Doom of the Drow

Breach of Contract
Dungeon Master Session Log

3 Days after leaving the Lost Tomb of Khaem the ancient Mummy queen of Netheril…

Having obtained the 3 scrolls of Netheril, the scions debate their next course of action; Quarion communes with his goddess Kiaransalee, who portends that the scrolls will initiate a great doom for the drow. They have traveled for 3 days in the Underdark to return to the phosphorescent cavern of the Tower of Araj; however, they decide not to give the drow Archmage the ancient scrolls.

Quyris uses her time to rest and scrutinize the magic items found via the spell Identify.

Quarion is given the Bag of Holding that previously belonged to their halfling guide, and he inventories all their treasure and its contents.  The party decide to summon the Rakshasa Azuran to use his powers to transport them back to Mantol Derith, in order to negotiate with Grazilaxx the Mind Flayer exile for the Cubic Gate they must return to the Rakshasa. Within an instant they are all magically transported and Azuran reminds them of their bargain and that time is running out.

Hours later…

The scions arrive inside the trade-city of Mantol Derith using the secret pass-phrase that Q'Variel obtained from the duergar merchants; leaving Quyris on the shores outside with the remaining 2 Netherese scrolls; they approach the home of the Mind Flayer, who invites them into his sanctum, the negotiations reveal that Grazilaxx is a member of the Society of Brilliance, and that so is Vizeran De'Vir. Negotiations end abruptly as Karth attacks the Mind Flayer…

The battled against Grazilaxx taxes the scions and the tables turn against the drow nobles; Q'Variel, pushing her arcane talents is able to turn the tide of battle and soon Qal'Deth, who only moments before was to be food for the Illithid, is saved by his cousin as a bolt of lightning splits the mind flayer apart…

The scions discover that they are under a powerful curse, placed on them by Brysis of Khaem; in plundering the tomb of the Netherese mummy. The curse lifted, the part decide to search and take a long rest in Grazilaxx's home, summoning Quyris to join them via their House brooch, (Sending spell). Vizeran arrives near the end of the night and negotiates with the nobles. He offers the following, (Quarion and Q'Variel discern that the archmage is sincere):

  • Gromph Baenre, Archmage of Menzoberranzan has completed a powerful ritual and he has summoned the great Demon Lords to the Underdark, (precisely where Vizeran does not know)
  • Lolth has manipulated Gromph to enact this ritual to gain more power in the Abyss, granting him forbidden knowledge of tapping into the power of the faerzress to magnify a summoning spell of cosmic proportions
  • The great Demon Lords are set loose in the Underdark, and their presence is warping the faerzress that permeates many places in the subterranean realms
  • Gromph has vanished from the world of Toril, Vizeran has not been able to locate him
  • Vizeran needs the Netherese scrolls to discern a ritual to summon the demon lord Pazuzu, who remains in the Abyss and who may know where the Demonomicon of Iggwilv can be found, (Vizeran conjectures this tome contains the Ritual of the Dark Heart)
  • Vizeran offers to aid the nobles, with spells, resources, etc.
  • Once Vizeran can find the Demonomicon, he can learn the the Dark Heart ritual, so he can summon the Demon Lords to a specific location to fight each other
  • He promises his intentions are to save the Underdark, Menzoberranzan, and banish the Demon Lords to their realms in the Abyss

The scions negotiate with Vizeran, as part of their aid, they ask Vizeran to aid them in defeating the Devil-tiger Azuran (so they can claim the Cubic Gate for their own and break free of their binding contract). Vizeran agrees to aid them. The scions agree to give Vizeran the Netherese scrolls upon their return.

Vizeran asks the scions to travel to him at his tower Araj, (he is using an illusory image to communicate with them). The nobles use the Cubic Gate to travel for a second to the world of the Outlands, then quickly back to Toril near the Tower of Araj.

