Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"The Battle for Blingdenstone" - Out of the Abyss, Chapter 22

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 22
"THE BATTLE FOR BLINGDENSTONE"

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

While in Blingdenstone,
they discovered that the old
Royal Quarter was controlled
by an insane Deep Gnome
called the Pudding King,
who intends to use
his army of oozes, slimes, and jellies
to take over the city!

Chief Senni has called
a council of war
to decide what to do...

THE PLAYER CHARACTERS
Virtue - tiefling paladin and warlock, a mysterious wild card of unknown allegiance.
Ront - orc barbarian seeking redemption for his failures.
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.

NOT APPEARING THIS WEEK
Jimjar - deep gnome rogue who likes to wager on everything.

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.

BREYA AND FICUS RETURN
Breya and Ficus were returning to Blingdenstone after successfully helping Yantha Coaxrock of the Stoneheart Enclave locate the lost location to Entemoch's Boon. There, Yantha had created new Earth Elementals two for the defense of the Stonheart Quarry and one for Blingdenstone itself.

Ficus asked Yantha if he could have an earth elemental. Yantha told him no, they were too valuable and were needed for the defense of the city.

DM Note- True story. This will become incredibly funny later.

Breya, Ficus, Yantha, and a handful of escorts, had just entered the gates and passed through the maze when they were met by a messenger.

"I am here to inform you that you are to be summoned to Diggermattock Hall for a council of war."

Yantha, taken aback, blinked and responded, "Of course. I'll be right there." She turned to her companions, "I'll meet you afterwards."

Ficus and Breya nodded.

The messenger continued, indicating Ficus and Breya, "My orders say that you, too, are invited."

Ficus blinked away his surprise and he and Freya followed Yantha and the messenger to Diggermattock Hall.

A COUNCIL OF WAR
Dorbo and Senni
Senni had assembled representatives from each of the factions of Blingdenstone.

The room was filled with svirfneblin, were-rats, and ghosts.

Before Senni called the assembly to order, Ficus and  Ront exchanged greetings. When asked about the others, Ront said Jimjar wasn't invited and that Virtue was late. Ront did what he could to bring Ficus and Breya up to speed on the events of the last few tridons, but Ront was Ront.

During the introduction, Chipgrin waddled over and introduced himself to Ficus and Breya, saying he had heard all about them and that it was a pleasure to meet them. Ficus was dubious of the were-rat but withheld judgement.

Chipgrin the Were-rat


Senni called the council to order, introducing each of the factions.
  • Senni's husband, Dorbo Diggermattock, stood with Sark Axebarrel and the city guard.
  • Yantha Coakrock represented the Stoneheart Enclave. 
  • Kazook Pickshine represented the interests of the Miner's Guild.
  • A few of the city's ghosts hovered near the spirit of Burrow Warden Jadger.
  • Chipgrin led a small contingent of Goldwhisker were-rats.
  • Ront stood alone but welcomed the arrival of Ficus and Freya. 
Senni looked around the room, desperately searching for Virtue who still hadn't arrived. She soon gave up and asked (sigh) Ront (sigh) to relay his experiences with the court of the Pudding King.

Ront did his monosllyabic best to tell the story of how Chipgrin led them to a back passage, telling how they encountered the "Big Ghee-Hode" and the booming voice that told them to leave. He told of the walls covered in slimes and molds and jellies which shook and jumped along with the loud voice. 

During the story, the assembled deep gnomes looked at each other with increasing confusion as Ront used as many big words that his limited vocabulary could muster. 

When he finished, Senni thanked him and asked Chipgrin to continue, "What can you tell us about this Pudding King?"

Chipgrin told his story and said that the Pudding King was planning to take over Blingdenstone, and that the Goldwhiskers would leave before that happened.

Dorbo shouted, "Good! Leave! Clear out! You've never been welcome here!"
Sark Axebarrel, Captain of the Guard
Chipgrin hissed in defiance, but was silenced interrupted by Ficus, "Stop it! Dorbo, I've seen how many soldiers you have. If what Ront says is true, you'll never defeat the Pudding King with only thirty guards. You're going to have to work together with the were-rats if you want to have a chance."

Dorbo sat down. 

Ficus continued, "What do the rest of you have, what else do you bring to the table?"

Yantha offered, "I brought an Earth Elemental."

Ficus approved and pointed to his former master, Kazook Pickshine, "Master Pickshine, do you have any oil? How much alchemist fire do you have?"
Kazook Pickshine, Alchemist and leader of the Miner's Guild

Kazook answered, "We've got some lubricant but no lamp oil, if that's what you're asking. I only have a handful of flasks of alchemist fire."

"Could you make more?"

"Yes, but I'd need to acquire some more ingredients from the myconids in Neverlight Grove."

Ficus shook his head, "That's too far away."

Dorbo interrupted, "What about weapons? We've fought some of these slimes and our weapons melt away! We need better weapons from Gracklstugh!"
Ront
Ront shouted, "NO GRACKLSTUGH!"

