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Old May 3rd, 2020, 07:34 AM
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Chapter 1: Velkynvelve

Awakening How long you have been walking, you cannot say. The journey has had a nightmarish timeless quality; the dreary creeping horror of repetition, of marching in the same order through the same endless pitch-black corridors for hours or weeks on end, punctuated by the sudden nauseous disorientation you feel at finding yourselves in the midst of some unforeseeable alien landscape. The regular doses of poison your captors administer only make things worse, dulling your minds and lending the scenery strange new subtext. Towering stands of mushrooms leave you with the giddying feeling that you have shrunk, and emerged into some forest on the surface only to find that you are creeping through the undergrowth, no larger now than a mouse or a beetle. Then the walls close in again, and you must bend low to the ground to squeeze through great echoing chasms - no more than cracks in the stone to your vast, distended forms...

By the time you realise that the poison is wearing off, you have already arrived. You are vaguely aware of an ascent, and then lilac ghost-lights are dancing before your eyes, dazzling after your long intimacy with the murk. You stumble, footing suddenly unsteady, prompting impatient taunts and tugs from your captors, and then - with a quiet but strangely resonant click, a gate is sealed fast behind you.

Your heads are beginning to clear. You are locked in. You are collared and chained. You are in a long, low-ceilinged cave, dimly lit by bluish fungi creeping across its rear walls. You are prisoners of the drow...






left-aligned image

"Good morning!"

A quiet voice calls out to you, in a clipped precise Common that helps to disperse the last of your narcotic daze. This is surely a holding cell, but your interlocutor is himself a dark elf... a fellow prisoner, it would seem. Restrained in the same way as the rest of you, he slumps awkwardly against the wall of the cave. His face is a mass of scars, but his voice as he repeats his greeting is clear, calm, and faintly ironic.

"Good morning! Isn't that what you say up there, on the surface..? I hope you've slept well. Welcome to Velkynvelve!"


OOC Welcome to Velkynvelve! Please find below a map of your immediate surroundings (X marks the spot) - what's included is roughly what you can see or infer the presence of by peering through the portcullis of your prison cavern, and is also pictured above. Torches and phosphorescent fungi mean that the walkways and hanging stalactites are i.e., perfectly visible for those with Darkvision but lightly obscured (disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks relying on sight - to those without.dimly lit. The rest of the cavern is dark, and therefore disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks relying on sightlightly obscured even to those with Darkvision.

You have been fitted with iron slave collars and wrist manacles. The manacles are joined by a short length of chain that runs through a hoop fitted to the collar; you can use your hands, but your range of movement is limited and fully extending both arms at once is impossible. Mechanically this is a variation on the
  • Attack rolls against you have advantage, and your attack rolls have disadvantage.
  • You have disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws.
restrained
condition. I'll copy some of these points to the Rule Forty-two thread, for ease of reference.

Now: ready, set... escape!

 


Last edited by Therru; May 6th, 2020 at 02:00 PM.
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Old May 3rd, 2020, 08:26 PM
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Tupo
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In the dim light the prisoners can see clearly, perhaps for the first time, that one of their erstwhile traveling companions is a massive Lizardfolk. The rotund reptile drops to the floor with a thump and sits cross legged, kicking gravel and grit off of his feet. He tilts his head as he examines the other captives with one narrowed eye. His other eye is protruding, cloudy and bloodshot.

He spends a few extra moments sizing up the scarred drow, though if he's evaluating trustworthiness or edibility is unclear.
 


He runs one clawed finger around the inside of of his collar and sighs, apparently not happy with the fit. Then he points at himself with one black-clawed thumb and grunts, "Tupo."


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Old May 3rd, 2020, 10:20 PM
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ehruntyr's awakening



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The light of Ehruntyr's focus was thin and spread apart. His eyes were heavy with ache. Drearily, he

swam through a foggy place, where semblances of his former life distorted.

A chemical fatigue leaded the gnomes small bones. Aching eye sockets and a spinning vertigo was what Ehruntyr

awoke to. Feeling like getting a grip on his wandering senses was like trying to grasp at water.

