[orignal from 2002]
At the end of the vine they stepped off into a compost pile of glowing purple fungi and vines. On top of the pile lay the dead chieftain orc, that had fallen from the room above. They had entered a large room with an arch way to the north and doors to the south and east. Two skeletons attacked them but were quickly dispatched by Tuber and Thal. Two bramble monsters crawled out of the compost and attacked them. After trading of blows and damage on both sides Tuber and Thal killed the monsters.
Tuber tried to light the compost on fire but there was too much moisture. A squeaking noise came from the arch way. Two sets of gleaming eyes appeared from the shadows. Two rats entered the room on leashes held by a huge orc. The orc was the most hideous creature Thal had ever seen. It had a horned helmet and wore animal hides. Hanging from its belt were skulls of small creatures. The orc loosed the two rats, they ran forward and attacked. Tuber cut one in half. Urki threw his axe at the orc and Thal attacked the orc dealing some damage. Tuber killed the second rat that was trying to bite Thal. The orc ignored Thal and struck Tuber dealing a mighty blow. Urki was trying to retrieve his thrown axe. Tuber and Thal continued to trade blows with the orc and finally kill him.
The dwarf searched the dead orc and took two javelins and a spear. Thal took a potion.
The three headed north into a large natural chamber. Here they found many weapons, bones on the floor, a tables with ropes and gore on it. Tuber picked out a bastard sword while Thal refilled his quiver with arrows.
After some discussion they decided to go back and investigate the mulch pile room. They returned and went through the eastern door. This led into an eating area with three doors leading north and three doors leading south. The room was long with columns carved with dragons. There was fungus growing and glowing purple all around. An orc peeped out from behind a door. “Who’s there?” “Oh just me,” Thal said in orc. The orc shut the door.
The adventurers went back into the mulch pile room and went through the south door. They entered a long dark corridor and went all the way to the end passing a crack formed by some geological activity, according to the dwarf. At the end of the hallway was a door. The door was locked or stuck shut. It took a while to get through but eventually, successful, they entered a room with a statue of a dragon. In the dragon’s mouth was a plate. They searched and searched the room but found nothing.
They decided to investigate the cracks. One of the cracks led back to the eating room and the other led to a natural cavern. This cavern’s walls were pockmarked with holes. A glow emanated from one hole. It was eerie and orange. “Gem worm,” said the dwarf. The gem worm crawled from its hole and attacked Thal. Thal eventually hit it but the worm attacked Tuber and set him on fire. Tuber yelled,”The potion!” Thal threw him the potion but Tuber didn’t catch it and it fell to the ground and rolled away. Tuber dropped and rolled to extinguish the fire. Thal slew the worm.
Singed, Tuber retrieved the potion and drank a quarter of the bottle. It healed the burns he had suffered “A cure burns potion,” Tuber commented. “Gem worms have gems in them sometimes,” the dwarf said eying the carcass. “Why don’t you take it then,” said Thal. The dwarf bent over the gem worm cut it open and retrieved a gem from its belly. He pocketed it immediately not allowing the others to see it.
They went back to the mulch pile room and quietly discussed their next move. They were all injured to the point of having to leave the dungeon. The way forward seemed too risky and the way back promised fighting a dragon and a tribe of goblins. Thal quietly climbed up the vines to peek into the circular room above. He saw four goblins. They were saying something, “Is it safe yet?” “I’m not going out there.” Tuber, in the mean time, searched the goblin chieftain’s body for items. The dwarf kept watch. Tuber found a ring with a dwarven ‘H’ which he gave to Thal when he returned from his climb.
A voice came from above,”Must tell Belak, dragon is loose. Must tell dragon, Belak is.. no no no must dragon Belak.. no, no..” An orc appeared from the gloom. Tuber, Thal and Urki arranged themselves so as best to capture the goblin. Tuber grabbed the goblin,”Take us to Belak.” “Belak who?” the goblin bluffed. Thal pulled his dagger and laid it across the goblins throat, “You know where Belak is. Take us to him, or else.” Thal said in a low voice. The goblin noticed the dead chieftain and the dead giant orc. “Belak? Oh yes, I thought you said Shmelak. Yes, yes, I can take you to him.” Tuber gagged the goblin.
The goblin led them through the eating room, into a small armory, and eventually, into a large cavern that was an underground garden. Here there was a large orc swinging a scythe. Thal prodded the prisoner goblin to greater speed and they moved through a door at the end of the chamber. But they could hear the orc following them. The great hall they entered was decorated with dragons. They moved quickly following the goblin. They soon entered an octagon shaped room. But an orc turned to face them as they entered. Tuber and the dwarf attacked the orc while Thal locked the door behind them in anticipation of the orc farmer following them. Tuber eventually killed the orc but Urki was injured in the process. Tuber searched the orc and found 10 silver and 21 bronze pieces. Farmer orc bashed his way through the door and was assailed by Tuber and an arrow Thal shot. Tuber with a second mighty blow killed the orc. The orc had not even gotten a chance to swing his scythe. Tuber searched the farmer orc and found 14spcs and 23bpcs.
