan.

Mornbryn's Shield (page 100): The Zhentarim are here looking for a lost tomb. They really don't want the heroes poking around and they tell them to leave.

Neverwinter: On page 157, it is mentioned that there is a ship called the Seabreaker in Neverwinter. The captain is Draevyn Thornbolt, an albino wizard. 

Nesmé (page 100): The group stumbles on the Zhentarim trying to cut a deal with the fire giants.

Noanar's Hold (page 101): Ruled by wights called the Hunt Lords.

Orlbar (page 104): This place was flattened by the stone giants. One friendly mute giant remains, making big stacks of rocks. He can direct the group to Deadstone Cleft (chapter 6).

Port Llast (page 104): This place is being attacked by 20 frost giants! There is a heavy fog, so the group can move around and kill the giants one or two at a time if they like.

Sea of Moving Ice (page 106): There are frost giants hunting whales. Arauthator and Arveiaturace, both white dragons, live in a glacier detailed in Rise of Tiamat.

Secomber (page 107): There are two friendly cloud giants here that can give the group a lot of information on the backstory.

Shadowtop Cathedral (page 107): Emerald Enclave meeting place, protected by Turlang the treant and awakened trees and shrubs.

Stone Bridge

Stone Bridge (page 109): This bridge is two miles long and 400 feet high. Halfway across, the group spots a fire giant and a hell hound coming their way. You might want to say it's foggy, otherwise in theory the group will see this giant from very far away.

Uluvin (page 112): Hill giants are attacking. Villagers are hiding in the woods.

Waterdeep (page 112): Cloud giants hover over the city in a flying castle. The giants mean no harm, they're just checking out the city. The group can score points with Laeral Silverhand if they can get up there and find out what is going on. On page 157, it is mentioned that there is a ship in Waterdeep called the Bobbin' Flagon. The captain is Lady Taska Sonadora, an insane noble who dreams of killing a white dragon. Thestryl Mellardin (page 118) the harper mage also lives here.

Xantharl's Keep (page 114): This is where that scoundrel Worvil "The Weevil" Forkbeard is hiding out in disguise. A frost giant shows up with 50 goblins, 10 hobgoblins and five ogres. The giant wants to collect the 5,000 gp bounty on the Weevil's head.

Yartar (page 115): The Kraken Society is quietly trying to take this place over largely though a noble named Lord Drylund. Drylund is the owner of the boat where King Hekaton is being held.

Zelbross (page 115): The group meets a barbarian kid who ran away from his tribe.

With all that out of the way, now we get to the actual point of this chapter - the featured encounters:

Old Tower (page 116): An upset hill giant named Moog is here. Chief Guh stole her husband, Hruk. Moog can lead the group to Grudd Haug (page 137), lair of the hill giants. Hruk is in the entrance of the hill giant lair (area 1, page 139). If the group brings Moog (see area 2, page 116) there, she will drag him away and the entrance will be clear.

Inner Circles (page 117): In Moongleam Tower, there are teleportation circles. There is a harper spellcaster at each site who can cast teleportation circle to activate them. Here's where the portals are:
  • Everlund: Moongleam Tower, a harper base.
  • Loudwater: The Smiling Satyr, a tavern.
  • Mirabar: The circle is hidden under hay in a stable.
  • Neverwinter: An attic of a three-story house.
  • Waterdeep: A crypt in the Waterdeep cemetery.
  • Yartar: A villa owned by the Harpers and protected by a hallucinatory terrain spell.
Harshnag (page 118): This encounter can be dropped in wherever you like. Harshnag is a good guy/frost giant who was in The Gray Hands, the precursor to Force Grey. Harshnag befriends the heroes and wants to take them to an oracle who can help sort out this giant situation.

Burial Mounds: I'm not sure where to put this burial mound list. The group could find them in this chapter, but they'll be sent to them in the next chapter:
  • Beorunna's Well (page 76): 10 barbarians and a manticore lurk in a pit this blood-soaked altar.
  • Flint Rock (page 84): A weird place with an altar. The group might get cursed.
  • Grandfather Tree (page 87): A big magic tree. Dryads want the group to leave immediately. 
  • Great Worm Cavern (page 88): The group can free a couatl trapped in an altar by killing the crazy barbarian named Wormblod. They might accidentally run into some remorhazes. Wormblod is discussed a little on page 66. There are some typos in this section. The concubine isn't named and there is no "Development" section. Wormblod is located in the temple (area 4, page 124). His concubine's name is Noori. She's been captured by an ice spider (area 9a, page 127).
  • Morgur's Mound (page 99): The group can do some digging and loot some magic items. They'll fight some skeletal dinosaurs, too.
  • One Stone (page 102): The group can dig up a cool magic stone that you can enlarge and shrink (and do 55 points of damage with). It can also cast divination and control weather. Earth cultists and bulettes attack - they want the stone.
  • Raven Rock (page 105): 4 menhirs! The standing stone conspiracy continues. The group can dig up a ring that summons minor elementals and a dragon bone that does +2d8 damage vs. dragons. Black raven barbarians might hunt down the party for disturbing the mound.
  • Shining White (page 107): The group can dig up a pretty useless relic. Four griffons might attack and the heroes can acquire a very amusing curse: "I have an insatiable craving for horse flesh."
  • Stone Stand (page 110): This mound has ghosts that attack the heroes. If the group digs and removes the skull, the ghosts can move on to the afterlife.
Chapter 4: The Chosen Path

  • You might want to write down the highest passive Perception score.
  • Before you run this, you might want to copy or draw the map on page 132. Harshnag will likely draw this map for the group so they can find the burial mounds.
  • Extreme Cold: DMG page 110.
  • Everything is Large: Don't forget that this place is giant-sized. Each square equals 20 feet.
6. Annam's Temple: Here's the deal. A giant needs to touch one of the weapons to a rune. That will allow the group to teleport to the Oracle. Harshnag needs to grab the steel greataxe. The problem is that the axe isn't here. The heroes will need to find it. It's in area 7, page 126.

There are lots of scary trial and error effects:
  • Confusion PH page 224.
  • Earth Elemental MM page 124.
  • Ice Storm PH page 252.
  • Meteor Swarm PH page 259.
  • Reverse Gravity PH page 272 The ceiling is 100 feet high! That's 10d6 damage when they fall.
  • Storm of Vengeance PH page 279.
7. Feast Hall: Remorhaz MM page 258.

8. Trapped Hall: The trap goes like this:
  1. The hallway slopes up. All of the side rooms have giant beds and couches in them.
  2. A non-giant walks to 8b. Walls of stone (PH page 287) block off all of the side rooms.
  3. Everyone rolls initiative. The sphere goes on count 15 in the initiative order.
  4. On initiative count 15, a giant granite sphere phases through the far wall and rolls 200 feet. Remember that on the map of this place on page 123, one square equals 20 feet! So that means that the sphere moves ten squares. It takes three rounds to get to the statue on the other end. Anybody in its path must make a DC 12 Dexterity save or take 55 damage and be knocked prone.
  5. The statue animates (stone golem MM page 170) and catches the sphere. It dutifully rolls the sphere back up 20 feet per round, passing the sphere back into the wall. If I counted the squares right, that means it will take 23 rounds (2 minutes and 18 seconds). The golem then goes back to its original position. Golems have a speed of 30, so the walk back takes 16 rounds (1 minute and 36 seconds). The walls of stone vanish and the trap is reset.
9. Ice Spider Tunnels: This whole place is difficult terrain. Giant Spider MM page 328.

9A. Larder: Webs DMG page 105. There are three cocoons, each contain something or someone:
  1. Mountain goat corpse
  2. A dead dwarf prospector with a pick
  3. Noori, the barbarian consort that Wormblod is looking for. She's still alive. Right now she has 0 HP and is unconscious.
9b. Nest: When this spider dies, the 32 eggs hatch. Swarm of spiders MM page 338.

10a. Giant Sack: Shard of the ise rune (page 236). I don't get the ability to trace the rune onto an item. Does the item get all of the shard's powers? It doesn't seem like it does. Why would you ever want to do that? It's a terrible trade.
11. Eye of Annam: Wow. The dead son of Blagothkus is in here. Blagothkus is the giant in the flying castle in the final chapter of Hoard of the Dragon Queen! How great is that?

