So... invisible things were attacking the messenger! The party responded with glitterdusts, but somehow it took four glitterdusts to dust the two extremely slippery and dodgy invisible stalkers, and then the second one had the gall to fly off and wait for the glitterdust to expire. So the party grabbed the man they'd been about to let go and RAN him to the guardhouse, seconds ahead of said expiration. Well, seconds ahead of the returning invisible stalker, after the expiration.
Then they ran to the house where the last painting had been delivered. "Why yes, we received a cursed painting. The master seems to like it a lot since we haven't heard anything from him since he set off the curse." Luckily for the master, but unluckily for the party, this painting wasn't a monster-summoning doom. It was a 'suck you into the painting' doom. Xeno touched it accidentally while checking it for traps, and got sucked in. Zeffy tried throwing a weasel on a string at it (thank you bag of tricks!) and her *and* the weasel got sucked in. The others waited a few seconds, then decided that it was probably transportation and not disintegration, and followed.
Which was lucky, because time in the painting passed a lot faster than in the rest of the world, and Zeffy and Xeno were hiding in a corner for a LONG time, peering out at the hideous Kytons harvesting and devouring worms, and not seeing any sign of an exit.
ChitChit and the others appeared in the middle of the room, with no chance to hide, so the battle was on. Chitchit was immediately wrapped up in chains, and saved only by Zeffy casting Cure Critical Wounds on him to bring him back conscious, then Grease to let him escape his chains -- at which point he ran off into a corner to drink a bunch of potions for most of the rest of the fight.
Heyyou decided to face off against the enemy leader, a hag of some sort, with powerful poison on her claws and many charm and necromancy spells... all of which he was immune to. She was still winning.
Xeno was sniping with special bolts 'imbued' with anti-devil properties... except whoops, these were paint constructs, not devils, so his shots were worthless. Everyone else swarmed the Kytons, who retreated to the cart to get more chains. A LOT more chains. So, everyone else retreated from the cart, including Heyyou... and the hag decided to switch targets to Xeno, killing him stone dead in one round. Oops.
But the party did win without any other losses, and managed to find the particular worm that was the person they'd been trying to rescue... not that it mattered, since with the inhabitants slain the painting disintegrated, dumping them all back out into the real world, with no time passed. Xeno was still dead, though.
Victim: "How can I ever repay you?"
Alhana: "For starters, get Xeno raised. We don't have time to dawdle, though, we have to go take down the big bad guy."
Victim: "Make sure you rescue my apprentice, too! I sent him to spy on the guy, and haven't heard from him in a while."
The victim *was* rich, and agreed to take care of Xeno's resurrection. They party went to inform Iggy -- their former companion, and Xeno's close friend -- of his fate, and Iggy agreed to come back out of 'what do you mean I retired? You weren't on an adventure today, you were just shopping. Of course I'll help!'
Their informant had revealed the address of the culprit, and the guards agreed that he needed to be brought in, so the party was authorized to assault his keep and take him into custody. Of *course* he had a keep.
Chitchit jumped onto the roof to look for an easy way in, but the roof door was barred from the inside and the skylight was apparently magically reinforced. While he was doing that, the rest of the party got in a fight with a giant hellhound kept as a guard dog, and tried bashing in through several doors until one of them finally broke.
They went inside, and saw Chitchit through the skylight, where he was failing to be any stealthier than they were. He tried to point out where the enemies were hiding, but none of them understood what he was saying until it was too late. Fortunately, the enemies were *really weak*. Apparently, the painter had painted the guardians for his own house first, before he'd figured out that he could make them giant tentacle creatures with combat skills, so they were assaulted by a swarm of really weak paint-golems that... man, they were weak.
They were so weak that the party -- or at least Iggy -- got a little overconfident, and decided to send the summoned apes to run around at random to find more targets to kill before the spell expired at the end of the minute. Two of them found enemies. Not in the same place.
After Zeffy ran away, and the other ape was reassigned to take her place, Team A consisted of two apes, Heyyou, and Alahana, facing off against a raging barbarian. The apes mostly got in the way, hindering the game of 'cat and cat' Heyyou was trying to play with the barbarian, and keeping Alhana from getting close enough to cast heal spells on the healing-immune warforged juggernaught.
Team B, then, was Zeffy, Chitchit, and Iggy himself, facing off against a room full of exotic treasure, which Chitchit declared was evil and had to be burned. Zeffy helped, because most of the treasures were paintings, and they hadn't seen a non-evil painting all day. This pissed off the painter, who came out with crossbow and rapier.
Chitchit: "I jump across the room to the guy and attack him."
GM: "What, you *jump*? Why? They room's perfectly empty, just walk."
Chitchit: "What's the square in the middle then?"
GM: "That's the chandelier."
Zeffy: "Jump up and land on the chandelier, then jump down."
Chitchit: "Whatever, I guess it doesn't matter if I jump or not. Anyway, I go attack the guy."
GM: "As you walk under the chandelier, it falls on you and fucks up everyone in the room with shrapnel."
Well, everyone *else* made the reflex save actually, but it messed up Chitchit, and he spent the rest of the combat drinking potions. Zeffy and Iggy managed to beat the enemy down until he surrendered, though, and at that point Chitchit was very useful as a guard making sure he stayed surrendered, while they took him to call off the barbarian.
He didn't succeed at calling the barbarian off. But eventually, the apes' summoning spell expired, and Alhana and Heyyou were able to finally cooperate and pummel the Barbarian to within an inch of his life. At which point he ran off. So they chased him down and hit him more. Then he surrendered, tried to escape, failed and got hit more, and eventually tied up.
The apprentice was found, dead, next to a note that seemed to imply that the crazy killer-painting painter's mad rants about his paintings being stolen were, in fact, completely truthful. Not that murdering all his rivals and anyone standing near them on the off-chance that one of them was the one stealing his paintings was the act of a sane and balanced man, but still.
The only other room of note in the keep proper was a bedroom with a bunch of magic items in it, and two pathetic-servant paint-construct guards. Zeffy and Iggy were exploring together, and decided that the room was obviously a trap. Zeffy sent in an unseen servant off a scroll to go try to get the wands, and search the dressers for more treasure, but the servants foiled it by grabbing the things out of the unseen servant's pathetically weak grasp and putting them back on the shelves.
So they called in Heyyou, and he walked into the room, was immune to the symbol of sleep, was immune to the phantasmal killer, easily slaughtered the guards who were only trained to kill sleeping people, and retrieved all the treasure. "Jeez, you two are such chickens. There was nothing dangerous in there."
The keep also had a dungeon, though -- with a gallery of magic, evil paintings, a painting-wraith that sucked out some of Zeffy's charisma, and a door that led to a hallway full of murderous ginsu golems, who were immune to Iggy's magic. "Ugh, *real* golems." They tried to get the two prisoners to take them through the golem room, but they insisted that they didn't know how -- their 'friend' told them never to go that way, and they'd be killed if they tried.
So the party stole all their worldly possessions, turned them over to the guards, and decided to rest the night before facing the hallway full of golems, since they were pretty much completely wiped out. Zeffy took a short break to go shopping for Restoration and replacement scrolls, though.
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