Borderland of Adventure #74: Into the Chasm of Death

At the end of last session, we left our band of heroes bravely battling a band of kobolds.

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The party surged into the chamber, overwhelming the kobolds’ hasty (and pathetic) defence. In short order, the first cadre of warriors were slain and Skink and Gerald (followed by Tzaran and his snake companion) rushed to attack the chief in his quarters. Meanwhile, Sir Gerald followed rather reluctantly by Krorz charged off to find the dragon. Ulmo hung back for a moment to secure the complex’s front door, but was almost immediately overwhelmed by a fleeing mass of kobold women and children. Wisely, he got out of the way of the stampede.

By the time, Ulmo reached his companions, the fighting was over – the last vestiges of resistance crushed in the chief’s quarters. Gerald and his companions hurriedly searched the chamber for any hints of for who the dragon was working. Sadly, they found nothing – it seemed Vesicwyr did no confide in her minions – and so they questioned the two surviving kobold concubines.

Terrified, the kobolds told the party their god dwelled high above the lake. With this intelligence, the heroes made their way to the open sinkhole. It was truly immense. Ulmo cast his dancing lights above the lake’s waters, but his magic could not reach the other side. Eventually, his magic revealed a wide cave mouth high up on one side of the sinkhole. Realising they did not have the means to reach it from their current location – and without a decent supply of rope – they decided to retreat outside and wait for morning. Then they hoped to determine how far below the lip of the sinkhole the cavern was – perhaps getting in from above would be easier.

As they retreated through the kobold lair the flooded chasm splitting the entrance tunnel caught their interest. One part of the chasm seemed to lead further into the mesa. With excitement, they hoped it might lead to a secret way into the dragon’s lair! After a brief argument about who should explore the all but flooded passageway, Tzaran reluctantly volunteered. Using his ring of feather falling he leapt into the chasm and – as he floated downwards – transformed into an eel.

Sadly, he seemed to jump into the midst of a leech swarm! As the leeches converged on the shocked druid at first nothing seemed amiss to Tzaran’s companions. However, when he transformed back into his normal form and screamed for help they leapt into (mostly ineffective) action. As the leeches continued to suck Tzaran’s blood, the druid began to weaken, and his struggles became less frenzied.

The party discovered quickly that Tzaran has taken one of only two lengths of rope the possessed into the chasm. Gerald quickly deployed the other and shouted for Tzaran to grab it. By then, the severely injured druid lacked the strength to climb out of the chasm and Gerald failed to pull him up – even aided by Sir Gerald. Ulmo used his magic to summon two water elementals and they provided a brief respite from the leeches’ attacks.

Briefly thereafter, poor Tzaran’s ineffective struggling ceased and he sunk below the water. He was moments from death. Seeing this Gerald jumped into the chasm, hitting the water 40 ft. below with great force. He healed Tzaran, returning him to consciousness, but also landed in the leech swarm! Skink followed Gerald into the chasm, but tried to climb down. Sadly, he slipped and also fell into the water.

Now, things were desperate. Krorz – aided by Sir Eril – tried to pull the injured Tzaran out again and again, but couldn’t manage to lift his weight. Eventually, Tzaran managed to cast a gust of wind into the water – which temporarily blew the leeches away. Using this brief respite, the adventurers fled the chasm. Skink climbed out of the water while (finally) Krorz managed to pull the other injured adventurers from the water.

Once the party were reunited atop the chasm, they widely decided to flee into the forest to rest and recover as Tzaran was brutally injured. Backtracking along their trail, they made good progress for several miles.

Krorz – leading the way as ever – suddenly called a halt. Ahead the light of many campfires pierced the night and the sound of conversations in Orc and Common floated on the night air. Climbing a nearby tree, Krorz could clearly see at least a score of campfires surrounding a large tent. It seemed a pirate army had followed them into the forest.

Seeing this, the heroes immediately changed course, pushing to the north west through dense, heavy forest. Skink brought up the rear and obscured their path as best they could, but the party was numerous and the freed slaves brought from the town were not adept at moving through the wood. Tzaran’s snake companion also left a rather obvious trail.

Finding a particularly thick stand of trees, the party made cold camp for the night. In the morning they discussed what to do. They discussed several options:

  • Return to Ratik with what information they had thus far gleaned.
  • Return to Dekspoint.
  • Attack Vesicwyr.
  • Give the Grail of Ashenyar to Vesicwyr to learn for who she is working.
  • Do nothing and hope the pirates kill the dragon (or vice versa).
  • Attack the pirate army.
  • A clever, as yet undetailed, seventh plan

As the morning wore on, they continued their debate…

Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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