Party Members: Naal, Alizeh Stargazer, Salem, Zoren Luxford, Oogway, Xenon.
Scout: Alizeh Stargazer
Trailblazer: Zoren Luxford
After a few minutes at the inn of the Swollen Tooth, which I had visited for the first time, we received a note with the following message:
Dear Heroes of Ruined Oak. Thank you for your help in the past and your friendship in the future. At your earliest convenience, we invite you to visit the refounding of our Citadel. We also have a few business opportunities that you might be interested in as well. Hope to see you soon.Thainmin Dilmuntation – Mayor
Heading out from the Swollen Tooth, we headed west towards cold mountains I have never ventured into before. With the guide of dwarves, we entered a citadel with columns and a large gate. We met a dwarf in regal attire. His name was Grismeldin Kinterstead, who was the Head Counceldwarf. He mentioned that the Citadel had been ransacked by another group of mighty dwarves called Talos. They had been enslaved by Talos but had managed to overthrow them at the cost of serious damages to the citadel. The buildings were very resplendent, all the same. We followed him towards the main gate. The citadel was surprisingly warm despite its location in the mountains.
He mentioned how there was still lingering stigma from previous slavery that he and his people were under before from Talos, but he hoped to rebuild the citadel and overcome previous ideological barriers, which was commendable. Slavery is a deplorable concept and not the same as servitude. Like serving a deity, servitude someone should be voluntary and done willingly, not forced upon someone. Great efforts towards cleaning up and repairs were occurring around us with lots of hustling about by workers. Dwarves are great builders of towering monuments from what I know. Their aspirations toward equity were lofty yet admirable. He led us to the throne room where we met the following leaders and executives:
- Thainmin Dilmuntation – Mayor
- Grismeldin Kinterstead – Head Counceldwarf
- Dulendard Mullhammer – Military Chief
- Firbendon Tallongorge – Economic Chief
- Brendonhoff Gunthernode – Community Chief
- Fulgot Crasshammer – Artisan
- Sulmollymun Bizwald – Merchant
- Kergonderful Maliwutton – Priest
- Norenterwuff Stanwellpeak – Wizard
- Commander Morrelton – Scout Commander
- Jake Johnson – Scout Executive Officer
- Cindermint Mincemulch – Chief Scout
- Amanda Fitz- Archeologist
- Noznek Lullimutton – Chief Carpenter
It was difficult to remember all the names, but I managed to write them down in time without seeming too impolite. The dwarves had no official name for their group, but an election later would settle things. Renovations took precedence, which made sense. Salem seemed distracted, Oogway was bored, and Alizeh looked confused as a fresh new adventurer on the island.
It seems since there was a passageway leading to the dreaded Underdark from the Citadel, though the dwarves had not gone down there since the fall of the citadel. The Underdark holds many monsters and drow elves that are usually austere. Their population was around 330, and there were several that were taken captive by the forces of Talos. There was also a southern tunnel leading to the Forge Citadel, which was once used to build armor and weapons, though it was no longer in use. The mayor feared that the forces of Talos might occupy the armory and rally their forces and replenish their weapons. He desired information on what dangers lay beyond the southern gate and the forces of Talos. The captives also wished to be rescued, for :
“The forces of Talos are cruel taskmasters.”Thainmin Dilmuntation – Mayor
It had only been a few weeks since the Citadel was liberated from Talos by defeating Fuzeblaze. Fuzeblaze was a demonic entity that the dwarves of Talos had brought forth and was what fueled the power to enslave them. With the help of fellow adventurers from Ruined Oak, Fuzeblaze was defeated, and the dwarves of Talos had lost their power.
They led us to the banquet hall where we had dinner. After dinner, I played my viol for a brief while before going to sleep.
After a good night’s rest, we were introduced a young, energetic cartographer named Willywort, who had tracked around many passages around the mountain by producing high-quality maps.
Unsurprisingly, the mayor explained that there was no great love between the dwarves and the drow. For now, he did not expect to form a peace treaty with the drow due to the lack of knowledge regarding the drow’s current stance towards the Citadel. He did hope to attain at least a neutral, non-aggressive relationship with them. It was also mentioned that there were several houses of the drow in the upper parts of the Underdark.
We decided to take Willywort with us as we headed to the southern tunnel towards the Underdark. From my years of travel, the Underdark was rarely a place that brought much mirth or compassion. The Underdark was also relatively warm. At least that was something to be thankful for as we travelled down into its dark depths. We did our best to keep an eye out for danger. There were various fungi growing on the walls, luminating mushroom caps that glowed an admittedly pretty shade of yellow-green. Xenon offered to scout and track as he was more experienced with the Underdark.
After a few minutes, Xenon heard the distinct sound of rocks getting disturbed, which made me tense up in anticipation. Suddenly, a gigantic figure approached us from the dark and attacked us. It turns that the figure was a giant. As we were fighting the giant, another creature appeared. It looked like a cross between a shrimp, a clam, and a squid. There were around 5 in total. One managed to get away. Another giant also appeared and threw a rock and clubbed at Naal and Oogway. The tentacle creatures grappled at us and restrained our party members. I believe that is how they are spelled? In the midst of a fierce battle, something invisible also attacked Oogway and Naal.
