Out Of The Abyss

Sweet Freedom! "Day" 6 - 50 Shades Of Underdark
01/13/2016

Our brave adventurers were roused from their rest by the most curious of sources: An imp flying around their cave, trying desperately to get their attention. Fan Fan immediately recognized it as Brie, the familiar Titania had granted to Ara shortly after they escaped Velkynvelve.

What this meant is that Ara was close.

Our heroes hurried to reunite themselves with their missing companion. Even Sarith was willing to take the time to find the half-elf. There was no telling what kind of peril she could be in, alone in the Underdark. Any number of horrific fates could have befallen her, or be set to befall here. The duergar, the drow, quaggoths…the young warlock could be at death’s door. Or, as they grimly noted, crossing the threshold.

In a short time, they found Ara. Standing behind some rocks, her jaw dropped, breathing heavy, and gripping a stone hard enough to leave her knuckles white. As they approached, they noticed the beads of sweat on her forehead and dilation of her pupils. She didn’t even notice their approach, so intensely was she staring ahead.

Our heroes initially suspected some kind of madness had overcome her, until they followed her gaze and saw what had her so singularly focused.

Some 50 feet ahead of them, back to a wall and slightly covered in cuts and bruises? Stood perhaps the most gorgeous man any of them had seen in weeks. Even before entering the Velkynvelve.

And this man was surrounded on all sides by a group of five derro, brandishing their derro weapons and gibbering incoherently.

Ara snapped out of her stupor long enough to give a cursory glance and nod at her companions she had not sen in days before her eyes went back to that man in the distance. She suggested that they aid him for reasons solely related to altruism, and nothing else.

The derro were quickly dealt with by a few well placed sleeping speels. Afterwards, they went to check on this lone figure in the Underdark.

This man introduced himself as Vanael. He thanked them profusely for saving him, and told them his story: He was part of a travel delegation from the Hillsfar region, trying to open up trade with some of the native races of the Underdark; the duergar, in particular. His party had been attacked by a purple worm, and he had been the only survivor. While wandering in these tunnels, he had been attacked by the crazed derro (he tried to hide giving an askance glance at Buppido as he said this).

He mentioned wanting to reach the Darklake. The Darklake From there, he was hoping to reach Gracklstugh or Blingdenstone, and find a way to the surface from there.

Let it not be said that our intrepid heroes are naive. For they checked Vanael’s story even as he spoke. Tarrin, their cleric, noted that his injuries were consistent with his story. Moreover, his equipment and clothing marked him as a scholar, not an explorer. By all accounts, he was telling the truth.

But something still seemed amiss about the character. Eldeth voiced her suspicions first, saying she found it suspect that he seemed to have an answer for every question. She quickly dismissed this, though, as her own paranoia, chiding herself for letting this place and this journey get to her.

But it was clear she still didn’t trust him.

Still, our heroes questioned this tall, dark, and astonishingly handsome stranger. Quiddie pressed him intensely about this background. He mentioned being from the Hillsfar region, and that he was responsible for the exchange of arcana and other magical goods: Scrolls, tomes, amulets, and the like.

While he spoke, Ara noticed his preoccupation with Brie. Eventually, Vanael mentioned how peculiar it was to see an imp that was not quite an imp.

Ara froze, for the first time looking beyond the perfectly chiseled features of Vanael. She quietly addressed the rest of the group, telling them in secret that she had not told him anything about Brie’s true nature: A sprite polymorphed by Titania into an imp, to better survive the rigors of the Underdark.

Before the group could bring any of this up, they were distracted by a sudden intense and continuous bout of screaming. It echoed throughout the cavern they had found themselves within, yet it had no discernible source. This was followed by whispers, then moaning, then gibberish. The cacophony lasted for some time. Jobe questioned Sarith about this, but the drow told him that this was new to him. As the sounds continued unabated, it began to take a toll on our heroes’ sanity, and a few of them were afflicted with madness.

Mercifully, as they continued on, they were eventually free of that cavern, and the sounds. But that still left them with Vanael.

Ara pressed this time, and he divulged more information. Vanael actually had been from Hillsfar, and was present when the First Lord reenacted the Great Law Of Humanity (an edict saying simply “Only humans are allowed within Hillsfar”). Vanael’s occupation and studies with so many eldritch items had allowed him to cultivate an eye for seeing through illusions and deceptions, and he had been approached to ferret out undesirables trying to sneak into Hillsfar. But he was opposed to that on principle, and he had left.

