The Cabin Sessions

Sessions Index

Game: The Sewers of Ume

June 7, 2003

Location: The Home of Mark Thomas - Maryland


GM: Mark Thomas

5th of Kaionesh

The party rises bright and early to meet the city architect at dawn. When Thyme arrives he reveals he has a magical key that will unlock the wards in the sewers for 10 minutes at a time, but only has 10 charges. He warns the party that they are required to keep all gates and grates locked and to beware of the wards.

The party heads down into the cellars of the Inner Gate tower where the city architect opens a door leading into the sewers proper. He tells the party a guard will be on duty for two days awaiting their return.

The party makes their way into a maze of narrow tunnels and sewer passages, each filled with a trickle of foul waste. After some exploration they are surprised by a sand-colored humanoid who rises from the sandy floor in front of them. Thought they slay the creature easily they're somewhat put out when it simply dissolves into sand.

More tunnels and passages, and the party splits to keep watch at a crossroads. The front party is attacked by a pack of ghouls that are quickly slain by a well-placed lightning bolt from Thyme (frying the cool magic item specially created for the party, but that's a different story).

The party explores a large water filled room and marvels at the magic/mechanical lifts that are raising seawater into the tunnels from below. They don't marvel for long though, as a pair of sand-colored serpents attack as they circle the seawater pool. These are more difficult to dispatch and cause paralysis and drain vitality from those they hit. Eventually the party slays them, and the creatures dissolve to sand.

The party curses.

After further exploration the party is jumped by a group of doll-like sand figures. These are dispatched easily, though they disintegrate into sand as well. The party grows confident in their abilities to slay the sand-golems.

After another encounter with a pair of the large humanoids, the party decides to descend to the lower level. There they find a huge water-filled room and are immediately attacked by a many-tentacled horror from the pool. Things are looking grim as the creature has clear shots at everyone spaced out along a ledge, until Bo pulls out a full potion of clearwater and hurls it into the pool. Immediately the seawater turns pure, and the creature thrashes in agony as osmosis shreds its cells.

The party faces several more attacks by various sand creatures and eventually Thyme and Nyota discover they aren't really being killed when they disintigrate, they just reform later. They also discover a dispel magic spell will destroy them permanently so the next few encounters go more quickly (though with a great cost to the casters).

Eventually the party discovers the main cavern leading out of the sewers. More disturbingly they discover a large, recent cavern leading off to the west. A cavern that leads upwards.

After a brief conference the party advances down the passage and discovers that it rises quite a ways, then dives back to the depths. The passage continues for over a mile, and Zippy is happy he's discovered a way out of Ume that doesn't involve the gates, but not for long.

The passage disgorges into a broad space with several passages leading away. The party follows the leftmost and comes to a locked iron door. Strangely the key is hanging next to it. They open the door, but decide not to venture beyond, relock it and take the key.

They explore further and encounter a number of sand golems, larger and smaller humanoid forms. They defeat them all, but are a bit battered when they continue. Beyond the next chamber they follow a larger passage. It leads to a large room with signs of recent construction. It also contains bunks made of some odd material. Someone says it looks like the fungal wood Thrag once talked about. The party wonders who would be using fungal wood here (duh).

The party continues down the passage several hundred feet. The passage begins to widen out a bit. The group halts and several party members say they should turn back, when Zeb spots something in the darkness beyond the party's lights. WWWwwooooooosh! The tiny speck of light quickly grows and bursts into flame in the middle of the party. Fireball. Ouch!

Most of the party is struck (Thyme and Fasheen were at the back and out of the area of effect). The party runs, dousing lights as they go. Nyota summons some creatures to cover their retreat, and the group retreats to just beyond the barracks construction. After pausing for a few minutes to argue over what to do next and to allow some fast healing, the group presses on, but not until Thyme covers the back corridor with a wall of ice and leaves a light in the middle of the corridor.

The party flees up the large corridor towards the sewer, but to no avail. Suddenly a wall of ice appears in front of the group. The party pauses for a moment in despair, then springs into action. The priests heal people as quickly as they can while Thyme closes off the back of the passage with a wall of ice. Webs appear and are burnt. People struggle over the wall, and Bo begins melting the wall in front with a spell. Nasir buries a squad of something in a rock to mud spell. Lights go out and the back wall vanishes (dispelled). Those that are beyond the wall spot a glowing sphere in the corridor ahead (globe of invulnerability).

