Session Twenty Summary (Graveyard of Empires: After the Fall)
Session 20, November 18 2020
We continue at 11:30AM on the 16th of Tenrilden with the party catching their breath after defeating a black pudding about halfway between the trade post and drow city of Vilgrim ...
We meet up Brendil in the lair of the black pudding and he joins us.
We walk and come to an area where the mine cart rails are broken up. It turns out to be a rust monster. Rallion tosses a couple of iron spikes so we can run.
We make it to Vilgram and present letter of introduction to Aguil Herig.
Aquil hires us to go learn about a conspiracy involving the upcoming ceremony for the high priestess.
The plan is to assassinate the high priestess as per Ilska, the western warband leader of the Dark King. We learned from the Pech, Seepa, that the dark king is now in a human body.
We are to take word back to Aquil and have him decide to go in with the conspiracy and perhaps move up the drow pecking order in Vilgrim.
There is a possibility that we can get in on the action and help or be backup.
Aquil's Abstract Goods Appraisal
Drow Plotting Death Daringly
The tunnel above the cavern holds only a wayward soul. Brendil. He’s invited to accompany us and we head on toward Vilgrim.
I wonder how long these new guys’ll take to figure out this group is a bunch of trouble. Who else can you hang around with that willingly goes into places ripe for a last trip to anywhere. I’m pretty sure we’re on our second foray into darkness, this being the opposite of the last rendezvous with insanity. Underground instead of above the world. Inky blackness both places. Who knows where we’ll be next….City of Brass comes to mind. Lloth’s webs. Or the end might come as mundanely as a drow blade across the throat. I keep these musings to myself, don’t want to scare the folks away… the more the merrier! At the very least a target rich environment for our opponents the next time things go sideways.
As we continue on to Vilgram, a strange creature is chewing on the rails. The Nanocarbon rails. Rallion thinks quickly and tosses a few snacks of iron spikes and we pass hurriedly by without direct confrontation.
We arrive at a similar challenge point to the one at the Malgrim-Vilgrim Trading Post. Proceed through as before answering the questions in the same manner. We learn that there’s to be a sacrifice from our Pech guide, Seepa. Pechs are one of the races of slaves here, Seepa is shorter than Braadlur, dressed in grey-white rags with giant eyeballs and a shock of white hair. We noted others of his race feeding the living in the lines of chained humans in various stages of death on the way in to Vilgram. They are what’s left of an army that the Rightous Halberd led down here to oppose the Drow. He’s one of the sacrifices tomorrow. As well as Azra and Timon. Big party Seepa says, Drow priestesses taking a soak in a bathtub of blood and snacking on the bloodless corpses afterward. The Pech are owned by all, any high ranking Drow may command him. Braadlur can’t.
Braadlur learns that the Guard is of House Tanielu, red color denotes them. They serve the Lord Marshall and are part of the War College. The Lord Marshall is partly a surface dweller. They say he’s a dwarf in human clothing, brain replacement maybe… I thought that was turned off now. I guess he found a way.
We pass into another room through double doors, the walls and ceiling adorned with arrow slits and murder holes. Past the double doors at the far end of this chamber opens into a massively enormous cavern suffused by a purple glow that Seepa says is created by a fungus. It’s a truly massive natural cavern, I can’t guess accurately the area we’re looking at, not measurable in feet, more like furlongs in length. The foreground has kind of a marked path going straight ahead. There are a large number, a few hundred, Drow in the fields ahead of us drilling in formation. Further in, there are giant mushroom farm fields, beyond that, a lake in the center of the cavern, with a river coming in from a waterfall on NW side and flowing out SE. Beyond the lake, a city of stalagmites/tites glowing with the purple algae/lichen. Various openings, landings and balconies surround the rock formations above and on the ground level. There is a very large column in the center of the city. Beyond that, there are more mushroom fields.. The workers in the mushroom fields are of various races mostly human and deep gnome slaves with Drow overseers. The mounds in the mushroom fields are the slave’s quarters, they go down into the mounds like ants.
