Descent into Avernus

Descent into Avernus Episode 09 – Hot Pursuit

TL;DW / Recap

Still in the sewers beneath the Vanthamper estate, the Dickbags collect themselves after defeating the Jailor fiend. They immediately turn their attention to the two prisoners being held. The first is a human male who introduces himself as Falastar Fisk. He works for Sylvira Savokas at Candle Keep. Sylvira believes that Thavius Krieg has made a deal with devils and sent Falaster in search of a certain puzzle box that they believe holds the proof of Thavius’ alterier motives. In another cell, they find an elderly human female who introduces herself as Satir Thione-Hhune. She’s part of an aristocratic family and believes she was kidnapped as a form of blackmail to keep the Hhune family from opposing Thalamra Vanthamper stepping as the new Grand Duke.

With Falastar’s similar motives and Satir being a key witness to the Vanthamper’s dealings with devils, the Dickbags agree to let release them. For good measure, Ser Nedir removes the head of the Jailor fiend to take with them as additional proof. They make their way out of the jail. Uncertain of the direction Liam took, they follow the path that Toph sensed Amrik running along.

Meanwhile, Liam continues his pursuit of Amrik. Having checked the stairway they took to get into the basement, he’s certain that Amrik is still somewhere in the sewers. He resumes his route, retracing the steps they originally followed only this time he’s checking rooms that they initially passed before. The first room he checks ends up being for cold storage. With no sign of Amrik, Liam proceeds to the next room which has a set of double-doors across from the dining hall they checked previously. As Liam approaches the door, he can hear soft voices inside. Quietly opening the door he finds 4 cultists performing a ritual and a 6ft tall barbed devil staring straight at him. Liam quickly retreats and hides just inside the dining hall. The barbed devil rushes out of the room followed by the 4 cultists just as the rest of the Dickbags turn the corner. A battle begins. The barbed devil launches a flame at Ser Nedir who easily deflects the attack with his new shield. Liam downs his potion of fire breathing just before Nedir (who is unaware of Liam’s location) retaliates with a Fireball of his own. The massive explosion incinerates the 4 cultists and takes Liam down as well in the process. The Dickbags focus their fire on the remaining barbed devil. Toph lends her crossbow to Falaster while she holds Satir, who is determined to avoid combat at all costs due to her age.

After succeeding on one death saving throw, Liam rolls for another. ANOTHER NATURAL 20!! With a surprising cough/exhale of smoke, Liam regains consciousness with 1 hit point. He limps his way out of the dining hall and towards the continuing battle, being sure to stay as far away as possible. He unleashes a series of fire breaths, the last of which manages to ignite the fiend and burn it to ash.

The party regroups as Elder Storm casts a prayer of healing, giving everyone some much needed hitpoints. Believing the explosion of fire came from his potion, Liam warns the rest of the group about the potions of fire breath indicating the potions might be defective. After collecting themselves once again, the Dickbags head into the room that the devil/cultists came out of. In the room they find 9 tapestries depicting the 9 layers of hell as well as a 7ft tall statue of an angel with glowing eyes and holding a sword. The group inspects the statue more closely and (eventually) finds the source of the glowing eyes to be coming from a mace that is lodged inside. After a few failed attempts to remove the head of the statue carefully/cleanly, Ser Nedir gets flustered and pushes the statue over causing it to shatter. Toph grabs the mace which is still emitting the soft glowing light and puts it in her bag.

A moment later they hear a hidden door open nearby. They look to find Amrik standing in the doorway. Ser Nedir senses another presence inside the room and alerts the group. Toph casts mage armor on herself and rushes in. Inside she sees Amrik as well as Duke Thalamra Vanthamper herself! The Duke immediately attacks Toph with two eldritch blasts (she’s a warlock?!) and Amrik follows up with his dagger (dagger, dagger). Toph falls to the floor unconscious, but is soon revived by Ser Nedir’s Lay on Hands. The battle continues with both parties trading blows. Toph then casts Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp and twins it to ensare both Amrik and Thalamra. Though restrained, Thalamra manages to open a yet another secret door behind her, but is unable to escape. Amrik, on his last leg, does another series of attacks on Storm, Nedir, and Liam. Missing his first two attacks Amrik tries his last stab at Liam, but critically fails by stabbing his mother before hitting his head on the floor killing himself. Ser Nedir is then able to deliver the killing blow to Thalamra, cleaving her in half with his long sword.

Once they are able to look around the room they find a large obsidian shrine with flames that resemble the same fallen angel statue that they recently destroyed. Toph takes some of the Duke’s cloak and gets a rubbing of some of the infernal runes depicted on the shrine. Meanwhile, Liam takes a couple keys he finds on the Duke’s remains and learns that one of them opens the vault. With Amrik and the Duke now dead, Liam helps himself to the remaining platinum in the coffers. Ser Nedir informs Reya and Thavius Krieg that Amrik and the Duke are both dead and that they still need to find a puzzle box before they leave. At the mention of the box, Nedir notices that Thavius tenses up with uncertainty.

It seems there’s a lot more going on here than what meets the eye….