Dark Exodus

Where there's a whip, there's a way...

Underdark

ADVENTURE LOG:

After meeting at the abandoned mine manager’s building to discuss or future plans for exploring the lost cairn we had all heard about, we suddenly wake up enslaved and imprisoned far beneath the earth, bound by unknown captors. As near as we can remember, we heard the sound of breaking class, then remember nothing.

Yorgan, Brother Thain, and Azeren awoke to orcs and goblins in their faces, which prompted an instant melee that the party won, just barely.

Our companions in other cells fared better, with Vorbis making contact with Otto and Grimnar, long time prisoners with a lot of insight and knowledge of our prison. They were willing to try to trust us, but only if we killed the goblins in their cell and brought them some healing mushrooms.

After completing our appointed tasks and reporting back, we discovered that Grimnar and Otto have been tunneling out of their prison for nearly a decade. They were stopped at present by the obstacle of green slimes in their path.

Each day, our band of heroes is broken up into different slave groups to completed different tasks. The arcane casters, Eirene, Yorgan, and Sogarr are sent away to work in specialized areas using their unique skills. Nahuel and Vorbis are sent out to work in underground “gardens” harvesting mushrooms and fungi. The rest of us are sent to work in the mines, clearing out coal and other minerals for our unknown masters.

After several days, each of the groups have gathered bits and pieces of information that we have shared, we have recovered enough raw parts for Vorbis to have makeshift thieves picks and tools, and we have discovered a secret cache with a gem and shiv. Greogor has also killed the last of the targeted goblins as well as picking a fight with a band of bugbears, which we narrowly were able to defeat. Only time will tell if we ever manage to escape the grim situation the party currently finds itself in, far underground and far away from home…

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Daydreams and Nightmares...

FROM THE JOURNAL OF BROTHER THAIN:
Only the goddess of twilight knows how we got down here in this hellhole. None of us remember exactly what happened, only that we woke up in a strange cell, imprisoned and in danger. Our group was split up, and appear to be kept that way for the forseeable future. Though I have spoke to the Nalfling, I cannot get free to protect her properly, and I fear for what a child of her innocence may face in such a foul cesspit, surrounded by prisoners nearly as bad as her captors. I pray to the Mistress of Shadows that she provide a way for us out of here, no matter how difficult or unlikely. Hope is after all the first thing that dies in a place like this…

So far, our captivity, while not a happy occasion, is certainly nowhere near the worst a dwarf has experienced at the hands of their enemies. If we can manage to stay alive long enough to discover a route of escape, I have no doubt our ferocity and skills of the group are sufficinet to the task. While I know my own spirit is strong, I fear that the will of some of the others may be broken by this dreadful place, especially those of the halfling or Nalfling, who are most childlike in demeanor. This is a place that grinds children up into powder, and I pray it leaves them as untouched as possible. I also worry that the proud barbarian warrior in Reni’s cell may end up getting himself or us killed with his vendettas against those who have slighted us. There is very little room for error in an evil place such as this, and the odds don’t favor a good outcome.

What’s this? Reni has asked to be moved elsewhere?? I am relieved that she is away from the barbarian, but where are they taking her? What was she thinking, getting herself separated from the rest of us? I fear I may never see the forest spirit again, should escape present itself and fortune require immediate action or risk loss of opportunity.

My list of those who deserve to die grows longer by the day, and I find myself giving thanks to the god of my youth, Eternal Moradin, for his gift of long years to my people, for surely it will take more than a human lifetime to repay those who deserve my attention. I think I glimpsed a shrine to Gruumsh a while back while being moved, and certainly there are more than a few orcs here, on both sides of the whips…. if such a place is inspired by him, the keepers of his temples elsewhere in the land should start watching for shadows… bearded ones, that grant no mercy or quick death. Until then, I share this sketch with you, a pleasant daydream that keeps a smile on my face, despite our unfortunate circumstances…

Brother thain settle a debt

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Recap of Our Current Tactical Situation

As you can see by the tactical map of our situation below, we are currently surrounded by dicks and assholes, which doesn’t bode well for us being caught in the middle!