Seepa leads us on through the outer fields and into the city taking us to Aquil Herig at House Herig’s are of the city. Along the way Braadlur chats with Seepa and we’re told again that the Lord Marshal is the Dark King from the Necropolis, the Shadow King. He’s in charge of the Military. The Drow are at war with about everyone. The Silence, other Drow, Those from Beyond, Shaitan. Thule is quite warlike, Herig not so much. The center city is divided into Houses. There’s also the Great Hall, the Temple and the Magisters. The Magisters are Drow males who’ve lost their magic. We learn the general layout of the city and who’s where, I make notes in my book as Braadlur relays what he learns from Seepa.
The sacrifice will happen about 3&1/2 lanterns from now. Lots of partying will be happening tonight, might be a good time to sell things if we have them as folk will be in a partying mood.
We get into the city proper about 5pm, Tenrilden 16. As we make our way through city the Drow eye us more suspiciously on this side of the bridge. There are multiple connections between the stalagmites and stalactites of spiderwebs, and many balconies and openings. Drow are moving along these avenues going about what looks to be generally business as usual in a city of this size. There are Drow ascending and descending without aid as well. Levitation. Neato.
Arriving at House Herig we are shown to rooms, plain and cramped with a prison-like door. Braadlur accepts the key and says that his slaves will stay in the same quarters as he. He requests an audience of Aquil Herig. The guards look quite surprised but do as he asks. We don’t wait too long and a richly dressed dark elf comes to us with a high collar covered in green gemstones and one set in his forehead. He looks a bit like Ghermain. He speaks in common with a commanding presence. He informs us that since his brother vouches for us, that he does need a bit of business conducted. We bargain and accept the task of going a chatting with someone about a game changing event that will happen at the sacrifice tomorrow. We’re to see what the offer is and come back to him with as much information as we can. 6500Gp fee, half now, half on delivery with a bonus if we get more juicy bits. We call him out on only giving us partial half payment and he appears pleased. The guards appear very surprised.
Seepa takes us to the meeting place, and along the way Braadlur continues to get information on the places in the city and areas that each House controls including their colors. We’re headed to the Arena where it looks to be gladiatorial style combat and he highly suggests that we do not agree to participate if asked. We set up midway up the arena’s observation stack and after a while, quite the female specimen strides into the room and once she spots us makes her way toward out group addressing Braadlur. She’s human wearing a golden mask concealing her visage, her armor is well used. It looks to be of ancient dwarven make. She introduces herself as Illska, Western War Leader to the Dark King and is bringing an offer to House Herig. We’re to follow her to discuss the matter in a more private environment. She takes us up the spire, richer, more ranked members of the Drow houses are more prevalent as we ascend and we get to a private viewing area. One of our new fellows takes Seepa out into the hallway as the rest of us array ourselves non-nonchalantly about the room as Illska relays the request. Assassination of Jerlanna during the celebration. The assassination has been arranged, the Dark King is asking the Houses to support his coup. The Dark King has learned that the doomsday weapon is to be turned over to Lloth to be used in the war against Asmodeus. He wants to use it for more temporally significant gains. Specifically the Silence and the rest of the Underdark. If Herig supports this, there’ll be opportunity for advancement in Vilgram. There’ll be a shakeup in the Heirarchy once the assassination is successful. There are Houses not supporting the coup, and some that are. She’s tight lipped about any of that, but does remove her mask to show her face, a native islander. She says to come to the War College and ask for her if Herig is in. She says that she can use us in a backup plan if Herig so chooses. She mentions Jerlanna wears a ring binding an outsider and that (Aubry ????, Azra and Timon) are the sacrifices.
I wonder if I can get a lead lined pouch or box for the ring if I can lift it. Not sure how we’re going to get away with the others though. I’m sure something’ll come up. Plus there’s the Spiderbox. This feels like a house of cards about to come tumbling down…. I wonder where the Jokers are in the deck...