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errant42
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(2/14/03 9:28 pm)
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errant42's FR RttToEE (was: taking RttToEE into Epic Levels)
I've started a RttToEE-based campaign in FR (started with Sunless Citadel, ran a few other encounters to get the characters up to 4th, and put Hommlet in Daggerford, Verbobonc in Waterdeep), and would like to make it a campaign that takes the PCs all the way into Epic levels. I've got the original ToEE and just picked up the ESD of the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, so I might work in some additional material from those. I was considering giving the PCs a time-table... the longer they take to complete the first portions of the adventure, the closer the cultists would be to finishing excavation of the Temple. Thus, it is possible that they would have to face each of the Princes of Elemental Evil.

I was wondering what other adventure material would fit well afterwards. I considered trying to work in Return to the Tomb of Horrors and/or Bastion of Broken Souls (each with significant adjustments to bring it in-line with the whole Return of Tharizdun plotline). I just got the MotP, BoVD, and EpicHB, and I'm itching to have a lower-planes spanning adventure where the PCs have to confront powerful archfiends and other such nasties. Considering that Tharizdun does a lot of his scheming through the various demon lords, I thought it would be appropriate. Any thoughts?

Edited by: errant42 at: 2/21/03 1:50:44 pm
Xanthos Prince of Darkness
Here for a while
(2/15/03 2:01 pm)
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Re: Taking RttToEE into Epic Levels
Don't do too much hard planning now. RttToEE is a long adventure you have many many sessions ahead of you before you need to think about what to do next. Your players might never finish the adventure as written and then you would have wasted all that effort. One hint I will give you is if you plan for the campaign to continue after RttToEE then get rid of the Deck of Many Things in the Spire. That thing is a campaign killer.
Looks like you have all the books you need to create some severe nastiness. Use them to good effect (esp. BoVD) during Return to the Temple as well as after it.

Don't forget the Campaign log.

Xanthos

Y'know it's very hard to talk quantum using a language designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is.

deafdungeonmasterRIT
Here to stay
(2/16/03 12:47 am)
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Hmmmmmmmm
What is wrong with Deck of Many Things?

errant42
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(2/16/03 8:39 am)
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Re: Taking RttToEE into Epic Levels
Hmm... good point. A famous man once said "Do not waste time planning. Spend all of your time on contingencies, as the plan will invariably go wrong."

I would like to get -some- idea of what I plan to have happen, though, in case it will alter any of the events of the adventure itself (I have a feeling it will). I've already started through the major NPCs, reworking them as appropriate with use of FRCS, the class books, and BoVD (NASTY... almost took out one of the PCs with a single Darkbolt). I plan to make liberal use of the pseudonatural template (the T&B one for now... the EpicHB one comes later, heh heh), and the corrupt template (BoVD). The PCs are getting full advantage of the class books, so the NPCs will too.

The Deck of Many Things is a minor artifact that can alter (or end) the campaign with the drawing of a single card... whatever is on the card, happens to the PC who drew it, no save. If it's good, it's usually really good... but if it's bad, it's really REALLY bad.

Infiniti2000
Here quite a while
(2/16/03 9:38 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Taking RttToEE into Epic Levels
"The PCs are getting full advantage of the class books, so the NPCs will too."

I agree. Please add your suggestions to the thread Splat Book Changes.

Entropius
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(2/16/03 1:06 pm)
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splatbooks...
{"The PCs are getting full advantage of the class books, so the NPCs will too."

I agree. Please add your suggestions to the thread Splat Book Changes.}

I'm new here ... when (and why?) did the class books pick up the name "splatbooks"?

errant42
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(2/16/03 3:32 pm)
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Re: splatbooks...
I was wondering that myself... why splat..?

Anyway, Infiniti, that thread is pretty cool. I think I'll be using your version of the Jaroo-pleganger, and I'll get some of my changes up as I finalize them.

Infiniti2000
Here quite a while
(2/16/03 3:45 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: splatbooks...
"Anyway, Infiniti, that thread is pretty cool. I think I'll be using your version of the Jaroo-pleganger, and I'll get some of my changes up as I finalize them."

Thanks! (Shameless plug) Feel free to see how "Jaroo" faired against my party from my log, in Session Six. Also, if it becomes important ZansForCans came up with a really cool name, Ilyiskomok.

