Last week (spring break in these parts) we had ~12 players, two DM's, and two rockin' tables. This week, due to shift changes and tests, we were down to six players and one DM. No matter, with Clyde as our DM we had another great week of Encounters (i.e., no TPK this week). This week the table had Zach, Zach, Nate, Steve, myself, and newcomer Dave. Dave played a rogue to give the party a little striking ability and our rogue turned out to be a key player for this night.
Given that some of the players were not TPK'd last week Clyde merged the party and the storyline together, allowing us to explore a series of rooms around where last week's battle was held. We found the prisoner, were told about the ooze, and were told that yes, it was the crazy dwarven brothers that were cooking up more plague in a large cauldron.
The party's exploration further revealed a set of iron keys that came in handy, a pair of Potions of Healing, 100 crossbow bolts, 40 arrows, a +1 Cloak of Resistance, 50" of silk rope, and 70 GP worth of miscellaneous GP, jewelry, and gems. The party also found plenty of rotting and spoiled food, stinky carcasses, and a trap door that lead down to a pit filled with foul odored garbage. The party also came across a couple of decks of marked cards and several tins of pipe tobacco. Tobacco! It's one thing to poison an entire town, but to be found to use tobacco products is just too much. Can there be any doubt as to the evilness of these twisted dwarven brothers!?!
Finally the party crept forward down a long hallway, coming up to a T. To the left was a large room, of which nothing could be seen or heard. To the right was a door that led to an obviously smaller room. The party wanted to ensure that nothing would sneak up from behind and decided to inspect what was behind the door first. With a quick attack the party found 8 Norkers, similar to the Norkers that had attacked the party last week, four with crossbows and four with battle axes.
The norkers got in their attacks, but the combat was done in less than a round. Several blasts quickly whittled down the minions numbers, and the Norkers did more damage when they exploded after being killed than they did with their weapons. The party, relatively unhurt, took a quick rest and then moved up the hallway towards the larger room.
Our rogue utilized his stealth ability to get close enough to the room to hear steel boots clomping around ahead. Because of his successful stealth role the party was able to get in a surprise round and three of the four goblin minions were dispatched before they could do any damage. The three dwarven crossbowmen in the room quickly moved into position and let loose their bolts at the party and a dwarven cleric came up to cast his spells.
This was to be the party's night though. The last minion was soon popped, one of the crossbowmen failed his save to avoid being pushed into a pit, and the dwarven cleric was soon bloodied. After another round the cleric was just a memory as was one of the crossbowmen, although the crossbowman in the pit manage to pull one of the party members into the pit with him. His decision to attract the attention of the party soon rendered him cadaverous though, leaving one remaining crossbowman.
Our brave rogue had decided to stand in the back and use one of the crossbows he had picked up from the dead Norkers. He had some dreadful misses, but a critical hit against the evil cleric was crucial, although it was his next hit that actually bloodied him (one point of damage ... I don't think we played that right, but it was enough to bloody him regardless). The rogue's second critical hit of the night then finished off the final crossbowman with a carefully placed bolt.
Unfortunately none of the dwarves killed in this room were either of the crazy brothers. No doubt the party is getting close though. The party ended the night by taking a quick rest, finding another small hall of GP, gems, and jewels to bring everyone's haul up to 100 GP apiece for the evening.
After two TPK's in three weeks I had decided to delete my character, although I just rebuilt her from scratch (we can make her better!). She lived through the night and contributed mightily, so I got that going for me. The real difference was that Clyde the DM was unable to get a big jump on the party like he had before and then the party was able to use its numbers to quickly whittle down the opposition.