All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought, Session 11, The Execution of the Drow Job

All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought / Session 11: The Execution of the Drow Job
All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought / Session 11: The Execution of the Drow Job

In which blood is spilled at a spirited Doors of Fate gaming table and Kuru disappears with an Aboleth.

Who are the Sigil 6 – Trundle, Helewynn, Bugwump, Kuru, Jusko and Failed Soldier and what have they been up to?

Sigil 6 Subject Divider
  • From the start this kind of felt like a Blades in the Dark job. Jusko’s player made it feel even moreso by suggesting that they lure the target Matron Mother they had to kill to a poker game. What? Love it.

    We bought in and pivoted. The players at the table were an Aboleth in a containment tank (yes, inspired by the Guild-fish from Lynch’s Dune) named the Dweller in the Lightless Abyss. I quickly looked up Lich names and saw with Harthoon, Ambassador to Orcus. Decided the local Drow Inquisitor was a gambler too and so Jaelryn, High Inquisitor of Embrae was born. And of course the target, Matron Mother Hloima of House DeVir and her consort, Guldor (all from this page of Drow names).

  • We talked about the game we’d play for a while and came up with Doors of Fate, a tiles game where each tile was a door and the palaces those doors were in were like the suits. Rules changed if you had actually been to the palace in question.

  • The Dweller in the Lightless Abyss was the only one who noticed Kuru was cheating, trying to give more hands to the Matron to cause a fight at the table. After some telepathic banter, Kuru tried to explain fun and having a good time through a game to the ancient and cthonic psionic beast. It did not understand, so it mind controlled Kuru. They tried to break the psionic grip but couldn’t do it.

  • When the fight eventually broke out, it was the lich, throwing a Disintegrate spell at the Matron’s consort, which he dodged with a Nat 20. After that, shit got real. The Lich threw a Cloudkill in the room. The Matron tried to open a gate but Bugwump dispelled it. I described the gate starting to open, the Matron’s soldiers and assassins ready to jump through when Bugwump cast the Dispell, lashing the gate with their tongue and swallowing it.

  • The Dweller in the Lightless Abyss mind-controlled the Matron’s consort, who opened a Dimension Door for the Aboleth to escape through. Kuru went with them through the door, trying to stay and finish the mission with his friends but failing another Wisdom save. The Lich had Dimension Door’ed out, calling the whole lot of these living folk dicks and saying the game had sucked (I used the Rich Lich from the Monsters of the City supplement).

  • After a brutal amount of damage, the Matron went down and the demonic spider-tank she had summoned was Banished, against by Bugwump (MVP of the game).

    In the end, it was only the Inquisitor and the group, looking through the sickly green Cloudkill gas at one another. Kuru had gone through a Dimension Door with the Dweller in the Lightless Abyss, under the creature’s mind control.

    “Let’s talk,” Bugwump said.

DM’s Notes: The Drow Matron Mother from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes is one bad mamba-jamba. Dag.

Running lots of high level NPC’s is rough but not impossible, having good book examples and DnD Beyond open for quick spell look-ups.

I like that the game we made up was called Doors of Fate and so much of this fight was the opening and closing of dimensional and arcane doors. Will All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought? Will they even go to Gloomwrought at all?

Next Game: A tough conversation with the High Inquisitor of Embrae after assassinating a Matron Mother right in front of her.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

These designs and more in my Threadless shop – t-shirts of all kinds, mugs, stickers and even shower curtains…

All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought, Session 10, The Drow Job Prep

All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought, Session 10, The Drow Job Prep

0All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought / Session 10: The Drow Job Prep

In which Kuru finds trouble in a Drow kitchen and the Sigil 6 prepares for the job.

Who are the Sigil 6 – Trundle, Helewynn, Bugwump, Kuru, Jusko and Failed Soldier and what have they been up to?

Sigil 6 Subject Divider
  • Quick game tonight, had to cut it short to get a few professional things done but still, a fun session.

  • Kuru’s player was missing last week so he came in and found out about the team getting involved in assassinating a Drow Matron’s rival Matron. He decided he wanted to know more about the political landscape and everyone goes through the kitchen. One failed Charisma roll later (drawing inspiration from Burning Wheel’s Circles roll) and he had a shadow-sword to his throat, having found a Shadowblade Assassin undercover in the gate-fort’s kitchen.

    Trundle caught the assassin trying to get through the gate back into the Drow city of Eambra. He prayed to the God of Gates and I asked for a Wisdom check. 20. Okay, but let’s make it a low-key miracle. The assassin ran into a group of courtiers just on the other side of the gate, giving Trundle a shot at him. He grappled the Shadowblade and held him down until Failed Soldier could drag them both through the gate, back into the Shadowfell. The assassin Shadow Stepped away but the gate-fort’s guards caught him just outside the walls.

