Missing a lot of time, I’m afraid. I’m getting close to a major milestone on my chainmaille, and that’s taking a fair bit of time.
Michael, this will be a little rushed, I’m afraid.
After the debacle with Ovthen alerting the whole town, Rainor and I decided to set up camp in that abandoned inn where the meeting was to be. After sundown, the other four (His Grace & “friend”, the Paladin, and the Dragon Disciple) sauntered in, assuring us that they had not been followed.
Anyway. At the appointed time, Satinda appeared. I say “appeared”, because it was an illusion – could have been anyone or anything. I Dispelled it, of course – we are all on quite the hair-trigger at present.
Satinda was on the roof. She and Jope spoke and hammered out the details, which were essentially what you would expect. She also mentioned a secret entrance to the castle but at about that time the soldiers who our clanking contingent were not followed by decided to attack.
There were some soldiers and whatnot. And a quite significantly powerful mage: he dropped a Chain Lightning and a Disintegrate on us – which did not manage to kill anybody.
I’ve said many times, to anyone willing to listen: Disintegrate is not a combat spell. There are more effective things – the most effective of which is buffing your fighters. It is, however, a brilliant spell in a different way: Disintegrate is rogue-in-a-can. There are not many traps, locked doors, and other environmental dangers that cannot be dealt with with a brief zap and it’s a very, very worthwhile investment to prepare one, or carry a scroll or two if you can afford the cash. I used it on a Necklace of Strangulation, once, arguing that I wasn’t trying to “make it let go”, I was just trying to destroy it (took two zaps before it failed the save). It specifically will drop a Wall of Force or any of the Bigby’s X Hand spells. It’s one of those spells that will get you out of all kinds of jams. If you need a hole widened, a siege engine disabled, a bridge collapsed, then Disintegrate is just the thing. Just don’t bother shooting it at people.
Anyway – he ran off (oh, he was Flying – should have mentioned it). Duke Jope offered mercy to the common soldiery, although not before a spectacular double nut-punch by our Monk/Ranger, vaulting down from the roof and dealing with two soldiers at once. “Stunning Fist” indeed. I think one of his victims actually vomited.
We decided to leave the town and hide out overnight. Rainor found a secluded spot, and I put up a Tiny Hut to conceal us further. We were undisturbed.
In the morning, we discussed assaulting a castle. Our paladin recalled that Satinda mentioned a secret entrance (well done, Scott). So I was sent to enter The Musty Clam again. It was locked up tight, but there was a window. No problem.
A tenth-level Rogue/Arcane Trickster does not have trouble breaking into an unguarded building.
Inside, it was plain that whatshername had abandoned the place. I rather hoped that she had left a message for me, so I went up to her office. Two secret compartments in the wall were open and empty, but the one in her little shrine was still undisturbed. And yes, inside – a map. Thankyou, dear. We shall try to not mess this up as badly as we have messed up everything else. I’m not terribly worried – once the boys get down to hitting things with sticks and lumps of metal, they manage quite nicely.
So. I took the map back to the team, and Rainor had no rouble finding the entrance. A concealed cave on the Hooktongue, set up with a deeper channel for access by boat. We descended the bluff, and Rainor unhooked the rope and came down the cliff using this odd monk technique. I admit some envy, but I manage well enough.
Go team Elf! Nature Boy and Urban Girl! Yay!
Inside and further in, a cave. And a pair of Black Puddings – that mage’s specialty, apparently. We’ve dealt with them before, you know. The trick is to use missile weapons to split them into smaller bits, then area-of-effect fire. I don’t really do evocation, much, but His Grace’s sorceress is reasonably competent.
At the back of the cave, a door. I slipped under when the boys levered it up a tad and went looking for a lever on the inside. I found it – but I think they broke the mechanism and go the door open just a second before I could open it from the inside. We’ll have to get that door fixed. And make it stronger – a door that can be opened in half a minute by 3 determined men is no barrier at all, when it comes to castle defences.
Having Dimension Door prepared drastically changes the risks you can take. 🙂 There was loot and a Bag of Holding, but Switch is not that kind of rogue. Ordinary theft is rather beneath a member of house Verdant, don’t you know.
Beyond that, the basement. And the treasury. We looted the gems, but the bulk of the coinage will of course go back into the barony – the walls, fixing the door, hiring some reliable defenders. And a monument. Always a monument.
