Out of the Abyss

Session 1: Captured by the drow
Prisoners and hard labor in an underground outpost

The Party

  • Glenn, half elf warlock, 1st level (Kyle) — prisoner seven days
  • Naivaia, drow fighter, 1st level (Poppy) — prisoner six days
  • Chryso, human fighter, 2nd level (Alan) — prisoner six days
  • Adran, half elf sorceror, 1st level (Liam) — prisoner four days
  • Trazar, wood elf cleric, 1st level (Arden) — prisoner three days
  • Vermis, wood elf ranger, 1st level (Andrew) — prisoner two days

The party members find themselves prisoners of a band of drow slavers — unified in their imprisonment, hard labor, exploration of the underground outpost, and shared desire to escape. Several of the party prisoners have found items since their arrival at the outpost, but only Glenn has anything that might be useful as a weapon.

Members of the group talk with

  • Prince Derendil, a hulking quaggoth who claims to be a polymorphed gold elf prince
  • Eldeth Feldrun, a shield dwarf scout from Gauntlgrym who suggests that as a destination for the group’s escape
  • Sarith Kzekarit, a drow warrior jailed for killing a fellow soldier — which he doesn’t remember doing
  • Stool, a youthful mushroom creature who doesn’t seem to need to speak to communicate

The prisoners work daily work shifts of eight hours, most recently in the main hall, where drow and quaggoth (underbears) gather to eat and drink. They are fed twice a day, a thin mushroom and root vegetable gruel. And they are occasionally forced to watch the sacrifice of other prisoners to the spiders that populate the webs below the outpost.

Overhearing conversations, and speaking with fellow prisoners, the party has learned a little about the slaver band, their prison cell, and the power structure among the drow.

At the end of the session, the party was bedding down for an extended rest, their work shift over. They’d met each other, met some of the other prisoners, explored the drow outpost — its hollowed-out stalactites, ledges, rope bridges, and backet lift — and learned a little about their captors.

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Session 2: Bad dreams and hard labor
Work shifts bring new information and tools

The Party (A party too large, but we had several newcomers)

  • Glenn, half elf warlock, 1st level (Kyle) — prisoner eight days
  • Chryso, human fighter, 2nd level (Alan) — prisoner seven days
  • Gildorf, half elf sorceror, 1st level (Milo) — prisoner seven days
  • Nordafrost, hill dwarf rogue, 1st level (Matt) —prisoner seven days
  • Adran, half elf sorceror, 1st level (Liam) — prisoner five days
  • Sheena, half elf rogue, 1st level (Igor) — prisoner four days
  • Trazar, wood elf cleric, 1st level (Arden) — prisoner four days
  • Vermis, wood elf ranger, 1st level (Andrew) — prisoner three days
  • Melech, tiefling warlock, 1st level (Chad) — prisoner one day

Adran wakes with a start, plagued by bad dreams, his slumber interrupted by visions of dark shadows, mazes of tunnels, oily tentacles, clouds of flies, and the sound of howling. He wakes in a cold sweat, to find that the party and fellow prisoners have been joined by several new people, including Gildorf, Nordafrost, Sheena, and Melech. Some are newly imrisoned, and some have been relocated from other holding stations.

For the first work shift, Sheena and Chryso are assigned to the Main Hall again, where they serve food and clear tables. Sheena manages to lubricate her manacles, as well as Chryso’s, with a flavored oil, but neither is able to work their way out of their bindings.

For the second work shift, Glenn, Adran, and Melech are assigned to the Elite Barracks, where they are ordered to polish the interior stone walls. While Glenn climbs the ladder to listen at the trapdoor leading upstairs, Adran and Melech try to secure a sleeping drow’s weapons, only to wake him. He subdues all three party members, who are led back to the slave pen unconscious. It is rumored that one of them will be thrown to the spiders below during the next feeding time.

The third work shift was also eventful. Assigned to the Southern Watch Post, Nordafrost, Trazar, and Gildorf manage to slip a short sword out of one drow’s sheath while a comrade attempts to repair the drow’s alarm trumpet. That drow returns Gildorf to the slave pen, having finished his shift early, leaving his comrade to be overpowered by Nordafrost and Trazar. Upon his return from the pen, the two imprisoned adventurers overpower him, as well—recovering the party’s gear, obtaining two swords, and picking the locks of their bindings.

