View Full Version : Journal Out of the Abyss Campaign Log

2015-11-29, 12:53 AM
I said I'd write up the log when I started this game, so here we go.

Obligatory spoiler warning for all events in Out of the Abyss.

Ideal Iados: Cleric of Life 3. A male tiefling with ruddy brown skin, black eyes and black ponytail. His horns are short and his tail is thin, but this man is always grinning. It seems like he's always in on a joke that no one's told yet. He's a priest of Llira, the goddess of joy, but those others in his order can't ever seem to see past his heritage.

Jakrotaj: Paladin of Vengeance 3. Another male tiefling with bright, red skin and a commanding presence. His hair hangs loose about his shoulders and he has a full, black beard. As an officer in the Order of the Gauntlet, he's made a name for himself. Most of the men and women he works with call him Red Jak and he holds the moniker with pride.

Xanaphia Chi: Moon Druid 3. An elven woman with pale skin, silver-white hair, and green eyes. She's quite a bit taller than most other elves and thicker of frame. Her reserved nature has served her well as the keeper of an ancient ruin in a long abandoned forest. Her druidic abilities have kept her from succumbing to the loneliness that befalls many other hermits.

Asheem Kahliel: Eldritch Knight 3. A small Calimshan man with hazel toned skin and short, dark hair. His mannerisms seem to adapt to whichever situation he finds himself in, which has served him well in his years as a Cultist of Orcus. But now, with his brothers wiped out to nearly a man, he's been putting his skills and abilities to the test trying to put his past behind him.

Flint Ironfist: Battlemaster 3. A sturdy dwarven man seemingly carved from the stone itself. Brown skin, brown eyes, closely cropped brown hair, and a braided brown beard. A lifetime of fighting and moving and fighting again, this Gauntlgrym soldier knows more tricks with the maul than many know at all.

This first session was mostly character creation and introductions. We only got so far before calling it a night.

Session 1

The caravan was moving northward for many weeks and the journey was only made easier by the inclusion of the tiefling cleric. Ideal Iados had left the Temple of Llira in Waterdeep against his wishes, but doing anything to countermand the decision would have proved the decision needed. Seeing the conundrum, he decided to turn his sights to the savage frontier in the north and spread the teachings of the goddess of joy, or even just put smiles on the faces of others.

It was during a routine night that he was woken by the screams. He stood up immediately, mace in one hand, shield in the other. And then a bolt pierced his side. He tore it out, healing the wound and looked about in confusion. Then another bolt hit him from the other side. He called out, but no one answered. His comrades were no where to be seen, and the attackers had yet to show themselves. Then a third bolt thudded home in his hip and the poison began it's work. Just as he was passing out, a dark figure emerged from around the wagon and punched Ideal with the pommel of his sword, muttering an exasperated curse in elven, "What's this one even made of?"

Rain thrummed down from the dark sky over the leaking roof of the abandoned roadhouse. Red Jak sat by the window watching the lightning play in the distance. It had been a night much like this one that set him on his path of vengeance. The screams and cries of that night haunted him still, bringing forth the first tendrils of righteous fury. But he calmed himself and got ready to sleep for the night. Just as his chainmail was set aside he heard the smashing of glass from upstairs. Something had wrecked one of the few remaining windows in the building. He took up his sword and shield and a preternatural instinct had him turn and cut down a silent attacker. The black, elven features clued him in to who his attackers were, but he had only a half a second before the next came in from behind. Then another. And another. The paladin was overwhelmed quickly and the poison brought him down without any more drow casualties.

He awoke intermittently on the trail to... wherever he was being taken too. He might have been sold at some point, but he never got too much of a feel for his captors. At one point he chose to punish one that laid a hand on him with a hellish rebuke. The drow took the flames in shock, but the surrounding quaggoths soon beat Red Jak to within an inch of his life. He didn't try the fire trick again.

