Observer’s Log – September 4th, 1943
We’ve arrived at the old dwarven mines where the party believes the staff is hidden. There are two gates blocking the pathway to the mines. They seem designed not so much to keep the kobolds out, but to keep something in. The bars are bent near the bottom corner and the wall is slightly scratched away possibly by kobolds that have been lured by the Sibiki mushrooms that are rumored to grow here, or perhaps by the potential vanadium ore. After some effort they managed to bypass the gates into what appeared to be a quarry. There was a small patch of Sibiki mushrooms growing in the corner which Dilemma rushed over to begin gathering.
A sinister voice echoed through the mines. “So, another kobold has strayed too far from the nest…” it called. Without warning, a skeletal arm reached up from the ground and grabbed Dilemma pulling him down. The group wanted to come to his aid as two dwarven skeletons rose from the ground, but four kobold corpses rose around them and began attacking. To make matters worse several skeletons animated on the two upper ridges and began firing down on the group! With Dilemma separated and the others unable to get close enough to him I feared he may perish.
Ravonna took quite a stand in this encounter. While she is normally very agressive and immediately transforms into her feral form and charges into the fray she decided to stay back and deal with the archers with Grasping Tide. With her efforts they they dropped the archers reasonably quickly and eliminated them as a threat. Korok, the dwarf that had joined the party recently, kept Adrik safe from the animated kobold zombies and moved them away from him so he could get closer to Dilemma. The dwarven skeletons that had grammed him had very heavy axes and were hewing deeply into him. The terrain was very difficult and he couldn’t easily get away. Adrik was able to get close enough to keep him going until Korok had dealt with the zombies and could move in to aid. The dwarves hit very hard and they only start hitting harder when they began falling apart. Fortunately they were able to defeat them without using too many resources. With her new tactic Ravonna came out of the battle in pretty much the same condition as she went in.
The party continued exploring the mines keeping an eye out for threats, vanadium ore, and sibiki mushrooms. They entered another quarry, but this one appeared to be much deeper. The upper portion was somewhat small, perhaps 20 ft by 30 ft in size, and it was surrounded by a steep cliff which dropped straight down 30 feet to a 20 ft wide by 40 ft long area. The ground below was covered in loose soil and from what they could see it was also saturated with bones, body parts, and pieces of armor. The ground was covered with mushrooms and they were very interested in gathering as many as they could so Dilemma decided to rappel down using their rope. The two dwarves held on to it while they lowered him down while Ravonna kept watch.
The voice echoed again. “It is pitch black,” and their darkvision faded, “you’re likely to be eaten by a grue.” Dilemma quickly pulled out a sunrod and struck it against the wall, illuminating the area but it was not as bright as he expected. Something seemed to be suppressing its. Looking around Dilemma saw two more kobold zombies coming towards him from down the way. He readied to fight, alerting his party of the danger as they debated coming down to assist him. The ground stirred below him as several hundred beetles burst from the earth swarming over him. “Up! Pull me up!” he shouted as he began to climb of his own strength. The group rallied their efforts to pull him to the surface as the beetles swarmed upwards. They fought against them attempting to kill as many beetles as possible before being overwhelmed when out of the walls two foulspawn grues climbed. They pulled disgusting, slimy maggots out of their ears and tossed them at the party followed by whispers and cackling of madness before teleporting over and ravaging random individuals with their claws. In such a small area the group had difficulty maneuvering. I am still unsure why they remained in this room rather than moving to a more open area. The beetles and grues proved to be a rather formidable adversary but the tactical prowess.
It is worth noting that the beetles were no ordinary beetles. They appeared to be gigantic beetles who exuded some sort of rotting agent from their sharp maws. The foulspawn were clearly [[sins]].
After they lowered Dilemma back down he gathered up as many mushrooms as he could salvage. The kobold zombies destroyed most of them in their shambling, but they had collapsed on their own and stopped moving. Climbing back to the surface Dilemma rejoined the group and they began exploring a bit more. The voice echoed again, “come closer… I grow hungry…” followed by another voice. This second voice was distinctly female and it called out in elven. “Is someone there? Please help!” Unfortunately the brew provided by Caine prevented the party from understanding the language. It cried out again a moment later in draconic “Anyone out there? Hello?” and the group was drawn towards it.
