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Here for a while
(1/12/03 2:55:11 am)
Re: oops
Yeah. Monte advises that "in no way should Varachan fight at the Party's side". But come ON here. If there's a war going on in the Outer Fane and he's the only one left standing, what organization is there for him to work within to bring down? The only logical step is for V to join the group and assault the Inner. THAT is what should NEVER happen because he would be too great a source of information. Instead, he should have an extensive journal (written by DM's, I'll probably post mine soon if anyone is interested) with some hints on how to get inside but mainly about his change of heart and the hope that he felt when he first became aware of your group. Of course you can't give away the candy store so don't overdo the hints in his journal. It's probably written in clever riddles with plenty of innocent red herrings, just in case he's being watched (being where he is and who he is, he's probably QUITE paranoid).

IMC, the group has attacked and V thought that if he joined, he could help mop up the Ogres & Ukemil before his cover was blown. It was his mistake and at the end of last session he's at 6 hp (Ukemil summoned a trio of Fiendish Hyena's to help flank) and he's been pounding V. He's about to say "Darkness" and get back to his pad but the PC's don't know this & I'm hoping the effect will be something like Obi-Wan v Darth Vader. Hopefully, Ukemil will escape and warn others that Varachan is revolting.

The way I figure it, the party is his best chance to stop the end of the world before it's too late and he'll do everything in his power to help them. He'll just get killed before they've cleared out the Outer. I DEFINATELY don't want him around to give advice when (for example) they're trying to access Inner. His journal will have hints about the Library where Naquent is first discovered. Spending a few days there will reveal the significance of purple robes, incense of dreaming, etc.

Edited by: Kelashein at: 1/12/03 2:57:06 am
Still here? Wow.
(1/12/03 3:42:13 am)
Re: oops
With respect to Varachan, I think the best to shoot for is have him contact the party somehow. Meet them and convince them of his good intentions. Have the party get a feel for this changed man - let him be a ray of sunshine or a flower growing through a crack in the tarmac. And then have him kiled, gutted, and put on exhibition by Hedrack who then falls on the party screaming curses at them for "subverting" his trusted #2.

Varachan can be a sanctuary for characters who are close to getting in over their heads, but in the end, he should (IMHO) be an example of all the good in life that will be crushed, should the Doomdreamers succeed.

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

Here for a while
(1/25/03 6:04:49 am)
and so it ends
Players: 11th lvl barbarain, sorcerer, rogue, cleric, and 10th Fighter.

Day 0:

*The Pc's beat a hasty retreat and hole up, wait for morning and wind walk the next day to verbobonc.*

Thrommel, after being defeated and spends an hour in his coffin.

Thrommel takes command of the Outer Fane.

Thrommel has the Oracle predict (accurately) which day the PC's will next enter the outer fane again.
He goes and talks directly with The First about Hedracks failure.

Day 0:
Early Morning Hours,

Thrommel has Maracla raise dead on Hedrack, and Naquent.
He then eats Hedrack and buries him in the ground. He asks the Oracle (accurately) when Hedrack will be ready to be his vampire minion. 3days.

Day 1:

*The Pc's wind walk to town and sell and buy all the gear they want.*

Maracala stone shape 3 of door bridges to not slide into the ground.

The water door is still accessable. But also very much guarded.
The Water Temple is still the only active temple. But is left with a skeletal crew of 6 kuo toa. And the water elemental. The named characters from the water temple have moved into the Outer Fane for reinforcements on the Water and Fire door. (It's hard not to obey the vampire.)

The First summons a "24hd Air elemental with Greater Planar Ally" gives it part of Chymon's treasure. And has it guard the Air Door.

Succubus and Thrommel, use part of Chymon's treasure and buy some nifty gear. Thrommel gets a "shatterspike" longsword (From sword and fist.) He then gets potions of haste for several other key players.
And while he's there he picks up a few old rivals to guard the outer fane. He uses his Dominate Person ability on "Neo the Magic Swordsman" human Lawful evil, 2fig/2monk/6wiz. And the "Celtic Guardian" lvl7 elf TN Barbarian.

