Posts Tagged ‘Storm King’s Thunder’

Today’s update may look short, but it’s actually 16 pages of free PDF long. As you may know, for the last two weeks I’ve been expanding Storm King’s Thunder by adding a new giant lord to the adventure. Not just any giant lord either. A desert giant lord from Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts!

In the PDF below you can grab new content for chapters 1-4, plus a whole new chapter, “Pyramid of Desert Giants,” that uses many a denizen from Kobold Press’ latest masterpiece.

LINK TO THE PDF: The Desert Giant’s Plan

I love to play using Roll20, so I’m making the maps available for you below. If you want to grab this expanded content for Storm King’s Thunder and the maps at another time, they’ll live forever on the Free Game Resources section of this site.

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If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

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Last week I showed off part of my plan to add desert giants from Tome of Beasts into the latest (and in my opinion greatest) fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons adventure, Storm King’s Thunder. I introduced you to the giant lord Emir Ayla Zeif and told you all about her plan to murder other giants and gather their skulls for a ritual that could free a Jotun giant from its pyramid prison. Desert giants were added to chapters 1 – 4 of Storm King’s Thunder.

This week I’m going to begin adding my own chapter to the book. This chapter would fall somewhere between chapters 5 and 9. Let’s call it Chapter 8.5: Pyramid of Desert Giants. This chapter shows off Zeif’s lair, Dorsnarg Pyramid.

First up, some maps I made using Pyromancer’s Dungeon Painter.

Base of Dorsnarg Pyramid

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Top of Dorsnarg Pyramid

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Next week we’ll talk about what exactly happens inside this pyramid, but for now, let’s cover the introductory materials of the chapter.

Chapter 8.5: Pyramid of Desert Giants

In this chapter the characters have an opportunity stop Emir Ayla Zeif before she releases Erlin the Great, an enraged Jotun giant, from his prison. If the characters obtain Zeif’s conch of teleportation, they can use it to teleport to Maelstrom, King Hekaton’s undersea citadel (see chapter 10, “Hold of the Storm Giants”). Obtaining the conch is their main goal here but the characters may take action to free or leave Erlin imprisoned. If characters may choose to let the Jotun out, he is ready for vengeance, but clever adventurers can direct this rage and use it to their benefit.

Desert and Jotun Giants

Before running this part of the adventure, review the information on desert and Jotun giants in the Tome of Beasts. It will help you roleplay the giants in this chapter.

The Obsessed Emir

Ayla Zeif has become obsessed with opening Erlin the Great’s prison ever since she deciphered a hidden meaning in the runes all desert giant inscribe onto their skins. Those inscriptions led her to Dorsnarg Pyramid where the Jotun is imprisoned and also contained instructions for a ritual that would unseal Erlin’s cell. Once the Jotun is free, Ayla hopes to use Erlin’s knowledge and strength to rise to the top of the ordning. She knows he once fought against the gods. During that war Erlin and his kind may have succeeded had not the rest of giants aided the cause of the gods and imprisoned the Jotun in places like Dorsnarg Pyramid. The emir believes freeing such a powerful being would make even the All-Father himself quake with fear and force the gods to crown her queen of all giants.

Since the hunt for giant skulls to power the unsealing ritual began, Ayla has focused on nothing else. Her husband and second-in-command, Calamed, runs the day-to-day operations of the pyramid. He keeps the rest of the desert giants fed, sheltered, and hunting for skulls. Ayla’s neglect has spurred Calamed into an affair with another giant, Mira Burma. What started as a fling has become true love. Calamed wishes to return to the desert giants old way of life as nomads, but he cannot openly challenge his wife or leave her without facing death.

When the characters arrive at Dorsnarg Pyramid, Ayla has all fifty skulls she needs to perform the unsealing ritual.

Farragut the Scribe of the Desert

Desert giants under Ayla’s command captured Farragut, a copper dragon known as the Scribe of the Desert. The dragon’s hobby is collecting pieces of lore with a particular interest in giant culture and history. She has Farragut studying the skin of long dead elder desert giants to decipher the unsealing ritual. Farragut works quickly and unhappily at his task, hoping Ayla’s promise of freedom isn’t a lie. In truth she plans to give the dragon to Erlin as a gift in which case the dragon’s fate would be short and bloody since the Jotun hates dragons.

Erlin the Great

Erlin the Great has been sealed in his prison for thousands of years. The magic of Dorsnarg Pyramid sustains the giant. He has no need for food, water, or air. Years of imprisonment have left the giant boiling with rage. Hatred keeps Erlin focused and sharp. Every minute of every day he curses the giants and gods who put him in the pyramid, sure that one day he will have his vengeance.

Dorsnarg Pyramid

Dosnarg Pyramid was buried by the sands long ago and only recently uncovered by desert giant excavators. The huge pyramid has a large ground level and smaller top level that holds Erlin’s actual prison connected by a hidden staircase. The pyramid’s main entrance is hidden. A false entrance contains traps and a mummified desert giant guardian. Once inside the actual pyramid the characters will have to contend with desert giants, their scorpion pets, and a host of traps and guardians left active within that don’t bother the giants. See the “Dorsnarg Pyramid: General Features” sidebar for more information on the pyramid.

Dorsnarg Pyramid: General Features

The following features are common throughout the pyramid.

Ceilings. Unless otherwise noted, interior chambers have 30-foot-high ceilings, with 20-foot-high passages and doorways connecting them.

Doors. Each of Dorsnarg Pyramid’s doors is 20 feet high and made of stone. Unless otherwise noted, the door is unlocked. Door handles are 10 feet above the floor. A Huge giant has no trouble opening a door. A smaller creature can attempt to open a door, provided that creature or some other helpful creature can reach the door’s handle and unlatch it. While the handle is unlatched, a creature must use an action to push or pull on the heavy door, opening it with a successful DC 16 Strength (Athletics) check. On a failed check, the door doesn’t open.

