Picking back up, we've moved Zanros to the front of the party to fulfill the will of the majority. I've also saved a couple of back ups for a rescue if this doesn't go as well as planned, but we'll see what happens. As a note, however, this does mean that he and The Dude are now right up in the front lines when we run into monsters.
"I can't decide if it's convenient to have all these doors right here at the bottom of the stairs, or confusing because there's so many."
"Well, if we want to keep things simple then we should simply start by walking forward and then investigate the side doors if we don't find what we're looking for."
"This isn't what we were looking for, but it'll do how did they even fit those giants down the stairs?"
Hill Giants have gotten a much improved makeover, although I'm not sure if they should technically be spear users. Then again, as long as they're not throwing boulders at me I'm happy. Battle with our wizards out front actually goes better than expected, presumably because their AC is only a couple of points worse than the fighters.
"No luck behind door number two either, but we definitely wouldn't want to leave these guys an opportunity to attack us from behind."
"A wise man once said, if you find the lair of something that can strip a man's flesh from its bones you should probably get the hell out of there."
"Unless there's some really, really good treasure inside which I don't think there will be, considering that this looks like the corpse of a common guard."
"I feel like we're interrupting. Are we interrupting?"
"Yeah, we're interrupting. And I'm okay with that."
"Hey, that's supposed to be my job!"
"This is a hostile takeover."
"A perilous situation wait, one of those women looks a bit familiar."
"Honey, you got reeeal ugly!"
"I like where this is going."
"You do realize that since we found you both together in the lair of an evil mage that we have no reason not to assume you're both evil and kill you both just to be sure, right?"
"We can't take that chance but which one is which? I'm so confused!"
"Oh for the love of "
"I could have done that too, but honestly I thought Alaric had a good point."
"I guess that probably could have gone a bit better."
The unnamed sorceress, whose name turns out to be Cortarra, is hidden behind a screen of minions but there's no reason that Galen can't just take a step and attack her. The cockatrices would be a bit more of a threat if they ever actually hit anything, but they still shouldn't be taken lightly.
There's another group off to the left who are ripe for a good fireball, and after a round or two some more reinforcements will appear in this area as well. To counter, we get a few dwarves who mostly run right into the cockatrices and make themselves into amusing statues.
"Clever, but if they'd taken you directly to Geildarr you might have had to really think about what you were willing to follow through with."
"Sure! We've never turned down free help, except for that one time when it was a creepy evil guy and it was a really obvious trap."
"It'll also make this less of a sausage-fest."
"I'm so grateful! I don't know what I can ever do to thank you."
"I'm sure I can come up with something."
"What was that? I couldn't quite hear you."
"Zanros, are you okay? You don't seem quite "
"I'm just fine, and I'll continue to be fine if you don't interfere."
"What, she couldn't wait to start her argument before finishing her note?"
"She got to that point and just went off on a rant about how she worked and worked for him and he never noticed her. I tried to give her some tips on getting his attention, starting with looking less like a harpy, and she didn't take it very well."
"I can tell we're going to get along great."
"Well, this hardly seems fair I think he needs a hand."
"From the looks of that giant, he was about to get one whether he wanted it or not."
The mages in the back are host tower mages, but otherwise we've seen all this before. The giant is new, but he can actually be turned by our cleric.
"Whoa, how'd we miss him?"
"Are we sure he was in the room the entire time?"
"Well, if he wasn't the one controlling the skeleton then who was?"
For this battle, Geildarr is hiding behind a few soldiers with a handful of magical darts so that he can throw spells at us. This isn't going to save him, since a good fireball would wipe him off the map, but it can slow things down a bit if you're trying to go after him with melee weapons.
There's also a group of soldiers right in front of us for an additional distraction, who will keep Geildarr from tossing fireballs in your direction as long as they're alive. Additional enemy reinforcements will arrive between the two forces after a little while, but they're basically shock troops. Geildarr's equipment is the biggest prize out of this fight: a ring of protection, the magical darts, and a +2 quarterstaff.
"Wait, where did you guys come from?"
"You mean you didn't hear the stomp stomp of little feet behind us as we went through the fortress?"
"I can't believe he actually thought that something as minor as this would do us in, after Ascore."
"He's a bit obsessed about the weather, too."
"That's great, but we're full up on lost warriors so good luck with that."
Slight progress on our weapons and armor for our characters, especially our mages, and a decent chunk of experience now that our magic users can actually gain levels again. Siulajia gets some of our old equipment to relieve everybody else's burden. She comes in with more experience than any of our characters, so she'll probably remain our highest level character for a bit.