The party wakes up from their long rest in the golden mammoth room with the devil in it, and they begin to reallocate resources so that they don’t screw up terribly. Again.
🌱 can’t hit anything anyways so he gives the staff of striking to Doomfist since. "Good luck with it, I think it might have some weird side effects,” the half goat abomination tells Doomfist.
The party decides that since Dragonbait has the bracers of archery, Valour should have the Holy Avenger instead while Dragonbait runs ranged support. Dragonbait smells in agreement, and the saurian gives the half-elf the Holy Avenger while he takes Flametongue.
"Does anyone want the wand of entangle?" Doomfist says, producing it.
"We've been passing that around since episode 5!" Zanzibar says.
"We're selling that when we get back to town," Valour says.
"If..." Chumbawumba says, bringing down the mood.
🌱 casts goodberry and has enough for everyone to have just one. While he does so, Zanzibar looks at the Chalice of Ch’gakare, then casts identify on it. He feels it brimming with ancient, ancestral magic of power and order.
He asks Lukanu what the hell this thing is about.
"The Chalice of Ch'kagare was the sign of the ruler of Omu. The king or queen always had the chalice," Lukanu explains.
"So now I'm a warchief and A king!? This is getting better and better!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, brimming with excitement. "King Warchief! That's on my character sheet now!"
The party notices that the mammoth statue’s tusks are covered in little gemstones, so 🌱 and Chumbawumba pry them out, finding fifty in total worth around 100 gp each! Score!
"Pay taxes to your king!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.
"I didn't vote for you!" Chumbawumba says.
"You can't vote in my society, green boy!" Dur-Dur-Dur says to Chumbawumba.
"Hey that's our word!" Chumbawumba says to the other green person.
They realize that they never quite found out what happened to Sikkukurut. Not that they ever remembered him on the regular when he was with them.
"The only thing that lives out there is a horrible mind monster," Zanzibar says. "But if we want to go back to the terrible door..."
"I vote we go back to the door and ignore the water monster," 🌱 says, being in a mood of shapes instead of water.
Everyone agrees and returns back to the geometry door where the Sewn Sisters were lurking. When they get there, they see the creepy doll children that Zanzibar hates.
"Children, you will now refer to me as King Warchief!" Dur-Dur-Dur greets them.
"Did you leave your kids here?" Zanzibar says.
"Do you think those kids are better off with Dur-Dur-Dur?" Valour says.
"Dur-Dur-Dur came down here to find the daddy, but his real treasure was the daddy he made along the way,” Chumbawumba says, the months of being trapped winnowing at what’s left of his testicle brain.
They stand in front of the door. Yep, it’s a door. Probably something terrible behind it, too. Dur-Dur-Dur takes out the octagon-shaped skeleton key and slips it into the door. It clicks into place. He then takes out all but the final key and inserts them.
Valour produces the final key. "Hold on, are we... oh boy," he mutters, then inserts it.
The keys click into place, rotate, and the magical lock lifts. The skeleton gate rumbles open, rising into the ceiling as a torrent of wretched screams, like thousands of people crying at once under a muffled mountain, spills over the PC’s. Echoing over it all is the haunting sound of a massive, crying…
"Dur-Dur-Dur, get in front!" Zanzibar says, and the PC’s get into position!
Lukanu and Dragonbait get in front because they're expendable—I mean, NPC’s… 🌱 throws his snake staff down, and they step forward into the room. They’re greeted by the most baffling thing they’ve ever seen—even weirder than the spooky death t-rex stomach, and that was internet bullshit at it’s finest degree!
Alcoves of skeletal bones pile on either side of them, and before them is a massive, underground lava pit with an otherworldly machine floating over it. The machine is cylinder-shaped and filled with screaming souls clawing at glowing blue glass—the Soulmonger! Extending from the machine are four writhing, black tendrils that lash at the air. Three adamantium struts support the machine, but attached to the Soulmonger’s capped top with an umbilical cord is a massive, broken, floating godling—the Child of Guga!
