The party explores the Shadow Underdark, crossing an invisible bridge and meeting a svirfneblin druid in the form of a rat.
The portal to return to the “True” Underdark, however, was under the influence of a strange abomination. Upon being fed magical energy, it seemed to grow vastly in intelligence, allowing passage to the party only if they brought it a magic item to consume. A parasite was planted in Akoar’s skull as a way to solidify the agreement.
The party is lead to Umbra, a druidic stronghold with ties to prisons and thieves’ guilds. It’s a sanctuary of sorts for those wanted by the law but who want a second chance. The druids put the migrants to work in the mushroom gardens or defending the settlement from beasts. The party decides to do odd jobs while the druids search for Sunken Morzar.
Enticed by the pleas of a widow, the party searches for the alleged ghost of her fisherman husband. Borrowing her fishing vessel, the party comes across the “Garbage Barge,” a collection of fungus, flotsam, debris, and rotting trash that sails itself with bursts of spores. The party combats the barge and the fungus controlling it, then learns the true fate of the fisherman: he is alive, but he is currently en route to the “Master Brain.” If he reaches it before the party can save him, he will be assimilated.