D&D Encounters – Out of the Abyss – session 1-2

out-of-the-abyss-coverWe kicked off the new season of D&D Encounters own at Tabletop Tyrants, with 3 tables of players seeking to get “Out of the Abyss”.

“Deep beneath the surface of the world lies the Underdark, a realm of endless labyrinthine tunnels and caverns where the sun never shines. The Underdark
is filled with races and creatures too numerous to count or list, and foremost among these are the dark elves—the drow. Hated and feared even by their fellow
dwellers in darkness, the drow raid other settlements in the Underdark as well as the surface world, taking prisoners back with them. Rendered unconscious
with drow poison, then collared and shackled, these prisoners are eventually sold as slaves or entertainment in the dark elves’ subterranean cities.

The adventurers have all had the misfortune of falling to such a fate. Captured by the drow, they are prisoners at one of the dark elves’ outposts, awaiting transportation to Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders.”

My table has of a mixture of character levels:-

  • Stuart, playing Exom, a level 3 Human Wizard (Zhentarim)
  • Jason, playing Io, a level 2 Human Monk (Zhentarim)
  • Rose, playing Morwenna, a level 2 Half-Elf Rogue (Zhentarim)
  • Sil, playing Raggia, a level 1 Human Druid (Zhentarim)
  • Phil, playing Captain Astrid Alexis Astor, a level 1 Human Paladin (Order of the Gauntlet)

Each of the pc’s had been requested to make some pre-game rolls – these would determine how many days they had each been a “guest” of the drow, what (if anything) they had managed to scavenge during their incarceration, and any extra information they had learnt from their fellow prisoners, the outcomes of which were:-

  • Morwenna – 8 days, carnelian gemstone, supply patrol from Menzoberranzan is unusually late.
  • Exom and Io – 6 days, flint shards (usable as daggers), 3 drow guards watch the prisoners at all times from their post, once the patrol arrives they will be taken to the slave markets in Menzoberranzan.
  • Capt. Astrid – 3 days, 5-foot length of silk rope, Jorlan (one of the drow) suffered disfiguring injuries recently. Before that he seemed more in Priestess Ilvara’s favour, now Shoor seems to have displaced him.
  • Raggia – 2 days, small carnelian gemstone, there are 19 drow at the outpost including Ilvara, Shoor, and Jorlan, as well as another priestess named Asha. There are also a dozen quaggoths and a number of giant spiders.

Their fellow prisoners were a Derro, an Orc, a Quaggoth (who swore he was a cursed Elf prince), a Svirfneblin, a Kua-toa, a Drow, and pair of young Svirfneblin twins.

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Following their regular meagre breakfast, Exom, Io, Astrid, the Derro and Kua-toa were designated as a work crew and escorted to a chamber further along the outpost and told to clean and tidy the cave used as barracks by the quaggoths. A large annoyed quaggoth was left to oversee them. The three pc’s quickly decided to overpower the beast and despite their restraints they were able to defeat it handily. At the Kua-toan’s suggestion they threw the body into the waterfall before sneaking back to their cell where Io and Morwenna were able to defeat the lock on their door.

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Exom, free of the dampening effect of the cell, had regained mental contact with his familiar and discovered that their gear was being held in the armoury above the guard post. The heroes quickly assaulted the trio of guards, catching one by surprise and dropping him easily. Io did fall prey to a sleep-poisoned bolt and the stronger of the guards levitated up into the armoury and filled it with magical darkness. Thankfully this proved as much a hinderance to himself as the heroes and they were able to overcome him, though at the cost of Captain Astrid being slain by his poisoned blades. The heroes removed their restraints and recovered their gear (and that of their fellow prisoners).

Topsy & Turvy piped up that they knew how to revive Astrid and would share the secret for one of the “shinys” the heroes had. The party readily agreed and the twins revealed that there was something in the temple that could do it. Ront decided that he would take his chances against the guards at the other end of the outpost but to try and delay him Exom used an illusory wall, it worked for a moment but then the grumbling orc just barreled ahead and was last seen charging into a trio of Drow guards.

In the temple they found Asha and a large spider but Morwenna made quick work of the Drow priest while Io and Exom dealt with the spider. Discovering the way down to the room below they were all set to rush down when they realised it was Ilvara’s chamber – and she was there!

Thankfully it was at this time that an alarm was raised, not from the western guards Ront had headed for but the eastern side where a portal had opened and spewed forth a pair of demonic looking vultures. Ilvara and her troops were quickly engaged in fending off these newcomers, confident that they would be able to recapture the prisoners easily.

Still cautious the party agreed to send the twins down into Ilvara’s chamber. After a few minutes Topsy called them down as Turvy had fallen foul of a paralytic poison trap (and had somehow become dressed in a selection of silken drow lingerie). Thankfully they also found the potion they were looking for, and used it to revive Astrid.

As the sounds of the battle outside grew louder the heroes and their fellow escapees moved down into the next chamber and then used ropes to lower themselves down to the bottom of the chamber and make their escape into the wilds of the Underdark.

Once they were clear of the echoes of the battle they stopped to decide their next move (while the “grown ups” discussed this, Topsy ran around singing pervy Turvy as his brother still hadn’t removed the lingerie).

That was where we left it for this fortnight, read to begin the flight through the tunnels of the Underdark next time. Before any of my fellow DM’s start screaming at me regards the potion bringing Captain Astrid back to life I decided to use that mechanic to produce the effect of a Faction raise which would be extremely hard to explain story-wise within the outpost. Phil has now used downtime days to negate the 4-day penalty so should be “fighting-fit” for the next session.

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