We set up our tent, inviting the Mysterious Drow Lady to join us in pursuing that elusive mistress shuteye. Carkal, in his distress over the teleportation ban in the Underdark, volunteered to stay up late in order to mourn his broken heart while also keeping an eye on her maybe. Halfway through the night the Darklight ritual wore of and Carkal pulled out our handy-dandy sunglobe, half-blinding the Mysterious Drow Lady in the process. Naturally, she moved off and obscured herself with smoke. Good job on the watch-keeping there, Carkal.
After some hours we woke up, feeling dandy and refreshed. Roswyn was mysteriously cured of her eight-hour flu (and there was must rejoicing). Edward, impatient to be off, asked Roswyn to ask the Mysterious Drow Lady whether we need to do anything before heading off. Instead, Roswyn asked for the Mysterious Drow Lady’s name—Riia. Riia informed us that we needed to find a shadow-walker if we didn’t want a three-month trek through the wilds of the Underdark. Apparently being able to shadow-walk would allow us to shift into the Shadowfell, a shadowy nightmarescape of a world that was absolutely bursting with dangerous beasties and lay over the corporeal plane. As the Shadowfell distorted time and space, we could potentially cover our journey at eight-fold speed. After some further inquiries via Roswyn, we discovered that Riia did not in fact know where we could find someone able to shadow-walk, but knew of a nearby city where we might be able to.
With this information in hand, we decided to head to the city, following Riia’s lead. Once back at the outpost, we began asking lizard folk for the way to the city. While Perra made inquiries in Draconic, Riia cut to chase using some not entirely legal means and a judicious application of Undercommon, quickly getting the information we needed: a two days’ journey to Onsalar. Unbeknownst to the rest of the party, Onsalar apparently sat upon a very valuable resource and was extremely protective of it, sending our frequent raiding parties to fend off everyone else’s raiding parties. Oblivious, we bought supplies and headed out into the caves.
We soon came across a river chasm. Fortunately we easily found a bridge over the rushing waters below, and headed down a tunnel that quickly guided us towards a waterfall. With no other path forward, we slogged through the surrounding puddle, a slimy affair that was a few feet deep and filled with algae and moss living it up in the moist dark. Roswyn, being short, chose to ride Perra through the transportation while Riia teleported. Carkal, who had been forced to ride along in the Haversack due to contracting the mysterious eight-hour flu, was able to take some solace in the knowledge that short-range teleportation still worked.
But then! No sooner had we passed the waterfall and began slogging across the pond beyond to where the tunnel continued high and dry we were attacked by the blind cave piranhas of death!!! As we (as in, those of us not fortunate enough to have the power of water-walking) fought off the biters, Edward noticed a dark shape leaping across the water at Perra. As we were fighting in the dark against nocturnal cave-dwelling beasties you can imagine we were at something of a disadvantage, but despite the slippery, difficult-to-hit nature of our enemies we soon identified our attackers as dragonspawn: bestial monstrosities created by the ancient cults of Tiamat to serve as mindless soldiers. These in particular were enormous scaly arachnids with snapping dragon’s heads as opposed to eight-eyed be-mandibled affairs.
Of course, facing these mockeries of true spiders that no sooner were we distracted when a giant true spider decided to join the festivities, much to Riia (and the Lolth symbol hanging from her belt)’s dismay. And while Roswyn was conveying information about the dragonspawn to the rest of the party via telepathic limericks, a spider descended upon her, provoking a scream of epic proportions. Fortunately, Roswyn narrowly avoided its grab at a light snack and the rest of the party proceeded to smack it to death.
With our foes downed, we pressed on down the next bit of tunnel, finding it to be lined with fungus and filled with numerous and very sticky spider webs, which were happily sans spiders. After proceeding in this annoying fashion for some we soon found ourselves a nice straight tunnel that led us straight through several caverns, occasionally lined with fungus (including at one point some nice warm glowing fungus). A few groups of enemies decided to try and make a snack of us, but we soon put them right.
At one point we encountered a nice warm room that made all of us feel vague and sleepy. We quickly headed on, into tunnels which were colder, but also not full of fungal Rohypnol. This next stretch of tunnel were lined with earthy ground and small animal tunnels, as well as being considerably narrower—at times it was a struggle to push through, and no doubt those of us with skins lost a few inches to the scraping rock. And the local insect population, perhaps thrilled at the idea of an exotic feast, went to town with their stingers.