Something invisible begins to attack Fasheen, and eventually several of the group are involved in the melee. Thyme begins to fly and Gets the key from Zeb, who has made his way further up the corridor.

Bo is engaged in a frantic duel with an invisible flying opponent, using every means at his disposal to slay the mage.

As the melee against the invisible creature becomes more fierce, an armed and armored drow steps around the wall of ice and attacks Nasir from behind. Benik falls to the invisible creature. Zeb joins the melee against the drow and pins him to the ice wall with his spear. Strangely the drow is healed before the party's eyes! The drow's sword bursts into flames as he laughs at the party and attacks. Zeb goes down. Nasir goes down. Fasheen goes down. Zeb goes down. Nyota releases Talmai, but to no avail. Nyota falls too.

Bo falls to magic missiles.

Thyme flies away up the corridor, invisible and in an utter panic. Eventually he reaches the way up and somehow manages to fit the key into the ward. He returns to the Inner Gate tower and then makes a beeline for the Tower of the Four where he spills all to Sindal.

Kaionesh 6 - [midnight]

Thyme sat in Sindal's public chambers, nerviously sipping a cup of tea. When he first arrived, Sindal listened to his blurted story, then asked Thyme to wait while he gathered others. Finally the door to the chamber opened and Sindal entered, followed by Sumais, Lendra and her huge wolf, Mutai, An-mai, and her brother Ne-fu. While the others moved towards the chairs scattered around the room, An-mai approached Thyme and studied him with a critical eye. "You are tired and careworn friend Thyme, be at peace." An-mai muttered a magical phrase and touched Thyme's forehead. Immediately a wave of soothing coolness washed over him.

An-mai smiled "Be at peace, we are friends here," then turned and took a seat next to her brother. Sindal spoke "Now Thyme, if you can, please tell us what happened."

Slowly Thyme began to tell the story once again. The descent into the sewers, the first encounters with the sand creatures, the squid like thing in the pool, the further fights with the sand golems, the party's discovery that the creatures reformed after they were slain, and the discovery of the cavern leading away from the sewers.

As he described the descent into the tunnel, the discovery of the iron door and the odd bunks nearby he realized he was carrying a piece of the material they were made of. He showed it to the group and Ne-fu called it deep wood "The Dwarves use it for construction. I've heard it said it is a great fungus that grows beneath the earth."

Finally Thyme recounted the fireball, the party's flight down the tunnel, the ice wall, and the pitched battle that followed. In an eerily calm voice he recounted his decision to flee leaving his comrades behind. "Someone had to escape and warn the city. None of the others were able, so I decided it had to be me."

Finally he recounted his flight from the sewers. As his story wound down so did his energy. As his last words trailed off Sindal spoke. "You did well Thyme. Do not blame yourself for your friend's fate. You were right in that the word must be brought here." He smiled sadly. "I can only hope your friends are still alive. Now, rest a while. We must gather our forces to remove this threat. When the time comes we would like you to guide us to this cavern in the sewers. Can you do that?"

Reluctantly Thyme nodded. Sindal glanced at An-mai who rose once again and approached Thyme. "Sleep now." she muttered and with another magical phrase touched Thyme's forehead once again. Dreamless darkness claimed him.

Kaionesh 7 - [dawn]

With a start Thyme woke, and realized the room was full of people. Sindal, Mutai, Lendra and her wolf, Ne-fu and An-mai, Nomin and another pair of Knights of Trian, a priest in the robes of Seshai, a dust covered Migan Kesmin accompanied by a half-dozen Legionnaires wearing the Prince's colors. "... and as soon as Thyme awakens... Ah, there he is now." Sindal turned to Thyme and continued, "Are you ready Thyme?" With a nod the mage rose to his feet. "Then come!" Sindal turned and lead the group into the hall, then down a long and winding stair to the depths of the Tower, past a half-dozen landings that lead to darkened corridors and chambers. Finally they reached a massive stone door, to either side stood a shimmering silver figure while Sumais rested on a stone bench just up the hallway. "Ah, there you are! I had almost given up on you." the old mage said as she rose. "Are you ready?"