On Hoard page 77, we learned that Blagothkus was working with the cult of the dragon, but really he was trolling them. He was trying to spur the giants into action. He thought that: "...thrashing some dragons would be good for giantkind."

So Eigeron is a ghost (MM page 147). He will help the characters use the oracle. He asks them to kill his father! This book refers you to Hoard for that.

Opal of the ild rune is on page 235.

The Oracle: All right, this is a bit of a process. Don't forget about the Iymrith encounter which is buried wayyy at the end of the chapter on page 136.
  1. The heroes meet Eigeron the ghost. He has lots of advice.
  2. The group will need to clear frost off of the circle. 
  3. Someone needs to stand in the circle and ask a question. The oracle has 6 "charges," so the group gets 6 questions. These charges will reset the next day.
  4. The group ultimately needs to learn that they need a conch of teleportation, and the way to get one to kill a giant lord. Every giant lord has a conch.
  5. When the group asks about a giant lord, the Oracle demands that the group go get at least one giant artifact from one of the burial mounds. The more artifacts that the group gets, the more choices in giant lords they will have.
  6. The group leaves the temple to go to the burial mounds.
  7. Outside the temple, an airship crewed by dragon cultists is waiting for them. This is a gift from Klauth, the red dragon. They are expected to return the ship eventually.
  8. The group flies to the burial mounds, which are described in chapter 3.
  9. The adventurers come back and offer the artifacts as sacrifices. The heroes literally have to declare which giant lord they want to go after.
  10. The Oracle tells them where the giant lord is and where their conch is.
  11. As the group leaves the oracle room, Iymrith shows up (see page 136). Harshnag attacks her and tells the group to run. She's too powerful for them to hurt. If the group doesn't flee, the ceiling collapses. If they don't run, they'll be buried alive. Harshnag ends up buried and Iymrith teleports to safety.
Map 4.2 is on the next page (page 132). 

Airship Stats:

The Balloon of the Airship: AC 11 HP 50 (0 hit points means the ship can't fly).
The Airship: AC 13 HP 250 damage threshold 10 (DMG page 247)
  • Ballista: +6 to hit, 16 (3d10) damage It takes an action to load, an action to aim, and an action to fire.
  • Harpoon Gun: +6 to hit, 16 (3d10) damage and impale (DC 15 STR check to escape) This gun has a winch. You can reel in 20 feet of rope per round.,
  • Crew Requirements: The ship needs at least two crew to function. Less than that means the ship is out of control and moves in a random direction.
  • Crew: Cultists (MM page 345) Delsephine (the leader), Nyzroth, Brassik, Laz, Oriskus, Perella, Tralt, and Zalthia.
  • Repairs Are Costly: Each hit point costs 20 gold and a day of labor.
Ask How High They Fly: There are a lot of creatures that will attack the balloon in this, so you should definitely be prepared to deal with a crash from pretty fair height. You might want to ask your group how high up they fly when they first start using the ship, so that way you know how far they'll fall.

Chapter 5: Den of the Hill Giants

Fun Fact: If you google Grudd Haug, google will ask: "Did you mean group hug?"

Why We're Here: The group is here looking for the conch. It is possible that the adventurers will search the whole place and not find it. That's because Guh is sitting on it!

Stuff to Think About in Advance:
  • NPC Names: You might want to make up some prisoners from local settlements in case reinforcements bring some.
  • Reinforcements: Remember that each hour, reinforcements might show up (page 139). So if the group takes a short rest, roll on that chart!
  • Dangerous: The conch is right there in room 2. Chief Guh has it, and she's in a room with a ton of monsters. Groups will definitely need to be clever here because I don't think anyone can take 5 hill giants and four ogres at once.
Chief Guh is eating a lot, thinking that if she is the biggest giant, she will be considered the strongest.
She stole every husband in her tribe. All the other women are gone and all the males are her consorts.
The males are out getting her food constantly.

The map to this place is really, really nice. I can't find it online yet, so I took a picture. This doesn't really do it justice, but I think it's really cool that they actually drew the building as part of the map.

Approaching Grudd Haug: This can a million different ways. If the group tries to just march right up to the front door, they're in big trouble:
  • There are four hobgoblin sentries (area 8, page 142). They can see very well and they will hit a gong if they spot the group.
  • If the group takes the airship and lands within a mile of Grudd Haug, the hobgoblin sentries see it and put the whole place on alert.
  • If the group tries to just walk right up to the place, they will be spotted as well.
  • Sneaking In: The group makes a group Dexterity check vs. the hobgoblin Wisdom (Perception) +0. See MM page 186.
Alert: I think it would be hard to keep track of who moves where when the place is under alert. Here's where the monsters are when Grudd Haug is on alert:
  1. Outside: The entrance is blocked with a boulder. One hill giant is outside in front of it.
  2. Chief Guh, 5 hill giants, 4 ogres, 6 goblins. 4 hobgoblins will come here from 8 if the group is inside the building.
  3. 4 wolves held in by a gate.
  4. Empty.
  5. Roderik Hilltopple is tied up here. He won't leave without his sheep! A hobgoblin in area 7 will investigate loud noises.
  6. Empty.
  7. 2 hobgoblins.
  8. If heroes outside: 4 hobgoblins. If inside, empty.
  9. 15 orcs, 2 hill giants, 100 sheep. A boulder blocks the way in from outside.
  10. Empty.
  11. Empty.
  12. Lots of pigs, 1 ettin, 7 bugbears. 2 more bugbears will come here from 13 if they hear noise.
  13. 7 prisoners 2 bugbears, will go to 12 if they hear noise.
  14. 6 goblins, 1 hill giant, 1 otyugh.
  15. Empty.
  16. 2 goblins hiding.
1 Main Entrance: Hrug the hill giant guard is here keeping watch. He is Moog's mate and does want to be back with Moog (page 117). If the group convinces Moog to come here, she grabs him by the hair and leads him far away from Grudd Haug.

2. Feasting Hall: There's a lot of monsters in here! 5 hill giants, 4 ogres, 6 goblins and Chief Guh. Remember, Chief Guh can't move.

I think that the goblin stuck in her folds is a really funny idea. You might want to give your group a clue to that. Maybe they see a hand sticking out. Players usually come up with some hilarious idea to use stuff like that. Stuff to remember:
  • The group has a chance to convince Guh not to kill them.
  • She won't give up her conch.
  • If the group flees, only the ogres chase them.
  • The group can break the wagon she's on and send her tumbling into the pit to area 12.
  • Her conch is in the wagon!
13. Prison: Ghalvin asks the group to take him to Goldenfields.

14. Abbatoir: Gavel of the venn rune is on page 234. Tracing the rune on the airship might be cool. People would have to speak the truth on the ship!

The Group hits Level 9: The group should be 9th level before they attune to the conch and use it.

Chapter 6: Canyon of the Stone Giants

Stone giants can turn to stone and trance/meditate (see page 146). When they come out of it, they have tremorsense and they can cast spells:
  • Meld into Stone: Page 259
  • Stone shape: Page 278
  • Stoneskin: Page 278
  • Time Stop! Page 283
The canyon is lined with stone giant corpses that produce a moaning sound when the wind blows. There's a roc (MM page 260) that guards the canyon.

Where's the Conch? The conch is in a pouch worn by Kayalithica. She's in area 14.

Stuff to Remember:
  • This area feels like you're going need a map to show the players. You might need to sketch out the central area, the bridges overhead, the rivers and the cave entrance.
  • There are ten total stone giants in Deadstone Cleft.
  • Only one stone giant will come out if the group makes a ruckus.
  • There are also a pile of barbarians sympathetic to the stone giants. It is possible the group might have to face them all if they're not careful.
  • At the end of each hour, roll on the reinforcement table on page 147.
Approaching the Vale:
  • The roc (MM page 260) is going to see the group approach unless they sneak.
  • If the group is in the airship, it attack the balloon.
  • Sneaking: Group Dexterity check DC 14.
  • If it spots them, it screeches.
  • In two rounds after the screech, the creatures from areas 3 and 6 investigate: 2 cave bears (polar bears MM page 334), 1 gladiator (MM page 346), 1 stone giant (MM page 156) - the giant will have stoneskin cast on him (see top left of page 150).
  • Barbarian Search Party: 1 gladiator (MM page 346), 2 polar bears polar bears (MM page 334), 21 tribal warriors (page 350), 3 berserkers (MM page 344), 1 Uthgardt shaman (page 243).
Alert: Pretty much everyone stays put except the roc and all of the tribe. The rust monsters in area 15d are let out of their cage.

