(This is a log of my players run through the Out of the Abyss campaign (After a brief dabble with Harried at Hillsfar first. Spoilers abound, though it’s likely the team won’t play the module in the way you, the writers or sanity intended).
A combination of betrayal and pyromania has left the party falling into the inky blackness of a huge cave.
We re-join our heroes as Aiyu plummets through the air, surrounded by the burning remnants of spider webs and the Spectator’s belongings.
Aiyu: “Buppido! That little sod! I’m going to kill him! I’m going to kill him so much he’s going to wish he was dead!”
After falling for what seemed like an hour, Aiyu was shocked out of his litany of hatred by smashing into the waters of an icy lake. The cave had no natural light but Aiyu could see with his darkvision that the other party members had dragged themselves onto a shore nearby.
Sargen: “You made it then.”
Aiyu: “No thanks to Buppido. He threw me off the cliff while babbling about sacrifices.”
WhiteEagle: “He seemed so nice and trustworthy too.”
Aiyu: “I know, right? I was totally blindsided. Gods, I’m freezing.”
Targen: “Zook can’t light the fire.”
Zook: “Yes, yes, ha ha ha, very funny. The irony! I’d have this lit already if you let me use magic.”
WhiteEagle: “No magic for you until you learn how to aim.”
Sargen left to scout the area and look for food. Later, he returned to the lit fire with supplies and a description of what lay about them.
Sargen: “Here, we can probably eat these.”
Zook, warily examined the indistinguishable lumps: “What are these?”
Sargen: “Questions you don’t want the answers to you shouldn’t ask.”
Anastasia : “Is it rabbit?”
Sargen: “Sure, if it makes you feel better.”
As the party chewed down on their meal of tendon and greasy nodule they made plans to continue down the river on a raft lashed together out
of the fallen chunks of vast mushroom trees.
Targen: “I knew that 50 foot length of rope would come in handy some day.”
Anastasia: “So Shuushar said the Kuo-Toa wouldn’t be hostile as long as we were respectful. They have some trade with the surface so it’s possible we can find a way back up.”
Zook: “Yes. We keep out noses clean, get the lay of the land and find a way back home.”
Aiyu: “And quietly murder Buppido.“
Zook: “No murder. Nothing that gets us into trouble. Sloop said his people can be suspicious of outsiders so we make it really clear we’re no threat and we can get the information we need. Are you listening WhiteEagle?”
WhiteEagle: “Hmm? Oh, right. Yes. Threat. Trouble. Murder.”
Soon the party were pushing off into the lake on their makeshift raft. The waters were slow, steady and peaceful. The raft floated down river after river as the heroes watched the alien underground tunnels drift by.
The tunnels themselves eventually started showing more signs of construction, with chains fitted for boats or small ruined piers near the edges of the river. They soon noticed two things;
- The river had begun to flow noticeably faster as the tunnels narrowed.
- That they’d acquired an escort.
Anastasia: “I don’t think we’re alone now.”
Sargen: “Look! Some more of those fish-men like Sloop.”
Sargen pointed to several figures swimming alongside the raft, peaceably and curiously splashing next to the boat, like playful dolphins.
Zook: “They don’t seem to be attacking, probably just just checking us out.”
WhiteEagle: “Absolutely, we’ve got them cold. Closest ones first.”
Zook: “What? No, that’s not…”
The nearest Kuo-Toa floated to the back of the raft with an arrow in it’s head.
Several more started getting hit with WhiteEagle’s arrows and soon panic set in among the swimmers.
Zook: “WhiteEagle! How could you!”
WhiteEagle: “Would do you mean? They were hardly moving so it was loads easier than usual. I’m winning!”
The remaining Kuo Toa submerged and then began attacking the raft. Even with WhiteEagle’s
murder surprise attack there were still plenty of Kuo-Toa left who were fighting in their natural environment. The river had become very fast and choppy and the moving raft made the steady foot-work required for combat difficult.
Hence a few minutes later the team were clinging to the remnants of their ruined raft as it was tossed down the river towards waiting rocks.
Targen: “This was painfully predictable.”
Aiyu: “I think I lost my favourite dagger. This whole “peaceful” thing sucks.”
Targen: “How would you know? We’ve not tried it yet. Hold on tight!”
Anastasia: “At least dry land appears to be approaching. In fact, approaching at some speed.”
It wasn’t quite how they planned but they’d finally reached the city of Sloop’s people.
DM Notes: The WhiteEagle massacre pretty much caught everyone by surprise, including me. I'd tentatively planned for the escort to get the team into the city and introduced to the main players, plus giving them a helping hand in what could have been a tricky fight later. By this point I was getting steadily less subtle in trying to get some of the backstor (what was happening in the UnderDark) to them as foreshadowing or flavour. As you'll see, most of this stuff was missed, ignored or murdered. Completely random theories with the barest shred of evidence though? They were often jumped on with both feet 😀