Krimm, a kobold who has lived his entire life underground, desperately wants to see the sun. However, after an unfortunate setback, he finds himself in an illithid prison, a place that amounts to little more than a food pantry for a race of brain-eating monsters. Read on to see how our erstwhile canine humanoid fares.
The illithid’s command drowned out all other thoughts in Krimm’s mind. Yet, Krimm felt no compulsion. The sigil on his hand worked as promised, keeping him free from all psychic compulsion. Krimm had mere moments to decide how he would use that freedom. “An illithid has more up his sleeve than compulsion,” thought Krimm. “Best to play along.”
Krimm stood, steeling himself for his plan. As calmly as possible he walked directly up to the illithid, his head bent down toward his feet. Krimm stopped only a few short inches away from the brain eater. A drop of slime from the illithid’s tentacles loudly spattered on the top of Krimm’s foot. A moment later he felt an icy grip enfold around his biceps.
Krimm kept still as the illithid raised him nearly to eye level. The putrid stench of his captor assaulted Krimm’s nostrils. Slowly, one, then two clammy, slimy tentacles from the illithid’s head began wrapping themselves around Krimm’s cranium. Krimm felt himself being tilted at an angle toward the illithid’s mouth as a third, fourth, and fifth tentacle entwined around Krimm’s head.
“This is it,” thought Krimm.
Opening his mouth, Krimm lunged forward and sank his sharp teeth into the now-exposed neck of the illithid. Then, just as swiftly and violently, he jerked his head back while squeezing his jaw even harder. Krimm tore out a chunk of the illithid’s flesh right at the jugular and was unceremoniously dropped to the floor.
The vile taste of the illithid blood, something like moldy ink, caused Krimm to vomit. The illithid lay on the floor next to him, unconscious and slowly bleeding out. Krimm set himself to the unpleasant task of picking over the illithid’s possessions. Amidst the folds of his captor’s robes he found what appeared to be some kind of magic wand as well as two rings and a pouch with some Drow Elf coinage.
As he finished rifling through his fallen foe’s belongings, Krimm could smell more coming. Krimm narrowed his eyes and gazed hard at the corpse. The illithid probably sent one last psychic cry for help to his comrades before falling unconscious. Now his buddies were coming.
Krimm’s situation defied optimism. He was at the end of the cell block and there were no obvious secret doors, nor time enough to search for them. Hearing the soft patter of hurried illithid feet, Krimm considered the magic wand. If he was lucky it would hurl some kind of fireball or lightning bolt down the hallway. If he was unlucky it would produce an entertaining but useless light show. Still, it was all he had.
With a flourish, Krimm waved the wand toward the oncoming illithids down the hallway and willed it to produce magic. Every hair on his body suddenly bristled with what felt like static charge and… nothing happened. Cursing silently, Krimm tucked the magic wand in his belt and attempted to shrink into the shadows of his cell.
Three illithids arrived. Communicating psychically, they made no sound for about two minutes as they stood around the corpse and considered the steaming pile of Krimm’s stomach contents. Their tentacles wriggled with angry apprehension. One began rifling through the corpse as another stood watch and the third began examining the prison cells. He walked directly into Krimm’s cell.
Krimm could see him examining the walls. The sound of the illithid’s rhythmic breathing hole drawing and blowing air seemed to compete only with the frenzied pounding of Krimm’s heartbeat. The illithid moved closer. Krimm felt sure he had been discovered, but wondered if the same strategy might buy him more time than a frontal assault. Mere inches from Krimm, the illithid turned his head up to examine the ceiling, gazed for a few moments, and then turned and left the cell. Shortly, he and his companions grabbed their fallen comrade’s corpse and left the cell block.
Krimm’s hairs were still standing on end with that static electricity buzz. He pulled the wand out from where it was lodged between his body and his belt. Understanding began to coalesce in his mind… it was a wand of invisibility.
“Trusted heroes,” the letter opened, “your courage and bravery in serving the duchy these past five years is known to all. You have driven threat after threat away from the people and championed the cause of good, order, and civilization. Now, you are summoned once more to the ducal courts to discuss the apparent source behind our recent troubles. There is every indication that the assaults on our towns are the workings of the Drow, that nefarious civilization of underground elves, and their wicked spider goddess, Llolth.
“Armies are incapable of navigating the caverns down into the Underdark. A small band of heroes, yourselves, must accept the responsibility to determine the situation with the Drow. Then, if possible, you must establish a teleportation zone within their city that our forces can use to launch a full-scale attack. The three of you will need a sorceress to accomplish this mission—one you can trust!
“Therefore his highness, the Duke Erandwil, commands that you present yourselves to him within two weeks. He will provide you with further details and supplies.
May the One be with you,
Feldrix Hamm, Court Scribe”
Rikard folded the letter back up and returned it to his backpack. “That’s how adventures start,” he thought, with a glance toward his sister, Zamza. “A piece of paper launches a weeks-long expedition into the damp, cold, caverns.”
Finding the rations he was really searching for, Rikard cinched up his backpack and approached the other three. Zamza recited an eldritch phrase and with a snap of her fingers, the campfire blazed into existence.