Oogway the human monk
Jub the Goblin druid
Naal half-elf fighter with a blade and warhammer.
Xenon The Ranger, shield with a weeping eye.
Nalkris and Avarace
We quickly elected Xenon as leader as she had been to underdark before
On the way up the mountains, we saw elephant herd heading south for warmer weather, Jub befriended them with his magical abilities and we determined they was no under duress, so we tracked onwards.
Later on we saw a 40foot tall tower in the mountains with no discernable entrance at ground level of the tower two ticks North-West of mountain-outpost, might be worth checking out at a later timer
Arrived at dwarven fortress guarding underdark opening
Dwarf at entrance approached us and said someone was looking for adventureres like us, a lucrative job offer; Brother Connor, and we should head to the Anvil and Forge Inn, which was run by Huus Stoneskip, a likeable halfling, and meet Brother Connor there.
When we did meet Brother Connor, I was surprised to find that he was a human male in his late 30s, maybe early 40s, so hard to tell ages on humans, they age so rapidly. He looked like a priest, with sandy-hair and a wispy beard that looks more like the result of him being lazy or forgetful than deliberate choice.
His holy symbol was a candle lit above an open eye, the symbol of Deneir, the First Scribe, hanged around the neck of Brother Connor. His sleeves was stained black by ink, so a sloopy, or potentially fast and clumsy worker.
Jub seemed to think Brother Connor must be his own brother, due to him being called Brother Connor
Brother Connor hoped we had a pleasant journey here to the dwarven keep.
He explained that a group lead by Rufus Seatle, a hardnend sword fighter went to investigate an location in the underdark, but only one of the group returned, before the dwarf whom had returned expired, he threw a piece of paper, with a cryptic message on that they worked to deciphering.
Brother Connor hopes a group like us who are experienced could find out more.
The location is in the underdark, the cavern direclty underneath here leads to that location to the south. There is a cryptic doorway we should be searching for, and obviously we need the to see the note/partchment
“Thought grave-grey stone, A path does run Betwist two carrion birds. Down in the dark Bright wisdom lies. Trapped in webs of words. A guardian sits With past erased Keen eyes but memories blind. And truth shall come Not won through might But sharp and clever minds.”-Cryptic Message tossed by the dying loner returner from first expedition.
Brother Connor offered 1000 gold pieces (as a group) to bring back knowledge from the deeps, specifically a temple of sorts, or suspected temple, as I gathered it, then we gathered more information by asking some questions to Brother Connor and conversing as a group
The one who came back died very quickly of his injuries, it looked like he had encountered some of the more dangerous denizens of the caverns, many claw-marks on him, perhaps from hell-hounds or a carrion-like creature.
We can speak Dulendard Mullhammer who is the military chief, whom the scout would report back to
Oogway had meet giants and squid-like things down there
Also might be a turf-war going on down there.
We ventured to the guard tower and spoke to Dulendard Mullhammer, whom greeted us as friends, seemed especially happy to see Naal and Xenon and explained he had no scouts to dedicate to doing what Brother Connor wanted, but was helpful with tips and information, despite not having been able to send many expeditions that way
Denizens to beware off:
- Flairs of the Mind (mindflairs?)
- The Drow
- The Slavers (bugbears, orc, kou-toa, humans, thieflings, all kinds attracted to the wealth being earned as mercenaries down there, a muttley crew, never know what you’ll run into)
- Large Rock Creatures
- Remamnants of the scattered giants-kin
- Various beasts.
Where to go:
12 Miles into the cavern there is a what they describe a very ornate ruined edged doorway of rune-edged.
Should be easy to find unless we run into hostiles on the way
Always be on guard and never think anywhere in the underdark is safe.
Furthermore, Military Chief Dulendard Mullhammer requested that if we come upon on any intelligence down there, Military Chief Dulendard Mullhammer would appreciate us coming with a report to them, so they can be safer on their own expeditions down there.
I promised I would return and give a report, no matter how much or how little I would find out, so he would know I remembered and cared.
