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Previously on Tomb of Annihilation

Mannix, level 10 Yuan-ti Inquisitive Rogue/Divination Wizard – inhabited by Papazotl
Khaless, level 10 Half-Drow Assassin Rogue – inhabited by I’Jin
Gillian, level 10 Triton Bard of Whispers
George, level 10 Tortle Battle Master Fighter/Rogue – inhabited by Moa
Therin, level 10 Hill Dwarf Druid of the Moon – inhabited by Obo’laka

After dispelling the life-trapping mirror and quickly dispatching the troll, the party surprised me by sending most of their companions up the staircase and out of the dungeon. They have a point though. At this point in the campaign they are more of a liability than a source of extra firepower.

Mannix convinced Ishmakahl to remain behind, however, citing that their shapechanging abilities may come in handy. Therin used Greater Restoration to heal the insane Omuan merchant, who unfortunately didn’t have any useful information (though the kind act earned Inspiration for Therin, the only morally decent character of the bunch).

The party continued down the opposite hallway toward Area 49, the Maze of Death (not to be confused with the maze that’s mentioned in this level’s clue, however). After a few moments, Mannix figured out to reach his hand out to the stone block that depicted a robed figure doing the same. The block slid down, revealing a dark, dusty passage of walls and corners.

The room isn’t much of a maze. As Mannix went in and he felt a whispering in his mind. In the center of the room, atop a marble pedestal, was a gold crown with a glittering black opal – the Black Opal Crown! Mannix recalled that he was under a spell from Ras Nsi to bring the crown to him, and he felt a pain welling up in his mind.

The party followed in and were also taken by the crown, but for entirely different reasons. Therin and Khaless were interested in how expensive the crown looks, noting that it could buy entire kingdoms. Mannix pleaded for Therin to help him with the Geas-problem, and Therin cast his last 5th level spell slot to cure Mannix.

However, the voice in his mind was not that of Ras Nsi, but something else entirely. Mannix used Mage Hand to grab the crown and stow it away as the elder voice whispered for him to accept his fate.

D&DAs the crown left the pedestal, the doors slid up, sealing the room, as horrifying screams erupted from the unexplored east side of the room. Rounding the corner were a pair of undead terrors called Bodaks. Roll for initiative!

Bodaks have some fun abilities, including a 30-ft aura that deals 5 guaranteed necrotic damage each turn. At the start of a PC’s turn they have to choose to either stare it down or look away. Just looking at the thing forces a DC 13 CON save, which can deal 3d10 damage or drop you to 0 hit points if you roll bad enough.

My party is exceptionally good at CON, however, with saves ranging from +4 to +9 (except Gillian, who used some of her Lucky feat to survive). Despite only surviving for two rounds given their relatively low hit points and AC, they scared the heck out of the party.

Therin killed one with a crit from his Shillelagh’d Staff of Striking. I noted that his recent extra hairiness had exploded into full blown shaggy fur, his eyes had changed shape, and he was growing horns on his head. A tiny bleat escaped his mouth as he destroyed the last bodak. That there staff is cursed!

The scary creatures had been deal with, but the party remained trapped inside. The painting on the inside of the doors depicted a similar robed figure, but this time the outstretched arm was severed at the elbow. After cracking some jokes the party investigated the east side of the room, revealing another of the large green devil faces set in the wall, mouth opened to a dark tunnel.

Therin sent in his conjured rats from the mirror incident, but they disappeared when they entered the dark mouth. Without any further experimentation, Mannix headed inside.

At this point I had to very carefully ask the player how his character went through this tunnel. As you may know, dear, reader, there is a Sphere of Annihilation in there.

Mannix planned on going in arms-first, but George suggested using just the one arm first to feel around. Mannix did so, instantly pulling back his arm to find it neatly severed!


Everyone freaked out, but George recovered quickly, tying a chain around Mannix’s arm to stop the bleeding and leading him over to the stone block to raise the severed stump. Sure enough, the doors opened. You may have lost an arm, but at least you solved the puzzle!

The north door revealed a steep stair case that descended to another corridor, which lead to the bottom room of the staircase with the shaft in the floor and the four gigantic gargoyles. Mannix reminded everyone that just one of those things was a handful during the mirror encounter.

While they debated on which way to go, Mannix noticed a secret door to the north. He reached out to open it, then had to reach out again with his remaining arm. We’ll find out how many more limbs we can lose next week!

Voted MVPC – Mannix (RIP Right Arm)

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