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Registered User
(4/27/02 3:03 am)
Trithereon's campaign journal
The cast of characters:

Maximillian, human male, Cle7(Pelor)/Ftr1
Alexander, human male, Cle4(Olidamarra)/Rog4
Arakai, human male, Mnk8
Tuborg, human male, Ftr7
Rand, half-elf male, Rng6/Soc1/Arc1
Nnelgonon, elf male, Wiz7/Ftr1

NPCs along for the ride
Redithidoor, human male, Brd3/Rog2
Rahul, human male, War1
Nigel, human male, War1
Cobb, human male, War1
Kalthor, human male, Com1 (teamster)
Maglion, human male, Com1 (animal handler)

The setting is in the World of Greyhawk. This group has been together since all were 1st level. They fought evil in and around the City of Greyhawk before becoming embroiled in the cult of Tharizdun. I started them on the path to the CRM by running them up against "Cradle of Madness", the antagonists escaped and the Doomdreamers took them in. However, before escaping the "bad-guys" tried to burn down the family home of the Max and Alex (the Brothers Beck). They followed what leads I gave them to Hommlet and from there Rastor and the CRM. In the CRM, they killed the western entrance guards and attack the Earth Temple. The Earth Priests took massive damage but my players were repelled. They stepped back from the CRM, regrouping out side the mine complex and gathered their strength. When they returned the next day they surprised me by going away from the Temple and towards Vranthis instead. They defeated Big V and retreated from the CRM again.

After defeating Vranthis, they rested a day pulled their hirelings into the western entrance and had them bolt themselves into the barracks (where the ballista are). They left Jahil (Nnelgonon's owl familiar) near outside door to keep an eye out for any mischief. Then they decided to explore south of Big V's lair. There they made their way to the northern most room of the Fire Bridge Complex. The troll guard managed to get away and the last they saw of him he was running down the hall screaming something in giant-tongue about intruders. They decided that they were not prepared for what lay ahead and quickly retreated back to the western entrance.

A group meeting was held and it was decided that they needed more resources before taking on the forces of the CRM. This complex was by far more extensive then they had ever envisioned and their two forays into the mines had depleted most of their non-renewable equipment (tanglefoot bags, alchemist fire, etc ...) They had a wagon full of loot (weapons and armor taken from the western entrance and temple). Rand was itching to return to his homeland in the Gnarley Forest where he wanted to report on this adventures so far and perhaps learn the secrets of Arcane Archery. Others wanted a chance to exchange all the loot in for gold and then translating that gold into powerful magics to defeat the minions of the EEE/Tharizdun. Finally, it was decided to leave the CRM and head to the Kingdom of Celene. Nnelgonon, the elf, is from Celene and they had recovered a statue and armor from the old ToEE which belonged to the royal family of Celene (a Countess who was captured by the forces of EEE and died in its dungeons). It was there hope to use both Nnelgonon's connections and the artifacts to enter the isolationist nation of elves. Using a Quall's Feather Token, Nnelgonon informed his father that he was returning home with friends and the artifacts.

They passed through Rastor without stop. On the road they encountered few problems, although they lost one of their hirelings (Rahul) to a mountain lion attack (pouce/rake/drag off). They tracked down the lions and recovered the corpse. After many days of travel they reached the border of Celene. In the middle of the night they were surrounded by elves and their spokesman, a giant talking owl, questioned them at length about their travels and why they were bringing evil into their lands (IMC the Sword of Earth radiates evil under a detect evil spell because of its ties to the altar in the Earth Temple). After some explaining they were held at the border until Nnelgonon's cousin arrived to escort them.

By coincidence, their journey brought them to the elven kingdom at the beginning of Richfest. Richfest is a week long mid-summer celebration and everywhere they went they were welcomed into home and hearth, as is only proper during this joyous occasion. The first night they stayed in a quaint, deceptively little (extra-planar), cottage where they feasted, sang songs, told stories and generally had a great time among the elves. The second night they camped outside and were joined by a company of satyrs and there was drinking, music and dance until the wee-hours. The third night they came upon a halfling village who were deep into the week-long fest and welcomed in with great cheer and as honored guest. Finally, on the forth day (mid-summer's eve) they climbed into the western spur of the Lortmil mountains and arrived at the high elven city of Neverast. They were astounded and amazed by this ancient city.

My players are mostly human and Neverast is a far cry from the crowded, dirty, noisome streets of the Free City of Greyhawk. The wide paved streets were free of the debris of misery and poverty that is so prevalent in human cities. It's slender towers gleamed white and tall in the clear blue mountain air. It's marbled fountains and extensive gardens beckoned to them a people that were joyous, unburdened by greed and ambition. They were welcomed into Nnelgonon's familial home and the next several days were spent in a haze of celebration and merriment.

They got down to business the week after Richfest. A noble, Melf Brightblade, from the elven royal family arrived to take into his custody the armor and statue. He was quite grateful for its return, not so much for its monetary value but for its sentimental value. The Duchess who had commissioned the statue and eventually captured and killed was Melf's aunt and the armor was from the captain of her guard. The statue itself was of his grandfather who had led the elves of Celene in the Hateful Wars which drove evil humanoids from the Lortmil mountains. As reward he offered each of them anything they wished, if it was within his means to give.

DM's note: I purposefully left this a very open-ended reward. I wanted to see, as did Melf, how greedy they would get with their requests. Rand's request was to become a member of the Arcane Archers. Max asked for magical boots (springing and striding). Alex had his magical rapier enhanced to cause acid damage. Tuborg had his magical longsword enhanced to become a keen weapon. Arakai requested a magical headband that boosted his wisdom. Nnelgonon requested magical leaf-armor. All their requests were reasonable and a awarded them without a problem. I have been kind of skimpy on magic throughout their adventures and it served to give them a little boost of confidence. With the loot they were able to sell it all for a good chunk of change and they spent it all. They bought a wand of cure light wounds, a wand of protection from evil, they dumped their wagon and bought horses for everyone, they bought a bag of holding and other miscellaneous stuff like thunderstones, alchemist fire, tanglefoot bags. They also had some help in identifying magic items. They learned more about the nature of the Sword of Earth and Maximillian destroyed the sword in the light of the rising sun. Finally, they had themselves outfitted with black garb and ochre robes with a fake holy symbol (obex) made to replace the real one carried around by Rand (IMC for a cleric of EEE or Tharizdun to receive and cast spells above 2nd level they need contact with an artifact, relic or item that is attuned to the Dark God - not just any holy symbol will do, it must be blessed upon the Tabernacle of Utter Darkness. Thus any holy symbol is slightly magical and evilly tainted. It also means that a cleric best not loose his symbol or his will loose many of his powers.)

After another week of resting and relaxing ... accept Rand who was busy being initiated as an Arcane Archer (I am very lax on training rules. His initiation was a ritual led by a cleric of Corellon which imparted the knowledge of arcane archery magically, after he dedicated his life to the service of Celene. He wasn't thrilled about that part, but he really wanted this. Not that it will come into play right away, he's free to adventure outside of the kingdom but if he's ever called upon to serve the kingdom then he his honor bound to return. After all that they received their gifts from Melf and they departed from the city of Neverast.

The journey back to Rastor was much faster on horseback, it basically cut the time in half. They skirted the town of Rastor, not wanting to alert any spies in town that they have returned and then surprised me once again. I thought they'd go straight back to the western entrance and either take on what was left of the Earth Temple or head back to the Western Bridge Complex. They did neither. They decided to check out the southern entrance instead.

More later, as the opportuntiy arises

Edited by: Trithereon at: 10/8/02 6:08:01 am
Abri Melara
Registered User
(4/30/02 9:23 am)
Re: The wandering journal of Tritheron
sounds to me like they had quite a good time. that will give them some good memories to have flash before their eyes when they meet the less pleasent end of their fates in the CRM.

huge party though... how do you do it?

Abri Melara-- dont drive without car insurance. its mean.

Registered User
(4/30/02 11:53 pm)
Re: The wandering journal of Tritheron
The number of players (PC) are six. That alone can take up plenty of time during combat. Then when they want to roleplay in Rastor, or what have you, it can take up an entire session. My "side-trek" to Celene took up three sessions, hence weeks, to conclude. However, if I made it all CRM then I'd fear they'd get bored with the constant dungeon crawling.

I make the NPC mostly transparent, except for Redithidoor. The warriors and commoners were hired to guard and care for their horses and wagon. I tried to highlight the dangers of just hanging-out outside the CRM by rolling random encounters for the hirelings. They got lucky and were attacked by a small group of orcs, but it got the point across. They are taking greater care to be sneaky. Unfortunately, they now have eleven horses which is going to be hard to hide from hungry predators. I suspect that they'll try to bring them in and barracade them into a secure area of the fallen Air Temple.

