Post title may be too dramatic, but we did lose a PC on Tuesday.

Still wondering where the hell they were (“You’re the hell here.”), the party took a short rest to recover from their encounter with the bearded devils.

Leading off from the road (where else was there to go?) the group saw a field of devastation before a black, three-story tower shaped like a clawed hand.

Crossing the field, the group was attacked by a fire elemental, which burned through most of their conventional healing spells. The Druid and Barbarian were ignited at different points during the fight, and the melting points of certain metals were called into question.

The resulting treasure from the encounter was eight bronze mugs, eleven thousand (intact) silver pieces, and some number of “melty” gold pieces. I forget exactly how much money there was (I’m not in charge of tracking loot).

Upon reaching the tower, the party struggled somewhat with the door.

I’ve been using 1e’s “big, heavy doors” for dungeons, which typically require Strength (Athletics) checks to open. They open easily for monsters and close unexpectedly on PCs. They can be spiked shut with . . . mixed results.

When the group finally did get the door open, they were attacked by the charred remains of some pained-looking figures, who turned out to be some very tough customers (charcoal-themed gargoyles, nicknamed “chargoyles”).

The fight was protracted, and went very badly for the PCs near the end.

Early on in the fight, the Ranger was grappled and carried into the air. I had intended to drop her until I was reminded she was one of those fancy, “winged” tieflings, so I had the chargoyle drag her farther up in the air to pummel her.

The Warlock actually did fall victim to a chargoyle’s “drag and drop” attack, rendering him neatly unconscious and dying at exactly zero hit points.

He recovered a turn later, but it’s the thought that counts.

The Druid and Barbarian tanked a lot. They occupied four of the six chargoyles between the two of them. The Druid burned through a wild shape, and the Barbarian spent the whole fight in rage, without healing support.

Our group’s neophyte Druid (the current party has two Druids) resisted being dragged into the air for almost four rounds, and even then managed to break free of the grapple before the chargoyle could drag her to a lethal height.

On the other side of the battlefield, the Ranger escaped her grapple only to be battered out of the sky. She fell over a hundred feet to her death.

One by one, PCs fell. Every character except the elder Druid was brought to zero hit points at some point during the encounter.

After the Ranger died, younger Druid fell — leaving only the elder Druid and the Warlock in the fight. When the elder Druid was lost his wild shape, he opted to heal the younger Druid, and she got the Barbarian back on his feet.

With four PCs in the fight again, the tide turned.

The group focused fire and took down one chargoyle after another.

When the dust settled, three PCs had leveled. The loot sucked, but the battle inspired the Warlock to name his new familiar to honor his fallen comrade.