The campaign log for the 2019 ‘Waterdeep’ DnD5e campaign. Entries appear in order, from newest to oldest. Feel free to make an account for the site if you want, to comment on news or log entries (either in or out of character, whatever you guys want). 

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Session 51: The Gang Loots a Castle

The party continues to explore ‘The Lost Level’.

The party debated whether or not to destroy the homunculus in the castle.  The group moves up to the third floor to find the construct, but instead of fighting, they communicate with the creature.  The homunculus tries to convey that it is protecting the castle, and is in conflict with the faerie dragon.  The party chooses not to attack it, and try to understand the conflict between the dragon and the construct.  They decide to instead continue exploring and looting the castle.  After exploring several bedrooms, they add a ship in a bottle to their loot.  In another bedroom, a hefty figure appears to sleep under the covers of a bed.  Shining Brow pulls the covers back by mage hand, and learns that it was an illusion, as magical wands appears and launch a magical assault on the party.  The group manages to destroy the flying wands, and recover several fancy wizard robes and hats, and a nice chess set for the bar.  Further down the hall, they find another bedroom with a stone arch.  The keystone has a hand clutching a lit torch.  Shining Brow finds another door with a platinum coin.  The room contains a large iron desk with a slanted top.  The ere are three copper levers and five buttons in a pentagram shape.  The levers are labeled courtyard, light, and heat.  The buttons read music, roof, fog, lockdown, and “Do Not Press!”.  When pressed, the music button initiates a haunting song begins to fill the castle.  The fog button creates a misty cloud throughout the hallways, obscuring vision.  The courtyard lever does not seem to have any effect.  The group leaves an unseen servant to control the levers and moves on. 

Tang Wu finds a room full of shelves, covered in scrolls and books.  It appears to be a record of wizards in the Forgotten Realms.  At that moment, Mantis pulls the lever labeled “Light”, and the entire castle lights up, and sounds of rumbling and grumbling come from outside.  Mantis shuts the light off.  Tang Wu continues to investigate the file room, and finds another door.  This room contains fuerniture carved from sandstone, and a large stone fresco of a woman with snakes for hair.  Meanwhile, in the file room, Mantis unlocks a door, which causes a massive explosion of thunder blasts out of the door.  The party survives, and Shazuu discovers a keyhole in the floor.  In a chest, they find two velvet bags. One contains an ioun stone, and the other contains a large magical lyre.  The party finds another bedroom, which smells of charcoal and brimstone.  A locked door opens into a lounge with several comfy chairs.  A massive octo-bass stands in a corner, and the party sees movement in one of the F-holes in the instrument.  A bearded human face looks out, and begs for help to escape.  He claims to have been imprisoned by “The Mad Goth”, who is the master of this castle.  Shazuu smashes the instrument, and the old man falls out from the ruins.

The old man expresses his thanks, and suddenly, a fireball explodes, as the old man changes into a frog-like creature.  Kherek rages and tries to attack the creature, as Shazuu charges in, crushing the slaad with his halberd.  The party puts the creature to rest after a lengthy combat.  After a bit of rest, the party moves down the stairs to the next level.  After a bit of exploration, the group finds a workroom containing clay bricks.  Mantis leads the party through the room to another door.  THis chamber has some clay molds, and Shazuu finds another door to an open air courtyard.  A 9’ tall plump human stands in the middle, and inscribed with “The Mad Goth”.  Shining Brow investigates the piles of shiny gems, but to his dismay, finds that they are only shiny crystals.  The party splits up to explore this level, and Shining Brow and Mantis find a kitchen with invisible workers.  Shazuu and Tang Wu find a lavish reading room.  The floor is covered with rubbish, and a familiar clay figure roots through the garbage.  The creature moves to the next room, and reaches into a mirror, and pulls forth a winged helmet.  The desk is made from stacked spell books, and trophies, wands, and staves cover the walls. They ransack the room, and recover nine spellbooks.  Shining Brow and Mantis find a dining room with 12 chairs.  A bell rings, and unseen servants begin to bring food and drink to the room.  The two take seats, and Shining Brow rings his own bell.  Kherek, Shazuu, and Tang Wu hear the bell and after a bit of looting, follow the noise.  The party meets up in the dining room as the meal is served.  Mantis takes the lyre, and Kherrek takes the ioun stone.

Session 50 – Tha Gang Meets Mista Ropa

The party continues to explore ‘The Lost Level’.

Alabaster takes the Elemental Gem of Air found in the stone giant lair, and Shazuu picks up the new broom of flying and makes his witchy way to the tiny castle perched atop the ironn spire.  He disappears into the darkness, and the party recalls the broom.  Mantis takes the broom, flies over, and looks for Shazuu, but only sees a creature the size of a mouse on the roof of the castle.  He informs thge party, and returns to the castle.  It seems that Shazuu shrank to the scale of the castle.  Using the broom, the party ferries across to the castle, landing on the roof.  The roof circles a courtyard, and Shining Brow translates a draconic scrawl which reads “Knock knock”.  Shining Brow knocks on the door with his mage hand, and the door opens into a passage. 

Mantis finds a door, and hears crashing sounds behind it.  A sign on the door says “Homunculi unwelcome” in draconic, and a gold coin jams the door shut. MAntis opens the door, and sees a 12’ tall creature sculpted from clay destroying the furniture.  Mantis offers help, but after getting an unintelligible response, gently closes the door.  He moves to the next door, and opens the door to an empty room. 

