THE NIGHT BELOW: The Story

INTRODUCTION:

the party met at the Golden Hearth tavern; located within Erindari capital city of Chelstad. The group was brought together by Hodge, who informed them every member of the group had received an invitation from an unknown benefactor offering each good pay for a 'small job." After spending several hours drinking at the tavern, the group was approached by Hodge, who took them to the residence of an elderly wizard named Godrenn.

Once at his residence, the party met with the wizard, who hired them to deliver a chest of magical goods to another wizard named Rikard in the rural eastern village of Thurmaster. The group learned much that evening about the impending war between Erindar and Elyria, and the dangers inherent on traveling in the region. Godrenn seemed especially taken with both Erique and Demexas, hinting that something special awaited them along their journey. He also seemed to know quite a bit about both their backgrounds, considering neither had met him before.

PART-1; PERILS OF HARANSHIRE

Journey to Milborne:

During the nine-day eastward journey from Chelstad, the group stopped over at the city of Haran, then continued on the Haranshire Road. On that road, the group was attacked by a giant bear, and was then set upon by a group of mounted Erindari soldiers led by “mustache,” a suspicious officer who accused them of being Elyrian spies. Finally, near the town of Milborne, the party was ambushed by bandits whom they only narrowly defeated. One of the Party; a dwarf named Elric was slain. Upon their arrival in Milborne, they met Garyld; the crippled local constable who informed them of several kidnappings in the area that he could not properly investigate because most of his men-at-arms had been conscripted for the upcoming war. The party also met Baron Darius Carman, a local noble and his bodyguard Cordell.

A night of celebrating at the Baron of Mutton gave the party much information and rumors about Haranshire and its current troubles. They also learned that a druid named Oleanne and a ranger named Krynen might be of use to them for searching the wilderness areas. Garyld believed that kidnappers were goblins of Rockdale. The Rockdale goblin tribe had been a menace to the Haranshire region over the years. In fact just seven years ago, the goblins were defeated by the forces of Duke Lars Parlfrey at the Battle of Rockdale. It was during this very battle that Garyld lost his left arm.

On to Thurmaster to make a delivery:

The next day, the party continued by ferry on to the village of Thurmaster where they delivered their package to Rikard. They learned that all of the kidnapping victims have been spell casters, and that Rikard was worried about his apprentice Jeleneth (known by her nickname "Jena")

Return to Milborne; the Plot Thickens:

Upon their return to Milborne, the Baron asked to see the bodies of the bandits and the group took Garyld to the location of the ambush. Cordell identified one of the bandits as Carlanis, who had previously worked as a guard for the Carman Mines but been fired for theft. After their return to Milborne, the party found out that Jeleneth had been kidnapped by several men who carried her off into the woods east of town. Garyld, Andren, and dozens of other townsfolk were organizing a massive search for the missing girl. The party joined the search, but to no avail.

Helping Out the Locals:

The party searched thru the night but was unable to find the missing Jeleneth. Garyld approached them later and requested that since so many things are going wrong in Haranshire, he asked for their assistance in solving some of the problems. He suggested that the party seek out the Great Rockdale because it had been used as a hideout of goblins in the past and those same goblins might be behind the kidnappings. The party also met the ranger Krynen, who agreed to serve as their guide and as an extra sword. The party searched the Rockdale and defeated a large band of goblins there. But the goblins were not kidnappers of humans. The only prisoner the party found was a pathetic blue-skinned goblin from another tribe.

The blue goblin was named Osrog, and he gave the party much information. He was taken prisoner because the Rockdale goblins wanted the source of magical power from his tribal chief. While a prisoner, he saw an orc emissary approach the Rockdale tribe and seek an alliance. The goblins refused, because the orc smelled “fishy,” and was sent away. Osrog told of his tribe living in the new mire and that they were unhappy because their land was flooding. Along the way, the party also discovered a large pink marble obelisk called the Rosestone. They determined it had magical properties and was related to the Nature God Karmalok.

