Ominicus' Journal

Keep Your Head Down
Session 19

Hello friends,

It seems your former chronicler has been claimed by the Raven Queen or perhaps he has made his way to his own god. I am Bluebean, the tabaxi. The historian in me is very excited to continue the words of your fallen comrade.

I first spotted this group while fishing a black feather out of the Dark Lake. I thought perhaps the feather belonged to the aarakockra, but he is of the tropical variety. Surely, the feather is a token from the Raven Queen! How else would a raven feather make its way down this far? Did she want me to engage with this group approaching the docks? The aura of death surrounding them was extraordinary. I had felt of late that the time was right to move on from Gracklstugh and I believe this to be the direction she wanted me to take.

Let me digress for a moment to tell you the interesting composition of this group whose names I will note in the foot as I uncover them: aarakockra (already mentioned; first encounter with this species), halfling (loud, amiable), drow (owns all these slaves, but they seem to act on their own freewill; perhaps I have a misunderstanding of drow society? Further speculation needed), firbolg (first encounter with this species; grim, flighty), tiefling (met one previously at university; argumentative), and elf (wood elf; child; frightened).

They hadn’t even tied off the boat when they were mocking an orc, summoning guards, and arguing with merchants. This will be a risky endeavor if indeed she has cast my lot in with this group. I hurry them away from the merchant before the guards come over and start to lead them to the tavern. I gave them what I think to be the best advice any outsider can get when coming to Gracklstugh – keep your head down and don’t make a scene.

They were looking for a stone giant named Hygraam. I explained the structure of the city and how outsiders will not have access to the area they would need to get to in order to find him. What are the odds? On the way there we found a stone giant getting beaten to death by the guards. Sender shouted dismal words to him in Giant and they pummeled each other a few seconds before the giant was slaughtered by the guards and Sender bit off the giant’s ear and went despondent.

The giant’s spirit left the body and sat with his face buried in his knees and his hands over his head. He wept. I let Sender know the spirit is nearby in case he wanted to say a few words, but he did not.

Some of us entered the tavern while others stayed outside. Durvis and I got along splendidly over some Dark Lake Stout (ABV 7.6%, reminder to self: 2 limit). I filled him in on some of the details of the city and he let me know they will be attempting to reach the surface soon. It seemed that I was indeed on the right path then.

Sender sat with a duergar and they whispered frantically to each other before going to a more secluded location. Frank shifted into a goblin form and scouted out the tavern. Around the time Durvis and I reached the halfway point of our drinks, Beidan came in and told Durvis that guards were coming.

The guards came in and quietly rounded up Beidan and Durvis. Fortunately, they left me to my drink. I followed out the goblin-drow and found out that those two and Void had been taken to the guard house. We waited for a while before Frank suggested we go in and see if we can find anything out.

(where’s Fara?)

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Gnome Mercy 2: Death of a Druid
Session 18

- Short rest after Omi was taken.
- Duergar leader offers a body exchange of for dead and shows Omi’s corpse.
- PCs refuse exchange and loot enemy bodies.
- After short rest the battle resumes.
- Most of the fighting happens out front, but Beidan and Loopmottin attack from the top.
- Enemy leader dies, but Loopmottin is knocked out and duergar priest starts to get away with her.
- Beidan and Frank pursue. Beidan gets to the boat and rows away before the priest can get to it, but is nearly killed in the process.
- Priest tries to swim away but him and Loop drown.
- Bag of holding and contents are recovered. Dawnbringer is lost, presumably at the bottom of the lake.
- Omi’s body gets gentle repose cast on it and is stored in bag of holding.
- Characters can stock up on duergar quality equipment as they please.
- Long rest before heading out to Gracklstugh on the boat.

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Gnome Mercy
Session 17

Day 16 Continued
After surviving the brawl with the beholder, we take a moment to rest and collect ourselves. When we are feeling better we begin to move on.

It takes a while, but we eventually catch up to Loopmottin, exhausted and leaning against a column.

“You’re an idiot,” I say while Void checks to see if she’s alright.

“That’s fair,” she says. She tells us that we are near Gracklstugh but there is a Duergar outpost just ahead that we will need to get through.

I disguise myself as a derro. Sender and Frank shift into Duergars. Durvis Dundertrot in full halfling glory, elects himself as our negotiator even though he doesn’t speak their language. Frank and I go with him.

The Duergar speak with us, but it quickly goes south. We offer a bribe for passage including magic * cough * cursed * cough * gems. Instead they ask for Fara in return for passage for only four of us. Dawnbringer is getting excited when Frank uses his brain-talk to ask me if I agree that this is going nowhere. I do, but before I can react Durvis breaks out into song.

