Tomb of Annihilation (TFTPB) – Chapter Nine

This week, the group deploys Operation: Get Behind the Soldiers while going through a purple fog, or perhaps a Purple Haze.  Lastly, we meet a leprechaun named Lemmy.  He does not seem to have a Motorhead shirt on, nor is he the Ace of Spades.  My name is Kent, and I host this site and do very little else.  The real work is done by Eric, and I like to write inane things.  Since we have Lemmy, let’s go to the original Lemmy in one of the all time greatest performances.  If you know the actual song, be prepared for laughs.

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Tomb of Annihilation

Chapter 9 – The Best Day Ever

 

As the sun rose, Hertz, Compassion, Xilix, and Tempest awoke in the jungle, the mighty jungle.  The last thing any of them remembered was getting their heads smashed in by killer mimes/fools/clowns at an evil carnival.  While they each initially thought they must have been dreaming, that theory was soon proven false, as they all saw Ethyl’s dead body lying by the campfire, which was also holding Gryff III’s dead body.

After mourning for two-minutes and 28-seconds, Xilix began to autopsy Ethyl’s body.  Tempest quickly pulled Xilix away before Compassion saw what was happening. Hertz then gave Ethyl last rites as Compassion began preparations to bury yet another friend.  Xilix once again casted Find Familiar and summoned yet another celestial nighthawk pet, Gryff IV.  Upon entering the prime material plane Gryff IV immediately tried to run away.  Xilix asked Tempest for, “a little help,” at which point Tempest did a jumping backflip into the air and snatched Gryff IV.  As Xilix finished the magic that would make Gryff IV a loyal pet, anyone speaking bird could hear Gryff IV cry, “but I’m too young and pretty to die!”

Having lost all of their supplies, and a party member, the group had to find a way to show up to Camp Vengeance without being empty-handed.  After discussing their options they decided 1) they would have Ducky drag the giant turtle to the camp as the turtle could be harvested for meat, and 2) any day they didn’t get into a fight, Hertz would use all of his daily allotted spells from Talos to cast Create Water, until one of the canoes was completely filled with fresh drinkable water.

As the party began tying the giant turtle body to Ducky, they heard a rumble in the nearby bushes.  Tempest went to investigate and found a frog-man hiding there. While communication was difficult, eventually they understood that the name of the frog-man was Rembrandt Von Tongueslap, and he was searching for his half-brother, Hoppy Von Cunninglinguist.  As they were down a party member, they invited Tongueslap along.

Just as their preparations were completed, a group of about seven armored warriors emerged from the nearby trees.  Their leader introduced himself as John Johnson III of the Order of the Flaming Fist. Mr. Johnson acted as if the party should have known who the Flaming Fists were, however, the party had no clue.  

As the party had no idea who he was, Mr. Johnson told them that the Order of the Flaming Fist were basically the jungle police, and that it was their job to make sure that only licensed adventurers were in the jungle.  As neither their patron nor the merchant prince Jobal had mentioned any need for an adventuring license, the party decided that Mr. Johnson was a lying D-bag.

Seeing that the party had no license to produce, Mr. Johnson told the party that he would make them a deal.  If they disarmed themselves and came along peacefully, once they returned to the Order’s camp he would have the necessary paperwork drawn up for the low, low price of only 300 gold.  Hertz, angry from everything that had transpired at Carn-Evil, told Mr. Johnson to go to hell. Compassion, who normally tries to take a more diplomatic approach, was in agreement with Hertz.

Seeing that the group was not going to go peacefully, Mr. Johnson drew his weapon and ordered his men to “take them alive.”  Unfortunately for the mercenaries, the party had no intention of playing nice, and proceeded to kill three of them outright. As Mr. Johnson was surveying the battlefield, he was unaware that Rembrandt had snuck up right behind him.  Rembrandt then stabbed Mr. Johnson in the back, however, no vital organ was hit, and Mr. Johnson proceeded to fall to the ground, bleeding out.

As Mr. Johnson was incapacitated but still alive, at least for a little while, Compassion saw this as an opportunity to take a hostage and end hostilities before too many others died.  Compassion told Hertz to stabilize Mr. Johnson once he was on their part of the battlefield. He then yelled to Rembrandt to grab Mr. Johnson and pull him near Hertz. At first Rembrandt gave Compassion a quizzical look, to which Compassion responded by yelling at Rembrandt that they didn’t have time to dilly dally.  

