One of my paid GMing groups just reached the end of a nine month run of the Tomb of Annihilation. I wrote a brief summary of everything that happened each week in the LFG forum to help get people caught up and to help demonstrate how rarely the game missed a session (a total of two missed sessions in nine months, one of which was Christmas Eve). Now the campaign is done and the LFG is closing down forever, I’m reposting the complete summary here for archival purposes.
And yes, the campaign did end on April Fool’s. There’s no joke there. Actual coincidence.
Welcome to Chult (2018-07-16)
Arriving in Port Nyanzaru to investigate the Death Curse decimating the veteran adventurer population across Faerun, the party pretty much immediately got distracted helping the local bookies break some kneecaps on a gladiator who wasn’t paying his gambling debts, and who turned to be a goddamn demi-god who nearly brought the party down with his bare hands. After Lady Ebonheart reminded them what they were here for, they began an investigation into the Death Curse and soon found a pair of tabaxi guides, River Mist and Flask of Wine, who promised to help them through the dense jungles of Chult for only a modest fee. It turns out, however, that wandering around in the jungle half-dehydrated looking for a rumored ancient tomb said to hold some of the deadliest artifacts in the world is something you need a license for. Rather than playing ball with the local bureaucracy, the party has agreed to accompany Mist and Flask on a perfectly legal expedition to Fort Beluarian to cause a distraction while an associate acquires, among other things, a seal that can be used to forge charters of exploration. Fort Beluarian is a week’s hike away, and the party decided to stick to the coastlines, where the land was flat and not choked by the jungle trees, and were subsequently attacked by snakes on the plain, which got them to level 2.
Perfectly Legal (2018-07-23)
After tangling with assorted lizards and sea hags, the party arrived at Fort Beluarian and met with Mist and Flask’s contact, Todd. The fort being far too well stocked for any kind of physical confrontation to be workable, the party instead concocted a cunning plan. Jakiro cast an illusion on Sigrid, who feigned illness to create a distraction. While as many guards as possible were busy cordoning off the sickened patient, Todd and the party’s half-orc Rogue Brac infiltrated the central keep of the fortress, ransacked the office of the commander for both the seal needed to authenticate a forged charter of exploration and the hidden lockbox that Todd had come to steal, and then made their escape. Though detected on the way out, Todd and Brac were able to escape amidst a hail of projectiles and meet up with the rest of the party outside the fortress.
Kicked Out Of Everywhere (2018-07-30)
After returning from Fort Beluarian, the party set about attempting to find a way to raise money to buy more supplies, most especially canoes. Ultimately, they wound up helping a man named Omala try to escape the retribution of a powerful merchant prince, and wound up walking face first into an assassination attempt on Shago, a man who is allegedly just an ordinary gladiator. After a failed attempt to charm the man, the party called the guards and attempted to have him arrested. When Shago turned out to be a prominent minion of one of the merchant princes, this rapidly turned into the party being banished from the city. They instead headed up the river on foot to Camp Righteous, an Order of the Gauntlet outpost that was overrun by undead and subsequently abandoned and where they were able to find some abandoned canoes, and from there to Camp Vengeance, an Order of the Gauntlet outpost still run by the Order, who turned out to be kind of awful and commanded the party at swordpoint to return some wounded soldiers to Port Nyanzaru. The party instead elected to just leave and instead head for Mbala, and use that town as their base of operations for further expeditions into the jungle.
We Want A Boat (2018-08-06)
The party reaches Mbala, purchase a donkey, sell the donkey, get a horse instead, name the horse after the sold donkey, and strike out west in order to map the region for the city of Waterdeep in exchange for a boat and also in the hopes that it will lead them to the main plot somehow. They also first encounter the yuan-ti. The encounter is not friendly, but a casting of darkness gives the party the upper hand and forces the yuan-ti scouts to retreat.
