Storm King’s Thunder and Volo’s Guide to Monster explained! Video transcript

wallpaper_(1)GIANT SLAYERs!

Paige Leitman has transcribed the entire text of the Storm King’s Thunder video presentation, so you can easily understand what is boiling under the waters of the new Dungeons&Dragons storyline.  

Chris Perkins, Lead Designer:
Set in the FR.
Backstory – before elves, dwarves, and humans settled the Sword Coast, the land was ruled by dragons and giants and they hated each other. When the more “civilized” races moved in, the dispute died down, but was never settled to either side’s satisfaction. Fast forward 40,000 years and you have the modern Sword Coast. A couple of years ago, Tyranny of Dragons happened. The dragons tried to bring back Tiamat. The “small races” didn’t agree and thwarted that plot. The giants did nothing

The giant gods, including Anam the Allfather, were miffed that the giants didn’t rise up against their ancient enemies. So in SKT, Anam the Allfather breaks the “Ordning.” The Ordning is the societal structure that determines how all giantkind relate to each other. Storm giants are at the top, hill giants are at the bottom. The gods commanded the giants to “impress them” and “do whatever you want to do”. Freed from the shackles of the Ordning, evil giants go out into the world to do horrific terrible things so they can impress the giant gods so that they can rise up to the top of a new Ordning, to become the new storm giants, the kings of giant kind. The story is about what happens to the little folk when the giants rampage across the Sword Coast in pursuit of their own dreams.

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Typically, the Storm Giants are the most benevolent of giants and they’ve used their size, might, and power to keep the other giants mostly in line. With the Ordning broken, they no longer have their authority to do so.

In this story, the PCs are playing little folk who are threatened by the giant rampage.
Hill giants are plundering all the farms and looting all the foodstuffs for their evil chieftain “Goo“. Goo believes the only way to rise to the top of the Ordning is to physically become the biggest giant there has ever been. She is gorging herself on all the food she can find in the north.

Compare that to the stone giants. One of them still believes that her god is speaking to her, when in fact she’s been co-opted by an evil earth primordial. She’s been sent on a mission to wipe clean the works of men and dwarves and erase them from the face of Faerun.

The frost giant, “Storvald“, lives in a titanic ice fortress, and has a fleet of gargantuan long ships with sails made of dragons’ wings. He starts raiding up and down the Sword Coast looking for an artifact called “the ring of winter”. The giants want to use the ring’s power to bring on the age of everlasting ice.
Duke “Zalto” of the fire giants, has brought his family to an ancient forge. He’s captured slaves, and is commanding them to dig up an ancient colossus that was shattered during the giant-dragon war. He wants to rebuild this ancient monstrosity, and unleash it on the world to impress the gods.

Evil cloud giants in their cloud castles set out to search the north for ancient troves of dragon magic. They are the most magical of giants, and many of them are powerful wizards. We have a villainess in this story who is capturing and torturing dragons for information on ancient dragon magic. She hopes to impress her peers, and the gods, and rise to the top of the Ordning where cloud giants have deserved to be all along.

The storm giants have some problems. The greatest of them is King “Hekaton”, who lives in the undersea fortress of “Maelstrom” but he’s missing. In his absence, his court is in disarray, and there is a power struggle for his throne among his three daughters, who all believe that they are the rightful heir to rule the storm giants. Each believes she has a way to bring the Ordning back, but not all of the storm giant princesses are “nice”. They all have different opinions about the small folk. As you go through the story, you might realize that one of your most powerful allies would be the giants themselves. There are giants who would like to see the Ordning restored, and some of them are in King Hekaton’s court.

The question becomes, as heroes, do you want to destroy the giants utterly?StormKingsThunder_header
Or do you want to try to reach out to them, and convince them that an alliance between the smallfolk and the giants is not beyond the realm of possibility?

There is a political angle to this story that comes into focus that allows the characters to meet the giants on their own terms.

One of the themes of this story is starting off small and “trample-worthy” and rising up to become a literal and figurative giant so that you can stare these villains in the face and deal with them on their own terms. There are opportunities in the story for you to become giants. (Paige’s note: Probably not DDAL legal to stay that way?)

The story will span many locations in the north and some of are of huge, titanic size. Some of which were inspired by the classic “Against the Giants” adventure, but on a scope you’ve never seen before. From the fire giant’s forge, to the frost giant’s ice fortress, to the stone giant’s burial caverns of “Deadstone Cleft”, to the sky castle of “Lin Ar Mall” where countess “Sansuri” is torturing her latest dragon prisoner. All of these locations are fully detailed in the story, as well as the undersea citadel fortress of the storm giants, so you can experience life among the giants in a way we’ve never done before.

It all culminates in a battle against a villain that has been working behind the scenes. The villain is truly mighty, truly terrifying, and will be the death of many parties in the year to come. The villain traces it’s origins back to the earliest days of the Forgotten Realms. Ed Greenwood created this villain.

Mike Mearls:
How do the smallfolks have a chance against the giants?
That’s where magic comes in. We’ve created a way to heroes to go toe-to-toe with giants by using rune magic. Runes are letters in the language of the giants. Rune magic is the process of taking those letters and imbuing them with powerful magic that relates to the concept that rune encapsulates. These are the keys to defeating the giants within the adventure.

Chris Perkins:
Tying our stories together will be an integral part of them going forward.

Mike Mearls:
Characters have to go out and find the runes. They are powerful magic items. When you attune to them, they give you multiple magic powers. They are more versatile than other magic items you might find in D&D. More importantly, you can take a rune and imbue it’s magic into an item you might already own. You can create your magic weapons and shields. Some of the runes are weapons the giants used against the dragons, or magic they used to enforce peace among themselves. When stone giants sit down to eat with cloud giants, there is going to be a natural enmity there. Runes can be used to insure the giants interact peacefully. Your characters can use them to turn the tables on the giants and make them treat you like equals.
Cj5y19BVEAAJFC0Chris Perkins:
We’ve developed a series of runes for the giants and we’ve got meanings for what they all represent and that will be made clear over time. Mentions that the image on the screen is King Hekaton and two of his daughtersMiran” and “Nim“.

Mike Mearls:
Wide release on September 6th. At FLGS August 26th. Also, new miniatures from WizKids to match up with the adventure. New board game “Assault of the Giants” coming out next spring. GF9 will make resin unpainted miniatures for giants this fall.

After SKT, in the fall, will be releasing Volo’s Guide to Monsters. Volo Geddarm is an expert in realms lore, and share it with everyone. Elminster edited the document before it went to press. They don’t like each other. Tons of lore and classic monsters, like Mind Flayers and Yuan Ti. Bringing more life to them – story details on their background, lore, and mythology. Will add over 100 new monsters for 5th edition. Also giving you options to play monstrous character races like tritons and firbolgs. Will be printing a limited run of books with alternate cover by “hydro74” (shows picture of B&W mind flayer art on screen). Alternate cover only available in game stores, but the text is the same.

Chris Perkins:
That’s an experiment. If it does well, we’ll do it again.



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