There was something, though, Ara did not trust about his story. Quiddie eventually got him to confess his shameful secret: He had not left immediately upon the reenacting of the Great Law of Humanity, and he had identified at least one non-human trying to sneak into Hillsfar. And though he was not told as much, he knows that he was responsible for the fate that had befallen that person. A fate, he later realized, that was fatal. He had sent at least one person to their death.

Quiddie consoled him, offering him a shoulder to cry on.

Jobe then asked if he could apply this expertise to determine if Derendil was wearing an illusion or disguise. Vanael listened to the tale of the elf-polymorphed-into-a-quaggoth, then told them that if he had truly been polymorphed, it would not be a disguise…thus rendering his expertise useless. They would simply have to decide for themselves if they believed Derendil’s story.

Derendil heard this conversation.

After some time had passed, our heroes took a moment to rest. Fan Fan began to cover their tracks, and some of the adventurers took a break to play some gambling games (though, wisely, not with Jimjar). Some of them kept watch. Some of them cooked.

Quiddie was left alone with Vanael. He thanked her again for helping to save him, and showing him kindness as they had traveled. He then leaned in close, and asked if he could express his most intimate thanks on a far more physical level.

The bard needed little convincing, and the two stepped away; perhaps forgetting that caverns tend to amplify noise. All noise. Especially voices. Echoes. And screams.

Suddenly, comeuppance!

A shrill, pained scream cut through the cavern, bouncing off the walls. Our intrepid heroes ran to the source, and they were treated to an unexpected sight.

Quiddie was barely conscious, a look of sudden fear, confusion, and pain on her otherwise flushed face. She weakly reached out to our brave adventurers. The only reason she was not on the floor was a hand holding her up by her unbuttoned tunic. An obsidian, six-fingered hand attached to the form standing over her.

The figure turned to face them. It was Vanael’s face, but it had changed. Horns were visible atop his head, and his slightly sweaty obsidian skin almost gleamed in the torchlight Trevor had. A cruel smile spread across his ravenous lips, his forked tail moving back and forth. Large, bat-like wings had sprouted from his back. But it was Vanael’s voice that spoke.

“This one…delicious,” he said, licking his lips while looking our heroes over. He closed his eyes, then continued. “Tastes like wildflowers, honey, spiced wine and need.” Quiddie stirred, then fell prone behind him. Vanael turned towards her, leaned down, and ran his fingers against her lips, then brought them to his own. “You have to understand. I can’t get enough. Most can barely take it. She took all she could, but I was too much for her to handle.”

“How about you?” Vanael’s eyes moved hungrily over our adventurers in turn. “Am I too much for you to handle? Do you think you can handle me? Like you handle your staffs and swords? Come on. Who wants to play?”

Enraged and slightly violated (possibly liking it), our heroes closed ranks with the fiend. Tarrin recognized him as an incubus, which, really, was kind of obvious at this point. The battle was intense, as Vanael proved resistant to many of their attacks, and felt the need to share that fact in innuendo laced ways: Fire (“C’mon, baby. I like it hot!”), cold (“Ooooh…ice cubes down the spine”), bludgeoning (“Again. Harder. Harder, damn you.”), and so forth.

Vanael flew across the battlefield, a sable seducer, filling their minds with telepathic images of unimaginable pleasure. At one point, Ara locked eyes with him, and fell victim to his charm. Mesmerized by his magic or muscles, she cast Hold Person on Jobe, paralyzing him as he was about to strike a decisive blow.

Vanael swooped down, wrapped his arms and wings tightly around the half-elf, then rewarded Ara with a Draining Kiss, leaving her breathless, weak in the knees and a stone’s throw from death.

Quiddie, her mind still awash in thought and images of unspeakable pleasure and exquisite pain, rose shakily to her feet to join the fight. This was far from over for her, and she placed a Phantasmal image into Vanael’s mind…of her reaching into his chest and crushing his heart.

“Hands on chests, lover?” Vanael grimaced, but held his ground. “We can get rough. You haven’t even seen rough.”

Vanael seemed to shrug off their attacks. Arrows, greatswords, sacred flame…he taunted the adventurers during the entire fight.

And then Fan Fan punched him squarely in the jaw, knocking him out cold and proving that sometimes the simplest solutions work the best.

This left our heroes in an odd state. Ara and Quiddie were still reeling from Vanael’s kiss, and an unconscious incubus on the floor. Jimjar noted that an incubus was odd for the Underdark, and many of the other natives agreed. They tied up Vanael, preparing to interrogate him.

Ara weakly looked at Quiddie. “That was devastating. He charmed you, too?”

