So this week was interesting - I went in vastly underprepared compared to even the loosey-goosey way I normally run these Iron Principalities games, as I'd been prepping to run three sessions of Call of Cthulhu, back to back to back, this past Saturday at Queen City Conquest in Buffalo.
Kholark Sunderstone, Half-Orc Barbarian 3
Dormammu, Half-Elf Warlock 3
Zerin of Birdsall, Half-Elf Paladin 3
Mivahl Shimov, Human Fighter 3
Mara, Human Cleric 2
Cor, Rock Gnome Wizard 3
Lasair Lightfoot, Wood Elf Rogue 3
Sylvus Treeshroud, Wood Elf Druid 3
Knocked unconscious, Markus dropped a small red gem he'd palmed - which, when it shattered on the floor, released a towering entity of flame, a fire elemental eight or nine feet tall. Zerin and Sylvus were on fire before they could react, while Kholark raged and charged the flaming entity and Cor blasted it with a casting of Tasha's Hideous Laughter.
Doubled over in hysterics, the elemental fell to the ground on top of the unconscious Father Markus. The creature lashed out with fists of flame, igniting the clothing of Kholark as well. Though it was a hard-won fight, the party eventually won over the creature, with Mivahl delivering the killing blow, his flail extinguishing the elemental like a candle in the wind.
Getting more details from Count Rodrigo (Dormammu cast Suggestion on him), the party learned that Father Markus, and an entity he served whom Count Rodrigo had only ever seen as balefully-glowing eyes in a darkened room, and flattered and toadied their way into Rodrigo's confidence, feeding his ego while encouraging him to take part in sinful rites. With Father Markus gone and Dormammu's influence over him strengthening, Rodrigo agreed to return the body of the stone giant Petroikodromos to his brother, Lithotomos and pay the agreed upon price for the brothers' labor.
Unfortunately for the party, Rodrigo has no idea where the enchanted lance known as Empyreal Vengeance was, believing it to be no more than a legend. He did admit, however, that the watchtower he'd claimed as his castle was built over an ancient dwarven ruin which had never, to his knowledge, been investigated.
Lithotomos, however, was able to provide aid, in the form of a small, mole-shaped Earth Elemental. While incapable of understanding the finer details of the adventurers' questions, Mole was able to find where a trap door leading into the dwarven ruin had been mortared over and helped clear the way to getting it open.
Descending into the ruins, they determined that they dated back to the First Dwarven Empire, some 5,000 years old, but more recent graffiti - in the Common of two centuries back - claimed that a paladin known as Alaric the True buried "the Bloody Spear, Vengeance of the Gods" here, leaving behind "untiring guardians" to protect it.
Forcing open a door, they found themselves in a semi-circular room full of mummified dwarves, which, when they did not immediately animate, the party laid face-down to make it more difficult for them when they did, assumedly, animate on the party's way out of the dungeon.
Exploring further, they discovered a circular hallway with a number of doors leading outward, directing Mole to lead them in the direction of the nearest source of magic it can detect. It leads them north, where a narrow hallway branched off from the broad, curving structure they'd been following.
Carefully examining the geometric designs on the walls, Dormammu was able to figure out that they formed a very strange map of the complex, a poem written in acrostics, the nouns marking where rooms are and verbs tracing hallways. He can't read enough of it to determine the subject of the poem.
Going down the narrow hallway, opening the door at the far end revealed a 50-foot diameter circular room, a door at the leftmost point on the curving wall guarded by a pair of suits of ornate armor. Experimentation quickly revealed that the armor was animated, and reacted to anyone entering the room. Lasair was almost able to enter the room unchallenged by magically disguising herself as a dwarf in matching armor, wearing a family crest copied off the door the armor is guarding - but unfortunately, one of the suits of armor seemed to see through her disguise.
We ended the session with the party debating if it was even possible to get past the suits of armor without fighting them, and concluding that, if they wanted to get through that door (and presumably, to the lance), combat was inevitable.