Westlaws 2.0 - The Devouring

Westlaws Update 2.1

"Not necessity, not desire - no, the love of power is the demon of men. Let them have everything - health, food, a place to live, entertainment - they are and remain unhappy and low-spirited: for the demon waits and waits and will be satisfied."

28th of Alturik : After a solid extended rest in Hlethveg’s Storeroom, the Outsiders discuss their options. They decided that they should employ the “Boots on NEcks” option, and subjugate the orog caverns, in the hopes they might find more information regarding Passy’s kidnapping.

Returning to the Orog Caverns, they encountered a massive rat swarm, encompassing the entire cavern. Using stealth and their knowledge of the Underdark, the Outsiders managed to escape most of the rats, though Illuria trips, falls and gets swarmed, suffering numerous bites and attacks before she’s able to fight free. After some needed rest and healing, they continue back towards the Caverns. Reaching the entrance to the massive fungal forest cave, the PCs rest.

29th of Alturik : The PCs travel through the fungal forest, and approach the large, crudely-made doors of teh Rageskull tribe, to find the portal sealed against them. Vani works his magic, and after a few minutes manages to open the barred and sealed door. Beyond, the outer chamber has been somewhat cleared of corpses, though several still remain along the walls. Travelling into the chamber beyond, they find a large cave filled with Crushbone Orcs along the walls. Beyond them lay a deep-looking pond, with an altar to some forgotten god, and at the head was a female orc shaman wearing what must have been the finest orcish clothing and gear, guarded by a handful of Orog guards with the Rageskull crest on their shields. Behind her cowered a collection of females and orc kits from the Crushbone Tribe.

Brommik strode forward atop his new “pet”, Slithertooth, the captured riding lizard, and demanded to speak with whoever was in charge, using Deep Common. The shaman pointed down the other passage beyond, and said one word “Bloodfeaster”. Tying Slithertooth and Grignak’s Guar pack train in the previous chamber, the PCs trod carefully down the mentioned path, passing a large open cavern to their left that had the feel of a barracks to it; empty, with a large cage in one corner, that later was identified to be Slithertooth’s “nest”. They passed into a large cavern with a massive pile of hides along one side, several strange furnishings and a massive trunk on the opposite wall. Guarding this chamber was a huge Orog chieftain, several guards, and a pair of shamans. In one corner was a small tunnel leading down into the dark. Brommik approached and challenged “Bloodfeaster” for control of the tribe. The chieftain cried one word; “DIE!”, and with the chorus of the PCs banging their weapons together, combat ensued.

With a heavy “GWARGH!” the orcs and PCs crashed together. Brommik was amazing in his deft strikes and flaching blade, employing Inathi Ochelpa to its fullest. Laying into the swarm of orcish guards, he began cutting a path through to the chief, while the chief attacked over his minions. The paired shamanes threw fire and smoke at the PCs, and while Illuria struck over and around Brommik, Domingo slipped along the flank, removing soldiers one after another. Vani and Grignak struck at targets of opportunity as they made themselves available. As Domingo slipped around and flanked the guards to engage the shamans, Brommik revealed his House Vrama insignia, using its powers to aid him in fighting the chief, who noticed the symbol and grew frantic in his fight.

With the guards mostly dispatched, and the chief bloodied, Grignak slipped away from the shaman’s fire bolts, and noticed the shaman from the previous chamber accompanied by her guards, entered the hallway and began throwing flame at the Bloodfeaster, revealing her strength as a powerful shaman. With everyone concentrating on the combat, Vani slipped into a flanking position and quickly dispatched both a guard and one of the shamans. As Brommik laid the final blow to the Bloodfeaster, one of the shamans slipped down the side tunnel to escape. Victory! Much banging of weapons and howls of success. Domingo simply shook his head as he cleaned his weapon The Moon Mace, muttering “…and so we see, Evil shall always consume itself…”.

