This is a session report from running Greg Gillespie’s Caverns of Archaia megadungeon. I ran these games on the OSR Pickup-Games Server. Since we have now finished this part of the series, I am posting our notes in a series.
Introduction to the Caverns of Archaia
Players:Saint Underbungle, Mr. Death + Nona, Wolfram (giant slayer) Ozor the bug mystic, Gultop, Mingo, Mordan, Manfredo, Lathan, Gale.
Region: Caverns of Archaia
Starting from the Eastern Rim
What we have heard about the sunken library, the Archaians had a vast library that contained almost all human knowledge but it was sunken into the earth, different scholars have studied it and speculated about things that may or may not be in the library.
Strange turkey like creatures, vaguely purple, pecking around the edge of rim, maybe prey animals but we left them alone.
Encounter mid-way down the hour-long trail descent. Massive mosquitoes fly down at us from the top of the ridge. We stood our ground the bottom waiting for them to come into range of our missile fire. After killing them we got a better look. They were massive mosquitoes with translucent wings and gangly legs, they look hungry and desiccated. They had flown from a misty area to the north.
Rounding a ridge there are granite domes inside them is a cheery brown colour with yellow markings. The magic-users sense a magic aura in the area that it is radiating. Fifty or so. Mordan detects magic and sees a red aura emanating from the stones. The domes are not all in alignment, but some are arranged in triangular groups of three.
Manfredo taps the dome with his sword. The dome makes a hollow clang. Louder than expected.
Fleeing the Manticore
We decided to leave them well enough alone and maybe try to come back and excavate later. Passing between ridges we move alongside a deep gorge. A magic henge and on the stones are many depictions of stacked scrolls and animal skins stretched out with runes on them. As well as large animals, lions with large teeth. Gultop takes a rubbing of the petroglyphs.
Small twirling clouds like mini tornadoes, although not violent moving around the area to the Northwest.
600 ft away a lion with wings eating a deer saw us and looks angry. We tried to evade it and run into a nearby cave mouth. The Manticore flew by and slung out an array of tail spikes into our fleeing backsides killing poor Nona
Rushing into the nearest cave mouth for cover we are greeted by four humanoids with red ragged hair and gaunt features. They make flapping gestures and seem to be trying to get us to leave back out the cave. The elf speaks to the min orcish and they tell us to come in quickly and be silent. This first room is decorated with striped pyramids painted on the walls.
They have books they have collected and kept. They offer to guide us to the library if we kill something for them. The Neanderthal men refuse to come with us to hunt. They have to stay ans sound like they are under the thumb of some other group referred to as both “The Fanged ones” and “The legion” The fangs referenced seem to indicate some kind of weaponry. Maybe spear tips? These guys are not evry advanced.
We overhear while waiting that currently, Prolatus has come to meet their leader. One of the orcs has slain their own and hopefully they will be given justice. We hear growling of a big cat in a cave further down the tunnel and come to the conclusion that there is some leader mediating between the orcs and the Neanderthals, probably with a per cat.
A Show of Power
After a bit the sounds from the other cave sound like they are going sideways so the Neanderthals decide maybe they can go fight the orcs. Mordan and Mr. Death turned invisible to follow them. Tied up are six orcs, there is also a man in a large black cloak, most likely a human, talking angrily with a large Neanderthal. Next to the leader is a very large tiger with massive teeth. There are orcs with shields and studded leather, grunting. the cloaked guy has a staff and a hat that has long silver hair flowing out of it. The hat seems special. The argument is not going well, the orcs draw their weapons, but the cloaked acolyte motions towards them and waves them back, they seem as though a fight may break out at any moment. Mordan and Mr. Death eavesdropped on this while invisible.
The rest of the party moved up the cave a bit to hide in a cave branch with a yeasty smell. The caster lights up his staff and it starts glowing with an energy. He strikes it into the stones and a big boulder falls off and lands on the ground. The display of magic power causes the Neanderthal leader to cower before the magic user.
The orcs made their leave and we spent some time deciding how much interreference was acceptable but decided ultimately to wait it out and try not to disturb the power dynamic until we know more.
Back at the entrance, all of the Neanderthals are in a circle, the leader gestures with his staff at the ceiling, tears rolling down his face, almost with an aura of respect but also sadness. The Neanderthals are put on henge duty, the orcs demanded they take more of their stuff to the henge to further the oncoming of some kind of corruption, the magic user was apparently an acolyte of Impurax.
The spider awaits and watches apparently something they have learned from studying whatever books they still have.
These acolytes seem to have organized many of the different tribes to do their bidding in exchange for power and protection. The Neanderthals seem to be the low group on the totem pole. Some people think Impurax is a lie fed to them to keep them busy. The leader offers some moss that smells of decay and ancient matter. They explain they‘re made to collect scraps and bodies and many other things to take to the pit.
The library is far it can be found to the east and to the north, from the den of the orange bears all the way to the fungus crypt. We opted to check out the Fungus crypts on the Eastern rim. Hundreds of stone bookshelves in disrepair litter the surface between the two ridges. Every three hundred yards or so is a tall pillar covered in some runes. Regularly placed amongst the ruins.
We ran into a group of people with shovels digging through these ruins, they motion and wave to acknowledge us but continued digging. Mr. Death spoke to them when we approached, unsettling them. The leader said he is Radolphos, and their group collect and bathe the ancient scrolls here in a salt bath to revive them, after they brine you can read them. They are familiar with Impurax, according to them to the south he is considered a nature god.
They also relayed to us that there is strange seashell possessed by the “Teethbreakers” tribe of gnolls in the cave to the North and it shimmers and possesses ancient powers. This group of scholars wasn’t certain of what the Impurrax followers are gathering, some kind of “life material, that was once life, but is no longer.”
“To the south is the sewer of false men, do not trust them, they are all liars and deceivers”
Mingo and Gultop during this time make us a path to the cave of the fungus crypts with a rope for our next venture out.
To the Northwest is a large strange cloud, that is apparently billowing snow from far to the north. We spent a few minutes hiding from the snow in the mouth of a cave. Inside the cave are large statues of female warriors. Not wanting to risk more, we make our way out and return.
Gold & XP: 300 xp for wandering and learning as much as we did.
Written by: TheLoamRanger