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Here's what happened in last night's game, featuring the New Gil and Tactical Juma, as played by someone who looked exactly like Tim. Each PC gets 995 xp.

1st Quintilis (contd.)

As the PCs contemplate which set of doors to open in the courtyard, a bright green poison ray shoots down from an arrow slit on the floor above and strikes Gil, followed by a javelin thrown at Juma. The party dash for cover, taking the south-west door into the West Gatehouse. Here, they are attacked by a lone troglodyte mauler, soon reinforced by a pair of javelin-throwing impalers and an elder curse chanter from upstairs, and a second mauler from the East Gatehouse. The PCs battle the foul-smelling reptilians for nine rounds before they are victorious – the narrow staircase makes it hard for the party fighters to get into combat. Gil uses his fey step to teleport in, cast fire shroud and then teleport out with his cloak of translocation, and Juma also uses teleportation to get behind the curse chanter. Hrothgar, stuck behind Ulthar, throws a javelin, killing the last impaler, then charges up the stairs and beheads the curse chanter.

The party explore the upper level of the fortress without running into any more guards. Before heading down the backstairs they notice that the sky is darkening - Hrothgar suspects a sandstorm is on its way.

The stairs lead down into the Great Hall where an eladrin claiming to be Shephatiah, Queen of the Drylands, holds court over a motley group of humans, female eladrin and longtooth shifters; sussur trees grow out of the stone floor. The PCs are suspicious and when Hrothgar spots the dead body of a villager sticking out from under a tree next to the queen's throne, the eladrin orders her men to attack, taking the party somewhat by surprise and surrounding them rapidly. The three eladrin are able to teleport from tree to tree and use plant magic to attack the PCs; the queen blasts the party with a cloud of soporific pollen which dazes Ulthar and Sora. Gil casts ice storm, unfortunately catching Juma in the middle of it, but this spell is very effective, killing several of the human lackeys. Juma is grabbed by an eladrin and dragged off as two displacer beasts charge into the fray. When the first eladrin is killed, she reverts to her natural form, a nasty-looking humanoid plant creature. The displacer beasts are hard to hit and Sora, Ulthar and Hrothgar keep missing as they misjudge exactly where the panther-like creatures are standing.

Finally, Hrothgar slays the last beast and Ulthar finishes off the queen. The PCs search the room, finding some treasure behind the throne, and briefly check the rooms leading off from hall before heading to the first floor and taking an extended rest.

2nd Quintilis

The PCs resume their exploration of Fortress Ironfell at dawn; the sky above the hole in the courtyard still looks ominous and threatening. They head south from the Great Hall, back into the courtyard and west into the stables, home to the behir, and the stable master's quarters (used by the Warden). There's some more treasure here but the great riches of the Karak Lode seem to have eluded the Juma Gang so far!

Going east from the courtyard, the PCs open the doors to an inhabited part of the fortress - a lone guard is standing next to some crates and in front of a portcullis blocking a staircase down. Hrothgar sneaks up on him and drags him back to the others. The hapless lackey promises to tell the party everything he knows but this doesn't seem to be much – the Queen is in the Great Hall, "the lads" are in the barracks and there are a pair of longtooth shifters down in the crypts guarding the gang's one prisoner – an old "birdman" accompanied by some canaries.

The party get their captive to call out to his comrades and "the lads" pile out of their quarters to be blown to bits immediately (along with their pal) by Gil's incendiary detonation. The PCs search round the area, finding some more treasure, but nothing much else of interest – there's a disused smithy, an empty alehouse, a coal storage room, and a latrine. The ground floor explored, the way onward seems to be the staircase down on the other side of the portcullis....

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