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Cordo Crowfoot
(9/1/03 4:53 pm)
Cutting the CRM short
Hi all,

My group started at the main entrance and went counter-clockwise. They have taken out everything counter-clockwise through the fire temple, and have decimated the air temple and the fire temple.

Since they did the Temple and Nulb they are ahead of the curve, and are now all level 9.

Since there is still quite a bit of the CRM to go, but they are already close to the level 10 rough target for entering the Outer Fane, I see no real reason to stretch the CRM out.

So I guess I would like to ask other DMs if they did anything along these lines and how they did it, as well as brainstorm a bit in this thread.

Here are some different general approaches:
1) Just clear out the occupants of certain areas of the mines, saying they were never there, or have them withdraw knowing they are on the hit list of a powerful group of adventurers. This seems like the least creative and interesting approach.
2) Let the characters know that time is short so that they skip to the Outer Fane even if the CRM isn't finished. I intend to let them know this through a communication from Varachan around when they all hit 10th level.
3) Have the CRM forces destroy themselves. This is where I could use some help.

Some things I have already done along the lines of #3 are:
1) After the PCs cleared the fire bridge and then left the area for several days, I had the orcs in the area to the south leave the mines. Especially as the mines were clear up through the main gate.
2) Two of the three destrachans, being smart, fled after realizing they were facing a powerful group who knew to use silence against them.
3) After the party's first strike against the Fire Temple (together with Nilbool and the Water Temple forces) they left for a month. During this time the Fire Temple struck south towards the Water Bridge complex. They killed the giant ants, and wiped out the entire water bridge area (near the air temple).

I'm thinking that I can have either the Water Temple or the Fire Temple could have wiped out the bugbears. Probably Fire, but maybe water so I can reduce the size of their forces as well.

The main thing I am wondering about is if there is a nifty way to destroy the earth temple. I think the group would enjoy fighting the water temple who betrayed them, but the earth temple has been a non-factor in my campaign.

One fairly uninteresting idea I had was to have another group of adventurers show up. They could "re-clear" the main gate area and then maybe destroy the earth temple. They could then be conveniently wiped out by the northern bridge complex or perhaps Hedrack, who with two temples destroyed now is fed up with bands of meddling do-gooders.

Sorry to be so long winded...

(9/1/03 5:20 pm)
Re: Cutting the CRM short
The alternate party of adventurers is a good idea. I might have them wipe out the south gate/air temple next time my party is in Verbobonc. The other party could be just in it for the treasure, and meet up with the PCs in the bar in Rastor on their way out of town with their loot.

Cordo Crowfoot
(9/1/03 6:39 pm)
Re: Cutting the CRM short
Yes an alternate party is a usable idea, if slightly uninspired. I guess it depends on the execution. I was thinking maybe a party of Clerics and Paladins from the church of Heironeous. That way I could throw in a mention of Thrommel as well as play up their holier than thou attitudes, i.e. have them DEMAND the PCs give them access to their dwarven temple bolthole, etc. It might be funny to see how they react.

(9/1/03 7:32 pm)
Re: Cutting the CRM short
Yeah... make them too selfless to kill, too obnoxious to let live, and too intelligent to be diverted elsewhere.

Edited by: LowNote at: 9/1/03 7:32 pm
(9/1/03 7:51 pm)
Re: Cutting the CRM short
My group has not gotten to that point, so I have no experience there to draw on, but I'd still suggest letting the group kill off the CRM. I assume Hedrack has already sent the assassin, Ukemil, and the stalkers? At 10th level, they should get their collective butts handed to them a couple of times, so using the remainder of the CRM as morale building would be good. If the straight wizard or cleric makes it to 11th level before the Outer Fane, it will make a huge difference. At that point, you can really take the gloves off. At 9th-10th level, if you really marshall the forces, the PCs will be in a world of hurt.

Anyway, I like the idea of an alternate party. That idea isn't done much and it should prove an interesting dilemma. However, why stop at one group? Make a few groups, of varying levels. This might prove useful, perhaps the players need to rescue a weaker group and order them to leave. Maybe even one alternate group rescues another. Maybe one of the weaker groups (or equivalent level) makes a stab at the Outer Fane and gets slaughtered. Lots of things you can come up with that your players haven't experienced before, so it should be fun and pretty fresh.

