The group has just defeated the 4 humans in the Crooked Inn. After a few moments taken to catch their breath the group springs into action.
After Jonathon quickly performs last rites for the fallen he assists Delia with getting Sophie settled down and into her room for the night. Sterling, Ethan, and Braddoc help Joseph strip down and bury the dead in a nearby refuse heap. Delian checks out the rundown law building and decides it is safe to hide the gear that was gleaned from the guards there as no one has been in the building for months.
After a few moments Delia returns with Jonathon and she proceeds to begin cleaning up the blood that pooled on the floor. Delian returns settles in to try and make sure everything looks "normal" should any other surprise visitors arrive. 20 minutes later the rest of the group returns and the planning starts in earnest.
Unsure of how to approach the situation some heated discussion arises. It is quickly evident that they have much to learn in deciding plans of action but what can be expected when this was really only their second engagement together.
It finally dawned on them to ask the silent locals as to what events have brought such misery to the shanty town.
Joseph briefly described the situation: about a year earlier a large group of men and elves arrived with free-flowing pockets and grand plans for the town. They quickly settled into the mining operations and slowly filtered in more of their own men as "employees". However it only took a couple months for the trouble to start. First they let the local law officer (Earnin's brother Cerf) know that they had no use for his rules and authority and that they now considered themselves as the leaders of this locale. Cerf tried to uphold his duties but "mysteriously" turned up dead in the nearby woods one morning. The hooligans then instructed the 30 townsfolk that they could choose to work in the mines or die here in town. A number of the people immediately fought back but were quickly overwhelmed by superior numbers and gear. Most of the rest were sent to the mines and not heard from again. Joseph, 3 serving girls, and Earnin were left in town to run the Inn and perform duties as required. Since then there have been very few travellers. Any that did arrive were given the same choice as the townsfolk.
3 months ago Earnin stole a payroll bag from a supply shipment to the mine and left town for help. Joseph and the girls had long given up hope of every seeing him alive again so when he walked through the door they could hardly believe their eyes.
Joseph then described the general routine of their captures. The four humans in the bar were stationed here. It was their job to deal with travellers and to coordinate shipments of ore coming from the mine and supplies going to the mine. Once a week a scout would arrive from the mine with instructions for the week and the town leader Ril would ensure they were obeyed. Ore arrived in town once or twice a week. The wagon was unhitched and immediately returned north with either an empty cart or supplies. The next day a group would arrive from the south to pick up the ore and orders for future supplies.
While this was going on Delia was surprised to find a crumpled note on the floor near the fireplace. It read:
Ore arriving 9 Rhaan. Pay your men with payroll bag on board. Ore crew to return with empty wagon. Order 2 barrels of apples, 1 barrel of flour, 3 crates of salted meats and other usual supplies. Also need 3 new buckets, 12 pick axes, 6 shovels, and a spare axle assembly for mine cart. An old farm animal or two could also be of use to feed the pet. We are running low on up-ity workers here.
With this news the party decided they would rest up and head north at first light in order to ambush the incoming ore cart. The idea was to try and subdue at least one of the drivers in order to interrogate him for information on the operation. However it didn't go exactly as planned.
2 hours into the 6 hour journey they came across the ore cart as it was being attacked by some Needlefang swarms and spitting drakes. The drivers were quickly killed by the ore-men (?) and the reptiles turned their attention to the group. The group nearly met with disaster as they underestimated the tiny swarms. I am sure they will not treat them so lightly if they ever meet them again.
The group discovered that the ore was plain old iron. A wagon load of it. Why all the fuss for iron? They also claimed the payroll bag containing 20 gp and a beautiful gem worth an estimated 100 gp.
Proceeding North they eventually arrived on the outskirts of the mining camp - seemingly at the same time a goblin raiding band did! Larien was unable to control her hatred of the beasts and instead of letting the goblins and the hooligans weaken each other it turned into a 3 way battle. Most of the goblins quickly fell to the group and - forgetting that an elven archer had warned his comrades of the approaching goblin/warforged raid - the group thought they could bluff their way into the camp as allies and simply started walking in. A crossbow bolt from the a human guard exposed their folly.
The battle raged on - and was joined by a clay scout that burst from the door of one of the building. It seems that Braddoc has discovered a new fear of flying clay creatures!
All in all the party was victorious after an epic battle. (Although the paladin many very well actually be a rogue in disguise based on his actions!) The next session will begin shortly after the fight ended. A cry from inside the palisade reveals a near-starved slave named Bart who falls to the ground in gratitude and begs the group to also save his friends from inside the mine.
Any questions should follow in the comments...