Out Of The Abyss

Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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Velkynvelve - Jailbreak! (Pt 1)
11/04/2015

Our brave adventurers have found themselves prisoners of the drow, chained up inside a slave pen in the drow outspost known as Velkynvelve.

They are not alone, either. The other prisoners are a motley crew of races native to the surface world, and to the Underdark as well. Tensions ran high until Stool, a myconid sprout, released a cloud of rapport spores, allowing everyone to communicate telepathically.

This introduced a whole new dynamic to the team, who now had to hold conversations with kuo-toa, orcs, derro, and drow. Fortunately, they were all able to put aside their differences and work together to plan an escape.

And plan they did!

Their first attempt was stymied when they realized that perhaps waging a full-scale assault on a fortified drow compound while shackled and having no equipment was unwise. This decision was mainly experienced by those people who didn’t grasp the concept that the drow are not in the business of being nice.

Afterwards, some scouting and reconnaissance came into play. Our intrepid heroes learned more of the layout of the compound, and got a better sense of where they were. This also involved two very important discoveries:

1) There is a degree of tension and dissatisfaction among some of the more powerful drow at the outpost, as Asha did not seem to care that slaves were plotting to escape.
2) Drow do not like thieves, and spider eyes made of gemstones are sometimes cursed.

And as luck would have it, one nearly love-struck adventurer was able to persuade Jorlan to help them in their escape plans. Jorlan told them he would leave the gate unlocked during a guard change, and create a distraction long enough for them to sneak out.

This led to their second escape attempt, which was shut down harshly by Sorn, a drow elite who all but forced them to call him “Daddy”. However, a courageous adventurer was able to sneak into the armory and gather some of the drow’s armaments and outfit the team; single-handedly providing our heroes with an actual chance at survival while they huddled in a cave like frightened, beaten sheep.

As another day approached, the heroes were split into another work detail. This afforded them another opportunity to plan. One hero was punched in the face after trying to play therapist to a quaggoth (for some baffling reason), and another freed himself from his chains in the den with the quaggoths (for some other, additionally baffling reason).

As the situation got out of hand, Kelanu was the first to truly realize that the drow were no longer playing games. After being struck down (in one blow) by a drow warrior for insolence, Mistress Ilvara prepared to have him thrown to the spiders. Things looked dire for the water genasi and our heroes.

Suddenly, demons!

A wave of demons came flying into the cavern. The drow were forced to ignore the adventurers and other prisoners as they dealt with the demon attack. Our heroes took that time to break free and cut a swath of violent vengeance through the Velkynvelve.

Driven by hunger, they were able to make their way into the main hall, and found a supply of rations. But there was a drow there, as well. He bargained for his life, telling them they could make their way to the cavern floor using the lift by one of the guard towers. Before they could subdue him, he cast darkness and fled; once again leaving our adventurers standing about like so much confused cattle.

This presents out heroes with new options, and a quandary: Are they to take the advice of the acid-scarred Jorlan, and try to make their way back to the armory, drop down to the spider webs, and then into the pool below? Or are they try to operate the lift in the middle of combat, and hope they are not cut down by the drow…or the demons?

Our heroes are currently in this hall, but they are badly wounded and nearly out of resources. Demons are flying outside, and the drow are still everywhere. As they take a moment to catch their breath, some of the more perceptive ones fear that they can hear the sounds of leather boots approaching their position….


Players: Glenn, Ara, Fan Fan, Luth, Kelanu, Chryso

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With:

Drow

  • Honemmeth
  • Imbros
  • Jevan

Drow Elite

  • Nym

Giant Spiders

  • Peter
  • Parker
  • Webster

Quaggoth

  • Cornelius
  • Handsome Jack

Potentiality For Death Based On Current Situation: High. Really, really high.

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Velkynvelve - Jailbreak! (Pt 2)
11/11/2015

Our brave adventurers were still huddled in the mess hall, discussing their plans for freedom. What path would they take? Who could they trust? Jorlan, the acid-scarred (but still quite handsome in profile, if certain half elves are to be believed) dark elf who implied he would assist them by leaving the gate open? Or the dark elf who was bargaining for his life, pointing to the first thing he could see before fleeing under the cover of magic induced darkness? Surely, both the man with nothing to gain and the main desperately trying to stay alive would have equal encouragement to tell them the truth. Otherwise, they would be fools to entertain the suggestion that this desperate, scheming dark elf could have easily made up on the spot order to avoid being run through.

As they continued to ponder over their options, they remained in the mess hall, for some reason. And within moments, they were encountered by a contingent of drow. Drow that included among their ranks Sorn, the elite warrior that single-handedly dismantled their earlier escape attempt with unparalleled combat prowess. And he was not alone!

Sorn called to them, telling him that surrender at this point was pointless. He was done playing games, and promised he would leave their entrails spilled upon the floor. One bold adventurer called out to Sorn, proposing to challenge him in one-on-one combat. Much to his dismay, he found out that Sorn was true to his word.

Suddenly, darkness!

The drow cast Darkness spells on their daggers, and one by one, threw them in the mess hall. Soon, the place was shrouded in absolute midnight. The heavy footfalls of drow in leather boots filled the room, as did the low growls of angered quaggoth. Sorn was not alone.

