Still exploring the Caves of Chaos, our heroes have hit many snags.
The original adventuring party consisted of an Elf, Halfling, magic user, fighter and cleric, all just beginning their careers.
The goblin tribe of Ghazgug the One-Eyed has been destroyed, including Ruben the Ogre Mercenary. Ghazgug himself was not discovered by the adventurers as they cleared the caverns of goblins, but his losses forced Ghazgug to flee. Ghazgug took his tribal treasure and few remaining followers to serve his allies, the hobgoblin tribe of Hakazuz the Mighty. The heroes were saddened by their heavy losses in this scouring: Dyacus the Meek, a young wizard, Marid il Shibbaq, a halfling warrior, and a human fighter named I. Arthur Tickus, who plunged to his death while leaving the caves to return to the Keep.
The adventuring group recruited three new members at the Keep after waiting a week: Keith Stone, a fighter, Oumdur of Clan Telttab, a Dwarf, and Arrod Blackstock, a magic user. They set off again with the Elf warrior Lancegorn and Brother Eltsen, an acolyte in the service of Oz the Great and Powerful. Returning to the caves, they began the scouring of Hakazuz's tribe.
In their first foray against the hobgoblin menace, the adventurers purged one of the tribe's common areas, slaying the males and the females as well, but allowing the young to flee. One female fled early in the battle, and returned with additional forces: six goblins and a hobgoblin guard from the nearby guardroom. Defeating these foes, our heroes decided to retire to the Keep for healing and rest.
Two days later, the heroes again advanced into the dark caverns. In this foray, they discovered a guard chamber, and cleared it, and then found a torture chamber. The two brutal hobgoblin torturers were slain, and most of the prisoners released. Among the prisoners were four humans (a merchant, his wife, and two guards), an orc and a gnoll that gibbered madly about "slaying them all." The humans were released and the guards armed with hobgoblin weapons (crude, but serviceable). The orc was also released and given a sword, as he had sworn to kill any goblin or hobgoblin scum he saw. He got the chance to do so soon, as the party ran into a small group of goblin messengers almost immediately after leaving the torture chamber. Although our now quite large group managed to slay the goblins before they could flee, the orc fell to one of the goblin spears. The remainder escorted the merchant and his wife back to the Keep, to safety. The guards, cousins named Efil and Erup swore to serve the party faithfully for one year for no more than equipment, room and board.
That's where the adventure stands as of the start of the day today. This afternoon's epic struggle against Hakazuz the Mighty will be chronicled in the near future.