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BQ-74: The Madhouse of Tasha's Kiss

Updated: Dec 11, 2021

The adventurous caravan travels south, through a hilly road between enormous ecosystems. The sounds of the eastern forest are muted by the ocean’s waves in the west. The skies are clear and blue.

One whole day goes by.

Just one… damn… day.

And these guys are already going to get into trouble.

The minotaurs, horses, tiefling, humans, and chalicothere find an unspoiled grazing meadow to set up camp. Their first night together, they feast on foraged sweet potatoes, special brownies, cheap wine, and puffball mushrooms. Spirits are high (thank Falaster for that). Even Ellison relaxes (also thank Falaster for that).

The next morning, Tallest is awoken by a small child crying. In need of a rumormonger to investigate this potential issue, Tallest kicks Sleipnir awake to check out what’s going on.

They follow the sobs and find a small boy wailing alone next to the road.

“Hey, kid, what’s wrong?” Tallest asks.

When the child sees the massive minotaur, his cries change to fear. Maybe sending the giant armored bull-person and the decaying food-stained shadow mage to speak to a crying child wasn’t the best option.

“I’m not that scary,” Tallest complains.

“I’ll talk to the child.” Sleipnir pushes forward and greets his peer. “What’s wrong, child?”

The boy looks up at the minotaurs. “Are you people?”

Sleipnir laughs.

“Yes, what are you?” Tallest asks.

“My name’s Gentry,” the child stammers. “Gentry Holl. My village… everyone’s gone. They went to a show. I didn’t want to see it. But they didn’t come back.”

“What kind of show?” Tallest asks.

“Some clown,” Gentry says.

“They went to see a clown?! Like a guy dressed as a clown or a real clown?” Tallest asks, wanting Gentry to be as specific as possible.

“Tasha’s Kiss is her name,” Gentry says as he shows the minotaur a promotional flyer. “They went to her tent, but no one has come back out.”

The flyer reads “Come one, come all to see the marvelous Tasha’s Kiss”. In the center is a crude drawing of a harlequin lady smiling happily.

“Oh hell yeah we are taking a pit-stop boys,” Tallest says, then makes a History check. “I've been wanting to see Tasha's Kiss for a while now apparently. I missed her the last time she was in Baldur’s Gate. Wake up your friends, Sleipnir. We’re not missing her. Come on kid. Show us the way! I hope I find a dragon turtle egg!”

“—What in the heck is Tasha’s?” Caeus asks groggily as Sleipnir wakes him up.

“You know, Tasha’s Kiss. She’s a jester!” Tallest explains excitedly.

The minotaurs all get up and rouse Ellison, Falaster, and Harken. The Tallest has spoken and the Herd will obey, even the non-Herdians.

After a few minutes of packing up and getting ready to depart, observant Caeus notices the child.

“Who is this kid? What’s your name?” he asks.

“His name is Gentry Holl. A very bullish name,” Tallest declares.

“What was your daddy’s name?” Sleipnir asks Gentry.

“Migal,” Gentry says.

“Don’t say ‘what was.That implies that his dad is dead,” chides Sfiros, an expert on talking to children. “Don’t you know how to speak to children?”

Tallest recaps, “Well he just explained how his whole family is missing because—”

“Missing is different than dead—” Sfiros interrupts.

“—because they went to see this mysterious clown who—” Tallest continues.

“—he’s a child just like have a little—” Sfiros tries.

“—and that clown turned out to be Tasha’s Kiss! We’ve got to go!” Tallest concludes.

“decen— Wait, Tasha's Kiss is in town?!” Sfiros asks, completely forgetting the child and also rolling high on a History check. “I have been so excited to see that show!”

“Clowns freak me out…” Gentry says quietly.

Tallest stoops down to the boy, “Well kid. You don’t have to go see the clown, but you do have to lead the way and take us to the tent. We’ll see the show and look for your parents if we can.”

“Deal!” Gentry agrees and leads the Herd to his town.

After a half hour of travel, the Herd finds a ghost town eerily devoid of people, as most ghost towns are. The streets are empty, yet garments hang on clothes lines flapping gently in the breeze. Two malnourished horses are tied to a hitching post in front of a tavern. The wind intensifies. The shutters slam against a small building, breaking the silence periodically.

“This looks like a fine place for some breakfast,” Caeus says unreasonably.

