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.
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!
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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