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(11/6/03 11:08 am)
Sunless citadel as a prelude
The faq suggests that if you want to start off your party at 1st level, the sunless citadel is a good starting adventure.
I was woundering is anyone had some experience in running this adventure prior to RttToEE, and whether there are any issues i should take into consideration, especially preluding RttToEE.

btw: i did a search for sunless citadel but didn't turn up anything.

(11/6/03 12:23 pm)
Re: Sunless citadel as a prelude
Sunless Citadel is a rather common adventure. I've seen it on the shelves of every gaming store I've ever walked into. Never bought it, though. I usually don't do pre-published adventures. I intend to make an exception for RttToEE as soon as I find a copy, though. :D

"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names."--John F. Kennedy

(11/6/03 1:02 pm)
Re: Sunless citadel as a prelude
I used Sunless Citadel as an intro adventure & it worked fairly well.

I placed Oakhurts in the heart of the Gnarley Woods jst when the Kron Hills meet the heart of the forest.

I had an NPC cleric exploring the ruins looking for a book (decided it was one of the "flavour text" book located in the lowest level of the dungeon. The book was entitled "Tome of the Fire lords".

The NPC cleric in question was working for the "good guys", who had (through signs, omens & portents) discovered that "something very very bad" would happen if the forces of darkness found this book.

Can you see where this is going?

So - the adventurers were just going along with this NPC cleric - hired as muscle along with an NPC Wizard(ess)- to explore the ruins, looking for this tome.

Midway through the adventure - when Ideemed the time was right & the party approaching the appropriate level (3rd) - the NPC Wizard(ess) died - and the party returned to the little town of Oakhurst - only to discover that the town had been hit by gnoll raiders accompanied by ochre robes spellcasters.
These raiders had killed several folks, and taken a bunch of children.

The patry buried their dead NPC sorceress & decided to hunt down the gnolls & Spellcasters & rescue the children. The NPC cleric declined to accompany them & returned the the sunless citadel & faded out of the advenuture.

The Gnolls & Spellcasters were, of course cultists - the children were to be used as sacrifices/food etc.
The bulk of the group of raiders were merc gnolls hired by the TOAC, while the spellcasters were Dunrat & company returning to Hommlet. The gnolls & the spellcasters split up south of hommlet.

The heroes tracked them that far & followed the spellcasters trail them to hommlet, while the splitting of the villains hinted that the gnolls were travelling further west (towards the TOAC).

Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil started onec they hit Hommlet.
Oh - once there they discovered (hidden in the dead Wizard(ess) spellbook) a note from the cult that she was to deliver the tome of the fire lords to Dunrat in Hommlet - I had planted the Wizard(ess) as a spy for the cult

I find that I often have to make things personal before my players will get involved in the adventure.

Now - the NPC cleric is still part of the story (although only one player knows it)
He continued on into the Sunless Citadel & confornted the evil druid (who in my campaign had once been a follower of the Zuggtomoy Cult in the original Toee).
They fought & the druid escaped with the Tome of the Fire Lords.
The CNPC cleric pursued the druid & the tome, only to find the druid daed several weeks later - burned alive from the inside - the tom missing.

The Tome itself has been found by the Cult & will turn out to contain th rituals they need to summon ... well just incase there are any players lurking here I won't elaborate - if you're running the adventure you can figure out what the tome will be used for (in any case it's really just window dressing & a plot device for me).

I do have to wonder if Bruce Cordell put that tome in Sunless Citadel knowing that Monte was writing Return to, knowing some enterprising DM could make a link between the two adventures.
If so - thanks Bruce!

Here is a link to my adventure logs, maps etc, in case any of it helps you use Sunless C. with Rtttoee.
Main Page:

Adventures log: Start with the month of Planting & work your way through

Maps of Sunless Citadel in Gnarley Woods:

Hope some of this is helpful and or amusing!
Rory Weston
(who is about to DM the assault on the Earth Temple this weekend!)

(11/6/03 2:20 pm)
Re: Sunless citadel as a prelude
Talking about preparing (or finally getting my A into G) what is the best source for Greyhawk info? Greyhawk Gazetter? Internet? I just found out to my suprise that the town my PC's have been going to to stock up between CRM forays is the Eleven capital! With the Palace of the Fairie Queen :o

(11/6/03 3:07 pm)
Re: Sunless citadel as a prelude
I'm going to transplant it to Faerun if at all possible. I have very little info on Greyhawk. I might get the Gazetteer if its unsuitable for FR, though. The local Sam Goody is going out of business and they're liquidating everything. Stuff is likely to hit 70-85% off towards the end! :D I'll pick up as many gaming books as I can carry.

