So, here’s the group dynamic. Ken created a Warmage, which was interesting because he’d never played a caster before and really enjoyed being the BOOMstick. Thomas has a Whisper Gnome Rogue, which was interesting and amusing. Shane created an unarmed variant Swordsage, who apparently didn’t wear a shirt. (James: “This guy seems kinda gay.”) James created a PHB2 Knight, complete with heavy plate, shield and sonic sword.
I also sent along a Miniatures Handbook class Healer along. He doesn’t do much.
They headed into the mountains where the mystics had been concerned about, basically, a Great Disturbance in the Force. They got some information from an old dwarven prospector that had been run out of the mines, so they headed up the mountains. They arrived at an abandoned mining town and encountered some red-eyed, gray skinned people. Some had swords, some didn’t. The guys without the weapons would do things like summon Spectral Hand for Shocking Grasp, throw Lesser Orbs and even some Magic Missiles. Amusingly, most of the guys our heroes took down inflicted Reflex saves or getting hit with bursts of fire or ice. Not a lot, I’m not a douche, but still. One of the casters managed to get a Message off before the fight ended.
From the town, they headed on up the road and found a campfire of sentries. Shane’s character just vanished off into the woods without saying anything. The other three (they had sent the Healer back to send a message to the King) just walked straight on towards the group. There was, indeed, a caster with them, too, and he aced off some magic, and Shane hit him from behind. The fight that followed was pretty good; James used his Knight’s Challenge to draw one of the two red-eyed half-orcs to him and get hit once the entire fight. Shane just narrowly avoided getting hit with a Ghoul Touch and managed to use a Setting Sun throw to pitch the caster into the thick of melee where Ken used his spear to stab him a whole big bunch. Thomas made judicious use of flanking to inflict some serious hurt. All-in-all, a good fight. They came away with a pair of axes that seemed might have some magic to them. They also found a pair of discharged Ioun Stones.
They finally managed to reach the deepest mine where the craziest stuff was happening, the Mine of Gold and Diamond. They took out the stones and gave one to Ken and one to James, and Ken cast Light on them, so they had two little floating lamps, basically. I really dug the visual, myself. About here, the Healer caught back up to him, and was informed he had been renamed Master T. He was okay with this, but slightly confused. However, finally, Thomas noticed that there was something coming. Yup, red eyes, gray skinned, and a pair of Cave Tyrannosauruses. Ken’s reaction was great “Holy Hell, Tyrannosauruses!” In fact, it was an interesting fight as well. Thomas’s character was scared out of his wits, so he just used his sling. Shane’s character used his Dance of the Spider to climb up the walls and use some Tiger Claw maneuver that only works if you strike from above, which he did. James stood his ground and fought the things, and got swallowed. He believed this to be death, but we told him it was not. His turned directly followed the beast that had swallowed him and with two attacks, he had cut his way out. Ken cooked them both with a Lightning Bolt, which killed the one James had cut his way out of, but not the other, who charged Thomas. Thomas opposed the grapple with an escape artist, but rolled a 2 against the beast’s natural 20, so he got swallowed as well. Shane made a run along the ceiling (Dance of the Spider, remember) and dove onto the thing’s back, where he was setting up for some crushing maneuver, but James took the thing down with a pair of great attacks that also hacked Thomas free. And yes, both of these exploded in bursts of fire.
It’s apparently being enjoyed, but I might spend some time next time letting the characters get to know each other.