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Corran Webster
Pie
(12/15/02 8:40 am)
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Corran's Temple of Elemental Evil Campaign
Session 1

Our heroes:
        Flingdy the gnome rogue
        Starshine the human wizard
        Riley the human ranger

Supporting cast (NPC):
        Phenris the elven cleric of Ehlonna

Fleeing their various troubles, the group arrived on the outskirts of the village of Hommlett late in the afternoon. They quickly find the local inn, and settle down for a drink and some dinner.

Talking and listening to the locals, they find:

        * a big, dumb warrior and his "wizard"(?) companion who seem to be looking for work. Starshine is interested in getting Flingdy to "borrow" the "wizard's" spellbook, and eventually Flingdy approaches him and asks to borrow it. The "wizard" claims to not be a wizard, says that he wouldn't loan his book if he were, and tells Flingdy to get lost.
       
        * Riley strikes up conversation at the bar with Elmo, a big, dumb warrior who is interested in hiring out as a man at arms. Elmo insists that he be given a "big axe" and chainmail.
       
        * the group learns from locals that there has been some banditry about, mainly on the road between Hommlett and Nulb; and that some locals have been seen people near the old ruined moathouse.
       
Everyone (except Elmo) head out to the Trading Post to get Elmo a weapon and some armour. The traders seem to have marked everything up above what the characters would expect things to cost, and they balk at paying the inflated prices. Flingdy emphasises this by wandering around the store commenting on how everything smells bad.

Dispirited, they head back to the inn and get rooms. Talking to Elmo and other locals, they learn that the prices at the traders for locals seem much more reasonable. Riley tells Elmo to meet him at dawn so they can go and get his stuff from the Traders, and then goes to sleep.

Flingdy starts singing some well-known, slightly bawdy, drinking songs, and gets the whole tavern singing along with him. Impressed with his singing, some farmers buy him a few drinks, and he learns a little more about the old moathouse. Flingdy also observes a few people staying at the inn who are obviously more than just locals or part of the merchant
caravans that stop here:

        * a man who dresses in typical traveller's clothes, but carries a staff and is renting a private room.
       
        * a warrior who was inquiring about a caravan he was supposed to meet.
       
        * a man with a rapier playing cards in the corner.

Flingdy finishes off with a rendition of a song about a hero, making himself the humourous subject.

In the morning, Riley and Elmo head back to the traders and end up getting Elmo a battle axe and a suit of scale mail (they can't afford chainmail); with Elmo present, the prices are much more reasonable. Riley meets up with the rest of the party for breakfast, while Elmo goes to tell his father (the head of the local militia), that he's off to help some adventurers (Happily swinging his new axe about as he walks).

After breakfast, Elmo rejoins the group and they head along the road to the moathouse. Once off the main road, Flingdy starts scouting ahead. However, he fails to notice a dire badger in the bushes, and ends up coming face to face with the beast, with the rest of the group over 100 ft. away.

Flingdy is badly mauled, but manages to back away, while Riley, Phenris and Starshine pepper it with arrows, and Elmo charges in. Phenris heals Flingdy's wounds. Phenris and Elmo eventually hit it, and it flies into a rage, biting and clawing Elmo for enough damage that Elmo should have died if he was your typical man at arms. Flingdy joins Elmo fighting the beast, while the others fire arrows at it, and it is soon killed.

The rest of the journey to the moathouse is uneventful. The moathouse is indeed surrounded by a moat, and also by some low, swampy ground. Flingdy tries to sneak up on the moathouse, using the vegetation of the swampy area as cover, and does so quite successfully. He is somewhat nonplussed when the rest of the characters, deciding that the coast is clear, walk up the main path to the drawbridge.

Of course, they didn't see the two giant frogs, which leap out of the pool to attack, surprising most of the party. Elmo does see them, and moves in to attack, while Flingdy gets off a sneak attack from where he's concealed. Phenris wades into battle, while everyone else uses their bows, and the frogs don't last long.

Flingdy checks that the drawbridge is safe, and everyone goes into the courtyard of the moathouse. After searching some of the rubble, they investigate the ruined tower near the gate, and are surprised by a monstrous spider. Flingdy is bitten, but resists the poison; Elmo strides in and kills the spider in one blow (a critical hit). In the detritus inside the tower, the group finds some coins and an ivory box.

The group then heads inside, and thoroughly search the main hall. Two open doorways lead off, one to a blocked stairwell up, the other to a storeroom. Riley investigates this and discovers a starway leading down, as well as 13 large rats swarming out of the ceilings and old cupboards. Once the rest of the group can gather to assist Riley, Starshine fires off a sleep spell, knocking out a majority of the rats; and Riley and Elmo quickly finish off those that did not succumb. Riley is bitten for very little damage, and resists the infection that they carry.

