Tomb of Annihilation (TFTPB) – Chapter Ten

This week, the group gets cocky, nay, dare I say…..penisy.  Yes, the group that should know better, well by and large, they do not know better.  But a T-Res gets a breakfast burrito in this chapter, so there is that.  Thanks to Eric for writing this up…..including any typos that I didn’t catch.  My name is Kent, and I am a terrible editor.  This week, the obvious song choice was Kid Rock’s “Cocky”, but a lot of simpletons are offended by him, so I changed my mind and gave you the music video that you deserve.  Eric will laugh at this at the very least.  I practically hate myself for posting this.

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Tomb of Annihilation

Chapter 10 – Going Nowhere Slow

 

Coming down from their zombie T-Rex killing high, the party took stock of the battlefield.  As Compassion began digging a grave in which to enter Rembrandt’s body, they saw a stirring coming from the T-Rex’s stomach.  Assuming that there was a zombie or two remaining in its gullet, the party drew their weapons. To their surprise, however, a still living human who had been swallowed whole mere moments before the battle had ensued emerged.

Dressed in heavy armor and holy robes, the human male introduced himself as Padre Grundi, loyal servant and paladin of “the Empara.”  He was on a holy mission to solve the death curse. Hearing this, the party invited him to join forces. Within a few hours of traveling, they realized their mistake, as the Padre was such a self-righteous holy prick that he made Compassion look like a frat girl on spring break.  In fact, Lemmy got so tired of hearing Padre insist that, “giant leprechauns are an abomination to all that is holey,” that he decided to abandon the party and head back to Port Nezaro.

Realizing that they had been in the jungle for almost a month with little to show for it, Hertz and Xilix decided to sit down, consult their map, and try to develop a better plan of action than, “walk to where the zombies are.”  Luckily, while still at Camp Vengeance, Compassion had the foresight to study the Camp’s maps and add points of interest to the map that had been provided by their patron.

Of particular interest to Xilix was a point on the map noted as “flying rock.”  Thinking that it could be a magical landmark associated with the lost city of Omo, he convinced the party to make that their new destination.   

As is tradition, over the next few days the jungle attempted to kill the party while they traveled.  However, the jungle was unprepared for just how tough the group had gotten in recent weeks. On day one, a large group of giant wasps attacked the party . . . and were promptly fire-balled to death by Xillix.  On day three a group of pterodactyl-men began trailing the party in the hopes of picking them off the next time they were attacked by a jungle beast. On day four Hertz summoned a storm cloud and lightning bolted the pterodactyl-men into bloody mists.  On day five the party was attacked by a grouping of giant Venus Fly Traps . . . which were quickly impaled on Compassion’s lance and fed to Ducky for lunch.

Feeling kind of invincible, the party didn’t even worry when they reached a swamp that had to be crossed to reach the floating stones.  As they waded through the muck, they saw another adventuring party (we’ll call them beta party) headed their way, who were also dragging a canoe behind them.  However, unlike our heroes’ canoe that was filled with magically summoned fresh water provided by Hertz, beta party’s canoe was filled with the remains of their cleric.

Approaching beta party, the group learned that the betas had been attacked by a herd of ghouls (sort of like zombies but smarter and tougher) five days earlier.  They escaped the initial assault, but their cleric died in the process. Currently, the betas were trying to bring their cleric’s body back to the port so that it could be returned home.  Unfortunately, the group of ghouls had continued to stalk them for the past five days. Knowing how awesome they were, our heroes offered to lend their assistance to the betas. They agreed to spend the night with the weary beta party and protect them from any ghoul attacks.  Further, Hertz prayed to Talos and cast Gentile Repose on the cleric’s body, ensuring that it would not rot during the foreseeable future.  Padre then spent the next three hours lecturing the beaten down beta party about how the reason their cleric died was because she was wearing low cut platemail (that showed off her naughty bits up top) with greaves for leggings instead of a long chain skirt (as is appropriate for a godly woman).  

The night passed with nary a ghoul to be seen or heard.  Amazed that they were able to get a good night’s sleep without the risk of ghoul attacks, the beta’s thanked the group profusely.  This, of course, only served to boost the party’s egos even further. After breakfast the two groups parted ways.

Feeling full of themselves, the party continued on their journey without a care in the world.  Unfortunately, Gryff IV, who shared Xilix’s emotions, also embraced this carefree attitude, which lead him to neglect his overhead reconnaissance duties.  This soon became apparent to the party when they walked into the path of a hungry T-Rex charging at its planned lunch, a lonely triceratops.

Panicking, and no longer feeling quite so invincible, Hertz cast a Fog Cloud spell on the T-Rex’s head and began to run like hell out of the path of the soon to be battling dinosaurs.  Following Hertz’s lead, the others also began to run like their lives depended on it. While the party was able to escape relatively easily, on his way past the T-Rex, Compassion was sent flying through the air by the T-Rex’s errant tail slap as it bit into its breakfast triceratops burrito.

No longer feeling so high and mighty, the party spent the next day of travel with their tails tucked between their legs.  That was, until, they came across another group of individuals dressed as members of the Flaming Fists mercenary company. Upon seeing the party, one of the men screamed, “it’s them,” and they all proceeded to flee in terror from the party. Choosing not to pursue the frightened and fleeing mercenaries, the party continued on, once again walking as if they owned the jungle.

The next day the party reached its destination.  Floating above them was a giant hunk of earth that appeared to have naturally formed into the shape of the heart.  Even more impressive, yet also unsettling, cascading down from the stone heart was a viscus red fluid that made it appear as if the earthen heart was bleeding.

At the base of the floating land mass appeared to be a cavern entrance leading into the heart.  Unfortunately, as the cavern entrance was 100 feet off the ground, they had no way to enter. As they stood debating how they might enter, a very pale looking high elf appeared at the cavern entrance.  She introduced herself as Valindra, and asked what the group was doing at her base of operations. They informed her that they were looking for clues as to how to break the death curse. Excited, Valindra cast a spell that allowed the group to teleport into her earthen heart.

How their time in the heart went depends on who you ask:

Hertz found the entire experience to be enjoyable, and he found Valindra to be an excellent host.  Valindra took the group on a tour of the heart, which she had set up to be very cozy. She shared information with the party, including where she believed the city of Omu was located, marking it on the party’s map, and also her belief that the soulmonger was located within Omu’s walls.  Valindra was even nice enough to provide Xilix with a scroll that would allow them to return to the heart in the future. Most importantly, to Hertz at least, she was totally open to his constant hitting on her (he digs alabaster skin and she was the best looking woman he’d seen since they entered the jungle).  10/10, would party in bleeding heart again, need to think up new pick-up lines.

Xilix had a mixed reaction to their experience.  At first he was super excited to get to spend some time with a high elf like himself that also was totally into arcane magic.  While Valindra appeared to be helpful, after years of dealing with shady drug dealers Xilix knows that a trusting look doesn’t mean anything.  When Valindra turned her back he quickly cast detect magic and learned 1) that necromantic magic permeated the heart, and 2) that Valindra had cast an illusion spell on herself.  Being the smart elf that he is, Xilix assumed that Valindra was an undead spellcaster, likely a lich, who had cast an illusion spell on herself to make her look not-dead. 6/10, wary025 of Valindra’s true motivation, but would continue to work with her since she was helpful and didn’t try to kill and eat them on their first visit . . . also she taught him a spell.

Compassion found the entire visit unpleasant.  Not trusting a pale elf who lived in a floating, bleeding, earthen heart, he excused himself to use the chamber pot as soon as the opportunity presented itself.  Then, once out of Valindra’s vision, he took the opportunity to investigate Valindra’s lair. Upon finding her laboratory, Compassion felt a cold chill emanating from what looked to be a closet.  Opening the closet door, he came face to face with five humanoid zombies and one zombie gorilla. Luckily, the zombies appeared to be frozen in time and were completely motionless. He shut the door, rejoined the party, and suggested they get on their way.  1/10, never trust an undead, accepting Valindra’s help will get us killed.

Finally having a solid lead on both Omu and the soulmonger, the party said their good-byes and had Valindra teleport them from the stone heart.  As they resumed their journey, Compassion couldn’t help but feel that they were now being watched . . .

What awaits the party on their journey to Omu?  Find out next time on Tales from the Plunderbund Consortium!  

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But wait, there’s a second version of the Breakfast Burrito song.  Remember, Kid Rock’s career died for your sins and this is penance.

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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.

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.

Tomb of Annihilation (TFTPB) – Chapter Eight

Are you a fan of sinners and saints?  Good, because you’ll get at least one of each this week…..possibly more.  Join us this week as our adventurers end up in an evil carnival.  If you can’t guess what this place was called, I truly feel for you.  My name is Kent.  I am the guy that hosts this blog on my site and make inane comments that you skip so you can to the good stuff.  Still, given this week’s theme of saints and creepy carnivals, I decided to go with this song and this video because I love this video.

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Tomb of Annihilation

Chapter 8 – Requiem for Lyn

 

Many years prior to the appearance of the Death Curse, former Plunderbund members (DM’s Note: In a different campaign prior to the creation of this blog) confronted the dread vampire lord Strahd Von Zarovich in the Ravenloft domain of Barovia.  Earlier in the evening, that group had met the ghost of Sergi, brother of Strahd, who begged the group not to destroy his vampire brother, as that could result in the destruction of the demi-plane of Ravenloft, freeing the numerous evil beings previously trapped by the Dark Powers.  Despite this warning, the party slew Strahd.

Upon Strahd being defeated, the demi-plane of Ravenloft did, indeed, unravel.  To this day it is unknown what happened to the adventurers. What is known is that the Icon of Ravenloft fell through the mists and across numerous planes of existence until it landed in the jungles of Chult, where it was promptly eaten by a giant turtle.  The Dark Powers, which still existed despite the loss of their beloved demi-plane, sought to find the Icon in the hopes of reforming their former home. Unfortunately, the fact the Icon rested within a living being shielded the artifact from detection.

The Icon laid, safe and protected, within the stomach of the giant turtle for many years (decades? centuries?), until the turtle picked the wrong meal.  As Compassion thrust his lance deep into the turtle’s back, the life shield that had protected the Icon for so long was gone, and the Dark Powers quickly located their lost treasure.  As the group parked their canoes and set up camp for the night, the (former) mists of Ravenloft rolled in to collect the Icon, and in doing so also swept up the adventurers.

With the Icon in their possession, the Dark Powers decided that it was time to reform the demi-plane of Ravenloft.  But before bringing back the classic domains, the Dark Powers decided on a trial run. So, to thank the party for their assistance in finding the Icon of Ravenloft, the Dark Powers created a new domain, a tiny island of terror known as Carn-Evil, and deposited the group there to see how they would fair.

As they party awoke the next morning they found that they were no longer in the jungles of Chult, but were in a dark and foreboding forest.  Finding their way to the small town of Hillpicket, the party learned that there was a potentially evil carnival rolling into town. Assuming whatever evil permeated the carnival was the same evil that brought them here, the group set out to investigate.  

Below is the story of Ethylwynn’s final day as a companion to Hertz, Compassion, Tempest, and Xilix, as told by Ethyl herself (DM’s Note:  Most of the following was written by Ethyl’s player through her eyes; any grammatical mistakes and bad story telling is totally not on me).

 

Tales From The Plunderbund presents…..

The Life of Saint Ethylwynn

 

While investigating a routine disturbing-carnival-related disturbance, Ethylwynn Devir of House Erelhi-Cinlu had her retinue of retainers find the culprits responsible. While their names are not important, the retainers were an elf of some kind, a cleric of Talos, a hellspawn demon, and a tempestuous creature of indeterminate age and erratic attendance. They were all invited to attend the carnival, which was visiting the godforsaken rat-hole of Hillpicket.

