Out of the Abyss - 5e

Gathering to draw the demons into their grasp...

The adventurers have travelled far and wide within the Underdark. They’ve visited a mystical library where they met a drow archmage who asked them to meet with him at his tower. Vizeran was his name and he claimed to know of a ritual that would be powerful enough to draw in the demon lords to one place so they might fight each other doing enough damage and sending enough back to the Abyss to dwindle their numbers enough for those that remained to be vanquished while in an injured state.

The party agreed to help gather the materials and set off first to find Purple worm eggs, and try to find an eye of the beholder. They went to the Wormwrithing tunnels and eventually were able to secure a couple of eggs while leaving a party of House Myzrrym drow to their doom at the hands of one of the guardian purple worms. After a short conversation with an arrogant beholder, they were attacked and nearly vanquished before laying the beholder low. During the battle, the cleric was nearly killed as he was thrown off a ledge and plummeted several hundred feet before the abrupt stop. Whilst he lay unconscious, the rest of the party poked and prodded the beholder until it died and floated down to the bottom of the chasm.

Peering down into the chasm while still fighting off the beholder, Vandyr looked for any signs of life from Chadwick. Seeing no movement, as soon as the beholder was felled, Vandyr looked once more before leaping into the air and diving into the chasm, plummeting at an alarming speed to reach his fallen comrade. Miraculously, perhaps due to a silent prayer to Tempus, Vandyr reached the floor of the chasm landing steadily on one knee with his fist impacting the ground and burying itself a half foot into the floor. Pain racked his body after absorbing damage from such a fall, but he gathered himself and walked over to the fallen cleric allowing divine energy to flow through him.

Some time later, Maya, the monk calmly walked down the chasm wall as though walking on a vertical surface came naturally to her. After reviving the cleric and taking a rest, the party began their journey toward some sort of labyrinth to find more ingredients.

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Descent Back into the Depths

Leading an expeditionary force of the size the adventurers were able to gather is no small feat. It turns out stealth among a group so large is nigh impossible and being in the Underdark makes it that much more dangerous.

Where to though, straight to Gravenhollow? Do they stop along the way to see how things are in Blingdenstone, DarkLake, Gracklestugh, Neverlight Grove? Do they attempt to venture to Menzoberranzan to see what has transpired there with all of this demonic activity around?

Travel is never easy. The party knows it will be long, arduous, and filled with danger. If the party sticks to the routes it knows from previous travels, it seems the compass on the ring will likely pull them through Blingdenstone, and Gracklestugh. They’d be relatively near DarkLake and consequently Velkynelve only having to go out of their way along that known path. Neverlight Grove might be along the way if they can remember where it was. What has changed in these places? Perhaps they will learn…

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Company formed at Gauntlegrym

The party met with King Bruenor Battlehammer and managed to undertake his request of allying the majority of the council to prepare to journey back into the Underdark to a place called Gravenhollow where it is rumored the true source of the demonic invasion can be learned.

The adventures are able to convince members of the Harpers, the Order of the Gauntlet, the Emerald Enclave, and the Lords’ Alliance to venture forth with them. The offer made from the Zhentarim went without agreement and therefore they will not take part.

The party then ventured back into the Underdark toward a rumored trade location called Mantol-Derith. Upon reaching the location they encounter sverfneblin, duergar, drow, and Zhentarim as they look for a man called Ghazrim DuLoc who can apparently provide them with a method of journeying to Gravenhollow.

After a few encounters and bouts of diplomacy, the party is bears witness to a meeting gone wrong as a drow assassin leaps toward an old beholder and a battle ensues. Much of this battle is over a stone that ends up being a prison of a demon lord, and the party destroys the stone thereby sending the demon back to the abyss. By the time the party reaches the scene, all but the drow assassin are either dead or unconscious. They are able to revive DuLoc who eventually takes them back to his tent and gives them a ring that acts as a compass that will lead them to Gravenhollow.

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The surface awaits, but more darkness as well...

The harrowing battle of Blingdenstone was a success, at least in part. The party aided the citizens of Blingdenstone and earned a bit of respite for the coming journey toward Gauntlegrym. Chief Dorbo tells the party he can provide them guides to take them toward one of two nearby exits to the surface, Lurkwood or the Evermoors. For distance, the Lurkwood is closest to Gauntlegrym, so the party decides that location best.

The guides warn that the Lurkwood is a dangerous place, filled with bottomless bogs and teeming with orcs, barbarian tribes, ettins and giants. They also state that they will get the party as close to the exit in the time they have available to them before having to head back to aid in the cleanup and continued reclaiming of Blingdenstone.

The guides prove efficient and timely over the course of eleven days of travel toward the exit at Lurkwood before having to turn back. They give the party exact directions and explain it will be only two days more travel to the exit. The entirety of the travel, Chadwick could not shake the feeling that something had been following and eventually passed up the party.