 

Treasure gained from the home of Grazilaxx:

  • Cubic Gate (belonging to Azuran)
  • 1 potion of Supreme Healing
  • 1 potion of Invisibility
  • 1 Oil of Etherealness
  • 6 spell scrolls: Calm Emotions, (Cleric/divine); Legend Lore, (Cleric/bard); Clone, (Wizard); Confusion (Wizard); Demiplane, (Warlock/Wizard); Dominate Monster, (Wizard).
  • 500 gp, 2000 sp,
  • 6 Illithid brain cannisters, (intact)

 

The Cubic Gate: Quyris discerns via Identify that the 6 faces/sigils of the cube correspond to:

-Prime Material Plane, (the world of Toril)

-The Outlands

-The Shadowfell

-The Feywild

-Baator (Nine Hells)

-Hades

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The Tower of Vengeance
Dungeon Master Session Log

9th hour of the Waxing of Narbondel, (9AM)

Underdark, in the eastern Wormwrithings

The scions are teleported by Narlros to a cavern one day from the Tower of Araj. Upon leaving the cavern, they find a magnificently appointed pavilion and banquet laid in their honor; hosted by the Tiger-devil Azuran, who informs them they must return his property, or face a "contractual breach."  Azuran gives the scions 30 days, with a ten-day extension if they deliver to him 112 living sacrifices…

[While teleporting with his sister Q'Variel and Narlros, Qal'Deth receives a divine vision from Vhaeraun, who instills an admonition and grants his paladin the true path to Gravenhollow].

 

5th hour of the Waxing of Narbondel, a day later…

The party enters a large cavern that glows with magical emanations, (Quyris informs her brethren this is called "Faezraess"). The find a massive tower, seemingly built within a monumental stalagmite, which rises nearly a hundred feet. Upon uttering the words "araj" (drow for 'vengeance') the magical glyphs warding the portal flare briefly, and the double doors of adamantine open slightly.

 

They are soon welcomed by the reclusive archmage Vizeran, and his kobold slave, Kleve. The wizened drow is an exile, and the sole survivor of House De'Vir, 8th House of Menzoberranzan that was destroyed nearly 200 years before, (1297 DR).

He provides them with an offer: aid him in securing a trio of ancient Netherese scrolls, hidden in a "lost" tomb, (he believes these scrolls provide important arcane rituals that can save the Drow from an impending calamity). He also offers to guide, (Fargas, a female halfling scout) and deliver the scions to the location of Gravenhollow, which is approximately 50 days in the western Wormwrithings. Vizeran offers to deliver them in about "half the time." 

3 days later…

The scions are led to the Lost Tomb of Khaem; Fargas agrees to enter and scout ahead first, to "disable any traps". Within the hour, the party decide to enter, soon discovering the body of their halfling scout, her life 'sucked out' of her in a small chamber with four sarcophagi; they battle the ancient Netherese wraiths and Quyris discovers that one sarcophagus conceals a secret entrance beneath; they decide to pursue to discover the secret tomb, and soon awaken its guardian: Brysis of Khaem, a powerful undead Mummy of antediluvian Netheril. 

 

Within the tomb the scions discover (and claim) the following treasure:

  • 4,000 sp; 3,000 gp (ancient Netherese mint)
  • 11 zircon gemstones worth 25gp each
  • semi-precious gems (50, pried from the murals) worth 25gp each
  • gold plated accents (15) from the robe of Khaem, 50 gp each
  • Full-plate suit of Adamantine Armor, (claimed by Qal'Deth, requires fitting by an armorer)
  • Staff of Power, (a long, rune covered Adamantine staff; claimed by Q'Variel)
  • a Necklace of Fireballs, (claimed by Quyris)
  • magical potions: 1 philter of love; 3 potions of Greater Healing
  • miscellaneous non-magical loot from the sarcophagi chamber (wraiths)

 

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Mommy Needs a New Pair of Boots
Dungeon Master Session Log

3 days later, after much R&R…

The scions of House X are summoned by Matron Q'Veldra to a banquet; and soon learn of the financial woes visited to your house as the Brown Mushroom Mercantile Company, (operated/backed by House Fey Branche) calls all the debts owed to it by the Matron Mother, who faces financial ruin. A sum of 10,000 gp is asked.

The Matron Mother asks for the scions to negotiate with the moneylenders of the Brown Mushroon, and they attend by going to their HQ near the Bazaar in the center of Menzoberranzan…

Once it is intimated that they did not bring the Stonespeaker Crystal with them the negotiations conclude; the scions pay the balance due and settle the debt.

