Out of the Abyss

Demogorgon's Destruction of Sloobludop

The youtube video can be found  here.

Some points of note…

  • This video documents the session after you defeated the Arch-Priestess Bloppblippoodd.
  • The action picks back up around 6:50.
  • The rise of Demogorgon starts at 11:00.
  • Ront dies at 14:00. crying
  • Lancel, Ralxus, Elanelis and Erdan go catatonic at 15:30.
  • Varis and Blanton start their escape, dragging the rest of the companions along, at 18:30.

Here is the link to the Map of the Underdark.

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Just a Touch of Dwarf

Waking up refreshed after a long rest, you called for Gravillax to begin the ceremony. You had agreed to accept gifts from the stone golem dwarf leader that would help you escape the Underdark in exchange for a geas spell that would require you to deliver a warning of the demon problems to Gauntylgrim. Moments later, Gravillax appeared and bid you to follow him.

Down, down, down you went. Descending stairs that wrapped this way and that, past stone gears and counterweights and other mechanisms, you finally arrived in the bottom-most chamber of the floating rockmote outpost. To your surprise, it seems that all the ghosts in the outpost also followed you down, making for a crowded room.

The Ceremony

Next, Gravillax bid Elanelis step forward. As he did so, some 12 ghosts surrounded him. As Gravillax intoned a formidable spell in his gravelly voice, the ghosts were swept in a whirlwind around Elanelis as crimson dwarven runes appeared up and down the blade of his rapier. The whirlwind of ghost disappeared slowly as the runes flashed and then faded from view. The rest of you watched as Elanelis's nose grew slightly broader, much like a dwarf's.

Gravillax then turned to Lancel. Repeating the process, 12 more ghosts dissolved into a whirlwind of light around Lancel. A helm with short horns completely composed of dark gray dethek runes forms around his head, flashing with brilliance and then fading from view. As you observed this process, you saw that Lancel's eyebrows grew bushier like a dwarf's.

It was then Varis' turn. Gravillax performed a similar ritual. 12 more ghosts stepped forward. 12 more dissipated into a spectral whirlwind. Purple Dethek runes appear down the length of his scimitar blade. His fingers grew thick and callous, like a dwarf's.

Then it was Blanton's turn. More ghosts stepped forward and dissolved into the whirlwind. A number of ghostly blue Dethek runes come to lay on the skin of his forearms, making the shape of thieves tools. These runes fade over a matter of minutes. His feet grew broader and hairer, almost bursting out of his boots.

For Erdan, after Gravillax performed his ritual with ghosts stepping forward and disappearing, white runes overlaid his plate armor moving in slow synchronous patterns. He immediately sprouted thick stubble, all the way up his cheeks. It seems Erdan is showing the beginnings of a dwarven beard.

Ralxus was next. Gravillax performed a similar ritual, with the final 12 ghosts encircling Ralxus before disappearing. Emerald eerie dethek runes sprang to life across his armor in complex combinations. His eyes then turned light gray, like that of a dwarf's.

With all of the rituals complete, there was no denying that Gravillax had embued your weapons, armor or even your own skin with powerful dwarven abilities. But you also feel the compulsion of the geas to deliver the warning to Gauntylgrim. And beyond that, you can hear the whispers, those of the dwarves you now carry with you.

Leaving the Outpost

With the ritual complete, Gravillax led you up, up and up to the entry level of the outpost and then out and across the open drawbridge. There, he performed another ritual. With his voice a mixture of stone scraping against stone, his volume rose higher and higher. Runes on the huge chains holding the dwarven outpost in place grew brighter and brighter. When they were nearly blinding, the chains snapped in a tremendous cacophony, echoing through the cavern. The dwarven outpost then fell, noiselessly, for some 10 odd seconds before hitting the bottom of the abyss in a monstrous boom.

Gravillax then turned to you and stated it was time to go. It seems you have gained a traveling companion.

Ambushed and then … Welcomed?

