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Entropius
Looking around
(2/10/03 11:21 pm)
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Green DM, greener players...
I'm new on this board (and to ezboard in general), so I hope this post goes through.

I'm also new at DM'ing (any advice?) and my players (well, most of them) are new at D&D ... even though there are six of them, I have a feeling they're going to get roasted fairly soon... especially if they keep on doing stuff like the story with Chat ... read on.

Cast:

Boddyknock Glinkle, gnome Ill5 (the most experienced player)
Tirion, elf Rog3/Ftr2 (dex 19 dual-wielding finesse fighter)
Norman the Dim, human Bbn5 (player has no clue... he is the barbarian's barbarian)
Liliana, human Pal5
Lelena, half-elf Brd5
Hanks Ironhelm, Dwf Cle5 (Moradin)

I use Renne as a hook to get the party to the MH---Boddyknock was supposed to deliver a message to Spugnoir, only to discover that he's gone missing. Players nose around, deduce that he's probably at the moathouse, and head over there. They send Tirion ahead to scout invisibly, and he sees U and scampers back to the party. They all charge in; U downs one and seriously wounds another with his breath weapon. After some nasty melee action (in which Tirion gets several flank sneak attacks off), U gets wounded to 30 or so, flies off to one of the towers, breathes again (ignoring the feeble ranged attacks of the party), and flies off.

After clearing out most of the moathouse, the party discovers Geynor's journal and goes back to town. They recognize Chat's name in the journal and decide to go hunt down Elmo to turn her* in. Elmo, predictably, was in the inn... *where Chat was working behind the bar!* Chat hears the whole thing (passes a listen check). Meanwhile, Boddyknock is up in his 2nd-floor room at the inn identifying the loot from the temple, with an alarm spell on the door. Hanks is sitting outside the room, and Tirion is in his room next door.

Chat waits until the other party members have gone off shopping (to replace Norman's axe, which the ooze ate), uses her wand, and slips up to the party's room. The dwarf, being a dwarf, makes his save vs. the death attack, but is knocked unconscious by damage.

At this point all hell broke loose. Hanks screams, Tirion comes running just in time to see Chat go invisible again, sees the unconscious dwarf, and dumps a potion down his throat. Chat tries to death-attack Tirion but can't (uncanny dodge), so she goes invisible again and enters the room, triggering the alarm. (Tirion hit her before she did---she's at about 18 hp.) Boddyknock, being a cowardly sort with few combat spells, went invisible at the first sounds of combat and calmly walks out when the door opens. Meanwhile, the other PC's are flailing about trying to find Chat. They see the items that Boddyknock was identifying vanish from the table, swing at the air in front of it, and hit her once, knocking her to the single digits. Chat walks to the corner of the room and calmly drinks a potion, while the party flails about some more. The next round:

Me: "You see the window shatter; the broken pane is streaked with blood."

Hanks: "THAT BITCH!"

Everyone then jumps out the window after her. The bard has meanwhile arrived on the scene (she was in the inn chatting with Rethidoor, I believe); oddly enough, she makes her tumble check, while Chat and Tirion (both rogues) fail. Chat gets away under obscuring mist.

Chat boogies back to the moathouse to warn the surviving clerics, after letting Dunrat know the news. Anyway, she sees the party approach and goes invisible, after warning the wagon crew that had since arrived. Anyway, in the ensuing fight, Chat breaks invisibility to attack Hanks again ... who wises up this time and casts hold person, then plays tee-ball with her head and his warhammer. He was out for blood... his new quote is "Never sucker-punch a dwarf!"

Tomorrow they're probably going to go down to the obelisk chamber... Ysslansh gave his potion of levitation to Geynor during the fight, who levitated down the shaft to escape the PC's ... he's going to go down the shaft and then use the ceiling to move himself to the side above the second platform... where he'll wait. Too bad he doesn't have anything to sever the rope with... if he makes an Int check, he'll try to do it with a shard of glass from a potion bottle (which probably won't work, and might alert the PC's... in which case he'll try to flee back up the shaft.)

I foresee, possibly, a strange three-way battle between Geynor, the grell, and the party... should be interesting.

