BAND OF IRONS

Meanwhile back at the Vinny

Vincent is watchign the cavern, he has an idea that he wants to get up to the mouth like stalactite, but spend time surveying the grotto from a hidden area to see if anything moves.

He is rewarded by a rope spooling down from the stalactites mouth, a well dressed for adventure deep gnome begins descending the rope, Vinny creeps up and BACKSTABS the gnome who screams in death, a horror of a second set of jaws extending Alien-like from inside his mouth. Vinny loos over the body which has quality adventure gear and a backpack with mostly mundane items except for a scale bound journal. The gnome has also taken the head of the illithid and is wearing its hand on the chain that one of the Troglodytes had on.

Vinny climbs the rope that turns out to be a rope of climbing as he nears the stalactite he sees a few white cave bats flittering about. Topping out in the mouth he finds a ornate throne that can be hand cranked to the edge of the mouth, most likel to gaze down on the subjects. When Vinny cranks the throne forward a SWARM of albino bats explodes and begins biting him

Vinny attempts to use the ‘flash-bang’ that they captured from Rumble Arrows long ago. He fumbles (nat 1) and drops it at his own feet. The concussion knocks him down and the bats attack but only nips and minor wounds result. Vinny ends up slashing with his daggers, getting bit numerous more times in the process but kills a few and eventually drives them off

After several futile attempts to get through the portal Vinny takes the Illithid hand from the portable hole. He passes through the portal and exits in a small foyer 20 × 20 The walls are a translucent purple plastic that sparkles like the night sky, there are curtains before him, he parts them revealing a banquet hall with a large table set for 8 , but that loks to have been disrupted, as several chairs are overturned and plates and silverware lies scattered…..

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Chasing the Trogs

Vincent ducks away from the party, hiding in the shadows of the grotto, he has plans that do not involve the rest of the group.

The party, w/o vVinny, has little trouble catching the Troglodytes and tries to stay just outside of visible range. The Trogs are travelling down a well worn tunnel, 20-30 feet wide with a 20 foot ceiling. The tunnel snakes a bit but is generally headed in one direction. As they try to see where the Trogs are going , another horror appears before them. There are two troglodytes ‘fused’ together, they crawl on hands and knees. They are fused at the shoulder and on their back is a platform, which holds another troglodytes and a balistae.

The Trog fires and the balistae bolt cracks above the party missing, arrows and spells from the party destroy the “tank” like creatures the wagons now look defenseless , as only smaller Troglodytes continue to flee

The party hangs back a bit more and tries to see where the Trogs are fleeing to. After an hour of travel the trogs hold up an outpost. Several Trog soldiers stop the wagons. ONe of the wagon Trogs hands over a short sword wrapped in leather cloth. The Trog soldiers begin squabbling over it and the party attacks.

Tiberious again charging on his boar and Turok screaming a war cry lead the raid. They crash into the wagons, Tiberious boar upending one and crushing the trogs beneath it. Trogs flee

The party sees that the tunnel opens up into a cave, lit with an eerie white phosphorescence. The trail continues on a raised road bed, 20 feet wide and 5 feet above slime pools that extend to either side 60 or 70 feet. There are Trogs off in the pools which look to be about 2 feet deep, they flee as the party crashes into the cavern. The roof of the cavern looks to be at least 50 feet above.

Storm has lit one of the wagons on fire and Tiberious has pushed one off the road way. Trogs are fleeing from the party both on the roadbed and in the water fields to each side of the road. A Troglodyte attempts to flee clutching an egg, she is cut down with arrows to the back.

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CHARGE!

Tiberious and his boar followed by Turok rush headlong toward a circle of Troglodytes chanting and dancing about a fire. Vinny Alynis Kvothe and Helm begin raining arrows and spells upon them as the Paladins and the Barbarian crash headlong into the Trogs.

The fight is over quickly as the charge attack catches the Troglodytes by surprise, some attempt to flee but a dozen are quickly felled. They looked to have been getting ready to light a small crude hut on fire, there is a ramp that leads up to its open door, as it is on stilts and sits above a piles of sticks and branches.

A troglodytes charges from further in the cave, mounted on a giant lizard, he is no match for the party, but buys time for what the party sees to be a Troglodyte caravan pull away down an tunnel . More large lizards pulling crude wooden wagons surrounded by fleeing smaller Troglodytes.