“Drow! To arms! Spider’s Web!” Sorn’s command echoed in the mess hall, and sound of hand crossbows being drawn back mixed with practiced footfalls and unsheathed shortswords. The smell of drow poison filled the room, mixing with the aromas of salted meat, dried fruits, and spices from the provisions in the mess hall.

The day might have been lost, and our adventurers forced to actually call Sorn “Daddy” this time had not one enterprising warlock summoned an imp. An imp, with eyes unimpeded by this magical darkness. An imp who sent telepathic messages to its master, pinpointing the drow locations; messages then relayed to the rest of the team.

The resulting battle was not the slaughter the drow had envisioned. For with the superior numbers of our fleeing prisoners, aided by the Devil Sight of the imp, they were able to defend themselves against the superior training and armaments of the drow.

One bold fighter called out to Sorn for a duel in the midst of the fray, then tripped over his own shoes before Sorn could answer. As Sorn sneered and moved in for the kill, the fighter skillfully deflected the death strike, and left the drow elite wide open to another attack.

As the numbers of the drow were whittled down, Sorn surrendered. He offered them safe passage out of the Velkynvelve in exchange for his life. They agreed, and led him out of the mess hall.

Sorn glanced at Sarith, asking him a question in elvish. In reply, Sarith approached their bargaining chip, slitting his throat with a short sword and holding him by the head over the edge of the path. As a restrained Sorn thrashed in his death throes, our noble adventurers watched this spectacle like so much confused cattle. Sarith tossed his body over the edge, saying it would be food for giant spiders.

What must be going through the minds of our adventurers? Sarith had just executed a restrained prisoner in cold blood, that was true, but…had he done that to keep the giant spiders occupied so our heroes could move through the webs below unimpeded? Or had he done that because Sorn had suggested something in Sarith’s past? And what did they think of the display of Ront, pulling out the eye of that drow corpse and offering it to Gruumsh? Or Buppido, slicing open the organs of yet another dark elf?

And what of the rest of the outpost? There are regions of it they haven’t explored. This may be their last opportunity to do so, and they may find treasures of the drow, other prisoners…or more deadly traps.

And what of Ilvara? Surely she would notice their absence, and our heroes know they have no chance facing off against her in combat. And her entourage. They had found out (quite painfully, for one of them) where Shoor’s loyalties lie, but what of Asha? And the half-handsome Jorlan?

As they ponder their next course of action, they seem to have [somehow] nearly forgotten the event that precipitated their escape. What of the demons flying overhead? As more and more drow fall to our heroes, would the demons become more of a threat?

And as more drow fall, their Dancing Lights fall with them. Soon, the cavern would become pitch black again, with any light immediately alerting the drow to their position. Drow that had fended off an attack from demons would be powerful drow indeed.

It was going to be a long walk back to the guard tower Jorlan had mentioned, and they were guided by the sounds of running water and the rapidly fading lights in the cavern. They were so distracted and focused on escape that they would hardly notice a demon that had noticed them….
_____

Players: Ara, Chryso, Fan Fan, Glenn, John Willow, Kelanu, Luth, Nordafrost

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With

Drow

  • Balok
  • Bemeril
  • Guldor

Drow Elite

  • Sorn

Quaggoth

  • Bartholomew
  • Maximilian

Experience gained: 178

Potentiality For Entire Group To Be Re-Captured, Beaten, Submitted To Agonizing Torture And Horrendous Death At The Hands Of The Drow: Entirely at the DM’s discretion

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Velkynvelve - Jailbreak! (Part 3)
11/18/2015

Our brave adventurers have limped out of the mess hall, wounded and frayed down to the nerve. The lights were fading in the outpost as the drow fell against the demons, and against our heroes. They were suddenly struck by the grim realization that the noise from the demons was growing fainter and fainter, which meant they were being dealt with. And after the drow had dealt with the demons….

Sorn’s words still echoed in their minds. “I am done playing games with you. You will die here.” And though Sorn was the one who had been executed in cold blood by one of their companions, they were feeling the pressure.

They headed towards the nearest shelter they could find, narrowly avoiding a demon corpse that had dropped from the sky. (Most of them, anyway, one of their group was not what we would call “nimble”.)

Unfortunately for our adventurers, the shelter they found housed yet another drow elite, and his quaggoth attendant. He was not there when they arrived, but they could hear his footsteps getting closer as he descended down to their level. They knew they could barely survive another fight with a quaggoth, much less one of the hand-picked elite warriors of this outpost. And though our adventurers had superior numbers, the raw power of that drow could easily overwhelm them, even though they all tackled him as soon as he entered the room. It looked as though this drow elite would deliver on what Sorn had prophesied.

Suddenly, liquor!

One adventurer cleverly remembered that he had found a bottle of incredibly strong, incredibly sweet, incredibly syrupy blue liquor. Drawing on his past as a potato-peeling cook on a ship, he recalled that for the most part, elves cannot hold their liquor. And he gambled that this elf was no exception. It was a high risk, high reward gambit: If this drow behaved like most drow, he would be pleasantly poisoned for hours. If he behaved like a dwarf, then things would come to a horrific and bloody end. Tensions were high.

But the monk had guessed correctly! The drow elite, pride of the Velkynvelve, servant of Lolth, was rendered into nothing more than a bumbling fumbling sot at some backwater bar in Mumford.

