The party rejoices upon obtaining the newest puzzle cube, lamenting that this is becoming one of the most difficult puzzles ever assembled for only having 9 pieces.
"I have a question," 🌱 says, looking at the Old Man. "Old Man, what is your name?"
"My name is Orvex Ocrammas," the Old Man, aka Orvex tells him.
"Oh no that's not going to work," 🌱 says, unable to pronounce most names that don’t begin with “L” and end with “ady Akunai.”
"We'll call you Mr. O!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
No one ever calls him this for the rest of the session.
"Mr. Orvex, do you know where the next shrine is?" 🌱 says.
"Well you have those four, and the red wizards have three. The only ones accounted for are Nang-Nang’s and Obo’laka’s,” Orvex says.
"You spent time with the red wizards?" Valour pushes. "What kind of trap would work on them?"
"They have many contingencies. They are very conniving, and they are more apt to sneaking up on you than you are to sneak up on them," Orvex says.
"Then how did the yuan-ti sneak up on you?" Zanzibar says.
"Not everyone in our group were red wizards of Thay. They had their own grunt troops and fodder. Many lackeys died in the assault, so the remaining ones backed out and apparently traded a scorched-earth approach for a more covert operation.” Orvex says, looking among the party members. “They also heard there would be more enforcements sent by Valindra Shadowmantle. But don’t get too comfortable. They will abandon you when they feel like it.”
Orvex then tells them that Nang-Nang’s shrine would be near the water.
"There's water here. You guys can all swim, right?" 🌱 says.
"No!" Zanzibar says.
"What do you mean no?” 🌱 says. “Do you want me to cast a level 3 spell so you can walk across the water, old man?" 🌱 says.
"Well I'm wearing all this cool gear!" Zanzibar says.
The party chooses to head south, avoiding the water altogether because SOMEBODY is still an old man after previous Old Man vagueness was already situated.
It's about six o’clock when they arrive at wherever the hell they were trying to go—somewhere on the southern end of the palace, near Bag Of Nails’ place.
"It's almost time to go to bed! Zanzibar, cast your tent!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"Casting tent? You can't say that. There may be kids around here!" Valour says.
"What kids?" 🌱 says.
"I'm only 18," Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"How do you own a bar when you’re 18?" Valour says.
"You don't know my life!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, having spent much of this adventure telling everyone everything about himself.
"Didn’t you once punch us after asking about your mom?" 🌱 says.
The party pokes around the southern end of the palace, then notices another shrine. Probably because the shrine has two giant obelisks in front of it, just like all the others!
The door to the shrine is already open as Orvex checks out the entrance, translating the writing above, “OBO’LAKA TEACHES US TO TREAD WARILY AND STAY IN THE LIGHT.”
Zanzibar instantly notices some nonsense, and that nonsense comes in the form of footprints and slithery, serpentine tracks near the entrance of the shrine.
"This place may be..." Valour starts.
"Dragonbait, go ahead and see!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"Nooooo..." Valour says.
"Yes!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"Suddenly you want to protect him? I thought you wanted his sword!" Zanzibar says. Out loud.
Dragonbait hears this.
"No, that's bad!" Valour says.
Dragonbait also hears this.
They poke around the entrance and see tracks that lead to a secret door, which they go through, finding several serpentine tracks that also traversed the secret door.
After lots of snooping around and sending Dragonbait in first, the party arrives at a room with the a puzzle cube pedestal, finding a frozen-in-place wizard wearing red robes. A polearm is shoved into his head.
"Hey red wizard, what you doing there?" 🌱 says.
The wizard doesn’t respond.
"Are you awake?" 🌱 says.
🌱 grows bored with the conversation and casts animate dead on the dead person.
"As I was saying old man, what are you doing?" 🌱 says to the now moving wizard. "Red wizard, we need you to get us that pizza cube... puzzle cube..."
"Pizza cube?" Valour says.
"He stands by what he says," Dur-Dur-Dur says.
Dur-Dur-Dur then recognizes the polearm as the kind that was left at the massacre—a yuan-ti weapon. He grabs the polearm out of the wizard zombie’s face and then snaps it in half over his knee. "You could at least die to a real weapon."
"So we know that this is a yuan-ti thing now!" Zanzibar says.
The party gives one last look around and sees signs of a fight, such as spells being cast and other snake stuff. More importantly, there is now a third party collecting puzzle cubes: the yuan-ti.
They then leave the shrine and head into the night to explore Omu because Dur-Dur-Dur needs “numbers.” They return back to the overturned cart and check it out kind-of-not-really.
