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Recap 71 Supplemental: Into the Abyss

November 7, 2015

Uninvited Guests

Shortly after the Motley Too's return from Ice Tooth Mountain, posters start appearing all over Gelfini praising Heriberto Florentino for stopping the unnatural winter. This does not sit well with any of the Crew. Lieralyn visits Florentino at the local tavern where he has been staying and plies him with her charms. The pale-complexioned gentleman doesn't appear affected by her beauty, but guessing she is royalty, invites her to join his group.

Florentino: The rest of your companions - they are riffraff.

When Lieralyn reports back to the Motley Crew, the reaction of some is unsurprising.

Alana: Oh, this guy has to go. We can make it look like an accident.

Flerm: Why haven't you people taken care of this already? Flerm is declaring martial law!

Later that night, the Crew are awakened by Vashti. Outside the wall is a procession of chanting humanoids carrying candles of blue flame. Lieralyn, Snow, and Brecaryn go out to meet the group while the rest stay on the wall to watch for trouble.

Pulling back their hoods, the humanoids reveal themselves to be Drow priestesses.

Priestess: Hrmph! Flerm does not come to greet us himself? Well, will you receive us or leave us standing here like peasants?

Escorting the Drow to a conference room, the Crew sit to hear what this entourage has to say.

High Priestess of Lolth: Our great goddess Lolth (all of the Drow throw back their heads and sibilate at the mention of Lolth's name) is greatly concerned. The Abyss is a vast demon realm. Orcus and Demogorgon, two of the most powerful demons in the Abyss, are negotiating a ceasefire. Should they agree to an alliance, this could threaten both Lolth's *hiss* realm and the Earth.
Orcus possesses a very powerful wand. We have discovered the location of this wand. Should the wand happen to be found in Demogorgon's vault, any talk of a ceasefire would end. This is the task we set before you. In exchange, we will restore Flerm to his original form.

Flerm: *glares*

High Priestess: If it has not been clear so far, to perform this task, you must travel to the Abyss itself. The Abyss is a realm of pure Chaos and pure evil. The science governing the rules of Earth do not always apply. The realm will sometimes appear as a physical place similar to some of the darker places on Earth, but there are areas beyond the comprehension of mortals. The places that you are to go to are among the more rational, and you will have help. First, I give to your wizard a Talisman of Order. (carefully takes out a small box, as if the device is very dangerous) Only a wizard can activate it, but all within a 60 foot sphere of her will be mostly protected from the Chaos of the Abyss.
Second, while Lolth *hiss* cannot aid you directly, and no other demons can risk acting without ruining the plan of blaming the theft of the wand on Demogorgon, outside help has been arranged for your transport. A group of beings from the neighboring realm of Pandemonium will serve to bring you in and out of the Abyss, and between the locations of Orcus and Demogorgon's strongholds. These beings are Chaotic but not necessarily evil, so you should be able to work with them. You are to meet them at a waterfall at the mouth of the Armyth River, at the far end of your territory.
As a sign of our good faith, we will restore Flerm for the duration of this mission.

After the Drow leave, all Flerm will say is the Drow can't be trusted. But, if there's a chance to get his body restored, the Crew can't say no.

By morning, the Drow are gone.

Meet the Clean Cousins

Three days later, the Motley Crew arrives at Armyth falls. A very large boat sits on the river and around it are very shiny, well-kempt dwarves dressed in color-changing armor.

Sky Dwarves: Greetings! We are the Sky Dwarves of Pandemonium. Oy! Look, fellows, a ground dwarf! Hello, dirty cousin! *waves at Bolin*

Bolin: Ho! (mumbles) Air dwarves. Pah! I'll show you who's dirty. My axe, that's who!

Once they are all on board, the Sky Dwarves cast off. The Sky Dwarves' boat floats inches above the water. A short while later, the scenery abruptly shifts. The rivers appear to be flowing in every direction. There are voices cheering and yelling. Broken toys hover in mid-air. Everywhere is chaos.

