Recovery from our battle consisted – funnily enough – of eating fungus. Scarfing down the fungus felt completely natural, and left us well-nourished. The fungus growing on us was becoming more obvious, growing especially over the areas we were wounded, patching us up.
The fungus also gave us some guidance, so we followed it towards the large number of troglodytes and a “slaugrak”? Along the tunnel, we noticed that the amount of fungus was decreasing, and had been scraped off in patches.
Meanwhile, the smell of troglodyte was getting ever stronger, and we began to hear a rhythmic chanting coming from up ahead. Eventually, we reached an area where the walls of the tunnel had been scraped completely clean, with much clearer and more recent paintings depicting things that were unpleasantly… ceremonial.
The chanting, as we drew closer, sounded very much like: “ slaugrak! slaugrak! slaugrak!” Meanwhile, in our heads, the fungus’s mental message was fainter, but still clear: the slaugrak must be eliminated. We could now see firelight up ahead.
And then we found ourselves in a large cavern… with a chasm across it. And a rickety bridge – built by troglodytes for troglodytes.
And a slaugrak.
Time for a battle. The troglodytes were equipped with a couple of improvised weapons (made of bone and sinew) that looked like they were built to fling stuff, with a couple of trogs manning (trogging?) each. One of the flingereers pulled a lever, there was a whirr… and something got flung in the direction of Bigmug.
Acid. Poor Bigmug!
The trogs continued flinging acid flasks at our trolls: Growler got hit a couple of times. So sluggy-me decided to dissolve their first flinging-weapon. No acid gonna bother this big slug!
… so they flung salt at me. Ow! They’re well-prepared, it seems. And I am now a little more well-seasoned than I’d like.
Then the Slaugrak entered the fray – moving forward, and casting a spell. Shatter. At Crusher. Owie! And the sorcerer trog fired an acid arrow. And the champion trog moved right up to the bridge and shouted something.
A few more blows were traded across the chasm, including Squelcher taking out the other flinging-weapon. But we needed to get at them, and that rickety bridge wasn’t enough for our trolls to cross… so Bigmug decided to stretch himself across the chasm as a bridge, allowing Growler and Crusher to go charging over.
There was a bunch of somewhat chaotic wrangling on the other side of the Bigmug Bridge… which became rather more chaotic after the Slaugrak activated an Aura of Madness. Fortunately Growler and Crusher had already done quite a lot of damage to the slaugrak. So what next?
Here’s what’s next: Bigmug fell into the hole.
On the bright side, Bigmug was no longer in range of the madness.
With more hits & acid, the rest of us finished taking down the slaugrak, and the rest of the troglodytes – the few that we hadn’t already managed to kill – fled.
The fungus & its symbionts were very pleased with what we had managed to do, and so they assured us: the weasel will be taken care of. The fungus also wished us to do it a favour, but seemed confused about exactly what that would be.
The gnome took us aside to explain: over the last few sporings, the Lord of the Deep had been troubled, but no-one seemed very clear how. We saw visions of a plant being starved of light… perhaps someone or something is starving the fungus of energy? It has been growing weaker and weaker, but the gnomes are not sure why. Lady F & co? Yeah, we’re pretty sure that’s why.
We learn a bit more history, too: The gnomes have been here longer than the fungus – they discovered it a few hundred sporings ago. It was small when they found it, then grew, but it has now paused growing. The tunnels were bored out by miners, but the Lord of the Deep is newer than the tunnels.
Before the Lord of the Deep got sick, there was a feeling of light & warmth & energy flowing in… but that has been cut off. We realise that caves don’t normally have this much life… so what was the source of the energy?
Our visions had real plants: we need to find out what’s happening on the surface.