22 May 2017 @ 08:03 pm

The Rise of Tiamat! Last time they had gone hunting Varram the White Wyrmspeaker, following him to the Tomb of Diderius, and ultimately getting bowled over by a bone sphere. After taking a short rest, they resume in their appraisal of the room they’re in.

Thalynmar: I unclasp my hand from Krixxix’s shoulder and start looking around.
Krixxix: Krixxix hears Normilan’s knuckles crack—
Thalynmar: It’s not Normilan!
Krixxix: And feels a sharp pain in his shoulder.
Eben: Normal-lawn, it’s Normal-lawn!
Thalynmar: It’s not either, I’m not playing that character!
Krixxix: Thalynmar!
DM: Thalmilan! Normilmar!
Krixxix: Thalynmar crackles his knuckles. Krixxix feels a sharp pain in his shoulder.

Sulesdag appears to mock the entire party for their incompetence, because everyone loves Sulesdag more than they love their own characters. A shaft admits light from the outside; they question whether they can trust Krixxix to go explore it alone, as he’s the only one who can fit through it.

Thalynmar: Double doors seem like the right way to go. I walk through the door, does it autosave?
Eben: Gandalf is suspicious!
Lualyrr: Or IS he?
DM: Thalynmar is Gandalf now? That explains so much. He does have the beard for it.

Krixxix contemplates going through the shaft, rolls for it, then abruptly looks up at the DM.

Krixxix: Do I need to roll Acrobatics?
DM: I dunno, what did you roll? Then I’ll tell you if you needed to or not.
Krixxix: I rolled a 15.
DM: You didn’t need to roll.
Thalynmar: (laughing)

Krixxix eases his way out through the shaft, sexual jokes ensues, and he pokes his head out high up on the cliff wall outside. On a slight diversion, the DM questions what the heck happened to some of their magical items, like the Periapt of Heatlth or the Decanter of Endless Water.

Thalynmar: Obviously none of us are good at writing down our magical items…
Krixxix: Thalynmar knows I want to fondle his sack, so he just gave it to my hand…

Krixxix relates a story about drugged-up dolphins as he comes back in to search the smaller door in the room. His Perception is bad but he tries it anyway.

Krixxix: I hear ghosts on the other side of the door.
Thalynmar: OoooOOoooOOOooo!
DM: Yes, Krixxix, you hear a ghost on the other side of the door.
Thalynmar: That must be Elkus. And Balisar, on the other end.
Krixxix: Krixxix says, ‘Fuck this, I’m going home.’
DM: And crawls out the shaft.

Floating blimps return along with their associates sound effects. Krixxix checks to see if the door is unlocked just as Thalynmar opens it; he concludes it is unlocked. Beyond it, they see a room coated in dust, full of shelves and tables. It might have been a library once, but it was long ago been looted.

DM: No sooner do you put foot into the room than an ethereal light shines from midair in front of you. Out of nowhere a figure coalesces, an elven woman, ethereal and translucent, without color or the barest hints of form, it’s almost as if she’s foggy.
Krixxix: She hot?
DM: Blank white eyes glare down at you. Her voice seems to come from a thousand miles away. “Who are you?!”
Thalynmar: “’Scuse me?”
Thalynmar: “Sounds like you’re a thousand miles away, hold on.”
DM: (ominously rolling dice)
Thalynmar: “We are seekers of wisdom!”
DM: “Seekers of wisdom? THIEVES! Here to loot Diderius’s great library!”
Thalynmar: “It looks like someone already has.”
DM: As you say the words, an almost transformation seems to rack her form. From her floating height, she sinks down, letting out an unearthly howl. The ethereal figure kneels on the floor now, hands pressed to her eyes, shuddering.\
Maldrake: “Are you guys angering ghosts over there?”
Thalynmar: “P-possibly.”
Krixxix: “Yes.”
DM: “I have failed. I have failed…”
Krixxix: “Aww, sweetheart, no, no.”
Maldrake: It’s a pity he did not realize that ‘sweetheart’ is the most insult you can insult an elf. The most insulting word there is. To an elf. It is the n-word of elves.
Raven: It is?
Maldrake: Uh, no. I – no.

