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WarrenWright
Here for a while
(4/17/03 8:18 am)
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What do you think my group will do? Entering the CRM....
I'm looking for thoughts on what to expect as I try to prepare for our next session, where the PCs will enter the CRM for the first time.

Thoughts on how their approach is different than your groups? On what your group did with similar knowledge?

Last session my group learned the general location of the crater.

Next, after a side track for the Paladin to pick up her new hippogriff mount, they travelled towards the CRM. About 6 miles outside Rastor I presented them with a major fork in the trail. I expected them to utilize the group ranger to determine which one was more heavily travelled, or something to that effect...

Instead, the gnome illusionist made himself, the hippogrif, and the paladin invisible, and they scouted until they spotted the crater.

They then did some fly-bys over the crater, including wandering too close to one of the lightning towers and getting blasted (all surivived and fled). As they fled I described the distant shape of what look like giant wasps with riders appearing near the lightning towers.

So, basically, they know the layout of the crater. They saw the bridgets from the outer ridge to the inner section. They saw the lightning towers. They saw the huge black spike coming up out of the center of the crater (am I right that this is fully visible as a huge black monolithic tower from the air?).

They also saw that the two trails dead end into the outer edge of the crater (south entrance and side entrance).

Have your groups begun their entry of the CRM with similar information? How did it work out? What was different with your group?

Much Thanks,

Warren Wright
Dallas, Texas

Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(4/17/03 8:49 am)
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Re: What do you think my group will do? Entering the CRM...
Sounds like your PCs got some very solid Intel going in...cudos, and if theyr'e creative, they might try something clever like a climb-over and entering through a bridge. I would suggest that you read up on EVERY opening, inside and outside the ring, although focus your efforts on the two gates, of course. It's still the most likely of all solutions.


As for what my group started with....hardly! My group's first venture to the CRM, they met a patrol of Air Temple warriors (random roll of which temple). 6 Warrior 1s, 1 Cleric 3 (I added the Cleric 3 as a leader).

At the time, 2 Fighter 5, 1 Cleric 5, 1 Rogue/Wiz aiming for Arcane Trickster.

Inexplicably, the party SURRENDERED to them and went with them back to the Air Temple. They were marched unceremoniously back to the South Gate (the Rogue/Wiz avoided notice and abandoned the party, heading back to Rastor).

The party bluffed very badly, didn't know what they should, and had absolutely no self-confident to make it sound like they did. After both bad RP and bad rolls, Kellial decided they should be taken out. Both fighters were overwhelmed and dropped to negs or knocked out. Lyssa the Cleric not only survived, but gutted BOTH Ogres that pursued her and one of the Fighters. She got away.

The two fighters were brought into the Air Temple, brought before Fachish, and given a chance to swear binding oath to the Air Temple or to be offered up as sacrifices. Good PCs that they were, they chose Option II, and saved me having to add them to the defenses!

Lyssa returned to Rastor to discover that Camber had stolen the horses and wagon and fled to Verbobonc. They never found him. Lyssa returned back to Hommlet, got drunk, and awaited the arrival of the new PCs in the group.


That was my group's first crack at the CRM.

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

WarrenWright
Here for a while
(4/17/03 8:59 am)
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Re: What do you think my group will do? Entering the CRM...
Wow! Then again, I could well roll up a random encounter during the last 6 miles of their travel to one of the two entrances, and end up somewhere just as strange :-)

I'm a little concerned for them that they may decide to go over (flight) the outer rim, and approach the center on one of the bridges....I haven't done more than a once over of what is in the outer fane, but I imagine it would take out my group of 7 5th and 6th level PCs quickly.

I've also made note of the various balconys overlooking the stalagos, and other semi-hidden entrances, and would allow the players to find one or more of them given spot checks and careful fly-by searching, which could be interesting.

At this point, of course, they don't even realize there exists the huge circular dungeon of the CRM, and probably just imagine that the bulk of their expedition will be against the more obvious bastion of cultists in the center of the crater.

I will give them a little more detail on the size and width of the ridge, so they may have some clue that it could house internal tunnels and rooms, but really everything will have to await their decided approach.

Any other CRM entry experiences out there? Specifically, what info did your group have before they tried to enter however they entered?

