Slim Charles the Medium, Rabbi Spellberg, and MacDougal the Veteran arrived in the town of Halesnug. At the Wayward Slough Tavern, they hired the men-at-arms Gilgrim (a black market dealer), Colwin (with a vendetta against orcs), Durdoon (a peasant), and the linkboy Darric. After bargain hunting for rumors (you get what you pay for!) from the bartender Martin Knockteeth, they set off for their first foray into Stonehell.
Across the Fathomless Nerb River, they guided their mule to the canyon mouth, and paused to read graffiti before hurrying past the gatehouse. They explored several small cave systems opening onto the canyon. They put to rest several animated skeletons, narrowly avoided an evil magical trap, and discovered an unusual piece of sparkly chalk-like material. (The wall of cave 4 may or may not bear the magical or invisible message "Slim Charles is a badass"). Darric the linkboy was wounded in the melee with the skeletons, but was later cheered to find a pack of playing cards with naked ladies printed on them.
Descending down, down, down to the prison proper, the party met a group of unusual beings.
These short, round, furry ewok-like creatures have scaly yellow noses, huge yellow pointy ears, tiny red eyes, and row upon row of serrated shark-like teeth. They wear too small Errol-Flynn-Robin-Hood-style hats and boots and belts (but no pants).
Despite their strange appearance, the creatures claimed they were "just collectin' da guano, boss" and left the party in peace.
After their efforts to explore an old well proved inconclusive because the too short rope left linkboy Darric dangling, the party pushed somewhat recklessly though a series of increasingly deadly encounters.
Giant centipedes took MacDougal's life—a fitting end for the amateur entomologist. Slim Charles cast sleep on creepy crawlies, and dispatched one in a such a manner as to leave it suitable for mounting. The magic-user plans to honor the fighting-man's memory by sending the specimen to the MacDougal clan along with his body.
Rabbi Spellberg was crushed by a giant stone block. His body could not be recovered. As Slim Charles crawled around the floor collecting those silver pieces not crushed with the cleric, a pair of brigands attacked.
Slim Charles and the henchmen defeated the brigands, but it was such a near thing that Slim Charles declared an end to this first expedition.
Climbing up, up, up from the bowels of the vast stony Hell, they discovered the mule—left tied-up in the canyon—had disappeared, only its halter remaining. Slim Charles stowed the halter in his backpack with care, and led the wounded hirelings back to Halesnug in silence.
The dice favored the party—particularly in the sparseness of wandering monsters. Even so, they cleared a lot of rooms for one delve. I don't feel bad about killing two of the three PC's. MacDougal was a little unlucky with the centipedes, but Rabbi Spellberg would still be alive if he'd taken a few minutes to scrutinize his environment. That all the henchmen survived is remarkable. It was a good session. Stonehell is fun to run, and I'm looking forward to next time.