A bright flash attracted everyone’s attention, and they spun to look just in time to see the onyx ring crumble around Wynn’s finger, and her skin turned jet black. She don’t get much time to think about her new life looking like a Drow. The faerzress makes the acoustics so everyone heard hear the door to this cavern open.
“Blarch!”, a voice cried out in Undercommon. “What is that foul smell?”
“No wonder this is the first door we’ve seen,” another voice said. “It’s to keep the smell out of the rest of the caverns.”
“HUSH,” a woman’s voice said. “Do you want Captain Blackskull’s mistake to know we’re coming?”
As the cavern door creaked shut again, Wynn felt the disembodied humanoids parts in the cavern start to writhe.
The good news was our heroes knew they were being pursued and their hunters were coming. The bad news was the bad guys were invisible. Rael popped off a Faerie Fire spell which outlined some of their invisible attackers.
As the party fought, the disembodied body parts around them began to form into patchwork zombies, threatening hero and villain alike.
Goldie found himself surrounded by Duergar and zombies and decided that he’d take the hit for the team, and made himself ground zero for a shatter spell, figuring it would hurt them more than it hurt him. He got some surprising extra bang for the buck as the faerzress in the room started to swirl more violently and shocks of pure magical energy, looking like lightning, came shooting in from all corners of the cavern. Some managed to dodge the energy blasts, but Rael, Alton , Wynn, and Alphys felt the energy course through them on the way to Goldenrod’s jail cell bar.
As the shatter spell crashed around him, the unnamed sorcerer noticed that the faerzress had imprinted faint purple whorls all over his iron bar.
There was little time to contemplate this development, as the zombies kept forming out of the disgusting ooze underfoot. Rael, on a ten foot ledge, was reasonably safe, raining flasks of burning oil down on the zombies that had a hard time climbing. Eldeth was in her element— when some people are surrounded by zombies, it’s a problem, but for her, it’s a target-rich environment. Rollin and Homie practiced their teamwork to double-team zombies and bring them down.
Heavily damaged, Goldenrod made a break for the ledge. Battered and bruised, he scrambled to relative safety. Rael offered him the healing potion in his pack, which Goldie grabbed, but never had a chance to drink as the zombies started figuring out how to climb the ledges.
Our heroes figured out the problem: Residual magic from the spells they were casting was interacting with the faerzress in the room to animate the zombies. Goldenrod eventually regretted testing this theory, as one of the zombies he caused by shooting spells at them eventually scaled the cliff and knocked him unconscious.
Rael dove and tumbled through the zombies on the ledge to reach Goldie and force-fed him the potion that he’d fished out of Rael’s pack, but never got a chance to drink.
Eldeth, Homie, and Rollin were systematically dismantling the zombies on the floor. Since none of the three of them primarily use magic, they were disassembling zombies without reanimating others. None of them seemed to be able to miss the slow, shambling creatures (except Rollin, who raised eyebrows when one of the foul undead managed to avoid impaling itself on his short sword), so it was only a matter of time.
Once they quit creating new zombies, the group fairly quickly dispatched the remaining ones. A few zombies didn’t seem to want to finally (re)die, but even those eventually fell to Eldeth’s mattock or Rael’s short swords.
After the combat, Rumpadump released some telepathy spores and everyone heard his voice in their head for the first time since they met him. “That’s really weird. The Stone Guard simply don’t disobey orders. If everyone in Gracklstugh just did whatever they wanted, the whole town would collapse. Dancing myconids, treasonous duergar… it’s like the whole Underdark’s gone just a little but nuts.
“Or perhaps it’s just me.” He went quiet once again.
Goldie wanted to collapse in place to recover, but nobody else wanted to hang out in the smelly cavern that kept spontaneously generating zombies. Rael had the idea of returning to the raucous cavern to use the faerzress acoustics to see if someone was going to ambush them while they rested there. It appeared to be safe, so they stopped for the night.
After they recuperated, the gang pressed onward, finding a patch of yellow mold covering a humanoid corpse. The noticed a blue and yellow shiny piece of metal that the mold had failed to cover. Burning away the mold left them with a magic shield, a little singed but no worse for the wear.
Past the unlucky elf’s remains, they followed the tunnel around to a pair of double doors, blocked from the far side. Kicking down the door alerted the bad guys in that chamber, but faerzress-induced wild magic made things go wrong for the crazed derro in the cavern. His friend the spectator hid on a ledge over the entrance to the cavern, but the ambush didn’t go well for the potty-mouthed derro and his extremely eager abberation.
The cavern had two interesting features atop a huge mesa. One is black metal obelisk with a few chips and furrows that Rael determined was heavily magical and he’s pretty sure any of the spellcasters could activate. The other was a red dragon’s egg. Goldie reflexively cast shatter at it, putting an extremely small crack in the dragon egg, but then he thought better of destroying a being that had not yet done any evil.
We broke at this point to determine the dilemma of the obelisk and the dragon egg.