Dungeons & Devils

We went to the tower when Blackstaff was ready. The ritual made the room all red, hot, and stinky. There were weird winds and voices, and then an awful noise and we could see the Hells. Then a big Pit Fiends clawed his way through, but not really. He was a ghost fiend or something? There but not. He was definitely not who I was expecting. He said it had been a while since someone else had held the book, and asked what we wanted. We all stared around at each other for a few minutes until Red stepped forward. When you want to make a deal with a Devil…

Calls himself Big Red and doesn’t like the idea that we think he’s beholden to anyone buy his Lord Asmodeus. He picks up pretty quick that we don’t like the folks he’s been helping, but won’t admit it’s the Cassalanters. He wants to know what we’re offering in exchange for information on his dealings with them. He doesn’t want his deal with them to get interrupted, they owe him two souls. He says them all dying wouldn’t negate his deal, or them losing all their wealth and going to jail. He just doesn’t want us to directly intervene to stop the two souls coming his way. Red assures him we have no concern for their lives, we just want to get what we want, and get out. What if we accidentally messed up his deal, or made our own deal and then broke it? Big Red says he would harm everyone Red cares about and make his life a living, torturous Hell.

Then we get into more details. He says the Stone isn’t part of his deal. That his deal is for two specific souls, or 100 nonspecific souls. They go back and forth a bit more, then Red agrees not to interfere so long as Big Red tells us everything we want to know. Deal struck, and we all can feel it. Big Red explains that the Cassalanters have worshipped his Lord for some time now. This generation made a deal for wealth, offering up the souls of their children at the age of 13, or a buy out of 100 souls to get their children back. He’s already collected the son, and the twins turn 13 in a month. Blackstaff says that’s enough. She sends Big Red away and tells us to invade the villa.

Red slaps his telepathic bracelet on me again, and I explain everything I saw there. We ask the Blackstaff if she can send mages with us. We need a Passwall into the villa grounds if we want to avoid a public fight. She offers us a couple acolytes, asking us to keep them safe: Rogj and Alvar. Red makes a plan and we head out, sneaking through the shadows of the evening.

At the north wall, Alvar opens a hole, and we sneak through and to the main house. Alvar dispels a trap on the nearest window, and Red unlocks it so we can all slip inside. It’s a dining room, set with golden plates and things. I’m surprised Red resists stealing it all right there. Red says there are three people to the right and two guards in the hall. There isn’t really a door here, so we quickly take out the guards in the hall and drag them inside. Then we put down the guard in the smoking room quickly and quietly. We tie them all up.

Sneaking out into the hall then, we all hide under the stairs while Red checks the other rooms on this floor. There’s a clang, and we all rush to fight off a set of armor as quickly as we can. Two guards come in from outside, and Red and I put them down. The pile in the smoking room is getting really big. Red searches the desk in the armor room and pockets some papers and a medallion. Then we all wait there while he looks some more. There are a couple people standing around in the last room, so he just leaves them be. I already searched upstairs, so we go for the door under the stairs then. Down to the basement.

It’s a normal basement full of luggage and clothing. The Red finds a big vault door. While he looks at that, I check down the hallway and find a wine cellar. There’s a chalice on the wall with a golden sun. Looks like a pressure plate, but I don’t want to explode, so we wait for Red. The plate opens a vault full of sliver bars, which we take, and some stairs going down. So, down we go.

This goes to a big old demonic temple with lots of doors and another staircase. Also, a big old spike-covered devil. He says we don’t look like we’re here for the meeting. This is not the time to talk, so we jump him. Send him back to the Hells. Off to one side, we find prison rooms, but there are no living prisoners, so we move on. There are some meeting rooms and devil statues further around. Then we find ourselves at the edge of a crumbling balcony.

There is a massive statue to the right of the rather large room that the balcony overlooks. There is quiet chanting, too. Red steps out, but some of the stone crumbles, so he keeps us back. He carefully makes it to the edge and says there’s three people down there, praying or something. But the balcony is too unstable, so we head back to the first room and go down the stairs.

There are rooms and halls in all directions. Red says there are two people in the east room, but we want to get back to the big hall. The west corridors seem to go that way, but he wants to check south first. That hall takes us to a room with beds and robes for a bunch of cultists. He finds a secret door which leads into a smaller room with nicer robes, masks, and wine. Only Nevi and Page are the right size for the robes, so we just leave them and go back to head West to the big hall.

We sneak in and up under the balcony we were previously on. All the way up to the devil statue chamber they’re in and attack. It’s just three members of the staff here, but they’re worshipping a devil lord, so I don’t feel too badly. Then, two more people come in from under the other balcony. It’s Amalia and Victoro Cassalanter, and they are quite perturbed.

