Category Archives: Scenarios

Side trek for Storm King’s Thunder: To Steal a Primordial

At the Dwarven stronghold of Gauntlgrym, a trapped primordial called Maegera the Dawn Titan fires the forges. In Storm King’s Thunder, a party of drow raids the forges to steal the godling. If the player characters happen to visit Gauntlgrym, they gain a chance to foil the theft.

The description of Gauntlgrym in Out of the Abyss reveals the primordial’s tremendous power, but the struggle for the creature lacks gravity. Player characters just happen to stumble across 8 drow in a hallway. A couple of rounds of combat thwarts the caper.

If drow enter a dwarven stronghold and sieze a primordial from the forge, surely they made a better plan than the encounter suggests. Also, foiling the theft of a primordial merits at least a set-piece encounter, if not a full session of adventure.

This side trek expands the raid at Gauntlgrym. I aimed to make the drow more cunning, and the players’ interference more memorable.

For the drow, I plotted their scheme like players would if they had similar resources and powers. Now instead just killing unprepared drow in a hall, players feel like they match wits with a cunning foe. The drow and shadow demons get a chance to use stealth and spellcraft, forcing players to use their wits.

This trek integrates two potential encounters from the wandering monster tables in Gauntlgrym chapter of Out of the Abyss.

The tricky part of reimagining this scenario came as I worked to arrange the pieces so the scenario can play differently depending on the players’ strategy. Still, the events likely lead to a big confontration in the crypts.

In the original encounter, the lack of setup makes the drow seem random. In a dwarven fortress, they seem very random. After the battle, the players learn the plot, but now that it has failed, the details seem less importatant. If you run the original, you should hope that the players give the event little thought, because their success rests on a wildly coincidental meeting.

The new scenario sets up the drow scheme in advance and shows the stakes. The sudden chill in Gauntlgrym lends some weight to the theft.

This scenario should challenge 8th-level characters.

Also, my spell checker wanted to spell doppelgänger with umlauts. I went with it because everything is more metal with umlauts.

Download: To Steal a Primordial

Side trek for Storm King’s Thunder: The Giant Ship

Chapter 3 of the Dungeons & Dragons adventure Storm King’s Thunder encourages characters to roam the Savage Frontier, completing quests and facing warring giants. As written, the section could to become a grind, with long marches interrupted by routine encounters. However, the content leads dungeon masters to enliven the journeys with their own ideas.

Lately, I’ve embellished my own sessions by building on the characters, monsters, and treasure featured in the book to create side treks.

Frost Giant’s Ship

This post shares one of my mini-adventures, The Giant Ship. Although this side trek expands on the suggested encounter for Helms Hold (p.91), you can also plant a hook at any time the characters travel the coast. This episode aims to bring problem solving, roleplaying, and more flavor to what might otherwise be a routine battle.

Characters at levels 5-10 gain access to abilities like flight and invisibility. The giant ship in this trek poses a rescue problem that such PCs can now solve. I tried to contrive a scenario that invites several strategies. I love when players face a dilemma that lets me sit back while they scheme.

As a battle, this final encounter should challenge a party of 7th-level characters. But because they characters probably won’t face another battle on the same day, they can win against the foes.

The scenario’s format shows my effort to make details easy to spot at a glance. I did not create this trek to be read and set aside; I created it to be played at the table.

Please tell me how the trek played at your table.

Download: Side Trek for Storm King’s Thunder.