8 March 2023

Tomb of the Serpent King 5e, session 5

The mysterious master of the Tomb is encountered and angered, with predictable results.

Dramatis personae:

  • Gour-Gash, a goliath barbarian. Collector of various weapons who understands the better part of valor.
  • Trollin, a hill dwarf cleric. A red-robed inquisitor with a hidden agenda. Also horny.
  • Yanzar, a dark elf druid. Very sneaky, except he loves loud, thunderous spells.
  • Zeru, an air genasi warlock. A gentleman and a scholar, sent by his genie patron to learn about the barbaric customs and traditions of the far West.
  • Zyl, a half-elf rogue. Curiously honest and helpful for a wanted criminal.


  • Janek, a linkboy. The son of a local innkeeper who will be mightily cross is he learns where the adventurers took his child.
  • Schmee, a goblin famulus. A little cowardly. Likes bonsai trees and tea.
  • magister Kryštof Harant, an alchemist and archeologist. Very easily distracted with any historical artifacts. Or strange creatures. Or herbs of any kind. Or nice-looking pebbles.

If any of the players have by sheer chance found this recap, do not read any further, please.

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From the diary of Trollin, 26th day of Harvest, 198 Aureum Diem
We defeated the stone cobra guardian. A flawless victory.

After the fight, I advised Gour-Gash not to tease any further statues, or they might try something, too. But I don't think he was really listening, as he seemed really keen on finding that one shield from the hundreds placed on the walls that would perfectly fit his style and looks. Anyway, we were all exhausted, so we sat down for a quick breather until a click snapped us out of our slumber. It came from the stairway slide, which became a staircase again.

We gathered our things and cautiously went back up. At the top of the stairs, a stranger greeted us with a crowbar in his hand. He warned us about the hidden mechanism that sets off this trap. Right behind him, I recognized Janek and Zeru, so I didn't question the stranger at the moment. From Janek we learned that the magister and Schmee have been kidnapped by the goblins again and that Janek ran all the way back to the village, where he recruited both Zeru and the stranger to rescue all of us. Also the stranger expected payment. From me. After a bit of back and forth, we agreed that no payment will be provided at the moment, given that we needed no saving, but that he may share in any treasures we shall uncover. The stranger's name seems to be "Not important", so he's probably a foreigner. I've heard that the elves of Draja name themselves in such an incomprehensible manner.

I had an inkling where our two victims might have been taken to, so we all went through the hidden passage to the hall with the dead basilisk. To our surprise, the hall was well illuminated by several bonfires and full of goblins. In the middle, a square was marked out with the basilisk's chain, a fighting arena. Magister Harant and Schmee were tied to a pillar.

The goblin commander I challenged was already waiting for me. He apparently calls himself Face-Your-Death, probably because he soon will be really dead, when I finish with him. We got in the arena and exchanged the customary insults. But I didn't pay that much attention to him, as there was a she-goblin by his side, probably a shaman who came to preside over our duel. She shall be mine.

Combat was over fast. He managed a few hefty blows, but nothing I couldn't heal later. On the other hand, with the favor of Miri, I inflicted horrendous wounds upon him, until he fell dead. The goblins immediately began proclaiming me their new king, and it seemed that even She-Bull (the goblin shamaness) favored me now.

I ordered the two poor fools released from the pillar and arranged for some of the goblins to get out of our way and go on errands, while the party will be led by She-Bull to the goblins' treasure room. "Not important" also finally admitted that people usually call him Zyl. I must say, his art of eloquence could be envied by many. He coaxed ten gold from the magister as a reward for his rescue, more than the rest of us saw even though we've already rescued him the second time, and he agreed that we can keep the artifacts we find in the tomb as a part of the payment.

She-Bull led us to the muddy cave where we first met Yanzar and where the goblins were now busy picking mushrooms. The magister spotted some rare "dungeon cucumbers" and gathered a few. Yanzar, on the other hand, noticed some gold coins and would have taken them for himself, had Zyl not forced him to share. It will take more to earn my trust, but this is a good start.

