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Here for a while
(2/8/03 2:55 am)
Role-Playing Lareth
Tomorrow my PCs will be entering Nulb and meeting Lareth. I'm going to use the "Lareth=Kurtz" concept, and play him as a bitter, disillusioned recluse with lots of time to ponder things using his insanely-twisted wisdom.

Despite his level, I'm going to have detect evil indicate that Lareth is an "overwhelming" source of evil. (IMC the odd weather and undead menace associated with Nulb is largely due to Lareth's presence there.)

I'm going to present Lareth in an unthreatening manner, though, because I REALLY want the PCs to talk to him. Some samples of his "lines" follow (I don't see this as one continuous rant, but rather a back and forth conversation, of sorts. My PCs are likely to engage in a theological debate with Lareth, so I'm going to play that for all it's worth):

Do you realize that decline and decay are the only real constants in this existence? Things and men; they all fall. Things fall apart, but men?ah, men fall from whatever lofty pedestal they think they stand on. Undeservedly. Inevitably. The higher the pedestal, the greater the fall. Even if they?re on that pedestal every moment they draw breath, sooner or later they exhale one last time.

Do you know what happens then? They change. I?ve watched them change? They change into flies. <chuckle> There?s something beautiful in the entire process, don?t you think? Something rather profound in that decay. The flies change, too, you know; sooner or later the light of their existence flickers and fails. Some people think it?s a vast cycle, but it?s not. It doesn?t go on and on eternally. It spins in a circle, I suppose, but the circle revolves slower and slower. Sooner or later it stops.


Eternal life? Redemption after death? You pitiful, ignorant fool. Don?t you understand that everything in this life is a shadowy reflection of the greater truth beyond? That truth is reflected in all the ways of the world, and the outer life beyond is just more reflection, more smoke and mirrors. You think the afterlife is the end? You think the gods and their outer domains ARE that greater truth? Bah! The gods and the afterlife are just a continuation of the lying, mocking shadow we call existence! It?s all part of the same farce; there?s no real difference, and men cross that line back and forth all the time. I?d wager you know someone who?s been across that line and come back. Look at the gods; they?re just men on a grander scale: scheming, warring, vying for dominance. There?s nothing truly special about the gods; men only worship them because the gods are stronger. If men were stronger, WE?D be the ones worshipped, though it doesn't really make a bit of difference, one way or the other.

Allow me to enlighten you. There is only one truth, one ultimate end, and everything, EVERYTHING in this reflection we call existence points to that ultimate end. Even the gods will come to that end. They?ll fall, too. Decay. Decline. Void. Nothing.


Good? I see where you?re going with this, and I don?t want you to waste your time and breath on it. You think goodness is a force in the cosmos, connected with truth somehow? It isn?t. Neither is evil, really, but evil is closer to the mark than goodness. The ultimate end is the only truth, and the ultimate end is empty, final, and doesn?t give a damn. It?s beyond good or evil. It?s beyond law and chaos. All these paths and philosophies we spend lives (and afterlives) chasing and promoting end up the same. Every one of them buys into the lie to a greater or lesser degree. With that understood, I must qualify it by pointing out that the philosophy of evil is much closer to the truth than the philosophy of good. Likewise, chaos better reflects the ultimate end, even though it is a pale imitation of the truth.

Why bind yourself with laws and morals which mean nothing, in the end? Do as you will; that should be the whole of the law. Even self-indulgence means nothing in the end, but while we exist may as well play out the farce and gain whatever illusionary satisfaction we can.

I knew a good man. A VERY good man, and a mighty servant of Pelor. He was a prince, heir to the throne of Furyondy. He was betrothed to a beautiful woman. He was handsome. He was mighty in war. He rode at the very head of the forces of good, serving the cause of good with every fiber of his being. His pedestal was very high. If only you knew the true depths of his fall!
With that last part, I'm hoping the PCs will jump to the conclusion that Lareth is talking about himself (i.e. that Lareth is Thrommel). THAT would be highly amusing.

Lareth will also let on that he knows about the Temple, Elemental Evil, etc. According to the module, he's willing to give out some info "for a price." I'm not sure what that price would be, in Lareth's case, especially given the philosophy he's going to spout. I'm considering having him ask for black onyx gemstones (material components for animate dead spells or other nihilistic magic research). I also considered him asking the PCs to kill him (but he could do that himself, if he really wanted to, and if the PCs think he's "fallen" Thrommel, and/or that they might be able to "save" him, they might refuse to kill him). Any ideas?

Here for a while
(2/8/03 6:41 am)
Re: Role-Playing Lareth
One idea I had for Lareth was that his "price" would be a bottle of whisky, fetched by the party from Wat's tavern. He hates the cult, and figures that if the party can take on Wat, they may be able to take on the cult. And if they can't, oh well, too bad for them.