Searching the area, they discover an old jug of lamp oil left on a high shelf. However the group decides not to go down the stairs just yet. Instead they turn their attention to a closed door leading off the main hall. From the outside, it looks like it could be barred and bolted, and Flindgy listens and hears low conversation inside.

Elmo tries breaking down the door, but fails. Flindgy tries to bluff whoever is inside, saying loudly that the door is locked, so they'll just go look somewhere else, but does it really badly. After waiting a couple of rounds, Elmo tries again, but with his axe this time, and smashes the door open in just one blow.

The party find themselves up against 8 or so human warriors armed with crossbows and longspears, and set up behind a barricade of old furnishings and rubble (giving them cover, and making it hard to get close to them). Elmo gets the drop on the warriors, who were not expecting the door to give so quickly, leaps up onto one of the barricades, and downs a crossbowman. Starshine uses his remaining sleep spell to knock out three more warriors. Elmo continues to fight from atop the barricade, while everyone else fires arrows at the warriors; one warrior with a longspear tries to stop people entering, but is badly wounded and flees. Starshine dazes the leader of the warriors for a round, but another warrior hits Elmo hard. Elmo steps back for healing, and the leaders of the warriors find themselves with no followers, so they run.

All but the leader are cut down by arrows as they retreat, and Riley and Starshine chase down the leader as he flees through the swamp. Catching up with him, Riley strikes a heavy blow against him, and he surrenders.

Elmo and Flingdy tie up the three sleeping warriors, and once everyone returns to this room, the room and bodies are searched and a stash of treasure is uncovered.

The night's play ended there, with the group preparing to question the captured warriors, and then likely return to town, since they are out of spells and have some badly wounded party memebers.

Corran

Corran Webster
Pie
(12/15/02 9:04 am)
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Session 1 Notes
These are some notes about the campaign, and the first session of play. This is largely a stream of consciousness.

All the player characters and NPCs are 1st level.

The characters were created with a fairly heroic point buy system. A player who writes a detailed background, makes connections with other party members, and chooses to have some enemies can have quite high abilities. I also give the option of having lower abilities in exchange for starting at higher levels, having extra equipment, or allies.

Both Starshine and Riley have essentially chosen the Old Faith as an enemy who wants to see them out of the picture; this hasn't come into play yet, but it will as soon as they come to Jaroo's attention. I'm not quite sure how to play this, but they got some benefits from it, so they'll have to pay a price.

Elmo is the same Elmo in RttToEE, but he's deliberately playing dumb, as the original adventure suggests. My players don't suspect that he's anything more than a dumb, tough fighter-type character at the moment. For reference, Elmo is a 4th level ranger in ToEE.

The "wizard" is in fact a monk.

The fighter waiting for his caravan is a spy for the Temple, Zert. He reappears in RttToEE as a higher-up in the Fire Temple. I'm not sure how I'm going to play him.

The merchants running the trading post are powerful agents of the Temple. I expect more conflict between my players and these guys, because the player characters (and the players!) really didn't like being overcharged for stuff.

I used the giant toad from Oriental Adventures for the giant frogs, rather than the giant frog from RttToEE, as they a little less powerful, and I didn't want to overwhelm a first level party.

Apart from the gnome, who is played by my wife, the players are people who we've just met, so I'm still getting used to their playing styles.

Mistakes I made in the last session: forgot secondary save against spider venom; Elmo scored a critical against the door to break it down (I think objects are immune to criticals).

Corran

Trithereon
Pie
(12/15/02 10:02 am)
Reply
Pardon the Interruption
At the risk of sounding silly ...

Ah Memories!

Your write-up takes me back to the simple days of my D&D youth.

Zagig
Orc
(12/15/02 2:16 pm)
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Re: Corran's Temple of Elemental Evil Campaign
Reading this takes me back a few years. Keep up the good work, Corran.

Corran Webster
Looking around
(12/25/02 12:22 pm)
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Session 2
This session started off with the characters questioning the captured bandits in the ruined moathouse. They were able to intimidate one of the crossbowmen into saying that there weren't any other bandits in the ruins, that they were in the banditry business because farming was too much hard work, and the bandits claimed that they weren't working for anybody else.

The party then took the bandits and their loot back to town, eventually turning the bandits over to be held by the Church of St. Cuthbert, pending a trial, at the leader of the militia's request.

They then tried to sell off the accumulated loot, but were unhappy with the low prices offered by the local merchants. They then tried some of the passing merchants at the inn, and ther were able to sell some of the less damaged weaponry and some bolts of cloth, and stored the rest in Elmo's father's barn.

