Saturday, October 15, 2022

Frontier Bulletin 22: Into the Deep

The Party:

Laughing Fox (Shaman)

Helena Keller (Dwarven Machinist)

Boldvay (Magic-User)

Mark (Thief)

Laurentius (Cleric)

Whiskey John (Explorer)



And Boldvay's various henchmen

Some months back, my first patron met his end. Duran Durin, the leader of the dwarves who settled in the western tail end of the Devil's Spine, and who established the dwarven keep dubbed the Power Station, went into a large underground, glowing chamber with a small band of about hundred dwarves to find what had killed the lone dwarf who went scouting said chamber. They clashed in battle against a tribe of albino orcs, and the dwarven survivors never made it back up top to their brethren. Soon after, a smaller force of dwarfs went into the chamber, only to never to return. You can listen more about this battle here

The morale of the remaining dwarves broke and many left. A good many went and stayed at Woodshome, the emerging boom town that has built up around Pottsfort Keep. They brought with them sad tidings. The players went up to investigate, but decided to not explore the cavern. They did give their word to the remaining dwarves that they would eventually go down and find out what happened to their leader. Also, with the help of Joe Bridger III, they began the process of making gunpowder. Finally, the players made good on their word, and returned to face whatever was in the Deep.

Despite the lack of dwarven patrols, the travel up to Power Station was uneventful. After checking in with the remaining dwarven force and on the progress of their gunpowder, the party headed down into the deep. One hundred feet down later, the found themselves in an extremely large, glowing cavern. They were surrounded by a small, greenish glowing jungle of large mushrooms, ferns, and tall grass. The party soon head south, the same direction that Duran went. Tracks were found, and they soon emerged out of the underground forest and into a vast open space. They could hear water rushing far to the east, but continued to follow the tracks. 

About forty yards out of the vegetation,  the players came across a decomposing dwarven body. It was partially eaten and the rest was slowly being consumed by a fungal growth. Laurentius cast Speak to the Dead to get information out of the corpse and asked it three questions:1) what killed him, 2) where was Durin's body, and 3) were there any orcs still living. A voice came out of the rotted mouth in response: "A black tentacled creature killed me,"Durin's body is laying in a field of corpses," and "I don't know."

Laughing Fox decided to ask his ancestors three questions of his own. The first was if there were more than ten orcs alive; they replied with 'no'. The second was if the creature that killed the dwarves supernatural. They replied with another 'no.' Finally, he asked if the party had the man power to kill the creature. This time the ancestors replied with a 'yes, but use caution.' The party continued to look for the remains of the mighty dwarven leader and to avenge his death.

Travel was slow, as the party was cautious as to what might be in the cave with them. Finally, they found the remains of a large battle. There were many corpses, including that of Duran Durin himself. Clasped in his rotting hands was the magical sword Dragon's Spite that he had found. Helena took the sword to give back to Duran's clan when, or if they made it back. 

Not long after that, the party came across the orc village made of stone. While exploring the ancient village, the party fought against some wondering fire beetles; these were soon dispatched. Once done, they faced the imposing, primeval temple located in the middle of the village. It's imposing bat and toad like features that were carved into the stone permeated an eldritch and weird vibe towards those that looked upon it. Before preceding, the party gathered in their battle formation, cracked opened the 20' stone doors, and sent in Laughing Fox's totem animal, the monkey, to scout ahead. While the monkey was scouting, Laurentius cast Bless on everyone. The monkey returned and told of a tentacled, inky black creature towards the back of the temple, near the alter. With this information, the party formed a battle plan against the eldritch creature. 

The party fully opened the ancient black doors and made their way into the blood covered chamber. Inside, the party went through a 30 ft hallway that led into a 60 ft square chamber. Along the walls, they viewed primeval frescos depicting blood sacrifices and weird rituals of humans and dinosaurs to the blasphemous alien god Tsathoggua. Near the altar, right where the monkey said it would be, was the squid-like creature that had killed the surviving dwarven army and forced the orcs to flee: the gloom crawler who was asleep on partially devoured and rotting bodies. Gaining surprise on the unwary creature, the party quickly enacted their plan. Boldvay cast Phantasmal Force to make the crawler think it was trapped inside the cage; Mark quickly blew from the Horn of Blasting to severely wound it; Laughing Fox cast the shaman's equivalent to the Bless spell to further give the party an edge; and the others let loose arrows and bolts into it's hulking body. Boldvay's spell was a success, and so was Mark's use of the magical horn, unfortunately, only Dog Breath managed to hit the creature with his arrow. Still, the battle didn't last long, as the crawler wasn't able to put up much of a fight and was quickly killed. Duran was avenged. 

After the gloom crawler's death, the players began to explore the small temple. The found another large stone door behind the altar covered in runes, but were unable to open it. They found five vases and a black chest under the altar and two side passages, one going east, the other west. They used the monkey to go down the trap door they found in the room that the eastern hall led to and not long after, he came back. He told of a tunnel about 600 yards that exited to a small dock on the western bank of a river. Down the western hall, the found another small room, but nothing of worth was found. The vases contained 200 ep each, Mark tried to open the chest, but failed to notice it was trapped. The trap, being a small needle, injected with a poison and he failed. Thankfully it wasn't fatal, and he only took six damage. 

With the chest now opened, and the players took a look to see what treasures were inside: various precious gems, two spell scrolls, two potions, an ancient elven cloak, and primitive hand axe that had magical aura about it. They quickly gathered their new finds, headed out of the evil temple, and went back up to the above levels of the Power Station. The remaining dwarves decided to let Helena keep Duran's sword and the party vowed to return the next week once the gun powder was complete.

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