Tiberious rushes inside the hut to see what is inside, there is a crude wood coffin that when opened reveals a body of a Troglodyte, but in a few seconds it morphs into the body of a deep gnome and a few seconds morphs back, continuing every few seconds. This is the body of Kai Rifter, but you are unsure why it keeps taking the form of a Trog.

Outside the group has found a thrown inset with jewels,. Before the throne, jammed onto a spear thrust into the ground is the head of a Mind Flayer, only a few days dead, the area around it reeks of Troglodyte musk.. Turok and Storm both fight to sit on the throne, but nothing happens, Vinny pries the jewels out of it. Above them hangs a huge stalactite, carved into an odd 3 hinged jaw configuration filled with sharp teeth, it is 60 feet above the cave floor.

Looking over the dead Troglodytes the find more aberrations/mutations. Troglodytes with legs like a giant frog, bone scimitars in place of hands, turtle like carapaces, this Troglodyte clan looks to be really messed up.

The group stuffs the gnome’s body in the portable hole and prepares to chase after the fleeing Troglodytes

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Battle in the Slime

The pools are poked and prodded and eventually the covers are ruptured, they seem to be almost like a scab covering a wound. Under the scab is a watery slime that continues to pulse red light. The slime is again investigated as all the covers from all the pools are disturbed.

In one pool the outline of a humanoid can be seen, Turok is brave enough to test the slime by touching it and finds it soothing and cool, he decides to take a dip and investigate the figure. It is easy to swim in the slime and Turok begins to heal hit points. He sees that all teh pools are connected into one large pool. Reaching the figure, it looks to be a Troglodyte, he grabs it and brings it to the surface, he sees another figure in another area.

The Troglodyte that Turok brings up is dead. Its arms are normal unto the elbow, then it appears that there are octopus tentacles instead of its forearm and claws. There are two more tentacles sprouting from its back. Suddenly Turok is grabbed from behind, another Troglodyte has come up from the depths of the pool and is pulling him under.

The Trogledyte in the pol looks to have sickles for forearms, but not metal ones, some sort of bone like blades. Turok and the Troglodyte struggle in hand to hand combat under the liquid, Turok is able to kill the Troglodyte and climbs form the pool.

The party continues toward the fire, they can see a large bonfire and about a dozen troglodytes dancing about it. The stone that senses the body they came for, indicates that this is where they have to go. They get ready to charge

There is a large 20 foot diameter smooth black disk and an enormous stalactite hanging from the ceiling, they note this as they charge toward the seemingly unaware troglodytes….

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The Great Grotto

After descending what Tiberious says is about 500 feet below where they entered, they encounter what they assume is the same waterfall again. It tumbles over a cave entrance, falling 50 feet before splashing against a cone of rubble. The roar of the falling water is deafening.

Approaching the fall, you see that there is a huge cave beyond this passage, it is illuminated in a weak white glow, letting you see that it falls 50 feet below you and rises 50 feet above. The ceiling looks to be stalactite covered. 100 feet to the left is a large opening, 100 feet across, dotted with house sized mushrooms. 100 feet to the right is a smaller opening, 40 feet wide and high, that has a harsh red glow coming from within. Far in the distance, maybe a 1000 feet you can see a large bonfire and shapes moving about it.

The only way in looks to be a precarious ump from the mouth of your cave, to the top of the rubble pile, about 7 feet. You woudl then be able to clamber down the rubble pile to the cave floor. The party manages to all jump to the rubble pile and descend to the cave floor.

The group moves to the left, to the mushroom area. The mushroom vary in size from that of a man to that of a small house. They are white colored and the stereo typical cap and stem mushroom, and all give off a dull white glow.

One of the mushrooms are climbed and 50 feet ahead of you looks to be a hunters blind with 3 troglodytes in it. They are atop a large mushroom, 12 feet off the ground and are looking further into the mushroom patch, they are armed with spears. The party attempts to sneak up on them and is successful.

As they attack the troglodytes from behind they notice that one has bug like antennae growing from its head. Before they can dispatch the Troglodytes a huge praying mantis attack both groups. The Mantis has enormous mandibles, much larger than a typical mantis, it also has a red and black shield grafted onto its ‘chest’.

The fight is over quickly,a s the party is able to dispatch both the trogs and the mantis. They skulk across the large grotto to ward the red glow of the smaller cave opening. The cave is 60 feet in diameter and contains 5 -15 foot diameter disks which pulse with a red-purple light. Nearing the disks they seem to be translucent covering of a pool that descend into the cave floor

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Why the rocks they rumble, into the dark we stumble.

