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Shadow Clock, Top Floor, Round 3 Continued
Ned is sickened with despair and his sword hangs off his hand like a wilted leaf in summer. Selia has placed Ned under a powerful protection effect, and summoned archons blast away at the hideous lamia. You see that her tunic absorbs a few of the rays, but most of them get through and elicit a gasp of surprise from her.
Lleidr lobs a magic missile into the lamia, and he rushes to the east side of the tower, hoping to strike from behind. With a wave of her hand, the missile dissipates.
Nich leaps towards his opponent, who brings her antiquated weapon up and lands a devastating blow upon the cleric (27 dmg - she got a critical hit). However, he returns a blow in return.
To your amazement, Xanesha lifts up to the sky and engages the archons. However, her skills with the spear fail her. She hits one, barely, and misses another. From some arcane spell, she is capable of movement through the very air!
To proceed, i need actions from Ned, Selia and Nich. Ned's condition limits him to a single move action. And, I believe Lleidr is using a readied Magic Missile.
Unless I'm offbase, Selia's summoning is finished now, so I'll need actions for whatever appears.
Remember, I'll need any movement you want to do as well as your actions.
Waves of power emanate from Xanesha's longspear.
Nich isn't affected by the burst. Lleidr and Ned are overwhelmed with feelings of sadness and despair (-2 to attacks, saves, ability checks, skill checks, weapon dmg) for several minutes.
In addition, the direct target of her attack, Ned, is nauseated with despair for the upcoming round.
Can you all give me your actions? I"ll also need that Will save from Selia.
Shadow Clock, Top Floor, Round 2 Continued
Selia begins another casting as her ant chomps on the wiggling Stalker again. Then, the ant begins fading from sight.
Ned whips around and fires several arrows at the stalker, practically pinning his body to the floor.
Nich's stroke misses its target but the thing is already dead.
Lleidr can tell that the collection of auras moved from the SW corner towards the west, off the ledge! The auras are gone now.
To your collective relief, the demon fades from sight. But your feeling of victory is short-lived.
Quickly, in your midst, a nightmarish foe appears. This creature’s upper torso is that of a comely woman with cat’s eyes and sharp fangs, while her lower body is that of a massive serpent. She wields an antiquated longspear, which looks to be from another age of the world, with deadly poise and grace. Her face is hidden under a horrific golden mask, entwined with serpents, and her torso is covered by a metallic, shimmering garment. Around her neck, she wears a medallion exactly the same as your friend, Nualia - it bears the Sihendron rune.
Even more disturbing, there are actually 7 of these horrors occupying the same space.
"These? These are the proclaimed Sandpoint heroes?" Her mocking laughter is melodious but cold. "If you couldn't even save Nualia from me, what chance have you of protecting an entire city?"
Seven barbed points of the longspear lash out and smash into Ned's armor (15 dmg). I need everyone to make a Will Save, and then Ned to give me a 2nd Will Save as well.
Shadow Clock, Top Floor, Round 1 Continued
Selia completes an arcane chant and girds herself for the coming fight. The ant rushes over to snip at the Stalker, and snags an arm. (NOTE - I believe the ant's got 1 round left; I gave him an attack action & hope that's OK).
Ned's arrows strike the flying demon, their shafts sinking into its feathered mass. It cries out in pain.
Nich lashes out at the crawling Stalker, as it tries to crawl away from him in vain.
Lleidr sees several auras in the southwest corner of this top room, but nothing of an arcane nature underneath the statue. There's at least 5 auras, most of them quite vibrant, but then they move and are out of the area of effect of your spell.
The demon continues circling the tower, and levels another blast which brushes right past Ned. Instead of hitting the ranger, it slams into a mass of guano in the corner which erupts into a cloud of grit.
The Stalker lashes out at Nich, but its easy for him to step out of the way and avoid the blow.
Shadow Clock, Top Floor, Before Combat
The guard cries out in terror upon Nich's Smiting, and his form loses its human composure, turning into a now-familiar faceless, gangly horror. Its claws swipe its head several times in a panic.
