"Pelor is my baseball bat!"
—Orkira, Heroes of the Vale, Episode 9
Watch Heroes of the Vale – Episode 9: The Bag World
Our heroes are 6th-level characters known as:
- Keen, Eladrin Eldritch Knight Fighter played by TJ Storm
- Briv, Half-Orc Cavalier Fighter played by Adam Bradford
- Orkira, Dragonborn Light Domain Cleric played by Lauren Urban
- Penelope, Halfling Circle of Land Druid played by Hope LaVelle
- Alyndra Alexandria Garanahil Sarrbarand, Lorekeeper of Rime Spiro, Kinscribe of Clan Monkeymouse, High ElfCleric / Wizard played by Jen Kretchmer
- Todd Kenreck as the Dungeon Master
An exhausted Alyndra relays the details of her vision from reconnecting to the Ocean of the Dead. The group is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the undead crisis, and more than a little unsure of what to do next, so they decide that the best course of action was to turn in for the evening and start fresh in the morning.
Penelope stays awake for a moment longer to ask the Dryad about the growing darkness. The Dryad replies that she is unsure if there is a way to defeat the undead, and thinks this might be the end. The sagely spirit says, “Just remember when things are at their absolute darkest, the dawn is coming. I’m going to miss you the most.” and then retreats back into her tree. Sad and worried, Penelope climbs into the tree to sleep.
In the middle of the night, Briv feels as though he is falling, and the noise of his nightmare wakes up Orkira. In her nightshirt and cap, she moves outside Briv’s room to listen and see if he is alright. She listens for a moment, and then relaxes once she thinks Briv has settled down again. Orkira turns to leave, but as she walks back to her room, she notices a bag on the ground. The pouch resembles a bag of holding, and she suspects that one of the visiting gnomes must have left it behind by mistake. She shoulders the bag and takes it back to her room for safekeeping until she can find the owner, and then settles back into bed. But before she could drift back into restfulness, she is torn from slumber by another noise! She looks down, and sees that the bag has grown multiple pairs of glowing, red eyes and that its opening has sprouted dozens of razor-sharp teeth! "I'm not breakfast," she roars, and breathes flame upon the aggressive sack.
The sound of roaring and crackling flames wakes Alyndra (in her bed) and Penelope (in the tree), and both rush towards Orkira's chambers. They arrive just in time to see the monstrous bag fully engulf their friend, and try frantically to pull open the bag, but the bag turns on them and devours Penelope, too! Alyndra flees to Briv’s room for help, but finds his room empty—no doubt swallowed by the bag, as well. The bag follows and attacks her as well, and she is also devoured.
Inside the bag, Orkira, Penelope, Alyndra, and Briv—still fast asleep—fall through an expansive, yet sunless, blue sky. They fall for what seems like an age until they see the ground beneath, which appears to be a massive stone structure with an opening in its top. Briv awakens in the midst of the fall, and Alyndra casts feather fall upon her friends, and they all drift gently downward. They are accosted by a rude gold dragon on their descent, but the dragon departs without issue. The party takes note that this strange creature seems to be flying without any wings. They don't have any time to worry about the bizarre dragon, however, for they soon tumble into the structure. Orkira spreads her wings, grabs Penelope, and flies out of the way, and the two land in a grassy glade nearby.
Alyndra and Briv tumble into the tower, where they land on top of a gargantuan gelatinous cube! Briv sinks into the gooey beast, but manages to embed his shield in the top of the cube, so Alyndra lands upon it and not in the goop. Briv steels himself against the acid slowly digesting his entire body, and gazes upon the ancient skeletons and armor from many different creatures that were once trapped within the cube. Penelope and Orkira find a door to the tower, but learn with dismay that the threshold is blocked by the wiggling body of the cube. Not discouraged, Penelope casts spider climb and scales the side of the tower while Orkira soars aloft and looks in from above. Penelope dives into the tower and casts water walk to help everyone float to the surface of the gelatinous cube. As they break free and try to determine their next course of action, they hear a strange voice echoing in their minds. A helm of telepathy flares into life inside the cube, and it seems as though the cube itself is speaking to them! The cube informs them that it's been trapped in this structure by an evil wizard named Vordrid. The wizard forced the cube to eat anyone that falls inside, and the cube wants nothing more than to escape.