"why splat..?"
This question is quite common, and the answers are not set in stone. I think the reason is because you can substitute the wildcard '*' for Song & Silence, Tome & Blood, etc. And, in early Unix days (pre-DOS even) the dot matrix printer printed an asterisk which looked like a "splat." The name is common for older Unix users.

errant42
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(2/16/03 7:30 pm)
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Re: Taking RttToEE into Epic Levels
Okay, first off, I'm going to post a few thematic changes I'm implementing. The changes are minor, but will have an impact as the campaign progresses.

Because all records of the existence of the Dark God were erased before history began, very few are aware of him. Those few who are were contacted directly in maddening dreams (i.e., the Doomdreamers), usually already unstable individuals driven over the brink by this contact.

The followers of Tharizdun fall into two categories, depending on whether or not they realize the existence and true nature of the Dark God... these are usually Clerics or Wizards (or rarely, Sorcerers), and often adopt the Alienist (T&B) and/or Doomdreamer (RttToEE) PrCs. Alienist levels stack with Cleric (and Doomdreamer) levels for the purpose of the Insanity Score. Clerics who worship Tharizdun directly must take the Madness domain (DotF/ RttToEE), and may choose their second from the following:
Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Hatred (FRCS), or Corruption (BoVD).

(Note: the Force aspect of Tharizdun’s power has been removed)

Clerics who "convert" to the worship of Tharizdun immediately lose all benefits (domains) of their old patron deity, which are replaced by the domains above. In the case Cleric/Alienists who follow Tharizdun, any time they lose Wis to the ravages of madness (Alien Blessing), it is replaced by an equivalent amount of Insanity.

However, the mainstream worship of Tharizdun is currently enshrouded in the cult of the Elder Elemental Eye (and its subordinates, the Princes of Elemental Evil). These individuals are completely unaware of the existence of Tharizdun or the nature of his cult, and are viewed as little more than tools by the Doomdreamers themselves. Each worshipper (Cleric) of the Elder Elemental Eye must select one of the Princes as his patron. This patron influences the Cleric’s selection of domains—he must select at least one of the domains listed with his Princely patron (below). His second domain can be the other listed with his patron, or can be Evil or Hatred (FRCS). He may not take a domain listed with another Prince.

Imix [Fire, Sun]; Ogremoch [Earth, Metal (FRCS)]; Olhydra [Water, Ocean (FRCS)]; and Yan-C-Bin [Air, Storm (FRCS)].

Many of the more powerful worshippers of the Eye take levels in Elemental Savant (T&B)—they are counted as having access to the domain appropriate to their Prince, even if they select the other (for example, a Cleric of Imix who selects Sun and not Fire can still qualify to become a Fire Savant).

(Note: Contrary to the published material, Clerics of the Eye do not have access to the Madness domain, nor do they gain an Insanity Score, unless they convert to worship of Tharizdun directly. They are filtered from the Old One’s true power, and the madness that results, by virtue of gaining their power via the Princes)

errant42
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(2/19/03 8:57 am)
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FR RttToEE Campaign Highlights
While I may commit to a full-on campaign journal sometime in the future, I only have the time/patience to write up some highlights of the adventure so far... Most everyone reading this should already be familiar with the basic plotline, so I won't bore anyone with that stuff.

First, the PCs:

Istalindyr, NG Female Moon Elf Fighter 2/ Wizard 2; working toward Arcane Archer. She is on the road to Silverymoon to join the Elven Order of Arcane Archers, and is eager to prove her prowess in combat against evil to ensure her acceptance into that august order.

Jubei, LN Male Human Samurai 4. A ronin from Kara-Tur whose clan was destroyed in a civil war. He wandered west, and has become a sword-for-hire who always keeps his contracts-- no matter what.

Tobias, TN Male Human Druid 3/ Ranger (Monte Cook variant) 1; working toward Wolflord. An orphan who grew up in the wild (raised by wolves, no less), and feels more kinship for those who walk on four legs than those who walk on two.

Silvara, CG Female Half-Drow Bard 2/ Cleric of Eilistraee 2. Child of a drow priestess and a human slave-warrior, she and her parents were condemned to death for diluting the bloodline of the drow. Her mother secretted her away to the cult of Eilistraee, who raised her. Since, she has wandered in search of acceptance-- hard to come by for one of her blood.