Because most of the Hillpicketeers had little more than rats in abundance, rats figured prominently in the entertainments.  There were fools teaching rats to dance, fools biting the heads off of rats, and rats ratting fools with rats rats rats. But mostly there were fools.

What is a fool?  Apparently a dude with a faceless featureless mask that follows you around and tries to kill you when nobody is watching.  Maybe they didn’t like how the drow inserted herself into their performance with her own, impromptu, stirring falsetto rendition of Vesti la Giubba?  No matter. Ethylwynn did not suffer fools to live. Nevertheless, their assault did leave the party exhausted, and the plucky drow sorceress had to blow her load.  In every sense. (DM’s note: No, only in the sense that Ethyl wasted all of her spell slots on the first encounter of the day).

Having defeated a surprise attack of fools, our drow investigator began to search for clues at the carnival of what might have prompted their murderous rampage.  All signs pointed down, to the town well. Down went Ethylwynn, down to the bottom of the well with naught but a rope tied to her leg. Crack, crack went her head as she slammed her considerable bulk into its floor.  Removing the sack of her girth required no less than three horses with bit, bridle and harness to hoist her out.

Safe and sound, she proceeded to the obvious mirror maze right in the center of everything and good god how hard is it to just go on to the next encounter?  Does everything have to be a detour?  Gosh, you guys are impossible!  It says you’re supposed to run this thing in two hours! Two hours! Goddammit, we’re gonna have to pick this up next week.

Alright, we have to really speed through this you guys.  Ethylwynn’s load being blown, the party was careful to make sure and resolve every issue with talking, rather than stabbing.  Thankfully, the first encounter of the evening involved naught but a mirrored maze. It was at this point that the hellspawn that assists Ethylwynn sometimes spoke up, and mentioned that one Doctor Jubal ran the carnival and that there was some strange disease afflicting the locals.  He also had the brilliant idea of bringing dirt into the maze and spreading it about like so much manure. He claimed it would help us find our way, but in the end, the maze cleaned up any effort he made. Then, we began to see traces of the mud in places where we had not been. Still, it was a good idea, and I suppose he made a valiant effort at spreading manure.

The mirrors then began to reflect a disturbing reality.  While the others were plagued by visions of themselves, Ethylwynn saw another creature: the creature she would have been if she had lived in the kingdom of “Nynteen Fiftees”; a horrid land where all females are bonded domestic servants, and all men insufferable pigs.  The prospect seemed insane and uncomfortable: Lynn much preferred it the other way around. When she came to from this vision, fresh horrors wrought their vengeance upon her countenance: chained to the floor were the pathetic Hillpicketeers being drained of their mojo.

Fully cognizant that mojo draining is *her* domain and what right to these cucks have to step on her turf anyway, Ethylwynn tried to do everything that she could to resolve the issue violently.  Then she remembered she had blown her load (DM’s note: Spell Load).  Oddly enough, her compatriots went through the same train of thought, only at this point one of them was already face down in the muck.  One of the chained up Hillpicketeers turned out to be a doppelganger, and the elf, afflicted by madness, had lost the gift of magic and speech.  (DM’s note: Unknown to the party, this doppelganger was actually the Darklord of Carn-Evil, Manny Guises.)

Knowing that this could be a tough fight, Ethylwynn ground her teeth and set her stance, ready to do battle.  Then the doppelganger called his fools. The cleric of Talos (DM’s Note: Isn’t Hertz just the best) was unbent, claiming that he had plenty of miracles left to cast and this rabble would be cast down momentarily.  Then the fools called in rats. Despite some deft maneuvering, the party was outnumbered.

After vainly attempting to pour a potion down the elf’s throat as he was being devoured by rats, Lynn considered that the next dawn might find her in two hundred and thirty seven different stomachs, and so she briefly considered parley.  That was when the cleric of Talos fell while protesting that he still had miracles remaining and that it was just all bad luck. Immediately discarding thoughts of discussion with the murderous horde, Lynn fell with new fervor into casting elemental fires to tame the fury of the onslaught.  

Soon, standing over the fallen remains of the hellspawn thing, she considered that sacrificing herself for the good of the party might give her a shot at sainthood.  Hell, they might even start a religion around her.

Figuring, f*** it (DM’s note: Gosh darn it Ethyl this is a family blog), it was worth a shot, and you don’t always get a chance to gain rabid followers, Lynn thrust her ample mass upon the enemy, smothering them in her rolls of dough.  Pierced by their swords, her death was assured, even as the rest of the party came to and saw the significant fleshy load of the drow’s grossly corporeal form astride the hapless fool. Once again, three powerful horses were needed to remove the obstruction that Ethylwynn’s body represented.  The next morning she began to smell, but not with the stench of death. For behold, her selfless act had granted Ethylwynn Devir of House Erelhi Cinlu the mantle of sainthood and the heavenly smell of nutmeg farts.

[End of Ethyl’s player giving it his best, back to your regular narrator but talking from Ethyl’s perspective]

Not only was I a saint, and not only did I have followers, but I was even granted new life.  One morning I simply awoke in a soft, fluffy bed and into a new life; and this new life was good.  I had all the food I could eat, servants aplenty, my own castle, and the admiration of my hundreds of worshipers.

As the days went on, however, I began to question my good fortune.  Wanting to know what truly happened in my final moments, I took up my adventuring gear and headed out, determined to find my former compatriots.  It was my intention to congratulate them on breaking the Death Curse, which they surely must have done since I was back from the dead.

My path took me through an oddly familiar looking forest, and into an embankment of thick white mist.  After walking through the mists for what felt like hours, strange voices began speaking in my head. The voices told me that while they had sent my companions back, they had exciting plans for me.

As I was a fundamentally evil person who nonetheless sacrificed her life for her companions, these voices felt that I deserved a reward.  The voices explained that because I had killed the Darklord of the domain formerly known as Carn-Evil, they had resurrected me and awarded me leadership of the domain.  I was told to name the land whatever I liked and rule as I liked. But they told me to know one thing. I am cursed. Cursed to one day be slain by the very compatriots I had once saved.  They will come to my domain, see me as a monster, and seek to destroy me, my followers, and everything I build from now until these voices decide to bring the people I died for into my new home.

I am sinner, I am saint, I am the Darklord Ethylwynn Devir of House Erelhi-Cinlu, and I’ll be waiting for you my friends.

(DM’s note:  Ethyl’s player forgot to include the fact that, to no one’s surprise, Gryff III died during the final battle.  The Dark Powers turned Gryff III into a dragon mount for Darklord Ethyl. Gryff III looks forward to one day getting revenge on Xilix by eating him alive from the legs up.)

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Okay, the chapter has the word requiem in it and that compels me to think of one film, one of the best films I have ever seen and is somewhere in my top 20, possibly top 10.  Requiem For A Dream is a haunting film, but it is so damn good, so enjoy the music and if you haven’t seen it, just watch it alone perhaps, not with your mom, ya know, because I did that.  It was weird.

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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.

Tomb of Annihilation (TFTPB) – Chapter Seven

This week Canoe is asked to come out and play.  I don’t know if this is an Offspring or The Warriors reference, but rest assured, I will have videos for both because that’s my contribution.  We learn this week that goblins are dicks, Looney Tunes chicanery will always overcome monsters in battle, and that Tempest wasn’t the navigator that the group, but the navigator that the group deserved.  With that being said, just as the group does early on with Ethyl, it’s time we keep ’em separated.

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Tomb of Annihilation

Chapter 7 – Canoe Come Out to Play

 

Upon finding the canoes, along with all of their supplies, missing, the party immediately began pointing fingers and accusing one another of letting this happen.  After calming down, the party took a vote and found that it was all Ethyl’s fault.

Once they calmed down, the group made Ethyl stand in a corner while the rest of them began looking for any signs of the canoes.  Eventually, Compassion found tracks leading into the jungle. It appeared that the goblins they had so kindly spared had stolen the canoes and were dragging them into the jungle.  The party packed up what supplies they had left and headed into the jungle.

As Tempest was the only party member with any navigation experience, the party elected her to lead them through the jungle as she had down the river.  Tempest tried to explain that land navigation, particularly in the jungle, is much different than water navigation. Xilix took a long draw from his pipe and told her, “nah, it’ll be ok.”  When Tempest still seemed unsure, Hertz told her to, “fear not, as Talos will guide you.” Unfortunately, Talos, god of storms, is also bad at land navigation, and Tempest spent the next few days getting the party lost in the jungle.

On the first day of being lost in the jungle, Tempest managed to walk the group directly into a velociraptor hunting pack.  As Tempest was leading, the five dinosaurs converged on her and chowed down on her tasty exposed flesh. While Hertz was able to magically heal Tempest to keep her from dying, he found that he was next on the menu.  

Hertz hid behind his shield as the velociraptors tried to bite through his chainmail armor.  Xilix and Ethyl tried to use their spells to drive the velociraptors off, but the dinosaurs were simply too hungry for that.  Seeing that things were taking a turn for the worse, Compassion mounted Ducky and told Ethyl to, “hold my mead.” Compassion ordered Ducky to charge straight at the velociraptors.  As he charged through the line, Compassion used his pike to skewer four of the dinosaurs. Seeing this, the last velociraptor tried to escape, but quickly found itself in Ducky’s dino-jaws, being eaten.  As the velociraptors were already skewered, the party put them over a fire and had them for dinner that evening.

On the second day of being lost the party awoke to the ground shaking.  At first, they thought it was an earthquake, until Gryff III came flying in to make a report to Xilix.  According to Gryff III, three giants were wandering the jungle about a mile away. In giant steps that wasn’t very far at all.  Holding a brief team meeting, and knowing they could not beat the giants in a direct fight, the party had to decide whether to run further into the jungle, possibly getting more lost, or to negotiate with the giants.  While they all agreed that the giants might be a valuable source of information, they also agreed that getting killed by angry giants would suck. As such, based upon Gryff III’s location reports, they took a path that would keep them away from away from the giants.

Day three did not see Tempest getting the party back on track.  As they stumbled ahead, hoping to pick the canoe-dragging trail back up, they noticed two gorillas high up in the nearby trees.  Much to the party’s surprise and chagrin, the gorillas had five arms each. Assuming that it was too late to sneak by them if they were agitated, everyone took up defensive positions.  Everyone that is, except Ethyl, who proceeded to cover herself in animal excrement, and her own natural perfume, to “mask her sent.” To her credit, when the five-armed gorillas did drop from the trees to attack, they had no interest whatsoever in touching Ethyl.

Unable to withstand the five-armed fury, the gorillas proceeded to beat the ever-loving-hell out of the party.  Luckily, as one of the gorillas was about to strike a head-caving blow on Compassion, he was able to call upon his demonic heritage to protect himself.  As two of the gorilla fists made contact with Compassion’s noggin, hellfire poured forth from Compassion’s eyes, mouth, and hands. The gorilla was quickly engulfed by the hellfire and reduced to a pile of ash.

With one gorilla left and the party on its last legs, Ethyl attempted to cast a damaging spell in the hopes of killing, or at least driving off, the remaining gorilla.  Seeing Ethyl making a number of gyrations with her arms, the gorilla turned its attention to her and began to charge. It was clear to all that the gorilla would reach Ethyl before she could cast the spell.  However, as she was gathering the magical energies, the magic within her once again grew wild, causing a third eye to temporarily manifest on her forehead. Seeing the third eye suddenly appear took the gorilla by surprise, causing it to hesitate.  This hesitation was all Ethyl needed. She finished casting the spell, a huge flash of light enveloped the jungle, and when everyone in the party could see again they found that the last gorilla was now missing its head.

