I have to start by apologizing; unfortunately between job hunting, wedding planning, and various other mandatory activities, I didn't get last week's articles up in a timely manner, so now you're getting last week's recap and this week's recap, one right after the other.
Last week we ended up finishing the Twin Crossings adventure, with our original cast of characters returning (though the role of Avarlene was played by a new player, as the previous was unable to make it in). For reference, that's Avarlene the Battlelord, Gruff the Shadow Assassin, and Morgan the Magi.
The week prior, the party had just barely survived a fierce and lethal encounter against their merchant rivals, emerging victorious with the smell of burnt human and horse flesh thick in the air. After Morgan was resuscitated, she used her healing magics to restore the rest of the party and they continued on their journey.
About a half week's travel up the coast, the party made a stunning discovery- the wreckage of the lost trading caravel, washed up on a shoreline reef! Excited at the opportunity to both collect physical evidence to back their pending insurance claim to finance a replacement caravan and to boost their profits with some salvaged loot, the party tethered their horses and set up a brief camp. Gruff began swimming out to the caravel and fashioning a makeshift raft to bring the salvaged materials to shore.
Things went swimmingly, with the team recovering many units of cargo along with the ship's bell and log, when disaster struck. A large wave crashed into shore, disorienting the group and nearly costing them a raft full of cargo. Unfortunately, that was the least of their worries. As the caravel had drifted out of control before washing up on the reef, several of the surviving crew members had been driven mad by the seawater they drank in desperation. In their madness, they resorted to cannibalism before their eventual deaths, causing them to rise as horrific lacedons, undead aquatic ghouls. These same ghouls were washed alongside the party by the wave that disorganized and disoriented them, and the creatures were quick to attack the unprepared heroes.
In a stroke of absolute disaster, the entire party was paralyzed by the lacedon's insidious claws in the first round of combat! Morgan had managed to imbibe a potion of fly first, and managed to will herself to safety, only to spend the next three rounds watching in still and silent horror as Gruff was dragged under the waves and Avarlene was pulled from shore to sea, seconds away from joining Gruff in the sea's cold embrace. Finally shattering the icy bonds of ghoulish paralysis, Morgan blasted the lacedon attempting to submerge Avarlene before plunging into the brine in a desperate attempt to save Gruff before he drowned. Several near misses and close calls later, Morgan somehow dredged complete victory from the arms of utter defeat, saving both Gruff and Avarlene, and reducing the lacedon to muddy ash.
The rest of the adventure was almost painfully anticlimactic after that near-death experience. The party's recovery of the ship's bell and log made their insurance claim ironclad, and left their competition locked in court proceedings with the insurance agent. While their competitors were bogged down in legal proceedings, the party organized a return caravan with a desperate and entrepreneurial mule breeder. There were a few mishaps along the way, largely mitigated by an attentive and proactive party. There was a close call involving a pig farmer who fed his pigs apples laced with potions of bull's strength, cat's grace, and bear's endurance and said apples finding their way into the greedy mouth of a ferocious dire boar. The 'roid raging pig nearly gored Gruff into an early grave, but some quick thinking (and a dwarf hiding behind a very large tree), managed to turn a tenuous situation into a decisive win, earning some good favor (and supplies!) from the farmer.
The party brought a successful and well-stocked caravan safely back to Svest, turning a humongous profit and reveling in the abject misery inflicted on the disreputable merchant Ghraeme Kolder, whose agents had dogged their steps and even tried to murder them. Having saved the town (or at least its economy) the heroes rode off into the sunset on two horses and a mule, looking for their next grand undertaking.