Translucent stained glass windows look out beyond the castle walls into the courtyard below, which is covered in sparkly gems and crystals.  A statue of a plump humanoid sits in the center of the courtyard. While the party stares into the courtyard, 

Tang Wu opens a door to a lab filled with garbage and alchemical equipment.  The chamber is scorched by what look like 4 fireballs.  Mantis finds another door jammed with an electrum coin.  Behind the door is a throne room.  An iron throne with clawed arm rests sits in an alcove.  A large carpet is covered with a large, gaping mouth.  Mantis flies around the room on the broom.  When nothing happens, Shazuu determines that there is nothing magical in the room.  Mantis moves on to another door, and finds a room.  Shining Brow unlocks a door in the room which leads to a room with a couple of bats flying about.  He then moves down the corridor to a flight of stairs leading down.  In the room is a glass frame with a plaque which reads “Break glass in case of emergency”.  The bats suddenly turn into large green skinned reptilian demons.  The rest of the party returns as the combat begins.  Tygorr manages to banish one of the nycaloths, and the party destroys the other.

The party begins to move down the stairs, but Tygorr finds another door, and the group back tracks to investigate the room.  A statue of a mermaid sits in the center of the room, and four tridents are mounted on the wall.  On the south wall is a mirror gate, with the word TUOYAW etched on the frame.  Mantis pronounces it backwards, and the mirror becomes opaque, and a figure steps into the room from the mirror.  A crazy looking old man in robes covered in eyes steps out, and counts the party.  He grabs Mantis and pulls him close, saying “You’re not moving fast enough.  You must get stronger.  You must get to the end.” Pushing Mantis away, he askes if anyone has fed the roper lately, and disappears back through the mirror.  The party leaves the room, but Kherek and Alabaster remain.  When Kherek grabs one of the tridents, the statue changes, as tentacles and a toothy maw emerge, grappling Kherek.  The party attacks, but Shining Brow and Alabaster are also grabbed by tentacles, as the roper begins to chew on its victims.  Shazuu, however, is unaware that the rest of the party returned to help Kherek, and leads a group of no one down a hall in the level below. Tha Ropa severely damages the party, and the tridents fly from the wall and begin to attack the restrained party members.  Meanwhile, Shazuu opens a door, and sees a purple humanoid with a tentacled head.  Shazuu bolts away from the mid flayer and moves back up the stairs.  Meanwhile, the party continues to struggle with the roper, but Alabaster manages to curse the roper.  The tide of the battle starts to turn,  Tygorr paralyzes the creature, and Shining Brow hits it with a lightning bolt.  As the tridents continue their assault, and Alabaster finishes the beast with a guiding bolt.  Kherek ignite his flaming sword with a loud “pah’koosh, and with the rest of the group, take out the tridents.

Shazuu leads the group back to the mind flayer to destroy the new threat.  Shazuu charges in, slicing the creature in twain with his halberd.  The head rolls off, and arms and legs fall away, as the group realizes this was a mind flayer mask on a mannequin in a cloak room.  The racks on the walls are full of robes and wizards’ hats.  Kherek begins to set up his hammock.  The rest of party moves on to what seems to be a well appointed waiting room, with plush chairs, ottomans, and a plush purple carpet.  As the group moves on, the group sees a large purple serpentine creature about 15 feet long, with gossamer wings. After being in a dungeon for this long, the group finally encounters a dragon.  Mantis attempts to explain their presence, but Kherek finishes hanging his hammock and rejoins the party.  Some of the party begins to attack the dragon. Suddenly the dragon chants something, and six dragons appear around the wide corridor. Shazuu strikes one of the new dragons and it disappears.  Shining Brow fires a lightning bolt, and two dragons are destroyed.  The party realizes they are illusions, and dispatch the rest, leaving the true dragon standing alone.  The dragon shouts “Wait wait wait! Let’s make a deal!”  Shining Brow speaks draconic and demands the dragon’s surrender.  Tang Wu, unable to understand draconic, continues to pummel the beast until Kherek speaks to the dragon in a strange language.  The dragon begins to barter with Kherek.  The dragon apologizes for the attacks, claiming the party had invaded his domain.  He offers a place of sanctuary in exchange for destroying a monster upstairs by removing it from the castle.  The clay monster keeps coming back when the dragon kills it. The previous master of this castle may have had dealing with drow, and offers help to Kherek’s quest to destroy drow.  Kherek recognizes this as a faerie dragon.  The party agrees to help, and decide to rest in the cloak room.  They set up a tiny hut, set watches, and get some rest.

Session 46: Mirror Gate, Mirror Gate on the Wall

The party continues to explore ‘The Lost Level’.

The claw-armed demon throws half of a statue… easily several hundres pounds… accross the room, where it smashes into another statue, releaseing the inky black smoke that heralds the arrival of another one of it’s kin. Before the party knows it, they are surrounded by three demons. The smell of sulfer hangs heavy in the air as Shazuu engages the Glabrezu, and Kherek shouts a war cry and charges the ape-demon on the other side of the room. Momentarily unencumbered, the third demon rushes forward and shatters the last statue, releasing a fourth demon from it’s stone prison. The group chokes back tears are the last demon materializes, surrounded by foul acrid mist. The vrock screeches in triumph,  and the battle is joined.

The fighters stay close, and exchange blows with the demons, and Shining Brow moves into combat, slicing deep into the barlgura’s flesh. After a few moments, the combined might of the party forces it to it’s knees, and it falls. This brief pause gives Tygor and Alabaster an opening. The two magic users cast spells of binding and removal, and in moments the field is cleared. The two concentrate on their casting, repeating the phrases of binding until the spells are complete, and the demons are banished.