The ghost swings manically between moods, going from crying to furious in moments as the group questions how the thieves got past the ghost, then swinging through ranting. The ghost has no concept of passed time. With a religion check they determine they could free the ghost by returning something that was stolen.

Thalynmar: That’s a lot of books we have to return, guys…
DM: Something! Not EVERYTHING!
Thalynmar: I don’t know how it works!
Thalynmar: As far as I know, the entire library’s been ransacked, we’ve got to return all of it.
DM: You didn’t roll Religion, you don’t know jack and shit, Thalynmar.

Maldrake refuses to waste time on helping the ghost, for actual valid IC reasons. Thalynmar, meanwhile, wonders what item should be returned.

Thalynmar: “Lass, was there one particular item you were particularly drawn to?”
DM: As soon as you speak, Thalynmar, the ghost is back in your face, cold rage blazing in her eyes. “ONE item!? One item? ALL the works that Diderius were of value beyond what your feeble little mind can comprehend!”
Thalynmar: “No doubt, lass, no doubt. I was just curious.”
DM: “One… item…”

They try to elicit more information out of the ghost, whose fury and arrogance make it near impossible to question. The PCs quickly grow very sick of this, and spout memes at the top of their lungs.

Maldrake: I was so worries she’d be like, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll show you!’ and just jumps into one of us.
Lualyrr: Probably me.
Maldrake: Just permanently write on the sheet, “possessed by ghost!”

The group bemoans their lack of a Locate Object spell; Maldrake abruptly discovers it on his spell list, to everyone’s shock and amazement. It’s constrained to a familiar object, though, which still writes it off. He begins searching the room for remains of books, but the ghost accuses him of looting and he bitterly abandons the search. Krixxix messes with the double door.

Krixxix: I am slowly going to turn to see if one of them’s unlocked.
DM: Creaaaaaaaaaaaaeeeeaaaaeaaaak…
Krixxix: I didn’t open the door.
DM: That was the handle. It’s creaky.
Krixxix: Jesus, okay. Now I’m going to slowly push the door open.
DM: CREEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAeaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeaaaaak….

Krixxix pokes his head into the room and spots a pile of treasure! Everyone else sees a throne that looks like a cloud, which seats a large, perfect human figure.

Maldrake: I slowly make my way through the room without pissing off the ghost.
Maldrake: Do a Knowledge(religion) on the man on the dais, see if I see any religious markings anywhere.
Lualyrr: Isn’t that the wisdom dude?
DM: …Diderius?
Thalynmar: Does it look like him?
DM: You don’t really know what he looks like.
Thalynmar: We saw his statue, right?
DM: You saw statues, they weren’t necessarily of him.

The DM describes this as more like an avatar than anything, but no one can detect magic. Krixxix elects to approach, and a voice booms out from the statue.

DM: “Ye who seek Diderius’s insight must first furnish tribute, that Diderius might work his mighty magic. Lay such tribute at my feet, or depart.”
Krixxix: I’m gonna remove the silver goblet with the symbol of von Kisrien.
DM: Oh wow, pitch that noble’s promise of help.
Krixxix: What are you talking about, noble’s promise of help?

The DM laboriously reminds Krixxix of their hobgoblin encounter, as it turns out Maldrake also has the goblet written down. Raven contemplates paying with a healer’s kit. The group is convinced that an unworthy donation will get them attacked. Ultimately, most of the group elects to toss in 5 platinum pieces apiece, leading the statue to motion them to the door.

Eben: 85 copper pieces.
DM: (motioning Eben to the door)
Krixxix: Son of a bitch.
Thalynmar: Yeah, we got gypped.
Eben: There was so much copper at its feet.
DM: Thank you. You get inspiration for realizing that.
Krixxix: I was also afraid of, “COPPER?!”
Eben: ‘Commoner food?!’

Thalynmar somehow falls up the stairs that await beyond the door. Sulesdag appears, having become the biggest man in the world, and also made of gold. Krixxix sneaks up the stairs to scout, and spot five figures seated at a table.