Illumination. All areas of the pyramid are brightly lit by magical stig runes that glow yellow on the walls. If one of these runes is carved out of the wall it no longer sheds light.

Oversized Furnishings and Objects. Most of the furnishings and other items in Dorsnarg Pyramid are sized for desert giants. Exceptions are noted in the text. Tables, benches, and other room fixtures are typically twice as high, long, and wide as their human-sized equivalents and roughly eight times the weight. Small and Medium creatures can scuttle under and clamber over giant-sized furniture, treating the spaces the furniture occupies as difficult terrain.

Reaching Dorsnarg Pyramid

The characters can travel to Dorsnarg Pyramid on foot or horseback. If the characters have an airship (see the “Airship of a Cult” section in chapter 4), they can land it pretty much anywhere outside the pyramid. The desert giant keeping watch outside the main door (see “Approaching the Pyramid”) spots the airship if it approaches within 1 mile of the stronghold and runs inside, putting the entire pyramid on alert (see “Denizens”). If the characters use the airship’s weaponry to attack Dorsnarg Pyramid, the defenders are smart enough to remain inside its impenetrable walls.

The characters might instead approach on a flying mount. They can obtain griffon mounts in Fireshear or hippogriff mounts in Hawk’s Nest. Neither settlement is close to Dorsnarg Pyramid, requiring the characters and their mounts to rest between flights. Characters mounted on hippogriffs can travel 54 miles per day (three 3-hour flights with 1-hour rests in between). Those mounted on griffons can travel 72 miles in the same amount of time. The desert giant keeping watch outside the main door (see “Approaching the Pyramid”) spot flying mounts that approach within a quarter mile of the stronghold and runs inside, putting the entire den on alert (see “Denizens”).

Approaching the Pyramid

Adventurers can approach Dorsnarg Pyramid from any direction. Those who come near the pyramid without taking efforts to conceal themselves are spotted by the desert giant in waiting in the sand (area 1), who quietly slips inside the hidden main door and alerts the guards in the complex. Characters stand a better chance of infiltrating the pyramid if they approach cautiously, taking advantage of the terrain and using darkness, fog, camouflage, or magic to conceal their movement. Regardless of how the characters approach the den, have them make a group Dexterity (Stealth) check contested by the desert giant’s Wisdom (Perception) check. The giant should make the check with disadvantage as it is buried in the sand.  If the characters take precautions, give them advantage on their checks. If they take none, impose disadvantage on their checks.

The characters may not notice the main door to the pyramid (see area 1). If they cannot detect the door, but remain hidden and watch the pyramid, eventually the guard from area 14C comes out and relieves the guard here. This allows the characters to witness the main entrance being used.

Denizens

The Dorsnarg Pyramid Roster table summarizes the locations of the pyramid’s inhabitants and indicates how those creatures react when intruders are detected. As soon as trespassers are spotted or combat erupts, the entire lower level of the pyramid goes on alert. As a consequence, adventurers might find themselves fighting several encounters’ worth of creatures at once. If Ayla Zeif dies, her husband takes over and leads the giants into the desert to be nomads once again. If Ayla and Calamed both die, the morale of Dorsnarg Pyramid’s other desert giants breaks, and they flee into the desert with their giant scorpion pets. The other guardians of the pyramid remain.

Dorsnarg Pyramid Roster
Area Creature(s) Book Notes
1 1 female desert giant Tome of Beasts The giant is hidden in the sand.
2 2 male desert giants Tome of Beasts The desert giants stay here to defend the skulls.
3 4 giant scorpions Monster Manual The giant scorpions stay here to guard the supplies.
6 1 female desert giant Tome of Beasts Investigates any sounds of combat in areas 1-9.
7 1 male desert giant Tome of Beasts Stays in this room if trouble breaks out and continues eating.
8 1 corpse mound Tome of Beasts The corpse mound omes out of the pit and attacks when non-giants enter the room.
9 Calamed Zeif Tome of Beasts If Calamed hears combat in areas 6-9, he investigates and offers to parlay with the characters.
10 6 dust thirsters Tome of Beasts The dust thirsters rise and attack from the coffins when non-giants enter the room.
11 1 oozasis Tome of Beasts The oozasis attacks any creature that gets near one of the bowls and remains hidden until then.
12 1 female desert giant Tome of Beasts If combat breaks out in areas 10-14 the giant goes to investigate.
13 1 adult copper dragon Monster Manual The dragon is chained to the floor and has only 20 hit points remaining.
14A 1 female desert giant Tome of Beasts If combat breaks out in areas 10-14 the giant goes to investigate.
14B 1 male desert giant Tome of Beasts If combat breaks out in areas 10-14 the giant goes to investigate.
14C 1 female desert giant Tome of Beasts If combat breaks out in areas 10-14 the giant goes to investigate.
16 1 desert giant mummy Appendix B The mummy rises to attack when the trap in area 17 is triggered.
17 Ayla Zeif, 1 fire elemental Tome of Beasts, Monster Manual Ayla remains in this area and summons the elemental if attacked.
18 Erlin the Great Tome of Beasts The Jotun is imprisoned here.

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Let’s add a new giant lord to Storm King’s Thunder!

Recently two of my favorite books came out for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons. The first is Storm King’s Thunder. I love this new adventure for its scope, modularity, characters, lack of ticking clock, tie-ins to other published adventures, and original story. Then there’s the Tome of Beasts. This little number from Kobold Press is the unofficial sequel to the Monster Manual. It holds over 400 new creatures and fills in the monstrous gaps of its predecessor.

