Session six. The big open outdoors…
But first we open with the gang resting up after their encounter with the babbling spirit of an olde tyme Duergar smith, after which they decided to head forth and see what lay beyond yonder door. Said yonder turning out to be a weird misty hall full of tiny sparkling lights, all lovely and pretty. Until they swarmed Sir Erik and tried to electrocute him! A moments thought left the band with a simple plan. Sir Erik being all shiny due to ancient celestial ancestry meant he was a handy lightning rod, so he was sent in to investigate the mists.
Moments later he was lost. Lost enough that he kept walking into walls and trying to determine left from right. Magic traps are heck on Paladins. Cunning plans from the rest of the group included poking the glowy lights, throwing ropes into the mist and staring at the wall forlornly in the hope that somebody would pitch up and help.
And lucky enough, someone handy just happened to be wandering by.
Spoiler: Secret Squirrel Behind the scenes stuff
Said someone was the duergar hall monitor Jennit Rok, out patrolling for stuff left behind when the gray dwarves cleared out recently. Recognising our heroes he was happy to deploy secret duergar methods (i.e using a spare key) to disarm the mist trap and switch off the sparking lights.
He was also able to brew up a pot of tea and fill the band in on recent events. With Cask now in charge of the duergar, the slaves had been set free and the dwarves all set to tromp off into the Underdark in search of something awesome to kill. Perhaps reclaim the old Tethyamar mines, or pick a fight with some drow. Because everyone hates drow.
His last job was to make sure nothing horrid was left to use the magic whirlpool to get out of the dungeon and into the river aboveground. That being the result of anything jumping in the whirlpool. Or being thrown in. Like cockatrice eggs for instance. Innocently whistling and avoiding eye contact with anyone in particular, Kirk and Aramel decided it might be best to go looking for the egg and make sure they hadn’t released a death chicken into Shadowdale.
So, tea break over with, off the boys tromped up to the surface. Nothing particularly spooky had taken up residence as yet in the upper chambers, or so it seemed. Unbeknownst to our merry mob of nutters, their passage through the entry halls was observed by a foul entity. Once known as Jogk, a simple orc guard who had once had a run in with a space rock, it was now a nameless thing. A hungering creature from the void risen from the grave to feed and spread it’s abhorrent spores.
Soon though, it would be known. It would be named. And that dark horror from the space between stars would be spoken of as…Orky Voorhees.
Yeah, thanks for that Aramel. Your poetic elven soul shines in your every word.
Anyway, back up on the surface the unnamed adventurers group known locally as ‘Those Guys’ had decided to call in on Widow Sara, what with their exit from Tybor’s dungeon being via her root cellar. Luckily enough she was just making a pile of sandwiches for lunch and being the local widow was used to gentleman callers at odd times. Ahem.
With lunch on the table and polite conversation being required, Tuvorok decided to horrify good Widow Sara with tales of the cockatrice egg they’d flung into a river underground. The hilarious punchline being that they now knew it might hatch out in the woods and leave a killer dungeon chicken running about murdering everything it happened across. Like Sara herself. Hilarious.
Sara filled them in on the route the wee river took into the woods, and where the whirlpool came up in a natural spring sort of a thing. Apparently she’d been a bit of an adventuring sort herself in her younger days. Handy that, not that Tuvorok or anyone else cared much. Nice sandwiches though, which she was nice enough to pack for them along with warnings of it being owlbear mating season. Not words that any adventurer ever wants to hear.
Heading into the woods, following the oddly named Duckwash River “More of an ambitious stream really” as Sir Erik put it.
A pleasant woodland trek was interrupted by Aramel spotting a big smelly pile of what looked to be troll poop, sadly not the sort needing disarming by Kirk. Just poop. Which meant trolls were nearby.
A ten minute debate followed, with Tuvorok and Sir Erik being in favour of a troll hunt, while Aramel and Kirk voted for not being eaten by trolls. Eventually a compromise of ‘go find the cockatrice egg, then come back and get eaten by a troll’ was agreed upon.
Of course nobody had yet raised the reasonable question of ‘how are we going to find an egg in a forest?’ Well, except Kirk, but nobody important had asked.
Boldly striding forth again, the boldly striding bold heroes spotted a rather spooky cave close to a frothing spring. A spooky cave which turned out to be home to a rather matronly owlbear. Snarling, hooting and growling in the way that only owlbears can, the lumbering monstrosity reared up to warn away the intruders.
Six seconds later the cave was home to nothing in particular.
Well except for Kirk and Aramel looking for treasure, Sir Erik buffing his sword and Tuvorok questioning the edibility of fat owlbears. The cave turned out to have once been a mine entry, the cart tracks still present, along with a few aged cases of silver. Silver bearing the clan markings of the Lionheart family, said clan being forebears to Tuvorok thanks to his long winded lineage which took the opportunity to explain in detail.
Which meant they were still in the cave when night fell, bringing with it some particularly hideous screams of pain and horror. A brief investigation of the outside made it plain that something horrible was happening, and it was likely happening to goblins. Which made it a bit less horrible.
That was when the wounded owlbear crashed out of the trees, pursued by cackling black cloaked figures. Figures who took great pleasure in prolonging the poor beast’s pain and suffering.
As was said. Everyone hates drow.
And here they were. A group of cloaked hunters accompanied by a tall robed noble and his entourage of chained women, demonic bodyguard and sneering expression. Looking across the clearing, he called out “Hello the cave. Hope you’re enjoying the show, whomever you are…”
Tuvorok dropped into near catatonic terror at the sight of a male drow lording it over his female companions, while Aramel started counting targets and Kirk pondered the rear exit out of the cave.
Sir Erik however had better ideas than anyone else. Said ideas being a quick distraction and likely suicidal sacrifice as he gestured for his friends to flee and then bolted out of the cave “Come and get me you spider loving scum!” he yelled as he was chased down, shot full of crossbow bolts and tied up. It’s the thought that counts though.
Tuvorok and Kirk responded with good old fashioned violence, barrelling out of the cave to save their buddy. Until a seething pustulent demon teleported into their midst and almost ate Kirk.
So they ran. Leaving Sir Erik in the grasp of the drow, our heroic band legged it into the darkness below, pursued by the laughter of the dark elves.
Spoiler: More behind the scenes stuff
To be continued…