Sleipnir peeks his head into a nearby inn and reports back that the building is completely deserted. The Herd invokes mea dibs on the two horses since no one is around to stop them. Sleipnir leads the horses over to the others and sets out some food for them. The malnourished horses quickly gulp down the food.

The town has multiple advertisement flyers inviting people to check out Tasha's Kiss, and after enough poking around, the Herd finds that in the center of the town’s square is a large circus style tent in a white and red checkerboard pattern. The entryway flap sways lazily in the wind.

“Someone detect magic before we go in here,” Tallest says, not taking no chances with no tent.

Sfiros performs his detect magic ritual and determines the tent is not magical.

Tallest nods. “Ok kid, do you want to come with us and see if we can find your family?”

“Umm.. Yeah I can go into the tent. But I’m staying back here,” Gentry says, bravely cowering behind Tallest and holding one of his tails for encouragement.

Inside the tent, the only thing of interest is a large double-decker pageant wagon. A sign on top is carved into the shape of a smile. The sign reads “Tasha’s Kiss” in bright crimson letters.

Sfiros casts detect magic again and the wagon lights up like a sleazy inn under a blacklight. This thing is soaking wet with magic!

“Can anyone dispel magic?” Tallest asks.

No one can.

Tallest shrugs and dispels the door, stepping inside.

The interior of the wagon has plush red velvet cushions atop a bench, a grand wardrobe with the door slightly ajar, a large mirror standing above an oak makeup table, and a basket of rolls and fruit resting next to the table. The food is surprisingly fresh and delicious looking.

“I’m not eating anything here. I don’t want to owe this place a life debt,” Tallest says wisely, digging through the makeup table.

The group loots a bag of 50 gold coins, 3 disguise kits, and some cushions. They put most of the loot in the bag of holding, but make Gentry and Gizmo the homunculus carry the cushions like a pair of cushmongers vending their wares in the streets.

“Hey, kid. Are you planning on murdering us?” Caeus asks unprompted. “You have to tell us if you are. Harken is a cop!”

“Umm… I’m not sure how I would even do that. This one is so tall…”

“That’s not a no!” Caeus retorts. “We’re not looking for how you would do it. Just a yes or a no will suffice.”

“This one is so tall—”

“Stop dodging the question. What kind of kid doesn’t want to see a show?” Sfiros asks. “Everyone in the entire town went to see a show except for you. That’s pretty suspicious.”

“This is developing into a Z.O.T. situation,” Caeus says to Ellison.

Ellison begrudgingly casts zone of truth and a 15-foot sphere appears as a darkened interrogation room with a hanging overhead light. As much as the minotaurs’ antics annoy her, they did bring her back from the dead. Also as the primary NPC, she’s a wonderful DM’s tool to at least steer (no pun intended) these bovine fools in a semi-correct direction.

As soon as the zone of truth manifests, Sfiros blurts out, "I don't like this kid."

Caeus asks "Why do you want to kill us?"

"I don't! I want you to save my family!" Gentry whines.

“He’s not lying.” Ellison glares at the minotaurs. “Of course.”

“You can’t be too careful,” Caeus shrugs.

“What’s your mother’s name?” Sleipnir asks.

“Sandy,” Gentry says.

"Sandy Hole?" Caeus asks.

The minotaurs laugh. Ellison sighs.

They ask about his family, they ask him riddles, and they threaten him a little. Typical interrogation questions by any means. Eventually, they’re satisfied by the ten-year-old’s answers and deem the child threatless.

The Herd investigates the wagon even more. They open the wardrobe and find a peculiar set of stairs descending into darkness, which clashes with the space-time setup they’ve got going on.

Gizmo, the hat that is also an owl, hoots off Caeus’s head and whizzes down the stairs.

“BRASS DOOR,” Gizmo chirps when he returns, signalling that there is a brass door down the stairs.

The stairs descend 60 feet into a 50 foot long tunnel. The tunnel ends with stairs that ascend 130 feet.

Now those of you at home may wonder how in the heck a tunnel and staircase and brass door can extend from so many feet from a pageant wagon; in other words, a mobile structure that is meant to move. It’s a bizarre situation. Let’s see how the Herd handles it!

“That’s impossible,” Sfiros says. “We were in a wagon!”

