Recap November 14, 2020

They had settled back into their routine at Trollskull tavern. Business had been above average while they had been away. Their employees and several folks that live around Trollskull Alley had said they had missed them and it was good to have them back. While Kataract played his lute over by the fire, the others checked on things on the main floor or rested in their rooms.

Around midday, Jalester Silvermane, Jaspar’s contact with the Lords’ Alliance walked through the front door. He asked to speak with Jaspar and any of his companions that may be available. Jaspar said I am available. Pixel crawled under the table where Jalester and Jaspar sat. The others went about their business.

Jalester said “I have been asked by Lady Laeral of the Lords’ Alliance if you and your companions will help a shield dwarf by the name of Gyudd. He is a master brewer currently in Skullport. He has a personal matter that he needs assistance with and Lady Laeral believes you and your companions would be able to assist him. Plus, you being a dwarf is another possible reason though that was not said to me. Are you willing to help? Jaspar said I am but I cannot speak for my friends. Let me call them over. Jaspar and Pixel rounded everyone up except Kataract who continued playing his lute.

They asked Jalester if he knew more about what Gyudd’s problem was. He said I do not but if Lady Laeral is willing to help him he must be someone important. They asked how they could get to Skullport. They knew that Skullport was a “city” connected to the Undermountain complex. Waterdeep government did not recognize that it existed but if you knew the right people you could get to Skullport. The fastest way would be by teleportation circle but they would need to find someone that had the signature key to a circle located in Skullport or at least close to it. Another way would be going down through the well at the Yawning Portal and make their way through 2-3 levels of Undermountain. That would take a long time to do and though Gyudd had not asked someone to come in haste, they did not want to take that much time to get to Skullport. The last way was by boat. They would need to find a boat or ship to take them. The Lords’ Alliance would be able to arrange for passage. They would also need to be prepared to pay 100 gold to the Keepers. The Keepers were mages who raise ships through the magical locks that lead from the port to the Sea Caves south of Waterdeep and from there to the open sea and vice versa. The boat would then be able to arrive at Skull Island and then they could make their way to Skullport to meet up with Gyudd.

No matter which way they traveled to Skullport, Gyudd would be at his Distillery located on the middle section of Skullport.

Jalester went to talk to the Lords’ Alliance to see about arrangements for them to get to Skullport. Meanwhile Jaspar, Reva and Henrik went to the Yawning Portal to ask Durnan about Skullport, Undermountain and if he may serve any of the spirits Gyudd brewed. Durnan did have two of the beverages Gyudd brews: Amberjack (a sherry) and Goat’s Head Ale. Henrik asked to try the Goat’s Head Ale. Durnan was almost out of Amberjack. They told him they needed to assist Gyudd in Skullport. He told them it was a hive of scum and villiany on a good day. They would need to be careful but for the most part they would be okay seeing that the major income for Skullport was adventurers coming into town after exploring Undermountain. He told them that Mirt was who they would need to get in touch with to see about getting to Skullport either by teleportation circle or boat. Durnan said if you are going to Skullport, tell Gyudd I would like another keg of Amberjack. They agreed.

They looked up and saw Mirt coming into the tavern. Reva asked for his usual drink from Durnan and said watch this. She went over and said I brought you your favorite. Enjoy. He looked at her with an inquisitive eye and said slowly, What did I do now? She laughed and said nothing but we need to ask you about getting to Skullport. He said I wondered when you all would be heading down there. They explained about their mission to help Gyudd. He said I will need to get in touch with my contacts about the teleportation circle. The signature key changes so will need to get the most up to date one. Give me an hour. The Harpers can provide a small boat for you all but you will need to pay the 100 gold to the Keepers to get to Skull Island. Henrik said I think we will go by teleportation circle and wait to go by boat but we do want to do that at some point so if you could get me in touch with some boat captains I would appreciate it. Mirt said I can do that. Reya said you need to come to Trollskull for a drink and meal. Mirt said yes, you all have been out of town so I have not been. When do you all leave for Skullport? Probably later today once we get the signature key. He then said Skullport is dangerous but I have a feeling you will not be staying too long in Skullport but will be seeing parts of Undermountain. Undermountain is its own creature. It feels alive. You will understand once you are in it.

They thanked him and he went to talk to Durnan before heading out to get the information on the teleportation circle to Skullport. As they sat back down Bonnie came over with a tray of the usual drinks and the meals that they got most often. They give her a big tip. It was a steady afternoon in the Yawning Portal.

