Super Mega Monkey Ultra Extreme
Dungeons & Dragons Edition
Recap 74 Supplemental: Big Trouble In Little Underdark
May 14, 2016
The Motley Too head home to Gelfini from their failure to catch Aoki at the Tako Cave. Everyone comes to a dead stop at the edge of the city, where they find themselves faced with a giant statue of Jandove. She is eating a piece of pie and rubbing her belly. A sign beneath the statue advertises a baked goods company called the Roly Poly Gnome. The rest of the group looks warily at Jandove, wondering what her reaction will be, but she just laughs.
Jandove: Hey, I get free pies, too. Anyone want any?
Adarra is up for some pie, but the rest of the group split up to attend personal matters in town. Delphine, having been weakened by Wights in the Tako Cave, later emerges from deep study, sporting a new resolve. No longer a bookish wizard that will rely on others to protect her from physical combat, she has become a Battlemage.
Delphine takes the crystal armor that the party acquired from the Derro raiders to the blacksmith and gets it fitted. She causes a minor stir when she wears it home. Some townspeople initially think the strange dwarves that were seen at the Fish's Fur tavern have returned. The fact that Jandove is a gnome and not a dwarf is lost on them. But it's finally confirmed that Delphine is only Delphine.
However, the townspeople are on edge of late. The weather has been strange, unseasonably warm, but very foggy and dark. Everyone is commenting on the number of spiders and cobwebs that are becoming a nuisance around the city. Still uneasy about the strange dwarves, the news of the Derro raiding party (which may have been one and the same, but it isn't confirmed) causes additional concern. And, most worrying, the Motley Crew still has not returned, leaving the city bereft of leadership and its foremost defenders. It's with these factors that the Motley Too is summoned to the castle by the Motley Crew's advisor, Vashti.
Vashti reveals that in the Motley Crew's last visit to the Underdark, the party found a large magickal bell. According to Brecaryn, if the bell was installed properly in the city, it would warn of any approaching dangers and would even drive out invaders of a supernatural nature. Unfortunately the bell was too large for the group to bring with them, especially considering the important mission they were on at the time. But given all that is happening in the city, it might prove very useful if the bell were now retrieved. Vashti wonders if the Motley Too might consider going into the Underdark to get it. When they hesitate, he suggests that the Motley Crew's rivals, the Havoc Company, could be hired to do it instead. The Motley Too ultimately decide that they will do it themselves.
Vashti provides the Too with the Crew's notes and maps on the Underdark. The way in is through a kobold stronghold, and it just so happens that the captain of the Gelfini guard is a kobold from that area. His name is Captain Kelyari. Kelyari explains that the kobolds themselves aren't so bad, but at one point when they were threatened they went to a tribe of thoul for help. Now the thouls have all but taken over. Kelyari gives the Too an acorn, saying that if they show it to kobolds, they will let them pass as long as there are no thoul around. But if there are thouls, they will have to fight.
Kelyari: Kobolds with thoul gotta fight ya, or they in trouble. Please go mercy on 'em.
Kelyari also explains that there is no point in trying to get the kobolds to overthrow the thoul.
Kelyari: Can't chuck all thoul, there's more 'em else place. But killin' some'd be 'preciated.
The Motley Too take a wagon with them to retrieve the bell and head to the location of the kobold cave.
Things initially go as hoped. The cave is guarded by kobolds that nod to the group and let them pass when the acorn is flashed. Using the Motley Crew's maps, the group is able to make their way into the heart of the stronghold. Eventually they have to fight some kobolds accompanied by thoul. The party is able to take out the thoul without hurting the kobolds. The kobolds are tied up to help them maintain their cover.
After a few more such encounters, the group encounters some urds - winged cousins of kobolds - alongside the usual thoul and kobolds. The group is unsure if the urds can be trusted like the kobolds, but hearing a kobold make a kissy noise to indicate that the urds are suck-ups to the thoul, the Motley Too include them in the slaughter.
During their final fight in the kobold lair, they come across a thoul bragging to a group of Ogres about how easy it is to boss the kobolds around. The Motley Too express their displeasure.
Although Adarra and Sir Gyles have been in the Underdark before, even they find the return unpleasant. The rest of the group find that they are unprepared for the horrors. It is much worse than being in an underground cavern. Even before any monsters are encountered, the place inspires terror. The oppressive heat, the impenetrable darkness punctuated by bursts of lava. Swarms of bats, insects, and other creepies. And a strange buzzing that is particularly distracting to the magick users.
The first creatures that the group encounters are more ogres, on their way to join their brethren in the kobold cave. The group manages to bluff their way past - claiming to be escorts for a warrior named Orgimar, pointing to their empty cart - and even plant a seed in the ogres' heads that the thouls are planning to stiff them on their salaries.
The group then has to fight their way past some Magma Para-Elementals, which damage their cart. Then they see a beholder hovering in an alcove above them. The beholder grins down at the party, its central eyes bathing the party in anti-magick rays. But it makes no move to attack. The party uncomfortably and warily continues to walk. But the party sees a large group of trolls coming down the corridor, and they realize they have to return to hide where the beholder was lurking. Kurtis, taking no chances, fires a poisoned arrow at the beholder, hitting it in the main eye. This allows the group to use magick again. They kill the beholder, and The Harper of the North summons darkness to hide the group as the trolls pass.
