Real World Info
This time around we had Martin le Black return, as well as Handsome Hans and Karvenn. We were joined by Gael, Jr., who turned out to be a 10-year old orc woman-child training to become a priestess, as well as two mystical avatars of RL students of gaming who played Papa, a foul-winded, wheezing grandfatherly fighter looking to avenge the burning of his village, and Taygan, a magic-user who had been raised by dwarves despite being a human.
After a stop-off at the forest hermit Neva's house to buy magic healing, the party was off to the Castle. (If anyone finds the piss of purple mushrooms, which are themselves most foul, she could use it to brew potions. Although maybe 'pith' is what she said.)
The new party members met with the orcs of the Burning Brand and Gael, Jr., both renamed herself Gael Ur-Boss and entranced them with questions about orc deportment and civility. They then headed down the stairs they went down the previous adventure. They were beset upon by a roving band of giant termites that fell in short order against the shielded phalanx of the fighters, and weren't able to protect the papery nest of the wood-craving insects, rising to the ceiling in the chamber beyond.
The party's discussion of how to deal with this threat a little too close and a little too loud, soldier bugs trickled out of the hive bearing razor-sharp mandibles. The ensuing melee nearly routed the party, but not before they succeeded in torching the nest with two flasks of oil, thrown handsomely by Hans, and a dropped torch retrieved by the weezing, geriatric Papa. Karvenn was nearly sent to his death beneath the whirring onslaught of termite gristle and carapace but was finally pulled to safety after Martin dispatched the meanest bug of all.
They licked their wounds in orkan hospitality for a few days (the orcs also licked) before returning to find the nest had indeed been incinerated, although it appeared the majority of the termites had retreated to relocate their queen deeper in the warrens. Bits of destroyed jewelry and fused coin were in the rubble, also a ruined scroll case.
The party went up a nearby set of stairs into a watchtower and were set to plunder a room set aside for quiet rituals - a prayer mat, a brazier - before realizing it belonged to Ur-Ignuus, the Burning Brand cleric who was their friend. They went back down and followed a passage into a large, mysterious chamber with a massive four-sided pit in it. At the corners or the pit were large pillars carved in the shape of haughty statues bearing aloft lanterns of green-blue magical luminescence. A balcony rose along one side, obtainable through a passageway outside the room, and at one corner of the pit began a series of stairs and landings descending into the earth below. Far below: they could count four landings, and corresponding glows, before eyes failed in the depths. The fighters suggested in a most jocular way that their halfling friend might climb up one of the statue-pillars and pry free a crystal. Having scurried up, he saw both a number of bodies scattered on the stairs far below and a weird spider-thing protecting the crystal within its lantern just inches from his face. Discretion, as they say, is the better part of valor. From the other side of the pit he shot at the lantern with an arrow, accidentally snuffing the light.
The heroes withdrew to mull over the vast depths and mystery of this new set piece. They decided not to return to Malinbois, but instead to rest with their friends the orcs.
Losses & Loot
The party defeated several giant termites and set fire to a giant termite nest, from which they gathered a handful of melted coins, a melted silver ring, a melted silver necklace set with blackened semiprecious stones, and an undamaged copper ring marked with floral designs.
For creatures defeated and wealth acquired over the course of the session, the party members each received 101xp.