Removing the Rosestone:

Upon returning to Milborne the party sought out the village priest Semheis, who identified the Rosestone and was delighted to realize that it was from his own deity. He asked the party to escort a group of a dozen villagers back to the Rockdale cave and help transport the stone back to the temple in Milborne. But while trying to pull the stone out of the ravine, the group was attacked by a large party of Rockdale goblins bent on preventing them from taking “their” stone. The goblins were defeated and the Rosestone put into the temple of Karmalok in Milborne. As a reward, Semheis fully healed all of the party members and offered them future assistance.

Meeting with the Baron:

Baron Darius Carman, the ruler of the village, heard about all this commotion and asked to see the party. He was impressed with their exploits and asked them to investigate the New Mire to discover the source of the flooding. The Baron also informed them about the recent series of kidnappings in Haranshire. The party found out that seven different kidnappings had taken place and two of the events were witnessed by survivors. The first group of bandits was led by a black haired man with an eye-patch. A second gang had been led by a red-haired man with a long scar on his face. All the kidnapping victims were spellcasters, which seemed odd. Also unusual, no ransom had been demanded for any of the victims.

The Mystery of the New Mire:

The party agreed and went there and eventually found the blue goblin tribe, meeting Osrog and his tribal chief Buruk. The party noticed that the chief had a very exquisite magical ring and deduced the ring to be the source of flooding. The party convinced the goblin chief to let them borrow the ring and have it identified and in return had the villagers in Milborne make a duplicated ring as a replacement. The party sought out Rikard in Thurmaster and asked him to identify the ring. He explained that it was a faulty Ring of Water Elemental Command that was leaking. He agreed to have the ring sent away to be repaired at a cost of 500 gold. So, the mystery of the new mire was explained and the flooding resolved, making the party immensely popular with both the people of Haranshire and Baron Darius Carman, who rewarded the party handsomely.

The Terror of the Gleaming Glade:

The party once again spent the night with Halfast; the “Old Grizzler.” The gruff old dwarf sat at his barstool at the Baron of Mutton, muttering strange phrases such as “string em up!” at no one in particular. After buying him several drinks he told a tale of the Gleaming Glade. It was an ancient tale that he learned as a child. The Paladin Lothar Parlfray and his followers tracked down an ancient evil cult to the Hardlow Woods, where there was a terrific battle. Even though the forces of good were victorious, the site of the battle was cursed, and many of the Parlfray knights fell there. The place is called the gleaming glade because nothing grows there. All the skeletal dead trees and naked shrubs are covered with dead white moss that “gleams” in the moonlight. No one from Haranshire goes there, the place is simply evil incarnate. His final words were: “If you are bent on going, it’s your funeral. Follow the north end of the Rockdale until you find a small water fall, follow the stream deep into the forest until you come to a hedge of sharp thorn bushes, you cut your way past them and the Glade awaits. If you go there, you are as crazy as my nephew Snagger.” He said nothing further but continued muttering to himself.

While continuing their search for the missing girl, the party investigated the dark secrets of this haunted region of Haranshire. They were attacked a large and savage pack of wolves; and found and underground crypt. They defeated a vengeful undead Wight that dwelt there and cleansed the region of evil. The party learned that the Wight was once a priest in the service of House Parlfrey and that the noble family had a few skeletons in its closet from the distant past. They found an ancient journal that referenced worshiping demons and dark ceremonies in the crypts of the “Spire Keep.” None of it made any sense at the time.

Exploring the Shrieken Mire:

While still searching for Jeleneth, the party next ventured into the other great swampland region of Haranshire. They learned that 46 years ago a great tribe of lizard men had dwelt here and killed many locals before the heroic Duke Lyonel Parlfrey and his troops had destroyed them in the terrible “Battle of the Swamp.” The party encountered a few groups of lizard men and defeated them. They also met the “Queen of the Mire.” This queen was Inzeldrin; an ancient Green Dragon who they bargained with to spare their lives and assist them in finding the missing girl.

