Tomb of Annihilation Session 83 Recap

An NPC turns enemy in a large battle in the throne room; the party reaches the Gears of Hate on level 5.

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Previously on Tomb of Annihilation

Starring:
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 – inhabited by Unkh
George, level 10 Tortle Battle Master Fighter/Rogue – inhabited by Moa
Therin, level 10 Hill Dwarf Druid of the Moon – inhabited by Obo’laka

The Tomb of the Nine Gods has so much going on that it can be difficult to keep track of it all. On top of that, I’m trying to create a meaningful, reactive world for my players, such as George and the Gray Slaad from Level 2.

This week I had a fun opportunity to end Orvex’s story in spectacular fashion in the final room of Level 4.

After a short rest in Unkh’s Tomb, the party approached the Ghastly Door in the main corridor. They had witnessed a tomb guardian pour blood down the serpent fangs via the Scrying Pool on Level 2. Mannix pricked his finger, but it wasn’t until he cut his palm and really shoved some blood in there did they hear sounds of ghouls feasting.

Khaless did the same to the other serpent receptacle and the door opened, revealing a large sunken chamber and a throne made of skin and bone. A plain iron scepter rested on top of it, while a horned skull loomed over.

Behind it, a trio of zombified artists painted gruesome pictures of when the party had been at their lowest: Khaless vomiting up acid from the fountain, Mannix getting knocked out by the su-monkey mummy, and George turning into a statue from the beholder.

The party cautiously explored the room. Big rooms with no apparent enemies usually signals an ambush fight, and they would not be wrong! I had slightly different plans than the book, however.

I let the party check out the paintings and notice the secret door to the north that led to the Crypt of the Sun Queen.

Meanwhile Orvex, whom George had sliced in an attempt to get blood for the door, approached the throne. He recognized the skull of Karagos, the great minotaur guardian of Omu, and his legendary ferocity and vengeance for those who wronged him.

Orvex gave a speech about no longer being pushed down and treated like a slave. He sat atop the throne and beseeched Karagos to grant him power to crush the PCs!

When nothing happened, the amused party began berating Orvex. Khaless approached the throne, threatening the desperate man. When he didn’t yield, she backhanded him so hard he fell 10 feet to the ground, blood spurting everywhere, and lie still.

The horned skull lit up, Orvex’s body twitched back to life, and the old scholar became an undead revenant, infused by Karagos! He summoned a Tyrannosaurus Rex zombie that burst from beneath the ground. Roll for Initiative!

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With the Alert feat Khaless cannot be surprised, and wasted no time leaping atop the zombie-Rex to begin dishing out serious damage, while Z-Rex bit and lashed at nearby Mannix and George.

By the time it was Orvex-Revenant’s turn (whom the party labeled “Cool Orvex,” now impressed by his go-getter attitude) the Zombie-Rex was already half dead.

Orvex-Revenant targeted Khaless with his Vengeful Glare, successfully paralyzing her while the Z-Rex ate Gillian. From inside its mouth Gillian was able to deliver the killing blow to the sagging beast, thanks to an incredible flurry of blows from George. A still paralyzed Khaless slammed into the ground.

Orvex-Revenant strode up and attacked her, gaining advantage and auto-critting thanks to her state. With the extra 4d6 damage revenants can do against their vengeful targets, it was a frightening amount of damage. Alas, the undead nightmare hit only one of its two attacks. Khaless remained conscious, as her paralyzation turned into the Frightened condition.

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Undaunted, she focused her attacks on Cool Orvex. Even with disadvantage and sagging HP she slashed at him, channeling her own fury and life force via the BloodDrinker Blade, while the others took out the zombies vomited by the Z-Rex. Khaless’ extra damage resulted in a killing blow, and she decapitated the former NPC ally with a badass one-liner.

With the room quiet, the party picked up the scepter, grabbed the nearby skeleton key, and investigated the sun queen crypt. Mannix could detect evocation magic from a sun-like orb hanging from the ceiling. Therin used Dispel Magic to shut it off. A bejeweled cockroach jewelry box atop a sarcophagus held a magic necklace inside, with more evocation magic.

George and Mannix opened the sarcophagus, where they saw the mummified remains of a regal ruler (had Orvex been around, he could have identified Queen Nepaka of Omu!). She had a gold mask and a scepter, but unlike the one on the throne, this scepter held a magnificent fist-size ruby on the end – the Eye of Zaltec!

They snatched the scepter and the corpse’s mouth opened, exhaling choking gas in the room. Both George and Mannix failed, though Mannix has Dungeon Delver (half trap damage) and Necrotic-resistant armor. They didn’t realize they needed to pull the Indiana Jones switcheroo on the scepters.

Mannix cast the Identify spell on the Necklace, revealing a Cursed Necklace of Fireballs – whoever wore the necklace would cause all of the fire beads to detonate at once! Therin took it, thinking he could combine that with his fire elemental form for explosive results.

After all the damage they took during the Orvex fight and the gas trap, the party settled down for a Long Rest in the crypt. I was unprepared for a Long Rest this soon, but at this point it has been four sessions since the level 10 rest following the beholder boss battle, and the party had been through an entire level of the dungeon with at least two short rests in between.

During their rest, they were haunted by the Sewn Sisters. Everyone rolled a d20, and the bottom three rolls (two 1s and a 2!) were targeted, receiving nightmarish visions of events that had happened in the tomb. Failing a DC 15 WIS save meant Gillian and Khaless woke up with their maximum HP reduced by 1d10, though they still got the benefit of the Long Rest.

Afterwards the party returned to the grand staircase (using a window from Mannix’s Vest of Many Pockets to get back through the Ghastly Door), paid the gargoyle tolls, and went down the shaft via the Moa snake, which has hilariously become more of a travel utility than a combat summon.

Down the snake slide we went, landing in a pentagonal room filled with rotting vegetation. Welcome to level five!

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The oddly shaped room held nothing but a large rusty sprinkler, and a door leading northwest. A southwest entrance was blocked by rubble (check out Crafting Annihilation for why I’m editing much of level five). The Cog room to the west held a pool of slime or acid in the middle, and a bunch of black dragon pictures, but nothing else.

Another doorway led west. The party noticed these doors had odd gaps (like between train cars) where they could see water and gears below them. The western exit led to a small room with a complex control panel of knobs, buttons, and levers.

George and Mannix began experimenting with the control panel, discovering a telepathic function with the red dial, while the red button slammed shut an iron door at the entrance, splitting the party. The blue dial moved an indicator light to different cog configurations, while a gold lever caused slime to begin pouring into the control room!

In a panic they hit the blue button, which began shifting the gears to the selected configuration. We’ll see how this chaos plays out next week!

Voted MVPC – Khaless

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

Support my channel via Patreon!

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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