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BQ-34: Keys and Gladiators

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

With the Predator kitty-person subdued, the rest of the party safely crosses the fallen log and meets up with Dur-Dur-Dur, Ezekiel, and Dragonbait. Valour lays on hands himself to make the terrible pain go away.

But does it ever really go away?

"Why did you shoot at my friends and Ezekiel?" Dur-Dur-Dur sharply addresses the elder tabaxi.

"I saw a challenge, and I took it," the tabaxi purs.

“Oh, you like shooting unarmed people?" Dur-Dur-Dur says, then punches the tied up tabaxi.

The tabaxi grins at Dur-Dur-Dur’s antics. "Yes, you are a tough one. I can see why it was you who took me down."

"Where do you live? Where is your house?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"A couple of houses back..." the tabaxi says, gesturing with his head to one of the many ruined structures within Omu.

🌱 takes out the yahcha beetle from his… whatever, then goes to Valour, "Uh I earned this a long time ago from a quest I did by climbing out a window and rolling around in the ground. I think it was for a scenario like this. I didn't want to use my last beetle, but this looks like a good situation. Go ahead and eat it."

Valour is unsure about any of this and all of this.

"You eat bugs all the time," 🌱 ensures him.

"I do?" Valour mumbles. "Okay… if I like them..."

Valour chomps down on the yahcha beetle, which crunches and fills his mouth with bug guts. He forces the contents down, then after a minute or so, the curse of the mad monkey fever wears off. His memory returns—and ooooh is he mad!

"Hey asshole, why'd you shoot me?" Valour says, stepping up to the tabaxi.

"Well... you do carry the mark." The tabaxi says, looking at the symbol of Tyr on Valour’s shield.

Valour remembers that the symbol of Tyr is also the symbol used by the Heretic, Ras Nsi, and that not all Chultans appreciate that symbol thank-you-very-much. But that was several episodes ago, so it's easy to forget that.

Or does he have a turtleshell shield now?

The tabaxi, whose name is Bag of Nails, outright explains that he’s old, damn near dead, and is looking for dangerous game to hunt.

"So, are you just out here trying to die?" Zanzibar says.

"A hunter's death is the greatest death for my people,” Bag of Nails says.

"How often do you get a chance to fight?" Zanzibar says.

"Well there's the snake people, the dinosaurs, and recently I'm seeing more of your kind," Bag of Nails says.

"Who?" Zanzibar says.

"Well there are the yellow-bannered men, the red-cloaked people..." Bag of Nails’ voice trails off, and his eyes roll back a bit as he stifles a senile laugh.

"You know, the best way to die is in battle. But the better best way is to die with friends!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"Friends? Palaver? Companionship?” Bag of Nails mumbles. “I haven't had that in such a long time! Come! Let's eat with friends."

Bag of Nails hops to his feet, and the party lets him lead them by his leash to his house. While walking, he points out a few locations along the road. “Over there, off the road, is the snail’s shrine. Off to the south, on that exposed chunk of land in the lava, that’s the shrine to the serpent…”

The nerds in the party check their notes and realize he’s talking about Unkh the flail snail and Moa the jaculi.

Bag of Nails brings them into the basement of a dingy old house where he lives like a backwoods hillbilly around a campfire.

"Horned rabbit good enough for everyone?" Bag of Nails asks.

Everyone agrees.

"Can you let me cook?" Bag of Nails grumbles.

Everyone agrees.

“… Untie me!” Bag of Nails says, bluntly.

Dur-Dur-Dur unties the tabaxi and lets him gather up food to make a campfire stew in the basement.

"Sooo... what brings you to the forgotten city?" Bag of Nails says.

"My daddy got hurt, and we gotta stop a Death Curse." Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"Yep!" Valour agrees.

"What's this about a Death Curse?" Bag of Nails says.

"See, right now, if you die… what do you think happens when you die?" Zanzibar says.

"I join the rest of the hunt!" Bag of Nails says.

"Wrong! You get dragged into a monster," Zanzibar says.

