Martini and Ruin are scouting…
We start by leveling up, because apparently we’re a full level behind.
Ruin and Martini return downstairs and the group moves up the stairs together. Martini sneaks back up into the room, while the cultists are chanting. Behind her, somebody stops chanting and starts sniffing the air; she thinks he can smell her. Geddy shuffles forward, chanting, and Martini and Ruin have snuck into the room, and outside the room there’s this clanking sound. It’s Marshall, approaching with all the skill and subtlety that we know and love about him.
The cultists lean down and pick up staffs and start sniffing around. Martini moves, and attempts to stab Kas Luthien. She plunges the dagger into his back, and a sort of gooey blood comes out; it wasn’t the true Kas Luthien, but it was alive… well, until just a moment ago.
One of the cultists tries to grab her, and she stabs him. She slices him open, and it’s still not quite right; the flesh is wrong. He fails to grab her. He's an it, not a him.
Leira steps forward to where she can see into the room, and fires off a magic missile. The cultist she hits moves a lot more vigorously; it takes the missile but swings its staff around to point at Leira.
A bunch of cultists swing their staves around and fire off scorching rays at Martini. Only three of them connect, but they do a fairly significant amount of damage. Geddy leans around the corner and fires off the acid-bolt crossbow. He targets the one in front of Leira, which flinches back. Tavros strides in and finishes it. Three of the cultists in the audience cast mirror images.
One of them says, “I’ve been waiting for this!” He casts Power Word Kill at Leira – she dies – and Disintegrate at Ruin. He takes a bit of damage, but otherwise ignores it.
Marshall says, “It’s all right, I’m here!” He moves forward a bit.
Everyone in the room appears to be Kas Luthien, now that their cowls are back and they're turning to face us.
A door opens and more Kas Luthien clones come shambling out. Marshall: “Holy shit, guys. There sure are a lot of these Luthiens.”
Marshall and Martini take damage from magic missiles. Geddy shoots one down with an acid bolt, and it dies. Tavros charges towards the one who cast disintegrate, killing one of the lesser ones on the way. Tavros takes a couple of lightning bolts but avoids the worst of it. Ruin shifts over to one of the spellcasting clones, kills the clone beside it, and starts picking off mirror images.
Luthien tags Tavros with a freezing sphere which does nothing (cold damage doesn’t affect him) and follows up with a prismatic spray which does some damage. Marshall steps up and kills another clone with his scythe. Martini steps up and kills another of the more active clones. Shamblers try to grab Tavros and Marshall, and Tavros cuts one down. Both of us shrug them off.
Martini takes more damage from Magic Missiles; so does Marshall. Geddy murders another clone. Tavros reaches Luthien and starts carving into him, but he’s protected by a magic shield and the other clones seem to take the damage instead. (We saw something similar back when we were fighting The High Priest Septimus.) One of the clones fires off an empowered Scorching Ray at Ruin, but misses. Another one tries an empowered scorching ray on Marshall and connects. Another one throws a lightning bolt at Tavros, who again avoids the worst of it. Ruin finishes the spellcasting clone, and Luthien attempts to hit Tavros with Feeblemind. Tavros shrugs it off. He follows up by dropping Mordenkainen’s sword over by Geddy. Marshall wipes out four of the weak clones. Martini kills two more scrubs. The lesser clones attempt to swarm Marshall and fail.
Geddy disengages from the sword, and retreats. Tavros continues attacking Luthien, and three of the clones explode. The spellcasting clone tries an empowered scorching ray on Tavros, hitting once. The other spellcaster attacks Marshall, who’s starting to look a bit worn.
Luthien points at Tavros: “Concentrate fire!” He hits Marshall with Power Word kill, and follows up with a scorching ray to make sure Martini is actually dead. The remaining clones move in and just batter Tavros with magic missiles.
The beholders break through the door, and set off an Energy Drain trap that Martini left for them. They hiss and move back away from the door, because that Energy Drain has reduced them to wimpy little things. He also moves the conjured sword and takes a swing, but is nowhere near Geddy. Tavros continues beating on the shield, and more of Luthien’s clones explode.
The spellcasting clones fire off more magic missiles at Tavros. Ruin moves to flank, attacks once, and then drops his sword. Luthien uses Dimension Door to cross to the far side of the room, and cals his conjured sword back into the room. He creates another sword right in front of him. Geddy moves over to Martini and retrieves the key to the Nine Halls.
Tavros charges after Luthien, and takes a hit from the conjured sword on the way. He slams his falchion down onto Luthien.
The last two clones explode, and the shield around Luthien shatters. Luthien casts Mirror Image as Ruin scoops his sword back up and charges after him. His sword attacks Tavros, hitting again. He then casts Greater Shout. Tavros again avoids the worst of it, but he’s barely on his feet now.
Geddy opens the Nine Halls and drags Martini inside.
Tavros starts taking out images. Ruin comes up on his other side and misses. Luthien hits Tavros with a Prismatic spray and finally takes him down.
Geddy takes out our one working Resurrection magic, a philosopher’s stone, and uses it on Martini. Ruin cuts down more of his images, and Luthien restores his mirror images and attempts a quickened scorching ray, which hits; his words then attack also. Martini pops up, and Geddy’s like: “Get out there and kill Kas Luthien!” She can hear Ruin screaming in rage.
She sighs and moves over to Luthien. Luthien: “IMPOSSIBLE!” Geddy stays back in the Nine Halls.
Ruin attacks and takes out a couple of images. Luthien drops a Meteor Shower on the far side of the room. The swords continue carving into Ruin. Luthien follows with a quickened Magic Missile at Ruin. Martini moves into position and flanks him. She attacks and misses. Ruin attacks and takes out more images, and nicks Luthien with one attack. He’s still being assaulted by conjured swords. Luthien takes him down with a quickened magic missile, and hits Martini with a scorching ray.
Martini attacks, taking out more images and also stabbing him. Luthien shifts his swords to Martini, and hits her with a magic missile. Martini has been studying him; now she moves in and stabs him.
He dies, and the chanting dies with him. They manage to stabilize Ruin, so it’s him, Martini, and Geddy who are still up and around. There’s a fountain in the side room with a stack of coins. There are also stairs going up. The next floor is largely empty; it looks like it was once an artifactory, but much like the airship level it hasn’t been touched in a while. We reopen the Nine Halls in the artifactory and drag our friend’s bodies inside, along with Kas Luthien’s – nobody gets to resurrect this asshole.
Hierophant Malafar is up on the next level; so is – apparently – Vecna herself. If we can find some way to disrupt her, we can get our powers back. Vecna is, among other things, a lich.
And we know her name.
We rework one of the Wail of the Banshee traps to scream out her name.
Martini and Ruin sneak to the top of the tower. Vecna looks around and spots us immediately. Martini throws the trap at her, and she disintegrates it in mid-air. Ruin yells, “DAMN IT, GALVERA!”
She shrieks and falls to her knees, and her anti-magic spell shatters. We have powers again. We book it back down to the Nine Halls, and resurrect everybody. Eva wakes up too.
We level up again. And next time we’re going to have to fight Vecna/Galvera.