For backgrounds on the characters played in this campaign, look here~
Once the party had regrouped from their battle in the siege room, protective and curative magics were brought to bear and headway was made into the adjoining chamber; there, a great and crazed workshop was discovered with an overlook of the temple-city below, a sizable vat of particularly potent acid found with a disturbing adamantine harness suspended above it–suited for lowering humanoids into its midst. Numerous storage closets lined the space, while workbenches were strewn with countless bric-a-brac and engineering schematics both strange and scarcely discernible to sane minds.
Taking to the form of a black dragon, Anselme eagerly perused the contents of the acid vat once immune to its effects; at its bottom, the young druid discovered fragments of adamantine-wrought bone fragments and pieces–and with Brother Vang’s review of such, they were discovered to match the structure of Emma’s own physique with alarming nearness. Further along the workshop, a great mold vat was discovered with a template for a humanoid lain within it–a disturbing fit for Emma herself, the party soon discovered.
As Anselme began to lobby the merits of reproducing the procedure with the Emma present with the party, Pandora began a more vigorous search of the attached storage closets–beginning to tear away and remove the countless parchments, schematics and designs stacked high within each. After near to half an hour, a well-hidden secret door was discovered behind a painted-over plate of adamantine–and beyond, a heavily reinforced hatch was discovered with an even more elaborate locking mechanism than that barring the way into the siege room.
Pandora, as she is always wont to do, began to swiftly attempt to decipher and undo the multi-layered locking mechanism–and was surprised and somewhat pleased to discover its rapidly-resetting and difficult design. Anselme, impatient, began dousing the door with sprays of acid without warning, much to Pandora’s chagrin–but after the party spent a short while attempting to force passage thusly, they discovered the door to rapidly repair itself and thereafter stepped back to leave the drow room to bring her skills to bear.
After some time, Pandora was able to grant access through the hatch–revealing a short corridor with a suspicious looking statue of Orcus at the far end and a chute off to the side into parts unknown. Unsurprisingly in her paranoia, Pandora was able to discern the presence of traps–quite a few, as it turned out, each elaborately tied into one another with significant effect. From a collapsing ceiling to trap-doored floor over spikes, acid and more–moving, crushing walls and an alarming smell of ozone on the air… Pandora began to work.
Yet as Pandora attempted to disarm the traps, the skilled drow made a mis-step–triggering a terrifyingly potent font of flame to erupt from the end of the hallway and significantly damage several onlookers. Soon after, the hatch door slammed shut and re-locked itself, leaving the party to take a moment to mend their wounds before approaching the barrier to tackle it once more. With measured care, Pandora made her way past the resetting hatch mechanism again–before systematically forestalling, delaying and disarming each layer of trap beyond as quickly as she could in a rather impressive display of successive skill.
Knowing that it would not be long before the mechanisms reset once again, the party hastened to make their way inside the strange passage beyond. There, they found the structure of the ‘Citadel’ had changed considerably–comprised almost entirely of a strange green steel-like ore which seemed to swallow up and absorb magic released within its confines. Cautiously treading deeper in an effort to discover just who or what was so intent on avoiding the likes of adventurers, the party soon stumbled upon what would be unarguably among the most powerful foes yet faced: a pair of quantium golem guardians working in tandem.
What followed was a long and brutally deadly sortie with devastating beams loosed upon the party, nauseating and debilitating even as they wrought frightfully significant damage to several at a time; retaliating with magic both divine and arcane proved a significant difficulty given the absorbative properties of the structure which surrounded them–and each failed spell seemed to empower some unseen and dubious purpose beyond. In time, the party was able to buy breathing room from the powerful golems by erecting walls of force–which proved most timely when they came upon the master of the depths they presently delved: the Magitect.
A monstrous machination of what only barely held any semblance of the man it once was, the Magitect was a terrifying amalgam of science, gears and machinery–a self-made ‘man’ in every twisted sense of the phrase. Having ascended beyond the likes of ordinary magic, the Magitect had somehow mastered rendering the effects of such potent reserves via science and machines–and with significant control over his hidden ‘workshop’ and its advanced environs, posed a powerful adversary for the adventurers.
Powerful salvos of machine-made ‘magics’ assailed the party soon after, disintegrating rays, noxious and deadly gasses and waves of energy matched by intermittent bursts of disjunction tearing and stripping away what magics the adventurers managed to bring to bear themselves. Potent blows were leveled against the machine-monstrosity that was the Magitect as he maneuvered against the intruders–and soon, robotic sentinels and myrmidons emerged from the vicinity to come to his aide, further waylaying the party as they fought.
Meryk was laid low along with Leone, the others struggling fiercely; the golems managed to break through Cassandra’s wall of force, requiring further applications to be sequestered away again. As the party struggled to slay the Magitect, the mad engineer relocated himself behind a wall of iron; with the pitched battle still underway, a familiar bone devil made himself known again–Skabeus, the same agent of Baalzebul whom had aided Pandora previously, bearing with him further assistance for the beleaguered adventurers. As they managed to slowly disassemble and destroy the remaining robotic guardians, the party turned then on the golems–still fiercely powerful foes in their own right.
Things continued to look grim for the adventurers, their resources largely depleted and many pushed to the very brink beyond what heroics and their deepest reserves could bring to bear; Pandora elected for a dangerous gambit, attempting to interact with the mysterious console the Magitect had attended after carefully circumventing explosive runes laid in great number. There, the drow ‘ingratiated’ herself with the machine–a rather painful endeavor–and as Emma and the others managed to bring down the first and then second of the quantium golems, Pandora made an unexpected approach: she attempted to call upon a ceasefire, for the party to parley with the Magitect.
Imploring at no small length with both friend and foe, Pandora made a desperate case for talk–for her interaction with the machines of the Magitect had bore the strange and fleeting knowledge of ages long since passed in the Citadel’s formation. After cautious reprieve, the wall of iron was lowered to reveal the Magitect waiting upon the other side–a sphere of annihilation at the ready in apparent preparation for Emma and the others to breach his remaining barrier.
Thereafter, talks most unexpected were brought to bear as the party attempted to negotiate with the Magitect–that it would be of his interests that the present schemes of Orcus be thwarted, and that the adventurers would trade much for armistice and his aid. Belatedly, the Magitect came to discuss dubious terms with the adventurers–his affect and mannerisms most disturbing, but of curious and baleful interest to those assembled. Pandora implored the Magitect to assist her personally in shedding the ‘weaknesses’ of her form, that his expertise might be brought to ‘improve’ her.
Thus, the party had elected to form an eerie agreement with the Magitect, hoping to barter for information and leverage against the many foes which yet awaited them higher in the Citadel–and hoping to unravel the secrets of the well below and what lay beyond. Pandora’s personal interest in the Magitect’s ‘research’, coupled with Vang and Emma’s dread of the growing frequency of the signs of the barbarian’s likeness, led to what would prove to be among the strangest and most perilous of exchanges yet experienced by the party ahead…