Sindal nodded and Sumais continued. "Gather together, close now." The group crowded into the center of the hall, and Sumais raised her burning staff. Muttering arcane phrases she gestured in a complex pattern. A wave of energy washed over the group and a faint red glow surrounded each party member. "The best that can be done on such short notice." muttered the old woman "Gods be with you."

Sindal nodded then turned to the stone door and the figures next to it. With a gesture and a phrase the figures stepped back and the door swung wide. The stench of the sewers washed over the group. Silently Nomin and Migan stepped through, followed by her Legionnaires. Sindal gestured for Thyme to follow, then Sindal and the others joined them. Another word and gesture and the door closed. "Which way Thyme?"

Silently Thyme lead the group through the twisting tunnels to the stairs down. At each door or barricade Sindal opened the way. The Migan and Legionnaires formed a forward line while Nomin stayed close to Thyme and Sindal. The others brought up the rear with Ne-fu pacing silently at the very back.

Finally the group reached the massive drain tunnel that lead to the cavern. "Just ahead around the bend." said Thyme.

"Wait here while we check it out." ordered Migan. She lead her group ahead. Silently Lendra moved forward as well, wolf at her heels, bow at the ready.

After a few moments a low whistle sounded from ahead and Sindal gestured for the others to advance. Thyme came round the bend then stopped and gasped in surprise. Where once there was a massive tunnel only a smooth stone wall could be seen. "It can't be!" he cried.

"Wait." said Ne-fu from the back of the party. Silently he advanced and studied the sandy ground beyond the group. "Someone has passed here, many someones." He pointed to the sand beyond the party. "At least a dozen sets of footprints, many sizes and strides."

"And this wall is not natural." said Lendra. "See, here, here, and here." Thyme did not see what she was pointing to, but apparently Sindal did. He raised his hand and spoke a spell of dispelling. Silently a large section of the wall vanished, revealing a tunnel leading into darkness. Migan stepped forward but Mutai spoke for the first time "Let me go first. Best we know what lies ahead before we advance in force. Reluctantly the Legion captain waves Mutai ahead. As she stepped into the darkness beyond the opening Thyme could have sworn she faded from sight.

The group waited for half an hour, then Mutai reappeared from the shadows "I went to the crest of the hill and beyond. No sign of anything alive, though I did find tracks and signs of passage." she paused and looked at Thyme "And blood."

Ne-fu moved forward "Show us."

Silently the group advanced, Ne-fu and Mutai in the lead with the Legionnaires just behind them. Nomin continued to pace next to Thyme while the others followed. Finally the leaders stopped. "This was where we fought!" exclaimed Thyme. See", ahead in the darkness?" the others could just make out a massive mound of stony ahead. "That was mud when I left." Nasir caught a group of the enemy within. Indeed there were still several protruding lumps visible in the stony mass.

Ne-fu scanned the ground. "I see signs of fighting, and also fallen bodies. It appears they were dragged off." he gestured ahead "That way."

The party continued down the hall, more on guard now. They reached the splitting of the ways and even Thyme could see the drag marks lead to the left, towards the locked iron door. Cautiously the group headed that way and discovered the door hanging open. As they looked through a horrible sight greeted their eyes. Shattered bone, blood spattered walls, shredded clothes and rent and torn armor lay scattered all about the passage beyond. With a gasp Thyme fell to his knees. He clearly recognized the remains of Zippy's cloak, Bo's tunic, and Benik's shield in the debris.

Nomin grasped Thyme by the shoulder "I am sorry young friend. This would appear to be the last resting place of ..." his sympathies were interrupted by a low growl from the wolf. With inhuman speed Nomin ripped his sword free of its scabbard and stepped in front of Thyme just as a group of dark figures charged from the darkness.

Expecting another fireball or worse, Thyme retreated to the wall, then looked over the enemy. Surprisingly they were not human at all. A half-dozen or more massive creatures had charged the party, and were now engaged with the Legionnaires, Nomin, and Ne-fu. They were bull-headed monsters, half-human, half-beast, wielding great axes and mauls as they fought. Thyme watched in horror as one of the Legionnaires fell and his foe paused to gore him with his massive horns. Anger surged and seeing he had a clear shot he cast a bolt of lightning at the creature. It staggered under the energy of the bolt but then turned and charged towards Thyme. Desperately the mage dodged to the side, only to see a pair of arrows sprout from the creature's chest. As the bull-man reached Thyme it was knocked aside by the furry form of Lendra's wolf, who buried its fangs in the beast-man's neck. It fell, and Thyme gathered himself. Another Legionnaire was down, but so were most of the creatures. Only one remained, a massive brute wearing a heavy suit of armor. It stood toe to toe with Migan and traded blows with the Legion captain. Finally, Migan struck a mighty blow that hewed the creature's arm from its body and the beast-man fell.