Krixxix: Hey, was it the one in Wayfare or the one in Waterdeep who gave me the clap? I think it was the one in Wayfare.
Thalynmar: I don’t fucking remember. Nor do I care.
DM: Five bearded devils sit around the table, paying you no heed.
Thalynmar: Are we talking, like, baatezu? Or… can never remember the two.
Maldrake: Considering that the lady still had it, I’m assuming it’s not easy to find somebody to cure a disease for her…
DM: The devils are busy playing an intense game of Three Dragon Ante. No real sign that they’ve noticed you all.

The door to the south has ‘Danger’ written on it and is spiked shut. They enter the room and one of the devils gives them a slight nod before turning back to his game. Maldrake realizes he’d never used Divine Sense back on the statue, as he thought he did.

Maldrake: If I had used it there, I might have detected the five fiends, we might have slowed up the whole fucking game. So maybe it’s a good thing…
Krixxix: Are the devils talking?
DM: Yes.
Krixxix: Can we understand what they’re saying?
DM: Do you speak Infernal?
Eben: I do.
DM: It’s game banter. “You’re bluffing.” “Yeah, you said that.” “Well you won three games last time!” “Yeah and I’m gonna win a fourth one.”
Eben: I politely ask them if they can spare a moment from their game.
DM: One of the devils who just cast down his cards in disgust glances over at you.
Eben: I’ll ask him if he can tell me what awaits beyond yonder door.
DM: “Treasure down that one. Great treasure.”

The game derails slightly as everyone has to debate terms over which door says DANGER, which door says DANGER?, and which door says nothing at all. The devil confirms the treasure behind the DANGER door.

DM: “All I know, I’m ordered to stay here.”
Krixxix: “Who ordered you to stay here?”
DM: “Varram.”
Krixxix: Varram? Do – do we know Varram?
DM: …the Wyrmspeaker?
Thalynmar: That’s him? I thought his name was something else.
Maldrake: Deciding to focus on my vengeance and my goals at hand, I force myself past the fiends of the seven hells…
Krixxix: Can we go down the Danger room, please?
DM: You have a crowbar?
Krixxix: YES I DO!
DM: It’s a simple matter to start crowbarring out the spikes.
Krixxix: “He said there’s great treasure! I say it’s worth the risk.”
Thalynmar: How did you know what he said?
Krixxix: He translated.
Thalynmar: Did he?
Eben: I didn’t.
Krixxix: …I assumed he did…
Eben: “He said an infinite drop. Onto spikes. That are on fire. And poisoned.”
Krixxix: And covered in crap.

Highly redacted jokes ensue. They stop Krixxix from robbing the devils as well and head into the door behind them, which leads to a hallway and thence another door. Krixxix flings it open without checking it for traps, and they find behind it a huge gallery with an empty magical pool in it, along with bloodstains, broken arrows, and a dead cultist.

Thalynmar: Hey, we’re on the right track!
DM: To the left, two great double doors bulge as if anthrax lurks behind them.
Thalynmar: (finding this hilarious)

What did they fight? Where did it come from? And where is it now? The answers aren’t immediately clear.

Thalynmar: I use my Battle Sense to figure out what it was. Recreate the scenes.
Eben: You have Detective Mode.
Thalynmar: ‘This guy’s merely unconscious!’
DM: Does anyone want to roll an Investigation check? How about that? If you want to investigate so badly, why don’t you use the ability that lets you investigate? Jesus Christ, you guys.
Thalynmar: Out of spite I’m just going to roll a 20 now.

The DM makes a joke so shockingly offensive that he actually horrifies a couple of people and earns applause from others. The transcriber ponders whether he could just make up things in the game reports and make the others believe it really happened. On examination, the PCs conclude the arrows came from the north doorway, are carved out of stone, and are shaped like cobras with crowns above them.

DM: A religion check may tell you more.
Maldrake: Yay. Religion. Go go go. Zoom zoom zoom.
Raven: Did you not fall asleep during Religion class?

The arrow is a symbol of a yuan-ti god whose name is untranscribable. The cultist, meanwhile, was killed by a dragontooth dagger. But who killed him?

