JD's Abyss

Two Heads are Better than One

There were two interesting items in the room where we picked back up: a dragon egg, and a tall metal obelisk, made of a dark metal. The obelisk was missing a few pieces, but was otherwise mostly intact… was obviously magical. After some inspection, Goldie decided to push some magical energy into the obelisk. He instantly vanished, having been teleported across the room.

More experimentation yielded little in terms of results— another spell caused another teleport to a location close to the first spot.

The group decided to hide the dragon egg and continue on.

They arrived in a room with a heavy, unpleasant musk in the air, a scent coming from iron cages on both sides of the chamber. They saw a pair of derro standing by a cauldron. A spiral path, marked off by stone pylons, swirled into the center of the room.

They got the jump on the derro. One moved behind a pylon to attack, the other went to the cages and started freeing cave bears from the cagescave_bear.png. After freeing the first two, he didn’t need to free the third, who was bigger and stronger than the other two— that bear smashed his own way out of the cage.

The group charged in and made short work of the derro. The two unpainted smaller cave bears were tougher, but it took a while to bring down the big one. After some powerful swings of Eldeth‘s mattock brought the big bear down, they found out why that one was so much nastier: It wore a collar with the same properties of a belt of stone giant strength. It wouldn’t fit on a humanoid, but it magically resized itself to fit Homie just fine.

Our heroes continued. Their travels brought them to a narrow crack in the tunnels, and they each ate a pygmywort mushroom to shrink down to a size where they could fit. The crack brought them to a room where a Derro cultist named Narrak was completing a heinous ritual. They also heard a familiar voice saying quickly, “Time! Time! No time to wait! Must deliver, people to see, places to go!” Droki was not happy about having to wait until the end of the ritual to deliver his parcel.

A moment later, Narrak’s chant ends with, " Demogorgon… Demogorgon… DEMOGORGON!" and a statue in the center of the magic circle began to sprout a lump out of its neck. Narrak looked at his handiwork, dejected. Our heroes thought that the problem was that Narrak can’t summon Demogorgon to this world because he’s already here. [Editor’s Note: That’s not actually why, and I don’t think I remembered to clear that up when the topic came up in the game session itself. I’ll clear that up below.]

grula-munga.jpgNarrak’s bodyguards included a Death Dog and an Ettin named Grula-Munga. It appears he’s got a thing for creatures with two heads— which explains his fascination over Demogorgon.

Droki tried to hide using a spell of darkness, but Rael had other ideas. He didn’t need to see Droki, he only needed to know approximately where Droki was— and he knew that Droki was wearing boots of speed and a displacer hat. Detect Magic let him determine where those items were— sort of. The displacer hat’s magic displaced the detection of… was it the hat? Or was the magic displacing where Rael thought the boots were? Rael guessed correctly, and Droki tried to find another means of escape. Unfortunately for him, that just meant he had to deal with Alphys.

Alphys tied up the wily derro as Goldenrod threw derro cultists about the room. It took a while to mop up the remaining spell-casting cultists, but the group was victorious.

Goldenrod and Wynn went over Narrak’s possessions and his office. They found a book that they determined had a magical ritual designed to put a second head on a being with only one. [Editor’s note: Here’s where I forgot to mention: That ritual appears to be what you saw here. Demogorgon wasn’t to be summoned, but it was his power that Narrak was asking for to complete the ritual. Since Demogorgon is busy ransacking the Underdark, though, the ritual did not work.]

Droki’s satchel had an interesting delivery: A lump of metal that was very similar to the obelisk from earlier in the day. They determined that the object was a piece of something called Fardelver’s Gate. He also carried a letter to Narrak from someone named Xinaya. Xinaya’s note says she also has a component of Fardelver’s Gate, and what’s more, she also claimed to have captured a slave with interesting anti-magic properties. Her note said she would be in Neverlight Grove for the time being.

Along the back wall of the cavern, they find a broken statue similar to the one on the pedestal in the center of the magic circle. Both statues are of crouching stone giants, and they have names on them. The one in the center of the room reads, “Dorhun”, the broken one reads “Rihuud”.

Droki carried a list of names that look vaguely to be in the Giant tongue, those names include Dorhun and Rihuud. He also carried a scroll tube with small pouches in it, the pouches are labeled with the other four names and include huge toenail clippings.

We left with the group trying to decide what to do next— deliver Droki to Captain Blackskull, or finish exploring the Whorlstone Tunnels.

Comments

I am probably forgetting a few dangling plot threads, but here’s a not-so-comprehensive list of the things our heroes have set up but not knocked down:

- Delivering Droki to Captain Blackskull
- Seeing if you can install the lump of Fardelver’s Gate into Fardelver’s Gate
- Learning more about Fardelver’s Gate
- Figuring out why there’s a dragon egg down here
- Cleaning out the last bits of the Whorlstone Tunnels
- Taking Stool and Rumpadump to Neverlight Grove
- Getting a chunk of Fardelver’s Gate from Xinaya in Neverlight Grove
- Boy, does that slave Xinaya mentioned sound like Gar or what?
- Figuring out what the deal is with the rough token that the mystic in the Blade Bazaar of Gracklstugh gave you
- Returning Pelek’s remains (what little you have of them) to Blingdenstone
- Informing Captain Blackskull of the dissension in her ranks
- Figuring out what the heck Demogorgon is doing in the Underdark
- Getting the hell out of the Underdark

Two Heads are Better than One
 

DM’s notes: Usually when I make my mistakes, they’re while running a game— the prep work I have more time to think about, so I get it closer to “sane”. No plan survives contact with the player characters, of course, but at least I get some of the broader strokes correct.

The big mistake with this one was the collar. I named it Lorthio’s Experiment— except that it was on a cave bear that was with a bunch of derro. Lorthio’s a duergar. I meant to name the collar after Narrak, who is a derro and has done experiments involving stone giants, , but got the characters mixed up.

Fortunately, nobody seems to read the color text I put on magic items. It’s largely there for my own amusement.

Here’s Lorthio’s Experiment’s card text as an example:

Lorthio’s Experiment

Wondrous item, very rare.

Lorthio Bukbukken, an alchemist with the Gray Ghosts, has been experimenting in the whorlstone tunnels. This collar, made from the tanned hide of a stone giant, has swirls etched into the brass plates, and is suffused with the power of faerzress.

This collar magically resizes to fit any animal it’s placed on. While that creature wears it, its strength is set to that of a stone giant (23, with a +6 modifier). It has no effect on a creature whose strength is already 23 or higher.

For purposes of this object, an animal is anything described as a “beast” in its stat block.

Two Heads are Better than One
jdforinash jdforinash

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