Though our adventurers may not have expressed it, they know they owe a great debt to that monk; so much so that they will completely overlook the fact that that liquor could have netted them 10 gold.

They were able to easily dispatch the quaggoth, but not without one of their own taking some injury. Prince Derendil was injured in the battle, and in a shocking display, he pounced on the drunken drow and began feasting on his throat. It wasn’t until he was physically removed that he lamented he was losing himself to the curse he had been placed under.

Buppido then began to mutter “Dinkarazan” again, and started that process of eviscerating corpses and rearranging their organs; however, at this point, no one was in the mood for his shenanigans. He was forcibly removed and taken with the group to continue their escape.

Our adventurers had opted for Jorlan’s plan, leaping to the webs below the slave pen and dropping to the pool below. The giant spiders had not attacked them as they made their way through the gargantuan canopy of webs…perhaps Sarith was right in slitting Sorn’s throat and tossing his corpse to the spiders.

As another demon fell from the heights of Velkynvelve, our adventurers recalled that their was a grey ooze in the pool, but it was harmless unless disturbed. They made it a point to not disturb it.

The ooze had its own agenda, though, and with a cry of “Flesh For The Faceless Lord”, it attacked them. It was defeated, but this called into question Sarith’s knowledge of this place…or his motivations. It also damaged the armor and greatsword of one of our heroes, but it did allow Fan Fan to teach them a valuable lesson: You can indeed punch a grey ooze in the face.

Sadly, the time spent dealing with the ooze allowed the remaining drow to catch up with them. They descended upon our heroes from spider-silk zip-lines, peppering them with hand crossbow bolts while moving to engage them. Curiously, the giant spiders they had with them ignored every other escaping slave and went straight for Jimjar. After a brief confrontation, it was revealed that Jimjar was not above pocketing those polished jet eyes another one of our heroes had also had her eye on.

The drow and their giant spiders were dispatched. And while our heroes tried to laugh off Jimjar’s theft, they ultimately realized it was a reckless, dangerous, completely unnecessary risk that jeopardized the well-being of the group. And was Jimjar going to share the wealth? Can they truly trust him?

They were unable to discuss that, because they heard Buppido mutter something about a divine offering, and saw him raise a crossbow to the skies. They let him fire (for some odd reason), and a vrock demon came careening down to the cavern floor below. It let out an ear-splitting screech that stunned nearly all of our heroes…save one monk. A monk, who challenged and defeated a vrock in one-on-one combat.

As our heroes regained their senses and composure, a sound was heard from the shadows. Ara turned to see the half-handsome face of Jorlan, who had held true to his word. She approached him, smiling, seeking to thank him. Jorlan did not return the smile, said nothing, and raised a hand crossbow and leveled it at her head. It was only the quick reaction of Sarith that spared our infatuated warlock a poisoned crossbow bolt to the head. Sarith pulled Ara aside, then used the momentum to pivot off her shoulder and kick Jorlan in the face. As he fell, Sarith pulled her to the rest of the group, cutting off her next works with a harsh phrase in Elvish: Khaless nau uss (“Trust no one”.).

With the drow defeated, the party had a clear path to an exit from the Velkynvelve. They knew the north path led to Menzoberranzan, the Drow City of Spiders. The south path was too far from where they were, so they headed west. For the first time in days, they could feel a sense of hope.

The nightmare was over.

The thunderous voice of Mistress Ilvara of the House of Mizzrym told them otherwise. “How dare you?” Her voice echoed throughout the cavern, and as our heroes looked up, they could see her floating towards them. Dancing lights illuminated their position, though she could seem them even in absolute darkness. “You have the gall to oppose me? Ignorant cattle!” A swarm of biting, stinging insects appeared in the passageway, creating a living, carnivorous cloud between them and freedom.

Shoor could be heard, as well. It was then that Jimjar warned the group to drop. As they did, the viscid glob he shot at them sailed harmlessly overhead until it hit the insects, trapping them within it.

Wasting no time, our heroes pushed past the insect cloud…it was then that the dwarves in the party noticed a crack in the rock above them. With enough damage, they could trigger a cave in that would hold off the drow.

It was a race against time as our heroes, exhausted, spent, but determined began firing attack after attack at the weak point in the ceiling. Ilvara continued her descent, her fingers moving in delicate somatic patterns as she beseeched Lolth for aid in teaching these ignorant surface dwellers the price of defiance.

Closer…closer…the air around her starting to hum…

…and then, our heroes were able to trigger the rockslide. It only lasted for a few seconds, but it seemed like an eternity. Nearly two tons of rubble stood between our heroes and the Velkynvelve. The drow had been stopped.

Our heroes…were finally free.

…in the Underdark.


(End of Chapter 1)

Players: Fan Fan, Chryso, John Willow, Nordafrost

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With

Drow

  • Malagar
  • Nadal
  • “Skip”

Drow Elite

  • Kalannar

Quaggoth

  • Constantinius

Giant Spiders

  • Charlotte
  • Anansi

Others

  • Vrock (1)
  • Grey Ooze (1)

Experience Gained: 302
Renown Gained: 1
Downtime Gained: 10 Days

Potentiality For Group To Come To The Distressing Realization That They Are More Or Less Lost In The Underdark: Certain.

