Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Jungles of Chult Session 4

our intrepid adventurers:
Nugiri (lizardman monk)
Takashi (human magic-user)
Nebin (halfling barbarian)
Qinsela (human druid)
Thrice-Orphaned (goliath fighter)
Vilnus (half-Elf bard, joined late last session)
with River Mist and Flask of Wine (cat-man fighter and thief) as guides
and hired help Olol, Benge, and Adoun

Last time we ended with the characters having just discovered the secret tunnel into the deeper parts of the Tomb of the Serpent Kings, and ready to descend into the depths. They are seeking magical writings for the merchant-prince Wakanga, a magic-user himself, who is willing to pay "thousands of gold" for magical writings dredged up from the tombs ...

Now, just as they were about to descend further into the depths, the party was joined by a pair of new characters (my out-of-town friends were in town for the weekend, so we had them join!): Gona (dwarf monk) and a not-yet-named human druid.

So deeper they went. They descended into tunnel lined with statues. Behind one, the party discovered a secret door that led into an old guard post that was otherwise empty. Continuing through the main corridor, they entered into a large octagonal chamber with a door or open doorway in every wall, and a pool of scummy water at its center.

Looking around, the party decided to tackle things door by door and went to the door just to the left of the entrance; this corridor has a pressure-plate trap in the corridor beyond, the party didn't search for traps at all, and so they set it off--a lightning bolt discharged from the tomb at the end of the twenty foot corridor! The smell of burned flesh filled the corridor, and Vilnus and the nameless druid both dropped dead-dead, while Qinsela was knocked out and almost dead. ("Roll a new character, Josh," I declared, while Vilnus' player also started rolling a new character ... his seventh in the campaign yet ...)

During a short rest, Nugiri the lizardman decided to cook up the dead half-Elf. Nobody protested.

After the rest, the party checked the next door. They found it blocked with rubble and heard something clattering around on the other side, and elected not to clear the rubble.

Through the next door, they found another tomb. They searched the tomb and found a sticky black residue around the seams. Should they try to build a fire around it and cook whatever's inside? That plan was ultimately shut down; instead, they put the bodies of Vilnus and the nameless druid in the corner and then opened the tomb, hoping that if an ooze were inside, it would go for the bodies ... Well, a black ooze was inside, and fortunately for the characters, my reaction dice indicated something good, so the ooze did indeed go for the bodies.

A quick check of the tomb discovered nothing inside, so the characters fled and then stuffed the doorjamb with clothes pilfered from Vilnus' stuff (she had been an actor and had some extra costumes, apparently).

The next door opened onto a long stair down. The party moved on to the next door; they pilfered a silver snake idol and a dozen scrolls that contained writings in unreadable Yuan-Ti script. At this point, the new characters Walter of the Wandering Foot Family (halfling) and Komuzar (half-orc thief) showed up because they were finished being written up. I decreed them companions of Gona and the late nameless druid who had just caught up.

The next door opened onto an unfinished tomb; and the doorway after that opened into a room with three columns of snake-man warrior statues. The secret door behind one in the back corner was duly found, which opened onto a blank corridor, at the end of which the second secret door was quickly located.

Opening that, the party found themselves in a large, dark, underground space. Columns held the ceiling up; a chain descended from the center of the ceiling and then led off into the darkness just beyond their light spell, though the chain was clearly moving and scraping along the floor ...

Stepping into the room, the characters immediately spotted a large reptilian creature with eight legs on the far side of the room. It approached; as it stared at them with eldritch green eyes, Nebin the halfling felt himself rooting into the ground as if becoming part of the stone himself. The party quickly intuited that this was a basilisk and then charged to attack!

The combat didn't last long. The basilisk got a couple good hits in, but against eight 5e characters, it just didn't really have a chance. After it was dead, Nugiri did his thing and carved it up and cooked up some basilisk steaks, and also popped its eyes out and saved them in a jar.

From here, the party went "north" (it was north in my game, but not in Skerples' descriptions) and found a door of intertwining serpents that they couldn't unlock, a stair down to the west, and other doors to the east. Through the east door they went, and were confronted with an undead horror--a snake-man, anciently embalmed, eyes of red pinpoints in empty sockets, who greeted them in a hissing language none of them understood.

Nugiri responded in Draconic, saying, "Bitch, please," which is not the kind of thing I personally would say to a lich. The lich responded also in Draconic, "What did you say to me?" and then Nugiri cleaned up his act. He explained that they were just there looking around ... the lich, one Xiximanter, took Nugiri to be the owner of the entourage of humanoid slaves, and decided to be hospitable. He remembered the forms of entertainment, if not the details, and went to a pitcher and some goblets and "poured" nothing from the ewer into the goblets and handed the empty vessels around (Walter and another character poured actual wine out for themselves from their possessions).

Xiximanter explained that he was on the verge of a breakthrough in his experiments attempting to brew a potion of immortality. He assumed the empire of the Yuan-Ti was still alive and well above, though he hadn't seen anyone for quite some time. The players wisely avoided revealing the truth ... Xiximanter asked Nugiri if he could use any of the lizardman's "slaves" as fodder for his experiments, but Nugiri politely declined.