Swayed by the cube's tale, Penelope uses mold earth to collapse one side of the tower, while Briv puts his massive strength to work on the other. Before long, the party has toppled a wall of the tower and allowed the cube to roam free! Penelope names their new companion Glubby, and the freshly named cube declares that it is thrilled to be free and to have a name and friends. It continues to conspire with the adventurers, and informs them that the evil wizard Vordrid lives in the Obsidian Castle in the Wastes. It believes Vordrid might know how to escape the bag. Glubby can't travel with them, but before it leaves the party, it gives them several items it has collected: a simple map of the area, a spell scroll of fireball, a flame tongue sword, a cloak of elvenkind, a ring of the ram, and an immovable rod.
Exhausted from the day and having had their sleep interrupted, Alyndra casts Leomund’s tiny hut to provide a safe shelter and the group settle in to rest. Briv spends a quiet moment thinking of Flo and Beakgrinder. Meanwhile, Orkira struggles to get comfortable, because her wings and spikes are getting in the way—and is also struggling with embarrassment, because everyone can see how hard it is to adjust to her new body. Alyndra comforts her, and offers some suggestions on how to position her wings, and Orkira manages to drift into slumber. Penelope wraps herself in her new cloak and happily falls asleep.
Alyndra thinks of the one companion they're missing in the world of the bag: Keen. Worried that Keen might accidentally be attacked by the bag, Alyndra casts several spells in conjunction: first, clairvoyance to see Keen, then message to speak with him. Sadness is etched upon their companion's face, and he is slow to accept that the voice he hears is Alyndra's. She persuades him that her voice is her own, and Keen ruefully explains to her that five years have passed since they disappeared, and he has come to terms with their apparent demise. Alyndra is horrified; only a few hours have passed for them within the bag. Alyndra's voice fills Keen with renewed hope and vigor, and he swears to find the bag and help how he can. Likewise, the other heroes are galvanized to find the Obsidian Castle and escape the bag before any more time passes.
They spend the day running across the land until they reach the ominous Obsidian Castle. Atop its spires, they spy an ancient wizard commanding an army of orcs to fire upon them with a volley of arrows. Penelope casts gust of wind, deflecting the fusillade and surprising the cruel wizard. Vordrid momentarily halts his attack, and the group takes the opportunity to try and speak with him. He admits that most heroes come to the tower to try and kill him, and he’s not used to people being nice. When the group asks for help getting out the bag, Vordrid offers to teleport them out if they will return with the being who initially trapped him inside, but wants the group to swear to his terms before he will say who they need to capture.
Orkira is annoyed by these conditions and casts zone of truth, forcing Vordrid to admit that he tried to take over the world but Avren stopped him and exiled him into this bag. They manage to convince Vordrid to send the group back to the real world, leaving Vordrid in charge of the bag world.
The four are thrown up by the bag back into the regular world, but Stormherald has crashed into the side of a mountain. They find broken and cracked stone walls, empty halls, the control orb shattered, shadows and darkness everywhere and the Ocean of the Dead swarming the land. In the courtyard stands status of each of them with a plaque from Keen.
In loving memory. I'm sorry I could not find you.
What has happened while the heroes were trapped within the bag? Where is Keen? Is it too late to save the world? Join us on April 3rd, 2019 to find out in Episode 10!
Lauren "OboeCrazy" Urban is the Community Manager for D&D Beyond, as well as a professional classical musician on oboe and English Horn. When she's not playing a Bard in real life she's a prolific Dungeon Master and player on a variety of livestreams and podcasts. She lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband Luke where they spend their free time playing video games and drinking tea. The best way to keep up with Lauren's busy schedule is to follow her on Twitter at @OboeCrazy.