Not wanting a fight a building-sized spider, the party made their way into the miner cat tunnels and tried to get into the main government building of the City of Darkness from underneath. Unfortunately, their way kept being blocked by areas where the floor had collapsed, or where giant vines had grown to block the tunnels, or both. Gamble eventually realized that these couldn't be random -- they were a deliberate defensive measure. They'd have to go through.
They decided to go through one of the vines. They had a fire mage, and a plant mage, but the vines seemed to eat magic, and when the plant mage touched the vines for his 'shape plants' spell, they tried to eat him! Gamble managed to pull him loose, despite Carnelian's 'help' feeding the vine more power.
So, they used a 'shape stone' spell to make their own tunnel around the vines. It took HOURS, and the first tunnel just led to more vines, with swarms of tiny spiders that they set on fire with lamp oil. After another long while, they popped out past the vines, and a small army of spiders were waiting for them, because they'd spend hours burrowing slowly through the stone and setting things on fire periodically.
Specifically, there were two large warrior spiders, six smaller worker spiders, and two strange cocooned things that seemed to be guarding an important-looking door. Only the warrior spiders attacked at first... and one of them was quickly turned to stone by the NPC earth mage, although he had to mana-burn himself a little to do it. The other was set on fire by the NPC fire mage. Who kept throwing explosive fireballs [he kept getting critical successes which meant no mana cost] until the spiders all ran away. Meanwhile, the wolf with them got badly bitten, and Gamble spent most of the fight stomping on swarms.
One of the cocoon things was hit by the last explosive fireball... and it reacted by falling over and screaming. They cut the other cocoon thing out of its cocoon... both of them looked like satyrs in the middle of being transformed into spiders. They weren't sure what to do about them, so they sort of left them there.
So, door. Carnelian tried the handle, and got zapped badly by electricity. The ferret with them tried to sneak under, and got zapped badly by electricity. Carnelian threaded a rope through the handles to try to pull the door open without touching it, but it was (a) barred and (b) opened inwards. So instead, they spent another hour or so burrowing through the wall, around the door. The wall was *sort of* made of metal, so shape metal could sort of shape it.
That took them to a maze of twisty passages, all alike. The first dead end they hit had cocoons, and a spider ambush running up behind them to take advantage of it. The wolf got *badly* mauled this time -- two critical hits! -- and neither the fireballs or flesh to stone spells were very effective. All the little spiders were held off by pollen clouds from the plant mage, at least. Carefully aimed shots by Carnelian and Gamble managed to horribly mutilate and eventually take down the big spiders.
Serene spent the battle healing people, and then twenty minutes after the battle trying to cast various cure spells on the mutatign people inside the cocoons. 'Cleansing' physically ripped off the new limbs and eyes growing on one -- a regeneration spell might have made his original limbs grow back at that point, perhaps? -- and 'cure disease' she was pretty sure would keep the mutation from going any further.
Unfortunately, while they were camped out in the dead end, a pair of HUMONGOUS glowbug swarms approached... and started eating the dead spiders. They carefully snuck past, not wanting to fight the glow-beetles, and moved on through the maze. Until they found themselves in another dead end, this one without an apparent exit. The entrance must have closed behind them.
So, Carnelian said 'fuck this maze', and they burrowed through the walls up to the basement of the government building.
Which was full of spiders. In the courtroom, a judge was sentencing people to 'community service', which seemed to involve being wrapped up in a cocoon and presumably being turned into a spider. Some of the court were spiders themselves, including the defense attorney. The conviction rate seemed to be 100%.
They ran away from that, heading upstairs to try to find the lord of the city, or at least his treasure. They passed worker spiders seeming to do the beaurocratic work in various offices (although possibly just miming that, since the offices were pretty trashed), and eventually came to a checkpoint. Which seemed to be manned by satyrs who were nervous about infection by spiders. After Serene determined that the rest of the tower seemed to have some of its magical defenses back up -- so they wouldn't be able to force their way inside without setting off alarms -- they handed over their weapons, and were herded into a cage for quarantine observation.
Of course, this was only a trick. Serene talked her and Gamble's way out of the cage, since she was a healer and both of them were offworlders and thus immune to being turned into spiders (the spiders were eating offworlders instead). She then claimed that the guards were infected, and tried to get them to let her put them into suspended animation. They agreed to treatment, but only one at a time. Afterwards, Serene vouched for the rest of the party not being infected, and the guards got permission to make an exception -- since the intruders had a healer with them insisting they'd all been cured, they probably weren't infected. It was more important to have another healer inside who could scan the current guests.
There were lots of guests in the tower -- it was *packed* with nobles and rich folk, and random people who'd been in the building and ran upwards instead of outwards, and a few beaurocrats. And birds, lots of birds, who'd flown in through the windows while the defenses were down, just after the disenchantment storm. The owl librarian they'd brought with them *was* fairly well known, although the lord of the city did not immediately give him an audience -- he was 'busy', according to the royal enchanters.
So they circulated around the party for a while, dispersing to look for the treasure chamber. The ferret cornered Carnelian, telling her he'd found it! Sort of. He didn't know where it was, but he found a route a ferret could take to get to it. He turned her into a ferret, and showed her -- a chamber full of gold and gems, visible through a glass panel in the ceiling, with a dragon guarding it. A dragon wearing a bridle and saddle. A very angry looking dragon, trapped in a treasure room, occasionally clawing at the walls, but unable to get out. Carnelian had some thought about letting the dragon out to cause chaos, but couldn't figure out how to get the vault door (guarded, massive, and with a puzzle lock) open as a ferret. So they went back to the party for now.
Where Gamble was expressing an urge to find a boat and get off the damn moon. Unfortunately, no one really knew how to do that. The people in the tower didn't even seem aware of the whole 'skyplant is under control of the lord of the city' thing -- they assumed the giant spider was trying to get in to eat them.
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