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Previously on Tomb of Annihilation

Mannix, level 9 Yuan-ti Inquisitive Rogue/Divination Wizard – inhabited by Papazotl
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

Combat is always on the table in D&D. I was fully prepared for a violent end to the dialogue session with Mr. Withers, but I wasn’t prepared for one player to break off and start a whole different fight somewhere else.

Last week we left off with a Tomb Guardian bursting out of the Scrying Pool to attack the party. Tomb Guardians are stitched up flesh golems encased in plate mail, creating simple but effective tanky minions. A single guardian didn’t last long against the party, however, even with Gillian and Therin-saurus unable to squeeze into the tiny room.

The secret door beyond the pool opened into a hallway containing a spiral staircase and two doors, one to the west and one north. The party immediately split up, with Mannix heading west, George north, and Khaless down the stairs.

The spiral stairs went down several floors. Khaless stopped at level three and saw another Tomb Guardian looking through a window into a cylindrical room, its hand resting on an iron lever. Its back was to Khaless, however, and she decided to close the door and head back up the stairs.

Mannix listened at the western door, hearing the sound of scribbling and shuffling. Therin-saurus motioned for everyone to get back together and follow him, and Mannix opened the door into Mr. Withers’ office.


Withers was annoyed at the intrusion but welcomed them inside. A pair of Tomb Guardians flanked the doorway, and dozens of crawling claws performed bookkeeping tasks around the office.

He asked them to leave nicely, then offered to answer up to three questions of theirs, and he would ask three in return.

First they asked about Acererak. Withers wasn’t sure of the master’s whereabouts – he travels between dimensions after all, but typically when he stops by it’s in the lowest level. Withers asked about the Yuan-ti and they admitted Ras Nsi had betrayed Acererak because he was dying.

The party conferred some more and asked how to destroy the Soulmonger. Withers wasn’t happy about that but admitted that their magical equipment and various powers should prove sufficient – but if they make it that far it means he failed in killing them with his traps. He then asked how the Soulmonger has affected the outside world, and the party talked about the Death Curse zombie apocalypse, which pleased him.

For their final question, the party asked how Withers was doing emotionally. He was pleasantly surprised about this personal inquiry, and spoke of how happy and proud he was to serve the master and implement all of these tools of death.

Withers asked what their favorite trap has been in the Tomb. Everyone spoke at once, though it was Mannix who got off the classic line, “the room where we found the one who made all this and murdered the shit out of him.”

After the exchange Withers tried once more to get them to leave peacefully, but Therin-saurus was smelling the undead and began squeezing into the room to get his chomp on. Mannix cast Enemies Abound on Withers, and it was time to roll for initiative!

D&DKhaless stabbed Withers in the back with a nasty sneak attack, snapping him out of Mannix’s spell. He spun around and cast Blight on Khaless, draining her body with a 30+ necrotic hit. The crawling claws surged together, forming two Swarms of Crawling Claws (courtesy of Monster Manual Expanded) that swarmed over Gillian, Khaless, and Therin.

A Tomb Guardian struck Therinsaurus as he entered the room, rendering the metal-skeleton druid berserk, and causing the party a lot of consternation in the tight room. It wouldn’t matter much, however, as there were plenty of hostile targets, and the guardians soon brought Therin’s 51 HP Allosaurus down to 0.

George was the last in the room. He took one look at the berserk allosaurus in front of him, shut the office door, and ran back out into the hallway, using Moa’s power to turn invisible. He opened the north door and saw the workshop filled with half a dozen undead dwarves wearing green devil masks working on traps.

But George had one thing on the mind: hunting the Gray Slaad that was now possessed by Nangnang, the grung goddess. He quietly shut the door and headed east, back into the grand staircase, throwing coins into the air and enticing the greedy god-possessed Slaad to come for it.

Without George, the battle in Withers’ office proved lengthy and painful. Withers was downed quickly by Khaless, who had become infuriated when he called her sweetheart after she stabbed a few of the crawling claws during their dialogue session. His body contorted and the black skull amulet lit up, shunting the body away, leaving only his bronze mask behind. Withers mentioned that Acererak wouldn’t let him die…

The Tomb Guardians and Swarms of Crawling Claws proved far more resilient, slashing, clawing, and punching the remaining party. They had taken a bit of damage from Papazotl’s tomb and now all four were hovering around 20-50% hit points.

Meanwhile George’s lure worked. The Slaad appeared trying to sneak up on George invisibly. But George has Truesight out to 30 feet, saw it creeping on the ceiling Xenomorph style (courtesy of Nangnang’s power) and used the Vine Whip Sword to drag it down (with a crit!), where he pummeled the creature with Trip Attacks and a flurry of sword slashes.


Within two rounds George had dealt a frightening amount of damage to the Slaad. It tried to Fear him away but George made the save. With the whip sword it was unable to get away from George. After taking a heavy amount of damage, it unleashed a fireball on top of both of them, thinking to go out in a literal blaze of glory. The damage was pitifully low, and George made the save again. The Slaad was doomed!

Or was it?

After nailing 20+ attack rolls in the first two rounds, George suddenly missed with every attack after the fireball. Emboldened (and still alive), the Slaad cast Fear again, and this time George failed the save, dropping his sword and running back into the hallway toward Withers’ office.

The Slaad picked up the sword, cast Invisibility, and retreated to lick its wounds. The hatred is now mutual, but the Slaad will need to have a careful approach next time.

By the time George had been Fear’d away from the Slaad, the party put the final killing blow on the last enemy in the office. The entire battle took over 1.5 hours and lost them a lot of blood, but they emerged victorious.

The office contained a Manual of Golems, a skeletal songbird, a large magical gray gem, and a journal entry that spoke of the thing Acererak had found, how he brought in the Sewn Sisters to nurse it, and the soulmonger to feed it. The lower depths of the Tomb of the Nine Gods await!

Voted MVPC – George

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