Such is the Heart of Madness

The Rise of Buppido 'Red Eyes'
A murderer revealed!

We left the adventurers behind in discussion with the drow and zhentarim enclaves of Mantol Derith over the fate of one gem that they had become convinced was causing the chaos cascading through the city. The drow priestess had seized the gem as Valantar tried to cover it, and being unwilling to turn it over, negotiation Zhentarim stood back to watch as Ront rushed the drow priestess, enraged by her abuse of him while he was restraining the assassin, Kinyel. Valantar and Ghecx engaged the drow mage, bringing all of their martial and magical might to bear in bringing down the accomplished caster. Godric, still focused on the gem as the source of all the trouble, waited until it was dropped and after Ghecx failed to use his mace to destroy it, he passed the mace to Ront after dispatching the drow priestess, who smashed the gem under the mace…

Those in the immediate vicinity saw a horrendous vision of a monstrous gargoyle as it turned and stepped back to the Abyss, leaving more madness in its wake.

Now that some stability was brought back to Mantol Derith, the adventurers were free to wander the markets, meet their contacts, make new ones, sell off their loot and buy some needed supplies. Valantar immediately turned to the Duergar trader to finalize payment for services rendered in the form of the armor the King Hrorgar had gifted him, only to be forced to renegotiate as the duergar had not had their gem returned, but destroyed. With the help of Godric and Gazrim, Valantar prevailed and accompanied the dwarves back to their enlcave to collect his prize.

The rest of the group wandered away to update those left behind in the warehouse and to ensure Yantha Coaxrock was freed from duergar captivity. Erythedine spent his time making contacts with various enclaves, being rebuffed by the drow of houses Hunzrin & Baenre, arranging some samples from the duergar merchants for possible import into Menzoberranzan, negotiating escort for Gabble Dripskillet of the svirfneblin enclave to Blingdenstone in exchange for entry to the city and the opportunity to set up trade there as well as some goods in advance, and opening negotiations with the Zhentarim for future export/import of goods between the surface and the Underdark.

Ghecx spent his time pouring over a spellbook taken right under the nose of a drow warrior from the the drow mage Erythedine killed in the conflict over the Gem of Fraz’Urbluu after reaching an agreement with Zilch who had spotted the theft, that Zilch would get the spellbook and provide Ghecx the materials to copy the spells into his own book. Vantis volunteered himself to study the rituals in the book for his own spellbook, which none objected to.

Ront, tiring of his small, weak goblin slaves, wandered the slave markets until he found a few ‘lovely’ orc speicmens. After some focused negotiations, he handed over 8 of the goblins to their new drow owners and became the proud and slightly horny owner of two new orc slaves, one female and one male. He has yet to ask their names…

Godric spent his time investigating the svirfneblin that fell for any loot, etc. where Valantar happily joined in. They encountered Peebles, a small svirfneblin, apparently unassociated with the enclave, who served a master Xazax living in the tunnels west of the trading outpost. Peebles suggested that if they wanted into the svirfneblin warehouse, they should knock. When Gabble answered the knock and saw who had come, his temper flared. “How dare you come here?! Do you know how many of my kin died because I was not there to lead them? To heal them? You just abducted me and prevented any chance I had to save them!” “My good gnome,” Godric replied, “surely you can see that to my mind the fastest resolution to the assault was to track down the stolen gem and getting you safe from the assault to question and heal Yantha was instrumental in not only ending the conflict, but preventing the spread of conflict throughout the rest of the enclaves in this city!” While Gabble forgave the dwarf’s actions, he still bears the guilt of failing his friends and assistants and journeymen.

Unnoticed by Godric in his investigations, a couple of the svirfneblin were not killed by dwarven hammers or axes, but a small dagger into the lower back…

Before setting out to Blingdenstone, Valantar suggested to Erythedine that those less useful should have a use for them found, especially while the slave markets were at hand. A quick conversation, some haggling, resulting in the price of a cask of dwarven ale for one Buppido later, the party left with libations instead of a derro…

While scouting ahead, Ery found a grove of mushrooms perfect for eating. A quick look around showed him that he was not alone however, an orange ooze was making its way to him. Ery slowly retreated, making noise and taunting the slow ooze until he heard the party approaching…

Ghecx upon seeing the ooze, momentarily panicked and cast the first cantrip that came to mind, Cloud of Daggers, which appeared in the middle of the ooze and seemed to do nothing but split it into two smaller oozes. After that initial misstep, the party resorted to magics and weapons that proved more effective and quickly dispatched the two creatures…

Erythedine then led the group to the cavern with the copious amounts of ripplebark mushrooms, where they collected as much as they could and set up camp. Watches were set up, party members warned about the previous exploits of Zilch in departing Menzoberranzan to avoid the ire of a preistess he had been revealed to have stolen from, party members interrogated the wizard, who made quite the compelling case for himself on the grounds of a purely business interaction. Not 10 minutes later, Godric decided the person he needed to acquire a svirfneblin ledger was none other than Zilch, who had just been threatened to have himself skewered by Valantar should he be found with anything not his…

Zilch, being a perfect example of drow resourcefulness, proceeded to demand an outrageous sum for a simple theft and his silence on the matter, then bribed the svirfneblin assistant with a fraction of that to borrow the book, with the understanding that if it was discovered missing, the finger would be pointed at Zilch. So, for a song and dance, Zilch walked away with a significant amount of gold, avoided most possession of the item in question, and some measure of deniability. Life is good, and rubes abound!