Quiddie looked at Ara in silence for several seconds, then “Yes. Charm.” The bard brushed a stray pebble out of her hair, then nearly collapsed again. The cleric and monk came to her aid, checking on her welfare. “I’m fine,” he reassured them. “This is nothing. You should have seen the first month at Bard College.”

She smiled to herself. At least no citations for leaving her carriage at the wrong building. And she had bedded a fiend, which was an adventure worthy of song on its own.

“Best night ever”, she said to herself.


Players: Fan Fan, Quiddie, Ara, Jobe, Tarrin, John Willow, Zoe, Xon

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With:

  • 5 derro
  • Incubus

Experience Gained: 168

Potentiality For A Disastrously Negative Outcome Based On The Current Plan: What, from using rope to bind and interrogate a telepathic, shapeshifting fiend? No, everything will just be hunky-dory.

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Sweet Freedom! "Day" 5 - Reunions
01/13/2016

Our brave adventurers rose to greet the day, only slightly smelling of soot and gas. As always, arising brought with it the familiar pangs of hunger. Not surprisingly, their rations were again running low.

Thanks to the previous days explosion, a great deal of them were nicely charred and smoked, imparting a great deal of flavor to the standard hardtack, biscuits, and jerky. Even the dried fruits tasted better.

The lack of food drove them to once again take up foraging. Surely, there must be something in this inhospitable clime that they could actually eat. And after traversing through a few miles of barren rock and stone, they came across a cavern filled with great mushrooms.

And, oddly? Fan Fan.

They had not seen the monk since the holidays their escape from the Velkynvelve, and while they were glad that he was alive, they still had quite a few questions for him. Where had he been? What had he been doing? Why was he standing in a mushroom field in the Underdark, silently peeling potatoes with that concerned look on his face? And what was he staring at so intently?

As they moved to approach him, they noticed that they were being watched as well. Drow and quaggoths were looking at them, silent, and unmoving. Our heroes were wary of another attack, and horrified at the prospect that perhaps they were on the verge of another run-in with Mistress Ilvara. But nothing happened. They continued staring. As did Fan Fan.

After discerning that they were not going to do anything of note, some of our hungrier heroes moved quickly towards the tempting fungus. However, some of our heroes recalled the experiences they last time they stumbled upon a cave of mysterious mushrooms. These adventurers took careful stock of the situation, going so far as to ask Stool, a myconid sprout, if he knew anything about which mushrooms were safe in a shameful example of prejudicial stereotyping. While Stool didn’t know anything about the mushrooms, Jimjar and Eldeth identified a few of them as edible. There was a particulary large mushroom in the back of the darkened and unfamiliar cave, which is always a safe place to traverse. And so, the hungry monk went over there, a rumble in his belly.

Suddenly, tentacles!

In a truly shocking and entirely unpredictable twist, a grick had been hiding in a fissure, waiting to attack the first hapless traveler that approached, tentacles flailing in a wild fashion. it turns out that our heroes were not the only ones in this cavern…now where they the only ones who hungered.

Fortunately, they were the only ones who were armed and armored in that cave, something the grick was soon to discover, much to its chagrin. Our heroes made short work of this beast.

And staying true to form, our heroes decided to celebrate their victory by cooking and eating the grick; because that’s how they roll, one has to imagine.

During this time, a few of the braver adventurers approached the drow and quaggoth, who still watched them. They said nothing, even when greeted in Elvish and Undercommon. It was then that our heroes noticed there were prominent fungal growths on the heads of the Underdark creatures. Seeing this, our heroes wisely moved away from them.

Fan Fan related his story of getting separated after the Velkynvelve cave-in. He and Ara had wandered through the Underdark during a winter break for some time before he stumbled across this mushroom cavern. He had lost track of Ara, and was glad he ran into and reunited with the group. It seems things were looking up for him.

Although the same can not be said of his exotic cooking skills. As our brave adventurers consumed the food, a few of them fell ill. And two of them were driven to madness after eating the fire-roasted grick tentacles, for some completely inexplicable reason (something that has to be a blow to one’s cooking confidence).

John Willow ended up (once again) consumed by madness, fleeing at top speed into the darkness. Another adventurer began screaming uncontrollably at the top of his lungs until he was gagged by a potato, Fan Fan already earning his spot back on the team.

As the group searched for this fleeing fighter, they eventually found him…trapped in a giant web. The entire cavern he was in had a great deal of webs crisscrossing the walls. And as they realized that something had to have spun those webs.

