The Cursed Tomb: Chapter 1 – Long Distance Javelin Surgery

So Adam and Ian don’t feel like they play enough D&D. To rectify this, they started playing a text-based adventure with a couple of friends, still using the 5th edition framework. We thought it would be fun to clean up the transcripts of this adventure and start publishing it in weekly chapters here on the site. Let us know what you think, and please share around!

Disclaimer: This is the transcript of a text-based D&D game played over a period of 6 months. Bad language included. Picture based dice rolls/media omitted. Names changed to preserve anonymity. Goblin based violence frequent. You have been warned.

DM: Hi!

DM: So guys, the concept was a play by text d&d game. I’ll DM, and we can play by post- as in once we get going, wait til all three have responded before moving on

DM: Which means it might be a bit start and stop, but low effort and ongoing

DM: Setting wise, pretty similar to forgotten realms, high magic. Start with level 1 characters? More of a focus on RP and exploration etc than combat

Faustus: Yo

Faustus: All sounds good. Will probably get to it tomorrow. Can also chat to you when I see you in a bit DM.

‪Bronan‬: Alright? Sounds good, I’ll figure out how to best send a character sheet and flesh out a character after work‬‬‬
Bronan‬: I’m thinking maybe a barbarian, basically like the pregren but with some changes to the personality traits (over protective, wants to make people happy, has awful vision of disaster and enamoured with ale)and a great axe (the blade is shaped like a squashed beer keg) and a pet pug, his name, Bronan‬‬‬

DM: Sounds good to me. Let’s hope the pug survives

Constance: I’m thinking halfling monk.

DM: Human barbarian, halfling monk, and…?

Faustus: Erm…

Faustus: Dragonborn paladin. Named Faustus.

Constance: Wow. Very meat-Shieldy group

Faustus: Spells are for nerds

Constance: I think my monk is called Constance.

DM: Faustus the dragonborn paladin, Constance the halfling monk, and Bronan the barbarian?

‪Bronan‬: Yup :)‬‬‬
‪Bronan‬: Normally I’d go halforc cause of the sweet critical bonus and darkvision but based Bronan on the human template so it’s easier‬‬‬

DM: A halfling clad in simple robes, a human rippling with muscle, and a dragonborn in shining armour stand on the crest of a sand dune. Before you, Rib Gulch cuts through the needles, a seemingly endless wall of razor sharp obsidian shards 300ft tall. Rib Gulch is the only passage through to the west, and your goal- the cursed tomb of the Sorceror King Ptolnos

DM: The sun is setting behind you to the east, and for miles with exception of the needles, you see nothing but dunes. What do you do?

‪Bronan‬: In a raspy schwazeneger voice Bronan says”hey Bros, it’s getting dark out here hey? Maybe we should look at setting up a camp and I can go hunting for some little fluffbros for us to have for dinner”‬‬‬

DM: Unless there are objections, you hunker down to camp for the night. High above, three moons wane. As your fire dies and you all contemplate who will take first watch, you hear the intermittent pad of something creeping behind the next dune… What do you do? (feel free to roll)

Faustus: I make sure everyone is aware of it and I draw my longsword

‪Bronan‬: Can I roll nature to see if I have any idea what could be creeping around in the Rib Gulch?‬‬‬

DM: (meta stuff, I’m going to only reply after all three players have replied from now on. And if you want to roll for something, go right ahead-don’t wait for me to confirm, I will let you know what happens as a result. Sending through character sheets as images or screenshots or whatever would be cool also!)

Constance: I pull out one of my torches and light it from my tinder box, looking around for higher ground.

DM: Constance lights her torch and illuminates the area. You are in a depression between three dunes of equal height, 300yards west of Rib Gulch. Bronan, roll a nature check for me please. Faustus, as you stand ready sword drawn the light of the torch reflects back six eyes on top of the ridge

Constance: Her!?

DM: Sorry dude, only know the name Constance as a Victorian era virtue name given to Bronte style ladies

DM: But hey. What do you do, Constance the totally male monk?

Constance: Nah I just never even thought about it. She can be a she

DM: Your move boys (Bronan, rolling that check counts as resolving your last thing so separate from whatever else you want to do)

Faustus: Can we hear any other sounds?

DM: Roll perception

Faustus: Urgh. 8.

