The cultist killing hijinks of a cook, a cat, and a kobold.

“Oh gods! They’re all dead” you hear echo down the hallway. Tender says “Um maybe that’s a post-meal figure of speech?” We follow the noise and find 40 dead cultists

1 point

Our D&D party consists of a Lawful Neutral Warforged Monk called Cookie who is a chef and due to his programming holds food to be sacred (like Sanji from One Piece), a Chaotic Good Tabaxi Ranger called Neko who has to be cautious as Tabaxi are prized for their pelts and myself a True Neutral seven year old Kobold Fighter called Tender – who treasures his friends (who he makes very quickly) but doesn’t care about anyone else. We are all level one and our first session, like all good adventures, begins at a Tavern. It was called the Pointless Banjo, run by an Orc called Lexi, in a border town called Dawnmire. We had joined together on the road and it’s now a brand new day. So like any responsible adults we got a few breakfast drinks and I climbed up onto her bar to drink mine and talk to my new friend Lexi, scratching the wood and annoying Lexi.

We set out to explore but couldn’t get into the city as it was on lockdown due children going missing and recent cult activity. Although to be fair it may have also been down to a fair dose of racism. So we went away, in a bit of a huff, out into the farmlands to see if we can find out anything about the missing children as Lexi showed us a notice board stating a reward for any information on them. As we walk down the road chatting, we start to see smoke at a distant farmstead. Rushing over we find a farm on fire and four skeletons and a robed figure walking away. We leap into action, Neko firing arrows, Cookie bashing in skeleton skulls with his trusty Frying Pan and Tender soaking up the damage whilst trying to hit something with his massive Maul. Although it was a hard fight, we slay the group and find a note on the robed figure, a cultist that said “kill the furry one first.” After a couple of minutes, the cultist actually turns into dust, and that dust flies off toward the mountains to the north.

More than a little confused, we check up on the farmstead and find an old lady grieving over her murdered husband. After spending a little while failing to comfort her, and finding out that they do not have children, we set off to explore more. We decided that it might be a good idea for the farmsteads to band together, if cultists were raiding like this and they couldn’t get into the city. As we approached another farmstead, crows started circling us, squawking angrily, unnerved we continued cautiously. A figure in ramshackle armour approached, some crows landing on him and walking scarecrows flanking him and us… a new friend!

When we dropped our weapons (which took a few minutes for Tender as he is a walking armoury), the crows and hay golems backed off and we then warned the somewhat enigmatic farmer who had clearly taken protection into his own hands. He refused to give a name, so I simply called him “No”, but he was amenable to taking the other farmers under his protection and gave Tender a placebo healing potion.

Still curious about the ‘dustified’ cultist we decided to head north to the mountains, there were horse tracks everywhere. Shirking the roads, we walked cross country and stopped to hide more than once from cloaked figures on skeletal horses – more cultists. We were close but it had taken eight hours to travel through the country and it was getting dark, so after a surprisingly good survival check from Tender (19+1) we found a shelter in an obscured bluff to rest. Cookie uncharacteristically burnt his meal, and we bedded down for the night.

In the morning, we approached the mountain and spied a large cave, though as we approached, heavy hoofbeats were heard and a skeletal horse charged the group – Tender got trampled (going down to 2hp). But after that fright, between Hammer, Arrows and Frying Pan both horse and rider were slain. After nearly dying again, thankfully, blind optimism allowed the placebo potion to restore Tender back up to full. The horseman had a note saying “kill the little one,” I’m starting to sense a theme.

Inside the cave we found a large summoning circle that we avoided, and three trapped doors. Now none of us are any good at disarming traps, but thankfully I have a plan. Tender gets his friends to back right up, which knowing the little ball of chaos, they quickly do. Tender ties all three doors together with a long rope and stands 50ft away in the entrance… and pulls really hard opening all 3 doors at once resulting in all the traps going off at once. 

I roll high on my Athletics to pull the rope, but as I do a large lion head suddenly appears in the chalked out circle, it opens up its mouth and… Boom! The explosion from the traps rocks the cavern, and one of the three doors that are blown off their hinges smashes into the back of the figures head (the DM later let me know that all three explosions and the door ended up dealing 90 damage to it). Much further away, and passing my Dex save, I just get blown off my feet, taking eleven damage (down to 1hp).

