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Eltern
Here for a while
(2/9/03 9:36 am)
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Help with clerics/Hedrack
I have determined that I simply don't know how to fight with a cleric effectively. Uskathoth, Terrengyit (sp?), the kuo-toa at the water bridge, all have fallen rather quickly to the party. I really fear the Hedrack is going to be a push over simply because of my own inabilities playing a single cleric vs the party. So how does it work? They're not amazing in combat, and they don't have amazing spells, either. Tips and tricks? If you have specifics for any of the element temple head clerics or for Hedrack, that'd be great.

Another thing: Does the head priestess of the Fire Temple (Forget her name) have a demonic addition? It's not in the statblock or anything, but in the picture, it really looks like it. Another thing with pictures, the picture of Fachish holding a horn and something else. What is this something else? Is it a change from the text of the adventure?

Eltern

Infiniti2000
Here to stay
(2/9/03 10:07 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Help with clerics/Hedrack
Your questions are good, but to identify any cleric specifically would be too much I think. In general, a cleric power really shines when they have enough time to prepare, even if only a couple of rounds. For this then you need to make sure you give them their listen checks to determine how much time they have. Most will have some long spells in place (like endurance, etc.).

Clerics are actually the best in combat, given a few spells like divine power, endurance, and greater magic weapon.

They also have amazing spells. Hedrack should start with blasphemy, no save for no actions 1 rounds and good chance of getting sorely affected thereafter. He might then do a greater command, etc. He should ALWAYS be able to at least get away (word of recall) and prepare appropriately.

I (at least, and I'm sure others) will chime in further tactics on the tactics/rules thread SIERK started. If you need help with someone in particular, now, respond in this thread and I'd be happy to respond. You'll get a lot of ideas from a lot of people. The FAQ and BoB also contains some hints. e.g. Fachish casting silence on the summoned air elemental.

The high priestess of the fire temple, Tessimon, has a demonic right arm, as presented in her stat block on pg. 177. As noted in the errata, the picture on pg. 76 is wrong (artists are mad).

Fachish is holding the trumpet and the censer. The censer looks almost like a scepter. The rounded top part can be removed and a piece of incense can be placed within.

Lunus Quelnegarde
Here for a while
(2/9/03 11:15 am)
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Re: Help with clerics/Hedrack
I love clerics, and it was easy to near TPK my party with Hedrack.

Here's how it went down for my group:

Hedrack was alerted by survivors of the fire temple that something really bad is happening. Heddy didn't much care but he figured he'd scry (he knew their leader had the earth sword) and find out which temple they are working for.

Well, they had *camped* on the Earth Bridge at that time and were all set to attack the Outer Fanes. Party morale was high and they were blabbing away. Hedrack decided to send Bethe to scare them off.

When the party found (with the see invis scroll - fire temple) and killed (phantasmal killer that to her looked like a Furyondian Prince charging he down with his lance *grin*) her in about 3 rounds... Hedrack informed Victor. Vic wanted to get his chance but Hedrack told him not to worry, they were coming straight to Heddy's office in the morning, and he would deal with them ALONE.

This was Hedracks madness... so angry at these impudent beasts that he wanted to scare them by being the only welcoming party. He put the tower on watch to let any obvious good guys through (my group has something against hiding their Pelor holy symbols...) He also commanded the Elder Earth Elemental to stay as a large lump, Victor to remain invisible in a corner with Spider Climb, and the Spider Eater Riders to be ready as soon as Hedrack called "Now!" on his contact medallion. This meant he had sent the group into retreat and it was time to kill every last one. (He also told Varachan about this plan... Boasting late that night. Varachan said he would watch the other doors incase something about these adventurers was tricky.)

Anyways, the party walked up... were *allowed* to enter by the Spider Eater Riders (I thought they'd grab a clue here) and started poking around at the big mound of Earth in that room (Earth Elem) Meanwhile Victor lined up a shot with his Javelin on the Illusionist.

Now for the part you wanted: Hedracks Strategies.

First, if he knows the group is any threat... or at least if he figures they are coming for his Fanes, he probably Scries on them at least for a few hours to figure out who they are, and their relationship to each other... and most importantly their favorite spells. He might watch Bethe or Victor at work if he sends one out. This is probably the first time your group has ever been scried on... even if they notice it they might not pay attention. If one of the survivors from a temple can provide Hedrack (well, the Spider E Riders) with a description, that adds a bonus to the scry.

Assuming he knows someone is coming, he alone is very tough. He has Destruction at DC 26 and Disintigrate at DC 26 as well. Hedrack is probably smart enough to point out the Bards, Rogues, Sorcerers, Wizards or any class with a typically low Fort Save.

Ok, before combat he has buffed up on the following spells:

bull's strength

endurance

shield of faith

magic vestment

protection from Elements: [Fire]

freedom of movement

greater magic weapon

spell immunity [phantasmal killer, magic missle, lightning bolt] (depending on what he sees, he may choose different. Remember to spread his resistances as far as they go... so if you took prot from elem: fire don't take fireball here.)

spell resistance [SR 26] (This is why I love clerics!)

the round before the combat begins he could cast divine power as well.

