Wednesday, June 8, 2016

"Goldwhisker Warrens" - Out of the Abyss, Chapter 21

What follows is an illustrated dramatic retelling of my group's play through of the D&D campaign setting, "Out of the Abyss". SPOILERS for anyone wishing to play in this campaign.

CHAPTER 21
"GOLDWHISKER WARRENS"

A rag-tag group of fugitves
experience one adventure after another
as they travel the Underdark
searching for a way home.

The fugitives continue their work
helping the deep gnomes of Blingdenstone.
After defeating the medusa Neehedra
and re-consecrating the Steadfast Stone,
they rescued many deep gnome hostages
from a drow trap in the Stonehart Quarry.

Now in order to secure passage to the Overworld
they must carry a diplomatic message
to the wererats of Goldwhisker Warrens.


THE PLAYER CHARACTERS
Virtue - tiefling paladin and warlock, a mysterious wild card of unknown allegiance.
Jimjar - deep gnome rogue who likes to wager on everything.
Ront - orc barbarian seeking redemption for his failures.

NOT APPEARING THIS WEEK
Ficus Asëa - eladrin sword-mage who became lose while helping escort deep gnome refugees back to Blingdenstone.
Breya- human bard, sent to rescue Wulfric from duergar slavers, now seeking a way back to the surface.

THEIR FELLOW FUGITIVES
Prince Derendil - Elven prince in the body of a brutish quaggoth.
Starshine - A mute moon elf, an escaped slave from Menzoberranzan.
Mister Floop - a friendly flumph.
Glabbagool - an inquisitive but friendly Gelatinous Cube.
Santaka - a baby red dragon, loyal to Virtue.
Wulfric the Tinker - a male human and expert engineer and inventor.

A DIPLOMATIC MISSION
Upon returning from their rescue mission to Stoneheart Quarry, the Fugitives from Velkenvelve rested and recuperated. They awoke the following shift and gathered in the common room of the Foaming Mug inn. Ficus, Breya, and Wulfric were nowhere to be seen. Jimjar was entertaining Starshine with sleight-of-hand games. The mute moon elf would sile and clap excitedly at every new surprise.

A few moments later, a runner appeared to summon the Overworlders to Diggermattock Hall. Virtue, Jimjar, Ront prepared to leave. Prince Derendil said, "Perhaps our royal personage may be of some assistance with this matter? We get so lonely and bored being left behind."

They said, "Sure, come along. Starshine, please stay here."

Mister Floop floated up, "I, too, shall join you!" The others shrugged.

Virtue spent a moment looking for Glabbagool and soon all six were returning with the runner.

Senni and Dorbo, the co-regents, had a mission for them. Senni had drafted a letter to be delivered to Chipgrin, the leader of the Goldwhisker clan of wererats. She wanted the Fugitives were to deliver the letter in the hopes that their neutrality would be accepted by the wererats.
Dorbo and Senni Diggermattock
Dorbo handed Virtue the sealed letter and leaned close, whispering, "While you are there, take note of their numbers and defenses. I am confident that this offering will fail and, when it does, I will be sending in a force of city guard to clear out the warrens once and for all."

A DISAGREEABLE WELCOME
The great metal doors that kept the Goldwhisker Warrens sealed away from the rest of Blingdenstone were opened and the Fugitives cautiously entered the forbidden quarter of the city.

Jimjar cautiously scouted ahead. He easily noticed that the cavern ahead was lined with holes in the walls and noted the pressure-sensitive plate concealed beneath the heavy tarp and covered with cave dust. As he disarmed the trap, four deep gnome guards wearing rags and bits of armor came charging out the darkness.

The guards demanded that the intruders lay down their weapons and surrender!

Virtue complied, dismissing her magical halberd and holding up her hands. She showed the letter and explained, carefully, that they had come to deliver a message to Chipgrin. The Diggermattocks wished a truce in order to deal with the oozes that were plaguing the city. The others, meanwhile, kept their weapons in hand but stayed their attack.

The deep gnome guards hesitated. At the mention of the oozes, two of the guards exchanged a knowing glance.

Virtue continued, reassuring the guards that they meant no harm. Jimjar muttered something under his breath.

One of the guards became agitated, "What did he say? WHAT DID HE SAY??"


Ront rushed forward, slapping the guard down with the flat of his sword. The guard went sprawling to the floor, clutching his face in pain. Ront pointed his sword at the second guard and shouted, "NA-GO-SHAY-SHUNS OVER!!"

The other guards shrank back, "Right. Um. This way." and led the Fugitives towards the Miner's Hall.



CHIPGRIN
The Fugitives were led into the Miner's Hall, a large cavern where ore was once smelted into metal. The forges now sat dark and empty but the room was alive with dozens of disheveled deep gnomes. They were lean, wiry, with long noses and beady eyes, and wore pelts and rags.

The largest and fattest among them stepped forward. One of the guards whispered into his ear and he turned towards the outsiders, announcing, "Greetings. I am Chipgrin, leader of the Goldwhisker Clan. I hear you have a message for me. Come. Join me in my office."
Chipgrin Goldwhisker
He led the Fugitives up a stairway cut into the stone to a wide ledge overlooking the hall. There were chairs here and a large throne covered in the pelt of a cave badger.

"Let's get down to brass hobnails, then. You were sent by the Diggermattocks, 'cause they want us out, am I right? Well, they might get their wish soon enough, see, but in a way they ain't likely to cheer about!"

Virtue asked what he meant.

"This whole here city, see. It's getting run over by them oozes, what with the Pudding King controlling them! It's getting rough to survive here in the old warrens. So we figures we might takes our chances elsewhere."

