Ary shifts through the room, doing her best to balance on the fallen Harold, lips pursed. While he would have been a dangerous prisoner, chances were he would have been a valuable one as well. Her lack of recognition that he would continue to be the target of the babau for as long as he breathed was an oversight. Unfortunate, but also probably necessary - they simply didn't have time to do everything right. She flips her grip on her sword and plunges it into the downed Babau's body, golden motes radiating from her shield and fluttering towards Ehren, repairing the fissures in his form created by Harold's suicidal negative energy burst.
Radiance Attack 1 v. Babau 1 (G, Inspired, CC, DW, DEMON, PA): 1d20 + 15 - 1 + 2 + 4 - 2 + 4 - 3 ⇒ (16) + 15 - 1 + 2 + 4 - 2 + 4 - 3 = 35
Radiance Damage 1 v. Babau 1 (Inspired, CC, DEMON): 1d8 + 7 + 2 + 4 + 4 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 7 + 2 + 4 + 4 + 6 = 26
Silver Crane's Blessing Healing Ehren: 2d6 + 2 ⇒ (3, 3) + 2 = 8
Val spins around as the demon flickers and appears behind them instead. With Ary and Daisy more than capable of taking care of themselves against a few babau, the tiefling ends her chant and spins her knife around in her hand. "I give the trash talk an eight out of ten. Could use more snark and less vitriol." She sends her blade flying into the blood demon's chest. "Not that minions like this really provide all that much inspiration."
Attack (Heroism): 1d20 + 16 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 16 + 4 = 27
Second Attack (Heroism): 1d20 + 11 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 11 + 4 = 35
Confirm? (Heroism): 1d20 + 11 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 11 + 4 = 19
Damage (Heroism): 1d4 + 9 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 9 + 4 = 14
Second Damage (Heroism): 1d4 + 9 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 9 + 4 = 16
After Ary goes calling for survivors, Xanderghul decides to tromp up the stairs, looking for people in the attic. He knows that the others can handle the remaining few babau, and he would only waste resources by helping.
Xanderghul heads up the stairs, finding a very small room containing a single bed, a dresser, and a nightside table with a closed leather-bound book on it. The stairs continue upwards to another floor. There doesn't seem to be anyone here.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Ehren's lumbering blow lands with great force sending the fallen babau reeling. Ary follows up next, her hewing stroke breaks through the demon's guard and carves into their anatomy with brutal efficiency. The demon struggles to its feet, its grip on its weapon faltering as it starts to fade in and out of consciousness.
In the other room, Valaria's well-placed shot bores through her opponent, stealing its life in an instant.
Babau #1 vs Ary: 1d20 + 7 - 3 ⇒ (9) + 7 - 3 = 13
Hinagiku Bodyguard: 1d20 ⇒ 1
Book keeping: Ehren deals 11 damage to babau #1, wounding it. Valaria deals 30 damage to Babau #6, killing it (crit confirms but it is dead). Ary deals 26 damage to babau #1 leaving it in critical condition. She heals Ehren for 8 HP.
The Heroes Are Up!
Hinagiku, Ehren, and Ary are entitled to an AoO vs babau #1 as it stands up.
Ignoring initiative order as this is the final round of this combat.
Val peeks forward into the main room and glances at the babau struggling up off the ground. "I'm not sure I'm actually needed here," she deadpans as the demon stands, completely surrounded by more than capable warriors. She crosses her arms and decides to just watch the show unless the demon survives by some miracle.
I'm just going to wait to see if it survives all the AoOs and attacks. If it manages, I'll roll attacks, but I kinda doubt it.
With another babau brought down, Ehren puts his foot back to work.
Attack of Opportunity (Inspired, Power Attack): 1d20 + 12 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (17) + 12 + 2 - 2 = 29
Damage (Inspired, Power Attack): 1d8 + 8 + 2 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 8 + 2 + 6 = 17
With Val having dispatched the banquet she had been attacking, Isilme moves to engage the last demon. "If there is anything demons are deserving of--aside from death, of course--it is vitriol," she responds to Val as she lunges towards the remaining babau.
