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5E [IC] Uller's Out of the Abyss

Uller

Explorer
Humiliated. Demoralized. Dominated. Beaten and shackled and dumped in this fetid pit, separated from your home and family and deposited deep under the earth in a drow slave pen. A fate worse than death that you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy (well...except maybe that one guy)...

The cold metal shackles and collar remind you that you are not going anywhere anytime soon. You are not alone. At least a score of other prisoners are here with you in this cave outpost your captors call Velkenvelve.

A cruel priestess who the other drow call Mistress Ilvara of House Mizzrym is the apparent leader. Over the past several days you've met her several times, robed in silken garments and flanked by two male dark elves, one of whom has a mass of scars along one side of his face and neck.

Mistress Ilvara likes to impress her will with scourge in hand to remind you that your life now belongs to her. "Accept your fate, learn to obey, and you may survive." Her words echo in your memory, even as you plot your escape.

OOC:
We will be introducing PCs to the slave pen in small groups. As we do, rather than me narrating the minutiae of what is going on around you, I will give you the basic rhythm of life and some details of some of the NPCs around you. Then you will each be given an opportunity to say what it is you do. You will have to answer the following questions:

1) What do you want to accomplish over the course of the next few days and how do you think you will go about it?
2) Describe some trouble you start, witness or prevent
3) Describe something memorable you attempt to do.

Then (after asking you to make any relevant checks) I'll narrate what happens, reveal information you discover about your surroundings and introduce what NPCs you interact with.

An example:

1) I am going to begin acquiring whatever tools I can that might be of use in escaping.
2) I witness two fellow prisoners smuggling extra food to try to nurse a sick companion to health and I distract the guards to help them.
3) I make one of the guards laugh at a joke.

So, as we get started, think about what it is you might do or how you might help your fellow prisoners in what they are attempting to accomplish. Start small...as you become more familiar with your surroundings, your opportunities will grow...

 
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DMAesh

Villager
OOC: Ezraen (AC 13, hp 11, Saves Str +1, Dex +3, Con +1, Int +0, Wis +2, Cha +5)

1) Ezraen spends his time trying to converse with the other prisoners. He tries Common first, then Elvish, then Dwarvish to see who understands him.
2) If he gets the opportunity, Ezraen attempts to palm small items that may help work as makeshift thieves' tools, or weapons. [roll0]
3) Every night, without fail, Ezraen says a prayer to Lathander.
 

Uller

Explorer
OOC: Don't post your actions yet. Each player's initial roles are going to be used to determine what order you arrive to Velkenvelve...early arrivers will have an opportunity to help, interact with later arrivals. Just do your d6 and d20 rolls.

But this is a good example of what your response should look like once we are ready
 

Uller

Explorer
OOC: @itcomeswithamap, you're up...


The first thing Surana is aware of is the pain. A dull thumping in her head. A burning throb in her cheek, likely broken. Shackles cutting into her wrists and ankles, forcing her into an uncomfortable position on the cold, wet floor. The next thing she becomes aware of is the smell...like an open sewer. In the open spaces of her homeland, such foulness is uncommon so it hits her like a club. Then she remembers...her moment of triumph, her plans for the future stolen by wicked and honor-less elves that ambushed her in her sleep. She never even had a chance to put up a fight. Once they got a hold of her...there were just too many of them...and then sleep took hold and the world faded as they laughed and mocked her in their alien tongue. The world is a terrible, hopeless place...maybe leaving it would just be better...

But now...as she begins to awaken in this new place...there is a flash of light in her mind, like something entering it...

"It wakes?" comes a voice...completely in her head. That startles her into full wakefulness. She looks around. She is in a dark cave. Dim purplish/bluish light enters through an iron gate casting strange shadows. She can't see the source of the light. She sees two dark elf guards just outside the gate talking for a moment and then they depart onto a walkway over a shadowy chasm and then disappear out of her sight.

Inside the cave she can see many forms...perhaps 10 or more other creatures. Some are of races familiar to her. Several are not but it's hard to make out details in this light and her senses have not fully returned. Everyone is huddled on the floor, some sleeping, some sitting. A few are talking in low voices she can't understand. Most are silent. Next to her is what appears to be a lump of stone, shaped like a seat or a stool of some sort.

"I stool?" the voice comes again. Surana is startled. "I stool? That my name? I stool!" the lump of rock begins rocking back and forth and coming toward her a bit...at that point she realizes it is a creature of some sort and it is talking to her in her head!

"Ēl sīla lūmena vomentienguo" comes another voice from behind her. This time NOT in her head. Surana becomes aware of a hulking form next to her. It sits against the wall and is shackled in the same way she is, only with much larger and thicker shackles. In the dim light it is hard to tell but it looks almost like a combination of a great cat and a creature she has only heard of in tales of distant lands...a bestial human-like creature that is called an 'ape'. The creature is clearly speaking to her but in a language she can't understand...or can she? As she focuses on it, the "I stool! I stool!" voice changes from an almost childlike babbling to an eloquent dialogue (but still in the same "voice" which is not Surana's).

"I see the little fungus has taken a liking to you. It came with you and has been pretty quiet ever since. Too fearful to talk to anyone else, I think." He reaches out and pats 'Stool' gently and seems to smile. The voice pauses when the beast stops speaking. An apologetic expression crosses it's feline like face.

"I do apologize. I'm being rude. I am Derendil. Prince Derendil of Nierindenvane (he says this expecting you to recognize it). In High Forest?" (Nope, you've never heard of it) "No matter...I'm afraid my frightful appearance is startling. But fear not! I am friendly. At least I think I am..."