Climbing stone paths along the side of a cavern, Maya scouts ahead of the party toward the exit and ventures out into the evening dusk. It would appear that Chadwick’s feelings were accurate as Maya is immediately set upon by two giant spiders and battle ensues. She quickly relays information as best she can back down to the party that there is a group of drow along with the spiders here, apparently waiting in ambush!

A difficult battle erupts and darkness is cast at the mouth of the cave hindering all sight. Thinking quickly, Chadwick casts a Daylight spell which dispels the darkness allowing those in visual range to take in exactly what the party is facing. Two drow warriors, two priestesses, two giant spiders, and four drow guards assault the party.

At one point during the battle the seemingly more seasoned priestess casts an insect plague into the mouth of the cavern providing a damaging barrier cutting off, at least temporarily, some of the party from rest. Several more seconds pass and after two party members fall at one point, Gan dispels the insect plague allowing the rest of the party to push forward to assist more directly in battle. Quick healing and aid follow and party members are revived in time to see one of the drow guards drop its guise revealing its true form of a demonic creature dealing clubbing and massive poison damage to all it hits.

The battle rages on and sound battle tactics of concentrating on injured foes to decrease their number works in favor of the party. Ultimately, they are able to kill all of the drow, spiders, and the demon even as a number of the party fell unconscious at one point or another. Now the party stages a guarded rest to recuperate and begin their trek to Gauntlegrym. But what other dangers await them in the Lurkwood?

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Cry Havoc! And let loose the flow of ooze...

The party gathers its bearings and begins to head toward Diggermattock Hall to march forward and onto the Pudding King’s throne. On their way, they happen upon a strange sight. A small group of sverfneblin are gathered swaying and chanting incoherently, led by the young cleric from the Ruby in the Rough temple and standing off to the side observing, the party sees Gan Bataar, their warlock comrade who disappeared for several days during the cleansing of the Steadfast Stone and the discovery of Entemoch’s boon.

After a bit of dialogue trying to figure out who these deep gnomes were chanting about, all signs pointed to a “god of slime,” “faceless one”. Initially, the party thought they were talking about the Pudding King, but the cleric kept saying they would take the usurper who claimed to be such titles which led the party to seek advice from Dorbo Diggermattock.

Dorbo put the party at ease by addressing the group himself putting them in the frontline of his charge for the battle and assuring all that if they betrayed Blingdenstone, they’d be served up on pikes.

The party gathered and watched near the entrance to the royal home, where the oozes had been gathering. The Goldwhisker clan took up the lead as promised and the Stoneheart Enclave began summoning earth elementals as the battle began. The party moved forward making their way through the waves and seeing ghosts rise up through the ground latching onto oozes holding them in place for others to hit them.

The party fought four waves of oozes, slimes, and jellies before making it into the throne room where they initially encountered the Pudding King who instructed two other oozes, seemingly more intelligent than others, to drop and attack the party.

The party summarily dispatched the oozes uncovering two powerful spell books before confronting and quickly taking down the Pudding King who dissolved into a puddle of ooze himself.

With the victory, the oozes in Blingdenstone began to scatter though still many in number. Jadger the ghost flew in with three Galeb Duhr to take the party back through the battlefield and back into Blingdenstone proper. After the battle was more under control, Dorbo gathered the party to thank them and show them they now had allies in the Underdark. He gave them a stone of earth elemental control as a token of appreciation and said he would send guide with the party when they ventured out to make their way to the surface. He suggested they try to get to Gauntlegrym as soon as they can to seek an audience with King Bruenor Battlehammer as he would likely know about any demonic influence happening on the surface.

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Prioritizing resources for the battle ahead

The party gathered at the Steadfast Stone to cleanse it of the Ogremach’s Bane and contemplated on what to do when they placed the spell gem into it. Deciding to just do it and see what happens, Chadwick placed the gem and immediately the ground began to shake as one of the earth elemental forms in the wall broke free and charged the party. Upon defeating the elemental, it crumbled into the ground and up from the rubble rose a Galeb Duhr, motionless and facing outward.

Almost as soon as the party saw this statue, another earth elemental broke free from the wall and also charged at the party. The party fought once more and was able to vanquish yet another elemental. And again, a Galeb Duhr rose in its place, motionless.

This process repeated one more time and when the third elemental was defeated, and a third Galeb Duhr rose, a white light settled upon the Steadfast Stone. The Galeb Duhr then turned to the party, gave a solemn and silent nod, and crouched into stone form, as if now prepared to stand guard.

