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BQ-39: False Reflections

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

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"Zanzibar, why did you let us do this?" Valour says, angry at his sudden lack of clankety-clank.

"It was not my idea!" Zanzibar shouts. "And I won't know mage hand until tomorrow. I don't know why I know this!"

Valour glares at him. "Well you are a divination wizard. You should have known this was a huge fucking trap."

"I think we need to go to sleep," Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"You're hardly missing any HP. Why do you want to sleep?" 🌱 says from the safe side of the propeller.

"Because I'm tired, and I'm missing rages,” Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"How many?" 🌱 says.

"I can get mad maybe two more times!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, then walks past the adamantium propeller and steps on the pressure plate that activates it again.

Dur-Dur-Dur is sucked back through the fan, gets severely sliced up by it, and slams on the floor in front of Valour, Zanzibar, and Ezekiel.

"I need to sleep!" Dur-Dur-Dur shouts.

"Y'all need to get over here!" 🌱 says from over here. "I've got 8 baboons. We can do something!"

"I'm going to grab Valour, and we're going to boom," Ezekiel says.

"No, you're booming with me!" Dur-Dur-Dur crawls to his feet and grabs Ezekiel just as he’s about to cast thunder step.

Ezekiel booms himself and Dur-Dur-Dur through the fan and lands on the other side, leaving Zanzibar and Valour in Wongo’s tomb.

"I'm out! Somebody heal me!" Dur-Dur-Dur says in a panic. "We should take a nap."

"Can you do spider climb or something, Zanzibar?" Valour says.

Everyone waits for the propeller to slow down while Zanzibar reminds everyone that spider climb hasn’t been on the list of “good spells” to prepare for a long time, especially after he started collecting his vast array of Harry Potter spellbooks.

Valour and Zanzibar now must debate how to get out of the whirly-fan room full of Valour’s old armor. Ezekiel decides to use some rope on Valour, just like he's wanted for so long!

"Valour, it's not tough. Grab the rope if you can't make the jump, and I can pull you in," Ezekiel says, then gives half the rope to Dur-Dur-Dur while throwing the other end across the adamantium fan to Zanzibar.

Zanzibar and Ezekiel hold the rope taught while Valour successfully shimmies across, not triggering the pressure plate. When he’s across, Zanzibar misty steps to the other side, successfully getting everyone out of the evil chest room.

"I'm taking a short rest!" Dur-Dur-Dur declares.

"You should have done that in the room protected by the giant fan blade!" Zanzibar shouts at him.

Everyone crashes to take a short rest.

While resting, they check out Acererak's warnings and start comparing them with encounters they’ve already had.

"Why is he even giving us warnings? What a nerd," Valour says. "The ‘in darkness it hides’ thing could be the hidden statue of Unkh,” Valour deduces.

"Yeah, but didn't Orvex reach into darkness and get eaten?" Zanzibar says.

"What was even in there?" Valour says. "A creature? Something pulled on him."

"Dragonbait, stick your tail in the Guga mouth!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"NO!" Valour shouts.

"Well we have the second warning as well," Ezekiel says, recalling what Valour discovered on the second floor.

"’Only a jewel can tame the frog,’” Ezekiel recites. “Let me get one guess off of this. Isn't there a trickster god that's a frog?"

"There is a froghemoth and a grung," Valour says.

"We've seen two of their tombs so far... so we need a jewel, keep an eye out for that," Ezekiel says.

The party finishes their short rest and decides to check out more of the upper floor before going down the deep stairwell anymore.

🌱 notices that his chin is growing some peachfuzzy-like fibers, which fall off of his face as he scratches his chin. "That's different... you know how I have mushroom spores all over? I've never had mushroom fibers."

"Do you feel okay?" Zanzibar says.

🌱 nods, but he casts shillelagh on his goat staff just in case anything terrible begins to happen. After all, the adventure is called Tomb of Annihilation.

While traversing the dungeon, Dur-Dur-Dur hears some water around part of the hallway and starts hacking away at the walls with his Durminator, finding only more wall when he does so. Everyone stares at him. "I've just had this urge to mine all of a sudden," Dur-Dur-Dur says.