Ambush on the River:

The party returned to Milborne from their adventures in the Shreiken Mire. They learned that a young noble boy was traveling to Parlfrey Keep to take up an apprenticeship with the Veiled Society. The group was hired on as extra guards for the trip. The next day, they all set off on the Dragonfly, a local river ferry. During the trip, the ferry was ambushed by a large group of bandits, who fired arrows from shore, as well as swinging in on vines from trees to land on the deck. After several of their number were slain, the remaining bandits fled. The party spotted their leader running off into the woods, he was a a tall man with black hair and an eye-patch. Although, the Ferryman and two of the bodyguards were slain, the boy was safe and was delivered to the castle as promised.

Tales from the Old Grizzler:

Upon returning to Milborne and spending a night of drinking with Halfast, the venerable “Old Grizzler,” the party learned that the Carman Mines are in trouble because they don’t yield copper like they used to. He told the party a story about working in the Carman family’s first mine, where Garlstones were mined. That mine too stopped producing many years ago. Sobbing, the old dwarf finally broke down in guilt over his nephew Snagger who had gone to explore the Garlstone Mines and never returned. The old dwarf blamed himself. Intrigued by this story and also learning that the mines were north of town, which is the same direction Jeleneth was taken by her kidnappers, the party decided to investigate the old mines.

Into the Garlstone Mines:

The party descended into the abandoned Garlstone Mine. A few levels down, they discovered the mines were not abandoned after all but were the hideout of a group of bandits. They party defeated the entire gang, and their leader; a red-headed thug with a scar on his face. But there was no sign of “eye-patch” or of Jeleneth. The mystery deepened, if these were the kidnappers, who were they working for? and where were their victims?

Meeting Duke Parlfrey:

The current Lord of Haranshire is Duke Lars Parlfrey, a wise and kind-hearted man, who is greatly loved and respected by his subjects. Lars was ten years old when his father defeated the lizard men of Shrieken Mire and became a famous hero of Erindar. Lars is now 56 years old, but in his prime, he too was a great warrior. Lars was the hero of the Battle of Rockdale which took place seven years earlier. Since that time, he has become a very important noble of the Kingdom of Erindar. He has three older daughters, but his pride is his young son Loren, who is 17 years old and yearns for adventure, against the strong wishes of his overprotective father. The party was invited to Parlfrey Keep, a huge fortress in the Half-Cut Hills, they soon had an audience wit the Duke and told him of all their exploits, especially that they has defeated the bandit gang of the Garlstone Mines. He rewarded them and asked them to keep looking for the missing spellcasters. He also gave them rooms to spend the nigh within his castle.

Family Secrets:

While staying the night at Parlfrey Keep, the party met Loren; the youngest son of the Duke. He was keen on joining the party and going on adventures. He told the party a story about the Parlfrey family; the secret of the first Parlfrey Keep. It tuned out that the present keep was not the first castle owned by the family; that Lothar Parlfrey had built the Great Spire Keep in the Thornwood after years of hard adventuring. But a terrible disaster befell that castle, and all of his servants were slain, except for Lothar who survived, and later built the present castle. No one is supposed to speak about the old castle because it turned out that some of the Parlfrey family members were into demon-worshiping and that information would disgrace the family name.

