Exploring Chult to look for the cause of the dreaded Death Curse afflicting all of Faerun. End the Death Curse, save souls!

Tomb of Annihilation Adventurer's League Campaign in LB
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, character levels 1-10
Written by Christopher Perkins, Will Doyle, and Steve Winter
The talk of the streets and taverns has all been about the so-called death curse: a wasting disease afflicting everyone who’s ever been raised from the dead. Victims grow thinner and weaker each day, slowly but steadily sliding toward the death they once denied.
When they finally succumb, they can’t be raised—and neither can anyone else, regardless of whether they’ve ever received that miracle in the past. Temples and scholars of divine magic are at a loss to explain a curse that has affected the entire region, and possibly the entire world.
The cause is a necromantic artifact called the Soulmonger, which is located somewhere in Chult, a mysterious peninsula far to the south, ringed with mountains and choked with rainforests.

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Order of the Gauntlet Field Report – 20 Mirtle
To: Alastar Bol


Your frustrations were indeed warranted. Niles Breakbone was found in no condition to lead.

Our party arrived at Camp Vengeance in the midst of an attack. An undead Ogre and a cadre of smaller zombies stormed the camp gate. My companions and I rushed from the river landing toward the fray. Our wizard cast a spell of web to ensnare the undead. I engaged one of the minions and directed our Paladin toward the front lines. We were able to defeat the foes but not before they had damaged the barricades and slain one of the men. The undead had strange blue triangles on their foreheads.

I spoke with the acting leader, Captain Salhana who informed me that Breakbone left some days prior on a promise of vanquishing the undead curse in the region by sanctifying a holy site. This combined with his other foolhardy decisions gave me initial cause to doubt his ability to properly lead this camp.

Before we set out to retrieve Breakbone, an assessment of Camp Vengeance was taken. The accommodations were sorry to say the least. Latrines overflowed, food stores were diminished, and many of the men had fallen ill. Our Paladin and Undril assisted Sister Cyas in the infirmary. Our Wizard spoke with Firebeard who confirmed my suspicion that Breakbone had undertaken a fool’s errand. He was swayed by the musings of a witch.

We continued up the river – a two-day journey. We discovered some yacha beetles which are useful in creating a remedy for the fever spreading through the camp. I pickled the beetles for later use. When we arrived at the Shrine to Ubtao we were beset by cannibals. Our Paladin was hexed by a witch doctor. While he battled the illusion, I charged toward the Cannibals. Our Wizard and Druid guide littered the battlefield with webs and roots, trapping many of the villains. We defeated the cannibals and captured the witch doctor who also had the triangle on their forehead. The witch doctor works for Ras Nsi. We have a hint of a location which we may investigate in the future.

We made our way into the shrine. The party Wizard was able to solve the riddle barring initial entrance. At the center we found Wulf Rygor’s desecrated corpse being used for some dark ritual. We were attacked by a Yuanti and a Wight – both with the triangles on their forehead. We were able to defeat the threats and escaped with our lives. We found Breakbone rambling in the corner – his mind clearly driven mad with the witch’s influence.

We returned to Camp Vengence. On your authority, I promoted Ord Firebeard to commander in charge. He intends to stay posted at Camp Vengence. If there are any available resources, I suggest you send reinforcements as soon as available. Please thank Undril for her services.


Pogwe, Order of the Gauntlet
Session: Camp Vengeance - Friday, Dec 29 2017 from 6:15 PM to 10:15 PM
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Memoirs of a Tiefling: The Life and Times of Delphinius Neptunio (Excerpt 3.2)
Part III

My Life as an Adventurer


Chapter 1 - Down the River

For a small port on an uncharted island, the population was surprisingly large. It was becoming increasingly difficult to just walk down the street. People swarmed wherever you went. My adoring fans. I loved it! Chult wasn’t really so bad, once you got used to it. Or once the public became aware I was there. Ish and Rav had been gone a ten day, but business was booming at Kaya’s. Folks came from every corner of Port Nyanzaru to relax in the spas to the soothing sounds of my lute and entrancing vocals.

