Hello readers and welcome to another installment of “Expanding the adventure.” In this one we’re looking at “Storm King’s Thunder.” This adventure is one of the latest in the series of published adventures and has a chapter dedicated to a plot or dungeon surrounding each of the true giants.
I say that that might not be enough. There are other giants that don’t feature in the adventure at all that could be interesting for the players to work around. Other kinds of giants include trolls, ogres, cyclopes, and oni. All of those excepting the oni don’t really fit into creatures that have large-scale plans that the player characters could thwart. However, there are also the Fomorians, wicked and scheming giants with strange and mighty powers to cause deformity in who they use their evil eye against. They would probably make excellent foes for an optional mini-adventure along with the true giants.
- The motivation.
The Fomorians are not part of the ordening and thus don’t have a stake in impressing Annam the All-father. However, they have both the will and intelligence to wield magic and know powerful magic when they see it. Fomorians, though being of the giant type, as said, don’t have a direct stake in the conflict of the adventure. However, there are distinct runic magics that come into play in this adventure that the Fomorians might be seeking. As to why? Fomorians are stated in the monster manual to have a strong hatred of good fey. Perhaps the Fomorians are gathering runic magics to use against one of the archfey, such as either the queen of air and darkness, the moon maiden, or the sea twins or even the Green lord to render them susceptible to the evil eye or even render them warped from a distance by one of the fomorians’ more powerful spellcasters.
- The location
This is actually a portion of the adventure that takes place on another plane. As although they are giants, Fomorians have a connection to the fey, the adventure occurs on the feywild. As to more specifics? 4th edition books make the Fomorians very important in what they call the feydark, so perhaps entering a cavern causes one to enter the feydark through a fey crossing (one of the common natural areas where the boundaries between the prime and the feywild can be crossed.) To add some definite evil creatures beyond fey and fomorians to the mix, have the cavern connected to Brokenstone Vale, an area described in a few fourth-edition sourcebooks as a region of the feywild taken over by lycanthropes. Although the Long Night (the area ruled by the prince of Frost” is also a good location for evil fey, He is also described as still being an enemy of the evil giants so having them so close to him might not be the best idea as although he might be a target, warping him would not seem to be much of a problem for the PCs as he is a deeply evil archfey.
- The enemies.
Foremost among the enemies would be fomorians. As they are roughly equivalent in strength to frost or fire giants, you should probably use them in similar numbers and density to make the adventure manageable for your players. As to what else you could throw at them. Being in the feywild and dealing with Fomorians would probably mean many evil fey would be involved in this adventure as well as their creations. Probably a frontal defense of scarecrows and frontal vanguards and spies that are quicklings (Volo’s Guide to monsters) would be a good way to start. Volo’s Guide to Monsters provides many good options for evil fey, including 2 new kinds of hags, meanlocks, redcaps, and boogles among others. Some of those creatures are more lair-based so having the dungeon as a sort of confused network of caverns would allow the players while trying to navigate running into various encounters. Possibly the capture of eladrin elves (DMG) or good or benign fey such as pixies or sprites would also allow for friendly interactions in this one. Also, if you follow my advice of sticking the caverns in Brokenstone, virtually any lycanthrope could work here, though as Fomorians are bad enough, you might want to avoid the stronger ones such as werebears unless you are using good-aligned ones (the Monster Manual opens the possibility for occasional evil werebears that would probably be common in Brokenstone Vale.) In the central area of the caverns also a coven of hags might be a good option. Annis hags, or Green hags are probably most appropriate based on Brokenstone’s geography, with Green hags probably making up at least 2 of the coven that could work with the Fomorians as 2 or more Annis hags would be too difficult for the party to contend with.
- The leadership:
In 4e, Thrumbolg (A Fomorian King) was stated to be an archfey. However, as monsters were classified in 4e under a different system with Fomorians being fey humanoids with the giant subtype while the modern ones are simply giants, that may or may not be canon any longer. Whether it is or not, bringing a member of the Fomorian royal family would be an interesting shift. Thrumbolg, whether he is an archfey or not is too powerful for the party. He also does not have a son as he slew him to prevent himself from being slain according to a prophecy he heard. However, perhaps he has adopted foster children. Celtic lore is largely the inspiration for the fomorians of D&D and in that culture adoption of foster children is common. Therefore, We will create a foster daughter for Thrumbolg and we’ll call her Vuldre. She has taken it upon herself to prove herself worthy of the fomorian throne by actually using the evil eye to ruin one of the fey she so intensely hates. Give her a few levels in wizard or make her an archfey warlock with some of the creepier warlock invocations or reskin ones to show the darker nature of fomorian magic, and then unleash her against the party. Giving her better armor, charisma, intelligence, or higher hp are all good starts for creating her, or perhaps use a mix of these. Perhaps even she could be negotiated with or the players might not fight with her directly, just drifting into the caverns, stealing, and then running, it’s all up to you.
I hope this is enough to get your campaign expanded and whether you choose to use it or not, or you use it either with or without “Storm King’s Thunder.” I hope you enjoyed your time with the ugly giants.
About the author:
Zachary is one of the DMs of “The companions of the Perception Check .” He is blind and loves classic lit and bad sci-fi and horror flicks. He lives with his two rats and two dogs. He was recently given recognition as the world’s smallest fomorian.