It all started over a barrel of dwarven ale. My barrel, that is, which I planned to enter in the guild of brewers’ contest. But the night before the contest, I started drinking early – a bit of a pre-celebration of winning. And then I woke up before daw, head pounding, to discover that my prize-winning barrel of dwarven ale was one of the barrels we tapped the night before. So I shouldered my pack and set out in search of ingredients for a new cask. Better late than never, right? But this one was going to have to be really, really special. I’d need the most unique of ingredients. Something no one could possibly expect in an ale, and yet, still a perfect complement to the traditional flavors.
I would need a peanut!
Yes, a peanut would be the perfect complement to the rich, brown body of a solid dwarven ale. Like a hint of earth, a thin layer over the stone. A nugget of flavor. I would go look for a source of hey, peanut!
I grabbed my pack, complete with the now-empty barrel of ale still strapped to the back, and set off to find a peanuthead!
There was a surprising amount of digging involved, starting in my back yard mushroom field with a pickaxe and some borrowed explosive powder. In fact, it seems I picked a thin spot in the stone over some sort of chimney. The plug collapsed, I fell through, and landed in a vast underground lake, still dreaming of the huge peanuthead! I would use to brew my prize-winning ale.
Luckily the barrel strapped to my back was empty and watertight. It kept me afloat while I paddled to shore.
From there, I wandered through a maze of twisting passages, all alike. Before long I was thoroughly lost. When I finally found the entrance, a strangely square archway, there was a sign reading kroZ.
Shortly after that I started thinking of peanuts again, and found a staircase heading down.
At the bottom of the very long stair – don’t worry, peanuts are deep rooted vegetables – I found a group of very strange folks arguing over a sarcophagus. Apparently the last person who touched a sarcophagus in this tomb died, so they were reluctant to touch a second one. Figuring there might be peanuts inside, I chose to hang around and help.
There were actually two peanuts inside, neither of them actually peanuts. One was mostly untouchable, which would make it difficult to brew with, and the other was a polearm. I think the first one was actually undead, which would make for a remarkable if bad tasting ale. I took a couple swings at the thing with my hammer. I felt a little resistance as each swing passed through the incorporeal creature, so something was happening, but the nasty woman in scale mail shoved the polearm at me and yelled to use it. Why? My hammer was working fine and I had a shield, no free hands. I said no thanks, doing fine here.
So their wizard hit me with a firebolt in the ass. He’s some aging human with a beard as tall as I am and he’s clearly not worthy of it. I retaliated by smacking their oversized halfling with my hammer. She gave me the sort of betrayed look an autistic puppy gives when you kick it, but their wizard hit me first and she was closer. Sorry-not-sorry, adorable giant halfling lady.
After more yelling about the polearm from that nasty cleric, I humored her, dropped my shield, and grabbed the polearm. My head immediately filled with peanuts, but the creature disappeared. I think someone hit it while I was thinking of peanuts.
I took off my pack for a moment and set it down so I could search for some sort of burn salve in my medical supplies. Before I found any, one of the idiots stumbled over something invisible. Sensing an opportunity, I poked it with the polearm, ignoring the peanut’s complaints. It turned out to be an invisible chest full of invisible coins, gems, and at least one necklace. Luckily, I had an empty barrel strapped to my backpack. I started scooping the coin and gems into the barrel while the idiots argued over something. I was ignoring them and listening to the peanut while the pretty pretty gold and silver flowed through my hands.
When my barrel was full, I stood up and walked towards the stairs out, shouldering my pack while the rest continued arguing. Serves them right for shooting a gift dwarf in the ass. We had left one of their group smoking a mushroom in the upper chamber, I could wait there while the rest finished arguing.
That was when the nasty priestess hit me with some sort of glowing holy bolt as I started up the stairs, and the wizard was screaming something about stealing the loot and calling his unseen servant to arrest me. It was about that point when I decided I really didn’t owe them anything and just started running. My legs may be short, but once I get moving I’ve got inertia for days. I left them in my dust, carrying my barrel of coin and my shiny new peanut over my shoulder…