Attack: 1d20 + 13 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 13 + 2 + 2 = 32
Damage: 1d4 + 7 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 7 + 2 + 2 = 12
Isilme's starknife sweeps in a flashing arc before terminating directly in the babau's chest with a crunch. The babau falls to the ground, seeping ichor into the floorboards.
Book keeping: Isilme deals 12 damage to Babau #1, KOing it.
What now? If you want to exit the infirmary and head back to the cliff, say so. Otherwise, gonna pause and let you say what you wanna do/declare additional actions. Only Isilme has taken an action during round 279.
AoO(G, Inspired, CC, DW, DEMON, PA): 1d20 + 15 - 1 + 2 + 4 - 2 + 4 - 3 ⇒ (8) + 15 - 1 + 2 + 4 - 2 + 4 - 3 = 27 Dibs.
Damage (CC, DEMON, PA): 1d8 + 7 + 4 + 4 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 7 + 4 + 4 + 6 = 28
Ary simply reverses the blade in her hand and brings it arcing upwards as the babau begins to rise, before turning on her heel.
"The coast is clear! If anyone is still out there, come out for now. We can't stay and protect you, but we'll be able to direct Crusaders later to known survivors!" Ary calls out as she moves into the stairwell, readying herself for any more fighting that might come.
Move action, recover SCB.
Hinagiku finally allows herself to breath out when the last babau is slain before her very eyes. Breathing back in, she quickly scans the room with her eyes before going to survey the various rooms of the floor. Not having found anything, she makes her way to the stairs where she waits for the others.
"To the spire?" she softly asks.
perception(m.hero): 1d20 + 19 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 19 + 4 = 42
"As much as I would like to believe there were survivors here, I doubt we will find any," she replies as Ary calls out for survivors. "I agree, Hinagiku. We should make haste to the spire now. None of this will matter at all if we fail to secure the demonscope."
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Descending the stairs once again to find the demons all dead, Xanderghul makes vague "mmm" noises before simply continuing down to the bottom floor. They were in the hurry. They had to finish before the time that his knighting is supposed to be!
"Should we do something about this before we get moving?" Val asks, gesturing to the Harold's collapsed form. "Is he even actually dead, or just unconscious?"
"He is dead," Ehren assures Valaria, having witnessed the gruesome finishing blow himself. Ignoring the giant dwarf corpse, he takes a moment to look at the numerous bodies in the room, now charred by the blaze. Despite their victory, the enemy had certainly succeeded in wasting their time. If they had been able to save even just one life, it would have been worth it.
Even so, they would save many lives if they managed to save the Demonscope. "We should get back to the cliff, before the magic on the scale wears off."
"Come on!" shouts Xanderghul, halfway down the stairs, "Faster! No discussion necessary, we all know what to do!"
Book keeping: Ary's AoO kills Babau #1 fully. All KO'd babaus are dying/bleeding out.
Harold is dead, having perished to the babau's CDG.
Hinagiku, Isilme, and Xanderghul appear to be ready to move on, so we will. Ehren/Valaria/Ary may take further actions if they wish before moving on.
There is no response to Ary's call. Having found no further survivors, the heroes head down the stairs to exit the apothecary. Before they exit, however, they can clearly see out the windows to the street beyond. They see several nabasu, at least four in total, circling the skies around the infirmary. They were probably drawn by the noise and the flames, and drew closer to investigate.
"Certainly. But we would be remiss not to have tried." Ary says, nodding, and beginning to head out, pausing, before whispering. "Wonderful. Any ideas? The Babau having attacked him and him having killed them makes sense, if we can get out without being spotted."
"Well, we certainly don't have time to keep fighting," Val agrees. "We need to get going before the magic wears off, or come up with a different way up the cliff. Xander, do you have that invisibility sphere spell prepared? Because that worked really well last time we had to sneak past this kind of thing. We'd have to get far enough away that we can get up the cliff without them spotting though."
"An illusion might be the best way to draw their attention away long enough for us to reach the spire. Invisibility Sphere atop that would make it a safe and quick trip."
Taking as long of a moment as he dares to render Ary - the shiniest and most visible member of the party - invisible, Xanderghul also begins to weave another illusion spell. As he does, he also floats in the direction of the cliff that the group means to scale. Working with what magic he has, Xanderghul does his best to mask the group's passage in the direction they mean to go in. "Do what you can to find cover," he says, "I'd rather not spare the power required for a group invisibility spell."
