Veil of Whispers 9: Giant Spiders with Chainsaws for Legs

Posted on Mar 17, 2024 in Tales from the Table. Last updated on Mar 22, 2024.
Part of a series called Veil of Whispers.

The party hunts for phylacteries. It does not go well.

Date: March 16, 2024

Characters present:

Character level: 5/6

The sending stone Monty had stolen from the skeleton general was no ordinary sending stone. It was more like an actual phone that one could use to have an entire conversation. The person on the other end was no one less than Valdemar the lich. When asked whom he was speaking to, the party introduced themselves as Harry, Ron, and Hermione. They continued to use these names for the rest of the session. He offered the party incredible wealth—titles, land, castles—in exchange for leaving him the hell alone. They’d already been promised all that by King Duskrim, so they turned him down. Valdemar let it slip that he could sense when they were attacking his phylacteries—the skeleton general had been one, as it turned out. He had another general-turned-phylactery that his three musketeers were going to pick up. After that, the offer of wealth would expire. They didn’t care. Monty also asked why he’d picked that statue in the Feywild for one of his phylacteries. Valdemar responded that it was a statue of a fellow named Montgomery; a brave hero who saved the world long ago. Monty figured this meant he would time travel and save the world—possibly from Valdemar himself. This did not end up happening.1

Due to some miscommunication, the party followed the skeleton army once more, thinking that the musketeers were with them. Instead, the party ran into a group of scouts from Baldur’s Gate who set them on the right path. They informed the party that many years ago, the greasard fought Valdemar and sealed away his power. With the greasards death, Valdemar lived once more. He’s back! The dark lord is back! They also told them that the other general was a beholder—one of them there many-eyed ugly floating heads that disintegrate people—who was apparently located in the east. The DM considered this an adequate lead. The group figured that simply heading in a cardinal direction wasn’t quite enough to find someone, so they headed for the other known horcrux phylactery; the giant stone statue of Monty in the Feywild.

Goudar Briebeard knew how to get there, so they headed for Emberfall to talk to him. He’d been robbed and had no cheese left. Probably an attempt of the DM to make us stop buying overpowered magical cheese. Goudar told them they needed to talk to Ethos in the basement of the tavern across the street and she’d help them get to the Feywild in exchange for cheese or magic items. Monty remembered that he didn’t have a magic weapon and couldn’t hurt the statue, so the gang went to find a magic store. They found one and stocked up on magical items, weapons, and armor. Monty got himself a dragon wing-shaped bow that fired magical flaming arrows.

They headed for the tavern basement. Nobody stopped them. Inside was a tiny mushroom that grew to the size of a human when the party disturbed it. The mushroom also had a face and arms and introduced itself as Ethos. Cut gave it a mushroom she’d bought from Goudar and was immediately teleported to the Feywild. Unfortunately, the cheese had been of the exploding variety, and suddenly Ethos was no more. Monty and Theelf found some more mushrooms, which they arranged in a circle for no other reason than that the DM hinted that they should do so. Stepping into the circle, they too were taken to the Feywild.

Monty knew his way around the enchanted forest and led the party to the little village they’d found earlier. Then they followed the tracks left behind by the statue, finding him running in circles deep within the woods. Monty called up Valdemar using the stone and asked “Hey, can you feel this?” after which the party smashed the statue to bits with their new magical gear. Valdemar was enraged, but there was little he could do.

The group headed back to the village to find the catapult to bring them back to the material plane. In the village, they found a haunted house attraction that they hadn’t noticed before. There was a nondescript dude in front of it who asked them what their greatest fears were. “Giant spiders with chainsaws for legs,” answered Monty. “Beautiful women,” was Cut’s somewhat confusing answer. Theelf remained quiet. The guy explained that the haunted house would let them confront these fears. Monty quickly changed his answer to “huge piles of gold”. Cut thought some more and figured that she was probably also more afraid of giant spiders with chainsaws for legs than beautiful women. She volunteered to head inside.

The haunted house was really just a single room with a mirror. As Cut peered into it, giant spiders with chainsaws for legs began attacking her reflection. She didn’t react. When she stepped outside, the DM informed us that she’d get advantage on rolls against spiders. Even ones without chainsaw legs. After that somewhat underwhelming experience, it was midnight, and the party headed back home using the catapult once more. This time they landed in Stormhaven.