The party returned to the council to inform them of the occurrence and they then chose to go in search of Entemach’s Boon. After getting turned around and lost for a few days, and encountering a gaseous cloud in the shape of a beholder that clouded their minds with a vision of a circle, the party found the circle they believed to be the boon. Upon setting foot into the circle, they were set upon by two basilisks. Skillfully avoiding the stares, the party dispatched them and soon discovered a nest containing three basilisk eggs. They decided to let the council know about this as well and were informed that the eggs would hatch and they would train the basilisks to stand guard at Entemach’s Boon.

The party considered trying to go and find Neverlight Grove again to get the ingredients to prepare the oils that would aid in resisting the acids of the oozes, but decided instead to go ahead and begin the assault. Battle is nigh…

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Preparing for the Battle of Blingdenstone

After a night’s rest, the party awakens to head toward Diggermattock Hall to partake in the council meeting on how best to address the slimes and reclaim Blingdenstone once and for all for the deep gnomes. As they gather, they discover that one of their party, the warlock Gan Bataar, is nowhere to be found. There is no sign of struggle nor disturbance. They head down and ask the tavern keep who says she did not see him come down, but that she did see a tiefling leave earlier in the morning whom she did not remember ever checking in. A bit confused, the party settles on going ahead anyway and meeting with the council.

At Diggermattock Hall, the council has gathered. The party is introduced to members of the Stoneheart Enclave, the Minekeeper’s Guild, the Goldwhisker Warrens, and of course the Diggermattocks. They begin to speak of strategy from avoiding an all out assault to causing a distraction to allow the party inside to take on the Pudding King. The Minekeepers state they can create oils that will prevent damage to weapon and armor, but need supplies from Neverlight Grove, a place the party is all too familiar with. They relay that the grove is overrun with a demonic influence so success of that would be greatly diminished. The most sound strategy it seems is offered by the Stoneheart Enclave…defense with stone.

If the party can clear the Steadfast Stone temple, they will be able to summon earth elementals to help and aid in the attack. However, the area is currently occupied by Ogremarch’s Bane which must be cleared in order to keep the elementals from going mad and crazy. One of the enclave states that if they can place a ruby (a spell gem containing the Hallow spell) into the Steadfast Stone, they can clear Ogremarch’s Bane and bring forth Entimoch’s Boon allowing the summoning of earth elementals to take place. The Diggermattocks agree this appears to be the most sound strategy and state that when it is done, and the assault begins, if the Goldwhisker clan takes point on the attack, they will be welcomed back into Blingdenstone as one.

All things settled, the party heads out the next day toward the Steadfast Stone in the Rockblight Caverns. On the way, they pass two stone statues with wings and when a few of the party venture a bit too close, the statues animate revealing themselves to be gargoyles. The gargoyles attack the party and soon after an earth elemental shows up initially clotheslining one of the gargoyles, but having a crazed look in its eyes. After dispatching the gargoyles, the earth elemental turns its attention to Rister and lands several clubbing blows before finally succumbing to the monk’s will thanks to resourceful healing from Chadwick, the cleric.

The adventurers then skirt around toward a cave. Zaeshaar casts an invisibility spell upon the monk, Maya who scouts ahead into the cave discovering a drow female who is actually a medusa. The monk backs out deciding discretion is the better part of valor for now. She suggests they steer clear of that cave for the moment and press on. They come across another cave that contains dozens of statues of drow, but they do not enter. The party believes these statues to be the victims of the medusa.

Finally, the party arrives at the Steadfast Stone. The stalagmite form is pockmarked with places that look like they could once have held gems. And all around the area they party discovers immensely large stone carvings in the wall that resemble humanoid shapes…

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Blingdenstone - Total Drama Cave

The party, after meeting with the chief of Blingdenstone decides to head toward Goldwhisker Warrens to address the wererat issue there. On the way they stop by a residence that is rumored to be haunted which has prevented any families from moving into it. Once they set foot inside, they are accosted by a poltergeist. They pretty quickly dispatch the spirit and with some investigation determine it to be the ghost of a former resident and leatherworker. They find a hidden cache of eight gems thought to be worth around 250gp each.

The group heads on to the Warrens and eventually meets up with the leader of the wererats, Chipgrin Goldwhisker. He informs them that they only wish to be welcomed back into the Blingdenstone community, nothing more. He also tells the group that he has learned what is causing all of the various oozes and slimes to gather in Blingdenstone. He says something about a “Pudding King” controlling all of them and that it presents a very real danger to his clan and all of Blingdenstone. He suggests that the party go and look for themselves just what awaits Blingdenstone if nothing is done.

The party follows the directions given them by Chipgrin and happens on a very disturbing discovery. Outside a large round structure, some 80+ oozes, slimes, puddings roam around, clearly too many to take on themselves. The party retreats and heads back to Chipgrin. He tells them that if they can get him an audience with Chief Dorbo Diggermattock and maintain peace during the meeting, he will tell them all he knows of the slimes and the Pudding King.

