Out of the Abyss - 5e

Escape from Velkynelve!
Uktar the 18th

I am a prisoner in the Drow House Mizzrym mining colony of V-something. Preistess of Lolth Ilvara is my captor. She has two right hand puppets, Shoor and Jorlun. There are a number of other prisoners. It seems we are all having disturbing dreams.

After some time forming alliances, Jorlun offers to help the us escape – since his face was scarred Ilvara had spurned him for another, and it would appear he sought payback. He left the gate open and offered to give us a distraction when the guard shift came. The distraction was bigger than expected – battling Vrocks and Chasmes (though I dont know if Jorlun had anything to do with that – it seems unlikely). After getting out we went to the armory and gathered some supplies, then went back to Ilvara’s quarters where we found my spell book. The stupid human decided to urinate on the altar of Lolth – I wager that will come back to haunt him. Once we got my spellbook and the items enumerated below, we sought escape…

15 days rations
4 flasks of drow poison (Zaecharr)
58 sp
60 gp
floor plan to a castle
Idol of Dagon – possibly causing nightmares? (Zaecharr)
2 glass flasks of unknown alchemies (Zaecharr)
20 gp moonstone
400 ft of silk rope
10 caltrops
2 bags of iron spikes
10 gp mirror
50 gp headdress (Lolth)
25 gp black velvet mask
10 gp bone dice
50 gp broach
10 gp liquor
various sets of clothing (normal clothing)
various sets of chain armor (enough to suit up 3 people all said and done)

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Into Darkness
"Where do we go next?"

The rag tag group of escapees successfully manage to escape from Velkynelve through the norther passage out. The question now is where do they go from here? They have been informed that the passage north leads to Menzoberranzan and eventually to Blingdenstone. The passage west leads most directly to Darklake while the southern passage leads to toward the duergar city of Gracklstugh.

They have not ventured far enough north yet that it would be disadvantageous to turn back toward a different path, but…what lies ahead?

Buppido makes his desires known to turn back south and go to Gracklstugh as he knows the group can get better equipment there. Does he have ulterior motives or is he speaking the truth?

Prince Derendil offers no useful advice, but has indicate he will gladly accompany the group as he is eager to venture to the surface. Derendil gives no preference of destination.

Eldeth Feldrun is unfamiliar with this location, but she is a survivalist and could assist greatly in that regard offering her skills. Eldeth does not seem to have a preference of one destination over another.

Jimjar offers to guide the party to Blingdenstone from the current route noting that the city will provide access to the surface. He also notes he is fine visiting other interesting places along the way. He indicates that he would like to aid in taking Stool back to its home. A bit altruistic of a statement to be coming from someone that’s been imprisoned so recently.

Ront is altogether unfamiliar with the Underdark and says he’ll accompany the party so long as doing so gets him back to the surface and out of this hell.

Sarith Kzekarit states that he has had communication with Stool and wishes to travel to Neverlight Grove (Stool’s home), but is he truthful or does he have something else in mind?

Stool does not seem to know the area the group currently finds itself in, but desperately wants to go home to Neverlight Grove. Stool claims (in short simple words) that its people will be grateful and offer the group aid and shelter.

Choices and more choices it would appear…

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Into Darkness (onward to Gracklstugh)
Kuo-toan layover?

The band of escapees decide their current best course of action is to escort Stool to its home in Neverlight Grove. However, they also think it beneficial to journey to Gracklstugh to provision themselves for the journey toward the surface. During the first day of travel, the adventurers hear the muffled sounds of someone mumbling and clearly struggling. They happen upon a half-elf who is bound and gagged and has seemingly been left for dead.

After removing the gag, the party soon discovers one of the reasons the half-elf, who introduces himself as Chadwick, was gagged. He might be the most talkative person any of them have ever encountered. Trying to expedite their travel, the party unbinds Chadwick who makes it known he had been taken prisoner by a Mizzram drow band while searching an underground temple for historic relics thought to have been lost to Oghma who he is a cleric follower. It is decided he may provide some benefit to the party so they allow Chadwick to join.

It is decided that first and foremost, they need some supplies, Shuushar, the kuo-toa, suggests that they travel to his village to gather some provisions mindful that they may not be accepted initially.

Several, oddly uneventful days pass as the party ventures through narrow passage ways, sizable caverns, and ledges. While in one narrow pass, they happen upon a giant spider which they quickly dispatch and find a skeletal corpse that was still clutching a scroll. Zaeshaar takes the scroll upon which is inscribed the spell Crown of Madness.

