The following text is a fictional excerpt from the journal of Taman Brightwood; the character I play in my group’s journey through the Tomb of Annihilation D&D 5e adventure module from Wizards of the Coast. Tomb of Annihilation is a journey through the jungle region of Chult to discover the cause of the “death curse” plaguing the inhabitants of the land. The secret of the curse lies in the necromantic artifact known as the Soulmonger. Undead humanoids, dinosaurs, and undead dinosaurs aplenty cause interesting obstacles in this long winded trudge through the dangerous rainforest covered peninsula.
12th day of Kythorn in the year 1493 DR~
I am feeling incredibly lucky to be among the living. I accidentally ignited myself into a massive fireball which took out several small dinosaurs and a small portion of this cursed rainforest. My companions all seem to be keeping their distance for fear of being caught in the next magical catastrophe I may cause. Today is another balmy sweat coated slog. I hate it here. My nether bits are slimy and I am in need of a proper bath.
We have come to calling our guide Musharib, ‘Moosh’. He hates it. Most of us don’t care. Jim and I do not trust the little bearded imbecile. He is a native that appears to know little more than the obvious. We found a plateau looming in the distance today. Jim asked ‘Moosh’ what he knew of this landmark. ‘Moosh’ responded with some nonsense like “Yes, that is the plateau. I do not know what lies beyond it however.” I hate him more everyday. Jim and I often jest of abandoning him, but the joke is no longer funny and becomes a reality I hope to see pass.
All is well though, our boats are where we had left them hidden in some tall grass. We will sail down the river on the morrow and head towards the massive rocky plateau.
13th day of Kythorn in the year 1493 DR~
We spent the day on the river. Iju, Stanrow, and ‘Moosh’ took lead in one boat. I sailed with Jim and Inete, our other local guide, in the second boat. We have transitioned from the balmy rainforest to a dank swamp over the course of the days travel. I didn’t think I could hate this region more, but it has forced my hand.
I noticed something large in the water, some beast I can only imagine. It would just about break the surface of the river, then submerge leaving a wake in it’s path. I was transfixed by this occurrence. Jim accused me of starring at my own crotch and not paying attention to our surroundings. I tried to explain myself, but he only further chided me and made me feel like a fool. He saw the thing in the water as well, but wanted the credit. I just want his respect, but I can never tell if I have it. He keeps trying to put the moves on Inete. I doubt he will get far with her.
Fortune smiled upon me! I found a spider in my shoe as I readied myself for sleep. I will keep it for spell casting material!
14th day of Kythorn in the year 1493 DR~
We spent most of the morning pursuing the mysterious beast in the water to no avail. On the bright side, we found the end of the river. Jim again had us hide the boats in some tall grass just off the river. They are poorly hidden at best, but they have been every other time as well and they are always right where we leave them. Perhaps we are tempting fate, or perhaps none of the natives cares to steal our boats.
After wandering for several hours, we finally came to the base of the plateau. Jim discovered a small cave just past a small grouping of trees. I admire Jim for his alertness and willingness to take charge to find all manner of interesting things. If only he was a little kinder to me. Maybe one day my wish will be granted. I feel like I earned his respect for the keen idea I had, before entering the cave I used the spider I found yesterday to cast ‘spider crawl’ upon myself. I climbed the wall of the cave entrance and took to the ceiling. Jim praised the idea, knowing I was taking a stealth approach to protect the group.
Jim boldly entered the cave, all of us close at his heels (me still on the ceiling). Upon entering, there were remnants of food and belongings all about, as if some creature had been living here. Iju noticed a little boar cowering in the corner. He was very concerned that this was someone’s pet and that this was the home of some outcast. Jim noticed some shiny horn with a lions head for a bell amongst the items strewn about. As Jim approached the horn, the boar got really tense. Everyone started talking about leaving, but I felt compelled to investigate the horn.
I quickly crawled down the wall to retrieve the horn and went back to the ceiling to inspect it. The boar went crazy, squealing and stamping it’s hooves. The beast morphed into some sort of half man half boar abomination. Jim quickly cast a spell to hold the ‘thing’ in place and promptly walked out of the cave. He was saying something to the effect of “this just got stupid” under his breath, it was hard to hear over the squealing din the boar-man was making. Iju got extremely emotional, trying to apologize to the monster for intruding. Iju fled the cave, and I could have sworn I saw him weeping. Stanrow grumbled in frustration and followed the others out.
The beast broke free of his bonds and I decided to take action. I blew in the horn I found to no avail. A dry flatulent sound wafted from the bell as I blew. It had no affect, but stopped the beast from charging my companions. He jumped to reach me on the ceiling but was unable to strike me. I fired volley after volley of magic missiles into the hide of the beast and yet he kept on coming. All I could think to myself was “by the gods, this pig has a deathwish!”. I completely depleted my mana as I smote my foe to ruin in his own forsaken dwelling.
Tomorrow we shall investigate the plateau. For now, I feel must try to understand this bizarre horn I have found.