Amalia raises the three dead back up, but as devils, blood pouring down the statue and into them. Two barbed devils and an erinyes, Nevi told me later. Then they start messing with our heads. But not mine, never mine again. Time to try out my new staff. I lightning bolt the erinyes down because it won’t stop hurting the Big Guy. I add some thunder and lighting to my strikes and Mary helps me put one of the barbed devils down. Red already got his and has gone after Victoro, so I join him. Amalia sent Orange off to get help, so the others focus on her. Victoro, however, has summoned a chain devil. That hurts a Lot! I keep falling unconscious, but the Big Guy doesn’t let me down, and I send that devil home. The body melts, and it turns into their lost son, who then gasps and dies, as well. Poor thing.

Victoro runs, and Red and I give chase, but he puts me down again. Red wakes me up and helps me back to the group. He got the stone, but Victoro got away. We stabilize Amalia, heal up a little, and search the rest of the room, while Red heads out to make sure we didn’t miss anything else. Then we head back upstairs with Amalia and tell her guard she is arrested and they should stand down. Page sends the Blackstaff a message and the children are gathered. Orange is mean to them and they cry and scream until he shouts them down. I’m too tired to stop him. I hurt all over.

The Blackstaff and all the authorities ever arrive and take charge of the villa. She takes us back to her tower to speak privately. Red hands over the stone and they have a conversation about the problems it will cause. He says he’s not worried for himself, but she should be careful. Then he asks her to hurt him and restrain him with magic. He wants to be able to say she took the stone from him. So, she holds him and shoots him with a bunch of magic missiles. Then we head home, but we go the long way, so that Nevi and the Big Guy can both report in on what happened. Mert has brought us dinner back at the Cabaret so he can talk to Page. Red and I will just have to report in the morning.

Brunch With Blackstaff and Silverhand

After the job, Floaty comes to tell me to get rid of the things Red stole at the party. I take it all down to Skullport and throw it in the hole. After getting an imprint of the signet ring for my collection, of course. He said the sewers, but shouldn’t waste stuff like that. A cat comes to get me that night, to come up to the Portal for a meet.

Another cat meets me at the Yawning Portal. It says I need to get Red mad at Brikka. He did try to kill Page after all. The only way to get Nilhoun out of hiding might be to get rid of Brikka. I’ll try, but I don’t know. Red’s reactions are hard to understand. Nothing to do while he’s in jail, though, so I go back to hiding.

Floaty shows up a few days later and says it’s safe to come home. I head up to the Cabaret and Red says everything is fine. I give him my notes on the Cassalanters, and slip a note in about Brikka, too. He isn’t surprised, but I can’t tell if he’s going to do anything. At any rate, he spends a lot of time doing paperwork after we get invited to brunch at the Palace with the Lady Silverhand.

We all put on our best, and go over the next morning. The Palace is beautiful! We don’t even have to wait that long, and the Blackstaff is already there waiting for us. The dining room looks out over all of Waterdeep, I want to go stare, but I sit like everyone else, as far from the head of the table as I can. Blackstaff tells us all to be good and polite to the Lady or she’ll have us killed.

The Lady is elegant. She greets us and orders in the food, then talks to each of us about our business. I think she knows too much, but she doesn’t talk about the bad stuff. There are no accusations. I breathe a bit easier when she moves on to the business at hand.

We explain about the Cassalanters, the stone, the chain devil, and the book, and the Blackstaff supports us, says using it may be the only way to find proof. Silverhand agrees, if it is done in the Tower, and Blackstaff takes responsibility for any trouble. Then she says we’ve all done great service to the city, and offers us each a chance to ask something of her.

Page asks for more help for the city’s poor in winter. The Lady says she’s sure that the money we all make would go a long way towards helping the poor alongside the city’s efforts. Orange asks if she knows a way for him to strengthen his soul, and she tells him to live well and not die, but doubts he will pull back on his dangerous activity. I give her a flyer for the cabaret and one of my new business cards for scribing work. She says she’ll try to make it to a performance. Nevi asks for help finding apprentices, and she says she’ll send any she sees along his way. The Big Guy has no requests, and Mary Mouse is pretty quiet, too. I think he was distracted by the view. Red first asks that, should we find the stone, it be tendered to Force Grey for safe Keeping, and she agrees. Second, he asks to for the opportunity to meet further about the stones. She says she wants to give all the money back to the people, and he says he wants to prevent all out war in the streets. She tentatively agrees to include him in a future discussion. Lastly, he asks for her support with his guild proposal, and after reading it over, she agrees to get him a meeting with the Lords.