We then went to sleep at the Anvil and Forge Inn, to be fully rested before venturing into the underdark the next night, our stay and food paid for by Brother Connor.
In the underdark, the next morning after resting in the dwarven city, we travelled through the dark tunnel with many off-shoot tunnels, like a spider-web of interconnected tunnels and secrets, and traversed forests of moss and fungi.
Half-way through the day, we heard a loud noise of something striking rock, like metal on rock, a bit far away up head, maybe a hundred feet or so away.
Jub wanted to sneak up, avoid combat, or tame it, if a beast, and Naal warned they encountered very scary thing down here that could burrow in the ground.
It seemd to be moving away, making a click-click-clackity sound
Sound like bone hitting rock or bone, and something very large, whatever it is, is communicating in some form or fashion.
We tried to sneak past, Xenon saw the beast, informed us its a hooked horror
Sneaking past didn’t work, the front the group basically jumped down ontop of a resting hook horror and it burst up, immediately Xenon showed her skills and knocked it out with an arrow and before anyone else could react, she had run up to the hook horror she had knocked out and shoot 2 more arrows into his body, turning it into a corpse, but unfortunately, it had howled as it burst forth, alerting the other hooked horrors of our presense and they started coming towards us
We fought a total of 5 Hook Horrors, Jub using a magical sphere of fire to burn them, Oogway showed some martial skills, while Naal showed his tactical awareness by covering our backs and holding those 2 approaching from that direction back, while I tried blasting them with the pure force of magic through my Eldritch Blast, mainly focusing on the ones sandwishing Naal at the back, as Jub was already helping Oogway at the front with the ball of fire, but we all came up short compared to Xenon, who once again showed her impressive aim and knocked out yet another Hook Horror, personally delivering the killing blow to 4 of the 5 hook horrors, if my count in the heat of battle was right. A very safe companion to travel with.
In the end, we brought all 5 down without anyone of us getting significantly injured and was able to travel on into the underdark, making it to the crossroad by the second half of the day, and found the area we had been looking for, a flagstone ruin with runes on it and a tunnel with a copplestone walkway descending downwards, this might be the place we should be investigating.
There was some strange dwarven runes etched into the surface, but none of us seemed able to read dwarven runes, might turn into a problem as we venture further in these dwarven underdark ruins.
Several types of biolumenecent mushrooms and moss illuminated our way, a pathway area lead to a room with a greyish humanoid figure standing near the centre of the room on a small slighty risen platform, with a strange sword and an even stranger polearm-styled weapon with a huge spike and axe-head and he spoke towards Xenon
“Those who wish to devlve below Quickness of wit and mind must show. For there is a thing that all do own Precious and close to heart and bone. While some wear their with joy and pride. For other it’s a shame to hide. No threat to men, but to Demon Lords As feared and deadly as blazing swords. Speak it now if you wish to pass Or know this day shall be your last.”-Riddle spoken by “Person in Grey”
I immediately had two ideas “Love” and “Faith”, and we discussed it, nobody else had a better idea, and first I shouted out “Love”, he said wrong and repeated the same riddle, and I shouted “Faith” after confirming with the rest that it was fine. Once again, I was wrong, but this time he told me in words that was hostile and summoned undead. The last of his words replied made me realize our names was the answer, as Demons fear someone knowing their true name, alas, too late, and we was attacked by the person in grey and his summoned undead minions.
The 3 summoned undead was all around our group, so we couldn’t form a front towards them and my usual position towards the back was not as secure as it usually is.
Xenon tried to turn the enemies away with the power of her deity, but the Person in Grey shouted we could not overcome the blessings of Vernek, and the minions was unaffected, so Xenon casted Sanctuary on herself.
The 4 armed skeleton ran up and attempted to attack Xenon, but as it couldn’t, it ran towards me, slashing at me with 3 of its claws, fortunately I managed to avoid all 3, those looked very unpleasant.
The burning undead seemed to have a breathing attack and as it ran up, it breathed out towards Oogway and Jub, temporarily blinding Oogway.