Suddenly a ten-foot tall robed figure teleports out of the cave, and he is pissed! He starts ranting in Infernal (Neko knows Infernal, I know, kitty got a past) about how they only need a few more child sacrifices to be finished and complaining about us blowing up the entrance, but before we let him finish monologuing, we decide to run. Neko, a Tabaxi, managed to get 160ft. With her feline athletics and Cookie only gets 60ft. Tender gets much less distance as he decides to throw (and miss) with an axe… he also only has little legs.

As Cookie runs, the skeletal mage materialises right in front of him, points at him and a ray of energy all but kills him. Neko stops and turns back firing arrows as she runs, and Tender limps after them trying to catch up. Another ray hits Neko this time and now all three of us were almost dead. I miss again, Cookie scores a hit with a throwing dart, and Neko hits it with an arrow – the figure disappears and we scarper. Running back to get a long rest at the bluff. We finish the session and level up.

Session two… well now we know where the cult hangs out and that they are sacrificing children. And technically we knew the bounty board said about the children, the reward was 180g, so we decided rather than risk going back anywhere near the cave, we decided to get our money and bounce!

So we stealthily travelled back to Byport and then approached the guards. Tender, in typical upbeat voice said: “Hello friends, we found where the children are and blew up the headquarters of the cult… so can we get that bounty”… the guards were sceptical, but decided to escort us to the Ministry of Misinformation to tell our story, and maybe get a reward. The citizens of the city shied away from the guards, and stared at our miss-matched party. Meanwhile, I enthusiastically told the guards all about my previous valiant adventures – I met a talking dog! (Another story from a different campaign.)

The Ministry was a huge gothic building with marble floors and pillars – which Tender’s clawed feet made little scratches on. A rather unfriendly figure interviewed us at the Ministry, and said that we’d get the reward provided we go with our guard escort and they find that we are telling the truth about killing cultists and skeletons, a skeletal horse, a cave in the mountains that we blew up the entrance to and the kidnapped children (again doubting us)… and if we are lying, to kill is instead. Yikes, talk about a bad host. Not given much choice we agree.

The guards mounted up, and we were back off toward the mountain – a bit more confident now that we had an armed escort. Our first stop along the way proved the first part of our tale – a small mountain of bones from the skeletons (Tender had stacked them up in a pyramid) – “oh yeah, I killed them” I boast and the guards gave me, a 3 foot tall Kobold, looks of newfound respect (and a little bit of concern).

Travelling much faster to the mountain now that we rode in force, we find the scorch-marked cave entrance and a door embedded in solid rock (the other two back in place). Now the guards start to actively keep their distance from the chipper Kobold. The guards gestured that we ought to go first, and they hold well back following at a distance. Still concerned about the circle on the ground, we edge around it and go through the only open door (other two closed and trapped again). Delving into the warren of tunnels, we start tracking drag marks deeper and deeper. Neko and Cookie were starting to get pissed and snarky with the guards who were holding well back and sending us ahead, but kept quiet as we were starting to hear chanting up ahead. 

Sneaking up and peering into a circular cavern, we saw six skeletons and three cultists who were chanting around another larger summoning circle. A Skeleton was dragging over a petrified child (from a cage full of them) over to the circle and an arrow whistled across the room into its head fired by neko as we sprang into action. Cookie smashing skeletons with his trusty frying pan (good ol’ bludgeoning damage). Tender was generally more distracting than competent, but soaked up a lot of damage.

Whilst Neko swore at the knights who weren’t helping at all just hanging back at the entrance. With some potions we’d looted from a storeroom earlier, we managed to scrape through the fight, and start to free the children. Neko rolled high and broke the lock open and we started rushing the children out – who were looking at us in awe.

Suddenly a massive lion head with horns burst into existence in the circle, which only made us move faster. But when it looked at the lead guard, his eyes glazed over and he starting walking into the ritual circle. When he crossed the threshold, he started saying in Infernal that that the head wasn’t real (I know right, who doesn’t speak infernal in this weird ass town) and then suddenly the world went black. Next thing we know we are waking up back in the Pointless Banjo.