"Aigh, I cannot see. Save me, my love."
Nich blesses you via a liturgical chant. The Faceless Stalker shudders upon the cleric's recitation.
Lleidr's arcane missile strikes true! The demon squawks in pain and surprise, and returns a baleful stare to the halfling.
The stalker crawls a short ways towards the south, crying pitiably. "These trespassers scare me, love. They survived the falling bell! You said no one could possibly do that!"
The demon circles around to the north side of the tower. He stretches out a clawed hand, and a blast of fiery energy smacks into the north wall. Bits of burst stone and mortar fly into the air, which now has a sulfurous tinge to it. You can feel the tower tremble under your feet from the assault.
NOTE - i think i'll start putting the map link in the bottom of an update, if required. I figured it was probably confusing to see the end state of the map at the start of the text.
The candle has ample wax for all of you to deaden the melodious voice you heard earlier, should it reappear.
Unfortunately, the giant ant only has another 30 seconds with you.
Upon your ascent onto the roof, a blast of chill air hits you. The smoky, filthy rooftops of Underbridge sprawl below this dizzying perch. The conical roof supports an onyx statue of an angel. Towering like a god, her weathered features are caked with grime, making her seem almost demonic in countenance. At the far end of the hollow space under the roof, in the angel’s shadow, is a nest of cushions, silk sheets, and a line of several small chests.
This space is enclosed within the partially open shell of the tower’s roof—cunningly engineered supports in the sloping roof itself support the statue 15 feet above the center of this room.
The guardsman you saw earlier is kneeling with his head bowed, facing your direction. Casting an evil glance upon your approach, he yells, "Xanesha will appear soon. You'd best be kneeling when she arrives."
The voices weren't close to the stairs. The direction is difficult to determine from your vantage point, other than it sounded as if the speakers were on the roof somewhere.
Then, there's silence.
Suddenly, the city guard appears above you, leaning over the roof, with his hands resting on his knees as he stoops.
"Trespassers! You will find naught up here. Begone ere I summon the city's justice to deal with you."
The opening gives way to a small cluttered room, about 15' wide by 10'.
A timber cabinet with a mesh door sits against the southern wall of this room, while a boarded-up door stands in the wall to the east. Inside the mesh door, you can make out a black raven. Atop a flat space about waist high (head high to Lleidr), sit an ink spattered vial, a quill and some loose scraps of brown paper under a small black rock.
You notice 2 things:
1) the stairs hug the outer wall as they climb up, and there's an entrance into another room, on the level above
2) from past this opening, the stairs climb a bit more, to the tower's roof. From there, you can hear 2 distinct voices arguing although it's hard to tell exactly what they're saying. One voice belongs to the guardsman who fled; the second voice is that of a woman. The voice projects strength and has an enchanting quality to it.
Several rounds pass as you make your way up the steps while trying to avoid pitfalls. You're close to the top of the tower now.
Three immense bronze bells hang from timbers here, affixed by rusting lengths of chain and thick ropes. Above the bells are massive gears and
There's 2 rounds left in the giant ant's summoning before you reach the exit that the guardsman disappeared into.
What's the duration of the summoning, Selia? While the ant can surely outpace the party and manage the stairs more easily, there's quite a bit of staircase left!
Bizrip see the city guardsman panic and run towards the NW corner of the upper tower, where the staircase finally ends. There is an opening to the outside featuring crude scaffolding and stairs which pick back up, on the tower's outer wall, going up towards the pinnacle.
The guard runs through the opening and then disappears around the corner, leaping up the outer stairs.
Where the stairs are gone, you see a series of 8 iron hooks, each as thick as a man's finger and the size of his hand, projecting from the stone wall which had been used as supports for the stairs. Two of them are smashed from the bell and their shape is now mangled, but nonetheless appear firmly embedded in the masonry. Each hook is little more than a foot apart; 'hook' may be somewhat misleading. They're essentially J shaped braces, meant to cradle a timber in their bow.