The group descends the knotted rope along side the falls. They see what Vinny saw in the water and believe it to be a water weird or water elemental. Turok wants to kill it and retrieves some of the rusty Troglodyte javelins from the outpost as the others try to figure what the thing in the water is. No amount of looking produces any result and even a thrown javelin just makes the unnatural disturbance in the water move away….the group gives up and leaves.

The passage has several twists and turns and seems to spiral downward. The group encounters several treacherous climbing spots. The party splits at a fork. Raif, Turok, Helm, Kvothe (group 1) and Tiberious, Alynis and Vinny (group 2)

Group 2 finds a dead end at a perfectly circular shaft which heads upward to the surface where very faint light can be seen, they are at least 150 feet down. The shaft also goes straight down, disappearing in blackness and seemingly without a bottom. They turn to catch the others.

Many hundred feet later the lead group, Turok, Kvothe, Raif and Helm (group 1) encounters what is assumed to be the same waterfall, thundering through a hollow that includes a wet and slippery wood planked rope bridge 75’ to the other side. The crossing is tense for Raif, but Turok skips across it (nat20) Turok briefly considers cutting the bridge to impede the others following.

As the second group gets to the rope bridge the first group is a few hundred feet ahead. Tiberious and Vinny in the second group navigate the bridge easily. Group 1 runs into a chasm full of rubble, looking like the floor had collapsed as well as the ceiling. They don’t cross it well, sliding and tumbling as they scramble up the other side. This allows Group 2 to close. Group 2 navigates the chasm much better and now are only 100 feet behind.

Looming out of the darkness there is a large stalagmite, it has a mouth full of sharp teeth and a single unblinking eye. Arrows are loosed at it and group 2 catches up, reuniting the party. Tiberious says the stalagmite looks like a roper a creature of the underdark who camouflages as a stalagmite. It is eventually determined that this is a carving. Most likely to scare or hold up intruders….

The party continues to descend as the tunnel seems to continue to also wrap around like a spiral. Tiberious guesses you are 300 feet below ground now as you encounter the waterfall once again. The waterfall thunders through an opening cutting off the passage.
The only way along is to cling to the wall to either side of the waterfall. .

Care is taken to rope everyone together as the only way across is a slick ledge that is 11 inches wide. There are handholds cut into the rock, but it is very dangerous. Vinny volunteers to go first (rolls a 1) and plummets off the edge.

Tiberious hauls back on the rope as Vinny smashes against the cave face and is soaked by the ice cold water. Tiberious is able to haul him up. The rest of the group is able to get across the ledge although it is a slow crossing and everyone ends up splashed with water..

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Another Mile another abandoned outpost

The group continues to move through the fetid grey swamp. Up ahead they hear rushing water and see another structure rising from the gloom. Approaching and seeing no movement they see it is a large mound of earth 60 feet long and build among some old stone ruins. Nothing remains of the ruins but a portion of the wall and a few battered columns

Sneaking up it is a huge “berm” with fighting positions atop. Clearly a Troglodyte outpost by the smell of the thing. Behind it is 30 foot diameter hole in the ground, a small river flows into it, tumbling below to an unknown depth as a water fall, of which the roar of water is heard more clearly now.

Investigation finds a small camouflaged entrance in the back. THe structure is hollow and smells of Trogs. There is also an area to descend the hole next to the water fall. Although not the most comfortable area to rest, camp is made. Wood brought in the portable hole produces a fire and the group dries out and rests for a long period.

Vinny is first down the hole, exploring its depths to 90 feet down, via a knotted rope. He finds the waterfalls terminus. A rope ladder continues down a passageway, staked to the ceiling over the water cascading below. He is intrigued by something in the water, but fails to lure it out with baited fishing line and silver pieces.

Vinny finds the cave extends and continues below. It looks natural formed from rushing water. It is 10-20 feet wide with mostly smooth floors and roof. In the wider areas there are stalactites and stalagmites, and the area smells faintly of Troglodyte musk. He sketches a quick map and returns to the group.

The group rests for 8 hours. The stone points to the gnome being down in the cave. They send a bat messenger back to the gnomes telling them they have found a cave and are descending to try and find the gnome warrior, Kai.

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Abandoned Troglodyte outpost

The area has returned to the grey marsh that you encountered when you first entered this underdark area. This area though smells worse and the water turns from cold to warm and back to cold where there are potential hot springs, but nothing is more than ‘warm’

You notice the smell changes. It has been ‘cat piss’ but has begun to take on a ‘skunk cabbage’ aroma. You are at least 2 miles inside troglodyte territory.

