The session picked up with the continuation of the previous session's battle. They didn't have a lot of time to recuperate before other guild members snuck into an adjacent room, but I allowed them all to burn up to two healing surges and regain one encounter power of their choice to reflect them managing to get a small breather. With that, combat resumed in earnest when one managed to hit Heien with both a dagger and combat advantage.
Unfortunately, the only safe route to the party was over a catwalk and down a ladder into a fairly cramped room, which meant that when Heien made his move he was able to get a few backed up against a wall, cutting off their escape and keeping them lumped up for Hawkeye's elemental spirits and biting swarms. Moxie ran in and got herself stuck between a thug and bugbear, which was unable to strangle her for a few turns due to opening move.
Things were looking up for a few rounds as Heien's battlemind's demand and restricted space kept the heat on him, and his elan resilience and whatever the fuck his level 5 daily is shaved plenty of damage off of the continual flow of Sneak Attack-bolstered-clubbery. However, I'd budgeted this battle for slightly above the norm had there been five party members, and there were only four.
It didn't matter.
With one thief left and only a quarter of her hit points pooled on the floor, she made a break for it. Heien is great at absorbing damage, but his opportunity attacks leave a lot to be desired in terms of attack bonus. Thankfully, Hawkeye is even worse at it. These two factors allowed her to run out of the warehouse entirely, only to be picked off by a ranged sly flourish from Moxie. Oh well, there went my plans to have Dragon informed and thereby be better prepared.
The party explored the rest of the warehouse, discovering a hefty cache of bank notes, coins, bars, and ladder-descending-underground, which is always a plus. Going down they wandered through a series of narrow tunnels both natural and man-carved, before Heien blundered into a gelatinous cube. This didn't bother him much, as he could teleport quite a bit thanks to his battlemind class feature and disciplines. No, what bothered him were the pair of green slimes dropping from the ceiling behind the softer characters.
Green slimes haven't changed much between Monster Manual and Monster Vault, except that their opportunity attack deals ongoing acid damage, while engulf deals more. I managed to get Hawkeye caught up in one while the other tried to slither up and over to Lwaxana, but Hawkeye's encaging spirits kept them both at bay while fire-based elemental spirits polished them off rather quickly, while Heien and Moxie finished carving up the gelatinous cube.
The tunnels weren't extensive, and they found their way out rather quickly into a massive hall that had been formed from petrified humanoids--mostly orcs and various goblinoids--and inhabited by a pair of warforged guards. Heien ventured out alone, hoping to talk his way past, but once other party members started showing up and failing Stealth rolls they extended weapons out of their arms and rushed him. Once more party members revealed themselves, they called for help, adding a bunch of minions to the fray, which ended up being easy pickings for Heien's augmented spinning cobra strikes and Hawkeye's elemental spirits.
Leaving one thug alive, they managed to figure out that Red could turn people to stone, and had a pet owlbear. This didn't bode well with Randy, who had just recently read up on owlbears from Monster Vault and did not care for their 4d6 + 6 claw attack one bit. Not one to levy player knowledge, they proceeded through the halls until they reached a gallery of disfigured statues illuminated by a crimson everburning torch set within an iron mesh on the ceiling. With a few amazing Perception and Arcana rolls, they determined that aside from an iron door that an illusionary wall was also noteworthy, prompting Moxie to investigate.
The wall wasn't trapped, and served to only conceal the owlbear's lair. It tried to maul Moxie, but she was able to scamper out of they way without taking a scratch (or having her body rearranged into inevitably fatal configurations). I applaud Randy's bravery, having Heien charge to the front with the knowledge that two well-rolled hits could drop is character instantly. Lucky for him, I tend to roll really badly when the star monster enters the scene, and even when I do usually Beth has Lwaxana do something annoying to mitigate the hit. Fucking leaders.
Once the owlbear was bloodied, Red decided to check out what the noise was about and seeing Moxie literally right in front of him, petrified her and had his dog-golems get in front to shield himself. Red was a dwarf that was a bit worse for wear after digging his way into a lost daelkyr ruin, discovering ancient magic carved into the torsos of petrified creatures, and trying to master it. His arm was mostly petrified as a result, though motion caused the stones to grind, causing it to constantly bleed as a result. Still, he had a lot to show for his sacrifice, being able to transmute stone to mud, and flesh to stone.
The party tried to parlay again, but the combination of combat and Red's own perception that he had them where he wanted them didn't help matters much. It did, however, give him pause, which is one way to phrase "combat advantage". Heien teleported behind him, Moxie got in a flanking position, and they knocked him out against Moxie's protest.
Randy, not being satisfied by the promises of gold or +2 weapons/armor, wanted to befriend the owlbear, and with Hawkeye and Lwaxana on the case he was no match for their Diplomacy and Nature skill bonuses. To add insult to injury, Red didn't fare any better against Heien's and Moxie's Intimidate checks, but instead of conditional friendship they garnered the district where Dragon had setup kip. With pockets full of dreams and twice-stolen goods (and dragonshards!) they turned Red into the authorities and have told me that they'll probably go after Dragon next, giving me less than a week to prepare.
They're not quite done exploring the place, so maybe next week we'll spend some time exploring artifact chairs and haunted quarries.