4. Gorgon Mud Pool: The giant tries to shove a PC into the gorgon mud. That's an opposed check: The giant's +14 vs the character's Athletics or Acrobatics. If you want to get nuts, you can give this stone giant the fling power (page 246).
  • Gorgon Mud: It's like quicksand (DMG page 110) and when a character ends their turn in there, they must make a DC 12 Con save or be petrified (PH page 291)!
5. Thanes' Tomb: Looks like there's no save for this trap. If the group doesn't prod, in they go. They fall right into that gorgon mud in area 4!

7. Tomb of the Skodkong: If a hero touches the tomb, they're sucked in. They can ask the Skodkong three questions, and then they are released. That is a really cool way to help the group learn about the plot.

10. Mushroom Farm: The giant here can control the piercers and have them drop on the heroes. Piercers, MM page 252. They drop from 50 feet, so they have +3 to hit and 18 (5d6) damage. Miss, the piercer takes 2d6 falling damage.

11. Overgrown Tunnel: Black puddings MM page 241. The 6 tribal warriors from 15d. Will join in.

12. Warriors' Tomb: Roper MM page 261.

13. Skoraeus Stonebones: These giants are actually friendly. Orb of the stein rune page 235.

14. Temple: Wow. Kayalithica can animate one of the fossilized thanes. That is really cool. Stone golem page 170. The Steinfang is a big stone thing that answers questions after a month. We get stats for it and it has a lot of hit points. If destroyed, there's a massive explosion. I'm not sure why the group would attack it. It's immune to spells level 3 and lower, meaning it probably won't be accidentally destroyed by area effect spells.

The conch is in one of her pouches. There's a living gnome named Elister Noggins in another pouch. If the group takes him back Loudwater, things get a little eyebrow-raising.

Chapter 7: Berg of the Frost Giants

It says to review the info on Frost Giants on MM page 151 to play them better. Let's see:
  • They respect only brute strength and skill in battle.
  • Items made from dragon parts are especially prized.
  • They are impressed by physical might and trophies of slain enemies. 
  • They hunt wild game but don't cook it.
  • They raid towns for booze and metals.
Frost Giant Stats: MM page 155.

We're Here for the Conch: The heroes need the conch. It is on the throne in 1G, page 159. The idea here is that the group gets the conch, but then the Jarl returns from his hunting trip with TWENTY FROST GIANTS. The conch requires attunement, which means the group can't use the conch right away and now they have problems!

What is the Ring of Winter?

The Ring of Winter isn't found in this adventure. What the heck is it? I looked it up here. It is incredibly powerful Here are some of its powers:
  • You don't age when you wear it. 
  • It boosts the power of all other magic items. 
  • It can change the climate. 
  • It has defenses and attacks, it can create weapons of ice, this thing does everything!
Apparently the story of Artus Cimber and the ring is told in the 1992 Forgotten Realms novel The Ring of Winter. It seems to get good reviews on amazon. It has talking dinosaurs, so that's a feather in the cap right there.

Here's a mysterious quote for you on Storm King page 156: "Artus Cimber and the Ring of Winter have roles to play in another adventure."

Stuff to Know:
  • The giants lurk at Svardborg, a glacier/island with giant cabins on it.
  • When the group arrives, the Jarl and many giants are out hunting. They will show up soon.
  • The giants stole some white dragon eggs, chained one adult white dragon up on their ship and the other adult dragon is in a lodge, afraid that the giants will kill her babies.
  • Extreme Cold: DMG page 110. At the end of each hour, DC 10 Con save or gain one level of exhaustion (PH page 291).
  • Opening Doors: The doors are 25 feet tall! The knob is 11 feet up. It takes an action and a DC 13 Athletics check to open.
Alarm: If the horn in 2d is blown, that's an alarm. Bilraun runs to 1G. The frost giants at 9 go to 2A. The monsters at area 7 split up. 1 giant and 9 tribal warriors go to area 1. 9 tribal warriors and 3 yetis go to area 3.

1A. Feast Hall: 8 ice mephits (MM page 215)

1E. Steward's Office: Mage (MM page 347). Wand of fireballs (DMG page 210). Don't forget, this dude has a scroll of sending. He can call on his friends to come get him. 3 manticores (MM page 213) and 2 scouts (MM page 349)

1G. Throne Room: This is the big room at Svardborg:
  • The conch is on the throne.
  • There are 2 frost giants and 2 winter wolves (MM page 340) in here.
  • They are guarding the seven white dragon eggs! The eggs are each 4 feet tall, 300 pounds, AC 14 HP 20. Be careful with those eggs. If you think killing unborn baby dragons might bother your group, don't do it! Just have them pop out of the shell alive or something.
  • The clockwork mule (page 162) seems like fun. Mule MM page 333.
There's a good chance that the group grabs the conch and then Storvald arrives. Check out page 165, last paragraph of "The Krigvind" section. His 20 giants split up. Storvald and 5 frost giants come here.

2A. Gathering Hall: 3 drunk frost giants! They have the poisoned condition PH page 291. One of them will stagger up above and try to blow the warning horn (area 2C, page 162), which will put the place on alert.

4A. Statue of Thrym: The curse: Vulnerability to cold! Very cool. Right? Cool? I'll move on.

4B. Hall of Heroes: Slippery Ice (DMG page 110). Difficult terrain, when you move make a DC 10 Acrobatics or fall prone.

4E. Bell Tower: So, the poor dragon is up in the bell. Adult white dragon MM page 101. It's a little confusing to me. I think she starts off about 80 feet in the air, huddled in the interior of the bell. Then she drops down to the rafters, which is 30 feet off the ground.

She wants her eggs and her mate back! Her mate, Cryovain, is chained up on the Jarl's ship. She is willing to parlay with the group. Also, remember that white dragons are not smart (INT 8).

4G. Submerged Passage: Frigid water DMG page 110. You can be in it for a number of minutes equal to your Con score. Once that time is up, you have to make a DC 10 Con save or gain a level of exhaustion.

5. Yeti Cave: 8 yetis! MM page 306.

7. Entombed Greatship: This ship is half-encased in a wall of ice. The deck is icy - Moving or taking damage causes a DC 10 Dex save or you fall into the frigid water (DMG page 110), 1 frost giant (MM page 156), 18 tribal warriors (MM page 350), 3 yetis (MM page 306).

Freeing Cryovain: Poor Cryovain is chained up on the ship. There will probably be 4 frost giants manning ballistas and one guarding the dragon. It seems like sneaking on board is the best bet.
  • If the group got the command word from Nilraun or Storvald, they can free this fellow with a bonus action.
  • A knock spell unlocks one of the four collars.
  • Breaking a chain requires a DC 27 Athletics check! Not likely!
  • Each chain has AC 20 HP 20 Damage Threshold 20 (DMG page 247) and immunity to a pile of stuff.
  • Riding Dragons: The coolest option here is to befriend the dragons. The group will need to get those 7 eggs and then free Cryovain. Then, the dragon in 4E will help. The dragons would probably fly the heroes home after that, right?
Storvald has Leverage: Get a load of this. Cryovain will obey Storvald. Storvald has his babies! Cryovain will gladly turn against Storvald if the group has liberated the eggs.

The ship has a pennant of the vind rune page 235. This is a bit weird. It's a flag on the ship, but it has no effect on the ship - it must be on a person. You might want to say that Storvald is wearing it. It allows you to levitate and fly/jump/ride the wind for just a moment - about 20 feet.

If the group is getting away on their airship, Storvald could fly up and grab the airship, pulling it into the sea. Then the group could battle Storvald on the wreckage of their ship. Storvald can cast water walk, so he'd be standing on water. That would be a cool fight, right? I really don't like the idea of destroying the airship, though.

Airship: The group needs to get away without that balloon popping! The giants can throw rocks up to 240 feet. One hit does 28 damage! The ballistas on the ship do 44 damage!

Griffons/Hippogriffs: This is probably the safest mose of travel to escape. The group can grab the conch, hear Storvald arrive, run to heir mounts and take flight. They might take some range attacks. Griffons have 59 hit points so they can take a shot or two. Hippogriffs only have 19 hit points!