Shrugging, Rembrandt grabbed Mr. Johnson by the arm and began dragging him, at which point the poison from Rembrandt’s poisoned skin seeped into Mr. Johnson’s wounds, killing him.  Compassion facepalmed as the other Order members, enraged, began to employ lethal tactics. Unfortunately for the Order mercenaries, enraged or not, they were still no match for the party.  As the last mercenary saw that all of his friends were dead, he began to run. Rather than murder him, Hertz yelled, “if you make it back to camp, be sure to tell all your buddies Sagi Ren did this.”

As the party loaded into their canoes and headed back down the river towards Camp Vengeance, they began chatting with their new froggy friend.  According to Rembrandt, to the west was “a giant metal man.” Interested, the party vowed to check out the metal man after making their delivery to the camp.

After a few more days, the party pulled up to the river bank near the camp.  As they dragged the turtle carcass and canoe-full-of-magic-water up the path to Camp Vengeance, they saw a horrid sight.  All around them were dead bodies, some zombie, some Order of the Gauntlet soldiers, and some who were dressed as traditional jungle dwellers.  While the party worried that this camp had suffered the same face as Camp Righteous, their fears were soon allayed as they reached the encampment, where they found a number of survivors living in filthy conditions.

At first, the camp guards were wary of the party as they had a frog-man and a half-demon with them.  However, as the party came bearing supplies, they didn’t ask too many questions. Upon speaking with the gate-man in charge, the party learned that Camp Vengeance was made up of survivors of the zombie attack on Camp Righteous, and survivors of a local village that had also been attacked by zombies.

Having delivered some supplies (even if not the supplies they were hired to delivered) and safely escorting the priestess (remember her?) to the camp, the party was ready to go meet the metal man.  First, however, at Compassion’s insistence, they decided to go speak with Captain Breakbone who was in charge of the encampment. Upon speaking with the Captain it quickly became obvious that he had either gone insane from the stress of the zombie attacks or he had let the power of command go to his head, perhaps both.  

As Captain Breakbone was no long fit for command, the party asked around to see if any of the higher ups had considered a coup.  Once it became clear that no one wanted to upset the status quo, the party decided they were, “so over this quest,” and planned to immediately head out to find the metal man.  Unfortunately, upon seeing the party getting ready to depart, Captain Breakbone ordered them sequestered in the camp for the evening.

While the party stayed on their guard all night, none of the soldiers tried anything.  In the morning they were informed that Captain Breakbone had given them an “assignment.”  They were to take a squad of 10 men and clear a hiking path from the camp all the way back to the city, which would take the party at least 10 days.  

Desperate to get out of this camp and away from these soldiers who seemed to lack any sense of self preservation, the party “agreed” to help while secretly planning to ditch the soldiers at the first available opportunity.  Until that time, as they were technically in charge of the group, the party decided to use the 10 soldiers as human shields, having them take positions all around the party. This turned out to be an exceptionally good idea.

On the second day of travel, a purple fog began rolling towards the party.  Xilix, who had been studying the jungle flora and fauna, was immediately able to identify this as “purple crazy mist.”  In response, Hertz prayed to Talos, who sent gusts of wind out from Hertz’s holy symbol. While this protected the party, it wound up dousing their new friends in extremely high levels of purple crazy mist.  As the fog cleared, the party found that 1/3 of them were catatonic, 1/3 were babbling to themselves, and 1/3 had run away screaming madly. Finally free of the soldiers, the party abandoned them to the jungle as they went on their way to meet the metal man.

Well, not entirely free, for as they left the area they found that one of the soldiers had not been affected by the purple mist and was following them.  Racially, he was a Firbolg, which is basically a giant leprechaun. The giant leprechaun introduced himself as Lemmy, and said that he wanted to join the party because, “Captain Breakbone is a dick.”  Unable to argue with such powerful words, the party agreed to let Lemmy tag along.

After two days of uneventful travel, the party could see the giant metal man off in the distance.  As they moved closer, they saw a dashing human male standing in front of the statue. Asking who he was, the man introduced himself as Artis Cymber.  Xilix, thinking the metal man to be a magical guardian, asked Artis if he knew what the metal man was out here for. Artis denied having such knowledge and then began to explain why he was in the jungle.  Xilix responded, “I’m gonna have you hold it right there Arty, the men need to get to work now.”

