Storm King's Thunder

Nightstone
You’ve been traveling along the High Road for days. As evening approaches, you spot a wooden signpost next to a trail that heads north into the hills. Nailed to the post are three arrow-shaped signs. The two marked “Waterdeep” and “Daggerford” follow the High Road but point in opposite directions. The third, marked “Nightstone,” beckons you to follow the trail. If memory serves, Nightstone is roughly ten miles up the trail.

You've been asked by the High Steward of Nightstone, Lady Velrosa Nandar, to take care of a goblin threat. She is offering a reward to anyone willing and able to deal with the problem.

 

Our group of heroes find each other at the drawbridge. A monk is taking a nap in a bush, and three goblins are sneaking up on him. Luckily, a cleric and a wizard catch the goblins before they can do any harm. A well placed sleep spell knocks out all three goblins and the cleric proceeds to paint the floor with their brains using her warhammer.

After some introductions, the heroes enter the city to explore the area. The town seems deserted, with human tracks leading out of the city, and goblin tracks leading into the city. All around, there are large boulders, three foot in diameter, scattered around the town. It seems that somehow, these boulders were dropped on the town, dealing massive destruction. Many buildings are caved in. The heroes hear a constant ringing of the bell, coming from the direction of a Temple.

The heroes head to the village temple first, and inside, they find two goblins ringing the bell. They seem to enjoy the sound. The heroes manage to easily dispatch the two goblins, the cleric's warhammer taking another goblin life. Clearing out the temple, they proceed into the town square, encountering two Wargs. The wargs prove to be a slightly bigger challenge, but still, they're nothing a few well placed firebolts, some martial arts, and some warhammer hits can't solve. With the beasts disposed of, the heros continue to deal with the goblin problem, navigating each of the locations, slaughtering goblins in ruthless fashion. 

The heroes reach a stable and find two more goblins. They knock out one of the goblins, and interrogate it to ask what happened here. The goblin tells the heroes that some of the villages were captured in a cave north of the town. The heroes commandeer two horses. The monk doesn't know how to ride a horse, so he preferred to walk.

Checking out the Inn next, they find a goblin searching through the rubble of the inn's pantry, and stuffing edibles into a large sack that seems almost too heavy for her to drag, let alone carry. Upon spotting the heroes, she tries to run away, heading toward a window in the far side the room, but doesn't get too far before she is burnt to a crisp by the wizard's firebolt. Much of the valuables have already been looted, and some foodstuffs and small trinkets are found in the sack the goblin had. The monk eats the cheese block and the chicken, then helps himself to some beer from the vacant bar. Checking upstairs, they find two empty bedrooms and two rooms that were seemingly recently occupied.

In one of the rooms, the heroes find a woman named Kella Darkhope. Shes dressed in a dark robe, and has a flying snake coiled around her arm. Kella claims that she is a guest at the inn who was knocked unconscious by falling debris and left behind after the giant attack. She claims that her escape was thwarted by the sudden arrival of the goblins, whom she believes have nothing to do with the giants. The wizard is very suspicious of Kella, and has a feeling she may not be telling the truth.

The characters rest at the abandoned inn for a while before heading out again. They notice that Kella has disappeared from her room, and then continue outside to explore the rest of the town. They check out the trading post, clearing out another goblin, and picking up some adventuring gear. The heroes check out the windmill, finding some more goblins hanging along the rafters near the roof. No problem at all for the heroes so far. They checkout the rest of the residences and find a number of valuable things among the wreckage. Finally they reach a graveyard. The wizard, in his greed, decides to break into Nandar's crypt to loot it. He inadvertently angers a spectre, who attacks. The wizard managed to avoid its deadly necrotic attacks with a well timed shield spell, and the team brings it down with their combined effort.