Snake Friends Forever (2018-08-13)
The party arrives at Orolunga, a ruined city of the ancient kingdom of Mbala which collapsed as trade and government withered before the onslaught of the undead east of the river, and the first of two locations they must reach to complete their map for Waterdeep. There, they find a mysterious step pyramid with stairs leading up the sides and four landings. The stairs to the first landing are covered in thorns, but a chwinga who’s been following them (and periodically stealing their stuff – and by ‘their’ I mean ‘Sigrid’s’) gets through with a red petaled flower. At the second flight of stairs, they are impeded as the staircase crumbles underneath them. The first chwinga, now nicknamed “Charlie,” summons a friend (nicknamed…I think “Chuck?”), who is able to get up the stairs while holding a red feather. The third staircase is guarded by poisonous snakes. After killing the first two swarms, more emerge from the crevices, but a third chwinga arrives, presenting the flower to a snake. Apparently enraged, the snake attacks, and while it is distracted, the chwinga tickles the back of the snake’s head with the feather, causing it to go limp. The new chwinga, nicknamed “Chad,” then bits into the snake’s head and swallows it down like a giant spaghetti noodle. All the other snakes give him a wide berth after this. Seeing this, the party quickly arrives at the obvious solution to the puzzle: If they kill enough snakes, surely the magical pyramid of trials will eventually run out. After two or three more rounds of being swarmed by vast amounts of poison damage and seeing Charlie pull the same trick Chad did and get similar protection out of it, the party decides that maybe these chwinga guys are onto something, and are able to complete the ritual to reach the top of the pyramid.
There, they meet Saja, a guardian naga who watches over the pyramid, the only part of all of Orolunga that has not fallen into ruin. The naga shares with them the first real lead they’ve yet had on their target: Far to the east, past the Heart of Ubtao and the ruined city of Nangalore, is Hisari, capital of the yuan-ti empire. They alone know the location of the ancient city of Omu, fallen capital of Mbala, the city from whence the undead plague issues forth. There lies the Tomb of Annihilation, and, according to the Harpers, Soulmonger somewhere at its heart, answering now to a new master and inflicting yet another plague upon the world.
Saja also shares some fermented mangoes with them, which is pretty sweet.
Dodging tyrannosaurs and, of all things, frost giants, the party finds their way to Jahaka Anchorage, a hidden pirate cove on the west coast of Chult. Here, they are able to use Brac’s pirate contacts to talk their way aboard a pirate ship bound for Port Castigliar, where they shall head down to Nangalore and from there, perhaps, on to Hisari, to discover the location of Omu and the Tomb of Annihilation. In order to convince the pirate to accept passengers unable to pay for passage (every ruin of an ancient empire they’ve found so far has been uncharacteristically pre-looted), they have agreed to provide various pirate-related services.
Let’s Be Pirates (2018-08-27)
Desperate for cash, the party gambles some away from several pirates in a few games of Liars’ Dice and Rock-Paper-Scissors before joining Captain Laskilar and his crew. In exchange for some help with the piratin’, Laskilar agrees to give them a lift to Port Castigliar. After raiding a merchant vessel, the party is dropped off at Castigliar, to continue their journey to Nangalore.
Suddenly Ghouls (2018-09-03)
After arriving at Port Castigliar, the party sets off into the jungle towards Nangalore. Along the way, they discover the ruined city of Mezro, overrun long ago by the undead. The Flaming Fist have set up a large camp outside, and are steadily reclaiming/looting the city. The party decides to get in on that second part, and manage to pull through a harrowing ghoul ambush while exploring the city’s ruined merchant quarter.
Wight Boy Music (2018-09-10)
The party begins raiding Mezro for loot, coming across treasure and magic in the ruins of the commercial district. Ghouls, wights, and skeletons roam the city (along with occasional triceratops’ which, the party discovered, will eventually try to gore you if you repeatedly attempt to befriend them, blow all your checks, and ignore their all their snorting and grunting and stamping of feet – the party shortly thereafter discovered that triceratops taste pretty good roasted). After clearing the amphitheater of a wight playing on a magic violin, the party had got themselves a decent haul of treasure for the first time since coming to this godforsaken land (literally, Ubtao appears to have up and left sometime in the last century).
Mummy Rot (2018-09-17)
The party continues their raids on Mezro, this time poking their heads into the Palace of Ubtao. Brac ends up breaking off from the rest of the party to fight a pack of mummies alone and narrowly escapes with his life, the rest of the party forced to retreat in the face of a swarm of skeletons, including several powerful minotaur skeletons. Though Brac is not immediately killed, he is quickly dying from Mummy Rot.
