This episode began with our heroes surrounding the lone surviving goblin from the first session’s final encounter. An impromptu interrogation ensued, during which the quivering captive, in a manner typical of his species, was quickly reduced to whining & crying. Shortly thereafter he revealed himself one Urnog, minion of the Laffing tribe, those conniving denizens of the Sword Mountains. At this point, and despite the protestations of the dwarfess Riswynn and pleas of Sakhir’s own goblinoid familiar Turnip, both of whom would have preferred to see the wastrel dead, a decision was made to spare his life …at least for the time being… in return for his pledge to guide the party through Lizard Marsh. There was, after all, much work still to be done—a lizard lair to be located, possibly hostages to be rescued, almost certainly treasure to be recovered and hopefully some additional reward to be collected. So surely, logic dictated, any aid this imp might provide should be exploited to its fullest.
The aforementioned marsh proved a stinking, sickly morass of stagnant pools and rotting clumps of unhealthful vegetation. Crisscrossed with a confusing maze of footpaths and frequently cloaked in a thick, fetid fog, the going was slow. To make matters worse, the place was brimming with all manner of fell creatures.
During the first night in this wretched bog, long mist-shrouded tentacles of some muck dwelling leviathan crept unnoticed from the turbid waters. Entwining around Fin, the mysterious creature attempted to drag the sleeping cleric to an almost certain death. By the grace of Sune the lad awoke in a fright, his shriek alerting the others to his peril. Leaping to action his brave compatriots managed to quickly free him and drive the monstrosity back from whence it came. The next evening brought a similar attack, this time targeting the mighty Kruhd. But after that first closest of calls, our heroes were more prepared and the swamp fiend paid dearly for its impertinence. Slain by the combined might of the party, its lifeless appendages sank slowly into the muck.
A few hours into the following day the stout band made the acquaintance of some dozen or so frog-men. These amphibious humanoids attempted to warn the party off in the name of one King Ollie. In response, first Sakhir and later Kruhd sought to parlay, extolling noble purpose of their mission and even going so far as to proffer Urnog as a tasty morsel & token of good faith! But it seems frog ears are deaf to such appeals. The mottled green devils’ only reply was a spear hurled in the direction of the brawny barbarian. Kruhd, as is his wont, returned that kindness with a swift swipe of his smitey axe; his fellows following suite with spells or swords or other such weapons as befit their stations.
And so the battle commenced.
What followed was a scene of sheer chaos—magic flashing, swords clashing and in every direction blood splashing. In short, utter carnage. Kruhd’s big blade swung in long, loping arcs cleaving first the frog-fiends’ captain and then a number of its henchmen in twain whilst he himself endured several near fatal blows. Riswynn’s own bloodied axe gleamed crimson in the sun, sending more than a few pollywogs to their doom. Fin too strode boldly through the fray, dispensing death with his fighting hand and healing grace with the other. And all the while Neverick, the elf-tinged minstrel, crooned lilting lays of inspiration & insult to both steady his companions and confuse their adversaries. Indeed even the goblins, Turnip & Ungor, fought well that afternoon! The rout finally concluded when Sakhir fell their last standing foe in dramatic fashion, a well-placed bolt of eldritch energy dispatching that slimy slaad to join his fallen fellows in whatever nether plane frog-fiends haunt after life.
As the battle-lust finally subsided, our heroes, save one, stood victorious. Sadly steadfast Damakos of Silverymoon, the hell-spawn sage, was numbered among those corpses that littered the field. But there was little time for mourning. Neverick was quick to point out two toads he’d lulled with some sweet sorcerous song. These unfortunates were soon bound hand & foot, and then revived by Sakhir…with a sharp stick through their eyes! In exchange for the promise of a soothing remedy, the pair quickly fessed some useful information: their own lair, the very seat of King Ollie, was located a few miles to the northwest amidst the ruins of an ancient temple; and the haunt of the lizard-folk, a dilapidated man-crafted structure known simply as the Ruined Manor, lay an equal distance due south. Satisfied the prisoners had fulfilled their end of the bargain, Kruhd mercifully administered the promised relief. His remedy? A pair of swift axe blows through their soft skulls.
Their first order of business being the disposition of the lizard-folk, the party headed south. A mere two hours into that trek they were ambushed from the trail-side by a gigantic caterpillar like creature. This abomination, which Sakhir instantly recognized to be a carrion crawler, was fronted by a maw full of gnashing teeth encircled with writhing, suckered appendages and driven by a relentless hunger for flesh. The beast was ripe with in the stench of death & decay. It proved, however, no match for our hearty heroes. Upon dispatching it, they quickly discovered its nearby nest. There, interspersed among the countless gnawed bones which littered that bit of high ground, lay a petty treasure of copper, silver & gold coins, as well as a handsome dagger and vial of blue-hued liquid. These last two items, it was hoped, might prove useful.
Following a brief respite they set out once more and soon arrived at the edge of a clearing. From their vantage behind some long grass, a large manor house in obvious disrepair was clearly visible in the middle of the vast field. At the same time and much to everyone’s surprise, a mysterious stranger emerged from behind some nearby shrubs and presented himself before the party…