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Here for a while
(1/12/03 1:10:19 am)
LostSoul's Temple of Evil
I just ran my first session with the module, and it went down well. I was able to use the interesting personalities for the cultists I came up with, and I conveyed the mood of the setting rather well.

I started out with the cultists in Hommlet. After barely surviving the cultists (I decided that Chat would use his Death Attack to Paralyze the one remaining PC; the other one was hiding out, mortally wounded, so they figured they'd be able to find him and kill him at their leisure). After Dunrat fell, they got their hands on his journal, which led the PCs to the moathouse.

The fight with the Big U went pretty well, although I didn't use his hover ability (it always seemed kind of cheesy, and it had been raining for two days). Still, I ended up taking one PC out and the other was forced to gamble by using the Bead of Force (at that point, an unidentified magic item). With only about fifteen Hit Points remaining, Big U decided to leave the PCs be - he didn't know if they had another bead on them.

My brother's website has the campaign log, along with the handouts I used, pictures of the game, and a few descriptions I wrote up to set the atmosphere.

Here's the link:

Here for a while
(1/12/03 1:18:31 am)
notes on the game
Kala is a 6th level human monk with Spring Attack. That has come in handy a few times, especially when evading plate-clad cultists. She was able to keep out of line-of-sight so Dunrat couldn't hit her with another spell. She had already resisted a Charm Person (scoring a 27 on her save!) and interrupted a Hold Person attempt - Dunrat failed the Defensive Casting check, made his Concentration check against the damage, but failed his Fort save against the Stunning Attack. Unlucky bastard ;) .

Yx is a Wood Elf Ranger4/Sorcerer2, one of the few survivors of a massacre at his village by D'Gran and his forces. (D'Gran was out looking for some elf meat.) So far, his big weakness has been his reasonably low hit point total and his ability to draw all the attacks; his big strengths are his Shield spell and his +22 Hide score.

I'm using the Call of Cthulu with the module, so I've changed the gods around. Tharizdun is still the same, but Nyarlathotep replaces the EEG. Cthulu and Shub-Niggurath are also in it. I like using Nyarl because he's got a devilish mystique about him and it draws on real-world myths and legends that the players have heard about.

So far, I haven't used the Sanity rules, but since both characters have a Sanity Hardness of 10, it hasn't been an issue.

Next game, I'm going to begin with one of the watchman gnolls peeking his head through the stairs. He's going to alert the rest of the complex that the Big U has been scared off or defeated, and Ysslansh is going to set a trap for them. If things look bad for the cultists, Gren will probably try and bargain with the PCs, exchanging Ysslansh's body for information and safe passage through the moathouse. She's also going to have the artifacts on her, so her mission will be a success and she hopes she'll be promoted in the ranks (definite level gain if she gets through this).

Edited by: LostSoul at: 1/12/03 1:21:20 am
Here for a while
(1/12/03 5:02:38 pm)
Re: notes on the game
The homepage is really cool, but only two PC's? I fear for their lives... Maybe you could give them some NPC's for company?

Here for a while
(1/21/03 5:25:58 am)
Re: notes on the game
Yeah, the party is in trouble with only 2 PCs. I don't like running NPCs in the party, so they are stuck with it. ;) Discretion is the better part of valour.

Anyways, here are my notes on the first Session:

Session 1: What evil lurks

Scene 1: Welcome to Hommlet

The session will start out with the PCs entering Hommlet during the night.

"The forest finally clears away and you arrive at a town built onto a small hill. The few lights that escape through the gloom of the night peer down at you suspiciously. A smell not unlike rotting wood mixed with piss drifts down on the rain. A crack of lightning and thunder dispells the blanketing darkness, and you see the silhouette of a menacing tower looming over the town. Two guards stare at you from underneath simian brows.

"Welcome to Hommlet."

The PCs should be led to the Inn of the Welcome Wench. This place, while warm, is still not welcoming.

"Patrons stare silently at the flickering oil lamps that cast dark shadows across the room. They seem absorbed in their own misery and fatalism. A man is playing a lute in the corner of the bar, slightly off-key, giving the haunting dirge an alien an unnatural feeling."

The PCs may interact with the NPCs listed on pg 13. Chatrilion and Maridosen are flirting at the bar. This time should be spent setting the mood, giving the players a feeling of dread and fatalism. Once the PCs settle in, we'll fast forward to the next scene.