Ehruntyr's spirit could barely enter his body, it was sluggish and trembling.

Eventually, control of his senses became possible. A small sliver of dim grey light began to cut through the black veil

of his aching slumber. When he awoke, Ehruntyr's eyes were laden with nauseating double vision.

" UGGHHK "

A chested bellow of defiance and disgust echoed from the small gnomes belly. His amber blonde hair was greasy with

mud and guano. A begrudging journey into the Underdark had left some scabs and yellowing bruises on the rugged

gnomes body. " Ehhh, not so loud bucko.." The queasy gnome mumbled to himself as he staggered to his

knees. The wild eyed gnome leveled out his head, and swung it upward to have a look around the cavern. That's

when Ehruntyr glimpsed a massive humanoid crocodile within whispering distance of him.

The gnome breathed very slowly as he moved back to the ground and pretended to play dead.




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Old May 3rd, 2020, 10:31 PM
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Anya
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The skinny half-elven girl chained up nearby flinched back as the big lizard-thing spoke, curling her knees up close to her chest and fixing her dark-ringed eyes warily on the massive creature and its massive teeth.

***

The brutal trek down into the darkness had been particularly hard on Anya. When it began, seemingly years ago, she'd been all fire and defiance, cursing and flailing at her drow captors at every opportunity. The raiding party that had murdered Gaven and kidnapped her found Anya's antics merely entertaining, but the group of slave-drivers to whom they'd sold her off had been less amused with such a willful slave - especially an elf.

Anya had never regarded the elven half of her heritage as a blessing, but here, it was truly a curse. The drow slave-drivers weren't gentle with any of their captives, but one look at Anya's pointed ears had earned her attentions far beyond the casual, disinterested brutality with which they treated the other slaves. The legendary enmity and spite of the drow for their surface cousins had been on full and sadistic display all the way down into the depths, and if the drow realized or cared that Anya was only half-elven, it didn't dull their viciousness in the least. Since she's been with this particular coffle of slaves, she's kept as silent as she could, shoulders slumped and eyes downcast, all her attention bent simply on avoiding the drow's notice.


***

Anya's sunken eyes flitted back and forth between the hulking lizard and the scarred drow who spoke up, not knowing which frightened her more. The drow spoke Common rather well... but that was hardly a comfort.





 
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Old May 4th, 2020, 02:28 AM
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RothéThe stuporous haze of the Drow sleeping toxins was a familiar sensation to the rothé, a gentle balm flowing through its veins taking some of the ache from its flesh and bone. The wretched looking creature didn't understand why it had been taken from its pen and taken so far from what was familiar. The rothé could tell the darkness and towering mushrooms weren't same as where it had been. Eyes glassily reflecting the comforting glow of the bluish fungus it stared blankly ahead, seemingly unaware of the manacle and chains binding it to the other prisoners in the cave. It would have come across as virtually lifeless were it not for a single, violent, twitch of one of its fingers when the voice of the Drow spoke. "Good Morning!"

"Good morning! Isn't that what you say up there, on the surface..? I hope you've slept well. Welcome to Velkynvelve!" Barely moving its head Rothé peered out, carefully searching for the source of the voice. He's over here... Hymraeti stood by the Drow's shoulder, gesturing to get Rothé's attention. The sleeping poison of the Drow made him sluggish and less alert than usual. With the rothé slumped the way it was, he could not get a good look. The Drow's presence was made note of however. As was the name he spoke: Velkynvelve. Had they heard that name before? Rothé left G˙rolk a note. She would soon remember if they knew that name or not. Shaking off the residual stultification of the Drow poison Rothé slowly realised there was more of note than just the Drow in here with them.

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Old May 4th, 2020, 06:49 PM
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For the most part the small goblin that has been a part of the caravan has done her best to remain as inconspicuous as possible. Ears drooped, eyes lowered, she's shuffled along without objection or a trace of disobedience. It's the sort of behavior the drow captors would associate with one used to the life of a slave, a servant of the drow in particular. Which would be the truth, though the conditions of her "enslavement" were far different than what they could imagine. Odds were good if they knew the full extent of her services she wouldn't be here, she would either have been killed or ransomed off to her house. But the goblin isn't about to let them know that, and since nobody ever thinks twice about a goblin showing the sort of behavior she has shown, it's worked. Meek, timid, and compliant, just what they both want and expect.

