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Still here? Wow.
(3/13/03 2:43 pm)
Abelard's Campaign Log
Since the LAN at work is down right now, and all I can do is surf the web, it seems like a fine time to try to get a campaign log rolling again!

I'm just going to pick up in the middle, skipping many sessions since my last, ancient log entry. Someday I may go back and sketch those in... but don't hold your breath.

Cast of Characters:

Maldonado, munchkin archer extraordinare (CG Human Rog 5 / Ftr 4)
Moruvai, sneaky "treasure hunter" (CN Elf Rog 8)
Teo, priest of Olidammara (CG human Clr 7 / Rog 2)
Percival, geeky and very nosy wizard of the Enlightened Society (LG human Wiz 9 - Diviner)
Noki, wild child of the Lortmils (CN elf Monte Rgr 5/ Monk 4)

New Log #1: A Visit from Victor

At the end of the previous session, under the mistaken impression that the spectre haunting the lookout post at the south gate was a ghost of one of the mine's original inhabitants, the party made an ill-advised attempt to parley with it. Not in the mood for talking, the spectre managed to energy drain 2 levels each from Teo, Noki, and Maldonado. Teo used a scroll of Restoration to heal himself so that he'd be able to help the others, and the group holed up in the spectre's lair to rest, planning to restore Noki and Maldonado in the morning.

Hedrack, who had been Greater Scrying on Maldonado as the group approached the CRM, overheard their plans and status, and decided to send the assassin Victor to pay a little visit. In the middle of the night, Victor left through the main gate and walked around outside until reaching the south gate. There, he cast spider climb on himself and walked up to the window.

Maldonado, on watch duty, was paying attention to the interior door, not the window, so Victor was able to complete a study of Noki, who was sleeping closest to the window, and make his assassination try before any alarm could be raised. Victor's attack did heavy damage to the elf, but her strong constitution and monkish training kept her from dying.

Victor immediately cast darkness on the windowsill after eating a couple of arrows from Maldonado. Percy was able to dispel the darkness quickly enough, but Victor gained enough time to make his escape, climbing down the wall and folding himself in his cloak of elvenkind to hide at the bottom of the wall. (The party assumed he had become invisible somehow.)

After completing their interrupted rest, Teo restored his drained companions, then the group pushed on to explore the CRM areas beyond D'Gran's bridge complex, which they had cleaned out weeks before. First, they buffed up, with Percy making a bunch of +3 arrows for Maldonado, and Teo casting Spikes on Noki's club, as usual. Percy also used his newly crafted wand of Darkvision on all party members, so they could proceed without a light source.

They ran into the feral trolls just beyond the complex, and knocked them off with relative ease, aided in large part by a timely fireball from Percy. Remembering how they had finally killed the regenerating, fire-resistant D'Gran, they severed the trolls' heads and tossed them out the bridge exit into the lake. Unbeknownst to them, this act was witnessed by a spider eater rider on watch (rolled a 20 on his spot check!), and soon after the party had left the area, a group of SER's arrived to investigate...

Meanwhile, the party moved on, entering the fungus cave. They fought with the young umberhulk for a while. Maldonado succumbed to the creature's confusing gaze almost immediately, and wandered off to examine the interesting fungus, but the other party members were able to resist the gaze. There was a fun moment when the umberhulk burrowed through a wall in order to get at a hiding Moruvai, but in the end it fell without doing much damage.

Noki, exploring to the south, soon ran into the older umberhulk, which had been moving up to investigate. She finished it off almost single-handedly with a few impressive flurries of blows.

Edited by: Abelard at: 3/16/03 8:27:04 pm
Still here? Wow.
(3/16/03 8:57 pm)
#2: Vranthis to Percy: "Goo you, wizard!"
Resuming their explorations, the group ventured into the side cave, where the large puffballs sat next to a hostile violet fungus. They dithered for a few minutes over whether to disturb these strange growths. Finally, Maldonado ventured close enough to rouse the fungus, but his arrows proved just as devastating against fungal flesh, and only a few arrows cut down the plant.

Searching a few minutes more, Moruvai and Maldonado uncovered the treasure underneath the puffball.