As the third watch came to a close, one of the alarms set by Ghecx woke him as the guards on watch spotted a small figure approaching from the direction the group had come. Ordered to halt and identify, the figure claimed to be Buppido, the derro sold into slavery while preparing to depart the trading outpost. On closer inspection, which involved Bloater grabbing him by the arms and lifting him from the ground, this proved true. The means by which the little creature had effected his escape caused concern among the more suspicious adventurers. Thus, the questioning began…

V: “How did you escape?”
B: “I poisoned the guard to fall asleep and stole the keys from his belt, snuck out, retrieved my belongings, and made haste to catch up to you.”
V: “Why did you come back here?”
B: “It was divine providence that put us all in Velkynvelve at just the right time to effect our escape. My god would want me to stay here.”
V: “Who do you serve?”
B: “Moradin,” he replies, to the shock of Godric.
Ever curious about things he doesn’t know, Ghecx cast detect thoughts () so that he could read what came to mind for Buppido as Valantar and Erythedine questioned him.
V: “Who do you serve?” Valantar repeated, surprised at the answer.
B: “Moradin! (Myrkul) Now get his big mitts off me” (Or I’ll kill him next!)
B: “GET OUT OF MY HEAD, WIZARD!”
On attempting to probe deeper into his thoughts at this, Ghecx was rebuffed and his concentration failed. Valantar thought to detect if this was a fiend impersonating and called upon his deity to reveal undead, infernal, and celestial beings, revealing to him, the tiefling, Vantis, and two undead within Gabbagool…

Ghecx quickly recast detect thoughts as the questions continued and advised Erythedine and Valantar to let the derro down, whereupon he summoned the skeletons of Jimjar and Gimpy from Glabbagool to seize the derro and nonchalantly dismissed the fears and concerns regarding his animated tools. Erythedine pulled a powder from his pouch and blew it into the derro’s face, causing the derro to suffer from the poison. When Ghecx began questioning, he made it clear to Buppido, that lying would get him consumed by Glabbagool as the skeletons would drag him backwards toward the cube until he revealed the truth, which Ghecx felt he could detect.
G: “Who do you serve?”
B: " Moradin!" (Myrkul)
The skeletons began moving toward the cube at Ghecx’s gesture. Buppido struggled to no avail, bound with his hands behind his back and suffering from a poison.
B: “Myrkul! Damn you!”
V: “Myrkul?”
Godric: “The god of death.”
G: “How did you escape?”
B: “I poisoned the guard and slipped out with the key.” (I killed that slob of a guard)
G: “Did you kill anyone else in your escape?”
B: “No.” (Image of cutting the throat of the duergar he was sold to)
G: “Why did you come back here?”
B: “My god desired it.” (To kill you all for Myrkul)
Godric decided that casting suggestion and prompting the derro to brag about his exploits would be a fitting choice. Under the influence of the bard’s spell, Buppido recounted how he stabbed the guard, stole the keys, collected his belongings, murdered the duergar owner in his rest, and that he had killed a couple of svirfneblin in the confusion in Mantol Derith and 47 other people as the Chosen of Myrkul.

At a gesture by Ghecx, the skeletons retreated into the cube with the derro between them. Suddenly the entire group was assaulted with waves of mental anguish, from Glabbagool of all places! Ghecx reversed his order to the skeletons who stepped from the ooze and brought the derro with them. “I’ll kill you all!” Buppido declared. “For Myrkul!”

His first attack failed due to the combination of poison, skeletons, and shackles. Valantar called upon his god’s power to smite the creature and as the blow fell, an unsettling sensation occurred. The blade connected, however the divine might was rebuffed outward as though by a shield and did nothing against Buppido. Ghecx cast a spell to damage the derro which worked, and the others struck at or shot Buppido. With his continued struggling, Buppido sliced free of his manacles and cut clean through the spine of the goblin skeleton, causing it to drop to the ground as lifeless as it was. One arm free, holding a conjured black dagger, he was ready for more murder…

Ghecx’s next spell proved less effective as his chill touch struck the derro and shriveled away. Effort was made by Valantar to heal Glabbagool, as Godric blew his horn to summon 8 raging barbarians who proceeded to pound the derro until all movement ceased. As Valantar sought out the dagger Buppido had wielded, it seemed to have vanished from whence it came…

As they began to calm down from the fight, and cast more healing on Glabbagool, they heard a voice from the large central tunnel. “Whittaker, the time has come for your reckoning.” All the alarms Ghecx had cast earlier began to sound…

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Godric F. Ironhouse solves the madness of Mantol Derith
You get a hold person! You get a hold person! ...

So today, boys & girls, I tells you about the exploits of Godric Fucking Ironhouse, PI, and how he saved the whole fucking trading outpost of Mantol Derith from wiping itself out…

Now in those days, Godric Fucking Ironhouse, PI, was leading a group of scallywags about the Underdark in the Year of Madness. He had come to Mantol Derith with his sidekick Glabbagool, a couple drow, a half drow surfacer, a human, an orc, a tiefling, a derro, a myconid, & a group of captured goblins.

After gaining entry into the duergar warehouse, Godric F. Ironhouse proceeded to cast Zone of Truth (a handy investigation tool, that), around himself & the svirfneblin trader Yantha Coaxrock, who the duergar had said stole Krimgol’s gem. As he questioned the svirfneblin, he, being quicker than most, realized that when Yantha could lie to him, Yantha spoke at length, and when Yantha was forced to tell the truth, Yantha couldn’t hardly speak. And that could only mean one thing! Foul magics…

Now since Godric didn’t know the spells to get rid of the foul magics, he left Yantha in the care of the drow, goblins, derro, & myconid, with Glabbagool to supervise, while he and the others left to find someone that might. Not the best decision he coulda made, but ya work with what ya got. He split these into two groups, one to find the drow mage, Zilch, whom Yantha had named during Godric’s superb interrogation, and one to find if the svirfneblin had a priest able to cast those magics out.

Inquiries after Zilch quickly led the group lookin for him to a tall mushroom in the drow quarter, where the half-drow, orc and tielfing found a lazy, racist, somewhat drunk drow, who barely talked to them on account of none o them were drow, cause half-drow don’t really count to drow, remember. Despite offers of alcohol and money, Zilch informed them that they really should just go away and leave him alone since he didn’t even have his spellbook. He’d left it behind when he left Menzoberranzan.

