Gary Gygax Tribute Campaign

Session 49 (Vault of the Drow, part 1)

Played on 9-18-20

Torc and Jadis sent messengers to Mardak, Night Shadow, and Aguiler about the attack on Castle Greyhawk by Lareth the Beautiful, and within 2 weeks the party assembled at Castle Greyhawk. They decided to take up Lareth’s challenge to find him in the Drow city of Erelhei-Cinlu before he could use the Drow’s magic to somehow reinvigorate the Temple of Elemental Evil to battle again. Instead of gathering a small army to accompany them, the party chose to take a low profile, stealthier approach and only brought 3 pack bearers and a mule to carry provisions and useful items with them on the journey.

On July 5, the party set out. Torc and Night Shadow used their Rings of Continual Light to light the way. Opening the secret door in the tunnel beneath Castle Greyhawk toward the Great Ridge, the party headed west down the secret tunnel under the marsh. After a quarter mile, they entered the natural cavern Aguiler had seen before that had abundant bats and small crawling albino insects and centepedes. They followed the cavern wall to their left until they found a 30’ x 20’ wide/high primary tunnel and a 20’ x 15’ secondary tunnel a quarter mile apart, both tunnels headed further westward per the map you obtained in Raven’s Crag.

The party decided to travel down the primary tunnel. Its ceiling height ranged from 20 to 50 feet, but kept a 25 to 35 foot width. The tunnel slowly went deeper into the earth, sometimes slanting down or having 3 foot terraces to clammer down. The limestone ceiling dripped, making the floor slippery and treacherous in places. Not far down the tunnel, phosphorescent lichen sprouted, casting a dim ghostly light in the tunnel that continued to provide dim illumination on their journey through the primary tunnel. Night Shadow, Aguiler, and Jadis scouted ahead of the party. Aguiler and Jadis could see normally with their infravision while Night Shadow could see just well enough to avoid stumbling on rocks in the dim light cast by the glowing lichens. A mile down the passage, Aguiler came across an elf-sized footprint in the rock mud that appeared to be headed in the direction they were following. About 40 feet ahead of the print, they saw a faint red glow behind a pile of stones like firelight. Jadis crept ahead alone to check it out and saw 3 fire beetles. Jadis crept back, and after a whispered report, the party decided to hug the north wall to avoid the creatures. However, the fire beetles were hungry and moved out from behind the stones to attack. But the party was ready, and Torc and Mardak who were in front made short work of the creatures with mighty blows from sword and mace. Night Shadow wildly shot his arrows and managed to snap his bowstring in the process. Luckily, he always carried a couple of replacement bowstrings with him, as necessary. Seven fire beetle glands were harvested for better natural light for this underworld, which the party believed would last them several days.

Going onward, the tunnel showed signs of considerable working and appeared to be frequently traveled by the wear in the limestone floor. After a half day of travel, they encountered a group of 10 male Drow, apparently warriors on patrol. Each were 4.5 to 5 feet tall with coal black skin and dead white hair. All were clad in blackened elven chainmail and dark elven cloaks and mostly armed with hand crossbows and short swords with the faintest detectible lichen-like glow (no gleam in light like normal steel) when drawn. The Drow asked the party in elvish (in a distinctive Drow dialect) to identify themselves and their business. The party respectfully kept their lights low when speaking with them in a mix of elven and common tongues and claimed they were merchants headed to Erelhei-Cinlu. Whether the Drow believed them, they could not say, but the Drow apparently did not consider them as a substantial threat and requested a bribe in common tongue that sounded strange and outdated (e.g. Wouldst ye ply me wi’ gemstones?). Night Shadow offered 6 magic arrows, but these were rejected due to their surface world elven make. Instead, a bribe of 200 gps in gemstones satisfied them and allowed the party to proceed down the tunnel. After another half day of travel, they stopped for the night in the tunnel without incident.

What they believed to be was the next day (it’s hard to tell without sunlight), the party continued deeper down the tunnel, and after a quarter day of travel, they reached a huge cavern, about 120’ square and its 150’ high ceiling dome supported by buttresses and flying arches carved into the living stone itself. Its walls were polished smooth up to 35 feet. Vegetation and minerals in the cavern gave off a dim bluish shadowless light. To the north, south, and southwest were 3 side tunnels, but the primary tunnel the party was following to the northwest was blocked by a 35 foot stone wall lined with battlements and patrolled by 4 male Drow warriors (armed much like their Drow patrol counterparts). Two massive bronze gates studded with spikes that projected outward was the only way through the wall.

