Woods, campers, and explosions; oh my! What did our heroes get into this week?
- Shank, the roguish human thief
- Eoghan, the impossibly named half-elven ranger
- Gnur, the halfling barbarian
- Zodias, the manic salamander immolator
- Gent, the human wizard
- Garamond, the not-so-sparkly paladin/cleric
- and a rather exhausted GM
The plot thus far
Our heroes decided to forge a path through the evil forest and undertook a journey from their last encampment toward the overbearing evil of the ancient ruins. After about 2 days trekking through the forest, the party is able to sneak up on an encampment of soldiers from The Empire of the Gilded Wing - a nation which treats its citizens with benevolence but terrorizes all it deems to be outsiders. Given that they tend to seek out and hoard magical artifacts (and a certain hatred for them from Eoghan; something about killing his entire village), the heroes decide to attack these rather drunk fellows and appropriate anything they can find.
An invisible Shank investigates the largest of 6 tents, but knocks over a lantern and sets the thing ablaze. Grabbing the large, detailed map of the overall region, he scoots into the next tent over. Upon finding a belt containing 4 gray clay balls, each bearing a wick on its top, Shank quietly marks the tent with his knife and sneaks onto the next tent.
Not knowing what the ripped X in the back of the 2nd tent is supposed to mean, Gnur assumes it means distress and scampered up to the tent to see what his friend had gotten himself into. The pitter-patter of little feet alerts the sober-ish captain of these guards around the same time that a scouting Eoghan is spotted in the woods. Splitting his dozen men in half, 6 sloppily drunken soldiers chase off into the woods where they will never see Eoghan again, while the other 6 attempt to investigate what they are probably assuming is a rodent of unusual size. Gnur sees the new gray clay balls as toys and grabs the belt, fumbling one ball off of the belt as he does so, and scampers back to the tree-line. Zodias moves the now growing flames from the large tent to the 2nd tent and suddenly everybody learns what the small clay balls do when exposed to fire: kaboom!
Everyone in the area is rather taken aback, and several of the tends are either torn to shreds or flattened by the explosion. In the confusion, Eoghan is able to take a stealthy shot on the captain and plant an arrow in the side of his chain armor. With a bit of help from Shank's poison dagger, the captain is quickly dispatched. Rocked by another explosion, everyone quickly realizes that a smaller soldier is not just a mail & sword grunt unit as he fiddles around with vials on his belt.
Having gotten caught by one of the investigating soldiers, Gent tries to defend himself with his magic missiles, however they seem to kill the soldier a bit too enthusiastically, turning the soldier into some kind of zombie. Gnur decides the best thing to do is drop his full belt of grenades by the smaller vial-chucker and run for cover, causing a massive explosion just after everyone watches the potion-tosser down a brew and vanish.
Feeling the need to aid his friends, Garamond invokes his deity to provide some healing relief to Zodias, who then gets mauled by the newly alert zombie. Everybody manages to fall over themselves while trying to get their new friend off their old friend, and it takes an infusion of "Torch" (Zodias' "pet" corrupted fire elemental) to blast the zombie up into the air. As it falls down, Garamond makes a sweeping cut and bisects the zombie.
And of course, the evil forest makes a reappearance as a gnarled, unnatural giant hand thrusts out of the tree line and grabs one of the remaining drunken soldiers. His screams start to fade as he is dragged out of sight, when they suddenly go silent. Faced with the decision to fight our heroes or take their chances in the forest, the remaining drunkards head for the trees, where their screams are snuffed out one by one.
After a quick survey of the remaining tents, gathering new weaponry for a few, snatching some trinkets, and packing up a potion-making kit, the party presses on toward the Sumerian temple which has thus far been known as "that evil thing over there in the distance, but closer now". A short wander later under the shroud of darkness, and the team breaks through the trees into a large open area.