From there, you continued your travels towards Sloobludop. I was long before you found danger: a group of Kuo Toa sprang from a nearby pool and attacked your party. It didn't take long to defeat the group, but Ront was grabbed and taken into the depths of the pool. You are now down one member of your party.

Distraught at the thought of one of your group being taken captive, you pressed on towards Sloobludop. You hoped to be able to save him. It wasn't long, however, before you met with another group of Kuo Toa, these covered in blue markings on their body. Holding a hand up, the leader started casting a spell. Ralxus, sensing that this Kuo Toa meant no harm, called out for the group to wait. It turned out that he was right. This priest cast a 'speak tongues' spell so you could communicate.

Speaking through gurgles and clacks, which you were able to understand, the Kuo Toa leader introduced himself as Ploopploopeen. He then proceeded to tell you his story. He had been a priest for his people, leading them in the worship of the All-Mother. He had led his people successfully for years, until several months ago. At that time, his daughter Bloppblippodd started spreading heretical practices by worshipping a new god, Lemeegoogoon, the Deep Father. Surprising, as she exhibited powerful new abilities, Kuo Toa flocked to her side.

Ploopploopeen then asked for your aid. He wanted to offer you as a fake sacrifice to his heretical daughter, only to get close enough to attack her and her most close followers. Not recognizing your arms and armor as any kind of real threat, he saw no reason to disarm you as part of this ruse. Asking what you would want in return, you asked for safe passage across the Darklake. Ploopploopeen agreed and offered a number of items that he had recovered during his time as a leader of Sloobludop.

Arriving in Sloobludop

After coming to an agreement, you spend the next day traveling to Sloobludop. You entered the city, passing walls that were nets with sharp fish teeth meant to ensnare intruders. Ploopploopeen led you to his hovel near the shrine to the All-Mother. Not far away, you can see the new shrine to Leemeegoogoon, the Deep Father.

Ploopploopeen then provided the items he had accumulated. Then, turning to face you, he motioned that it was time to confront his daughter.

Steel yourselves. You are about to enter battle.

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The Dwarven Outpost

After defeating the gnolls and the hook horrors, you finally took a moment to rest. That night, several of you had more nightmares of strange creatures in the Underdark. At the beginning of the next day, you found yourself weary before continuing your trek.

Around midday, while traveling, you came upon a deep and wide abyss, seeing neither the bottom of ceiling of the cave. Most interestingly, however, you saw a large rockmote floating in the center of the darkness, attached to the cavern walls by four large chains. On one side, a drawbridge sits closed. One that, when opened, could easily reach the rocky ledge upon which you stand. The forty foot high door is slightly open, leaving a crack through which someone could crawl.

The Rockmote Outpost

Excitedly, Elanelis backed up several steps and leapt out into the abyss before casting Misty Step, teleporting some thirty odd feet onto the side of the rock. Hanging there, he started to crawl to his left towards the crack. Unfortunately, his hands slipped and he started to fall. Seeing the danger, Lancel dashed out, acrobatically running across one of the chains to catch Elanelis' foot before he fell into the abyss, likely saving his life. The two slowly but surely made their way up and over the drawbridge.

Once inside, a strange sight greeted them. Elanelis and Lancel stood in a hall with ghostly dwarves milling about them. The apparitions moved about their business, climbing stairs and walking about, completely ignoring the two adventurers. Taking his time, Elanelis searched for some means of lowering the drawbridge. After a moment, he came to realize that astounding dwarven mechanisms surrounded them. They were built into the walls and floor. He saw levers, gears, counterweights, levers and much more. Quickly, he saw the lever to lower the drawbridge, which he pulled.

Drawing Attention

As the drawbridge lowered, Lancel and Elanelis turned and realized that every single ghost had stopped their activities and were watching them. As the drawbridge met the rocky ledge where the rest of the party waited, the two adventurers in the hall had drawn their weapons and taken a defensive stance. As the rest of group joined them, a thump-Thump-THUMP of heavy approaching footsteps could be heard. A moment later, an especially large stone-skinned dwarf emerged from the central hall. He did not seem pleased.