Just on the outskirts of Shuusar’s village, the party is confronted by the arch-priest of the Sea Mother who presents the party with not so much an offer, but a hard ultimatum. They serve as faux sacrifices to his daughter who has claimed to be an arch-priest of the Deep Father, or they will be dispatched by the entire village and offered to the Sea Mother instead. The party reluctantly agrees after the arch-priest offers to reward them handsomely upfront as he is not worried about trinkets of the surface world and won’t lose either way.

The party is taken through the village up to his quarters that lies near the shrine to the Sea Mother. Upon learning a bit about the customs and practices of the kuo-toa that follow her, Zaeshaar willingly vomits upon the feet of the altar. The kuo-toa that are gathered around the shrine think it a bit odd to see a drow showing such reverence, but welcome it.

They are then led to the altar of the Deep Father and the offer is made…

Next time…what is THAT?!?!?!?!?

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Demogorgan up in this shit (Into Darkness cont'd)

Uktar 27th:

We decide to acquiesce to the kua-toa king and present ourselves as sacrifices for the deep mother. The king then attacks his daughter in the middle of the ceremony, and after a couple short rounds of battle, no less than Demogorgan, the demon prince of the Abyss, reared up out of the dark lake. Needless to say, discretion is the better part of valor and we ran, taking a boat across the Darklake to Grackslaught.

Treasure:
67 pp, strand of pearls (500 gp), 2 potions of healing, 1 potion of water-breathing, 1 scroll of light

Nightal 5th:
Once there, we do some perusing of the merchant district and end up helping the guard defeat a two headed stone giant, one of many odd things happening in the Deurgar town. For our help, we were granted access to the Stone Giant shrine. After the fight with the two-headed stone giant, the Stone Guard patrol insists on taking the party to meet with the patrol officer.

82 sp from Hermith for getting him home
653 gp from selling accumulated loot

Total: 190 pp, 5 sp

Spend:
splint – 20 pp
invisibility – 30 pp
magic missile – 10 pp
identify – 10 pp
2 potions of healing – 10 pp

110 pp, 5 sp left.

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Gracklstugh
In the Duergar City

Nightal 6th

We end up meeting with a captain in the city guard, who asks us to look into the affairs of a Derro named Droki (he with a tentacle hat). We leave the PCs at the shattered spire and do some poking about. The halflings follow Droki from the bazaar to the west Cleft, where foul miscreants (derro, worse than Duergar) seem to reside. Unfortunately, magic defeats the invisibility spell I cast on them so they did not ascertain the location of his exact hideout.

I’m also visited my a female drow from house XXX…she tells me I am being followed by Drow of House Mizzrym. I alert the party, who do not seem to understand how vital it is that we kill every drow of that house, salt their fungus fields, and generally obliterate them from the face of Faerun. Sheesh. Above Grounders. They have no concept of honor.

Despite the desperate and urgent need to grind these orc kissing drow to dust, we apparently are going to venture into this Derro barren to attempt to appease this Duergar captain and ferret out a Derro insurrectionist. Sigh. A powerful drow wizard’s work is never done.

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Into the Derro depths

Avoiding the hate-filled eyes of the derro beyond the west gate of Gracklstugh, the party manages to stave off much in the way of attacks finding an opening that seemingly led into a cavern below. Slowly they made their way through what could only be the first portion of this immense space and found their target Droki, who ate a mushroom and disappeared! They determined that the mushrooms must change one’s size, but before pursuing Droki they chose to investigate other paths first. The party finds a fungus filled area with what looked like Myconids that the party chose to avoid. They pushed on into a circular chamber that smelled of fetid corpse and rot as bodies were piled high in various stages of decomposition. In the center, they also found a former travelling companion, Buppido the derro, who cackled at them claiming he was happy to see them accept their role as offerings to the derro god. He summoned skeletons and attacked, but the party quickly dispatched both the bones and Buppido as well. After finding a few items, the party turned their attention back to pursuing Droki through the crevice, ate mushrooms which caused them all to shrink. The pursuit continues.

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Further into the Whirlstone tunnels

The party continues through the Whirlstone tunnels looking for more clues pertaining to the seeming demonic influence as well as what exactly Droki was up to here. They come up around a bend and into a chamber housing six derro cultists who are conducting some sort of ritual. Upon seeing the adventurers the cultists move into attack. The cultists release a death dog from a cage and an ettin moves in serving as some sort of guard.

