(Note: This adventure was run in February 2017. In terms of campaign time, this adventure took place immediately after Session 9: Caverns of Calamity Part II).
Before heading down the chasm to explore whatever lurked below and to find the goblinoid creatures that had been taunting them, Xrax decided to relieve Velnius of his guard duties, watching over the horses and former captives. Bao decided to accompany Xrax outside the caverns. Velnius and Xerbo rejoined their companions in the caverns. The party tied a rope to the remnants of the bridge that spanned the chasm, having climbed back over to the northern corridor. The descent appeared to be about 40 feet down and all that could be discerned was the same rough stone as the current floors.
Once the party had descended to the lower caverns they immediately set about scouting the passageways east, west, and north. No creatures were evident in the passageways to the east and north, although a rockfall appeared to block one very narrow corridor. The cavern to the west held a significant stalagmite and stalactite wall that blocked the back end of the room. Clicking noises could be heard from beyond the stalagmite wall. Kulo and Velnius looked at each other and silently nodded to each other indicating their preparedness for what lurked behind the wall. As they entered the room, one of the goblinoid creatures suddenly appeared out of thin air in the corridor outside of the room. A glowing, magical hand appeared that pulled at a cleft in the ceiling causing a cave-in to block the passageway that Kulo, Velnius, and Xerbo had just entered, trapping them in the room. The aberrant goblin seemed to laugh as he watched the ceiling crumble. As the cave-in collapsed behind them, the clicking noise grew louder as a four-legged creature with probing antennae came towards them from around the stalagmite wall.
Jana quickly laid waste to the goblinoid that had just become visible. At the same time, Tanin rushed over to the cave-in and began moving rocks to open up the passageway. Belladore placed her torch down the eastern branching corridor to keep watch for other creatures heading their way given the noise of the cave-in. She also lit a new torch and placed it in the northern corridor. To her horror, she saw moving sluggishly in her direction what appeared to be a wall of gelatinous slime!
Meanwhile Velnius, Xerbo, and Kulo were trapped with a creature that seemed to be attracted to the metal on their bodies. With no torches or other sources of light, Kulo was essentially blind in this room. Velnius was able to see with darkvision and directed Kulo away from the creature to the back wall of the room. He then engaged the creature in melee combat. Xerbo, his trusted animal companion, stayed by his side and also lunged for the ferrous-eating monster.
As Jana and Tanin continued to clear rocks, all the while nervously looking over their shoulders at the gelatinous cube slowly lurching towards them, Belladore took off down the eastern corridor. She picked up the burning torch she had placed on the floor. The corridor reached a bend to the north with a very narrow corridor blocked by rubble branching off to the south. Belladore followed the corridor north. The corridor gained elevation practically every 5 feet, almost like a series of steps. Belladore noticed the passageway was remarkably clean and smooth as if the floor had been essentially scraped clean.
The corridor doubled back west and then south. Belladore found herself on the other side of the gelatinous cube. It had engulfed the other torch left on the floor, plunging Jana and Tanin in darkness. Tanin could still see, but Jana now only had the faint glow of Belladore’s torch from the other side of the gelatinous cube. The glow only added to it’s eerie presence since it illuminated the cube revealing the decomposing remains of a goblin within. The cube lurched again towards them. Jana and Tanin picked up their pace in helping to clear the rocks. Belladore’s movement towards the gelatinous cube appeared to be sensed by the ooze. It changed course and now slithered in her direction!
Belladore threw a dagger into the cube’s membrane and then took off down the corridor north and then east. The cube followed in her direction. Back in the trapped cavern, Velnius and Xerbo had wounded the rust monster, but it’s hungry tentacles had damaged Xerbo’s barding and Velnius’s sword. Not wanting to take the time to rummage through his pack to grab and light a torch, Kulo took a blind shot with his crossbow at the rust-eating beast.
Between Kulo’s haphazard crossbow shots and Velnius and Xerbo’s melee attacks, the rust monster was killed. Kulo and Velnius scrambled to their side of the cave-in and began tossing rocks out of the way.
Belladore circled back to the cave-in and saw that Jana and Tanin had opened up enough of a gap for Velnius, Xerbo, and Kulo to crawl through. The light of her torch revealed that the gelatinous cube and changed its direction and now was heading back down the northern corridor. The party unloaded ranged attacks as the ooze slowly glided towards them.
