Expeditions to Elsewhere

This Isn't as Sexy as I Imagined

Having taken a short rest that felt as though it went on for weeks, the party proceeded, meaning to move back up the shaft. Ser Bryan attempted to grab a rope, but it turned out to be significantly less rope-like and decided to grab Ser Bryan instead, pulling him up the passage towards a set of sharp teeth, which knocked him out instantly.

Hawthorn created some tasty berries and Myrtle started to drag Ser Bryan way, whilst Samuel shouted insults and Eira make Ser Bryan slightly better. Hawthorn then fed Ser Bryan some grapes and Myrtle blinded the creature. As the fight continued, Samuel tried to shatter the monster, causing it some damage and to loosen some rocks.

Myrtle and Hawthorn were wrapped in tendrils and Myrtle got nibbled on. Eira and Samuel then joined them in the tentacle party. Eventually Myrtle, Hawthorn and Samuel broke free, although the monster dragged an unconscious  Eira up its shaft.

Hawthorn tried to save her, but got tangled in the creatures tentacles then got pulled into the monster's mouth and turned into a bloody paste.

Leaving the party splattered with blood and gore, the monster slunk away with Eira.

Ser Bryan performed brief funerary rights on the remains of Hawthorn, before he climbed the shaft, dropping the rope down for Myrtle and Samuel to climb up as well.

They followed the blood-trail, finding that the monster had triggered the defense systems and had been slain, leaving the body of Eira under its bloody corpse. Myrtle managed to bring Eira back, although she was left incredibly weak.

With the losses and damage to the party, they decided to return to Mysthaven. They took a long rest before setting off, during which Samuel found a diadem.

He placed it on his head and ghostly, white ethereal creatures with pick-axes appeared. They then started to sing. Samuel translated this singing:

"Brothers of the mine rejoice!
Swing, swing, swing with me
Raise your pick and raise your voice!
Sing, sing, sing with me
Down and down into the deep,
Who knows what we'll find beneath?
Diamonds, rubies, gold and more
Hidden in the mountain store."

The ghosts then faded away. With further investigation, this diadem appeared to be of the right size to fit the head of one of the 'Dwoorves'.

On their return to the Undermine, they had a proper rummage through the storage crates. Most items were in bad condition or had no particular value, although Ser Bryan did find a signet ring.

They had a brief conversation with the mysterious voice in the puddle, before returning to Mysthaven and informing the relevant authorities to get Hawthorn's name to be added to the memorial wall.

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It's Just an Alcove!

Hawthorn rejoined the party and they pressed onwards, Ser Bryan leading them down a narrow tunnel until they found a room with a tower-like structure stretching from floor to ceiling in it. Eira found a lock-box with iron bracing, which they took, but decided to leave locked for the time being.

Examining the stone tower, they found an opening about 4 feet tall in it, covered in iron bars. Looking inside, it appeared to be a vertical tunnel – Samuel dropped a stone down it, revealing it to go down another 50-100ft.

They then found another cave, with a fire pit in the center, surrounded by battered pots and kettle and long-abandoned. They also found a small leather-bound book, which described various different forms of robit, including the following:

<u>D Series – Defensive Units</u>
Emergency control through defense system override. 
D23 – Active sentries
D29 – Fixed-placement turrets
Fixed placement turrets are able to emit a devastating energy discharge when tampered with
D61 – Punisher Unit
Safety discharge via universal remote – [cow] [cow] [meteor]

<u>SP Series – Material Analysis Units</u>
No weapon or defense system

They then found another passage, which turned into a very neatly carved tunnel leading into a small neatly-hewn room cluttered with crude furnishing with dozens of yellow humanoid skulls strung from the ceiling, one of which Ser Bryan took.

Samuel looked through the desk, finding several flasks and sacks. Eira identified the flasks as containing an explosive substance that would combust on contact with air. The seals were old and cracking, but Samuel fixed them with sealing wax and gave them to Myrtle, who placed them inside her iron pot. In the leather sacks, the party found some Dwarven coins, all of which appeared to be the same – similar in design to those already in the museum, but with slightly different details and made of gold rather than copper.

The writing on the face read 'Long Live Durgeddin the Black, First of his Name' surrounding a picture of a Dwarf, whilst on the reverse it read 'No Dwoorf Ever Died of an Honest Day's Toil' surrounding an anvil.

They proceeded further, shifting some boxes and finding an banner that appeared to be an intact version of the one found by the original expedition into the mine, revealing it to display and anvil and hammer on a black, red and green background.

Proceeding further, they saw the passage blocked by bars, with a large chamber beyond, 30ft. high and with spiral stairs proceeding downwards and a set of double stone doors.