Thalynmar: It’s W and S. For Waylon Smithers.
Raven: Roll enough dice until we get the answers.
Lualyrr: I’m going to take some of those arrows. Just in case.
Maldrake: Arrows of Devil’s Blood. Those who use these arrows must test against their morality.
DM: Nothing says ‘unsuspicious’ like a drow carrying yuan-ti arrows.

The PCs are baffled by this, trying to figure out what killed the cultist and what happened here. Peering into the next room, Thalynmar sees a stone sarcophagus. They ask hard-hitting questions.

DM: Is a B movie of a B movie a D movie? I watched ‘Wasp’ – it’s a B movie of ‘A Bee Movie.’.
Maldrake: (a long pause) Um, if you try to compare it to the original, I think it’s an E movie.
Lualyrr: I hate you.
Maldrake: Like Raptor Island is a B movie of Sharknado, and Sharknado 4 is the B movie of Raptor Island. So that’s a B movie of a B movie of a B movie.
DM: That’s un-B-lievable.

They open the doors to the sarcophagus room fully, finding it decorated with religious frescoes. The thought enters all their minds that disturbing anything would be disrespectful.

Maldrake: It seems odd that whoever looted the library didn’t loot anything else. They didn’t loot the treasure in front of the guy.
Krixxix: I don’t think they were looking for treasure, I feel like they were looking for something specific.
Maldrake: They completely cleaned out that room. I’m sure not every book in his collection was worthwhile. I’m pretty sure some of them were books about travelers that came in, merchants.
Krixxix: But as a thief, you don’t have the time while you’re in there to find the book you need, so you just take them all.
Maldrake: They left all the treasure. Things that have immediate value…

The group continues to debate this for a bit. Maldrake moves into the tomb area and investigates the frescoes, discovering that a nearby one has particularly thin plaster that could be broken easily.

Krixxix: Break it! I’ll take our chances!
Eben: I’LL take OUR chances.
Maldrake: We’ve already angered one ghost, here, there’s no telling how many others…
Thalynmar: That wasn’t our fault.
Maldrake: Not our own fault, but…
Thalynmar: I want us to do it by our own fault now.
DM: Do you examine more frescoes?
Maldrake: I’m going to see if I can find the same weak point.
DM: You step in, trying to keep to the edges of the room. But a voice booms out of the coffin.
Thalynmar: (muffled yelling)
DM: DISRESPECTFUL! “You approach Diderius in repose. I know what you seek. Yuan-ti have taken the one called Varram beyond their portal in the northern wall. Be prepared, for I shall open the door to peril.”
Thalynmar: “Ah, thank yeh?”
DM: A moment later, with a chiming sound, a door opens in the northern wall. And on the opposite side of it, you see several surprised lizardfolk!
Thalynmar: Or snakefolk!
DM: No, lizardfolk.
Thalynmar: Huh. Those aren’t yuan-ti!
DM: But they’re often the SERVANTS of yuan-ti.
Krixxix: Oh, clear the table!
Thalynmar: I’ll clear YOUR table.
Krixxix: How, you coming to my house?
Thalynmar: Yeah, you’re cooking me dinner. Not buying it, cooking it.
Krixxix: That’s fine.
Thalynmar: What are you gonna make?
Krixxix: I’m gonna make you… cheddar-and-garlic biscuits, and I’m gonna make you… bacon, well turkey bacon, I don’t do bacon in my house.
Thalynmar: I like turkey bacon.
Krixxix: Some eggs, and some pancakes.
Thalynmar: So breakfast for dinner. I’ll clean your goddamn table.
Krixxix: Breakfast is dinner is where it’s at, dude.
Maldrake: Remember guys, uh…
DM: When pizza’s on a bagel—
Maldrake: Damn it!
DM: Now you know my pain!
Thalynmar: He’s gonna get angry just like you.
Maldrake: No, I’m okay.
DM: Maldrake isn’t angry? My whole world is upside down!

Minis are located and the map is prepared. Several lizardfolk hang out in the room they now see, and the group gains a surprise round! Initiative ensues.

