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SIERK
Pie
(11/13/02 5:46:16 pm)
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Into the Outer

So, say characters are along a bridge. Per the module, the Spider Eater riders will be suspicious if a fair chunk of the CRM is killed off. Surely Hedrack has also distributed descriptions culled from scrying.

Okay, say bluffing fails. 8 Towers, 10 Spider Eater riders apiece. 80 spider eaters + riders + 8 6th level sorcerers.

How many would attempt to accost the party? Leave 1 in each tower? 72 still seems excessive, unless you are Andorax or Thrommel. ;-) Any ideas here?

On a separate note, how the heck does Chymon duck down to the secret room below in the middle of a fight? The only entrance I see is covered by a boatload of coins. I guess it might be possible to reach a claw down and yank it open since she'd know where it was. Seems a bit of a stretch, though.

SIERK, who's 10th level party might just be having a tough next session

Trithereon
Pie
(11/14/02 12:39:49 am)
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Down the Hatch
Quote:
On a separate note, how the heck does Chymon duck down to the secret room below in the middle of a fight?


I wondered this myself, as Monte describes the coins as taking one person 30 minutes of effort to uncover the hatch (or two people 15 minutes each, and so on). Even if you assume that a huge dragon can sweep the coins aside at a rate 30 times that of an average man then it would still take 1 minute (10 rounds) for Chymon to uncover the hatch.

Indeed, for Chymon to "duck" (implying a quick tactic) beneath the pile of coins you'd have to assume a minumum of: a move-equivalent action to uncover hatch; a move-equivalent action to open the hatch; then move(s) action to climb down. A creature's speed is halved when climbing (IMO, a ladder just means the Climb Check DC is 0). As the shaft is 50 feet deep and Chymon's land speed it 40 ft. then it takes at least three single move actions to get to the bottom.

For "uncovering the hatch" as a move-equivalent action, you have to either drastically reduce the size of the coin pile or assume that Chymon can uncover the hatch at least 300 times faster then a single PC. Or a combination of both: make the pile smaller such that it only take a single man 3 minutes work to uncover the hatch and then assume a huge dragon can sweep aside that same volume of coin 30 times faster. But that change means that you'd have to reduce the coin pile by a factor of 10!

Personally, I'd ignore the whole "ducking" down into the shaft idea. As described, it is clearly not a valid tactic in the middle of combat.

Siobharek 
Orc
(11/14/02 1:18:50 am)
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Re: Down the Hatch
Some of the Spider Eader Riders may be away on patrols/food supply.

With regards to attacking intruders on the bridges, you might assume that the two closest towers spot them, and send anywhere from 15 to 20 Riders (maybe with one sorcerer along and one in the tower). As long as there is a sorcerer in the tower, there'll be communication through their amulets, and (s)he can call for reinforcements as needed.

A very good Spot check might reveal that one sorcerer is grabbing an amulet and 2-4 rounds later, another squad of riders comes along.

Hmm I really hadn't thought through the implications of those amulets. I think any party will be lucky just to get past the riders...

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

Edited by: Siobharek  at: 11/14/02 1:21:52 am
Trithereon
Pie
(11/14/02 2:15:22 am)
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Attack of the Spider Eater Riders
Here's what I have assumed about the Lightning Towers.

1) During the course of an average year, there are a lot of false alarms as unwitting birds stray too close to the Towers. There is even a peak occurance of false alarms during the fall and spring due to the migratory habits of some birds. I assume that the Towers have been around long enough that most migratory birds avoid the area, but there are always those young birds that stray from their traditional migratory path and get fried. Therefore, the tower guard have become lax over the LONG years of the doomdreamers dominance (at least 25 years, probably closer to 100 years). Even with the destruction of two elemental Temples, the Spider Eater Riders are confident in the doomdreamers power.