Ficus agreed, "No, it's also too far away. What about you ghosts?"

Barrow Warden Jadjer cleared his throat and hovered higher, "Thanks to the efforts of these brave Overworlders, I believe I can rally the ghosts of Blingdenstone to our aid."

Ficus then said, "Okay, I've got a plan. I say you deep gnomes launch an attack against the Pudding King and all his oozes. This will distract him. Meanwhile, our team can sneak in the back way and attack the Pudding King in his throne room."

Dorbo excitedly interjected, "Yes! A frontal assault! We could put the earth elemental in the front. It would be the point of the spear. Meanwhile, the were-rats," he nodded towards Chipgrin, "could follow behind and be the shock troops. My men would bring up the rear."
Barrow Warden Jadjer, Ghost
Barrow Warden Jadjer offered, "The ghosts could weave in and out of the walls, causing mayhem!"

Dorbo nodded, "Yes! Perfect!"

Ront suggested, "Are oozes like cave slugs? Will salt hurt them? You could hurl salt with slings."

Kazook shrugged, "Couldn't hurt, I guess."

Senni brought the council to a close, "Excellent, then we have a plan. We shall assemble at the start of the next tridon. Assemble what you need and meet in the Trader's Grotto. We'll attack the House Center


SNEAK ATTACK
After preparing and resting for a shift, the various teams assembled for their missions. The Overworlders were escorted into the Goldwhisker Warrens to the edge of the Pudding King's court. There they waited for the messenger with the signal that the attack had begun.

A few moments later, a messenger ran up and gave the signal. The Overworlders entered into Pudding territory. Ront, fearing the effect an ooze would have upon his blade, carried a two-handed bone club.

They entered into a large chamber with a pond of water on the left wall. They were met by three grey oozes and an ochre jelly. This initial resistance was soon defeated.

Virtue remembered that the path ahead led to the throne room. However, that path led past a ruined rothe' stockade containing a gibbering mouther, a beast the party was unwilling to confront. The party faced a decision - go forward and risk the gibbering mouther or go right and risk getting lost.

THE RELUCTANT GUARDIAN
Virtue knew that the path to the right led to the old House Center, but perhaps there was another way past the gibbering mouther. She looked down the passage towards House Center and saw a quivering dark mass on the ceiling. She pointed it out to her companions and she, Ficus, and Breya peppered the dark shape with ranged spells. The dark shape retreated into a hole in the ceiling.

The party advanced. Ront led the way until he was standing under the hole containing the black shape. Suddenly the black pudding dropped from the ceiling, barely  missing Ront as it fell to the passage floor with a sickening wet "THWAP!" Simultaneously, two grey oozes emerged from the passage walls, attacking the rest of the party with their pseudopods.

Ront attacked the black pudding with his club. To his surprise the club began to dissolve! Ront dropped the club and switched to his sword. To his further horror, the sword split the black pudding into two halves with each continuing to attack independently from the other! After the others defeated the grey oozes with magical attacks, they helped Ront defeat the puddings.

They advanced forward and found themselves in the House Center where they witnessed the great battle raging near the entrance. They backed away, ignoring a side passage to the left, and decided to take the route past the gibbering mouther.

OBSTACLE CUBED
After returning to the cavern with the pond, they decided to take the path that led to the ruined stockade. Ront led the way and almost walked into a transparent gelatinous cube occupying the hallway. Ront was able to dodge out of the way as the cube advanced.

Ront, Virtue, and Santaka fought the gelatinous cube while Ficus withdrew to a safe distance behind a pillar. Unfortunately, Ficus was then attacked by an ochre jelly lurking in the darkness.

Virtue left the cube to Ront and rushed to aid Ficus.


Both the cube and the ochre jelly were eventually destroyed.

A QUARTET OF PUDDINGS
The party advanced forward, reaching the cavern that was once a deep gnome temple and later used as a rothe' stockade during the drow occupation. In the back of the cavern, they could hear the horrible cackling of the gibbering mouther, but the abomination made no effort to leave its home near the temple.

As they entered, they were met by four quivering black puddings!


Ficus ordered everyone to back up to the passage where they could constrain the puddings. Ront and Virtue held the front line against two puddings at a time while Breya and Ficus cast spells from the rear. Breya was able to damage two of them with a fireball spell.

The other two puddings acted with unusual intelligence, a trait bestowed upon them by the Pudding King, and kept out of sight of the spell casters.

Ront's club continued to degrade as he fought but thanks to the continuous spell attacks and Virtue's magic halberd, they were eventually able to defeat all four puddings and continue.

THE ROYAL JELLIES
The gibbering thing ignored them as they continued towards the Pudding King's throne room. The Overworlders came upon an intersection of several passages. Standing in the middle was an old wrinkled deep gnome wearing a tattered cape. The deep gnome's features were wrinkled and droopy. His body was covered in wet glistening slime.

The Pudding King was waiting for the Overworlders, "I see my welcoming party failed to keep you properly entertained. No matter, my loyal children, Princess Ebonmire and Prince Livid, shall tarry with you while I complete my preprations to welcome the Faceless Lord!"

