BAND OF IRONS

Time in the Stalactite

The party rests in the mansion, it seems lie a safe place. 24 hours pass as you recuperate and look over the loot.

Vinny inquires about the elf maidens while Alynis and Kvothe read the journals. The remainder look about the mansion and recuperate.

The mansion walls are translucent purple plastic/jelly like material that faintly glows.

Vinny (Elf Maidens)
Your questions are met with curious blank stares, and then more offers to bring you food or drink.
Questions about the master indicate that his name was Saer’Taz (sayer-tahz). but questions about why they serve him and how he controls them are met with blank stares.
Tiberious fills you in a bit about mind flayers and their powerful mind control ability, he speculates that these elves are too far gone, parts of their brains maybe destroyed. They are ‘thralls’ and even with Saer’Taz death, they know nothing but to continue to serve.

Alynis (Saer’Taz Journel)
A quick look over o f the journal indicates Saer’Taz was a Joesef Mengele type experimenter sent by someone/something called Goryc. Goryc has tasked Saer’Taz to attempt to raise a Troglodyte army to fight the Kou Toa.

Kou Toa where once subjects of the Mind Flayers, and have an intense hatred for them. It seems as though recently some of the Kuo Toa have become immune to Illithid mind control

In addition Saer’Taz was to strengthen the Troglodytes to be better equipped to fight the Kou Toa. Kou Toa (4 hit dice) are about twice as strong as a Trog (2 hit dice).

The journal goes into detail about the pools of jelly you encountered being healing pools and that Saer’Taz was grafting parts of other underworld denizens
Mandibles and antennae from an umber hulk
Blade arms from a hook horror
Horn from a giant bull
Legs from giant frog
Claws from a giant wolverine
Tentacles from a displacer beast

You have now found valuable research for these creatures and can combat them as if you have encountered them before as the journal goes into great detail about their ecology

Kvothe (Kai Rifter journal)
Kai Rifter is a heroic warrior of the deep gnome city of Glimmerfell who you were sent to recover

His journal indicates that the Troglodytes had previously been a barrier to the Kuo Toa.
The Trogs and Kuo Toa warring with each other kept them from bothering the Gnomes.
Recently the Troglodytes numbers had diminished and the Kuo Toa had begun appearing in Gnome territory.

Kai had spent several months in the Troglodyte territory and noted their numbers diminishing.
He eventually found a Trog outpost and used a necklace of disguise self (as a Troglodyte) to follow a Troglodyte patrol back to their lair.
You speculate that this is the reason that his body keeps changing from Troglodyte form to gnome form (Kai’s body is wearing a necklace, it seems damaged as if crushed.

Kai spent weeks observing the Trogs, discovering that they were being manipulated by an Illithid
Kai notes that the Illithid was performing gruesome experiments on the Trogs, combining parts of other creatures with the Trogs

Kai knew the Illithid needed to be destroyed, and made plans to kill the Illithid, that is the last entry.

You feel that the Troglodytes may have been honoring him in the funeral pyre. It seems likely that his plan to kill the illithid, resulted in both of their deaths. This set the Troglodytes free.

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Everyone heads back to the Grotto

Vinny is waiting for the group when they return and the whole of the party retreats to the tower. Now that the party possesses two ropes of climbing the stalactite is easily accessed.

Loot is put in the portable hole and moved to the stalactite to sort

The stalactite is carved in the shape of a 3 jawed tooth filled maw (think Predator)

Inside the mouth 20×20 is a throne that can be moved to the mouth’s edge by way of a gear and track system, this also exposes a portal behind the throne that leads to a “mansion” (think Dr Who TARDIS, bigger on the inside)

You can not access the portal, unless the illithid hand (on a neck chain) is in close proximity

BUT subsequent moving of the throne, releases a swarm of albino bats (trap) several in the party are bit as they fight off the bats. The bats are a magical trap and reset every 10 minutes

The walls of the mansion are translucent purple plastic that glows feebly.

