Session Nineteen Summary (Graveyard of Empires: After the Fall)
Session 19, November 11 2020
We continue at 10PM on the 15th of Tenrilden with the party having finished their business at the trading post and ready to begin the eight hour trip to Vilgrim itself ...
We receive our letters from Ghermain's clerk and get information about the drow law to avoid breaking it.
The clerk called it the Lattice of Law.
We are equal to the lowest members of House Herig.
We must show complete deference to higher members of the house. The highest members of the house have the right to kill anyone of lower status.
If we are insulted by lower members of another house, a house will defend brothers & sisters. Might pay a blood price to avoid a feud.
When we get to Vilgram, a guide will lead us to House Herig.
In property disputes, the judges are the ruling council. Their judgement is final, but you can challenge the opposing house or the house of the members of council. Not a good idea to do this as won't receive backing.
House Herig is focused on expanding trade. House Thule is interested in territorial expansion by conquest. The two houses on on generally cordial terms.
Herid is a lower house, and Thule is currently the top house and also have the Box of Infinite Spiders, and Azra & Timon.
We asked about not attacking the spiders we passed on way to trading post and were told that was a good choice. Other critters are fair game.
We pick through the gear from the dwarven merchants AFTER cleaning it off. We get chainmail for Peronelle, and extra shields, plus axes and javelins for Gath.
We request a translator to speak with Gath. The trog agrees to answer to Gath and will follow the instructions we gave him about Drow rules. We also get commands in trodlodyte for come, follow, go, stop, attack, carry this, defend/protect (guard), and run as in flee.
The translator is of House Herig, which uses the color green. Lower members might wear a green sash or belt, and higher members a green gem.
We meet a new human, Xandor, who was hired by the village of Sea Breeze to collect Ezra and Timon to take them back to "answer for what they did" in their adventuring days. Xandor doesn't know what that is.
When Xandor got to the mountain he noticed tracks and round an entrance near there. WE brought him into our company, and asked him all sorts of questions.
We met a patrol of Drow and they have purple, which we leaned is House Thule. Peronelle tells us that one of them wanted to kill us, but our sponsorship papers saved us.
When we stopped in a side cave to rest, Braadlur showed one of the Githyanki Shadow Stepping, and the DVL (Dedicated Virtual Lifeform) in the yellow hat followed them and was hoping we were ready to sign up. We declined, but some asked to see the contract. [John will provide the exact text next week] The gist of it is that we sign on to fight Asmodeus and our patron will choose the manner of attack.
Yellow hat tells us that Asmodeus has the shard and is using it to attack the surface.
During his watch Rallion holds the feather of the chosen and concentrates on the shard, willing it, and only it to come to him. It has no effect.
After resting we make good time and Rallion notices signs that something large was dragged across the tunnel from one side passage to another. It looks like it was hot and deformed the noncarbon rails for the mine cart tracks. We were curious to see what it might be, and found it to be a strange black pudding. It had no ill effect from our weapons, but Kauri's magic missile and lots of oil did it in.
We plan to go up to the exit in the ceiling and see if there is any loot before continuing our journey to Vilgram.
After we made some trades gatherd healing and oil, we were able to secure a sponsor from House (Hasic?). making it easier for us to travel the underdark. we did encounter our first party of drow from a higher house, and our sponsorship seemed to work well. rallion talked to fisher. (i want that sceptor) and fisher found a place for us to rest. it has been a long journey so far. but the rest helped out.and hiering on the githyankee was a good move i think. i even showed (Renthark?) how to shadow step. and well it brought a surprise guest still trying to get us into a fiddle show down. but i think most of the guys are very hesitent in doing so. but we have that contract as well to look over..after the long rest we found something strange. a creature that melted nano carbon. apparently it can only be melted by dragon fire. either way we followed it to a hole in the cavern celling, and drew it out and burned it up. it seemed to be very dangerous so i think all these guy are doing the underdark some good. we also met another human down here,i dont know how he made it so far into the underdark with no light, but he is here and just blended with the group.he seeps trustworthy so far and Bonus! were looking for the same people. so we are off to that V town to get our selves in trouble. so untill then this is Braadlur signing out......X
Keeping House and How to Cook a Black Pudding
The entire party takes what they want from the Dwarven Merchants who don’t need their goods anymore. Peronell finally gets some decent armor. We leave the pile of dwarven goods we don’t need near Khargrim’s outfit and get our things together for traveling to Vilgram.
