The party bickered about what to do about the gunpowder charges until their fly spells wore out, at which point they realized how long they'd been bickering, and went with floating disk spells to hold the charges while some of the party (with longer duration or refreshed spells) flew and the rest were carried or (in Sam's case) swam.
None of them were demolitions experts, but some of them were quite intelligent, and the first charge went off almost without a hitch -- Sam was almost deafened by the noise. They set the next few as they went, but as they prepared to set the fifth (out of ten) they heard the gnoll army approaching from the direction of the mine's entrance. Time to set the rest and teleport out!
As they were preparing to do that, a slimy demon emerged from the water and attacked, starting with an acid fog that damaged the party (and the unattended bombs) and blocked movement and sight. That was too much for Talon, Calvin, and Hobbes, who teleported out immediately. Liliana, Hadriel, and Patsy hung around for another round to at least set the bomb's fuse, then also teleported away. Sam and Hef, for some reason, decided to stay and fight.
Hef charged at the gnoll ranks clutching an unexploded bomb, trying to intimidate them into retreating -- but even if they'd been interested, the only ones who could really see him couldn't. They had no choice but to watch haplessly as the ranks behind them threw vial after vial of alchemist's fire at the barbarian... who shrugged off the damage, being immune to fire, but failed to keep hold of the powder keg as it lit through a hole in the side burned by the acid cloud, and started to bounce all over the place, spraying fire and just smashing randomly into people.
Sam, meanwhile, had remained to make sure the last bombs went off, and saw the slime demon defuse the bombs by yanking out the fuse. So, literally defuse I guess. He backed off as far as he could, and set off the bombs with a fireball. This was very brave, and very very stupid. His blink spell protected him from some of the blast, and some of the falling ceiling, and convinced the slime demon to grapple and suffocate Hef instead of him, but it took him a while to successfully cast defensively while on the material plane to take Hef with him, and he was almost crushed by the falling ceiling before he managed it.
Still, they all got away, and about half the mine was collapsed, which would probably hold for a few weeks, they estimated. Back to Crossroads to rest up!
While there, they were handed an invitation addressed to 'the heroes of crossroads', inviting them to a casino in Silver Sails for dinner and a show, and a meeting with the management. This was very suspicious, but they decided tentatively to go on the theory that they needed every ally they could get, and maybe this wasn't a trap.
So they headed to Silver Sails and spent another night at Calvin's mansion, where his butler had hired three pretty young maids to help clean up the house, since Calvin was using it again. In the middle of the night, Liliana woke to see one of the maids creeping into her room and responded by an immediate Hold Person spell, which didn't work.
The maid squeaked in surprise and fled, and when Liliana tried to chase her, she quickly lost track. So she woke up Talon to track her properly, and he found that her footsteps suddenly vanished, as if she'd started to fly or teleported away.
It was time to talk to the rest of the staff. The butler, upon examination by detect magic, had no fewer than three charm spells on him, while the two other maids (who hadn't run off) were both covered with magic as well, only divination and abjuration rather than charm. Most of the party went out into the night to 'look for the missing maid' -- actually, to discuss their obvious succubus problem -- but for some reason Liliana was left behind in the mansion. The missing maid popped out of nowhere and tried to charm her, but failed. Liliana tried to charm her right back and failed, but managed to blind her on the second attempt, and the succubus ran off since she could no longer target her spells.
By unanimous decision, they decided to find somewhere else to sleep that wasn't so well-known. Since Talon wasn't officially one of the 'adventuring party' on the record, they decided to crash at his place. But on the way, several of the party spotted a succubus -- in demon form this time -- shadowing them from the rooftops. They decided to lose the tail by killing her, but didn't really get the chance to fire at her until Hef climbed up onto the rooftop, somehow made his will save against her panicked domination, and chased her up into the air where the various archers and mages lit her up like a firework.
Sam hid invisibly nearby to watch her body, and sure enough a pair of succubi appeared to spirit it off. He followed them to a casino -- the same casino they'd been invited to -- where a woman on the rooftop saw through his invisiblity, and spoke to him in his mind.
Obvious Demon: "We appear to have gotten off on the wrong foot. I hope you'll accept our invitation regardless, so that we can meet in the spirit of cooperation."
Maybe they *had* found a prospective ally, against the blue metal cult? Did they really want a bunch of charm-happy demons 'on their side', though?
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