AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Tomb of Horrors, Cont’d

Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop Gaming thread!  Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop games that you nerds might be into.  Tell us about the games you’re playing, speculate about future expansions, recruit your fellow Avocados into new groups, whatever you want.

Our subclass of the week this time is Tempest Domain Cleric. Tempest Clerics are followers of deities of the oceans, storms, and the sky itself. Their powers focus on blasting their enemies with lightning and thunder, as well as harnessing the powerful storm winds for their own use. Like all Clerics, followers of the Tempest Domain get access to a few spells automatically at certain levels, including Fog Cloud and Thunderwave at 1st level, Gust of Wind and Shatter at 3rd, Call Lightning and Sleet Storm at 5th, Control Water and Ice Storm at 7th, and Destructive Wave and Insect Plague at 9th.

Beginning at level 1, as a Tempest Cleric you get proficiency with martial weapons and heavy armor, and you can also call upon the Wrath of the Storm to thunderously rebuke attackers. When you’re hit with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to deal lightning or thunder damage to the attacker. The creature takes 2d8 damage on failed DEX save, or half as much on a success. You can use this reaction a number of times equal to your WIS modifier each day.

At 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity feature to fuel your Destructive Wrath. This use of Channel Divinity allows you to automatically deal maximum damage when you would roll for either lightning or thunder damage from a spell you cast (or from any other source you might have of those damage types).

When you reach level 6, you can make Thunderbolt Strikes, pushing enemies up to 10 feet away from you whenever you deal lightning or thunder damage to them. This skill combines nicely with your 8th level feature, Divine Strike, which can add 1d8 of thunder damage to a melee weapon attack once per turn. The extra damage also increases to 2d8 at level 14.

Finally, when you reach level 17, you are truly Stormborn. This gives you an innate flying speed equal to your walking speed, though it does not function if you are indoors or underground.

Wasp‘s Tomb of Horrors one-shot game continues this week. All our characters are level 12, and Hayes was able to join us for the conclusion. The PCs include:

  • Promise, a Tiefling Monk of the Way of the Sun Soul, raised in a monastery of the sun god Amaunator. (CleverGuy)
  • Lucy Blunderbuss, a Human Light Cleric following the moon goddess Selune. (Otto)
  • Daffyth the Dense, a Human Paladin following the Oath of Devotion to Torm, whose propensity for fisticuffs and breaking things made having him around the temple inconvenient. (Josephus)
  • Gertie Brae, a Hill Dwarf Rune Knight Fighter, trained by cloud giants. (Spiny)
  • Zigzag, a Kobold Thief Rogue from the tunnels below Baldur’s Gate (Hayes)
The Vile Demilich Acererak

As we stood in the Hall of Orbs, pondering our next move, we were al surprised by the sudden appearance of a small kobold. She introduced herself as Zigzag, and apologized for arriving late. Apparently, she’d received the same message asking for help that the rest of us did. Having a proper Rogue in the group sounded like a good idea to everyone.

So Gertie and I turned our attention to the mist-filled archway in front of us. Similar to the doorway we’d come through previously, this one had three glowing stones around it. On the left was a green stone, on the right a yellow, and the keystone above the arch glowed red. Still following Acererak’s poem, we decided to avoid the green–instead I reached up touched the red keystone. The mist in the archway cleared at once, and I stepped through, to find that I was immediately teleported into a small chamber with no obvious exits and three levers set into one wall. It wasn’t long before Gertie joined me, then Daffyth and his elk steed–the small room as terribly crowded. I guess we’re just lucky that Lucy and Zigzag decided to hang back.

With no apparent way out, Gertie and I set to trying the various levers. Each one could be moved horizontally and vertically. Nothing seemed to happen when we tried them all individually, but eventually we determined that the levers would have to be pulled at the same time. As luck would have it, there were three of us in the room. We each gripped a lever and pulled down simultaneously, only to have the floor beneath us give way. We fell nearly 100 feet straight down. I was able to slow myself and land gracefully, of course. Gertie and Daffyth both managed to find a way to break their fall without getting seriously hurt–but the elk was not so lucky.

From the bottom of this deep pit, we could see the trap door above us. The only other thing of note was a clock, counting down from 10 minutes. Reasoning that we only had a short amount of time until the door closed (or worse), I gathered some ropes from my friends and used my Winged Boots to fly myself back to the lever room, lowering the rope down so Gerie and Daffyth could climb up as well. Once we were back in the lever room, we had nothing to do but try to push all three levers up. Doing so, opened a trap door in the ceiling, which thankfully did not drop anything on top of us. I flew up again with my rope, and we found ourselves back in the chamber we’d fought the giant skeleton.

