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JDragonatWork
Here for a while
(4/2/03 10:43 am)
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PC's Bluffing their way into the CRM?
Ok,

My group gets together tonight, and will starting at the base of the 300' trail up to the main gate.

I have a feeling that they might try to bluff their way through, as they have kept the robes & holy symbols they found in Hommlet and the moathouse.

I know the module has some basic ideas on how this will work, but I was wondering has anyone elses party tried/done this and if so, how did you run it?

Any suggestions as soon as possible would be helpful.

Thanks

JDragon

WarrenWright
Here for a while
(4/2/03 11:54 am)
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Re: PC's Bluffing their way into the CRM?
My group is fairly likely to try the same thing when they go in next session or the one after.

I'm guessing they will fail miserably at it since they wont have any idea which temple they are running into, or even that there are different temples in there.

Most of the descriptions seem to indicate that the proper symbol of the proper elemental temple is required as well, so I'd guess that a hodge-podge of Tharizdun and Elemental Eye garb won't get them too far.....

Anyone else? I'm interested in this as well.

-Warren

Thrommel
Can't leave now (mod)
(4/2/03 3:33 pm)
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Re: PC's Bluffing their way into the CRM?
Ok, couple things -- this is a tactic that is RARELY tried. Why? Because everyone likes to bash the skulls.

However, IMO, it is the more successful path to tackling the CRM - both in-game and from a meta-game standpoint. You can really get some rich role-playing out of having the players team up with the various factions in the CRM. The place becomes MUCH more alive and less of a kill/kill/rest routine.

So my advice is: do NOT roadblock these attempts. Give the PC's the benefit of the doubt. Remember, the CRM forces are not expecting trouble - not initially. Also, there are plenty of weird things going on and strange people coming and going that a few flubs can plausibly be overlooked.

Keep in mind that the doomdreamers generally don't traffic with the CRM forces - those guys are mysterious and untouchable. The players might be able to use that to their advantage, if they tune into it.

Also, the various Temples skirmish ALL THE TIME. They are looking for talented (read expendable) mercenaries they can use to strike at each other. You might very well want to drop hints about this in Rastor. Getting the party recruited by the Water Temple in Rastor can be a very successful strategy to nudge the players along this route.

Part of the problem is the general anti-human attitude of the trogs, which is likely the first Temple the party meets. Once the tone of 'attack all cultists' is set, it's hard to break a party of that pattern. What they don't realize is that they've only cracked 20 rooms out of 250, and have a long way to go.

A lot of times DM's come here asking for advice on how to make an encounter tougher. Well this time, I'm telling you -- make this EASIER for the players. It's the way Monte's group originally played it, and I think you won't see the "CRM burnout" that so many of the hack-n-slashers complain of.

-Thrommel, who wishes he'd done it that way.

JDragonatWork
Here for a while
(4/2/03 4:09 pm)
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thanks anyone else want to chime in?
Thromel, thanks for the thoughts, they make alot of sense.

I have no problems letting them slip in, because it will make it much more interesting.

I'm just trying to be as preparred as possible, so that my actions don't force them into a fight or flight possition if they don't bring it on them selves.

JDragon - Hoping he will have an interesting story for tomorrow :D

Cordo Crowfoot
Here to stay
(4/2/03 6:03 pm)
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Re: thanks anyone else want to chime in?
Thrommel touches on one point which makes it more difficult, in that there is so much inter-temple rivalry that many groups will suspect the PCs of being from a rival temple on sight.

I agree with Thrommel though that you should encourage this style of play, so if you can throw this hint to the players early in their dealings with the temple, all the better.

One thing that would be helpful is to decide where most people going through the gate areas are headed and why. Probably most through the main gate head north through the earth temple and the northern bridge complex, so if they successfully bluff Mereclar he may sweep them along, automatically giving them an escort assuming that's where they want to go too.

"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

Thrommel
Can't leave now (mod)
(4/2/03 11:19 pm)
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Re: thanks anyone else want to chime in?
Here's my approach with these things: take your preferred outcome as a given and justify backwards from there. (Aka Thrommel's Law of Reverse Railroading)

So, we want the party to have a goodly chance at getting recruited by the Water Temple. Try these on for size:

Why would Mereclar question anyone in purple robes, they are his superiors. He lets them pass with a simple Bluff check (and since he has no ranks in Sense Motive, shouldn't be a big problem).

Have the party recruited by the Water Temple in Rastor - BEFORE they even head up to the CRM.

Have the party encounter a merchant wagon going up to the CRM to replenish supplies for the Water Temple. The party can overwhelm the cart and pretend to be the merchant - which results in a meeting with Kadiss deep behind 'enemy' lines in the CRM. (They should get a good look at the Earth Temple this way as well.)

There are lots of options, you just need to focus on why that WOULD work and not on why it wouldn't.

-Thrommel's Posting Corollary: spend at least as much time on the post as you do on the sig.

errant42
Here for a while
(4/3/03 8:31 am)
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Re: PC's Bluffing their way into the CRM?
Speaking from the standpoint of a DM who is right in the same spot (party about to enter CRMs from Rastor), I really like the idea of the party infiltrating through guile and subterfuge rather than force of arms. It gives much more opportunity for role-playing instead of hack-n-slash.