Ghermain’s courier brings back the original copy of the scroll we found on the Squidface. We pick his brain about the Houses and expected etiquette, hoping to not make fools of ourselves at best and keep from being killed at least. There is a Lattice of Laws that define things, but he left his copy back in his office. Essentially, things are hierarchical to the extreme. Complete deference and respect is expected by higher stationed Drow of any House. Lower stationed members of a House can be killed by higher ranking members of the same House. Disputes are adjudicated by the Council, a kind of Over-House who’s decision is final. A challenge to the opposing House or the House of a Council member may be accepted, though not a guarantee of success. Sounds like more likely a death sentence unless there’s good solid reason for such a challenge. Cross house conflict is complicated and usually deadly. Only Drow may advance in ranking as non-Drow aren’t recognized as worth spitting on. House Herig generally has a cordial relationship with Thule, although Thule has more an authoritarian expansionist philosophy, where Herig is more inclusive and equitable, relatively. Overall, Drow society is a dangerous, deadly place.
We locate a Drow of House Herig that speaks Troglodyte. Rallion communicates with Gath through him and we learn some basics of trog language to relay simple things to Gath more expediently. I take phonetic notes for future reference. The translator is wearing clothes accented with green. We ask of the significance and he relays that it’s the color of House Herig. A sash or cloth of green for lower ranks, a gem for an upper ranked member.
As we’re leaving the Trading Post toward the SE ancient dwarven tunnel to Vilgram, we run across a human entering the settlement. He’s a little intense and mentions he’s been commissioned to bring 2 people, Azra and Timon to the surface to answer for their past. He is from Seabreeze and his Baron sent him. He’s been tracking them since they left Greybeard, following them underground not far from the mountain. We chitchat a bit and he joins with us in hopes of fulfilling his task. When asked point blank if he was hired to kill them, the answer was, a weak, no. He says he’s good with a crossbow, not so much with a sword. He joins us. I'll be watching the newcomer for a while, I'm not entirely sure our goals with Azra and Timon are parallel after we find and liberate them.
About 11pm we make our way down the dwarven causeway for an hour or so and run across a 10 man Drow patrol with purple accented clothes. They’re decked out in armor, bristling with weapons and look pretty intimidating. Braadlur chats with them, flashes the papers and after some grumbling and fussing among the enlisted men, their lieutenant allows us to pass. Peronell was able to make out enough of what was said to let us know the subordinates were ready to kill us, papers or not. However their boss adhered to the validity of the papers and allowed us to pass unheeded. Thank goodness we didn’t try this on our own.
About a lantern into our trip we search for a defensible place to rest. Fisher goes out and scouts a place and we set up camp. After a solid 8 hours of rest without interruption, we get ready to head back out. I made a copy of the unerdark map and stick it in my scrollcase with my copy of Herig’s sponsorship. Rallion and Braadlur have the other two. Backup directions and a writ of passage. Can’t be too careful.
Braadlur is chatting up Renthark and suddenly he shadowsteps! What the heck man! Our friendly neighborhood yellow sombrero wearing creepy DVL (Dedicated Virtual Lifeform) shows up immediately after and again offers patronage of his benefactor. A rival of Asmodeus. He says we could probably deal with Asmodeus, or Lloth, but his benefactor would have the better deal for us. He says that Asmodeous has the shard and is moving on setting evil to the surface of this world. He leaves a copy of the contract and relates that although it’s not an all or nothing for the group, as individuals, we’re not worth as much. Considering our last encounter with such a contract, I’m thinking another is just begging trouble. Some of our group are tempted by such a deal. I’m going to do my best to talk ‘em out of it. At least postponing the decision until we get back on track and find out what makes this world so special that it’s got Asmodeous’ personal attention. Maybe something we’ve yet to learn that will change the balance. I mean, Lloth is here. Why? Chance? Probably.
We fill Xandor in on some things. That native humans of this world had some form of magic we were about to go rooting out until Vikram got captured, now the spiderbox. Oh and Timon and Azra too. Gotta see about getting them rescued as well. …we get distracted easily
We come to an area crossing the nanocarbon tracks that has disturbed the nanocarbon. That takes a lot to do. We follow the tracks, and soon find a deathly black amorphous organism that burns without fire anything it touches. We eventually kill it with magic and fire. It screamed? a high pitched, almost out of range of hearing, noise when we caused it damage. It seems that normal weapons don’t do a whole lot to it, and hitting it with them can cause them to disintegrate, Oskar lost his sword… The Githyanki’s weapons were unaffected. Braadlur’s sleep bolts caused a couple little blobs to fall off, incapacitated. Before I think of a way to save them for future use, they were destroyed. Probably for the best.
We’re about to head up where the black oozy thing was hanging out and see if there’s anything up there worth taking.