What Lurks Beneath 2009
Side Quest Log
Throughout the day, while our brave adventurers were struggling against
armies of goblins and trolls in the tunnels under Cold Springs, small
groups of four or five heroes were being magically summoned to go on separate
adventures... mini-quests, if you like.
It would be impossible to recount each and every team's experience here,
but we will try to give you some idea of what they encountered in their
adventure. Before I begin, let it be said that all our heroes returned
to join the main group safely.
Each adventurer, at some point during the day, found themselves magically
transported to a strange and unfamliar part of the dungeon where they
were joined by three or four other seemingly randomly chosen comrades
from the main group.
They found themselves at the base of a flight of stairs, and as they
went up they found that the tunnel was strewn with spiderwebs. Not thin,
wispy strands of webbing, but a heavier kind that forced one's imagination
to wander to places that might keep grown men up at night...
At the top of the stairs, they found a book on a book stand. There was
a feather in the book which was invariably pointing towards a word. The
trusting among them took the word to be a hint of what was to come. The
wiser or more wary knew better, but for each team the word was different.
In truth, it was a hint left by the team that had come before them. Whatever
their reaction and whatever the word, there was one thing that could not
be ignored... the scratching, clicking sound coming from the hall behind
Once they had taken a moment to consider the book, the feather, and the
word it was indicating, they turned and proceeded through the spiderwebs
down a dark hall. In the gloom, they encountered... and invariably defeated
a large spider. It was as big as a man, with eight long limbs, swinging
poison with each strike, but these were no ordinary peasants. Our heroes
were hardened warriors, accomplished mages, and the pride of their homelands.
After dispatching the arachnid, they came to a door. Some teams warily
cracked it open and peeked inside. Some just walked right in. What they
found were a pair of unsuspecting goblins trying to break into a small
door in the side of the tunnel wall. Those that took their time overheard
the creatures talking about treasure further on in the dungeon, but none
of the teams found much challenge in taking down the monsters. They had
been battling armies of goblins and trolls all day long, so a pair of
rogue goblins posed little challenge. One team's mage even went so far
as to transform himself into a goblin to come see if he could get some
information from them before dispatching the pair.
Once they had removed the immediate threat, they were faced with a small,
locked door, and a chest. Upon opening the chest, it was clear that it
had been trapped at some point in time, but that the trap was now broken.
The door had a large keyhole, and the key was found hanging in the strands
of the spiderweb that they had just passed through.
The key opened the small door which gave way to a crawlspace. With no
other real options, they crawled through the door and down a short tunnel.
Turning a corner to follow the crawlway to the right, they were suddenly
accosted. The stunning thing was that they were accosted by what looked
very much like... a rat.
The strange thing when they talked to the rat, other than the fact that
it was a talking rat, was that it didn't seem to think that it was a
normal rat. Now, I'm not talking about the fact that it was talking.
That in itself is weird, but the rat insisted that it wasn't a regular
rat. The rat also had a bit of an attitude, as evidenced by her conversation
with a bemused Sir Vawn of Eagle's Rook...
Vawn: Hello, Mr. Rat
Rat: How insulting! I'm not a rat, I'm a mouse!
Vawn: My apologies, you're
awfully big for a mouse.
Rat: Oh yeah? You're awfully big for a human!
our heroes had chatted with it for a few minutes, it either advised them
to continue along the tunnel, turn left and go straight, OR - turn left
and turn left again.
It turns out that if the rat didn't like the people, or if they were
rude to it, he told them to turn left and left again, and that would take
them down a crawlspace that was inhabited by a very nasty, very poisonous...
thing. It sounded very slimy, didn't seem to be affected by anything they
could hit it with, and swing poison when it reached out with its claws.The
smart, or well prepared players blocked its passageway with a shield and
got by safely. Some just went by as quickly as possible. One poor adventurer
got hooked on his foot and died a horrible death from its venomous talons.
I believe he got better, but let it suffice to say that nobody ever found
out what that creature was hiding behind its slimy, slithering tentacled
Once the heroes had crawled, or hurried past the passageway with the
poisonous slime monster, they came to another left hand turn. They rounded
that corner and the crawlspace opened up into a room.
To just call it a room would be insufficient. This was a library, complete
with a fireplace, bookshelves and a bookstand with an open book showing
glorious drawings of various kinds of fairies. Definitely not the kind
of room you expect to find nestled in the corner of a dungeon under Rhiassa's
most populous city.
