For their first quest, the delvers decided to explore the Caverns of Madness.
No one is sure why the Caverns of Madness have that name, but there are two major parts to the Caverns - the old mine shafts that form the entrance and then a series of natural caves beyond that. The mines have low ceilings; the caves have some very large rooms. Both have multiple levels and there are several chimneys or shafts that connect the levels. Some of the caverns may be unstable.
Various vermin live in the caves, and tend to be aggressive. Also, there are reports that when Dunner moved to the caves, he didn't clear out the Order of the Black Stars Beneath completely - there may be long-lived Elder Spawn still persisting deep within the caverns. They would have their usual advantages, and are possibly inbred with Coleopterans, making them nigh-invulnerable to arrows and other light weapons.
Both Dunner and the Order were infernalists, and definitely summoned and bound demons to use as guards. The power level of the demons is uncertain, though; the Order was not known to be skilled. Brent, the last survivor of one delving company, claimed to have been attacked by "mad children with red eyes, wielding knives with unnatural strength" in the caverns, but his sanity was somewhat questionable.
There's also some very obscure references to the Swearing Sentinel, the Mistress of 4 blades, Chac Xib Chib, the Restless ones, the Bone Stench and the Library Above. It's unclear if these are references to different things or the same thing. Solid information about Dunner is lacking - he never spent any time in Polisberg - but he seems to have been quite skilled as a mage and could easily have summoned powerful guardians.
Sponsors and Patrons Edit
- The Lord Mayor and the Town Council sponsored the delvers with a line of credit worth 7 pounds of silver ($7200). In return, they wanted 1 pound of gold ($20000). They were willing to take only $10000 if the delvers returned all of Dunner's libraries and journals, as well as the Order of the Black Stars Beneath's spellbook the Codex of Unspeakable Summons.
- Dale Hopfing's older brother Brand went to explore the Caverns a month ago. Dale promised to pay $1000 for any news of his brother and another $1500 for his safe return. If Brand turned out to be dead, Dale promised to pay another $3000 for the safe return of their family sword.
Session 1 Edit
- First Session Chat Log Part 1
- The delvers set out to the Caverns of Madness under clear skies. Though they tried to march quickly, Beltarne was heavily loaded and failed to keep the pace. Instead of the hoped for 20+ miles a day, they were making 15. Things were not helped as both Singeon and Loegaire had a touch of the flu.
- On the third night, Leann and Lenia were on watch when a pair of foul bats and a pack of giant rats attacked the camp. Leann was quickly overcome by the stench of the foul bats, and ended up vomiting after Lenia's concussion spell stunned her. She was then attacked and badly mauled by a giant rat. Sithis carved her way through 4 bats, protecting Lenia and eventually moving to help Arganyev. Arganyev had thrown himself into a melee with the rats, and was quickly knocked over, surrounded, and badly mauled as they bit as his face. Kaetlin killed two rats, defending the porter and Arganyev. On the south side of the camp, Beltarne accidentally chopped up Lenia's horse while trying to defend it from a foul bat, but he recovered and eventually killed the thing. He spent most of the rest of the night casting healing spells while Ricka the groom yelled at him.
- Continuing on, the delvers made it to the foothills of the Hobar Mountains by the sixth night, but pitched their tents in the hunting territory of a trio of flesh-eating apes. The apes attacked that night during Lenia and Beltarne's watch. Beltarne's night sight allowed him to see them coming and he and Lenia alerted the rest of the camp. Lenia started by throwing another concussion spell that took out one of the apes and stunned a second; Loegaire followed up with a lucky dagger throw to the stunned ape's eye. That shot killed it almost instantly. Beltarne lunged at the last ape and carved open its chest before falling over. With the threat past, the delvers bickered onto the wisdom of healing the apes; Lenia finally prevailed and had them tied up and healed. Sadly, someone else slit their throats later in the night.
- The next day, the group arrived in the old mining village below the Caverns of Madness. They set up their camp and made plans to assault the Caverns in the morning.
- Roughly 0% of the planned adventure completed.
Session 2 Edit
- Second Session Chat Log
- During the night, Loegaire stole several magic potions and fled on his magic carpet. The delvers were dismayed, but pressed on to the Caverns. On the way, they met Thog, a lonely Ogre archer who adopted them.
- The Caverns were at the end of a long canyon. On the way there, Sithis pointed out an air tunnel high in the walls above and claimed that a goblin scout had spotted them. The delvers took steps to prepare for the fight that they knew was coming.
- At the entrance to the caves, they were attacked by 6 goblin archers standing on the hillside behind a stone wall. The delvers advanced cautiously, with Lenia casting a Whirlwind spell to deflect their arrows. She also threw a Concussion spell, stunning several of the goblins (including two flankers hidden on the other side of a road). Thog got out his bow and began rapid firing at the goblins, killing several of them.
- Sithis dueled with the flankers while Arganyev, Sithis, and Beltarne ran up to the goblin's platform. The goblins fell back into mine entrance, forcing the humans to crouch to follow. Several other goblin warriors lay in wait. The delvers held firm and refused to be led in, and eventually forced the goblins to flee. Of the 12 goblins involved in the ambush, only 4 made it out.