They decided to ignore this for now, proceeding elsewhere, at which point Ser Bryan noticed a soft rhythmic thumping noise that appeared to be coming from a large robit, identified from Samuel's book as a D61 Punisher Unit, patrolling back and forward along a corridor.

Myrtle dialed in the command for the safety discharge. Ser Bryan then approached, but the unit opened fire, not responding to the command.

The party then returned the attack, failing miserably for a few moments as the robit started to crackle with energy, releasing it a few moments later in an arc that hit Eira, Samuel and Hawthorn. They jumped out of the way in time, but still took a little damage from the arc, knocking Eira out of her bear form. The fight then continued, with a use of shatter causing the corridor behind the robit to partially collapse. Eira then threw some nearby doors there as the party hoped for an exit, but found nothing but a ransacked storage room.

The fight continued, with the party slowly chipping away at the robit's health – Ser Bryan gave it a massive hug, then took its beating before kicking its knees out and taking it to the floor. It then electrocuted Ser Bryan and stood back up, ending his reign as robit wrestler supreme. Eventually though fire, swearing at it and hitting it with a variety of sharp sticks, it was defeated, and it disintegrated into dust, which Eira collected.

They then investigated the stock room, which had several heavily decomposed Hizzards in it, rifling through the junk piled in this room, but found nothing of significant note, before proceeding down the partially collapsed passageway.

Down here, they found a stone statue depicting a 7ft tall armed and armored Dwarf that appeared to be the same as that on the coins. Hawthorn approached, triggering a cloud of noxious green gas to be released. He felt somewhat nauseous, but otherwise unharmed.

By this statue, they found a long abandoned barracks or sleeping quarters, which they rummaged through as normal, finding a potion and a small key. Myrtle identified the vial as a potion of healing and the key opened the lockbox, revealing another flask and a handful of gems. The flask contained holy water, and the gems were split as equally as possible.

Ser Bryan found a button that lead back towards the entrance of this Dwarven settlement. They then attempted to open the other door, which appeared to be wedged until Ser Bryan decided that it was no longer stuck and it opened easily. The floor on the other side was uneven due to a hole in the center of this room, which Ser Bryan promptly fell down.

He fell for about 60ft before landing at the bottom and lighting a torch. It appeared that this was once a spiral staircase leading to a corridor proceeding towards a large cave. The remainder of the party climbed down and proceeded, revealing a natural cave with a waterfall and some wooden doors.

Samuel went to look in the pool underneath the waterfall, at which point he was attacked by some weird beaked and tentacled snake. He went down for a moment as more snake-like creatures slithered closer, but Eira got him back to his feet fairly easily.

Myrtle took down the first one, however both Hawthorn and Eira fell, only to be recovered through Ser Bryan's inspiring hair swoosh. Eira then turned into a direwolf and started chomping on one of these creatures. Hawthorn went down again, but the party slowly started chipping their way through their enemies. Ser Bryan then threw one of their corpses in his bag, before the party went to rest for the night.

In the morning, they felt rested (and in Myrtle's case, stronger), and decided to explore the cavern further, following the passageway leading off it, finding a set of stairs leading downwards and another set leading upwards. They went back to the doors they found, opening the southern one, revealing a large but empty room. They opened the northern one, revealing a chaotic storeroom filled mostly with rotten food, drink and other supplies.

As Ser Bryan moved into this room, several Hizzards appeared, several of which Eira highlighted with a glowing violet light. Ser Bryan was poisoned temporarily, but the party mowed through them pretty quickly. Some grey ooze also appeared, which Eira destroyed without issue.

The party had a search through the room, finding several Dwarven books amongst the crates, before proceeding and taking the stairs leading upwards and finding several more Hizzards.

One of the Hizzards was blinded, and ended up falling into the subterranean river and being swept out of sight. Eira, as a bear, fell in shortly afterward, getting swept after the blinded Hizzard. Samuel cleared out the remaining Hizzards (with a little sacrifice from Ser Bryan) through shatter, and Eira managed to climb her way back onto the bank.

The party moved on, finding a cellblock beyond, with the first two cells clearly being used as quarters for the Hizzards. Ser Bryan found a key for the last cell, which contained a humanoid skeleton around 3 to 4ft. high, the skull of which Ser Bryan collected. In this cell was a sturdy iron key.

The party then proceeded down the carved stairs, which were partially flooded and led to a partially flooded long room containing nothing of interest but rotten wood. They then decided to climb back up to the main level of the settlement.

