Tomb of Annihilation Session 69 Recap

Xandala finally meets Artus Cimber, before the party meets with Zagmira and the Red Wizards at the entrance to the tomb.

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Previously on Tomb of Annihilation

Starring:
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

After a long rest following their egress from the Yuan-ti temple, the party had to finally deal with Xandala and Artus. During their temple excursion, Xandala had revealed that she was hunting Artus not because he was her father, but because she wanted the Ring of Winter.

The party was a bit split on how to handle her. Mannix and Therin didn’t trust her, though Mannix still wanted to fulfill his initial mission of bringing her to Artus. They wanted to try and handle the meeting diplomatically, though when Artus and Dragonbait met up with them, Mannix immediately revealed that Xandala was after the ring. She responded by casting Dominate Person and Mage Hand to slip the ring off his hand, and Dragonbait took out his sword. Roll for initiative!

George was on board with giving Xandala the ring, going as far as engaging Dragonbait in melee combat. Khaless and Therin were able to stab and bite through her defensive Shield (both using Inspiration), and her concentration over Artus was broken. Mannix summoned his owl familiar to fly forward and snatch the ring, flying it out of everyone’s view.

Xandala knew the tables had turned, and she was no match if the party was going to fight her. She turned invisible and quietly slipped away, vowing not to give up on the ring.

Artus was incredibly upset about this whole ordeal. Not only had the party brought this woman before him, but now they had taken the ring away, and were reluctant to give it back. My players tend to play swaggering jerks in D&D but even I was taken aback by how they treated Artus during this encounter, as he reminded them they’ve brought him nothing but trouble, despite his aid.

Khaless of all people found a diplomatic solution. They’d return the ring if Artus agreed to help Khoti free the rest of the slaves in the Yuan-ti temple. Artus didn’t want to go in there in the first place, but Khoti knew about the back entrance, and many of the guards in that area had been killed by the PCs the day before. Plus, Artus was looking forward to doing something actually heroic, so he reluctantly agreed.

When Mannix used the owl to return the ring, Khaless used Sleight of Hand to snatch it, and went through a test of faith moment like Galadriel in Fellowship of the Ring. She ultimately decided to reject the Ring of Winter, and return it to Artus. Artus didn’t ever want to use the ring, but recognized that he had the willpower to withstand its possessive effects.

Thus the giant party of NPCs was almost completely dismantled. Xandala was gone, and Artus, Dragonbait, and Khoti agreed to go to the yuan-ti temple.

Orvex pleaded his case to stay with the PCs, however. They didn’t fully trust the scholar with his ties to the Red Wizards, but he wanted to see the inside of the tomb, and knew about Omuan culture and history.

Before leaving, Artus activated the vest of a hundred pockets that Mannix had found during his initial search for Artus (the random trinket he rolled during Session 1). Artus turned it into a Vest of Useful Items, a slightly modified Robe of Useful Items, as Mannix’s personal quest comes to a close, though with Xandala still on the loose.

One last thing remained in Omu – the Red Wizards held the rest of the puzzle cubes needed to gain entrance into the Tomb of the Nine Gods. Zagmira told them to meet her by the obelisk that marked the entrance.

She was not alone. As they approached the base of the northern cliffs, they saw she had three other Red Wizards, along with over half a dozen soldiers, archers, and fighters. She demanded they hand over their puzzle cubes, so that they could enter the tomb and take the Soulmonger for themselves.

Naturally the party refused, and Zagmira cast her mind-controlling spell on Khaless, brining a blade up to Mannix’s throat. Roll for initiative!

This was a gigantic fight for the PCs, with multiple spell-casters and enemies of varying CR-level, many from Volo’s Guide to Monsters. The Red Wizards could shut down any and all spells via Counterspell, while the thugs and swashbucklers kept everyone busy.

D&d

Mannix was able to use a low Portent Die to force a Counterspell to fail when Gillian cast Polymorph on Therin, transforming his Therinsaurus form into a Therinsaurus Rex upgrade! The much larger T-Rex had over twice the hit points and multi-attack, and soaked up a ton of damage early on.

The Red Wizards fought back with large AOE spells, which had a major consequence when one of them fired a Lightning Bolt at Khaless, who had run up the T-Rex to land right next to Zagmira. The giant black obelisk was struck, cracked open, and a large demon clawed its way out.

The CR 13 Nalfeshnee added a delightful complication to an already chaotic battle, attacking PCs and Red Wizards alike, and frightening almost everyone with its Horrible Nimbus disco ball ability.

Seeing the demon released, and Khaless break control (thanks to another pesky Portent die from Mannix), caused Zagmira to reassess the situation. She threw the cubes on the ground, telling the PCs if they can’t have the Soulmonger, then it does need to be destroyed – assuming the party survives. Then she cast Time Stop and Teleport to gather her forces and get out – another major story antagonist escapes!

The party still had to contend with the demon as it turned its full focus on them, downing Khaless and lunging after the Therinsaurus Rex like King Kong versus the T-Rex.

Unfortunately at this point our session was running crazy late (approaching 3.5 hours), and as much as I wanted to see this fight play out legitimately, I decided to end things early with the demon getting sucked back into the obelisk, trapping him back inside as it reformed. As written in the campaign book the demon only lasts for 1 minute, but that would’ve been plenty of time to have a whole combat encounter. Ah well.

One of the Wizard-enslaved rogues dropped a magical dagger for Khaless, as even though Zagmira escaped, her personal arc for facing her nemesis was completed, at least in the context of this campaign. After the battle the party now has all the puzzle cubes, and the entrance to the Tomb lies before them.

Next time we’ll level up to nine and enter the final chapter of our campaign!

Voted MVPC – Therin!

Live streamed and uploaded every week on YouTube. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

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Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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