After he says so, Xanderghul casts a figment of the heroes themselves - but a little brighter, a little bigger, a little larger-than-life. Colors are bolder. Muscles are more defined. Xanderghul creates a heroic caricature of the same group he is in. That illusory caricature group heads towards the keep the long way, going north. He hopes that if the group is appropriately subtle that the nabasu will notice the illusion and chase them, giving the real group a chance to escape.
Stealth: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
invisibility on Ary, then minor image (duration 6 rounds) to try and garner a distraction, then invisibility on self.
As he waits on Hinagiku and Xanderghul to finish their search, Ehren uses his healing wand to patch the bite wound on his leg.
The druid grimaces when he sees the nabasus circling overhead, having seen enough of the gluttonous demons over the past year to last him a lifetime. They were no Skulgrym, but an encounter with them was something to be avoided nonetheless.
"I can travel underground. Are there any more precautions we can take?" Ehren asks, looking to the group. Well, those he could see anyway. Ary and Xanderghul are now invisible, while Isilme and Valaria have always had a penchant for stealth. For the most, that just leaves Hinagiku.
Wand of CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
HP and wand charges updated. :o
While Ary and Xanderghul disappear and one of them, she guesses Xanderghul, walks through the door. Carefully approaching one of the windows, she presses her back against the adjacent wall and looks outside through the glass at the nabasus. She then looks toward Isilme, Valaria, and Ehren.
"My skills are not good enough to get across without being noticed, even with the illusion... and I doubt my vulpine shape will be enough to get through... does anyone have something that might help? "
"I will provide you with invisibility, Hinagiku" Isilme says, laying a hand on the kitsune. The magic washes over her and she vanishes from sight in a flash.
"If we stick close together I can further improve our abilities to move quietly." Isilme crouches down touching her boots and focusing on extending their power to the others. Though nothing obvious happens when she stands back up, the magic nevertheless makes it easier for the others to move more quietly.
Invisibility on Hinagiku, +5 competence to stealth for Hinagiku, Ary, Val and Xanderghul for 1hr as long as they stay within 30' of Isilme.
Stealth: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (17) + 21 = 38
"Fair enough. I'm more than used to keeping low and out of sight." Val waits until Xanderghul weaves his illusion before daring to move, giving the demons a chance to catch on to the distraction before trying to slip past.
Stealth (Isilme, Heroism): 1d20 + 17 + 5 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 17 + 5 + 4 = 41
Stealth (Boots were made for Stealthin', Caped Crusader, No Crusaders Here, Ouch): 1d20 + 7 + 5 + 4 + 20 - 1 ⇒ (12) + 7 + 5 + 4 + 20 - 1 = 47
"Right. Quickly then." Ary says, voice full of tension, her footfalls not making any sound due to Isilme's trick, and all of her form disappearing as a result of Xanderghul's. "Onwards and upwards."
Hinagiku has had 24 hours to respond and will be botted until she checks into gameplay or discussion.
The heroes wait for a moment for the nabasus to veer westwards in the direction of Xanderghul's illusion, then creep off to the cliff face. They turn around the bend and soon the illusion, and the demons, are out of sight. Following Isilme's lead, they silently use buildings as cover. Between this and the loud sounds of battle just beyond the keep's walls, they are able to get away from the nabasu with little difficulty. Creeping behind the stables, they pause at the cliff's face, ready to ascend. Above them on the top of the cliff, the road winds through an open gate flanked by two watch-towers which separate the lower and upper baileys.
You can hear the panicked call of a whinnying horse. "Help.... help... they're inside of me. Get them out... they're inside of me..."
You can barely glimpse a pair of vrocks hiding atop one of the watchtowers atop the cliff. They are ducked behind its crenellations but appear to be looking out for anyone crossing through the towers.
Hinagiku Stealth (heroism, invis, silent slippers): 1d20 + 4 + 4 + 10 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 4 + 4 + 10 + 5 = 36
Nabasu perception (distraction): 1d20 + 23 - 10 ⇒ (6) + 23 - 10 = 19
Perception: 1d20 + 26 ⇒ (3) + 26 = 29
"There are Vrocks guarding the towers," Isilme says, quickly spotting the demons' poor attempt at hiding. "We may need another distraction, or the rest of us will need to go invisible as well."
