Back to the blessed vapor. It was causing our undead companion serious damage. He fled back down the corridor the way we had come and, now another man short, we did the same.
After a food break, we returned to my blossoming kingdom and chilled for a little while, safe in the knowledge that little could get to us that we did not allow. A few in-game months passed and the kingdom of 50 was ten times that. It is amazing what money can buy.
Speaking of, we were all filthy rich. 10 barrels of oil per day at 316 silver per barrel (or, more accurately, 5 copper per pint and 8 pints to the gallon with 79 gallons in a barrel) gave us 316 golden lions a day. Free. For eternity. Even factoring out the cost of purchasing barrels and transportation, we still netted over 290gp a day. Not a lot for a kingdom, I grant, but enough to cover all the tools necessary to expand our operations.
, perhaps feeling bad over his Rust Monster , ruled that the chasm had nice, deep veins of a multitude of ores, including . Things were looking our way.
Once Gobbler had made his new character, a True Necromancer, we set out once more. Making our way back to the corpse of Gobbler's third character, we buried him in a cairn and continued onwards.
We had some minor skirmishes along the way; obviously nothing noteworthy as I cannot recall them. Eventually, we came across a medium sized cavern. Eagerly, we entered.
There was an exit hallway and a row of rungs leading into a crawlspace on the wall opposite us. We marched towards the ladder but we were attacked from above by a set of tentacles. I was grappled and initiative was rolled.
Winning initiative, as Paddy's characters usually do, the joined me in grappling the beast. No one was going to grapple anything but him, or so he said. With my aid, the roles were reversed. The choker went next, struggling vainly to break free from Paddy's iron grip. Also, there were some noises from the crawlspace beside us.
Gobbler was next, doing what he could to aid our situation, followed by . The moved to investigate the darkened hole above us from where the noises were coming. His shrieks alerted us to his situation; he had been grappled. Again.
The turns rolled back around and Paddy proceeded to establish 'pin', and by that I mean he yanked the choker off of the ceiling and brought it crashing down at our feet. Seeing he had things well in hand, I moved to aid Brainburn, who disappeared into the darkness. The creature facing Paddy tried vainly to free himself. Gobbler's Necromancer summoned some undead monstrosity in the hole above us. Sadly, it was not long for this world.
Jets of flame spurted out of the narrow opening overhead followed quickly by Brainburn himself. Apparently, the little devil cast his once daily Fireball and his captor had not approved.
Back to the top again, the Soulknife began truly proving dominance to his foe by slamming him up against the stone ceiling and then forcing him to the ground. Repeatedly. The rest of us stood around and watched after that, seeing as how the other beast wasn't coming after us any time soon. The show went on for a few rounds until finally the poor bastard moved no more. A choked sob came from the crawlspace and we turned in time to catch a glimpse of our second attacker fleeing back into the hole.
"No one escapes on my watch!" With that, Paddy went in. Gobbler, Jimbo and I nearly fell over laughing when Paddy announced his intention to drag the other creature back out and repeat the process over again. We could hear the cries of terror from the second victim as the Soulknife drug it back out into the main cavern. Recalling Chokers are semi-intelligent, and seeing as it was already half Kentucky-fried, I had a better idea.
I informed the group of my intention to interrogate our prisoner, to which Gobbler pointed out that we had no rope. I was about to remind him that I was filthy rich in equipment when Paddy had a better idea.
"Tie it up with the other one." The horror on Jimbo's face was priceless.
"With its dead mate?"
"Yup." And thusly we traumatised the dungeon denizen to the point where its struggles ceased and offered no resistance as we returned to the kingdom.
To get reliable information, we needed a Zone of Truth spell, which was not on my list at the time. Deciding that our POW would likely find some way to commit suicide in order to end its horror, we knew that waiting for daybreak was a bad idea. I searched my kingdom for another level three cleric but, according to Jimbo, there were none to be found. Fine; the city above us would house one. It was Waterdeep, after all.
Returning to the City of Splendors sans the Iron Giant but with Brainburn (whose loyalty had actually been earned by that point) netted us even more cash from the then blubbering guards of the entrance. One of the two did not have enough to cover his loss and was threatened with an old fashioned Dwarven kneecapping. He had the cash ready for our return trip.