“We went through a tunnel,” Caeus says. “Do you know how doors work?”

“I’m very aware of how doors work,” Sfiros says.

“You’re saying there can’t be stairs in the wagon that go below the wagon for a ways and then forward for a ways, and then up into something we couldn’t see from the wagon?” Tallest asks.

“Yes!” Sfiros screams.

“Didn’t you say you were in a picture?” Caeus asks.

“No, I heard a story about Zanzibar in a picture,” Sfiros says.

“You didn’t question that, but you do question these stairs?” Sleipnir asks.

“We should question everything right!" Sfiros screams, then remembers his most recent conduit for pointless questions. "Kid, how many people live in your town?”

“I’ve never counted, but I’d say about 53,” Gentry shrugs.

Sfiros nods at the child and says loudly but to himself, “If we find 52 bodies, we’ve found everyone.”

True enough to Gizmo’s report, the party reaches the end of the stairs and finds a grand brass door with the words TASHA’S MADHOUSE expertly engraved.

“This is some Remli’Farrr shit,” Sfiros says, referencing a story about a mischievous imp from ancient minotaur lore. The minotaurs all shiver at mentioning his name, which is a faux pas in minotaur culture.

Sfiros untucks his Holy Symbol of Gond, wafting the continuous flame’s light. The light cannot penetrate through the door.

Caeus tells them that this is a portal to another plane.

“I’m not going through the portal,” Gentry says.

“I’ll stay with the kid,” Ellison says.

“I’ll also stay with the kid and watch the outside,” Falaster says.

“They’re going to fuck while we’re gone!” Sfiros shouts.

“Stop saying that in front of the child!” Ellison dodges.

The NPCs leave the Herd to another plane.

The first room in this extra-planar world looks like a schoolhouse classroom with tables without faces, chairs without faces, and students without faces. Short little people scamper about, administering exams to visitors and filling out charts on clipboards.

A normal human sits across one of the ghostfaced children. The human’s eyes are closed and an expression of joy fills its face.

A gnome woman looks up at the Herd. Her face is an empty pallet with no features, only skin. She holds a book and a writing implement.

Her body gestures as she speaks to the Herd’s minds in their native tongue.

<Good, good,> she says. <Please take a seat.>

“Hey, skinface, how do you speak thought-minotaur?” Tallest asks.

<I am Josephine. I just know thought-minotaur,> the faceless void thinks, which is bizarre because most faceless voids never think.

“Will you sign my autograph book?” Tallest presents his book. “You look like you’re holding stuff to sign with.”

<Certainly, I can sign your autograph book, Mr. tallest,> Josephine thought-replies.

“Thank you,” Tallest smiles. He takes the book to each of the faceless people. They all sign a different image on the same location, and combined it creates the characters for ‘Josephine.’

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, how did she know your name?” Caeus demands.

“She didn’t, she called me ‘Mister,’” Tallest says.

“Yeah, he’s just The Tallest,” Sfiros says.

“You don’t know everything,” Sleipnir tells the faceless gnome.

“Are you a girl? Can we marry you?” Sfiros asks inexplicably.

“What? You can’t ask every faceless gnome if you can marry them!” Caeus shouts.

Apropos of nothing, the normal human sitting at the table suddenly jumps up in joy, smacks his hands to his face, and yells, “Isn’t this place just marvelous?!” The human runs out the door in glee.

“Josephine,” Sfiros flirts, “52 of our closest friends came to a show here last night. Do you happen to know anything about that?” Correction, Sfiros flirts horribly.

<A show?> Josephine replies stoically. <Could be. Lots of things happen here.>

“What kinds of things?” Sleipnir asks.

<If you have a seat, we can purge your mind of toxins,> Josephine flirts back.

“I like my toxins,” Sleipnir grumbles.

“Do you know Gond?” Sfiros asks, already bringing up religion on the first not-date.

<I know not of this Gond,> Josephine thinks.

“There is no joy here!” Sfiros shouts, swiping left. “What happens if we try to harm you here? Are you alive?”

<I don’t understand.> Josephine asks.

“What is the mechanism that you utilize to purge said toxins?” inquisitive Caeus asks.

Josephine holds her hands and shows her blurry fingers. <We use our magic.>

“What god rules here?” Sfiros says.

<You bring your own gods with you,> she replies. <It’s a BYOG situation.>

This satisfies the cleric, who is a BYOG kind of minotaur.