Undead Invasion

We’re back in the teleport room. Big Guy helped Page sit up. The ceiling is black now and we’re sitting in a massive pile of Things. Everyone starts grabbing things, but there’s skeletons coming up the stairs. Blackstaff pops a little wall of force over the door. There’s a tree in here, with magic fruit, and some pick toads hopping about. What even happened?

Orange grabs a toad, but it turns into a panther. Like his brother, he makes friends with it. Mary grabs one and it turns into a big demon bird that we have to put down. The skeletons are pounding on the door. The Big Guy grabs a big metal brazier to brace it, but slipped and dropped it on top of himself. The skeletons start breaking through all the barriers. Then help arrived. Ziraj and a few other Doom Raiders, by the look of them. They escort us down the tower and out, through and around more undead, and some Grey Hand. Ziraj isn’t very subtle in keeping me safe, but I’m so near dead, that I can’t complain.

Once outside, we can see a giant black pyramid atop the two towers, like it just landed there. What in Faerûn has happened here? Was that in the mansion, too? Ziraj gets us to the edge of the combat and tells the Blackhand that the Doom Raiders will call in the debt someday. Very subtle friend, very subtle. Catbard starts singing a song about The Lost Undercrypt of someone named Ulfang the Black as we head away from the mess at the towers. Leaving the Blackstaff to rally her forces.

Back at the cabaret, I grab a drink and stew and head up to the kitties for bed. I don’t know what to say if they ask about the rescue, yet. I hope no one noticed he was protecting me. I head out in the morning to send a note, but Ziraj is there again. He says they’re going to keep an eye on things for a few days, so I hand him my report to deliver on the Towers.

Blackstaff shows up about midmorning, as we’re discussing what to do with all the books we took from the tower. She asks if the pyramid was our fault. How? What? No. That’s a weird question. She agrees with Catbard that it’s Ulfang. She says that it happened just as we entered Manshoon’s mansion. She won’t tell us not to go exploring, but he’s really dangerous, and she’s not coming with us. She says Madeline is researching, and Nevi will go talk with her. The conversation goes in a few random directions at this point, Nim and the Gargoyle and then Blackstaff asks for Manshoon’s robe.

Red really wants to keep it, if only to sell it since we can’t use it. He asks for a trade, some secret knowledge in her tower. He seems to be talking about something specific, two particular tomes that can only be read once a century. How strange, but she agrees. Once she leaves, he says I should read one of them, and the Big Guy should read the other one. I’m just happy I get to go to her Library.

To The Top

The apprentices all had rings, too, so I got a new one, but so did Red. We head upstairs, and Orange has to shove the door open cuz it has broken things in front of it. Looks like a workshop of body parts, but stone ones. There’s a whole one, though, and when we go in, it attacks. Just as we are about to put it down, it runs over to a lever on the floor. Then we’re suddenly slamming into the ceiling. The golem stopped moving though, at that. We all scramble up to the door before the floor goes back down, and Blackstaff levitates up to us once she can get back in the room.

The next floor is just a hallway with a flesh golem in front of the far door. We argue about what to do about it, until Red walks up to it and it steps off a pressure plate. This closes Blackstaff behind some bars, and starts filling the hall with gas. I try to go stand on the plate, but too late. Orange takes down the golem, and Red disarms the trap.

The other room on this level is dim, dusty, and full of boxes. There’s a sigil pulsing on the wall, and once the mages get a look at it, they say it’s powering the force wall outside. Maybe I can take it down when everyone else goes on. I copied down the sigil work as best I can. They had been talking about one for the Cabaret. There’s a secret door in the center of the room, and Red shoos us all back to the hall way because there’s a magic trap. He used his invisible hand to open it and it exploded out the wall where the sigil was. Well, that’s that then. There’s a little flaming skull inside that we have to smash back to pieces. There some books and a wand that we loot from in there, but now there’s nowhere else to go.

Back to the smaller tower, and up to the teleportation circle we go. Blackstaff leads us all through the teleport and we land on a platform in front of a mansion, just like Fistandia’s was, surrounded by purple mists. Only this one is covered in Zhentarim symbols. We head inside and Red sets off a huge loud gong right in the entryway. My ears hurt, but I think there was a voice after that, but not sure. Then he steals a mask from the wall and checks all the doors. None of them are locked or trapped.

