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Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/3/04 3:28 am)
RTEE set in the Silver Marches
Welcome to my campaign log for the Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil adventure by Monte Cook. Hopefully it will be as entertaining as the other fine logs here (those of you who haven’t read the log posted by HeresDaryl, should make a point of it). I plan to expand the RTEE so that the characters are at or very near epic level when they complete the temple. In order to do that I’ve incorporated the RTEE into a broader campaign set in the Silver Marches region of the Forgotten Realms. This means of course that I’ve had to change some of the names and other details, but the overall concept of the RTEE is still intact. As the log progresses I’ll mention the changes I’ve made from ‘core’ RTEE. Any feedback, ramblings, lavish praise and/or cash donations are welcome!

Cast of characters:
Respen Eveningfall, Male Fey’ri (posing as a Sun elf) sorcerer 1 (ECL 4)
Shandri Greycastle, Female Tiefling Rogue (ECL 2)
Grimm, Male Human Barbarian of the Red Tiger Tribe 1
Drugar Gorunnson, Male Deep Dwarf Cleric of Dumathoin 1 (ECL 5)

Eleasis (August) 1372DR
The characters had set out on the road from Sundabar to Citadel Adbar, as part of the escort for a merchant caravan. Two weeks into their journey the caravan was waylaid by a horde of strange orcs, more like savage demons than typical orcs. Despite their best efforts the caravan was overpowered and they were taken as prisoners. They awoke bound hand and foot in a dank cavern. Durgar was bound in ropes and suspended upside down from the ceiling. Each of them had memories of being taken by orcs to tortured and beaten. What made it worse was that the torturers never asked them any questions. After several days of this they decided that they had to affect an escape before they all perished.
Waiting until Durgar returned from his latest torture session, Respen freed himself. He appeared to shrink his body, allowing him to slip out of his manacles. The others noticed this, particularly the barbarian who eyed up the elf suspiciously. Assisting in freeing the others they paused to consider how they would escape from the cavern. Durgar picked up one of the discarded manacles and reshaped it into a primitive lock-picking tool, which Shandri managed to use to open the lock on the door. Warily, they made their way through what appeared to be a dungeon complex. They found a primitive armoury with the suggestion that 13 creatures inhabited the dungeon. Durgar and Grimm donned a suit of scale mail and hefted great axes. Despite its unwieldy nature, Durgar decided it was better to have any weapon than to have none at all. Shandri was becoming increasingly agitated and wanted to leave. Eventually they made their way through the dungeon, battling orcs on the way until they found what appeared to be the orc captain’s rooms. With their usual stealth and guile they charged into his bedroom and proceeded to attack the orc (fighter 6). He was gleefully beating several shades of s&*te of the party, until Durgar leapt at him and after a brief struggle embedded him into the wall! [The character’s player nicely used the deep dwarf ability to stone walk. Mechanistically, it works as follows;
1. Successful grapple attempt to grab target.
2. Opposed grapple rolls to maintain and move target half base movement, until wall is reached.
3. Final grapple check to force target to stay in the wall.
This very effective tactic has been christened the ‘wall flower’ manoeuvre.]
Again the barbarian eyed the stumpy dwarf suspiciously. After a few minutes Durgar retrieved the suffocated body of the orc for looting purposes. As they began to ransack the room like a pack of hungry vultures, they heard the sounds of battle from another room. Rushing in they meet a tall human enthusiastically chopping various bits off various orcs. He finished them off and after catching his breath introduced him as Caranthir, a Vigilant [Vigilant is a Ranger-type prestige class taken from Relics and Rituals]. Returning to the dead orcs room, they found the following in a chest;
A pair of boots (Boots of Elvenkind)
A single brown leather glove (Glove of Storing)
2 twigs (Wand of Cure Light Wounds and a Wand of Web)
2,000 gold pieces
4 bloodstones (50gp each)
An emerald (1,000gp)
Several papers addressed to Garnack from someone called Dunrat
In true adventurer style, they looted everything but the proverbial kitchen sink and asked Caranthir what he was doing here and did he know of a way out. Caranthir replied that he was looking for a missing local man, Spugnoir, and that if the party wished he could guide them back to the nearest town of Deadsnows [Deadsnows is my equivalent of Hommlet]. The party willingly agreed as most them had suffered several wounds in the escape [the party suffered a decent kicking, 3 of them were down to 1 or 2 hitpoints]. As they left Caranthir mentioned that there was a man named Dunrat who lived with the miller in Deadsnows. Deadsnows was some 20 miles south of the site of their imprisonment, so they limped off cautiously, under the guidance of the mysterious Caranthir.

Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/3/04 3:30 am)
Re: RTEE set in the Silver Marches
So the party made their way to Deadsnows. Along the way they paused to rest and eat at which point Caranthir gave them each a healing potion. During this time they read some of the letters they had found in the orc complex.

“22 Flamerule (July) 1372,
I trust preparations are going to plan. I need not remind you of the importance of disrupting the flow of trade between your base and our glorious temple. My master will be most pleased with our efforts. He who shall arise again wishes you to slay all travellers on the road for a cycle of the calendar. I have dispatched some of my Tanarukk to ensure your success. Be warned: do not fail me.

25 Flamerule 1372,
I understand your recent caravan raids have been successful in stopping trade to Deadsnows. The prisoners you have taken must not be harmed, permanently. My master has taken an interest in one of them, who might be of aid to our righteous cause. My Tanarukk soldiers will bring them to me. Be sure they are fit to travel.

30 Flamerule 1372,
The first phase of our plan is almost complete. Some of my brothers have found the ancient site of our Master, near the town of Deadsnows as was foretold. Soon we will be able to enact the ritual and our Master will be free at last. As a small reward for your service you may take the woman prisoner for the pleasure of you and your men. Do not overly harm her; she and the others must be able to travel.

2 Eleasis 1372,
A word of warning my loyal servant. Caranthir has been reported in the area. I have dispatched another claw of Tanarukk to strengthen your position. Do not allow him or others to interfere with our plans. He must be stopped no matter the cost. As always failure means eternal death.

Shandri [who was none to pleased to be pimped out to a bunch of orcs] left the group to scout out the surrounding area and after catching fleeting glimpses of various creatures returned to the party. They decided to hide in a nearby cave to fully recover before continuing the potentially dangerous journey to Deadsnows. As they made camp Drugar walked over to the cave mouth and began to seal off the entrance by moulding the walls of the cave. Again the barbarian threw him a suspicious glare.
After resting for most of the day, they left the cave after dark only to find out they were being stalked by several creatures, which they presumed were the Tanarukk sent to Garnack’s lair. Using a strange incantation, Respen distracted them long enough for the party to elude them, at least temporarily. Eventually, they weary companions reached the town in the early hours of the morning. They quickly found the nearest inn, the inn of the welcome wench, and arrange food and lodgings from the surly barmaid. At this point Caranthir excused himself saying he had business with the Lady of the town and that he would return in the evening. The hungry group quickly ate a colossal breakfast and settled in the inn’s common room. Practical as ever, they proceeded to go on a spending spree with their newfound wealth. The gems were sold at a discount rate to shift them quickly, while the boots, glove and twigs were left for identification by a local mage. Respen took this opportunity to acquire some arcane components. Having a day to spare while the items were being identified, the party purchased more mundane items such as weapons and armour and adventurer’s gear. Grimm requested a custom made breastplate, while Drugar asked the local weapon smith to make a maul, the symbol of Dumathoin. Shopping finished they returned to the wench for dinner and a comfortable nights rest. Caranthir was strangely absent, however.

Deathmantle Cultist
(2/3/04 3:55 am)
Re: RTEE set in the Silver Marches
U are going to have high casualties with that group...
Those ECL they got means that by the time they get to the moathouse, their HP and saves are going to be terrible.
Dragon target practice.....

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/3/04 5:34 am)
Re: RTEE set in the Silver Marches
Good start, but Killiak may be right... they could be a little light going into some of the major encounters. By the make up of the party I'd guess that they might actually try a more subtle approach than most groups (mine especially, wouldn't be difficult) which could save their bacon. It all depends on how you are levelling them up...

are you using the book method; ie your level adjusted characters start at the XP value of their ECL (tiefling rogue 1 would start at 1,000 and need 3,000 to get to rogue 2) gaining level as a L2 character until she levels up?

or are you using our house method, where the characters have an XP total appropriate to their class levels (in this case, they all start at 0 and all need to get to 1,000 to gain a level) but earn XP as a character of their ECL (so the human and tiefling will level up well before the other 2)?

Having gone through the entire campaign using the second method, with several level adjusted characters, I'd highly recommend it! It will still give the advantage to the low-or-no level adjustment characters, but will not reduce the Urdunnir and the Fey'ri to a glacial rate of progression...

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/12/04 10:30 am)
Re: RTEE set in the Silver Marches
Well, what happened to an update every week?

Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/13/04 3:14 pm)
Re: RTEE set in the Silver Marches
Thanks for the comments.
The logs I've posted and will be posting for the next while were played several months ago. The group is currently on their way to Nulb, before they get mangled in the temple itself.
As will be apparent from the next two postings, I gave the players some adventures to beef them up before laying waste to the moathouse.
In response to Heresdaryl, yes I'm using house rule for ECL adjustments. And some of us have to work for a living, therefore the delay in the posts :p

Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/13/04 3:15 pm)
Another day in Deadsnows
The following morning they awoke in the inn with sore heads from the previous nights drinking and carousing. After a hearty breakfast they left en masse to collect the magic items, which had hopefully been identified. The items were:
Wand of Cure Light Wounds (30 charges)
Wand of Web (45 charges)
Boots of Elvenkind
Glove of Storing
1,177gp left in the party kitty after spending and item identification.
Shandri gleefully donned the boots and the glove (for her shortsword), Drugar helped himself to the Wand of Cure Light Wounds (‘Cleric-on-a-stick’), while Respen took the Wand of Web. The barbarian shunned any magic, claiming it was the work of evil. Needless to say the other members of the party though he was odd, to be kind. After the finished drooling over their newfound wealth, they proceeded to the nearest temple. Located just outside the town is the Hospice, a temple dedicated to Marthammor Duin (Dwarven God of guides, explorers and travellers). The head of the Hospice was Abbot Karillia Gemstar. The party discuss the papers found and ask general questions about the area. As a courtesy to a fellow Dwarven Cleric, she explained that there was a legend of an ancient temple in the area belonging to a long dead evil God. She was particularly disturbed by the references to Dunrat as he was living in town with the millar. Karillia went on to explain that a number of other unusual events had occurred in the area over the last few weeks;
        Large flying monsters are eating cattle from the upland pastures.
        Travellers have gone missing on the road between Sundabar and Citadel Adbar.
        Claim jumpers have been bothering the prospectors in the local gold mines.
        Large war bands of orcs have been sighted west of the town.
        A dwarven prospector was found partially dissolved in the upper mines.
The party were feeling hungry and left to have lunch in the inn. They spent the next few hours gathering information from various sources about the town and its environs. The brave fools, err heroes, learnt of a moat house to the west where the orcs were seen and where the body of the dwarf was found. Shandri decided that the party was going after the flying creatures first, so off they set. When the arrived in the pastures, they met a Shepard who told them about the attacks further upland. So on they moved hoping to ambush the creatures if they returned. As it was at night, they heard the creatures before they saw them. A pair of hissing wyverns attacked the party. After a surprisingly short battle they butchered the hapless creatures. The heads were removed as proof and ruthless as ever they set off to find their lair. The trail led to a cliff face and by the look of the land the party suddenly decided that the wyvern lair must to atop the cliff. The proceeded to climb and all made it easily, except for Respen who seemed to enjoy falling twice. [On the second occasion, Respen actually died, but as I was running his character for him, he was just at –9hp] Luckily enough it was the lair in which they found;
        A pair of black opals
        A leather pouch
After climbing back down, Respen was looking a bit beaten from his injuries and was healed by the cleric. Laden with the wyvern heads, they trekked back to the town to collect the 300gp reward from the town sheriff, Mannock. While dining in the Wench, they overhear stories of bandits accosting miners as they return from the mines. A man called Belas apparently leads the bandits. Absolutely shattered from their activities, they sleep for most of the day. When they are fully rested, Drugar suggests that they investigate Snowtown (a shanty town outside Deadsnows walls). The owner of the makeshift bar eventually informs them of 3 major mines in the South, Southeast and Southsouthwest of Deadsnows. After a brief discussion the party decides to follow the river to the Southeast mine (which happened to be the next one targeted by the bandits). On the road to the mines, they encounter 4 humans armed with cudgels. The lead bandit introduced himself as Belas and suggested that they pay the toll to travel on his road. Grimms response was “bollocks to that” and the inevitable fight ensued. In the first road of combat one of the bandits (war1) struck Respen with his cudgel, rolling a natural 20. The threat of a critical roll was a natural 20, with baited breath I rolled for threat of instant kill……another 20!!! [Respen was dead for the second time in the same session, again as I was running his character, I ruled he was in a coma instead. The plan was to give the player the option to make a new character or let Respen slip gently into the other world]. Belas and one of his men were quickly killed, while the other two surrendered. True to form, they looted the corpses and bound men;
        Bastard sword (masterworked)
        Chain mail
        Gold ring with an opal
        3 potions
        3 sits of studded leather
3 small wooden shields
        3 clubs
        3 saps
Returning to the town they dropped off the bandits to the local guard and carried Respens still warm body to the Hospice for aid.

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/20/04 2:48 am)
Re: Another day in Deadsnows
I'm surprised a cow didn't just fall out of the sky on Respens head! Sounds like a cool session... it's great that your players are happy to go investigating all of the story hooks in and around Deadsnows, will serve them well when they get to the meat. Found any drawbacks to your players having some strange powers or has it made it more fun?

Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/22/04 9:46 am)
Re: Another day in Deadsnows
Yes, I've noticed that some of their powers change things in the game. The stonewalk ability of the Deep Dwarf does make things easier for the party, especially when they investigate dungeons and/or undrgrond areas. I haven't noticed many problems with the other players as yet.
The main reason for me running the adventures in and around Deadsnows is that I want the players to be near or at 20th by the time they confront the final challenges in the RTEE. I'm aware this requires some boosting of the temples occupants and such, but I think it will be worth it. After reading Heresdaryls log, I got the feeling that after twarting the ultimate Evil, the PC's were at a bit of a loose end as to what to do next. I'd like my players to finish at Epic status and ride off into the sunset as legends in their own time.

(3/13/04 3:58 am)
Campaign update
Respens player decided to let him slip gently into the night and started a new character;
Stedd, Male Monk 1 (Spellfire wielder)

The next session opened with the players leaving Respens body with the clerics in the Hospice and getting the potions they had found identified (3 potions of cure light wounds and 1 of cure moderate wounds, it was a typo in the previous post). After leaving the body off they returned to the inn for some food before heading off to investigate the rumours of the orcs near the town. After several hours travelling west the spot orcs guarding a pass through the mountains (these orcs were part of the local orc Kings tribe under the command of one of his sons). Avoiding being spotted themselves they noticed a cave entrance behind where the orcs were patrolling. Drugar decieded to use his stonewalk ability to enter the side of the cave, hoping to investigate why it was being guarded. He found 10 sleeping orcs and a lone orc in a side chamber. After a brief discussion with he group, Drugar choose to sneak in and try to kill the orcs on his own, hoping his unusual abilities would protect him. After some impressive hide and move silently rolls, he managed to kill all the orcs in the main section leaving only the apparent leader unscathed. Seeing strength in numbers Drugar went back for the others and they prepared to gang beat the lead orc. Outnumbered and underpowered the orc falls without much of a fuss. Drugar took a shine to the orcs axe and the rest began the looting process;
10 chain shirts
10 large wooden shields
10 battle axes
11 light crossbows
220 bolts
Great axe
Brestplate (magical)
2 potions (magical)
855 silver pieces
135 gold pieces
20 beaver pelts (worth 5 gp each)
Holy symbol (unknown diety)
Taking the coin and magic items, Drugar embedded the remaining stuff in the walls. Being a dwarf and not overly partial to orcs, Drugar leaves a bloody message in orcish on the wall “All orcs who enter this area will die horrible deaths, so says Dumathoin”. Returning to Deadsnows without further incident, they ask the Abbotess about the holy symbol. The abbotess thinks it may be the symbol of an ancient Evil. Asking the players to wait until she can make some enquires, they decide to investigate the mill, where Dunrat apparently lived. Shandri noticed a strange metallic bird sitting in a tree nearby. Stealthily Sandri discovered three figures in the mill, a human, a half-orc and a tiefling. Wasting no time or the rule of law they barged in and challenged the figures. Strangely, a fight ensued. Drugar ‘wall flowered’ the half-orc and the tiefling was slain. Showing uncharacteristic restraint the group managed to render Dunrat unconscious. Investigating the mill, Shandri found a trapdoor near the hearth. Looting the bodies they retrieved;
Brooch (magical
Holy symbol
Heavy crossbow
Full plate armour
Great axe
Light crossbow
10 bolts
Ring (magical)
2 Potions (magical)
Shandri decided to check out where the trapdoor went and found a cellar with a solitary chest. Rolling a 1 for her spot, she happily opened the trap-free chest and was rewarded with a nasty acid spray in the face! Cursing both her roll and the blameless DM she recovered and attempted to open the chest again. Acid spray number two (players should really be careful around trapped chests) washed over the once fair lady’s now ruined face. [At this point I thought the player was going to take her knife out and gut the DM]. The cleric healed the damage and opened the chest via the metal clasps. Fortunately the trap was spent and the contents were;
480 gold pieces
Ochre robe
Disguise kit
Locked book
The scroll read as follows
        Congratulations on a successful mission in Deadsnows and the ancient shrine at the moathouse. Uncover what relics you can and seal the shrine, before joining us in the Masters temple.

(3/16/04 6:02 am)
Blood thirsty B@st@rds!
I know there is a racial hatred thing going on, and Orcs in the Silver Marches are considered vermin/the embodiment of evil... but what alignment is Drugar (or WAS Drugar, now that he has gone chaotic evil)? Butchering sleeping Orcs is a very... Orcish thing to do.

Its pretty cool that they kept Dunrat alive... should be sucked into the major plot pretty quickly from here. How do you think the encounter with Utreshimon will go? Are you gonna go easy on them or let the dice fall as they may?

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