This was followed by a quite scary battle with six bonedrinkers, wicked little goblin ghouls that grapple you with their tentacle tongues, then suck your bones out. One was incinerated by a greater turning, the rest took multiple pincushings and at least two fireballs to bring down. Only one character had any bones sucked out, which was of course Balgor, jamesbarrett's "Swallow me whole, I like it!" dragon-riding danger magnet.
Wisely, they rested up before confronting the Ghostlord. Even more wisely, they didn't pick a fight with him! It got a little touchy when sirfox tried to enlist the Ghostlord's aid against the Red Hand — but eventually they came to the conclusion that getting the Ghostlord to not help the Red Hand (and escaping with their lives) was a pretty good bargain, and they skedaddled.
They spent most of the next day riding hard for Brindol, hoping to make it back before the Red Hand assault on the city. Unfortunately, they were simply too far away to make it in one go, so they had to camp for the night. Then, on jamesbarrett's watch (naturally) the Midnight Peddler appeared.
The Midnight Peddler is a fun and interesting plot device I originally snagged from Necromancer Games' Tome of Horrors, a kind of ghostly merchant who appears at midnight. I fleshed him out and modified him a bit — instead of a little push cart, I gave him a horse and wagon and a voice like Candle Jack from Freakazoid. When the characters are in a rush from point A to point B, or they're out in the middle of nowhere with bags of loot but equipment they outgrew two levels ago, the Midnight Peddler comes along to provide a much-needed shopping opportunity while baffling them with spooky weirdness. I also added his standard parting line, "Remember: Cherish what you truly value, or you too will suffer the fate of the Midnight Peddler!"
Next time … they get to see what's been happening in Brindol while they were away (dunh-dunh-DUNNH).
Best dialogue of the evening:
Dreklin (hantamouse): Balgor's an idiot.
Dawngreeter Michael (sirfox): You woke me up at 3:00 a.m. to tell me that?
All in all, a good session. :)