The party chickened out on removing the "keep" picture from the wall - unsure if it would actually unlock the front door or make an area permeable for the demonics. They just opted to leave it as is for now and revisit it at a later date.
As for the denizens/creatures in the tower - none of them are canon and all are original. Going back far enough in time I made up tons of shit and when I was updating this tower for this group, I tried to keep as many of the oddities I had originally conceived in place - only updating them in the needs so they work with the modified rules I use now (no THACO, Ascending AC, SD and DR where need be).
Write up follows:
The end of our long conversation with Viridia and Fermius was that we were going to check out the 3rd floor and they should wait here. Leave the keep picture on the wall, take the cotton one down, and if we call for their help, they should come running.
Horace was still bound and gagged and we didn’t give a crap what he thought.
So after cleaning up our dinner and shuffling some equipment around, we drew weapons moved the light source a bit and ascended to the 3rd level. From the landing we could see a dining room with seating for 10. There was place setting for 4 set out, but the plates were a bit askew, and there were blood smears and signs of battle along the far wall. A deep bloody smear ran from the far setting and was dragged towards the opening in the south wall which we assumed was the kitchen.
We lit a torch from the lantern flame and then tossed it to the far end of the room near the kitchen before daring to enter. The thought was to TOUCH NOTHING for now. And we were careful
The kitchen was fairly large and then was the open end at the far side where a larder could be seen. But on the south wall stuck into the cutting board/counter was a flayed body. Human(ish), maybe 5’8” at one time, it had 4 knives in its body and one stuck haphazardly in its thigh. There was blood trickling from the flayed corpse, soaking into the wood and then pooling on the floor at the base of the counter. Was it new? Fresh? Old? We checked it out and were sure that it had suffered some pretty bad throat trauma before it had been skinned. Most likely, alive when it was started.
We backed out of the room to check it out with infravision and as Flimflam suspected, it was cooler that the room (but warming up) – which let him believe it was killed and flayed before the tower had been brutally cool prior to our starting the furnace. We also decided for now to leave the body alone and not fuck with it.
While some of us were checking out the open larder, others were looking around the dining room where they discovered numerous bits of plate mail armor scattered about the chamber. A vambrace here, a greave there, some battered, others whole. There wasn’t enough to make a full suit anymore and it had seen better days, but it was about 60% here. From some of the damage on it though, we were convinced it wasn’t done with a conventional weapon – but what exactly we didn’t know.
As for the larder, there was nothing left in it. Some boxes and plates, a sack or two, a jar and some such, but everything that could have been devoured was eaten. Except a single clay bowl containing salt – perhaps 6 ounces of it. Seemed odd.
At this point Erd was deciding that the places set at the table needed to be cleaned up. Along the far wall near the nicest chair, there were a set of shelves where the other 6 place settings were currently put away. So he started cleaning them up, one piece at a time, putting them back on the wall. And about half way through a smoky elongated bipedal figure started to appear.
We all gathered quickly, weapons at the ready, waiting to see what it was going to do. And when it started to approach Erd, Avidius charged it with his magical short sword of quickness leading the way. His sword immediately flared to cherry red and he dropped it to avoid taking anything more than a 1st degree burn along his palm.
The smoky figure engaged the group, and anyone who had a magical weapon that tried to strike it found his or her weapon turn instantly hot where they were forced to drop it or get burned. Normal weapons seemed to hit the creature fine, dragging gossamer strands out of its form and sending them scattering everywhere. Flimflam was a target though and even though he did drop his magical cudgel, his enchanted ring and armor were causing him to get continuously burned. We weren’t doing enough damage to it fast enough and some of us were forced to give it a wide berth. We had the thought, the larder had only 1 item left in it – salt. So Geld was told to run to the larder, grab the bowl of salt and throw it at the spectral figure.
And when the salt passed through it, it winked out of existence.
