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Out of The Abyss: Part 8 - The Whorlstone Tunnels

Out of the Abyss is a Dungeons and Dragons (DnD 5e) game set in the Underdark. Play takes place every Friday night at Dragons Keep Roleplay Club in Chislehurst South East London. The Dungeon Master is Joshua.

Cast of Characters

  • Janek Boone - Human Champion (Tony)

  • Targonis - Wood Elf Ranger (Steve)

  • Aur - Aarakocra Rogue (Suresh)

  • Selya Skag - Vedalken Alchemist Artificer (Daniel)

  • Sunna Mortas - Tiefling Sorceror (Jo)

A Meeting with The Master

Janek's plan is to get the charmed derro so drunk that he falls unconscious, buying them some time after the charn spell wears off. Two well built derro carrying the tell tale scraps of red cloth approach.

"If you seek an audience with The Master then follow us".

The party get to their feet and, even though Aur is missing again, they follow the derro a short way to a run down derro house. On entering they notice 7 or 8 derro heavies closing in on their position.

The house is in disrepair but it seems occupied, a fire burns in a dilapidated kitchen area. However, as they cross the threshold and through an illusory wall into the kitchen the scene changes instantly to that of a bare cave. The sounds of metallic clunking and whirring emanate from a stairway which leads down into a basement.

Across the large basement room which can only be described as a kind of workshop stands a deep gnome tinkerer hunched over some form of mechanism. A mechanical arm reaches out and brushes the gnome aside as a half derro half machine figure stands and introduces himself as The Master.

Skag introduces the party and explains that they are looking for Droki. The derro tells them that Droki passes freely between the factions of Gracklstugh and acts as a runner ferrying items and information for whoever pays him.

The Master explains that he has lost more than just his limbs recently and he is focussed on regaining his power. He was in the process of trying to rescue one of his missing children and tried to bargain with the foul black winged beast which had taken them when it ripped his arms and legs off. The creature was called Kasra.

Janek explains that they are also hunting Kasra and that they will gladly bring him the beasts head in exchange for information about Droki and the Grey Ghosts. The Master explains that Droki frequents the Whorlstone Tunnels which also house the lair of the Grey Ghosts. It is a dangerous place and the derro kids rumour that a monster known as The Butcher also lives there and from time to time emerges to roam Gracklstugh and commit foul murders.

Whorlstone Tunnels - Out of The Abyss

The Master goes on to explain that he knows what they are seeking and that he cares not for either side in the struggle for control of Gracklstugh. Janek mentions how they escaped the clutches of the Drow and their flight from Velkynvelve, the slaying of the cultists and their sighting of the Demon Lord Orcus. Themberchaud told them that the Demogorgon has attacked Sloopdidoop. The Master mutters that if it is true that both Orcus and the Demogorgon are abroad in the Underdark his plans may need alteration. He whispers to one of his guards,

"Make preparations to leave".

The Master mentions that the Deepking has become emboldened with the arrival of his new advisor, a woman. When Janek asks if this is Kaethra, the derro laughs and comments “Mother brought her up well, she knows more about this business than I do, but she is not one for Duergar politics”. Their discussion concludes and the party are escorted back to the spot in front of the Whorlstone Tunnel entrance.

The Whorlstone Tunnels

Meanwhile Aur investigates the Whorlstone Tunnels with the help of her owl familiar Hedwig, Hedwig enters a cavern with a narrow crack from floor to ceiling. On either side of the crack are two fungal outcroppings. One fungus (pygmywort) has blue, arrow shaped caps, dotted with white flecks, the other is a thin stemmed purple capped mushroom (bigwig). Aur commands Hedwig to grab a few samples. Seeing through the eyes of the owl, Aur notices that the patch of blue fungus appears to have been picked recently. She also spots a set of footprints that seem to get smaller and smaller the nearer to the crack they get. She hears sounds outside the tunnel entrance and returns stealthily.

As Aur emerges from the tunnel entrance her friends arrive escorted by several of the red cloth derro heavies. Stool explains that the fungus she has retrieved have a unique effect. Pygmywort makes you smaller and bigwig makes you bigger. Janek mutters that this is probably how the duergar managed to grow to twice their size and overcome them. The fungus appear to have a very short lifespan once picked as the samples in Aur's hands are already disintegrating. As the heroes exchange stories about their meeting with he Master, a small derro in a floppy hat runs past and into the tunnel entrance.

"I'm late! I'm late! they are going to be angry with me for being late!"

The heroes rush after the derro, Aur swoops down the tunnel and tries to grab him but the derro is fleet of foot and dodges out of the way. Sunna is the next fastest and manages to cast a sleep spell that drops the little fellow in his tracks. Aur ties him up and begins rummaging through his bag which contains a number of strange items. Skag imbibes one of their potions and immediately spots a magical aura emanating from the little fellows boots. Perhaps these are fabled boots of speed they opine as they remove them from the derros feet.

When he wakes Droki is very cantankerous and hurls an unending string of obscenities at the heroes. Skag casts a charm and Droki calms down and cooperates. He answers all the heroes’ questions. They learn that the Council of Savants has the Red Dragon egg. He is delivering the copper scroll case to them. The Grey Ghosts are getting the lump of black rock. The pouches of skin and toenail clippings are all from Stone Giants and are in individually named bags. When Janek shows him some coin, Droki agrees to guide them through the tunnels for the sum of 200GP.

The Grey Ghost hideout is closest to the entrance. The heroes head into the tunnels led by Droki. They each consume the blue fungus and the world around them suddenly grows huge. The fungus which was a small thing you could carry in the palm of your hand is now as large as a full grown man. They begin the long trek through the crack in the wall and eventually emerge into a huge cavernous corridor surrounded by a forest of blue and purple mushrooms on either side of the crack. Janek, who was feeling very insecure and vulnerable being so small, bravely takes a bite of the purple mushroom and regains his normal size. The others follow suit.

Skag conjures two light orbs which float into the air illuminating the tunnel. This reveals a passageway ahead and one to their right from which they can hear the sound of lapping water and smell an overpowering acrid stench of death.

Emboldened by the light 3 giant spiders descend and attack the party. The heroes make short work of them, but Aur is felled in the process. Janek saves the rogue with a selflessly applied healing potion. Before they can celebrate 3 more spiders, attracted by the squeals of their brethren descend upon the heroes. Targonis christens his new bow in the blood of his enemies.

"Swiftwind by name and deadly by nature"

he proudly boasts.

Targonis - Out of the Abyss

All the heroes distinguish themselves in battle including the alchemist who bravely engages with nothing more than a dagger. Sunna produces fire bolt after fire bolt and shoots a flaming spray from her fingertips to set light to several of their arachnid attackers.

The battle is soon over...

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