Saturday, July 9, 2022

#JULYGANTIC Stealing Storm King's Thunder, Part Two

 Okay, so your PCs have a magic conch and can now visit the Storm Giant lair and access the next leg of the hardback.  Is there anything worth stealing from this half of Storm King's Thunder?  Let's read!


This section begins with the PCs teleporting to the storm giant hold Maelstrom, and then they're supposed to find their way to Princess Serissa and win her confidence.  In the meantime, the place is full of peril, including Serissa's rival sisters.  Maelstrom is completely underwater, which means the PCs will have to deal with lack of air plus the water pressure, and (thankfully) we get a wider blend of critters to fight.  An alternate means of egress is a whirlpool which sucks ships down to Maelstrom.

Maelstrom's an interesting lair; I like the map and wish it were larger in the book.  It isn't a huge combat lair - it's designed to funnel you to Serissa and the political intrigue there.  There are a few flavorful details (Serissa wields a ship's-mast as her weapon; treasure chests are giant anemones). It would make a good drop-in lair, but I'd probably add some population, including something to replace the visiting "other kinds of giant" if I weren't leaning on that plot element.  Perhaps instead of giants, when the storm giant princess is visited she has merrow or triton ambassadors visiting.  You could do a quick table that represents the factions on your undersea floor.  The princess' treasury includes an apparatus of kwalish, which is nice to see.  There is a considerable amount of monetary treasure, and some magic items, throughout the storm giant hold, as befits royalty.


Based on a clue from Serissa, the heroes get entangled with the Kraken Society as they seek the missing storm giant King.  This chapter is all about infiltrating a gambling riverboat to extract information, and as such, you might be tempted to run it with a serious James Bond vibe.  The casino is run by an evil lord who's in cahoots with a kraken, and the joint has a wizard head of security.  This bit is completely stealable if you need a gambling riverboat.

No, Mister Drizzt, I expect you to DIE

Next you're off to find a squid-shaped ship, the Morkoth, somewhere out in the sea - the storm giant king is being held on the ship.  The Morkoth has a wizard captain, an assassin first mate, and is crewed by Kraken Society cultists.  There isn't much to this bit, as the PCs need to be able to rescue Hekaton to keep the plot moving.  However, once they do so, the crazy kraken Slarkrethel pursues them to get him back, and that kraken is nasty.  Beat or repel the kraken, and you will either deliver Hekaton back to Maelstrom, or report of his demise.  But wait, there's still that infiltrating dragon to go after.  Before you do that, maybe you want to grind levels against any remaining evil giant lords?  No hurry.

It's cool, go gain a level, she'll wait.


Iymrith the dragon is the lingering threat - time to find her lair in the desert (an amphitheatre guarded by living statues) and go whack her.  Some of the giants lead this assault, which is realistic but makes it less about the PCs.  If the PCs decide to face Iymrith without that backup, assistance shows up in the form of Harshnag, thought dead for lo these many chapters.  All that said, kudos to SKT for suggesting the DM let PCs run those storm giant warriors in the combat.  Yes, please.

As a location, Iymrith's lair is pretty good.  The amphitheatre is a neat concept, and the maps are fine-but-small.  She has loyal gargoyles (with a trebuchet or two) as minions, and there are some visiting yuan-ti.  Pushing aside guardian minions and challenging Iymrith...well, this could be a pretty epic boss fight.

I think you could use this lair setup with a different blue dragon antagonist pretty well, although you'd want to reduce the amount of treasure perhaps.  I like the desert setup, I particularly like that one of the stolen sarcophagi in the treasure horde still has a mummy in it.


There's a lot to steal in Storm King's Thunder.  If you're running 5e or a similarly-compatible game, the giant lairs and some of the other adventure locations can be easily strip-mined and dropped on your map or inserted in your campaign in some other way.  I think the giant lairs are the best part!  For an old-school campaign, you'll get less use out of SKT because the stat-blocks aren't as applicable, but the lair setups themselves are still pretty keen.

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