However, the chaotic nature of the mines, and the active, violent rivalry between the various factions, means that an alliance with one group doesn't preclude (and indeed, may encourage) violent contact with another. So the hack-n-slash aspect can be played as well. The balance of the two will depend on how the PCs and DM each play it, i.e. if they try to parlay instead of attack on sight.

The main thing I plan to do to make this a viable option is to outline the important NPCs' personalities, motivations, and agendas. After that, all you have to do is allow the PCs to talk their way through some encounters (and, if they're having trouble getting started, have some important NPCs begin parlay with them), and it will be a self-sustaining reaction.

JDragonatWork
Here for a while
(4/3/03 9:34 am)
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Re: PC's Bluffing their way into the CRM?
Well thanks for the info, but it no longer appears it will be needed. :eek

The party bluffed their way into the front room and even had Mereclar coming out to talk to them, untill the Bard decided to open up on the Gnoll standing next to bell.

Well from their all H:evil ll broke lose and it ended with 4 party members laying in pools of their own blood as the rogue toook the offer to leave. (to spread the tales of the evil of the CRM)

The new party, from what Iv'e heard of the new party they will not be the types to try and sneak in. Oh well, maybe they will try the south gate this time. :D

JDragon

Cordo Crowfoot
Here to stay
(4/4/03 5:04 am)
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Re: PC's Bluffing their way into the CRM?
Heh, isn't it funny how players can surprise you like that. Makes DMing interesting.

Grumgarr
Here for a while
(4/4/03 5:16 am)
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Damn! I wanted to hear how they did...
Oh well...

As one of many DMs whose groups just attacked everything in the entire CRM I was looking forward to hearing about the success of the alternative route.

My group included a hack'n'slash paladin, which kind of precluded the subtle and devious approach, but with the right kind of PCs (or maybe just >not< the wrong kind) the bluff route would have been a lot more fun than endless bloodshed, even if they'd only tried it some of the time...
...by which I mean, once they're 'in' they could get the robes off and go commando (not, not >that< commando :o ) from within, then get the robes back on, maybe even spreading misinformation and rumours about who these mysterious commandos might be.

Grumgarr

Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(4/4/03 5:17 am)
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Re: Damn! I wanted to hear how they did...
Bummer, dude. But how could 4 out of 5 die? Didn't they buff up before going in?

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

Ulthwithian
Here for a while
(4/4/03 6:29 am)
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Bluffing the Earth Temple
Well, since my group is on the CRM trajectory, I thought I'd send my own thoughts on this up here.

It's certainly possible, to a point. As the module states, however, it won't work forever.

Regarding the Earth Temple, the Trogs hate humans and their ilk, so wouldn't they naturally see the party as 'shock troops' to tenderize opposing defenses? (By 'shock troops', I mean 'troops herded in front of main forces to absorb damage', not 'elite troops'.) This can be a useful thinking process if you're having trouble rationalizing why the Earth Temple would 'hire' the party.

In fact, consider this 'event chain':

1) Party bluffs their way into CRM, discover Earth Temple.
2) Earth Temple secures their service to attack Air Temple.
3) Party obliterates Air Temple.
4) Earth Temple turns on party.
5) Party obliterates Earth Temple.

Now, it may be hard for the party to trust the other temples once they are betrayed once. However, in this event I suggest 'moving things forward' a bit and have the _Fire Temple_ hire the party to perform a counterstrike against the Water Temple. This assumes that the 'altar commando raid' by the Water Temple is at least somewhat successful. It gives an incentive for the Fire Temple to want to use the party, and the party can be told about the 'other' non-human Temple in the CRM and basically try to pin all the bad things on the 'monster Temples' there.

May work, may not work. If you don't think it'll work, I suggest not having the Earth Temple betray the party so soon. Use them for other things, etc. For example, if the Earth Temple is successful in destroying the Air Temple, maybe they ask the party to garrison the South Entrance, which allows the party to 'accidentally' kill any reinforcements that may try to trickle into the Air Temple area (from outside or inside).

Just some thoughts.

Ulthwithian
Gamer-at-large

JDragonatWork
Here for a while
(4/4/03 9:08 am)
Reply
answers to ?'s
Well, they had buffed up a little prior to entering, but not as much as they could have.

I used the first errata Howler which hurt alot, and once he took down one person it just went bad from there. They did end up killing it, so it won't be back.

The paladin/sorcerer failed his save against the hold person scroll, which made him an easy target for the zombies. THe cleric couldn't get rid of them fast enough becuase she was busy trying to keep people alive.

IT would have been alot worse, if they hadn't trapped Wormspike using a bead of force.

All the low level warriors got out and got flanking positions and just wore people down.

The only reason it wasn't a TPK was becasue Mereclar gave the cleric and rogue the option to leave or die. The rogue took it, but the cleric said only with my friends. So he said, "Then you die." and she did.

When the party come back three party members will be spiked up out front as a warning, and the cleric of Pelor will be a zombie.:evil

JDragon

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