*Spoilers for the Council of Thieves second book below.
So the rogue has run off and disappeared down a back room. Archer suddenly becomes livelier as his player sits down at the table. They despatch three Howlers but not before three of them are cursed and Proteus rolls a 1 to avoid the pain quill – which his player declares represents his character attempting to block the quill with his hand. No further penalties apply but it looks cool if ineffective.
Afterwards, Archer picks up the poor unconscious actress and the intrepid group head out – but not before Lhye is sent up to fetch the expensive torture books from the shelves which Lunjun puts into his magic bag. Proteus selects one of his own (a newer one) which he promptly sticks his nose into and reads during every spare chance he can get as he’s willingly let the relic in his hand flick his alignment switch to a logical form of Lawful Evil. No fear, enjoys pain, nothing can stand in his way really.
They arrive at a square tower which is quite Escher-like in how the stairs go up to go down which causes a Dexterity-based penalty to anyone attempting to walk across it. Lunjun (think it was Lunjun) tosses a copper coin at the stairs which then rolls down to go up, rolls up to go up, rolls up to go down, rolls along the outside to be on the inside, and then finally falls into the hole where it just keeps falling ... then reappears above them to keep falling ... and on and on and on while gathering speed.
Archer’s eye is drawn to the wall on the other side of the tower (there’s a gap in between) and Lunjun have to roll Acrobatics to cross the stairs toward it. Lhye simply floats along beside them using his levitation ability. Despite being able to float across the gap, his low Wisdom means that he attempts to mimic walking across the stairs though he doesn’t need to. Proteus has his head stuck in the book and is so absorbed in reading it that he just intuitively walks across the stairs. After all, it’s the visual confusion from the spatial distortion that causes the Dexterity penalty so by ignoring the sight of it you can cross it just fine.
As Archer reaches the space on the wall he sees the gaps more clearly as they darken before a Greater Shadow reaches out and grabs him by the throat – costing him 5 Strength damage. Unlucky fellow. A bit of magic and a few hits with magical weapons (that deal half damage) soon sort it out. Lunjun’s clever use of a force chain to blind it is also helpful as it means it doesn’t get a second hit on anyone. Proteus heals him with the wand of restoration (he refuses consider using it on Lhye as his problem was self-inflicted though as no one else has asked in character it hasn’t come up).
Proteus finds the hidden catch to open the doors and they find a room with two black mirror-portals to the shadow realm. Archer shoots them both before Lhye can attack them with his witch-empowered hair. Silly low Wisdom man, what happened last time you touched a portal with your hair? That’s right. Teleportation.
There followed a discussion where the characters quite sensibly debated the reason for remaining here. They stumble across the fact that Lhye hadn’t bothered to try the door portal to get out and were all quite cross with him. They almost decide to leave but the pull of information incites them to go onward – especially after a rousing speech by Lhye with a lacklustre ending about how the clues to Delvehaven must be locked somewhere inside.
They cross a corridor (Proteus’ head in a book once more) and then end up in a corkscrewing tower with stairs that run up along the outside of it to go down thirty feet and where the tower appears to have neither top nor bottom. Lhye drops a coin (luckily it was copper rather than platinum, he had to roll a 1d4 to see what type) and it falls down again and again and again. He then uses feather fall and steps off, falling again and again and again. Proteus reaches out and hits him across the back of the head with the butt of his trident to knock some sense into him, though he doesn’t do it in a way that would harm.
They cross the tower and end up inside a couple of corridors lined with cells. Lunjun and Proteus quickly figured out how the people inside died when Lunjun detected that the cells were ensorcelled with a Ring of Sustenance-like effect. They died of old age.
They spotted a devil inside one cell, still living, and holding a red-tinged glaive (reminding Proteus of the Whisperer of Souls). Lhye charmed the devil through the window before Proteus smashed the glass. The devil came charging to the door but its rage was mitigated by the sight of someone it was Indifferent to – which made it feel hopeful – which swapped its Indifference to Friendly. Lhye pretended to be a servant of Asmodeus when the devil asked and stated he was here to free him but wanted the glaive.
The devil was loathe to part with it as he didn’t want to be alone but when they opened the door he handed it over. Proteus, realising that Lhye’s chaotic gentle requests wouldn’t work here, laid a Geas on him to order the devil around until such time as their needs were met. Basically until they got the information and the glaive from the devil. Naturally Proteus takes the Glaive, provoking the below quip.
"How many things can you have polluting your soul?" asked Lhye's player.
Proteus' chirpy player: "It's like Pokemon. Gotta catch them all!"
We called the end of the session there.