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.

Solo Mission

In the morning, we all gather together to talk about the party. When I come down, Red’s asking Nevi about a magic dagger. Then Red says he heard that the third stone might be in play. He says the Cassalanter’s, those demon worshippers whose tomb we robbed all those months ago, that they might have it. We talk about checking out their place, finding out if they have other properties, and what other ways we can investigate. But there’s a knock at the door.

That mage from the Bard College job is here, looking for Red. He goes out and I listen. The guy says Red stole his dagger at the party last night. I don’t remember seeing him there, and Red says he just found it, and is glad to return it to him. But the man says Red is under arrest and takes him away. Page messages him, but he says he’s fine and keep on task.

Red had a plan. We have to stick to it. Marr Mouse and the Big Guy are going to go look at property records. Page and I are going to go scout the house from the street. Orange and Nevi are going to go check out the sewers for a way in from below.

Page makes us invisible and we go check it out. There’s a big fence all around, and three different buildings. A stable, a guest house, and a big mansion. The buildings all back up to the fence, though, that should make it fairly easy going. There’s lots of guards though, going to have to be real careful. Guards on the gate and the doors, and wandering around the lawns. We head back to the Cabaret before her spell wears off and check in with the others.

Mary Mouse and Svetel say they own a couple of other places, but not really. They invest in other businesses, but don’t run them or something. They mostly trade in spices and other goods, but it’s all old business, that went bad some time ago. Then things went bad for one of their rivals more recently, and they got back on top. Orange and Nevi say there’s no way in through the sewers, just tiny drainage pipes coming out. Only a real mouse could get in that way. So, Page and I go back in the night, to see what changes after dark.

There are a lot more guards at night, but no one goes in or out. In the morning, all the guards leave when a new set of guards arrive. And a couple servants go out to the guest house to clean it up, even though it doesn’t seem like anyone was in there to begin with. When we get home, Page checks on Red again, and he says it’s just a matter of due process, so she and I get some sleep while the others investigate more.

When we get up, everyone’s back, and there’s not really any news on the Stone. So, I decide I have to go inside. Red said to investigate, to not wait for him. This is what he would do. Everyone starts talking about spells they can cast on me to help. They can make me invisible, faster, smarter, wiser, slipperier, and healthier. I can pull my shadows around me, and I can teleport short distances now, to get in and out.

We all head over through the sewers. A few blocks away, they all cast their spells and then take up positions to watch for guard movement. I head up and shadowstep up to a third floor window. It has shutters, but I easily get them open. The room is dark, but I can just see inside, and step into the shadows on the other side of the glass. Too dark, I pop darkvision up and look around.

It’s a big bedroom, with dressers and armoires. There seems to be someone in an adjoining room in one direction, so I slip the other way. This room is lit up, a library. I really want to go through all the books, but there’s one really big and creepy out set out. It looks scary, and it’s open, so that must be the important one. I pop it into the bag I borrowed from Nevi. There’s a ladder up to a trapdoor, so I have to go up.

The trapdoor is really heavy, but I get it open and slip inside. There’s just a single candle on a stool here. It smells like sulfur and there’s screaming from the other side of a door. I don’t like that sound, so I wedge the trapdoor open a little bit. There are some big spiders on either side of the door. I wonder if the candle means anything, so I pick it up and bring it to the door. Nothing happens. It is very locked, so I reach out to unlock it and the spiders start talking. They say I shouldn’t open the door. They say it’s really dangerous inside. I make a picture of the stone we found and ask if they’ve seen it. They haven’t. I need to see if it’s inside, so I unlock the door anyway. The spiders don’t like that and they attack me, but they aren’t spiders anymore, they’re little imps, from some of the books I’ve been reading. So, I squish them. Now I’m not invisible anymore. Page messages me, but I tell her everything’s okay. Can’t stop now.

When I open the door, the sound gets really loud, so I rush back and close the trapdoor. No one seems to have heard it, so back I go. Inside is something awful. A devil with all sorts of chains on him. He’s in the center of a circle and he’s howling. He looks really sad and trapped and sick? Like they trapped him here and are hurting him. I get him to calm down a little, and try to ask him about the stone. He wants me to get closer to him. I ask him to promise to help me. He just keeps saying closer, and he won’t promise. So, I look around the room more. Behind him is a mannequin with a sailor’s uniform, and a picture of a young man. It looks like a shrine to their son lost at sea. Did they really lose him? Did they turn him into this thing and then trap it here? I really want to let him free, but I’m pretty sure he would eat me, he looks so hungry.

I go back down. To the Library, closing the door and trapdoor behind me. I slip back into the bedroom, but someone is in there now. A tiefling woman, who seems to be cleaning. I slip past her, into the sitting room and out into the hallway. There’s a room across the hall, but I can hear someone in there, so I head downstairs.

There’s a ballroom here. With a mannequin in the center of it, all dressed up. That’s creepy. There’s a banquet hall, and a music room, and a small kitchen on the second floor, too, but nothing that looks like it would hide the stone. I head downstairs again, but there’s voices now. Guards at the bottom of the stairs. Everything is so well lit down here, and I’m not invisible. I can’t get past them.

I head back upstairs, and out onto the terrace around the ballroom. There are some birds up here, but I think I can get to the guest house if I go around the building. I sneak around and shadow step across to a window on the guest house. There are more ravens over here. They’re looking at me. How can they see me? No time. I slip inside again, through the shadows. The guest rooms are all empty. There’s nothing here. It’s taking too long, time to go. When I get out, there are even more ravens, but I just jump out over the fence and take off home. I tell the others it’s over. Pretty sure I’m going to need to hide in Skullport for a while.

At home, I give over the big scary book, and write down what I found in the attic. Maybe that will be enough for the Blackstaff to investigate them. Worship is okay, but is holding a devil prisoner allowed? I hope not. That poor devil was in horrible shape. Orange is still on about the brain eater, so we suggest asking the Dustsweepers about any weird sewer reports to try and track him down. Then it’s time for bed. I’m going to have to sneak down below in the morning, but I need to sleep right now.