Real World Info
This session was played on September 19, 2009, featuring Arnhelm, Era, Francois, Herve, Pog and Uda Grimwulde. They were accompanied by the hirelings Henri and Isaac (the latter of whom would become a PC).
I: Gathering Swords
With the Company of Crossed Swords having suffered steady attrition since its inception a few days earlier, Francois decides to hire on new blood. His efforts add three new members: the thief Herve, the impoverished veteran Arnhelm (who is recommended by Uda Grimwulde, who recalls him from the first assault on the Caves of Chaos), and the inimitable Pog, who has finally recuperated sufficiently from his epic dwarven bender to have another go at adventuring. The rejuvenated party sets its sights on Quasqueton and treks uphill through the forest to enter that hidden fortress.
II: The Guards of Quasqueton
Moving into the fortress, the party once more triggers the mocking magical mouths near the entrance. But as they're opening the secret door leading to the previously explored area, the loud voices of the magic mouths draw a trio of human guards! The guards are displeased with the approach of intruders but don't seem eager to contest a force whose numbers are almost three times their own. Francois lures them nearer with his silver tongue, intending to attack them at close range, but changes his mind when the guards offer payment in exchange for dealing with an orcish uprising on the fortress's lower level.
Uda Grimwulde goes off with the guards to negotiate with their fellows, who agree to give the party 10 gold pieces per orc killed, plus half of any coinage and other loot without provenance, so long as the guards retain all property that they can identify as belonging to their masters. The guards are willing to join the party and attack the orcs in force, but the Company of Crossed Swords prefers to do its own fighting — and to gather its own loot without prying eyes around! But the guards insist on representation, sending two of their number — the officer Thomas de la Mer and the guardsman Luc — to accompany the party.
III: Against the Orcs
Thomas de la Mer leads the party swiftly through Quasqueton's corridors to the stair to the lower level. The party assaults and kills three orc guards, but not before they call out for reinforcements! Orcs storm up the narrow stair, only to be repelled by spears and flaming oil. Era translates the fleeing orcs' calls to find another way up to surprise the party; Thomas denies the existence of any such route.
Leaving Herve to watch the stair, the party retires to the nearby throne room to consider their options. Era proceeds to discover a secret room leading to a hidden bedchamber! Thomas decides that it's most likely the hidden residence of Roger du Gare and chivvies the party out. Meanwhile, Arnhelm and Uda Grimwulde investigate a spartan chamber containing a cold firepit and a monstrous black stone horse-head; spotting a red gleam in the horse's mouth, Uda deftly extracts a ruby from it using the tip of her blade.
The party decides to press the attack against the orcs, and Arnhelm volunteers to lead the charge. The party is unexpectedly successful, largely due to Herve sneaking down and spreading out flaming oil while hiding under an overturned mining cart, but Arnhelm perishes in the attempt; Thomas de la Mer is also gravely wounded. The party's lines are strained, but Pog's use of a potion to grow to giant size finally breaks the orcs' morale, and they flee!
As Pog persuades the orcs' gnomish prisoners to make a break for it, the orc chieftain sues for peace, offering a hundred pieces of gold for the party to leave in peace. The guards also pay off the party; they don't have quite enough, as they hadn't expected the party to be (so) successful, but the Company of Crossed Swords is lenient! Francois also harvests the dead orcs' ears for the bounty offered at Eastkeep.
On their way out, the party is rejoined by Uda Grimwulde, who'd hung back to loot Roger du Gare's bedchamber. Having successfully avoided combat with giant vermin, she came away with a box full of gold, further enriching the party!
IV: Dwarven Bounty
Returning to Eastkeep, our heroes disburse their newly acquired wealth in various ways. Era establishes an archery training ground just outside of the keep; this pleases the keep's folk, who are uncomfortable with so many demihumans wandering about within the walls. Francois and Uda put down a month's rent on a small apartment as an office for the Company; Pog likewise rents an apartment for the three rescued gnomes and sends monies to Glantri City with which to purchase them elaborate uniforms, as they have consented to serve him for a time.
The next day, the group's carousing at the Hero's Rest (the keep's inn) is interrupted by two armed men, the weasely bounty hunter Jamie Gregoire and his hirsute, silent bodyguard. Brandishing a writ from the Count of Sablestone, Gregoire claims the authority to arrest Pog and bring him back to his master. Pog is rightly confused by this, for after a few minutes of argument, it becomes clear that Gregoire has mistaken the hung-over dwarf for the deceased Golkar. Speaking for the group, Francois arranges to retrieve Golkar's body and turn it over to Gregoire, who will hold Pog at Eastkeep in the meantime.
Our heroes travel back to the Caves of Chaos with three of the six spellbooks they'd agreed to return to the magic-users there; the other three they leave with Robert Hazart, not willing to return them until they've had a chance to transcribe their contents. After a brief battle with overlarge beetles, in which Uda Grimwulde is grievously wounded, they meet with Sebastien Quincarnon and trade the spellbooks for their dead comrade's corpse. The magic-user refuses to part with the promised information regarding opportunities for wealth until the rest of the books are returned.
Back at Eastkeep, Jamie Gregoire accepts Golkar's cadaver and departs. Pog remains bitter about the incident, and as he downs another mug of watery ale, he records the bounty hunter's name on his infamous "death list"…
V: Losses & Loot
The party slew thirteen orcs and two large beetles. For treasure, they obtained 470gp, a ruby worth 500gp and a silver medallion worth 50gp. They also received a bounty of 52gp from turning in orc ears to Marianne at Eastkeep.
For creatures defeated and treasures earned over the course of the session, the party members each received 206xp.