Anyway, the only NPC that takes up my time during regular play is Redithidoor - who is now 5th level! They have invested alot of time and energy in keeping this NPC around as their PR guy. He now has a Charisma of 11 and can cast 1st level spells! He has maxed out his Perform skill and has a decent chance to roll 10+ on skill checks, which has eliminated most of the "he sucks!" critics of his talents. My players took an instant like to Red because when they initially met him and asked for an example of his skills I rolled a 19 on his Perform check! They thought him great. Of course the patrons and innkeeper at the W.W. had a different viewpoint but I helped to explain this away by giving Redithidoor Perform skills like: mime, comedy and plays on top of his recorder skill. So, I played him as a very poor mime and comedian but a half decent actor and musician. Redithidoor's stand-up routine sucked and his mime act actually draws more laughter.

Anyway, the short answer to how I handle such a large party. I don't. The NPC, except Red, I try keep as transparent as possible and the PC take care of themselves.


Registered User
(5/5/02 3:13 am)
Re: Trithereon: The Wandering Journals
Set back into the gloom of the large natural cave, the two large doors were barely visible from the road. They were closed, but that didn't mean they were unwatched. The Beck Brothers and Red's Raiders turned off the road into the trees and brush that covered the crater's outside slopes. Securing a defensible site took some time but a suitable small cave was found, uninhabited by anything deadly. Kalthor and Maglion took care of the horses while Nigel and Cobb took up watch positions. The rest of the Raiders broke out their disguises. Tuborg, Nnelgonon, Alex, Redithidoor and Maximillian wore the black garb associated with the temple guard while Rand and Arakai doned the ochre robes of the priests. Rand and Arakai also wore the faux obex symbols created in Celene prominently about their necks.

Their disguise in place they worked their way back up the slope to the road. They approached the two large wooden doors with trepidation, the devil face above the door glaring down at them reproachfully. Still, all was quiet (they had been gone long enough, almost two months, that the guards were again lax). No guards stopped them as they opened the doors and walked into the high, wide hall beyond. As they came to the t-intersection, a voice from above called high above. A guard positioned on a platform suspended from ceiling asked their business with the Air Temple.

[DM note: I balked at the idea that this lone sniper would attack priests of Tharizdun just because he and his guards didn't wear an Air Temple symbol, if so then Festrath and Dunrat were screwed from the start. I didn't see any Air symbols in their inventory. So, I adjusted the reaction of the sniper to attack anyone not wearing an Air Temple or obex symbol.]

Rand shouted up to the lone guard that they had recovered artifacts of the Dark God and were returning them to the Doomdreamers. The man advised that they had better report to Master Fachish right away, but purposefully did not tell them which way to go. After a quick conference, they continued north to evilly decorated bronze door. They knock on the door and a secret panel opens. An ogre with foul breath grunts his question, "Who'dare?" Rand again goes into his artifacts-DarkOne speech. The ogre, unimpressed, gruffly tells them to see the Master and then slams the panel shut. The sound of laughter drifts down from the platform.

They march up the long western hallway and its series of broad stairs. They pass without investigation the lone door set on the south wall of the hallway. At the western end of the corridor they stop, Alex uses his wand to become invisible and moves forward alone to check out the Air Temple. A man, seemingly alone and deep in prayers, stands on top of the square dias which sits in the middle of a large airy chamber. Alex comes back and reports all this. They decide to take out the priest and begin the process of magically boosting themselves. Unfortunately, the vocal components of their spells draws the attention of Choranth. She opens her door and suprises them. She demands to know what they are doing but instead of trying to talk their way out of the situation Nnelgonon blasts her with magic missiles. She screams out a warning at the top of her voice the shuts and locks her door.

The warning sounded gives Fachish the opportunity he needs to light the censer (a full-round action). The group splits with the invisible Alex, Arakai, Max and Tuborg advancing on the Fachish with Red, Nnelgonon and Rand keeping an eye on Choranth's door. Fachish summons his elemental and manages to get off a spell before Arakai is on top of him. Max is next up the altar steps with Tuborg trailing and Alex moving around dias to come up the other side. Fachish is getting pounded by Arakai, despite his armor, but soon gets distracted by the elemental. Max summons an Arrowhawk, an evil Arrowhawk. but since its a summoning spell it must obey the summoner (or so I thought, thinking back I probably should have had the spell fail since you can't summon something that is opposed to your alignment). Tuborg finally gets into the fight and Fachish is getting close to death. Fachish manages to turn gaseous and retreats towards his chamber. At that moment the Temple Guards from west arrive. The humans and gnolls charge the dias while the Graud fires his bow.

Meanwhile, Nnelgonon and Rand keep watch on their backside and the door which Choranth has hidden while Redithidoor breaks out into bardic verse. The gnolls from down the staired-hallway emerge from the barracks and charge up the corridor towards. Nnelgonon lets loose with a fireball blowing up all but two of the gnolls. The surviving gnolls turn and run away. The gnolls figure they had better let Kellial know what's going on. Kellial marshalls his warriors and uses the spiral stair to come at the intruders from the other corridor that leads to the Air Temple.

Back at the Air Temple the guards go down under a flurry of monk blows and warrior cleaves. Alex tries to sneak attack Graud but finds out that he's in for the fight of his life. Graud throws down his bow and draws his axe as the rogue and barbarian square off. The fight goes back and forth at first, but alas my dice failed me completely in the end and Graud was killed by Alex. Just as the last of the guards fell, Kellial and his company of humans and ogres arrive on the scene with a much healthier Fachish.

Immediately after Nnelgonon's fireworks display, Choranth's door bursts open as a HUGE skeleton pushes its way into the hallway quickly followed by another. The undead seem to be created from the remains of some large predator, Rand recognizes as a dire bear. The bard and wizard attempt draw back from these monsterous skeletons but with their extended reach the undead bat them about. Rand retreats realizing that his bow is nearly useless calling for Maximillian to get rid of the undead. Max hurries over while Red and Nnelgonon fight for their lives. The cleric of Pelor attempts to destroy the huge undead bears but fails (Choranth took the time to cast Desecrate and bolster them). However, Max finds that his flaming large mace is just the right medicine for huge skeletons.

Rand, Arakai, Alex and Tuborg enter battle with Fachish, Kellial and their guards. Kellial falls victim to a Hold Person spell cast by Alex while Arakai and Rand concentrate their battle prowess against Fachish. Tuborg battles the ogres and human guards cleaving away with deadly results. It was a short battle after that: Fachish and guards are killed, Kellial is coup de graced and the skeletons are shattered. As the last two skeleton falls the corridor in front of first become magically silences and then engulfed in magical blackness.

Max leads they way, feeling his way along the walls to the door and into Choranth's chamber. As he emerges first from the silence and out of the dark he sees the evil cleric standing before her bed, above and behind her floats the spirit sphere. She had prepared a Hold Person to cast on the first person to emerge from the darkness but Max made his save. Max then gave her the options to surrender or die. She said replies that when her time comes that she'll welcome the oblivion to which she now sends her enemies. The two priest battle alone for a round or two then Arakai arrives followed by Tuborg. Choranth is taken down but upon uttering her final breath the spirit sphere begins to spin out of control. Bits of bone start to fly off and then the sphere explodes in a spray of negative energy and deadly bone shards.

[DM note: I didn't want my players too distracted by the spirit sphere and they had not really suffered much damage from the whole encounter - bad rolls and outmatched opponents. So, I decided on the fly that the spirit sphere's existance was a "gift" from the doomdreamers - like the earth elemental was a gift to Miikolak. It exploded in a 20-foot burst doing 6d6 damage (DC 17) when Choranth died]

The Beck Brothers and Company waited in the tense silence following the destruction of the sphere for more temple forces. It became clear that either there were none or that none dared to fight them and they began the process of cleaning up their mess. They striped down the fallen temple forces and cast detect magic.

That's where we stopped for the night. I was a little dissapointed in the battle. I had spent some time giving two extra levels to each named NPCs. It did little to increase the challenge but does give them more XP! I might have been a little too miffed and probably shouldn't have made the spirit sphere explode, but the players thought it completely appropriate for it to do so. Because of family stuff we did not play this week, but will next Thursday.

Thanks again for listening.

Registered User
(5/5/02 6:53 am)
Re: Trithereon: The Wandering Journals
Kellial falls victim to a Hold Person spell cast by Alex while Arakai and Rand concentrate their battle prowess against Fachish.

Erm, did this fight take place in the air shrine itself? There is a permanent freedom of movement and protection from good going on in this area for worshippers of the temple. These two things made the battle incredibly difficult for my players and I never even got to call in Kellial and his ogres.

Registered User
(5/5/02 9:58 am)
I remembered the protection from good, by coincidence 3 out of 4 combatants were not-good: Alex, Rand and Arakai so that didn't have as big as an effect on the outcome.

But, duh! Yeah, I forgot about the freedom of movement :-/

Ah well, you win some you lose some. Darn. I take notes but my brain jumps right over the important stuff anyway.