Boat: If the giants don't find the little boat that the group rowed in on, the heroes might be able to row to the ship behind the glacier and escape.

Chapter 8: Forge of the Fire Giants

Why We're Here: We're here looking for the conch. It is in a locked chest in Zalto's bedroom, area 26A, page 182.

Stuff to Know:
  • Appraising: Tons of the treasure in this area includes art objects. Appraising items is an Intelligence check (see PH page 178 under "Other Intelligence Checks")
  • Drow Show Up: Whenever you want, have the drow show up with the iron flask ("Special Delivery" page 186).
  • Maegera Chaos: Depending on how things go, Lord Zalto might have time to put Maegera in the forge. Maegera will break out soon after, probably within an hour or two and go on a rampage.
  • Liam Neeson: A major option in this chapter is to take Zalto's wife, son or daughter hostage. 
  • A Cornucopia of Slavery: There's a lot of slaves here, and they want to be freed. It would very hard to free them, because the giants notice so quickly. I guess if Maegera is berserk, the you could do it. Or they could be freed as part of a hostage negotiation.
The Plan of Lord Zalto:
  • The fire giants are scouring the land, looking for all of the pieces of the vonindod.
  • The vonindod is a colossus.
  • The drow stole a primordial named Maegara and put it in an iron flask (DMG page 178). 
  • Maegera will be used to power the fire giants' adamantine forge, which will allow them to assemble the Vonindod.
Vonindod Stats: On twitter, Chris Perkins offered some unofficial stats for the Vonindod: AC 30; hp 5,000; 2 fists (+20 to hit, 20d10 damage); 300-ft. death ray (DC 30 save or die); Spd 50 ft., fly 100 ft.

We are told to review the fire giants in the MM page 150:
  • Militaristic brutes.
  • Masters of metalwork.
  • Very warlike, they all have martial training.
  • Fighting skill comes from endless training.
  • Conquered humanoids become slaves in a mine or serfs who must offer tribute. 
Yakfolk: You might want to call these creatures "yikaria." Back in my Al Qadim campaign, nobody could take the "yak men" seriously.

The setup goes like this. There's a yakfolk village on a mountain. Inside the mountain are the mines where the fire giants are. The group is going to have to pass through the village to enter the mines. There's a chimera that will attack the heroes if they fly to the village.

When the characters approach the village and are spotted, a gong will be rung in area 8. That puts the place on alert.

Alert: The yakfolk kill their slaves just in case when the gong is run. 5 yakfolk head for area 8 (they come from areas 3, 4A, 6 and 7).

Parlay: The group can make 'friends' with the yakfolk. Chief Kartha-Kaya will feed them and let them smoke his pipeweed. The can stay in his hut. They'll need to make a DC 15 Con save or fall unconscious.The characters are looted and enslaved.

Slaves: You might want to make up some name for slave NPCs. There's a good chance the group will interact with at least one of them. A lot of the yakfolk slaves are moon elves. They have white/blue skin, silver hair and green or blue eyes with flecks of gold. One of them is a princess named Halani Meliamne (area 8, page 173).
  • The yakfolk slaves are naked.
  • In the mines, there are also lightfoot halflings, humans, shield dwarves, rock gnomes, and orcs.
  • The yakfolk slaves are kept in cages. Pick the locks: DC 15
1. Twelve Thousand Steps: This staircase is 15 feet wide, goes up in a straight line and has no railing. It goes up 500 feet. Mounts don't like going up those stairs, so the heroes will need to make a DC 15 animal handling check.
  • The Chimera: Don't forget, 350 feet up, there's a cave. 50% chance that the chimera (MM page 39) is home.
3. Mill: Yakfolk warriors (page 244 ), commoners (MM page 345). The water wheel could lead to some serious zaniness:
  • Climb Through: DC 15 athletics or acrobatics Fail: DC 10 Dexterity save or fall down the mountain and take 70 damage!
  • Jamming Something in the Wheel: You can stick something in there or make a DC 20 Strength check to stop it with your muscles. Each turn, there's a 25% chance of it breaking. When it breaks, anyone on it falls with the wheel down the mountain (no save) and takes 70 damage.
  • Zalto hears this and orders a fire giant (MM page 154) to go check it out. The giant shows up in 20 minutes.
  • Breaking the water wheel causes the elevator (area 9, page 175) to stop functioning 
8. Hall of the Yakfolk Chief: The chief has 2 wives (Imberu and Nahala) and a flame tongue sword (DMG page 170). Other stuff to know:
  • 3 Slaves: Halani (a princess), Jevin and Vandar
  • 4 Chests: In a pile of empty baskets, there are 4 locked chests. Pick the locks: DC 15
  • Freeing Halani: One of the three slaves is a princess. If the group brings her to the Moonwood, which is about 100 miles to the west, each hero gains a charm of the slayer (DMG page 228) - this thing gives the effects of a giant slayer (DMG page 172) or dragon slayer (DMG page 166)
9. Elevator Shaft: It automatically stops at each of the 15 floors (12 mines, upper level of Ironslag, lower level of Ironslag). It takes about 15 minutes to go all the way down.
  • Lever: This can stop the elevator. It's ten feet above the floor and requires a DC 17 Athletics check to pull.

  • Doors: 20 feet tall iron plates, handles 9 feet up. Giants can open it as normal, PCs will need to use an action and make a DC 13 Athletics check.
  • Gantries: Walkways, give three quarters cover (+5 to AC and Dex saves).
  • Portcullis: No mechanism, you just lift it. DC 22 Athletics. The bars are close together, no squeezing through.
  • Stairs: Each step is 3 feet tall and 3 feet deep.
  • Reinforcements: Roll on page 170, once during the day and onc at night.
15. Mustering Hall: Ogres (MM page 237)

17. Ore Depositories: Salamander (MM page 266). The 4 dwarves will want to take the group to area 20 (page 180) and 23 (page 181) to free slaves. After 15 minutes, this will be noticed by the ogres in area 18 (bottom right of page 177).

18. Foundry: Extreme heat (DMG page 110), Zaltember (half-ogre, MM page 238) is dangling a dwarf slave over a smelter and ordering the dwarf to beg for its life. If wounded, he tries to run to his mommy in area 31 (page 134).
  • Hostage Situation: The group can take this guy hostage and get the conch in return. Zalto will not hand over Maegera, though.
20. Slave Wheel: The classic! I don't know why, but I get a kick out of these things. The slaves have 4 levels of exhaustion. Once this wheel stops, the whole place comes to investigate. Zalto will be here in one minute.

22. Hell Hound Pen: Hell hounds (MM page 182).

23. Slave Pens: Hobgoblins (MM page 186).

25. Feasting Hall: 30 goblins (MM page 166).

26A. North Bedchamber: It's 6 feet tall, DC 21 pick locks. Open it without using the combination causes gas to come out: 20 foot radius DC 15 Dex save or 45 fire damage, half on save.
The conch is in here!

26B. South Bedchamber: This is pretty fun. Cinderhild is the daughter of Zalto and she is spoiled. She wants to explore the world but her parents won't let her. She will help the group if they help her get out.

27. War Room: An inactive iron golem (MM page 183). An identify spell will give the group the command word to activate it. It obeys fire giants over anyone else, it shuts down after one hour. Ingot of the skold rune page 234.

28. Assembly Hall: The adamantine doors can only be opened by fire giants, though an illusion will trick the doors.
  • Zalto is in here playing with his hellhounds.
  • Ring of lightning resistance DMG page 192.
  • There's actually a prisoner trapped in the head of Zalto's maul. That's a really cool idea. The prisoner is Jasper, a member of the Zhentarim.
31. Kitchen: Brimskarda wears a dress made of black dragon scales. She's got a potion of invulnerability (DMG page 188). Smoke mephits are on MM page 217.

Special Delivery: Drow mage (MM page 129). Drow elite warriors (MM page 128). Shadow Demon (MM page 64). Iron flask (DMG page 178).

Zalto's Iron Flask: Wow. If Maegera (page 241) is let out, the primordial obeys whoever freed it for one hour.
  • The Furnace: If Zalto is able to stick Maegera in the furnace, it doesn't work out too well. After each hour, the primordial makes a DC 15 Strength check (he has a +5). When he gets out, he goes berserk.
Chapter 9: Castle of the Cloud Giants

Why We're Here: The group is here to get the conch. It's in a leomund's secret chest, the replica of which is located in area 33, page 200. There's a big wrinkle here. Only Sansuri can summon it and access the chest! You can destroy the little replica to access the stuff in the chest, but the group might not figure that out without some nudging.