Once the gates close and the guards depart though there's an immediate change in her demeanor. Ears perk up, posture straightens, and her previously downtrodden and sullen eyes take on an unmistakable sharpness. Her eyes shift over to the other drow with a huff as he regards them as "surface dwellers", though her attention quickly shifts to the manacles around her wrists. Relatively speaking she was left with a bit more range of motion than the others, the drow not as used to accounting for such small folk, but it wasn't enough to truly make a difference. Just enough for her to get a better view of the inside of the locking mechanism, which she keeps her study on. "Freakin' sleep poison. Y'know the shaman in my old warren used ta have a hook up for some of that crap? He'd snort it to commune with the spirits or whatever. Old bastard even managed to find an antidote for it. No joke, whipped it up after one of his fever dreams," she says to nobody in particular, seemingly talking either to herself or to whomever might be listening. She doesn't seem to care which. "You have any idea how much he could've gotten for that? But, no, kept it for himself and then got eaten. What a dumbass," she snorts in a dismissive tone as she continues her study. Normally goblins would treat a shaman with fear and reverence, but there isn't a trace of either in her voice.

"Or I'm just makin' it all up. Who knows?" she asks rhetorically as she turns to the drow that was so quick to address them. "Wouldn't go gettin' all chummy with ugly over there. It'd be a pretty typical drow thing to put a plant in with the prisoners to spy on us, in case we were thinkin' about tryin' to break outta here," she notes before she shifts her attention to the rest of the cell, taking note of surroundings, people within, and other things. It would seem the meek goblin was hiding quite a bit, not the least of which was some inside knowledge of their captors.
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Old May 4th, 2020, 10:19 PM
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Tupo
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Tupo's attention falls primarily on the goblin, since she has the dual distinctions of being talkative and not a drow. He nods wistfully at the part where the shaman gets eaten.

He considers the goblin's warning, glowering thoughtfully at the scarred drow for a moment, but then shrugs. His inclination is to keep his cards close to his chest... not let the slavers know they've caught an educated lizardfolk. But the scar-faced drow didn't seem all that bright. He was probably nothing to worry about... and certainly edible if push came to shove.

Tupo leans forward and speaks accented common in a low, rumbling hiss. "Let's be clear, I'm not thinking of going anywhere. But I am thinking that the drow don't seem all that keen on keeping us in good shape for the long 'aul."

He lowers his voice to a whisper and nods toward Ehruntyr, "Did you see that just now? That poor 'afling just keeled over and died right in front of us. Grim stuff. It's a very sloppy slave 'older indeed wot lets their slaves kick off like that on day one. And a sloppy slave 'older is bad news for the slave. Believe me, I know."

He reached out with a toe to nudge the prone gnome gently.

"Must've been one of those... weak-'eart 'aflings you 'ear about, poor soul. Shame to let 'im go to waste, though..."



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Old May 5th, 2020, 08:15 AM
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Anya
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"Oh gods, it can talk!" gasped Anya, scooting away from Tupo as far as the chains would allow. The chatty goblin had struck her as unusual enough, let alone this. Where she was from, goblinoids and lizard creatures were things that crawled out of the Evermoors and needed to be put down as quick as possible before they threatened decent folk. One didn't think of them as being conversational.

It took a moment for the lizard's actual words to penetrate Anya's surprise that it was talking at all. She glanced between it and the fallen smallfolk as its implication sank in. Then she lunged over, as best she could in her chains, and crouched protectively over the gnome, shielding him with her body.

"Hey. No. First, he's a gnome, and second, he's not for eating," she snarled, her grey eyes flashing with more fire than she'd shown in weeks on the march. "It's horrible enough what these filthy drow have done to him - I'm not watching you eat him, too. What's the matter with you?"

Still glaring daggers at the much larger lizardfolk, she risked a glance down at the gnome. "Wait... I don't think he's dead."



