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fjeTheNarrator
Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/9/04 8:32 am)
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Tactic Critique ...

Well, I'll preface by saying this is what I get for agreeing to run the game when I have a really bad head cold.

At any rate:

My players missed Gren escaping from the Moathouse, and Garrick escaped when his gnolls were all slaughtered and the opportunity to flee presented itself. When the group returned to Hommlet, they tipped off Chatrilon by attempting to capture him, but he slipped away to the mill to warn Dunrat And Crew that some adventurers were on their tail. The group THEN decided to gather the town guard and rest up a little before heading to the mill, allowing the WHOLE Hommlet contingent of the cult to escape.

Dunrat and Crew returned to the Moathouse to gather the items there, finding all but the statue missing. The PCs returned to the Moathouse the next day to await the arrival of the wagon from Rastor. They didn't bother to move quietly and alerted the group in the house, who all moved down to the basement. When the wagon arrived (with a grick, four gnolls, and an Azer from the fire temple) Dunrat and his group had used Chat's Wand Of Invisibility to turn invisible. At the right moment they revealed themselves to the PCs hiding in the main room of the moathouse, easily overpowering the two rogues. (The PCs' plan was for the spellcaster and two fighters to hide in the tower and the two rogues to hide in the great room. When the wagon arrived they'd be caught in a pincer, with arrows from the arrowslits and two fighters with artillery spells from the ruined second floor of the tower. Good plan, really.)

Dunrat, Grune, Torridan, Gren, Chenashi, Garrick, Chatrilon, and Maridosen come walking out of the Moathouse with the two rogues and offer to trade them for the "Ritual Items" that the wizard had in his pack. The warrior-types walk the bound rogues over to the tower and perform the trade ... in the trade-off, the group fighter decides that he doesn't want to give them all of the items, afraid that they can go ahead and raise "The Dark God" with them, so he tries to neglect to add the scepter. I allowed him to make an untrained Slight Of Hand check (Dex, basically) against Maridosen's Spot ... he rolled a 20+3 (23) and Maridosen rolled a 3 ... gutsy move, doubted it would work, but it did.

Dunrat takes the bag of items and the Azer goes in and grabs the statue (they all decided at that moment that they seriously didn't want to mess with the Azer). The grick gets herded out of the wagon, the loot goes in, and most of the Hommlet people load up and leave ... leaving Torridan, Gren, and the wagon crew behind to "deal with the troublemakers".

A hard, touch-and-go fight later the PCs have overcome and reached level 5. Now Dunrat has most of the items and is a wagon "to somewhere". They decide from the note they had found earlier that he'll most likely return to the Temple of All-Consumption, but they have no idea where that is.

Smart move, they go to the Temple of Pelor with one of the corpses and have Speak With Dead cast on it and ask how the heck they can get to the Temple of All-Consumption. They find out it is north of Rastor (doh!) and that Dunrat will probably have to go back to Rastor to get there anyway. So it's a race to Rastor!

Or ...

Some quick and dirty math on their part later, they figure they can reach Verbobonc three days before the wagon could reach Rastor. Working quickly, they hope to exchange and sell some of their collected items for some things of better value, but mostly they need to get there so the party wizard can get access to the Silver Consortium and copy down some new spells (2 spells per level) and hunt through the shops in town for some more spells (Specifically, he forgot he wanted Haste and wanted to pick up Heroism and Ray of Enfeeblement). They also sell the useless and sundry MW items they've been picking up and pick up some more useful minor magic things (another Cloak of Resistance and the Elven Rogue traded in his Rapier +1 for 75% in-store credit and picked up an Elven Thinblade +1 ... my fiance wanted one for HER Elven Rog/Clr and I had to retroactively allow Elves racial proficiency with Thinblade instead of Longsword. I'm weak, I admit it.)

Here's where the plan comes into effect (I'm bloody longwinded, aren't I?):

I hooked the Neutral PCs into the game by the weak and hamhanded tactic of there being an "Adventurer's Guild" in Verbobonc ... it's in some info to Verbobonc I found, and seemed interesting, if cheesy. I characterized the place as sort of one of those Colonial British hunting lodges you'd find in Africa and India ... good ole' boys sitting around on overstuffed leather chairs telling tall tales about this or that grand beast they slew. At any rate, since they realize individuals of varied levels would be members of this informal guild, they could possibly show up and pander around for a Wizard of high enough level who has been to Rastor or who can scry Rerrid ... to cast Teleport. I punched up the fees for that sort of thing and then cut it by 25% for a guild-member sort of "favor" and quoted them the price. They jumped on it with both feet.

I can see why. Dunrat has gotten away from them twice now, and Chatrilon three times. They have some items from the Moathouse and the party is convinced that all Dunrat needs to do is get back to the Temple of All-Consumption and the gig is up. Return of Tharizdun, whole world in darkness, etc. etc. (Festrath ranted and raved at them about the End Of All Things before they slaughtered him.) They were willing to break the bank and trade in magical items to round up the cash to get a TP to Rastor cast ... My price ended up being within their collective on-hand cash, however.

