Previous post: Kidnapped
Next post: Ettins, Darklings, and Darqour, oh my!

The Mountains, The Underdark, and The Giant F'ing Frog

Table of Contents

  1. Turner’s Table: The Giant Frog
  2. Travis’ Table: The Mountain
  3. Chris’ Table: The Underdark

The Giant F’ing Frog

Heimer, Grizz, Fen, and Silexa all find themselves recovering from their travels across the Great Sea at a Goldspire hole-in-the-wall called The Crow’s Eye. They encounter a kobold named Dresden, who has had a few drinks at the bar after returning his wedding attire to Aubergine’s Awakened Atelier. After introductions, the party is interrupted by a drunken dwarf, who accidentally splashes his drink towards the party, only soaking Grizz.

The dwarf (let’s call him Drinky), begins incoherently mumbling at the party. They are able to successfully interpret that he would like them to buy him another drink – preferably from one of the wine-stalls at the Autumn-Fair taking place in the market square outside. There is some hemming and hawing, but Silexa finally takes the initiative and leads Drinky to a nearby stall. Silexa chats up the spiced-wine saleswoman, Linda, and gets a free drink after regaling her with tales of her Folk-Hero background. Unfortunately at this point Drinky has passed out, and never receives the drink he was intent on getting.

Meanwhile, Grizz notices a jester manning a dunk-a-punk station nearby, and decides to have a go at it. He realizes that the ball he is given is rigged, but decides to take a shot anyway. The ball goes wide, and the jester blows a raspberry at him while calling him unprintable names. Dresden steps up to take a shot, but uses his dagger instead of the rigged ball, hitting the bullseye and dunking the annoying jester.

Off to the side, Heimer realizes that a couple of street-urchins are busy running a con on a well-off seeming merchant. One of the urchins plays injured, and the other lifts the man’s bill-fold. Heimer manages to successfully use his mage-hand to pull the bills out of the bill-fold without alerting the urchin, and pockets the change.

Eventually, the party notices a mangy half-elf who has been locked in a pillory. He calls them over, and introduces himself as Scral Luz. He tells Fen that he knows where treasure is buried, and is willing to lead the adventurers there if they break him out. The party is incredibly suspicious of Scral (who they nickname Cleetus), but decide to try to break him free. Unfortunately Fen’s lock-pick breaks off in the padlock with a loud metallic snap, alerting some nearby guards.

Dresden tries to distract the guards by playing drunk, claiming he is about to have a bout of incontinence, while at the same time Silexa casts speak with animals to try and improve her ability to speak with the guards. While Silexa is technically correct that humanoids are a type of animal, this does not help her at all with speaking the common tongue, and she is unable to waylay the guards. Luckily, Fen starts shouting and accusing Cleetus of grabbing her before the guards can see that she was trying to pick the lock.

The guard gives Scral/Cleetus a few smacks, and asks Fen what she would like to do with the knave. Fen immediately suggests that the guard release Cleetus into her command so that she can dole out some of her own justice. The guard loves this idea, and handcuffs Cleetus. He asks Fen to return the criminal in 15 minutes, and to give him a wallop for him.

Of course, the party does no such thing, and immediately makes their way to The Mistwood forest. After being threatened by the druid Silexa , who nearly drowns him, Cleetus confirms that the party is headed in the right direction. They quickly find a dilapidated temple on the far side of a lake, in which sit several large boulders.

Grizz recognizes that the largest of the boulders is actually a giant frog, and Silexa uses her speak with animals spell talk to the frog. The frog declares her Queen of the forest, before asking if he can eat some of the beasts she travels with. Silexa gives the frog permission to eat Cleetus, but only after they find the treasure. The frog indicates that several humans entered the temple some time ago, and have not come out since. The party deduces that the treasure must be in the temple.

They approach the temple, and solve a riddle inscribed on the entrance to determine that they must hunt a beast in order to open the temple door. Unfortunately, while solving the riddle Cleetus manages to sneak away. They find and kill a fox, which is not quite the beast that the door requested, but the door opens enough for the two smallest members of the party, Fen and Heimer, to squeeze into the temple.

They discover that Cleetus, after escaping, has climbed the roof of the temple and is dangling from a hole in the ceiling with his hands still bound. They shoot him down from the ceiling, into a trap created by Heimer, but before they can interrogate him the giant frog decides he has had enough waiting, and tries to eat Grizz.

The Mountains

After dealing with the death of their guide Stallenor, the big group splits and one party follows Jemwise into the Underdark, while our party follows Princess Vlakith up into the Wolf’s Teeth Mountains. Some gear is distributed from Stallenor and our new party forms. Hasselhoff the Lore Bard, Hulnir the Sorceress, Geo the Rune Knight, Uhr the Dao Warlock, and Luvon the Wildfire Druid.

