(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).
Having been sent in the right direction by a not-at-all-suspicious woman, the party have recruited a blob.
Having persuaded Glabbagoo, the friendly acid-cubel to join up our heroes left the ruins and headed further into the caves of the Underdark. Anastasia and Aiyu were forging ahead and their scouting revealed two Drow in the tunnel. Strangely, the two dark elves were both lying on the ground, against the side of the cavern wall and so the two heroic paragons hurried back to report.
Anastasia: “We got really close to them; they seem sick, or injured or something. One of them was croaking something about a demon incursion.”
Zook: “Well, this could be a good chance to get some information.”
Targen: “I’ll heal them and see what they say.”
Zook: “Be careful, though I don’t think they sound like much of a threat.”
Anastasia: “Yeah, they were no threat at all.”
Zook: “Maybe we should scout around the area a bit more fir…. wait. Were?”
Aiyu: “Yeah, Anastasia killed them. She was so quick I didn’t even get a chance to stab either of them.”
Anastasia: “Yep! Managed to kill them both even before Aiyu’s sword was out of it’s scabbard!
You didn’t want to talk to them did you?”
Targen: “Why would we want to keep helpless prisoners with valuable information alive?”
As the team moved away, Sargen was patting Zook on the pack as he sobbed into his beard.
Sargen: “There, there.”
WhiteEagle: “Wait a minute. We can’t just leave them there like rubbish on the ground!”
Targen: “Really? I’m a bit surprised you’d want to give them a proper burial.”
WhiteEagle: “Burial is good, but the ground here is a bit rocky. Their bodies might be discovered.”
Targen: “Of course, you’re worried about covering your tracks. Silly me.”
WhiteEagle: “Right! We can’t take them with us, burying them is out, a fire underground would be a bad idea…… hmmm. What could we use to dispose of them without a trace?”
At that point Glabbagool, the friendly gelatinous cube approached.
Glabbagool: “Hello my new nice friends! I am sorry I am so slow but I am grateful you waited for me to catch up.
Why are you all staring at me, good bipeds?”
Thus the party was soon on its way again, with the two Drow corpses slowly melting inside Glabbagool.
Aiyu: “I’m just sorry we weren’t early enough to save them Glab.”
Glabbagool: “Yes. It is very sad that those two elves died cutting each other’s hair. “
Days past as they trekked further down the tunnels and caverns of the Underdark. scavenging for food and avoiding Drow patrols. Diverting around a cave-in, the party started hearing a faint, feminine voice calling out for help in the darkness. Tracking the source of the sound into tunnels that hadn’t been accessed for years they came across a stone door, engraved with symbols. Anastasia quickly checked it for traps as Zook worked out how to open it.
The door led to a vast, spectacular tomb, an ancient relic of the Netherese era. Calendar stones indicated it was hundreds of years old and a huge relief on one of the walls showed a powerful woman fighting, ruling and subjugating empires. The history and epic majesty was breathtaking.
Targen: “We’re going to be attacked by undead, aren’t we?”
Targen: “Ancient tomb, powerful person, relics, history. It means we’re going to get attacked by some random ghost. Probably one doing that voice we heard.”
Zook: “The whole place is permeated with wild magic. If I cast a spell, something unexpected might happen.”
Anastasia: “Like you actually hitting what you aim at?”
Zook gave her a level look: “We should just be careful.”
Moving further into the tomb the adventurers find a room with four stone caskets in. As they search, a ghostly spectre emerges from each and attacks the party, moaning ethereally. During the fight, the teams magic misfires in various ways including spawning a globe of impenetrable darkness in the doorway. Aiyu promptly decides to sprint full-pelt through the inky blackness and smashes into a wall, rendering him senseless.
Even with all these challenges the spectres were soon vanquished though the team couldn’t help noticing Zook’s long beard was now made entirely of feathers.
WhiteEagle: “I’m not even going to ask.”
Zook: “I wasn’t kidding about the wild magic. Let’s get Dances-With-Doorframes back on his feet.”