With the gorillas dead, most of the party set to work collecting the meat and harvesting the furs.  Ethyl, who has servants for such things, used her new eye to survey the general landscape. About a mile down the way, Ethyl could see an unconscious dwarf propped up against a tree.  After the gorilla harvesting was completed, the group went to investigate.

Upon finding the female dwarf, the party was quick to learn that she was totally dead.  Upon further investigation, it became readily apparent (thanks to the six holes in her chest) that she had been hit with the business end of a stegosaurus tail.  Upon searching her body (to prepare her for burial of course), Compassion found a goblin tribal mask among her possessions. Compassion pocketed the mask, thinking that it may come in handy when they met with the goblin tribe.

After another day of aimless wandering, the party had a secret meeting without Tempest.  The group agreed that the best course of action was to go in the exact opposite direction than that proposed by Tempest in the morning.  After implementing this plan, while they did hurt Tempest’s feelings, the group found the location of the goblin camp within a few hours.  

Upon seeing the size and activity level of the camp, the group estimated that approximately 30 goblins resided there.  Not wanting to take the risk of a combat engagement, the party once again engaged in plan, “use stereotypes and prejudicial beliefs to make Compassion look like a super scary demon.”

Once the magical effects had been applied, Compassion mounted Ducky and began walking into the camp with Hertz and Tempest walking alongside.  Xilix and Ethyl stayed behind with fire spells ready. The plan was that, should the goblins become hostile, the spell casters would burn the goblin village to the ground.

Not wanting to mess with a dinosaur riding demon accompanied by armed guards, the goblin villagers immediately summoned their chief.  Lady Wuzzelfoot Swampbelly introduced herself to the party in very well-spoken broken common and asked what business they had. In order to break the ice prior to negotiations, Compassion presented the goblin chief with the tribal mask they had found on the dead dwarf.  Lady Wuzzelfoot appeared to be genuinely moved that a vile, stinking demon could show such . . . understanding and sensitivity to the wellbeing of others.

As negotiations ensued, Compassion explained that they wanted their canoes, food, water, and other supplies back.  Unfortunately, Lady Wuzzelfoot made it immediately known that all of the food and water had already been consumed while Tempest was taking the party the long way around the jungle.  While tempers did flare at times, especially when Hertz pointed to Xilix and Ethyl and said he “enjoyed eating roast goblin,” eventually the parties agreed that the adventurers would receive their canoes and all of their remaining supplies in exchange for a few gold worth of gems.  Upon taking their leave, Hertz swore to himself that they would one day return with an army and teach the goblins that stealing is not okay.

After walking for a few hours, the party found a stream that led back to the main river they had been traveling down.  The next morning, soon after they began traveling, the party noticed that they were being followed by a pack of five pterrans (pterodactyl men).  As they were out of spell or bow range, the party simply kept a watch on them and continued their journey. For the next three days the pterrans continued to follow.  It became abundantly clear that they were simply waiting for the party to succumb to one of the dangers of the jungle, at which point the pterodactyl men would loot and eat their bodies.  This theory was proven true when the party was attacked by a giant snapping turtle.

As Tempest guided the canoes, she felt the head canoe move in such a way that they must have hit something.  As she looked over the side of the boat to investigate, a giant turtle head came flying out of the water. Tempest tried to dodge, but the turtle was able to bite off a significant chunk of flesh from her right thigh.

Seeing the danger they were in, Compassion hopped on Ducky and had Ducky swim to engage with the giant turtle.  With the party’s attention turned to the turtle, the pterran’s thought this was their chance, and they proceeded to dive-bomb the canoes.  Anticipating their attack, Hertz lifted his holy symbol to the sky and called upon the power of Talos. A thunderous shockwave went off between the pterrans, injuring all of them.  The two most seriously injured pterrans immediately fled, while the other three continued their descent.

Meanwhile, seeing that he and Ducky were about to be turtle food, Compassion came up with a Looney Toons inspired idea.  As the turtle opened its giant mouth to attack, Compassion grabbed the shovel from his pack and shoved it in the turtle’s mouth.  Struggling to close its mouth, the giant turtle failed to notice the barrage of Magic Missiles that Xilix had sent its way, causing significant damage to, and blowing a hole in, the turtle’s shell.  

Seeing the hole in the shell, Compassion jumped from Ducky onto the turtle and thrust his lance deep into the turtle’s back, killing it.  Compassion’s victory dance was cut short, however, as the turtle’s body immediately began sinking into the water. As Compassion was wearing heavy armor, he too began to sink into the rushing river.  Luckily, Ducky, loyal companion that she is, swam under the water and pulled the waterlogged Compassion out. Meanwhile, seeing that the turtle was dead, the remaining pterrans attempted to flee. They soon found out that Xilix and Ethyl were not so forgiving, as a hail of firebolts were soon to following, killing them as they fled.

Exhausted, the party continued their journey downstream, wondering what they were going to tell the members of Camp Vengeance when they arrived without any supplies . . .     

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As promised, here’s the Warriors clip.  If you have never seen this fantastic film, stop reading because you are finished with this week’s chapter, go find yourself a copy of this film and enjoy life for a bit.  Can yoooouu dig it?

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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.

Tomb of Annihilation (TFTPB) – Chapter Six

This week, we are welcomed to the jungle.  That sounds quite familiar.  I fear the jungle.  Too many damn bugs.  Hi everybody, this is Kent, and I am your introductory host before we get to what you came for.  Does anybody even read these intros?  I learned that there is such a thing as a “Used dinosaur lot” and what a Hadrosaur is, and they are also called Hadrosaurids.  They are these duck-billed dinosaurs.  See, you are learning things today.  Anyway, all of this is just in the first paragraph, and I know that you are thinking, this fucking clown just read the first paragraph and built the intro around that.  That isn’t true because I can tell you that Xilix casts Grease, and we are not talking about the awful musical, so there!  Hmmm, that gives me an idea for this week’s music video.

I freaking love this group.  I highly recommend giving these guys a chance. I found them yesterday while listening to Havana.  How the hell I managed to get to these guys from that is a big mystery.  I really liked Banjo Odyssey by them as well.

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Tomb of Annihilation

Chapter 6 – Welcome to the Jungle

 

Upon reaching the docks the party learned that Jobal had provided less a boat, and more three canoes tied together.  Tempest, being a former pirate, insisted that she could steer anything that floats on water, so the party gave her command as they tied the supply canoes to the lead canoe.  Not having complete faith in Tempest’s abilities, Compassion went to the used dinosaur lot and purchased an aquatic duckbilled Hadrosaur, which the party secured to the lead canoe to help pull them along.  Compassion named the Hadrosaur “Ducky.”

The first few days of travel were relatively uneventful.  While on watch one evening, Ethyl found that a male Hadrosaur had infiltrated the camp and was in the middle of performing a mating dance for Ducky.  Ethyl decided that it was none of her business to intervene and left the love birds to their devices.

While looking to set up camp on another day, the party saw a group of Aarakocra (bird-men) flying high above them.  Upon getting their attention, the group learned that they were a scouting party from Kir Saval City, home of the bird men.  Upon hearing they were scouts, the party explained that they were on their way to investigate the recently destroyed Camp Righteous, and asked if the Aarakocra scouts had any idea what may have attacked the camp.  Per the bird-men, the Order of the Gauntlet soldiers who established the camp had set it up directly in between a goblin camp to the north, and a horde of undead to the south. Learning nothing else, the party thanked the bird-men for their time and proceeded to set up camp for the evening.

Prior to turning in for the night, Xilix proceeded to summon a new familiar.  This one turned out to be a celestial nighthawk that he named “Gryff II.” Xilix then sent the familiar out to monitor for threats while the party rested.  It was a good thing Xilix did so, as early that morning Gryff II returned and woke the party. Gryff II told Xilix that undead ghouls were headed straight for the camp, and that they looked hungry.

As the ghouls burst into the camp, Xilix cast Grease, causing two of the six monstrosities to slip and fall.  Seeing that Xilix had only managed to incapacitate two of the undead, Hertz held up his holy symbol and announced that he, “would take care of this.”  Hertz then called upon the power of Talos to Turn Undead.  Unfortunately, Hertz quickly learned that something in the swamp was blocking his holy power over the undead and/or making the undead more powerful.  Unable to turn the hungry ghouls, combat ensued.

After a fierce battle, the party had killed most of the ghouls and driven the rest away, however, the party was not without their own casualties.  During the fight the strongest ghoul got his claws through Compassion’s armor and tore out a significant chunk of Compassion’s flesh, causing him to fall unconscious and begin bleeding to death.  As Hertz was engaged with two enemies at the time, it did not appear that healing magic would be forthcoming.

Seeing his compatriot dying on the ground, Xilix yelled, “Gryff II, come to me,” and he proceeded to throw a healing kit into the air, which Gryff II grabbed in his claws as he flew by.  Then, against all reason, logic, and peer-reviewed medical research, Gryff II landed on Compassion’s chest, pulled out a roll of bandages, and used his claws to begin stitching up the wound.  

The party cheered as Gryff II stabilized Compassion’s wound.  However, that elation soon turned to horror as the ghoul that had incapacitated Compassion grabbed Gryff II and ate him.  At the end of the fight Hertz was able to magically heal Compassion’s physical wounds, but he was unable to fix Xilix’s mental wounds from losing yet another familiar.  After a 6-hour long crying session, Xilix composed himself long enough to summon yet another familiar. Xilix again summoned a celestial nighthawk which he named “Gryff III.”  Upon being so named, the familiar looked directly at the camera and gulped hard.

After another day of travel the party reached Camp Righteous, which consisted of tent housing and a wooden temple.  Not a soul was to be found amongst the camp, which had been looted of all valuables, however, dried blood stains were plentiful.  This led the party to believe that one of two things happened:

  1. The goblins to the north raided the camp, took everyone hostage after a protracted battle, and stole anything of worth; or
  2. The zombies to the south raided the camp, ate or turned everyone into a zombie, and after the zombies left the camp the goblins came in to raid at their leisure.

In an attempt to obtain the answers they needed, Hertz cast Augury and prayed to Talos.  Specifically, Hertz asked Talos if they would find prisoners taken from Camp Righteous at the northern goblin camp.  Talos responded that they would not. Hertz was then forced to inform Compassion that his Order of the Gauntlet brethren were likely either zombies or zombie food.

Not being strong enough to either assault a goblin camp or a zombie horde alone, the party concluded that the best course of action was to continue their travels to Camp Vengeance and report in.  Before leaving, however, they decided to check out the wooden temple. As they entered they quickly found out it was a death trap.

Down the hallway were two floor traps.  The first floor trap would send out numerous scythe blades whenever various plates were triggered.  The second floor trap would send out pillaring jets of flame from the ground whenever the wrong ground stone was trod upon.  Seeing the devious traps laid out before them, Tempest and Ethyl looked at each other, said “screw that,” and they each casted Levitate on themselves.  They then proceeded to float the party members across the floor traps.

Upon crossing the trapped floors, the party found themselves before a puzzle door.  After a few failed attempts to solve the puzzle, Compassion asked Hertz to provide Talos’s guidance.  Once the blessing was placed upon Compassion, he went into his pack and pulled out a crowbar. Compassion then proceeded to use his divinely enhanced strength to pull the magically sealed puzzle door entirely off its hinges.  