The party suspects he's getting dwarvish, but nobody has the courage to tell him.

Dragonbait steps forward into a strange room, but an invisible force seems to be pulling on him. The force is dragging him towards a rusted statue with an iron shield on the opposite side of the wall, but Dragonbait scurries back to the PC’s before he can get dragged away.

Valour decides that since he isn’t wearing any armor due to some reason, he steps forward with his Holy Avenger ready. He keeps a rope tied around his waist with the other PC’s clutching the other end. As he closes in on the statue, he feels his Holy Avenger almost rip from his hand! Instead of letting it fly loose, he clutches tightly, his rope ripping from the party’s hands and sending him flying through the air with his sword out. Not wanting his brand new sword that he just obtained from Dragonbait to be turned to rust, he pushes himself in front and takes a massive amount of damage as he’s pinned to the statue’s shield—the Holy Avenger pinning him like a paperweight.

Except the paper is half-elves.

"There is a metal situation!” Valour shouts. “Don't come over here if you have any metal!"

The party sees that Valour is pinned to a magnetic statue by his sword, so Ezekiel dismisses his weapon, puts his backpack down, grumbles that he has no money left because some orc piece-of-shit swindled him out of it, leaves the wand of entangle and staff of the python, and takes the ring off his tail. Ezekiel then steps in, slowly strolling up to Valour.

He stares at Valour, pinned to the shield in his Tyr garments.

"Mmm... interesting," Ezekiel says.

"I want to take psychic damage from this. it hurts," Valour says, glaring at Ezekiel.

Ezekiel gently caresses Valour’s worried face, “It's going to be okay. I'll take care of you."

Ezekiel’s patron-daddy-halberd starts preparing a list entitled “Son We Need To Talk.”

Ezekiel steps to the side and readies a barrage of eldritch blasts, repeatedly striking the rusty statue until it breaks apart, toppling Valour to the ground, the magnetic pull on the shield no longer working. Valour dusts himself off, grabs the shield, gets the hell away from Ezekiel, and hands the shield to Zanzibar.

"Hey Zanzibar! What's this?" Valour says, and Zanzibar produces his pearl to identify the object.

While the party examines the shield, Ezekiel and Dur-Dur-Dur explore a hallway with a pool of water at the end of it. Three marble maiden statues stand at the fountain, holding pitchers that water flows out of. The water appears crisp, clear, and cold.

Ezekiel tentatively steps inside, examining the pool.

A snarling voice chatters in the back of Dur-Dur-Dur’s head, "You could really use a drink of water," Wongo says.

“I might be thirsty,” Dur-Dur-Dur says, unsure of what’s happening.

"Dur-Dur-Dur, if I know anything about drinks of water, it’s always a good idea," 🌱 calls out to him.

"You really want a drink," Wongo entices the orc.

"Is this a fresh pool of water?" Ezekiel says, looking at the crisp pool.

"It's fresh!" Wongo says.

"I think it's fresh!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

Ezekiel squints at Dur-Dur-Dur, "Are you hearing this from that voice? Oh, my dad didn't like that voice!"

"Your daddy?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"Dur-Dur-Dur, where's your daddy!?" 🌱 shouts.

Dur-Dur-Dur flees over to where his dad is standing with Valour and Zanzibar.

Ezekiel’s curiosity gets the better of him, and he scoops some of the water. It’s delicious! He begins to comment on its taste, but as he opens his mouth, he can't speak!

"Ezekiel how was it?" 🌱 says as Dur-Dur-Dur returns to the pool.

Ezekiel keeps trying to speak, but he can’t manage any words. He instead gives two thumbs up, and along with Dur-Dur-Dur, takes another gulp of water.

Both Dur-Dur-Dur and Ezekiel feel rancid necrotic energy burst through their insides! Dur-Dur-Dur’s stomach roils in agony, and he stumbles away. Ezekiel grabs at his stomach, then takes a one-way trip to the Soulmonger as his body goes full "Mr. Orc, I don't feel so good!" and corrodes away into ashy dust, killing him!

"This is terrible water!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, then walks out, but not before filling his waterskin with the water.