Scene 2: Night of trouble

The thick and oppresive air of the Welcome Wench combined with a day's travel and a heavy meal lull the PCs into a half-sleep. This sleep is suddenly broken when the door flies open and a sandy-haired man enters (Karlun). He is not wearing a coat. He looks around frantically, then speaks to the barmaid (Vesta). "Where's Elmo?" Karlun asks. "Don't know," Vespa says. "Haven't seen him all day." Karlun leaves.

Shortly after this, Chat leaves the Welcome Wench. Sense Motive DC 15 to notice this. He's going to warn Dunrat about Karlun.

Any questions about Karlun give this information:
-He is the miller
-He was just married to Lady Desina, a widow; they are still on their honeymoon
-Desina was married to Reddy Vies, a travelling jewel merchant
-Desina arrived in town from a Keep on the Borderlands of the Viscounty
-Reddy Vies was killed in the Caves of Chaos nearby the Keep

Plot hook: dropped. We want to use Desina as a kind of red herring; especially valuable the longer the PCs take to look into anything, since, after the first day, Vacra will be appearing as Desina.

Chatrilion is a difficult character to follow at any time; in the rainy night, it's almost impossible. Anyone looking for him must make a Spot check (DC 26). If they choose to follow him, they will have to make a Hide check each round or be spotted. If the PCs are successful, and Chat notices them, he'll just double around back to the Welcome Wench, then head for his room. If Chat doesn't notice the PCs, then they can follow him straight to the Mill where he warns Dunrat about Karlun.

It doesn't take long for Dunrat to get a hold of Karlun. Using his Stalwart Eye, Dunrat keeps watch for Karlun. Once the miller shows up, Chat slips into Karlun's home, makes a Death Attack (paralysis), and drags Karlun into the mill's cellar.

The PCs might invade the mill here, if they are aware of things; otherwise, this scene is over.

Scene 3: Day of pain

During most of the day, Desina and Karlun are brutally tortured. The cultists do tire of this, so they will stop off at the Welcome Wench now and again for a refreshing drink. If the PCs are around, they notice the cultists coming in. They claim to be friends of Karlun's, renting out the mill cellar until they gather up some mining supplies. Anyone can confirm this story; they have bought a wagon and some supplies. They are heading out tomorrow morning.

Elmo is still missing.

Nobody's seen Karlun or Desina; the cultists & the mill workers say that they've gone off to share some marital bliss.

Chat will approach the PCs (after he's had his turn with Desina), asking them if they're the adventuring type. He's been itching to investigate the Temple. "My uncle fought alongside Prince Thrommel at Emridy Meadows!" He wants to recruit the PCs. If someone brings up the moathouse, Chat says that he checked it out already and there's nothing there.

If the PCs don't intervene, Karlun and Desina are killed sometime early in the night. Most of the cultists slip away, but Dunrat stays to Consume Karlun so he can assume his Likeness. This will take all night long. Meanwhile, Vacra uses her wand of Change Self to assume Desina's form. She makes an appearance at the Welcome Wench, just to say to Vespa, "If you see Elmo tell him that Karlun doesn't need to speak with him any longer."

The guy from Belgium
Here for a while
(1/21/03 7:22:42 am)
Re: notes on the game
sounds really cool

a lot of stuff from the boards here... nice!

enjoy the campaign, it's a great one!

Here for a while
(2/1/03 4:59:08 am)
Session 2
Well, we just played session 2 yesterday. It went really well. I threw most of the moathouse at the PCs just after they defeated the dragon - no rest for the wicked - and they survived. The gnolls fell easily and the Monk Kalla easily made all the saving throws from the lower level Clerics.

Throw Gren into the mix, and then we have some infighting! Ysslansh and Gren started duking it out, ghouls against skeletons (skeletons won), with the PCs waiting then pitching in on Gren's side. Ysslansh took Gren out using a grapple, then tried to run, but in the end he was knocked down.

Meanwhile, Gren drank her potions and made it out of the moathouse with all the relics. She's going to get a level gain and show up in the mines.

The fight with Festrath was very interesting. He drank the potion of Fly and started slinging spells. I nailed both PCs, but instead of killing them using Coup de Grace, I decided to force the Monk Kalla to say Tharizdun's name while sitting on the altar. This somehow made more sense than just killing the two intruders - Festrath is crazed, after all.

Oh yeah - Festrath also cut off Kalla's finger and cut out her tongue.

