Podcast of Annihilation Bonus Episode - The Curious Cure of the Black Orchid

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Thom the Dragonborn removing the head of Thokas, while Tum Darkblade and Aludra the Dwarf look on, horrified.

"...I unhinge my jaw." ~ Nika Howard

"I'm so fucking wise, I say as I pour myself more wine." ~ Jennifer Cheek

Contents

Podcast of Annihilation Bonus Episode - The Curious Cure of the Black Orchid

What do you do when your great leader falls sick to an unknown illness? Would you brave the dangers of Chult in order to save her? What if you knew you would find strange riddles and even stranger allies? Well, fair adventurers, we hope you packed an extra set of swamp bug repellent for your heroes are hopping on the next boat to Lost City of Omu!

We hope you enjoyed our Tomb of Annihilation episode as much as we were terrified while recording it. Seriously, ToA felt dangerous from the very moment we cracked the pages, and we didn’t even fight a Zombie T-Rex.

Cast and Player Characters

Non-Player Characters

Pets/Familiars

  • Beatrice

Locations

Story

Long Story

Not long after the events of Episode 232 - A Slight Gravitational Problem, on the outskirts of the Swamps of Ichtaka, in the small city of monsters called Tidtowne, the Great Leader, Cheryl Meloncamp summons her champions, and two-time saviors, the Tidtowne Terrors. They are Baz, Kass, Tug, and Brip Brap. Cheryl is not feeling very well, but she thanks the heroes for their contributions, both in The Battle of Nareev, and when they saved her before that. She bestows upon them gifts: To Brip Brap, she gives Fist-wraps of the Bull, which makes any creature struck by the wearer be pushed back 10 ft, and he can use Flurry of Blows without expending a Ki point 3 times a day. He wraps them around his tongue, and kisses her. Tug receives a +1 Wand of the War Mage, which is sharpened from the bones of a wizard. It grants the user a +1 bonus to spell attack rolls, and allows them to ignore half cover when making spell attacks. To Kass, she gifts a Rapier of Venom, which gives +1 to hit, and once per day, she can use an action to coat the blade with a thick black poison, which remains there for 1 minute, OR until she hits a creature, who must then make a DC 15 CON saving throw or take 2d10 poison damage, and be poisoned for one minute. Kass, in thanks, sticks Cheryl's finger in her mouth before stepping back. Baz is given the Femur of Smiting, which acts as both a +1 mace, and a +1 holy symbol. Baz thanks her by handing her a bone rattle she made.

Cheryl is feeling under the weather lately, so she takes her leave to go and rest, coughing as she does so. She sends them to speak with her assistance Skeever, which they do. Skeever tells them that Cheryl is sick, and that she needs to be cured. The seniors at the Alchemist Guild are confident that they could brew up a potion for the Great Leader, but to do so, they require the elusive Black Orchid, which could only be found in gardens of Nangalore, deep within the Swamps of Ichtaka. He offers to accompany them to Nangalore, being a historian on that time period. They all enter canoes, and travel down the Oolung River, which Skeever tells them all about. Brip Brap continuously collects small frogs and keeps them in his sack. It takes them one week, and the river has flooded over, allowing their two canoes to ride right up to the entrance to Nanagalore. There is a great stairway, leading to a hallway with 6 other tunnel entrances, and at the end of it, the stone shape of a Tyrannosaurus Rex that spits water out of its mouth, running across the length of the hallway, and down the steps. Kass recommends that Skeever go first, as he is the most enthusiastic about the potential history there. He agrees, and hops off the canoe. The others follow.

They examine some of the stone faces etched into the sides of this place, and learn that these gardens were built for some old queen named Zalcoré, and that she had a former lover, Thiru-taya, who betrayed her. Baz sniffs around in the air, and decides to go through the left-most tunnel, and the others follow. Soon, they detect the smell of very fragrant flowers, and Skeever and Kass succumb to the controlling powers of the plants. They begin to walk toward a broken column, covered in a large vine with yellow flowers. Tug grabs Kass and stops her, and Baz uses Thaumaturgy to command Skeever, as the voice of the vines, to leave it be. He is confused by this. Just then, six zombie-like creatures, with vines coming out of the back of their necks, emerge from the foliage around them, and the fight begins. Baz uses her Cleric abilities to turn and destroy 5 of the zombies while, Kass and Brip Brap take out the last one. The Vine proves harder to kill, but eventually Tug burns it away, due to not fully knowing how Burning Hands works.

