Having juiced up all their gear in the magical green flame, the party tromps back the way they came until the discover the source of the wave echo that gives Wave Echo Cave its name: the great booming cavern.
Which is basically a giant toilet siphon. A ledge snakes around a sheer drop into a deep pool of dark water, which slowly fills up with runoff from other parts of the cave. As they watch, the water level fills up to a worn watermark on the stone, and then violently sucks down into the depths, pulling the air in the room with it. Water then rushes back into the pool, creating a loud crash that deafens most of the party. They gesture towards a side exit to the room, and proceed in that direction, noticing a curious pattern of wet footprints leading away from the pool…
They follow the footprints down a rough passageway until they notice thick webbing coating the walls and ceiling. They don’t see what’s responsible for the webs, but Hank decides to open up the decanter of endless water at it anyway, and flushes a not-so-itsy bitsy giant spider off the ceiling. Still deafened, the party launches an uncoordinated attack on the beast, quickly smashing it because the DM forgot its turn :(
Hank theorizes that perhaps they have killed the black spider. It is black, after all.
…buuuut, just to make sure, they keep going down the passageway until they find smooth stone walls, cut to a dwarf’s dimensions, leading to a open doorway. Voices drift out from this chamber, and Taranion recognizes the undercommon dialect. One of them sounds humanoid, but the other voice…does not. Tipsy sneaks her best sneak into the doorway and then peeks her best peek at…a drow, seated in the open palm of a massive dwarven statue, conversing with one of three oddly shaped creatures she’s never seen before. Another giant spider sits beneath the feet of the drow, watching as the conversation seems to take a turn for the unpleasant.
The party decides to employ its 4 sneakiest members to creep into the room and hide behind pillars. They spread out, taking advantage of the drow’s apparent preoccupation with the business deal he’s conducting, until one of the creatures–a pincerstaff toting kuo toa whip–glances about nervously, uttering “NEZZNAR…WE ARE NOT ALONE…”
Taranion, who is standing just outside the doorway with Danquayle and Mistria, understands undercommon enough to know that the jig may or may not be up. Rather than leave things ambiguous, he leaps into the doorway and hurls guiding bolt at the drow.
Blasted, the drow leaps to his feet and yells the most vile, intimidating thing he can summon: “HOW RUDE!”
He then commands his allies to attack, and the four stealthy party members discover that the columns they are crouching behind each have a giant spider hanging out at the top. Some engage with the spiders, while the forces waiting outside pour into the room to battle the fishmen standing between them and the drow. Hank does a flying jump kick towards the dark elf, who seems competent at deflecting spells but less so at deflecting monks. Having had enough of whatever the hell is happening in here, the mage casts greater invisibility on himself, and eludes Hank’s grasp.
While the party tangles with the spiders and fishmen, the Black Spider chastises them from the safety of being invisible and somewhere on the ceiling. He is SO CHEESED that they barged in here and starting firing off spells and beating up his spiders when he was going to offer them a deal. They assert, in so many words, they have no interest in any deals with this fucking wiener, so he transforms the floor into a mass of writhing black tentacles. Who’s rude now?
One giant spider, a kuo toa, and Danquayle get grappled by the tentacles, which constrict around their bodies. Danquayle watches as the tentacles wrap around each of the spider’s legs and pull, wishboning it 8 ways. The kuo toa whip struggles to pull his lackey out with his pincer staff, but can only watch as his fellow fishman gets crushed, folded in half, and pulled down into the mass of tentacles. The whip curses at Nezznar as he and his remaining lackey flee the room.
Danquayle is tired of being in the play pit and begins straining against the tentacles, ripping them out at the roots, and storms out of the area of effect. Other party members are tussling with the giant spiders, with Tipsy getting stuck in a bunch of webbing and Chinny getting poisoned by a deep bite. As Taranion advances on one of the spiders, it begins to mutate and the torso of a sickly, gaunt drow emerges from its head, becoming the thing the sun elf fears most: a drider. The creature taunts him in Black Spider’s voice, and presses him about the condition…of his hand. Taranion asserts that his hand, concealed in its special mithril lined glove, is perfectly fine, but Black Spider argues otherwise, stating that as soon as Taranion blasted him with the guiding bolt, he felt the taint of the black tome upon him.
“There’s no taint on my hand!”
“YES THERE IS! IT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TOUCH THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T!”
Taranion chokes down his fear with a successful wisdom roll, and swings for the bleachers with his trusty longsword. The blade passes straight through the elven torso of the creature like a sword through a minor illusion, because it is that thing. The illusion shattered, he begins to lay into the spider in earnest, putting out several of its eyes.
[what is a drider but a type of spider man, anyway?]
As spider battles are waged across the room, Mistria once again reaches for her dwarven dynamite and tinder. She readies herself and prepares to light the fuse as soon as the Black Spider shows his face again.
Ander meanwhile has been battling a spider of their own, when it suddenly disengages and scuttles back up the pillar. Ander hears a strange ringing sound, like a finger circling a wine glass, and the glass staff they stole begins to resonate, followed by the glass brooch, and the glass ring, until a glass sphere suddenly materializes around them. The Black Spider, once again visible, comes striding down the wall, an adamantine staff tucked under his arm, a stemless glass goblet in his hand which he is circling with a finger.
“I bet you felt so clever, stealing all three glass items from my underlings. I bet you wondered what they did if you gathered all three of them! WELL NOW YOU KNOW! ISN’T THAT COOL?”
Ander desperately beats on the resilient sphere to no effect while the drow continues ringing the small glass globe.
“You’ve emasculated my wizard, which is annoying, and since I know Grol wouldn’t part with that ring for his life I can safely assume you have killed my bugbear, which is frankly a relief; but I do not know what has become of the owner of that brooch. I must warn you, you have already killed one of my doppelgangers, but if you have also killed my favorite doppelganger, the consequences for you are going to be very dire indeed.”
Just as Ander goes to answer that Vyerith is definitely fine or at least she was the last they saw her, a voice rings out from the doorway: “NEZZNAR!”
In strides a figure draped in a black cloak. He proceeds to the center of the room and throws back his hood, revealing the grey head of Sildar. Sildar kneels to the floor, sword in hand and says “…the Black Spider has many hands.”