After I read Storm King’s Thunder, I immediately grabbed my copy of Tome of Beasts and flipped to G, looking to see what baddies I could add to the adventure. It was then that the nomadic, history-loving desert giant caught my eye. Why not add a desert giant lord to the events of Storm King’s Thunder? After all, the adventure (written by Chris Perkins) recommends I do just that.

The Plan

My plan is simple. I’m adding a desert giant lord to Storm King’s Thunder. I’ll be showing off the work right here on this blog so you can add your own giants to your play through and/or take what I’m writing for your own purposes. This is the first in a series of blog posts that outlines who this giant lord is, her plan to climb the ranks of the new ordning, and ways to work that plot into Storm King’s Thunder. The posts after will focus on the giant’s lair. At the end of the series we should have a fully form supplement you can download and add to your game in the form of a free PDF.

It’s Free!?!

Yep. Good news for you! I know you’re thinking, “James, why are you giving us more stuff for free? Don’t you value your work?” I sure do, but I’m making a product that’s actually impossible for me to sell. Since this PDF will tie directly into Storm King’s Thunder and therefore the Forgotten Realms, the only place I could sell it is on the Dungeon Masters Guild. Since the PDF also uses the third-party produced Tome of Beasts and the DMs Guild has weird rules about who owns your stuff once you post it on there, I’m also not able post on the DMs Guild. This add-on is something I want to make for my game anyway so I figured I’d share it for free! If you want to pay me back, buy something from me on the DMs Guild or stay tuned for a Patreon announcement!*

Meet the Giant!

Just who is this mysterious desert giant lord and what’s she up to? Below is information you can add to different chapters of Storm King’s Thunder.

Introduction

Add the following information to “The Giant Lords” section of the introduction.

Emir Ayla Zeif

Zeif, an emir of the nomadic desert giants, thinks the only true power is knowledge. She plans to secure her place in the ordning by freeing and speaking with a Jotun giant that her ancestors imprisoned long ago. By deciphering the knowledge desert giant elders inscribed onto their skin, she found the Jotun’s prison,Dorsnarg Pyramid, in Anauroch. The same information provided a ritual to unseal the Jotun’s cell, but it requires multiple cloud, fire, frost, hill, and stone giant skulls. Zeif wants to open the cell and speak with the Jotun, learn its ancient knowledge, and then form an alliance with the powerful being so none challenge her reign over all giant kind. To that end, she has sent the desert giant warriors of her tribe into the North so they can claim the heads of their kin to be used in the unsealing ritual.

Chapter 1

Add the following encounter to the “Unfriendly Skies” section of the “Tower of Zephyros” section of chapter 1.

Day 10: All I Want is Your Head

This encounter occurs of the tenth day of the party’s journey and occurs only if they are traveling to Goldenfields. A desert giant who is a member of Emir Ayla Zeif’s tribe spies the tower and assumes there is at least one cloud giant head inside that can be given to his leader.

Any character standing guard outside Zephyros’s tower or watching the sky from the tower’s aerie spots danger approaching if his or her passive Wisdom (Perception) score is 12 or higher.

Speeding up from beneath the tower is a huge, dark-skinned giant on the back of an enormous bird of prey. The giant’s skin is inscribed with runes and it carries a large falchion on its hip.

Alitook (a male N desert giant) rides on the back of a roc up to the tower. He lands, dismounts, and enters the tower’s first level, calling out a request in Giant to see the master or mistress of the tower. If any characters are around, Alitook instead approaches them and makes his request to them in polite Common.

Development

When Zephyros hears Alitook or if the characters tell the cloud giant about the approaching desert giant, Zephyros reacts with fear. Without explanation, he asks the characters to tell the desert giant something that will make him leave.

Alitook gladly speaks with the characters, asking them if there are any giants in the tower. The desert giant lies and says he is on a mission from Emir Ayla Zeif who wants to unite the giants in this time of trouble. A DC 12 Wisdom (Insight) check reveals Alitook isn’t here on a diplomatic quest. A DC 14 Charisma (Deception) check convinces Alitook that there are no cloud giants within the tower and he hops on his roc and leaves. If a character fails the check or mentions the presence of Zephyros, Alitook demands to see the cloud giant. If this request is refused, Alitook begins climbing the walls and if he sees Zephyros, he attacks.

If combat breaks out, Alitook tries to climb his way up the tower to get to Zephyros, attacking any creatures in his way. He has no rocks, so he can only make attacks with his falchion. His roc does no join the fray, but takes flight and begins circling the tower, waiting for Alitook to whistle for it. Zephyros casts mass suggestion to convince Alitook to leave and then greater invisibility so the desert giant cannot find him.

If reduced to 75 hit points, Alitook whistles for his roc and tries to flee. If Zephyros is killed, Alitook uses his next action to behead the cloud giant and then tries to flee on his roc with Zephyros’ head.

When Alitook is no longer a threat, Zephyros informs the characters of rumors he’s heard from other giants. Desert giants are coming out of Anauroch in droves murdering any cloud, fire, frost, hill, and stone giants they can find. They all say they work for Emir Ayla Zeif and all are looking to collect the heads of their victims. This is highly unusual for the nomadic and normally isolationist desert giants.

If Alitook is captured, a DC 14 Charisma (Intimidation) check gets him to reveal that Emir Ayla Zeif has read the inscriptions on the skin of elder desert giants and ordered the warriors of her tribe to seek the heads of other giants in order to recover lost knowledge. He does not know the specific purpose of the heads and under no circumstances reveals the location of Dorsnarg Pyramid.

The roc flees if Alitook is captured.