The Countess is looking for an ancient trove of dragon magic. She is torturing a bronze dragon named Felgolos to get information.

Stuff to Do:
  • Pick out 12 trinkets and some spell components for area 2, page 191.
  • Roll of pick 10 art objects worth 750 gold (DMG page 135) for area 19 page 196.
Keeping the Castle: If the group slaughters everyone, they can keep the castle. Klauth the red dragon might come to try to take it from them, but that's up to you. It's a pretty cool place. It is giant-sized, which is pretty inconvenient.

It says to review Cloud Giants in the MM page 150:
  • They can turn into mist can create fog.
  • They have magical solid clouds.
  • They cast spells and can create storms, wind and weather.
  • They look down on other giants and use them.
  • Their god is Memnor the Trickster.
  • They do a lot of gambling.
Countess Sansuri: She's the villain:
  • Sansuri wears masks that reflect her mood. Current mood: Sad.
  • If she loses half her hit points, she casts fly flees.
  • She has a bunch of Aaracokra simulacra.
Her Family:

Thullen: Her brother (page 198). Gentle, soft-spoken. Can cast a lot of spells!
Kaaltar: 6 and a half feet tall, mental equivalent of a four year old.
Alastrah: 6 and a half feet tall, mental equivalent of a four year old.

Felgolos, "The Flying Misfortune": He's fully detailed here. Here's his deal:
  • He's a bronze dragon with really good and bad luck.
  • He's clumsy and socially awkward.
  • He can magically take the form of a halfling or human.
  • He hates the Zhentarim. He loves to attack them and steal their wagons (he collects them).
  • He never lies.
  • He knows a lot about cities and people (he spies on them from afar).
  • He plays pranks on people.
  • He's very positive and optimistic.
  • Some think he is secretly protected by Tymora, goddess of luck, because he always gets out of tight spots.
  • He is an accomplished spellcaster.
He has some new spells:
  • (lvl 5) Snatchport: This teleports an item from one spot to another.
  • (lvl 6) Frame Teleport: You can link two wooden frames (mirrors, windows, etc) and pass through them. This portal lasts a few rounds. He uses it to stick his head through and eavesdrop.
Captured: Here's what happens if the group is taken prisoner.
  1. Their stuff is put in area 2 (page 191).
  2. They are put in cages in area 8 (page 192), the room with the dragon.
Aarakocra Simulacra: Sansuri has these weird clones of bird men:
  • Simulacrum: PH page 276.
  • Aaracokra: MM page 12.
Lyn Armaal: Apparently this castle is what the Acquisitions Inc. castle is based on.
  • Doors: 27 feet high, 6 inch thick wood. Door handles are 12 feet up. DC 14 Athletics check to open.
1. Audience Chamber: The hole is a straight drop to the ground far below. Glyph of Warding PH page 245.

2. Workshop and Meeting Room: If the group is captured, this is where their equipment is stored.

5. Barracks: 5 cloud giants (MM page 154).

6. Aft Battery: Ballista: +6 to hit, 16 (3d10) damage. It takes an action to load, an action to aim, and an action to fire.

7. Griffon Aviary: Griffons (MM page 174).

8. Dungeon: Bronze dragon (MM page 108) knock spell removes one of the four restraints, pick locks DC 20.
  • Torture: She stabs him with a mithral-tipped spear
  • Escape: If the group frees Felgolos, he'll stick with the party for the rest of this chapter.
10. Gatehouse: Air elementals MM page 124.

11. Main Gate: Alarm PH page 211. Don't forget, there are murder holes. See area 24, page 197. A giant can dump acid down on the group! DC 15 DEX save, Fail: 44 acid damage. Succeed: Half damage.

13. Kitchen: Ogre MM page 237.

14. Castellan's Quarters: Bracers of defense DMG page 156. Figurine of wondrous power DMG page 170.

19. Gallery: Instrument of the bards (DMG page 176). Banner of the Krig Rune page 233.

26. Port Lawn: Water Elemental page 125.

27. Starboard Lawn: Animated armor (MM page 19). Helmed horror (MM page 183).

28. Greenhouse: Awakened shrubs (MM page 317). Thullen is here. He's not a bad guy. He will actually help the group get the conch if they aren't on a rampage.

30. Navigation Dome: Navigation orb page 235.

32. Study: Invisible stalker MM page 192. 6 Potions. Really? All right, here we go:
  • Clairvoyance: DMG page 187.
  • Diminution: DMG page 187.
  • Fire Resistance: DMG page 188.
  • Lightning Resistance: DMG page 188.
  • Storm Giant Strength: DMG page 187 (29 Strength for one hour).
  • Supreme healing! DMG page 188 (10d4+20).
33. Master Bedroom: Leomund's Secret Chest PH page 254.

Chapter 10: Hold of the Storm Giants

Finally! The group uses the conch to go to Maelstrom. There, they need to meet with Serissa and gain her trust. She has a clue to her father's disappearance: A wooden coin linked to the Kraken Society.

Using the Conch: When the conch is used, the group appears in area 2 on page 204. Remember, the conch can only be used once per day and it always takes you to room 2 in this building.

Remember, Mirran and Nym don't know that Iymrith is a blue dragon that is manipulating them.

Serissa has two advisors:
  • Uthor: Her uncle. His job is to protect Serissa.
  • Iymrith: The secret bad guy. The heroes need to expose her.
Foreshadow some Giant NPCs: If you can, try to have the group interact with some of the giants listed on page 256. At the very end of the adventure, these giants go with the group to kill Iymrith. One of them, Orlekto, is a traitor that is in love with Mirran. If you can foreshadow this in some subtle way here, you should. Maybe have him be one of the guards in area 14 and go out of your way to describe him as being excessively protective of her.


Maelstrom is a cool place. It is 3,000 feet below the sea. There's a whirlpool that drags ships down there. Giant crabs pick through the wrecks and bring the treasure to the giants.

Start at the Bottom: Level 1 is at the bottom. Level 3 is higher, where the shipwrecks are. Getting around will involve swimming in the main shaft into side tunnels that lead to pools in chambers.

Underwater: Some of this dungeon is underwater. While in those areas, the heroes will take 7 damage every 10 rounds due to the pressure. Underwater Combat PH page 198. There are all sorts of little details here:
  • Anemone Chests: DC 10 Dex or 11 poison. Trick it with a DC 15 Nature check.
  • Crystal Windows: You never know when a character will want to break a window! It isn't easy - damage threshold 20 (DMG page 247) 60 hit points. A high-level shatter spell might do it. Water will pour in and fill the place up quickly.
  • Doors: 30 feet tall, made of stone with barnacles, doorknob is 13 feet up. DC 15 Athletics to open.
  • Giant Clams: This is very amusing. There's treasure in these clams! DC 16 Athletics. Pearl of power (DMG page 184). Crystal ball (DMG page 159).
  • Portcullis: These are heavy! DC 26 Strength check. Luckily, medium creatures can squeeze through with a DC 10 acrobatics.
2. Portal Chamber: The group appears in an area connected to some guest rooms. They can hear singing coming from a spiral staircase that goes up. It leads to area 14 (page 207). If they go up there, they will be neck-deep in giants.

