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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Memoirs of a Teifling: The Life and Times of Delphinius Neptunio (Excerpt 3.12)
Part III

My Life as an adventurer

Chapter 11 - Delphinius, The Bold!

We continued our search for the remaining glass eyes. I let Ishketh lead the explorations and kept close to my loyal bodyguard, Pogwe. The constant danger and traps around every corner were sapping my will to go on, though I knew we must.

Our next discovery was a small room with 2 statues, Azuth the wizard and Torm Patron of Self Sacrifice. Beneath a barrier on the floor was a golem and a treasure chest. Manipulating the statues teleported the golem above the barrier, but he was hardly a match for us. A bit more tinkering teleported us down to the chest containing 2 more glass eyes. A nice change of pace as we bested the trap without so much as a scratch.

Our easy victory lightened our spirits, everyone's step was a bit lighter as we continued on. We came to a cylindrical room not unlike those magical spinning hallways in Mordenkainen's House of Whimsical Mysteries back home. Revek sent his owl to investigate, going into a trance to see through his familiars eyes. The doors to the hallway slammed shut, and the room did indeed begin to spin, only Revek saw what happened inside. His skin turned a ghostly white, even paler than normal. Suddenly his trance broke as the room had tumbled his poor pet to a battered and bruised death. Apparently that takes quite the toll on a wizard. I played soothing music while we rested to help improve the mood.

We backtracked looking for another way around and came to a control room with a golem watching the rotating hallway. We didn't disturb the golem but came to realize that this was yet another trap with no reward meant to lure would-be adventurers to their death. Have I mentioned I hated that tomb?

We were still mourning the loss of Revek's pet owl (even though he could just resommon it. Seriously, Rev, not everything is despair and sorrow) when we found him a new one. A golden skull sitting upon a pedestal in the middle of an otherwise empty room. Rev's greed got the better of him as he quickly snatched it up. The skull came to life flying around insulting him, chattering on. It talked more than I do. While annoying, it certainly did provide a bit of levity in this death dungeon.

Next we found the final tomb of the old gods, Kubazan. Frog masks, a collection of random items, and a series of frescoes on the wall depicting various scenes using those items. Easy-peasy. So we thought. One minor detail missed and wraiths rose from the floor. They were quickly dispatched, but not before half of my life essence was stripped away. Taking another look at the cracked paintings, we discovered our mistake. The sarcophagus opened revealing the bones and dust of Kubazan. Weak and frail, I quickly rummaged through the remains and trinkets hoping for something to restore my strength. I gladly accepted the spirit of Kubazan.

I could feel my strength returning. The fear of death was gone. My weak and frail frame no longer mattered. Nothing could stop the mighty Delphinius Neptunio. Master of the stage, bard of the ages, leader of this band of merry adventurers Delphinius and Company, or the Neptunio Players if you're into the whole brevity thing, man.

"To me, my Players!!!" I lead the way through the dungeon. A series of tapestries blocked our path. I stormed through not noticing the scene turning from revelries to debauchery to death and cannibalism. Behind the final tapestry was a reanimated and decaying boar head on the wall. It beckoned us forward so it could feast on our flesh. I charged right up to it and ripped the rotting, gaping maw right off the wall.

"Onward!!!" I shouted.

We came to a door with 10 small empty 'eye sockets'. We only had 8. No door would come between the Dashing Delphinius and his prize. I kicked down the door and bolted inside. A domed room with a floating ball covered in a tapestry. A beholder!!! I snatched a magical spear from Ishketh and hurled it directly at it's center eye. The spear went sideways and stuck to the concealed ball. A magnetic fake. Haha! You cannot fool this bard. I dispelled the magical iron ball causing it to crash into the floor cracking the shiny marble. "You see Acererak?!? We fear nothing!!! Show yourself and fight!!!"

A booming voice began to laugh a deeply unsettling chuckle that had no effect on my, but echoed in the depths of my companions souls. "I am Belchorzh. My gaze will be your undeath!!!" The invisible beholder floating around the room began firing death and disintegration rays at will.

"Chaaaaaaarrrrge!!!!!!!!!" I led the attack dodging eye rays from our invisible foe, swiftly followed by Ishketh and Pogwe. With Revek's help, Pog flew up towards the sound of the demonic laughter, but his slashes caught air as the beholder kept just out of his reach. Belchorzh's powerful invisibility made him nigh invulnerable so I grabbed Pogwe's magic jug of mayonnaise and threw it directly at the beholder.