Meanwhile Hetty went to the orphanage/abbey and asked the Abbess if there was anything that needed to be taken to Skullport. The Abbess said well as a matter of fact I do. I have this package that needs to go to Ulvira Snowveins at the Feathered Rat. It is a pet store in Skullport. Kataract and Pixel had stayed back at Trollskull. Kataract played his lute and Pixel spent time with her kittens.

Mirt came back to the Yawning Portal with the signature key. He was able to get a discount for the information. It was only 35 gold. They would end up at a teleportation circle at the Poisoned Quill. It was run by a woman named Tasselgryn Velldarn or “Tas”. The shop sells inks, paper and quills. They thanked him and then headed back to the Yawning Portal to regroup and prepare to head to Skullport. Reva made sure she had plenty of arrows and bolts for her and Kataract. Hetty packed a picnic basket. They check their gear and then told Kataract they were ready. They decided to put on a show for their customers. They gathered in the main room in small circle. Kataract begin to speak about great heroes and their journeys and that they had to leave again and as he said that he finished the teleportation spell and they all disappeared.

Their stomachs settled and they found themselves in a roundish room. There was a permanent circle on the floor and in front of them was a door. It was locked but as Hetty was about to pick the lock she heard an older woman saying to them that she was coming. Hold on. She opened the door and they saw an elderly human woman dressed in fine robes. She said Welcome to Skullport and Welcome to the Poisoned Quill. I am Tas and you are? They explained who they had made the arrangements with. She said ah yeah. Mirt. Red Readers. Gotcha. Let me check your names off. Is this your first time to Skullport? They said yes and then asked her about the Distillery and the Feathered Rat. She told them where each were. The Feathered Rat was on the Lower Level and the Distillery was just a little ways from her shop. Reva bought some inks and papers and Henrik was about to buy some when he was contacted by Golarr who said that the materials would be provided. They thanked her again and then headed to the Feathered Rat.

They made their way down a set of stairs and then a ladder to the Lower Level. Following Tas’s directions they saw the sign for the Feathered Rat (a large brown rat with peacock colored feathers). They entered and Hetty asked for Ulvira. An older half-elf appeared and asked what she could do for her. Was she looking for a pet? Hetty said no, I have a package from the Abbess. Ulvira thanked her saying being so far away, I fear we will be forgotten. This raises my hopes. Thank you and please thank her. Pixel was uncomfortable in the pet store. She saw the following animals in cages and enclosures around the store: bat, cat, frog or toad, giant fire beetle, giant rat, lizard, rat, spider, and stirge. She talked to one of the cats in Feline. She was happy to hear that all the animals were treated well. The group left the store and headed to the Distillery.

They found the Distillery and went inside to look for Gyudd. A dwarf was in the main room going over the distilleries inventory. He said that he was Gyudd. They told him who they were and he told them what he needed assistance with.

“I have been haunted by the ghosts of the Melairkyn Clan seeing as I am their last direct descendant. The Melairkyn built Melairbode which is now called Undermountain. I have been drowning out the ghosts with alcohol since 1375 (it is 1492) but now their call is too loud, and I must do what I should have done years go. I must find my way to the area known as the Lost Level…an ancient temple complex dedicated to the dwarven god Dumathoin, the Keeper of Secrets under the Mountain. And the rumored burial place of King Melair I, the dwarf who found the first strikes of mithral and began the construction of what is now Undermountain. I must find the temple proper and cleanse it in the name of Dumathoin.

That is where you come in. I cannot go alone. Escort me into Undermountain to the Lost Level. I will pay you well and you can keep the treasure we find there on my authority since, well, I am its rightful owner.

“How do we get there?” they asked

Umber hulk tunnels. No, really. Just listen. Rumors of more and more of these creatures have been seen throughout Undermountain. These creatures do not care if a place is supposed to stay hidden. They will make a tunnel if they damn well please.

I can get us to Wyllowwood. I have acquired the signature key to a gate on that level. We will need to use Tas’ teleportation circle at the Poisoned Quill. I can get us back to Skullport once we are finished with our quest.

Wyllowwood is adjacent to the Lost Level. And from there the ghosts will lead me to the umber hulk tunnel or tunnels to the Lost Level.

Are you with me?

They asked a few more questions about the quest and then Gyudd went to get ready. Along with his pack, he brought along a carafe of each of the spirits he brews. He then offered a toast with some of the Amberjack. They then told him that Durnan wanted his regular order for the Yawning Portal. Gyudd said I will get that ready before we go and send it off. He went into the back for 30 minutes and then reappeared and said he was ready to go. Their first stop was the Poisoned Quill to use Tas’s teleportation circle.