Day 2

*Pc's wind walk back using a scroll, and attempt to Breach the Outer Fane.*

The spider riders are out in force. 12 spider riders are riding about in pairs of 2. Making sure noone approaches

*The PC's easily spot the spider riders while windwalking and stop inside the CRM and then buff up before approaching on the Air Bridge. Everyone gets improved invis'd and a few players get fly spells. The rogue is the first one to make it across the bridge, sprinting. He stops at the door and sets off a Glyph of warding (Bestow Curse) when he stops next to the Air Door. He fails and gets -4 all saves, attacks etc. The curse gets lifted the next day.

Again the doors have been stone shaped to not slide into the ground. I give them the information that when they touch the key's to the door, "It does not slide into the ground, like it did before." Baffled, the PC' cast fly on everyone, and try every key and greater keys on all the doors, (Except the Water door.)

So they watch the spider riders flying around circling the Blue Towers. Since they can't see eachother, they all hold hands and fly together as a group approaching 1 of the towers. 1 ten dice lightning bolt later dc 20, everyone fails their saves, and they beat a hasty retreat to the Dwarfern complex. And rest until the next day.*

The First uses the Oracle to determine where/what the PC's are doing today. He summons a Greater Planar Ally 24hd Water elemental I use him instead of the normal 16hd

1am Naquent scry's the PC's and just watches them resting for a bit in the Dwarfern Complex.

Day 3.

PC's decide to take on the water temple.
They beat up 6 Kuo toa. And a Huge 24hd Water Elemental.

All the Pc's get improved invis again, and all flying and water breathing.

The elementals +26 spot, +26 listen, made it great vs the invisible attackers. But still gave it that 50% chance.

Fireball not so effective. But "Control Water" was oh wow. It's slowed and it doesn't get a save. Well after it was slowed it still had 1 attack, and it used it to Sunder the fighters +3 waraxe. Another longsword was hit, but it was barely damaged. *Fighter said "Dieing would have been better than losing that weapon."*
They retrieve the broken piece of axe that fell into the water.

*The Pc's are a bit curious as to why the water temple was so easy and didn't come to a conclusion.

They finally realize they could just stone shape the door away and walk in but they'll need to rest to do so.
And they rest another day in the temple of Moradain.*

1am Naquent scry's the PC's again. Kind of a hi I'm scrying you. Whatcha doing?

Day 4
2am Hedrack pops out of the ground like a freshly baked vampire, and is ready to Mem spells once again take control of the complex as a 13hd cleric Vampire!

Thrommel and the Succubus find interesting things to do in Verbobonc. "Dad, I want you to step down and make me the king."

All the bad guys have a a heroe's feast and await for the PC's arival. Just like "Dungeon Keeper." They accurately guess, that the PC's will attempt to enter the Air door and hang out as a group in area 33 or 31.

PC's find another glyph at the door entrance, and dispel it. PC's stone shape the Air door, and an Invis stalker guard goes to alert the bad guys. As the PC's approach the Air Room, a wall of stone is at the bottom of the stairs. with a 5' opening 15' high. Yep. They accurately guess there's a glyph there and they disarm it. Rogue flying and invis, spots the Huge Air Elemental, sitting where the nest of Arrow hawks used to be 80' up on the ceiling. Amazingly the elemental doesn't spot the rogue. They surprise the elemental and get partial actions all taking movement into the room.

This elemental misses alot more with the 50% miss chances, and round 2 goes into a whirlwind. Catching 2 of the flying fighters in it's whirlwind. The cleric stuns it with a Sonic Burst! It loses its +11dex bonus and the fighters power attack it for a bunch.

Air elemental gets defeated in about 5 rounds, and the PC's have 2 rounds of actions before a wall slides into the ground and the bad guys spill out. Well, all the PC's are invisible. It takes 2 rounds for the cleric to find the barbarian with a heal spell. (he took 60dmg)

Sorcerer dings! and goes to lvl 12. He picks up Chain lightning and he gets to use it just next round!

Now when the door slides down, Hedrack, Naquent, Maracla, 3 Mino guards, Neo the magic swordsman, Celtic Guardian, and a Quasit are on the other side. All buffed and raring to go.

