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blakwind
Here for a while
(3/17/03 10:08 am)
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Entering the CRM through the bridge complexes
Following up on Bogon's comment from this thread:

Quote:
My players tried the main gate and were quickly pushed back. At that point they decided to explorer ALL of their options, including climbing in. They ended up scouting the entire inner rim of the CRM, listening at each bridge door (invisible rogue/wiz with cloak of the arachnid).

Once they picked a door, they made enough scrolls to spider climb everyone and climb over the rim, down to the lake and enter at the air bridge.


I lurk on these boards quite a bit, and I'm surprised that there isn't more discussion of this approach. My group also thought of this -- though not until after they entered through the main gate and defeated the Northern Bridge Complex. I've got a few questions for the hivemind.

1) As written, it seems pretty easy for a group with average resources to climb over the crater undetected. The SERs and lightning tower sorcerers are instructed to watch for for aerial attacks, not mountain climbers. I'm unaware of any magical defenses that trigger at that distance. Sure, the lightning tower grants a +10 bonus to spot checks, but the War2 guards would have a -100 spot check circumstance penalty due to the thousand feet of distance. Am I missing anything here? Have the insane CRM planners fortified the gates only to overlook this vulnerability?
2) Once word gets around that the bridge complexes are being attacked from inside the crater, how do you think the remaining bridge complex commanders would respond?
3) Once Hedrack takes interest after two temples fall, he will eventually learn that his enemies aren't using the front door. Would he alter his tactics based on this information?

Thanks for your thoughts!

The guy from Belgium
Here for a while
(3/17/03 10:43 am)
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Re: Entering the CRM through the bridge complexes
quick thoughts:

a) climbing a crater ridge is no easy thing... with the cloak of the arachnida it'll be a cakewalk though

b) the way i see it, the top of the crater is permanently concealed by low hanging clouds... this makes it very tricky to approach the inner crater by air... the SER's know the way through without problems though...

but it's a nice idea to allow it... my party never even considered the climb... wearin heavy armor and with a decently filled backpack, it would be hell to climb the blasted mountain...

blakwind
Here for a while
(3/18/03 9:37 am)
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Re: Entering the CRM through the bridge complexes
Last session, my group assaulted D'Gran's complex by going "over the wall" and entering the CRM through the fire bridge. It was the third time that they had climbed the crater to enter or leave the mines.

As written, with the spells and magic items typically available to an adventuring party, it really is an easy climb. My group of six characters used one application of alter self (to create wings for the mage), two applications of spider climb for the armoured cleric and fighter, the cloak of arachnida (from Lareth), and slippers of spider climbing (worn by one of the characters). The rogue used her (maxed out) climb skill. They had other backup options too -- levitate, fly (only dangerous near the lightning towers although they're still cautious because of Tymerian's story), a potion of climb, etc.. Their heavy possessions are in Bags of Holding or Heward's Handy Haversacks.

IMC, I set the climb DC at 20 near the gate complexes. This is perhaps a little strict, since the crater wall is not perfectly vertical and likely easier to climb than a brick wall (DC 20). The rogue managed to roll two successive 1's while climbing down over the fire bridge, and fell from a height of about 60 feet. The noise alerted the hill giant at the gate, and the fight began. However, had the rogue used magical assistance, they would reached the bridge and ambushed the giant without incident.

Next time -- perhaps as they're leaving in a hurry -- I'll make it rain so at least the rock surfaces will be slippery. :b

Infiniti2000
Still here? Wow.
(3/18/03 10:15 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Entering the CRM through the bridge complexes
The spider eaters and riders probably still patrol. All guards do, it at least makes the people who pay them think they are useful. Next time the party crests the crater ridge, they run into a patrolling spider eater and rider. Think Airwolf, but without the rocket launchers. :)

Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(3/19/03 7:48 am)
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Re: Entering the CRM through the bridge complexes
Well, the bridge complexes ARE decently well fortified, but to be honest, no...this isn't outside of the realm of possability for a creative party. It's a good strategy, and worthy of the reward it brings (easier access in and out). I only wish more people actually DID think of it.