Continuing to the north, the group gathered at the edge of the subterranean pool. (The Kuo-Toa spy was absent at this time, checking up on the main gate complex.) Hearing a noise coming from the eastern cave, Noki entered to investigate. Immediately, she dodged out of the way of a stream of acid from the hidden digester. The party converged, with Noki making a tremendous leap up onto the creature's ledge to pummel it from close range. Evasion saved the PC's from actually taking any damage from the acid as the digester was quickly slain.

Investigating its cave, the party puzzled over the droppings. Percy noted the signs of acidic corrosion, but couldn't be sure if these droppings came from the digester or perhaps from some large beast.

Methodical as usual, Percy and Moruvai explored the side cave to the west, across from the digester's lair. They soon fled from the collapsing cave, with Percy being grazed by a falling rock while Moruvai once again nimbly evaded the falling debris.

Next, the party proceeded carefully along the edge of the water, reaching the opening to the large cave with the rail platform to the west. At the sight of the rail tracks, the party was delighted - here, at last, would be the mine cart ride they'd been anticipating! But quickly this turned to disappointment as they realized no mine carts were nearby.

Meanwhile, Vranthis cast mage armor and spider climb on himself, and prepared to attack.

Noki and Moruvai quickly climbed the ramp to the top of the platform, while Maldonado drifted to the west wall. Percy had cast fly on Maldonado at some point. Percy and Teo stayed on the ground to the east side of the raised platform. As Noki began advancing along the high rail, Vranthis flew in to attack.

The dragon opened with a breath blast which caught all the PCs except Teo. Noki, Maldonado, and Moruvai all evaded any damage from the breath; Percy covered up, but still was scalded for 15 points or so. Vranthis continued his flight up and around, turning back towards the north, ending up in the south end of the cavern.

The party unleashed attacks on the dragon. Arrows and Noki's returning club wounded the creature. Percy cast improved invisibility on himself - several other players bit their tongues, trying not to let their metagame knowledge of draconic blindsight get out - actually, I think Percy's player knew as well, but acted contrary to metagame knowledge to a very noble degree. Maldonado, who had been sharpening his Use Magic Device skill and purchased a dozen or so scrolls during a recent trip to Verbobonc, unrolled a scroll of shield and managed to cast the spell.

Vranthis luckily was ready to breath again immediately, and again caught several PC's but with only Percy taking any damage, as he flew back away back towards his lair. In pretty bad shape, Percy received a cure spell from Teo, as Maldonado continued to hit the dragon with arrows, though it had manuevered far beyond the 30' point blank range where his arrows do +3 damage.

Noki readied an attack on the dragon for when it flew past, but missed badly. The dragon, in turn, missed its shot at the small elf who was still perched on the high railing. Percy cast web to block the corridor leading to the north, preventing Vranthis from using his fly-by/fly-away technique as easily.

Being whittled down significantly at this point, Vranthis flew down to strike Percy with a vicious claw attack, suprising the mage who believed his invisibility would shield him. Thanks to the healing from Teo, he was still up, but barely.

The next round, Vranthis was once again able to breathe. I think this time Teo took a little damage too, but once again, the main victim was Percy, who screamed horribly as he dissolved into a fuming pile of goo. But this turned out to be Vranthis' last hurrah. He tried to fly away towards the water for escape, but could not survive a trip through the PC's gauntlet of attacks. The dragon fell to the floor, dead.

Teo immediately unfurled a captured scroll of raise dead, scraped Percy into a small pile, and began to bring him back to life. Moruvai and Maldonado began to search the area, with Maldonado proudly albeit futilely activating his newly acquired wand of Detect Secret Doors. Teo healed up the shaken Percy, and Noki tried her hand at skinning the fallen dragon. Maldonado sports blue dragon boots (of spider climbing!) courtesy of Utreshimon; Noki thought that a green pair might suit her style.


As the morning stretched on, they made their way into Vranthis' lair proper. They admired the scenery - PC's whose names start with 'M' were disappointed to learn that the crystals were worthless, then noticed the alcove and levitating pyramid trap.

