The party entered the room with the cauldron, intending to destroy the foul undead-generating artifact. Unfortunately, it was guarded. The guardian tried to bargain with them, but just because he was *lawful* evil didn't mean that Rhiannon had any intent of giving him anything but the pointy end of a sword.
It was Zanzibar that blasted him into oblivion, of course. Blasting big important enemies with unresistable touch-attacks for massive damage was his specialty. Rhiannon dealt with the undead that spewed forth from the cauldron and protected everyone from fire, so that Samuel could fireball the swarm of dust that incapacitated Morgan. Once that was gone, the party turned its attention to the weird undead that kept dazing and strength-draining Raiina every round, and took it out too. All in all, an interesting and hard to kill, but not particularly dangerous set of guardians.
But what to do about the cauldron? They couldn't seem to damage it with their weapons, so Zanzibar broke out the stonebreaker acid and started eating away at the floor beneath it. Maybe it could be smashed that way?
While he was doing that, Samuel peeked in to examine the cloning tanks they'd found on the previous day's jaunt -- one of them contained a nearly-exact (7th level instead of 9th) copy of Samuel, as apparently he'd dipped his hand in the fluid the day before to test it. To everyone's surprise, while the clone was bewildered by its state and its lack of Samuel's equipment, it agreed to stay with them and help explore the tower and take out the necromancers. Zanzibar thought that was really cool, and made sure to dip his hand in the other cloning tank.
At any rate, dropping the cauldron a story didn't break it, but it did put it in position to be rolled out the front door of the tower. They rolled it out into the forest, and buried it 15 feet underground through a somewhat unorthodox use of several passwall spells from their staff of travel. They made sure to leave a false trail that would imply they'd loaded it onto a cart and carried it off conventionally.
Then, back to the tower to wait for nightfall, when they'd be able to assault the interesting part of it. A note they'd found in the cloning chamber had implied that only the dead could enter the ghost of the tower, but they decided it was worth staying and giving it a go while still alive, rather than giving up immediately or, say, converting themselves into free-willed undead using the cauldron.
More skeletal guardians appeared as the tower faded into being, but they were easily dealt with (by Rhiannon turning them to dust). As soon as the stairway up appeared, they started up it... and began being bombarded by a constant ripple of negative energy. So THAT was what the paper had meant!
Rhiannon had a couple scrolls of death ward, and decided to use them on herself and Morgan so that the two of them could explore the tower. They others would wait at the bottom to assist if needed (as a quick run up to fight wouldn't expose them to *too* much negative energy -- it was d4 hp about every other round) and to hold off the constant stream of very, very weak undead boiling up from downstairs.
The first floor upstairs (of, they estimated, three) was mostly empty, but in one room near the far end of it they ran into a trio of vampires, and engaged in a somewhat futile battle, on both sides. One of the vampires was a mage, who summoned shadows, which couldn't penetrate Rhiannon's magic circle. The other two were monks, who were very hard to hit or damage, but who in turn couldn't hit Morgan or Rhiannon's AC. Most of the damage being done was done by Rhiannon's sanctified lantern, whose brilliant light did nasty things to vampires.
So one of the monks smashed it, and grabbed the glowing bit, and tried to run away. He didn't make it, turned to gas by a desperate flame strike, but most of the room was plunged into darkness, allowing his companions to shadow-step away. And, meanwhile, the necromancer himself showed up -- so Rhiannon yelled for help.
Help rushed up the stairs, only to be held back by a wall of force in one of the main hallways. There was a detour around the wall, but it turned out to be guarded by one of the vampiric monks. The two Samuels tried to deal with the vampire, while Zanzibar and Raiina continued on to assist Rhiannon and Morgan against the necromancer.
Rhiannon made it just in time to fire a single arrow at the evil mage before he teleported away... meanwhile, his nastiest spells had been counterspelled, and his others resisted outright. The party turned on the vampire, which had just taken down the clone-Samuel, but it too managed to flee from them.
That left them with all their enemies still alive and active (except for one very-temporarily gaseous vampire), and the stairs back down clogged with weak undead whose only purpose was to make it annoying to get out of the negative energy field. If they hadn't had the staff of passage and a ring of spell storing, either of which could dimension door the lot of them outside, they might have been worried.
We actually played a full session this time, so I just went home afterwards 'cause it was kind of late. Played a little CoV, getting Aci up to 34.7. I think I'll take Aim at 35, 'cause the dark rez (which I'd originally planned to take) is too annoying, and because the nuke I took at 32 is useful, but would be more useful with Aim.
I also played a little more Grandia III -- we defeated Emelious, kicking his ass backwards and forwards and all around, only to have him suddenly get a second wind in the cutscene and kidnap Alfina. I hate that. x.x
"Argh! My flight unit's busted!"
"Yeah, all of them stopped working when Zorn was reborn. Probably has something to do with the massive world-encircling evil roots turning everything to glass."
"But I have to rescue Alfina, and a glider obviously won't work since I need to fly all around searching the world for her."
"Yeah, well I have this old plane that worked on a different sort of engine than the flight units. It's up in the mountains somewhere, why don't you go look for it?"
That's what SHOULD have happened next, but instead I got about an hour of cutscenes and generic NPC dialogue. And a pointless sequence ending in Yuki crashing a glider.