The party takes no time to rest! There be snakes to kill!
"Let's go this way," Valour says, pointing this way.
"If we go that way, we're going the way they want us to go!" 🌱 says, pointing that way.
"They've been excited for us to come," Zanzibar says, unsure of whether or not they should go this or that way, but they're running out of demonstrative pronouns for directions to take, so they have to pick one of the ways!
Wait, what’s this? Zanzibar was the only party member who understood what the yuan-ti were saying? As if he, I don’t know, understands snake people?
Wanting to check out the dungeon, but also not wanting to die, the party decides to send forth an NPC! No, not Dragonbait…
This sounds like a quest for Quest!
Valour sends his celestial voodoo steed forth! The horse canters deeper into the yuan-ti hideaway and discovers a wooden pen with a triceratops munching on some triceratops nummies. Nearby are some carts, and Valour considers hooking Quest up to the carts.
"There's nothing for us to haul yet. Can we do this later?" Zanzibar says to the paladin who is literally putting the cart before the horse. "If we find treasure, let's hang out. And in a fight, I can throw my own horses at people." He gestures to the horse patches on his robe of useful items.
"That's your plan?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"If he runs out of spells, he has to do something!" Valour says.
Dur-Dur-Dur is done with this stupid stuff, so he talks to the triceratops. As he’s discussing his day with the dinosaur, the rest of the party hears a gong sound off down the hallway, followed by draconic chanting.
"THE VESSEL! THE VESSEL!” the chorus of yuan-ti chant unseen from down the hall.
Several party members creep down the hallway and hide behind a wall, whereupon the other side contains a most profuse amount of snake-like folk partaking in a hellish hootenanny, led by what sounds like a most cantankerous so-and-so kind of feller!
"They are not the vessel!” a raspy, masculine voice calls out. “They are false prophets! They are your plot to overthrow me!" the voice shouts an accusatory remark.
A youthful, female voice then answers. "Fear not what he speaks! He is simply filled with divine vsions! Fear not. Dendar will come. Bring the slaves for sacrifice!"
Slaves? Sacrifice? Things are now complicated.
"Okay, so I know we are here to rescue Dur-Dur,” Zanzibar says out of earshot from the orc and his new triceratops friend. “They said something about ‘ready the pit of slaves for sacrifice.’"
"They said what!?" Dur-Dur-Dur shouts, not caring how far away Zanzibar is since they're all in the same Discord channel anyways. The orc storms over, snatches up Zanzibar, and runs with him into the room where everyone overheard the—
The room is a desecrated shrine to the unholy, an orgy-room filled with pools of blood and serpentine carvings jutting out of the wall. Evidence of clawmarks, scraps of flesh, and all-around gross stuff litter the room. The center has a large cauldron with four yuan-ti broodguards curled among each other in a snakeball of doin-it-in-the-wherevers.
And Dur-Dur-Dur knows better than to let Ezekiel see any of this shit! He'll start getting ideas...
The orc drops his wizard and raises his axe, then smashes the bloody, sex-filled cauldron, spilling blood and snake sex all over the floor. But the snakes are like… you know… not that phased by it because they’re grabbing tails and fangs and cloacas and such.
Just before Dur-Dur-Dur goes Jason Voorhees on the horny snakes, a shape materializes atop the altar in the back of the room. Leering over the room is a decrepit, bandage-bound yuan-ti with a hate-filled sneer and a symbol of Tyr tattooed on his forehead.
We don't like him!
The other party members barge into the shrine and see the heathen standing before them. Valour locks eyes with him and throws a vial of holy water into what’s left of the bloody cauldron. Dominance asserted!
"You are here to take my destiny!" Ras Nsi spits, pointing at Valour, his voice raspy and decrepit.
"You're taking things from other people. That's fucked up. Stop," Valour says, proving that he still has a negative modifier to persuasion.
"She sent you here to replace me! I am the chosen!" Ras Nsi says, drawing a sword that ignites in a blaze of fire, illuminating the whole room and bathing it in a roiling flame—
Valour throws a javelin at Ras Nsi’s chest and kills him.