A set of secret doors, but all of them secret from the other side. A trapdoor in the ceiling, with a rather clever little ladder, leading to a closet, and two doors leading to a wine cellar and a prison.
In the prison was Cassandra’s father, of course. Words were exchanged – I think His Grace managed to get an agreement that Freedonia would annexe Fort Drellev, and that this person would be Baron.
He was warden, or something, and gave us a nicely complete description of the keep. Also of interest were the – ahh – domestic arrangements. It seems Lord Drellev is married to the mage’s sister, but they are estranged and he is banging the (female!) bard. Interesting.
We left him below to guard the exit (we have fought together for some time – he’d only get in the way). Some of our loot – a magical sword and breastplate, and a Potion of Lesser Restoration, and he was altogether a different fellow.
We went up the secret trapdoor.
And another one above it. Very clever – no doubt these hidden little doors go all the way to the top of the tower.
Really nice castle design – hidden passages and an escape route. First time I’ve seen secret doors that made sense, rather than being an obvious plot device.
We went up to floors, and then heard a discussion being had. The boys in armour can’t help but clank a bit. His Grace ordered an Invisiblity Sphere which I did, but it was a bit of a waste as we had been heard and it fails the moment you do anything offensive. Oh well. His sorcerer dropped a Haste on us, there was another spell from somewhere, and then we burst out of the closet.
After the first few moments, in which Jope did the usual, the mage dropped a Wall of Force across the room, isolating him. Nice spell – nothing I could do: they are quite impervious to Dispel Magic. His Grace used a potion of Fly and exited out the window. Meanwhile, I had cast Improved Invisibility and skipped though the melee. The mage was a bit towards the back, and need to be dealt with.
Tumbling through a threatened square. Switch has Boots of Elvenkind, Improved Invisibility, and is a rogue. Evading mooks is not a problem. Higher levels are more of an even thing: it’s Acrobatics vs CMD, and CMD includes BAB. So a fighter’s CMD levels up at the same speed as a Rogue’s ability to tumble past them.
I put a Scorching Ray into the mage, and the Jope came through the window. The guards and the rest of us fought. Jope’s little sorceress was killed, I’m sorry to say – I’m not sure whether by sword or spell. The bard Dimension Doored Drellev and herself away. They do have a castle full of mercenaries, including giants, so they’ll be making a stand there. The mage used a full Teleport spell (I’m pretty sure that’s what it was). He could be on another continent.
Switch does 4d6 sneak attack per ray plus 2 per d6 of sneak attack. And I rolled high: lot of sixes. 90 odd points of fire into the mage. Next round either Switch, Jope, or Rainor would have killed him.
Anyway, there are only guards left. Our paladin is yelling for people to surrender, but I want to use the rest of this Invisibility – it only lasts a minute. (Next purchase: a rod of Extend Spell – my current rod just doesn’t have the power to extend a greater spell). I have run upstairs – looking for the wife, the mage’s sister.
Apparently not a nice pice of work, but then again most people are not. The paladin is right: I really shouldn’t kill her out of hand. It might be nice for His Grace to be able to make a show of mercy, and the mage is still alive, so giving him reason to take revenge might not be a good idea. I’ll shoot her once then offer quarter, I think – she’ll probably survive. Her brother did, and I got an especially nice shot on him. She’s probably a mage of some description (enchantress is my bet), so bound, gagged, and I think hooded might be best. Damn – was that Jope flying outside the window? They are looking for the Baron, I only have a few seconds. Catch this bitch, Dimension Door down to the dungeon where whatshisname is guarding the exit, then … I don’t know: up the secret door to the closet, out the closet door, and follow the sounds of fighting. Giants bellowing will be a clue. I might use a regular Invisibility to cover that – it lasts longer.
I am on the top floor of the castle. I see a T-shaped corridor, doors to the left and right, a door ahead. The room ahead will be the master bedroom. I suspect that the lady has her own room that she uses during the day, so I’ll search those first. Left, or right?
(Hmm … a brief thought. The warden called this woman “vain”, which is code for “attractive”, usually. If Jope kills her husband and his lover, I wonder if she might be interested in becoming a duchess? I wonder why Drellev has so little interest in her? If she is neither stupid nor too attached to Drellev, perhaps she might be pragmatic about things. She is – after all – nobility. Technically, and perhaps even by birth. Her brother and Morgana, also, might find they have common interests.)