Chapter 6: Out of the Black.   Posted by Raellus.Group: 0
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 469 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 26 Nov 2017
at 17:11
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"I don't mind waiting," Corros says with a cock-eyed grin and a sidelong glance at Jenna. "Quality time is quality time.  Even in a dank, dangerous, evil filled dungeon, yeah?"  Nic is death on legs with his sword and Gronk just plain smashes through bad guys.  If the spellcasters are needed, the warlock can tear a whole in space and emerge up there anyway.

And besides, he's curious what the deep gnomes have to show them.  Even if all it is is a safe place to sleep for a few hours under glowing fungus.  And maybe the location of the ancient tunnels that have led to all this trouble.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 515 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 27 Nov 2017
at 09:55
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"After you" Jenna said to Nicolai, bobbing her head and waving her hand towards the basket with an exaggerated flourish, much like a courtier might do in the presence of their liege. Or at least what she imagined a courtier might do in the presence of their liege.

Straightening up, the blonde haired Priestess stepped over to Corros, placed her mail gloved hand on the warlock's shoulder. "We could wait until they get half way then use your fly spell to go past them." Her eyes are shining, the corners of her lips curling into a grin. She's joking, knows that it would be a frivolous use of the powers that her lover has been gifted with.  Although if the others are walking into a trap they may have to do just that.
Raellus
 GM, 795 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 16 Dec 2017
at 00:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Two trips, no treachery, and the Five enter the Deep Gnome village. After ascending in the iron basket, the party passes through a thick, iron door, set high up in the cavern wall, then walks the length of a long, fairly straight tunnel. It's made for and by Deep Gnomes, so Gronk has to bend over nearly double; it's also a tight fit for the others, who must watch their heads lest they scrape them against a low spot in the ceiling.

The tunnel terminates in another heavy steel door, this one covered in runes that suggest defensive wards. At Svimn's touch, it opens into a very large, dimly lit chamber, revealing a village of small domed shelters, made from rock. The dwellings' small windows glow softly red. The chamber is warm and relatively dry. A small stream trickles from a crack in the far wall and flows into a faintly-glowing pool. Deep Gnomes peer out from doorways, studying the strangers. Svimn calls to them reassuringly and, although they continue to appear somewhat weary, their behavior isn't remotely hostile.

"You are welcome to rest here. We don't have much food- not since it became so dangerous to gather wild mushrooms- but I will share what I have. Come, this is my home."

Svimn leads the party to one of the rock domes. "Oh. I don't think all of you will fit. No worries. Right next door- Snrb's place is empty since..." Svimn laughs nervously and shakes his head. "Drow," he mumbles, confirming suspicions.

A high-pitched voice shouts Svimn's name and a female Svirfneblin appears. To those not of the Deep Gnome kind, she looks quite similar to her mate, save for a head of long, stringy grey hair. She embraces Svimn and then begins to berate him tearfully, slaps him hard on the face, then embraces him again. This must be the missus. The emotional ruin continues for a couple of minutes, which pass rather slowly and awkwardly for the milling guests. Eventually, Svimn tears himself away and shows the party to its accommodations. The rock dome is only part of the abode- it extends into a chamber of equal size excavated out of the cave wall. It's a bit cramped, but all five adventurers can squeeze into it and still have enough room to maneuver.

The Five settle in, resting and tending to their wounds, while the Svimn household prepares a meal. It consists of a single, fist-sized mushroom (per person) roasted with some sort of spicy lichen. It's quite tasty, if one cares for mushrooms.

"What's our next move?" Gronk asks around a mouthful of savory fungus.

OOC: You have unlocked a safe resting place.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:40, Sun 17 Dec 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 645 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 26 Dec 2017
at 14:32
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai leans against his pack and feels his back unknot.  Apparently, the subterranean settlement has enough of the feel of a town that his subconscious doesn't consider it to be howling wilderness.  He doesn't need to remind himself that "civilization" isn't synonymous with "safe," though.