A resident
(6/28/02 2:44 am)
The Rambling Journals
It's been a long time since I did a campaign update. I have found that if I don't create a write-up immediately after the experience that my memory looses some of its potency and I loose some of the details. I will try to hone in on some of the inner workings of the campaign and how I have tried to work around some problems.

When we last left our brave and resourceful heroes they had just put down the most of the Air Temple. All that was left alive of the Temple forces were a couple burnt gnolls (survivors of a fireball) and a handful of human warriors left to guard the barbican by Kellial. The Beck Brothers and Company quickly stripped the bodies, cast detect magic to sort out mundane from interesting and hauled all the big money items (magic, and weapons/armor of quality) out to their campsite which was off the road and down the slope from the South Entrance.

They unloaded the equipment and then headed back to the South Entrance to get a quick recon of what was left. They approached the double bronze doors and are greeted by a volley of arrows from behind the panels. The arrows are more an annoyance then a real threat, but they knew these defenders must be dealt with before they could secure the area. Max and Tuborg charged the door with shields held high. When they reached the door they shoved their shields against the panels to block any more ranged attacks. A Bull Strengthened Rand moved forward with Arakai and Alex to try and burst the bronze doors open. They failed, and failed and failed again. The warriors behind the bronze doors started to hack at the Max and Tuborg's shields, trying to sunder them. The PCs retreated to rethink a strategy to get through the doors. They headed back to the campsite to rest, recuperate spells and plan another attack.

It was decided that a full day would be spent to Identify the magical loot from the Air Temple. While Nnelgonon was busy with his magical tasks, Tuborg and Rand decided to try and make a battering ram. They found a tree about 3 foot thick and chopped it down. They cut the trunk into a 8 foot length log and create two notches along the bottom big enough to fit two sturdy (1 foot thick) limbs which they then lash into place with rope. With some help they carried it back to the campsite.

DM notes: I allowed them this little creation. It works just like the smaller store-bought ram, but allows for an extra two people to help. Since it is make-shift there is a 30% chance it breaks with each use.

DM notes: while they rested I rolled for random outside encounters. I rolled up a group of cultists returning from an unsuccessful hunt for sacrifices (Cle3, six War1) and a hill giant (which I made a local giant bringing a giant-sized handcart full of melons for the Fire Bridge Complex giants). The priest gathered what remaining forces there were (the last two gnoll fled into the night) and prepared for a defense of the South Entrance. He managed to recruit the stupid giant with promise of all the gold and jewels taken from the dead enemy.

That next morning, with their battering ram ready, they made their way back up the mountain slope to the South Entrance. They were not suprised to see the gates closed. They cast some boosting spells and charged forward at ramming speed. The cultist archers started to fire into the PCs. Max moved up and summoned a xorn. He ordered the xorn to move behind the arrow slits and kill the archers. The battering ram maked short work of the main gates. Beyond the now broken gates are more human warriors, a priest of EEE and a giant. The warriors fire their arrows. The giant hurls a rock and priest cast a spell (all readied actions). The battle is engaged but quickly over. While the giant laid down some serious smack and the priest was untouchable for enough rounds to get at least a chance to cast things like Hold Person, it just wasn't enough against my powerful group of PCs.

DM note: I didn't notice until later that xorns do not speak common. The Summon Monster spells don't give you the automatic ability to speak with the monsters summoned. If you want a summoned monster to do something other then attack a target(s), I rule that you must be able to communicate your orders. Something I didn't forget later when Max summoned some earth elementals and wanted them to help search for Tulian's Eye - another post, another day

After cleaning up the mess, they went about searching for more Temple forces. Since discovering the ledgers and notes of Fachish, there were some very vocal members of the group that wanted to search for Tulian's Eye. It was funny how heroic endeavors like fighting evil cults get put on the back burner for the sake of pure greed!

While searching for Tulian's Eye they stumble upon the Koa-toan guardians of the Water Door. The chuul was nearly able to drag one of the PCs to his death in the lake, but at the last minute Rand was able to break free of the grapple and retreat to a safe distance. The sticky nature of the Koa-toan equipment really irked the PCs. The battle was short, but intense due to the serious threat the chuul had represented. They continued to search around and blundered into the cloakers. The wizard, Nnelgonon, tried to use his Web spell to keep the cloakers at bay but this only served to make things worse as the intervening webs concealed them. It was Redithidoor that saved the day after several of the heroes fled in moan-induced terror, leaving only a few to fight a lone cloaker who had engulfed Tuborg. Redithidoor used his Bardic voice to help quell the cloaker moaning and after the first cloaker fell beneath their swords they then began to cut a path (with Max's flaming mace) through the webs to get to the other one. This cloaker was a little smarter and he hid up in a corner of the ceiling. All the PCs failed to see the hidden cloaker and when they searched farther down the two hallways it flew away.

Finally, they gathered the courage to challenge the double doors just south of the barbican. They approached the door cautiously and listened intently. Beyond the doors they heard the wild barking of a dog and bursts of cruel laughter. They threw open the door and caught the occupants unaware. Arakai tossed aside any pretentions of diplomacy and unloaded his crossbow into the first evil-looking creature in site, which happened to be a deep blue, large gargoyle. The gargoyle's skin rippled with a sheen of an electric charge. The monk let his bolt fly and then Alex quickly shut the door.

DM: I enhanced Clanngred the large gargoyle to be a large, half-elemental (air) priest of EEE (Air). It really made the encounter much tougher and I think more fun for the players, as they still curse when someone mentions this encounter

The PCs spent the next couple rounds casting some protective and bolstering type spells (as did the gargoyle). When next they opened the door they were greeted by blast of Chain Lightning. Alex and Arakai had used the shut door to become invisible while Redithidoor and Tuborg were safely out of sight away from the door. Unfortunately for Max, Rand and Nnelgonon they became the focus for the gargoyles rage with Max as primary target. The gargoyle now was surrounded by a magical shield of multi-colored energy which seemed to deflect ranged attacks. Nnelgonon let loose with a fireball and Max tried to use Dispel Magic to deflate the magically enhanced gargoyle (he only lost his bull strength). The big gargoyle had some smaller, normal looking, gargoyle friends and they attempted to move in and grapple Rand and Nnelgonon. Redithidoor began an inspirational song while the invisible rogue and monk tried to circumnavigate the large pit in the floor. In a flash of brillance, Rand shouted for everyone to use their tanglefoot bags. In short order, the gargoyles were grounded at the bottom of the pit. Nnelgonon, Tuborg and Max jumped to the bottom of the pit while Rand stood on the pit's edge with bow strings thrumming. An invisible Alex fell while trying to climb to the bottom of the pit. A now visible Arakai (a member of the tanglefoot brigade) decided to try and summon an Air Elemental using the horn and censer he found in the Air Temple. Redithidoor continued to sing and now had his bow out firing into the downed gargoyles.

DM: I tried to warn off Arakai as best as I could. I reminded him how uneasy he felt just holding the horn and censer. It took a full-round action just to ignite the incence in the censer and when it was burning I described how the ingravings on the horn and censer had begun to glow with a purple tracings and that the ingravings actually begun to move (twisting and writhing). I really tried to warn him

Clanngred had a couple aces up his sleeve still left. The half-elemental gargoyle became gaseous escaping from the hardened goo of the tanglefoot bag and flew up to the ceiling. That next round he threw up a Wind Wall in an effort to confound ranged attacks even farther. The normal gargoyles were being hacked to pieces by Max, Nnelgonon and Tuborg. Alex remained cloaked looking for an opportune chance to sneak attack. Up on the main floor Arakai had finished preparing the horn and censer and sounded the horn. It was the last thing he remembered from the battle (he "awoke" six raving lunatic hours later after the insanity wore off with no memories of anything after blowing the horn). Nnelgon used his Dispel Magic to remove the Wind Wall while Clanngred flew down to the bottom of the pit and filled it with Obscuring Mist. There were many tense rounds as the gargoyle moved in and attacked then dissapeared into the mist, especially when he used his Tharizdun's Touch to incapacitate Tuborg. However, Tuborg became a rally point for the PCs and they bunched together around him. Clanngred finally fell to a round of readied attack punctuated by a readied sneak attack from Alex. The players let out a cheer in what became a tougher fight then they had gotten from Vranthis.

As the dust settled and the mist dissipated Nnelgonon discovered to his horror that his fireball had killed not only what had created the sounds of wild barking (rabid dog) but also a dwarf. The elf fell into remorse over the death of the dwarf and became dispondant. The others were helped out of the pit by Rand and Redithidoor. The raving monk was trussed and gagged. They dug through the garbage of the gargoyle's den and left for more rest and recuperation.

Edited by: Trithereon at: 6/28/02 2:58:39 am
A resident
(6/29/02 1:34 am)
The search for Tulian's Eye
The players scratched there heads all night. They had been up and down the length of the Air Temple, or so they thought, and they found only a few clues to where Tulian's Eye lay hidden. They made some preparations and decided to make it a full out search. That next morning they awoke, refreshed and ready. The CRM were as silent as a tomb, which was appropriate because of the overwhelming stench of death that now pervaded the area.