2) There is always one Rider and his mount at the Lookout Post and his primary job is to watch for flying intruders. The assumption is that bridge walkers will have a means of ingress to the Doors. However, every day there are long hours of boring watch duty and anyone who approaches a Door that his tower overlooks will at least get the guard's attention. If the people on the bridge can not enter and then leave the lookout guard takes note of this oddity and reports it to the sorcerer at the end of his shift. If the bridge walkers start casting spells to bypass the Door then the lookout immediately shouts an alert to the sorcerer (who alerts other towers and then Hedrack) and then awaits orders.

3) The primary directive of the Tower is to defend against airborne attack. If the invaders are somehow invulnerable to the lightning bolts, the Spider Eater Riders swarm their foe with numbers - if neccessary. Therefore, I'd attack in waves at first. That means 10 (or 20) Spider Eater Riders emerge from the closest Tower(s) to deal with flying invaders. If those Riders are killed, the sorcerers rally the rest of the Tower Riders and report to Hedrack.

4) How long does it take to get organized in the first place? The Riders are human and need sleep, so half are "off-duty" at any given time. The Riders wear masterwork breastplate which means because of the armor check penalty (-3 for masterwork breastplate) they can sleep in their armor. But how realistic is that? You sleep in armor every night? I doubt that they sleep in armor if not on "high alert". Even so, half of the riders will be either be asleep, or just resting and will not be available for an immediate response. In general, if the towers are no on high alert then you could assume they need to don their armor which takes a long time if not done hastily. The quickest five warriors in breastplate can properly don armor is 4 minutes, or 40 rounds (even with help the three warriors are helped into their armor by two warriors (20 rounds) and then the two warriors are then helped into their armor (another 20 rounds). Otherwise, it take 10 rounds for the five warriors to don their breastplate hastily. Even if you assume all the Riders are armored 24 hours every day it still takes time: standard action to call the Spider Eaters; because of the Spider Eater's size compared to the size of the Towers, all the Riders can't possibly all mount up simultaneously - therefore I'd assume a move action to approach the "landing deck" outside the tower followed by a move-equivalent action to mount and then a move action to clear the deck, which means it takes at least two rounds for each Rider (once ready for battle) to get airborne - you might assume that two Riders can mount simultaneously - so to get all ten battle-ready Riders airborne it should take at least 10 rounds.

5) The sorcerers in charge of the towers are not described as taking part of any battle outside the tower. Therefore, I assume his job is to keep the tower's lightning defense active. He stays put to defend the Shocker prison. He can see what's going on directly outside the tower because the walls are transparent from the inside. However, because of line of sight issues he likely can't see a bridge Door from his room.

All this boils down to this ...

A lookout Rider spots bridge walkers. He's been warned that invaders are about (possibly disguised) and shouts a warning to the sorcerer and then awaits his commander's response. The sorcerer puts the other Towers on alert (standard action) and then alerts Hedrack (standard action). Hedrack likely tells the sorcerer to ready his troops and send a scout to investigate the group (standard action). The lookout is ordered to fly down and recon the bridge walkers.

You may assume that all 80 Riders have been informed on the make-up of the invaders. The Spider Eater's manuverability is only good so it can't hover and it needs space to land and take-off. Therefore the guard flies close to the PCs but doesn't land. While circling the PCs he can attempt to Spot a disguised party (-1 penalty for every 10 feet above and away from the party he circles. And because of his 8 Wisdom, his Spot Check is already -1). The Rider may, or may not, spot them as the invaders (Spot vs. Disguise). In addition, the party may try to bluff the Rider but its success will depend on whether they are recognized and the results of a opposed Bluff/Sense Motive check.

Depending on the actions of the players, the Spot and/or the Sense Motive Check the Rider is either fooled or not. If the Rider is fooled then he assumes the PCs are cultists returning from a doomdreamer mission or perhaps answering a doomdreamer summons. He then flies back to his post and immediately report to the sorcerer who in turn reports to Hedrack. The Lookout Rider continues to watch the PCs as they approach the Door and if they enter without trouble then the Lookout has done his job. If the Rider is not fooled then he flies off and alerts the sorcerer, who alerts Hedrack. The rest of the Riders are mobilized and attack in force those still on the bridge.