And they found out that that something was still in the cave: Giant spiders.

Our heroes were prepared to fight, but they noticed the spiders seemed almost…distracted. As though they were searching for something.

Still, a battle broke out. John Willow was restrained by the webbing, as were two of his companions who had moved to free him and been ambushed. Those two were also bitten by spiders, falling to the spiders venom.

It was then that Quiddie had the plan of using fire to burn away the webbing. And it worked. Though she may not have realized that fire burns other things, to.

The licking tongues of flame so adrenalized the poisoned companions that they were able to shake off the effects of the poison and rejoin the fray! However, everyone noticed that the spiders suddenly ran past them.

To Jimjar.

“Aw, crap!” Jimjar was nearly laid low as he was attacked by at least three spiders, but he persevered. And our heroes laid waste to the audaciously attacking arachnids.

Afterwards, Fan Fan confronted Jimjar, and realized he still had the cursed spider eyes from the drow state in the priestess’ chamber in the Velkynvelve. The ones that provoked hostility in spiders.

Fingers were pointed, voices were raised, and it seemed as though people would come to blows. Then, Shuushar asked what precisely was the nature of this curse.

He was told that the cursed eyes caused murderous aggression in spiders until the eyes were handed over to a drow worshipper of Lolth.

Shuushar looked at Jimjar.

Then, he looked at Sarith.

Then, back at Jimjar.

“Is our guide not a drow worshipper of Lolth?”

This prompted a long, embarrassed silence as our adventurers realized this. They had to feel like a bunch of Grade-A morons for overlooking this obvious solution. Seriously, what kind of idiot—

Jimjar handed the eyes to Sarith, who did not bother hiding the smirk on his face. When asked if he knew that this would work, he responded in the affirmative. Our adventurers asked why he had said nothing about that before this moment.

The drow just shrugged and told them it was amusing watching the lot of them try to figure out the obvious solution to a simple problem. What next? Would they be stymied by a door?

Rightfully ashamed, our heroes camped for the night in the first place they could find, preparing for yet another day.


Players: Fan Fan, Quiddie, Jobe, Tarrin, John Willow, Reese, Samora, Tanis

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With

  • Grick
  • GIant Spiders – 5

Experience Gained: 181

Potentiality For Our Heroes To Overlook Obvious Solutions To Important Problems And Thus Place Themselves In Unnecessary Danger In This Already Treacherous Place: I mean, Sarith was right there.

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Sweet Freedom! - "Day" 4 - Caveat Heros (Part IV: Resolutions, Regrets)
01/06/2016

Our brave adventurers once again find themselves in a precarious position. Though they have by the skin of their teeth managed to very briefly avoid the drow hunting party chasing them down, they know that no only is this respite only temporary, but that their grand plan of escaping these heartless and fanatical pursuers by cutting a rope only slowed them down. They drow were slowly floating across the cavern towards them like so much obsidian-hued angels of retribution.

And so they ran, plump adventuring lands pursued by sable drow lions. Through the twisting and turning corridors and caverns of the Underdark, unable to stop to clear their lungs. Ilvara’s thaumaturgically-enhanced voice boomed across the cavern walls, derisively scorning our heroes as it echoed across the unbroken darkness. This wasn’t just to frighten them, though her every word carried with it painful memories of her poisoned scourge. Not simply to taunt them, though her voice drained their resolve as easily as days of back-breaking labor in the Velkynvelve had sapped their strength. For as our more observant adventures had noticed, her magically fortified voice bouncing off the walls made it impossible to discern how far away she was.

Or how close.

Shuushar asked, then, how Ilvara had been able to locate them in the first place. This was something our adventuers had – oddly – never considered, and it seemed to spark a breathlessly panicked and slightly paranoid conversation. Theories abounded as to the mechanics the drow hounds were using to track the adventuring foxes. Some kind of spell? The armor or armaments they had taken with them from the Velkynvelve? Any type of item or artifact? The shrine to Lolth they had taken? The belongings of the drow elites?

Finally, someone thought to ask Eldeth how she had tracked them after returning from her fruitless search for Topsy & Turvy. The dwarven scout simply shrugged and told them that they left a fairly obvious trail to follow.

Perhaps it was the gravity of their current situation, and the proximity to those poisoned drow weapons. For as they continued running from seemingly tireless pursuers, her words seemed to finally reach our adventurers. And that epiphany struck our heroes to the core. And they began to recall previous, seemingly isolated incidents.

