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msherman
Crimson Coil Cultist
(2/23/04 6:27 am)
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Two more deaths.
Ugh.

My party attacked Hedrack yesterday. They used the refuge sticks to teleport into Varachan's quarters, and ran around the Outer Fane clockwise to get to him. There were a few fights along the way, each of which took a bit too much out of the party, and when they finally reached Hedrack, they were way out-matched and reckless. I was really depressed; Varachan had given the party a _lot_ of information, including the fact that Hedrack favoured Death spells and knew a lot about their tactics, but they still went in practically unprepared.

The first fight was Thrommel and Aramil, stationed in the octagon room. Aramil was dusted by a Greater Turning, and Thrommel was quickly taken down to 20hp by a few lucky hits and some spells (Chase the ftr/rog/shd and Shalathal the bbn/sor were both armed with silver GMW+3 swords this time, thankfully). But Thrommel backed out, climbing up the walls to heal himself up and Dominating Shalathal into killing the cleric Hamish; luckilly, her first crit wasn't quite enough to do the job, and then Hamish managed to get his Magic Circle Against Evil off. Thrommel was driven off by a Holy Smite which blinded him; he didn't recognize the spell, so he didn't know the blindness was only 1 round. So he went gaseous and retreated -- to Hedrack's quarters, to warn him of the invasion.

The next fight was Naquent; she was alerted by Thrommel's scream, and was fully buffed (thanks to the Rod of Lesser Quickening I gave her), hidden behind the east door out of the octagon room, with a Poison ready to touch attack the first person through the door. Cyr the (ring-of-invisibilty wearing) rogue and Chase heard her through the door, though, and out-hid her -- she didn't notice Chase sneak out in the shadows just before the door closed, and he got her with one of the Arrows of Human Slaying. Which raised a question: are those arrows negated by Spell Resistance? I ruled that they are, but Chase rolled higher than Naquent's SR, and she failed her save.

They then got to Thrommel's room, found the secret switch, and destroyed all the coffins; they were surprised to see that Thrommel wasn't in his; they'd thought he'd been knocked down to 0hp by the Holy Smite, when he went gasseous.

Finally, they get to the pillar room outside Hedrack's room. It's eerily quiet. Cyr, invisible, sneaks along the north wall to the door; whoops, now Cyr's visible. He makes his spellcraft and realizes that he's stepped inside the range of Hedrack's invisibility purge. So they fall back to plan B: they use scrolls of Alter Self and Misdirection to disguise Cyr as Chase. I'm not really sure why they did this, but the players had been discussing this plan for a few days now and were pretty excited by it... Chase hides in the shadows next to the door, while Cyr applies Deathblade Poison to his sword (1d6con/2d6con), and hits the door button.

Hedrack is sitting on the chest at the foot of his bed, fully buffed, waiting patiently for the party. He grins, and does the matrix thing, inviting Cyr into his room with a "come here" finger motion. Amazingly, Cyr charges in! He screams in agony as he crosses the threshold, failing his save vs. Forbiddance. He hits, and Hedrack fails his save, dropping 5 con. But then Thrommel steps out from behind the screen, and with a single power attack critical hit, Cyr is down to -9hp; at least neutral Cyr's disguise as good Chase caused Thrommel to waste a Smite Good attempt.

Shalathal and Hamish advance to the door, and Bethe steps out from behind the pillar, sneak attacking Hamish. She's completely ineffective, though, failing to land a single attack for the entire fight; Hedrack is certain to have her executed for this failure. And then it's Hedrack's turn; he points his finger at Chase, casts Destruction, and poof, Chase is dead. This really hurt. Chase kind of screwed up, but not terribly...

Hamish panics, and throws his (previously prepared) Silenced coin into Hedrack's room. Hamish's player (and the rest of the party, and even me) then spend like 15 minutes scouring his spell list and the PHB looking for some way to avoid a TPK. I end up suggesting something that almost certainly shouldn't have worked, but I felt really bad about Chase. Hamish uses Summon Monster V to summon a Hound Archon into Hedrack's room, right on top of Cyr's body; I suggest that it can grab his body and teleport out, since Hamish doesn't know about the Forbiddance yet.