Their first attempt was to cast Locate Object, it failed. The PCs suspected that they did not have a detailed enough description of the gem for the spell to work properly.

The second attempt they summoned a pair of small earth elementals. A Tongues spell was cast so detailed instructions could be given. They were instructed to search for a large cut diamond in the immediate area. They were to search for half the duration of the spell and then return. It would not be good if the summoned elemental returned home with the diamond, or left it trapped in the native stone, when the spell duration expired. The elementals returned empty handed.

Finally, they asked Redithidoor to help with his Detect Secret Doors spell. He could cast the spell three times a day and each spell persisted for three minutes. Red cast his spell and then began to walk down the corridors (double move, 60 range). Players would move ahead and open doors for him so that all he had to do was walk in scan forward, right and left. There was some backtracking but it is pretty amazing how much distance you can cover in 90 rounds! After a bit of hunting around, they discovered the secret door in the dry storage room south of the barbican.

A quick search did not reveal any traps near the secret door. An indentation in the worked stone near the secret door seemed to be the trigger for opening the door. It was pressed but nothing happened. A detect magic revealed that the door had a magical aura. It was guessed that the door was arcane locked. A dispel magic was tried, but failed to release the door. Nnelgonon pulled out a scroll with knock on it and cast the spell. This time when the indentation was pressed the door slide down into the floor. Immediately, Alex stepped up to try and jam the door open (Disable Device) by hammering pitons into the cracks around the recessed door. Satisfied with his work, Alex stepped aside and his brother Max moved through the door into the room beyond the secret door. The entire floor (20 by 30 feet) swung downward, hinged on the north side of the floor and Max dropped out of site. At the same time poison gas began to pour into the storage room from hidden holes near the ceiling. The secret door popped Alex's pitons out and slide back up into the wall. Alex retreated from the store room and shut the outside door.

They knew the knock spell would only allow the secret door to be opened for a short time, so they quickly tied a rope around Alex's waist and the rogue-priest moved back into the storage room while holding his breath. He opened the secret door and looked into the room. The hinged floor was still open, 25 feet below in the now big open pit was an iron floor but no sign of Max. Risking exposure from the gas Alex shouted his brother's name and from somewhere below the iron floor he heard a muted reply. Satisfyied that his brother is not in immediate danger, he shouted that they'd be back and then retreated from the storage room once again.

The decision was made that they needed a different set of spells to deal with this new situation. The PCs left the CRM and Max behind to rest and restructure their memorized spells. The Knock scroll was the only version of the spell that they had, so they'd have to rely on Dispel Magic to remove the Arcane Lock. The plan was to memorize three Dispel Magics with the expectation that the Arcane Lock was cast by a high level magic-user. After resting and restructuring spell lists, they returned the next day to the storage room in the CRM. The Arcane Lock was dispelled on the second try. Meanwhile, Maximillian was not idle. He had taken the opportunity to restructure his memorized spells. He memorized three Stoneshape spells and managed to create a narrow stair up to the iron plate and then tunnel his way around it. He was a bit disappointed but not suprised to find that the floor trap had reset. He cast Sending to let his brother know that he was still trapped.

Alex opened the secret door and searched for a way to trigger the floor trap without falling in it. He couldn't discover any mechanism. Rand quaffed a potion of Spider Climb and then entered the room crawling along the walls. He took a quick peek into the adjacent room and discovered the pedestal and the Eye. He then set about triggering the trap. He leapt from the wall to the floor. The floor again hinged open downwards but because of the Spider Climb Rand remained stuck to the floor and did not fall. In the other room, Alex was taken by suprise by Rand's sudden decision to trigger the trap and he got another blast of poison gas. This time Alex moved forward and jumped to the iron floor as the secret door closed behind him.

Behind the secret door, and safe from the poison gas, Rand moved along the walls into the adjacent room, staying as far away from the Eye as possible, and lowered his rope down to Max and Alex. The Beck brothers clambered up the wall and the trio stood looking and discussing what to do next. Alex searched the first area directly in front of him for a trap and discovered none. He stepped forward and was caught completely flat-footed as a clawed appendage suddenly appeared off the stem of the pedestal and struck him hard. The appendage stuck to him, holding him fast. The trio fought the mimic and managed to defeat it. As it died the Eye became unglued to the monster and Alex scooped it up off the floor.

The trap floor had still not reset, so Max and Alex had to climb down to the iron floor. Rand scuttled around on the wall to the secret door and found a mechanism to open it from this side. He lowered a rope and the Beck brothers were all able to climb out of the pit. The met up with the rest of the PCs and relayed the story of thier battle. They were all pretty happy with the outcome: nobody died and they had found a fabulously valuable gem! Alex stuck the gem in his backpack very proud of this particular find.

DM notes: The trap room leading to Tulian's Eye is not very well explained. I had to make some judgement calls on just how it worked. In general, this is how I imagined it working. Opening the secret door does not trigger any part of the trap. Any weight of 150 pounds or greater on the floor just beyond the secret door triggers both the trap floor dropping whatever triggers the trap 50 feet, closes the secret door and fills the storage room with the insanity gas. Any weight of 150 pounds or greater on the floor of the pit will cause the iron plate to slide across the pit 25 feet up. The iron plate stays in place for 3 days, but how long does it take for the trap floor to reset? I made it 10 minutes. I imagined that there some counter weight slowly filled with water from Stalagos. When it was full there would be enough weight to reset the floor trap. The trap floor resets in 10 minutes, but if it hasn't been three days since the original triggering of the trap then anyone triggering the trap again falls only 25 feet to the iron plate. The insanity gas magically reset when the floor trapdoor resets. The gas fills the store room quickly forcing everyone in theroom to make a Fortitude saving throw. However, I ruled that it was a magical gas with a instaneous contact effect, so that prolonged exposure was not an issue.

DM notes: The mimic was pretty tough. It gets only one attack per round. However, it gets an automatic hit against any creature it has grappled each round. I ruled that it can create as many appendages as it needs and that an unlucky group of victims could be really hurt by this creature. For example, lets say two people (F1 and F2) are fighting a mimic. Let's assume the mimic wins initiative. Round One: the mimic hits F1 doing damage and automatically grapples F1. On his turn, F1 tries to break free but fails. On his turn F2 tries to hit but misses. Round Two: the mimic does automatic damage to F1 and it creates a second appendage which it then uses to attack F2. As long as a creature is stuck to an appendage it takes automatic damage each round and the mimic is free to use its normal attack to attack a different target. This might be a harsh ruling on how to use the monster, but at the time I thought it appropriate

Edited by: Trithereon at: 6/29/02 3:52:18 am
A resident
(6/29/02 1:43 am)
I think your ruling regarding the Mimic is correct.

A wanderer
(9/8/02 3:09 am)
Re: Trithereon: The Rambling Journals
When I last update my Journal, my players had just found Tulian's Eye. The party thief, Alex, who is also a priest of Olidimmara was nearly wetting himself over the obvious wealth this single, large gem represented. They retreat from the recently defeated Air Temple and South Gate to their campsite. Back in camp the party wizard, an elf named Nnelgonon, rested in preparation to identify some of the stuff found but most importantly the gem which radiated magic. After long study including casting Identify they discovered that the primary affect of the Tulian's Eye was to grant greater health (enhancement bonus to Constitution). What they didn't realize was that since the gem is cursed that the opposite affect would actually occur. With group permission, Alex stuffed the gem into his backpack for safekeeping.

Late that next day, with the mystery of Tulian's Eye solved to their satisfaction, they returned to the CRM. Already the stench of death was strong in the temple complex. They had moved the many corpses and shut them behind closed doors but the odor is overwhelming. They decide to explore the natural caverns north of the Air Temple. A short distance beyond the last outposts of the Air Temple they creep cautiously into a large cavern which extend beyond the reach of their best light spells. The dark silence was suddenly shattered by the cacophany of multiple roars from some unseen beasts. They spread out and inch forward with weapons drawn. The source of the roars soon emerges from the darkness, an agry multi-headed monstrous lizard steps into the light. Tuborg and Max charge forward while the spellcasters let loose with readied arrows. The combined might of the adventurers make short work of the beast with only minor injuries suffered while closing into sword-strike distance.

The caverns narrow again and they soon come upon a rickety wooden spiral staircase that rise to a hole in the cavern's ceiling. Arakai and Alex crept up the stairs with Alex's magic sword illuminating the way. At the top they found a small clan of orcs and thier goblin slaves. The male orcs brandished knives but did not charge the intruders. One male orc stepped forward and warned that they humans were not welcome and the orcs would fight to the death to defend their wives and children. It was obvious that there was nothing of great value among these orcs and certainly not much of a threat. Still, Alex was of a mind to shake down the orcs for what little gold they may have but a restraining hand by the monk kept the rogue from separating himself and approaching the orcs. Instead, Arakai warned the orcs to remain in their den and that if any tried to follow them they'd be killed without further warning.

