The original Leech was a powerhouse foe for the group that was in Shakun (many years ago) and was a serious danger at that time. The four "leechlings" are much lesser in power but still have their demonic heritage behind them to make them a pretty nasty fight.
The idea is the 1st one is a straight up fight, and each one after that is that much smarter and knows the party's tactics, able to counter them. The four leechlings can sense what the others are going through but they also hate the hell out of each other, so they will never work together under any circumstances.
Write up follows:
As the light spell faded, Avidius used his lantern to offer us enough light to continue working. The decision was made to go to the main floor and gather up every burnable item we could find and bring it down here. So we loaded up cloaks and clothes with bric-a-brac and garbage, Marcus spent some time drilling holes and breaking it down while he and Tranis loaded up the center of the furnace for a “test run”.
Once they had a small section ready, they lit it and waited. IT caught fire (seemed to be easy) and then as the flames were curling across the kindling, there was a metallic bang and a shaft of metal fell out of the side of the furnace with a leather bellows attached and extended. It was near the 6’ stuffed bear. Steiner volunteered to be the guy to pump the bellow, shield up and in front of him, and Kilven behind with his axe upraised and ready to strike. The bellows pumped about 5 time, adding air to the heart of the furnace and making the small fire placed in there race upwards. And then the shaft pulled out of the cleric’s hand and folded back into the furnace.
We were now happy that the furnace worked (and it was radiating very little hit – after all, it was a little fire inside). So we gathered up every other scrap from the main floor and brought it down. And Steiner had Kilven rip apart some of the crate tops where he then cast Log of Everburning on them to extend their life as well as their heat output.
From here we had a system where the next 8 crates were going to be opened, the tops would be torn apart by Kilven and Geld, and the wood was then to be loaded into the furnace and set up by Marcus and Tranis. Avidius spent some time until he was convinced the crates were without issue and free of traps and then we set upon them with crowbars and axes.
Box 5 had blankets and bed sheets, 6 had a dismantled metal cage of some sort, 7 was 80% or so filled with curling wood shavings, and 8 had 8 sets of female religious clothing for women of various sizes and festooned with markings to Artemis on them. By this time we were ready to hit the next crate when we heard a yelp of terror and/or pain followed by a distinctly human voice shout out, “Shit!” And it was coming from upstairs somewhere.
Weapons and bows came out as we clambered up the stairs, getting to the main floor where we looked around. We didn’t see anything but there were some strange heavy breathing sounds coming from upstairs around the corner of the landing. Flimflam was saying that we were here and whoever should come down.
Well, the figure that spoke was strange and otherworldly. It had a goblin tinge to its voice and identified itself as one of four brothers that had come in with their father, the Leech, long ago when he slayed Cornelius. However they’ve been trapped here ever since and have grown bored. But they would gladly eat us. It (we referred to it as the Semi-Leech) commented that it had already chased one of the others down but some had escaped behind a wall and that he could not get to them. We wondered who and he said, here, take a look.
And then a head bounced down the stairs and rolled to a stop by us. It was one of Kalt’s members of his group, The First Sons of Shakun.
It came down the stairs and around the corner and beheld it for the first time. 5’ 8”, 600 lbs., goblin looking but red skin, grotesquely fat, and just gross. It commented that it would eat us and soon. So we shot him.
He made noises that it hurt and bounced around, inching closer, and we suspected that we weren’t hurting him. And then at the top of the stairs his ankles smoked and he was bathed in fire, and all the arrows sticking out of him burned up and faded away. And then it trundled towards us.
We redrew up our lines with a few of us staying back, switching to magic weapons as Steiner was telling us that it must it’s demonic heritage that was keeping it alive. The Semi-Leech hit and hit hard, and we returned the favor, and as suspected, without magic weapons, our blows did nothing.
But during the combat it unhinged it’s lower jaw and in response to Steiner attempting to turn it, lunged at our cleric and engulfed his head, helm and all, in its needle teeth open mouth and tried to bite his head off. The group went nuts, hacking and slamming, Steiner swinging his mace up and down and the Semi-Leech’s head and battering it. Eventually though we did enough damage that it slumped over while the group hit it one last time and it fell to the ground. Dead.
And then it began to rapidly rot. With Steiner’s head still in its mouth. It was rotting fast, turning to goop and slurry, dripping into the cleric’s helm, spreading pool on the ground. We used axes and crowbars, breaking the Semi-Leech’s jaw, pulling our priest of Apollo free. Healing was passed around and then we cleaned up, heading back downstairs to the furnace room to talk (and open the rest of the boxes).
We assumed the demonic was telling the truth, which meant 3 other demon-types in the tower somewhere. And there were people in here, maybe from Kalt, and one of them was killed and its head lopped off.
We set to the crates fast now, wanting to get the rest of the wood in place and get the furnace roaring. The furnace was a half-ton furnace, but we suspected some 200 lbs. of burnable material would do (and then some). So we tore open crate, chopped up the boards, made note of what was in there, and a few of us kept a ready eye on the stairs back to the main floor AND the stuffed bear. Box 9 was 4 bolts of homespun, 10 was nuts, acorns, and the like, 11 was the opposite half of the bench we found in 4 (again, in parts), and 12 had a variety of wire, clamps, twine, sponges, and pails.
We got the furnace roaring (again with the bellows) and the basement began warming up rapidly, shooting through the teens and then upwards eventually to room temperature. From here we wanted to go and explore the 2nd floor and see if we can find the next Leech offspring and/or the others from Kalt’s group that the demonic alluded to was in here somewhere.
