Out of the Abyss

Into the Asylum
a.k.a. Derro country

Discovering the Whorlstone Tunnels

The party went into the West Cleft District of Gracklstugh to track down Droki. They came face-to-face with the insanity the derro suffer from. They live in squalor, talk to themselves, foam at the mouth, and have a complete lack of city planning. If you’re not careful, you can get lost down an alley.

The party came across a woman who was coherent enough to talk. She told them of derro watching over them (i.e. a ruling class) and about an entrance to some strange place. She offered to take the party there, but didn’t want to leave her baby behind. Chen offered to stay behind and babysit, but of course there was no child. The woman took them through other houses, down alleyways, and after 30 minutes, to a place about a couple of blocks away from their original starting point.

Between a cluster of hovels in West Cleft lies the most well-used entrance to the Whorlstone Tunnels. A narrow fissure in the chasm wall is hidden by scraps of cloth, gray sheets of canvas, and moldy boxes. The entrance also leaks wisps of eerie fog. The fissure is tall and wide enough for a Medium creature to squeeze through the first 10 feet, and then widens to 5 feet wide, continuing with a gentle downward slope. The party goes back and gets Chen and they proceed into the Whorlstone Tunnels.

Reuniting with Buppido

There’s an opening on the right side of the tunnel that opens up into a cavern. As the party venture into the cavern, a stench of rotting meat rises. The floor is carpeted with humanoid remains in varying stages of decomposition, arranged in a spiral pattern around the cave’s center. An off-key humming comes from a hunched figure working busily at something on the floor.
“Oh, there you are!” The figure is Buppido. He wipes his hands on his vest and smiles viciously. “I didn’t expect you to find me here, with my shrine nearly finished! And power! My faithful are finally honoring me! Are you …? Yes. Yes, I sense that you are ready to recieve my truth into your hearts!”"

After the combat, the ghost of a deep gnome named Pelek pokes its head up out of the ground, blinks, and then emerges fully. It’s a friendly ghost who tells the party that Buppido killed him not too long ago, then chopped him into pieces to join the other body parts in the shrine. He asks the party to take his remains to Blingdenstone and bury his remains there, so his spirit can rest. However, it’s impossible to tell which body parts are his. He tells the party that the magic down here animated one of his severed hands, and it scuttled away through one of the narrow tunnels. It can be recognized by the obsidian ring it’s wearing.

Parade of Fools

The party go back into the tunnel outside Buppido’s cave and see up ahead a large black pool of water. The other shore is about 100 feet away, so they decide to go back into the cave and travel through the tunnel at the back. The tunnel opens into a natural cave, wherein you see several fungal creatures dancing to a silent tune. Three of them stand five feet tall, while the others are half as tall. One of the small ones stands apart from the rest, its movements not nearly as frantic. Hunched nearby are two larger creatures that resemble apes covered with mushroom growths and yellow mold.

The party cautiously enters the cave and try to communicate with them. One of the adult myconids steps forward and releases spores, allowing them to talk. He introduces himself as Voosbur, and it begins to tell the party of its “troupe” was attracted by the mushrooms in these tunnels. They didn’t wander in here, rather they travelled “through the Lady’s dream.” She’s a powerful being that loves and guides all myconids. After tlaking with Voosbur some more, they realize it is referring to Zuggtmoy. Voosbur offers to share “the Lady’s gift” with the party. The party understands it works similarly to the spell tree stride, just through mushrooms instead of trees. They decline and Voosbur doesn’t seem offended, maybe a little disappointed, but not offended.

The party notices the wallflower, the myconid sprout in the corner. They approach and it introduces itself as Rumpadump. He hasn’t accepted “the Lady’s gift” and didn’t really want to come here. Turns out, it’s friends with Stool and asks to come along with the party. They discretely leave with Rumpadump and make there way through another tunnel on the other side of the cave.

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Goodbye Crowfeeder
Hello Issander

The party was held in the Overlake Hold for quite a while and its getting late. Time to look for the Ghohlbrorn’s Lair they heard about. But first, the boats are parked far away on the eastern side of town. They do a little scouting closer to the Blade Bazaar and where the inn is located and secure a docking spot for 3sp per day per boat. Leona stays behind to gather information while the rest of the PCs go move the boats. Unfortunately for Leona, most of the talk at the docks is in undercommon and she doesn’t understand it. However, she does see a merchant walk up to a Stone Guard and start talking. During the conversation, seemingly out of nowhere, the merchant started yelling and screaming at the guard something fierce. He may have even made a death threat. Then the merchant just stopped talking and walked away. Hmm… strange.

The party moved the boats and proceeded to the Ghohlbrorn’s Lair, the only inn for outsiders. The inn is underground, so the party move down a spiral staircase, leading into the common room that serves as a dining room. There was a group of orcs at one table, a group of humans and elves at another. The majority of the PCs sat down at a third, empty table. Crowfeeder went over to the table of orcs.