An incredibly wrathful storm was blowing over the section of forest that housed Xanaphia Chi, but she was well prepared. She had foreseen it the day previous and had stockpiled what supplies she would need in her shelter. An unusual snapping of a branch triggered her own reflexes and she leapt nearly 20 feet straight up into the higher branches of a tree. Down below, the place she had been hunkered down was a sphere of blackness and she watched as three forms charged out of the surrounding brush with their swords slashing wildly at where they thought she was. Unsure of how to handle threatening humanoids, she created the smell of a skunk in the vicinity in an effort to drive them away. It didn't work. They looked around, spotted her, and each began firing small bolts at her. The poison took hold quickly and Xanaphia fell from her vantage point to the mud below.

When she awoke, the drow seemed to be arguing fiercely. One was berating the other for bringing the druid back from death, while the priestess merely watched. The loud one lost the argument as he was disemboweled there on the spot. Xanaphia managed to discern that the Matron Mothers would pay an incredibly high price for such a slave as her. Then they knocked her out again.

The wiry man had been watching them for a few days now. The Order of the Gauntlet's headquarters in Waterdeep was a very well fortified tavern. Asheem had learned through whispers and bribes that these were the men responsible for cutting down the sect of his brothers here in the city. The Waterdhavian Branch of his organization was no where to be found, and his own group in Baldur's Gate was brought down all around him. He was still conflicted as to how he felt about all this, half angry at the loss of his comrades, half relieved that he was free to be his own man once again. As he watched from the rooftop across the street he heard a few quick steps on the tiles behind him. With half a thought his cutlass was in his hand and he swung it around, cutting the drow down with a single swing. Two more appeared from behind cover not 20 feet away. In a moment of pure adrenaline, Asheem ran forward and leapt the side street below, crashing down on the shingles of another rooftop. He made it maybe six feet before he was stuck through with a long, curved sword, the force of the blow knocking him flat on his back. He got a glimpse of the drow's smile before he was shot with the poison bolt and it all faded out.

He was awoken only to eat with the other slaves as they made the long march deep underground. Humans of varying ages and builds circled the small cook fire for their meager rations. One of these many meals, Asheem slipped his manacles and bolted. No thought to where he'd go, or what supplies he'd need, he ran blindly up the tunnel. Three bolts and the combined poison brought him down with a crash. From then on, he was kept away from the others and fed only half rations.

Flint Ironfist was not one of the Emerald Enclave's scouts, but he was a dear friend to their leader in Gauntlgrym: Morista Malkin. On a personal favor, he was accompanying a new troupe in the depths below the dwarven stronghold when they were ambushed. He fought well, slaying a pair of the dark elves, but they had the numbers and the training and soon he was the sole survivor. They had him disarmed, wounded, and bound and then they began questioning him. One of their number spoke enough common to get across their desire for information. His reply was short and terse. They threatened him, and he responded in kind. They knew their poisons would take quite a while to work through his natural resistances, so they opted to beat him into unconsciousness instead. They could use a slave that knew a thing or two about stonework.

Red Jak was the first to arrive at the outpost. His captors had picked him and his gear up during one of the many times he was in a poison slumber. Perhaps they raided his original captors, or perhaps they traded. He didn't know. They brought him up with the lift and he got a glance around the outpost before they threw him in the slave pen with the rest. Around the edges of the room were a collection of slaves of wildly different forms.

From their midst an orc stepped forward and boasted loudly, "Hey, New-Meat, I'm the boss here. You'll be doin' as I say, 'right?"
"Seems to me like they're the bosses, actually," Red Jak responded, gesturing to the drow through the bars of the door.
"I mean, yeah, but I'm the boss in this cave! You better not forget it!"
"We'll see."

The next day, three new slaves were brought into the pen: another tiefling, a human, and an elf. As they entered, the orc tried his bullying routine again, but when he got to the elf, he got flustered and started panicking. He began babbling about how there was no way the drow would let a real elf live this long, that she must be a monster or something. No one seemed to make much sense of it, but then he started swinging. In an instant both of the tieflings were on him and he was dropped to the ground in short order. Xanaphia muttered her thanks and sidestepped the whole situation. Asheem stepped back and began searching the ground for any usefully shaped rocks. He made little progress in the dark.

