Such is the Heart of Madness

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…

Comments

embarn03 embarn03

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.