as written by the cavalier Olmas Lurecia, himself.
Toilday, 27 Pharast
We arose early – scratch that. We were hiding inside a rope trick. We descended early that day. With the aid of the previous day’s scouting, we knew exactly what we were doing and how to prep for it. We had decided upon a top-down approach … that is, we had spotted a hole in the roof yesterday and thought that entering there might give us more surprise than the obvious front doors. Fly spells were cast upon those who needed them (I used airwalk from Suishen). We were also bestowed with dark vision, life bubble, and delay poison. All of these would last 3 hours or longer, which, our experience suggested, would be more than enough.
Quietly arriving at the roof, we peered down. What greeted us was a tangle of webs below. Well, we were warned there’d be spiders. Zos thought a vial of alchemical fire might help clear a path, and nobody disagreed. Dasi began to sing and we all felt a bit more confident about our chances. Nothing like a bard singing around a fire atop a deserted prison to inspire a bunch of travellers.
Meanwhile, below, a disoriented voice said, “Get that.” Another voice responded lazily, “Why?” I stood near the hole, waiting for something to come out so I could smack it. Kali cast resist fire on herself, apparently a little concerned in view of our increasing use of fire. Below us, the fires continued to burn the webs, unimpeded. Peering over, we could see it was now a longer drop to the “floor”. What we’d previously thought was the floor had simply been a thick layer of webs. “Intruders!” rose lazily from beneath us.
And a dagger flew up to hit Qatana. Ah! Finally a battle!
But still nothing tried to climb up. We could see figures moving around below, though, and I was sorely tempted to descend. I was stayed by the fact that while the daggers wouldn’t hurt me much, I wasn’t sure what else may be in play down there. I reluctantly held my position at the top of the jagged hole. Qatana pulled out one of our old fireworks and shot it down there, creating more fire and flashes of light. Looked like there might be 5 or 6 spiders down there, but between the flashing and their skittering to the shadows, it was hard to say. Radella and Ivan broke out their bows and sent some pointed greetings down at the dagger-thrower. Ivan also found a simple Spark would ignite webs, while Qatana continued to find more fireworks in her bag.
One spider died and audibly fell to a stone floor 20′ below.
Radella, Qatana, and I felt it was time to take the fight to them. We had the delay poison still operating, so whatever poison they may have would not slow us. This allowed all of us to clearly see that when the spiders skittered to the shadows …
… there truly were Shadows there. They came at us as soon as we were on the floor, and as two of them touched me I felt barely half as strong as I had before. Bad time to not have my distance weapon close at hand. Radella and Qatana were also affected and we all immediately returned to the roof.
It looked like Qatana might be attacked again before she could make it safely to the roof by creating a circular wall of fire with Qatana in the middle and the heat facing outside. We suddenly realized this was a wonderful way to clear the room of creatures. We used the wand of lesser restoration to get our strength back while the room below us was cleared of webs and sterilized. Kali sent down two fire elementals to help “attack the spiders”. This seemed like overkill, but Dasi did remark that he could sense there was still things alive below us. As if by cue, a scream came from below and was cut off.
Ivan ended the wall of fire and we descended en masse. As we expected, we found very little webbing and heavily charred bodies, as expected. However, we did not expect, or rather forgot to think, that some valuable items on that level were also nothing but ashes or at best, charred lesser versions of their former selves. We retrieved
 magnificent screen (charred)
 bolt of charred fabric
 charred tapestry
 pair of charred shoes
 pile of soot
 porcelain tea set with silver and platinum (400-500gp)
 jade dragon brooch
 4 jade hairpins
 carved soapstone pig
 jade belt buckle with demonic face
 jade belt hook in the shape of a heron
We found the body of a female spider who had crawled away from the flames a little (and thus less badly burned). She also had some things.
 potion of blur
 potion of CSW
 8 MW daggers
 black porcelain mask
There was an opening leading down to the next level, and a quick glance suggested more webs. Much to my surprise and almost delight, large spiders started coming up to attack us. THIS is something Suishen and I could handle!
There was a brief but active battle, and words were exchanged. It was hard to tell when we were being spoken to, and when we were simply overhearing parts of another conversation. But I did discern that apparently the oni and the spiders had some sort of arrangement – the spiders lived here and a little below, while the oni lived farther below.
This time, though, a reply came up from below: a pretty nasty bolt of lightning hit Qatana, and then arced to the rest of us. This inspired us greatly, and we redoubled our efforts by sending down spiritual allies and firebombs and the occasional flurry of arrows. In response, Kali set up a lesser globe of invulnerability to block other rude surprises, and then installed another wall of fire.
The mighty wizard then teleported up to our level, and this quickly became a strategic error. Although he cast mirror image, those images fell quickly. Kali did something new where she moved me right next to him and I was able to immediately smack him (well, his image.) But ten seconds later I unleashed a flurry of swings that put him down … and when he died, he took on this bizarre form of another spiderlike creature. This time, at least, the goodies weren’t charred.
 wand, lightning 
 4 doses of med spider venom
 dagger of venom
 MW blowgun
 10 darts
 cloak of resistance +2
 endless flask of sake – 1 gallon/round, plus once/day drink for random potion
 silver sake cup
 magnificently carved Earth being eaten by a dragon
 silver mirror (~1000gp)
 2 doses of opium
 set of keys
The fires had created a sharp drop to the floor below which, we could see now, and on the solid floor below there were spikes. Fortunately we all had fly or air walk running yet so we could easily avoid them, but falling from the opening above down to the floor would have been nasty indeed.
At this level, which appeared to have maybe been the corpse storage level, we saw a number of grates in the floor which allowed us to look into the level below us. It was while quietly looking through these grates that we observed two creatures which looked to be some form of undead: skeletons that seemed to still have some intact organs. Down below us, they seemed to be hunting, or maybe on aggressive guard duty for something.
Meanwhile, up here, we were finding miscellaneous items and gear among the corpses. In some broken cabinets we found
 3 flasks (magic)
 saffron (~200gp)
 4 opium pipes
 8 doses of opium
 3 bamboo chests
 string of ancient coins
Among the bodies we found
 MW nunchuks
 potion (magic)
 fine teak carving of a Tien nobility
 battered breastplate
 fine leather shoes, one with  small opal inside
 delicate silver snuff box in the shape of a turtle
 rhinocerous horn drinking vessel
 jade belt hook
 silver altar set with lotus flowers
 red lacquered trunk with 3 bags of silver and 2 of gold
 leather document case
 scroll (magic)
 plain wooden box with 10 opium doses
 elaborately carved jade and ruby pipe
 huge drum (magic)
We determined we could probably unleash quite a few arrows from above before a target could move away. Based on that, we decided to ambush one of the skeleton things at a time, while I stood by the circular staircase near the middle of the room in case anything decided to come up. This worked marvelously; we were able to kill them both without danger, and (apparently) without anything else raising an alarm.
With the apparent danger removed, Qatana and I headed for the staircase to head down.