The party briefly searches the chamber, and decides that there’s nothing remaining of interest. With barely held excitement they make their way back to the temple of Dumathoin, and the massive bassalt doors. Once there, Shazuu touches the tips of the dead king’s mumified hand to the stone, and the doors slide open on silent hinges.

Within is a simple chamber, a tapestry hangs on one wall, while a Mirror Gate sits to the side. Mantis examines the tapestry, which nearly disintegrates into rotten rags when touched, while the rest of the party rests. Keherek can feel the weight of the mountain above him. The belt around his waist grows warm, and for some reason he can tell that this is a room of great power. After meditating on that feeling for a time, he understands that this room is the heart of the mountain, and here a dwarf would have great insight into the surrounding area. He feels at peace when he again opens his eyes, and the party begins to examine the Archway Gate.

A simple identify spell is cast, and Mantis knows the key. An invisible creature standing before the Mirror Gate will cause it to open. However, he also detects some sort of protection magic… A powerful ward of unknown origin. Trusting in his abilities, Mantis attempts to dispell the ward. Beleiveing the area clear, Alabaster casts his spell or invisibility, and a plane of shifting colors expands in the open arch. He enters the portal, and hears a screaming voice, ‘NO!’ it shouts, and violently casts him back into the room. He crashes into his companions who are arrayed in front of the gate. Though he was expelled from the portal, he comprehends that something has given him a great boon… He knows, inately, that for a time he has been given a gift of grace, and locked doors will open at his touch. Beleiving the ward expelled, Mantis attempts to enter the gate and is similarly cast back through it. The party argues about the gate, and examines it for a while more before giving up and moving on deeper into the dungeon.

The party moves back through the temple, and examines the doorway to the east. they move through several hallways, chasing phantom noises, until they encounter the corpses of two duergar. Each looks recently dead, cut deeply by sword wounds. On the north and south walls stand two open, empty arches… more gates.

The party move into the room, and examines the corpses. They carry nothing of value. Mantis approaches the north gate, and feels a soft breeze on his face, followed by a SWISH of something moving fast through the air. Suddenly pain erupts in his side. A second invisible creature lashes out at Shining Brow. The party leaps to their feet and readies a defense against the invisible stalkers. Tygor, thinking quickly, unfurls his lantern of revealing. Two smokey, indistinct shapes menace the group. Though they can now see roughly where the creatures stand, they still have a hard time striking their ephemeral forms. The combat is slow and tense, but eventually the group prevails. 

After their frustration with the mirror gate in the heart of the mountain, the group all but ignores the two archways. After searching the room for treasure, they move back into the western hall, ready to examine a closed door that they found…


Session 45: The Door.. and Another Door!

The party continues to explore ‘The Lost Level’.

The party recovers from their battle with the duergar and the golem. After their rest, they examine the large, basalt double doors on the dais, and attempt to find a way to open them. After considering the approach the duergar were attempting, the party decides that Kherek, wearing both the ermine lined cape and the belt of dwarvenkind, qualifies as royalty.  When he touches the door, the ghostly fist re-appears and attacks the party, but the group dispatches it again. Mantis tries to dispel whatever magic enchants the door, and Alabaster attempts to stone shape a passage through the wall, but both are unsuccessful.

Shining Brow decides to attempt to crown Kherek as the King of Undermountain using the magical Crown of Yek, however, Kherek is enraged when he discovers it changes his appearance to a human.  Tygorr removes it, changing him back, and crowns Alabaster instead. This also proves unsuccessful, as Alabaster cannot open the door. The group finally decides they need to find “the hand of the king” elsewhere.

Mantis leads the party out of the west door, and proceeds through a chamber with two benches to another room lit by pink crystal pillars. After backtracking, the group finds a room with another archway surrounding a fresco of a mountain and a sun.  Mantis determines that it is another gate which is activated by an “elf holding the sun”.

A passageway heading south leads to another chamber. Arriving there, they discover a pile of rusted weapons and debris cover the floor, but Mantis has a strange feeling about the room. It’s too perfect, and looks composed and fake. Searching the room fully, Mantis finds an empty sarcophagus. Shining Brow becomes bored, and begins to wander through the room, eventually noticing something odd with the southern wall.  Shazuu uses his wand of secrets to find a secret door leading to a secret burial chamber.  Golden crystal reliefs of dwarven warriors clutching battleaxes line the walls, and a black coffin sits in the middle of the room.  Mantis places a tiny hut around the coffin, and then he and Shining brow attempt to open it.  A disembodied voice proclaims “You dishonor our beloved king!” The secret door to the north slams shut, and the weapons held by the dwarves depicted on the gold reliefs animate and begin to attack the party. Alabaster is trapped outside with Kherek, but casts stone shape to open a doorway.  The animated weapons swirl around the magical hut as Shazuu charges toward the hole.  The animated weapons pour out through the hole Alabaster created.  

Shazuu and Tygorr misty step out of the secret chamber and begin to dispatch the animated weapons in the outer chamber, while Shining Brow and Mantis deal with the weapons in the burial chamber. After a pitched battle, all of the weapons lie broken and defeated. Then, after the danger is passed, Shazuu and Mantis open the coffin, revealing a corpse of a dwarf and the bodies of some rodents. The body appears to have had the fingers removed as punishment in life. Shining Brow and Mantis continue to examine the body, but find nothing more in the coffin.