Geo quickly takes the lead and begins scouting up the trail for more signs from Princess Vlakith, and while the party is able to follow a trail the journey is difficult. Brush, mud, and the mundane travails of the wilderness beleaguer the newly formed group.

Several hours later and nearing sunset the party sees a tall rock plinth jutting through the trees ahead. Choosing to investigate, they find a 60 foot tall massive plinth of rock jutting from the ground, and roughly shaped into a tall tapering pillar. The base of the pillar is some 20 feet across, and a 40ft circle of cleared ground sits well used in front of it. The top of the pillar has a narrow vertical slit some 15 feet long, and at the base of the divide, a round hole is bored through the stone. 20 feet up the pillar large runes in Giant say “Overthinking”.

The party takes their time and after some careful thought and maneuvering is able to find that if viewed from the right angle, the setting sun will pass through the keyhole and seem to fall into a slot between two peaks in the mountains above. They wait briefly, and enjoy the moment.

Sensing the urgency of their pursuit the party picks back up the trail and skips any attempt at rest to try and catch their quarry. Still led by Geo, the party soon stumbles into a dark glade. Fortunately, Geo is able to spot a massive bear trap well hidden in the lush grass just before he steps in it. Sensing a dangerous situation and with Luvon and Urh lacking the ability to see in the dark, the party lines up single-file and attempts to quietly cross the glade. Geo is able to spot some more of the traps, but not before setting one off with his foot. With help from his new friends Geo is freed and manages to capture two of these giant traps from the glade. Upon exiting the other side, the party quickly finds the remains of the unlucky hunter(?) who once mainteded these traps. With the trap setting tool and two of the traps in hand, Urh makes a quick jaunt into his genies vessel to store the massive traps.

With multiple members of the party now exhausted, they decide to sleep while Geo forges ahead looking for more subtle signs of Vlakith’s passing. Unfortunately, Geo spends all of the long rest working fruitlessly. Luvon is quick to point out that under the light of The Sun, all is revealed, and lo the trail sign was found. (Praise be).

Renewed, the party rushes on but as the trail gains elevation they can hear loud sounds of moaning up ahead. Uhr scouts out the sounds and discovers a massive and ancient looking Hill Giant reclined painfully against a small stone outcropping a tight bend in a trail leading higher into the mountains. The giant is covered in small wounds but and looks pained, but is most obviously pained by the tendrils of oily black that spread up his body from a wound on his leg. A broken tree clutch in one hand, and broken stones from the outcropping he rests against in his left, the giant is surrounded by bodies of fallen Xerakath’s Blades.

The Giant calls out to Uhr, beckoning him closer. Uhr, curious, goes to talk with this dying giant. As they do the rest of the party is spotted by a swoop of swallows that quickly fly to the giant and seem to whisper in his ear. Uhr is able to convince the giant that they share similar goals in regards to the Blades and as the giant dies, he reveals his name and offers a token to protect them from “our friends” and to let his kin know their friendly status. As the giant finally succumbs to the poison, he utters his name. “Thrum”.

As the giant dies, massive dire wolves bolt from the tree line, their dangerous prey now finally dead. The 5 massive wolves are met with more resistance than they anticipated as Geo grows in size and Uhr and Luvon begin to release deadly magic. Hasselhoff is unfortunately almost laid low right off the bat as two wolves are able to attack him. Seeing Hasselhoff in trouble, the rest of the party is able to come to his aid.

Luvon uses a new magic idol of a fire snake to summon one in front of the wolves as they attempt to clear the trees, while Geo starts making quick work of one of the wolves. Uhr seeing an opportunity, casts Spike growth in the area the wolves will have to move through. As predicted, the wolves begin to grind themselves to paste attempting to leave the area. Uhr is pleased.

As the battle seems to be turning, twin roars are heard from the trees as a massive Ettin bursts forth. The Ettin emerges just in time to see a dire wolf grate itself to death through a field of barely visible spikes, and makes a long trip to the side, clambering up a small rock wall onto the higher portion of the trail. Hulnir wastes no time and casts Grease just as the Ettin finishes its brief climb and it fins itself prone and unable to rise. With two wolves and a greasy Ettin left, the party takes stock and prepares for their next move.

The Underdark

In the aftermath of the two-pronged ambush sprung by Xerakath’s druids, the traveling troupe broke into two search parties to continue tracking Princess Vlakith and now her husband, Jemwise Faroot.

