[Apologies to my non-D&D-playing readers.]

Trying to remember/work out how long it’s been since the player characters in the D&D game have been off on their current adventure, and what might have happened elsewhere in the area in the meantime. They left their supposed stronghold (Quasqueton, from the module B1, Into the Unknown) and went off to find out who the bugbears were meeting in the middle of the Spiderwood on the night after the full moon. That evening they freed a bunch of people who were being sold into slavery by cultists. IIRC then they walked thru the forest towards Orlane — the elf ranger took the frailer people from that group to Hommlet — then camped out overnight in the woods at the edge of town. Over the next day they scouted, got the townspeople to a safe(ish) haven at one of the inns, and that evening at sunset approached the temple that had formerly been dedicated to the corn goddess…but which had been taken over by snake cultists. They’ve been at it in there probably a good chunk of the night: took out the guards and some dire wolves, along with a pair of ninjas, then went inside and battled some mid-level clerics & ninjas, fought a bunch of huge poisonous snakes, then went upstairs: bugbears throwing rocks, an incredibly ineffective ninja, some really nasty skeletons, and an insane cleric. (Sometime in there, they were rejoined by the elf ranger.) While they were fighting that last guy, a bunch of town cultists (plus some low-level yuan-ti) came up behind them to try to take them out. They’ve got the last one, who has promised to lead them down to the caves where the “snake queen” lives. So that’s a couple of hours, max? Which really makes it still in the middle of the night on the second evening after they left Quasqueton.

Joan and her faithful militia have spent those two days cleaning up Quasqueton…and on Joan’s part, thinking about her future there. They’ve probably fought off another incursion of those damn fool goblins.

The force that’s come from down in the civilized lands (the guys with banners that the party saw on the other side of the river) is taking advantage of the brief break in the rain to work their way across the river to reach Hommlet…unless of course a force from one of the other powers has arrived. In which case interesting things may be about to happen.

In Hommlet, the refugees from Orlane are trying to find a little peace, though still worrying about their friends and family — those who are trapped or fighting as well as those who have been sucked into the cult. They have stories about the fighting prowess of those who saved them…as well as schisms they may have seen, and a certain…callousness…towards the dead. They have a decision to make about whether to try to return to their homes or to abandon that town to the swamp and remain in Hommlet. At the same time, work continues on the palisade enclosing the town, Rufus and Berne directing their workmen to help those enlisted by the village elders. Some in the town grumble about the lack of action to face the horror that engulfed the abandoned Keep and wonder whether a simple wall will do any good, should it come to them.

And what of Emirikol, lieutenant to the vanquished cleric of chaos? What of the goblin tribes? Were the last of the bugbears vanquished when the party cleared the cave below Quasqueton, or do still more lurk in the forests and swamps? Who were those slaves ultimately to be traded to, and where were they bound? And of course: what of the so-called Snake Queen below the old temple, and what terror does lurk in the abandoned Keep?

[ok, that actually kind gets me fired up for some D&D…or maybe to write some cheesy fantasy. Or a little of both.]