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(11/25/03 5:56 am)
Be my nefarious water temple...
Ok, the story so far: The PCs have entered the CRM and stomped the air temple and the fire bridge complex. They've also made peaceful contact with Vranthis and have a fairly good idea about the relative relationships and strengths of the four temples.

While looting the Air Temple ruins a few days after destroying it, they met a kuo-toa scout from the Water Temple. They presented themselves as wandering mercenaries, and suggested that the Water Temple should hire them to help take down the Fire Temple. They had a later metting with a whole flotilla of kuo-toa, who said that the suggestion had merit, and that the characters should visit the Water Temple to negotiate. Being rightly paranoid, the characters suggested that the master of the Water Temple meet them outside the South Gate. They also quoted a quite ludicrous price for their services and demanded that the Water Temple provide them with maps and intelligence on the eastern CRM.

That was a week ago. Since then, the South Gate has been claimed by the Fire Temple and staffed by salamanders. It's likely that the PCs will retake it a few hours ahead of the meeting.

Now...if you were the Water Temple, what would you do?

Options seem to be:
1) Play it straight - the temple turns up in force, sailing across the lake and entering the south gate via the dock. They meet the PCs, give them some minor treasures and a map on the fire temple, and arrange for the characters to co-ordinate their attack with the Water Temple raid. The idea is that the PCs die in the fight with Fire.

2) Demand that the PCs cross the lake to the Water Temple. While on the boats, demand oaths from the characters that they will aid the water temple (possibly backed up by a Lesser Geas or something). If the PCs refuse, drop them into the water and kill them there.

3) Ambush and attack the PCs at the South Gate, hoping to get all their shiny magic. This basically moves most of the combatants from the Water Temple to the South Gate.

4) The kuo-toa who first met the PCs rolled a 20 on his Sense Motive check, so he could suspect the PCs of being the semi-heroic fanatical inquisitors they are. In which case, the kuo-toa could convince the human elements of the Water Temple to go, then somehow force a battle between the PCs and Kelashien's cohorts. Kuo-toa mop up/recruit the survivors.

5) Not turn up at all, or send a messenger to say "look, we don't trust you enough to hire you. Either come on the boats (see 2, but without the chance of the PCs saying "no way" and attacking the south gate delegation) or no deal.

Ideally, the Water Temple would like to have the PCs and the Fire Temple kill each other.

A related question: how much info should I give the PCs on the Fire Temple? A vague map is probably enough, I guess.

(11/25/03 8:16 am)
Re: Be my nefarious water temple...
Hmm. Tough spot; I don't think that the Water forces would travel in force, for fear of leaving the temple itself undefended. Conversely Kelashein certainly wouldn't travel to the Fire Bridge without backup, and probably wouldn't trust a junior to negotiate this deal, either.

Try meeting them halfway; send an emissary with a boat, a couple Kuo-Toa and one human (including Moolowik), with the intelligence the party asked for, and let the party decide; either they attack on their own, or they go back to the temple to negotiate a coordinated attack with the WT. Kaleshein would definitely say no to the payment, though -- the 20 on sense motive (did it beat the party's bluff? If you didn't ask for a roll, calculate it using a take 10) would let them know that the party would attack on their own anyway, and need not be paid. The intel given to the party should be enough to scare the party into negotiating a coordinated attack; depending on how tough your party is, bluff the intel to make the fire temple seem too strong for the party to take on alone.

If the party says no, leave Moolowik there to spy on them (he'll hide in the water when the boats leave back for the water temple). When he figures out when the party plans to attack the fire temple on their own, he lets Kelashein know, and she sends her force to mop up the losers after the fight.

Really, either way this works out, Kelashein wins -- if the party says yes, she gets a good mercenary band to cover Nilbool's entrance into the temple to use the Scroll of Destruction, and if the party says no, then she's probably manipulated them into attacking fire on their own, and however that fight works out, one enemy is destroyed and another is weakened by the fight.

(11/25/03 8:31 am)
Re: Be my nefarious water temple...
I agree with msherman. Options 1 and 3 are out. Option has possibilities, but a simple augury or divination will show that to be a poor decision. Option 2 might be acceptable, if you want Kelashein (and the WT) to be egocentric. "How are you demand things of US?" Of your options, I like #5 the best. It is the safest. I'd also suggest option 6, if you can think of way, set up someone to spy on the party from the east side of the south gate, but have the party notice the spy. Then, flee towards the fire temple and get away. Make it seem like it was a fire temple guard or something (drop a holy symbol, or wreath the person in faerie fire, something like that). I'm sure there's a better method, but the idea is to frame the fire temple for spying on the PC's, and making the gung ho intruders want to attack the Fire Temple right away.

"A related question: how much info should I give the PCs on the Fire Temple? A vague map is probably enough, I guess."

I'd think the WT would never step foot near or in the FT, so the map would be vague. Any information would be dearly paid for. However, you could say that perhaps Kadiss used to work for the FT, or like IMC Kadiss 'dated' Virith (or even Arlainth if you wish) and therefore has some inside information. It also provides for further RP potential. They meet Virith and her first words, "Did that bastard Kadiss send you?" This would open up some dialogue.

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