...so the party finished off the blood demons off camera, because we were playing at Tom's house instead of Ed's and didn't have the mat set up and the notes about how damaged each monster was or anything. They'd already mostly won the fight, and it was pretty irrelevant how much trouble they had finishing off the last few because they were taking an extended rest right afterwards, since they'd been warned about the dragon.
They picked an isolated, useless room large enough for all of them to fight in if they needed to, and spent the night in peace -- nothing stopped by that cared enough to open the door and look inside.
In the morning, they all drank from the 'resist poison' pool in the pool room, and then split up to activate the four glyph rings using the items they'd retrieved from the various hiding places. Bore stayed near the middle where he could be heard by everyone if he shouted, telling them when to place the items, and watching for the dragon to appear. As expected, the dragon appeared out of the pit in the center. What they didn't count on was the traps that activated in each of the outer rooms, or the DOOMSPHERE.
Vexx, in the prison, was assaulted by the chained skeletons coming to life and trying to grab him. In the pool room, Morgan was attached by a sudden vortex of water from the 'nonmagical' pool. In the room full of rubble and statues, Sam suddenly saw a pair of animated ballistas drop from the ceiling. And in the altar-and-bloodstain room, two statues came to life near Riya and howled.
Between those rooms and the dragon in the center was a circular hallway -- the circuit around which the DOOMSPHERE travelled at breakneck speed! Luckily for Bore, he was directly on the opposite side of the hall from where the doomsphere appeared, so he had time to dive into the doorway to fight the dragon -- thanks to Morgan running up and blocking the door to keep the dragon from keeping him in the hallway. The two of them fought the dragon in close combat as the doomsphere rushed past inches from their backs, and Sam tried to support them with a Bigby's Chilling Hand, although the hand never actually managed to grab or chill anything.
Riya, meanwhile, was terrified by the statues in her room and driven out into the hallway, but the timing was just right for her not to get splatted, and she managed to come into the dragon room through the back way, and send her familiar across the room to blast it from behind.
The dragon didn't like having the whole party focusing fire on him and ignoring the wonderful but immobile traps in the outer room, so he flew across the room to Riya's door. Sam and Morgan had been poisoned by his breath and couldn't follow... and Vexx was still fighting his way through the grabby skeletons. Bore kept the dragon marked using a thrown hammer, but the dragon just ignored the mark since Bore couldn't get into melee either, and instead tried to charm Riya into jumping into the pit he'd come out of -- unsuccessfully, thankfully.
But he stayed in the door a bit too long, and Bore managed to run up to him and Tide of Iron him back into the hallway just in time for the doomsphere to roll past and skewer him. Unfortunately, this failed to utterly doom the dragon, although it did do a bunch of damage. The dragon roared to stun Bore and Vexx (who'd finally gotten out of the skeleton room and spent two turns running to catch up to the dragon, without being able to attack) and followed the doomsphere around on its track, as if daring the party to follow.
They did't take the bait -- they ran through the safer center room, and pelted the dragon to death when it arrived at the other end. It had really been on its last legs after the doomsphere hit it.
A few rounds after the dragon was dead, the door to the central chamber finally opened, revealing a mist-filled tunnel. It wasn't clear if the mist actually did anything -- it didn't do anything that anyone noticed. But the test was complete! They'd proven themselves worthy... of worshipping Baphomet. Yay.
The inner sanctuary was full of a terrifying array of villany -- a giant ape demon, three smaller carnage demons, a giant minotaur skeleton, and the gnoll high priest, who was busy casting a ritual to sacrifice the two remaining slaves in order to rededicate the temple to Yeenoghu. What luck, that after the party spent two days resting between challenges, he *still* hadn't finished!
Morgan rushed into the middle of the room to draw the enemies' fire, as if he had some kind of deathwish -- and was smacked around, knocked down, and levitated up in the air, immobile. But not dead. Riya rushed into the room to breath lightning on various demons, as if she had a deathwish, but it was actually just a ploy to activate her cape of the mountebanc. So of course no one actually managed to hit her.
She used her thunder-leap spell to get past the enemies instead, and after getting whacked by the gnoll priest's spiky tail (wtf?) retreated to the very back of the room with the cape's teleport, and rescued the prisoners -- ruining the ritual. Go go suicidal sorceror squad!
By the time she'd done all that, the rest of the party had killed both the large ape demon and the large minotaur skeleton, mostly ignoring the carnage demons who swarmed around and bit peoples' ankles, and by 'people' I mostly mean 'Morgan', who got healed a few times but was still down to single digit hit points. Vexx and Bore broke loose of the melee and charged the gnoll priest, and then...
...all the enemies exploded.
GM: "You think that the gods were displeased with the way the fight was going, and detonated them remotely."
Me: "Because we stopped the ritual?"
GM: "Yeah, okay, that works."
The exploding enemies didn't manage to actually kill anyone -- not even Morgan. They also didn't destroy their treasure, such as it was -- a single magical cape, some letters from Palimar solidifying the alliance between the insane evil badguy who'd already tried to kill the party and the slavers, and a silver key that acted not only as the key to Palimar's tower, but the map that would lead them to it.
It they wanted to go fight him. Their original mission was just to find the slaves, after all.
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