In Pursuit Of Shadow Dragons

It has been four years since you last saw the sun although a few of you have seen a glimpse of sunight filtered through falling water (below). You stepped below in Irince 5992 and while you are fairly sure the year is now 5996 you don’t know exactly what month it is. The underworlders have multiple ways of reckoning time and none of them agree exactly. Your best guess is that it is either late in the North year of 5996 or summer of the South year of 5996.

What has happened in those four years? A great deal but the specifics I will leave to each of you. All characters must have the same beginning situation below. The four characters starting at the first session must have the same A-team situation. Everyone else must use the same stragglers situation.

This applies to the two of your PCs you took to the Urmana Vale, not to any of the others in your portfolio. Let me know if you need help remembering who that is.

The Beginning Situation

We ended the last situation with most of the party heading into the underworld after the Shadow Dragon Sjachkethend (pronounced ‘Shash-ke-thend’, which is draconic for Shadow-gem). You had learned that this shadow dragon had terrorized even the dreaded Lubgrubbers and had driven them to the surface, causing the problems in the Urmana Vale. You had killed a caravan of Lubgrubbers moving some of their young to the surface and planned to head farther in. This is where the story picks up out of game.

Seven of you had headed in leaving the rest of the party with the water spirit. After a night of rest the seven heard sounds of people approaching from behind and saw the flickers of a distance light source. They doused their lights and setup an ambush only to find it was the rest of the party come to join them and also bringing the news that the Lubgrubbers were coming after them in mass to avenge the massacre of their young.

The party discussed whether to return to the surface and abandon the attempt to deal with the shadow dragons, at least for the moment, but Bael reported that the Lubgrubbers were already holding the path back in some force. So instead, the decision was made to venture deeper into the underworld and to either use the passage into Trionesse that the shadow dragons were preparing as part of their assault on the surface or come back through Urmana once the Lubgrubber menance had subsided.

After some preliminary battles, you made your way through the shadow dragon murk to Sjachkethend and defeated the dragon queen and her minions thanks to the wonderful items the Amaranthine Rose gave you. However, as the shadows thinned and you savored your victory, a huge one eyed men showed up. Dressed in fabulous gilt mail and carrying a great spear, he railed against you for meddling in his affairs then he doomed you all to the death. He then smashed the butt of his spear into the floor of the cavern. Huge cracks radiated from the spear towards you. Crevices opened in the ground, rubble fell from the ceiling. If the falling ceiling did not kill you, the plummet into the gaping chasms beneath you would. Even the winged party members could not escape: they could flee the void beneath them but not the rubble descending on them.

It seemed your victory would turn to ashes but as you each prepared to meet your end, you noticed a small man run up behind the spear wielder. He shouted something but you could not make it out over the din of the collapsing cave. Each of you found yourself encased in a magic blue sphere that protected you from the debris and tumble. Most of you plunged into darkness (except for the one or two of you using a light source, the rest can have retrieved a sun stick at some point). You bounced and fell for what seemed ten minutes before at least landing in an underground river that carried you deeper and father into the underworld.

At last you cast up on an underworld shore and the protective bubble dissipated, intact and whole but far from the surface. This is where your four year absence from the surface begins. You were carried so far from the surface that the beings you met had never even heard of Lubgrubbers (or anything matching their description), the shadow dragons or Urmana vale.

Whether you were cast ashore alone or near party members is up to you. At some point, you re-assembled into two groups, the A-team and the stragglers. If you wish, you can have had your straggler group character die in the underworld but you’re A-team must be alive.

For some elements to use when crafting your story for the intervening years, see Underworld Lore. Characters can have stuck together for their entire time in the underworld but only one character gets the residuum bonus if you share a background (regardless of whether you share the background between your own toons or another player’s toons.)

The A-Team

This group consists of four PCs plus one possible companion to fill out a single role short fall. If you have a two role short fall, you will just have to live with it. There is one and only one PC per player in this group.

Four of you re-united in the underworld and have battled your way through untold perils and miles of dank passages to near the surface. You met up in the Dwaro city of Lurumesh, one of the few bright points in the underworld. Here, you consulted the Dwaro loremasters and by piecing together their lore and knowledge from your own sojourn, you charted a path to the surface.

If the party needs a companion to fill a missing role, such as healer, the companion will be a guide hired in Lurumesh.

You set out from Luruemsh months ago. Your journey took you by boat on subterranean rivers, to many other settlements (none as grand as Lurumesh), through endless tunnels and caverns. And, of course, there were epic battles as well. Finally, you neared the surface. Here you found the cavern where you had killed the Shadow Dragon matriarch so many years ago, choked and impassable but unmistakable by the skeletal dragon’s tail poking from the rubble and the drags of her shadows.

You could not travel back on your original path but you also knew you were close. Exploring from here you have struck out towards the north on a path rising to the surface. You passed a huge plunge hole filled by a roaring waterfall. The water filtered the sunlight to a watery whisper but to your eyes it was dazzling, the first daylight you had seen in four years. Your best guess was that this was the waterfall in the Urmana vale at the northeast end. You had never visited this one as the nymph here was said to be evil. Moreover, the thundering water looked impassable for the winged party members (if any). You had to press on but you knew you were heading north, out from under Urmana and towards Trionesse.

You are one day past the water fall when we pick up.

The Stragglers

This group consists of both of the ref’s PCs plus everyone else’s second PC (if they chose not to have it perish in the underworld.)

Every has been searching for signs of a way to the surface or at least word of their companions. Over the years, various PCs met up with each other, the largest group coming together in Lurumesh a month after another group of surface dwellers departed for the surface. You recognize them as your old friends. Here anyone who wants to remain in the underworld may do so but at least you now have some idea how to get back if you later change your mind. The rest of the group sets off after the A-team.

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