"Let's go check out Nang-Nang's temple before it gets dark!" Valour says in the darkness.
They then have water walk cast on them, the last level 3 spell for 🌱, and they head over Omu to what looks like a frog-related shrine. Standing outside the shrine is a grung!
"Hey Dur-Dur-Dur, go see that grung. Tell him you're a follower of Nang-Nang and that you want to go into the temple," Valour says.
The party instead sends Orvex forth since he can actually speak Grung. He communicates with the frog, who then lets out a loud croak.
In response to the loud croak, a feather-bedecked grung chief emerges from around the waterlogged shrine. He rides a hadrosaur mount and carries an air of austerity.
"Ask him if he wants to 'marry Nang-Nang,'" Valour tells Orvex.
Orvex delivers the message, then translates a message from the chief. “This is Chief Yorb, and he asks what news of Nang-Nang do you bring?”
Valour gestures to Dur-Dur-Dur. "This orc here was a patron of Nang-Nang and partook in a marrying ceremony..."
Yorb lets them know that he has heard of the Nang-Nang marriage in Dungrunglung, and that many grung died in the revelry, which pleases him to great amusement.
🌱 goes up and pours beer out of his Alchemy Jug, then hands a cup to Chief Yorb. 🌱 throws a cup of beer into his face. Chief Yorb then throws the beer into his own face and welcomes the party into the shrine with open arms after accepting the party's appreciation of grung custom.
🌱 scoops some lichen up from the stairs as he heads into the shrine.
They enter, and an inscription above says "NANG-NANG TEACHES US TO SERVE ONLY OURSELVES."
"That WOULD be Dur-Dur-Dur's god." Valour says, seeing the hadrosaur mount nearby. He then hops on top of it.
“What are you doing?” 🌱 says.
“I’m getting with the times. Leave me alone,” Valour says.
Dur-Dur-Dur wants to kill the hadrosaur and eat its XP.
Valour declines this choice of action.
The party then goes inside the shrine and sees that it is full of treasure—like, a shitload of treasure. More than they have ever seen combined. Dur-Dur-Dur opens up a bunch of treasure chests and sees lots gold coins spill out.
Dur-Dur-Dur asks if he can have treasure.
Chief Yorb says that none of it is real and that it turns into garbage when it leaves the shrine.
"Are any of these treasures a puzzle cube?" 🌱 says.
Yorb doesn't know what that is.
🌱 shows him a puzzle cube.
Now Yorb knows what that is.
Dur-Dur-Dur grabs a treasure chest and takes it to the edge of the shrine. He sees Ezekiel, who is lurking outside, then offers him the chest of treasure in exchange for his 15 gold pieces.
"This treasure chest full of gold is yours!" Dur-Dur-Dur says and leaves it on the stairs.
Ezekiel checks out the treasure and bites the gold coins, seeing that the coins are real to the taste. And he’s tasted a lot of things in his life.
Orvex translates more text in the shrine that says, "WHOEVER AMONG YOU IS THE RICHEST, BRING ME YOUR GIFTS."
"Ezekiel get up here!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
Ezekiel grabs 200 gold pieces, puts them in a bag, then offers it respectfully to the shrine of hate-frog Jesus. "It hurts to part with, but I've never had it until recently," he says.
Valour is rich in bug spray, so he puts 5 vials of bug spray down as well.
The doors part, revealing the Nang-Nang cube on a pedestal.
Dur-Dur-Dur goes up and grabs the puzzle cube for Nang-Nang, meaning they now have five puzzle cubes and are aware that the other four are possessed by other people.
"Awesome!” Dur-Dur-Dur says. “And I made money! Are y'all ready to get some XP?"
Everyone stops Dur-Dur-Dur before he can start murdering the grung within the shrine.
They leave, and Ezekiel’s chest of treasure turns into a chest of useless tin and clay.
Ezekiel turns his head towards Dur-Dur-Dur. "Well played..."
Zanzibar takes 25 gold and gives it to Ezekiel because he feels bad for the devil-man.
Right now it's super dark, like 9:30 dark, which is extra dark when you’re in an abandoned ruin infested with lots of things that want to kill you.
They decide to go back across Omu towards the entrance and camp where Dur-Dur and the vegepygmies were holding up. They go in, but instead of seeing Dur-Dur and the vegepygmies holding up, they find… nothing.