We sought out a priest of the Dwarven faith. Faced with the percentage of Dwarves in Waterdeep, Jimbo ruled that there was one, a Cleric of Morrodin. I tithed a great deal and tried to pry my fellow Cleric away from Waterdeep and into my kingdom. After a successful diplomacy check and some heavy roleplaying, he agreed.
Once back in the kingdom (which we never did name), we led our newest subject to the cathedral. There, we had the traumatised Choker under suicide watch. After gathering what supplies the priest needed, we sat back and waited for the magic. Spell in place, the questioning began.
It was slow going, but when Gobbler zombified her deceased mate and made him dance an Irish jig, all while still holding onto the poor woman, she snapped and told us everything. Not far from their cave was a deep well with a secret inside of it. Beyond that, she knew little. Her information was hardly worth all the effort but we were all incredibly proud of ourselves all the same. When asked for a quick release from death, we declined. Who knew what other 'valuable' information she may have.
I wold like to blame Brainburn's influence for our characters' less-than-wholesome actions, but that would be dishonest.
We set off again after a few days rest in search for the vaunted well. We got there and I could hear the Choker chuckling in the back of my head. We couldn't see the bottom of the well because there were webs obscuring the view. The whole thing, covered in webs. Before superskull could melt the webs away with his heat vision, a fiendish spider crawled out of the well.
The evil arachnid proved little test for us, as we dispatched it in a round. Before we could celebrate, however, another one came at us. This repeated itself for several turns before we realised that something else was amiss. Braving the webs, I leapt into the well. I took a low outcome from 3d6 falling damaged and landed next to a squishy thing. It shat a spider in response.
“An ooze” I shouted, getting Paddy to run down the walls and Brainburn to float down to aid me. Gobbler stayed fairly useless. A decent fight took place, what with the acid damage slam attacks that our massless enemy employed and the spider-per-round special ability that provoked no attacks of opportunity.
“Everybody out,” Jimbo via Brainburn shouted out to us. Paddy carried me back to the top via his run on walls ability and a second once-daily Fireball came blooming out behind us like a mushroom cloud. Sadly, this did next to nothing due to the spiders having the fiendish trait and the ooze being completely immune to fire damage.
Eventually we killed all the spiders and no more came out. I healed the party and back down into the well we went to go mano-a-mano against the summoning ooze. A few near death experiences later and we crawled triumphantly out of the well with our treasure, a few +1 arrows and a feather token for a swan boat. We had learned nothing from our previous experience with information obtained via torture. That Choker would pay.
On our way back we decided to investigate a rumbling noise that we retroactively had been hearing for the majority of the campaign. We found ourselves looking up into an ongoing stairwell. Moving up into it against my protestations, my fears were proven valid when the walls came down around us. All of us reflexed out and only took half of 3d6 damage as rubble blocked the way up. We stood at the base arguing over whose fault the entire debacle was when the traps magically reset itself and the rumbling began again. We could see up the stairwell again. Rationalising that treasure would be at the top (because if years of gaming has taught me anything, its that the most dangerous traps lead to the best treasure) we charged up the stairs. We narrowly made it up safely, beating the magically crumbling staircase by a hair's breadth.
We quickly found ourselves trapped between a landslide and two flaming spheres. Where they came from and why we couldn't see their glow before rushing up is beyond me. Oddly enough, as Brainburn's eye lasers quickly proved, the orbs of fire were not immune to fire damage. Thinking it was another case of Jimbo misreading things. He forked over the book long enough to show us that they did, indeed, take fire damage.
Flabbergasted, we quickly made short work of the orbs, thanks mostly to Brainburn. The path clear, we moved up to the 'top' of the stairwell. A glowing wall of arcane energy blocked our path. Recognising it as part of the dream that unified the original characters, of whom half were then dead, I stuck my hand into it. After detecting evil, of course.
Finding none, I reached in and pulled out a ring. The ring, which had tiny horns on it, would allow its wielder to employ Greater Teleport at will. If I have to explain to you how bad an idea it is to gift this to a level 3 party, you probably shouldn't be reading this (but please keep doing it; any ego stroking is welcome!). Given a power greater than I could really comprehend, and being in great need of health after dealing with two cave ins atop us and two flaming spheres, I took us back to the kingdom for some much needed R&R.