Duergar fly into a rage at the sound of his voice and begin to swarm over us from all directions. Dawnbringer bursts forth and the gray dwarves recoil at the light.

At first, Void, Sender, and I try to cover the rear while Beidan, Frank, and Durvis fend off the front wave.

Dawnbringer and I are in the zone. FIghting in unison. One of the Duergar goes down before I hear a terrible squawk. Beidan has been wounded. I shift my attention to the front bringing the light of Dawnbringer flooding over these enemies.

I’m getting hammered from all angles and a large fearsome looking dwarf comes out of the gate to join the fray. Some practitioner of the dark arts keeps flinging spells at me that fog my mind but I shrug them off. I manage to drag Beidan back to Durvis, who isn’t looking so good himself. A heavy blow from one of the duergar finds its mark and nearly topples me.

I see out of the corner of my eye that Void has been wounded and the bastards even shot poor Fara! I find my second wind and lay into two more of the dwarves. Frank is able to get to Void and I hear her call for us to fall back.

Dawnbringer is laughing like a mad man in my ear as we hack through them, trying to buy time for our comrades’ retreat. The sword is getting heavier and I can’t feel my shield arm after blocking a blow from the large Duergar. I’ve never used this much magic and I am sweating profusely.

I begin to step back towards the others when another volley of bolts comes down on me. One more time I try to throw up a magic shield, but it fails me and the bolts punch through my armor.

I drop down to one knee. It doesn’t hurt. I just need to catch my breath. A voice yells, “Take him.”

I blink and I’m being dragged through the door. Dawnbringer is talking to me but I can’t hear him. I close my eyes. I just need to catch my breath.

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A Meatball with Eyes
Session 16

Day 16 continued

After getting Maud and the cart through the Deurgar outpost with some difficulty we travel a few more hours before we approach a collapsed tunnel which has killed a handful of deurgar and derro miners. A not insignificant amount of water is dripping from the ceiling hinting that we are not far under the Dark Lake.

Naturally, I take the coin out of the dead miners pockets. I mean, they weren’t going to be using it probably. To use a term of Miracle Max’s, it turns out they were only mostly dead.

The corpses start gnawing on me, Loopmottin, and Void. A beholder flies out of a hole in the ceiling. He (or she, I don’t know), doesn’t look quite right. I suspect it is mostly dead too. It is shooting eye beams at us and the ceiling. Water is exploding out of the ceiling now and the people getting hit with the eye beams look like they are rotting.

Sender, Frank, and Durvis Dundertrot are plunking away at the beholder from a distance while Beidan flies around swatting it with a broom handle. Void is doing her best to keep people alive while we get battered. She also does some witchery to get about half the zombies to run away.

Loopmottin is getting eaten alive by zombies but I see her wiggle through some crevices in the landslide to get away. Last I see her she is alive.

I am holding off the remaining zombies when two bugs the size of Maud burrow through the rocks and try to eat me too. Speaking of Maud, she is going nuts with the water. She breaks free of the cart and scurries up the wall disappearing into the beholder hole.

Beidan rips out one of the beholder’s eye and that’s enough for it. However the ceiling gives way and a torrent of water. The two bugs peace out and the remaining zombie is washed away. Most of my comrades seem to be doing ok, but I lose sight of Fara. After some tense moments I am able to drag her to safety.

We all crawl through the tunnels made by the two big bugs. We are waterlogged. Maud and Loopmottin are gone, but everyone is alive at least.

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Ghostbusters
Session 15

Day 15 continued

Disturbing the sarcophagi awakens four angry ghosts. In the tight quarters chaos ensues. They are resistant to our typical methods of overcoming the less deceased. Void brandishes the symbol of Helm and calls out to her god. Two of the wraiths flee, lest they face the wrath of the Vigilant One.

We dispatch the two remaining and I try to rally the others for the return of the two in flight. Distracted by gold they ignore me and start shoveling whatever they can find into their pockets. They do return and after a short skirmish in which Beidan catches up to us and helps finishes them off.

A secret door leads down to a new tomb. I sneak down and encounter an even scarier ghost! The ghost passes through me and a bitter cold tears into my soul. I hear the voice in my head louder and clearer now: “In the sarcophagus! I can help!”

