"Oh a gem let me look at that, Valour!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, looking at the gem in Valour’s hand.
"No we ended the last session with this in my pocket!" Valour says, not actually holding the gem since it is actually in his pocket.
Valour then brings the gem to Zanzibar, but he cusses profusely as he passes by Dragonbait. "Tyr sucks!" he shouts, but he feels really bad about it. "Zanzibar, identify this,” he also shouts, but quietly, like speaking normally. He doesn't shout.
Zanzibar identifies the magical gemstone and boy-oh-boy does he see some fucked up sacrificial shit as he looks into that deep, dark magic. He sees some people chopping people up on an altar on a temple and such and it’s just not pleasant. Valour concentrates his paladin wards around Zanzibar to help him resist the terror, which basically means he just stands uncomfortably close to Zanzibar to help the pain go away. As Zanzibar concentrates, he hears chanting from the gem: "Zaltec! Zaltec! Zaltec!"
Zanzibar then spouts out, "Zaltec!"
They all recognize that name, and they turn to Chumbawumba. You know, the fat one. The fat one who is even fatter now.
"I know what the Eye of Zaltec is,” Chumbawumba says, fatly. “It's what we came in here for! It's expensive! It's a gem."
"Well I'm holding it. I know it's a gem," Valour says.
What the fuck Valour you just told Dur-Dur-Dur that you weren't holding it, then you gave it to Zanzibar!
"Aight well fuck you,” Chumbawumba says. “Um it's a gem and uh, yeah, I mean like—I think that's what we were looking for. That's what we were doing to get the Starfallen resurrected. I say, I remember!" he remembers.
"So you guys came here looking for this thing specifically?" Zanzibar says.
"Well, gold as well but this thing is the pièce de ré·sis·tance,” Chumbawumba says, sprinkling his words with Undercommon. “It's an eye that probably belonged to some fool named Zaltec, and it will line our pockets with gold!"
"DIBS!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
He doesn’t get dibs.
"Do you think we could merge that with the Dendar summoning thing and use it to summon evil gods? Would that work?" 🌱 says.
"The Dendar what now?" Chumbawumba says.
"There's this big god we summoned,” 🌱 says. “Don't we have a crown we can use to summon him?"
"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OUTSIDE THIS TEMPLE?" Chumbawumba shouts.
"Let's go take this gem somewhere else. And break this gargoyle down. You want to attack the gargoyle?" Dur-Dur-Dur says, looking at the busted gargoyle on the ground.
One of 🌱’s zombie goes over and raps on the gargoyle 9 times. Nothing happens.
Dur-Dur-Dur puts three coins in each of the gargoyle’s hands. Nothing happens. He takes the gold back. Nothing happens. Except for his gold returning.
Dur-Dur-Dur tells Lickety Biscuit to peek through a gap in the gears to check out what’s outside these rotating pentagonal cogs. The lizard does so, then comes back. "There's a boat and a dock!"
Dur-Dur-Dur then tries to hack away the wall, which doesn't do anything.
They then go to the western area and see the friezes that I hate again. They then go further west and enter a control room of sorts with a lever, a red dial, a red button, a blue dial, and a blue button, and—A BOUNCING SKELETON! They chase that bitch down and Valour murders it and steals its head, which is heptagon shaped.
They investigate the neat control panel with the—
Dur-Dur-Dur grabs the star-shaped lever and pulls it, which causes icky doodoo slime to pool out of a set of pipes in the room. The party isn’t too keen on pipes, so Dur-Dur-Dur shoves the star-shaped lever back to the original position, which snaps the lever off but stops the goo.
"Free lever!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, then takes a puff on his bubble pipe.
"That does look like a cool lever. You can go attach that to a beer tap at your bar," Valour says.
"What happens if I turn the blue knob?" Dur-Dur-Dur says then turns the knob, which causes a configuration of three pentagonal rooms to change on a display in front of him. He then hits the blue button.
Chumbawumba then hears a scream from Tubthumpin, followed by the sound of gears grinding. The party is split as the pentagon-shaped rooms begin to rotate, connecting their pathways to different whatnots. It seems the control panel changes the rotation of the pentagon shaped rooms, lining certain paths up and breaking others.