Concurrently, Qyuris visits an old teacher at Sorcere to investigate the magical properties of the crystal; her former School of Divination teacher, Omanor, uses his talents to discern these properties not initially revealed:

  • The crystal is a powerful divination instrument connected to a mythical place in the Underdark called Gravenhollow
  • When the crystal is used at Gravenhollow its true properties are revealed: glimpses of the past, present and future
  • It grants the bearer the ability to commune with the powers of fate and time; but only when in Gravenhollow

 

Upon returning, the scions meet with Narlros, who agrees to teleport them to see a former wizard master of his, the exile Archmage Vizeran, (of the destroyed House of De'Vir). He tells the scions he can transport them to within a day of the Tower of Vengeance, as the wizard's tower is called.

 

 

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Deal with the Devil
Dungeon Master Session Log

Midwinter Day, (In the Lands of the Blinding Sun)

Last Day of the Month of Hammer.

The Scions return to Mantol Derith. They spend an additional day of rest occupying their newly claimed Daern's Adamantine Fortress. Half a day later, they come upon a fissure, and are confronted by a party of well armed Drow guarding one of the main routes to Darklake, a chasm bridge near a volcanic flow.  They seek to pressure the scions to sell the Stonespeaker Crystal to their mistress, but soon decide to enter into armed negotiations.  The scions quickly neutralize their enemies, discover they are members of the Brown Mushroom Mercantile Company of Menzoberranzan, (a prominent merchant company sponsored by House Fey Branche). They leave one member unconscious but alive, dispatching the rest.

A day later, they arrive near the shores of Darklake and quickly take possession of a zurhkwood skiff that takes them to Mantol Derith, promptly making their entrance into the Drow Enclave and locating the demesne of Grazilaxx the Mind Flayer Exile. Entering without being invited in, the scions, now accompanied by the Barbarian Bugbear Karth, set off a couple of magical traps guarding the Illithid's home. 

Soon through the probing mind of the Mind Flayer, their intent is discovered and the true reasons discerned, including the role of Azuran in an attempt to kill his rival. Nevertheless, with promises that no harm will come to him, Grazilaxx invites the party into his home, directs the upstairs via a tunnel, and mentally communicates his intentions. 

The scions decide to bargain with Grazilaxx, giving him the Cubic Gate, after the Mind Flayer mentally imparts on all the members, (except Qarion who wears a Ring of Mind Shielding) the exact location of the Mind Flayer City of Phanlinksal, the origination of the hallucinogenic powder Illithid's Breath. Additionally, Grazilaxx imparts mentally the objectives of the Sept of I'll Ghact, "they seek to awaken psionic powers in select members of your house, for what purpose I cannot know." Qarion and Qyuris soon wonder is this is what happened to the destroyed House Oblodra during the years of the War of the Spider Queen.

The party decide to leave Mantol Derith quietly to avoid a confrontation with Mistress Sirak Mazelor, the merchant boss of the Brown Mushroom Mercantile Company in Mantol Derith. 

A Tenday later, 10th Hour of the Waning of Narbondell

The scions are back in Menzoberranzan after an uneventful return journey. During the journey Qarion attunes himself to the Stonespeaker crystal.  The party come home to the guarded compound of House X'larraz 'et 'soj, are promptly greeted by house guards and the Matron herself who summon them for a banquet after they have rested from their journeys, (dinner & debriefing).

 

XP:

3,400 XP each, (divided by 6 players)

 

Worth Points:

+1 for completing a minor quest for your House, (discovering the source/location of the drug Illithids Breath in Phanlinksal)

 

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The Wizard in the Adamantine Tower
Dungeon Master's Session log

2 Days out of Mantol Derith​​​​​​, Near Darklalke.

You confront the female wizard, who uses her magics to activate a magical portal above the battlements of the metallic tower. Resolute, Ryllan decides to pursue, taking with him Qyuris and Qarion and leaving behind Q'Variel and Q'aldeth to guard their return. The scions arrive through the magical portal into a prison-like dungeon, and soon pursue the wizard to a large chamber lit by braziers; its vaulted ceiling depicting scenes of brutal cannibalism and demonic tigers feasting on human and demi-human flesh. 

A confrontation ensues and the wizard summons a pair of demonic winged shadow demons to defend it; and soon a naked Bugbear barbarian joins the melee as an unlikely ally to scions—intent on subduing the wizard—who dispenses with his illusory magics to reveal a tall, powerfull built tiger-like demon with misshapen paws. 