Valour uses divine sense, detecting that the creature is an undead titan!
"We... we gotta kill that thing," Valour shouts over the screaming souls.
"We gotta leave!" Zanzibar shouts.
"NO!” Valour commands, stepping forth.
"It's a baby titan!" Zanzibar blathers, still in a panic.
"The best time to kill it is when it's a baby!" 🌱 points out, which is a very odd sentence when taken out of context.
"IS THIS THE CHILD!?" Zanzibar keeps freaking out, man!
Chumbawumba shouts at Dur-Dur-Dur’s weird kids. "Children, tell me how to kill this other child!"
Fortunately, Kubazan rises up within Zanzibar and mentally slaps some courage into him. "Dear Zanzibar, I expect to make the ultimate sacrifice and die in a blaze of glory!" … maybe a little too much courage!
Following Kubazan’s lead, the other Trickster Gods begin to hype up their hosts.
"You should try communicating with it," Unkh tells Chumbawumba. "Maybe it's just misunderstood!"
Well… not all Trickster Gods hype equally!
"We need to free the souls trapped inside the Soulmonger," Moa says, siding all in with Valour’s steadfast determination!
"I bet there's some treasure up there," Nangnang says, noticing two balconies littered with some fancy vases and whatnots.
Valour stares the creature in the face. "I bet that thing wasn't so fucked up before it absorbed McSneakle!"
The party moves in, and the Child looms in to confront them!
Dur-Dur-Dur dashes along the side of an adamantium strut and slices at the creature, his vorpal greataxe piercing the fetal god’s defenses. The Child wails into the lava-lit chamber, its haunting cries eating away at the PC’s minds. Doomfist suffers a level of exhaustion from the onslaught, but the other PC’s hold firm!
Doomfist charges across an adamantium strut with the staff of striking and slams it into the Soulmonger, a small crack forming in the glass as thousands of souls scream out at him. As he does so, one of the tentacles atop the machine lashes down and plucks him up, then hurls him towards the lava! Doomfist slips out at the last moment, his slowfall powers letting him glide to the ledge and pull himself back up.
Close call! If he landed in the lava, he’d be vanquished for sure! I hope that doesn’t happen to him again! I’m so bad at foreshadowing! Remember the third episode’s title? Ah heckin’ heck, let’s keep going before I spoil it all.
Lukanu fires at the atropal with her bow, but it does nothing. She dumps the useless weapon and draws the dragon sword, using it to charge at one of the adamantium struts. She makes contact, chipping off a piece of the support beam!
The Child reaches out with its tendrils of life, spilling spiritual energy into the pile of old bones, raising a wraith from the pile that materializes!
Chumbawumba deploys the temporary Hit Point machine and blasts his allies with a layer of preventative life, "I'm gonna beat the shit outta your binky, you big baby!"
The Child screams again, and everyone covers their ears to keep the haunting sounds out. 🌱 however can’t resist the melody, taking a level of exhaustion! He then throws his staff forward and conjures a moonbeam that blasts the Child, the radiant damage plowing through the titan’s defenses.
"Yes! Radiant damage!" Papazotl encourages 🌱 from within.
Valour runs in next to Lukanu and protects her from the incoming wraith, swiping his Holy Avenger and dumping a divine smite into the undead for good measure! The wraith almost disintegrates, but it hangs onto unlife by mere slivers!
Dur-Dur-Dur runs along the struts, diving in and out, carving out chunks of the Child with every swing of the vorpal greataxe. As he does so, Doomfist dashes up and obliterates one of the tentacles with his mace of terror! Vengeance!
Lukanu steps back, slipping in front of Valour and cleaving the wraith back to a worthless pile of bones, then she unloads on the adamantium strut, carving pieces out at each swing.
Dragonbait hacks off one of the Soulmonger’s tentacles with Flametongue, and Chumbawumba busts out his gun and casts shatter, striking both the Soulmonger and the adamantium strut with a pile of force damage.
The Child looks to Dur-Dur-Dur, who is using Nangnang’s power to run all over the place like an axe-wielding cockroach. It strikes at his life force, trying to rip it away, but the orc resists the deep magic.