So they plan on TPing into the temple to Moradin and spending their last few hours before the wagon gets there setting up a big ambush for Dunrat And Crew, figuring they've now got the power to take him on without getting creamed.

... I'm not sure how I want to play this. One way, I could have Tal Chamish come out with a bunch of the townspeople and demand that the PCs stop assaulting the "friends of Rastor". But then Dunrat gets away ... AGAIN ... and I'm afraid of crushing their spirit after they've gone through some humiliation, hurting, and spending to get into position to bring him down.

If they leave town to do it, I suppose they could assault the wagon without Tal knowing about it. Depends on if they want to try and throw down in the middle of a city street (I doubt it, they've been good about obeying local laws so far).

I would like Chatrilon to escape again. They really really want to kill him, but I like the venomous passion they have for him, so I want to keep him around for a while longer. I figure he's got that wand of Invis (though he used a few charges back there at the Moathouse) so if things look ugly he can just POOF and skip out on Dunrat and live to stab another day.

Basically I'm just not sure exactly how to interweave this plan with Rastor and Tal Chammish and the drug trade there. It would be good RP to have the PCs powerless to stop SOMETHING because they can't kill the addicted townspeople, but at the same time I'd like to reward them for some good thinking and planning with the chance to stop and kill Dunrat and the others.

--fje

Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(2/9/04 10:36 am)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: Tactic Critique ...
A few issues.
  • Rerrid gets a save vs the scry, so that's not a sure plan. Don't forget to add the price of a scry as part of the NPC's fee.
  • The NPC must teleport to Rastor AND back, so don't forget to double the cost of the teleport. Also, to carry 5 people, the NPC would need to be at least 15th level.
  • Great job at the moathouse. The PC's have learned a valuable lesson there and it does not appear to be anything you handed to them. The fighters and wizard had an excellent defensive position, so Dunrat & co would not have had a sure thing in taking them out.
  • IMO, Tal never takes an active approach. He would certainly not demand anything openly. If he knows what the party plans, he might merely send word to the ToAC, but the help will arrive too late. At best, he would 'order' Thandain to talk to the party and delay them.
  • If everything works out and the party pays for the spells, let their plan work. Let them fight Dunrat & co. fair and square. They earned it. At the first sign of trouble, Chat should definitely turn invisible and flee. Chances are however that the party will prepare see invisible or invisibility purge. That's okay, though. Let them kill/capture Chat. Remember, you still have Victor and Bethe to look forward to. And then there's Smigmal later on.

fjeTheNarrator
Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/9/04 12:36 pm)
Reply
Re: Tactic Critique ...
Quote:
"Rerrid gets a save vs the scry, so that's not a sure plan. Don't forget to add the price of a scry as part of the NPC's fee."


Very good point, and something I didn't really think of. I suppose Rerrid wouldn't know WHO was trying to Scry him or why ... I contacted the players and they're willing to send an Animal Messenger to Rerrid detailing who they are and when they'll attempt to scry him so he can voluntarily fail the save. I suppose there's the issue of whether he trusts them, but it was a good idea ... and I still have a cold. :)


Quote:
"The NPC must teleport to Rastor AND back, so don't forget to double the cost of the teleport. Also, to carry 5 people, the NPC would need to be at least 15th level."


Here's the biggy. I didn't read Teleport all the way through and I didn't notice the CASTER has to go with ... whole other side of bacon, there.

And one of the PCs traded his Ftr 5 out for a Bbn1/Drd4 with a Bison animal companion (yet another thread from me) ... here's where the Large animal becomes problematic ... the group is now SEVEN people, as far as Teleport goes. That's 8 people and a 24th level caster.

I somehow doubt they can convince an epic-level NPC to do that kind of casting. The other option is to have a 16th level caster cast Teleportation Circle ... a 9th level spell with a 1000gp component. Hoi.

The last possible way would be to find 3 wizards ... two 9th, one 13th level to cast the spell. All three wizards would cast at once and take them to Rerrid and the 13th would cast a second time to bring all the wizards home. With a Guild discount, this is just a bit cheaper, but harder to pull off.

I'm having them roll some Diplomacy checks, currently, to see if they can get three people to help them out all at the same time. If they fail, they'll have to try for the Teleportation Circle.

As I said, they're willing to break the bank. I told them the price, which is something like 3-4x what they originally thought it was going to be, and they don't have a problem with it. It's nice that they're so involved in defeating the temple, at this point, they'll go all-out to get the group to Rastor fast.


Quote:
"IMO, Tal never takes an active approach. He would certainly not demand anything openly. If he knows what the party plans, he might merely send word to the ToAC, but the help will arrive too late. At best, he would 'order' Thandain to talk to the party and delay them."