Sky Dwarf: Welcome to Pandemonium! A word of warning - don't drink from this river, the River Styx. It will take away your memory. And should you lose your way, follow it downstream, and it will lead you back to your waterfall.

Some conversation with the Sky Dwarves confirms they know nothing of the mission to steal Orcus' wand. They know they've been paid to provide transport and that is all they care about. As they enter the Abyss, the air fills with the stench of sulfur, a river of fire flows below.

Sky Dwarf: Ah, cousin, if you manage to return with proof of your battle prowess, we will make some improvements to your axe.

Flerm: Hey! Is Bolin the only one eligible for this weapon upgrade?

Sky Dwarf: Of course! He is a dwarf.

Flerm: Well, that's just racist.

Before an argument can start, three vrock demons are spotted. They need to kill the vrocks to prevent them from reporting the group's presence to anyone.

Sir Gyles: Send these demons back to where they belong!

Malouf: (looks puzzled)

Josy nearly drops her boomerang over the side of the boat and Bolin shoots himself in the foot. Despite these setbacks, Sir Gyles and Flerm quickly kill two of the vrocks. Before the third makes it out of range, Alana fires off a shot. Mid-flight, Brecaryn enlarges the arrow with a spell. When it pierces the demon, the impact causes it to explode.

The Fortress of Orcus

Arriving at Orcus' fortress without further incident, the Sky Dwarves send the Crew to the ground on three winged lions. The fortress is made up of skulls and is ringed by an iron gate. Not trusting the iron being enough of a deterrent to other demons, Orcus has also cast a Protection from Evil spell on it. The Crew is able to get through the gate easily enough, though Flerm exhibits some discomfort.

babauOnce inside the gate, they only encounter and kill one hezrou demon before entering the fortress itself. Upon opening the door, the entire party is pulled in, the doors slamming shut behind them. The only light in the room comes from two candelabras, the candles emitting a sickly green light.

In the center of the room stands a seven-foot tall, ebony-colored skeleton. His bones are coated in a red slime and a large horn protrudes from the back of his head - a babau demon.

Sir Gyles: Destroy that evil skeleton! Battle leader!

Sir Gyles charges at the babau. As soon as he steps out of the Talisman of Order's protective circle, he flies up towards the ceiling, but not before landing a mighty blow on the babau's horn. Unfortunately, the red slime seems to offer the demon some protection against injury.

Snow, careful to remain within the protective circle, strikes out at the babau with her chained gloves, exploding the skeleton and splashing red goo all over the room. As the rest of the party moves forward, Sir Gyles drops down from the ceiling.

The room they are in is a large foyer, the walls are made of bones, the doors wrought iron. Three doors lead off in different directions:

  • The west door is plain in its design.

  • To the north is an ornate double door.

  • The east door has a red skull carved into it.

When Bolin approaches the east door, the skull opens its mouth. Pulling out a red gem from his pouch, Bolin drops it into the mouth. The skull chews the gem before it starts to glow, a buzzing sound filling the room.

Brecaryn: That is an alarm.

Bolin: Don't worry, guys. It's probablyzzz...

chasmeBolin slumps to the floor fast asleep. Three chasme enter from the north door, the buzzing from their wings oddly soothing. Sir Gyles passes out next. Malouf and Snow kill them before anyone else is affected.

Roughly waking Bolin, Snow admonishes him for risking the mission with his actions.

Bolin: What did I do? Did I eat your sandwich?

Peeking through the north door that the chasme left open, they see a slowly ascending corridor. At the top is a giant altar with a huge humanoid creature laying on it, a force field surrounding it. Looking at each other, the group quietly backs out of the room, closing the doors gently.

West It Is

The plain west door opens without any difficulty. Through the door is a narrow, curved passage. A ledge runs across the south side, ten ornate coffins resting on it. Passing these without incident, they encounter a couple of dretches before coming to a wall with Orcus' face carved into it.

dretchBolin touches the carving with another red gem. A magickal blast slams into him. Reality briefly blinks out of existence before returning with a flash of light. Looking down, Brecaryn notices the Talisman of Order is smoking and looking a little bit charred. Snow glares at Bolin while Bolin pretends not to notice.