Derendil goes on to explain that 'Stool' is a young intelligent fungus called a myconid. It 'speaks' telepathically and is able to translate what others say but only those it likes...and it appears to very much like you! Derendil also speaks common (with a heavy and strange accent) and switches between that and his 'native' tongue as he speaks to you.

He explains (and Stool confirms) that you were brought into the slave pen a few hours ago with some others from the surface. The drow seem to be conducting raids on surface settlements near here (relatively speaking) and bringing captives to this place (Velkenvelve, they call it). It seems to be a sort of staging area and everyone here is awaiting to be transported elsewhere to be sold as slaves or sacrifices to their "spider god". Stool was brought with you. He (it?) says it got seperated from it's "fungi pod" (it doesn't have the right concept for a parent) after some great hook armed beasts attacked (it fills your head not with words, but horrible images and emotions of great fear and sadness). It has been wondering alone ever since. When the drow raiders stopped to rest after capturing you, the ones dragging you leaned you against it and it got frightened and tried to 'run' so they grabbed it. Derendil explains that myconids are valuable for use in various spells and rituals because of their telepathic nature...Stool's future is likely as an ingredient in a potion or component in some vile ritual...(Stool shudders. "Home! Want to find home!" it says...)

Derendil tells you that his brother, who wanted his crown, hired an evil wizard named Terrestor and that wizard cursed Derendil and changed him into this beastial form. He was driven from his home. He wandered into a cave and was quickly captured and brought here. The drow say he is a 'quaggoth' and treat him as a lowly slave. They have lots of quaggoth's in the outpost to work as servants and guards but since he has trouble 'behaving in a civilized manner' they shackled him and threw him in here where he can be better controlled, "Plus the other quaggoths don't like him very much, I think," he says.

"But soon I will be one of them. I'm losing myself...the beast is taking over and soon Derendil will be gone" he says and begins to sob...(such a huge strong beast blubbering is a pathetic sight). Stool moves over and leans on him "Don't cry. Sad." comes into your head.

OOC:
There will always be about a half dozen to a score of npc captives/slaves about. Several are NPCs detailed in the adventure, but others are just extras wondering about in the background. If we have a need I'll use them or if we need a new PC it will come from that. The important NPCs will roll into frame as they become important (and other PCs will get to introduce them)...for now just consider there to be a mix of lowly, demoralized folk of varying races in the slave pen with you. Some from the surface, many not. All the NPCs coming into frame at this point are just chosen randomly, which I must say...for me as a DM is infinitely fascinating. I have no idea which characters each of you will get to know! Stool and Derendil were just chosen randomly.


Surana is left alone with her thoughts. Several hours pass. She observes guards being changed out and a meal is brought...a thin tasteless and cold mushroom broth with chunks of some mystery substance. It is barely satisfying and doesn't seem at all nourishing. Occasionally prisoners are taken from the pen and put to work doing menial and degrading tasks, or sometimes just to beaten for apparently no reason at all.

Eventually it is Surana's turn along with a handful of other poor creatures. "And bring that thing with you!" the guard orders pointing to Stool. She and Stool and a the others are walked across the catwalk and into the central guard "tower" This is a gigantic hollowed out stalactite. The slave pen is a cave in middle of an enormous cavern wall. There is a ledge that goes off to the right that ends at another gated cave where the quaggoth 'servants' are kept. The catwalk to the guard post stalactite crosses over an enormous and thick spider web. In the gloom below Surana makes out the forms of several spiders the size of a human and some smaller ones. Lots and lots of spiders...beyond the web, in the dim light of the cavern, she can see nothing.

Surana and the others are quickly ushered through the guard room and through a door to the left (don't worry...I'll post a player map later) and across another catwalk. More giant hollowed out stalactites with doors in them (or 'hanging towers') can be seen, as well as a waterfall coming out of the cavern wall and falling past the webs to what must be a pool a hundred or more feet below (judging from the noise). This second catwalk comes to a much larger ledge that connects two other hanging towers and a number of gated caves.

There, waiting for the slaves and their soldier escorts is a young looking drow female, dressed in fine silken robes over a barely concealed svelte elven body. Next to her is the scarred drow warrior that was with Mistress Ilvara when you first arrived. There are three other drow warriors beside them.

"I am Asha of House Vandree, second to Mistress Ilvara of Mizzrym. This is Jorlan Duskryn, the lieutenant to Captain Shoor Vandree." Her words are biting...but not directed toward you. They are clearly directed toward Jorlan and he does little to hide his contempt and some obvious emotional pain. Asha smirks cruelly.

"It is our task to train you today to be obediant slaves. Listen well and you will be rewarded." All the drow laugh at this obvious lie.

The next several hours are a blur of pain and humiliation. Trying to obey results in beatings. Trying to resist results in beatings. Trying to do nothing results in hideous beatings. All the while, Asha reclines against the wall...sitting her pleasantly shaped form atop Stool...using him literally as a stool. The creature pathetically takes it and keeps it's "voice" silent.

Eventually you are dropped back into the slave pen. Exhausted, hungry, thirsty, angry and hopeless. Thus begins a sort of routine for you. Sleeping (barely and uncomfortably), "training" and menial tasks such as cleaning, emptying chamber pots, cooking the gruel broth for the other slaves, etc. This will go on for some time. Asha stops interacting with you at all, mostly it's just the common soldiers supervising you. Their boredom is obvious and their willingness to break it by looking for excuses to beat you is all too clear (and frequently exercised).

Prince Derendil and Stool remain with you when they can, each looking to you for some hope and offering what little comfort they can...