And I *so* want Hanks to get to the bottom, recognize the obex, and tell the party about it...

"Oh, I know that! It's the symbol of Thariz----*blaaaargh*"

I love this module!

Quick question (to anyone who made it through my 1 AM ramblings): I have a feeling they might not put two and two together and explore the mill. How else can I lead them to it? I'm considering having Dunrat use
"Jaroo" or someone else to raid them... possibly give them an incentive to investigate in Hommlet further.

-Entropius

*I botched Chat's gender the first time they met her, so I just made her female.

Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(2/11/03 12:51 am)
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Re: Green DM, greener players...
My suggestion would be to do nothing. If they don't make it to the mill based on Geynor's Journal, they will have to track the cultists to Rastor. A Speak with the Dead will reveal the identity of the miller's murderers, so Elmo might deputize the characters to bring them to justice. And since Dunrat lives in the Outer Fane, that hunt will be long indeed ;) .

Otherwise it sounds like you're running a sharp game. Welcome to the boards and we look forward to hearing more from your campaign.

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

ZansForCans 
Here for a while
(2/11/03 8:28 am)
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Re: Green DM, greener players...
Quote:
Quick question (to anyone who made it through my 1 AM ramblings): I have a feeling they might not put two and two together and explore the mill. How else can I lead them to it?


IMC, they also glossed over it during the first (and second) reads through the journal for some reason. During a meeting in Hommlet with a few of the clerics, Elmo, and Jaroo, they gave Elmo the journal to read and he was rather startled to see that line in there. He started musing about the mill and what the miller had to do with all this. The party caught on real quick then and decided to give the miller a visit that night. Too bad he wasn't around to introduce his new friends ;)



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SSShadowcat7
Here for a while
(2/11/03 8:37 am)
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Re: Green DM, greener players...
Quote:
Chat tries to death-attack Tirion but can't (uncanny dodge)


Since you mentioned that any help anywhere may be appreciated...Death Attack only works after 3 rounds of studying the opponent. I got the impression while reading that there was not 3 rounds of study for the second attack, and therefore should have been only a normal attack, sans sneak attack due to uncanny dodge.

Otherwise it sounds like you're doing fine. All the above replies I pretty much agree with. Keep going and have fun!

Edited by: SSShadowcat7 at: 2/11/03 8:38:58 am
Entropius
Looking around
(2/11/03 1:04 pm)
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death attack
Actually, she/he did have the 3 rounds ... after the first attack, the fighter/rogue was digging out the cleric's healing potion to dump down his throat, the gnome was invissing himself and everyone was in general running around in a panic, Chat was calmly studying for another death attack. Silly PC's. What they did was analogous to discussing plans for a robbery in front of a policeman.

Random idea about death attack: I'm considering (for Wat, and whoever they meet) allowing death attack victims a second save if they fail the first save. If they make the second save, they are reduced to -8 hp instead of killed outright. Is this too generous to the PC's?

Infiniti2000
Here to stay
(2/11/03 1:26 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: death attack
"Is this too generous to the PC's?"
That depends on your group. It seems like they understand the nature of the death attack and if you ease up on the rule, you will (1) cheat them of an otherwise more difficult and deadly victory, (2) give them cause to expect similar treatment on other rules (such as disintegrate) in the future. Your groups seems like a lot of fun, however, and will be okay with the rule as is, so don't change it.

SSShadowcat7
Here for a while
(2/11/03 9:13 pm)
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Re: death attack
I agree. Don't change it. For one thing, it makes the assassin less deadly...and maybe would mean a lower CR even? How would that be judged? I'd make it easy on yourself and leave it as is.

annakyoyama
Looking around
(2/12/03 12:08 am)
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re: death attack
I share the same feeling that a save or die roll not good. As an alternative, you can always use the second application of assassin's death attack - Paralysis. My Chat used this once which had paralysed my dwarf cleric. Then he told Garik to finish the job by a CDG (next round). Garik stood above the dwarf, well placing the axe on his neck. You can imagine that all PCs were panicked and did whatever they could so as to drop Garik... I won't forget the expression of my players. :evil

And, the victum of death attack must not detect the assassin or know the assassin as enemy. This make Chat's wand of invisibility very critical.