-Warren

benhamtroll
Here quite a while
(4/17/03 9:23 am)
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Re: What do you think my group will do? Entering the CRM...
I believe it says in the book that the lightning towers will attack anyone crossing the bridges without a greater key. It's something important to consider. There is no way they'll get inside the fane without a key, and they will be blasted mercilessly if they try.



There's no business like gnoll business

Edited by: benhamtroll at: 4/17/03 9:25:09 am
Trithereon
Here quite a while
(4/17/03 9:41 am)
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Re: What do you think my group will do? Entering the CRM...
Quote:
I believe it says in the book that the lightning towers will attack anyone crossing the bridges without a greater key.


You know, if you could give the page referrence where it says this specifically then I'd be very happy. This very subject (lightning towers affecting bridge-walkers) has been discussed many times but I have never seen an exact quote and page referrence that says the area of effect of the lightning towers reaches down to the bridges.

You have me curious. I'll have to dig around again - I have a history of being clueless and just plain wrong.

Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(4/17/03 11:24 am)
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Re: What do you think my group will do? Entering the CRM...
Anyways, one thing you DON'T need to worry about is them entering the Outer Fane. The only way in through the doors is with a Greater Key, and they don't have one.

Read up on the FAQ about the Keys, then put your mind at ease...you won't need the Outer Fane for a long time.




Provided for convenience: The entrances to the CRM. I am presuming here that the Stalagos water level is even with the outside ground. FAQ it if you think it worthy.

1 (Outside): West Gate 300' Elevation
25/28 (Inside): Water inlet near Vranthris -5' Elevation
46 (I): Fire Bridge 30'
64 (O): Secret Dwarf Door 20'
76 (I): Air Balcony 50'
80 (O): South Gate 0'
91 (I): Water "Bridge" Landing 0'
100 (I): Destrachan Overlook 30'
107 (I): Fire Window 50'
134 (I): Earth Bridge 30'
162 (I): Bugbear Window 30'
193 (O): Water Secret Passage 0'
195 (I): Water Temple (wide open inlet) 0'
207 (I): Air Bridge 30'

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

benhamtroll
Here quite a while
(4/17/03 11:27 am)
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Re: What do you think my group will do? Entering the CRM...
I checked through the book briefly, and the only mention I could find in that brief perusal was on page 106 that said that anyone coming within 150' of the towers who had not been blessed by a greater key gets zapped. I could have sworn that I saw saw something that mentioned crossing the bridges, though. I'll have to check.

Maybe Monte could clear this up.



There's no business like gnoll business

Trithereon
Here quite a while
(4/17/03 11:34 am)
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Re: What do you think my group will do? Entering the CRM...
I looked through the module but could only find the following important details: The towers are built on ledges 100 feet above the water. The towers are 70 feet tall. The area of affect for the lightning bolts is 150 feet.

It is not specified in the module so you have to decide for yourself if the lightning bolts radiate out from the very tip of the tower, or from any point on the tower's surface.

1) Lighting bolts radiate only from the tip of the Tower. The tip of the tower rises 170 feet above the surface of the water (the base of the tower is 100 feet above the water built on the ledge and the pinacle is another 70 feet). That the area of effect ends 20 feet above the surface of the water, if the was directly below the Tower but its not because of the slope of the crater's outer wall. Since the area of affect is a circle then the area of affect ends some distance greater then 20 feet above the water (depending on the crater's slope - which is unknown). So, how high above the water is the floor of the bridges? More than 20 feet, 40 feet? This is unspecified but from the illustration in the book it looks pretty close to the water's surface. The important point is that the farther the Door is away from the Tower the higher up from the water surface the lightning area of affect starts. At the Air Door the area of effect may be as much as 60-80 feet above the door (depending on the slope of the outer crater)!

2) If the lightning area of effect radiates from any point of the Tower then the lightning reaches to the water surface directly beneath a Tower and as much as 110 feet away from the Tower. The closest Tower has a horizontal distance of the one 40 feet from the Earth Door, so the Earth Door should be affected by the lightning Tower. However, the closest Tower to the Air Door is 140 feet which means that the area of affect is at over 20 feet above the surface of the water. Again, how far up from the surface of the water is the Air Door? Your guess is as good as mine but the illustration makes it looks like the bridges are close to the water.

