With Galon Bivant returned to his family, Dak and Rosko installed in cushy jobs as Bivant house guards, and 20,000 gold in their pockets (minus 500 gp and a +2 dagger for Raj, who bid them farewell), the party set out to spend as much of it as possible on the best new equipment Phlan could provide. Now equipped with magic weapons, new spells, and flashier clothing, the party was soon contacted by their patron, Poryphrys Cadorna and summoned to his townhouse.
Cadorna explained that he’d been grooming the party for their newest challenge – clearing out the ruins of the Cadorna Weavers’ Compound in the Old City and recovering the family treasure. In exchange, he offered 30,000 GP and the services of Tarask, former captain of of the Cadorna house guard.
The party accepted, and set off through the slums of Old Phlan – noting as they did the accelerating pace of reconstruction and resettlement. Tarask, a gruff, grizzled, and taciturn old fighter, soon earned the party’s cordial dislike, but he led them to their destination without incident. A quick reconnaissance showed the walled Cadorna compound had new owners: a tribe of gnolls.
Quick consultation with Tarask revealed that the compound had a weak point – a large warehouse up against the south wall. Using a grappling hook, Aeryn and Ginallath scaled the wall and the roof – spotting six gnolls loafing in the courtyard. The rest of the party followed, and Ginallath, MacTavish, Aeryn, and Tarask trained their bows on the unsuspecting gnolls.
The first volley cut down half of the dog-men, and the remaining three rushed to sound the alarm as Wulf, Inigo, and Tarask quickly descended to the courtyard. As the alarm drums began to beat, gnolls flooded confusedly into the courtyard only to be shot down by the archers on the roof, or fall to the blades of Wolf and Inigo. Wulf chopped down gnolls left and right, while Inigo engaged a menacing gnoll lieutenant and slew him in single combat. With his death, the remaining gnolls fled for the buildings, the party following them to the Cadorna family’s great house.
Wulf and Inigo took the lead as the party began its search, with Ginallath and Tarask watching the courtyard for more gnolls. The first room the party broke into was Hwyll, the gnoll chieftain’s, bedroom – still decorated with the Cadorna family’s mildewed finery. Hwyll himself emerged to challenge the intruders, crossing blades repeatedly with Wulf and Inigo. Finding himself bested by these two warriors, the gnoll chieftain backed towards a doorway to the north, then rushed through it, closing it behind him.
The party paused a few seconds to heal, then Wulf and Inigo burst through the door to find another room decked out in rotting female finery. This was the bedchamber of Hwyll’s three gnoll concubines (resplendent in peekaboo leather gnoll bras) who were waiting in ambush by the door. Their attack caught Inigo by surprise and he was knocked reeling by a club hit while the other two battered Wolf unmercifully. As Inigo staggered dazedly, Hwyll rejoined the fight and finished him off with a few strokes of his axe. Wulf continued to defend the doorway as Mactavish healed the unconscious and bleeding elf.
Meanwhile, Ginallath and Aeryn had discovered a second door from the courtyard to the concubines’ room. With Tarask guarding them, mage and rogue opened the door and began to take potshots at the gnoll combatants. Then, with a battle cry, Tarask leaped into the room and Aeryn followed.
By this time, Wulf had finished off one of Hwyll’s concubines and the maddened chieftain (fortified by a haste potion) was doing his level best to kill him in return. The concubines turned on Tarask as Aeryn hurled a vial of flaming oil at Hwyll. She hit the chieftain squarely, but the droplets of flaming oil fell on one of the concubines’ beds – setting it ablaze. With visions of his employer’s fortune literally going up in smoke, Tarask cursed Aeryn for a “stupid wench” and broke off combat to smother the flames, leaving Wulf alone against all three remaining gnolls. Wolf put up a valiant fight, but Hwyll’s axe crashed into his head, killing him instantly.
The gnolls now turned on Tarask as the party tried to regroup. Tarask managed to take out one more concubine before he fell. Fortunately, Inigo was now healed and ready to get back in the fight – and he tore into Hwyll with a vengeance as MacTavish and Ginallath slew the last of the concubines. Realizing there was no escape now, Hwyll fought like a tiger. Then, with a look of surprise, he sank to his knees and then collapsed with Aeryn’s rapier buried in his back.
A quick check revealed that Wulf was beyond any aid, so MacTavish moved to Tarask, who was badly wounded but alive. After a quick discussion, MacTavish healed him (he was the only one who knew anything about the Cadorna compound’s layout after all) and the group assessed their situation. They were badly hurt, with one party member dead, and an unknown number of gnolls remaining. They therefore decided to return to New Phlan and see what they could do about restoring their meat shield.