What’s worse, is that Lexi (the Orc Barkeep) has no idea who we are. Additionally, it seems that we have gone back in time two days and all the stuff we’d picked up is gone. Well that’s new, and we may need some answers before going back that – perhaps the mage guild in the city could tell us more. We have to figure out a way in to the Byport though in order to do that. Before that though, Neko was wondering if we could save the farmer that died last time, so we set off to do just that. A level stronger, and with the added benefit of foreknowledge, we managed to take down the skeletons easily and even managed to take the cultist captive. However before we could extract any information he started frothing at the mouth, and died.

We shouted out to the couple who had locked themselves inside that it was safe now. Bacon was starting to burn in the kitchen, and so we ate some nice crispy bacon, we searched the cultists for some information and found a strange mark on his forehead Neko and cookie thought if we could take the mark with us we would have proof about the cultists but due to some bad dex checks Neko and cookie only managed to butcher the cultists face and then I got Cookie to cut me some nice cultist rump steak – which he cooked up for me  – much to the horror of the traumatised farmers who went to “No’s house” under our recommendation.

It took us a few hours to stealthy edge around the outskirts of the city… well as stealthy as a 30lb. Kobold in heavy armour carrying 120lbs of equipment can be. Cookie had the idea that because this is a port city, we may be able to sneak in at the water side. However, on the way we faced our greatest enemy yet… A river blocking our path – Neko didn’t want to get wet and Tender would sink like a stone… I reluctantly say: “I cannot jump the distance, you’ll have to toss me.” So Tender ready’s himself up for a long-jump and Cookie limbers himself up for helping hand/ foot. I roll a 16 for athletics and Cookie a 24 on a roll to hit, as he kicked me, maybe Tender’s high grating voice was beginning to get to the mechanical cook.

I flew over the 20ft. river, taking 8 damage from the ground and kick. Neko then clung to Cookie’s shoulders hissing as he waded deeper and deeper into the river – actually fully submerging (the water coming up to Neko’s waist), thankfully Cookie doesn’t need to breathe. And a grumpy Neko shook her fur dry.

We got to a few shops and buildings on the waterfront, outside the city wall. Unfortunately, there was no clear route into the city, and even the sewer had metal bars over it – the city was closed right up. We popped into an alchemist shop as Neko wanted to buy some potions but the alchemist just kept asking her where her owner was and what was a slave doing walking around on her own Neko was furious and angrily said sod him he wouldn’t get any gold/business from her, the shopkeeper told Cookie, “I’m happy to pay you a good price for the cat’s fur if she meets an untimely end” and so Cookie follows a furious Neko out the shop as she was upset at being spoken to like that, Tender clambered up onto the counter, “you insult my friend again… and I’ll skin you” I rolled Intimidation, 7 and the DM informs me “He thinks you’re cute.” Before I can do anything else, Cookie also drags me out the shop – giving the shop keep a bit of animatronic stink eye.

Neko and I back off to the outskirts, as night begins to fall, whilst Cookie jumps into the water and “pirates of the Caribbeans himself into the city.” Rolling excellently for stealth he explores the city, avoiding guards and learning the lay of the district next to the wall. Cookie spies a hooded figure also skulking through the streets and tracks the assumed thief to a warehouse attached to the city wall. Parkouring himself up to the second story balcony, he spies on a few hooded figures stashing a few boxes in a hidden tunnel that appears to go under the wall.

Waiting an hour or so until they were gone, Cookie then crawled through the tunnel, finding himself back in the alchemist’s shop. Cookie pockets the key on the inside of the door, and makes his way out to his allies on the outskirts. For the last three hours Tender has been recalling poems about Surtur, the God of Fire Giants (Nat 20 on performance) to a long-suffering Neko, who is not a fan of poetry. Unsurprisingly, she is therefore relieved when she sees Cookie return, as he sneaks up on and makes Tender jump. We make our way into the shop, engage in a bit of light-hearted trashing in the form of Neko scratching the word asshole onto the alchemist’s desk with her claws, and make our way through the tunnel into the city, as we end session two.

Session three begins, and it’s time to break into a city, and yet the very first thing we do is set off the bell above the warehouse door (Cookie had come in through the second story and none of us spotted it). We stop and listen, it’s quiet so we carry on, and start walking the streets trying to avoid guard patrols, to find a place to lay low. There are a couple of warehouses that Cookie passed that he was being a metallic ninja last time, so we head that way. Cookie decides to open the front door and our DM says “…umm just like that, are you sure?” Cookie replies “…yes”, boom! As the trap goes off and we hear guards start zeroing in on our location.