DM: The padding has stopped. All you can hear is the breathing of your comrades and the trickling sands beneath your own feet

Faustus: The eyes still there? Just in front of us? I look around to see if we are surrounded.

DM: The eyes only appear to be between you and Rib Gulch, to the West. In every other direction, darkness. They are not moving

Faustus: I also light a torch, holding it in my other hand. I cautiously move a few feet forward. Does the closer light of my torch do anything to the eyes?

DM: You illuminate sharp teeth, rounded ears, muzzled, and below, patched and mismatched leather armour. Indistinct weapons linger at their sides

DM: Bronan now has advantage on his nature check

DM: Bronan thinks these may be…noles? Moles? Gnolls? Doggy men things.

DM: They step into the torchlight. They appear to be malnourished, and one is heavily bandaged with rags and limps. The largest raises a knotted club, gestures at your packs, at himself, and utters words in a guttural tongue

DM: He draws a claw across his own throat and growls menacingly

‪Bronan‬: Bronan brandishes his axe and says ‘bros, looks like its time for them to hit the beers’‬‬‬
‪Bronan‬: (his axe looks like a crushed beer keg)‬‬‬

DM: (inspiration for Bronan)

DM: If you are fighting, we will do it as whoever replies first foes first in initiative. If you make an attack include the attack roll and the damage roll please

Faustus: I guess I said I was sword out ready for this so me first?

DM: Yup

DM: Go for it

Faustus: 13 to hit

DM: Which one are you attacking? Left right or middle? Left bandaged, middle biggest

DM: You hit

Faustus: I’ll go middle

DM: Damage amount and type please!

Faustus: 10 damage

Faustus: Slashing

DM: The middle gnoll staggers back, grievously wounded by Faustus’s darting sword

DM: It screams in a guttural tongue and on its forehead, a blue rune glows

‪Bronan‬: Bronan flies into a rage, screaming about how it’s their round, and swings with the beers at the glowing one‬‬‬

DM: As the rune glows and the gnoll brings its hands up, arcane light spilling from its wound, Bronan cleaves it in twain. An amulet falls to the sand from the twitching corpse. The two remaining gnolls scream in rage and leap forward, but not before Constance…

Constance: Constance pulls her short sword from her hip and drives the point and the face of the nearest gnoll

DM: The bandaged gnoll is too slow for clever Constance, whose flickering blade seeks out a weakness. It lurches and yells as hot blood hits cold sand

Constance: Constance shouts her signature catchphrase as her sword point strikes true. “YOU DONE FUCKED UP”

DM: The bandaged gnoll rears back and brings its club crashing down onto Constance (16+3 to hit), and hits for 4 bludgeoning damage

Constance: Gah

DM: The uninjured gnoll takes a bite at Faustus, slavering jaws opening wide, but it’s jaws fail to find purchase through dragonborn’s thick armour

DM: Faustus, you are up

Faustus: Faustus attempts to strike at the gnoll who just licked his armour. How does a 12 to hit do?

DM: The gnoll wriggles past Faustus’s strike and faces back, letting forth a high pitched laugh. Drool drops from its muzzle

DM: Bronan

‪Bronan‬: “no dogmas, we eat your hair” axe smash‬‬‬
‪Bronan‬: Shit boys. It was a good un‬‬‬

DM: Which gnoll were you attacking?

‪Bronan‬: The one attempting to bit Faustus, he’s raging but his jokes are on point‬‬‬

DM: Bronan’s axe bites deeply into the gnolls shoulder and it drops its club to the sand

DM: Constance

Constance: Constance dives to grab the amulet and stuff it in her robes

Constance: Seeing that this is a powerful artefact that should be kept from these violent cunts

DM: Alright

Constance: Then comes up slashing at the one that just dropped its club

DM: Advantage

DM: The wounded gnoll raises its hand instinctively to block Constance’s thrusting sword, but fails. The gnoll is skewered, and slides pitifully to the ground dead

DM: (also I trust you guys, no need to send screenshots of every roll!)


DM: The final gnoll, bandaged and bloodied, gibbers and starts to run. It makes it 40ft away, sprinting on its damaged leg

DM: Faustus, you are up

Faustus: Faustus gives chase for a few feet, pulling out a javelin while he runs. He flings it with all his might (his might being a 20 to hit, not nat) and the javelin thunks into the beast’s good leg for 7 damage.

