With all four orbs (the last one reconstructed) in hand, and Liliana alive again, the party decided to try assaulting the temple of undead one last time. Except that Liliana was sulking in her room in Crossroads, and refused to come out. Samuel mentioned that they were going to go adventuring again and would she like to stop sulking and come with? But he wasn't direct enough, so she just told him to go away.
So the assault party was Hadriel, Samuel, Talon, and Hef. On the plus side, this meant one teleport was enough to take them all in, although they didn't risk actually teleporting into the temple. Instead, they plowed through the previously cleared levels, which had a few undead here and there but nothing like the deadly death-traps set up for them the last few times they'd assaulted the place. They got to teh golem, gave it its orbs, and it stood up, revealing a large, slow elevator descending into the depths. They got on and rode it down to what they hoped was the boss of the undead at last.
As the elevator neared the bottom, they found themselves being slowly lowered into a room full of clay golems, who attacked on sight. Sam put up a wall of stone to delay the golems for a while and leave a clear path to the only door. They threw it open and rushed down a short hallway to another set of doors, and threw those open as well. And there they found a bunch of enemies, the most dramatic of which was a huge hybrid cat-goat-snake thing that leapt on Hef and started chewing him to pieces, while a pair of shadow succubi tried to fear and charm the party with some success, and a gnome in the back chucked fireballs into the hallway. Oh, and there was a vampire orc but Talon killed him almost instantly.
Unfortunately, the rest of the enemies -- especially the Eidolon of Doom -- did not go down quickly, and it looked like the party was doomed. Fortunately, there was no teleport trap up, and Sam had a rod of reach which let him evac everybody just before the golems smashed through the wall of stone behind them and the eidolon smashed through the other wall of stone that he'd put up ahead of him (while Hef cowered from multiple fear spells and Hadriel tried to surrender to the undead and become a vampire as the succubi had Suggested).
After teleporting out, they hogtied Hadriel until the suggestion wore off. This took a long time. Meanwhile, Samuel used shadow projection and invisibility to sneak back into the temple and see if he could scout it out a little better. He discovered that the Eidolon was actually Hobbes -- Calvin had been captured and was hidden in an alcove nearby, past the room of death. Also, the room of death was more or less the end of the complex, with the exit in the back just leading into the undead-ridden sewers, no doubt the source of their reinforcements in previous days.
He also managed to trail the two vampires -- the orc and the fireball-chucking gnome -- to their 'new base of operations' in a different district. Since the undead mistress hadn't been confident that her defenses would hold, she'd joined up with the crime lord and was staying in his sewer-palace.
The party decided to wait a week for Liliana and Hadriel to get their remaining negative levels dispelled, for Liliana to finish her crystal ball, and for the enemies' alert level to hopefully die down a bit. Sam tried doing some sabotage runs in shadow-form on the golem factory as a misdirection, but on one run was almost charmed by an entrancing melody, and decided that they were on to him and it was getting too risky.
After a week, they traded with the succubi -- who had some representatives in Crossroads, where an anti-blue-metal-cult militia was forming but was too weak for open combat, instead focusing on getting people out of the cult one by one and extracting anyone who'd managed to hold out from the city -- for a sample of the undead mistress' DNA so that they could scry on her. They wanted a similar sample from Liliana in return, but she tricked them and gave them one of Patsy's instead.
There were 'complications' acquiring the material, however, and a pretidigitation spell revealed that the hair recovered was from three different dark-haired people. Scrying repeatedly with the crystal ball revealed that one of them was the crime lord, and they managed to overhear him talking about moving a bunch of his money around. They decided against trying to intercept the caravans, though. A second appeared at first glance to be a maid, but further examination revealed she was a spy for someone named 'Grizelda'.
The third was the undead mistress, but the crystal ball was not sufficient to scry on her, especially after being used so many times in the same day. Liliana hard-cast a scry spell, and discovered that she'd run into a detect scrying spell. She managed to avoid being counter-scried, but the young bard knew that she was being watched, and smiled and tried to convince Liliana to give up her quest to destroy her -- after all, didn't the undead of the city need to be controlled? They would always be a threat, without her to keep them in line...
[She got a 41 on diplomacy, which theoretically would have diplomancered the party into leaving her alone at least for a little while, but social skills don't work on PCs]
After scouting out the lair in shadow form -- there was an entrance level with nothing important, mostly servants' quarters, a second level with meeting rooms (including one they'd scried on) and barracks, a third level sealed off and high security, and a mist-filled 'basement' where the undead were mostly staying -- they decided to teleport into a secret passage that connected the sewer-palace with the not-quite-as-belowground black market/fighting pit/etc. complex that was open to the public.
They landed right on a symbol of pain, although only the casters failed their saves against it so it wouldn't matter much. Hef screamed and charged, setting off a bunch of traps which failed to hurt or poison him because, Hef. They burst out into the entry level and immediately started kicking the asses of everyone in sight -- low-level mages, mid-level fighters, and a few wraiths that would have been a lot more effective if the whole party didn't quickly get death-ward spells up. It would be exaggerating to say they ran through the level at speed heading for the stairs down, but not by a whole lot.
The stairwell was guarded by dread wraiths which they ignored because death ward, and then they burst in upon the same set of enemies from the temple's boss room minus the golems and eidolon. Things went much better for them this time -- they destroyed the orc and shadow succubi quickly, and the gnome fled after somehow landing a silence spell on Sam.
Sam: "Did you remember my mirror image spell?"
GM: "Oh, right. Damn it, I would have put it on somebody else... okay... huh, it hit you."
Sam: "What about my blink?"
GM: *rolls* "Nope, still hit you."
Sam: "Good thing I have silent spell then."
The gnome had fled into a twisty mist-filled hallway, so Liliana summoned a large air elemental to clear the mist away ahead of them, and then grow into a larger whirlwind once the ceiling space allowed it in the following 'room', which was actually a section of long-dry sewer tunnel blocked off by portcullises. There were another half dozen vampires, and some wraiths that finished off the air elemental, who'd sucked up the gnome and some ghouls in its whirlwind. And there... in the back... past all the mist... was the bard, playing a song on her jet black glowing artifact harp, at least until Sam started fireballing her repeatedly.
She tried to get away in gaseous form, slipping through the portcullis with the plan of turning back and running away into more mist, but didn't surive the fireballs long enough. Sam's fireballs were *extremely nasty*, generally 84 points if he was trying to save spells slots by 'only' using a maximized intensified fireball. Sorry, maximized intensified silent fireball.
He finished off most of the vampires and wraiths, too.
Then, after dealing with another Symbol (they didn't figure out of what) by stone shaping a covering for it from 65 feet away, they staked the vampires in their coffins and it was time to loot!
Looting the harp turned out to be a bad idea, although probably necessary -- Sam acquired a -6 CON -6 WIS curse by picking it up, which Hadriel was unable to remove on his first try. But who needs con or wis?
They still had a half dozen minutes left on their death ward spells, so they decided the next step would be to blitz the top floor and take out the leaders of the criminal underworld. Who, being merely human, would not likely be anything like as hard as the undead had been.
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