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Previously on Tomb of Annihilation

Mannix, level 8 Yuan-ti Inquisitive Rogue/Divination 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 final showdown in the Fane of the Night Serpent went from a bang to a whimper, thanks to some particularly effective AOE spells against Ras Nsi’s guards and personal bodyguard, but the verbal showdown with Ras Nsi himself proved much more fruitful.

We left off last week with the recently reunited players launching a surprise ambush on Salida, with the rest of the throne room guards nearby. Therin’s stunt to pull her underwater failed, but George and Mannix quickly finished her off in a flurry of side strikes.

But it was the three other party members who proved devastatingly effective. As the surprise round continued, Khaless cast Darkness on the Yuan-ti Malison, the two Broodguards, and the CR 9 Champion, Sekelok. Therin followed it up with an Ice Storm, turning their dark world into a freezing one, and Gillian delivered the coup de grace with Hypnotic Pattern.

Using her bagpipes with that spell Gillian can impose disadvantage, negating the Yuan-ti magic resistance. Every single one of them failed. Sekelok has a twice-per-day ability to reroll a saving throw – and he failed again. Everyone in the throne room was either downed (Salida) or incapacitated for 1 minute. The PCs knew about the ghouls hiding behind the throne room, but they were only activated by either Sekelok or the secret door opening.

Instead of pressing the matter, the party played it smart, and went straight for the secret door to get at Ras Nsi. I dropped them out of combat, with the caveat that time was certainly a factor. They right back into combat when they opened the door, but even without a surprise round the PCs all rolled 20+ for initiative, and killed all but 1 ghoul within a single round, until the door opened, revealing the bandaged Ras Nsi lying in his bedchambers.

Ras Nsi wasn’t in the mood to fight. He was dying from the Soulmonger’s death curse, though he didn’t know why, and he could see his champion and guards had all been magically locked down, and most of his ghouls destroyed. The player characters said all the right things to gain his trust and confidence, without showing weakness.


They revealed that Acererak’s death curse was the cause of his condition. Ras Nsi was enraged. He had had made a deal with the lich to protect the tomb. In exchange, the lich would give the yuan-ti the Black Opal Crown, which they believe will release their god, Dendar the Night Serpent.

Ol’ Ace hadn’t exactly kept his end of the deal. Ras Nsi handed over the puzzle cube, and cast a Geas spell on Mannix, the newly converted yuan-ti, commanding him to retrieve the Black Opal Crown from within the Tomb (in addition to destroyed the Soulmonger, of course).

The party also offered to reveal who was planning a serious betrayal within the temple, in exchange for some supplies. The PCs were role-playing so well that we didn’t do any CHA checks. Ras Nsi agreed and handed over some of his treasure trove: Keoghtom’s Ointment (4 doses of healing), Armor of Necrotic Resistance, and the chance for Mannix to copy Ras Nsi’s spells into his own spellbook (at a cost of 50gp per level of spellslot). Mannix would “buy” five of them!

When they revealed that it was Fenthaza, the high priestess, Ras Nsi commanded them to kill her before they left. He offered to send them into the arcane portal in his room, which would teleport them to the prisoner pits, close to Fenthaza’s quarters and the temple entrance. Ras Nsi would send his temporarily disgraced champion Sekelok with them to ensure they get the job done.


The party agreed, but formulated a plan that involved turning on Sekelok and getting away without killing the priestess.

After teleporting into the prisoner pits, Mannix threw up a Silent Image on the bars to give the illusion of an empty room. The party launched a surprise ambush on Sekelok, dealing nasty amounts of damage, including an auto-crit by Assassin Khaless and a natural crit by George.

By the time the surprise round was over and we made it down to Sekelok’s initiative (about halfway down), he had lost nearly all of his 140+ hit points! He called out to the guards and swung his mighty sword, but the party quickly put an end to him, including some badass finishing words from Khaless: “How do you know Ras Nsi didn’t want you to die?” She earned Inspiration from that one (and immediately used it to deal the killing blow).

With Sekelok down, Gillian used her Mantle of Whispers to take his form, and called off the guards. Using Sekelok’s superior standing in the temple, she was easily able to escort the party out of the prison, past Fenthaza’s chambers, and out to the front door, where she whispered the pass phrase to get the doors open and quickly get the hell out of the yuan-ti temple!

Not exactly what I had planned, but I really enjoyed the party’s time in the Fane of the Night Serpent, with a fun mix of exploration, combat, and social encounters.

With five of the cubes in hand the party needs to meet up with the Red Wizards to gain access to the titular tomb, but first they’ll have to handle the contentious meeting between Artus and Xandala.

Voted MVPC – Gillian!

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