Searching the room, Shining Brow finds a second secret passage leading to the north, terminating in a dead end. Alabaster again opens the way with his magic, leading to a large room. Four large statues sit in alcoves around the room. The far wall is covered by a tapestry depicting a silver armored dwarf attacking an immense purple worm. 

Mantis hears a voice in his head, saying “Congratulations. You have made it this far. It will take much knowledge to proceed. Release me from my captivity, and I will show you the way,” The voice tells Mantis that destroying one of the statues will set it free. The voice proceeds to address Shining Brow, then Shazuu, then Alabaster, and finally Tyrorr.  Shining Brow backs off, trying to keep Tang Wu and Kherek away from disembodied voices. Shazuu decides to take action, and knocks over the statue. Where the statue once stood, a shadow forms, like thick black smoke. From this inky shape, a creature emerges, with two huge pincer arms, and two smaller arms. The demon steps to the tapestry, speaks a spell in infernal, and the wall disappears.

A secret passageway at one end leads the group to another burial chamber.  Shining Brow and Tygorr keep watch on the demon while the party investigates. A white casket sits atop the dais in the burial chamber. Shazuu and Alabaster remove the lid, and find the body of a dwarven king of Melair. Shazuu takes a shield and a warpick, then removes the hands from the corpse to open the black door. Mantis places the hands in the bag of holding. As the group emerges from the tomb, the demon asks if the group has found what they were looking for.

Without waiting for a response it smashes a statue, hurls the pieces to destroy the other statues in the room. Where the broken statues fall, a inky black shadows form. The Demon turns on the party, as two more materialize.

Tygorr reacts immediately, and tries to banish the glazebru… 

Session 44: Making Deals with Duergar

The party continues to explore ‘The Lost Level’.

After a brief rest in the rosoom of the Dwarven Gods, the party returns to the round chamber lit by glowing pink pillars.  The party decides to go east. Shining Brow takes the lead through a wide corridor with several side passages. In a broken and looted store room, he finds an ornate pendant with the mountain emblem of Dumathoin, the dwarven god or secrets, and pockets it.

Moving ahead, the group encounters another large room lit by pillars made of pink quartz. Similar veins of quartz run through the walls, and the entire room is lit with a soft glow.  Double doors to the south are covered in a large carving of a mountain with a gem in it’s hear… the symbol of Dumathoin. When the party catches up, Tang Wu moves through the chamber, and triggers a familiar voice which says “Neither secrets nor treasures should you find.  Turn back, you’re not welcome here.” The group takes this as a clue that they are on the right track. Tang Wu investigates the pillars, and Shining Brow finds a secret passage. The dusty tunnel leads to another secret door, and the chamber beyond contains the remains of a bedroom.  The party searches the room, sorting through the scrolls and paper covering the floor. They find that the scrolls seem to be hand written homilies for religious ceremonies.

The group returns to the first set of double doors.  Kherek and Shazuu push the doors open to find an immense chamber, again lit by massive pink quartz pillars.  A group of eight white haired dwarves with purple skin are arranged in a half circle, watching the doors open. Behind them are several more duergar bodies on top of a dais.  Large statues flank an altar atop the dais, and behind it is a set of jet black double doors. Two cloakers fly in lazy circles around the room. A female duergar, taller than the others, wearing an ermine lined cloak addresses the tiefling and the hobgoblin. She says “You might be just what we need. A moment of truce?” and waves a white handkerchief.  Shazuu rapidly closes the door.

After a quick discussion, the group sends Shazuu and Tang Wu to negotiate. The duergar wants to make a deal. They need help defeating a golem guarding the dais, as the duergar weapons have not effect. In exchange, the party will have free run of the dungeon, but the duergar get to keep any treasure in this room and whatever is beyond the doors.  Tang Wu checks with the party regarding the terms, and suggests that the party kill the duergar and take their treasure. Kherek agrees, and does not seem to understand the concept of mur-der. But the party decides to help if the duergar will give up half of the treasure in the room.

Tang Wu returns to let the duergar know the new terms.  He barks some words in Infernal, and suddenly, the duergar woman agrees to the terms, but refuses to leave the room. The party enters the room behind him, and Tang Wu decides that negotiations are not proceeding to his liking. He leaps forward to attack, as he prefers fists to words.  He knocks her back into the group of duergar. Shining Brow moves to one side of the room and fires a lightning bolt into the group of dwarves. Tygorr drops a fireball onto half of the dwarves. Kherek joins the fight, and the duergar begin to suffer heavy losses. Shazuu begins to rush the dais to engage the inactive golem.  The dwarves magically grow to giant size, as the cloakers engulf Shining Brow and Tang Wu. Shining Brow tries to strike the cloaker around him, but hurts himself as well as the monster. Kherek attacks the cloaker, wounding the creature and knocking Shining Brow unconscious, then continues to attack the cloaker. Shazuu returns to the fight and heals Shining Brow.  Tang Wu breaks free from the cloaker, and Shining Brow slips free from the other cloaker. Shazuu gets wrapped up by the cloaker, but Kherek charges in recklessly and kills the cloaker and a duergar.

Shining Brow gives the pendant he found to Shazuu as a thank you for healing him.  Kherek claims the ermine cloak, and the group searches the sacks that the duergar carried and claim the treasures within.  Kherek also finds a dagger that the duergar leader was carrying. Kherek recognizes it as the Dagger of Azok, which belonged to his clan leader. He takes it to return to his clan. 