Bored now of the conversation, Xiximanter went into the room next door and pulled out of a pit a goblin all infected with fungus. He dragged the protesting thing into another room and attached it to a chair like the one from the Skekzis' castle in The Dark Crystal and proceeded to drain the essence from the goblin into a little vial, and then to use that in whatever experiment he was engaged in.

The party left, uncomfortable.

Heading back through the basilisk room, they encountered a skeleton jelly and were unable to destroy it. Takashi slowed it by blasting it with ray of frost, and the party escaped back to the octagonal room with the pool. There, they discovered that the ooze had moved--clothing no longer stuffed any of the doorjambs ... finding the ooze in another room, they stuffed its doorjamb with clothes, and then turned to explored down the stairs they had earlier ignored.

At the bottom of the stair, they found another large octagonal room, but this one had walls covered with the shields of all the Batiri, human tribesman, and other Yuan-Ti tribes that had been defeated by the empire back in the day, layering the walls like scales. In the center of the room was a huge stone figure of a night with a cobra's head that advanced to attack as soon as the door was opened. The players noped! and slammed the door and went back up the stairs.

Going back through the basilisk chamber and north, the party descended the stair there and found the cylinder-door. Gona and Komuzar went through counter-clockwise first and felt the pangs of spears stabbing their sides. Returning back, Komuzar then went in alone and went clockwise, and ultimately reported back the passage on the other side of the rotating cylinder.

These passages led into the fungus-goblin warrens, which skeezed out the characters--Walter in particular was nauseated by a room that was filled with garbage and pulsating slime-molds, and lost the wine that he had recently imbibed all over his own feet.

A single goblin was found in the next room, chewing on a bat; the characters dispatched it with a number of missile attacks. Chattering goblins could be heard in the room beyond that; Takashi hit on a good plan regarding them. He approached the doorway alone and poured out a sack of gold coins on the floor before him. As the dozen-plus goblins gathered around to collect the coins, Takashi let loose with a burning hands spell and killed most of them.

The others failed their morale; the characters gave chase up a stair and chased the goblins up into the sunlight, while they themselves found another secret door into the basilisk-room from the other side.

Continuing their exploration, the party went through the "south" end of the basilisk room, and then down a stair to the southwest. They ultimately entered into a room with a pit-trap and while Nebin made hi save to avoid it, Thrice Orphaned tumbled in, but took negligible damage. On the other side of the pit was a door; through that door was a chamber with a pit along the east wall, in the center of which was an eternally burning flame surrounded by charred bones, runny gold, and gems.

Takashi mage-handed the gems out of the pit; through the next door, the party found more doors, one of which was iron. At this point I read that the key to that door was embedded in the basilisk's neck, and I adjudicated that Nugiri had found it while carving up the basilisk for eating. Opening the door with the key, the party found a crap-ton of loot, more weird writings, and a stair down to gods-know-what even deeper beneath the tombs ...

The party elected to take the treasure and go--they still had a jungle to make their way back through.

Out of the dungeon without monsters bothering them, the party found their porter and two slingers still next to the boat in their paltry camp. Gathering everything up, they headed north through the jungle seeking the River Tiryki; from there they would boat back down to civilization. On the first day, they spotted some flying lizards, but the creatures avoided them; that night, a mysterious man arrived in camp. When they offered him food, he offered his name, Wtanda, and suggested that in return for their hospitality, he would lead them through the jungle to the river. They agreed; the next day passed without incident as they followed Wtanda. At the river, he took his leave of the party.

They then set out on the river with their boats, because travel downriver on boats is much faster than hiking up through the jungle; the next day they passed a party of other explorers, emaciated and calling for help from the shore, but the party passed them by, afraid of delays and cannibal-attacks.

And they arrived back in Port Nyanzaru without any further issue!

Wakanga was glad to buy the strange writings from the party for a significant sum; they were not the magical writings he sought, but were still something. Moreover, he was interested in their account Xiximanter, and expressed the possibility of funding an expedition to give slaves to Xiximanter in trade for his potions or knowledge or both ... we'll see what the players think next session; especially seeing that Wakanga also gave the party the journal of another expedition that he had in his possession, which details a failed expedition up the Soshenstar River ...

Takashi paid off his debt to the merchant prince Jobal; Nebin probably will do the same with Jessamine, but his player wasn't actually present for this session to make such a call.

Komuzar and Nugiri both went carousing after that, and by the fate of the dice, each failed their save and then rolled the result "acquired a slave". Komuzar bought Talis, a scribe from across the northern ocean; meanwhile, Nugiri bought Tzana, an old man, but surprisingly strong and spry for his old age.


Remembrance for the Dead
Vilnus (half-Elf bard 1), a nameless druid 1, Nsi Losi (human fighting-man 1), Biango (NPC porter), Iedos (tiefling paladin 1), Tehran Atzi (human cleric of Ubtao 1), Sound of Distant Rain (catman rogue 1), Chiratidzo (human druid 1)

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