"Turn the knob back!" 🌱 shouts from the other side of the wall.
"NO!" Dur-Dur-Dur says then turns the dial back.
When he does, he resets the configuration and the party is reunited. But something fishy is going on in the pentagon room they first landed in, and by fishy, I mean planty, and by planty, I mean giant plant monsters have risen from the mulch and killed Tubthumpin and Lickety Biscuit since those bastards were left alone in the room.
Which is terrible because Tubthumpin had all the treasure!
And Lickety Biscuit had nothing!
Chumbawumba summons his flamethrower machine and gets near the edge of the room with the mound-shaped shambling things. "Hey bud! Can you figure out where the rest of those fucks are?" he says to the plant-shaped party member.
"Hey you guys don't do that again!" 🌱 shouts to the party members who caused the disaster (aka Dur-Dur-Dur). "Let's come check the plant out!"
🌱 sends the Biff zombie into the room, and a vine snatches Biff up by the neck and kills him super terribly. And 🌱 knows enough plant talk that when a plant kills your zombie, them’s fightin’ words!
And the best fightin’ word is “roll initiative!”
Chumbawumba steps into the pentagon room and sees three monstrous piles of vegetable matter, so he launches a firebolt and redeploys his cannon, blasting more fire at the creatures but not doing nearly as much damage as he thought he would.
The Omuan warrior lunges from the southern corridor and hacks into one of the beasts, dealing a whopping 55 damage!
"We gonna call her the Lawnmower because she's cutting up grass!" Doomfist shouts. Nobody proceeds to call her Lawnmower at all from here on out.
Dur-Dur-Dur runs across the ceiling and hits another shambling mound for 58 damage, and he flexes at his extra three points of hurt.
One of the mounds slithers up and smacks Chumbawumba around, grabs him up by his foot, then engulfs him whole like a bao dumpling.
Dragonbait lays down suppressive fire with his suppressive bow as Valour closes in. Doomfist rushes forward with a Naruto run, then punches one of the mounds with his mound-pound technique (it's a VERY niche subclass of Monk. Don't google it.)
Zanzibar sets up distance and points the wand of wonder at the most hurt shambling mound. Magic coalesces from the tip of the wand and fires at the plant monster, causing a rhinoceros to appear next to the plant monster—and it’s confuuuuuused!
"Did it help?" Zanzibar says, not sure if he made the fight harder or not.
Another mound then snatches Dur-Dur-Dur off the ceiling and engulfs him whole. Just as everyone’s freaking out, the third mound opens up and swallows Valour.
Well if there’s any plant monster that’s going to consume the tanks, it’s going to be 🌱, and he’s not letting any other plants eat what he’s claimed dibs on. The druid steps up to the fray, then casts blight as he pulls all the energy he can from one of the shambling mounds, dealing maximum 64 damage as the plant monster begins to rot.
Chumbawumba manages to slip out of his shambling mound, as does Dur-Dur-Dur, because they’re not cool with the being eaten part. The Omuan and Dragonbait then lay into one of the shambling mounds, shredding it to smithereens. When it dies, it bubbles for a few seconds—then pops! The party’s treasure, as well as a ripped up Tubthumpin, scatters all over the ground.
The rhino panics and charges the nearest shambling mound, missing its attack.
Doomfist gets down with the fistness and slams his greatclub into one of the shambling mounds, then he swings his fist around and punches it to death, his massive fist going into the plant body as he pulls out some heart-shaped plant vines that he holds over his head in victory like a Mortal Kombat character!
The remaining shambling mound reaches for Dur-Dur-Dur and critically hits him, but isn’t able to eat him. Dur-Dur-Dur, Dragonbait, and the Omuan then charge in and hack up the shambling mound until nothing remains but pieces.
Valour stumbles out of the mound’s eviscerated corpse, coming face to face with an angry rhino. He puts the beast out of its misery as Tyr maybe-sort-of-would-have wanted, then Dur-Dur-Dur comes over and rips its horn off because he’s seen enough nature documentaries to know that those things cost some fancy gp.
