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BQ-53: Out of Annihilation

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

"Well first things first,” Chumbawumba says, looking at all the carnage. “Let's not turn our fallen party member into a zombie. Is that in agreement?"

🌱 casts gentle repose on Valour’s dead corpse, preventing him from decaying and saving him for later—I mean, saving him from being a zombie!

"So are we burying him or are we burying him in lava?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"This sounds bad, but we should probably cut off a hunk of his body for reincarnation purposes,” Zanzibar says.

"Where do half-elves keep their souls?" 🌱 says, wanting to get the juiciest soul chunk from the paladin.

"They keep their souls in their ears!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"That's not where I keep my souls, and I'm an elf,” 🌱 says… oddly pluralizing the term ‘souls.” “Zanzibar, where do you keep your soul?"

"I don't know much about divine magic," Zanzibar says.

🌱 stares at him, "I thought you were a divinity wizard..."

"I think you are confusing divinity and Divinity..." Zanzibar says.

This makes no sense as nobody can hear capitalizations.

"... Yeah he right," Chumbawumba says, since he apparently also speaks Capitalization.

"That's assuming he would want to come back," Zanzibar says.

🌱 ponders for a bit. "Well if it's just an ear, I'll throw it in here next to Artus Cimber's finger. And if we can't bring him back, I'll at least have his ear!" He then rips off Valour’s ear, then takes the second one. "I'll take both ears so he doesn't become off balance."

"Can't we just take his body?" Chumbawumba says.

"Are you going to carry it, little man?" 🌱 says

"I see lots of able-bodied men around here!" Chumbawumba says. "Don't you guys have a boat?"

"Yeah at Port Nyanzaru!" 🌱 says.

"Did you motherfuckers walk here?" Chumbawumba shouts.

"Where's your boat?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"The captain had it! He's dead!"

"Your shit race isn't even on the reincarnation table since nobody wants to come back as you!" Zanzibar shouts at the goblin.

"Are you saying I’m not worth resurrecting!?"

"No, I'm saying you’re not worth coming back as you!” Zanzibar says.

Chumbawumba starts to rage a bit. "We got some heightened emotions! We've lost some people... deep breath! Hi, my name is Chumbawumba—"

"We can't start all over after a lich fight!” Dur-Dur-Dur shouts. “Have you lost your mind, little Chumbler!? Right now you are a pack mule, so come find Valour’s stuff and tote it."

Chumbawumba goes full pack mule and shoves Valour’s body into the bag of holding for easier transport.

"We just cut his ears off for no reason!" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

Chumbawumba grimaces, "Aight well shit, you keep his ears if your way works. I'll keep his body as a backup plan. Shit!"

Dur-Dur-Dur then goes to the vases and jars on the balconies. He starts to chuck them into the lava. A couple of them burn up, but many of them just float on the top. The party realizes that these aren’t vases—they’re phylacteries! Lich phylacteries!

The party debates what to do with the phylacteries that aren’t burning.

"If the liches who own these phylacteries die, they'll spawn into the lava," Zanzibar says. "So we can put them in there."

"Or we could have used that sphere of annihilation to put those phylacteries in but you were pussyfootin' around," Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"We could take them to Port Nyanzaru and sell them!" 🌱 says.

"Valindra Shadowmantle can maybe do something with them,” Zanzibar says.

At that point, the PC’s notice the misty gate at the south end of the room. Zanzibar sends his owl through it, realizing it’s a portal leading to a weird room with eight one-eyed monsters chained to the wall and a wriggling bag in the center.

"What do you see, Zanzibar?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"There are eight creepy cyclopses and a body bag!" Zanzibar says.

The party goes through the gate and enters the weirdo room. The one-eyed monsters scream repeatedly to be let out! Dur-Dur-Dur is the only one who can understand them, unfortunately. He points at one of them, then chops off the chains. It freaks out and is happy. The PC’s then let all out the monsters loose, and they flee through the mist gate. One of the monsters runs up to Dur-Dur-Dur, "What would you like to know?"

The party gives the monster Lukanu’s sword so he can understand them.

"Can you understand me?" Zanzibar says in Draconic.

"Yes! Yes!" the monster says.

"We have lots of questions. Who are you?"

The monster whimpers. "We betrayed our master—tried to learn his secrets! His Sewn Sisters put us here."

"We killed them! Well, the peg leg got away,” Zanzibar says.

"Oh she's really dangerous..." the monster says.

"So how do we get out of here? And is there treasure?" Zanzibar says.

The monster points at a curtain in the north of the room, "Follow the purple trail for treasure; mind the bones for escape." Then it disappears through the misty gate.

🌱 decides to see what’s up with this bag, so he opens it up and out pops a grung! Dur-Dur-Dur recognizes it as the grung he tried convincing to join their party back in Dungrunglung! He and 🌱 hug the grung, then get poisoned a little bit.

They give the grung the talking sword.

"How are things?" Zanzibar asks the grung.

The grung begins to speak, "Well you guys left, everything was good for a few... then the next bad guy who was in cahoots with our leader was not happy, so they sent over some other jerks, and then the town was oppressed again."

