Realizing the swarm was not full of regular wasps but actually full of terrifying, tough, semi-intelligent hell-wasps, Quesh informed the group that their lack of ability to handle swarms combined with the supernatural might of these infernal insects would spell doom for them.
Then she summoned a sleet storm.
With the cover of snow and a tricky illusion wall from Avarita, the party managed to make a hasty retreat back into the caverns and seal up the wall behind them, preventing the wasps from chasing after them. Deciding they’ll come back to this level when they’re better prepared, the party made the long, long 3 1/2 mile trudge back up the caverns. After such a long, taxing climb, the party wasn’t big on continuing, so they teleported back up to splinterden to take another rest inside the spire behind the locked doors of the den.
When they awoke, refreshed and ready, they teleported back down to level 8 and descended the actual stairs to level 9. Much to Zombtaur’s dismay, the corridors in this level became horribly narrow and the party was forced to squeeze though several small holes. Though the rooms they arrived in were clearly impressively built at one point, most of the level had collapsed in on itself and the hallways were filled with rubble. Worse yet, the entire level was steeped in darkness.. which was a problem when Avarita stumbled on several morlocks hanging from the ceiling waiting to ambush her.
Though they got the drop on the sorceress, the morlocks were pitiful compared to the party and they were swiftly cut down. One cheeky one tried to lead the party into a trap-lined hallway but the trip wires were spotted and the morlock was cut down. As the party explore further, they came upon a pile of rocks with even MORE morlocks hiding in a hole in the rocks. Though they scrambled out to murder the party, they couldn’t match their might and soon the tunnel was clogged with their bodies.
Seeing no other way to progress apart from crawling through tiny morlock tunnels, the party decided to nope on off to fuckthatville and stone shaped a hallway clear, giving them easy access to what would normally be a difficult to reach section of the level. No sooner had they walked down this hallway then they found the emerald spire and a creepily congenial devil calling herself the Mistress of Thorns.
Rather than trying to immediately murder them though, the devil greeted them warmly and explained that the morlocks were her guards and that she was studying strange, ancient magics locked deep in the spire on this particular level. In order to study these magics though, she needed spire transport tokens and offered to trade her precious ioun stone for one and sigils for the lower levels of the spire for others. She explained that the set of stones were specifically carved as a set and that the party should think long and hard before walking away from her deal. She also helpfully explained that the levels below had more to do with the crowned skull the party had been searching for, though she didn’t know specifically what it was about.
The party will have to decide if they’re willing to deal with this devil. NEXT TIME.