Zanzibar taps into the Ring of Winter and summons Bigby’s hand, forming it into a fist to beat the shit out of the floating baby! He baby bops and misses critically, his baby fist swinging wildly.
You know what babies don’t like? People trying to punch them! The Child wails again, this time 🌱, Chumbawumba, and Doomfist all gaining a level of exhaustion.
🌱chill touches the Child, doing no damage, but now he also has a hand grabbing at that god baby! He fungal hand latches around the creature’s umbilical cord, preventing it from regaining any of its wretched Hit Points from the attacks it lashes out.
Valour dashes up the strut and swings at the Soulmonger with Holy Avenger. He then pumps a divine smite into the attack, spiderwebbing the Soulmonger with a series of cracks.
Dur-Dur-Dur keeps up the direct assault on the Child, and Doomfist plucks away the Soulmonger’s defenses by kicking away the final tentacle. Lukanu steps to the strut and lands several strikes on the Soulmonger as well. Chumbawumba blasts out another shatter, and the Soulmonger wobbles precariously.
The Child suffers more moonbeam damage that burns away its malformed skin, then focuses on Zanzibar with its life drain ability. The wizard immediately portents a victory, but the damage he receives causes him to lose concentration on his Bigby’s hand.
But you know what?
Real wizards got TWO hands!
Zanzibar conjures up another Bigby hand, forms it into a fist, then pummels the Child with a nat 20! Critical abortion! He beats the Child over and over, just like his own daddy used to—
The Child falters, arms flailing, then it sinks from the sky—detaching from the Soulmonger and plummeting lifelessly into the lava below. The Child of Guga is gone—slain, vanquished from the world by a Kinchasan, much like Kinchasa now harbors the green caged torch in its center square in reverence to how profit and business trumps chaos!
And honestly they’re all running around with thousands upon thousands of gp worth of loot, so yeah the big money beats chaos’ ass, apparently!
A crack of lightning flashes in the south corner of the room. There sits a misty gateway, and standing before it is a robe-clad, undead heathen with a staff that leaks smoke and a sneering face gritted in rage at the loss of his godling. Next to him hovers a black, massless hole in the Material plane—a sphere of annihilation—waiting as though expecting a command from its ancient master.
Valour locks eyes with the demi-lich, then raises the Holy Avenger. He brings it down on the Soulmonger, breaking the infernal contraption apart as it crumbles into glassy shards and coils of mechanistry. The trapped souls burst forth, coalescing into a twister of bliss as they depart their unnatural prison.
The souls are free.
The Death Curse is no more.
And the Child of Guga will never enter the world.
At sight of Acererak, the Trickster Gods rise within the PC’s their rage against the demilich swelling even beyond death. Kubazan, Nangnang, Moa, Papazotl, I’jin, and Unkh all give 50 temporary Hit Points to the PC's.
Dur-Dur-Dur dashes along the wall and dives at the lich, vorpal greataxe swinging. He chops, but Acererak swats the axe swings away with indifferent fatigue. He doesn’t care about the orc—his attention is focused on the floating fist and the Ring of Winter attached to the wizard’s finger.
Doomfist runs forth to jump from one strut to the other with ring of jumping so that he can close in on the lich, and he leaps!
He misses completely and slow falls to his doom.
Lukanu runs to the edge of the strut and leaps to the next one, not falling and not burning. She then books it to one of the ledges with the strange vases in it and launches arrows at Acererak, who takes the arrows head on—they can’t hurt him.
🌱’s snake slithers over to the vases with Lukanu and just kind of knocks them all over and stuff, like snakes do.
Dragonbait tries to shoot Acererak with his longbow, but the lich raises his hand and flicks his wrist—the sphere of annihilation hovering in the air next to him rockets across the volcanic chasm, aiming right at Zanzibar, Chumbawumba, and 🌱. They dodge out of the way, but Chumbawumba can’t roll fast enough and loses a few pounds as the sphere obliterates a chunk of fat around his belly.