Current tactical situation

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<sigh> Again? ...Really?
Excerpt from the journal of Vorbis the Large

<sigh> Here I go again. Although, I’m not sure where I am or why I’m here this time. These captors seem to be a bit more rough than any other I have had the displeasure of meeting. I have seen that my friends Brother Thain and Reni have been brought here as well as our new companions The odd part is, none of us are sure quite how or why.

I have befriended a Gnome and Dwarf that have been here for a long time. Definitely longer than I plan to stay. My compatriots have been helpful in getting me items to replace my tools that been lifted from my person. We will just have to see how I do at putting their efforts to good use.

They have been having me work in the mushroom fields. I have found some interesting mushrooms that could be helpful to us in the near future. There seems to be a creature that resides out of site along the roof of the caverns. It has so kindly and yet unwittingly provided me some of its silk that will aid me in carrying out the ideas that fill my head.

There seems to be at least two factions amongst the guards. Neither of which seems to care for the other. This may be something we could use to our advantage. I have been watching the pattern of the guards at night. The dwarf has some items I might be able to use to let me better “explore” the options presented to us.

Aside from my barbarian compatriot, there are two Skum and a hobgoblin that shares our cell. Sadly the goblin passed in his sleep. However, it did give the hobgoblin a hearty meal for the night. I don’t really care for the way the hobgoblin eye’s me, but that may soon be taken care of.

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Sargoth Areas Explored
sargoth areas explored

Prison Routine (as much as you have figured out so far)

7AM Wake up call – guards enter, screaming/yelling/whipping
7 – 12PM Forced labor
12 – 12:15PM Small Meal
12:15 – 5:15PM- Forced labor
5:15 – 5:25PM Short rest
5:25PM – 10:25 PM Forced labor
10:25 – approximately 11PM Returned to Cells
11PM – 7AM Sleep, chance of guard patrolling cells (approx. 8 hours, typically)

Guard Factions (that you know of):

Bloodguts vs. The Black Hand

Areas seen so far:

  • Cells (in your cell block area of the prison — the prison areas are maze-like and mostly cut stone/stone blocks and hallways/doors constructed by hobgoblin engineering)
  • Shrine to Gruumsh the One-Eyed Orc God (glimpsed through blindfold)
  • The Mushroom Field Cave (cave fishers prey on those passing through entrance cave/hallway, massive, high ceiling cave, small plateaus, bonfires lit here and there, orc witch Baghtera stands on small rock outcropping and supervises the fields, with two size Large wyvern-like creatures chained nearby)
  • The Mine Caves (to reach the mines, you must cross a deep cave dotted with unique mineral formations (cinnabar, phenakite crystals, snottites, fungi, and who knows what else) and spanned by a narrow wood and stone bridge - eventually this leads to a maze-like patchwork of caves, tunnels, rough terrain, slopes and ledges, boulders, loose rock, coal, silver veins/nuggets, aquamarines, cinnabar, and snottites. Bonfires or torches are lit here and there to allow all mine prisoners to see in order to effectively mine. Heavy mine carts and portable bins are used to collect and haul coal/silver/aquamarines. The mines are said to be overseen by Bonebreaker the Orc. The Bloodgut and Black Hand guard factions run the mines and frequently fight each other and steal aquamarines for themselves.)
  • The Laboratory Cave: alchemy lab and many alchemy supplies, contains the gear of Eirene, Yorgan and Sorgarr, Sorgarr’s familiar raven in a cage,coal and wood burning furnace with goblin slave chained nearby operating bellows, mummy with pointed ears and fangs, 3 specimen tanks, many glass beakers, copper tubes, alembics, bins of coal and wood, black snakeskin spellbook embossed with silvery web designs, snottite press for creating acid and large open vats for storing it, living stirge vessels for brewing exotic potions, magic circle used by mind flayers, invisible magic wards on cave wall between lab exit and the water-filled crevasse cave, jars of weird mushrooms, and more…) At least one mind flayer using this area has been spotted with a wand on his belt.
  • The Library Cave: scrolls, scrolls, scrolls. Many contain lore, some contain arcane spells (wiz/sorcerer and one bardic). Many scrolls fetched by Yorgan for the mind flayers pertain to anatomy, medicine, and general arcana. Arcane scrolls (caster level 2): light x2, spark, read magic x4, resistance. Arcane Scrolls (caster level 3): alarm, cause fear, false life, mage armor, sculpt corpse. Bard Scrolls and Divine Scrolls were also found. There are also red curtained areas used as private reading areas with candelabras, wooden reading desks and large stuffed reading chairs.
  • Surgery Cave: bizarre star-shaped chamber with many “arm-like” narrow passages leading off in multiple directions and narrowing down to only inches wide, floating magic embryonic chamber which seems to facilitate healing, frankenstein operating table, multiple potions and scrolls, jars of medicinal supplies and other weirdness, scalpels, tongs,
  • Bridge Across Water Crevasse Cave(with giant fish creature that communicated with Eirene) and natural cavern passages leading off who knows where…
  • Crossroads/Volcanic or Chemical Pools Cave(with narrow walkways: strong smell of sulfur, large pools filled with brightly colored mineral formations, bubbling clear liquid that is probably not water but toxic chemicals or acid, the three casters are marched across this area every day on their way to the library/laboratory/surgery areas.