"The job hasn't changed."  He almost uses "mission," which, while accurate in his mind, might not be the best way to portray the task at hand.  "Find the source of the reanimation of the dead and the monster eruption and shut it down.  Which probably will require the professional application of violence."

He looks up as Deepdelver enters the chamber, still dripping from his bath to remove the umber hulk's remains, and offers the dwarf a mushroom-stuffed mushroom.

"Corros, you still think we're dealing with more of the same problem we faced last year - leftovers from the Forgotten Ones?"  When the half-elf nods an affirmative, Nicolai continues: "So we ask the locals what they know.  And by 'we,' I mainly mean 'you,' because you have the best idea of what questions to ask."  He grins briefly.  "Emphasize the danger, de-emphasize any potential for profit if it comes up.  No one gets rich off gibbering horror in the long run, and everything we've seen so far is an equal threat for everyone.  And it's down here with them, which should give them some vested interest in solving it.

"Zima and Kerek are still missing, as far as we know.  Gronk, your previous theory was that something from the tunnels grabbed them.  We know duergar and dark elves are both operating down here, and taking slaves, so that's a definite possibility.  They're obviously aware that something's awake and trying to get their hands on it.  Kerek's briefing back in Balefyre mentioned another adventuring company as well.  We should keep an eye out for them, too.

He takes a long breath before continuing.  "And last night, there was a... presence in my dreams.  In all of our dreams, I think."  He looks around the circle.  "So we set a watch tonight, as much as 'night' has a meaning down here, and don't let anyone sleepwalk out the door.  And call each other on being uncharacteristically paranoid and dickish."
Gronk
 Party NPC, 131 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Thu 15 Mar 2018
at 23:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"So," Gronk says, swallowing another bite of 'shroom, "Should we try to hit one of these Drow or Duergar crews, see if they have our friends, ask 'em what they're looking for down here? It sounds like our new pal Snervbif, or whatever, knows where we can find 'em."

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 649 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 16 Mar 2018
at 22:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai nods.  "I like that.  I don't know if we can negotiate with the drow, so it might come down to interrogating prisoners.  We know for certain the duergar aren't interested in negotiation, though..."
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 473 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 18 Mar 2018
at 02:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Dark elves, dark dwarves," Corros yawns a bit.  "Someone down here has to know what The Sleeper is, yeah?  And it's not like the world is any worse off with a few less slavers.  I'll be happy to talk to who ever we run across."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 517 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 19 Mar 2018
at 21:34
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna nodded. "I would rather strike down slavers then question them afterwards when they are our prisoners. Parleying with them under a banner of truce then leaving them to go about their business would not sit well with me. Or the Goddess."
Raellus
 GM, 797 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 24 Mar 2018
at 22:46
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

In a tray of dust apparently used for this sort of thing, Svimn sketches a rudimentary map of the cave complex surrounding the settlement. Uncapped ends indicate areas unexplored or not well known. Simple Xs indicate areas of danger. He explains that the Drow arrived from the west, and control that area of the known complex; the Duergar came from the north; there are rumors of other delvers- goblinoids, of a sort- moving in from the west [One of the Five] transfers the map to a scroll of parchment for future reference.

"You are always welcome to rest here," Svimn says, presenting a satchel full of dried fungus (a sort of mushroom jerky, if you will) and adding the caveat, "As long as you come alone. If danger follows you, the entry will remain shut."

OOC: Assume that your character receives all of the benefits of a full rest before setting forth from the Svirfneblin village.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:53, Sat 31 Mar 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 476 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 28 Mar 2018
at 00:35
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros looks at the map trying to figure out the unfamiliar layout.  It helps when he starts to pretend the irregular corridors are instead wandering alley crammed in the crowded streets of his youth.  Which wasn’t all that long ago.  ”Where have the drow been most active?  We’ll start our search there.”  It’s a start anyway.  And eventually he’s going to have to come to grips with the fact that he’s deep underground.
Raellus
 GM, 799 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 29 Mar 2018
at 01:23
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"They pop up all over the place," Svimn answers. "But there's always more to the west." Svimn carefully removes a bottle from his satchel and hands it to Nicolai. "Your eyes aren't made for the dark," he says, sympathy in his creaky voice, "This should help. It will only last about eight turns of the glass so use it wisely. I wish I could give you more, but this is all I could get." He reaches back into his satchel and withdraws a squat wooden bronze cylinder, capped with clear crystal. "Do you have one of these?" Svimn asks. It's a compass.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:03, Sat 31 Mar 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 477 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Thu 29 Mar 2018
at 17:25
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Well, like the man says, 'The West is the best.'"  The Portals.  Good band.  Too bad the bards didn't survive the overthrow of Silverleaf.  "It's a place to start."
Raellus
 GM, 804 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 31 Mar 2018
at 22:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