Cordo Crowfoot
(9/2/03 10:45 am)
Re: Cutting the CRM short
They *just* took out Fire this Sunday so no, they haven't faced the assassin, Ukemil and his cats, and the stalker(s). Blix is more than halfway to level 10, and having slaughtered the fire temple most everyone else is a bit less than halfway to 10. I think by the time they finish the earth bridge and water temple alone they will be pushing 11.

If we played more often than every two weeks I wouldn't mind 4 or 5 sessions of morale building just "cleaning out" the CRM, but since we don't play that often that represents months of play time.

(9/2/03 12:48 pm)
what we did
When I played the temple the Gm basically told us we clear the Earth temple since we were like 4 levels higher than needed so we skipped it more or less. He told us the highlights and we didn't get treasure since we agreed it would have just been burned up in expendables.

We had sort of gotten ahead of the power curve and was mowing very well. Our group worked well together and that made it a tad to easy. Gm didn't have the time to rework a lot of the module so we skipped to the fanes and went through it. then skipped the recovered temple and went straight to fighting Imix who we killed in like 5 rounds even though he was healed at least once during the fight. We were sort of disappointed but still it was mostly fun. I think players and Gm alike had suffered from burn out on the Crawl.

Just my experience. Some times its nice to know your characters just plain kick butt.


(9/2/03 11:42 pm)
How about the other way around?
I'm thinking that I can have either the Water Temple or the Fire Temple could have wiped out the bugbears. Probably Fire, but maybe water so I can reduce the size of their forces as well.

What if you reverse this and have the non-EEE aligned inhabitants of the mines striking out at the Temples proper? You'd have a (reduced) bugbear force living in the Water Temple and/or Fire Temple, having launched a daring strike against them - maybe Steeran and Fesad have been developing portable version of their corpsebombs, and these have tipped the balance of power their way :)

The dire apes could overrun the Northern Bridge Complex; the black pudding, getting very hungry, could maybe look for different hunting grounds; maybe someone accidentally breaks Eeridik's magic circle and the bebilith goes on a massive rampage throughout lots of the CRM. Maybe some of the forces being tapped by the doomdreamers have destabilised the Stalagos crater, and lots of sections start collapsing - the Black Spike is immune and the OF don't care any more, but big sections are buried altogether (not that that would worry the Earth Temple, except maybe the trogs :) )

Just a bit of a brain dump there...

(9/3/03 1:51 am)

Re: How about the other way around?
I'd definitely cut short the CRM and move in on the Fanes. Have the rest of the forces in the mines be so disorganized that a contingent of dwarven descendants of the original Mt. Stalagos dwellers could clear them out - helped with intel from the PCs.

My group has effectively disbanded because of the amount of combat. As I mentioned in another thread, one of my players has been so vocal in his dissatisfaction with the module that he has begun another campaign, GURPS, city-based, lotsa role-playing. Of my 6 players, 3 are leaving to play in that campaign. While we will finish the adventure, it's with another feeling entirely than if he had been more satisfied with the adventure.

Now that you know where I'm coming from on this, I'll repeat my advice: Take 'em to the Fanes. Imix is thisclose to being summoned, and Varachan has a hunch that it will be bad if the Doomdreamers succeed.

Naturally, they will succeed in summoning him, and then I suggest that you use Thrommel's idea that his presence so close to the Prime Material Plane affects the way fire behaves in the world. At first, effects (fire is harder to control, sparks seem to fly at people and, oh yeah, it's slightly purple) are just in Hommlet, but as an earthquake spreads from an epicentre, so do the fire effects - only slower.

That should mean that by the time your players have run through the Outer Fane, news should filter back from Verbobonc that the element of fire is acting all funny. And who knows, maybe omens indicate that air is next...

If you're not playing every week, the CRM will seem like a long stretch, and I think you owe it to everybody in your group to shorten it.

And this comes from the guy who mined the damn thing for every nugget of role-playing potential and still ended up being accused of being a hack'n'slashin' DM...

Siobharek is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

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