Out of the Abyss

(Jeff_L) #1

A-. the ,rJH•ntur~.;r-. make their way through the
U nderdark. 11 helps to impro' tse descriptions of what
they experience 10 add flavor lo the journey. As you do.
tf) to <;tre~~ two key pomts.
First. the trek'" long and arduous. The party is
traveling underground. over incredibly difficult and
rough terrain, \~itltout any of the comforts of the surface
world. Food and watt'r are scarce. The darkness
never e nds. The playerc; should feel as though their
characte rs are in peril throughout their traYels. never
knowing when omt'thmg is set to leap at them from
the shadows.
Second, the Underclark is an exotic, alie n landscape
unlike anything found on the surface world.
Thro ughout its twic;ted passageways and impossibly
large caverns, characters might lind bizarre reminde rs
of lost and forgotte n c ivilizations, unearthly flora and
fauna, and incredible geography. Little is as it seems,
and muc h is difiiculllo expla in, o r even lo descr ibe.


A party of drow from Velkynveh·e pursue their escaped
prisone rs into the Underdark. The drow priestess Jlvara
becomes increasingly obsessed with the adventurers.
believing they are involved in some secret conspiracy.
or perhaps some test of h<"r worthiness. The longer
the pursun. the more determmed she is to retake them
and have the opportunity 10 teach them the error of
defying her.
The drow party consbts of llmra (drow priestess of
Lolth). the dro w elite warrio rsjorlan and Shoor. and
the junior prie<;te!>s Ac;ha Vandrce (use the priest star
block in the Monster Manual, but add tbe Fey Ancestry.
Innate S pellcastiog. and Sunlight Sensitivity features
of th e drow <,t;ll block). The hunting party also includes
four d row wnrrio rs who serve as forward scouts.
If any of lhe drow NPCs did not s urvive chapter 1.
replace them with nc•wly arrived rei nforcements from
Mcnzobcrran:wn under the comma nd of llvara. or
another pries tess of her caliber.

If an encounter wath the drow is goang badly and you don't
want the characters recaptured, you coan always have fate
intercede on thear behalf wath another encounter or event
offerang ;a distr;actaon.
For example, a wandering stone giant, a purple worm, or
a pack of savage gnolls whipped anto a frenzy by Yeenoghu
maght show up JUSt as the drow have the characters
cornered. gavang them a chance to run. Lakewise, a minor
earthquilke (cilused by anstilbalaty from the demonic:
incurston or il wald milgac surge) maght cause a ca~te-in,
cuwng off il tunnel between the poarty and thetr pursuers,
and dropping the pursuat level by 1 or 2.
Don't do thas so often that the players feel they haven't
earned It, but use at as an optaon to keep the pursuit going
rather than comang to an anllclimacttc conclusion.


Tht• drow musttrark the party through the Underdark
on foot. as there are no mounts available at Velkyn velve
and Jlvara doe~n't wait for an already·late relief
detachment from ~kn1oberranzan to arrive. This limits
how quickly the dark cl\'CS can move to catc h up. since
they mu t c;eek out ~·gns of their quarry's passage.
occa.,ionally doubling hack to pick up their trail again.

The closeness of the drow pursuit is measured by a
pursuit le-.el. It begin at 4. with th<" drow not far behind
the characters. If thr pursuit level reaches 5, the drow
forward scouts <'atch up to them. and the drow leaders
arrive not long thereafter (see •·catching Up''). If the
pursuit l evel drop:-to 0. the party has eluded the drow
until ci rcumstances bring both fac tions into contact
again (sec "Eluding Purs uit").
Characte rs can inrrmasc or decrease the pursuit level
in th(! following ways:
Decrease th e pursuit level by 1 fo r each day the party
travels at a fas t pace.
Decrease the pursuitle,el hy I if a character spends
time CO\ering up the party's trail that day. requiring a
s uccessful DC 16 Wisdom (Survival) check.
Decrease the pursuit lc\'el by I each time the charar-
ten, c ross o r traH•r<;e orne feature that obscures their
trail. s uch as a .,ubterranean ri,er.
Derrease the pur.,u•t level by 1 if the party splirs into
two or more groups. Each group becomes a separate
party for purposes of determining random encounters
and whether or not the group becomes losr.
Increase the pur<.uit level by 1 each time the party
ha!> a random encount<•r with one or more creatures.
unle!>S the encountt•r is bypassed o r avoided entirely.
Inc rease the pursuit ll·vcl by 1 for each day the adve n-
turer!> travel ala sl()w pnce.
Certain tC'rrain e ncounters in crease or decrease the
purs uit level. See th e individual descriptions in the
'"Handorn Encounters·· section.
The players mighl rome up with additional ways
of ev:~din,:t pursuit. Adjudicate these as you see fit.
Fo r example. if the characters convince a randomly
e ncounte re d c reature- 10 let them pass by telling them
about th e wealthy drow following them. you might
reduce the pursuit level by I as the drow are forced to
deal\\ nh the e ncounter before they can resume tracking
the party. Similarly. the adventurers could lay traps
to s low down thetr purc;uers. or they might convince a
friendly creature to lie to the drow about which way the
party we nt.
If you chooM' to s kip O\er a fe w days of travel (as
described under ·summarizing Tra\'el· later in this
chapter). the pur uitlevel doesn't change during
that time.

When the pursuit level rc•arhcs 5, tbe drow forward
scout s !>pot the party. At this point. the pursuit might
become nn r ncounter if the characters spot the drow
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