"That sounds ridiculous," the talking cat-man says to the magician.

The party then explains what they are looking for, as well as hunting treasure and anything else of value that they can exchange for big money that they can spend on adventuring gear to find more big money.

"Treasure...” Bag of Nails says, the thrill of adventure filling him. “I haven't thought of such a thing in a while. There are some treasures around here. Have you heard of the Navel of the Moon? Carved from a chunk of the moon herself, the polished egg-shaped stone was given as a gift by the ruling Syl-pasha of Calimport to his sailor daughter. It is said that anyone who holds the stone can always find the way home to his or her loved ones. I myself have lost a son…” the tabaxi’s eyes flutter, as though remembering. “But… yes… that was why I came here.”

Bag of Nails shakes his head, then smiles. “But now I have a better, more relieving task.

"More like self-serving," Valour mumbles.

"Sometimes it's best to serve yourself." Bag of Nails snaps. "Or, best to serve your friends!"

Bag of Nails divvies the meaty soup out to everyone.

"It is hot... and hot, if you catch the drift," Bag of Nails grins, blowing on his soup before taking a sip.

"Are you ready to go on an adventure tomorrow?" Dur-Dur-Dur says, drinking the soup.

"No, tonight!" 🌱 says, aware of his ever-declining Hit Point maximum.

"If you're wanting to go on a hunt and die, you can at least be useful," Valour says to Bag of Nails. "I know you can hit hard as hell!"

"I promise if you survive, I'll kill you afterwards!" Dur-Dur-Dur tells the tabaxi.

"A quick ratatat, if you would, gentlemen," Ezekiel says, calling a group-huddle-without-the-cat. "I don't think a suicidal kittycat is the best of travel compatriots."

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN A SUICIDAL KITTYCAT IS NOT THE BEST TRAVEL COMPANION?" Dur-Dur-Dur shouts so that everyone can hear him especially the tabaxi.

"Exactly as it sounds,” Ezekiel says. “I just don't feel comfortable. He shot me when I was drowning. That's not a good travelling friend."

"He fed you stew!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, pointing at Ezekiel’s untouched stew.

"If you're going to get hung up about that, you're not going to like hanging out with Dur-Dur-Dur," Valour says.

Ezekiel storms out and pouts outside on the roof like a gargoyle.

The party gathers up, then debates that there are most likely shrines for each of the nine Trickster Gods, and that each one has a puzzle cube of some kind that must be used for something important. Maybe the other people that Bag of Nails has seen are involved somehow?

"These others… did you shoot them too?" Valour says.

"And what's in the stew?" Zanzibar says.

"... Is it good?" Bag of Nails says.

"Did some of those people have red... red... red cloaks?" Valour says, stumbling over his words in confusion.

"Stuttering?" Bag of Nails says, smiling.

"Just... something's weird," Valour says.

"Yes, something is weird," Bag of Nails says.

Everyone in the party, except Ezekiel, makes a Constitution saving throw. 🌱 fails his and loses a lot of hit points, almost dropping him to zero. Bag of Nails lets out one final, senile cackle, then drops down dead. Everyone else feels the poison-laced stew wrack at their insides.

Dur-Dur-Dur loots the area and finds some basic survival gear, as well as five vials of strange liquid, which Zanzibar identifies as midnight tears—a dangerous digestible poison!

"Do you think he did it on purpose?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"Yep," 🌱 says.

"We captured him. It was not an honorable death, so he took another way out," Zanzibar deduces.

The party decides to check out the shrines to Unkh and Moa, but they need to take a rest first because Bag of Nails was a piece of shit and, also, Bag of Nails was even more of a piece of shit. Speaking of Bag of Nails, 🌱 casts animate dead on him and gets a zombie tabaxi to join in with them as a trap triggerer.

The party goes to Unkh's shrine, which shows swirly carvings decorating two obelisks at the entrance to the ruined compound. An overgrown courtyard lies under the shade of tall palms. Stone doors seal the entrance to the windowless shrine, with a smaller ruin standing nearby.