"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names."--John F. Kennedy

(11/6/03 3:16 pm)
Re: Sunless citadel as a prelude
We went through the first Freeport module, then the Sunless Citadel, before transitioning to RttToEE.

You can check our site for a bit of info and particularly the hook into between the citadel and Return (its in the handouts section, a note found on Belak. The mysterious V is Varachan).

As for placement, I placed Freeport as a harbor town near Calimport, Oakhurst to the northeast, and Hommlet just north of the marching mountains towards the forest of Mir. The Stalagos would become one of the marching mountains in this particular setting.

Lunus Quelnegarde
(11/6/03 4:45 pm)
Re: Sunless citadel as a prelude
Sunless Citadel into the Return is *exactly* what I did.

I didn't even need to combine the two very much... since so long as the PCs are *in* Oakhurst there is many ways to get drawn into the adventure...

And later, so long as the PCs are *in* Hommlet, it's the same thing.

You could link them if you want, there's a lot of room to.

Oakhurst is a days SE walk from Verbobonc for me. I thought it was appropriate that the adventurers stay around the same locale the entire time (Verbobonc, Gnarley Woods)

I recommend Greyhawk for anyone running the Return to the The Temple of Elemental Evil since it is a *huge* part of Oerth history.

The Sunless Citadel mentions Ashardalon the dragon briefly, who is one of Oerth's big bad dragons. Mention of Ashardalon appears again in the Bastion of Broken Souls (which I am running after the Temple)

I believe it makes for a very nice arc.

The Greyhawk Gazetteer is a very nice start on Greyhawk. It leaves a lot of the minor details unsaid (because *that* is up to the DM) but gives enough ideas to be able to forge those details. I recommend running some internet searches on "Tharizdun" "Mordenkainen" "Elemental Evil" or "Greyhawk History" to learn much of the more intricate parts of Greyhawk history. I've found it to be a fun read. I come across a lot of campaign logs like this one, some of which are very well done. I've mentioned and included quite a few of the more important pieces of Greyhawk lore in my campaign. The Elemental Binders... and even a third of the Theorpart for when everything goes Epic.

Um, in summary, I really like Greyhawk. I'd recommend anyone running RttToEE to at least do a few websearches on the Original Temple and some Tharizdun/Greyhawk stuff.

Oerth is very interesting, if often under-promoted.

And you'll find out how much butt Tharizdun really kicks. :evil

Edit: Gah! I've needed to edit almost all my posts, being so absent minded. The link I provided doesn't lead to the main page of that site. The main page is here. And the story is a BOOK. It's huge. It's a 1st to near 20th level AD&D Greyhawk campaign log. They must have played for years. Also I failed to mention that there is objectionable language used by the players, so be forewarned. I have only read about 4 chapters in, and 7 chapters halfway through (where I originally found the page.) I must say a few of the characters are especially interesting. Belphanior later on, for example. Or Ged. I recommend this to anyone who doesn't mind sitting at the computer reading for a few hours here or there (hey, what do we do on these forums?) It doesn't actually give much insight to Oerth... but it's darn fun.

Edited by: Lunus Quelnegarde at: 11/6/03 5:38 pm
(11/6/03 6:31 pm)
DDM speak!
Okay.. I really love this because I never ran out of my ideas!!

Berlak the Outcast should be a former disciple of Tarren the Druid. Berlak complete his training and attempt to create minions sufficent to strike against a temple to establish their own plant domain!

It is open to interpretation.

Hobgoblins should be a splinter group of Hobgoblins. They are now working with Berlak the Outcast, hoping to free their kins from EEE and Cult of Big T.

That kidnapped gnome should drop a hint about Firre, stating that he was his brother. It will create more awareness.

Guthlias Tree is open to interpretation. Either you leave it the way it is or change it to Thrommel Tree. If you do, be sure when you destroy the tree, make sure that the mist occurs and Thrommel came out and said "You Fools! Why do you release my torments?! Do not think you will have it so easy right now!!" and flee.

IF you choose to leave it Guthlias, be sure to play it up to him. Make him a MYSTERY character. He didn't need to be part of Return of the Temple of Elemental Evil, but he can make players WONDER! This is important to dot hat.