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An End and Beginning

The fires had subsided, the chains had come loose from the walls, and Kidd had his first friend. He didn't know what had happened to the family, he didn't care. He was told the fire would be his salvation, it would bring him his freedom and everything he had ever wanted. So far that was true, but things were still messy. Smoke and flames covered nearly everything around him, he was weak from malnourishment but he had to press onwards into the open night sky but away from all the sounds. The sounds of screams, men calling for aid, women calling for their husbands and the fire ever climbing higher and higher through out the grand house Kidd had once known as his prison.

The small form of the boy was weak, yet it knew it had to leave, escape, vanish, survive. Instinct kicked in and his body moved of it's own accord, shifting, bulking, cracking as his bones reshaped themselves and his form changed to that of a beast. Nearby people called for arms, yelling that the hellish beast must be slain but their words were muffled o his ears. He had another voice, within, telling him what he needed to do.

'FLEEGROWSTRONG…'

It was guttural, feral, ancient and weak yet it seemed to almost fill Kidds being, commanding him to move when he knew he was too weak. Moving as if possessed, the beast ran through the crowd at high speed and out into the forests behind the house. Faster and faster he ran till the cries had almost but vanished from earshot, the town far behind yet still it ran. Further it went until a streak of fur from the side caught it's attention. In almost a blink of an eye flames shot from the beasts fingertips, searing the creature and killing it dead in it's tracks. Another flash of fire, and another until it was cooked enough to eat and the beast feasted.

Muscle, sinew, even bones were chewed as the beast ate after what felt like an age. Slowly the beast began to change, to shift back to the humanoid it once was, and it looked down at itself once he had regained his sense of self. Rags drifted around his form, warmth running through his body as he stood there in the night, clutching the rusted and battered ring on his hand.

He was free…

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Are You Smarter Than A Troglodyte?

Hawthorn mysteriously disappeared as Myrtle attempted to push past the sentries, causing them to cross spears in her path, blocking her path.

At this point, the party gave up and engaged the robits.

Eira turned into a bear and the robits scanned her and talked in bear, just in time for Eira to smash the first robit into pieces.

Ser Bryan got stabbed with a spear and Samuel learned how to insult metal people as they destroyed the second robit.

The party started to move deeper down the passageway, coming under fire from crossbow bolts and hearing a clunking noise coming from ahead. They moved further still, finding the passage blocked by a set of giant stone doors.

Myrtle found a disc the size of a tea-plate covered in symbols in three rings that could be rotated, with a button in the middle. Samuel read the writing written above the doors, translating it as: "Welcome to Krundrukar, seat of Durgeddin the Black."

Eira reverted to her human form before scavenging some robit parts with careful application of thorn whip. Myrtle started playing with her tea-plate, theorising that it might control something, before flipping it over, revealing another message which Samuel again translated, this time as: "to Krundrukar set of remote home outer our the finally inner the which our", which he quickly realised had missing words.

Ser Bryan returned to the watchtower and found a dinner-plate sized object, which he returned to Samuel, taking some crossbow bolts in the process. Samuel translated this new plate as: "disable defense the the to on ring tools middle set ring flame we blades"

These messages seemed to intertwine, but some of the message was still clearly still missing.

Eira scuttled inside as a spider and found a retracted bridge whilst the rest of the party played with the plates getting the combination FIRE-TOOLS-MOUNTAIN, which caused the symbols to glow with an eerie blue light.

With the defenses disabled, Eira managed to unbar the doors, letting the party inside. Myrtle shot an bolt across the chasm left behind by the retracted bridge, which spider-Eira crossed, allowing here to investigate the bridge mechanism.

She found the pattern SNAKE-TOOLS-SNAKE, which she communicated to the rest of the party, which they inputted into the dial. The runes they glowed blue again and the bridge extended. They then opened a set of doors and proceeded deeper into the mysterious settlement.

Ser Bryan found a locked doors with two skeletons behind it, which appeared to belong to Stoggs. As Ser Bryan moved further into the room, the skeletons came to life and attacked him. However, these posed no real threat and the party dispatched them with ease.

He then found some potions, which Eira identified as potions of healing.

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I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghosts! Spiders, However...

The party headed out along the newly-constructed road, dealing with the winter weather in a variety of ways. They quickly made their way to the clearing that a previous party had fought undead in, where they rechecked the area and stayed overnight, with Baüog in giant badger form for warmth.

Whilst on watch, Laucian spotted a small glowing orb to the north of the clearing and followed it carefully into the forest, marking trees on his way.

The party woke the next morning, to find it raining and Laucian missing and immediately set out to find him – after following his trail for about half a mile, Maurice found Laucian's focus on the floor and Anghus noticed a trail leading further onwards.