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Sweet Freedom! "Day" 1
11/25/2015

Our brave adventurers have finally escaped the slave outpost, leaving their inhospitable host and the rest of her drow trapped behind tons of rubble. Frayed to the nerve, broken, bloodies, but with genuine hope, our adventurers took a well-earned and much needed rest.

Upon awakening, they were quite suddenly face-to-face with the reality that not a single one of them had the faintest idea of where to go, how to get there, or even where they were. They were forced to consult with their own companions, the motley crew they had escaped with. But who among them could be trusted?

Eldeth let them know that she was unfamiliar with this region of the Underdark, though added as a seasoned scout she could certainly pull her weight in terms of survival. Jimjar, too, did not know where he was exactly, nor did Shuushar or Stool. Topsy & Turvy similarly reported being lost. That left…the others.

The ones still covered in blood from the escape, and not from combat: Buppido, Ront, Derendil, and Sarith.

Neither Ront nor Derendil knew anything about where they were. Buppido could navigate back to Gracklstugh, but only from The Darklake. That left…Sarith. The drow. Not surprisingly, it turned out that he could navigate through the Underdark, and would allow these “surface dwellers” to accompany him. But to where?

Sarith wished to head towards the Neverlight Grove, to take up Stool’s promise of sanctuary and hospitality that the myconids would provide. Jimjar mentioned that a path to the surface could be found from Blingdenstone, a svirfneblin city. Buppido claimed that a path could also be found to the surface from Gracklstugh, the duergar city. They could also acquire more provisions, as well. Jimjar, though, pointed out that the gray dwarves were just as likely to enslave our heroes as help them. Shuushar suggested heading to the Darklake and visiting the kuo-toa settlement of Sloobludop. Boats could be acquired there, and Shuushar assured our adventurers that he can navigate the Darklake like a fish. He also wanted to spread his message of enlightenment to his fellow kuo-toa.

Ultimately – after much bickering – it was decided that the wisest course of action would be to head towards the Darklake. It was the closest destination, and it provided the most options as far as travel was concerned. Sarith agreed to guide them there.

Suddenly, rats!

While making their way through the Underdark, our brave adventurers were ambushed by not one, not two, but three swarms of rats. Swarms that seemed to be looking for something. No…not looking.

Listening.

…in the absence of whatever (or whomever) it is that they were listening for, they grew agitated. They attacked our heroes. But three swarms of rats were no match for our rested and revitalized adventurers (that incident with the torch notwithstanding).

After dispatching those rats (their only crime was a love of music), our heroes pressed on. Oddly enough, they came across some lights shining off the beaten path. Boldly, they decided to investigate, because light in the Underdark is always worth investigating. Following the lights, they were led to a small set of ruins. Duergar ruins, lit with torches.

…torches?

In a twist, it turns out that some human bandits had come across these same ruins, and were looking for treasure. Our adventurers encountered them, but violence did not actually ensue. The bandits looked tired, as though they were not truly in the mood to fight. It was a tense, delicate situation that looked as though it could have ended without bloodshed.

Then, for reasons all his own, one adventurer aimed a longbow at one of the bandits. Naturally, as any fool could predict, combat ensued.

During combat, the bandit leader emerged from a tent, a mad look in his eyes. He then screamed and collapsed to the ground. There was a horrifying noise, and then his skull actually popped open, revealing his brain…which began to move. It then leapt out of his head, and it had legs. After steeling themselves against such a horrific encounter and recovering from this initial shock, our heroes were able to triumph over that…aberration.

Not surprisingly, the bandits did not wish to fight or do anything but just leave. Wisely, our heroes allowed them, and they left in peace.

Our heroes resumed their journey, triumphant, but having a difficult time quelling a nagging thought: This was just their first day in the Underdark. What kind of horrors awaited them?

What horrors, indeed?


Players: Jobe, VĂ rdos, Renee, Alexander, John Willow

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With

Swarm of Rats – 3

Bandits

  • Markos
  • Jeremy
  • Alice
  • Brian
  • Fast Jack
  • Slow Jack

Bandit Captain/Intellect Devourer
*Enrique/Doakes

Experience Gained: 150

Potentiality For Sarith To Betray Group And Leave Them To Die, Terrified And Alone In Some Godforsaken Cavern Huddled Together For Warmth And Waiting On A Sunrise That Will Never Come: What, a drow betray surface dwellers? Never happen.

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Sweet Freedom! "Day" 2: Out of the Frying Pan
12/02/2015

Our brave adventurers have continued their trek through the Underdark. Never has a place more lived up to its name. The darkness is unending, and ages have passed since they have felt the warmth of the sun upon their aching backs and shoulders.

Sarith, leading the party, has insisted on traveling in darkness. In his own words, “I don’t know what it’s like where you come from, surface-dweller. But this is the Underdark. This place hunts light.” Despite his gruff demeanor, our heroes were forced to acknowledge that he does have a point. The Underdark does not suffer guests well, and light sources clearly mark you as an outsider.

This was all the more reason that it was so peculiar that they came across a cavern that seemed to be emitting a bright source of light on its own. Knowing that things that give off light in the Underdark are to be investigated, our intrepid heroes stepped into the cavern.

