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ronin
Pie
(10/27/02 7:10:52 pm)
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Inner Fane troubles for the PCs
I am hoping for some good ideas on this one fellow board members as my players have gotten in a little over their heads.

The cast:

Kinback (mage 6/ elemental savant 6/ rogue 1)
Vallis (cleric 6/ divine oracle 6)
Darien (cleric 6/ inquisitor 6)
Paedrig (paladin 10)
Samuro (monk 1/ fighter 5/ weaponmaster 4)

My group of PCs entered the Inner Fane for the second time last session. The first time they got by the door with the master key and had to resort to teleporting out once they defeated Tychon and his two pets (using a number of teleport attempts before making the SR check).

The second time the door did not even respond to them as they tried to gain access. I figured it was bluffed the first time and I wanted them to use teleport to get in so they wouldn't have so many chances to get out again. I wanted them to have to spend the night inside the black spike so I could use the hags.

They burned a couple d-doors and a couple teleports before making the SR check so I'm thinking so far so good. They move thru the levels handling the vrock fairly easily. Then they get to level 6. Thats where it starting to fall apart.

First of all I forgot about the will saves from level 4 on up against the evil of the place overcoming the PC. As they got to the top of the stairs of level 6 I had them make the saves (that was when I noticed the error). The mage of the group was the only one to fail and dropped to the ground out cold. He also took 6 points of WIS damage that gave him a negative ability score modifier.

After that I had the dealer speak to the PCs. Vallis, Samuro, and Paedrig moved around to see who was there while Darien checked on Kinback. After seeing the dealer Samuro is ready to strike it down but the other two start to speak with the creature.

After hearing about the "Ritual of Chance" and the mentioning of cards Darien drags Kinback around the stone to see what's going on over there. As he does both Paedrig and Vallis declare they would each like to draw a card each as Samuro stands there in shock at their statements. Darien rushes forward stating that he would like to draw one also so I allow all three to grab a card each.

Darien (cleric of Tyr) draws the ruin card. Vallis (cleric of Brandobaris) draws the balance card. Paedrig (paladin of Torm) draws the flames card. Of course every one of them is disappointed except Samuro cause he knows whats about to happen next but he stays quiet for now.

They move on to the next level and Darien tries to detect evil in the shrine area. He finds out that he has been stripped of his powers. Paedrig decides to detect evil and finds out the same thing. Vallis chuckles at them thinking that since his alignment is nuetral that he is safe.

The mage wakes up at this point and is filled in about the recent events. With his current WIS of 6 he acts rash and "out of it" as defined by the PHB (he pulled me aside to tell me that he would act so after I told him of his penalty to his WIS score). The others dont catch on being worried about their loss of powers. They decide the best bet is to teleport out.

Kinback and Vallis get set to teleport the others out and be away from this place. Kinback fails his first SR check and Vallis then finds that he is in the same boat with Darien and Paedrig. I give Darien a check to see that Vallis has lost his powers and he succeeds. Kinback follows with another teleport and beats the SR this time but Darien (who was to be teleported with Kinback) decides to stay and Kinback is out of there alone (without his fire elemental familar).

Now we have three clerics with no powers, a fighter, and an evil fire elemental familar (failed the roll against the Inner Fane influence) stuck in the Inner Fane without a way out. Kinback had the master key in his possession as well. They have a discussion and decide to go up and to the roof even though Varachan told them there was no roof access.

I had the First in level 9 and left the Third in her room. I decided to test their shaky faith and let them hear sounds of someone screaming when they listened to the Third's door. Paedrig and Samuro decide to open the door and the battle is joined.

They wailed on the Third right off almost killing her in the first round (Samuro critted) and she uses a heal spell to get back to full HP (well, almost full). They continue to hammer her so I decide to cast another heal (which I didn't have on her spell list but I didn't want her to be a pushover so I used it). She is pinned in the corner and they disrupt a couple of spells but she gets off a wretched blight that takes Vallis and Samuro out of the combat (Paedrig couldn't enter the room- failed the forbiddance save).

So it's Darien and the Third one on one with Darien having her pinned in a corner. They are both hasted and she finally gets off a forcecage trapping Darien and Samuro. Vallis isn't stunned anymore so he flees downstairs. The Third moves towards Paedrig but stays in the room. She heals herself then uses chain lightning to soften Paedrig up a bit. After that she casts divine power and heads out of her room to do battle.