Anyway, here are my notes. There is some description text that replaces that in the module and I think it works better:

Session 2: Evil unearthed

Scene 1: Spotted in the moathouse

"Still breathing heavily after your life-or-death battle against the dragon, you rest amid the rubble and bodies that made up Utreshimon's lair. Pale light streams in through the ruined roof, giving light to the interior. The air is thick with death and decay. A few of the items strewn about here grab your attention, but it's quickly diverted to sounds coming from around the corner. The unmistakable sound of claws against stone breaks the silence, like a dream suddenly become a nightmare. Those claws are coming up the stairs, slowly but inexorably..."

Those clawed feet belong to one of the gnolls in area 18. He's heard the battle and is going to check things out.

"A shadowy, two-legged creature steps around the corner. It's covered in thick, matted fur. Its knees bend back the wrong way. When it sees you, sees you with those deep yellow eyes shining in the darkness, it growls and bears fangs the size of knives. It hunches its back, raising its hackles, and howls. It takes its long, hooked spear in its hands, begging you to challenge it."

He gets off a bark to his companion down the stairs, and then plans to Ready an action to Trip one of the PCs with its guisarme. The other gnoll, meanwhile, rushes off to area 28. It takes him two rounds to make it to area 24, and once there, he howls down the hall to Garrik.

Since the doors are open, there is nothing blocking the sound from travelling to the PCs in area 6. The Listen DC is 5; if the PCs make this, they hear an eerie, haunting howl coming from down below, and what sounds like more in reply (in truth, that's just the echoes from the first howl).

Gren stops the gnoll and tells it to warn Ysslansh of the threat. She is not planning on entering combat unless the troglodyte orders her to; even then, she stay in the rear, ordering her skeletons to defend her. At a crucial point in the battle, she will try to bargain with the PCs. She will help them, with both information and assistance in battle, if in return the PCs don't attack her and they give her Ysslansh alive. She will leave with her skeletons, headed towards Rastor and the Crater Ridge Mines. She will tell the PCs about the grell and Festrath: "Our leader has gone insane, his mind filled with visions of the Dark Man. He has summoned some type of demon but cannot control it. You will find him down the south hall stairs."

Scene 2: A demon in the darkness

When the PCs lower themselves on the platform, the Grell hears them descending. The Grell itself is nearly impossible to spot (Spot DC 32).

"An unnaturally cold wind gusts through this chamber, sucking the heat out of your bones. Your torch flickers in the wind, daring to go out and leave you alone in the darkness. Riding on the wind is a horrid cackling, a weeping, the tormented cries of a man driven far past the edge of sanity."

When they reach the top:

"The floor resembles black marble but has no lustre, while the veins of purple are thick and jagged. Something about them is wrong. It might be the shadows cast by your flickering torch, but it looks as though the veins themselves are moving, writing in some kind of obscene dance. Waves of doubt and fear run through you and over you, and you know you are in a place where evil was born.

"The floor here does not extend to the cave walls; instead, it stands alone and upright rimmed by inky darkness. At the western edge of the black floor, another wooden platform hangs suspended over the abyss, with another rope and pully system dangling down from the darkness above."

The grell attacks once the PCs begin to lower themselves.

"Above you, the darkness seems to take form. In the jet black nothingness, something takes shape. It is akin to the writhing and trembling of the marble, but this thing is much more alive. A huge mass of tentacles, covered in a thick jelly-like ichor and lined with mouths ravenous beyond all reason, appears in the air, and amidst it all a great gaping maw full of teeth upon teeth upon teeth cries out. One of the tentacles darts down at you, reaching and grasping for you..."

Scene 3: When you look into the abyss...

"Crouched down on the floor is a man, dressed in heavy winter robes. He is sobbing, weeping, then crying out in deep religous ecstacy. Something has driven any sort of reason from him. He sits in a dark sun carved into the floor, a perversion of light and life. It strains your eyes just to look at the thing.

"He spins round when you approach, and you see his face is covered by a goat's head. Blood trickles out from underneath the gruesome mask. He giggles in the way only the truly insane can, and points at you with one outstreched hand. 'From nothing did you come, and to nothing you will return!' he screams, all the while making shallow cuts in his arm with a wickedly curved short sword."

Here for a while
(2/2/03 4:11:51 pm)
website updated!

The website has been updated, with pics of minis and the summary from the player's point of view.

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