Meanwhile, Godric Fucking Ironhouse led a small strike team to the svirfneblin warehouse, where a squad of duergar were busy breaking down the doors. For once, Godric’s silver tongue failed him and he was unable to convince the duergar soldiers to abandon their assault, so Godric and his team waited patiently for the duergar to bust down the door, then stormed in to find their target in the chaos. Having seen them come in with the duergar, the first gnome they saw was all ready to run from them until Godric cast his magics what stop a fella from moving. “Hold!” He yelled, and the little fella was held. After assuring the gnome that Godric meant him and his kin no harm and were trying to stop the fightin, the little fella led them down another couple aisles to find Gabble Dripskillet, the chief negotiator and cleric of the svirfneblin. When it became clear to Godric that Gabble would not leave until his people were safe and did have skills that would help interrogate Yantha, Godric Fucking Ironhouse knew what had to be done. “Hold!” he shouted and Gabble was held. “Pick him up and bring him along,” Godric said, as they turned and left the rest of the svirfneblin to die at the hands o them duergar…

Now, once Godric got Gabble back to the duergar warehouse, he saw that them duergar were dangling little Yantha over a large beastie out o the earth. Three arms, three legs, three eyes, even! That’s what you get when you leave a hostage with a buncha duergar and a drow. When he later questioned Glabbagool about it, the ooze replied that it was curious about this “interrogation” and what it was, so he saw no reason to intervene. Now, since all Gabble could do to help his mates was to get this done as fast as possible and get the duergar assault called off as fast as could be, he readily rattled off a spell to discern lies and relayed to Godric whether each statement Yantha told was a truth or a lie so that Godric could unravel what was done with the gem. After a coupla minutes, Godric knew that Yantha had given the gem to her assistant, Flink who had disappeared with it. When he told the priest about Yantha’s difficulty answering questions under his own spell which compelled truth, Gabble asked if he could cast restoration on Yantha to lift whatever ailment was so affecting her. This made Yantha all cooperative-like, as she told them everything she knew about the gem and her assistant. Thus began the search for Flink…

Now when the investigators working for Godric F. Ironhouse entered the drow mushroom garden again, the human, Ghecx his name was, spotted a little deep gnome spyin on the gargoyles on the ledges. They questioned him and once they told him that Yantha was safe and they needed him to tell them about the gem to free her, little Flink told them how he was bringin the gem to get the drow to cast some magics to hide it for his mistress when one of them gargoyles swooped down like a giant bat and snatched the gem from him! But he couldn’t tell which one on account a they all looked the same to him. He suggested that they get the lazy drow over there to tell the gargoyles to come down and give up the gem. Zilch quickly disabused them of the notion that he had any control over the gargoyles. Being all superior and drow-like though, he was able to point out how one o them was missing. And being properly bribed by the investigators, he was even able to tell them that it had flown over toward the Zhentarim quarter. Now this was gettin interesting to Zilch, so he decided to get up and follow along to see what all the fuss was about…

When Godric Fucking Ironhouse and his squad of investigators got to the Zhentarim quarter, they saw a small entourage of drow ladies waitin there to speak to them Zhentarim (they’re black market traders, you dolt! Now let me tell the story, unless you have more questions? No? Good. Now then,) Them drow was in a nasty mood and told the newcomers that they should go play in their ooze until the drow were done, because there was no way they’d get to talk to the Zhentarim first or stay and over hear their negotiations. With a particular threat to the ibilith for daring to speak to them, they offered to use his tongue for better purposes after removing it from his mouth…

Before the investigators turned away however, two things happened; that human, uh…Ghecx. Yeah, he spotted a gargoyle watching the clearing from above, and then the warehouse door opened to have Gazrim DuLoc and Lorthuun stroll and float out toward the pavilion of waiting drow. That gave the invetigators a right shock!! Not many people see a beholder and live to tell about it, let alone see one working with other creatures! Then one o the drow ladies jumped up and dashed across the pavilion to attack the beholder! Cut, duck, stab & miss! She was a fury, twistin and dodgin and striking! While that beholder, Lorthuun, peppered her with rays from his still attached eyestalks, to little avail. Sensing hesitance on the faces of the other drow, Godric knew he had to act quick or be swept up into a titanic battle worthy a song if anyone survived to tell it! He put all the magic he had into his voice and shouted, “HOLD!” and the assassin was held, and the beholder floated back. Before the helpless drow could be struck down, Godric Fucking Ironhouse jumped in to ask Gazrim and Lorthuun to stand down while they could all figure out where the gem causing all the problems was…

At Godric’s urging, the drow lead negotiator, Sirak Mazelor called down the lone gargoyle, who asked if he could tear apart the one whose magics were holding Kinyel for her. A little smirk from Sirak, but, “No. The dwarf there says that you took a gem from one of the gnomes. Where is it?” “Gave to beloved.” the gargoyle replied, pointing to Kinyel. “That’s a lie!” she spat. “The gem was a message to kill Lorthuun so I could return to House Druu’giir!” A little back and forth, and a restoration spell on Kinyel restored her to her senses after she dumped the gem onto the table of the pavilion, where we leave our daring investigators until next time…

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Approaching Blingdenstone...No, how about Mantol Derith
We've killed almost all the NPCs... Here have some goblin slaves!

Last we left our murderous marauders, Ront had killed a goblin boss and taken over a small troupe of goblins. Ront wasted no time in solidifying his iron grip on the goblins by isolating the most vocal goblin and chopping off his arm when he fled. As Ront kept this goblin, dubbed Gimpy by him, by his side, Gimpy became increasingly nervous at his proximity the the apparently unstable, naked orc.

