The Dungeon Map from the Kenku lair
The next big adventure took the crew to the magical door shown by a map they found in the Kenku lair. The door required opening by the use of a Knock spell. This took a significant amount of energy from the caster so would diminish the ability to use other spells. Each Drow was reluctant to be the one to cast but someone had to and Gul step forward this time. After the door was opened the crew sent to investigate carefully walked in Gul, Kalan, Birz, Zaen, the priestess Sultanya and a new crewmates Kargoth and Goraz. Just behind them scrabbled Grinn the head goblin of the Despair (a half breed Drow and Goblin – best not dwell on it). They could tell that the cavern was massive and ancient so was likely to have untold riches and of course wandering monsters.
They were expected to return within four hours if they found nothing otherwise the Despair would return within a day. The first encounter was with a mob of 4 ogres. The fight was lengthy and the crew luckily managed to dispatch them with only a few wounds to themselves. They were fortunate to meet them while they were still fresh.
As a group they decided to go around the eastern side of the cavern and investigate down those corridors. They were attacked by rats, bats and other small creatures as they headed deeper inside. This dungeon was vast and had many long corridors that often ended in dead ends or empty rooms. Down one passage they noticed a large hole created by a giant slug creature they had met before in a previous quest. This animal would often lay in wait and ambush the unwary spitting poison at them before trying to devour them. On a quick investigation the Drow found both of the tunnels either side of the corridor had collapsed and the animal must be long gone or dead. The presence of Grinn was noticed by the party but since he was not getting in their way he was ignored by the arrogant Drow.
The corridors narrowed with the ceiling and floor changing to stalagmites and stalactites reaching up from the ground and down from the ceiling like huge fangs of a dragon. What the Drow were not aware of was that on the ceiling there were hidden other ambush creatures called Darkmantle. They looked just like the stone pillars and would wait for their prey to walk underneath them before they would drop and devour them. The Drow were growing weary and rather bored just as these heavy creatures landed on each Drow. The fighting soon commenced as the Drow tried to push off the Darkmantle and free their weapons to strike back. They managed after a few tense minutes - killing two of the Darkmantle while the others made their way back to the wall of the corridor to climb up and be ready to fall down on them again. The Drow did not wait for this and instead made for speed down to the next cavern opening. They were alerted to the danger so would keep an eye on attack from above from now on.
Down another long corridor they noticed what looked like a large rat or small dog approaching them. Though its mouth was filled with twitching tentacles. The Drow fired a bolt at it but it bounced off the creature and steel at the end of the bolt turning brown with rust. The creature turned to the metal and its mouth swallowed the end of the bolt. The Drow looked at each other puzzled what kind of animal would eat metal. They then checked their armour and swords - this would be a feast to such an animal. Kalan took a flask of lantern oil and sprayed it width wise across the corridor and lit it. Hopefully it did not like fire. As the Drow pulled back to consider what to do – suggesting one Drow removes all metal then goes to club the creature to death. Suddenly little Grinn the goblin shoots past them shrieking a battle cry jumps over the flame to attack the animal. He is carrying a small club and starts to pound the creature on the head and back. The animal whips its tail at Grinn and tries to claw at him. The Drow watch from the other side of the flame some laughing at the spectacle. Kalan rather admired the bravery of the little fellow. To Grinn this was a life or death battle and Kalan watched avidly. Grinn had managed several good hits on the creature and it was looking on its last legs. He had also taken some serious wounds himself. At last Grinn cracked it over the head with a sickening thud and the creature collapsed. Grinn then pulled it away from the main corridor to allow the Drow to pass without having to worry about their armour. He then moved to the opposite wall and collapsed in a heap.
The flames were dying out by now so the Drow came forward. Gul, Birz and Kalan check on Grinn. He was indeed in a bad shape as his green blood poured freely from several deep wounds to his chest and legs. He was breathing heavily. Kalan felt Grinn had shown great bravery and he did not deserve to die this way. Kalan was unsure if his heal wound magic would work on the goblin. He tried it anyway put only the lightest of magic touch – still draining him of his magic reserves. The bleeding stopped and the wounds started to partially close up. Kalan bandaged the goblin around his torso where the largest gash appeared and Grinn began to recover – he was a tough little guy. Kalan said “Bravely done Grinn but you are done. Rest here and wait for our return or get yourself to the door and the ship”. Grinn only nodded then started rummaging through his own pack for food. Kalan was being shouted on by the rest to keep up as the lantern moved on with the front of the group they were being plunged into darkness. Kalan stood and left Grinn running to catch up with the rest.
