Heroes of the Seven Kingdoms

Demonic Dwarves

Wherein we are on the run from a Battle Lord and encounter a group of Duergar

We’re at our campfire and my perception is good enough to see a shadowy figure in the shrubs. I tell everyone to look out.

He vanishes, but a big spider comes scuttling out. Battle commences. The enemies don’t show up all at once but we end up fighting a Giant Spider whose attack poisons, 3 demonic looking dwarves whose beards are spiky and shoot out like quills and a magic using demonic dwarf. We prevail but not without cost. Aramil fights as bravely as ever and is very gravely wounded. Without the help of Tilby’s Majestic Word, he would have fallen in battle. Amara the Githzerai who is travelling with us is also grievously wounded after fighting valiantly and falls unconscious, near death. Again Tilby’s Majestic Word is employed and death is staved off. (Complete encounter notes can be found here)

At the end of the battle we loot 400 GP and a Potion of Healing. We take an extended rest and wake refreshed and ready to continue our travels.

Come the next morning we find ourselves in a big dark forest. Our skill in nature tells us that the dwarves we battled the day before were Duergar. Duergar, also known as gray dwarves, are a subterranean race, closely related to dwarves and baatezu, that carve out their existence in the Underdark and are akin to surface dwarves in a manner similar to how drow are to surface elves. The duergar were once a settlement of shield dwarves in the dwarven kingdom of Shanatar. The shield dwarves that eventually became the duergar lived in certain strongholds that fell under attack of mind flayers, or illithids, and were captured. During their captivity, which lasted for generations, the illithids performed many cruel and unusual experiments on the dwarves. Eventually, the dwarves rose up against their captors and gained their freedom from the mind flayers. Now the duergar inhabit the Underdark and have been left as cruel and evil as their captors and quite withdrawn from their experiences. Like the drow, duergar have a gray to black skin tone and white to gray hair. They are a good deal thinner than surface dwarves and have extreme expressions. No duergar has hair on his or her head, but the males do grow beards. In the chance that an adventurer wanders across a duergar on the surface, that adventurer is likely to notice facial and arm tattoos that mark the dwarf as a traitor to duergar society.

“They’re not a race of Avon Ladies.” Valenae comments drily.

As we prepare to head due east toward Immer, we decide to rid ourselves of the prisoner. He is tied up loosely in the wagon, so he can eventually work his way loose. Tansy rides one horse and Falamdin rides the other. Due to the sharp senses of some in the group we are able to discern sounds like someone striking metal on rock, maybe using a pickaxe forward and the right of us at a distance of about 200 yards.

Tansy sneaks toward the sounds. As the trees thin out she sees a big hollow in the woods, a shallow bowl. It is a small mining encampment with at least six more duergars. They are dressed like workers and seem to be trying to dig a cave. There is a rumbling in the hill, like thunder. There are 2 guards that are like the dwarves we’ve already fought and a terrible monstrosity…a floating fleshy ball, about the size of a basket ball. There is one large central eye and the many stalks protruding from it with another eye on the end of each. It seems to be in charge of the encampment, cruelly driving the working dwarves to work even harder than they have been. Tansy returns to tell us of all that she’s seen, and we think the horrible creature may be a Beholder of the Gauth variety. A gauth, sometimes referred to as a lesser beholder, is a 4’ (1.42m) wide beholderkin that feeds on magic as well as flesh. They have six eyestalks, one of which is used to drain magic from items, along with four feeding tendrils that sprout from the top of its body. The most obvious feature of a gauth is that its central eye, which stuns and affects the viewer’s mind, is surrounded by a ridge of flesh and many small eyes used for sight. A gauth is a rapacious and tyrannical creature that seeks to exact tribute from anything weaker than itself, and often attacks adventurers merely to acquire their wealth. The rays of a gauths six eyestalks have effects similar to the spells dispel magic, inflict moderate wounds, ray of exhaustion, scorching ray, and sleep or paralysis. They also posses the ability of darkvision up to 60’ (18.3m).

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keithstrickland amy

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