Assuming that the Winter King had an answer for dealing with the ghoul horde bearing down on the elflands (since he was responsible for creating it in the first place), the party rushed off to the underwater city in order to deliver the Obsidian Hand to the Winter King. They began to question the wisdom of their actions when the Winter King immediately chopped off his own hand in order to replace it with the one the party provided him.
The Winter King's transformation was a painful one, but once complete he seemed to believe that his affliction could no longer affect elven kind — because he claimed no longer to be an elf. He then explained that he needed to inform the elves that he was no longer the Winter King. When informed of the ghoul horde, he quietly acknowledged his part in its creation and vowed to help stop it.
Completely uninterested in getting embroiled in elf politics or in a battle with the ghouls, the party decided to stay underwater and go treasure hunting. So, the rest of the evening was spent doing an unusual dungeon crawl with everything underwater. And the party found treasure. Lots of it.
- Phantasmal Force, when used correctly, can be devastating. The party ran into a magic using fishman and his guards. He created the illusion of a gigantic eel that attacked the party. It "killed" Swibish and his dwarven henchman before the party even thought about disbelieving.
- I use a house rule on XP for gold attributed to Arneson — I only award the XP once the gold has been spent. When characters come across large treasure troves like this one, it creates an interesting dynamic — how are they going to spend so much money? One answer that my party has come up with is to use the treasure as capital to invest in building projects. Ahkmed has started to build a home. Pawnshee has started a cheese factory and Hamlen had built and staffed a tavern. I have encouraged this because it invests the players in the game world itself, which is then transformed by their economic ventures. These projects only go so far, however. As we wrapped up the evening's fun, the party remembered that they had a map showing where the cloud giant kingdom was. They ended by deciding that they were going to go there and see if the giants had some exotic items that they could purchase for some serious cash. Arneson's house rule has resulted in an adventure I never would have come up with on my own.
That "Arneson rule" is one I like very much.
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