There was considerably more social interaction this week, as Liz and the crew scouted out the ruins of Castle Inverness. The players, not knowing what to expect, were exceedingly cautious in their investigation. Well, most of them that is. Every player but one tried to sneak towards it, searching for access points and threats, while the warpriest just galloped around it on horseback. I think the idea was that she would try to make herself an obvious target, so as to make it easier on the rest of the party.
When nothing happened, the warpriest then strode towards what amounted to a gate and loudly proclaimed her presence. Everyone else? Quietly creeping up a wall some ways away. Again, nothing happened, which just intensified their paranoia. The explored the graveyard, and were relieved (disappointed?) when nothing clambered out to attack them. They checked the shattered towers, which contained no gargoyles, swarms of murderous avians, or even kenku. I feel like there's a Doctor Seuss verse coming on...it came without oozes, it came without rats, it came without boxes of treasure and traps!
Eventually, they did stumble on the encounter: a pair of ochre jellies kicking back in the fountain. The clue is that out of everything in the ruins, the fountain is the only thing that isn't overgrown with vegetation. Liz noticed this right away and made a beeline for it, which was bad because they had a nasty Stealth bonus and were elite brutes. Fortunately, they went almost dead last and had a pretty miserable attack bonus for level 3.
Most of the battle consisted of the mage sitting on top of a wall, blasting both oozes with arc lightning, while the scouts carved up one, and the thief and warpriest took the other. As brutes, they had a lot of hit points, and when bloodied neatly divided into two smaller critters. Yeah, you divvy up the hit points, but their damage output doesn't change. I really like this because they deal 2d6 + a lot of acid damage initially, and when they get bloodied basically get to make two attacks. Oh, and since they can shift it makes it very easy to flank for a better attack bonus.
It was a really nasty fight, especially with the lack of a defender, and I almost took down three of the characters. The warpriests ability to grant damage resistance with her at-will, plus a well-timed sun burst (everyone gets a save) alleviated much of the damage, while having three strikers made whittling through the hit points a quick task. In the end, I think they were expecting more...harrowing, considering they were skulking about a purportedly haunted castle.
The only consolation prize was a basic amulet of protection, though Liz and another player found an interesting cornerstone with ancient writing on it. Spoiler: it's not pertinent to the plot, but more of an easter egg for those who played in Greyhawk. I hope they aren't expecting something, well, useful out of it. Oh, they also learned the name of a woman from a past adventuring party. It's also not a need to know thing, but foreshadows a future encounter. Next week, they get to hold off a horde of undead as the priests try to cleanse the ruins.
EDIT: Liz also got her first Fortune Card reward, Indestructible (or some such).