Exploring Broken Spire Keep:

The mystery of the Thornwood

The End of the Mystery:

The defeat of the bandits and Ranchefus

The Caverns of the Orcs:

PART -2; THE LONG DESCENT INTO THE UNDERDARK

Meeting the Svirneblin:
The party found a secret entrance from the orc caverns into the under dark. Within a few miles they came upon a great cavern several miles across, lit brightly red with great lava pits oozing up from below. Across the cavern was a great iron and stone battlement, guarded by hundreds of orcs in many watchtowers. All seemed hopeless against those odds. That night, the party was surprised to find a gnome in their midst, who invited them to his home. He was a young Svirneblin, and took them across a narrow stone ledge to the tiny Gnome city. There, the party met Lady Carmeneran; the ruler of the gnomes. She offered the party help in their quest, but in return, asked for their assistance against a nasty tribe of trolls who had taken over the gnomes food supply and sacred burial ground. Carmeneran informed them that the spell-casters were taken by orcs and Illithids thru the great gates in the Cavern of Fire and taken deep below to the City of the Glass Pool; inhabited by an evil race of aquatic humanoids called the Ko-Toa. Poor Jelenneth had been taken there as well. Carmeneran assured the group they could not hope to assail the orc stronghold, but there was another way to the city, a side passage, not well known, but much less guarded by the Mind-Flayers.

Carmeneran told the party the follwing tales:

1. She has learned much of what is going on thru scrying.
2. The Bloodskull orcs are just muscle. They are working for a group of Illithids (mind-flayers) who are behind the kidnappings of spellcasters. She does not know why.
3. The victims are taken by orcs and other Illithid servants deep below to an ancient evil Ko-toa city, its real name it unpronounceable. It is simply called the “City of the Glass Pool.”
4. The main passageway down to the city is heavily fortified and patrolled by orcs and Illithids. Any attacks there will arouse suspicions.
5. There is another passage down, but it has its own dangers. Because of this, the Illithids apparently do not feel that they need to guard it themselves. The Mind Flayers have powerful allies that control some of the caverns along the way. She has learned that a powerful evil wizard rules the middle caverns and lives in an long abandoned and forgotten temple built ages ago.
6. Another powerful group of adventurers met the gnomes and ventured down the same path not long ago, but she fears they were all slain as the gnomes never heard back from them again.
7. Deeper below past the temple, She warns you about the “Caverns of the Reptiles,” but does not know much else of those caverns.
8. Further below, she has sensed a powerful magic at work, unlike any seen before. The gnomes have been unable to scry that location. But she emphasizes it is not evil. The source of that magical power may even be helpful to your party on their quest.
9. She warns you about the hated “Diregund” (Derro), who work for the Illithids and patrol the approaches to the city.

Against the Trolls!
The party agreed to help the gnomes in return for guidance on how to reach the City of the Glass Pool. They set out to free the gnome caverns from the troll menace. After several great battles, the party defeated the trolls, including their chieftain, a great 10-foot tall two-headed brute named Gurgklet. The fighting was fierce and one of the party, a dwarf named Amrik was slain.

The Gnome Burial Grounds:
The party defeated the trolls in the burial ground chambers of the Svirneblin, but wisely did not disturb any artifacts or magic treasures in any of the crypts or temples. The grateful gnomes then gave them food, drink, shelter, and a detailed magical map to guide them down to the City of the Glass Pool. Carmeran warned the group that the Mind-Flayers employed severla traps and servants in these side passages and that many dangers awaited them further below; including a cursed ancient temple to a Dark God, the swirl maze, the glittering caves of the dead, and the caverns of the reptiles. She would say nothing further when asked and the party set off on their journey.

A Drow Elf in Distress
The party set out down the side cavern, they avoided orc patrols from the main passage and at first only encountered a few spores, oozes, and dangerous glass-rock and poisonous fungi in the caverns. A few troglodytes and other smal monsters were defeated along the way. One fierce battle was with an ogre tribe, who once defeated, the party rescued a captive Dark-Elf female. After clearing out the caverns of the ogre tribe, the party found, In one corner of the cave, a rusty metal cage suspended from the ceiling by heavy chains. Inside is a dirty and unkempt female elf, clad only in a revealing tunic. Her jet black skin and long white hair and bright maroon eyes mark her as unlike any elf you have seen before. Despite her grimy appearance, her voluptuous beauty is undeniable. Inside the cage, her hands are tied together with rope. She looks directly at Demexas, and in a husky, seductive voice, says the following:

“Greetings, my handsome rescuer! My name is Eye’Leeyah of House Vo’Arden, and I hail from the city of Ched’Nasad.

