During a week's vacation in Prince Edward Island, the stars aligned to continue the adventure of The Lost Vault of Tsathzar Rho we started many moons ago. This time around, we had Gleekgott the Sorceror and Michaelangelo the Ranger (Father-in-Law) returning, along with two new faces: Sister Meera the Monk (The Wife) and Xian the Ranger (envisioned as a Viet Cong-type improviser). We picked up with the party camping after their encounter with the ogre last session, waking up to discover the erstwhile Daisy had gone missing! (since The Wife is dedicating her to the on-going Forgotten Realms campaign). After much deliberation and failure to find tracks, they stumbled upon Xian looking for a missing cousin and a group of kobolds attacking Sister Meera. Returning to the caves (the proper start of the module), the group discovered that the ogre they had befriended had been murdered by kobolds. They finally entered the caverns proper and *very slowly* explored the large chamber that splits in three directions. They almost got massacred by a small group of stirges before hitting on the clever idea of jumping in the pool to try to drown them. A flurry of blows from Sister Meera eviscerated one of the giant beetles in area 1-3 and scared the other two away, but it was enough to convince them to change direction and investigate another fork. Here, the Darkness spell of a darkmantle provided another good challenge, leaving the PCs in pretty bad shape. Since they didn't have a cleric handy, a return to the village to seek healing seemed like a solid plan--but first, they couldn't pass up the mysterious wooden treasure chest in area 1-6. Since they also lacked a thief, it took a lot of brute force to bust the lock, but they were ready for the surprise inside (animated wooden dolls). We wrapped things up with the party back in the village, asking questions about the kobolds, learning the mysterious name "Tsathzar Rho", and finding a few healing potions at a hedge-witch. All in all, they're certainly not making fast progress through the module, but they are gaining XP and having fun.
The guy playing Gleek-gott, who is brand new to gaming apart from session 1, continued to make it a joy to direct. He is *very* into the dramatic aspects of the game and is a very animated guy, often standing up to act out his character's motions in casting a spell, for example. It's fun and often surprising to see what players who aren't used to the conventions of gaming will come up with. Father-in-Law, unfortunately, was less interested this time around, and outside of combat it was hard to keep him from watching Stargate during the game! Still, everyone else is looking forward to continuing the adventure and so am I (I haven't even read beyond the first chapter of the module, so I'm as curious as anyone how it all ends . . .)