I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017, and the ‘Tomb of Annihilation’ campaign from 2018. CoS was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s another campaign – 2020’s ‘Out of the Abyss’. Each session was approximately 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing, but don’t forget these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them. And maybe even if you aren’t.
Out of the Abyss – Session Zero
Most of the PCs didn’t know each other, but all were brought together by a common experience: captured by Drow while venturing through the Underdark (or as I prefer to call it, the Underdaks). Taken to an outpost called Velkenvelve (gotta love those Drow names) to await transfer to the Drow city of Menzzomenzawhatsadrin (yeah, sounds legit), the PCs are forced to undergo…menial chores and laboring (gasp!). And there are other prisoners here, lurking in the darkness at the back of the prison cave…
The evil (or just somewhat misunderstood) Mistress Ilvara, high priestess and commandant of this outpost, is not only hot but loves whips and chains. Unfortunately, she loathes prisoners. Shoor, her right-hand Drow, seems a bit sycophantic, but maybe he just has mummy issues. Scarred Jorlan, her former lieutenant, seems to snarl and look mysterious a lot.
During their time here, most of the PCs have acquired a little something to help them while away their days. Or escape. Or just stay put, if they prefer. A rusty crowbar, a spider, a gold piece (yep, that’ll work as a bribe), a crossbow bolt with Drow poison on it, a set of Underdark Encyclopedia Britannicas…okay, maybe not that last one.
Next Week: The adventure officially begins! Who will escape Velkenvelve? Who will be taken to Menzomatsowhatsamacallit? Will Jeremy spend that single gold piece? All these questions will be answered, and more…or less…
Session 1 (week 2) – A Bridge Too Far
Welcome to the dim and dark Drow outpost of Velkenvelve, where Drow watch, Quaggoths work, giant spiders crawl and slave prisoners empty chamber pots. The PCs found themselves in an endless cycle of Drow chores as they sought a way to escape. They got to know each other, with the party expanding to include Belinda’s half–Sireen Bard – like a siren from the sea, but with an extra ‘e’, combined with a human – and Matt’s Duergar Cleric, whose pet rock was also his god, but had been taken by the Drow.
A couple of other prisoners were present in the prison cave: Shuushar, a pacifist Kua-Toa; Stool, a childish Myconid with telepathic spores; and Derendil, a polymorphed Quaggoth who used to be an Elvish prince.
While Jeremy’s Monk was beaten by Drow guards as a distraction and Matt’s Cleric looked on sheepishly (wishing he had his rock back – the voices, the voices…), Belinda’s Bard enthralled a guard and gained access to the Shrine of Lolth. Underneath was Mistress Ilvara’s chamber, with a huge chest that looked like it might hold all of the PCs’ gear. Well of course it will.
Meanwhile, cleaning floors in the barracks afforded an opportunity for Rhyse’s Rogue to steal a set of keys. Back in the prison cave, a plan was forming. Using a scale map the party had drawn on the wall using their own excrement, the PCs created an elaborate plan. And then decided to use the keys to open their manacles, the gate and then storm the guard tower. Quietly, of course.
After murdering some poor Drow in their sleep (they’re people, dammit! People!), they found themselves in battle with some more Drow, whose exciting game of the immensely popular Underdark card game Drowdydoo was rudely interrupted by the sounds of the not-so-silent deaths of their sleeping comrades. Sean’s Warlock, moving at spell-induced superspeed, made it upstairs to the armory where he grabbed lots of gear. Matt’s Cleric’s job to cut the rope bridge once the party were over didn’t go to plan as he realized he was actually a terrible (spell) shot.
Then came the darkness, cast by a Drow over the bridge. With no one able to see inside the room, people fumbled about – Josh’s Warlock-but-soon-to-be-wizard-without-a-spellbook, after testing his eldritch blast abilities on bridges and wood and failing epicly, went up to the armory to grab some gear, then fell down the stairs. It just wasn’t his night. To top it off Sean’s Warlock fell on top of him. Is that a sword or are you just happy to (not) see me?
Alex’s Dragonborn Paladin showed up Matt’s Cleric by frosting the bridge with his White Dragon breath. Matt’s Cleric, rather miffed that someone else could do his job, gave the bridge a huge blast and almost took it out. Rhyse’s Rogue finished the job and down it went, with the Drow and Quaggoths on the other side cursing the party’s unknown names. A great team effort against a worthy foe – a rope bridge, which turned out to be the big bad of this particular adventure…
Meanwhile, Drow were coming from the other direction and life was looking shorter by the minute. Suddenly, some crazy (maybe drunk) demons flew in, fighting amongst themselves. The Drow were a bit surprised by this and, like any good nightclub bouncers, responded to remove the unruly patrons. Several of the party grabbed some weapons and armor, then everyone (including Shuushar and Stool) threw themselves over the waterfall into the pool below…
Next Week: On the run in the Underdark! Will the party face more evil bridges? Will the game of Drowdydoo become more popular than Drokemon? All these questions answered, or not…
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