[B/X] Adventures on the Iron Trail: In search of the unknown, part 2

Oh man, this is super-belated…  The next session is next week and I still haven’t posted the recap from early December!

The group examined more rooms in the southeast quadrant — a gymnasium/training room connected to a barracks, and a bedroom belonging to Zeligar, a wizard and former master(?) of this domain.  The group found two magical weapons (mace +1, hand axe +1) over the course of their searches.  Their exploration of the southeast area now complete, the party backtracked to the room containing the elf-maiden statue that resembled the tapestry of Zerissa.  Wondering if this statue was the selfsame maiden under an enchantment, they attempted to use some of her personal effects to revive her — alas, to no avail.  Shrugging, they made their way over to the passage near the secret laboratory (southwest quad) to check out some of the other passages there.

The party was soon ambushed by a band of armed halfling bandits, members of the Greenleaf Gang!  The PCs got the drop on the Greenleafs, and a sleep spell laid out the whole bunch.  The gang members were stripped of their weapons and armor, tied together, and dragged to the room containing the strange pools.  The Lawful heroes Calveric and Detmar were struggling to keep their desires for revenge against the gang (who had previously robbed them of a fine mule and a bunch of loot) in check, and refrained from tossing any of the prisoners into the green slime pool.  (To intimidate the halflings into talking, they did throw one into the similar-looking sleep pool…)  They learned that the gang boss was waiting outside with a large contingent of gang members, and some dubious information about the extent of the complex and its denizens — the halflings boldly asserted that they had descended five levels, where they had encountered a dragon and other beasts.  The group decided to send one prisoner out with a message for the boss, to set up a meeting; the plan was to make an arrangement with the gang based on the intelligence received: the two groups would team up to delve into the deeper levels for mutual profit, with the the gang providing extra manpower to fight monsters, and the party offering healing and magical support.  The boss didn’t show up for the meet, so the PCs went back to their exploration with a string of prisoners in tow.

After acquiring some tools from a workroom, the party was trapped in a dead-end passage by a portcullis that had clanged down.  Eager to try out his new hacksaw, Detmar began sawing at the rusty bars — without thinking about using combined strength to lift the bars.  It wasn’t until after a stinky lizardlike creature appeared and observed the characters through the bars that the group decided to try to lift the gate.  They contemplated shooting the troglodyte in the back, but curiosity won out.  After following it down several passages — all the while unsuccessfully attempting to communicate with it in a smattering of human and humanoid languages — they ended up having to fight it and the two other trogs it met up with.  The battle against these tough foes was complicated when the halfling prisoners started acting up, attempting to entangle Rowley (who had guard duty) and steal daggers from his belt.  The two-front melee was taxing on the PCs, but they managed to defeat the trogs and slay the halflings, a task they fell to with grim enthusiasm.

They decided to dump the carved-up, arrow-riddled halfling corpses at the junction where the failed rendezvous with “the boss” was to have happened, along with a note: “Dear Greenleaf Gang, the blood of these halflings is on your hands and heads.  By refusing our offer to parley, you betrayed and doomed your loyal followers.”  They then retreated to the mess hall, barricaded the door, and hoped to rest and recover from their wounds…

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