Doom of the Drow

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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The Fall of House Shobalar, Part 3
Player Session log From Q'Variel's POV

Hey friends! I took some notes today. They don't have every single thing, but will hopefully help us remember things. 

11.26.16 Session 3

 

We open this game right where we left off last time, having finished destroying the demon minotaur creature, (revealed to be a Goristro demon). We spend some time investigating the room and I take a sample of some powder left over from the ritual. I send a message (using my every two week favor) to a contact at Sorcere to get info about the powder.

 

The power is unusual and is called Illithid’s Breath—it’s a hallucinogenic made from the larvae of illithids. The only place to acquire it is Mantol D’ereth, a trading outpost in an area of Underdark called Dark Lake. This outpost can trade with the surface world. House Druu'giir is known to go there.

 

We go to the priestess’s room, named Varissa; the one whom we found unconscious when we encountered the demon. She says she doesn’t remember the last few days, that the last thing she can remember is going to the Temple of Lolth and performing some rituals. She has been having dreams of a half-spider, half-man with long white hair who is very powerful, like a god.

 

She also knows by our description of the demon, that it was a Goristro. Only a high priestress of Lolth could have summoned it, and our house does not even have a high priestess that knows the ritual. Shortly after she tells us this, she seems to choke. Qarion casts an anti-poison spell, but it has no effect. She dies. Shortly after she dies, her throat seems to swell for a moment, then an eyeball bulges, and out comes a parasitic leech-like creature. I capture it in a vial. It was moving when it came out, but once it is captured, it is still.

 

We can ask five questions of dead Varissa (Qarion casts Speak with Dead):

  1. What is the parasite that was inside you? —no idea.

  2. What members of House Druu'giir have you interacted with in the past five days? —none.

  3. What did you consume at the temple during the ritual? —she drank wine, but it was odd, it made her leave the temple. She walked for many hours, then in a small cavern in the Dark Dominion, she met with those of House Shobalar (which was destroyed) and they led her to a room and they put this (presumably the parasite) in her.

  4. Where on the map did you go? —She points “I think there” to a spot on the map in Arach Tinilith.

  5. What is the most damaging or influential secret you know? the survivors of House Shobalar know a great secret of our House—she was made to be a vessel of the Sept of Ill  Ghact "they will be our doom".

 

We do some things individually, research and whatnot, and have a long rest. After my long rest, I go to Sorcere to try to learn more about the parasite.

 

The parasite appears to be the base for the green powder that we found in the room. A fluid the creature extracts becomes that powder. I find a book that details one possible origin for the creature. The book speculates on Illithids and that these are a primordial form of them, an Illithid tadpole.

Alger’s character finds this out: House Shobalar went from 20 to 15 in house rank before they were destroyed during the War of the Spider Queen, (around 1372 DR) some say by House Druu'giir.

 

Qal’deth learns that his Umber hulkling is still alive (thanks to our house wizard).

 

We all come back together and go to the Matron Mother to tell her what we know. We decide to go on an expedition to the caverns Varissa indicated, with me disguised as a dead Varissa.

 

We come to the cavern she indicated on the map and encounter the living remnants of House Shobalar. They are slaves of a duergar dwarf that is collecting mushrooms in the cavern. Alger’s character does the talking, he shows me (disguised as dead Varissa) to the duergar and asks if he recognizes her. The duergar doesn’t, but says one similar to her is a thief and stole something very valuable from him.

 

A fight. The duergar doesn’t want to deal with us. I cast Detect Thoughts.

 

The creature is not a duergar. It lured us here and wants to use us to achieve its greater purpose, which is the Sept of Ill'Ghact. It intends to dominate us, send us back to our house, and infiltrate our house, with a greater goal of subjugating all Drow. It’s part of a hive mind. It’s not a specific attack on our house from another house, but from the Sept of Ill'Ghact with a greater plan to spread out from our house to other houses.

 

The creature dies—Qal’deth kills it. As it dies, it whispers something that sounds like “Ouriel” and reveals its true self, an illithid. We continue to fight with the Shobalar drow and conquer them. We realize someone else is casting Detect Thoughts on us, and we grab the body of the illithid and the unconscious Shobalar drow and get out of there.

 

We make our way home. Alger’s character briefly detours and tries to warn some other drow of the illithid, but leaves before his true identity can be discovered (he was disguised as one of House Druu'giir). We tell the Matron Mother about what happened. She orders us to keep the Shobalar drow alive, but hidden in our dungeons. She doesn’t want anyone to know they are there, or that the illithid are trying to infiltrate our house.

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The Fall of House Shobalar, part 2: The Festival of Crimson Tears
dungeon Master's Session Log

House X'Larraz 'et soj is abuzz with frantic activity as the noble house prepares to celebrate the Festival of Crimson Tears, proudly displaying its newest acquisition: ferocious Umber Hulks for the fighting pits.

As the celebration commences the scions note a couple of rival houses, including the infamous twins of house Druu'giir. As the initial fighting bouts begin the assembled scions hear a crash of glass coming from above the private balcony of Matron Q'Eveldra, who orders the heroes to investigate; herself utilizing her own innate drow powers of levitation to ascend.

The scions enter a large audience hall and near it center one of the minor house clerics, who appears unconscious with a towering, hulking demon above her. After a furious melee, the combined skills of the heroes defeat and slay the demon, who quickly dissolves as most outer-planar beings do when killed. 

The scions investigate the scene, discovering that the unconscious but still alive priestess had summoned the demon, copulated with it, and appeared drugged. The Matron Mother orders the heroes to investigate further how one of the house clerics managed to summon such a powerful demon; a talent that is permitted only to the High Priestesses of Lolth.

The rest of the celebrations are carried out without further mishaps, and the Umber Hulks are heralded by the attendees as the highlight of the season; all slain by the fighting prowess of the house slaves of X'Larraz 'et 'soj.

 

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The Fall of House Shobalar, part I
Dungeon Master's Session Log

First Month, 10th hour of the Waxing of Narbondell

The scions of house X'Larraz 'et 'soj are summoned by Matron Mother Q'Eveldra, who wishes for her favorites to undertake a quest—a hunting party to capture one of the more exotic, and deadly creatures of the Underdark—a nest of Umber Hulks.

The adventurers reacquaint themselves with each other, and meet briefly with the House Wizard who warns them of a possible attack from a rival house. 

After a celebratory dinner to welcome the return of the Matron Mother, the adventurers prepare for their mission, obtaining valuable resources from their house; a brief foray into the famed bazaar of Menzoberranzan. The following day all is set for their hunting expedition to the Dark Dominion where a scout, hired by the Matron Mother, leads the scions to their quarry. 

In addition to the adventurers, the hunting party is composed of:

  • 1 house wizard
  • 3 house soldiers
  • 3 fighting slaves
  • 5 riding lizards
  • Vuulthar, a Drow Mercenary Scout

The journey takes about a tenday to complete; the adventurers return with 6 Umber Hulks, one a hulkling, and the scions are lauded for a successful mission. 

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Doom of the Drow, Session 0
In which we meet to create characters & nerd out

Dramatis Personae:

Jaynesis Ong, playing the role of Qyuris

Chad Singleton, playing the role of Qarion

Alger Alama, playing the role of Ryllan T'orgh

Stina Pederson, playing the role of Q'Variel

Brendan Weinhold, playing the role of Qal'Deth

Allen Bostic, playing the role of Karth 

 

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