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Looking around
(3/25/03 2:08 pm)
Need Advice Quickly!
I have a session later today and could use some advice fast!

My group is about to attack the main CRM entrance for the 2nd time. The 1st time they attacked w/6 pc's (6 players). They were 2 6th lvl, 2 5th lvl, and 2 4th lvl. After a big battle I took down 3 of them with the howler and the other 3 retreated out. 2 of the POW pc's stabilized and one of them was ransomed for 2k gp. They now REALLY want to get revenge.

Basically I ruled that terrenygit and wormspike (the boss survivors) stripped the captured/dead pc's and got reinforcements from the ransome money.

Now the pc's, after recruiting a couple other pc's, plan on a 2nd attack at the crm main entrance again after a week's rest. They plan to invis a cleric and use "stone shape" to create an openning between 1 & 4, and to use the spell again to create a solid wall between sections 1 & 5. They also have plans on using silence so cultist reinforcements will be unlikely. And they're currently planning on how to seal the main entrance gates.

Do you dm's have any viable tactics on how to counter these strategies? Also, besides orcs, do you have any suggestions on the types of npc's/creatures they could recruit with 2k gp?


The guy from Belgium
Here for a while
(3/25/03 2:31 pm)
Re: Need Advice Quickly!
Do you dm's have any viable tactics on how to counter these strategies?

well, if they've got all that planned... stoneshaping and the likes, i wouldn't necessarily recommend 'counter-strategies'

seems like they've been putting a lot of thought into getting past the main gates... give them credit for that, don't start thinking of countering their ideas ahead of time...

see how it goes ingame, then decide what your options are...

stoneshape: don't know if it can do all they want it to do, i'm not gonna check out the SRD especially for this, nor my corebooks, but making a new wall to seal of a section sounds rather like "wall of stone" than like stoneshape, it'll seal of a door with rock and stuff...

still, they've got a plan going here, and they mentionned it to you

don't punish them for informing you in advance, since it might scare them off and make you look like a killer DM who uses their knowledge to counter their every move

you're running a story with them as main characters, not trying to kill them at every opportunity, give them a break is my recommendation, since killing too many of them at the main gates might blow up in your face with your PC's quitting due to the lethality of the module...

just my thoughts ;)

Still here? Wow.
(3/25/03 3:06 pm)
Re: Need Advice Quickly!
I'd start by backing up what The guy from Belgium may be all-knowing, all-seeing, but your NPCs aren't, and D&D isn't "DM vs Players". Don't think in terms of how to "counter" these tactics, as much as how a natural reaction pattern would result.

How many magic items were lost with the dead PCs? Assume that Mereclar had to "hire out" a Wizard to do identifies on any magic items taken from them, and that that uses up a fair chunk of the funds...then distribute the items amongst those who can use it (Mereclar and Wormspike first, Terrenygit next, grunt fighters and gnolls third). Any unusable items (such as arcane scrolls and wands), figure out someone elsewhere to receive them and assume that trades and deals took place...the PCs will be interested to see how far their corpses' stuff has travelled.

As far as recruitment goes...that's not a huge amount of cash, especially after Identification, so just assume that the regular reinforcements are obtained...which would be 20% of the Gnoll and Human Warrior losses. If this is their first go at the CRM, there's still a fair number of Gnolls and Humans to recruit, no need to resort to Orcs yet.

Now, as far as strategy, tactics, and reactions go...

They've had a week, so they're back down to status "lax"...they figure they gave a good pasting to the intruders, and that they won't be back.

Wormspike likely cut off the heads of the PCs (or one of them at least) and nailed them to the door beside the skull already there...describe them well as a week decayed. Bodies were fed to the Howler.

If Terrenygit participated, and especially if he lost any Zombies, he'll want to replace them. Another good "shock and horror" tactic is to have animated zombies of former PCs.

As for the Silence...assuming they'll be coming up the road with it, it should prevent their detection initially. Remember, though, Stone Shape has a verbal component, so unless the Cleric is out of the area (and thus audible to the inhabitants of room 4) or somehow casting Silently, that's a flaw in the plan.

You can use Stoneshape to open a man-sized hole in the can likewise use it to "cover over" a door with a thin layer of stone...not something that's going to hold up to any amount of punishment, mind you. Something as broad as the main entrance...that's going to be an inch thick...less...let's see...