🌱 sends zombie Bag of Nails to step on any part of the overgrown ruin that may or may not kill them. He stomps around, and nothing happens. The party moves in, checking out the smaller ruin next to the shrine. They see that the small ruin is a workshop, and the roof of it collapsed a long time ago, now thick with a mass of plants and moss. Through the moss, the party sees hundreds of iron keys hanging from hooks on the wall. Some are bent and broken, while others are rusted beyond repair. The rest look serviceable.

Looks like a fuckload of keys! Zanzibar casts detect magic and detects nothing strange from the workshop besides the fuckload of keys.

🌱 orders zombie Bag of Nails to organize all the keys, which could take… a moment.

Dur-Dur-Dur wants to get inside the main shrine, so he swings Durminator at the door and clips off some chunks.

"Don't you have knock?" Valour asks Zanzibar.

"You said only the good spells!" Zanzibar says.

"Don't you have a scroll of knock?" Valour says.

"I used it to learn knock!" Zanzibar says.

After much debating, Dur-Dur-Dur goes ahead and carves out a hole in the stone door for them to step through. The door was unlocked anyways, but nobody checked. Ah well! 🌱 sends the zombie in.

Inside, a statue of a giant snail looms over the room. In place of antennae, it has five pseudopods ending in rocky clubs. Along the walls, six iron keys hang in small niches above stone plinths. Behind the statue, a carved pedestal in a wide alcove has a keyhole set into its base.

Valour steps into the shrine and checks out the snail statue. He swings Shatterspike at the statue, and upon collision, radiant beams shoot out everywhere from its shell, striking Dur-Dur-Dur and an undead ghast that was hiding behind it for laserbeam damage. A fight begins!

Artus runs into the shrine and fires off some arrows, striking another ghast. Dur-Dur-Dur swings his axe and decapitates a ghast. Ezekiuel runs in, sees the undead creatures, and casts mirror image to make triple copes of himself that all make out with each other.

The rest of the party charges in, laying down strikes and magic missiles and all kinds of terrible danger shit. 🌱 ends the fight by casting chill touch, which causes a spore hand to rip the wound of a hurt ghast apart, rotting it away from within.

Valour counts five protuberances on the snail statue, but there are six keys in the room. He goes to take the fifth key, but then Zanzibar sees some strange script written on the ceiling. He casts comprehend languages, revealing that the script is written in Old Omuan and says, "UNKH URGES US TO CONTRAST ALL OPTIONS BEFORE ACTING."

The party debates. They know Unkh is self-absorbed and indecisive. Zanzibar suggests they take all the keys and decide what to do after that.

The party leaves the shrine and makes zombie Bag of Nails grab the six keys in alcoves and meet them outside, which it does.

Zanzibar suggests putting all keys into the keyhole and not turn them, since that’s being “indecisive.”

"We know these puzzles work these strange ways because of the crocodile temple," Valour says.

🌱 tells the zombie to put the keys into the hole on the pedestal near the snail statue. The zombie puts the first one in, and radiant lasers shoot out of the snail statue, eradicating the zombie into a pile of ash. Looks like Bag of Nails is a Bag of Fails!

It’s funny dammit!

Dragonbait goes in and gets the keys, bringing them back outside. The party asks 🌱 to summon some creatures that they can expend to try out the other five keys, so he summons eight baboons.

The baboons go in one at a time and get vaporized in sequence as they try the keys—none of the six keys work, and 🌱 is reduced to only three baboons remaining.

What the hell can a druid accomplish with only three baboons?

Ezekiel examines the keys. He notices that they have different teeth, but they’re shaped the same way. He lines them all up next to each other, then slips the cock ring off the end of his tail and slides the keys onto them. The keys hang down, and as he looks at them, he sees the different teeth line up as though creating a brand new key.

"So... does one of these keys in the key hut match this line up?" Zanzibar says, looking at the piles of keys.

Every party member plus three baboons start digging through the keys to find one whose teeth matches the six from inside.