"So like grung civil war?" Zanzibar says.

"Well things were all right, then this weretiger showed up out of nowhere and that was cool!" the grung says.

"Was she nice?" Zanzibar says.

"Yeah, she was nice!" the grung says. "She was walking around muttering the names of you guys, and I remembered you guys were cool, so I came up and was like 'sup' but I speak grung."

"That was more elegant than I figured," Chumbawumba says.

"WHOA! YOU CAN TALK!?" the grung says.

"Are you an adventurer? Do you have levels in any kind of... class? Who is your deity?" Zanzibar says.

"Hrm... I don't know!" the grung says.

The party then investigate behind the curtain, finding a hallway with strange, colorful trails on the ground. Some of the trails lead to dead ends. A skeleton rests near a door, which the PC’s enter and see a bizarre, black pool of water. Dragonbait steps up to the pool and touches it. When he does, the black goop engulfs him and drags him under! The grung, in a panic, leaps in after him.

The rest of the PC’s wait…

Their comrades don’t come back.

They decide to keep their distance from the goop for a while!

Zanzibar follows one of the trails and sees that it leads to a wall… well, not really a wall. A muddy fake wall! He touches the muddy fake wall before he notice the muddy fake-ness, then he’s pulled inside and dumped out in the middle of… a library!

Zanzibar is very, very happy.

Dur-Dur-Dur then plops down next to Zanzibar.

Zanzibar is a little less happy.

They scour the room, seeing that it’s stacked with tomes, scrolls, and all manner of shit they want to steal. However, an old man with gold-rimmed spectacles sits in a desk chair, sleeping.

Zanzibar turns to Dur-Dur-Dur, "Hey shh! There's a man sleeping there... also it's a library, so we better be quiet!"

"I don't know what that means!" Dur-Dur-Dur shouts.

The sleeping man stutters and wakes, setting his eyes on the two strangers. "Why do you disturb me?"

"Hi!" Dur-Dur-Dur says. "What's your name?"

"I’m Mr fox!" the man says. “Feel free to look through my books.”

Zanzibar blurts out, "So you said we may look at the books. May we touch them!?"

"You may peruse... if the secrets don't drive you mad," Mr. Fox says.

Zanzibar doesn’t give two shits about accidentally reading something to make him go crazy, so he digs through the book piles and finds a wide assortment of amazingly good spellbooks, one with level 9 spells in it! He then grabs Dur-Dur-Dur.

"Listen, it is very important that we are able to take books out of this room!" Zanzibar says.

"Hey Mr. Fox, can I check out a book?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"I'm sorry but they cannot leave this dominion," Mr. Fox says.

"Do you leave ever?" Dur-Dur-Dur says.

"I don't need to," Mr. Fox says.

"Do you know X the Mystic?" Zanzibar says, holding up a spellbook with X the Mystic’s name on it.

At that point, 🌱 tries to enter the library from another entryway, but this triggers a trap that causes him to explode a little bit—and Mr. Fox doesn’t like his library getting exploded a little bit! He then shapeshifts, revealing he is a bipedal fiendish fox-like creature—an acranaloth! Chumbawumba pretends to be shocked!

Zanzibar tries to cast wall of ice, but the arcanaloth counterspells it effortlessly. "You must smack him with great vengeance because he is a very high level spellcaster!" Zanzibar shouts at Dur-Dur-Dur.

Mr. Fox raises his hand and lets his robe sleeve fall back. He fires a finger of death spell at Dur-Dur-Dur, who just barely manages to resist the devastating attack that would have killed him outright.

The party throws everything they have: force cannons and Bigby’s hands fly all over the room, but 🌱 steps forward, waves his staff around, and casts polymorph at the fiend. Zanzibar burns his last portent for the day to cause Mr. Fox to fail, causing him to be turned into…

A weasel!

The party panics because this weasel is mad, and if they hurt it, he will transform back into a dangerous spellcaster. Whatever they do to hurt it, they must make it count!

So they decide to chuck the weasel into the lava!

Dur-Dur-Dur snatches up the weasel and screams in a panic as they all run from the library, through the mist gate, and back into the room with the lava. Dur-Dur-Dur grabs a chunk of rock, ties it to the shrieking weasel, and lobs it into the lava. “Finger of death!” Dur-Dur-Dur shouts!

The weasel lands in the lava and begins to burn, its screams filling the cavern. As it transforms back into an arcanaloth, Chumbawumba clobbers it with a force ballista and blasts it further down into the lava, refusing to let it above the surface. Zanzibar joins in with a Bigby’s hand and shoves the arcanaloth back into the lava.

It’s the best thing they’ve done in the whole dungeon!

🌱 casts conjure woodland beings and summons fairies, then runs away through the portal to let the fairies to all the work.

Mr. Fox rises up from the lava, dripping in fiery magic. He’s bruised and battered, but he raises his arms and casts chain lightning at the party, who is all grouped up on the platform with the misty portal. He drops Lukanu and Zanzibar to 0 and kills two of the fairies.