That is, nothing except for A YUAN-TI POLEARM STABBED INTO THE GROUND AND SIGNS OF SOMEONE BEING DRAGGED AWAY BY SNAKES! 🌱 takes the polearm out of the ground and slides it into the gash of his zombie wizard, and the polarm matches perfectly. "We got a match! It fits!" he shouts.
Dur-Dur-Dur frantically looks around for his daddy.
"Well... the good news is that he is not here with a polearm in his face!" Zanzibar says, taking note of Dur-Dur-Dur’s increased anxiety.
"Daddy?" Dur-Dur-Dur says, his panic rising. "Where is he? I just found you!"
"Did he have anything with him?" 🌱 says. "That we can find with locate object?"
"Can you cast locate daddy!?" Dur-Dur-Dur shouts. "I need you to take a short rest and prepare it! Make a tent! We'll wake up and find my daddy!"
"I hope this doesn't cause any deep-seated guilt trips for you. You know, since your father was trapped for 15 years and all..." Zanzibar says.
Dur-Dur-Dur stomps up to Zanzibar. "I'm going to make it abundantly clear that we are finding my daddy tomorrow or someone is going into the lava pit!"
"Identify this slime," 🌱 says to Zanzibar. "If you do, I promise I will die for you."
"When?" Zanzibar says. "Dur-Dur-Dur might kill me tomorrow!"
"All I'm saying is there is going to be a rage tomorrow, and someone is going to die," Dur-Dur-Dur says.
Zanzibar identifies the fungus, deciphering that the fungus, when ingested, will cause the imbiber to sweat profusely until he consumes another fungus.
They sleep because Dur-Dur-Dur makes them. They wake up the next day to extremely heavy rain because, also, Dur-Dur-Dur is making them.
🌱 casts locate animals and plants and tries to detect some tongueslicer lichen since that really helped out against the necromancer from Qelong, but none are nearby.
"Zanzibar, would YOU like to cast a spell?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"I need to get closer to the palace," Zanzibar says.
They get closer to the palace because Dur-Dur-Dur makes them.
Zanzibar casts locate object, focusing on the whistle that they gave Dur-Dur. He detects that the whistle is within the palace grounds, but it’s below the surface.
Zanzibar sends his owl up, but not too high because of the gargoyles. He sends it into the palace walls, but the view is limited due to the heavy rain. Much of the palace is decrepit, with ruins now creeping with vines and vegetation. What once were urban roads are now tattered, broken, and deep with water.
Lightning flashes, revealing a humanoid with the head of a serpent crouching on a rooftop, observing the roads.
"It's guarded, shockingly, by yuan-ti," Zanzibar says, looking through his owl’s eyes.
Dur-Dur-Dur begins to investigate a nearby house, but everyone gets mad at him since it’s just going to hit him with mad monkey fever, so instead he dashes through the urban sprawl towards the lurking yuan-ti. He carefully muffles his movement, utilizing the crackling thunder and pouring rain to his advantage, then uses his ring of jump to stealthily hop onto the roof. He sees the yuan-ti, who doesn’t notice him. The other party members chase after him.
Unfortunately, the zombie red wizard trips over and lands in a puddle with a large splash, catching the attention of the yuan-ti sentry just as Dur-Dur-Dur gets ready to engage him.
Dur-Dur-Dur however draws Durminator and starts cleaving into the yuan-ti, hacking into him both times in the crackling lightning.
The yuan-ti locks eyes with Dur-Dur-Dur and casts suggestion telling Dur-Dur-Dur to give him his weapon. Dur-Dur-Dur fails the save and, wracked by magical charms, gives Durminator over to the yuan-ti.
The yuan-ti then casts suggestion again and says, "Run away from me."
Dur-Dur-Dur fails that save as well, and the yuan-ti leaps off the roof to retreat with Dur-Dur-Dur’s weapon. Dur-Dur-Dur then turns around to go the opposite way.
🌱 arrives at the fight, "Hey Dur-Dur-Dur, what's up?"
"He made me give him my axe and then he made me run," Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"Why!?" 🌱 says, then casts dispel magic on Dur-Dur-Dur.
Dur-Dur-Dur no longer feels compelled to run off, so he leaps back towards the yuan-ti and kills it with a javelin, stabbing it in the back of the neck.
The rest of the party finally arrives, finding Dur-Dur-Dur looking very concerned. "Valour, come stand near me. I need the extra save modifier. They're charming people! And they made me hand over my favorite axe! I won't throw you in the lava, 🌱..."
"Thank you!" 🌱 says.