The little prisoner was shaken by the show of strength from the bedraggled adventurers. He led them on into a bullet shaped room. A large dragon statue with empty glowing red eye sockets was near the point of the bullet. Black speech was carved in the floor around a red round circle in the floor. A shadowy form approached them from behind the statue. Thal backed away from the form. Tuber struck at it with his axe but the ghost kept moving forward. Urki’s spear glowed,”Tuber try this,” he said handing the glowing spear over to Tuber. Tuber sliced with the glowing spear and the ghost was vanquished. A thorough search of the room revealed a loose stone and behind it they found 34spcs and two flasks with dragon head stoppers.
The next room they entered was a library with a desk. Thal thoroughly searched this room and found a large volume bound in dragon hide and written in Black speech, a scroll wrapped around a dowel discussing traps and lock lore, and a book of fire lore. They moved on and came to another similar library. But there was dirt on the floor and plants growing here and there. Thal found a scroll of treat poisons, books about plants, animals, and ranger knowledge, and a book “Treasure of Firelords” which when opened exploded in Thal’s face dealing damage. Thal drank some cure fire potion and felt better. There was now only one dose of the potion left.
The door to the south creaked open, “Who is there,” a voice said in orc. “Just me,” Thal answered in orc. “I will get Belak,” said the voice. “Follow him,” Tuber said. The three ran after what looked like four orcs. They entered a huge natural cavern. They noticed ruins of buildings scattered about. There were many vines and plants and dirt on the floor. Some of the vines reached for them. The vines scratched them and left a burning sap on them. The prisoner was overcome by the vines as they ran.
A large set of ruins came into view ahead and the four orcs ran through. The adventurers followed but were not closing the distance. They suddenly came out into an open area where a monstrous black and twisted tree grew. The orcs ran behind the tree and the adventurers skidded to a halt. In front of the tree stood two stiff treeish looking humans, and a robed figure behind them. There was also a medium sized frog. “Are you the man behind the goblin apples in Redvale?” Thal queried. “Yes.” said the robed man. “So you grow evil vines that attack people?” “From life I create life.” “You create death,” Thal exclaimed and shot an arrow at the robed man.
Some evil vines crept up from behind the adventurers and attacked. Tuber set one on fire. The two stiff humans, who on closer examination looked like a woman and man northmen, moved forward. The dwarf turned to face the vines coming from behind and defended the rear. The vines reached into the open area attacking the dwarf who was nearest to them. Tuber and Thal attacked the northmen. The northman in front of Thal tried to hit Thal’s sword possibly trying to disarm him. But Thal swung again and killed the woman northman. Belak started singing and focused on Tuber.
The vines overcame Urki and he fell unconscious. Tuber screamed a war cry, enraged, and lunged forward. He swatted the frog killing it instantly with his axe and plunged ahead to swing at Belak. The vines reached to attack Thal and scored hits with poisonous sap. Belak shot a magic fire ball at Tuber who side stepped and the fire ball missed. Thal fought the other northman getting weaker as they traded blows and Thal fell. Tuber and Belak entered melee trading blows. (SIDE NOTE: Tuber is down to one hit point while Thal and Urki are below zero hit points.) The northman then turned his stiff limbs to attack Tuber. Tuber killed Belak and the northman and threw a dragon stoppered bottle on the vines which blew up in flames. The four orcs ran away at some point during the battle. After the battle Tuber noticed that the bramble monsters would not enter the clearing around the tree but occasionally tried to reach inside. So he dragged his unconscious friends farther into the clearing.
Tuber spent some time healing his fallen comrades. The heroes ended up resting by the tree for two days healing. A search of Belak revealed a short sword, sickle, 3 sticks of incense, 2 phials of liquid, two more phials of liquid, wooden stick, 4 gems, and 323 spcs. A search of the northmen revealed a glowing sword with elvish runes “Gondolin”, a ring with a dwarven “H”, backpack, mail armor, bow and quiver, lantern with 5 pints of oil, caltrops, 50’ coil silk rope, 42 spcs, and a short bow with 9 arrows. The tree had red apples and yellow sickly looking apples. They each ate a couple of red apples which healed some of their wounds. The tree had imprints of human shape depressed into it as if the northmen had come from the tree itself. They chopped down the huge tree. When they finished they noticed the vines from the ruins stopped lurking in the shadows and became brown and withered.
During the two days they discussed what their next move would be, and decided the best bet was to return the way they had come , go to the upper level and try to get past the dragon. They had to fight two more orcs on the way to the compost pile room. Thal climbed the vine quietly to check for enemies and found four goblins. They all clambered up and fought the four goblins in the large circular room. After the battle they noticed the chest still unopened. Tuber opened it just avoiding getting stung by a poison dart. They plundered the chest and found 2 phials, a different phial, a scroll, 2 black onyx gems, and 231spcs.
They continued on out of the dungeon managing to sneak paste the sated dragon who had eaten all of the goblins in the Redfist great hall. And the adventurers returned to Redvale for much needed rest. The had decided not to visit Queen Isdrail assuming she would probably try to kill them.