The Cursed Tomb: Chapter 22 – Shadows Within Shadows

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! If you missed Chapter 1, check it out here!

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. If you missed Chapter 20, find it here!


DM: So how we will do this, is from Mij’s you have to describe what you want to do, the skill you want to use, and what you rolled. And I’ll let you know what happens. Then the next person goes

DM: Your goal is to get clear of the city through the south gate without attracting any attention

DM: Only rules- can’t use the same skill twice yourself, or same as person before you just used

‪Bronan: Okaly doakaly

DM: (this isn’t a 5e thing Bronan, but something we do in our games- pretty relaxed rules, just try what you like!)

‪Bronan: (Constance has run a couple in the game he runs with us and I am familiar from podcasts :))

‪Bronan: (who wants to start?)

Faustus: I don’t mind starting?

Constance: Doooo eeeet

Faustus: Ok I use athletics to speed up our progress through the town.

Faustus: 21!

DM: Okay, what are you actually doing, trying to rush the cart with the barrel down the streets quickly?

Faustus: Yeah, but using athletics to do it competently and safely, rather than just barrelling through the street.

DM: Superb. That works really well- you lean into a few turns and manage a very controlled run through town

Constance: Can I use insight to see if I can determine any likely places where we will run into guards or other folk?

Constance: 17

DM: Yup. You realise there are guards at every major junction, and so can choose a few side streets to dodge them as if you were never there

DM: As you go, the barrel fizzles slightly, but Mij seems to have sealed it well..

‪Bronan: Can I use performance with my drum to make a distraction at a junction?

Constance: Hahahahhahaha. Please.

‪Bronan: 17 +0, 17

‪Bronan: (bardbarian!)

DM: At one a junction a couple of guards take an interest in this strange tableau of a dragonborn in chainmail, a halfling, a barbarian, and a pug pushing a giant barrel covered in runes. As they approach, bronan plays a drum solo

DM: And they are distracted for long enough for the others to divert down an alley, before reconvening

DM: (you guys are doing great, and are perhaps halfway to the south gate)

Faustus: Gonna try stealth, trying our best to keep out of sight, sticking to darker and quieter alleyways

DM: Dissssssadvantage

DM: Because of your chainmail

Faustus: Damn. Ok lower was 12.

DM: Ha. Okay, you jingle jangle your way past a group of guards with plumes helms and purple cloaks (sultans guard?)

Faustus: Balls

Constance: Can I use deception to tell them that I saw some shady looking characters in the opposite direction to the one we are heading?

Constance: Balls. 8.

‪Bronan: (lotta pressure on the brodog here…)

DM: They weren’t that intrigued by the jingle jangling, but constance’s awkward attempted diversion has their attention

DM: What you lot up to, says the leader

DM: Bronan, you’re up

‪Bronan: We simply ensuring sir dribbles, destroyer of worlds is safe and had his kibble, kneel before sir dribbles *holds sir dribbles aloft and shouts the last part*

‪Bronan: Intimidate

‪Bronan: I got a 16 total

DM: They look at you like you are insane, and just turn away and talk amongst themselves

DM: Faustus contance then bronan again (i think?)

Constance: (Yeah that’s right)

Faustus: Ok I’m going to use insight to determine the best and quickest route away from these guards, now that they have lost interest, and towards the south gate.

Faustus: That’ll be a 15

DM: You notice a back alley behind some market stalls and shops that seems to run all the way to the south gate, and is pretty much empty save for a few beggars

Constance: Can I use athletics to see if there are any scalable walls or fences that we could shortcut over?

Constance: Sorry I meant acrobatics

Constance: Which is a 20 (or 16 on athletics)

‪Bronan: I’m going to use arcana to check to see if the goop is doing OK rolling along and the runes are holding

‪Bronan: 17-1, 16

Faustus: (DM “I’m too drunk to do this,  I’ll do it tomorrow”)

Constance: (I gleaned that DM was drunk from another chat)

DM: Constance flips up a small wall and runs along its top, knocking rubbish and detritus to the side and allowing faustus and bronan an easy path with the barrel

DM: Bronan looks down as he runs, and sees a rune scuffed, and a tiny fleck of green liquid pooling at a crack in a seam

‪Bronan: (just watching the new season of Marco polo and that timed perfectly with the intro, brilliant East Asian music in time with constances ninja action)

DM: You are 10 feet from the south gate guards, hidden by shadow

DM: (nice!)

‪Bronan: Bros, we have a small leak! We should hurry!

Faustus: Can I loop back a little so I emerge from the shadows somewhere else, approach the gate alone? How many guards are there?

DM: 3 guards

DM: You can do that easily , what do you do ?

Faustus: Good evening, I was wondering if I may speak with Bronwin?

DM: One of the guards waves the other two away and comes up to you

DM: I know you?

Faustus: We have a mutual acquaintance, and a… problem that we need to remove from the city as quickly as possible. Could you allow us to pass so we may dispose of it at a safe distance?

