Where our heroes deal with love, loss and romantic subterfuge in the hopes of romancing a Drow matriarch.

If this is your first time checking out our little D&D Adventure Blog, you might want to check out this post that explains the setup and format of the game. You can check out all “Big Fish” content on this nifty landing page

We mix things up a little bit this week since one of our player’s Eric will be taking the helm of the storytelling. He’ll be in black, Jon (our DM) is in blue, and if I’ve got anything more to say, I’ll be in red.

Tell Us About the Time…

There was a burst of laughter. Jim Clocks was in the middle of shouting his story out to the room “And then he says cut off my leg!” The tavern burst out in another roar of laughter. The old friends leaned on each other in hilarity, some with tears of laughter running down their faces.

When the laughter died down Tidus chimed in “And do you remember that time I seduced the drow matriarch?” Tidus had told this story before. He loved the tale. He had even paid Giddeon to spread the story. Brubax and L’eau D’ur had heard it a million times, but something about the story was off. Stoic Jaxo always remained silent and Jim always wore a sardonic grin.

Perhaps it was the many flagons of mead, or maybe the truth of the story ate at him, but for some reason Tidus grew serious and looked thoughtfully into his nearly empty mug. “No, friends. No. That’s not actually what happened.”Menzoberranzan by jjpeabody

That’s a little fluff from me, this didn’t happen in-game.

Three paragraphs in and I’m spoiling the story. Yup, I failed. I’m only the second player to fail a session. We don’t gain a level. I don’t get treasure. We do get downtime.

Our heroes had pretty much stumbled into the company of Vitilistrix, a female silver dragon and had agreed to her proposition: Find her eggs that were stolen by the drow House Seerear and return them to her and she would help them escape the Underdark. She bathed the party in a powerful custom illusion that somehow overcame the Drow’s resistance to magic and made the heroes appear as drow. She explained that time was of the essence, the drow were planning a dark ritual and her eggs were involved, likely acting as a sacrifice to Lolth.

So was this just a little “deux ex” for you Jon? “Oh whatever you guys look like Drow and that’s that?” I mean, otherwise how would this adventure even go down?

Well now, the whole setup was lifted complete from Baldur’s Gate 2.  Silver dragon, eggs, illusion whatever. The seduction story setup required the team being able to interact with the Drow and that meant some kind of deception so this classic setup more or less gave the perfect framing.  My more personal goal here was to give you guys freedom to get into Drow culture.

Tidus remembered their cover story well. They were mercenaries sold as servants to Irelda, the matriarch of House Seerear. But he remembered their welcome even more clearly: In an elaborate ceremony, a female elf was sacrificed before the group. The sacrifice’s final shudders and convulsions were burnt into his memory, her heart torn from her chest while the drow matron baptized her daughters in the sacrificial blood. Tidus was usually remorseless when it came to the death of evil beings, but this callousness struck a deep chord within him. With a brief pause after the sacrifice, the naked and blood-drenched matron ordered the party to come to her quarters.

This was a cool scene. Jon thought this was too much narration, but personally I loved it. It shows how much thought he’d put into the story and really painted a rich picture. I liked the 2nd edition touch of the old house name. I’m old-school like Jon so that stuff isn’t lost on me. Jon, did you re-read any of the old drow stuff going into this? Keith, as a new-school D&D guy, what was your impression?

My entire exposure to the Underdark is basically from listening to an audiobook of short stories about Drizzt. I mentally filtered this “Temple of Doom but with dark skinned lady elves”. I stand by my assessment. I honestly liked the longer narration that Jon did too. The Underdark is so unlike most standard fantasy settings I liked the fact that the DM took to the time to paint a little more elaborate word picture to set up the setting.

This was a rare opportunity to bust out Master Greenwood’s 1991 The Drow of the Underdark.  It was the very first DnD expansion I bought because my very first serious character was a Drow.  Yea verily, I was one of the youths enchanted by the sheer badassitude of the dual scimitar wielding black skinned goth hero Drizzt Do’Urden.  I was 14. I’ll admit that even in my old age, I’m a DM with extraordinary fondness for Drow based shenanigans.