Naquent is flying (potion of fly) and has a tower shield below her actually wielding it like a windsurfing board, with foot bars to strap in her feat and holding on attached with a small rope. Getting 3/4 cover from below her.
And half on the same plane, but 0 from above her. Since she's just flying next to the ceiling this is working great for her.

As soon as the door slides down, I tell the PC's they're with in Hedrack's 70' Invis purge spell. But all the Pc's go first.

Rogue moves next to an octogonal side next to the door.
Barbarian flys and charges Naquent doing 15dmg.
Sorcerer blasts them with Chain Lightning. Hedrack's the main target, but his spell resistance saves him. I said it was an area effect spell and could still effect everyone else.

Well Hedrack was hasted, and he takes a double move to find out where the lightning was shooting from. Sorcerer was just 15' out of the radius. Get's a clear shot, and disintigrates the sorcerer who fails his save. He was polymorphed at the time, so all his equipment went poof too.

Next Hedrack went over to the Rogue and cast slay living, rogue failed his save and died.

At this time I asked the PC's if they would help me run some of the bad guys so they wouldn't have to sit around doing nothing, and take a small load off my brainstorming tactics. They declined.

Well to make it a bit easier I told that Hedrack wasn't breathing and had big fangs. That cheered them up.

Well not really.

But instead of casting harm on him, *Cleric of st. cuthbert domain spell* he did pull out a scroll and cast heal.

Now like many Dm's we agreed that Harm's and Heals vs undead do get a Will save for half. So he made save and only took 43dmg out of his 86. Like wise, I didn't have Hedrack cast harm on the cleric, but rather himself.

All 3 Mino barbarians were Raging and Hasted and continued to attack 1 dwarf fighter for 3 consecutive rounds. Well he asked if they were giants, and not wanting to look it up, I said sure. But now (looks it up.) in retrospect, Large Monstrous Humoinds, they should have slaughtered him. I missed so much from that unnecessary -4 to hit.

Final Score.

Maracla got taken down to 9 hp again, by the barbarian and Ethereal Jaunted away.

Naquent combat casted a hold person, on the barbarian, and then drew a Heavy mace to Coup next round. But the cleric dispelled it with her own wand of dispel, that they looted of her body previously, he's got Inquisitor domain which gives +4 to dispel checks, and I allowed it for the wand, but he rolled a 17 anyhow.
Barbarian full round attacked Naquent hit 3 times, and critted once. So she got killed at the hands of the Barbarian again. Took 60dmg in 1 round.

Sorcerer disintigrated round 1.

Rogue in invis purge and being so out numbered never got a chance to flank, died round 2.

Cleric essentially soloed Hedrack, hasted, with Scrolls of Heal, and Cure Critical wounds. Mass Heal off a scroll came into play and saved the dwarf fighter, from a death at the hands of the Minos while the cleric was fighting for his life.

Hedrack failed a cure crit for 37dmg, and was barely brought to -1 and turned to a gaseous mist. Again, forgot he Regened 5dmg every round.

Dwarf Fighter Killed 2 mino's and seriously hurt one, until the cleric of cutherbert smited him and crited with that attack.

Celtic Guardian was rarely attacked early on and eventually fell to the dwarf fighter. His haste and Rage wearing off, he became a putz trying to hit ac 28.

Neo the Magic Swordsman, while a neat concept and cool to play around with was barely effective at all and only hit the barbarian once with an arrow for 10 dmg. He did soke up 2-3 attacks and was ac 34 until 1 targeted dispel took away his shield, and haste spells. Made another mistake, that True Strike doesn't require spell failure checks 25%, which I unnecessarily failed twice. Barbarian chewed him up.

So over all only 2 PC deaths. And they have another scroll of windwalk to get back to Verbobonc.

But the PC's hate the save or die spells, and don't want to go on any further. And they took the module away from me.

Still hope to lurk a little around the board though. :)

gnite all

"Lords of Death. Street gang. Punks from Chinatown."

Edited by: wuhan at: 1/25/03 6:26:53 am
Here to stay
(1/25/03 7:00:33 am)
Re: and so it ends
"But the PC's hate the save or die spells, and don't want to go on any further. And they took the module away from me."