Vinny on point has stopped and signaled to hold. He backs up to Kvothe and says something to them and they both forge ahead while signalling for you to wait.

Several minutes later they return and tell the group there is some sort of crude structure ahead. It looks like a mound of earth with a flat roof, possibly a watch tower, but no movement was noticed, it looks abandoned.
the group advances and sees what looks like a large beaver lodge. Mostly mud and plant material has been built into a long oval about 10 feet high. The top is flat but looks to have a crude berm built to your side, it looks like a crude defensive wall.

Advancing slowly you do not see any movement. Flanking the structure you see that there is a hole in the back of it. Looking like a cave entrance the hole is pitch black.

Moving to the structure you are all on the verge of sickness by the stink. There has been activity around this structure, you find broken crude wooden tools and gnawed bones

There is a crude stair to the roof and you can see a weapon rack behind the wall holding several crude spears. While you watch the entrance, Kvothe takes a look, climbing up top and reports that there is more signs of recent activity and he can make out troglodyte footprints

Eventual investigation of the ‘lair’ shows a dugout area beneath the wall with several small caves off a main area. There are two well camouflaged view slits, another weapon rack with more crude javelins, and some dirty dented metal bowls and a pitcher half full of water.

All of the area is covered in water except for several mounds which could be crude tables and several others that could be crude beds. The activity is recent but not yesterday. Most likely there has been nothing here for a week or two.

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As the Bats fly...

After some deliberation as to the fetid pit that the Froghemouth was living in should be searched none of the of the adventurers is ready to take the “plunge”

The sides of the pit are sloppy mud and all are worried that getting back out would be the difficulty and no one wants to be covered with the mud-glop for the rest of the adventure. Maybe they will stop back when they return this way on the journey back to Glimmerfell

FLIT FLIT FLIT You send a message bat back with a quick synopsis of the action.

Just inside Troglodyte territory STOP
No Troglodytes STOP
Encountered more Kuo Toa STOP
Fought ferocious frog finished that fiend. STOP
Continuing on mission END


You continue following the rhythmic pulsing of the stone to where the gnome warrior presumably is.

FLIT FLIT FLIT a messenger bat returns. It is a very large bat and carries a large note from King Greybeard

Dear Friends to the Deep Gnomes,

I could not tell you this in person because only a few in my inner court know. Most of all my daughter can not know. The gnome that you seek, my daughter’s husband, is most likely dead, and I sent him there.

We learned that something had come to the area and begun stirring up the Troglodytes. They were very numerous and active, increasing their raiding, Most disturbing is that some had grotesque mutations.

But they then stopped raiding and the Kuo Toa who we consider worse began showing up. Kai was sent in disguised magically as a Troglodyte. He was to find out what made the Troglodytes active, and then go away. He found a large Troglodyte burrow and went in to investigate.

The last messenger bat he sent back said this

Mind Flayer experimenting on Troglodytes
Creating army of enslaved

You must recover his body and relay any information you can find. If there truly is a Mind Flayer with an army of enslaved Troglodytes we need to prepare. Please try to find out how Kai died, keep this information and tell only me in person. My daughter needs to know that he died a hero.

-Greybeard

So the parameters of your mission haven’t changed…there just may be an Illithid with an army at the journey’s end.

The air has taken on a ‘cheesy smoky cat piss’ aroma which you attribute to Troglodytes marking their territory and the Elf attributes to the Dwarf

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Fought ferocious Frog,

As the Dwarf recovers some of the others look around the area. Half of the Kuo Toa are little more than ash their belongings burned away. But there are 5 others who have an assortment of mundane weapons on them. Several crude daggers of chipped stone and short spears are collected into the bag of holding.

The Froghemouth is elephant sized and must weigh several tons. Its back is similar to a leopard frog splotchy green, and its belly is brilliant yellow. It is laying on its belly, and in death it has vomited up a half eaten Kuo Toa which lies just outside its massive mouth full of grey teeth.

A massive ‘burrow’ is found, a huge Forghemouth sized pit of mud and water. Steam rises from it into the chill air. There is some sort of hot spring here and it appears the creature was living in the warm mud.

Looks like a Kuo Toa patrol happened to trod near its dwelling and you encountered them as the Froghenouth had started to eat the Kuo Toa.

You know you are in Troglodyte territory and seeing a Kuo Toa moving about in this area is of note. The gnomes had said Trog activity had lessened and Kuo Toa activity had increased

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