For backgrounds on the characters played in this campaign, look here~
With a lich loosed and posing a perilous unknown foe, the party regrouped following their bout and recovered back at the Camp; once rested and ready to delve the Citadel once more, the group made their return to the lap of Orcus–making a quick second search of the forges before continuing deeper into the fortress. After Emma made quick work of a fortified portcullis scarcely able to stand against the powerful barbarian, the adventurers found a cache of archery supplies midway along the center of the Citadel–doubtless in reserve for a prospective siege; Meryk restocked his reserves amply from the cache before the party moved on.
Two paths presented themselves in the opposite ‘leg’ of the Citadel, with one heading deeper into the fortress and the other barred by an elaborately barricaded door; after cursory tests, Pandora found the engineered door to be trapped with exceedingly layered mechanisms–of which she was able to disable a lethally potent electrical battery. As a precautionary measure, Anselme erected potent energy resistance for the party before Emma and Zantric endeavored to force the doorway open–for it lacked a handle or other mechanism, and brawn seemed an appropriate enough measure. Cassandra offered to disintegrate the barrier, but the party was keen to keep the door intact that it might potentially be installed back at their own base.
When Emma and Zantric leveraged themselves at the door with Brother Vang close at hand, additional booby traps were set off successively–painful barbed prongs lancing through the trio unexpectedly with serrated wiring extracting sizable blood samples from each, whisking them off to parts unknown. Thanks for the prior disarming, an electrical discharge did not follow–but Brother Vang and Anselme were left with a long and painstaking process to remove the barbs and wiring from among the party members before Emma finished forcing a path to open onward. Once more, the party seemed to have found a section of the Citadel where its occupant did not wish to be disturbed; naturally, they endeavored fitfully to go against such wishes.
Within, the adventurers soon found a side chamber with a gruesome scene of battle from long ago–the bodies of several crusaders and robed cultists of Orcus found in equal measure, along with the remnants of strange half-machine half-troll abominations strewn about. Suspicious of the short hall preceding this chamber, the party searched before finding a secret door which led into an adjoining siege station–wherein an enormous and elaborate wheeled statue of a black dragon was discovered with a swiveling head mechanism surrounded by mysterious devices.
Not long after entering the chamber, buzzers and gongs were heard and soon the party found themselves faced with numerous troll abominations–each merged with elaborate machinery and gearwork weaponry, ‘perfecting’ upon the flaws of their forms and leaving frightfully potent foes in its wake. As the party was waylaid by the guardians, the dragon siege engine came to life in kind–loosing searing napalm-like acidic flames against the party as they went toe to toe with the trolls.
From outside, a towering skeletal creature flew alongside the immense windows to the siege shop, descending darkness upon the scene and exerting powerful malevolence to reverse the curative energies Anselme, Zantric and Brother Vang could bring to bear. Quickly taking to action, Emma and Meryk sought to engage the fearsome foe outside while Zantric and Pandora met the trolls and dragon shoulder to shoulder with Anselme and Leone. Cassandra maneuvered to loose potent magics to bolster her fellows and impede the half-machine monsters present; Brother Vang and Zantric found themselves taking the brunt of retaliation as they fought.
Through a fierce, pitched battle the party managed to destroy the caustic purger–the immense dragon-like siege engine used in the defense of the Citadel’s main gates–and drive away the strange skeletal monstrosity outside. Zantric was slain in the course of the fight, separate and surrounded by numerous foes–giving his life to buy time and breathing room for Brother Vang and Cassandra to turn the flow of battle when the effects upon the field had grown most treacherous.
Meryk, Emma and Anselme were pushed close to the brink, and Brother Vang had narrowly escaped demise with Zantric’s effort in kind–for when the caustic purger was destroyed, its reserves within detonated and spread significant damage across those present. All but one of the machine trolls were slain, but the last fled from the scene to retreat deeper into the workshop beyond; wary of what lay ahead, the party regrouped and saw to quickly attending to their injuries and faculties–preparing themselves for the master of the potent machinations encountered thus far while clockwork spies apprised their every movement even still…