Maldonado eagerly unfurled a spanking new scroll of Unseen Servant, its runic ink barely dry, one of six such scrolls he purchased in Verbobonc. His studies in magical item activation (he took Skill Focus - UMD) paid off as the small being of force came to be. The limitations of his studies showed as he ordered the servant into the alcove and it promptly left the spell's range, causing it to disappear.

The grinning, brash archer, ignoring his companions' jeers, unfurled a second scroll, moving up close to the alcove. With the servant summoned, he drew his bow, nocked an arrow and ordered it to retrieve the potion.

[I figure the servant should have an effective Dex of 10... so make a Dex check for it and...]

"CRASH!" The ceramic pyramid drops to floor and shatters. In a swirl of smoke, the fiendish apething coalesces.

"TWANG! TWANG! TWANG!" Almost as quickly, the creature returned to smoke.

[For the uninitiated: Maldonado is built to get the jump on people (+10 Init) at point blank range (+4 from feats and items), then shoot them for horrible sneak attack damage (+3d6 damage) up to three times (Rapid Shot). That's before we bring GMW and Str into it... IIRC, he only hit the girallon twice, and still did 60+, enough to wipe it out.]

Edited by: Abelard at: 3/20/03 10:57:30 pm
Here for a while
(3/18/03 3:56 am)
Re: #2: Vranthis to Percy: "Goo you, wizard!"
Just read you log, which is a nice one (keep going), and came up with two questions:

1. Can a troll be kept from regenerating if his head is thrown into a river ? Wouldn´t it regrow anyway ?

2. General question becuase I read your cleric healing the invisible mage. Should invisibility affect an attempt to heal or buff or whatever. I mean, if it prevents other attacks it surely should make a difference. After all, the cleric has to touch the subject.



Still here? Wow.
(3/18/03 11:01 am)
Re: #2: Vranthis to Percy: "Goo you, wizard!"

Thanks for the nice words.

1. No, that won't keep a troll from regenerating - I actually started a thread on D&D Rules asking this very question. It got kind of gross, but the consensus was that the body would regrow a head. And indeed, these trolls show up again in the next session.

2. True, the cleric has to touch the subject, but since the subject is willing in this case, I don't apply a miss chance or anything like that. Basically, I assume the invisible guy can shake hands with the cleric or something like that. Probably I should have made the invisible guy use an extra action for that - readying a handshake - but in the heat of battle, I don't always enforce that rule.

Still here? Wow.
(3/18/03 11:04 am)
#3: Conversations with Marlgran
[Note: this session is complete, but I dont have time to write up the log just now. I'm just putting this in to "hold a space" in the log.

The short version: the group returned to the secret dwarven temple to rest, then resumed exploration of the mines. They had an amusing conversation with the ettin, found all the treasure in the pool room, and slaughtered the thoqquas.]

Still here? Wow.
(3/18/03 11:29 am)
Interlude: Bethe stalks the party
OK, here's a behind the scenes glimpse at what's going on, plus some of my notes for the next session (which is tonight).

(If any of my players are reading this, which they should not be of course, you'd better stop now!)

Hedrack, employing greater scrying, watched as the party retreated to the secret dwarven temple. At midnight, after praying to refresh his spells, he attempted to scry again, intending to send the trog priest and dire lions to attack the party as they slept. However, he blew the scry rolls on two greater scrying attempts, so he altered his plans.

Instead, he sent Bethe to lurk outside the dwarven temple, instructing her to stalk the party and attack them when they are distracted. To ensure that her mission succeeds, he also sent an invisible stalker to accompany her and aid with tracking - this way, she can stay well back of the party but still not lose them. Additionally, he used Imbue with Spell Ability to grant her the following spells: Entropic Shield (protection from the munchkin archer), Shield of Faith (fat +4 AC bonus IIRC), and Cure Moderate Wounds.

Now the party is on a collision course with main gate forces. Bethe should have a good opportunity to pick off a rear-rank PC in the battle!

