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Mannix, level 8 Human Inquisitive Rogue/Wizard
Khaless, level 8 Half-Drow Assassin Rogue
Gillian, level 8 Triton Bard of Whispers
George, level 8 Tortle Battle Master Fighter/Rogue
Therin, level 8 Hill Dwarf Druid of the Moon
The party had made it inside the yuan-ti temple, half disguised as purebloods, half as captives. After dropping off George in the prison pits with Xandala and casting invisible to get Gillian out, the split party was summoned by the high priestess, Fenthaza.
The party initially had like 12 percent of a plan that involved assassinating Fenthaza and using Gillian’s Mantle of Whispers to assume her form. But MoW only works on humanoids, so it would require some extra magical illusions or clever trickery to fully establish the disguise of the half-snake woman.
But the meeting with Fenthaza was anything but antagonistic. She was impressed that they captured some of the troublesome heroes. She explained how their leader, Ras Nsi, was dying and no one knew why. To show weakness as a yuan-ti is a death sentence, doubly so for their powerful leader. She revealed to the disguised PCs that she needed to overthrow Ras Nsi for the good of their people.
The party played it cool, listening to her plans and agreeing to work with her, even offering to cure Ras Nsi’s illness by taking the cube, venturing into the Tomb, and defeating Acererak. The lengthy conversation reached a point where Mannix and Khaless revealed themselves to Fenthaza as a show of good faith, and she accepted the alliance with one caveat – one of them will need to submit themselves to the ritual of the night serpent.
One of them will be transformed into a yuan-ti.
Fenthaza sold it pretty well – a pureblood can still pass for human and gains many of the attractive traits of a yuan-ti, including poison immunity, magic resistance, and darkvision.
Mannix tentatively agreed to the process, pleasing the high priestess, and allowing them to temporarily explore the temple, provided they don’t cause any trouble, and stay clear of the throne room. The ritual would take place this evening, in a few hours.
Of course, ‘trouble’ is George’s middle name. George isn’t one to patiently wait around in some prison pit. He asked Xandala about the temple layout. As a prisoner her information was limited, but she did know the general path to the slave grotto, including a large storeroom. George had her describe it in detail, then use his teleporting cape to whisk them there.
She had also mentioned a giant talking snake that guarded the room. Azi Mas, as he referred to himself, uncoiled his massive body from a nest in the corner and asked who these newcomers were.
George played it cool, explaining that he was a new recruit. After all, would a slave be armed to the teeth? Azi Mas was easily fooled, and George lied about an upcoming ritual gathering that the snake wouldn’t want to miss. Hilariously, thanks to Mannix, there actually will be a ritual commencing soon! The snake slithered off towards the Fane to grab an early seat.
The rest of the party learned of George’s disappearance, then headed down into the large hallway near the entrance, a bustle of activity including a penned up triceratops and a pair of chained, trained basilisks.
After Therin absorbed the dinosaur form (though at CR 5 he wouldn’t be able to shift into it until level 15) the party briefly debated on starting up a distraction by causing it to rampage. They also explored the blood cathedral where the rituals take place, noted the recent arrival of a giant snake in the corner that seemed contentedly waiting, and inspected the gong that acted as the yuan-ti alarm and summoning bell.
Since Gillian was invisible she could explore a bit more freely, and she went deeper down the hallway, noting a magically locked door and a number of hallways. Through one of them she could see George and Xandala in the storeroom, just as George threw open a door on the other side and called out. A bestial broodguard walked through, and George pretended to be Ishmakahl, not realizing that the doppelganger is undercover to the yuan-ti.
The guard attacked, but George went first and with Action Surge was able to kill it in a flurry of might blows, including a crit! They could see the caves beyond where a number of slaves worked to expand the mine, along with a half-snake malison watching over them. George backed off, and Gillian led them back up to the rest of the party, meeting in the southern half of the hallway.
The party had reached a dilemma. Some of them might be able to walk around freely, but an armed tortle, and the prisoner Xandala, would certainly not. And Gillian’s invisibility wouldn’t last forever.
An opportunity presented itself in the nearby magically locked door. Mannix used his Keyblade dagger to unlock it, shoving most of the party inside just as a pureblood began walking down the hallway, Khaless remaining outside to deflect any passersby.
The armory had stacks of armor and weapons but the ground was littered with bones. Those bones suddenly began knitting together, magically forming into a large, skeletal serpent. The creature looked through empty eye sockets and intoned: “They will tell us the passphrase! So Ukurlahmu has spoken!” We’ll find out how the party handles this next week!
Voted MVPC – George!
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