Cyr bleeds, dying. Thrommel advances to the door and hits Shalathal with his sword; Shalathal bends down to grab all of Chase's gear, drawing another AOO. Bethe misses again, remaining ineffective. I felt terrible about the Destruction, so I threw the party a bone; Hedrack blows a round searching the floor for the silenced coin Hamish threw in, because he doesn't have any means of dealing with it.

The Hound appears, and I roll HP and Forbiddance damage behind my screen, so I can cheat if I have to, but I don't -- I roll 37 HP, and 36 damage. It realizes it can't teleport, so it drag's Cyr's body out to the door. Hedrack can't AOO, since he doesn't have a weapon ready, but Thrommel can, killing the Hound. At least it's done it's job; Hamish takes a 5 foot step, touches Shalathal and Cyr's dead body, and casts Word of Recall, back to Verbobonc.

The Church arranges Identification of all the gear they retrieved, and they sell off the Rod of Lesser Quickening and a bunch of other stuff to buy the 25kgp diamond needed to True Resurrect Chase; Cyr, however, just gets a Raise Dead from a scroll, so he's dropped back to level 11. At least the two people who screwed up the worst, Hamish and Cyr, ended up paying the worst price for the failure; Cyr lost his level, and Hamish would have gotten that Rod if they didn't have to sell it. But it's still depressing.

Cordo Crowfoot
Deathmantle Cultist
(2/23/04 6:49 am)
Reply
Re: Two more deaths.
Quote:
Amazingly, Cyr charges in! He screams in agony as he crosses the threshold, failing his save vs. Forbiddance. He hits, and Hedrack fails his save, dropping 5 con.
I'm confused. If he failed his save how did he enter?

msherman
Crimson Coil Cultist
(2/23/04 6:55 am)
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Re: Two more deaths.
In 3.5, Forbiddance doesn't prevent people from walking in, it just does lots of damage (save for half). It only blocks teleportation in or out.

fjeTheNarrator
Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/23/04 7:34 am)
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Re: Two more deaths.

Here's one I'm trying to figure out.

Silence allows a saving throw.

But it doesn't stipulate that this saving throw is only when it is cast on a creature. It now says that each creature in it's radius gets a Will save to ignore the effects.

Is this how you're using Silenced coins?

I read up on the spell after my group started regularly tossing several Silence spells to gank spellcasters. Both Clerics have rather good Initiative and can often bust of two silences in a surprise round or just acting before other casters in a normal sequence.

Now, at least, they're limited to one "area of effect" as they tend to toss both of their silences on the same spot to force double saves.

Not that this would have HELPED your party... probably harmed them even more if Hedrack just shrugs off their Silence. Taking on a guy like that without proper planning is, however, a suicidal venture.

*sigh*

Not that my group is ever suicidal or less than well-prepared. I'm sort of depressed that I haven't even ganked one PC yet. The other DM in the local area playing RttToEE has slaughtered half a dozen PCs already.

:) Actually, I'm pretty proud of my group. They play smart, they play well, and they (generally) play in character. Huzzah.

--fje

msherman
Crimson Coil Cultist
(2/23/04 7:53 am)
Reply
Re: Two more deaths.
I don't think you're correct about the save on silence, fje. The header says "Save: Will negates; see text, or none (object)". The text says that the only save is for when the spell is cast directly on an unwilling creature; it doesn't say anything about a creature caught in the area of effect getting an independant save.

Since the party escaped by Word-of-Recalling to Verbobonc, where they have the counsel of the patriarch of Pelor, an ancient 17th level cleric, I'm going to write up a denoument email to the players where the Bishop suggests all the opportunities for preparation they missed, so hopefully they'll be better prepared next time. The big problem with this party is that they don't have a real wizard (Cyr was Rog7/Asn1/Wiz4 before his death), so Hamish concentrates on damage-dealing spells instead of buffing and defense.

BTW, rereading my post, I left out one action; before getting killed, Chase had stepped out of the shadows into the doorway, and fired at Hedrack with an arrow of Human Slaying. Sadly, he wasn't able to get through Hedrack's Spell Resistance (from the spell of the same name).