Finally all that was left to check out is the keep south of the main town. The heros reach the bridge and find that it was destroyed by a boulder, leaving a 15 foot gap in the bridge. The monk decides to grab a rope, and manages to leap 16 feet across the gap and create a rope bridge. The remaining heroes use the rope to get across the bridge safely. They find the main gate to the keep unlocked, and they enter the keep.

Inside the heroes find four guards, arguing over a dead woman's body lying on an oak table. They seem to be arguing about what to do. The monk initiates conversation with the guards, asking them what has happened to the town. The guards tell the heroes:

  • Nightstone was bombarded by rocks dropped from a giant castle in the sky. The keep was cut off from the village when a rock tore away part of the bridge.
  • With nowhere to hide, the people in the village lowered the drawbridge and fled north. In the event of an attack, the villagers are supposed to retreat to the keep; with the bridge out, that was no longer an option.
  • North of Nightstone, about a mile away, are some bat caves. The villagers probably hid there.
  • Several guards stationed in the village fled north with the villagers.
  • Once the villagers had fled, four pale-skinned giants descended from the sky, uprooted the nightstone in the village square, and took it back to their castle. The cloud castle left soon thereafter, drifting eastward.
  • Lady Nandar was in the great hall when the roof collapsed. She was buried under the rubble and died before anyone could reach her. The woman on the oak table is Lady Nandar.
  • The nobles of House Nandar had a hunting lodge in the forest two centuries ago, but elves forced them to abandon it. Ten years ago, members of House Nandar — Lord Drezlin Nandar and Lady Velrosa Nandar — decided it was time to return. They built a new motte-and-bailey settlement south of the Ardeep Forest and began making forays into the woods with friends to hunt and explore. Unknown to the Nandars, wood elves from Ever­meet then settled in the forest, determined to protect the remnants of old elf empires from plunder and desecration. As in the past, the interests of the elves and Nandars were at cross purposes. A year ago, the conflict came to a head, and the elves attacked Nightstone. Drezlin was among the many slain — shot and killed by elf arrows while standing on the roof of his keep. His widow, Lady Velrosa Nandar, made peace with the elves and promised to make no further incursions into the Ardeep Forest — a promise she kept for the rest of her life.

The heroes, getting all the information they need from the guards, lets them know that the villagers who escaped to the north have been captured. They let the guards know that they setup a rope between the broken pieces of the bridge so they could travel across it. Then the heroes head out of the keep, determined to save the remaining villagers. They run into Kella running toward the entrance of the village. Not responding the the heroes calls, the wizard casts a grease spell, tripping Kella. While the heroes were interrogating her, a number of men enter the city and approach them. The man introduces himself as Xolkin Alassandar and says that he is here to help secure the city.

He claims that Kella is an associate of his and would like her returned to him. The heroes refuse without further answers and he explains they are members of the Zhentarim. He seems distressed, and offers the heroes 120 gp in exchange for Kella's return, which the heroes accept. Shortly after however, the guards from the keep manage to catch up to the heroes. The guards pull the heroes aside, asking them to get rid of the Zhentarim. The guards don't trust them and don't want them here. The heroes agree, and the wizards casts a preemptive sleep spell, putting one of the mercenaries to sleep.

The fight is an intense one, all of the Zhent henchmen are killed, along with the four guards. Xolkin Alassandar manages to take down the party monk, and Kella takes down the wizard. Only the cleric is left, and she manages to avoid most of the damage thrown her way until she deals a decisive blow to Xolkin, killing him. Kella screams in agony, swearing revenge, and attempts to make her escape. The cleric won't have that, so she throws a hand axe, soaring 60 feet across the air, and hits Kella, decapitating her. Nice throw.

With the Zhent dealt with, and the guards dead, the heroes are the last people alive in the town. Of course the only thing left to do is to ransack keep, so the heroes head back to the keep to take their prize, a shiny wedding ring from the hand of the late Lady Velrosa Nandar. She wouldn't be needing that anymore I suppose…

With everything of value that could be lifted taken from the town, the heroes then decide to head toward the cave where the remaining villagers are.

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