DM: He glances around

DM: Which mutual acquaintance?

Faustus: Imohen.

DM: He grabs your chainmail and pulls you close

DM: Never say that name to me in public.

DM: I’ll distract these two. After they leave, you have 30 seconds. If you get caught, I’ll arrest you myself!

Faustus: I meant no offense. I thank you for your assistance friend.

DM: He lets you go

DM: I’m not your friend

Constance: (I’m not your buddy pal!)

Faustus: (I’m not your pal, guy!)

Faustus: I return to my friends and wait for our opening.

‪Bronan: (obligatory “I’m not you guy, buddy”)

‪Bronan: So Faustusfriend, did bronwin sort things out?

Faustus: Yes. Once he distracts the other two guards we will have 30 seconds to pass through the gate un noticed.

Faustus: He is unhappy though, and I think either no friend of Imohen or there is more to their relationship than she let on.

Constance: We can talk later. For now we have to move!

DM: Bronwin speaks to the other guards, who stroll away around a corner…

DM: And then he opens the south gate

Faustus: We go!

‪Bronan: (at meatspace DandD so I’ll be quiet for a while)

DM: Alright, a final roll from each of you for the skill you want to use to maximise getting out fast and unnoticed

Constance: Order?

DM: Same as before. Faustus, Constance, Bronan

Faustus: Perception to determine the smoothest ground so as not to disturb the barrel or make too much noise?

Faustus: I mean past the gate.

DM: Yup

Faustus: 18

Constance: I’ll try and nail stealth to keep us to the shadows

Constance: 20 (not natural)

DM: Faustus, the left hand side of the path out the gate is smooth rock, the right is pebbles. Should run silent on the smooth rock

Constance: (Also about to get on a plane)

DM: Constance, as faustus is steering the cart you manage to throw a penny down the road into a gang of street children, starting a mini riot

DM: Keeping attention off of you

‪Bronan: I’ll use athletics to help push the cart quickly through (assuming it’s a hand cart?)

‪Bronan: Oh jebus, that’s a 4+5, 9

DM: Between the three of you, you make it out. Bronan tried to go fast which makes the other two of you have a difficult time but you make it and are soon clear if the south gate. At this end of town there are only a few quiet streets between here and the countryside which you can easily traverse

DM: (skill challenge succeeded!)

DM: What would you like to do now?

Constance: Get this shit as far away from here as possible

Constance: Bury it

Faustus: Do we know how big an explosion it will cause if it blows up?

DM: Arcana check

‪Bronan: Maybe we explode it with flaming javelin? Bronan not want to fight mutated earthworms

Faustus: Hmm 11

DM: Hmm big?

Faustus: Exploding will also likely draw attention from the town.

Faustus: So we need to get it far away and dig it deep?

Constance: Bronan makes a good point about the worms though.

Faustus: Absolutely

‪Bronan: Do we need to explode or dig it? We just take out of town and let imohen know where it is?

Faustus: Yeah dispose of can be hide.

Constance: Leaving something this dangerous in the open might be a bad move

Constance: What if some children stumble across it?

Constance: Could you live with yourself?!

Faustus: Yeah true. Maybe detonate from afar with a javelin like Bronan said then book it away

‪Bronan: No I mean, one goes back and tells her, rest stay?

DM: (Constance you have inspiration)

Constance: Yay me

Constance: That could work Bronan

Faustus: Yeah that also works.

Constance: I have some flasks of oil we could use to make a line with. Like a wick

Constance: Or a fuse.

Constance: That’s the word I’m looking for

Faustus: Once we’ve got it far away let’s send the fastest back to tell her where it is and get paid. Then if she wants us to help blow it up we can.

‪Bronan: Sound plan friend Faustus, and we can then let mij know the good news!

Constance: Bronan is probably fastest

Faustus: I’m probably slowest.

‪Bronan: Ok, I leave sir dribbles here to protect you, promise me you send signal if you need help. Want me to make breakfast first?

Faustus: Maybe we don’t want to cook so close to the barrel!

‪Bronan: (Bronan fussed over you making sure your cloaks etc cover you)

Faustus: Haha

Faustus: What is a decent safe distance from the town?

‪Bronan: I put sir dribbles down and say “now sir dribbles, you look after these two and make sure they ok”

‪Bronan: Are we not safe here? Need go further?

DM: You are maybe half a mile past the town edge, behind a small hill. Can essentially go as far as you want in this direction, it seems pretty desolate

DM: Scrubby plains and low hills, occasional bushes etc

Faustus: Would maybe going another mile out be reasonable? Still safe for us, not too far for Bronan?

‪Bronan: Ok, no problem

‪Bronan: (Once we do that, Bronan is going to jog back to town, knees held high)

DM: Okay

DM: Bronan you can easily navigate back to the pink lily where imohen was before

DM: As you walk in she waves away two humans she was drinking with and beckons you over

DM: Done?

‪Bronan: Yes, it outside, I take you to it?


