I write this entry in my journal from the steps of a large set of brass double doors that my companions and I have found in a series of underground caves. While we’ve had some minor excursions here and there, this is our greatest undertaking to date, with a treasure map we’ve found under dubious conditions. I must back track a little to explain.
Before we set out for our expedition north of the city today, Simone, our connection to the thieves in Greyhawk, has brought up some rather upsetting news to the party. The pirates we fought in the docks were mostly hired actors. Further investigation revealed that this third party has seemingly vanished into thin air. I’ve determined that somebody is now toying with us. Thankfully, all was not lost, as Simone was able to confirm that the “treasure map” was indeed real, pinpointing an ancient tomb far to the north of our fair city that has been uncovered due to a small oerthquake and cave in.
Earlier that morning, after we stocked up on provisions, we travelled across the Selintan via barge and headed northward through farmland until it gave way to arid hills. Without much incident, we nearly reached our destination by nightfall and set up camp. D’arcon, Echo, Simone, Kevkas, Duncan and my familiar Tokala perched ourselves up on a hill, overlooking the countryside. Kevkas spotted the area in which we were to travel in the morning, sighting a rather unusual mound of growth in the distance, putting the trees and other vegetation at twice the normal size. The night went rather smoothly, where we only became slightly disturbed when we spied a lone orc who looked badly wounded coming from the direction of our destination.
In the morning, we headed toward the peculiar mound and it took us about an hour to reach it. Once here, we could see that the ground had settled over many years, pulling into the earth what must have once sat on the top which was evidence to the broken masonary jutting out from the overgrowth. Duncan spotted a large opening in the far side of the mound and we decided to investigate.
Once our eyes adjusted to the dark, we could see light filtering in to a wide cave complex, with a somewhat shallow pool of clear water covering most of the sandy bottom of the cavern. Here we spotted some rather shiny gemstones in the deepest section along with the bones of some humanoid. As we waited for D’arcon to fish them out, Kevkas noticed that we were being watched by a mated pair of giant owls. Kevkas and Duncan bantered back and forth about whether or not to disturb the owls, as the owls had decided to decorate their nest with a rather new set of chainmail and hand axe, which would explain the picked over bones in the bottom of the pool.
After much planning, the two shoo’d the owls out of their nest long enough to grab these two bits, while D’arcon redressed and pointed out the lovely pile of gems he’d worked to retrieve. Duncan agreed to leave the owls and their two eggs alone, which reassured the druid Kevkas. I decided to say nothing, though I knew the eggs could easily fetch 2000 gold in Greyhawk.
The caves sloped down to our left into another larger cave, again with a sandy bottom, but with many stalactites. As we passed through – a strange, disheveled and naked man appeared from around a column seemingly not to notice us, as he plucked beetles and grubs from the moss covered column and placed them in his mouth. He sang to himself and muttered about our appearance as if he was trying to convince himself that we were not there. Kevkas approached him in a friendly manner and we determined that he was not in control of all his senses but we did manage to get some information out of him. That is, until D’arcon decided to slap him back into reality…
The man had come from deeper in the cave complex, where he talked about something that tried to eat him and that there were “mushroom people”. He’d also been trapped in this cavern for some time and not fully aware of his senses. D’arcon decided he had enough of his babbling and swatted him across the face. The man grew very angry, tumbled to an alcove and brandished a dagger with a blue hide covered handle. Sadly, no other information would be forthcoming and D’arcon dispatched the man and took his dagger. This caused a few sideways looks and tutting from the other companions.
We decided to move ahead and we found a passage that forked left or continued forward. We opted for the left passage and it snaked down deep into the ground and dead-ended at a small spring where it was lit by many crystals jutting in all direction. The spring seemed to leak from a fissure in the wall and disappeared somewhere in the floor. Most of the crystals were embedded firmly into the cave wall, but we did manage to extricate three of them. The crystals had strange properties. Whomever touched them felt at peace or very calm, but Kevkas, whether through his abilities or because nature looked kindly upon him, was able to see a vision of a woman dancing about in a green field. We packed these away and headed deeper into the caverns.