"I've found a match," Artus Cimber says after about thirty minutes of searching. He holds his key up to the six on the ring and—sure enough—they match!

🌱 gives a baboon the key, sends it in, and tells it to put the key in the lock on the pedestal. The pedestal grinds around on the spot. As it turns, an ornate stone cube corkscrews up from a concealed hatch in its surface.

The puzzle cube is there! The baboon snatches it up and brings it to the party. The cube has the image of Unkh the flail snail engraved on all sides.

That’s one puzzle cube down!

"Hide that," Zanzibar says to 🌱. "Bag of Nails, the piece of shit, said some others were looking for that. There are other groups. The snake people, the red wizards, and people with yellow banners."

"I looked, and of all the factions in 5E, none of them have yellow banners," Valour says, metagaming.

"We should go back to Bag of Nails' place and set up camp for the night," Valour suggests.

"Do we want to set up camp here or go back to where Dur-Dur-Dur's dad is?" Zanzibar says.

"Let's stay in the city," Valour says.

"We should go find another cube before we give up for the night, because I only have a certain number of long rests before I'm dead,” 🌱 says.

The party agrees to try and obtain another cube, this time heading south of Bag of Nails’ house towards the shrine to Moa, which rests on a precipice over the open sore of magma bubbling at the south end of Omu. The shortest gap they can find is 60 ft., and even then, there’s a pile of steam floating in the air from the river spilling into the magma to the west.

"We can all grab a pixie and fly ourselves over there,” 🌱 suggests. “Also we don't have any level 3 spells because I brought the cat back to life and talked to a plant."

"How long does fly last?" Zanzibar says.

"Ten minutes," 🌱 says.

"We'd have to REALLY try and figure out the puzzle super fast to get back," Zanzibar says.

"We could just camp over there," 🌱 says.

Everyone argues about what to do since they won't have fairies to get them back once they get over there. Dur-Dur-Dur thinks smart and suggests everyone tie rope and fly over while holding the rope, that way they can pull themselves back.

Eventually, they realize that they can leave Dragonbait behind to guard their rear. This means the pixies only need to cast fly six times, leaving two fly spells remaining. Artus Cimber shows that he can use his magic dagger, Bookmark, to cast dimension door to get himself and an ally back. Zanzibar also has dimension door prepared, so he can bring an ally back as well.

So fly will get six adventurers to the island, then fly can get two back while dimension door gets the other four back. Sounds like a solid plan!

🌱 summons eight pixies, six of them cast fly on the party and everyone soars over to Moa’s shrine, leaving Dragonbait and Quest. The shrine itself is a column of rock rising 200 feet above the lava. A walled ruin overgrown with palms perches on the summit. Palm trees grow in front of the squat building, and worn steps ascend to an archway that forms the entrance. Reliefs of coiled serpents flank the entrance.

🌱 makes the pixies go invisible so that they can hide for the time.

Dur-Dur-Dur steps forward into the courtyard and sees four dead jaculi snakes that look like they were slaughtered. Hmm… suspicious!

🌱 casts find traps and sees some pits with green slime in them inside the hallway leading into the shrine. Zanzibar sees some more Old Omuan scrips and casts comprehend languages, which says "MOA TEACHES US THAT SECRETS HIDE THE TRUTH."

Dur-Dur-Dur examines the line of traps on the floor in the shrine, so he leaps over them and lands on top of an altar in the center room. It turns out that this room has shitloads of warrior statues all armed with crossbows that are aimed at him. Beneath his feet is a puzzle cube of Moa.

Ain't no way in hell he's touching it.

Beneath the cube is a moss-covered mosaic depicting a monstrous serpent constricting a furious monkey. Dur-Dur-Dur wipes away some moss and sees some Old Omuan script. He lets Zanzibar know what he sees, so Zanzibar balls up a wad of paper and throws it to Dur-Dur-Dur. Dur-Dur-Dur copies the script onto the paper and throws it back at Zanzibar, who casts comprehend languages revealing, "DEATH REWARDS A THIEF DECEIVED. TRUTH COMES FROM THE SERPENT'S MOUTH."