They search the premises and find a yatchatch beetle, which Kass sticks in her mouth for safe-keeping. They then notice a small figure, a six-inch tall doll man with a strange mask and spindly limbs and wild hair. It hides behind a rock, and throws a small berry out, which Brip Brap eats. Three more come flying out. Tug goes to look, but it is trying to hide. Brip Brap does a little dance, which the creature enjoys and begins jumping up and down, laughing. BB rolls up to it and reaches a hand out. It leans forward and gives him a charm, a Charm of Restoration, allowing him to cast Greater Restoration 4 times per day. It then vanishes. There is a ruined stairway up ahead, which is pretty easy to hop over, especially for the frog creature that is Brip Brap. He does that thing, and helps the others up, and together, they make their way beyond...

An enclosed garden contains beautiful and singular plants, with deep and vibrant shades, with 5 foot high walls that have a message scratched into them. The message reads, "Without dreams, eternity is unbearable." Suddenly, the four of them fall asleep, and Skeever has to wake them up. He tells them that they all started acting weird. He says that he doesn't want to talk about it, but it was gross, and they all notice that his half his shirt is wet. Anyway, they find themselves up on terrace, where they can see the open doorway to the large dome, and another garden. They go to the other garden, where they find another scrawled message. "For the lies of a few, all must pay." Things begin to get fuzzy once more, but they leave before things get too crazy. They make their way into the large dome. hey see a large statue with its face gouged out, and a smaller, life-size one that is frozen in the shape of a man reaching for a clay urn in front of the giant statue. Brip Brap has one of his frogs, which he has named Beatrice, jumps onto the smaller statue (nothing happens), then into the clay urn (nothing happens), then back out of the clay urn (nothing happens). They discuss what they should do. Baz notices that there is a message carved into the floor next to the smaller statue, and it says "Once a thief, forever a slave." Skeever knows, from his histories, that important Chultan people would get statues like the large one built for them when they die, and their ashes placed in an urn before them.

Behind the statue is a path leading to the flooded garden area, and they a crystal clear pool. A dais that once held a stone face of Zalcoré, though it has broken off, and now rests in the water, juts out from the center. The floor of the pool is lined with strangely shaped stones, but Skeever hops in and pulls one out. It is in the shape of a frog. In fact, all of the stones in this pool are shaped like fish and other small sea creatures. Brip Brap hops into the water and finds a stone human at the bottom. Kass breaks off its hand, and nothing special happens. There are two exits, one on the left, and one on the right. They decide to go to the right. This room seems to be a royal apartment, with many old and fancy trapping all around. In the center of this room, a circular dais holds a devon chair, and the devon chair holds a woman! Next to the woman is a large clay pot, holding the Black Orchid! She speaks, saying "Strangers have come to Nangalore, my love. What boon do our subjects beseech?" There is not responds, and Tug asks for some bones. She asks them what they truly want. Brip Brap identifies her as the Queen Zalcoré, and she is happy to be recognized by her subjects. She looks toward a part of the room that is empty, and addresses Thiru-taya, the man who they thought betrayed her. They ask her for the Black Orchid, which she tells them is one of her most prized possessions. She offers to give it to them, but only if they can give her something in return, something of equal beauty.

They can't come up with anything, but Zalcoré suggests Skeever the goblin. She wants a slave. She again refers to Thiru-taya, and Brip Brap asks what the story is there, they thought he had betrayed her. She becomes furious, revealing that Thiru-taya had the whole of Nangalore built for her, because he loves her. They apologize and ask Skeever if he wants to stay here with Zalcoré, which he of course doesn't. Brip Brap produces the yatchatch beetle, which Baz imbues with Thaumaturgy to make it appear glowing gold. She is enamored with it, and ponders that she could always cultivate another Black Orchid. She agrees to the trade, and the Tidtowne Terrors peace out with the Orchid. As they leave, Baz whispers that they must hurry, the spell only lasts for 1 minute. They run!

They make it about half-way before they hear a shriek of rage. From a tree next to them, an 8-ft tall bird bursts out, and then three more! They run and jump into their canoes, paddling away as a horde of birds and Zalcoré herself emerge from the gardens. Her true form is revealed, her hair is made of snakes. She is a Medusa-like creature, hence all of the stone creatures. They escape Nangalore, having lost no one, with the Black Orchid in hand. Cheryl is, once again, saved!

Short

Cheryl is sick! The Tidtowne Terrors have to once again save her life! Skeever the goblin tells them of the Black Orchid, a flower that can cure her, but only exists in the ruins of Nangalore, an ancient garden. They go there an encounter many dangers. A recurring element is there are several statues, and stone figures of various things. Eventually, we learn why: Queen Zalcoré, who this whole place was built for, is a Medusa, and also immortal, so she is still here. She has the Black Orchid, and will only give it back if she has something of equal beauty. They trick her with a magic beetle, and escape just as she realizes the truth. Cheryl is, once again, saved!

