This initial scouting review is from Rabbit who has extensive experience in this outpost as she transported her slaves back into the underdark. She cannot guarantee that the numbers are the same or if the outpost has rearranged defenses in the last 70 years or so.
Conventional Long Form Name: Imperial Frontier Outpost 134.
Location: Closest surface entrance to Kokand (about 40 miles away from Arborlon).
Purpose: Defensive Outpost and Slave Registration
Leader: Ilvara Mizzrym, Drow Priestess
People of Note: Shae, junior priestess, Shoor Vandree, Drow military commander, and Jorlan Duskryn, old leader.
Forces of Note: 13th Imperial Militia
- Junior Priestess
- Drow Elite Warriors x 8
- Drow Warriors x 24
- Quaggoths x 48
- Giant Spiders x 12
The outpost is located high in a cavern, built 100 feet above the rocky floor. The outpost consists of a series of small caves in the cavern walls and four “hanging towers” — hollowed-out stalactites connected by walkways, stairs, and rope bridges. The towers are concealed by the thick webs of giant spiders stretched below them, so that only the lowermost parts of the stalactites are visible from the cavern floor.
With the small amount of dim light used in the outpost shielded from the cavern floor below, one might walk the entire length of the cleft without becoming aware of the outpost overhead, hidden in the darkness above the range of torches and lanterns. The giant spiders also serve as guards, dropping down on their web strands to prey upon creatures that find their way into the cavern. Similarly, drow warriors can drop to the cave floor on lines of spider silk to ambush enemies.
Three caves and two hanging towers surrounding a platform make up the main part of the outpost for the drow warriors. The largest of the hanging towers is reserved for the priestesses and the shrine of Lolth, while the other is a guard tower opposite the cave used to hold slaves. North of the slave pen is the den of the outpost’s quaggoth servants. Watch posts lie at either end of the outpost, near the northern and southern entrances to the cavern.
AREAS OF VELKYNVELVE
1. Southern Watch Post
Near the southern passage from the cavern is an alcove used as a watch post. It is set up so that you can station up to 8 drow here at all times to keep watch over the passage. The location is perfect to see any light from the passage or the cavern below.
Stone steps lead from the watch post to a 1-foot-thick platform of zurkhwood extending between two of the hanging towers and into three adjoining caverns.
The two southernmost caves serve as barracks for the drow warriors of the outpost. The numbers are divided in half and each dwell in each barracks, each set up with a pallet, a small zurkhwood chest for holding personal possessions and equipment, and a side table. Spider silk rope webbing on the cavern walls is set with hooks for hanging lanterns and other items, but the barracks are rarely lit.
Standard equipment of the drow is stored under his pallet: a shortsword, a hand crossbow with a case of 20 hand crossbow bolts, a chain shirt, and a 100-foot coil of silk rope with a small grappling hook at the end are all standard equipment. In the chest is a flask of drow poison used to treat crossbow bolts, and two sets of clothing along with whatever personal trinkets the soldier has. This is highly regulated by the High Priestess and her commander.
3. Main Hall
This cave serves as a gathering and eating place for the warriors of the outpost. It has four or eight circular tables carved from zurkhwood depending on the number of warriors, each surrounded by five chairs. Part of the hall is used as a food preparation and storage area, containing stocks of dried and fresh fungi, dried fruits, cheeses, preserved meat, and a few clay jars of spices. A heavy iron brazier will provide heat for cooking along with dim light, but much of the food is served cold.
4. Spider Warriors Barracks
The two hanging towers flanking the platform are the quarters of the spider warriors of the outpost, except for the commander’s lieutenant who has his own quarters in the priestess’s tower. Each hanging tower has two chambers, with a rope ladder running between the upper and lower chamber through a zurkhwood trapdoor. The elite warriors have finer furniture, including zurkhwood chairs and small tables.
The equipment of the resting drow is stored under his pallet: a shortsword, a hand crossbow with a case of 20 hand crossbow bolts, a chain shirt, and a 100-foot coil of silk rope with a small grappling hook at the end are all standard equipment. In the chest is a flask of drow poison used to treat crossbow bolts, and two sets of clothing along with whatever personal trinkets the soldier has. Generally the High Priestess and the Commander are more lenient with the Spider Warriors
Attached to the edge of the barracks platform is a winch-and-basket device consisting of a large swinging arm that carries a thin cord of strong spider silk. The cord runs through a series of pulleys from a hand-cranked horizontal spool to a heavy woven basket suspended at the end. The basket is kept up on the platform except when it is in use.
Using the Lift
Up to four creatures can fit somewhat snugly in the basket, which is swung out over the edge of the platform and lowered to the cavern floor below by turning the spool using attached handles. Once on the cave floor, the basket can be loaded with other passengers or up to 800 pounds of cargo, then lifted back up to the platform in the same way.
6. Shrine to Lolth
A steep rope bridge leads from the walkway ledge to the uppermost level of the largest hanging tower, called the priestess’s tower. This place is a shrine to Lolth, and also serves as quarters for the junior priestess. She tends the shrine, overseeing routine rituals and offerings to Lolth.
7. High Priestess’s Quarters
A rope ladder leads down from the shrine into this chamber, which serves as private quarters to the High Priestess of Lolth and commander of Velkynvelve.
8. Drow Commander Lieutenant’s Quarters
The lowermost and smallest chamber of the priestess’s tower belongs to the commander’s lieutenant, the leader of the elite warriors of the outpost.
Water vents through a crack in the ceiling near the eastern wall between the stalactites of the priestess’s tower and the guard tower, creating a small waterfall that pours down to the cavern floor and forms a natural pool. Servants and slaves gather small barrels of water from the head of the waterfall to serve the outpost’s needs.
10. Guard Tower
The fourth hanging tower, connected by rope bridges to the slave pen and the walkway alongside the priestess’s tower, serves as a guard tower for observing the cavern, the western passage, and the slave pen.
The lower chamber of the tower contains a zurkhwood table and three chairs, a smaller side table, and spider-silk webbing set with hooks for hanging equipment.
The tower’s upper chamber stores extra arms and armor for the outpost. The contents of the armory witnessed by Rabbit include the following:
- 20 chain shirts
- 20 suits of studded leather armor
- 20 shields
- 20 hand crossbows
- 100 cases of hand crossbow bolts, each case containing 20 bolts
- 20 shortswords and 10 daggers
- 20 bags of caltrops (20 caltrops per bag)
- 20 100-foot-long coils of silk rope
- 8 building hammers (not usable as weapons)
- 8 bags of iron spikes (10 spikes per bag)
11. Slave Pen
This cave is built to hold captives until they are sent to Menzoberranzan or the other cities to be sold as slaves. There are powerful wards on the slave pen to inhibit spellcasters and shield the area against scrying attempts.
12. Quaggoth Den
Beyond the slave pen and down a set of stone steps, this cave is used as a den by the servants that serve the drow of Velkynvelve.
13. Northern Watch Post
This small alcove used as a watch post. It is set up so that you can station up to 8 warriors here at all times to keep watch over the passage. The location is perfect to see any light from the passage or the cavern below.
Water pouring down from the waterfall at area 9 forms a 20-foot+ deep pool before flowing out into an underground river that travels several miles before spilling into the deep. Since the outpost takes the water they need from the top of the waterfall, they use the pool to dump waste and garbage. Although this fouls the surface of the pool, the constant flow keeps the water beneath the surface clear. Some of the surrounding fauna use this as a drinking spot.