So, basically, we all are rather bad at keeping track of this campaign. I mean, seriously, our last post was in May of last year. In any case, the adventuring party (whose name escapes me at the moment (it makes sense I wouldn’t know that ’cause I play Ben)) [insert name here], is on its way after investigating for some time the illithid threat to Evershade, to murder the Elder-Brain and save the world, again.
We successfully navigate our way through the darkness of the Underdark, and somewhat through the ancient deserted kingdom of Golden Valley. Shortly after, more than somewhat disturbed by mad Gnome-king history, the party finds themselves cresting a wide underground hill, coming upon a large industrial plain bordered by a large pond. Jak, still serving as the light source (because he is emitting magical light) gives Ben a better view of the many large factories that now sit before them. At first guess, these buildings were likely a manufacturing center for the kingdom, useful tools such as tools and carts, furniture, weapons, and everything else. It is also apparent that the large body of water was a kind of reservoir, past which sits a gnomish city set atop an enormous stalagmite. Chillingly, the ruins are found to be devoid of life as Max scouts ahead into the ruins. As they spend more time, it is further chilling that the abandonment of this area happened suddenly.
Near the end of the reservoir, Jak finds himself asking D’Nissa “We’re still on the right track, right? You haven’t gotten us lost, have ya?” Pulling out the charcoal etching of the map, D’Nissa notes that at the edge of the enormous plains, that there should be a path. As we continue on, several members of the party show more signs of suffering Gulch Maddness. The time spent underground is taxing indeed.
Traveling further, the reservoir pans out, or rather, does the opposite of that, and narrows into a river, to the point where the party is only a hundred feet from the other side, where the deserted city is located. The waters move fast, with occasional rapids, but the path is the correct one leading to the exit of a the plains towards a tunnel. There is another part of the wall out of which water is flowing, where it appears a kind of cave-in has occurred. D’Nissa, looking back and forth between her map and this strange looking rock-formation, notes, “I don’t understand, the tunnel should be right here.” Thoughts of a cave-in flash through several of the party member’s minds, as well as the possibility that they may need a pass-word. D’Nissa begins to make her way across this river by jumping across to some rocks, followed by Jak, who decides after a few moments of investigation that there is, in fact, no safe way past this pile of rocks with water like a fountain.
Beyond, the river forks beyond this area, to the right, with an upward slope. Catherine notices a magical ringing in her ear. Jak: “What if we went the other way and looped around, like going the long way around?” D’Nissa, “I don’t think that would work, since the path seems to stay within this cavern.” ZZzzzzzzZZZZZzzzzZZZZZ inside Catherine’s ear – as she realizes that there is something magical blocking teleportation magic – but – exclaiming aloud, Catherine has some revelations: “I think there is something beyond here, possibly the Elder-brain. That would explain the blocking of transport magic and the blocking of this cave. The cave-in here looks accidental, but likely man-made. D’Nissa, how old is your map?”
“I…uh, I’m trying to think – this is the map that one House of Master’s expedition used when they were down here several months ago.”
Discussion broke down regarding special kinds of boxes that the party had encountered in the past. Boxes. Box.
“It can’t be that old, because it looks pretty nice. Hard to say.”
“Well, this is an older cave in, based on the age of the rocks. Is…nothing…about older…rocks?”
“This area should have been completely open, since it looks like it should have been a thoroughfare.” Jak, looking deeply into the rocks at the cave in, half-consciously says,
“Can we swim around it? There is water coming through, maybe we can swim underwater?” Ben, callously ignoring this, offers,
“What if we search the city and factories to find things we could use to clear some of these rocks?” Before Jak offers to charge the rocks, Cathering offers a bit more wisdom.
“I doubt we can go through here.”
At which point Jak does, in fact, charge the boulders with his greatsword, attempting to shear through the rocks. The cave in hardly budges, as most of the moveable rocks have already been washed away. The attempt, though good natured, is futile. Aside, Max thinks his thoughts. But…what about that guy with his two dogs? He had a dog, and then put another dog through a portal, and had two dogs. What was he doing? Dirk, who lives on Dude Street?
“Do you guys remember Dirk, who lives on Dude street? Do you remember what he was doing?” Catherine, mind racing, responds:
“Wait! I – as an arcane caster, I mess with magic, weaving and changing. Maybe I can use…magic? of Some kind?” Aside, Jak prays something aloud, placing his hand on the rocks. And then falls down, gets up, and kicks the rocks angrily. Catherine tries, very hard, to remember Dirk’s research, which uses the magic of the shadowfell to teleport and portal around, by bending the material planes around one’s self, instead of actually moving through. This could work.
“We should go see Dirk.” Max, throwing up his arms in the air, shouts back at Catherine,
“How are we going to get past the fact that magic is bullshit to begin with?” The wizened wizard, waving this aside, continues,
“I could try and open a portal to and from Dirk’s place” Jak, seeming to like this idea, says,
“Well, what if we found a portal like-thingamagig in the city? We should go look there, and maybe find something explosive to clear the rocks as well.” Everyone nodded
[editorial note: I can’t decide whether to stay in present, past, third, first, or whatever tense while writing this. I am sorry.]
at this, and splits up to search the city, surveying the stalagmite upon which the ruins sit. The structure of the area suggests that there is not a central area to the city, but a quick look-around reveals that there really isn’t a better way than to get to the very top of the stalagmite.
[wait-there’s a black dragon? -there’s a big black dragon, we figured this out the one week you weren’t here. when we got down here, we saw this black dragon (basically Alduin?) fly over us, though it didn’t see us. -oh. ok. thanks. so now we’re going to go find it, because we like experience points.]
We decide to try a big open space the gnomes may have used as a big common area. As we walk through this cavern for several more minutes, we see this hazy cloud, a bright blue light flickering, like a bright candle, as well as a handful of torches lit in the area. As Max gets closer, he notices statues, and more lights, kind of like a central large gathering public area. He also notices living creatures.
Max reports to the group. “There are things down there. We should explore, using my stealth, and slowly.” The party is able to approach much closer now, having done this kind of light-stepping many times before, taking cover behind a large rock. Catherine determines that there is some kind of ritual going on from the Conjuration school of magic. We can see a mind-flayer conducting this ritual. Jak’s instincts are to charge. We know that we could use this area to portal back and forth from Evershade! After so much time down here, it would be a relief to be able to get some rest. Our job here becomes to ambush the mind-flayer, and head back to the surface.
As we approach the plaza, we saw there were multiple creatures, and a mind-flayer casting a portal ritual, lit with torches, slowly and carefully creeping up towards the entrance of this plaza. Max directs the sneaky sneaking, telling us to get behind two statues, while nothing changes up the road on at the plaza when we hear a sudden gurgly shriek, a bubbly noise. Especially disturbing is the fact that this is the first time any of us had heard the physical sound of a mind-flayer. One of the grim-locks begins to speak, “urgh! master says the static bringers are here” His speaking is somewhat broken, deep, guttural, barely even words. “we must stop them!”