After a very itchy hours the tunnel narrowed even further and roughened up; we were forced to ascend a steep cavern which fortunately had lots of handholds. We then found ourselves in a cavern full of branching tunnels. Fortunately Riia picked the right direction and moved on upwards through some uneventful tunnels until we found ourselves at the base of an enormous chasm, its surface laced with tunnels and caves. Near the distance ceiling we could make out the shapes of creatures darting around between the stalactites. We quickly tracked down a traveler’s path up the chasm face and began making our way along the chasm’s wall to the other side. However, during our trek not one of us was spared a splitting headache. A quick check by Edward confirmed that some magic hoodoo was at work—something reality-warping, from the Far Realm…
Still, we pressed on. The chasm sloped upwards as we followed the cave and tunnel path. We eventually emerged onto a ledge from which we could see the flying creatures. Ozymandias, in his infinite wisdom, threw a rock at one of the nearer creatures. Intrigued, or possibly angered and looking for lunch, they flew closer…Ozymandias did the smart and—no, wait, he threw more rocks at them. Perra grabbed him by the ear and dragged him onwards before Ozymandias could bring swooping doom upon us. We headed into another tunnel and, after some time, emerged lower down at a cave entrance that spilled us out onto the chasm floor. In the fungus about the cave mouth, we made out the nests of several unknown creatures. Perhaps still feeling the strain of the rock-throwing incident, Edward sternly admonished Ozymandias: Don’t poke them.
The next cave along our chain turned out to be up a steep climb; fortunately, we noticed some handholds and footholds some kind traveler that knocked out some time earlier. With Roswyn hanging off Perra’s back, and Riia’s staves safely stowed in the Bag, we started climbing. However, halfway up the chasm face a deep, horrendous laugh echoed down from the cave entrance above…however, not being ones to flinch at potential doom, we still climbed. We weren’t left in suspense of about the laughter’s source for long as a bulbous form covered in lazily waving eyestalks floated down to greet us. Ozymandias naturally threw a rock at it.
The beholder didn’t seem to be too perturbed by that as it drifted past, smiling without attacking. Ozymandias, ignoring protests from wiser souls such as Riia and Roswyn, kept throwing rocks at it until he finally managed to clip it in the side. Now enraged, the beholder shot a ray of dark energy at Ozymandias. Cue fight music.
A fight of this magnitude could not be allowed to go unrecorded, so some highlights:
- Ozymandias knocking the beholder up…wards.
- Roswyn being forced to flail ineffectually at Perra with her rapier while furiously singing her daily all the while.
- Edward, face down on the ground, was compelled to charge Ozymandias, who was standing right next to it.
- Riia dragging the beholder about with lightning bolts and dooommmm
- Perra riding it like a donkey with eyestalks for reins.
Eventually the beholder’s attempts to attack Perra resulted in it destroying itself: the final blow came when it feared itself into being terrified of its own bulbous self, and in its efforts to flee its own body it crumbled to dust. Various celebratory gestures were made and Ozymandias threw yet another rock. Fortunately, we were able to hightail it the rest of the way up and through the upper cave mouth before the gargoyles could attack in rage at the indignities being inflicted upon them by mere landwalkers.
The cave entrance brought us to a chute, which we kept climbing forward and upwards…it’s a difficult route, but we make it none the worse for wear. Along the way we came across a nest hollowed out of sheer rock—the beholder’s, evidently. We scooped up some scattered gems, a magical object, and a nice chunk of adamantium, oh-ho. Leaving the beholder’s nest behind, we foundd ourselves in another tunnel. Though we pressed on, the adrenaline quickly faded and began searching for a place to camp out once we’d assured ourselves that we were truly tired, rather than being magicked into it. Once we’d set up our campsite, Perra decided to celebrate our defeat of the beholder by cooking the salted fish he’d been carrying around for the past couple days. Fearing for their gastrointenstinal tracts, Roswyn and Riia and Edward choose to eat bread and jerky instead…
After a bit of a sleep we woke up feeling refreshed and pressed onwards! The journey was mostly uneventful for the first part, though we did encounter an impressively huge vein of quartz along the way. At some point we noticed the tunnel smoothing out a little and beginning to look a little more road-like, including a few points along the way were we saw mushroom patches that looked to have been harvested some time ago. After that our next milestone was a crossroads where we find the remnants of a cooking fire not more than a couple hours old, which we were happily able to ascertain was not, in fact, our own. Following Riia’s instructions, we took the left fork of the crossroads. The route led us over a few more interesting chasms (including a cavern that had a sort of reverse cavern in the ceiling). We note some creatures called darkmantles along the way which fail at ambushing us—Ozymandias reprises his rock-throwing while the rest of us use the much more efficacious magic to get rid of the things.
The tunnel eventually widened, leading us through ha series of connected caverns, to the point that some caverns even peeked back into each other. And then, apropos of nothing, the area around us was doused in a pitch black, a darkness not even the sunglobe could penetrate. Only Riia could see, and her search for the source of this magical darkness was interrupted by a series of quiet clicks in the darkness. She informed Roswyn that we’d run afoul of a drow raiding party and just as Roswyn was conveying this information to the rest of the party, a crossbow bolt flew into our midst…