The party agrees and heads back to Diggermattock Hall. They meet with Senni and Chief Dorbo who upon learning of all this news decide it is time to gather the council and discuss a plan of action. They also state that Chipgrin will be an invited guest. They suggest the party get a night’s rest and come to the meeting the next day.

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Onto Blingdenstone
Deep Gnomeopolis awaits

After a several days travel through more of the never-ending Underdark and encounters with a maddened succubus (who was nice, polite, and all together pleasant) who the party helped clear out an ancient tomb containing a mummy and several undead, the party arrived at the gates of Blingdenstone.

The party was immediately stopped by the deep gnome guards as they saw the party’s drow comrade, Zaeshaar, with them. Ever untrusting of drow, even years after the destruction of the city, the sverfneblin do not let any drow enter the city unescorted.

After the party reveals that they are seeking shelter from a pursuing drow band after having lost them, the guards agree to let the party enter, escorted, and see the Chief Dorbo Diggermattock.

The Chief greets the party at his offices and after some conversation, agrees to let the party stay within the city after they agree to do some work for him gathering information on the increased presence of oozes in the northeastern portion of Blingdenstone and addressing the wererats in the Goldwhisker Warrens to the north and northwest. However, the chief states that they must earn confidence from the populous at large before he would allow them to travel with their full compliment of attack power. Specifically, the Chief casts his eyes upon the drow, Zaeshaar, requesting his spellbook be bound for a period of time. After some deliberation, the drow agrees, but only after insisting that the party’s warlock be bound and gagged in the spirit of fairplay. Chief Diggermattock agrees now knowing the party has a warlock with them.

The party set out to begin gaining the citizens’ trust and eventually came upon the Foaming Mug tavern where they learn a bit of information regarding both the northeastern area of Blingdenstone, the Warrens, and some place called Rockblight to the east. Additionally, they visit a temple called the Ruby in the Rough, dedicated to the deep gnome god of the earth. It is here they discover the place to take the hand of the deceased gnome from Gracklestugh whose ghost implored them to return his remains to his homeland. After doing so, another ghost, a former warden of the city, appeared agreeing to answer questions for the party provided they complete some tasks for him as well. The party tells the ghost they will return later.

From the tavern, the adventurers set out first toward the Warrens, with a stop along the way at one of the homes of a former resident of Blingdenstone, rumored to be haunted…

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Drider, Drow, Danger...Dark Redemption

The party is heading toward Blingdenstone as it traverses the Underdark trying to make sense of now two demon lords having crossed over into the Realms. At the same time, it tries to stay ahead of what seems to be its original captors, drow of House Myzzrm.

While going through a network of tunnels, the party hears sounds of battle and scouts ahead a bit to discover a band of drow battling a drider! The party gathers along a ledge some 20 feet above them and is spotted by both the drow party and the drider. A member of the drow group beckons them to help them dispatch this beast and receive a reward. The drider asks for the party’s help in defending it from these drow.

One of the party notices a symbol worn by the drow party that Zaeshaar identifies as House Baenre. The party decides to help the drider and a dangerous battle ensues. The drider helps the party as best it can and eventually the party triumphs. The drider introduces himself as Ylfein and says he’s been hearing the call of Eilistraee and travels to a shrine purported to be near in the hopes that his this drider curse be removed. He explains that it was put upon him because he intervened when a drow priestess tried to kill a young gnome child.

While the drider told his story, one of the party examined one of the bodies and discovered the symbol bearing the House Baenre iconography was zurkhwood and poorly crafted, something Zaeshaar notes would not be done by any drow house as their actual symbol. Hearing this, Ylfein rips open the clothing on the body and sees a shining onyx symbol of House Myzzrm.

The party is asked to accompany Ylfein to the shrine and in return he’d give them an item of worth. They agree and forge on…

On the second day of the journey to the shrine, the party is set upon by an Umber Hulk which casts its confusing gaze upon all of them. The drider goes into a blind rage and begins attacking anything around him, including the party, but they are able to take the hulk down and settle down the drider. Shortly after, they arrive a the shrine to discover a drow female dancing in light…cast by the moon! The surface is above them!

The drider descends toward the drow who introduces herself as the Bright Edge of Darkness, a Dark Lady of Eilistraee. She hears the drider’s plight and asks him to dance with her in the light. Ylfein begrudgingly does so, and both are bathed in a soft glow of moonlight. Eventually, that moonlight fades, and the drider remains. His curse still intact, but his mind at peace.

The Dark Lady invites the party to stay as long as they need, and now the party must decide to continue to Blingdenstone, or to find a way up to the hole that lets in the moonlight to see where they are on the surface…

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