She takes Paedrig out but doesn't kill him. She grabs him by the hair of his head and starts to drag him down to Yrthuk for some fun. Vallis watches in horror as she pushes the button and Paedrig and her teleport away.

The fire elemental (being played by Kinback's player who has been informed of it's newly acquired evil alignment) went down stairs looking for the button before the battle with the Third even started since it knew about it from Varachan. The rest of the party fully believe since Kinback is gone the fire elemental is going wacky and decide to ignore the thing.

The elemental is already been in the chamber with Yrthuk and bluffed him onto thinking he is aligned with the forces of the temple. Yrthuk asks the elemental to assist him for a second and he complies by burning one of the prisoners feet. This is when the Third shows up with the unconscious Paedrig and tells Yrthuk to "keep this one alive, I have plans for him"

Thats where the session ended. I'll post a few ideas I have had since the session and then anyone who wishes to can chime in. OK, here goes.

1. Kinback teleported out to his homeland. I think if found by a friend he could be healed quickly and possibly return to help the group.

2. Paedrig will be tortured if left there (possibly by the elemental!). I plan to use the "Corruption of Prince Thrommel" idea to full effect on him. If he gets away it they will really appreciate what Thrommel went thru if they find the First's notes.

3. Samuro and Darien are stuck in that forcecage for 28 hours. The only reason I can see the Third not notifying the First is out of arrogance. If she does notify him obviously these two are in BIG trouble.

4. Vallis may be the party's hope. With drawing the balance card his alignment is "radically" different. He was nuetral and plays his PC as a bit selfish IMHO as he always looks out for himself before others. I am thinking of changing his alignment to LG. I am also thinking of bringing in the celestial that started the group on the path toward RttToEE long ago. She stated that she would be watching their progress from time to time and has not shown herself since.

My thinking is if she shows up she may be able to "help" Vallis' transition to LG in some way, even if it's just a motivational speech to get him off his booty (he clearly has no plans to move at this time) and go down one level and attempt to free Padrig. My only issue with Vallis becoming LG is that he used a planar ally spell that he hasn't paid for yet, and in fact agreed to an open ended payment.

As far as a god for Vallis I was thinking of using Arvorren of the halfling pantheon. He seems to be a Helm for halflings which would be a radical change for Vallis. I think the player can handle it though, and may even enjoy the change.

Thats all I can think of for now, for those of you that are still reading. I don't want to quit the adventure but I don't want to save them either. I am sure I missed something but if it comes to me I'll post it for you guys.

Thanks for any ideas, I can use all the help I can get on this one.

ronin

ronin
Pie
(10/27/02 7:34:53 pm)
Reply
re:Inner Fane Troubles
I knew I'd forget something. After losing their clerical and paladin abilities the players of Darien and Paedrig made themselves name tags that they wore for the remainder of the session.

One was labeled "I am lawful stupid".

The other one said "I am an idiot".

I thought that was pretty funny. Both players realize they made a mistake. Unfortunately for them they didnt realize it when Samuro did.

ronin

Dragon Mage 1E
Pie
(10/28/02 7:38:16 am)
Reply
Re: re:Inner Fane Troubles
Forgive me if I missed something, but why did they lose their paladin and clerical abilities?

"What the curtains?"

Andorax
Orc
(10/28/02 7:43:28 am)
Reply
Re: re:Inner Fane Troubles
Poetic justice on the three draws all being losers...Tharizdun's gifts are not kind ones.

I like the arrogance idea, especially since you won, they are locked away, and the other is being tortured now. Play some mindgames here. Set up a font right by the forcecage, cast Greater Scrying upon it (memorize if you need to, you'll have at least one remem session), and scry on the torture room so that the two friends can watch what happens to their companion (and so you don't waste perfectly good description on only one player).

Remember...Hedrack's the only one (at least IMHO) who really still has his marbles. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd are all wicked-insane and almost completely beyond reason. They're going to use effective abilities, and have a sense of self-preservation...but they're NOT going to do very well thought-out long term planning at this point. They're partying about the impending end of the world that their very effective administrator, Hedrack, got all set up...and that the second (who drew the short straw) is now busily overseeing.