Yesterday became busier way faster than expected, so I couldn't post.
Hinagiku gazes upward at Isilme's words. For a moment she remains silent as her mind tries to find some kind of solution to the problem.
"Mrs. Isilme's only you needs a disguise now, no? Mrs. Valaria often passes as one of the cultists... and, doesn't Mr. Xanderghul have a magical hat just for that?"
"They will be expecting Val," she says. They had successfully infiltrated many times before, but it seemed unlikely that at this point they could successfully pull it off without disguising everyone. "Perhaps if Val wore Xander's hat. But they might also just have orders to kill anyone entering. Stealth might still be a better choice."
Isilme feels a circlet get poked into her hand. "Grab it, Val has her own," mutters Xanderghul, from next to her.
Noticing that the rest of the group has stopped moving, Ehren peeks his head out from the ground for an update on their current predicament. His stomach turns when he hears the poor horse's cries for help, knowing that there is any number of horrific creatures that could be infesting its body. Unfortunately, there is simply too much at stake for them to stop to investigate.
Reaching for the conspicuous leather bag sitting at his waist, the druid retrieves two of his pearls of power. He long learned how to distinguish the pearls from the weaker ones in his possession by feel alone, through subtle differences in their sizes.
"With these you could cast your invisibility spell twice more," Ehren offers, holding them out in no particular direction since he cannot actually see Xanderghul.
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Xanderghul waits for the rest of the party to solve their own predicament. The two visible party members were both social virtuosos and were both capable of changing their appearance. Naturally, Xanderghul assumed that they would be able to handle their own "getting past the vrocks" issue.
He sighs when they continue to expect him to solve everything for them. Shaking his head invisibly, Xanderghul touches Ehren's pearls one by one to absorb the power from them. Then, he touches Isilme and Valaria once each to turn them invisible.
"Invisibility is likely safer but it's a use of..." Ary pauses when she hears the sigh, then watches the other two wink out. She shrugs invisibly, "Just say when we're ready to move on."
The entire group effectively invisible, they set off at once, using levitate to fly up the cliff on the backs of wispy clouds. They creep past the two watchtowers without much issue, their footfalls silent thanks to Isilme's enchanted boots. They find the upper bailey eerily silent and empty. It is strewn with fly-covered corpses lying in drying pools of blood and viscera. The cobblestone road snakes past several large imposing wooden barracks buildings - three in total. To the left is the still smoking chimney jutting from a small stone smithy.
Nestled against the enormous Starrise Spire is Clydwell Keep, looming quietly on the other side of the bailey. A portion of the wall next to the doorframe was blasted inward. Fragments of the wall are scattered around the area, and some of the larger pieces have done significant damage to a nearby barracks. Its three-story tower looks down upon the carnage with darkened windows.
Many of the bodies near the towers have died from severe blunt trauma. You can see that large bricks near their corpses are matted with dried blood.
Vrocks can use telekinesis at will.
Checking in for a moment to confirm that you intend to continue stealthily towards the keep entrance. If there is something different that you want to do please say so ASAP! Otherwise will move forwards once three check in.
Heal: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
"We should keep moving. The further we can get before being detected, the better," she whispers through her magic to the others.
Heal: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (10) + 18 = 28
Perception (Heightened Awareness): 1d20 + 17 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 17 + 2 = 32
"They were killed by that debris," Ehren says in regards to the corpses strewn about the area. Highly doubting that it simply fell on the crusaders, he adds, "It must have been thrown at them."
With that said he sinks back into the ground and continues onward, keeping in pace with the others.
"Shame, I haven't had a chance to try my new disguise out yet," Val says as Ehren offers the pearls to Xander and the entire party is concealed from sight. She hurries ahead, trying to measure herself so the group can stay together despite them not being able to see each other any more than the demons can see them. It's much harder than it seems. "Then let's keep going before they start trying to drop rocks on us too. The sooner we get there, the sooner we can put a stop to this."
