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BQ-18: The Peaks of Mbala

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

The party flees the ruins of Mauratal and finds their old camp on the outskirts, away from the scary dinosaur mayhem. Valour decides to have a ceremony for their fallen comrade, Minion, by taking some vials of holy water and mixing them with dirt to create mud. He washes Minion with the mud.

Get down with that holy dirt!

Dur-Dur-Dur wants to have a sky-burial, Valour wants to have a burial-burial, Zanibar wants to have a burny-burial, and 🌱probably wants to eat him or something like that.

🌱 ends up casting gentle repose and placing a copper piece on each of Minion's eyes because he also has seen Boondock Saints. Dur-Dur-Dur sobs nakedly in the rain. "My eyes shower the most today!" the orc says. Zanzibar deals with his grief internally as all Kinchasans do, and Stevorn stands between Dur-Dur-Dur and Zanzibar with a hand on each of their shoulders.

That night, Valour stays up for the first watch with Stevorn, drunkenly telling the robot about his time with Minion. As he's crying, he sees Minion! Or well, he sees some frog-shaped humanoids creeping around the camp near Minion's burial. They flee at his approach.

All but one.

The remaining frog-person is patterned like a yellow poison dart frog, and it eyes Valour all suspicious-like. Valour tells the character that Minion was their friend, but he rolls a natural 1 on a performance check since he and the frog can't understand one another. The frog responds with anger, then reaches into its pocket and throws a scrap of human skin on the ground at Valour's feet.

The frog then flees, and Valour loses him in the tear-streaked chase. Valour returns to the camp, confused and mentally exhausted. He gives the skin to Zanzibar, who realizes the skin is a Chultan human scalp with a tattoo on it of Tyr's scales of JUSTICE!

Zanzibar recalls the zombie-eating cannibals from Camp Righteous had tattoos of Tyr-ish scales on their heads, so he deduces that these frog-people have killed some of them.

Needless to say, the party beefs up their campsite security for the rest of the night and they promptly fall to sleep because they want to level up REAL BAD!

So they sleep, they level up, and Valour conjures a warhorse, naming it "Minion II," and the party sets out to finally deal with Nanny Pu'pu at Mbala after having this side quest distracted by three other side quests.

After the party trudges through the swamp, the soggy ground gives way to much more solid terrain as the get closer to Mbala. Eventually, Eku gets antsy and hides in the swamp. Cue the rest of the party hiding in the swamp because shit I don't know if the brontosaurus is scared then maybe the people should be scared too am I right?

It turns out that Eku hid because another brontosaurus was lumbering by, and it sees the party because boy-oh-boy they're rolling Lilac levels of d20's over here for their stealth checks. They eventually scare the brontosaurus away by screaming really, really loud.

Dur-Dur-Dur begins leading an impromptu class on screaming at dinosaurs since he's so good at it. "You gotta scream from the chest! Go on, do it!" he says.

"I don't," Valour says.

"See, you're scared right now!" Dur-Dur-Dur beams in accomplishment. "I didn't have to fight at all during the early years of my life because I was a good screamer!"

The drinking also probably helped.

"Eku looked like she didn't really want to deal with that brontosaurus," Zanzibar says.

"Maybe it was a male brontosaurus..." Dur-Dur-Dur says, getting really close to Zanzibar. "... who wanted to have ssssseeeexxxxx with her..."

Night falls, and the group camps out. 🌱 manages to find about 5 pounds of honey, so the PC's chow down. 🌱 also finds another yahcha beetle, so he makes it play with his other yahcha beetle... forcibly. They're gonna play together. "Now kiiiiiiiiss..."

Zanzibar wants to use the rest of his portents for the day, so he challenges Dur-Dur-Dur to an arm wrestling match. He portents an 18, but Dur-Dur-Dur rages and rolls a 25, smashing Zanzibar's hand through a table. Of course there's a table there! Valour then sits at the table and challenges Dur-Dur-Dur, but the barbarian proves too much for the paladin as well and proceeds to beat him.