The thick white condiment covered the monster revealing its location. "There is your beast! Have it him!!!" I bellowed to my compatriots. A stun from Pogwe's greatsword and a holy smite from Ishketh's snake god nearly brought the demon to its, um, knees. I took the monster's gaze and ordered Revek to kill it with fire, even though I'd fully be caught in the blast. My demonic heritage would protect me. And so it did. Slowly through the smoke, a silhouette of a half-man, half-demon standing with his heel in the pupil of the most feared demon of all the realms. Delphinius the Bold was the hero of the hour, and Belchorzh the Beholder was no more.
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Confessions of Ishketh Gloryheart - Dusk is Upon Us!
Kelemvor watch over us. I fear we may not see the light of day again!

We are deep within Acererak’s mad dungeon – I feel that we draw close to the bottom, but does the end of the dungeons also mean the end of our lives?

Poor Delphinius – it seems the monkey brain disease that afflicted him back in the jungle hasn’t quite left his system. He took ill again, and we had to leave him to convalesce in one of the god’s chambers while we pushed ever deeper. Fortunately, we came upon the hapless cleric who helped us defeat Ras Ni – Lt. Steve. He had stumbled into the Tomb, and was trying to find his way out. Thankful for his assistance, we traversed the stairs leading deeper into the dungeon.

We descended in our usual manner – going down the central chamber to find Acererak’s next warning. Filled as usual with cryptic imagery, we hoped it would serve us well. In the large central room, there were four pillars each with a different mineral associated with it: copper, silver, gold, and platinum. Atop each pillar was a four-armed gargoyle. Unsure as to what to do, we discussed for a while before Pogwe put a single coin into a slot at the base of one of the pillars. Not knowing what to do, we decided to go down a nearby hall – that’s when the gargoyles attacked!

Calling us ‘cheapskates’, they flew at us with claws and fangs. As we scrambled to hold them off, we realized that we had to deposit a coin into each of the pillars – one coin for each of us. What ensued was a mad scramble of coins and blood. As usual, I absorbed the brunt of their vicious assault. Lt. Steve did well to keep me standing, mostly. After a pitched battle and many injuries, the gargoyles were placated. We rested in the chamber, licking our wounds.

Sufficiently rested, we began navigating the halls and corridors. We came upon a massive, strange room with a double flight of sweeping stairs leading up to a balcony area. In the center rested a sarcophagus, which we realized contained the remains of Unkh, the flail snail god. The sarcophagus was slowly changing colors – blue, gold, purple, and so forth. The wall of the balcony was covered in a bizarre carving of an ever-shifting maze. While investigating it, Revek was magically pulled within the maze, and ten skeletal minotaurs emerged from passages on the main floor.

What commenced happened quickly, but was no less pitched. Pogwe joined Revek in the magical maze, searching for a key to Unkh’s tomb. Lt. Steve and I used our divine powers to turn away the undead monstrosities, buying us precious seconds. Pogwe emerged from the maze, triumphantly holding a black key. He attempted to use it to open the sarcophagus, but it was colored gold at that moment, so the key vanished to no effect. Soon, I too joined them in the maze searching for a key. I came upon a purple one, and prepared to open it when it turned a matching color. Unsure as to how long that would be, I threw the key to Lt. Steve, who was walking along the ceiling with the help of his magical boots, so he can be ready to open it when the time is right. I returned to the maze to look for further keys.

Moments later, the casket turned purple and Lt. Steve dropped from the ceiling dramatically, opening the lid. The snail god entered Steve after he looked through the sarcophagus’ contents, casting doubt on his decisions but fortifying his body. Inside was a robe of scintillating colors, which we likely had no use for.

Next, we made our way to a bizarre door with a macabre riddle. Fortunately, my history with blood sacrifice and dark rituals gave me insights into its solution (it was blood!), and we entered an even more macabre and strange chamber. Inside were zombie-like artists painting crude murals of our exploits, successes, and failures while in the tomb. We also found a disgusting throne made of bone and manflesh, atop which sat an iron scepter. Finding a secret door nearby, we investigated.

