It’s funny how one fight can change everything in D&D.

Let me back up a few days. Our GM sent all the players an email “interlude,” describing what was happening between the various PCs and NPCs since we were about to experience some significant changes in our party roster.

The warforged “Graves” felt uncomfortable remaining in the Shadowfell while the Rift remained active beneath Keegan’s Keep — true, it was buried under a ton of rubble but it would only be a matter of time before its evil resurfaced.

Graves vowed to return to the Natural World and rebuild the Keep.

Upon learning this, Akordia left promptly to recruit some muscle in the Natural World — she left Nadia under the party’s protection and found Randy, a human knight. He was advanced in age, but would no doubt prove a valuable ally.

Chet quietly slipped away from the group to followup with The Countess.

The party brought the captive pirates back to Arly’s inn/tavern/underground fighting ring, where Graves and the others indulged in a bit of drink to celebrate their adventures together and mark his departure from the group.

Meanwhile, Arly ventured out with the elves Ninaran and Nila to see if she could expand the party’s network of contacts and allies, and reach out to some of the local businesses for additional support in their time of growing need.

The group’s antics at the tavern grew such that even many of the regulars were driven away — Graves regaled the group with some historic songs learned from his time among Keegan’s soldiers. Drowski passed out from drinking too much.

Without warning, a band of mutant dragonborn burst into the tavern — which was mostly deserted by that point — and a magical ward erected outside.

The party fought for their lives — the mutant dragonborn nearly killing them several times over with poisonous breath weapons and freak explosions. Early on in the battle, Flint and Nightfox inexplicably abandoned the party — passing through the magical containment barrier as though it wasn’t there.

Finally emerging from the magical ward, the party found themselves in the middle of a battle between Kalarel’s minions and the Deathless Watch. Kalarel’s minions demanded that the party’s surrender, or be killed on the spot.

Beaten and bloodied — Graves, Nadia, Randy, and Whisper (NPC) surrendered.

There the session ended.