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Mannix, level 5 Human Inquisitive Rogue/Wizard
Khaless, level 5 Half-Drow Assassin Rogue
Gillian, level 5 Triton Bard of Whispers
George, level 5 Tortle Battle Master Fighter/Rogue
Therin, level 5 Hill Dwarf Druid of the Moon
Thanks to the party’s jungle crawling experience, extensive use of guides, and Gillian’s magical hut, hex-crawling is mostly a thing of the past. That doesn’t mean we won’t have any more random encounters, however.
Before leaving Orolunga the party had to deal with Xandala. She had mistakenly attacked the party’s NPC allies outside thinking they were enemies. Xandala wasn’t exactly contrite, and wanted to ask the Oracle about her father, Artus Cimber.
The oracle admitted that Artus and his strange traveling companion had indeed stopped there to seek her guidance. He was searching for his lost wife, who was once an immortal champion of Ubtao in defense of Mezro. Now he’s in great danger. The oracle had pointed him south, toward Omu. She cryptically said that their paths will cross, but Mannix will not follow him directly.
Xandala was pleased and wanted to go after him directly, claiming she can move faster on her own. She paid Mannix the first installment from hiring him, 30 gold, then polymorphed into a pterodactyl and flew off toward the south. She hopes Mannix keeps in touch in case they find him.
The party decided to continue to the landmark they were initially headed to before they got derailed several sessions ago. It takes over a week of in-game time to travel from Orolunga to the Heart of Ubtao.
After 30 sessions the hex-crawling is mostly going to be hand-waved away. With level 5 resources, particularly the ability to now Long Rest every night thanks to Gillian’s hut spell, the party are able to shrug off most of the encounters.
They made it about nine days before they came across their only hostile encounter of the journey over the Aldani Basin – a trail of rainbow glass, followed by a terrible shrieking sound. The trail led to a pair of flail snails trying to evade a group of undead skeletons, zombies, and ogre zombies.
George rushed forward, knowing he needed a flail snail shell as part of his monster-part collecting personal quest. A big battle ensued as the PCs fought off the undead. The undead cracked through the shell of the first snail, providing the killing blow to the shrieking creature, but the second was left untouched thanks to the party’s arrival.
Until the dinosaurs arrived.
A pair of allosaurus were drawn from the loud screams of the first snail, and pounced on the second snail and George. The snail reacted by emitting a blinding, stunning light to everyone in the area, including the dinosaurs, though Therin and George were able to shake it off.
Therin responded by casting Animal Friendship on the dinosaurs, charming one of them, while George and Azaka finished off the other. The snail emerged from its shell to pummel the charmed, stunned dinosaur.
At this point they party went through a moral quandary that was funny for me to observe. Many of them didn’t want to hack up an innocent snail for George, especially since they basically saved it from the undead. This was like a mini-civil war with Therin and Khaless refusing to attack the snail, while George and Mannix sliced it up. Azaka ended up dealing the killing blow, just wanting to get this whole thing over with.
The snail lie dead and George was rewarded with a rainbow shell, while Therin gained a new beast shape with the allosaurus. The battle took a little longer than I was planning but I enjoyed their little arguments at the end.
From there the party continued onto the Heart of Ubtao, a large floating rock that resembles a heart (including dripping red liquid) floating over 100 feet above the ground. The party tried to figure out how to get up there, including noting they do have two balloon packs they can use as one-time levitation spells.
While they were discussing their plans, an elven woman appeared by the cave mouth on the floating rock and called down to them. We’ll find out who she is next week!
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