We made our way back to the Hall of Orbs, Gertie muttering the whole time. She went ahead and pushed the yellow stone in the archway, and when the mist cleared again stepped through. Before long, we could hear her swearing a little ways off. She returned a few minutes later from the same path we’d just come down–apparently the yellow stone just took her back to the lever room again.

In the meantime, Lucy and Zigzag had been making a thorough examination of the walls in the Hall of Orbs. They found a secret door that they couldn’t open, and even intentionally set off the traps on the two false doors we’d found before, but there was no other way out. So, I tried pressing the green stone. The mist cleared again, and I stepped through the arch. Again I was teleported, but this time I was in a much smaller room. There was one door, which turned out to the secret door that Zigzag and Lucy had discovered. I quickly searched the small room for another exit and discovered a series of secret doors leading to other small chambers–eventually this connected back to the main entrance hall, where the red tile path was.

The only place we had left to go was into the green Demon Head archway, and none of us wanted to try that. For some reason, the part of Acererak’s doggerel that stuck with everyone was the part that said to “shun green.” Gertie suggested that we try to dig out the western entrance to the tomb, and with nothing else to do we all agreed. I have to say I didn’t have much confidence that we’d find anything.

As it turns out, all we found was yet another trap. A short corridor ended in a set of double doors with large iron ring-pull handles. Gertie went ahead and pulled the doors open, causing the ceiling above to collapse. Zigzag and I were fast enough to avoid the falling stones, but Gertie took a more than a few hard hits to the head. While we dug her out of the rubble, Lucy climbed over the fallen stones to look at the doors. All that was behind them was the mechanism of the trap. It was another dead end.

Back at the Demon Head arch, and still no one was willing to go in. Zigzag grabbed the broken stone arm of the gargoyle statue and put one end through the arch. When she pulled out it out, that end was just gone. This did not inspire confidence. We decided to return to the chapel instead of going through the Demon Head, thinking maybe Zigzag’s fresh eyes in that room could uncover something we’d missed.

We walked Zigzag through everything we had touched in the room, from the pews, to the chair, to the secret exit we’d found. Even the evil altar that had zapped Daffyth. Zigzag asked the altar a question, I think just rhetorically, but to my surprise it actually answered. The voice from the altar told us that it had no love for Acererak, who had trapped it inside this consecrated place. Zigzag asked if it knew where to find the Vile Demilich, and the altar told us there was a secret passage in one of the pit traps we’d found along the long dead-end corridor behind the chapel. Sure enough, upon checking the pit, we did find a hidden door. Before going through, Gertie suggested we take a short rest, since she’d been pretty badly beaten up between falling down a hundred-foot pit and having a ceiling dropped on her.

Once we were sufficiently rested, we opened the hidden passage. A set of stairs led down, covered with layers of thick cobwebs. I was in the lead, so I channeled my ki to burn through the webbing and clear the path. At the bottom of the stairs we first saw a silver mace laying on the floor. Then, as we entered the chamber we saw a skeletal figure wearing a tall crown seated on a golden sofa–the Vile Demilich Acererak himself! He stood as we entered and the battle was on!

Lucy grabbed the silver mace from the floor and gave us all a blessing from Selune, while Daffyth, Gertie, and I closed in to attack. I could tell that even my ki-empowered fists weren’t fully connecting with the demilich however, he seemed to resist most of our blows. The exception was Daffyth’s holy armored fists, which prompted me to back away and throw my own holy power at the undead mage. In the meantime, Zigzag was darting in and out, stabbing Acererak with her magical rapier and always seeming to find a particularly tender spot on the undead body. And Lucy closed with the silver mace, which somehow seemed to hurt the lich even more than any of the rest of us could do. Acererak kept draining some of our lifeforce, healing himself as the battle progressed, but our combined assault was too much for him. As Lucy swung the silver mace one last time, the both the mace and Acererak’s body exploded into dust, and the entire tomb started to rumble and shake.

It felt like the whole place was about to collapse, so we started to run back to the entrance. I flew ahead on my winged boots, stopping to lower my rope down the pit we’d come through to make it easier for the others to climb out. Lucy was last out of Acererak’s chamber, since she had stopped to pick up his fallen crown, along with a leather sack and a jade coffer of some kind. As we fled through the chamber, the spirit of the alter called out to Zigzag, asking to be taken out of the crumbling temple. Zigzag obliged, throwing a rope around the thing and dragging it along behind her. I should have destroyed the evil thing, but I was too concerned with making out of the temple without being buried myself. I had to settle for a passing shot of radiant energy as I ran, to register my disapproval.

We all managed to make it out of the tomb before the whole thing caved in, though Daffyth and Lucy cut it pretty close. Lucy opened up the jade coffer to discover a half-dozen healing potions, and in the leather sack, she found all of Gertie’s missing gear. Gertie, who’d been in the middile of telling us all how she had learned not to put so much stock in material possessions, was overjoyed.