The group then gets into a fight with some vampires, and before that is even finished, a group of Drow elves approach, saying that the corridor needs to be cleared to allow for the passage of the caravan of Queen Sh'Kriar. The party attempts to tell their story about Warrior Orgimar again, but the Drow cut them off. The Drow guards point out that the cart is empty, but a female leader cuts them off, saying that the group is "obviously mad" and that all that matters is that they stand aside. Which the group does, allowing a large procession of Drow, Fire Giants, and red dragons to pass. Wileu, with an instinctive hatred of Fire Giants, needs to be restrained.
Later, the party sees a group of Derro pushing a platform with an object covered in a tarp. Sir Gyles says that the platform holds an object of great evil that doesn't belong on this Earth. So The Harper approaches the Derro, shouting in the common tongue:
The Harper: You! You there! Where are your permits? You can't be here without permits.
The stunned Derro attempt to respond in their own language, but The Harper cuts them off.
The Harper: Where's your permit? What's under that tarp? Do you have a permit for that? Well? Well?!?
The Derro again attempt to respond, and eventually try the Dwarvish language, which Delphine understands. They remove the tarp, revealing a demon trapped in a pentagram.
Derro: If he would let us speak...
The confused Derro scuttle off, leaving the platform with the demon behind.
Demon: I just want to go home.
The group is unsure what to do with the demon they've been left with. The Harper casts an augury, which indicates that it would be helpful to release it. They extract a vow from the demon that it will only go home, for all that such a vow may be worth. They then erase a portion of the pentagram. The demon unfolds its wings and stands up, demonstrating its true size - much bigger than it seemed. But it grants the party a boon, and they all feel somewhat enhanced. The demon then flies down a side corridor after the Derro.
Not exactly comfortable with what they may have unleashed on the world, the group heads in a different direction, towards the location of the bell.
The Motley Too next see a swarm of giant rats. Sir Gyles leads the group into battle with a stirring battle cry:
Sir Gyles: They're just rats!
Unfortunately, the battle is complicated by several factors. First, Kurtis had decided just before the battle that it was a good time to take some hallucinogenic mushrooms. Luckily, despite the fact that he laughs with joy at whatever he thinks is going on, he manages to hit his targets. But on top of that, it turns out that the rats were just a distraction, allowing a group of wererats to sneak up behind the cart and steal from it. They manage to take some of the group's silver arrows. And that's not all. The altercation has attracted the attention of some rust monsters, which manage to eat Sir Gyles armor and one of the wagon's wheel axles. And during the fight, Adarra turns herself into a crocodile and refuses to transform back into human form, even after a wererat attack threatens to infect her with lycanthropy. The Harper feeds Crocodarra some belladonna so that she doesn't become a were-rat, or a croco-rat, or any other possible combination.
Sir Gyles and Wileu manage to jury rig a repair of the wagon wheel. The group then locates the secret corridor that leads to the underground castle where the bell should be.
When the Motley Crew had been here earlier, the castle was full of strange tricks and traps, but seemed otherwise unpopulated. Unluckily, the Motley Too finds that since then, the castle has been overrun with Fire Giants. The giants are under the impression that the Too are "King Snurre's people", and they challenge them to "Come on down and find out why we're called the Fire Gang.". The Motley Too have no interest in finding such a thing out. As the giants dig in further back in the castle, the Too go just far enough in to get to the room with the bell.
Unfortunately, the large bell is in a room with a door too small for it to fit through. It's unclear how the bell could have ever been brought into the room. The Too debate the best course of action amongst themselves. Delphine has a spell of Dimension Door which she could use to teleport the bell out of the room, but doing so will cause her to lose the spell, so she won't be able to write it into her spellbook later. While searching through her bags for another solution, Delphine discovers that her Horn of Horde Summoning is missing.
Knowing that the group did not like her having a magickal horn capable of summoning demons, she accuses them of stealing it, and indeed it turns out that Jandove did take the horn. The group turn to bickering, interrupted by occasional calls from the confused Fire Giants further down the corridor, who want to know when the fight is going to happen. Bored, Kurtis walks outside to guard the wagon.
Eventually Delphine is convinced to use the scroll, although the larger issue of trust between the group members is not resolved. Delphine teleports the bell past the door, and the party begin carrying it back to the cart.
Meanwhile, as Kurtis waits by the wagon, a wall suddenly opens up, revealing a glowing purple cavern filled with mushrooms and sparkling spores. A giant mushroom man walks out and beckons to him.
Kurtis is unsure if what he's seeing is real or an effect of the mushrooms he's eaten, but he walks towards the Mushroom Man. When the rest of the group returns, he's relieved to hear that they see it too. By spraying him with fungal spores, the Mushroom Man - actually, a Myconid named Kinopio - is able to communicate with Kurtis telepathically. Kinopio tells Kurtis that his group has been trying to communicate with the Motley Crew - including Sir Gyles - on several prior occasions, but the Crew have always avoided them. For now, Kinopio says that he can escort the group home through secret passages that will avoid most of the trials of the Underdark. The Motley Too reluctantly agree.