Egressive Behaviour

The Hunt For Ingredients Begins

Tunnels, Purple Worms, and Troglodytes Oh My...

izeran was fuming; his tower had been discovered. 300 years had he been here and it was the best location he had found. It was within a few days walk of Menzoberranzan but hidden in such a way that no drow had passed by since he’d arrived. All his of his machinations, his careful attempts to keep his life and plans secret were dashed now that his dark kin knew where he was. He had to move on. The only thing that had changed recently was the presence of those idiotic adventurers and so, the blame lay with them. They had no idea what game they played in, nor could they comprehend the delicate performance that had gone on for centuries between him and the spider queen herself. At least they now knew what they must do. Vizeran would meet them when the time came to create the black heart and no sooner. Vizeran provided Eran a blank piece of parchment with the instructions to write a message on the material. When the group were ready to create the dark heart, they could use the paper to contact the drow archmage and Vizeran would find them on his own time. No longer would he allow these people to get in the way of his larger schemes.

Meanwhile, Raddan and Eran were now convinced that the chess pieces, which they recovered from the fallen debris of their counterparts, were playing some part in Lolth’s ability to track them. Confirmed by the vision and message that Loic had received from Ghaunadaur, it became clear that something had to be done about those tokens. In an attempt to discover the nature of Lolth’s espionage, Raddan began to consider if the items were possibly being used by as part of a scry spell. Knowing that scry spells usually function more effectively when scryed to something with which the spellcaster has intimate familiarity, the sorcerer was also aware that a normal scry spell usually required the caster to be on the same plane as the target. This could only mean that either Lolth was using some of her servants on this plane to scry through the tokens, or the Queen of Spiders was using some form of advanced scry spell which allowed her to see through planes.

D_DLog001.png

Raddan assumed it would be the latter since Vizeran was fairly confident that no one could see his tower or anything inside of it. It was unlikely he would have overlooked a simple scry spell, though his arrogance had already revealed his instincts were not flawless. Unsure how much information Lolth may have and fearing she may yet gain more, Raddan instructed everyone to pass him their tokens. Once he had all of the chess pieces in hand, he proceeded to give them to Ilia to place in the bag of holding. The hope was that even if Lolth could continue to scry the items inside the bag, she would be left viewing the pocket dimension inside it and be unable to view the party themselves.

Vizeran then began shooing them out of his tower whilst the group decided which of the ingredients to head out for first. Taking stock of their supplies and rations, the party decided to head towards the wormwrithings in search of both the purple worm egg and the eye of the beholder. It was not an easy decision to make as there are many things which desire the attention of the party but the close proximity of the wormwrithings helped to swing the vote. Lael brought up a vision she had in the Gravenhollow library about Zuggtmoy heading towards the area of the Underdark known as Araumycos, where she would attempt to enslave all fungi creatures to her will. The argument for haste in saving the myconids was not strong enough to take precedence in the immediate course of action.

With everyone outside the tower and a destination in mind, Vizeran turned back toward his tower and bowed his head whilst running a hand along the edge of the door. Suddenly the cavern began to shake as the tower, which has been housed inside a stalagmite, started to shift and shrink down in scale. Within moments the tower was no larger than a one inch cube which Vizeran placed in his pocket, leaving the stalagmite an empty shell. Turning back to the others, Vizeran said: “Very well, you know your plans and I must prepare for the ritual, I will stay near Menzoberranzan and I have given Eran a way to contact me when you are all ready. Be vigilant, collect all of the ingredients and we may just save the world.” With that he walked away in the opposite direction to the wormwrithings, indicating that he did not wish to travel with our heroes any longer than he needed to.

So began the long journey into the wormwrithings. The wormwrithings themselves were a series of twisting tunnels located to the northwest of Blingdenstone. Each tunnel had been created by the pruple worms, who occasionally moved through this area that surrounded their nests. As everyone headed through the tunnels, winding closer and closer to Karazikar’s Maw, they begin to formulate plans. Eran had spent time by himself in the library of Gravenhollow, specifically looking for information about the beholder known as Karazikar, in which he managed to collect some vital details about the creature’s lair. Together the adventurers discussed the many dangers of facing a beholder and how best they could defeat it to gain the central eye they required.

