In this episode of “Themventures”: stubborn abominations, heated debate, Undermountain antics, and mountains of cheese! Will our heroes make it out alive? Or will the emotional pressures of hoarding cheese lead them to tear each other apart? Find out now!
The team makes short work of the winding and frustrating dungeon they had retrieved the abomination from. Throughout the exit, Artorius, Sky and Zavra juggle both the abomination amulet and Bangle of Hope between them. Finally back on the surface, our heroes head back in the direction of Waterdeep, striking up a vigorous debate as they travelled. No one can seem to agree on how to deal with the abomination. Some want to return it to its previous owner, others to scope out the situation with all interested parties, but in the end Artorius and Zavra win out with taking the creature to the authorities (hopefully for a profit).
Them stops over at Daggerfart on the way to Waterdeep. Most sleep in an inn, but ever vigilant Zavra takes up position on a nearby grassy knoll with Fred the owlbear, holding the abomination amulet as she meditates. It is certainly a picture, and unsurprisingly she gets through the night undisturbed. Perrin and Kaedri are not so lucky, however. In the middle of the night, Perrin is awoken from sleep after an intense dream of being crushed by rocks inside a collapsing tunnel. His fast breathing wakes Kaedri, who tries to make sure he’s not going to die or something. Satisfied he’s only a little terrified, she goes back to sleep, and eventually Perrin follows suit.
The next day the group sets off on the path again, and finally back in Waterdeep they immediately head to the Open Lord, minus Kaedri who stays at the city gates in protest of not taking the abomination back to the original owner. Zavra introduces the creature to the Open Lord, who offers 5,000gp for it, however neither Zavra nor Artorius are pleased with such peanuts and decide to keep the abomination with them until further notice. Sometime during this meeting the Open Lord mentions rumors that Halaster’s Heirs are planning an attack on the city, and asks the group for their help in containing the situation.
Them goes straight to their tight-lipped old friend Durnan to ask about Halaster, and while he is (as always) difficult and evasive, Zavra eventually breaks him down with a mixture of verbal abuse and coaxing. He tells the group about his past with the Heirs, and how he left after Halaster died. He also tells Them a juicy little nugget about how the Heirs will need cheese to complete the ritual – thus explaining the great Fearun-wide cheese shortage of 1477DR.
Our heroes are happy to take Durnan’s word and begin a great crusade against cheese that terrorizes the nearby Sword Coast. While the group eventually convinces the Open Lord to illegalise the generation of cheese, the crusade begins before it is technically supposed to, leading to an unconscious farmer with a suspicious lack of cheese. Whoopsie. Perrin takes a more gentle approach and buys up all the available cheese in nearby Neverwinter. By the time the group returns to Waterdeep, the farmers have surrendered all their cheese to local authorities, and it is being stored within the Open Lord’s residence. Unsatisfied with the level of security surrounding the cheese, Zavra demands it be destroyed permanently. The Open Lord puts up resistance but eventually acquiesces and the cheese becomes soup.
Having finally dealt with the cheese situation, Them sets off into the Undermountain in the hopes of mapping the lay of the land and foiling the Heirs’ plans. The first obstacle our heroes encounter is a misty room with a hole in the middle and a plank leading across. As Sky attempts to cross, a specter of what seems to be Halaster appears and challenges Sky, Poppy and Zavra to solve a basic logic puzzle before progressing. Unsurprisingly, they pass with flying colours, and continue on. Sky plonks herself on a throne up the other end of the room and is treated to a vision of a large scorpion lady pouring over a filthy, disgusting, almost destroyed ritual book.
The group next encounters a room full of hobgoblins surrounding a normal goblin and bugbear as they fight gladiator-style in the middle of the room. Artorius attempts to challenge the bugbear, but is ignored. He instead ends up beating the goblin to death after it defeats the bugbear and being presented with an enslaved dwarf girl. In retaliation for participating in slavery, Artorius and Zavra decide to slaughter the hobgoblins and free the dwarf girl along with two other prisoners in the next room (a dwarf and rogue hobgoblin). Them clothes and arms the new arrivals so they might die less quickly in combat. Before moving on. Various other doors lead to dead ends, and the group explores, mapping as they go. After a while, they locate a door which, when opened, leads to another door a few feet away. The moment they open the next door they are pelted with a collection of random potions that alternatively help and poison them. The potions are being flung by a kobold sitting behind a desk in a small room. Eventually Artorius manages to intimidate the creature into ceasing and he and Zavra move forward to talk to him. The kobold turns out to be severely depressed and very lonely, so Them tells him to pack up his things and they will take him out of the Undermountain with them on the way out. He seems reluctant, but finally agrees.
Down another corridor the group finds a next with lizard-esque eggs. Artorius takes one, but Zavra (ever the adventurous soul) takes all the remaining ones. What could go wrong? And now finally our heroes find something relevant to their quest. Behind another door is an altar dedicated to Halaster. It is covered in cheese and a very bloody, feces-covered book sits on the altar. They can just make out the words “We will bring Halaster back on [obscured], meeting at the agreed location, to perform the ritual, Murial”. However, the altar is magically sealed and unable to be disturbed. Nothing can be disturbed and the group does not have the magical ability to break the seal. Disappointed, Them turn away from the altar in search of something less difficult.