It is always possible that your party crosses the bridge quickly, fireballs the warrior when he approaches, and gets into the Outer Fane before the rest of the Riders can be organized and airborne. If they hang out on the bridge then they deserve the pain and suffering that 80 Spider Eater Riders can inflict.

The best the players can hope for is to hustle across the bridge and get through the door quickly without arousing suspicion. Hedrack will be aware that someone has entered the Outer Fane and he will likely use divination to find out if it is the PCs. If the players give themselves away through hostile actions, or are spotted by the Rider, then Hedrack will know that the Outer Fane is being attacked and put his troops on alert.

Sorry, this response turned out longer and more complex then I had envisioned at the start. I hope this all made some sense.

[edit: to fix some glaring format, grammer and spelling errors]

Edited by: Trithereon at: 11/14/02 6:43:07 am
Zenon
Pie
(11/14/02 5:55:13 am)
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Re: Attack of the Spider Eater Riders
Trithereon nails a lot of the points that I have about the Spider Riders that I have noted for my campaign.

I'd just like to reinforce the following:

These guys are lazy and lax! They have one of the most cushy jobs and it shows in their attitude (even if they were told to be on alert). After all, the last time they had an alert was when Tymerian (from Rastor) and her band of adventurers tried to fly into the reaches of the Outer Fane. We know how that ended...

The only time IMC that they are dangerous is when they gear up to retrieve the food from the food drop. IMC, merchants pull wagons loaded with food from Rastor around the 1st of the month. At that point, all of the riders are armed & armored. 1/2 of them fly patrols around the rim of the CRM, and the other 1/2 fly out to grab the food from the wagons. The food is then distributed to the bridge entrances, air temple balcony, Outer Fane, etc. for distribution into the CRM. I figured this operation takes about 3~4 hours.

If your party tries to duke it out with them, be creative. Try snatching them off the bridge and dropping them into the courtyard between the Outer and Inner Fane (you know, where all those Dark Wights are...:D ). I figure this is what happened to Tymerian.

Siobharek 
Orc
(11/14/02 6:04:20 am)
Reply
Re: Attack of the Spider Eater Riders
Eesch! That one's nas-tay! I'll remember to use that one.

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

SIERK
Pie
(11/14/02 1:08:39 pm)
Reply
Re: Into the Outer

Thanks for the replies. The discussion on the battle-readiness of the riders makes a lot of difference.

My party has been blessed by the Water Temple only, but I'm not sure that they have connected that with doors to the Outer Fane. They have all of the Lesser Keys, but they aren't aware of the possibility of fusing Greater Keys into Master Keys. So they're probably going to have some problems figuring out the doors, which would leave them open to arrows from above.

Hadn't really thought enough about the Hedrack angle. My party is all 10th level, and if they meet Hedrack right away, I'm not sure if they'll survive (not sure about encountering Chymon for that matter). Hedrack's pretty brutal with his DC 19 + level.

Say the party goes in the Fire Door. The Spider Eaters stay back and notify Hedrack (contact medallions). Hedrack gets to Chymon's lair 10 rounds after being spotted (which was near the door from the CRM). Chymon is probably still alive, especially if she delayed while invisible. Hedrack comes along, tosses a DC23 confusion into the mix. DC21 Hold Person. And he hasn't even gotten to the nasty spells yet. EL16 encounter probably isn't survivable.

Not sure that I can afford to let Hedrack become an active participant in the early Outer Fane battles, otherwise we'll probably have a TPK. And that just ruins the day...

Siobharek 
Orc
(11/15/02 1:11:30 am)
Reply
Re: Into the Outer
Have Hedrack stay away from the fights with the guards - especially if it's against Chymion. She simply has too large an ego to welcome help from a "puny human". The ogres that enter the fray will be in (almost) just as much danger as the PCs, as I don't see Chymion being too careful about her breath weapon.

If anything, Hedrack will send off an invisible stalker to see how the fight is going. Resenting his boosing it around, the stalker will wait until after the battle to return. ("Chymion died. The intruders ran away with 3 gravely wounded and 2 dead. Oh, you wanted to know this earler? Sorry.")

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

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