Gizmo whizzes around and alerts the Herd that the door they came from is missing. Josephine points them to the only two doors left in this Marie Kondominium: one brings joy, and the other does not bring joy.

The Herd debates the two doors and reasonably talks through the various options. This goes on for quite some time. Eventually, they make Tallest decide what to do.

They choose joy!

As they step through the door of joy, humor and hate clash in their heads. A stench of dry, barren rot fills the stone room. They emerge into a new place, and they see several crates lying stacked in a corner. Glass jars and rusty tools rest atop the crates.

Laughter and weeping mix together from a man chained to the wall. A humanoid creature with bolts and nails hammered into his skin winnows a crying spectre out of the laughing man, raking the man with spectral chains and spikes that seep into his body and drag his soul outward.

This does not inspire joy.

Sfiros shoots first. “Gond guides your hands, friend. Go forth and smite.” A guiding bolt radiates from his flaming necklace, bursting over the bolted creature. A dim mystical light glitters on its back, stopping the winnowing.

They get close enough to read the creature’s name tag: Deggmir, Winnower of Souls. Tallest does NOT write this in his book!

Deggmir grabs a glass jar off the crates. He cackles with laughter, then throws the jar into the wall, shattering the glass and revealing a ghostly shade: Deggmir’s own soul! The soul rears up behind Sfiros and shrieks into the air as the Herd now has to fight both a monster and its severed soul.

Tallest and Caeus do a team-up: Tallest embiggens, and Caeus casts enlarge, growing the fighter from normal to large to huge! He’s so big I can’t even draw him accurately!

Tallest swings his weapon, and the enlarged, embiggened, cursed sword gleefully strikes Deggmir again.

“Ha, got ‘em,” Harken mocks. Yeah he’s here. I bet you forgot he was here, too! The bard plays the pipes of the sewers, summoning a swarm of yellow extraplanar rats that crawl through spacetime to attack the horrible creature. It’s REALLY weird!

Sfiros of Gond, emblazoned with faith, shouts a prayer that heals his friends and vaporizes the ghastly spectre.

Tallest, taller than ever, slashes with the massive Blade of Ahn-Nurunta. The cursed blade pulsates with colors of agony before slicing through Deggmir’s skull. The winnower’s brain flies from the opened skull, and its eyes pop out in different directions. It’s totally rad.

“When you become the size of the room, you can’t miss,” Caeus shrugs.

Tallest shrinks back to his normal massive size.

The Herd patches up their wounds and loots the room. They find four jars filled with souls and toss them in the bag of holding, where all the good souls go. And stale brownies.

Also in the room, there are exactly four bodies. That is, there is one body to match each soul they found, as though Deggmir has been stripping souls from bodies for whatever nefarious schemes the Herd is sure to encounter later in this module.

The bodies look like poor people, and the Herd decides they can make more money selling the souls later than they could if they released them with their bodies.

Sfiros, ever the devout minotaur, agrees. “We’ll do funeral rites for the soul jars later,” he says. “The bodies aren’t worth anything right now.”

The only exit from the room is a creepy clown face, so through the face they go.

The next area is a hallway with multiple creepy clown face exits.

Gizmo spins off Caeus’s head, opens its beak to reveal shining blue teeth, and whizzes through an exit.

“MIRRORS,” Gizmo chirps. The robot owl hat flies through another door. “MIRRORS,” he says again. Gizmo flies through a third exit and does not return.

“Gizmo!” Caeus cries as he rushes through to save his owl hat. The Herd piles ina after him to save their gadget-maker.

The next room is dark.

Yes, some players have dark vision. That still doesn’t change the fact that it’s dark! Darkness extends in every direction. The only light source is a beam of light illuminating a seated creature in front of them.

The creature looks like a blend of the Herd, a fifth of each of them in a single chimerataur.

The chimerataur stands up tall and reveals a high-tech gun on his left arm. His fur is an infernal red, and a Holy Symbol of Gond branded on his chest. His shadow does not match his body somehow.

The room shakes and changes form. They find themselves standing in Caeus’s workshop. Instead of being burned down, the shop is crisp and new. Gadgets and tech line the walls. The beds have spacious underneath zones or long hypotenuses. A well-kept shrine to Gond enjoys a place of prominence. Even Harken has a special spot (tucked away in a corner, of course). It’s… perfect.