Edited by: msherman at: 2/23/04 7:59 am
Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(2/23/04 8:07 am)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: Two more deaths.
"In 3.5, Forbiddance doesn't prevent people from walking in, it just does lots of damage (save for half). It only blocks teleportation in or out. "

It says 'into or within it'; it does not specify without. If it did, even Hedrack couldn't word of recall to the Greater Temple if he were in trouble. I don't think that helps your players, though, as I'm sure Heddy did some spontaneous inflict wounds spells on Thrommel. Speaking of which, I changed the spell in his ring of counterspelling to searing light.



Last Saturday, I pulled a real nasty trick on my group, but they survived, due mainly to a plot element with Chymon. The previous week they went into the water door and fought the tojanida, minotaurs, bugbears, nagas, and Naquent, expending nearly all their spells, then retreated to Rastor. Well, Naquent, one of the nagas, and the tojanida were left alive (actually Naquent was fully buffed and ready to kick butt). So, later that afternoon, about an hour before sundown, the entire force of spider eaters, riders, and sorcerers were sent to 'weaken' the party and Rastor, destroying it if possible. Once half of the sorcerers were dead, they were to retreat. Then, Chymon flew in, invisible and breathed on the largest group, killing lots o people. She then saw Varachan, alive, and decided to retreat to inform Hedrack rather than kill everyone. It's not deus ex machina, as I planned for her to leave just after two rounds, a breath weapon and a full attack on someone. It provided me with two key goals, give the party a round or two to fight her and show them exactly how badass a CR13 red dragon is, and for the Outer Fane to find out about Varachan actually being alive.

The end result was the decimation of most of Rastor, a severe beating on the party, most of the dwarves dead, Tal rejoining the ToAC (potion of glibness saved his life when a couple of spider eaters and riders were about to munch him), and the druid and dragon disciple each gaining a level (to 12th).

msherman
Crimson Coil Cultist
(2/23/04 11:00 am)
Reply
Re: Two more deaths.
Thanks for the clarification on Forbiddance, I2k. I'll point that out to the players next time we play. It's a good thing it didn't have any real effect on the game -- the Hound managed to get the body out, which was the only important thing.

As for Thrommel's ring, he changed it in my game based on the bad guys knowledge of my party's usual tactics; it was flame strike, which was used in the first fight with Thrommel in the octagon room. The look on Hamish's player's face was priceless. After that fight, though, when Hamish used searing light to very good effect, I think he'll have Hedrack recharge the ring with searing light now.

I don't know what I'm going to do with my game now; the players were pretty beat down after yesterday's game. Hedrack's got to press his advantage at this point, I think, but I'm scared of doing too much and ruining the game for the players. It's a tough spot.

Cordo Crowfoot
Deathmantle Cultist
(2/24/04 6:01 am)
Reply
Re: Two more deaths.
Quote:
In 3.5, Forbiddance doesn't prevent people from walking in, it just does lots of damage (save for half). It only blocks teleportation in or out.
Wow, didn't realize. Thanks for that. Good thing my group has walked past his door every time so far.

Edited by: Cordo Crowfoot at: 2/24/04 6:01 am
msherman
Crimson Coil Cultist
(2/24/04 4:07 pm)
Reply
Advantage: Hedrack
Ok, I think I've figured out how Hedrack will press the advantage here. I'd appreciate your opinions; do you think this is too harsh, and will alienate the players?

1) Bethe was completely ineffective in that fight outside Hedrack's room, and needs to be punished. Thrommel, on the otherhand, was uncharacteristically loyal and helpful, and needs to be rewarded. Hedrack gives Bethe to Thrommel, and he spawns her.

2) The party is currently in Verbobonc, and I'm guessing they're going to spend at least a day or two there hiding out and licking their wounds. While they're away, Hedrack will send Chymon to attack the Dwarven temple. Chymon will kill a number of dwarves, and the dwarves will finally fight her off by taking refuge in the Shrine of Pelor; it is Hallowed with Dispel Magic, and the dispel knocks out her Reduction, forcing her to Squeeze; this turns the tide, and the dwarves drive her off. I'm torn about whether or not I should have Rerrid die in this fight. I think I want to, and have a junior cleric take his place in charge of the dwarves, but I'm worried that might be too demoralizing for the players. They've been whinging about the hallow not being very useful, though, so this "attack" gives them some useful info about how to avoid an attack from Chymon, and that the Hallow is good for something.

