Dining on Ashes

What Doom Underground!, pts I & II

or "Brevity is the Soul of Whitthaven"

Backstory: Langley Cribbins-Whitt was a doctor, scientist, and practitioner of the healing arts. He was also steadily going insane. He opened his ancestral home, Whitthaven, in Ludheim’s Bramblemoth District, as a sanitarium. It was a place where the upper classes could commit family members with conditions that made them unsuitable for polite society. Cribbins-Whitt used the patients as pool of experimental subjects. He was obsessed with the structure of the brain and its uses in extrasensory communication. He also came to believe that an advanced, intelligent civilization existed in the Underdark, and was desperate to communicate with it. The breakthrough came with the patient Chatsworth Duprey. The sickly young man had something in his blood, a magical resonance that was perfect for Cribbins-Whitt’s experiments. The doctor constructed his communication device, attaching Chatsworth’s and several other patients’ brains to it. Something, however, was off in the experiment. Instead of a simple communicator, the machine transformed the hospital’s basement lab. Caverns from deep underground were dredged up and fused to Whitthaven’s cellars. These included Krell Empire era ruins and part of a derro city. The experiment also altered Cribbins-Whitt, fusing him with a violet fungus and making him a monstrosity. At the same time, Chatswoth’s sister, Mathilda, had learned enough of the doctor’s madness to take action. Her and a band of adventuresome friends descended on Whitthaven. They were unable to save the patients or stop Cribbins-Whitt and his new morlock minions, and the ensuing conflict burned down the sanitarium. However, they were able to seal the entrance underground. The magical wards placed on the capstone would prevent the creatures escape and alter their perception of time, hopefully enforcing docility. Over fifty years pass…

What Happened: Our Heroes are hired by Alastair Duprey to investigate the new property he has inherited from his Aunt Mathilda: Whithaven. Only one member of the team of assayers he sent returned, and that man, Cotter Mann, was insane. After some investigation, the Heroes enter the grounds of Whitthaven. They find the warded capstone and a gnawed leg. Descending, they find a series of chambers and corridors of different construction. Among them:

• An old storage room that had become a dire rat warren. • A band of morlocks feasting on the remains of the lost crew • An ancient Krell Empire temple to the Winter Queen, now home to an ochre jelly. • The violent ghosts of the sanitarium’s more vicious orderlies. • The ghosts of the murdered patients, including Chatsworth, who tells the pcs his tale. • More of the Winter Queen’s temple, now infested with giant centipedes • A strange pulse occurs, altering the tunnels. • A Krell Empire chamber guarded by three small elementals. Writings indicate it is a place of “study” and “confinement”. Entering, the heroes find a binding circle containing a fire elemental. The Elemental explains that she has been here for over three thousand years, that she made a mistake, burned down a large part of the city, was bound here as punishment, and then forgotten. There is much debate on a course of action. Ultimately, they decide to investigate more and return. • The architecture become more alien as they enter a displaced chunk of a derro city. More morlocks are fought. • A large, disk-like mechanical door blocks the way. After some tinkering, and a severe electrocution, it is opened.

The Final Showdown: The Heroes enter a large circular chamber. The opposite side ends in a deep chasm. The ceiling is ringed with copper cables, pulsing with electricity. The cables lead down to four man sized cylinders, each topped with a glass container housing a brain. With fresh brains, the experiment has been restarted. The evil ghosts, two more morlocks, and the fungus creature that was Dr. Langley Cribbins-Whitt guard the device. A might battle ensures, and Our Heroes are victorious. The device is destroyed. The ghost’s bones are burned, sending them to their final reward and loot is recovered. That chamber then collapses in on itself, sealing access to the Underdark.

Other Points to Keep in Mind:

• At Duprey Manor, Rosie saw Anastasia Duprey meeting with Tetch Envoy Ibn Ket. • Bill stole a brass elephant from Duprey Manor. He then left it with The Elemental as a gesture of goodwill. • A photograph of a young Cribbins-Whitt was found in the ruins. The picture also features a half-elf woman and a gnome man. • Among the holy water found in the Winter Queen’s temple there was also a small clay pot containing a thick oil. • Cotter Mann was committed to St. Bartleby’s Asylum for Lunacy and Brain-Fevers. This is not the worst insane asylum in Ludheim.

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TomK

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