The first thing we find is another one of those snow-mages, but it isn’t awake, so we smash it right quick. Then a reading room and a library. We snag some more books, but on the way out a voice calls Green Flame, and the funny green fire brazier explodes all over us. Next we find an empty lab, which disappoints Nevi and Mary Mouse. Then a summoning circle, but it’s also empty. Orange messes it up some, for something to do. Next we find an empty guard station. What’s the point of that? Then a waiting room, like they have at important houses and castles. Then we find the receiving room, with a long walkway and big chair at one end.

Here we finally find the people. Urstal Floxin, the half orc Red chased after our house nearly exploded. Vivette Blackwater, another lady Red chased over rooftops. And two halflings, who seemed to move with the ease of my teacher, Whistler. We’re pretty tired from all the fights up to this point, so Red tries to convince them they are supporting the wrong guy and to just leave and get a new job. Then a mage tries to kill him where we can’t see her, so it does not work, so we have to fight.

It does not go well. Urstal’s got some pretty nasty poison on his sword and the halflings are hitting pretty hard. The mage is nasty, so she has to go down first. Everyone’s falling down and I don’t have potions left, and then Manshoon arrives and Orange chokes out Catbard! It’s all going so badly, that the Blackstaff steps in. I have to get Orange off of Catbard, and then finish off the last of the fighters with Red. Blackstaff makes Manshoon disappear and we get up Mary Mouse to help the others. Then gather around where he went poof. When he comes back, Blackstaff grabs him up, just like Orange because she made magic go away in the area. Then we stab and hit him to death. WOW! Blackstaff must be really strong to hold him like that while Red cut his spine right out of his body!

Then everything went white.

Kolats’ Towers

Information Shared: Catbard – Harpers will send folk to keep an eye on us/the cabaret, for our protection. Everyone’s friends are afraid of Manshoon or wanting him dead. The towers have a big wall of force permanently domed around them. Red wants one for the cabaret. We’ll need magic to get through it. Maybe there’s another way. Some folk head off to look for town records on the original owners and the building. Red and I head out to scout it out.

Information Gathered: The main tower is massively tall, seven stories, and the floors seem to be twenty feet apart. The walls look climbable, and there’s a bit door out front, and lots of windows. Another smaller tower, and a big lower building, too. The windows all look dirty, but well light with flickering light. There are lit braziers at stair up to the front door. Clearly, someone is living here. Red wants to check for sewer entrances, but down there it’s just as sealed off. If not magically. Or at least, we can’t see if the shield extends below ground, the sewers just stop. The others say the original brothers upset the city guilds so they just refused to give them sewer connection.

A Plan: Mary Mouse, Orange, and Nevi head off to talk to the Grey Hand about getting a teleport specialist to look at the Yellow Spire. When they come back, however, Orange says the Blackstaff herself will help us into the tower. She wants to claim the towers for the Grey Hand, and is willing to fight Manshoon’s clone to do it. Red says Xanathar wants the tower, too. He says that Xanathar will be waiting to take it once we defeat Manshoon, and Blackstaff won’t have the forces there to stop them. Then he sends a creepy little brain-thing off to alert his Boss. Orange agrees and heads off to tell Blackstaff we agree to her plan, for tomorrow midmorning.

A Plea for Help: A quick note to Spy Master, and a raven drops by. It turns into a sun elf, Davel Starsong, I think he said, Master of Opportunities. He’s very excited about the upcoming battle in the streets. He thinks maybe the Zhentarim can help save the Blackstaff from Xanathar’s minions. He gives me a tiny glass shiny, says to throw it at whatever is powering the shield, but don’t die. My friends are so nice, worrying about me so much.

The Tower: The Blackstaff arrives right on time the next morning, and we head out. She opens a hole in the wall and we all head through, climbing over the main wall around the place. Red opens a window for us, and we all creep into the main tower. Where we get attacked by a bunch of gargoyles when Nevi pulls a book off the shelves. We crush them, and head upstairs. There’s a weird platform up by a window and Orange jumps up there, while Red heads out a door that leads to a path to the other tower. Orange starts shouting and jumps down, with a chest attached to himself. We smack it until it lets go. We empty out the other chest of stuff, and then head across the walkway to see what Red found. There’s a big wizard statue, but it doesn’t attack.

The Second Tower: We head downstairs, but it’s just garbage, so we head up the tower instead. It’s another library with “Alcador” written on the wall, Then through a door to the other side, labeled “Duhlar” or something, it’s fancy script. The books attack us in here, but we knock them all down. The top of this tower is a teleportation circle and 5 more chests. Then three small eye-monsters and a bunch of flying snakes attack us. Those snakes hurt bad! Once we put them down, I throw daggers at all the chests, but none of them attack. They have a bunch of tools and supplies, and some vials of stuff. Nevi says the teleport thing is odd, like it has locks or something. Time to go back to the main tower.