Heck, you might even have the Third brag about it...that they might not even get a chance to experience what their friend is...oblivion may be overtaking them all before the Forcecage gives out. Let them have a really good look into the minds of these nutcases.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Infiniti2000
Pie
(10/28/02 8:26:09 am)
Reply
Re: Inner Fane troubles for the PCs
Quote:
...so I decide to cast another heal (which I didn't have on her spell list but I didn't want her to be a pushover so I used it).
- ronin

While I respect your motivation for this action, she subsequently beat the snot out of the PC's and now they are effectively paying for your cheating. I don't particularly like it and if I were the PC reading this, it would anger me greatly. A lucky roll(s) on the part of the PC's should not cost them their lives. At some point (say Imix) a bad guy will crit, then do you allow the PC to change spells around to compensate?
I agree with your decision to strip their powers, but you need to make it up to them now. Perhaps the celestial comes in and grants them their powers back (all three, but maybe with some lesser side effects), but then let them work their way out. Andorax makes good additional suggestions.

ronin
Pie
(10/28/02 12:24:49 pm)
Reply
re: troubles
The reason the PCs lost their cleric/ paladin abilities is that they honored the Dark God by playing the Ritual of Chance (drawing the cards). Funny thing is that one of them is also the same PC (Vallis) that lost his powers in the moathouse when he ate the black fruit. He's learning slowly I guess.

The main reason I used the second heal (which I neglected to explain very well last night as I was tired) was so the Third could capture some of the party. They had already stated their intention to go "all the way to the top" to find a way out and I knew if they did and meet the First they were finished. I honestly had their best interests (keeping them alive) in mind when I made the decision. Your point is well taken though.

Our group has a message board set up that the players use to take care of decisions during the week instead of game day (splitting treasure, planning, etc.) to help us spend more time playing than talking. Vallis has stated on the board that he realizes now he needs to choose another god if he can escape alive. I am leaning towards the LG alignment which he doesnt know about yet but I have never had a PC that changed his god during a game. How is this handled? I assume the PC gets clerical abilities but at their current level? I would also think some sort of quest would be in order. I havent had the chance to look to see if this is covered in the DMG yet so maybe there is an easy answer.

Thanks for the suggestions/ comments so far, keep them coming!

ronin

Dragon Mage 1E
Pie
(10/28/02 12:46:16 pm)
Reply
Re: re: troubles
The Quintesential Cleric by Mongoose has a section on clerics that change gods. Your right, for the most part the new deity will demand some quest to prove oneself, and to assure that he can be trusted. After all he just turned his back on one god. However, this situation is a bit different, this change was forced on him (due to his own stupity) not chosen by him.

A LG god will want to do anything to stop bigT, so it could be alot easier if not benifical for him to accept the change.

"What the curtains?"

ronin
Pie
(10/29/02 1:21:16 pm)
Reply
troubles- cont.
I have been getting some input and doing some thinking. I have an idea I'd like to run by the people here for some additional opinions on the subject.

I will probably allow Kinback to be found and healed within a few hours. What he does after that point is up to him. He will be able to help if he chooses to do so and probably will. I want to focus on Vallis though and here's my idea.

Vallis is currently not captured and is hiding among the corpses of the slain 1/2 dragon, 1/2 T Rexes on level 1 of the inner fane. He has already stated that he intends to hide for a long time and I have not informed him of his alignment change yet (we quit right after the battle last game).

Once I inform him of his alignment change I will present him with a number of stones (I havent determined how many yet). These will either appear to him or be given to him by the celestial that I mentioned previously. Each stone will have a gods symbol on it. Most likely these will all be halfling gods but that isnt set yet either.

Vallis will be informed that while he has the stones in his possession he will be able to use his powers appropriate to his level. After this I think (hope) he will try and rescue his fellow party members most likely starting with the paladin first and then the others. Depending on his actions that follow will depend on which god will accept him as a convert to their faith.

Thats the basic plan in a nutshell. The gods I am leaning towards now are Yondalla, Arvoreen, and Brandobaris (his former god). I was going to use Brandobarois as a scolding but understanding god (Why didnt you stack the deck before you chose the card ?!?!?!?) and also to help Vallis with the transition. I also plan to discuss this with the player. I dont want to saddle the player with an undesirable PC to play.