When the "nest is stirred up", I tend to have SERs patrolling around the outside rim of the CRM, but that's WELL along the CRM plot, and usually only after the OF itself has seen some damage. Early on, that (and the Dwarven Temple) are two ideal sources of entrance and egress.

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

blakwind
Here for a while
(3/19/03 9:15 am)
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Re: Entering the CRM through the bridge complexes
Thanks for the advice, gang! I should also mention that the group uses a wand of invisibility before starting the climb.

I'll also provide a little back story....

My intrepid heroes have defeated the earth and water temples and destroyed both altars. They have just returned from a month-long sojourn in the big city, allowing Hedrack time to compile an impressive dossier by interrogating survivors, speaking with dead casualties, querying the oracle, and casting various divinations. He also retrieved some discarded campsite possessions to assist with scrying. Unfortunately for him, he delegated the day-to-day scrying job to Varachan, who has duped Hedrack into believing that the group was unlikely to return for a long time. As a precaution, however, Hedrack posted Victor in Rastor to watch for trouble.

Victor spotted the party in Rastor, and discretely followed them to base of the ridge. He alerted Hedrack via contact medallion once he saw that they were going to climb the crater ridge. Hedrack is now scrying the party as they begin to assault the fire bridge, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, studying their tactics, and architecting their downfall. Wha ha ha!

What do you think Hedrack would do now? My heroes have just killed the hill giant at the fire bridge, raising a general alarm that is quickly spreading throughout the bridge complex. Some options include:
- Watch passively, leave D'Gran to his fate, and begin the nightly assaults as recommended in the module, confident that knowledge is power and he has all the knowledge.
- Immediately send in Victor (via the the South Gate) to assassinate one foe to "send a message".
- Send in Victor to raise the alarm at the South Gate and organize a massive Air Temple counter attack.
- Order Victor back to the Outer Fane, but deploy Bethe along the fire bridge to assassinate a straggling foe in the back ranks.
- Send the trog and dire lions for some serious beatdown.

Regardless, I think I'll start SER patrols the next time the group falls back from the CRM. While an individual (or pair, or small group) of SERs isn't a huge threat, the alarm raised would open up a whole world of pain for my heroes. Thanks again for the advice!

Edited to fix a typo.

Edited by: blakwind at: 3/19/03 11:59:54 am
Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(3/19/03 10:09 am)
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Re: Entering the CRM through the bridge complexes
Were it me, I'd send Victor after one of them. If you're using the BoVD stuff, you might include the "Death Grimace" spell as Victor's currently memorized 1st level, so that he can make the message even more plain.

Wait, lurk, and hide until the party is divided...preferably after they have been "victorious" and are searching, looting, etc. Take one down (or try to, anyways), mark them, and get back to the OF in quick, quiet order. You might even consider letting a scroll fall with directions to leave, lest each of them in turn fall to the same fate.

If scrying or divination reveals that they haven't left the CRM yet (at approx. 1AM), it's time to send out Ukemill and the Dire Lions.

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

Ulthwithian
Here for a while
(3/19/03 7:04 pm)
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Hedrack's Options
Let's see, what would Hedrack do if he found out some do-gooders were scaling the crater?

First, kill a random SER in each tower for not doing their job. (i.e., finding new ways to 'motivate' them)

Second, give one of the Assassins a potion of fly and some way to do improved invisibility, and wait until they're climbing to attack. In the midst of climbing, they can't do much and they're split a million ways.

Third, bind a corrupted earth elemental into the crater and have it wait for people climbing to attack.

Fourth, send out a flying Mage to cast Dispel Magic on them. Ew, look at the puddle...

Just a few thoughts...

Ulthwithian
Gamer-at-large

Entropius
Here for a while
(3/20/03 7:55 am)
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ways to knock them off the cliffs
{Fourth, send out a flying Mage to cast Dispel Magic on them. Ew, look at the puddle...}

Eew. :lol

You could also cast Grease on them if most are climbing. I take it that that would negate spider climb?

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