Having used might to overpower the intelligence test, the party entered the room beyond and found themselves standing before a spiral staircase.  Forgetting that they were in a deathtrap dungeon, Tempest began walking up the steps. Upon hitting the fifth step, Tempest was blown the hell up.  As the smoke cleared, Tempest’s unconscious body landed at the base of the stairway. Rather than look for clues to assist in determining which stairs were safe, as Hertz healed Tempest, Ethyl went from stair to stair and used Mage Hand to set off every trap.  By the end it became questionable whether the stairs would remain standing under their own power.

Upon reaching the top of the stairs, Ethyl saw a magnificent sight (to her at least), a copper jug with 12 corks sticking out from the sides.  From her years of study in the underdark, Ethyl believed that this was one of the mystical Alchemy Jugs.  What Ethyl knew, and didn’t share with the party, was that upon pulling a cork some form of liquid would spill out.  Most importantly for the party’s purposes, the Jug could magically provide enough water each day to keep the entire party from dying of thirst.  Most important for Ethyl’s purposes, the Jug could also provide an endless supply of mayonnaise.  Without saying a word, Ethyl went over to the jug and pulled out the cork corresponding to the mayonnaise, and proceeded to take a mayonnaise bath.  Disgusted, the rest of the party left the room and started heading for the temple entrance.

Tired, frustrated, and disgusted with Ethyl, the party emerged from the temple . . . to find a goblin raiding party waiting for them.  Not wanting to fight, Compassion offered their chief a shiny gem worth 10 gold pieces to leave. When the chief instead demanded the Alchemy Jug, Compassion pulled out a second gem and told the chief that they could accept the two gems or Hertz, who was now pulsing with lighting, could blow them all up on the spot.  The chief happily accepted the gems.

With the goblins gone, most of the party set up camp while Ethyl continued to eat/bathe in mayonnaise.  When the sun rose the next morning, the party awoke refreshed and excited to finish their trip to Camp Vengeance after their annoying trip to trap-land.  However, upon arriving at the Camp Righteous docks the party quickly learned that their canoes, and the supplies they had been entrusted with, were gone.

 

Where did the canoes go and how many humanoids are going to have to die in retaliation?  Find out next time on Tales from the Plunderbund Consortium!

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Okay, I can’t be that big of a dick.  Here’s Guns N’ Roses.

But when I think of Welcome, I think of a movie from the 90’s, Welcome to the Dollhouse.  One of those underrated films.  Sorry for all the videos this week.


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.

Tomb of Annihilation (TFTPB) – Chapter Five

It’s Tuesday, so here we are.  This week, we get the fallout of our party dealing with Yan-Ti as well as meeting a legit Gladiator.  I love Gladiator.  Here’s a true story.  I had this girlfriend, and she was cool as hell.  We used to watch movies all of the time.  She borrowed Gladiator and told me that she didn’t like it.  At that moment, I realized that she wasn’t the one.  Within a week or two, we split up. She like The Italian Job, but not Gladiator.  So any single guys reading this, make sure to draw a line in the fucking sand when it comes to women and horrible tastes in movies.  I can accept a bitch not liking Star Wars, but not Gladiator.  This has all been brought to you by a not so famous podcast: Are You Not Kentertained.

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Tomb of Annihilation

Chapter 5 – Yan-ti?  I hardly knew ye!

 

With Dina-Saur and his cultist friends now dead, the party scanned the room and found both a set of stairs leading up and a door that appeared to lead outside.  Deciding to head upstairs first, the group found themselves in a room with three cages. While one cage was empty, the other two had a cat-person in one and an elf in the other.  Both appeared to be leaking glowing green fluids and were unconscious. After Compassion broke the locks to their cages, Xilix cast Detect Magic and found that the two were heavily radiating transmutation magic.  Putting their heads and magical notes together, Xilix, Ethyl, and Hertz determined that the two were likely cursed and were currently in the transformation process to become slaves to the Yan-ti snake people.  Worrying that they could turn at any moment, and without proper curse dispelling magic, the group voted to lock them up in the third cage and return after their quest was complete.

As the group was about to leave the room Xilix was hit by a premonition.  In it, a Yan-ti snake man casts a spell that put Compassion under his power.  The Yan-ti then directed Compassion to kill his fellow party members. Xilix warned Compassion of his vision and told Compassion to concentrate on creating a barrier of iron will around his mind.

Returning downstairs, Compassion opened the door leading to the outside mezzanine.  Upon opening the door, Compassion saw one Yan-ti snake man standing in the middle of the yard surrounded by four fully transformed humanoid slaves.  Xilix also saw that just outside the door were a number of poisonous “Vile Beauty” plants, and he informed Compassion of this fact. Compassion then made the tactically sound decision to shut the door as the party readied itself for battle.  Through the walls, the party could hear the Yan-ti yelling/hissing about how the Amulet was his and how his men would crush them.

The possessed humans eventually busted through the door into the room.  Luckily, the opponents had all run through the Vile Beauty plants, causing them to become nauseated.  As the group battled the minions, the Yan-ti began the incantations to cast a spell. Just as Compassion was about to kill one of the possessed humanoids, the Yan-ti finished the spell, and whispers began to cloud Compassion’s mind, ordering him to kill his teammates.  Thanks to Xilix’s warning, however, Compassion was prepared for this mental assault and expelled the Yan-ti from his mind.

Enraged by the failure of his spell, and seeing his minions on the verge of defeat, the Yan-ti cried out to some profane deity to help him defeat these fools, even if it cost him his own life.  Before Tempest could even react, divine forces ripped open Tempest’s backpack. The Dreamer’s Amulet flew out at a high speed and embedded itself into the Yan-ti’s chest. As the yan-ti cried out in pain, he was surrounded by translucent, fiery-green chains.  Uttering words in a language the party could not understand, the Yan-ti called upon the power of the chains to create a giant green spectral serpent. The yan-ti directed the serpent to swallow the party whole.

As the serpent came in to devour the party, the remaining minions, and likely half the building, Hertz beseeched Talos for the power to protect the party from the spectral serpent.  Raising his Warhammer to the heavens, Hertz was able to summon a lighting beast that took the form of a jaguar. Unfortunately, at his low level of experience, the lightning jaguar was significantly weaker than the spectral snake.

Tempest, who had just impaled yet another possessed humanoid on his spear, yelled to the party that he would finish off the minions while they found a way to kill that giant freaking snake.  Unsure what would happen when divine and arcane magic mixed, Xilix decided that now was as good a time as any to experiment. Summoning power from the elemental plane of fire, Xilix was able to turn the lighting jaguar into a lighting-fire gorilla.  While significantly stronger, the lighting-fire gorilla was still only able to stop the advance of the spectral serpent and did not have the power to turn the serpent back.

With no ground being made, Compassion devised a plan.  He yelled to Ethyl to cast Mage Hand on the tip of his whip and asked that, if possible, Ethyl should give the hand claws.  While normally not possible for Ethyl, with death imminent, she was able to call upon the wild magics that permeated her blood to form a mage hand in the shape of a dragon claw.  With the magical dragon claw attached, Compassion let the whip soar. As the yan-ti was concentrating on the spectral serpent spell, he was unable to dodge the whip attack in time.  The tip of the whip struck the yan-ti’s chest, and Ethyl’s magical dragon claw began digging into the yan-ti’s chest cavity. Once it appeared that the claw had taken hold of the amulet, Compassion pulled back on the whip with all his might.  The Amulet of Dreamers broke free from the yan-ti’s chest and came flying back into Compassion’s hand.

Bleeding profusely out of the gaping hole in his chest and quickly losing power, the yan-ti fell to its knees.  The spectral serpent visibly weakened, at which point the lightning-fire gorilla grabbed it with both hands and pulled it apart, resulting in an explosion that incinerated the yan-ti and leveled half a city block.  

Upon seeing the destruction that had been caused, Compassion was about to fall to his knees and lament the loss of more innocent life.  Luckily, Xilix was able to inform Compassion that the area that was destroyed was a deserted section of the city. The only thing that used to be there was a drug den that had mysteriously disappeared the other night after its patrons had tried to rob a mysterious, amnesiac elf who had been looking for “medical supplies.”

With the danger having passed, the group went back upstairs to check on whether defeating the head snake man had resulted in the curse being broken; it had not.  Looking at a map of the city, the party identified three nearby temples to which they could bring the victims. Specifically, the temples were to the gods of truth, wonder, and beauty.  Tempest, pointing out that, “snakes are totally ugly,” suggested that the temple to Sune, the goddess of beauty, was the best choice. Upon reaching the temple, only Compassion was allowed in due to him being the most aesthetically pleasing with that enticing red skin.  Hertz responded by playing a ballad about the time Sune and Talos, “totally got it on.” While not amused with Hertz’s sacrilege, the priests agreed to treat the patients.

Realizing they may have been betrayed by Sagi and Narissa, the party sat down on a park bench to eat lunch and discuss how they would confront the pair.  By the time they reached dessert, the group had decided to take advantage of Compassion’s infernal heritage. Using the party’s various illusion and glamor magical abilities, they decided to make Compassion look as devilish as possible, to the point where Compassion resembled Satan him/her/itself.  So enchanted, Compassion would intimidate Sagi and Narissa into confessing.

After the party reached the inn and the spells were cast, Compassion kicked in the door to the inn and yelled, “Sagi you backstabbing, drunken bastard, why did you set us up?”  Upon seeing Compassion in such a state, Sagi immediately peed himself and began incoherently babbling; pretty much the Sagi usual. Narissa, who saw the illusions for what they were, stepped in to calm the situation.  

At the conclusion of the conversation, which was witnessed by a number of scared patrons of the inn, all parties were satisfied that Sagi was not a traitor.  Rather, it turns out that not only is Sagi an alcoholic, but he is also really bad at his job. Sagi simply took everything Dina-saur had to say at face value, as actually performing background checks and verifying the offered information would have taken up too much valuable drinking time.  In the end, Narissa summed it up best: “Huh, I guess the Dreamer’s Amulet had nothing to do with the death curse.” Legends say that Compassion face-palmed so hard at that statement that the slap could be heard all across Chult. As the party had no more use for the Amulet, they gave it to Narissa in exchange for hospitality should they ever find themselves in her ancient village hidden within the jungles of Chult.

As it was only mid-afternoon, the party was left to decide how to spend their time before escorting the priest to Camp Vengeance for merchant prince Jobal in the morning.  Checking the job board at the inn, the group found a quick job they could complete that day, collecting an overdue debt from a deadbeat. Pulling the job notice from the Board, a sketchy looking human sprung up.  The creepy dude introduced himself as Clau and told them that it was he who put up the job listing.

Clau explained that a gladiator named Tavan had borrowed the sum of 500 gold from Clau, which he appeared to have spent on a fancy new set of armor to wear in the arena.  The group was to either bring back the money owed or bring Clau the armor. Clau told the party where Tavan could be located.

Upon entering the merchant district, the party was easily able to identify Tavan based upon Clau’s description.  As it turned out, Tavan, in his fancy new armor, was challenging all comers to a street fight, with an entrance fee of 5 gold.  Hertz pulled out his lute and began playing stadium-music to pump up the crowd, as Ethyl pushed Compassion forward to accept the challenge.  As Compassion paid the 5 gold entry fee, Tempest asked Xilix to dip a blowgun dart into some of his “medicine that is totally not poison.” Tempest then took the “not poisoned” dart and hid in the crowd.