They proceeded further north towards the voice when they heard the sound of hounds baying in the distance. The dark voice echoed again, “the hounds are hungry!” A low rumbling grow came from the next room as they slowly entered. Three large beasts circled around the group and pounced. The brutes proved to be quite dangerous dealing terrible, terrible damage to Dilemma until Korok was able to step in and protect him. Korok provoked all three of them and they surrounded him circling and pouncing, but he was able to protect himself from most of the attacks. The group unleashed nearly the entire fury, especially Adrik, devastating the hounds and finishing them off very quickly.
The eastern half of this room had collapsed. There was a deep, 50 foot pit with a voice calling from it. Looking down they saw a female [[shadow elf]]. She didn’t seem very excited to see kobolds, but somewhat grateful that there was someone to help her. She explained that she had come looking for vanadium when the floor collapsed under her. She was a bit frustrated with them but agreed to let them help as well as giving them a few mushrooms for their assistance. Again, Dilemma rappelled down, nearly falling this time, but managed to get to her. She seemed to badmouth them the entire time but settled down when they threatened to just leave her. Examining her leg Dilemma determined that it was probably injured as she reacted with pain to touch. She wasn’t able to climb out of the pit on her own so they decided to create a harness out of the rope they had and pull her up, after they splinted her leg. But first, they needed a splint.
Korok remembered seeing a pile of scrap wood near the front of the mine so the group agreed to watch over the drow while he backtracked to pick a piece up. Lightning a sunrod on his way he went back to grab a small plank when three giant bats swooped down and attacked him. He was isolated from the party and it took a bit before they could make their way to him, but he was able to defend himself effectively. With the space between them they could not hear the battle, but Korok began making his way towards the party and when he got close enough they began working their way towards him. Out of one of the mind shafts several shadow serpents poured and began attacking and fleeing, attacking and fleeing, never staying close and moving very quickly. The did their best to chase down the threats to kill them, but eventually decided that grouping up was the best option. The snakes had to come to them and they would kill them when they did. Nearly all of the enemies perished, but a few escaped back into the mine shafts.
Returning to the shadow elf they lowered Dilemma back down. Ravonna transformed into a crow and flew down to assist. While Dilemma attempted to figure out how to tie a splint Ravonna went ahead and did an excellent job securing the drow’s leg, noting that it didn’t seem very injured. They crafted a harness with the ropes and hoisted her to the top.
A few questions were exchanged and the drow claimed to have came though a tunnel to the east lured by the rumors of vanadium ore. She was exploring that room when it had collapsed and she had been trapped down there for about a day. She just wanted to go home at that point and the group agreed to escort her back to where she came in. During the walk across the mine they asked her if she was traveling alone. She said that she had a few friends with her originally, but they got attacked and several were lost.
“What attacked you?” asked Korok.
“I didn’t get a good view of it, but I think it was some sort of dragon.” she responded, leading them into a less refined area of the caves.
“Must have been a kobonashi” thought Ravonna.
“What did it look like?” queried Korok.
“Oh,” said the drow stopping in her tracks and turning to the group. Her eyes grew dark and her scale armor turned into a black sheen, merging with her flesh. “Something like this.” as her teeth grew sharp and wings sprouted from her back. She quickly transformed into a large shadow dragon and immediately attacked the group. “Come forth, children! Dinner has arrived!” To shadow marauders splashed out of the pool of nearby water and several skeleton archers animated on the upper ledges. The shadow dragon unleashed a torrential cloud of shadow energy onto the party which seeped into their flesh draining the energy and weakening them. The darkness formed into shadowy serpentine creatures which attacked the party as well.
The battle was arduous but they eventually gained the upper hand, but the dragon took to the air. It stayed out of their reach attacking from a distance and creating globes of shadow to prevent the group from retaliating. Hope was nearly lost as the party’s resources were almost exhausted, but Dilemma and Adrik had one last ace up their sleeves. They had been given seals of the dawn. They activated one after the other, forcing the dragon to the ground. They were able to dispatch it and afterward had to rest.
The were exhausted, but could not take an extended rest yet. They decided to take a short break and activate a Seal of Endurance until they could finish exploring the mines. There wasn’t much more to see in the mines, other than a short encounter with some Bright Bats which they handled reasonably well. A few hours later they finally took an extended rest before heading back into the kobold warren.