What happens when three adventurers venture down into a (mostly) dead leviathan to close a time portal to a desolate future? (Spoilers: A lot!)
Play time: 3.5 hours
- Azuda the dragonborn barbarian (Level 3)
- Hen of the Flock the tabaxi rogue (Level 3)
- Bangclang the goblin paladin (Level 3)
Tower of Tentacles
While wandering the wilderness, our three heroes chanced upon a vast mud flat, a dried out lake bed dotted with flowers and crabs. In the center of it, they spied a leaning stone tower wrapped in giant motionless tentacles. Flashes of light, smoke, and screams in the upper window drew them closer.
Inside the tower, a violet smoking fox ran past and told them not to interfere. It ran upstairs where a battle was raging. The party went up and found a strange woman killing these foxes with blasts of lightning. She was tall, golden-skinned, starry-eyed, and had tentacles for hair and fingers. This was Ajerel.
She claimed to be from the future (the end of the world!). She had come back in time to find a way to keep the sun from going out. But her sister, Xeyal, didn’t want her to change history and was sending dream-beasts to stop her.
Unfortunately, Ajerel had left open the time portal to the future somewhere down below. Would the heroes go down into the earth and close the portal to stop Xeyal and her dream-beasts? If they did, they could keep the head-sized diamond that was holding the portal open.
Bangclang asked for proof of Ajerel’s story. The stranger placed her tentacled fingers on his head and gave him a vision of the desolate, sun-less future. This also gave him a weak telepathic gift. He was on board!
Into the Limbs of Doom
Climbing down through the foundations of the ancient tower, the team emerged on a strange chitinous mass surrounded by giant petrified insectoid legs. An old man nearby explained that he was a chitin miner, chipping off valuable pieces of kraken chitin to sell.
The group began exploring beyond the legs and found huge curling fins long since turned to stone. Pierced through one fin was a black harpoon. Hen climbed up but was unable to pull the harpoon free. Then Azuda and Bang smashed the thin stone structure and brought the whole thing down. Hen took a few lumps and shocks, but they had the Ebony Harpoon!
Moving on, they discovered a cluster of giant crab claws. Under one, a smoking violet fox struggled to get free. It spoke with Xeyal’s voice, offering them anything they wished if they would go capture Ajerel and bring her back. The heroes shrugged and let the fox go free, but did not turn back.
They did inspect the blue coral on the giant claws, and knocked some off. Azuda recognized them as having a steroidal effect, so Bang ground them up into powder for use later.
Beyond the claws, the heroes came to the edge of the kraken corpse and found a rock wall covered in silver bones. Hen touched the bones, which immediately began struggling free of the wall. Moments later, a skeletal silver swordfish was flying toward them. The fight was brief by violent, with many tail lashings and nose-spearings. But Azuda shattered the creature and Hen claimed the silver sword-nose as her rapier.
Then they went back to the claws and climbed down to the next level.
Among the Aperatures
The party climbed down to a massive funnel filled with cold sand. On one side of the funnel was a woman with scales, fins, and a tail, her flesh seemingly glued to the funnel. Bang poked her a few times and she woke up, claiming to be Remora and acting very confused about the lack of water around her. She began to panic, begging the heroes to take her to water.
At first, the group was concerned and helped to peel the suckerfish mermaid off of the dead funnel. But when they couldn’t provide water, she went into a frenzy. The group dashed away, leaving the creature impaled on a javelin.
They then found another edge of the leviathan where a rocky cave led them to a deep well of salty water. A bright white light flared up from the bottom. They tried to lower the harpoon into the water, but the salt made it float. Then they decided to bring Remora to this well.
So they pulled the javelin out of her and dragged to her to the water. The vicious mermaid was in poor shape, barely fighting back, but as soon as she slipped into the well she began to recover. The group belatedly yelled at her to bring them the white light from the bottom of the well, but she didn’t answer. Instead, she began to swim down. Halfway down, a swarm of tiny creatures detached from the walls of the well and attacked Remora, but she reached the bottom alive. She seemed to move the white light around, and then swam away into an unseen passage.
Annoyed, the group began looking for another way down into the kraken. They found the feathery fern-like structures of the gills, which were crawling with white worms. Hen of the Flock tried to eat a worm, but it screamed at her, injuring the whole party. She threw it away.
The party then found the huge drumhead of the kraken’s eye. Bangclang deftly split it open, and three Rapid Eye Monsters spilled out. Speaking with the voice of Xeyal, they demanded that the heroes stop coming down and go up to find Ajerel and prevent her from changing history. Again, Xeyal offered the heroes anything they wished. When the party refused, the REMs attacked at high speed. With much spearing and stomping, the creatures were defeated and the heroes proceeded down into the gaping eye socket.
Belly of the Beast
Sliding down into the stomach of the kraken, they found a shallow pool of cold acid, which was uncomfortable for the unshod dragonborn and tabaxi. They also spied an open tunnel leading farther down…just past a dozen large lumps.
As they tried to cross the stomach, the lumps rose up to attack. Pickled pirates, pickled kettle crabs, and a pickled War Snail lurched into battle. Hen put four of the monsters to sleep, and Azuda and Bang began cutting down the rest. The War Snail belched a plume of blue fire, which scorched everyone, but Azuda and Hen chopped the creature to pieces. Bang found some money and an ivory ring in a saddle bag on the War Snail’s shell.
Hen saw that there were other organs nearby, but they chose not to risk any more battles. So they continued down…
Chambers of Pearl and Jade
The first room was small, round, and studded with thousands of pearls. As the heroes inspected the space, a new creature crawled up from the next chamber. The eye-less Night Terror lunged at them, but Azuda leapt clear and Hen jumped onto its back to stab at the gaps in its armor. With the creature wounded, Bangclang was able to finish it off with a quick prayer and a divine smite!
The second room was even smaller, and the walls were covered in shark jaws all entombed in black jade. They saw lights and sounds coming from farther in, and a violet smoking fox ran past them.
The third room was the smallest yet. Here they found the rippling time portal held open by a giant diamond embedded in the floor. Through the portal, they saw Xeyal, a golden-skinned woman with starry eyes and tentacle hair standing on a blasted hellscape.
One last time, Xeyal begged them to stop Ajerel from changing history and offered them anything they wished as reward. She even invited them to step through the portal and see the future world if they wanted. But when Azuda crept toward the portal, Xeyal stepped through to defend the diamond and keep the portal open. She blasted the heroes with lightning, but Hen was able to sneak up and steal the diamond away. The portal closed!
Shocked and dismayed, Xeyal summoned another Night Terror and the heroes were barely able to defeat it. By this point, everyone was sorely wounded and Xeyal made a desperate dash for the door. The group allowed her to leave, and the strange woman vanished.
The time portal was closed and the giant diamond was theirs. Huzzah!
This was a fun little one-shot. A straight-up dungeon delve with a simple goal and lots of strange gross monsters and environments. Everyone had a good time, and I didn’t need to do much thinking on my feet. Moving room to room, it was pretty easy to just worry about what was right in front of us, with no larger story or NPCs to track.
There were lots of funny moments as the group poked and prodded strange creatures and objects, some of which were very useful and some of which were just gross and weird. Another great game night!