You have the look of a noble knight, and a formidable one at that. I am but a wretched captive of these brutes you have slain. Please release me and I will see you are well rewarded. Surely your party are surface dwellers. The Underdark can be a deadly place without a friend, and I will surely be yours if you but take the key off the ogre chief’s belt and unlock this cage. My family is wealthy and knows the meaning of gratitude. Come Now! I am filthy, hungry, and sore, this cage is so constricting! I would kill for a bath and some company; perhaps you could oblige me with both of my desires.”

After letting the Dark Elf maiden go, she gave the party a purple gem, inscribed with elf-runes. "If you ever need help from our kind, you show them this, and you shal be rewarded. The Drow always pay their debts. Farewell until we meet again."

Perils of the Long Path:

The first great challenge for the party was the The Grells’s Nest, a group of other-worldly beasts that floated silently through the air and attacked from above nearly destroyed the party, before they were able to finally escape them. Further down, the party defeated both a Quaggoth lair and an Otyugh hive. After defeating these foul beasts the party was exhausted. Next the party was ambushed by a large hunting party of Hook Horrors, whom they barely managed to defeat. Even Worse was a random encounter with an Umber Hulk, who killed tha last of the three Dwarf cousins and Krynen before being defeated by the party. The most challenging of all was the swirl maze, a perfectly carved series of rock chambers inhabited by a Roper. After defeating the creature, the group found a strange magical statue of an elf near a pool of pure clean water and wondered who created such a thing down here, for it was clearly not Drow-made.

A Strange Meeting:
Semaj

Semaj told the party the following information:

1. Both he and his brother Taraji were brought here by teleport against their will.
2. He hates his brother who dominates him constantly. He just wants to return home but his brother holds the gateway jewel that will allow him to return home. Semaj was exiled here to guard these passages with a few slaves.
3. Both brothers work for a powerful Wizard named Zorn of the Blackflame, who lives in an ancient abandoned temple to some Dark God. Zorn works for the Illithids. Zorn protects the outer passageway from intruders, the Illithids and orcs patrol the inner one.
4. There is a magical barrier across the tunnel leading down; only Zorn has the talisman to open it.
5. If you help him kill his brother, not only can you have his treasure hoard, but Semaj will take you to a secret passage leading to the wizard’s temple. If you try to go the main way, you will be destroyed.

Sibling Rivalry:
Taraji

FINSLAYER

Game notes:
• Sword is +3, +5 against aboleth, Ko-toa, and all aquatic creatures.
• Sword is ordinary if wielded by non-good PC
• Sword is silvered and cold-iron for use against undead and demons
• Once per day, sword grants Bull Strength upon wielder.
• sword can detect invisible, detect magic at will, illuminate at will
• Any Ko-toa struck must Will save DC15 or be confused for 1D6 rounds
• Weapon immune from adhesive effects of Ko-toa

The Temple of Asmodeus:

The Secret Entrance

The Wizard’s pet:
Fighting Zorn of the Black Flame
Using the Talisman:

The Caverns of the Reptiles:
The party first defeated Azzuzir, the venerable Behir, second they fought and defeated Fandruzsch; an adult Shadow Dragon. Both fights were very challenging.

A Wonderful Discovery:
The party was surprised when Erique was literally snatched through a stone cavern wall by an unknown source. It turned out that he was in no real danger, but was a surprise guest of the Rockseer Elves, a previously unknown sub-race of Elves who lived deep underground. The party later met Queen Jazeera; the leader of the elves who told them much lore and history of the under dark, the City of the Ko-Toa and the Mind Flayers who dwelt there.