I really havent dealt with this issue much so any comments are welcome. The idea would be to help them escape alive and then Vallis would require an atonement (along with Darien and Paedrig) in order to get in good standing with his new god. My other reason is that I would like to see this PC have the oppurtunity to shine. He is 12th level and still isnt taken all that serious by the other PCs. Some of this is due to the way he RPs the character but regardless I'd like to give him an oppurtunity to change that if he chooses to act on it.

I am wondering if the idea is a bit too corny which is another reason I'd like some opinions on it. The next session isnt for 4 days so I have plenty of time to decide what will happen.

Thanks in advance for the help.

ronin

Infiniti2000
Pie
(10/29/02 2:08:02 pm)
Reply
Re: troubles- cont.
I don't think it's corny at all, and I personally like the idea. I would make sure the player knows he has to keep all the stones and beseech all of the gods identified in the stones to grant him his clerical powers. When a power gets granted, the stone identifying the entity that granted the power glows for as long as the power is in effect (i.e. duration of the spell). Some variations on this:

1. Use all of the gods, not just a select few. In this way, the player could conceivably become evil. You could make the judgment that any evil god gets interdicted by Big T.

2. As a punishment for this help, and as added realism in the process of 'using the stones', make each spell take 1 round (for 1 action spells) or 2 rounds (for 1 round spells). Be careful, however, because this could have serious combat consequences. You could do this only for evil actions, so as to steer the player appropriately.

3. Whichever stone gets used the most after, say, 24 hours, is the new deity for the player character. Then, the stone gets embedded in the sternum of the character and foreever glows with a dull light (ochre in the case of evil). It also radiates faint magic, and cannot be removed short of a divine being without killing the character...or something like this.

Of course, the player still needs to atone later. This depends on the deity, I suppose, but it might be as harsh as 50-100% of all possessions. After completing the RttToEE, I'm not sure a quest is really meaningful or a punishment! :)

Keep up the great work and thanks for posting.

Cordo Crowfoot
Pie
(10/29/02 5:54:07 pm)
Reply
Re: troubles- cont.
Ronin, just curious, why no chance for Vallis to hit the Chaotic Evil or Lawful Evil extremes? Personally I would be tempted to randomly generate, reflecting the random nature of the deck itself.

ronin
Pie
(10/29/02 6:17:20 pm)
Reply
re: troubles- cont.
Cordo, I didn't use LE or CE because of the way Vallis has been RP'd up to this point. He has been played as a "look out for Vallis first, party second" type of guy. He has really only been loyal to one of the other PCs and thats Kinback.

I also believe if I allowed him to play one of those alignments he would shortly be booted out of the party. They have a paladin and a inquisitor who can both detect evil at will. Coupled with the fact that Vallis was booted from the group prior to this for holding back a magic item he found on an NPC and I didnt think an evil alignment would be a good move. Kinback is the only current party member that knows he was booted though previously so it hasnt been an issue yet.

I am hoping that he will take to the new alignment and strengthen the party's resolve towards doing good. That and LG seemed to be the most "radical" change for this particular PC.

ronin

ronin
Pie
(11/1/02 3:29:16 pm)
Reply
re: troubles- cont.
Alright fellow board members. My next session is tomorrow night so if anyone else has any ideas nows the time to post them. I am going to use the "stones" if I cannot come up with something I like better.

Thanks for the input so far, much appreciated.

ronin

Siobharek 
Orc
(11/4/02 12:35:14 am)
Reply
Re: re: troubles- cont.
Not much to add. I don't think giving Vallis a chance to shine is corny at all. If the player's up for it, it might be quite fun.

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

ronin
Pie
(11/4/02 5:13:26 pm)
Reply
the result
The session has been played and I must say it was one for the books. Here's what happened...

I decided to use the "stones" idea and once the game started I passed Vallis a note stating that his new alignment is now LG. I let that settle in a bit and then I passed him a write up that I had prepared prior to the game. The basic of this was to let him know he was being given the stones (10 of them from 10 different gods) and what the stones meant for him, that the fate of his party and possibly even the world was in his hands, and that he needed to hurry up and do something (but stated much more DM like).

