(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).
The party has discovered that mass-murder isn’t the way to win the hearts and minds of the locals and that getting involved in religious disputes is a good way to cause strife; strife in the form of a 10 meter-high demon lord in this specific case.
The roaring of Demogorgon crashed over the town, partially drowning out the cries of panic amongst half of the towns-folk. The other half had collapsed to their knees worshipping the great “Leemooggoogoonthe” and ignored the chaos around them.
Targen: “I really don’t think we should be here when that thing makes it to the shore.”
Anastasia: “Seconded. There’s some boats over there, let’s grab one.”
Pushing through the chaos, the team noticed the familiar faces of some of their fellow escapees loading supplies onto a boat. Running down the pier towards them and calling out enthusiastically they were surprised to be greeted by a volley of arrows thudding into the wooden planks around them.
Lady Dwarf: “You stay back! Don’t you come anywhere near us!”
Aiyu: “Look, we can’t apologise any more than we have. Sometimes my friends can’t help being offensive, but hey have other redeeming qualities.”
Eldeth: “What are you talking about! You killed Turvy! And you almost killed Buppido!”
Buppido: “I escaped, but poor Turvy wasn’t quite fast enough!”
Topsy, being restrained: “Let them come! They’ll get what I owe them!”
Anastasia: “No, that’s not what happened! Aiyu was the one attacked!”
Anastasia thought for a second and then added: “And he didn’t do anything to deserve it this time!”
Buppido: “Don’t trust them! They’ll sacrifice you to the Great God (LONG MAY HE REIGN!) Kill them now!”
Eldeth, lowering her bow, unsure about who was less sane: “Just stay away! If I see you anywhere near us again, you’re all dead!”
Zook: “Another win for diplomacy.”
Targen: “Well any conversation you can walk away from is a good one, right? Let’s go.”
They left with Aiyu vowing even more gory revenge scenarios on Buppido and started desperately looking for a boat as Demogorgon drew ever closer to the town.
After explaining their need for a boat was higher than anyone else’s (via liberal application of violence) the heroes pushed off from the shore onto the lake, rowing desperately towards one of the many riverways that exited the underground lake.
Anastasia, wiping blood from his oar: “I thought that last kid was never going to let go.”
Sargen: “Zook! Help row! What’s wrong with you!”
Zook, fixated on the enormous form of the Demon Lord: “The Great Father calls to me!”
After a brief flurry of magical spell casting he fired of a series of firebolts that blasted into the barbarian and knocked him sprawling to the floor of the boat. The rest of the team jumped onto Zook and wrestled him to the ground.
WhiteEagle: “How come he only shoots straight when he’s shooting us?”
They soon had Zook tied to a mast. While he called out to his new master Targen tended to the unconscious form of Sargen.
Targen, wrinkling his nose: “Barbequed half-orc barbarian; delightful.”
As they steered the boat round the bend of a river the last thing they saw of the town was Demogorgon tearing down buildings with one sweep of his tentacled arm.
Aiyu: “Well, at least we stopped the priests fighting.”
Once Zook had recovered his senses the party decided to try and find Blindenstone, the city of the Deep Gnomes. Unfortunately the small drawback was that they didn’t know where they were or where they were going.
They spent the next few days paddling down the water-ways and scavenging for food until they ended up floating in the centre of another lake.
Sargen: “We’ve been here before.”
Anastasia: “How can you tell? It’s all dark, wet and horrible.”
Sargen, sniffing: “It just smells familiar.”
WhiteEagle: “Are we really going to rely on his nose to get us out of this? Also, why are we spinning?”
The boat was caught in a rapidly forming vortex in the centre of the lake. As it spun faster an enormous tower of water rose out of the edge of the rotating vortex, circling the party with ever increasing speed.
Aiyu: “What the hell is that!”
Zook racked his brains, thoughtfully considering his years of training in the arcane arts.
Zook: “It’s a water monster!”
DM Notes: I finally decided to roll with it and have the NPC's leave; partly because Buppido had taken on this "nemesis" persona to the group and I wanted to build on it and also because there was no good way to integrate them with the group. It just wasn't realistic to have the NPCs meekly go along with the random acts of violence, murder and self-sabotage the group would get up to but on the other hand I didn't want them wagging their fingers at the PCs all day or telling them what to do. So: Exile. FOR NOW. I like leaning into cataclysmically bad rolls the players had occasionally (like Zook IDing the Water Weird). I mean, strictly it would make more sense to say something like "Zook vaguely recalls some details about summoned creatures, but nothing specific" or "Aiyu kicks a rock while trying to move stealthily". But where's the fun in that?