After our leisurely episode with the pirate ship, things turned hot once again as we set out to learn what was causing the mysterious shadow creatures.

We began in the tavern, with the usual chatter and some divvying up of the spoils from the crypt. Stony handed over the magical sword and shield to Nel, keeping the armor and magic hammer.

Then we all, except for Matreus, went out shopping. Stony bought a new shield to replace the one he gave up, and some extra healing potions. Kira also alerted the Dockmaster to the sinking of ship she’d been traveling on.

Then we learned that Stephen had set sail on another vessel. Yes, he had left the campaign for good. He had OD’d on NWN, and just couldn’t play any more. Understandable, but he should have said something sooner.

We got together outside and decided to start searching while it was still light (the days just do NOT last very long here). Except for Matreus, who was still swilling ale in the tavern.

Stony went to get him, but the wizard was too drunk to take in the message. So the group started off without him. Fortunately, Matreus sobered up enough and came running after us. Just in time for the first fight.

Another shadow deer popped in. This took longer then expected. Nel wasn’t able to use the magic sword yet (having missed two sessions, he was behind in experience). And for some reason, when I used a hot key to switch weapons, Stony ended up barehanded, something I didn’t realize until the fight was over.

We had a short breathing spell, then a couple more deer showed up. These went down a little faster, especially as Stony now had the proper weapon in hand.

That was it for the moment, so we began exploring the area and came across a weeping pixie named Pindar. She told us her dear friend, Barnaby the bear, was in a cave, being menaced by a “kitty”. We figured it was probably larger than the usual kitty, and likely another shadow critter.

Of course we volunteered to help out, and entered the cave. The first thing we came across were some shadow rats, and these rats were nasty. They had both negative energy attacks and fear attacks, along with an unfairly high (+13!) bonus to hit. The only good thing was that their damage was low.

During the fight, Stony got hit a couple of times, making his save against the negative energy, but blowing the fear roll. That caused him to run from the fight, a terribly embarrassing circumstance.

That wore off and he returned to the fray. After it was over, we went on, running into more rats (two sets), and I was wondering if the place was stuffed with them. However, that was the last bunch.

We took a little time to rest, and finally found our way to Barnaby, who was in bad shape, fighting a shadow panther. Surprisingly, this critter was a lot easier to deal with than the rats. Or would have been if we hadn’t been, once again, plagued with low rolls. At least the kitty was getting them, too.

Then we discussed what to about the bear. Kira and Grace did a little healing, and then dropped a trail of breadcrumbs, leading it out of the cave and back to Pindar, who was overcome with joy.

After the happy reunion, we asked Pindar if she knew anything about the shadow creatures. She said not, but that we ought to ask the “stuck-up air spirit” who lived to the north.

So we headed that way, had a brief run-in with some (easy) shadow badgers, and found a farmhouse. Inside was a shadow dog, and upstairs some shadow ravens. In the cellar, we found a family (the Millers) hiding out.

We chatted with them briefly, advised them to leave since the place was cleared, rested up, and then moved on. The action heated up as we waded through shadow badgers, boars, and deer. Eventually we came to some sort of building.

Kit checked for traps, finding none. Then Nel tried to enter and was hit with a big magical blow that almost killed him. That seemed to deactivate it, so after Nel healed up, we went inside.

The place wasn’t large, but it did have a trap door, and naturally we went below into a large cavern area. Here we found, to our surprise, “ordinary” monsters instead of shadow ones.

First up were some earth mephits and several gargoyles. The mephits were easy, but the gargoyles took some doing. After that was over, Stony found a bit a treasure: a gem, gold (15 gp) and a Helm of Echoes.

The helm gave a boost to concentration, so he gave that to Matreus. Then the wizard spied a backpack and went for a look. Silly of him, because it was trapped. Next time, maybe he’ll let the rogue check things first ;).

Meanwhile, Stony had gone on and spied what was waiting ahead: a big earth elemental, and something shooting out what looked like rays. It reminded him of the attacks by the statues back in the crypt.

The others caught up to him, and weren’t happy on seeing the elemental, either. Kira cast some sort of protective spell on Stony, which was a good thing. He went racing past the elemental (taking a hit in passing) and went right for the eldritch altar that was shooting out the rays.

He began bashing it, setting off a trap in the process. Happily, Grace’s spell absorbed that damage. He kept on bashing while the rest went after the elemental. They took it down in fairly quick time, and then Nel came over and gave the altar a mighty smack (love those critical hits) which finally put an end to it.

The ruins of the altar yielded up some treasure. We found fire arrows, a magical belt, a sack of gold, and something called a “fey stone”. What that may be is anyone’s guess.

So we had a pretty hectic session last week, and I have the feeling things aren’t going to calm down in the next one. Stay tuned, sports fans!