Zanzibar and 🌱 leave Princess Kwaothé's villa and realize that McSneakle is missing. They ask the front entry guards if they've seen a long-nosed asshole walking around these parts. The guards say he disappeared earlier.
Eh, screw it.
Zanzibar and 🌱leave to go get drunk at the Thundering Lizard Inn.
At the warehouse, Valour is teaching Minion how to read by using a prayer book of Tyr. But after all that reading and all those Viking Psalms, they leave for the Thundering Lizard Inn.
When the bullywug and half-elf arrive at the inn, they see the place has a raucous atmosphere filled with loud loudness, smokey smoke, and noisey noise. They order a glass of tej from the barmaid, and Minion downs it in one gulp.
"It's not a good idea to have a lot of alcohol and make a scene," Valour says to the frog.
"DON'T BE DISRESPECTIN' THE DRINK!" a lumbering orc with a bristling white handlebar mustache and a giant, leatherbound tome shouts as he sits between them. "I was born and raised in the city(?) of Chult(?) And I know the woods like the backside of my backside! What you don' in my city? You lookin' for them minotaur peoples!?"
Valour and Minion don't know what to make of this new stranger, so they start telling him about the evil curse that—
"Let me tell you what's reeeeally goin' on in the woods..." the orc begins. "Deep in the heart of the jungle, there's a place built of minotaurs, but now it's overrun by SNAKE PEOPLE! Devils told me that... in my dreeeeams.... And some of these city folk have been waiting for the arrival of an air ship, the Star Goddess! It never arrived, but I bet you it crashed in the jungle... maybe the snake people had something to do with that."
At that point, 🌱 and Zanzibar arrive and join in. The orc introduces himself as Dur-Dur-Dur, a Port Nyanzaru native. He begins going off on more conspiracy theories.
"How do you know all this?" Zanzibar says.
Dur-Dur-Dur smiles a smile that only someone with an Intelligence score of 5 could do. "I guess you could say I'm gifted and whatnot!"
"I'm a brewer." 🌱 says.
"I'm a brewer!" Dur-Dur-Dur says. "And I'm a brawler, a brewer, and sometimes I'm a detective. And I'm a brewer! I was taught by my pappi, Dur-Dur. He went out into the jungle and didn't come back. He's still out there." Dur-Dur-Dur stares longingly for a bit. "Well I knew you were a brewer. I sensed it!"
At this point, ten minutes into the conversation, Dur-Dur-Dur freaks out as he realizes that Minion is a frog person. "Are you a priest of Nangnang!?" he shouts.
Minion doesn't respond because he's on his 6th drink.
"Hey, Dur-Dur-Dur, who is Nangnang?" 🌱 asks.
"She is the god of everything in Chult!" Dur-Dur-Dur says. "Here's a picture of her in my book of conspiracies and knowledge... but mostly conspiracies! I update it daily!"
Zanzibar starts furiously and curiously scribbling everything down. "Hey, Dur-Dur-Dur, could you say that again so that I'm sure I got it written down right?"
"No I will not because it sounds like you're trying to make fun of me! Anyways, did y'all know about the terrorfolk and the candle?—Er, it's called the Firefinger? It's a scary place full of danger, and it's right there on your map!
The party leans in to discuss their plans for their exploration into Chult. They decide that since Firefinger is close, they'll go down the "Turkey River" and see what they can find there. Valour tells them all that he paid for a guide, Eku. Dur-Dur-Dur speaks well of her, saying that she helped him when his father disappeared.
Speaking of people disappearing, the party realizes that McSneakle isn't with them. Dur-Dur-Dur thinks the "dwarves who were finding their home city might have had something happen to him! Can't trust them!"
Valour decides to retire to his room at the inn, say a prayer, and go to bed.
Zanzibar wants to know more about the merchant princes, so he asks Dur-Dur-Dur about Zhanthi and Wakanga. Dur-Dur-Dur goes on a tangent about taxes and tariffs for running his establishment, and he completely forgets that Kwaothé is the merchant prince in charge of ale sales. Dur-Dur-Dur also establishes that the dinosaur races are rigged. "It's all rigged. An allosaurus named Nasty Boy wins every time, and as soon as your figure out the game, they change the rules on you! That's how they get you! Everything's rigged in Chult, little man!"
