And we're back with more Evil!Party villainy, in the service of Vecna, Maodeus the evil brass dragon, and a lich called the Hierophant. The work ain't pretty, but it pays well.
-Hatch, Arcane Trickster and magical assassin
-Ramekin, Hatch's familiar, an imp
-Durest, not so much a professional necromancer as an enthusiastic hobbyist
-Jenny, barbarian reaver
-Chuck, vampire and occasional sorcerer
We just finished clearing out the Archons, and we can see parts of the camp. We start checking around.
The wizards that were here are dead, their tents are just boring ordinary tents. We can see a large fire a bit to the north, and the interior of the first tent we check looks like it's been ransacked.
Jenny the Barbarian hears pebbles crunching under boots just to the northeast of us, over a dune; there's a dilapidated stone building off in that direction as well.
The tent that we're looking through has been ransacked, anything of value taken. We start to check bodies, and notice that there's an archon leaning against the ruins; he's holding position but glaring at Durest the dwarf necropriest.
Chuck attempts to dominate the Archon, but the circle of protection against evil protects him; Jenny, however, calls: "Here, puppy, puppy, puppy!" and successfully taunts him.
He charges, and attempts to smite.
The smite fails, but he does do some damage.
Jenny moves and attacks, and this time connects; her second attack misses, and her third attack misses. He repositions and attacks her again, then tries to bite her but misses. She is, however, turned on by the attempt.
Another Archon enters the fray and charges Bob the skeletal Frost Giant and slashes at him, doing some damage. Chuck drops Enervate on the first one, but fails to get through his spell resistance.
Ramekin drops Grease under one of the Archons, depriving it of its Dex bonus; Hatch then tries to tag him with an empowered shocking grasp, combined with his sneak attack. The archon is... not happy.
Durest attempts to attack the first archon with a touch spell, but fails; Bob the Frost Giant tags the second one for a fair amount of damage.
Jenny tags the first archon for a bit of damage, and the Archon turns to Smite Evil on Hatch (our halfling arcane trickster) and connects solidly both times. He attacks Jenny again, and hits. The other archon smites Bob a couple of more times, hitting twice and wearing Bob down.
Chuck attempts a slam attack on the first Archon, but fails to slam him.
Ramekin bring Hatch a healing potion, enough to get him back on his feet. Hatch doesn't even bother getting to his feet; he just reaches out for another Shocking Grasp. Durest follows up with Inflict Serious, gets past his spell resistance, and leaves him staggering; Bob swings at the other one but misses.
Jenny notes that the first archon is in bad shape, and finishes him.
The other Archon is still engaged with Bob; he power attacks, tearing into the frost giant skeleton and obliterating him.
Chuck drops a fireball on the remaining archon, who fails to duck away from it; Ramekin hits it with Grease, and Hatch follows up with a scorching ray but fails to connect, then follows up with a quickened ray of frost to the nuts. Tavros follows up with Flame Strike, roasting him a bit; Jenny charges past the roasting pig and attacks, adding a modest power attack, but misses.
Chuck follows up with a scorching ray, but doesn't connect.
Ramekin throws more grease, and Hatch throws another pair of scorching rays which both connect. The archon curses in Celestial as he sinks to his knees. "Archael will stop you! You will never get past him!"
Chuck: "I'm gonna turn you and your friends into vampires, so fuck you!"
Unfortunately, he really can't turn them immediately without releasing his hold on his existing thralls. So he stuffs the corpse into the bag of holding for later.
We pull three sets of +3 full plate (15,000 GP) off the bodies.
We also pull the boar off the fire, because it is definitely ready to eat. Hatch drops Tiny Hut and we climb inside to rest. And eat bacon.
Nobody comes by to mess with us, so presumably we've cleared the guards from the local area.
We check out the rest of the camp, and aside from the wine everything worthwhile has been burned.
The ruins appear to be an ancient temple; Durest stops to examine the natural spring of water coming up from deep below.
