These are the journal entries for our D&D 5th Edition campaign being played on Roll20. There are 6 PCs: Ragnar (Paladin), Eamon (Cleric), Jortran (Druid), Tec (Rogue), Malfred (Warlock), and Tristan (Barbarian).
23 Flamerule – 1490 – Year of the Star Walker’s Return
As morning dawned the group met in the common room of the Stonehill Inn to make their plan for returning to the Phandelver mine. Jortran was still unconscious in his room. As they mulled over their options, Maltan-Ragnar informed the group that he’d received a vision while praying that he believed was a message from his god, leading them to some special weapon that might help them on their quest. He asked that the party return to the cellars under Tresendar Manor to look down in a crevasse for a sword. The other party members agreed. Gundren and Nundro, meanwhile, would start making preparations for reopening the mine.
Upon returning to the scene of the Redbrand ambush on the grounds of the dilapidated mansion it became apparent that wild animals had been feasting on the rotting corpses of the dead ruffians and bugbears. Malfred inspected the body of the deceased spellcaster to look for evidence of his identity. In a small pouch of spell components under the bloated, rotting corpse, he found a small rolled up piece of paper. It proved to be a promissory note addressed to “Iarno Albrek” and promising 5000 gp for delivery of a Potion of Invisibility to one Lord Khaspere Drylund. No one in the party recognized the name, and Malfred tucked it away for later.
Down in the cellars, the party returned to the large cavern with the deep crevasse. The stench of the decaying Nothic body was horrendous, and Ragnar was briefly overcome by the smell. Ragnar and Eamon climbed down into the crevasse where they found a medium sized metal lockbox wedged into a cleft in the rock wall. They pulled it free, and behind it, farther back in the hole they discovered the sword from Ragnar’s vision. Eamon pulled it out and they looked it over. It was a beautiful sword, with a hilt of silver made to look like outstretched wings, and engraved with the word “Talon”. The scabbard was black and chased with silver filigree.
As they were about to climb out of the crevasse, Ragnar spied a small opening at the north end, barely wide enough for a human to squeeze through. Curious to see where it might lead, Ragnar and Eamon ventured in. The cramped, twisting passage wound down further into the earth, eventually widening into a natural cavern. It seemed this might all have been carved out by flowing water centuries past, but was bone dry now. In the cavern they found themselves at the top of a 30′ slope of rock, that led down to a natural chamber dominated by a large sinkhole, roughly 20′ in diametre. At the lip of the sinkhole was a rope ladder with wooden slats, affixed to the rock, and dangling into darkness.
They were soon joined by the rest of the party, and investigating the sinkhole found that the rope ladder led down 50′ to a wooden platform that was only the top most portion of a scaffold of stairs and more platforms winding down around the inner circumference of the sinkhole into the depths of the earth. They carefully made their way down, one at a time, from platform to platform. Along the way many of them almost fell to their death as rotting, ancient boards occasionally cracked under their weight.
On the second to last platform they found the skeleton of a long-dead orc, and at the final platform was another rope ladder that dropped down another 50′ to the floor of a cave intersection, past which flowed a swiftly moving underground river, and from which branched three tunnels. As they climbed down and looked about they noticed that it seemed to be some sort of staging area with racks of old weapons. Taking it all in, and looking at the sword found by Eamon and Ragnar, Tristan remembered a story told to him by an old ship captain, who claimed to be the nephew of Sir Aldith Tresendar, the patriarch of Tresendar Manor, who was known as the Black Hawk, and who had supposedly died defending his home and the town of Phandalin, from a hoard of orcs that had boiled up from the underdark using passages that emerged into the cellars below the manor. The sword was his, and must have been lost there during the battle that destroyed the manor, and the original town.
As they began investigating the tunnels that branched of from the scaffolding, they noticed a 10′ wide hole in the ground part way along the northern passage. As they were checking it out, the ground began to vibrate almost imperceptibly, and it sounded as if something was coming up the hole. The heroes made ready, and a moment later a gargantuan Purple Worm burst out of the hole.