Treasure

Alitook has a sack containing 3d6 × 100 cp, 2d6 × 100 sp, 1d6 × 100 gp, and one mundane item, determined by rolling on the Items in a Giant’s Bag table in the introduction.

Chapter 2

During the battle at Bryn Shander, Goldenfields, or Triboar, odds are at least one of the giants involved will flee the scene if defeat is imminent or its goal is accomplished. When a giant flees and is out of the weapon ranges of most characters, but still within sight, two desert giants (named Naymar and Allyaia) come out of nowhere and overwhelm the giant. By the end of their second turn Naymar and Allyaia have knocked the other giant prone. By the end of their third, Naymar has decapitated the giant and handed the head to Allyaia. The giants then run off into the wilderness together.

If the desert giants are captured, a DC 14 Charisma (Intimidation) check gets them to reveal that Emir Ayla Zeif has read the inscriptions on the skin of elder desert giants and ordered the warriors of her tribe to seek the heads of cloud, fire, frost, hill, and stone giants in order to recover lost knowledge. They do not know the specific purpose of the heads and under no circumstances reveal the location of Dorsnarg Pyramid.

Treasure

Each desert giant has a sack containing 3d6 × 100 cp, 2d6 × 100 sp, 1d6 × 100 gp, and one mundane item, determined by rolling on the Items in a Giant’s Bag table in the introduction.

Chapter 3

Random Wilderness Encounters

Add the following text to any encounter involving giants in the “Random Wilderness Encounters” section of chapter 3.

At the start of the third round of combat, roll a d10. If the result is a 1, a desert giant appears and begins attacking any other giants. If the desert giant survives combat, it beheads any cloud, fire, frost, hill, or stone giants and ties the heads to its belt. The desert giant does not attack the characters unless they attack it first.

A DC 14 Charisma (Intimidation) or (Persuasion) check convinces the desert giant to reveal that Emir Ayla Zeif has read the inscriptions on the skin of elder desert giants and ordered the warriors of her tribe to seek the heads of cloud, fire, frost, hill, and stone giants in order to recover lost knowledge. It does not know the specific purpose of the heads and under no circumstances reveals the location of Dorsnarg Pyramid.

Treasure

The desert giant has a sack containing 3d6 × 100 cp, 2d6 × 100 sp, 1d6 × 100 gp, and one mundane item, determined by rolling on the Items in a Giant’s Bag table in the introduction.

Locations of the North

Make the following additions to the “Locations of the North” section of Chapter 3.

Travel

Any time the characters travel from one place to another, roll a d20. On a result of 1, they encounter a headless giant body along the way. Roll a d6 to determine the type of giant body they encounter: 1 for cloud, 2 for fire, 3 for frost, 4 for stone, and 5-6 for hill.

Ascore

Add the following suggested encounter to the “Ascore” section.

While the characters are in Ascore, they notice two desert giants (females named Yalaya and Rabira) pass by the ancient ruin. Each has the head of a frost giant tied to her belt. If approached by the characters, a DC 14 Charisma (Intimidation) or (Persuasion) check convinces them to reveal that Emir Ayla Zeif has read the inscriptions on the skin of elder desert giants and ordered the warriors of her tribe to seek the heads of cloud, fire, frost, hill, and stone giants in order to recover lost knowledge. If the characters know where to find any such giants nearby, the desert giants offer to reward them with 100 gp from their sacks (see “Treasure”). They do not know the specific purpose of the heads and under no circumstances reveal the location of Dorsnarg Pyramid.

If the characters try to follow the Yalaya and Rabira, they quickly get noticed by the clever giants on their home terrain. The giants creep over a dune out of sight and then bury themselves in the sand, rising up to take the characters by surprise, fighting to the death. They do not pursue any characters who flee. They simply do not want to be followed to Dorsnarg Pyramid at any cost.

Treasure. Each desert giant has a sack containing 3d6 × 100 cp, 2d6 × 100 sp, 1d6 × 100 gp, and one mundane item, determined by rolling on the Items in a Giant’s Bag table in the introduction.

Luskan

Add the following suggested encounter to the “Luskan” section.

A member of the Arcane Brotherhood, Vadul Sasson (male CN mage), recovered the body of a desert giant warrior outside of Luskan a tenday ago. He found the body a curiosity so far from the desert and ordered it taken into the tower so he could study the inscriptions on its skin.

A short time after the characters arrive in Luskan, three desert giants (two males named Amed and Fabreiz and a female named Marya), walk into Luskan’s harbor out toward the Hosttower of the Arcane and demand the body be returned. The dead desert giant, a male named Rahead, was looking for frost giants in the area so he could bring their heads to Emir Ayla Zeif when he took on too many foes at once and became overwhelmed. Desert giants reclaim the bodies of their dead, since the inscriptions on their bodies hold valuable information. The trio has tracked the body of Rahead here.

Reeling from the attack of the frost giants, Luskan’s mages of the Arcane Brotherhood have depleted of many of their spells and resources. The desert giants begin hurling stones at the Hosttower of the Arcane, demanding the return of their dead. If the characters do nothing, eventually Vadul exits the tower, pleading with giants to be patient while his servants prepare the body for transport. On their next turn, the giants are brought the body. Amed and Fabreiz carry it away while Marya crushes Vadul to death with a rock before joining her companions.

If the characters do intervene, they can convince the giants to calm down with a successful DC 16 Charisma (Persuasion) check made as an action. The giants calmly state their case and leave once Vadul hands over the body.

If the characters fail the check or intervene by attacking, Amed and Fabreiz attack them while Marya continues to hurl rocks at the Hosttower of the Arcane. Every round on initiative count 0, two mages from the Arcane Brotherhood cast spells of 2nd level or lower that hinder the giants or aid the characters from the mage’s spell list. They are out of higher level spell slots.