Edit: yeah, yeah, of course Hedrack sends Chymon! :)

Edited by: msherman at: 2/25/04 5:09 am
Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(2/24/04 8:09 pm)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: Advantage: Hedrack
1. That would be a reasonable choice, yes. Bethe will suddenly become FAR more deadly, however, so keep that in mind. IMO, the vampire template has more effect with specific classes, and an assassin is one of them. She should always appear where there are cracks in the walls as an escape route. The only problem I have with that is that she will hate Hedrack immensely and having Hedrack allow her to stick around, not directly under his control, is very dangerous. Is this something you think Hedrack will do? An alternative is to give Bethe Chymon and Bethe's equipment to Thrommel, and give Thrommel a free night in Verbobonc (indeed, the same night the party stays there). Hedrack can take him there via word of recall and/or the Tourbillion (if you allow it).

2. Don't you mean Hedrack will send Chymon? Otherwise, yeah, that sounds like a decent plan. I have a bunch of dwarves statted out (on Zans's site if you are interested). If you have the time, I'd run a mock combat and see how well they really fair so that you can more accurately discern what would've happened for the result you are looking for. From what you describe, it seems like the dwarves might have had a chance to kill her, but from my point of view, she would wipe them out without even coming near half hit points. Don't give your players any false confidence. If anything, make it seem like a miracle happened (metagaming-wise she rolled a few natural ones, the dwarves got a couple very lucky criticals, etc.)

Cordo Crowfoot
Deathmantle Cultist
(2/25/04 2:06 am)
Reply
Re: Advantage: Hedrack
1) I wouldn't do it IMC as it assumes a certain level of trust of Thrommel that isn't there. But YMMV.

2) Same as I2K said... Hedrack right?

msherman
Crimson Coil Cultist
(2/25/04 5:23 am)
Reply
Re: Advantage: Hedrack
About the trust level with Thrommel, that was true IMC up until just recently. After the previous session, documented on this board in the "Vampire hits the fan" thread, the party cut a deal with Thrommel to retrieve his coffin for him and take it safely across the Stalagos. When they reneged on that deal, breaking his domination, they knocked Hedrack out of the number one spot on Thrommel's hit parade. He hates them, even to the point where he's willing to do such out-of-character things as go warn Hedrack that they're coming and actually stick around to help him out when they get there.

While I didn't write up the rest of the scene in Hedrack's room between Thrommel and Hedrack, I imagine Thrommel would be taking good advantage now of the fact that his Charisma is much higher than Hedrack's (insane) Wisdom. This newfound "trust", coupled with Hedracks growing desperation -- he's already lost both of his top lieutenants - might be what it takes for Hedrack to start trusting Thrommel. Of course, Thrommel is just waiting for the right moment to dispatch Hedrack.

Having said that, I2k has a point about a vampire rog5/asn4 being much nastier than Aramil, the vampire rgr3/sor4, so I think I'll throw Bethe in an iron maiden in Hedracks room for a few weeks before he gives her to Thrommel. Mind you, there's a flip side to that argument; when faced with a 12th level Cleric of Greater Turning, uh, I mean Cleric of Pelor, maybe Bethe would actually be _weaker_ as a vampire?

Also, in about 5 days game time (perhaps next session, or the session after), the party is about to come into a vampire-killing weapon: silver +1 Undeadbane Intelligent greatsword (LN, continuous Deathwatch, +10 Knowledge Religion). I planned it ages ago in a completely unrelated encounter, expecting Thrommel to have been long since dealt with by now...