They discovered the source of the light (shortly after a cleric shoot magic into the empty cavern for some odd reason). Crystals. Crystals that were glowing with light of their own. As they watched in surprise and amazement, one hero noticed Sarith narrow his eyes, and utter a single word under his breath: Faerzress

One adventurer attempted to harvest one of the crystals, to take on their journey. After striking one of the crystals, it exploded in a brilliant flash of light, blinding him and perhaps teaching him a valuable lesson about striking things.

However, our heroes reasoned that having crystals that can explode in a brilliant flash of light when struck can perhaps prove useful, especially in combat. They were able to harvest 12 of them in total.

Suddenly, rocktopus!

Disturbed by the noise and sudden flash of light, a giant octopus approached and attacked our heroes. But this was no ordinary octopus! It had evolved over time to survive on land, and it moved amongst stone as freely as its kin could move upon the sea.

No, not an octopus…but a rocktopus!

But it turns out that our heroes weren’t going to be pulled down by some mutated mollusk, either by land or by sea! They took to task, and were able to take down that rowdy rocktopus.

However, they noticed that this rocktopus had friends that seemed to be approaching. Wisely, they opted to leave that cavern.

While continuing down the path, they soon found themselves in the presence of an enormous amount of bones. Humanoid, and otherwise. It was impossible to gauge how many bones there were, or how long they had been there.

But there were bones, and apparently, waste-not, want-not. Our heroes were able to craft some usable tools and weapons from those bones. On a related note, they were also able to disturb the final resting place of some of those bones, and were summarily attacked by skeletons.

Skeletons which were, thanks to our heroes, put back to rest.

Afterwards, our adventurers decided they needed a rest of their own. After a discussion (for some baffling reason), they decided not to rest in the giant boneyard, and found a safe, secure place to make camp.

When they woke up, Topsy & Turvy were gone.

There appeared to be no sign of struggle. After some discussion, Eldeth agreed to track them down. The rest of our heroes pressed on, deeper into the Underdark.


Players: Jobe, Samadora, visitors

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With:

  • Giant Rocktopus
  • Skeletons – 6

Experience Gained: 125

Potentiality For This To Be The First Part Of A Slow Demise To Attrition In This Place Where Light Fears To Tread: And then, there were seven.

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Sweet Freedom! "Day" 3 - Something's Rotten In The State Of The Underdark
12/09/2015

Our brave adventurers continue to press on through the Underdark, hoping to make their way to their destination of The Darklake, and ultimately, the surface. However, setting out this day – as if one can truly measure days in this place that sunlight has forsaken – was far different than any others. For our heroes had discovered that some of the prisoners they had escaped from the Velkynvelve with were—missing! Topsy & Turvy had vanished, and they had sent Eldeth to track them down. The dwarf assured them she would scour the regions for them, but pressed our heroes on.

It was, oddly, Jimjar who stated the uncomfortable fact that perhaps the twins did not wish to be found.

After a chance encounter with a group of wandering bards (one wonders how they wandered into the Underdark) involving arrows and poisoned crossbow bolts, Sarith continued guiding the party through the twisting tunnels and winding paths in the Underdark. Before much time had passed, though, our adventurers had their olfactory senses violated by the most horrific stench any of them had ever encountered, ever.

For reasons that will surely die with them, they decided to continue towards that horrific odor.

It was then that they came to the source of that fantastically fetid fetor: A bubbling, oozing pit of muck that stretched as far as the eye could see, and contained pungent aromas that would have most men praying for death. It was through this pit that they may have found a way to the surface, though one suspects they were perhaps reconsidering if the sun was truly that important to them.

It was. They bravely pressed on, feeling the silt and muck and other filth (there were things in that bubbling muck far worse than “mud”) seep through their armor, through their clothes, and onto their bodies. Some of them were so distracted by this that they dropped their guard. But three of them had a perception that seemed to come from the divine will of the gods, and could see that they were watched. By hideous, foul creatures that seemed to even enjoy the funk of the pit. Grimloks.

Grimloks that – guided by the preternatural senses of those esteemed three – were no match for our heroes! They were swiftly overcome…and then, for reasons that one can only attribute to adapting to one’s locale, their bodies were desecrated.

As they continued down the path, our heroes once again encountered a cavern that seemed lit by an otherwordly force, a magic Jobe correctly identified as faerzress. And in this cavern, there were several large mushrooms. Mushrooms that could serve as food for our heroes, as they had nearly exhausted the rations they had procured from the Velkynvelve.

But were the mushrooms edible? Safe? Because one mushroom stopped glowing as soon as it was touched, something that most would interpret as a sign that there was more to meet the eye with these fantastic fungi. But one adventurer threw caution to the wind and attempted to uproot a mushroom for reasons one can only attribute to madness.

This particular mushroom, though, was known as Timmask, “the devil’s mushroom”. Uprooting this mushroom released a cloud of poison that befuddled the senses of some of our heroes. These heroes were detained until the fog of confusion left them, and the rest of the group continued to harvest what they could.

Suddenly, sentience!

Upon touching one mushroom, four of our heroes were greeted by a mushroom that touched them back! Malevolently, as they had encountered a mushroom that had been transformed by the magic of the Underdark into a vicious thing. They scarcely had an opportunity to recover from that shock before the mushroom next to it let loose an ear-piercing shriek that echoed throughout the caverns.

Our heroes swarmed to attack the mushrooms that had attacked them. Our adventurers had matters well in hand…

…and then, the goblins arrived.