The party begins to sleep, but Valour has another nightmare of a witch pawing at him. He wakes up, and his head is hurting. He tells Zanzibar about it as they trade out watch posts, then Zanzibar notices that Valour is missing a patch of hair.

Everyone makes fun of Valour for being a little more bald. Even Stevorn!

The next morning, the party treks through the mountains without much issue aside from much more hilly terrain. They camp again, but Zanzibar decides to stay up while Valour sleeps and cast detect magic to see if he can deduce anything about these witch dreams.

He does deduce something!

Oh fuck he sees the witch: the ghostly shade of a witchy woman with a peg leg prodding at Valour. He calls the witch a hoe,and the witch points at him and tries to polymorph him into a snake, but Zanzibar resists, and the witch dissipates away into the trees, cackling in old lady glee.

Valour wakes, and Zanzibar speaks to him, "Your vision has manifested into reality. You were visited in the night by an apparition of your tormentor. I tried to convince it not to bother you. She bothered me instead. I think she tried to turn me into a snake."

"OH GOD!" Valour says. "We must be getting close. What do you think she's doing to me?"

"I cannot say. She looked intent on touching you. I convinced her otherwise. But if this is a creature that can cast spells through apparitions, either way, we are up against some shit!"

Valour nods. "Well it's targeting us. So we've got to end it."

"I am well with ending this," Zanzibar says.

"Eku believes this too."

"I agree that anything Eku believes is evil must be eradicated."

The next dawn comes, and the largest downpour of rain the party has ever dealt with descends on them. They arrive at the base of the peak to Mbala, but they realize that the only way up the mountain is through a small path that is overgrown and definitely not ADA compliant (Adults with Dinosaur Augmentations), so Eku can't fit up it because brontosaurus.

The party is unable to see to the top of the mountain due to the heavy rain, so they decide to hold off on the ascension until the following day. They plan on getting Eku up the mountain by using gaseous form, which 🌱 stores in Stevorn for use on the following day.

No witch nightmares plague Valour for the night, and the next morning is misty with wisps of fog everywhere. Stevorn casts gaseous form on Eku, and the brontosaurus dissipates into a puffy cloud that shimmers up the cliffside. The PC's have an almost 2,000 foot vertical travel distance, but the winding and overgrown path up the mountain will mean they have a few hours of travel time before reaching the top.

After a couple of hours of traveling, the party hears sounds of a screaming brontosaurus above them, as well as sounds of a massive brawl. The party will have close to an hour's worth of travel before they reach the top, so 🌱 casts gaseous form on Valour, letting him reach the top in mere minutes.

On his way up, he catches a great view of Chult, marking several of these locations on the map that he isn't carrying.

When he arrives at the top of Mbala, he sees a dilapidated series of ruins bedecked with spooky-ass piles of human skulls. The whole place is beaten with evidence of a recent brawl that a dinosaur was involved in, but there are no sights of a brontosaurus, which would be painfully obvious in such a closed-in area.

However, Valour hears lots of loud, horrid, cranky, whiny, cantankerous, miserable, painful, wretched, mind-numbing wailing from a busted up cabin that's nestled in a patch of rainwater close by. He takes advantage of the fog and mist, blending in with it, and comes across a withered old crone digging at the wreckage of her cabin: Nanny Pu'pu.

"Coco, no!" Nanny Pu'pu shouts. "What did she do to you! That mean old Pretzelcoatl and his agents of murder!"

Eventually, Nanny Pu'pu reveals that she's digging up a Frankenstein monster kind of creature that's buried beneath the cabin. She shouts in misery, "Coco! No! Wait, I know!"

The woman flees to a drawer, and Valour sees a dead feathered serpent lying in the refuse near the drawer: Eku!

Valour fades in behind Nanny Pu'pu, and as the rest of the party crests the end of the path, 🌱 cancels concentration on the gaseous form spell, and Valour manifests behind the witch. He draws Shatterspike and pumps a second level divine smite straight into the witch's back, catching her completely off guard and dumping lots of damage into her.

Nanny Pu'pu turns on him, then casts vicious mockery at him, saying "Too bad you weren't there for her!"