They came across a huge rift that disappeared into the earth and to its dark secrets below. The air that came up from it was stale and evil smelling. The Drow also found a cavern that led to a lava pit but with not much else to see. After the hot fetid air they were surprised a few minutes later to feel the bite of cold fresh air from the cavern in front of them. As they approached the lantern set the giant bats living in this room to swarm and attack the crew. These were easy creatures to kill and the remainder of the bats soon scattered and flew off to the far corner. When the Drow investigated this they found a natural chimney from the cavern up to the surface above. It must be a good 150 to 200 feet up and the walls were shear for most part and slick with water. This could be an easier way in and out of the dungeon and the Drow marked it in their minds. Birz had a magical rope that could get them up without too much trouble until they secured a more permanent system in and out.
Further along they came to a corridor that seemed just like the rest. Although after walking along it for several minutes the Drow were aware that something was odd about it. Then they realised they were in some kind of magical trap a corridor that never ended. Once they got their bearings they slowly backtracked and managed to get out of the corridor.
Just further on they came across a huge room that had another set of magical doors but was guarded by a huge armour clad warrior. At this point the Drow were exhausted and had spent most of their magic on healing minor wounds and bumps and scrapes. It had been almost a full day and they had little to show for it. They estimated they had perhaps seen only a third of this dungeon. The decision was to return to the chimney they found and return to the Despair first before they continued. They succeeded in using the magical rope and returned rather dejected to the Despair. To their surprise Grinn was also onboard and gave them the thumbs up – he was healed and no worse for wear from his adventure.
Captain Vixia was not at all pleased with the report. Where are the gems and treasure!! The magical artefacts!! She allowed the crew to rest but decided to send Bae with them next time.
Rested on the next day the adventurers had their first challenge to eliminate the large warrior covered from head to foot in plate armour and holding a huge two handed sword. Just as the Drow prepared themselves to fire on the warrior he vanished. In a blink of an eye he appeared next to Birz attacked and then vanished again. The Drow assumed a fighting group of three and four each with their back to each other. The warrior appeared again but his element of surprise was lost. The Drow quickly turned their advantage of speed and numbers to their own benefit and attacked. Kalan got in the killing blow as the armour split apart showing nothing inside. Kalan quickly grabbed the warriors sword. It was a fine weapon and he could tell it was magical. He later discovered it was magical and a giant slayer. He would spend many hours practising and improving his skill with this two handed sword.
Again they had to use a knock spell to open the door. The next level of dungeon looked just as vast. This time Bae insisted they check out all corridors and room doing a basic sweep left to right. Yes you guessed it Grinn also tagged along. Again they were met with several large and dangerous creatures; a Hooked horror that almost had one Drow for breakfast, they met another Nightmare that appeared to charge down the corridor at them – they could not tell if real or not until the last minute when it disappeared rather than pounding them into dust, they came across a young Bullette which also fancied a snack on Drow flesh.
Most of the corridors went on for what seemed miles and often ended in dead ends and empty rooms. One room had the remains of a human adventurer who had come to a sad end in the dungeon and had nothing of any value on him. This time there were traps firing bolts or arrows at the unwary. And they came across the rift they had met in the previous dungeon although they were now lower down inside the rift.