Inside the secret chamber was a strange coffin with odd imagery about it – a bejeweled cockroach, a swinging and smiling sun, and so forth. Eku realized this was the tomb of the last queen of Omu. Looking inside, we found another such scepter. Not realizing our folley, we disturbed the contents and set of a hideous trap – necrotic fumes and burning radiance issued forth, laying Pogwe low. Lt. Steve and I scrambled out and resuscitated Pogwe. It was overall a painful experience.

The next room we investigated had dire warnings about a sinister star emitting beams of disintegrating light. After gaining entrance by raising my hand in a manner similar to the rendition on the stone slab door, we looked around to find an ancient and immensely valuable crown, but also a terrifying demon maw affixed to a wall.

Lt. Steve sent his familiar, a small cat named Little Mort, to investigate. Its paw brushed the darkness emanating from the maw, and was instantly severed, killing the cat! Despite the dangers, we decided to try to take the crown. While we all waited outside, Revek snatched the crown and teleported free, just before seeing the maw issue forth two horrific undead monstrosities – bodaks!

We thought ourselves lucky by escaping that chamber with not even a scratch, but we had no idea what agonies awaited us moments later.

We came upon a small room with a red flamed candle on the far end that appeared to produce an anti-magic field. Lt. Steve and I moved into the chamber to investigate, and were instantly teleported away after a stone slab locked us in. We were transported into slimy, damp cages in a small room whose walls were covered with snails and oysters while warm water pumped into the room at an alarming rate. Recalling part of Acererak’s warning, “Dine or drown”, we both grabbed a handful of snails and gobbled them. This caused us to be teleported to yet another room, this time with depictions of deserts and a medusa with a medallion around her neck.

As soon as we appeared, sand started issuing forth from holes in the ceiling, rapidly filling the room. Frantically looking for a way out, I discovered that the floor was a pit trap. Thinking quickly, I fastened a rope to a nearby fixture and tied to myself and St. Steve. When the sand had accumulated enough, the trap floor gave out and revealed a terrible, mulching blender of machinery beneath. I held fast, but Lt. Steve slipped and his foot was caught in the trap, tearing it brutally from his leg. I immediately pressed the button on the gorgon carving, and we were transported a final time to a massive room.

This new room had a sarcophagus in the center, surrounded by a legion of terracotta warriors. Remembering Acererak’s warning, “The army sleeps in silence”, we kept absolutely quiet. Steve, to his credit, did not cry out, despite being so viciously maimed.

I crept toward the center, avoiding the shattered pieces of broken ceramics and pottery everywhere, clearly designed to cause noise and alert the slumbering warriors. Once I reached the center, Pogwe and an unconscious Revek were transported into the room. I could see that Revek’s foot had also been severed, and he was bleeding to death. The two of them must have followed after us, encountering the same brutal traps. Gesturing to keep them quiet, I removed the lid of the tomb and found quite a surprise – a [redacted]! If only Delphinius were there, I’m sure he would have struggled to keep himself quiet!

Touching the [redacted], the god Shagambi entered my soul, removing Papazotl. I was filled with righteous fire, rekindling my zeal and improving my battle prowess. With the 9th and final god freed, we stepped onto one of the teleportation circles in the room, causing us to be randomly shunted to a different part of this dungeon floor and polymorphed into harmless critters temporarily.

We have all nine gods now, and I know that this labyrinth will be even more deadly as we get closer to our prey. I hope that Delphinius’ convidence is restored when I bring him this [redacted]. We’ll need every advantage to survive, let alone win the day!

May the gods of civilization, and the gods of this cursed land, watch over us in our final trials!
Session: The Last of the Shrines - Saturday, Sep 15 2018 from 2:30 AM to 7:00 AM
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Memoirs of a Teifling: The Life and Times of Delphinius Neptunio (Excerpt 3.11)
Part III

My Life as an adventurer

Chapter 10 - Dimensional Shifts and Glass Eyes

I was invisible more often than not. It was a crutch; a security blanket.

“If I can’t be seen, I’ll be safe,” I foolishly told myself.

We came upon a mysterious archway with a dead half goat man laying at its base. Before continuing through, Pog attempted to walk up the sides of the arch. Surprisingly, gravity did not work as expected and he was able to walk all the way up, eventually disappearing at the apex of the arch. Upon his return, we were able to determine that the archway path led to alternative mirror dimensions, a new one with each rounding of the arch. The potential implications of this made my head hurt so we passed through into the room beyond.