The rest of the party begins charging towards the cabin, with Dur-Dur-Dur leading the charge. Valour doesn't let up, pummeling the old hag with another divine smite. Nanny Pu'pu goes invisible, and nobody can figure out where she is.

Valour runs over to the dead coatl, and he tries to use lay on hands, but he's unable to restore any hit points to her. Dur-Dur-Dur dashes into the cabin and bumps into Nanny Pu'pu near Coco's discarded remains. He waves his yklwa around, managing to stab the old witch a couple of times.

Sword in hand, Valour reels towards the spot where he thinks Nanny Pu'pu is hiding and shouts, "Show yourself!" She doesn't, so he raises Shatterspike and brings it down on Coco's head, annihilating the creature as Shatterspike's magic tears the construct apart.

The rest of the party arrives, and Valour shouts at Zanzibar, "She's invisible! She killed Eku! Fireball us!"

Zanzibar is a little unsure about casting—

"FIREBALL US RIGHT NOW!" Valour shouts.

Zanzibar instead readies magic missile and passes his turn. Valour catches Nanny Pu'pu rumbling through a chest, since the chest isn't invisible and its lid opening up can't be because of a random ghost or some bullshit like that.

Everyone closes in on the bedroom with the chest and starts swinging wildly at the air. Dur-Dur-Dur manages to bump into her.

"Found you!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, then stabs her. Zanzibar lets loose his magic missiles, and she bursts out of her invisibility.

Nanny Pu'pu looks pleadingly at 🌱 as he raises his shillelagh quarterstaff, saying "You wouldn't harm a creature of the forest, would you?"

"... Yeah I would," 🌱 says, then swats at her with his quarterstaff.

Nanny Pu'pu goes invisible again, and Zanzibar shouts, "I'M FIREBALLING THE PARTY!"

He drops a fireball spell on the cabin and blows most of it to smithereens, but misses Nanny Pu'pu. The party, however, feels quite toasty from the event.

The PC's debate where Nanny Pu'pu could have run, which could be anywhere, so the party runs everywhere. There's no sign of footprints, so as everyone is running around with their arms flailing, who better than bump into her for the third time today than Dur-Dur-Dur!

He catches the hag on the front entry bridge, right next to Zanzibar. He raises his yklwa and just shanks her repeatedly until she is completely slain beyond a reasonable, unobtainable chance of being brought back to life under any circumstance.

She gone!

🌱 cuts her head off and lobs it off the cliffside, and Dur-Dur-Dur steals all her shit, which includes some ingots, a spell scroll, and onyx gems.

Valour stands in front of Eku's body, takes out the Candle of Guga, and lights it one last time. He ascends to a kaleidoscopic prism of colors, ending up in the presence of Pretzelcoatl, the once-god of Chult.

"I need a miracle," Valour says.

Pretzelcoatl directs him to clutch Eku's wing, which is holding a gemstone-covered egg the size of a coconut. "Eku is with me now," Pretzelcoatl says. "She has left a gift for the world. Ensure that the world receives it."

"Her spirit didn't get absorbed by the Child?" Valour says.

Pretzelcoatl shakes his head, then disappears in a flourish of multicolored feathers as the Candle of Guga burns out.

"That's Eku's egg!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, bewildered, then whispers to Zanzibar, "I didn't know she was pregnant."

"That's a valid point," 🌱 says. "Although we did see a male brontosaurus walk past her."

Zanzibar grabs ahold of Stevorn, "Okay, so in the past eleven episodes, Eku has died, Minion has died, and we banished Lilac. We are not fighting anything else until I take Stevorn back to Port Nyanzaru and trade him for a book! NPC's are dropping like flies!"

The party mourns Eku's loss, and Valour performs a funeral ceremony for her. Dur-Dur-Dur leans over to Zanzibar as Valour prays in front of the dead coatl and says, "He DOES know that Eku was a brontosaurus right? That's a feathery lizard thing..."

Zanzibar later identifies Dur-Dur-Dur's loot as a scroll of comprehend languages, some onyx gems worth 50 gp each, and ten adamantium ingots forged by dwarves in Hrakhamar. Dur-Dur-Dur immediately wrestles with the idea of using adamantium for a new weapon... but dwarf-made metal? He doesn't like that...