Entropius
Looking around
(2/12/03 9:18 am)
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Campaign log, continued (and a question)
Yes, Chat's wand has been very useful.... to her. The party hated it. (Whaddyamean, that bitch vanished again?) I'm surprised Hanks didn't snap it in half when he found it on her corpse. Because of all that nastiness, the bard took See Invisibility at 5th level.

An aside: my group has a wide mix of dedication-levels. Hanks' player is probably the most into the game, but his fiancee (the human paladin) isn't... she fell asleep midway through the session last night. Aargh. The half-elf bard (whose player is the sister of the paladin's player) is more alert, but still doesn't know the rules very well. The barbarian ... well, you'll see. Boddyknock's player is the only D&D veteran... which fits his character's hyperlogical approach to adventuring. Tirion's player also knows her way around the game pretty well.

Back to the game. At the start of last night's session, the PC's are all in the "well room" (what they mistook the hole in the moathouse floor for at first); they just slaughtered Ysslanth and the ghast, and Geynor floated down with Ysslanth's potion of levitate (which he gave him during the fight, ordering him to levitate over the party and cast spells at them). During the fight Norman (Human Bbn5) failed a save vs. command. The command word was flee, so he tears up the stairs at his barbarianish 160-foot run rate... into the darkness. I made him make Dex checks every 20 feet; he wound up tripping on something near the door to 30. Next round (back under the player's control) he decides to, instead of doing something sensible like walking slowly back until he can see again, sprints back to the glow he can see coming from down the hall. Same deal ... dex check.

He rolls a 1. >:

I decide he runs full-throttle into the corridor branching off to 35. d8 (=6) damage, a concussion, and 1 point of permanent wisdom drain (running into walls headfirst will do that), he runs back to the fight, rages, and smashes the living hell out of Ysslanth. Nobody else had gotten through his 26 AC (with protection from evil). Meanwhile, Hanks' summoned celestial black bear was mauling the turned ghast in the corner.

After realizing that the "well" was a passage down to another chamber, probably the Dark Obelisk in the journal entry, they stand around debating what to do. Now Norman is the impatient sort (his player is overdoing the whole "barbarian" bit ... he only needs a miniature giant space hamster to make the resemblance complete, as he already has the head wound ... :evil ) ... he decides to get on the platform and lower himself while the party is debating.

He gets on and starts untying the rope.

Party orders him to stop.

Norman doesn't stop.

Lelenia (bard) casts hold person on Norman, who fails his save.

Tirion, with her +9 use rope mod, ties him up with silk rope. The hold person wears off. Norman, naturally, is livid. He rages and tries to burst the ropes (Str DC 24), and fails.

Boddyknock, not wanting him to dive down the well or anything, casts a major image of a column where the well is. (The rest of the party figures out what he's doing and isn't shocked.) Lelenia casts charm person, and he makes his save... and then Norman rolls a 19 on his strength check... +5 for his STR 21 ... he's free. The cleric had set an action to cast Command: Sleep, which goes off.

I had given Norman an insanity point (in the insanity system described in the Best Of... thread) after his head wound... as an attempt to draw him more into the game by showing him the creepy dreams that come as the beginning of the insanity sequence. In his one round of sleeping from the spell, he sees the first of them: a glimpse, just for a second, of an eye made of violet fire with innumerable writhing tentacles around it.

He wakes up to find his hands bound again by Tirion with one fragment of the ropes. After wasting quite a bit of our time (meanwhile, the paladin's player has gone to sleep... do we need a 2-drink minimum of something caffeinated?), he decides to stop struggling. The party unties him, and they resume planning. They decide to rest for the night, and go halfway out the secret passage to camp. The night passes uneventfully, and they return to the well room.