The group inspects the dais from a distance, and see two ten foot tall dwarven statues with eyeless helms. A dull grey altar stands between them. Tang Wu steps up on the dais, and the altar begins to change form, rearranging itself into a humanoid form.  Tang Wu steps back quickly, and it returns to an altar shape. The group decides to rest, and Shining Brow identifies a belt in the duergar bad as a belt of dwarven kind, which he gives as a thank you for saving him in combat. As the group starts to plan an attack, Tang Wu begins quoting dark passages of some unknown text.  Tygorr casts haste, and Kherek charges the altar and begins hacking off pieces of clay. Tang Wu follows up with a series of attacks, and somehow manages to mangle some of his equipment, as the golem rises up and attacks Kherek. Shazuu and Tygorr hit it with spells, and Shining Brow stabs the golem, keeping it from attacking.  Shazuu draws on his power and strikes down the golem with his halberd.  

After making quick work of the golem, the group find a dwarven script written on the doors.  Using the power of his new belt, Kherek reads “It is will of keepers under mountain that only the hand of some king can open these doors.  May all who enter gaze upon the true power of my label and know the power of true dwarf kind.” Tygorr declares that Kherek looks like a king wearing the ermine robe.  Shazuu manages to parse what Kherek was trying to say, and recognizes “my label” as Melairbode, the ancient hidden dwarven kingdom under Mount Waterdeep… the halls that they stand it currently.

Shining Brow checks the doors using his mage hand, and another larger hand phases through the door.  The large hand smashes Shining Brow, as the rest of the party surrounds and destroys Bigby’s Hand. Worn out from a long day of battle, the party decides to set up camp.

    Session 43: Talking Slower and Louder Doesn’t Help

    The party makes there way down from the Wyllowwood into the next level of Undermountain… known as ‘The Lost Level’

    As the party makes their way into “The Umber Hulk Tunnels” (dubbed “The Earth Hole” by Mantis), the group stops to have a not so brief (and eventually confusing) conversation to assess their goals and issues.  Alabaster ponders whether or not he has a magical means to remove curses. As a solution, the group tries to rule out possible magical problems with Shazuu and Tang Wu, but they run into communication problems. 

    Eventually, Shining Brow and Mantis cast spells to identify any magical effects hindering the two adventurers. They find that neither are currently being affected by any unknown magic, but Tang Wu seems to have a place of “emptiness” in his soul.  When Shining Brow investigates, he begins to feel uneasy, and abruptly ends his spell. Alabaster casts a spell of restoration on Shazuu in an attempt to free him of any curses. Shazuu feels restored, and the party begins to move forward once again, satisfied for now.

    Mantis leads the group forward, as the natural tunnels open up into stone passageways.  He checks a chamber, and sees four large stone tables. A large creature with three arms and three legs (a Xorn) moves about the rubble in the room.  It says (in an unknown language, translated by Shazuu’s magical skullcap) that it smells food coming from the party. Mantis retreats but the creature follows him into the passageway.  Shining Brow throws a crystal collected after the previous xorn encounter, which the elemental chases down and quickly devours. The xorn grabs a money pouch from Mantis, and dumps it’s contents into its maw.  Shining Brow moves away from the party, keeping his distance from the creature and leaving a trail of crystals. The xorn follows the trail away from the party, and stays away as Shining Brow returns to the party.  The remaining members of the party investigate the room with the stone tables, but find nothing interesting.

    Tang Wu, Mantis, and Kherek decide to investigate a pink glow coming from further down the passageway.  They discover a chamber with destroyed stone furniture in four piles of rubble. Mantis finds enough unbroken tools to assemble a jeweler’s kit.  Two of the doors in the room have been broken as well.

    Mantis and Kherek lead the party forward through the broken doors into a triangular room. One wall is covered in a carving of dwarves throwing gems to a xorn.  Kherek pries one of the gems loose. Mantis hears a ruckus ahead, and follows the sounds. The party follows, and after a few turns of the passageway, a huge creature bursts out of a collapsed doorway, surprising Mantis.  The party catches up just as a second umber hulk blasts from the wall. Kherek and Shining Brow are confused by its hypnotic gaze and flee from the fight, and other party members are temporarily bewildered, but the group takes down both creatures.  The room beyond is filled with smashed stone shelves and broken bottles, but nothing of value.  

    Mantis backtracks and discovers a chamber with an archway carved into the wall.  The keystone has a carving of an armadillo-like creature with feathered tusks. After casting a spell, he learns the arch is a magical gate that can be opened by a non-magical ferrous item.  Meanwhile, Tang Wu has wandered off on his own, and finds a circular room lit by pink light. Frescos cover the domed ceiling above, and two statues of dwarves in armor flank another set of double doors.

    Tang Wu approaches, and the statues cross their axes in front of the door. Tang Wu tries to back away, but the suits of armor attack. The monk yells for help, and fights back. The party arrives and destroys the statues.  Mantis opens the door and discovers a large chamber with four alcoves. The alcoves contain large statues. Each statue represents a dwarven god, including Moradin, Clangeddin Silverbeard, and the gods of the hearth and the god of exploration. Offerings of coins and bottles covered in dust sit on the floor in front of each statue.  Mantis finds a brass cone covered in dwarven runes. Shazuu tries to read it, but the runes form incomplete sentences. He pockets the trinket.

    The group decides that this is a good place to rest briefly and recover from the battles of the day.

    For Next Time:

    • Work on our communication skills.

    Session 42: Will There Be Consequences?