"Oh shit, Lickety Biscuit!" Chumbawumba says, seeing the dead lizard. "And Tubthumpin!" he shouts, finding pieces of metal from the homunculus. He snoops around until he finds Tubthumpin’s gemstone heartpiece. "Ah shit. I'm gonna have to regrow you there, buddy."
"Regrow?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
Zanzibar contemplates how they’re going to navigate these rotating rooms. Each room has two exits, but the exits don’t always line up to each other. Someone needs to stay behind at the control panel! "So, we need to volunteer Dragonbait to go turn the dial and let us—" he begins.
"OR!” Valour interjects. “I can summon Quest!"
There’s a long pause of silence.
"He doesn't have hands!" Zanzibar says.
"He has a nose!" Valour says.
"I need to rebuild Tubthumpin..." Chumbawumba says, looking for a bunch of random shit to put his homunculus back together again.
"Use the alchemy jug to infuse him!" 🌱 says.
"No, then if it dies, we lose all our mayonnaise!" Valour says.
Chumbawumba pulls out a hammer from his bag of random shit, then he infuses it with the rusty sprinkler in the room where the plant monsters were. "So we're gonna have to call you something else buddy,” he says, eyeballing the new floating homunculus. “I'm gonna call you Drip-Drip-Drip! because all you doin' is fuckin' drip!"
The party steps back to the room with the controls in it, and Valour summons his paladin horse, Quest. He then proceeds to fill in his horse on the details he’s missed out on. "Quest! The Dur-Dur that we brought in with Dur-Dur-Dur turned out to be a fake-fake! Okay so real quick—this operates some gears that operates some turntables. We're probably gonna die. You might die. If you do. I'll bring you back!"
With the horse briefed on his mission, the party moves to the center pentagonal room—the one they entered on.
"Quest! You decide. Turn the red dial to the left!" Valour says, not letting Quest decide a damned thing.
Quest uses his horsey lips to turn the red dial to the left, which doesn’t cause any rooms to move—something freakier happens.
"You're not Withers," a deep, brooding voice speaks to Quest.
Valour panics a bit since he can hear the voice. He has a telepathic range of 1 mile with his mount, so he's privvy to Quest's weirdest thoughts. He then realizes that this phantom voice is telepathically communicating with Quest, and Valour’s listening in like some kind of tele-pervert.
"Why did you say Withers?" Valour responds telepathically.
"... Are you a horse?" the voice rumbles.
Valour realizes that he’s speaking to the voice through the mind of his paladin horse! This is batshit insane!
"... Yes..." Valour says.
The voice waits for a bit, then growls, "You're not the horse..."
"Mmm oats..." Valour says, mimicking what a horse might be thinking.
"What is a horse doing in my domain?" the voice demands.
"Well who are you?" Valour says, equestriannally, which is totally a word.
"I am G'lyh'rul! The great and powerful!" the voice shouts.
G’lyh’rul? The party has heard of that voice before.
"If you're so great, how come I've never heard of you?" Valour says.
"You know who that is!" Zanzibar butts in, somehow also hearing this conversation I suppose.
Valour breaks connection for a bit to rant at Zanzibar for almost blowing the ruse, "Yeah, but the horse might not!" Valour then turns back to the phantom conversation. "Hey, have you seen Sikkukurut, my bird friend?"
"Sikkukurut belongs to me now," G’lyh’rul says.
"We've exchanged ten sentences back and forth, and you sound like a real downer. And furthermore, what do these buttons do," Valour says then makes Quest rub his face over the controls.
G’lyh’rul chuckles. "Of course you wouldn’t know. You are but a silly horse! But I commend you for making it this far. Others might find you as well."
"Who’s the silly one? The horse, or the glee-glue having a psychic conversation with me?" Valour says.
Valour feels ancient, deep, eldritch magic reach into Quest—an attempt to charm the horse! But Valour resists the magic, keeping his horse safe.
"Somebody else is here... somebody is speaking for this horse!" G’lyh’rul rants, his mind-voice booming. "Where is Withers!?"
"Tell me who Withers is, and I'll tell you what I know!" Valour says.