They were satisfied that the orcs would remain holed-up and proceeded to explore the caverns. Not far beyond the orc lair they encountered several groups of better equipted and aggressive orcs. They were neutralized without much effort. Finally, the natural caverns ended at a worked stone wall and sturdy wooden door. The adventurers had experienced enough of the CRM to know that worked stone meant temple forces. A quick check of the door found it stuck fast, perhaps barred from the otherside.

Maximillian formulated a ruse to get the guards beyond to open the door. Max and Tuborg clashed weapons on shields while Red, Rand and Nnelgonon clashed weapons on weapons all the while shouting as if in battle. Arakai started to beat on the door and shouted "The orcs are attacking us! By order of Fachish and in the name of the Elder Eye open the door!" They continue this ruse for about a minute before it becomes clear that the guards care nothing for the orders of Fachish or his plight. It was time to enact "Plan B". Maximillian calls upon the might of Pelor and with help from Tuborg they try to smash the wooden door down. The door does not budge. They try several more times before the door finally gives way and busts off its hinges. As the door bursts open Max and Tuborg are greeted by a hail of arrow shafts. The two armor plated adventurers rush inward and the Battle for the Fire Bridge begins.

The gnoll guards are no match for the might of the heroes. They are quickly dispatched but reinforcements from the north arrive in waves. Another group of gnolls wade into battle followed by a group of human warriors. A final troop of human warriors see the destruction that the invaders are wreaking on their bretheren guards and wisely decide to use ranged attacks. The adventurers don't like this new tactic and now emboldened by their easy successes they rush down the corridor to engage the archers.

As the heroes reach the major intersection of the complex it becomes clear that they have been drawn into an ambush. To the east, a single hill giant lobs a huge rock into the party's flank. To the west, the large double doors burst open and from them emerge an armor clad troll-warrior. To the north, two bipedal man-sized lizards round the corner led with a leash by a orcish-wizard, a female human wizard and another troll-warrior. The adventurers break apart to deal with the new threats. Nnelgonon wisely casts a Web spell down the northern corridor separating the lizards/mage/troll from the human guards. Max bravely makes a solo stand against the guards and is quickly surrounded. Tuborg squares off with the giant while Alex and Arakai challenges the troll-warrior. Nnelgon and Rand offer support fire using magic and arrows while the arrow-slinging Redithidoor breaks into an uplifting song.

The battle rages for many rounds. Max whitles away at the human guards. At first the guards do some good damage as they distract the cleric allowing for one of their memebers to slip in a telling blow. However, it's a matter of diminishing returns as each round Max manages to kill another guard reducing the strategy of "aid another"s effectiveness. The combination of a tumbling monk and flanking rogue is takings its toll on the troll but it is keeping them busy. Meanwhile, Tuborg and the giant trade massive wounds in a last-man standing battle. To the north, the troll and wizards are slowly burning their way through the web.

Finally, the wizards burn through the last of the web. Max has only a couple enemies left. The troll-warrior is near death with Tuborg and the giant not far from death's door. It was at this time that the last suprise hand of the Fire Bridge is dealt: D'gran unleashes his Cone of Cold into the group hitting Alex, Arakai, the troll, Nnelgonon, Rand and Red. The blast of magical cold drops the troll and Red into unconsciousness, it nearly kills Nnelgonon but both Alex and Arakai evade the effect completely. Nelgonon throws up a minor globe of invulnerability while Alex and Arakai turn on the fiendish ogre magi and Rand moves to heal the dying Red. The reinforcements from the north move forward and unleash thier lizards. Max is now surrounded by the troll and lizards. One of the wizards unleashes a fireball upon the massed adventurers but Nnelgonon's globe saves most of them from damage. Tuborg finally kills the giant but is weak from the fight, he starts quaffing healing potions left and right. Max quickly kills the lizards and concentrates on the troll-warrior. Nnelgonon and Rand pour magic and missiles into the enemy wizards. D'gran begins to take some serious damage from the monk and rogue which prompts his decision to flee. The ogre magi flys out onto the bridge and then over the water, nearly taken out by a tanglefoot bag hastily thrown by Arakai.

The battle ends quickly after the departure of D'gran leaving the complex open for exploration. They meticulously search the area for items of power and wealth. In the great hall they discover Descritad and free her from her bonds. They discover from her who the ogre magi was and the mission of the bridge guards. She claims to be a personal body-guard hired by Tippesh but that she became quickly bored with the duty. The whole bunch, from D'gran on down the ranks, where depraved and despicable. Worse yet, she was isolated and stuck in the complex with no easy means of escape. When word came down that someone had killed the dragon to the north she decided it was time to leave. On her way out she had decided to take a little bonus pay from D'gran. His treasure was guarded but she managed to dispatch D'gran's pet. Unfortunately, Descritad was caught by D'gran in his chambers and she became the subject of his cruel pleasures. At first the party was leery about giving this treacherous little halfling her equiptment back but she made it clear that she'd not risk her life betraying a group powerful enough to take out the entire bridge complex in less then 10 minutes. It didn't hurt her cause when she promptly spat upon the corpses of her former captors as they headed back to the bridge intersection.

Descritad took note that only one giant was among the fallen bridge guards and told them that there was another back to the south. She noted that the giants were a spoiled and lazy duo who took turns standing guard at the bridge. She'd never seen the two together and noted that there had been some tension between D'gran and the giants lately. The giants recieved regular "payments" of melons but this month's payment was late. (my players had killed a hill giant delivering melons to the South Entrance but never took the hint that they could deal with this threat in a non-violent manner). The party quickly made plans to kill the giant.

So, with the stage set, they set out to kill the giant. They snuck around and found the giant's room. A listen check confirmed the giant was alseep (loud snores from behind the door). The plan was to lure the giant out into the 20-foot wide corridor and pile on the attacks. The PCs spread out and a single player beat on the giant's door while shouting obscenities (in Common, which Hill Giants don't understand) and then ran. Of course the Dire Wolverine (DW) started growling and frothing, pulling on its chain and woke the giant up from its slumber. The giant goes to the door and opens it. Nobody there. Giant shrugs and shuts door, orders DW to shut up and lays back down.

Next the player goes up to the door and kicks it open shouting more obscenities and runs. The giant is getting angry now, he's been rudely awoken and taunted by these pissant little humans. It gets up and unleashes his DW. It waits near the door for the silly human to come back, which it did. When he hears the human approaching he flings open the door letting his DW loose, takes a 5-foot step into the hallway and throws a rock. The DW misses but the rock doesn't. The suprised human turns and runs away, now chased by the giant.

The DW leads the way and the PC's spring thier ambush slaughtering the giant's beloved pet. The giant thows another rock but he is not stupid enough to run out into the hallway and get ganged-banged. He backs up towards his room and readies an attack to smack the first creature to come around the corner. Of course, the rock-smacked PC heads back to do some more taunting and is surprised by the 10-foot reach of the giant's small tree-trunk. The PC runs, again. The rest of the players give up on the ambush idea and hurry down towards the giant to face him down in the smaller hallway. The rock-smacked and tree-bashed PC turns to lead the way and suffers a successful AOO (critical hit AOO) due to the giant's extensive reach and then gets smacked again in the regular melee. The abused PC is now down to 1 hp and is looking to run, but the giant has the initiative. The giants cracks the hapless PC down to -15 hps and takes his Cleave on the PC next to him.

We all agreed, after the moment of dumbfoundedness, that there were times when the PC could have backed away and gotten healing but I think the overexuberance of the previous week's victory had denuded the player's sense of danger. I admitted that perhaps I played the giant smarter than his 6 Intelligence warrented, but what could I do?

Again, sorry for the interruption. I thought I'd share this sad little story, perhaps as a warning that even 9th level characters can meet untimely ends against lower-than-party-level ELs, if they are not careful. If you have any leverage, with a NPC, remind players that sometimes resting and healing between encounters is a GOOD idea.

As a side note, despite all the clues that the giant was not entirely loyal to the complex and that it might be possible to deal in a non-aggressive manner with the giant they decided to go for the kill anyway. To make matters worse, the giant was killed after he surrendered. It was a decision made in the heat of battle after watching the giant crush a good friend but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth since it was done by a good-aligned PC. The cleric of Pelor tried to kill the weaponless giant, but missed with his swing. The elf did the deed with a Magic Missile spell.

Next time .... a curse revealed, a funeral for a friend, a new face, and return to the main gate.