- The delvers quickly looted the place, recovering the Hopfinger sword and some other minor goods. They then explored the mines, hoping to find the goblins. The goblins had wisely fled, and the delvers were left doing some minor prospecting for gold ore. They finally ran into the chasm that separates the two halves of the Caverns of Madness. A bridge had once spanned it, but had been burnt down. After much arguing, Thog fired an arrow attached to a line across the chasm. Sithis ran across it with a heavier rope that could support Thog, and the group crossed safely. Sithis ran back and retrieved the heavier line, and Lenia Apported the lighter line back to them.
- At the end of the session, the delvers were in a narrow natural tunnel, trying to determine what to do next.
- Roughly 14% of the planned adventure completed.
Session 3 Edit
- Third Session Chat Log
- The delvers started in a narrow natural tunnel. They walked down the tunnel into the lower gallery, an open cave room filled with stalactites and columns. They started exploring it when they were ambushed by 3 crushrooms. A deadly fight broke out, as Sithis was taken down almost immediately and Thog knocked down and assaulted by two of the hostile fungi. Singeon and Beltarne's blades proved to be the fungi's match, and the delvers overcame, though they were quite exhausted by the fight.
- After an hour or so of rest, patching, and healing, Singeon and Sithis got bored and climbed up the natural chimney to the upper gallery. Arganyev tried to follow them, but slipped and badly hurt himself falling. At the top, Sithis began exploring, and encountered the Swearing Sentinel - a foul mouthed magical statue. Then a large group of Fearchildren, lesser demons that had been hidden in the room, attacked. Thog threw Arganyev up the column while Sithis and Singeon dueled the knife-wielding embodiments of evil. Singeon dispatched several of them, but all three delvers had been hit by lucky blows.
- At the end of the session, six of the Fearchildren had been banished, and Sithis had fallen unconscious and was bleeding heavily. Arganyev and Singeon were fleeing to the stand in the unnatural sunlight illuminating the Swearing Statue, hoping to hold off the rest of the Fearchildren there. Meanwhile, Lenia, Thog, and Beltarne were making their way up the chimney as fast as they could.
- Roughly 22% of the planned adventure completed.
Session 4 Edit
- Fourth Session Chat Log
- At the start of the session, Sithis was unconscious after being gutted by a Fearchild. Arganyev and Singeon were in the lit area around the Swearing Sentinel, surrounded by 6 Fearchildren. The other delvers were climbing the chimney into the Main Gallery.
- Singeon and Arganyev carved their way through the Fearchildren, aided when one of the Fearchildren accidentally gutted another. Lenia made it into the room and blasted one of them with a Lightning bolt.
- After the Fearchildren were defeated, the delvers collected the coins lying at the feet of the Swearing Sentinel and played his riddle game. Lenia answered first, and too quickly, getting the riddle confused. Thog and Singeon also answered. All were cursed with an unnatural, life draining stench. Lenia told Arganyev the correct answer, and he used it to defeat the Sentinel. They retrieved the magic bow and silk jacket that the Sentinel gave as a prize, and then beat a hasty retreat back to their base camp. That night, Beltarne led an exorcism, aided by Arganyev, that dispelled the vile curse.
- The delvers returned to the Caverns the next morning. In the gallery, they noticed a small no-mana zone 5 yards above the wood pile. Sithis found a door, and she and Singeon entered into the Hidden Library. Sithis was overcome with foreboding, sensing hostile demons nearby, and fled back out, but Singeon pressed on and started examining the books. A Toxifier and 2 Flaming Skulls burst from the cabinets and attacked him. Sithis led a charge back into the room as Singeon was beginning to collapse from the toxic fumes. Lenia summoned a gale force wind to pin the Toxifier safely on the far side of the room, then cast Concussion to blow it and one of the Flaming Skulls apart. Beltarne turned the other Flaming Skull, and then the delvers worked together to cut it apart.
- At the end of the session, the triumphant delvers were just about to loot the Hidden Library.
- Roughly 56% of the planned adventure completed.
Session 5 Edit
- Fifth Session Chat Log
- At the start of the session, the delvers were in the Hidden Library, resting after the fight and preparing to loot it. They quickly did so, recovering the original Tome of Unspeakable Summons and the half-completed Codex copy of the same. They also found some magical gems and a ring (which Sithis pocketed) as well as several small gems used to illustrate the Codex. Sithis wanted to stop and read the Tome, but the other delvers disagreed. A fight almost broke out, but Arganyev tricked her into letting him get close enough to steal the Tome and transfer it to Thog's steadfast guardianship.
- The delvers went back to the main gallery and decided that whatever was behind the door could stay there for a while. Instead, they headed down the tunnel with Sithis scouting ahead. She was attacked by a variety of swarming creatures - rats, bugs, wasps, and an agitated rattlesnake. A brief melee broke out, but the critters were no match. The delvers continued on, only to be attacked by more agitated vermin. Behind them, the ceiling became noticeably unstable and cracks appeared in the floor. The delvers ran forward as sinkholes opened up behind them and rocks dropped from the ceiling, desperately fighting their way through the vermin.