When one of the giants falls, the other two grab its body and flee.

If captured or calmed, a DC 16 Charisma (Intimidation) or (Persuasion) check convinces the giants to reveal their purpose in Luskan. If pumped for more information, they reveal Emir Ayla Zeif has read the inscriptions on the skin of elder desert giants and ordered the warriors of her tribe to seek the heads of cloud, fire, frost, hill, and stone giants in order to recover lost knowledge. If the characters know where to find any such giants nearby, the desert giants offer to reward them with 100 gp from their sacks (see “Treasure”). They do not know the specific purpose of the heads and under no circumstances reveal the location of Dorsnarg Pyramid.

Treasure. Each desert giant has a sack containing 3d6 × 100 cp, 2d6 × 100 sp, 1d6 × 100 gp, and one mundane item, determined by rolling on the Items in a Giant’s Bag table in the introduction.

Morgur’s Mound

Add the following text to the “Ancient Relic” section.

In addition to the gold-plated tooth, the character unearths a yellow silk scarf embroidered with the stig (light) rune. The scarf is nonmagical, 10 feet long, and 2 feet wide.

One Stone

Add the following text to the “Ancient Relic” section.

In addition to the boulder, the character finds the gilded tail of a giant scorpion. The tail is nonmagical, but it can be used as a weapon and has the same statistics as a pike.

Waterdeep

Add the following text to the “Suggested Encounter” section.

Three desert giants (two females named Kayga and Isa and a male named Dariq) have been tracking the castle of the cloud giants from the ground. Count Nimbolo invites the characters to a private spot just outside of Waterdeep to tell them about Sansuri, since his wife is friends with the villainous cloud giant.

When Nimbolo is alone with the characters, the desert giants strike, with the intention of taking the cloud giant’s head back to Zeif. Nimbolo joins the fight alongside the characters. The desert giants fight until one of them falls, then the other two grab their fallen ally’s body and flee.

If captured, a DC 14 Charisma (Intimidation) check convinces the giants to reveal Emir Ayla Zeif has read the inscriptions on the skin of elder desert giants and ordered the warriors of her tribe to seek the heads of cloud, fire, frost, hill, and stone giants in order to recover lost knowledge. They do not know the specific purpose of the heads and under no circumstances reveal the location of Dorsnarg Pyramid.

Treasure. Each desert giant has a sack containing 3d6 × 100 cp, 2d6 × 100 sp, 1d6 × 100 gp, and one mundane item, determined by rolling on the Items in a Giant’s Bag table in the introduction.

Chapter 4

Eye of the All-Father, Area 1
  • Add a pillar carved with the scene of a living desert giant inscribing runes onto its flesh and looking upon the body of a deceased desert giant.
Eye of the All-Father, Area 6
  • Add a statue of the desert giant god, Grumbar, to this room that carries a bronze falchion (weighing 700 pounds).
  • Add a stig (light) rune to the archway that corresponds to the falchion.
  • The stig rune’s trap corresponds to desert giants. When triggered, two sunburst spells go off at the same time, and the entire room is each spell’s area of effect.
Eye of the All-Father, Area 11
  • Add a statue of a desert giant
Words of the Oracle

Add the following question and answer.

What is Zeif’s plan? “To release an ancient power and gain its knowledge and protection.”

Quest for the Giant Relics

The silk scarf relic in Morgur’s Mound and scorpion tail in One Stone correspond to Zeif.

The Chosen Foe

Add the following text.

Emir Zeif

“Travel south past mountains, valley, and trees. At the edge of the wood, turn east until the sand runs through your toes and the sun scorches your head. Past the dwarf ruin turn south again until you find Dorsnarg Pyramid. It is prison to one and queen-maker to another. The conch you seek is in the latter’s possession.”

The mountains refer to the Spine of the World. The valley refers to the Valley of the Khedrun. The wood refers to Lurkwood. The dwarf run is Ascore. When the characters are ready to head there, continue with “Pyramid of the Desert Giants” in this document

Appendix C

Add the following text to the “New Giant Options” section.

Desert Giants

Some adult desert giants are trained to make whirlwind attacks with their enormous falchions, spinning their blades in powerful arcs that attack all nearby enemies. This ability is represented by the following action option:

Whirlwind Attack (Recharge 6). The giant makes a falchion attack against every creature it can see within 10 feet.

That’s it for now!

Part II – “Pyramid of the Desert Giants” coming next week!

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

*Probably!

I want more runes items! You may have already picked up your copy of Storm King’s Thunder at your local friendly game store. Those who did may have found one of the first pictures in the book is of twenty different giant runes. I was excited when I first saw it because these runes must be tied to the rune magic we had heard so much about.

Turns out rune magic is very cool. Essentially you find a magic item with a particular giant rune on it and that item gives the wielder several benefits. You can also moves the rune from the item and apply it to a place or object that gets a new benefit. There’s only one problem. Of the twenty runes pictured at the start of the book, only eight are given magic items (or nine if you count the blod stone but I’m not for these purposes since it functions differently than the other rune items).

What’s a DM to do? Well make the other 12 into magic items of course! Below is my take on the other 12 runes in magic item form.

New Rune Magic Items

Bone of the Uven Rune

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This femur of a dwarf is petrified to the point of being stone. The uven (enemy) rune is carved out and filled with silver on its top. The bone has the following properties, which only work while it is on your person.

After Him. When an enemy within 5 feet of you takes the Disengage action, you can move half your speed as a reaction.

Know Thy Enemy. As a bonus action, pick one enemy within 30 feet of you. You learn the enemies’s AC, hit points, and any damage immunities, resistances, or vulnerabilities. Once you use this property, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

No Escape. You have advantage on opportunity attacks.