Nicely done. We gathered up what salt we could find (about 2 ounces) and left the rest of the place settings on the table. We doles out our dwindling healing stores and seeing that it was only about 8 pm, we decided to head further upstairs to the 4th floor.
At the landing here we saw our first signs of privacy – a short corridor with 3 doors. The doors were stout oaken timbers but each showed signs of force and battering. They were closed but from the blunt force trauma around the locks, we guessed they were unlocked. Further up the stairs towards the 5th floor was a 6 and ¼ foot armored figure clad entirely in plate mail. The design appeared to be similar to the armor we had found in pieces in the dining room on the next floor down. The figure did not move, respond to calls, or even seem to breathe. But we assumed it was looking at us – and no one wanted to risk climbing the stairs.
That left the three doors. Of the three, the center one on the north wall was the most ornate looking, so we checked that one out first. Once Avidius assured us it wasn’t trapped or locked, we risked opening the chamber. It was a master bedroom of some sort, a 4 poster bed was along the center wall, three shelves above it but bisected as if disturbed. A small chest of drawers and a large armoire were on the right wall, while a small table, lamb, and two comfortable chairs were on the left.
We noted the interior, saw nothing else, and decided to shut the door and check out another chamber.
We picked the west door and Avidius gave it the all clear before we opened it. And there on the bed was one of the fat grotesque Leechlings. Referring to this one as the Demi-Leech, he was crude and foul mouthed, saying that he’s been waiting for us – and then we realized that we had his gut held up in one hand, and was jerking his red goblinoid cock with his other. Licking his lips and saying that the group really did it for him he taunted them to come closer and “get him…off!”
Avidius charged in, his ensorcelled blade leading the way, hitting the Demi-leech in the gut with a sure slashing stroke. Which in turn made the Demi-leech squeal in ecstasy and fire his cum all over the party’s scout. At the same time that he burst his body into flames. And the flames set his goblin-juice on fire. The same juice that flared all over Avidius who was screaming and trying to wipe the sticky flaming junk off. The Demi-Leech then gave a massive fart that the ignited gasses burst him up and into a standing position, setting the sheets on fire and having him ready to face the party who fired magical arrows at the fat bastard.
A Protection from Evil spell was cast from Marcus onto Erd who then charged into the room, Kilven following as the barbarian called out to Coyote to guide his blows. And Steiner called upon Apollo to turn the foul demonling. The Demi-Leech hit Avidius terribly hard, shattering his shield and sending him dangerously close to the burning bed.
And then the Demi-leech snarled at Steiner and snapped his finger – gating in 3 hellhounds who proceeded to tear into the priest and the rest of the party.
Fire blossomed and we struck as hard and as determined as we could. Avidius, leaking hit points through the many charred holes in his body managed to sneak past the fire and the dog, Kilven helping the scout get by. Meanwhile one of the hounds shoved its way into the hall where Marcus, Flimflam, Tranis, and those too far from the main combat had to struggle their way against the slavering hellhound.
We redoubled our attacks against the Demi-leech, hoping that if he fell the summoned hounds would fade. And when the final blow took him out and he fell over, burning against the flaming mattress and rotting away – the hellhounds remained and continued to fight the group.
Erd carried the way thanks to his Protection from Evil, but even he suffered a few burns and scorch marks from the flaming breath. But at long last the final hellhound was slain and the party had the chance to catch their breath.
We dragged the hounds from the bedroom with the burning mattress, closed the door (leaving the smoke and flames within), and dragged the dogs downstairs to the trophy room floor. Geld was overcome with smoke inhalation and needed some rest, and much healing was passed around as we caught Viridia and Fermius up on what we found and our experiences.
Tranis, Steiner, and Flimflam had the three hellhounds hoisted high on some of the trophy mounts and the animal’s throats cut in order to get their blood for hopefully magical ink. They filled two wine bottles with the smoky red liquid and then staggered back to the picture room where we were going to set up for rest for the night being it was almost 10 PM by our reckoning.