After approximately half an hour along this trail, the party noticed a giant web in the treetops, and even more webs further up the path.

The party continued up the path for another 30 minutes or so, the path getting closer and closer to the webs, Maurice's familiar continuing to track Laucian's trail. Eventually, they stumbled upon a clearing that had silken pods hanging above it.

One of the pods started wiggling and a faint noise started coming from it. The party approached, at which point they were approached by Giant Spiders and other spidery things.

Maurice cut Laucian down and the spiders attacked!

Everyone immediately regretted their decisions but slowly beat the spiders in a fighting retreat, which Luys inspiring everyone to break out of the webs entangling them and kill the spiders threatening them. Except for the bit where Anghus jumped into a wind tunnel and knocked lots of spiders prone. But they were eventually victorious and there was much celebrating. They then rescued a bear cub from a spidery cocoon.

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A Jolly Jaunt on a Rented Rowboat

Having borrowed a rowboat from the Mysthaven WI, the party headed back to the Undermine. Arriving there, they found that the gate has been permanently locked since a guard abandoned his post and went down, never to be seen again. The boat required a few modifications before fitting through the gate, resulting in the loss of the picket basket holder, the parasols and the Myrtle masthead.

The party ignored the temptations of the creepy voice in the pond and the Green Drippy and made their way through the Undermine to the underground lake shore, encountering some weird robotic spider along their way. Myrtle 'fed' a spearhead to the spider, which appeared to scan it, before dropping a piece of parchment. Samuel magically translated this parchment, which appeared to be an analysis of the composition and state of the spearhead. They then got it to scan a piece of parchment with a message on, and it recognised it as a foreign and unknown language. They continued experimenting with it – learning that it would had an error if it attempted to scan its own output. It scanned a spellcasting focus successfully, and then scanned a minor illusion of itself, giving the output:

SP7 Mining Unit – Origin: Khundrukar - Status: Offline – Manufactured: Unknown – Unit Number: Unknown

When they attempted to talk to it, the spider printed a document noting that it could not understand them, however when they randomly clicked, it seemed to print random numbers. Myrtle then put it in a pot and took it with her.

They launched the WI boat and another one already down in the Undermine. Samuel pretended to row, whilst Ser Bryan and Hawthorne rowed along the southern wall of the lake, slowly heading east. The WI boat started to sink causing Myrtle and Eira to bail out the water.

After two hours, they shot some glowing arrows out into the darkness, seeing nothing. Ser Bryan also checked if the boat was magical. It was not.

30 minutes later, they abandoned ship and as they were swapping into the safer boat, they were attacked by a giant crab tentacle thing that Hawthorn dubbed a Cavern Mauler (although Samuel argues to this day that he killed it with an oar!). Having defeated it, they sadly watched the WI boat sink into the dark abyss.

Continuing to row along the wall, the started to slowly head in a north-easterly direction before finding a passageway leading away from the lake. They moored their boat and headed onto drier terrain.

As they began to head down the passageway, they noticed that it appeared guarded by two metallic statues apparently of a similar construction to SP7. SP7 was sent towards the statues and they had a scan-off, but he was allowed to pass.

Ser Bryan attempted to follow and found out that one of the robots was called SC12, a sentry unit when it spoke to him through the use of a universal translator system. Permission to pass could only be granted by the Master, Durgeddin the Black, who was not avaliable. Apparently this was the entrance to a place called Krundrukar, the origin of SP7.

They backed away slightly, and found a ruined watchtower on the lakeshore, inside of which Eira found six gold coins in a similar style to the coin found on the original expedition to the Undermine. Ser Bryan asked the date, getting the answer 7346.5.

Samuel tried pretending to be a robit and unfortunately did not succeed.

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What Time Is It? Tooth-hurty!

The party went out to explore the moorlands to the south-west. They came across some chicken-bird-lizard-like creatures feasting on a bush of red berries.

As they were fighting them, Maurice, Alwyn and Phillip II (the goat) all got bitten and turned to stone, whilst Laucian and Girdon slayed the creatures (which Laucian named Lithosauruses).

In an attempt to cure their fallen comrades of their horrific affliction, Girdon had the ingenius thought to crush some of the berries into his waterskin and feed it to Maurice. Unfortunately, this had the side effect of causing the statue-like Maurice to lose all his teeth.

The two then headed back to town and returned the next day with horses and began to transport their fallen comrades back to town.

Halfway back their acquatiences turned back to human, shrugging off their stony exterior with no apparent ill effect.

Laucian and Girdon then sold the corpses they had collected to the museum (they refused to take the teeth), before dropping the teeth and some research on how to reinsert them through the door of Maurice's shop.

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