The last room in the tomb was behind a massive stone door, emblazened with the runes spelling “Here Lies Brysis”.
Targen: “Here we go. You wait and see if I’m right.”
Inside the room they soon set upon by the Banshee of Brysis, screaming while desperately trying to drain the life-force of the party. Her wails soon rendered Sargen unconscious and the team used all their available resources to defeat her.
Targen: “See, I told you so.”
Zook: “She didn’t sound anything like the voice that called us in here though.”
Targen: “She was probably impersonating someone. You’ve turned blue by the way.”
Zook: “WILD. MAGIC.”
The female voice they heard earlier once again called out, and the party tracked down the hilt of a sword hidden inside a sarcophagus. As Sargen picked up the hilt the woman’s voice introduced itself as the Dawnblade, a magic sword dedicated to good works and fighting evil. A blade of pure sunlight shone from the hilt and energy crackled over the ancient weapon.
Sargen described what he had learned while Zook cast various spells to identity what the sword could do. The team decided that clearly the best fit for the sword’s desire to be wielded by a selfless hero motivated purely by good was Aiyu.
Foreshadowing: This was an outstandingly poor decision.
A side effect of the magical investigation was the sudden appearance of a unicorn in the tomb. Realising that unicorns can teleport, Zook and Targen considered its possible application in helping the party escape the Underdark.
Zook and Targen, leaping onto the back of Unicorn: “SO LONG SUCKERS!”
With a small “pop!” the Unicorn vanished.
WhiteEagle: “Do you think they’re coming back?”
Unfortunately, the magic of the tomb had interfered with the unicorn’s ability and Targen and Zook appeared in the middle of a large Drow patrol, heading into the tomb’s entrance. They were led by Asha Vandree, one of the priestesses controlling the outpost the heroes had escaped from at the start of their adventure.
The Drow were understandably surprised by a blue, feather-bearded gnome appearing in their midst on the back of a unicorn; their hail of crossbow bolts was delayed just enough to allow Zook and Targen to teleport back to their friends.
Zook: “The Drow! They’ve found us! “
After gurgling out his warning, Zook collapsed unconscious from the sleep-venom on the Drow bolts and Targen soon followed suit. The unicorn simply fell over and vanished.
Aiyu: “It didn’t take them long to get into trouble, did it?”
Sargen: “Help me barricade the door.“
As WhiteEagle helped Zook and Targen back to consciousness, the Drow started pounding on the outside of the door.
Asha Vandree: “How dare you scum defy us! I’m going to blast that door down and you’re all going to wish you’d died slaves!”
Sargen: “Do you think she knows about the wild magic stuff that turned you blue?”
Outside there was series of thunderous detonations followed by muffled screaming.
Zook: “I’d say no.”
Cautiously, the team opened the door only to see the entire entry room was a blacked ruin. Asha was staggering around the smouldering bodies of her guards, her fine clothes burnt and torn.
Asha: “You! You did this!”
Anastasia: “Not us. You must aim as badly as Zook does.”
The enraged priestess was a tough opponent, but in her weakened state and without the benefit of magic the party soon triumphed.
WhiteEagle: “A totally unfair fight; my favourite kind.”
Aiyu: “Yeah, it was just a shame she was awake too.”
Aiyu ignored the slightly anxious pulse from the Dawnblade. All morality was relative, right?
DM Notes: I had all that back story prepared for Lolth that the team dutifully skipped so I tried a different tack. I thought a pair of Drow, so injured they were no possible threat would allow the heroes to interrogate them and get the information they needed. Of course, I didn't realise that "No Threat" = "Instant Murder". Zook's weeping into his beard was pretty much my reaction at the time. The fight in the tomb and the wild magic was all down to getting random Wild Magic results then improvising from there. It was really fun 🙂 I added the attack by the Drow (and the scouts at the start of the session) to drive home that the team were still being pursued but the team were in such a state by that point it'd probably been a wipe. Hence the WIld Magic backfire....