The demon-tiger-man manages to use his eldritch powers to vanish and eludes the adventurers, escaping through a large metal door in the shape of a tigers maw; as the Bugbear barbarian attempts to pursue a mystical sigil is triggered that safeguards the door. Qyuris manages to use her roguish skills to unlock the portal without setting the glyph of warding and they find a tunnel leading to the outskirts of a desolate landscape, dotted in the horizon by walled cities; in the distance far a way, a massive pillar rises into the sky; atop it a spherical cylinder floats…

The party decides to return to the sanctum of the demon Tiger to rest. They befriend the solitary bugbear who appears to be from their own world of the Underdark; he joins with the scions for the purpose of escaping this outer-planar prison and to seek a return to the Realms. The adventurers ransack the private sanctum of the demon tiger, finding various journals, notes and several magical items that they claim. The party rests, only to find that Qarion and Ryllan are cursed by a plague of endless nightmares.

After another brief foray into the desolate 'outlands' a shadow-demon messenger engages them and offers them to parlay with his master, whom the demon calls, "Azuran the Rakshasa." The party decide to bargain as a means of lifting the curse and seeking a way home. A deal is struck with the tiger-devil, and the party are returned to Toril; the vaulted cavern and the lone adamantine tower, which is revealed to be a magical item (Daern's Instant Fortress). Along comes the Bugbear Barbarian Karth, who is grateful for being delivered from the devils prison. 

Qyuris discerns the magical words to activate the adamantine tower, (brillig-to transform the fortress; mimsy to lock/unlock doors).  

Azuran grants the scions his Cubic Gate artifact temporarily in order to deceive the Mind Flayer Grazilaxx into revealing the source of the Illithid's Breath powder. 

 

The Devils Deal:

The signatory are to deliver 10 to 12 live, healthy and sound intelligent humanoids every season for 10 years, to a determined location in the Underdark, (somewhere in the outskirts of the Dark Dominion). 

The Devil will offer the signatory with 1 mystical plane-shift, per signatory, per year, for the duration of the contract.

 

Magical Items claimed from Azuran's abattoir:

6 potions of Greater Healing

2 scrolls of Plane Shift

1 scroll of Contact Other Plane

Daern's Adamantine Fortress (Qyuris)

Azuran's Private journal

Azuran's Cookbook, (Qyuris)

3 ivory statues depicting idols of Kuo-Toa and Minataur gods, studded with precious stones, (worth 500gp each)

XP Awarded (each player):

7,634 

XP Notes:

Ive awarded XP for all 6 current players, (as we agreed to divide equally including absent players for even level progression). Additionally, the XP awarded is not just for defeating your opponent, (you dont always have to kill it) but for forging a potentially useful, (albeit ethically problematic) alliance with the powerful devil Rakshasa. Ive included bonus XP for this alliance that benefits your house, though only the signatory are bound by it ;-)

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Mantol Derith, Supplemental Travel log
Q'Variel's Travel Journal

We are at the shores of the Dark Lake, we do not know how far we are from Mantol Derith. We have been on our journey for sixteen days. A barge approaches. There are frog/fish-like humanoid creatures rowing the boat and approaching us. In my studies at Sorcere, I have heard of these creatures. They can dwell on land and in water. They often serve as guides and navigators in the Dark Lake area. Kuo-toa is the name of these creatures.

 

Our party is down to the five of our main party, and Qal-Deth’s two servants. There is room for this many on the barge. The leader Kuo-toa asks what we want, we tell him we seek passage to Mantol Dereth. He says it is 10 gp each. We haggle him down to 60 gp total. They help us on the barge and we take off.

 

After about five hours, we approach a structure, a massive stalactite. Lights emit from this stalactite, there appears to be a city within it. It is Mantol Derith. The Kuo-toa pull in and motion for us to get off. We do. We hear a feminine voice humming a tune from within a tent. We knock on the tent and a human emerges. The tent is near a path that connects to a road.

 

She says she is an agent of a powerful lord. Her name is Rystia Zav. She is a human from the surface, near a city called Nesme. She says she will pay us 500 gp for the password to get into Mantol Derith. We don’t know the password, but we don’t tell her that. Qarion asks Nalroz through his brooch, but Nalroz doesn’t know either. He says that if they’re asking for a password, there must be trouble.

