Dungeons & Dragons Online

Creative use of Staff of the Python (Tomb of Annihilation spoilers)

be me, DM, running Tomb of Annihilation (SPOILERS BELOW)

be my players

A few sessions back, I added a randomly generated dungeon hoard from donjon that included a staff of the python (basically its a stick that the PC can turn into a snake on command)

Originally PCs were going to use it to bargain with the Yuan-ti evil snake people, but that plan never came to fruition

Cut to last session. Players are in the end dungeon, The Tomb of the Nine Gods

End dungeon is full of puzzles and traps and various other bullshit.

PCs come across a giant stone skull carved into the wall. The mouth is wide open, with a tunnel big enough for a Medium sized creature to crawl through. Two flames are lit, one in each eye socket.

Needless to say, its a trap. Every time a creature moves through the tunnel, one of the flames are extinguished. After both flames are extinguished, whatever creature moves through the tunnel next, the stone skull jaws clamp down on them for heavy damage and grappling them.

Beyond the tunnel is a room with a sarcophagus inside. There is a pedestal with a crystal box on top of it, but they can't see whats inside the box.


Bard tries to Mage Hand the crystal box. Too heavy to be picked up.

Paladin uses Divine Sense to see if there's any fiends or undead in the chamber.

Me "You detect thousands of tiny undead within the chamber"

Monk crawls through the tunnel. The flame in the stone skull's left eye socket is snuffed out.

Cleric player "hey I have an idea"

She wants to turn the Staff of the Python into a giant constrictor snake, have it crawl through the tunnel next, and see what happens.

Another player starts to rules lawyer that giant constrictor snakes, being Huge sized, can't crawl though a Medium sized hole (RAW creatures can squeeze through a space one size smaller than them)

I rule that "while the snake is Huge sized, snakes are basically thin tubes. It can crawl through a Medium sized hole"

quick Google-fu shows that the largest anaconda was 44 inches in diameter, so basically Medium sized where it matters for this circumstance.

My opinion on RAW that doesn't make sense: "I recognize that the Council has made a decision. But given that it’s a stupid-ass decision, I’ve elected to ignore it."

Cleric sends the snake through the tunnel.

Flame in right eye socket snuffs out.

Cleric commands snake to crawl back through tunnel towards them. Snake does.

Flame in left eye socket reignites.

Cleric devises second plan.

Cleric sends the snake in through the tunnel. Commands it to turn into a staff. Bard mage hands the staff through the tunnel (which doesn't reignite the flames). Cleric turns staff back into snake and sends it through again. Repeat.

On the third time of this shenanigans, jaws shut down on snake, taking it to half health.

while all this snake shenanigans are going on, the monk is in the chamber with the sarcophagus and the crystal skull…er I mean box

Indeed inside the crystal box is the skull of a 10 year old girl.

Yes I slipped up verbally in describing what's in the box

The spirit of the girl telepathically communicates with monk. "Where am I? Why can't I see? Where is my father? Did he send you to find me?"

Using the snake plan, Cleric and Paladin join the Monk in the chamber. Outside are Bard and Fighter.

Cleric is walking around the chamber, and she passes a crack in the wall.

In the walls are cracks that lead to warrens for swarms of undead spiders

Me "Remember that scene in Temple of Doom with the bugs? yeah"

Undead spiders attack

Roll for initiative.exe

Cleric decides to use Turn/Destroy Undead

She wipes out most of the spider swarms, but also aggros the skull of the little girl, who is statted out as a Flameskull

Girl's skull ignites, but fails its Wisdom saving throw


Flameskull is Turned, but its still trapped in the crystal box

Me "What happens with turn undead?" players "The undead have to move as far away from the cleric as possible for one minute. No re-roll Wisdom saving throws"


Me "The flameskull spends its turn trying to move away. It bumps into the side of the crystal box. The box moves ever so slightly"

Players "Yeah lets just see what's in this sarcophagus"

They remove the lid from it

Inside is…a staff of the python.

So now they have TWO staffs of the pythons to fuck around with


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