Battle ensues and the party is able to handle the attackers having only one party member temporarily felled. Among the chaos and aftermath, the party finds several items of interest. First, they find some scrolls, one from Droki addressed to Narrak talking about the stone giants, a couple of statues resembling stone giants with names on them linking what they encountered in the bazaar to this place, and evidence within the ritual circle connecting the demonic influence to Demogorgon. The party also finds some items of use and decides to barricade themselves in for a bit of a rest. After healing up and preparing for the next leg of the journey, the party decides to investigate the small crevice in the back of this cavern so they eat the pygmywort mushrooms and shrink down to size. The monk scouts ahead and comes to a small clearing where she previously heard multiple voices, but instead only sees one creature, who immediately tells her to “Bring me the human!” She returns to the party and informs them and they decide to investigate together. Once they approach the creature, a tiny quasit, it leaps forward toward the human warlock saying, “Master!!!!!!” Fade to black…

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Whirling through Whirlstone

The party continues after a rest and the discovery of a quasit who apparently thinks of Gan Bataar as his master. The quasit is named Zim and reinforces the thought that the derro here were most definitely conducting a ritual to convert stone giants into two-headed chaos bringers in Gracklstugh. The party gather themselves and move on through the tunnels happening onto an area just outside the cultist’s chamber containing two more derro and a group of three caged brown bears. The party initially tries to talk with the derro, but the clearly mentally unstable derro rush to free the bears to attack the party. After a bit of a harrowing fight, and multiple injuries, the group dispatches both the bears and the derro finding only refuse and remnants of a ritual path that seemed to be used to calm the animals.

Continuing on, the group eventually comes upon a huge cavern that has a series of steppes (plateaus) which when viewing the peak, sheds light on a gigantic black obelisk, a derro paying homage to the obelisk, and a large red egg. As soon as the party steps foot into the chamber, they hear a shriek as a spectator descends upon them and attacks using its multiple eye stalks to project deadly rays at members of the party. The derro (apparently a caster) rubs her hands together and fires a lightning bolt into the party line dealing a great deal of damage to the entire group. On a couple of occasions during the battle party members are brought down near death, but manage to kill both the spectator and the derro. They begin to search the surrounding area and see what they can find…

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Gracklstugh - fin

The party continued its exploration of the Whirlstone Tunnels encountering a group of duergar who appeared to be farming fungus. They were not interested in talking with the party, but the paladin and cleric both noticed them wearing very small pins bearing the insignia of a spirit. After walking back through the tunnels leaving the duergar to their own devices, the party (red dragon egg in hand) emerged from the tunnels little the worse for wear. They navigated their way back through the death stares of the derro in the West Cleft district and noticed the red dragon Themberchaud flying about the area again going around lighting the furnaces.

The wizard and paladin called to the dragon and for whatever reason, the dragon responded. They produced the egg and Themberchaud immediately told the guards to escort them to his lair. Once there, the red dragon told them to leave the egg, and for bringing it to him, he offered them one item from his massive hoard. They chose a flask containing a potion of longevity and went on their way. The warlock lingered for a moment long enough to hear the dragon say, “So, they think they can replace me?!?” before he crushed the egg beneath his great claw.

The party then returned to Eerrd Blackskull and reported their findings concerning the plot laid out by the cultists trying to sew chaos by turning stone giants crazy along with the second head. They also produced the notes pertaining to Demogorgon being involved in these rituals. Satisfied with their findings and ridding Gracklstugh of Droki the derro, Eerrd paid them the rest of their contract and had them escorted to the stone giant cairn.

Hraam the Stonespeaker thanked the party for their work in uncovering this plot and bade them warning that demonic entities are indeed influencing the Underdark and could very well make their way to the surface of Faerun unless they are stopped. He offered them escort to their next destination of Neverlight Grove as well as the Stonekeeper Crystal an item of some power among his people…

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Neverlight Grove
Something's amiss with these shrooms...

The intrepid party made their way to Neverlight Grove, a place easier left than found. With the help of their myconid companion, they soon found themselves in a small mushroom kingdom of sorts.

Something foul was almost immediately felt though as many of the myconids encountered spoke of some day of joy that was coming and that soon, all would feel that splendor.

One of the myconid leaders said there was something terribly wrong with the other and those that melded in rapport with him. There was some influence that was corrupting them and driving them mad.

The party began its investigation into the matter and eventually moved up toward a garden they were told about and invited to. Once there, they encountered what appeared to be a drow female that told of something disturbing in her death throws. The demon queen of rot, Zuggtmoy was here!!

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