Celebrity status had other unexpected benefits it seemed. People talked, quite a lot, when they were drunk and trying to impress. I heard every story about that place imaginable: Ghost villages, bird people taking over monasteries, even giant turtles with jewel encrusted shells (I really should ask Pogwe about that one of these days).

Aid had been requested of Pog to investigate a camp south of the port along the river. We needed a guide. Once Ish and Rav returned, we interviewed many with a myriad of experience, from battle hardened dwarves, to shady “retired adventurers”. Pock-marked Poe recommended a couple (after taking The Oracle’s Eye), who turned out to be a pair of cowardly cat people.

We finally settled on Qwasha, the old man who saved us from the undead horde on our first day in town. Apparently he had been quite useful during Ish and Rav’s errand. He reluctantly agreed, and we set off.

On the way to the river docks, a snake flew by and dropped a note to me, requesting I find a man named Artus Cimber. (Yep that’s right. A flying snake messenger. Yes really. For a shadowy organization, those Zhents never seemed to understand the art of subtlety.)

At the docks, we met a confused looking Half Orc. She seemed quite out of place, not unlike we were when we first arrived. She was looking for someone named Niles Breakbone (Probably another half orc with a name like that). We offered our aid and she joined us on our trip down river. Hailing from Balder’s Gate I was surprised Undril was unfamiliar with my work. But like I always say, “A stranger is just a fan who’s never had the pleasure of experiencing my art.” She soon warmed to me after many a night’s serenade on the river.

After 4 days travel, we rounded a bend to see a ravaged camp at the foot of a massive statue of a giant lizard on the back of man. This must be the place of Pog’s mission. A quick investigation showed signs of undead. The tents and supplies had all been burned, no doubt in attempt to kill the rotting invaders. Nothing of value could be recovered, though Pog was able to determine this was not the end of his quest. There was another camp further down the river we needed to investigate.

Curiously, Ish and Rav discovered a cave behind a stone archway between the massive pair of legs of the statue. A sign read ‘Traps!’. That did not dissuade us from investigating. Upon entering, Rav’s keen eye did in fact discover, (yep you guessed it) a trap! Ish took a leap of faith clearing what Rav determined to be a detection trap powered by strong magic. Unfortunately for Ish, directly behind it was a blade trap that cut deep through his armor. Perhaps if he were more penitent before his god, he might have rolled through unscathed.

Rav managed to disarm both traps so we could pass freely while Ish patched himself up. A ledge blocked our view. Again, Ish took the lead and climbed the ledge. I half expected him to be blasted back down, but he said it was clear on top. As my particular skill set did not seem to be useful in this situation, I opted to hang back and keep Undril company while she served as lookout.

What happened next was a comedy of errors the likes of which I have never performed. I kid you not, we were there for more than half a day, while Ish, Pog and Rav poked and prodded at the remaining traps. A triumphant cry of epiphany, followed by a scream and multiple explosions. Every so often, the 3 would emerge from the cave burned and frustrated, my laughter masked by my soothing words encouraging them to keep going. I didn’t care what was in the cave, I just couldn’t let this magical tragedy to end. Never in all my days could I put such hilarity to the page.

As twilight approached, and we were beginning to tire, the cycle began a new, but this time with no explosion. Undril and I looked at each other in disbelief. They had solved the mystery! Triumphantly, the trio emerged from the cave and gave the all clear. I ventured after them, following all instructions to avoid singeing my fine traveling clothes. It was all I could do to bite my tongue when I discovered the solution to the traps was etched into the door at the end of the cave.