The stone dwarf immediately challenged the party in a deep gravelly voice, stating "you have trespassed in our outpost against our duty! State your intent quickly, lest we rout you from these halls!" Looking over the group and seeing dwarven weapons and armor, the visage of this stone dwarf, and the ghostly dwarves around you, soured quickly.

The conversation then started. You quickly were able to ascertain that this guardian was incensed at having non-dwarven trespassers, but also held hateful enmity for Drow and Duergar. Several of you made compelling arguments at that point, stating that you had escaped those two retched races yourselves. You continued to ask for stay in the outpost for the night asa safe place to rest. The stone dwarf was unconvinced until Lancel, holding a dwarven battle axe, handed it over. Surprised at the act of contrition, the guardian relented and invited you to stay.

History and the Demon Threat

After that, he introduced himself as Orik Ironspine, then stating that he preferred to be called Gravillax instead. He then bade you follow him. You then followed the hulking stone dwarf. As you proceeded up, you past gear sets and other mechanisms embedded within the walls themselves. You follow Gravillax through twists and turns until you arrived in a large hall at the very top of the rockmote.

Gravillax then sat down at the head of the stone table in the room, and began to share his story. He stated that he had named commander of this outpost of 60 some odd dwarves. They were to open and guard a pathway for commerce for Gauntylgrim, the fabled Dwarfhold far to the west. His hearty crew had fended off Drow and Duergar repeatedly. But somehow, someway, the Drow had slipped poison into their rations. One by one, his dwarven company died a cruel death, turning into ghosts to fulfill their duty. As the last one, but also dying, this dwarf transferred his consciousness into the Stone Golem in the outpost. Orik Ironspine became Gravillax. After that, he fulfilled his duties for the past few hundred years.

You then conveyed your story. It started with escaping the Drow and traveling through the Underdark. But then, you told Gravillax of the increasing presence of Demons in the Underdark. After a moment of though, he proposed a deal.

The Geas

Gravillax then voiced his concerned for Gauntylgrim, stating that the Dwarfhold must be warned of the threat. Showing you a detailed map of the Underdark that the dwarven scouts had developed, he offered new capabilities that would enable you to reach another nearby dwarven outpost, which contained a portal to Gauntylgrim. To ensure the fulfillment of this task, he required the placement of a geas upon you. If the task were left unfulfilled, each of you would die within 3 months.

Knowing you needed time to consider the offer, he led you to a set of barracks where you could rest. You debated the decision deep into the night.

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Allies Progressing towards Sloobludop

With the threat of the gray dwarves and demons dispatched, your two groups started uneasy discussions. You exchanged your stories, telling tales of how each of you ended up in the Underdark. The elves were taken prisoner by the Drow, but executed a daring escape leaving them far from the surface. The human and tiefling were sent to the Underdark on some mission for Sune's clergy, but were ambushed and taken prisoner by the gray dwarves.

After more discussion, you came to the conclusion that it would be far better to travel together than apart. You all seem to be traveling towards Sloobludop, where you hope to get a ship across the Darklake.

Interrogations and Fitful Dreams

With an alliance formed, you turned your attention to the gray dwarves you had taken prisoner. Initially, they sneered at you, speaking in their native language. But after Lancel approached them and used some silver-tongued tactics, they became more amenable, if only for a little while. They told you that demons seemed to be everywhere in the Underdark, attacking and ravaging everything in sight. This news seemed startling indeed.

Later, while you were resting, several of you had horrible nightmares that left you shaken. For some, you saw writhing tentacles reaching out of the darkness. For others, you felt as if you were entombed in some kind of jelly or ooze. Yet others dreamt of being eaten alive by some cackling growling creature. Many of you woke more ill-at-ease than the night before.