Tas and Gyudd had a brief conversation. It sounded like she was trying to talk him out of going on this adventurer. Gyudd was resolute in going.

They all stepped into the circle and immediately found themselves in a 40x30 room. They first saw piles of broken chairs, shattered benches, and empty chests in front of each of the two doors in the room. Carved into the· middle of the east wall is a decorative stone arch enclosing a blank wall.

A wooden trestle table lies on its side in the middle of the room. An iron chandelier with melted wax candles is suspended from a rafter above it by a rope tied off to a hook near the northern door.

Tucked behind an iron stove in the northeast corner is a dead halfling in leather armor, his face twisted into a mask of horror.

They investigated the body and saw it was male and probably an adventurer. He was wearing a suit of halfling-sized leather armor. It clutches a silvered shortsword in one hand and a burnt torch stub in the other. A search of the corpse yields a dungeoneer’s pack with spoiled rations and 5 torches remaining, and a small pouch containing 4 gp. Hetty could see several markings that looked like he died from lightning shocks. (Did you all take the silver shortsword?

There was something about the arch on the east wall that Kataract could not place. He examined it closer and saw that its stone frame has been carved to look like the trunks of trees, and close inspection reveals the image of a dead tree carved into its keystone.

(see the arch gate image).

He and Jaspar investigated it and between the two of them they realized it was a magic gate and they to get it to open they needed to touch the arch with a dead twig or branch to open the gate. They could not determine where the gate would take them if they opened it. Jaspar was pretty sure that this gate was how they arrived from Skullport. Reva took out and arrow and a bolt to see if it would open the gate. Neither one of the did.

They decided to check the door to the southeast. Henrik opened it and saw:

Open sky and a lush green forest. They could hear the sound of a river off in the distance. Had they gone to the wrong place? Gyudd reassured them that they had arrived at Wyllowwood and that they needed to travel south and west to get to the umber hulk tunnels that would take them to the Lost Level. They set out.

Not too far from the tower they had arrived in they saw a pair of elk. Reva and Pixel knew right away that these elk were not normal. It hit Pixel…they were like her – Awakened. The elk did not see to be bothered by the group and they eventually wandered deeper into the forest.

The group traveled south and saw several incredible trees that stood from the others. As they got deeper into the forest they saw that the forest is strewn with rusty weapons, burnt torch stubs, empty bottles, and other worthless paraphernalia left behind by adventurers. Pixel noticed eerie totems hung from the trees. Made from twigs, feathers, and tattered bits of cloth, they look like crude dolls. And they seemed familiar to Pixel but she could not put her paw on it.

They traveled further south for awhile and then more to the west. Soon, they came upon a tunnel in the ground. Gyudd said this is the umber hulk tunnel I spoke of. They entered and after a bit the tunnel sloped down and to the east. They followed it until they came to a fork in the tunnel. At the end of each tunnel they could see worked stone. Dwarven worked stone. Gyudd was taken back by the beauty of the stone work. As they started to move once more they all a man’s voice heard in their heads:

“I always felt this level lacked… pizazz. But after a few brief experiments in conjuration, I’m confident that this arc of the season will impress,”

Everyone knew at once that the voice that they had heard was Halaster Blackcloak, the Mad Mage of Undermountain. They were not sure what he meant but they knew that Gyudd needed to cleanse the temple. They moved forward.

They went to the east and into the first corridor to the south.

The walls are gouged with claw marks left by an umber hulk. Three large wooden wardrobes have been pulled over and smashed on the floor. The south door is smashed to bits. There is another stone door to the east.

Hetty searched the broken wardrobes. She found old pieces of cloth. They looked to be old robe but she was not sure. Under one pile of cloth she found a hematite pendant in the shape of a mountain, inset with a blue eye agate (25 gp). Jaspar said that the pendant is a holy symbol of Dumathoin. Hetty added it to the items that they had gathered for the cleansing ceremony.

They went back north and then traveled east once more. They took the corridor to the north and turned to the door to the west:

The door was slightly ajar before Henrik went to open it. He pushed it slowly open and saw a ransacked room Ceremonial relics that once rested atop stone tables and sat in wall niches lie smashed and worthless on the floor. These include iron censers, stone candlesticks, polished crystal orbs, and black funeral helms. They gathered up some of the items that had not broken including: 2 two crystal orb, an iron censer and one of the black funeral helms. These may be used in the cleansing ceremony as well.

