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JDragonatWork
Here for a while
(1/15/03 8:58:13 am)
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HOW have you been preping the CRM
Morning all,

My group could be arriving at the CRM anytime with in the next session or two and I'm trying to figure out what the best way is going to set up.

SO far its been easy, and the gates won't be a problem. Its just after the gates I have no idea which way they will go, ect.

How have other DM's dealt with this without writing it all up or winging it all?


JDragon

Grumgarr
Here for a while
(1/15/03 9:35:12 am)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
There are many excellent logs of the trials and tribulations faced in the CRM, but I guess you're looking for a succinct answer?

The module as written stands up pretty well so long as you do a bit of prep-work to be sure of who is posted where, who they report to, how they react to intruders - that kind of thing. For starters, there's a nice 'Main-Gate Countdown' in the BoB detailing how long it takes troops to get ready when the main gate is assaulted.

Basically, you can't tell where the PCs will go in the CRM - but there are generally only two directions, and if they start at the 'main' gate (near the Earth Temple), and are about 5th level (for 4 or so PCs) they should do okay, whichever direction they choose - if they go south, you might want to give them some advance warning that there's a dragon that way (Vranthis).

If your group is not yet powerful enough to face this gate, you might consider a side-trek for some much-needed XP and booty.

If they find the early portions of the CRM easy due to numbers or level, don't worry, it all evens out. There are tough parts to this place - it's not a sliding scale, it's chaotic.
And they won't advance in level quickly by taking out lots of no-challenge mooks.
Decent tactics and a few hp-boosts (most NPCs have very close to average hp) can make an encounter much more challenging.

Re-read the areas ahead carefully, and remember that word of the PCs >might< get around, at which point their lives get harder.

Grumgarr

Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(1/15/03 11:58:12 am)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
I have written up all the CRM maps with bad guys and all. I took the idea from Pjack (I think) who posted his maps on the Yahoo Group, So I've posted my maps here. note however, that my encounters are boosted, so they may not fit your group. What they will do, however, is give you a starting point for making your own maps. If you're playing this completely by the book, you can find all the monsters in the adventure at Lenny's, while spreadsheets for clerics, wizards, and sorcerers (oh my) are here.

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

bloodyhellman
Looking around
(1/15/03 11:58:34 am)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
I'm in the same boat, playing Friday night. I'm going to try to have fun with winging some stuff and made a list of odd little things. Like battle cries, reactions to defeat, insane quirks for the priests to have. If someone is captured what do they know etc. I even added a quirk to a magic item or two.

I think the most important thing to do is make up a list of who will come to support who. So the dungeon is dynamic and not just an unrealistic video gamesque sitiuation.

JDragonatWork
Here for a while
(1/15/03 1:57:48 pm)
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Thanks
Thanks for the thoughts.

I use a combination of an Excel spread sheet with monster/npc info, and 4x6 index cards (to track init) it puts out.

As I'm sure is the case with alot of you, I don't have the time right now to go thru and set up every single NPC/Monster prior to the first game. So I'm just trying to get a grip on what the best way to do it, with out killing my self or having a closed due to construction sign across a tunnel. :rollin

Thanks again for the ideas and if anyone has any other ideas drop them in.

JDragon

Kenmis
Here for a while
(1/15/03 2:22:50 pm)
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North or South?
From my experience, the Main Gate fight is big enough that it's an entire session by itself. There are several big fights like that in the CRM, and those are very important to prepare for.

In big sections like the bridge complexes and most of the temples, be sure to read ahead and write down the reaction times of all the NPCs when it hits the fan.

For example:

round 1, alarm raised

2 rounds later 8 gnolls from area X

4 rounds later Named NPC from area Y

5 rounds later 8 Human War1's from Area Z

and so on and so forth. It's *very* hard to do these big fights on the fly, so have them prepared well in advance. Some sections also have quite a few spellcasters, so it's a good idea to figure out what spells they're going to cast, on who, and when. Of course this will change as the battle progresses and priorities change, but be sure to carefully go over a NPC's spell list before the big fight, to make sure you understand exactly what he's capable of. Before i started doing this, the NPC's would get in a fight and wouldn't use their spells as shrewdly as they could have, which sucks.

Other than that, your best bet is get a good idea of how much ground your party covers on average per session, and then read ahead accordingly. For my party, it's about 3/4 a map segment per session, give or take how populated any specific map is. this is all assuming you've already read most of the CRM stuff once before. Remember it's a living, breathing place, so have a good idea of it's overall feel before getting into the specifics.