Gift of Vengeance. You can transfer the bone’s magic to a nonmagical item – a weapon or a suit of armor – by tracing the uven rune there with your finger. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the two items to be within 5 feet of each other. At the end, the bone is destroyed, and the rune appears in silver on the chosen item, which gains a benefit based on its form:

  • Weapon. The weapon is now an uncommon magic weapon that requires attunement. When a creature hits you with an attack and deals damage, you have advantage on attack rolls made against that creature using this weapon until the end of your next turn.
  • Armor. The armor is now an uncommon magic item that requires attunement. When a creature hits you with an attack and deals damage and you are wearing the armor, you have resistance against damage from all other attacks made by that creature until the end of your next turn.
Branch of the Liv Rune

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This curving birch branch is 2 feet long and three inches thick. Small buds make it seem as if leaves could spring out of the branch at any second. The liv (life) rune is burned into the side of the branch. The branch has the following properties, which only work while it is on your person.

Healing Grace. Whenever you cast a spell of 1st level or higher to restore hit points to a creature, the creature regains 1 additional hit point.

Remove Harmful Condition. As an action, you touch one willing creature and immediately end any blinded, deafened, poisoned, paralyzed, or stunned condition afflicting it. You can also use this ability to remove one level of exhaustion from a creature. Once you use this property, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Spare the Dying. As an action you can cast the spare the dying.

Gift of Life. You can transfer the branch’s magic to the corpse of a creature that has been dead has been dead for no more than 200 years, that didn’t die of old age, and that isn’t undead by tracing the uven rune on it with your finger. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the branch to be within 5 feet of you. If the creature’s soul is free and willing, the target returns to life with all its hit points. This process neutralizes all poisons, cures all diseases, and removes all curses afflicting the creature when it died. This process closes all wounds and restores any missing body parts. At the end of the transfer, the branch is destroyed, and the creature has a black tattoo of the rune appear somewhere on its body.

Diamond of the Stig Rune

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This diamond is a three-inch-radius sphere cut so the light within it dazzles. Close inspection reveals the light burning within is in the shape of a stig (light) rune. The diamond has the following properties, which only work while it is on your person.

Beacon of Hope. As an action you can cast beacon of hope. Once you use this property, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Blinding Burst. As an action, your body erupts with radiant light in a 30-foot radius. All creatures in the area must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or be blinded for 1 minute. A creature blinded in this way can repeat this saving throw at the end of its turn, ending the blinded condition on a success. Once you use this property, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Radiant Friend. You have resistance to radiant damage.

Shed Light. As an action the diamond sheds bright light in a 60-foot radius and dim light for an additional 60. You can use another action to make the bright light go down to a 5-foot radius and dim light for an additional 5.

Gift of Light. You can transfer the diamond’s magic to a nonmagical item – a weapon or a torch – by tracing the stig rune there with your finger. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the two items to be within 5 feet of each other. At the end, the diamond is destroyed, and the rune appears in yellow on the chosen item, which gains a benefit based on its form:

  • Weapon. The weapon is now an uncommon magic weapon. It deals an extra 1d6 radiant damage to any target it hits.
  • Torch. The torch is now an uncommon magic item that requires attunement. This torch never burns out. As an action you can cause the torch to ignite, causing it shed bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20. You can use another action to extinguish the flame. While the flame is lit and you hold the torch, all creatures you choose within 20 feet of you have advantage on saving throws againsted being charmed or frightened.
Emerald of the Kong Rune

Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement)

This emerald is cut into a rhomboid shape, three inches on each side and three inches thick. A gold kong (king) rune is clearly seen within its core. The emerald has the following properties, which only work while it is on your person.

Inspiring Leadership. As an action you can speak a magic word of inspiration to one creature you can see within 30 feet of you. That creature has advantage on attack rolls and saving throws against being frightened until the end of your next turn. Once you use this property twice, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Natural Leader. You have advantage on Charisma (Intimidation) and (Persuasion) ability checks made to influence creatures of the same type as you.

Ruler’s Command. At the start of your turn, one creature of your choice within 5 feet of you can take the Help action as a reaction. Once you use this property twice, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Gift of the King. You can transfer the emerald’s magic to a nonmagical item – a crown or a ring – by tracing the kong rune there with your finger. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the two items to be within 5 feet of each other. At the end, the emerald is destroyed, and the rune appears in gold on the chosen item, which gains a benefit based on its form:

  • Crown. The crown is now a rare magic item that requires attunement. While you wear it, you have advantage on all Charisma (Persuasion) checks.
  • Ring. The ring is now a rare magic item that requires attunement. While you wear it you can speak, read, and write any language and communicate telepathically with any creature that understands a language within 30 feet.
Fan of the Skye Rune

Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement)

This sky blue folding hand fan is rather dainty for a giant, but almost three times the size what a human would normally use. When unfolded, a white skye (cloud) rune can be seen in the middle of the fan. The fan has the following properties, which only work while it is on your person.

Cloud Carpet. You can spend 1 minute creating a 15-foot square of cloud 1 foot thick. The cloud can carry up to 10,000 pounds, can hover, has a fly speed of 60 feet, and moves according to your spoken directions, provided you are within 30 feet. The cloud lasts for 1 hour. Once you use this property, you  can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Fog Cloud. As an action, you can cast fog cloud.

Gust of Wind. As an action, you can cast gust of wind.