On the other hand, Xanaphia met with a small mushroom-like creature they became fast friends. Stool hit her with his telepathic spores and soon started telling her about his home and how he wants to go there so badly. She didn't promise him anything, but she was careful to be very nice to him and said she'd try to get him home. He rarely left her side after that.

Over the next week, chores were suspended as many of the drow were out raiding and they couldn't be bothered to supervise the slaves without direct orders from the high priestess. Ideal Iados made friends with Jimjar and over a series of bets found himself in possession of a 5 ft length of silk rope. Asheem had his eyes peeled at all times and perhaps it was only through his diligence in his vigilance that he spotted a single gold coin that no one else had seen. The orc had jumped Red Jak about five days into the week, bringing a rusted iron bar to the fight that he had been hiding all this time. It was a quick and brutal fight, but Red Jak emerged the victor with the bar in hand. He hid it before any of the drow noticed. The night after that, he beat the orc down again, leaving him very badly hurt. On the sly, Ideal Iados tried to heal the orc but found his divine magic to be unresponsive. Xanaphia had indicated to Stool that she didn't feel entirely safe here in the pen with all the big brutes around and so he showed here a secret hole in the wall where there was a flint dagger that he had hidden away. For a stumpy little thing, he was somewhat good at not revealing his secrets.

At the end of the week, the drow raiding party had returned with a captive: a Gauntlgrym dwarf. Flint Ironfist was brought into the slave pen and once the drow had walked off, the only other dwarf in the room was on him with hope in her eyes, "You! You're from Gauntlgrym, yeah? Do you know the way home?!"
"Yes," Flint responded.
"Then there's hope... for the first time in I don't know how long... there's hope... for escape!" she said. "Do you have a plan? A way to go?"
"Oh yeah, that's actually the easy part. We just need to go up."

And that's that for this week. As always, reply with comments or questions and I'll answer them.


2015-12-11, 11:24 PM
Got Sessions 2 and 3 here. Had to stop halfway through combat so I waited till now to post.

With their new arrival restoring hope, the slaves turn in for the night and rest. The next morning, if it really is morning, the group is woken up by a drow banging on the cell door. They're split into work groups and the first shift is Red Jak and Ront manning the lift while Flint, Asheem, and Jimjar are in the kitchen brewing a large pot of stew. Each of the groups has at least one of the drow watching them the entire time, and the kitchen crew has a parade of faces coming in and out as their captors take their meals. In the slave pen, Xanaphia busies herself by scouring the walls for secret hiding holes or other such mysteries. Ideal Iados makes an honest attempt to get to know a smattering of the other slaves, eventually trading sailing stories with Shuushar, the strangely calm kuo toa, via a translator.

While he's under minimal watch, Jakrotaj tests the bounds of his restraints and snaps the chain. The drow watching over him pulls out his sword and hand crossbow, but orders Ront to dole out the punishment. With a menacing stare, Red Jak makes the orc cower before him and Ront denies the order. The drow orders one of the quaggoths to beat them both into submission, but the tiefling turns that baleful gaze to the large creature and it, too, cowers. Seeing his situation darken, the drow knocks on the door to the stalactite tower closest to him, drawing out a much fiercer drow with burn scars on his face and neck. He says something in elvish, but neither of the slaves know that language, so he sends the original guard off to fetch another manacle as he watches over the surface dwellers.

After finishing up rather early thanks to Flint's undisclosed talent in the kitchen, he was rewarded with having to wash the dishes as the others were taken out for some other chore. With constant supervision and a lack of practice with deft subtleties, Flint chooses to not steal anything while and instead works in stoic silence. Asheem, however, had stolen a loaf of bluish bread while they were cooking and as he and Jimjar were being led away he slipped his chains. But one of the other drow on the platform noticed and approached to stop them. In the blink of an eye a large cutlass was in Asheem's hand and he cut the intruder down with a swing. The drow was still alive, but just barely. And now, every other guard and quaggoth on the platform were turning towards the human with hand crossbow bolts leading the charge. He dodged two, but the others brought him down in seconds. And then he was at the bottom of a pile of writhing fury as the guards continued to beat him down.