As the party continued launching arrows and bolts into the ooze, Belladore decided to go explore the narrow opening to the south. It wasn’t hard to move the rocks that blocked the path. Looking down the corridor, she could see that the corridor opened to a larger room about 30 feet away. Twenty feet in front of her sat a stalagmite. Belladore proceeded to explore the corridor and room, but as she reached the stalagmite, it appeared to awaken before her eyes. To her horror, a single eye blinked open and looked at her. A sticky tendril emerged from the awful monster and grabbed hold of her. The monster’s slavering mouth gaped open ready for the sweet treat of halfling meat.
The party heard Belladore’s cry as she was snagged by the roper. Gritting their teeth they let fly a number of arrows and bolts into the cube, which had moved to within 15 feet of them. Kulo broke off from the group and ran down the corridor towards Belladore. Tanin, Velnius, and Jana unleashed a final volley of missiles at the ooze. The final bolt punctured its membrane and the gelatinous cube lost its cohesion, oozing in every direction into a sickly gelatinous mess that covered the floor and the lower part of the walls on either side.
Kulo reached the tight corridor where Belladore left her torch. Looking beyond the pile of rocks around the entranceway he saw, with horror, Belladore in the grip of one of the living stalagmite’s rope-like tendrils. Kulo launched a bolt into the monster’s slavering maw. The hit seemed to distract the creature and Belladore, despite her slight strength, managed to peel herself away from the grasping tendril. She ran fleeing past Kulo.
The roper shot out a tendril that encircled Kulo and reeled him in to its ghastly mouth, the many incisors looked as if its bite would stab a hundred daggers into the flesh of its unfortunate victim. Kulo was helpless. The tendril pulled him into the gaping maw. Belladore watched, her eyes transfixed on the grisly scene as the rows of sharp teeth rent Kulo’s torso. Fortunately for Kulo he immediately lost consciousness.
Tanin made it down to the narrow corridor in time to watch Kulo bitten almost in half! Tanin cast healing word on Kulo, reviving him to witness the horror of his situation. Velnius and Jana both made their way to the corridor and unleashed crossbow and bow shots, respectively, into the awful monstrosity. Xerbo and Belladore moved up to engage the cave roper. Before Kulo had time to even consider his options and as the searing pain pierced his recent consciousness, the dagger-like teeth chomped down again ending his screams of terror. Kulo fell unconscious again. Tendrils shot out against the party. Most avoided its clutches, but Velnius was pulled forward towards the roper. He dropped his crossbow and unsheathed his short sword.
Jana dropped her bow and grabbing her glaive she had propped against the cave wall charged at the monster. Once again Tanin cast healing word on Kulo bringing him back from the brink of death. Belladore stabbed at the roper and Xerbo sunk his teeth into its rocky hide, twisting and tearing at the monster. Jana’s glaive cut through the tendril holding Kulo, dropping him to the ground. Tanin moved up and engaged the roper with his scimitar, the Blade of Dark Deeds. At this moment a number of the corrupted goblinoid creatures appeared from deeper in the cavern opening behind the roper. They started chucking heavy rocks at the party.
Tendrils shot out again, one enveloping Tanin and another grabbing one of the goblinoids. Blows rained down on the slavering monster from all in the party finally killing it!
The goblinoids seemed distraught at the death of the roper, but fought on with hurled rocks and sharp claws. But they were no match for the party. One by one they fell to the blade.
Around the bend, Tanin, Belladore, and Velnius found a strange site. On top of a large rock in the center of the room, rested a single bone. From the patterns of dirt and dust on the floor, it appeared as if the goblinoids had regularly sat or kneeled in regular placements around the stone as if in worship to this bone. On closer inspection, Tanin found the bone to be a single vertebra from some type of humanoid. Picking it up, he could tell immediately it was suffused with magical energy. Once attuned, Tanin would learn the vertebra granted the possessor of the bone the ability to cast invisibility once per day.
Belladore and Velnius advanced to 4th level.
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Gelatinous Cube Paper Miniature: Fat Dragon E-Z Dungeons: Expansion 11
Stalagmites: Fat Dragon Mines of the Mountain King
Rust Monster: Mayhem in Paper/One Monk Dungeon Monsters
Cave Roper: Printable Heroes
Original Art of Vertebra: Jody Monochrome