PErhaps Guthlias was a long times cult member and know the FIRST very well. He may want to cause revenge on the FIRST for betraying him. After all, the FIRST was VERY old.. perhaps old enough to be your great-great-great-great-great grandfather.

You can play it up that Guthlia is looking for a former associate of his (before he turns evil) and attempt to release Thrommel. With Guthias on Thrommel side (Guthias is a 12th level wizard), it will be a DEADLY combination, forcing Hedrack to take steps to eliminate Guthlias.

BTW why is Hedrack SO much popular than the FIRST?

(11/7/03 2:44 am)
The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer is a bit better start than the Greyhawk Gazetteer - it's got more details and a better flavour. I think the Living Greyhawk forum is developing the story arcs themselves, but unless your players participate in that, it shouldn't be a problem. You may just need to harmonise the fate of Thrommel, though, since the LGG has a strong speculatation that he was captured by the Scarlet Brotherhood rather than disappearing after the Battle of Emridy Meadows.

Grodog, who cruises by this site from time to time, has an excellent collection of Greyhawk links - find his site here. I especially recommend Oerth Journal #1 and the Ivid the Undying material - in the former, there's hints about Tharizdun was responsible for the creation of the very first lich on Oerth, plus all that great stuff about the binders to use from Siobharek's campaign.

(11/7/03 9:24 am)
Sunless Citadel as prologue
SC makes an excellent starter adventure, so long as you realize that your PCs won't be ready for RttToEE if you run SC as written. SC will promote 4 PCs from 1st -> 3rd, so you need to side trek them or run another short adventure to get them to 4th or 5th prior to RttToEE.

My group is only halfway through the CRM, but as their about to destroy their second temple I've started examining Hedrack's responses. I think the reason DMs have an affinity for H as a BBEG is that he's the one that is actively involved in the defense of the Temple, so he's the one we strategize with.

(11/7/03 11:40 am)
Is my idea corny?!

(11/7/03 11:42 am)
Re: Greyhawk
One site certainly deserves direct linkage here: Canonfire. This is the definitive place for the whole archive of Oerth Journals.

I did some culling from internet material for my campaign as well. You can find descriptions of various states, cities, and towns from the detailed Viscounty of Verbobonc map (which I think came from the OE articles as well) that floats around on my campaign site. Some have been updated a little for the current time period and for linkage to RTEE.

Group Editing & Authoring Support
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(11/7/03 12:10 pm)
Re: ?!?
"Is my idea corny?!"

Not at all. I like the idea of making Belak a disciple of Tarren. I might do that myself, and half the CRM is wiped out already. The party met Tarren so long ago, they might not remember him well. They were pretty beat up though and couldn't chase him down, so he got away. I'm thinking maybe I'll have Tarren 'give him a ring' and have Belak join him. The mines will suddenly be crawling with twig blights.

Lunus Quelnegarde
(11/7/03 3:31 pm)
Tharizdun did make the first Lich: Vecna... who worshiped Tharizdun in life. He also corrupted the first vampire, Kaz.

Big T is supposedly behind Tiamat and the Twin Catacylsms too. That's what I meant when I said you'd find out how cool he is.

No one knows it (in character), and T looks like some long forgotten God... but in truth he's more destructive than the rest. And far more powerful than the other Gods.

BTW why is Hedrack SO much popular than the FIRST?

The first is dull. He seems like Hedrack, Part II. Besides, Hedrack is popular from his original Temple of Elemental Evil days. The First just kinda popped up out of nowhere.

Even if you've only every played and known the Return... Hedrack has all those assassination attempts, and really becomes a better nemesis than the First... who is too secretive and confident.

IMC, Hedrack turned out to be the BBEG... just the way it all built up. Too bad he died in the Outer Fane. I guess Imix had quite a build too. So together they are the ones the players always talk about. The First was just some shadowy figure until they fought him. Then he was dead... and that was that.

The Doomdreamers don't have enough personality to be true main bad guys here. Well... at least I played them with little personality. I think communing with T sucked that out of them. Now they are just acutely insane. Each in a different way, sure...

But Imix, who revels in the thought of destroying the world, and sits around like an oversized king - rushing to battle at the drop of a hat - fighting for his dark father - not even wanting to bother with his spell like abilities. Evil and on fire, just the way I like my bad guys!

