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Looking around
(4/17/03 8:52 pm)
Nierethi Poscurian
I love gnomes, so I can’t resist incorporating the evil illusionist into the campaign. Here’s my thinking. Nierethi went wandering the Moathouse looking for Lareth swag about the time that the Spugnoir, the cult and Big U showed up. (It’s starting to sound like some kind of bad farce already…) With Big U besieging the catacombs, Nierethi discovered and joined the cult. He’s not the religious or end of the world type, but he sees a chance for some profit. Besides, my campaign is set in the Realms, where the apocalypse is faced more often then on a season of Buffy. He’s not worried about them actually succeeding…

Garrik hates the little bugger, Festrath is too loony to care and Geynor and Ysslansh are too busy excavating to notice him much. So they foist him off on Gren. Gren sees an opportunity for promotion by allying with the surprisingly competent gnome.

So, cut to the adventurers. They cut down Big U, cleared the upper Moathouse and camped there. Checking on the dragon, the gnolls spotted the party and reported in. Gren’s motivation is to guard the relics, so she doesn’t ambush the party sleeping. She’s hoping they’ll just go away, but not counting on it.

Nierethi evaluates the situation and decides that between the ghast, three ghouls, four gnolls, six skeletons, one big skeleton, Gren and himself, they can make short work of the party...take their gear and impress their superiors. He talks Gren into this.

Here’s his plan.

1. He recruits (speak with burrowing – bribe with some hard candies) a couple of rats into watching the two entrances.
2. He stakes open all three doors between rooms 18, 23, 24 and 25.
3. He rememorizes spells, ditching Knock, Change Self and Ventriloquism for an extra Invisibility, Mage Armor and Color Spray.
4. He casts Mage Armor on the ogre skeleton and the ghast.
5. When the party readies to come down either staircase, the rats will run down and warn him.
6. He casts Invisibility on Gren and himself.
7. In combat, Nierethi will open with a Silent Image of an evil and powerful looking cleric standing behind the skeletons or ghasts. He hopes this will soak up some firepower. I’d rule this as a non-attack…still invisible.
8. He’ll follow by casting Mirror Image and then firing away with Color Spray on the fighter types and Magic Missle (wand) on casters.
9. Gren will channel Inflict Light Wounds to heal the ogre skeleton and/or ghast. I’d also rule this as a non-attack. She plans on slipping away if the opportunity presents itself and heading for Dunrat. She keeps all the artifacts with her.
10. The gnolls are under strict orders from Gren to avoid melee and concentrate missile fire on casters. They hate these instructions (and the gnome) and will drop their shortbows and charge as soon as anyone breaks past the undead.

So here’s what I’m wondering…

A) Are there rats in the catacombs? Does anyone think that the ghouls might have eaten them all?
B) Is it inconceivable that Nierethi brought his spellbook with him to the Moathouse? If he didn’t bring a horse, that’s an awful long walk, so I think he would plan on camping.
C) Are these tactics too brutal? Not brutal enough? Thoughts?

Thanks all...

The Jolly
Red Giant
Was Here!

Still here? Wow.
(4/17/03 9:09 pm)
Re: Nierethi Poscurian
#7 and #9 - I agree with you.

a. There are always rats around. There aren't enough ghouls to eat them all.

b. If I were traveling to the moathouse, I'd be a fool to not bring my spellbook, and Nierethi is not a fool.

c. I think it is a very good plan. As for how brutal it is depends on how well your group will handle it. One other thing you should do is have Gren bolster the skeletons once or twice (before invisibility as that should be an attack, or not, your choice). From reading the first installment on your log, I think your players can handle it, except for maybe Vahn. ;)

Why would Gren go to Dunrat and not to Ysslansh or Garrik for help, setting up possibly another ambush at the portcullis? I set one up there and it worked quite well. For details, check out Session Three in my log.

Here for a while
(4/18/03 3:03 am)
Re: Nierethi Poscurian
Sounds like a good plan.

1. You should give the party clues that there are rats about.
And let them have a chance to spot the rat spies (rats are good at hiding though) - chances are that they'll ignore them anyway. This both builds atmosphere - creepy crypty moathouse - and lets them be ultra-paranoid and kill rats if they don't like their little beady eyes watching them.

2. Illusions and bolstering/healing undead are definitely not attack actions in my book - so Invisible folk would stay Invisible I'd say.

3. Extend the plan to an escape route if the ambush turns sour - Nierethi needn't include Gren in his escape plans, but he should definitely have a planned 'out' for himself...I favour anything that's beyond the portcullis (if heeven knows about it, that is).

4. Just because Nierethi has planned an ambush, that doesn't mean that Garrik wouldn't have his own ambush planned, just in case. Have one gnoll stationed at the false door that drops the portcullis, and have a pre-arranged signal for him to open the door. With good timing the portcullis will split the party in two, and anyone beyond it can be flanked if Garrik has his remaining gnolls in both corridors...use the gnolls' darkvision for arrows from the darkness.