I trip over something running over to the sarcophagus. Looking back I see the outline of a chest shimmer into existence. No time for that though, I stand up and drag the top off the sarcophagus and see the hilt of a sword on top. “Yes! Yes!” The voice gets louder. The ghost attacks everyone coming down the stairs, but Beidan flies past and grabs the sword hilt.

There is an explosion of light as a bright blade bursts forth from the hilt. Armed with this sunblade, Beidan makes short work of the ghost. Much treasure is had between the sarcophagi and the now visible chest. As the only competent swordsman, I am presented with the blade, which turns out to be a sentient chivalrous sword who is afraid of the dark named Dawnbringer. Also of note is a necklace of fireballs which is given to our cleric of the light.

We return to the cart and everything is fine there except Maud has eaten all her kobold meals. We travel a bit further before settling in for the night.

Day 16

Not long into the new day, we come across another Deurgar outpost that looks abandoned. Durvis Dundertrot and I sneak up to it for a better look. Several rust monsters are feasting on the left over metal scraps. We shoo them away with a shatter spell and an ice spear.

There is some difficulty getting Maud and the cart through the outpost so the rest of us scout around. There is a log book written in dwarven that at first glance doesn’t seem to be anything interesting. There is a large leather cloak in the middle of the floor too. I go to check it out. It turns out it isn’t just a cloak, but a cloak monster – a cloaker if you will. It eats me.

After the rest of the group batter it and it spits me out, Void brings me back to consciousness. I unleash Dawnbringer on it. The creature recoils from the light. Thrown off its game, we have no further difficulty in eliminating it.

My head is swimming so hopefully I can take a nap now.

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A Voice in the Dark
Session 14

Day 13 into Day 14
We take an easy day resting, searching the keep and preparing to travel.

We decide to take the tunnel instead of the boat. Clovis points out that we’ve been cooped up on the boat for a while now and I am inclined to agree. Plus, there is no way we are getting the carrion crawler on the boat. We construct a rudimentary cart for Maud – that’s the worm’s name by the way – to pull our supplies on. He also piles half a dozen kobold corpses in with our supplies to keep Maud satiated.

While getting ready to leave, we meet a psychic jellyfish named Rovitom. In short, he wants to know if it is safe to move back in with his flumph comrades and if it’s cool to take back their items that Murk stole from them. He gets the thumbs up from us and he’s so happy he deuces out a bag of holding which, as gross as its origins, is exactly what we need.

Void has told us that it is 150 miles to Gracklstugh from the tunnel, but we make much better time than in our boat. Part of me hopes we can beat Murghoul there. In our first day we make it about 40 miles before camping.

Day 15
Continuing to scout ahead I spot a collapsed building in our path. Intrigue turns to fright when I hear an effeminate voice in my head calling for help. I scurry back to my comrades and report on this. Sender and Durvis want to skirt around it. Void is on the fence. Frank and I (it is unsettling how often I find myself on the same side as the drow), want to loot it. In the others’ defenses, it does seem like an obvious trap.

I squirm my way into a crack in the wall and find the entrance room clear. Frank, Void, and Durvis clear the way through the doorway and join me. Sender stays with the rest of the women.

In what turns out to be a tomb, we find tapestries and reliefs of a human sorcerer led ancient empire. It turns out the reliefs did not hide treasure. Also, any damage to ancient artifacts with a pickaxe was definitely done by the deurgar and not us. We take the tapestries. We find urns filled with putrid organs. Durvis suspects they are haunted so naturally he drips his blood onto the altar to an unknown god and burns the urn contents on top of it.

In one room we find a big fancy looking sarcophagus with a statue in it. No treasure though. What appears to be the last room has four less fancy sarcophagi and a secret door in it. Not much for half measures we agree to open them all at once. I’ll let you know how that goes when we’re done.

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Firbolg Gone Wild
Session 13

During the chaos of battle with the kobolds and the giant, a shark came up from the pool of water and plopped down next to me. It turns out it was our gnome friend Loopmottin and she’s been a druid this whole time!

With the giant dead, I process her words to us when she splashed into the room. Stool has been kidnapped! Still juiced up from my Potion of Speed, I dash out to the dock to see what has happened. The boat is still there, but Stool and Fara are gone as are our food and water.

Pinned to the boat with a dagger is a note that says: “Got what I came for. Next rounds on me.” Murghoul you son of a bitch! I’m coming for you.

Loop says a group of cloaked deurgar attacked them in a steampunk boat, shanked her, and abducted Stool. She doesn’t know what happened to Fara.