When they were crossing what they would guess was near the centre of the dungeon the party came across three very strange looking creatures. They were slightly shorter than a Drow but looked like walking mushrooms. The crew stopped dead in their tracks but did not detect any threat from these creatures. Their curiosity got the better of them and they called out a greeting. Instead of speaking each Drow heard a voice in their head “We are the Myconid. We come in peace. We do not recognise your species. Can you direct us out to the outside. You need not speak we can read your thoughts”. Kalan looked closely at them they carried no weapons or armour and had nothing of any value on them – well nothing at all. Yet hear they were in a dangerous dungeon and still alive - he didn’t think they were as meek or defenceless as they looked. He signalled to the crew to stand down and then spoke thought to them. He introduced himself as Kalan of clan Kobra and said they were adventurers investigating this new territory for their clan. He also asked if they could share what they had seen in their travels up to this point. Hundreds of images flashed through Kalan’s mind and he could tell it was happening to the other Drow too. It was too fast to make any real sense of. The Myconid mind voice said “there is great danger ahead, you should go back, evil lurks ahead”. Kalan thanked him and said it was their duty to proceed for their clan. He was feeling a little overwhelmed and slightly nauseous with all of those images – he could feel the beginnings of a powerful headache. These Myconid are not much use to him so Kalan thought through the route to the natural chimney they had found and mind thought it across. The Myconid said “thank you Kalan of clan Kobra good luck on your quest”. The creatures shambled by as the Drow looked on still rather bemused.
Further down in the dungeon the Drow came across a small party of Orcs. The Drow knew the Orcs were at war with each other. Each faction calling themselves the Red Orcs, the others the White Orcs. To Kalan they were all just smelly Orcs and he could not tell or care what faction these belonged. They had met half way down a corridor and at first no quarter would be given. The Orcs demanded the Drow back up and let them pass. The Drow bristled at this, drew swords, and told them to back up before they skinned them alive for their rudeness. The Orcs immediately showed fear and started backing up towards the previous crossroads, taking their time and keeping a wary eye on the Drow group. The Drow sheathed their swords except two at the rear and arrogantly marched passed the Orcs standing huddled in a side corridor. The Drow moved on quickly then checked for pursuit but the Orcs had disappeared down the corridor.
The next big encounter occurred in a large cavern that had soft earth covering the whole floor. Several sections had mounds of fresh moist earth scattered across the floor. The ceiling had pillars of rock pointing down at the floor. At the opposite side of the cavern the group could make out several chests. The Drow came in warily watching for ambush from above and decided to keep to the eastern wall. Kalan was in the lead and as he approached the first mound of earth he drew his sword keeping it pointed at the centre. Just as he was within a foot of the mound it erupted and a gibbering mouther attempted to attack him. Kalan was also aware that the earth around his feet had become wet and he sank up to his knees in the muck. Gul, Zaen, and Goraz jump in to aid Kalan in the fight. Their legs are also mired in mud. Birz draws his sword and makes off towards the chests. Bae keeps back watching the melee. The gibbering mouther is a difficult opponent as although not large its slime entraps its prey as is several mouths snap out on the numerous thick necks. The Drow were not having much success in striking the creature it was having more success on them. Kalan was badly wounded and had to slowly pull back from the fight. Goraz was met with a mortal blow and as he fell his body was absorbed in the mud as several heads thudded into his body. Zaen too was badly hurt and lost the lower part of his left arm. The gibbering mouther then sank into the mud disappearing with the body of Goraz. Bae spotting Birz ran over to the chests – what ever Birz had managed to pocket there was still several thousand gold left in the chests. Thank Lloth thought Bae the captain will be please with this.
The crew continued for a while and found the entrance to the next level of the dungeon. They assumed that it would also be protected. They marked the position in their minds – they had now investigated all of this level of the dungeon and decided it was time to head back and recover. Zaen needed to be taken back for medical care. Vixia considered the gold recovered and decided so far the dungeon had proved less reward and more risk. For the time being this was the last time the crew would adventure this far into the second dungeon. The next time they came Kalan, Gul and Birz used the first dungeon as a training mission for some new recruits Joruus the merchant, Dreggs the cleric and the fairly new member Kargoth who had only been out on a couple of previous missions. During this time Grinn who also accompanied them was killed as he threw himself into the battle again. As the Drow checked his body they came across a viper bolt pistol Grinn must have picked up when Goraz was killed by the gibbering mouther. If he had been found with this in the City Grinn would have been killed instantly. To Gul, Kalan, and Birz they smiled at each other – well that Grinn was a sneaky little devil after all. The viper bolt pistol was passed to one of the newbie’s.