We flounder for a second, and Tender starts to try climbing the warehouse, I get about six foot up (seven on athletics) before Tender scoops me up and we run off. We roll well for both athletics and stealth to escape, well they do, Tender is still cargo at this point. Tender, thoroughly enjoying this, suggests we try again, but gets outvoted as we return to the thief’s warehouse. Cookie parkour’s his way up again and holds the bell as we let ourselves back in.

Not wanting to just give up and get nothing for our efforts, we have a look around the warehouse and, after a twenty in investigation, found a false-bottom in one of the crates full of mysterious potions. They smell like almonds, and as we have no idea what they are, Cookie and Neko wisely put them back. Tender is not so restrained, and immediately drinks one to see what it did, then our DM describes how I foam at the mouth… and die.

Cut to black, we wake up back at the Pointless Banjo, now sure that we are caught in a time-loop. “No consequences” Tender exclaims, happy to be alive again. After arguing for a bit about what to do, we decide to go save the farmer again at least, maybe killing some cultists would clear our heads and then we’ll take it from there. We save the farmer again, but the cultist dies foamy mouthed and smelling slightly of almonds. The couple fed us bacon again.  and even offered to help us into the city but we decided to see if we could save the children this time instead.

We do the eight hour trip to the mountain again, but this time sneak around the side, to see if we can find where all these undead horses are coming from. We found tracks to the left of the now-intact again front entrance, and about an hour in that direction – we saw undead horses coming in and out of a patch of seemingly-solid stone. We wait and then see if we can make it inside.

Neko’s decides to investigate tracks seemingly leading strait into a wall and her hand goes straight through the stone and she, thankfully with dark vision, makes her way into a cavern where she spots a guard and quickly takes him out with a nat 20 crit, she quickly grabs his mouth and cuts their throat then drags the body to hide it Tender has to guide Cookie by the calf, as Cookie doesn’t have dark vision. We stalk through the cave neko scouting ahead and sees a guard leaving a room to another one and hearing running water realises its a toilet she waits in stealth and when the cultist exits the cubical, his pants still around his ankles takes him out and hides his body in the toilet cubicle we carry on down the hall and smell cooking meat. We managed to loot a few almond smelling potions along the way from the guards Neko took out, “don’t drink those” Tender sagely adds. Heading deeper we find the kitchen the smell has been coming from and Cookie and Neko want to try the potions out. Thus, after dipping a dart and arrow in the concoction, they synchronise attacks on two out of three cooks whilst I run in to tackle the third to the ground and hold his mouth open (in case he has poison in his mouth). The other two cooks died instantly from high damage rolls, so we don’t know if the poison worked or not. Neko hides the bodys in some cupboards as we check the survivor’s mouth, and nothing, it probably makes sense for cooks to not have poison on them.

Neko hogties and gags our hostage and throws him into the Pantry, then shuts the door and returns to cookie who dusts his hands off, “can’t let all this food go to waste” he said Neko gives a brief panicked look “Seriously? We are in the middle of a cultist lair!” But she knows Cookie has to finish off the food, and relents – agreeing to move on once the food is prepared… “Wait, she exclaims where is Tender?”

Meanwhile, I’ve snuck into the pantry, I get right up close to the surviving cook’s face and lightly slap him… then when he doesn’t stir… a little less lightly. He wakes up and screams impotently into the gag for a little while whilst Tender waits. Tender then says “Hey friend, I’m going to take the gag off in a second but don’t scream again, or ummm, you’ll lose a finger.” DM: Okay roll for intimidation with advantage… “Uhhh seven, hahahaha.” DM: “Okay the cook thinks you’re the cute pet, but is keeping an eye out for the real dangers.” Tender takes the gag out, and at this point Cookie opens the door, and stares daggers at the cook before grabbing some rosemary (Intimidation 19). Tender, none the wiser, sees him scream again and stuff the gag back in, waits, and then takes it out again (feeling proud of how intimidating he clearly is). Then the little Kobold asks how many they normally cook for, “Uh sixty in the day, but it’s the night shift at the moment… please don’t kill me!” “Insight please… and uh four” I say. DM: “You have no idea if he is telling the truth or not.” Tender therefore says, “I have no idea if you are telling the truth or not… but I trust you… so are you a cultist?” 

