Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 451 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 448 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 439 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High Elf Wizard, 454 points
Minia, Human Monster Hunter
We resumed with the party still in the duergar prison, not wanting to give the duergar a chance to improve their defenses. Seépravir realized she had a hard time maintaining so many spells while Possessing Minia's body (and losing the IQ and Magery bonuses from being a High Elf), and decided to go back to her own body and Entomb Minia. Then she made some marks on the walls to make sure she could find Minia again if she needed her.
Zaber and Polly went back to exploring the prison. Polly asked Zaber to unlock a door to the north, so he did, but then realized they'd already been that way, and unlocked the door to the south. After heading south, they found another large room with two statues of duergar with beards made of tentacles, and two horizontal ship's wheels mounted to turn winches. Elias recognized the statue as Sodoutym, the Dark Foe, a god of evil dwarves. Zaber searched the statues but didn't find anything interesting. Seépravir cast Seek Magic and found that the nearest magic was a level down.
Polly noticed some large cracks in the floor, separating a rectangular area from the rest of the room. Zaber looked around the cracks for a trap, but didn't find a trigger for one, though it appeared that maybe that section of floor could move. Polly turned one of the wheels, which took a lot of force to move. As she did, the rectangular section of floor moved down a little bit. Zaber suggested checking the other doors before messing with the wheels any more.
Zaber unlocked another door to the south, and he and Polly went through, finding a storeroom, with a crate and a lot of shelves full of mining gear. The crate had some dwarven runes on the side, which read "This End Up" in upside-down Undercommon. Zaber asked Polly to help flip the crate over, and then they grabbed a claw hammer off a shelf and un-nailed the lid of the crate to open it. Inside was a block and tackle, with a sheet of assembly instructions in Dwarvish.
They moved to the next room, which was full of short bunks and small foot lockers. Zaber started going through the lockers but only found a book he couldn't read, a bit of stale cheese, and a bunch of dwarf-sized clothes. Seépravir cast Gift of Letters and revealed that the book was A Guide to Monster Handling, a primer on pushing various creatures around while Enlarged. Zaber moved on to the next room, and found another storeroom full of mining supplies. This one also had a create, which was full of greasy heavy-duty chain.
There was one more locked room, with a stouter door and tougher lock, but Zaber managed to pick this one too, after a few minutes. Inside were several racks full of weapons and armor: knives, javelins, crossbows, maces, mail shirts, etc. All with the crown-of-bones-and-fangs-under-a-mountain logo that they had seen on the duergar equipment.
At that point, all the doors in the immediate area had been explored. Polly thought a bit, then asked if they had ever explored west from the tiger room. After some more thinking, she was pretty sure they had not. So, the group went back to the tiger room, and found there was indeed a portcullis to the west that they had not opened yet. There were also a couple of doors in that area that Zaber couldn't remember whether he'd explored yet. So he peeked between the bars, and through the peepholes of doors that had them, to see if there was any immediate danger. Not seeing any, he picked the lock to a door to the east, behind which was an empty cell. Then he picked a door to the south, behind which was a room with several levers. Southeast was a long passage, with several portcullises blocking it.
Zaber remembered that he played with these levers before, possibly opening the prisoners' cell and then dropping the portcullis on one of their heads. He asked Polly to watch the portcullises while he played with the levers again. Two of the levers lifted the the first two portcullises up. But no combination of playing with levers that he could find would lift the third one. Behind the third portcullis, Polly spotted two monsters with tentacles and beaks. Zaber said they should get backup before proceeding, and Polly reluctantly agreed.
Zaber was worried the tentacle monsters might be able to manipulate the levers, so he went into the lever room and closed the door, to keep them away from it. (Unless they could also open doors?) One of the tentacled monsters saw the intruders, and walked up to the portcullis and stuck a tentacle through, but they were out of grabbing range. This was enough for Polly to start loosing arrows. The creatures bled purple when arrows hit them. Polly put 4 arrows into one, with the final one being a critical hit right down its beak, which caused it to die in a purple geyser of gore. The other one fled south, away from the portcullis. Polly tried squeezing through the bars, but they were too close together. She then tried flattening against the bars to see if she could see the creature, but she could not, even with See Invisible.