Ok, a few ways you could enter the battle. A) Like I did, roll init, Hedrack waits around corner till his turn then walks out and either casts Blasphemy (if people are close to him) or Destruction (if they are further... he wants to maximize the Blasphemy but it's range is bad.).. or B) You could be less cheap (I regret my decision now) and make him be waiting for them in the hall. They talk, then fight. C) is if Hedrack is met with his entourage and combat breaks out. Still, it's essential for Hedrack to never be caught off guard. The Spider Eater Riders assure this.

Ok, so combat starts. Here's Hedracks Spells and when to use em. (I'll put a star if it's a spell he has little to no reason not to use.)

*Destruction: Right off the hop, look at the puniest wizard/arcane spell caster and say "Tharizdun take your soul!" DC 26... this player will be pissed off cause he'll miss this awesome battle. Maybe hit an NPC.

*Blasphemy: Heddy's way of saying "Get back" not only will he be able to use this, stun them for a round (no save) but he might actually drain their brawlers strength. Hedrack gets to use this, then go again without reprocussions. So there's no reason not to use this.

*Slay living: Has to touch them... but if they are in melee combat DC 24 can still take out someone.

Shatter: Late end combat spell... can still break that huge fighter's sword.

Dispel magic, Dispel Good, Greater Dispelling: If needed, these can screw players bluffs. Probably an early end spell. If Hedrack's in a group, ready this for counterspelling against any powerful spellcasters left.

Confusion: Will DC 23 on a 15-ft radius? This can mess up fighters or spell casters. I'd save it though, he has better stuff than this.

Summon Monster 4: A Howler can flank for Hedrack. Takes too long to cast though and the Howler might die as soon as it materializes. Probably save this for late in the fight.

Circle of doom: With his high concentration, Hedrack can use this while surrounded.

Flame Strike: 14d6, Reflex save DC 24. 10' radius. A good attack anywhere in the battle.

*Greater command: Ooh... this is how he ended the fight against my group. One paladin left. Hedrack: "Kneel!" Paladin does. Pally had 2 HPs left so I made it a coup de grace for an awesome finish. Better used against a lot of people. Tell them all to "surrender"... or "flee" towards the Blade Barrier.

*Blade Barrier: Nearly forgot. 14d6. Put this in the middle of the group, forcing the party cleric ot the back but the fighters to the front... if put down right, this is Uber deadly. If Hedrack has a group... use the minotaurs or something to bull rush people into this. Use near the beginning of combat.

Insect Plague: "Spellcasting within this cloud is impossible" use on the backrow of the party.. preferably putting this against a corner... hedged in by the blade barrier.

*Phantasmal Killer: Another nice save or die spell. Will and Fort save DC 25.

*Disintigrate: Use this once Hedrack has determined the biggest threat. DC 26 again.

*Harm: Use this on anyone close enough... too good to be true (literally) It's fun to have enemies with near-death attacks, no save.

-Scrolls- Hedrack has to drop the tentacle rod or his shield to use these I believe. Drop the shield.

Heal: Below 40% HP? Use it. Better safe than sorry.

Harm: You can trade off his 6th level spells for this so the scroll isn't really needed. Oh well.

Spell Resistance: In case some lucky spellcaster actually dispels the first Spell Resistance, he can put it back up.

True Seeing: Good to be prepared. Maybe your party loves inivisbility and they are actually half decent at move silently?

And aside from this he has quite a few healing spells, and some other cool stuff like death knell or silence. Prayer or rage can buff him even more... though IMC I ruled that when rage is cast on you, you still can't concentrate on anything (spell casting)

When it comes down to it, Hedrack has so many ways of killing a group, you won't get to use them all.

Ok, wrapping up my story: Varachan told the Spider Riders through the contact medallion that the threat was dealt with and they could go off alert. He also pre-commanded the Earth Elemental to wait and only chase out the intruders. Anyway, Hedrack saw his advesaries running and calmly called "Now." Amidst all the confusion that followed, two of the group members (Illusionist and Bard) made it to their camp (which was still on the bridge) grabbed some of their stuff and teleported off.

-Victor had died in the blade barrier. Anyways, Hedrack knew someone was a traitor and suspected Varachan until a while later when Thrommel passed up an opportunity to finish Burne off (long story). Now Hedrack is convinced Thrommel has not been entirely turned to his side, and is untrustworthy. Truth was, Thrommel was just gloating.

I hope that story and some of those tactics helped you out. Clerics can be quite, quite deadly.

*I appologize for spelling mistakes, spell checker doesn't want to work again.*



Hammerhead
Looking around
(2/9/03 1:20 pm)
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Re: Help with clerics/Hedrack
FYI, you can't convert 6th level spells to Harm According to the information on Spontaneous Casting in the PHB (Page 32, First Column), an evil cleric can convert his spells to any spell with the word "Inflict" in the title, and Harm, of course, doesn't have "Inflict."

