The party quickly retrieves Needle from the corpse of their fallen companion, close the drawbridge and ascend to the Baron‘s floor of the tower. Nobb, leading the party, is the first to reach the landing where he is greeted by four dwarves who, visibly nervous, direct the party to Volk’s Quarters. As Nobb starts to comply, Gallahad, having differing opinions, attacks the dwarf with his new toy Needle.
The dwarves cry out and engage the party at the landing while trying to escape toward the Baron’s Quarters – only one survives. While the party engaged the Shifter Initiates in the hallway, Hybrids assail them from the doorway to the Baron’s room. Gallahad, the first to arrive in the doorway, is greeted by a quartet of arrows, as the Baron’s Shifters have set up defensive positions behind a great meeting table. Two hybrids block the doorway and Sir Stratosphere blocks their pouring into the hallway.
The party’s Shield Wall tactic proves problematic once Baron Volk makes himself known. He appears and immediately Enthalls poor Gallahad. He works his way through the party while mentioning curious phrases about a man he calls “Father” and how the prison will soon be his. Soon, nearly all of the party has at some point been Enthralled by the Baron while his archers continue to pepper those in the doorway. The Rogues (Roam and Mace) find themselves on the outside and unable to make good use of their powerful sneak attacks.
Nobb spends as much time mitigating damage as he does Blessing his companions, trying to help them overcome the Baron’s mind tricks, but not before the Baron moves in to Devour Gallahad with his own longsword. Clearly magical, this sword sucks life force from its victims and fuels the Baron’s own.
Retreat is considered, but no one can safely pull out the incapacitated victims and none want to leave them to their demise. When hope is nearly lost, Nobb uses righteous fury to strike down the Baron in a brilliant display.
With his dying words, Zhadnyy Volk sends the party to the Wizard’s Tower for more information. He explodes in a flash of light and leaves behind his longsword and a grey crystal emblazoned with a Diamond surrounded by a heart.
Upon entering the Wizard’s tower, the group finds his notes. They discuss how his twin brother’s heart was binding his thralls to his will and the only way to free them was to purify the heart in a living body. Taking this upon himself, the Baron was seduced by the heart and unable to control it. Feeling slight remorse, the party gathers the Baron’s treasure and head back to Hammerfast. They ascend to Level 6.
Where does the next crystal lead, how will they activate the new sword, and who is this “Father”?