Zaber went back to the room with the levers, which also had two large wheels, and tried turning a wheel, but he wasn't quite strong enough to budge it. Meanwhile Garreth used Power Blow to increase his strength, then ripped the portcullis off its mounts and threw it on the floor. Polly, not having shot anything in seconds, immediately ran into the room and looked for targets, but couldn't find any. Zaber got his crossbow out, Garreth drew his katana, and Seépravir Great Hasted herself.
Polly, not having any visible targets, decided to just shoot an arrow south along the wall, hoping to hit a hidden creature. This worked, as a creature that had blended into the wall was spooked by the arrow and dodged, revealing itself. Polly then loosed a couple more arrows at it, and it failed to dodge them, and left another purple puddle as it died. Polly wandered south to recover any unbroken arrows, but failed to consider that there might have been more than two of them. The third hidden grick, on the ceiling, smacked her in the back of the head with a tentacle. Sadly for the monster, its damage roll was not as good as its tactics, and the attack bounced of Polly's head. (She wasn't even wearing a helmet, but had Bracers of Force and an Amulet of Tough Skin, plus the protection of her skull.) Zaber, who happened to be facing that way, noticed the hidden grick as it moved to attack Polly, and warned the others.
Polly shot an arrow at the grick, which dropped off the ceiling to dodge it, and smacked into the floor. She then put two arrows into it on the ground, one critically, doing a lot of damage and stunning it. Zaber passed on shooting a crossbow bolt at it, leaving it for Garreth and Polly to finish off. Seépravir cast Slow on the stunned grick, adding insult to injury and costing it a chance to unstun next turn. That turn would be its last, as Polly filled it with arrows and figured out where a grick's vitals are.
However, there was still one more, right above Seépravir, which smacked her in the head with a tentacle. It was hard enough to leave a mark, but the wizard made her stun roll. Polly shot several arrows at it, knocking it out and causing it to fall off the ceiling. Seépravir sidestepped the falling grick. Zaber started closely examining the ceiling for Even More Of Them, but didn't spot any more. At this point nobody trusted their vision, so Seépravir cast Sense Danger and didn't sense any more. Polly didn't think that was quite certain enough, so started pulling free arrows out of her Cornucopia quiver and methodically shooting the walls. Eventually the unconscious grick made a noise, and then Polly made it stop.
There was another portcullis on the far side of the room, which Garreth utterly splintered with a Power Blow followed by a critical success on his Forced Entry attempt. Meanwhile, Zaber went back to trying, and failing, to budge the wheel. Seépravir cast See Secrets on Zaber, but he didn't see any secrets. Seépravir examined the dead gricks for any valuable organs, but didn't find anything interesting under all the purple blood.
Polly walked over to the wheel to help Zaber, and together they budged it. This caused a rectangular section of the floor to move downward a bit, before Polly and Zaber fatigued. Garreth came over to help, and Zaber decided that with Polly and Garreth on the job, he could stop pushing. Elias tried using the power of prayer to move the wheel, to no direct obvious effect, but then Garreth used Power Blow and the wheel moved easily, so maybe the prayer indirectly helped. The platform moved down about 10 feet, to the next level, and we stopped there.
Because of some Technical Difficulties, I didn't have the next level's map completely done yet, so when the PCs reached the next level, we had to stop for the evening, after only about half a normal session. This is the first time that the PCs managed to get ahead of me, and I'll try to avoid letting that happen again.
The gricks' camouflage abilities are not technically Invisibility, so I didn't let See Invisible automatically spot them. Zaber surprisingly lost of couple of contests of Vision vs. Stealth to see them, before they got their sneak attacks in on Polly and Seépravir. However, like many smaller monsters, their damage was too weak for one turn of surprise to accomplish much. Maybe more monsters need backstab damage multipliers?
Next time, we'll see where the lift goes...