Rested and refreshed, the party set out early the next morning. This time, everyone felt comfortable enough to ride their personal horses to the place, without fear that the animals might be attacked while they were exploring underground. However, they did decide to bring along both NPC Animal Handlers on the party's payroll, as well as their Guard Dog. The NPCs were instructed that, at the first sign of any trouble, lead all the animals back to Hommlet and the PCs would return on foot, if possible. Once again, no one was willing to let Spugnoir ride along, so the party Halfling let him climb up on the pack mule he himself "rides" while they're on the road.
|The Party sets out for the Moathouse once again|
|The Party Arrives at the Door to The Lair of the Boss|
The Guards retreated down the hallway, calling out to their comrades that the now-expected intruders had returned. The Dwarf and the Fighter immediately pursued, but did not adavnce as quickly due to the Dwarf's slower movement rate. The party Cleric and Halfling followed closely behind in order to provide support.
|The Party Cleric and Halfling follow the Fighter and Dwarf up the Hallway|
At this point, the party Mage decided to let his long-simmering animosity towards Spugnoir come to a boil. Instead of following the party Cleric and Halfling, he suddenly turned and ordered Spugnoir to quit lingering in the back and "Move! Get up there and help!" The party Thief, who was originally preparing to follow the Cleric and Halfling, quickly changed his mind and stayed back to see how this unexpected confrontation between Mages would play out.
|The party Mage calls out Spugnoir, while the Thief looks on with interest|
Spugnoir, well aware of the Mage's dislike towards him, was nonetheless taken aback by this sudden display of open hostility. After a couple of hidden DM rolls to check against Spugnoir's morale and the Mage's charisma (as well as a Wisdom check), Spugnoir decided it was in his best interest to (mostly) comply with the Mage's orders. He did indeed move up, but the Mage also began chanting the casting of a spell. Spugnoir was unwilling to turn his back on the Mage (or the Thief, for that matter), but it turns out the Mage was merely casting a "Shield" spell on himself before entering the fray up ahead.
|Spugnoir warily moves into the hallway, but doesn't turn his back on the Mage|
Meanwhile, the Fighter and Dwarf had charged to the end of the hallway and smashed into the guards positioned there, who had been attempting to hit them with more crossbow fire. However, the only additional damage sustained thus far was a stay bolt which struck the Cleric.
The Fighter and Dwarf both killed their tormentors in a single round of combat. But now that they'd reached the end of the hallway, they could see more reinforcements moving up to engage them in melee.
|The Fighter and Dwarf achieve their first victories, but more work lies ahead|