As the entire party was confident in Compassion’s abilities, Ethyl put a 10 gold side bet down on Compassion.  Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that Tavan had a lot of experience in one on one fights in the area. Seeing that Compassion was on the verge of being overpowered, Tempest shot Tavan with the poisoned dart.  Much to the party’s chagrin, it turned out a poisoned Tavan was still more than an adequate match for Compassion. As such, the party decided to forgo the rules of gentlemanly combat, and they all rushed in and proceeded to beat Tavan into the ground, to the loud booing of the crowd.  While dragging Tavan’s body away, one of the commoners yelled, “just what I’d expect from Gladiator Tempest, the Dishonorable Head-Kicker!”

Upon dragging Tavan into a side street, they proceeded to strip him of all of his valuables and his shiny new armor, which they then brought to Clau.  Thankful, Clau paid the party for a job well done. Exhausted from a long day, the party retired to their rooms.

The party awoke the next morning to the sounds of loud noises coming from the common room of the inn.  To their surprise, Jobal had arrived early that morning with an entire contingent of wait staff that were preparing breakfast.  Also to Ethyl’s surprise, her hair was growing back at a pretty significant pace!

Taking a seat and eating, Jobal introduced Undrel, half-orc priestess of Savarn to the party.  Their job would be to take the provided boat and escort both Savarn and a boatload full of supplies to Camp Vengeance.  Jobal explained that these supplies were necessary as Camp Righteousness, which the party will pass on their way to Camp Vengeance, had been attacked and was completely destroyed.  As the party headed to the boat they gave each other knowing glances . . . they would be making a stop at Camp Righteousness on their way to Camp Vengeance.

 

What will the party find at Camp Righteousness?  How many days worth of supplies with Ethyl eat during the journey?  Find out next time on Tales from the Plunderbund Consortium!


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.

Tomb of Annihilation (TFTPB) – Chapter Four

Holy Hells Bells, we are back to our normal schedule.  I am just happy to be back in black, I mean on schedule.  In a battle of who has the biggest balls of them all, our group continues its adventure, and we are left wondering if the Money really does talk.   Plus we got a Thunderwave!  How fucking exciting is that???  Obviously, I have my own theme.  I came across this interesting band’s renditions of songs that I enjoy.  I hope that you enjoy as well.

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Tomb of Annihilation

Chapter 4 – Now You’re Playing With Power

 

With none of the mercenaries alive to interrogate, the group searched their bodies and found a large, rusty key.  They were quick to learn that said key opened a grate leading into the sewers.  In an abundance of caution, Xilix sent his trusty bat companion, Gryff, down into the sewers to scout.  After Gryff reported back that the coast was clear, the party headed down into the sewers.  The party traveled until they found a hidden room containing a desk and various crates.  Said crates were obviously used to smuggle in awesome things to be sold on the black market.

Finding nothing of particular value in the crate room, the party continued until they came across a cart with a gold bracelet sitting inside.  Assuming it was a trap, the party got ready to perform all manner of trap searching methods on the cart and the jewelry.  Unfortunately, this was the first time the party realized that they didn’t have a rogue in the group.  Ethyl said, “screw it, I need a new bracelet,” and pulled it out of the cart.  Much to their surprise, nothing happened.

Despite the fact they obtained the loot with no danger to themselves, Compassion, who was leading the party down the single file sewers, decided this was the perfect opportunity to lecture the group on “dungeon safety.”  Ironically, as he was just getting to “the good part of his lecture,” the distracted Compassion failed to notice the pressure plate that he was about to stand on.  Upon hearing the “click” of the pressure plate triggering, Compassion attempted to jump out of the way.  As he was wearing bulky metal armor, Compassion failed to dodge, and was brained by a hefty sized rock falling from the ceiling.  The lecture ended then and there.

Using the tried and true method of “taking every left in a dungeon until you either reach your destination or finish making a circle,” the party eventually came to a room that contained more empty smuggling crates.  On the other side of the room was a lever and a door.  Having taken Compassion’s lecture to heart (prior to him taking it to the head), the group stood outside the room as Ethyl conjured a magic hand from the doorway to pull the lever.  

As the lever was pulled down, a giant metal plate came slamming down from the ceiling, cutting the party off from the room.  Listening closely at the plate, the party could hear water rushing into the room.  Having avoided the cliché “water room death trap” the party members gave each other hi-fives while looking smugly at Compassion.  Compassion, who was sure that he had a concussion at this point, just grunted out his approval to the party.

After the water receded from the room, Compassion went over to inspect the door.  Before they could (attempt) to check for traps or even listen at the door, the door flung open, and Compassion was immediately stabbed twice, shot with an arrow, and hit in the face with a firebolt by the four smugglers waiting for them in the next room.  Compassion fell to the ground dying.

Seeing Compassion laying on the ground dying, Hertz looked the two smugglers in front of him in the face and said, “if your troops up top had been smart enough to retreat, they could of warned you this was going to happen.”  At this point Hertz again called upon the power of Talos and began surging with electricity.  Pointing his finger forward, Hertz uttered the magical holy word “Boom” and a crack of thunder rang out.  Upon the sound dissipating, the two smugglers who were not in the path of the Thunderwave saw that the two smugglers at the door had been reduced to bloodstains on the floor.

With their number cut in half, the remaining two smugglers dove behind some wooden barrels and began sniping at the party.  It was at this point that Xilix had the genius to send Gryff the bat out with a flask of oil to drop on the barrels.  Once the barrels had been doused, Xilix or Ethyl could strike the barrels with a firebolt to ignite them.  What actually happened was Gryff flying into the room, throwing and completely missing the barrels with the flask, then then getting shot dead by the archer-smuggler.  

Crying in anguish over the loss of his familiar, Xilix took a lot of painkilling drugs and ran into the room shooting firebolts akimbo like he was in a John Woo movie.  While the smugglers were distracted, Hertz called upon the powers of Talos to heal Compassion’s wounds.  Springing to his feet in an enraged fury, Compassion ran into the room, grabbed one of the barrels that had been set on fire during Xilix’s assault, and began beating the caster to death with it.  Just before Compassion caved in the caster’s head, she and the archer surrendered.

During the negotiations it was agreed the two remaining smugglers would leave and the group would be free to loot the room.  Aside from standard treasure, the group found two items of interest, the last piece of the amulet and a dinosaur egg.  Tempest took the final piece of the amulet as she had all of the other pieces, and Compassion took the egg because, being half-demon in nature, he was a “natural incubator.”  

Returning to the inn, the party reconvened in Xilix’s room where they reassembled the pieces of the Amulet, now fully forged into the Dreamer’s Amulet.  Those with magical attunement could instantly feel the evil radiating from the Amulet.  Hoping that such powerful magics could restore his memory, Xilix immediately began meditating with the Amulet in order to learn its secrets.  With the rest of the party concerned by Xilix’s foolhardy actions, Compassion agreed to watch over him as Hetz, Tempest, and Ethyl went to speak with Sagi in the barroom.  

Finding Sagi in the bar, the party was once again prepared to deal with a confusing, rambling, and drunk Sagi.  Much to their surprise, Sagi was actually sober!  Also much to their surprise, Sagi turned out to be less comprehensible when sober.  After a 30-plus minute conversation in which Hertz had to resort to pantomiming and drawing pictures, Sagi told the party that if they had assembled the Dreamer’s Amulet they should bring it to Dina-Saur, member of the Order of the Triceratops branch of the Kepka society.  Sagi insisted that Dina-Saur would have information on how the Amulet was related to the Death Curse.

Meanwhile, back in Xilix’s room, Compassion began to notice that the longer Xilix meditated with the Amulet, the deeper Xilix’s trance seemed to be, and the quieter the room became.  After about 30 minutes of meditating with the amulet, Xilix had fully entered a black, subspace world.  Despite the darkness, in the distance Xilix could see a form slithering in his direction.  Soon after Xilix saw the figure, which appeared to be a giant snake-like creature.  

As this being was no scarier than the worst of his hallucinations while high on particularly powerful drugs, Xilix tried to engage the snake-monster in conversation.  When Xilix asked the monster who he was and what he wanted, the snake merely responded with a question, “what do you want? *hissss*”.  Xilix truthfully responded, “knowledge and power.”  The snake responded, “you are not worthy,” and proceeded to devour Xilix whole.  Xilix awoke from the trance screaming.  

Finding that the amulet would not bend to their will, the party agreed to meet with Dina-Saur and his Kepka Society brethren.  When Sagi informed the party that they would find Dina-Saur running a local bathhouse, they became suspicious that Sagi was just pulling some elaborate prank on them.  However, upon entering the bathhouse, they immediately saw a man in purple robes matching Dina-Saur’s description.  Walking up to Dina-Saur, Compassion used the secret Kepka Society hand gesture taught to him by Sagi.  

Excited to meet the adventurers that had assembled the Dreamer’s Amulet, Dina-Saur informed the party that he would be escorting them to the Kepka Society hideout, which turned out to be the abandoned warehouse from Reservoir Dogs.  As they walked through the warehouse, Dina-Saur proceeded to drone on about various non-Amulet related things that bored Hertz.  

While Hertz was looking around the room waiting for Dina-Saur to shut up, he saw that a nearby carpet seemed to bow inward.  Curious, Hertz went over to inspect the carpet.  Just as Hertz discovered that the carpet was concealing a pit trap, Dina-Saur rushed over and attempted to push Hertz in the pit.  This cunning plan failed for two reasons, 1) Hertz wears like 300 pounds of metal armor, and 2) when at full power Hertz is basically living lightning.  Upon touching Hertz armor, Dina-Saur was killed in a manner not dissimilar to the Joker’s joy buzzer attack.

Enraged that their leader had been bested so easily, the remaining cultists in the room prepared to attack.  The party then proceeded to kill most of the cultists and their pet giant snake.  While they did leave one cultist alive to interrogate, he answers mostly consisted of hissing sounds.  Upon telling the group that the only thing waiting for them in the next room was death, Compassion threw the remaining cultist into the pit.

 

Does death await the party in the next room?  Did Sagi betray the party?  Find out next time on Tales from the Plunderbund Consortium.  

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Like I wasn’t going to put a Nintendo commercial on this as well with a name of a chapter called “Now You’re Playing With Power.”


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.

Tomb of Annihilation (TFTPB) – Chapter Three

Did you think I forgot about this?  I didn’t, I have simply been dealing with bronchitis, the death of my father, and a kidney stone.  But who gives a damn about that when we could be reading some Tales From The Plunderbund.  I am you host, Kent.  This of course was written my by good friend Eric.  This week, I had 2 songs picked out.  In tribute of a lady that we lost recently, and in honor of a game that Eric and I have been playing recently, I give you The Cranberries “Zombie”.  Tomorrow, yes tomorrow a new blog is coming, I hope you know something about Sam B.

Tomb of Annihilation

Chapter 3 – Murder-Hobos Come to Frog Town

 

Upon removing the second piece of the amulet from the alter, the adventurers could feel their minds attempting to be penetrated.  While most fought off the icky visions, Ethyl could not, and her mind began to flood with images of giant eyeballs leaking black fluid and more tentacles than can be found in the backroom of an anime convention.  Luckily, as Ethyl was from the underdark, such images were nothing more than an average Tuesday night for her.  She quickly came back to her senses, unconcerned about the horrific visions that had just been pumped into her head.

Needing to rest and regain their spells, the party headed back to the inn.  In the morning, before Xilix could take too many of his medicinal herbs, the party insisted that he tell them the location of his Emerald Enclave contact.  After searching through his notes for about 20 minutes, Xilix informed the party that they should meet with female cat-person Screaming Wind just outside the city.

With a new goal, the party set out to meet Screaming Wind.  After leaving the city and traveling for about an hour, the group found themselves near a bridge spanning a ravine.  In the middle of the bridge the group could see a fish-man getting his butt kicked by two pterodactyl-men.  As the party stopped to debate whether the fish-man was the victim or the aggressor, a cat-person jumped out of the nearby trees and proceeded to stab the pterodactyl-men in the throat.  The fish-man thanked her and ran the hell away (because he was a fish and she was a cat).