Hrm. Good idea.


Quote:
"If everything works out and the party pays for the spells, let their plan work. Let them fight Dunrat & co. fair and square. They earned it. At the first sign of trouble, Chat should definitely turn invisible and flee. Chances are however that the party will prepare see invisible or invisibility purge. That's okay, though. Let them kill/capture Chat. Remember, you still have Victor and Bethe to look forward to. And then there's Smigmal later on."


I don't think they realized that See Invisible is a 2nd level Wizard spell. The Wiz was too busy taking direct battle spells to think about something like that, so they don't have it. And the Clerics are too low a level for 3rd level spells, yet. So I guess Chatrilon escapes again. Perhaps after that the Wizard will look into what spells he can use to negate that advantage.

He's not very big on functional spells, though. He's an Evoker and takes all the usual damage spells. Leaving them open to this sort of thing. Eh. Lessons will be learned, I suppose.

Thanks for the ideas. I should have actually READ Teleport all the way through before I ruled. I'm a rule-on-the-run DM, though ... I don't DM the Friday game we play in, and it took the DM 3 weeks to get around to introducing ONE encounter that was about 4 ECL below what we should be fighting. Slooooooow game, alot of skill checks and story checks and hunting for ancient lore.

I run using DMGenie so I only have to click once or twice to perform any action for any NPC, and I have all the stats and abilities at my fingertips. I'm usually snapping my fingers impatiently at the players if they don't know their Raging/Blessed/Enlarged/Power Attacking Attack Bonus by heart when their turn comes to roll. I like to keep the momentum going through the game so nobody gets bored. Because of that I occassionally make some mistaken rulings.

:\ At the other end of the spectrum, I once left in the middle of the Friday game to get some subs ... the sub place was 10 minutes away. I returned a half hour later and all I had missed was a single person making a skill check.

--fje

Edited by: fjeTheNarrator at: 2/9/04 12:45 pm
Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(2/9/04 1:23 pm)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: Tactic Critique ...
One thing is that the druid can use reduce animal on the bison. That's what Verilia did for teleportation IMC. And, one wizard can do all the teleporting, it will just take multiple trips (4). That's not unreasonable, just expensive. Or, the wizard could buy a scroll of teleport and the cleric could buy a scroll of word of recall. Remember that the scroll is not used up unless there's a mishap. This is the best option IMO, requiring only 2 scroll purchases and for the druid to cast reduce animal.

"And the Clerics are too low a level for 3rd level spells, yet."

Multiclassing will hurt them. On the plus side, it seems like you got a really good group. They'll go through some learning curves, but they seem to really want to do the 'right' thing, not the powergaming thing, which will make it a lot more fun. If you want to cut them a little slack, make up a new spell called Teleport Other (sound familiar?) that's 6th level and teleports 2 willing ppl/CL without the caster. Quite honestly, I dunno why such a spell doesn't already exist.

Mr Kaze
Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/9/04 2:08 pm)
Reply
Re: Tactic Critique ...
Quote:
The last possible way would be to find 3 wizards ... two 9th, one 13th level to cast the spell. All three wizards would cast at once and take them to Rerrid and the 13th would cast a second time to bring all the wizards home.


The downside to this sort of approach is that you may also be stuck for a good reason later as to why these wizards who are ~4-8 levels higher than your PCs are neither willing to help them bring down the mountain to crush evil, nor interested in the breaking into the black spike to explore/exploit its power.

Of course, if the wizards that the PCs thought were good came back later trying to tap into Tharizdun's power and thus interfere with the PCs "Kill all the evil" plans, that could provide some amusing continuity later.

"While we of the Future Archmagi Leaders of Verbobonc greatly appreciate your revealing this source of awesome power to us, we humbly request that you leave this important arcane find to us professionals. Right now. Buh-Bye."

::Kaze

fjeTheNarrator
Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/9/04 4:15 pm)
Reply
Re: Tactic Critique ...
Quote:
Of course, if the wizards that the PCs thought were good came back later trying to tap into Tharizdun's power and thus interfere with the PCs "Kill all the evil" plans, that could provide some amusing continuity later.


Mwa ha ha ha ha.

Using three NPCs and the discount they'd get by being Guild members, they'd spend 1100gp.

I found another spell they could use. Transport Via Plants ... a 6th level Druid spell. As long as they have a pretty good idea of where they're going and there's a tree of the same sort IN or near Rastor, they could have the Druid cast that and get pretty close without having to use a Scry on anybody to look at the area. This will cost them 1650gp in the market.

Actually a little more as the scroll would have to be scribed one level higher, I think, to carry them all.

At any rate, I'm going to leave it up to them. I presented it and I think most of them will argue for doing it on their own for a little more cash ... they realize, now, that I'm more than willing to let their actions return to bite them on the rear.

If they don't ... well ... I'll have to make three NPC wizards to make their lives living hell.

--fje

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