Last post I left The Backbiters pulling into Baldur's Gate....somewhat singed and browbeaten. They followed the cult across the city and got themselves hired in various capacities by the caravan. Then it was off north, on a journey that covered several sessions. They fought a bunch of hobgoblins, which the trader who owned the ambushed wagon was grateful for.
At this point Lander noticed Darrien was not looking his old self, despite him never contracting the odd disease that still plagued them (despite their measures to prevent the spread of infection) and some discussion was had. No conclusion was reached, Darrien proclaiming himself fine, and his stout Halfling constitution the source of his good health. Interestingly no-one had picked up on the fact that Darrien was casting Chill Touch at every opportunity, despite it not being a Bard spell....
Still, Sirethnis was suspicious, and kept an eye on Darrien as the others slept and she pretended to. She watched as Darrien stealthily rose from his bedroll and went to some of the horses, and started spellcasting. Sirethnis sprang up, rousing the others and challengin Darrien. Darrien cast Phantasmal Force on Sirethnis, who saw a demon rise up next to her and fought the unseen spirit.
There then followed a hilarious Benny-Hill style chase which eventually ended with Darrien rerstrained, and the nature of the Pearl as the Eye of Death revealed as Uro read the journal (not bearing the Eye, he could decipher it easily). The artefact could not be separated from him, so he was trussed and gagged, and carried in one of the caravans. Further on, the party encountered and defeated a family of Perytons, and had a hard-earned rest at a wayside inn that night.
The party took pity on Darrien and let him stay the night too, untying him for the night - he swore an oath to Thor he would be good. Othrod and Lander gained the attentions of two pretty sisters in the bar, and despite being warned that this was highly suspicious, they went ahead anyway and wined and dined the girls, before taking them to their rooms. Of course they were doppelgangers, and Othrod was caught unprepared and laid out, whereas Lander managed to at least make some noise with his laughing longsword and crying for help before becoming unconscious.
Thus members of the party arrived to find two Landers in the room - and the conscious one was persuaded to have them both bound. Othrod was fetched, saying his girl had left and then he was as startled by the noise as the others were. Darrien wasn't so sure, and went to check his room, finding an unconscious Othrod under the bed. At this point the doppelgangers attacked, and a fight broke out, with Thor transforming into a bear - which the two doppelgangers also did, making it very difficult for the party to tell who was who.
Ranger Jon expertly shot his arrow into the melee, unfortunately piercing his friend Thor, but Uro blasted one of the doppelgangers, not only injuring it but thanks to his Eldrich Invocations, but also blasting it through the first-story window of the inn. The other doppelganger was killed and Lander (now healed and awake) leapt out of the window to give chase. Unfortunately the rain and darkness made it almost impossible, and so Lander came back through the main bar of the inn, naked and soaking as he made his way back to the upstairs room, to more than a few chuckles and sideways glances from the patrons.
The innkeeper was not pleased with the noise and damage, and Darrien ended up barred from the inn. The following morning a caravan horse was dead, and suspicion immediately fell on Darrien - Sirethnis told the party he should never have been released, and he was bound once again...even Thor was in agreement, for Darrien had broken his oath to him.
For me, this was a great set of sessions - there had been some really nice situations that I really hadn't anticipated when I prepared for these encounters. I figured the doppelgangers were too obvious and the party would end up skipping them, but the way it developed was brilliant, and provided some of the funniest, most cinematic and memorable moments in the campaign. Likewise the way Darrien had played his succumbing to the evil of the Eye was outstanding - I had suspected the party would work something out long before they finally did!
The next sessions included events like Lander's magical laughing longsword going missing, an ambush by Ettercaps and giant spiders, super-fast growing fungus, a magical stag and rescue of an Harper agent. interestingly, the party completely failed to rise to the bait of the "No room at the Inn" encounter, and despite some pretty harsh goading, they simply went and slept by their caravans in the rain - once again they confounded my expectations here.
The last part of the journey was dominated by the cult - with Ranger Jon being recognised by a cult member, Jamna Gleamsilver pointing out the stomach-shredding bone traps in their gruel, and finally a murder of one of the cult guards - the party were accused but their standing as protectors of the caravan by that stage soon quashed that - including the mysterious Azbara Jos sticking up for them. The next day, they arrived in Waterdeep, and a month and a half of game time travelling came to an end.