Raven: Wait a minute, are you telling me my 5 beat half of you guys?

It really is terrible initiative for most. Lualyrr, first to act, lobs Thunderwave into her allies, and then the sarcophagus of Diderius, because she refuses to look at the map. Instead, she lobs Shatter into them, which slays three of the lizardfolk outright. Krixxix forgets how to run his character, to the DM’s puzzlement and shock. His shot kills a lizardfolk.

Krixxix: (nauseated) “I think I’ve gotten better at handling this thing!”
DM: The arrow quivers as the lizardfolk looks down at it, and then he slumps. When he falls to the ground, the impact drives the arrow further into his body and it bursts up out of his back, like a sign saying “Krixxix was here” on the dead body. You are disgusted.
Krixxix: Yes, because I’m holding my bow!
DM: I thought I’d mention that. You know, eventually you’re going to get classically conditioned not to kill. Maldrake!
Maldrake: Well, there’s no reason to buff any more…
Krixxix: Turns out that these guys weren’t even trying to fight us. They’re as shocked as we are.
Eben: Aww, they’re a first-level lizardman adventuring party.
Maldrake: I thought the first words out of their mouth would be, “Our children!” “That was my lover!”
DM: They’re not all lovers!
Thalynmar: They’re landlubbers, though!
DM: (laboriously screaming, with many pitch changes, for far longer than necessary)
Thalynmar: …You okay?
DM: That went all SORTS of places I didn’t intend when I started it. I was kinda curious to see where it would end up.

Maldrake shoots an arrow, which the DM laboriously describes, thus setting Raven up for failure. Raven misses a crossbow shot. Thalynmar hits, but for low damage, injuring a lizardfolk and eliciting low whimpers begging for divine mercy.

Raven: Why did we attack these guys again?
Maldrake: Because the DM put it on the battlefield.
Thalynmar: That’s a true answer.
DM: All right, guys, I’m setting up the Council of Waterdeep so you know where everyone is sitting, aaaaand you’re rolling initiative, okay then.
Eben: 13 damage.
DM: “Oh, please have mercy, dear gods of lizardpeople—“ Mercy is received, if not in the form he expected. He drops to his knees, letting out a gasp, and you can almost see his soul escape from his lips…

Eben drops the second one, getting a long long run of flavor text out of the DM as the PCs claim the battlefield. Krixxix gets weird ideas…

Krixxix: I’m just waiting till we come across Varram, and he’s like, “Did you come across my children?” Because he’s a lizardman himself.
DM: He’s a DWARF, you moron!
Krixxix: Uh-huh. And he pulls off his mask, turns out he’s a lizardman.
DM: Pulls off his mask, and his knees that apparently collapse his legs to dwarf length in your magic fucking world!

The dungeon behind the secret door is quite different, slick green stone and moist air. The PCs contemplate harvesting lizardfolk parts for magic ingredients, leading the DM to lecture them about how they had lizardfolk friends back at Castle Naerytar. The discussion gets really really weird.

DM: “I’ve got to get some out. But it would be impure ta sleep out of marriage… unless it be with somethin’ impure itself. Two wrongs make a right, tha’s Moradin’s decree.”

Moving on ahead, they head down the stairs, finding themselves at the start of a sloping, slick stone bridge over a chasm, with much ominous flavor text.

Krixxix: Is there, like, handrails on the bridge…
DM: Ho ho ho, ho ho.

Much laborious discussion of terms and logistics begins. Thalynmar drives a piton into the wall, and Krixxix heads across the bridge to attach it on the far side, He goes to a knee, but makes it across the bridge.

Maldrake: Are we up high?
DM: (staring at him)
Maldrake: Are we up high?
DM: Oh! I thought you said, ‘Are we a pie?’.
Krixxix: I’m assuming the DM’s not going to be a jerk, and be all, ‘You never tied the rope off before you crossed the bridge!’
Thalynmar: It was assumed, and if it isn’t I’ll probably choke the shit out of him. I know where he sleeps.
Maldrake: If that would happen, we’d just constantly turn it on him later. “Oh, did you turn the handle when you tried to open the door, DM?”
Thalynmar: And he wonders why we pick on him outside of the game.
DM: I didn’t even DO it and you’re picking on me outside of the game!
Thalynmar: Just like how you don’t roll your dice.