Like a McSneakle shouting at a Port Nyanzaru guard, Ras Nsi meets his match with a spear shoved into him. The leader of the yuan-ti and heretic of Tyr stumbles to the ground, his sword dropping from his hands. "You stole it from me…” he hisses, locking eyes with Valour. “They'll abandon you too, one day."
And yeah, that’s how Ras Nsi dies. Good job, Valour! Just kill his ass out the gate. I’d give you inspiration for it, but you’d just one shot the next boss with it too! What… did you expect something epic?
Here's why the fight went so quickly:
Fortunately, the party took their sweet goddamned time getting to Omu that Ras Nsi’s Hit Point maximum of 123 dropped by one for each day the death curse was in effect, and since the PC’s didn’t bump into him until, like, day 121 of the adventure, the old ass snake bitch had like 2 Hit Points left.
And no, you don’t get the full 2,900 XP for beating him!
But you know what does have lots of XP?
Trash mobs who pool in from every direction because they just saw their glorious leader slaughtered by interloping adventurers!
Ezekiel ain’t got no time to be horny, so he charges in and swings at the yuan-ti orgy team with halberd and blue balls and everyone involved. One of the broodguard is mad that the glorious leader was slain, so it jumps at Valour.
Dur-Dur-Dur rages and charges to the yuan-ti that are spilling in through a hallway, and he smacks right into one of the biggest sumbitches he’s ever seen in his life: Sekelok. This big ol’ yuan-ti pureblood just looks like he’s loaded with HP, so Dur-Dur-Dur kills the hell out of a smaller yuan-ti standing right next to Sekelok, then swings at the big bastard.
He does some damage.
Dragonbait runs to back up Dur-Dur-Dur as another broodguard closes in on Valour. Artus Cimber uses his ring to conjure up a polar bear made of ice.
Meanwhile, Sekelok isn’t a fan of the damage Dur-Dur-Dur dealt him, so he draws a greatsword and critical hits Dur-Dur-Dur twice in a row, dealing 62 damage followed up by a third hit for 11 damage.
Zanzibar panics and polymorph’s Dur-Dur-Dur into a giant ape. Dur-Dur-Dur flexes back.
More broodguard swarm on Valour, and Ezekiel manages to kill one as it closes in.
"Nobody touches Valour but me!" Ezekiel shouts.
Valour draws Shatterspike and chops down one of the broodguards as Ezekiel closes in to defend his love—I mean, comrade.
As Valour strikes down a broodguard, he hears Ras Nsi's voice echoing in his head: "She sent you here to replace me!" followed by repeating chants of "The vessel! The vessel!"
Valour worries that some spooky nonsense is about to happen.
Meanwhile Zanzibar is having a terrible time as a broodguard charges him, hoping to break his concentration on his polymorph spell, but Zanzibar poops a little bit in his +1 diaper and throws up a shield that keeps the broodguard from hitting him. Literally, he just waves his hands around and can't get hit.
Dur-Dur-Dur rounds on Sekelok, smacking him several times with his gorilla fists as Dragonbait closes in and also lays some attacks with his Holy Avenger.
Sekelok takes the beating, then eyes Zanzibar across the room. He casts suggestion on Zanzibar, telling him “No more gorillas. No more polymorph!” Zanzibar fails the save, dropping his concentration and letting Dur-Dur-Dur transform back into an orc.
Oh yeah, 🌱 is in this fight doing stuff too! He swings at the broodguard near Zanzibar and misses.
All right, maybe 🌱 isn’t doing anything at all then.
Artus Cimber raises his ring and tries turning Sekelok to into ice, but gosh darnit, Sekelok just ain’t having any of that today.
Zanzibar shocking grasps the broodguard that’s near him, then runs away while shouting, "I could have cast counterspell on that suggestion! Fuck! Fuck!"
Valour drops another broodguard, it’s hacked up body joining the others on the ground. When he does, he feels something in his backpack begin to heat up…
Okay, something’s going on here!
Valour casts divine sense and instantly detects the presence of an evil, wretched, serpentine deity beginning to form within this place. Not good! Dendar is coming!
Dur-Dur-Dur drinks a superior healing potion since his Hit Points just took a field trip somewhere else, and Dragonbait buys him some time by tagging in to square up with Sekelok. The big yuan-ti bulldozes past the saurian and slaughters 🌱’s zombie, then lays some strikes into Ezekiel with his sword.