 



 
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Old May 5th, 2020, 09:02 AM
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RothéRothé resisted the urge to blink with a practiced resistance. The situation was highly unusual and the rothé may yet be needed. With the gentlest of nudges Rothé moved its head, turning the rothé's gaze to look towards the other members of the cave. That is an interesting one. G˙rolk squatted before the corpulent lizardman. Rothé had seen their kind on occasion before, none that had this one's propensity for speech in Common. 'One... two... three... four...' Rothé counted the bodies it could see, studiously ignoring the inclusion of the Drow.
Dice Insight vs. Drow: Intentions? Deceiving?:
1d20+3 (15)+3 Total = 18
G˙rolk walked across the cave and out of its sight, staring at the Drow's face, studying his expression. It needed to move however, the long trek to this new place still something of a chore for its hardy physique. Unable to stop it standing, Rothé could only take in the surrounds as the rothé rose to its feet slowly.

Chains rattling loudly in the confined space the rothé languorously drew up to its extraordinary height. One of its large hands scratched at its filthy white beard, dried mud and strands of indiscernible organic matter fluttering to the ground. Stretching and yawning noisy its bare feet shuffled as it turned. 'That is interesting! Rothé opportunistically whispered to it, spying the seemingly deceased smaller form on the ground. Pliant despite the lingering poison, the rothé shuffled forward with intent towards the small form. "Must've been one of those... weak-'eart 'aflings you 'ear about, poor soul. Shame to let 'im go to waste, though..." The lizard man's speech was unusual but intelligible for Rothé who, though marginally repulsed at the figure's apparent appetite, could not deny the pragmatism.

"It's horrible enough what these filthy drow have done to him - I'm not watching you eat him, too. What's the matter with you?" The elfin looking female's voice was penetrating, likely deliberate given the point she was making. Nevertheless both Rothé and the rothé winced at the sound of her speaking. Dropping to its knees near the small form, Rothé took the chance to break through its glassy eyed stare and glare at the female with a brief but sharp stare. He kept his almost obsidian hued eyes locked on hers for a daring extra moment before withdrawing, letting the unfocused dim stare of the rothé return. Dumbly curious it rested on one hand over the small gnomish looking frame and gave it a gentle prod. "Sleep?"

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Old May 5th, 2020, 06:30 PM
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Ehruntyr lay dead still, barely breathing at all. He calmed his nerves and lowered his pulse, while staying 'lifeless on the ground'.
The gnome had used this tactic to confuse bears, although he wasn't sure if crocodiles played by the same rules.

Ehh, hopefully it doesn't smell that dried fish in my pocket.

The mud & guano caked Druid lay dead quiet, he hoped not to provoke any attention. When there was a gruff utterance of the word 'Tupo' Ehruntyr gasped. He had never heard a crocodile speak, but if he could guess what one might sound like, this was as good as he could imagine.

That's when the deep chested growl, that caused Ehruntyr's neck hair to stand on end, went on to converse in common with something that sounded like a goblin.

There was a hushed exchange between the two creatures, and Ehruntyr did his best to discern a couple of words.
Pondering for some moments while listening to the diction of the conversing creatures he thought to himself, Surely this must be a dream, Crocodiles and goblins don't speak in common.

The gnome considered his situation for a moment remembering some of master Jokiirs teachings about spirits. It was said that spirits could speak to eachother no matter what language they knew in the material life. "Being part of the whole unites us all" Master Jokiir had said.

For the second time in a half minute, the Gnome tried to stifle a gasp. If i can comprehend their words.. Does that mean that i'm dead too!?

The gnomes mind was spinning with delirium from whatever toxins had been coursing through his blood stream. His dizzy head was splitting with ache from being dragged along the rough ground.

Master Jokiir said that dead things leave the pain in their bodies when they depart. Ehruntyr squeezed the muscles around his eye and let the lid open up just a sliver. A dim ray of light cracked through his lids and allowed him to see the great toe of the crocodile creature hovering over and about to prod his frail body. The crocodile mentioned that it wouldn't be smart to let the gnomes body go to waste, and Ehruntyr agreed.