  • Had fun with the Drow thinking Kuru was a child and not a Hobbit/Halfling/whatever. As the Matron said, “My grandmother always said it was good luck to have a Halfling in the kitchen. I thought she was being superstitious but I guess she was right.”

  • We’re figuring out how the group wants to jump on this assassination. I’m looking at a Blades in the Dark technique, where we start in the midst of the job, roll some dice to see how it is going and get after it, rather than sit for hours of planning. We’ll get to it next week.

Next Game:

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

These designs and more in my Threadless shop – t-shirts of all kinds, mugs, stickers and even shower curtains…

A quick and embedded Starless Elf

A quick and embedded Starless Elf

You know that feeling when you’ve been sitting on an Underdeeps for years and a friend calls and says they’re hungry for gaming so you grab World of Dungeons and…

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Starless elves, deep underground, demonic spider-queen, glittering cities, stalactite and stalagmite towers, daggers, feuding Houses, under-panthers…you get the idea.


NOTE: Why did I start with hair as a way to show social status? I have no idea. NONE.

Bald, as befits a thrall whose House was cast into the pits when you were young

What have you done recently to gain the Matron’s attention?

What do you remember of your dead House?

Equipment: All you have are you clothes and one secret belonging that you have somehow hid since you were a child, something from your doomed House.

  • Statue of a shoulder-spider or under-panther that will turn into a pet for a time
  • A dagger made of volcanic glass with a white-gold hilt
  • A signet ring with your family’s sigil
  • A cloak that allows you to walk from one mirror to another as if they are all connected.

NOTE: Wait, is the mirror cloak just WAY cooler than anything else by a longshot?

Affiliations: When you choose a city, choose which Affiliation still owes your dead House a favor, another that despises you as appropriate and a third that has a family spy hidden within it who still holds your family in esteem.

Dagger Subject Divider

Braided rows or short in the front, long in the back, as befits one of the Matron’s trained knives

The Matron has entrusted you with a dangerous errand. What scares you about it?

Who within your House hopes that you fail?

Equipment: You have the finest weapons and spider-silk armor made in the Underdeeps. Describe what you carry with you and what you have in your spartan quarters.

You have something you stole from someone you assassinated, something you never reported to your superiors. What is it?

Affiliation: When you choose a city, choose which Affiliation helped train you, another that you fear and a third that despises you for what you have done in the name of your Matron.

Dagger Subject Divider

Veiled with one long braid, as befits a Matron of a minor house to show her bond with the Demonweb Pits

What have you done to prepare for the Mournstar Fête?

What failure within your House do you need to address before it grows like a fungus?

Equipment: You have all of the bodyguards, counselors and body doubles appropriate for a House Minor Matron – also the finest courtly fashion for your social engagements and an heirloom left to you from your Mother. Is it a bound demon, an indentured Githyanki Psion or a captured vampire assassin?

Note: The GM might make a cool checklist to decide details, strengths and weaknesses of your House. If so, cool If not you’ll figure it out in play (possible follow-up post in the spirit of Ithaca Station).

Affiliation: When you choose a city, choose which Affiliation where a trusted sibling holds power, another where a rival holds power and a third whose relationship with your House balances on the edge of a knife.

Dagger Subject Divider

Unbound, as befits a traveler, delver and guide

Will you look for work as a caravan leader for a scrappy House Minor, find some civic adventurer’s guild to delve with or take a job as one of the rangers in a House Major’s entourage?

What secret did you leave in the tunnels during your last journey?

Equipment: A steed that is either a Spider or a Dinosaur. Choose one – name and describe it.

A well worn crossbow, a pair of named axes (name them!) and a dagger for your boot.

Affiliation: When you choose a city, choose which Affiliation knows of your fine work and respects it, which one is the vocation of an estranged but still loved sibling and a third who want revenge for your actions.

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Under Ground Cities / Spider Goddess Shrines, gnomish illusionsists, feuding nigh-immortal matrons / Starless elves, cave bears, & mushroom beasts


What city do you come from? Choose one and we will begin the game there after you choose your affiliations:

Kitji-Naal: Two cities divided by an underground river and ruled by twin matriarchs who rarely meet, but communicate via magical mirrors. The city is the largest and most populated city in the underdark; its politics are a convoluted mess of ancient feuds, assassin’s knives and inter-House warfare.

Exports: Poisons, Assassins-for-hire, spider-silk, books


  • Congress of Knives and Poison
  • Demonweb Nuns
  • Spider-Shepherd’s Guild
Dagger Subject Divider

Eämbar: A newly founded city that is a port, connected to the ocean by a series of complicated crystal locks that link Eämbar to the ocean’s crushing depths. All manner of undersea sentients can been seen on the city streets, sometimes in specially made tanks of water pushed by servants.

The matriarch is the youngest to ever hold the title and the most renowned sword in the underdeeps.

