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(9/9/03 11:39 pm)
First Time DM has questions about his party.
First time poster, btw.

What a fantastic resource. My 3.5 party is about to start through the Sunless Citadel en route to RttToEE tomorrow night. After reading through some of your sample parties and concerns about them, I seem to have a unique problem. :)

I don't have 8 players. Nor Multiclassed Spell Casters. I have 2: a Druid that will be single classed, and a Rogue that may pick up a few levels of Ninja (From Rokugan).

They will be joined by an NPC Cleric who will get full experience, and is more of a tank than a Spellcaster. I just don't feel comfortable running more than 1 NPC, considering I have an animal companion running around as well.

I foresee that after they get through the Sunless Citadel they will be about 5th level. I would assume that their next step would be to talk to Jaroo as a link from Sunless Citadel, who will then misdirect them to the Abandoned Temple and the Hobgoblins. Which could get them to the Moathouse at quite a high level.

Normally, I would be worried about the lack of an Arcane Spellcaster and a Fighter type, but the Druid's Animal Companion should suffice for a while, and she's going for the 3.5 Augment Summoning by 3rd level, which is a nasty, powerful feat for a Druid. And the Cleric and the Rogue both have a good attack.

I also plan on giving the Druid access to a 2nd level spell that acts as Identify, without the component price. And I guess they count on the Rogue to Use Magic Devices. :)

Anyone have any experience with a smaller party going through RttToEE? What will the experience levels look like for a party of three entering the Outer Fane? 10? 11? 12? 15?

Thanks for the help.

(9/10/03 2:21 am)
Re: First Time DM has questions about his party.
well neither of my parties have hit the outer fane yet but as far as I have been able to see a normal party would need to be at least 10th, so prolly 11th for your group.

Have you considered having two npc's in the party and having the players run them? that would sort out any concerns there, and take the pressure off you to play them. It might be worth considering it, if you think your players are up to it.

Even if you keep it as it is I would consider having the rogue's player play the cleric as the druid will have his hands full running the animal companion (generally animal companions, etc are played by the player with DM as final judge on what it will/will not do).

Remember that there is the Leadership feat at 6th which can help a small party get needed help, and finally there is more than enough recuitable (good and bad) npc's in the adventure.

I personally would have chosen a Wizard as the npc, though the cleric is also a good choice, but the druid can fill in for most of the roles a cleric would do - they get the healing spells and while they can't convert spell slots to healing spells nothing stops them from using a wand (and at 750 gp for 50 1d8+1 cures it's a bargin!) once they hit 5th-6th level the druid could grab craft wand and churn them out for a measly 375 gp + 30 xp.

By the way these are just some thoughts and what _I_ might do, but when it comes down to it you should do what you feel most comfortable with, good luck! :))

(9/10/03 7:09 am)
Re: First Time DM has questions about his party.
"I seem to have a unique problem."
Alas, it is not unique, but it is rare. :)

With such a small group, you need to encourage RP over combat. Let combat be a rare occurrence and only against limited forces. The players should have good social skills (diplomacy, bluff, sense motive) and be amenable to working with the bad guys. The rogue is a good idea, but a druid just plain wouldn't work in such a case. I personally can't see a druid working with a common goal inside the CRM. That's only my opinion though.

As for more than one NPC, I'm not sure what you mean by the animal companion comment. Let the player run the animal companion, and you can run a second NPC. My suggestion is to have the rogue run a wizard, then you run two NPC's, a fighter and a rogue, both of which are relatively easy.

(9/10/03 12:07 pm)
What about followers or cohorts?
Convince one or both of the players to take Leadership skill and they can run an extra character or two. With a larger group this would be a problem for me, but with 2 players it would be a good idea I think.

Alternately you can get an extra player or two! The WoTC boards helped me find a couple of extra players when one of my regulars moved away.

(9/10/03 8:28 pm)
Small Party
I ran the module with two PCs - a monk and a ranger/sorcerer. I started them off at 6th level and they didn't do too badly (I didn't use Big U's hover, though).

The biggest problem you'll face is the save-or-die spell or effect. One flubbed roll and your party is down by one-half. To solve this, you might want to give the PCs "hero points" - points that they gain (1/level) and can use to bump up a roll by +5 or to re-roll a failed save at any time.

Another problem will be our lack of healing. You can solve this by using the VP/WP system or a variant of it: PCs get Wound Points = to Con, and Vitality Points as they would normally gain Hit Points. VP is treated the same as subdual damage. Usually critical damage is applied to WP only, but let this go and everything should be okay.

(9/11/03 7:24 am)
Re: First Time DM has questions about his party.
I personally can't see a druid working with a common goal inside the CRM. That's only my opinion though.

In my game the Druids in the surrounding area fully support the CRM, because it draws all the evil and destructive humanoids and giants into it. Makes life happy in the forrest. But then they don't know about Big T.

Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/28/04 10:24 pm)
Re: First Time DM has questions about his party.
It's been a while since I've updated this Thread. My Log/Outline of my players actions is now at over 110 pages in Word. :) I'm still not a place at where I feel I can post a log yet, because I'm also playing in Mr. Kaze's altered campaign once a week, and I continuously marvel at how he and I can be running the same campaign, and yet be so different.

To sum up, I was able to gain a third PC. So we now have a Druid, a Rogue, and a Mystic Thurge wanna be. The 3.5 conversion has been and will continue to be a life-saver.