The Outsiders sacked the chamber, while talking with the now animated shaman. She identified herself as a priest of Luthic, orcish demigoddess of the Hearth and tribe. She also identified “Bloodfeaster” as a follower of a false god, not the Earth Serpent as everyone supposed, but rather Agrik, God of Tyranny. Both Brommik and Dominigo felt well served in killing him and his followers, as their goddess demanded. In the large trunk (with Vani bypassing its trap), the group found a large collection of silver, electrum and gold coins (including several hundred platinum drow coins!), a few magic bits of armor and healing potions, as well as a collection of gear meant for a dwarf. They discussed matters, and the priestess of Luthic (named Garundaryek) claimed she now spoke for the Crushskulls and the Rageskulls, and that if anyone sought hiring orcish mercenaries in the future, they should talk to her. The PCs agreed. She procalimed she was not much privy to the slave trading that went on, since it was handled by the Bloodfeaster and his captain (the former owner of Slithertooth). Pleased that the situation was well in hand in the Orog Caverns, the Pcs departed, stating they or their agents should return soon… The PCs retreated back to teh cavern entrance, and took a full extended rest.

30th of Alturik Returning to Hlethveg’s Storeroom, the PCs took a day to re-pack and organize the guar pack train (now 6 guar and growing!). They decided to sack the cave, since they did not intend to return any time soon, and took inventory of the cloth, food and spirits left in the chambers. Strapped under one table they also looted a collection of healing potions. The PCs left a “Promissary Note” identifying themselves, and where to collect the 17,000 gp in trade goods they had just packed onto the guar. Well-rested, they headed off into the Lesser Warrens.

1st – 5th of Kelen : The trip along the caverns of the Lesser Warrens went without notable incident, passing along “The Way”, past the Domain to the Nexus and allowing the PCs to reach their intended site of the Rogue Crypts, “Summer Home” of fallen House Morcane. To gain access, they needed to erect an ingenious “elevator” to haul the guar up into the entrance tunnels of the Crypts, and eventually met with House Morcane.

News was exchanged between House Outsider and House Morcane’s “matrons”, with Illuria taking the lead, led by Grignak giving mental suggestions. The PCs apologized for their inability to bring goblin slaves as a gift (something they’ve found is a common and favourable action among Drow), and exchanged news. The matron, Tierak Morcane, seemed especially alarmed by the PCs reports of a large band of ogres and orcish minions from the Viper Crown moving through the Lesser Warrens. Taking the hint, Illuria offered House Morcane to visit Slaveport and be their guests in the Under Halls of Serpent Hold. Tierak accepted and preperations were begun, since she said it would take at least a day to pack for the journey. With a day to spend, Grignak asked if the PCs could investigate one of the walled-off sections immeadiately next to the entrance tunnel, to which Tierak seemed unconcerned.

The PCs made preparations, and after investigating the wall (obviously magically created to seal the tunnel), they employed their various tools (including Brommik’s wonderful crowbar) and broke it open, revealing a tunnel leading off into the darkness. The tunnel quickly split, and its walls, ceiling and floor were found to be strewn with thick sheets of webbing. Since this was a drow crypt (something Matron Tierak had mentioned was odd, since “true” drow do not bury their dead, rather placing them as fodder for the forests when they die…). Taking the right path, they found it led to a large open cavern strewn with webbing and its entrance partially covered by a massive pile of offal, bones and webbing. The denizens revealed themselves to be driders! The tough one along the south wall was brutal and quickly turned to hiss at the PCs, while the slighter one seemed busy… chewing on something…

Taking advantage of the distracted slighter one, Brommik, astride Slither tooth, streaked along the wall over the offal pit, and charged the slighter one doing a brutal series of blows while she was distracted. The large one charged the PCs, stopping at Domingo who challenged it with a divine call. Vani slipped around to one side while Brommik’s dog nipped and successfully distracted the bigger one to help. The creature took special notice of Vani and his vicious strikes, and brutally damaged and bit him. Meanwhile, Brommik managed to severely wound the slighter one, though it slowly moved over to link with its companion.

As they slowly managed to get close to each other, the female slipped carefully next to the offal pit and poisoned Vani enough to knock him unconscious, while Domingo nearly took a fatal strike. Illuria managed to place well-aimed strikes against the brutal one, with Grignak laying down a constant stream of psychic damage. Although all parties began to take damage liberally, and the pair of driders proved to be tough once bloodied, eventually first the male fell, and then its consort was slain as well.

