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Still here? Wow.
(2/12/03 6:05 pm)
Events IMC - fun with scrying!
I've just done a terrible job trying to keep up with a campaign log - I haven't even really tried to get it going in months. But I thought I'd pound out a quick summary of recent events IMC... it's been pretty fun and interesting.

Lots of interesting activities and plans by the bad guys! Any comments on these are welcome.

The party most recently defeated the main forces of the Fire Temple (Tessimon, Firre and Zert) and destroyed the Fire altar, with aid and intelligence from the Water Temple. (Previously, they had wiped out the Air Temple (twice), D'Gran's bridge complex, and the tunnels from the Air Temple down to the edge of Fire Temple territory.)

An NPC of my own invention, "Ronzer" (terrible name, I know), who is an arcane archer and captain of the SER, spotted one of the PC's in a boat being piloted by Poolidib, taking him to the water temple. He reported this sighting and the PC's description to Varachan.

Heunar was the only survivor of D'Gran's forces. He made his way to the Fire Temple, then after the Fire Temple's butt was kicked, was summoned to the Outer Fane to talk to Hedrack. Having seen the party in action, he was able to give Hedrack a decent description of the party and some info on their abilities and tactics.

Following their tremendous victory, the group returned to the hidden dwarven temple they had discovered earlier. This time, they found the secret door near the hydra cave and entered that way - earlier, they had not been able to make it past the golem. After a night's rest in the secret area, they fell victim to the falling block trap, but afterwards looted the treasury. They were too paranoid to mess with the emerald hanging from the chain, no doubt remembering the elf rogue being turned into a dwarf by trying to pick up a hammersphere!

Tarren, the evil druid, had met them before and occasionally scried on them to see what they were up to. He successfully scried on them while they were in the dwarven temple, learning its general location.

Following that, the party returned to Rastor. The party wizard, now 9th level, tries out his new Teleport spell and gets the party back to Verbobonc for buying, selling and studying. (It takes him two trips to bring everyone) The party ends up staying in Verbobonc for 13 days - mainly crafting and scribing time for the wizard.

Varachan continues scrying on Teo, the Olidammara priest who was spotted by Ronzer. I throw the party a bone by having Teo drinking with one of his bard buddies who casts Detect Scrying daily, as a matter of course (many jealous husbands are looking for him). Thus he clues Teo in that he is being observed... he's even able to catch a glimpse of Varachan (see the Detect Scrying spell) and draw a sketch of him.

Teo gives the sketch to the party wizard, who is able to scry back on Varachan in return. He sees him in his room, talking with one of the drow "ambassadors". The drow asks him, "But how is he going to find the Champion?" Then Varachan notes the scry sensor and gets the drow to cast Dispel Magic on it. The party is somewhat freaked out. The wizard buys a scroll of Detect Scrying, but doesn't have time to put it in his book yet... And this is fun, that they know have some idea of Varachan, but still have zero concept that Hedrack is out there!

Meanwhile, back at the CRM... Hedrack spends time gathering info about the PCs and their activities. He sends Heunar to get some arrows fired by the archer to help with the scrying tries, and summons Kelashein to the Outer Fane for a report. Looking over the situation in the CRM, there is no one guarding the south gate, and a large cleared area on either side of it. So he sends a message to the Earth temple, ordering them to destroy the south entrance. A few days later, they do, using summoned earth elementals and xorn to collapse the walls and ceiling in the area immediately surrounding the gate. For good measure, Hedrack inscribes a Glyph of Warding on the Fire Bridge.

Before that, though, Tarren has passed up past the Air Temple to the dwarven area, and through some tracking and searching, he's able to find his way in to the secret area. I figure that he's able to use summoned creatures to grab the emerald and the hammerspheres - he has to find both entrances to the area in order to avoid the golem, so this takes him at least a day. Trying to return to his fungal cave, he finds the path cut off by the Earth Temple-wrought destruction. A couple of days worth of Stone Shapes enable him to create a tunnel through the debris. However, it's not big enough for Kiibo the dire bear to pass. So he leaves Kiibo on the far side - I think this may make an interesting encounter later on, as the party's monk/ranger used Animal Empathy on the bear when they first met.

I'm thinking that Tarren may now abandon the mines, at least for a while if not forever, in order to cash in some of his wealth. I think he may leave a little note for the party buried in his fungal cave, saying essentially "thanks for leading me to the dwarven temple, suckers!", along with a fungal concoction or two and a single hammersphere as gifts. I don't know though, that might be a little too cheesy.

