After their encounter at the warehouse, the party took a much deserved long rest. In the morning, they regrouped and Dogaeen returned from his kuo-toa hunt. All told, he bagged forty-three of them, having gone back to the village where they had first met the kuo-toa and killed many. The group decided to investigate the driders, as they assumed the spider folk had come over recently, since it would be difficult to hide one in the city. Their first idea was to find the barkeeper of the Mousetrap, but this was ruled out because finding him in a city of forty-five thousand would be difficult. Their second plan was to contact Dorwin and pick his brain about driders.
They headed down to the Lusty Priest and waited around until Dorwin arrived. Dorwin appeared troubled at the notion driders could be hidden in Noivos and had never heard of any sightings before now. He suggested they look into the drow temple of Lolth in Parishtown, as Kapala - while nominally distant from his past – had poured hundreds of gp into their coffers over the years. He also warned them that the drow were wealthy and well-connected, despite their unpleasant reputation, and that their goal was ultimately to open a portal to the Underdark. These portals are impossible to open in Noivos, but Dorwin and the Adventurer's Guild has been keeping a close eye on them in case they succeed. Derryk also wrangled himself an invitation to play his lute at one of Dorwin's bangers.
The party's next step was to contact Narunn to see if it would be possible to examine shipping records from the last few months for any oddities. This time, the young shipbuilder's apprentices treated them with much more respect, and the party was swiftly conducted to Narunn's office. Narunn was mildly irritated they had not already embarked to retake the other two-thirds of his treasure, but he realized that their problem was worth the delay. They learned that the last drow-majority ship (meaning one where the whole crew were drow) landed in Noivos about five years ago. Since then, drow had arrived on mixed-race ships. Narunn promised to send a request to the library on the condition that they soon return to the task he had assigned them.
Next, they decided to investigate the Temple of Lolth in downtown Parishtown. The Temple is an imposing block of black granite, standing two stories tall. (Across the road is the tiefling Temple of Lolth; it is known that the two groups will occasionally brawl in the middle of the street.) The front was open to the public, but they didn't want to raise suspicion by poking around for driders. Instead, Dogaeen's mouse self (Raziel) and Woodsy, cunningly disguised as a spider, snuck into the temple. The chamber open to the public was decorated with an enormous statue of a drow standing upright, trying to fight an enormous spider off their face. The interior was almost completely dark, with only a few torches to make the rubies set into the walls glimmer dangerously.
They passed the statue and entered the anterior chamber, which was a sitting room. A few drow lounged on couches and ate or read books. Woodsy and Dogaeen successfully snuck past them and into the next room, which was a combined library and shrine. The library on the left side housed about a hundred dark-colored tomes on artistically dusty shelves. The shrine on the right showed another image of a spider, this time with a drow female's face. Beneath it was a rock from the tunnel where the drow first contacted Lolth, which hummed with infernal magic.
Dogaeen decided to attempt reading whatever the drow were, and climbed up the side of a bookshelf. Unfortunately, he wasn't sneaky enough to evade them, and was Eldritch Blasted off the side. He escaped by falling under a shelf and skittering away as the drow searched for the body. Woodsy, meanwhile, landed on someone's book and began to tap-dance. The awestruck drow attempted to decipher what message Lolth was attempting to send them.
The two of them reunited in the temple's final room, which was the sleeping quarters. There was a trap door leading down, so Dogaeen used Thaumaturgy to open and close it, trapping them inside. The moment he entered the tunnel beneath, he felt at home: he was in the Underdark. He and Woodsy crept along the left side of the tunnel and arrived in a chamber holding several half-eaten bodies suspended by webbing. Woodsy recognized one as a friend from Callweather, but failed to recognize that the person was dead. They continued onward until they heard the sound of voices, then saw two driders arguing. Convinced they had all the proof they needed, the returned to the Material Plane to tell the others what they had learned.
In the meantime, everyone else (including Dogaeen's body) had chilled at home. Keith debated the benefits of buying an apartment.
After hearing of driders beneath the Temple of Lolth, the party decided to act as soon as possible. They returned to the Lusty Priest to tell Dorwin what they had found. Dorwin wanted to help them, but wanted more definitive proof, such as a piece of a drider, before risking the wrath of the drow. Ultimately, he reached a compromise where he would be Polymorphed into a spider and the party would agree that he had never been there.
The party had been about to depart when Narunn's information arrived, carried by none other than their old friend, Fortune Eniriel. Fortune was initially angry that she had unwittingly helped Dogaeen and it took a moment for her to recover enough self-control to deliver her message. The shipment that had piqued her interest was the captain's log written by Tordek Starkhelm, Captain of the Flying Pussyfoot, which had embarked on its final voyage with a cargo of livestock. Mid-voyage, the livestock began disappearing, then the crew who went down to check on them. Convinced the ship was haunted, Captain Starkhelm ditched the ship on a sandbar two miles off the coast and rowed to shore. He survived long enough to write his account, but shortly thereafter, he and his crew began to disappear or die in mysterious accidents. Keith vowed to visit the ship as soon as he had time. Also, Fortune had no idea who Derryk and Dennis were.
The plan shook out to be three people (Keith, Derryk, and Dennis) using Gaseous Form to enter the Temple of Lolth, Dorwin being Polymorphed into a spider, Dogaeen going as Raziel, and Woodsy Wildshaping into a spider. It was Dogaeen's responsibility to cast Gaseous Form, so he positioned himself on a bench outside to cast it on his waiting companions. Woodsy and Dorwin went first and waited at the door. Then, as Dogaeen was waiting for someone to enter the temple, a few tiefling punks came up to him and commented on the Lolth breastplate he was wearing. They were from the tiefling Temple of Lolth and wanted to pick a fight with the drow. Dogaeen bought time by saying they needed more tieflings than that to have a chance of winning, so they went away to scare up more hooligans.
Meanwhile, the party regrouped in the Underdark. They did not escape notice for long: two quaggoth came down the tunnel to investigate their conversation. The quaggoth were easily defeated and the party made towards the dead bodies. This time, Woodsy identified them as dead.
They reached the end of the tunnel, where Dogaeen and Woodsy had seen the driders. They were still there, in addition to a huge drider with a face very similar to Kapala's.
- Fatalities: 2 quaggoth (450 XP each)
- XP awarded: 1,000
- Level: 7