Goblin bandits attracted by the sounds of a screaming mushroom set upon our heroes, murder in their evil, twisted goblin hearts. A fierce battle ensued, but in the end, our stalwart adventurers were able to hold their own against a contingent of goblin ambushers and some maniacal mushrooms.

After the battle, our heroes staggered away from the mushroom field, searching for an area to lick their wounds and recover. They stumbled across a cave and opted to set up camp to end the day. As they drifted off into sleep, one wonders if they illumination of the faerzress around them allowed them to notice the look Sarith gave them, or if they recalled Sarith’s earlier remarks that faerzress had odd effects on magic….


Players: Jobe, John Willow, Vermis, Quiddy, Monticus

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With:

  • Grimlock – 4
  • Violet Fungus
  • Shrieker
  • Goblins – 4
  • Goblin Boss – 1

Experience Gained: 132

Potentiality For Ill Effects To Spring Upon The Party After Resting So Close To A Goblin Ambush In An Area With Magic Mushrooms: Oh, that would never happen.

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Sweet Freedom! "Day" 4 - Caveat Heros (Part I)
12/16/2015

Our brave adventurers woke up from their rest, refreshed, revived, and ready to start their trek back through the twisting caverns of the Underdark on their way to the Darklake. After their previous encounter with a group of angry goblins and angrier mushrooms, they were anxious to set off.

However, almost as soon as they arose, they found that their minds recalled the dreams they had the night before. Horrific, unnatural things, visions of maggots and mushrooms and bloodlust. Savagery that assaulted the mind, body, and soul. And in the cavern dimly lit by the magical energy known as faerzress, our heroes had to steel themselves against a wave of madness that swept over them. Some of them were able to withstand it, while some of them ended up eating dirt and thinking they were giant-sized.

After recovering from this event, our heroes gathered themselves to start their journey. It was then that a brusque encounter with an angry orc led to two troubling discoveries. 1) The group had lost their ability to communicate telepathically with each other, and 2) Both Stool and Sarith were missing. They were no where to be found, having disappeared much like Topsy & Turvy.

One keen-eyed adventurer was eventually able to locate their trail. Our heroes set off to find both their group translator, and the only one who could guide them through the Underdark. Along the way, they ran into a drow trading party. This group of dark elves expressed some curiosity as to what led such a motley crew to the depths of the Underdark, and it seemed like he could see through their clumsy lies about where they came from. However, one bard soothed one of them over with a cantrip that he felt sure would have absolutely no lasting actions or consequences whatsoever. The trader told them where to go, and all but insisted they take a halfling with them.

As they followed the path, our heroes came upon a cavern lit with softly glowing mushrooms, and warmed by geothermal vents. There was a hot spring there, and after their earlier journey, they were eager to step into the pool and clean some of the muck off of them. They were able to relax…so much so that they did not notice the group of steam mephits that were flitting about. And even though those impish steam creatures attacked our adventurers while they had been completely unawares (most of them not even wearing armor), our bold adventurers were nonetheless triumphant.

As they took a moment to recover their breath and patch up their wounds, one plucky adventurer opted to continue on by himself. He was on a quest to find his new friend and idol, Sarith, and nothing was going to stand in his way: Not steam mephits, not a complete and utter ignorance of which way the trail led, and not even an complete inability to see anything at all in the darkness ahead of him. Caution be damned, Sarith was missing.

Suddenly, mold!

The rest of our adventurers were alerted to John Willow’s departure by his sudden pained and contorted scream. Following his trail, they found him unconscious, and shivering with cold. Viewing their surroundings, they discovered that he had been a victim of brown mold, an insidious heat devouring natural phenomenon. It took some coaxing and experimentation (including the discovery that fire only made this mold stronger), but our heroes were able to rescue their companion and bypass the treacherous yet immobile mold.

They were also able to revive John Willow, who rose shakily to his feet. In poor health, but conscious.

Shortly after this encounter, Eldeth returned to the group, thought without Topsy & Turvy. She told them that she did not think they wanted to be found, and she could find no trace of their tracks. She also told our adventurers that they, themselves, left a fairly obvious trail to follow; something that perhaps should have weighed more heavily on their minds than it did.

They continued, however, and they eventually found Sarith and Stool. Our heroes demanded immediate answers from the dark elf regarding his unexplained departure, and his kidnapping of Stool.

Sarith reminded them that he had told them not to tarry in regions of the Underdark suffused with faerzress. He then pointedly reminded them that he was neither their lackey nor their ward. He was the one guiding them through the Underdark, not the other way around. He had told them he was going to take Stool back to the Neverlight Grove, and he had no intention on waiting for soft surface-dwellers to acclimate themselves to the Underdark.

And while one of our adventurers looked upon his stern visage with a look not unlike that another one frequently gave to another drow, the others looked Sarith over for signs of madness. They found none.

It turned out that Sarith was simply being Sarith.

He told them he was going to continue heading out. Stool released rapport spores again, allowing for telepathic communication amongst the group. It turns out that Ront’s earlier aggression was based on hunger. They had already exhausted the provisions they had acquired while escaping the Velkynvelve, and hunger was beginning to take its toll on the group. Some rations were shared, but our stalwart adventurers began to wonder if this was just the beginning of a far more serious issue as they pressed on.