I have some more ideas kicking around about the new power of the Water Temple, the Earth Temple, and Hedrack, but they are still pretty vague. I think Hedrack may entertain Oomkaan for a time as a possible Champion, then return him with a demonic limb later. I've decided that Oomkaan can do a free "hookah Divination" once per week. Hedrack (or some other Fane personality?) might also give some kind of gift to the water temple to cement their new status, something along the lines of the elemental summoning device the Fire Temple had in "A Gathering of Fire", or something like that. (Any ideas?)

Hedrack might command Kelashein and company to try to kill the PC's should they encounter them again. That would seem to make sense. Certainly, she will be on guard against an attack by the PC's in any case. Ooomkaan's free "hookah Divination" should give some warning there, and they will be preparing for some of the tactics they know the PC's use - mainly, Dimensional Anchor on the teleporting/dim dooring wizard, and some Oil of Slipperiness to coat walls and ceilings against Spider Climbers.

I imagine some continued fighting between the Water and Fire Temple, with the Fire Temple suing for peace after a week or so, giving the Water Temple the treasures from the Reliquary area as a bribe. Skassik will be sending Heunar out to look for help - probably to the "troll lair" that the PC's found a map to in D'Gran's place; I assume Heunar knows about that and maybe even has some connections there. (Partially this is motivated by the fact that the monk/ranger has Giants as a favored enemy, and a backstory of being orphaned in the woods when Tharizdun-worshipping giants killed her parents. I have some vague ideas about a loose league of evil giants that wander around in the Lortmils, and the troll lair/Heunar's mission will provide the link to that group.)

I'm not really sure what to do with the Earth Temple. Would Hedrack assign them additional duties, like guarding the Fire Bridge or something like that? Would he give them additional resources to balance out the ascendant Water Temple? Would he warn them about the PC's? (I think he would, but I don't think the Water Temple would share all the info they have, since it gives them an advantage.)

Another thing I wonder about Hedrack - does he ever visit the CRM? I know he would not try to fight the PC's in the CRM himself, but would he go visit the Water Temple to congratulate them on their success, and/or warn them not to get too cocky, something like that? I think he might... could be interesting.

So, back to the party. Returning to the CRM, via Clairvoyance they already know that the gate they normally use has been destroyed. They decide to enter via the little lookout post window that leads to the room inhabited by the spectre. They had had a very brief encounter with the spectre earlier, and somehow got the idea that it was the ghost of one of the original dwarf inhabitants, so they should try to talk to it. (Not sure where they got that idea...) So they Spider Climb/ Fly/ Jump up to the window; a few of them enter while the others hang outside the window. Bad plan! The spectre managed to hit three of them for energy drain, including the cleric (ouch!), before magic missiles and searing light take him down.

A little bit shocked - they were also overconfident because of their recent shopping expedition, feeling better equipped now - they decide to hole up in that room for the whole day. The cleric luckily has a restoration spell, so he restores himself, and thus will be able to cast two restoration on the other two the following day.

Of course, Hedrack has been scrying on them from their approach to the CRM, through the battle with the spectre. He sends a Bull's Strengthed Victor out to try to pick one of them off while they are sleeping. They are keeping watches, but only one at a time, and the watcher is watching the door to the CRM. Informed by Hedrack, Victor spider climbs up to the window and sneaks in. After suitable studying of the sleeping ranger/monk, who was closest to the window, he unleashes his death attack! BAM! It's even a critical hit! The damage is significant, bringing the ranger/monk down to 15 hp or so, but she makes her save to avoid death. (Of course - her saves are sick!!!) The munchkin archer, standing watch, is able to put two arrows into the assassin, but he casts darkness and escapes.

This was fun... Victor didn't kill a PC, but he did manage to escape, and they didn't even figure out that he was spider climbing, thanks to the darkness - they spent a while worrying that he was still hanging around invisibly, and would have died to know he was just hiding at the bottom of the wall outside when they looked out after dispelling the darkness - thank you, Cloak of Elvenkind!

So the PC's finished their night, and set off in the morning to explore beyond D'Gran's place. They beat up the wild trolls and the umberhulks without too much trouble - fun fights though, an umberhulk actually got to burrow through a little bit of wall and stick its face out at a PC to try to confuse him!

(I was a little nice to them in ruling that the cleric was still able to get enough sleep to get the badly needed restoration spells - technically, he probably shouldn't have been able to, but god does it suck to lose levels! I didn't have the heart to stick it to them that way. I think the next attack plan by Fane forces could be pretty scary though - the Stone Shaped passage through the rubble is only big enough for a single person. If the two assassins wait on either side of the passage, they could possibly catch the PC's in the middle, having to fight only one at a time each...)

