Worst. Shortcut. Ever.
After defeating the ghosts, the party went back to the harem to rest the night, since it had a barrier that seemed like it would be proof against undead (and they'd actually destroyed the undead inside the barrier). They managed to rest up, but didn't sleep well -- it felt like they were drowning in tar, and kept waking up gasping. They did level up, though, and divide up the loot, transferring enchantments and enchanting a few more items.
The wailing ghosts in the pantry were easily scared off the next day, since the party had managed them fairly easily the day before (and destroyed one of them) and they knew they were outmatched. [aka, we handwaved the encounter]
Moving on, the party examined a tiny hole from the dining hall, and discovered it was a sort of horizontal dumbwaiter leading to a prison, which definately had people inside. 'People' anway. They decided not to teleport to the other side -- instead, they took the spiral staircase to the next level up. Celesete's eye did peek through, and reported that the prison seemed to be accessed via another staircase from the level above anyway.
Above, they found an empty throne room, with two thrones -- one for a dwarf, and one for an elf. They found a chapel to a mixture of dwarven, elven, and human gods, with ghostly worshippers who weren't hostile for once. There was also a balcony full of trees, but it was protected by a force field -- not immediately accesible. So instead, they moved on to the dwarven bathroom area (okay, okay, the mine exit) where they found a ghost who was terrified of them!
After a boring skill challenge, where the diplomatic members of the party were diplomatic, they connvinced the ghost to help them out. He told them that to get out of the fortress, they'd have to find the key, which the Warden had, down in the prison. The warden was *mean*, though -- that's why the ghost hadn't gone down to try to get it himself. They were used to that, though, so they headed down the staircase the ghost pointed out, into the prison.
Which was full of devils. Apelike devils, legion devils, and a pair of giant chain devils.
Beware, in front, tried to attack one of the ape devils, but it teleported away from his attack and howled, pushing him and the rest of the party back up the stairs and damaging them badly... except for Varnix, who made his save. And was then surrounded by the other devils and dominated. Celeste managed to dominate one of the chain devils in turn, though, and Beware and Ariel filled the room with howling winds and cold tentacles to wear down the masses of enemies, while Heyyou charged in to help support Varnix.
They kept getting pushed back up the stairs, which was really annoying, but it kept them all from getting hit. Mostly, only Varnix got hit. A lot. He almost died. But not quite -- and eventually he broke free from the domination and was able to heal everyone back to full. Twice, before the devils were mostly gone -- except for a few that fled into another room, and one chain devil trapped in the back of the room with Beware's damage zone, that everyone started beating on.
They *almost* but not quite finished him off before the two ape demons who'd fled came back with the boss -- a duergar death knight. They *did* finish him off before the boss could do much. The two ape demons howled and pushed the party away, but they couldn't push them out of the room this time, just back against the wall, and with Varnix able to toss out healing, the outcome wasn't really in doubt. Beware and Heyyou put up autohit damage auras and trapped the death knight in a corner after finishing off the apes mostly at range, and they slowly sliced and diced him to death.
Sure enough, he was the warden, who had the Key. Oh, and they were in a dwarven armory, full of lovely expensive weapons and armor. *drool*
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