As all cat-people look alike to Xilix, he assumed that this cat-person was his contact Screaming Wind.  Luckily, in this case Xilix’s casual racism happened to be correct.  At first conversation was slow, as Screaming Wind’s accent (aka cat screeching) made it hard to understand her.  After acclimating to the horrible cat sounds coming from Screaming Wind, the group found that she was very happy to see them, as she had a job she wished them to complete.  Specifically, in the area of the jungle known as Molar’s Throat, all sorts of bad shit was going down.  Most notably, the pterodactyl-men were being driven crazy and undead were starting to spring up all over.  If the situation didn’t improve, the cat people were going to have to leave their village in the Throat.  Screaming Wind hired the group to find the source of the madness and stop it.

For the next three hours the party stumbled clumsily through the jungle, rubbing up against all manner of poisoned foliage.  As such, the group spent most of the afternoon feeling sick and in a hallucinogenic state.  While the majority of the group was miserable, Xilix was in heaven.  

As the hallucinogins began to wear off, the party came to a clearing where it appeared a cat-person and a half-elf were unconscious and trapped in some brambles.  Not sure if this was an illusion due to their hallucinogenic encounters, Tempest went over and started poking at the brambles with her spear.  Tempest and the party quickly learned that not only was the bramble patch alive, but the rustling bushes made it obvious that they were surrounded by a handful of other shrub-men.   While the shrub men were all self-satisfied with themselves for pulling off such an ambush, they made the fatal mistake of ambushing a group with two magic users who just love to throw fire around.

Tempest, Xilix, and Ethyl set up an assembly line of murder.  In step one, Tempest would spear a shrub-man and pin him to the ground.  In step two, Xilix and Ethyl would burn the ever-living hell out of said shrub-man; rinse and repeat.  Meanwhile, as those three were disposing of the foliage, Compassion was trying desperately to save the cat-woman and the half-elf.  Thanks to his efforts, the cat-woman lived . . . while the half-elf was completely drained of blood.  At the end of the fight everyone congratulated Compassion for now having an overall victim rescue rate of approximately 15 percent!  Compassion just grunted at them as he prepared the half-elf’s body for purification and burial . . . again.

Continuing their trek, the party came to the edge of the jungle.  From the tree line, the party looked out onto a field where six small and adorable frog-men were performing some sort of ritual around a pillar.  As the party bickered about whether or not to engage with the frog-men, Ethyl, hating conversation with the other party members, decided to crack open Volo’s guide to see what she could learn.  Thanks to the guide, Ethyl learned many interesting facts, including that the frogs have a democratically elected republic, their favorite animal is the teddy bear, they poison everything they touch, and they are slavers.  As the party came to the realization that the last entry was particularly concerning, Tempest, using her monk vision, noticed that at least two of the frogs had seen the group but were pretending not to.  

With visions of a future life of frog-slavery in their heads, the group decided to kill the frog-men before that happened.  Realizing the party wasn’t going to go down easy, the frogs immediately began trying to hide in the nearby grasses in the hopes of sneaking up on the party.  Seeing half of the frogs immediately disappear, Xilix cast a sleep spell at their last known location.  This resulted in the half of the frog-men that had hidden suddenly deciding it was nap time.

From there a fierce battle ensued, with the party engaging with spells, war hammers, swords, spears, and Tempest’s famous “headbutt of caving your head in.”  After the three conscious frog-men were dispatched of, the group went to the sleeping frog-men and proceeded to kill them all in their sleep.  While the group members themselves took very little damage, unfortunately for Ethyl, one of her spells backfired, causing all of her hair to fall off of her body.

After saving themselves from a grim future of frog-slavery, the group proceeded to loot the bodies and examine the pillar.  To their surprise, another piece of the Amulet sat upon it.  As Tempest collected the Amulet piece, the minds of the party members were once again assaulted, however, this time they were all able to resist being shown totally gross scenes of tentacles and ichor.  Upon examination the Amulet piece, Screaming Wind deduced that it was the cause for all of the trouble in the jungle, and she thanked the group for taking the Amulet piece from the cursed alter.

It was quickly becoming apparent that 1) the amulet likely had nothing to do with the death curse, and 2) bringing all the pieces of the amulet together might actually be a terrible idea, as it may summon some sort eldritch abomination.  Despite such concerns, they decided to press on with reassembling the Amulet.

Wanting to reassemble the Amulet and get it out of their possession as soon as possible, the group followed their next lead.  Specifically, they went to talk with Kelvin Venscion of the Order of the Gauntlet.  On their way, Ethyl insisted that they stop by the black market so that she could purchase a magical hair growth formula that had specifically been tested on animals and humans.  While Ethyl found someone willing to sell a “miracle hair growth formula,” only time will tell if the formula will truly work (as opposed to just poisoning the heck out of Ethyl).

Upon arriving at Kelvin’s shop, the group explained that they were not there to buy any of the very fancy clothes on display, but instead to obtain information about an Amulet piece.  While disappointed that he would not be making a sale off of gullible adventurers on this day, Kelvin was nice enough to inform the party that the object they were looking for was likely part of a shipment being smuggled into the city underneath the sewers that evening.  In order to reach the most easily accessible entrance, the group would have to go to the harbor district.

As they traveled to the harbor district, everyone made sure to inform Ethyl that absolutely no hair was growing back yet.  Arriving at the harbor near the sewer entrance, the party saw four individuals standing in the middle of the street, and one standing off to the side.  As Compassion and Tempest went to speak with the larger group (at which point they had a very nice chat about sports, drinking, and floozies), Hertz went over and introduced himself to the loner in the corner.

The loner introduced himself as John Johnson, and explained that he and his compatriots were sell swords under the employ of Jobald, merchant prince of hirelings.  He advised Hertz that the party should go see Jobald about work in the future if they were so inclined.  Hertz thanked John for his advice and then told John that he and the party were about to travel past them through the harbor.  In a most friendly and cheerful way, John told Hertz that they had been specifically ordered not to let anyone proceed any further into the harbor.

Rather than immediately start killing innocent mercenaries, the group decided to head to Jobald’s compound and request that they get special permission to enter the harbor district.  Upon reaching the nearby compound, Compassion told the gate guard that they were a mercenary party looking for work.  Always needing new recruits, the guard let them in straightaway.  Of interest, the guards at the compound were wearing uniforms that looked nothing like the uniforms of John and the other sell swords at the docs.  Failing their intelligence checks, the party thought nothing of it.

Upon being ushered into the office, Jobald, a large human with a stern but friendly demeanor, greeted them all warmly.  As Compassion again explained that they were there for work, Jobald quickly evaluated the group’s capabilities and offered them a job escorting a priest to “Camp Vengeance” to the south in the jungle.  The group accepted the job, but asked if the priest could wait two days while the party took care of other business.  After Jobald agreed, the party pushed their luck even further and asked if they could have special permission to bypass his sell swords guarding the harbor, Jobald responded, “what sell swords?”

Realizing they had been hoodwinked, the party immediately headed back to the harbor district.  Seeing the party return, the five “sell swords” assumed a fighting formation and engaged.  The battle was tough, but the enemies were no match for our heroes.

Nearing the end of the battle, realizing that they should capture one of the bad guys to pump them for information about the incoming shipment, Hertz called upon the power of Talos.  Storm clouds formed, and electricity began pumping through Hertz’s body.  Hertz pointed a single finger at John, who had survived the battle thus far, and told him and his remaining men to surrender or Talos would smite him where he stood.  

While Hertz was focused on John, one of the last remaining sell swords broke away from Tempest and charged Hertz.  Hertz paid him no mind and allowed the sell sword’s metal short sword make contact with his body that was infused with divine lightning.  Upon striking Hertz the sell sword screamed in unimaginable pain and was quickly turned into a pile of ash.

Having seen what just happened to one of his best men, most people would have simply surrendered in the hopes of living another day.  But not John, he was apparently special.  Despite literally seeing his friend being smited by divine lighting for merely having the audacity to strike Hertz, John decided to yell, “I’m not afraid of your god,” and he attacked Hertz head on.  A sound of thunder echoed throughout the harbor district, and where John once stood, only chunks of flesh and blood remained.  

 

What will the group find when they enter the sewers?  Just how much vengeance is required to fill a camp?  Will Ethyl’s hair ever grow back?  Find out next week on Tales from the Plunderbund Consortium!    


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.

Tomb of Annihilation (TFTPB) – Chapter Two

It’s me, it’s me, it’s that K E N T.  I gotta say, my favorite line of this week’s blog is: “Subsequently, Ilana and the others met up with Alexa, Dimebag, and a pile of dead elves.”  How does that not tantalize you?  Speaking of tantalizing, I was watching a model dance to this song earlier in the night and now the damn song is stuck in my head.  Skip to 2:28 to get to the actual song.  You’re welcome.  Send all hate mail to somebody who cares.

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Tomb of Annihilation

Chapter 2 – Ziggurats and Zombies

As the party took their places on the winner’s podium, the national anthem of Chult was played (because nobody cared where the group was actually from), the medals were placed around their necks, and the losers were awarded their participation trophies.  Merchant Princess Aquenieffa, who it turned out sponsored this tournament, invited the group back to her place for refreshments and the awarding of the Oracle Eye.

Upon arriving at the swanky digs, they were immediately treated as barely tolerated guests and potential future customers.  Once the Eye was in hand, Compassion inquired as to where she had acquired the item and why she was giving it away as a reward.  Aquenieffa told the party that it was a gift from a suiter and had little sentimental value to her.  Seeing a dinosaur set on fire during the gladiator match was worth the price.  When pressed for the suiter’s name, she told them to mind their gods-damn business.

After failing to get any useful information on the suiter, Compassion immediately began negotiating a deal to get cheaper armor and weapon prices from the merchant princess.  A tough round of negotiating was conducted, with Compassion successfully earning a discount of prices from, “you won’t be able to afford a damn thing before the end of the campaign” to “by the time you can afford this, you will have found a more powerful version after fighting the boss of the last dungeon.”

With negotiations concluded, the adventurers began asking if she knew anything about the death curse or the soul monger.  She knew nothing, other than the fact it would be awesome if somebody were to break the death curse.  When pressed, she told the group about Wukanga O-tamu, the merchant prince of magical artifacts.

Impatient, and having struck the last blow on Bro Dudehammer, Tempest insisted that they head back to the inn so that he could talk with Drunken Master Sagi about getting the Eye to the Harpers.  As they walked to the inn, Xilix informed the party that he had to go collect some “medicinal spell components” and that he would meet up with the group later.  When asked how he would be able to find the group, Xilix said he would simply appear when it was “narratively appropriate.”  Hertz translated this to the party as, “more addict wizard gibberish!”

Upon arriving at the inn, the party found that Sagi was as drunk as ever.  When Tempest approached with the Oracle Eye, Sagi seemed to kind of, somewhat, maybe recognize it.  Rather than simply had the Eye over, Tempest began to ask Sagi about what he said earlier, that the Eye was merely a part of the larger whole.  If that were indeed the case, Tempest wished to know where the other pieces could be located.  After a long, drunken tangent about “kids these days” and how he once taught a dragon to love, the group was eventually able to piece together that each of the major factions either had, or was looking for, a piece of the amulet.  

Sagi specifically noted that the Emerald Enclave was actively searching for a piece of the amulet.  Upon learning this, the party immediately looked at the door as it would have been the narratively appropriate time for Xilix, a member of the Emerald Enclave, to show up.  After staring at the door for a sold ten minutes, the group gave up, and decided to meet with Compassion’s contact in the Order of the Gauntlet.

