Although, in the only actual fight, it was summoner's eidolon and a bog-standard entangle spell that really won it for the party. So maybe I'm overstating their overpoweredness.
Searching through the pile of junk and dead bodies found some treasure -- it looks like they'd been stripped of anything magical, but not well-searched otherwise, and while most of their equipment *was* junk there was a mithril chain shirt, an admantium longsword, and a dozen or so other weapons of various kinds of masterwork quality, as well as a couple thousand total in gold, although that was the total after searching lots of pockets.
After about a half hour of that, they decided they'd looted everything they were going to find, and went back into the forest to try to find the path to the *front* of the tower, since getting the horse up the slippery, steep slope looked dangerous. After Pony tried to lead them the wrong way again, Lilia snatched his map and corrected it for him, marking the other inaccuracies that had been placed in it to make it hard to follow, and they managed to find the front door.
The door opened easily, onto an empty room with a guestbook and yet another door. A blink dog appeared and berated them for being late. "Everyone is --" *blink* "--waiting for you in the cen--" *blink* "--chamber, so make your way through the --" *blink*
So, they proceeded. The next room had four scary orc statues holding raised, stone battleaxes, and a golden door shaped like a dragon's head, with gems for eyes and the dragon's tongue as the handle to open it. The floor was tiled with large stone tiles, about five feet on a side. Alex (the skunk -- her name is Alex, not Maxia) couldn't see any traps, but since there were *obviously* traps she decided to prod at the floor with an 8-foot masterwork polearm. And, sure enough, the tile directly in front of the door was a pressure plate.
So she made her way across the room, testing each tile to find a safe path. It looked like she'd need to squeeze behind the statues, but they didn't seem trapped and didn't animate or anything when she did, although it was awkward to reach around them with the polearm to test more tiles.
While she was doing that, the large members of the party -- Pony, Skullfist, and Ironhoof -- started to wonder how the heck they were going to get through without setting off traps. Skullfist tried to use the table with the guestbook on it as a shield, but it didn't block all the darts [I have him +7 AC, but dart traps have a ridiculous +20 to-hit]. He *did* discover that no more darts fired as long as the tile was held down, and managed to squeeze into a corner of the room without setting of any more traps.
...but that was when Alex tested the pressure plate directly in front of the door, which instead of firing darts, turned the rest of the room -- except for the statue squares and the square she was testing -- into a sixty foot deep pit. She managed to dodge onto the pressure plate instead of falling, but Skullfist fell to his death.
Well, okay, to his 'badly injured and bleedling'. Alex disabled the pit trap to keep it open, and Ironhoof climbed down and stabilized the fallen minotaur, then fed him goodberries to bring him just barely conscious. While he was doing that, four orcish servants came into the room through a hidden door, to strip the body and toss it down the garbage chute. When they found that he was *alive*, they were... easily intimidated.
Skullfist, at 1 hp, pushed his way past and ransacked their belongings, since their sleeping chamber was right next to the pit, finding the symbol of an orcish god hidden inside one of their pillows. The servants looked terrified at his discovery, but a little less terrified when he decided to shove it in his pocket and keep it.
Then, since they'd told him that it was cheating to go through the servants quarters, he and Ironhoof climbed back up, and Alex re-enabled the pit trap, then re-disabled it with it closed. They pushed the statues onto enough of the pressure plates to get past the room safely, and Skullfist started chopping one of the statues up with his BARE FISTS to trigger and effectively disable the rest, just for completeness.
Then Alex remembered that there was a piece of paper on the floor that she'd spotted earlier, and picked it up to see what it said. It said 'I Prepared Explosive Runes This Morning'. She wasn't *quite* killed by the blast, and by luck only the eidolon was in range to get hit by splash damage. It also damaged the door's facade, revealing that the gold and gems were fake. It looked like it could still be opened...
But, having gotten hit by enough traps already, they decided to tie a rope to the door handle and pull it open from across the room. So no one was hit by the fire trap when it opened. Pony was poisoned by the contact poison on the door handle, after the rope was recovered and placed back in its place attached to his saddle with some poison still on it, but he shook off the effects easily enough that he probably didn't even realize he'd been poisoned.