CNwAtMIU8AAuLDE.jpg

Four days into the journey they found themselves in a tunnel which appeared to be quite fresh and didn’t turn off for miles. Eran’s primal senses alerted him to the presence of a purple worm heading directly towards them, straight down this particular tunnel. As the purple worm edged ever closer and closer our heroes found themselves stuck in the middle of a tunnel with few options. Thinking quickly, Eran and Loic jumped into action. Realising that trying to run away from the worm would be nearly useless, they focus on going sideways, out of the creature’s path. With Eran’s limited magical knowledge and Loic’s enchanted gloves working overtime, they managed to dig out a portion of the tunnel wall on one side. The area they cut out was just large enough to fit everyone inside and the group piled in with little time to spare. They could only pray that if they keep absolutely quiet, the worm would simply slither past them and they would not have to battle the monstrous creature. As the worm worked its way over the gap in the earth where the heroes were holed up, everything appeared to be silent. No sound permeated the air save the rumble of the earth shifting and moving around the body of the worm as it rotated through the tunnel like a snake.

Crack. Valdasar’s grip on his walking stick shifts and the end of the wood strikes the ground as it slides off a rock and hits the stone just an inch below. The purple worm immediately stopped. A very tense few seconds passed by and then the head of the purple worm shifted and looked, as much as a worm could, directly at where Valdasar and the rest of the party now stood. The worm’s mouth opened and a massive roar bellowed forth, sending a shower of saliva down the hidey-hole.

Without wasting any time, the rest of the party jumped straight into action. The reluctance to fight a moment earlier was gone, washed away by the need to protect each other. With a fury that was unfamiliar to the purple worm, the adventurers hacked and slashed at the worm. Ilia squeezed past the monstrosity and impaled it with his blade as he moved. Just behind him Lael, riding her lizard steed Angaste, climbed along the rock ceiling of the tunnel and positioned herself next to Ilia. The drow paladin drew Dawnbringer forth and struck, her powerful, sentient sword glowing with sunlight.

The purple worm lunged out in response, biting down hard on the shield guardian, Nathan. Slowly and surely the construct was swallowed and drawn deep down into the gullet of the worm. As the creature opened its mouth for a second bite attack against another party member, Raddan lashed out. Unwilling to let another member of the party be swallowed, he launched a fireball down the throat of the worm. The worm barely had time to register the strange new taste inside its mouth before its insides began to boil. The outside of the worm’s flesh began to expand and contract as it attempted to control the effects of the fireball. It failed. In a burst of purple and green goo, the worm abruptly detonated, leaving the shield guardian stood still motionless in the middle of the ruined corpse as if it were unaware of the strange journey it had just undergone.

That night the party rested without being disturbed, yet it began to dawn on them just how close they were getting to the lair of the beholder. After a few hours of travel further into the heart of the wormwrithings, the tunnel suddenly ended in front of them and dropped away. As they looked down through the opening at the base of the tunnel, they could see a large, spacious cavern with a number of smaller caves lurking along the sides. Bisecting the cavern in the centre and running from left to right was a river which, while not appearing too deep, was nonetheless flowing at a strong rate. On either side of the river stood two groups of lizard-like creatures who appeared to be shouting and waving weapons towards each other.

Troglodyte-5e.png

One the nearer side of the river was a raised shelf of rock upon which stood two large stalagmites reaching high into the tall cavern. Strapped up and tied between the two stalagmites was one of the lizard creatures, whose figure suggested a very weak disposition. This captive appeared to be awake and was shouting along with the others of its kind. Across the river, one of the lizard creatures stood a foot taller than the rest, waving a very sharp, black edged blade aloft whilst shouting and pointing towards the captive on the other side.