"What's a serpent's mouth?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"Moa's a serpent," Valour says. He checks one of the dead jaculi, examining its mouth. The animal is burnt.

Dur-Dur-Dur tells Zanzibar to look into a goo pit. Zanzibar peeks in and realizes that the hallway has arrow slits in it that show there are other rooms in this shrine. Valour wants to carve out a chunk of the wall and enter these rooms, so Dur-Dur-Dur leaps back across for fear of being shot up by arrows, but not before tying a rope around the cube at his feet in case they need to pull it out of the room.

Valour hacks a wall open and sees a coiled stone serpent statue. He checks the mouth, but there is nothing in it. He then holds Eku's egg out near the statue and "starts being hopeful” since Moa is one of the deities that they hope will hatch Eku’s egg.

Nothing happens.

Dur-Dur-Dur realizes there is a room just like Valour’s on the other side, so he hacks the other wall and sees a similar room with a stone snake statue, but this snake statue has its head chopped off and lying on the ground next to a puzzle cube just like the one in the murder-arrow-room. He grabs the cube and leaves the shrine, but the cube vanishes from his hand. He goes back in and sees the cube lying just where he picked it up.

🌱 starts getting bored, so he has his eight invisible pixies use druidcraft to create a chorus of hissing snake sounds in Dur-Dur-Dur’s and Valour’s rooms.

"I'm Dur-Dur-Dur!" the orc shouts, but there is still hissing.

Valour leaves his room. "Hey Dur-Dur-Dur, what do you see on your end?"

"It's a tricksy room!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

Valour checks out the rooms, then realizes there are secret doors in the rooms that connect them to the room with the crossbow people. So he gets an idea!

Dur-Dur-Dur throws the cube from the broken snake head room over to Valour, who puts it in the snake's mouth on his side.

Nothing happens.

🌱 makes the serpent noises increases. Valour asks the statue if he can take the puzzle cube, but there is no response.

Zanzibar tugs on the rope attached to the cube in the crossbow room, which causes the archer statues to fire off their weapons. As the cube appears outside the shrine, it vanishes and reappears back in the crossbow room. Valour sees that the crossbow statues are no longer loaded, so he walks in and grabs the cube again, but magical crossbow bolts appear in their weapons and twelve of them fire straight at Valour.

Fortunately, the half elf is covered head to toe in armor, so only one arrow manages to hurt him as the others clink off his defense. Valour then takes the cube from this one as well as the cube from Dur-Dur-Dur’s room and puts both of them in the mouth of the serpent statue.

Nothing happens.

Dur-Dur-Dur starts thinking, which makes him reattach the severed serpent head to the broken statue. He puts the cubes into that mouth.

Nothing happens.

Dur-Dur-Dur grabs the serpent head with the cubes in it and leaves the shrine holding it.

Nothing happens, aside from the cubes disappearing and reappearing in their appropriate rooms.

"Artus Cimber, help us!" Valour says, agitated.

Artus skiis into the room where Valour is standing with the intact Moa statue and scans the room. "There are lots of footprints in here,” he says.

"Well Tyr has been walking in here with me," Valour says.

"I'm trying to say that it looks like someone beat you here and already took the cube," Artus reiterates.

Everyone is mad because nothing was ever going to happen. Except the getting mad part.

The party then uses their last two fly spells and dimension door to go back to Bag of Nails’ house and sleep away their terrible luck. On the bright side, Ezekiel levels up to level 5!

They wake up the next day, having survived their first day in Omu. Aware that there are other factions trying to obtain these puzzle cubes, Zanzibar casts arcane eye, which causes a pervy little eyeball to appear in the air. It hovers in front of him, and Zanzibar sends it around Omu in search of potential shrines and other locations to look for.

One shrine he finds is overgrown with vines, and the interior has a viewing arena for gladiator fights. Four statues are posed in the corners, their hands positioned as though they should be holding spears. He pokes the eye around further and sees that this shrine has imagery of a jaguar-creature with snakes coming out of its back—Shagambi the kamadan.