The jist of all this. If the lightning radiates only from the tip of the Tower then likely no bridge is affected by the Towers. If the lightning radiates out from any point of the Tower then depending on the dimensions of the bridges the Air Bridge might not be affected at all by the Towers.

Basically, it is up to you: Tower affect bridges, or Towers don't affect bridges. However, do you think the doomdreamers would want the Towers to strike the Bridges with lightning bolts? It certainly isn't the most sane design ... but then again they are doomdreamers.

Infiniti2000
Still here? Wow.
(4/17/03 11:55 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: What do you think my group will do? Entering the CRM...
Sorry, I don't have the book with me, but are the lightning bolts cast be the 6th level sorcerers, by the shockers, or by some other combination thereof? What's the caster level? I thought it was like 10th level or something, doing 10d6 and therefore should reach 200ft. By your calculations, it seems like 150ft (5th level).

Personally, I'd think the Doomdreamers planned the towers to actual defend the entrances. Therefore, if they need to fire from any point on the tower to hit the entrance, then that is what was intended. Otherwise, someone could fly over the CRM and then down and never have to contend with the primary Fane defense machanism. That doesn't seem right.

WarrenWright
Here for a while
(4/17/03 12:28 pm)
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Re: What do you think my group will do? Entering the CRM...
I admit, my mind is more at ease knowing that they won't be able to figure out a way into the outer fane.

I'll just have to do some checking to make sure they can't somehow bypass the towers to reach the lone black spike in the center, and then decide what happens if they manage it.

On the lightning towers, I'm curious what people come up with. I'm undecided on their effect reaching the bridges or not as well.

As to the distance, the module states that anyone coming within 150' of a tower suffers 10d6 lightning bolts each round, I believe, so I don't think the 150' distance is based on caster level.

While we're here, anyone else have anecdotes of how their party scouted the cRM before entering, and the results?

Skaros

Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(4/17/03 2:15 pm)
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Re: What do you think my group will do? Entering the CRM...
Ack...I forgot one of the important parts of your question. Tymerian from Rastor has tried what the party's considering. Have her give them an absolute horror story about what happened. Read the sidebar on page 40.

Another comment about Tymerian and fleshing her out as a more interesting NPC...I presumed that several of the NPCs in RttToEE were, in fact, a single adventuring party. Tymerian's former companions consist of:

1) The Bard who's being tortured in the Fire Temple
2) The Cleric's corpse in Thrommel's chamber (or, if you prefer, one of the Dark Wights in the Blasted Yard outside the Inner Fane)
3) The Paladin who's imprisoned in the Outer Fane's Prison
4) Erdso the Monk, who's being tortured beneith the Inner Fane (Sublevel 1).


To answer your question about if they DO bypass the towers and head for the black spike...they can't bust into the tower itself (it's guarded by an intelligent door), and they will have their hands full with a whole gang of advanced Wights that lurk about in the "blasted yard".

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

Trithereon
Here quite a while
(4/17/03 8:48 pm)
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Black Spike
Even if your PCs do fly far above (>320 feet) above the Towers and then down into the "doughnut hole" gap in the Tower's defense to get to the Black Spike ... isn't there an malign effect for anyone who gets close (I think 150 feet) to the top of the Black Spike. I know this effect is in the text for inside the Spike, but there's a hint in the text that anyone who manages to avoid the Towers then have to deal with the Spikes own defenses.

Yeah, and then as Andorax points out there is the intelligent door to bypass ...

WarrenWright
Here for a while
(4/18/03 6:01 am)
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Re: Black Spike
Tymerian is a great idea. I may yet work her in. I was quite surprised when they spent two days in Rastor, with some wonderful roleplay going on with Jardeth, Rerrid, and most of the other prominent NPCs...but never bothered to go visit Tymerian.

I was surprised because I had thought that seeing a house with a sign reading "Wizard" scrawled above the doorway would have piqued their interest :-)

No matter, I prefer to have them surprise me most of the time anyway.

I'm glad to hear about the various defenses regarding the spike, etc. I actually think they are sufficiently wary of that whole island in the middle of the Stalagos as it is...having suffered 10d6 lightning bolts during scouting, seen distant figures mounted on giant wasps, etc.

