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Kyle the DM
Ebon Hand Cultist
(1/18/04 10:32 am)
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if tharizdun escapes?
ok,

i've been using the air node and the earth node to add to the pressure of my campaign. the party however decided to go on a side quest after discovering the nodes were open but not occupied by temple forces. i've set a sort of timer for how long it takes before they attempt to summon tharizdun. the party is down to about one week and if they go quickly to the temple they can make it the day before the ritual. they way the party is going i don't think they will make it and big t has a 75% chance of escaping. so... what happens if he is released? i have his stats from dragon magazine and i honestly don't see how he poses such a threat to have been attacked by all the god's at once. so what will he do?

also is there a water node that i can download somewhere to give my party more time while the doomdreamers summon olhydra?

thanks,
kyle

smetzger
Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/18/04 3:29 pm)
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Re: if tharizdun escapes?
Start a new campaign in Midnight.

Caedrel
Crimson Coil Cultist
(1/18/04 6:04 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: if tharizdun escapes?
I'd strongly recommend ignoring the stats from Dragon magazine; I agree with you, there's no reason there for the rest of the gods (good & bad) to get together to imprison that guy - he's just another evil deity.

Instead, try the Best of the Boards entry using the pseduonatural paragon umbral blot - it's CR 70 or so and truly scary.

Of course, that's only relevant if you want to play it out somehow. If you come up with vivid descriptions of the multiverse being ripped apart and the deaths of lots of deities, that would work just as well. It seemed to me to be a good opportunity to introduce stuff from Monte's "Requiem for a God" (or lots of gods, in this case...)

grodog
Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/19/04 12:23 am)
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Re: if tharizdun escapes?
Scott Metzger's idea is good---use Midnight or another "dark" setting like Kult, WFRP, etc. to emulate Tharizdun's impact/influence on Greyhawk.

If you search in some used bookstores, you should be able to find copies of Gygax's Gord novels, in which Tharizdun features prominently. They can give you additional inspiration.

For a listing with some commentary, see www.dragonsfoot.org/forum...f8c09e1f75

grodog
----
Allan Grohe
grodog@pacbell.net
www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/
www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/greyhawk.html

Kyle the DM
Ebon Hand Cultist
(1/19/04 9:38 am)
Reply
thanks
thanks everyone.

where can i find stuff about Midnight?
what about the water node?

thanks,
Kyle

Thrommel
Runechild (mod)
Council of Magisters

(1/19/04 9:46 am)
Reply
Re: thanks
Midnight by Fantasy Flight Games

Temple of Elemental Evil ESD ($5 at SVGames)

Don't forget, there's no reason the Doomdreamers can't run into complications themselves while excavating the Nodes. You don't have to keep them on such a strict timeline. Nothing ruins your day like having half your slaves and two of your best doomdreamers eaten by a purple worm.

-Thrommel, proud producer of Underdark Tequila: Eat the worm before it eats you!

SWBaxter
Ebon Hand Cultist
(1/19/04 12:10 pm)
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Re: if tharizdun escapes?
In my campaign - soon to come to an epic conclusion - the world ends if Tharizdun gets out, goodbye to everything. The players have known this for a while, their characters figured it out during the end of the CRM/beginning of the Outer Fane. I find that adds a certain focus to the adventure, makes it more than just a series of dungeon crawls. So if the big T does get out, we'll probably try a different game for a while, and start a new campaign when we get back to D&D.

As for timelines, I tend to use event-based timelines rather than a strict chronology. I find it much easier to ensure that the adventure climax occurs when the PCs are ready for it, so more drama all around.

"Yes, no, maybe, I don't know... can you repeat the question?"
-- They Might Be Giants

Edited by: SWBaxter at: 1/19/04 12:11 pm
Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(1/19/04 12:17 pm)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: if tharizdun escapes?
I agree with SWBaxter wholeheartedly on the timeline issue. The last thing you want is for Tharizdun to be released just because the party wizard wants to learn one more spell. That's no fun for anyone.

Mr Kaze
Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/19/04 3:35 pm)
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Re: if tharizdun escapes?
If Tharizdun escapes, the PCs have lost according to the original scope of the adventure. World's over, game's over, good night.

Contrary to SWBaxter & Infiniti2000, I am very much in favor of clocking the PCs against the NPCs -- the evil villians to not wait for the heroes; they're just evil like that. That said, however, there should've been plenty of warning that the PCs were going to lose their long-fought campaign by default before they fail to show up on-time for the final fight -- and I'm not sure I'm hearing it.

Your initial post, indicating that the party has about 1 day of spare time before they're S.O.L., makes me wonder if you've genuinely given them ample warning and direction regarding their impending doom -- what decision making process did they use to go on a side quest? Did they use Divination to ask Tharizdun if the side quest was a good idea or something? (Maybe they asked Jaroo... I've seen it happen -- took almost a month of game-time, too. That was the party that wanted to take 3+ weeks to travel and upgrade an axe after finishing off the CRM. I've been clocking ever since.)

Overall, review your world-building the PCs at about the time you started the clock -- if you're not utterly frustrated with your PCs' inability to realize that the world needs saving on the very reasonable timeline you've secretly forumlated, that's one thing -- though I'd suggest you get a second opinion as it's no doubt been a long campaign. If, however, they may not have reasonably realized the significance of what they were doing or the exigence of the situation or the proximity of the cult to their evil goal, then give them 3 more days (which you will spend impressing this fact upon them).

