So apparently I utterly failed to write up the previous session, wherein Barrith (halfling arcane trickster) and Toruv (dragonborn draconic sorcerer) tried to chase down a thief as he fled the market, only for Barrith to find himself in a net loosed by two of the thief's accomplices -- who promptly fled. A pair of warriors moved in from the side-passages, and were completely surprised when Toruv (who'd been jogging rather than running) rolled up and lit one of them on fire. There was a brief exchange attacks while Barrith cut himself loose, and at the end Toruv and Barrith were standing over the bodies of two dead thugs.
They turned them over to the guards, which -- with the incident being this close to the main marketplace -- earned them some commendations from both the guards and the vendors. Toruv (who was shot with a crossbow from cover a while back) suspects foul play on the part of one or more of the other noble Houses, but of course it's impossible to prove anything.
They returned to House Aldenmier only to be awakened shortly after midnight by the sound of someone sneaking through Toruv's room. Toruv followed the shadowy figure, and Barrith woke up and followed him; the intruder turned into the grand hall. By the time they reached the open doors, the figure was nowhere to be seen. The two adventurers spread out, and managed to spot the intruder and wound her - whereupon the figure threw down a smoke bomb, reducing visibility to all but nothing. Both adventurers started forward anyway, just in time to see a bright flash from the far end of the room.
By the time the smoke had dispersed, they had found the body. She'd been trying to steal the banner, and got herself electrocuted instead. So they yelled for the guards, and left them to clean up the mess.
So that was actually last session. (Yes, you'd think I could keep up with this, but you'd probably be wrong.) So this session the group was joined by a new player. Apparently he was not the one who'd been talking about making a Circle of the Moon Druid for the game (don't ask how that all went down; I don't have the energy to explain the details) and when we were looking over his character he really didn't seem committed to the druid concept anyway: apparently he makes his characters by spreading his ability points around evenly (14 in everything) and then going from there. Since he didn't seem to have any spells picked out, I asked him if he'd be willing to try a barbarian instead (because I'd been looking at barbarians for something else and I'm deeply impressed with the class). He was willing, and his druid already had a flame tongue sword that he'd inherited from his family, so making the switch was really easy... and I think really successful.
He's a very unique and interesting barbarian, because he's really not optimized at all: his ability scores are 14 across the board, plus the bonuses he gets for being a half-elf (which are dexterity and charisma, rather than the barbarian standards of strength and constitution) and he's got a background as a sage (which he declined to change, despite the offer). So what we've got here is someone who's very devoted to his family, who has the potential to be fairly good at anything he turns his hand to, who knows how study and do research, and who also knows how to pick up that flaming sword and go to town with it.
I'm actually really charmed by this. We need to talk out the character background a little more, but I'm going to see if we can't do that either via text or email or something during the week. If not, I might need to have him stop by a little earlier next week; with the new arrival and getting his character sheet printed out (even though he'd already created the PC) we got off to a bit of a late start.
It was worth it, though.
With the party back up to a group of four, they were able to enter a room that they hadn't been to before. The rest of the group talked their new barbarian through the dungeon so far, up to and including the Delving Orcs (which we hand-waved away as having come out and gone off with one of Lord Aldenmier's lieutenants to be shown to their potential new job). So they entered, and were unsuccessfully ambushed by bugbears. And the ambush was largely unsuccessful because the barbarian is rather difficult to surprise and substantially hard to kill, especially while he's raging.
It was a close battle for a while there, but it was easy to see when the tide turned. (And also, when the weird trend of All The Dice Rolls Going Badly For The Party In The First Half Of The Battle finally stopped being an issue.) And while we did run a bit late -- we finished the battle with All The Moms waiting at one end of the kitchen -- we did get it done. The new barbarian is named Arch, and his player seems to be a good fit with the rest of the group, so I think this is going to work.
Current party treasure by my count is 25 PP, 1482 GP, and 31 SP.
From this last encounter, the group (once they finish looting) will add:
6 sets hide armor
Perhaps more importantly, that's another room clear and another room closer to being able to reach the next level of the dungeon.