These concerns were quickly brushed aside, however, as the unmistakable stench of death filled the room in one of the passages they were traveling through. Death, blood, and the distinct sound of giggling. Straining their eyes, they saw a pack of gnolls butchering a large creature they could only describe as an “Undercow”.

Given the size of the gnoll pack and their own strained resources, our heroes began to avoid the demonic hyena-men…until John Willow raised his longbow at them and readied an arrow.

Before he could react, Sarith drew his own weapon and cut John’s bowstring, rendering his weapon completely useless. Sarith hissed his final warning at the fighter: “Are you trying to get us killed? Be silent, and move.”

Our human fighter was not going to take this from an elf that he idolized, so he screamed something at the top of his lungs. The rest of our adventurers wisely sought cover, but John Willow remained where he was: Weakened, blind, wounded, with a corroded greatsword, broken longbow, and now the center of attention.

John Willow was predictably cut down in a hail of arrows.

As our heroes watched this massacre, Jimjar told them that there was a chance that they might be able to save him…but it was risky, involved putting themselves in grave peril, and depended entirely on what the gnolls were going to do in the next 12 seconds.

John Willow’s life hangs in the balance.


Players: Wimia, John Willow, Jobe Cainian, Quiddie, Monticus

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With:

  • Steam Mephit – 4
  • Gnolls – 5

Obstacles Overcome:

  • Brown Mold

Experience Gained: 220

Potentiality For The Next Sequence Of Events Involving A Harrowing Rescue Of A Reckless Adventurer To Be Incredibly Dangerous And The Precursor To Events That Will Reach A Terrifying Crescendo Of Melodrama: I think we all know that’s going to happen.

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Sweet Freedom! "Day" 4 - Caveat Heros (Part II: Yuletide Fear)
12/23/2015

Our brave adventurers had something of a quandary before them. What to do in regards to the fallen John Willow? Surely, they wouldn’t abandon their companion and leave him tot he mercies of demon-crazed gnolls who had been whipped into a bloodlust by the “Undercow” they were feasting on.

I mean, that would be a dick move, adventurers.

Surprisingly, the general consensus was to abandon John Willow and save themselves. Sarith – being Sarith – was all for that idea. Buppido, too, had no major objections to this course of action. And even Ront appeared to grudinginly agree withi this plan. Shuushar, the peaceful kuo-toa hermit and Derendil, the polymorphed quaggoth/gold elf prince seemed as though they were upset with this course of action.

Eldeth and Jimjar, however, explicitly told our heroes that they were not going to leave a comrade behind. And if the adventurers wouldn’t help, they would rescue him themselves.

…there seemed to be more than a hint of a threat in that comment, and it seemed to remind our heroes that they should not let the inhumanity of this place rob them of their own humanity. Besides, dwarves don’t abandon their allies.

Our adventurers, having rediscovered their balls fortitude, went about the task of saving John Willow. They came up with a plan using the innate stealth capacities of some of their more nimble allies in concert with the unparalleled darkvision of another. As they approached John Willow – and the gnolls – they discovered the latter were so wholly distracted by their feasting on their subterranean snack that they scarcely noticed the adventurers as they approached.

Imagine that.

As they moved closer, though, one of the advance party saw the grisly scene for the first time: The yipping, giggling, blood-crazed gnolls feasting on that bovine creature. And the horrific sound of rending flesh, crunching bone, and the thick and heavy smell of blood in the air proved to be too much for one wood elf. For as he locked eyes with the Undercow and saw his suffering, he found himself afflicted with madness.

This presented a new challenge for our heroes. They had to rescue their fallen companion, but they also had to rescue the useless, gibbering fool that wood elf had become. Jimjar pointed out the irony in this situation, as that wood elf had been one of the strongest proponents of the “Abandon our ally” scenario.

As they moved to recover both companions, one of them heard a roar in the distance.

Eventually, though, they were able to recover John Willow. And the elf. But as they moved away, that roar repeated, sounding closer. They thought nothing of it, just anxious to break away from the mad gnolls.

Suddenly, minotaur!

From out of nowhere, a minotaur exploded on the scene, greataxe in hand. With no preamble, the minotaur charged at the gnolls, who were already rushing to attack it. They tore at each other, fang and horn, axe and glaive. The gnolls had the numbers, but the minotaur had the size and strength. The monsters seemed to have all but forgotten our heroes, providing them with a convenient chance to escape.

But let it be known that our heroes were in desperate need for a show, or something; it is difficult to discern precisely what guided their next course of actions. For whatever reason, they stayed to watch the battle between the creatures.

The minotaur tore through the gnolls, then turned its attention to our heroes. One can only wonder what was going through its mind. Bloodlust? Rage? Confusion at the audience that seems to have gathered to watch it like some kind of Underdark Masterpiece Theatre? Whatever was going through its mind, the minotaur wanted one thing to go through the minds of our heroes: A greataxe.

The battle that ensued was vicious and bloody. More than one of our heroes collapsed before the barbaric bovine, but in the end, they were triumphant; though one warlock fell to longbow arrows fired by the (still-living) gnoll because he opted to attempt to remove a piece of the minotaur horn.

Our party fled, and made their way to a relatively safe area of the Underdark. Not since the Velkynvelve have they taken that kind of punishment, and their aching and bloodied bodies were in dire need of repair. After securing their position, they all but collapsed, taking a much needed long rest.