Beyond the door was a tall cylindrical room shrouded in webbing and a tall pillar with a spiral staircase carved into it. Thankfully there were no spiders. Ish almost fell halfway up the stairs as Pog awkwardly (and hilariously) carried him up on his shoulders. They seemed to know what they were doing so I didn’t question it. At the top was a ceramic jug with a rubber stopper. A small amount of foul smelling liquid sloshed in the bottom, apparently a poison of sorts. However the jug was the real prize. After studying it, Rav determined it to be an Alchemists Jug, useful for making all sorts of concoctions. We decided to camp here in the cave to stave off predators and weather for the night.

As morning approached and we emerged form the cave surprisingly refreshed, a volley of arrows rained down from the sky. Goblins were hiding in the burned tents. Lucky for all but Ishketh, his magical (cursed?) shield attracted the entire volley of arrows. Pog quickly cut down a couple of goblins while I put the other group to sleep. A horn blew as another, larger, goblin rounded the river bend in one of our canoes. He demanded the jug. When we refused, another blow of the horn attracted a pack of Allosaurs!

I rallied my team to defend me, Pog rushed to the canoe to confront the goblin (cause, ya know, he’s a turtle and is adept at swimming), Undril summoned holy spirits to guard us and attack the dinosaurs. Ish defended Rav from the beasts, but to no avail. Rav was bitten and fell at the foot of the vicious dino.

Foolishly, I opened my mouth to taunt the beast. It rushed at me and bit hard. I had never felt such pain. A demonic rage began to swell as I pointed at the Allosaur and a wave of flame leapt engulfing the beast. When I came to, Rav was up, Ish had slain the rest of the pack and there was bbq dinosaur at my feet. We ate well that night.

His allies down, the cowardly goblin surrendered. He begged for mercy and offered us sanctuary and trade in the goblin city of Yellyark. We forced him to accompany us along our journey to the second camp, as he may prove useful in the future.
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Confessions of Ishketh Gloryheart - Whispers in the Dark
Kelemvor keep my soul, for I have now seen the darkness that lies beyond the stars, and what awaits me upon my death should I fail...

My Lord's Alliance brother, Revekeus, and I had a simple task: travel to Fort Beluarian to acquire our Charter of Expedition and to connect with my contact, Liara Portyr. It proved to be anything but simple, and has shaken even my stalwart faith.

Where to begin? I know that you, Judge of the Dead, watched over me in my travels and witnessed my deeds. I will not waste your time, Wise Kelemvor, with the details of that 5-day trek through the wet grasslands guided by the good-hearted Qawasha. We saw many strange creatures, a giant snail, some gentle dinosaurs, and some not-so-gentle, enormous insects. None of these challenges, both of my temperament and my steel, proved difficult for two men of faith in a strange land. Not even the grizzly remains of a man butchered and tortured by indigenous goblins could phase us.

The plants and animals of this place make me wonder which gods had their hand in their design. Plants that can eat a man, wasps the size of a wolf, curious sprites that play games and dislike metal. I shall consult the high priests in Baldur's Gate should I ever see that glorious city again.

Arriving at the keep was a blessing, and I thanked not only you, Keeper of the Gates, but also Helm for his protection. To have a dry bed and a roof over my head was such a boon. The ordered nature of the fort reminded me of home, and the mission that I am on. All the world should be so housed, safe and secure.

Commander Portyr was able to provide us with our Charter, free of charge, in exchange for taking care of the local undead threat. As if I needed payment to partake in such a quest! We gladly accepted, bringing Qawasha and 6 fine soldiers - some Chultan, some from Baldur's Gate like myself. We are lead by a strange, and treasonous little frog-person named Wadumu. The little worm - I hope your judging hands find him soon.

Our small company is lead into the jungle and toward the ruins of an ancient city, Bulobo. It was easy enough to find - our guides were quite skilled. The center of the ruin had an obelisk and several small pillars, each with a panel and symbol. We were provided a riddle, a series of descriptions informing us the sequence we must press. Fortunately, the puzzle was simple enough that even someone of my..limited mental ability...could solve it.

