My biggest worries going in:
- I was worried that Dani was going to be unpleasant about the bad situation in which his character would emerge.
- I hadn't had much time to prepare; I'd thought of some bits about what to do up until the rescue, but I hadn't thought of what to do after that. This was exacerbated by the fact that we returned home from our errands only fifteen minutes before the players arrived.
So, played things out with Garrett, Turok, and Prolix. Prolix was a smart-aleck, but I wasn't too surprised by that--and he was doing so in-character and participating in the scene, which I'd feared he wouldn't. I didn't try to do the creepy horror with/to him that I might have with other players.
They got rescued about 8 o'clock (real time) or earlier, which meant that they'd passed beyond what I had prepared for. They also managed to settle the question of getting Prolix back on his feet without much bickering, which had been another of my fears. (Monica commented in her journal that she wasn't satisfied with the results of the resolution, but that's not my problem so much; I was happy with the process of the resolution.)
So, off they went towards the Caverns of Laryn, with me unprepared.
I remembered a Side Trek from an issue of Dungeon that was of about the right challenge level, and I grabbed that to use. There were the usual play difficulties; the manticore should have stayed at a distance and used his spikes more, and as usual I was challenged to figure out how effective an illusion spell should be at driving off the lions. (My quick wing-it decision was to let it be effective, because a single fireball would have driven them off too. But I still waffle.)
And that adventurelet gave me a tie-in to justify using a quth-maren from the Wizards of the Coast web site. The quth-maren is an undead opponent that looks like a flayed human, with acidic blood that it can spit at foes and a horrifying appearance that causes people who see it to make Will saves or cower in fear.
This was a pretty nifty fight, IMHO, even just considering it from a tactical standpoint. The description did not say how long the cowering effect lasted, so I made the players roll every round; that made them significantly challenged by the horrifying appearance, without making them completely hosed because they failed a Will save. And the differing options for ways to avoid the horrifying appearance (tough it out, avert your eyes, or close your eyes) added a degree of flavorful tactical choice, because different players chose different strategies. (One amusing strategy that didn't quite pan out: Kevin decided that the best strategy for Turok was to close his eyes, cast true strike, and then attack.)
So, I was pleased. It was a good game.
Since Turok got a lion's shield from the session (it was in the module--you can tell I wasn't thinking closely about it because it didn't have draconic imagery), I'm thinking of adding a couple of scrolls or spellbooks for Prolix, since he is far down the equipment ladder from everyone else, and he was much more pleasant than I'd feared.