As the players entered the room, they again were accosted. There was
clearly nobody in the room, but someone was speaking to them and quickly
they realized that the source was a tiny little knight sitting on a bookcase
by the entrance. He couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 inches tall, and
not long after the knight struck up a conversation with them, a tiny little
dragon on the shelf below started talking with them as well. Needless
to say, the two didn't get along, but the funny thing was the knight and
the dragon appeared to be... sewn from fabric and stuffed. Still it was
talking, as was the rat from the hallway, who had stuck his head into
the room through a mousehole on the opposite wall. Now it was clear that
the rat was also stuffed, but soon the strangest character introduced
In the opposite corner of the room, next to the fireplace, was the strangest
creature. He was dressed like a wizard, but his head was perfectly round,
his mouth was large and gaping, and his eyes were... googly. He looked
like a large doll that some town craftsman or tailor might have made for
his young son or daugher, but he was standing there, looking at them,
and introducing himself.
His name was Master Brown, and appropriately enough, his skin, or rather,
the fabric he was sewn from, was a nice earthy brown color. His robes
and mage's cap were a deep purple and it was clear this was his home.
He told the adventurers that he had summoned them because he wanted to
help them with their struggle against the trolls and goblns.
He had once been a wizard of some reknown in Cold Springs, and he had
created this underground library as a place to get away and work on his
craft in privacy. As he talked to the adventurers, the rat continually
badgered him and it became clear that the rat blamed him for the fact
that he was now a stuffed, fabric wrapped creature and not a flesh-and-blood,
mortal rat any longer.
Master Brown eventually explained what had happened.
Many years ago, Master Brown had a niece who was very dear to him. She
used to come watch him work on his experiements and eventually he began
creating toys for her. He learned how to use his magic to make the most
fantastically realistic stuffed animals by transforming actual creatures
into fabric-wrapped, stuffed dolls. Rabbits became stuffed bunnies. Dogs
became stuffed puppies. Little Catherine was so happy with her new toys,
but over time she couldn't help but ask her uncle for more.
One day Master Brown had a close friend, a knight, bring him a newly
The plan was to turn the dragon into a toy for her, but this time, for
some reason, the ritual went horribly wrong. There was a huge explosion.
Master Brown, the dragon, the knight - AND the rat were all transformed
into fabric wrapped, stuffed toys. The girl, Catherine, was killed.
So Master Brown, having explained why he was standing there looking every
bit like something from a child's toybox, had summoned our heroes to his
library to help them. The problem was... his mind was slowly, over years
and years, turning to stuffing.
He told them that Catherine used to go find ingredients for him in the
tunnels in that part of the underground and that she might be able to
help get what they need for their struggle against the goblins and trolls
that day. The problem of course, was that she was dead. Her ghost still
haunted the library, but he didn't remember how one would talk to a ghost...
The heroes invariably suggested spell after spell, but Master Brown insisted
it was simpler than that. The solution was to search the library for clues.
After a few moments of searching through the many books, someone would
find that one of the books was hollowed out and inside was a shiny stone.
As soon as the stone was found, Master Brown remembered that Catherine
had a favorite stone she used to carry with her everywhere. That must
be part of the puzzle for how to contact her.
At that point Master Brown insisted that what they needed was somewhere
in the room. After more searching, someone would invariably lift up the
book on the bookstand and were surprised to find a Ouija board painted
on the sloped top under the book of fairies.
At that point it was clear. They were to use the board to contact Catherine.
One such interaction went something like this.
Iawen (I think it was Iawen) had the shiny stone and was trying to use
it on the board.
Master Brown: "So you've got the stone, right?"
Master Brown: "And you've got it on the board?"
Master Brown: "And you're holding it on the board with your hand?"
Iawen: "Uh... Yeah."
Master Brown: "You're holding it on the board with your hand so
that Catherine can't move it?"
At this point, Iawen was thinking that if she let go of the shiny stone
she was holding on the sloped ouija board that it would naturally slide
down to the lip that had been holding the book in place. Doubtful, she
removed her hand from the stone. It stayed in place, defying gravity.
Then it started moving...
Catherine moved the stone on the board and Master Brown explained that
she used to play a game where he would guess a "magic word"
before she would turn over whatever ingredient she had fetched for him.
In this fashion, she spelled out a word for each team and they were told
to chant it three times for her to go get the quest item.
At this point, Master Brown was very emotional, but also alerted them
that soon a fog would rise from the depths of this part of the dungeon
and if they were engulfed in it, they would also be turned into stuffed
creatures by the residual magic from the ritual so long ago. Soon enough,
this fog started to rise and the players all made their way out of the
All, that is, except Cecil, who did his best to resist magic and see
if he could help Master Brown. Sadly for our stuffed wizard, he was not
successful and eventually was able to escape while still in mortal form.
On the way out the teams were able to pick up items left by Catherine.
A number of digeridoos, along with other items they would need, were found.
One team chose to take a book from the library of all things, instead
of a quest item!
On the way back through the spiderwebs the adventurers remembered to
leave the feather pointing at a new word in the strange book that was
their first discovery on this strange adventure, and soon they were back
with their friends, battling goblins and trolls in the underground of