We spend the rest of the day gathering treasure and resting. Durvis Dundertrot finds a letter on the giant which Sender reads to us. The letter tells about an uprising of giants to overthrow the “small folk”. Durvis and I realize we both had the same hallucination vision of giants crushing everything when we partook of the magic mist.

I ask Loop if she can turn herself back into a shark and collect some more dragon scales which she does after she gets some rest. While she’s going for a swim, Fara comes out of hiding. I really thought she was dead! She’s not though, so that’s good. (Day 13 after rest)

Fara tells basically the same story but with the notable addition of an exchange between Murghoul and Loop. Murghoul said to her, “The boy is coming with us. But you’re a bit old for usefulness. And you already serve a master, eh?” I’m not entirely sure what this means so I will have to discuss it with the others when they aren’t murdering and robbing each other. Speaking of…

Daynore steals a beer from Sender without being noticed (finally) and then has the audacity to drink it front of him. They begin to brawl and I think I split them up by conjuring a huge spider between them. Daynore goes upstairs where Durvis is playing with his worm by himself.

Sender is losing his mind and telling me not to trust anyone which is sound advice, but he’s getting very touchy with me. I run and hide.

When Sender goes back upstairs Daynore tries to light him on fire. The brawl resumes and they tumble down the stairs. The rest of us wait outside resigned that this was inevitable and that likely only one of them was going to be exiting the keep. I don’t know the details, but Sender ultimately executes Daynore with a gun blast to the head before stripping down and taking a bath in the lake.

So now we are creeped out by this and by the bagpipe music that has begun playing in the keep. Frank, Durvis, and I go to investigate this. I bring Fara with because I don’t really have faith that the others can look out for her at this point.

In the holding cells we find two giants suits of armor and what I think is a drow prisoner. The drow says he’ll help, but he’s a drow so I assume he’s lying. But then the suits of armor begin to whoop our collective asses, nearly killing Durvis and Fara. I pass the prisoner my crossbow to shoot through the bars while I do my best not to get smooshed. Eventually we bring them down and let the drow out and now we have some fancy armor and swords.

Also the drow is not a drow he’s a bird named Beidan. I am much relieved because I didn’t know if I could keep my eyes on two dark elves at a time. Plus he keeps leaving behind colorful feathers that I am hoping to turn into a fancy headdress.

This isn’t the only friend we make this day. We find a demon girl, named Void, skulking in the tunnel downstairs. She hunts monsters and is trying to get to the bottom of this giant enigma (Giant because it’s about giants, but probably also because it’s a big problem; really, it works both ways). There is some overlap in our objectives, so we agree to rest gather supplies and head to Gracklstugh. The question is whether by lake or by tunnel.

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Our Continuing Struggles with Cursed Statues
Session 12

Middle of Day 12
We take a short rest to recover from our skirmish with the kobolds. Durvis Dundertrot escorts Stool into the keep and back out so that he can spore us. Loopmottin agrees to look after him and Fara.

We spend way more time than we should trying to figure out how to get into the heart of the keep before we realize the main entrance is unlocked.

Daynore and I try to be sneaky sneaky descending into the fortress, but Frank and Durvis barge in throwing doors open and rifling through everything. Sender hovers in the back looking like he’s ready to bolt at any moment.

This portion of the keep is mostly uneventful. We find a couple suits of armor that try to attack us, but I guess it is out-of-sight-out-of-mind for them, because we close the door and they leave us alone. Durvis finds a giant worm that he rides around like he’s one of the auroch wranglers from the hills outside Silverymoon. Like I said – uneventful.

Oh yeah, we find another cursed statue of a deity. This time Frank is the recipient. Grabbing a mushroom-shaped Tiamat statue he is barraged with several elemental forces.

Downstairs is where the fun happens! I learned a few new tricks; I can make myself hard to see and I can make it hard for others to see. There are dozens of kobolds. Both sides are throwing spells at each other. Mushrooms explode. I make an exploding ice spear that blew up at least a hundred kobolds!

That’s just the start. After the kobolds are taken care of, a bald gray giant bursts into the room. He says, “Ooga booga booga!” And Sender says, “Booga ooga!” and he runs away as he does. But the giant could control time and he grabs Sender by the neck and beats him against the wall and ground which is impressive since Sender is like twelve feet tall.

This one is honestly a team effort. There is fire, and thunder, and crossbows and I beat the shit out of him with my chain till he finally fell over. Oh yeah and there was even a shark!

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Mongoose and the Serpent
Session 11

Day 11
After a very confusing vote in which people kept changing their answer for seemingly no reason, we decide to take the upper path to Neverlight Grove, drop Stool off and then take Loopmottin to Gracklstugh and hopefully find a way to the surface from there.