Well I'm certainly not using it anymore...I'd of liked for my skull to be made into a flowerpot, but I guess that'll be for another life.

Despite his backwards logic, the gnome could not totally convince himself of his own demise. His pain was real, and his senses were sharp.

That was when the rest of his eyelid fell open, and he looked upon a gentle faced creature who stared at him with compassionate eyes.

""Wait... I don't think he's dead.""

Ehruntyr saw the womans lips move with his half open eye...groggily he came to a realize that he was very much alive.

His body was wracked with ache, his mouth was dry and cracked. Ehruntyr felt the sensation of sharp rocks digging into his spine.

"Wait... I don't think he's dead." The voice echoed in the gnomes head, piercing the dreary veil which lulled him into confusion.

That's when a great hairy hand that was nearly the size of Ehruntyrs entire body prodded him awake.

" Sleep?" a bouldery voice asked of him.

Ehruntyr's response was sweet and slightly terrified.

"Please don't let the crocodile eat me.. "

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Old May 6th, 2020, 03:26 PM
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Salutations...
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The manacled dark elf observes your antics with every appearance of delight. A slow smile spreads across his battered face, twisting its scarred side into an even more hideous grimace. A pale white eye stares out of the blackened trenches criss-crossing the drow's flesh: a fascinating, disconcerting gaze, and one that is singularly difficult (particularly in the circumstances, and in the eerie blue light of your prison cavern) Tupo Insight Check: 5to read.

"My, my..." he murmurs - apparently to himself, but making no effort to lower his voice - "but aren't we a motley crew? I wonder who Ilvara is planning to sell to... maybe she has a collector lined up?"

Though the drow's tone remains light, G˙rolk is in a position to Rothé Insight Check: 18notice something overlooked by the cave's other (more tangible) residents: that a tremor of pain runs through him as he speaks. His neck twitches, his left hand tightens slightly on the thin rags he wears, and his entire left-hand side seems to stiffen. Maintaining this nonchalant attitude in front of you all appears to be costing him no little effort.

Still, he continues to smile, and at the goblin's challenge he laughs out loud. "There speaks one who has had dealings with drow! Madam." He inclines his head in an elegant, if somewhat stiff, show of respect. "You have the advantage of me. But let it never be said that I, Zilchyn Q'Leptin, am anything but an untypical drow." He chuckles weakly to himself as he concludes his little performance, and tips his head back against the stone wall of the cavern, breathing heavily.


...and other greetings
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I don't think he wants to eat you, Ehruntyr... hears?

Though no sound has been uttered, everyone gathered around the fallen gnome seems to hear it - a bright, happy voice, even less appropriate to the situation they find themselves in than the drow's sardonic witticisms had been. At the same time, they become aware of two things.

One is a smell - mild, neither pleasant nor unpleasant, yet peculiarly penetrative, and impossible to ignore once noticed. It is very (but not exactly) like the smell of dark, cool earth - the kind one might find in a root cellar, or at the foot of a fallen tree, deep in the forest.

The other thing you all notice - and this is perhaps a little more remarkable than the odd smell - is a 3-foot high mushroom that ambles over from the back of the cave, stopping at Ehruntyr's side and bending slightly. It somehow contrives to give the impression that it is smiling at him.

I think he just meant that, if you were dead, it would be a bit of a shame not to make use of your corpse!

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Old May 7th, 2020, 02:46 PM
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Anya
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Anya flinched, scooting back from the gnome and staring at the talking mushroom. Hungry alligators and chatty goblins and monosyllabic firbolgs and scarred, unctuous dark elves were bad enough, but talking mushrooms were just a bit too much.

"This is a dream," she muttered under her breath, rubbing at her dark-ringed eyes. "I'm still drugged. That's it."

She looked up at the firbolg who'd prodded the gnome. Big as he was, he frightened her less than most of the other creatures in here with her. She'd not seen many firbolgs in her time, but Gaven had told her of them - strange and reclusive, not to be trifled with, but a goodly race, creatures of the green and sunlit forest, not these hellish caverns - and aside from the gnome, he was the only creature here of whom that could be said. He seemed a dull and plodding thing, maybe down here in the darkness for too long, but there was a spark of awareness in his brief glance that Anya didn't miss. And he hadn't suggested eating anyone yet, so there was that.

