Expedition to Undermountain
Chapter 18- The Pillars of Bone
Chapter 18 (7/1): Pillars of Bone
Upon reaching the lower levels of Belkram’s Fall, the lift stopped after running aground of a disc made of bones suspended by a pillar of bones. After searching a bit, the group saw another bone disc suspended in the air about 20 feet away from their current disc and a small group of dwarves on it. One Dwarf shouted out an order for the others to kill the intruders and cast some kind of divine spell that extended a bridge of bone from their pillar to the adventurer’s pillar. A fight broke out between the dwarves and the adventurers, but the dwarves were no match. The group managed to take one of the dwarves living and proceded to interrogate him, but got little information out of the stubborn bugger, all they found in the end was that the dwarves worshiped some kind of evil god and didn’t appreciate the adventurers being here.
On the other side of the bone bridge the group could see more bone pillars with rolled up bone walkways but lacked the means to easily reach them- it would appear as though the group was blocked… having Tenri fly people over one by one would prove too risky should the dwarves attack during the ferrying process (the drop below the pillars had no ground in sight). Thwarted by the terrain, the adventurers decided to head back to Spider Haven in search of a cleric who could perhaps help them solve how to create bone walkways to traverse further. Back at Spider Haven the group searched around for information regarding clerics or divine casters who could turn the walkways, but were only able to get a lead from the creepy merry-go-round wheel owner taking the group back to Skullport in search of a halfling named Ashwell Fiddlebender.
Back in Skullport, the group decided to sell some of the junk they found then search for the lead on Ashwell, the halfling who could help bypass the bone pillars in Belkram’s Fall. It didn’t take long for the group to run into some trouble on Illithid Way where a halfling was arguing with an Illithid shop owner over a stolen mandolin. Deville, wishing to cause as much pain as possible, tried to stir up some trouble but Dog was able to sort things out and prevent the Illithid shop owner from stealing the halfling’s mandolin. The halfling revealed himself to be Ashwell Fiddlebender, the very person the group was sent to Skullport in search of. Ashwell was quite certain that if he accompanied the group he could help them overcome the bone walkway obstacle, he possessed a wand that would allow him to turn the dead walkways and bend them to his will. Ashwell revealed himself to be an eccentric bard with some divine ability, a hatred for nobles who like bad music, and possessed a unique fighting style involving “mandolin combat”- another weirdo to fit in perfectly with the group. Up a member, the group set out from Skullport back to Belkram’s Fall.
Once again back in the depths of the Fall, Ashwell accompanied the party and and produced the wand that allowed him to turn undead and transform the rolled up bones into a walkable path between pillars. After traversing their way across the pillar platforms and battling the occasional dwarf or two, the group eventually made their way to a cave entrance. Just inside the mouth of the cave, a strange fungal creature approached the group and released a cloud of spores at them that almost pre-empted an attack from the adventurers- but was revealed to be the way the fungal creatures communicate with others. The fungus creatures were practically slaves of the dwarves, forced to build the bone pillars and tired of being subjugated by their masters but unwilling to rise up in revolt. In exchange for the adventurer’s help, the fungoids told the adventurers of some treasure hidden in a pool in the cavern and offered to allow the adventurers safe passage through their cave. In the pool was a magical drow dagger and a few magical stones, one of which granted extra spells per day and the other giving increased perception of the wearer’s surroundings. Good stuff. After looting the pool the group made their way to the other side of the cave which lead to more bone pillars and a few more skirmishes with some Dwarves.
After traversing several more of the bone plateaus, the group reached an unusual platform that appeared more ornately carved out than the others and had a throne of bone on the opposite side. What appeared to be a dead dwarf sat upon the throne, but when the group approached the dwarf he stirred and gave the group a frightening evil grin. Before the party could react, the Dwarf called a swarm of bats down upon the group then magically disappeared from vision. The group fought back the bat swarm, but also found out that the bone pillar itself was either a monster or some kind of elaborate trap that produced bone spikes from the ground every so often to attack those standing on the platform. Dog managed to reveal the evil dwarf by casting glitter dust on him, but in response he changed his form into that of a bat and melded with the bat swarms he continued to call in. The adventurers eventually managed to whittle down the bat swarms, but the dwarf left it as the last few remaining bats were slain and proceeded to ravage the casters in the back of the party. Deville and Dog’s dogs managed to aid the casters while Tenri left for the throne on the suspicion that this dwarf may be something similar to the lich-like flaming skull they fought before.
Sure enough, Tenri managed to find a coffin beneath the bone throne and realized the foe they were dealing with was a powerful vampire. In order to beat the vampire the group would need to defeat him to drive him back into his coffin, drive a stake through his heart, cut off his head, and pour holy water upon the remains. How tedious. At the climax of battle the dwarf nearly managed to sink his fangs into Dog, but Deville interrupted by dealing a crushing blow to the vampire thus sending it back into the coffin. Tenri quickly prepared a stake out of his quarterstaff, but before he could plunge the stake through the dwarf, the bone platform awoke to the needs of its master and a giant bone golem formed from the platform. The golem swung at Tenri, but Tenri ducked out of the way and managed to plunge the stake into the vampire to prevent it from resurrecting. Now the group had to deal with the golem before they could finish attending to the finishing blow to off the vampire for good. The battle was hard fought and the golem was tough, but the combined force of the party’s attacks managed to smash the golem to smithereens. The last threat dealt with, the group severed the head of the vampire and stored the head safely for the time being since they didn’t have holy water on them. Victorious, the adventurers looted the coffin and made their way back to the fungoid village.
Thankful for their freedom, the fungoids revealed that the lift could go further down into the depths, but the bone platforms they constructed were blocking it. The fungoids agreed to help deconstruct the pillars blocking the lift if the adventurer’s agreed to dismantle the lift to prevent others from coming down to the cave of the fungus. The deal was made and for now the adventurers retreated back to Spider Haven to rest up, give the fungoids some time to dismantle the bone ways, and douse a certain vampire head in some holy water.