Evil Campaign

The Events of Gracklstugh
Themberchaud and the City of Blades

The party’s voyage took them out across the Darklake towards the ruddy lights of Gracklstugh in the distance.
The party set up at an inn named Ghohlbrorn’s Lair, it’s name a rather derogatory term for non-dwarves but the inn itself being the most welcoming place for outsiders in the city. The Blade Bazaar, the district in which the inn was located, proved to be a much bigger melting pot than anywhere else in the Underdark the party had encountered – even Calamity didn’t get any second looks as he was far from the only illithid in the city. The party spent a few days enjoying what they could of the city, sleeping in proper beds with meals of more than just mushrooms and a chance to actually spend some of their coin. The relative peace of the city was shattered one day at the bazaar though as a two-headed giant burst through one of the outer guard walls, rampaging through the market with reckless abandon.

The party joined the fight with the duergar guards that seemed to be having a hard time wrangling the beast and managed to take it down. The beast was far from an ettin though, appearing more to be a mutated stone giant with its second head being much smaller and malformed. Shortly on the trail of the monstrosity, a young stone giant in shamanistic attire ran up, slightly dismayed to see the other one unconcious. After conversing with the duergar and handing them a small bag, he turned to the party and thanked them for what they had done, inviting them to come with him to visit his clan at Cairngorm Cavern, an offshoot of Gracklstugh, if they wanted to find out what happened. He then took the body and left.

The party followed the giant’s offer several hours later, unable to resist the lure of information or the safe passage he could guarantee through the parts of the city normally restricted to outsiders. The stone giant’s cavern was massive, the walls studded with gemstones of all variety, including faerzress, and dwellings carved directly into the walls. Waiting for the party was a wizened stone giant named Hgraam Stonespeaker. The giant spoke little, thanking the party for returning their corrupted brethren to the stone and rewarding them with with the Stonespeaker Crystal. He then relayed a cryptic warning of the visions he had received upon returning from the Dreamlands:

“Something evil stirs in the Underdark. The rock itself cries in pain and horror, and a madness creeps from the blackest depths. Pay heed to the signs surrounding you. A cave with two faces. Rock devoured, and the land overgrown. The pebble believes itself flesh. The earth rejects its wards, and the tunnels shake in fury. By these portents, you shall know of evil’s presence and of evil’s face. This is what the stones tell me.”

Left with that to think about, the party returned to their inn. With nothing else to do in the city at present, the party decided to partake in the merchant sect of the city, buying items, tattoos and slaves. During this, a male duergar framed Celeste for theft she did not commit, and in turn got her and her companions in trouble with the guards. When they arrived in custody at the guard station, they made a deal with the guard captain Errde Blackskull.

Errde gave the party insignias that would allow them to travel freely through the city and told them to go to the Temple of the Keepers of the Flame, the center of worship for the chief duergar deity Laduguer. There, they would present a different token to whichever priest they encountered and tell them they have an audience with Themberchaud.
They scouted the city and reported various corrupt citizens to the guard captain, and undertook a mission to find a thief by the name of Droki.

Later, they met with the Keepers of the Flame and their leader, Gartokkar Xundorn. They also spoke with the great Wyrmsmith Themberchaud, who gave them quests of his own.
At the bottom of the stairs, the party was greeted by a wave of oppressive heat and a sight from their dreams – a pile of gold twice as tall as a man. The owner of the gold soon revealed himself with a sneer and a lick of his reptilian lips, a massive red dragon trundling forward through the pile of gold. Though impressive in size as any dragon, the dragon was exceptionally large, apparently overweight from his diet of captive slaves, something he mistook the party for being. Themberchaud postured a bit for the invisible duergar in the room before suggesting, rather forcefully, that they leave.

Once alone, Themberchaud greeted the party. He confirmed that was indeed in need of their assistance, and that his task was a straightforward one – the Keepers of the Flame had found a red dragon egg and tried to raise it to replace him. The Grey Ghosts stole in from them and hid it in the Whorlstone Caves. Find and break the egg, and bring the shell back as proof. He believed the dwarves believed red dragons to be a herald of their deity but that Themberchaud was becoming a bit too willful and resistant in his religious duties to them. He told the party to speak with one of the keepers and to do what they said – the dwarves didn’t know he knew their plan but he assumed they would likely enlist the party to retrieve investigate the tunnels for the odd magic coming from there.

