Well, the current campaign is winding down. The DM announced earlier this week that the mod we’re in now is the last one, and likely to finish in a couple of sessions. Ouch!

Anyway, when we left our intrepid band, they were just outside a hut full of hobgoblins. Having rested up, everyone charged in and just started smacking away with weapons and spells.

As usual, we were plagued with terrible rolls. Stony missed the leader five times in a row (I think that’s a record). Maybe next time I’ll bring a flamethrower to warm up the dice.

No matter, we finally prevailed, bloody but unbowed. Stony picked up some good armor, a +2 sword, and a decent shield from the leader’s body. He kept the armor and sword, and later gave the shield to Alondar, after Grace had identified what they were.

While searching the hut, some heard heavy footfalls outside. Alondar went to investigate, and returned shortly with the news a big bronze dragon was there.

A bronze dragon, and two wizards. One turned out to be Tarthas The Mighty (Windbag), who was keeping his distance and more-or-less hiding behind the dragon ;)

The other introduced himself as Arthur Ramsbottom (not a name I’d care to have myself), and said he was able to help us in our search for a way of rescuing Nel from the shadow plane.

Then Sevia got everything off-track by admiring Arthur’s staff, nearly driving Kit crazy, and Stony to the edge of running amok. He was just a hairs-breadth away from belting her one (or two). Kit actually hurled a clump of dirt at her.

After much dithering – Arthur seemed as slowly loquacious as Tarthas – we at last learned he could send us to the shadow plane, more or less in Nel’s vicinity.

The trick was getting back. Arthur spoke of a guardian, who kept the shadow creatures pretty much “at home”. The guardian happens to be (haha) a shadow dragon.

He said we’d have to “dispose” of it in order for his recall spell (or whatever) to work in bringing us back. That didn’t set well with some of the party, especially Kit. What would keep the shadow critters “home” if the guardian was gone?

For that matter, going up against a shadow dragon at all seemed suicidal at best. Arthur did hand over a sword that was especially effective against dragons, but even so, this did seem crazy.

On the other hand, we thought, since the thing is a dragon, we might be able to bargain with it in some way. Perhaps by trading over the sword. Still, we did have to consider the possibility of a fight…and some, at least, of the shadow denizens escaping.

Of course, Stony, Kit, Kira, and Grace were ready to go to the rescue, come what may. Nel had been a friend and companion for a long time, and besides, we’d promised him we’d come to help him out.

For all that, Kit, and to a lesser extent, Stony, didn’t quite trust the wizard (then again, we’ve had little reason to trust wizards!). Still, we didn’t have much choice in the matter.

After a long debate, the party decided to enter the shadow plane. We rested up, got some extra potions from Arthur, and Kit took the dragon sword from Grace. Of course, she couldn’t use it herself, but if we’re going to use it as a trade for exit, she’s as good as anyone to hold it.

Stony has his doubts, though. If trouble does start, someone who can use it ought to be carrying it.

In any case, a few preparatory spells were cast, and we stepped into the portal. The area we arrived in looked more like a cave than anything else. All was quiet.

We started looking around, and of course, the party split up in no time. You’d think we would have learned better by now. Suddenly we came under attack by some nasty Shadow Blight monsters. They had high damage reduction, and only Kira and Stony, who had magical fire on their weapons, and Grace, using a +2 crossbow, could damage them.

After a long fight, they were destroyed. Stony switched over to the +2 sword he took from the gobbie leader. Just in time, because some more Blights showed up. This time, he could do some damage with it.

Another hard combat ensued. After catching our breaths, we continued exploring, and ran into some Fiendish Margoyles. These, at least, had no damage reduction. That didn’t mean they were easy, though.

In fact, they were quite tough (low rolls didn’t help, either). There were only two of them, but it took forever to put them down. Fortunately, Kira was able to turn them, which helped a bit.

After healing up, and hoping there wouldn’t be any more things waiting for us, we went on and found a locked door. Unfortunately, Kit wasn’t able to open it, perhaps because somewhere in there she had been drained and lost a level. More unfortunately, her lesser restoration potion didn’t help.

Leaving the door, we checked out the one remaining section of the area, and there we found an opening that most likely leads to another level. What lies beyond? That will have to wait for next week. I have the feeling we aren’t going to like it very much. Especially when the DM says, “The next room may take awhile.” Urp!