It was over in less than half a minute and none of the other slaves seemed to have the chance to assist the human. In the confusion, Jimjar had disappeared as more drow poured out of their barracks' across the platform. By the time a quaggoth had tossed the pulverized remains to the webs below, the deep gnome returned to resume his chores. And with that, the others returned to their duties, somewhat surprised at the large blade the little man had pulled out of the ether, but also discouraged to see one of their own killed so simply.

The shifts change after about eight hours of tedious labor or boredom. The remaining four are brought back to the slave pen and five more are taken for their turn. Ideal Iados and Stool are put on chamber pot duty while Xanaphia, Shuushar, and Derendil are tasked with refilling the water barrels from around the outpost. While their companions are set to work, Red Jak goes about snapping his new manacles and beseeching Flint to reshape them. Somewhat skeptical, the dwarf does as asked when the tiefling says he wants to make them into a new holy symbol. With some encouragement, Red Jak convinces the rest of the slaves to start singing and making enough noise to hide the sounds of the cold smithing. This goes well for a bit, but eventually the drow start making a game on shooting the loudest ones into silence. This puts a wrench into that plan, but Jakrotaj starts working on his next scheme.

Meanwhile, Xanaphia makes a grab for a cooking knife as she's hoisting a large barrel of dirty water out of the kitchen area of the main hall. Her drow supervisor catches her first attempt and is about to reprimand her when Derendil speaks up, mocking her clumsiness. The drow, apparently harboring resentment against the large creature, slaps him with the flat of his blade, subsequently turning his back on Xanaphia for a moment. This time she sneaks the knife into her water barrel. As they go to the waterfall to pour the waste water out, she's able to successfully hide the blade under her clothes. She counts the attempt lucky and continues to work without making any more attempts.

Ideal Iados and Stool have the joyous duty of cleaning the chamber pots. Stool, having no arms, needs to have one balanced on his head while Ideal carries two. During the entire shift he chats amicably with his own drow supervisor, a young man named Imbros. He learns a few things about the outpost, such as the function of most of the rooms he goes through, and the reasons he doesn't go to some other rooms. He also finds out about the attempted escape earlier and he offers to heal the wounded man. Imbros is hesistant, but says that he'll keep it in mind. While in the vicinity, every time Xanaphia sees stool she shoots him a wink. In return, he blinks confusedly. Ideal gets an inside look both the Elite Barracks, seeing the lounging drow as the menacing fighters that they are. One is even reading the tiefling's prayer book, occasionally laughing. Ideal thinks it's a good sign until he recognizes some pages in the chamber pot he's picking up.

On his way back to the Northern ledge, Stool is winked at again by Xanaphia. He tilts his head in confusion, spilling the chamber pot that was balanced there. Without hesitation, Imbros punts the little myconid and he starts rolling towards the waterfall, right by Xanaphia. She reacts quickly and sets her barrel down in the little guy's way, which knocks it from her grip and down into the pool far, far below. Imbros is laughing up a storm by this point, and Ideal chooses not to act just yet. Xanaphia's drow, whom she had learned was named Honnemeth, tells her to fetch her barrel. She makes to go to the lift, but he stops her and directs her to the waterfall. She glances down, hesitates for a moment, turns back to find Honnemeth right there as he pushes her off the ledge. She falls a long way down and lands harmlessly in the pool down below. It takes her a moment but she soon has the barrel back on the shore. As she does so, something burns her ankle badly. She leaps out of the water, screaming, and rolls the barrel over to the lift as it lowers to the ground.

Soon Xanaphia's back to work, Stool's tossed into the slave pen, and Ideal is healing the wounded drow back to health. They each finish the shifts and when they get back to the cell they're each handed a bowl of very cold stew. Once the third group is tasked away for work, Red Jak gets a meeting of minds together. They each discuss what they know and a rough plan is worked out. Jak will prove a distraction when they come for him next and everyone can make a break for it. The goal being to rush to the ledge, leap to the pool below, and flee to the west where Shuushar says that they can find the Darklake and his town of Sloobludop. As they work out the specifics of their plan, they decide which of the currently working slaves to include: Topsy, Turvy, Buppido, and Eldeth. They choose to leave Sarith to his own devices as no one trusted the drow. A plan ready, the remaining slaves turn in for the night, getting what rest they can.