A Ghostly Gorge

At the end of your rest, you left the gray dwarves behind to venture towards Sloobludop. After several hours, you came upon a gorge measuring some 400 feet across and going to an equal depth. In the middle, a twenty-foot wide rock with its top shaved off floated in mid air. It was attached to both sides of the gorge with huge chains with glowing runes. This seemed to be some kind of 'barge' that could travel from one side to the other. Nearby, a inscription sat on a small monument. Written in Dethek runes, it stated:

Survival requires prosperity. Prosperity requires commerce. Commerce requires paths below. Yet, only the worthy are granted passage.

Speak ‘I seek a path’ aloud and you will be judged.

Ralxus spoke the words in the dwarven tongue aloud. That is when a ghostly dwarf in plate mail and with a braided beard appeared. Behind him, in the midst of the gorge, a steady cascade of other dwarven ghosts floated slowly downwards, only to reappear at the top again. Slowly, the ghostly dwarf intoned:

I am Dunren Hornrock, Bridge Keeper of the Deep Paths. Our dwarfholds seek partners for commerce, but will not forsake our defense. Emissaries are welcome, but must prove their legitimacy. Traders will be accepted, but must prove the value of their wares. Messengers with word of threats to the dwarf-holds will be received, but must prove the direness of their words. If this is not your intent, you will not pass. Make your claim swiftly.

Each taking turns to make their arguments, you stepped forward to reassure the ghostly dwarf that your party did seek to provide value to the dwarfholds.  Not long after, the ghost nodded his head and affirmed his approval. As he disappeared, the chains of the floating earthmote started to grind as it moved to your side of the gorge. As it approached, you could see that there were several dwarven bodies, long since dead, on the top of the rock. You found several useful items, including an enchanted rock, a suit of plate armor, a warhammer and several axes. You immediately took a rest to investigate their abilities.

Gnolls and Hook Horrors

Pressing on, you entered a set of cavern tunnels where you could hear cackling and howls. Venturing forward cautiously, two hook horrors came into sight. They didn't make any aggressive moves towards you. You left nothing to chance and attacked on sight.

In the midst of the battle, several Gnolls appeared around the corners. They slavered while attacking the Hook Horrors, yipping and howling. While you could not understand their intent, they clearly stated the word Yeenough, their deity, several times.

Not long afterwards, you defeated all but one of them, who fled down the tunnels. You stand there in the tunnels, a single torch for Lancel to see, deciding what to do next.

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New Friends

The Disappearance of Buppido, Eldeth and Nalbin

It took a long solid rest to recover from your journey down the raging Underdark river. But after a hard night's sleep, you awoke refreshed.

For some of you, the break didn't bring much solace. Despite the relative safety of the rest, your stress only increased unabated. Something is influencing your sanity in this place. If some of your mental states keep progressing at this rate, something will inevitably happen. You are sure of it.

Beyond that, the other notable event was the disappearance of Buppido, Eldeth and Nalbin. Buppido, the deranged Derro, had been in your slave cell when you were taken prisoner by the drow. Eldeth, a dwarven scout from Gauntylgrim, and Nalbin, a priest of Helm, had been dumped into the same cell far back in Velkynvelve. Neither of the dwarves had shown any affinity for the Derro, making their simultaneous vanishing act all the more strange. Their tracks led east, yet your group decided to leave them to their own devices. Did they team up to head to Gauntylgrim, Buppido's home, which lay far to the west? Did they find some other means of travel?  At this point, you do not know. However, you have a feeling that you will discover their fate sometime soon.

Lost Days

Having packed up your belongings, you continued to head west towards Sloobludop, the Kuo Toa settlement on the shores of the Darklake. Varis led the way, as he had during most of this journey, while Blanton scouted forward to discern any threats. The day passed without any event. Yet, at the start of the next day, Varis realized he had been turned around in the Underdark. Downtrodden, he stated that they group had lost an entire day's progress towards Sloobludop. Determined, the group pressed forward.

Dragon Teeth and Claws

Later that same day, your group came upon a large side cavern litter with bones. Some were of giant sized humanoids. Some were of a large four legged creature with wings. Yet others were smashed to pieces, laying in the center. Yet more were scribed with runes, laying off to the side.