Take A Look, It’s In A Book (2018-09-24)
Attempting to find a way to save Brac from the mummy’s curse, they discover a wizard in the Flaming Fist camp who is seeking out a lost library in Mezro’s scholar’s quarter. The library is full of spell scrolls (and some other magic trinkets), one of which may be the Remove Curse they need to save the party rogue. Failing that, it’ll at least be full of nasties that can hopefully be used to ding level 5 and learn Remove Curse as a spell. The library proves full of ghouls and ghasts and, at one point, a spectral librarian.
Going To School (2018-10-01)
After finishing up a few corners in the library and only setting one of them on fire with a fireball, thus burning all the spell scrolls contained therein to ash, the party sets out for the nearby magic academy. It’s full of magical traps, but they’re able to avoid most of them, although in one case Olrac “disarms” several inflict wounds traps by just running straight through them. In a corner of the academy, they find the Cult of Entropy attempting to access the school’s magical library.
I’ve Got Your Entropy Right Here (2018-10-08)
After last session’s cliffhanger ending, the party tangles with the powerful Cult of Entropy. Though the battle is harrowing, once the party gets themselves on the right side of the chokepoint they are able to clear out the cultists and swarm the deadly Priest of Entropy before he can unload his devastating spell complement on them. Accessing the magical library, the party is able to discover a rough location of the city of Omu and learn of Ras Nsi, last guardian bara of the city of Mezro. Putting the pieces together, it appears as though Ras Nsi discovered the hidden Tomb of Annihilation beneath the city of Omu, created (or perhaps just last discovered) by the legendary lich Acererak. With the power he found there, he was able to return to Mezro and destroy the city – and perhaps the entire Kingdom of Mbala – with the undead. Afterwards, the party went to the city armory and killed some dinosaur zombies to get their hands on some sweet magic loot.
Revenge on the Mummies (2018-10-15)
Returning to the Palace of Ubtao where Brac was cursed with Mummy Rot, now having secured alliance with a wizard capable of removing such a curse in the future and armed with fancy new 5th level powers, the party is quickly able to clear the first floor and ascend to the second. In fact, the most deadly encounter of this session was actually a random pack of minotaurs encountered along the way, who were making pilgrimage to Mezro’s labyrinthine residential quarter and just happened across the party on their way. This ended poorly for them, but for a round or two that fight could’ve gone either way. The mummies, though? Not nearly as deadly for a level 5 party who knew what they were getting into.
At the second floor, the party discovers mobs of zombies and skeletons, and presumably more undead nasties waiting deeper within. Somewhere in this place lies the city treasury, no doubt teeming with riches both mundane and magical – if the party can survive the undead menace long enough to get there.
Suddenly PvP (2018-10-22)
The party makes another raid on the Palace of Ubtao’s second floor. In a battle with skeleton minotaurs, one of the party’s guides, Flask of Wine, was impaled by one of the undead and bled to death. Brac decided to kill her brother, River Mist, in order to take their cut of the loot, and things went downhill from there. Unwilling to actually kill Brac and Olrac, the party ended up just beating the shit out of them instead, but neither River nor Flask survived the fight.
The Boss Fight (2018-10-29)
Making a third raid on the Palace of Ubtao, the party punched through to encounter the death knight Ras T’fima. Despite a battle that left the party with essentially no resources left at all – no spells, no action surges or second winds, no ki points – they managed to achieve victory by the skin of their teeth.
The Cold Shoulder (2018-11-05)
Having finished up with Mezro at last, the party sets out, leaving the crocodile cult and clean-up operation to the Flaming Fist. Almost immediately they come across Artus Cimber, convince him to reveal how he’s managed to stay so young for so long, and when they learn it’s the result of a powerful artifact ring, they immediately try to rob him. This ends with Brac turned to solid ice and Artus teleporting away. Hopefully he wasn’t anyone important.