The party gathers their gear and descends the cliff, clouded in melancholy. 🌱 catches sight of what looks like a shipwreck in the jungle to the south.

They camp at the base of Mbala for the night. Valour prepares food and rations, forgetting that he no longer needs to make any for Minion nor let Eku eat any tree food. Valour eats Minion's food in a depressing binge.

They agree with Zanzibar to head back to Port Nyanzaru so that they can exchange their final NPC for some quest rewards. So the next day, another huge downpour comes along. A group of "terror folk" called pterafolk poke their little heads out of a nest, eyeballing the party, but Valour ain't dealing with its shit, so he flicks it off and the party keeps going.

🌱 navigates the way, and after some traveling, Dur-Dur-Dur hears a couple of giant wasps humming near the party. "That's the biggest mosquito I've ever seen!" he says, shocked at the natural creatures that exist in the home continent that he has always lived on.

Valour throws him a can of bug spray, and Dur-Dur-Dur throws the can of bug spray at the wasps, which scares them away.

After a couple of days, the PC's arrive on the outskirts of Mauratal, choosing not to go inside since... you know... all the murder. More days pass, and they paddle down the River Soshenstar until they reach Camp Vengeance. They debate going in and letting Niles Breakbone know that they won't be reconvening with his sortie, but Valour hurries the party along. There's no time to waste.

More days of travel upriver, and 🌱 sees a tabaxi cutting up a giant snapping turtle on the side of the river. The tabaxi waves to them.

"Don't touch their bellies!" Dur-Dur-Dur says to the party.

The tabaxi greets them, asking how they are doing on such a fine day.

"We're bringing some witch head back with us," 🌱 says.

"I've never heard of witch head. Where does it grow?" the tabaxi says, taking notes with a piece of charcoal.

The party slowly paddles past the tabaxi, and 🌱 tells a condensed story about Nanny Pu'pu and about how she has been straight up murdered.

"Wait..." the tabaxi shouts out after them. "Are you talking about an actual head of an actual witch?"

But the party doesn't care for the kitty-cat person so they just keep on paddling. They paddle so much, in fact, that 🌱 gets lost along the river and they have to stop for the night to get their bearings.

While lost, the party is set upon by a band of frog-people again. The same ones as before, or different ones!? Who knows! Valour sure doesn't know, because as Stevorn sets off his amphibian alarm, the frog-people flee into the jungle and Valour can't catch them.

The next day, 🌱 finds out where they are, but as they paddle up the river, a plesiosaurus creeps up behind them in the river and darts through the surface, sinking its teeth into Zanzibar, who promptly screams and poops and transfers half of that damage (and poop) over to Stevorn.

Valour paddles over to Zanzibar and hits the plesiosaurus with a divine smite, then 🌱 takes out a piece of cork, rubs it together, and casts water walk on the whole party, letting them run off the boat and along the river's surface!

Dur-Dur-Dur dashes across the water like ork-Jesus and just starts beating the everloving shit out of the plesiosaurus, making three consecutive hits on it, one being a critical, until he just beats it to a pulp in the river.

"That's what you get for ignoring the shout!" he screams at the corpse, and the party paddles back up the river.

The party camps out for the night, and they are lucky enough to have a bright and sunny day with no setbacks, letting 🌱 navigate down the river with enough gusto to advance three hexes.

The next morning, Valour wakes up to find that five of his rations are gone, but a really pretty seashell has been left in place of it.

"The Food Fairy came and left you a seashell!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"Do you think you got payment in return for the missing food?" Zanzibar says.

Everyone instantly casts every type of detect magic or divine sense or beast sense or where's-the-whatever as they do an SR-71 style recon sweep of the camp, but they find nothing.

The adventurers leave the river and enter the beachside of northern Chult, and revelry is held as Port Nyanzaru looms in the distance. After thirty days of traveling through the jungle, the party finally arrives back in Port Nyanzaru.

Six people departed. Four people returned.

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