Real World Info
I: Fracas in the Wizards' Antechamber
After rebuffing his longtime comrades, Henri and Guy, in their request to become full members of the Company of Crossed Swords, Francois takes on three complete strangers as full members: a priest named Father Anglin, the whipmaster Pimmel and the elf Xaverian. He also gathers up several other company members — Era, Herve, Isaac, Robert Hazart and Uda Grimwulde — to travel to the Caves of Chaos and speak to Sebastien Quincarnon about opportunities for wealth in the Caves.
Upon reaching the Caves, Era shouts a challenge to all within earshot, deeming a more covert approach to be dishonorable. In doing so, he draws the attention of a squad of bugbears, who proceed to stalk the group. At Sebastien's cave, the party announces themselves; an unfamiliar voice orders them to wait outside until "the master" is ready to speak to them. Impatient, the party (aside from Robert and the mule) enters the cave, only to be beset by Sebastien's zombie guards! Within moments, Era lies dead and both Father Anglin and Francois are incapacitated. Worse, as Uda flees the caves, the bugbears — seeing only a mule and a couple of party members outside — choose this moment to attack!
Fortunately for our heroes, Sebastien finally arrives and calls off his minions. Better still, his sleep spell knocks half of the bugbears unconscious! The thief Herve — who had been following the group, possibly in hopes of robbing their corpses should they perish — finishes the others with his archery. Sadly, the brief scuffle with the bugbears costs Uda Grimwulde her life.
After binding their wounds, the party returns the spellbooks they'd stolen from Sebastien, who in turn informs them that his family will pay well for the capture and delivery of a couple of hybrid monsters to be found in the Caves. One, half hawk and half bear, would be worth 2,000gp; the other, a minotaur, would net the party 3,000gp. Salivating at the thought of such a reward, the party gathers their dead and returns to Eastkeep to recuperate before attempting such a mission.
II: Bloodied By Bugbears
The party braves the caves again two days later. Though they'd initially planned to capture the hawk-bear or minotaur, they change plans en route, deciding that it would be better to seek out the lair of the bugbears they'd fought earlier.
Instead of going through the valley that contains the Caves of Chaos, the party heads up through the woods north of the Caves to descend on the bugbear lair from above. Their passage through the woods stirs up a group of weird bat-bird hybrids with green feathers and fangs that descend on them to drink their blood! Several party members are wounded in the fight, but there are no deaths (except for the bat-birds, all of which perish).
Screened by woods, the entrance to the bugbear lair is marked by signs in various humanoid languages advertising a hot meal and a place to sleep. Following the directions thereon, the elf Xaverian sneaks into the lair, where he is spotted by three bugbears sitting before a fire. The bugbears hold out skewers of meat in a friendly fashion; the elf foolishly approaches to avail himself of their hospitality, only to be stabbed to death with the skewers! Such a sad end for a trusting elf.
Hearing Xaverian's death cry, the party immediately moves in to pepper the bugbears with burning oil. Retreating back into their eating chamber, the bugbears ring a gong that draws a wave of their fellows. The party fight these with swords and more burning oil, slaying some and breaking the others' morale.
As the bugbears flee, their chieftain and his woman emerge in their midst and attempt to rally them with a sudden, vicious onslaught. The chieftain slays Francois with a single thrown axe. Father Anglin perishes a moment later, skull crushed by the bugbear woman's club, while Father Mirot falls bleeding before the chieftain's spear. This might have spelled the end for the Company of Crossed Swords but for Robert Hazart blinding the chieftain with a spell! Herve takes up Francois's magic sword and, aided by Isaac and Pimmel, finishes the two bugbear leaders.
Swiftly, for fear of more bugbears, the party throws down more flaming oil to cover their retreat as they loot the corpses of the slain, bind Mirot's wounds, gather him and Francois's body on the mule, and make haste to leave the Caves of Chaos behind them.
III: Losses & Loot
The party slew six vampiric feathered bats, seven bugbears and two bugbear leaders. For treasure, they obtained 29pp, 73gp, gems and jewelry worth 250gp and a gleaming hand axe.
For creatures defeated and treasures earned over the course of the session, the party members each received 214xp.