The Grand Cathedral of the Iron Cages of Lust might have been opulent, but it’s inhabitants had been less than kind to the party. Delvahine's alu-demon children - Eryalla, Lelyrin, Voivod, and Zevashala – had taunted and tormented the heroes, but when that didn’t work they had swooped in and attacked the party with their ranseuers. Stike’s Protection from Evil had held off the worst of their attacks and eventually the party had been able to drive them away, but they knew they would be seeing the four sisters again.
After inspecting the cages and the one living inhabitant - a young Thassilonian soldier named Nelevetu Voan who had earned the enmity of the residents of the hall 10,000 years ago – the heroes moved towards the pavilion. The pavilion, contrary to its looks, was not a fragile thing of fabric. The sheets of cloth were fashioned of tough silk harvested from behemoth spiders that dwelled in the Outer Rifts of the Abyss. Each of the pavilion walls required a great deal of effort to push through or break down and was resistant to most physical and energy attacks bludgeoning and piercing attacks deal no damage at all to them, and they were immune to electricity and cold attacks. Fire dealt half damage-only, but acid and sonic could deal normal damage.
An entrance to the pavilion beckoned them, and as the party moved in that direction the four sisters appeared, although at a distance and behind the pillars that lined the huge cathedral. A constant stream of taunts and foul comments continued from them, but for the moment they were content to do their name-calling from afar. The heroes peeked into the pavilion and were immediately beset upon by five enslaved stone giants. Stone Giants were something the party felt confident they could handle and they quickly swept through giants, although the sisters did again swoop in and add their attacks to the party from the rear. However, as soon as the last stone giant crumpled to the ground the four sisters once again flew off to safety.
Once inside the pavilion the entrance room was found to contain numerous thick rugs, cushions, and tasseled pillows that covered the floor of this decadent chamber. Strange, exotic scents were in the air, likely coming from the several smoldering braziers and censers balanced on elegant silver stands in the corners of the room. But with no defenders remaining and the four sisters absent again, the heroes pressed on.
Around two more corners the party stood in front of a large chamber within the pavilion walls. The air in this room was unusually close and almost seemed to shimmer with pleasant-smelling mist. Pillows, cushions, and throw rugs covered the floor, and four beds sat in the corners of the room. Each bed had an iron frame to which numerous ropes and leather straps were attached. A large padded throne sat against the far wall, between two beds, while opposite it in another corner, a tall, spindly censer sat on a low wooden table – it was from here that the faint mist seems to be issuing forth.
This chamber was Delvahine's personal playground, a place where she could satisfy all of her deviancies and desires. Mistress Delvahine sat upon her thrown and the four sisters were each laying on their beds, their taunts and barbs silent for the moment, but with the looks of disdain, leering, and sneering still prevalent on their twisted faces. She bade the heroes to come forward and tell her of news of the outside world. She then asked what the heroes were looking for, and when told they wanted one of her personal toys she began to barter. At first she wanted one of the party members - Selinor - to join in her in her private chamber for a round of mutual enjoyment, and for doing so he could have his pick of any of her personal selection of toys. Selinor, partially out of fear of leaving the area of Stike’s Protection from Evil and partially out of good sense, rebuffed her offer and attempted to make a counteroffer.
After several more minutes of futile bickering Delvahine rose from her throne and began her attack, slashing at Stike with a whip and a dagger. The four sisters flew over the party and began to attack them with their ranseurs. Several of the sisters were already weakened from earlier attacks and they began to fall one by one. This enraged Delvahine who brought forth two additional defenders, a pair of Shining Children. The party had encountered these before and knew their first attack would be an attempt to blind the party members (they had blinded three of four previously), but this time they were able to avoid the blast of blinding light that emanated from these unusual creatures.
With the last of the four sisters finally killed the party began to concentrate on Delvahine and her two defenders when the two Shining Children both concentrated their efforts and both fired a pair of massive Scorching Ray’s that took knocked out the mighty Stike. With the Protection from Evil now gone Reynard quickly cast a Dimension Door and all four of the heroes were transported away to safety.
DM Note: The adventure does an excellent job of introducing "curveballs" with different set-ups and monsters, and my players are always curious to see what may be coming their way. But at some point, we are all just captives of the dice throw. Sometimes the heroes are able to blast through my bad guys with relative ease, while other times - like in this session - well, things just don't go so well for them.
For tonight’s effort the party earned 15,600 XP, giving them (598,350 + 15,600) 613,950 XP earned so far, with 635,000 XP required to reach Level 15 and 890,000 XP required to reach Level 16.