Out of the Abyss

Inspecting Volo's Guide to the Underdark

You sit there in the dark cavern, catching your breath next to the rushing water. Suddenly, you remember the book. Taking it out of your pack, you trace the lettering on the cover: Volo's Guide to the Underdark.

Find more about the contents of the book here.

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Freedom... and Death

The past few hours have been some of the most harrowing of your life.

Your mismatched group crept slowly out of the caves until you reached the first stalactite tower. Seeing three drow within, you rushed them with your improvised and stolen weapons and a pitched battle ensued. Erdan mounted a table. Elanelis flipped over it deftly, only to comically miss. But as soon as it was clear that your team would defeat them, the drow in black-gilded armor fled. But by the time he had fled to the rope bridge, Nalbin and Prince Derendil caught up and shoved him over the edge. He missed the webs below, landing badly in the water below. After killing the other drow, the party dropped their corpses to the cavern floor far below.

Searching the room and that below it, you found a small armory and all of your equipment. Interestingly, you also found a tome called Volo's Guide to the Underdark. Relieved, you peeked out the door towards the rest of the outpost. A drow caught sight of Erdan, who quickly dropped and acted like he was cleaning. The performance was enough, as the drow sneered and moved beyond your sight.

Next, your party moved to the next stalactite tower, where they found a shrine to Lloth, the spider-queen deity of the drow. Erdan used tools to plug four pieces of polished obsidian from the immense spider statue. Varis headed down the stairs, where he found himself in the sleeping quarters of someone important. He called Blanton down to investigate the chest within, who found a needle trap. Disarming it, the two raided the contents of the chest.

Proceeding out, Erdan was seen by a Quaggoth. In an effort to distract the creature, Erdan motioned desperately back towards the initial tower, hinting at escape and alarm. The Quaggoth went and came back, roaring in alarm as it found the bloodstains of the first battle. That is when the full battle started.

Several Drow and Quaggoth emerged from multiple doors. Soon one of the elite Drow warriors plunged two swords into Varis' chest. Falling in a heap, he was barely saved by Nalbin before perishing. As more and more enemies joined the battle, the tide started to turn. Seeing the hopelessness of winning, the adventurers jumped over the platform ledge, landing the webs below. While attempting to attack, Prince Derendil was utterly killed. While escaping along the webs, one of the elite Drow warriors shot Erdan with a hand crossbow, nearly felling him before Varis stabilized him. Fleeing over the edge and traversing the webs downward, everyone else made it to the water far below on cavern floor.

Once you hit the water, however, you were sucked under by a powerful current. Pulled down into a shaft filled with fast-moving water, you found yourselves whipped away through the underdark. Some time later, battered and beaten, you pulled yourself up onto some rocks in a cavern. Next you must rest.

Despite your fatigue, you can't help but wonder: how will you make your way through this dangerous environment? You are utterly lost. How will you find your way back to the life you once knew? For now, such questions must wait. You need rest.

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Toiling for the Drow

After collapsing from exhaustion, you woke up to clanging metal as a create slid shallow bowls of mushroom gruel under the bars of your slave pen. Looking around, you realized you had been split into three groups, each thrown in a separate prison.

After meeting the other prisoners, including Jimjar, Ront, Buppido and Prince Derendil, you quickly started discussing how you arrived and, more importantly, how you might escape. There were few options at the start.

Over the next 36 hours, Quaggoth came to escort you to perform menial tasks about the outpost, including filling water barrels, cleaning the Quaggoth caves, preparing food and moving rocks on the cavern floor. While doing so, you were able to steal or scavenge items that couple be of aid: a stone dagger, steel wire, a mushroom cap skin, a gold piece, a spider the size of a hand. Using these tools, you were able to jimmy the slave pen gate so it could not be closed. The Quaggoth nor the Drow noticed.

Escorting some of the prisoners back from their chores, the newly arrived Dwarven priest cast a spell, which was quickly absorbed by the slave pen. Having not already closed the gate to the slave pen, you rushed forth to quickly overwhelm the Drow, taking their keys, their weapons, their armor and their lives.

Having unlocked the last slave pen gate, your slave collars, your manacles and your iron belt, you stand at the precipice of freedom. Now, you must determine the best way to recover your items and steadily or violently find your way free of this place.