OOC:
None of the other PCs are yet present. You get the sense that there are other raiding parties out that should be returning over the next week or so (which is when other PCs will arrive). As you settle into this rhythm of life you can begin to interact with your surroundings.

As I said, this outpost is a sort of "town" and rather than run it like a CRPG town where you wander about and we describe every last NPC and detail as you try to find information, we are going to play it more as cinematic scenes like I described above. I will ask you a few questions about what you do (these questions may change). You answer them as best you can (and the answer can be none...you don't HAVE to do anything if you don't want). Then I will narrate the interesting things you find or accomplish.

Feel free to get creative and narrative (but you don't have to if you don't want). I know as a player you might feel more constrained, but as long as you stay within the confines of what I've described so far you can get as descriptive as you like. For instance, there is obvious tension among the drow leadership. Feel free to include that. You, as players, don't know what the source of that tension is yet so you can't reveal it or move it from anything other than tension but you can describe it or describe your actions to exploit it or learn more about it...as we go forward, more will be revealed and you all can pull that new information into your actions as well. Anything that happens "publicly" (as in...I describe in this thread) is known to all PCs even if they weren't present...other prisoners tell you or whatever...if there is some information available only to one or two PCs, I'll send that as a PM.

So...since Surana is the only PC present so far you are up, itcomeswithamap:

(we'll go with the original questions, but like I said, these may change over time):

1) What do you want to try to accomplish over the next several hours to few days and how do you think you will go about it?
2) What sort of trouble do you cause, witness, avoid or prevent?
3) Describe something interesting or memorable your character does or attempts to do.

edit: somehow my spell check got turned off...turned it back on and fixed a bunch of misspellings...here I thought I just rolled a 20 on my Int (spelling) check...

 
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SunGold

Villager
OOC: I'm going to start out with less narration, probably doing more as other PCs begin to get chances to act.

Surana sat up slowly, every bit of her aching. She reached a shackled hand up to gingerly touch her chin, immediately withdrawing it as pain seared across her face. But she didn't have long to dwell on the pain before something began...speaking?...to her.

OOC: 1) I'd like to spend the next day or so befriending Stool and Derendil. I'll promise Stool I'll do whatever I can to get him home, and offer an understanding hand on the shoulder when Derendil starts to cry. I also want to start asking them all I can about the surroundings. Can I communicate thoughts and images back to Stool, or is that a one-way thing? Can he read minds, or only receive thoughts sent willingly? Can they tell me a little more about what "quaggoth" means? And why don't the other "quaggoths" like Derendil? How long do prisoners seem to be kept here before moving on--in other words, how long do we have to make a plan before we get separated? And the guards just walked off--are we often left unguarded for long periods?

After enough nights in this disgusting pit, Surana was beginning to lose hope, even with the company of Prince Derendil and Stool. Without weapons she was at the mercy of the drow, but the drow didn't seem capable of mercy--or anything but malice, really.

Except perhaps one. She wasn't sure, but Surana could swear she saw pain in the scarred drow's face when that vile creature Asha had barbed him. A lack of loyalty among ranks was as good as a gaping hole in armor, just begging to be exploited.

OOC: 2) If I get an opportunity where Jorlan is the only drow within earshot, I'll smirk and make a snide remark--ostensibly to another prisoner--about Asha, just loud enough for him to hear, and see if I can read a reaction. [roll0]

After a week or so, the boredom afflicting the guards began to seep into Surana's consciousness as well. She was accustomed to fighting, to hunting, to action. Anything would be better than this hopeless waiting.

She looked over at Stool, reaching out a hand to absent-mindedly scritch under his chin--wherever that might be. She grinned wistfully. "You know, little Stool, I used to play the drums, up above. You look sort of like a drum..."

OOC: 3.) Stool seems like he might enjoy some silliness, and as a warrior, Surana realizes this place is in desperate need of morale.

She's going to ask Stool if she can play him like a drum. If he is offended, she'll apologize sincerely and do what she can to make amends. If he lets her and gets a kick out of it, she's going to start calling him Drum.
 

Uller

Explorer
OOC:
Let's start with your questions. Actually...let's start with a minor clarification. If anyone would like to ask questions before posting, feel free. Use the OOC thread or PM me if it's something you want to keep just to your character.

So onto your questions:

Stool...or Drum...can communicate telepathically. But only with certain creatures. You're not yet sure how this works. It has to "like you" first...When it becomes emotional it has trouble with words and images and emotions start coming through and it gets disturbing.

A quaggoth is a large beastial humanoid that lives in the underdark. Stupid, bipedal and viscious. If they stand up straight they probably reach 8' or so and weigh about 400-600 lbs. The drow are able to subdue them into a sort of symbiotic relationship. The other quaggoth's don't like Derendil because he doesn't know how to behave like one. The only time he does is when he becomes angry and then he loses all control.

None of the current prisoners know how long they stay. The longest any have been here has been about a week so far and no one has left yet.


Jorlan starts when Surana makes an insulting comment about Asha. He turns back to her "What did you say?" Surana repeats her insult. Jorlan's face is a complete blank. She has no idea whether she upset him, amused him, angered him...

Later that 'night,' when Surana mentions to Stool that she used to play the drums, it starts to say something about music and family, but it doesn't seem to have the words for it. It moves closer to let her pat him. As she starts rapping out a rhythm, Drum starts to shuffle and sort of dance. Images of strangely lit cavern vistas and bountiful fungus gardens start to flood into Surana's mind. A whole city of mushrooms invades her consciousness. She walks its streets and sees its sights. To her surprise, Drum starts to 'hoot' in time to her drumming...almost like it's singing! Feelings of great joy start to ripple through her mind and in her waking dreams she begins to walk the paths of the underdark, paths that lead from this myconid city.