Neko bursts in seeing the little kobold talking to the tied up cook she quickly berates the kobold and threatens the cook and checks him over for any marks on his forehead seeing none and knowing he is probably just a cook bluffs that if he doesn’t tell the kobold everything she will kill him then leaves rolling high on intimidation in combination with the previous glaire from cookie it is established that the chef is paid and transported here each week for his shifts blindfolded, he thought it was a good gig, until we turned up. Tender, having made a new friend, and apologising for killing the chef’s old ones, gives him a knife to cut himself free… which being hogtied, should take a while, and comes back out.

Neko asks what I learnt and I suggest we poison the food, which is quickly shut down as “food is sacred”… it is made real clear by Cookie that doing that would earn his wrath. Cookie then finishes up the prep and forces Neko and Tender to eat… then, reluctant to let it go to waste, wants to leave it prepped for the cultists. I inform the DM that I want to make a slight of hand check to poison the food with the poison vial that I have (which is clearly arsenic) … 21 vs perception of 17. Whilst Neko goes and releases the poor traumatised chef properly. Tender is then very insistent that we have to get out of here, before anybody comes So Cookie throws a pan at the gong to signal lunch and we leg it back to the toilets to hide.

DM “You hear lots of movement outside, as lanterns are lit and people mingle, someone calls out to someone called Anthony nearby”… Cookie “I uhh pretend to be having a hard time with a bowel movement” DM: “That’ll be performance.” Then, despite Cookie not being great at that, he passes the DC and the figure moves on exclaiming “Well he sounds like he’ll be a while.” We wait a few minutes hearing the commotion die down before hearing some strange chanting… then a few minutes pass, and you hear clattering.

Tender, “hmm that’s strange, but not worth pondering on, let’s move on whilst they are all distracted yet?” Tender and Neko agree, but before we can get far. “Oh gods! They’re all dead” you hear echo down the hallway. Tender says “Umm maybe that’s a post-meal figure of speech?” We follow the noise and our DM describes how we come across the chef rocking in a corner and there is a pile of around forty dead cultists. Tender says “Wow… I wonder how that happened.” DM: Okay roll your deception. That’ll be an eleven which is lower than both of their passive Insights. “Did you poison my food?!?” Cookie exclaims whilst hoisting Tender up off the ground. Tender then responds “I uhh, umm, I uhh poisoned the cutlery” aaaand that’s a 19 deception vs 17 Insight. Cookie, pauses for a second, and then says “Well, I suppose that’s all right then.” Tender then loots the bodies (getting 60gp and a few keys). He also gives a key (that the chef recognises) and convinces him to leave now, and expresses the urgency enough, that even Cookie doesn’t feed him before he leaves.

Whilst Tender is looting, Cookie gathers up the rest of the food. “We can’t let this go to waste though, and I expect the children will be hungry” he explains as he puts the food on a cart and starts pushing it down the hallway. Tender follows nervously knowing the food is poisoned, but says nothing. Tender tries to subtly topple the cart along the way but fails, and so he attempts to persuade his ally’s that we can come back for the food when we have the children, but for now, the cart is hardly stealthy. They agree, and so we move on, finding our way back to familiar tunnels, and working towards the chamber with the children locked up. Neko scouts ahead and sees the cultists leaving, seemingly the gong also signals a change of guard, and there are only six skeletons guarding the children.

We lure the skeletons to where we are and dispatch them one by one, whilst trying to be stealthy, and keeping a cautious eye on the circle in the centre of the room, and then whilst none of the keys worked, managed to prize open the lock again. The children cheer (but we shush them), and then we guide out the awed children, whilst on the way back, Cookie explains that we have to go get the food. Tender manages to persuade the group, gesturing to the children, that Cookie can always cook more but we really need to get out of here before we are discovered…

And so, we manage to make our way out of the cave complex, and all the way back to the bluff where we set up camp, and finish our third session, with Tender telling the children a Norse poem as they go to sleep. We finished and the DM didn’t think we’d be able to save the children so soon and we levelled up to level 3. Thankfully, Cookie (or Neko) doesn’t know I poisoned the food, or nearly the children also.


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