Personally, i found that if they went north, it was a pain in the ass. The way the maps are designed, you have to go to the END of the CRM section and start reading backwards. Not only that, all the text is assuming that the players went south and are coming back around. This can be confusing, so watch out for it. I wish Monte had split the CRM into two halves, and numbered them separately. That would have made things much easier.

Ok, this turned out to be way longer than i thought it would. I hope this advice helps!

--Kenmis, who's one of his players just told him "Yes, the party is going to clear out the ENTIRE CRM, reguardless of the fact that we have enough keys to get into the Inner Fane." nooooooooo!

Boden Blagden
Here for a while
(1/15/03 3:05:59 pm)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
I had the problem of the PCs were returning to the CRM after almost getting totaly slaughtered by Vranthris, 4 PCs died. This time the remaining two and there new party decided to take the South gate which I did not really prepare for at all, although I did read it and knew what was there. I basically winged it. I have been trying to put every little section, characters, monsters and stats down on paper to have in front of me instead of having to go through the module book all the time or through the MM. I have almost all of the CRM on paper now, so I am practically prepared for anything.

bloodyhellman
Looking around
(1/15/03 3:30:05 pm)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
I'm actually using DM genie with the Adventure. I've had to enter all the NPCs one by one but my fights are smooth as silk since I started using it. It meant alot of data entry but it was worth it.

I better look at that other way in myself... I didn't think of that. :o

Edited by: bloodyhellman at: 1/15/03 3:36:43 pm
Cordo Crowfoot
Here for a while
(1/16/03 12:11:04 am)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
Can you post the DMGenie file on the yahoo groups or somewhere on the net so we all don't have to do the data entry? :)

HeresDaryl
Here for a while
(1/16/03 1:27:50 am)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
I write up what I think the PCs will get to in the next session plus a little extra, in case they move quicker than I expect. I have one folder where I rewrite all the bad guys (incl my own changes) and note their location. I also try to group the relevant write-ups together. Pretty early on I prepared the forces of both of the gates...and shortly afterwards prepared the earth and air temples & the gargoyles at the south gate. This gave me plenty of material whichever entrance the party decided to use.

As it turns out they went for the south gate, scouting it out at the end of one session. This gave me more time, so now I have the Golem, the Hydra and the Orc tribe in one direction, and the cloakers and Kuo-toa in the other. Once they start moving in one direction or the other I'll be able to keep one or two encounters ahead of them all the time.

msherman
Here for a while
(1/16/03 6:41:39 am)
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Re: North or South?
Quote:
Personally, i found that if they went north, it was a pain in the ass. The way the maps are designed, you have to go to the END of the CRM section and start reading backwards. Not only that, all the text is assuming that the players went south and are coming back around. This can be confusing, so watch out for it. I wish Monte had split the CRM into two halves, and numbered them separately. That would have made things much easier.

I agree, the directional bias in the text is a giant pain in the butt. It was like that in the moathouse dungeon, too, where it assumes you came in through the main stairs, instead of the secret stairs.

smetzger
Here for a while
(1/16/03 7:36:37 am)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
Boden - Most of the CRM is already up on the Yahoo group in MS Word format. It has the map on the left with the corresponding statblocks on the right. There are only a few statblocks that are not there.

bloodyhellman
Looking around
(1/16/03 10:38:23 am)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
I wish I knew about those statblocks a few weeks ago. You can enter that format into DMGenie and it would have saved me hours of data entry. To answer the earlier question, my version of the CRM characters are tougher by 1-3 levels as my PCs just got there at 7-9th level I can try to import them. I have joined the official yahoo group for RttToEE I hope it's the right one. If anyone wants to split the work of rendering statblocks for the fanes I have to do it anyhow.

Anyone make a good cheat sheet for who comes to whose aid in the temple complex? That'd be my prep for tonight.

Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(1/16/03 10:53:16 am)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
Bloodyhellman, if you're interested I've made boosted stats for the entire CRM and Outer Fane. You can find them here.

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

bloodyhellman
Looking around
(1/16/03 12:29:36 pm)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
Great, thanks! I am just waiting to be accepted into the group so I can get it.

Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(1/16/03 1:02:07 pm)
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Re: HOW have you been preping the CRM
I think I've set up the group so you won't need acceptance. If you've got problems or questions, mail me at s.thustrup(at)tiscali.dk.

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

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