The dragon was right. Once the party talked to the red-robed dwarf at the top of the stairs, he gave them the task of surveying the tunnels. The only lead they had was a derro named Droki. Droki turned out to be rather easy to track down, a derro scurrying around the bazaar talking to himself wasn’t exactly a common sight, but he turned out to be much harder to catch as he turned invisible and sped away faster than he should be able to.

The party went through the cave mouth they had tracked Droki too—which so happened to be the Whorlstone Tunnels— and entered the cave complex, where they met Flumph. The entire cave was studded with faerzress and mushrooms of all types, of note two magical varieties that caused someone to shrink or grow when ingested. In one of the cave’s chambers, the party found their old friend Buppido, as he babbled and shouted incoherently for a bit before threatening the party with death and summoning a group of undead to aid him. The party defeated him and found that his summoning circle was attempting to reach something from the outer planes, though they disrupted the ritual, and the circle, before it could be completed.

Further into the cave, they found a group of myconid swaying and dancing, reveling in the light of the faerzress. At this, Sarith went nearly mad, driven into partial temporary insanity by the Demon Queen of Fungi’s spores. They invited the party to join them as they were celebrating the impending marriage of their new queen to her intended.
Flumph gave them a rundown of the layout of the cave and where to find the other factions, wanting to help the group in whatever way he can, despite not being much of a fighter.

Flumph’s layout proved to be pretty accurate as they found cultists guarding the dragon egg and, more interestingly, a massive obelisk made out of some black material that could have been metal or stone, was cool to the touch, and appeared to be a null space in the fabric of the Weave, disrupting any magic that came into contact with it. Its purpose could not yet be gleaned, even after the party took a rest to study it, but they had more urgent matters to attend to.
The party reported back to the Keepers, and then returned to smash the egg and obelisk, putting the pieces into their bags. The dragon was appropriately grateful, shoveling a pile of gems her hoard toward them, then told them of her second request: to slay the young adult black dragon impeding on her territory: Murk.

The Kuo-Toa Town

The party arrived at the kuo-toa city of Sloobludop. Outside the town, they were confronted by kuo-toa, and handed over Shuushar to the kuo-toa hunters. The hunters then knocked the prisoners out cold with darts, and they awoke on the docks, tied to posts. They spoke to Bloppblippodd, the kuo-toa priestess who wished to sacrifice them and her father Shuushar to the Sea Father, Leemooggoogoon.

Brought before the shrine of the false god, an idol consisting of two octopuses lashed together over a manta ray, the party was presented to Blopp as a sacrificial peace offering, which she eagerly accepted with a lot of prayers and gesticulating, instructing her guards to add them to the existing sacrifice of a badly beaten duergar, centering them around a metal grate draining into the lake itself.

After much chanting and prayers, the duergar had his throat slit by one of the guards, his blood draining down the grate and pouring into the Darklake.

A bloody foam began to appear at the lake shore as a swarm of ixitxachitl, demonic manta rays, began attacking and consuming any kuo-toa that went too close to the shore. The fighting and feasting was then wholly interrupted by an ear-shattering and utterly inhuman howl followed by a bestial monstrosity emerging from the lake – the Deep Father, Leemooggoogoon himself, better known by his true name of Demogorgon, the Prince of Demons, made his presence known to the Darklake if not the whole of the Underdark.

The demon lumbered forward from the middle of the Darklake, his huge form becoming all that more imposing the closer he got. Rather than wait for him to give them a closer look, the party instead left the scene, leaving their ally Gregor tied to his post. They made their way to a pair of small fishing boats at the dock and left the city behind them, watching its lights fade in the distance as the roars of the demon lord filled the cavern.

Through the Darkness
The Terrors that Lurk

The prisoners left Velkynvelve through the northern tunnel as it was the closest to their cell and the easiest to escape through while avoiding both the drow and the quaggoths. They fled as swiftly as their feet would carry them, not stopping for nearly an entire day, not resting until they felt they were far enough away from any pursuers to rest even slightly comfortably.