The party eventually stumbles around in the rain long enough to find a set of stairs leading downward. A pair of serpentine shapes slither down the stairs, and the PC’s chase afterwards, Dur-Dur-Dur leading the way.
They go down the stairs, which leads down to a pair of massive bronze doors embossed with serpentine shapes, and the bottom of the doors have four-inch wide circular holes.
🌱 tells his brand new zombie to go poke his fucked up head into one of the circular holes and see what’s on the other side. It turns out that the other side of the bronze door has somebody wielding a bow because the zombie pulls its head back and now has an arrow poking out of it.
Dur-Dur-Dur dashes up to the bronze door and proceeds to beat on it with his axe. Dragonbait joins with him and delivers smacks with his Holy Avenger as well.
"Hssss who goes there!?" a snakey voice makes a snakey sound from the other side of the door.
"Where! Is! My! Daddy!" Dur-Dur-Dur says with each swing of the axe.
"Open the gate! Open the gate!" the snakey voice snakes snakily from the other side of the snake gate.
The bronze gate opens up, revealing a room that is just overcrawling with a regiment of snake-like monsters, monster-like snakes, snake-monster-people, and—oh yeah—two basilisks front and center who are looking right at Dur-Dur-Dur and Dragonbait.
Since Dur-Dur-Dur is standing next to Dragonbait, he gets a little boost to his saves and does not turn to stone as the basilisk fixes its paralyzing gaze on him. Oh, and also, a mass of yuan-ti broodguards pile around him and claw away over three quarters of Dur-Dur-Dur’s health since he hasn’t been able to get his rage going.
🌱 keeps several of the remaining yuan-ti at bay by throwing up a fire wall and directing the flames towards the mass of snakes, keeping the slower creatures from advancing upward.
"What brings you here!?" the yuan-ti captain shouts through the flames. "Also, throw your weapon over here,” he adds, casting suggestion at Dur-Dur-Dur.
Zanzibar uses a portent to help Dur-Dur-Dur pass the save.
Valour steps up and casts cure wounds healing Dur-Dur-Dur for 6, which is around 10% of his HP max.
"You are the worst paladin I have ever seen!" Dur-Dur-Dur shouts at him.
Zanzibar notices the yuan-ti leader eyeballing Valour, then shout at one of his lackeys in Draconic, "It's the one we heard about. He has the mark."
A basilisk glares at Valour, but he isn’t about any of that getting turned to stone nonsense.
"Give me the axe," another yuan-ti says to Dur-Dur-Dur, casting suggestion, but the orc is standing within Valour’s aura of you-can’t-tell-me-my-life, so he automatically passes the charm.
Zanzibar winds up and casts fireball past the fire wall and starts a firesquall that burns the hell out of several yuan-ti on the other side. Meanwhile Quest charges in and kicks a bad guy but nobody is paying attention to the horse.
Several yuan-ti begin to fall back, and Dur-Dur-Dur swipes at the retreating forces. Artus Cimber steps up and uses the Ring of Winter to create an ice wall behind the fire wall, which creates like a big pile of steam and such and keeps several yuan-ti from escaping.
Ezekiel runs up and swings with his halberd, eradicating some of the yuan-ti who surrounded Dur-Dur-Dur and pushing them back to the line of blazing fire. Some yuan-ti start smacking down the ice wall, putting cracks in it so that they can fall back to another defense post. A yuan-ti who looks like a regular human woman shouts in Draconic "Tell Ras N'si it's time!"
Zanzibar doesn’t like what that might mean…
Valour lays on hands Dur-Dur-Dur for 25 health, which is a much better effort than that last spell he did, but Dur-Dur-Dur is still probably judging him.
Another yuan-ti flees and shouts in Draconic, "Let them come! Fall back!"
Zanzibar also doesn’t like what that might mean…
Zanzibar drops a second fireball and kills some more, then shouts. "They want us to follow them!"
"Well okay them!" 🌱 says.
"No!" Zanzibar says.
🌱 drops concentration on the wall of fire so that the rest of the party can advance on the retreating yuan-ti, and the party definitely drops some yuan-ti as they move forth in the brawl, but 🌱’s zombie falls in a hole and lands in a pile of burnt snakes.
Artus Cimber casts dimension door with Bookmark and takes Dragonbait up to close in on a retreating snake, hitting it a few times, but not enough to drop the snake entirely.
Ezekiel dashes up and secures the next room, readying an eldritch blast and keeping an eye out for any other encroaching villains.
Hooray! The party successfully completed the 1st room of this dungeon!