“I like it here,” Sfiros smiles.

The chimerataur looks at the Herd. “I can only allow safe passage under one condition,” he says.

“What’s the condition?” Sleipnir, the most conditioned of the Herd, asks after a while.

“You all must offer me one significant memory,” he says.

“Is this like a copy and paste or a cut and paste?” Sfiros asks, referencing old minotaur lore.

“A cut and swap,” the chimerataur replies.

The Herd considers this. What’s significant enough that they could just “forget” it? The minotaurs decide to remove their memory of killing Dr. Thinster (see if you can find this event in the write-up! It’s gone! How convenient!)

Harken alone chooses to keep the murder memory. Instead, he gives up the first memory of his brother Ezekiel, a warlock who died in Chult.

“I fucking hated Ezekiel,” Harken spits. “He made me uncomfortable.”

“These are very significant,” the chimerataur nods. “I shall enjoy having them in my collection.”

The room shakes and transforms again. Doors appear in the four cardinal directions as the magic takes hold and purges the minotaurs of their memories.

The minotaurs forget everything about murdering Dr. Thinster. Harken is the only one who remembers the event for them, but completely forgets about his dead perverted brother, Ezekiel.

These memories are replaced in their minds with something completely different. They believe these new memories as surely as the ones they lost. The chimaerataur has swapped their memories for other memories, perhaps ones that other adventurers have given to him in the past?

The Anacos brothers forget the murder and remember something different about their mommataur:

Caeus remembers Morthania the Hag hexed his fate, and that his mommataur will die in seven months unless he brings her the backbone of a demon.

Sleipnir remembers his mommataur would still have her sight if he didn’t drop her.

Tallest forgets accidentally killing an evil doctor and remembers accidentally killing his childhood friend in a play fight. Nobody else knows.

“And nobody ever will!” Tallest cries loudly. Tears stream down his face as if a dam had broken, but nobody sees the tears because his face is so high off the ground, sparing him his shame.

Harken remembers Tallest declaring his unconditional love for him. He remembers rejecting Tallest, but he knows the love remains. He alone manages to see Tallest sobbing inconsolably, and he feels like he should say something.

“Oy, mate, it’s all right,” Harken tries.

“It’s not all right!” Tallest sobs. “You don’t know how I feel!”

Harken nods, knowing that he actually knows exactly how Tallest feels.

Harken doesn’t know how Tallest feels.

Sfiros remembers being cold and sick. He remembers a blizzard covering “their cries.” Even if he wasn’t sick, there is no way he could have heard “them.” He remembers burying “them” being a huge waste of a weekend.

They fit the new memory in their backgrounds, but its influence and significance will vary.

Oblivious to the memory swap, the Herd is satisfied with this room.

The next room however is straight up balls-terrifying.

The walls and ceiling writhe, gurgle, pulse, and breathe. The floors are an agglomeration of tentacles. Dominating the center of the room, a tentacle mass surrounds two large cages filled with villagers.

In one cage, the villagers scream in terror. In the other, they mumble incoherently. They are broken shells of their former selves.

A massive tentacle snaps a screaming woman’s arm off. The tentacle feeds the arm to an orifice on the wall. It dislocates a tentacle from its own body and transplants it on the woman’s bloody shoulder. Based in the scene, it’s been popping appendages off and replacing them for a while!

“Let these people go!” Tallest tries to open the cage. When he touches a tentacle, he sees a vision:

He sees an elven noblewoman clad in wedding attire, preparing to travel via magic to her glorious wedding. The day is beautiful, and the magic is weaved flawlessly. But Tallest knows something is amiss: he knows this elf-maiden’s nephew has sabotaged her summoning circle, and the transportation spell goes awry, sending her to a planar abyss, the domain of Zuggtmoy, the demon queen of fungi.

Zuggtmoy sees the elf bride and smiles, transforming the elven bride into a bouquet of fungal blooms. The demon queen uses this bouquet for her own wedding to Araumycos of the Underdark.

After the wedding, Zuggtmoy tossed her bouquet through the planar void where something caught it, pocketed it, and hid it in this room.

The vision ends...

“If I know anything about bouquets, it’s that you can slice them with a sword,” Tallest unleashes the Blade of Ahn-nunurta on the mass of tentacles.