Virtue was intrigued by the mention of the Pudding King and asked for more.

"Oh, I remembers him from when he worked in the tunnels, and my kin saw him when he returned. I know who is he is, what he's doing, and - most of all - where he can be found! I know all about he what calls himself the Pudding King!"

Virtue inquired further, "Is he tied somehow to the demon lord Jubilex?"

"I have no ideas whats a Doobielick is. I ain't never heard of that so I can't say.  But enough about that, what's this about a letter?"

Virtue gave Chipgrin the letter. Chipgrin opened the letter, read it thoughtfully, crumpled it up, and threw it away.

"It's what I thought. Senni wants our help to fight the Pudding King! Hah! The words of the Diggermattocks aren't worth the trillimac its written on! I care not for their offering. I know that Dorbo wants us all dead! It's probably some kinds of what ya call a ruse to get us to leave!

"Well, they'll get their way soon enough. Blingdenstone is doomed and we're leaving it to him. Sure, we could team up with the Diggermattocks, but I don't TRUST the Diggermattocks! But you, you are outsiders. I have no reason to distrust you, yet. What do YOU think? Do you think this offer is genuine? If we were to team up against the Pudding King, would the Diggermattocks honor their agreement or would they turn on us?"

Virtue considered Senni's genuine optimism against Dorbo's antagonism. "I think if we helped, they'd honor the deal. We'd make sure of it. But maybe as a sign of good faith, you could show us where we could find the Pudding King. Do you have a map or something?"

"Hah! We're Svirfneblin! There are no maps! But you got yourself what ya call a deal! We'll take you to where you can find the Pudding King, fair and square!"

THE PUDDING COURT
Chipgrin and a handful of guards led the Fugitives down some abandoned tunnels, past some that reeked with foul smell, and to a dark passage, from which echoed a thousand constant squicking sounds.

"Be careful of this here passage, it be trapped. To the right is the House Center, former palace of the royal family. Keep going straingt and you'll find what was once a Rothe' stockade. Behind that is where I think he hides him what calls himself the Pudding King!"

Virtue said, "This shouldn't take too long. Lets get in there, take him out, and leave!"

Jimjar took a deep breath, "All right, let's do it!"

Mister Floop shuddered, "Mmm.. Your optimism is DELICIOUS!"

DM Note - Jeffy's Back!
One of our long time players, Jeffy, returned for one night only after being gone for over a year. We gave him Mister Floop to play because Mister Floop is right up Jeffy's alley. He slid into that role like he owned it! He had us cracking up every five minutes!

The Fugitives advanced cautiously. Jimjar was sent ahead to scout.

Jimjar went towards the House Center to take a peek. As he approached, he could feel his boots begin to stick to the wet muddy ground, only it wasn't mud it was slime.

In the House Center, he saw the massive hollow stone geode of the palace, over a hundred feet in diameter, suspended from the ceiling by immense columns of crystal. Other crystals rose from the ground to pierce the sides, forming stairs and entrances. It was as he remembered, only now the entire structure was covered in writhing pulsating slimes and amoebas!

The wet slurping sound was deafening. The walls of the cavern were covered in slime - dripping, sickening, green slime! The room was filled with dozens, scores, possibly hundreds of types of slimes of various color and consistency, yellow, green, black, grey, all mixed together in a disgusting stew!

A disembodied voice echoed through the cave, "What this, what's this? Visitors? Now? Not yet! We're not ready! Go away, pests! I will call upon thee and all of Blingdenstone to announce our glad tidings of the Faceless Lord to come at the proper time! Begone!"

Jimjar's eyes grew wide as the waving tendrils and pseudopods waved and danced to the booming sound of the voice. When the voice stopped, the slimes began to slowly move towards Jimjar.

Jimjar bared his teeth in concern and retreated from the room. He rejoined his companions and told them what he saw.

"Let's not go that way!" was the consensus.

Virtue and Jimjar both noticed Glabbagool slowly wandering towards the House Center. Virtue called for Glabbagool and the gelatinous cube snapped out if its trance. "Sorry. I'm here. What?"

"Are you okay?"

"Um. Do you not feel that?"

"Are you still in control, Glabbagool?"

"Yes? Yes! Yes I am!"

They pushed on to the old rothe' stockade. Behind the stockade was an ancient temple, long ruined. This room, too was covered in slimes, puddings, and oozes, blocking the path to the room Chipgrin indicated beyond. The oozes quivered and slowly heaved in their direction.

The Fugitives carefully backed away. Once again, Glabbagool moved slowly towards them. Virtue and Jimjar both called for Glabbagool but this time the call was too great, they were unable to snap the ooze out of its trance.

Ront ran forward and slashed his sword across Glabbagool's gelatinous side, cutting a wide gash. Glabbagool immediately returned to normal. "Sorry! Sorry! Let's go!"

The Fugtives retraced their steps, wary to avoid disturbing any slimes.

MISSION BRIEFING
Upon exiting the Warrens, the Fugitives returned to Diggermattock Hall to report. Virtue said that the Goldwhiskers would consider making peace and helping Blingdenstone against the Pudding King. Virtue reported on the impending departure of the Goldwhiskers and described the scene in the old House Center. Virtue told the Diggermattocks of the Pudding King and of some impending event suggesting that action be taken sooner rather than later.

Virtue was about to suggest some kind of covert mission when Senni cut her off, "We should act immediately! Please offer my invitation to Chipgrin to join us at a council of war. You, too, are invited and your input would be invaluable." She turned to her guards, "Summon all the clans and guilds. We must make plans for war!"

TO BE CONTINUED...

Next week: the Battle for Blingdenstone!