🌱 runs over to Ezekiel’s pile of dust and looks for a body. Where’s the body? Where is it!? Dead people are supposed to be bodies! 🌱 is furious that there is no meat for him to turn into a zombie, so he begins to rant and rave in circles around the room, "WHERE IS MY ZOMBIE!? I'M SO MAD! YOU WASTED ALL THE MEAT!"

Valour and Zanzibar finish identifying the perfectly normal iron shield. This upsets Zanzibar.

"Where's Ezekiel?" Valour says, stepping into the room with the fountain.

"Don't drink that!" 🌱 says, then collects Ezekiel’s ashes.

Everyone realizes that Ezekiel just drank himself to death. He literally died of thirst.

"Here just add it, and see what happens," Zanzibar says, handing 🌱 a vial of Soren juice for him to add some of Ezekiel’s ash into. 🌱 sprinkles some into it, then pockets the rest.

"Dur-Dur-Dur, he was technically employed by you,” Valour says. “Do you get a payout? Do you get an insurance payout?"

Dur-Dur-Dur hears the question. Wongo hears the question. Dur-Dur-Dur then proceeds to take all of Ezekiel’s shit.

Dur-Dur-Dur feels kind of thirsty again…

Before the party can stop him, he reaches over and takes another drink, taking even more necrotic damage as the water twists his insides. By now, the party is screaming at him.

“This water has to do something else!” Dur-Dur-Dur says, looking at Dragonbait. “Hey, drink some of this!”

Dragonbait looks at the pile of loot in Dur-Dur-Dur’s satchel, leers at the orc, then passes him a note. The note says, “I’LL DRINK IF YOU DRINK.”

Dur-Dur-Dur instantly slurps down more water and takes damage… again! This is the third time he has chugged back some necro-juice and almost killed himself. He looks to Dragonbait.

Dragonbait starts to panic a bit, then starts going through… changes. Dragonbait frets and scatters around the room on all fours in a panic. The whole room smells like ham.

"Oh..." Artus Cimber says. “Oh dear.”

“What?” Valour says.

"Dragonbait has been turned into a woman!” Artus Cimber says.

"WAIT!" 🌱 says, barging in. "... does that mean eggs will be involved?"

"Do you need a new name, Dragonbait?" Valour says.

Dragonbait furiously shakes her head.

"Don't you deadname him! Er, her!" Zanzibar says, becoming older and more forgetful by the hour.

Dragonbait shoves her head back into the fountain and takes a drink, transforming back into a male saurian. The smell of ham fades away to a scent of tar.

"I don't get no zombie!” 🌱 huffs, stomping away. “I don't get no eggs!"

Valour scoops some water into a vial. He labels it "DO NOT DRINK!"

Zanzibar asks Dur-Dur-Dur for his waterskin. Dur-Dur-Dur gives it to him. Zanzibar pours it out and screams, "Don't drink any more of this shit!"

The party decides that it’s time to leave the death-mutey-transexual-water room since they have a Death Curse to take care of. They beat a hasty retreat, then return to the room with the face that ate Orvex’s arm. At the opposite end of the hallway is a crystal window.

They peek through the window and sees creepy things, such as a bronze shield covered in eyes being held up by two bear statues, and a sarcophagus surrounded with humanoid-critters wearing papier-mâché feathered masks sitting around on thrones.

Valour uses his Moa power to go invisible. Valour then draws Shatterspike and attacks the window, breaking it. Nothing happens. He puts Shatterspike away and goes invisible again. 🌱 steps in and starts getting his masks out of his bag, choosing to wear his seahorse battiri mask, but the eyes on the bronze shield all stare directly at him, and the bodies slumped in the chairs stand up and brandish swords!

One of the undead wights lunges at 🌱, swiping at him with a sword and a life draining attack, missing both times. Zanzibar rolls up all four of his sleeves and drops a fireball in the room just precisely to burn the hell out of the wights, hitting all of them. Another wight lunges at 🌱, hitting him with a life draining attack, but 🌱 is getting sick and tired of his max HP getting reduced, so he succeeds on his save and becomes quite upset at these wights.

He becomes so upset that he runs away! Then he heals Dur-Dur-Dur with healing word… he wouldn’t have to do this if Dur-Dur-Dur didn’t take three deadly drinks from the fountain.

