Most players finished character gen. McGinnis couldn’t find his paladin character sheet so created a new one. As karma would have it, he found it practically the next day. Heather joined the group, playing a gnome ranger Nix who happens to be twins with Amy’s gnome ranger Nim. Skivers, Jason, and Jeannie couldn’t make it, so I’m assuming Jason has created a half-troll, undead stripper psion, and that Jeannie made a spoony bard.
We last left our adventurers camped alongside the Southern Expanse highway. The trade caravan has been travelling from Eldarq to Sutteron over the past few days, and was recently accosted by a band of goblins and a bugbear near a shaded spring. Having already dealt with that threat so close to their intended campsite, the caravan had decided to press on for a few more hours before making camp in a grassy field. Night had fallen, and the tired merchants were settling into their bedrolls. A hardy few stayed up late, trading tales and passing wineskins around the campfires.
Lisotte, the dwarven princess, had retired to her tent surrounded by her bodyguard and servants. Nim and Nix made their beds in the boughs of a nearby oak. Korwyn sat near one of the campfires, enjoying the telling of tales. The young elven magic-user, concerned about attracting too much attention to herself, wrapped up in a bedroll and hid under a wagon.
Having accepted payment to provide protection along this relatively safe route, Xandar was in the process of relieving Strangar for guard duty, when they detected the odor of pungent smoke in the breeze. The gnome twins, high above, also picked up on the smell and tried to warn the dwarves but they wouldn’t listen. Worried that another attack may be eminent, the two warriors commandeered two of the merchants’ horses and rode off down the western road to investigate. When they found the source of the fire, another caravan sacked and burning, they turned back to warn the others.
Meanwhile, the rest of the campers were dealing with trouble. Out of nowhere, a hail of arrows rained down upon the campsite. Panic ensued, with humans and elves running every which way trying to dodge the deadly missiles. Nim and Nix, camped safely outside the ring of wagons, had not yet caught the attention of the attackers, and dived into the grasses to ferret out the hidden archers. Lisotte remained relatively safe, camped on the far side of the circle and surrounded by her followers. Korwyn sought cover beneath his troupe’s wagon, coincidentally the same wagon that a young elf girl had been hiding under.
Within a few moments, the gnomes located some of the attackers: more goblins, in greater numbers than before. The diminutive archers were not well organized, and squabbled with one another as often as not. The gnome twins were able to take out a couple of them while remaining undetected. Korwyn went around putting out campfires in effort to reduce visibility. Lisotte was rudely awoken and ordered her subordinates to pack up camp.
A handful of goblins charged into camp, hurling small ceramic pots at the wagons; on impact, they shattered and doused the wooden frames in oil. By this time, Xandar and Strangar made it back to camp and started looking for things to kill. They were rewarded with the sight of three hulking bugbears wading through the grasses, and closed into melee combat. Finding one of her followers wounded, Lisotte took up her axe and joined the battle.
After a few volleys of poorly aimed arrows, the goblins started releasing fiery arrows. Realizing that visibility was now a moot point, Korwyn started taunting the goblins into submission. The gnomes continued to harass the goblin archers, whittling away at their numbers while avoiding attention themselves.
Soon, the goblins changed tactics again, throwing nets at anyone who was fighting back. Xandar and Strangar traded blows with two of the bugbears, slowly wearing them down, while Korwyn focused his barbs at the remaining brute, literally talking him to death. Most of the merchants fled the campsite, as almost everything had caught fire. A few humans were trapped beneath a burning wagon, and Lisotte stopped fighting to help them escape.
Battered but not beaten, the party defeated the bugbears and sent the remaining goblins running for their pathetic little lives. What remains of the merchant caravan huddled in the safety of the Southern Expanse highway, waiting the coming dawn.
850 exp all around.