Knowledge Planes (Heroism): 1d20 + 18 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 18 + 4 = 25
Wishing to avoid further conflict, the heroes pass across the upper bailey with care. Passing through the blown open wall, they head into the keep. The entrance hall to Clydwell Keep is composed of a single, huge open room that is strewn with nearly two dozen slaughtered paladins and slick with the ichor of slain demons. The dark marble floors contain multiple large pools of blood and viscera. Hanging from the ceiling is a large chandelier, a magnificent collection of antlers with flames flickering from their tips brightly illuminate the room. Several marble statues of Iomedae are knocked over and broken. The wall tapestries hang in shreds. A long winding staircase coils upward along the outside walls. Beneath one section of the stairs, there is a gigantic hole in the wall, where a pair of smashed doors once hung, revealing a darkened staircase leading downwards. To the left is another enormous set of stone doors, that lead into the entry hall of the Starrise Spire. Golden runes encircle its untouched face, forming a large protective barrier around it.
The heroes can hear the whoops and hollering of Abyssal voices echoing down the stairs going upstairs. They appear to be reveling, and the smell of roasting meat is on the air.
You can hear the sounds of a very distant Thud. Thud. Thud emanating upwards from the stairs going downstairs, like something large and heavy being rammed into something over and over from far away.
The rope supporting the antler chandelier is badly damaged. It could fall with the slightest provocation.
1d20 ⇒ 5
1d20 ⇒ 2
1d20 ⇒ 13
The scene before them as they enter into the keep gives Isilme pause. Despite all their victories, despite all the lessons that had been learned in the aftermath of Kenabres, or even over the course of all the crusades, somehow the demons had managed to infiltrate what should have been the single safest, most heavily guarded place in all of Mendev. While perhaps the death and destruction before them was concentrated within the keep, she had to wonder how long this could be sustained, despite the hard won victories they'd had to date.
Stepping carefully through the bodies so as not to track blood, she moves beyond the horror of the moment and instead refocuses herself on their goal. That the main doors to the spire were in tact meant that the ward there still stood, but the demons had likely found another way in already.
"Some sort of pounding sound from down below," she says, gesturing towards the broken doors, ]"I am uncertain whether we should investigate that, or attempt to enter the spire through the main doors, however."
Perception: 1d20 + 26 ⇒ (3) + 26 = 29
Perception (Heightened Awareness): 1d20 + 17 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 17 + 2 = 29
"If they have not managed to pass through these doors, then they may be trying to make their own entrance," Ehren speculates, hoping for the sake of anyone still in the spire that his theory holds water. "Unless we can get through those doors ourselves, then we should head downstairs, before whatever is upstairs catches wind of us."
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Perception Aiding (CC, Grazed): 1d20 + 16 + 4 - 1 ⇒ (7) + 16 + 4 - 1 = 26 Looking elsewhere counts, right?
Ary frowns imperceptibly (being invisible and all) as they move into the spire, though a tighter grip on the hilt of her sword makes an audible creak. She covers her mouth with her free hand and closes her eyes for a moment, sending a prayer to Iomedae to guide the knights into her Legion, before opening them, and holding her eyes above the carnage, though her hand stays clasped over her nose and mouth as she moves through the offal of the room.
Her eyes linger on the single unblemished point in the entire room. Why had the demons left... "Careful." Ary whispers into the message, "They've trapped the chandelier to fall if anything affects it."
"Carefull, the chandelier is almost about to fall... " Hinagiku echoes Ary. And, as she speaks, the monk carefully walks so as to avoid finding herself underneath the antlers. Seems like a trap to me, someone should check!
"I remember Father Kuthoiaim saying that the sanctum of the demon device can be accessed through the basement of St-Clydwell keep, maybe we won't have a choice but to go down here... Or do we have time to look for another entrance?"
perception(m.hero): 1d20 + 19 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 19 + 4 = 39
"Well spotted, Ary, Hinagiku," Isilme remarks, wondering how she'd missed something so obvious. "Perhaps we should head down then, I suspect we will not be able to open these doors here."
"Unless they've rigged it... it certainly doesn't hurt for me to try the doors." Ary whispers as she begins to head that way. "If we don't need to fight our way through demons, all the better, yeah?"