    The party backtracks to the intersection past the wall of bones.  Mantis takes the lead and scouts ahead. He sees the glimmer of 5 eyes ahead before realizing they belong to a pack of Nothics.  When the party catches up, Tygorr recognizes ‘Doug’, the nothic he had charmed. Tygorr greets him and quickly learns that a drow wizard lives behind the lone door in the room.  While the party examines the random items on the shelves around the room, Tygorr speaks with, and convinces the band of nothics to leave.

    Shining Brow opens the door, which leads to another corridor.  There, they find a door with a mural of a tentacled stalactite, and Shining Brow find that he can’t open the lock. Mantis steps in, and on a hunch dispels any magic on the door. After that, it’s simple to pick the lock and open the door. Inside is a chamber containing a wooden table covered in a rough map of the dungeon.  As the party enters, a disembodied voice says “Welcome to my parlor… Yes, yes come in!”

    Mantis cautiously begins to negotiate with the voice, but after only a few moments Tygorr unshutters his lantern of revealing, and a previously invisible drow materializes in the corner. The party quickly, and without further discussion, attacks the dark elf. As the fight begins, Tygorr sees three previously invisible rat men hanging from the ceiling, just as they drop onto the party in ambush! The drow vanishes in a puff of mist, just as a werewolf enters the fray from the next room.  

    Shining Brow sees the drow in the hallway outside, and Mantis releases a fireball, which also catches Alabaster and Tang Wu in its radius. Shining Brow and Tang Wu corner the drow, and demands his surrender. Tang Wu grabs Shining Brow’s writst, and drives his blade towards the drow’s throat.  The dark elf disappears again, just as the party finishes the lycanthropes in the chamber. They spend several minutes searching the area, but are unable to find him. They also search the map chamber, to find the table has been disturbed in the fight, and the map is useless. Under a chair, the group finds a bag the size of a book, a wand with the symbol of the Xanathar, and a large stone key. Runes on the key read “Meet me in the level lost, find my twin in slither swamp”.  

    The group moves forward, up a short flight of stairs to a new passageway.  They decide to avoid a room containing two armored creatures with feather tusks fighting over a rusted metal helm, and proceed the opposite way.  The tunnels seem familiar, and eventually loop back to the gate leading back to the forested level below.  After activating and passing through the gate, the group emerges from the gate house into the forest once again. 

    They move to investigate the huge tree, and find a door. Mantis knocks, and is greeted by a wooden carved figure.  The figure says “You have been expected. I am Halastree.” He leads the party into the tree and into a large throne room. An elven woman sits on a yellow crystal throne.  A black panther with tentacles sits at her feet. She greets the group, and introduces herself as the Archdruid Wyllow, ruler of the Wyllowwood.

    After thanking the party for defeating the cloakers, she offers to show them a path forward as a reward.  The party agrees, and Halastree leads them to a tunnel named “The Umber Hulk Cave” which will take them to the swamps in the lower level. As the party advances into the cave, Shazuu is shot from behind with a bolt of lightning from a glowing ball.  A voice from the ball screams, “Traitor! Oath Breaker!” As the group turns to help, Shazuu cuts down the creature, and the group turns back to the cave to head down towards the Level of the Lost.

    For Next Time:

    • Are there Umber Hulks ahead?  If there are, we may be dead!
    • Was anyone bitten by the were creatures, and what is their fate?
    • Is Tang Wu cursed, or just touched in the head?
    • When is a good time to leave the caverns of Undermountain?

    Session 41: Are We the Baddies?

    After the encounter with the two groups of ghouls and ghasts, the party takes a short while to compose themselves, then continues to look to find a way through the room with the copper floors and past the flesh golem.  Mantis tries on the heavy rubber-soled boots found near the copper mine, and hopes that they will be strong enough to survive the lightning. The party then advances into the copper-floored room, led by Mantis. 

    He enters the room, and waits to see what happens. Lightning streaks from the skull, and arc off of the ceiling and floor. The boots seem to make him immune to the electricity, but not to the attacks of the golem, which lumbers forward and takes a swing at him.  The strange skull continues to float around the room, electricity streaking from it, as it fires rays of magical energy at the party. Shazuu blasts the golem with arcane energy, and his spell drags the creature out of the room, into the hall, and off the dangerous floor. The group attacks, and the golem tries to force its way back to the copper floor.

    The party pushes back, and the fight turns into a battle for position as Kherek, Shazuu, and Tang Wu push and shove the creature back and forth. Mantis fires at the skull and bats it across the room as the group continues to hammer on the golem. Eventually, both foes fall, and the electricity fades from the copper floor.

    The group moves past the copper room, and through several tunnels.  Eventually, they enter a large chamber of dwarven make. Scattered around the room are overturned mine carts and piles of rubble.  At one end is a red stone altar. Shazuu is approaches, and sees that it is covered in runes. He touches the altar, and using his new enchanted hat, recognizes the runes as Dwarven.  He learns that it is an altar to Dumathoin, the dwarven god known as the Keeper of Secrets. The runes are confessions of dwarven misdeeds kept secrets. While examining the altar, he realizes it has been purposefully desecrated, and is covered in dried bloody hand prints. Tang Wu uses holy water to clean the blood from the altar, and realizes his sight now extends further into the darkness.

    Meanwhile, Shining Brow searches through the rubble and mine carts. He finds four shiny stones, apparently precious ore. Shining Brow and Mantis hear a low conversation of unintelligible voices coming from further in the chamber. A glistening mass of flesh, ooze, and mouths emerges from the darkness.  The party recognizes the creature as a gibbering mouther, and turns to attack. A series of rapid attacks silence the maddening sounds, and destroys the monster.