No, wuhan, say it isn't so! I'm glad to see you still have a smile about it though. Great battle. Give your players a couple of weeks, maybe a month or so, and they'll be itching to get back into it. Come on, what's a few true resurrects between friends? ;)

If not RttToEE, what's next on the agenda? Will your group houserule no "save or die" spells?

Looking around
(1/29/03 6:14:02 pm)
player reports in...
just to let you know the other side. Our group is role-playing light, butt-kicking heavy. There is a ton of charging into combat, not much pre-planning (except spells/buff). For the amount of combat we do, we are not tactics optimized. About 1/2 of the characters are non-optimized.

As a player, I'm not against save or die spells as long as there is a counter (death ward, ptr. evil, Heal, Dispell Magic, whatever). Save or Die does favor the NPCs, but we really hadn't had a problem with it. Although the only save or die spells we had were nerfed (harm) and the save or die spells we didn't have weren't (disentigration). We also didn't cheese out with Silence spells (though I'd almost gotten to that point), and some other combos that were "not part of my idiom" (it wasn't part of the character's personality).

My theory is that play stopped because of some sour grapes. I had a difficult time, but challenging times are good too. It would also be good to learn as a group that 'retreat' is a valid tactic. I think this group could finish the module, but we'd have to:

1) get over it
2) use better tactics
3) find out about the plot

more later,


Here to stay
(1/30/03 7:35:49 am)
Re: player reports in...
erratick, I'm not sure if wuhan will let you keep reading this thread, but I'd like to respond to your post. First, I'm glad to see you have a good grasp of the situation.

"Save or Die does favor the NPCs." That's very true, especially in the this module with high DC's. However, with the ability of a true resurrection, this should be only a setback of some cash, unless you get disintegrated while polymorphed. At that point, however, I would personally introduce an outside benefactor that gives some equipment to the resurrected PC, depending on the amount of treasure in the party as a whole. (I.e. Maybe the other party members could redistribute some items.)

"1) get over it"
Maybe "learn from it" is more appropriate. Adventuring in D&D is a learning experience, where the DM should "train" the players to be effective with their characters in a D&D setting. Hopefully, this is done gradually so that mistakes can be corrected early and by the time the party reaches very deadly situations, they are attuned to how to deal with them.

"2) use better tactics"
Absolutely. This is true for everyone, not just your party. The primary tactic you need to think about is teamwork. Do the spellcasters buff the non-spellcasters as well as themselves? e.g. The mage and/or cleric should give the fighter a Owl's Wisdom spell before heading into the big bad evil cleric's lair. That +1 to +2 will save should be a huge help for a fighter. Do the fighter-types protect the non-fighter types so that more spells can be cast? Does the group work out tactical advantages so that the rogue can get a sneak attack now and then? I can come up with many more, but the best tactics involve a certain amount of teamwork. Sure, it's nice to do kickass spell combos, and some are the function of good teamwork. e.g How about the wizard casting haste on the cleric, who casts shield other on the fighter, and then cures/heals himself and the fighter each round? This would provide a nearly limitless supply of HP for the fighter.

"3) find out about the plot"
I'm not sure what to say here except that my party currently has the tactic to kill everything. Not a good idea. Knowledge is half the battle. If you find yourselves wondering around just killing things, with no ultimate purpose, you are doing something wrong, and it is not necessarily the DM's fault. Give him/her a chance to provide plot elements, things you absolutely need in order to finish successfuly. Don't just fight, fight, fight everything, especially out of hand.

In any case, don't consider your group one-of-a-kind. You are certainly not the only group to have this happen, whether or not you are in the RttToEE. Also, things will not likely change if you play in the RttToEE or not. So, my advice is to suck it up, reroll some characters (or use true rez) and get back in there! Most of the DM's here would love to see you guys finish it. Good luck! :)

Looking around
(1/30/03 10:37:41 am)
sour grapes
the get over it part is largely in response to sour grapes....

nobody likes being disentigrated, nobody likes having their favorite weapon sundered, nobody likes being killed by slayliving on the first or second round of combat.

I think our group just needs to get over the sour grapes part.