"Withers, or as he was known as Gorra in a mortal life, was an engineer of Omu. ‘Twas Gorra who built the Tomb of the Nine Gods under Acererak’s orders, then when the tomb was completed, Acererak slew Gorra and raised him as the undead caretaker. Gorra is the mastermind of this dungeon—an undead Omuan."
Valour looks to the Omuan warrior and says "Gorra!"
She recognizes the name, "Gorra!"
"You'll have to give me a few minutes... I need to think about this," Valour says.
"Take all the time you need. I have lived for eons,” G’lyh’rul echoes.
Valour turns to the party. "Um, I’ve found Zanzibar's friend."
"The thing from the waterfall?" 🌱 says. "Does it know where Sikkukurut is?"
"He said Sikkukurut is his, and he tried to take over Quest, but I intercepted it,” Valour says.
"Let's go save Sikkukurut," 🌱 says.
"Why? He sucked,” Zanzibar says.
"Oh yeah," 🌱 says.
Zanzibar casts comprehend languages. He goes up to the Omuan and points to himself, "Zanzibar!" then points to her, "Gorra?"
She points to herself and says "Lukanu."
Everyone introduces themselves to her. But comprehend languages only means that Zanzibar can understand her. She says "I still don't know what they are saying. What do you know about Gorra? What happened to him? Is he alive?"
"You can understand me?" Lukanu says.
"Oh finally! The lich Acererak took over Omu, built this tomb, and sent us through the damned place to test out his traps. I’ve been stuck in that mirror for—how long has it been?"
Zanzibar starts being a nerd and calculates the approximate fall of Omu, which corresponds to somewhere around 200 years ago.
"200 years!?" Lukanu shouts. "Is Acererak sending you through here as well to test for his traps?"
Zanzibar gestures that they want to slay Acererak, which probably involves lots of stabby motions and punchy motions.
"Ask her if she knows Glue Hole!" Doomfist says.
"G'lyh'rul?" Zanzibar says to her.
She shakes her head.
Valour decides to go check back in on his conversation with the horse and the monster. "Hey, if you're still there, we haven't seen Withers!"
"Oh goodness, who are you!?" a happier, different voice responds.
"Hey! HEY! What's your name?" Valour says.
"G'lyh'rul!" the happy voice says—shit’s getting really weird, y’all!
Valour waits a bit, then goes for it. "My name is Quest. I'm a horse!"
"A horse, really?" G’lyh’rul says.
"I like oats, what do you like?" Valour says.
"Oh, hello Quest the horse. What are oats?"
"Oats are like. They're like happiness in your mouth! What happens when I push this red button?"
G’lyh’rul ignores all of that, instead rambling on like a child. "It gets really lonely down here, oh—sorry about the slime! It leaks out of my skin sometimes and gets EVERYWHERE!"
"Well okay um... I think I'm almost out of minutes in my dial up," Valour says, not liking any of this conversation.
"Nice to meet you Mr. Quest the Horse."
"Any advice for me?” Valour says. “Since I'm a lonely horse."
G’lyh’rul giggles. "Turn the red dial to the right to hang up!"
Quest grabs the red dial and turns it to the right, which causes the conversation to end.
"So Quest, turn the blue dial to the right and hit the blue button,” Valour tells his steed.
Quest does this, which causes the platforms to rotate again. One of the pathways isn’t connected to any other pathways, instead poking out like a hole in the wall into a swathe of underground water. They peer out of it, seeing that one of the other non-connected pathways is also poking over the water.
🌱 throws his staff of the serpent into the water and activates it, then orders the snake to go check things out. It swims off, then swims back in a few minutes.
Dur-Dur-Dur speaks to it, "Hi I'm Dur-Dur-Dur. Have you seen my daddy?"
"I don't know,” the snake says.
"What's in the water?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"Boats, dock, cogs, and…” the snake pauses dramatically. “Something ancient."
"Like an old boat with old cogs?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"It tried to take me, but I'm not able to be taken,” the snake says.
"Did you see what it looked like?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"A mouth. Several eyes,” the snake says.
"Like more than two?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"I could not count them,” the snake says.
"Is it safe to go out there?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"Maybe. I'm not alive," the snake says.