Each time he slices off a tentacle, he hears the elf-woman’s voice wailing in his mind.

“That touch! That caress! My fingers rot with every happy memory from home,” the voice echoes.

Tallest is undisturbed. He slices again and again, ignoring the woman’s wails. At one great mass, he hears, “I miss my face! My pointed, elven face. Have you seen it? Do you have it?!”

He hacks again until the last tentacle squirks off. The voice shrieks, “Have you seen what floor 222 does to people? Can you see what it did to me?”

The bouquet of tentacles—hacked to pieces—stops writhing. The horrible mutant is defeated, and Zuggtmoy’s terrible bouquet is vanquished.

All the villagers turn to their saviors. Most of them have a body part replaced with a tentacle, so it’s kind of weird.

“Get us out of here! Get us out of this thing!” they plead. They are making a lot of noise and their tentacles are like super gross.

“Those people have to be put out of our misery,” Caeus lowers his visor. “These people are infected.”

The villagers wail. “Help us! Please! Get us away from this thing? What’s wrong with me?”

Tallest opens the cages and throws the closest villager through an exit. “Anybody else want to go, or are your feet replaced with tentacles, too?”

Some of them do have their feet replaced with tentacles. Tallest helps those that do need assistance. He isn’t ablest, but he is rude.

“Does anyone know Gentry Holl?” Sfiros asks in the next room.

“Yes, he’s my son,” says a woman who is not fucked up with tentacles.

“You will be happy to know that he is alive,” Sfiros tells her.

“He was alive when we saw him last,” Caeus well-actually’s.

“We accidentally entered a pocket dimension since we last saw him,” Sfiros admits.

“Do you know how to get out of here?” Gentry’s mom, the Sandy Hole, asks.

“Our understanding is the only way through is forwards,” Sfiros says.

They line up and step through the next door and into a banquet hall.

A nearby table is strewn with platters, cakes, pies, fruits, smoked meats, wine, and ghost jars. Eight aristocrats sit with their plates full. They are in the middle of prayer.

“What are you praying for? Do you see this guy?” Tallest points at a heavily tentacled villager.

The aristocrats look way up and smile. “We’re just blessed we have such a wonderful meal prepared in front of us,” the fanciest aristocrat says.

“Who prepared the meal?” Tallest asks. “I don’t see a kitchen.”

“Oh, the kitchen’s just behind the curtain,” the aristocrat points behind them.

Tallest pulls back the curtain to reveal a butcher factory for ungulate humanoids. Several humanoid sheep, goats, and cows work alongside a pie-making machine, preparing raw ingredients that kind of look like souls and humanoid meat. Hanging from meathooks on the ceiling are massive, obese people strung up to be forced into the meat-packing machine.

“This is People Pie!” Caeus shouts. He jumps on the table and smashes his thunder gauntlets together to cast thunderwave, knocking all the meat and ghost jars to the ground.

The aristocrats rush to the scattered food, engorging themselves on the feast.

Caeus firebolts the most gluttonous person.

“That was Migal Hull!” a villager screams. “Gentry’s dad,” he adds helpfully.

A large, porcine humanoid waddles forward from the kitchen. His tusks jut sharply from his face, and his eyes drip with blood. A necklace of seven eyeballs hangs from his neck.

“What are you doing here?” the porcine creature snorts.

More middle-management ungulate humanoids emerge from the kitchen with butcher’s knives.

Harken summons a flame blade in the form of a scimitar, and Sfiros summons a spiritual weapon in the form of a blacksmith’s hammer.

Sleipnir casts vitriolic sphere from his cursed scythe, Silence. The scythe laughs as the ungulates rot.

With a barrage of magic weapons and heavy armor, the Herd butchers the animal butchers like animals.

“Help us!” the corpulent hersine, porcine, bovine, ovine, and equine folk cry out as they’re struck down.

The vegetarians free everyone who was chained up as food.

They find another exit that looks bosslike, so they tell everyone they’ve rescued to wait in the dining room but NOT to eat anything!

They enter the boss door and see a dark, tiled room. A single candle sitting on the floor reveals an elderly woman alone in the room, cleaning it. Her mouth and eyes are sewn shut. Above them, the cylindrical room leads only to darkness, but the clatter of pie tins and cake pans echoes around them. Something is above them, and it’s gorging on sweets.

