After escaping town, the party discusses the best route to get Lucien home (and away from us ASAP). And we also get to dress him up as a girl. Intimidate/bluff FTW! Deleune suggests we go through some old haunted/cursed fort whose name isn’t really Fort Corgi, but someone doesn’t like to spell things out for the person taking notes, so Corgi it is. Anyway, Deleune thinks that’s the safest route because the slavers won’t want to go through it on account of it’s crazy evil or whatever. Sounds like the perfect place to build your vacation home. Maybe after we inevitably clear it out of monsters we can keep it and make it our secret base?
On the way to Fort Corgi we’re attacked by gnolls and devil hyenas. I wonder what the deal with Baron/Bargle and these gnolls is anyway. We make short work of them and continue on to the fort of mysterious evil. When we get there, we take a rest and wake up to the sound of 1 HP devils attacking. Is this really the best the curse can whip up for an opening volley? I think even Lucien could have taken these dudes on.
Maybe the fort doesn’t like to be bad-talked, because after this the walls around the place all magically repair themselves and seal us inside. Trying to smash our way out doesn’t work, but does draw the attention of someone else inside. Turns out, Adari was hiding out there to get away from the hourglass dudes and also got trapped inside. I wonder how long he’s been here? What has he been drinking and eating all this time? He tells us he thinks the hourglass dudes are from Glantri, which Aurelia thinks is total bullshit. I mean, the country may be run for the most part by a bunch of sorcerer assholes, but I’m pretty sure they get on okay with the shadow elves. We will be getting to the bottom of this.
Adari also tells us that the keep is “possessive” and we will have to explore it to get to the bottom of whatever’s going on. Deleune is not down with this and wants to find the top of the keep so she can see out or something like that. She volunteers to take Lucien with her but most of the party doesn’t trust her yet and decides it would be better if we took Lucien with us. Don’t blame me when he trips and sets off some nasty trap or whatever his monumental bad luck decides he’s due for next.
After a little while the party comes across some statue holding two plates and 8 discs laid out in front of it on a table. The party needs to solve some algebraic equations to balance the scales and open the doors behind the statue. The original equations carved into the table get really nasty towards the end and cause much stress to solve by hand (especially to the DM’s wife), so the hand of God (the DM) comes down and changes the equations to make them much more manageable. Thanks Scott!
After solving the equations and balancing the scales, the door opens and the party proceed through. Eventually we come across an undead owlbear and some flying skeletons. Killing ensues. The party continues on to a room with no other exits and no furniture but a book on the table. Quick perusal of the book leads to the conclusion that it’s full of pretty evil shit (perhaps it is an instruction manual for cats?). The motion to destroy the book (as opposed to lugging it around and possibly allowing to turn one of our party members crazy evil) carries by a slim margin. After the book is destroyed the room starts to rumble and shift so as to cut off the party from the door. We get out of there and head back only to find ourselves in a new location. We eventually come across the sounds of battle and rush in to save what we think is Deleune, who turns out to be an imposter succubus and manages to charm Talia for the entire battle. Once we manage to defeat fake!Deleune and her cohorts, real!Deleune shows up and suggests we escape out the nearest window, which we do. So much for our new Batquito Mansion. I suppose the search must continue for an awesome hideout!
We manage to make it back to Mirkos incident free (although this is what I imagine happened along the way – click on the small picture for full size). Finally, we’re at the castle and some guards volunteer to lead us to the king and we’re so close to being rid of Lucien... WTF guards are evil plant monsters! They attack us in some palace garden instead of bringing us to the king. Thanks to an awesome roll on an insight check (finally I get some use out of that skill) they don’t get a surprise round, at least. It also allows me to use my new daily and pull their caster into a well about 3 times, leading Scott to look up rules on forced movement off a precipice. Alas, it seems there will be no more insta-kills this way, since they now get a save to catch the ledge. ;_; In any case, we make short work of them and continue on the the king where we can FINALLY drop off Lucien.
We tell the king about the gnoll monster (which we have re-named gnollterba) and the dastardly duo of the Baron and Bargle. He is shocked and I can see a trend in this family about not noticing the blatantly obvious. However, he does give us 8000 gold each, so all is forgiven. I can’t imagine why he hired such a shitty bodyguard for Lucien in the first place if he’s got all this money lying around, so I believe my suspicions about Lucien’s family trying to get rid of him are confirmed. Also, the king agrees to send a letter to Glantri for me to warn them the hourglass dudes are running around ruining their good name.
The king then starts a story about how the Baron once saved his life…