I mix up the last leg of our jungle trek from Tomb of Annihilation.

Somewhere near the end, Chief Redwater cashed in during a fight against a pair of girallons. My next character had a decent Intelligence score so I decided to roll a wizard, probably a diviner, who had been “experimenting” with native jungle flora.

Three of my four characters who perished on the road to Omu had forgettable names. I forget if the kobold’s name was Fumbles. It doesn’t really matter. I forget my wizard’s name. Redwater was kind of cool and actually made it to 4th level before he died.

Near the city, we encountered an elf wizard and her entourage of mercenary bodyguards and zombie minions. She wasn’t a lich. But the DM had let it slip, so we knew she DEFINITELY wasn’t a lich. No matter how many times he let it slip.

We struck a vague agreement with the not-a-lich where we would infiltrate the city and she would maintain a base camp for us within the city limits. We could totally trust her because honestly she could destroy us if she really wanted to.

Not that she was a lich or anything. Sigh.

Beyond licking frogs, the most noteworthy thing my stoner wizard did was survive a ride in a barrel down a sixty-foot waterfall on the outskirts of the city. None of the other PCs was willing to take the same path, which meant I was separated from the group.

Instead, they walked around the city to find a safer way down (the city was in like, a sinkhole or something). When I finally rejoined the group, it was on a sedan chair carried by–I think, kobolds?–with whom I had bartered some “herbs.”

We began the adventure proper by searching the city for the magic keys needed to unlock the dungeon. We fought a froghemoth that nearly TPKed the party (one of a few of fights which probably should have ended in a TPK). Annoyingly, we found our way into a lot of “random” encounters that probably should have ended in one or more character deaths, but those deaths were mainly mine–and because I was the only one willing to lose a PC.

The magic keys were “puzzle cubes,” and they were found in “puzzle shrines” scattered around the city. I think I’ll describe the recovery of the puzzle cubes in a separate post and focus on my fourth PC, followed by the introduction of Lawrence, who was my character through the rest (read: most) of the adventure.

My stoner wizard was a lot of fun to play, mostly because of the personality and “voice” I used for him. He was way more relaxed than Redwater, and instead of rushing into danger, placed himself in harm’s way “inadvertently.”

Riding the barrel was a “stupid” thing to do, which he thought was “totally awesome.”

I believe he reached level 2 before he died–in one of the puzzle shrines, there were some clay statues we had to fight in a small pit. We had no tank, and my stoner wizard was a team player, so in order to protect a teammate, he “tanked” the statues for a round.

He blocked like, one or two hits with his face. And died.

Like the others, I had to fight for the character to stay dead, though I think the party was even LESS sad to see him go–a tragedy, to be sure, as I’d had the most fun playing him, and he died “heroically” compared to “overwhelmingly” like the previous two characters. After all, the kobold was one-shotted by a crocodile, and Redwater was killed before he got to act in the girallon fight.

My next character was a dragonborn fighter who was introduced the round after my stoner wizard died–and he died one round later. I wasn’t having a “good” day.

At that point, the Dungeon Master “confessed” there was something of a minimum level for the city of Omu. Around level 4-6, if I recall, but I wasn’t having it. I said I’d roll another 1st-level character, then I offered a compromise. Instead of rolling a new character, I was willing to play a character from a previous campaign: Lawrence, “the Law.” Our party clearly needed a tank… and one higher than 1st level.

The DM quickly agreed and I brought the Law in the next round… of the same fight I’d just lost two characters. The Law was immediately beaten to death by clay statues. I mean, it was stupid. He took a couple of critical hits. But when the other players fought me not to let HIM die, I finally gave in and rolled his stupid death saves. If four character deaths weren’t going to convince them, a fifth dead character wouldn’t either.

Not like I was tired of rolling up PCs. Honestly, I was tired of the DM flip-flopping between pulling his punches and “oops-ing” damage on PCs, and the players fighting me for every one of my character deaths. I rolled the dumb death saves, and the Law “stabilized,” whatever that means. The party forgot to heal him though, and so I nearly called THAT his death, but the DM “permitted” them to have “remembered to do that.”

After fighting me to roll the stupid death saves, they forgot to heal my character. Obviously a character whose life was worth saving.

I don’t recall if my character even so much as dropped to zero hit points again after that. The entire dungeon was a farce. Despite extolling the virtues of an adventure featuring “permadeath,” our Dungeon Master didn’t have the wherewithal to go through with it. The module provides suggestions throughout the adventure for how to introduce new characters, understanding its lethality.

But no.

After that, the adventure really lost its “teeth.”

I mean, it started off as kind of a joke, owing to the ridiculous premise of a curse that affected only the most debauched members of society (including the adventurers), and it was only by this point in the adventure we even learned that the souls of EVERY person who died were being drawn into the soulmonger.

All that revelation did though, was rub salt in the wound. You can see my post about the “premise” of the adventure for a better understanding of my irritation. It didn’t make sense in the context of our campaign (much less the Forgotten Realms)–certainly not without some adaptation.