Gift of Cloud. You can transfer the fan’s magic to a nonmagical item – a pair of boots, a cloak, or a suit of armor – by tracing the skye rune there with your finger. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the two items to be within 5 feet of each other. At the end, the fan is destroyed, and the rune appears in white on the chosen item, which gains a benefit based on its form:

  • Armor. The armor is now a rare magic item that requires attunement. As a reaction when you are hit by an attack you can turn your entire body into cloud stuff until the end of your next turn. While you are made of cloud stuff you are resistant to all damage. Once you use this property, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.
  • Boots/Cloak. The pair of boots or cloak is now a rare magic item that requires attunement. You gain a fly speed equal to your walking speed and can hover while you wear this item.
Finger of the Dod Rune

Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement)

This preserved finger of a frost giant is gray and shriveled. It is 3 feet long and 1 foot thick. The flesh beneath its fingernail is carved with a bloody dod (death) rune. The finger has the following properties, which only work while it is on your person.

Animate Dead. As an action, you can cast animate dead. Once you use this property, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Death’s Sacrifice. When you deal damage to a creature and it dies as a result, you gain 10 temporary hit points.

Necrotic Friend. You gain resistance to necrotic damage.

Respect of the Dead. You have advantage on Charisma ability checks made to influence undead creatures.

Gift of Death. You can transfer the finger’s magic to the corpse of a creature that isn’t undead by tracing the dod rune on it with your finger. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the finger to be within 5 feet of you. The target rises as a wraith under you control. You decide what action the wraith will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor. If you issue no commands, the wraith only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the creature continues to follow it until its task is complete. At the end of the transfer, the finger is destroyed, and the wraith has the rune floating somewhere within its incorporeal form.

Horn of the Uvar Rune

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This curved horn comes from a giant ram. It is 3 feet long and capped with a silver mouthpiece. The horn is emblazoned with a blue uvar (storm) rune. The horn has the following properties.

Lightning’s Call. As an action you can blow the horn. Up to 8 creatures of your choice within 60 feet who can hear the horn and are holding at least one weapon, each have one weapon they are wielding of their choice covered in crackling lightning for 1 minute. During this time the weapons deal an extra 1d6 lightning damage and are magical. A weapon loses these properties if it is dropped or stowed. Once you use this property, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Storm Friend. While the horn is on your person, you are resistant to lightning and thunder damage.

Thunderous Blast. As an action, you can blow a 60-foot cone of thunder from the horn. Creatures in the area must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw. Creatures who fail take 22 (5d8) thunder damage and are pushed 10 feet away from you. Creatures who succeed take only half damage and aren’t pushed. Once you use this property, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Gift of Storm. You can transfer the horn’s magic to a nonmagical item – a weapon or a boat – by tracing the uvar rune there with your finger. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the two items to be within 5 feet of each other. At the end, the horn is destroyed, and the rune appears in blue on the chosen item, which gains a benefit based on its form:

  • Weapon. The weapon is now a rare magic weapon that requires attunement. It deals an extra 1d6 thunder damage to any target it hits. When you score a critical hit with the weapon, the target must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
  • Boat. The boat is now a rare magic item. Nothing short of total destruction can capsize the vessel.
Horseshoe of the Ferd Rune

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This horseshoe is made from black steel and connected to a chain so it can be worn around the neck. The ferd (journey) rune is emblazoned in green on the item. The horseshoe has the following properties, which only work while it is on your person.

Born to Journey. You and up to six other creatures you choose who travel within 60 feet of you can travel for 12 hours a day before having to make a Constitution saving throw against exhaustion.

Fleet Feet. Your walking speed increases by 5 feet.

Safe Place. You can spend 1 hour creating a permanent teleportation circle on a firm surface without using any material components. Once this circle is created you can spend another hour moving it to a new location on a firm surface of your choice. There can only be one permanent teleportation circle created by this item in existence at a time. When you attune to the item, a previous permanent teleportation circle created by a previously attuned creature disappears.

Gift of Travel. You can transfer the horseshoe’s magic to a nonmagical item – a suit of barding for a mount or a pair of boots – by tracing the ferd rune there with your finger. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the two items to be within 5 feet of each other. At the end, the horseshoe is destroyed, and the rune appears in green on the chosen item, which gains a benefit based on its form:

  • Barding. The barding is now an uncommon magic item. A mount wearing this barding can gallop for up to 8 hours before needing to slow down or be swapped out.
  • Boots. The boots are now a rare magic item that requires attunement. You gain a climbing speed and a swimming speed equal to your walking speed while you wear them.
Skull of the Hellig Rune

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This human skull is gilded. A black hellig (sacred) rune is emblazoned on its top. The skull has the following properties, which only work while it is on your person.

Religious Expert. You have advantage on Intelligence (Religion) checks.

Reveal Truths. You can cast the following spells without expending any material components (spell save DC 17): augury, detect evil and good, divination, and zone of truth. After casting a spell from the skull, you must complete a long rest before you can cast the same spell from the skull again.

Gift of Sacred Ground. You can transfer the skull’s magic to a place by tracing the hellig rune there with your finger. The point where you trace it becomes the center of a spherical area of magic that has a 100-foot radius. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the skull to be within 5 feet of you. At the end, the skull is destroyed, and the whole area is under the effect of a hallow spell (spell save DC 17) that cannot be dispelled by normal means. You choose all of the spell’s variables.

Stone of the Fjell Rune

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This rough-hewn, gray stone is six inches around. It is carved with a deep fjell (mountain) rune. The stone has the following properties, which only work while it is on your person.

Create Tunnel. If you spend 1 minute touching a solid surface, at the end of that minute a circular hole opens in the surface that is up to 10 feet in diameter and 100 feet long. Once you use this property, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Fists of Stone. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with unarmed attacks.

Mountain’s Strength. You have advantage on Strength saving throws.