    The party reconvenes and moves on through a tunnel to the south, to a new cavern.  Bisecting the cave is a wall made entirely of bones, skeletons, and rusted armor. It extends to about 8 feet high, with a narrow gap at the top. Kherek recognizes them as hobgoblin bones.  Tang Wu climbs the wall, and after a minute, the rest of the group follows.

    After crossing the wall, they begin to look around, and hear what sounds like the noise of battle. Following the sounds, they sneak down the hall, and hear voices shouting at each other in Infernal and Common. The group sees three corpses on the ground. Two nothics stand next to an insect-like creature. All three are menacing a single human warrior, but turn to face the party when the warrior calls for help. The group leaps to his aid.

    Tang Wu charges the three demons and the party starts casting spells.  Tygorr attempts to use the rod of rulership to charm the demons, but only catches one of them. The largest demon makes a sound, and a green mist begins to pour out, poisoning some of the group. The unknown warrior uses a potion to heal himself. The group continues to attack destroying the Infernal creatures, which melt away.  

    The group begins to question the warrior, who is named Rex the Hammer.  Mantis shows him images of some of the other adventurers the party has met in Undermountain, but the man does not identify any of them.  Tang Wu begins to demand payment for saving the man, who gives Tang Wu all of his money. 

    Tang Wu starts to walk out, but the man spits in Tang Wu’s direction. Tang Wu starts to lecture him about honor, and the man insults Tang Wu’s mother. Tang Wu leaps to attack the man, who pulls a great sword.  Mantis tries to break up the fight, but Kherek knocks the man down. Tang Wu starts kicking the prone warrior, and Shazuu joins the attack. The warrior stands up and attacks Tang Wu, injuring him. The rest of the party stands back while Tang Wu, Kherek, and Shazuu knock him down, surrounding him and kill the recently rescued prisoner.  

    Tang Wu takes his backpack, Kherek takes his short sword, and they strip the body. Mantis begins to identify the items they find. Tang Wu walks, but again sees the doll with the fiery eyes, which disappears when he strikes it. He returns as Tygorr sends away the charmed nothic. The party begins to argue about recent actions.

    The group decides to take a long rest. Mantis and Shining Brow set up two tiny hut spells for themselves.

    Session 40: Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

    Mantis investigates the chimney in the large cloaker’s lair, and finds that it seems to lead back out to the forested area.  The group decides it would be easier to walk back the way that they came in, and retreat back to the gatehouse.

    Emerging back into the forest, they again see large stone arches spliting the wide open space, connecting some of the buildings which are scattered across the forest near the large central tree.  Shazuu climbs up an arch to get a better view, but can only make out the branches of the canopy above, and not much in the distance. The rest of the group checks the two out-buildings, only to be encounter a closed, locked door. Kherek takes a direct method to gain entrance to the structure, breaking the door down on the gatehouse. 

    Inside, they find a small arch standing away from the walls… another mysical gate. The sides are carved like trees, and the keystone is carved with a dead tree. Mantis finds the corpse of a halfling, shoved behind an iron stove. Outside, Shazuu finds his way into the nearby building by falling through the roof, narrowly missing both beds which could have broken his fall.  Unfortunately, this building looks to have been cleaned out.  

    Mantis casts a spell, and identifies the nature of the gate. He learns that it can be activated by a dead tree branch.  He retrieves a dead tree branch from outside and, touching it to the arch, opens the gate. The stick burns to ash in his hand, and he quickly steps through. Half of the party follows, but the portal winks closed before Shining Brow, Alabaster, and Tang Wu can enter. Shining Brow grabs several more branches from outside, re-opens the portal, and the rest of the group moves through the portal. 

    After arguing about their new location, Mantis leads the group off, down familiar halls. After a few twists and turns (and more arguing), he hears guttural speech coming from a side corridor. Following the noises, he finds two goblins guarding a door. As he prepares to try to negotiate, and gestures the party forth, Kherek misinterprets his signal, and barrels around the corner with his axe raised. He terrifies the goblins, who beg the group to refrain from violence in the market beyond the door. The door opens to a very familiar scene…. the goblin market that they passed through many days ago.

    Inside the market, some members of the party are recognized by the goblins.  Kherek and Shining Brow are taken to the new leader, Copperhead. He is surrounded by goblins and bugbears.  Kherek asks the chief about drow in the area, and Copperhead tells him that he knows of a few… one of them has a map of the area in his lair. Copperhead offers to draw a quick map to find him, and he’d be willing to pay a small sum, since the drow’s group and the goblins have had friction in the past. 

    Meanwhile, the rest of the party meets with a group of halfling merchants looking to establish a trade route from the Downshadow into Undermountain.  In an effort to communicate with Kherek, Shazuu purchases a magical hat that allows him to comprehend other languages. Tygorr also does some shopping, and obtains some equipment for Kherek. Copperhead leads Kherek, Shining Brow, and the rest of the party to a treasure room to discuss payment for dealing with the drow.  Although several items look interesting, the group agrees on a chest of silver. Mantis also eyes a naked painting of Yek, the former leader of the market goblins, and purchases it from the tribe. Copperhead draws them a map, and the group begins to hunt the drow.  

    Mantis leads the party along the mapped route, passing through a cistern, a workroom filled with alchemical equipment with a kitchen, and eventually they stop at a door.  Mantis finds an electrical trap on the handle, which he disarms. The door opens into another alchemical lab. Shining Brow finds a page of a journal. It appears to belong to an apprentice of Halaster, detailing his work with copper.  The next door opens into a large chamber with a copper floor. A large humanoid creature stands in the middle of the room. Its body is stitched together, and the flesh looks dead. A skull floats through the room, and lightning crackles from the copper floor.  A cackling laugh seems to resonate through the room.

