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Learn more at Author Central. Previous page. SAM: You can reply to this message. That's what we were fighting. You don't need any help carrying that, right? MATT: Make a nature check. You have had no previous knowledge of moorbounders existing. From what time you've interacted with them, they seem fairly hardy creatures that are adapted to the harsh environments of Xhorhas. You also know that Xhorhas, based on its historical nature has long been assaulted and home to a number of fiendish creatures and forces left over from the Calamity, so it's possible.
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Are you scouting ahead? SAM: I'll tell you exactly what I see. MATT: First off, make a perception check for me. SAM: Six. MATT: So. MATT: This cavern opening. Fuck it. SAM: I took all my perception points and put them into drinking. MATT: Priorities. LIAM: Same. It opens up both ways into this oddly curved cavern, this space that widens and then curves around about 80 to feet side to side, with a large cylindrical rock that sits in the center like a pillar. It seems like two tunnels that curve around. What might have been an open chamber, but there is a central pillar of natural rock that sits to blockade the central portion of this chamber.
Immediately in front of you, you see an area where some of the rock is pulled away and there is a little pool of water. Maybe about 25 feet across with rocks and various other stalagmites piercing through from underneath. The entire interior looks like a creepy jaw of some massive creature with the number of stalactites and stalagmites that all intersecting and pressing against each other and meeting to where it looks like this frightening wide maw of tiny dagger-like teeth. It is a natural cavern. You can only see to where it begins to, both sides of it curve around, and then vanish ahead into darkness.
SAM: I describe all this and keep going. You guys all hanging back while Nott continues to scout? LIAM: Do you want us to keep a safe distance or what would you like us to do? SAM: Just in case, stay. SAM: I'm going to go left. Stay at the mouth of the room until you hear further. LIAM: She wants to have a look around, we are going to hang back. She is going left, come on. LIAM: I'm not going to do that. Then I walk forward. TRAVIS: Is there anything about these tunnels that looks like they were dug or is there anything embedded in the walls? MATT: Make an investigation check.
LIAM: Roll us another three. MATT: Well, here, actually no. Make a perception check. MATT: You're checking the walls Investigation or perception, your choice. Both will get you different information. SAM: -- about this very topic. MATT: Where the two creatures were on the wall, where they were scratching their claws, you go over and take a brief look at the grooves that they've been grinding into the stone. It would seem to resemble some sort of a scratching post, but if you look closely, there's a pattern to their scratching.
There are a number of points of scratching across the wall in this region. They're each about a foot apart from each other, and there seems to be an implicit design to them. You know, where those things were scratching, it looks like there's a little bit of a pattern up here. They seem to be a certain distance from each other. LIAM: Does it appear to be a language of some kind? MATT: It may. MATT: Your dick sense does not tell you that these are phallic in design in any way. You can make an arcana check if you'd like, Caleb.
SAM: Once per day. MATT: It's a very special paladin oath you've got to take for that one. LIAM: That is a MATT: 27, okay. You know exactly what these are. Only because of your research and studying. The basis of these glyphs is Abyssal. They are what are called anchor glyphs. They are designed to be the basis of larger gates. When permanent enchantments are developed and designed to instill longterm doorways between planes, realms.
Even some of the more rudimentary teleportation circles, and you catch this because you've recently found a spell of a similar type incantation. You can catch the similarities, that this is on a larger and more ancient scale. Not completed, by any means, but you can see the beginnings of what is the groundwork being laid for a larger doorway. LIAM: That was my question. They were a bit of a gate construction crew and we stopped them mid-- MATT: You could interpret that as a possibility, yeah. More like symbols? MATT: Yeah. LIAM: Abyssal in nature. MATT: "It's not really a language. It's just the letters.
LIAM: That's a good idea. I'm going to Detect Magic.
You do not sense any magical aura from these runes. Based on your findings and your understanding of the way they've been carved in, no incantation has been completed. This was essentially the very first step in building what was intended to be placed here. LIAM: Single glyph on a fragment of stone? MATT: There's not embedded in stalactites. They're more on the wall edges of the actual tunnel. It looks like they were forming an archway, essentially, with these runes. And after Yasha, Yasha says like, "Carving it out's a little bit beyond my capabilities "with a sword.
Using that, a few different places.
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MATT: There it is, five seconds, you got it. MATT: I'd say within a minute you have charcoal rubbings of six or seven of the different glyphs on the wall. There are some that are repeated. You get at least six or seven individual glyphs. MATT: Do you wish to continue to destroy any of them? LIAM: I think we should destroy all of them. MATT: Does anyone have any sort of chisels or tools?
