In the time before legend, a mighty dracomage wielded forbidden magic, carving deep into the stone and caverns beneath the Worldroot Mountains, searching for even more forbidden magic… the forbiddenest of magics. No one knows what became of the dracomage, for he was never seen again by the mortals of the upper world.
In time, the boldest adventurers gathered their courage and descended into the darkness below in search of power and glory. They found other things waiting there for them as well. Few are those who enter the Delve and return. Fewer still are those who return with anything worth showing for their troubles.
Nevertheless, an entire industry has sprung up around sending hapless fools down into the Delve, filled with dreams of gold and loot. Getting into the Delve is simply a matter of completing a few safety courses and passing a verbal exam (the written exam was discontinued after overwhelming complaints from the ‘Fiters’ guild).
In short, entering the Delve is relatively easy. Getting out again is the real test of an adventurer’s skill.
Our story so far…
Bree Starval is a wood elf rogue who has entered the Delve in the company of a party of adventurers. After falling victim to a slide trap, they find themselves in an unfamiliar and dangerous section of the dungeon.
While being prepared for the mating ceremony, Bree is accosted by an orkish harem girl and is rescued by an emerald slime who has taken the form of Teal, a spirited young woman with translucent green skin.
Bree manages to escape her bonds and flees from Ssithikus, with the help of Nefice, a naga sorceress. Nefice asks Bree to go in search of a lost book of magic, The Alabaster Idol. Nefice places a curse rune on Bree’s chest that will kill her if she does not return with the Idol.
Bree takes Teal with her as she goes in search of the book, rumored to be in possession of the crazed Paraxyss, a sadistic naga warrior. They are captured by Paraxyss who sets them loose again to hunt them for sport.
Injured in the hunt, Bree is knocked unconscious and has a flashback to her time among the high elves. She recalls her friendship with other elven girls, Nemonae, an aquatic elf, and Capria, a shadow elf. They are gathered to celebrate their friend Princess Sephni’s engagement to Kindall, a high elf nobleman who thinks very little of the other elven houses. On her wedding night, Sephni is kidnapped by monsters and carried away.
Waking from her stupor, Bree finds herself surrounded by flesh-eating beasts. She fights them, but soon succumbs to her poisoned wound and swoons again. She and Teal are, fortunately, rescued by a were-rat named Beddigan Breggs.
Beddigan proves to be an old friend of Teal and seems glad to help them, treating Bree’s wound while she recovers in bed.
Meanwhile, we learn of a failed assassination attempt on Capria, the shadow elf, whom the high elves blame for the kidnapping of Princess Sephni. Two of the assassins, Cynder and Tyra remain, alive but imprisoned. Agent Tyra has lost one of her ears, cut off by the shadow elves. Capria appears to gloat over their failure and to offer Cynder a chance at single combat. Capria proves an excellent fighter and dispatches Cynder. She leaves Tyra alive and releases her with the message that the shadow elves had nothing to do with Sephni’s abduction.
Capria retires to her chambers to heal her wounds and prepares Agent Tyra’s severed ear for use in a mysterious ritual.
We go back to Bree. She has fully healed and sets out again, while Beddigan goes to investigate a problem in the upper levels. Teal reveals that, during their brief time in Paraxyss’s lair, she learned that The Alabaster Idol was more than just a book. It was in fact a real idol, and she knew the riddle to finding it.
They decide to search for the idol itself, hoping this will satisfy Nefice’s curse. Along the way, they meet with Teal’s family, including Teal’s angry, sister, Rosa who hates Bree at first sight. A hungry Bree chooses to sample some of the less disgusting fare of a slime family’s diet and ends up eating too many hallucinogenic mushrooms. In a mushroom-addled sleep, Bree is dream-summoned into the presence of the Dragomage himself. The mighty lord of the Delve, warns her that, if Nefice possesses the idol, Bree will never find Princess Sephni.
We jump to find Beddigan walking into a trap. He is attacked by a cat-like huntsman name Phawkes who has some history with Beddigan. The two clash with sword and pistol leaving each to an uncertain fate.
Back again with Bree and Teal, they set out again, and are quickly captured by cookie gnomes and put to work as slaves in the fabulite mines. Teal makes an amazing discovery, finding a fabled icosahedric zirconium whose magic allows her and Bree to escape their captivity.
Unfortunately, it does so by randomly teleporting them into an unsafe region of the delve that gives way beneath them. As they plummet to almost certain death atop a crumbling boulder, Teal gives up her almost-human form to envelope Bree in a protective bubble.
We are introduced to the Valryn, a race of female warrior demons led by Lyca. They are engaged in a glorious and deadly battle with a great dragon, when Bree’s boulder comes crashing down on the dragon’s head, slaying it.
The amazed Valryn search the dragon’s body and find an injured, but living Bree lying in a pool of green goo.
