The party continued to explore the complex, revealing new rooms and hallways in the labyrinthine structure.
While exploring one old dustry room, Polycarp discovered two trapped secret doors. He dried to disarm the traps, but accidentally triggered an apparatus that poured killcloud through vents near the ceiling. Luckily Vyktor had cast Delay Poison, which nullified its effect… for the time being.
Artas Menethar and Ignomine hacked open one of the secret doors with their Arelan Steel weapons and surprised a some bugbear Vord zombies as well as a giant spider and its accompanying swarm of spiderlings. The swarm engulfed Artas and tried to burrow into him.
The giant spider scurried over the ceiling and into the hallway, giving Artas and Ignomine the chance to hack at it and bring it down. That threat taken care of, Artas charged the zombies, spraying some of the swarmlings he was resolutely ignoring. Together, Artas and Ignomine bro-can out against the zombies, allowing Polycarp to take one out from range and Drael to finish another with Magic Missiles. With all the enemies dead, Drael took care of the Kill Cloud trap by sealing it behind a thin layer of stone. The ceiling was not just a liiitle bit closer, but seeing as nobody had been here for centuries the odds were that nobody would notice.
That threat taken care of, the group proceeded to explore allowing Polycarp to discover another secret door and unlock it. Given past discoveries, Artas goes through first and discovered a Vord Knight standing guard in the hallway.
Seeking assassination over open confrontation, Drael steps forward and cast an illusory wall to disguise Polycarp’s approach and killing shot… or it would have been, if he hadn’t missed an oblivious stationary target. All four shots go wide, alerting the knight and its allies. Polycarp fled through another door, which revealed a room filled with Drow statues and an even bigger Knight .
Polycarp had to dodge out of the way past the smaller knight while Ignomine tried to bar the way. Sensing that the battle was going to go poorly for the group, Vyktor cast Black Tentacles to try and lock down the two smaller Vord in the statue room. Raven flew forward and used Mage Hand to close the door and buy them some time to hide from the huge knight’s attacks, though the smaller knight with an orb on the end of one of its appendages teleported to the back of the group, foiling Ignomine’s attempts to protect the front.
Now at their unguarded flank, the Vord was able to attack Vyktor’s mother and Gabriel, the priest of Abadar. Ignomine raced to the back in a desperate attempt to defend them, but not before the priest was struck down. Together, Artas and Ignomine were able concentrate fire and prevent the knight from attacking their other allies. In the distance, the huge Vord knight let out an ominous shriek. To the dismay of the party, a chorus of shrieks answered it.
Finally felling the single knight that could see them, the party attempted to retreat to a hallway for a strategic defensive advantage. Unfortunately, they hadn’t counted on a Vord Mage hiding invisibly in the same hallway. Frenzied battle ensued as the combatants vied for advantage; Grease laid at the top of the stairs to hold the defense, an aqueous orb to block ranged attacks and occupy the vord, smiting evil to defend against terrifying foes, the Vord Mage throwing a Suggestion to sabotage one of the fighters.
This last action threw the party into disarray, as Polycarp and Artas were hit and succumbed to the Vord’s influence, chasing after two Knights who were merely luring them away from the battle. They chased them by compulsion, through hallways and into a grand descending staircase ending in a gigantic portcullis shrouded entirely in shadow.
The knight slipped through the bars of the portcullis, only barely visible through the darkness. Having “caught” the prey they were compelled to pursue, the two readied their attacks, but were hit with a massive mental presence that simply said
The rest of the group caught up, noticing that the Vord have temporarily suspended their attacks. Fearing to enter the darkness, Ignomine used Dispel Magic on the area of magical Darkness, revealing one quarter of a huge cell chaining a huge beast with massive claws and wings. The portions of the creature they could see appeared to be a Vord-infected dragon.
YOU MUST FREE ME IF YOU WISH TO ESCAPE
…which the party summarily ignored, because fuck listening to a potentially violent hive-mind controlled imprisoned hyper-intelligent magical murderbeast. The creature continued to issue alternately using threats of using the dozens of Vord Knights under its control and cajoling with bribery to try and coerce the group into releasing it, but through a combination of logic, bravado, and idiot-savant stupidity the party were able to wring a concession of letting them pass and continue to explore without committing to releasing the creature. “We’d rather prove to ourselves that freeing you is the only option,” though the magically-inclined members of the party noticed that the same magical energy barriers that had blocked their egress in other locations also seemed to flow into the creature’s chains… implying that breaking through or releasing the barrier would also bring down whatever was keeping the creature imprisoned.
The party continued their exploration, discovering a room that seemed designed to contain different types of undead, including a pile of skulls, animate skeletons, some Vord, and ghouls, all restrained against the walls in small cubby holes. Another room contained some device that seemed to be repurposed into restraining Vord specifically, as well as an array of crystals like those seen in the airship and in the mountain base.
Passing by one of the hallways, Polycarp noticed that the way was open and had a magical barrier similar to the one they had passed through on their way into the complex. The group gathered around, trying to decide if they’d found their escape or another avenue towards further imprisonment.