After their rest, Sarith informed the party that they were, rather unfortunately, presently on the path to Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders and one of the main cities of the drow. Jimjar suggested they all make their way to Blingdenstone as it was in the same direction, tough on the other side of Menzoberranzan so they would have to try navigating around the city. The myconid Stool wanted to go to his homeland of the Neverlight Grove, promising that his people will be grateful and offer aid and that his sovereign is wise in the hidden ways of the Underdark and may know how they can get home to the surface. In order to get there, they would need to follow Shuushar‘s directions to the Darklake and follow Sarith’s directions to the grove from there. With a destination now set, they headed into the darkness.

Travel through the Underdark proved to be arduous and exhausting. Luckily, only a few days out of Velkynvelve, Sarith was able to find three barrelstalks, large, edible mushrooms that store water in their stout stalks.

It wasn’t until the group was traversing a wide but short tunnel that they encountered their first of the Underdark’s more monstrous denizens – a carrion crawler. Disguised as a stalactite, it lashed with it’s tentacles, battering the goliath to the ground rather quickly but losing a tentacle in the process. As the beast was felled by Sabal, the others stood around the goliath, contemplating what to do. Sabal took initiative and slew the barbarian.
When Stool fled at the death of the Goliath, the party decided to continue with the plan.

Continuing along the long trip, the group continued to forage, finding the disgusting-smelling but surprisingly tasty and meat-like fungus known as ripplebark and several stalks of the wood-like but still edible zurkhwood. Across underground rivers, through steam vents, and over rope bridges they went, using the terrain to disguise their trail from Ilvara Mizzrym and her cadre of pursuers.

More interesting than mushrooms, the group came across the Silken Paths, where they met Yuk Yuk and Spiderbait, two twin webrunner goblins that would help them across…for a fee. When they made it across the first half of the path, they stayed the night in the abode of the twins, a small cave within the Silken Paths. They later found a beholder that caught them in a life-and-death riddle game.

Once they reached solid ground again, they parted ways with the goblin brothers.
Further ahead the group encountered one of the most notable and unusual features of the Underdark – a faerzress, crystals that emit a strange radiation that disrupt magic and can cause harm to living creatures. These crystals caused hallucinations in the party, and also a magical surge from the group’s Source, Khadijah.

While on this path, they encountered a pool where they met a siren and a child of Avalon, Celeste and Thor respectively. Just then, the drow hunting party emerged behind them, and the group fled. Something stirred in the pool next to them, and from it emerged an aboleth! The aberration attacked the most intelligent creatures in the area, which, at the time, were the two drow priestesses pursuing the party of prisoners, which aided their escape.

Escape from Velkynvelve
The Prison Break

Captured by the drow! You wouldn’t wish this fate upon anyone, yet here you are – locked in a dark ave, the cold, heavy weight of metal tight around your throat and wrists. You are not alone. Other prisoners are trapped in here with you, in an underground outpost far from the light of the sun.

Your captors include a cruel drow priestess who calls herself Mistress Ilvara of House Mizzrym. Over the past several days, you’ve met her several times, robed in silken garments and flanked by two male drow, one of whom has a mass of scars along one side of his face and neck.

Mistress Ilvara likes to impress her will with scourge in hand and remind you that your life now belongs to her. “Accept your fate, learn to obey, and you may survive.” Her words echo in your memory, even a you plot your escape.

Over the next few days, you and your fellow prisoners managed to scavenge a few items while doing hard labor around the prison camp that may be helpful in your escape attempt – a gold coin, a piece of rope, some cutlery, and a crossbow bolt coated in drow poison.

One night, your sleep is troubled and fitful, filled with strange dreams and disturbing images. Dark shadows seem to move and reach out toward the as you wander lost through endless mazes of tunnels. Oily tentacles slide to brush up against you, while a great buzzing and howling rises in the distance. Suppurating wounds burst open in clouds of spores or crawling masses of maggots or insects. You awake in a cold sweat from these nightmares, feeling as though somethings out t here in the dark depths – something far worse than the drow.

During the next guard change, you make your attempt at breaking out. Feeling across the rope bridges to the rooms carved into the stalactites, you found a room, and fought drow as they poured out of it. Making a quick retreat in the other direction as more drow emerged, you exit through the northern tunnel, away from your prison.

Now free from prison and the outpost known as Velkynvelve you and the other prisoners are forced to strike out into the Underdark with no food, no idea where you are, and even less idea how to get home.


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