- At the end of the session, they had just spotted the end of the tunnel. Dim light barely illuminated the chasm, leaving them in great peril: stay in the tunnel and be crushed by rocks, or somehow cross the chasm in the hope that somewhere safer was on the other side?
- Roughly 60% of the planned adventure completed.
Session 6 Edit
- Sixth Session Chat Log
- At the start of the session, the delvers had spotted a chasm, cutting through tunnel that was collapsing behind them. Feeling they had no choice in the issue, they chose to run forward and find some way to cross it. Singeon and Thog decided to run and jump the chasm, while the other delvers fended off wild animal swarms. Beltarne retrieved his grappling hook and used it to hook onto the cave ceiling over the chasm. Then Sithis, Lenia, Arganyev, and he swung across. Arganyev had some minor difficulties.
- On the far side, the delvers found a well-made door with a magical light on it. After a quick pause for healing that knocked Beltarne out of the fight, they began knocking on it, and heard the sounds of someone else preparing for combat on the far side. They quickly charged in, only to be confronted by a Peshkali guarding Dunner's remains. Thog's first shot crippled the Peshkali's shield hand, but the darts it threw in return dropped Thog. Arganyev and Singeon closed to melee range in a whirl of blades, and the Peshkali responded with its own attacks. Both warriors were gravely wounded. Sithis explored the room, finding the demon's summoning pentagram and attacking it. Her attacks broke a mystic link and slowed the Peshkali enough for Singeon and Arganyev to overmatch it, and they began hacking off limbs. Lenia threw a lightning bolt to little effect. As the Peshkali lost limbs, it became less dangerous, and soon it was defeated. Surprised, but badly injured, the delvers chose to sit down for a while.
- Roughly 84% of the planned adventure completed.
Session 7 Edit
- Seventh Session Chat Log
- At the start of the session, the delvers were recovering from their surprising defeat of the Peshkali. They began searching the room in their usual disorganized fashion, stealing the magic items off of Dunner's corpse and going through his library. Lenia sat down to cast spells to analyze the various magic items they'd found. There was a bit of confusion when Sithis put on Dunner's magic hat, which made her look like a boring peasant, but that was soon resolved. With only a little more confusion, they finished looting the room and recovering Dunner's library, then made their way back across the chasm and down the partially collapsed tunnel to the main gallery.
- Sithis unlocked the locked door and the group proceeded down the cave tunnel. After a short walk, they came into a room guarded by 6 zombies. Singeon, Sithis, and Arganyev immediately charged, dodging or overcoming the caltrops in their way. Thog fired ineffectually at the zombies. Lenia cast a Lightning Storm spell, and destroyed two of the zombies with it; Sithis and Singeon combined to kill another. Arganyev threw Holy Water on the 4th, and then the delvers combined to hack the last two zombie slingers apart at close range.
- At the end of the session, the delvers were contemplating the tunnel that the zombies were guarding. Where did it lead?
- Roughly 92% of the planned adventure completed.
Session 8 Edit
- Eighth Session Chat Log
- At the start of the session, the delvers were recovering their gear after killing the zombie sentinels. Beltarne patched up Sithis' wound. No one noticed a creepy figure stealthily observing them from the tunnel.
- Refreshed, the delvers continued down the tunnel into a grotto filled with the half-Coleopteran, half-Elder Spawn descendants of the Order of the Black Stars Beneath. A fight immediately broke out as the Order reacted violently to intruders. Singeon charged ahead and tangled with a powerful martial artist; Sithis and Arganyev covered his flanks while Lenia and Thog laid down ranged support. Some of the Elder Spawn charged Thog, so Beltarne stayed back to fight them.
- At the end of the session, the delvers had broken the nerve of most of the Elder Spawn, but the two best warriors were covering the retreat.
- Roughly 92% of the planned adventure completed.
Session 9 (Final) Edit
- Ninth Session Chat Log
- At the start of the session, the delvers were locked in mortal combat with Elder Spawn. The delvers brutally attacked the Spawn, sending them fleeing for the safety of deep tunnels. Two Elder Spawn knights tried to hold off the delvers, but were stabbed and hacked to pieces. 4 Elder Spawn reinforcements showed up briefly, but as all their brethren had died or fled, they immediately retreated back into the sunken tunnel. The delvers declined to follow them, preferring to focus on gutting the corpses for magical glands.
- Lacking any easy way to fight the Spawn in water filled tunnels, the delvers decided to leave the Caverns of Madness. They had found what they were looking for, as well as a great deal of loot. They headed back to the surface, only to be ambushed by a small gang of bandits. Lenia used her Concussion spell to disable most of them (delvers and bandits both), then Thog and Arganyev combined to finish off the stunned criminals.
- At the end of the session, the delvers returned to Polisberg safely.
- 100% of the planned adventure completed.