After some harrowing adventures along the Trade Way (the Sunless Citadel, and a few encounters with bandits, led by a Duergar Cleric of EEE), the party arrived in Daggerford (Hommlet).

IMC, Chatrilon had a slightly different mission. The dragon at the moathouse was causing far too much trouble, and had been responsible for far too many deaths among the cultists. Instead of dissuading adventurers from going to the moathouse, he was to lure them there to fight (and hopefully kill or drive off, or least weaken) the dragon. If any of them survived, he was then to finish them off.

So they arrive at the keep, and head into the courtyard. The dragon attacks (gaining surprise), inflicting serious damage with his breath weapon, then swooping down on them time and again. Tobias scores a critical hit with his +1 Spear of Distance, causing the dragon to retreat. Chatrilon (who no one noticed was missing through the entire fight) then creeps up invisibly and sneak attacks Jubei, the largest threat in his estimation. Jubei makes his save, but is still taken to less than 1/3 his HP. Jubei counterattacks, inflicting moderate damage, but the others are all still trying to figure out what the #$%& just happened. Chatrilon retreats, turning invisible again. Three rounds later, he sneak attacks Istalindyr, but she also makes her save. At this point, the PCs have had enough, and all attack-- reducing poor Chatrilon to 2 HP. Chatrilon flees again, turns invisible, and tries to escape.

He makes it outside the moathouse, and would escape... but Tobias's Dire Wolf animal companion (who I only let him have on condition that he agree it would NEVER follow him into dungeons or towns) uses its scent ability to find the assassin and tears his throat out.

Score one for the good guys.

Edited by: errant42 at: 2/21/03 1:53:30 pm
errant42
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(2/21/03 2:47 pm)
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Re: FR RttToEE Campaign Highlights
Outside the Moathouse, cont.

The dragon, having suffered several arrows and a painful critical hit from Tobias's magical shortspear, has withdrawn-- taking the spear with him. The PCs have taken shelter in the room he attacked from-- his lair. This, of course, does not make him happy.

While Utreshimon plans his next attack, the PCs hear someone coming down the passage. Jubei and Tobias position themselves on either side of the door, and the elves prepare thier bows. The gnoll guards from the dungeon below, cautiously investigating all the noise to see if the dragon has gone, don't even get the chance to scream.

Then a blast of lighting sends the PCs scampering... except for Tobias, who REALLY wants that spear back. He tries to climb the wall, in hopes of grabbing it as the dragon flies over [I give him a Ref save, DC 23, to do so... he succeeds]. Leaping up and grabbing the spear, he hangs on for dear life. The dragon shrieks in pain and rage, swatting at him. The others seize the opportunity to attack... several arrows sink into the beast's neck. Tobias is able to wrench the spear free, falling several feet to the stone floor-- but also inflicting enough damage to finish the dragon, sending it crashing through the courtyard wall.

Badly hurt on low on resources, the party holes up in the tower across the courtyard. They rest peacefully for the night, but as dawn approaches, Istalindyr (on watch) spots several figures creeping across the courtyard. It is Gren, a few gnolls, and the corpses from the dragon's lair (arisen as ghouls from the Obelisk's power). Gren calls out "Master Dunrat, is that you?" just as one of the gnolls makes his spot check. The gnolls and ghouls attack while Gren starts casting, but the PCs make short work of the group-- a few arrows silence Gren before she can do any real harm, and the strategic position in the tower allows the warriors to finish the gnolls, then the ghouls one at a time.

Infiniti2000
Here quite a while
(2/21/03 9:18 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: FR RttToEE Campaign Highlights
Great leaping lizards! That player's gonna remember pulling the spear out of Big U for years! "Hey, remember the time I jumped off the top of the moathouse and pulled my favorite spear out of that blue dragon?" Very cool.

I suggest you really get your player hooked on this point. Example: Perhaps, take him aside (just to see if he's cool with it) and see if he'll expend, say 50XP, and have the name of the spear magical enscribe itself...due to the release of energy while slaying the dragon in such a fantastic display of bravery. Either have him come up with a name, or suggest some...like Lightning Rod. ;)

"Master Dunrat, is that you?" *blam* :lol

errant42
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(2/22/03 12:55 pm)
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Re: FR RttToEE Campaign Highlights
Thanks, it was a great battle... we like to do things a little over-the-top. Jubei the swordsman is taken directly from Ninja Scroll (anime), so that should tell you where some of the inspiration of our play style comes from.