Here for a while
(2/13/03 7:32 am)
Enough Sleep
Just a note. Divine casters do _not_ need to get a certain amount of rest before preparing their spells. That only applies to Arcane casters.

Still here? Wow.
(2/13/03 9:09 am)
Re: Enough Sleep
A further note smetzger didn't mention...clerics can only regain spells at one specific time per day...which varies from clerical order to clerical order. For obvious reason, I've declared Tharizdun's time of day to be midnight. My PCs still haven't caught on to why they tend to be harassed, reliably, at 2:00 AM.

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

Still here? Wow.
(2/13/03 10:29 am)
Re: Enough Sleep
Good point... I remembered the specific time of day thing, but forgot that it wouldn't have mattered that he'd have to get up early to pray at that time.

So I guess I didn't go so easy on them after all...

Here quite a while
(2/13/03 3:39 pm)
Re: Events IMC - fun with scrying!
Regarding Varachan and his scrying. Perhaps Varachan should attempt additional scrying when no one is looking over his shoulder and attempt to get a message to the party thusly. Scry the party until they detect you. Stop scrying and write down a sign:
My name is Varachan.
I'm an ally.
Please write back.
Wait until they scry and hold up the sign. Then, scry them in return. This would be a real interesting way to set up a two-way communication. Every once in a while when they scry Varachan, they will encounter others, like Dirass you mentioned above, or even Hedrack! In those case, obviously Varachan will have to take measures to maintain his position, and life.

Collecting the arrows to help with scrying is a very good idea. This applies to other missile weapons as well.

Regarding Tarren, no way would I think he would leave his companion alone. If I were Tarren, I would one of the following:
a. Attack and destroy (or hurt badly) one of the remaining temples and then leave, possibly leaving a note for Hedrack, not the PCs.
b. Just take a boatload of treasure and then leave.
c. Time his entrance/foray into the Outer Fane with the PCs.

"Another thing I wonder about Hedrack - does he ever visit the CRM?"
I would tend to think he never goes there, much like the doomdreamers never visit the Outer Fane. If Hedrack wants to be a doomdreamer, he should have learned by now that a true doomdreamer, like a CEO, doesn't bother with the little people. Of course, I say this tongue-in-cheek, but really I think Hedrack will not bother with too many details. I think Naquent and Varachan are his general managers, and the others are the go-between's. If anything, he would bring people to him, making them wait interminably for minor audiences while he indulges himself (in women, torture, etc.).

Still here? Wow.
(2/13/03 4:44 pm)
Re: Events IMC - fun with scrying!

The problem I see with Varachan trying to get the two-way scry thing going is that he doesn't really have any way to know who is scrying on him. It could be Hedrack! I suppose maybe if he is scrying and observes the wizard actually casting the Scry spell, and notices the sensor when the wizard finishes, it would be a pretty small risk...

Also, I'm not sure I want the party to be in direct communication with him yet. I think it's still a little bit early for that.

As a side note, I have wondered about Varachan's pass phrase for his chest, "Tharizdun will never be free." If Hedrack were scrying on him when he opens it, he's in deep... I guess he doesn't actually have to go into that chest often.

Regarding Tarren's companion, yeah, it's a bit unlikely that he'd just leave him behind... the truth is that I had forgotten completely about the bear before I had already described the stone shaped passage as barely man sized. Other possible saves would be having the bear killed in combat with the stone golem (and his body would still be there), or Tarren just left him behind in the fungal grove, returning there to pick him up before leaving the CRM. Actually, having the bear killed off would give Tarren more incentive to take a little trip - to find a new companion.

Here quite a while
(2/13/03 9:35 pm)
Re: Events IMC - fun with scrying!
Maybe killing the bear off is a good idea. The one thing about Tarren is that he has less HD than a dire bear and can't keep it as an animal companion while adventuring. For the sake of the module, I assume that the fungal cave is a "home" os sorts, so Tarren can keep up to 2*HD while there. Maybe there's a couple of "animals" in the Stalagos that Tarren could befriend? Alligators? Freshwater sharks?

About Varachan, yeah it would be dangerous, and I agree not to do it yet. It was just a thought.

BTW, I looked for your log and it's...gone! It went past page 20 already? :eek

Still here? Wow.
(2/14/03 11:49 am)
Re: Events IMC - fun with scrying!
I'm not surprised if my log is gone, I haven't updated it in ages.

I did save off a copy of it though. Perhaps I will repost it if I ever get around to updating the "lost sessions"...

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