After consideration, the party decided to try the same tactics they used with the patrol, but soon found that these guards were not as agreeable. Again, the party Identified themselves as merchants looking to trade in Erelhei-Cinlu, and the Drow allowed them through the gate. After taking 800 gps in gems as a toll, the party was soon surrounded by 16 male Drow fighters and further questioned, asking what merchant clan they were aligned with. When they could not produce credentials and said they were from Sobanwych (which the Drow present never heard of such town), Drow commander Trysik had their baggage searched, that initially uncovered only common tools and provisions. Jadis could tell the commander cast Detect Magic over the party, and looked somewhat impressed. After the party explained they were looking to buy exotic wares in Erelhei-Cinlu to trade to the surface world, the commander took the 2 best armored among them, Mardak and Torc, aside to his office to question them in common tongue. Trysik accused them of being spies, which they denied. Trysik cast another spell (Know Alignment), and said that Mardak reeked of the surface world and would not survive long without a black metal medallion that he showed them which had a spider on one face and a hot female Drow on the other face. Although Trysik appeared to not believe their stated business, he appeared disinclined to potentially engage in a battle to the death against the strong magic he detected on the party. Being chaotic evil without scruples, a suitable bribe would do that would not come back to haunt him. He proposed that Torc and Mardak and 1 other person they chose go kill the subterranean lizards that have been harassing traffic in the area from the north side passage. The others would be held as prisoners until the task was done. He did not know the exact number of lizards, but he estimated a pack of about a half dozen. He would accept 4 lizard heads as proof of completion of their mission, and Mardak would be given the black metal medallion on completion of the task. Of course, they needed to complete their mission and return within 24 hours or the 5 prisoners left behind would be killed (assuming they could not avoid execution by their own prowess).

The party’s general treasure is 348,000 cps; 287,300 sps; 40,000 eps; 125,900 gps; 9,000 pps; 33,760 gps in gems (21-10gp + 25-50p + 23-100gp + 16-500gp + 12-1,000gp + 2-5,000gp diamonds); 6 rings (8,250 gps); 5 jeweled figures (4,680 gps); 10 peridot gems (4-100 gp, 2-500 gps, and 4-1,000 gps – stitched on the ToEE Water cloak); a gold necklace (1,000 gps); a platinum ring with small ruby (2,000 gps); Dracock’s emerald jeweled dagger (5,000 gps); 7 fire beetle glands (4 days of light); 6 flasks of oil; 2 vials of holy water; 20 incense sticks (300 gps); +1 studded leather; +1 halberd; +1 hand axe; 1 cure blindness salve coated cloth; 5 potions: invisibility x 8 uses; unidentified pea green silver flecked potion; unidentified potion of pink color like Drow horsetail mushroom pendant; fearie fire spider blood (4 uses); a loadstone (worth 25 gps); silver helm with 15 blue quartz gems (250 gps); a silver amulet on a blue ribbon (30 gps); Pewter tableware (216 gps); Small golden chest (500 gps); Tapestry (80 gps); Ornamental bottle with moonstone stopper (1,000 gps); 1 wooden neck charm (poison resistance?); a manure soup recipe; 7 bronze Earth temple rings set with jet (350 gps); 2 gold Water temple rings set with peridot gems (1,500 gps); 5 ToEE black cloaks of the fiery eye, 1 ToEE black cloak of the golden skull, 1 brown cloak with 2 black triangles on it (earth temple), 2 red robes with purple lining and embroidered gold skulls (fire temple); and 1 Drow elf pink horsetail mushroom brooch. Also 2 riding horses (11, 7 hps).

Night Shadow has the following items: Leather armor +1 (gold thread on interior); +3 buckler; Boots of Elvenkind; Ring of Invisibility; poisoned needle (Zert’s chest); Darion’s dandy shoes (5 gps); Zenopus’s golden neck chain and pendant (300 gps); Zenopus’s +1 dagger; +1 longbow & 6 +3 arrows & 2 +2 fire arrows; 2 longswords; a short sword (giant’s knife); and 2 sugared fruits coated with Ichor of Intoxication.

Torc Ironwolf has the following items: +1 falchion chopper sword (1 failed weapon save); One-handed war hammer +1 (marked with silver glyphs, 1 failed weapon save); +5 small shield with 5 black fire gems; +1 small shield with wolf insignia; Ring of continual light; potions of growth & extra healing; and 2 medium warhorses (Furnok, a rare pure white stallion and excellent for breeding, 15 hps, worth 450 gps).

Mardak Chorster has the following items: Cloak of Protection (+1 AC & saving throws); +1 Ring of Protection; +2 platemail; +1 small shield with runes; 5 flasks of holy water; Scroll of Protection against undead; Cleric scroll: Death’s Door; 1 healing potion (4-10 hps); 4 ornate gold chalices with gold tray (500 gps); and the abbey’s fire opal (1,000 gps).

Jadis Varda has scroll spells of Enlarge, Sleep, Push, Levitate, Stinking Cloud, Run, and Fly; healing potion; clairvoyance potion; wand of petrification (2 charges); +3 Staff of Striking (8 charges); Staff of the Evoker (13 ch: unseen servant, armor, burning hands, magic missile, detect magic [1 ch]; invisibility, Leomund’s trap, locate object, whip, zephyr [2 ch]); +1 dagger; 2 throwing daggers; a Chime of Opening (22 charges); and a Ring of Shooting Stars. He also has a small-sized magical Cloak of Elvenkind (approx. 95% invisibly when not in combat).

Aguiler has a healing potion.

Carnage Meter (in war)
Slain: 260 (210)
Wounded: 79
Total casualties: 339
Slain: 14 (80)


Those familiar with the module, Vault of the Drow, will note that I realigned the maps to fit my campaign. Instead of generally going northward in the module, the adventurers are headed westward in my campaign.


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