Krixxix hammers in the piton, and the DM describes the noise in no uncertain terms, and the quality of piton-driving in very uncertain terms.

Krixxix: And now I’m gonna tie the rope off, make it tight.
DM: Your arm is stuck in the knot.
Krixxix: …’Hold on, guys, gimme a minute!’
Thalynmar: His whole body is stuck in there. “Is it tight, at least!? All right, we’re going in.”
DM: And soon enough, Krixxix is giving the signal across the gap.
Thalynmar: He’s giving the signal of, ‘I cannot breathe.’

Krixxix insists they tie themselves together, leading Maldrake to note that he can outweigh all of them and take them down. They work on gimmicking up assurances that anyone who falls won’t die. Maldrake mournfully remembers Barack and the wall. Across they go, some more eager to fail that others.

Maldrake: All right, buddy! You’re my key to playing video games on Sunday! 13.
DM: You slip, and slam your fingers into the ground, clinging to the bridge as your legs dangle off over the side. After a wild moment with your heart racing and your breath heaving, you haul yourself back up and make your way across.
Maldrake: Thinking, ‘If only I was born half-dragon, I could have wings.’
Raven: We should have brought some Red Bull.

Maldrake gleefully envisions a dead body with cans of Red Bull next to it. Raven is up next!

Maldrake: Oh wait a minute, guys, we’re supposed to be in combat. Lualyrr’s not here.
DM: You’re in combat with gravity.
Lualyrr: If she has to roll a saving throw, we can assume she made it,.

Raven, taking no chances, expends a Lucky die and gets across without difficulty. They find themselves at the top of more stairs, with a turn to the right and straight ahead as their options. They choose to head down to the large chamber at the bottom of the stairs.

DM: The northeast and southeast walls of the chamber have shrines to the yuan-ti deities, one of which you recognize as Merrshaulk, the one to whom the stone arrows were carved.
Thalynmar: The other one? Mer’dovich.
Eben: Heh heh heh.
DM: No. The other ones have statues of high priests on them, suits of plate armor arranged with offerings at their feet. As the first of you steps into the room, you hear a faint hiss, which seems to magnify with every half-second that passes. From the walls, snakes slither out.
Eben: Why did it have to be snakes?
Thalynmar: You’re not Indiana Jones.
DM: First one, then ten, then a hundred. Various sizes, various shapes—
Maldrake: I begin to back up the stairs.
Thalynmar: I now hate snakes.
DM: In a vast vortex that seems to be focused on the suits of armor.
Eben: Oh, they’re gonna animate the suits.
DM: You see the suits surge into the gaps in the plate.
Thalynmar: Yep.
DM: And yes, the armor arises!

Maldrake struggles to cut a pie. Initiative is rolled! Lualyrr, first to act, moves up to put Freedom of Movement on Raven. The entire group sings songs which were easy to ignore at the time, but scathingly irritating to hear in the transcription. Krixxix puts an arrow cleanly through a suit of armor, and the DM’s description leads everyone down the path of madness as they try to figure out if they’re attacking snakes or armor or a swarm.

Maldrake: He’s gonna vomit snakes on us. Vomit snakes on us. Vomit snakes on us!
Thalynmar: Make Krixxix which he was never born!
Raven: Is it my turn?
DM: Krixxix, you wish you were never born—no. What? No. Stop taking your turn.
Raven: Okay.

Armor advances on Krixxix, and snakes emerge from its gauntlet to spew venom over the sword before it stabs him.

Thalynmar: They’re actually pretty cool enemies. Annoying, but cool.
Eben: You must make a Fortitude save!
DM: A Constitution save!
Thalynmar: Damn you, 5th Edition, for changing all the terminology!

Krixxix eats poison damage and gets clobbered with the weapon once again. He must make another saving throw!

Maldrake: You got this, man, you got this. Reach in! Reach in, absorb that gnome fortitude!
DM: Halfling.
Maldrake: Halfing fortitude!
Thalynmar: ‘Same thing!’ Maldrake is a racist.