The clickity-clackity skeleton seem to frighten Naal and Oogway, and went it to attack with its glaive
Person in Grey’s metode of attacking was to spin around furious and, still spinning, would move around the room, trying to hit as many of us as possible, while the spinning made it impossible to land opportunity attacks on this moving foe.
Despite all these terrifying aspect of the enemies we faced, they went down relatively easily for our group, the Person in Grey dissolved and only the grey cloak and a key, skeleton key, remained, which could be used to open a gate at the other end of the room. It was a barred gate, except for the lock in the middle of it, where the iron key fit perfectly and it opened up into a hallway.
This hallway ended by splitting up into 2 cave entrances, each with 2 statues on pillars next to their entrances in the following pattern:
We remembered back to the initial text left by the dwarf, instructing a “path does run Betwist two carrion birds”, so instead of going into either cave, we tried walking into the wall between the two Raven statue pillars, leading us further inside and quickly to a narrow hallway, only 5ft wide, forcing us to get into a singular line to advance.
This narrow hallway had an immediate turn and at the end of this short hallway was a small opening in wall above a bassin, from which a stream of water flowed, and to each side was short corridors with doors which also both had bassins.
By the bassin was 2 jugs, one had engraved 3 on it and the other 5. The door to our left’s bassin had engraved a 1 on it, and the bassin to our right had a 4 engraved in it.
We filled the Jug with 3 on it, and poured it into the 5 jug. We then refilled the jug with 3 on it and poured carefully over into the 5 jug, until it was full, and then poured the remaining into the left door, which made it disappear.
We repeated the above process for the right door, and then poured a full jug (with a 3 on it) ontop of it.
The way to the left lead to a perculiar puzzle room, which walls was lined with pigeon holes full of scrolls, but that seemed not connected to the puzzle of the room! There was 3 massive skeletons in heavy armor and with shields and instructions that “We advance when you retreat”
Oogway stepped inside and down next to the closest skeleton, and confirmed if he moved slightly back it would follow.
Then I advanced with Jub and I managed to pull the central skeleton with me up and over to the far side and up into a corner, trapping me between two of the skeletons, but allowing Jub to go to the southern part of the room and find the exit.
I remained still, while Jub had the Xenon and Naal come through the room, before calling Oogway, but then we found a problem, as the skeleton would follow him going up to go down the centre.
Jub made Oogway stop and stepped up to the skeleton between me and the exit, made it follow him down and then remained still and I quickly walked to middle of room, where Oogway came and squeezed past me, leaving me with 2 skeletons in middle, Oogway squeezed past Jub and into the hallway to the south, before I did the same, making us all get through the room safely.
Down south was a room that resembled the other room, same 25ft by 25ft layout, but between the pilars was a plus-shaped pool of still crystal clear reflective water, and voices came from the pool, telling us we was doomed to make the same mistakes as those trapped in the pool now and told us that their bodies had been destroyed, but their minds was now bound to the pool
Something with a threatening air to it, but invisible, emerged from the pool after Avarace flew over and stuck his head inside the water to investigate, but we quickly destroyed this invisible threat, and as it disappeared it howled
“When you look us in the face. We’ll look you in the eye if you leave we cannot chase But know we’ll never lie”
We tried to figure out something to do, and I tried looking into my own reflection and ask it how to get past this challenge, but that just made the creature re-emerge, and we again dispatched it quickly and it howled a new message
“I have no eyes, but once did see. I once had thought, now white and empty. I have no tongue, but once did speak. I once held hope, now all is bleak”
Oogway went back the way we came and found the hallway had changed and had 3 statues in it and as I inspected them through the eyes of Avarace I realized what they portrayed
- One is Elvish bard Du’Soku
- One is famous philospher Rubix the Third
- One is a hallowed human skull (real)
We figured a hallowed human skull has no eyes, but once did see, once had through, but was now white and empty and it had no tongue, but once did speak, and certainly a skull no longer held hope, so we brought that to the pool and solved the room, and a hallway appeared leading to a third room of same shape, but this room had shelves along the wall lined with hundreds, if not thousands of each-white skulls, stareing blindly down from the shadows, each with a near label strung through empty eye sockets. In the centre of the champer was a simple wooden chair set in front of a wide table, a Man – or something that was once a man – sat at the table with the long delicate fingers of both hands resting on a skull. Wisps of faded red hair was brushed back from a deathly pale face that was warped by time, but retained the shattered remains of nobility.
