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errant42
Memunite
(11/27/03 11:57 am)
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Reworking the ToAC: Banewarrens?
Being my second time through the adventure, I've tried to come up with a new spin and angle for the various portions. I've just completed my preparations for the first part (and the PCs have already arrived in Hommlet and set things rolling), and now I'm faced with what to do in the CRMs/ToAC...

I anticipate this group to at least attempt a diplomatic approach; since my last group fought their way through and eventually perished on the Fire Bridge, I'd like to encourage the diplomatic approach if only as a change of pace. There will certainly be some combat involved, but I find the need for one or more side-treks, both as sources of XP and as outlets for various subplots I've been working in.

I've heard people mention using the Banewarrens in the context of RttToEE. However, I am completely unfamiliar with the Banewarrens. I looked at the Banewarren boards, but found that I didn't have the context to follow the discussions... could anyone provide me with a brief summary of the adventure and how they integrated it into RttToEE?

TrinityDM
Memunite
(11/28/03 5:37 am)
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Re: Reworking the ToAC: Banewarrens?
I have integrated the BW and RTTTOEE, replacing the CRM with the BW. I know others here are as well. A good summary of the basic plot of the Banewarrens can be found here at ENWorld. I'll give you details on how I'm integrating it.

** BANEWARRENS SPOILERS **

I introduced RTTTOEE with an event where the cultists stole an artifact found by the players in an earlier adventure. The PCs' employers sent them to Hommlet to investigate this cult, and regain the stolen artifact by any means necessary. The party's explorations led them up through the encounters at the Ruined Temple and Nulb. At this point, Chatrilon and Undra escaped, fleeing towards Verbobonc. I presented it as a choice for the players to either follow their leads to the TOAC or to pursue Chat and Undra to Verbobonc; they chose the latter (and thus the Banewarrens).

The gist of my take on the integration is this: the Elemental Princes are each imprisoned within ancient artifacts known as the Binders (search elsewhere on this forum for details on these artifacts). The Binders not only imprison the Elemental Princes; they are also instrumental in the process of freeing Big-T (essentially they replace the Elemental Power Gems IMC). The cult already has the Fire Binder (which imprisons Imix); they have learned that another Binder was sealed in the Banewarrens. I have substituted this Binder (I haven't decided which yet) for the Antithesis Stone, the artifact discovered at the end of the Banewarrens.

To assist in obtaining this Binder, the cultists have temporarily joined forces with the Pactlords. The cultists haven't revealed to the Pactlords what they are truly looking for, instead ostensibly helping the Pactlords obtain an artifact they are seeking. Of course, both sides fully plan on betraying the other when their goals are complete, but neither side has reached this point.

By the conclusion of the Banewarrens, I'm hoping that the PCs will have found and taken the Binder from the Banewarrens; their employer will have ascertained that the original artifact that spawned the campaign is located in the TOAC, sending them back that way. As for the actual transition point from BW back to RTTTOEE, I'm still figuring this part out (see this thread for an ongoing discussion about whether or not to still use the CRM).

Hope this helps.

errant42
Memunite
(11/28/03 9:57 am)
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Re: Reworking the ToAC: Banewarrens?
Very cool, thank you. I'm already planning on using the Binders (and various side-quests related to them) per Siobharek's recommendation, so this fits very well. The way I'm looking at doing it is to send the PCs to the CRMs first, have them become embroiled in the various intrigues, and then learn about of the cult's need to find the Binders. At this point, they can quest for them in order to prevent the cult from finding them, or work for a specific faction of the cult in trying to find them.

So I take it from the fact that you placed the Banewarrens in Verbobonc that it's an urban adventure? Does it have to be in a city, or can it be more remote?

Hmm... oh... wait a second... the Banewarrens is available as a .PDF download? For $10?!?! What am I waiting for?!?

Let me get it and read through it and I'll be back.

errant42
Memunite
(11/30/03 9:32 am)
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Re: Reworking the ToAC: Banewarrens?
Having downloaded the Banewarrens (.PDF books are awesome) and really enjoyed reading over it, I'm planning on doing the same: giving them the option to go for the Banewarrens.

As for getting them there, I'm still trying to decide how. Information found either among Dunrat's belongings or in the early stages of the CRMs will point them there, on the trail of an NPC who they owe a serious a$$-kickin (she tricked them into helping recover an evil artifact and then tried to burn/bury them alive at the end of the Sunless Citadel).

But therein lies the problem: if they go straight from Hommlet, they will be only 4th or 5th level (they're starting the Moathouse at high 3rd, but there are 6 of them). And if I do this, I'll run into the same problem you're having: how to bring them back to the CRMs?