5. Crab Pen: Hulking crabs page 240. Huge crabs with ship wreckage stuck to their shells.

6. Nym's Whale: It's a killer whale! MM page 331.

7. Coral Garden: Roper MM page 261.

10. Sleeping Guard: Storm giant MM page 156. Ssh, she's asleep.

14. Great Hall: OK, this room is a big deal. First, there's a hulking crab (page 240) that is also a musical instrument. The two storm giants sisters are entertaining other giant guests:
  • Mirran: (Storm Giant MM page 156) She's singing.
  • Nym: (Storm Giant MM page 156) She's playing the crab.
  • Two Storm Giant Guards: (Storm Giant MM page 156).
  • Vaal: (Cloud Giant MM page 154).
  • Tartha: (Fire Giant MM page 154).
  • Hellenhild: (Frost Giant MM page 155).
  • Braxow: (Stone Giant MM page 156).
When the Group Comes up the Stairs: They stop singing. They give the group a chance to explain why they're here. The sisters will tell them that Serissa rules, and that all of these people are waiting to speak with her. She is "far too overwhelmed with important matters" to talk to a motley group of small folk. Here's what happens from here:
  1. The group will be escorted to guest quarters (area 3, page 204).
  2. Mirran comes back with her two guards and tells the group that their request to talk with Serissa has been granted.
  3. She leads them to area 2. Ambush! All four of those giant ambassadors attack!
  4. The guards cover Mirran while she flees to area 15 (page 209).
  5. The group can try to bargain with the giant lords with a DC 20 Persuasion. Vaal can be bribed with magic/treasure, Tartha will flip out if she hears about the dragon, Hellenhild will be impressed if someone wounds her, and Braxow is in awe of the Oracle.
  • Decanter of Endless Water: DMG page 161.
  • Conch of Teleportation: page 234.
  • Potion of Water Breathing: DMG page 188.
15. Throne Room: The hill giants (MM page 155) are easily tricked with a Deception vs. each of the giants insight rolls: They each have a -1.
  • Korolnor Scepter (page 234) is on Serissa's kelp necklace.
  • Wyrmskull Throne: Page 237.
Serissa is flanked by her two advisors:
  • Uthor: He doesn't like small folk. Trident of fish command DMG page 209.
  • Iymrith: She warns Serissa that the group can't be trusted. She says: "For all we know, they are the ones who murdered your mother and abducted your father!" A DC 15 Insight will clue in the group that Iymrith knows more than she is telling.
If the group calls out Iymrith, she stays in her giant form, snatches the Korolnor Scepter and on her next turn she teleports away. Serissa is paralyzed.

  • She is patient and listens to what the heroes have to say.
  • She thinks her father, King Hekaton, is still alive.
  • She thinks small folk are generous and kind.
  • She is mourning the death of her mother, Queen Neri.
  • She thinks whoever killed her mother might have captured her father.
  • She found a wooden coin where Neri was killed - painted with a golden goose.
  • She will ask the group to find out where the coin came from.
If the group agrees, she brings them to area 18 (page 211) and uses the teleport power of the cave to teleport the group back up to land.

16. Royal Treasury: Remember, each square is ten feet! So, it goes like this:
  • Detect: DC 17 Perception
  • Disable With a Spike: DC 15 Dex check.
  • 250 Pounds on the Pressure Plate: DC 15 Dex save. Fail: 44 damage. Success means you dodged. Remember, anchors fall on all of those trapped squares.
  • This trap resets after one minute.
  • Apparatus of Kwalish DMG page 151.
  • 6 potions of giant size (page 236) You're huge for 24 hours. All sorts of cool benefits!
18. Meditation Cave: Attuning to the cave takes an hour. Spells:
  • Clairvoyance: PH page 222.
  • Identify: PH page 252.
  • Sending: PH page 274.
  • Teleport: PH page 281.
19. Shark Pens: 10 hunter sharks MM page 330.

21. Temple of Stronmaus: Giant sharks MM page 328.

25. Library: Rocks with writing on them. Some of them have spells:
  • Antimagic Field: PH page 213.
  • Conjure Elemental: PH page 225.
  • Fabricate: PH page 239.
  • Legend Lore: PH page 254.
  • Stone Shape: PH page 278.
31. Nym's Tower: 5 steam mephits MM page 217.

Chapter 11: Caught in the Tentacles

OK.. I'm sure most people don't care about this, but my head almost exploded. There is a spelljammer ship in Storm King's Thunder. The Morkoth is a squidship! Look:

The deck plans don't match exactly and the Morkoth does not have a spelljamming helm (that's the magic throne that a spellcaster sits in to fly a spelljammer ship). But they look pretty much the same to me.

Why We're Here: The group needs to find out where this gambling chip came from. They'll need to wander and ask around, or maybe they have a spell that can help them. This chip leads them to the city of Yartar. The chip came from a gambling hall on a riverboat called The Grand Dame.

Foreshadowing: This chip is integral to the story. I think that if I were to run this, I'd make sure the group saw a chip like it or actually had a little encounter of some kind on The Grand Dame during the shenanigans of chapter 3. That way, as soon as they see this chip, a light bulb goes off in their head. Everything's connected - everything the players did mattered, even if it seemed random at the time. During that visit, I'd probably have it where Lord Drylund isn't on board to avoid the tiny chance that the group learns what he knows way too early.

If you choose to run it by the book, we're looking at an Investigation montage like when Batman goes to every seedy joint in Gotham City demanding to know where the Joker is. It's a downtime thing:
  • Each attempt takes d4+1 days.
  • One character makes an investigation check. Can each player make one? I guess, if they each pay the cost.
  • Fail: Dead end.
  • The DC and cost depend on where the group is asking around (see the chart on page 216). For a DC 15, that's 10 gold per day in a city.
Stuff to Know About the Grand Dame:
  • During the day, the boat is moored at the docks getting supplies delivered.
  • Slarkrethel, the kraken, can kill Lord Drylund instantly from afar using psychic powers (see "development" page 219).
  • 1 bandit captain (MM page 344), 8 bandits (MM page 343) 32 commoners (MM page 345).
  • Characters who approach the ship with armor and weapons are turned away. 6 guards (MM page 347) show up in d4+2 rounds if there's trouble.
  • Lord Drylund is usually in area 13 page 219.
The adventure seems to want the group to get on board posing as employees or wealthy guests. This requires a deception check vs. Captain Storn's insight (he has a +0).

Pow Ming will be watching! She's a mage (MM page 347). She's the one that you cash chips out to. She has stuff:
  • Bag of Holding: DMG page 153
  • Robe of Serpents: Page 236
13. Lord Drylund's Cabin: There's an aquarium with an octopus in it and a little treasure chest. In the chest is a key. This key opens another chest which is beneath the aquarium built into the table.
  • Poison Needle Trap: (DMG page 123) If you fail to pick the lock: 1 point of damage, 11 poison damage and a DC 15 CON save. Fail: Poisoned 1 hour.
  • Octopus: MM page 333.
Finding the Morkoth

The group might have the airship, although there's a good chance that balloon will be popped by now, which is a bit of a bummer. You have a few options for determining how long it takes to find the ship. I'd go with d4+2 days. Weather (DMG page 109).

If the group needs a ship, there's a ton of options on pages 220-221:
  • Harpers: (Waterdeep) The Kelpie's Kiss.
  • Order of the Gauntlet: (Neverwinter) Coin Toss Fearless scoundrels.
  • Emerald Enclave: (North of Waterdeep) Koalinth Crew of bugbears who owe the enclave a favor.
  • Lords' Alliance: (Neverwinter) Ravenous Pirates who are doing this for a pardon.
  • Zhentarim: (Waterdeep) Lost Cause Bunch of thugs!
It goes like this:
  1. The group finds the ship.
  2. The group frees Hekaton.
  3. Hekaton goes nuts, attacking everyone.
  4. The group eventually, hopefully, convinces him that they came here to save him.
  5. Once the bad guys are defeated, the group can use the conch to go back to Maelstrom and set things right.
  6. If the group rests or spends an hour on the ship, Slarkrethel shows up and attacks!
Morkoth NPCs:
  • Captain Tholtaz Daggerdark: Archmage (MM page 342).
  • First Mate Rool: Half-orc assassin (MM page 343) He will betray and kill Captain Daggerdark if possible!
  • 20 cultists (MM page 345).
  • In the water are four merrow escorts (MM page 219).
3. Hekaton in Chains: The magic chains keep the giant 'frozen in time.' The four chains each have AC 20 HP 10 Immune to non-magic weapons.

Storm Giant: MM page 156

Giant on a Boat: I don't quite get how Hekaton can stand up on this ship. He's 28 feet tall! Wouldn't the ship capsize? Or wouldn't his weight be too much for the hull to bear?

When he is Freed:
  • All he knows is that "small folk" did this to him. He starts attacking all small folk indiscriminately.
  • Talking him Down: DC 18 Persuasion check. Mentioning Serissa gives advantage on the roll.
6. First Mate's Cabin:
  • Detect: DC 20 Perception check
  • Disable: DC 15 Dexterity check
  • Fail by 5 or More: 10 foot radius sphere of green gas. DC 13 Con save or petrified for one hour! Petrified PH page 291.
Slarkrethel the Kraken

So don't forget, if the group hangs out on the ship for an hour or more before using the conch, Slarkrethel shows up! Kraken (MM page 197). Slarkrethel is looking to humble them, not have a big battle.

