020 - The Caverns Below
The party wakes up on cots made of tree branches in a small room carved into the ivory of this tower. They hear movement and talking outside just beyond their wooden door. Tegan casts comprehend languages. There is a knock but the party doesn't move. There is a knock again.
"Good morning!", says Tegan to two muscular dark-skinned guards covered in white tattoos and carrying spears. "Vaeoto has arranged a breakfast for you, please follow us."
Tegan asks for a minute and dons his armor. As this is happening, the party notices that the guards are talking among themselves and this includes lots of subtle hand and body movements. Wazo and Aaron get dressed too.
The party follows the guards down a narrow spiral staircase, across a rope bridge into a different tusk. They notice that the day is cool and clear and the birds are active in the sunny sky. Following deeper through mazelike passages, the Gondran guards gesture to a large room which has several cushion seats positioned around a table on the floor. The table is piled with food.
Sitting on the other side of the table is a large, hulking man wearing an intricate tribal collar.. the party recognizes this man as Vaeoto. As they enter, he says "Friends, sit, eat, regain your strength foe the task ahead" Tegan makes special note of a spiky green fruit, which contains black beetle-like creatures, which besides the crunch and creamy textures, tastes like sweet strawberries.
Vaeoto watches while we eat happy we are willing to help. Tegan says, "I want to fight corruption wherever I see it" Vaeoto: Gondra protects and takes care of this growing wonder. (As he gestures to the structure that they are in. Vaeoto (in his own tongue to the guards): Please, leave us be -- (the guards leave) V: I am very worried about Gondra's condition. It is worse than anything seen by his father or grandfather. I believe there is little time left to prevent permanent catastrophe, which prompted me to seek help from Elgin ) v: For your time and efforts, there is a reward: an ancient treasure guarded by my ancestors Wazo perks up at the mention of treasure. "What exactly is this treasure you speak of?" v: A legendary sword created by the Nahnos dwarf clan -- a piece was entrusted to my ancient ancestors. We are its guardians. W: Is it the Silverlight, Promise of Evermyre? V: Yes, I have been entrusted a piece of it. W: Is this then the Xarel Loto Glen V: Indeed. Tegan offers to share the story of the journey so far V: No need, I can see the story in your minds, to an extent. v: Do you need anything for your journey?
After some discussion, they say they need something to use against venom or paralysis. Vaeoto summons a guard, who returns with a two-use potion against paralysis. T: It could be good to have an open communication with Vaeoto or some way to answer questions related to their history. Vaeoto enchants an earring as a two way communicator and gives it to Tegan who places it in his ear.
V: Two of my guards will lead you to the entrance to the cave.
The party leaves the dining quarters and traces through the tusks, down winding, narrow staircases to the forest floor. The guards lead them about a mile south through the jungle, pushing through vines, saplings, and occasional cobwebs. We reach a sycamore tree, and the guards point at its base, where there are a bunch of gnarled roots.
Aaron notices that one of the roots is a cleverly concealed lever. He pulls it, and the entrance looms darkly.
The group makes their way in. They feel the cool underground air and hear an eerie silence. They make their way into a 40 ft cavern after a tight single file passage.
Since Flit can't see in the dark, they stick together and head north. they see a large, natural roxk pillar in area 20, marred by deep three-foot claw-marks Wazo thinks the claw is more insectoid than beast but unsure how recent these marks are.
Tegan asks Wazo which way the tusks are from where they entered, and she says north. They proceed that way as far as they can, then head west after finding a dead end They hear ticking claw movement on the walls.
Wazo flies ahead to area 5, hovering about 10 ft up. Tegan follows, sneaking. Aaron follows, not sneaking. Wazo and Aaron see a large chitinous monster with mandibles, which has noticed the group. Initiative!
- Aaron casts Evard's Black Tentacles around the creature. It is hurt and restrained
- It tries to break free, but can't
- Wazo flies closer to the monster to scout, calling back to the group that the passage continues to the west.
- Tegan gets close enough to see the monster, then misses it with a chill touch.
- Aaron hits it with an eldritch blast.
- The monster struggles against the tentacles again, this time breaking free. It burrows underground.