"All right now focus. Have you seen anything that looks like me down there?" Dur-Dur-Dur says, still on the lookout for his daddy… or the doppelganger… or hell, who really knows at this point? Also why is he the one talking to the serpent staff that 🌱 owns!?
"Many things shaped like many of you. All bones,” the snake says.
"Well the water seems safe," Valour says.
Dur-Dur-Dur steps out onto the side of the cog and gets a better look at the other opening in the nearby cog room.
"All right Valour, let's go!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, ready to pick up Valour and chuck him to the other room.
"We can just get horse lips to turn it for us!" Doomfist says.
Everyone decides that Dur-Dur-Dur shouldn’t be the one making plans, so they get back into the cog room and order Quest to rotate the platforms again, which connects the open paths together and combines their cog with a cog they haven’t been to.
The configuration also opens up a small room to the north.
Dragonbait steps into the small room and sees a dead corpse wearing a yellow band.
"Chumbawumba it's a yellow teammate!" Valour says.
"All right Drip-Drip-Drip, start dragging out the dead body of our former compatriot," Chumbawumba says, and the floating sprinkler with the hammer slapped onto it pulls the corpse to them. "So this is Lord Brixton here, former leader. Made it probably the farthest besides me! We have Devlin, that was... yep Devlin's dead. Braavus—we found that dwarf in the hopscotch room. Biff died in the mirror of pain. Seph was in the turning room. So we got Seward and the Starfallen to find, that's it!"
Zanzibar finds a longsword with a dragon hilt on it and identifies it. There’s not a lot of magic within it, but whoever bears the sword can speak the draconic language.
Zanzibar immediately gives it to Lukanu!
Lukanu says "Thanks" in draconic, then realizes she speaks the language.
"We have so much to learn about each other!" Zanzibar says.
"I can understand you now!" Lukanku says.
"You're speaking draconic now, the language of dragons!" Zanzibar says. "Does anybody else with us understand this? No? Bad news is you can only talk to me—but I'm the smartest!"
"Is this dragon sword what let's me talk to you?" Lukanu says.
"Yes!" Zanzibar says.
"I will keep it at my side!" Lukanu says.
"Now you are part of the team. Even more than Doomfist and the other guy!" Zanzibar says, then checks out her body. "I think my friends really want your armor, and to be honest at the beginning, you're really good at fighting. So you're welcome to hang out with us and help kill Acererak! Also what's up with that minotaur?"
This is the worst.
"Minotaurs were citizens of Omu. Our greatest warrior was Karagos!" Lukanu says. "Also this armor, um... it's not coming off."
"Is that like... an oath that your armor doesn't come off, or is it physically attached to you?" Zanzibar says.
"It's scorpion armor. It can be removed, but I cannot live through the process," Lukanu says.
This is weird.
"What is scorpion armor?" Zanzibar says.
"It does not hurt, but it is like an exoskeleton,” she says, then shows how the armor is biologically attached to her. “If removed, I will die."
"So how did you end up with your job? I think you said you were Queen Napaka's bodyguard?" Zanzibar says.
"I won many of the trials. Like Kubazan's and Shagambi's,” Lukanu says.
"KUBAZAN IS LITERALLY WITHIN ME RIGHT NOW!" Zanzibar says.
The others decide to fuck all this and go into the next cog room, letting Zanzibar and Look-ee-loo talk about their armor and Trickster Jesuses all they want. The next cog room has five wardrobes against each of the five walls, but the northern corner has a pathway leading out with adamantium bars preventing people from walking through. Also, five blood-red crystals loom over the path.
Doomfist goes over to one of the wardrobes and checks it out. The doors to it are embossed with terrifying carvings of a hellish, nightmare landscape. All five of them are eerie in one way or another—undead bullshit on one, orcs at war on another, some kind of devil dude, and a clock.
"Why is the clock the only one that's not horrible?" Doomfist says.
"Clocks remind you of your mortality!" Valour says.
"Dragonbait, open this wardrobe," Dur-Dur-Dur says, pointing at the wardrobe with the hellish landscape.
