Following a long and exhaustive battle, the party finally managed to kill all the water bugs and get over to the other side of the black puddle, where they stopped to lick their wounds and rest.
When we next picked up with our adventuring party, they had just completed a long battle with a bunch of giant water bugs – after resting for a bit and healing, they decided to continue on their course to try to find the elusive child killer, Traegar Grimvald. But it wasn't long before fate and circumstances turned their focus to simple outright survival!
As the group continued down the stone corridor, they could see areas in the walls and floor where the stone had either given way, or was warped and uneven – the group began to worry about the soundness of the stone below their feet. And in fact, tragedy was just around the corner: as they explored, suddenly there was a huge rumble, and a massive amount of stone and loose rocks and dirt collapsed from the roof above them! The back part of the party was trapped in the falling debris, with the bulk of the debris falling on the unfortunate cleric of Pharasma, Saben of Garress. The weight and force of the falling stone was too much for Saben, who perished beneath debris; Cowen the Halfling priest of Desna, was also caught beneath the onslaught of rock and stone, and nearly perished himself – the rest of the group were able to rescue him, but by the time they were able to dig out Saben he was gone.
Heavy-hearted, the group continued forward down the corridor, for it was the only way left to them. As they continued they noticed significant fissures in the stone floor, some of which were wide enough for them to fall through to the next level – clearly the result of the former cataclysm that sank the Tri Tower Academy ten years previously. But just when the group thought they’d seen the worst challenge of the day, around the corner came a gelatinous cube! It slowly squelched its way down the corridor towards them, enveloping and digesting everything organic in its path. Deciding that battling such a creature was beyond their current skills, and still mourning the loss of their companion, the group decided to use a long rope and squeeze down through the floor fissures below into the bottom level.
Down they went, one at a time, dragging the corpse of their friend behind, landing finally into five foot deep very cold, brackish water. Almost immediately, they could tell there was movement in the water similar to what they experienced above with the giant water bugs – rather than wait and fight more of them, the group made a bee-line for the nearest high ground. The narrow, dark beach was rocky, with a bit of sand, and was surrounded by broken natural cavern walls. An eerie green light emanated from an odd fungus which covered the cavern floor and walls. Deciding to investigate their surroundings more, and perhaps find out where they were, the group hopped across a ten foot channel (apart from Svala, who fell in and swam to the other side), and began to explore the caves.
It didn’t take long for the party to discover that the caves were not empty; they were attacked by a number of slow, animated bugbear corpses, each of which seemed to have old bite wounds on their necks. After dispatching a number of these creatures, and resting overnight where more of them stumbled by, it was determined by the group that perhaps they were in over their depth – thus far, no evidence that their quarry had utilized the Drownyard, or its necropolis, to hide in. The group decided to explore a bit more to see what they could find, before heading back. They discovered what appeared to be part of the necropolis: there were niches carved out of the caves where burials, or the deteriorated remains of burials, had been left to rot. The group explored several halls containing a number of niches, most with little more than fragments remained, but every now and then more substantive remains were found. In fact, a number of items were recovered from the halls that they investigated, including:
* A gray silk cloak of resistance hidden in a crypt with a fine clasp
* An elvish mw black knife with a scorpion on the handle named Stinger
Progressing further through the halls, they came across the body of a boy dressed in a school uniform, preserved in a puddle of black water; it was determined that he had a magical ring and necklace, but the decision was made to leave the items with the body and not disturb the boy's final resting place.
Just as the group thought they’d seen it all at this level of the Drownyard, they began to hear an eerie babbling sound coming from down the hall, as if a hundred mad souls were whispering together – it was a fell creature of vile darkness, and all of the party members, aside from Russ, fell victim of its fascinating babble, and stood by helpless. It was a creature formed from darkness and shadow, with a grinning skull where its head ought to be, with a pair of baleful, hate-filled eyes. Thinking it had easy meat, the creature attacked the party; Russ bravely fought it off as best he could, allowing time for his companions to shake off their inertia. Even so, with all the party members roused and fighting, the creature was a difficult opponent, as it was incorporeal and its touch drained wisdom. Russ was brought very low indeed, and nearly went mad – but fortunately, the combined efforts of the group finally managed to slay the foul creature – later identified as an allip, the spectral undead remains of someone driven to suicide by a madness that afflicted it in life, tragically forever denied the eternal rest of the afterlife.
It was just when the group decided to leave the Drownyard for good when they began to hear another sort of sound emanating from down the hall – and in spite of their recent discovery, decided to investigate. The sounds, almost like the giggling of a child, seemed to be coming from a half-covered tomb. Bravely, the group decided to check out the tomb, which was empty, save for the emaciated body of a living human woman. She wore the tattered remains of a school uniform that no longer fit her, and from her eyes and lack of communication she had clearly gone insane. She wore a magic ring with a ruby scarab on her right hand, which the party recognized as the ring Ambassador Dacilane’s daughter, Junita, was said to wear. The group was able to identify the ring, which was a Ring of Sustenance, and quickly understood that the emaciated, crazy woman in the tomb was, in fact, Junita Dacilane, kept alive for 10+ years by the magic of the ring, and driven mad by the deprivation of the allip.
Quickly determining that the party had to leave the Drownyard at once, and return the insane young woman to her family, the party left the complex by the way they came in, digging past the stone hall cave-in just enough for them to crawl out, and thence back to the City of Absalom. After resting for a while in Russ’s apartment in Eastgate, the party met with the Cheliax ambassador at her home, and affected the unusual, emotional reunion. Much praise and thanks were given; the Ambassador paid the bounty promised to the party, and inferred that she and her embassy owed them a favor, and then the group split up and retired for a week of much-needed rest. During this period, it was learned that the killer struck again while they were busy, this time in Westgate.
Previously recovered items include:
* A cloak of protection from chaos, from the closet of a child who's room had been on fire
* 11 scrolls with various spells on them
* A note found in a loose floorboard in a school child's room, accusing the Headmistress of being a Osirion spy.
* iron flask with an elvish tree that refills with good wine 3/day
* Dwarven warhammer covered with runic poetry and pictures of dragons; called Hero's Song, it was mentioned in several Dwarven epic poems written about the Quest for Sky
* Dwarven boots with an unidentified sigil
* Dusty pink prism ioun stone, in part of a necklace
Many of these items were later sold by Russ for company funds. Other items left behind in the Drownyard include:
* A beautiful rug depicting Aroden in battle with Tar-Baphon, at Lake Encarthan, priced at 500gp
* An enchanted necklace with ivory inlays and a blue stone
* A magic candle holder in the shape of a bear claw that automatically lights the candle, and candles burn 3x as long
* A small lute (halfling size) with ivory keys and a bear claw pick in a leather bag
- Called Hero's Song, a very old weapon mentioned in several epics, and is thought to be at the fight for the dwarves to reach the surface