Out of the Abyss

Got 'Em

The party captured Droki and boy, was he unhappy. He was frothing at the mouth, they had to knock him out and black-bag him just to transport him to Captain Errde Blackskull. She took him into custody and took back the party’s badges. Well, except Leona Prax who stole hers back. The captain held up her end of the bargain and told them to that Wertz Saltbarron knows how to get to the surface.

The party decided to go back to Hgraam the Stonespeaker to tell him about the toenail clippings they found on Droki. Since he’s a courier, Hgraam asked the party to investigate who the toenail clippings were for and what they were up to. They seemed reluctant so he offered to teach them some meditation techniques and give a blessing to help them avoid the madness in the Whorlstone Tunnels.

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Droki, the White Rabbit
too damn fast

Fungi Forrest

Leaving the cave of dancing myconids, the party continues on through the Whorlstone Tunnels. A dense fungi forest blocks the party’s way, its tallest specimens growing some five feet high. As they assess the best way to pass through it, a hissing sound starts to rise – like uncounted tiny voices whispering in tongues you don’t understand. Leona Prax realizes that the hissing sounds are mainly caused by air whistling through perforated mushrooms in the thicket of fungi. The party begins to make their way through at a snails pace, pushing their way through the overgrown fungi.

When the party reaches a T intersection, they are attacked by swarms of centipedes and spiders.

A Hungry Xorn

The party turns left at the T intersection making their way through another 100 feet of fungi forest. The continue on until they reach a narrowing in the tunnel, leading to another T intersection. They stop for a moment, as they hear crumbling rocks up ahead. It turns out there is Xorn eating faerzress-infused parts of the wall. Leona Prax teaches Rumpadump the “juice” signal and it releases spores so the party can talk with the Xorn. It’s really hungry and is begging for anything faerzress-infused. It notices the faint glows from Gerald Wolfway and Leona Prax‘s backpacks and asks for what’s inside (the glowing crystals). Gerald gives him one and the Xorn seems really pleased.

The party ask the Xorn if it’s seen a derro with a funny hat, Droki, and he has. He says he comes down here often from the direction of the dark pond, turns right as his intersection (towards the fungi forest), then later comes from the third direction of the intersection, traveling back towards the dark pond. He also shares that the derro isn’t wet when coming from the dark pond. Hmm …

The party thanks him for the information and bids it farewell. A few moments later, Leona Prax realizes that it pick pocketed one of her glowing crystals.

The White Rabbit

The party turns left at the T intersection, moving towards the dark pond they saw earlier. According to the Xorn, Droki should be coming this direction within the next 8 hours. They figure nearby the dark pond is a good place to ambush him. They discover a fungi patch against one of the walls and Harbeck Emberglow discovers a small crack in the wall. It’s too small for him to fit through, but Rumpadump should be able to squeeze through. Gerald Wolfway convinces it to go see where it leads. It goes about 50 feet before getting scared, but not before the narrow tunnel turns left as if to cross the dark pond.

The party lies in waiting, against Issander‘s wishes, to try and capture Droki. After a long rest, Issander begins to see some of his friends and family. They’re clearly not real and he begins to freak out. About the same time, Leona Prax digs through the fungi patch and discovers to new types of fungi (described in the New Fungi section of Whorlstone Tunnels). She takes a small bite of the short mushroom, she fells strange and the room begins to grow. Well, that’s what she originally thought before she realized that she was shrinking. Then a tiny derro scurries out of the narrow tunnel.

The dirty derro is easy to recognize: a pale face under a floppy hat fitted with two tentacle-like things that bob up and down in time with his brisk pace. He keeps muttering a repetitive series of phrases to himself at different volumes, failing to notice the party.

Droki is late!
They will be so angry!
Stupid, stupid, stupid!
Delays, blocks, procrastination, obstructions, pfah!
No time, no rhyme, not mine!
No! Time!

Once the party notices him and begins to go after him, he quickly clicks his heels together and runs away at lightning speed. The party is tired from staying up all night and disappointed they couldn’t catch Droki so they return to their rooms at Ghohlbrorn’s Lair.

New Attack Plan

The party comes up with a new attack plan: look for him at the Blade Bazaar for the next day until he returns to the Whorlstone Tunnels, according to the information the Xorn gave them. They spend the afternoon the first day looking for him and come up empty. There are a few times they think they saw him, but it was just wishful thinking.

Towards the end of the day, they are greeted by a stone giant named Dorhun, the same one who was chasing after the two-headed Rihuud the party had to put down the first day they arrived in Gracklstugh. Dorhun invited them to Cairngorm Cavern later that evening so Hgraam, their leader, could talk to them. The party cautiously agrees to the meeting.

Later that evening, the party crosses Laduguer’s Furrow to get to Cairngorm Cavern along the western walls, south of the divide. They are greeted by Dorhun, who invites them inside and asks them to wait. Hgraam the Stonespeaker enters, somberly greeting the party. He was originally furious they had killed Rihuud, but over the past few days has made peace with it, realizing the party had very little choice but to put him down. He laments over the loss of Rihuud and the dark times we find ourselves in. He begins by saying:

Something evil stirs in the Underdark. The rock itself cries in pain and horror, and a madness creeps from the blackest depths.

Harbeck Emberglow shares the information the party has about the madness, the rise of “he who shall not be named” and ensuing destruction of Sloobludop. Hgraam is interested in hearing this troubling news and it begins to make sense of what the stone has told him. Hgraam continues his warning:

Pay heed to the signs surrounding you. A cave with two faces. Rock devoured, and the land overgrown. The pebble believes itself flesh. The earth rejects its wards, and the tunnels shake in fury. By these portents, you shall know of evil’s presence and of evil’s face. This is what the stones tell me.

As the party is leaving, Hgraam calls over Dorhun and whispers something to him. Dorhun returns with a large, cylindrical item covered in a dark cloth. Hgraam presents it to the party saying they seem to know much of what the stone tells him, and this may be of use to them in the future. It’s a polished crystal the length of a human forearm, a Stonespeaker Crystal.

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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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