That's a good idea about the spear... I've always liked the idea of a favorite weapon being able to "grow" with a character. I let Jubei keep his Ancestral katana (1/2 of the Ancestral Daisho class feature), even though he's ronin. I might consider letting Tobias do something similar, though I'll have to figure out a good trade off... maybe a feat and/or some XP.

I've been reading through the best of the boards, and it's given me some great food for thought. Currently, I'm going through the CRM/ToAC looking for NPCs to tweak around with. I've also been toying with the idea of planting some spies from various organizations in FR (Harpers, Zhentarim, drow, etc), since the CRM are pretty easy to infiltrate.

errant42
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(2/26/03 10:25 am)
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Into the Moathouse
The intrepid party, heady with their recent victories, decides to continue exploring the moathouse (although both Silvara and Tobias have used up most of their spells for the day already, to heal from the devastating Utreshimon/Chatrilon battle). They rescue Spugnoir, and he tells them of how to get into the secret portions of the complex. Promising them a discount on potions when they get back, he heads for town.

They explore the complex, making short work of most adversaries (though Garrik the Gnoll captain gives them some trouble). They find the chest in the cleric's quarters, and Jubei splits the chest open... suffering the brunt of the Glyph of Warding despite his successful Ref save. Now, they have the journal of Geynor Ton, and a great deal more information about the goings-on in the moathouse-- and, coupled with Chatrilon's betrayal, even more reason to suspect a conspiracy back in Daggerford (Hommlet). Having gathered several of the symbols of the EEE (from various corpses), they decide to wear them and the ubiquitous ochre robes (though Tobias refuses, claiming that it would conflict with his faith).

Proceeding further, they are ambushed by a ghast at the top of a short flight of stairs (which leads to the obelisk excavation area)... they avoid surprise [elves with high wisdom have good Spot and Listen rolls!] and are able to take it out fairly quickly. They then hear the approach of someone(s) wearing armor, from down the stairs. Geynor Ton and Ysslansh have heard the combat, and are hurrying to investigate. The troglodyte attacks without hesitation, but Geynor Ton shouts after him to "Wait, you foul-smelling brute!"

Sensing the opportunity, Istalindyr shouts over the combat that "Master Dunrat will be most displeased that his rescue party has been attacked!" The battle rages on, however, and the party has a very hard time hitting Ysslansh [trog-stench and plate armor]. Uncertain of what to do, but certain that he doesn't like Ysslansh, Geynor Ton Commands the troglodyte to "Surrender!" The beast fails his save, drops his morning star.. and, the next round, turns to attack Geynor Ton! Jubei seizes the opportunity and finishes the creature.

A few Bluff rolls later, and Geynor Ton is firmly convinced that the party was sent by Dunrat to slay the dragon, and is cowed by their imperious attitude. He eagerly shows them the excavation site, asking if they think Master Dunrat will be pleased.

At this point, a group arrives in the room... the rest of the gnolls (6 from the gnoll lair) led by a Clr2 [not in the book, but I used Geynor Ton's stats]. "Someone has entered the complex and slaughtered-- uh, who are these people?"

The party begins to try Bluffing this cleric (with Geynor Ton's unwitting help..!), but it's clear he's not buying it... he found elven fletched arrows in the bodies, and-- lo and behold-- here's an elven archer. Jubei gets antsy, and [with a few good rolls, mostly Iaijutsu Focus] cuts him in two. The party enters battle with the gnolls while Istalindyr holds her sword at a stunned Geynor Ton's throat. They are already hurt, though, and can't suffer the loss of their primary archer/mage. Finally, convinced that Geynor Ton is no longer a threat (he's been disarmed, and thoroughly browbeaten), she drops her sword, pulls her bow and enters the battle, picking off the last few gnolls. In the confusion, however, she is unable to stop Geynor Ton from throwing himself into the pit... the party hears a loud, metallic crunch (of his plate armor hitting the obelisk), a low moan, then frantic screaming that is cut off as though someone was pulled struggling into water (as the purple veins took Geynor to meet his true master). This dispels any desire that the party has to go down the pit. They finish searching the bodies, and decide to fit the stone plug back into the hole, sealing the obelisk off once again.