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Session 3: Making a break for it
Reclaiming weapons, releasing comrades, and tending the fallen

The Party (A party too large; we’ll have more DMs next week)

  • Chryso, human fighter, 2nd level (Alan) — prisoner seven days
  • Gildorf, half elf sorceror, 1st level (Milo) — prisoner seven days
  • Nordafrost, hill dwarf rogue, 1st level (Matt) —prisoner seven days
  • Adran, half elf sorceror, 1st level (Liam) — prisoner five days
  • Sheena, half elf rogue, 1st level (Igor) — prisoner four days
  • Trazar, wood elf cleric, 1st level (Arden) — prisoner four days
  • Vermis, wood elf ranger, 1st level (Andrew) — prisoner three days
  • Melech, tiefling warlock, 1st level (Chad) — prisoner one day

Nordafrost and Trazar, in the Southern Watch Post, free of their chains, disguise themselves as a drow guard and prisoner. They reclaim some of the party’s weapons, including daggers for their comrades. Trazar leads Nordafrost along the walkway, an awkward bundle of clothing and cloaks under his arm, through the Guard Tower. There, two drow stop the duo, picking up on something being amiss. The two persuade them that everything is OK, and continue on their way.

As they approach the Slave Pen, they see several quaggoth walking toward them from the Quaggoth Den. They hesitate at the door, using a dead drow guard’s keys to open the cell, so the quaggoth pass before they go into the Slave Pen. There, they free the rest of the party except Vermis, using thieves tools, or breaking the chains. They also enlist the support of several of the other prisoners, including Prince Derendil, Eldeth Feldrun, Jimjar, Ront, and Stool, all of whom they free, as well. They others decline to participate in the prison break.

Sheena and Trazar disguise themselves as drow guards again and lead the party of prisoners back along the ledge and bridges toward the Southern Watch Post to reclaim the rest of the party’s gear. While walking through the Guard Tower, the group is stopped by three drow — the two who’d stopped them before and another — and a fight breaks out. The group noisily dispatches the three guards, but not without some members falling.

Continuing out of the Tower and along the bridge and ledge — supporting their injured comrades — they also encounter Shoor as he comes out of his quarters. He attacks the party, felling several more of the group. That brings the number of the fallen to five: Nordafrost, Adran, Melech, Gildorf, Trazar — stable, but unconscious for a number of hours still. In the heat of combat, Sheena breaks off from the group to run to the Southern Watch Post to find a healing potion in the party’s gear.

Shoor proves himself a most challenging enemy. Chryso grapples him, pitching them off the bridge to the webs below. They fall 60 feet, finding themselves restrained by the sticky webs below. They free themselves, only to find themselves beset upon by a giant spider. They stand together facing the spider, and Shoor finally falls, poisoned. Chryso falls, too.

At the end of the session, Chryso remains unconscious — and not yet stable — down below on the web. Sheena has just returned to the party, five members unconscious, with the healing potion. And so far — despite the noisy conflict — no new guards have arrived on the scene.

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Session 4: A fighting chance
A comrade falls, and the party prepares to descend

The Party (A party still too large; we’ll have more DMs next week)

  • Chryso, human fighter, 3rd level (Alan) — prisoner seven days
  • Gildorf, half elf sorceror, 2nd level (Milo) — prisoner seven days
  • Naivaia, drow elf fighter, 1st level (Poppy) — prisoner seven days
  • Nordafrost, hill dwarf rogue, 2nd level (Matt) —prisoner seven days
  • Adran, half elf sorceror, 2nd level (Liam) — prisoner five days
  • Sheena, half elf rogue, 2nd level (Igor) — prisoner four days
  • Trazar, wood elf cleric, 1st level (Arden) — prisoner four days
  • Melech, tiefling warlock, 2nd level (Chad) — prisoner one day

On the webs far below, a fallen Chryso succumbs to his wounds and dies — his sacrifice saving the lives of his party. The giant spider wraps Shoor and Chryso in webs for consumption later.