It was with quiet care that we ascended the stairs towards the 2nd level, Avidius motioning the rest of us to hold while he went ahead quieter and alone. At the top of this stairs was a landing where there was an open area (in the shadowy light of a candle lit room near the south-east corner) which seemed to have trophies or wall hangings. There was another flight of stairs continuing around the wall of the tower heading up to the 3rd floor. But it was the faint breathing he heard that had him seriously look. And from around a wall in the trophy area, the fat red skinned head of another demonic goblin poked out and crept back.
What was interesting was that it wasn’t looking at the steps, but at the corner room with the candle light. Our scout came back down and let us know what he saw and we discussed our options. We wanted to hit the other Leech-ling…but wanted to get some surprise on it. Plus, what was in the candle room? Avidius felt strongly he could get back up there and look into the candle room without being spotted. We told him to NOT engage anything, just scout and report. He left, moving as quiet as he could, until he arrived just outside the candle lit room. It had a round table in the middle, 4 chairs, a few pictures on the wall, and three people genuflecting and motioning as if arguing, but he could hear nothing from them. He crawled back and told us what he saw. We guessed it was the rest of The First Sons of Shakun’s people and shelved it for now, devoting our attention to taking out the other leechling.
So we drew up every magical item we had, had our fighters get to the forefront, and charged the Leechling hard. It was very surprised at the ferocity of our attack, staggering back and forth as we plunged swords, spears, and all manner of magic against it. It never had a chance to even enact its flames, roaring in agony, hatred spewing as it was dealt one stab after another. And then it seemed to crunch in and then implode, turning into a column of black sulfurous smoke. Steiner called to Apollo to turn the smoke and it was blasted back, running through Avidius as it hit the back wall, and then raced up and through cracks in the ceiling to we assume the floor above.
Avidius though had been hit with the demonic’s essence, raw and unfiltered. And our scout absently pulled out his sack and started eating. A lot. In fact he was filled with a curse of unnatural hunger and was consuming his food stores at a fast rate. We tried to work with him and get him to give up his rations, Flimflam giving the father of two a pair of hunger suppressing goodberries but they only lasted a short time before he was hungry once more. Avidius chewed on a leather belt, barely keeping his need in check but he was once more in control – barely.
We hoped it would run its course and do it fast. So we then decided to go to the candle lit room and see who was there. Sure enough, they did not hear us, and we did not hear them but when we entered the room itself, a tingling ran over our skin and we could hear the people inside. We all looked warily at each other and sized one another up.
They were Viridia, a woman of decent looks, early 20’s, who was the speaker of the group and admitted to being a part-time locksmith and fine metalsmith. Fermius was a former guard of the watch and defender of Shakun who, like Avidius, wanted to join the adventuring group but missed out on our group, joining with Kalt instead. And lastly was Horace, who with his mismatched armor, swaggering attitude, and metal truncheon was most likely the “thug” of the group.
Through much conversation it was learned that Kalt had known that we were supposed to go into the tower and he wanted an opportunity to circumvent the limit Shakun had with a single charter for adventuring parties. He had asked some of his people to sneak in and bring out anything that proved it came from the Tower so he could contact the Arcanus Arcanum in Argosility and get a charter that way.
However, he did not let them know that the party already had the location registered and it was “hands off” for 6 months for other groups. He also didn’t tell them of any dangers they might face (like the Leechlings) and they were woefully unprepared. They also did not have stores and supplies and foodstuffs. Avidius was willing to vouch for Fermius as the two of them had dealings in the past half dozen years or so, and Viridia seemed on the level – both of them were very unhappy with Kalt and what they had been asked unknowingly to do. Horace although was a different matter and was willing to listen to Flimflam, but referred to Tranis as a “Narc” and Steiner as a “fag” too often.
The three of them wanted to come with us and keep exploring the tower but we had a long discussion (sometimes loud) about keeping them safe and staying behind. Avidius’ hunger curse had faded and we all were eating dinner now, sharing our food with the three others, still talking about staying here or not and other options. Eventually Horace had to be silenced and Fermius whacked him on the noggin and we bound him up.
As for the room – there were two pictures on the wall – one was a stout keep behind a moat with the drawbridge up, the other was a picturesque field of cotton. There were three other pictures on the floor – a pile of cloth mounded into a dome, a mining canary lying on its back, and a bowl of finger fruit. A detect magic revealed all 5 pictures were magical – with the keep one being the most magical. At this point we decided to try taking a picture off the wall and seeing what happened.
Leaving the keep one, we took off the cotton – and then the sounds OUTSIDE the room were heard and from outside the room people could hear those within. Neat – silence. We swapped it for the cloth picture – and the wall at the side of the room grew cloudy and then reached across – sealing the room up entirely. Very nice. We took it down and then did the canary – and nothing happened.
However after a minute the candle began guttering out and the party tried to react but the all fell over unconscious. Except Marcus. The only mage. He took the picture off the wall and everyone woke up (no harm). Ok, knocks out anyone not a mage – makes sense for a mage’s tower. Lastly, the fruit bowl one – and then made the candle on the table pop up like new, a bowl of finger fruit appear, two glasses of weak wine, and an ivory handled pipe with a thumb of pipe weed already within.
We ate and drank a little, and then took the picture off the wall. The bowl, pipe, and glasses disappeared. The candle stayed. Any fruit in our hand stayed. Putting the picture back on the wall a 2nd time returned the missing items, but not any contents that were consumed.
We were talking about maybe taking the keep one down – because what it, the keep picture is what is sealing the tower? What if it’s just that simple? We were discussing it and the merits of just moving on and checking out the 3rd floor as we polished off the last of our dinner and we guessed it was already 6:30 in the evening.