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Previously on Tomb of Annihilation

Mannix, level 9 Yuan-ti Inquisitive Rogue/Divination Wizard – inhabited by Nangnang
Khaless, level 9 Half-Drow Assassin Rogue – inhabited by Wongo
Gillian, level 9 Triton Bard of Whispers
George, level 9 Tortle Battle Master Fighter/Rogue – inhabited by Moa
Therin, level 9 Hill Dwarf Druid of the Moon – inhabited by Obo’laka

You never quite know what your players will latch onto, whether it’s a certain NPC, a specific storyline, or a magic item. In my case, I’ve been delighted by how much my players have responded to role-playing their primal god possessions – much to their own detriment!

As I suspected in the most recent episode of Crafting Annihilation, the party was due for a Long Rest after all their trials in the Tomb of the Nine Gods so far. Nangnang’s Tomb was a well-fortified area, with a crawlspace on one side and a secret door on the other, and Gillian had her Tiny Hut spell.

But this dungeon is anything but a safe haven, and at some point during the night, the hut was dispelled. The party opted to keep sleeping, but one of them (lowest CHA save) was visited by a Nightmare Haunting from one of the Sewn Sisters. Mannix was treated to a nightmare version of one of the trials they had faced earlier – the fountain on level one. He still received the benefits of a Long Rest, but only recouped half the hit dice he would normally get, and his max HP was reduced by 1d10.

The haunting didn’t take very long, but we ended up spending nearly an hour in this room as they argued and role-played with their various trickster gods. George was aghast that Mannix now carried the Grung god around. Moa and Wongo still hated each other. Obo’laka was afraid of everything. It was a delightful disaster, though we still had plenty of dungeon left to explore.

After the Long Rest they opened the secret door the Slaad had used to escape, finding a small hallway with another secret door on the other end, and a table holding a dusty bottle. The bottle contained a dao, a genie of elemental earth. Without even trying to communicate with it or figuring out what it was, they opened the bottle, freeing the imperious Keshma al-Wazir.


Keshma wasn’t exactly grateful; she was haughty and self-centered. Which means she got along great with Gillian! Thankfully Gillian, the one party member not possessed by a primal god of Omu, did all of the talking.

Keshma had been imprisoned by Acererak and was willing to help her liberators. Mannix (possessed by greedy Nangnang) wanted her jewels but Gillian accepted the dao’s aid. She could call upon Keshma three times to help in battles or with casting spells – a useful ally!

Opening the second secret door revealed a large room with six glass cauldrons filled with bones, a chariot holding a sarcophagus, four statues, and a large bronze shield depicting a Chultan warrior. The primal spirits identified Papazotl’s tomb immediately, but Nangnang’s greed forced Mannix to run over and scoop up the treasure strewn atop the sarcophagus, activating the room’s defenses as skeletons began pouring out of the cauldron.

I threw Mannix a bone, or at least an amulet. He had to spend his action scooping up treasure, but he could also open the sarcophagus and grab the god-touched item within – much to Nangnang’s horror. He did so, allowing himself to be possessed by the spirit of Papazotl, and evicting the greedy grung god from his body. The Amulet of Health is amazingly good for the +0 CON Mannix, raising his CON to 19, gaining nearly 40 hit points – almost doubling his total HP!

Papazotl grants several defensive abilities, such as immunity to fall damage, but causes its host to become domineering, shrewd, and conniving. I’m sure that will go over well with the others!

While the party filed into the room to battle the skeletons, I reminded them of Acererak’s clues for the level, as well as the inscription in the room itself, “Bow before no one,” and “Bow as the dead god intoned.” One of the statues lacked a face, and they quickly figured out what that meant.

Bowing before the correct statues causes two things to happen in this room. The first time someone bows, it deactivates the constantly spawning skeletons from the cauldrons. I rolled low on initiative so never got to spawn any more, only 12 skeletons in all. Bowing also hides you from the now-animated warrior on the shield, which fires a force spear at the nearest enemy with a +10 to hit for 4d8 force damage. Ouch!


The dice were definitely on my side during this battle. Gillian locked down a third of my skeletons with Hypnotic Pattern, but the remaining bony boys went five for five on their first round of attacks, nailing 20+ attack rolls despite a low +4 to hit, and you can bet I was hitting with that +10 force spear every time.

Gradually the party realized they all had to bow one-by-one to avoid the force spear attacks, and the zombies from the door to the north joined the fight, turning the room into a fairly lengthy battle. Props to Therin for finally resisting Obo’laka’s fear and getting a chance to transform into a Therinsaurus and go to town on some undead.

But it was George who delighted us all with his hatred of all things grung. Since Mannix became possessed by a new god, he had dropped Nangnang’s totem, the petrified grung egg. George spent a full action, including Extra Attack and Action Surge, trying to destroy the egg. I ruled that he needed a crit to destroy a god-touched magic item, and he came damn close several times.

On his next turn he gently picked it up with a piece of cloth then hurled it into the air, trying to fire at it with his bow, and nearly succeeded again! But instead of falling to the ground, the egg was seemingly caught by an invisible hand, then disappeared! Had the slaad been watching them? What will do with when possessed by a primal spirit, who now returns George’s animosity with equal measure?

The party finished off the undead in the room, and after George finally bowed, the room’s dangers deactivated. The zombies had been tethered to a large door in the north, which led back into the grand staircase. The party headed toward the stairs to descend to the next level, but Mannix noticed a secret passage to the west.

Opening the door revealed a tiny room with a fountain of water inside. Mannix noticed another secret door on the other end, but when looking at the pool, a vision of a hulking armored figure appeared, walking through a doorway somewhere else in the dungeon. The figure stopped and turned around, as if noticing it was being watched, and somehow hurled itself up out of the water pool to attack.

Voted MVPC – George

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