Return to Nyanzaru (2018-11-12)
The party returns to Port Nyanzaru – Sigrid in disguise after that one time she and Snaps got kicked out of everywhere – and find a temple willing to unfreeze Brac for them. It’s a 5,000 gold job, which the party can afford, but would rather not pay, so the temple offers an alternative: In an effort to get a foothold deeper inland, the rival Temple of Sune is attempting to aid the frog king of Dungrunglung in summoning up his frog goddess to be his bride. In order to deny that foothold to a rival, the temple asks the party to thwart the marriage. They unfreeze Brac, but hang onto the 5k as a deposit, pending the successful completion of the side quest. There are assorted encounters along the way. Notably, the party declines to investigate Firefinger, the home of a swarm of pterafolk, and Olrac uses magic mindfuckery to make friends with an ankylosaurus, whom he is tragically forced to leave behind because it cannot fit on the canoe.
The party arrives at Dungrunglung and begin worming their way through the vast hedge maze that surrounds the frogs’ central village and stronghold. Overall, these grungs are easy pickings for the now-seasoned veterans, but things take a turn when they reach the center. Their frontal assault awakens an overwhelming horde of frogs, dozens strong, and the party exhausts nearly all of their resources fighting off the swarm. With few hit points left, the party decides to take a short rest. Sigrid tosses her last fireball casually into the central stronghold to clear out the grungs who’d retreated here. This, it turns out, is also home to the boss and his elite guard, who are not cleared out by the fireball, and, directly attacked, emerge to try and defend themselves before the party can complete their rest.
Fortunately, though the party is on their last legs, they’re able to clean out the grung king and his elite guards largely by kiting them during their desperate charge across the water. Though half-dead, the party has definitely thwarted the marriage – there’s no longer a priest to officiate the wedding, a groom to get married, or anyone left to witness the marriage. At all. Satisfied at their annihilation of the grungs, the party returns to Nyanzaru.
Let’s Be Gladiators (2018-12-03)
Back at Nyanzaru, the party picks up their gold deposit and spars with one another. While here, the party decides to compete in the arena, Olrac seeking a long overdue rematch with Taban, the demi-god of a gladiator whose kneecaps the party tried to break way back when they first arrived, barely walking away from the fight alive despite being five-on-one and Taban having been unarmed. That was a long time ago – in the free-for-all first event, Taban and other gladiators like him (including Shago, the gladiator who got Sigrid kicked out) are certainly worthy foes, but not overwhelming ones. Some party members are able to hold their own against the gladiators better than others, but in the end Olrac, Brac, and Grim Goldpetal are the last ones standing. Squishy Grim has already burned through his spells and doesn’t last long, while cowardly Brac scrambles up the arena wall and into the audience, disqualifying himself, when faced with the prospect of fighting his brother alone. Olrac, as victor, is healed up by the clerics (losers get a quick spare the dying to make sure they don’t bite it, but that’s all), given a short rest, and then returns to fight with the champion Carras. Olrac may have come a long way since the time when he and his entire party nearly got wrecked by Taban, but his fight with Carras proves he’s still got a long way further to go. Perhaps one day he’ll return and become champion of the arena, but for now he and the rest of the party are headed back to Port Castigliar to track down the lost city of Nangalore and finally get their ship from Waterdeep.
After meeting the lost princess of the old Kingdom of Mbala, descended from the survivors of the royal line who fled to an aaracockra monastery to escape the oncoming undead hordes, the party continues to Nangalore. The party doesn’t actually have to do anything at Nangalore, as their relevant business here is just to confirm its exact location, but having come all this way they decide to poke around anyway. Seeing a large central building, the party decides that it probably contains the local boss monster, and decide to scope out the nearby outbuildings first. Turns out the first outbuilding they stick their nose in contains a crazy medusa, and because the Random Number God is displeased, she’s able to petrify not one but two party members before they’re able to cast darkness, preventing her terrible gaze from claiming any more of them. Though she puts up a fight, she doesn’t stand much chance against the party without her petrifying gaze.
To Mbala (2018-12-17)
The party is able to restore their petrified party members through the help of a charm gifted to them by some chwinga living in the city. The charm can only restore one of them, but luckily Sigrid Ebonheart can twin the spell from the charm (albeit at steep cost in sorcery points) and restores both party members, thus relieving the party of the need to turn back to Port Nyanzaru to have petrification healed again. Olrac uses his ring of animal friendship – stolen from the pirates of Jahaka Anchorage clear back in July – to make friends with a giant spider, whom he names Ned. Along the way to Mbala, the party is lost in a mysterious green fog produced by one of Ras Nsi’s powerful undead generals. Constantly turned around by the confusing fog, when the party finally manages to orient themselves, they find they’ve largely gone in circles within the haunted jungle (they did manage to break out into less-haunted jungle one day, but then sheer dumb luck saw them lost anyway and randomly stumbling back inside the fog).