It is slow going and we find ourselves navigating around a cluster of stalagmites. One of the stalagmites is actually a roper and its tentacles start grabbing us off the deck. It reels in Skillop and myself but I manage for the moment to cut myself free.

The others peck away at it from the deck of the boat while Daynore steers the boat closer. Smaller ones begin dropping from the ceiling and attaching themselves to people.

Skillop is devoured by the roper and we are unable to get to him in time to save him. As usual, I do my best to absorb as many of the hits as I can from reaching the others, but I am overcome once again just before the final blow is delivered to the roper. I am told it is Durvis Dundertrot who gets to me this time to heal me.

We take a rest. Frustrated and embarrassed I spend the time by myself swimming around where the roper was. I find a potion of speed, some coins, and an expensive looking pearl necklace. Durvis expresses interest in this so I agree to give it to him under the condition that he uses his minstrel ways to build up my legend wherever we go.

As we continue on we eventually approach a keep rising up out of the water. We stop to prepare, intending to disguise most of us as duergar with me slipping in stealthily as backup. I hop in the water while the others are in the cabin prepping.

First there is a large thud as something smacks the ship. A black monstrosity appears through the water. As it sprays acid on me and the boat, I realize I am face to face with a black dragon!

When the last of the acid flies out of its maw, I pop the lid on a bottle of poison and toss it down his throat. To my surprise it works magnificently and the beast passes out. I cling tightly to it and begin hacking at its neck as we sink deeper and deeper into the water.

The rest of the crew comes out of the cabin to see the boat soaked with acid and me bursting from the water screaming like hell and hurling a dragon head onto the deck. Stool is going nuts with excitement. I, appearing calm, fist bump him and quietly walk into the cabin where I wrap myself in my blanket until my nerves calm down.

We pillage the head for scales, teeth, and anything else we find valuable then approach the keep. Frank, Durvis, and Sender use magic to look like duergar and I follow behind still wrapped in my blanket. Daynore stays with the boat and our non-combatants.

It turns out this isn’t a duergar outpost at all, but rather a kobold temple to Tiamat. We enter the courtyard where there are dozens of the kobolds. Durvis attempts diplomacy before some priestess comes out screaming about her dragon. I fire a crossbow bolt into her before we are swarmed by the lizards.

Durvis and Frank fire a barrage of shatter spells into their leaders taking out the minions and forcing a retreat from the more resilient ones. Sender fires shots into the crowd and I cut my way to one of the doors. We are getting stabbed from every angle including a hail of arrows from above and Frank goes down.

I drag Frank into the room and we clean out the couple that are in there before barricading ourselves in and dispensing with any of them that try to come through. We exchange fire with a few of their archers before they retreat back into the keep.

We open the gate so Daynore can get in and he agrees to guard while we take a short rest. Durvis has expended himself of most of his magic and desires to get a longer rest before we go, but the rest of us are eager to press the attack, not wanting to give the kobolds a chance to recuperate.

(Leveled up to 4)

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Water Weird
Session 10

Day 10 continued
I likely am concussed from repeated head trauma over the last few days and my memory of these events are hazy so I, Ominicus Numa, will just briefly highlight a few moments I remember.

We take the path with the crossed out mark that aligns with one of the locks on our map. When we arrive, the lock is both abandoned and in disrepair. We tie off our boat and attempt to lower it down. It takes a good deal of effort, but we get it down the lock mostly unscathed.

At the bottom of the lake we find a large statue sticking out of the water and a nearby pool of fresh water. Needless to say we are happy to have come across this, as our supplies are running low. Before we can reach it though, some sort of water elemental begins pummeling our ship and grabbing my companions.

Frank and Daynore are both pulled into it, presumably in an attempt to drown them, but I run back and forth across the ship and pull them out. Meanwhile, the rest of the companions open fire on it and eventually disperse it.

We refill our water and scout around the statue for treasure. Two large gems are found, but unfortunately I am not one of the lucky ones to get them.

Skillop tries to sneak off but I find him skulking in the shadows and bring him back. The goof wouldn’t last ten minutes on his own!

We are now presented with two paths, one that goes slightly downstream and one that goes up into a growth of zurkwood. Loopmottin mind melds with Stool to get some insight. The upper path will bring us closer to Neverlight Grove and Stool’s parents. The lower to Gracklstugh and Stool’s friend who he believes to be in danger.

We debate over where to go and rest for the evening.

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