Super Mega Monkey Ultra Extreme
Dungeons & Dragons Edition
Recap 58.1 Supplemental: The Vain Experiment
April 26, 2014
The Motley Crew wakes up to discover they have been thrown into a pit. The last thing Alana and Flerm remember is being on the Isle of Dread helping Leento; Snow had been taking care of administrative tasks in Gelfini; Lieralyn, Brecaryn, Josy, and Malouf recall fighting trolls and rust monsters with Adarra while searching for a giant lizard egg. Now Adarra is gone and so are their animal companions! And why does Josy have wings?! [See Recap 58 to find out how Josy acquired wings and what happened to Adarra when her companions disappeared and left her in the lizard cave.]
Taking in the situation, they notice they are not only in a dirty, smelly pit, they are also surrounded by sheep. And there's a 6 1/2 ft tall stranger wielding a battleaxe!
Flerm moves to attack. Keagon has told him the stranger is evil. Snow moves to intercept, wanting to talk with the man before making any decisions.
The stranger Bordibar claims to be just as confused as they are. The last thing he remembers is being with his companions in Rowan Dee. He eyes Flerm warily and inches closer to Malouf.
Malouf smiles in a friendly manner and asks Bordibar if he likes axes.
On one side of the pit is a wooden platform with a shaft running through its center. A bell hangs on a wire nearby. Brecaryn experimentally rings the bell. Soon, the wooden platform begins to rise. A few minutes later it returns loaded with hay.
The party all step onto the platform and ring the bell again. As it slowly rises, Malouf and Snow climb up the walls ahead of the platform. At the top is a cyclops leaning over the edge as he pulls the platform up. Looking closely, Snow realizes the cyclops is blind. The cyclops used the platform with the bell and the hay to draw up sheep to eat when they wandered onto the platform looking for food.
Snow uses the rope to entangle the cyclops. While the platform is held securely in place by the cyclops' body, Malouf and Snow help the others up.
The cyclops thrashes and moans in distress until an elderly lizard man enters the room. He calms the cyclops down and leads the group away, telling them his name is "Erintrah the Kindly". They walk through living quarters and cross a bridge over a cavernous pit, all the while Erintrah chatters absently, answering none of their questions.
Erintrah: Everyone goes in eventually. Everything's fine Come with me. Let's leave him to his sheep. You're probably anxious to get through.
Brecaryn: Where are our animal companions?
Erintrah: Well, you'll probably be able to ask about that after you get done. Now, which one...*grabs torch* You know, you can't pull a torch in this place without opening a secret door.
Alana: (looking down into the chasm) Are you sure we're supposed to go this way? I think we're supposed to go down the other corridor.
Upon reaching a set of double doors, Erintrah waves them in. Before leaving, he hands Brecaryn a slip of paper as she looks like "the reading type". It's part of a travelogue by Sebastian the Bard entitled "Restrictions on Ethereal Travel".
On the other side of the double doors is a bright entryway made of white marble. Braziers and more doors line the opposite wall. Torches are lit all around the perimeter. Remembering Erintrah's words, Malouf pulls on one of the torches. A hidden wall opens to reveal four white Vain-like golems. Seeing them, Vain readies to attack. Sensing a fight coming on, Josy begins to flutter and says a prayer over the group.
Politely stepping around Brecaryn, Vain jumps over the rest of the party members and launches himself at his doppelgangers, headbutting the first and pummeling the next. One white Vain attacks Malouf. The rest of the Crew move in to get a better look at the action.
Bordibar: (to Josy) Why are they all hanging back?
Snow leaps in to assist. Grabbing the last golem by the arms, Vain holds it in place while looking at Snow expectantly. As her fist flies forward, Vain pushes the white golem into the punch, causing it to shatter completely. Vain immediately returns to his usual passive stance.
Moving forward, they step through the doors between the braziers and enter a corridor. The walls look more like glass panes. On the other side of the glass is a purple cavern full of glowing mushrooms. A man wearing an older style of armor looks at them with confusion on his face. Alana waves at him. In response, he unsheaths his dagger and glares at her. Alana mimics his pose, pulling an arrow out of her quiver.
Before any more posturing can be done, Malouf notices a few creatures that look like floating brains with tentacles for a body coming towards them - grell. The Crew had encountered them a long while before, but these grell are a little different. Their tentacles are equipped with spear-like tips, and they're carrying rods that crackle with electricity.
Josy flutters. Brecaryn fireballs. Snow flying kicks. Result: charred brains decorating the walls and spear tips for Alana.