Upon completion of the Sunless Citadel, I left a note on Belak's charred body from Tarren, thanking him for the Tree Blights, and mentioning that he had moved do to meddling from Jaroo and Kella. Upon returning to Oakhurst (Base Town In Sunless Citadel) I had Ingrith pop up, I claimed that it was part of her patrol, back and forth from Baldur's Gate to Hommlet which I placed half way to Cormyr, by Forest of Wyrms in FR. The Druid showed Ingrith the remains of the Tree Blights, and Ingrith told the Druid where to find Jaroo, and gave her a pony express task of telling Jaroo and Kella about them as she tracks down Tarren. I felt this worked extremely well as a lead in, and made the party feel that this was part of the mega module. :)

The party made it to Hommlet, talked to Jaroo, and eventually made it's way to and back from the Temple of Elemental Evil to wipe out the Hobgoblins and talk to Kella, looking for leads on Tarren's whereabouts: She pointed them to the Anauroch Desert, which noone wants to travel to, for now. :) Xaod accompanied them to the Temple, and died to a Power Attacking Rarkus.

Now, I've changed the politics a little bit in Hommlett. I've changed all agents of Iuz to the Zhentarim and made the Zhents activate the Temple as a sort of Feedback mechanism.

The Zhents know the Temple still holds power. They're depleted, but want to keep a check on the power. So they arm the hobgoblins that are naturally attracted to the Temple's Evil. Their spies in Hommlet, make sure that the town sends townsfolk on "Temple Duty" once a month or so to wipe out all the hobgoblins, to both a) prevent any deeper power gaining a foothold, and b) keep the townfolk of Hommlet with a well stocked supply of leveled adventurers. That's why everyone in Hommlet is tough, from the Milk Man to the Bar Maid. Everyone has to go on "Temple Duty" every once in a while and gains XP and levels. :)

Well the PC's did temple duty with Xaod and were a little too thorough. They discovered the Secret Passage in the Tower, which led to the blocked off temple entrance, and came up through the well, to find a stocked Zhent encampment. Upon wiping that out, they uncovered that the Zhents had a spy in Hommlet. Going back to town, they uncovered the spy, and have been given a quest by the town to take out the Zhents Base of Operations in the Area, which happens to be in the Kron Hills. Elmo, Terjon, Questin, and Chatrillion will be joining them for this expedition. I plan on having Smigmal making an appearance here, and escaping, reporting to Falrinth that things have gone south. Allowing those two to re-infiltrate the temple a few months later...

Unknowingly, destroying the Zhent operation, is what gives the Cult the opportunity to infultrate the town. Since everyone is looking at someone else. Plus it means that the Temple's evil will be uncontrolled as it draws evil creatures to it.

BTW, I played up the Temple's evil when the Party spent the night inside. Upon waking up, I had them each draw a card from a deck. Hearts=Fire, Spades=Earth, Clubs=Water, Diamonds=Air. Until sleeping again, Roleplay a phobia to that element. Nice little thematic touch.

Anyway, now that the party, and the adventuring Cleric, and the head of the Militia, is heading out of town, and the evil spy network across the area is being wiped out, the Cult can move in. >: ) Maridosen's been in town for a while and Jaroo has just been eliminated.

I figure the party will be about 6th level when they hit the Moathouse. The clue I gave them to get them there was a letter on Xaod's body, indicating that Renne was his Paramour. Xaod=Pervert. :) I'm upping the level of the party before hitting the Moathouse, cause I plan to add in the BoVD additions, in the BOB thread. And I want to age the dragon to Juvenile, but make it a Black Dragon: Moving it to CR 7. Moathouse in swamps says Black Dragon to me not Blue.

I plan on using as much of the BOB as I can. Hence, the BOVD Moathouse. The next great item in there is Lareth. Now I put Nulb on the Way to the ToAC from Homlett. So I figure the PC's will travel through. I love the way the dialogue suggestions for Lareth round out his character. One problem though:

If he acts like that, this party will ask him to JOIN THEM. This party successfuly parleyed with the Kobolds and helped them slaughter the Goblins in the Sunless Citadel, and has no qualms helping/using evil NPC's to help them out. And if the party says, "We're going to take out your old buddies that abandoned you, you wanna come along and get some revenge?"

I think he'd take em up on it.

My thought was utilize some of the Triad needs the Destruction of the Temples to be the final push to free Tharizdun in the BOB, to help them find the Champion. If the Champion is the one wiping out the CRM, it be all the better, if the BBEG, Lareth, is an NPC that's been campaigning with the party for a few weeks. Plus he gets to level up. :)

I also think it gives a good reason for the Fanes not to interfere, until Hedrack just teleports away with the Champion and Lareth is ready.

Here's my question, If Lareth is going to be a probable Party member, what changes should I make to him, so I don't have him ruin all the plots? My though was to make him an ex cleric of the EEE (Ghaunadaur in my campaign) and Lloth, but now he thinks he's just powering himself, as a Cleric without a Deity would. But unknowingly he does have a Deity: Tharizdun.


Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/29/04 7:29 pm)
Lareth as NPC
I think using Lareth as an NPC in the party is awesome! The look on your players faces when they find out they helped the Champion get powerful enough to enable the summoning of Tharizdun will be priceless.

Ghoul Worm
(2/29/04 10:34 pm)
Re: Lareth as NPC
I'm also playing in Mr. Kaze's altered campaign once a week, and I continuously marvel at how he and I can be running the same campaign, and yet be so different

I wouldn't - Mr Kaze posted a log of his "major alterations" a while back, and it bears very little resemblance to the RttToEE I'm familiar with :)

I don't think you need to change Lareth very much at all, apart from the required things to make him fit into your Forgotten Realms campaign setting. It's not as if the players are going to be receiving his character sheet and running him.

He should start to get hints of the power and glory awaiting him as Champion in his time with the party - dreams, perhaps a message or two on the wind... a look in his eye that starts growing as they make their way around the CRM... :p

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