As usual the wizard would have preferred to take a long rest to recover his daily spells, but on checking the various doors they had barricaded when taking possession of the castle keep, the group noticed that the door to the dungeon was smouldering. Somebody was trying to burn his way out. So a short rest had to suffice. The warlord opened the door from the side, and the group found themselves facing another tar devil. The devil fled back downstairs, the group followed, and found themselves facing that devil, an iron circle mage, and two iron circle enforcers.
With this group of enemies being much weaker than the previous “boss fight”, this final combat of the adventure ended up being somewhat anti-climatic. The group spread out and thus mostly avoided the mage’s area attacks. The enforcers had lots of health, but didn’t hit very often. The mage ended up hiding behind a closed door, and when the group had won the fight managed to negotiate safe passage in exchange for the baron’s life.
The player’s freed the baron, and thus successfully ended the adventure. Looking out of the castle keep they saw that the remaining mercenaries had fled, some of them having been killed in the process by the villager’s rebel army. The player’s were celebrated as heroes, and the baron gave them his treasure (which they could have looted earlier, but didn’t). They also gained enough xp to gain a level.
With this short session ended our first year of the campaign, we’ll continue next year. In one year the group made it from level 0 to 4, in 18 sessions. As I have an outline of the campaign up to level 8 already, I’ve got the next year more or less covered. As hint on what will happen next, I told the player’s that on coming home to Fallcrest, a message was waiting for them: The mage Valthrun, counselor to Lord Padraig of Winterhaven, has written them that he had discovered the whereabouts of the demon Jaazzpaa. As the fighter of the group also found a scroll hinting of an artifact battleaxe last seen near Winterhaven, the group will head there next.