So. Paldomar. The wizards of the seven pillared hall were very interested in hearing about Paldomar's planned treachery, and gave the party their blessing to take him down (and some healing potions). The party rested the night in the inn there, then followed the key to Paldomar's sanctuary.
The first challenge was a visage of Vecna, who demanded that they pay him in 'lore, power, or your SOULS'. "Um... what?" "It's a skill challenge." "I'll use athletics to demonstrate power." "Not this time, it's VECNA. He means arcane power." The party got five successes on Arcana, Religion, Diplomacy and History (each person could only use each skill once) before three failures, so Vecna only stole a little bit of their souls -- one healing surge each, which wouldn't come back after an extended rest [although Eric ensured us it was temporary, just not THAT temporary].
After paying with their SOULS, the party was able to teleport in to Paldomar's tower. Of course, the security system was active, and started sounding the alarm. VOOP VOOP VOOP!
The welcoming chamber was full of pillars that radiated necrotic energy (only hurting the party) and shot beams of psychic annoyance (minor damage, but you couldn't use encounter or daily attacks or utilities until you saved), and was full of 'norkers', which were basically really tough goblins. The arcane folks in the party realized that the psychic beams weren't generated by the pillars -- there was someone nearby using the pillars as the origin for their line of effect, sort of like Riya liked to use her dragonling familiar.
Bore and Morgan and Vexx charged up first, around the corner from the entryway and towards the large chamber with the next teleport node in it, but got stopped by the norker line momentarily -- Vexx used Wolf Pack Tactics to shift Bore around past the Norkers, which let him charge towards the enemies' reserve group guarding the teleporters. When a bunch more goblins started teleporting in, Bore charged that group to screen Riya, who'd used Breaching Armor to teleport through the wall and flank them.
Fortunately, the goblins teleporting in were minions, or the party would have been in serious trouble. As it was, they were still getting plinked to death by the pillar auras, the psychic attacks, and the norker's axes, and not doing much damage in return. But Bore and Vexx managed to break away and open the doors in each corner of the room, looking for the hidden psychic fiends, and Vexx got 'lucky' and found them. Immediately, Riya and Sam turned their hiding place into an inferno of flame and lightning and general pain.
At which point the two psychic things turned into were-porcupines and went berzerk. Vexx managed to keep them bottled up in the narrow doorway of their side-chamber, though, and heal himself until Morgan could arrive to back him up with his shielding mark, while Riya (who'd sent her familiar into the room to blast them, only to have it torn to shreds by their berzerk rage) and Sam plinked at them from range, and Bore tried with limited success to keep the rest of the norkers busy -- three of five were still alive, not counting the minions who'd died from AoEs, or from attacking Riya who had a damage shield up.
Sam tried to pop through the teleporter, planning to AoE the ranks of waiting minions he imagined were waiting on the other side, but found only an empty chamber, so he came back through. Followed a round or two later by more minions -- apparently they were running to the teleporter from somewhere else.
They were a minor nuisance, though (3 points of damage from their attacks? Really?) and the party focused on the psychic were-porcupines and then the remaining norkers until only two were left, at which point they turned tail and ran through the teleporter. Riya and Sam followed them to get off one last blast, but the two hadn't been hurt very much yet (Bore had spent the whole fight restricted to his at-wills, and had missed a lot besides) and got away.
Eric: "The module says if you go through the teleporter it starts the next encounter."
Sam: "But it was an empty room."
Eric: "I'm telling you this because if you try to chase them down, you're going to trigger the next encounter without a short rest."
Me: "And if we let them go we *do* get a short rest?"
Eric: "LOOK! I'm just saying..."
The party decided to pop through for one potshot (because not doing that after Sam demonstrated that the portal was easily two way was stupid) and then since that was certain to fail (using metagame knowledge to avoid rolling the attacks) they'd try to take a rest in the pillar chamber, and watch the teleporter for the next wave of attackers which they expected to interrupt them. Chasing the runners while winded seemed like a good way to run right into a trap.
If the enemies didn't interrupt them (because, say, they had better defensive positions further in) then good!
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Shawn also talked about the next game which he'd been selected to run. Apparently, he wants to have us randomly changing levels for no in-game reason, because 'it doesn't matter what level you are'. I'm not sure why he wants to do this, he never gave a reason, but apparently it's *not* going to have anything to do with the story and he *doesn't* want to try things at different levels because he's decided they're all the same. All I can think is that he hates D+D and plans to try to make us hate it too?