Additionally, some reinforcements have arrived in the weeks since the party went to Verbobonc. One of the PC's, Noki, has a backstory that her parents were killed by giants in the Lortmills who wore obex symbols. Additionally, her main favored enemy is giants. So, I have invented two potential sources of Tharizdun-worshipping giants located in the Lortmills.

First is the Reaper of Shadows, a Formorian (giant from MMII) druid of great power. He wanders around the mountains looking for elemental vortex types of things, which he seeks to corrupt with evil. He is the one primarily responsible for the creation of half-elementals; he also can bring element creatures (from Manual of the Planes) to the Material Plane. (Plans are still somewhat vague, but I'm imagining 4 vortexes scattered through the mountains, perhaps each with a bound elemental weird or something that has been corrupted by the evil druid.)

Second is a mountain monastery (still unnamed) which was established decades ago by scouts from the Scarlet Brotherhood. It was quickly discovered by the doomdreamers, who sent some of their followers to infiltrate it. This is how the so-called Black Brotherhood, a Tharizdun-worshipping element within the Scarlet Brotherhood, came to be. In fact, another vague, long-term backstory ties in here: a mysterious spymaster in Verbobonc actually works for the Scarlet Brotherhood; he hates the Black Brotherhood, and has been aiding the players through his cats-paw Nierethi Poscurian, in hopes that they may uncover information that will help him root out the BB's.

So then... the main gate forces are now bolstered by the following ogre. He's from the monastery, but failed the monk training, and is greatly looked down on by the people here. At the gate, though, thanks to his half-elemental heritage he gets to play big ogre on campus, and lords it over Wormspike horribly. Wormspike is insanely jealous of the newcomer.

Garnitz ("Granite" ), Male Half Elemental (Earth), Ogre Outsider4/Bbn2; CR 6; Large Outsider (Earth); HD 4d8+16 (Outsider), 2d12+8 (Barbarian); hp 64; Init +1; Spd 50; AC 23 (10 – 1 size + 1 Dex + 8 natural +5 armor); Atk +14 base melee, +6 base ranged; +7 (1d8+9, Huge javelin, Masterwork); +15 (2d8+14, +1 Huge greataxe); SA: Spell-like abilities; SQ: Uncanny dodge (Dex bonus to AC), Acid and disease immunity, +4 Fort saves vs. poison; AL CE; SV Fort +11, Ref +2, Will +2; STR 29, DEX 12, CON 18, INT 9, WIS 12, CHA 8.
Skills: Climb +13, Intimidate +3, Jump +13, Listen +8, Spot +8. Feats: Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack.
Possessions: +1 Huge stone greataxe; Huge javelin, Masterwork (x2); Tanglefoot bag (x2); +1 Chain shirt; Alexandrite pendant (500 gp); Potions of Cat's Grace and Cure Moderate Wounds (x2).
Languages: Terran, Giant, Common.

Spell-like: As level 6 sorceror, base DC 9 + spell level: Magic stone, Soften earth and stone, Stone shape.

Raging: Str 33, Con 22. hp 76 (+12 from rage); AC 22 (-2 from rage); +16 base melee, +16 damage 2-handed / +11 1-handed; Fort +13, Will +4; Climb +15, Jump +15. Rage lasts 10 rounds.

Description: Garnitz is squat for an ogre, standing just under 9 feet tall, but dense, weighing 390 lbs. His skin is a dark black hue and his hair is earthy brown. He wears his hear long but better kept than that of a typical ogre – it is braided into a number of strands tied off with small animal bones. The rest of his gear is simple and made with natural materials, but well cared for.

Garnitz’s weapons were crafted by the Reaper of Shadows. His battleaxe is made of a dark stone just lighter than his skin tone, and has Terran runes across the blade that read “Fissure Maker”. His javelins, though non-magical, are obviously well crafted, with steel tips and intricate carvings of hunting scenes along the shaft.

Garnitz does not talk much, often expressing his opinions through broad, violent physical gestures. His battle cry, though, is a low, penetrating rumble that strikes doubt in the hearts of his foes. He is sensitive about his status, and is enjoying his new role in the CRM but ever alert for any perceived slights.