A tough encounter with the ghouls in the crypt later (both melee-warriors are paralyzed in the first round, and only Silvara's EXTREMELY lucky Turn roll prevents a TPK), and they are ready to head back to town. On the way, they discuss the possibility of a town-wide conspiracy, and wonder who they can tell about the information they have found.

ZansForCans 
Here for a while
(2/26/03 8:46 pm)
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Re: Into the Moathouse
Quote:
In the confusion, however, she is unable to stop Geynor Ton from throwing himself into the pit... the party hears a loud, metallic crunch (of his plate armor hitting the obelisk), a low moan, then frantic screaming that is cut off as though someone was pulled struggling into water (as the purple veins took Geynor to meet his true master). This dispels any desire that the party has to go down the pit.


That is just GREAT! Although it's a bummer they might miss out on the fun below. Good read!


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SSShadowcat7
Here for a while
(2/26/03 9:00 pm)
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Re: Into the Moathouse
Quote:
I might consider letting Tobias do something similar, though I'll have to figure out a good trade off... maybe a feat and/or some XP.


Not trying to hijack your thread or anything, but here is something from Andy Collins' website that he posted there that might interest you for "leveling up" a magic item.


Supernatural Weaponbond (General)
Your link to a weapon grants it supernatural power.
Prerequisites: Character level 6, Weapon Focus with the type of weapon to be chosen, Knowledge (arcana) 1 rank.
Benefit: When you select this feat, choose a weapon that you have owned for at least one month. That weapon's enhancement bonus increases by +1. If the weapon already has an enhancement bonus, you can instead choose a weapon special ability with a market price modifier equivalent to a +1 bonus (such as defending, frost, or keen). Once you choose the effect of the bond, it cannot be changed unless you select the feat again (see Special). The increased enhancement bonus or special ability only functions when you wield the weapon. No other character can gain the benefit of any increased enhancement bonus or special abilities granted to the weapon by means of this feat. No more than one character can have an active bond to the same weapon (if you attempt to apply this feat to a weapon that already has another bond, the attempt fails and you must select a different feat). If you die, the bond is inactive until you are returned to life. If another bond has been established with the weapon in the mean time, your bond is inactive until the current owner of the weapon is slain.
Special: You can't select this feat again for a different weapon. You can select this feat multiple times for the same weapon, but the prerequisites increase with each successive selection.
The second time you select this feat, you must be character level 12 and have 3 ranks of Knowledge (arcana). At that time, you can either increase the weapon's enhancement bonus by +1, add another weapon special ability with a market price modifier equivalent to a +1 bonus, or you can replace the effect chosen with the first selection of this feat with a weapon special ability with a market price modifier equivalent to a +2 bonus (such as disruption or holy).
The third time you select this feat, you must be character level 18 and have 6 ranks of Knowledge (arcana). At that time, you can either increase the weapon's enhancement bonus by +1, add another weapon special ability with a market price modifier equivalent to a +1 bonus, or you can replace the effects chosen with the first two selections of this feat with a weapon special ability with a market price modifier equivalent to a +3 bonus. You can't select this feat more than three times.

errant42
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(2/27/03 8:38 am)
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Re: Into the Moathouse
Zans: thanks! We're really enjoying the campaign so far, it's full of opportunities for all the things that make role-playing great.

SSSHadowcat: that is perfect! I will make that feat available... that is exactly what I had in mind. Nothing too overpowering, but gives him a chance to hang on to that spear as he goes up in levels.

errant42
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(3/4/03 7:08 pm)
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Confrontation at the Mill
After their successful venture into the moathouse, the party returns to Daggerford township. They know from reading Geynor Ton's journal that the cult has agents in the town, and wonder who they can tell. They don't trust anyone yet, and fear the worst-- that the conspiracy goes all the way up (this is probably in part because they've played in my games before, and have found that it's better to assume the worst than hope for the best).

It is nightfall when they arrive at the Inn of the Welcome Wench, where Jubei notices [Spot and Sense Motive rolls] that the barkeep seems surprised to see them. Istalindyr had had a personality conflict with her from the beginning, and shoots her a look that says "we know... and you're next." They head over to the table at which Elmo sits, slam down a handful of symbols of the Elder Elemental Eye, and ask to be taken to see the lord of the town.