I really don't care about the negative vibes from the sour grapes. I sour grapes when I lose an argument -often enough- so I understand the feeling, but you can't let it interfere with the game. It is a _game_ after all (heresy, I know).

The other suggestions are good. I don't know how to get our players interested in the plot... they are mainly dungeon crawlers. I like plot and RP, but we don't really have the group for it in some ways. Also all plot and RP makes for dull sessions. You need conflict. A nice mix.

My only complaint about RTEE is that the first parts make the players feel like they are accomplishing much more... You solve the deal in the town, move on to Rastor, move on to old temple, move on to next.. and then you stay largely in one place in an endless succession of orc and pie. Kick down the door and blast the badguys in a dungeon. That is half the reason why the priest who had lost his faith died. As a party we were conditioned. There had been no aid, succor or non-aggressive people or creatures in the past 20 gaming session, nor in the entire complex. Anyone wearing the symbols had either attacked us, or attacked us. The end of RTEE is actually pretty boring from a module stand point, there is little plot development, it is basically a long assault on the summit. Inner fane/Outer fane politics not withstanding (that is for another post).


Looking around
(1/30/03 10:55:12 am)
not monolithic evil, but not incompetent either...
I found the way evil is portrayed in the module as we ran through it as a little odd... (and by extension, the way it is discussed in this thread).

The evil guys that we encountered largely stuck together, if a group was defeated there was no infighting (not even as much as within the 'good' party after winning). The bad guys go and regroup and then comeback. We never witnessed a powerstruggle, a stab in the back, an offing of a rival to gain power, nothing. What happened to slaying incompetent minions, spells deprived from followers who fail? Oh sure there was detritus of a battle between rival temples, but that took place 'off camera'.

We never saw any... From what my character witnessed, I'd guess the whole fane (inner+outer) thing is run by Lawful Neutral guys.

I haven't read the module since it was in playtest (it didn't have much about the characters of the fanes because they never had the appendix with the NPC's), but it sure didn't seem like monolithic evil when I read it, and ran it...

I'm not saying make them incompetent, just evil... Evil thinks nothing of feeding on the weak- in their ranks or not.


I think our party might be the evil one, we have slain and slain and no mercy or quarter has been given (St. Cuthbert or no). We in-fight, we had character steal from each other. Tharizdun's followers should be so evil.... hahahahah. We do buff everybody in the party (and buff them with things they need), and split party treasure pretty fairly, that is the only sharing we do though.

Still here? Wow.
(1/30/03 11:12:43 am)
Re: sour grapes
Speaking of sour grapes, the air elemental should have some.

"The cleric stuns it with a Sonic Burst! It loses its +11dex bonus and the fighters power attack it for a bunch."

Elementals are immune to stun.

Still here? Wow.
(1/30/03 11:28:12 am)
Re: sour grapes
About no infighting: That's where we might like a thread or two with your DM for plausible ideas, should you guys decide to pick up the spiked gauntlet again.

Thanks for posting, BTW. Nice to hear a player's perspective from a not-(yet)-so-succesful group.

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

Here for a while
(1/30/03 1:28:46 pm)
history of the group
As a group we playtested RTEE. Erratick ran the module, and we stopped playtesting at Rastor.

Mainly because it took a really long time to playtest, and that was as far as we got, before we had to return the module.

After it was released, about a 1/2year after we last played RTEE, I was given the module to run. Because I'm always a player and never a dm, and my friends wanted to see my artistic DM stylings.

In playtest we stopped at Rastor, and that's where we picked up again. But with a different group of PC's that did all the plot.

This group hadn't gone through Hamlet, or Moathouse, or Nulb, or any of that. Us as players did that in playtest, but as the PC group, they essentially started in Rastor, and went straight to CRM.

This group played like they were a bunch of dungeon crawlers not knowing anything about the plot. In just a few days they quickly over came many temples and bridge areas. During this time Varachan failed his scry rolls, alot of them. He really had no way of contacting the PC's without putting himself in great risk.

If I could have done it again, I still wouldn't know how to get Varachan to give them vital information before they entered the Outer Fane.