Fearful of an attack, your group moved slowly but surely into the cave. Elanelis and Erdan were immediately drawn to the large four legged skeleton, which they quickly identified as the remains of a dragon. Erdan hurriedly moved to the skeleton's exposed mouth to pry out a set of teeth. The first attempt failed, with the teeth cracking into shards that fell at your feet. The second attempt, however ended with success. Two teeth now lay in Erdan's pouch. He then quickly moved to recover a coupled claws from the skeleton's foot. A few minutes later, he came away with a pair.

Duergar and their Prisoners

Moving on, your party left the bone-filled cavern behind to continue on the trek. Late in the afternoon, you came into a cavern that was overtaken with battle. Across a fast moving river, a number of Duergar fought a large demon and several smaller ones. The small space filled with the smell of sulfur as weapon impacts and roars broke the silence. Off the side, a human, a tiefling and a small mushroom creature emerged from cages. You could only assume they were prisoners.

Wasting no time, the group waded into the battle. Flanking the duergar, Erdan, Ront and Varis dropped crushing blows. Elanelis nimbly traversed a series of rock columns to land on the far side of the demon. At one point, one of the gray dwarves tried to push Erdan into the river, only to fail. Erdan quickly turned the tables, however, flipping the duergar into the river where he was washed to the far end. The human called out his support of Ront and others. The tiefling chanted rites to a deity and seemed to bless the fighters.

In the midst of the fight, one of the duergar pleaded with the party to help slay the abyssal demon, only to have it disappear a moment later. Your group turned their full attention to the gray dwarves then. Elanelis, casting a sleep spell, put two more to sleep. Two of the duergar turned tail and fled into the caverns. Then, the demon reappeared, quickly landing a horrifying blow on Blanton. The tielfing quickly raised a hand towards the injured elf, healing him from a distance.

That left the group battling the demons. Focusing their attacks on the large gorilla outsider, the party quickly brought the creature down. Once slayed, it melted into black liquid that evaporated into foul smelling vapors. Once that was gone, there was no trace of the monster.

Friends?

With the threats disposed and catching your breath, you scan the room quickly. On one side, there are four elves (Elanelis, Varis, Erdan and Blanton), three deep gnomes (Jimjar, Topsy and Turvey) and a orc (Ront). On the other side are a human (Lancel), a tiefling (Ralxus) and a small mycondid (Stool). 

You sit there, staring at one another, waiting for the other to speak.

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Managing the Mushroom...
... rolling down the river

After defeating the Chull and divvying up the spoils of your victory, you took a well earned rest. Boosted by your success, each of you slept well. No nightmare dreams visited you upon that night.

Rising the next day, you prepared to continue your trek through the Underdark, seeking some way to reach the surface again. Checking Volo's map, you aimed towards Sloobludop, the Kuo-Toa settlement on the shores of the Darklake.

Your travels that morning were uneventful, if uncomfortable. You found yourselves journeying through a series of interconnected natural tunnels that were partially flooded. Sometimes you were in ankle deep water. Other times, you were up to your waste.

Soon enough, you found yourself following the flow of a river through the caverns.

The Key Decision

In the afternoon, your party came to an abrupt stop. The river you had been following widened until it filled the breadth of the cavern. Furthermore, in the distance, the flow turned into a set of raging rapids. Nearby, one of the large mushrooms, called a Zurhkwood, had fallen over, its 20-foot wide cap sitting on the ground. Examining it, you realized it could be hollowed out and turned into a makeshift boat. Its internal fibers could be broken off and used as paddles. It seemed that you could ride down the river, if you so chose. After considering backtracking, which would have meant losing some of your progress towards Sloobludop, you chose to dare the river.

What followed was one of the most harrowing events you have ever experienced.

A Rocky Ride

Armed with improvised paddles, you made your final preparations. You pushed the cap into the river. Without Varis noting, Elanelis sneakily tied a rope to Varis' belt.