DM: I mean…it a disposed of? There shouldn’t be anything to take me to but a smoking hole

‪Bronan: Hmm, thought deal was to take it outside, thought you still might want it?

‪Bronan: If not, we can fix, but if you want it outside

DM: She shakes her head and presses her hand hard against the table

DM: If we can’t store it, we can’t use it, and every second it exists increases the chance the sultan will take our heads. Get out there and destroy it, then get back here. Reenter through a different gate. Then you’ll get your gold

‪Bronan: Ok, sure, fire make it go bang?

DM: Yes. Fire make it go big bang. So keep your distance, and get it sorted. And don’t delay in leaving once it’s done, someone will surely come looking for what has caused this…uproar!

‪Bronan: Ok, no problem. Speak soon!

‪Bronan: (as I leave via another gate, I will pick up a some Street food for Faustus and Constance)

DM: Very easily done, soon bronan comes jogging across the hills with shwarma for all

‪Bronan: Here friends, Bronan bring shwarma, eat up! We must make it go bang, then run and come in another gate

Faustus: Thanks Bronan. Ok. Do we think this is far enough away for us to get clear of before any mounted guards come to investigate the explosion? I feel a fuse may be best, as Constance suggested.

Constance: Or if any of us has a candle

Constance: (Game of thrones this shit)

DM: Faustus you aren’t sure how big a bang it is going to be, and thus are not sure if you are far enough away

Faustus: Yeah I get that, but equally I want to be far away from the bang regardless of how big I think it will be because I think the sultan is going to send folk to investigate/worms are going to turn up.

DM: (general world knowledge wise, you’ve never heard of sand worms outside of rib gulch and those red grass plains)

‪Bronan: We 1.5 miles away, not sure how fast they could get here, but it didn’t take me too long to job here

‪Bronan: Jog*

Constance: Well what’s our exit strategy?

Faustus: Well short of making some sort of makeshift fuse (out of what? Old clothes?) we would have to through a flaming javelin then just run.  Try and go around the city to a different gate?

Constance: Let’s Apollo 13 this shit

Constance: I have torches and oil and a tinderbox

DM: Ha. Okay. So you are trying to make some sort of slow burning fuse? Describe it, please

Constance: Well I’m trying to work out if what materials we have.

‪Bronan: Not much really, we no have rope

Constance: I also have some bandages in my healers kit

Faustus: Oh I’ve got rope

Constance: Soak them in oil, soak the barrel in oil

Faustus: Realised I have explorers pack and that comes with it.

Constance: Two of us get as far away as possible

DM: The top edge of the barrel is leaking a tiiiiiiiny bit if you remember

Constance: The other lights it and legs it

DM: It’s 50ft rope each I think?

Constance: Split up and meet back somewhere

‪Bronan: Meet back at tavern where we stay?

Constance: Sure

DM: Okay.

DM: So what is your final plan? 50ft of rope and oil?

Faustus: I think so?

Faustus: Light it and run, once we hear the explosion we head around the city so we don’t run straight back around into the same gate or bump into anyone.

Constance: (DM ruling question, if I use step of the wind to use dash as a bonus action can I also use dash as an action? If so how far would I be able to get in 6 seconds of my base movement is 35ft?)

DM: (by my understanding that would mean you can move 105ft…

DM: (let’s allow it)

Constance: (Hooray)

Constance: Ok. If you two head back towards town, I’ll light the fuse, bail as quickly as I can and head to the north gate, then come meet you at the inn (I forget what it’s called)

Constance: Also, how long do we reckon it takes for 50ft of oil soaked rope to burn?

DM: I’d say 6 seconds…

DM: Ha

DM: The inn where you have rooms is called the Sand Spire

Constance: Lol. Fine.

DM: (oh and I’ll let you have lighting the rope as a free action

Constance: Nice

DM: So 50 ft of rope soaked in oil leading from the barrel to Constance. How far away are faustus and bronan?

Faustus: I think we head back first before he lights it, so either back at the town or nearly back.

DM: Okay. Constance, you are alone in the dark. This far from other lights, the seams of the barrel are almost glowing. You are I presume tense, ready to sprint, a lit taper in your hand?

Constance: Yeah I’m going to use my tinder box to light a torch and then get ready to bail as quickly as possible and duck behind something if there is a rock or something nearby

Faustus: I ask Bronan which gate he used before, then we head to another gate that isn’t the south one either.

DM: Right

DM: Bronan and faustus are approaching the south east gate at the moment Constance lights the rope and starts running

DM: Constance, you are 50 ft from the barrel, and make it 200ft away before the barrel actually ignites

DM: A green column fire singes your back as you run, almost overtaking you, dreading at least 180ft in every direction, perhaps 300ft straight up in the sky

DM: Faustus and bronan, as the green light fades you see after images- horned and winged shapes? Shadows within shadows, in the remnants of the glow

DM: Constance, you are deafened and prone, in the dirt, and have taken 4 force damage from the blast


Come back next Monday for Chapter 23 of The Cursed Tomb!


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