Exports: Fish, undersea crafts, spider-silk crystal


  • Diplomatic League
  • Sea Cult
  • Matriarch’s Council
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Endë-Osto: The deepest city of the Starless Elves and is considered by many to be the capital, is ruled by the eldest matriarch whose throne is said to float weightless in the center of the earth. Her queensguard is made of the most cunning of the Starless Elf sword-maidens, who ride dinosaur steeds bred for battle. The city is in a hollow-earth with a bruise-purple sun, said to have been created at the height of the Illithid Empire.

Exports: vegetables, dinosaur steeds and ranger-guides


  • Queensguard
  • Psionic Temple
  • Rangers’ Sibhood
Dagger Subject Divider

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12 Nearby Cities

You’ve got that fantasy city you made up on the map – here are some neighbors beyond the map’s edges:


Asmodeen: former capital of the Tiefling empire, back when there was an empire. Made to honor the God-Tyrant, Asmodeus but was never officially recognized as His unholy capital city. The city is guarded by the 13 Altar-Fortresses, each commanded by a warlock-commander.

Exports: goats, obsidian, indentured devil tutors


Bahamudad: holy city of the Dragonborn, where it is said that Bahamut and Tiamat’s high priests and priestesses made a peace accord and gathered to create the species after the first Dragon War.

Exports: lumber, ancient coins, accountants


The Walking Cathedral: an ancient, lumbering machine said to be built in a collaboration between saints, sorcerers, devils and gods before the world knew of war and blood. The path it lumbers along is completed once every season, said to be on guard against the Tarrasque.

Exports: buffalo, holy books, oracles and scribes


Pentacle: a new and growing metropolis made by a cabal of five mages who have built a merchant house from their money made from stolen dragon’s hoards and looted lich’s tombs, surrounded by five towers that are still under construction and stout walls.

Exports: vellum, ink, map-makers


High Fell: a city in the middle of the Bright Bay, built atop the skyships, airships and spelljammers that fell to the earth during the Storm Wars. The ships are connected via tunnels and gangplanks, purchasing a ship entangles one into complicated relationships with one’s neighbors.

There are Lower Fells all over the Bright Sea.

Exports: fish, otherworldly artifacts, artifact appraisers


Corvuston: the holy city of the Raven Queen with necropolis walls and many murders.

Exports: marble, embalmers, morticians and undead hunters


Ulula: the city that clings to the fortress built by the owl god is known for its giant owl steeds and the city’s knights who ride them – delivering messages and slaying monsters that haunt the night.

Exports: wool, flying steeds and astonishingly recent news from afar


Endë-Osto: the deepest city of the Drow is ruled by a matriach whose throne is said to float in the center of the earth. Her queensguard is made of the palest of the drow sword-maidens who have never seen sun, moon nor stars; they ride dinosaurs bred for traversing tunnels. 

Exports: mushrooms, ore, gems and Underdark guides


Three Giants Dam: Before the Curse fell upon the Giants and damned them to mindless savagery, they used their magics to raise a dam that stretched miles wide and half a mile thick and high, sealing the Sunset Ocean off from the Inner Sea, and creating the lush Valley of Indris. The dam still stands inviolate, the three carved giants on its face standing testament to their once-mighty craft. The smaller races have built a city of interlocking platforms, scaffolds, and houses all along its inner face, with the world’s greatest and most dangerous harborage spilling over the top.
Exports: wine from scaffold-grown grapes, old Giantish machina from the access tunnels, magebred messenger monkeys.
By Jim DelRosso


J’arr: also know as the City of a 1000 ports it is said to have been created in a single night by a djinn of the first order. J’arr sits at the mouth of the mighty river All’taugh, the Sweet, known for its refreshing and soothing waters.  High minarets and brightly colored palaces speckle the skyline and merchants and creatures of all sorts walk its streets.  It has been thousands of years since the city’s founding but the mage with ruby eyes still rules as he always has. It is said that in the dunes that surround the city a giant insect god with glittering eyes watches from beneath the surface. 

Exports: olives, diplomats, (there is a school for diplomatic and negotiating skills within the city), and pepper.

by Anthony Loinaz


Big Shire: a sprawling series of hills inter-connected with hobbit holes, weed dens and sabbatical hostels for over-stressed wizards. The Big Shire is governed by a complicated morass of mayors and sheriffs.
Exports: pipe weed, cabbage, fireworks, burglars


Labyrinth: an urban maze created by and constantly kept up and altered by minotaur architects and masons. The city is a philosophical statement about choice and free will and is said to be slowly dying along with the minotaur species.
Exports: bricks, architects, book-binders

NOTE: When it came time to use this, Endë-Osto didn’t fit, so I used the following:
Vault: in the wake of terrible wars, feuds and kinstrife, the dwarven merchant class has taken over its society and Vault is the ultimate expression of that. This holdfast is a mountain carved into a work of art, where dwarven crafts are constantly exported in armored caravans, guarded by dwarven soldiers.
Exports: Dwarven Crafts (iron, gem, stone), guards, banking

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Lich Collection