The orcs looked a bit preoccupied. A few days ago, they discovered something disturbing in the underdark: three Tanarukks. They already lost one fellow comrade and narrowly escaped, finally making their way to Gracklstugh. They normally play the role of pirates on the Darklake, taking pleasure in “upgrading” their boat whenever possible, but the discovery of the Tanarukks have left them shaken. Crowfeeder has seen his fare share of demonic power recently in the Underdark and feels duty bound to destroy the abominations. After a test of strength, showing his prowess against their second in command, they welcome him into the group. Crowfeeder informs the rest of the party about his decision to leave them, and out of respect, Harbeck makes sure that he leaves with his fair share of the treasure.

TODO – introduction of Issander

TODO – first day looking for Droki

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Welcome to Gracklstugh

The long journey on the Darklake is over, for now. The party has arrived in Gracklstugh, greeted by the warmth, smell, and smoke of its forges. Finding a small outcropping as a makeshift dock, the group quietly docks their boats. Greeting them was a group of Stone Guards. One of them stepped forward as the party thought he may be a harbormaster or someone looking for docking fees. He was, but in the form of a bribe. He asked for way too much, then all of a sudden, seemingly forgot what he was talking about and just turned around and left. Hmm… strange.

The NPCs stayed with the boats, some of them because they didn’t want to travel in the city and others out of responsibility. The PCs began their shopping trip, making their way to the Blade Bazaar. As they were nearly done, something large came crashing through a gate: a stone giant with a second head. Not like an ettin, where it seems like it’s meant to have two heads. This was more like an extra head off one shoulder. The PCs took down the giant and killed it. Soon after, some Stone Guards showed up and started asking questions. Another stone giant appeared, this time with a single head, asking what happened. The PCs explained that they had to put him down, then the Stone Guard “invited” the PCs for questioning.

The Stone Guard took the PCs to Overlake Hold, put them in an room and locked the door. They were in there for a few hours before Captain Errde Blackskull showed up to give them an offer they couldn’t refuse: track down a derro named Droki, find out what he is doing, who he is talking to, where he goes, and if the opportunity presents itself, capture him alive. The Captain gives the party some badges that should allow them to move more freely through Gracklstugh, maybe even into parts that that are normally off limits to outsiders. The Captain tells the PCs that Droki is usually spotted in the Blade Bazaar and chased to the West Cleft District, which is off limits to duergar such as herself and her Stone Guards.

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Nightmare on the Darklake
Is this a Dallas moment?

The party had been traveling for 4 days in circles. They’re lost. They should have found Gracklstugh by now. There’s also this thick fog that makes navigation difficult. They start bickering. The boat repair begins to fail when the boats go down some minor rapids and the end up beached on an island. A bit of a blessing in disguise since it will make repairing the boat easier.

The group makes repairs to the boat and camps for the night. During the night, a group of duergar come from the far side of the island and it looks to be the same group of duergar they met a few days ago on the empty ship. They reveal that they have brought Ilvara Mizzrym with them who wishes to recapture the party. She begins by thanking “her” for helping out. A traitor! Ilvara asks the traitor to step forward to claim her promise of delivering her to the surface. Eldeth Feldrun takes a few steps forward and then all hell breaks loose.

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An Empty Ship

Traveling in a medium-sized cavern with high ceilings, the party hears a crash and splash ahead. Then a second one. Two umber hulks were burrowing overhead when they fell into the cavern and begin attacking the party. The party killed one and the second one fled.

The party came across a whirlpool about 50 feet across. They had to power through, with good navigation in order to get both keelboats past it to the locks on the other side.

In the huge cavern below the whirlpool the party came across a large ship, seemingly empty. Turns out it was a duergar ship with some drow passengers. The groups parted ways after a tense standoff.

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A voice is calling

Starting with Gerald, the party begins hearing a female voice call out to them.

Hello? Is someone there … ? Oh please, I need your help! I have been trapped in the dark for so long … so very long. Please, won’t you help to free me?

The voice is accompanied by an impression of the direction and distance to the voice. May only be a two or three hour journey away. The PCs take one of the boats to investigate the voice.

TODO – finish first part of story to the lost tomb

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Defeating Murk
we could live here

The party decided to take on the four animated armor in the hallway storage closet and perhaps turn them into functional armor. They were able to salvage two of them, making some nice armor for Harbeck and <someone>.

The party also went back upstairs to check the four corner towers for more weapons and supplies.

Something about the helmed horrors.

Finally, the party decided to take on Murk after much debate. They found a secret passage leading down below the second level to a cave at water level. What looked like a pond was actually connected to the lake outside, and Murk was waiting. A few kobolds were also down here.

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Duergar fort part 2

The party took some time after the battle in the hall to take stock in what happened once the fight was over:

The party, wiped out from the fight, took a long rest in the hall and keeping an eye on the two sets of stairs. The next morning, they went downstairs to find:

  • two of Hemeth‘s former business partners’ bodies were stashed in the WC
  • a hallway closet with animated armor guarding the storage room
  • eight more kobolds took defensive positions in their barracks
  • a carrion crawler locked in the kitchen
  • a pair of helmed horrors guarding the brig with two fresh(ish) bodies: a kuo-toa and a drow
  • a sculpture of Tiamat that didn’t take kindly to being picked up, spraying acid, cold, fire, lightning, and poison at Leona
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