 

We see another boat approaching from a different area. It looks more like a battle barge. It is loaded with 40 slaves that are manacled together. The barge is manned by Duergar slavers. We think there’s perhaps a dozen of the Duergar. We plan to follow them up to Mantol Derith and I will detect thoughts on the Duergar who lead the way in.

 

They stop and call us out for following them. We tell them it’s our first time to Mantol Derith. The leader guy is made nervous by us, he is scared. He starts asking us what house we’re from, I tell him to be on his way. I detected thoughts on him first, though, and he was thinking of the word “ghoct”, (dwarven word for 'stone') and that it was strange that we were entering from this side—Drow usually enter from another side.

 

We share this information with Rystia and she pays us the 500 gp. She offers to help us with knowledge of the surface world if we cross paths again. We enter together. She says her master sent her there to deal with Gazrene Duloc, a human merchant who deals in unusual items. She says she will introduce us. She is asking around on how to find Gazrene and tells us to do the same and that’s how we can find her later.

 

We see many different races here in Mantol Derith. We head in the northwest direction, where we were told the Drow enclave was. We start to see more and more Drow and think we are getting closer to the Drow enclave. A shadowy figure approaches us, a Drow wearing a simple leather garment and a tattered piwafwi. It looks like his house insignia has been defaced.  He asks if we want to hire him as our guide in Mantol Derith. He says his name is Alzor. He will not tell us his story, and says that perhaps we should find another guide. He fades away.

 

The southwest enclave is for the Zhentarim—we have never heard of this race, but they seem to be a human race that is native to the upper Underdark. They appear to be merchants. We decide to separate and meet up again in one hour at a tavern. We’re going to explore and gather information. I look around and am in awe of all the cool stuff that is so much cheaper than in Menzoberranzan.

 

I cast Detect Thoughts and listen as I walk through. I get some tidbits of info about Ziroc. There appears to be some tension between the deep gnome and the dark elf enclaves—there have been some outbreaks of violence between the factions. The thing that really catches my attention — a conversation between a drow and a human about the Great Grazilaxx (with prehensile tentacles). A mind flayer who is obsessed with magic and arcane studies. He seems to reside in the Zhentarim enclave. He has a laboratory, so to speak, and he likes to trade in exotic magical items. He’s an outcast of his people because he prefers to dabble in the arcane and he seems to be a part of a secret society.

 

Qyuris, makes contact with Alzor and asks about the Ilithid (mind flayer). Alzor says he can take us to him. We all meet up and decide to get a potion or something to protect our minds before we go to see this Grazilaxx. We get directed to Ziroc, she’s like the main person who is kind of in charge of brokering for the drow. She is a very heavy-set, short Drow woman. She sits on cushions and attendants bring her delicacies and drinks, (a bottle of Evermead).

 

She welcomes us and has heard of our house. She invites us to join her for snacks and drinks. I will. She says one ring of protection would cost us 50k gp. We ask how much our trade items are worth:

Demon residue in glass vial—Goristro (that bull thing) demon ichor

3 flasks containing some Illithid blood

1 vial of ochre jelly extract

—300 gp (for all of the above)

1 potion of clairvoyance—4k gp

1 potion of greater healing—400 gp

1 potion of fire resistance—400 gp

1 greater piwafwi of fire resistance—5k gp

1 crystal rod—10k gp (she calls it a stone speaker crystal and is VERY interested in it)

 

We retreat to a private chamber to discuss what we want to do. We think she is lowballing the crystal rod. We decide to tell her that we will save our dealings until just before we leave Mantol Dereth. She offers to be our patroness while we are in Mantol Derith and provide for us whatever we need. We say we shall contact her by a raven messenger if we need her help.

 

Alzor takes us to the entrance to Grazilacks’ chamber. He wants to be paid for leading the party here, and Qal-deth attempts to intimidate him. Qal-deth is about to use his spell “command” to force Alzor to obey him, but then he realizes it would mean breaking a rule of Mantol Dereth, which does not allow the use of any magic during a transaction. Qyuris gives Alzor a gem that is worth more than what Alzor wanted, for Alzor’s continued service, to be our eyes and ears. Qal-deth does not like this and threatens Qyuris. This is a big deal and could have continued impact, but we defuse the situation and are going to move on. Qyuris will pay the house back later.

 

We knock on the door where Alzor has led us, then we enter. There are phosphorescent lantern things on the walls. There are macabre scenes of mind-flayers feasting on brains on the walls. A shape is levitating down from above into the room where we are. It is an almost 6 foot tall creature in tattered robes. It is Grazilacks.

