With the immediate threats vanquished and the upper levels explored, it was time for the heroes to travel deeper. After all, their was still a lost tribe to be found, an ancient ruin to be explored, and a unicorn horn to be recovered. And so the party, bolstered by the entirely trustworthy additions of Abby the Aboleth, Utha the bear, and the voice in Urzoggs head, progressed to the Deep Caves for another day of dungeon crawling.
But this was no ordinary dungeon: the deep caves were the abode of the Hunter, an implacable half-dragon warrior who had filled the tunnels with exotic beasts and terrible monsters. Even these were not enough to test his skills, however, so he had recently turned to hunting the most dangerous game of all: man. And sometimes dinosaurs. But mostly man.
The heroes first encountered the hunter during a b pets, a pair of basilisks who obliged the heroes to fight with their eyes closed. During the battle, a shot rang out, and a rifle bullet slammed into Jethro's back, almost slaying him on the spot. Worse, the hunter was accompanied by another pet, a dire bear who waded into battle to engage the heroes from behind. The fight was long and hard, but through heroic efforts the adventurers eventually slew the bear and the basilisks. The Hunter was one step ahead, however, and fled deeper into the tunnels. In no shape to pursue, the heroes retreated back to town to lick their wounds.
The hunter was a cagey foe, however, and opted to strike hen his prey least expected it. Saqquas sleep was interrupted by a mighty bang, and he awoke just in time to dodge the energy blast flying through his window. Quickly spying the hunter on the roof of the building opposite the inn, Saqqua attempted to charge his enemy, only to be grabbed by the mighty claws of a giant scorpion. With the scorpion on the ground and the hunter above, things looked grim for Saqqua, but his alies quickly moved into action.
A blast of mental force from Jethro dazed the Hunter, who was quickly grabbed by Urzoggs grappling hook and sent tumbling to the ground. Injured, he attempted to flee with Urzogg and jethro in hot pursuit, and thus began a running battle across the town. Jethro took a shot to the chest form the hunters rifle, and without his armour was unable to withstand the blow. He fell into a stupor, while Urzogg used the opportunity to engage the hunter at close range. Alas, the hunter was as deadly with a sword as with a gun, and soon felled the intrepid gunslinger.
The two had delayed the hunter enough for Saqqua to defeat the scorpion, and the warrior came charging round the corner to join the fight. After another chase, he at last caught up to his foe, and the two lunged at each other in a storm of blades and hammers. Saqqua struck a fraction of a second faster, and with a mighty crash the hunter was slain.
After a few emergency medical procedures, the party retired once more to the inn, secure in the knowledge that the master of the deep caves had been slain. But upon their return to the caves, they faced a monster more terrifying than any they had yet seen, the hunters most favored pet – A Tyrannosaurus rex! The beast swallowed Saqqua and Urzogg whole while Jethro was leaped upon from behind by Dire Tiger, and for a moment it seemed that all was lost. But Utha the bear, strengthened by consuming the draconic flesh of the hunter, leapt into the fray, distracting the tiger while the two warriors cut their way out of the t-rexes stomach. A series of blaster rounds to the beasts internal organs laid low the endangered and majestic animal, and the party was able to focus its full attention on the tiger, which was quickly dispatched.
Wounded but alive, the party was at last able to explore the hunters abode, and found hisjournal, in which he detailed his many accomplished. Of most interest to the heroes was a reference to the passing of the lost barbarian tribe a little under a year ago. Apparantly, they had moved onto "the ruins below" a place the hunter avoided as it was infested with undead and unspeakable horrors. This, then would be the heroes next destination. Their was only one lingering question: where did a hunter living in a cave come across an advanced empowered rifle? And could it be related to the weapons used by the stormcloud goblins? Something was clearly afoot deeper below the mountain…