Krixxix plays rap battles for everyone, because no one crushes his shoulder in real life. Thalynmar strikes at the armor, but misses with both strikes. Another armor advances to brutalize Krixxix.

Krixxix: How do these things ALL roll better than EVERBODY else?
DM: You really did. Three of you are like 7 and below.
Eben: Take that into account in case you just want to charge into the middle.

Krixxix continues to blow saves, but is somehow still standing after all of this.

DM: Your body is aflame, Krixxix, agony on every nerve. It’s almost enough to capture how disgusted you are at using your bow.
Krixxix: ALMOST.
Eben: Any poison with a saving throw of 14 costs the world…
Maldrake: It’s okay, they’re the ones that produce the poison, they don’t need to buy it.

Eben lobs a Shatter into the fray, but the spell has no effect on them whatsoever. This embitters him, shockingly enough. Raven is up, and Maldrake renames Krixxix to Krissis, claiming he’s now Sargeras (by which he means Sargassas). Raven cleaves through an armor, filling the air with the scent of cooking snake, but misses his second blow. Maldrake heals Krixxix,who then Disengages and runs like hell, ducks around a corner, and an argument of corners and cover erupts. The group ‘helpfully’ moves the armor minis forward.

DM: No – stop that! Stop that! I can’t trust you guys at all!

An armor boots Raven in the groin, then slams his sword into the fighter’s stomach. Raven nearly avoids all the damage by virtue of not paying attention, but he takes 14 physical and 9 poison.

DM: Thalynmar! You’ve just seen your comrade – the back of the creature’s sword pokes out inches from your face! What do you do?
Thalynmar: I’m gon’ attack that sonamubitch.
Maldrake: He licks off the poison first to save his ally.
Thalynmar: I grab the sword, pull it through Raven, and use it to stab him!
DM: Through Raven again! He’s now Yoshimitsu.

Thalynmar attacks the armor, and everyone says stupid things for some reason. (Not entertainingly, thus not transcribed.) The DM continues to roll well, to his delight, and the armor begins whittling away Raven methodically.

Krixxix: If he’s surviving stroke after stroke after stroke you think he might change his lifestyle. He might have a heart attack next.

Dead silence, broken only by a long-suffering sigh.

Krixxix: All right, I’ll stop.
Maldrake: Uh-huh.
Raven: I’m not feeling that great, guys.
Maldrake: Don’t worry, I’ll have a heal coming up to you soon.
Thalynmar: I am flexing my kegels at you.
DM: (a pause) As your groin visibly contorts, the creature pays no notice to it.

Raven uses his shield to protect Thalynmar, to some amusement since he can’t protect himself.

Maldrake: Was it his expert skill, or was it flailing from the poison damage….

Even blasts the armor with a fire bolt, dropping his target! Maldrake lobs a heal from his aura of healing-as-a-bonus-action, healing Raven for 6, then fires his acid breath into the two armor still up.

DM: You skate lightly around the corner of the room, pressing your back to the wall and dragging your armor against the statues and carvings of the gods. Hopefully none of them will take offense.
Maldrake: That’s… 12 points of damage, DC is 13 now.
DM: Acid washes over them.
Maldrake: Oh no, I shouldn’t have done that, I damaged our prize!
Eben: Now they’re like stylish blue jeans.

Everyone fights over Lualyrr’s bardic inspiration – no one wants it, apparently. Krixxix moves to attack; the DM is baffled that he didn’t hide to sneak attack, leading Krixxix to remember he can DO that.

Krixxix: 33 points of damage. That passes right through his armor, and you killed one snake on the way, so you have done one point of damage.
DM: The arrow flies out and vanishes between the two glittering eyes in his helmet. You hear it clatter inside, it comes to rest down in a gauntlet.
Krixxix: It lifts its leg and shakes as you see the arrow fall out from it.
Thalynmar: A gumball comes out.

Thalynmar misses! Rolls 4 twice in a row. Raven absorbs some more damage, and Thalynmar blocks a blow or two in turn. Eben misses! Maldrake is up!