Dragonbait opens the wardrobe and yep, they see a good bit of hell inside. Volcanoes, blood, the usual. It’s like looking into a TV Narnia kind of thing, but then two skittering buggish demons fly out of the wardrobe and shit gets really scary!
Doomfist and Dur-Dur-Dur try to curbstomb/slap the nearest of the bug monsters, but one of them then casts darkness and fills the whole pentagon up with unseeable nonsense.
While everyone tries to rush in and fight in the dark, 🌱 goes into pure “fuggit” mode and casts dispel magic, removing the darkness and revealing the bug creatures again. The second bug creature then raises its buggy arms and casts cloudkill, which causes stinky death gas to spew forth.
But you know what is good? Smacking the shit out of the creature and making it lose concentration on its cloudkill spell!
Dragonbait murders the hell out of one of the fiends, then Valour runs up to the last one, tripping on some of that bizarre slime that’s all over the place in the process. When he does, he hears G’lyh’rul’s terrifying voice echo in his head, “Wait a minute—YOU'RE THE HORSE!" and then the voice goes silent.
Valour slays the monster, and when he does, one of the little red gemstones above the barred path lights up. Hrm… maybe slaying everything behind these doors lights all those gemstones up?
"Hey you guys, don't step on this puddle here. It connects you to Google!" Valour says, being more of a Bing kind of guy.
They then step up to the wardrobe with the clock on it and open it, revealing a world of clockwork creatures, machines, massive chains, and whirring automatons. A little sphere-shaped creature made of brass, iron, and screws stumbles out. It’s confused as hell, but it can’t crawl back into the wardrobe.
It looks anxiously among the party.
Dur-Dur-Dur murders the hell out of it, and a second gemstone lights up.
The players decide to open the death-looking graveyard wardrobe, which has a graveyard inside of it. Neat! Then four will-o’-wisps pop up around them, and not a damn motherfucker makes a Dota 2 joke! The glowing balls of death just zap the hell out of the PC’s, poking them with little lightning prods, but they drop quickly because the party is tank-stacked which means they’re also spank-stacked, so little balloon lights aren’t much of a threat.
Three closets down!
Now they open the devil closet, which causes a massive, winged bone devil to skitter out of the wardrobe and land in the center of the room, yelling and screaming and carrying on like a real bitch. The PC’s engage the thing and some shenanigans begin to shenanigize.
Zanzibar points wand of wonder at it and casts lightning bolt, which the bone devil fails and gets zapped. Dur-Dur-Dur lobs javelins at the bone devil but misses both times, and Chumbawumba unleashes napalm on the bastard like he’s in Apocalypse Now, but this thing is a devil and it’s quite used to lots of fire, thank you very much!
Lukanu charges in and wails on it, and the bone devil tries to hurt Lukanu with swipes of its claws and stings of its deadly tail but her scorpion armor is too tough for it to break through. It manages to catch Doomfist though, slashing him for 9 damage.
Valour goes full paladin and divine smites the devil with Flametongue, dealing extra damage for it being a fiend. Dragonbait joins him with swings of the Holy Avenger, both of them clearing out Hit Points left and right. Doomfist takes the blood where he was swiped and wipes it over his mask, then smacks the bone devil with the mace of terror that he forgets he has.
Dur-Dur-Dur steps up and finishes the bone devil with Durminator.
With only one wardrobe left to open, Dragonbait steps up to the one with the orcs on it and opens it, and holy shit a cavalcade of orcs just spills into the room. They’re all stacked on one another, fighting and pushing and shoving, so Chumbawumba burns a mass of them with napalm while Dragonbait picks them off from a distance.
From the center of the pile the orc’s warchief lets out a battle shout, and those orcs just start smacking people, dealing medium amounts of damage but with several strikes per turn! The PC’s cut the orcs down one at a time, then Dur-Dur-Dur runs up to the warchief and kills it with a swipe.
"My name's Luglug have you seen my daddy—OOOW!" the warchief gurgles its last breath and drops.
"I'm the warchief now!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, taking the warchief’s greataxe.
Valour then grabs the warchief’s chainmail and dons it, giving Dragonbait his clothes back.
The final red gemstone lights up, the adamantium bars lift away, and the path lays open for the party.