Perhaps they will do something really straight forward, like walk in one of the entrances...

I won't count on it though! I'll be sure to post the results here as well, though we don't get to play this weekend, so it'll be a week and a half before we see their decision in play.

Warren

WarrenWright
Here for a while
(4/28/03 12:49 pm)
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Results
We just had our game (last night).

Before heading into the CRM for the first time, they made use of Auguries from their 6th level cleric of Lathander to determine that approaching through one of the two main entrances would most likely result in WEAL.

As to whether specifically entering by the Main (Southern) entrance would bring WEAL or WOE, they got an answer of "WEAL and WOE", as I felt it was the more difficult of the two sections to enter the mines.

In any case, from their auguries they decided to scout the southern (main) entrance. I rolled no random encounters for them as they travelled there (from a nearby encampment) or spend the night preparing the auguries, etc.

Without further ado, the party rogue/illusionist and the party ranger snuck up to a nearby vantage point on the main entrance, and finding it rather devoid of obvious issues, they let the party know it seemed clear.

Next, the party approaches the entrance. Party illusionist and rogue/illusionist make themselves invisible, and approach the entrance, noting the arrow slits, checking for traps, etc.

The party bard then rushes up, and prepares to open one of the doors, standing behind it so he isn't seen as it opens.

Meanwhile the illusionist makes use of major image to create an image of Dunrat in ochre robes, and has Dunrat act as if he's the one opening the door.

The sniper challenges Dunrat to show his symbol. Dunrat obliges, but without the corresponding air temple symbol, and the sniper fires, not knowing an adventuring group lurks outside.

From there, the invisible illusionist has his image rush forward, take flight, and perch on the edge of the sniping ledge, as if through magical power. The sniper rushes back towards his escape route, shouting about intruders, and the rest of the group moves into the hallway.

From there a long battle ensued. The party rogue/illusionist spider climbed over to the ledge (he was already invisible on the wall before the sniper started to flee). He and the party ranger (who climbed the rungs) gave chase to the sniper, who fled back to the home of the 7 human warriors.

I rolled, and it would take them 9 rounds to get ready (ouch).

Meanwhile, after (I rolled for this too) 2 rounds the three human warriors in area 78 slid open their arrow holes in the doors and started firing arrows at the visible party members, followd quickly by Kellial (firing 2 arrows per round, of course).

After 3 rounds, the gnolls came out to join the fray. Unfortunately for them, the party illusionist had already headed up that hallway a bit, and heard them preparing. His readied action fireballed the lot of them, severely damaging them.

To add insult to injury, the party cleric used Lareth's cloak of the arachnida to web the hwallway where the gnolls had just poured out into, trapping nearly all of them.

From there, the bard used a chime of opening to unlock one of the doors into area 78, and then he and their dwarven fighter opened the door and started pushing into the room.

SURPRISE...2 ogres, one with a huge great club, one picking up a huge long spear.

Things looked a bit grim for the dwarf and the bard until the party Paladin joined the fray, and then the party cleric.

Meanwhile, the illusionist finished off the gnomes while expending as little spellpower as possible (set fire to the web, and then picked the ones that survived the burning with alchemists fires).

Also meanwhile, the party rogue/illusionist and ranger had no trouble finishing off the 8 human warriors...particularly after opening the door to interrupt their preparations, and then casting web on the lot of them.

After a long battle in area 78, the party emerged victorious, with no losses....and actually with enough resources left to continue on without resting.

Looking forward to next time,

Warren

Infiniti2000
Still here? Wow.
(4/28/03 2:01 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: Results
So no one made it back to warn Choranth and/or Fachish? Bummer for the bad guys. :)

WarrenWright
Here for a while
(4/28/03 6:47 pm)
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No notice was given
It was indeed. The web spells were very effective at stopping up hallways, and after the first few rounds in area 78, the baddies in there were a little too overwhelmed with defending themselves (and dying) to unlock the door on the opposite side of the room and run off.

Since we left off in the immediate aftermath of the battle, I'll need to determine what was heard further west in the air temple or not, and decide what state those further west are in as far as readiness, etc.

Also, now that I know where they are starting from, with only 2 real options for directions to head (west or east), I can more thoroughly prep in both directions, and make the place come alive :-)

Warren

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