But then...it starts to turn. The paths become confused. A feeling of being lost overwhelms her. Longing for home, missed family, sense of security lost. Then images of hooked armed monstrosities leaping out of darkness. Rending, tearing, crushing, horror! Surana's mind reels...

OOC:
You made a DC 10 CHA save...so you just pass out...probably a good thing


When Surana comes to, Drum and Derendil are over her. "You're okay. You're all right," Derendil says. "You might want to...here...for the drool...a little running down your face. That's it."

"Drum sorry. Drum miss home. Drum have gift." Surana notices something drop out of Drum's body...a dark shard of stone. "Fire shard! Sharp shard! Stab wicked elves." She picks it up...it's a shard of flint. About the size of a dagger and just as sharp. As Surana looks it over and comtemplates where Drum got it, how did it hide it and why it suddenly gave it to her, the gate to the pen opens.

"Drop those three to the spiders! They'll never make it. Bring the rest in here." More prisoners are being brought in...

OOC: I'll post the next turn tomorrow for Zansy and Ranger20
 

SunGold

Villager
Surana looks at Drum with gratitude and surprise, putting the flint in her pocket and holding a finger to her lips in a silent "shh" gesture.

"We don't know who we can trust yet, Drum," she whispers.

She sits quietly, back to the wall, to watch the new arrivals acclimate.
 

Uller

Explorer
OOC:
Edit: was using 'Durin' for place holder until the dwarf had a name...fixed it.

[MENTION=6788194]Zansy[/MENTION] and [MENTION=6802198]Ranger20[/MENTION] it is Klep and Orsik's turn...

I'm switching to 'you' as we get more PCs...when things apply to one specific character I'll say which one.

Orsik is a hill dwarf cleric (light) of Moradin.


You are have been dragged and prodded for quite some distance. Probably several leagues as the crow flies (or as the purple worm burrows?). It's all a blur, a waking nightmare. Throughout the ordeal you were both relentlessly mocked and tormented by your dark elf captors. Among your fellow captives are two humans and an elf that were badly injured when they were captured (there are a few others as well...8 total). They were dragged along, tormented, prodded. As the ordeal went on, it became clear they were not going to survive without healing magic. When you suggested to your captors that you help them, you were just laughed at.

Now you have arrived at the drow outpost. You are herded into a basket/lift inside a large cavern and hoisted up up up above a canopy of spider webs into what looks like a fortification hanging from the walls and ceiling, with "towers" made of giant stalactites. More guards and quaggoths await you at the top. You meet with Mistress Ilvara and the other drow as described above. Then you are herded through the guard tower and toward the slave pen. That's when the drow officer (Shoor) orders the three injured to be tossed to the spiders. You watch in horror as they are uncerimoniously tossed over the edge. You can't see them because you are not right at the ledge but you do see a half dozen or so giant spiders converge on their helpless victims. You are shocked at just how quickly the spiders move on their webs and you notice that their victims didn't even scream...maybe they welcomed the release of death?

Once inside the slave pen you (along with 3 other prisoners, one human, two gnome-like) are shoved to the floor. The pen has several other prisoners in it. Most don't even move or make any effort to help you. After a time, you begin to gain your senses and start to take measure of your new surroundings. You see Surana, Derendil and 'Drum' (ooc: like I said, what ends up in this thread is 'public' so I'm not going to spend time reintroducing every one).

Among the captives that came with you are two small ill-mannered looking creatures, similar to gnomes but gray skinned with just wisps fo white or gray hair. They call themselves svirfneblin (svirf-NEB-lin) (ooc: you can make lore checks to see if you know anything about 'deep gnomes'). These two are named Topsy (a female) and her brother Turvy (perhaps twin?). Topsy does most of the talking, has an irrepressible curiosity and a spirit that, while easily crushed, is almost always light-hearted, optimistic, yet indignant. Turvy on the other hand only mumbles incoherently, laughs with a smile that is missing several teeth and requires Topsy to translate (even to fellow gnomes).

Topsy explains (to anyone who will listen...repeatedly...gods you don't want to hear it again) that she and her brother were out gathering mushrooms from their family enclave in Blingdenstone (a svirfneblin town of some sort) only to be captured by these rude drow-folk. She really does not think it proper just to put people in sacks and drag them far away from their homes in such a cruel manner and she wants to talk to whoever is in charge right away to straighten this whole thing out. Turvy mumbles his agreement and seems to make some sort of joke that only he and his sister understand.

Within a few moments of arriving in the slave pen she starts in again about it when a voice interrupts from those that are already present. "I bet you 5 silvers Mistress Ilvara throws you to the spiders before you're free of this place."

Topsy immediately stands up and indigently declares "I'll take that bet! It ain't proper, no sir! Betting on your own life! But if she throws me to the spiders, good luck collecting!" At that point the source of the voice comes forward, another gnome. "Then I guess it's double or nothin' that I can find a way to collect!" At that point they begin chatting back and forth in their own language and sometimes in common. It doesn't take long before Topsy and Jimjar (the gnome that started the bet) are bickering and probably cursing at one another. Jimjar eventually skulks off into the corner...his hopes having risen to have some of his own kind here only to find himself re-isolated from them. You have no idea (even if you speak gnomish) what the source of their bickering was...