A wight dashes up and smacks Zanzibar in the face with a longsword.

"Oh, fuck my ass!" Zanzibar says, getting hit.

"Have respect for the dead!" Valour chastises him for giving such a command to a death person... mere minutes after 🌱 scooped their dead party member’s remains into a jar.

A melee begins, but the pile-up of characters prevents too many of the PC’s from being able to get into the fight. Valour wades in, drops his invisibility, then unleashes his Holy Avenger for the first time against the undead. He lops a wight’s head off, sidesteps to another one, then takes its head as well, creating just enough room for Dragonbait to step in and use his Flametongue for the first time, igniting a couple of wights and breaking their vanguard.

One of the wights desperately claws at Dragonbait, draining his life and reducing mis max HP by 8! Zanzibar explodes the wight with magic missiles, shouting “Zanzibar baby!” and giving Dragonbait room to maneuver.

🌱 shoots scorching rays at the undead and hits with only one ray, but it crits. He snatches off his seahorse mask, then puts on one of the papier-mâché feather masks.

With the space created by Valour and Dragonbait, Dur-Dur-Dur steps in and swings, decapitating two of the wights in one swing. "All me baby!" he shouts to Zanzibar, then goes to the sarcophagus.

With one wight left, Valour steps up, plunging the Holy Avenger into its chest and exploding it with holy energy.

With the wights vanquished and only that weird shield covered in eyes remaining, Dur-Dur-Dur tries to open the sarcophagus, but he can't. Everyone then scoops the papier-mâché masks off the ground and wears them, then finds that they can hoist the lid off.

"I do not see how wearing a mask can help this situation!" Zanzibar grumbles.

With the lid open, the PC’s peer inside and see the dead, koala-like bones of a zorbo with a ring resting on top. Dur-Dur-Dur grabs the ring, and the spirit of Obo'laka roars out of it, aiming for Dur-Dur-Dur. Within Dur-Dur-Dur’s head, Wongo and Obo’laka fight for control of his couch, with the ferocious su-monster god beating out the zorbo. Obo’laka then flies towards 🌱, possessing him. The druid begins to feel a lot more traditional—like doing anything different just isn’t what he’s all about!

But he can attune to another magic weapon!

And Ezekiel had a shitload of magic weapons—like a snake staff! 🌱 grabs the staff of the serpent and adds it to his collection of other staves.

"Hey Zanzibar,” Dur-Dur-Dur says. “Put this ring on and tell me what it does!"

"Ask me nicely!" Zanzibar says.

Wongo doesn’t want this to happen, but Dur-Dur-Dur needs the ring. "Zanzibar, please identify this ring for me."

Zanzibar waves his pearl around the ring, identifying it as a ring of protection, which he gives to Valour since Valour needs the armor. Dur-Dur-Dur reaches out and snatches it away.

"It requires attunement!" 🌱 says.

"I'm getting rid of something." Dur-Dur-Dur says, looking through his magic items.

"Get rid of that circlet of intellect you never use." 🌱 says.

🌱 then goes over to a dead wight, holds its studded leather armor up to Valour to see if it fits, tosses it, then goes and gets some other studded leather.

"You can't expect much in this dungeon without some clothes,” 🌱 says, finding some armor that fits. “So wear some of this. If you're going to be in the Tomb of Fucking Annihilation of the Nine Gods, at least make it a little better!"

Valour dons the wight’s armor, which isn’t as devout as he would like.

Satisfied with their conquest(?) of the upper floor, the party decides to head down a level. They can barely see to the bottom of the stairwell, which is appears to descend for four more floors until ending with what appears to be a hole in the ground surrounded by some strange, stone structures. The PC’s descend the steps and reach the hallway near the dead goat-person from earlier, then see the green Guga face that Valour saw on his first venture down.

The party wants to check out the green face of Guga, so they send in Dragonbait since he’s an NPC and Orvex is dead. The saurian has a rope tied around his belly as he walks towards the face. Just like the one on the wall on the first floor, this one has an impenetrable patch of darkness in its mouth.

“Bow to it!” Zanzibar says. “’Bow as the dead god intoned!’”