We continued through a cave that could be classified as a kitchen and a dormitory in one to the goblin throne room. She-Bull dethroned their temporary king, a golden snake-man statue, and motioned for me to take my rightful place. In that moment, Zeru also handed me a serpent crown they've previously found with Gour-Gash, and I realized that it pulses with powerful magic. I just held it in my hand for now, enjoying the feeling of sitting on a throne, even if it's just a chair in a goblin cave. It's good to be a king.

She-Bull then described the tomb to us, or at least the parts the goblins have been to, and revealed all the treasures they have - some food, some silverware and the golden idol. Truth be told, I expected more, but then she introduced me to my new harem. I decided to have some fun while the others return to exploration, but I sent a couple of goblins with them as guides just in case.

This next part was only recounted to me by the shaken Gour-Gash:

They've made their way to the richly decorated gate beyond the basilisk hall and to the smaller, locked door next to it, because with Zyl they now had new options. Zyl opened the smaller door without a problem and inside, they found a very well-equipped alchemical workshop. They looted some potions, but also noted a bright orange potion being currently prepared in a complex apparatus, so it was painfully obvious the laboratory was not abandoned.

Another door lead them to a room with several cages and crates. Six goblins were locked in one of the rune-covered cages, and they immediately pleaded with their brethren still accompanying the party and asked to be rescued from the boogeyman. Zyl let them out and all the goblins immediately ran away, scared. The party is not so easy to shake, though, so Zeru calmly inspected the runes on the cages and found them to bind and counter magic. Gour-Gash discovered a silver circle set into the floor and a small cask of saffron, which he gladly appropriated.

Further explorations had to be put aside, though, because the magister and Schmee have drawn the party's attention to a skeleton covered in some kind of orange liquid that walked into the alchemical lab. It seemed more confused than hostile at first, so Yanzar tried to distract it and lead it away, but the skeleton remained impassive, which unfortunately also meant it blocked the exit. Then everything when wrong when the magister tried talking to the skeleton in the Dark Speech, at Gour-Gash's urging. The skeleton suddenly got interested in the magister and tried to push him into one of the magical cages. Yanzar barely managed to push the skeleton off and pull the magister aside.

At that moment, everyone has drawn their weapons and they try to neutralize the skeleton. Unfortunately, no matter what they try, they are unable to hurt it. It is as if the orange sludge was blocking any and all harm. In all this confusion, Janek tries to throw random things from the alchemical workshop at the skeleton, but nothing works and he ends up shattering the massive glass apparatus, leaving a violently fuming puddle on the floor. Finally, they tie up the skeleton and throw it into a cage.

Another door leads from the room, which Zyl opens after a bit of struggle. However, a cloud of golden-green smoke begins to spread from the alchemical workshop and Gour-Gash is unwilling to risk staying any longer. He pulls a bit of cloth over his face and runs out to the corridor. They then close the doors to the lab from both sides, trapping the smoke inside for the moment.

Zyl and the others explore the last room, which is full of bookcases and locked chests. Zeru and the magister inspect the literature, while Zyl shares a flask of foreign coffee, miraculously still hot, with Yanzar. Then, a hooded stranger appears within the silver circle.

The stranger is confused as to what is going on, he order them to explain why are they here, where they came from and what do they want. He introduces himself as Xiximanter, the Serpent King. It is pretty clear to the group that he wields powerful magic. They bumble up an excuse of being a diplomatic mission seeking to pay him a tribute, and he tells them to make an appointment next time and to get lost from his sight. Things take a turn for the worse when they try to leave, only to reveal the havoc they wreaked in his laboratory. Janek, the magister and Schmee flee immediately, while Xiximanter is distracted by lamenting over his equipment, but Zyl decides to cover the retreat of the group and whips out his crossbow. He shoots at the lich, but the quarrel dissolves into dust before it can hit. Distracted, Xiximanter makes a minute gesture and Zyl drops dead on the spot.

Seeing this, Zeru discorporates into blue smoke and flows into a small lamp he always carries on his belt. The only one left is Yanzar. He tries to run and Gour-Gash is still waiting in the corridor, ready to shut the door behind him, but he fails to avoid Xiximanter's touch and suddenly cannot move. Finally, Gour-Gash realizes that all is lost and runs, too.

GM Commentary:
Here is the stat block for Face-Your-Death:

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