Trivia

  • This episode was recorded as a part of the Podcasts of Annihilation series. A bunch of other D&D podcasts and streams played the newly released Tomb of Annihilation adventure module. It's good!
  • They are, of course, all drinking tonight
    • Jennifer is drinking Rosé
    • Tim is drinking Devil's Share Bourbon Whisky
    • Bachmann can't remember
    • Nika previously drank 19 Crimes Banished Dark Red, and is now drinking Alamos Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
    • Michael does not reveal this mystery.
  • In the Tomb of Annihilation, there is a forest called Chult, which, for the purposes of Drunkeros, has been changed to the Swamps of Ichtaka
  • Cheryl loses her accent temporarily, because she is pregnant?
  • Brip Brap grew up in the Swamps of Ichtaka, and has no problem with the many gross bugs that reside there
  • There was a spider somewhere in Nangalore, a giant one that they would have had to fight, if they did things differently
  • The small doll-like creatures are called chewingas
  • The Tidtowne Terrors are level 6!
  • This episode used music from Syrinscape:
    • The songs Dark Dance, Peace of Mind, Arcadia, Atlantean Twilight, Darkest Child, and Gloom Horizon were from Kevin MacLeod, at Incompetech.

Quest Log Updates

Rolls

  • Tug rolls History to see what he knows about Nangalore and the Omu Empire - 22
    • He knows quite a lot, as detailed above

  • Everyone makes History checks to try to decipher the strange words above the faces
    • Kass - 13
    • Brip Brap - 4
    • Tug - 10
    • Baz - 12
      • Everyone can figure it out except for Brip Brap

  • Kass makes a Nature check to see if she can determine if the birds are tucans - 5
    • Michael doesn't know

  • They all make Wisdom saving throws upon smelling a strong flowers
    • Brip Brap - 17
    • Tug - Nat20
    • Kass - 4
    • Baz - 25
    • Skeever - ??, too low
      • Skeever and Kass get a grazed look in their eyes, and are controlled.

  • Tug rolls Strength to restrain Kass, who also rolls Strength to resist
    • Tug - 8-1
    • Kass - 6
      • Victory Tug

Combat Begins vs 6 Plant Zombies, 1 Living Vine


  • 'Initiative
    • Kass - 23
    • Baz - 19
  • Zombie 1
    • Brip Brap - 11
    • Tug - 10
    • The Vine

Round One


  • Kass
    • Melee Attacks (Rapier of Venom) Zombie 1 - 21
      • Hit - 6 damage + 6 Sneak Snek Attack damage

  • Baz
    • Channel Divinity: Turn Undead, requiring the zombies to make a DC 16 WIS saving throw
      • Zombies 2-6 fail, only Zombie 1 succeeds, and remains
        • Subsequently, they are all destroyed, as they are at or below a 1/2 challenge rating

  • Zombie 1
    • Melee Attack (Slam) Kass - 20
      • Hit - 5 blugeoning damage

  • Brip Brap
    • Melee Attack (Tounge Punch) Zombie 1 - 25
      • Hit - 10 damage
    • Flurry of Blows to attack twice - 16, 26
      • Hit, Hit - 13 damage total
    • Jumps onto him to crush him with his feet - 12
      • Hit - 8 damage - kills it

  • Tug
    • Casts Burning Hands at the vine, requiring a DEX saving throw - -3 somehow
      • Fail - 18 damage

  • The Vine
    • Shoots a tendril at Brip Brap - 11
      • Miss

Round Two


  • Kass
    • Melee Attacks (Rapier of Venom) the Vine - 22
      • Hit - 15 damage

  • Baz
    • Casts Sacred Flame on the Vine, requiring a DEX saving throw - 3
      • Fail - 7 radiant damage

  • Brip Brap
    • Melee Attack (Tounge Punch) the Vine (x2) - Nat1, 15
      • Miss, Hit - 9 damage
    • Uses something else to attack again - 10
      • Hit - 8 damage

  • Tug
    • Burning Hands again, empowers it
      • 19 damage - kills it

Combat Ends


  • They all make Perception rolls
    • Brip Brap - 17
    • Tug - 18
    • Baz - 15
    • Kass - 10
      • Several of them notice a small man

  • Brip Brap makes a Perfomance check to make the small puppet creature be friendly toward them - 9
    • It laughs at them

  • Brip Brap rolls Athletics to get over the ruined stairs - 15
    • Success, then he helps the others up

  • They all make CON saving throws
    • Brip Brap - 5
    • Tug - 8
    • Baz - 9
    • Kass - 8
    • Skeever - ??, he succeeded

  • Baz rolls Acrobatics check to get up a set of worn down stairs - 14
    • Success - she makes it up there

  • Baz does a perception check on the room in general - 20
    • She notices a message scratched onto the floor next to the smaller statue

  • Baz does a Religion check to see if Queen Zalcoré is undead - 17
    • She is pretty sure she is not undead

  • Brip Brap rolls Deception to convine Zalcoré that the yatchatch beetle is actially golden, and to accept it (with advantage) - 21
    • Success - She buys it