He lowers the eye to the gladiator pit, discovering that a portcullis has four clay warriors armed with bronze spears and wooden shields sequestered away. Fighters? Maybe. But there is no sign of looting.

He scouts out other areas, at one point finding around thirty slain corpses with dogs eating the dead bodies. Some of the corpses have red robes—Wizards of Thay! Scrawled in blood and ash on the wall is a symbol of a snake devouring the world—Dendar the Night Serpent! The yuan-ti attacked these people, apparently.

Behind the plaza of the attack is a shrine filled with water, and a dead froghemoth floats in the water. The monster has obvious signs of being shot with arrows and fried with lightning. Clear signs of looting indicate that this shrine of Kubazan has already been picked through.

The eye then beelines across Omu, catching sight of an abandoned campsite with a yellow banner in it, as well as another shrine on the way that’s decked out in almiraj imagery—I’jin! The eye goes inside and pokes around, realizing the shrine is a maze. At the end, an altar and a series of opened doors indicate that someone has already gotten I’jin’s cube.

The eye then comes across a shrine located in the water and surrounded by crocodiles, but a lack of dead crocodiles and untouched doors indicate this shrine hasn’t been tampered with yet. A pair of obelisks depicting an eblis bird suggest this shrine is dedicated to Papazotl.

As Zanzibar’s arcane eye disappears, the party realizes a bit more about their situation:

  • Kabazan the froghemoth’s cube is taken.

  • I’jin the almiraj’s cube is taken.

  • Moa the jaculi’s cube is taken.

  • Papazotl the eblis’ cube is still there.

  • Shagambi the kamadan’s cube is still there.

  • Unkh the flail snail’s cube is in the party’s possession.

After checking their notes, the only shrines unaccounted for at the moment are:

  • Nangnang the grung

  • Obo’laka the zorbo

  • Wongo the su-monster

By already having Unkh’s cube, the party at least has prevented one of the factions from getting all nine puzzle cubes, so not all hope is lost.

The party decides to go to Shagambi's shrine since it’s both the closest and also the shrine they have the best reconnaissance knowledge of. An Omuan inscription in the shrine states, “SHAGAMBI TEACHES US TO FIGHT EVIL WITH HONOR,” and several reliefs show Shagambi overseeing Chultan warriors as they train with spears.

Dur-Dur-Dur, 🌱, and Valour go down to the fighting arena and prep for a whole bunch of terrible shit to happen.

Something does happen!

They step on the arena floor, which triggers the portcullises... portculli... portcallouses? Which triggers the gates in the gladiator room to open up and a bunch of hard-hitting sumbitches step in and stab the shit out of 🌱, who thundwerwaves them in return. Dur-Dur-Dur chops at the gladiator, who turns around and slams Dur-Dur-Dur with its shield.

It’s a madhouse!

Meanwhile, in the viewing area, Zanzibar calls down, “🌱, do you want to be a gorilla?”

"YES!" 🌱 shouts in pure agony.

A few seconds pass by.

"Wait I can't do that!” Zanzibar remembers, having already cast arcane eye. “It’s a 4th-level spell! I'll magic missile this guy instead! I'm ever so sorry!" He then hits the gladiator with a magic missile.

Ezekiel is also in the peanut gallery with Zanzibar, so he casts hexblade's curse on the hurt gladiator and eldritch blasts him.

Three other clay gladiators step in and bring all the pain, dropping 🌱 to zero hit points with their spears as Valour critically hits them with Shatterspike, planting lots of divine smite damage into them. Being constructs, both his weapon and Dur-Dur-Dur’s do major damage… if they can hit.

"You hurt my friend-friend-friend!" Dur-Dur-Dur shouts, then misses with his attacks. Apparently, 🌱 isn’t as good a friend-friend-friend as he thought! A real friend would hit the bad guy!