Zanzibar and 🌱 are still struggling with their one broodguard. Casters, am I right? Zanzibar magic missiles the broodguard, but damn if it still isn’t dead.
At that point, Valour’s backpack bursts open—fragments of smoking, rainbow-scaled egg splatter on the ground as the whole shrine darkens.
Grandfather Zitembe’s words rang true! The only way to hatch Eku's egg was with a divine being, and the party just waltzed her egg right into a shrine dedicated to Dendar the Night Serpent!
Ezekiel and Dur-Dur-Dur clobber Sekelok with their weapons, but the yuan-ti takes their strikes head on, cackling at Dendar’s manifestation in the Material plane. Death means nothing to him any more!
Dragonbait charges up and carves several gashes into Sekelok, but the pureblood shrugs off the attacks.
Shit’s starting to get really weird!
And surprisingly convenient!
Back at the triceratops pen, Quest has finally managed to attach a cart to himself. Hooray! Good job, Jesus-horse! You did it! But then Quest sees somebody running up to him from another dark hallway… somebody short, like a dwarf; but foolish, like an orc.
Oh shit, it’s Dur-Dur! He’s free!
"The dworc is in the cart!" Valour says, seeing through the lopsided chameleon eyes of his celestial mount. “Dur-Dur is in the cart!”
As Valour speaks, he sees the pool of blood within the room begin to take shape in the corner, animating and coagulating into a serpentine shape emanating with sadistic, hellish energy: Dendar!
At that point, when damn near everyone has tried to drop Sekelok, Artus Cimber’s polar bear leaps up and cleaves the yuan-ti right in the face, completely breaking its neck and twirling its head around backwards. They did it! They killed the big bastard!
But big bastards are aplenty down here in the palace.
Artus sees the deity beginning to take shape, so he casts sleet storm on the ground near it, freezing the area and slowing its manifestation.
Valour doesn’t want to leave without seeing what else Ras Nsi had on his person, so he downs a potion of jump and leaps onto the balcony that Ras Nsi died on, noticing that an odd circular symbol is on the ground behind his corpse. A teleporter, maybe? Without much time to think, Valour snatches up Ras Nsi's magical flame sword and turns around, only to see that Dendar has formed!
The multi-headed snake deity, caked in blood and ice, roars from the corner of the shrine, its massive body dominating most of the room. Surely, running wouldn’t be a bad thing?
Well, if there’s one party member who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about evil deities, it’s Ezekiel. He literally looks like the goddamned devil. He charges across the fane, halberd raised, ominous and devilish incantations radiating out of his cursed weapon. He brings the pain down on Dendar, unloading spell slots to juice his damage up, then carves out 71 damage in one turn on the newly-formed deity.
Even the Dungeon Master is having a "LET ME SEE THAT CHARACTER SHEET!" moment right now!
There may be a chance to vanquish this freak.
But Dragonbait fails a save and gets freaked the hell out and stays put.
Dur-Dur-Dur however ain't scared, and he runs past Dragonbait to strike Dendar. 🌱 follows up with moonbeam, Zanzibar joins in with ray of frost, Artus Cimber misses completely with his arrows because the party just can't find a ranged weapon DPS that can hit, but the polar bear bites!
Is it enough?!?
Dendar raises its multiple heads, then each one stares at a member of the party. The world eater deity casts divine word, uttering power that shaped the world at the dawn of creation. The PC’s now have to make saving throws. Failing the save deals the following nasty things based on your hit points:
50 hit points or fewer: deafened for 1 minute
40 hit points or fewer: deafened and blinded for 10 minutes
30 hit points or fewer: blinded, deafened, and stunned for 1 hour
20 hit points or fewer: killed instantly
Well… the polar bear makes its save, as well as several other party members thanks to Dragonbait and Valour having fantastic auras. But 🌱 fails, though having less than 30 Hit Points means that he is only blinded, deafened, stunned for 1 hour. Valour, however, has less than 20 Hit Points.
This is literally save or die.
And he makes the save! Getting +11 on the save and advantage really goes a long way when it's time to save or die!