While investigating the ruin, Revekeus discovered remains of several dead men, which came to life! These were not ordinary dead - a sinister plant creature had animated them. We struggled against these monsters, and the intoxicating pollen of the sinister plant, all while trying to press the sequence to complete the puzzle.

The noble soldiers we brought fought well. The numbers of the dead seemed endless. I held the faith, I brought the light. Revekeus and his Omega Squad proved deadly and vital - while fending off many dead, they started enacting the puzzle sequence. It fell to myself and Bo'ana, a former coconut tree climber turned warrior, to press the last buttons.

We did our duty. But Bo'ana and one of Omega squad fell to the dead. They sacrificed themselves so the rest of us could make it into the fain below the ruin.

The fain was a den of evil. A vile sorceress and servant of Dendar the Night Serpent, Shasskatar, had made it her lair. Her evil magics had been animating the dead nearby, making them aggressive. She attempted to turn me against my allies, to confuse my mind - but my faith was stronger. While Revekeus attempted to distract her and rob her of her power by stealing gems from the nearby edifice, I stood toe-to-toe with the creature, along with our noble allies.

We eventually won the day, but at a terrible price. The sorceress claimed the lives of all but myself, Revekeus, Qawasha, and one soldier, using her terrible dark magic. She also gave me a horrific vision - a consuming sight of Dendar the Night Serpent's coming. His power was overwhelming, his victory all-encompassing.

It was in that moment, Kelemvor save me, that my faith faltered. The darkness that I saw sits with me even now. It's like a chilling fog twisting its way through the early morning streets of Baldur's Gate.

I must not let this darkness crush me. We are all the mortar that strengthens the bricks of the Walled Garden. The soldiers that died thwarting the sorceress, and any others that die on this journey, and even myself - it cannot be for nothing, it cannot all end in darkness and madness. I fear that I will toil my whole life to build the Walled Garden, just to watch it topple and burn.

Kelemvor, Helm, Torm - watch over me, and us all. Dark times are upon us.
Session: Off to Fort Beluarian - Friday, Dec 08 2017 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Memoirs of a Tiefling: The Life and Times of Delphinius Neptunio (Excerpt 3.1)
Part III

My Life as an Adventurer


Chapter 1 - Port Nyanzaru

A flash of light, a loud pop, a gust of warm wind. We had arrived in Port Nyanzaru on the isle of Chult. After all these years, i’ve never quite gotten used to teleporting, though none would ever suspect otherwise. Before we could get our bearings, Syndra Sylvane showed us the timeline of her imminent demise. We had 3 months to solve this death curse, well, if we wanted to get paid. Nothing like a bit of pressure in an already tough situation. No matter, we were up for the task.

It was hot in Port Nyanzaru. The kind of heat you’d expect from a tropical island, but the lack of breeze, even in an ocean port, made the heat oppressive. Luckily I never weigh myself down with much. My two armored compatriots must have been having a rough go at it, though they never let on.
Colors of salmon and teal lined the streets, the smell of strange spices in the air, foreign languages all around. New places always intrigued me. There was only one problem here: No one knew me!!!

I quickly set out to rectify that situation. ‘There must be a quality establishment around here where I can perform. These folks look like they could use a bit of entertainment,’ I thought to myself. A drunken sailor, who advised us to only drink rain water, mentioned a place called Kaya’s House of Repose as the establishment most well suited to my elegant taste. On our way, we passed a massive coliseum with a sign posted for ‘The Grand Tourney’ happening the following night. Perhaps a good chance to see how the locals live it up in this town.

Rav kept stopping everywhere that caught his interest. He would talk to everyone, collecting up every little tidbit of info or rumor he could. Hard as it was to not dictate every situation, I did my best to let my companions have their freedom, while still attempting to steer them to Kaya’s. Along the way, Pogwe with his mighty appetite, had a craving for an Ankylosaur steak. Of course I assisted him in charming the butcher to knock a few gold off.