Meanwhile, Geynor has met Festrath down in the obelisk chamber (by chance levitating down on the side away from the grell), and is, needless to say, put off by his insanity. He's scared of the PC's, of the Obelisk, and of Festrath; Festrath, of course, thinks he's still in charge of the Moathouse, and orders him to stay down in the obelisk room with him. They spend the night there, while the PC's sleep up top. They take some subdual damage from the cold. However, clerics of Tharizdun and EEE regain their spells at dusk, so two hours after Geynor arrives they both get endure elements (cold) up.

The party, being cautious to the extreme, puts a major image of the party on the platform, along with the requisite Glowy Rock, and lowers it. (Boddyknock has the illusionary Norman picking his nose.) The platform lands, complete with light source, on the top of the Obelisk, and they see the black-and-purple top of it.(The party has figured out that purple=evil.) Boddyknock keeps concentrating on the illusion, while Lelenia (bard) fishes out Chat's wand of invisibility and uses it on Tirion, who climbs down.

So we've got an invisible elf, standing amidst six visible but illusionary PC's. She sees the other platform and pondered exploring further (I'm invisible, so they can't hurt me, right?), but decides to scurry back up and report. They decide not to explore the obelisk chamber just yet. Norman's player has to go, so we decide he stays and makes sure "nothing evil comes out of the hole" (yeah, he's dumb) while the rest of them finish exploring the Moathouse.

Area 33, ghouls surprise party, paralyse paladin, wail on her, get cut down by Tirion and a lightning bolt from Boddyknock (reveling in the power of 3rd level spells). Eventually they find the hidden altar in 34A and find the items in the column, but don't mess with the altar or play the items. They leave the ghoul tunnels and go back to the well chamber, where the session ends.

Now I have to figure out exactly how Festrath and Geynor will react. I'm pondering having Geynor go slightly insane during the night he spends down there, with the knowledge that he can't get out unless he can convince Festrath to levitate him, as the top platform is up. They can't hear the party up above because of the running water.

I think I'm going to leave him down there with Festrath. Festrath thinks Tharizdun will soon be free and his avatar will enter through the Obelisk. Yes, he's nuts... he doesn't rationally know about Tharizdun, but, from spending so much time in this place, his reason has been replaced with Tharizdun's madness.

Geynor realizes he has to get out of here or else become the blabbering, delusional loony that Festrath now is... but he can't get out. He prays desperately to the EEE to grant him the power to cast levitate to get out. (Charisma check DC 19 each hour.) (I have some great ideas for him being corrupted to the worship of Tharizdun in an effort to escape, but I expect the PC's to go down soon anyway.)

When he hears them coming down, his rescue has arrived... he'll hide and try to take the lift up to salvation while they're busy with Festrath. (And then the grell will eat him if it's still alive, which I doubt it will be.)

After they kill Festrath... they're trapped! They'll have to spend eight hours down there waiting on Boddyknock to get a fly or levitate prepared in order to send someone back up to lower the lift, unless Festrath's potion of fly survives unused (which it won't). If they do smart things (huddling together, healing, borrowing Festrath's cloak as a blanket, etc.) they can probably survive, using lots of charges off their wand of cure light. I hope nobody gets thirsty down there. They've seen enough ghasts already. :evil

That, of course, is evil. :evil It's a good thing Festrath is insane and not cunning, though, or he'd fly up, wait for the PC's to get on the lift back to the top of the obelisk, and cut the rope.

Let's hope nobody falls asleep (or leaves halfway) next session.

-Entropius the Newbie DM

SSShadowcat7
Here for a while
(2/12/03 9:41 am)
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Re: Campaign log, continued (and a question)
For claiming to be brand new at DMing you've sure got a good handle on things! I've enjoyed reading about your group and the behind the scenes work you're doing. It's the equivalent (if not better) to many logs out here now, mine included (which hasn't been updated for way too long).

Keep doing what you're doing. Sounds fun!

Infiniti2000
Here to stay
(2/12/03 10:32 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Campaign log, continued (and a question)
Very good! Just a couple of points. One is you have to run (x4 movement) in a straight line, so I'm not sure that barbarian could have gotten that far anyway. I had a player who tried to run his character in a similar way and you need to explain to him that it is not a barbarian show. Sure, he can highlight every once in a while, but he literally tried to "steal the show" which makes a bad game (i.e. not fun) for everyone involved. Also, as for the rope, I decided that the rope would be too heavy to pile up on the platform (making it more difficult to lift), so when the platform is at the top of the obelisk, the rope hangs down. Of course, the platform is likely tied off, but Geynor still might be able to climb out (taking off his armor first, I'm sure) using the hanging rope. If he makes it, though, he might cut the rope and leave Festrath down below.