Now Darien and Samuro are still trapped in the forcecage. Kinback had teleported away from the tower altogether. Paedrig is in the torture room of sub-level 1 being tortured by Yrthuk. Kinback's fire elemental familiar (now turned to an evil alignment by the inner fane's influence) is also in sub-level 1 but has bluffed Yrthuk into believing he is part of the team. To keep up the facade the elemental is burning the feet of another prisoner (the elven cleric).

While Vallis is deciding what to do next the Third sets up a scrying font and gives Darien and Samuro a seat in the front row (she put it right next to the forcecage) to watch the "Yrthuk and Paedrig Show" downstairs. She also grabbed one of the commoners from that area to give them both a "live" show as well (she tortured the person right outside the forcecage). All the while she is telling them they'll never make it out of that cage but they will have a great seat when her Dark God arrives.

Vallis decides to push the button and attempt to rescue Paedrig. He appears in the middle of the chamber and after a surprise round initiative is rolled. Now just so you know the player of Vallis looked confused and unsure of himself all night long. I have never seen him act this way before and it was pretty cool I must admit. The alignment and the stones really thru him for a loop.

The battle is joined and I figure the elemental will help right? Well.... Vallis sees the elemental torturing the other prisoner and attacks BOTH Yrthuk and the elemental. Kinback's player was controlling the elemental and gave Vallis a few chances not to attack him but Vallis continued to attack anyway. The end result was a dead Yrthuk and a dead fire elemental familiar. Paedrig is free and Vallis heals him

Of course Paedrig is wondering what's up with Vallis and why does he have clerical powers. Vallis says he'll explain later and they head upstairs towards the others. I ruled the death of the familiar jolted Kinback enough for him to act normally so he teleports (on the 3rd attempt) back into level 1 as the others (with the NPC prisoners in tow) are preparing to make the assault on the Third.

Everyone heads to level 8 to battle the Third again. They bust in the door and initiative is rolled. After Kinback brings down the forcecage the Third didn't stand a chance (she hadn't memorized new spells yet while Kinback had a full compliment) and she is hacked down in a few rounds. After this the group decides to spend the night in the inner fane and teleport out in the morning.

I used the night hag dream scenario presented on these boards and in the middle of the night the First appeared to the party. Kinback found himself no longer in his rope trick and the extra NPC prisoners weren't there either but other than thinking that it was weird no one in the group thought about this being a dream. I made a few mistakes running the First (mainly I forgot with his prayer bead he has a caster level of 19 instead of 15) so his spells were easier to dispel but he still was able to kill the party after a 3 hour combat.

The players were taking it well until the end when they realized they were defeated. I then told them they all wake up the next morning and realize they had a nightmare that everyone shared and that they all have lost 1 point of CON. One player then said "Man!! Why didn't you just tell us we had a nightmare and lost a point of CON?" My reply was "I thought if you actually lived thru the nightmare it would be more realistic then just telling you that you had one".

One of the other players then stated the obvious. "Hey, now we know what the First can do and now we can plan better against him!" That was the main reason I went that route so I was glad someone picked that up instead of everyone being angry about the whole nightmare scenario.

The next morning the party was able to teleport out and thats where the session ended. I told Vallis he wouldn't be able to petition for a new god until after they stop the cult (I am really pressing the time issue now). Basically this means he won't have any domain spells until after RttToEE. My other problem is the atonement of Darien and Paedrig.

I obviously don't want to take their attention away from finishing this adventure. I am leaning towards telling both of them the cult demands their attention and both of their atonements will not be required until after they ensure the cult is stopped. I would then use these as hooks for after RttToEE as needed.

All in all it went well except for the death of the fire elemental familiar. Vallis explained everything that happened to Kinback who is obviously upset. Kinback has told me depending on what Vallis does he may try to kill him (Vallis). Kinback's player is not angry about it at all but he feels this is what he (Kinback) would do. I will be talking to him later this week so we'll see what happens. Someone asked about raise dead but I told them since there is no body they would have to use true resurrection. I think Kinback realizes it was only a matter of time before the elemental would have to be left behind so it wouldn't die. He has also stated he won't try to replace the familiar even after the year he has to wait is up.

I must say this session was pretty good. Almost every player was caught back on their heels more than once and Vallis stayed that way all night long. Best of all the dreaded TPK was avoided and the players are none the wiser (at least not that I know of).

Thanks for all the input once again.

ronin


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