Compassion brought Hertz, Ethyl and Tempest to see his OG contact, Alister Bole.  Traveling to the nice part of town, the party soon realized that Bole lived in a McMansion in a gated community meant to keep out demihumans, poor people, and other undesirables; prostitutes were good though.  Within minutes of meeting Bole, everyone, with the possible exception of Ethyl, was ready to punch him in the face repeatedly as he continually said things that made him sound like a d-bag.

Preferring receiving money to not receiving money, the party resisted the urge to get punchy and listened to what Bole had to say.  Unfortunately, Bole didn’t seem to have any info on the pieces of the amulet or how to stop the death curse.  What he did know was the fact that poor people were going missing in the poor district, aka Old Town.  One such poor person was his servant Daro.  As a healthy number of poor citizens are necessary to make the nobility look even nobler, Bole hired the group to find out what was happing to the missing lower-class peasants.  

As the poor people regularly went missing at midnight, the party waited until the sun was setting to head into Old Town.  Due to the danger that Old Town presents at night, the streets were nearly deserted, however, the group came across a young lady who was “totally not” a prostitute.  She made sure to let the party know that she was an intern with the Port Ninzaro Department of Social Services, and that she was currently earning money to finish her graduate degree in social work.  

When asked about the missing peasants, she told the group that the brother of one of her “clients” (social work client, totally nothing to do with prostitution, honest) had gone missing.  Supposedly, just before going missing, the victims would yell and scream that they could hear, “THE CALL OF THE DEAD!!!1!!11!”.  She advised the adventurers to head to the nearby tavern, The Shiv, if they wanted to know more.

Upon finding and entering The Shiv, the group’s suspension of disbelief was shattered as who should be sitting at a nearby table, but famous Forgotten Realms Dude Volo, who “in-game” recently published his guide to monsters which the party could buy for 50 gold.  By some stroke of coincidence, in the real-world Wizards of the Coast (a subsidiary of Hasbro) recently published its second monsters manual entitled “Volo’s Guide to Monsters.”  It the group was willing to pay 50 gold in game to buy the book, and then was also willing to pay $50 to buy the real world book, they would be allowed to use the information in the real book to get information on their future monster battles!  Despite the obvious, if not insulting, market ploy by Wizards/Hasbro, as the DM and the person playing Hertz already had copies of Volo’s Guide, Tempest immediately ponied up the cash to buy the in-game copy.  YOU WIN THIS TIME CAPITALISM!

After purchasing the in-game downloadable content (DLC), Compassion went over and chatted up the bartender.  Luckily for Compassion, the bartender liked his “I’m a half-demon, my heart is all dark and sad” look.  Upon Compassion purchasing a tankard of honey ale, the bartender was more than happy to share some actual useful information without putting the characters through a bunch of extraneous bullshit, which instantly made “Bartender #1” the group’s favorite NPC to date.  

As to the call of the dead, Bartender #1 informed the group that the previous night Daro, after having his death call fit, ran off in the direction of the area affectionally known as the “executioner’s run.”  The run was so named because criminals would be put in the dug-up channel and forced to run to the end while being pursed by hungry animals.  If the criminal could reach the end before being eaten, he would earn the right to be exiled to the jungle (where he would eventually be eaten by different animals).

Further, Bartender #1 told the story of Queen Zalquore, the most beautiful woman in Chult.  Stories tell of how hundreds of men would kill for her and would bring her all manner of shinny treasurers.  Rumer has it that many of these treasures remain in a vault in her abandoned castle deep within the jungles of Chult.  With no reason to believe otherwise, the party instantly assumed that another piece of the amulet must be contained within the vault!

With Bartender #1 dry of any additional information to share with the group, a loud crash sudden rang out from the back of the bar.  Xilix, obviously in a medicinal herb-induced fog, came rushing from the back yelling, “Narratively Appropriate Time Bitches!!!”

After Xilix’s triumphant return, the group headed out to continue its investigation, putting the jungle castle on their to-do list for another day.  Upon arriving at the executioner’s run, they saw that on the other side of the trench were two rundown and completely creepy huts, a small one and a big one.  Using “monk sense,” Tempest was able to discern that there were approximately four individuals in the small hut.  The group assumed formation, with heavily armored Compassion and Hertz in the front, Tempest immediately behind them, and the arcane magic users in the back.  Before Compassion could even knock on the door, four incredibly fast and tough zombies came rushing out at the party.

Prior to attacking the group, the zombies sized up their meal.  Realizing they could either try to rip into the walking tin cans (Hertz and Compassion) or immediately start chowing down on a half-naked chick (Tempest), all four immediately charged for the easily accessible morsel.

Unfortunately for the zombies, Tempest didn’t wear armor because she didn’t need it.  As the zombies jumped in and tried to bite her, Tempest was quick to dodge their pitiful attacks.  In very little time Tempest used her spear to stab the first zombie in the head while Compassion began chopping a second zombie up with his sword.  Hertz then used his holy light to burn those weakened zombies into cinders.

Realizing that Compassion, Tempest and Hertz were not going to provide them with an easy meal, the zombies turned their attention to the other two fleshies in the back after one of them was struck by Ethyl’s firebolt.  The two remaining zombies charged Ethyl and began chowing down on her delicious fatness.  

With Ethyl bleeding out on the ground, the zombies and Hertz began playing their own mini-game of “resurrection pinball.”  In round one, Hertz would use clerical magic to stop Ethyl from dying.  In round two, the zombies would continue to eat Ethyl.  This went on for several minutes as Compassion, Tempest, and Xilix huddled up to devise the most stylish way to end this farce of a battle.  Calling upon the power of the elements, Tempest summoned the winds to carry Xilix high into the air.  Upon Xilix reaching maximum height, Compassion ran in and clotheslined the two zombies off of their feet and onto the ground, while at the same time shouting at Hertz to grab Ethyl’s body and run.  Hertz grabbed Ethyl’s unconscious body while he and Compassion ran for their lives.  With his comrades out of range and the two zombies laid out on the ground, Xilix used his drug-induced power to call down a napalm death fire strike upon the two remaining zombies.  By the time Xilix was done, nothing was left where the zombies had laid other than a smoldering crater.  

The danger seemingly over, the group searched the zombie bodies and the small hut.  While nothing of particular note was found, it quickly became obvious that they were the bodies of the missing poor folk.  Despite Ethyl having taken a few licks (and bites), the group was still in pretty good condition and thought it was worth the risk to check out the nearby large hut.  Ethyl and Xilix stayed far behind, while Compassion, Hertz, and Tempest assumed their usual formation.  While battle ready, they unfortunately were not trap ready.  As Compassion turned the door knob, a poison needle jutted out and poked his finger.  The paralytic poison coursed through the tiefling, leaving him disabled on the ground.

Despite losing their tank, Hertz and Tempest pressed forward into the house.  Luckily, the house was deserted and had no other armed traps.  As such, the remaining conscious members of the group began searching for clues.  Soon into the search Xilix found a hidden compartment in a desk containing a leather-bound journal entitled “Viplo’s Evil Journal of Evil Machinations.”  Reading the journal, Xilix learned that a necromancer by the name of Viplo was using a hidden area underneath the nearby Ziggurat to create zombies.  Too beat up to confront Viplo at this time, the group headed back to the inn to rest and recover.

Early the next morning the party geared up and headed out.  Thanks to Viplo’s journal, the group was easily able to find the entrance to the secret underbelly of the Ziggurat.  Unfortunately, the journal did not warn them of the traps or inform how to open the secret doors to the rooms beyond.  Luckily, despite his amnesia and horrible, horrible drug addiction, Xilix is incredibly smart, and was easily able to solve the puzzles . . . until the last room.  Overconfident, and possibly suffering from withdrawal symptoms, Xilix completely botched the last puzzle, causing everyone but Ethyl, who was still three rooms behind due to her fat out-of-shape-ness, to get chopped to hell by whirling saw blades.

As the trap didn’t kill any of them, the party members bandaged themselves and walked into the next room, which turned out to be a giant alter/worship room.  Before they could take stock of their surroundings, a shout of “interlopers” rang out, and Tempest was immediately hit in the face with a firebolt spell (presumably cast by Viplo).  In response, Ethyl cast a spell causing a giant fog cloud to engulf the room, blocking line of sight, and allowing the group to retreat to the previous room.

Using “monk vision”, Tempest was able to determine that through the fog there were four zombies, Viplo, and three prisoners chained to the wall.  After forming a strategy, the group executed plan “take pot shots from the alcove until everything dies.”

After a few rounds of his zombies getting beating up by hard to see intruders, Viplo yelled, “my zombie minions, feel free to eat the prisoners as I’m sure you are hungry, if any of them are heroic enough to try and stop you, KILL THEM!”  Compassion then barked, “you heard them men, lets save those innocents,” and charged head-first into the fog.  Hertz then yelled, “uh yea, um Talos, please watch over those chained up innocents while I continue to say behind and just cast support spells,” while Xilix and Ethyl just continued to take potshots from the alcove.  It didn’t take long for Compassion to realize that not only was he alone in the zombie-fog pit, but he was also in danger of friendly fire from his teammates’ spells.  Compassion began to question his choice of teammates.

Compassion fought valiantly, but was unable to stop the zombies from devouring all three innocents, including Daro, ruining any chance of a performance bonus from their employer.  Mocking their failure, Viplo began laughing at the group’s pitiful performance, and how it would take more than some silly cloud of fog to stop him and his zombies.  Viplo, however, did not realize that Tempest had enacted plan “walk through the fog and kick the distracted necromancer in the head until it explodes.”  By the 5th kick, Compassion had about 30% of Viplo’s brain and skull pieces on him.  With the master dead, the group easily dispatched of the remaining zombies.  

Celebrating a job adequately done, the group began searching the room for anything useful.  As Ethyl approached the alter an uneasy feeling came over her.  She touched the alter and a vision appeared . . .

What will the vision show, will the group ever learn if the amulet has anything to do with stopping the death curse, and will the party ever again meet an NPC as helpful and straightforward as Bartender #1?  Find out these answers and more on the next exciting episode of Tales from the Plunderbund Consortium: Tomb of Annihilation!


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.

Tomb of Annihilation (TFTPB) – Chapter One

Welcome back friends, this is Kent.  What a big surprise last week, right?  That kinda came out of nowhere.  New beginnings are good and I’m very excited.  So far I have seen a Dudehammer and Poxmark Poe which makes me want to watch Con Air, so I think we are on the right track.  As I’m not involved, I am strictly an outside observer, I will say that I straight up don’t trust Xilix.  Never trust a name that has two non-consecutive X’s in it.  These are rules to live by.  In honor of Poe, I bring you one of my favorite under the radar songs of the 90’s….by Poe.

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Tomb of Annihilation

Chapter 1 – Death Curses and Dinosaurs

 

As is tradition, four low level adventurers with no prior association, Hertz Cunningham, cleric of Talos, Young Tempest, pirate monk, Xilix Andethia, amnesiac wizard, and Ethelwynn Devir of Mantol-Derith, sorceress of pie, all arrived at the mansion’s gates at the exact same time.  The four had been directed by their various patrons to meet with former adventurer Syndra Sylvane at her palatial estate.  After engaging in forced and awkward pleasantries and introductions, the four entered the compound.

Knocking on the door to Syndra’s mansion, they noticed that the estate, while nice, was very quiet.  The door was soon opened by Syndra’s man-servant Claud, who ushered the group into the dinning room.  Sitting at the head of the table was someone who appeared to be dressed in Harry Potter Death Eater Cosplay, basically just a robe and metal mask.  It was most unnerving.