In shifts, Nic, Corros, Jenna, Gronk, Amaldaris, and Berald descend from the Svirfneblin village in the iron lift, back to the chamber floor. Without the benefit of being able to see the sun, it's difficult to tell direction in the sprawling caverns and winding tunnels of the Underdark. Svimn's compass helps the party bear roughly west. They find a passage in the western wall of the chamber and enter; it narrows until the companions must walk single file, and Gronk has to duck. The natural passage eventual opens, giving everyone a little more room. The party moves through caverns covered with faintly glowing mosses- inedible, according to Deepdelver. The burble of trickling water hints at nearby subterranean streams. Sounds bounce around the cave walls, seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. Berald doesn't seem particularly troubled by this rather eerie phenomenon, but the others find it slightly unnerving. The party comes across sundry tracks in the dust that covers much of the cave floor like a paper thin carpet. Unfortunately, none of them have the skill to determine who or what they belong to, or read their history. The party continues to move forward, always bearing roughly west.

This particular passage is wide- four can walk comfortably abreast- and tall enough that Gronk can jump straight up without bashing his skull against the ceiling. Amaldaris is currently walking point. He stops abruptly and silently raises a hand to signal those behind him to halt. Gesturing first to his pointy right ear, he motions down the passageway, indicating that something is coming towards the party.  The party can retreat to a cavern about a furlong behind them, and attempt to conceal themselves, or they can stand and face what is to come.

Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:26, Sat 31 Mar 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 655 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 1 Apr 2018
at 01:07
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai drifts to the right, putting his weak side nearer the wall.  He loosens his rapier in its scabbard but doesn't draw yet.  The chance of encountering another diplomatically-inclined group down here is low but naked steel does tend to negate any chance of negotiation, and he's confident in his ability to get his blades into play quickly.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 482 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 1 Apr 2018
at 01:25
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros drifts back, setting mg himself firmly between and behind a giant half-orc and his own lady love.  For the sake of at least show diplomacy, he parks a grin on his face that looks a little less than crazy, but not much.

”What do you suppose passes for ‘hi, don’t stab us,’ down here?”
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 519 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 1 Apr 2018
at 16:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna moved to take up a position where she was behind Nicola and Gronk but in front of Corros, so that anything that tried to come after him would have to get past her first. Her fingers were close to Arma's Blessing but she did not heft it, not yet, although she thought it unlikely that whoever was approaching had good intent, for they were rarely fortunate in that regard.
Gronk
 Party NPC, 132 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 1 Apr 2018
at 19:47
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk sets his big feet in a defensive stance, shield up and braced, morning star cocked and ready.

-
Raellus
 GM, 806 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 1 Apr 2018
at 21:18
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Soon all can hear what Amaldaris' sharp ears first detected. The clip-clop of hooves striking stone, quite incongruous in this subterranean environment, growing in volume as the source rushes nearer.

Around the slight bend ahead, a tall (taller than Gronk, even not accounting for its horns), bull-headed beast runs, upright, towards the adventurers. Gripped in its big, human-like hands, a battleaxe. An admixture of fear and determination glistens wetly in the wells of its black eyes. If the minotaur sees the party arrayed across its line of egress, it initially doesn't show it; the beast doesn't slow or change its course, instead sprinting directly towards the center of the line.

Finally, the minotaur spots the waiting danger, but still maintains its course and speed. The beast bellows something in its abyssal tongue and lowers its head. Only Corros understands.

Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
"Out of my way!"



Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:45, Wed 11 Apr 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 484 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 2 Apr 2018
at 00:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros growls back in the Abyssal tongue, the syllables almost painful to cough out.  He does it a with a bow of the head and an opening of his hands to show deference, figuring that it makes more sense to play on the vanity of the creature.  ”Move to the wall, yeah?  We’ll try to let him pass.”. Corros moves aside before letting out another series of throat rending snarls.


Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
Of course, Lord Minotaur.  Allow me inform my companions.
We hunt the Drow.  Do you know of any near here?


Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 657 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 2 Apr 2018
at 00:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai raises an eyebrow as Corros tries to pass a hairball.  He doesn't speak the language but he's heard it before, and the witchling's body language suggests acquiescence to whatever the minotaur wants.  Judging from its haste and its own nonverbals, that's the right-of-way, and it's rather urgent.

Which means something bigger and meaner is following it.

Nicolai draws in on himself and tucks tighter against the wall, coiling for a lunge out of the peripheral vision of whatever's chasing the bull-man.  There is no "I."  There is only cold stone.  Nothing here holds vision, emits sound, is of interest.

OOC: Cunning Action to Hide.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 521 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 2 Apr 2018
at 21:15
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
When Nicolai moved to the side Jenna took several steps to the right, so that she was no longer in the minotaur's path, would cause no impediment to its progress.

It seemed in a hurry though, so the Priestess thought it not unreasonable that something was causing its haste and that that something was probably not likely to be friendly. And so while she waits to see what else may emerge from the tunnel ahead of them Jenna's lips move in a silent prayer, her eyes milking over as she invokes the Goddess's blessing, using her body as a conduit for Her power and grace, letting it ripple out through her and invisibly surround her companions.

Jenna
Casting Bless (Level 3, to cover everyone including all NPC's)

Raellus
 GM, 807 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 3 Apr 2018
at 00:19
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Ignoring Corros' friendly inquiry, the sprinting minotaur makes for the gap vacated by Nicolai, slows down not at all, its passage through marked by a breeze carrying on it olfactory hints of bovine desperation.

The retreating minotaur's echoing hoof-falls trail off, replaced by a strangely hollow silence.

Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:06, Tue 03 Apr 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 485 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Tue 3 Apr 2018
at 14:06
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Huh," Corros grunts at the departing minotaur. "Some creatures just can't be polite."  With one ear cocked for the sound of returning hoof beats, Corros turns back the way the Five had been heading.  The silence is something he doesn't like.  It doesn't sound...normal?  Whatever that means.

"So..." he says softly.  "Let's see what spooked our friend, yeah?"

The warlock draws the power of the Library close, the opening incantations of his spells drawing near his lips.  He suspects they won't have to wait long.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 522 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 3 Apr 2018
at 17:51
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The whiff of the animal's scent that she caught caused Jenna's nostrils to wrinkle briefly in protest as it passed her by, either oblivious to her presence or caring not. "Berald." the Priestess hissed as the sound of hoofs receded behind them. "Keep eyes to our rear." The minotaur appeared to be heading away from them as quickly as it could go but it would be prudent to make sure that one of their party was alert and watching that direction in case it decided to change its mind. Particularly as if they were attacked from behind there was every chance that Corros might bear the brunt of it. And Jenna did not wish that to happen.

The blonde haired Priestess then turned her own eyes to the front, her right hand now grasping the shaft of her warhammer firmly  as she used the gift that the Goddess gave her to peer into the gloom and shadow, all the while maintaining her focus on Arma, Her power continuing to flow through Jenna, causing her blonde tresses to move of their own accord.

Jenna
Directing Berald to cover the rear / still casting Bless

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 658 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 3 Apr 2018
at 23:47
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai nods in acknowledgement, the first movement he's made in a minute.  In lieu of speech, he sends a flicker of unverbalized wariness through Corros' link and moves forward in Amaldaris' wake, intent for ambush or the minotaur's presumed pursuers.

This message was last edited by the player at 23:48, Tue 03 Apr 2018.