They continued east and then south. There was a door to the east but they saw two xorn to the south. Henrick went investigate but the xorn did not seem to notice him. He then saw a duergar step forward. He began to speak really fast. “Hurry! Hurry, before it cuts you down! To the Donkey Room!” He was followed by 3 more duergar. Suddenly a scream from the dark echoed through the halls. The duergar who had spoken first pushed they other duergar forward and went to investigate. The 4th duergar had had his head smashed in. The duergar rushed back and said come on to the Donkey Room and last one in shut the door! Inside the Donkey Room they saw:

The walls are carved with frescoes depicting dwarves defending their mountain homes against ankhegs, purple worms, umber hulks, and other burrowing monsters. Standing around the room are five crude wooden constructs resembling donkeys. Each of these magic dummies has a body made of a wooden keg turned on its side . A head and neck made of wood and sackcloth is attached to one end of the keg. At the other end is a tail made from a straw broom. Each keg is held up by four 2-foot-long peg legs.

Gyudd and Jaspar knew what these were at once. When a Small or Med ium humanoid sits atop a wooden donkey, it moves and attacks as directed by its rider. They are common in dwarven mines as modes of transportation.

They the talked to the duergar. They had been in this area for the past two days. Their leader Skella Ironeye was in the temple with the other members of the group. They had come looking for treasure but were now looking for some item that would help her learn what would become of her and her clan. But they were being attacked by some invisible creature. It would attack, either bash in someone’s head or stabbed through the back rupturing the person’s chest. He sounded sad and broken. The other duergar looked worn out as if they had not been sleeping well.

The group as the duergar to take everyone to the temple to see Skella. The duergar agreed. Several of them got on the wooden mules while the others walked. They went south and past the latest victim of the invisible attacker.

The moved west and past a door to the north and then a door to the south. They turned south down a larger corridor.

The walls of this area are roughly hewn to give the room a cavern-like appearance. The glow from four quartz pillars reflects off flecks of quartz embedded in the walls. The double doors to the south are engraved with the image of a mountain with a gemshaped indentation at its core (the symbol of Dumathoin). The edges of the indentation serve as handles that enable the doors to be pulled open. They opened the doors and were in the Temple of Dumathoin:

This huge chamber has been sculpted to resemble a cavern with a 30-foot-high vaulted ceiling. Eight duergar plus their leader, a half-shield dwarf, half-duergar named Skella Ironeye, are scattered throughout the area. Two cloakers flap above them, circling the nave at a height of 20 feet. The cloakers consider the duergar their allies.

Glowing quartz pillars stand around the temple perimeter, carved to look like natural columns. The glowing pillars have the appearance of buttresses, but only the four stone pillars in the middle of the nave support the roof.

At the south end of the temple, stone steps climb 10 feet to a golden marble dais. A clay altar sat on to of the dais.

Skella was startled at first but calmed down when she saw her duergar companions with the strangers. They all introduced themselves and each tried to tell what they were doing in the Temple. Skella said that she and her companions had come to seek treasure but had gotten caught up in Halaster’s game. They needed to get into the basalt doors at the back of the dais to see what was in the future of Skella and her people. Jaspar and Gyudd had a feeling something was not right and that she was not telling the complete truth. Well, they were duergar. The two of them could not figure out why they had not attacked by now.It seemed to Reva that they were scared so much of the invisible attacker(s) that they would attempt to make allies even with those that were lifelong enemies. Hetty stepped forward and asked if they and Gyudd could cleanse the temple. She asked if the duergar could move back away from the dais so that Gyudd and Jaspar could do what was needed. Skella agreed and told the duergar to move to the back of the room. Gyudd and Jaspar moved to the dais and then on up to the clay altar. Hetty stayed a few feet back with Reya a few feet back from Hetty. Pixel, Henrik and Kataract stayed at the back of the temple near the entrance and kept an eye on Skella and the duergar.

Gyudd and Jaspar approached the altar Gyudd turned to Jaspar and whispered I have not a clue what I am doing. I guess I will pour some holy water, light the incense and say some nice things about Dumathoin. Do you have any ideas? Jaspar remembered the ceremonies back at his home. He decided use his performance abilities and hopefully that would be enough. His friends would later say he knocked it out of the park. As he finished he laid the holy symbol of Dumathoin on the altar.

Suddenly the holy symbol melted into the clay and out of the top of the altar rose a creature of clay and stone. It was in the shape of large dwarf.