As the party formulated a plan on how to proceed, Erythedine questioned Vantis about his tolerance of fire. When Vantis retorted that he could endure more of it than nearly everyone he’s met, Erry suggested that he take a lit torch into the tunnel with the gas blocking the party’s way. Vantis thought this was an interesting idea and agreed. Unfortunately for Vantis, as he wandered into the tunnel, he did not notice the first telltale whiffs of the gas…

The ensuing fireball hurled Vantis backwards and singed the resistant tiefling. As everyone nearby heard the explosion, they also felt the caves around them begin to shake. They saw rocks begin to dislodge and fall. Erythedine looked at them and yelled, “Run, you fools!” Off into the tunnel they charged…

The sporadic fall of rocks from above hit many of the party. One goblin in particular would have been crushed under a rock had Ront not realized that his slaves could not keep up and turned around to rejoin them, only to throw himself at the lucky goblin causing the large rock to hit Ront instead. The goblins looked at him in amazement. Expressions varied from scoffing about the crazy orc to momentary gratitude.

As the party made haste toward Blingdenstone, the found and saved several more goblins from spider webs, while the hosts were noticeably absent. Their travels were interrupted several days later as they stumbled upon a well-dressed orog as he popped into existence amidst the group. Introducing himself as Blurg of the Society of Brilliance. After skepticism and an attempt at extortion by Valantar, Blurg reached an agreement with the group to rest together in exchange for information about goings-on throughout the Northdark. Godric regaled Blurg with some tales of his exploits and dwarven wonders. In turn, Blurg gave information about the tragedy that had befallen Menzoberranzan, Demogorgon summoned by Gromph Baenre before creating havoc and wreckage as it found its way from Sorcere out through Auranilcarok and out of the city, where he is headed to provide aid; wheedled information about the attack on Sloopbludop from Ront and listened as Ront boasted about drawing a single drop of blood from the great beast; and traded information on the location and password to gain entry to the trading outpost of Mantol Derith, only a couple of days away.

They awoke from an uneventful watch to find Gimpy stabbed and bled out amidst the goblin slaves. Ront dubbed the most talkative goblin Chuck, and promoted him to Gimpy’s previous position ordering around the other goblins. When questioned, all the goblins denied killing Gimpy, or even having any knowledge of who did it or would have. When confirmed by the watchman that it had been quiet and uneventful, attempts to track blood back to the murderer failed, confirmed that Blurg had not tripped the magical alarms set around him, and no other information was forthcoming, the group decided let the matter of one dead slave from a stab to the kidney with a fine dagger drop for the time being. Blurg bid the group farewell, activated his teleportation, and was gone. As the party set off, Glabbagool moved over and pulled the non-moving form of Gimpy into itself.

A short trip later led the group down a 10’ wide tunnel to the ‘T’ intersection Blurg had described with a depiction of coins on the wall. Valantar approached this and spoke the word ‘belaern’, meaning wealth in the drow tongue, only to have the door in front of him opened by a smarmy human who welcomes the newcomers to Mantol Derith and happily answers all of the questions Valantar began posing to the increasing discomfort of his companions. Eventually, Ghecx and Godric pull him aside and impress upon him the importance of not asking questions that reveal a lack of familiarity with this place as it is obviously secret and that would indicate that they do not belong…

Down a short tunnel until the roof opens up bringing the sounds of raised voices from above. Down in the trench, they see a broken, magical lift, whereupon Godric begins boasting of dwarven prowess in creating such marvels. 4 smaller lifts manned by duergar and drow line the trench, providing access to the trading outpost above. Approaching one of the drow lifts, Valantar greets the operator, only to be rebuked with, “Do not speak to me unless you want your head removed, Ibilith.” Before Valantar can retort, Erythedine steps forward and places a calming hand on him, urging him to remember that patience more often wins the day. Erythedine, in his discussion with the Mizzrym guard, learns that Mantol Derith is in a bit of an uproar at the moment between the Svirfneblin and the Duergar. The guard smirked as Erythedine asked to use the lift, and told him 10gp was the going rate. The drow just smirked at attempts to haggle as it looked over the strange gelatinous cube with the group…

Finally, feeling like the drow was trying to take advantage, Ghecx pointed out the duergar operating a lift on the other side and meandered over to ask what rate they were charging. 2sp, the stout operator huffed. Finding this price much more agreeable, the group paid and rode up the lift to the duergar & svirfneblin markets…

As they head into the market area, they see blurred svirfneblin running from large duergar. Letting the fleeing creatures pass, the group urges the duergar to stop, showing their Gracklstaug Soulblades badges, they get the dwarves to halt and find out that their lead trader is interrogating a svirfneblin appraiser that stole from a duergar merchant. Driven to get the markets back open and goods flowing into the group’s hands, Valantar led the way to the duergar warehouse…

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Escape from the Oozing Temple
We don't drown in Leoman's Tiny Hut!!

After Valantar stumbled into the pit trap and was set upon by the black pudding within, with Dawnbringer firmly in control of his grip on the sword in her fully lit form, and a little help from Erythedine despite the dazzling glare on his sensitive eyes, quickly dispatched the pudding. Unable to put Dawnbringer away, Erythedine had to help Valantar climb from the pit.

Once escaped from the pit, Valantar focused on resolving his conflict with Dawnbringer by having Ront force his hand open to release the weapon. After one unsuccessful attempt, the two managed to pry Valantar’s fingers from the hilt as Ront took the weapon and its blade extinguished. With only a little prodding, Ront dropped the fascinating weapon into Valantar’s pack…

Glabbagool led the way around the bend into the main chamber of this structure as the rest of the party jumped the pit or moved around another way. Godric, being the oldest of the group thought jumping over a pit seemed like too much effort when there are other paths available, and so he moved on to one of the middle paths before stepping onto another pit trap, but managing to quickly grab the edge and pull himself out, only to be set upon by another black slime…

This one lashed against Godric’s back, leaving a sizable hole through his outfit as its acid continued to eat away at the edges of the material. Ghecx, having followed Godric, proceeded to launch spell after spell at the creature, taking a blow to his own chest, which prompted him to strip off his robes as he backed away and continued his casting…

Ront and Valantar, hearing the sounds of fighting, turned and ran back into the fray, Valantar taking the short route and Ront going around as Godric shuffled behind Valantar gave him an inspiring cheer. Alas, Godric should have paid more attention, to where he placed his feet, as he fell into a third trap. Again he caught the edge and lifted himself out. Again, a pudding pulled itself out of the pit hungry for material to consume. Ront came charging down this hallway, pulling out the man-catcher taken from the kuo-toa slain near Sloopbludop, so that he didn’t have to get so close to this thing. Ront does not play with things that try to eat him!! With the man catcher in hand, Ront proceeded to jab it into the pudding and spin it quickly. Eventually reducing the pudding to a pile of unmoving goo and the man-catcher to a simple stick. The second pudding soon fell under the onslaught of javelins and magic from Ghecx and Valantar.