Valour leaps down, swings Shatterspike at Dendar, and divine smites the evil god just hard enough for Ezekiel to come around with the backup swing and shatter Dendar's physical form back into a bubbling pool of blood.
The deity has been defeated!
"Not good enough!" a voice echoes from across the room.
The party turns and sees a young yuan-ti woman, the source of the female voice from before. Several other yuan-ti amass behind her. The bloody mesh that was once Dendar begins to writhe…
"I am good enough! Father says so!" Ezekiel says, pulling his halberd close.
The woman holds up her arms, and the yuan-ti spill into the shrine in a mad frenzy!
"Hey Dur-Dur-Dur! They're coming for your daddy, let's go!" Valour shouts.
Dur-Dur-Dur snatches up 🌱 and skedaddles out of the shrine with the rest of the PC’s as the yuan-ti pile in. As one last ditch effort to staunch Dendar’s reincarnation, Artus Cimber looks back on the shrine and activates the last charge in the Ring of Winter, permanently lowering the temperature of the room by 20 degrees per minute. Within no time, the unholy shrine will be at -30 degrees Fahrenheit and damn near impossible for the yuan-ti to use.
After escaping the palace and running through the heavy rain, the party finally arrives back at Bag of Nails’ place—beaten, battered, but alive.
Valour rests in a corner, then feels a tap on his shoulder. Dragonbait is standing behind him. The saurian gestures to Valour, then sets his Holy Avenger down in front of half-elf.
It’s his now.
Valour in turn gives Ras Nsi’s flaming sword to Dragonbait, who holds it up high and ignites it, admiring the weapon. The saurian then kneels down and wipes Valour’s shield clean of any dirt and blood that would cover the symbol of Tyr.
With this silent exchange, Valour then performs a ceremony for Dragonbait, dedicating the righteous saurian to Tyr's service.
Dragonbait lets out a new scent: the scent of victory.
Which probably smells like dead snakes.
Zanzibar huddles in the corner. He is shooook, trying to wrack his brain about anything he might know regarding what he just saw. He remembers that Qelong was reduced to an apocalyptic ruin by a cosmic fight between Dendar and Guga in the past, and that the Child of Guga is slowly being reborn. Will the Child and Dendar fight over Chult if they both become manifest, turning Chult into an aakom-stricken world just like Qelong?
Perhaps there’s a way to vanquish Dendar back to the hells for good. The yuan-ti had a vessel for a moment, but then the party destroyed the newly-birthed god. Still, Dendar didn’t outright disappear, which means something else is binding Dendar to the world.
Zanzibar remembers peering over the old books in Grandfather Zitembe’s library when researching Qelong and his necromancer book. He read something about a crown. Not the one McSneakle had, but a different one—a crown of black lace and bright opals.
The crown of Dendar.
"We still need a puzzle cube." 🌱 says, breaking the silence. "Did we get a noble out of that raid?"
"We got Dur-Dur back!" Zanzibar says.
Ezekiel contemplates in the corner, journaling the exploits he has gone on to make his father proud. He produces a diary and proceeds to write about how he slew the Avatar of Dendar as it was forming. He then whispers to his halberd, "I knew you would be proud of me, father!"
"Speaking of proud fathers," Dur-Dur says, stepping up to Dur-Dur-Dur and hugging him. "I got you some stuff while I was in the slave place!"
"Good, because I lost everything, daddy!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
Dur-Dur takes a sack that’s wrapped around his waist. "I remember how you guys were talking about puzzles and how those yuan-ti had a cube. And since those yuan-ti love capturing and enslaving people, turns out that they had a red wizard or two in the slave pens!" He then dumps out a spellbook and four puzzle cubes. “And I took their stuff!”
"Oh, a book! I've been wanting to read for a long time!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, grabbing the spellbook and opening it. "I can't read this! Hang on let me put my reading hat on..." He then gives the spellbook to Zanzibar who is pleading to have it.
The party now possesses all nine puzzle cubes.
"These cubes will get us in," Orvex says.
Oh yeah, everyone forgot that Orvex exists.
"Get us in where?" Valour says.
"The Tomb,” Orvex says, looking at the camera. “… of the Nine Gods! ”
Grandfather Zitembe reaches out to those who know how to listen. "One of your companions is an imposter! Look closely!"