There are 3 scantily dressed elf maidens (red, yellow, blue) in the mansion. who ask if they can bring you food or drink (so far you have said no)

The mansion has 4 rooms (6 if you count the small foyer and bathroom)
Foyer/Main Banquet hall (dining room) Huge table set for 8
Library, books tossed about but many recoverable
Laboratory, a lot of smashed apparatus, but some recoverable
Bedroom elegant, with a balcony that looks over a oddity of a glowing purple city, but has also been turned over as if someone was looking for something

Also a bathroom as everyone needs to poop at some point, even Mind Flayers
Bathroom There is a small room off the main room which can be accessed by doors in the main hall and bedroom. Wash basin that continually refills with crystal clear water and a toilet that has a seemingly bottomless

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Meanwhile back at the Vinny part II

Vinny surveys the banquet hall a large room 40 × 50 with a vaulted 20 ceiling it is made of the same oddly glowing purple plastic. There are two silver doors on either side, they appear to be rough polished silver with no visible hinges or handles.

Vinny walks to the table and as he looks over the items he feels a presence, “Hello there” comes a chorus of feminine voices. Vinny wheels to see three scantily dresses elven maidens who seem to have just emerged from 3 of the 4 doors. Each is similarly attired in an almost see-through gossamer gown. The gowns are low cut , backless, whisper thin and reach the floor. The gowns are muted primary colors with one maiden wearing red, one yellow and one blue.

“May we offer you food,” says the maiden in the red gown, “or drink” says yellow. Vinny says “not now” and continues to investigate the place, all while keeping an eye on the elves.

Off to the left side of the main hall are 2 20×30 rooms. The silvered doors push open easily and swing both ways on hidden hinges. One room was clearly a library, it looks to have been ransacked, books and torn pages lie scatted about and the air reeks of Troglodyte musk. . There are some odd shaped overstuffed chairs with 6 foot tall backs and some low tables. The red elf follows Vinny in, but just waits patiently at the door.

The second room is a laboratory, many tubes, vials and odd apparatus lie smashed. There are a few brains that have begun to rot on the floor, smashed out of glass tanks. Vinny sees a few non wrecked items, but doesn’t investigate the area fully. The yellow elf follows him in here.

Across to the other side one door opens revealing a toilet and wash basin, the basin is full of crystal clear water, the toilet a black hole beneath a copper seat. There is a door in the left side wall, it most likely goes to the same area that the final door in teh banquet hall goes to, Vinny slowly opens it.

Inside is a luxurious bedroom, high backed overstuffed chairs, armoire, and a overstuffed canopy bed that has purple gossamer draped about it. This room like the others is ransacked, there are nice clothes strewn about torn and reeking of Troglodyte musk.

An open balcony leads outside, in the distance about a mile rises a purple hued glowing city. Odd shaped turrets and domes adorn it and figures can be seen moving about its streets, but there is no breeze, no sound, as if it is an illusion. directly below the balcony is blackness, seemingly bottomless.

Vinny turns to see the Blue elf has followed him in here and is waiting patiently by the door. He begins goign over teh place with a fine tooth comb….

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Fight in the cavern

The roadbed snakes 100 feet to a crude “gatehouse” merely a berm of rock and mud arching above the path, there are a dozen Trogloytes there holding the position. Two Giant lizard riding Trogs rush forth but the party waits back for them to come, dispatching the lizards and their riders and preparing to rain arrows and spells onto the defenders who look to be ill equipped for ranged combat.

And then a funny thing occurs in the swamp to the sides. Alynis is investigating an overturned cart when she sees what looks like a mage hand appear and try to steal one of her daggers, she shakes away from it, but then finds herself teleported 30 feet out into the swamp like watershed. Turok rushes to her aid and the two stagger back to the roadbed, unsure of what just occurred.

As the party closes in on the troglodytes there is a commotion on the other side of the gatehouse. Troglodytes concerned with something behind them back peddle into the cavern. There is something attacking them from the other side, the Trogs are now besieged by the party on one side and an unseen enemy on the other

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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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