Dragonbait bows. Nothing happens. He looks to the party, unsure of what to do next.

"No Dragonbait, let's go out of that," Valour says, and Dragonbait comes back to the party

Valour thinks about the plaque’s section, "Into darkness descend," but decides they won’t do any descending anytime soon into a big, dark mouth.

The party goes back to the dead goat person in the loop-de-loop hallway. Dur-Dur-Dur starts to rummage through the goat-person’s stuff, eventually finding a spellbook, an inkpot, and a journal with the name “DEVLIN” scribbled on it.

"Can I have that spellbook?" Zanzibar says.

"What spellbook?" Dur-Dur-Dur says, and Wongo mentally high-fives him.

"AGH!" Zanzibar screams.

"Ask nicely!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"Can I please?" Zanzibar says.

Dur-Dur-Dur and Wongo are appeased, and they allow Zanzibar to have the spellbook. "And if you're going to read the journal, that's fine, but if youi're going to read it, read it to me!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

Zanzibar looks through the book, noting that it belongs to someone named Devlin.

"Thank you, Devlin, for your sacrifice," Valour says, and Moa agrees with his words.

"You have done a good thing here today," Zanzibar says.

Since Devlin was mostly an adventurer like themselves, the party gathers around to have a moment of silence for Devlin—NOPE!

🌱 runs in and casts animate dead on the bastard and raises the eviscerated goat-humanoid into a zombie! The day isn’t ruined after all! He then sends the zombie up the loop-de-loop, and the zombie disappears as it walks up the loop. He calls him back down, not wanting to lose another zombie.

They're way too precious! Especially since there are no eggs.

The PC’s then go into a nearby room, which has a white and black checkerboard floor pattern and a sarcophagus sitting in the center. Sunlight shines down from the ceiling onto the sarcophagus lid, which is odd since there is no hole in the ceiling for the light to fall through. Around them are four open gargoyle mouths, and the room smells eerily of dark wine.

🌱 casts find traps, but for some reason, his magic fizzles. Moa tells Valour that nothing in this tomb reminds him anything of his fellow Trickster Gods.

🌱 says, "Everyone else make sure you're on a black square, not a white square. I got a bad feeling about the white squares… Or the black squares! Zombie, go up there to the sarcophagus and get the lid off!"

While that’s happening, Dur-Dur-Dur tells Dur-Dur to hide in the loop-de-loop. Dur-Dur goes up there, then they can’t hear him anymore…

Dur-Dur-Dur and Valour race up the loop after Dur-Dur! They run upside down up the curve, as though spider climb was cast on them, until they end up coming back around—and there’s Dur-Dur! They look around, realizing that the checkerboard-floored room is where it should be… but their other party members aren’t there.

They snatch up Dur-Dur, run back up the loop-de-loop, and emerge back on the other side—and there’s the rest of their party!

This is weird…

Zombie Devlin removes the sarcophagus lid, and sunlight shines into the open casket. Before any of the PC’s can look inside, a stone block begins to lower, sealing off the tomb. Everyone runs out of the tomb, leaving zombie Devlin and Zanzibar’s owl familiar to stay in the room.

Zanzibar focuses, seeing through his familiar’s sight. He sees red wine gush out of the gargoyle mouths, filling the room with wine. After about 18 seconds, the northwest, northeast, and southeast of the four gargoyle heads surge as the wine appears to come to life. Three masses of living wine charge zombie Devlin, pulling him apart piece by piece. The wine continues to rise, Zanzibar’s owl hugging the ceiling as much as it can. The last image Zanzibar sees is the wine filling the room completely, then three masses charge towards him.

The PC’s stare at the stone block that’s keeping them from the wine room. Zanzibar tells them what he just saw in the wine room.

The party doesn’t try getting past the block into the wine room.

Instead, they decide to go through the loop-de-loop. When they arrive at what should have been where they started, they see that the wine room’s stone block is gone, but the room is completely dry!

Valour runs back up the loop-de-loop. When he arrives at the other end, the party is gone and the stone block to the wine room is back in place. He runs through it again and, as he expected, finds the party with the clean wine room.

Two copies of this place?