Backtracking, the party walks west into a cavern reeking of something horrible. The room is filled with man-sized worms with human heads. They plead with the group to save them by taking them away. One cries out that the rest are lying and the best way to save them would be to give them death. Alana wants to stay and chat longer with the man worms, but the rest of the Crew decide that killing these creatures would indeed be best for everyone.

Without the distraction of man-sized worms weaving about, the group notices a pedestal at the back of the room. On the pedestal is a raised carving of Orcus' skull. Pushing it down causes a door to slide open on the Orcus wall. Using a candlestick Bolin had brought from the foyer, they set it on the raised skull to keep it depressed and walk through the open doorway.

They come across two more such secret doors and pedastals, fighting a few chasme and dretch along the way. Prying a skull off the wall, Malouf weighs down the third Orcus carved button, but instead of a door opening on the Orcus marked wall, the wall directly behind the pedastal slides open and the stench of ghasts rushes out.

Brecaryn and Bolin are immediately overwhelmed by the smell, bent over and wretching. Six ghasts emerge from the hidden room accompanied by two babau demons.

Snow, Flerm, Alana, and Lieralyn dispatch the creatures while Josy tends to Brecaryn and Bolin.

The group cautiously enters the corridor behind the pedastal. They just reach a turn in the corridor when their torches are blown out. In the darkness, they can hear something breathing.

Voice: Is that elf flesh I smell? I was once bound by a wizard on Earth. Are there any wizards here? He used to feed me elves, and I've developed a taste for them.
(grabs Alana)

Alana: Hey! Half-elf! Half-elf!

As she struggles, Alana feels the creature bite off a chunk of her arm.

Sir Gyles: We must save our comrade! Battle leader!

Josy casts continual light in the direction of the creature. They only get a brief glimpse of a dog-faced head before the light winks out. Snow and Malouf attack it in the dark, trying not to injure Alana in the process.

Landing the killing blow, Malouf absorbs the demon's energy with his magic axe and realizes this glabrezu demon is the one Alana had freed in the Temple of Zebu. How karmic.

Retrieving the Wand

With the demon dead, they are able to light the room. On the far wall, they see another pedastal. This time, there is a glowing red Orcus skull resting on it. Removing the skull reveals a green button. Malouf pushes the button and the party is instantly teleported back to the foyer where they first entered.

Carrying the small red skull to the east door, Malouf drops it into the mouth of the skull on the door. This time, having received the right offering, the east door opens.

A buzzing sound greets them, but this time, it's not chasme. On one side of the corridor, a group of wights are being held back by an electrical force field. The wights ineffectually charge at the field as the Crew walks nervously by.

rutterkinThe corridor ends in a large room. Peering inside, they see four rutterkins bullying a group of dretches.

Rutterkin: You dretches are so slow. And you never do anything right.

Dretch: (spotting the Motley Crew) Uh...boss...

Rutterkin: Don't interrupt!

The party rushes in and attacks before the rutterkins know what's happening. After dispatching all of the demons, they study their surroundings, taking in the force field blocking off the back of the room. Inside the field is a large table with some object resting on it. On the wall just outside of the force field is a purple lever.

Josy draws a glyph of warding on the floor at the entrance to the room before they pull the lever, bringing both force fields down. The wights charge towards the group, but explode in a fiery mass when they step on the halfling cleric's warding.

The top of the table shows a map of the fortress. The object on the table is a green ring marking the group's current location. Brecaryn slides the ring to the spot on the map showing the north room with the ornate double doors, positioning it on an area behind the altar. The group is teleported there.

The force field around the giant humanoid is intact. Now that they have a closer view, the Crew realizes it's a very large skeleton. Before they can examine it any further, they hear a hiss coming from each side of the room. Undead beholders float out of the shadows. They are so decayed some of their eyestalks are dead and bones are visible through their rotted flesh.