He turned to Gyudd and said “Thank you brother for you words. You have done well. I can feel the cloud begin to lift. He turned to Jaspar and said “Thank you cousin. Your actions here will not be forgotten. The creature raised his hands and said “Bless all who witnessed” (everyone had the Bless spell on them for the next 6 hours.)

The creature then melted back into the altar.

Gyudd and Jaspar were not sure if they had done all that they needed to do to cleanse. They saw the large basalt doors when they had first approached the altar. That must be the area that Skella wanted to get in to. But why she never really said. Jaspar and Gyudd moved to the basalt doors and saw that dwarven ruins covered them. As Jaspar got closer he could see the words clearly:

“It is the will of the Keeper of Secrets under the Mountain that only the hand of the king may open these doors. Let all who enter gaze upon the heart of Melairbode and know the true power of dwarvenkind.”

It hit Jaspar. Inside this chamber was the Heart of the Mountain, the soul of Melairbode and that is what Skella was trying to get to. Also, the hand of the king had to be Melair’s, the first king of Melairbode.

Jaspar asked Skella about this. She said yes we are looking for the tomb but so far have not been able to find it and with the invisible attacker hounding us, we have not gotten too far into the complex. Look at my companions. Only myself and the four who came in with you are not injured.

After a brief conversation they decided to see of Jaspar could open the basalt door. He was a prince afterall, so perhaps his royal blood would be enough to open the doors. Jaspar was not so sure but was willing to give it a try. He moved up to the doors and pushed the doors. They did not move. For some reason he looked up and saw the Bigby’s Fist materialize from the ceiling and began move to attack Jaspar. Hetty, Reya, Pixel, Henrik and Kataract moved to assist Jaspar. Pixel cast Dispel Magic and the fist disappeared.

That was close. Kataract then convinced Gyudd to try the doors. Gyudd said I am not of royal blood though yes I am the last direct descendant of the clan. I also do not want what just happened to happen again. But I will do it. I mean, what is the worst than can happen. Gyudd stepped up to the basalt doors and as he touched them another Bigby’s Fist materialize at the ceiling and began to rush down to attack Gyudd. Jaspar cast Dispel Magic this time and this fist disappeared as well.

They made their way back to the rest of the group to decide what to do. They decided to search the level for the hidden tomb. Skella agreed to show them the areas that they had explored so far.

When the large dwarf creature had appeared, Hetty had used her Obviator ability – Read the Opposition. She was able to deduced that that had probably been King Melair and not Dumathoin, something that Gyudd and Jaspar had suspected. She was also able to get a general lay of the level. She knew that between her and Reva they would be able to find the tomb. She had seen a tomb area to the west and to the south. They would start their search there.

They left the temple and went west and stopped at a set of double door. Hetty knew that the room on the other side of the doors was the Hemisphere room. They entered and saw:

Two dwarven statues wielding battleaxes stand in front of the doors to the north. The room is brightly lit by four quartz pillars. Hetty knew that was a shrine to several dwarven deities. Jaspar and Gyudd wanted to visit the shrine but they would do that after they had found the tomb. They continued south and through a door into an arch room similar to the one back in the room in Wyllowwood that they had arrived in. Carved into the arch gate’s keystone was an image of a rust monster.

They moved through the arch room and into a den area with several couches and tables. They left it quick and through the door to the south. They entered an oddly shaped room that was another arch room. Embedded in the south wall is an archway with six shallow, empty niches carved into it. The wall inside the arch is carved with a stylized image of a mountain with a sun above it. They moved on to the south and into the tomb area that Hetty had seen.

Six glowing quartz pillars fill the room with bright light. Rusted helms, shields, armor fragments, and weapons cover the floor. This detritus makes the entire room difficult terrain. Jasper noticed that the arms and armor were fashioned by orcs, goblinoids, drow, duergar, and other enemies of the dwarves. No dwarven items can be found among the wreckage. A deep alcove in the north wall is mostly clear of metal wreckage and contains a shattered stone sarcophagus. Engraved in the back wall of the alcove is a Dwarvish inscription that reads, “Our king is with the gods. Here lie his bones.”

They gave a searched around the room and then down the corridor to the east. Hetty and Katarat saw a pit. It had been a trap that had rusted over the long years and sprung. Hetty could see the spikes at the bottom of the pit. Reva tied a rope around her and Hetty climbed down to check the bottom of the pit for any secret rooms. She did not find any. She came back and them decided to to take a short rest in the dead room they had found. They would regroup and then head back to the tomb area to give another more thorough search.