Piloting the upside-down mushroom cap down the river started easily enough. Your speed was moderate and relatively easily controlled. Soon enough, though, you spotted your first hazard. The river turned sharply against a rock wall. It seemed you were on a collision course. Some of you reacted in time to brace yourselves. When you rammed into the wall, however, Elanelis was not prepared. He flew over the side, losing his pitons. Varis, suddenly feeling a tug at his belt, realized he was tied to the person in the water. Not willing to risk a dive to recover them, Elanelis scrambled quickly back into the boat.

After that, the boat came over a small rise in the river before it cascaded over a series of smooth rocks, accelerating the boat dramatically. This is when you realized that at such speeds, your likelihood to react to oncoming hazards would be severely hampered.

At that point, you realized you could do a few different things. You could attempt to steer the boat, requiring the coordinated effort of agility amongst several of you. You could attempt to slow the boat down, which required a coordinated effort of strength. Abandoning any effort to change the progress of the boat, you could simple prepare for any kind of oncoming hazard. However, if you didn't react to the hazard, you couldn't take any action.

The Grell

As you contemplated your situation, you flowed into a cavern whose ceiling was higher. Out of that darkness dropped a strange floating creature. Eyeless, it came to the center of your boat and attacked with arms that ended in a series of strange spikes. Battling it from all sides, the party defeated it, but not before it almost floated away with a grappled member of your group. It fell with a final death cry into the water. You watched in horror as it was quickly attacked by a school of carnivorous fish. You can barely imagine what could have happened if one of you had fallen into the water instead of this alien creature. You floated away, watching a growing pool of red in the water.

Two Paths, A Pocket of Gas

Next, you saw that the river ahead split into left and right flows. To the left, the path for which your boat was heading, seemed to have a dramatic drop, promising to accelerate your boat even more. The path the right seemed to offer a moderate speed increase, but nothing like the other path. Your group scrambled to steer the boat to the right, but ultimately failed. Your boat careened forward at a breakneck speed instead, spinning in small circles.

Failing to slow your boat down, you spied a dip in the river ahead. In that small pocked of rapids, you could see a small cloud of gas. Varis quickly recognized it as poisonous gas. It seemed to be heavier that the air around it, settling into this dip in the river. Speeding up would further hamper your party's ability to react to hazards. Slowing down would mean your group would spend more time in this pocket of poisonous gas. Your party decided to continue at its current speed. Most of you prepared for the hazard by concentrating on holding your breath. All of you succeeded except Erdan, who took a quick breath and burned his lungs slightly.

Next, a cavern opened up with a shore, representing an opportunity to get off the river. The party decided against it, however, seeing an opportunity to make significant progress in your journey.

Joining Rivers, A Jolting Stop

Once past the poisonous gas, your luck turned sour. A torrential side river joined yours, dramatically accelerating your boat. You were shot forward at a fearsome speed down the river. Exchanging glances, you knew you had little chance to react to the next hazard.

And the next hazard came soon enough. Ahead, you could see a large boulder right in the middle of the river. Your makeshift mushroom boat hurtled right for it. With almost no one reacting in time, your boat smacked the boulder with a jarring blow. The front of your boat was crushed in, revealing that it could be damaged, and potentially sunk.

Thinking about that reality, however, would have to wait. It seems your blow to the boulder awoke something.

The Giant Octopi

On all sides of the boat, tentacles exploded from the water. A furious battle ensued. Quickly encircling the boat, tentacles attempted to lashed you, wrap you up and drag you over the edge. Varis came within a breath of being incapacitated before besting one of the beasts, now bearing a red sucker mark on his check. Eldeth was hit with a tentacle. Incapacitated, she was drawn into the water. Elanelis killed the creature right before it was about to disappear into the depths with Eldeth. He then jumped into the water and brought her back to the boat. Ront was then similarly incapacitated, wrapped up and pulled into the water. Buppido grabbed Ront's ankle, but simply couldn't pull the huge Orc back onto the boat. A moment later, Erdan rushed over, risking harm himself, to help Buppido save Ront. Blanton, planning to stand back and utilize his bow, catastrophically failed not one, but twice in a row. The stunned elf clutched his privates while trying to assuage his damaged ego. Ultimately, all five of the creatures were killed. But this encounter was a near disaster. In all, three of you were nearly killed.