Eventually they settle down and begin minding their own business. Jimjar eventually approaches Orsik and Klep (and possibly Surana if she introduces herself to them) and begins conversing with them both about how they came to be here. He shares his own story, relating that he never felt at home in Blingdenstone and struck out on his own. He claims to have down quite well for himself until one day he was ambushed by these hated dark elves (he uses the deep gnome word for them, like a curse word and he spits). During the course of the conversation he tries to lure Klep into a bet...one gold coin on whether the daily serving mushroom broth will be hot or cold. "Don't worry...I know you are good for it...I'll take cold." (ooc: Let me know if you take him up on it or not).

Eventually Klep and Orsik are subjected to the same "training" session that Surana was...this time it is with Ilvara and Jorlan (the scarred drow). Ilvara is overtly cruel and degrading to Jorlan, even in front of the slaves. Jorlan does little to hide his contempt for the situation or Ilvara. Afterwards they start to fall into the routine of menial tasks, training, beatings and sleeping.

[MENTION=6801671]itcomeswithamap[/MENTION]: Surana, while working in the kitchen making the mushroom broth (and she is aware of the potential bet described above) she learns that supplies are running low. The usual resupply patrol is several days overdo. This patrol most likely takes newly captured slaves back to the drow citadel (and probably rotates drow manning the outpost).

OOC:
Same questions for the two of you:

1) What (if anything) would you like to accomplish over the next several hours to few days?
2) What trouble do you start, witness or prevent?
3) Describe something memorable your character does.
 
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Zansy

Registered User
OOC: Not sure which order 2 or 3 should go, I guess it depends on the dark elves' moods.

1) I spend the next few days serving in the kitchen, trying to smuggle a knife from the kitchen and what wood or other material Klep could find to carve himself a flute.

Klep is shunted into the slave pen with a sound warning, he got caught snapping the kitchen broom in half without provocation. The half-orc sulks at his wounds and stares at the cylinder in his hands made of thin air combined with nothing. He is certainly troubled, if not frustrated. Not yet willing to surrender to despair. To anyone who bothers to show interest, he will whine like a mourning widower.
" The demon elves stole Klep's dulcimer. Without a song, Klep has no soul. No eyes to open when Klep wakes tomorrow."
Klep listens to Topsy and Turvy's story, relating to it profoundly as he introduces himself. "~Blingdenstone...Blingden~stone~" He chimes to himself in the company of the deep gnomes, as if in his own world. "Sorry, Klep was chased from tribe in Sword Coast above for questioning chieftain's thirst for holding captives, very sad, but also funny if Klep think it. Not sure if Klep need laugh or cry... the captured half-orc laughed anyway, his deep throat chuckle echoes for a moment. After a small pause, and Jimjar making a couple of interesting gambles, Klep nods and squeezes the Svirfneblin's hand, thinking the mess hall was on the way here."Klep take dark gnome on that wager, of course Klep only eat warm food, your money is Klep's! -So these Drow-folk, Topsy ,they just kidnap any innocent soul they can find, yes? What do they do to them?.

OOC: 2)Klep takes on that bet. Boasting to Jimjar that his coin is orc property now. When sent to toil he nearly picks up a fight with a quaggoth cook on it's way to the kitchen while attempting to convince it to serve a warm meal today. It took some man power to separate the two.

3) While emptying the chamber pots with several other slaves, Klep tries to organize a slave song.

"Ready? Klep try again:
— 'When I fled to the high moor,
Hunting all that I lived for
The Drow-folk home has giveth me
Stronger shackles than before'

Sing now with Klep—
"Ek het nog droom o' Sword Coast sands
Ek het nog droom o' sun-baked lands
Ek het nog droom when down below
We toil away with blistered hands...'
"
 
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SunGold

Villager
Observing the newcomers from a safe distance, Surana says nothing, but smirks to herself as she hears the little gray gnome attempt to fleece the new prisoner. In prison full of slaves, little care is taken to assure the captives' comfort. Of course the gruel is always cold.

She makes it a point to get it out of the kitchens hot that day.
 

Ranger20

Villager
1) While In captivity I will try to steal tools to make a Holy Symbol. (OOC, this is not a spell focus, but rather something to comfort me).
2) I am often caught praying to Moradin and the Drow try to make me regret it, but I stay true to my faith.
3) Though I do tend to keep to my self, I will try to get some of the slaves together for prayer.

OOC:
[roll0]
 

Uller

Explorer
OOC:
Edit: I think I'd like to introduce a new tradition to my posts...like this:

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft




Jimjar eagerly shakes Klep's hand sealing the bet. He then goes on to explain "The drow have an insati...insatia..insas...unsatisifiable need for slaves. Their entire way of life is built on it. Without slaves to do their work for them their wicked cities would fall apart. Besides, their goddess demands it. The Demon-Queen of Spiders favors those dark elves who are most cruel. It's sad, yes. But the world doesn't care about sad, my friend."

As they are talking, a work detail is taken from the pens to clean up the kitchen and make a meal for the slaves...Surana among them. She gives Klep a wink....Not long afterwards, a dwarf slave comes to the pen with a pot and cups. The broth is piping hot. Jimjar is astonished. He looks about..."Well I'll be son of a goblin! Maybe you're good luck, Klep." He reaches under his rags and produces a gold coin and hands it over...it's not like one Klep has ever seen...it has strange writing on it and half a face..."It's from Blingdenstone...oh don't worry...I've got others hidden about. That's old King Guliver...he was never able to sit still long enough to get his face drawn...so they only put half his face on the coin."