I look forward to hearing how the goodies deal with it all. :)


Looking around
(4/18/03 3:27 am)
Re: Nierethi Poscurian
Ye gods...that ambush at the portcullis is just...mean! I love it. A hearty and resounding MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

By the way, with my group I'm almost expecting them to still be at the moathouse when the wagon team arrives in two days. Any thoughts on what the wagon team might consist of? I don't see it in the book. I'm thinking a Cleric 2, a couple 1st level warriors and a caged grick.

Still here? Wow.
(4/18/03 5:57 am)
Re: Nierethi Poscurian
Hmm, I thought an example wagon force was detailed in one of the sticky threads. Apparently not, must have been some other threads. You can either search through or just make up a force on your own. Your idea is fine, just use either Gren's or Geynor's stats for the cleric and pick a couple of warriors from the CRM stat block (maybe minus some of the expensive masterwork items). OThers have used an advanced grick (6HD I believe), level 4 cleric or sorcerer, and/or an ogre. I'd prefer your arrangement, though, especially given the level of your party. I'd add in a special grick "handler" though, perhaps a level 2 expert with ranks in animal handling. Make him/her interesting, perhaps applying the reptilian template from the BoVD (which if you do not have, I highly recommend it).

Still here? Wow.
(4/18/03 7:35 am)
Re: Nierethi Poscurian
JRGiant, that's exactly what I used. I borrowed Gren's stats for a 2nd level Cleric, and tacked on two standard CRM L1 Warriors.

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

Here for a while
(4/18/03 9:17 am)
Re: Nierethi Poscurian
Hmm, I thought an example wagon force was detailed in one of the sticky threads. Apparently not, must have been some other threads.

Unfortunately, I think we lost the original thread that included the stats of the Grick(s) and the NPC that Tristin came up with. Here's one that talks a bit about it though:

I saved a portion of the lost thread for my own use way back when. Here's Tristan's post with the stats:

Ok, this is what I did. I entirely agree with Andorax that the wagon can quite easily be dismissed as a minor threat, but I figured I'd see if I could make it interesting. So here is Hasan Toth, currently employed as animal handler for the cult, delivering one of his pets to look after the Moathouse...

Advanced 6HD Grick: CR 5 [though I don't really think it warrants that much]; Large Aberration; HD 6d8+12; hp 39; Init +1; Spd 30' (climb 20'); AC 16 (touch 10, flat-footed 15); Atk +9 melee (1d6+6, 4 tentacle rakes) and +4 (1d4+3, bite); SQ Damage reduction 15/+1, scent, darkvision 60'; AL N; SV Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +7; Str 22, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 3, Wis 14, Cha 5
Skills and Feats: Climb +12, Hide +6 (+14 in rocky areas), Listen +9, Spot +9; Alertness, Power Attack

Hasan Toth: Male human Rog1/Sor4; CR 5; Medium-size humanoid; HD 1d6+1 plus 4d4+4; hp 21; Init +3; Spd 30'; AC 13 (touch 13, flat-footed 10); Atk +6 melee (1d6+1/19-20, +1 short sword) or +6 ranged (1d6/x3, shortbow); SA Sneak attack +1d6; SQ familiar benefits; AL CE; SV Fort +2, Ref +8, Will +4; Str 10, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 14
Skills and Feats: Appraise +5, Balance +7, Bluff +6, Climb +4, Concentration +8, Diplomacy +6, Escape Artists +7, Handle Animal +6, Listen +4, Spellcraft +6, Spot +4, Tumble +7; Combat Reflexes, Lightning Reflexes, Weapon Finesse (short sword)
Familiar Benefits: Alertness when familiar is within reach, empathic link, share spells with familiar, deliver touch spells via familiar
Sorcerer spells known (6/7/3): base DC = 12 + spell level: 0 - arcane mark, detect magic, detect poison, light, read magic; 1st - lesser acid orb, mage armour, summon monster I; 2nd - summon monster II
Possessions: +1 short sword, bag of tricks (rust-coloured), shortbow, 20 arrows, khaki robes

Ssans: viper familiar of Hasan Toth; CR -; tiny magical beast; HD ¼ d8 (treat as 4HD); hp 10; Init +3; Spd 15' (climb 15', swim 15'); AC 19 (touch 15, flat-footed 16); Atk +5 melee (poison, bite); SA poison (1d6/1d6 temporary Con damage, Fort save DC 11); SQ Improved evasion, low-light vision, can deliver touch spells for Hasan Toth; AL CE; SV Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +5; Str 6, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 7, Wis 12, Cha 2
Skills and Feats: Balance +11, Climb +12, Hide +18, Listen +8, Spot +8; Weapon Finesse (bite)

Plus 2 War1s, I just used the stats from the CRM.

I haven't got to this encounter yet, but it seems to me it might make the wagon's arrival a bit more entertaining. I guess if the grick were pseudonaturalised, it might be even more fun :)

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