We went down to the room on the left and it was empty so we went up the stairs since that's where the leader that we killed came from last time we were here, and was the most likely location of the good loot. There was a door on the left and a passage straight ahead. The monk listened and heard Bugbears whispering so we decided to open the door. Before we could though, the bugbears on the other side opened it instead and surprised us again! A fierce combat ensued between the new bugbear leader and his two female cohorts and they were finally overcome after an epic struggle. We looted the room and went down the hallway and found a storage room with lines of catnip laid out on a table that turned out to be a Thugee (Norse) shield that we later determined was magical. We bagged up the catnip for further use since it appeared to be a favorite of bugbears, grabbed the shield and a cask of oil and left the other foodstuffs there to be retrieved later.
Lorinar also found a secret door in the room that led into a natural cavern that branched into three separate tunnels that led out of it. In the room were three giant fire beetles that attacked the group! When the group entered the room to attack them, we got a dizzy feeling so Lorinar, Ragnar and our new sea elf warrior ally Narsil backtracked to the secret door and discovered that the effect went away when you left the room - the cavern was enchanted with some sort of disorienting magical effect! The others defeated the Fire Beatles in melee combat and then couldn't figure out which way was the way back to the secret door since they were disoriented! Some guessed correctly but the others did not and started blundering further into the maze. Since we were out of healing spells we decided not to risk exploring these tunnels any further since we could get lost in there for some time with no way to heal ourselves in the event that we needed healing magics.
We went back up the stairs with our new henchmen and down the last remaining passageway where we encountered a large number of Bugbears including females and young that appeared to be imminently hostile, so two of the wizards cast sleep and knocked them all out and it was over - the Bugbear lair had been defeated and our fallen comrades had been avenged! So having successfully completed our mission (though we never found the bodies) we left the Bugbear lair and pondered our next move. Since we hadn't really been injured too badly, and had most of our healing spells we decided to either enter the enchanted caverns or return to the Owl Bear's lair in search of more loot!
A brief note - despite it being Friday the 13th, our luck was normal in this game. We won roughly half of our initiative rolls and were only surprised by the bugbears roughly half of the time. This made a huge impact on the final outcome of the session and contributed to our successful foray. During the previous fight with the Bugbears, not only were we surprised on the initial encounter, we never won initiative (lost 5 in a row) and only tied twice after that and half of the group was wiped out.
TO BE CONTINUED…