- Wazo holds a Toll the Dead in case the creature reappears
- Tegan casts Spirit Guardians
- Aaron uses his turn trying to feel or listen for where the creature is. Flit can hear it getting closer to Tegan and Aaron
- The monster bursts from the ground in front of Tegan. Wazo's toll the dead misses. Swinging both claws, it misses Tegan, then hits. Then it bites him in the shoulder as Tegan's cloud of angels attacks.
- Wazo rages, then flies over and stabs it.
- Aaron slams it with eldritch energy, cracking the chitin on one arm.
- The monster turns towards Wazo, swinging twice with its claws. One hits her, then it snaps at her with its mandibles, but she dodges.
- Wazo punctures it with her rapier, burning it with holy fury. Her second attack misses.
- Tegan punches through the armor with his dagger, and green flame inside it finishes killing it.
After ten minutes of prayer of healing, Tegan is healed, and the group continues. Wazo flies towards 33. She doesn't notice anything interesting yet. Tegan and Aaron lag behind on foot. Wazo keeps leading the way. She sees two directions, and picks the northward path, towards the tusks. There is a stench of decay.
Tegan asks Vaeoto via the earring if he knows why part of the cave might smell of decay, but he doesn't know since he hasn't explored it himself, and his people haven't come back out to report.
The group proceeds into 1, which has foul orange muck and the increasingly powerful smell of decay. In the distance is the sound of more scratching.
While the group jokes about the horrible smell, a monster with many legs and a double row of teeth leaps off of the wall, trying to bite Wazo, who sidesteps its rush. Initiative!
- Startled, Wazo rages. Her first attack misses, but the second one hits with holy energy.
- The monster smacks her with a poisonous tentacle. Wazo is Poisoned, causing paralysis
- Tegan summons a Spiritual Weapon, which carves into it. He tries to follow up with Toll the Dead but it shrugs it off.
- Aaron hits it with an eldritch blast, doing good damage. He backs away.
- Wazo fights off the poison
- The monster (a carrion crawler, call it CC1), roars, summoning one of its kin, then paralyzes Wazo again.
- Tegan uses Hypnotic Pattern on both CCs, incapacitating CC2. His spiritual weapon slices at CC1
- CC2 is incapacitated
- Aaron splatters CC1 around the cave with an eb
- Wazo fights off the poison again
- While the creature is incapacitated, the group sets up an attack. Tegan uses hexblade's curse. Aaron and Wazo hold attacks (EB and melee, respectively)
- Aaron's blasts hit, and Wazo skewers the creature. It roars silently, writhing, then dies. Some of its escaping life force flows to Tegan reinvigorating him.
Wazo flies ahead, above the muck, and spots a dead end south of area 1 with a mound under the foul slime coating the ground. She clears away the muck, revealing a corpse wearing a wooden religious symbol. She brings the symbol to Tegan. Carved into it is a pattern like a dragon's scales.
Tegan checks with Vaeoto, who says it's not for Bahamut, it sounds worth investigating. Tegan sticks it in a pocket.
Aaron uses magic sight, but doesn't see anything useful. Wazo says, "Hey Aaron, how much do you weigh?" He shapeshifts himself to be smaller and Wazo flies around with him as they check the exits for magic. When that yields nothing, the group decides to head east (towards 18, then into 46)
There are blood smears on the ground here, trailing ahead. Wazo quietly flies ahead, and notices a pile of bodies: the warriors Vaeoto sent into the cave.
They backtrack across 11, and by it in 10 there is a seemingly bottomless, black chasm. Wazo, curious, flies down. 180 ft down she hears a deep, rumbly groan, like from a huge creature. She zips back to the surface.
Aaron asks what's _across_ the pit. Wazo flies over and sees a dead end (44) and a passage further north (30). She hears chanting. Going further to (7), she sees a closed puzzle door with writing above it. Near that there is a lever. Through Flit, Aaron sees magic connecting the lever to something near the chasm. She flips the lever, and Aaron sees an invisible bridge form. He has Wazo trail the rope across to mark its passage, and after that proves that it's solid, Tegan and Aaron hurry across. The lever snaps to its normal position moments later.
The group ponders the puzzle door.