They also find they’re right on the doorstep of the haunted fortress manned by the general, and they decide to go knock it over rather than try to find their way back out. A difficult battle, certainly, but the party is very good at fighting undead at this point. The undead general’s heavy infantry – ogre zombies, supported by a few cavaliers riding zombie ankylosaurs – meet the party in the forest outside. Dismounted from his zombie tyrannosaur mount by an early ambush, the death knight general decides against retreating to his fortress and instead to press the assault against the weakening party, but the party’s apparent weakness was an unintentional ruse – it turns out the now magic-dense party hadn’t run out of fireballs, the melee just left the casters without any place to throw them. Once the melee fighters punched through, a cleansing fire tore through the remaining zombies.
It turns out that not very many people have time to play D&D on Christmas Eve, so we skipped our first session since we began.
I Finally Got One (2019-01-01)
Played a day out of normal schedule due to New Year’s Eve, the party heads from the defeated undead general’s keep towards Mbala to get themselves their ship. Along the way, they find the Heart of Ubtao, within which they discover their old nemesis Artus Cimber in the midst of tense negotiations with Valindra Shadowmantle. Valindra’s not eager to pick a fight this far from her home, but she’s losing patience with Artus. When the party shows signs of enmity, she tells all of them to get out of her floating house and settle their differences on the ground. Olrac decides he would rather settle his differences with Artus right now in Valindra’s house, and Valindra, being a perfectly reasonable and level-headed person, straight-up murders Olrac for starting a fight in her house that could have destroyed her stuff. It didn’t, actually, but by the time Olrac had finished subduing Artus to settle his grudge, Valindra was already unloading lethal spells (that wouldn’t mess up her stuff) on the party and figured, hey, may as well keep going. The two party members who had stayed out of the fight, Sigrid and Tony, were able to convince Valindra to stand down, but only after Olrac was killed. Not knocked unconscious, but killed. Fortunately, they were able to strike a bargain with Valindra. Tony swore upon his soul and his devotion to Bahamut to bring Soulmonger to Valindra, and may Tiamat claim him for eternity if he did not, and in exchange Valindra would step through a teleportation circle with Olrac’s corpse, have him raised, and even turned over her extremely valuable +3 ring of protection to Tony (in fairness, he needs it more than she does). Revived or not, however, Olrac is now under the death curse, rapidly wasting away as Soulmonger calls his spirit away from his body and back to the Tomb of Annihilation to serve Acererak. The party is able to make it back to Mbala and secure ownership of their vessel, but the lost city of Omu and its tomb are still far away. Olrac may not be in much condition to fight by the time they arrive.
The Power Of Belenus Compels You (2019-01-07)
In Mbala, Olrac decides he will venture to Port Nyanzaru to collect their new ship and scrounges up a temporary replacement for his spot in the party until the Death Curse has passed, hopefully before he actually bites it and has to be raised. The replacement he finds is a lizardman cleric of Belenus named Drayce Lizario. He sets out with the party, but almost immediately comes into religious conflict with Grim Goldpetal. Drayce is the party’s new navigation expert, a role previously held by Olrac and which had regularly benefited from the guidance of Asmodeus as channeled by Grim. Drayce is unwilling to receive the help of Asmodeus, instead trusting in his own god. The party enters deep undead territory and encounters a patrol led by a powerful vampire just outside the location of Omu given to them by the yuan-ti they captured so long ago, but there is no sign of the city.
