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maddman75 
Here for a while
(4/27/03 12:41 pm)
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I need to crank up the difficulty.
Okay, I need some advice on cranking up the difficulty of the later portions of the adventure. Here's what's up.

The group was assulting the combined forces of the South gate and Air temple. Long story short, TPK. But I managed to keep it together.

I had them pull out their old characters to finish the advenute. They are a bit high level and spread out, but hey, I knew they didn't want to make new characters or just not finish the temple.

So I deus ex machina them in. Here's what we have.

- 10th halfling rogue
- 10th ftr/Master Samurai
- 13th Cleric
- 15th Sorcerer
- 16th ftr/rog/OOBI archer god

They fairly walk through the Outer Fane, besting Thrommel (but not killing him), Ukemil and the Lions, the flesh golems, the guardians at the Air gate. Talked to Varachan and got the info on what the had to do. I've altered things a bit to keep going with the plot. IMC, either orb could be used to free Tharizdun. So they grabbed Silvery Death to keep it from the cult. From here, they headed straight to the inner fane.

The two tyrannosaurs were a good fight, had them worried for a bit. Even killed the Samurai, who dropped to 9th.

I'm using the FR method for calculating XP - taking each character individually basically. So the Samurai got like 8k, while the oobi got like 850. They'll catch up soon enough.

I need to really give them a fight here. Maybe I should have Hedrack, Chymon, Thrommel, the nagas, the drow, and whoever else I can think of to charge the Inner Fane, to defend it. Make a last stand so to speak. Or just crank everything up - add in some more templates, class levels, etc. Heck, we probably only have one more session to go (play 12-16 hour games once a month).

After that, I'm going to force the characters to protect both orbs from agents of the cult while they seek out the remaining power gems to destroy all the orbs once and for all. I'm going to try to strech it out to get them all the way to 20th level.

So, any advice about how to handle the remaining adventure? I don't want them to simply walk through it. TIA.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -- Buddha

"Nothing's a cliche when it's happening to you." -- Max Payne

Infiniti2000
Still here? Wow.
(4/27/03 4:24 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: I need to crank up the difficulty.
Putting something together that would challenge a group of such disparate levels is very difficult. Anything that would give the archer or sorcerer trouble would kill the others. Other than that, I'm sorry but I don't really have any other advice. Just open up the MMII and throw in every CE monster you find. ;)

Any chance we could get you to write up that long story a little bit? I'm sure it would help other DM's (me, for one) play out the south gate. Was it the silenced air elemental that killed everone? :)

errant42
Here for a while
(4/27/03 6:17 pm)
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Re: I need to crank up the difficulty.
Probably the easiest way would be to go by CR. Take a look at the CR for each encounter, compare it to the expected level of the party for that area (the large map of the ToAC has this, and it should be easy to extrapolate from there). Use that as a basis to ramp up the encounters, either by adding more enemies or by giving the NPCs more levels, so that the new CR is appropriately challenging to the new party. Since the party is so disparate in levels, use the average (probably 13 or 14).

maddman75 
Here for a while
(4/27/03 7:40 pm)
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Re: I need to crank up the difficulty.
The first party was killed by their own stupidity. No other way to describe it.

They were a little too low a level. From 5th to 7th, but I had 6-7 of them. To make matters worse, last game they pulled off a huge coup. They had disguised themselves as clerics/mercenaries and tried to bluff their way through the water temple. Claimed they were heading for the Air temple.

The cleric there took them up on it, if they'd help in the raid on the fire temple. The agree, but one of them slipped out and made a mad dash for the Fire temple to tip them off. So when they arrived the entire fire temple forces are assembled. They let the fire wipe out water, then they finish off the Fire. Then they high-tailed it back to water to wipe them out. They'd triple crossed me, and as they'd taken out Earth on their way in, four days after the entered, three temples were destroyed.