With few leads to go on, the party decided to just head east and look for a beholder. After a quick visit to the zoo,2 they stole an airship from Stormhaven once more. There were more guards in the hangar this time, so Cut and Theelf headed outside the city walls while Monty dive-bombed one of the ships from a great height. There were no guards in the air, after all. He flew the ship out of the city and threw down some rope for the others to climb up. Two other ships were chasing them. Fortunately, they’d taken a ship with cannons this time. A battle ensued, with Monty sharpshooting the captains of both ships while Cut manned the cannons. Theelf spent most of the fight trying to climb up the rope. The party was victorious, sinking one ship and taking over the other. They headed east.

In the east, they found a beholder flying around. How about that, eh? It had three cats riding on its head. They were the three mus-cat-eers. Their names were all puns on famous philosophers, which were so bad that I’ve repressed the memory of ever hearing them. The party unloaded a barrage of cannon fire at the beholder and his cats. Then arrows and javelins. Cut sent The String—Rosa’s pet flying snake, who had been adopted by Cut for some reason—flying toward the beholder. The beholder hit him with a death ray. You can guess what that does. Monty ate his final speed cheese and fired off a gazillion arrows. Theelf drank his potion of invulnerability and popped in and out of cover to fire his crossbow. Cut was targeted by a metric crapload of eye rays, eventually failing her saves against fear and telekinesis, the latter of which sent her falling off the ship. Thanks to relentless endurance, she stayed up with a single hit point. Monty was avoiding the eye rays by staying inside the ship between his attacks. The beholder ate through the side of the ship3 to get a view of him, but Monty just flew out and around to the other side of the ship. The beholder started destroying the ships with his eye rays, and they both exploded, killing the cats.

Theelf fell. Cut tried to catch him but was knocked unconscious by the impact. Theelf was still kicking, having survived solely due to his potion. With no ships to take cover behind, Monty flew as fast as he could to escape the range of the beholder’s eye rays, firing arrows all the while. Throughout two rounds, being hasted, he fired six arrows at the beholder, who I’m told had thirteen hit points remaining. With plus eleven to hit against eighteen armor class, I needed a minimum of seven to hit him. I did not roll higher than six for any of the six attacks. The odds of this happening are just about zero. Thus, we were fucked. Monty was hit with a sleep ray just before he could get out of range, sending him plummeting two hundred feet to the ground below. The beholder was flying down toward the ground, and Theelf hit him with a crossbow bolt. Eleven damage. Two to go.

Cut got a natural one on her first death saving throw, giving her two failures. Not off to a great start. I let her have my inspiration point for her second roll, which was also a one. Spending the inspiration to reroll, she got a fifteen. Her third was also a one, and that was the end of Cut. I should’ve kept the inspiration because Monty didn’t make his saves either. Theelf tried to run away but was hit with a sleep ray followed by a death ray. He didn’t even get to roll his death saves, that’s how dead he was.

There we were, all our characters dead. I guess RNGsus just didn’t want us to make it. Moral of the story; don’t fight a beholder at level 6. Even with cannons. And in the future, I think I will insist that if we’re doing a joke campaign, we’ll keep it short. Jokes don’t get funnier the more you tell them. With that said, this is not the end of the campaign. The plan is to start anew, twenty years later, with level ten characters. Seems cool, but it sounded like they’re going on the exact same quest. Guess we’ll see. Anyway, time to roll up a boss slayer.

I don’t think haphazardly throwing a legendary monster like a beholder at the party does it justice. I like to think I did a little better.

  1. DM Pro TipĀ®: if you’re gonna use time travel, do it to the future only. The past doesn’t work unless you’re in control of the player characters. And if you are, you’re not playing an RPG. ↩︎

  2. Rosa had previously wanted to look at exotic animals and had been told there was no zoo in whatever city they were in at the time, but there was one in Stormhaven. ↩︎

  3. Oh come on, it can’t do that! I also made the mistake of suggesting that the DM flavor it as the beholder using his disintegration ray on a section of the ship. He took that idea and ran with it, deciding that it could spend its eye ray attacks to disintegrate the ship, which is how he was able to destroy both of the ships in a few rounds. ↩︎