  • A group of bandits in a set of duergar ruins, encountering armed adventurers identifying themselves as escaped prisoners
  • Harvesting faerzress-suffused crystals, then using them
  • Crafting weapons from skeletons in a boneyard, then leaving their old weapons behind
  • Carving surface-world letters into the bodies of grimlocks
  • Leaving clothes – perhaps a tunic, perhaps a sock – by a naturally occurring hot spring
  • Leaving an arrow and a candle in a patch of brown mold
  • Magically manipulating a drow trader, then leaving him before the enchantment wore off
  • Stopping to attempt to remove a horn from a fallen minotaur

Slowly, painfully, they realized it wasn’t just the fact that they weren’t covering their physical tracks (although that idea, too, had never occurred to them) that Eldeth had been referring to when she mentioned that they left an obvious trail. She was referring to their wanton path of destruction they left in their wake. It wasn’t their bootprints.

It was them.

They were not traveling like escaped prisoners trying to keep a low profile. They may as well have been carrying a banner reading “Velkynvelve Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me” with a marching band singing “Ilvara: You Can’t Touch This”.

This realization, though, birthed a plan (as did desperation, if the look in the eyes of our heroes was to be believed). Could they create a false trail for Ilvara and the hunting party to follow? They could at least try.

Eldeth volunteered to make the false trail, taking Jimjar and (after some urging) Buppido with her. This would only succeed if someone attempted to cover up the actual trail our adventurers were leaving.

And let it be known that when none stepped forth?

It became John Willow’s time to shine.

The fighter volunteered to attempt to cover up the trail, absorbing some useful tips from Eldeth. But would it work? Would a seasoned hunting party fall for the ruse? As Sarith had pointed out (and the rest of the adventurers who had been the recipient of Velkynvelve’s hospitality could recall), Ilvara alone could tear through them like a spider through a group of plump flies, numbers be damned. Tension was high as they moved, waited, and prayed.

Miraculously, they heard Ilvara’s voice booming once more…but heading towards the false trail.

A wave of relief washed over our heroes, as it does over the foxes hearing the baying of hounds and horns moving in a different direction. The drow had fallen for the red herring, their keen sense of smell working to their detriment.

Our heroes quickly took advantage of the situation, heading to the nearest area of shelter they could find. They had been moving non-stop since they arose, and needed a moment to catch their breath, regain their bearings, and take stock of their situation.

Their much-needed rest, though, was interrupted by the sound of movement from outside the cave. Their fears of déjà vu were allayed, though, when they heard voices speaking in Gnomish.

Tospy and Turvy had returned! There was some initial suspicion as to how they had found the group, as well as where they had been. The deep gnome twins supplied that perhaps the story of their whereabouts was best saved for another time (they had seen drow close-by), but that it had been easy to follow a rather obvious trail to our heroes, with Topsy asking why they felt the need to carve letters into the heads of grimlocks.

Our slightly-embarrassed heroes headed on, eventually coming to a long, open cavern. They were greeted by a horrible smell hanging in the oddly thick air. And they discovered that smell had a source: Troglodytes.

The troglodytes, though, seemed to be moving slower than normal. However, they were still troglodytes, and attacked our heroes as soon as they came into view. Which, as this particular area was illuminated by faerzress, was sooner rather than later.

Undaunted by lowly troglodytes after escaping seasoned drow, our heroes boldly defended themselves, though they noticed their movements were slowed. One adventurer had a troglodyte in his sights, and fired three scorching rays at the hideous creature.

Suddenly, explosions!

It turned out that the cause of the slowed movement for both the troglodytes and our heroes had nothing to do with magic, faerzress, or anything of that sort. No, this cavern had a natural gas leak. And as this fire genasi lit up the troglodyte, so, too, did he light up the entire cavern, which burst into spectacular flames as soon as the scorching rays left his fingertips. The explosion took down one adventurer, and did collateral damage to the troglodytes. And everyone.

In short time, the scorched adventurers were able to take down the burning (and most likely quite surprised) troglodytes. After dealing with the lingering effects of the gas, our heroes were able to find a secure location and take a long rest in their slightly charred clothes.


Players: Jobe, Quiddie, John Willow, Dwight, Orasu Withersoul, Nyzmyr

Enemies Defeated/Dealt With

  • Troglodytes – 4

Obstacles Overcome:

  • Gas Leak

Experience Gained: 63

Potentiality For Adventurers To Realize That The Repercussions Of Their Past Actions Will Send Shockwaves Through Their Future Travels: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, baby.

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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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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 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" 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" 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" 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, Vàrdos, 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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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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