Good game, I look forward to more of it.

Taxman66
Here for a while
(2/12/03 11:50 am)
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Re: Campaign log, continued (and a question)
I think the Wisdom damage is a little 'over the top'.

Taxman
"It takes an uncommon mind to think of these things, Hobbes." - Calvin

Entropius
Looking around
(2/12/03 5:22 pm)
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Wis damage
"the Wisdom damage might be a bit over the top"

It would be under most circumstances... but this guy plays his character (and plays OOC) like a complete berserker ... think Minsc ... he doesn't miss the point of wisdom at all, and actually cheered its loss. A lesser restoration (or a few weeks' time) will mend it.

Also, we played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay with roughly the same group (Boddyknock's player was DM'ing); in the WH game, weird stuff like that happens constantly. I think two swords were accidentally chucked overboard (on botched attack rolls) during a fight on a boat. ... so the PC's were used to things like that happening. I haven't been doing the whole 'critical fumble' thing, but it seemed appropriate there.

Random newbie question: how do you quote on ezboard? (Is there a way other than ezcode? If not, what's the ezcode?)

-Entropius

ZansForCans 
Here for a while
(2/12/03 8:57 pm)
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ezQuote
{how do you quote on ezboard?}

You use: [quote]something they said[/quote]. Many of us also just use {} or plain ol' "" if it's a one- to few-liner (like I did above).

With the latest ezBoard interface, if you have the 'ezCodes' radio button checked right above the input box you type in, a panel of buttons will appear to the left of the input box. Copy some text from the post you want to quote from, hit the quote button, and then paste that into the box that pops up.

If you want more docs on ezCodes, hit the (?) link right next to that ezCodes button I talked about before. That will tell you about the new posting helper buttons (ezPost). About halfway down that screen, there's a link to a ezCode tutorial.


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gaelicsummer
Looking around
(2/14/03 5:54 am)
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RE: Wisdom Damage
FYI. Lesser restoration does not heal PERMANENT ability loss.

I too have a player try to steal the show. My campaign is unique in the fact that.

Atilla: 6 warrior 2 barbarian played by a 24yr old pregnant chick.

Head 4 warrior 4 barbarian played by her husband. (Note she is more into the game than he, and he is into it le me tell you.)

Onyx: 10 Wizard, dwarf, 20 con, Abjuration spec, the most survivable character i ever had to DM, bar none, played by one of the best tacticians Star fleet battles has ever seen, Get the point!!

Meadow, 8th cleric she uses no weapons, armor, but heals like a mutha. new player who doesnt like violence.

Miko, A 6 cleric 3 wizard. Excellent utility character with a mean bow. Played by a rules lawyer, j/k

Rangor a 8th cleric, Dwarf. built tough. Played by a used car salesman, get the pic.. lol

Gnoodle, 6 sorceror. This is this guys 5th character, he dies and refuses the rez. Played by a RL Lawyer. ARGH>>

Sneaky: 6 rogue.This guys 2nd rogue, getting better, but runs away all the time, Very vocal player. A+

Valari. A BLADESINGER. Wow they kick butt. Played by a very calm, cool, rational player. Party leader, mind you the 2 barbarians drive him insane.

We average 9 players a session, at most was 11. I wish i had 4 players lol.

Sorry to spout, went off on a tangent.
GaelicSummer

Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(2/18/03 8:03 am)
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Re: RE: Wisdom Damage
gaelicsummer (and anyone else with the same over-abundance of players)...I *strongly* recommend that you split a group of that size into two groups. DM twice as much, if you have the time, or cut the groups to every other week.

Really, the adventure is tough to run for six...it's utterly unmanagable for eight and up (imo). It really does benefit you (and the players) to split a group that size up into two.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

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