Edited by: Trithereon at: 9/13/02 4:57:17 am
A frequent patron who knows what to expect
(9/13/02 3:28 am)
Re: Trithereon: The Rambling Journals
Tuborg hefted the battered remains of the brave ranger over his shoulder, the burden a greater weight on his heart then body. In solemn silence they marched through the caverns which span the Fire Bridge and Air Temple stunned by the sudden turn of fate. The flush of their victory over the bridge guardians lost amid the crushing blows dealt by the giant. The rank odor of the Air Temple did nothing but remind them of their grim task ahead. Rand had been very clear that he did not wish to be returned from the lands of the dead should he meet such a fate beneath Mount Stalagos. Rand had once died fighting the priests of Tharizdun, crushed in the collapse of their foul temple near Greyhawk. They passed from the gloom of the Crater Ridge Mines into the bright sunshine of a late summer afternoon with heavy hearts. They set about preparing for Rand's final rest. The rocky slope of Mount Stalagos yielded only a shallow grave, so most of the afternoon and evening was spent gathering large rocks. They stacked the rocks high upon the gravesite buiding a stone bier which they hoped would deter all but the most monstrous of beasts from disturbing. They buried most of Rand's personal belonging but his final written will asked that his signet ring be returned to his betrothed and his prized bow given to his brother. It was agreed that his final wishes would be carried out as soon as possible, but they couldn't leave the CRM just yet. In the light of a new day, Maximillian gave a emotional eulogy for the brave and resourceful ranger.

Throughout the early morning hours Alex felt weak and a little faint. Now, with the service to Rand over he was beginning to wonder why after a full night's sleep that he continued to feel tired. It was his and Redithidoor's turn to lead the horses farther down the slope to the natural spring they had found near the campsite. On his way back up, he nearly swooned and Redithidoor caught him by the shoulder. It was then that Red noticed the faint bruises that had materialized overnight. Each faint bruise was either in the shape of an anvil or a hammer and Alex determined that they were spread, haphazardly but sparsely, across his body. Alex groaned as he realized that he must be cursed, and he knew exactly from what. The two returned to camp and reported this new development. It was quickly decided that Tulian's Eye would have to be returned to its original resting place and then hope that Maximillian could remove the curse. The returned to the southern gate and were grateful to find it empty. They knew the routine with the traps that had protected the gem. They used magic to protect them from the traps gas and avoid the pit. They quickly returned to camp and waited out the day so that Max could request the boon from Pelor. That next morning Max cast his spell and the curse was lifted from his brother.

It was decided that they could no longer camp in the shadow of Rand's grave. They packed up the horses and moved slowly back up the overgrown and brambled slope to the road. The road followed the eastern ridge of the crater and then split with one branch heading back to Rastor and the other to the western entrance of the mines. They stopped to consider what to do next. The heroes were divided by two thoughts. One thought was to head back to Hommlet and do some research on the Saltheart clan of dwarves. The isolated and hostile nature of the CRM were troubling and it was hoped that if they could return Tulian's Eye to the dwarves that they would find allies among those stalwart and good people. In addition, they'd be closer to Rand's home in the Gnarley Forest which would give them the opportunity to fullfill the ranger's final request. The second thought was to maintain pressure upon the temples of EEE with persistant attacks for there was fear among them that the temples would reorganize and that Rand's death would be for naught. Maximillian came up with a compromise: he would use magic to ask the High Priest of Pelor in City Greyhawk to research whatever she could about the CRM, Queen Tulian and the Saltheart clan and then return an answer, as best she could, through similar magics. They would continue their assault on the temples without abate.

The path to the western entrance was clear of danger. Near to, but out of sight of, the entrance they again left the road and moved down the slope looking for a sheltered cave to make a campsite. They found the trek difficult without their trusty ranger leading the way, often doubling back when the briers became too thick for the horses to pass unharmed. Finally, they spied a cave large enough to shelter them and approached it cautiously. Certainly, anything this big was bound to be the lair of some horrible monster just waiting for its next meal to blunder by. They left their horses in the competent care of their hirelings and approached the cave entrance with weapons drawn. They found the cave did not go back far, but at the far end was a diminutive statue of a winged man resting on its haunches staring outward to the entrance. Prepared for the worst, they approached the statue and true to their concerns as they got near it moved and spoke. It named itself Shalzar and requested the heroes speak their quest. Maximillian, never prone to lie about such things, said that they were on a quest to bring a woman named Lyza Danwick to justice. Shalzar stood from its hunched position and asked if this woman was an ally of the doomdreamers. Pelor admitted that it was so and they also sought to bring them to ruin. Shalzar seemed pleased with this answer and praised them for their wisdom. It seems that Shalzar is the long-forgotten familiar of a wizard who also battled the doomdreamers. The stone mephit warned them about the corruptive powers of the EEE temples and their Masters when dealing with elementals. Indeed, his mistress was so worried about its influence that she feared it would corrupt him and had ordered Shalzar stay behind to guard their campsite warding it from intrusions from animals and vermin. Shalzar's mistress has never returned from her quest, yet he sensed that she had not perished. So he waits for her return. Shalzar gave them a description of her wizard sigil and asked if they would return with word of her fate. In return, he would let them use the cave and help keep them safe while they rested. Needless to say, Maximillian and Company were glad to finally find something that didn't want to rip their throats out and agreed to help Shalzar if they did indeed discover its mistress.

Maximillian's brother, Alex cast invisibility upon himself and snuck up the slope towards the western gate. He scouted all the way up to the door but found them closed and barred. The arrowslits to both sides were dark and quiet. He returned and plans were made for their second assault on the western gate ...

Gotta run. Next time .... return to the main gate, earth temple fun, and "What do you mean the silver-backed ape is BIGGER?!?"

A mysterious guy in the corner
(9/13/02 4:54 am)
Re: Trithereon: The Rambling Journals
Great read, Trithereon! Pity with Rand. What will his player run next?

Siobharek is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

A frequent patron who knows what to expect
(9/13/02 9:04 am)
Re: Trithereon: The Rambling Journals
The cast update:

Maximilian, male human, Ftr1/Cle7/Rsp1 (Radiant Servant of Pelor), black garb with EEE symbol
Alexander, male human, Cle4/Rog5 (Olidamarra), black garb with EEE symbol
Arakai, male human, Mnk9, ochre robe with EEE (Air) symbol
Tuborg, male human, Ftr8, black garb with EEE symbol
Nnelgonon, male elf, Ftr2/Wiz7, black garb with EEE symbol

NPCs along for the ride,
Redithidoor, human male, Brd3/Rog3
Rahul, human male, War1
Nigel, human male, War1
Cobb, human male, War1
Kalthor, human male, Com1 (teamster)
Maglion, human male, Com1 (animal handler)

Alex returned with what little reconnaissance he could gather. The gates were closed and apparently barred with no visible guards on duty. They adjusted their disguises to make sure all was in place, Maximilian tucking his holy symbol beneath his black robes. They marched up the slope to the road. Alex used a wand to turn himself and Arakai invisible then snuck forward ahead of the rest. Max cast several long-lasting boosting spells and gave the two invisible scouts a good 10 minute lead then followed. They trudged up the winding cutbacks expecting trouble with every step or at least some sort of challenge; however they reached the double doors without incident. They shone light into the arrow slits but could see no movement through the narrow opening. The decision came down to a few options: trust in disguise to get through the door, try to bust down the door and attack, or try to sneak in. Max related the scheme he’d thought up the night before. He had memorized a couple spells that’d allow him to reshape stone; enough perhaps to open an arrow slits wide enough for a man to squeeze through. They remembered the trouble they’d had with the south entrance and they had left their makeshift battering ram behind. Although they had a disguise ready no one was confident in their chances of fooling whoever had retaken the west gate. That left sneaking in through the arrow slit. Max used his spells and was able to widen an arrow slit on the south wall of the entrance just enough to allow him to scrape (full plate) his way through, with a helpful shove or two. The rest no problem getting through the new opening as they weren’t encased in metal plates. The room was dark but empty. The two doors inside were both closed. A quick check revealed that they too were stuck, perhaps barred because there were no obvious locks.

Well, there was nothing left to do but bash in a door. Better one of these small doors inside than the huge double doors outside. Tuborg and Max put their shoulders to the door that led west and it burst off its hinges. After catching their balance the two led the charge down the corridor. As they came to the first intersection they decided to bust down the door in front of them, without looking around. They burst open that door but the room beyond was empty. The loud twang of a crossbow caught Max’s attention to the left as did the pain of a large bolt grazing the back of his leg catch Tuborg’s attention.

An ogre in shaggy hides wielding a huge crossbow stood grinning at the two surprised humans. The monster threw down his crossbow and picked up his huge greatclub. Iin broken and heavily accented common it beckoned for them to come forward and fight. Max drew his large mace and commanded it to flame. Tuborg just moved forward drawing his keen longsword then sprung at the orge (spring attack) to avoid the monster’s reach. Needless to say the ogre had a prepared action, as did his four buddies, to hit the first thing to get in their reach. The ogres were backed up by a dozen orc warriors. They fight was fast and furious. The ogre leader turned out to be the only real threat, especially when he raged (barbarian with intimidating rage feat) and then used his smite good (blackguard) to smack Tuborg around like a rag doll. However, the battle ended quickly after the leader died. The surviving orcs and ogres first fled but when it became obvious that they couldn’t outrun their enemy they then surrendered. One orc and one ogre survived the assault and both were happy to run for the hills when given the opportunity. A small rift grew between the brothers Alex and Maximilian when Alex killed a surrendering orc. Alex pointed out that he and Nelgonon had killed a surrendered giant just a couple days ago. It was obviously a sore point with the cleric and they agreed to disagree but not before Max pointed out that the giant had just killed a close friend and even unarmed it was far from helpless due to his great size and strength while the orc was hardly a threat at all.

