A short journey wherein the intrepid PCs get lost in an effort to find Passy, and eventually discover just how dark the Underdark can be…
The Group returned to their Underdark “home” of the Serpent Hold, spending the night in safety and catching-up with their Dwarven DawnRock allies who watch the place. Over morning ales, the group voted on their next direction, and chose to take the slaver’s boat down-river to try and find Passy and the other prisoners.
Taking the boat, they travel for a couple days along the ancient trade canal to pass a pair of traders camping on a shrine, a human and a halfling, who give them some information regarding local customs (Goblins make for great gifts to Drow, apparently), and answer a few questions about Drow Houses and their power structure. They also pass by a gaping maw of a cavern, from which the stench of an Underdark swamp can be smelt, known locally as “The Hole”.
15th of Hammer : The group reach the “Lake”, and following around its edges, eventually reach the ruins of the City of Fountains. The ancient ruined dwarven city has vast swaths of fallen stone covering it, and wild mushrooms have grown wildly across the entire area. Investigating a strange “lighthouse” seen on a rocky island near the docks, they discover dozens of troglodytes and worse… and realize they might be out-classed by the creatures living in the ruins of this war zone. They camp on their boat, and quickly leave the docks.
16th of Hammer : Fleeing deeper into the Underdark along the trade canal that they believe led to the trade city of Pedastal, they eventually come to a vast, unfathomable stretch of briny water: they have uncovered the Great Sunless Sea. Braving waves and storm-tossed waters, they make good time and eventually reach a minor canal leading off. They rested for a short time at the entrance, and then poled their way along for a day, encountering a trade barge of Drow, getting directions.
17th of Hammer : The PCs canal joins a major trade canal, and following the directions given by the traders, they quickly follow it “upstream” to discover the mysterious fastness of Pedastal.
The city rose like a patch of mushrooms, growing about the bulk of “The Pedastal”, a vast pillar of stone stretching from the floor of the cavern to its misty ceiling. Numerous other pillars can be seen along the edges, and beyond the city lies the vast bulk of the Sunless Sea. The outer edges of the cavern are a series of mushroom forests and open cultivated fields and small villages, supporting the city. The PCs discovered what appeared to be mists, were actually the smoke from countless fires, and despite its ruin and age, still housed a respectable number of Drow and other races.
Travelling to the ancient ruins of the docks, the PCs managed to barter “protection” for their boat, and immediately hit the markets to spend their hard-earned gold and platinum. The market proved to have most anything, though they were not interested in trained Gelatinus Cubes and other rare “collectibles”. Girgnak managed to find information on his “Eye of the Serpent”, and Brommik was able to find bags of residium for sale. They inquired about “new slaves”, but could find nothing definitive regarding Passy or any others they were looking for. Spending the night in an abandoned shop, they took a well-needed rest to examine their new bobbles and discuss their next actions.
18th of Hammer : Acquiring their goods, and discussing matters, they agree they have come too far, and should return to Slaveport. They discovered the central pillar was a fortress for their fave Serpent Cult, and that the local drow house, House Dusklorn, controls the former “Noble District” surrounding the Pillar, due mostly to their control of the farms and mercenaries in the city. The PCs return to the docks and retrieve their boat from the duergar, heading out into the Sunless Sea…
They promptly got lost. Massive waves and a strong current pushed them far into the Sunless Sea, forcing them to paddle and pole for their very lives. For two days they fought illness and the dark creatures of the Underdark. Eventually, praying to every goddess they knew, they made it back to shore and into the trade canal leading to Slaveport.
21st of Hammer : The trip back up the trade canal was hard going, but after seven days of travel they managed to pole back to Slaveport, avoiding anything that looked remotely like trouble. At one point near the Sunless Sea, they encountered a trade barge of worn and weary drow commoners, who simply stared at the PCs as they passed, one old matron whispering “Kr-o-o-o-o-ol” as they passed…
27th of Hammer : The PCs rest at the Serpent Hold, and resupply themselves for a quick trip up the “backdoor” into Sentinel.