Current Events:

  • The mind flayer’s circle of protection in the laboratory was broken when Eirene poured acid on it – aboleth mind control powers are now able to work on mind flayers within range of his watery crevasse
  • A Mind flayer was dominated and ordered to send all the party to the lab — he reluctantly complied but seemed very agitated and was later taken away by the arm by another mind flayer
  • A Mind flayer died of seizures and was dissolved in acid cave by Yorgan
  • A new, irritable and somewhat suspicious mind flayer has taken over supervision of the lab
  • Party was sent back to their cells by the new mind flayer in the lab
  • The aboleth will return in the morning with a new selection of spells to assist the party, and will be able to use his dominate monster and veil abilities again
  • The aboleth has imparted Eirene with a skum-controlling power called The Elder Glyph of Ulat-Kini
  • Using the aboleth’s veil spell, Yorgan and Sogarr masqueraded as a mind flayer and trog troll guard and explored many areas, and managed to retrieve the party’s gear and hide it in the laboratory
  • The party still hasn’t found the way out of the mind flayer lair and doesn’t know the way to the surface, though Eirene had a conversation with the aboleth and he estimated the party is not far from Diamond Lake and though they are a considerable distance underground, the journey could probably be made in several days unless the way is very twisiting/convoluted
  • The parrty is uncertain how to neutralize the gem implants in their foreheads, though they have heard killing the elder brain would most certainly do it, and they know a mind flayer has been able to disable Eirene’s gem implant by doing something in the surgery room to it.=P No one has tried whacking a forehead gem with a hammer yet, given the possible consequences of missing. The aboleth may also have spells which could help.
  • Yorgan’s research in the mind flayer library has revealed the embryonic chambers are linked to the elder brain and collective mind flayer hive mind, and damaging or poisoning it could cause them significant pain and possibly debilitation. He seeks poison to use on embryonic chambers. More about embryonic chambers are listed below.
  • Yorgan’s research has also determined the mind flayers suffer from a dread necromantic curse called the Black Death of Vlaakith
  • Vorbis has collected cave fisher silk which is extremely sticky and may assist him with climbing or sticking things together
  • Vorbis now has suitable thieves’ tools
  • Vorbis has explored several areas of the prison by sneaking through drainage tunnels. During this time, he spiked wine kegs with toxic cinnabar stone, stumbled upon beast pens holding medium-sized quadrupedal lizards, rat cages, a whip, and other items. In other areas he discovered an assortment of supplies and a very strange eye stalk sitting atop a severed spinal cord apparently used as some sort of surveillance device.
  • The party has collected several useful exotic mushrooms and a few flasks of alchemist’s fire have been pilfered
  • Secret stashes in the prison cells contain a shank, a garotte, and pilfered scrolls
  • The party does not yet have access to Grimnir’s cell and secret tunnel
  • The party noticed a flickering purple light in one part of the cave containing the dissected aboleth corpse, but didn’t like the looks of it and were in a hurry to leave
  • In the mines, the characters noticed a hole in one passage wall, from which a strange, feathery appendage was occasionally seen poking out of

