After disposing of the troll-like creature and the minions who had attacked them, the party (Gregor the paladin, Talon the rogue, Halmod the sorcerer, Kugel the summoner and Malph the bard) regrouped, healed themselves and then continued to interrogate their bandit prisoner.
Gregor insisted on performing a trial but the party more or less ignored this suggestion, leaving it up to Gregor how to deal with the prisoner. That is, until Gregor proposed cutting off the man’s hands and releasing him, a suggestion that caused many in the party to appeal to Lt. Rovell to intervene and come up with a better solution. Lt. Rovell was little help though, ceding to Gregor the responsibility for passing judgment based on the field assignment he himself had given to Gregor to act as judge for the Rovell family. “I would just kill him and be done with it” a clearly exasperated Rovell said, “but do as you will.”
Eventually Gregor judged that the proper punishment was the removal of the thumb and two fingers of the bandit, a sentence he enforced himself after rendering the man unconscious (since none in the party agreed to hold the man down). After healing the man back into consciousness Gregor allowed him to go and nobody in the party objected.
With that settled the party then continued westward in the direction the prisoner had indicated the bandit hideout lay. The day passed slowly as Talon scouted ahead, carefully scanning for traps or ambushes. Not quite carefully enough though.
A sudden voice was heard among the trees to the southwest and before the party could react, several were ensnared by a magical web. Having no clear understanding of the direction of the caster, the party attempted, with some limited success, to cut themselves free of the sticky webs. Unfortunately, before freedom was attained, a ball of fire erupted in their midst doing significant damage to many in the party. Adding insult to injury, those still stuck in the web were further damaged by the burning web itself.
“Turn back or die!” a booming voice proclaimed. Lt. Rovell, who had amazingly avoided both the web and most of the fireball damage, immediately moved back to the east, expecting the party to follow him. However, Gregor refused to turn back and instead moved toward the voice, receiving a welcoming barrage of arrows and crossbow bolts, none of which connected.
Kugel summoned a dire bat and the rest of the party spread out in an attempt to locate their attackers. Although the caster was not located, two bandits were spotted, and Kugel’s dire bat immediately zoomed towards the nearest. Talon also moved forward to engage the bandit. However, the threat was revealed to be mostly a bluff, and the bandits were shredded or routed quickly but the caster was not seen.
The party quickly followed the tracks of retreating bandits, eventually discovering a clearing dominated with some ancient ruins. Movement in the ruins convinced the party that they had located the bandit hideout. Talon and Lt. Rovell began to scout when Gregor decided to make himself the focus of attention to allow the party to engage the bandits from cover.
Gregor’s charge into the clearing was again met with a mostly harmless barrage of arrows and bolts. But then a large, albeit maimed, ogre charged forth to meet Gregor. Kugel dismounted and sent his eidolon forward into battle. Talon and Lt. Rovell moved around the perimeter looking for targets while Halmod began casting spells at the exposed archers. Malph provided a powerful morale boost and began looking for targets for his own bow.
Frustrated by the inability to hit Gregor with their ranged weapons, two bandits rushed forward to engage Gregor in melee. The ogre found it impossible to hit Gregor and as Kugel’s eidolon joined the fray, the ogre found himself hard pressed.
Suddenly a robed figure appeared on a nearby towering rock and pelted Gregor with magic missiles. Then the black-hatted bandit leader joined the fight, peppering Gregor with arrows that finally found their mark.
Talon’s true strike enhanced arrow nailed another bandit who also charged forth, apparently determined to repay Talon for his pain. Halmod’s spells seemed to have no effect on his targets.
For a few moments as the bandit leader and the caster joined the fight it looked like the party would be hard-pressed. But it was not to be, as the ogre came crashing to the earth and Halmod’s “Hideous Laughter” spell incapacitated the bandit leader. Seeing his comrades being overpowered, the robed caster drank a potion and vanished.
After dispatching the final remaining bandits, Malph cast “suggestion” on the bandit leader and managed to get him talking. Under Malph’s influence Dain (the bandit leader) revealed that there was an underground hideout with a trap door entry, but that he could not locate the key (which had been taken from him while he was incapacitated by the hideous laughter spell). While under the spell Dain also revealed that the Caston in the bandit camp was none other than young Orchid Caston, and that Dain intended to woo the young woman. He also refused to have anything to do with Lt. Rovell, calling him evil and profaning the Rovell name repeatedly.
A quick search of the downed or captured bandits revealed a high quality str-adjusted compound bow, a +1 spiked chain and a +1 rapier. A small amount of gold and silver was recovered from the bandit leader along with a key ring with two keys. The bandit leader’s leather armor also appeared to be of high quality, but was not magical.
At this point the session came to a close.