The party proceeded into the large room, strange formless statues adorning the alcoves along the west wall, Jimjar splashing about in the fountain, and a broken pedestal rising up out of it. A quick assessment showed Jimjar to be the only thing moving in here, so the group moved over to investigate the strange statues while Glabbagool moved off to the east wall out of the way and listened to the conversation about the statues. Suspecting a trap, Erythedine, Valantar, Ront, & Ghecx drew stones to see who would touch the strange statue as they all prepared to slice, blast, shoot, and whack it. Valantar drew the small stone and reached out the tip of his sword. Upon contact, only that ooze began to move and was immediately rendered inert. Quick work on the next three.

Now that all the oozes stopped moving, attention turns to Jimjar as he is straightening up. A quick scan of the pool shows it to be empty, save the water. Valantar becomes suspicious that the svirfneblin is cheating them and advances on him after Jimjar states that he was just poking around the pool. As he advances, Valantar draws his sword. Jimjar, looking for help, turns to Ront and yells, “Ront! I’ll bet you an axe that couldn’t pin Valantar!” Ront flies into a rage, rushes across the room, pushing past Valantar, and swings full force his axes into the deep gnome, lifting him from the ground, and driving his axes in again until Jimjar falls limp. Grabbing the gnome by his head, Ront removes his head with another swing of his axe, picks up the small creature, and smashes his head against the wall until it breaks open and Ront slurps out blood and brain and small bone fragments, while everyone watches the sudden brutality with emotion ranging from caution, curiosity, fear, indifference, and irritation…

Valantar, ever the opportunist, proceeds to search the gnome’s body, finding various small items of little value and a pouch. When he looked into the pouch, all he saw was darkness, and that and it’s weight suggested to him that it was empty. Erythedine, more familiar with arcane arts from his drow upbringing and Godric, with all the stories he had collected, recognized that this might be more than a simple pouch. While Godric bragged about dwarven crafting, Erythedine urged Valantar to reach into the bag, which he did with excitement, slicing his hand on the point of a javelin he had given Jimjar recently. “So that’s where that went…” he mused as he proceeded to empty the bag over the hour, sharing the loot our among the group…

While this went on, several retraced their steps looking for a way out of this temple, and finding none, returned to report that. Also, that there was water flowing into another room slowly filling it. Ghecx decided that while these bumblers looked for a brute way out, he would see what options were available from the ether. Casting blink, he proceeded to search the fountain room and the water inflow while in the ethereal plane. The water inflow was part of an underground river flowing above, with only a small barrier of rock betweenit and the room. After his search found nothing better elsewhere in the temple, Ghecx ended his spell and reported his findings to the group. Godric suggested that he could create a magical space for the party to rest in while they broke open the ceiling and let the temple flood quickly. Despite some distrust of magic (Ront), the party settled on this plan, cast the spell, sent Ront to break the ceiling, and proceeded to wait as the Temple of the Oozes flooded around them…

As the spell began to wear thin, Godric woke the sleepers and everyone prepared to swim to the surface of the river. At this point Godric brought up that he wasn’t quite certain on how the whole swimming thing worked, but that he was quite sure he could manage…

3. 2. 1. Swim! As the spell ended, letting the water move in a wall toward the party. The cold and the force of the impact stunned both Godric and Sareth, forcing Ront and Bloater to ferry them up and out in addition to their other charges (Erythedine & Stool). Glabbagool simply shimmied to the opening and floated up behind everyone else, cresting the surface 10 more feet up and moving to the dri-er section of the cave here. Ery, quickly set out with Bloater to scout the only dry tunnel from this chamber, leaving the rest of the murderous troupe to settle, and prepare to set out. Ery had only gone a few hundred feet when he noticed something was off in the air. A smell of toxic gas. As he turned to head back, he began to hear noises. A couple seconds of listening revealed the sounds to be coughing of small creatures. Ery waited until one came into sight down the tunnel, revealing a goblin, then turned and ran, yelling to alert the troupe…

As Ery hustled back down the tunnel, our murderous troupe stepped into their preferred battle locations. As the hacking goblins saw the group and caught their breath, they heard Goblin orders being barked. As the goblins began to move toward the troupe, Ront stepped out and roared a challenge, intimidating all the goblins, save one, into place. The boss stepped up, yelled at the orc that these are HIS tribe and charged. Ront easily sidestepped the strike and casually laid out the boss, turned to the other goblins, and told them in Common, “I’m the boss now. You follow me.” “Yes, boss.” the goblins muttered. These then proceeded to tell the new boss how he didn’t want to go the way they came because of lots and lots of bad air…

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Horrid Sounds and Madness Takes Hold
Vantis appears

Having fled Sloopbludop and Demogorgon’s rage, Valantar was at the end of his patience with the pacifist monk, Shuushar. In a heated moment, he decided to kill Shuushar and the sword, Dawnbringer attempted to seize his mind and stop him. Valantar retained control over himself and used his longsword to sever the kuo-toa’s head from his shoulders. This conflict sparked an idea in Valantar, that perhaps his goddess could solve the issue of this sword’s rebellion.