As Nomin and the other Legionnaires formed a protective ring around the others, An-mai moved forward and began examining the fallen, casting a quiet spell or two on each. Slowly each fallen man rose to their feet, gathered their weapons and rejoined the other Legionnaires. Once all were healed the group advanced into the labyrinthian passages beyond the door. The twisty tunnels were lined with scattered bones, sprays of blood, and remnants of clothing, armor and weapons. Numerous hoofprints guided the party to the creature's lair, where the remains of a crude feast still lay scattered about the broad chamber. In shocked horror the party completed their sweep, but it appeared nothing but torn remains were left of Thyme's companions.

The group retraced their steps and returned to the main passages. They passed through the incomplete barracks, then paused before entering the main cavern beyond. Sindal stepped forward and incanted a spell. A dozen globes of blinding white light sped forth from his hand and shot out over the cavern, bathing the entire chamber in brilliant light.

Only a smouldering pyre at the far end was visible. Cautiously the party advanced and examined the remains. Furniture, more of the strange fungal wood, beakers, jars and casks could be made out in the smouldering remains. The priest of Seshai raised his hand and drenched the pile with water. The last flames flickered and died. As the Legionnaires guarded the group Sindal, An-mai and Thyme picked through the remains. Clearly there were some alchemic makings here, as well as fragments of parchment and the spine of a book. Obviously someone covered their tracks well.

"Sindal!" Mutai called the master over from the edge of the light. "Look here." She pointed into the darkness beyond the light where a massive chasm split the tunnel floor. On the far side the tunnel continued into the depths.

"Can you get us across there Sindal?" asked Migan.

"I could, but I think it is clear the enemy has fled. Best we seal the passage and ward the tunnels back."

Migan stared at the darkness beyond the chasm. "It will be difficult to seal such an opening."

"No" said Sindal. "Not difficult at all." He reached into his vest and pulled forth a plum sized stone. "Mutai, can you throw this over there?"

The dark woman nodded "Where?"

"As close to the center of the passage as you can, as far as possible down the tunnel but still within sight." Sindal handed the stone to Mutai, then called forth another ball of light from his hand and sent it into the tunnel beyond the chasm. "There would be good." he said as the light stopped. Mutai stared for a moment, then nodded. She pulled forth a sling, and placed the stone within. Whirling it about her head she let fly. The others watched the stone fly across the chasm, then sail down the tunnel towards the light globe hovering within the passage. Finally the stone came to rest just beneath the globe.

Sindal spoke again, this time in an arcane tongue. Across the chasm the stone began to glow with a deep purple light, then quivered and jumped a few inches into the air. "Time to go." said Sindal. The party retreated up the corridor as the stone continued to bounce within the tunnel. Seeing Thyme's interest, Sindal said "One of Lurgan's workings. It will continue to bounce and build energy until the command word is spoken. Once that happens all that energy will be released in a shockwave that will shatter the tunnel and collapse the passage. Ah, this should be good." Sindal turned and spoke a single word. Abruptly a wave of earcrushing noise washed out of the distant passage and staggered the party. "Sorry," muttered Sindal, "the device is still a bit unstable."

Looking back the party could see the passage beyond the chasm was entirely buried in stone and debris. As he stared at the pile of stone Thyme realized his last hopes of finding one of his friends alive had vanished. They were truly gone.

Nomin spoke "Come friends. It is time to lay Thyme's friends to rest."


Yes, a near TPK. It was a sad ending to a great campaign. I think everyone was shocked by the outcome.

Thyme has joined the ranks of the NPCs, and will be making his way back to his Eastern Kingdom home, where the Prince of Sikida, his boyhood friend, faces the threat of the Weres. As for the group, well, we'll see what the future holds. It's certain to hold something.