Several hours later Klep finds himself on a work detail along with Derendil and Orsik. You are taken to the bottom of the cavern and told to pile rocks near the tunnel entrances to the south and west (Orsik is able to determine the direction). It seems a strange task and you aren't sure if it's just making work for the sake of it or if it has a purpose, but they seem very interested in arranging the rocks around the tunnels. Two other quaggoths are there helping. Klep gets his opportunity to "pick a fight" with a one. He accidentally/on-purpose drops a large stone on its foot. Enraged the quaggoth slams Klep against the wall. Klep struggles, kicks out from underneath the creature and smashes it in the face. Now the creature becomes wild. Klep begins to think this might not have been the best plan...the creature grabs Klep's chains and hurls him 10' across the stoney floor. It begins stalking toward him when out of nowhere a second quaggoth blindsides this one and slams it to the ground and begins furiously biting and ripping at it. Blood is everywhere. All of the sudden Klep and Orsik feel a familliar sting...hand crossbow bolts from the guards...sleep overtakes them both.

They awaken back in the pen. Derendil is not there. The guards seem to think the quaggoth Klep tangled with started the fight. Both it and Derendil were lead away in chains and none of the slaves know what became of either. You all learn that normally troublesome slaves are thrown to the spiders. Quaggoths are immune to poison. They are too valuable to kill...so they'll likely be back after Ilvara is done with whatever fun she has in store for them.

Both Orsik and Klep then settle down into the routine (ooc: Orsik is very good at not being noticed...that 8 CHA isn't low enough to make people outright not like him but it is low enough that people just don't notice him in a crowd. It's why Jimjar made the bet with Klep instead of Orsik).

Orsik is caught several times praying to Moradin. Every time he is dragged before Ilvara and punished to the point of unconsciousness. On one occasion when he is brought there, Jorlan is with her and as usual she is mocking him, teasing him about his scars and telling him how Shoor clearly has the favor of Lolth and he does not. Orsik begins to realize this is the source of the tension...The favor of Lolth is of utmost important to the drow, particularly the priestesses. Jorlan must have been Ilvara's consort at some point but now it is Shoor. Asha and Shoor are of the same house (perhaps siblings). So Asha is very pleased to see her brother raised to a higher position than an older more accomplished rival (Jorlan seems older and more experienced). Being second to Ilvara means Asha's consort must be Jorlan and she is probably very resentful of this. Most female drow are very ambitious and rising in position is impossible if your consort does not have the favor of the goddess.

You both look for material to make your flute and holy symbol. You notice that nothing here is made from wood. Tables, chairs, tool handles, etc are all made from a substance similar to wood in density and hardness. But it has no grain like wood. At first you think it might be some sort of stone. You each find a piece and secret it back to the slave pen. Other slaves tell you it is zurkhwood. It is from a type of mushroom that grows in the underdark, sometimes as tall as 15 or 20'. It's caps are edible but more importantly it's stalks are hard and useful for building. Zurkhwood groves are a great economic resource to underdark cities.

It is also not too hard to smuggle small tools. The guards occasionally search you or your area in the pen but they rarely seem interested in doing a good job.

Klep, it will take you a long time to craft a playable flute in these conditions. So you will have to be patient. Orsik is able to fashion a holy symbol...not one that can be used as a spell focus but one that he can at least use for prayer. But shortly after making it, you go to get it from it's hiding place to find it is gone. In it's place is a spider! It is about the size of your palm. You're initial instinct is to smash it. But then you catch a flash of light in it's eyes...(it has about 20). They are arranged on it's face like in a shape that is the unmistakable shape of Moradin's symbol. It seems completely unafraid of you and crawls back into it's hiding place.

Several days pass, or so you would guess. You have long lost track of night and day and time. How many days have you been here, you are not quite sure? You sleep in short naps, you are awake for training or labor and then you sleep some more...always hungry, often thirsty, always filthy. You are losing your sense of yourself too. The training is beginning to convince you that you are indeed, just a slave but you resist it. You are becoming numb to the cruelty the drow show toward others.

Your sleep is always disturbed by dreams. They are very vague...the light of the full moon is shining upon you but you cannot see anything around (or even the moon). Then a shadow blots out the light. You cannot breath. You are underwater. You awaken with a start. In another you feel something wrap around your leg. It is coated in slime, very very strong and wherever it touches you it leaves a searing pain, like it is coated with hundreds of barbs. You feel it tighten then it is dragging you, then you wake...the pain and constricting sensations remain. In yet another you are wandering a maze. You know something is stalking you but it is always just out of sight or hidden by shadow, you sometimes see it's eyes blazing with hatred. Again the moon is bright and moving...just as the light is about the reveal your predator, you wake. Each time you awaken from these dreams, you have trouble remembering where you are for several moments. Then you remember...and you wish you hadn't.

(ooc: All the other PCs are en route to Velkenvelve at this point and you have these dreams as well...the further you go, the more intense they become.
 
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Uller

Explorer
ooc: Almost forgot Topsy, Truvy and Drum!

Topsy and Turvy mostly keep to themselves and as far away from Jimjar as they can. They're behavior is strange. They seem to be in the habit of collecting whatever they can, piling it up and sleeping on it (you get the feeling that they would sleep under it if they could).

Drum huddle near Surana and Derendil most of the time. The drow tend to ignore it. When they do pay attention to it, it is to be cruel to it. Drum is willing to "make friends" with Klep and Orsik if they want so they can talk to it too.
 

SunGold

Villager
When the rest of Derendil's work detail returned without him, Surana began to pace the small, fetid cell. Having lost her tribe above, she had come to think of Derendil and Drum as her little tribe in this otherwise lonely pit. And now, as before, she couldn't protect them.

She snarled in frustration at the thought, punching the wall with all her weight behind it. The pain tore through her hand and up her arm, and she slumped against the wall, staring numbly at her bloody fist. She hoped that whatever the drow did to Derendil, their greed kept him alive. He was valuable, and they knew it. She tried not to think about what they might be doing.

