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Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/23/04 3:43 am)
A dead end?
Last night, we played yet another interesting session with a nice clifhanger ending... Very little combat happened. The largest part of the session was spend trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I think it's important for the group to do this on a regular basis, because we only play once in about three weeks...

Anyway, at the end of the session, the group went back to the CRM. They already defeated the main gate. The gate was closed, but unguarded (except for Greshta who was lurking around). The group entered, spotted the large number of dead bodies (which they left 4 days ago). They didn't encounter a carrion crawler in one of the rooms and proceded to the earth temple. They took the left passage straight to room 234, the room with two sleeping trogs. During the previous session, they had a nice battle with the Swordmaster, Greshta and Terrenygit. Terrenygit hired some help from the earth temple (in exchange for influence at the main gate if they could take it back from the PC's). The attack failed and the earth temple forces retreated from the battle, leaving Terrenygit alone calling him a traitor who deserved to die...

In room 234, the group tries to wake up the sleeping trogs without too much violence for questioning... The trogs start screaming, and things run out of control... The two trogs die at the spot. However, before they can leave the dead end cave, they hear the swordmaster's call. He demands their surrender and tells them, they can't escape this time. The group refuses to surrender... Session ends with initiative roled and some buff spells in place...

The swordmaster is waiting in room 233 (the troglodyte-kitchen) with Greshta (who followed the PC's and alerted the Swordmaster), two troglodyte warriors, and perhaps Miikolak and the earth elemental. I'm afraid, this will be a very tough encounter for the PC's... They have no way to run and must pass the troglodytes in order to escape... What would the troglodytes do in this situation... There are 5 PC's, all only 5th level without a 5th level wizard or cleric!!! No one is yet affected by the trog's stench and they are all at max hp.

My plan is to have Miikolak cast stone shape or soften earth and stone to collaps the entrance and seal off the cave with the PC's in it... That will take care of them easily, without any losses. They can use the same magic after a few days to loot the bodies... This seems to be the best option for the troglodytes... However, this is also a very dangerous situation that could easily end up in a TPK :\ ...

What should I do to make this encounter less deadly? The fighter/wizard should be able to hear a stoneshape spell being cast, and the group should be able to figure out what is about to happen... Ideas are more than welcome...

Edited by: Helderik at: 1/23/04 3:46 am
Crimson Coil Cultist
(1/23/04 4:17 am)
Re: A dead end?
I'd say Stone Shape doesn't affect a large enough area (10 cubic feet +1 cubic foot per caster level) to be very effective, a thin wall closing off the corridor might be possible but it could be destroyed by brute force.
Soften Earth and Stone affects a larger area but only makes it pliable (quotes are from the 3.5 SRD spell descriptions)
stone becomes soft clay that is easily molded or chopped

it won't just collapse, or at least it won't cause a complete cave-in of the un-softened stone.
While soften earth and stone does not affect dressed or worked stone, cavern ceilings or vertical surfaces such as cliff faces can be affected. Usually, this causes a moderate collapse or landslide as the loosened material peels away from the face of the wall or roof and falls.

In my opinion this would fill the corridor with some gloop, but the solid rock above would be unlikely to collapse as well, so the result would be only a partially-bocked corridor.

Maybe both these spells together along with some help would seal the PCs in - troglodytes hacking softened stone out of the wall or whatever, would cause a collapse, but it might be quite dangerous for the trogs too. Causing a controlled cave-in is no mean feat. Still, it would be dramatic for the PCs to get the idea and panic about it (whether you decided it would work or not).

Presumably you want the PCs not to be entombed, so I'd suggest having the trogs try it, but give your PCs enough time and plenty of warning that they're about to become entombed, which should be exciting and prompt them to attack. Plus it shows them that their foes are clever and ruthless and :evil not just XP-on-legs for them to collect.


Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/23/04 4:46 am)
Re: A dead end?
Thanx grumgarr... That was exactly my idea... I want to scare them with the idea of becoming entombed alive. I guess you're right about the stone shape spell... I guess I will have the troglodytes try it however... They are tied to the earth element, so I guess it would be nice to use that to scare the PC's...

I also have some worries about them surviving a straight battle with the swordmaster, greshta, miikolak, the earth elemental and 2 trog warriors... Ussually, I make sure, they've got at least one way to retreat... The stench of the troglodytes is really powerful against a party of mostly fighters. I presume the stench effects won't stack, but the most powerful stench (in combination with a failed save) will be dominant.. Their AC is quite high, and with the PC's strength drained, it will be very hard to hit the swordmaster (with IMC a bastardsword of air and a large steel shield) and Miikolak...

Another question... One of my players took a piece of cloth with some parfum sprinkled over it and covered his mouth and nose with it... I like this idea and I guess this will give him another bonus to his fortitude save... What should be an appropriate bonus?

Edited by: Helderik at: 1/23/04 5:28 am
Brother of Venom
(1/23/04 7:14 am)
Re: A dead end?
+2 would be an appropriate bonus and no more.

Another idea is to have the Swordmaster challenge on of the PC's to a duel. If the PC wins, the rest go free. If the PC loses, the rest surrender. The duel is to the death and is a contest of arms, not magic (though that is not a problem). This is entirely within the spirit of the module, too.

In the fight itself, Miikolak might send the EE into 234 by itself to smoke them out. This has the inside advantage that it splits up the opponents, making a TPK less likely. Or, you could put some tension between the Swordmaster and Miikolak. Once the fight starts, Miikolak and her EE step to the rear and don't fight, ordering a few other trogs to do the same.

Miikolak: "If the Swordmaster thinks he's so tough, let him deal with."
Swordmaster: "Curse you, Miikolak! I'll get you for this!"

Of course, this conversation occurs in draconic, so the party might not understand it. She might say it in common, though, to make sure the party understands and doesn't attack her by accident.

Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/24/04 9:49 am)
Re: A dead end?
The fighter wizard speaks draconic, so that shouldn't be problem.

A duel is also nice, especially because the main PC-fighter is exactly the human variant of the swordmaster. IMC, I made the sword of earth a bastard sword and gave the swordmaster a large steel shield. He is now almost a perfect troglodyte version of Gwerlin, the human fighter.

However, the Swordmaster did beat Gwerlin in the previous fight (almost killing him) and I wonder if he is still interested in such a fight... But this could be a good alternative, depending on the group's response... The group is quite lawful, so I could use this against them if the swordmaster should win a duel by making a nice deal :evil . If the battle stays balanced for a while, I could always call for a duel... The troglodytes would hate to lose any more troops so this would be the right way to get rid of the intruders... I could even call for a duel if the swordmaster is losing because Gwerlin would like to become a noble knight some day... He won't probably turn down a duel...:b

I thought about an option to seal in the cave with stone shape too. The cavern (233) is fitted with larges stones that functions as chairs, couches and tables... Miikolak could have the EE (with it's great strength) place these stones in the tunnel before using stone shape. This would overcome the lack of volume the spell can shape.

I also like a struggle for power between Miikolak and the Swordmaster. Miikolak will take charge of the battle despite the Swordmaster's wishes...

I love those ideas guys... Too much options... :D This is going to be a battle they will remember for a long time...

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