Getting Off the River

The most fortunate thing in ramming the boulder was that it slowed down the speed of the boat. Seeing an exit from the river, you leaned into your makeshift oars to slow it down further. Under control, you eased the boat to the shore. Shaken, the entire group scrambled away from the boat, quick to get rest.

The good news in traveling the river was the significant progress you made in your travels. In the morning, you traveled 3 miles on foot. But in the afternoon on the river, you traveled 9 miles. The total of 12 miles is roughly twice what you would normally travel at a normal pace through the Underdark. By your estimates, you are now only 18 miles from Sloobludop.

As a final precaution before your rest, Blanton made a quick stealthy circuit of the area, finding no threats. It seems you are safe. For now.

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Into the Wet and Damp Darkness

After a full rest, you awoke to the drip, drip, drip of water nearby. Slowly, you realize this is not all a dream. You had been taken prisoner by the Drow. You had escaped through an underwater river. You had been deposited in this cave, exhausted and concerned about returning to the surface.

As your companions stirred, you took your rations and recuperated. There was some banter. Jimjar, coming nose to nose with Blanton, asked about his facial tattoos. "For the ladies," Blanton remarked. Once Buppido realized Nalbin was a priest, he excitedly asked about his teachings. After describing the dogma of Helm, Buppido burst out, saying "My dogma is to rule! Heh."

Next, you gathered your things. With Volo's Guide to the Underdark, you had a map you could follow. Your knew roughly where you were. However, you had no idea which direction was north, south, west or east. Essentially, you were lost. Yet, there was some hope. In this margins of the pages, you found notes obscurely detailing some landmarks in the surrounding area. Finding and correctly identifying them would let you triangulate not only your position, but direction in the Underdark. With that goal in mind, you set out.

The Region

As you progressed in this region of the Underdark, everything was wet and damp. Water dripped from the ceiling, water flowed from one pool cascading into another, swift rivers carved their way through caverns and raging rapids emerged in others. The stone in this area was colored in bands, ranging from near-white to yellow-brown, coppery red and dark orange. The caverns were filled with stalactites and stalagmites, sometimes thickly and sometimes sparsely. Dim emerald light occasionally shown in these caverns in the form of sickly looking lichen. Sometimes, you come across a huge mushroom towering to heights of 20 to 40 feet tall, but none smaller.

The Shrine

Soon enough, you came to a medium sized cavern that seem to contain a shrine. Words in some foreign dialect covered the shrine. But more archaic letters overwrote, spiraling out all the way out to cover even the cavern walls. A number of corpses were piled in the center of shrine: one drow, one duergar and one quaggoth.

After inspecting the location, you realized the original inscriptions were in goblin, reveling in sacrificing prisoners from a variety of races. The other script was abyssal, the language of demons and devils. The bodies in the shrine were sacrificed in some ritual. Given all this information, you were able to correlate this landmark to an entry in the book. It was a shrine to Fiery-Eyes, or Maglubiyet who is the dominant god of the goblins. Finding at least one landmark, you moved on.

The Water Globe

Wandering the caverns, you came upon a 30-wide globe of water suspended roughly 5 feet off the ground. Water poured off of it continuously, starting a number of streams and puddles that wandered off into the dark. Inside it, you could see a number of rocks swirling inside, caught in some kind of circuitous circuit. Elanelis surmised that it was likely a portal to the elemental plane of water.

Persuaded by Elanelis, Buppido edged forward until he jumped up and grabbed one of these rocks. While dextrous enough to grab the rock, he was not strong enough to resist the strong current on the surface of the water globe. He was quickly sucked in, where he swirled around in circles in the outermost layer before swimming out. He dropped to the rocky floor with a gap-toothed mad grin. Turning the 6" round rock to the side, it poured water out continuously. It seems it had been affected by its proximity to the portal. Distracting Buppido by getting him to look the other way, Elanelis used some sleight of hand to replace the rock gourd with a normal rock. Buppido grew frustrated and eventually threw the rock down, smashing it into a hundred scattered pieces on the ground.

