In this session, we got to play through one of my favorite jungle encounters in the Tomb of Annihilation book. It is the crumbled bridge known as Ataaz Muhahah!
You can watch this session right here:
Val was recovered from her illness and the group was at full capacity!
(Ryan) Mistletoe - Human Druid
(Garrett) Ramrod - Goliath Barbarian
(Annalise) Val - Tiefling Sorcerer
(Joe) Zavagor - Half-orc Warlock
There's a statue in the middle of the bridge and there's a big break at the end. Monkeys swing on vines that hang underneath the bridge and sometimes the echoes of their laughter sounds like a deep, booming cackle.
NPC Dilemma: While preparing this, I had a problem. The group has a froghemoth with them named Hoppy. I've established that he can barely jump at all. How the heck is he going to cross the bridge and jump that gap?
It took me awhile, but I finally decided that there's a shard of Kubazan's spirit here. It inhabited Hoppy's body, giving him super strength, and he made a mighty leap across the chasm. The Kubazan left him and he fell face-first on the ground.
The heroes decided to tie themselves together on one rope. Mistletoe was in the lead. He walked up to the statue and touched it. The book specifically says that if the statue is touched, it animates and tries to throw you off of the bridge.
Things Go Wrong: I had written down how pushing works in 5e, but in the moment I couldn't make sense of it. Something about an athletics check that the statue has advantage on it? Sounds good, I thought. I did an opposed Athletics check. I rolled... a 26! Poor Mistletoe.
Now I had another dilemma. The heroes are all tied together! Are they all thrown over the bridge? I blindly decided to have each character also make an opposed Strength check. Obviously, nobody beat a 26. So I described it as the statue grabbing Mistletoe with one hand and the rope with the other. It threw everyone off the bridge!
I would have been panicking if it hadn't happened so fast. Would this be the end of the campaign? I had put some things (a chwinga and a kamadan) down in the valley just in case something like this happened, but it seems like a bit of a stretch for one chwinga to stable everyone.
TPK? They fell 100 feet. 10d6! They crashed through the treetops, breaking branches which slowed their descent. The group ended up hanging on a branch, dangling. 2 heroes had special powers that put them at 1 hit point. Val went own, but was healed. They legit survived a 100 foot fall! I was impressed.
They took a short rest, and then came up with a clever way to climb up, using ropes and pitons. As the group climbed up the 100 feet of rope, the monkeys threw bananas at them. Ramrod was having none of this and killed one with a javelin. Zavagor immolated another, and the third fled for its life.
The group helped Hoppy up. He was back to normal. They resumed their journey.
|The group's progress (I moved Ataaz Muhahah)|
Travel: The next day, we did a quick "montage" battle with goblins which I wasn't happy with. I didn't think out complications in advance.
The day after that, everyone but Val and Hoppy ended up falling in quicksand. When preparing this, I had looked up the quicksand rules in the DMG. They are very cool! You sink d4+1 feet. The DC to escape is that number, +10.
Ramrod got out. Zavagor rolled a natural 20, and proceeded to narrate his angry escape, eyes and skull flaring with fire. He killed me with that, and then he screamed something about "Generations of my people!" and I just lost it. It was decided that this should be the art for this episode, and so it was.
The day after that, the group came upon ruins. These ruins are from Jungle Treks. Yep, this is the home of the tropical harpies. Did I get art of the harpies?! You bet your sweet patootie I did! Here's part of it:
Ramrod got possessed by Bokadoka, a goblin ghost. I generally don't like possession because, if I was a player, I'd be less than thrilled at the prospect of having to sit there while someone else controls my character. I played it like she would "ride along" in Ramrod's psyche and veto any actions that went against her interests.
I got to use my "snobby woman" voice, which was a big hit with my old groups. So far on the show, I've never gone 100% with the voices. I guess I'm not quite comfortable yet, as this was snobby lady at 65%. Her voice should be more nasal and throaty.
That's where we had to stop! The next session involves an absolutely EPIC battle with my beloved tropical harpies.