The group was down two players this session compared to last one so they decided to proceed cautiously. To start with they paid a visit to the Grand Casino of Boreon hoping to gather some intel about the mysterious fox-people who they’ve heard about but not yet actually encountered. Coming up mostly empty and failing to win big at the slots (and realizing they’re not nearly well enough equipped to knock the place over) they returned to Salt Mine dungeon and once again bribed their way past the ogre guarding the back entrance.
They’ve now got a nearly-complete map of the top level and were feeling pretty confident after dispatching some ghouls and giant rats but disaster almost struck when they decided to attack a nest of giant stink bugs: half the party (the thief and of the clerics) was rendered unconscious and the gnome cleric had to leave his pack and maul behind in order to drag his comatose companion to safety. Venturing back to retrieve the lost pack only a well-placed Sanctuary spell saved the remaining two from disaster and probable TPK. When you're low level and outnumbered AC4 and a 1d6 bite adds up quickly.
A few sacks of silver pieces was a visibly disappointing haul but was just enough to allow the thief to hit 2nd level. She also pocketed a nice-looking coral necklace that a jeweler in town offered her a cool thousand GP for but she decided not to sell, suspecting it might be magical.
Next session (set for 10/22) they’re hoping to be back to full strength, which is good because their options are narrowing - taking on the goblins or armed men they avoided this time around, venturing back down to one of the lower levels (which they’re still very afraid of), or leaving this dungeon altogether to follow up on one of the rumors they picked up at the casino - such as the mysterious goings on in the village of Veirona a day’s travel upriver, near the famous Melonath Falls.
[Fun OOC note: when they were in the casino hearing about Veirona with its lumber mill and seedy reputation and the nearby Melonath Falls, one of the players said "I'm starting to get a kind of Twin Peaks-y vibe about this area" which I appreciated because it's 100% intentional but she's the first person who's ever noticed (or at least who mentioned it out loud to me)]