Your Tomb Is In Another Castle (2019-01-14)
Though the city of Omu is nowhere to be seen, there is a large, ruined fortress of Old Mbala nearby, which the party storms. The vampires within are powerful, but at this point, the party have become some of the strongest still-living creatures left in Chult. Which is more a testament to how many high-level adventurers have died at least once, but still. After clearing the vampires, the party conducts a thorough search of the area and comes to a conclusion: Maybe they should have at least attempted an Insight check on information given to them by a yuan-ti whom they captured after killing all of their friends in an unprovoked attack (yuan-ti are an evil empire planning to enslave all non-snakes to their terrible will and all, but attacking a non-hostile patrol of them hardly makes them less likely to lie about the location of lost cities, regardless of the fact that it’s probably a good idea in general to take out stormtrooper patrols for any of Faerun’s assorted supervillains whenever you see them). Fortunately, as the hour of Ras Nsi’s triumph draws near, he has begun communicating with his undead forces nearby to coordinate the defenses of the city, including this vampire general. The instructions make no explicit reference of where Omu is, but the vampire and a mummy lord have both been assigned to defend it. Tracking the vampire’s forces coming to and from the area (and occasionally getting lost due to Drayce’s stubborn refusal to receive aid from a Hell god), the party heads south. Cresting a final ridge, they can see splayed out before them the ruined City of Omu. At long last, they’ve made it. Somewhere in that crumbling sprawl is the Tomb of Annihilation.
Trickster Gods and Puzzle Shrines (2019-01-21)
Making an initial exploration of the city, the party quickly learns three things. First, the city is home to shrines to Omu’s nine trickster gods, which Drayce, being an archaeologist as well as a priest of Belenus, is able to recognize. Each of these shrines contains a puzzle which guards a puzzle cube inscribed with its patron god’s image. Second, there is a mysterious building carved into the side of one of the cliffs surrounding the city with an obelisk out front, which contains statues to eight of the trickster gods and a large door with eight grooves carved into it, the grooves being sized perfectly for the puzzle cubes. Third, the city is inhabited (at least temporarily) by both the yuan-ti and the Red Wizards of Thay, and at the very least the latter of whom are scouring the city for the puzzle cubes as well as the party. The city is also home to smaller populations of kobolds, grungs, and possibly other creatures. Drayce is able to convince the party not to commit another round of batrachicide when retrieving the puzzle cube of Nangnang where the grungs live, and instead is able to talk his way past the territorial grungs, all the way to the puzzle chamber. Angered at the idea that outsiders might take the cube, things nearly turn violent, but Grim Goldpetal is able to calm things down using his rod of rulership. The party retrieves two other cubes from other puzzle shrines in the area. Just five more to go before they can find out what happens when you fit eight cubes into the slots in that door – but why only eight, when there are nine trickster gods?
It’s Kind Of Like National Treasure (2019-01-28)
The party comes across Red Wizards of Thay hunting for puzzle cubes in Omu, and begin to race against them to retrieve the cubes. They are ultimately able to find five of the cubes before taking a long rest, but afterwards discover that all of the puzzle cubes from the remaining shrines are missing, claimed by either the Red Wizards or the yuan-ti.
After verifying that the shrines are empty, the party ventures into the ruined Palace of Omu, searching for any puzzle cubes acquired by the yuan-ti. After an attempted infiltration goes poorly, they end up fighting to free the slaves kept in the pits near the entrance, and then Grim ends up killing most of the escaped slaves with AoE effects on the way out. With the Ring of Winter. Which, as the party flees the Palace with the few survivors, successfully seizes control of Grim. Next sessions will be fun.
That Went Better Than Expected (2019-02-11)
The party is able to wrest the ring from Grim without anyone dying, and re-infiltrate the ruined Palace. They’re able to talk their way in front of Ras Nsi, the mummified ruler of the yuan-ti of Chult, when Brac pushes the megalomaniacal mummy king’s limited patience just a little bit too far and Ras Nsi tries to have him executed. The party barely scrapes through, defeating Ras Nsi, claiming his puzzle cube, but badly hurt and in need of a quick escape.
A Quick Escape (2019-02-18)
The party is able to escape from the Palace of Omu despite a hydra and a pursuing yuan-ti army. They clear out the Red Wizards of Thay from the city and claim their puzzle cubes, then begin puzzling over the entrance to the Tomb.
Intermission II (2019-02-25)
I was traveling this week with no access to any decently usable wifi, and thus unable to run a game.
Into The Tomb Of Annihilation (2019-03-04)
Meddling with the obelisk transports them into the Abyss where a nalfenshee attacks them, but they’re able to kill the demon and step through the portal back into the material plane and Chult, while meddling with the apparent entrance locks them into a corridor that fills with poison gas. Quick thinking escapes the trap, and the party soon finds the real entrance. Traps and ambushes abound, but they manage to survive the first floor and befriend Nepartak, a long-dead eleven-year old trapped, sightless, in a floating skull by her father, who turned to desperate measures to save her from the undead sack of the city. Acererak must’ve thought that was a hoot, because he placed her in the upper levels of the Tomb, but the party is able to talk her into helping them.