Zanzibar says, "How do I get an audience with the princes?"
"Break the law!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"Oh, so the princes know where McSneakle is then!" 🌱 says.
"Your friend is probably snatched up by those dwarves," Dur-Dur-Dur says. "They been after their mine! There's a dragon, SO THEY SAAAY! Ain't no dragons around here. I'll show you on this map—"
"Wait, do you know where the lost city of Omu is?" Zanzibar says.
"IT'S NOT REAL! A FIGMENT! That's a fool's errand—"
Everyone gets drunk and goes to bed.
The next morning, Valour goes downstairs and meets Eku. He buys her breakfast, and they "cheers" their mango juice to "the end of all evils!"
The others pass their hangover saves and join them. Dur-Dur-Dur orders a gigantic, hardboiled dinosaur egg. At this point, they realize that McSneakle still hasn't arrived. 🌱 decides to cast locate object, using McSneakle's bag of holding as the point of reference. He sees that the bag of holding is in Princess Kwaothé's villa.
They consider breaking in and robbing her, but Dur-Dur-Dur says, "Let me tell you something about Kwaothé. Her guards are no joke! You do not want to fight them!"
At one point, Eku and Dur-Dur-Dur get into a big debate between the gods Pretzelcoatl and Nangnang, with Eku stating that Nangnang is an upjumped trickster that took advantage of the people abandoned by Pretzelcoatl, while Dur-Dur-Dur saying that if Pretzelcoatl didn't want his people to worship an upjumped frog deity, he shouldn't have abandoned them.
The party arrives at Kwaothé's place, and the guards won't let them in. Valour gets suspicious and uses his divine sense ability to see if any sinister shit is going on, especially after that final picture in the last episode's writeup. To his shock, he realizes that Eku is glowing like a celestial!
The party makes a decent persuasion roll while telling the guard that they know their friend's stuff is inside. The guard goes inside, then comes back a bit later and says, "The princess will exchange this item you seek for something else you have." He eyeballs Zanzibar, hinting at the shipment of exotic fabric he has.
"This is not trade. This is a bribe," Zanzibar says. "Just tell us where the weasely man with the big nose went."
"He assaulted a guard. Now he's dead," the guard admits.
The party realizes that McSneakle's idiocy got himself killed. Valour comforts Minion, and Dur-Dur-Dur goes on a rant about how this is all a result of "the man" having too much power.
In one final effort, Zanzibar casts find familiar and scouts out the second floor of Kwaothé's manor, but finds nothing of note other than the princess herself and her consorts just going at it XXX style in her bedroom. Not wanting his familiar to get too familiar, Zanzibar decides to end the quest for McSneakle and consider him and his pile of loot lost.
They head to the Temple of Gond, navigating the steam-filled room until they find Torvil, an albino dwarf who can fashion dragon scales into armor. He tells 🌱 that with the dragon scales coming from a wyrmling, he can only make a suit of armor as strong as studded leather, but it will be totally bitching and help him resist cold damage. 🌱 trades him 475 gold and some goodberry wine for the deal, but it will take a couple of weeks to make.
The party then goes to Wakanga's, the merchant prince of magic and lore, but they have to wait for a while since Wakanga is speaking with Ifan Talro'a, the merchant prince of beasts and beast training, which sounds infinitely more badass.
The party would have waited for four hours, but Valour strikes up a conversation with the guard, gets on his good side by speaking of his previous experience as a town guard, and manages to hurry up their issue and meet the prince sooner.
The party enters, and Zanzibar greets Wakanga, telling him he is the son of the Manzibar of Kinchasa, sent on a diplomatic mission. "There are three important statements I'm here to make. First, I would like to establish trade between Port Nyanzaru and Kinchasa. Second, my gentleman friend here has a potion he would like to display for you in the chance you may be interested in buying a supply of it. Third, there is a great evil in the land of Chult, and we are here to vanquish it.
Prince Wakanga is quick to humor, and he asks to see the potion. He casts identify on it, and upon realizing it has the ability to harness chaotic power, he asks Zanzibar to demonstrate the potion's power on one of Ifan Talro'a's pet flying snakes.
Zanzibar casts mage armor on the snake, and the snake's wings begin to change colors. Wakanga enjoys what he sees, then expresses great interest in both the potion as well as the shipment of silks. Though he ensures that Zanzibar knows that Zhanthi is the merchant in charge of cloth.