When Bree awakes, she mourns for the loss of her friend Teal, but the Valryn seem anxious to help her in her quest. They hold the missing information needed to solve the riddle of The Alabaster Idol. They use a magical portal that takes them to a secret garden where a race of gorgons stands guard over the idol.
A fierce battle ensues, but Bree and the Valryn are victorious. They breach the sacred temple and lay claim to the idol itself, though it proves to be an albino gorgon girl wearing a strange mask. The mask, she claims, is not to protect others from being turned to stone by her gaze, but to prevent herself from being turned to stone by the gaze of any living creature. One of the Valryn decides that she is a sort of anti-gorgon, and thus dubs her the “Nogrog”.
Bree says her goodbyes to the Valryn and takes the Nogrog with her, trying to find a way back to Nefice before the curse rune kills Bree. They are waylaid and captured by jakaali, a race of dog-like creatures who delight in tormenting and devouring their prey.
Bree is rescued from a horrible fate by the sudden arrival of Paraxyss who has been hunting for her all this time. Just as it seems that Bree’s situation has only gotten worse, we learn that Paraxyss worships and adores the Nogrog. The Nogrog demands that Paraxyss release Bree at once, and asks Bree to show them the way to Nefice’s lair.
Now we jump to the great woodland city of Elfenvaar, seat of the high elves. Agent Tyra arrives, still injured, in the care of an elven mage named Kestrel who has just teleported them both back from the delve. Kestrel wants her to seek a healer for her injuries, but she instead rushes to give a report to the elven king, father of the missing Pricess Sephni. Tyra and Kes are both shocked to discover that Prince Kindall has become King in their absence.
Kindall rejects Tyra’s report that Capria claims to be innocent of Sephni’s abduction, and, in a fit of malice, sends her away to fight in his war against the orcs. Kestrel offers to go with her, but Tyra insists that he continue the search for the princess without her. Capria, who has been using magic on Tyra’s severed ear to hear everything, seems quite angry to learn that Kindall has taken advantage of the situation to seize power.
Meanwhile, we find Beddigan lying dead across Phawkes’s knee, in death returned to his original rat form. Phawkes as well is dying from the wound he received in the battle with Beddigan. As he prepares himself to meet his fate, Teal appears to him, freshly returned from the lands of the dead herself. She convinces him to aid her, in exchange for his life, and Phawkes agrees. A mysterious horned rat appears to collect Beddigan’s soul, but Teal is able to beg the rodent reaper for one more year of Beddigan’s time. The former were-rat is returned to a ghostly existence to accompany Teal and his murderer in a quest to stop the end of the world.
Elsewhere, Bree, Paraxyss, and the “Nogrog” pursue their own uneasy alliance in their journey to find Nefice. Bree and Paraxyss agree that things will most likely go badly when they do reach Nefice, and Bree will need some means of defending herself. Paraxyss offers to guide her to a spider-infested cave where she believes Bree might find some useful magic items, or a horrible death. Bree enters the cavern to discover the body of a murdered moon elf, but is attacked by a monstrous arachnodaemon before she can investigate further. She is overcome and nearly cocooned to become the spider demon’s next meal, but she escapes and defeats the creature with the aid of a sentient moonblade.
Somewhere in the upper levels of the Delve, Kestrel has been led to an ominous ventilation shaft by a seedy drakon named Bleek. The elven mage survives Bleek’s trap and tries to question the cringing drakon when one of Kestrel’s superiors, a masked woman he calls Tasche, arrives and has him drop the prisoner down the shaft. She explains that the high council of the elven assassin’s guild has ordered all outsiders involved in the Sephni incident eliminated. Kestrel is shocked to learn that even the princess herself is considered expendable.
Teal and crew encounter a group of drakons claiming to work for the Devourer. Phawkes makes short work of the drakons, but has some trouble with a pair of demons summoned by the drakon mage. Teal saves Phawkes from certain devouring by revealing the true power of caring magic, reducing the hulking hell-beasts to harmless butterflies with her positive outlook and happy thoughts. She tells Phawkes that, if he wishes to defeat such beasts, he too will have to learn to care. Phawkes is not amused.
Bree has emerged from the spider cave, wearing a suit of magical stealth silk, woven by the former ruler of the cavern and her kin who were grateful for their deliverance from the arachnodaemon’s tyranny. Bree and the others continue on their path toward a meeting with Nefice, and Bree questions the magic sword that she found in the spider cave. It tells her the story of how it came to be lost in the cave, a fateful expedition into the Delve, led by a high elf named Kindall. Deep within the cavern, they were betrayed by Kindall, who had come to broker a deal with the drakon Bleek. The sword learned only that Kindall offered the life of Princess Sephni to the drakon’s master, if Kindall would be allowed to hold the knife when the time came for her to die.
Bree is not happy.