"I'm... I'm Anya," she murmured, glancing between the gnome and firbolg... and pointedly ignoring the talking mushroom, which she hoped no one else had heard.




 
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Old May 7th, 2020, 03:26 PM
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Tupo
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Tupo regards the newcomer levelly. His good eye blinks.

"Well... yeah. Yeah, that 'orrible little thing there 'as the right of it. I'd never eat a fellow slave, prisoner or crew-mate while they were still alive, 'nless they were askin' for it. It'd be uncivilized! I was just sayin'... Who knows what the drow do with us when we kick off. Best not give 'em the chance to do it whatever it is, eh?"

He turns his attention on Ehruntyr and offers an encouraging smile, which is quite difficult to distinguish from his neutral fangy expression. "Anyways, I'm glad as anyone to see this all turn out as a morbid hippo-thetical. Don't you worry lad, you're still kickin' so nobody's thinkin' of eating you just now. Unless that 'orrible mushroom is carnivorous."

"An since Zilch over 'ere looks scarcely able to defend himself," he tilts his head at the drow, "An' 'e 'asn't been eaten yet, you're probably safe."



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Old May 12th, 2020, 11:16 PM
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The gloomy cavern that housed Ehruntyr's new friends was far from the gnomes typical family room in a tree burrow. But, like the family dwelling of his home, Ehruntyr sparked up with a smile at the sounds of good natured conversation.
Despite the dreadful circumstances that may be just around the corner, there was at least a chuckle amongst these new friends.
A slight bubble of laughter escaped the small gnome, as he glimpsed Tupo's toothy maw begin to form words that reassured him with a feeling of safety.
Ehruntyr's laugh was booming and hysterical. The chuckling from his belly nearly winded the gnome as he slapped the floor in surrender.

It was then that the soft and gleeful tone of the fungal creature landed upon Ehruntyr's ears. The dirty haired gnome sat up and gazed at the being in a stupefied way. His eyes glazed over for a second and he began blinking in rapid succession.

"Anya would you pinch me please?"

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Old May 13th, 2020, 01:27 AM
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Oghain Oghain is offline
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RothéHe suffers. He might be here for reasons other than a trap. His left side seems weakened reported G˙rolk, gently touching Rothé on the shoulder. Neither of them were prepared for the sudden shuffling intrusion of the fungal... thing. I don't think he wants to eat you, I think he just meant that, if you were dead, it would be a bit of a shame not to make use of your corpse! The rothé, too, was taken by surprise, forgetting for the moment the small figure it had poked in favour of rising to its feet with a startled, rumbling yell. Panicking in response to the strange thing shuffling towards them and, further provoked by the sudden whispers of G˙rolk's brother Reìthar, the rothé Activate: Ragebellowed loudly
Dice STR vs. Manacles to break free:
2d20+1kh1 (13, 12 (keeping 13) )+1 Total = 14
as it struggled against the manacles and chains restraining it. Flailing wildly at the fungoid creature as though trying to keep it away, the simple minded rothé instead retreated across the cave as far away as it could.

Why did Reìthar do that? G˙rolk asked with a disapproving look at Rothé, but Rothé understood why already. If the Drow's injuries were severe then likely as not he was not a plant. That meant either they were being spied upon regardless, in which case it was better to be free of then chains; or else they had time before being visited by their captors in which case the sooner they could kill the Drow and escape, the better. The rothé was hunched over against the far wall of the cave, but it was panicked enough the Rothé could less furtively look out across those in the cave. Lizardfolk, half-elf, gnome, goblin, the Drow and this fungus-thing. Rothé was already thinking how they could be used. The goblin was the least manipulable, her experience with the Drow however made her a dangerous cohort. The rest however, were too difficult to judge. Fresh prisoners with wills unbroken. Tools or allies? Rothé schemed silently from its place in the gloom the rothé had fled to.
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