Zanzibar is fed a goodberry, so he stands up and casts his wand of wonder, stunning himself until beginning of next turn, but thinking something awesome happened. This isn’t his best day...

One fairy casts fly on Dur-Dur-Dur while the other three cast polymorph on Mr. Fox, succeeding and transforming him back into a weasel! He then falls back into the lava pit and burns into oblivion.

They all go back to the library and loot… the… hell out of it! This is the loot room with all the goodies and dammit they’re not missing any of it! The party then goes back to the room with the black goop in it and considers their options…

Zanzibar turns to Dur-Dur-Dur, "I think whatever we do, we're better off being together than stuck here."

Dur-Dur-Dur throws Zanzibar in.

🌱 wildshapes into a giant owl and follows, the rest of their team not far behind him. As they fall into the goop, they find themselves tumbling through a black, empty nothingness. One by one, stars and nebulae manifest around them in silence, and then peering through the spacey void is a black obelisk. Just as the obelisk appears—

They look around: grass, cliffs, ground—the obelisk. They are outside the Tomb of the Nine Gods! Rejoicing at their escape, they quickly see a tent set up nearby. Dragonbait and the grung emerge from the tent and join them as rain begins to fall.

They’re free!

They’re not the only ones who are free.

Dragonbait lurches as I’jin the almiraj whisks from within him and flies into the sky, followed quickly by Obo’laka the zorbo, who emerges from the walls of the tomb. Papazotl the eblis and Kubazan the froghemoth seep out of 🌱 and Zanzibar, then chase each other with their Trickster God kin. Moa the jaculi and Wongo the su-monster join in, with fretful Unkh the flail snail poking herself out of Chumbawumba’s ass and slinking in with the others. Nang-nang the grung then hops out of Dur-Dur-Dur and joins in.

The party hears the freed spirits conversing with each other.

"Where's Shagambi?" Unkh says nervously.

Wongo cackles, "She was too busy killing me! The lich woman... good host! Killed all her cronies with Shagambi in her!"

"Nang-nang come back!" Dur-Dur-Dur shouts.

"I'm free, Dur-Dur-Dur!" Nang-Nang says.

"You ARE free!" Dur-Dur-Dur says, tears forming. "... free to come back."

"You've been a great, great host," Nang-Nang sas.

Zanzibar bows to the spirits and thanks them for helping his entourage. "Thank you for guiding us through your tomb!"

🌱 flies up in his giant owl form, soaring in the storm with Papazotl. He bows at the deity, and the deity bows back.

Wongo shouts at the PC’s "You’re welcome!"

"Where's the doppelganger?" 🌱 asks him.

Wongo smirks. "He's well... you could say his mistress had a change of heart! I was just doing what I wanted... and she was doing what hers wanted to do..."

"Hers?" Zanzibar says.

"Peggy Deadbells?" 🌱 says.

"Bah! I hate her..." Wongo says, then rests on top of the obelisk. He looks at them, then stares at the entrance to the tomb. "No, not Peggy. But you must know, wily mortals, that there is still a lich in the Tomb of the Nine Gods."

The PC’s think for a moment…

"Valindra?” Zanzibar gasps.

Wongo nods.

“Did she come?" Zanzibar says in a panic.

“Aye, she and those Red Wizards had a plan. Looking into that doppelganger’s head allowed me some fantastic insight! They wanted you sillies to go into our tomb, wipe out all the dangerous stuff, and when you got to the Soulmonger, they would enter the tomb after recollecting the puzzle cubes and snuff you out! But of course, the cretins wanted to spelunk a little… and that’s when they found Shagambi’s tomb. Valindra opened the tomb, Shagambi possessed her and… well, Shagambi doesn’t much care for evil doers, so to say! Thus Valindra slew her compatriots—me included. What a ride! Lots of fun—oh, and you’re welcome for not having to deal with Withers! I’ve been wanting to kill that undead bastard for decades. Whoever says revenge isn’t cathartic is a total liar!”

The party digests the information.

“Shagambi can’t leave the tomb,” Wongo elaborates. “And if she causes Valindra to kill herself, then the lich will just reform in Thay. And believe me—you do not want Valindra released back into the world! So I’m afraid our little sister kamadan must stay in there. Sucks to be her, but she killed me, you know?”

"So are you guys good for now?" Zanzibar says, looking at the other eight gods. “What happens to Omu now? I'm pretty sure our friend is the king!" He points to Dur-Dur-Dur.

Wongo chuckles, "You can't be the heir to the throne. The heir is still alive." The su-monster spirit then dissipates along with the rest of his Trickster Gods, returning to the heavens—free of Acererak.

Dur-Dur-Dur takes out the Navel of the Moon and sees that it is pulling him towards the Fane of the Night Serpent. "My papa might still be alive!" he says.

The party gets ready to go get Dur-Dur-Dur’s dad, all the while plotting their eventual return to Port Nyanzaru. "Valindra will have so many books!” Zanzibar jabbers. “We can use her teleporter! We can throw her books into the portal and Grandfather Zitembe can help me build a library! And then…"

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