Before leaving the port of Ar’ginth, the party upgraded their weapons with Esver, a renowned weapons dealer who was working with the Veiled Alliance. They also sold many weapons to her to make a profit, though she apologetically underpaid our heroes in some cases, as “times were tough.” Alex also sold her old Half Plate armor to a few Clerics of Pelor, who were grateful for the assistance. Bardy attracted a group of five followers – one Adept and four Warriors, to join the party’s cause in bringing the book to the Temple of Boccob. General Aramil decided to consider his new team a “special ops” group for the war effort. Bardy also brought, as his new cohort, a Scout who he befriended during the Second Battle for Ar’ginth. Finally, Ost brought his new Barbarian ally to join them.
Our heroes proceeded into the sweltering heat of the Mardak Desert after Argus dropped them off by the Dewton River (he then proceeded back to Ar’ginth). After traveling for a few hours, the party encountered a group of three creatures known as the Scorpionfolk, which Bardy identified as hostile, territorial creatures. Alex noticed that one of the three was a spellcaster – a Druid, more specifically. Bardy’s men, save for his cohort, stayed away from the fight and watched the rear. Laralan remained with Bardy’s men, as he wanted to protect them in the event that more Scorpionfolk arrived.
Morak attacked one of the Scorpionfolk, and Ost’s new barbarian ally helped Morak flank his target, allowing Morak to hit the Scorpionfolk’s vulnerable body parts and take advantage of the gaps in its defense. Alex blessed the party and Bardy inspired courage, so that the group’s attacks were well-assured to hit. The Scout took shots at the Druid, constantly moving in his skirmish. Ost weakened two of the Scorpionfolk with Rays of Enfeeblement, which drained their strength. The Scorpionfolk that Morak and the Barbarian surrounded took a full attack on Morak, hitting him with his four claws and sending Morak, bleeding and wounded, to the ground. Were it not for Alex’s timely healing, he would have died.
After much battling, the first Scorpionfolk fell, and the meele combatants focused on the second. The Druid temporarily shielded himself from the ranged attacks of Bardy and his Scout by creating four images (including himself) of himself via a Mirror Image ability. The Druid then blasted Ost with a Call Lightning spell, which forced Ost to use Blink and go on the defensive. Unfortunately for Ost, his Blink spell did not let him dodge the Druid’s next lightning bolt, and it delayed Alex’s healing attempts. Fortunately, Ost’s Ray of Enfeeblement prevented the second Scorpionfolk from dealing much damage, so the party had less trouble taking it out. The Druid then created a Wall of Force to prevent the party from approaching him, but Ost noticed that the wall was an illusion. With this knowledge, most of the party realized the truth. Someone stepped through the “wall,” and it dispersed. The party then surrounded the Druid, who tried to heal the massive amounts of damage he was suffering from. With well-coordinated attacks, the Druid fell.
The party met up with their followers, who were amazed at their victory. Laralan then informed them that they were being followed by a group of bandits, who were about half a day’s travel behind them. Through their knowledge of local bandit groups, Morak and Bardy figured that the Arridi bandits were after them, as they were the main group in this region. They knew that, if it came down to it, if they killed enough of the Arridi, then their leader would challenge of the party members to single combat. If they beat the bandit leader, then the Arridi would cease the raid. If not, then the Arridi would continue the raid.
The party set up camp in the early afternoon (as they decided that it was unwise to travel the desert during the day). Bardy and his Adept follower both cast Alarm on the camp, so that they would wake up in the event of an attack. The followers, plus the Scout, Ost, and Laralan, decided to take watches. During Ost and Laralan’s watch, the Arridi began their attack. Two groups began to attack: one group of Adepts from the South, and a group of Warriors from the East. The Adept and Bardy immediately woke up, and they awoke their companions. Bardy bestowed Haste upon his fellow party members, the Barbarian, and his Scout. Morak hid in an eastern tent, and burst out to surprise a warrior on the eastern flank. Laralan used Updraft, and began to fire upon the warriors with a barrage of arrows. The Barbarian and Ost then began to attack the adepts, while Alex joined the fray on the eastern flank and stopped two Half-Elven warriors who were trying to set fire to one of the tents. Meanwhile, Bardy used his Deck of Illusions and produced the King of Hearts , which conjured up a Male human Fighter to distract one of the Warriors.
The Adepts avoided death via creative group tactics such as using Obscuring Mist to conceal themselves from a distance, using Command to make the Barbarian flee the fight as fast as possible, and healing whatever damage the Scout and Ost did to them. The Warriors were totally decimated. While the fight was happening, a group of three invisible Arridi was heard by Morak on the Northern flank, and the Scout shot one of them. Ost then used Glitterdust to reveal two Elven spellcasters and a human rogue, who was blinded by the glitterdust. The first Elven spellcaster nearly died, and before the Scout could ready another arrow to kill her, the Arridi leader sounded a retreat after witnessing the death of all of his meele Warriors.
He then announced that in ten minutes, that he would fight one of the party members in single combat, or else resume the attack. Morak volunteered to go. The bandit leader was a skilled fighter with a greatsword, and he looked to enjoy the fight. Morak went into the combat using two daggers as his only weapons.
Morak initiated the duel. He feinted the bandit leader, rendering him unable to dodge Morak’s next attacks. The bandit leader swung twice at Morak with his greatsword – he missed the first time, but then struck Morak in the chest with a critical hit. Morak responded by exploiting the leader’s openings in his defense and struck him under the shoulder, causing the bandit chief to start bleeding. The bandit leader swung at him, but only hit air as Morak dodged his attacks. Morak then feinted again, tricking the bandit into thinking that he was going for his legs. Cursing at Morak, he slashed at Morak’s arm, which caused him to lose a lot of blood and brought him to a mere 2 hitpoints. Morak went in for the final blow, and was able to slash the bandit leader in the back twice with his daggers as he fell for Morak’s last feint. The bandit leader then fell to the ground, as healers from both sides of the conflict rushed onto the scene.
The bandit leader lived, but he admitted that no other adventurer had ever been able to defeat him in single combat. He left his greatsword to Morak, and called off the attack on the party. The Arridi departed peacefully.