But if, after you spend the grace-period of a couple of days causing random undead elementals to appear in their path and altering the flow of elemental magics (see FRCS for possible disruption effects), they ask you to write a second side quest for them so that the druid's animal companion's cohort can level up, then you're right -- world ends, period. Players metagaming their characters against the story based on their so-called "need to kill just 15 more infant goblins to be experienced enough to take on Imix" is ridiculous. If you've seen The Gamers, just think about it in terms of PCs intentionally killing other party members just to get the piety points for burying them.

And you can tell them I said so such that they can't blame you -- though they likely will anyway.

::Kaze (notes that the down-side of establishing clocking is that it can work against your PCs' abilities when they're doing fabulously for time, but you can't directly tell them that to alleviate their general paranoia... So there's a balance to be achieved there.)

SWBaxter
Ebon Hand Cultist
(1/19/04 4:52 pm)
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Re: if tharizdun escapes?
[quote]Contrary to SWBaxter & Infiniti2000, I am very much in favor of clocking the PCs against the NPCs[/quote]

I'm not against clocking the process, I just believe in a clock that guarantees some narrative drama. As a story technique, a countdown is only really worth the trouble if the timeline the good guys are on and the timeline the bad guys are on crosses at dramatic points. Attaching the countdown to events rather than dates makes that a lot easier to bring about in a long campaign.

There's just no drama in telling the PCs: "OK, you're about to ascend to the top level of the Inner Fane... but wait, Tharizdun was just released! Sorry guys, game over. Guess you shouldn't have spent that time making magic items and letting the wizard scribe spells, huh?"

"Yes, no, maybe, I don't know... can you repeat the question?"
-- They Might Be Giants

Mr Kaze
Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/19/04 5:26 pm)
Reply
Re: if tharizdun escapes?
So it should then be safe to say that we can at least agree on "there should've been plenty of warning that the PCs were going to lose their long-fought campaign by default before they fail to show up on-time for the final fight," yes? ;)

Kyle the DM
Ebon Hand Cultist
(1/21/04 6:29 pm)
Reply
time
actually the PC's went on a side quest because they read my dragon magazine about the stats for big t and they don't realize what a threat he is. i'm using a slightly modifyed version of the BoB tharizdun... they just keep deciding to do useless things... like take a tour of famous pubs... oh yeah... the sorcerer want's to build a shield guardian and two golems...

about every month of play or so the players get really off track

later,
kyle

Mr Kaze
Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/22/04 7:59 am)
Reply
Re: time
So you're saying that the players are using incorrect metagame information to decide that the quest isn't worth completing in a timely fashion -- or worse, that they want Tharizdun to be released so they can kill him and harvest his "XP gland"?

"Oh come on, he's just a god -- we can take 'im!" :eek

::Kaze (notes that a vanguard of advanced half-fiend gibbering mouthers might convince the party that something bad is on its way...)

Caledonian
Crimson Coil Cultist
(1/22/04 8:10 am)
Reply
Re: time
Realistically, wouldn't other organizations and forces be alerted if the Big T had a serious chance of escaping?

Surely there must be some gods who are paying attention and who'll warn their clerics, yes?

---
Most people like the idea of a Laughing God - until they find out he's laughing at them...

Mr Kaze
Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/22/04 11:50 am)
Reply
Re: time
Quote:
Surely there must be some gods who are paying attention and who'll warn their clerics, yes?


Sure. And they'll ride in to slay the evil menace and save the day. And the PCs will have effectively lost as certainly as if they'd let the world get blown up.

"Your characters lived to tell the tale of their great campaign and how they weren't there for the end of it."

A deus ex conclusion is a deus ex conclusion regardless of who's supposedly coming out on top.

Personally, I think the "you need not be present to win" is actually worse, because not only did the PCs not actively win, but their accomplishments thusfar are cheapened by the fact that other people were able to win in the endgame without, oh say, going through the CRM and associated fanes.

::Kaze

Caedrel
Crimson Coil Cultist
(1/22/04 10:24 pm)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: time
Unless, of course, said people only made it to the endgame because the PCs did clear out the CRM and fanes... :)

Grumgarr
Crimson Coil Cultist
(1/23/04 2:23 am)
Reply
Re: time
If the PCs just aren't getting it together, do they really know that there is a ticking clock?

Have they realized that they're the ones who need to thwart the cult? What the stakes are if they fail?

As DM you need to feed them the clues that lead them to these conclusions - or just make it explicit. Elemental weirdness and omens of doom in one form or another should do the trick. If they ignore them at first, just heap on some 'natural' disasters - don't give them time to relax and 'build golems'.

I find that higher-level parties almost never research anything - they just cast divination spells and trust the results. If you're of the school of thought that divinations about Tharizdun tend to go a bit (or a lot) wrong, and your PCs use spells as their primary source of research, this can mean the PCs get complacent - you can always have Varachan or some other NPC who's in-the-know send them warnings of Dire Consequences should they fail to show up for the Big Finish...tomorrow.

Hurry them along a little - be creative. Make them worry. Hell, have terrible earthquakes, floods, gales, fire raining from the sky spoil their picnic and kill off some NPCs they like. Make it personal. And then have their divinations tell them all is well :evil
Nothing gives players the willies more than the PCs' gods being shown up as fallible and...insignificant.
Now THAT will give them an idea of Tharizdun's power
(and conveniently explains why every high-level hero in the world isn't hurrying to their aid).

Grumgarr

Cordo Crowfoot
Deathmantle Cultist
(1/23/04 3:01 am)
Reply
Re: time
I agree with Baxter and I2K on the whole. But as said in another threaad I think it depends on the party as well. You may have some (like mine) who naturally feel the time pressure and are lothe to give the party wizard an extra two days to learn a high level spell. It would be cruel, unusual, and completely unneeded to rush them any faster IMO.

You may have other parties who waste a lot of time and who you have to hit over the head with the 2x4 clue bat. YMMV.

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