Erique was walking through a narrow corridor of polished stone when he was literally drawn through a stone wall, separated from the party. Erique, this is for your eyes only:

You are in an exquisitely sculpted stone chamber. Every wall bears colorful frescos and murals of the finest handiwork. Most of the patterns are artful and graceful, showing graceful curved glyphs, and patterns. The sheer scale of the stonework is staggering. No dwarf or gnome ever created such shapes from rock as you see before you now.

The entire area is lit by a soft magical light, as there are no torches to be seen. You are soon approached by several tall figures that, to your great shock, look like elves, they are very tall (7 feet), slender, with silver hair and long robes of brown and gray. The elves silently gesture for you to follow them and you perceive no malice in their intentions. You are led thru several large halls and caverns until you are brought into an enormous domed chamber. In its center is an elaborate gem-studded stone chair on a dais. Near the chair is a pedestal, sitting on that pedestal is a 12” sapphire dragon statue that gleams and glows when you look at it. It is beautiful and obviously a powerful magical artifact.

Seated in the chair is a beautiful female elf, whose ice-blue eyes pierce thru you before she speaks:

“Human, long have I watched you and your group. You have great skill to have survived this long down here. You defeated the great reptiles that laired near our home. You were brought here to explain your purpose, for you may not know that you have come into Rockhome, the lair of the Rockseer Elves, I am Queen Jazeera, and I welcome you, I sense no evil in you and wish for you to tell me what is your purpose in these caverns.”

Once party informed the elf-queen abou ttheir quest, she replied;

“Human your quest seems just, and we will not harm you or your friends. We are a reclusive race, and do not meddle in the affairs of others. However, your tale of the city of the Glass Pool intrigues me. I know of the evil city and the minions who serve it. It was over a year ago that the power there began to grow. The caverns below are controlled by 2 factions of Derro, one faction is controlled by the Illithids, and the other seems to oppose them. The main faction took over much of our territory as of late. They stole a very precious artifact from our holy elvish shrine. That shrine contained a second statue identical to the one in this chamber. (she gestures to the pedestal) A great deal of my power and that of my people is tied to that statue. We have long sought its recovery. Sadly, my son Darjir went to the Derro caverns below and attempted to retrieve it. He never returned. I have now lost my son and one of the precious heirlooms of Rockhome. Perhaps we can aid each other, for I hate your enemies more than you know, and your group will need our aid if you wish to survive down here much longer”

The Derro at War:
The party discovered there caverns below. the first larger group were the servitor Derro, who worked for the Illithids. These Derro were identifiable by their brooches. THe second group were rebelious Derro, led by Groznai, who hated the Illithids and the Servitor Derro with a passion.
Returning a Sacred Artifact:

Encounter with the Black Banner Guards:
The group headed down a long passage and ran into an ambush. A powerful group of mercenaries called the Black Banner Guards fought hard and all but one were defeated. The last one standing asked to surrender. His name was Harag, and he agreed to help the party in return for his life. He showed them a secret entrance into the city of the Glass Pool, via long stone water pipes that led directly into the city center.

PART -3 THE CITY OF THE GLASS POOL

The Water Pipes:
The party ambushed and defeated a squad of Ko-Toa guards at the entrance to the pipes. They then used potions of water-breathing to submerge themselves and walk several miles underwater, until they came up in a huge pool of young Ko-Toa. They were able ot avoid them and began exploring the City of the Glass Pool (CGP)

Exploring the Ko-Toa City:
The party explored the entire CGP, noting that the Mind-Flayers truly ruled, not the Ko-Toa. They found that a large Derro Garrison guarded the walls, Ko-Toa warriors patrolled the interior, and the mercenary Regiment called the Blakc Banner Guards was used as an elite security force.

The Hall of Hatred:

Raid on the Asylum:

Freeing the Stone Giants:

The Slave Pits:

PART -4; DELVING EVER DARKER AND DEEPER

PART -5; THE SUNLESS SEA

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