 

Grazilacks tells us that Ilithid’s Breath is a new concoction made by the septs of Fanlinksol. The mind-flayer tells us that the sept of Il Goct is closely related to the House of Banre. Fanlinksol is an ancient city where the sept of Il Goct is. It is far away, two ten-days to the west of Menzolbaranzen. The brotherhood of the Black Lotus apparently trades in illicit goods in a black market of Mantol Dereth.

 

In payment, Grazilacks wants a cube from a wizard. He says we may take whatever else we want from the wizard, but he wants the cube. He imparts to our minds the knowledge of where the cube is, in a tower in a cavern just a brief journey away from Mantol Dereth. Qal-deth asks if Grazilacks will arrange our boat passage across the Dark Lake. He says yes. A brutish looking creature comes out from a nearby chamber, it is an almost feline-like humanoid, but mangy looking. Qal-deth says it’s a quaggoth. The mind-flayer gives the quaggoth a pouch and instructs him (it appears) in helping us. The quaggoth motions for us to follow. Grazilacks reminds us that he just wants the cube. Whatever else happens with the wizard or the wizard’s stuff doesn’t matter to him.

 

The quaggoth takes us to an exit tunnel that is used by the drow. There are a few barges there by the Dark Lake. We take a barge and travel to the path that will lead us to the tower. We head to the tower. Rylin goes ahead and scouts. We all continue on, with Qarion’s character leading the way. It is a huge tower. Qal-deth decides to try saying “Hail, The Tower” in all the languages we know amongst our characters. Nothing happens.

 

Qal’deth knocks on the door and it opens. He enters and says “Hail, The Tower” again and a creature asks who dares disturb it. It’s a winged creature, demonic. Qal-deth says that we want to trade with the creature’s master. It tells us to leave or die. Some gargoyle creatures

come out and start attacking the rest of us. The big demon thing disappears but then comes back and Qal-deth battles it inside the tower. The rest of us are still outside the tower.

 

Qal-deth successfully destroys the winged demon creature. There has been discussion about Commander Strike and some disagreement about how it works. Brendan and Joe have decided to table the discussion to outside of a gaming session. We successfully defeat the gargoyles and proceed into the tower.

 

We scan the room. There is an arrow slot in each wall and a ladder that leads up. Qyuris goes up one floor to scout, sees nothing of interest. The rest of us head up to the second floor and Qyuris goes up to the third. Nothing there. We all continue to the third floor as Qyuris proceeds to the fourth. Up there is a beautiful female human wizard in a chair next to a table. On the table is the cube. The wizard asks us why we are there and we say that we wanted to make a trade. She tells us to leave. We say no. She says perhaps we want this, and gestures to the cube, then grabs it and disappears. We will end there for today.

 

[We each get 730 xp for today’s session]

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The Darklake & Mantol Derith
Dungeon Master Session Log

16 Days out of Menzoberranzan

Shores of Darklake on the 3rd Waxing of Narbondell.

The scions of House X arrive at Darklake and soon are met by the Kuo-Toa ferrymen who take them by barge to the massive cavern pillar that is the base of Mantol Derith, the Underdark city of scum and villainy. They soon acquaint themselves to a red-haired human who introduces herself as Rystia Zav, agent of a powerful lord of the surface world. They soon meet a troop of duergar slavers who provide them, (through the mystic arts of Q'Variel) with the passphrase into the city.

They soon move through the bustling streets of the enclave of the Drow and Zhentarrim, whom the sions learn are humans who specialize in illicit trade with the denizens of the Underdark. They reconnoiter and discover clues to an Illithid exile by the name of Grazilaxx, who offers them a bargain, obtain a mystic item (a cube) from a rival wizard, a journey of only two days north of Mantol Derith. In exchange he offers them secrets of the Sept of I'll Ghact and the ancient Illithid city of Phanlinksal, in the Wormwrithings, (about 2 tendays west of Menzoberranzan). 