Embryonic Healing Chamber

The mind flayers have recently developed a magical embryonic healing chamber in the surgery cave. It appears as a luminescent, clear, oval-shaped bubble floating in the air. It seems to gently flex and flow as if made of soft tissue floating underwater. A few long, fleshy, vein-like strands lead from the surface of the bubble to the walls, and eventually connect like blood vessels or nerves to the elder brain.
A mind flayer enters the embryo by passing through its membrane, where it floats in the fluid and enters a trance, and the embryo glows. It is helpless, blind and deaf to the outside world while doing so.
The embryonic healing chamber uses powerful magic and the collective mind and soul of the elder brain and other mind flayers to cure 1 ability damage or drain per minute of use. It also has a chance of curing poison and most diseases. For some reason the mind flayers do not yet understand, it has not been able to remove the peculiar disease the mind flayer enclave is suffering from. Some mind flayers suspect the disease is actually a dreaded necromantic curse called “The Black Death of Vlaakith”.
Damage to the embryonic bubble’s cord causes great pain to the elder brain and any mind flayers connected to it, interfering with their ability to fully function for some time.

Embryonic Melding Chambers

The mind flayers have also developed embryonic melding chambers, located in other areas of the lair. These appear as blue, luminescent, clear, oval-shaped bubbles floating in the air. Like the embryonic healing chamber, a few long, fleshy, vein-like strands lead from the surface of the bubble to the walls, and eventually connect like blood vessels or nerves to the pool of the elder brain.
The mind flayers use these melding chambers as a way to temporarily meld with elder brain and network of other mind flayers, allowing them to share knowledge and memories. This was necessary to replace the ailing elder brain’s inability to use its powerful telepathic abilities. A melded mind flayer is also merged with certain aspects of the living lair and can receive warning signals from feeler hallways and see through a single eye spine, if they concentrate on them while in the melding chamber. Finally, it allows their souls to Ethereally/Astrally travel. A mind flayer enters the embryo by passing through its membrane, where it floats in the fluid and enters a trance, and the embryo glows. It is blind and deaf to the outside world while doing so.
Like the embryonic healing chamber, damage to the embryonic bubble’s cord causes great pain to the elder brain and any mind flayers connected to it, interfering with their ability to fully function for some time.

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Meep...
Reni's Ramblings #1

This place is horrible…

I don’t know what happened and then I woke up next to a stinking bugbear! There are other monsters here too, orcs and goblins and hobgoblins and skum… Oh it’s so awful, it’s like a terrible nightmare. I want to cry all the time, but I don’t dare let myself start because I don’t think I could stop once I started.

At least there are others here, even if I think some of them are trying to make life more difficult rather than be helpful. I miss Brother Thain, since I can’t see him, but I miss my family more. I just keep thinking about my poor little sisters and my Papa. Are they worried? Is Papa looking for me? Do they know I’m gone? They can’t take losing another member of the family. Can Papa handle the girls without me? Do they cry for me? They have trouble getting to sleep without me singing to them sometimes… Oh gods, please watch over them… Let me see them again, please…

I thank every god there is that I haven’t been mistreated severely. I was so afraid I’d be given to the monsters as a plaything, a fate worse than death I fear, but that hasn’t happened. It seems as though that is not their purpose in taking me as their prisoner. The strange “men” have me perform my feats of magic for them and do other things I believe are related to magic. I just wish they’d take this stupid red crystal out of my head. It hurts when I do magic, but I got them to turn it off for a little while.