Valantar prepared a ritual prayer to Shar, lit his candles, and extinguished them. In the darkness left behind, he reached out to Shar, and for the first time since her voice directed him to safety in the underdark, Valantar heard it again. Visions of stone guardians and an ornate door hidden deep in the darkness, Dawnbringer’s brightness being swallowed by shadow, and the voice leaving him with the words, “Follow the wizard. His goal is yours.” Spurred on by his contact, Valantar sought out Ghecx…

The party set out for Blingdenstone, the next town Deep King Hrorgar had asked for scouting on. On the way, the odd group encountered little resistance, except from themselves oddly enough. On their second period of travel, after setting up camp, the group began to hear noises echoing down the corridors; howls, moans, cries, yelps, cackles, squelches, scratching, & screams. Rest that period was long in coming as the sounds reached their ears and squirmed into their minds…

Ghecx and Valantar began trying to rile up the other creatures to fight the power and lynch Jimjar, who luckily enough, was soon nowhere to be seen. Some time later, these effects wore off and the party moved on. The paths the group chose were fortuitous indeed as they never wanted for food and even increased their stock of mushrooms as they hurried along through corridors at times, tight or short, and at others vast and unseen…

Out of the darkness, stalked a figure with burning eyes. “Whitaker. You will pay Whitaker.” The figure continues forward not focused on those that address him, seeming to have a goal beyond their noise. “You’ll pay for what you’ve done, Whitaker.” Godric being the sort of brave fellow that he is, blows his horn to summon a wall of berserkers between this man and his traveling companions. The figure strides right up to the berserkers and strikes the one directly between him and the way he has been traveling. “Kill him” Ghecx yells and the companions set to. This man is struck over and over and over before clearing the way before him and takes that moment to continue on his way only to have Valantar strike with his sword erupting through the chest and the energy of his holy smite leaving a gaping wound in the now dead again corpse. “You WILL pay Whitaker!” is the last thing to come from the corpse as it falls, the malevolent light fading from its eyes. Ront gazes in awe at Valantar, having now seen him do something displaying exceptional strength. “Good job,” he offers.

After several periods of rest, and after passing a chasm with a bridge (Imagine that!), their travels brought the noises back to them. These sounds found their way into the minds of Bloater, Buppido, Stool, and Godric. Stool proceeded to rave about hunting and prey as he stalked toward Godric, who proceeded to growl and drop to all fours before backing into a corner and whimpering as the little myconid began to pounce and bounce on top of him. Bloater began to roar and swing at everything nearby. Buppido pulled his knife and strode over to the quaggoth, obviously bothered by this display and proceeded to swing his knife at the larger creature. Erythedine, alerted by Bloater’s roar, comes flying in from the darkness and leaps upon the raging quaggoth and proceeds to drive his elbows and fingers and knees into Bloater as he somehow redirects the quaggoth’s rage back and over to the wall of the corridor. Meanwhile, Ront, distressed by his pups fighting rushes over and grabs little Buppido and pins him to the ground while the small derro drives his knife into Ront multiple times times over the next hour before calming. At this point, the party hears Jimjar attempting to bet an unfamiliar voice about how many times Ront was stabbed…

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After the initial interrogation, the tiefling, Vantis, a self proclaimed spy and information broker, had talked more information out of Valantar than given. Using his suave and charm, Vantis soon had even the most suspicious members of our odd group tolerant of his sudden presence so soon after the horrid sounds, having only explained that he was heading in the direction of Blingdenstone looking for opportunity to ply his trade. The group finished a long rest and moved on…

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Only to have the caves around them shake as their only warning. Several in the group stood around trying to pinpoint the source of the shaking even as a few others moved, hoping to not be wherever the roof came down. When the noise died down, Ront, Stool, and a few others had managed to avoid the falling roof of the cavern. Ront immediately set about digging out his pups. Once everyone recovered from the shock of the cave-in, they saw that the cavern they had been traveling through was now blocked at both ends. However, there was also a new opening provided by the shifting stone…

After wandering into the entryway, Valantar quickly came to a split in the paths, followed by Ghecx, who noted what looked to be worked stone off the the left. Intrigued, Ghecx set off that way. Seeing the frail human setting off into the unknown, Valantar quickly followed, joined by Jimjar soon thereafter. The room appeared to be a dead end until one of the walls…
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…which appeared slick and attracted the attention of Ront, who almost reached out and licked it before a warning from Ghecx had him reconsider and step back as the wall reached out and slapped him along the chest leaving a small tingling burn. This wall oozed forward, and was just as quickly hacked apart until it moved even less than before. Now before the small group inside the room stood an opening in the wall, leading farther up and farther in…

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Immediately after a bend in the corridor, there was a subtle shift in the color of the hallway ahead, as well as a skeleton and most curiously of all, a floating mace and shield. The air… wiggled? Then Valantar realized the coloration was something in the corridor as he heard a new voice in his head. “What are you? Why are you here?” Something about this voice felt utterly alien. For once, decorum seemed to not desert Valantar, as he introduced himself to the voice in his mind. Erythedine, following up the corridor, came around the bend to see this blockage, which now addressed him as well, “Who are you? Where did you come from?” In this telepathic conversation, the characters determined that the creature, Glabbagool, it said, did not kill the drow whose skeleton adorned the hall, that he came before, and eventually quit moving. After being asked, Glabbagool, moved forward out of the corridor into the room where the wall ooze was rendered less alive(?). Glabbagool only noted that the gray ooze used to be different as he moved into and filled most of the room while Jimjar slipped behind Glabbagool to see what the rest of the area contained and maybe find a way out.
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A short trip down the hall, past the corner, led to another junction, leading left to a room with a pool and water flowing in from the ceiling, and right down a series of corridors. As Godric made his way down the first one, the floor gave way under him and dropped him into a 10’ deep pit with a moving shadow. A moment later, it became clear as it lashed out, that this was no shadow, but a black pudding, intent on its next meal…
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Demogorgon Rises!
It's only running for your life if you die