    Shining Brow decides to roll a barrel from this room across the copper floor, but the barrel shatters, releasing an undead ghoul. Several other barrels in the chamber also break, and ghouls pour out and attack the party.  After several close calls, the group defeats the undead. Mantis decides to bypass the copper floor, but as they wrap around, more undead with long, snake-like tongues emerge. The group defeats the ghasts and investigates the room. It contains mining equipment, gnawed bones, and a corpse in torn robes, wearing a pair of thick boots. A cave leads to a small copper mine.  Shining Brow finds another part of the apprentice’s journal, describing a place called ‘dweomercore’, and how he used wire and lightning to create ghouls.  

    For Next Time, from the file of old notes…..

    • Durnan suggested looking for the Arcane Chambers, The Willowood, and Selune’s Tears.

    Session 39: Witches in the Woods and Cloakers in the Caves

    The party wades out of the river as it spills out into underground lake.  A thick forest lines the shore and, exhausted from the back to back battles, and the long trek down river, the group decides to make camp and get some rest.  Tang Wu loudly laments being torn from “heaven” as the rest of the party drifts off to sleep in the daytime sun.

    Upon waking, Shining Brow discovers that sometime during the day-long exposure to sunlight, his drow-made armor and sword lost their enchantments. Searching the area, the group discovers a large sign in Goblin which reads “The Underdark” with an arrow pointing down-river. The party moves into the woods, and comes to a clearing. Another sign reads “Behold Wyllowswood. Harm not lest ye be harmed.”  The ground cover is dense, and amid the weeds and brush, the party finds a gravestone. The etching reads, “Here lies Crissann, human friend and companion.”

    Mantis investigates, while the rest of the party hangs back. A mote of light the size of a candle appears above the gravestone, and he hears an ethereal voice which intones “Take my wand and use it to destroy the elf witch.”  The light twirls in a circle, and darts into the ground.

    While the party discusses, Shining Brow summons his unseen servant. With a bit of help, they dig a hole, and the unseen force pulls forth a skeletal hand clutching  a wand lit like an ember at one end in it’s grip. The voice again demands that Mantis kill the elf witch. Shazuu snatches the wand from mid-air, and swears to kill the elf witch. (Mantis casts identify, and claims that it is a fully charged wand of fireballs)  The will o’ the wisp has now disappeared, but in the shadows Tang Wu spots a vision of a tiny floating doll with burning eyes. When he tries to call attention to it, It too abruptly disappears.

    The party moves forward into the woods, and hear eerie moaning noises from the west. They investigate, and in the distance they see a large gatehouse, as if the portcullis of a castle had been torn from elsewhere and dropped into the side of the cliff.  Mantis and Shining Brow approach to investigate, and see a tunnel behind a portcullis. Shazuu and Kherek lift the gate with some magical assistance from Alabaster.  Mantis ducks in and activates a winch, holding the gate in place. The low moaning emanates from the caverns ahead. Shazuu leads the group ahead to the pair of shadowy caverns.  A pair of dark shapes drop from the ceiling. One wraps itself around Shazuu. Shining Brow releases a color spray spell, which lights up the forms of two cloakers, but has no additional effect. More cloakers flood into the room, some real, and some illusionary.  Combat is joined, and the cloakers fall. Chaos erupts, as illusions and mirror images confuse the battle, but the party prevails. Tang Wu shoots the last one as it is under a sleep spell, and closes the portcullis to prevent the red eyed demon that is following him.  Tang Wu begins to slip further towards madness.

    The moans increase from further in the cavern.  Mantis scouts ahead and sees a cavern covered in crystalline structures. The sound of dripping water echoes in the distance.  The crystals filter a low light. Shining Brow lowers the rope of climbing, and he and Mantis descend to the floor.  As some of the group collect some broken crystals, several cloakers descend, lead by a massive cloaker, easily three times the size of it’s mates. They are met by a fireball from Mantis. Kherek goes into a rage and attacks. Shining Brow bolts across the chamber to attack, striking the beast.  The cloaker swallows Mantis, and his feet kick slowly from it’s jaws. Tygorr looks down on the mess below, and casts a spell of haste on Shazuu and Kherek. Alabaster casts a spell, ripping a wound across the creature. The massive cloaker envelopes the tabaxi arcane trickster and the elven cleric at the same time.  Kherek blinds the creature. Alabaster casts cause wounds from inside the creature’s grasp. The cloaker shrieks, driving fear into the hearts of the party. Tygorr attempts to hold the creature, but it resists. Shazuu fires two eldritch blasts, Alabaster again casts inflict wounds, destroying the cloaker. The fear subsides, the moaning fades, and quiet returns.

    Shazuu noticed the cloaker had faded through the wall of the cave, and a quick investigation reveals a small space hidden by an illusion. Using the rope of climbing, the party scales the wall. The cave beyond has a vent, with some light beyond. A dozen corpses litter the floor of this lair, and the party recovers pouches full of gems (13 worth 50gp each) and 900 gold coins.  One of the bodies has a magical rapier +1, and another has an adamantine chain shirt.

    For Next Time, from the file of old notes…..

    • Durnan suggested looking for the Arcane Chambers, The Willowood, and Selune’s Tears.
    • There is a vent in the cloaker room.