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A song from the sixties
(6/2/03 5:04 am)
Dueling for pinks in the earth temple?
(Agh! I just lost my post. Thanks, ezboard. This time, I'm retyping it in a text editor. :/ )

My party is currently paused in the cleared-out Main Gate area. In the last session, Shalathal the Barbarian got a bit shafted; at the start of a 45-head fight, she was 15' away from the Howler (that's a 5' step from its reach), and I denied her a surprise round. She also rarely gets any kind of spotlight time that doesn't involve the use of Cleave against a big pile of mooks, so I'd like to throw her an interesting scene.

One of the first trogs they'll meet is the Swordmaster, so I think I'm going to have him challenge Shalathal to a duel. They'd be fighting for their swords - she's got a +1 Greatsword, and he's got the Sword of Earth and seems to be a collector. Shalathal just levelled to Bbn8, so I'll boost the Swordmaster to F7 (with the CR1 Trog base, that should be an even match). I don't normally boost encounters, but I think this circumstance warrants it.

The first problem, is how do I keep the party from rushing to start a big brawl as soon as they run into a trog heading north from the main gate? After that 45-head fight last session, they may be in a real meat-grinder state of mind. Any suggestions here?

If she accepts the challenge, I figure they'll fight in the Entrance Hall, 232. The excitement will attract the attention of everyone south of 224: Miikolak and her puppy-dog Elemental, the guards from 231, Greshta from 233, and the sleeping trogs from 234. The manticore in 224 nicely seperates the Earth Temple into two encounters, so it won't be another giant brawl like last week.

By the end of the fight, the Trogs should be pretty heavy into the bloodlust, and I guess that whoever is winning will be egged on by the crowd to strike a CDG. We play in the lunch room at my office, and there's an old Mortal Combat arcade machine there, so having Miikolak shout "Finish him!" at the end of the fight should be good for a laugh. :)

The way I see it, there are 4 possible outcomes to this scene:
1) The Swordmaster wins, drops Shalathal and Cleaves to the next toughest party member, as described in his Tactics block. The rest of the trogs would join the fight at this point.
2) Shalathal wins, drops the Swordmaster, and Cleaves to another Trog. See #1. :)
3) Shalathal wins, kills the Swordmaster (she's NN, and that would be entirely in character), and then stands down. Would the Trogs let the party just walk out with the Sword of Earth? How would they react?
4) Shalathal wins, and offers the Swordmaster mercy. Would he accept? This has many of the same issues as #3.

Finally, the XP award -- I figure the whole party should get something, since they'll all be there to support Shalathal if things go bad, and depending on how the negotiations go at the start of the fight, Miikolak and the party cleric may be buffing the fighters up before the duel. I think a double share for Shalathal, regular split for everyone else, seems fair.

Any advice on fleshing this out, particularly the aftermath of options 3 or 4, is appreciated.

A guitar
(6/2/03 7:25 am)
Re: Dueling for pinks in the earth temple?
Maybe you should have the Swordmaster tell Shalathal that if she accepts the conditions, duel to the death, to meet him at midnight in the arena. The winner gets the sword and 5gp (or some amount) from Claaginred. The entrance fee would then be something like 1gp each for the other party members. This would be a great RP encounter (besides the fight) and would help alleviate any other questions about whether or not the Earth Temple would do anything about it. In fact, there's a good chance the Swordmaster would not tell any Earth Temple clerics because there is no way they would allow him to put the Sword of Earth in jeopardy like that.

Overall, I really like the idea and your group should really enjoy it. They'll get a chance to interact with a lot of bad guys without except it to break into a fight (and it shouldn't, otherwise the party will lose for sure if you fill the arena).

The Swordmaster would definitely accept mercy. There's always another day to fight. However, he would then gather the Earth Temple forces and go after the Sword of Earth. Even if successful Uskathoth might sacrifice him on the altar for his stupidity. Hey, who said evil had to be smart? ;)

On the XP award, this is a total judgment. Give the players something else to do while the fight goes on (maybe have Greshta "work" the crowd and one of the party members notice). Don't let only the barbarian do something. Then, decide who gets what experience afterwards, whether it's double share or not. If it turns into a big brawl, it should be equal shares for everyone.

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