On the ledge above, Sheena feeds Trazar the healing potion. Invigorated, Trazar rushes to the Southern Watch Post to claim his holy symbol and any remaining available healing potions. Gildorf, Naivaia, and Adran also hasten to the Watch Post to reclaim their belongings. Melech and Sheena drag the chest toward the Lift so the party doesn’t have to take time to don their armor while under attack.

Sheena and Naivaia rain arrows down on the spider, trying to distract it from wrapping up Chryso. The spider responds by spitting a glob of webbing at Shenna, but missing.

All the while, drow spill out of the barracks, attracted by the sounds of combat. The party is able to dispatch the challenging drow.

At the end of the session, one load of four party members — Gildorf, Adran, Sheena, Melech — had been able to descend to the floor of the chamber, sending the Lift back up for another wave of escapees. The escaping party also includes Prince Derendil, Eldeth Feldrun, Jimjar, Ront, and Stool.

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Session 5: Into the Underdark
Escape into darkness, a reunion, and a toll at a bridge

The Party

  • Chryso, human fighter, 3rd level (Alan) — prisoner seven days
  • (Cantas, high elf bard, 1st level [Alan])
  • Galdorf, half elf sorceror, 1st level (Milo) — prisoner seven days
  • Naivaia, drow elf fighter, 1st level (Poppy) — prisoner seven days
  • Adran, half elf sorceror, 2nd level (Liam) — prisoner five days
  • Sheena, half elf rogue, 2nd level (Igor) — prisoner four days
  • Trazar, wood elf cleric, 1st level (Arden) — prisoner four days
  • Melech, tiefling warlock, 2nd level (Chad) — prisoner one day

After the first group of four party members make it to the ground in the Lift safely, it returns to its station at ledge level. The remaining party members can hear the sounds of alarm trumpets, shouts, and footfalls as the slaver drow and quaggoth approach, sounding the alarm. Those sounds are interrupted, however, by the sudden appearance of a handful of angry, screeching, fighting winged demons.

Two winged demons are pursued by four more winged demons, of a different kind. They are locked in combat, screaming, slashing at each other, and otherwise blundering into the slaver’s outpost of web bridges and stalactites. This distracts the gathering drow and quaggoth, who turn their attentions to the fighting winged demons, letting loose with arrows and bolts.

That distraction allows the second group of party members and prisoners to begin their descent to ground level, down from the slaver outpost, and the giant spider webs. Once down. the Lift returns upward, and the third group lowers.

At ground level, the party and prisoners determine where to go. Only Jimjar seems to know where he is in the Underdark, and he agrees to lead the party to Neverlight Grove, to return Stool to his home. Other options include his home Blingdenstone, as well as the kuo-toa enclave Sloobludop at the shores of the Darklake. At the mention of Menzoberranzan, Naivaia perks up, until she remembers that, while a drow, she’s now an escaped slave. The party and prisoners concur: Neverlight.

After checking out whether there’s a path behind the waterfall—there is not—the group sets out to the south—only to be surprised by an injured winged demon falling to the ground, impeding their progress. The party handily dispatches the limping demon, and proceeds out of Velkynvelve into the Underdark.

Once they’re far enough away, the party finds a safe place to rest, in a twisty, downward-sloping section of tunnel where someone can guard each approach without being out in the open. The group dons its armor and re-equips itself, setting a watch. During the first watch, a haggard, peakid Chryso rejoins the party. He tells a tale of waking in the spider web, pulling himself free of its web, and somehow lowering himself to the ground. Of all the party, Chryso sleeps fitfully, dreaming of darkness and depth.

The next morning, after an extended rest, the group continues toward Neverlight Grove. while crossing a bridge over running water, and approaching a stone structure stretching toward a cavern ceiling high above, the party encounters several duergar. The duergar are unresponsive when the party approaches, attacking only when confronted aggressively. They enlarge in size, towering over the group, but are eventually felled.