DM: The javelin pieces flesh and pins the gnoll to the sand, where it struggles to rise. After a few seconds it falls still

DM: You recover your items. The amulet Constance picked up is made of gnarled wood in the shape of an Ankh, similar to the symbol that appeared on the lead gnolls forehead

Constance: Faustus you killed it! We could have asked it where this came from?

Faustus: That’s why I said leg!

DM: It isn’t dead, but it is very badly hurt and unconscious

Constance: What were you trying to do long distance javelin surgery!?

DM: You can stabilise it if you choose

Faustus: Yes. I choose that.

Constance: Can I? I have some sweet healing abilities that I learned in church

Faustus: And long distance javelin surgery is my jam.

Faustus: Yeah that sounds like it should be your bag. I’ll intimidate or something.

Constance: Ok. Constance sashays over to the dying thing and wraps some makeshift bandages around the things leg where it is bleeding from. 16 on medicine

DM: After a few minutes the gnoll’s eyes weakly flutter open. It is too weak to fight, but still struggles slightly

Faustus: Can you understand us?

Faustus: I ask in common and draconic for kicks.

DM: “Ptolnos on Herra elämän”

DM: Do any of you speak gnoll?

Constance: No.

‪Bronan‬: Giant and dwarvish for me‬‬‬

Faustus: Sorry was that what he said, or was that draconic?

DM: That is what he said, he keeps saying it over and over

DM: He draws a shape on his chest, an ankh

Constance: I hold the amulet just out of his reach so he can see it.

‪Bronan‬: Bronan rage has worn off‬‬‬

DM: The gnoll starts thrashing and snapping its jaws at you all

Faustus: Ok so he is saying something about the sorcerer king

DM: Ptolnos syö teidän sielunne , talonpojat

‪Bronan‬: Hey Bro, chill your beans, or I’ll neuter you‬‬‬

DM: Bronan, intimidation roll?

‪Bronan‬: Yup one sex‬‬‬
‪Bronan‬: Or sec, whatever is more intimidating‬‬‬

Constance: One sex please

‪Bronan‬: 18 with his loincloth flapping sir dribbles snorts‬‬‬

DM: The gnoll lowers its gaze, cowed

Constance: I point to myself and say “Constance” and then point to the gnoll.

DM: “Jamsi” the gnoll says, tapping its chest

DM: It points at its mouth and says ‘vesi, vesi’

Constance: I point to the amulet with a questioning look.

DM: “Ptolnos on Herra elämän”

Faustus: I hold out a small amount of food from my rations.

DM: It takes the food and nods at you, then makes a drinking motion and says ‘vesi vesi’

Faustus: Like a double stacked lunchable amount.

Faustus: I pour out a small amount of water from my waterskin into a cup

DM: Jamssi the gnoll gratefully drinks it

DM: High above, the three crescent moons glow benevolently

‪Bronan‬: Bronan unscrews the cap to his axe and takes a swig of warm ale, closes it, and says to constance and Faustus “is he going to lead us to the tomb?”‬‬‬

Faustus: Faustus shrugs “I don’t know. So far I’ve learned the word for water and his name”

DM: At Al’shash, the last trading post, you remember the robed man who gave you this job, his face wrapped, his turban thick with desert sand. “Seek the jewel of Ptolnos, beneath his tomb. 30 leagues straight west of Rib Gulch”

DM: So aye, whatever you fancy doing. It’s now well dark, you can rest til morning and heal back etc if you tie up the gnoll and rotate watches, or proceed as you wish
Faustus: Up to you guys, I didn’t take a hit so I’m all good. But also vision might help for heading to the tomb.

Constance: Travelling by night might not be the best idea comrades.

Faustus: I can take first watch. We tie up Jamsi. I ruffle his head and say “good boy” and give him another lunchable.

DM: He takes the food gratefully, but bristles when you ruffle his head and glowers at you

DM: First watch, roll a d6

Faustus: Well I ruffled then fed, so I think I came out on top.

Faustus: 4

DM: You guys make it through the night, and the punishing Sun rises. The temperature immediately climbs until you are sweltering. Jamsi has buried half his face in sand in an attempt to hide from the rising Sun

DM: The two gnoll corpses lay sprawled where they fell, tracks heading back up the dunes towards the Gulch


Come back next Monday for Chapter 2 of The Cursed Tomb!


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