The first door had sound coming from the other side: mumbling humanoid speech. We opened it quietly to witness some sort of advanced recruiting hologram. The Runelord of Greed was sitting on a throne repeating how great the glory will be to fight on his side, etc. We tipped the marble throne and the two statues to find nothing of value.
The second door led to a silent and abandoned chamber. Two tables held ancient-looking (but sharp and pristine) surgical implements. A third table contained disassembled bones from what looked like “1 ½” creatures: some sort of centaur or mutant (in retrospect, it was probably the Barghest). The bones crumbled to dust when they were touched. Among the tools we found a seven-pointed star that looked like it would fit into the keyhole of door #3.
And so the third door led to some sort of magical containment room. Magical wards dropped when we pushed open the thick stone doors. A pit of glowing lava-ish material sat in the center, and a couple of racks of everburning candles flanked the door. A wood bas-relief of a seven-pointed star adorned the facing wall. Sethanon and Durrum stepped into the room to investigate.
Then, without warning, the key disappeared and the door slammed shut, dividing the party! Our two demi-human allies were left inside to face an image of Ripnugget (although it wasn’t actually him). Desperate to escape the room, “Ripnugget” had grabbed the key and was trying to barter a way out. Sethanon called his bluff, while Durrum tried to grapple/grab the key. This led to two consequences: the illusion was dropped to reveal an intimidating large-size “Greater Barghest,” and Sethanon got his ass charmed. Meanwhile the rest of the party was scratching on the door to find a way through. Enderby summoned an earth elemental and sent it under the threshold to “defend the demi-humans.”
After some feints, missed attacks, and multiple disarms (pun intended), the key was finally recovered and given to the small earth elemental. In a brilliant fit of one-armed pantomime, Durrum convinced the stupid elemental to bring the key out to Enderby. Then within moments the door flew open and the rest of the party poured in. While everyone hacked at the Barghest, Enderby tried to free Sethanon from his magical compulsion and Durrum used his healthy arm to find a secret treasure nook. The enemy finally collapsed, and we breathed a collective sigh of relief.
The rest of the night was clean-up. We shrank the helm and the horse to get them across the rickety bridge. We grabbed Nualia’s body to serve as evidence in defense of the Kajitsu family, and gathered up every bit of valuable-looking junk that wasn’t bolted down. And—at last—we turned our back to Thistletop and set off to return to our new hometown, thinking it safe at last…