She had to get them all out of this place. And she had to do it soon.

As she stood flexing her hand, assessing the damage, she heard the other slaves in the cell begin to murmur rumors of the fight. The orc had started it; no, the quaggoth started it; no, a guard started it, just for fun. Whoever started it, the orc who'd arrived yesterday was involved. She looked the towering creature up and down--he could definitely be useful in a fight.

She strode across to him, looking him in the eye. "Hey, orc. I hear you like to fight." She considered showing him her makeshift dagger, but thought better of it. She kept her voice low. "I do too, and I'm fighting my way out of this hell soon. When the time comes, do you want to spill some drow blood, too?"
 
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Zansy

Registered User
"Wat?" Klep furrows his brow, not in anger, but rather frustration. Klep already told you people - de furball started it! Why won't anyone believe in Klep...?" His frustrations transformed into something rather hollow and miserable. He is quite unaware of the aftermath of his dispute.
He sniffles whistle slightly as he wipes his running nose with a scarred, but very hairy arm. "Klep not a great warrior in tribe, nor is Klep a born killer. Why was Klep captured by stupid Drow-folk anyway?" Klep squints and spits at the ground of his corner in the wretched pen. When he realized no guards were checking up on him, he continued to carve out his would-be flute.
"Klep would not normally do dis for a human, but Klep is in your service if it means Klep will be free, and de Drow-folk will get wat dey Deserve". you might notice the orc speaks rather civil (or at least tries to sound so) for a self-proclaimed tribesman.
 

SunGold

Villager
Surprised by the orc's sniffles, Surana patted him on the arm, trying to avoid the snot. "It's alright, Klep. It doesn't matter who started the fight." She knew there was no way to sort out the truth right now, and it wasn't her main priority anyway--escape was. For that, she would need what few prisoners might be useful. Klep was one of them. "Don't worry about it. For now, just keep working on your..." She looked at the piece of zurkhwood in his great paw of a hand, unclear on what he was doing. "...thing."

As she walked back toward Drum, she looked over her shoulder. "I'm Surana, by the way. And this," she said, gesturing toward Drum, "is Drum. He's friendly."

She sat for a while, looking around the cell, trying to decide who else might be more help than hindrance in an escape. She eyed the two gray gnomes huddled with their trash, and thought of the other, who seemed too interested in gambling. They all seemed a bit mad to her. Of course they're mad, she thought. To live always below the earth, never seeing the great open sky...who would be sane? She discounted them for now.

Looking around, Surana thought with dismay that this place was mostly full of the broken. Broken bodies, broken minds, broken spirits. She was beginning to lose hope of finding any more prospects when her gaze fell on the dwarf near the back of the cell. She was always forgetting he was there. She didn't know much about him, but she did know he prayed a lot--and no one who prayed that much was broken. He still had hope, maybe even determination. Even if they made it out of this prison alive, they would still be in the Underdark. Hope and determination would be crucial.

She waited until he finished his prayers, then stood to cross to him, giving Drum a pat on the head as she left. When she reached him, she sat down next to him, looking straight ahead rather than into his eyes. "You pray a lot, dwarf." She gestured to the various prisoners slumped dejectedly here and there. "You have more hope than most in this place." She nodded toward Klep. "The orc and I do, too, and when we get a chance, we're escaping this pit." She turned to look him in the eyes. "Do you want to act on that hope of yours?"
 

Zansy

Registered User
Klep calmed down soon enough "Tank you. Dey took Klep's dulcimer. Klep cook for gnome family six monts -six monts to pay for it. Klep emphasized how hard he worked to get it. It made sense though, everything is overpriced in Gnomish regions. "If Klep no get Dulcimer back, Klep will play 'is fluit until Klep can buy a new one." Klep whittles and carves away at the Zurkhwood shaft in his hand. Not having any idea if it would even sound like a normal flute or not. Or if there are health risks involved.Klep is lost widout a song in 'is soul.
He looks down at the walking mushroom. His mind wanders and wonders if that is what they put in his broth every day. "Drum is nice name, sound like Dwarvish." He says as he looks at the little guy."Do you play?"
 

Uller

Explorer
OOC:
“Little Alice fell
d
o
w
n
the hOle,
bumped her head
and bruised her soul”


― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


As Klep, Surana and Orsik are talking, the cell door opens. Jorlan, two drow soldiers and two quaggoth's enter. The quaggoths are dragging the limp form of Prince Derendil. One of the drow soldiers follows with what looks like a grungy sack over his shoulder. He droppes it with a thud. The sack moans. The other drow leads in two othe prisoners about as different as can be. One you can't miss...a large muscular orc (named Ront), the other a young female dwarf (Eldeth Feldrun). Both are still very groggy from the effects of drow poison, but able to move.

Jorlan gives the three of you a smile...maybe more of a smirk...as the others exit. He pulls the cell door shut, locks it and leaves without a word.

Derendil is hardly recognizable. His face is swollen, his fur and even some of his flesh is torn away in several places. One of his hands is broken and his other arm is dislocated. He's breathing though. But he is not conscious.