He told us we was the first to reach him and asked us how and then asked us why we came and we told him we was seeking knowledge, which seemed to please him, and he said he would give us a puzzle and if we could manage it, he would fight us alone.
He presented us with a skull and said we could ask it 20 questions to figure out its profession, and that the questions had to be only yes or no questions.
- Question #1: Does the job require years of training? Yes
- Question #2: Did the job require usage of hands? Yes
- Question #3: Did you have to wear armor? No
- Question #4: Did they build? Yes
- Question #5: Did you work with wood? No
- Question #6: Was the constructions larger than a person? No
- Question #7: Did you make swords? No
- Question #8: Did you work mostly inside? Yes
- Question #9: Did you work with magic? No
- Question #10: Did you work with books? No
- Question #11: Did you make solid objects? No
- Question #12: Did you sell the things you made? No
- Question #13: Did it use mechanical parts, like gears? No
- Question #14: Was you paid to do it for people, stuff they asked you to do? Yes
- Question #15: Did the job help people? Yes
- Question #16: Did it have anything to do with how people are dressed? No
- Question #17: Did it have to do with alchemy or medicin? Yes
- Question #18: Were they a doctor? No
- Question #19: Were they an alchemist? No
- Question #20: Were they a poisoner? Yes
Then he attacked us, as promised, on his own.
He would misty step around the room and hit hard, wore plate armor and a shield, using a sword for his attacks made even more harmful by him being able to use divine energy to smite us, but once again we managed to take down our foe without anyone of us getting taken down in the process, but we did need to heal up after this fight.
We recovered a quite massive quantity of treasure and put it in my bag of holding, several gems and several thousand coins of gold, silver, platinium and copper.
A hallway lead upwards and into yet another room, the stairs up to there was coated in bone-white ash it has a disquieting air, an altar topped with a vast mound of scorched and blackened paper, mixed in with burned remains of leather bindings and scroll casings, in front of the alter lied a small pile of what seems to be brass latters, backed with dull, nail-like points
L O N G W H I S K E R E D T U T
We gave up on this puzzle and continued on, leading to the room immediately right of the jug challenge.
This room was tall and cold as the grave. A strange creature drifted through the air infront of us, it had mottled grey flash and a large single eye sits above a wide maw. Four stalk-like limbs grow from the round body and it shifted itz gaze towards us and the limbs end in small yellow eyes, it opens it mouth and revealed sharp predatory teeth, and asked “Hello, can I help you?”
Jub closed door, but Oogway choose to go talk with the Beholder-like creature, while I helped Xenon who refused to give up on the letter puzzle.
Xenon came up with KNOWLEDGE being a word.
I came up with TRUTH IS KNOWLEDGE.
Searching Xenon found pin holes for the words, first 9 letters, then 2, then 5, so she swapped it to KNOWLEDGE IS TRUTH
This made a box open with a brass key inside.
Beholder told us that only authorized people could move beyond that room, but did not remember how we could become authorized.
He let us pass anyway after Oogway found his inner silver tongue.
He could not remember his name, tormented by only remembering that he once knew everything in all of these tomes here, but had now forgotten everything.
Oogway named it “Jeff”, and I left Jeff with 5 rations, he did not require food, but did enjoy food, so seemed like the good thing to do.
We camped just inside the illussionary wall by the Raven statue pillars and got some rest before we would journey home.
Next morning our trip back to Rehope was uneventfull, and we first reported back to Brother Connor.
I took 3 skulls back with us, Brother Connor identified them by name as having been famous scholars once, saw this as proof we had been there.
We gave our reports to Brother Connor and Military Chief, and then had a good night rest at the Anvil and Forge inn, this time paid for by the military Chief.
We ventured back, but without anything interesting happening at all on our descend from the mountain