Healing was also sought, some from the clerics of St. Cuthbert, and some from the local Druid, Jaroo. Elmo's wounds were healed by Jaroo free of charge.

The only other event of note that evening was that two of the longer-term residents of the inn, the fighter Kobort, and the "wizard" Turuko, asked to join the PCs on their next journey to the moathouse. The PCs declined the offer.

The next morning the party set out again to the moathouse. A thorough search of the bandit's lair revealed a secret door with narrow stairs leading down. Systematically exploring the remainder of the ruins, they encountered some bats, a giant snake (which poisoned Flingdy, but was handily defeated), a very large lizard, and a monstrous tick which was hiding in the old kitchen (which surprised Flingdy, and drank a good portion of his blood). Notable treasure included a masterwork longsword and a magical shield. After this, both Elmo and Flindgy were seriously wounded, so they group decided to head home.

As they left the moathouse, they were attacked by Kobort and Turuko. Starshine won initiative and slept Kobort, but Turuko mad his saves and escaped. Kobort was also turned over to the Church pending his trial, but escaped (with outside help) that night.

The characters spend a couple of days recovering, and training for their next levels. They were also called to testify against the bandits in their trial, which went smoothly except that the druid Jaroo seemed to be paying a lot of attention to Riley.

Riley spotted this, and mentioned it to the other characters, saying that he often attracts unfavourable and unfriendly attention from members of the Old Faith, but he doesn't know why. At this point Starshine reveals that he is probably the reason for this, since he is Riley's half-brother(!), and was responsible for the death of a well-respected member of the Old Faith(!) thanks to a forest fire started when he was an apprentice learning the burning hadns spell.

We left off the session with the characters ready for another expedition to the moathouse, to see what they can find in the basement...

Corran Webster
Looking around
(1/5/03 12:39 pm)
Reply
Session 3
This session started with the characters setting out for the moathouse to explore the basement levels. After an uneventful journey from Hommlett, they decided to go down the stairs behind the secret door in the Black Chamber.

The stairs led down about 30 ft. to a 10 ft. by 10 ft. room. Careful searching revealed not one, but two secret doors. The first the opened led to stairs leading down and a passageway leading off into the darkness. Not wanting to go further down, they tried the other door.

This room contained an ogre, who asked the characters why they were not wearing black cloaks. He was fairly quickly dispatched, although not before getting in a nasty blow on Elmo. A search of the room revealed a little treasure in a chest.

With two doors leading out, and one of them locked, they went through the unlocked door into a small rubbish-filled chamber, and then into a larger, L-shaped room. One wing of this room contained stairs going up, and when Flingdy wen to investigate them, a green slime tried to drop on him (he didn't see it, but jumped out of the way as it fell). A torch put an end to the slime fairly quickly after that.

Investigating the other arm revealed zombies, which attacked from hiding. In a fairly long fight, they were handily defeated, with Phenris turning some, Elmo knocking some down, and the other characters assisting with missile fire.

A room off this arm was a torture chamber, and although old, had clearly been used recently, and a trail of blood spatters led to a secret door hidden in a pillar, with a shaft heading down.

Deciding to pass on that direction, the characters investigated a pair of doors at the other end of the big room. These they discovered to be storerooms, containing arms, armour, rations, some brandy, and black cloaks with a flaming eye symbol on them. This they recognised as one of the symbols of the cult of Elemental Evil. Recalling that the ogre had said that they didn't have black cloaks on, they decided to put these cloaks on (cuting one down to gnomish size).

Investigating and unlocking the final door on the level (off the ogre's room), they found some prisoners, who at first were frightened of the characters (because they were wearing black cloaks). One of them was a gnome who recognised Flingdy (and didn't think highly of him), the other two humans who didn't say much.

Further discussion was interrupted by four gnolls coming through the secret doors into the ogre's room. The characters tried to bluff the gnolls, but the dead body of the ogre, the fact the door to the prisoner's cell was open, somewhat confused and contradictory stories, and a good sense motive check led to the gnolls disbelieving the story.

Starshine slept two of the gnolls, but the two others escaped down the stairs. The two slept gnolls were despatched, while Elmo was sent to get a cask of brandy (the idea being to set it alight, blocking the stairs and corridor). The freed prisoners were given directions to escape and hurried out. Elmo returned just before the gnolls returned.

Four gnolls exchanged bow fire with Riley and Phenris, while Elmo threw the cask of brandy down the stairs. The cask shattered at the bottom of the stairs, and one thrown torch later, there was a small pool of (not very hot) fire. This was enough to deter a charge by another group of enemies for a few rounds however.

