The action begins in the Hobgoblin Lair's torture chamber where our heroes are releasing some prisoners. They free a merchant and his wife, who each promise a reward for an escort back to the keep. They then free two men-at-arms who promise to serve for a year if they are freed. Horus the Dwarf and Apollo the Elf each take one of these bondsmen. They also free an Orc as he promises to help fight on the way out of the dungeon.
The exit is uneventful as the party retraces its steps and heads out. The orc takes his leave once they exit the hobgoblin cave thought the Elf watches him until he can see which cave he enters. Then they depart for the keep.
They remain for 2 days, receive the promised rewards (gold from the merchant, a +1 dagger from his wife) and outfit their new henchmen with decent gear - namely platemail. Then the company sets out again, this time planning to explore the large clearing they spotted on their initial journey to the caves. Rumor has it that a strange cave lies somewhere in the area, and they intend to explore it.
Our party consists of:
Apollo the Elf, Steven the Thief, Kiran the Fighter, Horus Bloodaxe the Dwarf, Skullduggery II the Magic User, Davyd the Halfling, and 2 Men at Arms
Within an hour of reaching the clearing, they find a rocky hill with a single cave near the top. Inside, a 10' passage leads into darkness. Entering, the push past some old broken doors, pass some niches carved into the walls, (checking for skeletons - see their very first adventure) and are startled when a magic mouth begins speaking in a loud booming voice. It accuses them of being thieves and fools and mentions that Zelligar and Rogahn will deal with them as such. Horus recognizes the names as two of the adventurers that were with Duke Sutherland when he freed Dragonport. They later left the city and were not seen again though there are several legends about them and their possible fate. The rest of the party cares little for stories from 100 years ago and pushes on.
A short distance later the group comes across a scattering of bodies, apparently an earlier adventuring band that met with ill luck. Examining the bodies the party finds little to learn or loot and continues on through long and winding passages, finding little of interest until they round a corner and see what can only be described as a throne room.
The party finds itself in a large columned room with dual thrones atop a raised dais at the far end. There are also so rough looking men in the room who demand payment for the party's intrusion. Horus tries to negotiate but the humans demand payment, the band refuses, and combat ensues. A few minutes later, the party is looting the bodies of the 4 brigands. Horus finds a shield hanging on the wall emblazoned with an eagle and claims it, thinking it might be worth something.
Exploring a bit further, the group finds a trophy room full of interesting creatures and creature parts. Among these is a huge dragonskin which fascinates Apollo and he takes it down, rolls it up, and orders one of the retainers to carry it. He plans to make something out of it, possibly armor, or at the very least hang it up in HIS room, not leave it here in some dusty dungeon.
This session featured an unexpected turn of events as the apprentices decided that they were taking too many casualties at the caves and wanted to explore the other place they had heard about. I had not specifically placed anything in the "Cave of the Unknown" as I assumed the boys would keep hammering the caves for a while. Since one of the reasons for doing this campaign is to give them a tour of some of the "classics" of D&D, I went to the closet and double-checked the map for B1- yep, it fits perfectly: 1 large cave-like entrance, 2 levels, some cool old-school dungeon type things - so that's the way I went. I had considered using the dungeon from B5 Horror on the Hill but I decided it was more complex than I wanted for this side-trip type dungeon. I plan to use it for an alternate starting area in this same campaign anyway. SO "In Search of the Unknown" it was.
They liked the entrance area (the mouths, the bodies, etc) but they ignored some of the nearby doors and went off the the East and South on the map, winding down and around to the south east corner and eventually stumbling into the throne room where I had placed the bandits (#20) and a +1 shield (W) - I am using the old lists right from the module as I have never run it in-depth, only having PC's stumble across it then pull out before really digging in and I wanted to see how well it worked. So far I have no complaints.
There wasn't much combat this time, but they spent time exploring and checking torches and oil supplies so it was just fine. The trophy room was a lot of fun and the idea of one of the henchmen walking through this dungeon basically carrying a roll of carpet inspired quite a few laughs. One of the apprentices already has the "who cares he's just a hireling - he'll do what he's told" attitude already and he's never read KODT or Nodwick or anything - it's just a natural development and it's very funny to see in action again after all these years.