Tomb of Annihilation Session 76 Recap

Descending to the third level of the dungeon the party battles more Tomb Guardians, and find a cursed skull.

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Previously on Tomb of Annihilation

Starring:
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

Jeremy Crawford has his love of role-playing and voicing hags – I have my animated skulls. The flameskull from Wave Echo Cave, the chamber of skulls from The Weeping Colossus, and now Yakka the cursed skull from the third level of the the Tomb of the Nine Gods.

Yakka became such a centerpiece of the session that the party had to deal with it as soon as possible. Thankfully we collectively dealt with both Yakka, and that pesky Nangnang-possessed Gray Slaad, in one fell swoop.

Following the lengthy battle with Withers, the party short rested in his office, where George dodged questions about what he’d been doing, and why he was missing one of his magic swords. A knock at the door revealed a tomb dwarf from the nearby workshop, and the party quickly took him down.

The devil-masked dwarf had called out warnings to his brethren in the next room, though no one else came out of the workshop. Mannix wanted to go in and take them out, but George lead them back to the staircase, trying once again to lure the Slaad out. The creature wasn’t around, however, and Mannix left his remote-seeing eye in the secret passage so he could tell if anyone left the forge area. The party then finally descended to the third level of the dungeon.

Level three, the Vault of Reflection, features nasty purple mold all over the floors, ceilings and walls. The occasional eye stalk would pop out and stare at the party, and George just had to poke it. The eye retracted and another popped out, firing a deadly beam of necrotic energy that slammed into George. Don’t touch the eyes!

After noting another bronze plaque filled with cryptic clues, the party saw two Tomb Guardians on either side of the western hallway, a spiked chain running between them. Mannix tried to use Minor Illusion but they didn’t budge until George leapt over the chain. The hulking beasts sprang to life, pummeling the party. The chain let the guardians share health, and their spiked gauntlets averaged over 20 damage per hit.

The party prevailed, but it was quite painful – especially when a series of missed fire blasts from Gillian’s Circlet of Blasting (played by Therin this session) scorched some purple mold, and another eye-laser popped out, dealing an incredibly frightening amount of damage to Gillian. Don’t accidentally burn the mold!

D&D

The western hallway held a stone door at the west end, another room to the north, and a secret door to the south. They opened the secret door, revealing a small dusty room with a golden skull on a pedestal.

Despite most things in this dungeon trying to kill you, my players typically don’t shy away from touching stuff. George conferred with his Omuan god-host Moa, confirming that Nangnang would indeed covet such a treasure. George grabbed the skull, and it sprang to life.

This was not a flameskull, however – this was Yakka, once a jester of Omu, now cursed with very powerful magic to annoy whoever touches it for the rest of their life, by hovering near them and constantly taunting them.

I had a lot of fun role-playing this annoying, mocking skull, which confers disadvantage on ability checks (I initially ruled that included attack rolls, but the note on the skull specifically only mentions ability checks).

George was dismayed, and as Khaless crawled through the nearby crawlspace, the party realized that having a loud, jeering skull near them at all times would be a terrible detriment for the whole party.

At the other end of the crawlspace, Khaless was able to ambush the tomb guardian  she had seen last session from the secret staircase, with a little help from George. The tomb guardian had been looking through a magical window into another room, its armored hand resting on a lever. Khaless pulled the lever as a test, noting that it made the room through the window begin to spin, with all kinds of bad things happening. She moved the guardian’s body so it would keep the lever firmly propped in the up position.

Back in the hallway Yakka the skull continued to torment George and the party. As an act of desperation, George poked a nearby eye stalk, causing yet another deadly ray to slam into him, downing him. I can’t get into spoiler territory over the eye rays, but the deadly necrotic energy forced George to roll his death saves all at once, until he either stabilized or perished.

Thankfully, he succeeded, and survived. Yakka was amused, revealing that he wouldn’t leave George until George truly dies. Or if the party feeds him some gems. Wait, gems?

D&D

The party began emptying their pockets. Gillian had a chalcedony and bloodstone earrings, Mannix a cloak of glittering gems. Therin even offered it his charm of raise dead (an amulet he had received from the Orolunga oracle).

Yakka greedily accepted them all, literally eating and destroying them. It wasn’t enough, but he was getting full. Mannix reluctantly gave it the Slaad control gem they had found in Withers’ office.

When Yakka ate the magic control gem, a strange effect took hold over the skull. It bolted from George’s side and began to fly across the dungeon. The party quickly gave chase (or rather, George gave chase and the rest followed).

Across the grand staircase, into the south hallway heading east, through another small crawlspace, and into a tiny 10 sq ft chamber hidden away from everything – there the skull, and the party, found the invisible gray slaad.

By eating the slaad gem, the curse had been transferred to the slaad. And in turn, the slaad’s possession by greedy Nangnang caused it to immediately grab the golden skull and become infatuated with it.

George arrived ready to fight, but a funny thing happened. While George had spent the last several sessions trying to find and kill this thing, he knew how awful the skull’s curse was, and the slaad looked to be in mental anguish between the skull taunting and Nangnang’s possession.

Instead of fighting, George snatched back his thorn blade, turned, and left the creature to its twisted fate, a truly shocking yet satisfying end to the slaad saga.

Voted MVPC – Mannix

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Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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