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shidara
Faen
(8/6/03 6:10 am)
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What I've learned from RttToEE
Well, my campaign is about to wrap up, and I though I'd post a few thoughts on what this adventure has taught me as a DM. Please post your thoughts as well.

1) You can never ever be too prepared.
This adventure definately taught me to know the entire area before venturing in. The fact that almost every location in this adventure was an active, inhabited place meant that every combat could have repercussions. I had to know who would react, what the listen DC was, etc. I wasa unprepared once during this campaign, and the game suffered for it. never again.

2) Think globally, act locally
Many of the encounters in this adventure were set up so that the party encountered the harshest monster as teh first encounter of the day: Utreshimon, The Howler, Chymon/Elder Earth Elemental/Invisible Stalkers. By thinking about when logical rest times would occur, Monte has managed to put very challenging encounters in places where the party is at its best, leading to an exciting and thrilling edge-of-your-seat encounter during which both sides can pull out all the stops and use every last resource.

3) Read your players; find out what they like, and adapt the adventure to fit.
I am a card-carrying dungeon-crawl lover. But one of my players favors a great deal more RP. instead of finding thsi out right away, I didn;t figure it out until halfway through. By then, they were in the mines, and the RP potential of Rastor and Hommlet had been wasted. From now on, I intend to either hand out a questionaire or at least have some discussion befoer starting a campaign. I hate that Rastor and Hommlet, such fantastic RP settings, went unused because I was too eager to get to the "action."

4) Never ever ever hold back ono the party.
On too many occasions, I felt an encounter was too rough, or I was afraid to kill a character. In the end, it only cheats the players of a good time, because they begin to feel invulnerable. Maybe it's bad memories of playing in high school and being devastated and hurt when a beloved character dies - I don't know. But now, I'm playing with adults. And adults can handle it.

5) Downtime is NECESSARY! Especially in 3rd ed.
This adventure had a little too little downtime for my party. The fact that there is an implied time constraint, and that trips to Verbobonc are time-consuming (until a teleport spell is available) meant that my Wizard never once had a chance to make any magic items or scribemore than two new spells into his spellbook. In further adventures, I intend to allow for more downtime, especially if teh wizard or cleric has got a lot of the item creation feats. It's unfair to the player not to.

6) Don't be a slave to the adventure
My final lesson is, I think, the most important one. The module book is only a guide - Monte will not hunt me down with a +3 vorpal red pen and attack me just because I changed the dwarven water trap. Read your party, read your real life requirements, and adjust as necessary. Because my group can only afford a single additional session, I'm deleting the Purple Worm room in the Recovered Temple as unnecessary, tossing the entire Imix/Fire Node section, and climaxing with the board-recommended Elemental Lareth in the altar room of the recovered temple. Does this exactly follow the book? No. Will the party be satisfied? Yes.

Well, that's all for now. Thanks for letting me vent. Comments and additions are welcome. And of course, Thanks to Monte, for teaching me a thing or two about DMing.

Shidara

Andorax
Verrik
(8/6/03 6:40 am)
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Re: What I've learned from RttToEE
Welcome to the "old DM's club" shidara! Glad you've had a good run.

How long were you at it and, if you can recall readily, what was the total PC bodycount? These are the two most popular stats from the adventure, at least to fellow DMs.

I agree entirely on the downtime issue. My PCs never had enough time to take a break...I think they visited Verbobonc once, total. The additional pressures of no downtime just added to the meatgrinder aspect of the adventure.

Hopefully, you'll be sticking around? DMs who have completed the adventure are few and far between, and your insights and opinions will be greatly valued. How many DMs will jump on a question about the Moathouse and offer advice? Quite a few...we've nearly all been there. How many will jump on a question about the Recovered Temple?

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

Cordo Crowfoot
Litorian
(8/6/03 8:51 am)
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Re: What I've learned from RttToEE
ditto to what Andorax said... Here's hoping you stick around.

shidara
Faen
(8/6/03 9:42 am)
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Re: What I've learned from RttToEE
Well, my body count is going to be low compared to others, because in the beginning I was far too timid about killking characters.

Basically, I've had between 6 and 4 characters the entire time. With the Inner Fane and Recovered Temple left to go, and snipping the Fire Node and Imix altogether for time reasons, I've had 6 PC deaths. Of those, all but one chose to be resurrected/raised rather than take a new character.

As for how long, yeesh, I'd have to say we played once-a-month 12-hour sessions since April of 2002, so that makes 16 months.

And I plan to stick around for some time, at least until I can;t remember the details any more . . .

Shidara

PrinceLorrin
Faen
(8/7/03 7:18 am)
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Congratulations
Grats on finishing it...my party is just about to encounter Imax in all his glory (after a quick trip to slaughter the Abolith).

Any comments on how you removed the fire-node and placed it in the recovered temple...what level was your party (mine is only 12th. but there are 5 of them) and was the fight a good one ?

-Lorrin

shidara
Faen
(8/7/03 8:57 am)
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Re: Congratulations
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Any comments on how you removed the fire-node and placed it in the recovered temple...what level was your party (mine is only 12th. but there are 5 of them) and was the fight a good one ?
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

One of my 4 players is bowing out after the next session, so I wanted to end it with all of them there rather than try to continue one player short. I always though the concept of fighting 50' tall Imix was a bit silly, so in the interest of time and mood, I simply axed the Fire Node and engaged in some serious story revisions.

Basically, ALL of the Nodes have yet to be uncovered; block the Fire Node passage with rubble. However, the Elemental Power Gems were found via Miracles and given to Lareth upon his ascension to Champion Status. The Gems are now embedded in his forehead (making him the BOB 4x half-elemental Lareth). Unbeknownst to Lareth, the ritual to free Tharizdun will utterly destroy the Champion, infusing the four elemental power gems with his elemental soul, powering them to unlock His prison.

However, before Tharizdun can return, the Temple must be rededicated to his worship. Lareth is working with Susain Carun on that task when the party arrives at the recovered Temple.

The final battle will most likely be Susain, Estalion, Thuchos Nalred and Lareth in area 30 (not sure about exactly who will be there, don't want it to be too powerful an encounter) with support from the Secon in 31. Lareth will be busy in the middle of a rededication ceremony, protected by the other clerics. It will basically be a race to get to Lareth.

Essentially, like in teh Mines of Bloodstone adventure, where the party is raacing to stop a ritual to bring Orcus into the Prime Material, I want to keep track of time once the party reaches the lower level; the party must stop Lareth in a set amount of time before the ritual is complete. There will be a thundering drumming noise pervading the area, slowly getting stronger and stronger, as a sign that something big is happening . . .

If the ceremony is completed, something good for the bad guys will happen (not sure what yet, maybe bless or aid on all evils in the temple, or a bunch of elementals appearing?) and Lareth will retreat to 31 (if he's still alive) with the Second.

If Lareth is stopped (again, still working on the details of the ceremony), he will retreat to 31 with the Second, as will the others. There, they will hold out as long as they can. If Lareth is slain, those who can will attempt to word of recall away once the fight becomes unwinnable.

A lot of details are still fuzzy, but the main plot is there. I have a little over a week to work out all the details . . . Advice or suggestions are welcome!

And you can be sure I'll post something when it's over. I'm hoping things will be as climactic as possible!

Chris

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