The party then spent the next hour trying to figure out what the hell the metal man was doing in the middle of the jungle.  They tried inspecting for traps, they tried finding control mechanisms, they attacked it, they climbed it, and they read it bedtime stories.  All to no avail.

In frustration, Hertz yelled, “well, that was a giant waste of time!”  Tempest, in response, came over Hertz to calm him explaining, “any encounter with a giant metal man that does result in Compassion having to bury yet another innocent should be considered a win in our books.”  This sentiment managed to make Hertz feel much, much better while simultaneously making Compassion feel much, much worse.

Having failed to find anything interesting to do at the metal man, Compassion suggested that they talk to this “Arty dude” and find out if he has a quest or any information relevant to breaking the death curse.  

Bad news:  Arty had no leads on the death curse.

Good news (for the party, not for Arty): Arty’s paramour Alisandra had been kidnapped, and various magical scrying indicated that she was likely in Omu, the lost city of evil rumored to be found within the jungles of Chult, and Arty would be happy to have the party’s assistance.

Bad news:  Arty had no leads on the location of Omu and was just wandering through the jungle.

Putting their heads together, the party remembered that they knew the general location of a zombie army that had been raiding Order of the Gauntlet encampments.  The party decided, based on no hard evidence whatsoever, that the zombies must be coming from the zombie district of Evil Omu City. Arty, having no other leads, agreed that this was the “best” course of action.

After another three boring days of journeying with nothing happening the party was getting fed up.  With no fights in almost a week, Hertz still had not used the new lighting spell granted by Talos, Xilix still hadn’t had a chance to cast his new fireball spell, and Tempest’s monk vision was beginning to cloud over.

As the party was about to come to blows with each other just to blow off some steam, the ground suddenly started to shake.  Then, out from the trees, appeared . . . A ZOMBIE TYRANNOSAURUS REX. The undead T-Rex roared, intending to scare the group before devouring them.

Hertz, Xilix, Tempest, and Compassion told the other party members to stay back.  The four then turned to each other and said:

Hertz: “This is”

Xilix: “The best”

Compassion: “Day”

Tempest: “Ever!!!”

They then did a jumping four-way hi-five.  

The zombie T-Rex, extremely confused and a bit insulted at this point, sought to “reclaim his power,” by regurgitating up an army of half-digested regular human zombies.

The four, in unison: “Best Day Ever!!!!!”

Before the vomit zombies could even stand up, Xilix had already hit them with a fireball.  Compassion, riding Ducky, came stampeding in and shishkabobed the zombies that had not been exploded onto his lance as he rode by.  

Tempest, seeing the path to the T-Rex open, turned on her monk-vision and identified a point on the zombie-dino’s left leg that was especially rotted and week.  Charging in, she kicked the T-Rex’s leg out from under him, causing to spill to the ground. As that happened, Hertz prayed to Talos, and a storm cloud formed overhead.  Hertz then proceeded to strike the zombie T-Rex with multiple lightning bolts until nothing was left but chunks of dinosaur.

As the carnage died down, Lemmy and Arty looked at each other and questioned just who the heck they had teamed up with.

Rembrandt, who was feeling a bit left out at this point, ran out to congratulate the four for their amazing victory.  Unfortunately, Rembrandt didn’t realize that he was running through the mouth of the now severed head of the zombie T-Rex.  Nimble though he was, Rembrandt missed the fact that the jaws were clamping down, and to everyone’s horror, he was easily bitten in half.

 

Is the group really on their way to Omu or are they just wandering into an undead filled wasteland?  Is Arty’s girlfriend hot? Can anything top the “Best Day Ever!!!!”? Find out next time on Tales from the Plunderbund Consortium!

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Here’s some Purple Haze for your weekend.

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You can find us at the actual 9 Deuce website where we have the archives as well as other content such as horror movie reviews, wrestling blogs, podcasts, and some other material.  We’re on Facebook, on Twitter @official9deuce, or Tumblr @ superkent92 or Instagram at Official9Deuce .  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question or a comment at kent@9deuce.com.  Hell, you can subscribe via RSS.  Facebook and the website are probably the best bets.  Thank you.  Also, I don’t own the rights to any of these music videos, obviously.  You know who the owners are and they deserve all the credit.

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