Another sarcophagus, this one bathed in magical sunlight. More gargoyle mouths in the corners of the room. No traps were found so the stone coffin was opened. Misfortunes abound! Thick red wine poured into the room through the gargoyle mouths. We didn’t stick around to disarm the trap and dove through the closing stone door before it was too late.

“It’s a good thing we have access to unlimited mirror dimensions,” is a sentence I’d never thought would ever come out of my mouth. We traveled along the arch, and sure enough, the board had been reset. I continued around once more ‘to explore’ while my companions examined the trapped room more closely. When I was out of sight, I activated my invisibility and snuck back around. My attempt at levity was not appreciated as I was almost blasted by a fireball and gutted by Ishketh’s sword when I popped back into view like a half-naked, purple-skinned, devil adonis on top of the sarcophagus. Perhaps a death tomb littered with traps was not the appropriate place for a surprise entrance.

Revek discovered a crawl space inside one of the gargoyle mouths. Pog and Ish could not fit due to their armor, so Rev and I explored on our own. I didn’t like being separated from my guardian Tortle, but what choice did we have? The crawl space opened into a small room with a salt-drawn pentagram encircling the real sarcophagus. Revek opened the stone box to find the bones of Nang Nang the frog god and another Pearl of Power. His demeanor instantly shifted as he started hoarding all he could find of value. Nang Nang didn’t seem very willing to play nice with others.

Out of nowhere, a slimy grey slaad attacked. Rev managed to control it using a gem he found on old Wither’s desk. I went invisible and watched while Rev and the slimy beast stared each other down, seeming to speak telepathically to one another. Eventually we returned to the sunlit room and continued on back to our normal dimension, with slaad in tow. I noticed a horrific gleam in Revek’s eye. Surely he was contemplating traveling to as many mirror dimensions as possible, creating an army of slaads. A chill went down my spine at the thought.

The final room on this level contained a gaping gargoyle mouth on the floor, filled with magical darkness. We repelled through the black into the room below, landing on a barge with yet another sarcophagus sitting in the center, trapped tiles filled the room, and the body of a dead dwarf face down in the doorway. Clearly the tiles had to be stepped on in a certain order to find a path to the door. Pogwe commanded his shield guardian to find the path and retrieve the dwarf. Each tile stepped on activated a swarm of locusts, which began slowly chipping away at the guardian. Tile after tile, it pushed through until finally finding the correct path. It delivered the dead dwarf at our feet as the locusts ate away the final sliver of life remaining in Pog’s trusty companion.

A solemn mood fell over the room. Vorn, as Pog had named him, was just an automaton, but he had been a loyal guardian and had become one of us over these last few weeks. I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed a single tear at his loss. Pogwe seemed to take it especially hard, but he pressed on. Little did he know that losing his guardian would be the beginning of his end.

Inside the now unlocked coffin, more bones and a peculiar wand. Greedy Rev snatched them up. Thankfully, his demeanor seemed to change once again as the rabbit god I’Jin entered his soul. Searching the dwarf turned up a couple glass eyes; such a odd thing for a dwarf to be carrying.

Through a strange waterfall we found a cauldron with a shadowy figure on the far wall. It mirrored Ishketh’s movements exactly. Inside the cauldron was a murky looking soup that made all but the snake-man’s stomach turn. Maneuvering around the room, Ish was able to get the shadow to drink from the shadowy soup cauldron until the real one was empty, revealing another glass eye. These were clearly important.

Moving on, we came to a large chasm with floating platforms hovering above the depths and a statue of a demon with clenched fists. Pulling a rusty lever opened the demon statues hands revealing 2 more glass eyes. A roaring hurricane erupted from the chasm making the platforms unstable and driving Revek mad from the sound. The slaad, free of his control, pounced with a savage hunger in its eyes. I held him at bay with my magic while Pog did his best to fell the slimy beast. Ishketh grabbed the glass eyes, then pulled the lever with all his strength to stop the wind.

The slaad was gone, the control gem shattered, and we were left with 5 glass eyes. We could only assume there to be 4 more. Where, we could not say.
Session: Meeting the trickster gods - Saturday, Aug 18 2018 from 2:30 AM to 7:30 AM
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Memoirs of a Teifling: The Life and Times of Delphinius Neptunio (Excerpt 3.10)
Part III

My Life as an adventurer


Chapter 9 - Get Me Out of Here. Someone. Please. I Want to Go Home!!!