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Session 6: Hostile creatures and dwarven ruins
Steam vents, bottomless gorges, and multi-limbed creatures

The Party

  • Galdorf, half elf sorceror, 1st level (Milo)
  • Melech, tiefling warlock, 3rd level (Chad)
  • Naivaia, drow elf fighter, 2nd level (Poppy)
  • Nordafrost, dwarf rogue, 2nd level (Matt)
  • Sheena, half elf rogue, 2nd level (Igor)
  • Trazar, wood elf cleric, 1st level (Arden)
  • Vermis, wood elf ranger, 2nd level (Andrew)

After encountering the four silent duergar at the bridge, the party takes a long rest before continuing. The next few days making their way through the Underdark are eventful:

Day Two after leaving Velkynvelve: The travel day, led by Jimjar, passes uneventfully. Upon setting up camp and setting the night’s watch, however, the party is interrupted by an erupting steam vent and a passing-by giant creature with many limbs — like an octopus, but landborn. The heroes defeat the giant roctopus and make it through the rest of the night, sleeping on hard, cold rock.

Day Three: During the travel day, the party finds its way blocked by an extremely deep gorge, several hundred feet across. The gorge runs in either direction for some way. Rather than lowering themselves into the darkness, the group decides to make their way along it to find another route. This cuts the group’s travel distance in half this day. The night passes without incident.

Day Four: After a long travel day, the group sets up camp along a stagnant underground stream beside some duergar ruins. During the night’s watch, a solitary giant roctopus makes its way to water’s edge to drink. The guard on duty watches it from the shadows, quiet, not interrupting, and it continues on its way, thirst wetted.

Day Five: While traveling through the Underdark, the group is beset by horrid sounds, which affect Vermis in particular. We stopped play in what might be afternoon, before ending the day’s travel, and before establishing camp for the night—the party just alerted by Stool to the presence of someone, or something at the edge of his awareness.

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Session 7: The drow slavers catch up
Scouts, then the priestess and her warriors, advance

The Party

  • Adran, half elf sorceror, 3rd level (Liam)
  • Galdorf, half elf sorceror, 1st level (Milo)
  • Ilphilkir, high elf wizard, 3rd level (Poppy)
  • Melech, tiefling warlock, 3rd level (Chad)
  • Natreion, human barbarian, 3rd level (Michael)
  • Sheena, half elf rogue, 2nd level (Igor)
  • Trazar, wood elf cleric, 2nd level (Arden)
  • Vermis, wood elf ranger, 2nd level (Andrew)

Warned by Stool of the approach of someone at the edge of his awareness, the party and fellow escapees bed down for the night, setting a dual watch. During the first hour of guard duty, a drow scout approaches the party, drawing bow fire from the guards, who shout to wake the others. Natreion sleeps deeply, taking several rounds to wake, as additional scouts approach.

The party defeats the guards and returns to sleep, setting watch again. They are therefore not surprised by the arrival of the pursuer group’s rear guard: Ilvara, high priestess of Lolth; a junior priestess named Asha; and Ilvara’s former consort, the elite warrior Jorlan. Combat erupts again.The party is blasted by an infestation of biting locusts, with several falling. Even Jorlan almost succumbs to the plague of insects.

At the end of the evening, about half the party was down, Ilphilkir had emerged from the cloud of locusts to face Ilvara directly, and the remaining adventurers had emerged from the far side of the cloud.

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Session 8: A desperate attempt
Defeated slavers, myconid scouts, and a realization

The Party

  • Adran, half elf sorceror, 3rd level (Liam)
  • Galdorf, half elf sorceror, 1st level (Milo)
  • Melech, tiefling warlock, 3rd level (Chad)
  • Natreion, human barbarian, 3rd level (Michael)
  • Trazar, wood elf cleric, 2nd level (Arden)
  • Vermis, wood elf ranger, 2nd level (Andrew)

The party barely survives fighting their drow pursuers: Ilvara, Asha, and Jorlan. Those remaining conscious stabilize their comrades and set watch for the night.

On the sixth day since escaping Velkynvelve, the group encounters another steam vent during the travel portion of the day. At night, having set up camp to rest, the party is met by two myconid adults who don’t communicate much — and are surprisingly quickly defeated. The killing of the two myconids causes Stool to distant himself from the party. He continues to travel with the group toward Neverlight Grove, but he’s no longer as friendly — and no longer lets the group know whether others are approaching, for fear that the party will attack additional of his kind.

Before bedding down for the night, the group encounters a shambling mound. And Vermis experiences a short-lived bout of madness. Realizing that the party is now out of food — there are no rations left in any of their packs after six days of travel and sharing food — the group decides it will have to forage from now on. Vermis finds enough food for the next day, and the party rests uneasily despite the defeat of their pursuers.