Caeus sends Gizmo with a knife to slice the lady’s mouth open and free her tongue.

“Stay in the light! Get any kind of light source you can!” She shouts. She holds up her candle.

Sfiros raises his flaming Holy Symbol of Gond, and Caeus lights a torch.

Sleipnir uses his super darkvision to see beyond the boundary of their light sources. He sees hundreds of square tiles circling the light sources like bugs to a flame.

“Are you here to kill the demon?” she asks.

“Is this demon a… vertebrate?” Caeus asks.

“The white tiles will get you to her,” Josephine goes over to the wall and touches a white tile, revealing a magical staircase.

“Bye lady!” Sleipnir calls as he runs up the magic stairs. “Can you tell us anything about the demon?”

“Don’t let it kiss you!” she warns.

At the top of the stairs, they find more dirty dishes. Empty, greasy pie tins litter the floor of the platform. The platform itself is circular, magically floating a hundred feet above the ground where the elder woman was cleaning.

A harlequin Erinyes with eight arachnoid legs looks up from a half-eaten pie. She sneers through tattered lips, revealing ten rows of teeth in a charybdic maw, disrupted from her endless feasting.

“I do not want her autograph anymore,” Tallest says, recognizing Tasha’s Kiss from her poster. “She looks hungry.”

“Don’t kiss her, I hear,” Sfiros warns.

“You guys can blast them from afar, right?” Tallest asks.

“I am not that kind of minotaur,” Caeus says and charges at the clown.

Sleipnir twins haste on Tallest and Caeus, overcharging the bulls. They have never been more confident of anything in their lives.

Tasha shows them the meaning of haste. She immediately snatches Sleipnir from the safety of the Herd. From her maw, a vile rosy tongue leeches out. Tasha smacks Sleipnir with the wettest, cursedest kiss he’s ever had.

Tasha’s kiss breaks Sleipnir’s concentration, pouring lethargy over his friends before they move as the haste spell ends. With the smooch she gave Sleipnir, Tasha’s Kiss now controls the minotaur! He’s charmed under her spell! Caeus protects Sfiros with sanctuary as the cleric forges his radiant spiritual hammer. The hammer flies through the air, smacking the clown.

Tasha’s Kiss squeaks Sleipnir and forces him to counterspell Harken’s spell. She squeaks him again and forces shatter out of his horns.

Caeus’s power armor absorbs the thunder damage and saves it for later as the minotaurs dodge out of the way.

Tasha’s Kiss then skitters over the edge of the platform and hides on the underside of it. Sleipnir wakes up in her grasp. Seeing she can’t control him anymore, Tasha’s Kiss throws Sleipnir from the platform where he plummets 100 feet and smashes into the ground. Luckily, his racial trait keeps him at 1 HP, but he quickly scurries to his feet and lights a torch.

Caeus sends Gizmo down to cast cure wounds on his brother.

The harlequin claws at Caeus with massive damage, ripping with her claws and gnashing with her teeth.

“Gizmo, you must die for us!” Tallest activates his shield’s cloud rune, making a portal to transfer the damage from Caeus to the owl hat. Gizmo explodes in sparks and magic and metal.

Caeus punches Tasha in the gut so hard that she regurgitates a human corpse and flings it to the ground.

Sfiros finds distance from the clown to safely bless Tallest, Caeus, and Sleipnir. A radiant buff appears above their horns.

Tasha’s Kiss keeps skittering all over the platform, crawling beneath it to emerge behind the Herd and strike at them. They can’t form a proper defense line, but every time she crawls to the underside of the platform, she’s in perfect sight of Sleipnir!

The melee minotaurs pummel Tasha’s Kiss, forcing her to regurgitate another corpse as she rakes at them from all directions. The clown finally flees in pain and hides underneath the platform.

Sleipnir draws a bead on her! He aims magic missiles from below, zapping them upward where they explode through the clown. The harlequin shrieks in one final outburst and tumbles downward, burning away as her demonic form sizzles.

The plane of existence shimmers and crashes. Reality wanes until the Herds finds themselves in a field near the village, surrounded by an immense diversity of humanoid groups. Hundreds of dazed people are regurgitated into reality as Tasha’s Kiss dies.

All of them are confused about how they got here.

But all of them are certain of their heroes: the Herd.

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