Defense at Silver Hollow - Session 2

  • Malik, shifter warlord (Nick)
  • Fyodora, elf monk (Lisa)
  • Phoenixfire, dragonborn sorcerer (Cathe)
  • Luccio, drow rogue (Adam)

And, joining midway through the session:

  • Konrad, human fighter (Sean)
We pick up where we left off mid-dungeon last time.

The party readies themselves for whatever may happen in the next area - a fetid pond fills most of the room, and a mud statue of a frog is illuminated by a glowing red crystal in its hands. Luccio and Fyodora sneak along the edges of the room where there is a thin strip of dry land, headed for the statue. They are eventually noticed by a pair of eyes that pokes bulbously above the dark water. Several frog-like humanoids erupt from the pond - bullywugs!

Malik and Phoenixfire enter the room to get a clear field of fire at the creatures. One of the bullywugs waves his twisted wooden staff and four drowned corpses rise from the water around the statue. Though not individually tough, the aquatic nature of the bullywugs and their habit of dipping below the murky water give the party a tough time. They decide to try to grab the crystal and run. Luccio takes several attempts and finally manages to free it from its perch on the statue - it feels like it was more solidly connected to something internal to the muddy mass. Luccio leaps back across to near the wall and they head out of the room; however, Fyodora is trapped by several of the frog-creatures and is quickly beaten unconcious. The other three return quickly to the room to save their friend - Malik inspiring words cause Fyodora's eyes to flutter open, and she crawls to her feet and manages to rejoin the rest of the party, who then make a fighting retreat to the previous room.

The party takes a rest - there are only two bullywugs left, but the adventurers are sorely in need of a brief respite. They decide to try to clear out the room so that they can take a better look at things, rather than just trying to retreat back up the well. The bullywugs seem to have dissappeared beneath the muck; the party sets up a clever ambush before scaring the remaining critters, who they quickly dispatch. Luccio removes the two golden eyes from the frog statue and slips them into his Bag of Holding. He manages to dislodge the mud head in the process - it seems that there is a bronze statue underneath of a tiefling man that was holding the crystal. They assume it is Azeron Lightcaller. Following the slow flow of water, they find the exit to the room, a tumble of rocks covering up the tunnel. They see a flickering light in the cracks - shifting some of them, the party exits into a dark lamplit alley in The Chasm, the red-light district of Silver Hollow.

I was surprised that they chose to try to clear the room when they had already retrieved the crystal. Still, mopping up was not too hard for them. Sean arrived at this point - he provided the much-needed Defender roll to the party with his human brawling-fighter. He didn't have a real concept, so we decided that he's something of a wandering warrior seeking ever-tougher fights to challenge himself. It's not clear how or why he joined the party yet.

The party retreats to an inn to rest for the night and plan for their next move. From the information they have gathered so far, they decide that they should collect the other four crystal shards, reassemble the crystal, and use it to destroy the coming orc horde. The remaining shards were given to the Deepvein family (they are still around - this family owns the Silver Hollow Exchange trading house and are bankers), the Valorhound family (they note that this sounds similar to the existing Vallund family), the Ironhammer family (this sounds dwarven, but it's not a name they've heard of and there are no dwarven families of any prominence in the city anymore), and the Bluesun family (another that they have not heard of, though in their travels they've seen caravans with a blue sun logo, belonging to the al-Sansur shifter family that resides in Silver Hollow).

Reading further into Azeron's journal, they note that the mage was helping the Deepvein family install their shard as some sort of control device in the family's silver mines to the north - it seems that the Deepveins had made some sort of automaton miners. The party knows that the mines have been closed for some time and the entrances filled with rubble, as something monsterous and deadly was discovered while digging. Enlisting the help of human brawler Konrad, they head north into the mountains to see if they can gain entrance to the mine.

The adventurers find that the main entrances are too well blocked by fallen rock and rubble to make an entrance there; however, they find a nearby spot where the ground has fallen in, leading to a natural cave below. They decend quietly, not knowing what they would find. The chamber that they enter into has another drop into a true mining tunnel. There are fresh bodies of...something...below. They drop down into the tunnel and find metal plates with attached woody muscles, leaking some alchemical fluid, along with bodies that seem dwarven, but not quite right. Luccio hears movement from the further down the tunnel. Peering around the corner, he sees several dwarf-like creatures with spines in their hair and beards, accompanied by two drakes the size of large dogs. The party prepares for a fight!