True story I also bought the Menzoberranzan box set and that would have been pretty cool to reference but I sold it for cigarette money when I was poor and living with Scott.

Man, even used that boxed set goes for like $90 USD on Amazon right now. I hope you got a lot of cigarettes.

We Work for The Drow Now

The party made their way to the barracks to get more appropriately equipped as not to arouse suspicion. The equipment was a significant upgrade! They threw on magically imbued chain shirts, appropriate magic melee weapons and hand crossbows. They then went to present themselves to the matron.

Upgraded equipment was like a glass of cool water to a dying man in the desert. I finally have a magical weapon with a bonus. While the chain shirt isn’t the best I can wear, if I had succeeded in this session you bet your magically protected ass I would have asked for magical full plate. The side-effect of leveling so fast is that we don’t get six plus sessions of adventures to scatter in loot. Jon’s done a good job keeping encounters balanced and the gear we do get really does feel special. My magic trident I got at our first session doesn’t have bonuses and the effect is situational, but it’s got a name, a significant paragraph of flavour text and has become part of Tidus’s identity. How do you guys feel about our gear?

I’m actually ultra bummed that I literally just got a Rapier with an extremely cool power as a success in my story and now have been given a better rapier (albeit without a cool power). Is there a way to transfer enchantments in this game? I’ve never even used its power yet.

Experienced Underdark adventurers will recognize the surprise I will not here spoil.  The Underdark is a dangerous place boys, and Drow are literally swimming in magic gear.  The scene was good. Also, I intend to up the lethality of combat pretty significantly during our Underdark phase and this is sort of to balance it all.  More in general I think I’m not giving enough gear.

The matron was not impressed. However, she considered them competent enough to direct them to slay three driders on the outskirts of the ruined city. The party accepted and set themselves to the task.

Somewhere in the outskirts the party skulked along the walls of a massive cavern. Their attention was caught by bright neon pink and blue fungus growing in a large fissure that undulated and reacted to their presence. As they advanced, a drider fired out at them. Those weren’t warning shots! The party stepped back to assess what they were confronted with. That is when Woad approached the party.

Drider by Mates LaurentiuWhoa, Woad

Woad was a drider who had not yet succumbed to the madness of his transformation. His lower spider-half skittering aggressively as he struggled to maintain control of it. He offered the party a deal: If they would supply him with a weapon he would tell them about the other driders in the cavern. Tidus approached him, and gave him the warhammer that had come with him from the Elemental Plane of Water. The drider simply told them not to go too deep into the fissure as there were traps and the fungus would burn them. After a short but fruitless discussion, the party allowed him to flee into the Underdark.

I liked the Woad character. I felt we could have asked him more pertinent questions, but time pressure was killing me, and didn’t want to waste time on what could have been a red herring. Did you have more planned for him Jon?

Well, yeah you missed all of the key stuff you could have gotten from him.  He was the Matron’s ex-lover, so you could have gotten a lot of information about her.  He could have explained basically anything about Drow culture in a frank and critical manner.  He could have joined you in a direct assault on the House. You guys got a 2/10 for that encounter.  You could even have had the Myrlochar get angry at him!

The party lured out (and by the party he means me, Jim Clocks, and my incredibly convincing wails of desperation) and killed two driders. Giddeon charged deeper into the fissure and stepped into a pit with an illusion cast over it. Fungus acted like cilia in a digestive tract and he was pulled deeper underground.

And so, we lost our bard forever down a D&D Mushroom Sarlacc Pit. Good riddance.

Or did we?

Tune in two weeks from now for the conclusion of “The Time The Triton Seduced The Drow Matriarch – Part 2”.

Menzoberranzan by jjpeabody.
Drider by Mates Laurentiu

Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

Jon is a Master of Dungeons of the highest caliber. He podcasts with me over on 9to5 Entertainment System and occasionally blogs here in Jon’s Junk.

Eric plays a Triton Cleric in Big Fish and also once went to Otakuthon for us and interviewed Hamlet Machine.

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