I couldn't take it anymore. I seriously needed a break. So I used this new power from the old god inhabiting my body and turned invisible for a while. I could be there to observe, but stay undetected while my companions finished clearing that floor of the tomb. Revekius commanded his skeletons to open some trapped chests, while Pogwe met a monstrosity disguising itself as a chest to lure in careless adventurers. It was not pretty.

Pogwe, while noble and a loyal friend, was not the smartest tortle I'd ever met. And let’s be honest. Revekius always scared me. Re-animating the dead, setting things on fire, sometimes even setting his reanimated dead on fire. Such an obsession with the dead and fire is never healthy.

I followed them secretly and watched as they descended down to the next level. 5 tomb dwarves and a tomb guardian attacked. Rev lobbed his magic while Ish and Pog cut them down. My companions did seem quite capable without me. Perhaps I should’ve stayed hidden until we left that cursed place.

Alas, my help was soon needed as a skeletal creature began speaking. Withers was his name, and a perfect name it was, for he was barely more than bone with a few rags of flesh hanging off of his frail form. Truly an awful thing to behold. I revealed myself, giving my companions a bit of a fright at my sudden emergence. I too was almost trembling, but given my training, nigh but the most trained eye would have been able to notice.

Withers was the guardian of the tomb while his master, Acererak (I knew it! The tales of the tomb of horrors were real!!!), was away. At least we knew the big bad lich was not present. Emboldened with this information, I rushed through the rest of our conversation trying to gain as much information as I could. Foolish, was I, and didn't notice the spell Withers had been weaving until it was almost too late. We were caught in the blast. Lucky for me my demonic heritage protected me from fire. Withers was gone.

Continuing deeper, we came upon the tomb of Papazotl. 5 cauldrons surround the room with a stone sarcophagus in the center. Disturbing the body activated the cauldrons. Their murky soup began to churn out skeleton after skeleton. Some charged us, some fired arrows. Lucky for us, unlucky for Ishketh, his lingering curse attracted every shot. Snake men were never to be trusted, but Ishketh had proven his worth time and again, sacrificing his own health for ours. I find his scales and slightly green skin unnerving to this day, however. And I just know he’s hiding a snake tail somewhere.

It seemed invisibility wasn’t the only gift this deceased god had bestowed upon me. A curse of brutal honesty was creeping over. Thankfully, I always found flattery more effective than deception.

Rev and I did our best to slow the skeletons, while Ish and Pog destroyed the cauldrons. We rested briefly before continuing on deeper into this horrid tomb.
Session: Tomb of the Nine Gods at last - Saturday, Jul 28 2018 from 2:30 AM to 6:30 AM
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Memoirs of a Teifling: The Life and Times of Delphinius Neptunio (Excerpt 3.9)
Part III

My Life as an adventurer

Chapter 9 - The Tomb of the Nine Gods

Blast that cursed island. The heat and humidity were really overwhelming, despite my infernal heritage. I’d spent the last few days in a fog of haze, like I was present but not in control of my actions.

When I’d finally returned to my senses, it seemed we had all but 2 of the cubes needed to enter the tomb. We parlayed with the red wizards, but they attempted to take our cubes by force. Rev and I slung our spells and counterspells while Ish and Pog wiped up the servants. In the end, the wizards didn’t prove much of a threat after all. No wonder they didn’t just destroy us on sight. They knew they were no match for us.

After a full day’s rest to recover all of our strength and say goodbye to the outside world, we made our way to the Tomb of the Nine Gods. We were greeted by more puzzles and traps. The next hour or so was very reminiscent of our first venture out into the jungle. Ish tried in vain to solve a trap that was nothing more than a false entrance to the tomb. I would be lying if I said I didn’t chuckle just a bit.

Initial explorations of the tomb revealed a labyrinthine maze of corridors, traps, puzzles and monsters. A central chamber led to more levels leading farther down into the earth. Not unlike the tales I’ve heard told of the famed Tomb of Horrors, though I had thought them to be only legend. Perhaps there was more to them than just cautionary tales to keep adventurers from sticking their noses where they don’t belong.

The first floor nearly cleared, we prepared to descend to the next level. What monstrosities and nefarious traps awaited us, we could not say…
Session: Tomb of the Nine Gods at last - Saturday, Jul 28 2018 from 2:30 AM to 6:30 AM
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