Maldrake: How you doing, Raven, on health?
Raven: Better than I was last turn…
Maldrake: Let’s see if my mace, my mace attack…
Eben: ‘Doing okay, huh?!’ (mimes mace blows)
Thalynmar: Maldrake giveth, and he taketh away…
Maldrake: ‘You didn’t say thank you!’

Maldrake heals Raven, then steps into the fray with his flail and a divine smite prepped! He promptly rolls a 1.

DM: Maldrake was so eager to do something fucking awesome, and damn did it punish him.
Maldrake: It was fun playing with you guys, but looks like I’m exiting the game today. I smash my own brain it with my flail. My flail flailed me.
DM: You whirl your flail around and as you reach for the backstroke, you clip your helmet, spinning it slightly on your head. One eyeball is concealed and the other one partially so. Anyone you attack will have concealment for one round as you brush it back furiously.
Thalynmar: You hear a -- (pronounced snickering)
Maldrake: According to my paladin code, there’s only one thing left to do! I break out my secret small katana.
DM: You roll a natural 1 to kill yourself.
Maldrake: And I kill them?! (sobbing) It’s not…
DM: It’s not fair. Even I feel bad for you. You know it’s bad when I feel bad for a player.
Eben: Yeah, you sucked all the luck out of the room.
Thalynmar: Yeah, tonight, you got all the luck tonight.

The discussion leads to the DM revealing the monsters’ immunities – mostly status, but also to three specific spells, one of which was Shatter. The players are furious! Lualyrr complains about being useless. Blows continue to fly during the conflict, few hitting, and the DM resorts to describing an awesome Jedi duel that accomplishes no damage. Eben manages to roll a die off the table while using a dice tower.

DM: The snake lets out a hideous noise that causes your uterus to vanish. It’s a HISS-terectomy.
Krixxix: Ugggggggh.
Lualyrr: I’m going upstairs.
Maldrake: That pun messed up the dice. I get to roll again!
Raven: That pun was terrible.
DM: I have a worse one.
Maldrake: I remind myself that I was concentrating on the aura spell. That’s why I meesed up!
DM: Flailing as you try to adjust the helmet, and I mean that literally, because you have a flail.
Maldrak: Let me see if I hit him first, before I do all this glory. Focusing! (rolling) No. (slamming his fists down) Fu-u-u-u-u-ck!
DM: Did you roll another natural 1?!
Maldrake: Yup! Yup! It’s over! I’m done, boys! Pushing in the chair, boys!
DM: Oh my God.
Eben: This encounter is the fucking hurricane of this campaign!
DM: You swing your weapon, and it whips around in a way you didn’t expect. Abruptly you find your shield falling to the ground as your straps detach. Lualyrr! This was just a random encounter, not the final boss or anything, but the luck has just brutalized you.
Eben: It’s almost like we’re snakebitten!
DM: Maybe you should call snakes to fight snakes! You could use the asHISStance.

No one likes this. The DM continues to make back hiss puns nonetheless. Raven drops down to one-shot range again as blows fly. Lulayrr at last takes down the armor with a bolt shot to the head, Thalynmar pulls up obnoxious music, which gives him the power to hit.

DM: That’s literally the worst thing ever.

The armor misses everything, Eben misses, and then Raven is up!

Raven: Critical hit!
DM: It’s dead! It’s dead!

With the armor dropped, the snakes free the room. The DM promises loot but this is not what the players want…

Maldrake: I vote we take ourselves a nice short rest, mostly so I can pray to my god to see what sins I have committed today…

They collect 6 1000 gp gems, scorning the very idea of money.

Maldrake: Are we gonna go back to town and there’s gonna be a guy going, “3.5 store over here, 3.5! 3.5 store!”
DM: Maldrake angrily casts aside his gem and refuses to take his share.
Maldrake: I didn’t say I didn’t take—
DM: Feeling money is worthless. No sooner do they get back to town then he gets his head stuck in a honey jar! And the only person who would be able to free him charges him 1 more copper than he has on his person…

Short rest away, and the exhausted players settle in for a week of rest of their own…