Our thief was out this session, but the rest of the guys were eager to continue on, so we pressed forward! The group wanted to go back and check on Ergo and help him clear the cave. Their hope was to get the travelling priests help (aka the evil priest in b2). They went by, and the priest said he wasn't interested in going to Ergo's cave, but said he would meet them near the Caves of Chaos later after a lot of persistence from the PCs.
So the party went to check on Ergo, only to check the first den where they immediately met him. They found some scattered bones and rotting meats, but didn't find him, didn't look around anymore, and left thinking they'd check back again soon. On they went to the caves of chaos.
The PCs were pleasantly surprised that the travelling priest Chromula was there with his 2 acolytes. After greeting each other, they agreed to enter one of the caves (the goblin cave). They formed their marching order with the priest and his 2 acolytes in the back, lit up a torch and pressed on. After some careful searching, they ran across a band of Goblins on patrol in the caves. Suddenly the call "BREEYARK!" was made and the goblins got into position to attack the party. Soon another band came and attacked from the rear. The party was pinned in and desperately trying to fight the Goblins on their end while the Priest and the acolytes tried to sell the fight between them and the other Goblins. It wasn't long however before Chromula cast a Hold Person on one of the PCs and him and the acolytes broke through the Goblins and left. The PCs, brilliantly fighting, managed to over come the hoard of Goblins. They decided they should leave the caves, learning the true nature of Chromula and his silent lackeys.
On their way out they found Chromula laughing hysterically as his 2 acolytes raised their weapons. He warned the party to surrender or face his wrath. This is what you get for investigating the caves. The PCs swiftly took to action and charged the acolytes. Chromula decided he'd cast a silence 15' radius over the PCs and acolytes as he stepped back to prepare some more spells. Suddenly Sylwen and Eldor had succumbed to a hold person. Markas and Dongan shoved them aside and made quick work of the Acolytes. Try as they may, they could not overcome Chromula himself though. He continued to ask for their surrender as he slowly wore them down. Finally Dongan fell to his might and he started shouting to Markas, give up now and I'll spare you! Markas couldn't accept surrender being unsure of what would happen to his friends and fought until finally he had fallen to Chromula as well.
At this point, it was looking like a TPK, except that Plimble Mae had missed out and was in time. I came up with an idea though. Markas and Dongan were lost, but the Goblins kidnapped Eldor and Sylwen. They stole all of their gear and kept them for a month, trying to question and torture them. Eventually the kicked them out of the cave with nothing but some rags.
They finally made it back to the keep, unsure of what to do. They were out of money, so they both had to ask Corporal Oliver for some work. He offered to let them patrol with the guards, in return he'd give them a place to stay, feed them with the guards, and them them some short swords.
I've been busy with work, so we've been on hiatus, so we're all waiting to see what happens now. I'm just glad I was able to keep it from being a true TPK, but keep some hard consequences. My players know that I'm not holding back, but they also know I'm not out to kill them. They had a feeling the Chromula would do this, but didn't expect it to be as bad, or that their dice would fail them so.