Erdan then stepped forward, eyeing the globe. He tied a rope around his ankle and the other end around one of the stalagmites nearby. With that in place, he jumped fully into the globe. In quick succession, he grabbed the swirling rocks in the outermost layer. Then, he swam deeper in the globe. There, his luck failed him.

After attempting to unsuccessfully grab a number of stones, he tried to swim to the outermost layer. Caught in the strong currents, he tumbled in tight circles some fifteen feet deep in the water globe. Meanwhile, the 100 foot rope had yet to be pulled taut. It slowly was pulled up and into the globe of water. No one outside knew there was an issue until it was obvious Erdan would run out of air soon. With the companions desperately pulling the rope out of the globe, Nalbin caught sight of Erdan's head and cast destroy water at that location. Erdan took a huge gulp of air before the bubble was swept away. Soon after, Erdan was pulled out, coughing, sputtering and hacking.

After this experience, the group decided to move onward.

Recruiting Topsy and Turvey

You treked further into the Underdark, trying to find more landmarks to orient yourselfs on Volo's map. You made your way through a series of small rocky tunnels that, quite suddenly, emerged out into a huge abyss. Roughly evenly from your position across the abyss was a river that spilt out into a waterfall, its water falling into the darkness below. A series of ledges lined the abyss, leading to tunnels on the other side.

While traversing the ledges, a few of you noticed two small creatures hiding behind rocks. Once they saw you, they quickly made to leave. Jimjar called for them to stop in their native tongue. It seems they were Deep Gnomes, like Jimjar, if a bit more wild looking Eyeing you warily, they paused, but gave themselves enough distance to escape if necessary. With a spell, Elanelis made a noise from the tunnels nearest to them. Next thing they knew, they had backed up next to your party.

With Jimjar translating for the group, you started recruiting them to your group. Carefully inspecting them, you noticed from their ragged appearance that they too had been slaves. Asked about it, they confirmed they had been prisoners of the Duergar, the gray dwarves. It seemed that they too had been on the run. After promising to keep them safe and rationalizing with them that it would be better to be part of a group, they agreed to join you.

Showing them the map, they pointed and talked excitedly in their own language, as they identified some of the landmarks they had come across. Soon enough, you realized where you currently were and how to orient yourselves on Volo's map. 

There was some unfortunate news, however. It seems that Topsy and Turvey had seen Drow bands canvassing this area of the Underdark. It seems your former slavers were pursuing you.

Where to go?

Volo's map showed you not only your current location, but a number of settlements across the Underdark. After much discussion, you agreed to move towards Sloobludop, the closest location. It is popualted by the Kuotoa, a aggressive race of amphibious creatures. You thought to steal a boat there and cross the Darklake from there.

Ambushing the Chull

From there, you continued forward in your travels towards Sloobludop. Soon afterwards, Blanton returned from scouting forward. He told the group of what awaited in the next chamber. A number of very large crab-like creatures scurried around a cavern with several tiers of ledges that held pools of water.

After spending a few minutes organizing yourselves, you ambushed the creatures ferociously. During the long battle, Nalbin chanted and cast spells. Blanton show his bow and circumvented the creatures. Elanelis twirled, wall-walked and flipped while stabbing, bringing his bladedancing abilities to bear. Varis employed his spiked-shot skills. Erdan, after fumbling his weapon to harm himself, recovered and got in a few blows as well. Ront fought hard, but was near death. The rest of the group made up a veritable wall of arrows and bolts during the fight. Not long after, the four strange crab-creatures fell.

The Spoils

Exhausted, but excited, from your fight, you quickly investigated the things these creatures had been gathering. You found a number of useful, even magical, items.

That is where our session ended.

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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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