Xanaphia wakes the others when the slaves return, having meditated for most of the night. Ideal gathers the workers around and although he tries to stop him, Sarith joins just in time to get in on Stool's Rapport spores. The melding of minds quickly briefs the new arrivals on the plan and although no one trusts him, Sarith is promised that no one will stop him from escaping as long as he promises the same. What weapons are to be had are passed around and everyone gets into position by the cell door, trying to look casual. Soon two drow and two quaggoths enter to collect a work crew. Red Jak stands up, draws his pipe and reveals that his shackles are missing. While he has their attention the drow fail to notice that everyone else is currently failing to break or slip from their own shackles. They see the one slave being uppity and choose to step into combat to teach him a lesson.

As deft of a fighter as he is, Red Jak holds them off for a few seconds as someone snatches a key off the drow and passes it around. One by one, the slaves are unlocked and soon they're all bailing out of the cell quickly and as quietly as they can. Ront steps up to fight the quaggoths and is dropped almost immediately. Prince Derendil and Buppido hang back to keep the pressure on the drow as Red Jak makes his escape. He drags Ront with him and once clear of the cell, he heals his orc ally up to fighting capable. Ideal realizes that he has a split second where the enemies are focused on the two slaves in the cell and so he locks the six combatants in. The ensuing rush of rage from his allies nearly engulfs his psyche, but he doesn't unlock the cell.

Once free of the cell, Xanaphia had shifted into a giant spider and scurried across the bridge to the guardhouse. As she entered, she webbed down the largest of the drow in the room. The other two hesitated as a lifetime of revering spiders overruled their combat instincts. Topsy, Turvy, and Sarith followed their plan and disappeared to the north, climbing along the outside of the platform's railing to remain unseen. Shuushar had explained his pacifist ways earlier, so in order to help his allies he carried Stool as the small myconid couldn't really walk fast. Jimjar, Eldeth, Ront, and Ideal followed Red Jak on the bridge to the guardhouse, crouching to stay hidden on the swaying, unstable walkway. The quaggoths in the cell try to knock the door open, but fail to get the iron bars open. The drow shout for reinforcements but their cries are cut short as Derendil and Buppido killed them outright.

Hearing her allies approach, Xanaphia scurries forward and kills one of the smaller drow with a venomous bite and continues across the room to block the opposite doorway. Red Jak charges in and misses in his onslaught against the drow that is currently able to move freely. The larger drow breaks free of his webbing, admonishes the remaining guard for cowardice and steps over to fight with Xanaphia. The other drow swings at Red Jak but he's suddenly swarmed by the other three slaves, ending with Ronts elbow crushing the drow's forehead. Flint and Ideal entered the guardhouse after, the dwarf picking up a dead drow's short sword and joining in the fight as the tiefling clambered up the rope ladder that he had noticed while working. By this point, no one has eyes on the fight in the slave pen.

Xanaphia holds her ground in the doorway and her allies swarm over the large drow as he continues to attack her. Flint's even able to trip him, putting his end in sight. Ideal finds the armory above the guardhouse, holding extra armor, weapons, and several sets of personal gear, and quickly grabs his holy shield and mace and jumps down to assist in the fight. In a last, desperate rush the drow slips between Xanaphia's legs and screams for help as he makes it about halfway down the bridge to the rest of the outpost. Surprising most everyone, Jimjar sprints forward on the rickety bridge and with a leap he forces his stolen shortsword int the back of the drow, striking him down. The others quickly gather his body and retreat back into the guardhouse, each breathing a sigh of relief.