The party began peppering it with attacks, noticing as they did that the worm seemed to have already been in some sort of fight, with wounds along its length, including numerous arrows. The worm thrashed about under the assault, and then brought its huge maw down directly on to Ragnar, swallowing him whole, and chomping at him with its teeth as he slid down the beast’s gullet. Inside the belly of the beast Ragnar did they only thing he could, he made use of his newly acquired Wand of Magic Missiles, funnelling every single charge of the wand into energy bolts to blast the insides of the worm. From outside, the rest of party could see small flashes of green light from the maw of the worm, and little bulges appearing and disappearing along its hide. Suddenly, with a horrendous sound, the worm belched forth a near-dead Ragnar, spewing him on to the ground in a mess of stomach acid and worm saliva. The worm thrashed at Ragnar with its barbed tail, laying him low and unconscious on the ground. The rest of the party jumped to his aid, continuing their attacks of steel, magic, and arrows, until Ragnar managed to stave off death and regain consciousness. They managed to deal some near-fatal blows to the beast, and it fled back down its hole.
As the party rested, panting from the battle, and wondering what to do next, they heard sounds approaching. From the North-West came the sound of voices and footfalls; from the South-west, a sort of “squelching” noise. Eamon, Ragnar and Malfred elected to climb back up the ladder and head up the stairs, but Tristan and Tec wanted to stay behind to see what was coming. They both hid and listened, while the others pulled up the rope ladder and retreated to a spot farther up the stairs to watch from safety. Down below, Tec and Tristan could now make out the voices more clearly, and Tristan recognized them as a form of elvish, but slightly different. He began climbing up the scaffolding to the first platform while Tec remained hidden.
A moment later a large Gelatinous Cube slouched out of the darkness from the south-west and into the light from the torch left on the floor by Tristan. It did not seem to notice the two hiding heroes, and instead paused to suck up the mess of blood and goo on the ground from where Ragnar had been ejaculated from the gargantuan purple worm. The voices in the north-west passage grew louder, and the cube eventually moved on to the north-east. Not long after the group spied a lone Drow Elf with a bow sneaking up in the shadows to scout the area. It looked around and then retreated. A few minutes later he returned with more drow in tow. There were four of them altogether, three males led by a female. All of them were clad in very fine studded leather armour, and fine shields, all of it black, decorated with silver in spidery motifs. They each carried with them two short swords and hand crossbows, while one held a a shortbow of masterful work, all black and silver, on which he had two arrows knocked.
The female elf called out in drowish to the darkness. It seemed she thought there were more drow about. They soon spied Tec and Tristan, however, and Tristan replied to them in Elvish, saying that the party was there looking for “the drow who would plot against the surface”. A parlay followed between the drow, Tristan, and Malfred in broken Elvish. Malfred pretended to be Iarno “Glasstaff” Albrek, and said he was looking for the Black Spider, and asked if they served the Black Spider. The drow laughed uproariously at this, and said with derision that no one served the “Black Spider” except for weak surface-dwellers. The drow asked if the party knew where the Black Spider was, because there was a bounty for his capture.
Finally, the female drow leader offered to let them leave alive if they would do two things for her; one, they must give her something of value to spare them; and two they could accept a job from her. Malfred agreed to give them something valuable, and proceeded to drop down a rock imbued with the light spell before running recklessly up the rickety stairs. A befuddled Eamon, began following up after him, but stopped part way when he saw that Ragnar wasn’t following.
Down below, Tec adjusted his hiding spot, while Tristan climbed down from the scaffolding promising to offer them something of true value. As he reached the ground and faced the female drow, he realized he had nothing of value to offer, and in a moment of what passes for clarity among barbarians, rushed head-long at the drow leader.
Will our heroes survive this encounter with Elite Drow Warriors in the Underdark?
Until Next Time…