Arape’s Jungle Gear we a dirty mess of a shop, but had plenty of supplies that we would most likely need on our expedition out into the jungle. Incense and salves to keep away the bugs (which were apparently monstrous) seemed like a good purchase, as were a few rain catchers to ensure we kept hydrated. The clerk strongly suggested we visit the Flaming Fist to obtain a Charter of Exploration before we head out. Apparently we needed permission to risk our lives on an uncharted island.

Finally we arrive at Kaya’s. Immediately, I requested audience with the owner to secure an arrangement for myself and my allies, who seemed more than a little uncomfortable in such a place. I assured them that once they grow accustomed to this lifestyle, they’d never settle for less! After a bit of persuasion, I secure free lodging for myself (with a discount for the others) in exchange for playing an hour of soothing song nightly. Exactly as I had anticipated.

I needed to prepare for my first performance, but Rav insisted we continue to explore the port. Before I knew it, we were entering a temple of Savrus. I hated those places. Always conning unfortunate folks out of there hard earned copper in exchange for the promise of ‘prayers and healing’. Alas, I decided to humor Rav as he was now my ally. Grandfather Zitembe, priest of Savrus agreed to provide us with a bit of information on the death curse… (wait for it)… for a small donation. I rest my case. Holy places should simply help folks rather than profiting on their misfortune, especially with something as destructive as this death curse.

As we left the temple, my heart skipped a beat. There was a man leaning against a sign post flipping a coin. ‘It couldn’t be,’ I thought to myself. Those blasted Zhentarim were everywhere. I quickly ducked into a back alley before he noticed me. Turning the corner, I reached for one of my disguises but there he was waiting. He instructed me to drop in on the local boss, Pock-Marked Poe. I made that cursed deal with these thugs over 10 years prior, but it seemed i would never be out of their debt.

My attempts to act natural seemed fruitless. Doubtless my companions knew something was up. Suddenly, a commotion from around the corner. An event called Executioners Run was just about to start. Criminals were dropped into a pit with vicious raptors. If they managed to escape, they would be free. Seemed barbaric, but who was I to judge the local customs. However the event was over as soon as it began. Alarms sounded and everyone ran for cover, climbing up on the nearby ziggurats. Zombies came lurching out of the jungle. My companions and I made a foolish attempt at heroics, trying to drive back the approaching horde.

Ish took the brunt of the force, almost succumbing to the rotting monstrosities in the process. Rav unleashed a torrent of flames from his fingers. Pog helped one of the criminals out of the pit, getting his shell slashed by the raptors in return. When all appeared most dire, I contemplated leaving Ish to his fate when a wave of vines burst from the foliage and engulfed the zombies. A man popped out with a brush sprite to revive Ish, then the trio ran off into the jungle. I used my new gem to blind the remaining horde to aid our escape to the ziggurat.

Once the excitement had died down, we regrouped and headed for the top of the great man-made mountain. Pock-Marked Poe was waiting and he charged me with winning the Grand Tourney. All winnings would be ours, save for a mysterious item called The Oracle’s Eye. I was to deliver it to him. I asked if this would finally relieve my debt, he just smiled. Damn those Zhents!!!

The first event of the Grand Tourney was a dinosaur race. Our team was dubbed the Blade Fangs. Riding Allosaurs, Ish maneuvered with surprising grace taking an early lead. The rest of us did our best to slow the opposing team all while avoiding the traps popping up along the track. The Green Vipers didn’t prove to be much of a challenge and Ish won the race by quite a margin. But it wasn’t over.