As the escapees from Velkynvelve reached Sloopbludop, they were confronted by a band of Kuo-toa searching for sacrifices to the Deep Father. The Kuo-toa recognized Shuushar and demanded that the heretic be sacrificed to the Deep Father at which point Godric brought all of his powers and political acumen to bear in convincing the lead monitor of the Kuo-toa that the group had brought Shuushar for exactly that purpose and that as a heretic, he would be a sufficient offering by himself. Convinced and ready to return to the city, the Kuo-toa began to turn away when Valantar said, “I thought you worshiped the Sea Mother?” The Kuo-toa monitor declared him a heretic and demanded him as a sacrifice as well. Valatar objected. And drew his blades to make the point. Alas, diplomacy has failed…

After dispatching the Kuo-toa with aplomb, Erythedine and Jimjar decided to sneak into Sloopbludop on reconnaissance to avoid further blunders. Meanwhile, the remainder of the group decided that Kuo-toa, rather than being on the menu, would make a startling fashion choice. Ront, with his skill in preparing creatures for the stew, skinned the poor, dead amphibians, providing Godric with the macabre fabric for his planned disguises. After only a couple hours, Godric had prepared a costume, which for some strange reason known only to the wizard himself, Ghecx volunteered to get into the mess. The party began hearing noises from the corridor they had brought the bodies down. Worried that more Kuo-toa had come to bring sacrifices home, the group prepared to jump the search party…

Erythedine and Jimjar slipped through the net walls of Sloopbludop a good distance from the East Gate of the city where Shuushar greeted the gate keepers and began a discussion about changes in the city since his departure. Ery quickly loses sight of the little gnome and proceeds to sneak his way through the streets. The architecture, the streets, the people themselves all scream alien mindset to him. Walkways connect the building at odd and sometimes steep angles, even going around some buildings to reach others. The buildings are shaped like some sort of coral growth, first leaning this way and then the other. The kuo-toa themselves wander the streets; talking while circling objects or each other, motioning with much of their body, and all appearing somewhat restless. It isn’t until a kuo-toa walks up to Ery and he thinks that he is discovered that he realizes that many of these creatures are asleep! Ery learns as he listens to conversations among the kuo-toa that there are in fact two gods being worshiped in the city, performing a subtle culture war against each other. He learns that the leader of the Sea Mother worshipers and thus far, the city, is Archpriest Plooploopeen, who is currently on a patrol outside the city. Ery returns to the East gate towatch Shuushar & Plooploopeen’s his return…

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The Kuo-toa follow the trail of blood that the party neglected to clean up and turn the corner to see the group ready to leap upon them and one lone, sick looking kuo-toa, and the cut-open bodies of several others. The group of creatures (something like a drow, two dwarves, and not those gray ones, a drow, an orc, something reptilian, a very small myconid?!) rushes towards them yelling with their weapons ready. Archpriest Plooploopeen addresses the strangers (how strange they are!) to hold and explain themselves. After some pointless blathering with that strangely accented Mantol (Undercommon in this region) that other races always seem to have, they told the archpriest that they were set upon by the slain group for not showing complete deference to the Deep Father, Leemoogoogon. After assurances that we were in fact followers of the Sea Mother, the strangers agree to accompany the scouting party back to Sloopbludop. While traveling, one of the scouts recognized the sick looking kuo-toa as one that was a devoted follower of Leemoogoogon! Then as he was about to run him through, he shrugged and collapsed, leaving a human standing over the lump of skin!?! What kind of creature would do that?!? The sooner the group gets back to the city, the better…

After arriving, at the gate, clasping hands with Shuushar as they paced, the Archpriest leads the group of strangers to his home in the central clearing, which holds the shrine to the Sea Mother, whereupon the orc, in a surprising display of homage to the Sea Mother places the heads of several drow upon the base of the statue. They will of course have to be removed before any other drow visitors come. Once inside, the archpriest outlines his plan for the adventurers to pose as sacrifices to the up and coming cult of Leemoogoogon, the Deep Father as a sign of his acceptance of the truth of Bloplipod’s faith. The strangers are resistant to this idea until they have asked if the kuo-toa mean to take their weapons and goods. Why that would matter is silly, but these alien creatures always are strange. The next morning, a messenger comes to the home to let the archpriest know that the followers of the Deep Father are preparing to make a sacrifice. The strangers are woken and the archpriest and his followers surround them and lead the way to the altar of the Deep Father, that strange manta ray, octopus construction. After my proclamation, and Bloplipod calling for the sacrifices to be brought forward, the strangers did as agreed and began to fight and attack her and her followers. Once she was struck down…

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kuo-toa began to flee from the water which began frothing and smelling of blood. Something else began to come forward rising out of the water…

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Something huge and monstrous, which stood 30 feet tall and roared to shake the cavern. The orc, roared back, a pitiful refutation of this monstrosity’s presence. The reptilian, Miles, charged headlong at the creature only to be smashed, grabbed, and hurled at the roof of the cavern, giving off a wet smack on both the impact to the roof and the landing on the dock. Many of those around the vile altar began to claw at their eyes, attack those next to them, run screaming, or rush to fight the creature. These last were struck down by flailing tentacles or tail, picked up and eaten, flattened as Demogorgon proceeded in among the buildings, or ignored. It’s hide so tough that only a single blow from the enraged orc, Ront, managed to draw blood. As people of all races began to flee before the destructive force of this beast, Demogorgon began to simply smash and destroy the surrounding area…

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It’s abyssal desire for destruction and death never sated, the creature eventually left back into the Darklake in search of more plentiful slaughter…

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Departing Gracklstaugh Part 1

DeepKingHrogar.jpgWhen last we left our conniving adventurers, they were seeking an audience with the Deepking of Gracklstaugh to turn over Droki of the Grey Ghosts.

As they approach, Valantarr pulls Erythedine aside and questions the logic of handing Droki over to the Duergar. “Droki told us that he heard our dwarven companion plotting with Themberchaud. If we turn him over, we’d be implicated.” Erythedine smiles a lazy smile, “Oh you have so much to learn my surface friend.” He quietly lays out his plan to turn the dwarf over to the king.

