EDITORIAL COMMENT FROM YOUR FRIENDLY DM
Hi guys. Because of the slow and scattered nature of play-by-post, quite often we lose the threads of where we are, what we've learned, etc. Since we've regrouped, I think I am going to state a few things to put everybody on the same page
1) This is a megadungeon - you don't have to clear every level. You might find that a given level is not giving the rewards you want, or is too difficult, and change levels accordingly, You have so far found a really deep chute, and stairs guarded by warriors who demand gold to pass. There will always be a way to change your level, and there may be more than one, on any given floor. However, the levels are small enough that it is possible to clear a level (assuming you find all the secret doors, and can handle all the monsters that are on the map)
2) I consciously designed this dungeon to be old school stocked, which is usually a lot of inconsequential treasure, and a few big finds. Two examples of big finds were the ogre haul and the hidden room off the map of Taurus. There is still a reasonable amount of treasure to be derived on this level.
3) As you have found, sometimes you don't have to fight - you can bargain, or run.
4) At least at first level, you get more experience from monsters than the treasure they are carrying (A goblin might give you 100 xp, and is carrying 3 xp worth of treasure)
5) On every level there will be encounters that can kill you - deadly traps, out-of-depth monsters. Be on guard, and have your backup character ready!
I hope you end up enjoying the experience