(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).
After the Demon-Lord Demogorgon was summoned into a highly populated area (the party was barely involved. Honest.) our heroes fled in a stolen boat. After long periods of sailing in random directions they finally decided to do the last remaining sensible option and sink their ship.
Sinking with the wreckage of their ship, the team are soon separated in the inky blackness of the deep waters of the lake. As he swims clear, Aiyu notices a statue mired in the mud, glowing softly.
He eventually emerged from the water next to a sand-bank where the party were despondently discussing what to do next.
Anastasia: “So we’re still lost AND we don’t have a boat.”
Aiyu: “But there’s a magic statue I found!”
Zook: “Not sure what we can do; there’s not enough to salvage the boat and we can’t even see any way’s out on foot.”
Aiyu: “It looks really interesting. It’s glowing! That must mean it’s magic!”
Targen: “Well I hate to say, ‘I told you so’ but I told you so.”
Zook: “Well, what else could we do? We couldn’t stay in the town with Demogorgon was eating everyone.”
Targen: “Really? Because you seemed to be best-buddies with him earlier when you set fire to Sargen.”
Sargen: “Maybe we should look at the statue that he keeps going on about? It’s not like we’ve got any better ideas.”
Aiyu: “Yay! Magic Statue!”
Swimming back to where Aiyu had found it, the party dived to investigate. It was beautifully carved and unmarred by the surrounding water, and as Aiyu reached out to touch it there was a flash and suddenly they were standing in a dark room, dry and breathing normally.
A tall, woman with long white hair and black clothes stepped out of the shadows, visible only by the glow of her pale skin. An aura of power was palpable around her.
Not-at-all suspicious woman: “Well met heroes.”
Party: “Hello, nice lady.”
Dark Woman, as she raised her hands: “Long have I watched you in your travels. Know that you have great deeds ahead of you and dark journeys to make. But heed! You will need allies for the long road ahead. I will send you where you can find some to help with all the challenges that lie before you.”
Dark Woman, dropping her arms: “Great? Have you nothing else to say about your situation?”
The party looked at each other apprehensively and had a rushed, whispered discussion.
The woman regarded the heroes without expression for a few moments.
Dark Woman: “Fine then. Whatever.”
With a dismissive flick of the wrist the band of heroes appear at a hole in a cave wall by the side of a large lake.
Sargen: “What a nice woman. Shall we check out this cave?”
Zook: “Yes. Remember we’re looking for an ally in here so try and refrain from random murder WhiteEagle.”
WhiteEagle: “What ‘Random’ murder?”
Zook: “Intentional murder then. Just keep the red mist in check. We don’t need any more mindless, savage rage.”
Zook: “Present company excepted.”
Inside were the ruins of a building, complete with ancient fountains and faded, beautiful mosaics. After entering the party was soon set upon by a set of three oozing monsters. They defeated them, but hitting the oozes acidic bodies resulted in severe burns for Sargen and the ruin of many of the parties weapons.
Sargen: “Ouch. No more hitting them then.”
He looked at the smouldering, pitted ruin of the weapon he’d been wielding.
Sargen: “Someone owes me a new axe.”
After exploring the ruins a bit more, they found an ooze in the base of a huge fountain which reached out to the party telepathically, explaining its name was Glabbagool. It was repulsed by the chaos it felt outside and was keen to accompany the heroes out of the complex to help. As a gesture of good-will, it re-gurgitated a mace and a collection of coins.
Anastasia: “Err, thanks.”
Zook: “That mace must be magical. It didn’t get digested.”
Anastasia: “We should give it to Aiyu as he’s the most likely to get eaten.”
WhiteEagle: “You think this was the ally we were sent here for?”
Targen: “Well, slimy help is better than no help at all WhiteEagle.”
Moving on to explore the remaining tunnels Anastasia played the shadows and scouted ahead, looking for danger. There was a pit-trap set into the floor which she cleverly found by falling directly into it. At the bottom an enormous, pudding-like black ooze rose from the mud menacingly.
Aiyu: “Don’t worry Anastasia!”
He leapt over the edge of the pit and dove onto the top of the pudding with a mighty swing of his sword. At that point he discovered he was suddenly thigh-deep in an acidic creature and his blow had caused it to split into two homicidal uni-cellular organisms. Having made his mark on the situation Aiyu promptly fell unconcious.
Zook: “Maybe he should have had that mace.”
The suddenly-twinned oozes responded by flailing around the tiny room with a mass of tentacles. As there was no room to manoeuvre in the bottom of the pit Anastasia soon joined Aiyu in the Land Of Nod. The rest of the team mounted a desperate rescue mission, with many of Zook’s spells bouncing off the creatures blubbery hides, or even worse, causing them to split again.
At the end, they stood victorious, though at the cost of Sargen being mostly naked and covered in burns, the melted ruins of his clothes and equipment lying on the floor. Only the new mace was miraculously untouched.
Targen: “Let’s get you some bandages.”
Sargen: ” I am in a lot of pain.”
Targen: “I meant as a loin-cloth.”
DM Notes: I came up with the statue and Lolth's intervention as part of the prep I did for the session. The party were pretty lost AND they'd skilfully avoided any information that might give them some hints at the broader plot. I thought this would be a good way to get them on track, introduce an antagonist and then maybe have her pop up again to offer 'guidance'. Playing up the oddity of the situation was bound to get the PC's curious, right? Right? No. They just accepted the 'weird magic crap' and just went with it. This would have been funnier if I hadn't spent quite a bit of time planning out the answer's she would give to their inevitable questions (making sure they were tantalizing, had plenty of clues but didn't give the game away). 😀