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The heroes had just enough time to catch their breath before they heard another wave of enemies coming from around the corner.
Another of those dogmole juggernauts led the way, followed by another pack of gnolls. These were all wielding dragon rifles, and they began using them to very good effect on Thorzin Oakwood and Aendir Meliamne!
Mosquilius Kito led off with a well-placed fireball that softened up the monsters. But as the Punnishers moved in to deal with these foes, someone dropped a yellow cloud of stinking vapor at the feet of Mosquilius Kito. (No clue where it came from, since Chesh Briarthorn hadn’t had time to warn anyone else about the illusionary wall she’d seen earlier.)
The cloud of awful, nauseating mist completely obscured everything. Mosquilius Kito and Nethwen Nagel stumbled back into the big hall, while everyone else moved forward among the gnolls to get clear. The gnolls did not appreciate this at all, especially after their pet juggernaut dropped to the floor with a Brool-sized hole in its head. It didn’t take long to mop up after that.
Nethwen Nagel and Mosquilius Kito investigated the possibility of an invisible caster in the entry hall, but found nothing. They did hear the sound of a distant door slamming, however. The stinking cloud dissipated about that time, and the heroes looted a whole bunch of corpses before exploring on into new areas.
The gnolls’ room was a dead end (and an utter mess), so they moved on past the illusionary wall and into another huge hall. This one was entirely splattered with bright, wildly-clashing colors of paint. Behind some wooden screens in the corner they found a bedroom (loot recovered!) and continued exploring this level.
Next they found a chamber with spartan decoration – just a straw mat on the floor and paintings of famous wizards hanging on the walls. They did find a wizard’s spellbook there. Next was a seriously-locked door that stymied Yona‘s lockpicking attempts, but removing the door itself was successful (if loud and time-consuming). That bedchamber was nicely furnished but filthy – the occupant was an utter slob. Nobody felt bad about taking this person’s gold stash hidden under the bed.
They headed into the tunnels next, and discovered the cultists’ secret getaway exit ladder/secret door into the Sewers, then found a scum-filled pool of stagnant water. The pool was giving Nethwen Nagel bad vibes, but Mosquilius Kito wanted to be sure there wasn’t some kinda magical treasure hidden in there. There wasn’t, but the pool itself surged up and attempted to engulf the halfling entirely! Thankfully, Aendir Meliamne was hanging onto the warlock and physically threw him back away from the pool at the first sign of trouble. Nethwen Nagel suspected it was some kind of gelatinous ooze, but it didn’t seem to be able to chase them so they just backed away and left.
It was time to head down the stairs.
They descended into a huge, ancient courtyard. Nethwen Nagel explained to everyone that the current city of Ptolus wasn’t the first Ptolus. She’d heard tales from Delvers of the Buried City, and this appeared to be a section of that ruin. An intact round tower and wall blocked further progress, but Mosquilius Kito – wearing his magical, cult-symbol-covered robe – waltzed right through the door like he owned the place.
He surprised the occupant, a human woman in black leather, lazing on her bed and reading a book. She leapt up as he entered, and the little con man proceeded to spin her a jaw-dropping tale. [Chesh Briarthorn, hearing this from outside, quietly closed the door to let him work…
He claimed he was the Man In Charge, even higher than Wuntad. (She asked.) He was even convincing enough to allay her suspicions. He picked up a bottle of wine and a glass, deftly pouring and taking a sip before dumping in the philtre of love and handing her the glass. She missed the mickey and took a drink.
She fell for it… and for him. Gavele the cultist assassin started babbling all the secrets she could to her newfound love while he “suggested” they play some fun games together… with rope. And manacles. She was okay with this, too. There was a brief interruption when a quasit appeared and tried to sting him with its poisonous tail, but she shooed it away and it bailed through a crack in the wall.
After the assassin was properly hogtied, Mosquilius Kito reached for the door to invite everyone else in…
While the halfling was getting his groove on, everyone else stood around uncomfortably for a bit in the courtyard…
Until a pair of shadows appeared in their midst, and someone started taking pot shots at them from above.
That exchange didn’t last long; Aendir Meliamne and Thorzin Oakwood easily swatted down the shadows, and Nethwen Nagel landed an incredible thread-the-needle shot (in proper elf fashion) through the murder hole in the ceiling. Things got more interesting when Nethwen Nagel‘s sharp eyes spotted movement on the ceiling near the tower. A gigantic spider was huddled in the corner where the tower met the ceiling, but it didn’t appear to be doing anything except observing.
But when she tried to take a shot at it, Thorzin Oakwood suddenly cried out, “Don’t you hurt Mister Legs!” and threw his hands in her face to mess up the shot! Aendir Meliamne tried using a command spell to make the spider fall, but it instead retreated into a corner.
And while this was going on, a heavily-armored dwarf emerged from that murder hole and levitated down to attack the intruders, warhammer in hand.
Chesh Briarthorn and Yona Note dealt with the dwarf, while Thorzin Oakwood bear-hugged the paladin to keep him from attacking the spider. Aendir Meliamne, realizing his friend was under the influence of a spell, quickly dispelled magic on Thorzin Oakwood. Nethwen Nagel fired arrow after arrow into the arachnid foe, eventually killing it. The dwarf defender fared no better, quickly falling to the Punnishers…
Mosquilius Kito reached for the door and opened it just after the battle ended. “…What the??”
The heroes piled into the assassin’s living quarters. Mosquilius Kito asked her a few more questions, and we learned a few things.
- There are more gnolls nearby.
- The Tolling Bell cult is trying to organize all of the disparate cults into working together toward a common goal.
- The Cult of the Ebon Hand and the Tolling Bell cult are supposed to be working together on something big, but there has been a schism. They’ve begun fighting against each other. (Gavele plays both sides, not committing to either.)
- There is something called the Mrathrach Machine somewhere below.
- Gavele’s biggest assassination was the second-in-command of the Order of the Dawn.
Upon learning that last piece of information, Aendir Meliamne promptly beheaded the assassin.
Someone clambered up to investigate the wall crack the quasit had disappeared through, and discovered it was just a hole leading out of the tower into an as-yet unexplored open area. They plugged the hole.
A staircase led up to the tower’s upper level, a wrecked chamber with lots of rubble and spiderwebs EVERYWHERE.
The dwarf, the assassin, and the spider were all looted. Surprisingly, the spider wore a magical bone ring on one of its hand-like front appendages and it carried a pouch. Inside was an unfinished letter.
End of Session.
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