A long rest that passed uneventfully…until they arose. As they stretched their arms and stirred, a sound thundered across the caverns, a familiar voice that immediately made their blood run cold. A voice they immediately recognized, though they could not see the source. Even without seeing it, they could almost feel the disdainful, cruel gaze upon them. Panic gripped their hearts, and their minds were filled only with thoughts of escape. All from two words spoken, for no more were need. Two words, only.

Mistress Illvara said “Ignorant cattle”.


Players: Quiddie, Vardos, Jobe Cainan, Dwight, Wimia

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With:

Minotaur (Minnie) – 1

Experience Gained: 140

Potentiality For This Next Session To End Up With Us Ending The Year With A Bang And Reminding People Just How Dangerous The Underdark Can Be: Boom.

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Sweet Freedom! "Day" 4 - Caveat Heros (Part III: ...2...1...Happy New--Surprise, M--)
12/30/2015

Our brave adventurers are surely wishing they had remained in bed. That is where they could be, dreaming their dreams about returning to the surface world, where the sun could dance on their backs and the wind could play with their hair. They would be safe, there. Secure.

Not where they actually were. Trapped in the Underdark. running low on supplies and morale…and faced with the horrifying realization that Mistress Ilvara of House Mizzrym had found them.

She had found them.

Taking stock of the situation outside of the cave where they had been resting, our heroes realized that some drow scouts – clearly part of an advance party – had them pinned down. The scouts were harassing them with poisoned crossbow bolts. More than one adventurer became afflicted with the virulent drow poison. Then, operating like a well-oiled machine, the drow cast the cave our adventurers had been camping in into total darkness.

As our heroes prepared to fight, the arrival of Mistress Ilvara weighed heavily on their minds. Even the normally non-cooperative Sarith seemed focused on teamwork and defenses.

After quickly dispatching the scouts, our heroes hastily left their previous campgrounds. This was an act of strategy, not cowardice; as Jimjar put it “There’s no way we’re takin’ her on right now. No one would take those odds.”

Rushing quickly through the first caverns they could find, our heroes just as quickly found themselves in a naturally formed corridor that had them in such tight quarters they were forced to move two abreast. Ilvara’s voice could be heard thundering in the stone halls behind them, granting a sense of urgency to their steps. But this urgency came at a price, and they were thus caught unawares as a green slime dropped from the darkened ceiling, landing on an unfortunate tiefling warlock.

As the green slime ate through the chain shirt (and skin, for what it’s worth) of that tiefling, our heroes tried to discern how to save their companion. So much attention was given to the task of doing this, and so preoccupied where they with the ominous spectre of Ilvara that they scarcely noticed that they had attracted the attentions of two gray oozes and an ochre jelly.

But our heroes were nothing if not resourceful. After dealing with and destroying the green slime, they made short work of the ooze creatures that stood before them.

They scarcely had time to celebrate their victory, though. Two of them were struck with poisoned crossbow bolts, one of them was engulfed in sacred flames, faerie fire lit some of them up like some type of grand year ending ball in a square of the times, and their passageway was blockaded by webs that seemed to just spontaneously appear.

Mistress Ilvara was not finished with them. Mistress Ilvara had not even started.

Burning through the webs with a handy torch, our heroes continued their flight. As they continued making their way through the twisting caverns of the Underdark, they came upon a cliff that was spanned by a very old, very unstable-looking rope bridge.

When forced to choose between a rope bridge over a chasm that spanned endless depths of horrors and standing to fight Mistress Ilvara, our heroes made the correct decision, offering a prayer to their gods and crossing that bridge.

Suddenly, piercers!

As they made their way across, they realized that even this would be a simple matter, as piercers disguised as stalactites dropped on them from above. They emitted a horrendous stench when assaulted, something our heroes noticed but weren’t really focused on.

After crossing the last rope bridge, our heroes cut it behind them, sending the frayed fibers free, careening into the stalagmite filled darkness beneath them. As they did this, they stopped for a moment – for just a moment – to see who had been chasing them.

Mistress Ilvara glared at them from across the chasm. As did Asha Vandree, Shoor Vandree, and Jorlan Duskryn. Even from this distance, they could see the poison dripping off of the drow weapons, and the sound of each drop falling onto the cavern floor echoed throughout the area.

But just as our heroes were about to breathe a sigh of relief, they saw the drow raise into the air. They were levitating, all of them. They glided across the expanse, moving slowly, steadily, and unerringly towards our adventurers.

But not swiflty, as our heroes soon realized. With another, far more pressing sense of urgency granting a spring to their step, they hastened away from the floating dark elves, running headlong into the darkness, striving to place as much distance from themselves and their pursuers as possible.

One wonders if our heroes have learned that there are far worse things in the Underdark than the drow.

They will learn.

Soon.


Players: Jobe Cainan, Melech, Torvald, Vardos, Dwight, Dargon, Marlowe

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With:

  • Drow – 4
  • Gray Ooze – 2
  • Ochre Jelly – 1
  • Piercers – 7

Obstacles Overcome

  • Green Slime

Experience Gained: 246

Potentiality For Our Adventurers To Be Harshly Confronted By The Premise That The Myriad Unknown And Unspeakable Dangers In The Underdark MIght Actually Be Worse Than Life As A Drow Slave: The devil you know….

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