As Eldeth and Ront begin to gain their senses Eldeth looks over at him and says in dwarvish "You fool. We would have made it if you weren't so damn noisy." The orc opens one eye and mutters in orcish "You ran from Iceshield. You ran from shadows. You ran from dark sissy elves! All you do is run. Your stubby legs can't even out run a slug!" Eldeth comes back with more insults and Ront still more until they are both shouting at each other in their own languages. Then another voice comes out of the the darkness..."shhhhhh....brother, sister...you cannot win here. Peace!". A figure that has been keeping to himself in the shadows for the last several days comes forward. The drow have mostly left him alone, which seems odd. He appears to be a humanoid of sorts, but his features are very...fishlike. His name is Shuushar and he is a koa-toa. He is able to calm down Ront and Eldeth in a surprisingly short time. Ront goes off to find a corner to sulk and Eldeth, glancing at him angrily moves to the sack and opens it up...A roughly handled (though not too badly damaged) halfling emerges. After looking around at all the strange faces around him he smiles grimly and says...(ooc: [MENTION=36150]Herobizkit[/MENTION]...what do you say? You (as well as the drow) heard Surana rallying her friends to join together to escape...so you can include that in whatever you say). As he steps out of the sack, he subconsciously picks up the length of rope that was used to tie it shut (add 5' lentgh of silk rope to Bertrem's inventory).

Shuushar is very strange to all of you. He is from a town called Sloobludop (SLOO-bloo-dop) which is near a place called Darklake. He abandoned his people and sought a life of solitude in the Darklake, which is more like a maze of pools, streams and wells than a single lake. The drow captured him weeks ago but he didn't resists. He just accepts whatever life sends at him. He never blinks, which is disconcerting. And whenever he is talking, he wanders about aimlessly...like a fish in a pond.

Ront and Eldeth were captured by the drow after a battle between their people. Eldeth was part of a scouting party from a place called Gauntlgrim that was ambushed by the Iceshield orcs. In the ensuing chaos both fell down a deep deep hole. In the darkness, injured and lost they at first kept their distance from one another. But when a strange worm creature attacked the orc, the dwarf helped the orc fight it off. They realized then that they had to work together to escape. The climbed up and up for many hours and as they finaly returned to where they had fallen from...the drow were there and they were both taken captive. The drow had already captured the halfling so they don't know where he came from.

Klep, when you speak to Drum, it "sneezes" musically at you. A few moments later you hear it in your thoughts...At first it is very strange. But once it does, you are able to also understand others that are "friends" with it, even when they speak to you in languages you don't understand.
------
OOC: to be clear, this second part is for Erevan, Evandur and Ezraen


The long dark road is all you have known for days, perhaps weeks. There were more of captives like you, but most didn't make it. All that is left is are the three of you from the surface and a fourth that was picked up along the way. He reminds you of a dwarf, particularly of the tales you've heard of gray dwarves (ones that live deep underground) but he insists he is not a dwarf at all but a 'derro' and a sort of manifestation of a god in the living world. He calls himself Buppido.

You came upon him in the middle of a good sized cave. He was just sitting there and acted as if he expected the drow patrol. He gave no resistance..."all part of my plan" he assures you when you have moments to talk to him. The drow patrol is lead by one named Sarith Kzekarit. A junior sort of officer as far as you can tell. There is also a young mage named Nildus Mizzrym that seems to be out to prove himself to his leaders. There are no females in the group, which from your knowledge is strange. Male drow tend to be looked down upon and not typically allowed to do much without a female directing him.

Erevan is able to partially understand the drow when they are speaking. He can't understand everything. But over time you are able to piece together three things: You've been captured as part of an effort by a noble house to secure favor with their demon god. Captives such as yourselves are particularly useful for sacrifices. Others are intended to be sold as slaves...but none of the others survived. You are going to some outpost where you will wait until another patrol will take you to their city. But members of the patrol are looking forward to a chance to return to the city and be replaced. Third, Sarith (along with another drow that is not present...one named Jorlan) has lost favor with their god. Nildus seems to derive great pleasure from this and constantly mocks him and reminds him he better succeed in returning with prisoners that are pleasing to the Queen of Spiders.

As you go along, your dreams become worse and more intense. It is clear Nildus and Sarith experience them as well as Buppido. Buppido seems absolutely unpreturbed by them, though ("all part of the plan" he assures you).

The patrol is within a few hours march from the outpost when you stop to rest. You are kept constantly drugged so thoughts of escape are impossible and your memories are groggy of events but from what you can recall, the four of you (Erevan, Evandur, Ezraen and Buppido) are sitting among some rocks. You can hear the drow talking. Things get quiet for a while...which is not uncommon, the drow typically want to remain silent. But as you were sitting there this time, after about 20 minutes suddenly there is an outcry of alarm from the drow. You vaguele recall Bupiddo rejoining you...but you don't remember him leaving...The blue/violet fire lights the area. You stand and shuffle to get a look and you see Sarith, covered in blood, standing over Nildus's body. His face has been completely flayed from his skull. Another drow patrol appears to have just arrived to see this scene...bols from several handcrossbows fly into Sarith and you...darkness...You awaken later to find a new prisoner among you...Sarith.

OOC:
Edit: In my rush I forgot the questions!

For Bertrem:
1) You find yourself to be a bit of an afterthought to the drow. They enjoy torturing you and making you do menial tasks but they often forget you are around. What do you do to take advantage of this?
2) Which of the PCs and NPCs introduced so far to you most attach to?
3) Describe something memorable you do?

For the others:
You have another hour of resting then about 4-6 more hours to get to the outpost. More drow have joined you so escape seems hopeless but they are fairly overwhelmed with the murder of Nildus. Many of them are just keeping their heads down while others seem overjoyed at an excuse to torment Sarith. The leader of the newly arrived patrol is Shoor.

1) Do you interact with any of the NPCs (Sarith, Buppido or Shoor)?
2) Do you do anything to try to take advantage of the distracted drow? (again, escape seems unlikely at this point)
3) Describe something memorable you do...you can include when you arrive at Velkenvelve, which will be shortly)

 
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