Luckily I was able to have each Temple encounter more terrible and terrifying than the last. And each assassination attempt came closer and closer to killing a PC.
However, was not able to ween them onto a bit of strategy and teamwork.
The PC's still had the routine of casting a few buffs and then chargeing forth. Even into the most dire of death traps, the Outer fane.

In alot of ways, the NPC's were more organized than the PC's. For instance, only 1 Trog cleric escaped the downfall of the Earth temple. He fortified himself at the Earth bridge. Eedrick says "What the? Earth Temple fell? Here you guard this bridge, I'm joining the Fire Temple."

And the battle with a hasted Eedrick, and Tessimon both on the floating platform, just seemed to work really well together.

I did have Thrommel take control of the Outer fane, and run it like a disciplined organization, dominating all the slackers. Those telepathic amulets all the wizards on the lightning towers posses also seem to make it out to be a military orginization.

Thrommel went so far as to going to the water temple, and having the Mino barbarians and all the Named characters touch all 3 pools and get Maximixed Bulls str, and Cats grace. As Naquent, Maracala, and Kelashin looked on.

If he failed to stop the PC's from breaching the Outerfane before Hedrack was ready, he wouldn't be able to go home and marry his fiance and become king.

Overview of the PC's.

Halfling sorcerer LE. "Likes to run around as Medium Bronze Dragon. With a blast them with fireball mentality."

Dwarf Cleric of Cuthbert LN. "Takes in a situation, and acts approriately. Often with a judgement and a smiting."

Half elf Rogue. CE Corrupted by the Demon stone. This rock gives me power. "I do what I want and I don't care about the others." (Currently has Varachan's 4 Refuge sticks, but didn't Identify them, or tell the others he picked them up.)

Dwarf Monk LG. Died last from the slay living effect, and then lost his charcter sheet.
Now, Dwarf Fighter CG. "Likes to go along with what everone else does."

Half Orc Barbarian CN. "Likes to charge into enemy ranks, often at spell casters first. With a whatever, I'm charging him mentality."

In the 2nd editon Temple of Evil campaign characters would die off in droves. Laughably so. I remember once we had 8-10 4th lvl characters vs 4 Trolls. And the trolls chewed threw about 4-6 players.

In my experience with 3rd ed RTEE, the players seem to possibly resent the encounter levels being too high. As if they were much more attached to the characters that they raised since lvl 3 to lvl 12.

"Lords of Death. Street gang. Punks from Chinatown."

Can't leave now (mod)
(1/30/03 9:51:20 pm)
Re: history of the group
{Luckily I was able to have each Temple encounter more terrible and terrifying than the last. And each assassination attempt came closer and closer to killing a PC.
However, was not able to ween them onto a bit of strategy and teamwork.
The PC's still had the routine of casting a few buffs and then chargeing forth. Even into the most dire of death traps, the Outer fane.

In alot of ways, the NPC's were more organized than the PC's.}

Wow, this sounds like a page out of one of my RttToEE runs. Unfortunately, that game ended with a lot of sour grapes as well after I TPK'd the party for the second time in four sessions.

I think part of the lesson here is that if the DM optimizes the tactics of ALL the NPC's ALL the time, the party will have little to no chance. Sure, a few veterans and wargamers might rise to the challenge of plotting a better strategy. But most players are going to just charge ahead and hope for the best.

Remember, since the DM runs ALL the bad guys, it's really easy for them to make a coherent strategy ("Hmm... gnoll number four is not doing well, I'll send the cleric to go heal him this round.") Meanwhile, the players have all the interesting dynamics of personal style/politics to get in the way of forming a cohesive plan. ("I'm not healing Bob, I'm casting Divine Power and kicking this thing's butt!!")

Not every fight should be bigger, badder, and deadlier than the last. I did that to one party and they burned out with frustration. The players need to flex their muscles and lay a little old-fashioned smack down once in a while.

The doomdreamers have many powerful minions at their disposal. Their chaotic behavior is the only saving grace for the party, or the DD's will swat them like flies.

Basically, it comes down to this: don't let the cool combat and encounters bury the story. Because without the story, all the combat becomes a tedious exercise in die-rolling.

Trust me, I learned this the hard way -- and still struggle with it, for that matter.

-Thrommel, putting the 'hack' in "hack-n-slash".

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