However, if I introduce the info after they're already in the CRMs, they might decide not to go after the NPC and stick to the CRMs, either foregoing the Banewarrnes altogether or saving it for higher level (in which case I'd have to buff it up to provide a challenge).

The other option is to send agents of the Doomdreamers into the Banewarrens, probably to recover an Elemental Gem/Binder. If the PCs do things diplomatically (which I'm going to encourage with the CRM NPCs' behavoir), they might even be the ones hired to do so. But by which faction?

Thoughts?

Thrommel
Runechild (mod)
Council of Magisters

(12/1/03 4:02 pm)
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Re: Reworking the ToAC: Banewarrens?
I don't think it's a choice of sending them either to the Banewarrens or directly to the ToAC, it's a choice of Banewarrens or the CRM. Sending them to the ToAC directly is just sadistic.

If you want diplomacy to dominate in your game, then the NPC's have to make the first move, IMO. A party will generally try to beat the tar out of everything they see in the CRM. There are no real clues that they may be facing a force larger than they can handle. (Rastor would be a good place to sow some of these types of clues.)

If you want the party to get hired to recover something from the BW, I think the Water Temple is an excellent candidate for this. You could also have the party hired as a result of the coup in the Air Temple. (Nice thing is this could happen very early in breaching the CRM, assuming they go to the proper gate.)

I think you could have a lot of diplomacy no matter which option the party takes, but if they stick to the CRM, you're going to have to put a lot more effort into making it happen. There's a lot of legwork involved there in keeping the place from being a long string of strategic battles.

-Thrommel, who is not talking about kicking butt when he says 'legwork'.

errant42
Memunite
(12/2/03 12:12 am)
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Re: Reworking the ToAC: Banewarrens?
I'm hoping they will head to the Banewarrens at level 5-6: just finished with Hommlet and Environs, and maybe a little into the CRMs. That's the trouble: I'm trying to figure out to make sure they go to the Banewarrens. One of the players started to run RttToEE, so he knows a lot of the basics. He's been a good sport not giving anything away, so I'd like to throw in something that will be new to him as well.

I definitely agree that the burden is on me to start the diplomatic ball rolling. Most of the factions will call for parlay as soon as it is apparent that they aren't dealing with forces from another temple, and would be delighted to send adventurers after their rivals. It's fairly common knowledge that the DDs are looking for the Elemental Binders (one of which is in the Banewarrens), so anyone who finds one (or whose agents find one) will gain prestige.

Another option I've considered is the possibility of the PCs getting captured. If anyone escapes Hommlet to tell the DD about a band of adventurers stirring up trouble and heading this way, they will set up an ambush in Rastor. It's not overwhelming (basically just Mereclar and his group with envenomed blades and arrows), but there is a chance they will be captured. If so, they could be forced (via Slave Rings, BoVD) to pursue whatever agenda is needed. Would that be too heavy-handed?

Basically, I want to get the PCs into the Banewarrens without them feeling railroaded. The fact that I -am- railroading them is irrelevant...

Siobharek 
Cherub
(12/2/03 1:30 am)
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ezSupporter

Re: Reworking the ToAC: Banewarrens?
Lose the CRM, plain and simple. Change all clues to lead to Verbobonc and as per Thrommel's suggestion (I think) have the Spire be below ground. Thrommel's suggestion that the spire is in fact below the Great Cathedral of Verbobonc is IMHO inspired. That way, you could let Tharizdun's real power be based on an ability to leech off divine energy.

Verbobonc should be big enough to double as Ptolus in the Banewarrens adventure, and the evil organization in BW whose name eludes me at the moment should be replaced by DD-sponsored forces.

I think it might be a bit of work, but in return you'd get much more readily served roleplaying literally on the dungeon's doorstep.

Oh, and BTW, Mak's Binders writeup can be found in the Best of the Boards thread.

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

Thrommel
Runechild (mod)
Council of Magisters

(12/2/03 7:13 am)
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Re: Reworking the ToAC: Banewarrens?
Actually I think that was TrinityDM's idea to make the Inner Fane below Verbobonc.

I agree, however. If you want to replace the CRM with the BW, just do it. The clues that point to Rastor can just as easily point to Verbobonc. Why work yourself up over a choice that isn't really a choice anyhow?

You could have the DD's sponsor any of the factions. The only one I'd consider particularly difficult to integrate with the doomdreamers is the Church of Lothian. But anyone else? No problem.

Although, I'm gearing up to run an AU version of the Banewarrens, so I don't have to worry about little details like detect evil.

-Thrommel, who worries more about heightened air-templated eldritch webs.