LIAM: I pull out a small clay cat's paw and cast Maximilian's Earthen Grasp, and a giant cat's hand extends out of the stone wall and starts dragging all along the edges of it. MATT: This large like stone behemoth type cat claw carves out of the wall. As it pushes up through the stone, you hear the cracking and binding and the pressure that is sundering the element of the earth that is crumbling and leaving stones and pebbles behind in its wake. In its path, all of the runes, as it goes around from the floor to ceiling to floor, are dashed and left completely unrecognizable.
SAM: Wow. Where is it? LIAM: The rest of the cat is in my heart. LIAM: Hmm. SAM: Ahh! MATT: Which way are you going, right or left? SAM: Left. MATT: You head left. You maneuver through the darkness. Quietly, ever so quietly. You come around the edge and you can see there's other strange pieces of stone that are pushing out of the topography of the ground here as you curve around the left side.
There's clusters of stalagmites everywhere and the ground here is actually hard to move through in places. It's wider and in some cases more pinched based on how heavy the clusters of the natural stone formations fill the space around you. It creates, as you move through here, I mean, there are no shadows because there's no light, but it creates this path you have to follow to really make it through. As you push around the left side and go around the corner, this is a loop. You can see now it begins to turn around and would seem to gather with the opposite end where you came through, but you see nothing.
You don't make any visual contact with anything that catches your eye. You continue around and eventually return back to where you began. SAM: I'll go, if they're still fucking off back there, I'll go check out the pool of water. You step up to the edge of the pool of water. It is still. It is unmoving. The smell coming off of it is not pleasant. It's stagnant. It has a musky, heavy bacterial smell to it.
You can't really see below the surface. You don't know how deep it is. It's maybe about five to ten feet across at points and is clustered in a half moon shape around the base of where the edges of the tunnel meet to fill that central pillar. SAM: Nothing behind it, right, like? MATT: Yeah, where the two tunnels go around, there's that central space where the rock is blocking what would be an open chamber. It's affixed to the base of that. SAM: Oh, I see. MATT: Worse, no, nothing can be worse than that. SAM:: All right, hmm. I'll just check around for traps. Because I'm not going in without them.
You're just looking around a natural space-- SAM: MATT: You glance around in the immediate vicinity of the base of this pool and around the entranceway and nothing catches your attention. It's a pretty natural cavern. SAM: Up, anything up? MATT: Looking up, you don't see any traps hanging above. LIAM: Okay, coming. I will stealth up. MATT: Yeah, make a stealth check for me, please. As you move up around the corner, head down into the interior.
You don't see anybody. LIAM: I take out the wire. SAM: The water part. Right in front of you. I'm waving my hand, can't you see me? I'm literally jumping up and down. LIAM: What do you want to do? SAM: louder Hey, I'm over here! LIAM: laughing I walk over to the sound of the voice. MATT: Okay, you walk over and the smell of the water catches you. It's wafting up from the pool. SAM: Where's everyone else?
LIAM: I told them to wait a moment. I'm scanning the room and looking myself for-- SAM: No, you can't be here by yourself, you're puny and weak. Oh, god. LIAM: A gate, a door, what's happening? They're looking for some new employees. You could work for the company that I'm about to run.
Therefore, you're applying for the job of being my minion. SAM: He's rolling? What is happening? What's going on? LIAM: Wowie wee wow. MATT: You don't, yeah. What are you guys doing? SAM: Caleb, are you okay? LIAM: So good. So good. SAM: Shouldn't we call the others? LIAM: That would be a 12 by the way. LIAM: Okay, good. SAM: Should we call the others or? LIAM: No, we're good. I think we're all right. MATT: The rest of you guys? MATT: Where you are? Fucking shit. Just perception?
MATT: Perception or investigation, up to you. Looks like Fjord covered it. MATT: They're like, maybe feet ahead of you guys. MATT: No, there's no light source in there. SAM: Something's been bugging me, Caleb. While we're alone, I figure now's as good a time as any. I have a confession to make. A while back, I wrote a letter to someone that you know. Remember her? You told me about her and I think maybe it was a mistake in retrospect, but I wrote her a letter.
I was hoping to maybe reconnect you, someone from your past might--I'm over here, by the way. They both went together. LIAM: You are telling me this right now? SAM: Well, I mean, we're alone and there's obviously no danger around, so I figured right now would be a good time to tell you.
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LIAM: Well, we will have this discussion later. For now, just get the rest up here and we will-- SAM: Oh, you want me to get the rest. LIAM: Well, no, we can--everything's fine, come up. Coast is clear? SAM: I'm sorry, I just thought you should know. MATT: The rest of you guys are walking up towards the entrance of this cavern, with the light from Caduceus opening the space. You can see across from the entrance way, where it opens up, there's a little pool of water.
You don't see Nott, because you're still invisible, correct, but you see Caleb turn, and looking towards you all with this half cocked eyebrow, head tilted to the side slightly, in the back of your head, little voice just says, "Light them up, pretty. Caleb lifts a hand and casts Fireball right on the front entranceway, where you're all standing. MATT: Dexterity saving throw. I didn't roll high enough. Who has the node?