Valour steps into the tomb with the checkered floor, then eyeballs the gargoyle heads. They have spigots in their mouths.

"See what's in the sarcophagus!" 🌱 says.

"Um..." Valour says, remembering what Zanzibar said had happened.

"You can always run away!" Dur-Dur-Dur says. "We can always beat this block down with Shatterspike and Durminator."

"Well that encounter you had with the wall took some time!" Valour says.

"Well I was only hitting it from one side." Dur-Dur-Dur says.

The party decides not to fool around with this tomb.

Dur-Dur-Dur goes back upstairs to the upper floor with Artus Cimber and Dragonbait. He realizes that this floor looks as though the party hasn’t been through it yet: there’s no blood on the face of Guga, the crystal window to Obo’laika’s tomb is intact… strange!

"Hey guys, ignore all that. There's new tombs up here!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"New tombs? What does that mean?" 🌱 says.

"Come on, Zanzibar!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, grabbing Zanzibar.

"No!" Zanzibar says as he is being carried.

"I feel like this is a red herring and a trap. Does this plaque read the same thing?" Valour says, checking the plaque—the words are the same.

“Can we go back to the original tomb?" Zanzibar says. "Instead of our second one? We are still in the second tomb! I don't want to have to do this whole tomb twice."

"Let's go where we've been in the alternate tomb and see what's there," Valour says. "We can come back."

"You want to do it all again?" Zanzibar says, aghast.

"We can come back!" Valour says.

"We're just going to the one part we know we can win." Dur-Dur-Dur says, thinking about the water—no, the wights!

"I'm curious to see why it's like that," Valour says.

"... fine,” Zanzibar grumbles.

"We should at least go to the wight room because we get XP there,” Dur-Dur-Dur says.

Zanzibar puts a note on the floor that says “TOMB B.”

"Tomb B is good!" Zanzibar says, choosing to put the ink down on the perpendicular crossway where the loop-de-loop is.

"No that's how it's spelled. You don't pronounce the B," Valour says, thinking of the word, “TOMB.”

"So, I'm risk averse, so I don't want to go... but I also like routine, so I kind of DO want to go!" 🌱 says, and Obo’laka agrees with him.

"Are there copies of the spirits?" Valour says. "I'm just intrigued and want to know how this all works."

Dur-Dur-Dur goes to the main entrance to see if there is a duplicate Omu as well, but he sees that the door exiting the Tomb of the Nine Gods is closed.

Dur-Dur-Dur puts a papier-mâché mask on, goes over to the crystal window of Obo’laka’s tomb, then smashes it. Nothing happens. He opens the sarcophagus inside, and sure enough, Obo'laka's spirit roars out. The spirit possesses Dur-Dur-Dur, pushing out Wongo! The su-monster’s spirit flies to Dragonbait and Artus Cimber, and Valour uses protection from good and evil at Moa’s behest to keep the violent spirit from possessing them. The spirit then flies to Zanzibar, who ain’t having any more ghosts near him, until finally flying off to Dur-Dur!

"Dad!" Dur-Dur-Dur shouts as Wongo possesses his father.

"Shut up!" Dur-Dur says.

"Yes sir..." Dur-Dur-Dur says.

Dur-Dur-Dur then draws his weapon and smacks one of the wights upside the head, and the other wights all stand up to fight them. Zanzibar opens up with a fireball right smack in the middle of the wights, and Dur-Dur-Dur forms a barricade with Valour at the hall, dropping the undead beasts as they pile around.

A wight scrapes at Valour, hitting him with life drain and dropping Valour’s max HP by 7! Artus Cimber then throws a wall of ice behind the wights, pinning them into Dur-Dur-Dur’s and Valour’s weapons. 🌱 conjures a healing spirit entity that erupts from the Feywild to shove magical eggs into his allies’ mouths because, yep, his spells are still weird—even the new ones—but at least they receive an extra 1d6 healing every now and then!

After pinning down the wights, Zanzibar finishes the last one with a quick ray of frost.

Dur-Dur-Dur peeks into the sarcophagus again, and sure enough, there’s a ring in it. He gives it to Zanzibar to identify. He recognizes it as a ring of protection, which he gives to Valour.

