Gaming in Des Moines
Undermountain & Shar: Entry 1 (part 1)
Master Thesp approached me with a rather unusual request. Rather than having me seek out some arcane relic or a spellbook once thought lost, he’s tasked me with clearing out a nest of Shar worshippers. Had I not been on the verge of figuring out how to sustain a house between dimensions when I wasn’t present, I likely would have questioned him about it. But alas, I once again seemed to hold a conversation without realizing what I’d said until hours later.
I approached the usual group, and everyone quickly agreed to journey in to Undermountain. We had two obvious choices, one of which was to go through the Yawning Portal. Even though I rarely think about that incident from years ago, my weightless mask tends to feel quite heavy when I hear that name.
The group set out to the streets to dig up any information. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to as well, but I instead went to my room for a bit and checked to see if the beer I’d put in my miniature time rift had aged. Unfortunately, my theory on rapid alcohol aging seems to be working in the opposite direction. In retrospect, perhaps I should have found a way to speed up time in that pocket…
At some point, the group returned. None but our shady rogue were very successful (and judging my Kazel’s fresh wounds, I’m guessing he found trouble. Again.) Onyx, that rather curious blend of shadow and flesh, managed to turn up a rather curious bit of information. A long-forgotten entrance to Undermountain was said to be located near Mount Waterdeep. A secret entrance leading to a cult who worships a goddess of secrets seemed as likely a choice as any, so off we went.
With each new adventure, I’m realizing that I really should have my time lifting heavier books. I always insist on walking, yet my clumsiness always sees me mounting my floating disc (or ______, as the musically-inclined Niabi sees it). Once Kazel leapt over the floor (which I guess was a trap designed to catch people who aren’t clumsy in slime caves), I started doubting that my secret entrance-secret cult theory would hold up. I felt pretty bad when Mirimah caught a blast of lightning from the trap Onyx set off – however, she shrugged it off like the stoic war veteran she’s proven herself to be. I also like to think that those rare times when she’s been caught in my spells has gotten her used to a little jolt of lightning when she’s not expecting it.
What followed was pretty fascinating. A minotaur (a real one!) was hanging out in the passageway. If my disk didn’t insist on puddering along, I could have seen Mirimah and the fabled beast charge one another. I didn’t have much time to be disappointed, since a pair of hook horrors blasted through the walls and attacked the rest of us! The group seems to think most of my theories fail, yet whose idea was it to put the wizard in the back? “For you own safety” indeed, especially when I’m the only one who need to worry about the horror of those hooks!
I was very happy I’d prepared to summon my magma beast today, because I think it saved Niabi and me from some serious discomfort. On top of that, I’ll have to tell Master Thesp about teleporting one of them on top of a weak door hanging some serious pain. Considering he helped me master that very spell, I imagine he’d be happy to know it stopped sending my clothes to another plane.
I was surprised to see that the second horror was being nicely handled by Onyx. I had hoped to let him finish his job, but I apparently overestimated how healthy the ugly thing was, and a little slap from my magma beast put him to rest.
After the minotaur was finally slain, Kazel (who I’m thinking tries killing himself more than our enemies) wordlessly took another flying leap over the floor (because he walks, unlike that cool wizard). While he apparently cleared one trap, he discovered something quite fascinating. A deep pit ended not in a floor, but a sort of portal. A constant, one-way portal. Fascinating! It didn’t seem to function like the ritual that sends me back to Master Thesp’s portal room. Instead, it seemed to twist space ever so slightly, making it as though the bottom of that pit was physically attached to the very same pit where I’d sent that hook horror. I wish I could have further studied this (imagine, a constant link to a single location. Hazardous road travel would be a thing of the past!), but after rescuing the crazy tiefling from the pit, battle found us once again.
This time it was in the form of a rather interesting minotaur. Unlike the previous foe, this one was completely mechanical. But it wasn’t just a decoratively-shaped golem, it possessed the same qualities of a minotaur. I tried sending it to a pocket of space so that Mirimah, who was out of the fight as she hitched a ride with me across the pit, could protect our softer allies. Instead, it refused to be sequestered and kept on wildly swinging! Fortunately, he was quickly cut down and didn’t cause many serious injuries. And as my luck would have it, he was too damaged for me to figure out how one could infuse the essence of a creature into something purely mechanical. I’m adding this to my to-be-discovered list.
What followed this fight was a bit disheartening. Kazel insists that he’s changed, yet he seems to treat creatures with the same brutality I hear he used on dwarves. After he started a slaughter of some kobolds, he brought one back (not out of the goodness of his heart, I can assure you), and bribed him to lead us to the temple. With a little prestidigitation, he understood what we meant and was ready to show us, when suddenly Niabi shot Kazel that look she tends to give him. I suppose we should be thankful we have at least one sane, non-damaged person along for the ride (otherwise it’d be lonely if I were the only one).
After some twists and turns, and a meeting with the clan’s leader, and some magical purifying of Kazel’s booze (note to self: for the group’s sake, do that at every opportunity), we made it close to the temple. Onyx snuck ahead and found three driders hanging out around the corner. Fortunately, I had studied a guide to the Underdark, and knew that these were basically big spiders. And since I knew spiders don’t like fire, I quickly rehearsed one of my favorite spells and rounded the corner. In an attempt to give it some flair, I did an underhanded toss and sent a huge wall of fire down the hallway, catching the three of them in the inferno.
Although the group hardly struggled against the strange creatures, one managed to get away and warn the others. Although none of us knew what force it was bringing with it, we still stood together ( a few with singed cloaks) , ready to defeat whatever dared oppose us.