As the party enters for their audience with the king, Dagnal strides up and dumps her entire pack, Droki included, onto the floor of the chamber. “OW! Wha’d ja do that for?” yelps Droki, as Dagnal kicks him sprawling toward some of the guards. “Deepking Horgar, we have brought you Droki of the Grey Ghosts to do with as you will,” Valantarr declares as he bows to the king. “We also bring dire news, good king. Themberchaud knows about your city’s plan to kill him and the egg that is to be his replacement.”
“By the forges!” the Deepking swears. “How did this happen?!”
“This dwarf told Themberchaud, your Highness.” Erythedine answers pointing to Berengar.
Berengar stands shocked for a moment before turning and running for an apparently unguarded side door. He is quickly tackled and manacled by two members of the king’s guard that appear between him and the door.
“The derro, Droki, can confirm that he heard the conversation.” Erythedine continued.
“Very well, we shall confirm this and have the slave executed for his crimes. See to it,” the king waves away the guards holding the two prisoners. Once they have departed, the king turns back to the trio and states, “I have a task for you. Since you know about the dragon egg, I will ask you to track it down. It was stolen by one of the Keepers of the Flame, those tending Themberchaud and my Soulblades have had no luck finding it within the city. Will you do this?”
“Of course, your Highness,” Valantarr and Erythedine answer. “Sure, why not?” Dagnal retorts.
“Then go and speak with the captain of the Soulblades for what they have managed to uncover.” the king dismisses them.

As Valantarr and Erythedine leave, Dagnal says, “A moment, me king.”
A deep sigh. “Very well, Dagnal. What is it?”
“I’d like to be yer representative to these drow. Seeing as I’ve been yer loyal subject in rootin’ out that succubus and capturin’ a leadin’ member o’ the Grey Ghosts.”
“Will that get you to leave and go track down the dragon egg?” the king groans.
“Aye, me king.”
“Very well then, be gone!”

Passing through the entryway before the audience chamber, Erythedine and Valantarr pass the drow priestess, Ilvara d’Mizzrym. As she strides in for her audience with the king. Valantarr gives Ilvara a long appreciative stare as she glares at the ibilith. Erythedine pushes him ahead and whispers, “You and I need to have another talk about the unfairer sex.”

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Adventure: Gracklstugh pt 2 & 3
Pics & Bullets

Days Two & Three

GRACKLSTUGH, the City of Blades

Gracklstugh.jpg

Shattered Spire Inne → Darklake District → Whorlstone Tunnels → Gray Ghosts: Safehouse → Obelisk → Hold of the Deep King

Shattered Spire Inne

  • Erythedine, Bloater, Dagnol, Valantar, and many others at the Shattered Spire awoke in a fit of madness.
  • Ranaghar succumbed to his madness.
  • In a fit of madness, Dagnol killed A and One in their room.
  • Berringar murdered a high-ranking member of a thieve’s guild (the leader?).
  • Erythedine and Dagnol skirmished with a group of kua-toa while in a state of madness.
  • Erythedine, Dagnol, and Berringar discovered demonic graffiti (desecration in the name of Zuggtmoy?) in a room on the second floor.

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Darklake District

  • Erythedine and Bloater looked out over the district from the roof and learned the madness was widespread and even claimed Red Themberchaud.
  • Erythedine, Bloater, Valantar, Dagnol, and Berringar, attempted to escape Gracklstugh but the Stone Guards sealed the city.
  • A derro named Droki offered to lead E/Bl/V/D/Be out of the city.

Faerzress.jpg

Whorlstone Tunnels

  • Droki led E/Bl/V/D/Be through the “Sounding Room”, a Faerzress-infused area allowing one to listen to conversations around Gracklstugh.
  • E/BL/V/D/Be survived a skirmish with the King of Spiders.
  • Droki led E/Bl/V/D/Be to the den of the Gray Ghosts, a derro organization.

Gray Ghosts: Safehouse

  • Droki introduced E/Bl/V/D/Be to Ulthgar of the Gray Ghosts.
  • E/Bl/V/D/Be learned that the Gray Ghosts were producing alchemical weapons in massive amounts (Coup? Civil war? Uprising?).
  • Ulthgar presented a proposition: eliminate the daemonic influence surrounding the Deep King Horgar by destroying his succubus concubine (to decline this proposition was death).
  • E/Bl/V/D/Be learned of the succubus’ connection to The Dark Prince (Abyssal demon lord, Graz’zt).
  • Rested
  • Ulthgar and Droki introduced E/Bl/V/D/Be to Ghecx and Sylvain.
  • Berringar was incapacitated by another bout of madness so Valantar retrieved the holy blade from Berringar’s pack.

Obelisk

  • Droki led E/Bl/V/D/G/S to an obelisk capable of one-way teleportation.

Hold of the Deep King

  • E/Bl/V/D/G/S was teleported directly to the private quarters of the Deep King’s concubine.
  • E/Bl/V/D/G/S destroyed the succubus.

Succubus.jpg

  • Horgar, the Deep King of the Duergar, acknowledged the efforts of E/V/D/G/S and granted a boon apiece.
  • Boons:

Erythedine – In a series of thoughts communicated from Erry to Horgar, he requested that the Deep King recognize a sort of “favored status” with House Duskryn of Menzoberranzan and that it be known that Erythedine Duskryn was responsible for this new partnership.

Valantar – ???

Dagnol – ???

Sylvain – ???

Ghecx – ???

  • E/Bl/V/D/G/S each received a writ of passage for Gracklstugh, the city of blades.
  • Deep King Horgar required future assistance with burgeoning daemonic occurrences.
  • E/Bl/V/D/G/S learned that communications with Menzoberranzan and Sloobludop had ceased.
  • Erythedine was reunited with Grenefyre.

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Recap anyone?

Hey, anybody want to fill me in on what happened last session when I was on vacation?

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Strategies to win the tournament

How can we ensure that we are the victors of this tournament? Apparently there’s a guy with a fucking spellblade, and an agile drow priestess. Can we steal the spellblade before the tourney? Anybody stealthy like that? (Valantar is not stealthy).

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