And on a final note, I just received mail last night from Chase's player, about turning Chase into a _ghost_. He's mulling it over now -- I think it will make him much less powerful, since he's pretty much optimized as a fighter. I told him if he wants to do it, he has to drop 2 levels off of Chase, and take the first level of SKR's Ghost template-class. That leaves him net -1 level, on par with the raise dead penalty. I also told him that he must take all 5 levels of the ghost class sequentially; I know Sean's rules for template classes allow mixing-and-matching, but I think some of the template classes, particularly Ghost, is broken for that -- Ghost gets its best powers at 4th level, and practically nothing at 5th level (just some skill bonuses), so if mixing and matching is allowed, the character really gets the benefits of an LA+5 for 4 levels invested.

Something interesting that just occurred to me is that if Chase does go with the Ghost, he won't rejoin the party until they return to the Shrine in the CRM; that seems like the most reasonable place for him to haunt. Which means that he'll be there for the fight against Chymon. So I'll use I2k's dwarves, and fight it out with Chase's player.

The players are really down about their lack of a primary arcane caster. Chase's player was considering replacing Chase with a Pal2/Sor6/EK3, but decided against it. Cyr's player is mulling over a Sor11, but I think he'll decide against it as well. They all seem to be really annoyed that the party doesn't have a primary arcane caster, but none of them really seem to want to play one. Anyone in Toronto like playing arcanists and looking for a game on Sundays? :)

Edited by: msherman at: 2/25/04 6:22 am
Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(2/25/04 7:24 am)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: Advantage: Hedrack
The ghost Chase had better hope he is not within sixty feet of the cleric when that greater turning occurs. You turn the closest undead first, and you don't pick and choose. Other than that, it sounds like a fun change of of pace.

msherman
Crimson Coil Cultist
(2/26/04 6:23 am)
Reply
Re: Advantage: Hedrack
I just had a good idea about what to do with Rerrid when Chymon attacks the dwarves. I will have him die, as well as many of the other dwarves. The survivors will have his corpse, as well as 5000gp of diamonds, waiting for Hamish to return and Raise him -- after all, they are a clan of miners living in a diamond mine. Digging up 5000gp shouldn't be too tough for them. Once raised, Rerrid will thank Hamish by lending him 2 of the Hammerspheres, as a sign of the eternal bond of friendship between Moradin and Pelor.

That'll drive home the point of Chymon's badaxitude, while at the same time help the party out with some treasure (they've not gotten much treasure in the last few sessions) and reinforce the value of their sanctuary.

msherman
Briar Beast
(2/28/04 7:38 am)
Reply
Tactical planning
Wow. I was all worried about how my players reacted in the session after two of them died, but it turns out that this has been a great thing for the game.

The only lingering bitterness that remains is over the rules error I made by ruling that SR applies to the Slaying Arrows, but the players seem happy with the way I retconned to make up for that. Hedrack would have had a 60% chance to save against the arrow, so I had Hamish's bishop empty out his treasury to supply some of the diamonds needed for the true res, equalling 40% of the cost of the true res plus 40% of the cost of the raise dead scroll being used on Cyr. I also pro-rated Cyr's XP loss to 60%, and gave Chase a fourth arrow (so he has 2 remaining).

How it's turned out well is that the players have been having IM chats all week discussing tactics, planning how the fighter and rogue types can work together to play to each others strengths in combat, and how to optimize Hamish's spell list to play to the party's strengths, instead of pretending to be the blasting arcanist the party is missing. The best part is that for part of the next session, the Bishop is going to hook up the party with a friend of his at the temple of Kord, who will set them up in a practice arena enchanted with Permanent Image to give them fake battles to fight. I'll give them some small XP reward for this, maybe 20% of the real XP they'd get for the fights -- I know by the rules I shouldn't, since there's no risk, but I really want to reward them for finally taking some initiative to play more tactically.

The only remaining question is what level Cyr is going to drop when he's raised -- I've allowed him to choose between his 3 classes (Rog7/Asn1/Wiz4). He still seems enamoured of that assassin level, but I think he'll be more effective if he drops it; that'll leave him about 3000xp away from learning Haste, which really plays to the strengths of a party heavy on melee fighters. He has yet to successfully assassinate someone; really, the only use he's ever gotten out of being an assassin is spontaneous Feather Fall, but that's only 2200gp in a ring.

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