- Salem used a slow spell and shot fire, including an incredible blast of fireball! I hope to be able to do that someday.
- Alizeh used a mix of sorcery and cleric spells such as sacred flame and healing word.
- Oogway hacked away with his longsword and dodged out of the way of attacks.
- Naal smashed with his magical warhammer that dealt thunder damage as well.
- Xenon shot lethal arrows from his special longbow with expert precision.
- I used my trusty spiritual weapon and sacred flame, as per usual.
As we were nearing the end of our battle, Naal suddenly began drooling, and his eyes wandered about in a daze. It appeared that he was affected by a psychic attack of some sort that crippled him mentally. We were unable to find the caster, who was likely invisible and had retreated already. The giants turned out to be stone giants. Figures. We also found a locket that Willywort identified as a locket belonging to one of the dwarves that had been captured and held hostage by the Talos faction.
We decided to retreat in fear of getting attacked again. The dwarven clerics managed to restore Naal back to health after paying 300gp. Since we had looted 300gp worth of items, we just gave them the loot. It was a slight shame that it required the loot we had just acquired, but the restoration of our leader took priority admittedly. It was an intense battle!
We discussed how to handle the invisible caster but couldn’t figure out a good way besides just using area effects or turning ourselves invisible. The dwarves told us the shrimp-like creatures were called Eldrazi (as clarified later by Naal). Oogway wanted to eat one but decided against it after his skin instinctively shivered at the prospect.
After taking a short rest, we returned to the Underdark and traversed down a southern path. We came upon dwarven stonework. We decided to set up camp in the Underdark. Salem set up a protective dome of sorts. Xenon found some lichens, which Oogway tried bravely. He seemed well enough, although I wasn’t bold enough to try.
During my watch, I heard a low hum that made me tense up. However, nothing appeared out of the darkness (Naal later told me it was likely a Weave-Quake. Makes magic chaotic while it lasts.).
Day 3 (?):
It was hard to tell day and night in the Underdark, but my internal clock told me that a new day had dawned.
Naal mentioned how the last time they touched something in the Underdark carelessly, the party was cursed, and if the curse was not lifted within 48 hours, they exploded! Alizeh mentioned they must have angered a deity, with which I concurred. Oogway mentioned that’s why he disliked deities, which I recognized wasn’t meant to be too blasphemous.
Salem pulled a lever on the wall, something flew towards us from the opposite wall, a large pole or post pierced into Alizeh’s side, knocking her out instantly. Thankfully, Oogway healed her up with a goodberry. We looked over and saw there were 2 more poles on a shoddy machine. Willywort explained how it was a defense mechanism for those trying to run away from enemies coming from towards them. It would require 2 people to use effectively. 1 person to pull the lever, and 1 person to aim the pole. I helped heal part of the wound, for which Alizeh expressed her thanks. It was slightly hard to pronounce her name.
Later, more trembling occurred, and rocks suddenly fell down, bruising my back. Willywort mentioned the trembling came from down south. After eating a goodberry, I continued on with a sore back. We came upon a bridge standing atop a stream of murky water. Naal mentioned that the water was very hot, and the bubbles floating over it indicated as much as well. Xenon cast dancing lights for more visibility. We were figuring out ways to cross the boiling water when creatures emerged from the water. They looked to be made of congealed blood… Their defenses were relatively weak. Naal took one down with his warhammer but got damaged due to attacking in melee range. What’s more, the creature stood back up. Salem blasted them with a fireball, somehow not hitting Maal and Oogway that were within the radius as well. It must be a wizard ability. My sacred flame seemed effective against it. Xenon and Alizeh followed suit. The creatures dissolved away into actual blood that soaked into the soil and blood. Perhaps they were constructs created by dark magic.
We came upon a shrine on an island in the middle of the stream. Naal postulated that this is where the demons were summoned. It was hard to identify what cult or group the shrine belonged to. Willywort mentioned that it could be more a marker than a shrine. The marker had a symbol with 8 legs coming out. It may have been a drow marker to prevent intruders from approaching. Perhaps it was made by followers of Lolth. There were also an object with 4 legs, which could have been a turret. Salem mentioned following the deity Lolth. Xenon mentioned Salem converting to Aten, but Salem clarified that she hadn’t actually done the purification ritual due to getting distracted by fire. I’m not sure what was more troubling to hear, the fact that Salem followed Lolth or she had gotten distracted by fire to perform an important ceremony of faith.
Day 4 (?):
2 orc guards were dragging along a drow prisoner. They weren’t willing to stick around to talk and moved away. Salem shot a fireball at them. For some reason?! Suffice it to say, I was flabbergasted by the sudden blast. Salem seems like a somewhat unstable wizard, though not the first I’ve ever seen… Xenon talked to him in Undercommon, which I could understand. He was from House Mantle and had a symbol of Lolth on him. Naal decided to drag him back with us. For some reason. However, the prisoner crumpled over soon and passed away from a heart attack. Though he may have been a follower of Lolth, it was still a slight shame. We headed back to the citadel with all that we had found out. Alizeh acquired a light hammer.
Though I may never be a leader of an adventuring party, I am glad I was able to come on this perilous yet exciting expedition into the Underdark. Hopefully it will not be my last. I need at least another 120gp to get that breastplate armor I desperately desire and need…