We were then locked in a cage with a Kenku warrior and his pet raptors. I immediately played a soothing song to set the beasts in a slumber. One by one, Pog and Rav cleaned up the snoring raptors while Ish finished off the Kenku. The Tourney won, the Oracle’s Eye mine (for the time being). We were certainly beginning to make a name for ourselves in this savage land.
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Memoirs of a Teifling: The Life and Times of Delphinius Neptunio (excerpt 3.a)
Part III

My Life as an Adventurer

Prologue

It was a sad day. My very good friend Valeria had passed. I stood by her body near the alter in front of a fairly large crowd in the temple of Helm. Funny, Valeria was the only person who could ever get me in one of these places.
Anyway, there I was in my traveling cloak, the one I wore when I wanted to hide my identity. Beside me there was a priest, a tortle, a snake man, and a goth. I assure you this is not the start of some bad joke. The others (save the priest) each gave a touching eulogy for Valeria. Seems she had affected a great number of lives besides my own.
It was my turn. Feeling a bit choked up, I put on a bit of a show to keep myself from breaking down. The crowd gasped as I threw off my cloak with a puff of smoke and a shower of sparks. Thanks be to Erevan for my acting skills (See Part 1: The Early Years, Chapter 3) or I may not have made it through this.

As the crowd filed out and I prepared to leave, the 4 of us were cornered by Romalia, an Elven member of the Harpers, and a masked woman named Syndra Sylvane. They offered us a room in the temple for the night, which I accepted since it was surprisingly up to my standards of living. But of course, there was a catch. There’s always a catch. Romalia had an insane plan to make a deal with a lich, trying to get information on this death plague going around. This is way beyond my skill set so I waited for a good moment to sneak away.
Damn my sentimental side. Of course they leverage Valeria’s tragic passing. Begrudgingly I accepted. I wouldn’t actually have to deal with this lich, just infiltrate her cellar and retrieve a dusty old book. How hard can that be?

After 3 days on a boat with my new ‘friends’, we arrived at some cliffs with a magic door. Upon entering, we are set upon by a group of skeletons! The tortle, Pogwe was his name, offered his protection as I am a rather frail man, despite how I present myself on stage and to my adoring public. I am no trained combatant, so I use the only skill set I have: Acting!
The role: a dashing magician. Hurling insults and stage effects to distract the enemies proved to be a surprisingly effective tactic. The skeletons were quickly brought down, but they were far from the worst this ‘Cellar of Death’ had to offer.

Searching for the book, we stumbled upon all manner of stench, horror, and filth that man was not meant to experience. Traps and foul living dead attacked us at every turn. As a team, we were able to overcome most of the challenges we faced, save for one: a vicious ghost almost killed the snake man (Ishketh he calls himself) with a ghastly touch. My wit and tricks did not avail me so I leapt into action, and before I knew it, I had used my stage medic training to get Ish back up on his feat while the goth man Ravekeus pelted the spectre with magic crossbow bolts found in one of the cellar traps.

Upon defeating the ghost, we recovered the old tomb and were promptly teleported out of this dungeon, thank the gods. Teleported we were, not to the ship, but to a forest grove where Romalia and her troops had all but lost the battle against The Duchess of Rot, Xaldera Cordriss. It was the lich! She wanted her book back. I didn’t need it so I offered it up for information about this death plague. Some artifact or being or… I don’t know what, called the Soul Monger was on the jungle isle of Chult. I thanked the lich, gave her the book, and we were free.

I exhaled a sigh of relief. It was over. “We’ve done what you asked,” I said, “And since I know you have this sort of magic at your disposal, please teleport me back to Baldur’s Gate. I have a curtain call tomorrow eve.” But my errand was not yet complete. Syndra Sylvane removed her mask to show us the horrors of the death curse and pleaded with us to go to Chult to investigate further, offering us riches if we could put an end to this curse.
My companions agreed without a second thought. I hesitated. I had an audience to get back to. Someone had to give them respite from their weary lives, living in fear of this death curse.

However. Something stirred in me that I had not expected. The thrill of surviving such horrors was something I had never experienced. It rivaled, perhaps even exceeded, the thrill of opening night with a packed house. The promise of riches didn’t hurt either. Like this magic gem we found. It had the ability to shine light on command and even blind those who would do us harm.

And if I survived, imagine the audience who would come from all over the realms to see me recount “My Life as an Adventurer.”
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