The language being spoken by these creatures was guttural, an amalgamation of roaring sounds that, while somewhat similar to the Draconic that Valdasar spoke, was just too different to for the adventurers to comprehend. Without the ability to understand what was being said, the party reverted to an understanding of animal nature in an attempt to analyse the lizardmen’s behaviour. There wasn’t too much that they could learn beyond the fact that these creatures were a warlike race called troglodytes and that they were currently undergoing some form of civil war. Using their intuition, the party was able to discern that the captive being held on their side of the river belonged to the tribe wielding the black sword and was the source of the tension.

Realising that if they were to attempt to backtrack down the tunnel and try to get around the troglodyte lair, when they knew they were so close to Karazikar’s Maw, would cost them a lot of valuable time, the party began trying to think of ways to get everyone past the horde of lizards without stirring further trouble. While Ilia and Eran could probably sneak their way through fairly easily, certain members of the party had a history of not being capable of staying quiet when required; the group needed a plan that did not involve stealth.

After some deliberation a consensus was finally reached. It was decided that if the groups were fighting over a captive, then possession of that captive might allow them to bargain their way across the cavern. Valdasar, who wore the Cape of Mounteback, was capable of teleporting a large distance very quickly. This made him the ideal choice to invisibly sneak over to the captive and then instantly teleport back up to the tunnel where the rest of the party waited. It was hoped that this would allow them to capture the captive without opposition. Loic cast a spell of invisibility upon the dragonborn cleric while the others used a rope to stealthily lower him to the cavern floor some 40ft below.

Hidden from view by Loic’s arcane manipulations, Valdasar quietly made his way closer and closer to the captive. Loic’s psionic abilities allowed him to observe Valdasar even when invisible, so the wizard kept a close eye on what the old man was doing and kept the party up to date with his progress. His half-elven eyes followed the dragonborn across the cavern floor and up to the restrained captive. Carefully and quickly, Valdasar cut all the bindings keeping the captive locked between the two stalagmites and almost immediately disappeared from sight in a puff of black smoke. Loic turned to his right to where he expected to see Valdasar, but of the cleric there was no sign. Teleportation via the cape had always been instantaneous so why wasn’t he here? The only logical answer was that he must have gone somewhere else.

As he approached the captive, Valdasar had indeed been thinking that perhaps he could end the conflict altogether by returning the prisoner to its people. Thus, when Valdasar disappeared from between the two stalagmites with the captive in hand, he instead teleported to a position far over on the opposite side of the river. As soon as the captive reappeared in the cloud of smoke, with an invisible Valdasar next to it, it began to scream and shout once more. The noise of the captive now coming from a new direction drew the attention of all of the troglodytes. The tides of the battle had abruptly and drastically altered, though none of the troglodytes knew exactly why. In immediate response to the new situation, the armies of the troglodytes collided, their attempts at negotiation suddenly and irrevocably void.

His plan thwarted, Valdasar began making his way back towards the party in an attempt to stay out of the combat. As Valdasar stepped into the river in the centre of the cavern, his invisible form interrupted the flow of the water, drawing the attention of the troglodytes nearby. Fearing the danger that Valdasar had put himself in, Eran, Ilia and Raddan jumped down from their hiding spot and started to get involved in the battle.

In terms of combat prowess the primitive lizard creatures were distinctly amateur compared to the humanoid adventurers who charged into the fray. Spells and attacks flew across the cavern as troglodyte after troglodyte crumpled beneath the onslaught. Ilia led some of the troglodytes away from the group around a cliffside while Loic created a phantasmal image of a gargantuan purple worm charging towards the lizardmen. Though fearful, the troglodytes were a vicious race, ignorant of the concept of mercy and so, they kept fighting until the very last of them had perished. Tired after the journey and slaying so many creatures, the party took refuge in the cavern that they had just procured from the troglodytes, safe in the knowledge that no survivors remained to alert more of the lizard tribes.

Comments

DementedAssassin

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.