Krimm, a kobold who has lived his entire life underground, desperately wants to see the sun. He got close once, but after an unfortunate setback he is once more deep underground. You can catch up on Krimm’s adventures in the links below or continue reading to see how our erstwhile canine humanoid fares.
With a bemused look the dwarf ghost spoke. “Well… we don’t get many visitors these days.” Krimm blinked. The ghost lifted his eyes toward the mausoleum’s door. “By the sounds of it you’re trapped.” Without warning, he erupted into a full-throated belly-laugh. Krimm remained silent.
The dwarf’s laugh subsided and he fixed Krimm with another look of gleeful amusement. “You’re not very talkative, eh? Well, that’s fine. I’ve been talking to myself for so long that a few more minutes won’t make a difference. So… trapped in a rockmage’s mausoleum. What will you do? You could unbar that door, step outside and get slaughtered.” The dwarf laughed again, amused by his own joke. “Or you could take the secret door underneath my tomb into the laboratory underneath, recover a soul gem, and then use that to make one of those creatures out there sentient. With his help you just might make it out of here alive.”
Krimm finally spoke up, “Wait a moment… what did you just say?”
“I thought that might get your attention!” The dwarf guffawed once more, his big ghostly belly quivering like a gelatinous ooze. “Those guardians out there are called ‘warforged.’ They were an experiment that I and others were working on. Right now they’re no more intelligent than an elemental. But they have potential. If equipped with a charged soul gem they can become sentient creatures. That’s the theory, anyway. They get their own personality, preferences, likes, dislikes. Pretty much just like you and me, but stronger, tougher. Well, that and they’d be alive. I’m dead, of course.” The ghost gave another huge belly-laugh.
“And that’s the only way out?” asked Krimm.
“The only one that seems obvious,” replied the ghost.
“I’m Krimm. What’s your name?”
“Zimdur. Zimdur Onyx, at your service,” replied the ghost.
“So how do I get underneath your tomb to the laboratory?”
“There’s a switch hidden at the base of my statue back there,” said Zimdur, gesturing to the large statue of his likeness at the rear of the mausoleum. “When you press it, the tomb swings aside to reveal a staircase. My laboratory is underneath.
Krimm looked at him sideways, “Is it safe down there?”
Zimdur broke into yet another fit of laughter. “Safe? Safe?!? Waters, no! Who knows what’s crawling around down there!”
Krimm sighed and walked toward the statue. Zimdur watched as he located the switch that opened the tomb. Before throwing the switch, Krimm turned to Zimdur’s apparition. “Anything I should know about what’s down there?”
Zimdur thought for a few seconds and then replied. “I was experimenting with polymorphic oozes. Shapeshifters. Waters only know if they were able to survive all this time. But if you run into one… well… you might not even know it. It could look like anything. Maybe even a soul gem.” At this, Zimdur cracked up all over again.
Krimm was not amused. Setting his jaw with determination, he flipped the switch. The tomb pivoted on its rear left corner and swung open. A draft of musty air escaped the pitch-blackness below. Krimm drew his daggers and started picking out the scents coming from below.
Zamza curled her nose and tried hard not to concentrate on the stench. They were wading through ankle-deep bilge-water at the bottom of the ravine of Derig Ur, a wide and deep passageway that surrounded the northern curve of Ulgmar Dun, the ancient capital of the Duergar Dwarves.
Durmfen, leading up the front, yelled back to the others. “Somewhere along the wall here there’s supposed to be a secret door that leads up to the city. I’ve been keeping an eye out for it, but there’s nothing yet.”
Zamza suddenly felt the twitter of butterflies in her stomach. She knew exactly what it meant. Concentrating, she pinpointed the direction. “Uh… guys… something intensely evil lies ahead. This one is strong. Much worse then the Drow from before.”
The group stopped. There was silence until Rikard spoke up. “This is the way we decided to go. Let’s just find that secret door and hope we don’t run into whatever you’ve sensed, Zamza.”