29th of Hammer : Brommik immediately seeks out the sage in the Undergarth and discovers the name of his Ritual to activate his relic sword : Enduring Vigor. Many potions of Healing are procured. Vani travels off to Broadwell with several hundred gold to continue his planned inn, and discovers it did not go well on his plans to raise a kobold. Many Healing potions are acquired.
30th of Hammer The PCs returned to their base above the Goblin Warrens, to find the kobolds have been busy, assembling a small arsenal of bolts and spears, as well as constructing several traps and teaching more tricks to their lizard ward. Grubby had been busy too, having finished his “storeroom” off the kitchens, having decorated it and even drilled a smoke hole to the surface, to provide for the PCs cooking. Brommik retrieves numerous coins from his hoard, and makes plans to visit with Lady Ravenhair in the Blessed Woods to finalize his ritual.
1st of Alturik The PCs travel to the Blessed Woods, finding it as hospitable as usual, and visit with Lady Ravenhair for a bit. She confides in the secrets of the ritual to activate Brommik’s sword, and leads them through an ancient nature ritual. Many nuts and berries later, and having spent a night under the open winter stars, Brommik does the “Dance of Stinging Nettles”.
2nd of Alturik The PCs return to Sentinel, and spend several days in research, resting, and general happy times.
5th of Alturik : Travelling back down the hidden tunnel to Sentinel, they travel to Slaveport. They then spend many days travelling down one of the main tunnels to the Rogue Crypts.
12th of Alturik The PCs encounter a few slimes, but otherwise reach the Crypts and travel into the Lesser Warrens, searching for the Orog Caves. Several days of travel along major and minor trails later, they get lost, avoiding a dangerous band of heavily armed ogres with an army of orcish mercenaries. Eventually they encounter a small “hunting party” of Drow with a handful of bugbear thralls, who answer a few questions, but generally avoid the PCs and hurry on into the Warrens.
Eventually the PCs managed to find a large cavern filled with muchroom trees, and following the main trail through the fungal growths, they discover a less-used trail leading to a clearing along one side of the cave. Close examination of the clearing revealed a hidden entrance to a small dwarven hold. Within were countless supplies, a small stable for Grignak’s Guar, and a dozen orog guards who were mostly slain. The survivors were interrogated, and revealed directions to the main Orog Caves, as well as the purpose behind this hidden fort; Hlethveg, the Halfling merchant met earlier, keeps it to supply his trade expeditions. The orog draw additional passages on Grignak’s map, including the names of the various locations. Resting there for the night, the PCs replenish their stores, leaving the crates of cloth and other rare trade goods intact.
19th of Alturik : The PCs proceed along the main trade route into the Warrens, but promptly get lost, spending eight days travelling lost among the catacombs near the Orog Caves. Eventually, they meet another band of hunting drow and their bugbear thralls, who direct them back along the tunnels until the PCs once more find their way into the Orog Caves.
27th of Alturik : A vast, open cave of broken fungal woodlands, the Orog Caves are quickly travelled through, until the PCs reached the massive stone doors of the Rageskull Orogs, lead tribe of the orog in the caves. Opening the doors, the PCs sneak into the caves beyond, and try to negotiate for information with the door guards. Eventually, they bring their “captain” Garunder to talk with the PCs. He, of course, smells of fish, and Brommik starts insulting him. Garunder demands the PCs wait for him, and he storms out, returning shortly bearing a massive red-glowing longspear/lance, and riding his large riding lizard, Slithertooth. He challenges Brommik for control of his tribe, and charges into combat. One painful assault later, the PCs panic and begin to slaughter all the guards in the chamber, including the dozen or so who storm into the chamber soon thereafter. A grand melee ensues, with the PCs victoriously seizing the outer caves of the Rageskull Orog, capturing Slithertooth and a handful of pack Guar, as well as a large collection of silver and gold coins from the purses of the orog.
The PCs flee the caves to return to Hlethveg’s Storeroom, resting and resupplying themselves. They discussed their next moves, with Brommik demanding the PCs return to Slaveport and try using the boat to pole up-stream from the trade fort, since it is the only direction they have not yet explored, and Passy’s trail has to be within 10 days of the town. Grignak fondles his new Guar. The PCs also realize, however, that with most of the Rageskulls guards removed, they might be able to seize control of the Orog Caves, and the lesser tribes under their control…