All these sessions, Corian had a high Bluff check and never used it. This session it all came together.
At first they saw a few bugbears in the distance. Corian turned invisible, Flax and Belflin hid in the shadows, and Aurleva cast Barkskin on herself. The bugbears ran. They found a piece of leather armor with a drow inscription saying “Hairy Fang Scout Battallion, 3rd Squad” or something the like. I’m assuming their dark elf masters know at least some of the party’s strengths. And the drow have had various other contacts with them: The drow party confronting the orcs at the underdark lake, the drow wizard living with the Crushed Skull orcs, the bugbears that ran when Belflin startled them at their camp fire near the ogre cave… Random encounters are forcing me to add a significant element of drow elements to the campaign’s future.
Later they saw two of the bugbears slain and one of them with pieces of grey dessicated flesh on his morningstar. The enemies must have used bows. Weird.
Finally the party met 13 gnolls lying in wait for them. Did the bugbears order this attack? Maybe. On a whim I decided to add a hidden hill giant to the mix. The two flying invisible archers were surprised to find the hill giant there, but within seconds the fight was over, the gnolls and the hill giant ran, the gnolls carrying torches for the hill giant, illuminating the target for Belflin. The last gnolls finally dropped the torches… The party found 1000 gp and two scrolls. Nice.
To bad Silas the cleric wasn’t there when the party met three wraiths. Two got Constitution drained and they decided to try something new: Cast Fly on themselves and use Dimension Door to get to the surface. I ruled that this was no problem.
Some healing in Bostwick, and they returned by the same route. I let them have 1d6 damage for missing the tunnel by a bit, but nothing serious. They found the wall accross the tunnel and the two towers. A flying invisible language comprehending Flax went ahead and discovered the goblin archers. The party decides to bluff their way in – as gem traders! They have enough jewelry on them, excellent Bluff checks, and Corian knows the Tongues spell. Excellent choices in order to avoid combat. They meet Gorl, show them their gems, ask for the hexagonal gem, are shown the statue of Belphegor, and learn that it is not for sale. The party leaves, holes up in extradimensional space using the Rope Trick, and the next day they use two Dimension Door spells to get to the gem. The first Dimension Door took them into the kennel of the hell hounds, but Corian uses the surprise round to cast the second Dimension Door which takes them to the statue. The giant wakes, but on the second try Corian’s cohort Flax has retrieved the gem from the statue, they all link hands, and use a third Dimension Door to get out. As they prepared by using Fly on themselves, no problem.
The session really allowed Corian to shine.
All that remains is to get the gem hanging around Winifred Baum’s neck. Corian tries to talk her out of it, but she gets a +15 circumstance bonus unless he tells her a “spectacular” story. They failed to convince the poor woman and now they really need to think of other ways to get to the gem… We already established that an equivalent real-looking gem was probably worth around 10’000 gp. Quite a lot…
Generally speaking the party is now very famous in the valley. People believe they’ll get rid of the green dragon of Twain for them, that the priestess of the temple of the everlasting sun, Jeffar, has been gaining in power and grace ever since she raised Belflin the elf from the dead, and with Corian talking about “his party” to Winifred Baum I think it won’t be long until people will wonder how Crus is going to react to this all.
Challenges overcome: Thirteen gnools CR 1, Bog the hill giant CR 7, the poison needle trap on the chest CR 2, four goblin archers in the tower CR 2, Gorl the fire giant and cleric of Belphegor CR 10.