When a session starts off with a map of your campsite, and the DM casually mentions, "so you're sitting around the fire..." NO GOOD CAN COME OF IT. Things will be coming out of the bushes. Horrible things. With swords and teeth and biting and aaaayyyy.
And that is how our last session started. Fortunately (I suppose) what came out of the darkness was a guy on horseback. Shouting. Shouting about "They're right behind me, they'll kill us all, AARRGH". Upon reflection, it would have been smarter to just conk him over the head and give him to his pursuers, but instead we stupidly asked, "Who's after you?", like a bunch of dumbasses.
'Cause, it's obvious that whoever is after him is a Bad Person. And will attack us. So it was no surprise when he told us that he was pursued by agents of the Iron Ring, a bunch of slaver-assholes who would no doubt attempt to kill/enslave us just for being here at the same time he was. He's pretty fucking lucky it was our camp he rode up to, and not, say, a travelling minstrel-show. He'd have been screwed.
Immediately, aforementioned Bad Person and thugs showed up - surrounding our camp, conveniently. The leader loudly instructing his men to "Kill them all". Talk about lack of due diligence on his part. Rule 1 for slaver/bandit: Identify potential threat level of target.
I won't say I didn't warn them though - my character, Fingolfin the elf, shouted loudly (at the darkness) "if you attack our camp, we'll put you all to sleep, and then I'll personally nail you to a tree." It seemed like a reasonable threat.
So they did. And we did. I had a wooden mallet, and the thief had some iron spikes. The slaver leader seemed... distressed when we woke him up by driving in the first spike. He was also markedly uncooperative. More so that I would expect someone to be when one is crucified, one's men have been hung, and a pair of wolves are sniffing hungrily around one's feet. I'd be positively fucking loquacious at that point. But he just cursed and spat and generally made an ass of himself.
Then somebody shot a crossbow at us from the bushes. But the wolves ran him down pretty fast. These guys aren't learning. They're also not telling us WTF is happening, so we asked our "guest" Alexis why he was interrupting our evening with the shouting and the blood.
Apparently, the forces of the Black Eagle Barony, upon whose metaphorical doorstep we now trod, had stolen a magical gem doohickey from the elves in eastern Karameikos (presumably because the elves were busy snorting pixie-faerie dust off each other's naked backsides and having unprotected elf-sex - because really, what else is there to do when you're immortal). The gem is REALLY important because you can do mind control with it - notwithstanding that Charm Person is basically mind control and a level 1 spell.
Alexis is part of a rescue mission sent to retrieve it before all manner of horror can befall the faire realme, but all his friends have been killed by the Iron Ring, and now he's on his own and wants OUR help. There are apparently more slavers about, so we're "encouraged" to hurry along to Luln. So we packed up the campsite and headed off down the road - we're all out of sleep spells, so no reason to push our luck.
Arriving in Luln in the morning, we hurry to a cobblers shop where Alexis has allies. Walking in, we are immediately ambushed. If I didn't know better, I'd say this nitwit was trying to get us killed. 2 ambushes in a row starts to stretch the bounds of credulity. Fortunately, we'd had enough time to rest up, so most of the ambushers got unaccountably drowsy, and we didn't have much difficulty taking out the rest of them hand-to-hand.
There was a rough moment when a wizard popped out of a side room and cast magic missile, mainly because nobody in the party can survive a full-damage magic missile. Luckily, he shot it at the NPC, who has a few more HP's, so everyone survived. After some mourning over his friends, Alexis took us to yet another location, an inn. There we meet another of his buddies, who explains more about the missing mcguffin, and gives a potential plan for retrieving it.
And boy, is the plan a doozy. Amigo wants us to hide in a turnip cart, sneak into Fort Doom (great name - love that subtle, understated villainy), go through the dungeon, which they stock with monsters specifically to devour prisoners, and finally, break into a vault-tower where they store magical items. Oh, and do it all in the middle of a garrison of soldiers and orcs.
A quick poll of the party reveals absolutely no interest in: a) the plan or b) retrieving the gem at all. So we decide to go with our own plan. Next time - breaking into Fort Doom.