The creepy figure, who introduced herself (himself? itself?) as Syndra, invited the group to sit and eat lunch while they discussed business.  Claud was apparently a very good cook and the group happily ate their free meal, with Ethel eating triple portions of everything.

Syndra explained that she was dressed in such a creepy manner because she was recently afflicted with the “Death Curse,” a malady that appears to have been spreading across the globe.  In explaining how the curse worked, Syndra noted that during her days as an adventurer she had been slain and clerical magic was used to resurrect her good as new.  Unfortunately, the death curse, which appears to have first manifested within the past few weeks, specifically targets individuals who previously died and were resurrected through magical means.

The bodies of those who were previously revived through magical means, and were now subject to the death curse, were now beginning to necrotize and fall apart until the individual was no more.  Basically, Syndra had super‑leprosy.  Upon hearing this Hertz, Tempest, and Xilix lost their appetites, while Ethel cleaned their plates for them.

Syndra explained that she did not have much time left, and she gathered the adventurers together in the hopes that they could discover the source of, and destroy, the death curse.  Why she entrusted a group of low-level adventurers who had never worked together with this task was not explained.  She conveyed her belief that the cause of the curse was a magical artifact known as the “Soulmonger,” and that said artifact was likely hidden somewhere in the land of Chult.  Obviously hesitant to undertake such a dangerous mission, the group quickly changed their positions on the matter when Syndra offered them each a magical item from her vast treasure hoard should they succeed in breaking the curse and saving her life.

With the greedy adventurers prepared to risk their lives for profit, Syndra and Claud prepared a teleportation spell which sent the six of them to Port Ninzaro, one of the few bastions of civilization in Chult.  After the teleportation dizziness wore off, and Ethel finished puking up lunch, the group found themselves in a vibrant port city that was totally not just fantasy Brazil (spoiler: it’s totally just fantasy Brazil, please put that mental image in your head so I don’t need to spend time describing the the city’s details).

Before the group could even begin to consider how to proceed, Xilix saw some awesome flowers that he had not previously studied (or that were studied prior to his being an amnesiac).  As Syndra was explaining to the group that she would be staying at a nearby tavern and that she looked forward to receiving regular reports of their progress, Xilix paid her no mind and went over to the flower bush, cutting one off for study.  It was at this point that Xilix realized that there was an angry shopkeeper standing over him, holding the club he had named “Shoplifter’s Demise.”  Xilix quickly apologized and paid the shopkeeper 1 gold for the flower, about 10 times its actual value.

As the four conversed with the now much more affable shopkeeper, the camera panned over to a tiefling (basically half-human, half-demon) warrior who had been intently watching the motley crew ever since they teleported onto the docks.  The voiceover explained that this man’s identification code was “Compassion,” and that he was wandering knight in training.  A montage then played of Compassion’s previous training exploits, including saving puppies from being eaten by wolves, saving puppies from a burning building, saving puppies from an evil wizard, and killing puppies that had been possessed by a legion of demons intent on using demon dogs to assault the heavenly stronghold of the god of cats.  Basically, Compassion’s trainers had decided that his training had become a bit too puppy focused, and they decided to send him to Chult where it was exceptionally unlikely that his adventures would involve puppies, or even full‑grown dogs.

The voiceover also explained that Compassion was looking for the gold half-dragon quartermaster Zindar.  By some stroke of coincidence, both Hertz and Ethel had been told that if they ever found themselves in Port Ninzaro they too should look up Zindar.  As such, we he saw that the shopkeeper had directed the crew to Zindar’s location, Compassion shadowed their movements in the port.

Upon seeing the motley group approach Zindar, Compassion came out of the shadows to join their conversation.  The group did not find this strange at all and acted as if Compassion had been with them all along.  While not in anyway helpful in sharing information about the death curse, Zindar was able to inform the group about individuals looking to hire adventurers for work, specifically, Pockmark Poe and Alister Boll.  Zindar informed them that Poe was in a rundown hut in the “old city.”

While on their way to the old city Compassion, now a full-fledged and accredited member of the party, because reasons, asked if they could stop off at an armorer’s stand so he could purchase some splint mail.  Unfortunately, the party was quick to learn that all metal armor in Port Ninzaro had a 300 percent markup because GOD FORBID ANYONE NOT PLAY A DEX-BASED CHARACTER.  Instead, the only thing they got of use from the armorer was knowledge about the political structure of the city, namely, that Port Ninzaro is basically run by a handful powerful merchant princes (and princesses).  His merchant princess boss, Aquenieffa, might be able to offer the group a discount if they spoke with her.

Unable to purchase reasonably priced armor, the group continued to old town and easily found Poe’s hut.  Entering the run-down and rather creepy hut, they soon found that Pockmark Poe truly lived up to his name.  They also found that he must be rich, as he was attended by a number of scantily clad average to slightly above average looking women (and one man) fanning him and feeding him grapes.  The group explained that they were looking for work and Poe immediately sprung up.  He began to tell the group that he wanted them to enter a dinosaur racing competition . . . at which point everyone enthusiastically accepted.  When asked if they wanted to hear more or if they wanted to know what they would be paid, Hertz replied, “fine, whatever, just hurry up, we have dinosaurs to race.”  Poe explained that he had paid their entrance fees and gave them their competition tickets.  He then told them that the purse would be gold and a trinket known as the oracle eye.  The group was to win the race and bring him the eye, the winnings would be theirs to keep.

With a few hours prior to the race, the group decided to head to the House of Repose where Tempest had been directed by his faction, the Harpers, to meet with a contact.  Upon arriving at the tavern Hertz pulled out his lute, got on the empty stage without asking, and began to play his latest hymn to Talos, “The Storm in Our Hearts.”  Hertz was convinced he had at least 20 new converts by song’s end.

Meanwhile, Xilix, realizing he knew nothing about riding, much less racing, dinosaurs, decided to “make friends” with a group of patrons dressed in green who appeared that they might know a thing or two about dino-racing.  Unfortunately, Xilix lacks certain social traits such as “personality” and “not being an annoying elf,” and quickly put himself in a position where he was about to get his butt kicked.  Luckily, Compassion was nearby and quickly ushered Xilix the hell out of the tavern.

As Hertz was entertaining and Xilix was offending, Tempest was meeting with his contact, Sagi, master of the Body Beast Drinking Style of unarmed combat.  While Sagi was very entertaining, he was also very unintelligible.  By the end of the conversation, Tempest was pretty sure she learned that 1) the oracle eye was a smaller piece of the broken up Amulet of Dreamers; and 2) fellow Harper Urissa wants the eye.  For the time, Tempest decided to keep this info to herself considering they had already been hired to deliver the eye to Pockmark Poe, and only an idiot would betray an obviously rich and somewhat-powerful underworld boss.

Nearing race time, the inexperienced and completely unprepared dino-racers headed for check in.  Upon being assigned their individual racing velociraptors, the group headed to the starting line where, surprise, surprise, the green dressed men from the House of Repose where their competition.  Each racer was then provided with a staff that could be used to beat the other competitors.

As the starting bell was about to ring, Ethel turned to one of the opposing racers and said something so insulting and utterly emasculating that the opponent immediately withdrew from the race in shame (his body was found later that evening after hanging himself from the tree outside his children’s’ bedroom window).

Knowing himself to be an average rider at best, Hertz decided to play a support role.  He started his helping by using his quarterstaff to slap Tempest’s dino on the rear end in the hopes that it would go “super extra fast.”  To his surprise, it worked, and Tempest’s dino ran out far ahead of the competition.  Unfortunately, as Tempest was a former pirate with no real land-based mount riding skills, she was unable to control the beast, which decided to run off in the wrong direction, negating any benefit from the increase in speed.  Xilix tried to use his “medicinal herbs” to inspire his mount to go faster , however, the herbs only served to nauseate the beast and cause vertigo, resulting in the dinosaur running into the stands and injuring five bystanders.

After a good 30 seconds of trying to regain control of her mount, Tempest was ready to race for the finish line, that was, until, one of the opponents came flying by and knocked her off of the mount with his staff.  Upset that a man would dare lay his hand on a fellow female party member, Ethyl attempted to cast a spell to hinder the green rider’s dino.  Unfortunately, the spell backfired, resulting Ethyl being teleported off of her dino and onto the opponent’s dinosaur.  In the resulting confusion, a massive 5 dino-pileup occurred, taking out the majority of the competition.

It was at this time that Hertz noticed that Compassion had been ignoring any of the fun parts of the race and was instead racing straight for the finish line.  Never one to miss an opportunity to exalt in the glory of Talos, Hertz pulled out his lute and began singing about how Compassion was inspired by the divine righteousness of Talos to embrace the power of the storm and to gust through to the finish like the wind.  New converts by end of race – at least 16!

As Compassion crossed the finish line he dismounted and waived to the crowd.  He then walked forward, ready to except the prize money and the Oracle Eye.  Unfortunately, it was at this point that Compassion learned that he had only won round one.  In the next round, he, and any friends he so chose, would enter the gladiatorial area and face its champion, Bro Dudehammer, and his pet dinosaurs, Snuggles and Baron Von StudDino, in hand to claw to tooth competition.

Upon finding out that winning the Eye would take more than winning the dino race, Tempest came up with a plan.  It was then that he informed the group that he wanted the eye to give to his friend Urissa, who would pay them money for it.  Hertz was particularly against this as they already had a contract, and betraying a man named Poxmark Poe would likely result in future assassination attempts and not getting invited to all the best parties in Chult.  After five minutes of debate that went nowhere, the group agreed that whoever got the knockout blow on Dudehammer would get to decide what to do with the Oracle Eye.

As the group entered the area and set up a tight-knit formation, they were explicitly told not to kill Bro Dudehammer or his pets; nonlethal damage only please.  As the war horn sounded, Ethyl responded to this directive by casting a firebolt spell directly at Baron Von StudDino’s face.  The resulting explosion burned off at least half of the dinosaur’s face, with the good Baron falling to the ground, apparently dead.

Enraged at the harm done to his brother, Snuggles ran past the front line and bit deeply into Ethyl’s side, chomping off at least five years’ worth of fat accumulation in one bite.  Ethyl fell to the ground and it was obvious she was bleeding to death.  Seeing an ally in trouble, Hertz went over and prayed to Talos to stop Ethyl’s bleeding, stabilizing her condition.  Xilix, thinking he was next on Snuggles’ dinner place, also shot a firebolt off at the dino, resulting in yet another charred and possibly dying dinosaur.

Meanwhile, aggrieved at the possible loss of one of his best friends, Dudehammer knelt down next to Baron to see if he was alive.  By the grace of the gods he was!  Baron was going to be ok!  Seeing the joy in Dudehammer’s eyes, along with the fact he was distracted tending to his dino, Tempest also broke ranks, ran to Dudehammer, and began kicking him in the head repeatedly like Dudehammer owed Tempest money.  Soon after the referee had to call the match in favor of the adventurers.

Compassion simply stood in the middle of the ring shaking his head in disbelief at the group’s utter lack of strategy and cohesion.  Meanwhile, boos loud enough to be heard all throughout Chult rained down on the group, expressing their displeasure with the group’s lack of sportsmanship or adherence to the code of the gladiator.

The group strode out of the arena as the boos continued to ring in their ears.

Had they truly won the competition, would they finally get the Oracle Eye, and would Tempest really be fool enough to betray Poxmark Poe?  Find out in Chapter Two of the Plunderbund’s new campaign, Tomb of Annihilation!


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