Exhibiting an unusual bit of physical prowess, Brecaryn uses her staff to blind the magick-canceling center eye of one beholder. Snow grabs the other with her beholder fork. Flerm and Josy kill them without further ado.

Resting against the rear wall is a wand-sized black box. Bolin picks it up and the blue force field around the skeleton disappears.

Bolin: (rattles box next to his ear) Ooh, don't touch the spooky box, Bolin.

Snow: Give me the box, Bolin.

Bolin: Hrmph.

Bolin carelessly tosses the box to Snow before walking over to the undead beholders and cutting off their eyestalks as souvenirs for the Sky Dwarves.

Brecaryn carefully takes the wand out of the box to examine it. It looks more like a rod than a wand, but it is definitely what they came for.

In order to leave the room, they have to walk passed the giant skeleton. As they near, it becomes animated. Rising, it lifts a large hammer and pulls back for a swing. Brecaryn touches the skeleton with the wand and creature is immediately destroyed. Brecaryn looks shaken at the result.

The group makes it out of Orcus' fortress without further incident and are promptly picked up by the three winged lions. The Sky Dwarves are surprised that all of the party returned unscathed. Bolin shows them the beholder eyestalks he collected. Suitably impressed, they hold up their end of the bargain and go to work adding crystals to his axe. When they are done, the hilt is an ever-shifting rainbow of colors. Hefting it, it feels lighter to Bolin and easier to swing.

Change of Plans

While en route to Demogorgon's fortress, Sir Gyles and Bolin occupy the Sky Dwarves while the rest of the Crew discuss the wand. They agree that it is too powerful to leave with any of the demons. Besides that, Flerm is certain Lolth means to doublecross them.

Flerm: Lolth can't be trusted. She's an evil, petty creature.

The group also decides that it seems quite suspicious that two Demon Lords would just decide to call a truce in the first place. Another force must be behind it. But who or what? The best idea they can come up with is to keep the wand, leaving an empty box in Demogorgon's vault while also leaving some kind of clue to implicate Lolth's Drow minions.

bar-lguraThe Sky Dwarves drop the group off in the jungle realm of Demogorgon. On the way to the demon's fortress, they are attacked by a glowing red Tyrannosaurus Rex and a band of bar-lgura and white apes. Restricted by the Talisman of Order's protective circle, they can only wait for the creatures to come into range before attacking.

kostchtchieBrecaryn uses the wand on the T-Rex before hitting the apes with a fireball. Again, the creature touched by the wand is erased instantly. The bar-lgura pose slightly more of a challenge as they are teleporters, but Snow, Alana, and Bolin manage to take them down.

Unlike Orcus' fortress of bones, Demogorgon's stronghold is a stone ziggurat. The entrance is covered in a thick layer of jungle vines. Hacking their way through, they enter what appears to be a trophy room full of treasure and statues.

Brecaryn leaves the empty wand box while Flerm plants some Drow coins on the floor nearby. They leave the strangely deserted temple to await pick up by the winged lions. It doesn't take long for the Crew to realize the lions are not coming. Trekking through the swamp, they find their way back to the River Styx.

To their shock, standing at the river bank is a giant. At first, he looks like a yellow frost giant, but on further inspection, his head looks too large and his legs too short and bowed. It is Kostchtchie, the demon they encountered in the dungeon below the pyramids of Rohri.

He gestures for them to come closer.

Kostchtchie: Ah...I recall you. You disrupted my outpost. I should kill you for that. Fortunately for you, I hate the Tenari more than I despise humans. What you have done will end this ceasefire and more Tenari will die. So, instead, I will let you live and even hasten your escape. Know this - you are now in my debt.

Kostchtchie fashions a raft for them out of banana leaves. As they are about to depart, the demon strikes the river with his hammer, splashing water onto the party. The next thing they know, they are waking up at Armyth falls.

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Tags: Alana, Bolin Braveaxe, Brecaryn, Flerm, Josy, Kostchtchie, Lieralyn, Malouf, Nightshade, Sir Gyles, Snow, Vain

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