At this point I send a note to the party from 'V' suggesting that the Fanes were on high alert, and it may be best if they took the ensuing chaos to pull out and refit. They rode hard to Verbobonc and refitted, selling some stuff they'd been lugging around since the moathouse.

After that they return, and find the Main Gate sealed over with stone shape. So they go to the main gate. Still on high alert, they enter and face Kellial, the guards, the ogres, and a psychic warrior I'd added in. They were *SO* freakin eager to camp so the sorcerer could ID the stuff they'd found they didn't even bother to explore the rest of the area!

So Bethe came that night to take them out. She missed on her assassination attempt, but right after she struck she cast a Darkness of the cleric who was keeping guard. Everyone woke up, unarmored.

Right after that, the silenced elemental came in. Bethe had a potion of Darkvision that let her see, she killed the cleric with Sneak Attack. The monk had a potion of his own, he drank it and dragged the cleric's body out of the area so everyone could see.

They finished off Bethe, and the clerics came in behind them. The archer twink got confused and couldn't run when the elemental came at her. The paladin and sorcerer covered themselves with Protection from Evil, but he had been commanded to stay on the sorcerer. The elemental killed of the rest of them as well.

Down to two PCs, a TPK was really my only choice. I looked at the elemental and it decided to form a whirlwind. This is a REALLY nasty ability. It sucked them up, left the mines, flew 200' up, and dropped them.

Heartless, wasn't it?

But I'd thought there might be a TPK - after all, what the heck would they have done to Hedrack? Or Thrommel? So I'd suggested they bring their old characters that we'd retired, saying that I wanted a copy of them since they were our first 3e group. A little handwaving, and they are rocking their way into the Fanes.

Btw - my body count for RttToEE is up to 17. Mostly because of a younger player that keeps doing stupid, foolish things. At least a third of those are his.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -- Buddha

"Nothing's a cliche when it's happening to you." -- Max Payne

Grumgarr
Here for a while
(4/28/03 4:04 am)
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Re: I need to crank up the difficulty.
Yeech - that TPK fight sounds brutal.
Maybe I've misunderstood but the cleric died through being blinded by a Darkness spell, then Sneak Attacked by Bethe (using Darkvision to see through the Darkness spell)?

Don't know if this slipped by you or you use variant rules but by the RAW:
Darkness only affects objects and is range:touch.
Darkvision doesn't allow you to see through magical darkness.

On the increasing the challenge front - RttToEE is a bit light on undead - how about some nasty energy-draining undead (Doomdreamer spectres?) to afflict the higher-level folk?
A couple of negative levels will even out the power curve of the party a little, but this can be tricky to pull off convincingly - if the lower-level folk get equally drained the tactic fails, if they only attack the uber-characters, their players might complain.
Of course, someone (like the First) could send them to kill off whoever he reckons is the chief threat (the higher-level PCs).
Incorporeal touch attacks (with a boost from Divine Power or something similar, if required - or just boost the bad guys - and remember energy-draining undead gain 5hp per negative level they inflict, which can keep them around for a few extra rounds) should get through even high-level ACs.

And lose the Vrock. He's almost useless against higher-level folk - there are plenty of alternatives.

Looking forward to hearing how it goes (my group have yet to brave the Inner Fane)!

Grumgarr

maddman75 
Here for a while
(4/28/03 5:13 am)
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Re: I need to crank up the difficulty.
NEgative levels are bad for an individual fight, but for a group with a 13th level cleric they are hardly a long-term crisis.

And yeah, the Darkness/darkvision thing may have been wonky. I was thinking 'they are both 2nd level, so darkvision would let you see through it'. Eh, at least it affected both sides equally. The silence was actually a bigger killer than the cleric. And Darkness only affects objects? And here I thought the only big change was that it is touch.

What I need to do I think is increase numbers. The first and third are meat within 2-3 rounds. If they're lucky.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -- Buddha

"Nothing's a cliche when it's happening to you." -- Max Payne

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