Once the fire had died down, six bugbears charged up the corridors and stairs, forcing Riley and Phenris to retreat back into the ogre's room. Phenris and Elmo went hand-to-hand with the bugbears while Riley, Starshine and Flingdy shot at them (Fligndy sniping from around a corner). The bugbears established a breachhead in the ogre's room, although several were downed by the characters, and the gnoll archers came to the top of the stairs. A sleep spell knocked two of the gnolls out, but they were roused by their allies.

Around this point, one of the bugbears critically wounded Elmo. Starshine was able to stabilise him, but suddenly the battle became much more desperate.

The session ended with two bugbears and four gnolls standing, Elmo unconscious, but stable, and the other characters largely out of spells. Flingdy has been spotted by one of the bugbears, which is bearing down on him; a gnoll is toe-to-toe with Starshine, and Phenris is holding off a bugbear and some gnolls.

Corran Webster
Looking around
(1/5/03 1:12 pm)
Reply
Session 2 and 3 Notes
First of all, thanks for the nice comments above.

We took a week's break over the Christmas-New Year period, so the log is up to date as of last Friday.

The monsters in the upper level were pretty much straight from the Monster Manual, except for the giant tick:

Small Monstrous Tick: CR 1; Small vermin; HD 3d8; hp 12; Init +0, Spd 30ft.; AC 17 (+1 size, +6 natural), tocuh 11, flat-footed 17; Atk +3 melee (1d4, bite); SA attach, blood drain; SQ vermin, 60 ft. darkvision; Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 10, Dex 11, Con 11, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 7.

Skills: Climb +3, Hide +4, Listen +3, Spot +3.

Special Attacks: Attach (Ex): if the tick hits with its bite attack it latches on to its opponent, automatically dealing bit damage and blood drain each round. Blood Drain (Ex): each round the tick is attached, it does 1d2 points of temporary Con damage.

The sub-plot with the druids and the Old Faith comes from PC backgrounds. I'm planning for Jaroo to take a little while to confirm their identity before denouncing the characters; which should coincide with the characters finishing up the moathouse. This may be an additional spur to get them out of Hommlett to Nulb and the Temple proper.

I toned down the zombies slightly, having only 7 of them, as opposed to 12 in the original module. In retrospect, the characters probably would have been able to handle more. On the other hand, the gnolls running for help has made for a much harder fight than I intended. On the third hand, the players used sub-optimal strategy in this fight: they could have bottled the bugbears up in the corridor and fought them two at a time, instead the PCs retreated into the room and let the bugbears take advantage of their superior numbers.

I haven't yet decided how I'm going to deal with the remainder of the moathouse forces. There are 3 gnolls left, at least one of whom is raising the alarm with the human guards and Lareth during the current fight, and at least one watching the fight from down the corridor. If the players end up clearly victorious in the current fight, the gnolls may drop the porticullis, keeping them out. If not, the moathouse forces are likely to press their advantage. There are likely to be the 3 gnolls, plus 6 human warriors and their sergeant available for this second wave, but to avoid a TPK I'll give the PCs a couple of rounds grace to escape before this second wave hits.

Infiniti2000
Here quite a while
(3/5/03 8:30 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: Session 2 and 3 Notes
Any chance you're gonna continue this trip down memory lane for us?

Dracopticon
Looking around
(3/27/03 4:35 pm)
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This is so good!
I really have to say, Corran, you are literally saving my Dungeonmaster a** here! I myself is just about to start a ToEE campaign 3e style, so reading this makes everything fall much more into place!
I have always been better (as a DM) in making good atmospheres and general surroundings playable to characters in my adventures and campaigns, than actually keeping track of the overall situation, including the organization of monsters/foes/NPC's. And here I meet a DM that's good in both these aspects. WOW!

It's nice reading about what happens when it's still on this level, and I am as you are, not quite certain as how to make the later encounter with Lareth and the Temple Proper work in the BIG picture. I think your idea with how Laroo's denouncing the PC's later on just perfect. But I won't use it, because I respect your work too much to just copy it. I'll work something out for myself. And also the idea with balancing character's with big stats but troublesome pasts or lower stats and better material standards etc, is wonderful! Good thinking!

Dracopticon out.

Infiniti2000
Still here? Wow.
(3/27/03 7:04 pm)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: This is so good!
I'm not sure if Corran's ever returning, but welcome to Monte's forums, Dracopticon! I think I speak for most, if not all, people here, feel free to steal any ideas you want. In fact, that's the whole purpose of the BotB and these log files. I'd be interested in seeing your group's adventures, too, or just feel free to start a thread to ask questions about it. Most of us here have played in the ToEE and we'd like to hear about a 3E version or help you with yours.

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