Apparently, Slarkrethel has been in other, older products. Slark apparently has aboleths and mind flayers that take orders from him.

Sinking the Ship: Slark will sink the ship in two rounds. It can use legendary actions:
  • Fling: Chuck a hero 60 feet! No roll to hit or anything.
  • Lightning Storm: 3 lightning bolts DC 22 DEX Fail: 22 damage Save: half damage
  • Ink Cloud: Creatures in the water.. 60 foot radius DC 23 Con save Fail: 16 poison Success: Half damage.
Slark has Foresight already cast (PH page 244). Advantage on attack rolls, saves and checks for 8 hours! Creatures attacking Slark have disadvantage! Wow. The fight goes like this:
  • Slarkrethel wraps tentacles around the ship.
  • Roll initiative.
  • Slark does double damage to objects.
  • Slark can create a Lightning Storm as an action! 3 bolts of lightning. DC 23 Dex Fail: 22 damage, Success: half damage.
  • Spells: DC 22 +14 spell attack bonus.
  • Slark used its only 9th level slot to cast foresight.
Slark has a laundry list of spells. Here's a few of the nastiest ones:
  • Feeblemind: (PH page 239) target takes 4d6 psychic damage makes a DC 22 INT save. Fail: Intelligence and Charisma scores are reduced to 1! Target can't cast spells, use items, or talk. In 30 days they get to save again. Cured by greater restoration/heal/wish.
  • Delayed Blast Fireball: (PH pages 230-231) 20 foot radius DEX save DC 22 12d6 damage!
  • Sequester: (PH page 274) Target becomes invisible and is put in suspended animation. This lasts until dispelled.
  • Flesh to Stone: PH page 243. CON save DC 22. Fail: Restrained. At the end of each subsequent turn, the target must save again! 3 fails means it is petrified. 3 successes means it is fine.
Hekaton: He's got some spells and powers that will come in handy:
  • Waterbreathing: PH page 287. Effects up to 10 creatures for one hour.
  • Levitate: PH page 255. Target within 60 feet rises up in the air 20 feet. This is a concentration spell, lasts up to ten minutes.
  • He can drop lightning bolts on Slark that do 54 damage. Slark has legendary resistance, so Slark will probably be taking half damage.
Chapter 12: Doom of the Desert

Map: I think if you can, you should make a big poster map of the amphitheatre. There are sinkholes that the group might fall in, and it's going to be hard to determine where they are without a map. As far as I know, the creator of this map is not selling it online. Hopefully they will, so you can buy it and then print it out.

If you have the Dire Tombs dungeon tiles, this is the time for them to shine! You'll probably need two sets for the dungeon.

After the Morkoth: Hekaton takes the group to Maelstrom and takes his seat on the Wyrmskull Throne. He wants to go with the group to Iymrith's lair to kill her. Hopefully the group wants to come along. If so:
  • Each character is given a potion of giant size page 236.
  • The group receives a claw of the wyrm rune page 233.
Fact Finding: While the group rests and prepares for the final battle, the giants spend some time finding out where Iymrith's lair is and what her deal is. The giants tell the group:
  • Iymrith creates living statues to guard her lair.
  • Her lair is a ruined city in the desert near Ascore.
  • She can cast spells.
  • She is immune to lightning damage.
The NPCs: The group has a bunch of giant companions. Most of them are detailed on page 256:
  • King Hekaton: His stat adjustments are on page 222.
  • Nimir: Protector of the small, follows orders.
  • Orlekto: In love with the villainous Mirran! Will want revenge. Yikes. He will try to kill King Hekaton if the opportunity presents itself.
  • Shaldoor: She is thrilled to be killing a dragon.
  • Vaasha: Very blunt, very pragmatic.
Return of Harshnag: The book also suggests having Harshnag team up (see page 226) with the group. How did he get here? It's left up to you. It suggests that he survived the collapse by running into the oracle chamber. Eventually, a wizard saved him (Elminster is one of the suggested wizards!).

For me, I think I would use the bronze dragon Felgorol is the savior of Harshnag. He has those teleport powers that work perfectly for this. I might even have Felgorol join this final battle too, and maybe remove a couple giants to keep the encounter balanced.

Approaching the Lair: Once the group gets within 1,000 feet.. it begins.
  • Remember, it's long range for the trebuchets. That's disadvantage for them to hit.
  • There are 2 trebuchets (DMG page 256), 4 gargoyles operate each:  AC 15 HP 150 rg 300/1200 +5 to hit, 44 (8d10) damage.
  • It takes a total of five actions to use a trebuchet. 2 actions to load, 2 to aim, and on to fire. You might want to just put 5 gargoyles on each so the trebuchets can fire every round. I can't think of a reason why they wouldn't do that.
  • Once the giants are within 500 feet, they can throw lightning bolts. DC 17 dex save, 54 damage, half on save.
  • There are 22 other gargoyles (MM page 140) on plinths that will swoop down and attack.
Sinkhole: Dex save DC 15. Fail: Fall to the bottom.There are three of them:
  • 1A drops you to 4 and 5 (page 229-230).
  • 1B drops you to area 5 (page 230) where you are immediately attacked by d4 purple wormlings. You're in a pit with 30 of them! Yargh.
  • 1C drops you into a cave between 2 and 3.
3. Serpents of the Sands: Wow. Iymrith will be hiding in one of these sand piles! A character with a passive perception of 17 will spot her. Otherwise, she's going to get surprise and mess your party up!

But wait, there's more. There are yuan-ti in here praying real close to a pit that is 800 feet deep. 3 Yuan-ti purebloods (MM page 3310). 6 yuan-ti malisons (MM page 309).

Peeping on Snakefolk: If the group and the giants silently observe:
  1. A pureblood jumps in the pit and dies. Evil whispers in Abyssal come from the pit issuing a prophecy (The prophecys says Iymrith is doomed).
  2. Once it's done, Iymrith demands to know what the prophecy said.
  3. The yuan-ti lies and says she must face her enemy in battle.
  4. Iymrith decides to go kill Hekaton and heads out.
  5. The yuan-ti take this opportunity to flee.
Guns Blazing: What probably happens here is that your group and the giants barge in and start chopping up some yuan-ti. Once the group engages, then Iymrith can blindside them!

She's an ancient blue dragon (MM page 90). She has some stat adjustments (page 241). She can and will use her lair actions here. So here's how I would do this:

Surprise the Yuan-Ti: I'd give the group surprise on the yuan-ti if they're not being too loud. Whoever wants to can move and take an action. It might be fun for the group to try to knock some of them into the pit.
  • Suggestion: The yuan-ti have Suggestion (PH page 279). I don't think they can use it to get the group to walk into the pit. They could just tell a victim to clean a statue or something. To end this effect, the group will have to either end the yuan-ti's concetration, or damage the person under the suggestion.
Once the group has engaged the yuan-ti:
  1. Iymrith surprises the group. She could use her frightful presence: DC 20 Wis or frightened.  (PH page 290). Frightened means disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks, can't move closer. Remember, the dragon can choose which creatures are affected so she can exclude the yuan-ti from this power.You might want to position her so she is in front of the east tunnel. That way she can pull back and lure the group into a collapse.
  2. Now we roll initiative!
  3. Initiative Count 20: Lair action (see MM page 89). I guess I'd use either the insect cloud or the darkness on spellcasting types to force them closer to the pit and the dragon. Let's assume I roll low for init...
  4. Character A takes their turn. Don't forget, Iymrith has counterspell once per day!
  5. Legendary Action: Tail Attack (the reach is 20 feet!).
  6. Character B goes.
  7. Legendary Action: Tail Attack (the reach is 20 feet!).
  8. Iymrith's Turn: Lightning breath! DC 23 Dex, 88 lightning! Egad. Remember, she knows that storm giants aren't harmed by lightning, so this attack is focused on the characters. The bolt is 10 feet wide and 120 feet long, so you should be able to get a bunch of people in it.
Options: She's got a lot of tools at her disposal:
  • Collapse: DC 15, 22 damage, porone and buried! Each round, the hero can make a DC 15 Athletics to crawl through the rubble at a very reduce speed (5 feet for most races). See "collapsible passages" on page 227.
  • Ice Storm: The ice storm (PH page 252) creates difficult terrain and can slow the group down if Iymrith decides to pull back into a tunnel.
  • Teleport: If she's getting low on hit points, she can teleport (PH page 281) to somewhere advantageous on the map (don't forget to roll on the teleport chart on PH page 281). 
  • Many Exits: She won't flee the place. There's so many entrances to the dungeon. She can really mess with the group by using them and possibly sneak up on them.
  • Burrow: Don't forget that she can burrow, too. She does not leave a tunnel behind her, it fills in as she goes. She could collapse a tunnel on herself and the group, take the damage, burrow to a side and wait for them to crawl out one by one. Yikes.
Ideally, at some point I'd have her cast ice storm and pull back to that eastern room with the hole that goes up to 1c. She'd lure the group in the tunnel to that room and collapse it on them.