Dur-Dur-Dur then receives a major beating from the gladiator as Ezekiel shouts for Artus Cimber and Dragonbait to come help them. Artus fires arrows down from above as Dragonbait runs down the corridor to join them below.

Ezekiel shouts for Artus Cimber then starts running down, casting mirror image again, conjuring three illusory copies of himself that still make out with each other. Dragonbait runs in.

A gladiator knocks Valour to the ground with his shield, then promptly stabs him repeatedly. 🌱 suffers a failed death save, and Dur-Dur-Dur downs a supreme healing potion to keep his hit point pool topped off.

The gladiators then wail on everyone, depleting Hit Points like crazy. Zanzibar shakes his booty and casts hypnotic pattern, but fake clay bad guys are immune to these spells because they’re made of dirt, and not even dirt wants what Zanzibar is offering.

Quest eats grass outside.

Ezekiel finally enters the fighting arena with his halberd, and a quick swing decapitates the wounded gladiator. He swings again, critically hitting the next one and inflicting his strike with a smite, dealing 62 damage and greatly swinging the fight of attrition back in the party’s favor.

Dur-Dur-Dur feels the wrath of several bronze spears jabbing into him, and Valour uses the distraction to use lay on hands on 🌱 to bring him back to 20. Valour then casts shield of faith on himself just in time for Dragonbait to join the fight as Artus fires from above. 🌱 decides to fuggit, so he casts gaseous form and floats away as a cloud of spores.

Dur-Dur-Dur swings Durminator and still can't hit anything. Zanzibar upcasts magic missile at the hurt gladiator.

Quest eats more grass.

Then a pair of kamadans run up from behind the shrine and surround the horse!

Quest keeps eating grass.

Ezekiel attacks the wounded gladiator as Dur-Dur-Dur keeps getting shanked. Valour touches himself to heal for 9 as Dragonbait chops out chunks of gladiator with his Holy Avenger.

Outside, the kamadans “snake” Quest to death, which sounds like one way I would never want to die.

Above the fighting pit, 🌱 pops back into solid form.

"Shout at me!" Dur-Dur-Dur yells at him.

"Make some monkeys!" Valour argues.

🌱 shouts, using healing word to heal Dur-Dur-Dur for 8. He tries to thorn whip, but he misses.

Dur-Dur-Dur still can't hit anyone.

Zanzibar runs around to see what's happening outside, sees that jaguar/snake terrors are lurking out there, so he rips an iron door patch off his robe of useful items and slams it in the doorway like a Minecraft character.

Ezekiel waves his halberd and cuts some bitches while Dur-Dur-Dur keeps getting stabbed for like the thirtieth time today.

Valour crits on a swing and pumps a 2nd-level divine smite, getting 53 damage and then critting again! Dragonbait and Artus then concentrate fire onto the same gladiator, and Artus vanquishes it with an arrow in the face. 🌱 healing words Dur-Dur-Dur and then chill touches the final gladiator.

Dur-Dur-Dur still can't hit anyone. At this point, Dur-Dur-Dur just walks away in a huff, getting stabbed one last time by the gladiator—but who cares, it’s just one more stab out of forty-seven stabbings!

"Dur-Dur-Dur, you didn't even try yelling at it!" Valour calls out.

"I'm too mad to yell..." Dur-Dur-Dur whispers back.

Everyone keeps hitting the gladiator while Dur-Dur-Dur pouts. Eventually, the orc has a moment to himself, so he runs back in and just beats the clay gladiator to absolute hell—finally doing some damage! Zanzibar backs him up with a magic missile as Ezekiel cleaves the final gladiator down with a halberd strike, its shield and spear clattering to the ground.

Battered and bloodied, the party takes note of the Chultan statues above: the ones poised like they should be holding weapons. They pick up the four bronze spears and go upstairs, placing them in the hands of the statues.

When they do, a pedestal near the wall begins to turn on the spot and an ornate stone cube with a kamadan imprinted on it corkscrews up from a hatch in its top.

That’s two puzzle cubes for the party: Shagambi’s and Unkh’s.

Seven more to go—some of them already obtained.

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