Likewise, a good cleric can't convert Blade Barriers into Heal spells.

BogonTheDestroyer
Here for a while
(2/9/03 3:41 pm)
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Additional tactic for Hedrack
This seems like the perfect place for me to share a little nugget I have been holding on to...

Hedrack should replace Disintegrate with Insanity as a domain spell. Here is my rationale:

1) Most important of all, it is a Will save. Nice for taking out the front line tanks that have great fortitude saves. I know that the saves are already pretty high, but my party in particular, all have pretty hefty Fort saves. Mix it up for best tactical advantage.

2) Unlike disintegrate, no range touch attack. Again, why risk messing up even if it is just on a 1.

3) Acts as a permenant confusion spell. This means that big tank may just start to unleash on his own party. Really ugly.

4) Doesn't have quite the demoralizing effect on the player as disintegrate does. Hey, he might actually get his character back at some point. Good luck to his party members of convincing him to come along quietly :evil

5) You already have destruction for crying out loud. Isn't that bad enough! 10d6 damage on a save for crying out loud!


Hmmmph. Glad to finally get a chance to share that little nugget :)

Enjoy,
BogonTheDestroyer.


Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(2/10/03 6:58 am)
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Re: Additional tactic for Hedrack
Take out the fighters and the rogues. As it has been demonstrated above, any cleric can buff himself up to resist a wizard a round or two. With a couple of confusions (hell, even hold person can hurt if DC's in the upper teens/lower 20s), the rogues and fighters will be wandering around and the PC clerics/wizards will waste valuable time dispelling their comrades.

At first, clerics seem a little more difficult, but if you take some time and sit down and look at the spell lists, some strategems might suggest themselves. For instance, it's a crime not to use Andorax' silenced air elemental. Hedrack might use this one some invisible stalkers for basically the same result.

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

Dragon Mage 1E
Here for a while
(2/11/03 7:42 am)
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Re: Additional tactic for Hedrack
I am finding it hard not to kill off the characters with these higher level clerics. Their insanity scores rocket up the DC's on spells, making save or die spells EVIL. Hedrack has been responsible for 6 of the 8 deaths in the party so far, and he is not done yet.

Some advice for tactics in regards to the higher level clerics. Antilife Shell is great for keeping those pesky fighters off of you. And of course the defenses vs spells have been stated above. Now all you have to do is kill any PC's that may be able to dispel you. Dispel magic is the bane of clerics. Also, I like to put Spell Immunity vs Dimensional Anchor up to be sure I have an escape.

Blade Barrier can be very effective if used correctly. You can control the direction the PC's have to flee. If you are outnumbered or unprepared put the center of the BB just in front of the party, forcing them to retreat away from you. If you are in a commanding possition, put the BB behind the PC's and force them to approach you and cut off their escape.

Bolts of Bedevilment are great if you are hasted, it saves on spells.

Flame Strike - Remember half of the damage is unholy and not stopped by Protection vs fire.

Forbiddance - Great for bedrooms. Keeps away most fighter types, and can only be dispelled by a higher level caster.

The key is having time to prepare, they must get up defenses to have any chance of challenging the party. One thing I do is to try to get an idea of a clerics mentality, is he a melee type or more of a spellcaster. Once you have determined this you can prepare his spell formation. You can't do both so decide on one and customize the prepared spells accordingly.

Hope this helps.

"What the curtains?"

Tristan DArque
Here for a while
(2/11/03 8:26 am)
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Re: Additional tactic for Hedrack
I've not really had my party encounter any big clerics yet: the worst they have come up against is Festrath (albeit with some BoVD additions and a ghast template) but they've just met Lareth (see my campaign thread here, shameless plug). The way I've dealt with preparation is this: Lareth hasn't buffed (he wants to chat, and he doesn't want all his big buff spells going down while he chats) but he has cast damning darkness on a stone in his pocket. If the chat turns into a fight (which I guess I'm anticipating at some point, given the paladin's propensity for smacking anything that detects as evil), he'll take out the stone and cast sanctuary. That ought to give him a bit of time to put up the rest of his buffs. Area effect spells would reduce the effectiveness of this approach, I know, so it probably doesn't work well for high level parties, but my players are not that high level (and anyway, they don't have a wizard...)

SSShadowcat7
Here for a while
(2/11/03 8:42 am)
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Re: Additional tactic for Hedrack
Some really good advice so far.

Just a side note on blade barrier. Remember that it's casting time is 1 Full Round, so it's not that easy to get it off in the heat of battle.

Infiniti2000
Here to stay
(2/11/03 9:34 am)
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ezSupporter
Lareth: To Battle or Not To Battle
It was a hard choice. I decided to eschew the enormous role-playing potential and instead give my players a hard lesson in the power of clerics. For the long term plans of the campaign, I thought it better because it is a lesson best-learned while young. I wanted my party to get better against such enemies because I feel they would otherwise choose poor tactics later where it would likely result in TPK after TPK. I wish I could run it both ways...the RP method seems to be by far the better game, however, so do choose my method without knowing what you will be missing. :\

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