"WHY on earth, and HOW on earth does this place exist?" Valour says.

"Let's rest!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"If we rest, we need to be in the main timeline tomb. We don’t need to be in this place that doesn't exist,” Zanzibar says.

The party returns back to the prime Tomb of the Nine Gods, but when they do, Obo’laka’s duplicate spirit fades out of Dur-Dur-Dur, and Valour’s duplicate ring of protection disappears. Looks like they can’t take anything out of the parallel tomb!

They decide to throw down the Leomund’s tiny hut and camp upstairs on the top floor, but just as they get ready to sleep, a loud clattering downstairs keeps waking them up. They then decide to go outside and sleep in Omu…

But the door is closed.

Zanzibar needs to get his mind off of this bullshit, so he finishes reading Devlin’s journal, “’To those who find this—’ ah, that’s us! ‘Know that I, Devlin Bashir, am the last surviving member of the Company of the Yellow Banner.’ We’ve heard of them! ‘The warlord Ras Nsi stripped us of our weapons and threw us in here on orders of his master, Acererak. I can only imagine our souls are to be fed to his phylactery. Alas, it seems he has won.’ Indeed he has!”

Zanzibar continues, with full commentary mode still on, “‘Our company was separated after the incident with the four-armed gargoyle—’ four-armed gargoyle? That sounds bad! Have you guys seen any of these yet? ‘The tomb guardians tore Seward to pieces—’ Have we seen tomb guardians!? ‘And with him, we lost the Starfallen.’ What’s the Starfallen? ‘Our quest was a failure: even if we found the Eye—’ Eye is capitalized! ‘—the elf princess was gone…’ What the fuck? ‘My friends wouldn’t have lasted long without their weapons (especially with a doppelganger in our midst, as Seph suspected)—’ Doppelgangers!? ‘Of course, I kept my staff. I’m sure Brixton would’ve seen some humor in that.’”

A quiet air of suspicion falls over the party as Zanzibar mentions a doppelganger. He then continues reading, “Gentle reader—’ that’s me! ‘—let a dying man offer you one piece of advice. Acererak is a trickster who desires nothing but your soul. His riddles may help you, but in the end, his final secret always leads to your doom. Tymora save us all,’” he finishes the journal.

Everyone stares at each other.

"How do I know that you are not a doppelganger!?" Zanziber points to Valour.

"Well, I'm Valour, and I can only speak the truth!" Valour says, and Moa agrees.

"What is a secret that only the people in our party can know!?" Zanzibar shouts.

"Everyone get in the truth box!" Valour says, summoning a zone of truth in front of the mouth of death.

Dur-Dur-Dur is the first to step into the zone. "Ask me your question," he says.

"Are you a doppelganger?" Valour says.

"I don't know what that is."

"Next!" Valour says, convinced at Dur-Dur-Dur’s innocence.

Dur-Dur-Dur picks up Zanzibar and puts him into the zone of truth.

"Are you a doppelganger?" Valour says.

"Quick what's my daddy's name?" Dur-Dur-Dur interjects.

"Who cares?" Zanzibar says.

Valour is convinced, then calls forth Sikkukurut, who everyone keeps forgetting about.

"Sikkukurut, what do you know about doppelgangers?" 🌱 says.

"Mmmm, doppelgangers, heard of them, yes!” Sikkukurut says. “Doppelgangers very sneaky, yes! Take humanoid shape, yes!"

"Can you detect them for us?" 🌱 says.

"No, yes!" Sikkukurut says.

"... If you could detect doppelgangers, what would you do?" 🌱 says.

Sikkukurut disappears into Dur-Dur-Dur’s hair.

One by one, Valour starts checking everyone for whether or not they’re doppelgangers, none of them coming up positive on the lie detector.

"Daddy?" Dur-Dur-Dur says, gesturing to the zone.

Dur-Dur leers at the zone, loops at the party, then hops over the railing of the stairs, down to the depths below—a shimmer in his illusory appearance displaying tattoos on his head and a flurry of red robes.

Nobody says anything for a while.

"... I'm out of rages for the day! I don't know what to do!" Dur-Dur-Dur shouts.

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