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Mannix, level 2 Human Rogue
Khaless, level 2 Half-Drow Rogue
Gillian, level 2 Triton Bard
George, level 2 Tortle Fighter
Therin, level 2 Hill Dwarf Druid of the Moon
We’re back up to a full squad in our fourth session, which put our team in the middle of a mission, taking them deep into a dark, heavily trapped chamber full of zombies.
With multiple missing players last week the party was split up, so we spent the early part of the session leveling Gillian and George to level 2 and letting them engage in an activity before joining the others out in Old City.
Gillian opted to use her performance to make a fair bit of coin playing at an inn, while George met with his mentor at the bathhouse, receiving a magic scroll that tasked him with killing and harvesting monster parts to craft unique equipment (yes, we got super into Monster Hunter World earlier this year).
Our party rejoined forces with Mannix, Khaless, and George (and Undril) coming off the zany rescue scheme at Executioner’s Run. The party had learned Viplo’s location, the halfling merchant with whom the Savras acolyte Inete had gone to help.
For this quest I slightly repurposed the When Death Calls mission from the “A City on the Edge” Adventurer’s League mission pack. It was a fun way to include a mini-dungeon crawl with some simple monsters right in the middle of the city.
I added all the story bits incorporating Inete and changing Viplo’s motivation to make it more directly relevant to the death curse. I kept the layout with the hut and the zombies, as well as the trapped passage leading to the nifty scenario of Viplo releasing a horde of zombies on some captives.
Note: I used the full color battle maps from the DDAL 7-01 A City on the Edge map pack by Gail D.
A journal in the bigger hut provided some explanation of Viplo’s motivations – his son was afflicted by the death curse. He had found no help, and when his son succumbed, it warped his mind enough to begin capturing people and feeding them to him. Inete was the latest victim.
Finding the secret entrance into the ziggurat was easy, and tracing the mazes was a good way of introducing one of the big puzzle themes throughout Chult. Ubtao loves his mazes!
To get to the sacrificial chamber, the party had to pass through a series of rooms. As one door opened, the rear one would close. Someone had to successfully trace the maze (Investigation check) to open the next door. Failure resulted in blades slicing down from the ceiling.
Mannix is preternaturally designed to kick ass at Investigation rolls, so it was delightfully funny when he made George do it first while everyone hid in the back room.
George failed miserably but succeeded at the DEX save. After that Mannix was able to handle each of the successively more challenging mazes, rolling 20+ on every single skill roll. All my traps were neutered, but Mannix was able to show off his non-combat skills very well.
After passing through three trapped rooms, they emerged into a large chamber. A pair of crumbling staircases lead down to a lower floor, where three captives struggled against their bonds. Viplo was seen on the opposite ledge throwing a lever just as the PCs assessed the situation, releasing a horde of zombies on his victims. Roll for initiative!
This was a fun situation. The PCs were on a rescue mission, and couldn’t simply hang out on the crowded ledge to plink the zombies below. I was impressed that most everyone leapt down to the rescue, with several of them failing the DEX save on the crumbling stairs, falling down prone right in front of a bunch of zombies!
Khaless used her first turn to run up to Inete, even using Inspiration for another roll, but not quite able to free her. After Undril cast Sanctuary on Inete, everyone turned their attention to the six zombies. Viplo stood up on his platform raining down Firebolts, as well as a Burning Hands when the things started to turn in the PCs’ favor.
Everyone took some nasty hits but Gillian and Undril both provided a fair amount of healing, preventing anyone from going down. Well, except for the two poor no-name captives on either side of Inete.
I was confused why Therin never Wildshaped nor cast a spell, instead spending every round bonking with his staff, and hilariously missing several times despite the zombies’ garbage 8 AC.
Gillian and Mannix had the most impressive moments, with Mannix throwing a bag of ball bearings, causing several zombies to stumble and miss a round, while Gillian unleashed a Thunderwave, hitting three zombies (and comboing well with the ball bearings!).
Towards the end George climbed up to the ledge to cut down Viplo, finally kicking him off the ledge and sending the deranged halfling mage to his death. The PCs mopped off the final few zombies.
Inete was slightly scarred, but alive. She was incredibly thankful for the rescue. She explained that she had gone to help Viplo, not realizing that his son had already died and his father had gone mad from grief.
We hadn’t yet had a session that was almost entirely combat. Despite zombies’ relative simplicity, the unique scenario made it a tactically interesting situation, and I like the way everyone rose to the task of rescuing the young acolyte.
Next week: returning to the Temple of Savras, and probably dealing with slightly fewer zombies.
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