Hamid recommended Nogah, Exorcist of Obad-Hai, or a newcomer named Thelonius. They chose to talk to Thelonius who was eager, but had some ambitious plans for employing six hirelings at the party's expense. Daphne would have none of that (as the party was now practically living off her money), but compromised at hiring one young lackey named Nodwick. While Garnet, Tirzah, and Thelonius would fight for equal shares, Nodwick would earn only 3 cp per day.
In conversation with Thelonius, it came up that Kevlamin did not know where his unusual last name of Serpenthelm came from, as he did not remember his parents.
Next, everyone agreed they would need a guide. Thelonius recommended trying to bribe a scout with the militia to leave his duties and work for them. Daphne found a seedier scout willing to at the Spinning Giant Tavern, but not for less than 5% of the treasure and 2 gp up front. Daphne turned him away and instead suggested they find Archippos at the Menhirs. Sure enough, Archippos was willing to guide them through the Greenridge for only 1% of any treasure – and he even claimed to know the general whereabouts of the goblins and orcs, at the north end of the Greenridge. The three friends dined that night on partridges – a rare, expensive (1 sp each) treat for them, at the Hungry Gar Tavern. Everyone had become sick of dining cheaply on fish head stew.
On the morning of the 6th*, the friends were reunited with Rubin and Manga and, now with a group of 10, set out on the Meadow Patch Road that led out of town towards the Greenridge. After two miles of walking through farmland, they reached the earthen mound that marked the edge of civilization. Crossing over it, they spotted a small camp with ponies, but no sign of anyone else inside. They marched through the tall grass towards the camp. Archippos warned them of the ambush just as a dozen halflings with slings sprung up around them. Kevlamin and Claire parlayed with the halflings and learned that they were on their way to Garham looking for work. The halflings also warned them of a bear that had chased them in the forest. The friends hired the halflings (a force of 13, total) to come with and help against the goblins and orcs, but a) the halflings would get 5% of any treasure to split between them, b) the friends would kill the bear and give it to the halflings, and c) the halflings would get to keep any lair that they cleared out.
Now leading an enormous company of almost two dozen, the friends followed Archippos as he tracked the bear. The bear turned out to be a hostile black bear*. The company turned out to be less useful than they should have been. Garnet and Tirzah offered to watch the rear for any goblin or orc ambushes and did not help. The halflings complained that the trees here gave the bear too much cover. Only Thelonius eagerly helped in the fight. Thelonius turned out to be an acolyte of Hextor who relished in the bloodshed of the battle. The bloodshed all seemed to be on the bear's side, as Kevlamin, Thelonius, and even Manga with his dagger struck good blows, though Kevlamin wound up in a bear hug that almost crushed the life from him.
A half-mile away, Archippos found them a cluster of woodsmen's cabins. The woodsmen pooled their money and bought the bear meat and skin for 20 gp – which went to the halflings, as per their agreement. Kevlamin stayed with the woodsmen to rest, with Rubin staying to guard him and Thelonius praying for healing, while everyone else went in search of the goblin/orc lair. Five miles to the north, they found a ravine with some caves in the side of it – and the ravine had five wolves laying idle in it. Here the halfling slingers proved their worth, as after two volleys of sling bullets, all but one of the wolves was dead. This seemed a likely place to find the goblins and/or orcs, but first they had to go back and retrieve Rubin, Kevlamin, and Thelonius.
End of session
Rubin earned 132 xp
Kevlamin earned 342 xp
Claire earned 269 xp
Daphne earned 210 xp
Manga earned 112 xp
*[DM's errata: The party actually had set out for the Greenridge on the afternoon of the 5th, but upon reflection, I realize the recruitment drive should have taken longer. I called the bear a brown bear at the time, though the stats I used were for a black bear.]