So we did some emailing back and forth between yesterday’s session and the previous one and the party decided that yes they really needed to go back to the keep before exploring the caves in order to tell the garrison there what they had discovered (and done) – and incidentally end up taking a break for both “T&T” (training and treasure division) and “R&R” (rest and relaxation). So while the party did a quick and dirty recon of the area, and burned the hell out of all of the goblin bodies. They didn’t explore anything else and simply went back to Seraph Keep – and certainly with their heads held high!
The training was the important piece – everyone went up a level (in every class that they had chance to advance in) and the thieves all went up two levels in Thief. I had to do some real “cogitating” on that, as the standard rules say (IIRC) that characters can only go up one level at a time and I’ve seen all sort of ways to handle that – and none of them really appealed to me as I looked at my conceptual options (most seemed too darn fiddly). The only time this is ever really an issue is at low levels, after about level three or four it is hardly ever an issue (save for thieves, with a massive amount of XP, and then only in the 4th-to-5th level range).
But this also required that the thieves all take advantage of Gryphon’s newly discovered ability to teleport using his psionics (as did Astrin). So they all bugged out to “the big city” and spent the month drinking, wenching, and joining the local thieves guild – though Ketzl the gnomish illusionist/thief (and noble) ended up paying out the nose for the “gentleman’s thief” exemption – meaning that while he’s not a member of the guild, he won’t get in trouble with the guild for doing any thieving as long as it’s not cutting into their bread-and-butter.
The rangers all made it to third level, and Jezebel made it to 3rd level as a druid – so she certainly had to go get initiated into the “1st Circle” while they all needed to get formally inducted into their lodges. They were dragged up into the mountains to a hidden valley to do their training, and even met some of the VIPs of the Old Faith and the Circle (sort of a Harper-esque organization). The other bonus was that Smjor was able to get access to a druid to scry out a the geas he needs for advancing to the next level. It was “Never enter a cairn on Imbolc” – so no grave-robbing for the holidays.
And finally, the SOL folks (along with Vesna) stayed at Seraph Keep and did some basic training and took advantage of the gratitude of the castellan who gave them free room-and-board because of what they had all done. Nobody has significant level gains, but Frater Nikolai had done so well that he was inducted into the Order Luminous, an obscure order of the SOL that was founded during the Wars of Binding and is located in the local mountain ranges (and stolen from the 3.5E module Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde – do we have a hint of what is coming soon?). Gregor the paladin was also informed that as soon as he made it to 3rd level he would also be welcome to apply for membership (and was encouraged to do so). Brother Illya bounced up two level in Psionicist, from 1st to 3rd, and rolled about as lucky as you can imagine (ended up with Cell Adjustment…) and in conversation with the guy he’s been training with has started to get a sense of what the “Serene Guardians” philosophy is and has the sense that if he keeps doing it he might be able to figure out how to apply it.
As the party gathered together at the end of the month to decide what to do next it was pretty much a forgone conclusion that they would be returning to the Caves to do a more thorough exploration – and then perhaps make a stab at tracking down the bandits wherever they might be. There was one, somewhat significant change – while Gryphon was continuing to travel with the party, Astrin had remained back in town to do whatever mysterious things that she did when away from the party. On the other hand, a young bard by the name of Gwion had asked “the Rangers” if it was ok for him to tag along so that he could “immortalize them in song and legend” – the idea of having their own press corp like the USMC was quickly agreed to by the rest of the party.
So the party is as follows:
Frater Nikolai – LG – Human Male – Cleric(Fighter) – 4(1) – Still the de facto leader pretty much.
Brother Illya – LG – High Man Male – Warrior-Monk/Psionicist – 3/3 (Psychic) – I am INVINCIBLE!
Brother Gregor – LG – Human Male – Paladin(Thief) – 2(1) – Just let me survive another level…
Mika – CN – Human Female – Thief – 6 – I have an Ring of Invisibility! I have a Ring of Invisibility!
Ketzl Silvermoraine – CN – Gnome Male – Illusionist/Thief – 3/4 – Gentleman Rogue, and now he has Invisibility!
Greyleaf – CN – Half-Elf Male – Sorcerer/Thief – 2/3 (Psychic) – Keeping his head down.
Jezebel – NG – Half-Elf Male – Ranger/Druid – 3/3 – Hey, these rangers aren’t that bad…
Taloth Darkbane – CG – Human Male – Archer-Ranger – 3 – Thrilled with his new broadsword!
Arvid – NG – Half-Elf Male – Ranger – 3 – Quite happy with his new doublemail.
Smjor – LN – Human Male – Barbarian – 3 – Thrilled with his bunny and his gauntlet!
Vesna – TN – Human Female – Mage – 4 – She want’s those bandit mage’s spellbooks!
(NPC) Gryphon – CN – Dwarf Male – Fighter/Thief – 4/5 (Psychic) – It’ all about *chest-thump* Brotherhood…
(NPC) Gwion – NG – Human Male – Bard – 1 – Wide-eyed and excited!
And from there, they bought a couple of ponies and started off down the road, back to the Caves of Chaos…