Toof, Artair, AndoryxAndoryx, King Knut, Cardigan, and newcomer Feldrimax lit their torches and bravely delved into the cave opened by the treacherous Draevax to allow Elune Faroot to abscond with her captured brother.

Inside, they found carvings in the rock indicating that they were on a path to The Underdark, a legendary network of tunnels, caverns, and chasms extending far beneath the surface world. They had barely taken ten steps inside when the sound of grinding stone alerted them to the fact that the cave entrance was rapidly closing behind them. The last sunlit image the party saw before the entryway irised closed was Draevax winking at them as he magically sealed them into darkness.

With no choice but to press on, the group navigated the narrow corridor, at one point squeezing through a section so narrow that they were forced to turn their bodies sideways and shuffle through. The druid Artair was forced to drop his bear form to fit, and brave Toof, who had volunteered to go first, stepped directly onto a caltrop that had doubtlessly been dropped by one of Elune’s goons as they fled.

Artair used a mold earth cantrip to cause the remaining caltrops to sink into the ground out of poking range King Knut attempted to perform some minor field surgery to remove Toof’s caltrop right then and there, but was hindered by the fact that he was one-arming it while squished between two rock walls in nearly total darkness due to his robust reptilian body blocking most of his torchlight. Toof limped on.

After eventually emerging into a still-cramped but walkable portion of the cave (and removing the caltrop, which Toof kept), the party arrived at a set of stone-carved stairs heading further into the underground. Having already descended one set of stairs without incident, they nonetheless decided approached with caution and discovered a shiny substance covering several of the middle steps. Deducing that it may be some form of grease trap, they fastened a rope to pitons hammered into the cave wall and carefully made their way down.

Other than Feldrimax losing his footing and plunking down directly onto his scaly ass – which was more embarrassing than painful – the stairway was cleared successfully. The party was now at the end of a long corridor, wider than any previous, and extending beyond the sight of even those with night vision. The voices of Elune and Bromwell drifted to them from the darkness.

The party moved ahead with haste and when she saw their torches approaching, Elune yelled “Bromwell! Time to wake the babies!” Bromwell, crouching some distance ahead, opened his leather pack and produced two tiny dolls before fleeing back to his companions.

The dolls sat bolt upright and sprinted toward the party, introducing themselves as Rumpled Rita and Smilin’ Jack. Rumpled Rita asked if Cardigan was her new mommy. Smilin’ Jack told Feldrimax he was going to wear his face as a hat.

The dolls closed the distance and Rumpled Rita bore her dead doll’s eyes into Andoryx and Artair, opened her tiny porcelain mouth, and began cackling in a pitch fit to drive them mad. Artair, who had wildshaped back into a bear, was able to shake off the psychic attack, but Andoryx found himself staring directly into that cold, expressionless face, unable to do anything but join in with his own peals of wild laughter.

King Knut and Feldrimax formed a bulwark to try and keep the dolls at bay but the creepy little devils proved to be more resilient than they appeared. They withstood the onslaught of blade, prong, arrow, sacred flame, tooth and claw long enough for Rumpled Rita to latch onto Cardigan’s leg, look into his eyes, and bid him come join her in darkness before sundering his mind with a critical blast of psychic agony that immediately knocked the moody lad unconscious.

The disturbingly devious dolls were eventually dispatched, and King Knut leapt onto the back of Artair-Bear to charge the final distance to their quarry. Despite their best effort, they weren’t able to get to them before Elune activated the lift she, Bromwell, Staxalon, and Jemwise were gathered on, and it sank out of site as Staxalon let out a gout of fire breath to melt the return lever mechanism into a hunk of useless trash. In a rage, King Knut hucked his trident and caught Staxalon in the chest, sending him reeling into the arms of his cohorts just before they passed beyond view.

The freshly revived Cardigan offered his new Feather Token to Artair, who activated it via gentle chomp before taking a running start, King Knut still astride him, and leapt into the abyss. They gently drifted down what must have been a thousand feet, landing safely in cool, pitch black soil and staring in wonder at the forest of huge glowing mushrooms standing before them. They located the lift and pulled the lever to send it back up to the top of the cliffside where the rest of their party, who had used this time to do some quick healing, hopped aboard and rode to the bottom.

In the mushroom forest, a haunting moan reached the group’s ears, causing several of them to freeze in their tracks, too petrified to move on. Cardigan launched into a lecture on the improbability of the existence of ghosts (which are very much real mind you) and cast Calm Emotions to release his friends from their terrified state. They came upon what appeared to be a long, leathery cloak hanging on a rack or other object standing in a small glade. The cloak produced another moan and Toof responded by shooting an arrow and scoring a direct hit. The cloak seemed to absorb some of the damage, and a muffled scream came from within…