At his signal, a black pudding and a grey ooze poured from holes in the ceiling, forming roughly humanoid shapes. The black shape was vaguely female while the grey shape was that of a young boy. The female spoke, "Yes, father. We shall have oh so much fun with out guests!"

The boy ooze jiggled evily as he chuckled.

The Pudding King looked pleased, "Excellent! Devour them, my precious children! Make your father proud!" With a wave of his hand he turned into a cloud of mist and blew away down one of the passages.

Ront charged and battle was joined. Prince Livid fell quickly. Princess Ebonmire gurgled a horrid scream at the death of her brother, "You will pay for that!"

Princess Ebonmire began hurling globs of black goo at the Overworlders, forcing Ficus to withdraw in pain. Ront engaged her in a fierce melee.

The Princess proved a match for Ront, splitting several times and reducing both Ront's club and two-handed sword to flaccid ruins. With a howl of anger, Ront was forced to reluctantly withdraw and his place was taken by Virtue.

DM Note- Ront was down to 1 hit point and had to withdraw to drink a healing potion. He had ruined both his weapons and was not reduced to daggers.

Eventually Princess Ebonmire was defeated. As she burst into a large puddle of black syrpy liquid, she disgorged two arcane tomes bound in troglodyte hide. Both books had titles in gnomish, so Ficus put them away for later. The party continued their pursuit of the Pudding King.

THE PUDDING KING
After navigating the confusing passages and caverns of the House Center, they eventually came upon the chamber of the Pudding King's throne.

In the rear of the large cavern was a stone throne, behind which stood the Pudding King. The ceiling dripped with dangling draperies of green slime.

The Pudding King laughed, "Callooh! Callay! Now you can join the party! You can be one with the Faceless Lord! Just let yourselves be eaten and disgorged!"

The Pudding King
The party studied the dripping green slime and hesitated at the entrance. The Pudding King cast a spell upon them and they were engulfed in a cloud of noxious gas! Coughing and gagging, Ront, now wielding one of Virtue's halberds, charged the Pudding King behind his throne, dodging green slime as it fell from the ceiling with Virtue not far behind. Breya moved out of the gas but stayed towards the rear of the room.

Ficus moved into the room and disappeared, only to suddenly reappear behind the Pudding King!

The Pudding King was just about to move the killing cloud over Breya when he was attacked by Ficus wielding the brilliant sun-blade known as Dawn! The Pudding King lost his concentration and the cloud dissapated!

The Pudding King then tried to magically disappear into a puff of mist but was stopped by a counterspell from Ficus.

The Pudding King reached out towards Ficus, grabbing his arm. Ficus began to wither like a raisin as his life force was drained by the magical Blight spell.

Green slime fell on Virtue, singing her with acid, but her instinctive counterattack flared forth into a halo of fire, burning away the slime instantly!

In a last ditch effort, the Pudding King turned himself into a black pudding. Ront attacked the pudding with his halberd cutting it into two. He attacked again, splitting again. There were now three black puddings, but the Pudding King had been split too many times. Some quick application of firebolt spells and a gout of flame from Santaka finally destroyed all three black puddings.

When the last pudding was burst, it reformed into the wounded body of the Pudding King, "You haven't won! No! We will rise from our children! We will be reborn from the Faceless Lord! Juiblex will consume the banquet of the Queen fo Fungi and we... will... all... grow...!"

AFTERMATH
As the Pudding King died, so too did the intelligence of the oozes he controlled.

Soon after the Pudding King's death, Sark Axebarrel and Dorbo Diggermattock rushed in followed by several battle-weary guards. They announced that the jellies, oozes, and slimes suddenly stopped fighting as an army and began to flee before their attack! The battle was won!

The Overworlders were escorted back to the massive geode palace in House Center where Senni, Chipgrin, the were-rats, and the guards were mopping up and killing every last ooze that remained. When Senni learned what the Overworlders had done, she came over and thanked them.

The following shift, the Overworlders were properly rewarded at a ceremony in the now liberated royal palace. For their efforts in defeating the Pudding King, they were awarded a magical Stone of Earth Elemental Control!

DM Note- Ficus got his earth elemental! 

After the battle, Virtue spent the next four or five tridons curing the were-rats of their lycanthropy. Meanwhile, the deep gnomes prepared an expedition to the surface.

The Overworlders were returning home!

TO BE CONTINUED...
Next week: The journey home!

Coming soon: We'll be taking a short break from Out of the Abyss for a few months and playing something different. I'm currently thinking of a science fiction space opera game in a galaxy with magic and space gods. It's going to be a Star Wars knock-off in the tradition of Message From SpaceBattle Beyond the Stars, Starchaser: the Legend of Orin, or Starcrash. 

Finally, I leave you with this: Trevor, who plays Virtue, dropped his huge d20 on his own nutsack, causing much pain and laughter, and when the dice landed on the table, it rolled a natural 20! PERFECT!