This took them to a classroom, where Sergeant Hastings, from the tavern, was waiting to give them the written test. After asking their name, class, and alignment (which they answered with varying degrees of honesty) there were four questions, all of which had four possible answers. Pony and Skullfist answered 'D' on question 1 (What is the best reason to fight? D: To follow the precepts of my god.) so they got sent to the 'fail' door, along with Ironhoof for being a dirty stinking hippie druid. The other two passed.
The three of them walked through a dense mist (which the druid recognized as a low level conjuration spell) to a balcony in a dark room, across from a wizard with a robe and wizard hat, and a glowy staff. "So, you three like GODS, do you?" The three answered some variation of 'no, not really'. He ignored them. "Then bow down and worship MY god. Join my cult, or DIE!" He raised his staff threateningly, but none of them relented, or in fact were even slightly tempted. So he pushed the button that dumped them down a greased chute, taking them to the central chamber where Alex and Lilia had been chatting with the group of orcs who'd come to the tower before them.
"I guess you pass," grumbled the sergeant. "But this is an *elite* position you're testing for. Your two groups will fight to the death, or the surrender, or until one group leaves the arena. The last five standing will get to be licensed adventurers." The arena had a ten foot wall around it, lined with orcish archers 'in case someone cheats', which most of the party thought was odd since no one had mentioned any rules. Ironhoof figured that calling in his companion would probably count as cheating, though, so he didn't. It also had some straw dummies and archery targets, being used most of the time as a training yard. The Sergeant yelled 'Start!' as soon as both groups had walked through the doors.
The orcish team had four barbarians and a cleric -- the cleric cast bless and ran back to take cover, while the barbarians raged and charged the already wounded party!
Except that Alex and Lilia reacted more quickly. Alex killed one orc quickly with a sneak attack from her bow, and Lilia brought out her eidolon to attack another -- not killing it, but blocking it and another orc from charging. The last barbarian charged Ironhoof, but the tauren's reach meant that he was already wounded by the time he got to swing. He didn't go down, though... and scored a nasty hit with his axe. Another orc badly wounded the eidolon.
Then Ironhoof cast an entangle spell over most of the arena, except for the edge where his team was standing, and Skullfist finished off the orc he'd been fighting, which was the only one anywhere near the edge of the entangle. The cleric tried to paralyze Alex, but failed, and by the time he got to go again -- moving up to throw his morningstar -- the remaining orcs had been picked off (they never really had anyone to attack except for the eidolon, which Lilia could keep healing) and he was alone. Pony pranced up and kicked his skull in.
The Sergeant congratulated them, and thanked them for keeping that bastard cleric from getting his license. "Someone keeps raising him from the dead, and we've been having to look farther and farther afield to find a group that can beat him down and keep him out. He's an idiot and a bigot and we don't want him. If you're interested in a job, you could track down who keeps bringing him back..."
Then they went back to the classroom for a very, very boring lesson in what exactly it meant to be a licensed adventurer. Pony was the only one who managed to focus on the mind-numbing details well enough to figure out the gist of it, which was that they were *supposed* to roam the land helping people and solving disputes, but that really they could do whatever the fuck they wanted and get away with it, as long as they didn't mess with other agents of the government. Oh, and if there was ever a real war, they'd be drafted.
They were given picture IDs (caricatures sketched on the spot by a scribe, then sealed in a glass casing) and assigned Blip, the blink dog, as their messenger -- he'd be able to track them down and carry messages back and forth.
Then they headed back to town to celebrate. The squirrel who'd been bothering them earlier *had* given up after being rescued and intimidated in the woods, and was currently very drunk and doing a strip tease on the bar's counter. Pony tried to flirt with him, but only managed to get a kiss out of it.
They'd decided that they didn't really want to hunt down the cults that Sergeant Hastings had tried to push them into going after -- apparently he was obsessed with hunting down cults -- but instead wanted to find something that would offer a good paycheck. Pony also wanted to find some magic barding to wear, and Skullfist wanted to find a way to increase his arcane power.
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