Not really sure what to do, but certain that this isn't a good sign, Elmo agrees to try and get them in to see Rufus and Burne. In the meantime, Istalindyr suggests that they arrest the barkeep. When they look up, however, she is gone. Elmo sends some guardsmen out to find her; he and the party set out for the keep. Elmo had sent a guard ahead, and Rufus and Burne are waiting for them in the banquet hall. Rufus does all the talking; Burne sits at the table and strokes his mustaches. The party explains their finding, and the lords (being veterans of the previous camapaigns against the Temple) take it grimly. When asked who the cultists are and what evidence they have to suggest they are in town, the party has to look back over the journal. It is then that they remember: the flourmill. Rufus and Burne ask Elmo to rally some guards and meet the party at the flourmill.

Of course, Maridosen has already arrived, and the cultists are ready for an attack. As the cellar doors are flung open, Vacra finishes a Burning Hands spell (which she had memorized in place of Identify)... which, in turn, detonates the flour in the air. Most of the guards (War1) are taken out of commission, and the rest of the group is thoroughly singed. The cultist warriors surge forward while the spellcasters prepare another volley. Chenashi casts Bane on the good guys, Dunrat tries (and fails) to Hold Person Jubei, and Vacra Magic Missiles Istalindyr. Despite all this, the good guys are doing very well against Grune, Toridan, and Maridosen. Grune falls to Jubei's katana, Istalindyr takes down Chenashi, and Toridan is badly wounded. Seeing this, Dunrat tosses his Bead of Force as Vacra casts Darkness... the good guys (and warrior bad guys) don't know what hit them. The remaining guards (and Toridan) are killed, Elmo is trapped (with Maridosen), Tobias is out of commission, and the rest of the PCs limp blindly out of the mill. They find several reinforcement guards... entangled in a Briar Web and burned to death (Maridosen warned "Jaroo" before heading to the mill-- and this is Infiniti2000's Drd3 Jaroo, from the "Splatbook" thread).

Okay, this isn't going like they thought. They expected a quick clean-up with the help of the city guard, and it's turning into a slaughter. Then someone has an idea... get Spugnoir to help. He's a wizard, right? And an adventurer? So they hasten to the potion shop, frantically knocking and shouting. Sleepy, pajama-clad Spugnoir and Haunor rush to the door to see what's wrong. After a brief and hurried account of the situation, the two accompany them back to the mill. They find Jaroo outside, and immediately suspect something is up-- the Entangle spell (or what they took for one), as well as the concerns that Istalindyr heard from Yundi before their original departure, have made Jaroo a prime suspect. He greets Spugnoir warmly, and agrees to accompany them inside. The PCs protest, but Spugnoir insists that the druid is trustworthy. As they prepare to enter the mill, and are seeing about dispelling the Darkness, Istalindyr spots Jaroo getting ready to nail them with a bead from his Necklace of Fireballs... and attacks. Jubei, who's always been good at reading his comrades' intentions (and always ready to split a skull) also attacks-- critically. A confused Spugnoir shouts for them to stop, while Istalindyr tries to explain that he was going to betray them. The PCs are able to take him down in another round, at which time he reverts to his true form. Spugnoir, enraged, proceeds into the mill. He dispels the Darkness and the Force bubble (which had trapped the unfortunate Dunrat and Vacra in the cellar), revealing only Dunrat below. Thinking quickly, the cleric casts Animate Dead, and the bodies of the fallen guardsmen rise to attack. The good guys fight off the zombies (Silvara turns some, but rolls badly, so most keep attacking). Spugnoir has now had enough. He Lightning Bolts poor Dunrat; the cleric fails his save and is left a smoking corpse. Vacra, Invisible and Levitating, escapes.

The party limps back to the inn, where Elmo assures them that Rufus and Burne will cover their stay for a few days. He tells them that he's pretty sure the lords will want to meet with them tomorrow.

errant42
Here for a while
(3/10/03 11:55 am)
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A Little Down Time, and a Change of Roster
After uncovering and destroying the conspiracy in town, the PCs retreat to the inn to lick their wounds and assess the situation. Unfortunately, one of the number has fallen: Tobias the Ranger/Druid. Raising is an option (Canoness Y'dey of Tyr), but the player decides to make a new character anyway. In fact, Tobias is raised, but heads back into the wilderness for "reasons of his own." So, the new character:

Anji, LG male human Cleric 2/Monk 2 of Ilmater (Monks of Ilmater can multiclass as Clerics of Ilmater and still gain levels in Monk). A wandering Painbearer of Ilmater who happened to be staying at the Temple of the Triad (Tyr, Torm, and Ilmater; takes the place of the Church of St. Cuthbert in the book), and decides to take up the cause of good by joining the heroes in their noble quest.

