The Party: Mar, an idiotic human barbarian, and son of the chieftain of a nomadic barbarian tribe. Xan, a grumpy drow elf wizard, apprentice to the royal wizard of his kingdom. And Fivel, lazy Woem ( a homebrewed race of 2ft tall cat people. Think Puss-In-Boots, but with less Banderas), heir to his father's kingdom. Our usual Stone Giant fighter had been missing the last few weeks of gaming, but we decided to move on without him.

The Background: Representatives of each of their respective homelands, the party was formed to defeat a coalition between Devils and Demons that threatens all lands, and find the unknown force that has managed to unite these long time enemies under its banner.

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The Stage: After surviving our trip into the depths of a temple of Asmodeus ( where Xan managed to get us around every trap safely, before I as Fivel managed to roll so badly I set off every trap at once), we have more questions than answers. But we have found a very important lead that guides us towards a lost temple in the mountains. The journey will take us through miles of uncharted wilderness. A few bad rolls later, and we find ourselves on the edge of the treeline, near the edge of a cliff overlooking a valley below.

The Apes: As we realize we've gone the wrong way and turn to go back, Fivel rolls high and we detect several stalkers coming towards us through the trees. No sooner than I had let the warning out, the band of five Dire Apes pounced. ( you know what a Dire Ape is right? It's like a regular ape, only dire).

We held out for several long rounds. dropping two of the creatures. But without our fighter, we had no way to keep the apes from targeting Xan or myself. Xan went down first, with one of the apes scoring a critical hit that would instanly drop him below 0 hit points. Fivel managed to drop one more of the beasts before being pounded into the dirt himself.

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Mar was left standing alone, two of the creatures bearing down on him. Several more long rounds passed, with both sides handing out some major damage. One more ape drops. But Mar is barely standing, his hit points down in the single digit range. The ape though has yet to receive more than a scratch. Mar manages to score a hit with his greataxe, then another, and another. Things seem like they might finally be turning around.

Then, Rambo of the Apes makes a grapple check. Success! Lifting Mar over its head with a roar, the creatures hurls him over the edge of the cliff with ease. Mar's player groans, death all but certain. He hits the ground hard, being dealt enough hit point that he has to begin rolling to stay alive. Miraculously, Mar rolls a natural 20 on his last step towards death.

He's alive! Bloody, beaten, and broken, but alive. Dragging himself up off the ground, Mar begins the long trek back to town alone. He was going to need our fighter, if he wanted any chance of retrieving Xan and Fivel's bodies from the Dire Ape who was now dragging our corpses back to its lair.

Our fighter returned the next session, and the two set out to do just that. But that is a tale for another time.

Jolly's avatar and banner were created by the awesome JamesT of The Comment Section.