 

2 Days out of Mantol Derith

After an uneventful two days of travel, the scions come upon a large Adamantine Tower, guarded by by shadow-like demons and gargoyles. Upon entering the tower, they ascend to its fourth floor to find a beautiful female sorcerer sitting on a simple chair, at her side on a small pedestal is a small, palm-sized cube with mystical symbols on each of its 6 sides. The sorcerer then picks up the arcane cube and vanishes…

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Journey to Mantol Derith: The Oozing Temple
Dungeon Master Session log

The Scions of House X'Larraz 'et soj continue their journey through the caverns of the Underdark to their destination on the shores of Darklake.

After two days the nobles are caught in a seismic avalanche of rock that leaves them trapped in a massive underground vault; no apparent means of egress can be found, and the air is stale and fetid with the stench of mold.  They soon confront a flora of various molds, oozes and fungi which exhausts the air supply, leaving the party tired, exhausted and demoralized. They battle a large gelatinous creature the size of a large room, which telepathically communicates to them in Undercommon, introducing itself as Glabbagool; he promises to give them the contents of his insides for aid in finding a means of escape from what he calls "the Vault of Doom" and "The Oozing Temple."

After several hours and constant struggles against black pudding-like creatures in pit traps; they soon find a sealed chamber with a black metal door, inscribed with strange and alien designs. Inside a stone dais that holds a basin of black, oily water, from its depths a creature emerges, heralding itself to be the 'Chamberlain of Zuggtmoy.'

The strange being heralds the return of the Demon Queen of Fungi, then assaults with intent to subjugate and infect the heroes, but they withstand and overcome its spore-like attacks, eventually finding a possible means of escape through a subterranean pool. After Q'Variel swims for a means of escape the party soon realize they are about to die from suffocation; and they bargain with the enigmatic gelatin creature to digest them so they can attempt to leave via the underground lake. 

 

After some time they are deposited by Glabbagool inside a large cavern that appears to lead to the main tunnels leading to Darklake, and they take a day to rest and recuperate from the lack of oxygen. Glabbagool also offers to rescue Qal'Deth's squires, and gifts the party with its treasure for aiding in its escape, they part ways as the scions arrive at the Docks of Darklake…

The gifts of Glabbagool:

  • A Greater Piwafwi of Fire Resistance
  • A Dagger of Venom +3
  • Potion of Etherealness, 2 potions of Greater healing
  • Stonespeaker Crystal

112 sp; 41gp; three gold bracelets, (Kuo-Toa design) worth 50gp each   

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Fall of House Shobalar, Journey to Mantol Derith (Supplemental Notes)
From the Travel Journals of Q'Variel

From the Travel Journal of Q'Variel X'Larraz 'et soj, Priestess of Lolth & Wizard of Sorcere

 

"We are going to journey to Mantol Dereth to search for the Sept of Ill' Ghact. 

 

"Qal'Deth is finding things out about potions he took from the mind-flayer (the rest of us don't know about this). He has a potion of healing, a potion to resist flames, and a potion of clairvoyance.

 

"In Mantol Derith, there is a rule about not fighting, because there are so many types of creatures and everyone there with the purpose of trading.

 

"We want to know where the green powder, (Illithid's breath) came from, that's what we'd be seeking to know in Mantol Derith. 

 

"Do we want to first do a big "Detect Thought" on members of our house? Yes. We'll use the pretext of questioning about the demon, because we;re keeping the Illithid stuff tightly under wraps. We go to the Matron Mother she is practicing in the fighting pits, we watch and wait.

 

"We'd like to enlist the help of others, but who can we trust? Matron Mother isn't sure we can trust Narlros—so we could start with the low-ranking members of the house—low level wizards, actually, and if they "pass" we'll use them to continue questioning the other members of our house. 10 of our wizards know "Detect Thoughts" and 9 pass—they will then assist us in questioning our 150 house slaves.

 

"Meanwhile, Ryllan and Qarion are prepping for our journey, and Qal'Deth is working out a deal with the quarter master to sell 5 of our well-trained slaves, or maybe just 1, arranged after a tense conversation with the deep gnome Billergo Shortfuse (Billy for short). 

 

"One house soldier and one lower level priestess test positive, I detect the hive-mind of the Illithid. The house soldier reports to a contact in the tunnels of the dark dominion, tells the contact things about our house, has been reporting for about a year. The priestess reports about the matron mother, has been for a few months.