Cordo Crowfoot
Here for a while
(2/10/03 1:04 am)
I did a similar thing as msherman, whiskey bottle and all, and it worked well. Not sure if I borrowed it from msherman or we both borrowed from the same source. :)

I made sure the players wouldn't leap to conclusions and attack first by just jumped in and starting to talk to them (albeit catigating them and demanding they leave at first) rather than giving them the chance to draw steel. I didn't buff up either as hearing spell casting usually makes players nervous that something bad is about to go down (and rightly so).

Finally, I appealed to one of my more powergamerly types who is still trying to figure out the truth behind the rumors of powerful artifacts by promising him information on them for services.

Looking around
(2/10/03 3:40 am)
Re: Lareth
My group just ran into Lareth last session. I had them catch a glimpse of him from the other side of the bridge... they spotted someone walking out on one of the dillapidated docks and pulling up a stringer of eels. Some wild dogs came after him, so he ripped an eel off the stringer and threw it at them, which appeased the dogs and he slipped away. At that point I had some vargouilles attack the party from the woods near the roadside. They dispatched them and went into the inn for some fun with Wat and Dalla. They took some heavy casualties in both hp's and stat points, then retreated from Nulb for a day. When they came back, they tracked Lareth from the dock that they saw him on back to the herb shop. There he sat, smoking his pipe and acting generally unconcerned with just about everything. I too had Lareth send the party to the inn to get him another whiskey bottle, and once he got it and took a few swigs, he went into his diatribe about being powerful, beautiful, gods seeking his attention, tricked by Tharizdun, smote by Y'dey and then raised by Hedrack, forgotten, yadda yadda, yadda.

When the PC's learned he was Lareth, I got the longest, most dread-filled moment of silence I've ever had as a dm.... it was marvelous!

I had Lareth invite them to dinner... boiled eel with assorted herbs of course!!! I had Lareth say something like:

"Well, I got this stringer of fat eels here... they feed well on all those corpses left in the river. All the labels are worn off them herb jars in there, so I just take my chances and grab a handfull of some herb at random... never know what you're gonna get... sometimes they make me feel all tingly, or light-headed, or paralyzed... one of the few joys left to me these days... not knowing if I just poisoned myself or not... so you boys stayin' for dinner?"

Here to stay
(2/10/03 7:17 am)
Re: Lareth
That's good stuff, setanta14. Toss in a few BoVD "herbs" and you're all set. :)

Looking around
(2/11/03 2:10 am)
Re: Lareth
Yeah... plus now the party thinks Lareth is sort of on *their* side since he was talking smack about Hedrack and the cult and didn't attack them right away. He told the party about some others creeping around lately (the spys Iuz sent), so they're on their guard around the temple (we stopped with them camping a few hundred yards from it... they talked with the druidess and she told them of the general strength of the hobgoblins there). I can't wait until they find out Lareth is the Chosen One!!!

Once again... here's the clue-bomb I dropped them from the Bell of Yeth... they're starting to put things together... though rather imperfectly, which is good:

A Place of Glory, A Place of Woe
A Place of Darkness where None may Go

An Empire Sunk beneath the Sands
A People Scorched by Arcane Hands

Exiles from those Places I Favored
Seek again the Power you Savored

Those Who Serve Me Yet on Oerth
Know what My Revenge is Worth

For a Mode remains to Release My Will
Upon Those who Stand Against Us Still

The Component Corners of Creation are Vital
The Orbs They made yet sit Idle

Harness Those Who Rule Their Kind
The Chosen One you also must Find

Seek the Place Where He was Slain
Beneath it Lies Relics of Cold and Pain

The Torch Arcane reveals the Peak
Of That Which Rests on Column Meek

The Burdened Nadir becomes a Gate
To a Place which Bares Fruits of Hate

Stand upon My Tabernacle of Old
Part of My Essence will Unfold

Speak thou My Forbidden Name
To reveal That Which I Became

Of thy intent I will be Told
Else your soul is Mine to Mold

A Gift I give to Those who Know
Of Impending Doom and those laid Low

Dark Orb Illuminates My Cell
Blacker than the Pits of Hell

It Steals thy Will for My Own
To Muse Upon a Sundered Throne

Four Aspects standing Together
Within Each lies a Terrible Treasure

For in Concert use Their Power
And My Golden Eye will Glower

For if thou possess a Tentacled Rod
The Eye Shall Flame Wrath-Shod

Mine Altar shall Pulse with Life Again
Sending forth Befouled Arms of Violet Stain

To Grasp the Soul of one you Cede
And Present thou with a Tool in Need

The Hounds of Yeth will Bay at Last
When My Time of Sleeping hath Past

The Golden Eye has Served Us Well
Demons lured for Weal to Quell

The Accursed Others shall Feel the Wrath
Of He Who Treads the Inviolable Path

Here to stay
(2/11/03 9:08 am)
Re: Lareth
I tried a bunch of this stuff in my game yesterday, and my characters are now convinced that Lareth is Thrommel. :evil

Boy, are they in for a surprise . . .

There's no business like gnoll business

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