Are we there yet?

Undaunted by the fact that they have been exploring this …tomb…maze of deathtraps…whatever it is for almost month, the intrepid heroes press on and after exploring some death traps, find their way through a secret door into a hallway that ends in stairs that lead up to a trapped wall, and a hallway that leads to another door. That door registers as a trap and an elaborate scheme is hatched to open the door from afar. When the door opens a cloud of gas floods the hallway and the mage falls into a deep sleep. The rest of the group drags him to safety and watches as a stone roller proceeds to travel the length of the hallway – it would have certainly crushed anyone who was prone. Upon doubling back, they find a secret trapdoor set into the floor.

Eventually it is opened and a steep staircase...

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Resume the grind!

The secret door is difficult to open, but eventually it reveals more passageways, more traps and even a few trapped traps. The days slide by in what becomes a routine. The party awakes, chooses spells – casts detect traps and starts walking. A trap is found and investigated. Rinse, lather and repeat until out of spells. Then, deploy rope trick and enjoy some clerically created foodstuffs before awaiting the next day’s slog. Some days they cover a few hundred feet of corridor, other days less.
The party members are torn between the thought that there is no point to this and all that exists are more traps to slay the unwary, or the compelling thought that there is no way that anyone would invest this much time and trouble to protect nothing – so there must be a rich reward somewhere...

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Ring around the pit trap, all we got was pure crap!

Powering through the remainder of the trapped and secret door riddled maze, the group exits into a decorated hallway. Several crawl spaces are discovered and they are explored by the elf, one by one. Hours of crawling around, the group has lost a set of blue gems, but has gained a gem of seeing. They have also spent a ton of time and energy to obtain a magical ring of surprisingly limited power – given how difficult it was to obtain.
In the course of the exploration, the group defeats a chest full of poisonous snakes, an animated giant skeleton is teleported into the area, and a well-hidden and a trapped holding cell are explored. A tunnel is discovered that leads back to a trapped area in the entrance hall.
They go on to explore a temple – dedicated to apparently good religions – that qui...

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…when danger reared its ugly head, they bravely turned their tails and fled…

Girding loins both physical and metaphorical, the group re-enters the ground floor of the skyscraper of evil. They gain access to the lobby and beeline towards the stairs they saw during their last visit. As before, passing within 25′ of a pillar surrounds each party member with a shimmering globe of (individually colored) light. As before, they are swiftly confronted by a demon/devil/extraplanar evil of some sort. The cleric dismisses it in short order and the group presses onward. As they approach the stairs, the way is sealed by a wall of ice that springs up. The cleric is struck unconscious by some foul arcane means The elf counters with a wall of fire – take that! – and as the ice starts to melt, a pair of skeletal horrors land in the party’s vicinity. They do combat with the group...

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A short trip to the shaft

After five days of divvying loot and preparing for the next step. the group investigates the rest of the gate captain’s compound. This reveals little but does put the group in conflict with five large and well-equipped trolls. A few strategic walls of fire and the warty foes are ashes. A bit of looting and searching reveals a steep stair to a large roll-up door. The door is opened and a room of pitch blackness is revealed. The darkness is so deep that it threatens to overpower even the aura of magical weapons. The party hugs the walls and scoots into the room. One of the columns lining the wall has a secret door that leads the group to a ledge in the secret shaft.

Passing beyond, the group enters a large room, using a bridge to pass over a lake of extremely black, very still water...

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