2 min read

AtD 034: Giving Exploration a Whirl

Against the Darkness is a 5e Dungeons & Dragons campaign set in the Duchy of Ashlar--a mini-campaign setting from Raging Swan Press
AtD 034: Giving Exploration a Whirl

Pushing on downstream, the party continued their quest to escape the hellish subterranean prison in which they found themselves.

Ozloc—more in tune with his surroundings than his companions—was the first to notice the water was slowly rising, and speeding up. The redoubtable warlock called a halt to proceedings, and the party debated their next move. The faint green glowing phosphorescent mould on the walls revealed the passageway was slowly getting narrower and lower, which concerned several of the heroes.

Still, the party (and particularly Thonn) were convinced the way out lay ahead. Forging onwards, they soon realised that matters were coming to a head. As the waters deepened and sped up, the party again halted and debated their next course. Balasar cast light on an old oil flask, and the party set it adrift to see what would happen. It bobbed away from the party for about 100 feet before abruptly disappearing—dropping into some unseen flooded abyss at the end of the passageway.

Thonn exulted! A way out beckoned! The half-orc’s companions were less sure, but the warrior chose to push on. Tying a rope around his waist he advanced. As the water’s insistent tug got stronger, the half-orc waded through water now up to his chest to the very edge of a whirlpool dropping down a vertical shaft into some unknown depth.

Desperate to escape, the half-orc took a deep breath and jumped in.

Immediately, he wished he had not. The water pounded on him, and as he dropped into the shaft he almost lost all sense of direction. Sanity reasserted itself, and Thonn tried to swim upwards. The water’s strength was too much, and the hapless explorer was in serious danger of either being pummelled to death by the water or drowning.

Up top, Thonn’s companions realised by the rope’s wild gyrations that something was seriously wrong. The heroes leapt into action, and only through a combined effort was a near-death, bedraggled and mostly drowned half-orc pulled back to his companions.

Clearly, the party now needed to rest. Almost completely out of magical healing they worried that another random encounter with the dungeon’s denizens would spell their death. Retreating upstream, they found an isolated dry rock shelf and fell into an exhausted slumber.

Fortune was with the heroes, and their rest proved uneventful.

While resting, the party hatched a plan: they would return to the initial labyrinth and explore it thoroughly—a way out must exist somewhere amid the confusing network of passages and caves.

This they did, first electing to explore thoroughly a long passageway that seemed to go nowhere. While they did so, Gromm heard the furtive sounds of something following the party. He lay in wait as his companions headed down the passageway and surprised a troglodyte. Gromm slew the beast after a short melee and rejoined his companions, who were rushing back to assist him.

With no more troglodytes in evidence, the party continued onwards, reaching the end of the corridor. A brief search revealed a badly hidden secret door. Excitement reigned—perhaps beyond lay a set of stairs and their escape!