For six days, adventurers went into the Lottery Dungeon—and none came back out. The Khan even authorized more adventurers the last day, and still nothing. An ominous pall gathered over the assembled hopefuls, and desire to enter the dungeon began to wane.
The Frog Khan used his pretty bodyguards to lure two newcomers to the oasis into his audience hall: Blaylock, a Northron fighter, and Zang, a monk from Shamhat. He also invited Saedenn, Kaedo, and Crazy Bear (who was drunk and had to be carried.)
The Khan suspected a conspiracy or disaster was afoot, so he gathered brand-new adventurers who had no time to make local connections, and some tested delvers. He promised them riches, showing them a tray with coins, a jeweled pitcher and cups, pearls, and other assorted wealth—all theirs if they solved the problem and reported back.
They enjoyed wine and dancing girls for the rest of the evening, but they were not allowed to leave the Khan’s rooms until morning after a sponge bath and clear-eyed preparation.
Into the Lottery Dungeon
In an unusual move, the High Priest of the Laughing Frog drew the lottery tiles out of a special box that only had the pre-selected adventurers’ names in it. They faced the dungeon entrance, and headed down as the levels were still grinding below.
They quickly navigated the first level, with only one misstep. Their new Northron warrior, Blaylock, got to haul at the doors, and built up his delving muscles. They had also hired Farouk, a lock’n’trapper, who was nervous but handled the doors for them. Crazy Bear bolstered his nerve by lending him a hammer and a fancy hat.
They saw a phantom, and the terrified Farouk identified him as an adventurer who had come down some months ago. When they tracked down the entry to the lower level, the door was caked with ectoplasmic ice or something like it; paying no heed, Kaedo flung it open, and they descended into the depths of the second level.
They were baffled by a floor trap, and then corridors that led nowhere. Then Saedenn and Kaedo remembered they had been here before; they opened one secret door and found a pool of water, then opened another to get out past the basin of copper coins (Kaedo made a donation) and out into the wider level.
In a long hallway, they were ambushed by four incorporeal spirits. A combination of ferocity, luck, and skill (along with the assistance of the monk) allowed Kaedo to hack two of them down with his axe; more were coming, so they retreated, finding a door to the central hub as Saedenn coated himself in stone then swirled acid mist around his form.
The undead shrieked and melted in the mystical acid, as Saedenn’s mystical protections shielded him. They headed into the central hub, and found that the phantoms were herding them. They allowed themselves to be herded, and ended up in a nightmare chamber of certain death.
Confrontation with the Black Warlock
The chamber had ten bronze statues, two pools of blood, and a pit with a glowing green block of crystal. In the back, stairs led up to double doors—this was a way out.
Dozens of zombies and skeletons lined the walls, and a mass of collectors uneasily shifted at the back of the room. Then, rising from a pool of blood, the Black Warlock intoned that it was time for them to provide reinforcements.
Battle! Kaedo, Crazy Bear, and Blaylock assaulted the Black Warlock as undead descended on them from all sides. Saedenn melted masses of them with acidic fog as Zang protected him. The Black Warlock’s spell toughened the undead around him, and all seemed lost. Yet they fought on!
Farouk fled in terror, but he didn’t make it very far before the phantoms slew him.
Crazy Bear hammered the Black Warlock down to the floor, and Kaedo pounced on him in a fury in the storm of undead assault. Saedenn swarmed acidic mist all over the collectors, who were hanging back until their troops softened up the targets; many died shrieking. Blaylock struck the Black Warlock’s head from his shoulders.
Long Live the King
The undead paused, and protected themselves. The party continued their assault, focusing on one of the collectors that was bloating out. The newly corpulent collector was the new king, and he warned them against further attack; they paused to listen.
The king explained that this level needed its undead, and were they to slay them all, something…else would come. Saedenn considered his knowledge of lore, and admitted that it was possible. This was something like a zoo, and it was possible that the energy ecosystem could be fatally disrupted by wiping out all of the level’s guardians.
The party agreed to let the new collector king live, and in exchange they could travel through his level for the rest of their lives. The king amended the deal, to the rest of HIS life; subsequent kings would have their own obligations. They agreed.
Saeden, Kaedo, Blaylock, and Crazy Bear allowed the king to mark them with a necromatic scratch. Zang actually came here to slay the Black Warlock, so he did not plan to return, and did not need a mark.
The party retreated warily, carrying the Black Warlock’s gear and corpse (including the head.) They also collected Crazy Bear’s hat and hammer from Farouk’s corpse.
The crowd was delighted to see them emerge into sunlight about two hours after they headed down. They went to the khan’s chamber and dropped off the corpse, but they kept a magic protective ring, and the weapons. The khan rewarded them richly, with 150 gold pieces worth of wealth.
They gave the paired daggers to the High Priest of the Laughing Frog, he explained the blades would shatter if used by the living. However, Kaedo kept the sweet sword, and shared the ring with Saedenn.
Then they partied. Crazy Bear was named the BEAARon of the Oasis, and he spent a lot of time as a bear rug for the wiggly dancing girls. He was also mugged at one point, but he doesn’t clearly remember the details. Young Zang (only 15, poor lad) blasphemed against the Laughing Frog and was cursed with insatiable hunger for a whole week.
Blaylock invested in moving the bar out to the oasis for a night of partying, and the big spenders had a magnificent grand party that thrilled all who attended.
In the sticky, bleary aftermath a few days later, Saedenn and Kaedo began to plan for a visit to a city to look for magic.