As they continue moving through the halls, they encounter more grell. The armored man behind the window watches them a little longer before making a cutting motion across his neck with his dirk and walking away.
Alana: How rude.
Up ahead, Bordibar notices slits in the walls. He peers through them and sees a room full of dormant crystal warrior statues. He turns to the group in panic.
Hoping the crystal warriors remain asleep, the party moves carefully past the room. Until they hear a click.
Bordibar: Uh...guys...I think I stepped on something.
Another secret door opens to reveal more white Vains. Vain, Lieralyn, and Snow move to engage the golems. Lieralyn gets smashed into a wall by a white Vain. Snow gets slammed into the ground. Vain rips off arms and heads.
Brecaryn sees more grell approaching the rest of the party. Bordibar rushes forward only to get entangled by a grell. Flerm and Brecaryn save him, taking out the grell in the process.
Before their eyes, Bordibar transforms from a large, overweight human into a bear. Keagon begins screaming at Flerm.
Keagon: All weres must die!
With that quarrel settled, the Crew keeps moving in the hopes of finding an exit. Instead, they find more grell plus a fire elemental. Josy is able to banish the fire elemental to the Plane of Frost (sure hope all the enemies they've sent there don't form a team). Brecaryn quickly learns that lightning is the wrong spell to use against grell. After a little bit of trouble, the group does manage to dispatch all of the remaining grell. The last of them is larger and weapon-less. It communicates telepathically with Brecaryn just before it dies.
In these last two rooms where they fought the grell, the group finds a clutch of grell eggs and two pools of liquid. The eggs are destroyed. The first pool of liquid is oily. Anything coated in it becomes out of phase. The second pool holds a soapy liquid that washes off the phase oil.
Still finding no exit, the group is faced with two options:
So, they pull another torch and find more white Vains. After destroying yet another set of golems, the party has no choice but to try to get past the manscorpions. Flerm steps forward to speak with them as they are more likely to understand Drow.
Despite not being able to understand Flerm's words, the party knows the "discussion" is going poorly when in response the manscorpions begin attacking.
Flerm teleports forward and cuts off one manscorpion's tail. Snow subdues both without killing them.
Taking out her continual light torch, she surveys the area beyond. The manscorpions were guarding the entrance to another chamber. Rubble is strategically piled throughout. Behind each rubble berm is a dwarf-like creatures with big hair, pale skin, and pupil-less eyes. Flerm recognizes them as derro, another denizen of the Underdark. Off to the side is a second room full of crystal warrior statues. And on the far wall there appears to be an ethereal doorway. That has to be the way out!
The derro attack with lightning and a noxious gas.
The second gas makes the room safe for everyone to be in the chamber again. The derro and manscorpions have been trapped for some time. They tried to form an alliance with the fire elemental and the grell, but neither would listen. The derro agree to work with the Crew to find a way out.
Brecaryn's phase ring allows Flerm to open the ethereal door. Unfortunately, the corridor is full of crystal statue warriors. Flerm and Brecaryn begin formulating a plan for disabling the crystal warriors, when they hear:
The old lizardman transforms into a tricerotops. All of the crystal warriors come to life. The ensuing fight doesn't last very long. Flerm blinds Erintrah in one eye. Snow speeds out of the room to assist Bordibar with destroying the crystal warriors coming from behind. Alana, Brecaryn, and Malouf take care of the ones inside the room. The cyclops falls to the derro wizard's poisonous gas.
Waving his hands, a glyph appears in the air and suddenly, everyone begins to gag. There is no trace of Erintrah by the time they recover. All but one derro are dead.
Unbeknowst to the lizard mage, a pouch had fallen off of his belt during his transformation. Examining it, Brecaryn finds his notes on Vain. Brecaryn was sure she had thoroughly searched through and destroyed all of the Oblivion King's things. But somehow, Erintrah managed to find the Oblivion King's notes on producing Vain-like golems, as well as the formula for turning trolls into zombie-like creatures. This entire set up was a testing ground for his experiments. He sold the troll zombie formula to someone named Crulicar.
After patching themselves up, the party heads off for Gelfini to rest and regroup. The lone surviving derro leaves to return to his people. Brecaryn will need to start delving into the mystery of Vain. If Erintrah should succeed in controlling or replicating Vain, it would be disastrous. If Crulicar perfected the zombie formula, the Disputed Territory could be overrun with the creatures. The Crew would need to find a way to stop both of them permanently.