 

"Matron Mother lets me detect thoughts on her. She worries about our finances. We're basically bankrupt. House Dru'giir is waiting to raid us when they have a chance, when we fall out of favor with Lolth. Matron Mother was in Waterdeep, exploring Skullport to see if we could raise finances through there. She worries for Qal'Deth—feels he's not mature—she wants to be tough with him, wants him to be tougher, feels a tenderness toward him and hates that part of herself. She has no sign of hive mind. There's a gap in her mind, over 100 years of time missing/reconstructed. There's a memory that seems to be hidden, of this other house, all were killed, including my mother, yet they spared Matron Mother and hid that century, using her somehow. There are glimpses of my mother (who was Matron Mother's sister) and of mind-flayers figuring out how to bend her mind—in the image, she was in another house, the house insignia is of House Shobalar.

 

"We decide we'll raid on the way to and from Mantol Dereth to fill our house's coffers. We tell Matron Mother this, and about the two infected that we're aware of. She charges us to kill those remaining House Shobalar drow that we brought back before, so none can give away Matron Mother's connection to Shobalar.

 

"Jez'ra is fully devoted to Lolth and would take any opportunity to take down our Matron Mother. She reports on our house to the ruling council. She fantasized about poisoning Matron Mother and torturing her as she's dying.

 

"Zuggtmoy—Narlros, our House Wizard, is a secret devotee of this goddess—the Demon Queen of Fungi. He's also an active member of the Society of Brilliance. This brings up an image of a haughty looking drow—they talk about magic and how it could help Menzoberranzan. They have a great hatred for the Archmage Gromph Baenre. They only ever meet in a secure location outside Menzoberranzan. The family of this great mage was destroyed centuries ago by House Do'Urden, (another house destroyed centuries ago) so he can never return to Menzoberranzan. 

 

"I detect thoughts on the weapons master—he's my father (only I know this)! He had a memory gap too and how he's remembering that he was of House Shobalar and had a love affair with my mother. Pharius is the weapons master's name. I meet with him briefly before we depart, in order to acknowledge our connection. He'll train me in weapons when we return.

 

"We embark on our raiding/investigation journey with two carts and two rothe. We detect a group of svirnibli gnomes, and track them to a cave. We attack. We successfully fight 5 deep gnomes, and 2 elemental creatures they have summoned. We knock out the survivors and secure them as slaves."

 

OOC Notes: Our booty is 3 dozen semi-precious stones, 5 prisoners, 1 dozen diamonds. It's 6000 gold worth of stones. We get 1360 xp each. 

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Fall of House Shobalar: Journey to Mantol Derith
Dungeon Master Session log

Q'Eveldra meets with the scions of her house, and Q'Variel uses her powers to divine the minds of all the members of the house, from slave to noble high priestess, discovering 2 members who have an Illithid tadpole inserted into their brains, these infiltrators observe and report deliver messages in secret tunnels in the Dark Dominion.

Q'Variel also unlocks past memories in the mind of the Matron Mother that lay dormant:

  • Q'Eveldra is a scion of House Shobalar, she was adopted into X'Larraz 'et soj after the destruction of her house, around the time of the War of the Spider Queen, (1372 DR); about a century of memories are missing or reconstructed
  • Q'Eveldra's sister is Q'Variels mother, and Pharius, the House Weapons Master, is her blood-father
  • The Mind Flayers have used the House as an experiment, (unknown what that is) and had a strong control over House Shobalar before its destruction
  • House X'Larraz 'et soj is bankrupt, overspending and poor financial management have left the house with unsure economic foundation

Q'Variel and her siblings consult, deducing a connection between House Shobalar and House X'Larraz 'et soj, and the influence that the 'Sept of Ill'Ghact' has sought over both; is it possible that the Illithids are using your house as a potential source for hosts?; is it possible that there is a more sinister purpose that involves House Drugiir or even House Baenre? 

 

The Matron Mother orders the scions to travel to Mantol Derith to follow any clues to the 'Sept of Ill 'Ghact'. The Scions mount an expedition which is estimated to take about a ten-day; along the way they plan on pursuing sources of wealth to begin to enrich the House coffers.

A few days later…

The scions pursue signs of a svirniblin mining expedition, the deep gnomes are known to be expert miners in precious and semi-precious gems, possibly a vein of wealth to enrich their house; they discover a large cavern and a small deep gnome mining expedition. The scions launch a well orchestrated attack, but do not plan on svirniblin magic to summon two elementals, one of earth and one of fire. 

 

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