(11/7/03 4:18 pm)
Sunless Citadel -> RttToEE (in FR)
My first attempt at RttToEE started with the Sunless Citadel. I had to include some filler between Oakhurst and Hommlet to get the PCs to 4th level, but it was no problem. I plan to do more-or-less that same thing with the new party that's getting ready to make the Return.

As far as the module, I ran it more-or-less as published, though I used an ancient cult of Orcus rather than of Ashardalon the Red Dragon. But unless you plan to run the Heart of Nightfang Spire later on, that's just flavor material.

(Nightfang Spire makes a good side-trek for 10th level PCs, especially if you started with Sunless, as it continues Gulthias's storyline)

IRT the First and Hedrack... I agree. The Doomdreamers were generally so bland as written that the only one I used much was Naquent. The party was convinced that she was the BBEG, until their demise on the Fire Bridge.

I hope to make the DDs more interesting in my upcoming attempt (Attempt #003) by expanding on their various insanities. Fortunately, I've got an all-new group of players, so they won't have any pre-conceived notions of who is and isn't important.

(11/8/03 5:35 am)
The Doomdreamers
<Sorry for participating in a thread hijack here -- should we fork this off into another thread?>

Yeah, the doomdreamers all seem very plain... I think not having names is actually a big part of it. I plan to use the Third in a side-trek outside the fanes around the time that the party is finishing off the Outer Fane, so I'm hoping I can give her some more personality there. Perhaps that'll rub off on the First, as well. She'll be travelling to a tower a fair distance from Stalagos, where she'll meet the party and battle a common foe, though they'll probably end up fighting each other over that foe's treasure after it's dead. I plan to have her travel with attendants bearing a torture rack with prisoners.

(11/8/03 11:06 am)
I do not see how the Second to be the most cruel unless it turn people into skums. Even that, we don't know how cruel it can be.

Out of all Triad, second is the remotely interesting. There is a picture of its being drawn. Not the First or the Second.

I just brought this up about First and Hedrack because First is alot stronger than Hedrack

(11/9/03 2:25 am)
Re: Gulthias and Thrommel
Oh, and deafDM, the idea about conencting Gulthias with Thrommel, while intriguing, is probably a bit too difficult to pull off. Thrommel's only been a vampire for a couple of decades at most, whereas the atmosphere from the Sunless Citadel is that the Gulthias Tree has been there for a Long Time...

(11/9/03 8:42 am)
You are correct.. Gulthias had been around for a long, long times. He was once a famous leader of his dragon cult. Now it is up to you to make a difference. The change that you can make can be

1) Dragon cult to Doom cult

2) Gulthias should be open to interpretation. Just said that Gulthias had clash with Thrommel's GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT (and so on) grandfather who happens to be the slayer of one of Big T's avatar. Nothing will be more blamsphey to have such a prince under his control.

3) Guthias is an undead. He have plenty of times to spare and plot to make his next move. He probably won't appreciate the First is calling the shot instead of Guthlias. He can try to appeal (probably to no success) Hedrack to defect!

4) More importantly, an encounter with a vampire wizard and a vampire blackguard is an event that will never be forgotten.

(11/10/03 12:24 am)
sunless citadel
I played Sunless citadel last weekend. Party consisted of a paladin of Heironeous, a Ranger and a half-elf cleric of Corelon Latherion (sp?). The party cleared out the entire site in one long go. (we played for a total of 13 hours, it really tired me out). I'll give you a short recap:
The party had a lot of fun with Meepo, the kobolt keeper of the dragon.
I realised much later that I could have tied in the kobolts into RttToEE. They could have fled the area due to increased activity from other (bigger) monsters. Unfortunately, I didn't. oh well.
They went directly for the goblins, ignoring the kobolts completely. They torched the goblin common room, throwing in lampoil and lit torches. The straw used as beds set the wooden roof of the citadel on fire. Added bonus: kobolts fled the citadel too. The also cleared out the entire grove level of the citadel. Berlak made a last stand near the Gulthias tree. Of course the paladin never let the druid finish (let alone start), so much of the tie-in I was hoping for never happened. Oh well, in the end, it's their loss. The PC's burned down the Gulthias tree and left, exploring the dragonpriest's tomb on their way out. The PC's set fire to the tomb, barbecuing the troll within.

They really have a thing for fire. I'll have to remember that *evil grin*

Anyway, thanks for your help guys. I really helped.

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