Session 14 - The Quiet
Returning to the depths of the Warrens after their defeat of the Bone Pickers, hardened by their experiences, our band now makes a plan to face the nameless mass that fed upon the Warrens folk and the blind 'skulkers' even the Bone Pickers feared...
OutcomeAs the party rested before their return to the Warrens, each took time to train and hone themselves with what they'd learned and experienced. Alston discovering an unexpected magical message left for him within his Marvel's heart by his old rival Phineas Cloggstomp, Osborn awakening from a frightening dream of a field of screaming wheat slashed through by a scythe to a second-layer dream where Lady Eight Clouds invited him to play for a strange faerie audience, Aribaeshra recalls the encounter that earned him his god statue and learns its name; Daeki the Hearthkeeper. Lilikoi had an emotional memory of her mother teaching her how to use her powers and a disturbing vision of powerful forces consuming her homeland; she awakened and met with Dealan, and the two were surprised by Dealan's old mentor Erdku, who came bearing terrible news about an attack on Dealan's home temple by invaders from a skyship who had burned the temple and killed most of Dealan's old teachers. The party regrouped with much to think about and new abilities added to their arsenals With their course set and their abilities prepared, the party re-entered the Warrens, noticing immediately signs that the Skulkers had expanded their influence after the defeat of the Bone Picker gang. Using Pass Without Trace to improve their stealth and 'smell bags' to distract and confuse the blind horrors, they successfully gathered the attention of two of the creatures whilst remaining concealed - until Aribaeshra called out to them and sprung the trap. The Skulkers were swiftly taken down, but the whole host had been alerted, and swarmed on the party in the corridor near the entrance room. Back to back, corraling the monsters so they had to attack single-file, the party beat back the horde, with the survivors retreating, but not before taking significant damage. The party pursued the skulkers to their nest, using Unseen Servant with a smell bag and a torch to 'sound out' their lair and Detect Thoughts to determine their numbers and their plan. Ambushing these canny, dangerous foes, the party managed after a vicious battle and judicious use of Flaming Spheres to slay the group in their main lair, and discovered the large pit to the Underdark they had crawled out of. Cognisant that the Skulkers would soon send reinforcements and that the pit was a huge peril to the City as a whole, the party searched for a means to seal it. Discovering the bloated corpse of an ogre in the next room, they narrowly avoided running afoul of a swarm of deadly Rot Grubs in its body before disposing of the corpses of the Skulkers and the ogre down the pit, and finally collapsing the ceiling with Thunderwave, letting light into the room and for now sealing the Underdark entrance. Having used most of their best spells, and having taken considerable damage, the party elected to withdraw from the dungeon for a second time to rest and replenish their magic. Unfortunately, on the way out, they encountered the thing they had come to hunt; the Shambling Mound, waiting for them right next to the exit ladder. Though quick-thinking Alston trapped the creature in a Web - and Ari backed that up with the vines of Nature's Wrath -before it could move and the party pelted it with all they had left, the resilient monstrosity managed to break out of the cocoon of web and vines, shrugging off their fiery spells with little effort. Seeing the party trapped, Osborn made the difficult choice to sacrifice himself to allow the others to escape by using his new Mantle of Inspiration to empower them to escape up the ladder - but not himself. Whilst most of the party took the hint and ran, it became apparent that they wouldn't all make it out without the creature getting a shot, and Aribaeshra chose to be last up the ladder - and was promptly seized and dragged back into the maw of the Shambling Mound, engulfed whole. The party turned around to rescue their friend, Osborn bravely getting in its path - and being crushed unconscious against the wall as it swatted him aside - Dealan leaping on its back and bashing it with her shillelagh, and Lili attempting to thrust her staff into the creature to give Ari a handhold of escape. Inside the Shambler, Ari seized upon an arcane book gripped in the mangled remains of a corpse and managed to hold on almost to the last second before the creature finally crushed him in its grip. With both Lili and Dealan's strength combined, however, they were able to pull his limp body free and finally retreat, enraging the Shambler. The entire party now fled up the ladder, the badly damaged and berserk Shambling Mound pursuing them and tearing the ladder apart in their wake. Collapsing on the muddy earth above, and once more brought into the care of the clerics of Exile Candle, the party took a moment to process their narrow survival, and examined the find they had clawed from the bowels of the Shambler; half of a damaged but undeniably demonic spellbook, covered in the babblings of a madman, culminating in the word "JUIBLEX" scrabbled hundreds of times over the final page...
09 Nov 2019
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