~Council of Magisters~
~ Arcana Unearthed ~

Infiniti2000
Cherub
(12/2/03 7:15 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Reworking the ToAC: Banewarrens?
You could also make the Outer/Inner Fane be the top of the spire.

madfox
Cherub
(12/2/03 7:44 am)
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Re: Reworking the ToAC: Banewarrens?
While running RttToEE in Homlett I decided to use the Banewarrens as a replacement for the CRM. Two of the PCs had eaten from the black fruit, which had no game mechanical effects. Later when they had to surrender to the Great General U. though it became helpful to set the mood. The hobgoblins had captured the cultist wandering around the ruins and they had questioned her a bit roughly. So her already brittle sanity had shattered completely. U could not get her to make sense, but he did realize somebody or something was planning to destroy the world and that is never a good thing. So when the PCs came in his power, he tried to let them make sense out of the prisoners ramblings. Since two of the PCs had eaten from the black fruit, I let the insane cultist recognize these twos as brethren in the service of Tharizdum (added some great RP moments, since all the others knew for certain was that these two PCs had entered the black pillar). So she told them about the great artifact in Verbobonc that soon would be able to be found (in a rather cryptic fashion). The PCs had the note referring to Rastor and they even knew where it was located, but they still decided to check this lead out and from one thing came the other.

By now they have virtually finished the Banewarrens. During the adventure I added the cultists as an added party, using the WotC webs enhancement as the cultists HQ located in the ancient fundaments under the city near the river. A short time ago the PCs witnessed the cultists stealing something from the Banewarrens by using some powerful magic. At the time they did not realize what they had seen - but soon a remorstful assassin (the first assassin in the adventure) warned the PCs about the intentions of these crazed cultists. He was in it for the money and if he had known the real goals of the organization he would have never joined. Once again, clues pointed at Rastor. The PCs have not yet decided what to do. On the one hand, they have enough of helping the humans and they want to spend time freeing some clansmen from the Drow, which also places them outside the grasp of both the Pactlords and the Vladaams/Cult of Tiamat (and yes they have made both groups incredibly angry). They are counting on the silly humans to forget their anger in a year or 50. On the other hand, they have little trust in the capabilities of the humans to do anything right. Especially with most of the authorities being troubled by a civil war and an invading gnoll hoard (the work of the cult) lead by demons (in fact - the PCs liberated a succubus in an earlier adventure, this will be a nice surprise later on). Personally I have no preference. Even if they chose for the drow, I can always make a more challenging end to the RttToEE at higher levels at the nodes.

errant42
Memunite
(12/2/03 7:19 pm)
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Re: Reworking the ToAC: Banewarrens?
Quote:
Why work yourself up over a choice that isn't really a choice anyhow?


Ah, but is not the illusion of free choice tantamount to free choice itself?

Seriously, though, I'm reluctant to lose the CRMs altogether. I plan to draw the campaign out so that the final confrontation takes place at as high a level as I can manage, ideally 20 (i.e. the end of the campaign). After the Banewarrens, I anticipate the PCs going back to the CRMs for a little more housecleaning and info gathering, at which point they will have opportunities for other side-quests (mostly binder-related, but there are a few other plot thread that they might want to tie up).

I'm hoping that the binder quests, combined with the adventure itself, will get them high enough so that they reach the Recovered Temple at around 17-18. A final storming of the ToAC is certainly in order before that, so that they can gain information on the cult's ultimate goals and witness first hand how insane and evil they are. The DDs, who have moved most of their operations to the RT by this point, will retreat into the Tourbillion and seal it from the other side. But that's a ways down the road...

As for the Banewarrens themselves, I'm working with them in Athkatla (capital of Amn-- I'm running FR). It has the benefit of having several factions that fit those in the adventure perfectly (Cowled Wizards = Inverted Pyramid, Church of the Triad (Tyr, Torm, Ilmater) = Church of Lothian, Order of the Radiant Heart = Order of Dawn, House Vladeem = same, perhaps with contacts among the Shadow Thieves).
The Bad Guy faction (Pactlords) is replaced by agents of the Doom-Dreamers.

Basically, I'd like it to work out like madfox's did: they decide to go after the Banewarrens, then get back on track with RttToEE later. My PCs are pretty mad at the villainess who is headed for the Banewarrens, so there's a good chance that they will go after her. Also, an NPC cleric of Kelemvor who has been travelling with the party (who everyone really likes for some reason, even though he's a gloomy SOB) is tracking that villainess, so he will head there regardless. They might go just to help him so that he'll stay with the party.

Thrommel: how is AU, anyway?

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