These are duergar, and, as they will soon find out, the remenants of the Ironhammers. In the lore of this world, the characters have never heard of duergar. They have no association with the drow, as these were recast as marauding seafaring pirates instead of underground dark-elves. Adam and Nick had heard of duergar, but they didn't let any player knowledge seep into their characters.

The adventurers take up a defensive formation and let the beligerent devil-dwarves come to them. Surprisingly, two of the enemy, upon being bloodied, grow to fill nearly the whole passage. Still, it is no help, and the party is easily victorious. After a rest, they check the bodies of the fallen and the corpses and mysterious body parts they had seen earlier. They find that some sort of small spidery constructs have burrowed up through the floor and are dragging away the alche-mechanical pieces. The party follows the creatures down to another chamber below, where two armed and armored humanoid mechanicals with glowing green eyes stand, flanked by two doglike constructs.

These are warforged, though again the characters have never heard of such things. A more appropriate name would be "mineforged" of course, though they seem to be in fighting shape now.

The party tries to speak with the constructs, who immediately demand that the intruders drop their weapons and surrender. After a brief standoff, the constructs determine that the adventurers are not affiliated with the Ironhammers, which the mechanical men and beasts seem to be at war with. The party surrenders their weapons, which are put in a cart full of parts that the constructs are collecting, and and follows the green-eyed humanoids deeper into the mountain to meet with someone or something called "Master Control".

Way to go right for the end-game, players! I had not expected that they would give up their weapons and made the warforged very insistant that they do so, thinking that the party would fight their way down through the Deepvein portion of the mine to reach Master Control. Quickly restructuring...

The adventurers are lead down twisting passages, past other green-eyed constructs, until they reach a large chamber. Floating in the center of the room is a familiar-looking crystal shard - only this one is glowing bright green and is much larger than the red shard that they found before. A flat, emotionless voice sounds in their heads.


Resistance is futile...I'm desperately improvising at this point as I had not planned for them to be here until the next session at earliest. I had the basic idea of the battling Master Control constructs and the Ironhammer duergar but no details really.

The party decides not to submit and slowly edges towards the cart containg their weapons. Fyodora does not require a weapon and so leaps into action, gaining a surprise round. In addition to fighting off the two escorting constructs and their dog-like companions, the adventurers must also resist the mind-controlling influence of the shard. They grab their weapons and wade in. Luccio attempts to use his arcane knowledge to try to disconnect the magical tendrils of control from the green shard, but fails and recieves horrible psychic pain in return. Phoenixfire, being much more suited to the task, edges closer to the shard while Luccio moves to deal as much damage as possible to their enemies.

Konrad finds that he cannot stave off the mental attacks of the psychic shard and ends up spending some of the fight dominated and attacking his allies. Though Phoenixfire suffers some failures, her greater knowledge of arcana lets her avoid much of the mental damage. As Master Control realizes that it is losing the fight, it calls for reinforcements. Just before Phoenixfire disconnects the last strand of magical power and the crystal dims and crashes to the ground, it sends out one final command to its minions: "DESTROY ALL INTRUDERS."

The party hears clanking footsteps from the hall outside; they have several seconds to reset themselves before this new foe comes but not near enough time to get a proper rest. Several more constructs approach. Though battered, the party is in a good defensive position. They manage to destroy three of the four green-eyed constructs when Phoenixfire succeeds in deactivating the last. As they catch their breath, the final enemy reactivates itself...but the eyes are now glowing red.

"Where is my pick?" it asks in a soft voice. It tells the adventurers that its name is Samekh, a construct miner belonging to the Deepvein family. Its last memory is of swinging its pick against the mine face - it does not know what has happened since. They have the construct place the large crystal shard on the cart of broken parts and quickly find what seems to be an equipment room off to the side of one of the passages; they hole up there, fortify the door with broken carts, rest and try to sleep.

Here ends session 2. Thankfully, I got a two-week break to try to plan out what they would encounter next, as the adventure had taken an unexpected turn.

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