Regarding the "great evil" in the land, Wakanga dismisses Ifan and invites the party to a private side room. In there, Wakanga introduces the PC's to three foreign strangers: members of the Harpers.
The leader, Master Ardenfell, steps forward, and tells the party that he and his group of undercover spellcasters are also trying to prevent danger from spreading in the world. One of their members, Artus Cimber, is lost in the Chult jungles, and he possesses the Ring of Winter. "It's like if the Night King from Game of Thrones made the ring of power instead of Sauron," Ardenfell says. "It's some spooky shit! We can work together; you help any agents you find of ours, and our agents will help you. We'll destroy two world-ending disasters together."
The party agrees, but as they depart, Wakanga pulls Zanzibar aside and hands him a journal that was found near Yellyark. The journal is from a wizard, and it shows that the wizard had a shield guardian named Vorn that could be controlled by a magical amulet. Wakanga wants the amulet. In return, Wakanga will give Zanzibar a spellbook with 15 randomly determined spells in it between levels 1 and 6.
Zanzibar is FREAKING THE FUCK OUT and the party instantly changes their point of interest from Dur-Dur-Dur's spooky voodoo nonsense Firefinger plot to the one that will give them a wizard spellbook with bitching spells in it. They then get three free +1 yklwas (little spear things) from Wakanga and go buy some canoes because SUPER POWERED SPELLBOOK BITCHES!
The party finishes their errands and returns to the Thundering Lizard Inn. While getting ready to sleep, Valour gathers the party together and tells them that he knows Eku is a celestial.
"I always knew there was something going on with her!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"I always knew she was kind of angelic," 🌱 says.
The next morning, they meet up with Eku at the beach and buy a metric fuckton of insect repellent like a true Georgia-born sonuvabitch at Eku's request. Eku has already created a feast for them by casting create food and water, and Zanzibar applauds Valour's skill in choosing a guide since she knows 3rd level spells freakingmetagamingsixfootsixmyass
The party sets off! THE EXPEDITION THROUGH CHULT BEGINS!
Zanzibar uses his divine portent ability to help guide Eku on a fast pace travel, moving along the coast as she navigates the two canoes. The day is misty and damp, but not enough to stall them, and by the end of the day, the PC's reach the still, estuary mouth of the River Shostenar.
The morning comes, and Zanzibar's portents give him a 1 and a 20! The party use the 20 for Eku's survival roll again for a fast travel speed. While soaring down the river, they spot a wooden outpost stuck in the trees.
Vaour and Dur-Dur-Dur pull over to the bank and investigate the outpost, only to discover an old druid named Minshu keeping watch.
"Who do you serve?" Minshu asks.
"Tyr," Valour says.
Minshu nods. "I serve Mielekki. I'm of the Emerald Enclave."
Everyone fucks up their history check to remember who the Emerald Enclave was, but Dur-Dur-Dur proves them all to shame and knows that the Emerald Enclave is a group of druids who seek to set the world right with nature. The PC's sit with Minshu and tell him of their plight.
Minshu agrees with them, but says he can't go with them since he is keeping an undead menace at bay within the jungle. He does, however, summon one of his scouts, an elf named Lilac, who he allows to follow the party for a few days before returning to him.
The party departs, and nothing too dangerous happens the rest of the night.
The next morning, the weather is clear, and Zanzibar uses portents to keep Eku's navigation on point. But towards the end of the day, a GIANT ANACONDA SUMBITCH rears up out of the river and snatches up Dur-Dur-Dur, dragging him under.
Zanzibar lets loose with magic missiles while Lilac fires her bow, and Eku casts bless on the party to invigorate them. Dur-Dur-Dur escapes the snake's grip and gets really upset about the whole ordeal with a RAGE!!! Valour leaps from the canoe and uses compelled duel on the snake while Eku heals everyone. The snake bites at Valour and almost takes him out, but Minion leaps at the serpent and bites it to death because he's just too much of a badass like that!
The next day, Lilac bids them adieu and returns back to Minshu's outpost. Valour gives her some incense blocks for safety.
With one last turn around the river bend, the party comes across the remnants of Camp Righteous...
Among other things...