They searched the west gate complex quickly as they knew the layout. They were surprised to find another survivor and even more surprised that they knew him. In one of the rooms they found a human trussed and gagged. The man was named Jason whom they had met many months ago in City Greyhawk. Jason (Brb7) was the adoptive brother of Rand. Jason explained that he had visions that his brother was in trouble and had followed leads from Greyhawk to Hommlet to Rastor and finally the CRM. He was captured enroute to Mount Stalagos and brought to the west gate. The barbaric ogre was the new master of the gate complex, a crude but intelligent beast named Gauthier. He’d taken possession of him from the temple guard, by force, and sent the small band of humans on their way. Gauthier had planned to sell Jason to the Earth temple as sacrifice fodder. Jason was grateful for his timely rescue but was distraught to learn that he was too late to save his brother. The group gave to Jason his brother’s bow and Jason offered to deliver the signet ring to Rand’s betrothed. In the room used by Gauthier they found Jason’s equipment, what little was left, as the temple guards were able to bluff Gauthier into thinking everything they gave him was all that was possessed by their prisoner.

The rest of the complex was searched and they healed Jason of his many wounds. They told Jason about their mission to the CRM and his brother’s quest to bring the woman Lyza Danwick to justice. They told him about the convoluted relationships between Lyza, and the doomdreamers, Tharizdun and the EEE. Jason became convinced that his visions had led him here to fulfill his brother’s quest and offered his blade if the others would have it. It didn’t take much convincing for the others to welcome the barbarian into the group of adventurers as a strong sword arm is just what the doctor ordered when it came to curing what ails the CRM. They told Jason what they had learned so far about the layout of the CRM and more about what they guessed.

They pressed northward into the caverns leading to the Earth temple, but didn’t get very far before they were challenged. In the first rough-hewn cave beyond the west gate a multi-armed and multi-eyed monster rose from the floor. It commanded them to halt and they did. It then spoke in a gravelling voice, “Only those of the Earth may trespass. Speak the words of power and yea may pass.” The heroes backed away into the west gate complex. They had learned about some phrases that were important to the priests of EEE. They had found a blue-green plate with the phrase “Waves pound relentlessly” inscribed upon it and a book with the phrase “Fire burns away my enemies”. They suspected the Earth must have a similar phrase. They thought it over and came up with a phrase they hoped might work. They approached the cave and again the monster rose up from the floor and spoke its warning. Maximilian spoke their guess, “Earth crushes my enemy”. The monster berated them and told them to leave immediately then sunk back into the ground. Max inched forward, single move and readied a melee attack action while the rest hung back with a readied ranged attack action. As Max reached the center of the cave the monster rose up from the ground and attacked, but not before Max and Company unleashed their attacks. It was a painfully swift fight but it gave them the hint that the Earth temple was alert and expected trouble.

They moved cautiously around the caverns. They discovered a large communal area that they’d not found the first time through, but it appeared long deserted. Hidden among the debris that was left behind they discovered a human-skin leather, bound book written in draconian. Nnelgonon knew the language and read a bit from the book. It seemed to be a treatise concerning the worship of EEE. Alex suggested that maybe the words of power for the different evil elements could be found within. Nnelgonon sat down with the book and spent a couple hours skimming the book for key phrases that might be the words of power. The elf was disgusted by the vile book and its twisted grotesque illustrations but was rewarded when he came across the now familiar water phrase. He continued on and eventually found what they were looking for, the earth phrase.

They retraced their steps and came to the area where they had first encountered the manticore and battled the forces of Earth. As they stepped into the large cave a burst of sepia light erupted around the lead hero, Tuborg. A wave of intense magic flowed through the human warrior leaving him disorientated and unsteady. If that wasn’t bad enough, from the floor arose another of those strange earth monsters. For all they knew it was the same one from before, but if it was it didn’t remember them. It asked for the words of power. This time they were prepared and when they gave the earth phrase it told them they may pass and slipped back down into the floor. They then waited a few minutes in hope that Tuborg would shake off the magical affects he was suffering. would dissipate but they did not. Max guessed that Tuborg had unwittingly stepped into a Glyph of Warding and may have been cursed. They decided that it was not safe to continue with Tuborg suffering from the curse. Instead of moving back to the west gate or the campsite outside they made the decision to rest right there in the caverns. They knew that one of the corridors that led off the large cave led to a smaller cave where one of the lizard-priests had made its lair. They moved into that room and made plans to rest until the next dawn. However, just as they were settling down the earth monster arrived at the cave’s entrance. It spoke, “You have been summoned by the master. Follow me.”

Ugh, we’re getting close to catching up with last week’s gaming session. Still to come: Battle of the Earth Temple, and Great Apes!

Edited by: Trithereon at: 9/13/02 9:10:35 am
A frequent patron who knows what to expect
(9/17/02 11:24 am)
Re: Trithereon's journal
Warily, the nervous adventurers followed the earth monster’s lead. They had
hoped for some rest before confronting the Earth temple but the summons could
not be ignored, at least not without alerting their presence as a threat to the temple. They were led down a set of stairs deeper into the caverns of the lizard-priests. At an intersection another xorn rose up from the floor and joined the procession. The lizard stench grew increasingly worse as they proceeded down the corridors. The xorns led them into the Earth temple then melded into the floor. A host of lizardfolk (ten), readied for battle, were spread out across the cavern before them while above them three stone mephits circled menacingly. The back of the cavern was dominated by a three-tiered ziggurat with a triangular altar the color of watery mud sitting atop. A well armored lizard-priest stood in front of the altar and it commanded the players to halt and identify themselves.

Max, the eternal spokesman for the group, proclaimed themselves as agents of the Doomdreamers commanded by Nanquent to capture for punishment the priest Terrenygit for his disastrous management of the western gate. He warned the lizardfolk to not interfere and for them to hand over the troglodyte priest immediately. The priest (Snearak) says that Terrenygit has been "promoted" and has gone on to his great reward. The priest then tries to recruit the players to attack the northern bridge complex. The priest says that if their business with the Doomdreamers is done that he'd generously reward them for their aid against the Air bridge complex. The animosity between the Earth temple and the bridge complex has become unbearable. He promises gold and magic as reward for their mercenary actions. Snearak suggests that in victory they would have all the resources of the Air bridge and that the Doomdreamers could well reward them with command of the bridge complex.

The troglodyte's offer intrigued Max and he said that they'd accept it if they were given a map of the complex for which they could plan an attack. Snearak agreed to prepare a map. Max then requested that his troops be given uninterrupted rest before mounted an attack against the bridge. Snearak agreed to this as well and the two groups parted ways.

Snearak knew that something was wrong with these mercenary humans. He'd not been involved in the first fight between the Earth temple and the party, so he didn't recognize any of them as infidels. However their story certainly didn't match what he himself had reported to the Doomdreamers. He ordered one of his xorns to trail the mercenary, keeping itself unseen beneath the surface and spy on their activity. On the other side, the players were suspicious of the troglodyte priest. They suspected that it planned to betray them after they were weakened by an attack on the bridge complex. They discussed the different options available and made plans to attack the earth temple after they'd removed Tuborg’s curse. Max would cast Spell Immunity (Fireball and Bestow Curse) on himself and Tuborg. They would approach the altar alone and get the map from the priest. Nnelgonon would unleash a fireball once the map was tucked safely away. All the while, the unseen xorn monitored their conversation and then returned to Snearak with their plan.

They readied themselves for battle and then moved out. A xorn met them at the top of the stairs and led them in silence to the temple then disappeared beneath the temple floor. Tthe troglodyte warriors were nowhere to be seen. The mephits stood upon the ziggurat watching in stony silence. The priest now stood behind the altar holding a brown and black drum. The grizzly remains of a elf maiden lay across the top of the altar. Max and Tuborg stepped forward and the priest waited for them to get halfway across the cavern before declaring them traitors and began to beat his drum. The altar began to pulse with a muddy brown light with each beat of the drum and a wave of magic washed over the party. Tuborg fell victim to the altar’s fear affect and ran from the cavern (I ruled that the power of the altar was sufficient to warrant ignoring the normal HD restrictions of the Cause Fear spell). Nnelgonon didn’t need any more hints that their ruse was discovered and let fly a Fireball centered on the troglodyte priest.