Ned manages to bring his other arm up, to better hang onto the broken arm of wood. Inching over with great care, he manages to grab a stable step at Lleidr's feet before the supporting nails give way, and the banister tumbles down into the darkness below.
So, he's still hanging, but hanging to a more stable (hopefully) piece of structure.
Shadow Tower, the Stairs
The stairs under your feet shake upon the sound of one of the massive tower bells giving an ear pounding ring as it tears free from its supports and smashes through the rotting timbers.
Lleidr is dead under the center, but the halfling manages to scramble up from beneath the bell's looming shadow just in time. Unfortunately, Ned is frozen, unable to react before the bell strikes (26 hp dmg). The stairs under Ned are smashed into splinters and chunks of worm eaten wood, which rain down on the stone floor far below. The bell crashes onto the floor and then is smashed into pieces.
Fortunately, Ned's training has saved his life once more. The bruised ranger hangs by a hand grip, holding onto a banister which has been bent and twisted by the falling bell. Ever so slowly, the banister's few remaining supports pop and twist their nails, threatening to drop Ned into the emptiness below.
Even worse, the party is divided by a 10' stretch of destroyed staircase. Selia and Nich are on one side, at a lower height than Ned and Lleidr.
From above, you hear the guard yell again. "HUZZAH! I warned you to keep away. Now you'll listen, right! I've got 3 more bells!!"
Sense motive, anyone?
Shadow Tower, the Stairs
The stairs are ancient, and many of them are eaten with worms or soft with rot. Often, there are steps missing, sometimes 3 at a time. With painstaking effort, you climb higher up into this dreadful eyrie and the hard ground beneath falls away. Many times, the stairs creak and sway, and often you hear the sound of a support cracking.
Your progress is slow as you wind ever upwards. After 4 loops of climbing, your legs tighten in protest. The shouts from the guard above grow ever more urgent and panicked.
"Your last warning, you fools. Stay away from me."
I need Reflex saves from everyone, please!
The faceless stalkers are most definitely inhuman.
After several rounds, the monkeys are barely halfway around the second inner set of stairs; the steps' poor condition slows down even these nimble and graceful creatures, who make the tower innards echo with their feral screeches. Even now, you can feel the summoning which binds them to your command begin to fade. Before they depart, they might make it up another ring to stairs.
Bizrip, on the other hand, can fly a straight path up, to where the false city guardsmen were originally stationed. He spies the 3rd guard, shaking and clutching a stair rail as he peers down into the gloom. From the darkened heights, you can make out a trembling voice.
"Get back you devils! I will gladly die before letting any of you defile my love with your presence."
The guard is near the top of the tower, right under the four bells.
Shadow Tower, Ground Floor, Round 2 - Continued
The screeching monkey's swarm over the Stalker, who is forced backwards a few steps from the onslaught.
Ned delivers a deadly strike against one of Nich's assailants.
Lleidr takes advantage and strikes with lethal accuracy, forcing the stalker to crash to the ground.
And, after twin strokes of the blade from Nicholae, his companion, Brek, also falls down, groaning in pain.
Shadow Tower, Ground Floor, Round 1 - Continued
Selia directs a glob of acid at one of the leathery bipeds, which spatters and steams to no visible effect.
Ned's sword blow is knocked aside by the monster's leathery arm.
Nich steps from behind the ranger and hacks away at Selia's target, but the beast is too nimble to hit.
Meanwhile, the thing is distracted by Nich's attack and by Arg's antics; the Fang bites deep once more
Ned's wound continues to bleed (1 hp dmg). One stalker circles around Nich with great care, so as not to leave himself open. The other, wounded by Lleidr, wheels around in pain, lashing out madly against the halfling.
"Have you any idea what you've done? Attacking the favored servants of Xanesha? Did Ironbriar put you all up to this? I never liked that elf!"
--need Selia, Ned, Nich, Lleidr actions