I think I have the node! I'm going to roll again. MATT: Failure. MATT: Yasha succeeds, she takes half damage. MATT: Fail. MATT: Correct. LIAM: I did too. MATT: 14 does not succeed. LIAM: 16 and I did it at 4th-level, and it is MATT: 16 points to Yasha. Caduceus, what'd you get?
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MATT: 34 points of damage. I'll be right back with the battlefield. LIAM: This is fucking rad! He didn't tell you to make it 4th-level! LIAM: Well, she did this really spooky sexy speech in my ear. MATT: Caleb, you were right here. LIAM: Ja. MATT: Nott, you are invisible over here next to the water.
LIAM: That was the surprise round, bitches. You're keeping your dog with you. SAM: Oh god. SAM: Hey, more food for the bounder. LIAM: It was 34 total. MATT: Unconscious, at least. LIAM: Crispy critter.
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MATT: I need you guys to roll initiative. What did you do? Damn it, damn it. LIAM: I rolled really average, guys. LIAM: 11, average. Shit, shit, shit. MATT: 25 to 20? All right. SAM: Wait a second, wait. Because Nugget just went unconscious, does Liam go catatonic? MATT: Liam didn't see it. Nugget was behind the edge of the curvature. Liam might; Caleb's fine. MATT: Thank you. So, 20 to SAM: Then Beau? MATT: Got it, all right. MATT: Is it 14? LIAM: Caleb at Motherfucking nine. Fjordy Fjord? MATT: Fjord at the end. MATT: At the top of the round. MATT: Stepping out of the corner this way, Fjord, previously what you saw was the male bugbear figure.
It was spectral earlier. It's now standing there, the faint pink skin, but now is more of a humanoid form. You can see ripped muscles, like an adonis of a male figure, with these glowing yellow eyes, sharpened teeth.
These wings, leathery, folded behind the shoulders. Steps around the corner and just goes-- and you hear in the back of your mind, lips not moving, just voice go, "Join your friend, come on. LIAM: Yes! MATT: You feel the influence tug at you and this creature, this entity is everything. Imagine what this thing and Uk'otoa could do together. MATT: You are charmed by it. That brings us, that finishes-- he's going to dart back, out of view there. We're in deep fucking shit. MATT: That's all they got that go. Yasha's turn. Yasha is now recovering from the blast of flame that just filled the interior of the cavern.
Yeah, Yasha will rush forward. MATT: Five, 10, 15, She looks into the chamber. She doesn't see anything. MATT: She doesn't know where it came from. She was around the corner. That's her movement. She has an action still. MATT: Okay, rage is up. She doesn't know anything. Could you dispel a charm if you have Dispel Magic? Could you dispel a charm on somebody? SAM: You could try.
MATT: She has no idea. She has no idea what's going on.
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MATT: So I'll say simultaneously, as Yasha comes around the corner, there's just a hint of a red in the distance, like back in this area. MATT: Glance over in that direction. She's holding her action you said? That finishes the action, Nott, you're up. You just watched your friend suddenly turn around and burn all the rest of your allies in the tunnel. With this guy, he's a little woo sometimes. Either way, I will try to take him out of the equation. I will, dropping invisibility, cast Tasha's Hideous Laughter at Caleb and try to charm him with a joke.
Hey Caleb, how many Zemnians does it take to light a lantern? One, they're efficient and humorless. That's it. MATT: Make a wisdom saving throw. SAM: Just oh.
LIAM: I beat it. It's not funny. LIAM: What's the punchline mean? SAM: Oh god, I will run and hide. I'll go back. Back behind-- yeah. MATT: So you're no longer invisible. Like near those stalagmites. MATT: Over here? SAM: Yeah, and then bonus action hide. MATT: Okay, we'll say small enough. You can move over there. Make your stealth check. MATT: 26, all right. You feel pretty confident darting in the side, pushing against the rock wall, and the nearby stalagmite, you're held aloft and nothing should be able to see you. Jester, you're on deck. MATT: You turn around the corner, and just fire.
You're just like groaning and as soon as you saw the flash, your instincts kicked in and you jumped out of the way to try to evade out of it. It still caught you, but you look forward and all you see is Caleb looking strange with his hand extended, and you see Yasha run past, and Nott tell a joke, look disappointed, and then dart off and disappear into the shadow.
MATT: That's all you've seen. MATT: Not really. MATT: His hand was up. Deduction's up to you. SAM: cooing Caleb's a killer. MATT: 15, Is this the day we all feared? Do I have to kill you now? You okay? LIAM: That's the end of your turn. Asking if he's okay. Jester, you're up. MATT: You don't know. Different effects work in different ways. LIAM: Matt'll tell us.