The battle was met. The mephitis (I made them advanced medium-sized mephitis, they’d been infused with elemental evil power from the altar) took to the wing and flew up over and behind the party. Three xorns rose up from the floor around Maximilian and attacked with their deadly bite. Despite the attacks Maximilian managed to conjure an area of magical silence centered on the altar. The sound of the drums stopped but the altar continued to pulse with the glow of its evil power. The troglodyte warriors rushed into the temple from the side corridors. Jason, the barbarian warrior, rushed to the aid of Max and he single-handedly took on seven troglodyte warriors. His greataxe wrought terrible damage but he suffered many minor wounds. It was during his heroic stand that Greshta attempted to sneak attack the warrior, fortunately for him he could not be flanked. Meanwhile, Nnelgonon cast Web down the corridor behind them capturing the mephitis in the dense magical webbing. Max and Alex fought against the xorns together. Arakai tumbled forward to attack the lizard-priest who was busy trying to find a space free from the magical silence. The monk and priest met near the back of the temple. The monk attacked relentlessly but was unable to land many telling blows against the well armored priest. The priest cast many foul magics against Arakai but the monk resisted them all, but one. The lizard-priest had pulled out a scroll and cast the divine magic. The spell took hold of Arakai and the monk became paralyzed and helpless before the evil priest. Thankfully, Nnelgonon took notice of this turn of events for Arakai and he was able to dispel the magical hold before the priest could take advantage of it with a coup de grace. Snearak then used his wand to summon a fiendish ape, but alas Max had cast Circle of Protection from Evil on the monk before battle. The now unheld monk snatched the wand from the priest’s hand and threw it across the room.

The battle has turned to the favor of the party. The evil priest casts the last of his spells as Cause Wounds, but still found the monk difficult to hit with the melee touch attacks. The xorns were beat into the ground by Max. Jason severely wounded Greshta and she fled the battle, and the CRM. The mephitis slowly worked their way out of the webs but too late to be a major influence in the fight. The mephitis ripped their way out of the web about the same time that Tuborg returned from his fearful retreat. The priest was finally brought low and the remaining troglodyte warriors fled the temple, but only one got away. The mephitis were dispatched quickly and the dust settled. The heroes cast many healing spells and then took a look around the temple. There was little of value to be gathered among their fallen foes. Most of the prisoners have long since been sacrificed with the last of them, the elf, killed the previous night. Somewhat disappointed by the lack of loot, they search the adjoining corridors that lead north away from the temple.

They continued past the abandoned guard post and find the half-eaten remains of a large “cave ape”. They were a little unsettled by the find, “What could kill and eat such a large ape?” However, they found no other tracks in the area besides more large apes and a few made by troglodyte. They creep forward into the dark rough-hewn corridors. They eventually walk into the cave ape lair and are ambushed by two of them. The party retreats quickly to try and draw the apes into the narrow corridors. Alex nearly falls into the tarp-covered pit trap that blocks their way past the ape caves. They wait for the apes to follow but it becomes obvious that the apes are willing to wait.

They formulated a plan to have Alex and Arakai move in under the cloak of invisibility and then have Max and Tuborg charge in and take on the apes. The plan went quite well, at first. The dire apes could only barely get past the impressive defenses of the party (ACs average around 24, except Redithidoor whose AC is a mere 20). A couple rounds into the fight they were suprised by the tremendous roar and the deadly charge of a great silver-back dire ape. This ape was stronger and meaner then the rest and by unfortunate luck it set its sights on Jason. It’s claws rent the barbarian and its bite went deep. Instead of retreating the barbarian entered into his battle rage and slashed at the huge ape. The silver-back was lost in its bloodlust and it attacked Jason again, rending and biting. The barbarian fell lifeless to the ground. The group concentrated their attacks on the great ape and soon its bloody corpse joined that of their barbarian friend. The rest of the apes went down in short order leaving the party stunned over the death of Rand’s brother.

They quickly searched the two rooms but found little at first. Alex had the brilliant idea to scan the debris with detect magic as it penetrates metal, wood, earth and stone. They found the Sword of Water and then promptly destroyed it, as they had with the Sword of Air and Earth. They retreated from the CRM taking with them the corpse of Jason and the unknown elf maiden. They determined that the elf woman was not the mistress of the earth mephit. Nnelgonon took it upon himself to arrange the elf’s burial. Together with Tuborg and Arakai they built a crude stone bier upon the remains of the elf. They rested and in the morning cast Speak with Dead to find determine Jason’s last wishes. They had a scroll of Raise Dead taken from Fachish and cast it to bring back the brave barbarian.

They fully heal Jason and asked if he was ready to continue their fight. He agreed to join them and together they headed back into the mines. They traveled through the caverns and decided to take the other corridor that led north away from the Earth temple. The corridor ended in a worked stone wall with a wooden door. Alex and Arakai snuck forward and listened at the door. They could hear a deep throated, yet child-like, humming beyond the door. Alex threw open the door and shone his light inside. His magical sword illuminated the room revealing a malformed heavily tattooed giant pawing through a chest of gems which was sat between his legs. The mutant giant stood up from his prized gems while shouting and waving his arms. A gem embedded in the giant’s forehead began to glow a deep purple.

Down the corridor Tuborg heard the giantish shouts, “No steal gems! Mine! Axred crush!”

That’s were we ended our last session. I de-advanced Axred as a 10 HD monster making him merely large (10 ft. tall), instead of huge. I then gave him two levels of Fighter and the psudeonatural template. His body has been heavily tattooed with the decay symbol of Tharizdun and the gem in his forehead has transformed his mortal form into something beyond. My players do not have a +3 weapon but can easily do more than 10 hp of damage per hit. The DR should offset the lower hit points. The psuedonatural nature of the monster should really freak the players out.

I can’t wait for this Friday!

(9/18/02 12:21 am)
Re: Trithereon's journal
Trithereon, can you post the stats of the de-advanced version of the Attach? I am interested in it and tomorrow my PCs will be traveling in that direction.

Cordo Crowfoot
(9/18/02 3:25 am)
Re: Trithereon's journal
Great read Trithereon!

(9/18/02 5:08 am)
Axred revisited
Here's what I did:

Axred: Male Athach Ftr4; large abberation (10 ft. tall); HD 10d8+30 plus 4d10 +12; hp 102; Init +2 (Dex); Speed 40 ft.; AC 19 (-1 size, +2 dex, +3 hide, +5 natural); Atk +12/+7 melee (1d10+5, greatclub), +12 meleee (1d10+2, greatclub), +12 melee (1d10+2, greatclub), +14 melee (1d12+2 plus poison, bite); Face/Reach: 5 by 5 ft./10 ft.; SA: poison bite, Fort save (DC 22) 1d6/2d6 str, True Strike (Su): 1/day +20 insight bonus to one attack roll, not subject to miss due to concealment; SV: Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +9; Str 21, Dex 15, Con 17, Int 7, Wis 12, Cha 6; Skills&Feats: Listen +7, Spot +7, Multiattack, Multidexterity, Multiweapon, Weapon focus (greatclub), Power attack, Combat Reflexes, Cleave; SQ Electric Resistance 20, Acid Resistance 20, DR 10/+3, Alternate Form (Su): At will - features distort becoming rubbery while oozing yellow and white puss as a standard action, other creatures suffer a -1 morale penalty on all attack rolls while in alternate form.

I think I did this right, I was mistaken in my post in that I made him a 4th level fighter ... basically to keep the melee attack bonus up to par with the original Athach. I have a hard enough time hitting them that even the +12 gives me less than a 50% of hitting them.

I hope I worked it all out correctly. It should be close.

[edit: made huge greatclub just a greatclub as I forgot that by making it smaller that the weapon had to be smaller (duh!). I did forget to type the +2 damage bonus to the bite]

Edited by: Trithereon at: 9/18/02 4:23:14 pm
(9/18/02 5:10 am)
Re: Axred revisited
Thanks. I will take a better look at it this evening when I have got my books at hand.

(9/18/02 5:13 am)
Re: Axred revisited
Sweet. Consider it stolen. Also, it helps explainging the original Athac in that tiny room. Although: Shouldn't his bite get a Str bonus to damage?

Siobharek is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Edited by: Siobharek  at: 9/18/02 5:16:57 am
(9/18/02 5:22 am)
Re: Axred revisited
I just realized that the athach version of yours would need two hands to wield a huge greatclub. So it seems that if you are using this version you would better replace the greatclubs with great swords. Replacing the hide armour with something else also might not be a bad idea. Adding a shield instead of one extra greatclub would also be a good idea. Or do you think that requires too much intelligence from the poor malformed giant?

(9/18/02 4:53 pm)
Re: Axred revisited
I don't think intelligence should be too much of a limiting factor when considering basic fighter skills like using a shield. You certainly wouldn't tell a player who plays a fighter with an Intelligence of 7 that he can't use a shield would you?

When considering different armors for an Athach remember they have an arm coming out of its chest! This means that the armor must be either made for themor modified by cutting a hole out of the armor's chest. It is by far easier to modify hide armor then to get someone to forge a special armor for the Athach. So, I'd keep the hide armor.

Giving the Athach a large wooden shield (+2 armor bonus) is a pretty cool idea, if you don't mind loosing that extra attack.

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