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Session 9: Slouching toward Sloobludop
Jimjar's revelation, cliffs and ladders, and meeting the fish men

The Party

  • Adran, half elf sorceror, 3rd level (Liam)
  • Galdorf, half elf sorceror, 1st level (Milo)
  • ??? (Poppy)
  • Melech, tiefling warlock, 3rd level (Chad)
  • Natreion, human barbarian, 3rd level (Michael)
  • Sheena, half elf rogue, 2nd level (Igor)
  • Trazar, wood elf cleric, 2nd level (Arden)
  • Vermis, wood elf ranger, 2nd level (Andrew)

On the seventh day, the travel portion of the day is uneventful. That afternoon, the party encounters a sheer cliff face 40 feet high. Easily scaling the wall, Vermis and Sheena lower a ladder to the rest of the party below. After setting up camp, seven giant fire beetles enter the party’s cavern scavenging for food. Detecting a fresher source of sustenance, the beetles attack — and are defeated by the stalwart adventurers.

On the eighth day since leaving Velkynvelve, the party approaches another cliff and ladder, this time from the top rather than the bottom. And the evening brings another thirsty giant roctopus, which Galdorf lets drink from a nearby stream and then depart.

It is on the next day that Jimjar tells the party that he’s been leading them toward Sloobludop, a kuo-toa village on the shore of the Darklake. It is there that they should be able to secure boat passage and a guide across the lake — the fastest route to Neverlight Grove. As the party approaches the village, a group of eight kuo-toa attack, attempting to capture the party. Seven attack with spears and nets, and one attacks unarmed, bringing down thunder and lightning with his mighty blows. The party defeats the group of kuo-toa and uncertainly continues their approach to Sloobludop.

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Session 10: The enemy of my enemy
Surprising allies, an intriguing offer, and the gate to Sloobludop

The Party

  • Adran, half elf sorceror, 3rd level (Liam)
  • Galdorf, half elf sorceror, 2nd level (Milo)
  • Naivara, drow fighter, 2nd level (Poppy)
  • Melech, tiefling warlock, 3rd level (Chad)
  • Natreion, human barbarian, 3rd level (Michael)
  • Sheena, half elf rogue, 3rd level (Igor)
  • Trazar, wood elf cleric, 3rd level (Arden)
  • Vermis, wood elf ranger, 3rd level (Andrew)

After a sleep period following their encounter with the hostile group of kuo-toa, the party continues its way toward Sloobludop led by Jimjar. It is the 10th day since leaving Velkynvelve. The party confronts Jimjar asking why he didn’t tell them he planned to take them there, and he explains that he knew they’d be against the idea — but that securing boat passage and a guide in the kuo-toa village will speed their journey to Neverlight Grove. Instead of taking 16 more days to get there, it should now only take four or five across the water.

As the group continues toward Sloobludop, it meets another group of kuo-toa. Melech attacks immediately, resulting in combat; Natreion wades into the fray in a frenzied rage. After several rounds of fighting, the group’s apparent leader disengages, shouting for the party to stop its attack: “Please stop attacking us! We mean you no harm. We wish to escort you safely to Sloobludop — and have an offer to make you!” he calls out, several times louder than he should be able to shout, and in Common.

The fight ends, and the two groups parlay. Ploopploopeen, an archpriest of the Sea Mother, explains the recent uprising of a rival religious faction led by his daughter, Bloppblippodd. That faction worships the Deep Father, or Leemooggoogoon, proclaiming him a new god. The followers of the Deep Father have been making an increasing number of sacrifices, casting the remains into the Darklake, where it is consumed by… something. And Bloppblippodd’s powers are on the rise.

Ploopploopeen explains his plan: Escort the party unbound and still armed into the village. Bring them to the Altar of the Deep Father as a sacrifice. And with the party’s help, cut off the head of the new cult. The party agrees — for a price and passage across the Darklake — and the groups continue to Sloobludopp.

Once there, Ploopploopeen takes the group to the Shrine of the Sea Mother, where recent convert Galdorf vomits at her feet and Adran soils his robes, twice. The archpriest offers the group 500 gold pieces and two potions that might aid their journey if they help him with his plan.

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