So, the Walrus tower behind them, the group decided to hit the next tower on their list. Lucius suggested a team huddle. The other's agreed tentatively. While he wasn't the most chaotic individual they'd met by far, he was still a devil.
One flash and they were standing in front of the third tower.
Opening the door revealed a darkened lower level carpeted in cobwebs. In the center was a figure sitting in a chair. A table with an unlit candelabra stood between them. As they entered the figure grabbed the candelabra and stood. The wicks of the candles leapt to life revealing a pale faced elven woman.
The group immediately readied themselves for a fight. The figure seemed to wait just long enough for them to get their hopes up before stating that 'he's expecting you' and asking that they come back at night.
Equal parts crestfallen and curious, the group agreed and left. Thus ensued an argument about what to do with the missing time. Aria wanted to check the fourth tower. But the others pointed out that they had an appointment to keep. Nelzask and Killgore were all for a quick visit to the harlots. Lucius pointed out that that would certainly miss them their appointment. He was getting quite curious as to who exactly was expecting them.
It went around like that until, ironically, nightfall. So it seemed they had found something to occupy themselves while they waited: arguing about what to do while they waited.
When they returned, the pale woman beckoned them inside. She identified herself as 'his servant Wren' before taking them on a tortuously slow (Lucius would know, being a devil and all) walk up the floors of the tower. Slowly
I mean, Chinese women a thousand years ago walked faster.
Had you asked him (and had he known about the practice of binding feet) Lucius would have argued that they walk faster now.
It was like she was afraid of waking someone up. To test this theory, Lucius clapped his hands together loudly as they reached the second floor. Wren turned a wide eyed look on him. The rest of the group varied between rolled eyes and facepalms. Which also made a bit of noise, ironically.
The various figures passed out on the pillows carpeting the room stirred restlessly before settling down again. Wren continued her test of patience cleverly disguised as usherance.
Now, as annoying as that was for the normal sized characters, just think of what hell it was for Zornesk, the 14ft tall Half Ogre. Take a nap. Take a step. Take a nap. Take a step. It's really quite surprising that his snoring didn't wake anyone up.
He does possess a cavernous maw after all.
Eventually they made it to the third floor. This was a more traditional bedding chamber, being that it had well . . . beds. The group did not get a good look at what was in those beds for all the covers they were under.
Quite quickly they stopped wondering. Their sloth like pace quickly rendered this floor as boring, frustrating, and annoying as the last. They cycled through those emotions like a race car driver shifts gears. It was like whomever was expecting them wanted them to attack them on sight.
But, eventually they made it to the fourth floor. The entire floor was one massive room that seemed to serve as both study and sleeping area, at least judging from the oversized (and quite impressive) coffin resting against one wall. Again, this room also had the characteristic hole that some ancient architect had been so enamored with.
There was another round of facepalms as they realized that the one expecting them was Duke. As it turned out, he was yet another of the ambivalent guards the Prince had pressed into guarding the island. As such he was obligated to try and get them to leave.
The rub being that he'd apparently taken a liking to at least some of the members of the group. So he proposed a non fatal bout. He and his 'ilk' vs them. If they won he'd leave them be. If he won, they had to leave Forever. Apparently word was out about them.
But never fear, the Devil is here! (Bet you never thought you'd read those words eh?) Lucius decided that such a contest required rules. And he was just the guy to put them in place. He grabbed one of the pieces of paper hanging from his horns with a flourish, made a quick flick of his wrist, and a contract wrote itself in red upon it.
[Player's note: Of course, I could not exactly write up an impromptu contract quite that quickly. It took about fifteen minutes to finish. It would probably have taken less time if I hadn't had to stop and answer the question 'are you done yet?' so many times.] To save your eyesight from my handwriting I've typed it up here. The strike-throughs and superscripts are the DM's alterations to the original contract. As you can see, she caught the obvious scams. But she missed the 'heads I win, tails you lose' trick. Always remember: one for them to find, one to keep.
[Player's note: I did point out that Duke would have gotten a check to see if he caught the trick. I suggested she roll an int check vs my scribe contract profession. It dio not go well for the vampire.]
To be fair, nobody caught the little twist. Duke was less than pleased when he was informed, but he got over it. The rest of the group thought it hilarious.
He did also suggest an agreement that this bout be nonlethal to both sides. Lucius whipped up a quick rider to the contract.
Then it was time for the fight. Lucius promptly tried to concede, but apparently his allies had their hearts set on a little fisticuffs. I suppose it was only natural after their tormented trek up the tower. One group glare and he withdrew his withdrawal.
The fight started with Duke at one side of his chambers and the cupcakes at the other. Lucius immediately used dimension door to teleport directly behind him. He then used a trip combat maneuver.
And crit failed. AGAIN! And became exhausted. Well, at least he didn't knock himself down this time.
But, if at first you don't succeed . . . try one more time. Of course, he had to wait for the vampire to provoke, as he was out of standard actions for the round. Duke obliged and found himself on the floor.
Two succubi flew up the hole in the center of the floor and attacked the group. This course placed one of them within Nelzask's threatened sphere. In her defense, It's a rather large sphere.
He crit on the aoo, blinding her. The succubus then flew back down the hole, whimpering one could imagine. Or perhaps just hissing 'nope, nope, nope' all the way down. The other didn't last much longer before Nelzask knocked her unconscious. Aria then raced over to stabilize the dying demon: her first healing of the day!
Meanwhile five medusas came barreling up the stairs next to where lucius and duke were busy emulating a kid with a punching clown. Each got tripped until the devil ran out of attacks of opportunity. Duke tried to cast from the ground, but failed to cast defensively; he got a quarterstaff in his forehead for his troubles.
Eventually, one of the medusas got tired of doing up downs and fixed her tormentor with her gaze attack. Lucius failed the save . . . badly.
[Player's note: I had to give him some weakness!]
But by that point, the rest of the group had dealt with the other succubus. Hermin galloped over and used a targeted dispel to remove Lucius's calcified condition. However, the devil promptly agreed that he was out of the fight either way, and walked over to duke's coffin to spectate.
Next over was Nelzask (of course) who arrived just in time to see Duke trying to get back to his feet again. Cue another critical AOO! Showoff . . .
Now, Lucius had managed to knock Duke down to about half health before the unfortunate encounter with his bad saves caught up to him. Nelzask did more than that with one hit. Duke puffed into smoke that immediately flew back to his ridiculously luxurious coffin.
I mean, who spends that much money on a bed?
Anyway, The rest of the medusas didn't last much longer. And no amount of ugly looks seemed to work on the rest of the group either.
Wren then reappeared in the doorway, to congratulate the victors. She also told them that Duke would want to speak with them once he was feeling better. She even suggested they stay in the tower that night.
Lucius demured strongly; he smelled a rat. But he did suggest that the others remain if they wanted to. After all, if anything happened to them his patron devil would gain some new souls. And, of course, lucius would get a small finders fee.
For some reason, that pushed everyone to sleep in their own beds back on the ship.