Before we came to the next cave, we could hear a great hollow wind whistling about. This cave, upon first inspection, seemed to be made of white stone, punctuated by a deep fissure from which the wind seemed to emanate from the ground below. A natural stone bridge crossed the chasm to the other side. D’arcon soon discovered that the walls were actually spider silk and became trapped as he tried to reach two freshly exsanguinated orc corpses as his fingers can’t seem to resist the lure of hidden treasure, despite the risks. Before we could help him, Duncan was battling a rather aggressive monstrous white spider! Echo, Kevkas and myself rushed to Duncan’s aid where we eventually sent the spider to it’s death. Meanwhile, D’arcon mumbled something about spider eggs just underneath the skins of the freshly killed orcs, grabbed two small pouches they had, and let the bodies fall into the ravine below and freed himself of his webbing. D’arcon announced that we should probably grab some of the spider silk when we leave as it would probably fetch a good price due to it’s strength.
We gathered our wits and headed deeper into the darkness. The next cave slanted down with a very uneven floor with many, many natural cave formations. The cave floor was littered with debris that had been here for some time, which told us something lived here, yet we were unsure where it was hiding. Slowly we entered the large cavern, stepping over the rough floor and broken bones that had been here for a very long time. D’arcon spotted some gemstones and went about collecting them as the cave reverberated with a loud rumbling. A gigantic blind lizard sensed our presence and climbed down the cave wall to attack us!
This proved to be a very difficult task, as it took all of us a long time stabbing at it, hiding behind stone formations and jumping out of the way of it’s deadly mouth. Not too badly hurt, we collected ourselves to move forward but noticed two orcs guarding one of the two exits!
They almost seemed like statues, standing almost still until we could get a better look at them. It seemed the lizard was merely an alarm system to alert these “guards”. The closer we approached the more they began to twitch and move, as if they could detect we were coming. To our horror, their skin was covered with a film and had hideous mushroom stalks protruding from their eye sockets!
Kevkas and Duncan voiced concern that they orcs were diseased and were very hesitant about moving forward, so we opted for ranged attacks to bring them down. Simone flung her daggers and I, my magic missiles into the bodies of these foul creatures, which caused them to ooze and pop, sending spores into the air around them. My companions were correct and we stayed away until the air looked settled enough to retrieve Simone’s daggers. We unanimously decided to venture to the other cave mouth instead of the one that the putrescent orcs stood guard at.
This next cave was dimly lit, but we could make out that this was some kind of fungus garden, with taller mushrooms at the periphery of the cave walls. Duncan could see that there was an entrance to the caves we did not want to pursue to the south and another passage to the east that disappeared into pitch black just past the mushrooms. Before we could do much decision making, 3 mushrooms blasted our eardrums with a high pitched scream! The only way it seemed to stop the noise was by killing these annoying things, no doubt, another line of defense for what we soon found to be a colony of mushroom creatures.
The south passage soon filled with moving humanoid shapes from very tiny to nearly 8 feet tall, blocking our way south. Duncan and Kevkas moved to the other cavern mouth and urged us all to do the same. We quickly complied and while they didn’t pursue us, we did feel like we would be watched closely by the colony.
Just past the mushroom garden, we came upon a wall of stacked stones and a passage that descended farther into inky darkness. Carefully, my companions dislodged some of the smaller rocks and found a light coming from the other side, from the cavern I now sit writing down my thoughts of what has transpired.
Working carefully, yet quickly, we removed enough of the rocks to wiggle through to the well furnished cave on the other side. Clearly, whatever or whomever lived here wanted to barricaded itself from the rest of the caves and their inhabitants. Rugs covered the sandy floor and torches lit the space. There was an ornate divan and a table with place settings for dinner. Two large, brass doors stood at a slight angle, yet were fastidiously polished.
From around a large pillar, a peculiar man appeared in a toga. He was tall, bronze and rather friendly. He greeted us and stated that he lived here. His overly friendly attitude alarmed Duncan, the swordsman, and Kevkas, the druid, and declined the meal he served us. I had my thoughts about what kind of creature this could be but I kept that to myself. The “man” began asking us where we came from and what we had seen on our adventures. When the man was sufficiently satisfied and very curious about the crystals we had and offered us a deal. In exchange for the crystals, he would give us whatever we wanted from his hoard of treasure plus the key to the great doors to the tomb that we sought.
Duncan traded the chainmail armor and axe from the owls nest for a pair of mighty gauntlets. The crystals were traded in for a wand of magic missiles, which I gladly snatched up.
If my book is in your hands now, this means I am dead, for I have gone past these great brass doors into the unknown. Into this strange tomb. The “Tomb of Gleph”.