Silvara, the Half-Drow Cleric/Bard, opts to stay behind as well (her player couldn't make the session, and might not be able to for a while). Seeking to recover from the loss of another companion, the party recruits a gnomish illusionist (NPC) who they find drinking at the tavern-- none other than Neirethi Proscurian, who claims to be writing a book about the history of the temple. He asks them many questions about their exploits so far... in particular, if they came across anyone named Lareth the Beautiful. They were't sure, although they did kill lots of people at the moathouse without knowing their names. He is friendly and eccentric (always scribbling away in his book and muttering to himself in gnomish), and they seem to trust him.

Wanting to sell their loot, they visit various shops in town. Spugnoir agrees to identify their magical items for only the price of the material component. Joman Dart at the Old Trading Post tells them that they won't be able to get top dollar for their goods here, but fabled Waterdeep is but a few days march away. He offers to take their goods (he's making a trip there anyway) and sell them, for a 10% cut of the proceeds. They decide to go themselves instead (which becomes a retroactive reason for Tobias to have left the group... he wouldn't handle the city very well).

Hastily consulting some old sourcebooks, I put together a relatively uneventful shopping expedition to the City of Splendors. It takes almost the rest of the session anyway... and they return to Daggerford with a few new trinkets, ready for a trip to the Temple of Elemental Evil.

errant42
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(3/18/03 10:40 pm)
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To the Temple, by way of Nulb
Returning from Waterdeep, the party is ready to head to the Temple to investigate. They stop in Nulb for the night, although the town's reputation as haunted has them pretty spooked, and the ubiquitous sleeting stormclouds add to their trepidation. They see a lone figure sitting on the porch of a nearby building (one of the few that are intact), smoking a long-stemmed pipe. They approach him. He's horribly scarred and patently unfriendly, but not hostile. They ask where they can find shelter, he says he doesn't care. They ask about the hostel that they passed on the way into town. He laughs. "Sure, stay there."

They go in, but the thumping/thrashing sound upstairs gets their imaginations going, prompting them to seek other lodging. They head back over to the hermit... Istalindyr is sorely tempted to poke him with a stick (to see if he's solid), but thinks the better of it. They tell him that they are on their way to the Temple, to which he responds "haven't been there in years." This causes some raised eyebrows, but they're pretty intimidated, so say nothing. He makes a few more "I hate everyone, so leave me the hell alone"-type comments, and heads inside. They camp in a nearby ruined building and leave at first light.

Once they reach the Temple, they march up to the front gates... and are "greeted" by a volley of the guards' javelins. An elven arrow fells one, but they fail to stop another from calling for reinforcements. They see several more hobgoblins take up defensive positions in the courtyard and around the gate, and a few javelin hits and arrow misses convince them to fall back.

Thinking that perhaps a more subtle approach is in order, they scout for another way in. They find a low spot in the wall, and climb over, into the grove behind the temple. They cautiously move to the front doors, sneaking past the soldiers at the gate [every member of this party has at least 4 levels of Hide and Move Silently, light or no armor, and Dex of at least 15], and slip inside, closing the door behind them. Thinking themselves quite clever, they turn... to face the rest of the hobgoblins, including several wielding huge greatswords and one smugly spinning a two-bladed sword.

They quickly open the doors, dash outside, and fight a retreating battle across the courtyard, flanked by the guards at the gate. Anji and Jubei cover the archers, who try to punch a hole in the gate defenses. Suddenly, a Sleet Storm moves in around the Temple's front steps, slowing the leader and several elite warriors, and an enormous bear begins mauling some of the gate guards. Seizing the opportunity, they escape... with fairly heavy casualties. The hobgoblin forces withdraw inside.

Outside, they meet their savior: Kella the Druid and her animal companion. She explains that she has been opposing the hobgoblins when she can, and won't them into "her forest," but won't go into the unholy place herself. She knows nothing of any new cult. She heals them, and grants them permission to stay in her forest for the night while they lick their wounds and plan a second assault.

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