Ruminating for a while in the Keep dungeon area, we eventually decide that as appealing it might be to try and take Nepherus while he is still unaware of our presence, we are simply too weakened and there is a better than average chance that we might get backed into a corner (with the demon maw “fear” effect), cutting off any other escape route. In addition, we know that having dispatched Nepherus’ priests and conscripted guards and taken all of his material components, he is severely weakened and would need to leave the Keep for supplies.
Deciding that survival and getting the knowledge that we have gained out, we head out through the main Keep gates unnoticed and send word to Risticulian to meet us later at the The Griffin Room, where we have secured quarters and a meeting room. Risticulian quickly got word back that he would meet us then and bring a friend along.
We begin to rest and plan, preparing for the upcoming ordeal. After some healing and determining magical items, we are summoned to the meeting room to meet up with Risticulian. He introduces us to his companion, Josker Nital – the Captain of the Ludensheim City Guard. We give them a rundown of the happenings of the past few days.
After some deliberation, Risticulian suggests that Nepherus will likely be searching for replacements for the key material spell components; some of what we took are extremely rare and difficult to obtain. Risticulian’s shop is a likely source; he will almost certainly come looking for a source to replenish. With this plan in mind, we hold out in our quarters for another day, training and working with Menelaus to try and identify some of the items we’d taken from the Keep dungeons. Indeed, it is not long before Risticulian sends word that he has had a visit from one of Nepherus’ staff, searching for a number of specific items. Buying us some time, he suggested that Nepherus return the coming Friday; it would take him a few days to locate the requested items.
While Nepherus could send his minions again, Risticulian suggests that baiting using something as rare as the Red Dragon scale will almost certainly require Nepherus himself to come – there is too much variation in quality and type and confirmation would necessitate a trained eye. We dress up a number of the components we’d taken from his stash, dividing them or adding minor impurities to help with the deception. Risticulian himself provides a broken Red Dragon scale that would pass to anyone other than an expert.
Tarak prepares a Glyph on the actual Red Dragon scale with a trigger that if Nepherus passes within 3 feet of the item, it would release a stored Hold Person on Nepherus. In the meantime, we rent out a new room at a boarding house above one of the other craftsmen shops across the street from Risticulian and prepare our ambush.
Come Friday morning, we set up in a nearby coffee stall and wait. As the morning passes, we observe several guards with Heimer’s livery along with three robed figures. At this distance, we cannot discern which is Nepherus, but as they enter Risticulian’s shop, three guards position outside the doorway and the others take up positions around the shop. One of the figures appears to be Therus, Heimer’s personal bodyguard – Nepherus has not come unprepared.
Risticulian begins negotiating with one of the robed figures. He shows him a selection of items and the buyer eventually selects the broken dragon scale, holding it up to show to one of the others across the room – Nepherus is revealed and shakes his head. The buyer moves on to the second Dragon Scale and Nepherus nods. In that instant, many things happen at once…
Nepherus moves towards the scale and the Glyph triggers, though Nepherus shakes off the Hold. Ready for this, Risticulian casts a spell and turns invisible. As the figures start and begin looking around, now aware something is amiss, Tarak rushes close to the three guards outside the doorway and, casting Gonhirrim’s Fury, lets out a blood-curdling yell that stuns nearly all opponents in a 20’ radius. Alas, Nepherus and a couple guards and priests towards the back of the room are unaffected, but the opportunity allows Dai’ga Kayaldra and Avonde to charge in. Menelaus lets loose a volley of Magic Missiles, drawing first blood on Nepherus.
Several rounds of chaos erupt, with Menelaus following this up with a Web, trapping Nepherus, the priests and several of his allies in the process. Despite the Web, Nepherus wriggles free enough to dump a pouch over himself, turning invisible.
Tarak lets loose with a ‘ground zero’ Sound Burst, stunning himself, but adding further damage to the now-concealed Nepherus and killing the doorway guards outright.
As Dai’ga Kayaldra and Avonde fight through the Web and begin hacking at the priest and trying to locate Nepherus, Menelaus follows up with a second Web (which draws cursing from an invisible Nepherus caught once again) and then another Magic Missile, damaging Therus. Kiint and Menelaus light torches and begin burning their way through the Web; in the process, damaging Nepherus further. Seizing an opportunity, Kiint takes a stab into the general region he last heard Nepherus and in a shimmering reveal, the defeated Nepherus collapses, his spell destroyed as he breathed is last breath.
Though Tarak’s stun from the furious yell begins to wear off, he is prepared and casts another Hold Person, this time directed towards Therus and succeeding in paralyzing the bodyguard. With this, it is only a matter of time before he and his allies close on the remaining priest and guard, dispatching them and capturing Therus.
Risticulian reappears and is initially furious at the damage to his shop that both the burning Webs and Sound Burst have caused to his wares and glassware, but Tarak quickly appeases him, offering an extra 100 gold over the 400 he said he had suffered in damages.
With the commotion, the City Guard begins to arrive, but Josker Nital, having been prepared, is leading them. Not only do they clean up the mess, but as they drag us and Therus towards the barracks for questioning, they conveniently look the other way, allowing us to escape with Therus and the belongings we have retrieved off the priests and Nepherus.
With the exception of some minor cuts and bruising from the Sound Burst, we managed to sustain almost no injuries and the enemies never got off a single offensive spell.
All that remains now is to sort through the extensive trove and begin the interrogation of Therus in preparation for a final assault on Heimer.
Fancy circlet atop his head
Ring on his left hand
Amulet around his neck
Another vial of dust (matched the one that turned him invisible)
Ring on his right hand
Potion (probably healing by the looks)
[Adam will provide a list of other monetary treasure and anything interesting the priests and guards were carrying.]