30 January 2023

Tomb of the Serpent King 5e, session 3

Only two players once again, so they decided that that best course of action is to go and pick fight with the biggest thing they've found in the dungeon so far.

Dramatis personae:

  • Gour-Gash, a goliath barbarian 2. Strong of muscle, weak of head. Collector of various weapons.
  • Trollin, a hill dwarf cleric 1. A red-robed inquisitor who curiously surrounds himself with outlanders and strange types. Definitely has a hidden agenda.

This session's recap was kindly provided by Trollin's player, so it contains no spoilers. Don't read the GM Commentary, players!

From Mythical Archive

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From the diary of Trollin, 25th day of Harvest, 198 Aureum Diem
Zeru and Gour-Gash have left me and Toxin to wallow in our filth rather than properly treat us, then returned from the depths of the tomb like beaten dogs. What else could they expect when they brazenly braved such a god-forsaken place without a warrior of the faith? Anyway, I healed their wounds and we rested in this village's excuse for an inn. By the next day, my bowels were fine, but Toxin was still in a bad shape and magister Harant wasn't feeling too good himself, so we agreed that Zeru would stay behind and watch over them, and only I and Gour-Gash would continue with explorations of the tomb.

Before, though, we visited magister Harant in his room to get any intel he might have. He told us, among frivolous ramblings and a lot of unnecessary chatter, that somewhere in the tomb, he had lost his satchel of notes, alchemical equipment and most importantly money. For us, it meant that we had to find his bag and also pay for his temporary accommodation in the inn. In addition to all this nonsense, the innkeeper wanted to rip us off, but a little intimidation was enough to make him backpedal like the blathering little man he is and from now on, we have a free room for as long as necessary.

Magister Harant also sent his assistant Schmee with us. Gour-Gash tried to persuade the magister to join our exploration himself, as his experience with the Dark Ones, their magic and mechanisms might've proved most helpful, but he's apparently "not feeling well enough and needs some rest". We could all tell right away that he was shaking with fear under his covers at the thought of once again entering that monster-filled darkness of the tomb. We however received an unexpected thiefly support in the form of Janek, the innkeeper's son. He claimed to be skilled in the lock-picking arts and would help us disable any traps, for just a few silver pieces even! So the four of us went underground again.

In the entrance hall with the sarcophagi, Gour-Gash remembered that one of the statues had a ring on its finger and wanted to get it. He swung with his maul and shattered the earthenware statue and we immediately regretted it, because the room was filled with poison and we had to leave post-haste. Any further ideas of smashing were promptly forgotten and instead we headed further and deeper.

We entered the octagonal room with water in its center and took a peek behind the western door, standing slightly ajar. Behind it were stairs - where they lead we don't know yet. Instead, we continued along the proven path through the room with a lot of granite statues. An impressive sight, all those petrified souls that will never wake up again. Gour-Gash opened a secret entrance to a narrow staircase and we went down to a great hall. But even before we entered, we could hear the clatter of a chain as it slid across the floor. It was immediately clear to us that this is the tell-tale sign of the huge lizard they encountered here yesterday being awake. The magister gave us some tips on how to take down the beast - a basilisk, we were sure - so we prepared our weapons and vowed silently to take down the monster, now or never. After all, such an abominable creature does not belong in our blessed world.

Gour-Gash lured the basilisk closer with a torch thrown into the center of the hall, then thrust a spear into its side. Its bulk was horrible and hideous, yet I didn't hesitate and charged out of the corridor to deliver a necrotic strike to the reptile's tail. The basilisk writhed in pain, screeching, with a spear stuck in its groin and its flesh rotting away. Inspired by the courage of his warrior role models, young Janek fired his slingshot, aiming to snap shut the monster's eye-covers. Unfortunately the stone just bounced off the helmet, but so close! Shaking at the knees, Schmee proved what a coward he is and dropped the axe he was clutching in his sweaty hands rather than actually trying to hit the lizard with it.

But the basilisk had had enough! It swiped with its tail, back and fro! I kind of dodged away, but Gour-Gash bore the full brunt of the blow and flew to the side. I'm going to have to ask him about his forebears sometime; though coughing up blood he landed gracefully on his feet like it's in his bones. He immediately tried to return the favour and jumped at the basilisk, but staggered and missed and wasted his attack. However, I didn't leave anything to chance and through the grace of the great Sun Lord caused further wounds to this affront to natural order. Its body couldn't take it anymore and its flesh turned putrescent, rotting before our very eyes. Not even his head could be saved, just the clean skull and bones remained. The beast was no more.

We caught our breath and searched the room and dismantled the false wall on the south side of the hall. It opened up to an unknown corridor. To the west, the corridor turned to stairs and went up and upwards, until a collapse ended it abruptly. We found a tunnel, though, through which Schmee voluntarily went after a short round of persuasion. It led out of the tomb, to a hole somewhere deep in the forest. Stuck here on a root, we found the magister's satchel!

Then there was no other option left but to turn around and head east. Again, the corridor ended in a collapse, only this time with a hole in the floor. From below, a lot of goblin eyes were peering at us, glistening in the light of our torches.

GM Commentary
A big part of this session was spent in the inn, talking with the magister, the innkeeper and also Janek, whom Trollin eventually hired as a part-time linkboy, part-time trap tester.

Also spells in 5e deal mean damage. Poor basilisk never stood a chance. However, Gour-Gash decided to take its skull with him, unaware that the basilisk is one of Xiximanter's experiments into immortality...

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