One other thing about the main gate. Varachan knows the party is headed this way, so he sent the following letter to Terrenygit. Really, it contains information he wants the party to have, but hopefully it's disguised enough not to be totally obvious. (If the players somehow manage to question the trog, he might admit that he was a bit confused about the parts describing Oamarthis's forces, since he was already quite familiar with them.)

"Master Terrenygit,

        We wish to extend to you our continued admiration for the way you have administered the forces defending the main gate. While the other gate fell under assault, your charge remained secure against the intrusion of outsiders who do not understand our need for seclusion.

        Now, more than ever, we rely upon your vigilance. The doomdreamers have ordered the south gate destroyed; yours shall be the only land route in and out of the mines. The same intruders who earlier forced their way in and destroyed the Air Temple may now seek entrance through the main gate, whether by force or through deception. Be on your guard.

        The descriptions of the intruders and their tactics you saw earlier have been posted among the guards. We now share with you additional information which is not for general consumption – do not inform Mereclar, nor any of the visitors bringing reinforcements from the mountains, without direct instructions from us. To wit: the intruders have secured pairs of the lesser keys from each fallen temple. Thus, they can gain access to the Fanes through either the Air or Fire Doors!

        Though D’Gran’s cohort has fallen, and the Fire Bridge is mostly unguarded now, we are not too concerned about an assault from that quarter. From what we know of the intruders, the guardian of the Fire Door is more than a match for them. On the other hand, the Air Bridge is relatively well-guarded from the crater rim side by Oamarthis’s forces, but if the intruders get past him, they would find their path into the Outer Fane much easier.

Oamarthis has conducts his duties with great pride. His followers are loyal and the chimera beast that guards the bridge itself is strong, but they have been harried for months by cave creatures laired in the mines nearby. We fear that in his present condition, he cannot hold off the intruders for long. That is why we are counting on you to make sure the intruders do not get past the first line of defense. (Some of the reinforcements from the mountains should soon be able to take care of Oamarthis’ pests.)

However, we do have concerns that you may wish to ally yourself with others of your people in the Earth Temple. Now that the Earth Temple struggles for dominance with Water alone, it will be doubly hard to resist pleas that you divert reinforcements and supplies intended for Water or the fallen temples to the cause of Earth. We must request that you do not. Maintain your vigilance. Great reward shall come to the priest who helps secure us against the outsiders who would violate our retreat at this sensitive time.

Things will go much better for all of us if you comply.

                High Priest of the Outer Fane"

[edit: updated the description and stats of the half-elemental ogre.]

Edited by: Abelard at: 3/18/03 5:21:27 pm
Here for a while
(3/18/03 12:33 pm)
Re: Interlude: Bethe stalks the party
Great idea for a sublte use of Varachan! I read that whole letter after skimming the part above and didn't quite understand why you were having him work against the party. Heh! Then I went back and read the preface. Very cool!

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Still here? Wow.
(3/18/03 1:38 pm)
Re: Interlude: Bethe stalks the party
Thanks... I guess that's good, if you thought V. was working against the party just based on a reading of the letter! That's the idea!

I also figure that he can't stop all preparations and precautions against the party, but he can at least try to clue them in. Thus, he couldn't prevent information about the party gathered by Hedrack from being disseminated, but he mentions it in his letter so the party will know about it.

Do you agree that it makes sense for Varachan to try to direct the party to the Air Door rather than the Fire Door? I figure that Chymon would put a serious hurting on them at this point, while the stalkers just follow and observe. But I didn't look at the Fane layout in great detail, to see whether Air or Fire is easier once you get past the first room...

Here for a while
(3/21/03 12:19 pm)
Great Idea!
That has to be one of the most masterful uses of Varachan, or indeed of 5th element resources, I have ever seen. As someone who prides himself on subtlety, I am humbled by it.

Thanks for the inspiration.


Cordo Crowfoot
(8/2/03 1:06 pm)
Re: Great Idea!
Bumping this log as the Verachan aspect came up in another thread. (Has Abelard been around lately?)

(8/2/03 1:21 pm)
Re: Great Idea!
Thanks for the bump, Cordo. That is, indeed, a brilliant letter.

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