Our Bugbear Cohorts led us to a secret door that led to the quarters of the head of the Air Temple. Gara and Berghoff rushed in and surprised the priest and caught him while he was having his coffee and killed him in a single round (plus the surprise round)! We looted his stuff which included a Magical suit of armor, a Magic Cloak, a Magic Dagger, a Magical Mace and a mundane Air Temple robe. When Kieren searched the room he found nothing and moved into another adjacent passage with a flowing fountain which contained a large pile of weapons (armor, weapons, arrows etc.). We took the arrows and kept searching and Aelf-in-Dur found a very expensive ceremonial robe with a glyph on it (a cassock of silver cloth with gems on it) which appeared to be very valuable in the wardrobe. At this point the Bugbears were tearing through the rest of the priest's belongings looking for valuables.
We went into the room with the Gnolls and killed them while their cousins, the Air Temple Bugbears, quickly joined the other Bugbears that were supposedly on the side of the "New Order". We rewarded the Bugbears with the loot we took from the Gnolls and then asked them where to find the actual Air Temple and they directed us to it. It turned out to be a central octagonal chamber which was between the other three temples assuming the Water Temple is where we think it is.
After the group killed the Priest of the Air Temple and the two Gnolls and took their stuff, one of the Bugbears in the newly united group of them asked us:
“Will the new order be taking over the Great Temple?”
We of course replied "yes" even though this was the first we had heard about this "Great Temple". This created a bit of a stir and the Bugbears began to murmur amongst themselves in Goblinoid. Most of the group couldn't hear what was said even if they could understand their language but Kieren was invisible and standing right next to them and heard one of them reply quietly:
“We will never see these guys again...”
He also said something about "The Master" but we don't know anything else about this guy yet. When we asked the Bugbears where the Greater Temple was they said it was "down" on the next level. It appears that there is more leadership in the complex on the level(s) below than just that of the Elemental Temples that we have been dealing with so far on this level.
The Air Temple is a large octagonal room with four sets of staircases with short and broad steps below each bronze double door on four sides opposite of each other in the room. Illumination appeared to be coming from everywhere at once with no apparent source. The floor is 15' below and is partially obscured by swirling mist. The ceiling is 40' above the level of the floor and the pierced dome above is a 20' wide circular shaft directly over center of the recessed pit in the floor below. There is a 2' tall x 4' wide x 8' long alabaster block opposite the door where the burning corridor is which appeared to be a place where sacrifices were made by the Air Priest. On the block lay a pair of crystal daggers, a bowl of fine crystal and two crystal braziers standing on tripods and filled with incense (all of immense value). The chained bronze large set of double doors opposite the doors off the fire hallway appeared to have the "Antipathy spell" cast on it as Aelf-in-Dur approached it - he made his save and wasn't totally repulsed by it but felt the affect of the spell.
We explored the room and found 3 secret doors - the first one led up and into the hallway off of the Air priest’s quarters that we had just come from, the second led to a set of steps going down and the third led to a dead-end hallway that contained a Magical Censer of some sort (detected as magical).
Kieren's miniature dragon familiar then searched the room for loot with his "locate object" ability. The dragon informed his master that the crystal objects (and especially the two braziers) were of immense value (20,000 g.p. each or something ridiculous like that!). Kieren started messing with the crystal objects in an attempt to learn the ritual and remove them and managed to summon a very powerful Air Elemental whose winds buffeted the group pretty badly and nearly everyone took damage. When he stopped messing with the objects, the swirling winds ceased and the elemental went away. He continued to try to figure out the secret of the ritual and then Berghoff got attacked by what we thought was a wraith and collapsed to the floor at that point. Aelf-in-Dur fired a magical arrow from his magical bow and killed it with one very well aimed shot. The fighter turned out to have only lost 20 hit points or so and didn't lose any levels or anything so it was apparently an illusion of a wraith or something that attacked him.
At this point, Kieren (invisible and moving silently) decided to investigate the stairs leading down with the invisible illusionist Faust and Ryn following along a short distance behind. They walked into a hexagonal chamber with six doors in it (one on each face) and immediately noticed that sounds were amplified in this room. At this point, a bunch of the doors opened and they were surrounded by four very large trolls! In the ensuing melee that followed, Faust managed to cast Major Image and summon an Earth Elemental while Ryn was pounded down to the ground and knocked unconscious by the hungry trolls (at -1). The Earth Elemental did some damage and the rest of the group headed down the steps to aid their beleaguered comrades. Now that Faust was visible, he was next and knocked unconscious by the trolls (to -9 hits!) and near death. With Gara and Berghoff barely able to hold back two of the trolls and the other two about to eat Ryn and Faust things were looking grim for the group. At this point, the invisible Kieren threw all of his magical "Magic Mouth" marbles to scatter on the floor and the room resonated with the sounds of all of the magical voices "hey buddy, watch out behind you", "since we're invisible, we'll just sneak around behind them" etc. This momentarily distracted the trolls from their snack and allowed Kieren and Aelf-in-Dur to affect a rescue and attempt to bring their two comrades out of the room.
Aelf-in-Dur quaffed a potion of Sanctuary and retrieved the fallen Ryn while Kieren managed to apply some Keoghtom's Ointment to the nearly dead illusionist just in time to save his life and brought him to 0 hits. After Ryn was saved, Kieren made it through the trolls with the unconscious illusionist and there was much rejoicing. The Gnome attempted to slay the trolls with his Flamestrike spell on the scroll from the Fire Temple but was overcasting and couldn't manage to get the spell off so the group retreated from that level and returned to the level above. The group rested up and decided not to revisit the level below in the immediate future.
The next day Kieren returned to the octagonal chamber with the group standing out in the hallway near the Air Priest's quarters. Kieren tried many things including trying to take some incense from one of the braziers to put into the Censer. When he did so, smoke started billowing forth and he had to retreat from the room after taking some poison damage from the smoke. He returned wearing the Necklace of Adaptation and was able to breath the next time he attempted this. He then heard a spell go off in the center of the room but it took him a little while to figure out it was some sort of teleportation device in the middle of the area of the recessed floor. We surmised you had to put an appropriate sacrifice into the recessed floor and it would be taken away to wherever but that's about as far as we got.
Kieren then poured a flask of holy water into one of the censers and that action caused a type I demon (a Vrock) to be summoned into existence! As the two fighters started fighting it, it laid into Berghoff with its many attacks. Of course, this only pissed off the barbarian who managed to hit it with a savage blow. It responded by somehow grabbing her by the ankles and flinging her behind it into the room to take 5 dice of falling damage! As the rest of the group continued fighting the hateful creature, it popped off continual darkness ability and was shrouded in darkness and was very hard to hit since it was practically invisible. Gara recovered and took advantage of her position behind it in the room and scored another hit with her magical Two Handed Sword. This only made it madder and it attacked her and flung her into the room behind it again and turned to face her. Of course, this left the Demon's back exposed and the group finally managed to finish it off and it vanished just as quickly as it had been summoned...