🌱 relocates the moonbeam, hovering it over Acererak. The lich takes note of the inconvenience, then slams his staff into the ground, casting timestop and gaining five rounds all to himself!
The lich teleports to the stairs entering the Child’s chamber, right where 🌱, Chumbawumba, and Zanzibar are hiding. The lich raises his hand, and the skeleton door slams shut. He then slams his staff into the door, casting arcane lock on it. With a twirl of his finger, a wall of force encloses him and the three spellcasters in this hellish arena along with his sphere of annihilation.
The PC’s suddenly awaken from the time stop just in time to see Acererak point a finger at Zanzibar and cast disintegrate! The wizard tries to counterspell, but he fails as a beam of raw energy vaporizes his defenses, annihilating his temporary Hit Point boon from Kubazan and dealing 77 force damage!
Zanzibar is not a fan of this! He gets ready to misty step his charred, frazzled body out of the trap, but Acererak counterspells his escape. The lich wants that ring!
Acererak then then erupts raw necrotic energy from within his deepest depths of his soul, casting disrupt life on the three casters trapped inside his force wall. 🌱 and Chumbawumba fail, taking a wave of necrotic damage. Zanzibar succeeds the saving throw, but he is almost completely at 0 Hit Points!
🌱 takes a swing at Acererak, misses, then nopes the hell out of there with a misty step, leaving Zanzibar and the fat one alone with the lich.
Valour looks across the lava chasm at Dur-Dur-Dur, and they exchange a knowing glance. He draws Bookmark from his sheath and shouts for the orc to come to him. Dur-Dur-Dur dashes towards the elf, and Valour activates dimension door—teleporting himself and the orc through the air and into the arena with the spellcasters. At his destination, Dur-Dur-Dur swings his vorpal greataxe, but the lich dodges under his attack—success! Dur-Dur-Dur comes in with a backswing and makes contact, causing Acererak to drop concentration on the wall of force and opening the rest of the team to retreat or move in as needed.
🌱’s snake gets bored with the vases and starts chucking them into the lava. Some of them bob up to the surface, unharmed. A couple though burn and burst with explosions of powerful magic. Could these be… phylacteries?
Chumbawumba heals Zanzibar for 9 Hit Points.
DID YOU NOT SEE THE 77 FORCE DAMAGE FROM THAT DISENTEGRATION BEAM!?
Acererak throws his hands out, not frightened of the Omuan, half-elf, and orc frontliners who teleported towards him. He casts chain lightning targeting Valour, striking the paladin head on. The lightning then leaps to Lukanu, Dur-Dur-Dur, and Zanzibar, dealing 35 lightning damage to them all. Zanzibar grows faint and passes out at 0 Hit Points.
"Get up boy!” Kubazan coughs in Zanzibar’s head. “Get on up!"
Zanzibar, in fact, doesn’t get on up. He fails a death saving throw instead.
Acererak sends out another massive pulse of disrupt, striking everyone around him and causing Zanzibar to automatically fail another death save! 🌱 braces for the impact, but Papazotl ain’t about to let his mushroom vehicle be nobody’s bitch, so he pumps 🌱 full of 50 temporary HP that helps bolster against the tide of death magic.
🌱 brushes off the dust and casts aura of vitality, a spray of happy spores form around him as funnels the life-giving energy into Zanzibar, healing him for 2d6 Hit Points and just barely bringing him back from death’s door.
Valour feels Moa once again funnel her last remaining energy into him, topping him off with 50 temporary HP. The paladin wails on Acererak with his Holy Avenger. The lich sees the righteous weapon coming his way and casts shield, but Zanzibar leaps to his feet and gets the biggest wizard boner as he counterspells Acererak’s shield, causing Valour to carve out two swathes out of the lich’s necrotic life force.
"Moa!?" the lich thunders, catching a glimpse of the Trickster God he slew and imprisoned in here so many decades ago.