Gift of the Mountain. You can transfer the stone’s magic to a nonmagical item – a belt or a pair of goggles – by tracing the fjell rune there with your finger. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the two items to be within 5 feet of each other. At the end, the stone is destroyed, and the rune appears in gray on the chosen item, which gains a benefit based on its form:

  • Belt. The belt is now a rare magic item that requires attunement. While you wear it, you can cast stoneskin on yourself as an action requiring no material components and no concentration. Once you use this property, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.
  • Goggles. The pari of goggles is now a rare magic item that requires attunement. While you wear the goggles, you can use an action to force one creature that can see you to make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the creature is instantly petrified. Otherwise, a creature that fails the save begins to turn to stone and is restrained. The restrained creature must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn, becoming petrified on a failure or ending the effect on a success. The petrification lasts until the creature is freed by the greater restoration spell or other magic. Once you use this property, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.
Toe of the Haug Rune

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This preserved pinky toe of a hill giant is shriveled with age. It is 2 feet long and 1 foot thick. A red haug (hill) rune is carved into the bottom of the toe. The toe has the following properties, which only work while it is on your person.

Giant Grass. As an action you touch a point on the ground and grass 10 feet tall grows in a 10-foot-square area centered on that point. Creatures in the grass are heavily obscured. Once you use this property, you cannot use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Healing Meal. As an action you can consume a nonmagical, Tiny or smaller object held by you and regain 2d4+4 hit points. The object you consume is destroyed. Once you use this property, you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.

Hurl Earth. As action you can dig up a chunk of dirt from soft earth and hurl it as a weapon with which you are proficient. The earth petrifies mid throw and becomes a rock. The rock deals 1d10 bludgeoning damage and has the thrown (20/60) property.

Gift of the Hill. You can transfer the toe’s magic to a nonmagical item – a pair of boots or a cloak – by tracing the haug rune there with your finger. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the two items to be within 5 feet of each other. At the end, the toe is destroyed, and the rune appears in red on the chosen item, which gains a benefit based on its form:

  • Boots. The pair of boots is now an uncommon magic item that requires attunement. While you wear the boots, you can use your action to stomp on the ground and release a shockwave in a 20-foot radius. Each creature touching the ground in the area (except for you) must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw or be pushed 30 feet into the air and then fall back to the ground and land prone. A creature who fails this saving throw takes 10 (3d6) bludgeoning damage from the fall. Once you use this property, you cannot use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
  • Cloak. The cloak is now an uncommon magic item that requires attunement. While you wear it, you gain a burrowing speed equal to your walking speed.
Vial of the Blod Rune

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This clear crystal, needle-tipped vial is seems the appropriate size for a Medium or Small creature. The giants who crafted them liked this smaller size because it made the vials easier to conceal. The vial is marked with a red blod (blood) rune. The vial has the following properties.

Charm of Blood. As an action you can draw the blood of a creature by touching the empty vial to it. The vial momentarily numbs the area of the body from which the blood is drawn. To do this without being noticed you must make a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check opposed by the target’s Wisdom (Perception) check. If you drink all the creature’s blood from the vial as an action within 24 hours of drawing it, that creature must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or it is charmed by you for 4 hours or until you or your companions do anything harmful to it. The charmed creature regards you as a friendly acquaintance. When the effect ends, the creature knows it was charmed by you. Once you use this property, you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.

Impersonate Other. As an action you can draw the blood of a creature who is the same size and type as you by touching the empty vial to it. The vial momentarily numbs the area of the body from which the blood is drawn. To do this without being noticed you must make a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check opposed by the target’s Wisdom (Perception) check. If you drink all the creature’s blood from the vial as an action within 24 hours of drawing it, your physical appearance changes to match that of the target’s. All of your equipment and statistics stay the same. This change lasts 6 hours, or until you dismiss it as an action. Once you use this property, you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.

Vial Weapon. You can wield the vial as a melee weapon with which you are proficient. The vial deals 1d4 piercing damage and has the light and finesse properties. When you make an attack and deal damage with the vial you can use your reaction to regain a number of hit points equal to the damage you dealt to the creature. Once you use this property, you cannot use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Gift of Blood. You can transfer the vial’s magic to a nonmagical item – a melee weapon or a diamond – by tracing the blood rune there with your finger. The transfer takes 8 hours of work that requires the two items to be within 5 feet of each other. At the end, the vial is destroyed, and the rune appears in red on the chosen item, which gains a benefit based on its form:

  • Diamond. The diamond is now a blod stone (see Storm King’s Thunder Appendix B). The blood of the creature inside the blod stone is the same blood from the same creature that was inside the vial when the transfer took place. If the vial is empty when attempting to transfer the magic to a diamond, the transfer cannot be completed.
  • Weapon. The weapon is now an uncommon magic weapon. When you make an attack and deal damage with the weapon you can use your reaction to regain a number of hit points equal to the damage you dealt to the creature. Once you use this property, you cannot use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

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New Rune Items

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A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down with Adventurers League admins Robert AdducciGreg MarksTravis Woodall, and Claire Hoffman to discuss the Storm King’s Thunder season of D&D organized play. Then it’s an interview with Kobold Press’ Kobold-in-Chief Wolfgang Baur about the much anticipated release of the Tome of Beasts and the Book of Lairs. This podcast was recorded on July 28, 2016.


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DMs Guild pick of the episode: Pugilist Class


 



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If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down with Liz TheisPatrick DennisSam Dillon, and Round Table newbie Ginny Loveday to talk about all of the awesome announcements coming out of the D&D Live from Meltdown event. They discuss Storm King’s ThunderVolo’s Guide to MonstersNeverwinterAssault of the GiantsFantasy Grounds, and Force Grey: Giant Hunters. This podcast was recorded on June 4, 2016.




Please rate and review The Tome Show on iTunes! It helps us a bunch!

Links:

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcasts, Have Spellbook, Will Travel and Gamer to Gamer, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!