We Accidentally A Child (2019-03-11)
Almost as soon as Nepartak joins the party, she is expended triggering a trap for them. It was probably an accident. Descending to level 2, the party destroys Withers, the trap master, and his workshop full of dwarven wights, then follows a staircase deep, deep down into a room full of water and massive platforms on gears. After slaying the aboleth who lurks in the waters below, the party begins fiddling with the gear control room, which quickly ends with Grim Goldpetal locked in the control room with a set of pipes disgorging massive amounts of mysterious and deadly ooze, which slowly fill the room as Grim fiddles with the controls in a panic, seeking a way out, while the party stuck outside tries to find a way to break him out.
Struggling to find a way to escape the chamber rapidly filling with ooze, Grim gets a call from down below. Asmodeus is severely displeased at his rampant use of radiant damage, and promotes his familiar Dreg (now Mister Dreg) to command of the quest to keep Grim from engaging in any more questionably anti-diabolic actions. The party outside is able to fight their way through some shambling mounds that Grim accidentally awakened while fiddling with the patrols, and Brac teleports in, picks the lock keeping the lever that closed the door in place, and breaks him out. The party then spends a bunch of time fiddling with wardrobes that disgorge creatures from various planes, which they kill through a combination of brute force, deception, and using the Tomb’s own traps against their enemies. Ultimately, they clear all five wardrobes and open the portcullis leading to the final level.
Night Hags (2019-03-25)
At the precipice of the hiding place of Soulmonger, the party confronts a trio of night hags and rescues the three children whose souls they had bound into toys to torture for fun. After slaying the hags, the party is able to solve an assortment of puzzles to unlock the five locks on the Skeleton Gate. The gate swings open, and the party enters into the resting place of Soulmonger.
Ubtao, the lost god of Chult, is being used to feed Soulmonger as it gestates a new god of death. Soulmonger summons departed spirits – Syndra Sylvane, River and Flask, Artus Cimber – to fight the party, but they are able to release the critically weakened Ubtao, destroy the moorings of the adamantine struts suspending Soulmonger above the magma, and destroy the hideous atropal it had been gestating. An enraged Acererak emerges to try and slay the party. They teleport away, and he teleports after them, resulting in a running battle in the city above. Acererak comes inches from killing a party member – or several – on multiple occasions, but Grim manages a few critical counterspells, Drayce manages to trap him in a silence spell for a few critical turns and Tony distracts him for another with his Staff of the Python while pouring on the radiant damage with his sun bolts, Brac jury-rigs crossbow bolts capable of bypassing Acererak’s immunity to physical damage using vials of holy water and alchemist’s fire, and Sigrid blasts her wand of magic missiles nearly to pieces. Acererak expends all of his higher level spells save one, a ninth level spell held in reserve, but as he watches the barely-living party retreat into the jungle, he decides not to waste his power word kill on ending just one of them, nor to risk losing any more health to the party that’s managed to slip out of what should have been so many sure kills. Especially with Soulmonger already destroyed, any he did manage to kill would be back shortly. Instead, he plane shifts away, vowing revenge.
Having exhausted practically every resource they have, yet having emerged victorious, the party takes a much-deserved long rest and makes their way to Jahaka Anchorage. Many of the undead plaguing Chult immediately collapse upon the destruction of Soulmonger, and the undead generals and lieutenants left in the jungle take several weeks attempting to consolidate their disorganized forces (especially with the party having punched a few holes in the upper officers’ ranks in their journeys across Chult). With the undead in such disarray, and having depopulated this region of the jungle of all other threats, the party’s journey is uneventful. With a lift from the pirates to Port Nyanzaru, Brac is reunited with his brother Olrac aboard the ship that, true to their word, the Waterdhavian government sent to Nyanzaru as reward for helping to map the Aldani Basin. Making plans to turn their adventurer party into a full-on guild, the party sets sail for the Sword Coast, having broken the Death Curse and saved the world.