As everyone else decides to loot the armory and get geared up, Flint and Xanaphia rush back to the slave pen to help their allies. As they arrive, they witness Derendil tear the head off one of the remaining quaggoths and then get struck down by the last. They open the cell and rush in, Xanaphia reverting to her elven form in the anti-magic cell. Flint's able to trip up the quaggoth and Xanaphia drags Prince Derendil free of the cell, stabilizing him. Pulling a move better performed with a maul, Flint knocks the quaggoth back several feet and escapes the cell, locking it up again. Together, they drag Derendil back to the guardhouse where they only have to wait a few seconds for Red Jak to put on his armor and heal their ally to wakefulness. But, as Prince Derendil's eyes open, they hear the crash from the slave pen that and rush over.

Red Jak gets there first, and with a javelin and a spell he pierces the side of the now enraged quaggoth. Flint also acts quickly and cuts the spider silk bridge from the guardhouse side, separating them from their foe. Seeing his prey out of reach, the quaggoth goes north to get reinforcements. He dodges a few crossbow bolts from those in the guardhouse as own allies respond to his cries. As he's pointing back at the guardhouse, one of Red Jak's bolts hits him square in the eye, killing him outright. And in return the drow throw up a circle of darkness around that entrance of the stalactite. Line of sight cut, Jak sets up a bag of caltrops and lantern oil and waits. Ideal watches the other entrance in similar tension as Xanaphia and Flint get changed upstairs.

After a few moments, Ideal spots the drow and quaggoths scaling the wall of the cavern itself. Thinking quickly, he summons a spiritual weapon and cuts one of the drow down, dropping him to the webs below, out of sight. He tries to get the second one, but instead cuts into the rock itself. Before he can line up a third strike, the drow leaps to the bridge and makes it. A quaggoth mimics his success and the second quaggoth fails, the bridge swaying just out of his reach. The drow runs down and up towards the Priestesses Tower, but Ideal's summoned sword slices through the bridge, dropping that drow to the webs as well. By this point, Red Jak set his oil spill on fire and joined the other tiefling by their bridge. Jakrotaj stepped forward and got himself into a harrowing duel with the quaggoth on the swaying bridge. Jimjar provides fire support in the form of a hand crossbow bolt here and there.

Soon the quaggoth's enraged and Red Jak has taken a few bad hits. With an underhanded swing, the beast gouges through the tiefling's chainmail and nearly kills him outright. Jimjar recreates previous success with a well aimed bolt killing the quaggoth on the same spot he'd slain the drow earlier. They pulled Red Jak into the guardhouse and soon Xanaphia and Flint were geared up and ready to go. She had created a handful of magical berries and they were passed around. Someone helped Jakrotaj eat his, careful that he not choke on it. Full, armed, and armored, the remaining ten slaves were ready to move again.

With a short discussion they realized that they were down a few members and unlikely to be able to keep on fighting. Now was the time to make good their escape. One by one they crept down the bridge and dropped into the waterfall, landing safely in the pool below. Some had trouble managing the swim with armor and exhaustion, but through teamwork they were soon on the edge of the pond, regrouped. They had heard about the grey ooze in the pond, but nothing seemed to have attacked any of them. They crept as long as they could, but halfway to the western exit of the cavern they heard the sounds of an alarm far above them. They ran in the darkness, at a full sprint, to what they hoped was freedom. None of them looked back, else they might have noticed the orange flickers of flame dancing along the lines of webbing beneath the outpost.

Wow... that was exciting. I'm so impressed with my players that I didn't need to use any of the suggestions in the book for making the escape easier. They left a lot of the drow alive, and none of them discovered Jorlan's history or the current mood around camp, so there's still room for that to crop up should they get caught again.

Some of you readers will be wondering what Asheem's player did: he quit after the first session. D&D just wasn't the game for him and although I loved his character concept, I didn't want to saddle the remaining players with a DMPC when they already have so many NPC's to track.

And, some of you more astute readers will notice that no one mentioned Buppido when the PCs went back to save Derendil: That's because he escaped in the fighting and chose to go the way of the twins.

As always, feel free to voice your comments, questions, and piercing remarks.

EDIT: We did not have a session last night because half of the players couldn't make it. This also culminated in the end of my season, so we'll be going back to the Altonshire game after the holidays wrap up. Maybe 4-5 weeks of that, then we'll be back. Stay tuned.