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Descent into Darkness

Darkness. You wake up to darkness.

Soon, you realize there is a heavy cloth hood on your head, letting in little light. Judging by how little you can see, you suspect it is still night. Your hands are bound by chains that is connected to an iron belt around your waist. You have also been relieved of your belongings and stripped to your breeches.

Someone, with hatred in their voice, commands you in a language you can't understand. You are jerked to your feet, where a slave collar is snapped around your neck. It must be connected to a neck loop, as you feel the push and pull of others also connected to the same device. Others around you moan in pain or cry in despair.

Next, you hear another command, again in a language you don't understand. You hear a whip crack and suddenly, you are moving through the woods at a moderate pace. The neck loop sometimes jars you forward and sometimes chokes you as it holds you back. After an hour, you no longer feel grass below your feet, but hard stone. You slowly realize you are no longer on the surface.

The next amount of time is a blur. You can't tell if it has been hours or days, but you become exhausted and beaten. During the journey, you fall occasionally, choking on the slave collar as it threatens to hang you, but you catch yourself and get up. You stub your toes on hard rocks. When you dally, you are whipped on the backs of your legs. This becomes your trek: jostling, prodding, stumbling and choking.

Along the way, you come to recognize you are passing through different things. Sometimes, you are unbearably hot as you hear the burbling of some thick liquid. Other times, you are freezing cold as wind whips around your legs. In the distance, you often hear cries of creatures or the crash of a rockfall. Handfuls of sour mushroom-like squares shoved in your mouth occasionally, although you can’t tell if it is daily or less frequently. Water is poured in your mouth and haphazardly across your body a couple times a day.

Finally, after an unknown amount of time, you hear the drow cheer for reasons unbeknownst to you. In the distance, you hear the thunderous noise of a waterfall that grows louder with every second. Finally, you are stopped while you are unchained from the neck loop. As the hood is taken from your heads, you blink amidst weak light emitted from lanterns that seem to hold some kind of strange fungi. You are shoved into a small slave pen made of steel bars, perhaps 4 feet tall, making you crouch down. The smell of unwashed animals is strong. The eyes of various other creatures, those that also seem to be slaves, watch you from other pens.

You hit the hard stone floor, collapsing into a deeply troubled sleep.

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The Massacre at Hilltop

It all started out so well.

There you were, sitting at the Riverbend Inn in Hilltop. A group of adventurers had recently saved the hamlets inhabitants from someone called the Umbral Lord, a shade-demon that had attempted to bring its domain into the Silver Marches. The barkeep happily brought ale after ale to the heroes. Townmaster Colmanus Ash couldn't stop thanking the group. All were relieved that disaster had been adverted.

Then, screams sounded outside. Goblins kicked in the door. 

The cunning creatures didn't pose much of a threat to the adventurers. To the citizens of the hamlet, however, they were deadly. They loosed arrows left and right, felling some immediately, before the warriors closed in one them. Many died in the first few moments. Then, the tide of the fight changed.

Into the Inn stepped several Drow.

Sneering while drawing their weapons, they advanced. They killed some nonchalantly while subduing others. Several adventurers died in quick succession. The drow in the back fired their hand crossbows with poison-tipped bolts, dropping people left and right. Soon enough, all of you dropped to the floor as darkness took you.

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Prisoner of the Drow

Here's your introduction to our campaign.

Deep beneath the surface of the world lies the Underdark, a realm of endless labyrinthine tunnels and caverns where the sun never shines. The Underdark is filled with races and creatures too numerous to count or list, and foremost among these are the dark elves – the drow. Hated and feared even by their fellow dwellers in darkness, the drow raid other settlements in the Underdark as well as the surface world, taking prisoners back with them. Rendered unconscious with drow poison, then collared and shackled, these prisoners are eventually sold as slaves or entertainment in the dark elves' subterranean cities.

You have all had the misfortune of falling to such a fate. Captured by the drow, you are prisoners at one of the dark elves' outposts, awaiting transportation to Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders. Whether you came into the Underdark seeking knowledge or fortune, or were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, you were ripe prey for a drow raid.

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