Dur-Dur-Dur regains 50 temporary HP and flexes, "I can do it Nangnang! I can do it!" he shouts, then misses both times with his vorpal greataxe… well, when Nangnang’s your patron, you can’t expect a whole lot, I suppose!
Lukanu closes in with her dragon sword as Dragonbait wreathes Flametongue through the air, both of them closing in in the lich and pushing him towards the locked skeletal door, cornering him while keeping their distance from the sphere of annihilation hovering just inches from the melee scrum.
Chumbawumba pumps 13 more Hit Points into Zanzibar to keep the spellcaster buffered against another onslaught of attacks, but as he does so, Acererak whirls on Valour.
The lich brings his emaciated face just inches away from Valour, stares the paladin in the eyes, and channels every ounce of hate at the paladin who dared to take a weapon of angels against him. He speaks one word, “Die!”
Valour’s heart stops beating.
He stumbles, the power word kill ending his tie to the mortal world "We still win!" he shouts before collapsing into a lifeless heap on the stairs, his Holy Avenger clattering to the ground, and all of his enhancement auras snuffing to nothingness—his friends are now completely vulnerable.
"You did right," Moa says to the dead half-elf, then fades with him.
Zanzibar gawks at Valour’s corpse, then glares at Acererak. Kubazan roars within him as well, seeing kind Moa erased. "FUCK HIS ASS UP!" the froghemoth screams!
Zanzibar throws his sleeves back and launches an upcast barrage of magic missiles into Acererak, rattling him with minor-but-multiple punches of force damage. The lich fights back, casting disrupt life and damn near obliterating all of the party’s temporary Hit Points without Valour’s auras to keep them alive.
🌱 rallies behind Lukanu and heals her, trying to get her over her half-life threshold so that she can clobber the lich with more damage. Dur-Dur-Dur goes batshit insane on the lich, but he casts shield and blocks the swipes. Lukanu channels her focus, remembering her dead empire and how the lich tortured her queen, her family, her soldiers-in-arms, and she uses second wind to put her over the threshold as she tries beating on the lich with her dragon sword, chipping away at his Hit Points and slipping around his shield while filling the air with ancient Omuan curses!
Dragonbait and Chumbawumba both open salvos of attacks on the lich, but they can’t get anything through his whopping 26 armor class from having shield up. try hitting him but can't get any hits. Chumbawumba instead hits Lukanu with some cure wounds, which is just in time because Acererak blasts Lukanu with a disintegrate beam that reduces her down to single digits—almost vaporizing her to a pile of dust.
"IS THAT ALL YOU GOT!?" Lukanu shouts, pieces of her flesh vaporized and smoldering from the high-intensity blast.
Zanzibar knows he can’t let Acererak cast another shield, so he casts greater invisibility on himself and hides near one of the struts, waiting to cast a counterspell.
Acererak screams into the cavern, letting yet another wave of disrupt life wash over everyone, dropping Lukanu to 0 Hit Points and buffeting the remaining team. 🌱 casts healing word to get her back up, and Dur-Dur-Dur slips in on the lich, critically striking with his vorpal greataxe and sending a massive chunk of Acererak’s entropic life force splattering onto the wall behind him in inky, sludge splatters. The break in the lich’s defenses are just enough for Chumawumba to draw his gun forth and blast a firebolt, critically striking the lich and dealing 32 fire damage straight to his busted, corpselike body.
"I look like them urban youth!" Chumbawumba says, shouting with glee.
Acererak bleeds coils of necrotic life across the stairs, then shakes his head—he can’t be beaten, he can’t! But he pulls back, plants his staff in the ground, and casts teleport. Zanzibar instantly leaps on the offensive, casts counterspell on the lich’s magic, but the lich barely forces the Kinchasan wizard’s attempts aside!
“We’ll meet again, fools!” says the lich. “And on that day, you will die!” With that, Acererak twists his staff, utters arcane syllables, and is gone in a flash.
The Child of Guga has been slain at birth. The Soulmonger is obliterated. The Death Curse will haunt the world no more. And Acererak has been bested by mortals.
The room is silent, save for the occasional bubble of lava.