Another series of college visits and a head cold has rendered another late posting for this past week's recap. We had seven players, the regulars that have been present from the beginning (Dave, Don, Steve, and myself) and the might-as-well-be-regulars-now (Zach, Kyle, and Dustin). We had reached the ancient dwarven monastery last week and had fought our way in, but we are also aware that an always dangerous dragon lay in our future.
After a short rest the party prepared to open the door that would allow us to exit the foyer and enter the depths of the monastery. Hearing nothing, the huge doors were opened and - nothing. Darkness, silence, and the musty smell of a long abandoned building all filled our senses, so sensing no immediate danger the party stepped into the long hallway.
All of a sudden the view of the hallway twisted. It was no longer dark and dreary, but well lit and well maintained. Four adventurers walked up the hallway directly at the party. This new party consisted of a gnome illusionist, a human mage, an eladrin knight, and of all things, a very young and a very much alive Salazar Vladistone. As the group approached our party the gnome said, "The duergar brought dangerous help." And then just as quickly as the visitors appeared they were gone, the hallway restored to its dark and musty reality.
What was that? Some kind of time slice remnant from history perhaps? If the Arrow of Time is within these walls what kind of power does it truly have? The mage told us that the power of the arrow had likely infiltrated the entire monastery. Who knew what other effects the party might come across. If the party did find the arrow ... how could we safely deliver it ... yeah, that, and still more questions than answers.
With quiet now restored the party moved further down the corridor until they came to two doors, one on each side of the hallway. The door on the right was unlocked - at least physically - but it wouldn't budge otherwise. The mage declared there was some sort of time-related spell upon the door that might be unraveled as we moved further into the building.
Temporarily stymied, the party moved to the door opposite. As before there were no physical locks, but the glimmer of magic on this door was comparatively insubstantial. Hearing no stirring on the other side, the door was opened and the party viewed what must have been a barracks of some kind. There were four musty beds, each with a chest at the end of the bed, but the room had the same dark and musty feel that the hallway had.
Sensing no immediate danger the party stepped into the room and as they did the room twisted again and before the party stood the same four ethereal adventurers. They were bandaging themselves or fixing their equipment when one of them spoke, saying "Actherimos is too strong. We can not win without dying ourselves," As the illusion faded from view those in the party that new of the legend of Actherimos filled in the story. Actherimos was an earthquake dragon that had terrorized the Nentir Vale for many years, but according to legend around 100 years ago he had disappeared, never to be seen again. The thought that perhaps the party had solved this age old question did little to ease their fears.
With thoughts of the dragon-kind filtering through the heads of the party members we decided to further investigate the room. The lure of unopened chests hurried several of the party members forward and as they approached the chests several ghouls materialized in front of them. The two ghouls and two ravaging ghouls were also supported by a huge carrion crawler that appeared from a hole in the wall towards the back of the room.
The battle was fast and furious. The ghouls managed to get in their damage, and our mage was knocked unconscious on a first round critical by one of the ravaging ghouls, but other than that the DM had a tough night rolling for damage this night. Our cleric was able to quickly revive the mage, and we were able to determine that radiant damage seemed to have an additional affect on the foul fiends. Several party members were eventually bloodied, but it didn't take long for the party to knock out the carrion crawler and then the ghouls.
As the post-battle quiet filled the room the party took a moment to rest. Inspection of the chests found nothing of value, but Zach crawled up into the carrion crawler's lair and found a +1 Safewing Amulet.
With a short rest completed the party moved back out into the hallway. As they discussed where to proceed the mage announced that the magic on the opposite door had been diminished and that we would likely be able to enter that room now, or at least when we reconvene next week.