Rolls Will Matter: It all depends on who rolls what for initiative, but that's the general idea. Don't forget your legendary resistance! You can auto-succeed on 3 saves when you roll bad.

4. Iymrith's Trove: 4 air elementals (MM page 124).

Sequestered Treasure Hoard: It seems kind of hard to figure out how the group would find the treasure. Once Iymrith is dealt with and the bad guys are defeated, that's when the group can do some thorough searching.

You could have an NPC wonder some things aloud to give clues. What might be really cool is if, in a previous chapter, you have an NPC talk about their desire to use sequester to hide their treasure. Maybe the wizard in the Harper tower. That way, the seed was planted long ago and an astute player might suddenly light up.

There's a huge pile of treasure in these sarcophagi. There's also a mummy lord (MM page 229) in one!

5. Purple Wormling Nursery: 30 purple wormlings (page 242). Yikes. Each one has 42 hit points. They can't leave the pit!

All fixed up! If there's something you think should be added to this, let me know.


Some guy said...

How did you get the first part?

Sean said...

Some guy: It got sent to game stores that are running the adventurers league. A store sent it to me!

Wu M1nG said...

Hi Sean thanks for the great summary, I'll be following this post closely! I was intending to run this adventure in my homebrew world but looking at the huge number of locations specific to the Realms I'm having second thoughts about doing that.. what would you recommend?

Sean said...

Wu M1nG: You really could run this in your homebrew world. Most of the encounters are not Realms-specific. You'll just need a lot of towns/locations and you'll probably need to cook up some kind of evil organization to replace the Zhentarim (they're everywhere in this adventure). You'll need some dragons. Also, the cult of the dragon is in this and they have an airship. So you will need bad guys associated with a dragon that have an airship. Thank you! Good luck with your campaign.

Fildrigar said...

So freaking stoked to run this one. It's right exactly up my alley. So many little bits of realmslore scattered throughout it.

Daniel W. Cisek said...

I'm amazed by the amount of research you are able to accomplish! I really appeciate your guides, I'm starting SKT next week and your blog has been a wonderful resource. You're the man! I tell every DM I know to check out Power Score. Well done man!

Sean said...

Fildrigar: From what I can tell this thing compiles a massive truckload of realmslore into one big adventure. I can't imagine how much work they put into it!

Daniel W. Cisek: Thanks! I appreciate it. These things are a pain to write, but it feels really good when it is done.

Daniel W. Cisek said...

I'm starting to think the megalith stuff is leading into a big adventure with Slarkrethel and The Ring of Winter. Possibly some other artifacts and Planar travel as well.

Sean said...

Daniel W. Cisek: On twitter, Chris Perkins said that the pillars are just there for DMs to do what they want with it, and that they were a Jeremy Crawford idea. But who knows, maybe their idea has evolved. I love the idea that they are all here for a reason and will connect to some major future adventure. What's a little weird is that they're different from each other. The pillars in Curse of Strahd by the Old Bonegrinder have some weird carvings on them and they give you little boons if I remember right. The ones in Hoard teleport you to far-off areas of the realms. I honestly can't think of a cool way to tie them all into some big plot.

Nino X. said...

Is there any place where to discuss this adventure like the Paizo forums are used for their APs? I have a couple (hundred) questions and suggestions of small modifications to make the adventure run smoother.

Reese Laundry said...

Awesome work as usual, Sean. Any timeline on the DMsGuild version so I can throw some cash your way?

"How to Run" looks good too - going to read through that tonight. Thank you!

Reese Laundry said...

@Nino X - The main hub for 5E discussion I've found is either Facebook (there is a SKT DMs group, in particular) or on the ENWorld forums.

Sean said...

Nino X: Have you tried ENWorld or Reddit?

Enworld forums:

The Reddit DM Area:

Reese Landry: I just posted the pdf on the DMs Guild! Thanks!

Brett said...

Amazing guide -- thanks! I'm preparing this adventure to start in the next week or so on Roll20, and this is a big help!

Sean said...

Brett: Awesome, thank you. Good luck with your game!

Daniel W. Cisek said...

They added some new previews on the Extra Life page, including a great map that has many new locations on it.

Sean said...

Daniel W. Cisek: Awesome, thank you for the alert. I'll put links to them right now.

Teddy Maz said...

The timeframe of these adventures is one that really bugs me. I know it really doesn't matter, but I wish there were a definitive answer as to when in the history of the Realms that each adventure takes place (Except Curse of Strahd, and the eventual others like it) written in the beginning of the book. Even a page that says "if you like Realmslore here's some quick tidbits about this adventure in the Realms). I think they need to settle on whether or not they're going to include appendices on running the adventures in other settings, connecting it back to other campaigns, etc. Because I very much enjoy having things connect to each other, especially with tables of familiar faces over the course of a few years, and I'm sure there are others that value the ability to port the adventure with minimal fuss into other settings.

It's my hope that in the future they'll decide that all those things are essential for adventures, or at least the FR ones because they're official

Sean said...

Teddy Maz: I agree, I would like an official timeline. One thing I would like is for them to go ahead and say exactly where Barovia was originally located. People can always change it to suit their campaign, but you could do cool stuff with that.

Luke said...

Hey Sean,
First of thanks so much for all the inspiration and direction you have provided for me. Its much appreciated.

I have question about Duvessa Shanes quest. How does it play out? I dont see info on it anywhere else in the book. The two ships have their names italics.
Is there somethings special about the use of italics in this book?

Thanks for any help.

Luke said...

Hey Sean,
First of thanks so much for all the inspiration and direction you have provided for me. Its much appreciated.

I have question about Duvessa Shanes quest. How does it play out? I dont see info on it anywhere else in the book. The two ships have their names italics.
Is there somethings special about the use of italics in this book?

Thanks for any help.

Sean said...

Luke: They put all of the ship names in italics. That information on page 43 is all there is. The scenarios in this book are very broad and they leave it up to you to fill in the details! Thanks!

Michael English said...

This is another great guide. You are on fire this year with your blog! Keep up the great work.

Sean said...

Michael English: Thank you! In the beginning of the blog, I was trying to figure out what to write about and how to write. Now I've kind of got things figured out and it's easier to roll through it.

Daniel W. Cisek said...

Hey Sean,

I picked up the Guide from DMsGuild, stellar work! It's been really useful for my SKT campaign and having it in .pdf form is great, I can read it wherever I need to and take time to do some prep work on the go.
As a side note on the Harpers, I dig the prequel adventure with the Harpers and the whole "losing a hand" deal. I've been reading Ring of Winter (which I know about because of your guide) and it is a great tale about Artus Cimber searching for the Ring of Winter. I'm a big fan of Frost Giants and winter campaigns, so this whole hook is right up my alley. In the book, Artus' main nemesis is Kaverin Ebonhand (Leader of the Cult of Frost), whose hands were cut off and replaced with stone hands! They were cut off due to his murdering a Harper. I really love how the Ring and this adventure tie into the past history and I can't wait to see what's planned for Artus and the Ring!
It also looks like the upcoming Volo's Guide will be fleshing out Slarkrethel and his Cult, which will be a good addition to the SKT book.

All in all, great job man! And thanks so much for the mention in the .pdf, that was a pleasant surprise.

Yours in Gaming,

-Daniel W. Cisek-

Sean said...

Daniel W. Cisek: Thank you, I didn't understand why people wanted these guides in pdf form but now I get it. That ring of winter stuff is awesome! I think I should read that. Thanks for the alerts!