There are more dead wizards in the entryway of the temple. Hatch decides that we need to search for traps, and Ramekin flies in invisibly to scout and look for traps.
Ramekin doesn't see any likely traps, but it does see a Trumpet Archon in the midst of the temple. The central room was clearly a dig site, and there's a passage going down; so we're almost certainly going to have to take this thing on.
We don't want to.
So we send Ramekin down to fly into the hole and find us a spot where we can teleport in. The angel hears the imp passing and whips out his trumpet and sounds it.
Durest is fine, and Chuck the vampire sorcerer is immune to this; Hatch, alone out of all the party, is paralyzed. Ramekin disappears down the hole, passing out of sight as the angel casts Invisibility Purge.
He comes out above a stone platform hanging above a seemingly-endless void. Durest teleports the group down.
We're standing on a platform suspended above a bottomless pit, with a mirror on the far side. In the mirror, there are four additional platforms alongside the big one we're standing on. In the middle of our platform is a hatch leading down; there are four pedestals around it, each with a different aura.
Discussion ensues. Durest climbs up one of the pedestals and notes a concavity in the center of it; he thinks we need skulls to activate these pedestals.
Chuck tosses him a skull and Durest sets it in place, but nothing happens. He hops back down, and Hatch hops up in his place and tries to use his Ranged Legerdemain to see if he can steal the orb within the ball of force through the mirror.
Grabbing at the reflection doesn't appear to do anything; it just hits the mirror.
Durest goes over to examine the hatch, but it's impenetrable and sealed. Hatch tries reaching towards where the reflection of the sphere of force platform would be, and suddenly it's visible.
Hatch stops to consider this, and Chuck discusses it with him. It can't be damaged or moved, but disintegrate will end its protection. Durest uses Dimension Door to travel across, grabs the sphere, and finds himself stuck in the sphere. He settles back to rest.
Hatch takes this moment to see if he can sleight-of-hand one of the orbs from the platform with the Archon on it. The Archon does not see the orb vanish, but he does notice that it's gone a moment later. He's confused... and then enraged, and we're in intiative.
Hatch and Chuck do a bit of spell damage, and Jenny decides to move away from them and try a shot with her bow. She hits! but only does a little damage. Durest tries a Flame Strike, but doesn't get through his spell resistance.
The archon summons a swarm of blades; Hatch and Ramekin duck away from them, while Chuck eats some knives but largely doesn't care.
The Archon moves in to hover over the hatch on the central platform. Chuck strolls up the side of the hatch and tries to Enervate, but (barely) fails.
Hatch departs the Blade Barrier, and tries a sneak attack with a scorching ray... but fails to penetrate the Archon's spell resistance.
Jenny moves close enough to attack with her spiked chain, but misses. Durest is still in the ball of force, but Bob smacks the Archon fairly solidly.
The Archon sounds his horn, paralyzing Ramekin -- but the rest of us shake it off. Chuck tries to slam him, but misses. Hatch tries for an empowered Ray of Enfeeblement -- and gets through his spell resistance. The archon loses a big chunk of his strength.
Durest is still out of action, but Bob carves a chunk off him; unfortunately, he immediately heals himself.
Hatch drops Glitterdust, and the archon is glittery and blinded. Jenny attacks with a bit of power attack, and Bob follows up with his axe. The Archon throws out a Holy Word; Chuck is deafened and everybody else is blinded and deafened.
Chuck, deafened, pulls a full-on Vampire Slam and slaps the crap out of the archon, inflicting negative levels and sucking away some of his life.
Hatch follows up by dropping an empowered fireball on the space where the archon was, but fails to get past his spell resistance.
Jenny, though blind and deaf, attacks... and connects! Twice! Thrice! And the Archon goes down, finally. Unfortunately, Durest is stuck in the sphere until he rests long enough to recover his spells. Still, we've managed not to foolishly get ourselves killed, if only barely. And more dangers yet await...