The Corse Ruins, The Backwater Gambit, Campaign Diary 17

Chapter 16

The Corse Ruins

 

After camping for the night on the small beach along the Lazaran River, the party awakens to take stock of what has happened and what they ought to do next. The bandit thugs were successfully driven off and with the help of Zur, Edda Taisi was healed enough to talk to the group.

Edda reveals he’s been trying to get supplies to various refugee camps between the towns since the Drow take over. However, it’s been especially difficult because the Peloran Monastery in Bas Eldritch has refused entry to most of the townsfolk from Monton and Foxon claiming a need for quarantine. Yet it appears that the handful of noble or wealthy have been able to enter the city without any problem. The other faction controlling Bas Eldritch, the Merchant’s Guild, is furious with the Pelorans and seeing their trade drastically cut.

Since the battle at Monton, Edda as been trying to get people to First Town so they can possibly get into Bas Eldritch while also attempting to keep the refugee camps connected. He is reluctant to talk about his business, but Zur steps in to explain since the quarantine all trade outside the city has been deemed black market. The half-orc has been working alongside Edda to sell his wares, smuggle people into and out of the city, and get supplies out of the city to the refugees.

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At the boat landing, Edda speculates the bandit thugs probably thought they could use the River Guard uniforms to sneak into the city with his supplies. Although more organized than the usual bandits, the bandit thugs are just opportunists from the refugee camps looking to take advantage of the chaos.

Edda asks the party if they’d be willing to help him and Zur get the supplies to the refugees. The group debates it but feel getting to the Corse Ruins to win the boon promised by The Sparing Ones is a greater priority because it’ll bring down Kolo sooner. During the discussion, John attempts to contact Karen through the chroma stones but fails to hear from her. The group is a bit torn about how to best help the pair but don’t feel a detour now is in their best interests. Zur and Edda convince the party they’ll be able to get their supplies and wagons together and to the camp. They thank the party for its help and head off.

Loading up what loot they’ve found into the boat, the party launch out into the Lazaran towards the Corse Ruins farther down and on the opposite bank. Speaking with Edda just before he left, Nym was able to find out there’s canon beyond the first Corse ruins they’ll pass on their way to the ruins they want to find. Edda also makes clear the witches in the southeast ruins where they want to go are the most malicious of the covens in the county responsible for the destruction of First Town. 

 

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Moving down the the river for a good portion of the day, the banks of the river are thickly overgrown but the party spies a tributary. Taking the boat down it a good distance, they eventually find a place to moor it. Proceeding on foot, the party soon discover a giant skull carved out of a rock cliff near the tributary. Entering the mouth of it, the group makes its way through a dark cavern which eventually changes into a sleek stone hall.

However, along the way they notice increasing amounts of webbing along the walls, ceiling, and floor. Eventually, the passage leads to a concave platform with three doors.

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Meditating Asher uses his monk order’s ability to discover which door will prove the path of least resistance. Meanwhile, the others inspect the walls of the passage. They recognize writing around the doors in blend of Elvish and Undercommon (Drow). John is able to recognize a recurring image in the door frames and on the dais where they stand of the goddess Eilistraee. When Asher comes out of his meditative state, the group go through the third door.

Eilistraee

The passage they find goes left and right. To the left, there is webbing denser than what they’ve seen before while to the right there’s nothing. Going right, the group slowly ascends what appears to be a spiraling passage. Dark and empty, the passage seems long abandoned doorless and mostly featureless. Finally, they discover a door. After working to pry it open, they discover another empty room. Yet this one is lacking a fourth wall. Instead, the missing wall opens into a cylindrical pit descending down the four stories they’ve come up. At the base, the floor is broken. Asher uses his Shadowstep–

At 6th level, you gain the ability to step from one shadow into another. When you are in dim light or darkness, as a bonus action you can teleport up to 60 feel to an unoccupied space you can see that is also in dim light or darkness. You then have advantage on the first melee attack you make before the end of the turn.

–to travel down to the broken floor where he looks deeper into the crevice. He sees nothing of note but for a faint trickle of water and the occasional shimmer of water. Returning Asher informs the others, and they all decide to continue upward rather than explore down the crevice. The passage ends opening out into the world with only huge steel bars barring their way.

The party debate what to do next. As they do so, Nym turns herself into an eagle flying out over the ruins to find the best route to the canyon. From above she is able to see that they had come into the ruins from a sort of ‘backdoor’ and they’re two buildings away from the standard entrance. She returns and the party climb across to the dome of the building proceeding to travel over the rooftops until they reach the canyon entrance. Once down to the canyon floor, the party continue on to the next Corse ruins. Looking back they see the ruins they had just successfully bypassed.

drider prison

 

Traveling through the canyon takes the rest of the day. When they arrive at the final Corse ruins, it is night so they decide to make camp rather than go into the ruins. The night is uneventful come morning the group is prepped and ready to face the witches inside. Entering they see what appears to be fountains of magma obviously magical as they feel little heat from them. Before them stands a huge, polished stone door whose marbling seems animated every so often suggesting a demonic visage.

 

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Entering the ruins, the corridors are all well lit by torches every fifteen feet or so. Exploring three rooms off the corridor, they discover several magical items. In one John discovers a Tome of Understanding. In another, Asher finds a mystical cauldron. 

Following the corridor, they confront a Black Pudding lurking. Hesitant to engage the creature, the party is on guard but wary. Nym decides to cast Polymorph on the Black Pudding turning it into a cockroach. They are able to catch the bug, go back to the room where they found the cauldron trapping the creature in a crystal vial. Roben then takes the vial outside throwing it into one of the magma fountains. He watches from afar to make sure the Black Pudding is dead seeing the creature fling itself out of the magma smoldering and obviously wounded. Roben slinks away to rejoin the others who meet him at an intersection off the first corridor.

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They decide to investigate a room they had initially passed by immediately encountering three vicious looking worm-like creatures. The room is a clearly a mausoleum of some sort. Facing the team is an angry Grick while down among the tombs is another as well as a Grick Alpha. The battle swings back and forth as the gricks are formidable. Although the party is able to terminate the two standard gricks, the alpha proves much more difficult. Asher is the first to battle the alpha getting struck by its tail, then lashed by its tentacles before being drawn in to take severe damage from its beak; the monk falls unconscious. As Roben, Jorg, and John attempt to take out the beast, a critical hit renders Nym unconscious. As the battle drags on, John is finally able to take it out with Scorching Ray.

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Exhausted from having defeated the gricks, and remaining party members stabilized Asher and Nym…

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