Cleric 6 affects 16 cubic feet of stone. Doors are, say, 18' wide and 20' tall. 16/18/20*12...half an inch thick (Hardness 8, 7 hps). A couple strong blows from a powerful fighter will bust that open, but it may have the desired visual effect.

What I see happening is this:

Party approaches. Nobody's watching the front, as security is Lax again. Party arrives in Room 1 under silence.

Party's silence-rock carrier steps to one far corner, while the cleric stands at the opposite. Casts Stone Shape (audible). Give the Archers in room 4 a Listen check (DC 10, +5 for narrow arrow slits and inattention, DC 15).

If the Archers aren't alerted, the PCs will have a surprise round (partial actions only) to get in and take them down. If they do it under the cover of Silence, the Gnolls in room 3 won't react on round 1, giving the PCs an extra round.

In Round 1, the PCs will be facing archers with weapons not yet drawn, but they'll melee as best they can.

In Round 2 (1 if the Silence doesn't cover the sound of fighting) the Gnolls in area 3 will take notice. If the PCs appear to be overwhelming the archers, they might all retreat...otherwise, they'll likely charge to the attack, sending one to notify Mereclar+.

If the PCs are REALLY fast and organized, they will be able to get into room 4, into room 3, block the door, silence the area, and wipe out the Gnolls and Archers both. If that's the case, they've earned their successful breach into the CRM without attracting attention, and can progress from there (still under cover of silence) to do some serious damage.

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

Still here? Wow.
(3/25/03 3:14 pm)
Re: Need Advice Quickly!
Excellent advice Phil. I agree that I don't think stoneshape could create a wall. At best, it would be very thin (the ceiling height is 15 feet right?) and probably fall under its own weight. I suggest you point that out to them first though so they don't get an "unexpected surprise" at the worst time.

Despite the advice, you should stock up. I don't think Terrenygit would use all the money, but 2K would be a lot. He might have "bought" the use of a xorn from the Earth Temple. Say, maybe 500gp. For another 200gp or so he would need to have the items identified. For another 100gp each, give him two trolls. Spend another 20gp each for 10 orcs, assume about 100-200 is spent on bribes/supplies/etc and keep the rest for a job well done.

Cordo Crowfoot
Here to stay
(3/25/03 11:19 pm)
Re: Need Advice Quickly!
I'm in complete agreement with Andorax except for this point:

then distribute the items amongst those who can use it (Mereclar and Wormspike first, Terrenygit next, grunt fighters and gnolls third).
I don't think Terrenygit would be giving any softskin underlings first pick over himself.

"They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers. They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came... They were scum who died violent deaths, hanging on to a certain cachet among the impressionable through their undeniable bravery and their occasionally impressive exploits" China Mieville, Perdido Street Station

Still here? Wow.
(3/26/03 12:19 am)
Re: Need Advice Quickly!
I ruled that terrenygit and wormspike (the boss survivors) stripped the captured/dead pc's and got reinforcements from the ransome money
Mereclar is dead, so Terrenygit, being more intelligent, probably manages to manoeuver Wormspike into doing whatever he wants.

Otherwise, I can only second the advice given, especially the bit about not turning it into a DM-vs.-Player campaign.

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

Still here? Wow.
(3/26/03 7:53 am)
Re: Need Advice Quickly!
Cordo, I'd agree...but for the fact that Posession is 9/10ths of the Law. I presumed that (didn't read close enough) it was Mereclar who did the taking, and thus the one who has physical posession and control.

If Terrenygit has any measure of involvement, he's likely to put in first dibs. If Mereclar's dead, doubly so.

I'd be leery of Infiniti2000's suggestions, especially if the Howler is still alive. That, plus a Xorn, is probably way too deadly for the PCs to handle up front. Also remember that any new troops would need to be housed and is limited. I can see rounding up a few extra humans/gnolls ahead of the normal recruitment rate and getting back up to full by tossing some money around, but space is limited, and the party's going to lose heart quickly if they find the main gate tougher each time they return.

Also, I concur with Siobharek's suggestion that Terrenygit would "take over" now that Mereclar's dead.

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

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