The group began to root through the offal pit, taking the equipment from the bodies of the driders, finding simple weapons and armor, and a small collection of coins. Vani and Domingo searched down the other passage, finding a pit holding a nest of large, driderish eggs, and beyond a large “feeding cavern” with countless tiny spiders swarming the ruins of numerous larger spiders and webbing, hinting the chamber was a feeding pit of some sort. Setting fire to the egg sack, the PCs slipped back into the entrance chamber to the Rogue Crypts, to rest and heal.

6th of Kelen : Vani and Domingo awoke with headaches and the distinct feeling they’ve been struck down with a disease; later identified as “Blinding Sickness”. Vani took the illness particularly harshly, and Grignak offered to use his Ritual Scroll to assist Vani get better. Domingo has one as well, and although Vani took serious damage in the healing, he was able to recover (and only nearly die) with help from his companions. Domingo suffered less damge and recovered quickly.

Soon after the healing, Matron Tierak Morcan appeared with her brother the mage (Kisrak), and her guards and servants (for the first time, too). She was revealed to have six guards, two carrying chains with spiders on collars, and a pair of spider-like humanoids bearing packs and chests on their backs; Matron Tierak identified them as “Spiderlings”, and they seemed intelligent, if submissive… and hideous. It was noted, that unlike other drow encountered, they did not have any bugbear thralls with them as muscle. The group, with pack guar and Slithertooth at the lead, headed back down the now familiar paths of the Least Warrens travelling to Slaveport.

7th – 14th of Kelen : The paths were fairly deserted, and teh group quicly passed through the first NExus, then past the Quarry chamber and the watchpost (still abandoned), the second Nexus and into Vulcan’s Forge, where their dwarvish allies, the Dawn Rock clan were mining the exposed cave walls of this massive chamber. They introduced their House Morcane “guests”, and then passed on towards Slaveport, reaching the community on the 14th.

Passing straight to Serpent Hold, the group introduced their guests to the Dawn Rock dependents, and a feast was had by all. The PCs divided treasure and Brommik paid back a large pile of platinum he owed the group. News was excahnged, and plans were made. It was commented that someone needed to do something about the Gnoll tribe that laired across the way; either hire them or enslave them. The elusive Stonebreaker dwarves were recently in town, selling rare scrollwork weapons and raw precious minerals for food and cloth. The strange dwarven items taken from the Rageskull tribe’s treasure were identified as belonging to one “Snaggle”, a scout and courier for another elusive dwarven tribe near Slaveport, the hidden village of Underbell. They offered to take the dwarf’s belongings, and see if they could be returned to his next of kin. When Grignak asked about the “Bull-man” that came to town sometimes, they informed him he was in town at the market… Grignak quickly vanished quickly followed by the rest of the group…

The minotaur was poking through the pottery shop for potion bottles(“OMG! It’s a bull in a china shop! No one do anything to startle him!”). Dressed in gold-trimmed red robes once of fine shimmersilk, with silver and gold rings on his horns, Grignak introduced himself, to find Rikar “the Prophet” to be a cultured and educated creature. Grignak inquired after his knowledge of several rituals (Brew Potion, Enchant Item and Disenchant Item, in particular), but he admitted he usually only carried a limited selection when in market (Cure Disease, Discern Lies, Gentle Repose, Raise Dead and Traveller’s Feast), as well as Ritual Scrolls of Discern Lies and Traveller’s Feast for trade and sale. Brommik inquired after his enchanting an item, and he agreed to return in a ten-day with the appropriate materials to enchant Brommik’s plate armor. Domingo asked if he knew any other rituals, and showing the Moon Mace to Rikar, was informed he did know the proper rituals to “invest” the owner, called “Truth of the Mirror”. He agreed to return on the ten-day as well and bring the materials needed to activate the relic’s powers. They said their goodbyes, and wishing him well, returned to the Serpent Hold for a good night’s rest…

Comments

Point of order: Domingo did not go rooting through the offal at all after the drider fight, and did not become sick at all. Rather he stood back, quite dubious and stunned that his teammates would go seeking things out in a pile of poo. He did cast the two rituals to cure disease though.

Westlaws Update 2.1
Robling

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