That’s when I met Mr. Fish. He’s a strange thing with tentacles, but he talked to me in my head and asked me to help him in exchange for my freedom. He said they had a dead one of his kind and he wanted proof. I must bring him a piece of the dead Mr. Other Fish and work to destroy a circle of protection the strange men use to protect themselves from Mr. Fish. I know I must sound crazy, but any avenue of hope is better than none at all. His tenacles do frighten me a bit, but if even bugbears, orcs, and gobbies can be subdued, maybe Mr. Fish is one of the nice monsters? Maybe I’ll only make things worse, but it’s the only thing I can think of to do other than continue to be submissive to get what I want… like better quarters and food, away from the monsters and crazy barbarian. I know he’s only doing what he thinks is right, but it frightens me and I don’t want to be around it. I know I may be a fool for asking to be seperated from Brother Thain, but truly, I couldn’t stand it in those horrible cells any longer.

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Azeren
Azeren

Right now I’m a bit ticked off at Greogor for provoking a fight with the bugbear, which did nothing to help us. The guards are probably angry with us, he almost got himself killed, and he could have gotten someone else killed. I probably won’t help in another fight provoked for no real reason unless someone was probably about to die. I’m concerned for the party’s health and wellbeing, especially the Halflings due to the fact I thinks the Halfling is our best shot at escape. I’m not as worried about the casters as much; they seem to have it better off than the rest of us… so far at least. I want to do something about that Slime thing that somehow found its way into the tunnel. After that he doesn’t know what to do, the dungeon seems like an elaborate maze, I don’t know where anything is, I’d probably get lost easily, and I can’t stealth very well. But if I did know anything I would say go the opposite way of the mines. I don’t know about the hooded, my first guess undead though that seems unlikely, if I find out they are though I might have to pay them a visit when I get my axe back. I trust the Gnome and the dwarf for now, but I think if it was them or us they’d save themselves. With all they’ve been through it wouldn’t surprise me, I’m sure they did terrible things to them and they wouldn’t dare go through torture again after another failed attempt. And I don’t like the food.

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Do they know?
Yorgan log post

I had heard rumors of people disappearing in these parts. I assumed it was mine owners getting some free labor. Apparently more is going on here. I wonder if anyone on the surface knows what is going on down here. If anyone knows, would they care? We seem to be caught up in someone elses war. If we manage to escape, we really should do something about this place. Their food supply seems to be all in one place. That makes it vulnerable. I wonder if a fire could spread thru the fungus patch? Perhaps we can do something to make this disease they have contracted more deadly… Of course, that might be just playing into the hands of the fish. Perhaps they are trying to set up their old empire…

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MY AXE THIRSTS FOR BLOOD!
From the journal of Azeran

I take back being pissed at Richard; I was under the impression that he started the fight with the bugbears, my bad. I kinda almost want to stay in the mines; I see this as a great opportunity to get good pay, just as long as we can keep shoving things up the dwarf’s beard. I don’t really think the Halfling is our best chance anymore, now I’m thinking the aboleth, I’m assuming the casters mentioned him. I think we should be alittle more cautious, I think the Illithids are on to us. And it probably doesn’t help that ever since we arrived countless prisoners, guards, and a master or two have mysteriously died/disappeared. I’m looking forward to getting my axe back I’m gonna seriously split some heads. >:) All evil doers who do not repent will die maybe plus some others. I want to fight some mind flayers and some Trogtrolls, just to see how strong they are, and because they’re evil of course. MY AXE THIRSTS FOR BLOOD!

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Not so scared anymore...
Reni's Entry #2

I know it might sound crazy, but I think we’re getting out of here and soon. Mr. Fish’s dead friend, sadly, has been found and a piece retrieved. We have retrieved Brother Thain’s bow and we make ready our final escape. I mourn for those who will be left behind, even if they are monsters, but we must do what we must. I regret killing those pinned down, but if I met them in a dark wood alone, I know they would be far less merciful to me. Besides, it is a necessary evil in order to have this gem put to sleep.

I fear I may not be able to keep this up much longer. My fear and longing for home become worse as time goes on and I fear not feeling fresh air upon my skin will soon drive me mad. If I break, I will tear at the walls until I break my nails and wear my fingers to the bone. I will scream and cry for my sisters until I surely would find a way to end myself. I have to keep in control just a little longer… just a little longer… I can let it all loose once we’re home to the surface world again.

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